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Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #91 (Re-Write)

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #91

The line between past and present was blurred. Drops of sweat rolled down Krane’s forehead and into his unblinking eyes. He had been forced to dig out a small cavern with his mountainous hands, and now he was cooped up inside the claustrophobic space. He was waiting, thoughts crawling sluggishly while he waited for any noise or sound. The tracks here were fresh, the smell of the creature still hung thickly in the air. It was a rich, earthy aroma that curled its way into his flaring nostrils. Fat, bloated flies buzzed annoyingly around him. They landed on his freshly cut leg.

Freshly cut?

Wooden prosthetic. The dry wood was greedily sucking up the salty sweat that ran down his body, for it was dreadfully hot under the ground. He was beginning to see things, hear things. He grabbed a fistful of filthy nuts from beside him. He had picked them fresh from a plant near the edge of the tall grass. He also had salted meats in his sack, but those would only serve to make him thirstier. A voice swam up to him through his delirium. An echo of his brother.
“Brother, this is an impossible task. Leave with me! We can even take the boy. You’re delirious, snap out of it.”
Krane had slapped his brother, shouted as he hobbled on his one leg, lurching towards the blurry silhouette of his departing sibling. When he finally touched it, the silhouette spun around, six talon-tipped arms reaching out and ripping him to shreds. He shook his head, the waking dream receding into the recesses of his chaotic mind.
That was when he saw it; a bird, young and untaught. It began to sing, attempting to fill in the blanket of silence that hung over the savanna.

A blur, a snap as branches collided with something moving at extreme speeds, and the bird was gone. In its place was perched the creature that haunted Krane.  Elongated skull twitching from side to side. Four eyes scanning the surrounding area as it gently clutched the small bird in its jaws. Krane watched it without even taking a breath. His lungs screamed for oxygen, but he could not risk it seeing him. It slowly got down from the tree, three of its arms helping it safely as it inched to the floor, and suddenly without warning sped away. Dirt cloud rising high above into the sky, choking and blinding. Krane emerged from the mound, covered in clods of brown and tufts of grass stuck in his bushy eyebrows. His eyes were wide and bloodshot as he began to follow the trail.

 

Sam was hurting all over as he fell down the steep incline. He tumbled head over heels as dirt struck his eyes and stinging plants bit into his shins and elbows. When he finally came to a stop at the bottom of the hill, he had thoroughly scraped his knees and elbows, leading him to be even more irritable. Sam did not enjoy being irritable. He was so hungry! It felt as if a black hole had replaced his stomach. If he did not feed it soon it would feast on his other organs… He crawled along the bank of the stream, head pounding with each pull towards the thing he thought he had seen. A plant, he had been sure of it! Something green brushed against his face. He stopped and wildly thrust his hand around before he grabbed the plant and pulled it out by its roots. It had strange, purplish fruit with a hard scaly shell. He peeled it away with haste, but he was surprised to find a small pill, featureless save for the numeral inscribed on its exterior inside instead of any edible flesh. He gasped as he saw it, this was the first pill he had ever taken! The best high he ever had. He quickly cupped freezing cold water from the stream into his hands, and swallowed the pill with a gulp of water. The elation ran through him like fire in his veins. Muscles relaxing and pain fading away. He smiled and closed his eyes, feeling the warmth spread through him like a gentle hug as the drug descended down his throat. The hug was strong and nice, maybe a little too strong. The warmth faded away, replaced with a searing grip. The hug turned into a chokehold as he spluttered and croaked. He writhed and convulsed, pushing himself into the stream in the hopes that the temperature of the water would shock him out of it, but it was no use. It only served to make him almost drown, as he fought for air. Little did he notice that the stream, like all other bodies of water here, originated from the peculiar fissure in the sky. They snaked impossibly down through the air, in complete rebellion against the forces of gravity. No waves disturbed their silvery surfaces even in the strongest of winds. Sam was too preoccupied with balancing the desperate need for air with the bliss of the drug to notice that when his body struck the surface of the stream, the whole length of it shivered, akin to a cobweb catching a hapless fly. The current carrying him began to  slow, then stop, then reverse its direction, ferrying him up helplessly towards the gaping maw of the fissure.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #91

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #91

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #91

The line between past and present was blurred. Drops of sweat rolled down his forehead and into Krane’s unblinking eyes. He had been forced to dig out a small cavern with his mountainous hands, and now he was cooped up inside the claustrophobic space. He was waiting, waiting for any noise or sound. The tracks here were fresh, the smell of the creature still hung in the air. A rich, earthy aroma that curled its way into his flaring nostrils. Fat, bloated flies buzzed around him. They landed on his freshly cut leg.

Freshly cut?

Wooden prosthetic. Sucking up the salty sweat that ran down his body, for it was dreadfully hot under the ground. He was beginning to see things, hear things. He grabbed a fistful of filthy nuts from beside him. He had picked them fresh from a plant near the edge of the tall grass. He also had salted meats in his sack, but those would only serve to make him thirstier. A voice swam up to him through his delirium. An echo of his brother.
“Brother, this is an impossible task. Leave with me! We can even take the boy. You’re delirious, snap out of it.”
Krane had slapped his brother, shouted as he hobbled on his one leg, lurching towards the blurry figure. When he finally touched it, the silhouette spun around, six arms ripping him to shreds. He shook his head, the waking dream receding into the recesses of his chaotic mind.
That was when he saw it, a bird, young and untaught. It began to sing, attempting to fill in the blanket of silence that hung over the savanna.

A blur, a snap as branches collided with something moving at extreme speeds, and the bird was gone. In its place was perched the creature that haunted Krane.  Elongated skull twitching from side to side. Four eyes scanning the surrounding area as it gently clutched the small bird in its jaws. Krane watched it without even taking a breath. His lungs screamed for oxygen, but he could not risk it seeing him. It slowly got down from the tree, three of its arms helping it safely as it inched to the floor, and suddenly without warning sped away. Dirt cloud rising high above into the sky, choking and blinding. Krane emerged from the mound, covered in clods of brown and tufts of grass stuck in his bushy eyebrows. His eyes were wide and bloodshot as he began to follow the trail.

 

Sam was hurting all over as he fell down the steep incline. Tumbling head over heels as dirt struck his eyes and stinging plants bit into his shins and elbows. When he finally came to a stop at the bottom of the hill he had thoroughly scraped his knees and elbows, leading him to be even more irritable. Sam did not enjoy being irritable. He was so hungry! It felt as if a black hole had replaced his stomach, if he did not feed it soon it would feast on his other organs… He crawled along the bank of the stream, head pounding with each pull towards the thing he thought he had seen. A plant, he had been sure of it! Something green brushed against his face. He stopped and wildly thrust his hand around before he grabbed the plant and pulled it out by its roots. It had strange, purplish fruit with a hard scaly shell. He peeled it away with haste, but he was surprised to find a small pill, featureless save for the numeral inscribed on its exterior inside instead of any edible flesh. He gasped as he saw it, this was the first pill he had ever taken! The best high he ever had. He quickly cupped water from the stream into his hands, it was freezing cold, and swallowed the pill with a gulp of water. The elation ran through him like fire in his veins. Muscles relaxing and pain fading away. He smiled and closed his eyes, feeling the warmth spread through him like a gentle hug as the drug descended down his throat. The hug was strong and nice, maybe a little too strong. The warmth faded away, replaced with a searing grip. The hug turned into a choke hold as he spluttered and croaked. He writhed and convulsed, pushing himself into the stream in the hopes that the temperature of the water would shock him out of it, but it was no use. It only served to make him almost drown as he fought for air. Little did he see that the stream, like all over streams here, both came and went back to the fissure in the sky. Floating down in curving waterfalls. Clever traps, for when something got caught inside the stream? Well, they began to pull.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #91

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #90

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #90

The Climber was in a field of small flowers. The colors were shifting as the wind blew past his face, picking up his hair and running through his beard.

