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Spite: The Search For The Lost Magic

Will

Active Member
Disclaimer: The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed below are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. No animals were harmed during the making of this trip report, nor were any closed doors opened, unlocked or otherwise tampered with. But I still want my goon points.

Around 300 years ago, there lived a man named Charles Talbot of whom it is said that he made the desert smile. Many legends surround this man and the estate he once called home, most notably that it was he first brought the magic to this otherwise non-descript village in the sleepy heart of the Staffordshire Moorlands. Despite an ugly encounter with a scorned witch and a nearby oak tree, Talbot made use of his magic in its purest form. In doing so, he was able to transform his estate, featuring some of the richest decorative gardens for hundreds of miles, into a veritable playground - an idyllic paradise. The Talbot family sigil still adorns the towers to this day, accompanied with a monument to Henry, Charles’ faithful canine companion.
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Although at one time, locals had referred to this hallowed estate in hushed tones, speaking of a fantasy world ‘where wonders never cease’ and ‘where the magic never ends’, over the years, it was clear that all was not well. A formerly great wizard, known simply as Merlin, had taken a grip on the towers and all that surrounded it. A dark time of whispered rumours began – some claimed Merlin was bewitched by prophets, others believed he had fallen victim to the old woman’s curse and in a local tavern, some had met a retired news reporter, full of stories of a legion of zombies. All anyone knew for sure was that it as Merlin took Talbot’s smiling desert and made it frown – as such, the magic suddenly and mysteriously… vanished.

As the drudge of 21st century life began to take its toll, the living began to consider the magic as an absurdity – the stuff of fairytale and nothing more. The Dark Priestess Theresa fought hard to reinforce this belief; “Forget about your silly whim; it doesn’t fit the plan!” she would declare, branding all those who dared to disagree ‘goons’ before holding them before the public as objects of ridicule. Despite these setbacks, a village elder believed he had proof of the magic; beneath lock and key, he kept an ancient parchment from Chinese philosopher F. T. Ling which stated that one day, the chosen one would return the magic to Alton, before leading followers onward to the promised land of Phantasia. Having heard this outlandish story, I immediately knew that reality would never again be enough for me and I became obsessed with joining the search for the lost magic…

It was in 2018 that I dared believe that the change I longed for may finally be in the air. I had heard a rumour that the Beornen were en route to alton; these were an ancient people of whom I knew little, save for the fact that they too had strong beliefs in magic, although their methods of summoning it were admittedly a little unsavoury. As a consequence of these practices, the Beornen were considered extremely dangerous to outsiders; nevertheless, my mission was obvious.
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Alas, it transpired that Merlin too had caught wind of the intentions of the Beornen and, in a terrible rage, had thrust a fourth ice age upon the Towers, delaying my pilgrimage for four long weeks. During this time, my quest side-tracked me and I ended up surrounded by crocodiles and koalas in a dreamlike world in some as yet undiscovered hemisphere... But I digress.

The first leg of my journey brought me to a great concrete expanse, before signs indicated that I must continue onwards by means of a most sinister locomotive running on only a single rail. The vehicle door was flimsy and loose and the opaque film which clad the windows admitted precious little light.
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The next obstacle was an elderly man on the gate, who wished to examine my belongings and victuals to ensure I was not carrying any contraband. The rucksacks of those ahead of me in line were emitting a usual, bewitching, yet somewhat earthy scent and I noticed that they were relieved of a number of small, green packages before they were admitted. With that unpleasantness out of the way, I began a reconnaissance mission which left me in no doubt that I was in the right place – the signs of dead magic were unmistakeable.
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With even the ancient greenhouses clearly lacking in magic, I made haste to the camping grounds of the Beornen, understanding that transportation by a peculiar timber-fashioned contraption was necessary. On my right was an enormous wooden construction which appeared at first glance to be ablaze, until I realised that the flickering orange lights were produced by something altogether more sinister, more artificial. I was similarly unconvinced by the fact that what appeared to be smoke was in fact condensing as water on my clothes and the surrounding concrete. In the distance, I could hear what sounded horribly like Gregorian chanting, but more bagpipey. At length, I was permitted entrance as the attraction’s guardian deemed I was worthy of an audience with The Wickerman. Upwards, I walked for what seemed like an eternity, through a winding maze of high fences which seemed to head approximately nowhere – at length, I reached a building and was invited inside.
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The inside of the building was gloomy and although I could hear the blaze of the fire that I had been led to fear, the scent was curiously not a smoky one. At length, a voice called out “The Wickerman is experiencing a temporary delay, and we are currently unable to summon him. Please leave the woods and try another attraction”. At first, there seemed to be little value behind these words, but then the message came again and then again until it became clear that this was an instruction rather than mere advice. Those around me appeared unimpressed, but at length, I and my fellow travellers reluctantly collected our belongings and retreated; for our trouble, we received a curious black card bearing the word ‘fast pass’.

I was just beginning to wonder where I had heard this curious phrase before, when I overhead another traveller recite the incantation ‘Are you Thorpe Park, Are you Thorpe Park, are you Thorpe Park in disguise?’ At the mention of Thorpe, my blood immediately ran cold – I knew of these people, Southern banner men who followed Merlin. I knew that Thorpe had once been a peaceful abandoned quarry and that magic had once dwelled there too until some sort of stealth attack involving an inferno, a colossus and a fair number of outdated IPs. Where water sports was once the order of the day, the showers now ran black or red – certainly not golden.

Realising my mission had become still more dangerous, I made haste towards the towers. In the sanctuary of the chapel, one of few places still seemingly undamaged, I formulated a plan – somehow, I had to get a message to GCI before it was too late.
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Alas, my next sight was a most unwelcome one, which left me fearing the very worst…

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The grinning face of one of Merlin’s allies had stopped me in my tracks, and I was unceremoniously dragged to an empty room, with only a single table.

