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Well That Was Sudden: A Fictionalization of Tribal Game 14: Part 1
By Eric Turgeon
In the beginning, there was the void.

Then four warriors appeared, planeswalkers from another universe. Armed only with their wits and tablet devices filled with unlocked potential, they eyed each other across the void, uncertain of what fate might befall them. At this point in the space-time continuum, each warrior was called, drawn to this place and time by some unseen force, to participate in the fourteenth Tribal War. But whose tribe had the power to achieve ultimate victory?

The first warrior to strike was the mighty Moose-Man. He let out a mighty moose-call and brought forth from the void a marshy land. Marshy yet vivid. It was a Vivid Marsh. It just kind of sat there.

Seeing that his feet were about to get wet in this marsh, the second warrior, Turgy XXII, built a bridge of mosswort across the marsh and stood upon it to keep dry and drown out some of the vivid light. Little did his adversaries know that a super-powerful creature lay beneath that bridge, prepared to jump out at just the right moment. But would that moment ever come?

Now came Oversoul the Exploder, who borrowed a workshop from a fellow plainswalker named Mishra and created from that workshop a sunny ring and a vault of mana and a terribly uncomfortable hat. The ring blasted forth some mana of indeterminate origin and an extremely uninviting monolith appeared, from which sprouted forth two automatons, held fast together by arcs of energy. The other warriors sighed and rolled their eyes.

The fourth warrior, the Spider-Man, paused, surveying the actions taking place in the newly-forming world around him. He looked at the marsh and the bridge and the little metal creatures and realized that he had journeyed to this plane completely unprepared. He knew that if he had any hope of survival, he would have to think and think fast. But he didn’t. Instead, he took a vacation.

*****

The Spider-Man traveled to the land of Pooloom Quav, where the dragons of the undying time had bred and fed on the overtly fertile under-evolved rabbit-cub people for the past seventeen centuries. The Spider-Man first appeared at the base of Quav Mountain, knowing the elder dragon roosted at the peak. In order to gain an audience with the elder dragon, he would need to climb his way to the top and face an onslaught of terrible horrors along the way. The base of the mountain was jagged and uninviting. The ascent was too steep to climb on foot, yet the handholds cut into his hands like razorblades.

For many years, the Spider-Man (who will henceforth be referred to as Bo, since it’s shorter) climbed an inch at a time, cutting his hands and feet before resting in place to heal and moving another inch up the side of the mountain. He fed on the nutritious yet bitter dragon-droppings, many containing only semi-digested bits of rabbit-cub person, of which he would suck out the juices and chew the meat to satisfy his various needs. It was eighty-seven days before he reached the midpoint of the mountain, and from there things became ever much more difficult as his food supply dropped harder and faster and the dragons became aware of his presence and would intentionally fling things at him as they mocked his odd determination. Yet the elder dragon only watched and Bo only continued his methodical ascent an inch or 2.54 centimeters at a time.

After ascending two-thirds of the mountain, Bo was attacked by a pack of eel-bats, whose hideous visages could kill a tender soul just by having their noses picked. Bo lost his grip on the side of the mountain and tumbled down head over heels and then heels over head and then head of heels again and then heels over head again and so on and so forth until he landed hard at the bottom, sustaining a pretty nasty bruise on his upper left thigh. He sobbed uncontrollably for several long excruciating seconds and then re-began his ascent, determined to get the betterment of the eel-bats. His climb was even longer this time, for he had forgotten the way and his hands still bled at every step and now his leg really hurt, too, and also he had ripped his trousers in a most uncomfortable and rather embarrassing manner.

It was 172 days before he reached his previous best height and now he was on guard for another attack by the eel-bat pack. This time, they swept in to bite off his juicy head, but he outsmarted them by ducking, causing the leader eel-bat to fly into the side of the mountain and explode in a burst of fire and entrails. A sensation of great relief and joy passed over Bo and he turned upwards to continue his journey when a second eel-bat flew at him and winged him (is that a pun? I can’t tell) enough to cause him to again lose his grip and tumble down the mountain in most ridiculous fashion. This went on eight more times, at which point the pack of eel-bats were all either dead from explosions or dead from boredom or starvation or from hanging upside-down and having all the blood rush to their heads and getting dizzy and falling and exploding, which I guess could have fit into that first category, but I wanted to make a point that these explosions were unrelated to the explosions that occurred as a result of trying to decapitate Bo.

In just fifty-four more days, Bo had reached the three-quarter point of the climb to the mountain top. It was here that the air was thin and frigid and snow monsters formed from the ground to attack unsuspecting climbers. But this is a mountain where dragons live, so it’s probably also a volcano, so it’s really hot and erupting all the time, which means that lava monsters are also forming from the ground to attack unsuspecting climbers. Well, over the years, the snow monsters and the lava monsters started breeding to form snow-lava monsters, which were quite temperamental indeed.

