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Private The Tide Draws In

Discussion in 'Crystal Vales' started by The Governor, Nov 1, 2018.

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  1. The Governor

    The Governor The Walking Dead
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    Tag: @Alice Liddell.
    Date: 29th Oct, Year 108.

    [​IMG]
    The Tigernor roamed the cliffs overlooking the beach, the short grass cool and prickly against the fleshy pads of his paws. Waves of wind gusted across the high, open landscape and rippled the vegetation, as well as his bright red and black pelt. It was hard to tell apart the whispered rumble of the wind and sea, which was occasionally punctured by the shrill shriek of a seagull.

    Clouds dominated the sky, though they were light rather than dark, so he was at least spared rain. The sun shone out from around the uneven edges of one of the clouds, but it wasn’t enough to stop the beach and cliffside from looking dull and dingy. He would’ve thought it was later in the day if his belly wasn’t telling him it was time to hunt. Wasn’t it always time to hunt?

    He wouldn’t find his prey on the beach, unless he grew fins and gills. Tiger shark. More and more of the tide was creeping into the bay, devouring the powdery white sand and beginning to fill the mysterious little grottoes and cave systems. He hadn’t noticed one living soul down below, which was a damn good thing ‘cos of the tide flooding the beach, threatening to drown anybody that got in its way. Then again, he was always in need of more good deeds…

    Philip was heading towards a patch of dark, tangled woodland at the fringes of the beach, figuring he’d have more luck tracking down a meal among the trees and brush. It ought to also provide him with some cover against the violent wind, the cold having long since seeped through his skin. He would’ve been a hell load colder down below, thrashing around in the rising sea.

    The Tigernor licked his lips, imagining the sharp, metallic taste and smell of his prey’s blood. It’d sure beat the sour tang of salt, which was assaulting his nostrils and taste buds. Unbeknown to him, he was gonna have to go without a hot square meal some time yet…
     
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  2. Alice Liddell

    Alice Liddell Alice in Wonderland
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    If Alice Liddell was anything, it was brave. But the bravery was a child’s kind, one that also came with a foolhardy nature. A nature that told her she could do anything, be anyone she wanted to be. So even though her last experience near the caves had almost gotten her beloved Miss Swan taken away by the fae, she wasn’t put off from exploring other depths. Perhaps it was because she was constantly in awe of the elder blonde who was so fearless, combined with her own undying curiosity.

    Unfortunately, the girl hadn’t counted on the tide coming in when she had begun making her way across the rocks. Alice’s only real brush with such a tide before now was in Wonderland, when she’d been trapped in a bottle. What had she been thinking, coming out here alone and without any sort of practical protection? She could only imagine Miss Swan’s face, upon hearing of her drowning…

    No! She wouldn’t let that happen.

    The girl placed one foot tentatively on a protruding rock. This proved to be a terrible mistake, as her shoe slipped on the wet surface. Fortunately, she managed to grip firmly onto another rock, but it wasn’t enough to completely save her, and she hung perilously close to the edge, the sea crashing down on her tiny form.

    “Help!” Alice screamed over the roaring waves, “Please, someone help me!”
     
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  3. The Governor

    The Governor The Walking Dead
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    The cry of a young, shrill voice rang out from below his paws. He peered over the worn edge of the clifftop, seein’ a small, vulnerable figure struggling among an outcrop of smooth, slippery rocks, roiling waves crashing against ‘em. The child, the girl, was gonna lose her hold, get dragged out to sea, drown, unless he did somethin’ to help.

    He charged down a stony path that’d been cut into the dirt and rock, the wind screaming in his ears and tearing at his fur coat. The path gently sloped and zigzagged down the notched side of the cliff to the shrinking beach, costing him precious time he could’ve spent helping the kid.

    Damn.

    The Tigernor snatched wild glances at her as he barrelled down the meandering track, making sure she hadn’t been dragged off by the sea. If that happened to the girl, he would have to leap into the sea, bear the icy bite of its waters and fight against the thrashing current.

    A cave was set into the foam splattered rock behind the kid, black and yawning like an expectant maw. Maybe the thundering water would drive her into it instead, which he guessed was better than being dragged out to sea. At least slightly.

