Rescue parties went up rarely. They did so only to satisfy the frantic pleadings of family members who sought out the missing and most of them had remained behind not being brave enough to search themselves.
The hunters went reluctantly. They went up old trails that were well worn by the many boot-covered feet that hurried towards the summit and then back down again. The climbers stumbled over rocks and sent showers of pebbles down on those coming up from behind. At various points, some would turn back telling the others it was only for the foolish to continue climbing. They all knew they could not stay on the mountains for long and never past twilight.
So, as the anxiety rose in their ranks, searchers disappeared back down the mountainside into the mists until only a few would remain climbing and searching. Then, those remaining would turn as almost one person and, without looking about themselves, rush back down to the center of Never More where the search party would be quickly disbanded amidst the anguished sobbing of family and friends. But there was nothing any of them could do.
They all knew that if they found the runners at all, they would be found to be quite mad. Each would be found speaking to someone unseen. Froth foaming on their lips. It was as though some terror stood before them that only the runners could see as they begged to have their lives either spared or taken to avoid looking at the horror anymore.
Some fleeing made it over the top, but no searcher ever went looking further on in the mists at the mountains top. No one knew what lay beyond. Only a few runners made it to the summit and then beyond. The searchers all worried as evening approached and darkness began to surround them. They had to get back to the town where they would be safe or, at least where they felt safe.
However, they never really were safe there or anywhere, they simply pretended that to be the case. The truth of it was that even those who crossed the final ridge between this valley and that were not only never seen alive or heard from again, but that their skins and blood could be found back in the township far below in their very own cabins as if they had never left and, in reality, perhaps they never had.
Those driven mad were simply left to be by themselves and soon died screaming. The message was clear; there was no escaping the town named Nevermore.
But it wasn’t always that way. Those who knew the story said it all began when a young girl had gotten lost up on the mountain in the mists. Rosealine Pond was just twelve and ran away from abusive parents. She met someone in the mists on the mountain and the result transformed her into, well, let’s say, someone who could be your worst nightmare and she became the ruler of the town named Nevermore as her spiderlike web of power and fear slowly descended over the valley.
That was 500 years ago.