Pilgrims, church meetings and an idol embedded in quartz

Day 12
Waking up in the basement shelter of The Tower, the Survivors quickly gathered their things and headed off towards the village their map told them was only a day’s travel north-east. A terrible breakfast composed entirely of biscuits and hard tack provided ample motivation, along with the fact there they were running low on even that tasteless crap, to find somewhere new with something different to add to their travel larder.

Around midday a curious phenomenon was encountered. The ashen, dead grey grass which had become very familiar since first coming down from The Sheared Mountain into the dead forest surrounding The House very suddenly. As if encountering a border on a map made real, the dead grey grass gave way to what must have been very lush, very green grass after having been exposed to a couple of days of bleachy rain. This border seemed to extend left and right to the horizon, forming a loose circular area around the village, which they could now just barely see in the far distance.

Eventually they stopped to eat another dull dinner as dusk came, sitting down on the grass maybe a couple of hundred feet from the edge of the town. It was a small town suited to late 1600’s colonial New England with pilgrims in black clothes and belt buckle hats to boot – not that the Survivors had any of the cultural or historical reference to understand all that. They just saw a bunch of modest buildings with stone bases, very tiny windows and most every other part built from soggy wood. Eating their biscuits, they could even spot the occasional inhabitant scuttling from one building to another – that they wore all black with little decoration seemed perfectly normal to the Survivors.
Soon after, they approached the town and were swiftly greeted by a dozen gawping villagers. A few moments more and the Governor with his six Personal Guard. Wisely, all of the Survivors except Brittomart removed their masks. Fearing great discomfort, she chose to pull her cloak up and wear it as a hood so that her headdress wouldn’t make her too intimidating.

Unfortunately the Pilgrim’s late 1600’s English is very much not the language of the Survivors. Thus it was purely from body language, tone and rhythm of voice that they had to infer a lot of what came next. The Governor seemed skeptical and might have told the Survivors to piss off, if not for the good deed they had done back at The House. A man who they’d later work out was called “”/characters/gregory-stanfield-the-pilgrim-scout" class=“wiki-content-link”>Gregory" spoke up for them, leading the Governor to cautiously allow entry – provided they surrendered all their weapons and be escorted.

The Survivors went along with this and were quickly brought to the center of the town where a handful of the more important looking structures stood. They were brought inside what they wouldn’t recognize as a relatively humble church, the only structure in town which could hold the entire population of approximately fifty people. Seated at the very front of the pews, they were introduced to the priest. He quickly won them over by bringing a chicken and vegetable soup, easily the most nutritious and flavorful thing The Survivors had seen in all the days they could remember.

Just destroying two servings of this, the Survivors didn’t fully appreciate that the entire town was slowly filling up the church while leaving a single line of pews between them and these strange newcomers. What followed were some spirited discussions between the priest, the governor and Gregory the one legged pilgrim. As night fell, a conclusion was reached and the townspeople were dismissed to their homes while four of the six personal guard were also sent off.

It took a lot of miming, but eventually it was conveyed that Gregory had managed to convince the Governor to take a chance on The Survivors. They, along with Gregory, were to explore areas near the village to the North, East and South where – presumably – others like Gregory had been sent to explore and never heard from again. Upon their return they would be given further food, a place to sleep and possibly language lessons from the beautiful red headed lady pilgrim who seemed to live in the adjacent school house.

With that agreed upon, the priest fetched water from the well for the town’s new guests and they all soon put to bed in the priest’s living area at the back of the church. He’d set up humble cots which, like the chicken vegetable soup, were quite humble but were the finest sleeping arrangements The Survivors could remember ever having come across.

Day 13
Waking up in the back area of the pilgrim’s church, the priest snoring away in a corner, was a bit strange for everyone. After breakfast they were escorted to the Northern edge of town, Gregory making it clear that he wanted them to first go north, then to the east distance from town and then south of the village. It took some further debating in their strange language, but Gregory convinced the Governor to provide them all with some supplies. Again, some humble bread, cheeses and apples wrapped in cloth blew away The Survivors. What luxurious lives these “pilgrims” seemed to live!

Slowed by Gregory and his missing leg, the group were only able to travel half the distance they usually did and eventually set up camp not far north of where they encountered that same grass/dead grass border where it wrapped around this side of the village outskirts.