    He was closing in on her perilous position when he caught sight of a hulking wave rising up outta the ocean, ready to smash itself on that particular outcrop of rocks…
     
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  4. Alice Liddell

    Alice Liddell Alice in Wonderland
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    As the tide drew further in, Alice began to cry, praying that someone would hear her pleas. It looked futile, however, as she could barely hear herself over the whooshing of the water. Her tiny hands were white from her grip on the cliff edge and she shivered in the winter air.

    Alice cried out again, and thought she could perhaps sense a figure nearby, maybe above her, as she could make out slight rockfall. But she wasn’t going to be too hopeful; after all, who would think to look for her here? Miss Swan was very perceptive, but the girl hadn’t got the chance to say where she had gone.

    At once, a wave, a very large wave, swept over where Alice was unfortunately hanging. She screamed as the force of the wave loosened her grip on the on the rocks. However, she didn’t tumble over the edge and fall into the sea some feet below her. Instead the direction of the current sent her backwards, into the darkness of the cave. It was safer than the former outcome, but she still was in danger, the water spilling down her throat and choking her.
     
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  5. The Governor

    The Governor The Walking Dead
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    The wave smashed into the cluster of dark, shiny rocks, knocking the girl into the foaming water and dragging her towards the black gaping maw. She was gulped down by the cave in one greedy go. Damn. He was gonna have to freeze his balls off going after the kid.

    Philip flung himself into the sea, the salt water stinging his one good eye and two good nostrils, its bitter cold stealing away his breath. He kicked out with his hind legs, the gravelly rumble of the water in his ears as he struggled to break the surface with his head.

    The current yanked and tugged at him, keeping him under and preventing him from drawing air into his lungs. His vision was blurry, making it hard to determine which way the water was carryin’ him. He was screwed if he wound up stranded in the middle of the sea.

    Chest hot and tight, he managed to rear his head free of the churning waves in time to see the wide mouth of the cave looming up in front of him. The Tigernor was sent hurtling down its steep, serpentine throat in a flood of seawater and bubbling foam.

    It seemed like forever before the esophagus of the cave widened into a dark chamber or stomach, which was easily bigger than the inside of a church. Water sloshed at the bottom, barely filling a quarter of the vast cavern. He guessed that was good... They wouldn’t drown in here immediately.

    He hit the water with a sharp kersplash, which echoed crisply in the sealed space of the stone belly. Water continued to pour in the tiny hole that was now far above his head, reminding him that he had limited time to rescue the girl before this place flooded and drowned ‘em.

    Philip began to doggy paddle across the huge cavern, hoping to track down the kid. What if she’d struck her head on a rock? What if she was lyin’ facedown in the water and dark, unconscious or dead? What if she wasn’t even in this part?
     
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  6. Alice Liddell

    Alice Liddell Alice in Wonderland
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    Alice tried her best to stay afloat, small hands grabbing at anything she could, in vain. She coughed hard multiple times as the water attacked her and smothered her. She ended up splashing into a large cavern, finally giving her space to breathe. She was flung into a far corner, her head barely missing the sharp outcrop of a rock, coughing and heaving. Water was still pouring in, but at least she was safe from drowning now.

    Barely conscious, Alice tried to heave herself up the slippery wall, wanting to keep her head from the water. It was then she heard the noise, echoing. Peering into the distance, droplets falling from her eyelashes, she could make out the silhouette of an animal.

    Pressing herself into the wall, she threw her arms over her face and croaked out between coughs, “Please don’t eat me! I mean you no harm! I just want to get out of here!”
     
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  7. The Governor

    The Governor The Walking Dead
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    A child’s voice rang out from a shadowy corner of the cavern, echoing hollowly against the wet, rugged rock. His heart seemed to give a big leap in his chest. He’d found the little girl.

    Penny. No. Not Penny.

    He doggy paddled over to the place where he’d heard the pleas, seein’ her tryin’ to cling to one of the slippery walls. Snorting softly, he paddled as close to her as she’d allow him, offering her the broad, striped expanse of his back. She could ride him like a goddamn dolphin.

