From the Archives: Day 2

This bit of story is part of a HUGE epic that I was going to write. That was back in the days when I thought I could write 12-novel epic storylines like the big fantasy writers do. I put a lot of time into worldbuilding for this project… and pieces of it have been/are being cannibalized for other projects even now. The world is *sort of* like a standard fantasy world with magic, etc., but I’ve twisted things rather heavily, and the whole atmosphere was incredibly dark and oppressive. This is a population that has pretty much had all hope and resistance (somewhat literally) beaten out of it by its rulers. There is no real magic to speak of… just fading remnants. Likewise there is no technology… just remnants. Into this dark, depressing mess, I (literally) dropped a character. This is the first entry of his journal…

Day 2

I write these words by candlelight in a small room above an unnamed tavern. I have no idea where I am or why I am here, and even the knowledge of who I am is somehow muted. I think my name is “Armand”. The word “Armand” came to me from the depths of my mind when I first tried to summon memories of what I was once called. There were no other words that would suggest a last (or first?) name, only “Armand.”

I don’t know what this land is called, but the town goes by the impossible name of Aukmatt. I had to ask the inkeeper (who is also the bartender) to repeat the name several times before I could grasp the it. It is obviously foreign, but my repeated questions about what country I was in only brough laughter and strange looks. I imagine that, if it weren’t for some strange and apparently highly valuable objects in my posssesion, I would have been dismissed as a lunatic or turned over to whatever authorities exist in this place. After all, how does a man exist in a place and yet have absolutely no knowledge of where that place is or how he came to be there? I do know that the sights that I have seen and the conversations that I have overheard since my arrival have lead me to believe that this place does not exist in North America, or on any other continent. The reality that I left behind simply does not contain the things I have seen. I was either kidnapped and brought to this archaic land for some unknown reason, or that I am, in fact, dead, and that I now exist in some kind of purgatory. My logical mind would like to believe the former, but I have a dreaded, knawing feeling that the latter is the truth.

I said that I have no recollection of how I arrived here; that is not exactly true. While most of my past is blocked from my concious mind, the circumstances immediately preceding my arrival in the desert land east of Aukmatt are frighteningly clear. I remember stepping out of an elevator into a parking garage. It was dark, and I fumbled with my keys on my way to my car. There was a sound behind me, but there was nothing there when I turned to investigate. The sound repeated itself, this time it was off to the side, amoungst the cars on my left. It was a scuffing sound, like someone dragging their feet. I stopped walking and shouted. There was no reply. Just as I was about to continue, the sound came again. To the right! I appeared to be surrounded. I pocketed my keys and reached into my coat for something. A gun? Something touched my shoulder from behind and and spun to face my attacker. There was a face, thin and pale, almost bloodless. Before I could react, The man swung something, a pipe? a hammer? There was a bright light. Pain. Then nothing. Darkness.

I could see nothing; I could feel nothing. All of my senses were gone, yet I was still concious. I had no body that I could discern, or, if I did, I could not sense it. I seemed to exist as pure thought, pure conciousness surrounded by a sea of darkness. I don’t know how long I remained in this state. seconds? days? I began to think of eternity, and how long it would take me to go mad without my senses. Was I being punished? Would I even be allowed the comfort of maddness?

After some unknown span of time I began to sense a change, or rather, I began to sense. Some fashion of my sense of touch had returned, and, although I could not yet feel my body, I could determine that I was moving. I seemed to be slowly drifting or floating. Since I had no body, I couldn’t tell in which direction my movment was taking me. I began to dismiss my drifting sensation as a halucination when my motion suddenly increased. And then, yes! I could definately feel something! Fingers! I felt the tiniest sensation, a slight tingle, almost an itch, in the very tip of what I deduced was the middle finger of my right hand. The feeling slowly began to spread down my finger, and was then joined by similar tingles in the tips of my other fingers. They too, began to travel downward until I had regained my entire right hand. The feeling continued down into my wrist. I could not yet move my fingers, but I could feel them! I was trying to move my hand when the sensation began to appear in the fingers of my left hand as well as in my toes. My sense of touch was being restored from my extremeties inward, and after a few moments my entire body was vibrating with these strange sensations. I could now tell that I was moving downward. Falling. I still could not move, and my other senses were still mute.

