The left path feels slightly warm. the middle path is a bit damp. the right path feels cool.
Which way to proceed?
<!-- Got coding syntax from class Twine Toolbox; same with all of the following pictures in this Twine game-->You emerge out at the top of the hill, and you see a small village down below in the valley.
Are there are other people here? You haven't seen any signs of life before. You save for the unnerving sounds of nocturnal animals.
What will you do next?
[[announce your presence]]As you race through the middle path, you turn around more gradual curves by following a bendy path through this maze.
A few more choices of path are presented to you, and you take your best guess. You decide to follow the moisture in the air and the trunks of the trees.
A few more turns.
A few more twists.
You see light ahead of you, and hear the sound of water.
You go [[to the river]].You see that the passageway--the maze--continues. You decide to explore it more. You make your way through a few twists and turns, guessing which turns to take.
It's not like there's a map.
You feel cool air blowing down one passageway. That's got to be it, right? You rush down there. You don't know why or how you're in this maze, but you know you want to escape. You feel cold air feels like the way.
You run out into blinding sunlight as a mountain looms in front of you.
How is there a mountain here? How did you not see it before? You can see the woods continue on the other side. The maze continues on the other side. This has to be the way forward, right? Across the mountain? Unless you took a wrong turn somewhere...
[[look in your pack. do you have anything to help?]]
[[seek a guide]]Well, you're alone in this maze and there's a river blocking your way.
Things are so crazy anyway, why not see if there's anyone out there that can help you?
"Hello?" you call out. Your voice echoes through the trees, into the vast sky above you.
"Hello, is anyone here?"
"Can anyone help me?"
Your voice keeps echoing.
"Stop yelling!" a gruff voice calls. "Can't you see I'm stuck over here?"
You pivot to see a fox on the other side of the river. It seems to be stuck in some sort of hole, its leg caught. It's fighting against the current of the river, and seems to be losing.
Who spoke, though?
"Hey, stop looking away!" the fox yells.
The fox yelled?
"I can't help you across 'cos I'm stuck!" the fox says. "But if you can find your way across and help me out, I'll show you as far as I know how to get through this place."
Is it worth it?
Ignore the fox and [[Look for another way]]?
Or try to get across and [[look for a raft]]?There's no other way but up, right?
Gritting your teeth, you attempt to begin climbing the mountain. Your muscles are fatiguing and your fingers are starting to burn. You know that your hands are going to hurt by the end of this, but you decide to keep climbing
You're getting pretty tired by this point.
But even with this pain, you [[keep going]]You open your backpack.
That's good, but you don't have any spikes to hook it to or any climbing gear to press into the mountain.
You decide to look again in your backpack.
Jerky and a waterskin.
Yum. Not helpful though.
You decide to look again.
A book, a traveler's guide of the area. You brought these into the woods where you found this maze entracne initially, so you decide to take out the book and shuffle through some pages. However, the book doesn't contain the answers you're looking for. You're starting to think this book may have done you more harm than good.
No, it doesn't seem you have anything helpful here.
Maybe try something else?
Turn [[right]].You rush down the hill, almost tripping on your way. The hill is quite steep. Once you hit the ground, you look up and see that the village is quaint, comely. You smell fresh baked goods as you approach the ongoing farmer's market in the village.
[[enter the village->enter village p1]]You see some villagers, and you decide to call down to them, announcing that you're here. You ask where you are and who they are.
Those who hear you, turn around, and squint up at you on the hill, trying to discern who you are. Then, they beckon you towards the village
[[enter the village->enter village p1]].You look around for help. That's what you were always taught, growing up.
"When you don't know what to do, when you get lost, just look for help. more often than not, you'll find it."
That's what your parents always told you.
If only you had their life lessons now to help you instead of a big mountain.
You look around, calling out a bit for help. No one responds, so you decide to repeat, louder. Your voice echoes, bouncing off the side of the mountain as it carries into the sky.
You call a few more times, scouring the area for any signs of life.
You see one!
it runs to hide.
You keep looking. Someone will come, surely.
