This is the second chapter of The Great Antler series. All the decisions have already been made in this chapter but the choices are still present to let your imagination wonder what would’ve happened if the other choice had been made.
Chapter 2 Introduction
Chapter 2 Scene 1
You look at the bat creature with tears in your eyes and say “I’m not sure I can handle this, that creature, that absorber could of killed us, I didn’t want any of this, I just want to go back home.” The bat creature comes close to you putting a hand on each shoulder. “None of us chose this Discoverer. The Great Antler chose us and we must continue on. You have a great journey ahead of you Discoverer and believe it or not but you are more brave and powerful than you think. Not many would survive an encounter like you did. The Great Antler knows your destiny and you alone must journey to find him and discover it. We all have our part to play in this journey. I must fly onwards to play out my next role in this. With the Absorber long gone you should be safe to rest here in my camp below the cliff if you’d like. Or you may continue onward down the path.” And with that the bat creature swooped off into the sky traveling off into the horizon. Now you must decide what to do next.
A: Take a rest in the bat creatures old camp below the cliff? (Choice A was chosen)
B: Continue down the path on the next part of your journey?
You decide to take the bat creatures advice and take a rest in its old camp below the cliffside. The camp seems well protected and secure. It is covered in vines similar to what you climbed up on earlier. They must be enchanted by the bat creature or something because as you enter the camp the vines sweep in like a curtain behind you separating the camp from the outside world. A strange mystical fire instantly begins to glow in a campfire circle giving you warmth and comfort. “I’ll have to ask the bat creature how I can learn to do this trick,” you say out loud.
You sit down and make yourself comfortable holding your hands above the fire for warmth. Hours pass as you think of all that’s happened since you came here. You look between a crack in the vines and notice that the sky hasn’t changed color at all. Does this world even have a day or night cycle? Your thoughts are interrupted though as you suddenly see an eye looking back at you through the vines! There’s goldish yellow fur around the eye and it has the same green glow as yours.
A:) Greet the creature? (Choice A was chosen)
B:) Wait for the creature to do something first?
You look at the yellow furred creature and notice it has the same green eyes as you. It must be friendly because an Absorber would have attacked by now.
You make an inviting motion with your hand “Hi, would you like to come in?”
The yellow creature makes a hearty smile, pushing aside the vines and entering the camp.
The creature is a cat with yellow fur and orange highlights.
“Hi, my name is Jacquelyn but you can call me Jax for short. I saw the pink light from the shrine and thought, “ooooo someone has got a new charm and I just had to meet them.”
Jax gives a little bow with her dress. You notice all the bright neon leg warmers on her arms, legs and tail. It looks really pretty against the bright color of her fur.
“Like my dress?” Jax asked, giving a little twirl. “I put it together with help from Trish. Isn’t she the sweetest?”
You look at Jax confused. “Who’s Trish?”
Jax gives the same look back to you. “You know Trish, the bright pink bat who guards this shrine. She gave you those charms.” Pointing to the charms on your antler and ear. “I have a couple of my own that I got from her and another shrine,” showing off the two charms in her ears.
“I didn’t get a chance to learn Trish’s name,” you say. “We were interrupted by an Absorber.”
Jax looks at you with shocked eyes. “Was it the three headed rat monster?! It didn’t hurt you did it?”
You tell Jax what happened between you and the Absorber, mentioning the weird vision you got with your eyes closed and the green root crystal exploding. Then you told her what Trish told you about continuing on your journey to The Great Antler. Jax looks at you with intrigued and concerned eyes, taking a seat across from you in front of the fire.
“Listen, I know your journey is meant to be traveled alone but…you shouldn’t go alone, you should–.” Jax trails off at the end looking down at her tail with sad eyes.
Taking a look at her you realize near the edges of all the leg warmers on her body there is mangled fur and scratches. You feel like you’ve been suffering along this journey but Jax has clearly had a rougher battle than you. You know that Trish said to make the journey to The Great Antler Alone, but would it really be so bad to have a companion join you on this journey?
A:) Ask Jax to join you on your journey? (Choice A was chosen)
B:) Tell Jax you understand her concerns but need to make this journey alone?
“Would you like to come with me?” Jax stares at you in great surprise. “You really mean it?” You stare back at Jax with a smile on your face. “Of course I do. You seem to know your way around this place more than I do, and to be honest it would be nice to have someone else to talk to rather than myself.” Jax giggles at your honesty. “I know that feeling all too well. Very well I shall accompany you on your quest. We should eat and get some rest before we head out.” Jax goes outside and quickly comes back in with a handful of oval shaped objects. “I’m sure you’re quite hungry.” She hands you one of the ovals. You give a quick sniff and take a small bite. “Mmm, tastes like mango.” Jax laughs, “That’s what I thought when I first tried one, they are quite fulfilling and grow plentiful in these forests, I don’t know what they’re called so I just call them mangos.” You both laugh and eat the rest of your mango. As quickly as Jax finished eating she was up and about. “Welp shall we head out then?” You get up off the floor feeling nourished and well rested. “I suppose we should.”
“Great! Which way should we go?”
You stare wide eyed at Jax. “Which way? I thought you knew the way?”
Jax gives a laugh. “Sorry, I should have explained; I’ve never been to the Great Antler myself, but I figured if we teamed up we’d have a better chance of finding our way without getting killed by the Absorbers or elements this world throws at us.”
You give Jax a half frustrated but forgiving look. “Alright well, I am up for suggestions on what direction we go. Although I suggest we go opposite the direction of that giant absorber that came by earlier.”
“Ha, sounds good to me, partner. By the way, what is your name?”
“You’re the first to ask actually. Trish called me the Great Discoverer, whatever that means I suppose you can just call me…”
Jax interrupts you. “How about Discover? That name sounds really cool.”
You laugh “I suppose it does sound cool. Okay Discoverer it is.”
“Alright Discoverer I say we could just head down this path here, but I could also climb up this tall tree here and get an idea of where we can head.”
A:) Go down the path ahead?
B:) Let Jax climb the tree and get an idea of where to head? (Choice B was chosen)
“Jax, why don’t you climb the tree and give us an idea of what’s ahead.”
Jax gives you a smile and begins to climb the massive tree using her clawed hand and feet to pull her way up. “Tree climbing sure is easy when you have claws for it,” she laughed. “I always loved climbing trees in my old life. I sometimes wonder if that had a reason as to why I got transformed into a cat when I came here.”
You look up at Jax as she climbs higher and higher into the tree. “How long have you been here Jax?”
Jax looks down a moment with a pondering expression. “I really don’t know the exact amount of time but it’s been four years at the most, it was 1987 in my old life when I came here.”
You look at Jax in shock. “That’s impossible!” “It was 2020 when I got transported here, there’s no way you’ve only been here for four years!”
Jax looks back at you with the same shocked expression. “I’m telling you Discover, I’ve only been here for four years. Maybe time moves differently in this world.”
You look at Jax unsure of yourself. “I guess that’s possible, I mean I almost got eaten by a three headed rat earlier and a bat gave me magical powers. So who am I to say I can’t meet a cat dressed in hot pink and blue leggings.”
Jax laughed as she reached the top of the tree. “Yeah you could say things are pretty weird here I mean-” Jax suddenly pauses as she stares off in the distance.
You shout up to Jax, “Something wrong Jax, What do you see?”
“Um we may have a problem,” said Jax with a concerned expression on her face. “You see that darkened area of the forest where the vines form an archway?”
“Well don’t be alarmed but there’s a giant peach colored Old Growth sleeping right behind it.”
“WHAT?! And wait, Jax what the heck is an Old Growth.”
“It’s an old tree that grew so much that it came to life, like it can see and hear and basically stomp you if you disturb it.”
“Like an Ent from ‘The Lord of The Rings’?”
“Sorta except they are very cranky and just roar and chase you till they stomp you.”
“What should we do Jax, can we use our powers and sneak by it?”
“Relax Discover, we should be able to just walk by it as long as we’re quiet and don’t make any loud…uhhhh it’s eye is staring right at me.” “Um Discover, you might want to run…”
“Wait Jax, what if we stay perfectly still, maybe we can hide with our charms.”
“I don’t think that charm will work here Discover, RUN!”
A:) Try to hide using the charm?
B:) Run! (Choice B was chosen)
“How do you know the charms won’t work Jax, we have time to hide before it gets here. It’s just a tree right?”
A titanic roar and boom happens right before you as the forest along the path is turned to splinters as the Old Growth comes charging through. It’s roots slither along the ground like a great snake giving it tremendous speed for a giant tree.
“RUN DISCOVER!!” Jax screams as she begins hopping from tree top to tree top.
You take off in her direction your feet pounding through the muddy ground as the Old Growth chases after you.
Trying to speak between heavy breaths, “What…do…we…huff…do…Jax? We…can’t outrun this thing!”
The Old Growth gains behind you. You feel the splinters of tree branches hit you as it smashes all the trees in its path.
Jax just barely makes it out of a tree before it is smashed. “We could try turning left up here Discover. There’s a river down a steep slope we might be able to lose it there.”
“Steep…slope…huff huff I don’t know if I can make that Jax!”
“What if we make a sharp turn behind it instead. It won’t be able to stop and turn around as easily as us, right?”
“We could get crushed by one of the falling trees Discover! It’s too risky!”
A:) Turn left and run down the steep slope towards the river? (Choice A was chosen)
B:) Make a sharp turn behind the Old Growth giving you time to get away before it turns around?
“Stay with me Discover we can make it down this slope and lose the Old Growth,” Jax yelled as she jumped down from the trees and down the muddy slope.
You decide it’s best to stick with Jax and take your chances down the muddy slope. As you make a sharp turn the Old Growth plows past you just missing you. You start running down the hill right behind Jax. The steepness of the terrain makes it difficult to keep a balanced pace. Jax slows down a little to let you keep up with her.
“You’re doing great Discover, I think we lost the Old Growth.”
Suddenly a giant log smashes into the muddy ground in front of you, causing you both to crash right into it. The force of your crash causes the giant log to start sliding down the muddy slope. You look behind you dazed and confused. The titanic roar of the Old Growth brings you back to your senses as it throws another log towards you while charging down the slope.
“Time to go!” you scream as you grab Jax who is still dazed and confused and saddle up on to the log as it begins to gain speed down the muddy slope.
“You still with me Jax?” as you grab onto the broken limbs of the log to steady yourself.
“I think so, what happened?”
“I don’t think we lost the Old Growth Jax, we just made it mad.”
Another tree limb smashes besides you causing Jax to turn around and see the Old Growth quickly gaining on them.
“Can you make this log go any faster Discover?”
“I don’t think it has a gas pedal, Jax.”
“What should we do Discover? it’s gaining on us!”
A:) Stay the course and hope the log outruns the old growth?
B:) Jump, Tuck, Roll and hope for the best? (Choice B was chosen)
“JUMP!” you scream to Jax just as the Old Growth plows into the log. The sound of wood splitting and cracking echo in your ears as you tuck yourself into a ball bracing for impact. You land into the thick red mud and begin rolling head over heel down the steep slope. The density of the mud slowly brings you to a stop. You lay there in your ball shape covered and stained in the red mud. It’s color and texture making you look like Carrie from the book of the same name. “Ugh, I think I’m going to throw up,” you say to yourself.
Suddenly a random voice shouts out to you. “DUDE, That was amazing!”
You look around you, wiping the caked mud from your face. You see a river before you. The Over Growth lies ahead of you. It’s completely flipped over, its top smashed into the muddy shore of the river. It appears it was unable to stop itself from sliding down the slope.
“I’ve never seen anyone trick an Over Growth like that before.”
You look across the river and see that the voice is coming from a frog creature on a raft.
“Hey, you want to swim over here man? Looks like you could use a breather after that.”
You contemplate the creature’s proposal when your mind stops dead in its tracks.
“JAX!” Where was Jax? You start to wander around looking for Jax the temple and mud obscuring your vision is making you dizzy. But you need to find Jax…
A:) Call out and keep looking for Jax? (Choice A was chosen)
B:) Call out to the frog creature for help?
You are so nauseous and worn out but you just have to find Jax. You shout out her name with no response. You try to walk through the muck barley able to keep yourself balanced or awake. You scream out Jax’s name, “JAX!”
Suddenly the mud surges up in front of you brandishing claws. “A MONSTER YOU SCREAM!” “I’LL STOP IT WITH MY INVISI..B.I..LI…” You collapse in sheer exhaustion and delusion and fall flat on your face into the mud.
“Discover? Hey Discover, wake up you nut.”
You wake up to the sound of Jax’s voice. Her smiling face hovering over you.
“You must have inhaled some of that mud dude. That stuff can make you go wacky in the head dude. You thought your friend was a mud monster.”
You look over to see the frog creature that waved out to you before you collapsed.
“Discover, this is Toby, he’s a friend of mine who graciously offered to help us on our journey,” said Jax.
“Always glad to help fellow adventurers in this crazy world none of us asked to be in,” said Toby.
You bring a hand to your aching forehead. “Ugh, let’s not do that again, Jax. Where are we?”
“We’re on a raft silly can’t you see that?” Jax laughed. “Though I guess I can give you a break since you thought I was a mud monster. Man that mud took forever to wash out of my fur. But like I said Toby here has offered us the use of his raft to journey down the river here. I figured we could use a break from a path full of monsters.”
“If it’s not the Absorbers hunting you it’s the wildlife,” said Toby. “You wouldn’t believe how many poor people fell prey to these things.”
“Well thank you for helping us,” you say. “I guess I must have been out of it for awhile, huh?”
“Yep,” said Jax. “It’s probably been a few hours. I tried to wash some of the mud off of you earlier but you might want to take a dip and wash the rest of that mud off of yeah. No offense but you kinda smell like a swamp covered in that.”
“I guess I really dirtied myself up huh,” you say as you jump into the river and start swimming alongside the raft, the slow current of the river washing the mud away. “I’m not sure if this mud is going to come out of my clothes though, or what’s left of them anyways.”
“Hey I got you covered man,” said Toby as he pulled over a stack of old suitcases and opened them. I found these way while back and they’re full of old clothes.”
“Sweet,” exclaimed Jax. “There’s even a sewing kit in here. It’s been awhile but I could use remnants of these clothes to make some new ones that will properly fit you Discover. Or if you’d like I could patch up your old one’s instead?
A:) Let Jax make you some new clothes to fit you properly? (Choice A was chosen)
B:) Let Jax patch up your old mud stained clothes?
You pull yourself back onto the raft all nice and clean and take a look at your torn clothes. “I think these clothes are beyond fixing, do you think you could make clothes tailored for freakishly tall deer Jax?”
Jax laughs. “I think I can do that for you Mr. Freaky Tall Deer Man.”
“I think you’d look pretty savvy in some neon,” said Toby as he handed Jax some bright neon colored shirts from a nearby suitcase.
Jax excitedly grabs the shirts. “Excellent Toby I think if I combine these together I can make something perfect in Discover’s size.”
After a few hours of sewing and cutting Discover was decked out in some savvy new clothes.
You admire how perfect the clothes fit on you, no more torn sleeves or tight fitting pants. “This feels and looks awesome Jax.”
“Oh I have one last thing to give you Discover. Try these on.”
Jax hands you a set of orange sweatbands and what looks like some old sports equipment.
“What are these for Jax,” you ask?
“I figured since you fall over a lot that you could use some extra protection and sweat absorption,” Jax laughed. “I found these shin guards and thought they’d be perfect.”
You slip on the sweatbands on your wrists and ankles as well as the shin guards on your lower legs.
“Hey now you look ready to take on every Old Growth out there dude,” said Toby.
You laugh to yourself and make a goofy warrior-like pose. Toby and Jax laugh as you mockingly state, “I am ready for anything now.”
Suddenly the raft sways as the water around you begins to bubble and splash.
“WHAT THE?” you scream.
Everyone struggles to keep their balance as the river becomes all choppy like a sea in a storm. A bright magenta glow starts emanating from below.
You try to say something but are disrupted as the river suddenly shoots upward in a spray of water. Water rains down on you like a summer rainstorm as you witness a giant tower ascend out of the river. Higher and higher it ascends into the sky making a loud clunk and splash as it stops. The tower is littered with randomly placed windows each draining massive amounts of water out of them. At the bottom you see two doorways with ladders. The raft rams right into the tower knocking you all onto your backs.
“What the heck is this?” Toby yells. “I’ve never seen this happen in the river before.”
A voice suddenly calls out, “CHOOSE”
You all look around frantically. “Who said that,” said Jax.
“CHOOSE” the voice says again as a wisp of color appears before you.
“Choose what,” you ask?
The wisp extends out to ribbons of colors each pointing to a doorway of the tower.
“I think it want’s you to choose Discover,” said Jax sarcastically.
“You don’t say.”
What door do you choose?
A:) The Left Door (Ch
B:) The Right Door
You’re not sure why but your instinct says you should go into the left door. But before you even try to form the words you suddenly go still and stare blankly at the wisp of colors. You hear the muffled sounds of your friends but can’t even force yourself to make out what they’re saying or even look at them. The wisp stares into your soul as the left door engulfs itself into a blinding light that consumes you. As the light binds around you, you hear the wisp in your head say “You’ve chosen wisely, Great Discoverer.”
The light feels so warm and comforting around you. You wish for it to never go away. But as quick as it came it fades away. As you regain control of yourself you ask aloud “What was that?”
But no one answers you. You frantically look around to see Jax and Toby aren’t even with you, you’re not even on the raft anymore. The outside world has been replaced with a giant stained glass floor with the image of the Great Antler in the middle that extends into an endless vista of stained glass as far as the eye can see. Where are you?
-END CHAPTER 2