|A NOTE FROM THE SWC|
Another two months have passed since we heard from Manya. Life here had settled quite nicely without him. Considering that Gia was vegetarian and Dex wasn’t, I found it hard to cook every night, especially when Gia wanted to. Dex doesn’t eat anything Gia makes, and he can’t cook himself to save his life. Master of Majiya indeed.
Unbelievably, we have received yet another letter from Manya. Instead of Postie Pete, it was Dex who came in one day with a slip of paper he said he found “en-lodged in something that was already dead when he got there.” We didn’t really believe him, but because we suddenly found out it was from Manya, we just didn’t care anymore. It was in horrible shape; the papyrus was extremely dry and fragile, and there were several torn areas. We had to do a little bit of a jigsaw puzzle before we were able to actually read what it said. Fortunately, Manya’s an avid writer, so it wasn’t too hard to figure out what was going on and in what order.
We’ve left his potential gravestone up, just in case he really doesn’t return. Every situation he gets himself into seems a whole lot more dangerous and deadly then the last.
By the way, we have received the Soul Elemental he mentioned. At first, he tried to consume me whole, and a lot of running was involved, but after an incident involving Dex in a VERY bad mood, it’s been completely pacified. Should anyone have any questions for it, simply PM me and I’ll get a response. … or rather, get Dex to make it respond. In fact, we don’t even know if it’s still alive now. After inquiring as to what Dex actually did to it, we quickly reconsidered our curious notion, as he was willing enough to give us a demonstration of his ‘unique method’.
Ah well. Thanks for reading.
Resting at an 88 degree angle now. It’s extremely uncomfortable. I’ve still got about 6 feet to climb, but that lava’s merciless. I’ve been wearing my most-speak amulet and calling for help, but all I’ve done was attracted a bunch of carnivorous looking birds that are eying my pitiful self as a potential carrion.
At least they’re keeping me company as I struggle to get away. After giving them my name, they started inventing a bunch of different dishes named after me. How nice of them that I should be remembered in such a way.
Still haven’t had anything to eat for days. I sort of wish that drunk dwarf would appear sometime. I’d take one of his kebabs over starvation anytime.
Actually, now that I think about it … no. Never mind.
Success! I pulled my pitiful hide out of the trench, which is now a very big lake of lava, and I got away into the forest. When you’ve been crawling away, inches at a time, almost touching a never-ending plane of lava for the last couple of weeks without food, you find energy from somewhere to run three miles in less then 10 minutes. Now fatigue has caught up with me, so I will now rest.
No dinner tonight. There’s nothing here. All alone at the other end of the forest. I can’t even find any rabbits.
I don’t even care if I get eaten by wolves now. Better I die eaten in my sleep with luck then slowly burning away with inevitability.
Waking up and finding 5 dead wolves lying on top of me brought me to the conclusion that I desperately need to being some deodorant on my next trek. Taking horribly mean advantage of the situation, I had wolf for breakfast, lunch and dinner, getting myself filled up once again before I start off and continue my adventure.
Wolf meat tastes horrible, especially when you don’t have any spices, or means to light a fire and cook them. It rained all day today, covering the ground and me in mud and wetness. Thankfully it disposed of my smell, but at the same time I lost some invulnerability to the native carnivorous creatures around me.
Oh well. I’m showered, fed, and am ready to continue. Now if only I could get some sleep without all this mud carrying me around downhill.
I woke up under two tons of dried mud and thought to myself, “How inconvenient”. Couldn’t breathe, couldn’t move, couldn’t even blink. Fortunately, eating five wolves all in the same day produces a lot of flatulent gas, and I found that dark, muddy surroundings simply leave their concealment of myself after a nice, pressurized explosion freed me. … OK, that probably didn’t make much sense, but after bearing witness to such a strange event, one can not help but to try their hand at poetry.