That was not what he focused on.
He looked to the sky. There, hanging by an invisible thread was a cut, a scar, a lesion in reality. It was in the form of a jagged X, from it spilled wicked tendrils of fog. Inside it he could see things shifting and moving. The place beyond was grey and bleak, from what he could see from down here it was almost like a swamp. The Plateau ahead was a singular valley. Around the valley was a huge skeleton, made of blackened and charred wood. Its gargantuan feet were near the entrance to the fog. Nestled inside its skull was an ebony city, shining and corrupt, making his eyes smart as he stared it at.

Just then, far closer to him, there were loud noises, a sound similar to a bundle of sticks whacking each other constantly. He spun around just in time to see the Overseer emerge from the ground. Dirt and flowers flew and fell to the ground in an array of colors.
“Hello Volunteer! I am here to initiate your examination.” It announced this in its slightly annoying cheery sing song voice. It was unnerving. Its bluish green fire examined him. Digging into his brain, rummaging into every nook and cranny inside his mind. The sound of wood creaking echoed over the expanse as the mask stretched into a smile.
“Ah… An interesting one. You’ve met my ‘Brother’? A nice twisted past to pick from… Oh you’re fun! I’ve decided. Your obstacle is yourself!” It cackled as it dived back into the floor. The ground moved in waves from its exit point, like small earthquakes. They knocked the Climber to the ground, jarring his bones and making his teeth vibrate in his gums. The fog rolled inwards from up in the sky, spinning with sinister intent. When the Climber looked up once again he saw an all too familiar sight. A battlefield. Out of the fog emerged soldiers, and… him. He walked out of the fog, but he wasn’t alone. Behind him stood a dark being. Made up of liquid tendrils made up of inky and reflective black. Writhing and shifting, it dribbled as it walked, leaving a dark stain as it slurped. Towering up above his own camouflaged body, pack bouncing on his shoulders. The man at war had dark bags under his eyes, pronounced and sunken. The dark creature began whispering in his ears, all the whilst the Climber watched like a spectator.
“You’re going to die. Writhing and in pain. Bones broken, bleeding, and no one will remember youuuu.” It sung into his ears. Its voice was best described as a crawling sensation, like the pricking of the hairs on the back of your neck.

That was the moment it chose to turn its red flaring eyes on the real Climber.

 

Daniel looked up. He saw the inside of a huge wooden skull. He was inside some sort of city, but it was strange. Everything was made of some kind of black stone which was, for one, a horrible design choice, plus there was some kind of fungus growing everywhere. It was coarse and covered in tuberous tendrils. Actually, it was the only thing that grew here. There was no green, no other plant. He had the fantastic idea of not leaning down to sniff it.

For possibly the first time he could remember, he felt uneasy. This place was infected with a sickness.

 

