Instruments: Deck of Cards, Block Tower, 1d6, 10 Tokens
This is a game about atonment and damnation. You find yourself wandering through an abandoned town covered in mists and monsters, searching for the thing in your past that brought you here.
Game Content WarningsThese are content warnings that are from the game prompts and are present in all playthroughs.
Playthrough Content WarningsThese are content warnings specific to this playthrough only.
Word Count: 5,939 Played:Jan 2-7, 2021
The Absolution and Retribution of Maret Hurra
I have found myself trapped within the town of Rapid Cliff with no sight of Hendrick. The mist seems to have no end and I can see nothing beyond its depths. The air is heavy like a blanket made of frost and I hear scratching and creatures baying deep within the fog. Everything here is rotting from the inside out. It’s as if the entire city has been abandoned for centuries and merely stands on spite alone. I hope I can manage to fend them off, whatever THEY are, long enough until I find Hendrick or at least find a way out of this place. Hendrick, why did you bring me here? What is it you have to show me?
|Jack of Hearts||You stayed in an abandoned house but you draw attention and must abandon it Pull from the tower.|
|4 of Clubs||You and your loved one got into an argument with someone else, and you left, did they ever forgive you?|
|Ace of Clubs||You find a letter from your loved one saying they are sorry for how they treated you and they want you to be happy. Don’t pull from the tower. the next time you are told.|
I thought I was safe in that home. The one with the vines growing around it in a sickly yellow color. I saw them outside today, too, the wretched feline creatures. I spent the entire day boarding up the place, moving furniture around and securing every small aspect of the rotten house, only to find that my banging and movements have attracted them.
They know that I’m here and they will stalk me until I am dead. I had to abandon it by breaking through one of the walls into the house next door.
It was there I saw it. Sitting on one of the rotten desks, a crisp, clean envelope with my name written on it in Hendrick’s handwriting. I was shaking as I opened it and my dirty fingers smudged the clean envelope until it was filthy like me.
The contents spoke about our arguments with the doctors and with each other. He wrote eloquently and gently about how much he was sorry for his behavior and how he forgave me for leaving him when he fought endlessly with each doctor’s diagnosis. I began to cry again and dropped both the letter and myself to the floor.
|6 of Diamonds|| During the night the structure catches fire and you barely escape
|Ace of Spades||You find another person wandering who tries to kill you and you manage to kill them first. How do you kill them?|
I fell asleep by that desk for a while before the smoke stung my eyes and forced me awake. I scrambled to my feet and fled the building, felines and other creatures skittering around also making their way out into the open.
I found locked door after locked door with the building coming down around me. I was fortunate that I was on the first floor and broke through a window with the remains of an old chair. I climbed through, cutting myself on the glass around me and felt the creatures scurry over my body and claw at my back as they escaped into the night.
I coughed and sputtered on the sick grass below me when I saw her approach. A figure from the dark, carrying a torch and laughing wildly. She swung it at me and I narrowly avoided being hit by rolling out of the way.
She screeched that I will burn along with this city and all the plants and creatures. I saw her face, it was covered in burns and her long hair was singed around the edges. She lunged at me again and I stumbled to my feet, a shard of glass in my hand.
I could only feel the blood dribble down my arm as it cut into my palm and I tackled her to the ground before stabbing her over and over again with the glass. She screamed and beat me with the torch before coughing and sputtering to an end.
The fire crawled up my clothes and clawed at my skin before I rolled into the mist-laden grass to extinguish it.
|7 of Spades||You can’t get out of bed today, Pull from the tower. and return your tasks, and reshuffle them into the deck|
I lay bleeding in my bedroll in another abandoned building. I think this might have been a library but all the books have molded into sludge. I rebandaged my hand and cleaned all of the glass cuts before returning back to sleep.
|5 of Clubs||you found the body of someone who looks like your love|
|3 of Spades||Did you really want your loved one dead? If yes -1 Token, Pull from the tower.|
I awoke to screaming. A loud piercing scream that shook every hair on my body and I ran out of the library without hesitation. I flew down the long corridors and pounded on every door until I heard the screaming stop.
