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Realistic or Modern Nowhere.

Sub Genres
Adventure, Dystopian

Wooden Bowl

breaking the laws of physics medieval style
The ride continued underground for some time before light could be seen. The long wait had ended, and now the windows could be used for more than surveying the rock surrounding you. For four miles, the landscape passing by in the windows consisted of a dreary dead landscape stretching out for miles, all melting into a beige-gray color. Trees and plant-life were scarce, growing in haphazard patches, all looking drained and lifeless. The scenery reminds one of a desert, without the rolling dunes and more a disappointing dirt-sand. In the distance, some familiar shapes could be made out. An ancient city skyline, tattered and falling apart with shattered towers stretching up into the low hanging clouds. A vast green grove, much more dense with plant life and seemingly alive with movement. The leaves of the odd looking oaks fluttered in the wind, giving the forest a mesmerizing cloak.

But all of it moved on in the wake of the locomotive, heading straight towards it's destination. Another mile with not much to glance at, you find yourself nodding off... and then the rumbling wakes you with a start. The sun has moved through the sky, towards it's setting spot on the horizon, likely giving you some time before dark. Stepping off the train and onto the platform of the station, it seems most of the people who were riding with you have already gotten off at a different station. A strange thought, since this is the only stop you can remember. If it had stopped before this one, wouldn't you have awoken to the telltale rumbling and screeching of the wheels being slowed? Wouldn't someone have woken you up just in case it was your stop?

It was a question for later, now the only direction you had was forwards. A rusted sign, creaking as it swung eerily in the wind, read "Shade Station." The end of the line, according to the borderline rags that used to be the map of the railway and surrounding area. Long, deep gashes covered the entire board like it had been attacked by some giant beast. The only useful information to be discerned was the "You are here" arrow, pointing to Shade Station in the middle of a vast expanse of nothing. The grand title card describing the area was almost indecipherable, due to the damage, but the letters left spelled out B-DLAN-S. The closest remarkable icon on the map was a small settlement two miles to the north, but the name had been completely removed. As a matter of fact, the village looked like a recent addition to the map, it's style was much more crude and drawn on with some black chalk-like substance. Perhaps charcoal or some other dusty, staining mineral?

Suddenly, a distant noise could be heard echoing through the open air. It sounded like a sonorous howl, powerful and long, cutting through the dead air with a menacing tone. Whatever made that noise must have a lot of lung power, if nothing else. One could argue that it was a wolf or pack of wolves, a seemingly obvious conclusion, but one would be wise to remember that this is an unfamiliar land. Assumptions would do nothing but prepare you for something you might never encounter. Again, the howl sounded off, still unclear as to whether it was a single being or multiple.

Pressed for a decision, you lay out your options in front of you and perhaps share these with your fellows. After all, there were still some stragglers left with you on this odd journey. It makes you feel nothing but relief that you wouldn't have to find your way alone.

1 - The tracks lead back to some of the scenery you saw on the way here, though it will be quite a trek just to the spot you saw it in the distance.

2 - A long flatland seems to go on for a couple miles. Aligning yourself with the map, you can tell that this direction is north.

3 - A sparse forest filled out with grey, seemingly decaying trees form a border against the flatlands. Maybe something could be found, or it could be a waste of time.


Legend of Melting
What a miserable start to the day.

Ed preferred to wake in the morning hours, bright and early. But this entire situation had forced his sleeping schedule into disarray, and he felt lackluster. Sleepy, but due to more sleep than required rather than less. He felt subpar, like he would do nothing but weigh down the group... the group? Oh no, people. A whole gaggle of them. Seems he wasn't on his own, a fact he hadn't considered. Edward had planned for the last stop being deserted, left vacant for him to disappear into without a trace. But here were people akin to him, standing on the exact same last stop as him. Everything about this day had fallen far from his expectations.

He groggily rubbed his eyes, not really paying attention to what they were up to at the moment. For now, he simply wanted to know what back-alley, middle-of-nowhere train stop he had landed at. A cursory glance around the poor, shabby excuse of a station was a rusted sign. Shade Station? What kind of name was that?

Then he caught a glimpse of the map, sending a couple chills flowing down his spine like an ice cold shower.

Claw marks, big ones by the looks of it. Whatever passed through here either loved on-the-nose foreshadowing or simply didn't want people to know where they were going. It didn't matter, either way it would turn out unfriendly if encounter, given the lack of care in the gashes. It was hard to think some animal did this, it must have been huge to have such large claws or talons. What could have possibly made these? Moving on, he read the map carefully and extracted what little information it offered to him. An encampment, or village, marked with some crude black drawing on the map. Could it be... civilization? Living in these Badlands? He could only assume it said badlands originally, the letters were half removed.

Howling. It sounded very odd, though it was noticeably distant. Probably a patrolling herd of whatever pack beast called this place their territory. Ed, for one, didn't want to get in a territorial scuffle. He'd seen what the wolves could do to deer, and other packs. He'd been exposed to the wild side of nature near the start of his life.

For the first time in hours, Ed piped up to rouse the others.
"I'm not sure what you guys are here for, but I know one thing: I want to go to that town. Whether it's another ruin like home, or an actual community, there could be something of value there. I want to check it out. If you're coming, that's fine. If not, best of luck to you." He muttered the couple sentences with a raspy and cold tone, having been silent for several hours now. Without another word, he started walking northbound on a slight angle. He would hit the forest for some basic supplies, maybe crafting himself a makeshift tool to defend himself with. After all, he would have to defend himself eventually, if the howling was anything to go by.

Ed walked up to a small, mostly dead bush, long having lost it's green. Left behind were simple sticks, slightly brittle but usable. He didn't even have to use his knife, a little elbow grease and soon he had mostly disassembled the brush into portable sticks. It was likely they would end up as firewood, since they were mostly dry. The few thicker pieces were bunched and tooled, carved into basic shapes with a quick flick of his honed knife. Soon he had a very basic spear, little more than a stick with a point at the end, but it would function. The effort took about twenty minutes total, and he carried the spare wood under his left arm since he lacked a backpack or other storage.

Setting the loose sticks down, he found exactly what he had been searching for. A reed or two was all he needed, the dense fibers woven into a thin, but durable twine. With this he could bundle his sticks into one solid mass, making them much easier to transport. Again, another twenty minutes spent tying reeds together and tying the resulting twine around the sticks. Fashioning it to his body, he simply towed it on his shoulders, letting the bundle hang off of his back. It would be enough to get a small fire going, long enough to get some actual long-burning firewood. The ecosystem here was perfect for such firewood, but that was a double edged sword. A fire would be easy to start with the dry materials, but those same fire-starters surrounded him. It would be all too easy to start a fire, more like.


How right they were.
Honora DeVries (CS)

Everything was uncertain, as it had been from the moment they left the city. That was the only thing she could be sure of, with the rest of it only fit for guesswork: Where where they? Where should they go next? Who else was out there? Had the train stopped for good? What had made the sounds they heard? She didn't even know how far or for how long they'd travelled, having fallen victim to exhaustion at some point.

Honora secretly wished she'd been more observant during the journey, even though it had been impossible to stay awake the entire time, let alone focused enough to map the route they'd taken. Maybe this new settlement had been visible from the window at some point, maybe not. It was too late to go back and try harder, so all they could do was push on, and try to answer their questions as they learned more.

If nobody knew what came next anyway, then neither regret nor panic would be of any use. Caution, however... they would need caution, but strongly balanced with action.

Even as she thought this, one of her fellow passengers spoke up, making it clear that he was about to take some actions of his own.

"We—" Honora responded too suddenly, and her voice caught in an undignified squeak. She tried again, louder and with more authority, gesturing at the ruined sign for emphasis. "We should stay in a group. We don't know what's out there, but if you're alone you're more of a target. And," she added some extra decibels, trying to get everyone's attention, "the more people we have, the more skills we have and the more things we can take, once we've decided what to do. Not everyone is a survival expert, so we should all help each other when we can."

Something about them all being here, possibly the only living humans for however many miles, made her feel like this was how civilisation would start again, their one chance to rebuild and survive. With what they'd left behind, it was easy to believe that there was nobody left in the world at all. And if they all scattered to the winds, maybe they'd never find each other again, let alone a town which may not even exist.


I try
The sounds of howling was what brought Oliver to the harsh reality. During the entire train ride he either slept or fantasized a world with less despair. Now, with the lack of greenery, the haunting sign that read Shade Station, the howling in the distance, all added up to trouble in some way. His blueberry gaze glanced around at the others, he didn't have any interest in sticking with them, or following anyone's command. He walked over to the map to get a better view. The fact that the image of a town drawn on, unsettled him. He doubted anyone lived out here, beyond civilization's home. If humanity did spread a path out here, then why? Why, when everything anyone could ever need was back there. Sure, back home was gloomy and promised nothing but a dark cloud over your head but it was better than dying alone in lands that no one will ever visit. The only thing that ran through Oliver's head as he stared at the map was how to survive in these new unpromising lands.

Oliver brought his attention back to the present, he set down his machete underneath him and he stepped on it. No way was he going to give anyone the chance to steal it from him, they were lucky enough to be given the chance to take him down right now. Then he pulled out his journal that was tucked inside his pants beside his back, almost like a gun, expect for the fact that it was a journal. He flipped through the pages quickly, he did not want to swim in despair and sorrow at his old life at the meantime. He quickly sketched out a very rough drawing of the map that laid in front of him. The other passengers of the train that made the stop at Shade Station talked to one another and however his attention was on the recreation of the map. Only a few words that were spoken by the others were processed in his brain, given barely any context he decided not to reply to anyone. Finishing up the drawing, he put his journal and pencil back where they belonged, in the back of his pants. He quickly took his shirt and pulled it over his journal covering it completely, and lifted his foot up to grab his weapon.

Turning away from the map he looked at the others, one was already heading northbound at an angle, while another was still at the station with him. He blinked blankly at the woman, making it almost obvious that he wasn't really listening to anything anyone had to say. Oliver didn't want to go back to the barren wasteland they passed by when they were on the train, nor did he want to stick around the station or the forest nearby due to the creature that produced the unsettling howl. The only option that he was willing to take was to explore the town only two miles away from the station, and given the current situation of the sun making it's way to settle he wanted to get to shelter fast. Oliver walked past the woman, giving her no reactions or replies to whatever she just said. The only thing he caught from the two, were 'going to that town' and 'grouping up'. As he walked past her, he sort of felt a pit in his stomach. He wanted to be alone, but he felt bad for simply brushing past the woman as if she didn't exist. Stopping in his tracks he heaved a heavy sigh and lowered his head as he said in almost a hushed tone, "I'm heading north, you can join me...". Once he invited her to tag along he held back a wince. "Why did I do that? I don't need anyone else, I'm perfectly fine on my own, and it's not like my survival will matter in the long run" he thought whilst looking at his worn down boots. Quickly, Oliver broke the silence and the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness, and raised his head as he trudged onwards to the north.​

Wooden Bowl

breaking the laws of physics medieval style
As time passes you can hear the stiff breeze turning to a bitter howling wind, biting at you with nips of cold. Autumn, they would have called it, if the seasons were distinguishable out here. The thick layer of dust could easily be mistaken for snow, and the shifts in temperature seemed random. Sometimes it would be hot, unbearably so. Other times it could be freezing cold, or anywhere in between. It seemed like these lands had a hard time deciding on their climate conditions, and opted for a "jack of all trades, master of none" style.

The woods, though that designation is hardly accurate, were quiet and uninviting. The sound of trees creaking and groaning could be heard clearly, bending in surrender to the fury of the skies. It was almost impossible to make out anything that wasn't a few meters away from you. The howling, however, continued notably through the wind. They were much more spirited, at least compared to this pathetic windstorm.

Then, the cries in the distance become faint, just barely audible. Whatever it was, it had moved on, clearly intent on chasing something else down. The howls of beasts echoed until they were heard no more, and the skies fell silent save for the volatile currents of air. The wind had begun picking up drastically, enough to shake some smaller trees violently. But it was inconsistent, starting and stopping like a broken industrial fan. The rustling, the wind's loud roar, the eerie groaning of dense, broken trees, it all melded together into one cacophony of nature.

Though the telltale signs of life, that being animal noise like crickets and birds, seemed entirely absent. Maybe they had long moved on, to warmer and more welcoming lands. Perhaps they moved on in another way entirely. It brings a question to mind: What happened here? Why are these lands so very desolate and quiet? What terrible travesty cursed these lands with such a despairing landscape? This boring brown wasteland, why did it even exist? As if snapped out of deep thought, you feel a clarity wash over you. You have a destination, a purpose in life once more.

Time is not your ally, and the time spent gathering and preparing is taking it's toll. The sun draws near it's set, and once gone not only will light be scarce but fear will take over. The human mind is capable of conjuring up many a demon in the shadows just out of sight, some imaginary, some less so. Even the real beasts will simply lie in wait for their opportunity to strike, when it is darkest and you let your guard down.

One mile, to the north. Something on the horizon... lights? No, that can't be possible, electricity grids shouldn't run this far out. A closer look reveals a great big smokestack snaking up into the sky. A great bonfire lies in the midst of a ruined, seemingly abandoned old hamlet. There is still a considerable distance, but getting there should be easy enough, provided your group stuck around and didn't leave while they had the chance.

You just pray that the howling in the sky is the wind, and not the beasts.​


How right they were.
Honora DeVries (CS)

She'd been able to convince herself that the howling was the gale booming against a cliff, or some great, distant structure in that supposed village. Maybe another train, or some other machine. Anything apart from what was seeming distinctly more likely: strange, wild animals capable of surrounding them and hunting them all down.

Things always seemed more hopeless in the dark.

More so if you were alone, and loneliness was becoming a very real possibility, as people stood alone and suspicious of each other. If there was somebody capable of making everyone get over themselves and just work together, it clearly wasn't Honora, and she tried her best not to take it personally. People were scared and distrustful, that was all.

One of the young men murmured something, almost too softly to catch, as though he were ashamed to be heard acknowledging her. Then he was off, and it felt more than ever like she really would be left alone in the falling dark.

"Wait," she said, trampling her pride underfoot and stumbling after him. "Wait!"

A structure in the distance, far ahead of him. Maybe it was close enough to reach in time, but she had to admit that she didn't know. For all of her studies, her plans about salvage and preparation, she was already out of her depth.

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