Adventure.htm
You must be logged in to rate this writing! Return to Choose Your Own Adventures
by Nicholas
You live in a small village in a vast wilderness. You have a vague idea that there is another world with other people located somewhere in the South beyond the distant trading outposts, but your entire existence consists of your friends and family and your collective survival in the center of a mountain range that seems to stretch into the distance on all sides. Your village is located on the side of a wooded mountain, with a waterfall cascading down between the wooden and stone structures that constitute the village. You are sitting on the edge of a rocky outcropping that overlooks the houses, the waterfalls, and beyond that an enormous expanse of open air to the North. The morning air is crisp and breezy; it is after the summer harvest but not yet time to go hunting before winter, leaving you free from work and able to do what you want. The sun is just rising over the mountains, causing a stark contrast between the sun-bathed hills and mountains and the dark depths of the valleys. You have the whole day ahead of you. What do you want to do? FIND your best friend Jamie. SET OUT on a walk along the cliffs. SIT and continue to watch the sun rise. INVESTIGATE to see what your "teacher" Archimedes is up to. You climb down the rocks toward the village's largest stone structure, which is directly adjacent to the thundering rapids. The spray of the water drenches you as you round the corner and see the enormous waterwheel in the churning water. The wheel powers a mélange of mechanical contraptions throughout the village, and is used to pump water to some of the tiny farming patches on the hillsides. Your "teacher", Archimedes, possesses such vast stores of knowledge and demonstrates such incredible genius and acuity that most of the villagers avoid him for fear of his apparent supernatural powers. At the same time, the services he has rendered the community are undeniable, and everyone knows that they would almost certainly have perished long ago if not for his acumen. You find the villagers' discomfort ridiculous, and you frequently spend time with Archimedes, who acts as your mentor. Just then Jamie walks from around the other side of the building and tells you, "Hey there! Archimedes isn't here; I just checked. I think he might be up at his workshop. Do you want to go look for him, or do something else?" What do you want to do? SEARCH for Archimedes at his workshop. RETURN home and see how your family is doing. SEE if Jamie wants to try to climb to a nearby hill where you saw a mysterious sparkling in the sun earlier. EXPLORE the water mill with Jamie. You head up and around the outskirts of the village towards an enormous tree that Jamie's family lives in. Jamie's dad built it by weaving the branches of the tree and several other trees nearby to form a rudimentary house-like structure, and then packing the holes with clay. You walk up the stone steps at the bottom, climb up the stairs formed by branches that follow the stone steps, and swing open the elliptical wooden door. Jamie's younger sister greets you with familiarity and says, "Jamie is up at the lookout." You follow a winding stairway through various small rooms until you reach a door that opens to a very small room with an incredible panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. The room was one of the only ones in the village that had glass - just one of the many marvels that Archimedes had presented the villagers. Nobody quite understood how he could make a transparent material from sand and minerals, but some thought that his use of fire could only mean that his source of power came from the netherworld. Inside, you meet Jamie, who is whittling a stick into a wooden chain with separate links. "Hi!" Jamie exclaimes. What do you want to do? CONVINCE Jamie to go down to the water mill with you to look for Archimedes. TRY out the zip line that Jamie set up from the tree top to your house. LOOK at a book lying on the floor. SEE if Jamie wants to go on a walk along the cliffs above the village with you. You turn around and start climbing a small trail that appears to have been worn into the solid rock. The trail takes you almost directly up the vertical cliffs that jut out of the forests behind the village. The sun is now completely above the mountains, and feels hot on your face. Eventually, the trail levels off and winds around the sides of the cliffs; you are walking on a edge of an enormous precipice that would give most people nightmares. As you are walking, you feel tremors in the earth beneath you. You remember that Archimedes had taught you that your home mountain was a dormant cone volcano. Another tremor prompts you to begin running. Suddenly, an earthquake starts shaking the ground to the point where you are afraid you will lose your footing and fall. Desperate, you scramble upwards to a tree with roots that are embedded in the rock, and you hold on until the earthquake subsides. Realizing that you have discovered an excellent climbing tree, you head up to the top. From an opening in the branches you can see that the village below you is just a little spot on the side of the sublime mountainous slope. A dull thundering emanates from the river, which looks like a line cutting a path through the green. Suddenly, you notice something shining from a distant hill. The light flashes, almost sparkling, as if the sun was somehow reflected in an impossibly bright pool of water. What do you want to do? SEE if Jamie wants to try to climb to the hill where you saw the mysterious sparkling. RETURN home and see how your family is doing. CLIMB back down the cliffs to the rocky outcropping overlooking the village and enjoy the sun. STAY where you are in the tree. TREK down to the water mill, which you can see as a small rectangle on the river far below. After settling down nicely on the smooth rocks, bathed in the warm sunlight, you drift off to sleep. Unfortunately for you, you tend to sleepwalk quite a lot. One time you woke up in the middle of the night falling over the edge of the enormous waterfall just outside the village. Luckily for you, the water at the bottom was very deep and relatively calm. Now you are standing up, walking towards the edge of the rocks. You fall, but wake up in time to catch