1366: Legaia Nara and the SimSeru – Chapter ThreePosted: March 23, 2016
Hello, patrons! Welcome back to another week of-
*Crunchy slinks in and perches himself on a stool*
I’m in the middle of the introduction. Any reason you’re bothering me?
“I do not recall saying or doing anything that would merit this harassment. ‘Bothering you’ indeed, the very nerve.”
What are you doing here?
“You might recall that it is Spring, which means it is Fall in the southern hemisphere of this planet. You might also remember how Swenia gets during this season.”
Is it that time of year already?
“Indeed. I grew weary of the spectacle, so I thought I would retreat in here for some respite.”
Wait, you’d rather be in here with this fic than be out there? Oof, it must be a bad year. I’ll get Markus armed with the ice-water projection system that Bifocals just walked in with.
*Bifocals hands Taco the IWP and walks out*
That woman is good. Didn’t even know I needed one until she’d already delivered it.
Might as well get to it. To recap… not much happened last time. Nara and Thoram’s parents realized they were missing and went to look for them. After some searching, they found the hole that the kids fell down, and jumped right on in themselves. Yeah, that was pretty much it.
III – A Voice From The Past
It’s probably one of those voices that tells you to kill people.
“I love that voice. I always remember to send it a Christmas card.”
Noa, run, go, please go
“What a shame. It appears this ‘voice from the past’ is actually the narrator.”
He’s probably drinking again, too.
“Huh?” exclaimed Nara, looking around her and realizing that she was standing on darkness.
“Get off, child! Darkness is not your ladder! Have a little respect, youngling.”
An impenetrable blackness surrounded her, but somehow she knew it was a dream and wasn’t scared.
Good job getting rid of that tension, author.
Okay, fair enough. Still, if it’s impenetrably dark, how does she know she’s standing on the darkness?
“It has a very specific feel. Yielding, yet firm, and has this indescribable sticky-clean feeling about it.”
She suddenly saw a light. It was very dim, and slowly receding in the distance.
So much for being impenetrable. All it took was a little dim light.
“This is what you get for going with cut-rate darkness. If you skimp and go with the lowest bidder, you will often find that their products have limited light resistivity.”
Either that, or it’s one of PCC’s products. I think I remember seeing selectively permeable darkness in their catalogue.
“Who are you? Wait!” She pleaded, running to the faint illumination.
Leave, leave, or it will get you too, Noa
See, told you he was drinking. Poor guy can’t even remember what character he’s supposed to be narrating.
“I am Nara!” Yelled the girl, “Noa is my Mommy!”
Quiet, Nora, Narrator’s trying to tell a story. Now refill my scotch before I toss a Grue in there with you.
Noa’s child? There was wonder in the voice, and also deep distress.
“It appears the narrator is now narrating himself.”
*Taco crams a glass of scotch into the fic*
If we keep him drinking, maybe he’ll start narrating himself narrating the fic. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a story written in sixth-person.
Please run little one, leave this place – It hurts! Oh how it hurts!
“The narrator appears to have become self-aware of how poorly written this is.”
There isn’t enough scotch in the universe to deaden the pain of badfiction.
“Who? Who is hurting you? Who are you?” Asked Nara.
It’s your uncle-brother, Cort. Who is not evil right now because reasons.
“Who also mistook her for a twelve-year-old.”
That selectively-permeable darkness thing is looking more likely.
I am the one who deserves this. But you don’t, so run, run, and tell Noa that I love her, I’ve always loved her…
“There has to be a less icky way of expressing sibling affection than that.”
Given what I know of your family, I’m not sure you’re in any place to criticize.
“Just because I never had any need for sibling affection does not preclude me from offering criticism when the affection is presented poorly.”
The light disappeared and the red-haired girl awoke with a start. “No! Wait!” she exclaimed.
It’s too cliché! Don’t let the dream end like that! Noooooo!
Thoram also awoke and held his friend tightly, concern showing in his voice, “Nara, what’s wrong?”
Do you want the itemized list?
That was rhetorical.
“Less rhetorical questioning, more listing.”
She told him of her dream and the desperate warning. Unable to go back to sleep, they decided to explore the main passage they saw nearby, and from there try to find a way out.