He wandered through abandoned streets. In the distance he could hear rumbles. The hair on the his nape stood at attention as he turned a corner and saw en entire alleyway coated in fungi. It almost seemed to reach out towards him, despite there being no wind. He didn’t turn his back on it until he was a good running distance away. He found the city edge and he saw something even more peculiar. It almost seemed as if the city drew on the surrounding color and life. Tendrils of bleached black and white color reached out from the borders of the ebony city. As soon as he stepped onto the purple grass that lay beyond the border the large wooden man emerged from the ground in a shower of flying dirt clods. It did not look happy.
“You emerged here? This cursed place? Bah. Makes my job harder it does. Now let’s take a look at you.” It grumbled as it shook off dirt. Turning its sea green eyes on Daniel. He stood slightly confounded. Then he receded into his own mind. He could feel it prying around, lazily turning aside locked doors and rifling through organized memories and blueprints making small comments as it did so. Curious, all he did was push back. A little nudge with his mind. He was instantaneously snapped back to reality as the creature was shot backwards, tumbling head over heels and rolling backwards in a very undignified manner.
“Are you ok?” Daniel called out, he was worried, what had happened to the friendly wooden man?”
“Bah! Bah! My perfect job, you’ve not just gone and emerged in this place, just being this close will give me critters crawling inside my rib cage for a couple weeks, but now you’ve tried to interfere with my testing? You know what?! Your obstacle is your curiosity! Now off with you.” Daniel watched as the creature left in a state of anger. Ground parting for its grand entrance as it leapt with both hands in front of itself into the floor. Daniel suddenly felt an emotion wash over him, a pure thirst for knowledge. The only other time he had felt this was when he had first seen a golem. He quickly ran back into the black city, who knew what secrets it could contain?

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #90

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #89

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #89

Krane was bombarded with memories he had long since forgotten. A competition, indescribable horrors, and of course his long lost brother. They were intrusive and unwanted. His leg burned under his weight, so he lay down, wincing as he settled in the tall grass he found himself in. Why had he forgotten?

Oh, that’s right. So that he couldn’t ‘Cheat on the test’ as the Overseer had told him.

Him and his brother had taken the impossible task.

Secure the six armed beast that prowled the tall grass, the last creature created by the Hunter as a test for those after him. If they did they would be showered with glory and praise! Riches and gold! Bah. A ruse, for it truly was an impossible task.

He and his brother hunted the beast relentlessly for a week. Tracking and trekking through hill and vale, through boiling heat and blistering cold. They began to lose hope when they started to find half eaten carcasses of gargantuan creatures littering the landscape. They soon found deep paw prints of a predator they had not encountered before, with two toes on each leg that seemed to end in hook like projections, judging by the way the animal left violent trenches in the dry earth as it ran.

When they set up camp at night, they began to hear deep ululating roars which pierced the mind and soul alike, and after the mighty sound subsided, the usual soft noises of jungle nightlife would remain eerily absent for at least half an hour before cautiously returning.

This only served to further excite the brothers- this was truly an apex predator to test their skills to the limit!

Unfortunately, when they finally came across the creature, it proved itself too great of a challenge to overcome. It could move quicker than any man, its six arms tipped with talons capable of shredding steel and shearing through bone.

It took his leg, left him bloodied and desperate.

Fortunately, he and his brother had been trained long ago in the art of using the materials around them, using various herbs and ointments to keep infection at bay and promote healing of otherwise mortal injuries.

 

Torin saw this as a sign that they could not best this beast, but Krane was feverish with anger at the loss of his leg and he allowed the need for revenge to consume him. They argued bitterly for days about whether to give up or to pursue this perilous quest. Neither brother was able to compromise with the other.

Finally, they split up. Torin leaving for the third plateau as soon as Krane was well enough to walk. Krane bellowed curses after his brother long after he had departed. Krane had carved his own leg from a tree and had hunted for two more weeks alone. Blood, sweat and copious amounts of resources left him with nothing, until even he admitted to himself that he could not go on.

 

Five years had passed, and all the associated emotions, which had been buried deep, came flooding back, raw and raging. Now he was back where he began, in the tall grass, and for what purpose?


He sank to his knees with the knowledge. When his head had stopped pounding he heaved his hammer into the air. Pain in his leg long forgotten. He was going to slay the demon from his past and be free once again. A slow smile spread on his face as he felt the excitement and adrenaline run through his veins once again.

