Jul 06, 2022 8:48 PM
An unsuspecting box finds itself in the Serpent Isles
+ Show First Post
Total: 286
Posts Per Page:
Permalink

She sticks to keeping the road in sight while carefully staying off of it. Now she’s fairly sure she’s on the correct island, which means she won’t have to pick up amateur box sailing again. This is for the best, really.

When she’s spotted by one of the locals, she stiffens and watches him warily. Really? No attacking? She’s torn between slipping off like she hadn’t been seen and trying to talk. After a brief debate, she decides to go with talking, on the basis that she’d like to get hostilities out of the way now instead of later. Since she’s relatively close to her box, here, and can escape if she needs to.

“… Hello?” she ventures, a little tentatively.

Permalink

 

 

 

"...Denna?" the man asks, his voice low and raspy but understandable enough.

Permalink

“… No, I’m afraid not.”

Permalink

"Denna," he moans, then shakes his head and takes a step towards her. "Where... Denna!"

And he lunges at her, quicker than the zombies elsewhere have been moving, not unnaturally so but just as quick as a human would be when they had no concern for their own wellfare and just wanted to kill.

Permalink

Her hand reaches for her amulet, and she pulls it off herself (through the neck, not over the head; she does not need to be entirely corporeal) and then tosses it behind him.

And then her body disappears and the dead man is left grasping air.

Permalink

He blinks at her sudden disappearance, then falls to his knees and starts crying.

Permalink

 


… she should leave, probably. Keep going. Find the center of this mess.

But the entire reason she’s here is to figure out what’s going on, and this… does not seem like a mindless soldier being used as an instrument of war. This seems like someone confused and in pain. And maybe she should play along with his delusion, see where it goes.

She remanifests behind him, and steps towards him and touches his shoulder.

“… Hey,” she murmurs, softly. “It’s me, Denna.”

Permalink

He whirls around, looking like a complete mess, then blinks at her several times in a row, trying to clear out the tears.

"Denna? Is - is it really - but - I saw you - die -" He lifts one hand to his temple as if suddenly suffering from a very strong migraine, and he squeezes his eyes shut and groans in obvious pain. His voice echoes, as if it's not entirely being produced by his vocal chords.

Permalink

“I’m okay now,” she murmurs gently, patting his shoulder some more. Then, uh. Okay, it seems like he’s getting confused again, but that started to get somewhere, didn’t it. Hm. “… Let’s go home.”

Permalink

"...I don't remember. Denna, where - where's home -"

Permalink

“Shhhh. It’s okay,” she soothes, before he starts to panic again. “I’m here.”

And then she can hug him, because damn does it seem like he needs it.

Permalink

He hugs her back, tightly -

- he pulls away, looks at her with dawning horror -

- starts squeezing her shoulders and shaking his head hard. "You're not Denna. You - lied - you're not Denna!"

The cry sends a magical wave that throws her back several feet and immediately alerts all the other undead in the area. While the man clutches his head and screams and screams and screams, other creatures start quickly approaching.

Permalink

Okay, bad plan!

How about her backup plan of running away, will that get her chased?

(She runs inland, because if she’s going to pull another sneaky amulet throwing trick, she’d like them all pointed in the correct direction to be fooled by it.)

Permalink

She's absolutely chased, yeah.

Not all undead are zombies, although the majority certainly are. And not only human zombies - there's dogs and cats and rats and birds and - but mostly humans. And then there's the wights, the areas of visible distortion that only sometimes resemble physical beings and only sometimes are coherent enough to chase her. Those are less good at it.

And then there's the weird edge cases. A centaur with the lower body replaced by that of a bull, a zombie that has arms coming out of its neck instead of a head, a creature that looks like an artist's rendition of what the ghost of a werewolf would look like. Those seem even more insistent than the zombies and more willing to chase her as far as they can, while the zombies themselves often reduce to fighting each other and forget that she exists.

Permalink

Hmm. Interesting categories, here.

Amulet throwing trick! Perpendicular to where she’d been running. And then her body can disappear and her amulet can harmlessly land in the dirt and be still and beneath notice.

What does this do?

Permalink

Some of the smarter undead do notice the throwing of the amulet, but they don't immediately associate it with her upcoming disappearance, and by the time any of them wonders at it they've lost track of its trajectory and don't know where it's gone. They try to chase after it anyway, but after a few minutes of failure give up.

Permalink

That’s concerning, but she can be patient. She’ll just be a harmless bit of jewelry and wait for them to get bored and go away. Nothing to see here, anyone.

Permalink

There do seem to be a few small groups of undead that don't attack each other and instead only attack outsiders, and those seem to be a lot more goal-driven and are the ones that look the longest. But they, too, stop searching and go back to walking in random directions.

Permalink

She waits until nobody’s looking in her direction again, and then she picks herself back off of the dirt and resumes walking. Keeping faaaaar away from everyone she can.

Permalink

The road that goes directly towards the capital passes through what used to be a farm, or at least probably used to be a farm. It's definitely going to have undead in it.

Permalink

Mmmm. She doesn’t like this, but so many people are suffering in front of her, and maybe she could fix it.

She has, during her time asleep, been: dropped off a cliff, chewed on by a wild animal, and crushed beneath a landslide. She has been carried around for decades doing who knows what, by a mad undead that was part of an undead pirate crew, and then her carrier was beaten to a pile of gore and she’d been taken as a prize. These are only the things she personally remembers; there was a lot longer before that she wasn’t even a little awake for. The amulet, she was fine each time. Her body is even less of a concern; the captain she ‘stole’ herself from tried shooting her, several times. It just harmlessly went through her. So… she should, in theory, be okay.

She can do this. If she just walks purposefully and doesn’t try to lie to anyone, maybe she will be beneath notice.

Permalink

 

 

 

 

 

 

The farm is actually empty. At least, nothing tries to get her.

Huh.

Permalink

Good! That’s how she likes it. She’ll just keep purposefully walking, then. Still not on the road, but where she can see it.

Permalink

A few minutes after she's out of sight of the farm, though, there's a noise like a hunting horn.

And before she can react, a net of woven cord is thrown at her out of nowhere, its fibers glowing green with powers of the Black Mist. From behind dead trees and rocks and shrubbery that are absolutely not large enough for this, several zombies come out, their cloaking magic dispelled as they surround her.

Permalink

Well this is alarming, and pencil her down as ‘alarmed.’

Still, she’s more curious than scared. This clearly a planned ambush. What are they going to do with her now that they have her? If she just sits quietly and is captured?

Total: 286
Posts Per Page: