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Old April 21st, 2013 (3:11 AM).
Cutlerine Cutlerine is offline
Gone. May or may not return.
    Join Date: Mar 2010
    Location: The Misspelled Cyrpt
    Age: 24
    Nature: Impish
    Posts: 1,030
    > Let's climb out of the dock somethings keeping Quilava from coming over here so it seems safe for the moment and try to slip into the dock building or a house without Quilava noticing or noticing if it's a stone building with a lockable door. Make a small fire, and use the spatchery to flash cook some fish to eat, than dry your dress while you sleep. Also I think we should turn the dress into a robe.

    You look up. A foot or so above your head, the wooden leg terminates in a splintery mess; above that, there's a good six or seven feet of empty space, and then a ragged hole in the surface of the dock. You might just be able to squeeze through.

    Well, it's not like you have a choice. There's no room to get changed here, and you have to move anyway or face a rather unpleasant death by exposure. Onwards and upwards, then!

    You pull your legs up stiffly onto the concrete, then stand up, keeping one hand on the wooden post for balance. It seems sturdy enough; you're probably going to be able to stand on it. You stuff Vesta into your Bag and try to drag yourself up onto the stump, moving gingerly for fear of splinters – and then you remember the Adamantine Spider Silk wrapped around your hands, and move more assertively, safe in the knowledge that nothing is going to slice your fingers through that.

    It isn't easy. You try to grip the sides of the pole with your legs, but your knees are wet and the wood slippery with brine and mould; you try and get your feet wedged into some of the notches on its sides, but they won't fit. You step back a moment, thinking, then unwrap your Novelty Giraffe Shoe (which is falling apart anyway) from your foot and hurl it into the sea; your other shoe and sock, both of which are equally ruined, follow suit.

    You attempt the climb again. This time, your toes curl into the weathered gnarls of the wood, and slowly, painfully, every movement sending little starbursts of agony through your frozen arms, you pull yourself upwards. Foot up a little higher – there – reach forwards – and now—

    You fall forwards onto the top of the pole, belly first; your breath is knocked clean out of you – and replaced, if the pain in your abdomen is anything to go by, with approximately fifteen billion splinters.

    But hey! At least you're up here, right? Better than nothing.

    For about half a minute, you lie draped over the pole as if on a skewer, and then a leaden heaviness descends on you, and you're pretty sure you can't move at all anyway, and now...

    No! You blink fiercely and bite your tongue in a desperate effort to rouse yourself; the former is decidedly ineffective, but the latter sends a sharp lance of pain through your head and clears your mind a little. Get up, you think. Get up, Othodox...

    You pull you knees up beneath you, hardly caring about the pain in your legs as the splintered wood scrapes across the bare flesh; now you're getting up, somehow, you're on a square foot of wood a few metres above a tempestuous ocean and somehow you're getting to your feet, you'd think your balance wouldn't be up to that but then again you were made for this, made to survive and fight and win, because you're the player character...

    You open your eyes. You're kneeling atop the pole, bleeding and frozen, head slumped forwards.

    Looks like you blacked out halfway through getting up. You need to be careful, you tell yourself; you can't risk falling unconscious, not here, not when the slightest mistake means falling into the sea from which you know you have no hope of extricating yourself.

    You take a deep breath, and bite your lip, hard enough to draw blood. Salt and iron and your old friend pain mingle on your tongue, and for a moment your mind is clear. Clear enough to realise that if you don't get up right now, you're going to die – and that means Vesta will die, and Falkner, and the poor creature that you've started to think of as Jasmine will probably die as well of heartbreak when you fail to come back.


    Get up, Othodox.

    It's like a mantra: you repeat it, over and over, the words throbbing in your head, unable to escape your frozen lips but washing and rebounding over the walls of your skull like the waves on the concrete below.

    Get up, Othodox.

    One knee up, close to your chin. You can see the blood and bits of wood sticking out, but they're minor injuries; they hurt, but it just keeps you focused, that's all, just pain keeping you focused, not getting in the way of your movement.

    Get up, Othodox.

    Balance perfect. Rising upwards, leg straightening, other leg coming out below you, and Christ you're wobbling

    Get up, Othodox.

    Wildly windmilling your arms, eyes wide and mouth open in soundless fear – but it's fine, it's OK, you got your balance back and now you're standing up, balanced on the pole like a statue on a column.

    Get up, Othodox.

    Looking up, reaching out; fingers on the ragged edges of the hole, gripping, tugging; it doesn't give way, seems like it will be strong enough – and you heave, and feel your feet leaving the wood.

    Get up, Othodox.

    You fall back down, arms suddenly weak, and if you hadn't been holding onto the wood above you'd have lost your balance and fallen into the sea. Too much, too soon – and yet you can't wait, you have to get up there, and you tighten your grip and grimly bunch your muscles.