What do you mean ‘main passage’? How would you know that? You’re lost in a maze of underground caverns, so how do you know that the one over there *waves vaguely* is the main one? If you know which passages are the main ones, then you aren’t fucking lost!
A strong breeze had started blowing in the tunnels, blowing dust that had rested on the floor for years.
Well, that makes it pretty easy to get out, then. Just follow the breeze. Head into the breeze and you’ll be out in no time at all. There, all the tension is gone from the fic. Everything works out for the best, the end. Now we can all go-
“You always forget that Carlos is rigged up to your chair.”
It made them sneeze and cover their eyes, which didn’t help them to get their bearings.
You don’t need bearings. Face the wind and go! If you bumble about, it might die down before you can follow it out! GO, IDIOTS!
It also had another unfortunate effect.
“It ripped the souls from their bodies, leaving them as mindless thralls that craved only the flesh of the living. And they lived hungrily ever after, the end.”
WHY DID IT SHOCK ME!?
The dust erased their footsteps, hindering the efforts of the four adults that were looking for them.
If Noa is using footprints in the dust to track somebody in a rocky cave, she’s even stupider than I thought. More likely you would be using traces of dirt and mud tracked into the cave as well as prints in muddy pools. Dust isn’t going to erase those. The dust might coat them down a bit, but those will be such clear signs that a little dust isn’t going to cause problems.
“*Hurf* That point-of view whiplash is atrocious!”
*Taco holds out a cookie* Holotheria ginger-snap? It helps with the nausea.
“Gumdrop has been branching out again, I see.”
Nara had the nagging suspicion that the tunnels were somehow moving, and luring them deeper into the pits’ entrails.
I am starting to get the feeling that this author may not have gone back and researched the game when writing his fics. It’s like he knows that certain events took place, but doesn’t have command of the overall context of those events.
“How do you mean?”
Well, this for instance. He seems to understand that the Juggernaut’s insides, what the game’s save point calls the Bio-Castle, were a network of biological caves that you ran around in. Yet he doesn’t understand that the Juggernaut was centered on Rim-Elm, nor does he understand that the Juggernaut dissolved into magical energy after it was killed. It’s like he played the game, several years went by, and then he decided to write about it without refreshing his knowledge and just sort of assumed he remembered it correctly.
“So, in other words, just another author being lazy.”
Several times they had tried to go back to find a barrier blocking their way, or passing a dried-up carcass that they could swear having seen several times.
If it was drawing you down toward the depths, you probably wouldn’t be going in circles. This sounds more like your standard version of being lost as opposed to being confounded by evil, sentient caves.
“I wonder where one could order caves of that nature. It would spruce up the volcano.”
The illumination and the heat increased with the passage of time, and their provisions were all but exhausted.
There’s a luminescent fungal colony growing on the cave walls. Apparently the colony is getting brighter and more… exothermic as they wander around.
“Huh. Implausible, but I shall accept it. Still, it is good to know they have a little bit of their food and water left, at least. Though they probably should have rationed it a bit better.”
Eh, they’re five and six. It’s incredible that they brought food with them in the first place.
“Does not ‘incredible’ mean ‘impossible to believe’?”
I stand by my word choice.
It was with relief that they heard the sound of water and hurried to it.
Which, if you’re trying to paint these two as young children who don’t know the first thing about caving, is fair enough. However, if you’re trying to make them seem smart, then water deep underground is the last thing you really want to run into when you’re trying to get out of caves. Sometimes it can work out and you’ll be able to follow it, but more likely it’s just going to be a barrier. Worse, if it’s not flowing particularly fast or at all, it’s got a fair chance of being poisonous both to drink and to be around due to the fumes.
No, rushing toward the sound of underground water is as likely to get you killed as anything else.
There was a small stream coming out of a rocky section of the tunnel and they drank from it gratefully.
“And the stream turned out to be highly concentrated hydrochloric acid. The end.”
The water was cool and fresh and greatly lifted their spirits.
Up to heaven as they died.
“Oh poo. I wanted those souls.”
You can have the next batch.
