When with a jarring thump Nat landed safely at the bottom of the winding vine, he was too stunned to do anything other than blink at the strange surroundings. It was lucky for him that the strange force that seemed to guide him forced his body to change of its own accord into its original form of an air essling, change islands and then to start copying the movement patterns of the others of his race who live in this strange, bright land of green and yellow. Glancing over the edge he was shocked to see an abyss as endless as his own yet of a colder, slightly more forbidding hue than his own warm, pinkish-grey abyss. He wondered distantly what happened to his own for looking up he could see no evidence of his former life. He suddenly felt very alone.
The humans who piled down the vine were stalled by the vast array of esslings that now surrounded them and, knowing that he could be any of them or even on a different island, most of them grumbled and returned up the vine for richer pickings. He was of no use as a normal essling anyway. Except one. Unbeknownst to Nat the she-human who had claimed his Nature essence was a very patient entrepreneur full of cunning, ambition and cruelty. Only her youth and the surprise of the acquisition of a sought-after ‘member’s rune’ had made her cry out, an action she sincerely regretted and, knowing what she must do, she schemed.
Meanwhile Nat had regained his wits and was proceeding much more cautiously through the strange yet familiar land of Lower Floor Runespan. He exchanged a few cheerful greetings with the other esslings and was not looked at twice unless he used a platform, but esslings were generally much less intelligent or curious than their canine cousins and promptly forgot or disregarded the awesome feat. Nat of course was the exception, proving much more curious and intelligent than even some of the lower level esshounds- the Bodyhounds and Coshounds especially. Unfortunately this gave even more reason for standing out and being ostracised by his island’s society. Thrusting those unhelpful and upsetting thoughts from his mind Nat continued his tour of the Lower Floor, looking for another hole to jump down (even to himself he refused to admit he fell). Slowly he started to despair as he couldn’t find a way and no other esslings had a clue what he was talking about.
Nat was getting very dispirited and weary of his foolish adventure. He was also getting very tired and hungry. Nat realised that with his new powers he should have gone home in the guise of a Nature or Law essling for he would have been safe, there were no others that he could take the place of. He was reasonably surprised at the fact that he hadn’t been called up during his time in his natural form because he found why esslings were birthed so often and grew so quickly; they were brought down here as well! This was evidenced by the confused squeaks of recently appeared esslings before they seemed to mysteriously forget that they had ever lived anywhere but the Lower Floor. All this contemplating did not disguise the fact that Nat was hungry and, spying a rock fragment on the island, he carelessly shifted into an earth essling to eat, pleased that for once there was no need to wait for or look for a cyclone to appear to feed as he had had to do in the past.
It was only by serious mischance that he failed to observe that a human, noticing his odd behaviour, had been following him for islands. And it was even worse luck that the human happened to be the same she-human who had found out his odd nature on the floor above. She hadn’t been sure, platform hopping could be a reasonably common trait she just hadn’t noticed, but the change of race clinched it. Her prey was there.
Time to make good of her plan. It was a surprisingly simple plan yet only a few could do it. It wasn’t that it was a very difficult task, nor very skilful, no, it was just illegal. Few would have heard about it, let alone bothered to use it as the punishment used the spell against her for eternity. Wizard Wendly, for that was her name, didn’t care about the consequences, she would never get caught. Slowly and silently Wendly snuck up on Nat who was too consumed with consuming the rock to notice. With a yell Wendly did the impossible. She used magic, runes, inside runespan. Her spell involved 14 air runes, 6 earth, 6 water, 23 body and nature, 2 law runes (that she snuck in against all regulations) and 51 mind runes. ‘To seek through air when on the earth or in water. To focus on the body and the very nature of the being and to teleport to their position. Finally to force the mind to be receptive to the castor’s whims’. She felt it a pity that she had no cosmic runes, for then she could have forced Nat to teleport to her. As she cast with all of her ambition; the runes fused into a malevolent crackling ball of essence. This buried itself deep inside Nat who squealed with pain as it polluted his body, leaving a residual ache which would remain until the spell’s function was complete.
The backlash of the spell due to the fact that magic should not be performed in this realm knocked Wizard Wendly to her back and allowed Nat to escape. She just cackled manically, after all, that WAS the plan, let him run. It’d do him no good and she didn’t have to care for him until she was ready. Sitting up she thought back on what drove her to this extreme. Wizardry was a man’s job, few female wizards ever got anywhere and they were rarely seen, no, women were better off being witches and men rarely flourished in that trade but potions and herbs didn’t appeal to Wendly. No. She was drawn to the strength and power of the runes. She thought bitterly that only adventurers seemed to get anywhere in life but she was a coward and cared little to help others (even preferred to hinder and spite) so that was not the path for her. Slowly Wendy had become moderately skilled in both Magic and Runecrafting (when some adventurer helped rediscover it) but due to her laziness and cruelty, she was disliked and poor so the only runes she could get were those she crafted herself. Wendy could not be bothered to give the time needed to level up beyond 33, minimum level ascend the vine. Two more levels and she could petition to dimension jump to a land where she could leech off Chaos esshounds, but they would not listen to her petition before she proved she could work hard. She much preferred to steal, bribe and blackmail for luxuries and status but she always coveted being transferred to World 2, the original dimension for the best of the best. She needed to level-up something to get there. Wendly cared little for Runecrafting but she’d get nowhere in magic without runes and that was where Nat would come in, a free and easy source of every rune imaginable, she’d be the best wizard in Runescape! She just needed to find out how much she could take at a time, and how long it took for the essence to regrow. Off she walked to experiment, whistling a jaunty tune quite at odds with her intensions.