a tree branch and swing on it, through the air and through the stick and mud roof of your own house. CONTINUE to talk to your family. You tell Jamie that you'd like to hang out later, but you want to go back home for a little while. Around the side of the water mill, you notice a tiny boat with what is very clearly a seat in it lying next to an aqueduct that you know pumps water past your house. Curious, you place the boat in the aqueduct and climb onto the seat. Amazingly, you begin accelerating down the wooden half-pipe. Pretty soon, however, you start to worry. You've never payed close attention to the velocity of the water in the aqueducts, but from this perspective it seemed to be going very quickly. Just as you round a corner, you see your house. There is no way of stopping the boat. At the sharpest point in the curve, you are thrown from the boat and crash through the side of your house and onto the floor. CONTINUE to talk to your family. Rather than making the arduous climb back down the cliffs, you decide to take a shortcut to your house. Archimedes built a pully system of ropes that goes up one end of the cliffs so he could easily transport himself and his instruments up and down from his workshop, which is at the top of the cliffs, to the water mill in the village. You are about halfway between the two locations, and the moving platform is at one of the ends. No problem, you think. You leap into the air and grab one of the ropes. Unfortunately for you, the platform was at the bottom, and the ratcheting cleat that the rope passes through was unlocked. You quickly begin accelerating downwards at an alarming rate. You try to grab the rope that was traveling the opposite direction, but you merely get a rope burn which causes you to lose hold of the first rope alltogether. Luckily, you were positioned directly above your own house, and the stick and mud roof somewhat broke your fall, although you did crash through it. CONTINUE to talk to your family. "Well, that was a suprising entrance," your dad comments. "Um, hi!" you respond. "Don't worry about the damage," your mom says. "I was planning to put a window in there anyway with some of Archimedes' new glass." "Glass!" you respond. "That stuff is amazing! Isn't Archimedes great?" "Well.. we've been meaning to talk to you about him," your father begins. "We think Archimedes is a good man who has helped us in countless ways. All the same, it might not be the best thing for you to spend so much time with him. This glass-making of his is the only useful thing he does any more. It's been nearly 20 years since he installed the waterways, the mill, and everything else. Since then your mother and I have noticed what seems to be a deterioration of his mental faculties. He spends nearly all of his time up in that 'workshop' of his, scribbling on papers and occasionally shouting 'EUREKA' like a mad man! We think he has almost outlived his utility, and if he continues down the same path, he will soon no longer be able to teach you much of anything useful. Why don't you take up an honest trade? You know that almost all of the men and women in this village do their part to help our community in one way or another. Your brother has offered to take you on his next trip to the trading posts in the South, and the blacksmith has even offered to give you a position as his apprentice! That is a very rare offer, especially to someone like you." "DAD!" you shout, "Archimedes is a genius, and his mental faculties are not deteriorating! He has recently begun teaching Jamie and I what he calls the 'volumetric method'. It's simpy incredible! Mathematics far beyond what any person in the world has ever developed!" "Mathematics," your dad says in a level tone, "is good for trading and keeping accounts. I have heard Archimedes speak of this volumetric method, and the amount of water in a one meter tall sphere filled 3/5 of the way to the top does not interest me." "DAD!" you shout again, "the volumetric method is good for way more than just measuring amounts of water in oddly-shaped containers. It can be used to build ships, flying devices, and anything you can imagine!" "Hm." Your dad looks like he is lost in thought. "Archimedes was said to have crash landed a flying device near here when he first arrived. He has those gliders up at his workshop, but this must have been a really powerful flying machine. He is rumored to have come from across the ocean. I'm not going to tell you what to do with your life, but I think you should weigh your options well, as they will not always be available to you." What do you want to do? YELL at your dad some more. LOOK for Archimedes at his workshop with Jamie. EAT lunch. You're starting to get slightly hungry, as it is almost noon. SEE if Jamie wants to try to climb to a nearby hill where you saw a mysterious sparkling in the sun earlier. "Jamie, do you want to go climb the cliffs above the village?" you query. "Sure!" Jamie answers. The two of you wend your way along the dirt trails that take you to the top of the village, until you reach a small trail that appears to have been worn out of the solid rock. The trail takes you and Jamie almost directly up the vertical cliffs that jut out of the forests behind the village. The sun is now completely above the mountains, and feels hot on your faces. Eventually, the trail levels off and winds around the sides of the cliffs; you and Jamie are walking on a edge of an enormous precipice that would give most people nightmares. As you are walking, you feel tremors in the earth beneath you. "Jamie," you say, "do you remember Archimedes teaching us that our home mountain is a dormant cone volcano?" Another tremor prompts Jamie to begin running. You follow after. Suddenly, an earthquake starts shaking the ground to the point where you are afraid you will lose your footing and fall. Desperate, you and Jamie scramble upwards to a tree with roots that are embedded in the rock, and you hold on until the earthquake subsides. Realizing that you have discovered an excellent climbing tree, you both head up to the top. From an opening in the branches you can see that the village below you is just a little spot on the side of the sublime mountainous slope. A dull thundering emanates from the river, which looks like a line cutting a path through the green. Suddenly, you notice something shining from a distant hill. The light flashes, almost sparkling, as if the sun was somehow reflected in an impossibly bright pool of water. You are about to point it out to Jamie, but just then the sparkling stops. What do you want to do? RETURN home and see how your family is doing after the earthquake. CLIMB back down the cliffs to the rocky outcropping overlooking the village and enjoy the sun. STAY where you are in the tree. CONVINCE Jamie to go down to the water mill with you to look for Archimedes. SEE if Jamie wants to try to climb to the hill and find the source of the mysterious sparkling. "Well, that was exciting, but I think I'm ready to head back home," you tell Jamie. "We can hang out later if you want, but I'm going to see how my family is doing and if they're all okay after that earthquake." "Okay!" Jamie answers. "I think I'll head home too. I hope our tree-house is okay after that!" Jamie heads back down the trail. CONTINUE on your way home. You decide to stay put at the top of the tree for a while. After a few minutes, an aftershock causes the tree to sway wildly back and forth. You're afraid the top is going to snap off! As the tree begins to reach equilibrium, you hear a rumbling from above you. Afraid of more aftershocks, you look up to see an enormous boulder rolling toward you! It comes to a violent stop as it crashes into the trunk of the tree. You think everything is okay, and you are about to begin climbing down, when all of a sudden there is an earsplitting crack as the trunk splinters at the base, and the tree begins tilting toward the precipice. There is nothing you can do. The tree tilts more and more, gathering speed, until you are thrown off your branch and plummet to your death. CONTINUE to where it all began. "Jamie, do you want to come with me to look for Archimedes down at the water mill?" "Sure," Jamie says. "You go ahead and I'll catch up. I'm almost done with this wooden chain. I'll meet you there in a couple minutes." CONTINUE to the water mill. You start walking to the watermill, but you decide to take the long way around. It's such a nice day that you just want to enjoy the natural world around you. You walk on a small trail that goes through the woods next to the village. The birds are chirping, and the breeze is moving the leaves of the deciduous trees in such a way that the light shining through the branches forms shifting patterns on the ground and in the pools of water next to the path. The trail eventually takes you out of the woods and onto some rocks right above the water mill, which you can see below you. CONTINUE to the water mill. "Jamie, why don't we go down to the water mill and see if Archimedes is there. Maybe he knows something about the source of that sparkling on the hillside," you say. "Alright!" answers Jamie. "I'm going to stop by my house first and make sure everything is okay after that earthquake, but I'll meet you at the water mill in a couple minutes." Jamie heads back down the trail. CONTINUE to the water mill. You tell your dad that you will think about what he's said, but that in the meantime you are going to see if Jamie wants to go to Archimedes' workshop with you. After looking around the village a short time, you find Jamie working on a staircase that goes down the cliffs below the water mill. The staircase is incomplete, and hangs out over the edge of an enormous void, but Jamie insists that it is going somewhere, "although I'm not going to tell you where. It's a surprise." This was the answer that Jamie had given anyone who had asked, including you. You approach Jamie and ask, "Hey, do you want to go up to Archimedes' workshop with me?" "Sure thing," Jamie answers. The two of you head up to the water mill. CONTINUE to Archimedes' workshop. You and Jamie look at the platform that Archimedes uses to get back and forth between the water mill and the workshop. "It's strange that the platform is here, if Archimedes really is up at the workshop, as I suspect he is," Jamie comments. "He usually uses the pulley system to get up there." "Well, I've known him to walk up there now and then. It's such a nice day that he probably decided to take the long way up." Jamie agrees. You lock the ratcheting cleat onto the rope and climb onto the rough boards of the platform with Jamie. As you begin turning the wooden crank, the platform creaks and lifts into the air. It's slow progress, but enjoyable. Several minutes later you are directly above the raging water, but you are high above it. At a bend in the river, you see your house. Your parents wave from their arm chairs on the deck, and you wave back. The ropes go directly above your house. Jamie offers to take a turn at the crank, so you move aside. The platform is now traveling at a steep incline, ascending the rocky face of the cliffs above the village. The clouds above you form puffy white shapes in the sky, and the wind blows your and Jamie's hair. The only sound is the soft sqeaking of the rope passing through the crank mechanism. Finally, you see the workshop over the top of the cliff. As you reach the landing, you stand up and step down from the platform. You enter the workshop, but Archimedes is not there. What do you want to do? LOOK around the workshop for clues to Archimedes' whereabouts. PEER through a telescope at the back window that overlooks the village and the mountains beyond. HIDE under the workbench so you can sneak-attack Jamie, who has not entered the workshop yet. READ an unfinished letter that was left on the workbench. RETURN home for lunch. You're famished. "Are you sure he's not here?" you ask Jamie. "Well... I guess I didn't check the storage room at the top. Do you want to double check?" "Yes," you answer. The two of you walk in the open doorway. Inside, the enormous axle of the waterwheel turns several cogs that server various purposes. The noise is deafening, and everything is dripping wet from the pounding water. You turn right and head up a spiral stone staircase to the second floor. This floor is water-tight, and strangely sound resistant. This is where Archimedes spends most of his time. You continue up a wooden ladder to a trap door in the ceiling. Once through, you look around. You've only been in this room a couple times, and on those occasions it had been filled with boxes. This time, however, it is entirely empty. You