Their relief was short lived though, for when they backtracked their steps, they were unable to find the passage from where they had come from.
You mean running through a cavern system half-cocked without paying attention to where you’re going is a bad idea? What madness is this!?
Not knowing what else to do they followed the water on its way down, going even deeper into the cave’s entrails.
Which is a great direction to head if you’re looking to find where the steam enters the water table.
The sight they came to filled their hearts with terror, for the stream they had drank from fell to a river down below, which slowly moving waters had the color and consistency of blood.
“Quite the algae bloom going on there.”
Naw, this is a cave and algae require sun. This is most likely a huge bacteria colony.
Something stirred again, feeling the children’s nearness.
Uhh, wha? It was like right next to the children the first time it stirred. What, did it move away from them?
“How else was it going to get a nap in? Children are so noisy. Not to mention unnecessary.”
I’ll make sure to tell Jiwe that.
“Ah. Yes. Well, most are unnecessary.”
It had little life left to it, but it would be enough to lure the intruders farther.
What would be enough? Its life? Is life essence something that children are actually lured by?
“My thrall scenario is looking more likely.”
Sadly enough, yes it is.
Aye, it would be enough.
*Crams another scotch into the fic*
Keep it together, grandpa.
It had to be enough…
“Why must you traumatize everyone.”
I feel compelled to share my terror.
As soon as they reached the dried-up Gilium, Noa knew that something was not right.
I had made a comment last week about the author not really remembering anything he types. This is strong evidence for that. See, the kids fell directly onto the gilium. It’s what broke their fall. The parents, however, go down the same exact hole and have to search around until they find the corpse. This is why actually going back to read the things you type is so fucking important. Otherwise you run the risk of looking like a moron who can’t keep track of your own story.
She couldn’t express what it was but she felt it, as something cruel and evil lurking in the shadows.
It’s way better to have your characters sense the plot and drop lots of explicit portents than to have genuinely surprising moments supported by subtle foreshadowing. Helps keep the tension from building up if you do it the first way.
The four of them managed to follow the youngsters’ footsteps for a while, until an uncanny wind blew through the tunnels scattering dust and small debris all over.
What was the point of having the scene earlier if you were just going to do it again, author? Was it really that important to break the flow of your writing just to plop in that redundant scene earlier?
*Alarm stays conspicuously silent*
“The last group ran into Swenia. They are understandably shy after that encounter, especially since Syl showed up to take part in the bad-pickup-line contest. Things became rather lewd after the first few seconds.”
I really need to get this IWP out to Markus after we’re done here.
“There is something here.” Announced Noa.
“This way,” Said Vahn “There’s a vibration in the air.”
“It is called ‘wind.’ Mayhap you have encountered this rare phenomenon once or twice previous to these caves?”
Trevor didn’t feel a thing, but the fighter’s assurance calmed his worries and they went down a large tunnel.
What assurance? That the air is vibrating? Woo, big emotional boon, that.
“If nothing else, the movement of the air molecules does mean that they do not need to worry about the temperature being absolute zero anywhere nearby.”
Well, okay, one less thing to worry about, I guess.
After an hour or so they came to a dead-end.
And that means the adults are just as lost as the kids are. Good job at tracking, Noa.
Gala played his hands over the wall, and finally selected a spot, “Trevor, hack at this wall with your axe,” ordered the monk, “It’s thinner here and I feel that there is another tunnel behind it.”
“I see that you meant it when you said that these characters all have an innate sense of the plot.”
Yup. Way better to create tiny obstacles that are easily overcome by contrivance than to introduce actual challenge. A dead-end? No problem, a character can use their spider sense to find an adjacent tunnel!
“Why would these people assume the children would have been able to find their way into a tunnel that they have to hack through a wall to get to?”
“Ah, yes, I forgot about the mystical power of that color.”
The blond giant went at the obstacle, and to his surprise he managed to open a gap in the seemingly solid surface. After a while there was an aperture big enough for them all to pass through.
Stop using the word ‘aperture’ in a fantasy setting!
Trevor happened to look at his weapon to check its condition, and froze in consternation.
“You ruin an axe by chopping rock with it and you dare to feign surprise?”