Still tingling, I seemed to fall for centuries. Then, suddenly, I stopped. There was a bright flash and a sudden jolt, and I found myself lying prone in the white sands of some unknown desert. I looked up and beheld a bright, clear sky that was both without clouds and without a sun. The bluish green canopy above me seemed to glow of its own accord, without the assistance of the life-giving orb that I had always took for granted. I scaned from horizon to horizon; the sky was blank. A field of blue as empty as the black void from which I had just come. The ground beneath me was composed of a white sand so fine that it was almost a powder. I had never seen or felt anything like it.

I stood up and took inventory of myself. Everything seemed intact, with nothing broken and not even a scratch or bump on my head. My shoes, shirt, and coat were gone, and my pants were not mine. I was wearing some shapeless pants-like garment made of some rough brown fabric. The inside appeared to be lined with something almost like suede. There were no seams or pockets. I had no idea how the garment was constructed, what it was made of, or how it came to be placed upon me.

I was neither cold, nor hot, and the light from the sunless sky was such that I had no trouble seeing my surroundings, what little there was to see. All around me was the same powdery sand. In some places it was piled up into great dunes, and I set out toward the top of one of these. Once there, I saw nothing. Only more sand. Everywhere. In all directions

Not seeing any landmark to help place myself, I randomly picked a direction and began to walk. After a short time I came across footprints in the sand. They were mine. Without any navigational aids, I had walked in a complete circle. I set out again, and again I found my own tracks. It was now visibly darker, although I could still see no sign of the sun. The sky had simply dimmed. It was dimmer still when I found my footprints for the third time. It seemed there was no way out of this desert. No matter which direction I walked, I always veered off into a circle. Soon it would be dark; I wondered if I would be able to see the moon when the sky dimmed completely. I cast my gaze skyward, and indeed, there was something just coming over the horizon. It was barely visible, but, yes, there was something there. I set off again, this time it was towards the rising moon.

As I walked, I tried to make sense out of what was happening. How did I get here? Where was here?
Maybe I wasn’t here at all. Perhaps I lying on the ground in some parking garage, slowly bleeding to death.
If that was the case, then why was I even trying to find my way out of this desert. None of this was real, so it didn’t matter. But maybe that was the connection… if I gave up out here, that would mean I had given up on life. Death would claim me in that parking lot. If I kept trying, kept walking, then maybe I would live long enough for someone to find me.

These thoughts kept me company as I walked into the night. The moon slowly rose in what I had taken to be the eastern sky, only it was no moon I had ever seen. Instead of the familiar glowing white globe I knew, I was faced with a sickly yellow thing that hung lopsided in the sky. It was slightly oblong, like an egg and was splotched with brownish red areas that looked like deep festering wounds. Stunned, I sank to my knees in the sand. My eyes were still cast skyward, only I dared not look at that horrid thing near the horizon any longer. The stars were out, but I could not connect them to form any familiar constelations. The stars too were discolored. Not twinkling white points in the sky, no, these stars pulsed and shimmered in reds, blues, greens and some other colors that I could not name. And, sickened though I was at the wounded yellow moon in the east, my mind could not contain my horror as I beheld its pale sister that hung in the west.

I saw no more that first night. I had lost consciousness, and I must have slept the entire night,
for my next memory is of lying sprawled in the sand under the bright sunless sky of morning. Even my dreams, if I did dream, elude me. My hunger and thirst were feroucious, and my body was weak. As I tried to stand, the world seemed to spin for a few moments, as if trying to decide on its proper orientation before settling down. The featureless landscape was identical in all directions; I had no idea which direction I had been travelling. I searched the powdery sand and found my footprints; there had been no wind last night to cover them. Now I had a direction, but without a landmark, it was only a matter of time before I began looping in circles. I could wait until night and try to navigate by the moon, but a horrible seizing feeling in my throat dismissed that thought. Without food or water I would be to weak to move. I don’t know how long it takes a man to die of thirst or hunger, but I did know that just one day without sustanance should not have left me in the condition that I was in. Someting was happening to me. Somehow the desert was draining me.