 

Sam was very confused. What was that thing? It was made up of wood… It flew! His sister had suggested this climb as a therapeutic session, a distraction from his addiction. A hike to the top, lasting a couple of weeks. Oh how wrong they had been. He had seen monster deer and other waking nightmares. He had enough material to write a novel! To make matters worse they had apparently climbed the wrong side of the mountain. They had missed out on the first Checkpoint thingy. What a shame, he would have loved to see the sights. His sister had been content with simply staying there, building a life for herself. Finding a lover, having a stone cat, living out the rest of her years. Sam? He didn’t really know.
Ah. He was having the shakes again. His very bones seemed to rattle in his arms as the withdrawals took him over. They were more like miniature convulsions than ‘Shakes.’ When they had passed he was surprised to see the looming goat skull mask of the Overseer directly in front of him.
“Hello there!” It announced in its cheery sing song like voice that somehow still seemed to sound like wind passing through the trees.
“I’m here to tell you about the test! Mmm… You have a strange obstacle to overcome Mr Human.” The bluish green fires seemed to peer into his soul, weighing every misdeed and crime. Every pill swallowed and every line taken. Needless to say it wasn’t a very nice experience.
“Ah! I’ve found it! Your obstacle is your dependence. This place is fine tuned to you, so it will react to the things inside you. Specifically it will react to your regrets, bad deeds, horrible things you’ve done. It will make obstacles you need to overcome! If you don’t you’ll die. Simple as that! Toodle doo!” It waved its hand, beating its wings once before dropping out of sight, into the ground from where it emerged. Not even a full second later he felt all the symptoms of withdrawal again, but they were amplified. It felt as if someone had stuffed a water balloon through his ears and into his nose. There was a cruel little man with a gong that was banging away in his sensitive brain. His skin felt both on fire and ice cold simultaneously. He had to choke out breath as he fell to the ground and rolled down the hill to the stream that cut through the land.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #89

A small announcement to make as well. I will be changing the schedule. Due to me trying to do these every day the amount of time I can put into each fact varies quite a lot, thus I shall be changing the schedule to that of: Facts will be posted when they are ready! This way I can keep the amount of quality for each fact. Thank you for understanding! -Benji

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #88

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #88

The stone doors ground shut behind them. The Climber shivered, but it wasn’t from the cold. This place gave him the heebie jeebies. Dirty snow crunched underfoot as they walked together towards the wall of fog they saw in the distance.

 

They reached it soon enough, all of them stopping before entering the sinister looking smog. It curled and twisted, pushing against an invisible barrier. Krane was the first to push through, swallowed whole. Then the two siblings, giving each other looks as it enveloped them. Daniel walked nonchalantly with the small crowd of stone men behind him. The Climber was left with his green eyed golem to be alone. He tried to peer inside, but he could see nothing. He took a deep breath and stepped through the barrier.

 

It felt like small hands tugging at his clothes and skin. Pulled this way and that as he walked in the gelatinous grey. He felt almost as if he couldn’t breathe, forcing the viscous air into his lungs. The very air seemed to be thick and heavy. Light didn’t work right, distorted and misshapen. It made him feel as if he was in a dream. A deafening silence stretched over everything, somehow louder than the sounds he had heard down below. Then he emerged into a “Clearing.” The fog was thinner, easier to see through, but still the cloud muddied his perception. However that was not what surprised him, the rest of the strange group had stopped here as well, staring at the thing flying above. It was made of wood, almost as if it was grown from a single seed. Hundreds of branches intertwining like thick rope to make up his skeletal figure. Mask eerily resembling that of a goat skull. Sea green fire smoldered in its eye sockets, smoke mixing with the fog. Two large wings were fused to its back, propelling it in the air with rhythmic flaps. The wood grain shifted and spun, twisting and turning constantly as if it were alive. It looked down upon them, almost with pity, and as it spoke its short neck cracked and heaved.

“Hello humans! I am the Overseer, manager of this test. I will guide you through this plateau so that you may emerge safely on the other side. Any questions?” It announced this cheerily, hands outstretched expectantly. The girl, Liz? Was shaking. Krane looked dazed, remembering things long past. Daniel had removed his goggles and was rubbing them clean of grease and other such substances to check if he was seeing things again. That was when the large creature scrutinized Krane.

