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Collaborative Storytelling
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saxifrage00
It's said that a roleplaying game is neither a real game nor real storytelling; it's something in-between or beyond, depending on how you look at its characteristics. I haven't done any collaborative storytelling since I was about five, though, and I've become interested in trying.

Also, I'm curious about how far to the right the comments will squish when there's only one thread.

I'll start a story, and people can continue it. However, only continue from the latest comment! Since two people might post at the same time and "fork" the story, we should only reply to the earliest comment. (If it gets too confusing I can just "hide" the extraneous threads until the main thread is established.)



The crest of the pass was in sight. Two thousand feet below, the ponderous river looped through the dripping forest like a rope of silver under the high sun. Two thousand feet, an eternity of jungle, six miles, three lives lost; every measure she could think of seems to either trivialize or aggrandize a journey that had been neither trivial nor grand.

A rock sliding through her field of vision interrupted her introspection. A guide, she couldn't make out which one past the sun's glare, stood at the top of the pass and was waving wildly. Redoubling her efforts as she would at the end of marathons, she hastened up the slope and stepped up beside him. Rodez, she thought, his name flitting through her mind incongruously as she took in the view beyond the pass. Finally--the years of research, the months of travel, the sacrifices and trials--she was here.


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She shook these doubts from her mind, as she had done many times in the past months, and lifted a well-muscled leg to lean against a nondescript boulder. Slowly, she turned her head, surveying the apparently mundane landscape before her.

Here I am, then. Let's get to work.

Her reverie was interrupted as young Kosta ran towards her, eyes wide.

"Miss Cranbrook! Did you see! Come look! A body, we think, but - but it's so strange!"

A body? What the hell was a body doing here?

"Who is it this time?", she asked, wearily.

"Uh, I don't know. We're not sure it's one of ours. Or even human for that matter."

"What?" Not even human? That got her attention!

"Yeah, there's no head."

He motioned for her to follow him to the other side of the clearing, behind another large rock.

There it was. He, she, it, whatever. Limbs at improbable angles, clothing barely discernable for all the blood, and gore gaping messily from the torn neck.

The blood was not dry. The body was still warm. This kill was fresh.

Too fresh. It had only begun to attract flies. Of course it was the bigger things that it could attract that were more of a worry.

Until she noticed the wounds. Or rather, the lack thereof. Whoever this is ...

"Kosta! Get everyone here. I want a roll call to make sure this isn't one of ours."

Whoever this was, they probably didn't die quickly. There were no obvious fatal wounds. All the blood was from scrapes and cuts and where bones had punctured the skin. It's like some great big cat were playing with a mouse. But the head. Where was it? Why wasn't it there? And how come it looks like it was torn off? It sure didn't look like it was chewed off which is what she expected of an animal.

And why hadn't they heard anything?

Curiouser and curiouser.

Deadlier and dealier.

She only understood a few harsh words as Kosta shouted at the team in their guttural native tongue, lining them up shoulder to shoulder for an emergency roll call.

"How many?" she asked him when the noise had died down.

He glanced at her nervously and did not answer.

She scanned the line.

"We're one short," she said quietly to Kosta. The young man looked down and nodded grimly.

Rodez.

But the blood-drenched clothing was not the characteristic bright yellow robes of the head guide.

"Kosta," she said, keeping her voice low, "I don't like this. Post a double guard shift and set up camp in the clearing."

"But it's so early -"

"We want to do this in daylight. All armed men are to keep weapons at the ready. See if you can gather information from the men about Rodez. And have that body dragged a good distance away before it attracts scavengers."

He nodded and barked an order, and the crew obeyed with uncharacteristic haste.

Hmmm, I think it's time to make up a cast list.

Some planet/jungle somewhere - Where this story/research/travel is taking plce.
She (Miss Cranbrook) - Our main protagonist (maybe).
Rodez - The guide (now dead).
Young Kosta - A member of the party/expedition (possibly a native?).

Anyone else?

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