1.3b Perama Caves

[tab][/tab] Lake Pamvotis is a large placid lake on the south of the town. The dark waters slightly tinged with green algae are totally black in the night-time. Lights from the town get reflected on the surface like trembling stars, but the rest of the vast body of water suffers no such interruptions to its domain. The last frogs serenade into the night from the banks, and the dark shape of the sole island can be barely seen. Scylax stares at that island for a bit, then moves his gaze elsewhere. To the mystical eye, there are a few places where weak auras appear, on that island, among the marshes, deep in the middle of the lake itself, but nothing large. Perhaps being too close to the town has affected the waters into normalcy.
[tab][/tab] Miklos has returned from Ioannina and whatever errant he had to do and is now discussing watch turns with Alexios, who seems the most professionally adept at these matters. It is nice to be a magus and have a full night's uninterrupted sleep, even if its in on the lumpy, moist ground, with bugs crawling all over. At least the weather is good and will probably hold for tomorrow.
[tab][/tab] Morning brings a bustle to your temporary camp. Animals and men need to be fed and watered, equipment checked, and someone should decide who will stay behind and who will enter the caves. Miklos has gone and scouted the under-brush for the entrance. It takes a little while, but the cunning man finds the well hidden hole. Its in a natural depression of the rocky face, a place full of shrubs and low height trees. This shaded spot is not that easy to climb into, probably why it has avoided detection for so long. Under two prickly oak bushes, Miklos has found a crack into the rock-face, barely for one man to pass through. The crack is dark and flat on the ground, with no path of handholds visible. It would be probably suicidal to fall into that chasm....

Arni and Scylax chat for a while about the lake and its surroundings, and agree to have a closer look when they make their way back from the caves. Around the camp fire, Arni tells about his exploration in the Spring, as best he can in halting Greek. «A harpy is no match, but then they come in packs,» he says. «Need research ... preepare .. before go back.» He also mentions the derelict and no longer abandoned castle at the entrance to the Aoos gorge. «Have you seen, Scylax? Wonder who moves in.»

When they leave the camp in the morning, Arni wants Bogdan the shield scout to accompany them. He needs one who speaks Slav. Presumable we have two teamsters and two guards to take care of the camp, plus whomever the others want to assist them. Breaking through the bushes, Arni leaves the scene to the experts, but when the cave is discovered, Bogdan prepares a lantern for him. Arni concentrates for a moment, humming quietly without a single intelligible word, and sends the lantern floating [*] into the crack to light it up. He stays behind to let the experts have the first look, concentrating fully on the light. Only when the others are satisfied, he approaches to get a better view for himself.

[*] That's Unseen Arm ReTe 5 Casting Total 7. Simple die? Need I roll?

Scylax uses Arni's spell casting as cover for his totally Quiet casting of Eyes of the Cat MuCo(An) 5 Quiet Casting/+9 -5 = 4+ roll. He will approach the crack verrrrry carefully, and peer in to see what he may see. He doesn't like the looks of this wound in the earth, maybe Aristocles could be talked into carving steps with his mastery of Earth, to craft an item to do the same? (Miklos and Alexios are with them, correct?)

Miklos will prepare his climbing gear and enter the cave. He will use his pitons, hammer and rope to descend with a view to making a way down usable by those without climbing experience as easy as possible.

Alexios will put his siphon to one side, as it looks too bulky to squeeze down until they have checked the width of the route. He will hold on to Miklos' rope in case of any problems.

Arni takes his time studying the route in the lantern light, and watching the others as they decend. If everything goes smoothly with them, he will follow second to last. Leaving Bogdan to watch his back and descend at the end.

[tab][/tab] Scant light from the lantern lowered down reveals a cave chamber reaching ten meters below. Roughly oblong and filled with rubble covered in moss, fungi and low-light vegetation, it is far larger than the fissure through which the lamp entered. Slowly you each start the descent using ropes, squeezing through the opening then climbing down to the uneven floor. The cave is colder than outside, moisture beading on the stone surfaces. Puddles of dirty rain water filled with decaying leaves and detritus become gathering places for gnats, water-bugs and small, slimy salamanders. Crawlers and creepers of miniature size abound, a microcosm disturbed by your arrival, while mushrooms and puffballs feast on decaying matter. The light you have plays shadows on the rocks around you, painting the cave walls in sick yellows and angry reds. This four by ten natural room inclines from north to south, following the shape of the hill above. The north end gradually narrows and tappers down to a fissure where the two walls join, seemingly impossible to pass through. The south side shows a round shaped galley filled with debris (slate, leaves and crunchy insect husks) moving deeper into the gloom.