comment on this fact to Jamie. "Hm! That is odd," Jamie agrees. You notice a closet in the corner marked "Do Not Enter" in Archimedes' handwriting. "What do you think is in there," you ask, indicating the closet. "I don't know!" Replies Jamie. What do you want to do? LOOK in the closet. SEARCH for Archimedes at his workshop. RETURN home and see how your family is doing. SEE if Jamie wants to try to climb to a nearby hill where you saw a mysterious sparkling in the sun earlier. "Wow, I see that you finished that zip line!" you say to Jamie. "Yeah! I haven't tested it yet though... It goes to that tree next to your house. I guess you could try it if you wanted. I finished carving the wheel and handles as well, with Archimedes' help." "Sure I'll try it!" you exclaim. "Alright, but I'm going to stay here." Jamie hands you the handled wheel and tells you to bring it back at some point. You swing open the window, climb onto the sill, and put the wheel over the rope tied above the window. Holding on with both hands, you leap out the window. In just a few seconds you are hurdling through the air. The wind whipping around you brings tears to your eyes. The zip line is made of several small ropes tied together, and the wheel bumps and jumps over the knots, but somehow manages to stay on the zip line. Soon, you see the tree by your house quickly approaching. Much too quickly. You shoot through the branches, and the wheel slams into the branch that the rope is tied to. You let go, and after hurdling through the air, you crash through the wall of your house and into the main room. CONTINUE to talk to your family. "DAD, you don't even know what you're talking about!" you yell. "This is MY life. You're just jealous because Archimedes is smarter than you could ever DREAM of being! You don't have any right to tell me what to do!" "Okay well I'm going to lock you in the closet for the rest of the day with no food, and give you some time to rethink YOUR life," your dad counters. Five minutes later you are sitting in the tiny dark space of the closet, in the pitch black, with no sounds except the grumbling of your stomach. CONTINUE to where it all began. "Jamie," you say, "Earlier, while up on the cliffs, I saw a mysterious sparkling from that hill over there, like the sun shining off of something very reflective." You point into the distance, indicating a location far away from the village. "Do you want to try to find the source of the reflection?" "Well, that sounds like a good idea to me! I've got nothing better to do." says Jamie. The two of you walk to the edge of the cliff at the base of the village, and look into the hills beyond for some sign of the sparkling reflection. "I see it!" shouts Jamie. "Over there!" You look, but you don't see anything. "I have an idea," says Jamie. "Why don't we go up to Archimedes' workshop and use his two gliders to try to reach that hill? It would be much faster than walking." What do you want to do? GO to Archimedes' workshop to look for him and his gliders. SET OUT on foot toward the source of the sparkling. LEAP off the cliff. RETURN home to eat lunch. You're feeling quite hungry. You and Jamie creep over to the closet. You turn the knob. Inside, a ladder leads down a dark shaft through the floor. "What? How?" you ask. "We're on the third floor of this building!" "One wall must have enough space for a passageway," Jamie speculates. What do you want to do? CLIMB down the ladder. SEARCH for Archimedes at his workshop. RETURN home and see how your family is doing. SEE if Jamie wants to try to climb to a nearby hill where you saw a mysterious sparkling in the sun earlier. You and Jamie walk back across the storage room, down the spiral staircase, out of the water mill, and around to the other side of the building, where a pulley system is set up. CONTINUE on your way to Archimedes' workshop. You put your hands on the top rungs of the ladder. You place one foot on a lower rung. Suddenly, the rotten rungs of the ladder break, and you fall down the dark shaft. At the bottom, you splash into freezing cold, churning water. You are being swept along at what feels like a very fast pace. Suddenly, you are shot out into open air. As you fall, you realize that your head is throbbing. You must have hit it in the dark underground portion of the river. Darkness envelopes you. CONTINUE to where it all began. After looking around the village a short time, you find Jamie working on a staircase that goes down the cliffs below the water mill. The staircase is incomplete, and hangs out over the edge of an enormous void, but Jamie insists that it is going somewhere, "although I'm not going to tell you where. It's a surprise." This was the answer that Jamie had given anyone who had asked, including you. You approach Jamie. CONTINUE and speak with Jamie. You and Jamie walk to the water mill and around to the other side of the building, where a pulley system is set up. CONTINUE on your way to Archimedes' workshop. A smile spreads across your face. You begin walking towards the cliffs. As you gain speed, you hear Jamie yell, "What are you DOING?" But it's too late. With your arms spread wide, you leap off the cliff. A few second later a thought crosses your mind: "That was stupid. What about my family? What about Jamie?" But it's too late. The ground energetically rises up to meet you. CONTINUE to where it all began. "Well... I've actually kind of lost interest in this," you tell Jamie. "I'm kind of hungry," you add. "See you later." Pretty soon you're trotting along the path to your house. Once inside, you head straight for the kitchen. CONTINUE and eat lunch. Once in the kitchen, you open the pantry door. "Mmmmm," you think. So much delicious food! What do you want to do? EAT some fruit. EAT a biscuit. EAT some porridge. After selecting the food of your choice, you settle down on the window seat to enjoy a hearty meal. In fact, the meal is so good that you feel just splendid. The house is heated from the mid-day sun, and you are content. You doze off to sleep. It looks like you won't be embarking on any more adventures today. CONTINUE to where it all began. You pick up a book that you see on the floor. "What's this?" you ask. "Oh, that's just a story I'm writing. Well, it's not just any old story. It's what I like to call a 'Choose Your Own Adventure' story," informs