jeffpeng

Norman, the Normaloper

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You know he's a hardcore Interloper when he braves Bleak Inlet.

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I'm currently on a small hiatus, which has actually something to do with the current human malware situation as I am spending most of my free time on child care - but Norman will be back!

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I am enjoying reading this. You are reckless, where as I instantly have a panic attack whilst facing wolfies. I swear that those things hate me. Good luck in Bleak Inlet! Hope the Timbers don't annoy you too much.

 

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Fellow Survivor,

it's been a while since I last walked the icy patches and snowy hills of Great Bear, since I last faced the challenges on the other side of this door.

A lot has happened since, here, on the Island, and abroad, I'm sure. The world is in turmoil the likes none of us have seen in our lifetime. This doesn't only mean the ongoing catastrophe we all know and hear about, but also all those we do not consciously understand and fathom, preceding the main event, and tailing in its wake.

But if you read this then this means there is hope. We are still out here. We are still out there. And as long as we are, as long as we walk the earth, be it here on Great Bear, or be it on the Mainland - or any land or country - there is another chapter to our story. And just as I am writing this letter you are writing your story every day, and together we all do our part in this tale called history.

Do not despair, my Fellow Survivor. Loneliness is a powerful foe, I know, and the tales told between travelers, full of angst and horror - true or not - can shake the most steadfast among us to their core. The game has just begun, and every generation has faced their Long Dark. It just seems like ours is going to be longer than we had hoped for, and when the veil lifts - and please trust me: it will! - the world will be a place unlike any of us had dared to neither wish nor fear for; Just like it always has been. The future has always been and always will be a promise and a threat at the same time.

I hope, my unknown friend, sincerely, that you read this letter in good health and with firm spirit. For me it is time to go back out there, into the frozen wastes. Maybe we meet. And if we do I hope we can greet us as kindred spirits, no matter our nation, creed or policy, for we are in this together.

Yours truly
Norman


 

I drop the pen and read over the lines a last time, then leave the letter at the desk. My cup of coffee is almost up - no more time to waste. I hope the rags on my flayed body will protect me from whatever is waiting for me outside. I shoulder my bow and leave.

Norman ... is back.

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Norman 2 / Days 58  and 59 - Digging myself out of the hole

Right now the worst part about having my cloths getting wrecked so thoroughly is that it feels like -30°C outside. That's serious in that moving at all is a difficult prospect. The wind doesn't help. My wounds have mostly healed, but not only because there hardly is anything left to see up here I decide that I will get out of this hell hole as fast as I can.

When I reach the site of my battle I find one of my missing arrows, and the corpse of a wolf that wasn't there yesterday. How I reason this I will not further explain to not shatter the illusion, but I see it and the clear skies as a welcome reason to make camp at the cave. My food reserves are distinctly limited. I rest an hour to warm up, then I go and get 2 kilogram of wolf meat. Just that costs me dearly. While I cook my bounty I recycle most of my torches. For the environment!

After a page about how to shoot arrows from ninja stance I pull torches and leave. The weather has turned in my favor, so now or probably never.

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You know when something looks nice - but isn't?

Making my way back to the ravine the winds return. I survive - my fire does not. When I arrive back at the cave on the bottom of the ravine I am missing a particular part of my backside which I must have frozen off on the way - despite the powers of hot herbal tea. Turning in a dead rabbit greets me on the doorstep. How thoughtful.

Facing the monumental climb out of the ravine I decide to stay the night at the cave. I left some food behind, and the rabbit I caught supplements it enough to make this not a question of sustenance. I do chores at the back of the cave, tear apart the rabbit and the remains of other one I had left here and sleep.

I wake up at 6 am. It's cold in the cave but not severely enough to force me to move immediately. I take the time to sort out what I will need to leave, which is mostly torches and a bit of water, and then I head out into a very cold and windy, but otherwise friendly morning. Driven by the cold I one-time the climb and head for my cave. I'm home. I leave what surplus loot I've got on a big pile and sleep an hour. Then I head for the dam. I  have some damages to repair.

On the way I think about how my first trading blows with the timber wolves wasn't very successful, but that I essentially completed my mission, which was first and foremost to get the code, and secondarily to clear out the area. But I should really be damn sure it's worth the risk before I visit the main stage.

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Your trusty repair shop!

I get most of my repairs done, but after failing my gloves twice I'm a rabbit pelt short. A blizzard outside compels me to stay the night, and despite my well founded aversion to sleeping in the dam I agree. It's been a few short but exhausting days.

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Im glad that it's back! I look forward to more of Norman's adventures

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Norman 2 / Days 60 to 64 - An Enemy is Legendary

5 am. Still not fully back to spec I read up on my travels. Yes, really the only place that should still yield significant loot is Broken Railroad and the other, even uglier half of Bleak Inlet. And of the latter I had my fill for now. I guess it's time to visit this wolf infested monstrosity that is the maintenance yard on the far side of the island. But considering I lost a good heap of arrow heads I should use the opportunity and make a few new. I check my logs again, and yes: If I'm not totally mistaken there should be another hammer at the outlook. Well, let's have a stroll. After I sleep 2 more hours.

When I wake up another blizzard is ravaging the world. Sigh. Well. There must be something left to do in this ruin. Upstairs I find two more cans of spray paint which probably "made their way" into the location after I last checked it. In the lower part of the facility I make a few pieces of cloth I left on my first pass, and a sewing kit which I must have outright missed. Two more hours of sleep and past noon the weather clears up, and I get going.

I fill my insides with the last of the moose being in cold storage outside and head along the tracks. A wolf sees me crossing the bridge, but having no time for such shenanigans I keep walking, and reaching the derailment the wolf finally decides I'm not worth the effort. I reach the outlook without further incident, and thoroughly frosted. The hammer is present as expected, so is a book about burning the living snot out of things, another sewing kit, a pot and, most interestingly: a whetstone. An hour of sleep removes the impressive collection of icicles hanging from my facial features.

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Putting the world into perspective.

The weather is harsh, and it's cold even at this usually very forgiving hour, and by the time I've reached the bottom on the outlook I'm freezing yet again. Life is rough in post-day-50 Interloper. I make quick work of two bunnies with the bow. The food is welcome, but the target practice even more. Heading directly into the wind reaching the camp office takes forever and costs me so much health all the gains I made yesterday are rendered null and void. A big red box at the porch, filled with cat tail heads, makes me chuckle. I light a fire behind the camp office, the first match I use in over a week, and cook my rabbits. 2.2 kg ain't much, but it will do. Inside I gather guts and pelts from my rabbits and sleep.

I wake up a t 6 am sharp. Too early in the day to travel I take the time to read a little bit about the history of how fire made the world a better place for humans despite causing the worst mass extinction ever on earth over 200 Million years ago. The irony! A short nap later I leave after storing what I can spare - with less than 400 calories in the tank. I skip down to Deadfall, hoping for a snack - meaning a wolf at best, but a rabbit will probably also do. I get my rabbit, but realize that I will need more food and also some coal to make it through the muskeg. Sadly the one wolf I meet decides to run away. Great. Where are they when you need them ....

Near Trappers I find a deer carcass and make camp. 0.8 kg plus 1.5kg from the rabbit are astonishingly little food, but it'll do for now.

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Back to camping,

At Trapper's I shortly check for stuff I could have left behind - indeed, 2 now cured guts - and leave for the cave, leaving behind my bait which I hope will come in handy later. 7 coal richer I emerge back from the cave. That will do. When I leave the cave I see the bear leaving its hideout, and a make a plan that ranges somewhere between keen and stupid. I get back to the cabin, pick up my smellies and wait. It doesn't take too long.

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Thinks he's the one getting food: A bear.

