Although we not visit all corners of Sufferlandria, we have route that with strong emphasis on PAIN, MISERY and AGONY. Despair will also feature, yes, and too so hopelessness. For the strong, many, many opportunities for COURAGE appear across route.~Grunter Von Agony, Sufferlandrian race director
He stood at the edge of the abyss, facing the ferryman.
“Why have you come here?” The ferryman asked, his bony hands clutching a battered oar. “What business does a mortal have in Sufferlandria?”
The ferryman laughed.
“Crowned One or not, this is not the place for the likes of you,” The Ferryman replied. “Few come to this place, but all regret having journeyed here. Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Wrath, Heresy, Violence, Fraud, and Treachery–Hell hath nine circles. Here too, do we have nine circles, though all are called Pain.”
He did not flinch.
“I have come here from afar riding on the Talon of a Kestrel,” The Crowned One challenged. “I will not be denied, least of all not by you. Will you carry me forward or do you presume to bar my passage?”
The ferryman conceded.
“It is my purpose to bring fools into Sufferlandria. I will not deny you, but before the end of your journey, you will regret your choice to enter. Even the Grim Reaper himself has challenged the keepers within, and even he is not guaranteed success.”
He stepped forward.
“I come seeking no reward.”
The Ferryman began to paddle.
“Good. For you will find none here. Only agony.”
In time he arrived in the first circle.
“What is this place?” he asked.
A man donning the coat of a doctor met his gaze.
“You have come to the first circle, very good,” he said. ” I am called the the Rubber Glove, as is this place.”
“I have come that I might journey to the deepest circle of Sufferlandria,” the Crowned One replied. “What must I do to continue on?”
The doctor challenged him.
“This place is the first resting place of fools on their way to the deepest circles of Sufferlandria. Here what we ask is simple. You give everything of yourself, and when you have given that, you give even more. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be pleasant. Will you not turn back now?”
He started pedaling.
“My legs are strong and my will of Iron,” The Crowned One said. “Do your worst.”
The Rubber Glove menaced.
“No. You do yours!”
Having proven more than a match for the Rubber Glove, The Crowned One continued on, reaching the second circle. His will unwavering, he called for the keeper of the second circle.
“I am called the Crowned One and I have come that I might best the keeper of this second circle of Sufferlandria. Will you stay hidden, or will you come forth with your challenge?
A monstrosity appeared.
“No one is hiding boastful mortal. I am called the Islagiatt, known to some as the Mountain, as is this place. The first circle was only one world of pain on the road to nine. Do not be prideful at having made it here. For you are only at the brink, and the plunge is yet a stone’s throw away.”
He sneered at the monster.
“Tell me what it is you want and let us be on with it.”
The monster roared.
“Two hours of pain are before you and a mountain awaits. To the top you must climb and climb and climb. There will be no descent during which you can rest, for this mountain denies the very laws of nature itself. Surely such a place must confound even the wisest sage. You will turn away.”
But Islagiatt’s words were but echoes to the Crowned One. He was already pressing forward.
Having overcome the mountain, the Crowned One arrived in an eerie place. The horrors of the first and second circles were but memories replaced by the artificial calm of this third. It was an unnatural peace in an unnatural place.
He muttered cautiously to himself.
“This place is all wrong. I can see the next circle ahead and I have only just arrived in this place,” the Crowned One pondered. “This circle must be some divine joke. It is clearly the smallest of them all. It should pose no threat to me.”
The child appeared.
“You should not take any challenge lightly, not matter how great or small.”
He warned her off.
“Peace child. This is no place for one as small as yourself. Flee from here with all haste that the keeper of this circle not find you.”
The child stood her ground.
“I am no child. Though I appear small I bring unto you a new world of pain. I am called the Revolver. And soon you will find that suffering compressed into a short amount of time can be even more dangerous than the longest era of misery.”
He maintained his resolve.
“Very well then child, revolver, or whatever you call yourself. I will meet your challenge. Come at me once, twice, even 15 times. I will take on any foe.”
Coming up–Will the Crowned One fall before the onslaught of the Revolver? Or will he fight his way into the fourth circle of Sufferlandria? Also the Crowned One finds himself contacted by the enigmatic “Beloved Friend” and “The Bright-Headed One.” Look for part 2 of Steven’s Inferno on January 31.