|Probably Mostly Photos... and now and again some writing... as I could not draw to save my life.|
Chapter 27: The Blood Moon A Skeleton! Oh God... he... it... Skeleton! I was having a hard time thinking... a hard time breathing even, I was... running? The last clear thought I had was that I had to get away from... It's impossible, I didn't see... there must have been some kind of... Skeleton...Chapter 27: The Blood Moon by SpyderZT
I was climbing, towards... that pull. I didn't want to go, there was just too much... This was wrong... Skeletons can't talk... No Lungs... Larynx... Lips... They couldn't appear out of thin air either... Why do I feel pulled this way? The sun was most of the way down, where had the time gone? The plateau with the small shack was not too far ahead. It felt right, like I belonged there. My throat was raw... Was I screaming? I could see the light coming out of the small hole in the back of the structure... Why was it so dark? I came around the front of the building and threw myself through the door, collapsing as
Chapter 26: Corruption's Touch Getting up, he continued on his way to the other structure, knowing as he did that he had no reason to expect this new person to be there, but having no idea where else to look. And what do I say when I find her? Hi, do you know how to get out of this place? Oh, by the way, some guy went running out to get eaten by zombies a few nights ago, but he said your name as he left. He's probably dead now, but don't worry about it, let's just focus on getting back to where we belong. That would go over well...Chapter 26: Corruption's Touch by SpyderZT
Reaching the structure, he wasn't surprised to find it empty once more. He decided that since someone else was going to be staying here though... that he should probably straighten it up a bit. Walking over to the furnace, he pulled his hammer out and struck it with the intent to move it. *Thump* Nothing. Frowning at it, he was certain Guile had told him the hammer would move the furnace, so trying to imagine the thing moving again, he swung his hammer once more.
Chapter 25: A Whole New World Breathing... he had breathing back. That was good. He took a deep breath and released it, simply enjoyed the sensation of air coursing through his lungs. Feeling? Was that the ground beneath him? He tried moving something... no? Too soon. He went back to breathing. "....b..re..a..k.. th...e.. h...e...ar...t..." the words still echoed in the... darkness? Where was this?Chapter 25: A Whole New World by SpyderZT
How long had he been out? Where was he now? What was that noise? These were all likely very important questions. But all he knew was that breathing was nice... It was almost as if the entire world had been held together by that heart. Hitting it brought him here... wherever here was... he could hear dark whispering at the corner of his consciousness... but it was muted, as if coming from a great distance, or passing through a buffer...
He tried opening his eyes... nope. Even though he could feel the warmth of the Sun on his face, it was still too ear
Chapter 24: An Introduction of Course"Dear friends and family, we are gathered here today..."Chapter 24: An Introduction of Course by SpyderZT
I was too excited to follow everything he was saying. I knew that this was the moment, the time where all my attention should be on my future, but beyond just my excitement, that strange headache that had been following me for the past few weeks was worse now than it had been in some time. I could only hope that it wasn't showing on my face how much pain I was actually in... but if this were any other day, I probably wouldn't have even left the house. As it stood, it was getting more and more difficult to focus on what was going on around me. I was honestly afraid I'd miss my cue, and we'd run through rehearsal at least a dozen times already...
"...let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your soul. Fill each others'...
Were the lights suddenly getting brighter? I couldn't tell... but they certainly seemed brighter. Somehow I managed to stumble through the reading of my vows. It was a good t
Chapter 23: Everything Changes Finishing off the slime, he removed the second wooden platform from the wall and continued on. That ledge beyond the top of the dirt staircase hadn't contained anything of particular interest, as it was more a nook than a continuation of the passage like he'd initially thought. There was a bit of stone up there however, and he collected enough to ensure he could build the oven when he went back to his cave. After that he collected the wood used to get himself up there he continued downward instead, pulling a torch out as he moved to the edge of the light from his last torch.Chapter 23: Everything Changes by SpyderZT
Before going too far he came across another open cavern, with water at the far end and a path that looped back heading further down. This looks familiar, he thought to himself. But then, all these tunnels did. Moving over to the edge of the water, he noticed two pots sitting in water that would only come up to his calf, and decided it was worth it to wade over to them. Both of them only co
|Probably Mostly Photos... and now and again some writing... as I could not draw to save my life.|
|This is my project for the year. 1 Shot a day, and approximately 2-3 Paragraphs written with each post. I intend to focus on "Portrait Shots", but we'll see where the year takes me.|
|I'm going to start providing the kind of feedback I would love to receive when I do work that I'm looking for an opinion on.|
And to anyone who may have received one of my Critiques, I do not believe in the "I like it, so it's all 5's" mentality that seems to permeate most reviewers. A 5 in my mind means that I cannot imagine better, or there is nothing you could possibly work on, which obviously should be a very infrequent thing. On my Scale:
0 = Terribad, and why did I assault myself with this critique
1 = Very Poor, there is not only room for improvement, but you should probably learn from the experience of others. I'm not quite sure what was going on here.
2 = Poor, I can see what you were trying to do, but it's not very well done. Keep practicing though.
3 = Good, You executed your idea.
4 = Very Good, You executed your idea with style, and possibly a visual panache that causes it to stand out.
5 = Excellent, Wow, I am not only floored by this, but I'm learning as I write, and I could only wish that your talent were a teachable thing.
So please, do not misunderstand.
