The Peak Series

Please note that numbers 21-25 and 50 were skipped because they had no relevance to either stories.

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #26

It is said that the Peak scratches Heaven itself.

Towering over any other mountaintop.

So high you can’t see what is at the top.

There are rumors of course.

Legends, superstitions.

Some say that He lives up there,

God I mean.

That its a bridge,

Between our world and their one.

Who ever “They” are.

After ascending 100 meters it is covered by thick fog,

People sometimes say they see things moving in the fog.

Preposterous.

Not one man or woman who has tried to climb to the Peak have ever come back.

Oh some come home when they only want to go halfway.

Describing snowy plateaus and steep hills.

They always come back.

But those who strive,

Who have the ultimate goal of reaching the top?

They never come back.

Who knows why?

It has been considered cursed for some time now.

This story is about a man, he has lost his way in life.

He does not have a purpose any longer.

He hopes to find it,

On the Peak.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #26

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #27

The young boy ran through the camp.

He was carrying a pail of water, and it was sloshing about as he ran.

He had just received it from the nearby well, after having a conversation with his mother.

“Do you think he’s going to do it mother?”

He said in his native tongue.

“If he does so he is a fool, none return from that place.”

She snorted.

The boy did not believe this man was a fool,

He payed them and asked them questions.

Never too personal.

The boy liked the man, even if he was a bit empty inside.

For that’s what the boy saw, an empty void in his eyes,

He brought the pail of water to the small tent, and he opened the flap.

And there he was, set up in his snow gear and ice pick by his side.

He was in a meditative position.

Legs crossed and breathing deep,

He cracked open one eye and smiled.

“Ah, thank you dear boy. You have saved my life once again!”

He spoke in their tongue, but his laugh was hollow.

The boy felt sorry for him.

He passed him the pail, and he began to boil the water over a pre prepared fire.

It was cold, so the boy sat down beside him.

The man stared deeply into the flames, before he noticed the boy staring at him.

“Tea?”

He gestured towards the pot.

The boy nodded his head.

As the sweet aroma of tea filled his nose, the warm drink filled his insides too.

The boy thanked the man, and the man thanked the boy in turn.

He was a kind man, but empty.

That is why he was different the boy decided.

That is why he would come back.

Empty people always search for something to make them whole, the man would find it on the mountain.

The boy was sure.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #27

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #28

He was ready.

As he picked up his food and assorted salted meats, nuts and other things, he stayed silent.

He said his thanks, payed those who gave him such hospitality and left.

He was not the first to pass through the village, onto the mountain,

And he certainly would not be the last.

And so he began his trek.

The snow was thin here, it had been warmer than before.

Warmer was a strange way to put it though.

The snow fell in drifts off his boots.

Cracking and snapping.

The snow caught in his wiry beard, melting into cold droplets.

The rest spiralling down into the air by his heavy breaths.

He was approaching the barrier of fog that lay at 100 meters above the ground.

And then, in what seemed like no time at all, he had reached the fog.

Some people saw shapes in the fog.

He hadn’t, at least not yet.

It was from this point that no one returned.

The line that must be crossed.

Even as he took the step, even though there was no audible sound,

In his mind it was as if a gong had been struck.

The first step of his journey,

The first of the long trek ahead,

To the Peak.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #28

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #29

He trudged through the snow.

Knee high and whiter than the clouds.

The wind had teeth as it attempted to tear away his warm hat and hood.

He moved on.

He was at the first “Plateau” of the mountain, this had been described many times by those who never wished to venture further.

It was going to be a long trip through this part of the mountain.

He had climbed multiple mountains before,

Venturing to other places on Earth,

He was quite good at holding a pace for a very long time.

As he settled down after about an hour of crunching through the sea of white, the wind began to pick up.

He ignored it for the meantime.

He got out a small portion of food, only an energy bar.

He might need to hunt something on this Plateau as food would become scarcer the further he went up.

This brought him a new dilemma however,

Where were all the animals?

Other people said this place was crawling with rabbits and small fowl.

The wind began to sing eerily, picking up speed and whipping up snow.

A white out, he murmured to himself.

He went on, but only for another five minutes.

He saw something in the snow, a body.

It was that of a deer, but not one he had ever seen before.

It was more muscular, and its horns were sharp at the edges.

Its throat was torn out.

What could have done this?

He murmured to himself, wondering about these events.

It was kept fresh by the snow, maybe he could salvage it?

And then he heard something behind him.

Something trying to not make any sound, but it was almost impossible in this environment.

He turned around.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #29

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #30

The thing leapt up from the white.

Strong legs pushing it hard and fast.

It knocked him over and he hit the ground hard.

The impact knocked the wind from his lungs.

He tried to fight against its snapping teeth.

And then he swung his pick,

Managing to pierce its head.

It squealed a horrible scream as it fell writhing to the snow, ice pick still embedded in its skull.

He got up and was panting, trying to regain lost breath,

Bleeding from a small wound to his wrist.

It stopped moving, the purple red blood stark against the snow.

It was another… Deer like thing.

He grabbed his pack quickly and moved on, applying pressure to his wound.

If his suspicion was right, they seemed to hunt in packs.

That meant there would be more.

Many more.

He walked quicker than before through the ever increasing blizzard.

After a long time walking, he heard a noise.

More crunching.

He whipped around, ready this time,

And there they stood.

If you looked at them out of the corner of your eye, they were deer,

But there was a number of differences.

They stalked him like wolves, eyes kept on him.

Sharp teeth bared.

He brandished his pick, seemingly a good weapon against these creatures.

They stopped.

The growl lessened into a whimper, and they skittered off.

He turned around, searching for something that could make them run off, but saw nothing.

Wait, there!

A light in the now full force of the blizzard.

It was a simple lantern, held by a man.

He beckoned for him to come,

And so he followed.

For there was nowhere else to go.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #30

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #31

They entered a small wooden hut, built into the side of a mound.

It was crude, but warmer than outside.

The man removed his layers of clothing, revealing a weathered, but caring face.

He also removed some of his layers, such as his goggles and cap.

They sat in silence, until the man opposite him began to speak.

“Why are you here?”

The Climber only looked up at him.

“Not much of a talker? Well, do you want to ask me any questions?”

And so he finally spoke.

“What were those things?”

“Hm?”

The man opposite him had lit a fire in the center of the cabin, and was boiling some water.

“They are called the Yarl, small animals inhabited by primal spirits which warp their bodies and minds.”

“Excuse me?”

He was puzzled, while certainly they were not deer, such things as ‘Primal Spirits’ didn’t exist.

The water began to boil.

“Ah, I see, you come from a different place hm?”

The mysterious man said this with a smile, forming wrinkles on his face.

“Strange things happen on this mountain. It is like a connection between different places. One of those places happened to have the Yarl.”

The Climber stood up, now angry that this man thought he was stupid.

“I know that no one ever returns from this mountain, but this is ridiculous! I am sorry, but I can only stay until the blizzard passes. Thank you for your accommodation.”

The man opposite him smiled sadly,

“Ah, now there comes the problem. The blizzard never passes.”

The Climber sat back down, and looked this man in the eyes.

“How do you know?”

He said this softly, finally now believing the words he said, for he had seen the things out there.

He had felt how fast that blizzard had formed.

“I have been here for more than a hundred years. I don’t look it do I?”

The Climber now sat back in his chair, bewildered and confused.

“When I was young, I was cursed by my mother. I am cursed to carry a great powerful creature in my belly, it is like a parasite. I climbed the mountain because I thought that if I got to the top I would find the key to getting rid of it. However, to my surprise when I arrived to this level of the mountain I found that the creature fell docile. Those things out there, the Yarl, they are too afraid of what lives inside of me to come close.”

“So is that why they ran?”

“Yes. This thing inside me… I know that if I die it also dies, but I am too much of a coward to take my own life. It keeps me alive, even in its docile state. Extending my life. The reason I have stayed here is because I don’t know if it will stay like that higher up the mountain.”

“Still I must venture on.”

“I know, everyone moves on from here. No matter what warning I give them, but all I ask is that you stay for the night. During the darkness the Yarl are much more… Intimidating.”

The Climber simply nodded, and went off to find a place to sleep.

Meanwhile the man simply sighed and mixed his stew, mumbling to himself during the entire night,

Whilst the thing in his stomach gave a little shiver and began to move.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #31

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #32

A small boy crawled, sniveling, through the snow.

He had been abandoned by his tribe.

They thought he was too weak to climb with them,

They had a mission.

They were intelligent you see?

They knew they probably couldn’t make it to the top, at least not this generation.

So they were going to build settlements on the mountain, at certain points.

“Checkpoints” his father called it.

But he was weak.

Unneeded.

Unwanted.

He crawled more, leaving a line of parted snow behind him.

He had snow in his shirt, his leggings, he was cold.

But still he sniveled and crawled onward.

Dragging himself.

He was not WEAK he would show them.

He began to cry once again.

They had broken one of his legs so he wouldn’t be able to walk after them.

Because he had tried.

Oh yes he had tried.

Tried his very best,

It was not good enough.

His father had always looked on him in disdain.

Never heeding his words.

They were ruthless his tribe, which is why they would succeed.

He eventually reached a cave.

It was warmer here.

He curled up into a ball and began to cry, his leg was swollen and red.

He was in pain.

He was shaking, when he heard it.

Its voice was scratchy.

“You seem like you are lost, abandoned. You are like me, maybe we can help each other?”

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #32

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #33

The small boy looks around, but he sees nothing in the darkness.

He calls out,

“Who is there?”

In his native tongue.

He hated his native tongue.

It was harsh and stung his tongue.

He felt a warm thing  touch his shoulder,

“I am here to help.”

The boy stopped crying, for the warmth made him feel good.

It lessened the pain.

He embraced it, and it covered his right arm

“Good, good. Now we can help each other.

I want to get to the top, what do you want to do?”

“I want to hurt the people that hurt me.”

The voice gave a raspy laugh.

“Good! I enjoy your energy. We will achieve great things my friend…”

The voice finished this as it wrapped itself around the right side of his body.

“Now, I am sorry but this is going to hurt.”

Before the boy could react, his leg snapped itself into place.

He shrieked, but the pain went away as fast as it had stabbed into him.

He stood up now.

He understood of course, his body was not ready for the hardships of the mountain.

That was why he was left here.

But it would be.

“Yes, it will be.”

Rasped the voice, now inside of his mind.

And they both smiled.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #33

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #34

He awoke in a cold sweat,

As he had done so for the past couple of years.

As he looked around the room his heart rate slowed down once again.

He had fallen asleep on a bed made from logs tied together.

His back was sore, but he was refreshed.

As he packed his things, already getting ready to leave, he listened to the howling of the wind outside the small shack.

He stopped for just a moment, peaceful and staring into nothing.

And then crashing back into reality.

As he took his pack into the main room, where the man was still sitting looking into the now dead embers.

He looked up and smiled sadly.

“I guess I cannot stop you from leaving?

The Climber shakes his head.

“Ah, I try with every person. It has never worked.

You never told me what you search for up there?”

The Climber looked back from the doorway.

And over the howling of the wind, he said…

“My purpose.”

And so, with an air of finality, he closed the door.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #34

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #35

His legs were burning,

His lungs were screaming for air,

And he was smiling.

This was his element,

He was exerting himself properly for the first time in a very long time.

The cold air bit into his throat, but it was refreshing.

He was marching through the knee high snow fast.

So far he had not encountered any more of the “Yarl”.

He was slightly dreading the night,

When the temperature would plunge and the Yarl would apparently be “More Intimidating”

He had the necessary materials to build a shelter, but it would take time.

He was exhilarated.

Even if just for a moment, this climb,

The feeling of doing something

It was filling the empty void inside him.

The blizzard raged on around him, but it would not erode his spirit.

It attempted to tear off his hat, his goggles, his clothes,

But he was prepared.

It attempted to bite into his skin and scratch at it,

But he was sealed.

The blizzard raged on,

But so did he.

At least, until the bear reared up out of the white.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #35

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #36

He was bleeding.

His lungs were burning.

The storm raged on.

He was panting.

Shuffling through the frigid snow.

Despite his first assumptions that thing was not a bear.

It was a Yarl.

It had almost killed him.

It didn’t kill him, which he guessed was the important thing.

He was searching for shelter, anything.

Then he saw it, a cave.

And so he slumped against the wall, fingers pressing hard against the wound.

The flow was lessening.

He was lucky, amazingly so,

He was near death, and he had never felt more alive.