I found myself in front of two large double doors that swung open from each side. They were the kind found in hospitals. My hands shook as I pushed them open and stepped into the filthy, rotten hospital.
All around me were beds and blankets covered in dirt and rust. I knew that some of them covered corpses and that I would be better off not touching them.
I proceeded to the end of the room, to the only bed that was separated with a partition. I could see the shadow of a person lying on bed through the curtain and I hesitated before pulling it open.
The man on the bed was Hendrick in every aspect except for the scar on his face. He was lying on the bed peacefully, for he was the only one not covered in the filth of the city. His eyes were open but unblinking like he was lost in a long daydream. His mouth was parted in a small smile and I knew that he was free from his pain.
I sat in a chair by the peaceful corpse for a long time before closing his eyes and pulling the sheet over him. I knew that Hendrick was like him, having found freedom in death from the pain and suffering. I had been selfish to make him prolong it and selfish again when I ended it.
I had taken his most important decision away for myself and though I knew he felt at peace I had placed upon myself an undue burden.
|5 of Spades||You see an image of your loved one calling you, you fall into a trap and tear apart the creatures, what do they taste like? Pull from the tower.|
|King of Hearts||You are being stalked, how do you hide?|
|2 of Hearts||What unsettles you about the mist?|
|3 of Clubs||What was your favorite memory of your loved one?|
|Jack of Spades||Where is your loved one within the town? Why can’t you reach them? Pull from the tower.|
|10 of Diamonds||A canine creature breaks your arm, Pull from the tower.|
I left the peaceful corpse and went back to the library and slept there again for the day. The safety I felt was a mistake and I awoke to a large hound breathing over my body.
It looked like Silver, the dog we had adopted all those years ago and who had died before Hendrick had fallen ill. I remember finding him on the streets and Hendrick begging to keep him until I relented. Our dog loved us to the end, sleeping with us in our bed, sharing our meals with us and the endless hours of loving comfort in each other’s presence.
I reached out to the canine in front of me, looking for familiarity but I was greeted with sharp fangs deep into my arm.
I screamed as it bit down hard and swung the nearest thing within grasp at the beast. It was the broken leg of a chair and it hit the canine hard in the side. It let go and I scrambled to my feet and bolted towards the doors that had led to the hospital. It snarled after me but I forced the doors closed as it tried to push its snout into the doors.
I kept running, through the rows and beds and towards the other side of the hospital room. I glanced at the partition and didn’t see the shadow of the peaceful corpse, only the empty bed.
I continued to run until I found myself outside again, surrounded by the mists. I fell into the grass and clutched my arm. It was bleeding heavily and wasn’t moving right. I was no doctor but I think it might have been fractured.
I watched as the mists swirled and began to take the shape of people. Their faces were twisted and screaming in pain. I closed my eyes and tried to focus on Hendrick. When I opened them the mists had parted for me and I could see clearly into the heart of the valley. Deep in the center of the mountains there was a large temple similar to the Ziggurat of Squ’hev. Upon the top step I saw a figure, dressed in the same red overcoat that I had bought Hendrick. It waved to me and I knew he was calling for me.
I was high in the mountains in the city dwellings and he was far, far below. I saw him vanish into the ziggurat and I knew I needed him and I knew where he was. I had a goal, a purpose.
I followed the path down towards the heart of the city for a long time when I began to feel the pangs of thirst. I stumbled into a nearby alleyway between the buildings, looking for one of the many fountains I had seen before when I heard it.
It was the soft patter of feet on the stone floor, the familiar sounds of a dog walking on the ground. The canine was back and I had to hide. I ran to the nearest doorway and bolted it shut. I could hear the canine stalking around outside and waited for what seemed like hours before it left .
I was still shaking but no longer thirsty. When I left the building the mists had become even thicker and I was unable to see more than a few feet in front of me. I stumbled along regardless.
It was then I saw a Hendrick in his red, red coat flash behind another building. I called after him and ran blindly into the alleyway to find a dead end and new, strange felines surrounding me on all sides. They hissed and snickered at me, padding closer, claws extended.
