Part 6: The Swamp
Let's hitch a ride
Let's face it - I was lost. Despair overtook me more inexorably than the swamp mud filling my shoes.
The Hydrafloat was dead, Valembois was dead, Mackowski was dead, and I figured I would soon join them.
Though the thought of dying wet and muddy in some godforsaken swamp didn't really appeal to me - if I was going to die, at least I was going to die dry.
With laborous sucking footsteps, I made my way to the shack in the distance.
As I made my dogged trek to my final rest, I stubbed my toe on something metal.
"God damn it! I hate the Amerzone! DO YOU HEAR ME?! I HATE THE AMERZONE!" I screamed, raising my fists to the sky.
The birds and insects fell briefly silent, then clamoured even more loudly than before. I looked down.
Oh hey, the egg! I picked it up and took it with me, fully intending to yell at it for a while in hopes that it would understand the trouble that it had caused.
Climbing the ladder with forty pounds of egg on my back wasn't easy, but I made it.
Inside the shack was a pouch on a string. It smelled vaguely of cinnamon, and when I opened it, a powerful blast of air gusted out. Interesting!
I rested the egg in a corner and hunkered down next to it.
"Okay, egg, I know you're just a baby, but I think it's time we discussed the concept of personal responsibility.
A lot of people are looking for you. Some of them want to take you home to your volcano, and some want to make sure you never reach it.
So why are you so special? Why do you need an Indian ritual to even hatch? Why does your species even exist?"
The egg just sat there.
"I mean, maybe we'll never know. Nobody seemed to want to study you, and nobody outside of this weird country even knows your legend, much less believes you exist.
But... I mean maybe that's the point. Maybe people just need something to believe in, sometimes. Maybe we all need to hope for just a second that magic exists and the world isn't such a bleak and confusing place."
The egg didn't move, but I could swear it kicked gently.
"Okay, egg. I may never ever see my apartment again, and hell, we may not even live to see the volcano, but I promise you this:
I will do everything in my power to get you home. You deserve a shot at life as much as anyone else in the world. So let's do this.
But first, let's see what Valembois had to say about this swamp. I'm gonna read you a story, egg."
Judging from the primitive painting that I was able to see in teh village, a young Ovovolaho Indian boy must go through a fearsome initial rite in order to enter into adulthood.
The teenage boy must set off alone, towards the volcanoes in The Amerzone, sieze the egg of a white bird, and then take it back to the village.
As soon as the priest ahs finished the sacred ceremony, the young man has to take the egg back to where he found it so that it may hatch under good conditions.
2 June, 1933
I took leave of my hosts at dawn. Thanks to the mechanism that I had devised to climb the falls, I succeeded in taking my boat up the falls and then, with a complementary system, beat the torrential current and in so doing, I reached the place where the river settles down and loses itself in the marshes.
"So far so good eh, egg? I guess when this is all over, I'll be a man in the eyes of the Ovovolaho."
The marshlands are sacred to the Indians: it is the burial ground of their ancestors. One necessarily has to go through them to get to the volcanoes. It is a dangerous place and going through it is a terrible ordeal.
The web-footed giraffe is, and has always been, domesticated by the Indians. The Indians mount them through the marshlands. The ones that have remained in the wild are very timid.
"Hm, so the Indians rode them through the marshlands, eh? I guess that's our best shot. Come on, egg!"
I tucked my precious cargo into my backpack next to Valembois' journal and climbed down the stairs.
Farewell, Hydrafloat. You served me well.
There were two tall trunks in the middle of the swamp. Each had what looked to be a loudspeaker at the top, and three holes near the bottom.
May as well give it a shot...
I stuck the mouth of the bag into one of the holes and pulled the drawstring.
A thunderous bellow issued forth and I saw, off in the distance, a graceful, long-necked animal appear briefly from the trees.
Neat frog. Wonder if it's poisonous. Its frantic ribbiting was incredibly loud.
Sure enough, I saw another loudspeaker.
I tried the same hole as before. Same thunderous noise, but I couldn't see anything.
The next hole produced a different noise, but no effect.
May as well try the last one...
Success! I saw another web-footed giraffe off in the distance.
My path was blocked from this side, so I worked my way around through the swamp. The insects and birds grew louder and louder - I knew I must be heading the right way.
Ed note: This is another stupid puzzle, honestly. Just follow the animal noises between the loudspeakers and stick the bag in the hole.
Soon enough I came across a number of raised platforms. I didn't need to guess what was in those shrouds.
Another loudspeaker. I hoped it wouldn't awaken a bunch of swamp mummies.
Click to watch the ride!
I cut out a brief instance of the cutscene stopping and then clicking the animal's reins. MMMmeh
Sure enough, three web-footed giraffes appeared from the fog. One of them had a saddle!
It stood patiently as I clambered onto its back. With a shake of the reins, we were off!
They stopped at a ladder leading up a tree. I disembarked and said my goodbyes.
"Bye giraffes! Thank you for the ride!"
The ladder stopped at a rope bridge swaying dangerously above the swamp.
I took a deep breath and stepped on. The ropes creaked alarmingly but they seemed to hold. With shaking footsteps, I began my journey.
After a solid hour of slow progress, the noises of the jungle disappeared and I was left alone.
The bridge ended at a narrow pass between enormous rocks. A pair of vultures soared overhead.
There wasn't a sound to be heard in this canyon, just my heartbeat and exausted breaths.
And finally, there it was - the temple. My journey was nearing its end.
Next time: The Temple and Volcano!
Really short update today. Chapter 6 isn't much at all - pretty much filler to explain the gap between the village and volcano.