The bear reared up out of the white.

Spines protruding from its back, eyes red with fury, foaming at the mouth.

He leapt back, but the snow was deep.

He stumbled, and it cut into his side.

He cried out.

It was huge, lumbering towards him.

He was shuffling away, trying to get as far as possible.

It didn’t come fast.

It knew it had him.

He dropped his pack and climbed up a frozen tree.

It was slippery, but there were many branches.

He climbed high, and the “Bear” sat there.

Looking at him.

It made no attempt to climb,

Its huge frame meaning it would snap any branches it tried to grasp.

He leaned back his head, against the trunk, and cried out in anger and exasperation.

What could he do?

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #36

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #37

He pulled out his first aid kit, for this was going to need stitches.

He was trained in medical aid from his time in the military,

But he would rather not dwell on that.

He was panting, but it was warm in this cave.

Strangely so.

He began to get a better look at his surroundings.

His entire body ached.

He had been holding onto this thick tree branch for what seemed like millennia, but was most likely just minutes.

Still, the wind combined with the ice of the branch made it treacherous.

He was in constant fear of slipping.

The “Bear” kept staring up at him.

It didn’t make any sounds, just stood and stared.

Its fur bristled in the wind.

It was motionless.

Blood red eyes fixed on his every move.

Unflinching.

So filled with an endless hunger, an endless thirst for his blood.

Not just anyone, this bear had been waiting for him.

It hated him with an endless fury for no other reason than he was putting up a fight.

Attempting to stay alive.

He was shaking like a leaf.

The cold biting deep into his core.

Afraid that he would sneeze and launch himself off the tree.

Then he had an idea.

He stayed there until nightfall.

Finally, the bear went to sleep.

It still had one eye cracked open from time to time.

He would not sleep, for his plan was just going into action.

He still had an ice pick secured to his belt.

And there were some very large icicles hanging from this tree branch…

The spirit that inhabited the bear did not think the chipping sound was important.

It knew this man could not come down without it knowing.

The smell of his blood was enough to almost drive him mad.

It could barely keep itself in check!

The last thing to cross the bear’s mind, and ultimately that of the Yarl inside it, would be the icicle that pierced its skull and crushed its brain.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #37

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #38

He stood tall.

He was ready.

The black on his side writhed and shook, eager to begin.

Moving in opposite directions, clashing and dividing.

Each little ripple cancelling itself out.

He could feel the excitement building up, just waiting to be let go.

“Hush now, we must be patient.”

He motioned with his hand,

It slowly settled back into a matte color.

Smooth as the calm surface of a lake.

No reflections.

He put on his half mask, to hide the side that was… ‘His Worse Side’

He chuckled at that thought.

This cave had been his home for many years now,

He had used it like a venus fly trap.

Luring in those who were seeking shelter.

Then, he consumed them.

Adding them to his ‘Special side’

Until it grew stronger.

Finally, he was able to escape into the cold.

He was sure his tribe would be missing him.

At that, he let out a full raucous laugh.

Oh yes, they would.

They would miss the times when he wasn’t there.

He was getting ahead of himself, for he had a job to do.

As he descended further into the cave, he walked by dry husk after husk of human bodies.

Empty vessels.

He paid no attention to them.

There was a bigger prize further down.

And there he was, tied down on the ground.

Muscles taught against the ropes that bound him.

Glistening with sweat.

Desperation in his eyes.

He was bleeding, and shaking.

“Why…” He whimpered.

So… Weak.

The boy, now a man, felt disgusted.

This was the greatest warrior in his tribe?

Pathetic.

The darkness was writhing and clashing once again.

Feeding time.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #38

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #39

After climbing down from the tree and retrieving his pack, he waded through the snow until he reached a cave.

The cave was strange.

It made him feel… Uneasy.

There was a certain smell in here.

It was sickeningly sweet.

It was also warm in here.

He noticed that the cave was being held by supports.

An old mine perhaps?

Perhaps.

The darkness was almost thick, leaking around the jagged corners and out of the uneven crevices.

He pulled out his torch, and decided to go deeper.

 

There was something slumped against the wall.

It did not look human, and was unmoving.

The skin was like parchment, cracked and torn in places.

Pulled taught across the bones.

Bones which if you touched them, would probably dissolve into dust.

When he was younger he had dreamt of such things as ancient Egyptian mummies.

This reminded him of that.

What could have done this?

It was warm enough to make him sweat now.

The smell strong enough to make him pinch his nose.

After passing more of these dried husks, he eventually reached the bottom.

The source of the smell and the heat.

It was swelteringly hot.

There was a man, or what used to be a man, lying on the floor.

He was stuck in some viscous black muck.

It moved over his huge limbs.

Bubbling and expanding.

Clashing with itself in its eagerness to suck him dry.

He gagged, but it did not take any notice of him,

For it had no eyes, nor ears, or a mouth.

It was only there to feed.

The man was long dead.

Muscles that once would have gleamed in glorious combat.

A mouth that would have shouted battle cries.

No longer.

He slowly stepped back.

Going up to the mouth.

He had to get out.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #39

 

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #40

There was a crate near the mouth, it was filled with sticks of dynamite.

They were old, but they would light.

Near the entrance the sweet smell and heat had died down again.

He was grateful for it.

He was going to blow this place to hell.

 

The cave collapsed.

Struts and supports that had been holding up tonnes of snow suddenly crumpled inwards. Crushing and burying everything.

The thing that lived in the bottom of the cave was crushed.

However it was not dead yet.

It attempted to claw its way out,

But the absolute cold was making it freeze and crack.

Its form became more solid.

Before it broke into tiny fragments, it let out a bloodcurdling scream.

And the heat inside it was extinguished along with its wretched, cursed life.

He was satisfied, and began to walk once again.

His wounds were sufficiently held closed.

He was not bleeding, and the clothes were repaired.

After walking for what seemed like hours, he saw something strange.

An entrance and a huge wall of ice, going higher than the eye could see.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #40

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #41

He gazed up at the immense wall of ice.

It towered so high that he couldn’t see the top,

Which didn’t really mean much because you couldn’t really see the top of anything on this mountain.

There was never any word of this kind of thing in the books he had read on the mountain,

Then again there wasn’t any mention of killer deer either.

He decided it would be best to stop questioning these things, as they all had an obvious but unanimous answer.

There was a small entrance carved into the ice, warm air emanated from it.

As he stood inside, basking in the hot air he gawped at the immensity of the structure before him.

There was a massive cave in front of him, carved out of the huge wall of ice.

In the bottom there seemed to be the source of the heat, a thermal lake.

And above? A city, suspended by ropes and chains secured to the ceiling.

There were farms, rope walkways, shops, houses…

It was an entire community of people all hustling and bustling, all built around a single large megastructure.

Then he heard a voice,

“Hello there newcomer!”

There was a man in a small boat ferrying across the water.

“You seem to be a climber, come up to the town.”

The Climber simply just stood there still in disbelief.

The man, seemingly used to this kind of thing, simply took him by the shoulder and led him into the boat.

“Now I’m sure you’ve got a lot of questions, but first things first I need to welcome you.

My names Sammy, most people call me the Ferryman though. I guide people to our quaint little settlement. This place is what them higher ups call a ‘Checkpoint’ I don’t know how many more there are up there, up the mountain I mean, but I gotta say our one looks mighty fine from down here!”

They had finally reached the bottom of a staircase, built deep into the water for support.

“Now, welcome to the Glacier!”

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #41

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #42

“Now, you’ll be just in time for the sermon!”

The Ferryman said this with a huge grin on his face as he clambered out of the boat and entered the stairwell, all whilst keeping an iron grip on the Climbers shoulder.

“Ser…mon?”

The Ferryman tutted and wagged his finger.

“You know! In a church!”

“You have a religion here?”

“Of sorts…”

By now they had reached the top of the staircase.

The Climber stood at the beginning of a series of rope walkways.

He didn’t really want to stand on them, what if it snapped? What if it broke and released him all those many meters into the warm pools below him? What if-

This train of thought was interrupted as the Ferryman forcefully dragged him across the bridge.

The rope bridge held strong, despite his fears, not even letting out a groan or a creak.

He was then dragged across three more bridges, until he finally reached the superstructure in the center of the entire city.

It was so large it needed two solid hooks attached to the ceiling, with twin ropes from each, both as thick as a man’s arm.

Two large stone gates ground open in front of them, revealing a large area with an altar in the middle, almost like a stage.

Surrounding the altar were many people, packed tight as sardines.

All looking in deep anticipation at the altar in the center.

The doors ground shut behind them.

And then a man stepped on stage, wearing a formal outfit.

Suit, tie, gloves, and… a strange half mask.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #42

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #43

As he stepped into the light the crowd cheered.

“Yes! I am happy that you all are so excited to hear my words.”

His voice was soft and smooth, like caramel,

But his words were loud enough to echo across the immense hall.

“I understand we have had some new additions to our quaint town since the last time we talked, so I would like to welcome all those who are new!”

He gave a very full and gracious bow, putting his head to the floor.

The mask went all the way around his head.

“Because you are new, I shall explain who I am.

My name is B! The rest of my name I gave to our Lord.

Names, like all our otherworldly objects and emotions, are meaningless in the end.”

At this, his tone sombered and became darker. More intimidating.

“I know this. For I have seen Him!

I have returned from the Peak of this great mountain,

Given a quest by God Himself.

He told me about how I must direct others, and that is why we are here, are we not?!”

At this the crowd cheers.

“Yes.”

At this, a sly grin stretched over his half-face.

“Now, would you like to hear a story?”

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #43

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #44

“When I was a young boy, still climbing this very mountain,

Me and my people camped out in a field.

The field was already covered in snow, but the dreaded blizzard that plagues us hadn’t begun just yet.

I was the son of the chief, the head of our tribe.

I was a naughty boy,“

He chuckled at this, and the entire crowd chuckled with him.

“I was a mischievous little rascal who did nothing good.

That day I was listening to what my father was saying in his tent.

He was speaking of something strange, something I wasn’t supposed to hear.

This made me lean in closer.

You see, my father was a very good hunter.

His ears were attuned to the sound of light breathing,

Of footsteps in the snow.

And so, even while he was still speaking, he thrust his hand through the furs of the tent and grabbed me by the throat.

He told me that I would never make it up this mountain if I couldn’t even eavesdrop in silence.

He told me I was a failure of the tribe.

And so he abandoned me the next day, breaking my legs and leaving me in the snow.

You know what I learnt that day?

I learnt that people don’t care.

There is no secret human compassion.

Every single one of my 200 tribe members, all of them left me for dead.

Do you know how I survived?

With the power of God.”

At that, the crowd cheered.

All except for two people,

One was our main character, the climber.

And the other was a man who had no hair, not even on his brow.

He was sweating.

He wore crimson robes, and was waiting anxiously for the sermon to be over so that he could leave once again.

The Climber simply stared, not knowing what to think.

What could he think?

He didn’t understand one bit.

All he knew was that he should probably follow that bald guy.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #44

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #45

A hand gripped him hard by the shoulder.

A grinning Ferryman stared blankly at him.

“Where are you going? The sermon hasn’t ended yet. Beeesiiiiides we still need to show you around!”

The smile was disconcerting in the very least.

The Climber simply went “U-h” and was pulled back into the scrum.

The man was already finished speaking on stage,

The words hadn’t meant anything to the Climber but it seemed to resonate with those around him.

They lapped up every word like hungry dogs.

Barking and cheering, climbing up the legs of their master.

It was strange, if put in the blandest way possible.

Worst way to say it?

Brainwashed.

As soon as the man stopped talking the people all seem to slowly return to normal.

He returned back the way he came.

The crowd fell silent.

A gong was rung, and the huge men who were previously blocking the doors stepped out of the way and begin to holler.

“The sermon is now over!”

People began to file out, going over bridges and pathways back to their houses or jobs.

Like… Clockwork.

The Ferryman, Sammy? Appeared once again.

“Alright, so now I need to show you to your living quarters! You’ll probably be living with someone else for the time being until you manage to work enough to move up.”

“Work? I only wanted to recuperate before I could clim-”

He was cut off by the sudden silence.

The silence didn’t spread like a ripple, as if a stone was dropped in the center of a pond,

No.

It fell faster heartbeat.

Everyone was looking at him, eyes ablaze.

“Excuse me?”

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #45

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #46

The silence was almost deafening.

“Excuse me?”

The voice was soft and familiar,

It made his skin prickle.

