Hope Deferred into Darkness

JP with Alexis, Gonyaul and Winteroak:

It takes you longer than you thought it would to transverse the ledge that leads to the opening several metres ahead in the cliff face. Both of out wonder silently if going back up was the right decision. But Alexis and Gonyaul know their skills would be very limited if they had decided to take the wider path down into the maw of the huge cave they are in. Once up they ledge they find themselves in another corridor, similar to the one they found Voah's sword.

Gonyaul was first to the ledge and made sure to help Alexis the rest of the way. He was smaller and fit easier on their ascending ledge’s narrow footings, her height made it even more precarious. Once they were both safely on top Gonyaul inwardly was grateful that they had both made it. Knowing a ground was beneath you when you fell made it less daunting, then the unknown blackness below them.

He got to work getting their climbing gear, including the ropes that connected them, squared away. Once he had all the gear back on his person securely he moved cautiously to the archway and waited for Alexis who had the torch to go first.

He wasn’t using his torch because they were going to need to preserve as much oil for their long return back from the belly of the earth. Gonyaul was hopeful they were going to make it and was already planning ahead.

As you step through the archway you walk into a small circular room. The cobblestones are cracked and full slabs are missing or overturned revealing soft muddy earth below. There are a few skeletons in the south of the room, piled against the wall.

Gonyaul, who has been walking sideways the majority of the time behind Alexis in order to keep tabs behind them, peeked from around her as they entered this new room. He frowned slightly as he looked at the uninviting sight and that it was yet another room without finding voah. He wanted to say ~their decorating needs a lot of work~; however, refrained from making any noise at the moment.

It was very frustrating to wander through unknown territory, no inclination where to turn and feeling like time might be running out.
But there was, unfortunately, nothing Alexis could do about that other than not tarry more than necessary when picking tunnels. As such, she first turned to the closer western tunnel.

The room is small and you immediately hear the sound of rushing water coming from the eastern passageway. You realise that it leads back to the room with the ceiling waterfall. Looking at the western corridor you see it stretching into the darkness.

“We’re back in the same ruins, it seems. It might be more plausible to search that cavern instead. What do you think?”

This dungeon was a test in patience more than anything else it seemed to Gonyaul. Beforehand he had no expectations or urgency, but that had changed.

The thought of going down wasn’t ideal, but he believed Alexis to be right.

He nodded, “need be careful. Yes let us go down deeper.”

He started getting all the climbing gear off his person that they would once again need. He began binding the two of them together with a makeshift safety harness. He smiled softly to her as he made sure it was a good fit.

“We going to find them. And we keep each other safe.”

Alexis gently squeezed Gonyaul’s shoulder and nodded.

“We will.”

Together they found their way back to the slope, choosing to go down this time.

Return from hence they had come, through the north passageway, make down the slippery ledge and finally to take the path that they hope lead them to the cavern floor took the best part of another hour. Day and night were hard to gauge down here in the underworld but their internal body clocks told them it was likely night by now.

Eventually they made it down to the cavern floor after what seemed like an eternity. Another torch fizzled out as they finally descended into cavern below. Water pooled everywhere as they stepped away from the path. It was cooler here and their torches illuminated very little. There was no discernible paths, no signs to follow. They couldn't even see the other side of the cave they were in now...

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