Cɪrthsta did another remote-viewing session while we set up camp inside the hollow of the trunk of what must’ve once been a truly gigantic tree. She said he’s relatively nearby, to the north of our current position. It shouldn’t be more than a day’s walk. She also noted in passing we may need to pass by one or two large creatures along the way. I asked her about the creatures, but she just shrugged saying at least we won’t die.
Well, okay then….
We set off mid-morning, and actually made some good head-way through the forest here by noon. We settled at the foot of a mid-sized hill, and Dass and Kess went off in search of food. Esscie and I set off for some water to fill our canteens. Rumour was the three Watchers would ascend the hill to get a bearing on where the Apothecarian might be.
Turns out, a stream was conveniently located relatively nearby. It meanders about between the hill our lunch-spot is situated at and another, twin-peak of a hill just to the north of the first one. The stream is potable, which is a welcome change from what is typical of Archivist-owned lands.
We decided to check out the other hill, briefly, before returning to the others. The hilltop just pokes out from the tops of the trees of the surrounding forest. Oddly, very few trees are actually growing on the hill itself. Bushes and shrubs are the largest things on it. Intriguing….
Its summit has a surprisingly clear view of the surrounding landscape. North of us, fortuitously (or not…), we can clearly see a tenuous column of smoke billowing gently from the trees from a fire of some sort.
We make to descend the hill when it starts reacting out of the blue – starts trembling. Then, a mound almost as high as Esscie is tall slowly blooms from the ground over the course of a minute or so before ceasing entirely. Just poking out from the layer of grass and moss and soil is a brown-colured mound. “Wait…,” Esscie murmurs, “I think it’s alive….
“Look! There!” she points eagerly to my left. I look beyond her outstretched arm, laying eyes on a tall, tree-like life-form that has suddenly appeared in between the two hill-like mounds. It appears to have just risen out from the ground, but now it’s just sitting there unmoving. What in the World is that? How did we not hear that thing rise up out of seemingly nowhere? Perhaps, it did its thing while the smaller mound was appearing before us.
Esscie is already descending the hillside when I remove my attention from the brown-coloured, tree-like creature. I follow closely after her.
At the base of the hill, Esscie then stops momentarily before crouching along the bank of the stream for about a minute. “What’s up, Esscie?” I try her, and she then stands up.
“A girl? Maybe?” she answers, and shortly jogs off to the right, hopping over the stream, and stopping near the base of a multi-coloured, cycad-looking, tree-like plant.
When I find her again, she’s already introducing herself to a pale-skinned, eyeless girl buried up to her shoulders into the mossy soil itself. Her nose is flat, with wide nostrils, and her hair is long, greenish, and matted with what look to be an insect nest situated in the middle of the mess. Her ears are almost nonexistent.
She and Esscie are speaking in a tongue I’ve never heard of before, but I guess Esscie’s starseed nature is proving to be helpful to her here.
She introduces me to her, and she smiles showing her dozens of tiny, pointy teeth. Her gums are purple, and her lips are also nearly nonexistent. A strange-looking girl, indeed.
“Her name is Kienow, and she’s over a thousand years old now!” Esscie informs me happily. “According to her, we’ve been walking all over her recently,” she adds, and returns to talking with her.
Could she mean…? Those two hills?
“Oh, good! People I know!” I hear the voice of Kess from behind me, and I turn my head to see him and Dass looking frightened and having ran a mile.
“Well, I stepped on something weird and then it started growing – like, a lot,” admits Dass, panting.
“I think Dass stepped on a giant dildo,” Kess butts in again. “I mean…, that’s what it looks l-aah-hah-ha! That’s a corpse!” He jumps abruptly, making Dass jump as well.
“She’s alive, actually,” I correct him. “Apparently, her name is Kienow and she’s over a thousand years old.
“Hopefully, Esscie can tell us more about her soon enough,” I finish, and turn back to her.
“Look! See? I told you’s we should come this way!” enters Peregrine’s perky voice from ahead of us. I lift my head up to find the Watchers trio approaching us.
“The Apothecarian seems to be relatively nearby, folks,” says the Way-farer. Cɪrthsta lights up with exileration, for no apparent reason.
“It’s a Sentinel! I’ve NEVER seen a Sentinel face-to-face before! Sorry for disturbing your naughties, by the way,” she addresses the mostly-buried girl. She leans in over the girl’s head and starts speaking to her in her language.
