Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #75
The man had already passed out in a pool of his own blood. His fall had broken near every bone in his body, the strange bearded man with the walking stick tutted as he picked him up and cradled him gently, setting his stick down on the floor. He walked through the cave system, following the directions he had scratched into the walls. He reached the small cavern he was searching for. The entirety of the small confined space was coated with the special orange crystal. He lay the man down in the center, making sure he set the bones in the right positions where he could, then he quite simply left.
He awoke with a gasp for air, his throat felt as if it was covered in sand, his tongue like a moisture deprived rock. His mouth was a desert. That was the first thing he noticed. The second was how his bones weren’t all sticking in the wrong direction anymore, that was a plus. He rubbed his wrists, feeling phantom pains and memories of how his body was broken, he shivered despite there being no chill in the air. The crystals he lay on were uncomfortable, piercing his back with tiny sharp points. Was it these that saved him? That healed him? He didn’t crawl himself here… That is the moment the strange man chose to walk in.
“Oh, you are awake!” His accent was thick, but the Climber couldn’t place it. He tried to speak but only began to cough.
“Ah, water, water.” The strange man grabbed his hand and led him gently down caves and corridors until he reached a cavernous space. In the base sat a large lake of flat and reflective water. The light played off the perfect surface making strange shapes and streaks in his vision. The man tipped his head forwards towards the water. He forgoed cupping it with his hands and instead opted to fall in and drink that way. He drank and drank and drank for what seemed like eternity, finally his throat was fresh and soothed. He began to wash himself clean of dried blood and dirt. When he emerged he was cleansed, the only things visible were raw scars from where his bones had emerged from his skin, it seems the crystals could not heal those too.
All the while, the bearded man was making a stew and was whistling happily when the Climber emerged from the lake, dripping wet. He was beckoned over by the man who he presumed saved his sorry life. The pot he stirred was filled with a green liquid. It was slightly on the thicker side, but not so much it was a stew. It smelled… green. The man poured two bowls of the strange, slightly viscous substance. The bearded man did not use a spoon, instead choosing to drink it straight from the bowl. The Climber looked down at it, and with a splurch and a large bubble up floated a large piece of green lichen, so that was the base for the soup. Bottoms up… It tasted strange, but not bad. Filling his stomach with warmth. The man observed happily, clearly joyed in the fact he ate so well. When the climber had finished the bowl he licked his lips, his tongue was a distinct greenish color. The bearded man began to speak, green ooze dripping from his beard.
“Are you feeling better?” The Climber simply gave a curt nod. His throat was still sore.
“Ah, a side effect of the healing. You become very dry, no?” He did not wait for an answer, walking over to the base of the lake and splashing his thick beard a few times to make sure it was reasonably clean.
“Come, come, I must show you my friends.” He was once again led by the arm gently, the Climber had nowhere else to go so he simply followed along, a dog on a leash. There were strange gashes in the walls. They obviously were directions and such other useful information, but it was in a language he could not understand. His train of thought was interrupted by a strange sound, similar to one he heard upstairs in the Golem Smiths workshop, a whooping and cheering joy. When he rounded the corner he was instantly surrounded by stone men of different sizes, some only up to his ankles whilst others reached far above his head. All of them were peering with curious orange eyes. The bearded man laughed as the small ones climbed on his back and began to play with his black hair. The climber spun and turned but they held on, whooping and cheering until the Climber began to join in the laughter. Then the bearded man whistled and they all flew off, scurrying back into their small hidey holes among the walls of the immense cavern, save for one which sat perched upon his shoulder not willing to leave. It had nested in his slightly torn sleeve and was vibrating softly.
“You have made a friend, no?” They walked on. The cave was lit up in the same soft orange as he had seen before, all the golems were rough hewn and primitive looking. It seemed more like they carved themselves out of the rock instead of being crafted and carved like the others he had seen. The cave tapered off into a very thin crevice he had to squeeze through as he followed the bearded man, finally they made it through the claustrophobia inducing tunnel and out into the open. The small friend he had made chirped softly and wriggled out of his shoulder tear, whatever was here obviously scared the small golem. The thing in question was a large wooden door, on which was inscribed a strange transcript in the native language of those who lived at the base of the mountain.
“They who was punished.”
The Climber shuddered, wondering if he should go inside, but the man who led him saved him, surely whoever was punished would be kind too…right? He pushed open the door and entered the dark space.
As soon as he passed the threshold of the door his vision was clear once again, and what he saw puzzled him. A huge oaken man, intricate in its carving. Sporting a large flat mask on what could be assumed is its head, which had no details but a slit for a mouth and two empty eye sockets. The limbs were not solid but made up of a multitude of branches intertwined, much like thicker cords of muscle. It was un-moving and still until the strange man also entered the room, and a green fire lit in its eyes and it began to creak and groan as it stood to its massive height.
End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #75