The Nine Gates to Hell is an area created by Lilis and Kurse in the RavenMUD realm which features a lot of loops between rooms while death traps abound. Considered as one of the more harder areas to run before the purge, nowadays can be soloed by the veteran necromancers. A glimpse of the realm is as follows,
This impressive pedestal of stone’s surface is covered in many tablets, each containing a writing or transcript of some information on the beings of the Hells. Though most are incomprehensible to you, one is actually written in common! Intrigued..you read further… ‘….on the matter of this plane, great Tiamat is aware of all the following outcasts and watches their comings and goings as best she can. There is no trust present between the Dragon and her..’visitors’ and so she leaves them be..lest they cross her path.’
The text goes on further about Tiamat and Avernus.
‘ …there have been many sent here by The Overlord and his decrees must be followed, as unpleasant as they may be. Of note, beware of Nergal..perhaps the most powerful of the devilish rabble sent here. He has killed many of our Armies time and time again. Of less worry are Caim and Bist..two duplicitous devils versed in the ways of deceit. Caim is a gossip and a sneak..particularly disliked in the Hells. There are others.. Nisroch..Duskur (who should be avoided at all costs). And this sentence alone is all I shall do to acknowledge the imprisoned one……
A Large Stone Icon
As you continue on with your gawking at the monolith structures defaced by weather and time, A large stone icon stands about seven feet high and is covered in bold text which reads:
All those who dare to tread past the gate and into the depths of the Nine Hells take heed. The planes beyond are an ever changing and shifting place of danger. What once those who survived a journey to the Nine Hells might have thought as knowledge may be no more. As well, to enter the Hells is to place yourself in the greatest mortal anger possible. The strong magics and diabolical machinations of the Overlord himself have closed off the Nine Layers of Hell from outside forces. Divine Assistance from those beings who would help mortals in times of dire need is impossible. Thus, enter knowing that you may very well lose your life and possessions, never to be returned or retrieved. The legions of the Hells will collect such items with relish.
…the message repeats itself over and over in each language of the world of Raven…
If you haven’t read the first part I suggest that you do first. Read it here, Mt. Lantoy, a ghost story
The rain didn’t hold back forcing us to huddle inside Rain’s tent. Manoy Rodel and our other guide decided to spend the night at their homes but promised to be back early in the morning. We didn’t mind and continued on with our customary socials over alcohol. Not at my best form, I felt the kick of the rum early. I excused myself from the rounds but stayed on with the conversation.
Sitting right by the entrance of the tent afforded me a view of the surroundings while the rain lessened to a drizzle. At one moment I noticed two orbs of whitish light which hovered about, moving in unison. I pointed out to everyone what I saw but would not make a big fuss over it. Our conversation however would shift to the paranormal, ghost stories and all.
We were done with socials at around midnight. The girls, maybe spooked from all the talk, decided to sleep together and now refused to budge. Rain and Jepoy were also as comfortable as they could in the same tent. Everyone was preparing to sleep. Gege on the other hand started acting strangely.
In the darkness of the night he went on to clean the utensils from where we prepared the rice that evening. It was a little further from our camp where the highlight is a scenic view of the river and below it, the falls. I stopped him head on concerned for his safety. It took a while of arrogant discussion between us before he would concede but not before making me promise to never leave him or anyone from the group. I was dumbfounded. What he said didn’t make any sense.
Rationalizing that he was drunk, I brushed it off caring about nothing else but to get him to sleep. While he took a piss, I sat down from a distance still keenly observing. The edge of our campsite was a drop to the falls. I couldn’t risk him moving about specially that he didn’t seem quite himself. A little afterward, Gege was now refusing to get inside the tent.
He started blabbering nonsense and seemed mighty distraught. I sat him down and got him talking, hopeful for him to get tired and eventually fall asleep. My pleas to get him inside the tent however would fall on deaf ears – always answering with headstrong shake of his head. I asked what bothered him and only after with much hesitation, he pointed at a clearing where a single coconut tree stood. I turned to look, unable to make out of anything. The clearing was pitch dark but I didn’t dare use my headlamp.
