Sarah Otter

Mad Otter Games
Developer
#1
Whoo-Hoo!!! Happy Friday to all on this day of days!! :D Fantastic entries this week, thank you so much to all who submitted! Congrats!

  • First Place = Nadiria (US3) and Frems (US3) - 'When Darkness Fell'
  • Second Place = Lord Pyrrus (US3) - 'Memories'
  • Third Place = a tie
    • Michel (EU2) - 'Otter Hoodies!'
    • Stella Stormsong (US2) - 'Climbing the Walls!'


When Darkness Fell by Nadiria and Frems
When The Darkness swept over the lands, it was swift and complete.

Nadi had been so happy; spending another sunny afternoon in her garden, admiring her plants that were so carefully tended, and laughing at the antics of her animals. Blue skies, warm winds, and the music of the waterfall; everything seemed perfect.

After years of living through senseless wars, and never finding a safe haven (other than the occasional tavern) she had been ready to settle down. Nadi was half dead when she arrived; cold, tired and hungry, she had no way of knowing that sort of life was going to be behind her, forever. She reflected on her arrival in this realm... how, after fighting her way to and through an odd tunnel, she found herself in a quirky little town called Summers Hollow that had a very nasty problem. Solving the problem wasn't as hard as she thought it would be; there were a lot of clues to gather, and with almost every step she learned more of the ways of this new world. When it was over, she had a sturdy little stone cottage with room to grow her own garden and tend her own animals. Out of gratitude for her assistance, she had been give a reliable, sturdy tan horse.

Nadi sat in the sweet, green grass and counted her blessings... and she knew she was richer now than she ever thought she would be. Sure, she had some gold in her vault, but it was the Village she lived in, the friends she had made, and the adventures she found that made her the happiest. She was a priest who could finally follow her calling, to help and heal others.

So, it wasn't about the gold, she mused. Except suddenly it was. She tasted it, before The Darkness wiped everything out: it was that familiar tang, metallic and reminiscent of her time at the counting houses of other kingdoms, other times. She smelled the gold, and knew instinctively that something was very wrong. She stood to run towards Ardent City, to the Castle.

And then The Darkness fell. It was the most solid, intense black you could imagine. Nadi wanted to push back, to find the light, but there was none. She floated there, suspended, unsure of what was beneath or above her. There was no sound at all; no cheerful waterfall, no breeze blowing through the trees, no distant chatter from other villagers as they went about their chores. Nadi tried to stay awake, tried to form a plan. She fought back against The Darkness... and lost.

When she woke, The Darkness still pushed against her, but she heard... something. Straining to hear the faint sound again, she was rewarded. It sounded familiar - like a group speaking to one another, perhaps. Her mind was reeling with possibilities: Had she been blinded? Possibly. There was no sliver of light anywhere, it was preternaturally dark. Was she floating in water? No. But neither was she resting on the ground. She resisted the urge to flail about, knowing that she had to be cautious without the benefit of sight. But she could hear - and as she listened intently to the sound, she began to make out individual voices. Faintly, they rumbled through her prison. She could sense urgency, and perhaps even possibly... anger? These were not the easy, pleasant conversations she had become used to since arriving in Ardent. And although no one could see it, she grinned into the void; she wasn't alone, and whoever was there shared her mood. It was a start.

Faint lines and shapes began to appear around Nadi. There was light, but it was not like lamplight or sunlight. It was a harsh light that seemed to be unforgiving. She sat up, and squinted at her surroundings, unsure of what she was looking at. In all of her travels, she had never seen anything like what was arrayed before her now.

Finding that she could stand again, Nadi began to walk around. As the light grew brighter, and her eyes adjusted, she could see a pattern - it was numbers and letters and symbols. In some places, there were columns, with names in one, numbers in the next one, and so on. Some of the words she saw were familiar, and she could easily read them. Most of them were not, and it looked like gibberish. She didn't care; she could see, she could move, and she could hear. Nadi was going on another adventure!

There was no obvious door out of this place, and so she walked over to one of the columns. As she neared, the letters grew to be almost half her full height. Reaching out, she gingerly touched the name of one of her friends. It became solid under her fingers, and she pulled herself up, stepping carefully, climbing the column of names like a ladder. As she reached the top of the column, she found that she could walk over the gibberish sentences like uneven ground: carefully, and deliberately at first, she soon found her footing.

She raced along the topmost row of letters and words now, sensing that there was an exit here somehow, somewhere. Headed back towards the left, she ran until she was standing on the very first letter, of the very first line. She looked down, momentarily dazzled by the sight below her. And then, because she didn't know what else to do, she jumped.

Nadi thought that she would fall back to where she climbed from, but instead she found that she had landed in... a painting? How could this be? Looking around, she saw what she thought was a beautiful painting that was made of a million billion tiny, colorful, glowing boxes. She turned in a circle, seeing that between her and an enormous glass window were many large posters, each one with words written underneath. When she looked past the posters, she could see the faces of giants.

