Our intrepid heroes have faced the terror of the churning river, a gnome, an Oracle, and, worst of all, their parents. Today they venture to the heart of the Jimnic Mountains where they will attempt the Ritual of Whatever-it-was, to send them into our world to find Magic Mountain. I know it’s been keeping you up at night, all weekend, a cocktail of anxiety and anticipation. Maybe that was just me.
Marshall’s memory was impeccable, and the two arrived in the Jimnic Mountains. There was a sign and everything. The passage through the mountains was a tad trickier, there were lots of gaps that looked like they might be passages, but proved to be just pretending. At long last, they found the only actual passage through the treacherous mountains.
Near the edge of the passage, there was a large Cavern, which they decided must be the Cavern of Passage. It was filled with stalactites and stalagmites. In the back of the cavern was a pool, and it fed into an underground river.
In the pool were several springy, yellow, cushiony things, which looked like they might actually be boats of some kind.
On the edge of the pool was a podium-like thing, which someone from our world might call an “interpretive sign.” Written on the sign, in the many languages of the realm, was instructions for preforming the Ritual of Pulwasup.
Hector shook his head. “I’m actually feeling ashamed. This seems too simple. There’s probably a catch, right, like one of us has to lose a body part or something? I’m losing all respect for adventurers. No only have we not needed any rope at any point, but, there are *signs.* Actual signs. Anybody can do this.”
They located the blue stalagmite. Tied to this particular stalagmite was one of the yellow boats. They got into the boat, and following the instructions on the interpretive sign, they paddled the boat into the underground river and said the ritual words. Soon they were floating down the river toward what sounded like a massive waterfall.
“I think that would be the catch,” said Hector. “Hang on!”
So, just like the Marshall family on a routine expedition, the coincidentally named Marshall and his best friend, Hector rode a raft from a mystical cavern, and plunged down a mighty waterfall. In the middle of their perilous ride, they met a sparkling mist, and the air changed, and when they landed they were no longer on an underground river, they were outside on a calm lake, surrounded by foreign geography.
Looking around, they saw an intermerate wilderness, a beautiful natural landscape. The sun was setting, and they thought they might be the only ones on the lake.
The had arrived in a new world. With any luck, this world would be the one with the Magic Mountain, where they could complete this quest, and go on to whatever happens to adventurers when their quests are completed.
They paddled to the shore, were they met a few creatures that looked like the humans in their home world. The humans starred.
Marshall spoke, hoping that he could remember some of the phrases he had studied of this language. The humans fled.
“That was unexpected. I guess I didn’t pick the correct phrase of greeting.” Marshall looked confused. “Maybe we can find a sign.”
Sure enough, near where the humans had fled, there was a sign, bearing the same markings as the sticks. The sign declared their current location as Yellowstone Lake, but, nowhere on the map was there a label announcing a place called Magic Mountain.
Finally, they have arrived in our world. And yet, they are many, many miles from Magic Mountain.
Today is also the anniversary of Andy Hallett’s death of CHF. I will be wearing green in his memory. He was only 33.
intermerate / in – TER – mer – ate / pure, unspoiled