“You! You have already completed the test! You may pass by my friend! Maybe you shall take up the task of hunting the six armed beast that took your leg, hm?” It looked expectant, waiting for something, a confirmation from Krane. He nodded, slightly confused.
“Wonderful! Now, I cannot have you all teaming up from the start. So, I shall separate you. Good day!
It bellowed as it began to flap its wings in reverse. Twirling and spinning and bringing in all the fog once again, swirling and choking them all, gathering in the center.

Krane jumped towards Daniel but when he stumbled towards him all he gripped was air.

The Climber rotated, searching for the others, but as the fog cleared he found himself in a field.
The brother and sister cried out for each other as they were separated.

The golems simply stayed with the Overseer.

Thus began the test of the Second plateau.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #88

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #87 Interlude

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #87 Interlude

The man stumbled as he climbed. He seemed to almost… jitter. His half mask had fused with his torn skin. Under his tattered clothes there were writhing tentacles of an inky black substance, shifting and moving seemingly without end. A massive thick arm was protruding from his back, grotesque and muscular, shiny charcoal running with veins of crimson red. He seemed to only hang off of it, dangling like a marionnette which had all of its strings cut, arms swaying in the wind. The end of the long arm split into a multitude of smaller tentacles that heaved him along through the snow. Said snow melted from the sheer heat of the mess. Eyes were forming along the arm, milky white and bloodshot. They spied around, searching for anything to consume.

A bare movement, a vibration in the snow, it saw it.

With a flash it descended on the deer, smothering it whole. Tendrils squirming in the air as it ate gleefully. When it rose there was a new addition to its form, a mouth. Filled with circulating rows of serrated teeth. Onward it dragged itself, for it heard its tune, and it was coming.

Deep underground, the Hermit felt rumbles. Small quakes that shook him from his lonesome sleep. When he entered the corridors they became stronger. He began to walk faster, ducking under the small entrance to the Grotto and breaking into a full on sprint when he saw how the small golems were quivering. By the time he had pushed open the wooden double doors Ta’rim was awake. His eyes burned with that familiar green fire, the wooden grain that made him up was shifting to show images and stories, his mask twisted into a form of distress. Arms that were made up of thousands of tiny branches imitating muscle fibers were straining against their chains.
“My friend, you must run. Go now! Take the eastern tunnel, it will lead you out!” His voice rumbled and boomed. The Hermit did not have time to react, the entire ceiling exploded. Crystal shards flying and shattering. Twisted abominations made up of stringy sinew and bone crawled out of holes in the ceiling. Ta’rim swept his hands with such force that the winds sent Zsolt tumbling backwards through the door. When he tried to open them again he found them to be shut. He did not even have time to call out, for there was a cracking drilling sound as something began to drill through the walls, filling his ears with a piercing grinding sound. He ran, he had no belongings that he needed to collect, only the coat he wore around his shoulders.

His lungs burned, he had not ran this fast in years. His arms were swinging by his side as he ran down the east tunnel. Behind him he heard squeals of delight as the thing that had been tunneling down finally broke through the barrier.

There he saw it. A pile of rubble with a singular ray of sunlight. Sunlight! What was it like he wondered? He had all but forgotten. He frantically pulled rocks away, cold air biting into his uncovered skin. A singular snowflake landing on his nose. Snow! He was making no progress on the rubble, and he could hear the pitter patter of too many feet accelerating on the floor of the cave. That was when he had an idea. He waited until the sound was close, and then he pressed himself up against the side wall.

He only saw it for half a second, but that was enough to strike fear like none other into his soul.

He watched as it hit the rubble with a mighty crash.
He watched as its momentum forced it to keep going, and on he watched as it tumbled off the small ledge and into the void of the night sky. The Hermit took a deep breath and took his first step into the moonlight.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #87 Interlude

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #86

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #86

He ran.

