The GODS AND WARRIORS Survival Challenge – Part I

Pain. Darkness. Where am I?

You wake from darkness to a world of muffled noises and throbbing, dull pain. Your head feels like it’s been under a smith’s hammer, and the taste of blood and sand fill your mouth. Your stomach convulses and you retch, vomiting out the last of the foul-tasting seawater. Groaning, you push yourself up from the sandy ground, wiping filth from your face as the world clears a little.

It starts to come back to you, now – the ship. The slavers. The storm. The battle that broke out as one of the other slaves on the ship cut his bonds, and, freeing the other slaves, started to take back the ship…

What happened? The thought enters your mind unbidden, and as you look around, the shapes and outline of the beach around you gradually coming into focus, you try to remember what has led you to this point in time.

It was Achilaus, the other slave, who started the revolt. You remember that – you remember the desperation in the other slaves’ eyes as, empty-handed and starved, they rushed out from the dark underdeck of the ship to kill their masters and tormentors. Fearing for your life, but desperate to escape, you followed; and in the howling storm the Earthshaker threw up around the ship, whilst its deck grew slippery with blood and the air was rent by shouts and screams, you were plunged overboard. For a long, long time you remember nothing but the muffled silence of the sea and the choking embrace of the sea god, but somehow, long after darkness took you, you awoke, half-dead, covered in bruises and cuts, but still breathing and, more than ever, desperate to live.

The beach looks like something of a battleground. By the look of it, it is a graveyard of sorts; bits of ships and small boats from times long past have been washed up here, their wood rotted through and through, but here and there a piece of wood looks fresh; here and there a masthead recently snapped off from its ship, a cut of a sail recently torn from its ropes, lie dejectedly in the sand. Maybe some of these are from the ship that carried you; maybe not, and maybe the rest of the slaves died in that miserable battle. The thought that you may be the only survivor races through your mind, before exhaustion takes you and, crumpling, you roll onto your back.

The sky’s still light, but you can tell that it’ll soon be dying. Already the air has taken on a chill that freezes your wet, unclothed skin; save for the pitiful rags you’ve tied around yourself, you’ve nothing – no clothes, no food, no tools, nothing save for an aching, battered, undernourished body, and a hunger that grows with every second.

The dull ache of acute exhaustion is in every bone of your body, but, pushing yourself up from the sand, standing shakily, you know that if you are to survive you must take action now. You need a shelter. Food. Clothes. Warmth. The bare essentials of survival – and, as the sun god’s chariot dips lower in the sky, you have very little time to obtain them.

Time to get moving.

 

Pain. Darkness. Where am I?

You wake from darkness to a world of muffled noises and throbbing, dull pain. Your head feels like it’s been under a smith’s hammer, and the taste of blood and sand fill your mouth. Your stomach convulses and you retch, vomiting out the last of the foul-tasting seawater. Groaning, you push yourself up from the sandy ground, wiping filth from your face as the world clears a little.

It starts to come back to you, now – the ship. The slavers. The storm. The battle that broke out as one of the other slaves on the ship cut his bonds, and, freeing the other slaves, started to take back the ship…
What happened? The thought enters your mind unbidden, and as you look around, the shapes and outline of the beach around you gradually coming into focus, you try to remember what has led you to this point in time.

It was Achilaus, the other slave, who started the revolt. You remember that – you remember the desperation in the other slaves’ eyes as, empty-handed and starved, they rushed out from the dark underdeck of the ship to kill their masters and tormentors. Fearing for your life, but desperate to escape, you followed; and in the howling storm the Earthshaker threw up around the ship, whilst its deck grew slippery with blood and the air was rent by shouts and screams, you were plunged overboard. For a long, long time you remember nothing but the muffled silence of the sea and the choking embrace of the sea god, but somehow, long after darkness took you, you awoke, half-dead, covered in bruises and cuts, but still breathing and, more than ever, desperate to live.

The beach looks like something of a battleground. By the look of it, it is a graveyard of sorts; bits of ships and small boats from times long past have been washed up here, their wood rotted through and through, but here and there a piece of wood looks fresh; here and there a masthead recently snapped off from its ship, a cut of a sail recently torn from its ropes, lie dejectedly in the sand. Maybe some of these are from the ship that carried you; maybe not, and maybe the rest of the slaves died in that miserable battle. The thought that you may be the only survivor races through your mind, before exhaustion takes you and, crumpling, you roll onto your back.