I was so close. I knew where he was and I would not be defeated. I ran into the group of the felines and kicked the nearest one. It shrieked and the others flung themselves at me. I was awash in the animals, all clawing and biting and fur. I grabbed one and ripped at it with my teeth and tasted it’s blood in my mouth. The others shrieked and I kicked at them until they had fled.
The blood in my mouth was cold and bitter and I spat it out on the ground. I took the corpse of the feline with me. If I wasn’t dead by the time I could build a fire I would cook it and eat it.
|Ace of Hearts||You find yourself begging for sanctuary and think you can only be granted forgiveness Pull from the tower. You can start doing token removal rolls now|
|Queen of Diamonds||You are pursued and fall into a sinkhole Pull from the tower.|
They were after me. They could smell the blood of the feline on my clothes and on my hands. I could almost see them through the mists but the screaming faces were becoming clearer and clearer with each passing minute.
I felt them reaching out and grabbing at my hair and skin but when I turned there was nothing. I saw my breath in the thick mist joining along with the faces when I heard it: the low growls and hisses from all sides. They came closer and were almost upon me.
I turned and fled down the street, rushing blindly through the fog. I turned and weaved around every corner I could find and grabbed the handles of every door but I found nothing. I was being pursued and hunted down to my end like the sickness in Hendrick.
Down the new alleyway and into a courtyard filled with plants and mist I saw the doors and windows were boarded. I didn't have the time to break them to hide from my pursuers and so I fled further and further into the city hoping for sanctuary.
Through my own tears and the mist I fell blindly into darkness. I hit the ground hard, the wind knocked from my broken ribs. The creatures above snarled and hissed but they did not enter the sinkhole with me.
I was safe in my prison for now but I was on the edge of collapse. I could see a pool of blood where I had hit my head and all I could think about was Hendrick and his red coat. Could I really ever leave if I found him?
Token Roll: 6
|8 of Clubs||What was the illness they died of? (a/n: Lung infection brought on by C. Fibrosis)|
|7 of Diamonds||You find a convenient store, get some food and see some maggots Pull from the tower. (a/n: I slightly misread this prompt and thought the food turned into maggots)|
When I awoke it was day again. My head had stopped bleeding by my sides and my lungs pierced me with every breath. I coughed and coughed but each breath was shortened into quick gasps.
I thought of Hendrick as he lay suffocating as his lungs rotted away from the recurring infections. I began to cry as I doubted their resistance to medication as the doctors had claimed.
I gasped again and pulled myself to my feet, thankful that the fall hadn’t hurt either of my legs. The mist was thinner down here and I was able to see a door at the edge of the sinkhole. The wood was slimy and waterdamanged and crumbled as I touched the knob.
I went through the passage, guided only by the light coming from the other end at the top of a staircase. I opened it with my good arm and found myself in the back of a grocery store.
Around me food molded and rotted and gave off a putrid stench I had long become accustomed to in this wretched place. I looked around in case there was anything useful and surprisingly found a stash of canned peaches. I was lucky they had a pop-lid and pried it open and emptied the contents into my mouth.
I didn’t care about the slightly-sour taste or the juices running down my neck and chest and I opened and ate three others before reaching for the fourth. I pried open the lid and out poured maggots. Thousands of them, more than the container should hold, spilled from the rim of the can and onto the floor.
I started to scream but the pain in my lungs shortened it into a gutteral gasp and I dropped the can on the floor and ran out of the store into the street. I began to weep as I wondered if the peaches in my stomach had turned as well.
Token Roll: 2
|Queen of Spades||What is the biggest lie you told your loved one and the biggest one you believed? Pull from the tower.|
|5 of Hearts||you set up a structure of cans to alert you of danger, they have been mangled and you fear you will never be safe Pull from the tower.|
|4 of Hearts||You hear a rustling to and force yourself into the attic, what do you find?|
|10 of Spades||Is this a symbol of your treachery or a place to atone? Pull from the tower.|
|5 of Diamonds||You find an old radio and hear static then your loved one What do they say? Pull from the tower.|
|8 of Spades||Why do you think they brought you here? Pull from the tower.|
I had returned to the store and taken the empty cans of peaches. They had turned into rust and the maggots had crawled away back into the darkness. Upstairs there was a small living area, complete with a moldy bed.