These characters are stupid enough that it may not be feigned.
“There, there is blood on the blade…” Said the big man, eyes wide with shock.
Which is nonsense given all the canonical points I’ve brought up before now. But, whatever, we know the author is going with the Juggernaut somehow surviving being dissolved into pure energy.
Vahn remained calm, but the urgency in his demeanor was unmistakable, “I thought as much, parts of the structure are still alive. We better find the kids, fast.”
So, wait, you KNEW that there was some residual Juggernaut infecting this area, and all you did was block it off? For crap’s sake, man, what the hell were you thinking!? As illogical as it is to even exist in the first place, if it did exist, this would be something you would definitely want to nip in the bud. You’re talking about a creature that can absorb an entire town and suck the life out of everyone there. That’s not something you just leave be.
Author, are you trying to make these characters all look incompetent? If so, well done!
There were no arguments at this and they resumed their advance, cutting through leathery barriers when needed.
“Wait, there are leathery barriers?”
*Shrug* Maybe, all the setting we’ve been given is that there are tunnels that glow because of fungus. I mean, I know what the inside of the Juggernaut looks like, but we’ve not even been given enough description to assume the Juggernaut caves are what we’re supposed to be imagining. Mostly I’ve been picturing caves of generic-looking rock.
After a while they reached the place where Nara and Thoram had slept, and from there managed to find clues as to their destination.
HOW!? How did they know the kids slept there!? How did they know where the kids planned to go!? What clues are there, and what conclusions are derived from those clues that give them these pieces of information!? Author, describe shit!
“I find it likely that the author himself does not know how they would have done all this, so was intentionally vague to save himself the bother of actually coming up with something believable.”
Hit that one on the nose.
“Hardly a deductive feat. An author being vague on account of laziness is a daily occurrence.”
They lost track of time in the greenish gloom surrounding them. After much slashing at leathery barriers, they finally got to the spring in the tunnels and then to the crimson river.
Much setting. It’s like we’re right there with them.
The four looked for traces of the two young ones, hoping that they hadn’t fallen into the gruesome waters.
“I cannot help but notice that these characters are starting to amalgamate.”
In lay terms, you mean they’re forming a character blob.
“If you want to be vulgar, then yes: a character ‘blob,’ as you say.”
“What now?” Mused Noa aloud “Did they come this way and then turned back, or did they go ahead somehow?”
I don’t know, maybe the godsdammed TRACKER should tell us where they went!
“Your use of profanity is increasing in frequency. Might you be upset, perchance?”
Go fuck yourself, Crunchy.
“A shame you lack Force sensitivity. Such a waste of perfectly good rage.”
Gala pondered for a short while, “Maybe we should split into two groups, and cover more surface that way.”
What surface!? You’re in tunnels! Further, one of you was tracking the kids, so did the trail go cold or something? The narrative mentions that the wind was causing issues with the tracking, but not that it was completely stopping the tracking!
WHY CAN’T YOU MAKE ANY SENSE!?
The decision was taken out of their hands, for a loud rumbling made them turn their heads and an unexpected rush of water, coming from the tunnel with irresistible strength, made them fall into the river below.
Stop using for that way!
“This passage strikes me as rather poorly constructed. Perhaps it was designed to be read by that Wilfred Shambler of yours?”
Meh, close enough.
The rapidly moving stream brought them deeper into the maze with inescapable force.
*Alarm remains silent*
She really must have traumatized them.
“Following the pick-up-line contest, she apparently thought that telling dirty tales of her academy days would entice them.”
I can see why they would be hesitant to relive story time.
After a terrible journey, where they thought that they should certainly drown, Noa, Gala, and Vahn managed to swim out and help Trevor to an outcropping.
Translation: There was almost something that happened that might have caused tension, but luckily it didn’t, so nothing of interest actually occurred.
“I do believe you just summarized the entire chapter.”
I’m pretty sure I just summarized both of the fics.
“Phew, thank you guys.” Said the big man gratefully, realizing that a little further the waters rushed furiously into a vortex.
Poor guy. Load status confirmed.
“They just have to get him far enough along so he can die in their place.”
No necessarily, he might just be maimed in their place.
