Chapter 4a: Janus Caves, Exploration of

The first morning in their new home, Viscaria takes the chamber pot outside to do the needful. When she returns, she forages in our meager supplies for something to pack as a lunch for the day for both Heims and herself.

"Well, Heims, we briefly looked in on The Janus Labyrinth last night. Shall we continue to explore it, or shall we try the smaller tunnel today?

No need to disperse our efforts. We should finish what we started, and go into that labyrinth.

Viscaria pulls a much-abused wax tablet and a stylus out of the bottom of her chest, nestled deep among her forge tools. "Very well then. How are you at drawing maps?

She tucks the tools under her arm, implusively grasps two of his ice cold fingers with her tiny hand, squeezes them for luck, and pulls him off into the caves. "Back by supper time! Keep something warm for us!"

Not very good, I must say. But this is not a problem.
My master and I once talked about Daedalus Labyrinth. And goliath explained to me how easy it was to defeat such a thing. You just have to always take, say, the right path. When doing so, leave a mark. When coming upon a mark, take the next right path.
This may take some time, but, unless the walls are moving or something destroys the marks, this is sure to defeat any labyrinth.

With a half-hearted smile, Hiems follows the diminutive woman.
Her impulsive ways may be uncomfortable for him and put him ill-at-ease, but he's beginning to like her for that, too, as it betrays a warm soul.

As Hiems and Viscaria explore the caves, examining not just the physical layout but the mystical one as well, she returns to the earlier tangent.

"Ah, but that is only for getting into and out of a labyrinth, without concern for how quickly you must escape, nor how completely you must explore it. I, for example, am quite hoping that somewhere inside here is a source of vis, or perhaps even a naturally occurring source of elementals! Even a vein of ore to be refined, or a cluster of gems. Yet none of these may lie on the right-hand path you describe.

Besides, sometimes, don't you just want to try the left hand path, just to see where it goes?"

Zhe first half of your cave exploration (description and results)
The hikes through the caves show you a world of wonder (nice and cool). Some of the subterranean world is limestone, bizarre features like calcite, stalagtites and stalagmites abound. Some of the features look like gnarled gnomes, or sharp-toothed maws, but they are all stone. Sometimes, daylight can be seen from above (in about a dozen places), but only two exits could be made usable.
On your fourth expedition, in a limestone cave not far from the entrance, you encounter a human footprint (someone wearing shoes) in a pool of clear and still water, but no other signs of humans.
The deeper tunnels are volcanic (basaltic) and dry (no exits are to be seen). Many stones have a reddish or black color. You can here rumbling noises deep ahead. Once you come across a subterranean rivulet. Gold nuggets are found in the water, another time, you enter a cave full of mixed gems.

ooc: The tits are the hanging ones, obviously.

  • What do you do about the footprint?
  • How do you look for creatures/vis?
  • Do you enter the rumbling tunnels?

Many of the gemstones and stalagtites can be mined for vis. There must be several quuen of terram vis down here!

Viscaria crouches near the pool to get a better look. "Ho, what have we here? I believe you are right, Heims. A footprint. Perhaps we should ask someone more versed in hunting we have anyone more versed in hunting?" She studies the footprint carefully. Is it in sand or stone? If we search the area carefully, can we find more?

"I know that those with the skill can determine the age of a footprint. What can we deduce from the visible evidence?"

She pulls out the appropriate wands and sponts an InTe effect on the footprint (Base 4 - determine the age of any non-living target, +1 Touch, +1 Part = 10, CT: 20+die roll/2 = 10, so success unless botch. Do you want to use my pre-calc'd die rolls?). Nearby, a small sunlit crack in the stone near the pool sprouts a tender young catchfly stalk (sigil effect might actually take root in these conditions).

Keeping her second sight sharp, and mindful of her Detect Vis spell, she examines these resources carefully. She's clearly hungry to collect all the gold, but reminds herself to wait until she has a lab to work it with. She will be unable to resist grabbing a few of the (vis-laden) gems, however.

(Again, unless you suggest otherwise, I'll wait to RP the rumbling until after we've dealt with the footprint)

Viscaria is, obviously, as gleeful as a kid locked in a candy store after dark. Any indication that the aura is strong enough to rarefy elementals naturally?

"OOoh! Our covenant is practically built already! you know what, I may just use my pater's little gift during the rituals and keep the vis to study from! What do you think, Heims?"

You learn that the footprint belongs to a shoe worn by a person who travels a lot. It was made in 1221 (months ago, it's February 1222, iirc). It is man-sized (unless the woman has large feet) - a heavy fellow, or a fellow carrying a heavy burden.

When Visceria grabs the gems, an angry shout can be heard from the tunnel. A diminuitive man (a dwarf?) points his finger at her and shouts: "kagzuk bligwamm, morodwendron!" Then he takes two rocks from his belt, hits them together - which creates a surprisingly loud sound - and the caves come alive with the sounds of many small feet.

But avoiding getting lost should be our first priority. Once we're more familiar with it, we can explore accordingly.

(Thinks a moment)

Here's an idea.
Let's numerote the path from left to right. Like, left path is #1, then #2...
If the take the left-handed path, we shall make one mark, for 1.
Let's say we then come to a crossroads, and take again the second left-handed path. We shall make 1 mark, a slash, then 2 marks, for the second path.
That way, we'll quickly be able to see what we've explored or not, as well as to come back easily to the entrance.

OOC: we'll have things like I (first tunnel on the left), then I/II (then, take the second tunnel on the left), then I/II/I (then, take the first tunnel on the left)

Hiems is very interested by this. If someone is good at hunting, he'll try to bring them here. Maybe he would spont something, but I don't have my books :frowning:
Still, this hields hope.

A half-hearted smile at viscaria's joy
Any time, this'd be a great treasure and boon. Landed here? Much less. Anyway, lady viscaria, I agree with your sentiment. It seems you'll have whatever you need to build us a covenant. Although keeping it for study or, better, enchantments might effectively be a better idea.

As per the gold, this yields no interest to him.

Hearing that, Hiems almost displays emotion and surprise.
Well, that's a pretty good new if I know one. We are not alone! This means civilisation, and thus invaluable ressources, maybe a way to come back!
Sigh... (he's just thinking: "But, then, come back to what?")

Hiems looks at the man, displaying his open hands as a sign of piece as well as coming between him and viscaria
Please. We meant you no harm.
He doubts he'll be understood, but the tone of his words and his gestures should be understood.

Viscaria moves back and forth through an intersection to demonstrate her point.

"Hrm. Interesting. But where to put the mark? As we travel forward, we would see this wall most clearly. But we would not see it if we were returning quickly from the other direction, we would see this wall and not that one, and again, if returning to this intersection from a corridor that loops around we would see....Yes, I think we should place the marks here, on the floor of the intersection itself.

Viscaria drops the gems in surprise and covers her ears at the noise. She valiantly leaps behind Heims and peers out at the dwarf-ish figure in fear and surprise. She points at the figure and exclaims, unnecessarily, "There's somebody here!"


"Lots of them!"

Hiems is quickly lost and confused trying to understand Viscaria, although he shows little more than a perplexed, spock-like expression.
But he is quite relieved once she comes to a conclusion!