Game of Chickens

Claimed

Dibs.

We begin with the group setting camp up. Watches are set, and everyone beds down.

An hour into the 2nd watch (Cynd’s), the impossible happens:

All at once, with no transition, the entire party is awake, and standing upright. Everything outside the immediate camp spins in a blur, as if whipped about by monstrous winds. Not a hair on anyone’s head stirs. The fire is frozen in place. Looking above, the clouds and moon spin about in the opposite direction. The owl, crickets and treefrogs all blur into one impossibly layered feminine voice. It has a reverb to it and sound as if it comes from near, far, and everywhere in between all at once. A word is formed. Long, drawn out, both awe inspiring and terrible. The weight of it flattens all reality, and the pressure from the impossible to fathom lips and tongue squeeze all perception into a singular point:

CCCLLLAAAIIIIMMMMEEED.”

No one recalls standing up, let alone waking. The party stands awestruck.

The spinning stops and the trees grow impossibly tall as the sky draws away. The moon rises in the west and sets in the east, trekking impossibly fast across the sky. The party members appear more and more insignificant to each other as the impossibility around them presses down on their very beings. the moon rises in the south and sets in the north, trekking impossibly fast across the sky. All becomes dark, cold…the fire glows, but sheds no heat or ambiant light. the moon rises in the east and sets in the south, trekking impossibly fast across the sky. A voice compiled from the buzzing of flies, the gasp of fear, shrieks of pain and pleading of terror all thunder into one breath taking word, as deep and soulless as the abyss itself.

CCCLLLAAAAIIIMMEEEDDD.”

Jarlath throws himself flat on the ground. He doesn’t feel real…the scene before him could be another planet, or a speck of dust. All party member appear to be the same size, from Russellbob all the way up to Froderick.

The voices overlap each other and the sinking and spinning begin to overlay each other. Each person is no longer sure whose eyes they are looking from, and which are their own. Their thoughts all intermingle, but are too miniscule to separate from the cacophonous, soul squeezing experience around them as both feminine and masculine voice mingle, separate and combine with each other. The feminine voice swells with determination, even as the masculine voice hemorrages hatred and rot.

“CLAIMEDclaimedCLaimEDClaIMedclaimEDCLAimEDCLAIMED”

Everything stops all at once. The morning is quiet. Though a mild chill pervades the air, a chickadee’s song breaks the silence, along with a symphony of crickets, buzzing mosquitos, the occasional treefrog and the ragged gasping of the group. Everyone stands in place, coated in sweat. The sky is growing orange in the east, and thin clouds move tranquilly across the sky.

Everyone is standing, up and awake. Everyone feels refreshed, rested.

Except Turqeel. He looks pale, as if he has just gotten over a fever. He shakingly bends down and gropes for his bedroll, pulling it up around his nekkidness.

Smoke, and blue bunnycatfrog, lie relaxed as if just waking up. Smoke yawns mightily, tongue curling. Everyone looks at each other in amazement, doubt and a little fear.

Chickens grows more than a little angry at the experience, but then anger turns to relief as the curse only goes off once the entire day, and then to no effect.

Cynd meets a bear, and they sniff butts.

The next day Chickens finds that he has the magical surge coiled in his mind, as if waiting to be released. Even though the travel is slow and painstaking, Chickens travels with a lighter heart until sundown, when relief turns back to despair. As the sun drops below the horizon, the curse unleashes at Froderick. A magical ball of ice and snow is hurled at Froderick, pounding into his chest. Froderick is knocked back, winded and bruised. When he lifts his tunic, he finds a circle of frozen flesh where the snowball struck. The grass on his chest is frozen and covered with frost.

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