Level 22

Spiteful Coastline

rating: +14+x

> Level Classification

Difficulty 1/5 Dangers in this level are avoidable, yet always present.
Entity Count 5/5 Many elements of this level are sentient and aware of their surroundings.
Chaos Gradient 3/5 Infinitely continues towards the direction of the ocean. Multiple effects are additionally present on wanderers.
Basset-Frazier Index 3/5 This level is highly anomalous, although this doesn’t greatly decrease the odds of survival greatly in this level’s case.

> Description

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fig 1.0 Level 22

Level 22 is a beachfront accompanied by a ceaseless saline ocean, in which danger can be seen, yet not heard. A major feeling of unwelcomeness permeates the rather hospitable coast. The most important thing to note before memorizing the landscape is the hearing deficiency caused by this level. Within 2-5 minutes of entering Level 22, any wanderers’ sense of hearing will have degenerated. The exact cause of this is debated as of the last update to this archive. During the time in which hearing degenerates, wanderers will feel as if there is pressure being applied to their head or ears. Migraines are also common. Many theories as to the cause of the deafness of this level are tied to these details. Others simply state that soundwaves cannot travel in Level 22 sufficiently. Whatever the cause is, the loss of hearing has made vision integral to this level.

Upon exiting this level in any way, the sense of hearing that was lost will regenerate over a couple hours. Air will rush into the ears as if they had been blocked by something whilst within the level.

The ocean in this level seems to expand infinitely away from the coast. Travelling any distance away will result in wanderers having to travel the same distance to return to the coast. No major change in depth or environment has been reported farther out from the coast. The ocean consists of normal water, but is greatly saliferous and non-potable. The salt content is high to the point of preventing non-anomalous life in the ocean. No life at all has been reported in the ocean, although many still believe that life could be found if more searching is made farther from the coast.

Although hard to explore, the attributes of the endless waters of the level have been documented. From the sandy coast, the ocean floor will become more rocky, jagged, and dangerous after about 100m of a continuous sandy slope. From that distance further away from the coast, the ocean floor consists of many trenches, spikes, and jagged slopes. The depth greatly fluctuates from 9-12 meters at the shallowest to over 200 meters at the deepest. Some located trenches have been seen to go much deeper. The current record depth documented is 396 meters below the surface. This has been hard to document due to the high salt content, which causes much larger and heavier objects to float on the surface.

Further inland, the sand will eventually give way to a field of tall grass and silty/sandy dirt. This layer of land only lasts for about 20 kilometers before ending in a wall of gray fog. This fog eventually becomes impossible to see through after travelling through it a short distance, and acts as one-way transport to Level 23. The sky of Level 22 is always the same unchanging foggy gray, as there is no day cycle. Light still radiates from the sky, but there is no exact point in the sky that can be pointed out as “the light source.”

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fig 2.0 Far into the ocean.

The information about hearing is not the only information integral to your immediate survival. Many parts of the landscape, such as the sand, grass, and dirt are sentient and aware. More details about the capabilities of the landscape will be further into the article. Sudden, extreme movement on the sand may elicit a response from the ground below, causing it to shift around you, creating dangerous pitfalls beneath your feet. This can even happen randomly, although this is rare. Move swiftly, but steadily. The sandy/silty dirt in the level may also attempt to bring you down into the ground, as it can act like quicksand in the right conditions. Trampling large amounts of tall grass may also elicit grass to wrap around your ankles, although this is not hard to break free from.

When the sand is disturbed, it can reveal items which were presumably buried. This includes sharp metal scrap, glass shards, and other small sharp objects. Also strewn along the shore are random kids’ toys, such as plastic shovels, pails, and deflated beach balls/floaties. Stepping on sharp objects is a major risk, make sure to watch your step. These objects can also be found further inland.

The level appears to be mostly devoid of entities. Entities that do exist in this level are not immune to the effects of this level. Entities with a high enough intelligence/sense of hearing normally tend to show that they are distressed if they have the ability. A prime example of this is Cheshires. The effects of the level still do not negate the aggression of entities, so still be cautious as if you are in any other level. Do note that they have the inability to hear wanderers, this can be of great advantage to you.

