Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Road of the Second Chance

This place is also known as the River of the Second Chance - but in fact it is neither road nor river.

It is a strip of unknown material, about ten feet wide, which has the strange property that it is usually in motion, carrying any who stand on it at such speed that they seem to disappear. It seems the road is in motion about two-thirds of the time. Very careful examination might reveal whether it is moving or still, but determining its direction has proven to be impossible. Likewise it is unknown whether it moves in both directions or only one. It stops and starts apparently according to nothing more than its own whim. It happened once that the Road stayed still for a whole year - or at least that no one caught it moving.

It runs through an overgrown area of wasteland at the edge of Teleleli, terminating at both ends in caves. Those who have followed the Road into the caves have reported that there came a point where it was impossible to explore further without stepping on the Road.

Riding the Road is by no means easy. Putting one foot on it while it is in motion, and the other on the ground, will merely result in the unwary traveller being hurled away at great force, probably leading to broken bones or even death. The traveller must instead run up and jump, landing on both feet at the same time. Of course there is no way of knowing if this is safe, or merely causes a person to be injured or killed wherever they end up.

The place is full of priests, trying to recruit the desperate souls who come here. Merchants try to get a good deal from those who sell their worldly goods before setting forth, while others sell equipment suitable for journeys into the unknown. Beggars come to take advantage of those who believe they will need no wealth in their new home. Some come to plead with their loved ones not to go, others come to find thieves and debtors before they disappear. Kind-hearted souls mend the wounds of those who have tried to ride the Road and failed, or bury the dead. The park also attracts those with more sinister motives, who reason that those who come to travel the Road will not be missed.

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