I give him an arrow, then another one as he is charging towards me - and dodge into the cabin. I wait a few minutes, but upon leaving the bear is right in front. Another arrow - and back in. And another and the same. The beast won't die! One more and back in. Bloody hell! Is that thing made of steel??? Yet another arrow that breaks on impact ... but it works.

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Didn't think that the invitation for dinner was meant this way: A dead bear.

What began as a search for a snack ended as having my cake and eating it, too. I plunk down a fire next to my 38.6 kilograms of meat worthy friend and get to work. While I do night falls and the aurora pays me a visit. In true first nation manner I take everything nature offers me with gratitude.

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Even the heavens celebrate my victory.

When I'm done it's past 3 am. But it's fine. All urgency has suddenly left me with a week's worth of food outside. I could rest up completely. And thinking about it: I will.

It's past midday when I wake up. I've still got a bit missing on my health bar, but my log assures me this is already 99%. I will still use the day to stock up on firewood and fortify this place for a later date when I will go and retrieve some of the things I left in Milton. My biggest worry is my dwindling supply of arrows. I've got 5 left, two of which have a shot, maybe two, left in them. I must have missed one arrow yesterday - since I had 7, and I've got only a single broken one. Maybe I'll find it.

Continuing my target practice with rabbits one of the arrows breaks. So four. While gathering firewood, of which there isn't much, the wolf that wasn't brave enough yesterday is now. I lead him back to the cabin, and - bam - 4 more kilograms of meat. Plus a spare pelt. But with a blizzard rolling in, back safe and sound in the cabin, contemplating my options, one thing becomes undeniably clear: going to broken railroad on 4 soon to be 3 arrows might be a one way ticket. I will need more arrow shafts, and so I will make the detour over Milton, where I should have more than enough saplings waiting for me at Grey Mother's. Let's hope my memory serves me correctly. So I decide to make it to Broken Railroad via Milton, essentially skipping the Muskeg. Having all these climbs ahead makes bringing the hammer is a tough proposition. I need to reduce my weight, so I sort through my things with the wind hammering the blinds.

Fixing my underpants I finally get Mending III. That skill is so hard to get up, sheesh. When I'm done leaving clutter behind I sleep in 1 hour increments, waiting out the Blizzard. It's too dark to read, now. Two hours later I head for the cave with some bear meat to keep me fed as long as possible. Outside the weather is still being a douche, so I make camp for an hour at the mouth of the cave, hoping for clearer skies and preserving my flame. It works, and I am greeted by a starry night.

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Space: the final frontier. These are voyages of Norman. His hopefully five-year mission: to explore strange new places on some island off the coast of Canada. To seek out more loot and new things to eat. To boldly go where no sane man would actually go if he had his wits about him.

I make it down to the small cave below Milton without much to report and camp. Two rabbit pelts lie waiting on the floor, which I pick up and take with me. I also left some water here. Good of me. I sleep an hour to warm up, quickly snipe two bunnies outside, and make some gory, early breakfast. Taking the time to skin the two little rabbits at the warm back of the cave, mostly for practice, it gets 6 am, and I take two hours to read about the combustion of plant life, then sleep three more hours.

I leave behind some torches and water, and the new guts which, uncured, are to dangerous to carry around for my taste, and get going. The climb is easy, and I reach the Park Office without further incident. An hour of sleep to warm up and on I go. The bear meat stays with me - for now. Upon entering Orca's I hear a wolf bark in the distance. I drop my meat and get back out, only to see it taking down a stag. Busy with his meal a clear head shot from mid range is easily done. So much food.

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The food chain, live and in action.

I leave both of them for now, and return to Orca's to see if I left anything. Well, nothing but a very curiously placed book about small firearms, two can's of spray paint which I guess are new, too, and even more curious is a big red box at the entrance containing a lot of paper - and a tin of sardines. Well, who am I to argue. Getting back to the two dead animals, with my bear meat on me, another wolf comes along, and his fate ain't any brighter than his breatheren's.

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Things are starting to pile up...

Not sure what to do I decide to leave the wolves be and just get to work on deer. I take two kilograms and want to retreat to Orca's to warm up. When .... oh you can guess it at this point...

