Ever deeper

Jp between Lorem, Winteroak and Bandorchu

The two of them finished circumambulating around the majestic room. Once they arrived back at their starting point Gonyaul closed his eyes and thought about each of the passageways that they had ended up passing. He immediately crossed off the list the direction they had entered this room from. In addition, he crossed off any passages he thought might take them back to connect to somewhere they had been. This limited his remaining choices and he pondered them by recalling what they looked like in the torch light. He chose the north archway.

He did not know that is actually the way Voah went, but he was hopeful. He informed Alexis of his decision, briefly explaining how he came to it.

Alexis and Gonyaul made there way there and proceeded past the threshold into the unknown, accompanied by the trumpet of rushing water as it fell once again into the pool.

Once they reached the north archway they noticed that the cobblestones gave way to rough stone. As they walked forward down the corridor their torches illuminated a scene that froze their blood. Voah's sword lay on the ground. No sign of the Arbiter anywhere they looked.

Gonyaul gasps and speeds past Alexis when he see the orphaned sword. He scans the area as he approaches and sees no sign of a threat, or clues of what may have happened for that matter.

Upon arriving to the spot he kneels down quickly to retrieve the sword. All the gear he was carrying either clinking and clanking, or falling off his shoulders to the ground. He holds the sword up close to his body and looks to Alexis, speechless. Even though his entire body was wet from the waterfall, it was apparent the moisture in his eyes was a new development.

He felt a knot growing in his stomach that was trying to force his emotions out into the open; however, he was doing his best to breathe and keep his wits about him.

Alexis cursed as she hurried to join Gonyaul.

“She would never leave that behind!”

She swiftly began to search for any and all hints to what happened to their friend.

Gonyaul noticed what Alexis was doing and joined in. It was short lived though. The young man began picking up there gear and securing it on his person again. He wiped his eyes with his wet sleeve, which did nothing to help.

With sword in hand, but not holding it like a fighter would because the blade was facing down, he moved further into the passageway of rough stone. He looked back to Alexis pausing his advance.

“I going this way.” He said it in a way that was an invitation to Alexis. It was the only other option anyway at the time.

Alexis nodded, closing up to him.

“Yeah. No way to go but forwards.”

She put chalk and book away. If something was here that could get the jump on Voah, then her sword might serve her better now.

Gonyaul let Alexis take point as they ventured onward more cautiously than before. He was very glad she was there with him.

Gonyaul and Alexis came to the end of the tunnel abruptly before it opened into a huge void. There was a steep drop in front of them they would need ropes to descend. It appeared to be a natural cavern that stretched off into inky darkness with them being unable to see the far side of it, the top or bottom. There was a ledge to the left, made of slippery rock covered in moss. It appeared to them to be some form of narrow passage way that lead to the darkness below.

Alexis considered the options, already reaching for the rope.
Straightforward climbing or following the treacherous ledge, they would have to secure themselves either way, or this was going to become a one way trip real fast.

“What’s the climbing expert feeling? Down the descent or try the slippery passage?”

Gonyaul observed their situation and tried to calculate their best option. It would be better to descend straight down I terms of speed, but there was not telling if they had enough rope. Anchoring as they went along the ledge would be slower and more tedious but a safer bet.

“Secure as go with ledge.” He recommended. Of course he was always open to better ideas.

Alexis nodded, trusting her friend’s verdict.

“Ledge it is.”

They took gingerly steps on the slippery surface as they followed the curved ledge, pressing themselves against the rock wall as much as they could. They were thankful to the respective powers they prayed to that they could not see to far into the darkness below their feet. The ledge continued to curve down to the left until they reached a small outcrop where they could both stand together on. There was a rocky path now leading downwards into the darkness and they saw another narrow ledge that appeared to lead upwards into an archway about 10 metres above them.

Gonyaul took this small stable reprieve to take a drink of water and offered some to Alexis as well. They had another important decision to make. Either go down along the rocky path, or go up thirty feet upwards to the archway. He was perplex, but couldn’t fathom if they were carrying an unconscious person how their mystery people would be able to easily get up there. Unless there were several involved and a system in place.

“I can make this climb. But which way you think?” He definitely didn’t want to split up.

Gratefully taking a sip Alexis studied both options.

Just like Gonyaul she felt it would be rather difficult to carry someone up there. On the other hand, the archway was a fabricated construction in an otherwise natural environment and as such stood out.

She said as much to Gonyaul.
“We should check it out.”

He nodded and took point again along the narrow ledge moving upward. Like last time he made sure the rope binding them together was secure. Then he started upward very carefully; finding any means available to anchor themselves to the wall as they went.

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