Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Day Three-Hundred-Seventeen: It's that darned plot again

Holy crap, diary. The rats made themselves comfortable in a damned hurry. A DAMNED hurry. And they're already back to their old tricks.

I didn't mention them at all yesterday, you may have noticed, and that's 'cause I didn't see them. Not a single peep from those furry little buggers. I wasn't surprised; they were probably busy setting up their new accommodations in the town somewheres. I figured it best not to tell everyone that the town is now home to a horde of super-intelligent vermin, and I'll keep that secret 'til the rats decide to show themselves in earnest.

Well, they DID show themselves. Today. To me. They've already been hella busy. I'd say their new home is even better developed than aboveground Pubton.

I was approached by one of the rats shortly after a visit to Morris' dairy farm. Morris is a friendly dude, and I like chatting with him while he brushes and feeds the cows. The rat crawled onto my shoulder as soon as I was he of sight, tugged on my ear to announce its presence, and, after picking itself up off the ground - yeah, I mighta freaked a bit - it guided me to some tall grass on the edge of town.

Wish it'd been more specific regarding where I should walk, though. I fell right into the giant hole the rats had somehow burrowed in the dirt.

I slid, the rat scurrying in after me. When I got my bearings I realized that I was in a narrow, but not too narrow, series of tunnels. They snaked this way and that, leading to dead ends and other entrances set up in a wide circle around the town's perimeter. I had to bite my lip to avoid crying out in horror, as the walls reminded me entirely too much of the hole where I died.

The rat, waving me ahead, led me through the darkness -

- down, down, around, along a weaving path -

- towards a golden light -

- and when I reached said light, I gasped most mightily. I was staring at the roots of the golden tree.

Up top, the golden tree isn't much bigger than a normal elm. Only way it stands out is 'cause it's golden, which is a hell of a way to stand out. Below the tree, however, the shining roots are absolutely MASSIVE, thickening considerably once they get under the dirt and spreading far deeper into the earth than I could hope to see. They also snake out in all directions horizontally, and in and under these roots the rats have made their new home, a series of naturally-formed dens and holes in the tree that look quite comfortable. Not quite as nice or developed as what they had back in the castle, but definitely impressive.

My guide steered me to a clearing in the roots where most of the rats waited. He joined the pack, they formed up into a cluster, and Philip appeared in their midst. He looked more annoyed than anguished this time, and far less human.

"Hey, Dragomir," he said, sneering as he waved. "The little pricks have a message for you."

I gawked. "Cripes. Philip? That you? Like, actually you?"

"Yeah." He paused to dig at his ghostly nose. "They used up a lot of juice makin' this dumb hole. I get to talk for myself for once. Great afterlife, innit?"

I nodded, slowly, tugging at my tunic. "Uh, yeah, sure. Hey, look, I'm sorry -"

"Ahh, shut up." Philip looked away. "What's done is done. Can't change it, not like with you, I guess. Not EVERYBODY has a save game."

"A what?"

"They want ya to know what's happening," Philip cut in. "They wanna tell you some stuff. 'bout the shadow things."

My throat tightened. I'd been fearing this. The bubble that had built up around my efforts - finding a place to live, settling in, creating a community, living like a happy family - faltered and burst. It was time to return to reality, crappy, shady reality, the reality where I'd fucking died on the point of my daughter's sword.

"What are they?" I asked, looking more at the rats than Philip.

"They're imbalance," Philip muttered. "They're things that weren't meant to exist. The creators locked 'em away, these little bastards tell me, and some treacherous asshole defied their wishes and set the lot loose on the world."

"The Baron." My fists clenched.

Philip shook his head. "Nah. I mean, yeah, more or less, but nah. Not the first time. Something else set 'em loose the first time."

"The first time? This's happened before?"

Philip sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose with his wavering fingers. "Look, hell, I'll just let you talk to them. It's easier. They keep tellin' me not to say things, 'n it's bugging me. Stand by, here they come."

Philip went rigid, his face slackening and his mouth dropping open. I knew the look. Poor guy, he used to be so nice when he was alive. Death really changes a man.

"Dragomir," he said, and his voice was now overlapped by a thousand other voices, "they are the chaos of this world. They come from beyond, from a pocket of the void, where they were meant to remain for all time - because all they can do is destroy. They are imbalance, and we are balance. Do you understand?"

"Not hardly, no."

Philip paused, the rats twitching beneath his face, as if in contemplation. "Very well. We understand that our language is abstract -"

"Then why don't you talk plain, for once?" I felt a headache coming on. I'd forgotten that rats could be so wonderfully cryptic. Guess they were like that even before The Baron was fucking with their brains.

"- so we will simply tell you that you are on the right path. This community is the base of a great wave that will rise up and smother the darkness, one day, and restore balance to the world. All you need to do is build that wave… and when the time comes, lead it to victory."

That really got me going. "Oh, come on! You don't mean to say that I'm stuck in this destiny shit AGAIN, do you? Are you gonna mess up my life? I want things to be normal! I'm not a fucking leader, no more'n a mayor! I can't lead anyone to victory, or whatever! Just leave me alone!"

"We can't," the rats concluded as Philip faded. "The fate of the coming war is in your hands."

I muddled over that, cursing in the glow of the tree's roots, punching the ground. I'd been caught by destiny again, and I was fuming over the fact that the damned rats were the ones delivering the message. AGAIN.

I fumed for a moment longer before asking one last question. "Can you at least tell me what I should work on next? I can't make up my mind."

Philip didn't form, but his voice, caught by the rats, spoke out in the darkness. "Sorry, we don't understand the human concept of residential planning. Your homes are silly."


Dragomir the Mayor

1 comment:

  1. In this ultimate battle of good vs evil, and imbalance vs balance...can I maaaaaaybe...I dunno...get my own legion of Sloth Riding Trumpeteer Warriors? Our battle cry would be inspired from my most wisest of phrases..."THIS IS MIND BLOWINGLY AWESOME AND I WISH I HAD A PICTURE!".

    Joking aside...this is interesting...very interesting...this dog keeps staring at me, and he won't leave me alone...oh...and the whole plot revelations were neat...I guess...(Seriously though...awesome stuff!).