SoE: Halfshav Cave Expedition
After MORE months of planning and the accidental misfiling of the expedition notes with a report about unusually large moles, the trip is finally underway. What will the explorers find?
Sept. 3, 2018, 9 p.m.
Arx - Ward of the Compact - Society of Explorers - Map Room
Comments and Log
Anya, the cool as an ice cube Champion apprentice, Renn, the mousy, scholarly brunette, Morgan, a roguish looking gentleman arrive, following Caspian.
Some time ago, there was a series of scattered reports compiled by the society all referencing a mysterious old cave that was once a mine. Odd and old locations ending up with the society isn't that unusual, but one report in particular said something about a strange light in the depths of the tunnels. Curiousity rose, and efforts began to figure out where the mine was.
After some confusion about moles of unusual size, and a bit of crafty mapwork to find the mine's location on halfshav lands, the expedition was laid out. Halfshav approval was secured, and the Society has sent YOU to go figure out what the deal with that mine is.
The story starts as you cross into Halfshav lands with unsettlingly dark clouds over head, such that the sky feels dark even at mid day. No rain has yet fallen, but the rumble of thunder carries promise of ill weather. At the same time, you are as far as the solace patrol roads can bring you towards your destination. The rest will be up to you.
Serenity, Drysi, a young shaman apprentice, 2 Crimson Blades Private leave, following Khanne.
Sorrel is watching the sky as she approaches the cave, a little wary of the impending thunder. She heads along over land toward the cave, careful of where the road is so that they don't get lost. "It's going to be very wet soon, I fear," she remarks to her little band of adventurers.
Serenity, Drysi, a young shaman apprentice, 2 Crimson Blades Private arrive, following Khanne.
"a little rain never hurt anyone." So speaks the fifty ish year old woman who's come with them. She seems content to have been traveling, taking it well.
Looking up at the sky, Khanne might not seem as concerned as others, actually smiling just a touch at the weather. She walks with the others though, following the map and whoever is guiding them. "It shouldn't be too far now, should it?" She smiles at Josephine's comment and gives the woman a nod.
Finally, some good old exploration! None of this mapping out lands BS, instead it's strange things in a dark cave! Caspian looks exicted the whole trip, his introduction given to Khanne, the only person he doesn't know, with extra flare!
He has all the tools one might expect, water, food, rope, lantern, torches, Valery's trusty, dusty fire starters, a compass, as well as some other odds and ends he might need. When the road leads them as far as they can, he looks to the path they must forge off the road. "Glad it's summer here. This would have been a pain in the ass in the winter."
Cold rain, check. Grey clouds amassed in a bruise on the horizon? Check. Waterproof boots and a good hooded cloak? Superb, though the leathers that Delilah wears for this foray into the outlands cause her a degree of discomfort because of the humidity. Still, Josephine speaks the truth and she laughs softly, shaking her head. "A little over a widespread area already subjected to too much rain makes the perfect situation for flooding." Her heels seek the driest, solid places on the ground, and she isn't afraid to follow after Caspian just in case.
'Could be far worse and we could be upon the sea in a ship with this. I can tolerate rain." Josephine has the oiled cloak, the only protective gears the breastplate of steel and iridescite.
Sparte drops OOC: Skill Challenge PrPs.
Khanne scoffs with a 'pfft' at Caspian. "Maybe for some," she says with a wink. She, of course, would be quite used to it. She hmms softly as she looks around the lands to see if they are in any flash flood area but then looks to Josephine with wide eyes. "That. Yes. Been there... would like to not repeat. Yes."
"It turns out we didn't take the sailors, so let's try not to put to sea," Sorrel says brightly to the others as they head towards the cave. She's heavily armored, like a knight, with a sword at her side, just in case. She isn't really expecting troubles, though, not the sort that require swordplay.
There is a flash of light, followed by a loud crack of thunder almost immediately. The sound of a distant tree or tree branch falling can be heard soon after, and is followed mere seconds later by the first of the miserable cold drops of rain. Snow in winter would almost be better. Your destination may not be far off, but whatever trail there once was is completely grown over. There is a rising sense of urgency to be there before the sky opens up completely.
"Well, that's great," Caspian says, looking upwards towards the cold rain that falls. "We should hurry. Who's leading us? I can, though I won't say I'm the best out in the wilderness. If there is someone who thinks they could better guide us, feel free."
Sorrel checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 34 higher.
Delilah checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 40 higher.
Caspian checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 45 higher.
Sorrel is a natural leader, of course, and she confidently tries to speed up the little party of adventurers using confidence and her aura of personality. She seems cheered by the singing, though, and sings along.
