Caught Between Worlds
4th Entry James
Back in the real world, I find myself a little saddened leaving the world that I have mocked so mercilessly. The opportunities really were great there, and I will do whatever it takes to get back. While I am back in the real world, I will take advantage of the opportunity.
As the oddities add up, there was news about the librarian assistant disappearing the same night we did. I’m not sure if this means that we were setup or if he was pulled through but sent to a different place. This really does not have any impact on me so I’ll stop wasting effort on the subject.
After a long night in my bed, my first priority is to never sleep on the ground again. A quick search on Amazon and I’ve found the perfect solution, bug proof, rain proof, hammock. Task two, toilet paper, yes I left out this detail in my previous entries, you didn’t really want to hear about that did you? Task three, food and water for emergencies, wow there is a lot of stuff on the internet for this. Lord Entropy bless the internet, I don’t need to do any more research on items that I need. Turns out there are whole groups of people out there who plan for this kind of thing. If only they knew that it was already happening. I had never heard of the zombie apocalypse before but after an encounter with actual undead, this stuff applies more than anyone could imagine. Well my list is complete and my online orders are placed, and all from petty cash too.
With the highest priorities out of the way I am returning to the daily grind. School work, extracurricular activities, and business consume my time. I still have a few broad areas of business to cover so my current course load is important to me. Fortunately the boring stuff is being handled by my well coordinated homework squad. I decided to try and learn a little more about medieval nobility, unfortunately the best place to do that with a group called the SCA. Socialites they are not, but sticklers for dead traditions seem to be their forte. Parts of my social life will be destroyed if this ever gets out, but then again I might be able to spin it as a goof. The rest of my time is dedicated to managing my various businesses, housing rentals, minor financial investments, and simple merchant transactions. Thanks to my dad’s tutoring I do not have a direct dealing in any of these operations which means they continued while I was gone. This is a really solid ground work, and so easy to setup in a small town like this. No wonder the mob could roll into a small town and own it within a few months. And equally no wonder they never stayed as the money just isn’t that worth it past the personal scale. Ah the joys of money.
Xerses course is as boring as I thought it would be, nothing but theoretical research stuff. Worse there is no tie to current research or practice. Baseball goth seems pretty interested in the course, obviously I picked well when I first walked into this class. Unfortunately there seems to be more resistance to doing my work for me now. I don’t really understand it, is my money not green enough? Anyway, in the end I don’t think it will be that much of an issue, I just have to learn the concepts not the application. It seems like I’m spending enough time in library that it is possible to learn just about anything. I still think this library is a giant waste, but I have to say with this variety of books you can find anything you want. Want to learn a new topic but it is just too complicated when presented by the originator of the concept? (Yes the first edition or the original work is in there) Then just read the book on explaining that concept written to aid someone just like you. That explanation still too complicated? Just read the book written to explain the explanatory book to you. That explanation still too complicated? Just read… So yeah, they have a few books. And I’m starting to understand string theory and how it influences post modern creative enterprise accounting and financial strategies.
Finally the day I had been waiting for. Carrying my larger bag of supplies as I always do to Xerces course, as I always have since it arrived, thanks Amazon, it was difficult to sprint to the front of the classroom. However through sheer force of will I pushed forward to reach to book first and threw it open. Feeling a huge endorphin rush while going through a sickening blender like feeling in very odd, but I might start enjoying it if we go through this a few more times. This time coming through the other side I had my new bag with me as well as my old bag and my other clothes. Thank goodness I brought spare cloths in my big bag. Interestingly enough we popped up at the same place we left, the giant blood pod tree.
The first sign of random trouble was a rustling pile of leaves. Fortunately it started talking and we realized that is was Marik. That fact almost in sighted an attack from soldier boy. I think I’m starting to see some anger management issues there. Marik enthralled the group with a tale of how he had been waiting for us to come back. And how while he was waiting that he decided to create a beastman army for me. He tried very hard with the pack animal we brought with us before he realized that it was male. Apparently it didn’t mind very much, until Marik got hungry and ate it, I think, the details got a little fuzzy. I have to say I appreciate his enthusiasm for trying to help me, it is endearing in some very odd way. I need to see how far I can take this relationship, I’m sure there must be more things out there like him.
It was a quick and uneventful trip back to town, and it was the same town. That might be obvious but I feel that it is important to note. We are going from one world back to another and the second world is not changing, as in it is a static world that moves through time as our world does. Well almost, time isn’t elapsing at the same rate, think Chronicles of Narnia.
Back to the same old in for lousy beds, I think I’ll string up my hammock in my room… The bartender recognized us immediately and let us know that bunny girl left us a note. She found the crazy old woman in the woods and gave us directions to get to her. So we then had a choice between the woods, and looking at Craig’s Stone for more work. After some… discussion… everyone decided to either go find the crazy old woman or follow those who were going to find her.
Side notesDiscussions about my clan status and how I will be compensated for my time, I’ll let them learn what happens with no one up front. Unusually brutal negotiations, I’ve made no demands and they are trying to push me out of an equal percentage.
Off to meet with the crazy old woman in the woods, soldier boy and nature girl seem be really good at tracking, why? I mean in the world of satellite tracking, GPS accurate to less than a yard, why would anyone know how to track? I guess it could be useful here but man, they are good at it. I’ll just follow their hard work, I’m pretty good at that.
So we find the hut but there is an ominous and tense feeling in the air. The others decide to sneak in and ambush anyone still here. Apparently no one has seen 13th Warrior because this scene is right out of that movie. Small note for the future: Marik and stealth, not so much. Doesn’t bother me, I hate sneaking into a fight. Again he entertains me by pissing off the others.
Typical old hut out in the woods, sans crazy old lady. Obvious signs of a struggle with tracks leading off into the forest. In lands like these with bandits, marauders, thugs, and vile creatures everywhere why would you live in the middle of nowhere? And how would you live long enough to become a crazy old lady in the woods? We decide to track down the old lady. I wonder if they realize that we aren’t getting paid for any of this.
Again with the amazing tracking abilities, I would mock them more if it wasn’t so useful… in finding crazy old women… in the woods…and the group of people who took her… Someone needs to explain to me why I care about this crazy old woman, previously of the woods.
Interesting landscape, ancient ruins tucked against a mountain with a lake in the foreground. Good thing I had my iPhone for pictures, unfortunately the quality isn’t good enough for reproduction or sale. I’ll have to think about that for next time; maybe one of these people does photography on the other side.
Secret back door into the ruins, do I need to say more? We start lining to go into the cave/secret entrance and everyone is mildly surprised that I’m not up front. I’ll see how they like taking a few hits. This will give me time to council Marik on proper rear guard strategies.
We actually got the drop on the guys defending the entry to the ruins… let’s analyze this statement. Why would there be people guarding ruins? Why would there be people guarding the secret entrance? If you were guarding a secret entrance that someone is obviously wants to protect, how do you get surprised? Okay, I’ll give you that last one, good help is hard to find.
So soldier boy actually shows some restrain and doesn’t cut these guys in half. It seems a bit out of character but I won’t complain as they only had sticks for weapons, I wouldn’t have attacked them either. However, I still might have pushed for them into a fight if possible instead of negotiating. After all no one guards the secret entrance of ruins unless there is something worth guarding. More signs that I’m learning the rules here, that last sentence only makes sense in this world.
Fortunately the talking didn’t last too long and they attacked us. I’m glad we finally got to this point, but their little trap for dropping things down on the small entrance area is very distasteful. It really goes to show how weak these guys are, using traps and trickery to control the battle. Sun-Zi probably would have given them a pat on the back though, as we were the obviously superior force in strength and skill.
Stoner finally caught on to my purpose in the group. Maybe that will stick with them for a while; they really should be focusing on paying me based on services rendered. I think they feel that I’m going to swindle them somehow. In truth I fill a specific niche and there is value in that. They pay me to take the hits and I get to prove my superiority, I’d call that a win/win.
So I walk up to the front and put myself in front of 4 opponents. One not so human opponent and three guys with sticks. I would go into the details, but why bother, we reach the same conclusion as always: I take on everyone in front of me and now only I remain. The others did help with the killing; winning first place in handiness was Nature girl’s dog. Oddly it seems much handier than Marik, but he doesn’t bother anyone else, so I still favor my companion. *Note – Do not mess with Nature girl back in the real world, I do not want her dog to knock me over and urinate on me.
So here we are, in the ruins, more people here, obviously hostile, no crazy woman, at least no old crazy women, and certainly no woods. I think we’ve missed the original objective by a few degrees. Looks like there is more work to be done, my share needs to go up for extended outings.