Week 23, Into the Caverns of Ayesha
Alag is currently searching the corridor in the cavern with the boot print, using second sight, with various of us looking in, or paying attention to a verbal commentary, in case we find something we don't like.
Continuing down the hall, he finds only scuff marks. Eventually, he gives up and heads back.
Meanwhile, back at the cave mouth, the natives now have some people standing there who look a lot like guards or something.
Alag heads into the throne room, after coming back. Facing away from him, at the foot of the throne, is a fellow with white robes and a turban. Alag moves his viewpoint up and over the fellow to get distance and a good view. It's an old man; a nasty-looking chap, too. He is wearing a large necklace made of gold and teeth and other interesting junk.
There are people seated around him, and in the area behind the throne are six guards. Alag listens in. He can't understand the talk, but it sounds serious, measured, and a bit nasty. We try a few tricks to try to get a translation, but to no avail. A prisoner is dragged in and talked to and about sternly.
After a while, Alag gets bored and heads off to check the apartments he's seen.
While this has been going on, Cantrel notices Goodhue's invisibility detector. Daewen has fabricated a glamour for him to be able to see invisible objects -- but only when he closes his eyes. Cantrel notices a bit of tight-angled light coming from what he presumes are the backs of Goodhue's eyelids. Chris examines it too, and nods a bit.
Alag and Cantrel decide to go look for real in the caves. Alag is on a roll, second sight-wise, and Cantrel volunteers to carry him so as not to break his concentration. He asks to have the invisibility refreshed. Tom volunteers, but Sophie thinks it would be better if an elf did it, and Chris complies.
In the apartments, Alag goes through the anterooms, into the big central apartment. It's all disused. There is a curtain at the back of the room, which he heads through, and down a flight of stairs that are funnily worn. They're worn like people marched up and down them single file in the same place for a few millennia. This leads to an ornate door. Through it are three rooms. The one on the right is broken and collapsed some. The lintel is broken, columns collapsed, a real wreck. The other two (straight ahead and to the left) are intact, but disused and feel like crypts for some reason. These rooms, perhaps, are significant because these are places where there has actually been building going on, instead of merely (!) carved into the rock.
Meanwhile, there are four or five guards at the mouth of the cave, obviously looking at the jungle we're in, talking and gesturing. We finally notice that there are fewer birds over where we are.
We contemplate creating some glamoured birds, but decide to just make sure we're all really invisible and be quiet.
Alag and Cantrel get to the shelf, notice that there's a small town on the shelf, and tents near the mouth. They fly in. Alag searches out (second sight) a bath off of the central apartment.
Cantrel flies back where the throne room is. The doors come open, and the prisoner is dragged out. He wasn't entirely self-mobile on the way in, and is less so now. We have a short discussion about trying to free the fellow, and decide to mind our own business for the time being.
Cantrel decides to take off to slip into the throne room. However, he misjudges the speed at which those doors close, and ends up getting an ankle caught in them as they close. Fortunately, he's armored, so it mostly only hurts. He also manages to keep from dropping Alag (who loses his concentration on his second sight, nonetheless), and from swearing out loud, but the net's flooded with invective for a few seconds.
The guards look up and fumble with the door, finally closing it. After a moment, a different nasty-looking old coot comes over to the door and questions the guards, who talk about a wind coming into the room and catching on the door. In this line of talk, we learn that they have a lot of wind words. They all head out to investigate. Cantrel and Alag decide to loiter near the ceiling and eavesdrop.
Then the guards and coot come in. The old coot speaks near the door as he comes in. He comes up to the throne. People around stop talking. Cantrel and Alag look for a better listening position.
The old coot tells the other old fellow, whom he calls "my father" and other deferential terms, that something was messing with the door, and came with a wind. The coot adds that this is the second Odd Thing to happen, and he'll have the children check it out once the Proper Noun is over.
They go into a political discussion for about fifteen minutes. Then Father tires and gets up. He walks up the stairs to the area in the back where the guards are waiting. People start filing out, and Cantrel and Alag decide to leave, too, lest they get shut inside the room. The decide to follow Father, who's headed off to the "city."
This city is several dozen buildings in the cave. They fly up to the roof of one of them to survey the area. They chase breezes about, looking for air vents. They find a couple, but all small. They notice small stalagmites starting to build up on the roofs. These buildings are old.
Back at camp, Goodhue is getting hungry, and we all realize we are too, so we eat lunch.
Alag and Cantrel notice that the roof of the cave glows slightly, and that it glows less when they're near it. They back off a bit. After some more darting about, they head off to the trap door.
They make their way to where the locked door is. Alag looks about with awareness telepathy and finds someone headed their way, but that person walks by the complex of buildings. He picks the lock.
They examine the lid of the trap door. Its setting is cracked -- recently. we discuss fixing it, and decide to do so once someone is there to do it right with alchemy. The tile in the floor of the box has been pulled up with a knife from the looks.
They set up patterned levitations to move the stones easily, and head down, closing up behind themselves. They examine to footprint and head down the corridor, still aloft.
Meanwhile, some people from the cave have decided that we're worth investigating. We make sure we're all invisible, go up into the air, and dust up camp. Chris, the guerrilla, doesn't like the way Daewen's done it, and he goes back and carefully leaves camp in better condition than we all found it.
The people from the cave search around the area, but don't spot us, and never actually quite walk into the camp we so carefully concealed.
Cantrel notices that he can see better and there's white noise. A little further, they come out into a lit cavern with an underground river. They go upstream, looking for a source. This is also the direction Musgrove went. There's a smear or two in the algae. Checking, they find a few more slips.
They explore a dead-end ledge, and go back to another. They explore where they think Musgrove didn't go, hoping that there's a way to the surface that way.
Chasing along, they lose the river, find it or a stream tributary, and follow it to a large flat stone wall with a door in it. Over the door is a Star of David, with two large circles around it, rather like a seal over the door. There's a lot of writing that looks like Hebrew or some relative. Goodhue thinks he recognizes the tetragrammaton, the four-letter name of God.
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.