Tales of the Shattered Earth

Matt's Journal 2

Cyp’s been weird lately. I don’t know what she’s thinking about, really, but she does a lot of pretending that she’s not actually looking at me. She comes to watch a lot when I practice with my bow, and Emily’s been saying she likes me. I know she likes me. We’ve been friends and known each other our whole lives. I like her too.

At least my trapping is getting better. Grandpa keeps teaching me stuff that I don’t think the other trappers in the village use. Stuff like pits and deadfalls and things. I think that regular snares work a lot better, but he says that I should know them well. He has some stories that have things like moats and people falling into pits with spikes, and touching bits of rope that cause tree trunks to swing out of the woods. It’s sounds kind of scary, but I guess since he thinks I should know them I’ll keep trying little ones. They’re actually kind of fun, and I think that I’ve been making some improvements on a few. Once I figure out whether they’re better than what he showed me I’ll see what he thinks.

Today I’m going shopping for Wee Jas’ birthday. Grandpa gave me some money for shopping at the market. There was a teardrop that I saw last year that had some onyx with it that I liked. Maybe I can find something like that again this year.
==
I spent a couple of gold on something that I really like. I know that I should probably give the rest back to Grandpa, but I think I might get something for everybody else. I guess I might give some to the flower seller that Quinn took some gems from and give him some extra to make up for it. I only have a little money, but that’s ok, I guess. I got a flower for Cyp, too. I hope she likes it, when I find her. She seemed to like when I gave her that candy.
==
I think she did. She squeaked a little, and smiled really big, and said that she liked it a lot. The shop we were in when I found her was full of machines and stuff. I felt a little weird about it. I really like less complicated things better. Apparently Quinn has a quest now. We found the bad kids’ tracks, and they were apparently dragging a bag. There had to be a kuo-toa in there.
==
We got to the warehouse, and we found another terrible thing. I don’t like killing, or hurting things, or having to fight. Why did Quinn and Ivy and Maya all have to start trying to hurt that Kuo-Toa? Quinn and Ivy got wounded pretty badly again. Maya eventually killed the fish-man, I think, but she and I had to drag the elves back to town. Cyp was really bad at telling everybody that we needed help, I guess, and we made it all the way back to town before anybody believed her. I don’t get why these things have happened to us. I want them to stop, though. Maybe Grandpa will tell me how I can stop them. I wish he will. I don’t want to see my friends hurt, and I don’t want to get hurt or hurt things. I don’t know what I could have done after they started the fight aside from helping, though. We had to stop it and get out of there before more trouble showed up, and we had too much trouble to stay there.

I don’t know what’s going on, but there’s something that isn’t right. The Magistrate is a magician. There are people in town who are putting spells on us and each other. I think that this problem with the fish people may not be the only thing going on in town. He knew the tribe that the scale was from. He knows magic. He knows about other people’s magic. I need to talk to Grandpa again, but I don’t think that I have time. We’re deciding to go back to the warehouse now, while it’s light out. Something’s wrong, and I think I might start trying to find out what it is on my own.
==
We went back. There’s a cellar in the warehouse, with a cavern near the back. It’s full of crates, marked with a strange, squared-off Great Circle pattern. We searched for what seemed like ages, and eventually realized that there was a passage hidden there behind them. We crawled through to my doom. I don’t know what it was, but some profane structure of coral was in there. It glowed with green flames in place of torches, and emanated an oily kind of blackness that filled the cavern. Opposite the passageway is a shipwreck and a narrow beach.

As I entered the cavern, I saw a mass of flesh that I couldn’t even begin to describe. It pulsed, like it had a heartbeat or was drawing breath. I picked out heads, torsos, random bits of arms and legs. It slid – or slithered – towards the water as we fought a sorcerer Kuo-Toa and Maggie. I don’t know what she was doing there, but she eventually dropped. I can only guess that Maya was close to dropping it.

Just at that moment, though, it barked a command, and the puddle of unshaped flesh assumed the form of a hippogryph. Before I could react, it was on me. I barely had time to feel the spurs of bone and claw tearing through me, shredding my body to ribbons. It broke my bones, separated my organs, and crushed my skull in its beak. As I saw its mouth close around face, everything went black, and I opened my eyes upon Elysium.

I could only appreciate it – drink it in, really; it was beautiful – before a pale, exquisite hand burst from the ground behind me. It took hold of my collar, and again, before I could react, I was dragged out of the world. That hand dragged me through what felt like miles of earth, but no tunnel preceded me. Rocks and dirt were forced to give way before me, but only because my body wasn’t permitted to yield to them as that divine force hurled me through the planes.
==
When I woke up this morning, everybody was staring at me. I didn’t know where I was or how I got there, but I guess they were really worried about me. I hope Cyp was all right, since I don’t remember seeing how everyone else was. I know that I got hurt, but I don’t remember how, or what exactly was going on. They filled me in, but… I don’t know. It was strange. It is strange.

And after a little while, I noticed that they were looking at me strangely, and I asked what was wrong. I felt ok, other than being really tired and feeling like I had a really bad sunburn on my shoulders or something. The Magistrate said that I had red hair. Really red. Like the color of strawberries. I wondered what happened down there that I don’t remember.

The gift that I bought at market is gone now, too. Nobody found it in the cavern, and it wasn’t in the stuff that they took out of my pockets. Everything else was there though.

Cyp does seem ok now. She’s a little off, I think, but it was really scary down there. I don’t blame her at all. I like her a lot, and I’m glad she came to visit me today in bed. I hope that she and I stay friends for a long time.

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