Level 9.5
rating: +29+x

I almost burned my notes trying to keep warm here. This place sucks to investigate, and I’m definitely getting out of here when I’m all done.

SURVIVAL DIFFICULTY:

Class pending

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snowing

This place is so goddamn cold.

Description

Probably the most dreary place I’ve been to, Level 9.5 goes on for as far as I can see in this mess. It’s too dark to see super far, and the occasional snow flurries don’t help either. From what I’ve seen, perpetual night consumes the place; an ever-expanding set of spaced-out homes, backyards, and roads coated in snow. If it weren’t for all the snow, I would’ve confused this with Level 9 proper…

Luckily, I entered some kind of home. It has basic fixtures and a few rooms (hell, the lights here even work), but nothing which a regular lived-in house would have. I don’t see any other forms of life here, nor do I see entities despite the darkness of the house. Things feel warm and toasty too, but I don’t see any vents or heat regulation system. Not even a cozy fireplace or something of that nature.


Exiting the building, I was met with an unexpected cold. I took my first steps into the snowy backyard of the current building, and after just minutes of trekking, I began losing all sensation in my feet and other exposed surfaces. I felt like I would’ve begun suffering from acute hypothermia if I didn’t find my way into another building. Surprisingly, near me was a building with the lights on, leading me into another cozy home. However, I actually came across other wanderers here.

Three quite average people were sitting on the floor in a little circle, looking up at me as I suddenly entered. This trio respectfully asked that I not name them or detail the conversations we had, but they did confirm a few things for me. For one, they informed me that they weren’t the only people who inhabited the homes in this level and pointed me in the direction of larger communities of people.

There are supplies of all sorts throughout the level, being found in random crates and containers scattered among the snow or within derelict homes. They are often covered in a layer of snow if outdoors, with clothed skeletons often clutching or collapsed near the caches. It is unknown how long these caches and bodies have been around, since I’ve been told that these boxes of supplies–and their accompanying skeletons–will disappear without warning.

If someone is lucky enough to get ahold of these crates, they can find furs, warm clothes, military-style rations, and fire starters. More morally dubious or desperate wanderers will be tempted to steal the warm clothes off of the skeletons, but from my own experience, the clothes from bodies on Sublevel 9.5 are usually (oddly enough) damp or wet from snow. Wearing them would only result in rapid hypothermia from the subzero temperatures on the level. Even if someone were inside a home, if it is not one of the lucky few which provide warmth, a wanderer is sure to freeze.

Overall, I’ve been told that people here are severely affected by the cold and lack of light, and I can feel it myself. The bitter cold and lack of sunlight cause mild to moderate anxiety and depression in people who remain in Level 9.5 for prolonged periods. This might also be a result of the level’s own unknown properties.

Havens

Some homes within Level 9.5 can act as a refuge for wanderers. Though since no supplies can appear within homes, it is often up to wanderers to venture out and search for crates to continue surviving on the level. However, only certain homes within the level emit the mysterious warmth necessary for survival. Regardless of all the issues, many people who I’ve spoken with so far say they feel some sort of mysterious attraction to the level. As if they feel like leaving the sublevel will only make their condition worse.

backyard

An image I took from Rockwell's Respite.

Most wanderers I’ve met on the level stay in their own groups and gatherings, but the largest gathering is where I met practically everyone else on the level. A gathering of around twenty people crammed into a set of three houses close to one another called “Rockwell’s Respite”. The main founder, Daniel Rockwell, also informed me that his people have a name for this level, Rochester Blues. He told me he got it from his own hometown, which is what this place apparently resembles in his eyes.

Wanderers who don’t stick within Rockwell’s Respite are often elsewhere in the other homes. Rarely, a few well-prepared wanderers passed by me in search of supplies. It seems that most of them volunteer for gathering supplies for their groups or themselves. They tell me I’m crazy, saying that only the brave come out. I wasn’t sure if it was a joke, but they asked for my name to, “remember me if I freeze or something worse”. They refused to elaborate on if that meant there were other dangers on Level 9.5.

Entrances And Exits

I initially entered Level 9.5 by encountering an anomalous, snowy home on Level 9. However, when trying to ask about exits, everyone called me crazy for wanting to leave. They insisted I stay with them and relax inside, but I got the uncomfortable feeling that something was off about it. However, I found myself oddly conflicted when I left the home. I felt as if I were a child trying to run away from home, wandering blindly among the uneven and hilly terrain of the frosted backyards.
Attempting to navigate onto a snowy neighborhood road, I ended up slipping on ice. That might’ve been my saving grace since it seemed that this brought me right back into Level 9. Even after escaping such a dreary place, I still yearn to return to that place in the back of my mind. So long, Rochester Blues.

Repository Notice:

We regret to inform readers that the whereabouts of this article’s author is currently unknown. Explorers have attempted to go to Level 9.5 to find Mr. Mathias, though members of “Rockwell’s Respite” and other settlements within refuse to elaborate on their location. It can be presumed from this that Mr. Mathias has either perished or found their way into a level that we are currently unaware of.
We apologize for any inconvenience,
- Repository Staff



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