The priest stepped through the crowd towards him.

“Ah, so you wish to climb?”

The priest let his gloved left hand to rest on his shoulder.

“Why? You have everything here!”

He laughed and smiled as he said this.

The smile was strange, almost leering.

The Climber stayed silent, but was only staring at the hand on his shoulder.

“Please remove your hand off my shoulder.”

“Pardon?”

“Remove. Your. Hand. I don’t appreciate unwanted physical contact.”

He removed his hand.

The smile was now a slight frown.

“Alright then, only trying to help.”

The words were sour to his ears.

“Now now, off you go.”

He waved his hand in a dismissive gesture and sound returned once again.

The hustle and bustle of the crowd.

What the hell just happened?

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #46

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #47

In the beginning there was Nothing.

Why a capital N for Nothing?

Because its a lie.

There was Something but its called Nothing.

Deal with it.

There was the large empty plane of Nothing.

An empty black expanse.

It didn’t curve or bend in any way.

To be honest it was quite boring.

In the Nothing there were creatures.

They didn’t have bodies per say.

They survived off the warmth that the liquid Nothing produced.

Liquid Nothing is quite good at dissolving things.

It turns other things into nothing.

Back to these things though,

They were spirits.

They ate the scum that was produced on the top of liquid Nothing.

Kinda like milk skin.

Until some of the smart ones got bored of eating a scummy layer that forms after many days of waiting.

For there were days.

There was a harsh black sun that stole the light out of the sky.

When it set there was a natural aura around the place.

The light was strange however, you wouldn’t be able to see far in it.

These smart spirits, they figured out there was something a lot tastier to eat.

The others like them.

And so they grew.

But none grew like B’harat.

(Authors note, pronounced like Bah-Harr-At)

He guzzled and ate.

Those who ate became something else.

They learnt things.

Like how to make things out of the liquid Nothing.

By forming appendages and making sounds the Nothing responded to these sounds.

Resonating it was called.

It could be hardened into new objects.

There was another of these creatures.

His name was Rahn.

He was strange, for you see he was white and not black like the others.

He couldn’t eat Nothing.

His skin never developed the black color of Nothing like the others.

He stayed small, so no one wanted him.

Everything stayed this way until something broke and rose from the ground.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #47

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #48

The ground shook and cracked.

Liquid Nothing spurted from the ground.

The strange thing about this is that all there is under the “Crust” of world was Nothing.

Emptiness.

Bleak and desolate.

Until the huge jagged thing stabbed up through the ground.

Some think that it happened because change was needed.

Personally,

Even though no one asks me my opinion,

I think it was totally random.

I mean who could’ve predicted what would happen next?

Things descended from the mountain.

Things no one had ever seen before.

What we would call them are snowflakes.

To the creatures that lived in the Expanse (I like this term) it was dangerous.

To be fair it was.

To them, heat kept them alive.

Snow was cold.

All except for one who didn’t evolve to eat the scum off the Nothing and grow.

Rahn was curious.

He began to climb.

 

B’harat was furious that this… this… immense piece of jagged something, for it wasn’t even Nothing!, had become bigger than he.

This was an offence, a challenge.

A metaphorical spitting in his face.

He began to climb.

There isn’t much more to say, I’ll be honest.

Nothing happened until Rahn reached the Peak.

B’harat had spent his time climbing up after Rahn, his defiance making him angrier.

He would be the sole one to be on top.

But he was not.

Whatever happened at the Peak, for I will not say for the sake of keeping something interesting to read, split B’harat from all his power.

Sealed him away in the deepest of pits.

And Rahn became something else entirely.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #48

Benji’s Extra Tidbits #1

The broken pieces of Nothing that were created from the huge “Thing” erupting out of the ground eventually came together to form a weird place called the Broken.

This place was warped in its rules of reality and preserved some of the original spirits launched away in the beginning.

The Expanse of Nothing is basically the mother of all the different realities, which means the mountain is also the one constant between every reality.

That’s why there are people who come from different places on the same mountain, but why it’s also impossible to go back.

The huge black sun that stole all the heat out of things eventually formed into a being.

The reason for this was because it was worshiped as a Devil figure for so long the beliefs turned it into something else.

Its name is Ut’ahi, which in the language of the Natives means Black Sun.

This character may or may not appear later in the story…

Those weird spirit things that ate the Nothing eventually turned into the Yarl!

The reason that B’harat could survive on the mountain even though his kind die in the cold is because he had grown so large that he produced heat. This meant there were always smaller beings crawling around on his skin, he allowed them to live until they were big enough to eat.

There are the legendary Four that were the first people to work together to reach the top of the mountain. Heading their own tribes they finished the broken Checkpoints and are said to have reached the top.

End of Benji’s Extra Tidbits #1

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #49

He awoke from his deep slumber,

Cold sweat pouring down the back of  his neck.

He had that dream again.

He lay his head back into his pillow,

Remembering the techniques he had been taught.

Breath in.

Breathe out.

He opened the door, looking out on the hanging city.

He had been here three nights now, if you could even call them nights.

They were artificial and kept by a single man who lived in a hole in the ice wall.

He would come yelling every time he saw the light.

To be fair it was accurate.

 

There was something he wanted to see,

Someone had told him there was a tradition here in the Glacier.

He navigated the treacherous rope bridges, greeting those on his way with a grunt and a small wave of the hand.

He had his trusty ice pick and a chisel he had borrowed from his neighbor.

Then he reached it, the huge obsidian slab leaned up against the wall.

The so called Wall of Names.

It was meters in length and height.

The space had been filled about halfway with scratched names.

The names he focused on where the first.

First four to be exact.

They were in the bottom corner and were significantly more worn than the rest.

Roen, Jeremiah, Zsolt

And one more that seems to have been scored out…

How strange.

He turned to the end of the names.

There, he took his ice pick and chisel and carved his name into the black volcanic rock.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #49

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #51

This was the third sermon he’d attended this week.

It was quite frankly exhausting standing amidst so many people for so long.

When the stone doors ground open again though, he saw the man.

That bald guy.

The bald man seemed to be avoiding him, which only made him more curious.

This time he followed him more discreetly.

 

The bald man’s name was Jeremy. He was… average.

He climbed the mountain following someone else.

That was the kind of person Jeremy was.

He was lucky, he had heard stories of a bear that mauled a lot of people that tried to climb,

He didn’t even meet any deer.

All Jeremy did was work in the Archives.

It was a small building, but he loved it.

It smelt of yellowing parchment which was his favorite smell.

He even slept there sometimes, among the scrolls and paper.

There was something strange that happened a couple of weeks ago though.

He had been here two years, he had always attended the Sermons, when people cheered so did he.

Except for when in the Archives he accidentally handled an amulet he wasn’t supposed to touch…

As soon as he touched it his head felt like it was about to explode.

A small black substance leaked from his mouth.

His vision was blurry, his head ached, and he grabbed the amulet with full force.

He began to retch.

Black goo spilling from his mouth and leaking from his mouth.

His head was about to split in half, or it would twist off, or or-

Then it stopped.

All the black liquid was already shriveling it up and disappearing.

He… felt light.

Clean.

He began to go back through the Archives, searching for that book.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #51

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #52

He cracked the book down onto the table, spilling dust everywhere.

The dust played off the yellow light.

The books name,

”Compendium of Nothing”

Was intimidating as it was.

It was also written by one of his idols,

Well.

He was only his idol because he had written many of the books here.

Jeremiah!

His name was even similar to his!

Oh, he could gush about his works of literature for hours.

To be honest though, he didn’t understand most of what was said in the books.

The text in this book was especially strange.

It seemed to wriggle and worm its way across the page if you looked at it out of the corner of your eye.

He flicked to the page he had skimmed over before.

”Amulets”

Able to ward off corruption and magic. Depending on what they are made of they may serve different purposes or have longer life.

Some of the strongest and longer lasting amulets are made from human bone. These however are only used for extreme situations. They ward off most evils and magics well enough. Even able to purge you of existing corruption. They are great help when traversing the waters of the Broke-’

He slammed the book shut, and looked at the amulet once again.

It was definitely bone.

Human bone?

He decided not to think on it.

But what could be the cause of corruption?

Then it hit him like a particularly heavy tome to the temple.

The priest.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #52

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #53

Over the next few week he slowly began to learn more about the conspiracy at hand.

How the people were being brainwashed, corrupted slowly by the man who only calls himself “B.”

It made him sick to the stomach, seeing how he slowly controlled them and made them fo his bidding.

However, he was forming some theories.

Maybe, just maybe, the thing that is controlling him,

For there is no way he is just human,

Can be expelled from him.

Maybe he could kill it that way.

He could only hope.

There were more present matters at hand though, for now there was the bearded newcomer who was following him across the walkways.

Could he have been found out?

He was sure nobody would notice one snapped bridge, a lonely Archives worker falling all those many meters into the pool below…

By the time this train of thought had finished he was already at the front door.

Turning that rusted copper key.

Why does the door open so slowly goddammit?

Desperation made him slam his shoulder into the door,

And then he was inside.

Safe, at last.

His shoulder ached but that would be a small price to pay for self preservation.

He started to calm down until the sound of knocking echoed throughout the Archives.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #53

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #54

He had followed the man across the walkways as secretly as he could.

However it seems his attempts were futile, as now he was scurrying across the walkways with a speed that said ‘I’m-Totally-Not-Scared-And-Trying-To-Increase-My-Speed-Sensibly’

To this he also increased his speed, hoping to get a word in before he escaped behind a locked door.

It was already too late however because by the time he got in front of the door with the coppery plaque which read ‘Archives’ he had locked himself away.

So, like any sensible person he knocked on the door.

All he heard was a small squeal, and a tinny voice saying “Go away.”

After waiting a couple of seconds, the door cracked open a little and an eye peeped out from behind it.

“So you’re still not gone?”

He simply stayed silent.

“What do you want? I’ve noticed you following me these past couple of days… Please just leave I don’t want any trouble.”

Finally he opened his mouth and began to speak.

“I just want to talk.” He croaked out.

It was the first time he had spoken for the last couple of days and his throat was sore.

“You seem to be different from the rest. There’s something wrong with this place and you seem to know it too.”

He heard a deep sigh and a mumble of something that sounded a lot like ”One day I’m going to get myself killed.” And then a click as the key was turned and the door unlocked.

All the bald man did was wave his hands and beckon him inside.

Meanwhile, a pair of eyes watched this meeting with great intent and curiosity.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #54

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #55

A pair of orange eyes watched the two.

The cat stalked ever so closer, and watched through the window cautiously.

It saw as the two men discussed uninteresting things.

Planning and scheming.

It didn’t care for such things.

For now it was hungry, and it padded off in search of food.

It pounced.

Catching the mouse in between its claws.

Batting it around, but careful not to let it fall off the edge.

Then finally when it moved no more it tore in and ate.

Then a hand reached down and grabbed it by the neck.

Lifting it up high into the air.

It squirmed and shook, yowling and mewling, until it was tipped backwards and cradled in the huge hairy arms.

Another hand descended and began to scratch it between the ears.

It was confused, but all the same it began to purr.

That is until it looked up and saw the thing that held it.

For it wasn’t fully human.

Not anymore.

It was rotting from the inside out, black viscous scum filling its insides.

It once again yowled and twisted its way out of the warm grasp.

Raising its haunches and spitting and hissing and finally running off.

“Kitty…” the man said with sadness.

The butcher simply wanted to pet the nice little cat.

What was wrong with it?

It was probably just silly.

There was nothing wrong with him, nothing at all.

And then the bell  began to toll,

Bang, bong, bang, bong.

Loud and intruding.

“Oh, it’s already time for the sermon…”

The man mumbled as he wandered towards the church with all the others,

All the others who were normal just like him.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #55

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #56

His armpits could only be described as sprinklers.

His bald head shone with a sheen not seen before by mankind.

They had a plan, and he prayed that it would work.

If it didn’t well… The consequences were obvious.

A man bumped into his shoulder and he let out a squeak, the person barely gave him a glance.

The book had detailed well enough what they would have to do.

And it all relied on the amulet that rested on his chest.

He pushed through the crowd.

He was only a Plan B.

An after measure.

Just in case.

The only thing that ran through his head was,

Damn I need a drink.

This was insane.

The man who was supposed to come onto stage was apparently possessed by something.

It was manipulating him and slowly corrupting all the people around him.

Like a parasite.

To be truthful, he was terrified.

What if it was some normal dude who liked to wear a mask?

