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A note from Vincent Archer

Smallish chapter.

“What do we do now?” asked Jonathan.

“Well, we now have two possibilities. We find those lairs and try the Gate. Or we find a Gate that we can use,” said Jonas.

“You’re sure we can’t use that Gate?” asked Jonathan again.

“Go ahead. All of you, if you want,” countered Jonas.

“What if we end up stuck on the other side?”

At that moment, Ira walked in. And immediately out, coming the other way. This time, Jonas could see that it was quick and immediate, without anything happening visibly.

“Jonas is right. It says I need to complete two lairs, and I got none.”

Encouraged, the other four all tried the Gate, being sent back immediately. Jonas could see the disappointment in Jonathan’s eyes.

 

“So, how do we find that other Gate?”

“We have to explore, I think. We can keep following the river. It led us to this one.”

Seeing that no one had any better idea, Jonas went around the Gate. Keeping the snaking brook in view, he and the team kept onward.

 

Five encounters with solitary veteran boars later, the river ended. It had been meandering for a while in the marshy ground, but this time, there were a lot of puddles, and the river spread out.

“End of the river. We’ve lost our guide.”

“I’ve kept looking at the sun,” said Jonathan.

“You can guide us?” asked Laura.

“I can try to. Let’s keep going.”

They did not go far. Ira, who was walking in the front, was the first to stop. When the team caught up with him, they immediately understood the problem. There was a kind of invisible line separating the landscape in two. On the team’s side, there was the marsh, a few puddles of water here and there, with small saplings and bushes. Then, there was nothing but the bare ground and a kind of green-grey moss.

What had stopped Ira however wasn’t the end of vegetation. It was a kind of invisible barrier. Jonas placed his hands in the “air” in front, feeling. It felt slightly soft. His hand sank maybe half an inch into something that became increasingly harder and resistant. He could move his hand sideways a bit, but no deeper.

“So. We can’t go further. The Labyrinth ends here.”

Guss was feeling all around, then turned back.

“I think that the only way out is a Gate.”

“Your cousin told you about that?” asked Alton.

“No, just that Gates was how you moved fast. But apparently, they’re how you move at all?”

“So, where do we go now?”

Jonas squinted. If you knew where to look, you could spot the top of the Gate in the distance.

“We can try to follow this ‘wall’. But if the other Gates are a bit too far from it, we won’t see them. Or we go back to the Plaza and try a different direction,” offered Jonas.

“The Plaza is far. It took us two days,” countered Laura, looking doubtful.

“About that…” said Jonas, drawing the team’s looks.

 

Location

Zone: Ovildian (tier 1)

Locale: Virman Marsh Border

Recall: Ovildian, The Plaza

Recall: available

Gates: 0/1

Fast travel: none, next in 5 days

 

“If you look at the Interface, you see that we have something that says Recall to that Plaza. Which is now available.”

“You think that’s something we can do?” asked Ira.

“Probably. We still haven’t a Gate, but the Plaza is clearly labelled.”

Laura gasped.

“What?”

Motes of light were swirling all around her. Jonas goggled.

“What’s happening? Laura?”

She became transparent and then her silhouette vanished. Jonas nearly panicked, then checked.

 

Team

 

Professions

Health

Mind

Jonas Sims

Arcanist (2)

184/184

186/186

Jonathan Gilbert

Watcher (2)

184/184

172/172

Ira Heard

Defender (2)

212/212

186/186

Guss Fullmore

Mender (2)

194/194

196/196

Laura Harvey

Breaker (2)

186/186

184/184

Alton Raby

Pointer (2)

196/196

194/194

 

She apparently was unharmed by whatever happened. But her status was… somewhat dimmed. Then he realized what the difference felt like. It was like she was distant.

“Ok, I think I know what happened. She tried that recall thing, and went back to the Plaza.”

“Oh?”

“Really?”

Jonas mentally tried to feel the Recall and immediately got a notice

Recall to Ovildian, The Plaza in progress. 10s.

The time started going down. As the same lights started around him, he yelled.

“Use the Recall on the Interface. It’s fast.”

The marsh faded. For a fraction of second, Jonas felt that empty space, like he had during those strange moments when the London Gate had seized him. He had a fraction of panic, but the marble plaza appeared in nearly no time, without that terrible pain. He breathed in relief.

Laura’s gaze turned to him, and she started running. Then, a pillar of light dropped from the sky next to her position, and Guss came out. Then, one by one, the other three team members appeared all over the plaza.

 

Location

Zone: Ovildian (tier 1)

Locale: Ovildian, The Plaza

Recall: Ovildian, The Plaza

Recall: 23 hours 59 minutes

Gates: 0/1

Fast travel: none, next in 5 days

 

“Okay. We can use that when we want, at most once a day.”

“Well, so much for needing Gates to be fast. Thanks, cousin Luther,” said Guss in a mocking tone.

Jonas then realized something.

“We can come back at any time and follow the river again. So, we can find that tier 2 Gate anytime we want.”

Laura acquiesced.

“That means we can really explore.”

Then Ira laughed.

“Yes, but now, we only have cats around. No more boars, berries and roots.”

Jonathan said, “if I remember right, there were still a few trees. The sun’s setting, and we can camp at the Plaza this time.”

“And we should find more prey next time. We just got just enough for dinner today.”

 

As they came out, Laura spotted the cats lounging next to the brook. Two level 6 minions. They all looked at each other and laughed. Then Ira raised his sword, yelled, and charged.

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A note from Vincent Archer

2 days, some gear and they're the masters of the world.


About the author

Vincent Archer

  • France

Bio: Vincent Archer wrote his first story around age 11. On a mechanical typewriter, with carbon paper for a mimeograph to distribute in class. His teacher knew enough to make vague encouraging noises rather than really tell him what she thought. He wrote more stories afterward, but Time has thankfully managed to erase every trace of them.

Now that his career has settled in a mix of routine and insanity and that he's figured out that herding cats would probably be easier, he's finally started to write stories again on a media rather than inside his brain. Some of those are even potentially good enough to show to other people.

Silvergates is his first attempt to finish one rather than admit defeat against the usual writer's block.

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