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.