“Nothing to it,” Replied Gala “We were caught in a similar river the first time we came here.”
You know, back when it was the town of Rim-Elm before it magically translocated itself over here for no apparent reason.
“You are not going to let that go, are you?”
Trevor suddenly was filled with concern, “The children! That vortex, did it get them?”
Why are you asking them? Right now they know about as much about the situation as you do.
“Though, at the risk of sounding genre savvy, I find the prospect of the children having been harmed rather unlikely.”
“No, my friend,” Came Noa’s reassurance “Look, they came this way and climbed up. You can see their traces in the wall, and by the looks of it they can’t be far.”
See, bits of scat and chew marks.
“Those are clearly children rubs, Taco. The felt that was scoured off their antlers is readily apparent.”
The blond man really didn’t see anything, but he trusted the red-haired woman’s instincts.
If she’s tracking by instinct, you’re in more trouble than I thought you were.
“She cannot be tracking by skill, so what else is there?”
“Better lucky than good, I suppose.”
Why must you steal my lines?
He inquired, “But how did they escape that thing?”
Gala’s answer was rather gloomy, “Something obviously wants them, but not us. Had we not had the experience to get out of the river, we would be dead by now.”
So the characters have moved from stating the obvious as if it’s profound to stating things that require direct insight to the plot and pretending those observations are obvious.
“Consistency is for clunks.”
“I felt something too,” agreed Vahn, “I think it’s a remnant of our association with Ra-Serus.”
“And I thought ‘because magic’ sounded implausible. This is somehow even less convincing an argument.”
This author does have quite a talent for inspiring disbelief.
“But if we can feel it,” began Noa.
“It can feel us too,” finished Vahn.
How do you figure? Is that like if you see somebody they obviously must see you too? Or if you hear something, it obviously hears you as well?
“If you prick me, are you not pricked as well?”
If I eat this ham sandwich, is it not eating me in return?
And thus they climbed with renewed vigor, ignoring the weariness in their muscles, for the concern for their little ones overrode all else.
Using for like that makes you sound like a pretentious ass!
“The use of ‘thus’ there is also quite pretentious, since it implies a result without there being a leading argument or action. As there is no such build-up prior to that sentence, it was put in simply as garnish. Thus it is a superfluous thus.”
An aperture awaited them at the top, and more evidence of the passage of their children was to be found.
“But was it found, though?”
Who knows. But it was there to be found.
Don’t think I didn’t notice you using aperture again.
They were walking though a large cavern pocked with several apertures, and found more traces of the children leading to one at the farthest part.
“Here you can see where they bedded down to chew their cud.”
And, over here, there are traces of excrement mixed with leaves where they were applying a fresh layer of camouflage.
And from behind!
all the tunnels leading into the vast chamber closed.
“I feel underwhelmed.”
I’ve been doing this long enough to build up an expectation of being let down. I’m whelmed.
An ear-shattering roar was heard at their right, and a huge form detached itself from the shadows.
“So, they are in a place with openings. A big place. The openings have closed, but now there is a form in the big place. A big form, which is on the right.”
It’s like we’re really there, right!?
“It is so clear that he may as well be writing us in the story.”
“You got be kidding me!” exclaimed Gala.
I’ve been saying that for eight chapters, Gala.
And that’s where the chapter ends. But, if you’re not convinced, let me provide definitive proof:
End chapter 03
“So. That is it, then.”
“Maybe we should ‘hang-out’ and visit a while. Or share a drink of beverage.”
Crap, dude, what did Swenia do that’s got you cowering in here!?
“I am not cowering. However, if you must know, I stopped by her room to pick up some zoning paperwork for the new tea aqueduct into Lyle’s quarters. It became immediately and abundantly clear to me why you monkeys developed the social construct of knocking before entering. I had through it was only for the courtesy of the one being entered upon with no real merit for the one entering. I was mistaken. The sight that greeted me was… unnerving. More so even than the tongue lashing I received for interrupting her ‘private time’ as she put it. I quickly left before she finished her tirade, but I am somewhat concerned for my well being should she find me to continue the discussion.”
Scotch, or do you want the stuff that makes your teeth go numb?