I am What and Who I am.|
I'm also 'Finally' updating this blurb to better reflect the manner in which I am currently using this site. ;? Primarily you'll find pictures from my 365 Day Challenge (Outlined to the left there) here, intermixed with whatever other creative urges take me. I had originally wanted to do mostly portrait shots, as those are the shots I prefer, but I don't have a large enough pool of willing models to do so. (I have to twist the arms of those around me to get them to agree to a shot.)
So I've 'Deviated' (*Ba, Dum, Tish*) from that, and what you see is what you get. Also, as this year is a "Learning" exercise, and my 'Primary' focus is actually getting the writing each day... I cannot ask you to expect 'Too Much' from my photos.
"Tools of the Trade": fav.me/d60v06u
A Skeleton! Oh God... he... it... Skeleton! I was having a hard time thinking... a hard time breathing even, I was... running? The last clear thought I had was that I had to get away from... It's impossible, I didn't see... there must have been some kind of... Skeleton...
I was climbing, towards... that pull. I didn't want to go, there was just too much... This was wrong... Skeletons can't talk... No Lungs... Larynx... Lips... They couldn't appear out of thin air either... Why do I feel pulled this way? The sun was most of the way down, where had the time gone? The plateau with the small shack was not too far ahead. It felt right, like I belonged there. My throat was raw... Was I screaming? I could see the light coming out of the small hole in the back of the structure... Why was it so dark? I came around the front of the building and threw myself through the door, collapsing as I passed the entrance, and my last thought before being overcome by blackness was of landing on something soft that spasmed as all my muscles liquefied simultaneously.
There's no point... he thought over, and over again, None of it matters... the voice from the darkness, Guile's voice, it taunted him... All the threats, the warnings, he was not enough... he didn't understand enough... In the light, in the darkness... there is no escape... he was just going to lie here and...
The door came crashing open, and something attacked him. Even as far gone as he felt, he couldn't just lie there as he was assailed. Throwing his arms at whatever it was, he pushed it away from him roughly so that he could scramble away, and pulling his sword out he turned to defend himself from his position on the floor from... A woman?
Crumpled in a heap on the floor where he'd shoved her, near to the workbench, was a young fair skinned woman in a clean white dress, with a white cap emblazoned with a red cross tied into her bright blonde hair. He sat there staring at her for what would have been an embarrassing amount of time had she not been lying there so obviously unconscious.
Even so, he was uncomfortable sitting near the open door with a sword pointed at the second person that wasn't Guile he'd actually encountered in this place. Kathryn, the Nurse as Guile called her. She's hurt! he thought as he quickly put the sword away and crawled over to check on her. She was breathing, and really... she looked perfectly whole, unlike the gentleman from before. Thinking about that he suddenly realized that it was dark, too dark.
Scrambling to his feet he slammed the door shut and looked out the opening he'd left beside it. The sun was just passing the horizon and very soon, the restless dead would begin to stir. Suppressing a shudder, he knew the structure was proof against them and in any event, he now had someone else to protect. He could not spare the fear he'd otherwise allow himself... so he suppressed another shudder.
Looking back at the young woman, he wasn't sure what to do with her. Should he just let her lie there? It's not like any of the rest of the floor was any more comfortable. She was unnaturally splayed however, so he decided to settle her limbs in a more natural resting position. As soon as his hands touched her arms, she kicked out with her legs throwing him away from her and knocking her head against the workbench in the process.
"GooooW!" she scrambled away backwards towards the wall and shouted, "Stay away from me!"
Somebody was trying to attack me! Even half out of it and exhausted as I was I didn't need time to consider a response, I just kicked out with my legs pushing myself, "GooooW!" my head, the stool! Swinging my arms about to ensure my attacker wasn't already on me, I backed towards what I hoped was the wall.
"Stay away from me!" I shouted, not really expecting the kind of twisted person that would kidnap someone and bring them out to the middle of nowhere to listen, but I was running on adrenaline and instinct against a foe I'd still hadn't gotten a good look at, so it would have to do. I should have grabbed the bench...
"HA!" inappropriate a response as it was, I couldn't help it. The idea that anything was okay right now was patently ridiculous. Kidnapped, out in the middle of nowhere, talking Skeletons, and this nutjob was trying to comfort me?! "Ha-ha-ha-ha..." I laughed, more than a touch maniacally.
Forcing my eyes to focus through the ringing, I got my first look at my kidnapper. He was a mess. Filthy scraggly hair that could have been almost any color through all the dirt and grime, and rags, that may have at one time been clothing of some kind, hardly did anything to keep him decent. He was equally dirty, though otherwise appeared in good health, and the rags, upon minutely closer inspection, seemed to have been torn and ripped intentionally. Did some of that dirt looked suspiciously like dried blood? Adding to his strange attire was a metal shackle, the kind you'd see attached to a ball and chain in a low budget movie, attached to his right wrist, as if someone had attempted to chain this deranged individual, but had unfortunately failed in the effort.
For a moment, I could see something more, something... but then he took a step towards me and I snapped out of whatever that was, "Don't you dare!" I threatened him, braver than I felt, "I know it was you that brought me here!" I shouted.
The look on his face was enough to confirm my words. Surprise, followed by guilt, before he muttered, "I'm sorry. I didn't know... How did you?" he asked, hardly audible.
"The skeleton told me," I answered, gut dropping as I realized how ridiculous that sounded.
"Who?" he asked, completely unfazed by that revelation, "it was probably his fault! A voice told me to break the Heart Crystal, I didn't know that it would bring you here!" he shouted in defense of his actions.
