Down or Out

Gill tugged on Emmas sleeve, trying to pull her towards the Maw. She glanced to Connor who was staring with horror at the creature that dominated the centre of the cavern. It was speaking with the Ashen, but from where they stood they could not quite make out the words. Emma looked down at the pleading eyes of Gill and then over at the vast chasm which served as an entrance to the Deep Delve.

"Let's go." she decided, which earned her a nod of encouragement from the lad.

"Wait what?" Connor called after her and then began to follow himself, "This is madness."

More Elesian soldiers began to pour in through a far entrance to engage the mutant creature in battle. The hulking creature unleashed his thaumaturgical fury at the men and was this time joined by the weapons of the Ashen who seemed to have fallen under its spell.

"Where are you going?" Josiah called after them as they approached the Maw.

"Down." Emma called back to the one time ruler of Dusk, "We have friends down there."

"Then they are dead!" Josiah called after her. Emma shook her head in denial as Gill led her by the hand towards a large mechanical monstrosity which looked like a giant metal spider.

"You are crazy!" Josiah cried out after them as Emma gave Gill a lift into the machine just as Connor caught up with them and paid her the same favour.

Inside the compartment they were confounded by a mass of levers and buttons controlling the great machine. These things were a legacy of the ancient founders of the Delve and Dusk. In later years the mechanics serving in the Delve retained enough knowledge to maintain their workings but to actually design or build such a thing was an art lost to them.

Connor sat down in what appeared to be the controllers seat while Emma and Gill strapped themselves in to the small seated area behind. Emma watched her companion as he tried out the controls attempting to get the thing started, she leaned forward and pursed her lips as she made her own study of the the controls.

"Perhaps that one?" she suggested pointing out a large leaver to the right of Connors seat. Connor gave her a look that spoke volumes and caused her to sit back in sullen silence as he continued to work his way through the controls systematically. Finally he came to the suggested lever his hand hover it. He frowned back toward Emma and she looked away refusing to meet his gaze. Gill giggled next to her, the most childlike thing he had done since she had met the boy and Emma looked down at him with a smirk and a raised eye brown.

"Damn it." Connor spat has he pushed the offending lever downwards and the machine sprang to life.

There came a loud rumble from outside and the mining rig shook as part of the ceiling collapsed sending dust and stone hurtling through the air in every direction.

"Let's get out of here!" Emma cried and Connor worked to master the steering.

***

Josiah watched the trio clambering into the mining rig and shook his head. he turned to the other two strangers they had happened up and glanced back into the dark tunnels which opened up behind them.

"We are getting out of here." he said shifting the weight of Abigails unconscious form in his arms. He glanced at Serenity and she gave a firm nod of agreement. "What about you two?"

Suddenly part of the cavern roof groaned and gave way sending tonnes of stone plummeting to the ground beneath crushing Elesians and Ashen alike. A large stone almost struck the raging creature but he simply swiped it aside with a blast of sickly green energy.

"We go now." Josiah growled and without waiting to see what the two strangers would choose he plunged into the darkness of the tunnels.

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