Jamie. "What's that?" you query. "Well, the reader gets to make decisions every now and then by going to different pages! They're really fun to write as well as to read! I would strongly suggest that you make one yourself." What do you want to do? READ the book. CONVINCE Jamie to go down to the water mill with you to look for Archimedes. TRY out the zip line that Jamie set up from the tree top to your house. SEE if Jamie wants to go on a walk along the cliffs above the village with you. You crawl under the workbench, sniggering to yourself. You can hardly keep quiet as Jamie enters the workshop. You wait until Jamie is in the perfect position, and then you leap out with a shriek. Unfortunately for you, Jamie kicks you in the face with lightning reflexes. You are knocked out cold. "Sorry about that." You wake up to a very concerned looking Jamie. "Oh.. that's okay... my fault," you mutter. What do you want to do? LOOK around the workshop for clues to Archimedes' whereabouts. PEER through a telescope at the back window that overlooks the village and the mountains beyond. READ an unfinished letter that was left on the workbench. RETURN home for lunch. You're famished. Plus you are sustaining a head injury. You walk across the room to the back window. It's obvious why Archimedes set up shop way up above the village. The peace and quiet up here is unparalleled. The thundering of the river is muffled to a low static simply by distance, and the only sounds of it that you can hear come and go with changes in the breeze. You look into the telescope, and are started to see a bright light. You let your eye adjust, and realize that you are staring at some sort of metalic reflective object. "Hey Jamie, come look at this!" you say. Jamie takes a turn at the telescope, and looks confused. "Look!" you say excitedly. "You can see it on the hillside with your naked eye!" Sure enough, from this vantage point the sparkling is clearly visible. Jamie, who is still looking through the telescope, suddenly gasps, and says, "I saw a dark shape move in front of the shiny object. It looked like it could have been a person!" You look through the telescope, but you don't see anything. Just the shiny object. You ask if Jamie is sure about having seen something, but Jamie only acts offended at having been questioned thus. "Well, do you want to use the gliders around back to try to get to the shiny object?" you ask. "Archimedes was clearly interested in it." "Sure, I'm game," says Jamie, who is almost skipping around with excitement. What do you want to do? GO around back, where Archimedes stores his two gliders. You are just as excited as Jamie is. SET OUT on foot toward the source of the sparkling. You haven't trusted the gliders ever since you crash landed one in a tree when you were little. RETURN home for lunch. You're really quite tired of all this. Not sure what you're looking for, you wander around the workshop. There are all sorts of interesting gadgets. In one corner, you find a screw encased in a glass tube. The entire contraption is at a 45 degree angle from horizontal, and the bottom is in a bucket of water. There is a handle at the top, which you turn. To your suprise, water is lifted up the tube by the screw mechenism, and dumped on your clothes. You look elsewhere. Nearby, you find an old box. You open it, and find a golden crown inside. "Wow!" You exclaim. "Our village could be rich if we gave this to my brother! He could take it to the trading outposts and bring back anything we needed and more!" "He could," responded Jamie, "if that crown was made of real gold. Archimedes told me that it's only painted with a thin layer of gold, and the rest is lead." Continuing your search, you discover a small but complex wooden mechanism. A lever protrudes from the framework. You press the lever. A miniature grappling hook flies out of the machine and hooks onto a tiny model ship floating in a shallow pail of water a short distance away, and flings the ship onto the ground. Entertained, you reset the machine, point it at Jamie, and press the lever. "Hey!" Shouts Jamie, whose hair is caught by the hook. "Stop messing around. You're going to break something." "Woah! Look at this!" you respond. "A trap door in the floor! Where do you think it leads?" What do you want to do? OPEN the trap door and see where it leads. PEER through a telescope at the back window that overlooks the village and the mountains beyond. RETURN home for lunch. You find the lack of food in Archimedes' workshop disturbing. The letter is scrawled in dark ink in Archimedes' distinct handwriting. It reads as follows: Dear Aristarchus, I have some startling news pertaining to The Sand Reckoner. In fact, I have startling news about many of the fields of science. Unfortunately, I only have one carrier pidgeon remaining, so I will not be able to write for some time. Fortunately, this may not be necessary, as I may be able to return to Greece very soon. There is one very important The letter ended there. What do you want to do? LOOK around the workshop for clues to Archimedes' whereabouts. PEER through a telescope at the back window that overlooks the village and the mountains beyond. RETURN home for lunch. Reading that letter made you extremely hungry. You take out your knife and use it to pry open the trap door. Underneath, a dank and dark stone stairway hewn into the hard clay leads down and away into the pitch black. "Want to go?" you question Jamie. "Yeah of course!" Jamie practically yells. You climb into the tunnel. It's big enough that you don't have to crawl, but you do have to squat down and kind of waddle your way through the tunnel. The clay is wet and musty smelling. As Jamie climbs in behind you, the light is blocked momentarily and everything goes black. Suddenly a breeze blowing out of the tunnel sends chills down your spine. "Well, if there's a breeze, the tunnel must come out in the open," you hypothesize. "But I don't see any light ahead." "Hurry up!" Jamie encourages you. You continue walking down the tunnel, until it is almost completely black. You now have to feel your way through the tunnel. You have given up on staying clean, and you are crawling through the muck. You feel something scurry by you that feels like a rat. Jamie screams. You continue crawling for what seems like an eternity. Your fingers are turning numb in