It was no surprise that this guy was as deranged as the rest of the people I'd met out here, wherever here was. I needed to get out of this building, and... I didn't know what then, but I needed to...
"Kaaaathryyyyyn..." a voice, sounding at the same time familiar and nightmarish, like a cherished memory gone horribly sour came drifting in from outside. At the same time a sword, made entirely out of wood, appeared in my captors hand before he turned towards the small window beside the door, but not before a look that was at least half anger and half terror contorted his face.
Looking out the window of the structure he'd acquired from the Builder, he could feel the Blood Moon rising, and for the first time in as long as he could remember... the presence left him entirely alone. Falling to the floor weeping, not just for the sudden release he'd never expected to feel, but for the end of his last vestige of hope as the crimson light slowly coated the world. Though he was released temporarily, he knew where the presence was going, and the Builder was not ready.
He didn't know what he was looking at, or more accurately, he wasn't sure what was going on. Standing at the very edge of the plateau that the structure was now sitting on was the once well-dressed gentleman... or... what was left of him. His hat was in surprisingly good condition... it was just the rest of him that was more than a little worse for the wear.
His suit no longer qualified for that title, and with his skin missing in large portions on not only his face, but his body seen through the remnants of his clothing, it was clear that he was no longer among the living... though coated in a blood red light that seemed to cover everything in his field of vision he stood there nonetheless with an expression that was probably as close to a smile as the remains of his face could manage.
Rooted to the spot he wasn't sure how to respond, and the red glow coming... from the moon as the first sliver of it came cresting over the horizon seemed to pull at him in ways he was unprepared to resist. Which left him entirely unprepared when the nurse chose to act.
"Johnathan!" I yelled as I realized why the voice sounded so familiar. There was something... wrong, with his voice, but I recognized him anyway.
Getting up I took the risk of running past my captor and pushing through the door, I ran out into the strange red hued night as he attempted to grab at me. Pulling away, I stopped myself within arm's reach before running headlong into... Oh no...
"What's the matter Kathy?" he asked using the pet name only he had ever dared use, the voice coming out all wrong because he was... Oh god no...
He reached out quicker than I could evade him and pulled me against his ruined body. The suit he'd been wearing at our ceremony hung in tatters around him, in worse condition even than the rags my captor had been wearing. The rest of him was in no better condition. It looked as if he had been picked apart by some kind of violent creature and beyond that, there was a... wrongness that was uncomfortably familiar radiating from him. I could almost feel the same... wrongness in the chillingly blood red light of the moon.
Putting his ruined face beside mine, he whispered directly into my ear, "Don't you still love me?"
Struggling, I tried desperately to push away from my fiancé... my husband. While I knew there was something wrong with him, if I could just...
"Truly Fleshling?" he spoke in a raised voice over my shoulder, tightening his grip as he did, "Do you truly believe yourself a match for this vessel for my will?"
"I don't know what you're up to," my captor shouted at Johnathan, "But let her go!"
In a movement that was as terrifying as it was unexpected, Johnathan flipped me over his head, knocking the top hat we'd purchased only the night before the wedding off in the process. Firmly gripping my arms to keep me from falling or breaking loose, he held me upside down over the side of the plateau and the sight below me was enough to fully engage what little terror I still had in reserve.
Standing in congregation at the bottom of the climb to the little building was a mass of people washed in the bloody light... no that wasn't right, creatures that had maybe once been people, each one more grotesque than the last. Pieces, and sometimes all of, their flesh were missing and just as many had boney appendages where their hands or feet should have been. It took me a moment to realize that the screaming I was hearing was my own, and it was all I could do to keep from succumbing to the terror of it all and allowing darkness to pull me into its final dance.
He wasn't sure what to do. Guile's voice was coming out of the Well Dressed Gentleman, and he was holding Kathryn over the edge of the plateau. If he lunged at him, he risked her being dropped, but he couldn't just stand there doing nothing while she was screaming upside down in his hands.
"If you wish," the Gentleman, no Guile speaking through the Gentleman, said in a voice that he could feel resonating in all the feeble parts of his will. He'd seen his Guide's strange presence before, and that same darkness was radiating powerfully from the Gentleman... stronger really than he'd ever experienced, and it took him a moment before he realized why. The moon... it was somehow contributing to the wrongness that the Gentleman radiated. He wasn't entirely sure how he knew that... until Guile's words from earlier came back to him, Tonight my touch upon the world will be felt by all the creatures that walk beyond the reach of the sun, and you... must forge your worth in the light of my moon.
"Wait!" he shouted before the Gentleman threw her over the edge, "What do you want?" It was a stupid question, all Guile had ever shown interest in was toying with him but if he could figure out what the game was, perhaps he'd have a chance to save her from it.
She was kicking and screaming against his hold, but he showed no sign that he even noticed her efforts as he answered, "Want Fleshing? What I want is release from my imprisonment in this pitiful construct. What I want is absolute dominion over all that is. For now however," he pulled her back over his head, throwing her at him in the same motion, "I'll settle for a more base pleasure," he ended before lunging at the two of them.
There was no time to recover from having the nurse thrown into him, still kicking and screaming as if nothing would ever calm her again, before the Gentleman was on top of them. The wrongness was overpowering at this distance, and as the Gentleman's clawed grasp dug into the flesh of his arms, pinning the nurse between them, he struggled to move from beneath her so that he could safely use his sword.