“In a former Age, Sentinels were more common on Eyaye,” explains Way to myself and Dass and Kess. “They are born as twins, and one buries themselves into the earth, providing nutrients for the forest around them, while the other, sometimes mistakenly called ‘Forest Giant,’ wanders about meeting with other buried Sentinels. Beyond a certain age, the primary cause for meeting is to mate; these mating rituals also help keep a forest healthy.” Well, that’s quite an interesting creature.
“I guess now they’re a relic, only to be found here on the Forbidden Rise,” I remark. Way nods.
“There may only be a handful of them left, now,” she says.
“Today’s our lucky day, folks!” Cɪrthsta stands up and faces us. “Kienow says she’s about ready for mating, and there so happens to be a suitable mate coming our way right now!” She then returns to Kienow, talking to her some more along with Esscie. Looks like we’re not going anywhere anytime soon.
If that brown, towering thing just visible through the trees and between the vegetation-covered…“breasts?”…is indeed some sort of phallus then how tall must the approaching “Forest Giant” be in order to “accept” such a massive organ?
Sounds like we’ll find out shortly.
Almost an hour later, the ground begins to tremour very softly and rhythmically. In the passing minutes, the tremours steadily grow larger. It must be gigantic, indeed, as I can sense it coming clearly from downstream already. I look over in that direction, and the silhouette of something enormous and humanoid can be seen from above the trees and things. It’s approaching from beyond Niemow’s head, so it’ll need to round her breasts in order to reach her phallus.
Its skin looks scaly, and its humanoid form is covered, in places, with vegetation and various other wildlife. It head is animal-like, with four large eyes on the front of it. It has no mouth nor nose, but instead possesses several gill slits along its neck.
Minutes pass, and the footsteps shake the ground around us more and more heavily. We can see it slowly coming our way, and once it finally comes close enough that we can see its body in detail it side-steps and then passes around her left breast. Once it eventually stops moving, it lets out a resounding, earth-shaking call.
We have to cover our ears to try to dampen the noise, but Niemow’s clearly gone through this thing before. She tells Esscie something, and Esscie faces the rest of us and relays that we’ll need to watch out for potential falling trees and running-scared animals.
Makes sense…; when two very large creatures try to mate, things are bound to get stirred up pretty good. Thankfully, there is a large, purple tree, with no leaves but a very sturdy-looking frame, that we can take cover under while the mating ritual takes place.
Several bat-like flying creatures take to the sky in a panic, screeching as they do for having been forced away from their preferred place of rest and socialization.
Two giant, seven-fingered hands, disproportionately large even for a being as colossal as it is, reach over and each grabs hold of a hill-sized mammary and it positions itself carefully over the phallic organ. It slowly lowers its gargantuan torso over the penis, and I can hear Niemow starting to breathe more heavily. A four-eyed, six-legged, deer-like creature scampers madly past us.
While squatted, the Forest Giant proceeds to dig its long fingers into each of the two hilly mounds before it. The sounds of greenery and earth being uprooted can be heard, and Niemow’s breathing quickens. A minute or so later, its grip loosens and Niemow settles down a bit.
It’s repeated several more times over the course of the next half-hour. The massage, at that point, ceases while Niemow sounds like she’s climaxing.
The Forest Giant eventually stood back up, and Niemow returned to her usual state. The Forest Giant promptly walked on away, with rumbling footsteps slowly fading off into silence. We thanked Niemow for the opportunity, such as it was, said goodbye to her, and we headed off towards where we hope the Apothecarian has set up shop. I guess those two Sentinels were the “large creatures” the Peregrine predicted we’d meet, from her remote-viewing session earlier today.
The smoke inevitably led us to a shack, and inside the shack is the Apothecarian himself. He’s on the stout side, pudgy, and starting to go grey. His home is covered in herbs and apothecary supplies, with only a small loft for a bed and a door, perhaps to a restroom, directly beneath it. On the other side, a fireplace and well lie. The only other things visible are a seat and table – where he’s currently at work drafting a tonic.
“I figured you would return, Peregrine,” he murmurs as he concentrates on his cuurent task. He doesn’t look to see who’s arrived. “I knew, inside, it was only a matter of time.”
“Ooh! You’re so smart, Durittal!” Cɪrthsta squeaks like she’s speaking to a child. He doesn’t react.
“We hope you’d be willing to rejoin the Watchers, now that the Peregrine is back,” I get to the point. “We could also use someone well-versed in apothecary on our journey to Eyaye’s core.” At that, his head turns about.
“So, that’s what it’s come to?” he mutters calmly. “Fine; looks like I’ll have to tag along.” He then looks back to his work, finishing up a concoction within the next minute.
That’s the last member of our crew accounted for, now. We’ll still have to camp here for the night; there’s not really enough time to make it anywhere far before night-fall.