His life probably depended on it. His bare feet hitting the ground hard, propelling him jauntily forward. He had memorized the way back on the way here. He could hear them screaming… Calls from somewhere far up there. Battle cries. When he had left the garden that thing started climbing down. It wasn’t like a yarl he had seen before. It wasn’t some kind of animal, it looked like it was made up of half melted bodies, fused together to make an abomination. Its bones were sticking out, sharp and broken. It used those to pierce into the wall. Despite its many exposed tendons and muscles it moved quickly. He could hear it now, a gurgling, bubbling shriek pushing splinters through his mind as it echoed after him

He ran.

He burst out of the double doors into the town square, or what was left of it. Fires burned haphazardly on rooftops as people screamed in the face of their inevitable doom. Creatures that by all means shouldn’t have existed were causing a massacre. Blood stained the walls like spilled paint, intestines thrown like party streamers as a spider that was made up completely of black tendrils ripped into a person unlucky enough to slip on the slick stone.
He ran.

Alleyways and shops which once housed hags and bartering men blurred past him as he pelted across the cobbled streets. They were gone now, stone cats left tied to poles, squarish purple fruits squashed and worthless on the floor. He heard a rumbling grinding sound and as he looked up he saw one of the goliaths fall, crushing many buildings in its journey down to the ground. It had been swarmed by things that were almost birds, but they had the heads of mosquitos. Piercing stone and breaking joints and limbs with their serrated proboscises. Its eyes dimmed as it crashed into the floor with a resounding crack. Ground splitting and parting, the Climber ducked, dodging flying rubble. He could hear the sounds of other falling golems in the distance, far-off whoomps that sent tremors through the haze of dust. He slid over the roughly carved head of the Goliath, almost tripping as he did so. He could still smell that thing coming after him. It had the odour of rank decay, sweet and suffocating. There, in the distance, he saw it. The carved sign of the Visitos Cente. He was just about to get in the doorway when his path was blocked with a spindly leg, bone protruding like sharp barbs. The face of the first creature he had seen leered at him, grotesque smile twisting as it opened its maw wider then was natural. He heard a sickening click as a deformed jaw unhinged and dislocated. The Climber froze completely, body refusing to budge, so when the hammer pummeled into the creature’s head and crushed it into a wall, he was surprised to say the least. It did not break the skull, but it did pulverise the wall. It turned its head slowly and emitted a reptilian hiss, deep set eyes burning with hatred. Again, the hammer was swung. Again, again, again. The creature finally gave way with a sound similar to that of of drawing nails across a chalkboard, as its skull crumpled in on itself. Brown, viscous liquid splattered across the rubble with a sickening squelch. Krane panted, using the hammer to support himself as sweat ran down his forehead and into his fiery red beard.
“By the father, I put you to rest you forsaken abomination.” He spat. Finally he rested his eyes on the Climber, his green eyes widening in recognition.
“What the hell happened to you, you’re covered with blood lad!” It was obvious that Krane was being strained. His wooden peg leg had blood running between the grain. His panting was deep, breaths wild and quick.
“I’ve had to dispatch 7 of these, these creatures. I haven’t moved like this in years!” He tried to play it off as a joke. It didn’t work.
“We…We need to get Daniel… the smith.” He wheezed. The Climber tried to support him but he simply batted him away. He probably couldn’t have carried him anyway. They managed to get to the smiths’ workshop. The piles of junk had been tipped. No small golems were seen. Krane ran headfirst through the entrance shouting Daniel’s name, only to come stumbling out with no less than four golems tugging at his beard and oversized silver hammer. They soon realized he was friend, not foe, and dropped off, pointing in unison inside to where their master lay. There were three people in the shack, two who seemed to be a young brother and sister, who appeared in their early twenties. Same blonde hair, blue eyes and fair skin, they were reed thin and shaking like leaves, huddling in a corner while covered in blood. They seemed an unlikely pair to have survived the horrors that were transpiring outside. The last was still tinkering on a bench. There lay 7 yarl corpses on the floor. Embedded in them were shards of crystal and stone. On the floor there were small unmoving bodies of golems, lights gone out. Standing right beside the man was a special golem, taller than he remembered, with green glowing crystal eyes. As it saw him it lit up, rushing over to check if he was ok. Before it was up to his knees, now it was up to his waist. It tugged at his arms and checked for breakages. Meanwhile the tinkerer ignored all of this, goggles smeared with yarl blood and bits of skin. He looked up.
