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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8. The Pendulum Swings

I barely had time to react, upon landing on the rock my momentum propelled it through the air, gliding across the chasm. I could hear the web rope stretch and tighten more under my weight. Seizing the loose web rope tightly with my hand, I dived off the rock, landing on my back on the dusty ledge of the opposing cave mouth.  The rocky pendulum began to swing back towards the other side, with my hand still clenching onto the rope, I was pulled back with it. My boots grazed through the ash covered floor scattering dust into the air behind me as I tried to stop myself from being pulled over the edge. “Arrgh!” I yelled, realising I might not be able to stop the rock from dragging me back. As I was drawn towards the edge, the heels of my boots wedged into a gap in the rocky ground, halting me instantly. I breathed a sigh of relief, staring down the cavern, gripping the webby rope with both hands.  Hesitantly, I pulled the rope over my shoulder and tugged it back to where I wanted to tie it down. I placed the rope under my foot and searched my bag for my hammer and nails. I could hear the nails jingle as I moved the bag around, but the lack of light made it difficult to actually retrieve them. I kneeled down, still holding the rope under my foot and hammered a nail into the rocky floor. Tiny pieces of rock flicked and ricocheted off my helmet with every swing of the hammer. I finally felt content that the nail was firmly pierced into the ground; I tied the rope down, and then deservingly recuperated for a brief moment, temporarily sitting down with my hands placed on my knees. Whilst I studied the cavern I slowly began to unlatch my light source from my backpack, preparing to enter the cave mouth that I had I risked so much to reach. The ambiguous black liquid flowed down the wall on either side of the caves entrance. It made the wall appear to be flowing with veins of black blood. Recovered, I dragged myself back onto my feet and warily passed through the cave mouth. The cave on the other side of the opening was significantly larger inside than I had first thought. Huge stalagmites acted like pillars supporting the vast cavern and large webs dangled from the roof, big enough to catch anything that dare fly into them. My awe was promptly disturbed when I realised there were also large cocoons swinging from the ceiling. They varied in height and width, gently swaying back and forth in the wind that whistled through the cavern. I shone the light from my lantern around the whole area, the cocoons were everywhere. Inquisitively, I walked towards the nearest one with my lantern fixed on its position.  It oozed and dripped a familiar disgusting, oily, black liquid. Directly settled underneath it rested a large pile of bones, with the liquid pooling around it. I initially presumed that the cocoons were being used as form of shelter for spider young. I was quickly proved wrong.  Upon closer inspection I realised to my own horror that they were in fact cocoons of prey, kidnapped or hunted, then brought here. The cocoon I was tentatively watching was smaller than the others in size, but I could see the outline of an adult dwarf, already passed away, slowly being digested. My stomach turned and I felt sick. Nauseously, I drew my longbow, which sparkled with the essence of the magic tree it was fletched from and unleashed a volley of arrows at a different cocoon. The thread of web which was suspending the target was stubborn and strong; it took three direct hits to cut loose. The case of webbing hit the ground with a crunching thud, snapping and cracking the bones it landed on. The ominous black liquid splattered everywhere, some spilling onto my armour. It was like thick, viscous oil, which hardened on impact with my cold, metal plate body. I unsheathed my sword and delicately sliced the cocoon open. The liquid flooded out, the stench was vile. It was the unmistakable odour of death. Only un-digested bones remained within the webbing, I frantically poked and scooped the bones out with my sword. The bones didn’t appear to be human, but they were almost unrecognisable as bones, appearing eaten and eroded from the hungry fluids. “No, he has to be here somewhere...” I exclaimed to myself, desperately fixing my light on every cocoon. I had no other option; there were too many cocoons to sift through... “Joel?!” I screamed as loud as I could. At first I could hear the echoes of my voice filter down through the holes and tunnels surrounding the cavern, and then a disturbingly eerie silence fell. It was only interrupted by the light tapping of falling stones and rocks in the distance. It felt like something was watching me, like something knew I was here and I had foolishly drawn its attention. A soft mumble caught my attention from behind me; I sprung around searching for the source of the sound. It was much closer than the falling rocks; I anxiously focused the attention of my lantern on the surrounding cocoons, sprinting to each one, checking each for movement. “Am I hearing things?” I thought to myself. Finally, the sight of my lantern caught a glimpse of a cocoon energetically rocking backwards and forwards as if something inside had woken up and was trying to escape. I ran up it and worriedly searched for an opening.  “Joel? Joel? Are you in there?” I asked, and then I paused for a moment, hoping to hear the faint sound of his voice. There was a long silence, my hopes were devastated, and I closed my eyes and prayed that I could hear the voice call out again. I gazed above, staring at the ceiling of the cavern “Plee-easse! Call a-” I was disrupted in my prayer. I could hear more mumbling struggling to break out of the web-like prison cell. I pressed my ear against the surface of the cocoon; I could just make out what Joel was saying, “H-help ... me ...” he weakly coughed. It sounded like something was lodged in his throat. I gleefully thanked towards the heavens then controlled my excitement to explain to him what I was going to do. “Joel, I’m going to cut you free, just hang on a moment... please... brace yourself! This might hurt a little when it hits the ground!” Cautiously, I backed away from the cocoon, drew my knife and then threw it at the thread of web to which the cocoon was hanging from. It instantly dropped to the ground with a thump, the liquid inside made it wobble like jelly. I drew my sword; I knew I had to get him out now. Expertly, I lined the blade of my sword with the centre of the cocoon, and then accurately made an incision on the surface. Black liquid slowly secreted out at first, but as I cut deeper it gushed out everywhere. I didn’t care anymore at this point, I pushed my hand into the pool of mysterious liquid grabbing the first solid object I could grasp and tugged. Slowly, Joel appeared from the liquid, finally escaping from his confinement. I noticed I had seized him by his arm, as his head surfaced out of the fluid a tentacle like tube also appeared, wound around his neck and wedged in his throat. It looked like it was slowly suffocating him; “Joel?” I cried, opening his eyelids to see if he was alive. His eyes looked at me in fear, he seemed sedated yet conscious of what was happening. I cut the tentacle-like bind around his neck and pulled it out of his throat. He sputtered and regurgitated black liquid, then took a huge gasp for air. His tears rolled down his face, clearing a tiny path through the black liquid. I propped him up by his back, and then I offered him a cloth to wipe his face. He aggressively wiped his eyes. “Thank you for saving me” he softly said “It hurts really badly” he pleaded, whilst sobbing. He then sincerely hugged me. “I’m so scared” he declared, trembling in my arms. “I’m going to get you out of here!” I boldly stated. My first thoughts were to give him some food, so I reached into my backpack, snatching a bar of chocolate and my water skin. “Please, eat..., drink...” I allowed him a moment to get himself together, and then informed him of the bad news. “I’m pretty certain they’ll know I’ve cut you free so we’ll have to be quick!” Joel poured most of the water over his face and head leaving a small amount to drink; he rubbed his eyes in frustration, and then continued to gobble the chocolate bar up. “This ... chocolate... tastes ... so good!” he exclaimed through  a deep breath as he frantically devoured the chocolate bar, only pausing to inhale again. The gifted, brief moment of recovery was swiftly halted. The sound of rocks falling behind us caused Joel to freeze in terror; I quickly stole the lantern from beside him and pointed it in the direction of the noise. “We have to move!” I whispered, realising what was storming towards us. “Ssssssshe! Mussssst!   Feed!” shrieked a bone chilling voice. “Kill the adult! She wants the child ... aliveeeee”. The voice bellowed through the whole cavern, it felt like it shook the ground beneath me. Joel was already helping me gather my stuff. “Start running!” I shouted at Joel. Joel immediately turned around and darted towards the cavern exit, back towards the way I had entered. As I began to run, the first of the spider horde caught up to me. I spun around, deflecting three spiders backwards with my shield, then I began to fully sprint. I could feel another two spiders biting at my heels, so I spun around again, cleanly slicing the heads off them both. “Hurry!” Joel urgently shouted from just ahead of me. I heard projectiles whizz past my ears; gazing upwards I noticed one of the missiles had disconnected a stalagmite from the roof, which sent it plunging down towards where I was running to. I made a daring, agile jump underneath it, narrowly squeezing through the closing gap; I heard the rock grind against the back of my armour. After clambering to my feet I continued to run forwards, passing through the exit. “What are we going to do?” Joel desperately questioned gazing at the cavern separating us from safety.  “Jump onto the rock!” I declared. Joel gazed at me in fear, but I could hear the hissing of the spider horde approaching, “Jump on the rock ... we have no time!” Joel nervously obeyed my order. “Listen to me very carefully, the second this rock reaches the other side you jump!  Don’t look down, don’t think! Just jump as far as you can, then hide in the cave mouth!” Joel didn’t blink, he just obediently listened. “You don’t have to worry about any spiders, I cleared it out when I passed ...” out of the darkness, a soaring spider interrupted me, landing on my back. It attempted to wound me, scratching and gnawing the surface of my armour. I struggled to get a tight grip on the spider as it squirmed and wriggled around. I finally grabbed it and pulled it over my shoulder into my vision. It impulsively struggled, trying to escape, hissing and roaring at me as it failed to do so. I grabbed it by the neck, and ended its life. Spiders were flooding onto the platform; I discarded the spider’s body, and then dived to cut the strand of web holding the rocky pendulum that Joel was stood upon. “Here we go!” I screamed, warning Joel as I cut the web that held what he was stood upon.

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