Chapter 2: Still Caverns Run Deep

(Not sure when this is taking place. Timeline has become weird on me.)

Patrick is bored. You can tell because he's artificially thickening his Irish accent again. "I'm thinkin' o' takin' another wee look around those flooded caverns. See if we cannae squeeze a bit more water outa the way. Ye can join the fun, if you've a mind ta."

Gregorius looks up from his dinner.

"Might be worth going down to the quarry and checking on how they're getting on with the drainage project. If they're nearly through, we might be able to speed things up a bit - how's your Muto Terram?"

"I prefer Rego, though a potential apprentice would not find me an unworthy master. Shall we bring yon Wee Poor Fray?"

Gregorius looks puzzled for a moment, before his face cleared.

"Ah, of course yes, I'd forgotten his speciality. Let's check how far the quarrying's gone before bothering him, though - shall we stroll down after dinner, and then mount a proper expedition on the morrow if the news is good?"

Assuming Patrick doesn't raise any major objections, Gregorius will head down to the quarry after they've eaten, having sent word for Niketas (the dowser) to join them.

"He has a specialty, does he? You know, now that I come to think of it, I cannae remember him actually casting a spell. You're sure he's a wizard, then?"

"If I were a scrying man, I'd want to try talking to the water directly, as it were. Pity none of us have the skill."

Gregorius remarks, "there's always a bit of me that worries that one day one of the "Order of Hermes" visitors we have is actually an infiltrator from whoever destroyed the last covenant. I think his shape-changing is Muto rather than a "natural" ability", however. And yes, talking to various things is on my list of things to learn one day. I'm not bad at Intellego - they wouldn't have trained me as a scout if I was - but I've still got a lot to learn on it."

[OOC: MTKnife, I think we're sort of waiting on you to tell us whether the cave draining project looks like it's going to be a go at all (and also ideally when we're having this story).]

Preparations to drain the caves have gone well. However, once the actual process begins, a major problem because evident: there's a lot of water in there--a LOT. We're not talking about draining a room or two, and indeed, though you know that the rooms you're dealing with are at the top of the cave system, every time you empty any sort of space, it immediately fills back up.


"Yes, we're a remarkably trusting bunch, ain't we? That's half'a the reason I play my joke with the Permission to Scry contract. When it comes right down to it, how do you know anybody is one of us? Yet, with the Aegis up, most beasties are easily defeated enough, except of course for our most dangerous predator."

After listening to our quarry team leader's report, Patrick grins hugely.
"Definitely a supernatural problem, then! Alright then, what I need is for you to set up plumbing you've built so that water canae come out 'less we force it to."

He turns to Gregorius. "First thought that comes to my mind is to ward and purge, ward and purge. But then, that's always my solution. What do you think?"

I've dug out my original post on the quarry for reference (I don't think anything was ever made any more firm than Gregorius' aspirations here).

Gregorius turns to Patrick. "A variant of that's an option - usually getting the ward back in should be a problem, but your ability to do them at a distance should make life easy. My own idea was to just try and set things up so the outflow from the caves was going straight into the river - I don't think there's enough water there to put the river into flood..." he trails off. "How much of it is there, anyway?"

think I can do this via the level 3 guideline "learn the natural properties of a liquid" - volume is after all a natural property. The alternative would be to use the (not actually use restricted, as I recall, numerology base 2 guidelines in TM:RE; however, I think that counts the number of individuals rather than the size of an individual. I think this is a case in which Intellego not needing size modifiers makes sense.

Thus Base 3 + 1 Touch = 4. Casting total is (In 6 + Aq 0 + Sta 1 + Aura X + Gestures 1 + die 4)/2 = 6 + Aura/2 (, so should work.]

As he wanders upon the end of the debrief and magic discussion, his Bonisagus senses tingle with theory-craft.

"Did I grasp the issue correctly that we have a magically occurring natural water source?

Oh please do not just remove it! We need to know more about the source."

Fray walks quickly to a chair, draws it under himself, and flips a wax tablet into his hands.

The spell is OK in principle, but I need you to think really carefully about exactly what your target is, and then justify that to me.


