Chapter 3tri: Alone in the dark

Finn feels sick, about as bad as the stormy crossing over to the continent, where they did not even make it over by nightfall. When he opens his eyes, it is quite dark. Some kind of room, but light is let in from an opening at far end. It is damp. Not a room, rather a cave. Small drops fall from the ceiling, and he can see mildew.

There are paintings on the wall, in colourful beasts, some legendary ones, and one man. The animals look a little too small next to him. On the floor too, a pentagram inscribed in the circle, and Finn has been dropped on his feet, right in the middle of it.

Moving to the exit, Finn has to go around a big cauldron, made from copper, but green from age. The fireplace is tiny under the huge cauldron.

Finn moves to the cave entrance and tries to get his bearings, no doubt hindered by his no sense of direction.

Outside the cave there is woods. The hill behind the cave is quite low and should be easy enough to climb. A little to the right, there is a small cottage, but there is no sound or sign of people being present.

He will check out the cottage for any occupation. If there is none he will search for food and drink to aid any travel.

The cottage is very simple, with a table, bunk beds, and a fireplace. There is no food to be found, though there are some pots and utensils. Half a dozen arrow shafts and feathers are left on the table, but no arrow heads. The ashes in the fireplace are cold.

Finn does not have the training to find food outside the cottage either. What he can find, without leaving the cottage from his sight, are two things.

Between the trees, at the other side of the cave entrance, there are some large stones. Laid out in a rectangle, it could be the foundation for a large building.

Across the hill above the cave, there is a road, a good one, must be Roman. The Sun is up, and it was about midday when the ordeal started, but Finn has no sense of such things.

He will inspect the rectangle of stone and the wait in the cottage until dawn the next day in the hope he is rescued. If not he will head to the road and go right along the road.

Finn has been there a few hours when Cath'rinne arrives. She finds the cave much as Finn did. I reckon she looks outside about the time when Finn gives up his search of the woods and head back into the cottage.

With a better sense of directions, Cath'rinne knows that the cave is facing South, and the Roman road goes East/West.

“Thank goodness maga I was getting worried I had been abandoned. Do you have the magics to take us back to our group?” enquires Finn

"I would never leave you alone, Finn. I just needed some time to figure out how to help. I'm not sure where we are though. Have you looked arround?" says the blond maga, currently in human form.

“Only to see that there is no food or drink in the cave and that there is the road close by”

"I brought some limited supplies, but most of it is left with the horse and Hamish. Do you know how to build a fire and that kind of thing?" she says, as she notices the paintings on the wall and tries to get a better look at it.

Sorry maga, I am a creature of civilisation not the wilds. I have no skill at survival in the wilderness

Cath'rinne sees a little more in the cave paintings than just ancient art. They really do look good as artistry, but there are arcane markings or symbolism on them as well. Some of the symbolism is known from Hermetic theory, but not all of it. She may roll a Magic Theory+Intelligence 9+/12+/15+.

I rolled a 10, make that a 13 with confidence on Magic Theory.

The symbolism suggests control or summoning of the animals depicted. It is likely that they combine the arts of Bonisagus and Diedne, but there is no way to know. If it is, Diedne did not share it with the Order. Clearly a potential source of insight for magi so inclined.

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"I can probably forage some things along the way for us." she says. "Although I suspect you may have an opportunity to learn a thing or two, Finn, in the next few days." she smiles when seeing the cave walls but does not share what she sees there. She spots the cauldron next. Does the cave look like a furnished laboratory?

This is nowhere near a lab. Apart from the cauldron, there is an old workshop table by the innermost wall and two chairs, but that's the only useful equipment you can see (unless paintings count). If you look carefully, there are some pot shards and broken glass on the ground. It is not a lot, certainly not as if a lab had been trashed there. It is just shards, but somewhat better material than you would expect from kitchenware.

"Let's see how far we are from civilization, and where we were." She finds a spot where she can change without showing everything to Finn, and then stretches her wings outside the cavern for a flight recon.

Cath'rinne cannot see any known landmarks, not within the time she has before sunset at least. The road East leads to a small fortified town within a day on foot. Apart from that there are several hamlets along the road.

She'll land down, telling finn what she saw. "I have no idea where we are yet, unfortunately. Which means we're far. A few days away from where we were, most likely. Do you mind gathering some wood?" She'll check the large stones to see if there's anything interesting there.