Passport: Climbing Permit
Current Mission Summary:
The Eglabites have your data tablet, and you need it back to complete your biome survey of Terragast. Against the advice of Calissa and Falvo, your companions, you went to feed the munchers, nasty creatures who dwell in the depths of Stone Heart Cavern. Just as you were about to enter their caves, a friendly Eglabite named Wooktie appeared, asking for your fruit snacks. She was the one who helped bedazzle your pack and Falvo's boots! She explained that the village elder had your data tablet, confiscated as a fair exchange for the bundle of frangee herbs the Eglabites had gathered. In exchange for your bag of fruit snacks, Wooktie brought you to their secret village, causing an uproar. The elder agreed to give you your tablet back after you left and swore you to secrecy about the location of the village and its monthly craft fair.
The Eglabites have set up chairs and tables, about twenty or so, for their craft fair. The crafts are so tiny, you doubt Human hands could recreate them. Tiny embroidered vests, colored felt hats, dolls shaped like Eglabites and their swallow-hawk companions. In the next row of tables, you find tinted glass goggles, jeweled harnesses, and green patterned hoods
You pick out a few trinkets, taking care to thank your Eglabite vendors and paying them with the fruit snacks you have left over. They take them eagerly. "So sweet!" you hear one say. You have picked out a dried-husk doll and a fiber-woven hat. You can study their plant-based composition in a preserved form and incorporate it into your research later.
Calissa purchases a fearsome-looking mask. "They told me they use it to scare away the munchers," she says. She puts it on and makes a face. "Yarr! It might not work without the spines. Maybe if I show more teeth..." She flashes her impressive canines.
Falvo trades his floral-engraved spare hook and pegleg for a complete set of bedazzled hiking clothes. "Look!" he says. "They tailored it for me. With the reflective powers of this vest and these shorts, I'll be a beacon for lost travelers!"
You are now ready to leave. "We thank you for your patronage," says the village elder. "And for your fruit snacks." As a final gesture of goodwill, you share the recipe with her. "Ohhh!" she exclaims. "Dried fruit, sweetener, and algae as a thickener. We will have to scour the forests and trade carefully to get the right ingredients. Perhaps we will meet each other again, and you can try some."
She hands you the data tablet and bids you farewell.
Item Found: "Eglabite Crafts"
In the game, you would've recorded this item in your passport, where it would have effects on later bits of the story. You have no idea what you do with this...but it surely can't hurt to have!
(11%): Return to Western Base Camp.
(9%): Return to Eastern Base Camp.
(80%): Follow Falvo and Calissa.
Wooktie leads you through the hidden village entrance and back to a regular trail before waving and scurrying back through the low shrubs. "Oh, I know this trail!" Calissa says, "Wendon! Follow it far enough and you can get to the top of Mount Goliath. Eventually. With breathing equipment and a lot of training."
"But the foothills are good for training." Falvo adds. "You're welcome to join us!" You gladly follow along.
As you hike, you check the data tablet and see that all programs are functioning normally. In fact, you see several new entries in your photo log, complete with location coordinates. "Oh, look!" Calissa says, leaning over your shoulder and pointing. "A rare purple rockthorn!" It appears the Eglabites took pictures with the tablet after they traded for it. There's a fuzzy shot of a wind-blown golden palm and an astonishing mineral-swirled rock formation with an Eglabite finger over most of the lens. But there are also several close-up images of Eglabites, their purple birds, and other trees, shrubs, and small mammals. In fact, you think you could use these photos as part of your research. The Eglabites were able to reach places you never could have traversed on your own.
Of course, there's still more of Terragast to explore, and now you have your data tablet back. "Where would you like to go next?" says Calissa.
(51%): Hike up the Mount Goliath trail.
(41%): Explore the Thermal Pass.
(8%): Climb down to Terrafern Valley.