"Tell me Fleshling," the Gentleman taunted in an almost conversational way, Guile's voice unaffected as he bit into the Nurses shoulder, increasing the fervor of her thrashing, but having no noticeable effect on their assailant, "are you prepared to return to the darkness of my embrace?"
He tried to ignore the taunting. Guile wanted to distract him and unless he focused, a task made more difficult by the pain on top of the wrongness radiating from the Gentleman, neither he nor the Nurse were likely to survive the night. They needed to get back into the structure, but he had to dislodge the Gentleman first. The sword was still within his grip, loose as it was, and with no other option but to trust to the weapon he attempted to flip it up towards the Gentleman.
The weapon responded. Coming up with a force that was far more than he could have possibly provided alone, the sword cut solidly into the Gentleman's shoulder, and as had occurred with the walking dead in the past, caused him to leap back from the blow. There was hardly time to fully appreciate the fact that the Gentleman was no longer on top of them before he was half pushing half dragging the Nurse into the doorway. Turning as she toppled through, he swung the sword once more at what he assumed would be the Gentleman in a continued assault. As the blade cut cleanly through the open air, he could feel his hastily constructed wall of self-control shudder ominously at the sight before him.
Leaping up over the edge of the Plateau behind the Gentleman in a grotesque acrobatic display were more of the walking dead than he had ever seen... an almost innumerable sum of them. And in the air above them swarmed an equally nightmarish cloud of the flying eyes, their trailing veins lashing about with a violent fervor. He almost lost his grip not only on the sword, but on his feeble self-control. Were it not for the sound of weeping behind him to remind him why he could not simply walk out to greet the mob with open arms, it was unlikely he'd have managed even that.
Standing before this mass of death was the Gentleman, his face once more twisted into what may have been a smile, his arm raised as if forestalling the massacre that haloed the swarm in a Blood Red Light.
"And now you see Fleshling, that your escape is impossible. I will allow you to come to me of your own volition," Guile's voice spoke from the Gentleman, "Drop that useless stick and enter now into my embrace."
It was terrible how tempting his offer was at that moment. An end to the constant pain and terror that had defined his life since he'd awoken in this place... but it wasn't just his life that would be affected anymore, and though he'd tensed unconsciously to move forward, he straightened his stance and shook his head as he responded, "Never." with far more conviction in his tone than he would have believed he had remaining.
"Hehehe..." the dark laughter seemed to come from the air between he and the Gentleman, seemed to come at once from every non-existent mouth in the mass of floating eyes, seemed even to pour like a slow wave from the shambling forms now seething behind the Gentleman waiting for some sign to break across the plateau washing even the hope of escape away in the ruby violence of the night.
The sound of it almost did what the sight did not, and again he felt himself tensed to move towards his inevitable end and the Gentleman's now open embrace. Using the very last of his resolve, he turned from the nightmarish scene before him and stumbling into the structure, threw the door closed behind him before collapsing to the floor inside.
"What are you doing!?" the Nurse screamed at him as she dragged the bench towards the door, "We need to barricade them out!" she was yelling, the horror that he felt inside manifest in her expression.
"The door..." he tried to respond as a hungry roar erupted from the mass of dead ready to break against their structure, "It keeps..." the sound of the Eyes pounding at the ceiling and walls provided a backdrop, "them out..." every opening had a grotesque mockery of what may have once been a human face, and brought in their hungry eager sounds...
With the first rap, the rest of the sound was quenched as if it had never been, leaving behind a silence that could be felt in the air.
The second rap consumed the emptiness, and tore across his already taut nerves as he turned from his place on the floor to face the door.
After the third rap the silence once more filled every open space, and was made grotesque in the presence of the once living faces now quietly filling the openings in ceiling and wall. As he watched, no more able to move than he could fly, the handle to the door turned and he watched as the door slowly opened inward, revealing the Gentleman standing just outside the structure. A moment that felt like an eternity passed as he just stared, before the silence was broken by Guile's voice.
The Groom, as he incoherently made the connection between the rags that had once clothed him and their purpose, now of all times, said to him, "Tonight, there is no safety in your walls," before stepping forward, the seething mass of the dead quivering behind him as if connected on some unseen thread. "Tonight, there is no safety... Anywhere."
As the last word passed the Groom's lips, the eerie silence broke, and the chaos that followed blurred the lines between what was being seen, what he felt, and what he heard. It was as if the very world around him had been holding its breath, and with those words, it now it exhaled a gust of violence and death that was far too large for the tiny shack he had hoped to hide in.
He was a fool to have believed that Guile would let him hide behind the door. From the first night he'd stayed within this structure he'd known this would happen. Guile had waited until he had something to lose... and now he struck. It would have been almost comical in a gallows humor kind of way... if he weren't certain that this would be their last night in Terraria.
The Groom simply stood there in the entrance, his ruined face wearing that mockery of a smile as the walking dead poured in behind him. Grabbing the Nurse, he pulled her behind him as he plunged his sword into Guile's puppet causing him to leap back towards the doorway. From there he tried to stop the dead from going around the oven, as that would put them behind him, but had to end up backing towards the Nurse instead.
In very short order he was beyond the point where he had any idea what was actually going on. His world had been reduced to a Wooden Sword and an endless stream of the Walking Flying Dead. There were bits of gore, some of which may have even belonged to him... or the Nurse, coating everything. As one once living creature was forcibly removed from him, two more were eagerly taking their place. And though the flying eyes were contentedly smashing whatever they could reach in the cacophony... That was as often the wall of death as it was him and his charge, which may have helped him as much as it hurt. In fact, were it not for the confined space and thankfully the chairs that the Nurse had grabbed making every movement difficult, and not just his own, he was certain this would have already been over...
