Under the Boardwalk
The Hedge in Santa Cruz is the same and different as other Hedges. The same in that everything is twisted: the shadows are wrong, and point every which way, the angles are too sharp or steep of familiar buildings, and everything breathes. There are many gates, some are broken, some are well used, and some are hidden. The most commonly used gate at the Boardwalk is a simply door located half way down the Boardwalk, just past the Giant Dipper. It has a sign that says, “Employees Only” in antiquated handwriting. Opening it also simple, three knocks with three fingers in a set of three.
Once the door is open, there is a long hallway, barren and made of white-washed walls which bear cracks. The hallways has snippets of bright light that move with the shadows in a circular fashion. As the hallway reaches its end you hear waves crashing, and feel the scrape of sand under your feet. Suddenly the hallway is done. You are behind the scenes of the Boardwalk, under the Boardwalk itself. There are wooden pillars, and as you crawl out from under the wooden slabs- and you do have to crawl and squeeze under- there is a set of stairs that leads to the other Boardwalk. This Boardwalk is clouded with mist. As you approach, you see it is empty, thoroughly and completed empty. Buildings are haggard, stands are broken, and the rides are still. You have never seen the Boardwalk like this, so completely empty. Not even sound penetrates the mist. As you venture along the beaten and crumbling path, you see something sticking out of entrance of the Log Ride. It’s an arrow.
You realize then why this Boardwalk is so beaten and broken- it’s the remnants of a battle. Looking towards the typical Boardwalk Sign, you see most of the letters broken and missing, leaving it to say “The Warfield,” some letters in paint, some the ones you remember from the other side.
Along the beach, the sand glitters darkly, as each grain of sand shines like glass. There is something on the edge of the water, and as you near it, the waves lapping the shore lazily, you realize it’s a kind of ship. It’s round, and a burnished green, like seaweed. As you near it the light on top pulses, and inside lets off a ‘ping!’ sharp and quick.
A voice asks, “Where are you going?” Hundreds of buttons glow and appear inside, some dusty with misuse, or dirty, some clean, and bright and shiny, each naming a different place. There are so many, it’s overwhelming. There’s twenty, fifty, a hundred, some burning so dim they seem almost non-existent, some cracked and broken. Castles Made of Sand, Natural Bridges, Mystery Spot, Pleasure Point, Seabright Caverns, the Lighthouse, the Museum, Rosie’s, the Blue House, Butterfly Pit, Hole in the Redwood, so many, it goes on and on.
Whichever you choose, as you enter this bauble, the doors close and lock, and a breath of air fills the cavern. Slowly it rolls into the wave, leaving you upright, and sinks into the sea. It glides along invisible tracks past seaweed forests, swarms of fish, and other larger more ominous shapes. The glides, and twists, and turns, bringing you deeper and deeper, and then suddenly above the waves, and the shore is barely seen, where it makes a final swirling dip, so deep you didn’t know the ocean extended so far, and then a flash of purple light outside the two portholes, and voila! You have arrived!
The Dreadnaught is the easiest way to navigate the Hedge, and is used often. No one is really sure how long the Dreadnaught’s have been in place, or how they work even, but they do. It’s this or navigating the city, which is a labyrinth of pits, hedge beasts, hobgoblins, and monsters. Some say there is nothing in the city, but the miasma of mist drives one insane the longer inside, driving you to see and think and believe things terrible and true. To navigate the Miasma City, you can use a rare and precious Goblinfruit, called Tingle Moss but must first receive permission for use from the Court’s Magician. This is simply in place to protect you, as so many have been lost over the years in the Miasma City. The Miasma City cannot be changed by Lost, though many have tried. There is a rumor, however old, that there is a key to lifting the miasma from the City, but the rumor itself is as old as Queen Bess’ reign though many have tried to complete this quest. The Miasma moves, and drifts through the City. Sometimes days, or what feels like it, will go by and an area will still be glazed over, while there are few other places the Miasma never touches. These areas untouched by the Miasma are far from the City, and are home to many different Hollows.
(Please see additional pages as they are produced to learn more about specific places in the Hedge.)