> A Living Level

Although the bromidic silence is unwavering, a certain entity with no solid form may telepathically speak with wanderers. Wanderers have the ability to telepathically speak back. The following is a list of things allegedly said by the voice:

⤟ Journal Entries Featuring Logged Conversations ⤠

Message Recipient [See: Communities] Message(s)
Citizens from Old Alkaulle The exact messages that had been articulated are unknown, but the first documented cases of the voice lie here. There was a situation in which many citizens of Old Alkaulle questioned their own and others’ sanity until it was confirmed that everyone had been spoken to.
One of Old Alkaulle’s quartermasters After the voice had spoken, the quartermaster attempted to ask a couple questions. Firstly, the voice had stated that it causes the deafness of the level. The quartermaster had not asked for the voice to elaborate, or at least it was not documented. The other inquiry was of what the voice actually was. The voice stated that it didn’t know.
Citizens from Old Alkaulle Through a series of conversations, the true nature of the level was revealed, and the information has since been passed on to all who travel. Every grain of sand is alive, as well as every blade of grass. The voice did not give much detail besides the apparent rage that these “entities” feel. There are many theories as to why the very landscape has a hatred for life.
Citizen in UNCB Outpost After the voice initiated a conversation, the citizen immediately began to ask whatever questions and curiosities came to mind. The voice stated that it could perceive any place within the level. After more questioning from the persistent citizen, the voice said that there was no end to the ocean. The voice hasn’t spoken to the same citizen since this conversation.
Random Wanderer (Since taken in by New Alkaulle) The voice had guided the wanderer to New Alkaulle, and the wanderer had followed reluctantly. The voice had not been previously known to guide people before this incident.
Citizen in UNCB Outpost The citizen was in the process of waking up. The voice had said the following to the citizen: “The reaction that people give after suddenly hearing gets boring after a while.” The voice said nothing else to the citizen.
Grieving member of The Embankment Sometime after a member of the settlement known as The Embankment had lost someone that had helped him through previous levels to sentient sand, the voice gave this advice: “You know, if you just waterlog the sand while you travel you can stop these incidents from happening.” The member did not respond to this, but had documented it.
Citizen in New Alkaulle The voice spoke about how each grain of sand would have a different opinion on being made into a sandcastle, in a rather humorous tone. The citizen didn’t entertain the question, stating that: “I don’t like thinking about how the damned sand can think.”
Citizen in New Alkaulle After the voice gave a greeting, the citizen asked why the voice took away his hearing, in a rather distressed manner. The voice simply responded “It’s better that you don’t hear the screams, let me be the only victim.” It is assumed that this refers to the sentient landscape, as the voice ended the conversation afterward.

The voice randomly initiates conversations that would last half a minute. This does not happen often. Not much would come from these conversations, and the voice would simply state “I don’t know” after being asked why it talks to random wanderers. Some questions are considered “too advanced” by the voice and will simply be met with silence. An example is questions relating to specific people the voice had previously spoken to.

A widely-known yet controversial theory as to why the sentient landscape has a hatred for life is that the entities that make up the landscape believe that life consists only of suffering. A theoretical “sentient” grain of sand or blade of grass wouldn’t find a purpose in life, or a reason to carry on. And yet, it couldn’t do too much about it.

The sand of the level does not usually move on its own. Large moves will only be executed by the sand if it is externally stimulated, most of the time by a wanderer or a separate entity. This also applies to the silty/sandy dirt further inland. Sentient sand will also not make any move at all if waterlogged, or if it is contained within too small of a pile/group of separate grains. The tallgrass will mostly respond in non-anomalous ways, releasing warning chemicals to nearby grass upon damage. The grass additionally has been observed to lean away from dead/damaged grass, or wave around slightly in a “panic.” This reinforces the sentience of the grass, as it may display itself as repulsed or terrified. The Embankment, a group that inhabits Level 22, has compiled numerous tests and information on the sentient landscape in a separate document.

> Communities

A high population resides within this level due to minimal and avoidable dangers. Additionally, vital trade passes through this level, which allows the import of highly-needed goods.

> Access

Entrances:
After being enveloped in an area of fog in Level 21 too thick to perceive anything visually, you will find yourself in a barely-conscious state. When you regain your senses, you will end up in Level 22.

Exits:
20 kilometers away from the coast, a wall of fog that cannot be seen through is present. This acts as one-way transport to Level 23. The fog may also directly transport wanderers to Level 24, but this is not consistent.

The Airlock is Reed’s Hold can transport goods and equipment, as well as anything that isn’t living. Travelling through the airlock has been unfeasible, and further testing of the effects of attempting to travel through has been ceased. The interior of the airlock whilst sealed seems to remove oxygen from the room before opening to the other side. The only other possible hypothesis is poisonous gas.

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