My kidnapper pulling me away from facing Johnathan broke me from my paralyzed state, but there was little I could do in the chaos that followed. More creatures that looked to have once been alive began filing in, and coming in above them were giant floating eyes. If I hadn't already moved past my threshold for fear, that would have done it.
As much as I didn't want to trust this guy, the fact that he was standing between me and a putrid assembly of dangerous creatures was enough for me to do so... at least for the moment. Grabbing the chairs set at the back of the room, I was pressing myself as far into the corner as I could get, keeping the chairs between me and the creatures.. And though this combined with the ragged looking crazy person wielding a sword did manage to keep the bipedal horrors from tearing into me, it did nothing to prevent the eyes from their assault.
Something as soft as an eye, even an eye that was nearly as large as my head, should not have been able to deliver as much force as these did upon impact. Granted, an eye doesn't tend to fly around in the air trailing little bits of its optic nerve... so my rationalizations were more than just a little out of place in this particular situation. My irrational focus could also have had something to do with the third or fourth blow to my upper body that was delivered with enough concussive force to leave me with what would undoubtedly be heavy contusions when... If... I survived this.
My kidnapper wasn't fairing as well, having nothing but that wooden sword to stand between him and the creatures... And there was something else. I could see more than just the fact that his body was cut, torn, and bruised... I could see... Something else. Not ignoring the fact that it could simply be an optical illusion from the repeated blows to my head, I saw something like an incredibly soft glow emanating from him that was growing dimmer by the moment.
Getting up, he continued on his way to the other structure, knowing as he did that he had no reason to expect this new person to be there, but having no idea where else to look. And what do I say when I find her? Hi, do you know how to get out of this place? Oh, by the way, some guy went running out to get eaten by zombies a few nights ago, but he said your name as he left. He's probably dead now, but don't worry about it, let's just focus on getting back to where we belong. That would go over well...
Reaching the structure, he wasn't surprised to find it empty once more. He decided that since someone else was going to be staying here though... that he should probably straighten it up a bit. Walking over to the furnace, he pulled his hammer out and struck it with the intent to move it. *Thump* Nothing. Frowning at it, he was certain Guile had told him the hammer would move the furnace, so trying to imagine the thing moving again, he swung his hammer once more. *Thump* Nothing.
Kicking the stupid thing, he shouted out at it, "What is the matter with you, stupid oven!" as he assailed it with his hammer.
*Thump, thump, thump, Wham!* his hammer slipped and knocked a tile loose from the floor, which did not improve his mood.
*Wham! Thump, thump, Thump, Wham!*
Still nothing, excepting a few more floor tiles caught up in his frustration. "Gah!" he threw the Hammer at the wall, leaving a small dent in the wood there, but not having any other effect. Guile had told him he could waste his time using his pickaxe to break the oven apart too... and for a moment he considered it, but taking a deep breath decided against it. The flame within it was incredible... and he didn't want to risk burning the structure down around him.
"Are you done with your temper tantrum?" Guile asked him from outside the building. He'd left the door open upon entering, and should not have been surprised to hear his guide, but he jumped a little nonetheless.
Walking over to pick up his hammer, and letting it return to his pouches on its own, he considered just ignoring him... but the oven not moving bothered him, so he decided to ask, "Why didn't that work?"
"Were the hammer of a more powerful material, perhaps you could have had a more notable impact on the wall. But as it's merely a Wooden Hammer..."
Shaking his head and laughing darkly in response with his eyes, fists, and teeth clenched, tears of frustration threatening to erupt, he took a deep breath and responded, "Let's pretend for a moment that you're not entirely incapable of understanding EVERY BLAMED QUESTION I ASK!" he ended up yelling.
"I do understand your questions," Guile informed him, unmoved by his outburst, "Unfortunately..." he appended.
"Why aren't you freaking out on me!?" he yelled in response, "Why do you continue to follow me around like some kind of lost puppy!?" he added, "And why doesn't the hammer work on this stupid oven!" he ended.
The room seemed to seal up around him and even the sun lost is brilliance through the openings. He could feel the hungering darkness billowing through him, and standing in the doorway was every dark dream he'd ever encountered, with a violence that cut him in ways he could not heal burning at it's core. Beside the force of that darkness, the fire of the oven was dimmed to mute glow, and even the sound of it seemed to have been buffered by the darkness. A voice that no longer threatened, or even promised, but by the simple sound of it began to fulfill its dark desires drifted lazily through the air as Guile responded, "What's the matter Fleshling... Do you truly miss my gentle caress so much..."
No! He'd managed to hold it at bay so far, but this worse than he'd experienced in quite some time. No! I refuse to submit to...
Anything else he'd wanted to shout was swallowed by the unexpected wave of change that came across them at the worst possible time. The rules of their world were disrupted, and in that moment he was thrown from himself in a way that he'd never encountered before. It was almost as if he'd fallen again... but he knew... he thought... that was impossible.
He could feel the voice as it ripped through him to speak to the builder, and beyond that... he knew that if he didn't do something... the voice would not allow him to return to stop it before... he wasn't sure before what, but he knew that this must not happen. The Builder had found a Heart Crystal, he should have been protected, but it seemed to have known the change was coming, and it was taking advantage of the temporary loosening of the rules.
