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SENSORY STONE TRAP
I left Quell, walking about the sensoriums in thought. When I looked up, once again fully taking notice of my surroundings, my steps had taken me to stand in front of a sensory stone. Something about it seemed vaguely familiar, although the inscription at the base, "Week-long hunting trek across the forests of Arborea," didn't seem to promise anything special.
No harm in finding out. I began the sensation.
I was standing in a circle of white tents deep in the woods, somewhere. The trees around me were, by far, the largest I had ever seen. Suddenly, though, there was an odd prickling sensation at the back of my skull...
My surroundings melted into a colorless smear, then slowly resolved into what looked like the interior of a large, gray sphere. Across from me stood a figure almost identical to myself. His eyes flashed in the half-darkness; a mad smile split his features.
"I KNEW you would come..."
"Who are you?"
"Oh, don't you KNOW? Didn't all those FILTHY, LYING, THRICE-BE-DAMNED JOURNALS tell you who I am? Those journals that were so conveniently 'left' for me when I awoke... those journals that called me an INCARNATION! Hah! Burned them ALL, I did, all that I FOUND..."
I felt suddenly ill. The journals, my life, lost not to Pharod, or the Dustmen, but to myself. If only I could learn anything of what they contained. "What did they say, exactly?"
"They spoke LIES, LIES, LIES and nothing more! Filth about a man who forgets himself, other incarnations, of preserving their experiences in writing so later lives could benefit... THIEVES! It's MY life; MINE! YOU ALL WANT TO STEAL MY BODY, AND YOU WON'T HAVE IT!"
"So... you're one of my earlier incarnations?" I had realized why the figure looked like me.
"If you'd put STOCK in such TRASH, yes."
"Where am I?"
"Oh, THIS?" He gestured around him, snickering. "Just a little TRAP, is all. I realized that KILLING you BODY THIEVES might not be enough... I might have to TRAP you, ENSNARE you for eternity. You may have realized, by now, that there's no way out of this sensory stone... your mind is locked here. You'll note the rather SPARSE surroundings I've left for you... all to help the MADNESS set in good and QUICK while your flesh rots away." He chuckled evilly.
His words gave me pause. I thought to myself I would refer to this incarnation as my 'paranoid' incarnation, to keep him straight from others I had learned about. There was also no reason not to take my time with him.
"I had some questions then " My earlier incarnation crossed his arms and looked away indignantly. Save for a few more tufts of hair on his head, he was identical to me - even his arms had most of the tattoos mine did.
"Did you create that trapped dodecahedron?"
"I don't know what you're babbling about. Heh. Heh-heh. All right, it WAS me. BRILLIANT, wasn't it? Did you PLAY with it a bit? Lose a FINGER or an EYE, I hope?" He chortled merrily.
"Did you put those tattoos on?"
"No!" He looked distraught. "That one incarnation, that 'PRACTICAL' one, did. I've tried to burn them off, but the skin REGENERATES with the tattoos still on them! I have tried to TEAR them off, stain them with ACID... I HATE them..." Hmm this insane incarnation was probably the one Aelwyn had described. That would make the practical incarnation he described the one Dak'kon and Morte knew. I wondered why he had tried to destroy the tattoos.
"But... why?" His eyes flicker uncomfortably.
"It is maddening to feel the EYES upon you, reading your BODY like a BOOK..."
"How did you make this trap?"
"Can't tell you that... it'll never be REPLICATED, the magicks used in its creation were LOST, even to me. CLEVER it is, though... one experience HIDDEN beneath the other, so that no FLESH but my OWN would set it off..."
"So there are actually two sensations within this stone?"
"Yes; that of the Arborean hunting trip and that of this TRAP." He looked suddenly wary of me.
I tried to force my way into the other sensation through sheer willpower.
"What... what are you DOING? STOP THAT!"
I ignored him, continuing to force my way into the other sensation.
I at last pushed myself into the 'surface' experience - the Arborean
hunt - and ended the sensation before being pulled back into the
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