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Unlucky number 13. Thanks always to silver for telling me when i fail to English.

Chapter 13 - From The Journal III
Day 501, Entry 2.
Another one came today. Etho returned late from a patrol and it's almost like I was expecting it. His name is Seth, and even though I shouldn't, I already trust him. It's felt like an eternity since another one of us has arrived. Paul Soares was the last and I was starting to think our ramshackle group was complete. It was like we had gone into stasis, with nowhere else to go; neither forward nor back. But Seth is here and spirits are high. This has to be the start of something. I can feel it. Maybe this is what I've been looking for. Can a man dare to hope?

~ ~ ~

Day 515, Entry 1.
I've dared to hope.

~ ~ ~

Day 545, A Note to Whoever Remains
If you're reading this, it's because you've found this journal and the crumbling remnants of what my people came to call home. Maybe you were once one of us. Maybe you're a stranger placed within this world long after I've gone, just as lost as I once was. Maybe you're not even human at all. But that's not important. What's important is the tale I've left for you, buried in this journal I've carried since the day I first awoke here.

I'll try my best to be brief, but it is a long tale to tell, and not all my writings are as succinct as they could be.

Since you're here now, I guess the best place to start is the end. If you've found this, it means I've made it through the portal and moved on to the life this world tried to take away from me. You probably feel it in remnants of blank memories and source-less knowledge. Every one of us was like that when we awoke here. You aren't, or weren't, alone in that. I can't tell you why you're here, but I can tell you how to escape. My later entries detail exactly that—the turn of events that finally got me out of here. Start around day 500 if escape is all you want to know.

Day 432 is really where it all began. There was a man named Nebris, and monsters made of night. I suspect that, somewhere, one wasn't too far from the other. But if you meet him and alongside the monsters, doesn't try to kill you, you should spare him a little faith. I called him friend and I trusted him. If I were you, I'd consider doing the same. (But don't trust him too much. He's a crafty bastard when he wants to be.) Regardless, he was the one who told us what to do and where to go. I thank him for it, even though we chose to leave him behind. If you read far enough, you'll find out why. Tell him I said hi, and if he hasn't gone completely mad by then, maybe bring him with you.

If you meet the others—a group led by a man known as BTC, you can tell them they were wrong. It pains me to know they're not here with me now, but their choice to part with us was theirs alone. They're stubborn, but I wish them well. If you have the patience, then maybe you can convince them to come with you too. I do wish you luck in that regard.

And if you find others who fall into neither groups mentioned above, then that's your own story to unravel. Maybe they'll be the people who made the fortress in the world through the obsidian portal. (I don't recommend going through the obsidian portal.) Maybe you're one of those people and if you happen to belong in the same world as us, then I'd love to meet you on the other side. That is, of course, if you decide that my world is your home.

If there's anything I've learnt here, I suppose that that's one thing worth mentioning. While there were the questions and the deaths, and my world otherwise crumbling around me, the people I'd bonded with were what held me together. Bdubs, Pause, Pyro, and so many others... Even though this wasn't my world to be in, at the end of it all, those people had made it my home. I sincerely don't know what I'd do without them.

Maybe you'll learn something from all this too, or maybe this journal will lay here forever, never to see light again. Wouldn't it be funny if this were actually all just some long and convoluted dream. It wouldn't seem fair if it was.

But regardless, dear stranger, I wish you well.
May you live, thrive, and survive.

My best regards,
Guude of Mindcrack.


~ ~ ~

Book 2.
Day 0, Entry 1.
We did it. Faced the End, killed the beast, and stepped through the portal like it were the door to death itself. And we made it. We made it home. Except we didn’t. The memories, the portal, the land beyond this: they were all a lie and I don't- I really don't know what to believe anymore. Maybe this is home after all. So many things are missing, and so many things just feel so wrong, but it's all we but it's all I have.

Those who chose not to come are long gone. If I do send a scout that through sheer luck finds them, I'm not even sure if they'd want to come back. Our numbers are dwindling and things are falling apart. What can I say? The compound was briefly overrun by monsters in our absence and is now in shambles, Pyro has gotten worse, and Nebris is gone without a trace. Even Paul left on his own. He said he'd lost his faith in me as a leader. I'm starting to wonder if he may be right. I never wanted this damn job anyway. Bdubs says he trusts me, but how much longer before I lose that too?

And at the end of this all, I don't know where else to go. BTC was right. There is no portal, there is no somewhere else. So what do we do? Fight monsters and live on in an empty existence just waiting for the nightmen to come and take us away? I don't think I can stand for that, but there may be no other choice.

Kurt says he has some ideas, some leads to follow involving the fortress we found beyond that damned obsidian portal. It might be something but I'm saving my hope for better tidings. A cure would be the first step. I don't know what I'd do if we lose Pyro, after everything else I've lost. Shree, Nebris, Seth; it's like my whole world's falling apart.


~ ~ ~

"We're finally going home," Guude said, and Seth felt nigh invincible.

They did it. He couldn't believe it but they damn well did it. The beast was dead, the new portal was in sight, and there was nothing left to fear. Seth almost hadn't wanted to believe Nebris, but by the heavens he was right! This was The End, and the very thought of it had Seth gasping with an almost child-like delight.

He looked at the portal with awe. It was a simple structure of thick, dark stone, not far from where they'd finally struck the great beast down. The portal within shimmered and swirled like an indigo night sky, with a single rocky pillar thrust through the centre. A delicate, deep purple relic sat atop the pillar like a prize for their great triumph. He felt the urge to reach out and touch it, but, at the same time, he feared it might break if he did.

So, instead, he merely watched, eyes wide and shining as the group circled the portal, ready to face their fate together.

And one by one they did. Guude first, then Pause and Beef together, followed by Kurt and Pyro and all the rest. Finally, Seth was all that remained. He stared out into the void and grey, whispering a final goodbye, left to float through the nothingness. In the distance, something blinked, and Seth dipped his toes into the cool of the portal. The last he saw was a flash of thunderous purple boring into his eyes, then suddenly there was only black.

He felt as if he were floating, slowly spinning in a direction otherwise unknown. He blinked and the darkness blurred together, shifting and undulating between unidentifiable shapes. He tried to speak, but his voice caught in his throat.

Vertigo. Flashing. Unidentifiable sound. He was the universe and the universe was him.

Warmth and softness pleasantly wrapped against his form. He breathed in, and out, familiar smells rushing to fill his lungs. His extremities tingled as realisation began to set in. Adrenaline, joy, rushing excitement. Home! He was finally home! He dared to open his eyes, afraid everything he had gained would just as quickly slip away.

Seth took in the familiar wooden ceiling, a rush of emotion still clouding his brain. Outside, ashes barely a week old danced against a tall fence surrounding a large compound. The air was unsettlingly quiet. He stiffened as the realisation began to set in.

Then, bone chilling fear as he lay paralysed beneath a midnight shadow. He dared not blink, he dared not breathe.

Hot, thunderous purple—the last thing he ever saw.

~ ~ ~

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