I placed the cans by the stairs so I would be alerted in the night as I slept. I felt safe for a moment and I collapsed on the bed, wheezing and crying.
I awoke to the sound of growling; the hound had returned. Its snarling came from downstairs and I knew that I needed a new exit. My cans were no longer by the door. In their place, small rusted spheres of twisted and jagged metal sat on the edge of the stairs ready to fall at any moment.
I had moments before I knew the beast would be upon me and I scoured around for any exit. Above me there was a small hatch, and attached to it, a slimy pull-cord. I reached for it and barely managed to reach it. When I pulled the entire thing crashed down and the ladder clanged against the floor.
The growling downstairs stopped as did my heart and I scrambled up the ladder moments before I saw the teeth of the hound appear at the top of the stairs.
I slammed the hatch down when I was through it and pushed the nearest crate on top of it. Below it barked and snarled the hound, but it could not break through.
I backed up to the wall furthest from the hatch and hid for an eternity. Eventually the hound gave up its pursuits and I felt safe enough to search my surroundings.
Molded crates line the corners of each wall and a lone desk stood in the center. It was illuminated by the sole window in the attic and seemed to glow under it.
I approached it and began to search through the drawers. Inside the center desk there was a blurry picture of a couple walking down the street and I knew it to be me and Milan. I dropped it immediately and collapsed in the chair.
I couldn’t conceive of Hendrick having known. There was no way for him to have found out. I told myself this every night when I went to sleep and every time I smiled at him. I told him I would always return, and I did. I loved Hendrick to the end, I told myself. I placed my head on the desk and I knew in my heart that he had known without anyone telling him. Had he brought me here because of it?
I had told myself I deserve love after the way he had treated me. I knew it was the illness speaking but I thought I had deserved to feel pleasure once more. Would he forgive me when he sees me in this condition--broken in all aspects of myself? Is this atonement?
I picked up the picture from the floor, and began methodically tearing it apart: first horizontal, then stacked the pieces together, then vertical, then together then again and again until it was too thick to tear.
I wiped my crying face as I opened the side drawer to put the pieces in it. Instead of being empty, there was a small two-way radio, barely audible but still crackling.
I turned up the volume and placed it on the desk, dumping the pieces in the drawer and shutting it. The radio responded only in static when I called out on it. I had seen other people here, maybe not all were as mad as the woman with the torch.
I called again and again before embracing the static like a noisy silence. I went to the large, round window and peered out into the dark street below. I saw nothing but the mists as white as the static.
It was then I heard my name on his voice. It crackled through the radio and I rushed to it. I called back, fantic and pleading but he only repeated over and over.
“Maret, I’m waiting. Come find me,” over and over the radio called to me before returning to the silence.
Token Roll: 5
|6 of Hearts||you find some pain killers, do you trust them? Pull from the tower.|
|9 of Hearts||You find a faucet that has red corrosive liquid. Do you drink it?|
|6 of Spades||You hear whispers about yourself what are you most self conscious about? Pull from the tower.|
|Queen of Hearts||You find yourself in a hospital maze Pull from the tower.|
|Queen of Clubs||You find a grave with your name on it, what does the epitaph say? Pull from the tower.|
I spent the night sleeping in the chair attic, my body contorting to find any form of comfort. When I awoke I was no longer in the attic space but lying down in a gurney in a vast hallway. Before me stretched a hallway of endless doors and rows of lights into darkness.
Behind me there was a single sign with an arrow that pointed towards the ICU. I passed by this sign more times than I can remember when I went to see Hendrick. I knew he wasn’t there, he was waiting for me in the heart of the city and I knew I had to find him.
I turned my back to it and went down the hallway, trying every door I could. Each was locked and each had whispers behind them. They spoke in low, hushed tones but in the way someone wants someone else to overhear.
They spoke of me, of how little I visited him, of how little I loved him and how little I was trying to find him. They grew louder and louder and more unified asking why I wasn’t looking for him until I screeched that he wasn’t here. Behind me a door blew open and I jumped before turning to look at it.