There are people with strange quirks like that.

But now he had no more time to think, as now the curtains had flung open and the man, the thing was walking on stage.

Oh god its time.

The boards creaked under his weight.

He walked with purpose towards the grand stage.

His one eye swept the crowd, and he nodded approvingly.

“So many of you! I am happy that we have come so far. Progressed so much. Yet I fear this may be one of our last meetings. You all will understand.”

There were sad nods throughout the audience.

This was the moment Jeremy chose to jump up onto the stage.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #56

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #57

There wasn’t even time to pause, he just hoped he wouldn’t mess up the words.

He began to recite the chant from the book.

Strange words that pained the ears and burned his tongue, but still he went on.

Amulet in hand.

All the people held their heads.

Except for the man who only called himself ‘:B:’

He simply cocked his head to the side and stared.

But then the right side of his body began to shift and move beneath his clothes.

Moving to the rhythm of his chanting.

Still the man just stared.

Then, black spewed off his right side and condensed into a blob on the stag, and he fell to the floor.

“Are you ok now? That thing can’t control you anymore, you’ll be fine n-”

And then the hand flew towards his throat.

There was rage in his eyes.

“Control me?!”

He began to guffaw.

“Come back to me, my right hand.”

And the black blob receded back to him.

Viscous and slow.

“We do not control each other, we are in a mutual agreement. You have upset me, now leave.”

And he threw him directly at the climber.

They collided, and he was knocked to the floor.

“I knew there was a strange smell around. You stink of the thing I left behind, Newcomer.

It is only too bad I wasn’t there to greet you. Did you like the little present?”

His grin was mocking.

He raised his right hand, and the sickly sweet smell he was all too familiar with began to invade his nostrils.

All the hair on his arms began to raise.

“Now, goodbye.”

He released the blast.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #57

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #58

The Old man had forgotten his name.

It was lost in time, along with many other things from his past.

He remembered flashes from time to time.

His mother shouting.

Men in masks.

And him climbing the mountain, only to see the marks that had began to move on his stomach and chest stop.

He swore to stay there and help those who came his way.

And now he was here, climbing.

That worked well didn’t it?

The cave was caved in, but the smell lingered.

The… the thing in his stomach reacted to something here.

Or something that was here to be more exact.

All that was left was rubble, and a sickly sweet smell.

The snow was getting thicker, now coming up past his waist.

The blizzard still howled onward.

He had never experienced it in its full force, but it was calming.

Finally feeling something.

It was glorious.

When he reached the entrance to the warm place, he was amazed.

It was a floating city!

Or it seemed to be, until he saw the ropes.

Still, it was truly fantastic to see people advance so much in the time he had been gone.

But there was something wrong here,

He could feel it.

And so he climbed into the boat and began to row his way to the stairs.

He was going to investigate.

There were no people that populated this place.

Or if they did, they weren’t here.

He had no fear of heights.

There was this lingering… feeling that was spread over the entire place.

It was stirring the thing inside him.

He was afraid.

And then, when he reached the point it was most concentrated he began to focus.

He had been thinking about it for many years now…

Maybe he could manipulate the thing inside him.

And so as he allowed it to wake inside him, releasing the mental hold on it, he put it on a metaphorical “Leash”

And used its strength to open the large stone doors.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #58

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #59

He waited for death.

Feeling the wind gather, not exactly seeing the force as much as feeling it.

Everything slowed down, every second an eternity.

So when he saw the old man from the base of the mountain break through the large obsidian doors, he saw the fragments of door spiral lazily in the air.

The reflexive jerk of people arms to protect themselves.

And he saw the black light that crackled over the old man’s stomach and arms.

He leapt forward.

Even in this seemingly slower perception he moved almost too fast to see.

Right… in front of him?

The blast hit, his hair was blown backward, but he wasn’t dead.

 

”NO.” The man on stage shrieked.

“These men and women are my ward beast. Step down.”

He was trembling, almost like he was about to throw a tantrum.

His clothes were slightly ripped, and you could see the purest black writhe and shake.

He was simply a child, the climber remarked.

Albeit with anger issues.

The old man raised his hands, fingers splayed, energy crackling.

Even his beard was standing on end with whatever forbidden power he was harnessing.

“Is that a confirmation child?”

He simply stared with such intensity it made the climber take a step backwards.

There were no words, only the sudden absence of light.

Two huge powers clashing.

Black tendrils whipping, lightning piercing and shocking.

It was strangely beautiful.

And then the boy was knocked back into the wall.

The mask fell off and the horror underneath was revealed.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #59

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #60

The skull was twisted.

The teeth completely exposed, but going back further than they should.

Many eyes filled the inky black space.

And the smile was permanent, stretched and curving around and around.

And then it spoke.

”I am B’harat the Cannibal. I ate my brothers and sisters to survive. Step aside old one. You have proven yourself worthy of fighting me. Now, step. Aside.

His voice bubbled and gurgled, vocal cords rotting.

“You have also been a formidable opponent as well B’harat the Cannibal. Now goodbye.”

He finished the sentence right in front of the boy.

He got a singular punch in, but that was enough to send him flying so fast that he broke through the wall.

But even then, he was not dead.

He extended one last tendril,

There was no chance of him getting back onto one of the platforms, he knew.

So instead he cut one of the ropes.

And laughs as he fell into the steaming thermal lakes, and the laugh became gurgles as he sank beneath the still water.

Before he knew it, he was grabbed around the waist.

Propelled out through the falling door.

The people were still in a trance, none of them striving to get out.

Only looking on, dazed.

Why weren’t they being saved?

Why was he worthy?

He was being set down on one of the stable platforms by the old man.

It took him a while to notice, but he was bleeding heavily.

The Archivist was here too.

He…didn’t know what to think.

“Walk with me young one.”

The old man beckoned.

And so they walked.

 

“This thing inside me, it fights and tears. Its killing me from the inside out. I know I am going to die, and I am happy.

The reason I saved you, as you were probably wondering was because you were the last one I saw.

I think you can climb this mountain young one. Better than me at least.”

And at this, he chuckled and coughed. Spittle speckled with blood leaked from his mouth.

“It is ironic, this thing has been keeping me alive all these years, and now its my end. I’m happy.

Now run along now, you’ve got a mountain to climb.”

And with this, he settled onto the ledge and died.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #60

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #61

He walked back inside.

Remorseless.

Was he supposed to feel remorse?

He barely knew the man.

Why was he so empty?

Was he even human?

He wandered back inside,

Back to his temporary home.

He had hated it, dusty and cramped.

He guessed he just hadn’t earned a better one.

He grabbed his pack, and picked up his belt.

His ice pick was still in the loop.

He put his hand on it, to steady his heart.

The thing that saved him time to time again.

He smiled a half smile at that.

He found Jeremy standing in front of the wall of names.

The light played off the slate beautifully.

Shimmering and sparkling without end.

He was scoring off names of the dead.

“You’re going to leave, aren’t you?”

He said without even turning around.

“Yes.”

“I wish you good luck on your travels, I am going to stay here and try and rebuild this place.”

He simply nodded, and left.

No proper goodbye.

No wave or sending off.

God a nod would do.

Why didn’t he do something?

He didn’t turn back, and ascended the spiral staircase carved out of the ice.

 

The body of the old man lay still, flies had already began to congregate.

Until the black marks began to race across his chest.

Spreading like ink blots.

And he rose.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #61

End of Chapter Two

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #62

The steps were slick and slippery.

Only slightly melted by the torches that burned with blue fire.

The chill chewed threw his boots and coat.

Biting into his insides and holding fast.

The ice was thick, sunlight didn’t make it in.

The steps were disjointed and uneven in size and depth.

The heavy pack made this all the more difficult.

Falling backwards would probably mean a broken bone or worse.

Would it kill them to make rails?

 

There was a small room cut into the ice after what felt like days of walking, but was probably only a couple hours.

If you could call it a room.

It was cramped but there was a bed.

And so he slept, bruised shoulders settling into the tough fibre filled mattress.

After he awoke, the candles he had lit with the blue torches that never seemed to burn out, had burnt out.

It seemed the effect only stayed with the torches.

He moved on, climbing the steps.

By the time his knees were screaming and his lungs burning he felt a breeze on his face, and he emerged and hit his head on an exit that was far too small.

And then he saw a… cobbled road?

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #62

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #63

There was no wind when he emerged onto the peculiar cobbled road.

For that, he was grateful.

However there was something even stranger.

He could not see the sky, for there was none.

The entire expanse was completely underground.

The only light came from crystals scattered here and there.

Some glowing with soft orange light, some blue.

And on the ceiling, if it could be called that, there were barely any spaces not covered in crystals.

But not all of them were glowing.

They were mimicking the day and night cycle, systematically glowing and not glowing.

Now he began to walk.

There was still a biting cold.

Snow was falling from somewhere as well.

But the snow melted in the light of the crystals which lined the road.

Too bad they couldn’t warm his hands.

He saw “Sheep” grazing in their fields.

But they had three eyes, and their wool was thick and coarse looking.

And they had sharp teeth.

He thought it best to stay away.

Finally he reached a sign.

It had its words written in many different dialects, and he searched for one in English.

Ah, there it was.

”Overhang, 200 steps”

So he began his 200 steps.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #63

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #64

A huge ravine ran through the center of the cavern.

On both sides sat a city.

In the center were many bridges that lead across the gap.

He was at the top of a very steep hill, and could see the settlement spread out before him.

Large crystals populated every intersection and street corner.

There were farms spread far across the outskirts.

A large market in the center.

And a tall wall haphazardly surrounding it all.

That’s when he heard the sound of stone moving against stone, and he turned around.

It was huge, at least three meters tall.

It loomed from the gloom from beyond the light.

Eyes glowing a fiery orange.

Crystal protruding from different places on its body.

A rough and squarish head turned towards him.

It had no mouth carved into it.

It was dragging along a cart filled with crops and wool.

For the most part, it ignored him.

Grinding along, shuffling its legs as thick as tree trunks.

Unable to lift them from the ground.

He followed it back into town.

 

When he reached what seemed to be the entrance to the wall, the huge moving statue was allowed through the stone gates.

He was called over to a small booth, were an even smaller man stood inside.

He didn’t look up from his book whilst he asked the questions.

“Name?”

He recited his name.

“Staying or going on sir?”

“Going on.”

“Well, you’ll have a one week time period and then you’ll be given provisions and such to move on.

Good day!”

He waved his hand in the air and the doors began to pull themselves open, and he entered the city.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #64

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #65

The streets were long and twisting.

Hand placed cobbles slick with snow.

All the houses were made from large blocks of grey stone.

He had been directed by a man to go to the place where those who were travelling on would be staying.

The so called “Visitors Center”

He just hoped he hadn’t got lost.

This place was a maze.

Then he saw it, a sign that hung from the side of an inconspicuous building.

The R’s had been scored off, so all that was left was “Visitos Cente”

He entered the building.

 

He was greeted by the crackling of a fireplace, and a shout of “Close the damn door!”

A man with a peg leg walked around the corner.

“Damn heat will escape if you keep it open. Welcome to the Visitos Cente!”

He gave a deep rumbling chuckle.

“Give your things to Stevens, and then come to the fireplace. Its dreadfully cold out there.”

He motioned towards a stone figure that emerged from a perfectly fitting hole in the wall.

He was much better looking than the one he had seen dragging the load down the slope.

It had actual fingers, and no protruding crystals except for the exposed eye sockets.

He guessed this was “Stevens”.

He handed over his pack and coat to it, and it receded into the recess, presumably travelling via some secret stair to his would be room.

He walked down the corridor, making sure to take off his wet shoes.

He guessed that this man would not take kindly to someone who mucked his thick woolen carpet.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #65

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #66

The thick wool looked to be the same kind he had seen elsewhere in the city.

Seeing as he only saw one kind of sheep, he assumed some people had to shear those beasts.

He walked into the large common room.

The man with the peg leg sat in a very large chair, which accommodated his very large frame.

He had legs as thick as his head, corded and knotted with scars and muscle above the stump.

His long flowing crimson beard was well kept…

…And he was snoring.

He snorted and awoke once again when he sat down in the other chair opposite from him.

“Ah, its you! I got word that someone who was moving on was coming, so I prepared a bed for yah upstairs. Now I’ll give you the basic debrief of this town. Yer probably wondering what these moving statues are, well. There is a special crystal that grows here. It has many strange properties, among them are making crops grow faster, healing, and also being able to make living stone men. Golems if you will. Golems are used for everything around here, the more simpler ones for lugging and carrying whilst the more refined ones, like Stevens over here, are used for helping around the house. Most people say that they can’t feel or think, at least that’s what most people say. Anything else you wanna ask lad?”

