[Featured thread] Where Dreams Take Us

At least she learns to watch her feet

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Where Dreams Take Us

Postby Merevaika on August 31st, 2017, 4:04 pm

30th Summer 517

Everything flashed gold. First, she thought it was the light of the sun, that glimmered down onto the unspoiled landscape of the Sea of Grass. Then, she realised it was reflecting off something, but she couldn’t bring her hands up to block the light. From over the hill, something emerged, something beautiful. A horned creature, far bigger than any normal one. His antlers spread almost larger than her, but it wasn’t their size that caused her eyes to widen. They were golden, beautifully golden, shimmering in the light, a pure metal.

Come with me, he said, speaking as an elk and Merevaika understanding as one too, Run with me.

And so she ran. Elk by elk, they ran, letting the scenes zip past them. Grass brushed against her hindquarters, where she knew the antlers were glowing even if she couldn’t see them. The ground seemed to rise and fall with every move, almost shifting to adjust for every step. She could feel Zulrav’s breath wrap around her movements, pulling at the coat of hair across her four legged body. The smell was impossible to miss: grass, perfectly fresh grass; the musk of elk beside her; the smell of gold and godliness from Alcor himself.

Then her body felt different. Not as different as it did when she changed from human to elk, but still, different. Her legs were stronger, her head slightly different, the muscles placed a little differently.

She had a mane. A tail. They were picked up by the wind, thrown up with her movements, beautiful.

Venthris, run with me, came the voice of the son of Caiyha, still understandable even as she lived in the memory of the Strider. So she ran, feeling free and wild. Even then, she could feel the web, coursing through her. It prickled and tingled and soaked into every essence of her being, until she knew that she was one with the magic that made this land what it was.

The scenery began to blur, with blues and greens, until all that remained was the strips of sky and grass, and the glinting gold from the elk that ran beside her.


She could feel sweat ride up on her back.


Her horse’s heart grew faster, matching the beating of her hooves, surpassing it.


Her legs kicked up the ground, throwing dirt at the black things that chased her.

The adrenaline rushed into her senses, and suddenly she could feel their spit against her hind legs. The noise of their snarls was matched with the noise of the grass rustling around them. She could smell the hunger within them, taste the adrenaline within herself. Even though she knew this was a dream, a memory, that they couldn’t hurt her, she let that fear strike through her, let herself grow faster and faster.

So fast that she slipped out of the body of the Strider mare and into the body of the wolf.

Her spirit screamed at the change, not ready for the smaller body, the body of a predator rather than prey.

It was beautiful. Intoxicating. Deadly.

The air was electric with static, prickling against her fur as she ran. Her paws padded against the ground almost silently with the speed. A tongue licked razor sharp teeth, knife like claws dug into the dirt.

She was ready to kill, if it came to it.

Then his voice came, once again.
Stay with me, Merevaika. She shook her heavy dark fur, and found herself surrounded by wolves, much lighter than she was, growling deeply. Teeth were bared, hackles were high, and she could feel their bites as the air crackled even more.

Without doing anything, the body of the wolf she sat in shifted, sinking low. She stretched her paws out, scraping the ground, and pressed her head against it. Ears flattened, mouth shrunk back to hide her fangs, tail shifted under her body defensively.

The growling rose, and she could taste something in her mouth. Not blood or meat or something fitting for a hunter like a wolf, but something... more. Sweet and juicy, like fruit. Like a particular piece of fruit. Pear-like. Blue. A gift from Caiyha.

Suddenly, she knew what she had to do.

Seeking control again, she shifted into every limb, soaking into the bone and muscle and sinew as if they were her own. Then she rolled, feeling the grass brush the fur on her back. The crackling stopped.

The wolves leapt on her, silver fur glinting amidst the gold that surrounded her.

She knew they weren’t going to harm her. They couldn’t, either, for Alcor’s antlers surrounded her, encasing her in a shield of safety.

Come to me, Merevaika, came his words, and she was alone.

In her tent, the shadows danced like pretty boys and girls, and left her staring into nothing.

She was in her own body now. Two legs, with feet at the end, with toes that buried into sand. Two arms, with hands and fingers that were rough from work, and the salt that rubbed at them. A body she felt safe in. Where she knew every scar and joint and movement. Where she was just Merevaika, once Drykas, now nothing.

She cried, tears streaming down her face.

She cried, moisture soaking into her bedroll.

There was a flash of gold again, lighting up the tent through the gaps where cloth fell as a doorway. Alcor. She knew instantly to follow, rising from the blanket covering, pushing out.

The jungle loomed around menacingly, Merevaika somehow stuck in the middle. Like a woven cage around her, the trees wrapped across each other’s branches, vines dripping from them before shifting into snakes. The woman coiled away from them, unsure where to go, where she was, how to protect herself, until Alcor appeared, only the shadow of his body and the glare of the golden horns visible.

Merevaika, come to me, he repeated, before turning away. Every step he made cleared the jungle, and she hurried after, eyes trained on him rather than the void of blackness that extended in every direction. It melted as she walked through, leaving nothing behind but smears of colour.

There came the noise of a river. The woman ducked under a branch, and found the path opened out into a clearer section of the forest. There were steps and steps to walk, unobstructed, until she hit the bubbling waters, gold glinting within them. They stepped down the rainforest like steps for the gods, the river interrupted several times by the rush of a waterfall.

Was that gold amongst the black darting fish? Or the reflection of gilded antlers?

Come further. There is more for you, he spoke again, and she followed, gaze only lingering on the gold in the river until she stepped out of sight.

The huntress was following a path now. A trail, of some sorts – the ground was trampled in, fur lined the sides. Something hoofed, from the marks in the dirt. She was carrying something too – her hand curled open, and found an odd selection that had somehow hidden in her fist.

A coil of rope. A knife. And the emerald pendant, that she moved to hang around her neck.

The jungle opened up again as she settled it into place.

This time, she gave a gasp.

Ruins. Coated in ivy, grey stone crumbling from age, half collapsed walls and doors. She knew ruins like this. She knew what they could hold inside. Treasure. All sorts of treasure.

She strode forward deliberately, stepping one foot on a pile of collapsed stone. The antlers glinted gold from beyond, ready to guide her to the treasure. Foot after foot. Hands moved to steady herself. Another step.


Everything began falling. Merevaika grasped out, but only knocked more rubble off, feeling first her body smash and cut itself against the rocks, then the stones fall onto her, flattening with every blow, suffocating.

They started like a cairn, suffocating her in darkness.

She awoke with the blanket over her head, arms tramped in the tangles of wet fabric.

She had been crying. Sweating. Twisting and turning in her sleep. And the images were refusing to leave her.

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Where Dreams Take Us

Postby Merevaika on August 31st, 2017, 4:06 pm

She knew instantly that it hadn’t just been a dream.