He tried to move, but though he did not feel anything restraining him, he was paralyzed by the terror flooding him. It was only made worse by the knowledge that had he tried, he could have moved... but he was trapped, where could he go? Guile continued, every word he spoke peeling away at what little will he had left holding him upright.
"You have once more mistaken your role Fleshling..." he said, the darkness caressing the room carving its presence into the building and his psyche as he continued, "I have already promised you an opportunity to forfeit your life in my presence... but you seem eager to encourage my... affections," with that word, all the darkness solidified and he was no longer able to even see the building surrounding him.
A sudden flashback to the time following the zombie's assault on him in the caves that had been behind the structure came crashing over him like a wave of painful remembrance, and the voice he heard now was unmistakably the same voice he'd heard back then. He instinctively tried to cower away from Guile, whose outline he could still see a short distance away, but only managed to unbalance himself in the process. Falling, he did not immediately hit the floor that should have been at his feet and instead he seemed to simply lose contact with the ground without anything coming to take its place.
"It is a pity..." the voice seemed to originate, not from Guile, but from the very darkness surrounding him, "even now, I am still bound by the rules of this world, and the imprisonment I have been subjected to. This..." a flash of pearly purple light accompanied the emphasis of that last word and reawakened not only the memory of his time in the darkness after he had fallen... an experience that he had undoubtedly forgotten apurpose, but resonated against him in some manner, causing him to cry out in an agony that he did not believe he could endure. It was as if the light were trying to remove some crucial element of his very being, from every minute aspect of him at the same time. "does not please me."
As quickly as it came upon him the pain left with the light, leaving a memory of its passing burned into his core, even as the light slowly faded back to the blackness surrounding him. "Let it not be said that I have withheld my affections willingly Fleshling. If ever you doubt my interest in your pitiable plight, bind yourself again to the world and may my gift to you recall my interests anew," as he said this the darkness began to fade, or the shelter began to reappear, he wasn't quite sure, but even the memory of that pain kept him from focusing enough to determine which it was.
With every word it spoke, a pain the likes of which he hadn't endured since time long since lost among the forgotten memories of the world cut through him. Whatever it was doing not only defied his understanding of its presence up until this point, but seemed to cut against the rules of the world as he understood it. From the moment he first fell into the darkness to the moment he began coming back into himself, he wasn't sure if either he or the builder would survive this new assault.
As the structure slowly faded back into his vision, he could hear it speak through him with only the memory of the pain accompanying it. "One more thing before I leave you to your thus far fruitless endeavors Fleshling," it said, "Tonight my touch upon the world will be felt by all the creatures that walk beyond the reach of the sun, and you..." its voice began to fade as it ended its hold on him, "must forge your worth in the light of my moon."
A Blood Moon. The Builder was not ready. He would not survive, the Nurse would not survive. The cycle would have to begin anew. This was too soon, how... why... the fragile fragments of hope he'd found locked away shattered, and the emptiness that had defined his life reasserted itself to the low laughter of the voice, a laughter he knew only he could hear.
"Uuuuuhhhhh...." the Builder's useless moaning from the floor in the center of the room failed to capture his attention as he began picking himself up from where he'd collapsed in the doorway. He began to prepare himself for another period of solitude. None of the creatures of the land were willing to engage him when the world was without a Builder. How long would it be this time? How long had it been? Turning to leave his eye caught the crest manifested at the crown of the furnace and the broken fragments of his hope stirred almost imperceptibly.
No Builder had ever managed to manifest the Land's crest. Looking down at the tattered, almost useless figure balled up on itself on the floor, he realized that it meant something... it had to. Taking a deep ragged breath, he snapped at the Builder, "You don't have time to relax. If you want to survive the night-"
"Stop," the Builder's voice silenced him, weak as it was coming from his curled form, shaking lightly with low, but otherwise unconcealed sobs, "just stop. I don't care anymore," and as he spoke those words, the staggering depth of his desolation threatened to swallow Guile in its completeness, and the words seemed to pull at the crest, causing it to fade from the furnace...
"No!" he shouted as he reached out towards the fading crest as if he were reaching out to the last glimmer of hope left in the world, which for all he knew, may have been the truth.
"Why not!" the Builder, oblivious as usual to the goings on around him, sobbed in response, "I'm useless, I'm destined to fail, you've made that painfully clear... why. should. I. care?" he managed to get out between sobs before continuing in a softer voice, "I remember... the darkness..." before continuing his fruitless sobbing as the crest continued to fade into the bleakness of his forfeit.
It wouldn't open. I'd tried kicking it, hitting the latch with a rock and fiddling with all the limited features for some kind of hidden mechanism... but nothing I did managed to open the strange wooden chest. Frustrated, and no closer to figuring out my situation, I sat on a nearby stone and head in my hands, tried to to figure out my next move.
I'd been hiking for only a few hours at most, the sun was hardly more than halfway across the sky, but outside of this chest, and a few nearby clay pots, I'd seen nothing to indicate that people had ever been through here. This proved that someone had to have been in the area... though it could just as easily have been the strange guy as anyone else.
"You need to go back," a voice spoke from somewhere nearby.
Jumping, and tightening my grip on the stone I was still thankfully holding, I looked around for the source of the voice. It carried, somehow, a sense of great age, without sounding dilapidated. "Who's there?" I asked.