(Spells have been cast. Please make a Str+Athletics vs 6 roll, with an extra botch die. Large characters cannot enter the fissure, while small have one less botch die. The first character down makes the roll vs 9, that would be Miklos. The siphon can be passed down separately)


Alexios follows Miklos, but the climb is quite tough and is slower than he thought. He calls up that he has safely made it, and waits at the bottom for others to come down.

Arni watches with deep concern, deep furrows between his eyes, while he considers what alternatives a good Auram spell might provide. «Scylax,» he ask, «you have any good trick for the occasion?»

Scylax looks just as concerned as Arni, but then he smiles ruefully, and says: I know you are just testing me, sodales. It so happens that I have yet to fully master this trick, but let the mundanes gape! Dramatically (I may need to recover my strength down there) He disappears and reappears in a relatively level part of the floor down below.

Climbing roll for Miklos

Str 2 + Athletics (climbing) 3(4) + 6 (falling) + roll 4 = 16.

Arni has hesitated for a long time, but once Scylax is off, he quickly makes up his mind. Having ascertained that there is space to fly down in the hole, he transforms and carefully wriggles through the small opening. When it becomes to hard to hold on to the cliff and rope, he drops and briefly unfolds hist wings to land gently in the moss. (Dex +1 + Athletics [flying] 3+1 + stress 8 = 13) Bogdan is left to pick up his cowl and climb in last.

Arni remains in eagle shape for a while, to take advantage of the eagle's eyesight for a while. The eagle moves out of the way for Bogdan's descent, and start looking around, scrutinising every cavity in the wall. With a modest screech, his unseen arm picks up the lantern which was left on the floor before the descent, and he moves it around along the walls to get a perfect view.

When he has seen enough, and the party is ready to go, he changes to human form and gets dressed.

Scylax is quite satisfied with his successful spell...and then he witnesses Arni transforming.
He's awestruck, and almost shyly, once Arni is dressed, inquires if he would like for Scylax to cast Eyes of the Cat, in fact if he should cast it on every member of the expedition.

[tab][/tab] One by one people manage to descend into the cave chamber. Miklos is first, competently climbing the rope down and holding it steady for others to climb down. Alexios went next and Bogdan last. Scylax used a spell to teleport at the cave floor while Arni changed into an eagle and flew down, landing in a puddle and shaking wet dead leaves from its claws. While the mundanes look around, Scylax offers to cast a spells to help with seeing, Bogdan offers his thanks but declines. The eagle in the mean time scrutinizes the walls and finally changes back and into his clothes when the party is ready to move forward.

Changing back from his heartbeast, Arni looks a bit disoriented and uncomfortable at first, but as soon as he has shaken the grass and dirt of his cowl and straightened the creases, he lights up.
«Eyes of the Bat!?» Arni says haltingly, «yes, yes, very useful. Need to learn that spell. Please, sodalis, that is much appreciated.»

Scylax now pays more attention to Arni's halting Greek Ahh, sodales, would that I were so proficient in Intellego and Animal. Just a humble Eyes of the Cat , I am afraid. It helps if there's but little light, but not if there's none
<OOC Scylax will cast the spell, which has Sun duration, when given consent and signaled by Arni (so that he lowers his MR, etc)>

Alexios refuses any offer of magical help.

"Miklos, are you leading us to the south or shall I?"

"Given the terrain I will lead" comes Miklos' reply. He lights a torch and carefully advances, checking the floor, walls and ceiling for stability as he goes. He will tie himself to rope and regularly piton the line to a stable piece of wall in case the ceiling collapses.

«Eyes Of The Cat,» Arni rehearses the pronounciation, «Bat, Cat, Bat, Cat, ... Greek is difficult,» he concludes. «Muto Corpus, you say!? But, ... that ... abomination ... unnatural ... inhuman,» he mumbles astonished, «well ... it is not the way bjornaer , anyway. Thanks, but no thanks.»

Arni follows the others into to gloom at the South end, trying to talk to Scylax on the way. «Are you checking for magical residues?» he asks «your forte ... is it not?»

Scylax hurries after Arni Yes, Muto, Corpus and Animal in felicitous synchrony! Could you enlighten me on its ...inappropiateness, sodales? It brings us closer to our animal brethren, does it not? I am at a loss and wish for anything but to transgress some deeply held convictions.
Scylax looks mostly to the floor and ceiling while he speaks, wary of bats, hidden pits, or imminent rock falls.