Everything still called to her, deep with sensations and emotions. As she pulled herself out of the blanket, she felt the stones hit her body. As she rose to sit, biting her lip, she could still taste the adrenaline. There was no breeze, not where she sat, but it ran across her hair – her mane – anyway.

Outside, she could still see the glow of gold.

Gold. Alcor. Was he there? Had he come?

The woman broke out of the tent, throwing the door flap behind her roughly. Her feet, uncertain whether they were elk or horse or wolf or human, tumbled, and she tripped in the sand, ankles twisting, knees sinking, arms splaying.

Her head, heavy with sand, rose from where she had fallen and looked up.

She was ready to see a great elk standing there, with wise eyes and powerful muscles and antlers that could pick her up and be her golden throne.

Instead, she was met with the sunrise.

The golden pooled out from Syna, diffusing across the sky, falling in a deep spotlight across the ocean. It touched the coast a short walk from where Merevaika stood, still half asleep, mostly half dazed.

She turned, lying with her back on the sand and eyes closed, as if she was asleep.

She was anything but asleep.

Those dreams... Normally, they were never this vivid. Perhaps in the moments when she was still asleep, but not now. Reality was seeping into her as if she was a sponge, but she was too full of dreams to absorb any of it. They had been so... so... real was the only way to describe it. They weren’t just things her mind had come up with while resting, but actual experiences, ones she could remember having.

And she could remember most of them. Most of them were real.

Being an elk – she knew that. In a slip second, she was up on her feet, then she was in that form, antlers on her thigh glowing with their magic. Just like in her dream, her feet were hooves, her arms were legs. She could smell the sea so much more strongly now – not just the salt, but the things inside, the smell of fish and of seaweed. No wonder that dream had been so vivid. She wasn’t imagining what it was like to be an elk. She was remembering.

And her memories of the dream, when she was a Strider, flying over the Sea of Grass, breathing in the Web as if it were air? They were real memories too. Memories of another being, in another life, perhaps. But if she thought back to them, it was as if she was there, as Venthris, in another moment. So that was real too.

The bit with the wolves nagged her with familiarity. Not being a wolf, itself, she realised. She had never taken that form, never felt those memories. It was the sweetness she remembered, of Caiyha’s tears. Perhaps the sensations from that were fake, simply her mind filling in the blanks. But other things weren’t. The black wolf submitting to the silver ones, that wasn’t made up. That was Caiyha’s gift to her, one she had forgotten about. All those times she had believed the goddess to hate her; maybe now, she was trying to remind her of what she had given to her.

But the last part? In the jungle? She didn’t know that. She had ventured into the leafy forest many times, but this hadn’t felt the same. There was something deeper to this, something ripe with adventure and treasure and promise of greater things. The river, filled with gold. She had seen steps like that once, in her wanderings. Now Alcor promised even greater than that, just further. Ruins for her to explore. Untold treasures to uncover.

Her eyes drifted back up to the golden line marking out the coast.

He still wanted her to follow. That was what the dream was for.

Everything else about it had been real, so real. So the last part, in the rainforest. That had to be real too.

He was trying to show her how to get there. What she needed to do.

Merevaika moved in a panic, hooves slipping in the sand they were so unaccustomed to. The whole elk began to topple, and with a noise the jungle wasn’t used to – it sent up a colourful flock of birds from the closest canopy – she shifted once more, catching herself with an outstretched hand rather than hoof.

Her fingers sunk into the sand as she pushed herself back up, almost toppling backwards with the force she pushed with. Like a newborn foal, she stumbled left and right, slowly gaining her footing until she was ready to dive back into her tent, this time crashing into blanket and bedroll.

Instinctively, she moved to grab her bow and arrows, then stopped, suddenly keeping herself back. Fingers floated just above the curve of the wood, wondering whether this was what she was meant to do. In her dream, there had only been three items. The bow hadn’t been any of them.

As much as she didn’t want to admit it, but she felt like Alcor didn’t want her to take it. She didn’t know why, but the significance of those other three items seemed too important to simply ignore.

Her hand shifted next to it, where the knife sat. The blade was a good weight, the handle well wrapped and topped with craftsmanship at the end. This had been her reward for fighting the wolves. It was a good blade, and so far, had served her well.

It didn’t take long to strap to her belt, where she could pull it out at any minute.

What else had she had?

Rope. It sat in a coil near the exit, just behind the pile of wood she had collected. How much would she need? Considering she wasn’t carrying much else, she decided to go for all of it, slinging it across her whole body and tucking it under one arm, like a sash. Taking the loose end, she knotted it to a random loop within the coil of rope, hoping it wouldn’t unravel as she walked.

The last piece was something she had barely seen, these days. Hidden in the folds of the purple cloak, she had that folded and kept to one side, barely looked at. It was too fine to wear for trampling through a jungle with. Too thick, with the fur that lined it, to wear in this heat. She had been planning to sell both, but had never gotten around to it. And now, she doubted that either would sell for much, especially the cloak.

The pendant toppled out, landing firmly on the sand. The tiny jewel glimmered in its copper casing, and she scooped it up carefully, hanging it around her neck before covering it up with a shirt and pants. She wasn’t going to walk around naked in the jungle, no matter how many things she was meant to bring along with her.

Feeling prepared, she finally took the belt and looped it around her, stepping out briskly.

The line of golden sunlight had disappeared, with it now spreading everywhere, but she knew where she was headed. Left. East. To the Stair Step Falls. Time to find some ruins. Time to find some treasure.

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Where Dreams Take Us

Postby Merevaika on August 31st, 2017, 4:15 pm

It wasn’t a long stroll down the beach, surprisingly. Merevaika hadn’t even realised that the waterfalls were so close to where she camped until she reached them half a bell later. Palm trees rose up from the sand, framing the hissing waterfall as it reached the ocean. The waves jutted in a little to reach the waterfall, lapping against almost white sand, and the rock gatherings that were jotted about.

Even as she approached, the waterfall seemed to be flowing off the canopies of the trees, rather than the ground, rising slowly and steadily, just like steps. Perhaps they were. Perhaps Caiyha walked here, climbing through the forest. Perhaps Semele travelled up to the mountains where she slept. Perhaps Dira took them as a path collected the spirits of the dead things in the jungle.

Or perhaps they were just made like that, the river slowly carving into the landscape as best as it could manage. Who was she to guess where gods walked?

There was a gap behind the waterfall, and the woman couldn’t resist hiding away there. She tucked herself in between rock and tree and water, pressing herself away from the rainbows the mist threw up.

She couldn’t help wondering, as she waited there, why now?

Alcor had never reached out to her like this before. It had only been the antlers, nothing more. Nothing after. But now, all of a sudden, everything had come back. He had wanted to show her something. Come to me, he had asked, so many times.

And here she was hiding behind a waterfall, clutching that necklace without realising it.