There was a great pause.

“Why is this place underground?”

The mans face darkened, and he seemed to scratch at the scar tissue without even noticing.

“There is a reason we don’t go up there lad. I don’t know if there’s an afterlife but I could give you a map of hell.”

He let a big shuddering sigh.

“Something happened up there lad, and the problem is the memories all fuzzy. All I ‘member is the feeling of overpowering fear. I lost my leg up there too. I wouldn’t recommend asking about that, because those who do remember won’t be so happy to. Now, off you run. To your bedroom with you.”

And at that he tilted his head back and went into a deep slumber, and so the Climber trudged up to his room.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #66

 

 

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #67

The night passed slowly.

Lying restlessly in bed.

Eyes wide open.

Then he heard it, a voice.

A bare whisper.

It was a small, garbled sound.

He got out of bed and walked into the corridor.

The stone was cold on his bare feet.

He made sure his steps were quiet.

The noise was coming from the living room.

He peeked around the corner and saw it,

The man who was his host was no longer in his comfortable chair.

Instead there sat the stone man.

“Stevens”
It had a book in its hands…

It was trying to speak the words.

But it couldn’t.

Then he woke up, it was morning.


The large man was already downstairs.

He was stirring a large pot over the fireplace.

The smell was of lamb and vegetables.

“I don’t believe I ever told you my name.”
He said without turning around.

“Your steps are heavy lad. Could hear them from all the way upstairs.”
He turned around and smiled.
Motioning towards the steaming pot.
“Hungry?”

They ate on the two large sofas.

The Climber ate every last morsel, and then began licking the bowl clean.

It was delicious!

He hadn’t had good food in what felt like weeks.

The man laughed at his ferocity.

“My name is Krane lad. You don’t need to tell me yours, you silent types don’t usually like to divulge that information. Todays your big day lad, you need to have a meeting with the ruler of this city. Don’t you worry he’s nice enough when he’s slept well, if you know what I mean!”
He gave out a laugh that shook the stone of the house, and the Climber couldn’t help but smile.

“That’s at noon, but I need you to run a little errand for me first. You need to go down to the smith and get some food for Stevens. If you say its for me he’ll understand. You should leave after you’ve finished eating, it’s a little bit of a walk.”

He proceeded to pour himself a second bowl.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #67

 

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #68

When he was leaving the building, he noticed something strange.

The books he had seen before were slightly out of order.

One of them shoved back into place violently.

He didn’t dwell on it.


He had a map written out on brown, cracked leather.

Paint was flaking off with his trailing finger as he traced his winding path to his destination.

He walked in directions written out for him, passing by strange market stalls with wrinkled crones selling bells and collars for stone cats and dogs. Men were haggling for azure squarish fruits which they tapped with their forefingers to determine their ripeness. Looming stone monoliths were stacked one after the other, placed haphazardly by even more gargantuan golems than he had seen previously, their massive arms working tirelessly, their jewelled eyes glowing in the twilight.

Then he reached the place he was looking for, the smithy, and it certainly was a sight.

It was deep set compared to the neighbouring houses.

Piles of junk towered over him by many meters, appearing to sway precariously.

Among these items were small golems, knee high to the Climber, sorting out the trash and bouncing about, letting out small whoops.

He pushed open the door and was greeted by a ground shuddering explosion.
“Ah! Sorry about that! I just got some interesting material from the mines. You won’t believe how volatile this stuff is… ah… who are you again? I’m not good with faces, or names.”

A goggled man clambered out of a toppled pile of trash. He was covered in soot and fragments of small crystal were embedded in his thick leather apron.

His eyebrows were singed in places, and clumps of his hair were shorter than the others.

When he took off his glasses you could visibly see where the ash had not reached beyond the rubber cups.

Curious blue eyes darted around the room, looking at the multiple tiny golems and barely settling on him for more than a second.

As he removed his thick leather gloves the Climber could see where a sizable chunk off the tip of his index finger was missing.

“I’ve come to get something for Krane.”
At the mention of the name he leapt into the air, nearly knocking over a pile of carefully organized junk, and agitating the small golem that was sorting through it.

“Krane… Krane! Yes! He’s the one with uhhh… Stevens? Yes. I’ve got his special thing here. I dunno why he’s feeding them. For all we know they don’t digest or even need to eat. It’s just a friendly thing I guess. Now for you young… man? I don’t think women have beards… Is there anything you want? I am the finest smith and golem carver in this town!”

As he got closer, the distinct smell of unwashed man, mixed with burning hair and flesh, inflamed his nostrils.
Using almost all of his willpower to stop himself from pinching his nose, he replied “Uh, no thanks sorry.”
He looked visibly hurt. Lips pouting like a spoilt child, he wandered off dejectedly into the corner of the workshop, pulling on his leather gloves and digging through one of the seemingly endless cupboards.

One of the small golems tugged at his apron and he shooed it off.

Finally, he procured a small golem, smaller than he had seen before. His face transformed as he laid his eyes lovingly upon its miniscule form, like a mother’s tender gaze for her child.

The gems in his eyes were not orange, but a softer green, reminiscent of leaves in spring. They were studying the Climber curiously. Sweeping up and down. He felt like every individual cell in his body scrutinized, almost microscopically. He shivered, despite the heat of the stuffy room.
It was masterfully sculpted in a unique form. Five dexterous fingers chiseled beautifully. Every crease carved out. A head that looked similar to that of a human, down to the bejeweled eyes that reflected every ray of “Sunlight.” All of this served to make it more human, which to the Climber unnerved him ever so slightly, as do human children.

“This is an experiment of mine, a golem that grows! Take it, and no backsies. ”

“I can’t possibly accept this, this is something precious to you!”
“A friend of Kranes is an even better friend of mine. I owe a lot that man, and it’s still only a prototype, now off with you! Before you get caught in an explosion.” He pointed out, making an exaggerated shooing movement with his hands, he snapped back his goggles and ran through the maze of tall piles, soon after shouts of amazement interrupted with explosions began to resume once again.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #68

 

 

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #69

He held the golem at arm’s length, gazing at it with a mixture of concern and fear, tied together with a frown.

It was surprisingly light, and not even tall enough to reach his ankles if he set it on the floor.

The miniscule stone man made him uneasy. The soft green eyes stared at him, unmoving. He gingerly placed it into his trusty rucksack, where it instantly burrowed deeper and nestled itself between his discarded, warm clothes, peeking up inquisitively out of the top of the bag. The snow fell thick and strong, fat flakes coating everything in a cold, white blanket. The salesmen and crones rushed home to their cosy fireplaces and boiling broths, while the hulking stone men worked on, completely unaffected by the blizzard. The winding path seemed to drag on forever, but the small golem seemed to be happy, observing all the sights of the city from his leather sanctuary. If it had a proper mouth it would have smiled, but the head was unfinished. The face was smooth and featureless except for the eyes, which were filled with life. Then the calming rocking of the satchel came to an end, and they went upwards and forwards, into the Visitors Centre.

They were greeted by the rhythmic tap and thump of a leg and peg working in concert to propel a heavily muscled man across the corridor.

His long, red beard shot through with grey roots swung across his tree-trunk of a waist as he came forward, his huge head nearly scraping the ceiling.

“Have you got it lad? The things I asked for?”
The Climber reached back into the pack, right past the small golem, and pulled out a satchel made from leather. The large man’s eyes lit up with joy, green and sparkling. He deftly untied the small knot with his massive fingers and pulled out a particularly long rose colored crystal. It looked delicate, like glass, and was lit up softly with an inner glow.
“SAMUELS!” The man roared, and the golem emerged from the hole in the wall. It stepped towards him gently, and plucked the crystal from his hand with roughly humanoid fingers. Its feet thumped on the floor as it walked back inside the crevice, but before he left, the Climber observed what resembled a mouth opening wide and crunching down on the rose colored crystal. It made a sound like glass shattering, but the happiness of the golem was obvious. He whistled a happy tune as he descended into the tunnels.
“Now, you, c’mere.” Krane beckoned with his hands which were as big as dinner plates. The gesture sent small gusts of wind past the Climbers face.

Krane leaned back and groaned a sigh of relief, which harmonized with the obvious groan of discomfort from the chair.

The Climber sat opposite him, and waited expectantly for Krane to speak.
“How was your first meeting with Daniel?”
His grin was wide and his face settled into well-worn smile creases that had been utilised thousands of times before.
After a while, the Climber responded “Well, it certainly was… something.”

Krane guffawed heartily at that. The floor shook with the sound of it, his stomach shaking and undulating. The laughter came deep from his belly and sent ripples across the very fabric of the universe, or so it felt when The Climber sat so close to the source.

“Yes, that is certainly one way to describe him!” He said, wiping a tear from his eye. “Were there explosions?”
“Yes!”
And this time they both laughed, full and strong. The Climber began again, “There were huge piles of junk, and he had created these… these tiny golems to sort through it! They were whooping and jumping through the air!”

He had to keep pausing to take a breath, for he couldn’t contain his laughter. His lungs hurt with the force of it.
As it died down the Climber asked “So, how did you get to know this young boy?”
And then Krane’s face darkened. His laughter died down.
“That is a dark tale lad, let me tell you it in great detail…”

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #69

 

 

 

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #70

The two brothers huffed and puffed as they marched through the pale snow. Feet crunching and sinking up to their ankles. Both of them were massive, hulking men. One with a fiery red beard that swung at his shoulders as he tramped, whilst the other had short cropped raven black stubble. Both of them were belching steam like trains as they climbed, tree trunk legs moving in a steady rhythm. The younger, with the red beard, was shorter than the other by at least a quarter of a meter. The older whos hair was black carried a pelt. He had obtained it the day before when he had strangled a Yarl wolf with his bare hands, he then proceeded to skin it and wear it to fend off the cold. The brown fur of the wolf was made for the cold, and helped keep the teeth of the wind at bay. It draped off his shoulder and was easily as large as one of the cows they used to keep back home. Meanwhile the younger kept the skin of a bear he had hunted and killed. Its fur had been spotted with barbs, and its tusks had been sharp, but he had managed to crush it with a tree in the end. He had plucked free the barbs, and now they decorated his neck in a show of pride. Meanwhile, the tusks would make for marvelous drinking horns when they got to their destination, and he was able to carve them with the story of their journey. The blizzard was no match for the pair, for they knew what it was. A simple test, the first of three. The pair scoffed when they heard of it- a blizzard? Is that all? Finally, they found a nice clearing to stay in. They dug trenches into the ground and slept in the dirt, only shielded from the soil by their trophies.

 

The one with the red beard awoke from his deep stupor when he heard growls. Of course the growls weren’t near them, they had already been recognised as apex predators by the inhabitants of the first Plateau. He had no idea why it unnerved him then. Then he realised, they would only be growling if they had found prey, and these creatures did not eat eachother.
Torin! Wake up brother!”
The bearded man whispered. The man named Torin woke slowly and with a groan that shook the trees in the early morning light.
“What is it Krane you small sod.”

He said as he yawned, and then froze. Krane gingerly picked up his mountainous hammer. It was ornate and gilded with the story of his life. The light played off the metal work perfectly, and for just a moment he began to appreciate it… but then snapped back to the task at hand.
“I’ll go and investigate brother, you stay here and wait for your head to settle back into place.”
Torin simply nodded, he was never a morning person.
He heaved his hammer into the air, and prowled towards the sound of the noise. He found them after a couple minutes of walking. Black antlered deer that were snapping at a tree trunk with sharp teeth and growling gutturally.
“Back away mutts!”
Krane barked this, but they were hungry and they smelled flesh. It was too much to ignore! At least it was too much to ignore right up until the hammer came swinging around in a lazy arc.

Crunch.

Snap.