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My alarm was furthered when I noticed that rubbed in the nearby dust was an epitaph for a former maverick thrill-seeker, whose work had invoked the wrath of Merlin.
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“What do we have here?” the gargoyle demanded. I sensed this was a rhetorical question and indeed, without waiting for a response, he explained “Mr Nick’s very cross with you… but don’t worry Baldie, we’ll get you corrected soon enough. See if we can’t put a smile back on that pretty face. In the meantime… LOCK HIM IN THE DUNGEONS!”

Down the cellar stairs, I disappear... and like the angel's share, the end is near...

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At this point, all I could think of was the threat the gargoyle had made – I had hoped for the pit of eternal darkness from which I was relatively certain I would be able to escape, but rumour had it that Merlin’s latest torture device at best left victims dazed and confused with a nasty headache, whilst the most unlucky… had certain difficulties walking afterwards.

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The sound of a slamming door brought me to my senses and I began to examine my surroundings. They were far from ideal – the room I was in housed a large staircase, draped with old sheets. There were strange noises coming from the bottom of the stairs, and knowing what I did of my present location, I had no intention of finding out what was making them.

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The adjoining rooms didn’t tell a much happier story and as my imagination began to work overtime, I started wishing that my knowledge of these towers and their terror wasn’t quite so detailed. Ominous writing on the wall now read ‘The pendulum still sways for you. Such are the darks here to show you, child in a corner,
fallen mirrors, all kingdom in cinders’. Next thing I remember, I was running for the door... I had to find a passage back to the place I was before!

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I confess to not recalling the exact details of how I escaped the castle dungeons, only that I exited into a particularly dark and desolate forest.

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If You Go Down To The Woods Today...

At this point, dear reader, I should perhaps confess that I have not been entirely honest with regards to my own previous experiences of magic. Almost a quarter of a century before the visit of the Beormen, it is said that an alien lifeform unwittingly marooned itself in this part of the world, summoned by a previous ritual intended to return the magic. Around 7 years ago, I believed myself to have experienced at least a small dose of the remaining towers magic – at that time, I had a companion and we found ourselves alone in a haunted graveyard. Somehow, we escaped and, finding ourselves at the site of the aforementioned ceremonies, meaning the remainder of the night was essentially spent looping and generally flying through the air. Whilst the repercussions of that fateful night had all but ripped a hole in the delicate fabric of truth and reality, the word ‘Nemesis’ was among my most vivid memories and I and felt that if I could once again find this site, then maybe I could break free from this nightmare. En route, I made a wrong turning through into an ageing warehouse and was set upon by zombies, who had to be repelled with a half-working laser gun. Glow-in-the-dark paint and fluorescent light appeared to feature heavily and many of the inhabitants of the house were clearly restrained by strings and metalwork. Upon escaping, the sanctuary I sought was just a few metres further on…

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For today, I had to concede that I could not be credited with victory, nor with returning the magic to the towers. But at least, I reasoned as I returned myself to the real world, I’d had some escapism, even if it wasn’t the kind I’d been seeking. Also, it hadn’t rained. Perhaps one day, it would be this story that future goons leant in close to listen to in a nearby inn.

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[TLDR: I went to Alton Towers to enjoy the weather this afternoon, but everything closed and I still didn't get on Wicker Dude. So I wandered around in the sun and wrote a slightly silly story instead. Aside from the obvious, my main inspiration was an AT TV advert from 1987 one of my friends dug out the other week. In reality, the declining quality of the product and value for money remain nothing to joke about - but happily, I did get a Fasttrack for WM out of the deal.
 

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
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How wonderfully silly. :p

The state of the park though! That's awful. What exactly did you get to ride (before I head over to do you LoG points and find out for sure)? Did you go to guest services (and were others)? Shocking.

Thanks for making my chuckle though!
 

Will

Active Member
To tell the truth, I didn't get to the park until 1:30 and was only really interested in riding Wickerman and messing around in the sun. I checked ridetimes before I set off and only one ride was closed (it wasn't WM) - yet by 2:10, Galactica, Nemesis, Wickerman, Rita and Thirteen were all listed as down - I heard mumblings from other rather pissed-off sounding guests that Spinball, Octonauts and Smiler had all had issues during the day as well. Nemesis reopened, so I went on that and Duel (I hoped the ride last month was a blip, but it was just as bad today). I queued 45 minutes in Guest Services at the end of the day and got a return ticket (I've got an AT pass, but I'll save that for Halloween or fireworks). Other people in the queue stated they'd only done two or three rides all day, and that every time they'd joined any queue line, the ride opened. Rapids also had a BIG line due to the weather and they were apparently not filling boats. Nemesis is running two trains - the other train doesn't have wheelguards on.

No idea what caused any of the downtime, but it was a very, very, very poor show by all accounts. Come to think of it, I'm not sure the girl in guest services apologised, but the guy letting people out of the Wicker man queue was suitably friendly. Opening was extended to 16:30 as well, which I should probably mention!
 
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Matt N

Well-Known Member
That little story was brilliant! I really liked it!

Shame to hear you didn't get on Wicker Man, though. It's a great ride, and it will be worth the wait when you ride it.
 

Will

Active Member
I quite enjoyed writing it as well, kept my mind occupied on an otherwise rather trying day!

As for Wicker Dude, I finally got a ride on Tuesday when the park was dead and the ride seemed to run without a hitch. I thought it was a bit average and didn't do a lot to excite me, though it was obviously better at the back and I did enjoy the pre-show and theming. However, it WAS pouring with rain which does tend to make the majority of rides less enjoyable. Alas, I couldn't find the motivation to write another chapter for my story :p
 
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