Cervia's Log - 17 Achiel, 1 AoC
had my first encounter with the planet's native inhabitants. It did not go well, although I am somewhat better for it. I'm still following the beach to the southeast. It seems as though the shore must eventually turn toward the east or north, but I have not yet found such a point. I scavenged a few other fish along the way and they have been mercifully fresher than my first encounter with the rotting, hairy, arm-fish-thing I consumed several days ago. These meager findings have been enough to keep me going, although I fear my pace grows slower every day. I must take longer breaks to wash my cracked-and-bleeding feet in the surf, followed by a sufficient period to let them dry before I can build up the willpower to trudge onward. I've been considering a journey into the forest to fashion some kind of footwear, but I don't cherish the thought of trekking through the dense underbrush. Late this afternoon, I came upon a small bay of sorts, no more than a hundred meters wide and, maybe, fifty meters deep. The water was shallow and quite clear, and I was considering wading across the inlet, rather than walking the longer circumferential route. That's when I noticed him. A human. A scraggly specimen of a man. On the other side of the bay, furiously foraging some kind of nut from a large bush stationed at the treeline. I walked cautiously along the shore. I intended to engage him in some manner, but I didn't want to startle him. When we were less than fifty meters apart, I stopped and called out. Waving an arm over my head. I wasn't sure if I scared him, or if my mere presence disturbed him in some way. For he looked up at me - and froze. It seemed as though he'd seen a ghost. And I was, apparently, the apparition that had startled him so greatly. We both stood for an awkward period, neither moving nor speaking. I realize that I must not look very presentable. I'm dressed in nothing but a long, white-turning-brown jumper that is designed to be an undergarment to a more-substantial flight suit. My teeth and hair must look atrocious. My feet and lower legs are covered in sweat, sand, and blood. Nevertheless, this man looked far worse. His hair was matted - completely unkempt. His beard was wild and unruly with random food detritus collected around the corners of his mouth. His "clothes" were nothing more than tattered rags, barely staying on his body. His most substantial accouterments seemed to be his worn-but-functional boots. Every centimeter of his exposed skin looked leathery - and filthy. I called out to him again, trying to affect a friendly, reassuring tone. I resumed slowly walking toward him. And as I did, he surprised me by breaking out in a hobbled sprint directly toward me. His crazed look gave me a moment of confusion and indecision. Was he excited to see me? Did he mean me harm? Was he bounding toward me in joy? It was hard to know for certain. But it didn't take long to find out. When he was still several meters away, he leapt toward me (with surprising agility) and tried to tackle me with some kind of wild, impractical wrestling move. His arms and legs flailed in every direction. He was brutally determined to take me right down to the sand. I didn't wish to combat him directly. I was certain that he didn’t possess the skill to beat me in a fair melee. But I feel nearly as depleted as he looks. And I have no conflict with this man. And even if I were to “win”, if he were to injure me in any serious way, it could quickly lead to my death, given that I have no idea where to find formal medical care. But he didn’t relent. I sidestepped him. I tossed him down several times. But he just kept coming at me, grunting like a wild animal and swiping at me with his crusty nails. After parrying several more of his assaults, I decided that flight might be more expedient. I broke for the tree line. I was hoping that he may abandon any ideas he had with me. But he eagerly pursued. Through the rain forest, I hopped over tree roots and gullies. Under thickets and around massive trunks. But he kept coming. I wasn’t sure how long I could maintain a lead in this chase, but luckily, he managed to end the pursuit in the most grizzly way. He caught a foot in some kind of root and went hurtling down a small ravine, where he slammed into a sizable boulder nestled at the edge of a minor rivulet. When I realized what had happened, I stopped and doubled back to him. He was laying half-in-the-water. His leg was splayed out across the stream like a tiny bridge. And the jagged, bloody spike of his tibia protruded from his shattered shin. I stood and looked down over him for some time. He knew I was there, but he was now too preoccupied with his dire condition to pay me much attention. I kept waiting for him to say something – anything. But he seemed wordless. He only emitted a continual, curdling growl. I asked him why he attacked me. But he offered no reply. I cautiously descended into the little gully. He eyed me leerily but realized that he was practically immobile. After one more failed attempt to converse with him on any basic level, I knelt down and began removing his boots. He made one more feeble attempt to scratch at me with his gnarled fingers. My only reply was to twist his fractured leg sideways. His scream was effortlessly absorbed by the forest. With his boots removed, I stood up and looked over him one more time. I told him, “You won’t be needing these anymore.” And I headed back to the beach. When I was several meters away, he started yelling after me in a pitiful, forlorn tone. But I didn’t much care at this point. I was in no condition to tend to him and I had no reason to believe he would ever have given me the same courtesy. The boots are far from a perfect fit. But they are an incredible upgrade over bare feet. And now, I have another food source. I had already seen the bushes from which he was foraging. I had even seen the nuts, enclosed in a bushy-sort-of casing that appears to fall off over time. But I had no idea if they were edible and I didn’t want to take the chance. However, knowing that he was keen on eating them, I have much more confidence that they might provide me with some easy calories as I move on.