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[News][Fiction] The Dig

Discussion in 'UO Lake Superior' started by Lake Superior News, Aug 7, 2010.

  1. Lake Superior News

    RSS Feed Stratics Veteran

    Jan 22, 2010
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    Serpent Isle

    The Dig

    by Myrkrid Ashen



    The sun beat down heavily on the sparsely vegetated Island. This wasn't news to the workers, however, who had grown used to its merciless glare by now. They toiled relentlessly, day in and day out, under the persistent supervision of their foreman, Klaus. A man renowned for his creativity when it came to insubordination.

    ''That's it!'' Klaus bellowed, ''Dig! Dig like the dogs that you are. Dig deep into this hardened earth! Lest you incur the wrath of my Master!'' A shudder coursed through the ranks of the diggers, at the last remark. Peter, a young man, and one of a handful of miners who had recently been contracted, noted the sudden, furious increase in the efforts of those around him. Thinking it strange, he made the fatal mistake of speaking, ''I don't see what all the fuss is abou-'' was as far as he got, before the inevitable response came thundering back at him, ''Who DARES speak?! You there, yes you!'' Klaus very-nearly screamed, as he pointed a massive finger at the boy. Vibrating with untold rage, he marched toward the source of the disobedience. Within three broad strides he had reached his prey, causing those in Peter's immediate area to scurry away from him, doing their utmost not to make eye-contact with their foreman. Klaus leaned forward, glaring at the young man. Peter, who had gone a pale shade of grey at this point, took in the visage before him. To call Klaus merely 'horrifyingly ugly' may satisfy most people's memories of him, but Peter was unlike most people. Beyond the black eyes, the wide-open foaming maw, the lip curled up revealing a row of fang-like teeth, the receeding hairline, and the two imperceptible bumps forming just beneath the surface on either side of Klaus' massive forehead, Peter saw something far, far worse. ''Have something to SAY do you?!'' Klaus bellowed, his dark eyes narrowing, and his face inching its way ever closer to Peter's. ''N-n-n..'' Peter mumbled. He could do little other than stare. Stare deep into those black eyes, which seemed to eat their way into his very soul. Klaus was close now, so close that Peter was able to pick up the low, rumbling growl. He felt he must be imagining it at first, but now he knew it was real. It seemed to be coming from far away, from a cave at the dawn of mankind. Klaus, so close that the heat of his fury caused beads of sweat to form upon Peter's brow, threw his head back and emitted a low-pitched halting laugh, filled with poisonous hate. Some of the workers who, at this point, had spent months on the Island, and had grown accustomed to all-things-Klaus joined him nervously, in their weak attempts at disarming the situation, before abruptly ceasing after a hateful glare cast their way, courtesy of their beloved foreman. ''You're one of the new ones, aren't you?'' Klaus hissed, turning his attention back to Peter, the ever present growl continuing on its way into Peter's subconscious. Stripping away his sanity, little by little.


    ''Enough!'' Came the reply. Its origin seeming to come from all directions, as it echoed this way and that, up and down the ranks of the diggers, and finally burying itself deep into Klaus' mind, sending the massive foreman backwards against the edge of the pit, and planting him there. Klaus, now a quivering mass on the ground, his paw-like hands clutching his head, with a look of pain and terror quickly spreading across his face, looked up into the pale eyes of his Master, and - quavering as he spoke - pleaded with him in an ancient language, one which sounded more like a series of gurgling low-pitched screams, punctuated by long drawn-out growls, than words. The figure, now bent over the whimpering foreman, spoke with a voice made of shattered souls, in a language not understood or even heard of. At this, the foreman ceased his trembling and merely evaporated in a cloud of black ash, leaving nothing but a faint smell of sulphur behind. Peter, now released from Klaus' awful gaze, collapsed into a sad little heap. The figure turned to face the awe-struck audience of diggers, gave them a short meaningful glare, and walked back over to where Peter lay. He knelt down and uttered a short cantrip, sending a burst of life back into the young man, who quickly opened his eyes and began coughing violently. After a moment of this, he peered up into the pale eyes of the figure, and in a small dust-filled voice croaked, ''Who are you?''


    Present Day


    The gargoyle eased back into his chair, seeming pleased with himself. He waited until the murmuring had died down abit before adding, ''As such, I think this plan will serve not only to raise the standard of living, but perhaps to also provide an example which others may follow. Indeed, a milestone in Brtiannian ingenuity!'' The thoughtful silence gave way to thunderous applause. ''A most pleasing idea, m'lord. A pity that we had not the benefit of your thinking sooner,'' the voice belonged to one of the gargoyle's many architects, ''Yes, yes. Quite so,'' said the gargoyle, drifting into a solemn reverie as the murmuring picked up once more. After a moment or two of this, he waved a clawed hand by way of dismissal and the crowd shuffled out of the room, returning to the task at hand. He stretched his wings, and launched himself above the Castle courtyard, picking up speed on a thermal, and gliding gracefully into the afternoon air.

    ''My lord! My lord, we've struck something. My-'' The face peered up at the sky, observing the dot, growing ever smaller as it swung further and further into the stratosphere, ''Giles, send up the flare. I don't think he hears you,'' said Magnus, the overseer and de-facto Sheriff of Serpent Isle. The gargoyle, feeling invigorated by the exercise, turned around and, bringing his wings closer to his body, began his dive toward the ground. He spotted the flare approaching his location, and grinned broadly. From below, the men looked on as the flare rocketed its way up into the sky, just as the dot began to grow larger. A moment later the flare and the dot converged, erupting suddenly into a massive shockwave of ice, which spilled out across the sky in a rainbow coloured arc, before turning into a shower that littered the ground with feathers. ''Nice one, Giles. You're cleaning up the mess this time,'' said Magnus, ''But, YOU said that-'' ''Ah?'' Magnus interrupted with an eyebrow raised, and a glint of menace in his eye, ''Nothing. Where'd I put my rake..'' Giles mumbled, walking away with a miserable look on his face, ''There's a good chap!'' Magnus bellowed after him, before turning his attention back to the sky, which appeared to be empty. He jumped at the sudden touch on his shoulder, and a voice from a mouth a good distance above it spoke, ''Right then, let's hear it. Another boulder that'll delay this section of the sewer from being dug for another two weeks, I assume?'' Magnus, turning around quickly, and regaining his composure cleared his voice and said, ''No, sir. This time it isn't a boulder. This time it's.. Well. Odd, sir. The mages can't make sense of it, as it seems to be blocking their attempts at scrying, sir.'' The gargoyle seemed to ponder at this, and wandered through the mass of gathered architects, mages, and workers, all stood staring at the same spot on the scrying crystal, ''Would someone mind telling me what that is supposed to be?'' He said, pointing at the spot on the crystal. It was tinged with a radiant glow, and seemed to be of an almost ethereal nature. The gathered mages looked at one another and shook their heads, their mouths agape, ''M'lord.. It is.. Not on our records. Nothing like it has been seen in these Lands. Not for.. Years. Centuries, perhaps,'' said the senior mage in the group. ''There's more sire, it appears the spot itself is impenetrable, any attempts at digging on the spot have failed. Even the use of magic has proved entirely futile.'' The gargoyle rubbed his chin at this, and walked quickly back to his Castle to meditate on the matter. The mages, meanwhile, continued in their open-mouthed staring. Seeming almost hypnotized by the anomaly.

    Normally I wouldn't go out of my way to post fiction, but it seems the digging has indeed begun on the island... I encourage the curious to visit and wonder at what's going on.