Author’s Note: This was written live on stream, with the tone being determined by the numbers under minesweeper tiles. The audience could bid tokens earned in stream to reveal random tiles. A mine hit results in the death of all characters, unless they are temporarily saved by a lump sum of tokens. If characters make it to the end of the stream, they survive to be seen another day. Join us at twitch.tv/blainearcade if you wish to participate.
1-peace 2-alert 3-escalation 4-action 5-tragedy 6-world-changing
The minefield has been moved. It now connects the Trap to a new world, a new game. There is no destruction this time, nothing forcing them to flee. Only the brave, curious, and strange will take the journey. Who will step through the fog and face the myriad dangers of the field?
Three enter: Glitterhook the pirate who thinks he’s a unicorn, Cricketty the empty bent mimic chest, and Sailor Midnight the Gothic sailor booted from her ship.
Most entered the Minefield via the flat paths that were grassy or stony. There was one route however, where a mighty river in the world of cruel boulders merged with a leftover waterway in the field. The resulting rushing path was a tumultuous mix of waters that fought each other. Few ships would dare sail them, but one did.
It was hardly a ship really, more of an overgrown canoe with a canvas roof and two chambers divided by thin plywood. In it were three refugees. Glitterhook the pirate worked the oars. He was a stocky fellow in some kind of white onesie topped with a unicorn horn, as if this adventure had interrupted a nap of his. Cricketty, an enchanted and nearly broken treasure chest, sat quietly in the corner. Sailor Midnight, clothes and eyes as black as her name, stood at the bow.
There was no predicting when or where a current of their world would smash into a current of the Minefield, but they knew one occurred under them moments after it happened. Two waves formed on opposite sides of the river, keeping pace with the boat, sizing each other up.
“Can we get out of the way?” Cricketty asked, flapping his lid. He was an empty chest and he preferred to keep it that way. He remembered the horror stories about his waterlogged cousin Crackilatch.
“We’ve only got one horsepower,” Glitterhook grunted as he worked the oars.
“Let them come,” Sailor Midnight said. “If we can’t survive these waters we should be under them.” The two waves moved in, looking to clap the small ship between them and smash the life out of the refugees.
The waves met in combat, slapping each other with their crests. The shed water rained down on the trio and quickly filled the bottom of their vessel.
“Make yourself useful, box,” Sailor Midnight ordered Cricketty. “You look like you’d make a fine bucket.” The mimic hopped forward and dropped on his face, sucking up as much water as he could. He then leapt to the boat’s edge and spat it out with a nasty sound like an iron-booted jump into a mud puddle. The wave’s scuffle continued as he tried to bail them out. The waves shouted at each other, making claims to the riverbed and any sailors killed within.
6! – All double rolls now elevated by +1
The waves smashed together. It was the largest clash of forces in the history of the Minefield. The clap of the collision instantly deafened both of the humans aboard the boat. They tumbled in circles, their thoughts blasted out of their heads.
These equal forces could not destroy each other, only merge. When all was settled the two currents had become one. With their power combined they were a river that pulled not just water, but everything of the Minefield. Its grass and soil moved as if on a conveyor belt, pulled toward the furthest end. There was a new constant wind pushing the goldenrod clouds to the Trap.
The boat moved in the swift new river; it took hours for those aboard to recover. Cricketty had lost half his wood in splinters and now had holes resembling eyes in his lid. Blood stained either side of Glitterhook’s white hood, thanks to his ruptured eardrums. Sailor Midnight was in the same condition; the two humans were soaking wet and piled on top of each other.
It was a miracle they hadn’t sunk, but it came at the price of their hearing. Cricketty moved close to them while they were dazed. His magical blue tongue flicked out. Mimics loved the taste of blood, as it sustained their enchanted bodies. Still, this wasn’t a fair time to take it. He hadn’t earned the sweet red with any trickery.
“Just a taste,” Cricketty whimpered. He deserved it after what they’d been through. It was already out of their bodies anyway; it wasn’t like they were going to put it back in. The tip of his tongue dragged across Glitterhook’s cheek. The whole box shuddered with the taste of it.
He might not have been able to stop himself if Glitterhook didn’t do it for him. The burly man’s hand shot up and grabbed the tongue, squeezing mercilessly. Cricketty had just enough time notice that the man’s nails were polished to a shine before the pain set in.
3 +1 – 4
“You evil thing!” Glitterhook roared. Suddenly the dark red spots on the side of his hood looked like bleeding eyes. He whipped the mimic around by its tongue and threw it into the swift waters. “How dare you drink the blood of a unicorn!” He stopped a moment later, gasping. He couldn’t hear his own voice.
“Where is… I can’t hear…” Midnight Sailor grumbled as she got to her feet. Glitterhook had no idea how to communicate with her, but in his rage he was sure the mimic had sucked the sense of hearing right out of their heads with his magical tongue. He pointed out into the water, right at the holey chest as it tried to stay afloat. Then he practically jammed a finger into his own ear. Midnight Sailor nodded. Both left their boat behind, diving in to make short work of Cricketty.