In the wake of Sorrel's steady encouragement under the rain, Delilah takes a roving position that orbits around the dragonbard of Thrax. There may be no path to speak of effectively through the grass for the uneducated eye, but hers is considerably more talented in identifying where to avoid and what pratfalls await. She carefully picks her path forward, not entirely slowed down, but those years crossing the Crownlands in their wildest state play out well there. A sharp look sweeps ahead of them, looking for any places where the footing is treacherous or more trees might cast down their limbs.
Seeing that the womenfolk got this handled, Caspian sings a song for the group, one of adventure and exictment, of danger and treasure, of coming come in glory with riches! It could be to modivate the group, though it could also be to starve off boredom. Probably the later.
Josephine is content to make her way with the group, keeping near to the middle and humming along with Sorrel and that little tune as she goes. Though now and then the clouds above and the rain get a stern look.
Khanne simply, at the moment, follows the others. She trusts in their leadership and guidance, and looks more about herself while following their footsteps. She hums along to the song sung as well, softly.
The group staying close and under Sorrel's encouragement helps keep the chill of the rain from impacting the good spirits of the expedition, while Delilah's keen senses pick out a pattern in the undergrowth that reveals where the now hidden path must be. The sky opens up fully just as they reach the safety of the chilly cave, and they immediately learn something of the place.
The underbrush is so overgrown that is masks the magnitude of the entrance, easily wide enough for four people to walk in side by side. As you find it today, you have to work through a gap that can barely fit one of you at a time. A dip of erosion near the entrance leaves many boots muddied by mirky water, with a stone wall with rusted and ruined hooks showing that the construction must've at one time been intentional. Anything of value that was so close to the entrance was taken long ago, though a long manmade tunnel runs ahead of you further inside. There are various signs that this spot has been used for campfires in recent years, though there is no sign of a recent presence. Unless you count the dull croak of a toad.
When they get to the cave, after singing jaunty songs along the way, Sorrel lights a lantern to better see what's going on with the place so that they can make their way further inside.
Caspian's singing stops when they reach the entrance of the walled up cave, letting out a sigh and a shake of his head, approaching the wall to pat it down. "Well, that's going to be a pain to climb through." He says, leaning in to peek through the hole, then says, "I'll go first and make sure nothing comes out to eat the rest of you."
"Rrrribbbit," Khanne croaks back in a whisper to the toad, reaching up to lower her hood once they are inside the cool cave. She blinks a bit until her mist-grey eyes adjust to the dimness of the cave itself. Looking further in, towards the tunnel that slips into darkness she glances to Caspian. "I prefer not to be eaten this trip. Thank you for your bravery."
"Rather cheery, isn't it? Solid roof and good walls, no need for additional mortaring and reinforcement." After assessing the cave once she wriggles through the thorny bushes, Delilah proves to be in alarmingly good humour. Though she speaks softly, on the off chance of a slumbering bit of trouble, as a case for protection. Her dagger is on her hip, and she smiles at the croaking figure of Khanne. "I'm glad you came with us."
The cave entrance draws Josephine forward on Caspian's heels, peering in when she can as well, as if listening, or trying to listen to the inside of the cave, a frown to those rusted hooks and a shake of her head. "This is lovely"
The toad doesn't respond. It might be sulking. Neither does anything from deeper in the cave, as far as any of you can tell. The din from the rain fall outside is enough to make it hard to hear subtle sounds.
The tunnel is sure as it is wide, running straight ahead into the darkness. Another crack of thunder outside, the sound of angry birds relocating to different trees. Nothing from in the cave.
"need to go further in" Josephine states with a sure certainty. "Too quiet up here. Too dry rally when one thinks about it." Fingers run against the rock tracing water line with narrowed eyes and then the hook, letting hands explore it, scrape off some rust with fingernails then dusts off her hands, satisfied with what she's hearing. "Nothing up here, or even near here. Everyone ready? Had enough time too hank off the water?" She's like a different woman when inside the cave, seemingly half her age.
Josephine checked perception + smithing at difficulty 15, rolling 47 higher.
Khanne doesn't mind the rain or the wet. "I'm ready," she says, ready to follow along further, though she had pouted a bit that the toad stopped croaking. She adjusts her packs and brings a small lantern out, as well as a firestarter with which to light it. "I imagine we'll have to go a ways in."
As the group begins to descend into the cave, the sound from outside continues to echo back towards them. A reassurance that the outdoors is there, but also a reminder that there is no similar sound from deeper within. They soon find offshoots from the main tunnel that were caved in, and partial collapses from neglect, but Josephine's eyes and training are sharp enough to keep anyone from doing something daft like slap one of the damaged wall supports they pass and remark on how amazed they are it is still standing.
Yet as they continue, the passage starts to narrow. There is a bit of a claustraphobic sense to it, and the shaking of nearby thunder strikes can be felt through the walls of the tunnel. They still havn't found anything of value or note, but who knows how long this tunnel is. Already two hundred feet at least.