She dropped it quickly, thinking she had seen something through the mist. Gold.

The woman pushed out through the water as if it were a piece of cloth, feet landing in the ankle deep shallows where it came out. As she stepped out of the spray, she looked around, desperate to spot the elk she was searching for.

She was met with nothing that hadn’t been there before.

Turning her back on Laviku, she turned her sights to the jungle, and up. The landscape was incredible. Marked by the river, it moved sharply upwards, with tall hills – mountains, perhaps – rising up even higher behind where the river went. She felt so tiny, standing there, dwarfed by rivers and mountains and trees and giant elks in her mind.

Elks that wanted her to get a move on.

Merevaika strode forward, entering the jungle. She was going to follow this river up until she found that trail, whatever it was of. Then she was going to find the ruins. The plan was simple. All that was stopping her was the fact that she wasn’t actually going anywhere.

This section of the jungle did seem more menacing than the other parts that she remembered. It resembled more like her dream, a tight cage that enclosed her in. Instead of marching through, slashing at vines and branches with her machete, Merevaika had to take care this time around. Every movement was a challenge to find where it opened out the most, and she moved by spotting the gaps in the branches large enough for her to slip through. She’d clamber up to the gaps, resting feet across branches and pulling on those above, or she’d duck down and crawl, slowly squeezing through the breaks in the cage walls and following the river up.

Eventually, the side of the river she walked on – or climbed, crawled and clambered on – got too thick for her to pass through.

She had two choices. Move out from the stream, and risk not being able to return when the thorns got too thick. Or enter the stream itself, and put up with wet boots and having to struggle up waterfalls.

Choosing the latter, she decided that if the waterfalls got in the way, she’d simply go around them. But it was something to do when the time came to it.

She waded for a short while, not enjoying it. It probably would have been a better idea to take her boots off, to stop them from being completely soaked through, but as she leaned down to consider it, something else broke her concentration.

Gold. There was gold in the stream.

At first, she thought it was a reflection and her wide eyes scanned the nearby area for something she had been looking for all morning. Then she realised it wasn’t just a trick of the light, or her own imagination, or the sun, or something like that. It was gold. Actual gold.

They were tiny little flecks. Nothing she could reach in and pull out as a whole thing. But something there. And, if she could get it out, she’d be rich beyond her wildest dreams.

Merevaika scooped wildly with open fingers, as if somehow that would work out well. Water rushed through them, but nothing else, and she grasped pointlessly. She had known she couldn’t reach in and actually pull something out. But she only realised it properly when she came up empty.

Still, there had to be some way of getting something. Semele wouldn’t just leave part of herself exposed like that, the riches to be seen by everyone, but never to be touched. Merevaika wasn’t certain how, but she knew it would be possible. Perhaps she’d have to scoop out the bed of the stream piece by piece, and pick of the tiny pieces of the precious metal. Maybe she’d wait around for something bigger to be brought along. But she was going to get that gold. She had to.

There is more for you, came a voice from inside her, deep and divine and sounding like Alcor. That was what he had said, wasn’t it? He told her that there was more for her, warning her not to get distracted by gold that she could see but not touch, so she could go further and find the real treasure. He hadn’t just been talking to her in the dream. He had been speaking for her now, to make sure she stuck to her task and didn’t get distracted by this gold. Surely, there had to be something better out there, waiting for her.

Instead, she trudged on, aware that a waterfall was swiftly approaching.

It was only when she stood close enough to feel that spray that she realised she could never climb such a thing. Even if the rock face behind it – which was hidden from view, so she wouldn’t be able to pick out where to put her hands and feet – was actually suitable for climbing, it would be wet and slippery, and possibly too far out for her too reach. And the force of the water... She could never fight that. Not while struggling with everything else.

But the rainforest seemed thick on either side.

Making her way towards where it seemed to be less overgrown, Merevaika took out her knife, ready to struggle with it if need be. She sawed at a piece of ivy, then realised it would take too long, even if she tried. It was better just to force her way through, and deal with the branches.

Merevaika put the knife back at her belt, and held her arms up to shield her face, crossing them just over her eyes. One instantly moved away to actually push the branches and vines away from her in an attempt to clear the path out, but the other lingered there, thankfully keeping back the branches and ferns that snapped back at her eyes.

She stumbled a little more, before tripping over a tree root, and falling face first into a bed of ferns.

The woman shook herself loose, brushing dirt of her knees as she rose to her feet. There were ferns in her hair in her eyes. She picked them loose, treading forward slowly and wondering whether Alcor had a plan for her after she had found the treasure in the ruins. Even now, a few steps away from the stream, she could barely hear it. If she turned a few times, she’d be completely disorientated.

She flicked her hair out of her face.

The jungle had opened out, canopy stretching far, far ahead.

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Where Dreams Take Us

Postby Merevaika on August 31st, 2017, 4:16 pm

The first thing she noticed was the snakes.

They hung from every branch, twisting and swinging in an imaginary breeze. They ranged in all the shades of green, from the darkest shadows to the brightest leaf.

It took her several moments to realise they were just vines.

Merevaika moved through the eery place, brushing against what she had once thought to be long, dangerous predators. Her fingers lingered on them, reminding herself of two things: one, she was perfectly alright, because vines couldn’t hurt her; two, she was in a dangerous place, and just because vines couldn’t hurt her, didn’t mean she didn’t have to watch out for actual snakes.

The only problem was, she was too busy focusing up into the canopies, where the vines fell down from, to notice that not every danger came from above.

Her foot met something strange. It was firm, like a branch raising up off the ground, but also it gave way under her weight.

Her eyes flooded down to find it. It had leaves on it, the dry, dead, brown type that littered the jungle floor. Not enough, though, to excuse her carelessness.

Merevaika stepped back carefully, hoping she had made a mistake that she could just walk away from. Instead of landing on normal jungle floor, she hit a stick.

The crack it made under her weight seemed to fill the forest, and she heard the flapping of wings as more birds moved away from her. She didn’t care about the birds hearing though. There was something a lot closer, a lot more urgent and a lot more dangerous to care about.

The green thing lying there began to stir. It shifted, rolling through the leaves effortlessly. They trickled off its back, leaving a trail behind of where it had once slid. Merevaika coiled away, knowing instantly what it was, and what it could do.

She was too slow. The snake had already reached her foot, and began to twist around, knotting over and under itself until she couldn’t just kick it off her boot.

Her hand found the knife, but she knew it was too short to actually help. Even if she managed to move that far down, she’d be unable to do actual damage with it without getting her hand far too close to the snake. And she did not want to risk getting bitten by something that could be deadly poisonous.

Then what could she do?

Merevaika took a deep breath, trying to remember her dream. Surely Alcor had shown her this too?

He had. He had appeared when the vines had turned to snakes, just like this one, and told her to come to him. Was that all she had to do? Follow him? But where? He wasn’t here!