The giants seemed to be in pain. Their faces were contorted in sadness, anger and frustration. Fearful, Nadi hid behind the poster that she was closest to, and peeked out through the window again. She quickly became fascinated by the giants - they did not seem to be aware of her presence at all, but she could see and hear them when they were close enough. When many of them were near the window, as they were now (she counted 4, there might have been 5) the noise they made talking to one another was nearly deafening. Her favorite time quickly became when just one giant sat before her window. He would stare so intently at the glass, while moving his hands below the sill. She could hear a tapping sound, almost like he was drumming his fingers, but with a different rhythm. Often, the giant would talk softly towards the window then; and while she knew they spoke the same language, his words were often difficult for her to parse. Nadi wondered what he was looking for in the window glass. It had to be important. She hoped he would find whatever it was. Sometimes, when the giants were gone, she would creep out from behind her poster, and run around the middle of the glass, looking at all of the tiny boxes to see if she could find what the giant was looking for.

Nadi didn't know where she was, or how to get back to her village. But this seemed to be a safe place, and it was certainly interesting. And so, she sat behind the poster, day after day, watching the giants come and go. The painting behind her often changed; most of the time it was more words and letters and numbers, but she couldn't really read anything because it was all made up of millions of those tiny glowing boxes, and she was too close to properly see the shapes they made.

Now, on this day, her favorite giant came forward to the window. He sat for a moment with his head in his hands, as if in despair, and then he straightened, and as always, he put his fingers below the sill, and started tap tap tapping. He looked at the glass between them. Nadi's curiosity finally got the better of her, and she tried to lean forward carefully, to look down below the sill, and see what his fingers were doing to cause the now familiar rhythms, when she tumbled forward, in front of her hiding place. She froze.

The giant stopped. He looked at Nadi, and then he laughed - a great, booming sound that filled her window with happy thunder. She cringed and instinctively covered her ears with her hands. "What are YOU doing here?" the giant laughed, and he moved his hand to the far side of the sill. Suddenly, Nadi found herself being picked up by the scruff of her neck, and unceremoniously dumped at the bottom of the window, just above the sill.

Nadi tried to speak, to reason with the giant, but she quickly realized he couldn't hear her. So, instead, she motioned to him that she had been hiding behind the poster. Climbing quickly back up to where she had been perched for days, she showed him, by stepping behind the poster, and then popping back out into view. Now the giant laughed again, and this time, he was joined at the window by a couple of the other giants. "I'm going crazy!" he said. "I'm seeing things! I just saw a toon running around the desktop!". Unsure of what that meant, Nadi ducked behind her poster for safety, but then suddenly, all of the posters around her were moving away, and then her poster was gone, and she was crouching there for all the giants to see. Nadi stood up, and straightened herself, adopting what she hoped was a confident pose.

Their faces all loomed towards the glass. Now, instead of looking sad, and angry, they were laughing and they looked... happy. Nadi decided that happy was better than angry, and so she waved and smiled, hoping that they would be kind to her.

The giants seemed to be very glad to see her; they laughed, and pointed in her direction for quite a while. After a time, she heard them talking about how to return her to her village. This was a huge relief to her; to go home - to her village, and her little stone cottage - was all she wanted, really! Maybe they knew a path back that she had not been able to find. She sat on top of a poster, waiting patiently to see what the giants would do next.

It wasn't long before the giants all came back to the glass. She counted this time, and there were 5 of them. One was a girl, with fluffy, curly black hair, sparkling blue eyes, and a big grin. Nadi liked her right away; the girl seemed to be the most excited to see her. Nadi watched behind her as the millions of little boxes changed their picture yet again; but this time, it was somehow familiar. She hopped down from the poster she was perched on, and ran to the far right side of her glassed-in world, and looked back to the left. Yes! These were the columns she had climbed, days ago. Unsure of what to do next, she stood silently, looking at the giants, as they looked at her. Suddenly, she was lifted by the scruff of her neck... again. "I really have to tell him to stop doing that" she thought, but before she could complain, her favorite giant deposited her carefully onto the column. She turned to look behind her, and there was a blank space. He nodded, and said softly "This is where you need to stay. It won't be long, I promise! Everything will be alright, Nadi." Another one of the giants said "When you wake up, you will be home again!" She nodded back to them, and waved at each giant, including the girl with the beautiful hair and the bright blue eyes. "Goodbye! We'll see you soon!" they all said, and Nadi stepped into the empty space, and sat down. There was a small sound, like a door softly closing, and she realized that she was sitting inside one of the posters now.

Nadi took a nap, because there was nothing much else to do. She trusted that somehow the giants would carry her back to her village, and that was really all that mattered. At first, her dreams were filled with the faraway laughter of her giant friends, and millions of tiny glowing boxes. Later, they began to be about her village, and her home.

And the next time that Nadi awoke, The Darkness was gone. Her village was back, just as it had always been. Her animals were happily munching on the grass in the pen, and her garden plants were tall and strong and ready for harvest. The waterfall rushed merrily to the river below and her stone cottage stood right as it was before everything happened. In fact, it was as if nothing had happened at all. Perhaps, Nadi thought... it really didn't happen. Perhaps I merely fell asleep in the warm, soft grass, and I dreamed it all. Perhaps...

And Nadi believed that.

Until the day that the presents from the Giants were delivered.



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By Lord Pyrrus



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By Michel



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By Stella Stormsong
 

Panthera

Grand Priestess
Platform
Android, PC, Steam
Last edited
#5
Awesome entries
Nadiria, Frems, that story; I am sure Nadi was not the only one that was there I think Kaya and Zazie and Irish and a whole mess of others were there as well watching the giants
 
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