I salvaged the mudslide and found what perhaps used to be a rodent of some kind. Tasting it confirmed my suspicion, that there was life around these parts, and that it was supposedly inedible. Sort of wish I figured out the third part before swallowing it whole.
Learned a few things:
– Mud can break bones if enough of it gets on you.
– Don’t sleep while in a mudslide.
– Leaves make good clothing.
– Those yellow chunks you sometimes find in mudslides are NOT cheese.
– Don’t try swallowing something that nature deemed ‘inedible’ whole.
After a natural redecorating of the mud-slide, I proceeded southwest, continuing what feels like going downhill.
I thought I was out of the frying pan and was cast into the fire. Now I am out of the fire and cast into the desert. The forest unexpectedly ended in a large, hot field of sand. It’s amazing that after absorbing so much heat it’s all still sand and not glass. That would be the day, wouldn’t it, where one simply slides around the desert on a large plane of glass as though ice skating. I wonder if Dex can do that to the Kharid desert … I’ll have to try that when I get back.
Since it looked so vast, I fabricated a large container and filled it with water from a nearby spring. At least, it tasted like water. No idea why it’s colored purple. Probably just my imagination. Oh, and for the record, it’s a very BIG container.
Finally caught a rabbit. Tasted better then anything I had so far, even without spices. Hopefully I’ll find an oasis or a colony in the desert where I can restock.
Highly doubt it though. Don’t think anything could survive in this sort of heat.
Walking. That’s all I’ve been doing is walking. I walk during the night, because even though it’s cold, it’s bearably cold compared to this. I know lots of creatures come out during the night, but isn’t it a lot more worth the risk than heat exhaustion? Especially since I was wrong about the rain getting rid of my smell.
Had what appeared to be a snake-badger hybrid for dinner. I’m always up for trying something new, but picking out all those poisonous spines was annoying. The lungs were probably the best part – all 13 of them. Maybe I should’ve interviewed it before I exposed it to my underside.
Almost out of water. Don’t really care, though, because I still use the container to sleep in. Sleeping in a container of water in the desert – why hasn’t anyone ever thought of this before?
Ah. That’s why. The vultures. I knew they were carnivorous, but I didn’t think they were ambitious. One big flood and a lot of cursing later, I found myself travelling through the desert night with nothing but my clothes (I do love the sew-ability of these forest leaves) and amulet, and this notepad. Don’t even have a teletab. Well, I’ve experienced worse situations then this, and I think it’s about time I called it quits. But I’ve still got lots of energy, so I’ll see how far I can go before I fall.
I can’t believe I haven’t even found a cacti in this horrid place. Where the snake-badger hybrids come from, I have no idea, but there’s a lot of them.
I haven’t even had to go to the bathroom for many weeks. What is up with that?
Still going. Can’t believe it, either. Haven’t drunk anything in days, and I’m not even picking the poison spines out of the hybrids anymore. Just not worth the effort.
Learned a few things so far on this trek:
– Sleeping in a container of water in the desert is a bad idea after all.
– Poison spines are not good toothpicks.
– Poison spines leave a horrible taste in your mouth if you eat them rather then use them as toothpicks.
– Sand doesn’t make good mouthwash.
I can hardly see anything in front of me, let alone feel my limbs, but my legs are still carrying me forward. I think I’m even beginning to hallucinate. At least I’ll have some entertainment now while I go.
I just hallucinated some guy with a farming cape and full lederhosen doing a dutch dance and that completely brought my body and mind back into focus. It hurts a lot. Still nothing for many miles, but at least I will be scarred from hallucinating for a couple of weeks. I’m running now, or at least jogging most of the distance. It’s like my body has completely snapped and I no longer know fatigue. In fact, I’m writing this as I run. It’s exhilarating.
Better enjoy it while it lasts. Of course, a couple of days later, I know that fatigue is going to catch up to me and I’m going to pass out for a long period of time. Seriously. Just watch.
I woke up during the night, but by the looks of things, I was lying down here for a long period of time. I know I shouldn’t be against the idea, but I really should be dead by now. Or am I? Maybe I am, but I don’t know it.