You begin your hike late in the afternoon, past trees that seem to be getting shorter and shorter as you walk up into the foothills. When dusk begins to fall, Falvo calls a halt. "There's a hiker's hut up here," he says. "Nothing fancy, but better than the ground..." He leads you to a short structure that barely pokes up above the scrubby trees. After a simple dinner, you head off to your cot, where you fall asleep to the gentle chorus of Calissa's snores and the intermittent grumbling of several Zibzab hikers who are also sheltering for the night.
All too soon, Falvo wakes you up. "Let's go. Let's go!" he whispers excitedly. You meet up with Calissa stretching just outside, under a black starry sky. "A bit slow there, aren't you?" she chides you with a cheerful smile. "Don't want to miss it!" They hurry you through breakfast, and you're quickly back on the trail, hiking along through the darkness with only a red lamp to show the path.
As you hike up onto the lower slopes, the trees disappear entirely, and soon even the scrubby brush gives way to a large variety of rocks. Sometimes, the trail becomes nearly vertical, but you think back to your training and the old episodes of Ultimate Trailclimber that you used to watch back on Earth, and you push through. Some sort of insects or birds begin to call nearby, and the sound mingles with the crunch of your boots on loose stones.
Calissa calls a break. A variety of stones glimmer around you, and you take notes in your tablet while you catch your breath. Some are more colorful than others. Is the sky getting lighter? "Not much farther, but we need to get going," Calissa explains. "And walking will keep the chill off."
It's getting easier and easier to see your way as you scramble over large boulders, reaching for handholds that someone else has left behind, and the birds are in full chorus the moment the sky shifts from navy to ultramarine. Finally, the trail flattens out and you rush forward eagerly, but Falvo grabs you before you can keep going. "It doesn't look it, because of the shadows, but that's a cliff," he warns. "Stay up here, ok? It's almost time!" Calissa stands to your other side, and you all stare at velvety darkness as the sky gets bluer and brighter.
And then suddenly, light! Everywhere! The strange sunlight spills over the peaks of Tyrant Mountain, picking up hundreds of different colors from the rocks and trees and scattering them across the entire valley. There's the base camp in the east! And in the west, a red flag snaps over Argochus' cabin. The forest trees sway gently below, and, maybe you imagine it, but that smoke might be curling up from the cozy fire at the Eglabites' village. For a moment, you simply stand there and take it all in.
And then Calissa growls low in her throat before breaking into a full, jubilant roar! It echoes across the valley while Falvo uses his new mirrored attire to bounce the light everywhere as he dances, stomping out a sharp beat.
(30%): Shout at the forests.
(27%): Yodel to the mountaintops.
(43%): Sing to the valleys.
You begin with a light verse, a song you learned back on Earth. Falvo hums along. Calissa makes musical growls. The sound passes down the valley and mingles with the wind. In a few minutes, you hear a returning tune drift up, a chorus of "La-la-la."
"I think that's the Eglabites," says Falvo. He sings back in a rich tenor. Soon, you have a full chorus going, the music echoing and reverberating down the valley and back up the mountain. The echoes hold for a moment and then dissipate. Birds pick up chirping where you left off. It is a bright and cheery morning.
"What a time we've had," says Calissa. "Think about what you'll be able to send back to your ship!"
You could not have asked for a more exciting or adventurous start to your survey. You have hiked up and down the Wendon Mountain Trails, explored the lush growth of the Terrafern Valley, made new trail friends, started amiable relations with the local sentients, and recorded hundreds of entries in your data tablet. You didn't even get eaten by any munchers! The crew on the Odyssey will be pleased.
Later, as you are preparing your report in the caretaker's cabin, Argochus looks up from his teacup and says, "I'm glad you're enjoying your time at the camp. You're the first Human on Terragast, and you've managed to 'hang a handhold' for yourself, as we say here. I'd be happy to help you transport your reports. Don't worry, I'll give it to the next ship on its way to Avallonis."
Mission Summary to Odyssey:
Passport: Climbing Permit Eglabite Crafts
Thanks for Reading!
Act 3 will be begin this Spring.