So I’m alone again. And it’s dark. But it’s not night time yet so this mystical orange glow is filtering into the forest in places, making it look even more magical and otherworldly.
Yet again, I have to remind myself that this is what it kinda all is - magical. A simulated, man-made interpretation of nature’s game. Hardly real? DIscuss...
I follow the river by just walking… I want to continue the freedom I was seeking before.
But I’m moving more sluggishly. I practice just one focus jump - up onto a tree branch and then launch off again, cruising downwards. I love the descent. So cool. I manage to land really well this time, onto a rock like I was supposed to before, to cross the plain. But it doesn’t work again. My power is all good, but my energy is just too low, just as was advised, and because it’s late in the day.
My mind still burns from the heavy payload of ‘awareness’ about this place that Gunn just dropped on me. However, I’m not too worried about ‘getting it all’ just yet. I know that if a game is good enough - and the player’s intention is true - then events should start to teach me how to balance its particular forces. And on top of this, he’s right. I need my intention to stay true. To ‘play a good game’. Mistakes may occur. But at least I feel a bit more prepared now. Certain phrases he uttered through this twilight are still resonating…
‘I have died many times… Messengers are needed... Though you - too - can get caught up in it…’
I know what I’m really wanting to do though: find my first subject; for an attempt at this transformation business. I’ve already eyed up a few dragonflies.
I want to master these powers as much as I can before I encounter anyone else, any village or whatever… or any more Stoker-dudes…
But then, you know what? I realise it’s me who’s really feeling tired - my mind. I really should take a break. Shut down.
And it’s not such a bad time. I only need to find a space against a tree to throw my avatar down. It seems pretty safe. There’s only trees in every direction except for the river. One way or the other, I made it… here… as was advised.
I position myself so I’ll stay leaning against a tree, watching the water, safely, when I re-enter the game in the morning. I wrap my cloak around my stomach and across part of my legs.
I spend a little time looking up at the stars coming out in the clear spaces at the pointing ends of the long tree-trunks. The stars of Fountellion, let me try and tell you, are bright and busy and as fascinating as in reality. It’s getting quieter. But then a sound comes and it’s a very real-sounding wolf howl. Nothing cheesey. It hangs for awhile in the air and then fades and it makes me wonder if my avatar will be half-eaten mess or if i’ll be very rudely - and savagely - woken up. At least it was a distant howl. I decide I’m too tired not to just take the risk this time.
But It’s something I’ll have to check with Greenwise when I summon him in the morning, along with the other items on my list. ‘Where is the best place to sleep?’ In this...village I guess, if I ever find it.
I ‘Increase Hearing’ by raising one finger and listen to bird sounds and the louder water from the river flowing over virtual rocks. I think I can hear something like an owl hoot, some distance away. It makes me feel very calm, and want to stay.
But it’s time to call it a day. I make the T-gesture and start slipping out of my avatar, drifting up, leaving it as an outline as everything fades. Nice touch. A nice feeling too. Of my mind leaving the settings of this fabric.
Back in my flat - and out of the trainer - I feel sluggish also. But I manage a mug of tea and can hardly register the evening beyond; my grubby view of other apartments opposite - the darkening windows into these doll houses where we live. A couple of black flies are ascending the pane, dropping down then starting again.
I sort things out and crash out pretty quickly on my bed. I’ll be back in the game at that location at about 7am in the morning. Also, the visor’s set to wake me up and show me my position - in my sleep-gear - should any events occur before I can fully suit up and ‘dive’ back in.
It’s funny though… you know the last thing my mind lingers on, besides the lightness of super-jumping - reaching the highest point of the jump? It’s that lifeless damselfly, falling out of Gunn’s grubby hands… Then I think of... empty tattoo marks… and nothingness...
INTO THE HIGH TREE FOREST
LOCATION: Further up into the island, in the High Tree Forest, following the river.
TIME: Morning. After first acclimatisation.
It is bright morning and the player wakes up next to the sound of water passing over rocks, and with all the beauty that comes with light mixing with water.
Your avatar moves easily with a restored quantity of energy, and the player is able to spend time jumping across the river, revelling once more in this sensation.
But the mystery of the High Tree Forest depths is calling, with its huge, towering mix of tall pine, cedar and larch trees swaying in the breeze.
Soon Greenwise reappears or is summoned, as the player depletes in energy or is awoken, in order to learn of the second power, and to learn more about survival.
DIALOGUE WITH GREENWISE
If the player has encountered the Stokermen then this can be discussed...