Bo hauled himself up onto a small ledge when he caught a glimpse of his first snow-lava monsters (which will henceforth be known as pigeons, because it’s shorter). Bo went to draw his sword and then realized he didn’t have a sword, because if he did I certainly would have mentioned that earlier because that would have been important, so instead he pulled a hand grenade from his backpack of limitless munitions and lobbed it toward a pigeon that was strafing angrily toward him. The grenade hit the pigeon square in the chest and melted and kind of didn’t really explode but made like a weird popping noise and there was kind of this puff of smoke and it smelled like a chimney with a dead otter stuck in it, but nothing else really came of this.

It was clear that Bo would need to meet this pigeon head-on in hand-to-hand combat and bludgeon the pigeon about the head and neck and ear, nose and throat with his mad kung-pow skills. Bo flew through the air, landing a solid blow to the pigeon’s scapula. The pigeon countered with a fine swing from his frozen magma-axe-hand, but narrowly missed Bo’s narrow-minded brain. Bo dive-rolled between the pigeon’s legs and kicked his adversary in the back of the shin, whatever that bone is called, causing it to lose its footing and melt back into the side of the mountain, because that’s what happens when pigeons fall down mountains.

Feeling confident and elated, Bo rushed to journey farther up the Quav, when an army of four thousand pigeons (which will henceforth be referred to as “pigs” because it’s even shorter) rose from the ground before him. The pig general kicked him square in the seventh right rib from the bottom and Bo fell all the way down the mountain and landed hard on his keys. Little did he know that in the time of his fight with the pigs, a new pack of eel-bats had emerged, so he had to fight all of them all over again and still think of a way to get past the pigs, which it turns out their weakness is lukewarm milk, which he found from a hormonal bovine on a different planet, but it only produced two ounces of the fluid every hundred years and he needed at least twelve gallons to destroy each pig, so long story short, it took him quite a while to defeat the army of pigs and move on from there.

After some tedious calculations (let’s think this through… 4000 pigs * 12 gallons of milk each * 4 quarts in a gallon * 2 pints in a quart * 2 cups in a pint * 8 ounces in a cup * every 100 years / 2 ounces of milk), it was determined that Bo spent 307200 millennia (more or less, if my math is correct) journeying to the top of Quav mountain. (Did I mention he’s immortal? For the sake of the story, we’ll say he is. And all other planeswalkers, too, for that matter.) Bo finally reached up his hand and felt the prickle-berry branches of the elder dragon’s roosting spot. Bo pulled his head up and saw only emptiness in the nest. He hoisted himself fully into the nest and contemplated the world around him and pondered the fate of the elder dragon. (I used a lot of parentheticals in this paragraph, so I decided to add another right here.) In the distance, he could barely make out the outline of a strange flying creature whirling about in the swift uninviting winds.

As the creature drew nearer, Bo realized it was no creature at all, but some mechanical assembly with rotating blades on top and a pair of evolved rabbit-cub people inside. The vehicle hovered over his head and a rope ladder dangled down into the nest, from which an evolved rabbit-cub person slid down and addressed Bo.

“What are you doing here?” it asked.
“I came seeking the elder dragon of Pooloom Quav. I believe he can help me answer the question I need to defeat three fearsome warriors that I must battle in another dimension.”
The rabbit-cub person gave a quizzical look and shrugged. “All the dragons died thousands of years ago. They kept eating my people, so we killed them. Goodbye.”

And then he left. And once again, Bo was left all alone searching for the answer needed for an uncertain victory. He sat down and wept and as he wept, his tears watered the dry deadish prickle-berry branches around his feet and a new magical prickle-berry bush sprouted forth from the elder dragon’s nest. A prickle-berry flower opened up and Bo gazed deeply at its reproductive organs, cause he was kind of pervy like that. Suddenly, he was hit square in the eye by a warm sticky ball of flower parts, which made him cry some more. It wasn’t until years later that he understood the meaning of his journey.

*****

Meanwhile, the three lonely warriors sat around the plane of battle, their eyes becoming like vortexes into which the eons of the world had passed. None spoke at this time. They had, in their millennia upon millennia of waiting, exhausted every possible conversation there was to be had. They had solved the riddles of the universe and understood the meanings of life and death and the existence of all the creatures that ever walked on the lands or swam in the seas or flew in the skies or traveled between the planets of the galaxies. Truly, they had lived a million lifetimes and there was nothing new to be said, no new thought to pop into their heads, no new idea that hadn’t been discussed and analyzed a hundred times before. Most of all, they knew their fate. And their fate was simply to exist and keep watch over this, the last bastion of civilization in all the vastness of space.

Suddenly, there came a flash of light, and a figure appeared in the distance. The face was familiar yet impossible, something from a dream forgotten long ago. He had returned. It was… the Spider-man.

The Spider-man brought forth a Savannah to the landscape and from that new land hopped forth the incredible beast that he had journeyed far and wide to discover. It was a Spore Frog. The Spider-man sat back, immensely satisfied that the purpose of his travels had been fulfilled. He knew that this creature was his savior, his hero, his vanguard. It would not fail him in this, his time of need.

Then Oversoul exploded and everyone died.

The end.

Click here for Part 2!

Read More Articles by Eric Turgeon!

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