Here is where “stuff” begins to happen. I can honestly say I’ve been ready to start writing some of these passages for week, and I am very glad they have finally arrived. I am looking forward to Jeremy’s arrival at The Ravine. Here’s some thoughts on “Approaching Shelter.”
When I was growing up I used to head to a weekend camping trip with my PopPop every Summer. My absolute favorite part of the trip was passing through the Lehigh Valley Tunnel on the Northeast Extension of the PA turnpike. Ever since, I’ve had a fascination with tunnels. The idea that you begin in one place and emerge somewhere completely different perfectly captures my imagination. As an adult, this fascination has been captured by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, which almost feels like traveling between worlds.
In Minecraft, this fascination with tunnels is a constant part of my world building. I love tunneling through mountains, and the passage through which Jeremy and company are currently passing is based off of the first tunnel I dug in the world of The Valleys. Obviously the scope of the tunnel in the story is greater than the one I created in the Minecraft world, but the location is still the same. The pillars of The Valleys are, just in case you were wondering, completely invented for the story.
We may find out why Walter doesn’t care for the people of Shelter once we reach The Ravine. I’m not going to come right out and say it in the narrative, but it should be pretty easy to figure out. There’s been a great many hints about Walter given thus far, his dislike of Shelter is another one of those.
Incidentally, Walter’s deep friendship with Ama is another clue. Remember people treat healers with incredible deference in The Valleys, yet Walter has no problems referring to Ama as, “Meddle.”
The Following Shadows
Now you know why the people of The Valleys don’t like darkness. This is where creatures of their nightmares live. To these people, the honey glow of an evertorch means “safety,” and seeing the shadows manage to completely block the light of those beacons of safety shook Walter and Ama more than they’d let Jeremy see. When the shadows surround them it’s truly the most terrified they’d ever been.
Ama has encountered these shadows before, but always in controlled environments. Walter never has, to encounter these was a nightmare come to life.
I wanted to convey that the beings which corral Jeremy’s company have a tenuous connection with the plain of existence in which human-beings dwell. The muffled sounds inside the shadow are meant to convey a kind of break with physical reality. The horses are absolutely struggling to get away, but Jeremy is only dimly aware of their attempts because the shadows have lifted him partly off his bit of reality. When the voice spoke the word “felt” is used to convey something similar. Whatever these shadows are, they are alien to life as we understand it.