Who cares if I am or not? I’ve got to get out of this place! The sun is getting hotter nowadays, and the nights are too. Soon enough, I’ll be surrounded by those hybrids, and who knows what will happen then.
Maybe they’ll eat me? Maybe they’ll turn me into a really ugly pincushion for their spines, maybe the second leading to the first. Or maybe they’ll see me as a God or something. I don’t even care anymore.
I’m convinced that nobody’s ever been here, so I’m going to start naming places as I go. Just to make things interesting. If I had more paper, I could even start drawing maps. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, so all I can do now is settle for naming.
I’m going to call this place the Desert of Carelessness, because I just don’t care that this is a desert anymore.
Unbelievably, I’m still going. Haven’t eaten anything but the stray hybrid, and haven’t drunk anything since … you know, there was something odd about that water, now that I think about it.
– For one thing, it was purple …
– For another, it was bubbling despite it being incredibly cold.
– Another thing was that it was singing …
Perhaps it was some kind of magical water that doesn’t run out while I travel through the desert. Well, if that’s the case, then I can stop eating those annoying hybrids and just rely purely on the energy derived from that to bring me there.
On second thought, though, I am starting to develop a taste for them. Maybe I’ll capture some and experiment with them when I get to civilization.
Finally, I found civilization. At least, either that or it’s one heckuva hallucination. There’s a city right in front of me, right in the middle of the desert, surrounded by hundred-foot walls … and no door. After lapping it several times, I found out there’s no blasted door. What kind of crazy city-builder builds a city with no door?
Well, it would help to explain why I don’t see anyone out here. You can’t get out of the place! Not very good for tourism, really.
At least the walls give shade. I’ll camp around here and rest a bit before continuing. Who knows, maybe I’ll find a way in.
Before I start this entry, I would like to quickly jot down a few pointers:
– When you’re in the desert, and you think you feel an earthquake, then it’s most likely just you.
– If you start bouncing off the ground because of said earthquake, then it’s not quite as likely that it’s just you.
– If you start sinking into the sand and shake uncontrollably, then more likely it’s NOT just you.
– If said earthquake is being caused by a giant serpent the size of a country swimming through the sand all around you, then it’s definitely NOT just you.
– If said serpent emerges from the sand and grips you with its tail, hoisting you up nearly a thousand feet in the air, then it’s guaranteed NOT just you.
– It’s really hard to write when your arms are being gripped by a giant serpent’s tail.
Now then, in case you haven’t already guessed, I am now a thousand feet in the air, being gripped by the tail of a giant sand serpent whose head is even higher then I am. It could literally flick away the Tz-Tok Jad with its tongue. It’s looking at me, and I’m looking at it, pausing every so often to write in my notebook. Interesting shade of blue and cyan for a creature that lives in the desert. It has small-ish orange eyes on either side of its horned, flat head, probably because it squints a lot, and very long fangs that no doubt drip poison by the cartload. Retractable, too. Neat trick. My amulet reacted to its speech, and I was surprisingly able to interview it before getting the lo-down as to what’s going on around here. I will write that on the next page after I enclose the interview, but I’ve only now just noticed how fragile my notebook has become due to the deser-
It abruptedly ends there. The only thing we found otherwise was the interview with this giant snake. From what we can tell, because Manya was so high up in the air as a result from this confrontation, the pages must have floated down to us, carried by the wind. How coincidental.
|INTERVIEW WITH GIANT SAND SERPENT|
Manya: So, uh, what are you? A giant sand serpent or something?
Giant Sand Serpent: Yeah, kinda, but you can call me Jason.
Manya: Jason? … no offense, but isn’t that name kinda … ordinary for something so … extraordinary?
Jason: I know, it is. I tried thinking up some interestin’ names for myself, but unfortunately, nothing fits.
Manya: How about Serpantia?