A movement of gold in the distance caught her eye. While she couldn’t be certain that she had seen what she had seen, there had to have been a golden rope in the distance. A golden snake. A snake that was working for the elk with the golden antlers, surely.

It moved again and she was certain.

The other snake was smaller, thinner and much brighter compared to the snake around her leg, which was the same colour as any other vine. It had slipped out of a hole in the ground, or so it seemed from where she was standing, and had began to make a slow exit towards a nearby tree. The dribbles of light that fell in this part of the jungle reflected sharply of the golden scales, beckoning her closer with the shininess.

At the last possible moment, the snake turned, changing direction from towards the tree into a small gap in the bushes. The leaves around it rustled as it slid through them, then everything fell still and silent again.

And she was meant to follow.

Carefully, she put her attention on the snake around her foot again. She wasn’t certain what it was doing – it hadn’t bitten or attacked, but sat there, simply wanting to anchor her to one place. The woman had no way out of this.

Closing her eyes, she took deep breaths, trying to prepare herself for what she planned to do.

Then, quick as she could, she kicked out, attempting to dislodge the snake from where it sat and get it away from her.

The snake coiled in surprise, almost slipping. In quick reaction, it opened its mouth, allowing Merevaika to get a glimpse of teeth as long as her little finger before they attempted to bury into her foot.

The hard leather of her boot stopped their bite, and all they made were tiny pinprick impressions on the boot, the only sign that it had tried to bite.

Still shaking her leg, Merevaika tried to hobble forward, desperately following where the golden snake had gone.

It bit again, this time higher up, this time hard.

She let out a loose howl at the pain of the snake’s bite. Its fangs sunk into her flesh, piercing skin and veins and muscle. Fuelled by the fact that she had been bitten, Merevika shook her leg a final time, kicking against a nearby tree as hard as she could muster.

The snake loosened its bite, and as it did, found its long powerful body slip from the foot it sat on. The thing was tossed through the air, as if she had thrown a green stick away from her, and landed against the leaves with a uncertain thud.

It took a few ticks for it to start moving again, twisting and turning and giving out an awful hissing noise at the way it had been attacked. Its head reared a bit, but the snake wasn’t planning on messing with the strange two legged creature again, that had impenetrable feet and wasn’t scared to throw it off. Not a tick later, and it was turning, hurrying in its side to side movements to disappear under bushes and leaves.

Merevaika hadn’t seen any of what had happened to the snake after she had kicked it away. The minute she was free, she darted off, not wanting to mess with it any more either.

She trampled over the ferns where she thought that she had seen the golden snake slipping under, watching her feet carefully to avoid treading on it, or another snake. The leaves gave way, crunching under foot, and she slipped under a vine covered branch, and out of the clearing.

That was a place she did not want to return to.

After a few chimes of hobbling, she began to remember that she had hurt her leg. That snake had bitten hard, and its teeth were sharp enough to do some damage, and that was all ignoring the fact that it could be poisonous, and that the deadly venom was already rushing in her blood, ready to kill her. With her determination to get loose and away from the clearing of vines and snakes, the bite had served as little more than adrenaline, to give her the strength and energy she needed to make her quick escape. Pain had been numbed by fear.

Pain that was swiftly returning.

Merevaika tried to step forward, but the leg with the bite crumpled, finally remembering what had happened. It was trickling with blood – the trouser legs were getting stained from that point down.

It hurt like Hai.

She had to do something about it, and now.

oocFor reference, the green snake is an amazon tree boa, which aren’t poisonous. She’s had a lucky break!
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Where Dreams Take Us

Postby Merevaika on August 31st, 2017, 4:18 pm

Cleaning it was the best way to start. But she had nothing to clean it with.

Why had she listened to her dream, of all things? Perhaps she had only had three things with her, but Alcor probably just showed them to her to make sure she brought them, not only brought them. If she had actually prepared for this trip, she wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place, because she would have had some better way of getting the snake off her. A coil of rope, a necklace and a tiny knife were useless for when it came to the dangers of the jungle.

She had to keep moving to find some sort of water source. Surely in this jungle, so humid and lush with plant life, it wouldn’t be too hard to find a stream of some sorts.

Fighting the pain, Merevaika continued, using a large branch she had found on the ground as a crutch to keep her weight of the injured leg. She winced with every step, but reminded herself to keep going, because the only way she could do anything was by finding some sort of water source.

Thankfully, it only took a few chimes for her to hear the distinct burbling of a water source, and she almost would have broken into a run, if she could have. It was just there, behind those trees, behind that screen of green. Using the hand that didn’t hold the branch, she found her knife again, picking out a particularly large and obtrusive branch and hacking at it sharply, knowing if she could just remove that, she could get through the water she could glimpse at the other side.

The branch splintered as she tried to twist it, but refused to break completely.

Desperate now, she put her knife away as she focused on the part where the branch was breaking. It was live wood – she had come to learn, now, that live wood was not good for burning.

Still, a little bit of fire wasn’t going to hurt. Or, actually, it should. She needed it to burn through all that was left, and clear her path for her.

Willing the flames into existence, she blinked with shock, still unused to the way they sprang up from nowhere. The fire licked at the branch, scorching it to black, dancing in its multicolour flames. It was a beautiful, tiny fire, that would hopefully do a lot for her.

It didn’t take long for the tiny thing to snuff out. It left the branch thinner though, a blackened soot where previously strong, live wood had sat. Merevaika dropped her crutch and placed both hands either side of the burnt, hacked wood. With one quick movement, she let it snap, grateful the whole thing gave way under her pressure.

Which made the perfect gap for her to reach the river.

Merevaika tumbled down to the tiny stream, little more than a waterskin poured over rocks. It would have to do, though. It would do, she told herself.

Her hands dipped into the fresh water, and she began to raise it up to her wound when she stopped, uncertain whether it was a good idea. Water like this couldn’t necessarily be trusted. There could be all sorts of nasty stuff in it that would simply infect her wound further and make her whole situation worse.

Risking it didn’t seem like a good idea, not how she was, completely unprepared and vulnerable. Still, every second she spent wasting time trying to clean the water put her more at risk, and further from the ruins her dream had told her to find.

She was starting to doubt whether or not Alcor actually wanted her to find the promised treasures, or simply wanted some entertainment watching her trample around the jungle, messing up and getting hurt.

In the long run, a clean wound was a much better idea. And, which her new fire starting ability, it wouldn’t take long to boil the water, because the fire part was basically already started.

There were enough sticks and dead branches – including her makeshift crutch from earlier – to make a small pile of wood, which she quickly set alight with one thought.

Then she realised she hadn’t spared enough thoughts for this at all.

How was she going to boil the water if she didn’t have a pot to put the water in, in the first place? What was she meant to do, sit around and try to boil the stream?

