April 8th, the year 751 BC (continued)
We charged out of the theater, my feet carried with the drumming of the horse lords. I started to check the cave entrance. I couldn’t tell if the building was at the exit of the caves or simple down within them. It wasn’t a perfect fit with large openings in the stone and little sign as to how close to an opening we might be. I already miss the open land and the sun.
Kraj didn’t want to leave the theater. He wanted to make a plan first. While I’d normally commend such forethought, I think it was more likely fear of what was going on. He expressed serious concern that the theater had moved. Clearly, it had. I’m afraid he was just now catching up to the strangeness of the entire situation. Suddenly powerful magic and trickery doesn’t seem like such an impossibility, does it?
Arden said he thought the theater had simply moved down. While I suppose that’s possible, I find it unlikely. What moved in its place? How would a series of moving theaters have existed and none have known? I’m convinced this has all happened before and it’s bound to be proven eventually, if we survive.
Esera said something about sticking together but I was already heading up the cave. Someone had to scout ahead and I wasn’t about to wait for the dwarf. The sooner I could get out the better. Of course, there are more caves. Of course. It was a nearly 30’ wide space and no doubt those crabs would be shimmying by soon.
I started studying each cave. The first to my left (1) went down. There was a foul odor reminiscent of the perfume I and the others were now wearing. Horse dung smells far better, let me tell you. There were some greasy smears as well. Crab took a body down.
The next (2) has some lighter colored splotches along the floor. It was scraped in spots and featured some curious markings. It went up, possibly a way out. (3) had deep gouges along the lower parts of the wall and the floor. The center was worn smooth though I found pieces of chipped, choppy stone. It too went up. Most did.
Then there’s (4) which doesn’t have any markings at all. I hope that’s a sign of an un or ill used path. It goes up so I’ll come back and check it again. Still, nothing. Went up first.
(5) goes up and has numerous splinters of wood along the way. There are some scratches and guessing by the crab coming up wood goes this way. Well it probably would have, had not one of the three standing around while I checked each alone not decided to kick it. Kraj decided it was a good idea to provoke one. I had reminded each to keep moving, but apparently this is more entertaining.
I go back to check (4) while the others engage the crab. Esera is complaining about not hurting anything. My dear young girl, I don’t know how she’s traveled into Dimentlieu with such a care free, innocent approach to life but it’s sure to get gouged out of her soon. Maybe I’m just bitter because I broke my hymen on horse back. Something tells me Esera’s is quite whole still. Sweet, really, but naïve.
Well (4) really has nothing so I go up and along while they bother with the crab. I’m finding a way out for us one way or another. Unfortunately I just found a clothes washing room with strange people who won’t talk to me. There’s even a little river. Some of the clothes seem very old, others almost new. The others finally get in, complaining I left. No, that’s fine, you keep harassing crab creatures while I do the dirty work. You go right ahead and complain that I’m the problem.
I wonder if they’d still be on stage waiting for someone to rescue them if I wasn’t here leading them along.
I try to speak to one of the people hanging clothes but she takes issue with it. I move back and there’s Kraj to get an arm to the face, nearly. He trips her… That wasn’t expected but she still isn’t saying anything. Strangely, Arden knows all about these things. They’re made of wax? How horrible. Weird that the local knows so much about this theater and the things in it, isn’t it? I haven’t said it to the others but I’m getting suspicious.
Arden takes some decorative piece of cloth after we’ve destroyed the created creature and we leave. We try (3) after I am lectured about engaging anything. I thought she was a woman who needed help, possibly charmed or something like those strangely behaving people on stage that we called actors. It’s not like I kicked a creature I knew would leave us alone and then try to fight us. Honestly, let’s beat a dead horse.
So (3) is filled with stone, huge piles of it. I’m guessing from beyond the wood paneling of the theater. This theater must have been appearing here for many centuries now. It would seem Arden agrees of that and the nature of the sorting the crabs are doing. I’m sure Lemot will just rebuild eventually and more poor souls will wind up here.