I went through it and found myself in front of the ICU sign again, the long hallway stretching behind me. I shook my head and turned my back on it again.
Further and further down the hall I shambled, trying each door again, sometimes finding one open and it leading back to the ICU sign.
Some were rooms of their own, a sink that spilled red fluid, a storage room with a jar of unmarked pills piled high in a tall glass, and one with a partition and a shadow with nothing to cast it.
All rooms and all passages lead to the sign. I turned my back to it once again before facing it one last time and turning the direction the arrow pointed.
I pushed myself through the double doors to find I was outside in a garden, surrounded by black roses and white mist. Down the sole path I went, cold and shivering until I found a single hole dug in the ground.
Before it a gravestone with my name on it. “Maret Hurra, Is it Possible to be Loved?”
My breath left my lungs in a painful squeeze and I fell forward into darkness.
Token Roll: 6
|2 of Diamonds||you collapse under debris and are bleeding from the leg Pull from the tower.|
|7 of Clubs||what was the last thing you said to your loved one that you regret?|
|Jack of Diamonds||you find yourself wandering outside the town and begin to freeze Pull from the tower.|
|8 of Hearts||what does it feel like to stare into the blackness of lights? Does the fire give you comfort?|
|10 of Clubs||You brought something sentimental, what was it?|
I woke at the bottom of the pit, surrounded on all sides by darkness except the small fire in front of me. I stumbled forward and sat by it for a long time. I couldn’t see the shapes in the mist in the dark but I knew they were out there. I could pretend for just a moment that I was safe here in this pit.
I spun the ring on my finger as I sat in front of the fire, thinking back to Hendrick and our vows and then to the hospital visits and then to our arguments. I had blamed him for my unhappiness, I meant to frame it as the illness’ fault but how do you separate the two? We fought but still I went to see him, every day in that wretched place.
My lungs were as hot as the fire in front of me but eventually I picked myself up and stumbled through the darkness hoping for a way out. I felt along the walls until the floor turned from dirt to wood beneath me. I followed along, hearing the creaks and groans under my weight but still I continued.
Eventually before me stood an old lamp and I saw that I was in a tunnel with a fork. There were no signs and each lead into identical darkness. I chose the one on the right and stumbled along in the dark.
All around me I could feel the air growing thinner and colder and the mists heavier. I choked on the fog as I continued forward in the dark. Each step the passage grew colder and colder and I felt the skin on my body start to freeze. My hair stood on end and my breath was solid in front of me.
I felt deep inside of me this was the way out of the town and this path would kill me if I continued. I stopped, unable to stop shivering and ran back the way I had come, hoping the cold didn’t kill me first.
My lungs stabbed me with pain but I didn’t stop until I saw the fork in the passage. I sat for a long time under that lantern, shaking and trying to warm myself before continuing down the other passage.
It ended in a heap of debris lit on all sides by small lanterns. I screamed but knew I had no way out other than over it. I scanned the pile for the easiest way to climb it and grabbed at a piece of rebar with my good hand. Carefully I put one foot on a stable section, then another, then I was near the top.
Below me the floor groaned again and I could feel the entire mound shift under my weight and then I was weightless as I fell.
The entire mound collapsed through the ground and I was thrown to the ground. I was fortunate that none of the debris landed on me but I could feel my leg twisted in an unnatural position. I could still see from the lights above and was able to pull my leg straight. It was bleeding from a large gash that stretched from the calf to the ankle.
I pulled off my jacket and used it to stop the bleeding, hoping that nothing down here could smell my blood.
Token Roll: 2
|8 of Diamonds||Rats have found their way into your food and water, and everything is spoiled, you spend the day searching for more.|
|King of Spades||You have been having nightmares about your loved one. What was the nightmare about?|
Through the tunnels I wandered until I found myself out in the open of the town. I was back in the streets and I wandered for days until I found myself a small sanctuary in a house.
I slept and let myself heal and sleep. In my dreams I am uptop the ziggurat with him. I enter through the threshold and see him standing, his back to me before a strange altar.
I call to him, but he doesn’t respond. I reach out and touch the red jacket but it falls apart in my hands. He turns to me, and I see the mists forming out and around his skin. He tells me he has joined them and I will too and his body melts before me and I wake up.