[[Next->manhorse]] Even further behind that, at the edge of town, you see a tall house, different in design from the rest--steaming chimneys, metal plating, red brick as opposed to most houses' stone and wood.
You take it all in. It still doesn't feel real that a fully functioning village of people could be here
And speaking of the people...
Some are human, and look like you.
You see families with blue skin and gills walking by.
You see stout pedestrians, not three feet tall, bulky and bearded.
You see a gaggle of winged women swoop off of the rooftops.
This...what is this place?
And where do you start?
[[The farmers' market]]
[[The robbed store]]
[[The odd house]]The exhaustion is getting to you.
Your hands are peeling, blisters as you grasp the rocks. You are basically out of breath.
Why did you do this?
You don't know how to climb a mountain. You don't even receive any lessons on how to do this.
You can see the peak above the clouds by this point.
If you can just...make it...to the top...
As you reach out, you fall.
You tumble down the mountain. You're not equipped to climb a whole mountain yourself.
(if: $falldown is 'true')[You land on rocks, and as you look up, you realize how big of a fall you just took.]
(else:)[You managed to successfully keep climbing](set: $falldown to true)
Maybe try another way?
[[right]]The pair of you reach your way to the peak of the mountain.
"Thank you," you say. "So much."
"If I cannot find my way out, I hope to help others do so in my stead," the centaur replies. "Be well, travel safely, think smart, and good luck."
With that, he begins to pick his way down the mountain.
You are above the clouds. You see the maze cut into the woods sprawling out around you. it seems...endless.
You can see a lot from up here.
In fact, you can see a clearing with a river cutting through nearby. further away, you can see a valley with...what looks like civilization? A village? That's incredibly odd.
Where to go next?
[[make your way to the village]]
[[seek out the river]]
[[continue forward, past the mountain, towards the unknown]]You climb down the mountain. It's exhausting, but definitely easier than going up.
It's getting dark by now. You hope you'll be able to see in front of you once you go back into the already-dark wooded maze.
That village looked interesting. Were there so many people stuck in this maze that they formed a civilization here? Gave up on trying to get out and just started farming and building here?
The thought scares you.
Maybe they can help, though. You should make your way over there.
It's a long trek.
You feel exhausted.
You saw the village, but down on the ground you can't even be certain that you're on the right path there.
Wait. You turn around. You think you hear something.
Crickets. Fireflies. The sounds of life.
You rush in that direction.
A few more dead ends on the way, but you keep circling back.
Finally, out of breath, you burst out into a field. The grass has yellowed here, but you can see, down in a valley before you, a village.
Lots of farmland sprawling out around it, torches lighting up the town. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of motion in the town. Probably because it's the middle of the night now.
You need rest. Food. Water. You can ask for help there, maybe anything they know about how to get out.
[[enter the village->enter village p1]].You'll need water to continue. You don't really have much left in your waterskin. You should make your way to that river in order to refill it.
Finding your way there will be an ordeal, though. You saw it from a bird's eye view, you know it's not too far, you know the general direction you need to go in.
But it's a totally different story once you're down on the ground, blindly stumbling your way through a maze of densely packed tree trunks to find your way around.
You trail your hand on the left wall, trying to track where you've come. If the centaur's words were any indication, the maze might just change up on you anyway, but it's worth a shot.
You reach multiple dead ends this way. Following the left wall means you curve around into every passageway. It's long, but it keeps you from getting lost.
You stop to take a swig from your waterkin. It's already getting low. You need that river.
Luck seems to be on your side today.
You hear the water rushing through the trees, not too far from you now. just keep following the sound.
You follow it.
Keep following it [[to the river]].You make your way down the mountain. It's easier than going up, but still dangerous.
It takes you hours.
You're hungry, and thirsty.
But the maze continues ahead of you, and the only way out is forward, like the centaur said.
You press onwards.
Forward and forward.
Into the dark.
You can barely see two feet ahead of yourself by now.
"Is anyone there?" you hear a voice ask. You jump, having been alone for hours now. The voice caught you off guard.