Night 13
Somewhere in the dead of night, Rydell was taking his turn on watch and spotted the silhouette of someone heading north and then turning west towards the mountain range where The Sheared Mountain could be found. The figure quickly vanished on the horizon and Rydell, understandably excited by this, woke up Roland to see if his keen eyes could find the figure again. They did, if only for a moment.

But that moment was what Roland needed to be able to begin tracking the figure. Charging off with minimal equipment, the two male survivors successfully found the figure’s original, arcing trail. Frustratingly they were only able to follow it a short distance before finding evidence of the trail being intentionally wiped out. Whomever it was had spotted them and possessed significant tracking abilities of their own, enough to disguise their tracks well enough to stump Roland.

Deciding not to tell Gregory about this, the two R’s found their way back to camp.

Day 14
Waking up in the middle of the open, grey plain was something of a deja vu experience for the Survivors, especially as they didn’t have far to go before encountering different yet very familiar round hilltops sloping up to become mountains. With Rydell marching a reasonable distance ahead of the main group, they quickly found a worn trail with increasingly high sides to it and decided to go that way.
Around noon Rydell stumbled across possibly the strangest sight he’d encountered since waking up in the Lighthouse. There was a depression in the group that carved out the high sides of the trail as if a large, perfect circle of nothingness had opened up and obliterated everything contained within it’s volume. On the right side of the trail this revealed only more granite-looking stone.

On the left side were two pilgrims kneeling and praying before something for which The Survivors had little or no context. Embedded deeply within a semi-transparent light purple rockface was an eight foot tall giant of a man wearing what Shiva recognized as powered armor, albeit no model of power armor she remembered. Attached to this armor were many religious looking icons and even scriptures, with a golden eagle dominating the broad breastplate.

Rydell came back to the others and they decided to see what would happen if Gregory witnessed this, so they all came up to it together. Visibly shaken from the first second, Gregory clutched at a small piece of wood he wore around his neck on a cord. He then stamped in front of the two praying pilgrims and hysterically yelled at them for a while, but they took no notice. Shiva then hefted the leg of the living metal statue they encountered at The Sheared Mountain and took a whack at the purple rockface with all her considerable might.

A paper thin slice with diameter of a quarter slowly came off. Obviously this wasn’t the way to do it, but with enough time, manpower and the correct tools…it could be done. Whether this strange figure was dead or alive (or even a man or a woman, this was hard to tell due to the armor and the strange wires & tubes connected to the person’s skull), they could possibly unlock an incredible defensive tool – something you might want if you were being hunted.

But the effect it had on the pilgrims had to be considered as well. After a long discussion while Gregory just tried not to look at the damn thing, The Survivors agreed that they needed to complete the survey circuit if only to earn the trust of the pilgrim village and be given the food they so badly needed.

Minds ticking over with all the variables in play, they turned around and began the south-eastern trek to the second spot Gregory had pointed to on the map.

The Campfire
So Oliver missed a few adventure entries...

Sitting around a campfire built at the base of the old tower, where only hours before they had been fighting for their lives with bizarre dog beasts, were Rydell, Roland, Shiva and Brittomart. As they’d been assembling dry wood from the edge of the dead forest they’d left to come here, Bradamante has phased out of existence again. She might return in a minute, she might return in a year for all they knew.
Rydell lay on his back, looking back and forth between the three maps they had at their disposal. One was a paper map they’d taken from the poor wretch whose head exploded, another was a leather map they’d found in the house in the woods and the third was some master map the cannibals had been updating with whatever information they gleaned from their kills. “So okay” Rydell spoke “I don’t know about you guys, but I’m having trouble keeping track of everything new…let alone remembering anything from before we woke up in the lighthouse

“Well” Roland answered “That’s where it started, of course. We woke up with nothing on us but these durable, lightweight black clothes and our masks with their different colored headdresses. Exploring the lighthouse and the larger building it sprouted from, we found a few simple objects that each of us was specifically drawn to – mine being this pistol, of course.”

“We also killed that small, hairy creature.” Shiva chimed in.

“Right” said Roland “Soon after that we had to try to get to land over that gap, which luckily was temporarily plugged by a passing boatman’s ship. We couldn’t understand him and vice versa, but managed to negotiate a trade where we helped him get his ship unstuck in exchange for some rations, some footwear and a few sacks to carry things in, things like all that old cereal we scavenged from a shipping container.”