The newborn river had different plans for them. Instilled within it was a fresh will. From its clashing identities came the desire to be empty, to move every living thing out of the Minefield and into the Trap; that way no eyes could judge the strange water.
Any time one of the humans came close to snagging Cricketty the current sped up and separated them between any logs and boulders in the water’s path. It robbed them of what little energy they had left, turning them into nothing but bobbing bath toys. Cricketty used his tongue as a rudder to further the distance between them all.
Out of energy and with Cricketty shrinking ahead of them, the humans embraced each other and let the water take them. They had nothing to stare at except each other’s eyes. Sailor Midnight’s were practically black, while Glitterhook’s had wide scared pupils. There was so much they couldn’t say to each other anymore.
She couldn’t explain the way she’d been kicked off the ship she used to captain, stabbed in the back by the gargoyles of her old crew. She couldn’t tell him about the great black space beneath the world that she’d seen just before entering the Minefield.
1+1 – 2
She would’ve thought less of Glitterhook if he told her his story. The man long suffered the delusion that he was a reincarnated unicorn. He would’ve fought her gargoyle crew to the death, for they were of Hell and he was of the lost paradise his world used to be. He had clear memories of his mighty alabaster horn shattering the cruel boulders that tried to crush the foals of his herd.
If she could hear he might’ve told her that he couldn’t care about anything but the future of his kind. He hoped the world on the other side had other lost equine spirits to commune with. If it did, if enough escaped, then the unicorns would run again and trample any life capable of cruelty.
(Chat-Determined) – 1
Eventually a flock of giant flying napkins appeared overhead. Their movement was largely serene, but they occasionally, and frantically, flapped about, dealing with the new turbulence of the permanent wind. Some of them swooped low, trying to offer the humans a ride, but they were too wet. Any attempt to board would’ve sunk and ruined the napkin. Every time one swooped low Sailor Midnight reached out and ran her hand across it.
“Where do you think we’re going?” she asked Glitterhook, but of course he couldn’t hear. Even holding him tightly she was trapped, alone, in her mind. That was not a good place to be when you’ve seen more than ten thousand forms of darkness.
The river finally came to an end, sending the trio to separate sandy shores. The water continued on; they heard it roaring beneath them as it fell off the edge of the Minefield into a nothingness they couldn’t comprehend.
Their own progress was blocked by a wall of fog. It was the exit for the river, not for them. They would have to walk along the fog until they found one. There was just one problem. Cricketty was on the other bank. The river didn’t want them together, but the humans still wanted their vengeance against the blood-drinking box.
Sailor Midnight and Glitterhook ran their fingers across their throat, staring across the river. They wanted Cricketty to know he was dead if they got so much as a polished nail on him. The box, quaking in his hinges, turned around and started hopping away. Even if there was no exit in that direction, there was likely to be less death aimed at him.
Glitterhook tapped Midnight’s shoulder and pointed up. There was still one napkin circling about, confused by the new wind. That could get them across. The two shouted at it and waved their arms, unaware, especially in their deafness, what such shouts could draw in.
The craft did eventually descend to them and allow them aboard, but only after the wind had dried them sufficiently. By that time Cricketty was long gone. Still, they bent the napkin’s corners in his direction and pursued.
The first thing they noticed was the change to the fog. It looked stretched in places. They came to the tears, fluttering in the wind. Glitterhook stuck one hand in the gaseous gash, but it was rejected. This was no entrance either.
The napkin was forced to slow when it came across a cathedral. Several shreds of fog were stretched and skewered on its spires, thus the air around it was difficult for their craft to navigate. An infernal barking came from within the building, alongside the fluttering of wings.
1+1 – 2
Somehow the cathedral was fixed in the ground,even though all the land, water, and air moved around it. The Minefield’s new conveyor belt effect stretched across the entire world sliver, but didn’t touch those two dots: cathedral and funnel.
The funnel was a mess of wooden boards and tape. It looked like the entrance to a shoddily-constructed child’s slide, yet it was the only fixed point in the fog. Dirt cascaded on both sides of it, dumped into the same nothingness as the river.
(Chat-Determined) – Mine! – Glitterhook saved
They spotted Cricketty staring into the funnel, too afraid to enter. They dove for him, but they weren’t the only hunters. The cathedral shuddered and cracked. They couldn’t know, but inside was a monster born from the debris of a beast beyond reality. It didn’t care about the size or weight of its cage. It was lighter than a napkin to the owl-dachshund trapped inside.
The beast smelled them and pounced. Even though it collided with a stone wall it still made progress. The whole cathedral jumped, its shadow crossing over the trio and their funnel exit. The collision was nearly a rival of the battling rivers. It was pure luck for anything to survive as the building slammed down on the edge of the Minefield and sent out a shock wave.
In the tumbling chaos Glitterhook fell from the napkin and into the funnel. It was a slide, albeit one filled with sharp trash, and it dropped him off in an abandoned area of the Trap. He jumped up and looked over his shoulder. All gone. All back in the field. Cricketty and Sailor Midnight were dead under the cathedral. It was just him now, and the myriad prisoners of the rebellious Trap.
Minefield traversed! Glitterhook will join in the stories ahead. The rebels of the Trap can make their move.