    The Tigernor floated in the same spot, turning his head to take in more of the sepulchral cavern. There was a flat ledge opposite them, rising up outta the murky, lapping water and carryin’ on down a dark maw. A tunnel? That was worth checking out with the kid.

    He chuffed quietly, urging her to trust him.
     
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  8. Alice Liddell

    Alice Liddell Alice in Wonderland
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    This was the end, surely. She’d been stupid enough to come to back here, after what had happened to Miss Swan. The water hadn’t been enough to kill her, now she was going to meet a grisly end from this tiger.

    She peeked through her arms as the animal splashed closer, before making a noise. Alice dared to lower her arms and saw he was turned towards her, as though asking to hold onto him. “Y-you’re not here to eat me, are you?” She then wondered what a tiger would be doing in here of all places – perhaps they’d got dragged in too?

    Slowly Alice paddled forward, and clambered onto his back as best she could, shivering from the cold. He hadn’t made a move to attack her, and she doubted she could have got this close if he’d wanted to harm her.

    “Are you lost, too? I’m so glad I’m not alone, although I’m sorry you’re stuck out here too! I’m sure there’s a way out!” Despite her fear moments ago, Alice was back to her optimistic, kind self. Funny how children were like that.
     
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  9. The Governor

    The Governor The Walking Dead
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    The girl managed to clamber on top of him, which buoyed his spirits. He was helping her and earning himself his good deed. The Tigernor snorted to acknowledge her words, a familiar frustration tightening the muscles of his chest. If only he could talk. He’d tell her about the flat ledge opposite ‘em, the tunnel, how it could potentially lead ‘em out to safety.

    Philip’d cleared half the distance to the ledge when things started goin’ to hell. A tentacle as large as a tree trunk burst out the water in front of him, suckers pulsing down its length. The flesh was leathery and green, the color reminiscent of the slimy, viscous skin on top of a stagnant pond. He even caught a whiff of that similar dirty, festering scent.

    The huge tentacle groped close to his striped head, causing him to snarl venomously and veer out of its way. He kicked and thrashed against the turbulent, confused current, eager to reach the ledge and escape the writhing green limb. This good deed was dangerous enough without a goddamn sea creature tryin’ to eat ‘em.

    Another tentacle erupted from the churning water behind him, reaching out to the girl on his back. It aimed to curl itself around her body as though a snake that would strangle its prey.
     
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  10. Alice Liddell

    Alice Liddell Alice in Wonderland
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    As they moved forward, Alice began to see the outline of the ledge in the distance, although the darkness prevented her from seeing any further. She was very grateful to the tiger and would have to thank them properly once they hopefully escaped from her.

    Alice screamed as an unwelcome tentacle shot out of the water, a very large tentacle. Was anything ever simple? The smell of it made her feel sick, but she had more important things to worry about than vomiting.
    “Leave him alone!” The girl shouted angrily as it came close to the tiger’s head and enveloped him. She had half a mind to take off her soggy shoe and smack the thing, when another tentacle shot from the water and began to curl around her.

    Alice wriggled as it tightened around her; kicking at it proved fruitless. She began to slip off the tiger’s back and gasped for breath. She really didn’t want to do this, given how slimy it was, but she had no other choice.

    Craning her neck, the girl bit down on the tentacle, hard, really sinking her teeth in. The taste of it was unbearable, but there was nothing else she could do. The possibility she might poison herself had never come into play.
     
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  11. The Governor

    The Governor The Walking Dead
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    She bit the thick, rubbery tentacle like a terrier after rats, causing it to jolt as though it’d come into contact with an electrical socket. It released her and shot back down into the water with a ripple of red tinged bubbles and foam. She must’ve bit it real hard. Good girl.

    He gently nosed at her to scramble back on him, before he went paddling desperately towards the platform, tentacles that dripped water springing up around ‘em like fleshy, twisted skyscrapers in a bad dream. Drawing inspiration from the kid, he bit and scratched at any that drew too close to ‘em, making the limbs flinch back and ooze more bright drops of blood. Served ‘em damn right.