Blood splattered over the beautiful metalwork, he grunted, for now he would have to clean it in the snow. He peered inside the trunk and nearly got his eye poked out by a sharp stick. The trunk was hollow, and inside was a small boy. Abandoned, shivering and afraid. All the boy saw was a red bearded man splattered with blackish red blood. He gently reached his hands into the trunk and scooped out the frail boy, who shrieked and writhed in his massive, leathery hands. Quickly, Krane bundled the boy up in his furs and left his hammer on the snowy ground. By the time he came back, Torin was constructing a blazing fire from a small tree that he had broken apart with his bare hands. The flames crackled and smoked, grey tendrils reaching towards the sun.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #70

 

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #71

Krane left the boy to warm up by the fire whilst he went back to collect his hammer and a few souvenirs. No blade kept its edge like the black antler of the Yarl deer, and the small boy definitely wouldn’t be able to heft Torins spare axe or lift Krane’s hammer. He heaved the body of the large muscular deer effortlessly through the snow. It left a trail of pink, bloodstained snow behind it as he threw it next to the now roaring fire. Torin was waiting with his glinting axe, and he quickly ripped out the horns and cut off the crushed head. He then proceeded to skin it with surgical precision, to make sure that no meat was lost. The coat would be another to add to their collection. This all went down almost without a noise, with the only sound being the chattering of the young boys teeth as he shivered.
“Are you going to say something boy, or are you just going to sit there and freeze to death.”
Torin barked this at the frail figure, and then the figure spoke.
“I was there for days. Alone. My family got taken away, and I was forced to come up here with only a loincloth on my body, all because I stole a loaf of bread. I collapsed and dragged myself to a tree trunk, until those deer found me, then you saved me. I am not cold large man, simply furious at the state of my world.”
The boy had fire in his eyes, intense and dancing. His teeth has stopped chattering as well. Torin gave him a hard stare, cold and unforgiving, and then it melted away and he began to laugh with such fervour tears started pouring from his eyes and ran into his hard, black stubble. When he had stopped, the boy still had him fixed with that intense gaze.
“Aye brother, you truly are something. I underestimated you! You looked to be scrawny and weak, but your spirit is strong. Travel with us! And we will teach you everything we know.”
Krane simply nodded as he stirred the pot of snow he had collected over the fire. The meat of the deer would be tough and stringy, but would be fulfilling and hearty, just as he liked it. The boy was shocked, probably expecting a very different answer, and then he cracked a lopsided grin. So, their pact was made.


They trudged through the snow, still only two pairs of legs marching through the snow but now one extra pair dangling off the shoulders of the man with the red beard. They were conversing constantly, and were in high spirits. The small boy now kept the black horn of a deer in his belt, and wore the coat of the first sheep he had managed to slay around his neck. His thin arms had grown thicker with muscle and the rest of his frame was beginning to fill out, but his legs were coming back to him gradually and thus was now resting on the shoulders of the man they called Krane.
“If you don’t mind me asking, why are you people so big? There was no one your size in the place where I used to call home.”
This time, it was Krane who answered from below.
Used to call  lad? That is your home, your birthplace!”
The boys face soured, and he spat into the snow.
“That place is no home of mine. Plus, you haven’t answered my question!”
He replied indignantly. Torin spoke up from in front of him.

“Oh that’s a real tale brother, you might not understand.”
The boys interest was now piqued, and Torin could tell, he smiled.

“Well, we are descendents of an ancient people. You see in our world everyone was apart of one great family. Including all the creatures and plants that lived in this place, so everything and everyone was related, that is until the First Father died from old age and the leaders of each family began to fight each other. All yearning to have the honor of being Father or Mother. Our part of the family was descended from giants, and our leader thought that we should hide out in the mountains and wait for everyone to calm down. We age very slowly you see, the slowest out of all the families. Our perception of time is different too, for example we only reach maturity when we reach about 50 years of age. We waited for what we thought was a small amount of time, and by the time we descended from the mountains there was no world anymore.”

Now it was Torin’s turn to have the sour scowl on his face.

“The rivers ran red with blood, the plants were ravaged and dead, old friends lay dead in half dug graves.  There was no green to be seen in our world anymore. Nothing remained of the great families, they had warred themselves into a stalemate, and warred still. Me and Krane were the youngest of our family, and now we are the last ones alive, the rest have passed on into this mountain, for you see this mountain was always the place where the oldest would go, right before they die, and we were hoping to see some trace of them but so far… we haven’t found anything. That’s the end of the story brother, its ending isn’t happy, sorry about that.”

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #71

 

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #72

Krane leant back in his chair once again, and it squeaked in protest. His brow was shiny and his breaths were deep and full.
“You’ve never mentioned your brother before?” Inquired the climber in a tone as polite as he could muster.
“Aye. There’s a reason for that. You see, I vouched we should stay here, look after the boy! But he had always dreamed of building a cabin in the woods for him to live in. A wonderful dream, and I would live with him in a similar house.” Krane now leaned back, looking towards the ceiling with a certain glint in his eye as he was transported deep into his mind.

“The boy however, he was encapsulated the first time he lay his eyes on one of those moving statues.” He chuckled at that, it sounded like distant thunder.

“I couldn’t bear to rip him away from that, so we split up. For there are no trees that grow as tall as Torin needs here lad.” The glint was gone from his eye, and he looked sad, but still wore a warm smile.

The Climber was saddened by this tale. A lost brother, the last of their race. The boy abandoned in the snow mirrored another story he had heard, that sent shivers down his spine that gripped at each individual vertebrate. At least he was long gone.

Krane began once again, looking up out of the window.

“Now now! It’s almost time for you to be tested by the ruler here. You must pass his test to be allowed access to the next stage of the mountain, but don’t worry from what I’ve heard it’s reasonably simple. Simple enough for you that is!” He guffawed and slapped his back with a huge meaty hand. The wind was forcefully knocked out of his lungs as quickly as if he had drawn a breath. He spluttered and choked as he also began to laugh at the small jest. When he finally had oxygen in his lungs he asked which way he would have to travel, and it was quite simple. It was in a straight line to the Center Square. From there it would be the large marble building that was facing the large fountain in the middle of the city. Apparently there was another wall of names as well which he was looking forward to seeing, and signing.

He decided to leave the golem behind, for he would not need it on this excursion out into the city. As he pulled it out his bag he noticed an extra detail, to cover the private parts there was a small stone loincloth. It seemed the Smith wasn’t about to construct a statue of David. The Climber chuckled at his own joke until he realized there was no one else around to appreciate it. The golem simply stared at him whilst he went through this roller coaster of emotions, puzzled. He left it some of those lightly rose colored crystals in case it got hungry. In truth, he had no idea what he was doing in the slightest, but he was deciding to roll with the punches and hopefully not come back to find a pile of rubble when was back.

 

The walk was strange when he was not wearing his trusty leather rucksack. His shoulders felt strangely freed and light. As he walked to the center of the city he was greeted by men in thick woolen coats and women in form fitting dresses made of fine silks. He gave the small wave from time to time, a curt hello at most as he strode ever closer to the marble office. He began to panic when he saw how close it was to noon, and he hurried onward. Suddenly he emerged from the relative claustrophobia of the alleys, and emerged into the “Town Square” so to speak. It was grand, cobbled streets giving way to mosaic and proper tiled pathways. Important looking building faced inwards, all guarded by agile looking golems with fierce gazes and thick, club like arms, ready to ‘Emancipate’ anyone who tried to take something without asking. No building looked as important or regal as the Mayor’s building however. Guarded by no less than 10 of the finest looking golems he had seen, with what looked like slits for blades to slide out along the ‘Forearms’ of the stone men. He had no doubt the metal would be fine enough to slice through flesh and bone alike with ease. There was a booth near the large doors, which were made of deep rich mahogany. The first wooden objects he had seen in his stay here at the Overhang. The women who was in the booth was small, and had a face akin to a fox. She looked up at him as he approached. He wasn’t even to stutter before she began to speak in a lazy and slightly annoyed tone.
“Are you here to take the test? Follow the red carpet.” she drawled, and went back to writing something in her notebook. The sound of pen scratching paper echoed in his ears as the doors were pushed open, and closed behind him.


The corridors seemed to twist and turn in every direction. Sometimes he felt as if he would double back on his pre existing path, but always he would turn just before his got there. Finally, he reached another set of double doors. This time they were made of thick granite, and guarded by only two golems. The atmosphere of this place was creeping him out, and the screech of stone grinding against stone was no help to his jumpy nerves. What awaited him inside however was in stark contrast to the cold halls of the Mayor’s house. The inside of the room was furnished with leather arm chairs and stone tables. The decoration of the walls made it look like something his grandmother would have lived in. The cozy fireplace had no pictures on its mantle, but instead had a pair of charcoal black antlers mounted to the wall. The man who sat in one of the two large leather armchairs was thin and spindly, akin to a broom. His hair was naturally spiky and was a light brown, adding to the image of a old broom. Perhaps the most strange thing was the giant pit at the end of the room. Right after the lip of the hole the visibility dropped so that all you could see was an inky black. The man stood up when he noticed him.

“Hello there! I am the mayor of this town, sit down, sit down! I insist. Now I’m sure you’ve heard of this ‘Test’ and how ‘Hard it is’ but do not worry! I’m sure you’ll do just fine.” His smile was warm and welcoming, and the Climber felt compelled to sit down, and so he did.
“I’m going to ask you some questions now. So, did you pass through the Checkpoint lower down?”
The Climber hesitated, and there was a glint in the older looking man’s eyes.
“Yes.” He uttered after clear hesitation.
“Ah! So, could you explain why we haven’t had communication in about two years then?”
“If you don’t mind I’d prefer not to sir. You can ask the next man that comes up, because that’s a little fresh still.” The Climber said whilst looking the man directly in the eyes.
The man smiled again, his eyes glinting once more.

“Ok, I’ll accept that.” He said in an understanding tone. His hands moving in a shrugging motion.
“Well, that’s all I really wanted to know.” The man stood up and beckoned for him to do the same. The mayor turned away from him and faced the wall.
“Now we can get to the fun part.” He spun around quick as a flash, knife in hand and smile shining in the flickering light of the fireplace.

The Climber spun out of the way, instincts kicking in.
“CAN YOU REALLY CLIMB THE MOUNTAIN BOY?!” The old man roared. Surprisingly agile for his age as he danced around the Climber, jabbing and slashing at his defenses.
“DO YOU KNOW WHAT DANGERS AWAIT YOU UP THERE? Let me tell you something boy! A snippet of information if you will! The place up there is populated with monsters, not the kind you’re accustomed to. The human kind. There are people there that would eat your eyes while you’re still lucid! So far they’ve killed every single poor man and woman I’ve sent up there! I can’t any more, do you understand! Relent or you will die here, at my hands.” He whispered the last bit, relenting for only a moment, but it was a feint. As the Climber moved in to punch the man in the jaw, the knife whistled through the air and found its mark on his shoulder. Opening up a wound that was left by the claws of a yarl bear. The Climber snarled at the man, and then began to shout back.
“Let me go, stop this! If what you say is true then what is stopping them from coming down here! If they are as bad as you say there is nothing you can do if they come to kill you all, you’ll ALL DIE!” When he was focused on the shouting match however, he was left open.
The man swept his feet out from under him.

He stumbled backwards, and his feet felt no solid ground beneath them.

And then the push on his chest sent him careening backwards, arms pinwheeling as he lost his balance and was consumed by the inky black of the pit.
The last words of the Mayor were sent down with him, and he watches as the face faded into darkness, the teeth white and reflecting the light.

“Well, we’re not dead yet.”

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #72
End of Chapter Three.


Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #73

Chapter 3-4 Interlude.

Jeremy was cold, dreadfully so. He frequently shuddered violently and the noise of his chattering teeth was never ending. Permeating through every facet of daily life. Frost crept up the windowsill of the Archives as he looked upon the city, and at the lake below.
The thermal lake had frozen.
No one could explain it, the heat from it disappeared one night, thick ice covering the once very warm lake. Now everything was frigid. His nose ran, but he made sure not to get any sticky snot on the precious scriptures and books. Said scriptures and books had frozen solid, becoming stiff and unmovable.
As the new “Ruler” of the Glacier he had the job of seeing through all the new arrivals. They had 6 new people so far, more newcomers than the entire two years before that. The fur coats he was wearing were keeping him slightly warm, but the cold still managed to dig its teeth into him. He sniffed back in a small globule of mucus which was beginning to hang out of his nose. God damn he needed a tissue.

Some people had reported seeing something climbing out of the lake the other day, melting its way through the icy crust of the lake and climbing out through one of the holes in the ceiling of the huge cavern, but there was no hole in the lake nor could anyone else confirm this happened. Described as a being with a part of its body swollen and huge, constantly shifting and never ending. It was written off as a hallucination due to the sudden drop in temperature.

