Level 730

The Paths We Travel


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Info

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Ah, a new face! Welcome to my forest, won't you come take a walk with me?

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We have quite the path ahead of us.

Description

Within Level 730 resides a picturesque forest hiking trail. The skyline always sits at dawn, and the weather is a refreshing 24°C/75°F. The songs of unknown birds make for the ambience on your travels here. Take a deep breath in, and then out again. Allow yourself a moment to relax; to breathe. You're okay. You're here. You're safe.

You seem nervous. Do not fear, I shall not harm you, nor will this land. You're safe within my domain, I will make sure of it.

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We all have to start somewhere.

When you first arrive here, you will have stepped out through a crack in a giant, hollow tree. It stands big and tall amidst the rest of the forest. This is where everyone starts.

Fresh water trickles down a winding river here. Are you thirsty? Go ahead and have a sip, it's safe to drink. There's a log stump you can rest on. I can only imagine how far you've come to be here now.

Feel free to wait here a while. They'll come meet you soon to take you on your way.

I happened to be right on time for your arrival. For many people, they may end up waiting a little while. I tend to get distracted in my exploration sometimes, heh.

After this point, the path is up to you. Where will you go? What will you explore? The forest is vast and stretches wide. The path shall go on for however long you need it to. Most importantly, you're not alone for this walk. The guide will make sure you're safe and out of harm during your journey.

Want to climb up to the peaks? Wade down the streams? There's some nature playgrounds scattered about, and many more little gems to find. The guide knows all the nice places to visit here, so feel free to ask them to show you around!

Oh, you wish to know about me? There isn't really much to say, honestly. I have existed here since time immemorial. This place is my home, and I could never think to leave it. But enough about me, tell me about yourself!

The Guide

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An artist's interpretation.

The guide is the only other soul in the forest. True to their name, they travel with the wanderer from the start of the path to the very end. They hold a wealth of knowledge on nature, and remember every face they meet — as well as their story. Sometimes, its as simple as travelling off the beaten path of the Backrooms. For others, its narrowly escaping an untimely death.

Everyone gives the guide a new story from a different land: a shaded glade in a valley of flowers, the corner of a quaint bookstore, a mass of charcoal within an endless pit of fire, a city of alleyways, a sea of rooftops where they'd slipped and fallen right into the forest's entrance hollow, and many, many more tales of wild and wonderful locations the guide could share for hours on end.

As well as a travel companion, they also act as a counsellor. They have heard troubles of many kinds during their time within the forest. They will happily listen to a wanderer vent their frustrations — even encourage them to do so.

The guide knows a wealth of meditative exercises, and will gladly teach them to those who care to learn. In spite of their alien appearance, they are an excellent teacher — somehow, the techniques settle easily in the minds of even the most forgetful and careless students. This tutelage is, perhaps, aided by an anomalous power concealed within the guide's mysterious seeing-eye hand.

What's on your mind? You're free to tell me if you wish, it may help relieve the stress you feel about it! Do not worry about me, I'm no empath, I won't be affected!

Notable Locations

Below is just one page of the many landmarks scattered throughout the hike trail, transcribed from notes provided by the guide:

Notable Locations

Location Name:
Date Found:
Found By:
Area Type:
Notes:
Finch's Home 25/10/13 Finch Rest Point, Constructed A dome tent made of sticks and leaves. Ever since they made it, Finch always asks to come here whenever they visit.
The Snakebend 01/11/13 Erin Sightseeing Playspace A shallow riverbend. One can wade through the water easily. UPDATE (25/05/20): Currently the most popular location for wanderers. It's nice!
The Cradle 25/01/13 Alex Rest Point, Constructed A tangle of vines that make up a hammock of sorts. Able to hold anyone.
The Gateway 15/02/13 Rose Sightseeing, Playspace A clearing in the forest filled with flowers of all kinds. Named by the wanderer after a video game location from their old home. With how pretty this place is, it makes me wonder what the place looked like.

A wonderful phenomenon that occurs in this place is that no matter the path, no matter the trail or distance— if you wish to visit a place the guide has noted down, then the path will take you there. The land twists and morphs itself so that the wanderer will always be heading exactly where they need to go.

Oh, have you spotted something? Ah! How curious, an open geode this close to the surface! Hmm looks to be a cluster of… what is that, emerald? Hmm actually… maybe it's one of the more aqua-coloured ones, chrysocolla maybe? No matter, why don't we record this! Since you found it, you have the honour of naming it!

Oh, you're not sure yet? That's fine! We have the whole walk to figure it out, so there's no rush whatsoever!

Leaving

Of course, all journeys must come to an end eventually. They will take time, of course. Sometimes, too, things have changed about you by the end of it. But you can never leave too early. And you'll never leave too late. The land knows when you are ready— when your mind is truly at ease.

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Look at how much better you're doing!

When that time comes, your path will end at the mouth of a cave, beyond the overgrowth of fern and bush, past the dense and verdant forest. The guide cannot follow you beyond this point— They are unable to leave their land. Besides, they've already done what they need to do. You feel better now, don't you? Do you even remember what brought you here in the first place? If not, then this place has already worked as intended— to help you, to ground you, to give you a place to breathe, far from all that may trouble you.

When you walk into the cave, it will be dark at first. But then you'll see it— that light at the end of the tunnel. It will light the way for you. All you have to do is follow it.

You'll be okay. We know you will.

It seems it's time for you to head off— Oh, what's wrong? Ah, you've figured out a name! Do tell me!

(laughter) Oh that's a delightful name! Probably one of the best I've heard so far, but don't tell anyone else I said that, okay?

Now, go on. Just walk through that cave there, you'll find your exit at the light on the other side. You did very well today. I'm proud of you! Always remember that, okay?

Until next time, my friend.


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