|A NOTE FROM THE SWC|
We’ve received Manya’s next bunch of journal entries by means of Giant Sand Serpent jumping up from the ocean. After introducing itself to us as “Jason” (?), it proceeded to unload a large, well-crafted case of stuff upon us. Quite literally, unfortunately.
After Dex ‘relieved’ us of the delivery, we explored the contents. Among a number of incredibly ancient artifacts and goods, we came across a clipped entry of Manya’s next few journal entries on million-year-old papyrus. Gia was shocked to discover that much of this stuff existed far longer then he has, and so we took immediate interest in exploring this stuff more, while Dex went down to the cellar to hollow out an area for Jason.
Seems Manya is still alive. While we won’t yet make the artifacts local to the public due to the danger of curiosity and greed, we will post his next installment of journal entries, as well as another interview with some of the strangest creatures I think we’ve ever heard about.
At least his handwriting’s getting better nowadays. That’s one thing we can say about him.
Thanks for reading!
|DAY 100 (Gotta start somewhere …)|
Finally found a new notepad to write a journal in. Of course, when I say ‘new’, I mean ‘packaged for millions of years’. After experiencing a fall of roughly ten thousand feet in the air and landing unharmed on a haystack that somebody had conveniently placed on the roof of a building (?), I got a good close-up look at these super-old buildings that had more dust covering them then building material. In fact, there was so much dust that I had to walk down the street with a breaststroke.
Of course, pride overcame me as a master caretaker and I spent the week cleaning the place up without reason, since there was nobody for miles but Jason and myself. For the record, it looks awesome now, like somebody actually lives there. Who knows; maybe I might want to sometime in the future.
Remembering that I need food to live without stomach pains, I searched the cellars of buildings that seemed to identify themselves as stores and found canned provisions. They had expired sometime before the Earth was created, but I cooked and ate them anyways on an ancient range, because I have a good immune system and can turn anything into health.
Looking to explore that strange chapel tomorrow. Jason said he’d never actually seen the insides of the buildings and is curious, so I’m going to be yelling out everything I see for the next few days. Not that it’s anything new …
The last container of dust has been returned to the desert, and this place now is officially habitable. Provided, of course, they bring something to drink. Although canned meats (each with their own unique bicultural plant life) are good for the muscles, I haven’t yet found a drop of water in the town.
Thank goodness my amulet of Most-Speak includes ‘parched laryngitis’ to ‘high-pitched scream’, or Jason would have been really annoyed at me for not keeping to my promise. The last thing you want to do with your life is to annoy a giant, poisonous sand serpent capable of squishing the entire town with its chin. I’ve been ‘calling out’ the interiors of buildings all day, telling him about the ‘many forms of tapestry and paintings’ to the ‘I missed a spot here; darn, darn,
I had a 6-vegetarian course meal from a single can of beans. Gia would’ve liked it, despite the fact I had to spend half the time cooking it and the other half trying to get its vine-like tentacles out of my eyes. Fortunately, I made sure it was really dead before eating it. Tasted like chicken … which is something that a plant really shouldn’t.
Looking to check out the chapel tomorrow.
I spent all of today looking around all the basements. They weren’t very dusty, but I took a few hours to make complete sure of it. Surprisingly, it was pleasantly cool and humid down there, and my body appeared to just suck up all the moisture all around. Now, instead of complete numbness, I am experiencing heat exhaustion and dehydration. At least it’s a step in the right direction.
I learned a few things from my exploration of the town’s underground:
– Just because it moves doesn’t mean it’s potentially edible.
– Rats are only harmless to the extent that their combined body mass doesn’t outweigh your own.
– They’re organized. Seriously.
– Rats have the potential to make cults when there’s enough of them.
– Rats know of the crucifix-combustion maneuver.
– Million-year-old pickle jars are rat-killers AND life-savers.
Disregarding the heavy resistance, I managed to clean the basements out and prevent being part of a sacrificial cremation using nothing but a crozier and a jar of pickles. I spent the remainder of the day throwing out even more barrels of dust into the desert sands. There are stairs on the insides of the walls, to which I climbed up and dumped said barrels over the edge outside. Rather odd, though, that even though there are stairs for the walls inside, there are no doors or portable ladders anywhere. How the heck did anything get in? … or out?
Roasted pickled rat. Now THERE’S innovative thinking. Unfortunately, I didn’t know what they survived on, but whatever they did, there wasn’t much of it. The majority of what I ate was softened boiled rat bone, but there was still nutrient enough in it.
Looking to investigate the chapel tomorrow.
I’ve actually settled in quite nicely now. I know the place fairly well, and have even given names to some of the roads and trails. Jason hardly knows anything about the town because it was abandoned long before even his parents were born, and I haven’t found any photographic proof of what sort of creatures lived here. Can’t find any paintings or traces of clothing, either. Either these things were pretty secretive to their identity, or they didn’t need such things. I also assumed they were too primitive for such luxuries, but considering the impressive building designs and structures, I doubted primitivity was a factor.
