Cross Face
rating: +6+x

Directions: Pull the 27th book on the 23800th shelf on the 5th row from the bottom in room 5A4 and open it to the 47th page.

Species Encountered: Crusis Faciem

Journal:

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An illustration of the symbols on trees

Cycle 1

After weeks of searching for my next location, I stumbled upon a quite interesting book concerning strange animals. To my surprise when it opened I was transported to this strange land.

As soon as I arrived, I started seeing strange symbols on nearly every surface. On tree-like structures and rocks, most everything that makes up the landscape. These symbols consist of perpendicular lines with circles, big or small. In all the symbols I have seen there was a limit of two small circles per quadrant. Every quadrant can contain a circle or two. These tree symbols had two circles in the fourth quadrant and one circle in the middle of the cross on top.

Trees might be a misnomer. They are towering pillars of grey-brown material that are rough to the touch. Even though they are rough in texture they have a surprisingly soft structure. Even a slight touch will make an indent on these structures. It is surprising how they are still standing. The sky is a baby blue color and is always clear. There is a day and night cycle but it is significantly longer than the base cycle.1 The rock is mostly metamorphic, I am not a geologist but there doesn't seem to be any igneous rock here at all. This raises many questions about the structure and making of the land that I am frankly too tired to look into.

I will invite readers interested in land formation and anomalous geology to travel to this place. As usual, it has been a long time since I slept and although there is much more about the land to talk about, it is not why I am here.

Cycle 2

The sunrise here is green. It slowly creeps over the mountainlike structures in the distance as the sky goes from black to green to blue. It is beautiful.
The tree-like structures are growing in number as I walk aimlessly searching for fauna to document. I saw something move out of the corner of my eye though I was not able to get a good look at it. The first sight of fauna! I am going to try to follow it. There does not seem to be any footsteps but I did find an indent on one of the tree-like structures It must have bumped into.

Recently I have been finding more of those strange symbols. On almost every other tree-like structure the same symbol appears. On each of these marked pillars, there seems to be some blocky-looking fruit. It is unclear how this fruit is held together as it seems to be very squishy. At least that's how it looks to me. I will go investigate!

I have retrieved the fruit by making dents in the tree-like structure and climbing it. I am not sure how or why it supported my weight but I am not complaining. The fruit seems to be slowly melting and it is very squishy. As soon as I touched the fruit an impression appeared, (much like when I touched the tree-like structure.) I am going to take a sample and keep it in one of the many containers I carry. I am going to test the fruits for any known toxins before I try anything too risky, such as ingesting the fruit.

I'm glad I thought to bring the testing kit along with me. My test kit did not find any known toxins or poisons. The kit is a top-of-the-line anomalous molecule and poison tester I borrowed from MC&D. It has all the new-fangled toxin detectors and breakdown-inhibitors. It's the best I could get to replace old sally.2 After she was burned up in the greyworld incident, I was torn on whether to buy a new one or not, but given all the anomalous substances I come across every day a testing kit is essential. I am going to eat this squishy fruit!

Cycle 3

Well, that was a mistake. God I can barely remember what happened after I swallowed that fruit. I remember writing down what I was going to eat in my journal and then eating the fruit and somehow hearing colors? Now I am awake on the ground and my bag is nowhere to be found. All I have is this journal and the container. Well, this is definitely not the first time this has happened, but it is quite strange. Why did my testing kit not catch the hallucinogens in the fruit, or whatever those were? Seeing as I cannot find said testing kit I guess I will never know.

I should have known, MC&D always takes the chance to sell broken products. The one time I ever actually bought something from them it was a malfunctioning ray gun that just shot visible light instead of firing anything useful. No wonder it was so cheap. I am not the best with finances.
Anyways without my bag, I do not know how I am going to get back but I will find a way. I always do!

There aren't any of those tree-like structures around me now. I must have walked a long way in my altered stooper. I heard a lot of noise when I woke up, although now I cannot find the source of it. It sounded strangely like heavy footsteps similar to those of elephants on Earth. I heard it again! and I saw something move! I am going to try to investigate the noise. Won't be that hard to pack everything up seeing as I only have the things that I carry on my person now.

