Dear Doctor Deathray,
We’ve been on the road for awhile now, looking for adventure and something new. We’d been camping at Witch Dance for a hot minute, the Trace is a pretty place, but the Bobo have been on the move in the area, and we really wanted to head east to hopefully get ahead of them a bit. The traveling party consisted of a witch named Dominique, a meathead we call Grundy, and me. We hitched a ride from a courier up to New Hope, hoping to find someone traveling to Nickajack.
Well, as luck would have it, we ran into this red-headed guy who went by Blue. Charming guy, looked clean but as though he’d seen some shit. We got to talking, and he managed to get a van running and wanted to take it to Rock City. I’ll be honest, I never head of it, but he swore it was a safe shelter city surrounded by natural rock. There were jobs, resources, a kickin’ arts scene, and steady power 24 hours a day. So we agreed to travel with him and provide a little protection on the road in exchange.
The highways were mostly abandoned, which was good. We had to pay a few gang tolls to pass through, but nothing out of the ordinary. The views were fantastic, though. We went from foothills and rolling fields to foothills then mountains. So, so much land. And so many abandoned buildings. I was just a small kid when the Shutdown happened, but it really got me to thinking how things must’ve been before. As we travelled, we kept passing barns and buildings with the roofs painted, “See Rock City.” We used them to guide our travels, knowing we were on the right track!
There weren’t too many communities around, though. We passed a few smaller towns that seemed to have some life in them, one literal ghost town, and even had a little incident with a golem when we were trying to refuel. I swear, he came out of nowhere and we took a few licks protecting Blue and the van, but it was worth it to get some passage to Powered On city.
Thing is, the closer we got to Rock City, the weirder Blue got. I was starting getting a little worried as I saw entrance to of the place but no one around. We parked the van, and got out. My Muller-meter was going wild, this was definitely a real thin spot, but a lot of cities with a grid are. Something about thin spots just lends itself to that. Grundy doesn’t like the look of things, and goes to argue with Blue, but Blue just bolts for it into Rock City. Well, he’s got the keys, the map, everything, so we run after him. “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” He shouts over and over, “I had to see her!” We ran through this long forgotten tourist trap, weaving in and out of stone walls and memories of by-gone times.
He carved around a corner, squeezed through a gap too small for Grundy, and disappeared. I wasn’t about to let him go, so me and Dominique ran through the gap and hunted Blue down. It was getting late, real dark out and hard to see. Blue kept slipping from us, but we kept on looking. Eventually, we’d got him cornered up on this cliff called Lover’s Leap according to the sign. But he wasn’t looking at us. He was looking at this shining, silver woman. “Emmaline,” he cried, “Emmaline, I’m here I made it!” But she didn’t respond to him. Or even acknowledge him. She just slowly walked to the edge that looks over a view of seven states. “Please, I’m here now. Just, look at me. You don’t have to do this!” But she didn’t look at him. She just looked sad. She seemed to drift up over the edge, extended her arms, and fell, dissolving into nothing as she fell to the ground. “No, no no, no no no!” Blue shouted. Well, as dramatic as this was, he still was our only way out, so we went up to him. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled weakly, “I had to see her. One last time. Take the keys. Take the van. Do what you want.” With that he tossed the keys over, smiled a crooked smile, and we left him there.
We met back up with Grundy and made our way out of there. I’m not sure where we’ll settle, but we’ve got a van and I think we’re gonna try to escort for awhile, see how that works for us. I don’t know how many people Blue lied to, conned, saying that Rock City was something it’s not. Make sure your listeners know to look elsewhere.
The Aetherwave Kid.