“We still have some of that left.” Brittomart complained.

“Barely on the mainland, still with the frigid coast at our back, we met some starving wretch with machinery crudely put in his head. He’d just lost a map to some strong wind and seemed miserable about it. We tried to talk with him but he spoke yet another language, different from us or the boatman.”

“Yes” Brittomart spoke up “And soon after I tried to speak to his mind, his head exploded! The best I could gather was that he’d traveled a very long way and he was scared of disappointing some master or owner or some such. Luckily we were able to grab his other map, one he’d clearly only just begun after running out of space on the map which was blown into the sea.”

“Then we headed south through those grey, ashen hills.” Rydell continued “And oh boy was I glad we got into that first cave before the grey snow began. That acid stuff was terrifying, it was like listening to bacon spit on a pan as it came down.”

“I’m not sure” Roland interrupted “But I swear I saw a lone figure out in the distance.”

“You mean the little guy who had the same machinery in his head as the first one?” Shiva spoke up “The one who made it VERY clear the snow was deadly, what with his melting and all?”

“No” Roland answered “There was him, but I definitely spotted someone in the far distance who seemed to be unaffected by the snow.”

“Do you think it was that Talus guy?” Rydell asked. Brittomart blushed and looked away.

“No.” Roland replied “He was on his own, no dog beasts, and while he plainly has better equipment then us I don’t see how he’d have anything that could protect him from such horrible stuff.”

“Okay.” Rydell continued, still shuffling the maps “So that first cave was nice as it had a small geothermal vent in the back that warmed the place up. We left in the morning and eventually found a similar cave with a small sign by the door that had some blue symbol on it. It seems like these caves were part of a known series used by travelers when they have to go through that hellscape.”

“Yeah” Shiva agreed “That one was pretty unremarkable but the day after we went much further south and found that cave with the green symbol sign by the door. That one was much more eventful.”

The others all nodded their heads in agreement. Brittomart played with the pale blue feathers in her gas masks headdress, happy not to have to wear the thing to be comfortable.

“That was where Bradamante showed up for the first time.” Shiva continued “I still don’t know how she feels and speaks like one of us, but looks like some stone age hunter-gatherer. She even has the same instinctual feeling of being hunted that’s been nagging at the back of everybody’s minds.”

“That is weird.” Roland agreed, chewing on one of the seaman’s biscuits they’d gotten from the boat captain “After we agreed we all trusted each other, we set off the next morning and passed through some more rolling hills before eventually getting to the base of that huge mountain with the top sheared off. It and the other mountains in that range seemed to form a wall against which the terrifying weather of that region buffeted against and was stopped.”

“You would focus on the weather, not the three legged living metal statue thing that shot red streaks of deadly light at us.” Rydell quipped “Remember how I finished it off by dumping that rock on it from up high?”

“I suppose my bullets didn’t contribute?” Roland retorted.

“Never mind my wrestling the damn thing and tossing it down the mountain.” Shiva added.

“Yes, well, you were all very brave.” Brittomart offered, trying to be conciliatory “Then we got to the top and came to that gated cave, spending the night just outside before exploring the following morning. Inside we found what seemed like the beginning of a massive installation build into the body of the mountain.”

“Right.” Rydell remembered, “I certainly enjoyed that automated machine gun, that would have killed me, if it hadn’t run out of ammunition blowing away some other poor souls. One looked like another machine head wretch. He had the map that showed us where…where that house in woods was located.”

“There was also that cave in we could probably get through with the right tools and either a lot of time or a lot of help.” Shiva offered “Roland spotted that first aid kit, then we all agreed to leave but that we should come back later when we decide we really want to explore further down into what that painted diagram on the wall suggested.”

Brittomart looked at Roland with admiration. “As we left, everyone agreed that we needed a clear leader and that Roland was the right choice”. Roland grunted.

“Yes” he said, “and my first wise decision was that we head south to that house in the woods.”

They all sat quiet for a while, nobody being in any particular hurry to recount what had gone on there. The fight with the cannibals had been a victory, but Shiva nearly died and the manner in which they had to gang up on the leader didn’t feel terribly noble even if he was guilty of such horrors as what they found in the basement. Finding an elder one of their own might have felt more encouraging if he hadn’t died of being partially eaten, but at least he’d handed off an old vinyl record that Brittomart now kept close on her person at all times.