    The current shifted behind him, propelling girl and tiger the rest of the way to the platform. He snatched glimpses of a bald, leathery mass of flesh emerging from the roiling water with slow dignity, a pair of bulbous eyes mounted above a writhing tangle of snake-like limbs. Its pupils were horizontal slits, which shrank down into tiny black lines at the sight of them.

    It unleashed a shrill, prehistoric scream, which thundered around the enclosed space of the cavern. A long, fang shaped formation of stone broke away from the ceiling and hit the water with a noisy crash, accompanied by the lighter plops of a series of rocks. Philip felt an icy hand grasp hold of his heart. They were lucky that they hadn’t been floating underneath that stone formation.

    The sea monster launched itself at ‘em, making him reconsider his point.
     
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  12. Alice Liddell

    Alice Liddell Alice in Wonderland
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    Alice wiped her mouth immediately afterwards on the back of her arm, trying to get rid of the horrendous taste. But her idea worked, and the tentacle flew back into the depths, blood forming in the water.
    She scrambled back onto the tiger, not wanting to give whatever it was a chance to grab them again. More tentacles shot up, and as the animal fended them off, so did the girl, kicking and punching any that got too near.

    They were soon at the ledge, thanks to the current. But Alice’s hopes of being free anytime soon were dashed as the rest of the creature that the tentacles had belonged to rose out of the water. It was an ugly, terrifying creature, like an octopus but more monstrous. A large stone fell from the ceiling, startling Alice.

    The monster lunged forward at them, and Alice did the only thing she could think of; she grabbed her shoe and threw it, aiming for one of its’ bulbous eyes, before she jumped out of the way, gently tugging the tiger to do the same.
     
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  13. The Governor

    The Governor The Walking Dead
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    The girl threw her shoe at the sea monster and incredibly, it helped ‘em, lodging into one of its huge eyes with a wet squish. It let out a shrill, strangled shriek, rearing back from ‘em, its fat tentacles writhing and squirming around like a nest of wounded serpents.

    Philip took full advantage of its disorientation, splashing the last few feet to the platform. He dug his claws into the stone and hefted ‘em both up on to flat, dry land, water trickling down his barrel shaped belly. His limbs felt heavy, ungraceful, without the water bearing ‘em.

    The creature was lunging at girl and tiger again, its eye scrunched shut and swollen. He hurtled inside the narrow tunnel. The sea monster was too big to fit in after ‘em, but it squeezed in a couple of its long, rubbery limbs, which groped at the walls blindly. He sure as hell hoped this tunnel didn’t lead to a dead end…

    Huffing from the exertion, he continued on at a gallop, his hopes lifting as the smooth stone floor below his paws began to rise steadily upwards. Maybe this path would lead ‘em back out into the daylight? Were things usually that easy, though?
     
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  14. Alice Liddell

    Alice Liddell Alice in Wonderland
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    Alice’s plan worked, and she would have cried out in triumph, had the war between them been over. She always disliked hurting others, especially animals or other creatures, but there was nothing else she could do, lest they be swallowed up, never to be seen again.

    She coughed up what water she’d swallow lunging away from the creature, relieved they’d hit land. She screamed as the creature came after them, angrier than ever now its eye was swollen. Fortunately, the tiger managed to get them both into the tunnel before it could grab them, although it didn’t give up once they were in there.

    As they continued along the tunnel, which slowly began to rise upwards, Alice gently patted the side of tiger in a ‘thank you’ sort of motion. The walls began to shake as the creature, now far behind them, pounded at the wall with its tentacles.

    “Oh, we must get out of here quickly, Mr Tiger! Before it caves us in! Look, I think I see something up ahead!” Could it really be a light?
     
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  15. The Governor

    The Governor The Walking Dead
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    He snorted his agreement, lagging a little from first splashing around in that oversized pond, then having to gallop through the tunnel, his lungs burnin’ from exertion. Ahead, he glimpsed a small, silvery disc of light. Could that have been the flash of the sun?

    “You’re going the wrong way,” a soft, sweet female voice crooned at them.