    Get up, Othodox.

    Head through the gap – shoulders burning – elbow out over the dock, hooking onto the remnants of a wooden railing—


    And there you are.

    Lying full length on the dock, gasping for breath, half-dead with the cold and the wet and the effort, bloody sunset light across your back – and it feels good, feels so good to be up here at last where you can stretch out, but you know you can't yet stop and you climb stiffly to your feet, the odd heavy warmth of your limbs making every step a chore, and you stumble over to the old ticket office, just about avoiding the rotten planks that snap like straws at your approach, and blunder through the gap where the door used to be—

    You lose your footing again because of the tilted floor – the entire building has sunk on one side, leaving it at a seventy-degree angle to the norm – and roll helplessly down into a puddle of water at the bottom. It should be cold, but it feels warm, and though you try to be scared you just can't quite manage it. You look up towards the ticket desk – still there, bolted to the floor; if you could just climb up to it, you could sit on its side, which now faces upwards, and be safe. But it's so far away, so very far away, and you're not sure you can climb the twenty feet across the floor...

    You reach out with one hand and grab a fold in the mildewed carpet; it tears in your hand, leaving a neat hole in the fabric beneath, a hole that could take a hand or a dextrous foot, and, every muscle in your body having been replaced by warm rags, you can only surmise that your climb is fuelled entirely by willpower. Inch by slow inch, you ascend, the desk swelling in your sight, and then you are dragging yourself over the plastic rim and sinking onto an honest-to-God dry surface, in the crook of the desk where it meets the floor, and with a weak sigh of exultation you close your eyes...

    > Oh god I forgot we were still wearing the dress. You need to get out of that. See if its at all possible to use anything in your bag to make better clothing. If the Eldritch Spinarak silk isnt all being used for gloves, see if you can make something out of it. Not only will you be better protected from the Quilava, but if it is good at keeping out heat, maybe it'll keep you warmer than a torn dress.


    Not yet.

    You force them open again – with your fingers, as it happens; your eyelids no longer obey you. You reach for your Bag; fumble with the straps, pull out the remaining Adamantine Spider Silk. Little of your dress remains after your abrasive journey across the wood and carpet, but with a Herculean effort, you manage to flick the bigger fragments away from you. Then you draw the sheet of silk that once enshrouded the Eldritch Spinarak close around you, and give in to sleep.


    Beneath you, the Deep Ones are marching.

    They flop and flap and paddle their way through the streets of that Cyclopean city, looking like grotesque dwarves in a citadel of giants, and above them you keep pace, drifting along level with the rooftops; where you are headed you don't know, but you can see now that this is not the Deep Ones' native home. The proportions are all wrong; the buildings here are made for creatures of frighteningly prodigious size – creatures that are surely too large to exist according to all the laws of biology – and the Deep Ones are only a little more than man-sized.

    Why are they here, you wonder distantly. What has brought them to this place?

    You follow them through the streets, and hear the strange piping of unnameable instruments rising from the crowds below; there is a sense of occasion about the whole thing, you realise, a kind of majesty that lends even this terrible procession a faint ring of respectability.

    The streets are rising.

    You barely notice it at first, but it soon becomes undeniable: the city is here built on some vast hill or mountain, and the buildings themselves are getting taller, crowned with towers topped with tentacular finials; the Deep Ones are moving faster now, too, as if eager to reach the summit.

    Finally, it occurs to you to look ahead, and now you see it: a single tower at the apex of the hill, rising up and up and up apparently without end, rising up so high its top fades into obscurity among the black waters above, and suddenly you know that the top of this tower sees daylight still, and that on its topmost floor is a great door that must never, ever be opened—


    It's sunny.

    You wake, blinking and exhausted, to find sunlight streaming through the broken windows of the old ticket office. It takes you a moment to remember why you're here, and a further moment to realise you're not dead.

    You'd love to celebrate this, but you can't really move right now.

    The Adamantine Spider Silk has trapped your body heat amazingly well, and you're snug as you can be within your cocoon – dry, too, which is fantastic. You lie there for a while, basking drowsily in a sense of relief and happiness, and then reach cautiously out of your silken bed for your Bag. If you're not mistaken, you put your regular clothes somewhere in there when you first donned the dress.

    You are not mistaken, and in fact are soon dressed once more in jeans, T-shirt and jacket – though your shoes, socks and Flowery Wreath are all, regrettably, things of the past. You pull a few lingering splinters from various portions of your anatomy, and check your belly and legs for any wounds that require attention – and, thankfully, find none, just cuts and bruises.

    You consider lighting a fire, but since the entire office and dock is made of wood, you think it might be a bad idea, and eat the remaining half of your cooked eel instead of trying out the Spratchery.

    For information about A Grand Day Out, a bizarre short story in video game form, click here.