Nightmare of the Rustling

It is night. Micah and Liril are sleeping. Tainted John is laying down.

There is a rustling.

Micah is instantly awake.

There is a further rustling. Something is scurrying and slithering in the pine needles. It is evil.

Micah is on his feet. He is looking towards it.

It is great and serpentine and slithery. It is pale moonlight colors, blue and cold. It has a terrible maw. It has black feathers on its head and raven eyes. It is just the sort of thing that one finds making rustling noises in the forest.

“Once upon a time,” the creature whispers, and its voice is moon and stars and wind, “a runaway child broke his leg here. So he died. And I grew inside him. And then I came out. And now I must kill runaway children to lay my eggs in them.”

Micah looks at Tainted John. Tainted John does not seem to have noticed the rustling or the creature’s speech.

The creature’s head sways back and forth in the air. Then it arcs viciously towards Micah. Micah moves to meet it, then stops, his hands splayed in the air, as if against an invisible wall. The creature stops too.

“There’s a glass door,” Micah bluffs. “Bump! If you attack, you’ll hit your head on it!”

The creature hesitates. “Open it,” it says.

“There’s no handle!”

The creature eyes him narrowly. It has bumped into glass doors before. They are one of its natural enemies. But the air is undisturbed.

“I do not believe you,” it whispers.

“I wouldn’t let her sleep out here defenseless,” Micah bluffs.

And if this works, we cannot know.

5 thoughts on “Nightmare of the Rustling

  1. I find it interesting that there have been a number of legends featuring Micah, Liril, and Tainted John even after they ran away. Obviously Jane or Martin has some way of knowing what they’re up to.

    Hmm. I wish we knew at what point in the “story” timeline the legends are performed. Has the Monster been watching the recent performances?


  2. I believe the Monster is off with the Hero by this time. I am, however, going on the assumption that real-time events take place between performances. Since the “real time” entries place the monster away from the tower, I doubt he is present to view these particular plays.

  3. The more of these legends about Micah and Liril we see, the more I wonder what’s really going on with them. If (as seems likely) Jane is writing and directing these particular performances, then we have to assume that they’re filtered through her sensibilities–meaning that Micah might in fact be fighting off dangers that are neither composed of tofu nor readily defeated by mime. And Micah and Liril have become my favorite characters, more so even than Jane and Martin.

    Edit: Another idea just occurred to me. What if we’re seeing Micah and Liril’s rendition of the tribulations they faced on the way to the Gibbelins’ Tower, performed by them after their arrival? (If that’s where they’re headed, a hypothesis for which we currently have no evidence.)

  4. We know, at the least, that not all legends are performed at the storyline moment in which they’re posted. When the monster went to the tower, the first show he saw was the one with the dancing pope army, which was significantly earlier.

    That is, to the best of my knowledge, the only piece of information we have about what time the plays of the legends are performed.

    Also, hasn’t Iphigenia appeared in legends after she died in the story-timeline? Or do I misrecall?


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