When they head towards offshoots, Delilah uses a bit of chalk or the tip of her dagger to mark their passing. A little flick of movement here or there makes an inconspicuous addition unless someone knows to look for the otherwise unimpressive squiggle or bit of scraped darkness.
Caspian checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 75 higher.
With his knife held between his teeth, Caspian has volenteered to be a foward scout, climbing through half collapsed pathways that branch off from the main tunnel, climbing through and delving in not too far from the group to try and find that light that was spoken of in the mine, or anything else that might be of interest.
Caspian wields Thrall's Fury, a diamondplate seax.
Josephine works in tandem with Caspian, directing him at the mouths of this and that tunnel offshoot, standing there for a moment with her hand pressed to the wall and listening. This one, not that one. Not that one, no not that one. Through and through they go with Josephine giving soft instruction on which tunnels are safe to move down. Though she's wrinkling her nose and the odd murmur of dislike at the 'silence'
Khanne lingers towards the back of the line as Josephine and Caspian do their thing up ahead. She is a bit out of her element in this cave. Not that she's not been in caves, but certainly not like this one. Her hand touches the wall, pressing her palm lightly to the dirt and stone, feeling the thunder resound within them with a soft hmm.
The daring climbing by Caspian manages to get him past one of the cave-ins to survey the area beyond, but what he finds isn't terribly helpful. The air is less circulated there, smelling a bit like the bowels of a ship for some reason. There is evidence of what was once mining supplies, but all the metal on it has long since completely rusted beyond recognition. It is clear they were carting something out, but there is no evidence of what that once was. At least it confirms that there were people working the tunnels when the cave-ins happened.
Khanne checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 24 higher.
The exploration continues, and thanks to Khanne noticing faint grooves in the tunnel floor you are able to identify the main path. The tunnel starts to curve and the walls go to solid stone, roughly the same time you notice a faint glow in the distance. It isn't something seen directly, just reflected on the smooth rock ahead. What is causing it is either very far away, or very faint, but it certainly doesn't look like sunlight. Something is out there, and if you can see the light from it there is no doubt the light carried by you travels just as far.
Exploring is done. Sorrel pays attention to what other people are doing, and then espies the light in the distance. She attempts to signal at it with her lantern, to see if it is perhaps a reflection to move with their own lights, though it may still be too far away to discern.
The change in walls is noticed by Caspian, who tilts his head, but doesn't say anything. A quick report on what he saw, when he climbs into another tunnel, but nothing else. But when he sees the light, he points, speaking quietly, "Look." He looks to Sorrel as she flashes her light, lifting his brows, though says, "We should get closer. See what it is. It looks like it's coming around a corner."
Light-footed and cautious, Delilah keeps marking the way forward. Someone might appreciate that on the way out, for whatever it may be worth. Seeing the light played out, she murmurs, "Do you think it might be redirected off something out there?" to Caspian and Sorrel.
Khanne seems a bit more wary perhaps. She actually tries to somewhat hide the light of her own lantern. "Closer... yes... but... it seems odd...." Odd, but, she is curious and still moves forward with the others.
"it was a lake." Josephine's frowning. "This is natural in it's creation." She gestures to where it's naturally smooth, as if water wore away at it. "There's no metal here. They came for something further in. But there's no... profit of the ore or gem kind thus far." Apologetic in it's offering. "But there was something they thought of value further down." Fingers tap soundlessly on the wall even as she keeps her voice low.
Sorrel checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 25, rolling 19 higher.
"Oooh, watch out," Sorrel says, slipping and sliding suddenly as she loses her footing before she's stable again. "There's no traction there. The ground is slick and doesn't make for an easy walk."
Caspian checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 42 higher.
Khanne checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 2 lower.
Josephine checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 16 higher.
Someone is showing off. Or she knows about the grooves in the floor and where they are. Regardless, there's no slipping and sliding for Josephine who places each booted foot surely down here, then there, a hand to the wall at all times to also provide stability. Broken hips from falling might be wholly inappropriate and at her age... well.
Pfft, what slippery surface? Caspian is like Jesus, but if Jesus walked on wet stone rather then water, slowly but carefully walking forward without even the hint that he might topple over. Unlike poor, poor Khanne there. RIP.
Khanne heeds Sorrel's warning and tries to be careful walking across the slippier path. She takes a singular step, and seems okay. Then another, and still she stands. She smiles, thinking, 'I got this' when.... her feet slide out from under her without her even trying to take another step. She lands on her ass and slides upon it the rest of the way, a rather ungraceful sound coming from her as she lands. When she comes to a stop, she rises up and clears her throat, casually dusting herself off and smiling at anyone who might have seen her fall.
