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Direwolves

The Mountains Rising — a Survivor's Story

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Hi everyone! I'm new to the forums and have always loved reading the stories posted here so I wanted to contribute my own. This isn't taken from a playthrough, nor will it be a description of the daily things my character does. I'd like to do snapshots in the life of a survivor, weaving it into a fuller picture with a back story, vaguely based on my own experiences with the game. I'm not the best player (tend to stick with Voyageur, custom-moded to give me some harder difficulties like cabin fever and risk of parasites) so I have died a lot of times and learnt less than I ought to have done!

There will be things included that don't fit exactly with the mechanics of the game (foreknowledge of where things might be to account for my knowledge as a player, keeping things in pockets/on a belt, etc) but I hope it's still enjoyable anyway!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

The Mountains Rising

a Long Dark story

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

I never noticed how bright red blood was until I saw it against snow. Funny, isn’t it? The apocalypse gives you a great new perspective on things. That and frostbite.

Thoughtfully, I rub my mittened hand over the new rent in my coat. It’s heavy-duty, old military, gotta be. Thick and tough and not as warm as I’d like, and somebody probably died in it at some point, but it's worth it for the protection. Without it, it’d be my blood in the snow, not the goddamn wolf’s.

Suppose I can always sew it back up later. Not an option the wolf has. Stupid goddamn wolf. I wipe my knife on an old piece of cloth and stick it back in my belt. I’ve learned the hard way to keep it close to hand.

A quick glance at the sky. Clear, no sign of snow coming in, though that doesn’t always mean much. The wind is rolling along briskly, enough of a bite in it to make me nervous. A calm wind can turn into a killing one in the time it takes you to snap up a little branch out here. With the coat damaged I can’t risk being out when it gets nasty.

I don’t say if anymore. The hardest lesson I learned out here is that the worst is always about to happen. Best thing you can do is accept that and work around it.

The wolf is still yipping somewhere out there. Last I saw, before I started rummaging around in my pack for the last of my antiseptic, it tore up a snowbank trailing blood like water, a knife-gash in its side that laid it open to the bone. A goddamned waste, like so much else about this apocalypse. If it hadn’t come to kill me, we would never have bothered each other. I’m not good enough with the pots and fire to have any use for its meat, and I’ve got no time to go hunting after its body. It’ll die alone and cold, the way I will, and mean nothing to anyone but the crows.

Stupid goddamned wolf.

I gather up the few bits that spilled out of my pack in the struggle and wipe wolf blood out of my eyes. I push my thumbs under my rucksack’s straps and lean into the weight of it, staring thoughtfully at the great rock face further down the road.

It doesn’t look so far from here. But even once I hit the rock, I’ve got to wind my way up amongst the trees and up the slope, and that’s if the girl I met back on the mainland was telling the truth.

I chew on the inside of my cheek for a second. Do I trust her? That bright young thing, all eyes and legs, who popped up onto her toes and said, “Yeah, no, my friend lives out thereKatie? She’s hunting mad. Has this secret spot, you should check it out if you’re going. A little glen, halfway up a mountain, round the coast from the lighthouse. Here, look, you can see it on this map. Says there’s always deer, if you wait long enough, and little rabbits that she feeds. She likes the quiet. Keeps a few supplies up there, can you imagine? Like some kind of crazy hoarder guy. A bow and arrows and everything. It’s nuts. I mean, I love her, you know, but it’s nuts. What does she think is going to happen?”

Maybe Katie saw it coming. The quiet apocalypse. Maybe she was one of the clever few who fled south before it hit.

Maybe I’ll find her body up there in her glen.

I check the sun. Still time, if I get up and down quick, I think. The damage to the coat isn’t bad, not really. Not so I can’t survive another wolf if it comes to it.

When it comes to it.

I’ve got no chance against a bear, but then who ever has a chance against a bear? The only chance is getting a weapon, and that bow’s the best lead I’ve got. It’s that or stumble around hoping to come across a gun, and that’s not been working out well so far as a tactic. I can get the bow, scrounge around for a hammer to use in that ship's forge, make a bunch of arrows to go with it. It's a solid plan. It's good to have a plan out here. Stops you from going quite as crazy.

I take one more glance back in the other direction, towards the dubious protection of the lighthouse, and then I make the decision. To Katie’s secluded corner. To the bow or to death.

Things boil down like that a lot out here. Triumph or die.

The thing that scares me mostmore than bears, more than wolves, more than the killing windis that I think I’m starting to like that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

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