I’ve confirmed it. There’s absolutely no sign of life here, so by the official standards of explorer’s colonization ability, the town is mine. I shall call it … Manyador. Or Manyock. Whichever sounds cooler. Now I need to make a sign. Jason offered to dig out a 500 foot moat for it, but since the nearest water, as he said, is around twelve thousand feet underground, and that there were no doors or anything that anyone could break through, and that there wasn’t a colony or any sign of life for hundreds of miles of scorching desert, AND that nobody even knew about the place, AND that there was already a giant sand serpent here, I told him to only dig 450 feet down.
I tried another multi-cultural vegetarian dish. I figured since I’ve been eating incredibly ancient stuff, that I had a well-worked immune system to anything this one had. Apparently, I was wrong, and I spent the entire day in a cataclysmic seizure, to Jason’s entertainment. Sorry if my writing seems a little more illegible today.
Looking to check out the chapel tomorrow. Really.
Finally found you. Sort of humiliating that I would lose something in my own town for nearly 2 weeks.
I’ve settled in very nicely, but at the same time I’m somewhat disappointed with myself. I’m an explorer, after all. I can’t just stop here; I have to keep on going. Anxious to continue after my investigation, I spent almost the whole day seeking out and putting together a new big backpack filled with ancient supplies that have been tried and tested, and am making a stir-fry knowing that once I find a source of water … or drink, I will be able to continue my exploration.
By now, my immune system must be operating stronger than a dragon-lung. I’m no longer getting sick from the biological formations that once were canned meat, and I’m feeling much better now altogether. I had found this canned shake that identified itself as a type of ancient anti-poison, and it works very well.
A little bit disturbing that there are no wells in this town. How did they drink? … or did they? Getting excited now?
I finally found some traces of shin and short hair in one house that lead me to believe that because of its thickness and capability of adhering and twisting around itself naturally that it wasn’t human … or rat. Makes this exploration a whole lot more exciting, knowing that. I mean, anything that’s not made by human is exciting to explore, isn’t it? Why is that, I wonder.
Looking to explore out the chapel tomorrow. … just kidding, I did, but it was also very dirty, so I spent the rest of the day cleaning it out.
I found wine. Yes, I found wine in the chapel’s cellar. It’s as old as this town, so one can only guess this stuff’s gotta REALLY be good. I’m almost afraid to try it because I might get hooked, so I’m putting together a large crate to send to the SWC along with Jason who, sadly, is getting bored with me and is wanting to explore the east – where I came from. I figure that while he’s going in your directiy on, he could take this crate full of ancient stuff, including every last bottle of wine (well, I’ll keep one for myself … or two), some artifacts, labelled clues of civilization, and this one strange slab I found on the chapel’s main lectern stand.
I had the strangest encounter deep in the chapel basement. A priest rat of the rat cult, with robes, crozier, and even a symbol. Despite having created an existence nightmare with a jar of pickles against it, it actually granted me a quick interview before making me run and seal up the deeper basement so they would continue to not be disturbed.
I’m sending Jason your way today, Alex, so if you are reading this now, know that I have finished exploring this town, and am continuing my trek with ancient supplies and a bottle of wine that will hopefully sustain me the rest of the way through the desert. I doubt it, but I’ve been lucky before.
I also found one more clue to these creatures existences. A bible of some kind. It’s old and fragile, and perhaps the only piece of written work. Unfortunately, I can’t read or decipher it, and my amulet only works on sounds, so perhaps you’ll have better luck then I did.
I do hope you haven’t made a gravestone for me or anything. It would be rather awkward, and disturbing, to decide to return and find out I was presumed dead. Since when have I ever done that to you when you went out?
Adios. Have fun with Jason. Make sure you stockpile some sand over there for him. Preferably seventeen tons a day, he’s a heavy eater.
|INTERVIEW WITH RAT PRIEST|
Most of the words were primitive deciphers, like “robes” being “cloth upon the bodies” and “stories” being “”spoken knowledge”, for instance. I shorted it mostly down to what my amulet could. Plus, when the priest made the “ss” sound, usually its tongue got stuck between its awkward-looking teeth and there was a pause as it got it out. Also, whenever the priest yelled, it whacked me across the face with its crozier. It’s gonna bruise for a few days …
Manya: Look, I commend your ability to tie ropes, but if you don’t release me, I’m going to use an olive jar this time.
Priest: What are you creaturess? You sspeakss our wordss, and yet you not uss.
Manya: What exactly are you?
Priest: We the Ssurvivanssiess. The aftermathss of the previouss peopless.
Manya: Are you saying this was once your town? You boult this place?
Priest: You crazyss? Of coursse not! Ssince when can Ssurvivanssiess haul heavy sstoness? Or sstone passte?