Jason: Nah, that’s my later cousin’s name.
Manya: Huh. I don’t know what else to call a giant sand serpent.
Jason: Well, what are you, then?
Manya: I’m … uh … I’m Manya.
Jason: Manya, eh? A strange name for a strange creature. But what exactly ARE you?
Manya: Er … I don’t know.
Jason: Well, why then are you tryin’ to force a class upon me if you don’t even know what you are?
Manya: Ok… we’ll come back to that later. Disregarding names, what exactly are you?
Jason: … a giant sand serpent?
Manya: No, I meant … are you a guardian or something? Or just another creature trying to leach out an existence off the planet?
Jason: Woah, woah. I’m not THAT kind of serpent.
Manya: I take it then you have no actual role to play in the cosmic events.
Jason: … not that I know of, no. I exist as I am, that’s all.
Manya: Ah. Fair enough. So, what exactly do you eat? Something so big in a desert with very little must not-
Manya: … literally?
Jason: Yeah. I eat sand. ‘S how I get strong. ‘S how I travel, too.
Manya: Sand … but there’s no nutrients in sand.
Jason: I know. I don’t get it how it works, either. Me mom said we have special stomachs. Somethin’ like that.
Manya: Where is she? I would like to ask that of her.
Jason: ‘Fraid she’s dead. Ten million years, about.
Manya: I’m sorry to hear- … did you just say … ten MILLION years?
Jason: Does get very boring alone. My sister comes to visit once every millennia, but even then she ain’t very talkative.
Manya: Sorry to hear that.
Jason: Ah, but you. You have lots to say, don’t you?
Manya: Yes, I do, but can I get to know you for five minutes before I start telling my own stories?
Jason: Sure. Go ahead.
Manya: What is that city there?
Jason: … I thought you wanted to know ’bout me.
Manya: I do, but … um, OK. Are you related to that city there at all?
Jason: Nah, just a way-marker for findin’ my way around here.
Manya: Hm. Ok, then. What exactly is it like being a … giant sand serpent?
Jason: Well, I’m afraid I can’t answer that one ’til I know what it’s like t’ be small, like you.
Manya: Um … vulnerable? Weak?
Jason: Heh. Kay, then, if that’s the case. Although I feel invulnerable, I also feel exposed all the time. When you’re this big, y’can’t conceal yourself completely under the sand at all times, so ye’re always exposed and visible by somethin’. But since there’s nothin’ in the desert, that ain’t much of a problem.
Manya: I see.
Jason: And almost too strong, y’know. Everything is so fragile that I gotta be careful even when I travel. If I go right under that city, the whole darn place’s gonna fall. Heck, I can’t believe I even risked t’pick you up.
Manya: Yeah, speaking of that, I’m one of those creatures that likes the opportunity to breathe once in a while.
Jason: Ah, sorry ’bout that.
Manya: *Gasp* Ah, thanks. So, what’s your history? How did you come into existence?
Jason: Twas a long time ago. ‘Bout thirteen million years. Me mom gave birth to ’bout a thousand of us. Most’v ’em died in the Great Battle, and the remainder scattered. Died to weather or huntin’. But not me. Nah, I found this desert land, and it’s been paradise for me ever since. N’body here for millions a’ years.
Manya: You didn’t have any masters back then?
Jason: ‘Side from me mom?
Jason: Can’t say I have. Me mom always told us what t’do. Though sometimes, now that I think about it, it did seem like she was given orders or somethin’.
Manya: Interesting. You positive you haven’t met that person?
Jason: Quite sure I haven’, yeah.
Manya: It’s a pity. I wonder if you were bred for fighting. What was this great war?
Jason: Ah, we got stuck up in some kinda battle. All sortsa creatures, y’know. There was us, and we fought alongside the Doo-lads, and the Harvoins … and there’s no forgettin’ them crystal dragonoids. Those things could fight, lemme tell ya.
Manya: What was your enemy?
