Abyssal Chasm

Content warning: Contains death

What do you suppose is even down there?
— On the edge of the Abyssal Chasm
  Your eyes try to focus as you look down, but it's weird -- you can see there's something at the bottom, something hot and glowing, but it's also too far away to see. A slight headache grows in the back of your head the longer you stare. You blink and shake your head. Something is distorting space, messing with distances as you stare into the heart of the chasm.   You can feel the heat radiating out from the massive crack in the ground. You're pretty sure it's over 200' across at the point you're at. To your left, it looks like the crack gets wider, and to your right, narrower. "Why the absolute fuck did they build the bridge in the middle of this thing, right at the widest point..." you wonder to yourself, as you turn left and continue your journey. Ahead of you, a small structure sticks up from the surrounding landscape.  

Onward, a Bridge


How long has it even been, walking along side the Chasm? It's hard to tell. You've sweat through most of your clothes, the heat radiating out from the crack in the ground is so intense. "Who's bright idea was this," you think to yourself, "to walk directly beside the massive crack in the ground pouring out heat."   Yet you trudge on. To give yourself a break from looking ahead, you look down as you walk. The ground beside the chasm is surprisingly smooth -- not at all cracked and crumbled like you would've expected. There's some faint lines etched in haphazard patterns all over the ground though... you can't quite figure out what it's from. "Are these markings man made? Is it like a scar, from when the chasm was created?" You wonder to yourself, looking up.   Your pace quickens as you notice how close you are to the structure you noticed earlier. The bridge! All you need to do is cross the bridge, and you can get away from this hellish place. You just hope that there's no clockwork guards on the bridge this time...

clockwork on the bridge.png

 

Conflict

"Accursed Afterlife!" you swear, actually spitting the words out loud. Ahead of you, across the bridge, you can see the telltale glint of autonomous brass standing at attention. Here you are, finally at the bridge across the chasm, and the way is blocked by a single Clockwork Guardian. You survey the scene in front of you, looking for alternatives.   The bridge is a lot more narrow than you expected -- maybe 10' across at most. The Clockwork Guardian stands directly in it's center. Sneaking by the automaton might be possible, if it's on standby mode. Still, you look on, hoping for an alternative. You notice a few stakes in the ground, thick rope tied to them, leading over the edge of the chasm. Kneeling down, you peer over the edge again, and grumble. You can see the blackened end of the rope a good 15' below you -- it appears to have been burnt in half. "Looks like I'm not climbing across with rope," you mutter to yourself.  

Standby?

Ten minutes pass. Thirty minutes. An hour. You're fairly certain the clockwork is on standby mode. It hasn't moved an inch -- it hasn't even moved it's head, nor it's eyes. It must be on standby mode. This is your opportunity then -- you thank the tower, and quietly step onto the bridge. You gratefully grab hold of the barrier on the side of the bridge as you walk; your legs are shaking, and it'd be a long fall down. You approach the clockwork, your eyes focused on it the entire time, looking for any sign of movement. You're even with it now, it still hasn't moved. You look at it behind you as you pass by -- success! You're home free now, just have to get to the end of the bridge.    


the fall.png

Falling

Your breath is viciously ripped from your lungs as something massive slams your back. The scene around you spins wildly, you catch flashes of blinding brightness followed by intense darkness in equal amounts.   And then you're falling.   Incredibly, the first thought you have is "This is taking much longer than I expected." The thought is quickly followed by "Holy shit, I'm going to die." A second passes before you add "...again." to your train of thought.   The heat swells around you as you fall. It's becoming hard to bear. It feels like time its self is slowing as the heat grows. Your eyes dart around, looking for anything that might help you. Above you can see the dark crack of the Chasm surface growing smaller as you fall. You quickly look to the rocky walls flashing by you. Black, gray, red, red, black, flashing by. Was that blue? "Is that..." you think to yourself.   "Is that clouds I see?"

Alternative Names
The Crack, Chasm, Hell Below
Type
Natural Wonder

A Collection of Quotes

I've heard there's a stairwell on the other side. They say it leads to the second floor, and that there's no one guarding it. It might be our way out of this place, man!
— Overheard in a First Floor Tavern
 
Y'know, I walked the entire length of the Crack once. Dunno why I did it. Was the most uncomfortable day of my life. I think I started to go mad halfway through, cause I swear I could hear voices comin out of the Crack. Sounded like... people were down there.
 
So there I was right. Rope in hand, and it's got an end tied to a stake in the ground. Across the way, I can see the perfect boulder. I twirl my rope, and toss... and my aim is true! I tighten the rope, and crawl onto it. Here I am dangling above Hell Below, when I start to feel the heat. The rope's feeling it too, I can see it starting to smoke. Then just like -snap- that, it breaks. I get swung down, slamming into the wall on this side of the Chasm. Am lucky I didn't lose my grip then and there.
— A tale told between guards.
 
I'm telling the truth! I swear! There was no clockwork guarding the bridge! I made it all the way across -- the stairwell really exists, honestly. But I couldn't get in. There was a door blocking it, and a coin slot next to the handle. The number 25 was marked above the door. I couldn't figure it out, so I came back.   Don't look at me like that, I'm not lying!
— Overheard between two adventurers

Comments

Author's Notes

Header Image via Unsplash.   All other images created by Stormbril.


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