After leaving that house they’d headed east through the dead woods, eventually coming across the tower where they currently camped. Sensing that they’d all replayed the events in the woods through their minds, Brittomart took the reins of their communal storytelling.

“So alright, that happened. Then we came here and had our encounter with someone else like us.”

“He’s not like us.” Roland muttered.
“Well, he is.” Brittomart argued, “He is very much one of us, but I got a strong feeling that he had been forcibly recruited for the purpose of hunting us. Maybe those dog beasts weren’t so much his pets as his keepers, never mind who held the leashes.”

“I dunno.” Shiva answered, “But he had some great gear on him. If we could get that rifle into Roland’s hands I know I’d feel a lot safer traveling this wasteland.”

“I’ll feel a lot better if we find somewhere with beds and other comforts, somewhere without a bunch of corpses in the basement.” Roland added, rubbing his feet and loosening the wrappings, which provided little comfort.

“Well, that’s at least part of why we’re heading to the village the maps say is not too far east of this tower.” Rydell said, “Maybe that one legged guy we set free from the house was from there?”

They all sat quietly, hoping but not really knowing the answer to that.

“Well, I’ll tell you this much.” Roland said, “After we get to know this land a little more, I really want to sort out some kind of home base where we can sustain ourselves while we figure out just who the hell we are, where we’re from, who’s after us and what we can do about all that. This nomad’s life has a certain appeal to me, I admit, but it’s not really what we need per se.”

The others nodded in agreement. This adventure might feel more like one, if they weren’t worried about being hunted, eaten, killed by horrifying weather or just plain starving to death. Hopefully the village would provide a turning point in their struggles.

Continuing on like this forever was just…unthinkable.


I did find some more notes for The Tower section, here they are almost verbatim.

Day Eight
Wake up still in the Dead Woods, far east section. Traveled to the edges of the woods.

Day Nine
Woke up, spent a day resting to heal from wounds incurred in the backyard battle with the cannibals.

Some chatter, Rydell scouts ahead in the evening and then you all approached The Tower.

A soft rain begins. It’s not as horrible as the snow, but basically acts like a soft bleach.

Two large wooden doors were taken off their hinges, one door used for fire fuel and the other as a cover from the stairs heading down into the tower basement.

Day Ten
Another day of rest to recover from cannibal-inflicted injury.

Day Eleven
Early morning, Rydell and Roland head to the top of the tower where they spot Talus & the hounds off in the distance. Talus releases the hounds, who race towards the tower. Those at the top run down to ground level, grab the others and hide downstairs.

Talus perched himself at the top of the stairs with his rifle, sending the dogs down. Bradamante spooked them by vanishing, causing them all to engage their strength enhancements.

Two charged Roland & Rydell while the third, the alpha, engaged Shiva at the bottom of the stairs. It relatively quickly grappled her to the ground and bound her hands with a length of rope.

Roland’s eyes saw true and he gunned down both dog warriors (with a little help from Rydell’s sling). Brittomart cleverly used mimicry and ventriloquism to distract the Alpha with the sound of Talus saying “Heel!”, before Roland gunned it down as well.

Bradamante reappeared to help Shiva to her feet. When the pair of them verbally confronted Talus, he fired at Bradamante…who went insubstantial at just the right time. The bullet slammed into Shiva’s chest, knocking her onto her back – winded but unharmed. Roland, Shiva and Bradamante shot threats and vitriol at Talus but Brittomart did something else. She offered herself as a hostage so he’d feel safe leaving.

Talus took her up on this and the two went north-east to the top of the same ridge overlooking the tower that Roland & Rydell first spotted him on. They shared a brief exchange that Brittomart has largely kept to herself, before he turned and left. Every time Brittomart tried to peer into his mind she was rebuffed by a strange mental technique he used which put a chant in her head each time.

Bradamante Appears
The final survivor appears...then disappears and reappears a few times more.

Bradamante__Smaller_.jpgDAY FOUR
Travelling further south the Survivors came across another traveller’s cave, this time marked with a metal sign painted green. Sensing more terrifying weather, they wisely chose to stay the night here.