Perhaps she could make a makeshift container. Merevaika searching around, deciding to take some of the large leaves that grew within reach.

They seemed like they would burn ridiculously quickly. But it was worth a try.

She cupped the leaves one over the other in her hands, making a bowl shape, then pierced a small hole on either side with her dagger. The rope slid through and she tied it tight on both sides, before holding it up with the middle section. If the leaves didn’t burn, they’d work well, and she had a nice way of holding it over the fire she had going near the stream.

Merevaika returned quickly, kneeling beside the water and lowering her contraption in. The water spilled over the sides and in, and carefully, she lifted it again, trying not to spill any over the edges.

Some of it trickled through the leaves. Most, however, didn’t, which hopefully was a good start.

Then the woman took the live branch that she had broken and burnt to get to the stream and stabbed it into the ground, wriggling it in deeper so it stood. The end curved over the fire, and it was here that she hung her pot made from leaves and rope, adjusting it to a good height over the flames.

She tried not to watch the whole thing happening, not wanting to see it all go to waste. Instead, she began to roll up her trouser leg, taking a better look at the bite.

It had stopped bleeding now, but there was still blood encrusted all around it. With her fingers, she managed to get the larger pieces loose, clearing it to see the two bite marks clearly. They were red, and looked deep enough, but had stopped hurting as much. If she managed to clean it soon, and wrap it up well, she’d hopefully be able stop any infection from happening, and she’d be alright.

A hiss came from her fire, and she looked over quickly, realising the bottom layer of her leaf pot had began to burn away.

It was then she decided that she wasn’t going to wait for it to boil. Instead, she was going to heat it as long as she could, without letting it all fall through.

It didn’t take many chimes for her to realise the pot had been reduced to its final layer, and the woman snatched it off quickly, spilling some of the hot water off in her haste.

Her fingers tested the heat until she was happy that it wasn’t going to burn her if she poured it over her wound. Slowly, she let it dribble across her leg, wiping away the dirt and blood as best as she could. It stung as it hit the actual wound, but soothed the rest, reminding her leg it was going to be okay.

Using the cleanest part of cloth she could get, she rinsed it in the still hot water before wrapping it around the wound tight. She had been too busy to actually think about stopping the bleeding when it had happened (which probably was responsible for the light-headed feeling she had), but at least now she could take care of everything else.

The fire was the last to be doused, Merevaika not wanting to leave something burning and unattended.

Was she ready to move on? Probably not. Was she going to? The answer was a certain yes.

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Where Dreams Take Us

Postby Merevaika on August 31st, 2017, 4:18 pm

Merevaika rose slowly to her feet, feeling the strain instantly. Her crutch had been burnt, so she had nothing to lean on. Instead, she struggled with a limp, knowing the best way to get over it was to just forget about it.

The next thing to figure out was where to go. She had left the golden river so long ago, it seemed. There wasn’t really much point of finding it again. The golden snake had disappeared too – and Merevaika knew that it would be impossible to track down. Besides, she didn’t really like the idea of following a snake, especially considering how badly her last encounter with one had went.

She wasn’t even certain if it had been poisonous or not, although the way the pain in her leg was subsiding, she decided to hope that it wasn’t.

That golden snake may well be, however.

The woman finally decided to take a look around her surroundings, walk up and down the stream a tiny bit to see if anything useful came up. She doubted anything would, but it was better to stick to a stream, which would eventually reach the ocean at the very least, than to wander off in the wilderness without a plan.

She hobbled around slowly, taking a deep look at everything around her. The stream was a tiny thing, starting from somewhere in the distance, but after a couple of chimes of trailing it back up, she found the path got too blocked, a large thorny plant growing across it telling her to turn back. It got bigger as she went the other way, perhaps even past ankle deep, but the flora around her seemed to grow thicker every single time she tried to follow it along somewhere.

There had to be something she was missing.

There was, in fact, and once again, she stepped on it without even noticing.

Merevaika cursed inwardly, knowing she had been stupid enough to not watch where she was stepping a second time around. This time, thankfully, it was a lot softer than any snake or creature could have been. Her boot sank deeper into the mud-like texture, and her eyes swivelled down in the disgust.

Droppings. A large pile of poo, to be precise. It was still soft, a sign of how fresh it was, maybe even still warm, although she didn’t plan on checking.

Something had passed through recently, leaving behind a collection of manure that resembled cracked pebbles.

A danger, or something else?

Merevaika couldn’t tell from the poo. She would never claim to be an expert on what animal left what sort of droppings, and she wasn’t going to go around and make random guesses either, not from something as useless as this.

As she pried her boot away, she realised there was something – unfortunately now half obscured by her footprint – that would be a lot more useful in identifying what sort of creature this was.

A hoof print could be seen, the back half of it, anyway, where the animal – or perhaps one coming behind it – had trodden where she had. It was hard to make out exactly, but there wasn’t much more to it that could confuse it with something else. Whatever it was, it wasn’t the clawed paws of a predator. Surely, that was a good sign.

Taking a better look around, she shifted closer to the stream, knowing the water in it would soften the ground, making it more receptive to prints. Sure enough, she spotted another similar marking, this time the curving outer edges and the gap in the middle clearly visible.

What animal had hooves like that? Some sort of deer, she guessed, matching the prints with similar ones she had seen in the Sea of Grass. Not the same sort of deer as them, obviously, as she remembered that the two halves split further at the front than this one seemed to do. But it was definitely that sort of creature. Definitely not a danger.

Or at least, she wanted to say definitely. This jungle was full of strange creatures, both odd varieties of what she already knew and things she couldn’t have ever believed. Perhaps there was a man-eating deer somewhere in the jungle. Perhaps she was just getting carried away.

Because this wasn’t any ordinary animal trail. This had to be the one from her dream. The stream – it had started a stream. (She didn’t seem to remember – or care – that in her dream, the river in question had been the one with the gold in it, rather than this tiny, useless trickling of water.) The ground was trampled in by a hoof like creature, and, as she stopped low on her better leg, she could find the tiny tufts of brown fur that clung to the twigs where the jungle closed off again.

This was the trail. This was the trail!

The woman let out an excited whoop into the air, laughing as it echoed off the trees and away into the distance. She even jumped, punching the air, then realised it had been a bad idea as the impact of landing ripped through the wounded leg.

What did the snake bite matter, though? She was well enough now. More importantly, she had found the trail from her dream. She had found where she had to go next, and that was following it. The next step was the ruin, wasn’t it? She was going to find those ruins, and get that treasure, and soon enough, it would all be over, and she’d be rich beyond her wildest dreams.

Her hobbling journey began, with every step seeming to mask the hooves under foot until they were lost to her, the trail disappearing as she walked. She didn’t need to know where it came from, after all, her mind screamed at her. The excitement of what could just be waiting a few steps further refused to let her think rationally, about returning and knowing where she was and actually navigating. All that didn’t matter.

