Hinterlands, part VII - Ysgard

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Just SurvivingHinterlands, part VII - YsgardCopyright © 2000 by Sheula Ralom'pa

Second Guild of DecadreI've picked this of all days to leave for Glorium, because tomorrow is Taker's Day. No sod with a registered exploration contract stays in town for that. Ysgard is unpredictable, and I've managed to garnish one of the hill-giant berks that've been trying to rent a space near our lovely Gym to come with me. Promised him a bit of jink and a good workout.

Second Clerk of DecadreWe took a direct portal to Glorium in the Lower Ward. Right now there's an archery tournament going on. Grogn wants to stay and watch, but I threatened him with the jink, so he's coming now. He may be big and strong, but he's a sodding leatherhead.

Third Lady of DecadreToday we came across a town. Strangely, Grogn couldn't see it until we were maybe ten minutes' walk away. The town lies in what appears a state of liveable destruction. It is sizable, perhaps larger than Glorium itself. Unlike most burgs I've been to, there are no neighborhoods of differing prosperity here; it's all equally entropic.

As we walked along, none of the bodies paid us any attention, save for a small child who fled upon seeing Grogn. Every single building lies in a state of partial collapse. Some are missing walls; others have a huge hole in the middle that creates a pit going down at least twenty feet. The ones with pits have holes in their ceilings as well. Some of the woods and metals are rotted and rusted, the streets are littered with debris from the buildings, small pieces of skin, nails, I even saw a finger lying in the gutter, seemingly beckoning to us with its twisted shape. When I pointed it out to Grogn, he ate it. Shame.

The street is made with sturdy stone, and solidified mud, maybe from a Mud to Stone. There are potholes everywhere, some nary an inch long, some twenty feet in diameter. The chimneys on some of the buildings are half fallen away, their doors missing or half there.

Don't even get me started on the people! What a sodding massacre! They don't seem bent on attacking us, and that's the only reason I've stayed my aggression. They all look like barmy zombies. The young, the old, they are horrifying. Some have limbs bent in impossible directions, flabs of skin missing from various places. There is no blood, only a visage of blue flesh, with flies resting on the fresher wounds. The shops all have fallen away signs; the shopkeepers carry injuries synonymous of their trade. One baker has a burn scar that looks like a loaf of bread. Some of the sods are missing pieces altogether, a crushed face, a limb missing; its presence marked only by the join bone, sticking gratuitously out of the skin.

When I gathered the courage to speak to a more together-looking inn-owner, he explained to me that it is nothing unusual, people here have looked like this for generations. To emphasize his words, I will transcribe them.

Me: Excuse me for saying this, but why do all your bodies look like this?

Shopkeeper: It's all nature. The poles come down, and while they hurt, we just get up and continue with our lives.

Me: What are the poles?

Sk: They are coming tomorrow, you will see.

I could pry no more information out of him.

Third Hive of DecadreIs this what they call tomorrow? We have taken to actually buying their indigestible provisions, simply for the reason that they have a 100-hour day. Sodding berks, fools. I shouldn't be like that, but I'm just hungry.

Third Low of DecadreWell, today was the day that tomorrow came. That sounds funny, but it was serious. After staying at the inn for these days without night [the innkeeper wanted no garnish, they have no use for money, it seems] - about 4 peak, I heard "It's starting, it's starting."

All the people went to hide. Suddenly, a big thundering crash was heard about halfway across town, and a multitude of groans. About a minute later, I felt the same impact, but down the street. Grogn and I rushed to save the people from whatever it was. What I saw moved me to nausea. Ten or some people, some crushed together, some with bones sticking out, all with a plethora of injuries lay crumpled in the street. I tried to tend to them, but none of my spells worked. We saw that no one else was trying to help the people.

Then they came. Monstrous, gigantic feet. They jumped, they crushed, and they stumbled all around. Grogn said they were feet; I don't give a cranium rat what they were. I think I landed in between a toe once in all the tossing around. Each step, each vibration tossed me ten feet in the air, only my tumbling ability saved me from being phased so much that I'd be crushed the next time. I quickly ran inside the first house I could get to, leaving a bewildered Grogn cursing me in the street. One foot crushed the opposite side of the house from the side I was at, terrifying me senseless. I froze, unable to move. A kick, or perhaps it was a flick cleared away the roof. I stared up, seeing a leg, a pole, something, reaching high above the clouds, so high that I could not see where it began, if it began at all. Then it all stopped. The people emerged, unfazed in the streets. Shaking myself off, I walked out. Most of the population was lying crushed.

I asked a nearby woman "Do you not mourn your dead?"

"Dead?" she replied, hurrying away to do some unknown task.

I walked along for about a half hour, until I came to Grogn's dead, lifeless body, a large husk in the street. While I stared at the giant, and wondered what his friends would do to me once we got back, I heard some sound behind me

I turned around, fearful that the "Poles" from which I had escaped were back. Instead, I saw a berk who I thought was dead, her ribs crushed, her leg a watery pile of goop, just get up. Even without her leg, she moved fine. She called to her pet, a small banshee who was missing a paw, but also got up and limped away. All over the burg, injured deaders just got up and went back to their daily routines, not a hint of confusion among them. I whispered a small prayer to Arvoreen, and proceeded to get out of there as quickly as I could.

Fourth Clerk of DecadreToday, starving and shattered, I made it back to Glorium. I managed to get a decent meal, but I don't have enough jink to pay for passage to the nearby Sigil portal. A tiefling named Gashy has promised to let me recuperate, then I can work for him, try and make the money.

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