I staggered off in the direction that my footprints lead. If I was to thirst to death walking in circles in this desert, then I might as well meet my fate head on. I kept my attention focused of the sand, anticipating the moment when I would cross my own prints. I found something else, instead. Strange marks in the sand. They were like random scratches or swirls, only close togther like a print. It was as if someone had taken a tree branch and swatted the ground at more or less regular intervals. My first thought was of a tumble weed, but I had seen no vegetation of any kind. Perhaps my walking had taken me to the edge of this wasteland. I stood comtemplating the marks when I heard a sound off to my right. I turned to look and saw nothing, only a large dune some distance away. As I watched, a dark shape appeared at the top of the dune. It appeared to be some type of dog, althought there was somthing odd about its proportions. It stood there watching me for a while, and then let out a long, sorrowfull howl. It stood silently for a while, and then howled again. It seemed reluctant to approach. Most likely, it was defending its territory, but was still wary of humans. I turned and walked off, following the sand-marks in the direction that led away from the dog. I had taken only a few steps when a series of yaps and howls stopped me. The dog was still perched atop the large dune, only now it had risen onto its long hind legs. It hopped around frantically, barking all the while. Somehow my thirst-maddened mind conclude that the creature wanted me to come to him. Oblivious of the possible danger, I obliged, and began to approach the dune. As I appoached, the creature’s grotesque form became clear. The thing had a small body, about the size of a cocker spaniel, and a disproportionately large head. Indeed, it’s head seemed to belong on an animal two or three times the size of this one. The same could be said of its legs, which held the dog’s body a good three feet off of the ground. The creature paced back and forth as I approached, it’s legs moving oddly, as if there were more joints than there should be. I began to have reservations about approaching this animal, but my curiosity overcame them and I drew closer still. I stopped cold when I was almost upon him. The creature’s mouth was filled with sharp white fangs that jutted evilly from his jaws. This startling effect was further accented by the fact that the creature didn’t have any lips. His face was a permanent grin of carnivorous malice. The creature, which had been watching me with intently, saw my shock and took it as a cue to take off running down the far side of the dune. I stood still, my hear racing at the sudden shock, and watched it go. It stopped some distance away, turned back towards me, and howled. Again, it seemed to be waiting for me to follow.
Shock or delirium must have dulled my better judgement, for there was very little hesitation when I started down the dune after the thing. It obviously wanted me to follow it somewhere, and, while I did not want to end up as some desert creature’s dinner, something within me compelled me to yield to the creature’s intent. Again I approached the thing, and again it ran a distance, stopped, and turned towards me. I don’t know how long he lead me through the white desert, but I faithfully followed this grotesque guide, and whenever I drew near, I dared not look too closely at the thing which lead me for fear that I would loose my resolve.
My thirst and hunger steadily grew, and my strength still seemed to be fading at an unnaturally fast rate. Still, I followed the thing in the desert, never letting it leave my sight until at last it ran over the top of another large dune and was gone from view. I stopped to rest a moment, certain that the animal would wait for me on the other side of the dune. I sat down in the sand and leaned back. I rested upon my elbow and looked up into the sunless sky. There were a few clouds now, but still no sign of any natural or artificial light source. I watched the whispy clouds as they blew in from some unknown direction, silent and peaceful, not knowing from whence they came, and not caring where the wind took them. The thought that I could feel no wind of any kind only added to the unearthly trance into which I was unknowingling sliding. This surly would have been the end of me had sudden scuffling noise caught my attention. Still dazed, I turned my head and dreamilly stared directly into a double row of white fangs set in a horrific, lipless grin.
Startled, I threw myself back, away from the offending sight. I rolled over clumsily in the sand and stood up. The dog-thing stared at me and growled, as if angered by my weak-mindedness. It must have waited for me,and, when I didn’t follow immediately, came back over the dune to investigate. The think watched me intensely as my senses returned, and then sniffed the air curiously. Suddenly, it barked loudly and ran howling back over the dune. I followed, thankful for the rescue which had surely saved my life.
I reached the top of the dune and looked ahead. The animal had not run far, but it was not for fear of losing me again. We had apparently reached our destination. By the bottom of the dune, was the motionless figure of a man sprawled out in the sand. The dog-thing sat panting nearby, with it’s legs folded in some curious shape that no real dog, or any other animal, could achieve. This man must have been the thing’s master, who was either lost or had run into some kind of trouble. The dog must have gone for help and found me. I started down the dune, wondering what kind of help I could give when I, myself, was lost and most likely near death. I reached the man, and saw immediately that he was dead. The tan skin of the man’s face was withered and drawn, and was somehow contorted into a bizarre expression of pure, insane bliss. That sinister, blank smile contrasted uncomfortably with his present condition and surroundings. This man had died happy. I wondered if my dead face would have worn that expression if my guide had left me to die staring up at the clouds. A shiver went down my spine, and I hurredly thought of other things. I bent down to investigate this strange corpse.
The man’s pants were similar to mine, only his appeared to be of better construction, with pockets and seams that lessened the sack-like appearance of my garment. He wore a featureless tan shirt, and across his shoulder was a leather strap that looped around his oppisite hip. Attached to this strip were small gourd-like sacks or bags. I detached the first of these and opened it. It was empty. The second had a small openninig in the shape of a spout. I picked it up and felt a delightfull liquid heaviness. Praying for water, I poured a small amount of a lukewarm, clear liquid into my hand. Water! The gourd was almost half-filled with water! Greedily I put the gourd to my mouth and drank. Heedless of any future needs, I emptied the gourd and reached for the third object, hoping for more water, or perhaps some food. The detached it from the dead man’s shoulder strap and loosened the draw string that fastened it. The pouch contained neither food nor water; instead, it held a handfull of small, polished stones. I poured a few into my palm and examined them. Each brownish-red stone was relatively flat, and was about the width of a fingernail. Their surfaces were smooth and shiney, and a closer inspection found dark brown and black veins running deep within the stone, giving it the appearance of wood. In fact, except for the polished surface, the small objects resembled seeds of some kind. Perhaps they were edible seeds. Tentatively, I placed one between my teeth and bit down. The surface yielded a small amount, but it was obvious that they were not meant to be chewed. Either they were meant to be swallowed whole or weren’t edible after all. I debated the idea of swallowing a few and decided against it. I returned the (stones? seeds?) to their pouch and continued my search of the body.
The man’s left pocked yielded a small, flat metal disk. The metal was engraved with symbols which I could not read or recognize, although they reminded me of egyptian heiroglyphifs. One face was made of glass, and through it I could see a tiny gold needle floating in a clear liquid. Water or an oil of some kind. I rotated the cylinder and the needle maintained a fixed direction. A compass!
Noting the man’s footprints, it was easy enough to see which direction the man had been travelling. He was following the direction in which the needle pointed: North. (Or so I assumed). Despite the man’s eventual death here in the desert, he at least knew where he was going. Now, I did too.
I glanced around for my animal companion, and was surprised to see that it was gone. I scanned the horizon, and thought I caught a glimps of a small shape far in the distance. I checked the compass. It appeared to be going roughly northwest. Whatever pupose he had hoped to serve by bringing me here was obviously satisfied. I was still hungry and tired, but for the moment, my dangerously intense thirst was sated. I headed north.