All she wanted to know was where to go, and this path seemed to take her there.

It wasn’t even a hard one to follow. The creature, whatever it was, flattened the ground very clearly, trailing the mud caught in its hooves from when it had entered softer ground, and also scattering fur across every leaf it seemed to get into contact with.

And, judging from where it went, keeping to places where Merevaika could easily pass through, she guessed it was just the right size to lead her.

Where it was leading her to?

She was about to find out.

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Where Dreams Take Us

Postby Merevaika on August 31st, 2017, 4:19 pm

The answer to where she was being led to?

Absolutely nowhere.

Well, to be honest, it wasn’t exactly nowhere. She was clearly somewhere. It was just in the middle of a jungle, with nothing but the same old boring trees around, and a trail that had quickly disappeared, even with her attempts to keep following it.

Merevaika could have screamed.

She had been so close. So ridiculously close, and now everything had to mess up. Had she done something wrong, not followed the dream perfectly as Alcor had wanted her to do. As she slammed fists into the moss covered bark, she tried to run over what had happened, tried to figure out her mistake and whether it was too late to correct it.

What had she done? She had found the Stair Step Falls, followed them up, found the vines snakes, followed the golden snake, found the new trail, followed that too. Surely that was how her dream had gone?

But that part of the dream was swiftly fading from memory, and she could barely remember what had been happening, anyway. She had been wandering through the jungle, looking for ruins... Now, that was now. Why was she in the jungle in her dream? Alcor had led her there, perhaps?

Even as she tossed it around her hands, wondering why that part of the dream had faded so suddenly while the other memories still burned brighter than Syka within her, she realised one major mistake she had made, that had nothing to do with the dream.

She hadn’t followed the golden snake.

It hadn’t slid under ferns, the ones she had trampled over. It had disappeared in a small gap between two bushes, or low hanging branches. At the very least, something with leaves that definitely weren’t fern leaves.

Cursing again, this time vocally, she pounded against the tree harder. Her hands grew into tight fists where the nails dug into her palms, thumbs sitting tightly on the outside of the fist, like she knew they had to. Every blow struck with her knuckles first and rolled, as if she was actually trying to hurt the tree, as if it could actually work. Merevaika pushed not only with the muscles in her arm, but with the muscles across her whole back and shoulder, twisting into the blow and letting her fingers bruise where she hit them.

She was going to get splinters if she kept boxing the tree.

She finished off with a sharp kick, stubbing her toes in the process, leaving her with two bad legs.

Two bad legs that couldn’t get her anywhere.

Merevaika turned sharply, desperate to find the trail the hoofed animal had left again, because maybe she could get some sort of direction from it. She stumbled around randomly, believing she was circling out from where she had stopped in a neat organised loop, but instead she stumbled randomly, her path shifting from the way she hobbled, avoiding putting pressure on the injured leg.

Her eyes scanned the ground. Where it had ounce been clear to see a trampled path, now everything looked the same. Possibly trampled, from footsteps made by anything, but possibly not, and it had just formed like that. There were no clear hoof marks, no mud that was left from the animal’s movements, no fur against the leaves. She wasn’t planning on checking each leaf, either, so a quick scan over it was all she spared.

Nope, there was no trail here.

She was lost. Well and truly lost. She could be bells and bells away from Syka and any living being, she could end up trampling through these hot and humid jungles for the rest of her days, struggling with an infected snakebite and aching fingers and the bug bites she had tried to ignore that were forming across every part of exposed skin. The remains of her body, starved and thirst considering she had brought nothing of use to this cursed place, might never even be discovered by anything, too far away in the endless expanse of jungle to ever be noticed.

That was far too negative thinking. Merevaika could do it. She just needed to straighten herself up and get some sort of bearing. She needed to head downhill, that was one thing she knew. The beach was always the lowest thing in sight. The jungle had always risen up behind her, especially where she had seen in at the mouth of the Stair Step Falls. It had been so hilly there. So tall and impressive.

She was up there, somewhere. So all she needed to do was go down.

The main difficulty was figuring out where down was. With the ground uneven from all the things growing from it, and everything in the near distance obscured by the greenery, Merevaika struggled to tell where the ground was rising up and where it was falling. Surely, it had to be doing something, even if it was a tiny incline, but clearly, the slope was too small for her to just feel and the jungle wasn’t helping her with seeing it.

Perhaps if she took something, something that would roll nicely down the hill and point her way down for her?

Merevaika glanced up at the trees, hoping to find a coconut or some similarly shaped fruit that she could grab and use for that exact purpose.

She found what she was looking for in the form of a clump of green spheres, something she didn’t recognise, especially as it hadn’t yet ripened to its real colour. The main problem was that it wasn’t just in reach where she could snag it without much effort at all. Rather, it hung ridiculously high up, where she very clearly couldn’t reach it, even if she stood on her tiptoes, or jumped, or something.

Merevaika gritted her teeth, knowing she was going to get them one way or another. They weren’t that high up. Perhaps she could climb up the tree. Then again, she doubted how well that could work. She couldn’t climb and had seen enough to know how badly it could end up if she messed up.

Still, it wasn’t like she had a better idea. Sure, she could wander around without knowing where she was going, and end up more than lost. This seemed to be a better idea.

Her eyes moved carefully along the correct tree, trying to formulate some sort of plan before she got up there and suddenly her perspective changed. She could probably use the lower vines as a ledge to stand on, and... yes, there. She could grab onto that vine there, hanging close to the trunk and looking sufficiently, long and strong enough. If it held, it wouldn’t be too hard to pull herself up it and reach the branch it hung off. Once there, she could easily hoist herself up it and then... Merevaika tried to judge the distance, but it was a little hard, given her angle, and the fact she wasn’t the best at judging distance anyway. If she stood on her tiptoes, she could probably reach the the fruit. If she couldn’t?

Mervaika was already trying to slide her feet onto the ivy that wrapped around the base of the tree as that thought came to her, and she shrugged it off, being an idiot with her inability to care about it properly.

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Where Dreams Take Us

Postby Merevaika on August 31st, 2017, 4:20 pm

Getting onto the vines seemed to be a hard enough problem in the first place. While her feet did balance precariously on the vines, she couldn’t seem to stay there, loosing her balance quickly and having to jump back off, much to the discomfort of her bad leg. It was her arms, she came to realised after the third failed attempt. (It was more than three, but she was trying to make herself feel good about it.) Her upper body had no support because she wasn’t doing anything with her arms.

Trying again, this time she wrapped them around the tree trunk, as if she was giving it a large hug.

That helped significantly, until she realised it was hard to manoeuvre while hugging a tree.

She pushed herself off again, and repeated the hopping onto the lower vines part.