“Naay mga taw, ngtan.aw nato (There are people there, watching us)”, Gege said in a meek voice, fraught with fear.
He was getting to me and creepy was an understatement. I called on Rain for help. The girls who could hear us from the tent couldn’t sleep. Rae started praying. Rain tried to calm Gege down assuring him that whatever he saw, he saw too and that he had nothing to worry. Gege wouldn’t hear of it and instead became more agitated almost to the point of crying.
Thankfully fatigue and alcohol finally got him to sleep and at that point I was relieved. Rain and I got him inside the tent but not before having to drag him throughout. The tent was now packed and with the turn of events, there was no way I was going to sleep alone in my tent. For the first in all my mountain climbs I was afraid to sleep alone. Resigned to my fate, I decided to sleep right outside the entrance of their tent and comforted myself with the idea that I would know if Gege left the tent, if he would.
For a moment it seemed that we were through with the worst. How little we knew. It rained again, as if in taunt, leaving me no recourse but take shelter with the rest. Inside, there was no legroom to stretch but thankfully cigarettes helped me sit the night away.
And then it started. Gege made low continuous indistinct sounds, as if talking to himself. Then it became more raging, oftentimes letting out an angry, sharp or sometimes abrupt tone. His tongue would twist, snarling, while giving out enraged growls. Gege, our friend, was fragile and frightening at the same time.
For every 30 minutes or so the trances would stop and he would fall back to deep sleep. And then it would happen again. I sat at his belly to keep him down while Mai-Mai straddled his head. He spoke at us in different language each time but the growls and snarls were ever present. In Japanese, Cebuano, Spanish, Latin and another language that we’ve never heard of.
Eventually after the trances, he would come back to himself and he’d tell us what happened or at least how he understood things. He said that the beings were trying to communicate with him but there were a lot of things that he didn’t understand himself. One of those was that they were offended when our guide took off a branch and made it as a walking stick.
Another was that previous campers littered the campsite, the same one we camped on. And in order to appease them we needed to make an offering and break off from our plan to summit Mt. Lantoy. The foremost was that we were to backtrack in the first light of day and disperse salt at every river that we crossed. We all took his counsel as gospel, noting them.
Their final demand was that we were all to return to Mt. Lantoy, after 2 years on the same date. For what reason we didn’t know. We all could hardly wait for morning.
The Children of Mount Lantoy
All the trances came to him as a dream. He relates that he saw our group summiting the peak of Mt Lantoy but he could not cross through a bridge (interestingly there is no bridge within the path to the summit). Children also came to play with him. It seemed that they were climbing up the mountain with the quick flexes of his feet akin to taking strides.
Above, further beyond and beneath the cave (Balay sa Agta) was their Kingdom which was made of blinding white marble and lush greenery. They cavorted in the grounds and Gege would giggle in his sleep as if playing with the children. They offered him food and drinks.
After hesitating for a few seconds for a quick decision, Mai-Mai slapped him as hard as she could and to his senses. The trances were now over and Gege would finally sleep soundly. Morning had finally come.
Over a year ago our club decided to climb Mt. Lantoy. This is part 1 of my account of that fateful climb. A climb all of us will never forget.
I remember with difficulty the events during the morning of March 3, 2012. Somehow my memory fails me on this regard which I attribute to the multitude of times our climbs would commence from the South Bus Terminal of Cebu City. Our itinerary suggests an early morning trip, quite similar to timetables as that of Osmena Peak and Mount Lanaya climbs. There were 8 of us for this trip. None too seasoned but everyone with their inner thirst for adventure and for some, a quick weekend getaway.
We arrived an hour or two past 12 in the afternoon at Argao and opted for late lunch which was then followed by our last buys. We got alot of curious stares from the market, no thanks to our backpacks screaming outsiders, and the common question as to where we were headed. On our part, we knew almost nothing about the mountain so we indulged ourselves to the common questions of how far, how hard of a climb and everything else we could think of Mt. Lantoy. Thinking of it now, I wonder why no one of us thought of the legend of Maria Cacao and any other folklore the mountain, the falls, or the river had as stories.