The compass held true to its purpose, and I crossed my own path not a single time. I travelled north until I was on the point of near exhaustion. It was then that I found the city. It was a bustling jumble of archaic stone buildings. The style of the structures was completely unknown to me, although it was suggestive of something ancient and foriegn. The portion of the town nearest to me seemed to be some type of market or bazaar. Wildly dressed men and women traversed its streets, most carrying bags and baskets to hold their wares. The townsman were of many different shades and hues, with no group being predominant. No one paid any undue attention to me as I staggered aimlessly through the crowd, making my way amoungst the booths. The crowd was so thick that after only a few moments, I was lost within it. I could see nothing in front of me but merchants and townsmen. I ran almost headlong into a wall, and, happy to have found some firmament in this seething see of bizare colors and smells, I followed it, my hand never leaving it’s rough, stone surface. It lead to an open door, an indoor shop of some kind. A small wooden sign hung above it, but, curiously, the sign was blank. I entered, and almost fell as my feet, seeking a level floor, encoutered downward slopeing steps instead. Eager to be out of the crowd, I continued into the building.
I had stumbled (almost literally) into a tavern of some kind. The wall opposite the doorway was a jumble of shelves holding a variety of oddly colored bottles and containeres. The bar stretched the entire length of the room across the room in front shelved wall. A small, pale man paced back and forth behind the bar, serving drings and tending to various duties. The room was dimly lit by torches which were hung at more or less regular intervals along the walls. Patrons sat at crude wooden tables which were scattered about, and at equally crude stools in front of the bar. Most seemed to be in the advanced stages of drunkeness; only a few seemed to notice me. Two patrons stared at him intently. One was very tall, thin man that smiled wildly at me from a table in the corner. I did not like the way the stranger stared at me, nor did I like his smile, which reminded me of the dead man in the desert. The other patron was a short, round man sitting at the bar. He turned and watched me expectantly for a moment, then he turned back toward the bar and continued conversing with the bartender. I glanced over in the corner at the smiling man. His demeanor had not changed; he sat and smiling and staring at me as if he expected me to do something humorous or entertaining. I made it a point not to look at him again.
I made my way toward the bar. I had no money, but I was hoping that the bartender would allow me some water and maybe some food. I was more than willing to work for whatever he gave me, once my strength returned. I rested against the bar, standing next to the stout man who had noticed me earlier. He glanced at me again, and then sat quietly, waiting for the bartender to return.
“Stranger.” the bartender said. It was obviously a greeting. “What can I get for ya?”
“Water,” I replied, “food. I’m lost. I don’t know where I am. I was in the desert.”
“The Wasteland? You came through the Wasteland? Here, let me get you something to eat.”
“Wait, I don’t have anything. I can’t pay.”
“Well, if you just came through the Great Waste you’ll be needing some nourishment. Don’t have much food. Maybe some kriel stew?”
“Yeah.” I had no idea what kriel stew was The man busied himself with something beneath the bar.
“My name’s Cobrun. You?”
“I…” It was then that I realized that I hadn’t the slightest idea who I was. My mind seized every time I tried to remember anything beyond the attach and my ordeal in the desert. My strain was visible as I probed the mental block that had suddenly come upon me. My God, I couldn’t even remember my name!
“I said ‘What’s your name,’ stranger.” repeated Cobrun.
“Armand.” The word flew from my lips even as I struggled with my own mind.
“Odd name.” said Cobrun. The man placed a small bowl in front of me. It was filled with a thick, milky liquid. I tested some of the steaming concoction with a small spoon Cobrun fetched a large glass of what must have been ale. The stew was delicious, the ale was not.
“So what possessed you to cross the Great Waste? Where were you coming from?”
“I don’t know,” I said between spoonfulls of stew. “I don’t know how I got there, or where I am now.”
Cobrun studied me for a few moments, as if evaluating the sanity of my statements.
“You’re in Aukmatt,” he said tentatively. He leaned over the bar towards me.
“Awkmatt?” I repeated incorrectly.