I forgot to mention in my last reports but the cardinal directions are reversed in this land. I'm not sure exactly how it works but I just need to reorient myself in my head. I also need to figure out if I have my compass.
I found it! Alright, I am going to pursue that noise.

Cycle 4

I found something! While I was following the noise I heard I saw a glint between two of the rocks. I decided to try to dig it out rather than follow the noise for the time being. After about fifteen minutes of struggling to get it out, it just fell out of the rock.

It appears to be a locket. I could not open it for some time. It has a gold bead chain that is attached to the locket with a simple clasp. It is either gold-plated, gold alloy, anomalous gold, or gold-painted. I accidentally dropped it and it did not chip or break so I think it is not pure gold. If I had my old testing kit I could have known what substance it was for sure. On the top part of the locket, there is an emblem of an open book with an eye in the middle. I struggled for about an hour trying to open the locket, using my nails and the lockpick I always bring with me all to try to pry it open. Then I tried something different. I held the eye on the locket up to my own eye and spoke the word for book in every language I knew. Eventually, after several tries, the locket opened. Inside the locket, there was a small folded sheet of paper. On the sheet of paper, there were a set of instructions. They show how to use the locket and its purpose.

So here's the basic rundown of what it said. This locket is like a library it stores everything that can fit in the physical locket when closed. It recalls what is most wanted by the user at the moment they say the password. This is, of course, limited to the things in the locket. The locket also goes where it needs to be. It always finds who needs it. Of course, the next thing I did was fold the instructions back up and place them in the locket. Then I closed the locket and thought about the strange symbols I was seeing everywhere, and spoke "book." Sure enough, the locket opened with a sheet of paper describing the symbols, what they meant, and how to read them. I have copied it into my journal below.

Armed with this knowledge I will be able to find the fauna of this place much easier. It's getting dark out though so I will set up camp.

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Symbols copied into my notebook


Cycle 5

I woke up once again to a green sunrise. The horizon is so surreal in this place but that's what you get when you travel via Wanderers' Library.
I decided to start my journey in the opposite direction of the sun. I resumed my journey with my journal in hand reading the symbols on the rocks. I saw many similar symbols before which turned out to be directed toward food.

I don't know who or what is making these symbols but they seem fairly simple. I continued to follow the symbols until I heard another sound of movement. I quickly turned around and finally caught a good look at the creature. Its body resembled a set of cylinders almost mechanical in nature. Its entire body was covered in what looked like tough grey skin. It seemed to be perfect for camouflage between and around the rocky landscape. Each of its four legs, although large compared to its body, moved with surprising grace. The main part of its body was large and cylindrical flat at both ends. The end facing me was ringed with eyes that numbered in the hundreds. Each one was pointed in a slightly different direction, giving the impression that it could see you and had always seen you. Each of its eyes was also a slightly different shade of grey as if the rock was looking at you. Its face if you could even call it that had a protruding cross-like structure. This structure, like the rest of the animal, was a shade of grey matching with the color of the rocky surface of this place. The animal was big but it was fast. Its size seemed not to matter as it quickly dashed in the opposite direction to me. It moved so fast it couldn't be seen. I then realized why I couldn't see them before. When they were standing still they were completely camouflaged with the distant rocks. When they were moving it was much too fast to see.

I wonder why they decided to reveal themself to me now and if they have been watching me this whole time? As the beast moved too quickly to follow I'll call it a night early. As they have so many eyes I will call them Rock-Watchers.

Cycle 6

I woke from a nightmare of rocks with eyes. Somehow perfect replicas of the Rock-Watcher appeared in my dream. They moved fast but not fast enough that I lost sight of them. They circled me and blinked their many many eyes. They started to throw up, their faces splitting in crosssections. The sight was terrifying. Along their lip flaps, I saw row after row of blunt teeth. Their mouths were huge enough to swallow me whole. It seemed they would never stop throwing up, and then the sky turned from blue to pitch black. Then there was a Loud Noise. I woke up.

I stood up and found myself in a field of tall rocks. It was quite strange because I had slept on an open field. I decided to keep going on my journey, this is a strange place after all, and what to do but go onwards? I climbed over the first rock and my foot fell through. Strange. I kept going and my foot kept passing through each rock. Then I glimpsed an eye. The rocks were not rocks at all, they were Rock-Watchers. I was frozen. I suddenly knew why my foot was falling through the "rocks." They were all Rock-Watchers every one of them. They saw my foot about to touch them and immediately moved away. Their speed is really unmatched.