Jason: Truth be told, I didn’ know. All I was told to do was kill whatever I didn’ recognize at first glance. Not very easy when you’re teamin’ up with a bunch of shapeshifters.
Jason: Yeah, the Harvoins. Fortunately, you could tell they were them by the glow. ‘Specially during the night.
Manya: Well, what sort of creatures were the enemies, then? Any with any distinguishing features?
Jason: Nope, they all blend together, I’m afraid. Each as unique as the last. Plus, it’s been so long ago, I hardly remember anythin’.
Manya: No worries. Just taking curiosity towards the unknown.
Jason: The unknown … where have I- never mind.
Manya: Do you have any religions? Worship any gods?
Jason: Nope, none. Haven’ had much reason to.
Manya: Could I interest you in the religion of Saradomin, by any chance?
Jason: Doubt it. Never ‘eard of ‘im, so I ain’t gonna start. Probably one’a them gods you sacrifice for. No point’n worshippin’ ‘them’.
Manya: Of course not! … not really, at least.
Jason: You sacrifice and worship and bow t’them, and whatdaya get in return? “Good health”! “Prosperity”! I’d like t’think I’ve earned all that myself. Haven’t worshipped nothin’ and I’m as healthy as can be.
Manya: *To self* He says as he dies from a random heart attack.
Jason: What was that?
Manya: Sorry, I was clearing my throat. Several places of it. Anyways, back to the matter of survival. Don’t you drink anything? I know you eat sand, but surely you’ve got to hydrate yourself.
Jason: Sure do. Little spring at the boundary just a hundred miles west’v here.
Manya: Uh … spring?
Jason: Yeah. Not very hard to find. The water’s even purple, which really stands out from the mud. Mainly cause I drip poison init while I drink. Even makes a singin’ sound from the vaporization of them germs and bacteria in it.
Manya: Em … poison?
Jason: Yup. I’m poisonous. See? *He proceeded to show me his teeth in a rather silly-looking grin for a minute* Effective stuff, too.
Manya: Uh … really? How so?
Jason: Well, it works so slow and efficiently. First it just lingers in d’system for a few days. Then it cuts off the brain from the nerve system so y’don’t feel it workin’. And then here’s the neat thing. Nine outta ten chances it just kills the victim right then and there. Otherwise, it eats up all the internal organs and stuff an’ mutates the body around a lot, making it new, messed up organs for a while. And then it starts over and does it all again.
Manya: *Cough* Uh, how does THAT work?
Jason: ‘Gain, I dunno. It just does.
Manya: Well, thank you for your time. If you don’t mind, I have to go find a mirror somewhere and make sure I’m not- … dehydrated.
Jason: One in d’city. I’ll let you off in there.
Manya: Uh, wouldn’t the citizens mind seeing a giant sand serpent depositing something inside that doesn’t even know what it looks like anymore … uh, because of memory lapses?
Jason: No worries. Ain’t been no one in there for … nearly 6 million years.
Manya: Well, I would imagine so. If I had a … Jason living around my city, I would probably emigrate as well.
Jason: Ain’t my fault. Nobody there even before I came. Just a buncha buildin’s and stuff. Twas either evacuated or they all died somehow.
Manya: Hmm. I would like to explore it for a bit if you don’t mind. Might find out some history or something about what happened there so long ago. (And maybe an antipoison, with luck)
Jason: You gotta tell me all about it. After you tell me ’bout yourself, of course. I myself m’too cautious to even peer inside, lest I make the place fall over.
Manya: Yeah, I will. Oh, excuse me, I’m running out of room on this page. Can you just loosen your grip a bit so I can find another clean one?
Jason: Of course. How’s this work f–_
Proceeding from here was a large, ink-covered scratch straight downward. After analyzation, we easily figured out how the page got loose in the first place. Whether or not Manya survived the fall, we don’t know, but we’ll let you all know as soon as we get more evidence of his living existence.
Until then, stay adventurous!
– The SWC