“Aukmatt. West of Greyshar, between the Two Kingdoms.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what any of that is.”
“The Great Waste must have drained more than your strength. You’ll need a few days to recover. I run an inn; above the bar. You can rest in one of my rooms.”
“But I don’t have anything. All I have is this.” I held up the back I had taken from the body in the desert. Unfastening the drawstring, I reached in, took out a few of the strange objects, and showed them to the bartender. The result was unexpected.
“By the Gods!” Cobrun exclaimed in a shocked whisper. He stepped back, as if frightened, then came forward, leaning very close. “Seides!”
“You fool! Keep those things out of sight before you get yourself killed!” The man next to me lept off of his stool and came towards me. He grabbed my arm roughly, and snatched the stones from my hand. After inspecting them a moment, he gave them back, placing them gently in the palm of my hand. “Put those away!” he whispered. He looked around suspicoulsly, trying to see if anyone had noticed the sudden commotion. No one had.
“What are they?” I asked.
“Seides,” said the bartender, “now put them away before someone sees!”
“Seides!” The bartender made a subtle verbal distinction that I could barely discern.
“Where did you get those?” The stout man spoke now. “Did Ardill send you? Where is he?”
“I found a man in the desert; he was dead. I took them, thought they were food.”
“Food!” both men exclaimed simultaneously
“Are you mad!”
“Did you eat any?” asked Cobrun
“No, too hard.”
“How many do you have there?” the stout asked.
“I didn’t count. Twenty. Maybe thirty.”
“Gods!” exclaimed Cobrun
“Ardill took thirty! The Seid must be outraged!”
“What are these things? And who was this man?”
” Ardill was a thief. And a liar,” spat Cobrun. ” No great loss. This fool Macrum sent him out into the Wasteland to steal from the…”
“He was a nomad and a good source of… those!” the man, obviously Macrum, indicated the pouch that I carried. “I didn’t send him anywhere. He said he knew a safe way across the the Great Waste.”
“Not safe enough. This man says he was dead.”
“Doesn’t matter, the seides are here. That’s all I care about. How much do you want for them?”
“I’ll offer you the same deal I gave Ardill. One thousand gold. For all of them.”
“Macrum!” injected Cobrun, “You’ll not cheat anyone in my bar. Each one of those is worth more than twice that!”
Marcrum shot Cobrun an annoyed look.
“You know better than to lie in my presence. What was your true deal with Ardill?”
“Twenty three hundred,” said Macrum relunctantly, “Each.”
“A low price for someone to risk the Wasteland and the anger of the Seid. But Macrum speaks the truth. He’ll probably turn around and sell them to the Blest-Hall Preists for four thousand. If you want your money you’d better go somewhere else to make the deal. Too many curious eyes in here”
“Wait! Ardill was to bring me ten or fifteen seides. I don’t have enough gold to buy all those.”
“What are seides!” I asked for the third time. Both men looked at me as if they could not believe the extent of my insanity.
“He doesn’t know.” said Macrum
“No, I don’t.”
“Tell him, Cobrun”
“Stranger, you’ve got a pouch full of the most valuable objects in the Twin Kingdoms. Most of the men in this bar would slit your throat just for one of them.”
“Yes, but what are they?”
“To the southwest, on the other side of the Great Waste, is a huge forest like no man has ever seen. Filled with carnivorous plants and dark, twisted beasts. A plant grows there, only there in that forest. It’s seeds are magic. Powerful. They can be used in alchemy to make gold. Or in potions…”
“Or in other things,” interrupted Macurm
“I’ll not speak of that, Macrum. You keep quiet. This plant is worshiped by the Seid who live in the forest. The Seid are,” the bartender hesitated, “not men. No man has seen one for many generations. They speak in dry clicks and move with a sound like the rustling of the wind in the trees. Strong as five men, but with brittle bones that can be broken like twigs. They worship this plant that their race is named after. They never leave the forest because they don’t want to be far from their plant-god. The Seid used to be friends of man, until men took a liking to the seeds of their sacred plant. Then they started slaughtereing every man who braved the Great Waste to reach their land. They’ll not be pleased with what Ardill has done.”
“He stole some of their sacred seeds to sell to Macrum?”
“Some? From the size of that pouch, he looks to have stolen damn near all of them. Each plant bears one, mabye two seeds every season.”