    The Tigernor welcomed the opportunity to slow to a walk, turning his large striped head to glimpse a tall, willowy woman emerge from the dense shadows. She would’ve been naked had thick sashes woven out of seaweed not covered her modest breasts and hips. Her skin was smooth, a buttery brown. She was pretty, but there was somethin’ cruel about the narrowness of her chin, her lips thin and taut. Her scent was the sharp salt of the sea.

    “This path leads only to a ledge that overlooks the ocean. There’s no way off it without being at the mercy of the water again,” she told them. “I can take you a different way.”

    She smiled at tiger and child, her eyes hard and icy in the dim light.
     
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  16. Alice Liddell

    Alice Liddell Alice in Wonderland
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    Alice wasn’t charmed by the ethereal woman; all it reminded her of was the evil head fairy in the caves near here, that had almost cost Miss Swan her life. She narrowed her blue eyes at the woman, irritated that there was yet another distraction hindering their escape.

    “I don’t believe her, Mr. Tiger, and neither should you!” The girl concluded, pointing an accusatory finger at the scantily clad figure. “You’re just here to make trouble, to lead us to our deaths. Well, I won’t have it! Be gone!”
     
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  17. The Governor

    The Governor The Walking Dead
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    The stranger didn’t even try to shoot down the girl’s accusations, hissing shrilly like a snake and baring a set of narrow, yellowed fangs. Her once lovely skin shrivelled up to the color and texture of ancient leather, her face a sparse flesh covered skull. She sprouted a series of bristly, black spider legs from her waist, which ended in serrated tips, each one sturdy as steel.

    “I’m not going to lead you to your deaths,” she rasped at them, drooling blue tinged saliva from her fangs. A pair of red eyes blinked open in her lined forehead. “You’ve already found them!”

    The creature launched herself at ‘em, Philip whirling around to dash towards the silvery glimmer of light, ears flattened to his head. She struck out with one of her grim, misshapen limbs, knocking his hind legs out from under him. He pitched over on his front with a guttural wail, losing precious seconds. Shit. He’d rather deal with the goddamn kraken.
     
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  18. Alice Liddell

    Alice Liddell Alice in Wonderland
    The Dream Child

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    If the situation weren’t so terrifying, Alice would have shouted triumphantly, “I knew it!” The girl screamed at the once ethereal woman, and held on tight as the tiger turned away as it lunged towards them. Both of them went down with a bump as the thing aimed for the animal’s legs.

    At his wail, Alice glared at the monster. Although one shoe was lost, the girl kicked out with the other foot in only a way a child knows how; it was a kick one would do when feeling particularly petulant, if one wasn’t getting their own way. The girl had never acted in such a manner to a person, but she still knew exactly what to do, and she struck the limb that was still slightly outstretched, the one that had so callously knocked over Mr. Tiger! Even at the cost of losing a limb to those sharp legs...

    “Leave him alone, you old hag!”
     
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  19. The Governor

    The Governor The Walking Dead
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    The girl kicked out at the spider-woman, catching her in the most vulnerable part of her misshapen bristly leg. It bent at an awkward angle with a gristly crack, her shrill scream of pain and outrage echoing tinnily down the dark, narrow tunnel.

    Philip rushed to take advantage of her distraction, scrambling back up to his paws and checking the girl was with him, before tearing off towards that welcoming pinprick of sunlight. The spider-woman hadn’t broken his hind leg, but it stung like hell. He swivelled his ears around at the sharp, abrasive sound of her scuttling after ‘em. She hissed like a wounded serpent.

    He was only a few yards from the cheerful light when the earth crumbled beneath ‘em, tiger and girl pitching into a chamber that stunk of raw sewage and rotten fish. Philip hit slimy stone with a guttural grunt, a little winded from the impact. Where the hell were they now? A tall pile of fish skeletons towered opposite ‘em, picked clean and gleaming in the gloom.

    Above their heads, the spider-woman’s piercing cackles tumbled down from the ragged hole in the tunnel. She threatened and taunted ‘em, mocked and jeered ‘em, claimed she would’ve given ‘em a quick death. Instead, the creature that lived down here would kill ‘em slow, without end.

    Damn. How were they supposed to get outta this hole now?
     
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