We choose (2) next and find gigantic piles of metal, some older than others. There’s rust on a few. Over near a wagon Kraj spots something interesting… Oh how lovely, he’s picked a fight with a metal snake. I suppose he’s never been north to the plains and learned now to stick his head in a snake hole? It bit him though. I hope he’s not poisoned. It could really hurt him and I don’t know how we’ll… Esera’s looking at him. Healer indeed. I’m glad he’s okay.
I want to encourage us on to a fork but Kraj wants to dig. I checked for magic and found nothing. He’s going on and on about arming ourselves. Yeah, thanks, we aren’t going to tell you all we’re capable of. You’ve already sneered at wizardry, which I’m sure Arden loves just as much as I. I want to head on but Arden makes some rude comment about how I have no right to lead while Kraj rants off. I turn my back to them.
To the left is a pile but to the right is a large room of rust. Next I find a room filled with armor on stands and some shelves as well as a door! A real, true normal wooden door. Please by the mares let us find a way out. I’ll even pray by the mists at this point.
Announcements of this draw Kraj and the others quickly. I start checking for magic and am walloped on the side of the shoulder by a breastplate. Well it was a bit chaotic as I retreated and Kraj fought valiantly. Esera tried to help. Arden mostly watched. Of import, Kraj nearly fell and Esera got a helmet on her head that apparently wanted to smother her. They were the haunted dead, ghosts of those who’d been warriors but failed to find a proper death in battle. Kraj seems to understand this.
Kraj also started praying to such battle, to war and glory, and cast cure light wounds. He did so repeatedly. Esera looks a little perturbed to be honest. Surprise, the dwarf who encourages trust has lots of secrets. I told Esera as such back in the clothes room while we checked the wall.
I didn’t know how to help, but I wanted to. I couldn’t let Kraj die. I tried to distract the menacing breastplate (how ridiculous does this sound?) but could not so I went around and put my blade to its back. That at least gave Kraj an opening to bring it down, once more by using positive energy. Did I mention also that Esera has a wand that uses negative energy?
Healer, not only.
Arden while encouraging caution heads into the weapon room after I’ve already checked it out. He notes the nice silvered dagger as I do but allows me to use it as it’s finer quality than my simple dagger. I hope there aren’t werewolves ahead. Kraj was cautionary but seems excited now that I have a nice dagger. Maybe he cares? He called me pretty again. All I need is to go soft on a dwarf. From the way he talks, he’s always hard… headed.
I check the door though Kraj is eager to rest, catch his breath. He doesn’t look great but between Esera’s healing spells and that nice kit, he’s looking better. My bruise was gone almost instantly by something Esera did as well. She’d patched up Arden earlier too. Well she may be a naïve little girl but at least she’s dedicated.
The door isn’t trapped, that I can tell. It is locked however. I go over it carefully and pop it without much trouble. Opening it, we find an incredibly long corridor decorated with flaming torches. Were we expected? DG perhaps having tested us and eager to see us sweat? Bull shit.
The question is are we going? I’m considering taking a light shield, heavy as it may be. Kraj put on the breastplate that nearly killed him. Now that’s ironic.
Perhaps I’ll write a play about Lemot’s play and all that happened afterward? It’ll seem absurd but… My, I hope we aren’t trapped in a play like Lemot’s actors. Damn I hadn’t thought of that until now. Well I better not voice it, I’m tired of the glances and rolled eyes and superior tones. I’m sure if I just let one of the men say it first, it’ll be taken as genius. We’ll throw Arden a parade and Kraj will encourage me to sit on his lap in the carriage as we wave to the idiotic nobility of this ridiculous country.
I don’t know that I’ll sit here waiting. The chance to leave is extremely tempting but Kraj was really trying to protect us just now. Maybe he’ll actually respect my words now that I foolishly walked up and threatened his new armor. I’d rather be done with this entire place however. The sooner I can be on a horse and headed home, the better.
I could probably convince Kraj to go now, but even I’m tempted not to put him in any more danger.
Maybe he’ll say something rude so I won’t have to feel bad about it.