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Gastlinyk Gate Survival
“Three more in a storage room?” I read this and my jaw dropped, I had cleaned out one storage room of its supplies, but I never went beyond that. I dropped the book and ran to the storage rooms; the once empty hallway was now a narrow path stacked shoulder high of filth and garbage I pulled from the merchant shops. My careless furor didn’t go unnoticed by the heap; a small wooden pole poking out managed to lie in the right spot for me to smack the back of my elbow right upon its tip as I run by. The pain was instant, I knew what had happened, but why the pain and side effects I felt were happening was the mystery. A tingling numbness spread down my forearm and into my last two fingers and up to my shoulder. Stiffening as I go I could barely move it when I reached the storage room I sought. The pain was overwhelming by that time as well. I thought I was going to have to cut it off for a few moments. When the numbness was finished spreading I couldn’t feel pain or move any of my fingers. It was as though I had lost control of my own arm, it was dead.

It is very awkward trying to make a corpse arm carry a torch made from a broom end. After I finally achieved it the broom was nearly spent and informing me that my numb hand could still feel heat. Though it wouldn’t respond it did want me to move away from the broom handle now tied to it. I stumbled back into the hall and over some junk knocking myself unconscious. When I woke it felt like early morning and I was late for something and something woke me. I don’t remember dreaming, and I don’t recall hearing anything. I sat up and looked around the darkness patting about checking for fire. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary to point at as why I was startled awake until I felt it. The pain in my chest, as I try to calm my breathing it fights back with shooting pains in my chest. The air is raspy and hot, dry and absent of smoke it felt like I was filling with boiling water. The fresh air I felt before wasn’t moving about the air like before. The sense of emanate death tugged me to my feet and searching for a walking stick. My once dead arm seemed to be ready and willing to obey now and grabbed up the first loose thing it could find. I had to find an exit or opening for air, now. Breathing was getting more difficult.

The darkness was so dark I couldn’t tell much of the difference between the black blobs. My memory came in handy now. I could still see in my mind what the hall had looked like. I didn’t recall where the extra Magi-Pry was. It was ahead of me in that storage room though, somewhere, I knew that. So, I crawled in and felt around. The barrels I had plundered in the light before were a familiar obstacle I used to center my self and perform my search with precision. Pulling the barrel away from the wall my goal nearly killed me on its way to the floor. The three tools stored here fell over crushing the barrel I just moved with all my might, and one of the bar’s handle striking me in the chin did spare me a few splinters from the barrel. Sitting with the pry-bar in hand I took a second to reflect on the need of a few new words for dark. An inspirational thought teasing the mind to distract from the throbbing chin and swelling head. I made myself the promise to write a few new definitions to be submitted into Lord Mark’s Dictionary for dark and darkness.

I had only one option, the blocked exit I had seen the doors vanish into. They were the closest exit to me, south into the Noble District; it was easy to get to in such darkness. My narrow path through the neatly stacked piles guided me right to it. This Magi-pry was heavy, and the air was getting thin. Fear of over exerting and wasting my air was heavy on my mind. With nothing visually to distract my attention, my thoughts ran wild with possible deaths. When I found the southern doorway I tried the Magi-pry anywhere I could fit it. As much as I laid into it the obstruction wouldn’t move much more than a hair before the tool broke through the weak masonry or wood I leveraged on. I needed a pick and shovel to get through this way, Monty Threecard’s dangerous abilities came to mind. I thought I was surely looking at my grave site waiting for me to dig it and get inside. A chill ran up my spine giving me a shiver all over, I shook it off like a wet dog. Then it came to me, the same way I came in. Why, I hadn’t even thought to go back the way I came in to this mess, it was surely difficult, but unchecked for an escape route. The small bit of hope was great food for the soul at this point. The climb back the way I came in here was going to be painful now that it settled further and was slightly more periling with my encumbering tool.

I would have to crawl at one point, and with this giant pry-bar it was going to be exhausting. A risk I had to take as I saw it. This much work with this little air, I could only hope there was fresh pockets around the debris I hadn’t inhaled yet. Most of the path I chose wasn’t the best. A plank that appeared to be a bridge to far away places down the hall wasn’t going my way. Mid-span it decided I was too heavy and sent me down into a hole in table that was covering a hole in the floor. I knew it was a table; I had been stuck in the middle of one just like it before. A feeling you never forget. My feet were dangling under the table not touching anything, I was more grateful for the tables grasp this round. The pit below was not a source of air or anywhere useful to gain an exit since I couldn’t see an end. The table was upside down, there was still hope I could get out. I easily climbed up and out with hold of one of the legs with the Magi-pry still in hand. After that fall it was rather smooth crossing. My cursing of the dark reminded me of the word my father taught me long ago. He said, “As long as you remember this word, you will never walk in the dark.” Course what he really meant was, the word would remind me of the spell he taught me thereafter. A simple spell I seem to forget I know. Most times, it’s best forgotten. But this time, this time I needed it to get out of the deadly darkness no matter what sees me. With a few quick words a light was glowing abound me I quickened my haste to a rush for the entrance.
The entrance looked worse off than my first planned exit. I worried the debris would jut crumble under its own weight like at my first attempt and resist any effort. The entrance was actually cordial and polite. I remember the entrance being cold and unresponsive but solid stonework. I placed the tool anyway and gave it a tug. The blocks thrusted upward with such swiftness I nearly fell over, I had to pick myself up from the gust of fresh air that blew me the rest of the way to the floor. It taught me yet another new word, a word for thirsty and dry mouth. It felt like I had dirt forming in my mouth. But I didn’t care anymore; I had fresh air to breath now. The fresh air brought some sense back to my brain as well. I realized the predicament I was in, alone with a bridge to raise and no one to hold it. I could open it and see my exit, but not leave without crushing myself in the processes. I needed a plan, one the got me and a Magi-pry outside without the attention of the titan. I didn’t think he heard me yelp from the gust of air blowing me down.