"Um, yes?" you say, hesitantly. "Who are you? //Where// are you?"
A man emerges from the shadows. He is dirty, disheveled. A long, scraggly beard curls down from his chin, he's missing some teeth, and has a single lazy eye.
"I don't know. Who are you?" he asks.
"What are you doing here?" he demands, advancing towards you.
You take a step back. "I'm lost in the maze, trying to find my way out. Do you know how to get out of here?"
"Maybe I did at one time," the man says, suddenly subdued. "I've forgotten. We're all stuck in here now."
Thank you, sir.
I think I'll be going now," you say.
"Wait!" the man screeches, suddenly full of energy again. You see an angry look in his eye.
Do you [[run]] or do you [[hear him out]]?You look into your bag. There's a length of rope, and it looks long enough to reach the other side, but you can't be sure. You don't even quite know if there's anything strong enough to hook it too on the other side. There's some large looking rocks, but they could be loose in the sand.
You wish you had more information.
Do you [[risk it]] or not? ([[to the river]])You scan the surrounding area. Maybe someone was here before you and left a raft? That would make this so much easier...
There, on the bank of the river, about twenty feet from you.
It...well, it was once a raft, you think.
Some planks bundled together, wrapped up and lined to form a flat-ish surface.
It looks to be very old, though. The wood is rotting a bit, some planks are missing, and the twine used to tie it together is not very tight. You pull to tighten it, but there's only so much you can do.
Do you risk it?
[[Try to sail across]]
[[Look for another way]]You emerge on the river bank, and you see a tree casting shade over you.
Fresh air. There's a nice breeze outside.
Rushing water. You even see some fish swimming.
You decide to get up and see where you are.
A huge river stretches in front of you. You can't see either end of it, it seems to cut its way back into the forest. Most likely it leads to some dens of various woodland creatures.
There's another entrance back into the maze on the other side of the river. If you want to get out of the maze, you'll need to keep going forward. How will you get across?
[[use rope from your pack]]
[[look for a raft]]
[[call for help]]
(if: $usedrope is 'true')[You use the rope and you succesfully make your way across the river]
(else:)[You are still stuck on the bank, and you need to figure out another way to get across the river](set: $usedrope to true)
Double-click this passage to edit it.Double-click this passage to edit it.Double-click this passage to edit it.Double-click this passage to edit it.You grab a large branch to act as a makeshift oar and push the raft into the rushing water, hopping on it as it picks up momentum. It wobbles a bit, dipping under your weight, until it levels again. You breathe a sigh of relief.
(if:(history: where it is "call for help")'s length >= 1)[You make your way over towards the fox. Almost there. You hope desperately that you'll be able to help him. He promised he'd help you in return.
You hear a crack in the raft under you. The wood is giving out. You leap from the raft to the other shore, thudding onto the ground as the raft sinks behind you.
You make your way over to the fox, reaching in to the hole to try to free him. "Hey, careful!" he barks.
"I'm being careful. Just relax your leg and it'll be easier, talking fox," you say.
You feel his leg muscles relax, and gently ease his leg out of the hole. As soon as it's free, he leaps up, running in a circle, seemingly overjoyed to be free.
"Well?" you say. "Lead the way."
The fox grumbles. "Only just got out, won't even give me a second to enjoy it, dumb human. Fine, alright, follow me!" And with that, he scampers into the maze.
[[Follow the fox]]](else:)[You keep sailing. Almost across the river now.
You hear a crack in the raft under you. The wood is giving out. You leap from the raft to the other shore, thudding onto the ground as the raft sinks behind you.
That was close.
Well, only one way forward now.
[[Into the maze]]]The rotting raft doesn't seem safe enough. It would probably just sink you into the river, and that's definitely not what you want.
Maybe something else can get you across.
[[to the river]]Double-click this passage to edit it.Double-click this passage to edit it.You bolt away from him, down dark passageways.
"Look for help!" he calls. "More often than not you'll find it!" His voice bounces off the walls, following you.
You stop in your tracks.
How does he know that?
That's not an uncommon sentiment, but...