"Who I am is of no import," the voice responded, "but you are the Nurse, and he needs you now."
My stomach clenched, and a chill raced down my spine at his words. How did he know what I did for a living... "You!" I shouted, "It was you that kidnapped me!" Backing towards the wall of the overhang, I tried to locate where he was hiding so that I had at least a chance to defend myself. I considered and discarded running as I didn't know where I was and he likely did. There was no good outcome here if I couldn't even see my opponent.
"No," the voice seemed to sigh in response, "Your summoning was a product of the world's magic. Perhaps you'll live long enough to learn more about it, but that will not happen if you do not return immediately."
Great, he's crazy too... What's going on here!? "Why?" I wanted to get him to talk more, there was nothing nearby large enough to conceal a person, and yet the voice seemed to be coming from somewhere incredibly close, "Why do I need to go back?" a thought occurred, "Is it Johnathan? Is he back there?"
"No," the voice answered definitively, and there was a pang of something else... remorse? "The Builder is there, and it is he that needs you now."
"Builder?" I asked incredulously. Why am I supposed to care about some builder? "That has nothing to do with me," I added.
"There, you are wrong," the voice intoned, "For it was by his actions that you were summoned, and it will be by his actions that you will survive here."
"So wait!" I recoiled, now the truth came out, "He brought me here? And you think I want to go to him now? You really are crazy!" there must have been some kind of hidden speaker or something nearby. There was no way I could hear his voice this clearly and still not be able to see him.
"As I have already said, it was the world's magic that brought you, but it was his actions that provided the necessary catalyst," the voice informed me, "None of which will matter if he falls to light of this night's moon. Even if you somehow manage to survive on your own," it continued, "as unlikely as that is, his fall will ensure that you do not survive too many nights beyond."
"So you're threatening me?" I asked, shaken. It was obvious I was in trouble, and there was no good answer unless I could somehow figure out where I was, or maybe find some help... not that I knew who I could trust even assuming I did find someone... Slumping against the wall, the fear that I'd been holding at bay threatened to rend me apart from the inside out. There was just too much I didn't know...
"Nurse," the voice began.
"My name is Kathryn!" I shouted. I was already out in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of crazy people. Insisting on my name was probably a silly consideration... but I wanted to get some kind of control back, and to that gain I climbed back to my feet.
"Kathryn then," the voice continued, a hint of an edge creeping into it, "you must return to the Builder. I have already warned you that his life, and as a result, your life is dependent on a timely return. Why then do you delay? Are you so eager to find the end of your life that you would run to it blindly?"
"You haven't told me why I should care about some Builder," I answered his question, "and beyond that, you're threatening me and hiding your identity... neither of which inspires trust."
"I do not threaten you," the voice spoke with frustration obvious in its tone, "This world is bound by powers that you can not begin to understand yet, and even coming to you like this was almost more than I could manage. That you may survive is a boon from my years of experience, though you know it not," the voice hardened, "Now cease with the questions I can not answer. You will need to hasten from here, and the longer you wait, the more the need for haste. You must feel the pull by now..."
It was true, I did feel a kind of... Pull? Sure, that was as good a word as any. Even with my eyes closed, I could point to... something, and I had a feeling that it was my home... though why I thought that I could not say, as I knew I was far... far from home.
"Why?" I didn't know what else to ask, "Why does he need me? Why can't you answer that! And why does it matter whether or not he survives the night? What kind of Game are you playing here?" though even as I asked, the healer in me winced. How could I so callously turn my back on someone who's life may be in danger.
"This is no Game Nurse. The world is beset by forces that given their want, would rend it from one end to another. There are precious few capable of resisting these forces. The builder is one such entity, and perhaps the last we will ever see. It is for that reason that you must return. If he falls, everything falls with him, and then your petty concerns will amount to naught."
"I will NOT be bullied by someone hiding in the shadows and telling me what to do!" I shouted at him. This was too much. All this talk of magic, and forces rending the world, and... it was just too much.
"You refuse to heed my warnings, and yet insist on my company?!" it responded, ire redolent in his voice. A bright flash of purple light exploded in the air beneath the overhang, blinding me for a moment as he roared, "Then See Me!". As my eyes cleared, I could see...
"Oh... God..." barely a whisper, all my muscles froze up, and the stone fell uselessly from my grip. Standing far too close was a figure clad in a silky royal blue robe that draped voluminously over its decrepit frame with a pointed grey hat atop its skull... skull, because decrepit wasn't the word... Skeletal... Bones and all... there was a Skeleton standing there, a Skeleton that just appeared out of thin air. It was like the kind we had strung up in the waiting room, only this one wasn't strung up... just standing there, arms crossed and somehow, radiating power that I could almost see... "Oh god..." I whispered a second time.
The fear radiating from her had to have been palpable to more than just my highly attenuated senses... Though it's been so long since I've had eyes, that I would be hesitant to bet on it. Kill Her. No, that's not what I want. "Now you see me!" I said instead, "Are you content to heed my warnings now?" Chaos comes to all in the end. Rend her soul from her mortal frame. Bind her to Me...
"You..." she whimpered, cowering back against the wall, as I knew she would. I was used to this reaction. There was a reason I spoke from the Shadows, "you're...."
"Dead, No... but the true answer is beyond your-," I attempted to answer her, but it was to no avail. For all that she cowered, she moved rather quick when she wanted to... though I could have done without the screaming. At least she was headed in the right direction.