Done with lunch and groceries, we took another ride now en route to the Argao Tourism Center where we were to meet our contact from the tourism office. After a couple of complementary photo-ops and getting to know each other we then proceeded to the habal-habal center of Argao where we were took a ride to the jump off at Brgy. Usmad. Fare was at around Php25.
Upon meeting our guide, Manoy Rodel, we bade farewell to our Argao Tourism contact who by then invited us for tuba after our Mt. Lantoy venture. From this point we hiked through a dried up river bend with a majestic view of a mountain with thick lush vegetation. It seemed uncanny that we would later cross through 3 rivers which seemed alive with teeming rapids and this one was all dried up.
After the 3rd river crossing, Manoy Rodel broke off a tree branch and offered it to Jepoy to use as a walking stick. We would then humor him that he seemed to be the reincarnation of Jesus with his hair and thick beard. Jepoy would shrug off the unwanted attention and happily take the walking stick. After a few minutes of moderate ascents it would be 4PM by then.
It was here that I decided to sweep the group. Mai2, Jepoy and I were at the tail and taking care not to put too much pressure on Jepoy, I took a couple of breathers myself. Eventually deciding that we’ve taken more than enough rest I pushed ahead, deciding to establish the trail and wait for Mai and Jepoy. I then came about a bend of an established unpaved road path. It formed an italic L and I was stumped as to where to proceed with no obvious trail-signs in sight. Onward was a leisurely walk and the right path meant a couple more of moderate ascents. Without thinking, I waited for Mai2, dropped my bag when she arrived and ran as fast as I could onward.
Deciding that I’ve ran far enough with respect to the probable pace of the lead group, I then came about a clearing of wide expanse with good view of the surrounding mountains which towered from above ostensibly watching us from every direction.
Below, the sound of water falling roared about. Even while still catching my breath, the first thought that came to me was how this was a perfect place to camp. From the ground, a distinct placement of rocks created a circle insinuating campfire while a few garbage littered about, coming off as recently left.
The area itself would be seemingly warded by a large black rock which was opposite from the edge of the clearing which seemed for me, appropriately placed upon. If you would follow the trail right behind the rock it would then lead you to the back of the falls just before the drop. Later I would know that the roaring rumble of water would actually be Bugasok Falls.
Relieved that we could probably camp for as long as I could convince the rest of the group, I darted back to where I came from and was then met by Mai2 who by then had rejoined with the lead group. Rain would later comment that he found it odd that we didn’t notice them when they were just right above us, a few meters away from the bend.
Somehow I then convinced Rain that we setup an emergency camp instead of pushing for the summit. He must have been tired himself or didn’t want to eat spoiled pork. Evening was about to settle in and I was bothered that the pork we prepared might be spoilt since we didn’t have the chance to pre-cook it.
I was happy to show the rest of the group the clearing I found. Manoy Rodel and his other companion made no comment and I had no idea what they had in mind. I did find it amazing for them to accompany us at the camp when I felt that we were secure within the campsite. We were still within access to a road albeit unpaved and the clearing itself suggested that this was frequently visited by people or at least by locals.
With no other thought other than relief of finally getting to setup camp, we had our photo-ops and prepared dinner. Rain and I accompanied Gege while he prepared the rice to be cooked. We followed the path behind the rock which was the only way for us to access the water source safely. From the tents, the girls prepared our evening meals.
When dinner was ready Manoy Rodel didn’t join us as he had to rush home but promised to come back. When he did we’ve already started socials noticing nothing out of the ordinary. Then the moon left us followed by a burst of strong winds from every direction. The rain came next in heavy downpour. Our surroundings was now pitch black. It was now 9 in the evening.
– End of Part 1 –
Continue reading part 2 here, Mount Lantoy, of spirits and shadow lurkers
When I’m away I look forward to the moment when we could finally be together. For some reason, you brush on me those urges of being happy. The happy child as you say yourself.
And I need those, you know I do because you see that in me. An example, at times where I would be bored at work or something else, I would take a glance of your silly photos and even those where you’re not and uncannily I would break into a smile.
Even in your absence you are comforting.
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- E-VAP™ foam-molded back panel and hipbelt
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315D Cordura® Bombastic™ nylon, 100D cargo chute nylon
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