This time, she used her nails to dig into the moss growing higher up on the tree. It wasn’t much, but it kept her steady for just a moment. And a moment was all she needed to rise up on her toes and snag the loose vine. Both arms wrapped around it tightly, and she tested her weight, leaning back as hard as she could without directly pulling on the vine.

It held, even as she lingered there, and Merevaika decided she was happy with the strength of the vine. She had to be – she was not going to be happy if it broke while holding her.

Twisting the vine around her elbows, she kept the pressure on it tight, and began to heave herself up, jumping her feet up along the tree as she did. They pressed against the bark, terrified at walking on something vertical, while her upper body fought with the vine, struggling to heave herself up further.

If she didn’t have the strength to pull this off, Merevaika wasn’t certain that she was going to be able to forgive herself.

Channeling the anger she would have if something didn’t go well, the woman closed her eyes tight and heaved up further, and further, and further, until her fingers hit wood.

That was the branch. She had found the branch!

Before her happiness with it took over, she snagged it with one hand, her feet loosing their grip against the moss covered bark of the tree. Her whole body hung delicately from the branch and vine, taking a few moments for her to get herself back to steady.

Now with both arms across the tree branch, she pulled herself up, twisting her body as she did. Legs flew up sideways, hitting the branch, and she hooked one foot over. It took a bit more tricky wriggling and changing positions, then she was practically one with the branch, lying firmly on top of it.

She felt so secure there and then, she didn’t really want to move. But she knew that lying on the branch, she had no chance of actually ever reaching those fruit, unless they basically fell straight onto her. Even standing was going to be difficult, but she had to give it a try.

Merevaika pulled her knees up to her chest, then pushed her upper body up, until she was basically kneeling on the branch. Her feet curled around to the top of the branch before slowly tilting to have sole down on it.

Her hands clung to the branch, eager not to fall off before she even got up.

Slowly, she rose, finally relinquishing her grasp and instead sending her arms out like a tightrope walker’s, forming a T-shape with her body.

One foot in front of the other. She could do this.

Merevaika inched forward as slowly as she could go, keeping her eyes on the goal rather than the ground that lay beneath her. Maybe it wasn’t that far away, but it was far enough to make falls hurt at the very least.

The fruit where just in reach now. Merevaika could see them over her head. Now she just needed to...

Slowly, her arms lifted, stretching as far as they could towards the bunch of unripened fruit.

The tips of her fingers just brushed against them, feeling the slightly sticky skin. With just her arms up, she fell too short, although from the fact that she could feel the fruit, she knew there was not much to go at all.

Taking a deep breath, she tightened her core, stretching out her spine. Very, very slowly, she rolled onto her toes, feeling unsteady on the branch which seemed to shake with that movement. Her arms reached up again, and she looked up too, reminding herself to not look down. As long as she didn’t look down, she’d be fine. This time, she managed to almost grab the fruit, just missing at the branch that held it shook at the impact of her hand.

Merevaika shuffled forward a few breaths, and the fruit fell into her hand, practically.

But her feet also slid off the end off the end of the branch, and in a rash moment, she grabbed at the bunch of fruit, hands wrapping around the base of it as tightly as she could manage.

In all her reminders not to look down, Merevaika had forgotten to look at the branch. And if she wasn’t watching the branch? She’d do exactly what had happened: march straight off the end of the branch.

The clump of fruit didn’t seem to want to hold the weight of a fully grown woman as well as all the green balls that were there. Even if they weren’t ripe and didn’t pry off easily, Merevaika could feel how all the parts that were holding it all together began to stretch and tear. If she waited too long, she’d end up plummeting straight to the ground with them.

The branch was so close – she could get back on it. Careful not to swing it too vigorously and speed up the breaking process, Merevaika brought her body forward and back, trying to get a little bit of momentum-

-which turned to a little bit of movement through the air-

-and her feet touched the branch where it could hold her.

Above her, she heard more snapping and tearing. There wasn’t much time to wait, at all.

Quickly, she planted her foot as firmly as she could on the branch below her, then dropped, leaning into the movement. Throwing herself forward, Merevaika fell too far, but her arms wrapped around the branch of the tree before she had a chance to fall to the floor.

Behind her, the clump of fruit finally tore loose, and a crashing noise accompanied it on its way to the ground.

Well, at least she got it down.

It took her a few moments to recover with arms and legs twisted around the branch to prevent her falling off again. This was the third time today (that she had noticed) that she hadn’t been watching where her feet were going. And this time, she could have died from that stupid mistake! (She probably could have died the first time around too. If that snake was poisonous – she probably could still be dying. But this was her third time around, which just made it all the more embarrassing.)

At least she knew what she really had to look out for for next time.

If there even managed to be a next time. She was still stuck in this place, clinging to a tree branch like a cat scared of the dog barking at it.

Carefully, she returned her hands to the vine, and crossed her legs over it too, slowly descending with it.

The strength of that decided to give up on her as well, and as she shuffled down, the whole vine broke.

Merevaika grasped wildly at the piece that fell beside her, to no avail, and landed firmly on her back, grunting at the impact.

It took her a few moments to recover once again, then she picked herself up, now aching even more all over. It had only been a small fall – not too much taller than a fall of a horse – but that didn’t mean that it wouldn’t hurt. And it did. A lot.

Merevaika tried to ignore the pain, almost crawling over to where the fruit had fallen. A few pieces had become bruised messes on the ground, but most had stayed fairly whole.

She may as well collect them all, since they were here. After all the trouble she had gone to get them down, she was not going to simply leave them here to rot or be eaten by a lazy animal using her work as a way to feed itself.

The woman bent towards them with a grunt, knife out. It took a moment to saw them all loose, and the roundest of the lot immediately started to roll. Just like her plan. Marking out the direction it had gone, disappearing into the bushes, she promised herself she wasn’t going to mess up and head the wrong way.

For the rest of the fruit, she made another one of those makeshift pots, adding a few more layers of leaved before she piled the fruit into it. Without the fire underneath it, the whole thing seemed to hold. Besides, there were only three pieces of the round green fruit in there. If need be, she’d be able to hold them in her hands.

Rising up from the ground, the woman pulled the bag pot thing over her shoulder, resting her elbow in it as a cover. Her eyes moved to the arrow she had drawn in the ground, then followed it down.

Time to go home, hopefully.

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Where Dreams Take Us

Postby Merevaika on August 31st, 2017, 4:21 pm

Merevaika moved as quickly as she could through the jungle, keeping her eyes open and, more importantly, on the ground where she was walking. She had learnt her lesson after long enough, and she was not going to let all her struggles go to waste.

The ground, which had previously only been slightly sloped, suddenly got a lot steeper, and she was certain that she was heading the right way. Unless the Maw had a huge dip in the middle.Or unless she wasn’t in the Maw in the first place, although she hoped that it wasn’t the case. She hadn’t been walking that long altogether. If she was out of the Maw, she had some really bad luck.