The sky’s still light, but you can tell that it’ll soon be dying. Already the air has taken on a chill that freezes your wet, unclothed skin; save for the pitiful rags you’ve tied around yourself, you’ve nothing – no clothes, no food, no tools, nothing save for an aching, battered, undernourished body, and a hunger that grows with every second.

The dull ache of acute exhaustion is in every bone of your body, but, pushing yourself up from the sand, standing shakily, you know that if you are to survive you must take action now. You need a shelter. Food. Clothes. Warmth. The bare essentials of survival – and, as the sun god’s chariot dips lower in the sky, you have very little time to obtain them.

Time to get moving.

1

1. You can see a line of green trees, dense and thick further inland, by the look of it just over a half mile away. The gaps between the trees are dark; this means it’s a large forest with good cover, and would be a good place to spend the night; if the weather turns bad you’ll have ample protection from the elements within. However, you’ll almost certainly not be alone; you’ll have to contend with whoever – or whatever – lives within the forest if you don’t hide your shelter well. Alternatively, there’s an old wreck of a much larger boat just a few dozen metres away from you right now, and you could shelter there easily for the night if you can find some sail-cloth with which to keep yourself warm. But if you do go to the wrecked boat, you’ll be very visible from the beach and the forest – and you do not want to attract attention. Where do you choose to spend the night?
 
 
 
 

Question 1 of 7

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2. Having chosen where you’ll shelter for the night, an aching belly reminds you that you need food, and badly, before you can get to the work of actually setting up your shelter. A minute ago you could haveĀ  sworn you saw the outline of wolves at the forest’s edge, or maybe it was just a trick of the fading light – the pounding in your head is getting worse and worse and it’s harder to think with every second. Where are you going to try to find food?
 
 
 

Question 2 of 7

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3. You’ve managed to source food. Next, a fire. You’re wet and freezing. Where are you going to get wood for a fire?
 
 
 

Question 3 of 7

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4. Morning comes, and with it the bright pangs of hunger return. During the night it seems that you were visited by something, as you can make out animal tracks around your temporary shelter, although whatever it was it didn’t disturb you whilst you slept. You’ve survived your first night in this place, and you dimly wonder where ‘this place’ really is; but you’ve no time for speculation as you have to ensure that you’ve got a way of surviving the days and nights to come. You’re in no state to travel; the long months on the slavers’ ship left you dangerously undernourished and it’ll be some time before you can think of trying to find your way home. You can’t live off berries forever and you’re going to have to find something to keep you warm, as the nights are going to get colder and colder now and the skies will darken earlier as winter approaches. You need to find a source of food, a weapon, and clothing. You decide to enter the forest to try and find some food, and you’re in luck; you come across a little stream not far from the forest’s edge and you drink greedily from it, sating your thirst. Now for food. Where do you look?
 
 
 

Question 4 of 7

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5. Having found a better supply of food, you can now start the day proper. You need tools now – tools to hunt, to fish, and to defend yourself; in other words, weapons. What are you going to try to fashion from the resources you can find?
 
 
 

Question 5 of 7

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6. It’s now afternoon, and you’ve decided that you’ll be spending tonight near the stream. Whilst you’re gathering wood for a fire, you decide to make some clothes to protect yourself from the elements. How are you going to go about doing this?
 
 
 

Question 6 of 7

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7. As night falls, you’ve built a small fire near the stream which will keep for most of the night. You’re sitting much warmer, better fed, and you might have some tools to use and defend yourself with. You’ll need them – you can hear the howling of wolves over a wind that’s kicked up suddenly, and the temperature’s dropped sharply. You huddle closer to the fire, keeping warm. As you do, you notice a pair of yellow eyes watching you from the darkness. The eyes come closer, and a wolf, silver-furred, steps out into the firelight, eyeing you intently. You can see other eyes in the darkness watching you. As the wolf approaches you, gradually circling, you can see the other eyes coming closer. It’s a full pack, and this one must be the alpha, the leader. As you watch it, it bares its fangs, emitting a low growl. It’s hungry and you’re going to have to fend it off somehow. As you rise slowly into a crouch, fear begins to knot in your belly and you realise you’re only going to get one chance.

What do you do?
 
 
 
 

Question 7 of 7