Investigation of the cave revealed it was somewhat heated by a geothermal vent, no doubt the reason past travellers had marked it with a sign. The cave’s walls were made up of volcanic rock which, when scraped away in one part, revealed the back end of an unfamiliar four-wheeled vehicle.

In the morning the Survivors were greeted by what at first seemed to be more perverse weather. Air pressure fluctuated wildly and everyone felt the need to hold their ears until a loud pop happened. But the pop wasn’t their ears, it was the appearance of Bradamante. After some initial confusion, the group were able to figure out that though Bradamante didn’t look (black skin) or dress like them (stone age hunter/gatherer)…that somehow Bradamante was one of them. She spoke their language, felt hunted as they did and they all instinctively felt comfortable with each other.

After this there was some tense travel across rolling hills which eventually brought them to the base of the Sheared Mountain, part of a range of tall mountains which seemed to shield whatever lay south of them from the horrible weather systems the Survivors had seen between there and the Lighthouse. Along the way Bradamante had a disconcerting habit of periodically flickering in and out of existence, always returning with no memory of where she had been.

Cautiously going up a winding path which lead to the mountain’s decapitated peak – which seemed to have an opening that could lead to valuable shelter – the survivors encounter the first non-survivor they’ve seen since The Boatman. It was a very rusty, seemingly decades or even centuries old robot. The robot had a trilingual head resting atop a spherical body which was supported by three long, spindly legs that brought it to a height of about seven feet.

Unfortunately for them it was some kind of guard robot with a still functioning laser protruding from it’s torso. After Roland was able to blow one of it’s legs in two, Shiva tipped the creature and wrestled it into submission before dragging the thing to the top of the mountain and casting it down a steep slope. During the fight it landed a hit on Rydell’s shoulder which showed how surprisingly durable the black suits they’d all woken up in were.Caged_Cave.jpgAs night fell, the survivors found their way up the rest of the path to set up camp just inside the gated cave. They all agreed it was best to be properly recovered from the day’s travels and encounters before exploring deeper into the mountain.

Travelling South
An improvised interlude between the first and second adventures.

Northern_Wasteland.jpgDAY TWO – Midday Onward

Mostly clad for the cold weather as well as a little shaken both from seeing a man’s head explode and learning that Brittomart has the ability to communicate telepathically, the survivors headed south. After half a day they found shelter in a small, geothermal cave.
Wasteland_Cave_Entrance2.jpgDAY THREE

During early morning watch, Shiva heard a sound like bacon spitting on the pan. This was the snow melting and then burning the earth clean of all life. This included the poor son of a bitch she saw come over a crest and run towards their cave for shelter. At a glance he looked to be a similar wretch to the one they encountered on the northern coast by the Lighthouse.

When the acidic snow had finished, the group set off again. A half day’s travel brought them to another cave, this one marked with a small metal sign that had a blue symbol painted on it. The survivors theorized that this was part of a series of caves used, by travellers passing through the area, specifically for shelter from the hellish weather of the region.

A Visitor Arrives
A boat comes through the mists...


On a windy, heavily overcast day the four survivors awake to find themselves in the uppermost chamber of a Lighthouse. Slowly they explored the space they found themselves in and each survivor found themselves drawn to a particular object. Rydell found a small multi-tool with a white cross on it’s casing, Roland found what looked to be a homemade pistol, Shiva a military sewing kit and Brittomart was attracted to an old pocket watch.

The pistol had clearly been used by a crane operator to commit suicide.

In the main area they encountered and were, arguably, forced to fight to the death with an unfamiliar four-legged creature that had been living there for some time (as evidenced by empty food containers and piles of it’s waste). Lighthouse Dog

DAY TWO – Morning

Having slept in the large shipping crate which the four legged creature had called home, the survivors decided to explore further. A few objects were found, each of the survivors feeling a kinship with one of them, and then a boat was spotted through the mist.

Without the lighthouse doing it’s job, the boat got lodged in a narrow pass between the mainland and the island. Despite language barriers and mutual suspicion, the survivors managed to convince the small boat’s captain that they were not to be feared. They ended up helping him free his boat and then used it as a bridge to the mainland. Thankful, the captain provided them with a sack containing meager foot as well as limited clothing to help them survive the awful climate.

As he went off into the horizon, the survivors started up the long path to the top of the mainland’s cliff.


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