the strangely cold mud. Just when you're about to ask if Jamie wants to go back, you see a faint glow from up ahead. Taking heart, you crawl faster, until the tunnel is once more illuminated enough to see. Blinded by the bright daylight and suprised by the hot air, you take a moment to let your eyes adjust. Once they do, you realize that the tunnel has come out on the side of a cliff! Looking down, you see a dark pool of water some fifty feet below you. In front of you are treetops, and hills beyond that. On one of them, you can see a brilliant glimmer, shining with a tantalizing luster in the sun. What do you want to do? LEAP into the pool of water and try to get to the hill with the tantalizing glimmer. TURN around and go back to the workshop. "Jamie," you say, "it's no good. There's an enormous drop off with no way down. We've gotta go back." Jamie crawls past you to verify your claim, and hesitantly agrees that there isn't any way down. Partway back to the workshop, you get a whiff of a horrible smell like rotting carcasses. Feeling along the wall you realize that there is another branch of the tunnel leading in a downward direction to the left. What do you want to do? TAKE the downward tunnel. CONTINUE to the workshop. "Jamie," you whisper, not sure why you're whispering. "There's another tunnel going down this way. Let's see where it goes." You begin crawling down it, but it continues to get more and more steep. About to turn around, you begin slipping in the wet clay, and you can't stop. You slide down an almost vertical shaft and land with a dull thud in a sqishy, dank openness. The stench is unbearable. You feel something start crawing on you. "Jamie! Go back!" you yell, but it's too late. Jamie crashes into you after sliding down the tunnel. You identify the crawling thing as a spider. Two more start crawling on you. You brush them off and fall further into the pit. The smell of rotting carcasses overwhelms you as you are engulfed in spiders. CONTINUE to where it all began. "Make sure you keep right," you advise. The crawl back to the workshop seems much shorter than you remember it being. As you climb out of the trap door, you and Jamie realize that you are coated in wet clay from head to toe. What do you want to do? PEER through a telescope at the back window that overlooks the village and the mountains beyond. RETURN home for lunch. All that crawling took up a lot of energy, and a biscuit sounds delicious. Gathering all of your courage, you leap out of the tunnel. A rushing sound caused partially by the rushing air and partially by the adrenaline being pumped through your brain grows louder and louder until you smash into the water feet first, with your hands at your side. Once you have broken the surface, you spread your arms and legs to try to stop yourself from hitting the bottom. Sensing that you have stopped descending, you open your eyes. The water is dark in all directions, with a faint glow coming from above. All of a sudden a shaft of white shoots down into the the water a few feet away from you. It's Jamie. CONTINUE to the surface. The two of you swim to the surface and grin, laughing. "That was awesome!" Jamie says with glee. You swim to the far edge of the water and climb out. You are in a grove of tall aspens, whose leaves have prematurely started changing color. Some remain green, but others are yellow, orange, and red. The air is still and warm, and the slow movement of the braches and blades of grass on the grassy forest floor are calming. What do you want to do? STAY in the grove. You are convinced that it is the most perfect place on earth. HIKE out of the grove and into the woods. "Let's stay here! This place is amazing!" you say to Jamie. Jamie answers, "Yeah, definitely!" You spend all afternoon swimming in the pool, lying on your back in the grass under the waving trees, skipping rocks, and sleeping. Pretty soon, the day is at an end, but you feel sure that nobody will miss you back home, so you fall asleep under the stars. The following day goes similarly. You forget about your hunger, and give yourself up to the peace and tranquility of the grove. This is how you spend your final days. You and Jamie both die happy. CONTINUE to where it all began. Forgetting to pack any provisions or hiking equipment you may need, you and Jamie set out into the wilderness. At first, the going is difficult. You have to climb down rocky slopes where the shale is continually cracking and sliding out from underneath you. The bugs are buzzing in your ears and biting you, and the sun is relentlessly beating down on you. After what seems like forever, you are down the steep rocky slopes, and you have entered the shady lowland hills. The shade feels nice, and the nasty bugs have been replaced with butterflies and wild daisies. You and Jamie begin laughing and running through the trees, up and over logs and stumps. You both leap over a log in unison, and you are equally suprised to find that the ground drops off the other side of the log at an alarming rate. It takes several seconds for you to hit the ground, which is strewn with loose leaves and dirt. When you do touch down, you barely slow. Both of you slide downwards, out of reach of any trees or branches. Just then, the ground drops out from beneath you entirely, and you shoot out over the edge of an enormous cliff, which you quickly estimate to be at least 70 feet. Adrenaline pumps through you and the forest rushes upwards around you. Suddenly you feel cold, and everything around you is dark in all directions, except for up, where a faint light is coming from. You realize that you have fallen in a very deep pool of water. CONTINUE to the surface. "Come on," you incite Jamie, "we don't have all day! Let's get moving!" "I'm coming I'm coming!" Jamie responds irritably. "Hurry up and get a move on!" you tease. Your clothes quickly dry off as you walk through the Aspens. A chickadee whistles from somewhere above you. The branches and leaves snap and crunch underfoot. The rolling hill seems to continue indefinitely, but you don't mind. After about an hour of walking, however, you begin to wonder if you're headed in the right direction. You're used to being in the high altitudes, where all of the hills around you are always visible. From down here, however, you haven't been able to see anything but trees and