Merevaika moved slowly, careful not to dislodge too much dirt and slide her way down, no matter how much easier that would probably be than walking. She used the trees to keep herself steady, moving in short bursts.

When it got even steeper, she had to rely on sliding. The woman would awkwardly slide hobble out from behind one tree, and smash into another lower down, using it to slow her descent. Boots kicked up mud, and her trousers were covered in the rotting leaves and dirt that she kept falling back on.

But it didn’t matter. She was heading down, and heading down quickly, which meant that hopefully, she’d reach the beach soon.

And sure enough, she did, several bells of sliding down later.

Catching glimpses of the sandy beach through the trees, Merevaika began to hurry, despite her leg trying to get her not to. It had started hurting more that last bell, and she knew it was a good idea to take a look at it, try to see if anything had happened.

If it had gotten infected, despite all that time and effort she had put into figuring out how to boil some water, she was tempted to just saw it off and get it over with. Didn’t deserve to be her leg anyway.

Merevaika rolled her eyes at herself, uncertain what she was thinking about. Sawing legs off, what sort of craziness was that? Even if it was bad, she was practically at the beach, which meant she was basically at Syka already, which meant that she could just stop off at the healing place, whatever that was called, to get it fixed. Everywhere had people blessed by the goddess of healing. Even Syka – she knew that from somewhere, although she wouldn’t be able to tell anyone where exactly.

Stumbling onto the sand, she sunk to her knees, before outstretching the aching leg and taking a look. The wound had started to swell, and was warm to the touch. The colouring had gone weird too, a bright red sort of colour, and with her break, starting to hurt even more now that she didn’t need to ignore the pain.

It definitely seemed to be getting infected, despite her precautions.

Well, then she better hurry up and found where the healing clinic was, to get it treated before she really did need to saw it off.

The next step was figuring out where on the beach she lay. The Sykan coast was full of bays and jutting out rocks that she barely could recognise any of the beaches in the area where she lived, let alone here.

Maybe one day, making some sort of map, or rough outline, or something, of the coast would be a good idea.

Probably, someone had already thought of that. Surely there had to be a mapmaker in Syka? It was something she had to look into. A map would be incredibly helpful.

Then again, maybe it wouldn’t. She doubted the rainforest had many landmarks that would easily be seen through the screens of green leaves that would help her navigate by. Everything just looked the same to her, no matter where she went.

She had two options where to go.

Left. She could see most of that, curving up within her vision. Although sections of the beach were obscured as it wrinkled in and out, other large strips were perfectly visible. Empty, too. Unless all the buildings of Syka were hidden by the jutting out parts, or were even further up than she could see, it didn’t seem to be the right way around.

Or right. She couldn’t see anything there at all – it was too obscured by the forest. Which meant there could be something. But also could be nothing.

She decided to take her chances, moving along the beach swiftly.

After a short distance, she had her boots off, in the makeshift bag where she held the fruit, and she trudged where the sand was wet, finding it easier than the changeable dunes which she couldn’t trust to stay flat and shaped as it was.

Her limping was becoming more obvious now.

Hopefully, she hadn’t picked the wrong direction. Because she doubted it would support her on the journey back and further too.

A sight in the distance, as she turned around a sharp corner, reassured her that yes, she was heading in the right direction. There were buildings, and not just any buildings, but ones built on the water, thatched roofs and a little pier to go along with them. Definitely not the buildings of a random washed up sailor, or a tree she had mistaken for a building.

She knew them. They were the Overwater Ranchos. People lived there. And just past them...

As Merevaika neared, she spotted the bungalows that she had been expecting, the other housing option available for the Sykans. That was, for those who didn’t like living in a tent, or building their own house, which she knew many people did.

That meant she was basically there.

So where was the clinic? Somewhere opposite where she stood, hidden by the island.

She knew she could do it, but those last steps hurt. Knowing she was so close, that she didn’t have to fight with the pain for much longer, she no longer had that motivation of moving fast despite it, which left her with pretty much no motivation at all.

Rancho and bungalow passed, and she still wasn’t there yet. The next set of buildings was starting to peep out, but even with that, she couldn’t push herself. Her leg was screaming again, this time refusing to move. It felt heavy and lethargic, and pushing herself into doing something was hard work.

Then came the Commons, and she ignored the people gathering there. Someone may have called out, but she could barely hear them, listening instead to her heavy breathing.

The Mercantile. The pools. Where was the clinic? It had to be here somewhere. A house hanging over a stream. Another short walk.

It had to be somewhere.

Finally, she spotted it, and let out a deep sigh of relief. The Panacea wasn’t grand, with a small smouldering fire-pit in front, and the open-air area where she could see a collection of beds and pillows behind the fabric that swooped from above, but it would do.

Merevaika barely remembered reaching those beds, and plonking everything she had to one side. Her breathing was trembling now. Her leg felt as if it was on fire. She was probably getting a fever. The woman pushed a pile of the pillows aside, making space.

“Can I help?” came a voice. Merevaika winced, lying back. Why did it hurt?

At least she was here, and he was there, with his glowing gnosis mark ready to help.

What a stupid dream that had been.

No ruins. Just a whole lot of discomfort. Pain. And stupidity.

At least she had learnt to watch where her feet were going.

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Featured Thread (1) Overlored (1)

Where Dreams Take Us

Postby Jade Laken on December 11th, 2017, 4:14 am

Goss is having a hard time getting her post to cooperate,
but she did send me your grades to be posted.

Experience: Planning +5, Endurance +5, Brawling: +1, Medicine +1, Tracking +2, Climbing +1, Acrobatics +1, Foraging +1, Land Navigation (Jungle) +4

Lores: Dreams: Partially Can Be True. First Aid: Cleaning A Snakebite, Foraging: Edible Green Fruit, Location: Stair Step Falls, Location: The Panacea, WS: Snakes Look Like Vines & Vice Versa, Acrobatics: Work On Dismounts, Climbing: Carefully Test Footholds/Handholds

Wounds: Various cuts and scrapes from forcing oneself through the jungle, snakebite on leg which will get infected if untreated by a healer

Note: I can’t give you actual experience points for dreams. I gave you planning for your little readiness scene going into the jungle, and endurance for pressing through the jungle. I didn’t give you observation because you were already maxed out. I gave you brawling for bashing the snake against the tree while it was lodged in your boot/foot/leg. Also, for future reference, in the situation you described making a leaf bowl to boil water in… the leaves would burn up way before the water heated. :blush: I didn’t see much use of WS here. You just bushwacked and stumbled around with no conscious thought of actually how to survive or where you were in relation to predators, the consequences of following trails, finding water, etc… having thoughts of survival and safety throughout the journey would have merited WS but since you have only 28 atm… you need more training than just practical bumbling around to earn WS.
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Jade Laken
Even the most confident fall to fear
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