I’ve been spending a lot of time making sure my STORY is solid for Chapter 1, there are a lot of moving pieces in the creation of this world that I am building. The Storyline is down below, but I have a lot more to figure out and work on. I use AI to create the templates, but it requires a TON of revisions if you do not intervene and rewrite some of the trash that the AI coughs up lol It’s good for drafts, and I will show you what I mean… There is a LOT of back and forth with GPT4 in this installment of my DevLog series. See for yourself here: [Access Today’s DevLog]
Here, this part of the STORYLINE is mostly completed. Let me know if you have questions or concerns about it!
The Cry Heard Around Alderwood
What if you woke up in a dark, gloomy jail, accused of witchcraft in 16th-century England, with the eerie wail of your infant son echoing against the cold stone walls? What if every stealthy step, every whispered incantation, and every quiet prayer was a fight for your survival and the safety of your child? This is your nail-biting reality in “Escaping Alderwood, Chapter One: The Cry Heard Around Alderwood.”
In the shadowed heart of 16th-century Alderwood, England, a haunting cry echoes through stone and terror. A baby’s wail, a mother’s desperate plea… “Mama’s coming, Thomas…” In the heart of the accursed village of Alderwood, a fevered baby scream shatters the night, the unseen, a living nightmare. 19 year old Mabel, hiding in plain sight cloaked within a terrified mob of villagers, is paralyzed by the horror she bore witness to upon the execution stage. Her husband, John, accused of witchcraft, is moments from death beneath the crushing weight of stone blocks. His executioner? The towering and merciless Constable Harrow, the Lawmaker of Alderwood, a man driven by dark obsession, seeks vengeance against John for the death of his own son. “He dies for his crimes!” Constable Harrow, thunderous roar. As the crowd watches the execution, Mabel’s infant son, Thomas, trapped and caged like a wild creature, emits cries that slices knife-like through the night and his mother’s young soul. The frenzied screams become unbearable for Mabel and she blows her cover, breaking her silence. Mabel flees and a chaotic chase unfolds. Inevitably cornered and captured, the words she dreads, “Throw her in the dungeon” came from Constable Harrow’s dirty chapped lips. The haunting memory of Thomas’s cries will forever linger in her mind.
The nightmare transmutes into something more grotesque as Mabel is imprisoned within the dreadful confines of the Alderwood Jail. Encased in walls green with moss and decay, the dungeon’s maze-like corridors ooze horrific sights. Here, in this vile cocoon of torment, Constable Harrow and his guards engage in a cruel game, relocating Thomas regularly to recreate psychological trauma for Mabel, sounds that echo and bounce, wicked anti-laughter. Then, a profound silence deepens, leaving Mabel in a consuming void, wondering if her son is still alive. The terror, uncertainty, and loss feed upon her soul, as each day deepens her descent into madness, dragging her into an endless, agonizing hell.
Weeks stretch into an unending torment, each day a mirror of the one before, each night a black abyss of nothingness. Mabel’s mind teeters on the brink, weathered by the relentless cycle of dread and uncertainty. But then, one chilling evening, something shifts in the suffocating gloom. Awakened by an unnatural silence, she stumbles to her feet, her heart pounding as she glimpses her cell door, inexplicably ajar. There, in the open threshold, lies a bloody dagger, its blade gleaming wickedly in the faint torchlight. An icy terror grips her as she peers into the decaying corridors overrun with creeping greenery and malevolent life like snakes and unidentified crawlers slithering about every which way. The guards’ shadows twist into distorted black wall creatures, dancing, contorting, flickering from the torchlights. The walls moan with doom, and the air thickens with an unseen menace. Faint distant cries reach her ears, and she prays they are Thomas’s. Her body trembles, her mind screams, Mabel grasps the dagger and steps into the nightmarish unknown, beginning her perilous journey to save her son, and then to escape the godforsaken hell known as Alderwood.
Emerging from the suffocating shadows of the dungeon, Mabel barely catches her breath when Constable Harrow ambushes her, snatches baby Thomas from her fragile arms and throws him back into that dreadful cage, suspended high above the courtyard like a cruel spectacle. “Return the witch to her cell! Dead or alive, she’ll pay for her sins,” Constable Harrow commands with disdain dripping from every word, leaving behind an army of guards, monstrous beasts and the Accursed coming from all angles. Alderwood’s Lawmaker strides out of the courtyard and fades into the labyrinth of village streets. Dread consumes Mabel. How many more torments would they subject her to? How much longer can she endure?
The black sky drops a gift, a Raven, carrying the Warden’s Bow and letting it befall Mabel’s calloused bare feet. With the bow in one hand and the bloody dagger in another, Mabel stands her ground against the onslaught that followed. The battleground reeked of violence; blood seeped into the earth, and from the fallen enemies–the guards, the beasts–rose The Accursed. Their deformed limbs and grotesque faces made them specters of pure horror. Mabel cuts down enemy after enemy, two of them drop keys – one, the key to Thomas’s cage and salvation, the other, the key to their escape through the courtyard’s ironclad gates. Desperation fuels her every swing and step; her future, and that of her son’s, depends on her prevailing courage to fight and win against Harrow’s minions.
Fleeing the grim courtyard’s horrors, Mabel dashes into the Alderwood Village, holding Thomas close. His whimpers pierce her heart. Her head now bears the highest bounty in all of Alderwood, England. Constable Harrow’s twisted manipulation has turned neighbors into enemies, the entire village driven by misguided righteousness and fear. Her flight through the village becomes one of stealth. Harrow’s vengeance for his son’s death drives him to madness, with Thomas as his targeted replacement. Seeking refuge in a hidden alcove, Mabel’s heart pounds, each beat an echo and reminder of the surrounding danger. Nothing, and no one, would take her son away from her, not Constable Harrow, not the Accursed, not the Villagers, not the guards. Over her cold dead body…
Mabel reaches the Alderwood Forest covered in shadows, her pulse thundering, each heartbeat echoing dread and fear with Thomas clutched tightly to her chest. The forest, once a sanctuary of tranquility, now whispered of treachery at every turn.
She broke into a clearing, her gasp swallowed by the thick air. Two chests, ancient and foreboding, stared back, one promising solace and the other deceit. Mabel’s gaze flicked between them, the weight of her decision heavy on her shoulders. Harrow’s sinister voice drew nearer, his intentions clear in the ominous footfalls that shook the forest floor.
Taking a deep breath, she chose. Lowering Thomas into the chest, his eyes, filled with innocence, met hers. “Shh, my heart, you’re safe now,” she murmured, locking the chest with an age-old key waiting for her inside, almost as if destiny had placed it in there for her to find.
Constable Harrow’s voice echoed through the trees, “Where’s my son, witch?”
“He’s not yours! Stay away from him!” Mabel retorted in response.
The forest illuminated with the eerie glow of Nightcrows’ eyes. The Accursed lurked between the trees. A spectral Raven emerged.
Harrow scoffed, “Do you think your Mother’s Raven will protect you, witch?”
Mabel blinked, her voice tinged with confusion, “My mother’s…?”
[Work In Progress… To Be Continued]
Tomorrow night, I have to put together the Dungeon Maze Layout for the Unreal Engine Developers, we start development on that next week. I should be releasing the v1.0.0 of Escaping Alderwood, chapter 1, level 1, in the Google Playstore soon, too. If you want to sign up to play as a Game Tester, you can do so here > Game Tester Application.