God his bones ached… It had been only three days since the Event. Three days felt stretched thin. Feeling more like years or decades than simple hours.
The food had been running out too, the farms all dry and withered without the warmth. Some braver people had gone out to hunt the deer for their venison, he hoped they came back soon. His stomach gurgled as he thought of a succulent roast turning slowly over a fire… He sighed, feeling more hungry than before, damn his imagination.

He walked along the bridges and rope pathways to the entrance and sat down on the ledge overlooking the bottom of the mountain. It was beautiful. Trees tipped with white snow, sun slowly setting in the backdrop setting the sky alight with fiery hues of purple and orange. Once again he sighed, he was doing that a lot lately. As he turned around reluctantly,his eyes stuck to the glorious sight, he noticed something strange. There was a black shape in the ice behind him. It almost seemed to shift and move in front of him…

Then a three talon-ed hand shot out of the ice.

Gripping him by the neck.
The hand was so, so cold. Colder than the iciest glacier or the deepest waters. Right up until it touched him that is, then it burned with a fervor.

It was not black so much as a void. As if someone took a cookie cutter of a hand out of the universe. The light dimmed around its form as it moved itself out of the ice.
It stood stretched out above him. Easily more two and a half meters tall. Its legs ended in spikes, and another three talon-ed hand lay by what could be its hips.
Its head split in the middle and from its maw spewed a mass of blue flames. Dancing and twirling in the air, and with a voice like the grinding of crickets and the screams of thousands, it spoke.

“Warmth, heat, energy. You have all the things I need for a balanced breakfast. Come here my child, come closer.”
There was warm blood running down his neck now from where the three talons had cut into his flesh. He writhed and wriggled trying to get out of the iron grip. The pain was too much but he couldn’t scream! Ice was spreading around the contact points on his neck as his flesh sizzled. The amulet he wore cracked and gave out a singular piercing scream before exploding into fragments of bone, this creature was too much even for it. It brought him closer to its mouth, but stopped.
It tentatively rotated its head towards the entrance, and its flaming maw stretched in a way that could have been a smile.
“There are more, I shall spare you now, my child. Know my mercy, and my name, for I am Ut’ahi the Black Sun and I have come to reclaim my place on this mountain.”
So it marched through the entrance, the light dimming around its form, and Jeremy was left on the floor to writhe and shudder, smoke pouring from his burning flesh as he heard the screams of the many who inhabited the place once known as the Glacier.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #73

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #74

NOT.

DEAD.

YET.

The words rang in his ears as his legs screamed in pain, bent and broken in so many ways.

NOT.

DEAD.

YET.
His lungs were pierced with shattered bone, it hurt to breathe, but still he moved, still he crawled along the stone floor of the pit. He left a trail of blood behind him.

NOT.

DEAD.

YET.

He remembered the sensation of falling a great distance, of wind rushing past his face, of darkness swallowing him whole.
Black.

Crack.
Every bone in his body SCREAMED at him, his arms were useless, bent around the wrong way, bones visible outside of his elbows. Red hot pokers had replaces his nerves, searing and unbearable. His legs were turned to dust, his spine barely intact enough to allow him to move. His left eye was obscured with sticky blood. Still he crawled. The words stuck in his mind, for he wasn’t dead yet.
But he felt the kiss of black, darkness closing on his vision. Was this the way it was always meant to be? Was this what he was destined for? The pain was too much, and his mind began to fade. The last thing he saw before unconsciousness claimed him was the blurry outline of a man…

 

A man set cross legged above a crystal clear underground lake. He was perched upon a small rock that jutted out out of the cave wall, the only interruption in the seemingly perfect face of the cavern. His beard was long and unkempt, curled up on the floor in a heap. His hair was long too, similar in length to his beard. He was attempting to put his soul at rest, similar to the calm of the lake, but to no avail. When the small, rough made golem came running towards him chirping and whooping he stood up. He took his walking stick, crystals illuminating his blue eyes as he stepped forward to greet the minuscule messenger. He understood what it said quite well, leaning on his stick. He had no clothes except for the tattered pants he wore, grey, for the color had been bleached out long ago. After the small friend had finished, he rubbed it under the chin and broke off a piece of rose colored crystal from the stone tablet he wore on his back. The small messenger saw it and chirped happily as he tossed the crystal to the stone figure. It joyfully munched as he walked off in search of what the little creature had told him of. A man who had tumbled from that height couldn’t, shouldn’t be alive, but he would have to see, his walking stick making a rhythmic tap as he leapt from stepping stone to stepping stone upon the clear water.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #74

NOT.

DEAD.

YET.

The words rang in his ears as his legs screamed in pain, bent and broken in so many ways.

NOT.

DEAD.

YET.
His lungs were pierced with shattered bone, it hurt to breathe, but still he moved, still he crawled along the stone floor of the pit. He left a trail of blood behind him.

NOT.

DEAD.

YET.

He remembered the sensation of falling a great distance, of wind rushing past his face, of darkness swallowing him whole.
Black.

Crack.
Every bone in his body SCREAMED at him, his arms were useless, bent around the wrong way, bones visible outside of his elbows. Red hot pokers had replaces his nerves, searing and unbearable. His legs were turned to dust, his spine barely intact enough to allow him to move. His left eye was obscured with sticky blood. Still he crawled. The words stuck in his mind, for he wasn’t dead yet.
But he felt the kiss of black, darkness closing on his vision. Was this the way it was always meant to be? Was this what he was destined for? The pain was too much, and his mind began to fade. The last thing he saw before unconsciousness claimed him was the blurry outline of a man…

 

A man set cross legged above a crystal clear underground lake. He was perched upon a small rock that jutted out out of the cave wall, the only interruption in the seemingly perfect face of the cavern. His beard was long and unkempt, curled up on the floor in a heap. His hair was long too, similar in length to his beard. He was attempting to put his soul at rest, similar to the calm of the lake, but to no avail. When the small, rough made golem came running towards him chirping and whooping he stood up. He took his walking stick, crystals illuminating his blue eyes as he stepped forward to greet the minuscule messenger. He understood what it said quite well, leaning on his stick. He had no clothes except for the tattered pants he wore, grey, for the color had been bleached out long ago. After the small friend had finished, he rubbed it under the chin and broke off a piece of rose colored crystal from the stone tablet he wore on his back. The small messenger saw it and chirped happily as he tossed the crystal to the stone figure. It joyfully munched as he walked off in search of what the little creature had told him of. A man who had tumbled from that height couldn’t, shouldn’t be alive, but he would have to see, his walking stick making a rhythmic tap as he leapt from stepping stone to stepping stone upon the clear water.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #74

*(This fact is very bad and was rewritten, so you can skip it if you want.)*

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

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #75 (Re-write)

This fact is rewritten as I deemed the last one too jumbled and not fitting into the story correctly. I apologize for the inconvenience.

 

The strange man wandered the corridors, the small stone being had told him what had happened. Could it be true? Was what was predicted finally occurring? These thoughts ran through his head as if on a high speed race track, bumping and crashing into each other. That was when he began to hear the moans. There he found him on the floor, laying in a pool of his own blood. Limbs splayed almost as if a piece of macabre modern art. He dropped the cane he used in shock, falling to his knees. Who could have done such a thing? Why? No matter. If what his friend had said was true, then he must save this man, whatever the cost. He picked him up and cradled him in his arms, he stirred as he ran quickly, but gently. His healing would be painful, no, excruciating, but he couldn’t stand by and watch him die, he was not that man any longer! He found the room, lit up by the multitude of orange crystals that encrusted every open surface in the small space. They could heal wounds yes, but it would not be pleasant. He lay the man down on the bed of sharp rocks, and ground the entrance closed, and thus began the worst three days of the Climbers life.

 

He awoke to his bones crawling, his blood boiling, there was no air in his lungs. He tried to scream but his throat was too dry. He tried to bite down but there was a gag in his mouth, probably to prevent him from swallowing his tongue. All he could do was scream. The pain oh god the pain. It was too much, the bones in his arms were shifting and moving pressing against skin that felt raw and peeled. His veins were filled with needles, piercing and stabbing through his heart with every pump. The worst part was his spine, ice cold and yet burning hot. His skin knitted itself back together. Muscle stinging and wrapping itself around exposed whites of bones. After what seemed like an eternity, the lights dimmed. A man with a beard that dragged along the floor appeared in front of him. His vision was blurry but he could make out his blue eyes. He put a wet rag to his forehead, which soothed him. He brought a stone bowl to his lips and the Climber drank the water within it, it tasted like the sweetest and most delicious thing that had ever went down his throat. Then he brought something else, a strange smelling bowl, and put it to his lips. He drank the contents and found it to be a strange stew. The taste was peculiar but he was ravenous. Afterwards the man apologized, almost crying as he did, and replaced the gag in his mouth, he rolled the door closed and the light began to shine once again, and with it came his strained screams.

The cycle happened three times, excruciating pain, drink, eat, repeat. The pain never lessened, never stopped, not even near the end. He assumed the lights were following the day night cycle, but the respite between the light felt only like seconds whilst the days felt like years. Suddenly, the pain stopped. Gone, faster than thought. He jerked into an upright position, taking a sharp intake of air into his lungs, and he felt nothing. His lungs were clear of shards of bone. He could move. It was almost like it had never happened, but still he had scars. Jagged and uneven that cut along his knees and elbows and other exit wounds. He could still feel it running through him, like liquid flame in his veins. Or was it a mere memory now? He shuddered. The man he had seen before rolled open the entrance with a grind of stone, and gave him a relieved sigh. A small smile even.
“You have been reborn.”

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #75 (Re-write)

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #76

He had to be assisted with walking, his muscles were sore from the aftereffects of the healing. The man handed him a walking stick which he graciously accepted. There was still a thought knocking around in the climbers head however, and after he had drank again he asked the man.
“Why save me?” The man simply tapped his nose and said,

“I have a friend who told me one day someone would fall down here, and I would follow them until the end of my life and find purpose.”
“I think you’re friend is mistaken.” The climber retorted, and instantly regretted saying such a thing. This man had obviously been alone for quite a long time, just by how this guy observed him with curious big blue eyes, scanning him and weighing every cell. Maybe his friend was made up… then the man laughed.

“Let us hope not.”

“What’s your name?” The Climber asked, hoping to glean anymore less cryptic information on the man who had just saved his life.

“My name… Ah sorry. It has been a very long time since anyone has asked me such simple things. I am a hermit, living alone for the longest time. I left my name with the rest of my old self back at my home.”

 

Ah.

 

Suddenly the strange man leaped up as if he had been launched with a rocket.
“You must meet my friend!” His eyes were alight, and the climber could not resist his tugging on his arm. His legs felt stiff as stone as he waddled trying to keep up with the bounding man. Sparks of pain flew from his ankles and he nearly fell over. After a couple seconds of rest he got up again. Already, just from the small outing his legs were feeling less tight and uncomfortable.

 

As they walked down the maze of the cave system the Climber noticed certain carvings on the walls. They were in a language he did not understand, nor could recognize, but he presumed they were directions for the man in front to follow, and so he followed, their steps echoing off the enclosed walls. Soon they reached a very small entrance, so small the Climber and the hermit had to stoop to get in. Inside were the sounds of light chirping and whistling, but it was not birds the Climber saw. The rock in the walls was porous, and each hole was filled with a small stone figure with glowing crystal eyes. Along the walls there grew crystals with soft rosy glows. They were quite however, un moving, the larger ones turned their heads as he entered. There was a soft bed of moss that coated the ground underfoot, softening his foot falls and the tap of his walking stick. He felt an instinctive need to stay quiet, similar to that when in a library. This was a peaceful place, a sanctuary of sorts. The hermit was still walking ahead. He noticed that the golems here were much rougher than the ones he had seen before, more like they pried themselves from the rock themselves instead of being sculpted and carved.

Soon after, the porous rock gave way to smooth stone once again and the moss gave way to hard rock. Once again the tap of sticks and feet hitting the floor echoed throughout the chamber. They reached a wooden door, large and round. It was split down the middle with a clean cut. The wood was a very light brown, but there were words that were burned into it. They were written in the same language as the natives of the mountain, the ones he had been with at the base. He read it to himself.
“The one who sought knowledge”

An ominous message if he had ever seen one. The hermit turned around to him, beard twirling with him and spoke for the first time since beginning their walk.
“Now, I must warn you, ah, my friend does not take very kindly to being woken up.”
He pushed open the double doors.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #76

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #77

The room beyond was almost pitch black, almost as if a thick curtain was draped over the space right beyond the entrance. He peered as hard as he could but could not make out anything on the other side. When the Hermit stepped through he didn’t seem to pass through normally, it flowed around him as if it was viscous. The Climber took a deep breath and stepped through.