Every word, verbatim, was exactly the same as your parents used to tell you.
You double back.
"What did you just say?" you ask.
"What? I didn't say anything," the man says. "Hello! Who are you? What are you doing here?"
"Are you from the village?" he asks.
Fed up, you grab the man's shoulders. "What do you know, old man?" you demand.
"I've seen the outside," the man says, finally, in a moment of lucidity.
"I've seen it before.
"But it feels like a dream.
"And the longer I'm in here...
"The less I know what's real.
"And I'm starting to think the outside isn't real at all either.
"And it's all just the maze."
Chilled, you step away from him.
"How did you know that phrase? About looking for help?" you ask.
"I've accepted by now that the maze knows more than any of us," he says. "The maze tells us secrets, tells us what we need to know. Pushes us through its hallways to be in the right place at the right time. The walls told me that phrase. I don't know what it means. I just knew I was supposed to say it. The maze wanted me here to encounter you."
You scoff. "What, just so you can tell me there's no hope of escaping? You're crazy, old man. I know the outside is real. I came from there. I've only been in here less than a day."
"Have you?" he asks.
"You climbed a whole mountain to get to this sector of a maze. You can't do that in a day. Have you really been here just one day, or is your sense of time distorted? Is the maze claiming you like it claims everyone else?"
This is too much.
Disturbed, you [[flee into the darkness]].
His laughs echo behind you.Double-click this passage to edit it.Double-click this passage to edit it.Double-click this passage to edit it.Double-click this passage to edit it.Wait.
Where did you come from?
It's all trees, all around you.
You hear noises of predatory animals nearing you from behind.
You're hopelessly lost.
Seems in is the only way.
You rush into the passageway. It curves a bit to the left, as you follow the bend.
You come up on...a fork?
No, this can't be a tree maze, can it?
[[Next->Maze I]] The trees are densely packed together. They loom over you, casting impossibly long shadows, dimming your vision. Near the top, they begin to arch towards each other, creating one large entryway.
Into, of course, the strangest part here. A perfectly clean-cut passageway through the tree trunks. They form barricades on either side as this passage gets darker and darker. You could just come back the way you came--this seems too dangerous.
[[Next->2 intro]] After you go down the hill, you quickly find yourself upon the village.
Trades, gossip, people shouting out their sales, metal clanking, footsteps on gravel.
All of these sounds fill your ears as you approach.
The first thing that catches your eye is the farmer's market. You see inhabitants either selling their own freshly grown crop or buying some organic food to cook delicious meals later.
Behind that, stalls of merchants selling their wares--homemade crafts and charms, jewelry and trinkets, tapestries and art and writing supplies.
Behind that, the sound of a blacksmith hammering away on some project.
Behind that, commotion as someone calls our after...a thief?
[[Next->enter the village]] "Hello?" a deep voice says, curiously.
You whirl around. You'd been calling out for a while, you had almost given up.
A man is emerging out from the woods you came in from. He's on a horse.
No, he is the horse.
You could excuse a mountain hidden within a maze in the woods. It was unlikely, but maybe the clouds were hiding it before, or the tall trees, and you couldn't see it from the angle you were at.
But there was no angle to hide a centaur. those...weren't real, last time you checked.
Where are you?
"It sounded like you needed help, traveler," the centaur says.
"I...yes, I do," you say. "What...where--"
"Everyone who comes by here has the same questions," the centaur replies.
"If you find your way out, you'll find your answers."
"If?" you ask.
"So, do you need help getting up?" the centaur says, notably avoiding the question.
"Yes, I suppose so. Do you know the way out?" you ask.
"Forward," the centaur replies. "I think. I can never be sure, here. I've never made it out myself, and sometimes the paths I think I know change on me. But always keep moving. I know that much. Get on my back. I'll help you up."
Unnerved, you climb onto the back of the centaur. Surefooted, he makes his way up the mountain, finding footholds and crannies you would never be comfortable in. Maybe he's not comfortable either, but he's helping. You appreciate it.
[[Next->keep looking. someone will come, surely.]]