bushes for quite some time. CONTINUE so as to talk to Jamie about this dilemma. "Come on, let's go find the gliders," you demand. You follow Jamie out the back door and onto a windy ledge where the two gliders are strapped down. The gliders' frames are constructed from stripped and treated branches fastened together with twine. The framing of the wings have canvas stretched over it, and a tail protrudes from the back for stabilization. Archimedes had added the tails after your famous crash-landing, but it hadn't been enough to convince you to try one again. As you unstrap the gliders, some of the canvas on one of the tails tears, and part of the frame sproings out of place. "Are you sure this is a good idea?" you ask Jamie. "YES!" Jamie screams. "Wow. Um. Okay." "You know that the only accident anyone has had on these is yours, and that's just because you're a bad flyer," Jamie taunts. What do you want to do? FLY off the mountainous cliff on a glider. RETURN home for lunch. You're really not liking this idea. "Alright," you say hesitantly. "Let's go." You and Jamie each pick up a glider. They are extremely lightweight. You lift it up over your head, but before you get a chance to get your arms in place, a gust of wind blows you off the ledge. "AHH," you yell. You're hanging on with one hand and plunging towards the rocky ground below. At the last minute, you pull your upper body into the flying contraption and pull up hard. You're safe, but you've lost a significant amount of altitude. You can see Jamie gliding above you. You know that the only way to regain your lost altitude (unless you want to walk the glider back up the hill, which you don't) is to utilize the mud plateau. Jamie predicts your intent and heads that way before you. You lean hard to the left and take a turn around the edge of the mountain. Just around the bend, the slope of the mountain is interrupted by a horizontal plane of mud. You're not sure you're high enough. As you come in, you're literally brushing the treetops. You utter a sigh of relief as you glide between the two final trees. The mud flats become very hot on a sunny day, and the heat causes a strong draft of air to waft upwards. Archimedes said that this is because hot air is less dense than cold air. You spiral upwards, experiencing quite a bit of turbulence, until you are as high as you can get from the draft, where you meet Jamie again. You signal a thumbs up to Jamie, who, in response, points to the hill in the distance, which has a visible sparkle. Both of you lean forward and begin your long journey down. The gliders cut through the air slowly and silently. "Maybe I have been missing out on these gliders after all," you think to yourself. The mountains around you look less real, and more like a painting on a big round canvas. The sky appears to be a large round dome above you, with the sun a yellow circle. Archimedes told you that the Earth actually moves around the sun in an orbit, as proved by his friend Aristarchus. Idly, you contemplate these things. You watch the birds flying far below you. The time seems to stretch out forever, as if you are trapped in a moment, and nothing is changing. You can only tell that you're making progress by carefully observing objects directly below you, and comparing positions several minutes later. After a while, however, you realize that not only is your altitude dropping, but you've stopped making forward progress. "There must be a headwind - we're not making any progress!" you shout to Jamie. "I noticed that as well!" Jamie returns. Soon, you are rushing over the treetops. There is no illusion of stillness any more. You can see the hill you're aiming for not too far away, but you know you're not going to make it. Just then a spot of turbulents throws both of your gliders down, where you crash in the trees. The gliders get tangled, and fall slowly through the branches to the ground. You and Jamie climb out, both unharmed. You're standing in a forest of aspens with a fey-like quality. After the fall, you have lost your sense of direction. You're used to being in the high altitudes, where all of the hills around you are always visible. From down here, however, all you can see are trees and bushes, and the flat ground all around you. Jamie starts walking, and signals you to follow, but you're not at all sure that it is the correct direction. CONTINUE so as to talk to Jamie about this dilemma. "Are you sure we're going the right way?" you enquire. "I was kind of wondering about that myself," Jamie answers, "but look at the sun. By my reckoning, we should be headed about due north, which I think was the direction of the hill we're looking for." "Hm. I guess that seems about right, but maybe we should climb a tree or something to find out." Suddenly, you hear a bellowing from behind you. A giant bull moose walks slowly between you and Jamie, in a straight line, without looking at either of you. What do you want to do? TRUST in Jamie's reckoning. CLIMB a tree, just to make sure. FOLLOW the moose. RETURN home for lunch. You haven't eaten since breakfast and Jamie is starting to get on your nerves. "I'm going to climb a tree," you tell Jamie. You find the tallest one nearby, and start towards the top. The branches are spaced out just perfectly for you to clmb. You continue, higher and higher. The branches get smaller and smaller, but you keep going. You can't even see Jamie below you any more. Finally, you break through the top of the forest. You chose your tree well. You can see --- nothing. Miles and miles of forest on all sides. Flat forests. You don't know what happened to all of the mountains. You can't even see any mountains. Just trees and sky. Green and blue. Forever. You hurry down the tree to tell Jamie the news. Both of you are very discouraged by the news. What do you want to do? TRUST in Jamie's reckoning. DESPAIR. FOLLOW the moose. "I give up," you tell Jamie, sitting down and looking miserable. Jamie looks at you with a sad expression. "Well, you can't expect me to have enough optimism for the two of us," Jamie says, and starts crying. That night, with the wind whipping at you and the animals howling around you, you both die of despair. CONTINUE to where it all began. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" you ask Jamie. "I think so," Jamie answers. The two of you start jogging in the direction the moose had gone. You catch sight of it almost immediately. Even though it had appared to have been walking very slowly, you find it difficult to keep up. In fact, sometimes you lost sight of it entirely, until a loud bellow would indicate its direction. You track the moose through streams, over logs, through thickets, and across swamps. Eventually, you find yourself in a dense pine forest, with no clue where the moose is. "Well. That went well," you say sarcastically. "I don't understand!" Jamie says meekly. "Where was that moose going?" You hear a faint bellow from off in the distance, but you can no longer tell which direction it is from. It is as if the moose is laughing at you. The sun is setting. You and Jamie build a quick shelter. After several days of eating berries and trying to find tall hills from which to see your home mountain, you both get a strange disease and die. CONTINUE to where it all began. "Alright," you say. "I think you're right. Let's go that way." The two of you start walking in the direction that you guess to be north. It's getting to be late in the afternoon, and you're starting to get worried, but you keep going. After a while, the trudging becomes monotonous, and all of the trees begin to look the same. Your feet hurt with a dull pain, as does your empty stomach. Your eyes have fallen to the ground, and you hardly pick up your feet as you walk. "How are you doing?" you ask Jamie. "Oh, you know. Fantastic." Jamie answers. You can never tell when Jamie is being serious or sarcastic. At first you think this was sarcasm, but after looking at Jamie again you decide it was sincerity. Suddenly, you look up from the ground with suprise - there appears to be an incline in front of you. You pick up your feet and start jogging upwards, with Jamie right behind you. The thick underbrush and logs begin to thin out, as do the thick trees. You didn't realize how dark it had gotten in the forest until you came back out into the sunlight. Your shadows have lengthened considerably, but the sun is still a full hand above the horizon. "What's that?" Jamie asks excitedly, pointing up ahead. "That... is a tree." "Oh. You're right." You continue walking. The ground is composed of dusty red dirt and is smattered with sagebrush and other undergrowth. Sparse tree covering and a steady incline makes the landscape appear strange and unearthly. The horizon is beginning to look orange, adding to the desert-like appearance. You notice that both yourself and Jamie are coated in a layer of orange dust. "What's that?" Jamie asks again, just as excitedly, pointing. "That... that.. is.. um... something really shiny!" Both of you break into a run. There is a large metal object with strange glass attachments protruding from it. You and Jamie cautiously approach the object, moving around it slowly. "What do you think it is?" you murmer. Suddenly, there is a banging sound from the center of the object. You jump back, startled. A muffled yelling noise follows. "I think... there's someone or something in there," Jamie says. You approach the object, and pull on a metal handle. A door opens, and out comes Archimedes! "Archimedes!" you say. "At last!" he answers. "I've been trapped in there afternoon! I saw you through the cockpit windshield and tried to signal to you, but you didn't notice." "Well I guess you're lucky that we showed up!" says Jamie. "What exactly is this thing?" "This," answers Archimedes, "is my greatest invention. It is a flying device." "Well.. what is it doing way out here?" you inquire. "This is the location of my original crash landing, "Archimedes says proudly. "I wanted to be the first human to circumnavigate the globe. My departure from Greece coincided nicely with a Roman attack. I payed off a Roman soldier to spread the word that he killed me, so as to keep my venture a suprise. I successfully traversed the ocean, but my airship sprung a leak, and I was forced to land here. When I did so, I saw smoke rising from your village, so I decided to walk there to see if you had materials to repair my ship. Although your parents and the other villages very kindly offered me animal hides that would have worked splendidly, I had entirely lost the location of my ship. I have spent years looking for it, but to no avail. It was just recently that I spotted it from my workshop. My guess is that that tree," he says, while indicating a fallen tree with a wave of his hand, "was blocking the ship from view. It must have blown over in a recent gust, allowing me to see the sun reflecting off of it." "Wow," you both say in unison. "But how does it work?" Jamie asks. "This device uses mirrors and glass to heat air, which, as you know, generates buoyancy from the difference in density. Unfortunately, the canvas balloon that trapped the hot air has been long since destroyed and scattered in the years of weather," Archimedes answers with a frown. "I really just came out here to see it once more. I knew long before I ever saw it that it would be in no condition to fly ever again. What I didn't realize was that the machine seems to bear a grudge against me for abandoning it. The first thing I did was to accidentally trap myself in the cockpit." "I'm sorry you won't be able to circumnavigate the world," you say sincerely. Archimedes looks at you with a grin and answers, "Pish posh. I would never want to leave your village, even if it means the scientific world will never know that flight is possible. Anyway. I have one last invention you don't know about, which should allow us to reach home before nightfall." You and Jamie look at each other. Archimedes has a twinkle in his eye. He points to the edge of the forest, where a strange vehicle is parked. You run over to it. It has six large studded wooden wheels, four seats, and four pairs of pedals. "It was rather difficult riding it here by myself, but I have prooved that it works, and with the three of us pedaling, we should be able to get back in no time." You and Jamie hop in the back, and the three of you were able to make it back in half the time it took you to get there. Archimedes never again considered the possibility of leaving there. He began teaching you in earnest, and your fascination with the world around you only continued to grow. The End

Comments
Be the first to comment!
You must be logged in to comment!