In fact, he didn’t hear me yelp, nor did he hear me curse about the fact that there was lightning and thunder, but no rain. I could see him from my perch on the city wall just outside my entrance I held to survey my new situation and realized my previous. The titan was playing with giant blocks of stone, stacking them about the west exit. Stealing from the buildings in the north district he was plugging the holes in the hub. He must have jumped onto the northern part of the hub, as he was standing in it working at some final holes waiting for something to cry or strive for survival and burrow out. The nice stack at my entrance made this easy. The fresh air supply allowed me to be able to run back for a second Magi-pry and use the two of them at once and hold up the massive stack as I made like a crab and scuttled under. The pry-bars pivoted easily allowing me to maneuver one close to the edge and remove it while holding both effortlessly. I would think I was free after all that. The titan seemed content and well occupied, and my closest exit now was a wide open gate. An eerily wide open gate of the east wall. I slowly advanced a nearly straight path right out into the desert without delay or unfriendly notice. Midway I stopped to look at my back behind a broken wagon. I scanned the horizon behind and to my left, when I swung round to look right and about the cover something spotted me from above and landed on the wagon I was using. Its wings and breath were louder than its weight hitting the wagon as it perched to look for me. I froze and pressed against the wagon. The beast let out a terrible shriek I had not heard in my few battles with these. I thought it was an all clear signal maybe and it was going to fly off, letting me out. No, no, not today, I was wrong again. A swarm of these things dropped from the sky landing on the walls and columns about the courtyard I was trying to cross. No sooner than their descent upon my vicinity did the titan take notice to the commotion. Within moments I was surrounded by the searching eyes of flying minions and the titan himself. I stayed as still and quiet as I could. I slowed my breathing and closed my eyes to pray. Minutes passed like days, I could feel the sniffing of the air as the shrieking minions searched diligently for me. They could smell me, but oddly enough, not see me. I new I was good at hiding in the shadows, but I hadn’t a shadow here, and they all have come to close not to have seen me. I didn’t question it to much as I tried not to think about anything but slow breaths, in and out, in and out. When the searching eyes and noses ascended back into the skies I made my ever slow creep to the desert.

“Opinvu, you’ve done it!” I rejoiced aloud in the desert night air. Even hearing it I couldn’t believe it. I should be dead, maybe I was, still unconscious without air, dieing right now. I pinched myself to make sure. The pain was real and clear, what I was to do next wasn’t. I had more than intended to have, and it was heavy, and I was in need of a days rest. Sitting for a moment I dusted myself off. I was coated, head to toe, completely with a thick layer of dust. I looked exactly like the ground, the walls, well anything in Gastlinyk Gate. It was all covered thickly in this same dust. I went unseen due to my camouflage; this dust I was sprayed with saved me from the hoard. My options were few still; North to the dwarves city, or East into the desert, or sleep on a mammoth and hope it gets me near Arik and not dead. The latter sounded fun, and soft. Soft, I really needed something soft, I tried to think of Spana rather than pillows and beds. The cold night would surely freeze me to death if I fell asleep then. One would have thought it would be smart to head back to Foothold, get some rest and help. But, I didn’t do it. I did think of it indirectly, I thought I should best take it to Valgrimm and convince him it’s his duty to finish the task. But I still didn’t act. All of that meant time. Too much time. “Would Kaldt put her wants before our needs?” I asked myself. “Would Kaldt seek glory for achievement before freeing a loved one?” That’s all the answers I had, more questions, more “What if?” scenarios. I may not be a servant or a follower of Kaldt anymore today than I was back when she saved myself and others a time or two not to mention her aid to me and others during battle of a few of the Thirteen Champions of Otha’s Spider Temple. My mind still sought a reason or superior excuse to make way to Foothold, but it wouldn’t have won even with persistence, my feet had taken me too far east to turn back when I noticed I was already rerouted to the lost city, Arik was in the horizon.

… to be continued, again.