|Jessica's Journal [Game 4] 1 | 2 |
Day 35, Entry 36
Layla was very kind to follow me back to my tree house last night... Though it was more of her dragging me along! She seemed a very knowledgeable sort of Norn, but my eyes glazed over when she started talking about something called Homestuck. I tried to endure the conversation politely, yet it all seemed to end when I nearly toppled over from sleepiness! I blamed it on the lingering illness. There was a nice cozy fire for Layla to enjoy while I fell fast asleep.
Today, I awoke with renewed energy! I wove together a fishing net, which looked like it wouldn't hold much of anything, and fashioned a rudimentary fishing pole. I invited Layla along to fish in the nearby river. I had spotted a few shimmering scales beneath the water's surface a few times. This was a day for a fishing expedition!
Unfortunately, I just couldn't get the hang of it! My tools were rather poorly made, and would have made any seaworthy fisherman laugh. I gave up after some time, reverting back to my usual diet of safe berries and nuts. I wondered if Layla would have better luck with our water-dwelling companions. A fish would have been a very nice addition to my rather bland diet.
Before the sun could even touch the horizon, my eyelids felt heavier than everything in the world. That poison still cursed me, though I was nearly back to normal. Layla graciously boosted me up to my house, where I promptly fell asleep, in the most unglamorous, sprawled position imaginable. Recovery is never pretty!
Day 36, Entry 37
I contemplated why Layla and I had not teamed up before. There was someone to talk to, other than my collection of rocks! Better yet, I had some of the most fun on the island. Well, apart from that brush with the poisonous berries. I figured I would try to omit that from my storytelling back home...
The day started off with Layla crafting a much more useful fishing net for me. I was ecstatic to enjoy my first fish! We brought back enough for several meals, and the warm glow of the fire made them deliciously edible.
The day was still young, and we decided to make a journey out to sea. I was a little nervous about leaving the safety of shore again, but my fears were put to rest when Layla presented a newly crafted raft. She certainly deserved some type of award! I tried to hide some of my woven vines... Slightly embarrassing to see those next to her creations!
I packed some sticks, berries, and some other trinkets. I even smuggled some of my best rocks aboard. Maybe they would make an interesting conversation topic! With the raft in tow and our fishing gear in hand, Layla and I made our way to the water's edge. All was calm, and we set out to make our best catch yet!
Day 36, Entry 38
What a day at sea! Though Layla and I had no luck with our main goal of catching fish, we took turns enjoying the sea water. It was wonderful to swim so far from shore without a care in the world! Layla made sure I didn't drift too far off course as I swam and plunged beneath the surface. As I suspected, my swimming skills were incomparable to those of a true fisher. Perhaps Layla was a creature of the sea in a past life...
Towards nightfall, I suggested we row ashore to avoid getting stuck at sea in the dark. Aside from the fun of swimming, we hadn't uncovered anything very exciting. This part of the sea appeared to be devoid of life, though Layla and I agreed that there had to be oceanic fish living somewhere off the coast.
We planned to enjoy another day at sea beginning bright and early... Weather permitting. My eyes darted up to the spew of fluffy white clouds on the horizon, and I willed them to disappear for the coming day. The raft had held up well, thanks to Layla's craftsmanship. My rocks had only weighed us down, and I had sheepishly dropped them over the side when Layla was swimming.
The excitement about the next day was virtually unbearable: Sleep stayed at bay for a long while, and I whispered into the darkness to see if Layla was just as restless. A day of swimming and exotic sea life... What Norn wouldn't want to enjoy such an interesting prospect?!
Day 37, Entry 39
Despite the excitement of the previous night, I ended up with cold feet this morning. The cloudy sky looked rather menacing, and I shuddered at the thought of getting stuck on our raft in a churning sea and storm! I wistfully watched the waves crash on the sandy beach for the morning, though. The air was hot and sticky, but the absence of the sun made the heat somewhat bearable.
I gave Layla a break from my odd banter about rocks and their important qualities. I was fascinated with the random patterns and swirls on each one, but I was convinced that my companion was rather bored with my blabbering. I set off to add to my collection, since it was somewhat depleted. Part of me wanted to venture forth into the ocean to try to retrieve some of the ones I had shucked over the side of the raft the previous day. Once something is lost, though, it stays lost.
I lugged a few bigger rocks back to the base of the grove of trees, which was beginning to resemble a natural garbage dump. I guess my constant studies had developed into a sort of hoarding habit. I scratched my head: Was there some Ettin ancestry in me? This definitely looked like the home of a resourceful Ettin!
Before dark, I invited Layla up to the tree house to watch the floating lizards. I hadn't paid much attention to them lately, but they were out in a giant horde this evening! The evening light dimmed, yet there was an almost constant blue shimmer to keep the darkest shadows at bay. We had the honor of welcoming a few of the wayward travelers into our watch post. They were quite resilient with their bruised heads! Luckily, no one was knocked out. What strange critters...
I fell asleep with the hope that the postponed rafting adventure would begin the following morning. As with the night before, excitement kept me from falling asleep. If ever there was a Norn who needed a sleeping aid, it was me! Once the floating lizards crept away and let the darkness bath in its black shadows, I finally drifted off into the land of dreams.
Day 38, Entry 40
Though the air whipped through the island and nearly knocked me down, I couldn't wait any longer to go rafting! Previous experiences should have forced me to be more cautious, but the curious nature of a Norn can never be held back for long. Layla seemed a trifle more concerned about the weather, which was the smart thing to feel. I simply imagined it would give us a better chance at exploration. How far could the wind really take us, after all?
One bright idea I had was to create a couple of anchors out of vines and rocks. They weren't the most glamorous objects, but they fit onto the raft perfectly. I figured it might be a good idea to keep our floating platform stationary if we both wanted to enjoy a swim!
As we paddled out into an unexplored area, I noticed a few colorful fish curiously studying our arrival. Normally, I would have seen them as friends, but my mouth watered at the sight of them. This could be a very fruitful excursion! The sea air tickled my nose, and even the spiteful wind couldn't dampen my mood. It wasn't easy to stay dry, though. The waves crashed into the raft and sent the salty water everywhere.
Presently, we grew tired of maneuvering and decided on a spot to cast our nets and poles. Before Layla and I could even get in a few sentences, the lines grew taught and we had ourselves a wriggling mass of freshly caught fish! To be fair, we threw back some of the more colorful ones, along with the youngsters. As I was contemplating a dip in the ocean, a sudden gust of wind made the decision for me! I was thrown headfirst, into the ocean. Layla stifled a giggle, yet I was already laughing around a mouthful of water.
It was a nice change to swim underwater, though it was difficult to see much of anything. The salt water stung my wide open eyes, though I fought against it as much as I could. The raft stayed in sight as I circled it and swam underneath it. The schools of fish which were so plentiful had long disappeared, frightened of my terrible swimming style.
Then, I slowed my movements to a crawl. Layla was still laughing in the background, but I froze in place. Not too far off, I spotted a large black fin sticking up out of the water like an ominous statue. I used the next wave to gently drift below the surface, where I spotted what I feared most: A large shark was dead ahead, staring in my direction with a pair of frighteningly lifeless eyes. And there I was, a land dwelling Norn with only a raft as an escape. I peered around... That raft was much too far away. I gulped down a ball of fear, just as the shark flicked its tail and began to move.
Day 39, Entry 41
I reached safety just moments ago. The past day was one of sheer terror and tumultuous weather. I sat at the base of my tree house in an utter daze that seemed to last forever. I was determined to share the remainder of my tale, though! The last I wrote about involved that fateful encounter with the shark...
As soon as I spotted the shark's movement, I twisted in the water and made a mad dash for the raft. My legs ached under the immense strain, and the splashing water nearly blinded me. My hand smashed into the side of the raft, and Layla hoisted me out of the water. I was panting, and my hand felt like it had been shattered into a thousand pieces.
Before I could catch my breath, we saw the black fin emerge from the water's surface. With the choppy water and disorienting wind, it wasn't clear if the shark was even moving. We soon found out, though, when the raft jolted beneath us. I was thrown into the water momentarily, and felt like a dying fish. I tensed up, waiting for the moment when the shark would make a meal of me.
The last thing I expected was a clap of thunder that made my teeth chatter like a horrible musical instrument! I risked a look in the direction of the shark, and saw the most ominous clouds brewing on the horizon. They were as black as the shark's fin, and tendrils of lightning lashed out from the center.
I scrambled aboard the raft, supported by my one hand that had any feeling left in it. The sinister thunder bellowed out again, and the rain began to fall. It was rather slow, as if it wasn't sure what to do yet. Layla and I rushed to get the raft pointed towards shore, but the wind threw the vessel around like a toy. Our eyes met for a moment, and no words were needed to convey our emotions.
The waves began to swell and fall around us in a dangerous rhythm. Though Layla's raft was expertly crafted, there was no way that it could withstand this beating much longer. At that point, I didn't know where the water ended and the sky began: The storm had raced towards the island, so that everything was a murky, grayish blue nightmare.
The rain intensified, and it was at that point that the raft could hold on no more. Layla and I plunged into the tumultuous sea. All I heard was the roar of the thunder and the crashing waves. It took all my strength to keep my head above the water. I frantically looked around for the island: There was no telling where it was through the sheets of pelting rain above the dancing ocean. This all seemed eerily familiar to the time when I had gone swimming. Only then I actually saw the island. Now... Nothing.
I called out for Layla between the waves, but nothing could be heard above the storm. Lightning lit up the ocean and made the whole world disorienting. Soon, I had little notion of what was left or right, let alone up or down. I stopped trying to swim away from the waves, and attempted to try to ride them. It seemed like a good idea when I began to catch my breath. I felt like I was going in a single direction, and hope that the island could be near buoyed my spirits.
Then, a huge wave lifted me high into the air... Much too high for a safe landing. I tumbled through the air and into surprisingly shallow water. The last I remembered was a final look at that awful sky and ocean. And then, as was becoming customary, the world faded into blackness.
Was I dead? My eyes were open, but the world was still dark as anything. I slowly became aware that my mouth was filled with the gritty taste of sand, and that my body was still soaked in sea water. I took a breath, and spluttered as that same rank sea water poured out of my lungs. As consciousness began to awake me, the pain hit me. My hand felt even more shattered, and that shoulder felt like something had tried to tear my arm off. My head was a giant pounding bruise. Despite the excruciating pain, I was alive!
I could gather that I was on the beach, and it was either just after sunset or just before dawn. My heart leaped into my throat: Layla! I stood up as quickly as my body would allow, and scanned the beach for any sign of life. The odd grayish blackness was eerie, and a chill ran through me. Layla was nowhere to be found, but this was a big island: Perhaps she had washed ashore a little further down.
It turned out to be just before dawn, and I spent the entire day making my way back to camp. I hadn't landed too far off course, yet I felt broken in every way. One step took all my energy. At one point, I heard the call of a bear not far off. I stayed frozen in place for at least an hour, fearful that I would look all too appetizing in my current state.
And so it was that I finally made it back to share my tale. I would have to sleep on the ground: One hand certainly wasn't enough to carry my weakened body into the trees! I managed to put together a smoky fire that offered some warmth, but would also ward off most of the night creatures. Part of me also hoped that the smell would guide Layla back... The morning would start my search for her, no matter my condition. She had saved me once before: I was convinced I would do the same for her. I just needed sleep to function... And it came with surprising speed, for once.
Day 40, Entry 42
Though the leftover storms from the summer monsoon pelted the island unrelentingly, I was determined to find Layla. I winced and groaned with every tiny movement: This was far worse than the poisonous berries! My hand was in need of some healing, and I had a feeling that my time on the island was soon to come to a close. I spent a moment dreaming of home... My cozy nest, my silly collections of odds and ends, and my friends. I snapped back to reality with that thought. My focus had to be on a search and rescue mission.
Bandaged in scraps of leaves, I looked like some sort of formidable jungle monster. Had anything actually taken the time to notice, though, and it would have discovered a very bruised and tired Norn beneath the disguise. I managed to throw a basket of berries across my back. Though the rain covered them completely, I hoped they would make a good rescue meal. If all else failed, at least I had a little snack to keep me from crumpling to the ground.
The beach was a mess after the storm. Seaweed and unlucky sea critters littered the once clear sands. I called out above the rain, but there was no reply. I was in despair: This storm would have washed away any footprints. There was no way of telling if Layla had made it to safety. I drudged on, despite the ache in my legs. Just a little further, I kept thinking. She had to be here somewhere!
My snail's pace was hindered even more by the basket of berries. It shifted onto some of my more painful bruises, and opened a cut on my shoulder over and over. I abandoned the berries in a strategic position on the beach: If Layla was out there, the berries would be easy for her to find. Still, I refused to give up!
I made my way back to her original camp site, where she had smacked me over the head. I smiled at the memory, though my head still sported a purplish bump from the event. To my dismay, there wasn't a sign of life at the camp. Even though it had only been a few days, the jungle had begun to reclaim the spot. I cleared away the new plants, and arranged a few rocks to spell my name. I hoped this would be another message Layla might find.
I held onto the hope that we both were circling the island looking for one another. We had to meet up! The other alternative stayed in my mind like an evil curse, though I fought it off every chance I got. The rain pattered on ceaselessly. In a moment of pain and frustration, I yelled at the clouds to stop it. They had done enough with their arrogant storms and monsoons!
The evening turned dreary all too quickly, and I was forced to turn back towards my tree house. I built up a large fire, which the rain tried to extinguish. I succeeded, though, and enjoyed the dry warmth that came with it. Still, I was far from comfortable. Where was Layla? I set up a basic bed near the fire. I would stay up all night if I had to, keeping the fire alive and calling out occasionally. But of course, before the moon was able to peer through the clouds, I had dozed off. The fire crackled and fell to a pit of burning embers in the last of the rain, yet even in sleep I held fast to the idea that I was not alone on the island.
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