Dusting off the Cobwebs

This is the first part of some creative writing pieces that I have done that are set in Gielinor/Runescape.

This original story is based on a wealth of ideas from the Halloween quest 'Web of shadows' and is set, pre-wilderness change (for experienced players). However, I have written it for a fresh audience and hopefully minimum 'gaming' experience of Runescape is necessary to understand it all.

It follows the plight of a mother who's son has suspiciously disappeared near one of the most feared parts of all of Gielinor. What new evil has returned in the North?

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2. The Lost Boy

My first concerns were raised when upon leaving the local bank; out of the corner of my eye I noticed commotion that was attracting the attention of everyone in the vicinity. It was literally at the edge of the wilderness, only a few metres away from the wall separating the town from the decaying land. It involved an older bearded man and a distressed woman. Initially, I intended to ignore it, assuming it was a domestic disturbance; however my conscience and curiosity overcame my physical will. As I started to approach them the male stranger muttered quietly. “I’m sorry” he said, apologising, before he walked away with his head hung low as if out of embarrassment. Upon this her attention turned directly to me. She was crying, she brushed away her tears with the back of her hand, yet continued to sob as she started to talk to me. “Have you seen my son?” she hoarsely exclaimed, “He is about this tall, with long mousey brown hair and green eyes” she pleaded whilst she described her son, directing her hands to roughly four feet above the ground. “He was here ... He was right here with me...” I was slightly stunned, my first judgements were that he had run away which, given the location was especially dangerous. My reply lacked the empathy I intended to convey, “No.” I blandly uttered. I could tell her heart sank and I had shattered what little hope she was desperately clutching on to. I began to reminisce about the time I aided Irena when she lost her daughter, to south of Al Kharid. Specifically, how upset she was and how much this woman’s current trauma resembled hers. “I haven’t been in this area for all that long... when did he disappear?” I was extremely careful to use ‘disappear’ rather than a more pessimistic ‘kidnapped’ or ‘stolen’ to maintain a sense of calmness with her. “A few hours ago” she quickly replied “Joel was playing here with his brother, Nolan, just outside of the bank, I only went in there for a few moments to sort out some paperwork and ... and when I came back he was g-“ she briefly paused to compose herself, gesturing to me to wait. “Poor Nolan is so distraught I’ve asked a friend to take care of him whilst I try my best to ... to find my son...” she uncontrollably burst into tears and shamefully turned her back to me. “There, There” I gently said, placing a hand on her shoulder. “I’ve helped find missing persons before... It’s just a case of tracking back, to find out what exactly happened” I explained. I desperately tried to comfort her. “Everything is going to be okay” I lied. I wanted to be positive and I felt incensed at myself, but the odds against finding him alive were stacking up. Facing the facts, at least someone kidnapped Ana, vanishing children in an area with a notorious reputation for peril made me feel even more cynical. “I’m sorry” I stressed, “I didn’t catch your name”, “Angela” she replied. “Look... Angela, did anyone in the area ... see or hear anything?” Angela’s facial expression drastically transformed “No!” she angrily exclaimed to my face. I was startled by her aggressive outburst. She quickly realised that she might have insulted my compassion and was quick to apologise. “I’m very sorry... It’s been tough... I’ve been asking everyone who comes by, non-stop, for hours now. It’s frustrating me. No one has seen or heard anything.... only Nolan was here. It’s all been a bit overwhelming on his fragile mind; he was screaming nonsense but I had to leave him at home...” I raised my eyebrow and my mood lifted slightly with the revelation of this seemingly unimportant detail.

“Non-sense?” I asked inquisitively. “Yes. Mindless, child-like, imaginative exaggerations...” Angela paused expecting me to change the subject, yet continued when I gestured her to continue.  “I’m ... I’m not really sure what he was saying, I wasn’t really listening ... I just want my baby boy back!” Angela broke out into tears again. I had to be honest with myself; I’d previously investigated a variety of situations for a lot less than ‘a word of nonsense’. I felt inclined to help too. “Angela? Would you mind if I talked to your son?” she looked at me curiously. “... Just to get a greater understanding of what happened and possibly get some useful information from him?” Angela paused to think about it “Do you think it will help?” she asked expectantly. “I really think so...” I paused trying to find the right words to lift her mood. “Look ... there’s not a lot of ... tangible, useful evidence here I can use. He is the only person who witnessed it happen; he might have seen something important.” I was afraid she might completely reject the idea and take offense to questioning her already traumatized son. Angela silently pondered the idea, so I tried to further rouse a positive response. “If, he offers useful information, I promise to investigate it, no matter what he suggests...” Angela slipped a smile signifying that I had sold the idea to her.  “Would you do that for me?” “Yes. Of Course” I replied sternly. “Where is Nolan staying at the moment?” I asked. Angela was silent whilst she dried her eyes. “I’m fairly certain he’ll be at home, we live in south Varrock, just next to the southern entrance. It’s the big house. Very hard to miss.” Finally, Angela seemed to be becoming more composed and hopeful. I didn’t want to waste any time. “I’ll head over there now to ask your son some questions.” I eagerly said. “Thank you” she said with another brief glimpse of a smile, “I really feel lost amongst all of this at the moment, it’s not that often you meet genuine, good people” she sniffled. “Whilst you are gone, I think I will stay here and continue to ask about Joel, hopefully someone else might have seen something.” She paused, obviously thinking about Joel. “I think it’s the only thing I can bring myself to do at the moment” she said looking at the ground. Her shoulders dropped and she fiddled around with her fingers. “Perhaps we should find something better to wipe your eyes with, relax a little before you continue?” I empathically offered. She briefly smiled again, “Yeah, I think I’ll do that ... please find him ... soon?” she looked at me again, “I promise I’ll bring him back safe and sound” I replied with a smile. I knelt down to find some clean cloth in my rucksack. “Oh...” she exclaimed aloud, suddenly remembering something. “Yes?” I enquiringly replied. “Susan, the woman looking after Nolan can be a bit... difficult at times ... I guess it just comes from living in that part of Varrock” she said sympathetically. “I ... understand?” I thoughtfully, yet confusingly replied. I momentarily wondered what she could mean by that, and then I decided to ignore it. “I’m sure something will come to mind” I unconfidently admitted. Angela thanked me again as I began to head south out of Edgeville. I glanced back to see her wander towards the bank, gazing emptily into the wilderness. She was probably too worried about her son to even think about calming herself down. I silently prayed she would unearth something to aid in her desperate search to find her son.

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