Deep in the Old Libraries, among the dusty tomes and grimy jars containing frog brains, lie the last collection of journals written by the Lord Professor Wilson Chapstick III, previously the Senior Explorologist at the College of Adventure Science, London. As his body was never recovered, it is unclear how anyone came to be in possession of the documents, but an anonymous donation left us the complete collection of ‘Concerning Flora and Fauna’ along with a recorded sample of the author’s voice so he may live on in memory. They recount the last weeks of Lord Wilson’s life, and provide a rare insight into the lives of the Explorologists of days gone by. Take heed, students, for the College no longer pays out on insurance claims concerning the matters held within….
Day One, Summer.
Before I begin this next journal on the Adventuring Sciences, I must first congratulate Lady von Hamplesteinn on throwing the most extravagant fundraiser it has ever been my pleasure to attend. Truly there has never been a more academic meeting that involved so much fine wine and vintage whiskey. Challenging those delightful young undergraduates to a game of ‘Chug the Tuppence’ may have proven to be my main mistake last night, however, as I have awoken in a strange forest, with no iota of understanding as to how I got here, save a hessian tattoo on my left buttock that reads “Property of Her Majesty’s Earthworm Society“. Still, this is not the first time I have been lost in an unknown wilderness with nothing but inappropriately placed body art to aid me, and I’m sure help will soon be on its way.
As any true Explorologist should know, the first order of business should be to collect provisions for the day ahead. After resting my head (the effects of whiskey on the academic mind are clearly far more potent than one may realise), I set off to get a feel of my surroundings. Whilst exploring the forest, I managed to collect many fine seeds and carrots on which I can snack later, lest I get peckish before the search party arrives. I soon reached the edge of the forest, and stepped out into a grassy meadow. I am still unsure of where it is I have found myself, but imagine my amazement upon seeing a field of huge beehives! I counted at least fifteen, tall as a man, standing proud among the flowers. Never have I heard of such a place! I tried to get closer to inspect the marvellous structures, but their residents seemed none too happy for my attentions. Fat and bulbous, as large as my hand, they came streaming from each nest, chasing me from the field. I admit to have being so momentarily shaken by the fleet of angrily-buzzing insects that I may have forgotten my bearings. I fear that my rescuers may be delayed in their finding of me, possibly by even up to a few hours!
The sun began to set at an alarming pace, and it was not long before I found myself plunged into inky black shadows. Using some twigs and a piece of flint I collected in the forest, I struck up a small campfire in the middle of a mushroom ring, and settled down to await the light of dawn. The wind picked up something brisk in the night, so collecting some dry grass from the surrounding areas, I fashioned myself a practical (and very stylish) grass coat to keep me warm. I must confess though, even by my fire and within my organic jacket, I find the noises and movements just beyond the firelight to be strange and unnerving, chilling me more than the night-time winds. I shall not be venturing far from the flames tonight….
Day Two, Summer
I must have fallen asleep in the night, as I was awoken by birdsong and a rabbit eating my provisions. I chased the blighter away, and packed up my things to continue on for the day.
I stumbled out of the forest once again, finding myself on a dry plain, littered with large boulders. What an odd place this is, with so many biomes and terrain-types squashed together. Still, the laws of Creation are strange and mysterious, and do not require our understanding. Using my patented MicroGeo PocketPick, which no aspiring geologer should be without, I set to reducing the rocks to a manageable size. Unfortunately, due to it’s design, the PocketPick is perhaps not the most efficient tool for the job, and I found the sun setting sooner than I had even realised. Still, I had pocketfuls of useful rocks which I used to create a more permanent fireplace on the edge of the plains.
I find myself growing weaker. Perhaps mining is not a chore best undertaken on a diet of seeds and carrots. I will start supplementing my diet with protein tomorrow. Today’s rains have also not helped lighten my burden and spirits. This is an unacceptable state of affairs, and I shall be having stern words with the organisers of my rescue when they finally collect me.
Day Three, Summer
This morning I have woven basket traps from the dry grasses of the plains, and put them near some rabbit holes in the hopes that tonight I may have something more filling for dinner. The little devils don’t seem too smart, but lining the traps with seeds should provide them with the extra motivation they need to climb inside.
I spent the morning looking for more food. Back in the forest though, I came across a marvelous site – a thick ring of berry bushes, surrounding what appeared to be a totem of some kind. Heathen effigies hold no sway over a Man of Science though, so I promptly helped myself to the bountiful offerings. Many a jam could be produced from the collection I made. The creator of the shrine was nowhere to be found, though I fear with his seemingly deified interest in pigs, he would not have made for polite company in any case.
More mining in the afternoon have yielded glorious results – gold! Her Majesty will be sure to hear about this upon my return. Still, while hardly a treasure trove at the moment, I have found enough to create one of academia’s most important tools – the Science Machine! Using this, I can craft raw materials into things that will be of more use to me – rope, planks, a hat. I may even be able to use this time to catch up on academic papers that await me in London. What wonderful news!
The noise of my mining appeared to have attracted unwanted attention from a giant, flightless bird, however. This Tallbird, as I shall call it, chased me incessantly for a number of hours. I managed to lose it by running through the trees, but perhaps this is a warning for me – I should maybe look at crafting some protection for myself. My grass suit is in shreds after the encounter, and I fear that the Tallbird may not be the most dangerous creature in these lands…
I returned to my camp tired and pecked. My traps have yielded some success, luckily, and so braised rabbit is happily on the menu tonight. Still, the night is cold again, and the shadows press in something fierce around me. Above it all, in the silent gloom, I can hear something faintly. In the distance, there are noises I cannot identify. Something is coming in the dark, and I do not know if it is my rescuers or something worse. All I can say for sure is, it’s getting closer every night….
END OF JOURNAL I