Welcome to a new adventure week=)
Read on and at the end, post a comment with how you’d like the story to continue.
Quest for Pannadon’s World of Wonders
In the woods of Pannadon a collection of rock sits like a giant troll whiling away his time in thought. Those who are cautious avoid the place, afraid the formation is, in fact, an old troll caught by the first rays of sun.
But for those who are adventurous, the formation is the starting point to a map into Pannadon’s hidden World of Wonders.
You are, of course, one of the adventurous souls around and you’ve never had the chance to check out Pannadon’s secrets although you hear there are fairies who turn the sky into rainbows and frogs who can tell you amazing stories. Just to name a few things you’ve heard.
You carry a bag with the tools you believe will help you find this World of Wonders. A knife, a coil of rope, water, a bag of nuts and dried fruit and a loaf of sour dough bread along with a layer of warmer clothes. You’ve never met anyone who’s found the World of Wonders, so you’ve no real gauge on how long the trip will take, but no matter, you can always make do sleeping in the woods. It’s not like you haven’t done that before.
Before you sits the rock troll. If he were real, you’d offer him a cup of tea because it looks like his head aches with his face all scrunched up and his hand on his forehead. The longer you look at him, the more real he seems. He might truly be a troll frozen to stone by the sun.
In your hand you hold a map. It might be real, it might be a hoax. You bought it from a local vendor who claimed he’d found the map hidden in a trunk in his grandfather’s cabin. Part of the adventure’s the mere idea that you might be running on a wild search using a fictitious map. But it brought you to the starting point just fine, so it’s proving to be at least a pinch accurate.
The lower left hand corner is marked with a bulbous drawing of the troll. The poor guy’s imitation makes him look rather fat. From the troll’s heel runs three lines.
One appears to run deep into Pannadon, down into the bogs that soak the roots of the trees into a mash of slime. That way looks like you’re searching for an archway made of tree branches and vines covered in flowers the size of your splayed hand.
The second curves and meanders through more rocks known to you as the Whale’s Side. It’s a common area for climbing but no climbers go beyond the tip of the Whale’s Fin because the rocks become unstable farther on. The line on the map leads past the Fin and over the rocks until it marks the next destination point as another archway, this one made of rock instead of vines and it appears the rock is braided like a woman’s hair.
The last line heads west up into the mountains until the forest can’t reach and the ground becomes barren and the air thin. The line dots its way around the mountain, marked on the map as Shovant Mountain, until you reach the destination point on the north side, which appears to be a cave with sharp points lining the opening like pointy teeth.
Stepping around the troll to start from his heel, you study the map and the direction of each option.
A. Head into the bogs?
B. Head past the Whale’s Side?
C. Head toward Shovant mountain?
Quest for Pannadon’s World of Wonders A: Head into the Bogs
For whatever reason, the bogs sound like the easier way to go. Maybe the lower elevation and the thicker air appeals.
Shrugging the pack into a better position on your shoulders, you head off in the direction the map indicates. It’s not long before the forest floor slopes sharply downward and turns soggy under your feet. It squishes with a s-h-u-a-t, s-h-u-at, s-h-u-a-t sound that has kind of a ‘what,’ ‘what,’ what’ to your ears.
Your feet sink deeper with each step. Hauling yourself onto a log covered in slime, you tighten your boots so the mud doesn’t steal them from your feet. Then you continue on. ‘S-h-w-a-t,’ ‘s-h-w-a-t,’ ‘s-h-u-a-t.’
Studying the map, you turn left to meet up with a marshy river. The archway’s shown on the far side but you’re pretty sure it’ll be big enough to see before you have to cross. Perhaps there’s a bridge leading to the archway? You’re hopeful at least as the mud is now reaching the tops of your boots and you have to stow the map in your pocket to free your hands.
You grasp a low hanging vine to pull your left foot from the mud, then a tree trunk for your right foot, then a slippery rock and another vine. The trees open up to reveal a slow flowing river crusted with tendrils of bubbly green and floaties of all sorts. You grimace as the smell assaults your nose. A mixture of decaying plant and insects.
Then you see, farther down the river, an archway of vines and branches. In all the decay, the structure’s clean like a newly constructed wedding display. You lean in to pull your way through the mud but instead of the ‘s-h-w-a-t,’ you don’t move. While you were taking in the surroundings you sank up to your knees and now you’re cemented in place.
You glance around, twisting this way and that to find the source of the laugh.
“Stuck in the mud, stuck in the mud, stuck in the mud!” What started out as a single voice becomes many but as you continue to search, you still don’t see who’s mocking you.
Then you spot them. A dozen tiny frogs line the tree branch above your head.
“Thanks,” you mutter as you glower and then you look away to grasp a different branch. Pulling with all your might, you still don’t budge from the mud.
A different frog says each word in their high, hummingbird voices.
“Well then tell me what will work.”
Shrugging off your pack, you dig inside until your fingers find a small bag of dried fruit. You hold it out.
“Makes great bait for insects,” you say.
A dozen pairs of red eyes widen. “It’s fruit, fruit, fruit!” the frogs chorus, jumping up and down in a wave.
“Fruit in trade for a way out,” you offer.
“Deal!” They say. You wonder if they all share the same brain but keep the thought to yourself as they hop to a lower branch and hold out a long, sturdy stick.
You follow their instructions and rock your front foot back and forth until you hear a loud ‘s-h-w-a-t’ and your boot comes free with large globs of goo attached.
Placing your free foot on a moss covered branch, you follow the same method to free your back foot and then sit, exhausted, on the branch to catch your heaving breath.
When you look up, a dozen pairs of red eyes are watching your pocket where you placed the fruit.
“Any suggestions to reach the arch?” you point across the river.
You toss them the bag of fruit and they tear into it, each taking their own piece of dried sweet and disappearing into the foliage.
“Must share a brain,” you mutter.
“It’s possible,” a voice rumbles.
You look toward the river to find a large snout and bulbous eyes staring at you. Gator Way. Right.
“What’s the Gator Way?”
The gator’s teeth pull back in a semblance of a smile.
“Walk our backs but be quick, we take toes if you don’t move fast enough.” the gator’s bumpy back shows behind his large eyes and now you realize that half the ‘floaties’ you saw before are swimming gators.
“Are there other options?” you ask, suppressing a shudder of dismay at the display of teeth.
“Seen a few swing by rope,” if a gator could shrug, he would have. “Or there’s that log.”
His tail slaps the water, indicating a log fallen over the river upstream. It’s been there a while. Part of it’s split from where some force of nature pulled a chunk off and what remains is covered solidly in a mass of hairy, green moss.
So do you…
Aa: Take the Gator Way?
Ab: Swing on your rope?
Ac: Brave the log?
Quest for Pannadon’s World of Wonders Aa: Take the Gater Way
You’re an adventuresome soul and the frogs advice worked to free you from the mud. You give the gator a grin back and stand up as though considering the options he suggested.
“Just toes?” you ask.
“If we get more, it’s an added bonus,” his jaws open to display his teeth again and you get the clear impression he’s enjoying this.
“All right.” You take off, using his back as a springboard to reach the next gator farther out. There’s a SNAP with a whoosh of air near your leg but since there’s no pain you continue without looking back.
The second gator sinks under the impact of your landing. The water covers your boots, slowing the force of your second jump. You clip the side of the third gator and your feet slide off, landing you onto your knees against the creature’s hard back. Pain shoots into your knees. With a twist, the gator snaps at your feet but you roll and spring to the fourth gator.
This one’s small. Learning from your previous oops, you’re prepared for the sink into the water and jump before it has a chance to hinder you.
You land on a massive beast that’s already turning to bite before your feet set down. Jumping straight up, you suck your feet closer to your body and watch his jaws close where you were seconds before, then you land on his back again before jumping to the sixth and last gator.
There’s not much of a landing beneath the archway, so you don’t even try to land under it. Instead, you launch yourself in a dive straight through…and land in a meadow full of flowers the size of your splayed fingers and taller than you when you’re standing.
But you’re not standing at the moment. You lay on your back, catching your breath and feeling your knees throb. Above, the sky swirls with fluttering wings of yellow, blue, gold, red, and even green. At first you think they’re butterflies, but as they fly closer, you see tiny, humanoid bodies with as many varying details as the human race. Some are so fat they remind you of tomatoes with their red wings. Others are thin as sticks and their arms and legs appear brittle.
As you lay still, they land on your body until you’re covered in a mass of shifting color. One fairy stands on your nose and whispers with the breeze, “Welcome to the World of Wonders. Relax and stay awhile.”
Then, as though frightened, they all take flight and for a brief moment your world consists of whispering wings and kaleidoscope colors. The fairies fade to dots and disappear as you continue to lay on your back. The flowers above you could be sunflowers or daisies of large proportions but you’re not sure. They’ve dots running their stems like a lady bug. World of Wonders indeed.
You push to your feet and gaze over the flowers by stepping up onto a rock. You can see trees with purple leaves that glow and a river that, as you listen, seems to be singing a haunting nursery rhyme.
With a grin, you step down from the rock, ready to explore.
Congratulations, you succeeded in finding the World of Wonders=) I hope you enjoy your stay.