I was still standing there frozen when the Rock-Watcher before me stood up slowly as if to let me know it was there. Then it raised its cross-like face and opened it. It vocalized. It sounded like strong wind whistling through nothing. I suddenly wondered if the entire landscape was somehow built for these beasts. Every rock for miles vanished. The Rock-Watcher closed its mouth and disappeared in a blur.

I was dumbfounded. Where do they get the energy to move so fast? What do they eat? Why did they all sleep near me? Why were they averted to my touch? What are these creatures? I hope in my time here I can answer these questions. I decided to get a safe distance away from there as fast as I could before I head to bed. I need my rest and after that encounter, who wouldn't?

Cycle 7

The morning was largely uneventful. I woke up, finally well-rested with an idea fresh in my head. I remembered that I conveniently had the locket. I decided to just see if it had any information on the Rock-Watchers. If it had a paper on the symbols of this world it is bound to have a paper on the Rock-Watchers.
I held the locket to my eye and pictured the Rock-Watcher I saw last cycle. Then I spoke the password and the locket opened. Inside I found a folded-up piece of paper that looked like it was from my own journal. Not the strangest thing I've seen on this journey by far. I unfolded the sheet of paper and started reading.

The paper had no official name for the Rock-Watchers and simply called them "Those Great Beasts." It described the Rock-Watchers in excruciating detail. How they moved so fast and their diet and habitat. Their food source turned out to be that odd fruit. It apparently is extremely high in a certain type of nutrient that humans, and beings of my stature, cannot digest properly. This is what made me blackout when I ate it. The Rock-Watchers need this nutrient to stay alive. Therefore this fruit is their most important source of food. Their mouths are also built in such a way as to make it possible for them to consume the entirety of the structures that bear these fruit. The Rock-Watcher's unusual speed is possible due to the nutrient in the fruit. These beast's rows of teeth help them crush up the tree-like structures that may also be an important part of their diet. They appear to move around in groups although since only one or two have been spotted at the same time it is hard to say. I remembered when I saw them in the "field of rocks" and wrote about my encounter on the space left on the paper.

The paper strangely did not mention anything about their eyes or skin. It did not even have a drawing of the Rock-Watchers. I decided I would remake the paper in my own journal and put that into the locket instead. I practically spent the entire day working on the new journal page. Sunset surprised me as I finished the paper. I realized I have been here for seven cycles now. I should probably find a way back home tomorrow.

Cycle 8

I woke up in the same place I had the past two days. I realized I hadn't done much traveling or exploring. Following the Rock-Watchers symbols might lead me to their nest for further research. I also need to somehow find a way out of here. I started looking for the symbols on the ground hoping they would lead to their home. I realized I was walking in circles.

I followed the symbol that I had written down in my journal for home. As I followed them I kept seeing the same few landmarks that I had remembered from my encounter with the many Rock-Watchers. I finally stopped after passing by the same dugout in the rocks four times. I looked around and found myself in the exact same area that I had seen the field of beasts. I decided to stay there and wait.

Three hours passed before rocks started appearing. Shimmering into existence. The Rock-Watchers had arrived. This must be their nest. Even when I was here earlier I had not seen soo many. Every rock I could see had to be a Rock-Watcher. There were hundreds. Appearing and blending in as rocks. Some formed piles of rocks like great towers. As the last Rock-Watchers seemed to be appearing and settling down, a cold wet liquid ran down my back. I started. That turned out to be a big mistake as I turned around and saw a Rock-Watcher mouth completely open. Its hundreds of teeth dripped with saliva. The four flaps of its mouth almost completely surrounded me. The Rock-Watcher was massive the back of its throat was visible. It was a dark abyss. I knew I needed to take action or I'd be dead. I quickly grabbed the edge of one of the Rock-Watcher's mouth flaps and shook it violently. The Rock-Watchers body undulated. I backed away as far as I could while keeping hold of its mouth flap. I quickly took this journal out of my bag and turned to the page of symbols. I held it up to the beast's ring of eyes while pointing to the sign for safety.