It is for naught- Focusing, I was able to detach my attention from the voice that spoke through the corrupted segments of my nature. There was a price to be paid for the powers I've come to control, and the limitations imposed on my ability to communicate at times was the least of them. Not for the first, I regret my treatment of... No... I was young, I was ignorant, the fault was not mine... but still... had we reacted differently...
Upon establishing the link, it was unsurprisingly very similar to the link I'd formed with the Eye of Cthulu as I've come to understand its designation. It was less a name, and more of a title, the need for a name being foreign to the entity that manifested itself as the Eye. This child was more than a simple manifestation though, and therin lied the differences in the link. For it was not only the entity that designated itself Master, but also the child... Servant, as he called himself, even to himself.
The link worked both ways, much like it had between Perinque and I before, so as I learned of the relationship between Master and Servant, they learned of our time in Terraria, and the relationships between us. It wasn't exactly a sharing of information as it was a sudden connection, as if these memories had been mine all along and I'd only just now realized it. With the Eye, it was very much a active sharing, sort of a mind to mind speech as it simultaneously spoke through Perinque, and this new sudden baring of my memories to someone outside of our group felt almost like a violation... even though I had initiated the link.
But through it I learned that the structure behind them was a place for the fallen warriors of the world to gather. Branded the Dungeon for reasons that had never been explained to the child, the structure allowed a safe haven for the restless dead that managed to find their way there. For while this link connected our memories, it was only the memories belong to the child that I knew now. His Master's mind was beyond the link, just as the Eye's had been, and then...
"Can you hear his voice now too?" a voice that sounded like the child's spoke through the link.
"Yes," I answered, having already experienced this kind of communication, I was able to respond in turn, "Can't you hear him speaking through you?"
"No..." the child responded, "It's weird... I can hear you now like I used to hear Master... but I can't hear him anymore..."
"I was not speaking to you," the same ancient voice they had just heard talking through the child spoke through the link. And its presence... was far more than the Eye's had been. The sheer power that radiated from that voice was enough to have dropped him to his knees, had the link not held him up.
"There is much for you to learn Mage," the voice continued, "Though I have not the experience to teach you. Come into the Dungeon and the fallen Casters will instruct you as they may."
This opportunity was incredible. To have instruction, to learn through more than simply trial and error, to... "Why?" I needed to ask, "do you call my friend the Corrupted Vessel?"
He didn't know how to respond to that and with Tam in trance mode, there was no asking him. "What..." he tried responding. Touch the Mage... the voice instructed him, which caused him to jump away, as he knew where that would end up.
"Do not play games with me corrupted one. I can see the taint on you as were it a beacon. You have been claimed, and are not welcome here. Be gone, that I may commune with these two in peace," the ancient voice intoned through the child who with a gesture threw him back from the entrance and his friends in much the same way the Perinque had been thrown only moments before.
"Hey!" Pernique shouted, rushing back to him to ensure he was also unharmed, "What's going on here!?"
"Do not waste your time with that one," the voice intoned, "He has been claimed by corruption, and has thus sealed our fates."
"He!" she shouted back, "Is our friend, so if you want to commune with us, you're going to have to commune with all of us." To him, she said in a low voice, "I can see it in your face that you're not completely surprised by what he's saying... we're going to have words later."
Wincing, he realized he should have told them before, this was not the way he wanted his friends to find out about the voice in his head... but this kid had some sort of a voice too... and if it knew something about what it was he was hearing... Perinque pulled him to his feet and they looked toward the kid together.
"What can you tell me about this voice I'm hearing," he shouted out to the kid, not wanting to walk closer if he was only going to be thrown again. The glare Perinque gave him only reinforced her warning, but it was too late to change things now.
The kid's eyes narrowed, and the light connecting him to their friend blinked out, causing both of them to slump to the floor. Perinque rushed over to Tam, not letting the kid out of her field of vision, though beyond shaking his head and climbing back to his feet, the kid didn't seem interested in going anywhere.
"Well," Tam said after stretching, and getting to his feet as well, "that's that."
"I'm sorry," the kid said to him, his expression clearly sympathetic, "but when he makes up his mind..."
"No," Tam responded, in a consolatory manner, "don't apologize. It's his decision after all, not yours."
"You can come back if you change your mind!" the kid piped back, an almost hopeful look on his face.
"Yeah..." Tam answered, turning to look back at him with a frown of his own, "that's not going to happen."
He wasn't sure what had passed between them, but he knew that this conversation was somehow his fault... and there was nothing he could think of to say that would make things better. Worry not, the voice chimed in, you will have plenty of time to improve things... it said to him, laughing in a way that gave him chills as it did.
The kid turned and went back into the structure, closing the door behind him, and Tam and Perinque walked over to him. Perinque glaring, and Tam seeming only half aware of what was going on around him, as he did when he was working on something back at their house. He was obviously processing whatever had just occurred, and as a result would not respond to any questions until he was done, which just left Perinque...
“I’m sorry I didn’t bring it up before,” he quickly tried to apologize, “but I’ve been hearing some kind of voice ever since I fell during that battle against the giant demon eye.”
“The Eye of Cthulhu,” Tam interjected, and the two of them looked at him, but it was obvious he was just correcting them, he wasn’t ready to talk yet.
“Whatever it’s called,” Perinque snapped, “You should have said something!”
“Like what?!” he shouted back, “Hey guys, I’m hearing a creepy voice, but don’t worry about me!" he snapped back.