- II -
"My first night in Terraria," Tim thought to himself, echoing the words of the clothier moments before. Maybe it was because he didn't remember it very well, but Tim didn't feel compelled to return to his own world; nowhere in his mind there was desire to find a mysterious gate leading home, and this bothered him.
Yes, it seemed obvious that this night was only the first of many. But should he really be okay with that?
To answer this question, he needed to focus and piece back his memories. Tim was given the bottommost room in the underground tower. Above him was the clothier, and then "many other rooms separating us from those who can fight and support". Even though he had trouble climbing, Tim was okay with a room at the bottom, because it meant he could open the door to somewhere with a ground.
It also meant it was eerily silent down there.
In Terraria, the clothier had explained, you don't sleep unless you really want to. Tim didn't believe it at first; he felt very tired and even the small blanket and empty room he was given seemed inviting at the time, so he just sat comfortably in a corner and closed his eyes. The first thing he remembered was his odd method to go to sleep: calm your thoughts until they are clear voices, and then listen until you no longer hear anything else.
Except, inside that small, silent room, the thoughts just kept coming; it was like talking to someone.
"What is this?" Tim said at one point, and it was no different than simply thinking. Maybe it was the silence...
"No," his mind denied, "I can hear water somewhere behind the walls, and my own breathing."
"It might be silent, but it isn't dead silent."
"Nothing we haven't experienced before."
"We? No... just me," he said, now a little scared; a man could go mad listening to his own thoughts like that. Tim would not fall to arguing with himself just now, and yet he couldn't stop thinking, so he decided to focus.
Which brings us to the original question: should he really be okay with that?
Timothy was his name, he knew. In his mind, he could (now quite literally) hear several different voices calling that name. And he knew he was twelve, because there was this party he was nervous about, and it was his party, his birthday party. However, he couldn't remember whether or not the party had happened, so he could be eleven still. It was a frustrating feeling. Tim could remember little things that made him nervous, like the party, or anxious, like this game he wanted, but he couldn't remember HOW was the party or WHAT was the game.
Likewise, he could remember things he absorbed from pop culture, like the idea of a zombie apocalypse, but could not name one book or movie or anything that had a zombie apocalypse in it.
"Maybe this is what happened in Terraria: a zombie apocalypse!" said one very silly part of his mind.
"You know," ...yet he couldn't help but think, "I did see a few hundreds of them outside."
"Yeah! And everyone said it was pretty much rare to see another human come by, right?"
"Not exactly. Nurse said it was rare to see new friendly faces; she said nothing about humans."
Despite the admittedly stupid start to that train of thought, Tim was curious. What was Terraria? Was it really a fantasy world, or had something happened to Earth while no one was looking? One night out in the woods with a crazed knight was not enough to assess.
And just like that, he fell asleep.
Timothy had a strange dream that night, but unfortunately, he couldn't remember it. It was something that would bother him for the weeks to come, because just like his memories, the dream was something he couldn't describe beyond what he felt in it. More about that later.
When he woke up, Tim felt like he had slept for weeks. This wasn't because he felt super refreshed and ready to go, but because he really needed to pee.
Going up the stairs faster than a speeding bullet and completely brushing aside his fears, Tim quickly reached the hatch and opened it, climbing to the dining room that served as the entrance to the underground tower.
"Geez, that trapdoor was pretty heavy," he said while looking around for a bathroom; all he found was the guy that was sleeping on the table earlier, now sitting on the ground next to a fallen chair. "Huh, are you okay?"
"Ah, yeah," he said, glaring at the boy with the most deadpan eyes he could muster, "happens every day."
"Maybe you should buy some new chairs. Anyway, do you know where I can find a bathroom?"
The man snickered. "Nature is one big bathroom!"
Just great. Not that peeing against a bush was an alien notion to Tim, but you don't see it in a whole lot of kid-is-transported-to-barbarian-world stories!
Outside was the same huge rainforest as in the previous night, so Tim just picked a tree.
As he was beginning to ponder just how great an invention indoor plumbing really was, the apparently drunk man stumbled into him again, now uncomfortably close.
"So that is real pee," he said, with the subtlety of a mad grizzly bear. "First time I see it in ages."
Tim was understandably unsettled. "What!"
"Look at this glistening stream of piss real hard because this is likely the last time you'll ever see one!"
"Are you insane?"
"C'mon, surely it isn't so hard to understand? You don't piss or crap in Terraria. Not much else to it."
"Mmkay," he said under his breath, "let me finish this so we can talk... and don't call me Shirley."
Shirley quickly pushed the man away to a less creepy position and finished his business, begrudgingly paying attention to it. Now with what might be a permanently empty bladder, he turned to face the jerk.
There wasn't anything special about the guy. Average height, brown spiked hair, really punchable face. No armor or special clothes whatsoever, though he did wear a scarf.
What was it with jerks and scarves?
"Who are you?" Tim asked.
"They say there is a person who will help you survive in this world..." the guy started.
"So, you're the guide."
The guy sighed, likely disappointed that he couldn't finish his introduction, but confirmed with his head.
"My name is Timothy. I got here yesterday."
"I know. I was in the room when you arrived."
"Weren't you sleeping, though?"
"No. Like most basic body functions, sleeping is not necessary in Terraria."
"I was told it wasn't, but... I did sleep tonight."
"And you did pee a second ago, right? Consider both situations remnants. Won't happen again; though, you can still sleep if you want, it will just be different."
"You mean, I won't dream, or some other side effect?"
"Nothing like that," the guide said, but his eyebrows were raised. "It just won't make a difference."
Tim bit his thumb as he started thinking. So, your body doesn't need anything after you get into Terraria?
"Not even eating?" he said suddenly.
"Complicated question. Short answer: you can eat."
"What is the long answer?"
"I'll tell you once you live here for a while."
Why all the mystery?
Tim felt he was making the right questions, but he was missing an important one. Even though it was on the top of his head, he couldn't remember it, so instead he asked:
"How do you know this stuff? I mean, sure, you are the guide, you know stuff, but how did you learn it?"
And this was the second best question.
The guide frowned.
"Heh... sorry, champ, but I can't tell you that."
Tim decided to leave it at that, and to return to his room to gather his thoughts. After absentmindedly going down the first set of stairs, however, he noticed something new: a floor between each level.
"I WAS TOLD YOU FEARED THESE STAIRS," said the knight, coming from further down the tower. Tim took a step back.
"I... well, they aren't very safe," he said, feeling his face warming up; something about the blunt way the knight worded it, and his quick solution, made him feel very embarrassed. "How did you build this so fast? I was here not twenty minutes ago, and didn't even see you."
"THERE ARE GOOD THINGS TO TERRARIA, TIMOTHY.
REFLECT ON THEM."
Who was this mysterious knight? Tim barely had time to take a better look at him, because the guy suddenly made a leap for the hatch; his body suddenly flipped at about halfway the distance, and kept going up. The trapdoor opened as if pushed by his weight, and Tim heard the familiar sound of a falling chair and jerk combo.
It was amazing. Maybe this was one of the good things to Terraria he had just mentioned?
"USE THIS DAY TO REST AND TO MEET THOSE WHO LIVE IN MY TOWER," the knight said, looking at the boy through the open hatch. "TOMORROW, I WILL SHOW YOU TERRARIA."