[OOC: I'd been intending the target to be the individual body of water attached to where it's been beginning to come out from the quarry, but at a time when it's not actually flowing into the river (or any other major body of water). Of course, if it turns out that there's a river feeding it, or something, the result may be not quite what he'd bargained for. Actually reading the Individual definition of Aquam, it's "a stretch of water with the same composition and current. A small pond, part of a stream, or a spring." Whilst I could make an argument that all of the same stagnant (if it is) water in one cave system is of the same composition and current, I can also see that as potentially dodgy, so I'm happy to drop the idea/have the spell fail if you'd rather.]

Gregorius shakes his head.

"As far as I know, there's just a lot of flooded caves. That said, I don't actually know how they were flooded in the first place, although it probably happened during the attack on the previous covenant. Possibly something that the magi did as a last ditch defence - or a weapon that was used by their enemies to destroy their last holdout."

Well, I think one room of water would be an Individual--but it's a pretty big one.


Patrick contemplates further. "I suspect the water issues are connected to the central fountain. The lack of water there is almost poetically ironic. This gives us three variables to manipulate in order to test our formulized theories: the sanctum entrances, the quarry site and the fountain. Can we think of any others? If not, which variable shall we begin adjusting?"

((Presumably, Patrick doesn't know anything about the faerie regio's water issues.))

[OOC: Intellego doesn't necessarily require size requisites, though (it's a bit inconsistent - the box on page 113 says "However, the size of the target does make a difference to the level of the spell, with the sole exception of Intellego magic", but then there are spells like "Sense the Feet that Tread the Earth" which do have size magnitudes, but other spells like Intuition of the Forest that don't).]

Gregorius thinks a moment.

"I'll admit, I'd just assumed it was because there was something wrong with the plumbing, but you may well have a point. Worth a look, at least."

[MTKnife: Where is the fountain in relation to the caves? My rough estimate from looking at the maps and their scales is that it's over some combination of the room at the entrance and the southern store-room (i.e. dried out bits of the covenant)?]

Wow, I really missed responding to this, but it's still relevant.

Looking at the maps, I see that I had the stairs from the temple pointing different directions on the surface map ("Covenant Site") and the first level of the caves; to make matters work, I used paces as the scale in one map, and feet in the other.

To fix the stairs problem, I either have to change their direction in the temple (and, probably, move them from the east to the west side of the temple), or else flip the cave maps. If I move the stairs, the fountain would lie over at least part of the main room on the second cave level. If I flip the map, all known cave rooms would lie to the north or (in the case of the Big Lab) the northeast of the fountain.

I'll probably just move the stairs, but I don't think that the characters' conclusions about how the water works would be altered either way.


EDIT: OK, I just moved the stairs within the temple, and uploaded the revised map.

[OOC: I think the central covenant site map has gone wrong - it now only shows a small part of the temple.]

[I'd just been assuming the stairs doubled back on themselves, I think. So, to check my understanding, there's at least a level of (apparently) solid rock between the bottom of the fountain and an empty accessible cave? If so, Gregorius is just going to conclude that there isn't any obvious link between the fountain and the caves.]

To refresh on Gregorius' plan to drain the caves, the quarryers are essentially digging through to the "bottom" (or at least several levels down) of the flooded cave system, and the water should then just flow out into the river the quarry is sited next to (and possibly keep flowing, depending on whether it's also being replenished from somewhere). This should drain at least a few levels of the cave for further exploration, even if it turns out not to have actually got to the bottom of the system.

The quarryers are of course doing this carefully - using Niketas to dowse for water regularly to make sure they don't cut through into it by accident, and when they do find it, shaping a channel so it should flow out in a contained and predictable way - also making sure they have a way to dam up the outflow again if they need to. Gregorius is planning to be standing by when they finally get to the break through stage.

Are they (about to be) through? And when is this thread happening?

[Fixed. I had forgotten that AutoREALM defaults to saving only the currently visible part of a map when saving to JPEG.]

I don't think I originally intended them to double back--not that it matters much.

That sounds reasonable and straightforward. I'll sort it out when I sort out the rest of the timeline.

That, by the way, will probably be next week--we got into an accident a little over a week ago, and totaled the car, and most of my time recently has been devoted to insurance and finding a new car.