Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Watch Report - Fresh Vision, Climbing Shafts, and Lack of Signage

Following our encounter with the bizarre creatures we took the opportunity to rest and recover. The trauma of the situation was enough to trigger the draconic essence in my blood and give me insight on how I might avoid being blinded by the dark going forward. I must say that the nature of this new sort of vision was not quite what I was expecting. As long as there was some sort of light in the area then I could see as if it were brightest day with a sun sitting conveniently overhead. However, as soon as we snuffed our lights and traveled forward in the black gloom, leaving only Nicola and Panry without light, then the world became cast in a bizarre sort of ashen grey.

We took sometime to investigate the corpses of the demons we had faced and found, much to our relief, that none of the corpses had vanished during our rest. All could easily be accounted for. That said, we could still hear the distant sound of chittering in the darkness. As can be expected we made an effort to avoid attracting any more attention from the sources of these sounds. Miss Crest made a rather more thorough examination of the creatures than I did and determined that their blood was actually poisonous. We had some debate about whether the blood was a natural, for lack of a better word, part of what they were or whether the poison had corrupted them into their current form.

In addition, Miss Crest had what I can only say is a conversation of some sort with what appeared to be a mushroom. Apparently, there had been other mushrooms in the area but that they had gone somewhere and that there was something hot deeper underground. I'm still not sure how much benefit we got from the discussion, but at least it was a measure of new information.

Eventually we decided to press on and found a tunnel at the edge of the cavern which led on toward a vertical shaft leading both up and down. Khodrin indicated that it was some manner of a volcanic tube and that thought rather concerned me given Miss Crest's report about the great heat below from the mushroom. I had no desire to find myself on the business end of some white hot volcanic mess, thank you very much. I already have a cool, white...

Hmm, that metaphor rather doesn't work. Hellenae is not a mess by any definition in my opinion. Also, her scales are white but her skin rather decidedly more brown and chocolate in complexion. Though I suppose we occasionally do make a...never mind, I shall have to remember to strike this paragraph from the report.

I cast a light upon a copper coin and tossed it down into the bottom of the well as that tiefling sent a selection of lights up into the upper path. Panry used his lute to further grant me the temporary ability to fly. Using that, I found several carved out ledges in the shaft below as well as tunnels that seemed to carry on for miles. However, the lower shaft carried on for close to five hundred feet which was significantly longer than the three lengths of rope we had could reach even tied together. As such we decided to apply ourselves toward the higher shaft where Miss Crest had found several passages by climbing up in the form of a monkey.

Getting up the shorter length of the shaft to the tip above was somewhat more problematic than we initially thought. After Miss Crest went up with the rope and secured it in place, we sent Dame TJ and Khodrin up ahead of us as they were more athletically capable and, what with the armor, much heavier. Thus any flaws in the rope would quickly appear under that strain and we would avoid being surprised by snapping cords.

That tiefling had thought to cast a web over the lower shaft, something I had initially thought was a waste, but which later proved quite definitely a good idea when Miss Freehand's grip slipped and she tumbled off the rope, her fall caught by the sticky white filaments of the tiefling's spell. Myself and the tiefling had a bit of an issue getting up, but had significantly less problem doing so than Miss Freehand had, mostly by sheer luck. The two of us found ourselves being helped up by Dame TJ.

Finally we had all reached the upper passage and I have to say that for a place that had obviously been carved out of the rock by some previous tenant, there were remarkably few signs of any sort indicating direction or destination. The basic shaft may have been volcanic but most of these other passages leading from it were carved, I believe, though I suppose I could be wrong. My original impression of Dwarven work was that the passages would be far more polished and smooth than these are turning out to be. They're almost no better than the natural processes of the mountain.

Regardless for the lack of proper marking of tunnel direction, we pressed on and came to an intersection where the path curled both up and down. Taking the higher path first, for the idea of ruling it out as a proper direction to find the source of the problem, we pressed on until we came to a place where the floor gave out from under us. More to the point, it gave out from under Dame TJ, spilling her down several feet into a pile of rubble revealing a new path.

This simple fifteen foot drop caused us significantly more trouble than the shaft had earlier, with all manner of embarrassing slips and falls giving the lot of us bruises and bumps. With the exception of Miss Freehand and Miss Crest. Miss Freehand was able to make quite the nimble show of leaping down to the ground below while Miss Crest simply maintained her monkey form and scampered down. This left the two of them to watch the rest of us in our comedy of errors as we tumbled down atop Dame TJ or dashed ourselves onto the rocks with ill-aimed jumps.

I managed to twist my ankle in the fall, and while Nicola managed a rather poor showing of bandaging and splinting it, the tiefling displayed some rather surprising medical acumen and had me walking on it easily soon enough. If he weren't prone to such amazingly bizarre behavior this situation would work out much better, but, alas, we are stuck with the phenomenally strange scrounger.

Following one of the branching paths of the new passage brought us back full circle to the hole in the ground, which is what we suspected would happen. We made an attempt to leap over and make the rest of the original passage on the fair side, but while some of us made it, others realized quite easily that we weren't going to be able to make that leap. Eventually, we decided that it might be necessary to abandon the idea of heading to the top of the path and instead turned our attention to some of the other paths uncovered by the floor collapse.

Once again, I am markedly struck with just how easier this would all be if we just had some appropriately placed signs for the various tunnels.

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