The Rock-Watcher stopped moving. I let go of its mouth flap. It closed its gargantuan mouth. It turned around slowly and studied the page I was still holding. It stomped its feet and made a defining noise. The ground shook. I fell over, hitting my head in the process. I'm slowly losing consciousness so I'm writing this down as fast as I can. I hope to God they don't eat me. I cannot go anywhere I think I have a concussion. My consciousness is fading.

Cycle 9

I woke up surrounded by Rock-Watchers. So they had not eaten me, a good sign to be sure. I still had my book and the locket. The beasts stared at me with an apparent look of curiosity. One of them stepped close to me and nudged the journal still in my hand with its front foot. I was in awe that they seemed to be willing to communicate. I opened the journal to the page of symbols. The beast's many eyes studied the sheet of paper. I do not know if I can accurately describe what happened next. It was amazing.

The beast raised its small front legs and put its entire weight on its heavy back legs. It opened its mouth wide and a black liquid slowly seemed from the back of each of its many rows of teeth. The four-pointed star that its face became had a black glossy over it. It put both of its front legs into its mouth and they came out pitch black. Then without setting its front feet on the ground it closed its mouth and began to purse its lips. A black cross appeared on its face slowly. It quickly slammed its face into the ground while keeping its front legs off the ground. It recoiled and returned to its upright bipedal position. Its face was back to its normal light grey with a faint plus-sign-shaped crack where its mouth flaps came together. On the rock, a black cross appeared mind-bendingly clear in contrast to the light grey background. The Rock-Watcher then pounded its feet into the ground in quick succession. Its cylindrical legs were barely visible as they fell to the ground and rose again. When the beast was done it retreated and both its front legs and face were back to their normal grey. On the ground, the sign for home was imprinted. The black ink made the sign quite clear. The Rock-Watchers wanted me to know this was their home. I quickly drew the symbol for safe and then pointed at it and myself. The beasts seemed to grunt in understanding. I drew the sign for home and then pointed at myself. Then I drew a blank cross trying to indicate I did not know where my home was. I hoped they understood.

One of them opened and closed its giant mouth and pointed one of its feet at the setting sun. It was getting late. One by one the Rock-Watchers laid down and camouflaged. The all-seeing eyes closed and the once attentive creatures slept. As there is no point in trying to communicate with the beasts when they cannot see me I am going to sleep as well.

Cycle 10

I awoke with one thing on my mind. Home. This journey was fantastical but I had to get home. The Rock-Watchers are amazing but I cannot stay here forever.

I woke up after the beasts did. Only a few of them remained in their nest. I got up slowly and made sure I had my journal and my locket. A minute after I got up a Rock-Watcher appeared in front of me. It raised its head as if in greeting. It made a sign on the ground and then gestured to me. I opened my journal to figure out what it meant. The sign on the ground said "here." The sign combined with the gesture made me think this meant "where are you going" but I was not sure. I decided to reply to that answer and hope it understood. I drew the sign for home in my notebook and then pointed to myself and shrugged. It seemed confused. I tried again, this time pointing in the distance and then at the symbol for home. The beast seemed to understand. I have dealt with a lot of languages in my travels but this has to be the most annoying to get my point across in. I still had no idea where the Way back home was.
I could not ask the Rock-Watchers for help because their writing system was very primitive. I did not even know where to start. I just tried walking towards the sunset. I needed to get out of there somehow.

The rules of time in this world could be so different from mine I could have missed decades. The worry was consuming me. The vastness of this world was finally getting to my head. The only things you could see for miles were the Rock-Watchers scattered across the landscape and the distant tree-like structures. I could barely see the groves anymore. They had to be at least four kilometers away. I was exhausted. I suddenly realized I had not drunk or eaten anything for ten days. How was I still alive? Weariness consumed me and I sat down in despair. I sat there for at least two hours when suddenly out of nowhere a Rock-Watcher came. It opened its maw wide. At this point, I had hoped for any escape to this world that only yesterday I found so enticing. The Rock-Watcher slowly consumed me. Its rows and rows of teeth surrounded me. Black saliva dripped onto my head and it stung. I could not do anything. Total darkness surrounded me.

I awoke on the carpet floor of the Library with my journal and nothing else. In my delirium, I must have lost the locket. It was for the best anyways, I hope it falls into the right hands. Until the next adventure oh dear journal.
-Lady Fuchs.

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