 

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Things ARE piling up. No doubt.

Finally I get back to Orca's and sleep an hour. Sheesh. After that I get the remaining of the deer's meat, but leave the rest. I had hoped for brighter weather so I can make a fire, but to no avail. I use the remaining daylight to finish my book about burning stuff and sleep as much as I can.

Around 2 am, yes, my day and night cycle is thoroughly screwed, I wake up with nothing to do. A few chores, tearing up surplus clothing including some shoes I found left behind at the Park Office. Time not well spent, but at least spent doing something. At 6 am I read an hour about gunsmithing of all things. I sleep another hour, and as I still have no sunlight I bite the bullet and spend a match lighting up. I even cook on two fires, something I rarely do, to get this stuff done. Now the real task is to get all this food to Grey Mother's and not end up ratatouille.

Passing the newly established graveyard I feel bad for leaving so much food behind. But I really can't use it right now, and getting it just for storage would slow me down another day. Of course I get spotted by another barker, but I dodge into a house right in time. It's just a short sprint to Grey Mother's from here - so I bolt - and make it. That's when I realize that I indeed left a lot of saplings here - but all of them maple. Damn. Paradise Meadows then? Well, it's not like I wasn't going there anyways. But making it there with all this food? I'm skeptical. Ah whatever. It'll be fine.

Turns out it was, albeit with a wolf in tow. And there it is: a big pile of saplings and other good stuff I left behind. 6 of the saplings are birch. Splendid. That's enough for quite a while. But I realize I'm missing yet another arrow. Did I leave one at Orac's? Really? Man! Well, it doesn't matter right now. I leave stuff behind, and take off to the Trailer as I want to get there before nightfall. I warm up an hour at the church, and when I exit the weather seems to lighten up - but before I know I'm in the midst of a full blown blizzard.

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Surprise!

Luckily I stay the course and reach the trailer with minimal damages. With the shed shivering under the onslaught of the elements outside I use the remaining daylight to get to work. Then there really is nothing to do but sleep.

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I hope to never meet this Norman when he's wielding a bow! 

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Norman 2 / Day 65 - Not my day

5:30 something. Too early to start my work,too rested to put in more sleep. I hate those moments. I recycle torches just to pass some time. A blizzard is (still?) howling outside. When it finally moves on it's midday already. I've got 5 arrows again, and some surplus arrow shafts - but I'm hungry. I think about how the stretch up to the plane crash is still unexplored and decide, now that I'm here, to give it a visit.

But first: food. Two rabbits near the HRV cave fall victim to more target practice - 2 for 2 - and I camp inside at the expense of yet another match. That's when I realize that I left my cans back at Paradise Meadows. Great. Well, no biggie, juts a lot of wasted time. When will this stop from keeping happening to me once in a while? So, yet another scrapped plan - back to the farm. What makes me even more mad that once I leave the cave it's bright and happy sunshine. Match wasted. Meh.

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What joy! not.

Since I have to go back anyways I can do that via Milton - and actually gobble up some of the wolves that should still be rotting away at Orca's - and hopefull retrieve my lost arrow. I've not been on my a-game lately, clearly. A wolf spots me en route, but I walk it off not wanting to dabble in such lowly affairs right now. At Grey Mother's I whip up some water with the pots I left there while I rest an hour.

Outside yet another wolf tracks me and I've kinda had it. I drop my torch, aim, and yeah, another. At least my aim is steady. I leave it behind and head for the graveyard. And yes, I indeed left an arrow stuck in a wolf here, not that it is in great shape. But finally something works out today. I camp and fill up my belly with pretty game wolf meat, but what gives, eh? While cooking I give the wood lot a quick pass, but find nothing exceptionally valuable. I skin two of the wolves, mostly for practice and decide to call it a day at Orca's - where I find the hacksaw. Did I really forget this thing here twice? Holy smokes.

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All that wolf meat isn't good for your head, Jeff.

 

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