“Trust me, ” said Macrum, “these seeds are worth more to the alchemists and the Priests than they are to some crazed forest dwellers. There’ll be more seeds next year. Maybe you’d like to fetch some for me, seeing as how you managed to cross the Wasteland with your life intact.”
“But not his sanity. Not if he goes back in for the sake of your greed. I don’t know how Ardill crossed the Waste, or managed to get a hold of the Seides entire harvest, but I do know that there are some very angry….”
“And very far away, Cobrun. Very far away. Even if they did want to leave their forest, not even the Seid would try to cross the Wasteland just for some seeds.”
“You fool, Macrum. Isn’t that exactly what Ardill did? And he did it for greed. Don’t you think the Seid would do it for their gods”
“No. I don’t”
“You’d better hope Ardill left enough of those seides there to keep them happy.”
“Bah! Look, you want to sell or not?”
The more I learned about the contents of my pouch, the more I wanted to be rid of it. Apparently, I had walked out of the Wasteland with something more valuable than gold. Tales of alchemy and wierd creatures would ordinarilly bend the limits of credibility, but, in light of what I had already seen, I was even more eager to have the Seides out of my possession.
“I’ll sell them. Just give me what you have.”
“No,” injected Cobrun, “Just because you don’t have nothing now doesn’t mean you should cheat yourself. He’ll give you what they’re worth. He can get it.”
Macrum scowled and shot a venomous look at Cobrun.
“You’ll not be cheatin’ people in this bar, Macrum. You know better.”
“Two days,” the trader said reluctantly. “I’ll have to travel to the Monastary. Someone there will lend me money.”
“Until then, you can stay here,” said Cobrun, “where I can look after you.”
“Deal?” Macrum extended his hand.
I nodded in confused agreement, and shook the trader’s clammy hand. He quickly left the bar and headed up the steps to the street. I was left to ponder what I had just agreed to.
“You could make a lot more if you sold to the Priests,” interrupted Cobrun
“But it’s good that you don’t. You don’t want to tarnish your soul with their dealings.”
“What about Macrum?”
“He’s already got his share of black marks. He’ll loose nothing he hasn’t already lost.”
“You don’t like him?”
“I deal with him out of respect for his family. Respectable men. Honest traders. His brother has dealings as Blest-Hall, but not with the Priests.”
“What is Blest-Hall? Is that the Monastary?”
“No. Blest-Hall is ten days from here. East. Grayshar is the Monastary just over the border on the path the Blest-Hall.”
I sighed in confusion.
“You’ll need your rest. Maybe your memory will return after a night’s sleep.”
“I slept out there. It didn’t help.”
“Sleep isn’t sleep in the Wasteland. It’s a slow death. Come, I’ll take you upstairs.”
“Who’ll watch your tavern?”
“Kord will see to it.”
“My helper, Kord. There.” Cobrun pointed to a nondescript shape sitting at one of the tables. “Kord!,” he called. “Kord, wake up!”
The shape grunted and stood, rising to a towering seven foot height. Kord was draped in tattered rags that hung loosly off of his emmense bulk. A dust cloud rose from his garments and seemed to follow him as he shuffled towards the bar. Kord’s skin was pale grey, his face was a blank mask that framed expressionless eyes. A musky, burnt smell came to my nose, and increased to almost stifling intensity as he drew near.
“Kord, watch the bar while I

[end of file]

Yes, the file really does in the the middle of a sentence. I’ve got a huge pile of notes about this world and this story, and somewhere I’ve even got another story fragment… not about THIS guy, but the beginning of a completely different tale in the same setting. I’ll post it if I find it. The general gist of this story was that this poor guy hooks up with what remains of the resistance, gets captured, gets tortured, hears about another man from his world that visited this places ages ago, escapes, goes on the run while looking for clues to what happened to that other guy, re-activates some ancient technology that teleports him to the other side of the planet… and so on… There really WAS no end, the story just went from bad to worse to even WORSE for this guy.

It actually sounds kinda fun, now that I think about it.


  1. WeREwOLf, September 23, 2007:

    Man I wish you’d continue this one. Just as one question gets answered, two more are raised, making me wanna read more of the story and find out what the hell is goin’ on. You must’ve been channeling J.J. Abrams when ya wrote this. :)

  2. DarkIcon, September 23, 2007:

    The “seeds” are eggs. He stole their children. You can imagine the kind of shit-storm that happens next.

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