I had this nightmare every night I slept in my new sanctuary. I had planned to stay longer, to rest more but the rats came next. I found them in my food and in my water, their eyes red with hatred and their bodies covered in filth and sickness.
I do not know how much longer I will survive.
Token Roll: 2
|9 of Clubs||Why did you turn your back when they needed you most?|
|10 of Hearts||Do you follow the light in an alleyway?|
I left my sanctuary and wandered out into the frozen mist further and deeper into the city. I was left alone wandering with my thoughts. The wedding band was cold against my fingers and I found it fitting for how frigid our marriage had been in the end.
He had been screaming again at the doctors and nurses, an embarrassment to me and our family. He was in so much pain but they and we could do nothing. He looked to me for help and I turned my back on him and left. I felt justified in my actions for his behavior but I didn’t need to see his face to feel the betrayal.
He had called to me one last time and I left him.
Around me the mists grew thicker and the twisted faces stared at me. I shuddered and limped along the streets taking whatever road I thought could lead me to the ziggurat faster. Before me I could see a light one that flickered off into the distance through a winding alleyway that led the opposite direction of my goal.
I knew the city and the mists were calling to me, I had ignored them before and suffered the consequences so I followed. We strayed far from the path I had been following and I saw it flicker from alleyway to alleway down the streets and corridors into a denser part of the city.
I could no longer feel the presence of the felines or the hound. My body was tired and broken and I gave into the light and let it guide me regardless of how far we were from the center.
I followed it all day, winding deeper and deeper into the city proper and stopping before a crumbling bridge. I could see on the other side the looming stairs to the ziggurat. It had brought me to him.
Token Roll: 1
|2 of Clubs||Your partner had a favorite stuffed animal. What was it and what was its name|
I wasn’t ready to face him. I huddled in one of the towers connected to the fallen bridge and rested for the day. Inside was a bedroom, one that looked like it belonged to a child. I no longer questioned why the insides of buildings were wrong and I entered and collapsed on the bed.
I saw the photos on the walls, the books on the shelf, and his favorite toy, a stuffed brown cat, on the nightstand and I knew this room was Hendrick’s.
I took the cat, Whiskers, and held it close to my chest as I fell weeping onto the bed.
Token Roll: 3
|Ace of Diamonds||You find an old grimoire filled with occult secrets and alert a creature Pull from the tower.|
|9 of Spades||You find a photo of you and your loved one in a book and on the page in blood is the phrase “I forgive you” Pull from the tower.|
|9 of Diamonds||A creature pursues you into a storm drain, how do you escape? Pull from the tower.|
Tower Fall: Game Over
I pulled myself out of the room and down into the dried bed of the river. I traveled along it, desperate for a way to pull myself up on the other side when I heard it.
The snarling and growls of the hound. I didn’t have time to look and I ran as fast as my leg would allow. I felt the gash open and blood pour fourth down my calf making a trail.
I ran desperate until I found a small drain and squeezed myself through it as the hound tried to tear at me. I could see it’s wretched teeth and feel the saliva through the narrow opening but it couldn’t fit. I crawled hopelessly forward, hoping there would be an entrance to a larger room.
The rotten stench of decaying herbs and animal carcasses filled my nose but I pressed on until I tumbled forward into an open room.
Around me were strange sigils of chalk, blood, and bones. The air felt still and I could hear my own heart beating in my ears as I approached the strange altar in the center of the room.
Upon it was a thick book covered in grime and rust. The cover was written in Divine Script, which I could not read but still I opened it. More words than possible filled each page along with diagrams and depictions of horrific deeds. I felt my body turning each page and was helpless to stop it as I looked upon the forbidden knowledge, but still unable to understand it.
And then I saw it. It was tucked away near the spine of the book and I would have never seen if I had control.
It was a picture of us on our wedding day and beside it, written in a language I could read, were the words “I forgive you.”
Behind me the door pounded but I could not hear it. It burst open but I did not see. My eyes were filled with tears as I held the photo delicately in my hands while something behind me struck hard and true.
My world was dark and the last thing I would see was us, happy at last.