It felt cool on his head and shoulders, there was a slight resistance to his movement almost as if walking through a thick cobweb. As soon as he passed the threshold he was greeted by an intense light. There was an array of different colored crystals lining the ceiling, from black and blue to green and yellow. The longer he stared the more he was entranced, that was when he noticed the hulking figure in the center. It’s legs and arms were shackled to the floor with chains seemingly made of soft light. The most peculiar thing was that it was made of wood. The grain twirled and twisted as it ran down the slender body. Perched on its head lay a large mask, rectangular and flat except for a detailed mouth and two deep set pits for eyes. Its arms seemed to be made up of many branches intertwined like muscle fibers. There was no green on the sculpture, only a light brown. The Hermit was dwarfed by the sculpture, but this did not stop him from going to one of its massive feet and shouting up at it.
TA’RIM¹ YOU LAZY ASS WAKE UP!” The men bellowed in the loudest voice he could muster. The Climber was alarmed when he heard creaking and cracking, thinking that the walls were breaking in on them to bury them in a grey tomb with the sculpture. He was even more surprised when two green fires sparked to life in the pits that could be eyes in the mask. The creaking and groaning was the sound of the wood moving as it woke up. Suddenly, the hand swiped at the hermit with surprising force, he leapt back however, laughing as he evaded the blow that would have killed him if it had struck.
“You were close that time weren’t you old friend?” He said with a certain rudeness. Then it spoke with a voice similar to the sound trees make when swaying in the wind.

“Do not chide me you small fool. Why oh why have you disturbed my slumber? You know how much I love sleep.” The huge figure shifted his legs from a kneeling position into a cross legged one, the sounds echoed throughout the space. That was when it noticed the Climber.
“Oh ho ho! You have a visitor? Or have you brought him to simply gawp at me, as he does now.”
The Climber had not realized he was gawping, but he shut his mouth as soon as it was mentioned. The Hermit turned towards him.
“This is my friend! He knows many things of the old days and can remember even before then.” He seemed so excited, almost giddy with excitement to show someone else to his ‘Friend’ The Climber finally found his voice.

“Wh-What are you?” The giant stared down at him with a look that could only be described as boredom.

“Ah, so it speaks. I am old young one. Very old. It is a long story. Would you like to hear it? This man always says he loves my stories.”
The Hermit suddenly leapt up into the air once again.
“Yes please!” The gargantuan wooden man groaned as he leaned back and settled.

“Well, let us begin…”

¹(Pronounced “Tah-Reem”)

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #77

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #78

“After the birth of Creation from Nothing, the being who did it all grew tired of his work. He wanted to make this mountain a test. So for the first level he created a blizzard that would never end, to test endurance. For the second level he created a test that would make one face their own fears. For the third and last level? Well, that’s a secret. However, he needed testers, administrators, guides. So he created me, and my two ‘Brothers’ who would safeguard and govern this level. I was never happy with my lowly position as an Overseer, so I began to search for something more. I found something, yes indeed. It was forbidden knowledge. Cursed in my mind. My creator came down and was furious. He struck me down and trapped me here in this small confined space, glowing chains around my arms and legs and a warning inscription on the door. Something happened up there is all I know. There was a new being, powerful. A self proclaimed god. He slew one of my brothers in a show of power. Killing the un killable with a sword made from rended flesh and the torment of thousands. That is the end of my story for today young one.” The Climber was about to say something but he was interrupted by creaking and shaking. Soon enough the two fires went out in the eyes of the goliath and the wood shifted back into the original position. The Hermit, who had been sat opposite the ‘Overseer’ as it had called itself, now stood up, stretching his sore legs as he did so. He patted the still confused Climber on the back as he walked out of the room. The Climber simply followed him.
“What was that?” The Climber questioned. He was quite confused, first he was thrown down a hole and now he was seeing giant tree men. Was this all a bad acid trip? He had never taken any drugs but who knew?
“He was an old friend of mine. He is old…very old yes. I met him when I first climbed up this mountain and he counselled me. Now I have returned for further advice. Now is not the time for reflecting on the past however, I can imagine you’re exhausted so I will show you to your sleeping place!” The Climber had not acknowledged it before but he was drained. Similar to a lemon that had been squeezed of all its juice. He followed the man to where he was to sleep, a minuscule cubby in an out of the way corridor. The bed was a slight depression in a raised bit of the floor coated in soft moss. He collapsed face first into it, breathing in the musty aroma of the greenery as the Hermit bid him farewell.

He lay there.

Unblinking.

Unmoving.
Slowly, he got up from his bed, a heavy task indeed. He walked back along the caves and scratched walls almost on autopilot. As he reached the small door to the Golem Grotto he stooped and crawled through. Finally he reached the wooden double doors. He pushed them open sluggishly and dragged himself through the viscous black, feeling that cool liquid sensation once again. When he entered the room the lights were dimmed, and the hulking Overseer called Ta’rim was already awake, green flames smoldering in his eyes. He did not seem surprised to see him, nor did he seem quite fazed by his arrival. You couldn’t really tell because of the emotionless wooden mask. The Climber spoke in hoarse words.

“I have questions.”
And so the creature simply looked down at him, wood creaking as the mask bent and warped to make a smile.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #78

 

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #79

“Can you not sleep? You are lucky young one for I am the same. You intrigue me, you have the stench of a very old being on, older than me. Because of this you have earned my interest, ask away.” The Climber did not expect this answer, that…thing back at the first Checkpoint had told him he had smelt of something as well. Could it be from that black goo he interacted with in the cave? Maybe.
“I want to know more about the past, you said you found out something forbidden, I want to know it.” The Climber croaked this out, his throat still sore.
“Hmph. Fine, I shall tell you three tales young one, and at the end I shall show you what I have found.” The tree man named Ta’rim grumbled as he sat up straight, shackled hands outstretched towards the ceiling of the cave as the same viscous black from the doorway blanketed the smooth stone and crystal, swallowing it whole. Then, in a booming voice, Ta’rim began his first tale.
“Long ago, when the universes were still young and fresh, there existed a black sun. It was a remnant of the place before time, before light and sand or soil.¹ It permeated throughout every universe. It swallowed the heat and warmth of those that spun around it. After life was born, they learned to worship it as a god. They poured their hates and sorrows and spite into the sun with prayers and shouts. After millennia of this, it answered. Given life by their belief and anger. Forming into the creature which would be named Ut’ahi, the Scourge. The devourer. The black sun. However, he was not without his weakness. He needed a blade…” In the inky black there were pictures planets encircling a black star, it shrunk and grew with each day. Then there were people worshiping and kneeling, chanting in a strange language as they stared at the barren wastelands of planets with no light. Living underground. Finally there was a tall figure, it was abnormal. Like a 2d shape brought into reality. A void. Its arms ended in three menacing talons that looked as if they could shear through bone like butter. Ta’rim began his second tale, and the figure was smothered by white snow and howling winds.
“A man, alone on a mountain he could never leave. He was the third being to climb it, but was far from the only living thing to exist on the precarious place. He did not have a name, so we shall call him the Hunter. As he climbed the mountain he reached the second Plateau. A place of greenery and lush forest. Here he settled, and here he began to hunt. He found the first Yarl, a shapeless black mass. It managed to tear off one of his legs before he could subdue it, but subdue it he did. As a prize he used it to form a new leg, made from the creature he had found. Soon enough there were other animals he found and triumphed. He was, by nature, curious. His leg was strong and fit, never tiring. What would happen if he made a weapon like this? Many years later he developed this idea. His beard by now long and flowing in the light winds that came through the grass. He forged a sword. Made from rended flesh and the souls of 100 yarl creatures, it was alive. It consumed everything in its path, and he was amazed with his own smithing work. Eventually, the man died, but his sword would live on searching for a new wielder. Its name is the Ra’gatan². A beast in its own right. Many years later, it found a way off the mountain. Slipping through a crack in reality it was drawn to an immense power. Finally, Ut’ahi had a blade that could amplify himself. At the behest of the sword he climbed the mountain, by this time the Overseers had been created and the tests put in place, but I had been trapped down here. To test the immense ability of the sword, he extinguished the fires in my brothers eyes. Killed what should not be killed. He turned that place into his own, warped and disfigured just like he.” This time the images were of a man by himself, living in a field and working as he made a blade of incredible power. Then there were projections of a fallen giant, so big he covered the entire plateau. His wooden bones cracked and burnt, and in the corpse there was a dark kingdom. Even as the vines grew on the carcass of that which should not be killed, no plant would dare touch the black slate of Ut’ahi’s land. The pictures were slightly warped and distorted. The Climber shuddered. Finally the Overseer began the last story.

“You wish to know what I know young one? There is a Web. It spans across infinity, even before time. This Web is made up of the strings of our destinies, each strand tells a story. When any living being is born without purpose, it catches that soul and launches it back into the place where they come from. The Web cannot be broken, nor even touched, only observed. That is the forbidden knowledge I discovered. This tale is related to this. There were four who climbed who changed the mountain forever. They found me, and I saw this in them, I told them of their destinies.

Each of them destined to do something different, but to do it all together. The first was a man named Roen caring and compassionate, he was destined to become king. Lord over the mountain. Then there was Jeremiah, who was adept in things related to magic and history, he was destined to become a grand protector. Looking out for those who are oppressed and uncared for. Then there was Zsolt, who was destined to be the voice of reason and calm. Stopping fights between the other three and helping with making things rational. Finally there was the last, a man who I dare not speak of. His destiny was most profound of all, because the Web could not predict what would happen to him. He was destined to kill a god.”

 

¹ If you remember correctly this was the Expanse of Nothing, the place where the mountain first appeared and B’harat the cannibal was born.

² Pronounced “Rah-gatahn”

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #79

 

Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #80

“He was a man filled with rage, and he did not try to fight his destiny. He confronted the self proclaimed god on his twisted chair, and their legendary fight ravaged the landscape. Lush fields turned to ash, trees choked by fire, and a gargantuan split between realities hanging in the sky, beckoning creatures from a broken place. In the end, the man was victorious. He had destroyed the vile god, but at what cost? His very name was cursed, given weight. The hunter’s blade was lost, never to be seen again. Onward the Four climbed. Everything was good for a long time, they lived happily. All Four establishing their kingdom on the very top, but Roen was jealous. I had misjudged him. He was a worm, pathetic and cruel. He slew the God slayer and left him to die, and from the corpse of the man who triumphed there bled 76 sons, perfect in every way. Thus the Four were split, Jeremiah and Roen at war and the voice of reason running away, going back to the place where he first sought wisdom, and here he stays, his name forgotten and the rotten rule of those above still strangling those down below. That is the end of my tale young one, but there is one more thing I will tell you. When those Four first found me, chained and alone, I offered them their destinies at a price. For knowing your own destiny is an act against nature. It would make them immortal, never aging, but it would be an empty life. Stretched and hard. They took it anyway, and now I am sure they regret it. Now I ask of you, for you are sure curious, do you dare pay the price to know what you will become?”

The question hit him like a punch. The images that swirled around the tall tree figure were eerie and colorful. A man with twin axes faced a slender black creature as it looked down upon him, loathing in its burning eyes. Then they were consumed by fire. He had always felt empty, but maybe he was destined for something great? So far he felt as if the only reason he had survived was by someone, or something else’s hand pulling at the strings. Could this be the answer that he had sought out when he first began to climb?
“I want to know.” He did not croak this time. He was sure. The price would be small for this prized information. The Overseer raised his hands and began to grumble a strange chant. It burned his ears as he heard it and it vibrated his teeth and bones. The viscous black began to show golden strands, stretching to infinity across inky skies. They lit up and glowed as he looked. He felt elated, excited, overjoyed! He was finally going to know, his whole life he felt as if he did not have purpose! But this, but now he would know. He was giddy.
Right up until Ta’rim began to laugh, a grating and creaking sound that cut through his feelings like a knife.
“You… If I could feel pity I would feel it for you. You somehow managed to do it! You sly fool!” He could not stop. He had to pause in between words because his laughter was too immense. The Climber felt mocked and angry.
“I don’t know how, but you managed to slip through the Web. You truly have no purpose, a mistake, a weed in perfect creation. Empty.
He didn’t know what to feel. The last words were snarled at him. He got up to leave, even as he left through the solid black the laughter echoed behind him.

End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #80