From the Vault: “Omniverse, Book 1, Chapter 3” (Part 3 of 3)

Posted: March 11, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Hey, remember on January 22, 2013, when I said this?

I’ll try and post the third part of this chapter sometime soon. Sooner, at least: there was quite a while between the first part and this one.

And remember when that didn’t happen?

Yeah… good times.

For the record, I’ve been meaning to post the rest of this chapter for a while now; I just haven’t been thinking about it (after all, it’s a story that I’d abandoned a year and a half ago). But since I remembered it, and was like, “Crap. I need to get on this,” you get the rest of the chapter. Which, you know, awesome.

If you’d like to see any more of the stuff that I wrote in this story, then leave a comment. Otherwise, I’m probably just going to leave it at this.

~ Ian

 

PAGE 75– SPLASH PAGE

ASH and FARADOR are riding on the side of the river, ASH in front, FARADOR behind. Above them, the winged lizards swoop and fly, and even higher above, a rock bridge, a massive rainbow arch, bridges the river about five hundred feet up. ASH is smiling as she leans forward on the mountbird, her face split in a huge grin. In the river, fish jump and splash.

CAPTION: The bottom of the canyon was incredible– and it was warm! It must have been about sixty-five degrees out. You have to understand– sixty-five degrees after being out on the freezing cold Outer Wastes was like a sauna. It felt perfect.

CAPTION: That morning, we didn’t encounter anything strange. I was beginning to wonder whether Farador’s claims of unquiet dead spirits in Kamora’s Kerf were just stories.

CAPTION: However, in the afternoon, my preconceived notions weren’t just challenged– they were shattered.

Page 76 has three panels– a big panel on the top and two smaller panels towards the bottom.

PAGE 76 PANEL 1

Big panel across the top of the page. ASH and FARADOR are looking out towards a city, built on terraces on the cliffs on the left side of the riverbank. They have a slightly Minas Tirith look to them (although maybe I’m just picturing them that way ‘cause I’m listening to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack). They’re not made of white stone, though, but the same reddish stratified stone as the canyon walls. They’re also in complete ruins. Buildings are broken down, towers have crumbled, and there’s a general feeling of entropy there. Think of it as a combination of Minas Tirith and the Anasazi cliff dwellings on the sides of mesas in the Southwest USA. Half the city is in shadow: the cliff overhangs it, and obscures the city in darkness.

ASH: Wow…

FARADOR: This place… it must have been a city of the old days, when the sun was yellow. Its builders must have come into the Kerf, in ages past.

PAGE 76 PANEL 2

Shot of ASH and FARADOR’s astonished faces as they look at the city.

ASH: Why would they live here? Here, in the canyon?

FARADOR: I do not know… The canyon was once inhabited, though. By those who failed to listen to the Lore, who built their homes here.

PAGE 76 PANEL 3

FARADOR: We must… tread carefully here, Ash Campos. This is a place of evil.

Page 77 has seven panels.

PAGE 77 PANEL 1

ASH and FARADOR pass down the main street of the ruined city, with buildings like broken teeth rising up on either side, ruins of ornate stonework all around. Think of the stonework as looking like a fusion between Mesoamerican and Cycladic sculpture. The road through the city is made of cobblestone, and it’s broken and shattered. Moss and lichen grow everywhere, and everything has a thick sense of decay all around it. ASH and FARADOR are both riding the mountbird.

PAGE 77 PANEL 2

A shot of ASH and FARADOR’s shadow on the side of a wall. The wall is broken and ruined. Words in some strange long-forgotten alphabet are written on the tops of the wall. Water drips down the side of the building, forming a puddle on the road. The water has carved itself a channel over the years, and the wall is worn down and grooved where the water has passed.

SFX: drip drip drip

PAGE 77 PANEL 3

Shot of a pile of refuse off to the side of the road. A strange mammal, like an elongated rat with sharp tusks, is perched atop the pile of refuse, standing like a meerkat on its hind legs, ears perked for sounds of danger.

SFX: *kkik*

PAGE 77 PANEL 4

The rat-thing darts off into the shadows. Whatever made the noise in the last panel startled it, and so it’s gone, down the pile of refuse and turning tail.

PAGE 77 PANEL 5

Shot of a skinny, emaciated creature. It looks humanoid, but has gray mottled skin and no hair. It is wearing a hooded robe that is dark brown in color, thrown over its head and obscuring its eyes. This creature has no name, or if it ever did, it is forgotten. Let’s just call it the KERF-WIGHT.

PAGE 77 PANEL 6

The KERF-WIGHT lifts an emaciated palm. The palm of its hand has seven fingers, wide and spreading like tree roots. It snaps its fingers, and a small cloud of silvery mist appears around its fingers as it snaps them. It lifts its head, and we can see its eyes: they are small and red, like small dying stars in its face.

SFX: *snap*

PAGE 77 PANEL 7

The KERF-WIGHT is now obscured by the cloud of mist. All we can see is its faint, shadowy outline, and its glowing red eyes.

Page 78 has eight panels.

PAGE 78 PANEL 1

ASH looks up at the sky. There is a cloud of obscuring mist over everything now, and it’s as foggy as an early summer morning in San Francisco. Visibility has decreased to about ten feet ahead. FARADOR, behind her, has a dizzy, queasy expression on his face.

ASH: What the–

FARADOR: I feel… strange…

PAGE 78 PANEL 2

FARADOR falls sideways off the mountbird and down onto the pavement of the city’s stones. ASH turns around in shock as FARADOR falls down beside her.

FARADOR: …unngh…

ASH: Farador!

PAGE 78 PANEL 3

ASH dismounts the mountbird…

PAGE 78 PANEL 4

…and kneels down besides FARADOR. His face is contorted in an expression of fear, and his eyes are wide open. His helmet has fallen off, and lies off to the side.

ASH: Dammit… don’t be dead.

PAGE 78 PANEL 5

Closeup shot of the mountbird’s head, its toothy mouth going wide. It screams in panic.

MOUNTBIRD: KREEEEEE!

PAGE 78 PANEL 6

The mountbird runs off. We have a shot of ASH looking back at the retreating back of the mountbird as it flees.

ASH: What the…

PAGE 78 PANEL 7

A humanoid shadow falls over ASH, and she turns her head, looking up at the shadowy figure of the KERF-WIGHT.

PAGE 78 PANEL 8

A shot of the shadowy, robed figure of the KERF-WIGHT. We can’t see anything of the wight’s face. All we can see are its two glowing red eyes.

KERF-WIGHT: …Mortal flesh…

Page 79 has four panels: a big one up top, and three smaller ones towards the bottom.

PAGE 79 PANEL 1

The KERF-WIGHT reaches out its claws towards ASH, its claws wide as it looms over her. ASH is standing up, and reaching for her staff which FARADOR has made. FARADOR is still unconscious. We can see the KERF-WIGHT’s face, a shrunken skull with skin stretched over it, as it comes closer to the ASH, showing through the fog.

KW:

Mortal flesh and mortal bone, 

I’ll take ye back to be mine own. 

I’ll take ye to my darkened lair, 

I’ll lay ye down upon my chair, 

I’ll watch your eyes go dim and gray,

while your minds do waste away,

while dreams and nightmares eat ye whole. 

I’ll kill you, then I’ll take your souls.

PAGE 79 PANEL 2

ASH has risen to her feet, and is holding her quarterstaff in a defensive position. Fear shows in her eyes, but her expression and stance are still defiant.

ASH: What kind of monster are you? You put people to sleep and then recite poetry to them?

PAGE 79 PANEL 3

Shot of the KERF-WIGHT’s shrunken, skin-tight skull.

KW: You’re a willful one, aren’t you? You don’t seem to have gone to sleep. No matter, dreams shall come to you, as do all in the end.

PAGE 79 PANEL 4

ASH: What are you doing? What have you done to Farador?

Page 80 has six panels.

PAGE 80 PANEL 1

Shot of FARADOR’s frightened face. His eyes are wide with terror, and beads of sweat are forming on his forehead.

KW (off-panel): I have given him nightmares, mortal flesh. I have given him terrifying dreams, and they are eating his mind from the inside.

ASH (off-panel): And this’ll kill him?

PAGE 80 PANEL 2

Shot of the KERF-WIGHT’s grinning face.

KW: Yes. Not while the day lasts. But come nightfall, his mind will be jelly, and his soul will be mine.

PAGE 80 PANEL 3

ASH is brandishing her staff, trying to look more menacing than she feels.

ASH: That’s not gonna happen. You try to take him, and I’ll smash your head in.

PAGE 80 PANEL 4

Shot of the KERF-WIGHT’s face. Its mouth is open in what might be a grin or a grimace.

KW: Hehh.

PAGE 80 PANEL 5

Shot of the KERF-WIGHT standing over FARADOR. It seems to be taller now, about nine feet tall, looming over ASH and FARADOR. ASH is still in ready position, prepared to do anything to defend FARADOR.

KW: You amuse me, mortal flesh. But it seems I must be stronger than I usually am to overcome your mind. 

PAGE 80 PANEL 6

And the KERF-WIGHT snaps its bony fingers a second time…

SFX: *snap*

 

Page 81 has eight panels.

PAGE 81 PANEL 1

A black psychic pierces ASH’s forehead. Her head snaps back, her jaw drops open.

ASH: Ungh!

PAGE 81 PANEL 2

A shot of the planet Earth from space.

CAPTION: And then I realized that it was reading my mind, my memories, trying to find the one thing that would frighten me most.

PAGE 81 PANEL 3

A memory of ASH splashing in the lake behind the house in Sequoia, way back in Chapter 1, playing a game of splash-fight with KRISH and BRIAN. ANITA, dressed in a bikini top and trunks, is playing guitar and smiling on the beach.

CAPTION: But I knew that it wouldn’t work, somehow. I knew that whatever I was, in this world I was an alien.

PAGE 81 PANEL 4

Close-up shot of ASH’s smiling face.

CAPTION: And that was my strength. And that frightened it.

PAGE 81 PANEL 5

Shot of the KERF-WIGHT’s eyes going wide and astonished. Its mouth falls slightly open.

PAGE 81 PANEL 6

ASH reassumes the ready position, holding out her quarterstaff out in front of her and squatting slightly. The KERF-WIGHT, across from her, is now frightened, backing away.

KW: You… you are a Walker! You have come here from another world!

ASH: Yeah, I have.

PAGE 81 PANEL 7

KW: But this explains why I am not able to touch your mind! You are from a different universe!

PAGE 81 PANEL 8

ASH: Oh, really? Then that means it’ll be easier for me to kick your ass!

 

Page 82 has three panels.

PAGE 82 PANEL 1

ASH swings her quarterstaff hard, and strikes the KERF-WIGHT in the side of the skull. Yellowed teeth go flying from the KERF-WIGHT’s jaw as ASH swings.

KW: Uurk!

PAGE 82 PANEL 2

The KERF-WIGHT falls to the ground, knocking its head on the rough cobblestones.

KW: huff… huff… huff…

PAGE 82 PANEL 3

The butt of ASH’s staff comes down onto the KERF-WIGHT’s skull, cracking it open where the creature lies.

KW: Gaaah!

SFX: *KRAK*

Page 83 has four panels.

PAGE 83 PANEL 1

ASH bends over, her mouth going wide in astonishment.

ASH: Oh my god… I can’t believe I did that…

PAGE 83 PANEL 2

ASH turns to look at FARADOR.

PAGE 83 PANEL 3

ASH kneels down next to FARADOR, and puts a hand over his forehead.

ASH: Okay. Let’s get the hell out of this ruin.

PAGE 83 PANEL 4

ASH grabs FARADOR under the armpits, and drags him backwards down the street.

ASH: I don’t see where that mountbird’s gone off to, so I guess I get to drag you. Yay. Go me.

Page 84 has five panels.

PAGE 84 PANEL 1

A shot of FARADOR lying next to a waterfall. His eyes are closed and his mouth slightly open.

PAGE 84 PANEL 2

Close-up shot of FARADOR’s face.

PAGE 84 PANEL 3

FARADOR opens his eyes slightly.

FARADOR: Unnngh…

PAGE 84 PANEL 4

FARADOR sits up, and puts his head in his hands.

FARADOR: …What happened?

FARADOR: I was lost in nightmare…

PAGE 84 PANEL 5

Shot of ASH sitting on a rock nearby, watching FARADOR as he slowly wakes up and smiling.

ASH: We were attacked in that city. You were right: that city was someplace evil.

 

Page 85 has six panels.

PAGE 85 PANEL 1

FARADOR looks at ASH in sudden shock.

FARADOR: We were attacked?

PAGE 85 PANEL 2

ASH: Yeah. By some monster who could create nightmares. I was able to fight it off, though.

PAGE 85 PANEL 3

FARADOR leans forward, his eyes wide and his mouth agape.

FARADOR: You fought it off?

ASH: Well, you were a good teacher.

PAGE 85 PANEL 4

FARADOR: By the gods… Ash Campos, you saved my life.

PAGE 85 PANEL 5

Shot of ASH grinning widely, a sort of smug, playful smile.

ASH: Yeah, and you know what that means…

ASH: You’re beholden to me, Farador. I can make you do whatever I want. That’s your custom in Forn, right?

 

Page 86 has eight panels.

PAGE 86 PANEL 1

FARADOR: Yes. That is our custom.

PAGE 82 PANEL 2

ASH: Then you have to give up your claim to me. You have to give up the idea that I’m going to marry you.

ASH: I’m telling you to not pursue me romantically. And because I saved your life, I know you’ll obey me.

PAGE 82 PANEL 3

Shot of FARADOR’s startled, shocked face.

PAGE 82 PANEL 4

FARADOR bursts out in a great peal of laughter, throwing his head back and closing his eyes, his mouth open and smiling.

FARADOR: Ha ha ha ha ha!

PAGE 82 PANEL 5

FARADOR wipes a tear from the corner of his eye, as his laughter winds down.

FARADOR: Heh heh heh… You are a remarkable woman, Ash Campos. Very well. I will not marry you. I will respectfully keep my distance.

PAGE 82 PANEL 6

FARADOR looks at ASH, giving a friendly smile.

FARADOR: But tell me, Ash Campos– how did you defeat whatever it was in the city? How did you avoid the nightmares?

PAGE 82 PANEL 7

Shot of ASH, smiling somewhat self-consciously.

ASH: I had a good teacher. That’s all.

PAGE 82 PANEL 8

Shot of the canyon from far away, as the red sun begins to set over the Outer Wastes.

END CHAPTER 3

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