Manya: I take it, then, you lived with the creatures once.
Priest: Sso long ago. Millionss of ancesstors ago. Sso many sstoriess passssed down by the elderss, who made the priessts.
Manya: Priests of what? Which God?
Priest: We don’t know.
Manya: … what?
Priest: Sstrange, yess? Wear the robess, speak the wordss, and yet we know not of what we sstand for.
Manya: That’s a sad existence if you ask me.
Priest: It’ss a living.
Manya: So, what are- … well, ‘were’ these creatures like?
Priest: As I ssaid, sso many sstoriess passssed down. Each one missssing a ssection. Hardly any detailss left.
Manya: What do you know about them, then?
Priest: Very little. We call them … the Blade-Eyess.
Manya: They stuck daggers in their own eyeballs?
Priest: NO, YOU FOOL! They Blade-Eyess because they pierce mindss! Ssee the passt, know all, undersstand your whole life in that one moment you look in their eyess.
Priest: HOW WE SSUPPOSSED TO KNOW? We knew how, we not forget! Pierce mindss, know all!
Manya: Did they hate you? Were you pests back then?
Priest: SSPEAK NOT THAT WORD! No … *spits it out with disgust* pessts. Never. NEVER SSAY THAT! We comradess to the Blade-Eyess.
Manya: Really? How so?
Priest: Blade-Eyess thinkss themselvess dangerouss to otherss. Shouldn’t mingle with other creaturess. Sso they issolate themsselvess. Built this city. No doorss, no windowss. Just them … and uss.
Manya: What did you do, then?
Priest: We the outsside contact. They taught uss wordss, gave uss knowledge, have us fulfill purposse. In return, we care for them. Trade ssuppliess, gather ressourcess. Lot more of uss back then.
Manya: Wow. I’m sorry I doubted you. How did they die?
Priest: Felt it wass time to move on. Ssince they were sso issolated, they felt all they were doing wass make uss work for them. Beingss without their own purposse. But we like them. We not want them to go.
Manya: They died so you guys would be free?
Priest: Ah, ratss are never free. They didn’t kill themsselvess, but insstead decided to wander the dessertss for the resst of their livess, sseeking ansswerss and their own sself-presserved exisstencess, never to return. Happened in night, when ratss sslept. One day, they everywhere, and next day, they all gone. Very ssaddening for ancesstors.
Manya: I do feel sorry for you.
Priest: Yess, it ssad sstory. But we forgiven them. Waiting, in fact, for them to come back.
Manya: They would be extinct by now, wouldn’t they?
Priest: Blade-Eyess live for million years. Average lifesspan.
Manya: Are you serious?
Priest: DO NOT DOUBT ELDERSS!
Manya: Ok, ok, sorry. But they could actually live for a million years?
Priest: Unlessss they die in battle. Highly unlikely, though. They great fighterss. Sso fasst, sso sstrong. Dominate the battlefieldss of the Great Firsst War. Beautiful to watch, our ancesstors ssaid.
Manya: The … Great First War?
Priest: Another reason they wanted issolation. Sso powerful, they killed sso many enemiess that it wass almosst unfair. Not a war, much lessss a sslaughter.
Manya: I’m almost afraid to meet one if they are still alive.
Priest: Worry not. They peaceful, but cautiouss. Sso long as you not hold weaponss, or inssult them, they harmlessss.
Manya: Don’t worry about that. I’m no warrior, and I prefer to maintain the number of limbs I have … even though I’ve been increasing it lately …
Priest: Yess … what, in name of any God out there, ISS you creature?
Manya: Complicated, unfortunately.
Priest: Unfortunately sso.
Manya: What have you guys been eating down here all this time? The canned food is all preserved and untouched.
Manya: … you’re kidding, right?
Priest: Iss ssomething all creaturess in dessertss adapt to, we thinkss.
Manya: Maybe there’s something in the sand that’s edible. I’ll have to try it sometime. Maybe in another life.
Priest: Ssand have no tasste. Just there to eat.
Manya: Last question. Where’d you get your robes?
Priest: Blade-Eyess make it for uss.
Manya: Ok, but what materials did they use? It looks like metal.
Priest: We not know. Shiny materialss. Comfortable. Iss all we know, and it workss for uss, sso we not question clothess.
Priest: Lissten, we resspect life desspite what happened. You promisse to never dissturb uss again, we’ll let you leave.
Manya: Deal. I’ll even seal this room up for you if you wish.
Priest: Yess, sseal thiss room- wait. You sseal roomss … you mean … you the one who cleaned dusst? In all buildingss?? Everywhere???
Manya: Uh … yeah, that was all me.
Priest: Gah! By the Blade-Eyess, we thought it was the Blade-Eyess that came back! You make uss excited for nothing! Begone!
Manya: OK, OK! Geez. Clean a town, get a negative response. Even out here, life is crazy.