“My god! Krane!” He rushed right past the Climber, leaving him standing there expecting even a small welcome. He sat Krane down in one of the less sharp piles of disorganized mess. The golems that remained guarded the door.
“You won’t believe it, the insides of these things are just remarkable! So many experiments to be had, it’s just-” That was the moment the brother of the two fair haired kids decided to speak up.
“We should be going now sir, no?” He whirled around, almost as if to locate the source of disturbing unwanted noise.
“Oh yes, yes of course. Krane, these two are from a couple doors down, and I have decided that we’re going to go further up the mountain! How exciting. I think it has something to do with the sudden infestation of indescribable horrors but I can’t be sure. We’re going to meet uncle Torin again! I cannot wait! Now, I was just preparing some helpful weapons…” He spoke with such sincerity. It was almost as if those goggles of his provided a filtered version of the world. Cleansed of cruelty and wrongdoing. It was of course a false world, but a nice fantasy nonetheless. From the table he picked up a knife gilded with crystal. It glowed softly as he twirled it through the air. Its blade was black horn, but with sharp orange gem inlaid into it. He could never make something that was not both in equal parts beautiful and deadly. He lay this weapon into the Climber’s hands. He was in shock. To be completely honest he hadn’t even properly processed the events that had happened in the past half an hour. While he was staring numbly into space, his green eyed golem gently placed his old rucksack across his shoulders, the familiar weight of which snapped him back to reality. His grip briefly tightened around the hilt of the knife. It glowed as he set it into his hand. It felt like it was made for his calloused palms. He was not even given a chance to say attempt a word of thanks before being whisked off by the others. An unusual fellowship exited the smithy; a quiet and apprehensive brother and sister, a confident but wounded man the size of a bear with a thick scottish accent, a queer goggled man with more fingers than sense but less fingers then was appropriate, and the scraggly, blood covered Climber himself, that simply tagged along as Daniel led the way. All the while a small crowd of about twenty stone men quietly shuffled after them. As they ran through the now decrepit streets, the brother and sister introduced themselves. The brother’s name was Sam, and the sister’s name was Liz. they had both gotten here only a couple of weeks ago, and when they started seeing things descending from the ceiling they ran away, bumping into the man who they now knew was named Daniel, who protected them until they met the Climber. Krane had managed to stifle his pain and was keeping up with all of them, occasionally wincing as he put weight through his wounded leg. Then they reached it- an expanse of grey cave wall no different to any other. Daniel turned around,

“Now, this is super duper secret so please don’t tell anyone. I found this by accident when I was searching for rarer materials here in town. I kinda opened it by complete chance when I tripped and one of my golems bumped into the wall. Turns out it’s some kind of maintenance tunnel or something?

I don’t know. It leads to the surface though! And since I am certain that the other exit to the next Plateau is completely destroyed by the invading hordes, I’ve ascertained this is the only way up! Onwards now younglings!” He announced this with a grin as he pressed one of his golem’s hands against the wall, which split into two and ground open, solid granite blocks turning on unseen hinges. Daniel began his trek up the staircase that wound and wound its way up, out of sight. The brother and sister went after him with no hesitation. Krane looked back on his home, burning and in ruins. He took the first step. The Climber? Well, he did what he did best. He began a new journey.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #86

End of chapter Four.