Delilah checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 15 higher.
Caspian checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 5 lower.
What's that coming from Caspian? He brings his hand to cover his mouth, but it still comes out, a chuckle at Khanne's spill. "You okay?" He asks in a strained voice. He really can't hide he's sniggering like a jerk!
Nothing like careful footwork and tiptoeing like Delilah belongs to the Champion School of Finessed Feet. Maybe the boots help, soled in a way to give her careful grip over the ground. Sorrel's warning certainly helps her scribe a safe way, but she skates through, sliding off the balls of her feet without actually picking them up much. Poor Khanne indeed. Her spill causes the Whitehawk to pause, concern writ over her face. A hand offered if and when they reach more stable grounding is a subtle thing, partly shielded by her cloak.
Now that you're past the slippery bit of the tunnel you start to see what was causing that glow.
And it is beautiful.
Before you is a lake that reaches further than your torch light can reveal, the low ceiling above it giving no direct view of the light that is reflected on the surface. A thousand tiny pinpricks of greenish blue light reflected along the surface.
Here at the water's edge there are signs of mining equipment, the sort used to gather water, but again with all the metal rusted away. As Caspian experienced before, there is that aroma hanging in the air that can only be described as briny.
There is something else, a small shrine. A simple thing with no identifiable entity for who it was meant to, just a limestone rock and an offering bowl. Yet what is in that bowl is strange, a gathering of curled pinkish flakes.
"Woah..." Is all Caspian can say, the former thrall never having seen anything like this in his life. "What are those glowing things?" He wonders, eyes upon the ceiling. Though eventually his attention is is drawn by the small shrine, and he approaches, looking at the pinkish flakes. "What are these flakes? Some kind of ore?" He wonders. "Or shrimp shells?"
Delilah checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 36 higher.
"Shhh, you," Sorrel scolds Caspian in between checking to make sure that Khanne is okay and hasn't broken her butt. "Oooh, this is lovely," she says, lured by the bioluminescence to the edge of the lake, where she sticks a finger in to stir the water and make it brighter.
It's not the sea. But it's a body of water and when they enter into the cavernous room Josephine's demeanor changes. She doesn't go near the water. Near that shrine or the offering bowl with it's strange offerings. The old woman hangs back, far back. Very back. "Nothing good comes from the water"
Khanne has had the breath stolen from her lungs on several occasions in her life. She counts herself as fortunate for this. So many thrills, awe inspiring and beautiful sights, unbelievable experiences she never could have imagined, and kisses that left her weak in the knees. This is another of those moments, the sight of the lake so far underground, and the strange light it casts, has her gasp. She doesn't care if Caspian laughed, doesn't even notice that Sorrel asks if she is okay. She is standing, so seems to be fine, other than momentarily struck frozen at the sight. However... her attention is eventually brought to the shrine. Arching a brow, she starts to move closer to inspect it herself. Not recognizing, immediately, a deity it might be for has her brow furrowing.
"If that's briny, we might want to be very cautious about entering it. I can only guess how long ago the metal structures were submerged in the water, but a very high concentration of salt would expedite the rusting." Delilah's observations follow staring at the beautiful arrangement of glowing fixtures on the ceiling and the walls. "This reminds me a little of something like a heated salt lake. Natron?" She glances at the pink flakes, her gaze moving back to Caspian. "Maybe they could be salts. But pink salts... I hope they aren't infused by rubicund, because I am about to be an idiot." Her thoughts tumble end over end as she surveys it all at a distance, shaking her tight braids a fraction. If one of those flakes is in reach and not directly on the bowl, she kneels down to examine one. "Mangata bless us." Taking a silver coin, she lays it down and dabs up one of the flakes, sniffing it.
Khanne checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 34 higher.
"Okay, so question," Caspian says, turning his attention to the group. "They said this cave was haunted...but...it seems like people were worshiping here." He says back to the group. "I'm confused on what this means."
"I'm.. not sure," Khanne says as she stands near Delilah, inspecting the shrine itself. "I don't... there's nothing to indicate what, if anything, this is built for."
"Salt doesn't sing." Odd statement that it is. "But it's salt. Not the stuff mined along coasts of the sea. There's no money in gems or metals in here because there are none." Josephine looks -uncomfortable- to say the least. "You have salt. Which is a different kind of valuable. Not many places is it pink." The old woman lingers still by the entrance. "Probably the cracking of the salt. The ones who mined were less than stellar in their knowledge. The collapsed tunnels? Poor building of supports. So when you serve into naturally created tunnels, and you don't support them properly, bear the load, you get a great many noises. Add in the materials brought in to mine the salt breaking down, collapsing from rusting." Josephine provide a logical solution.
Sorrel checked wits + occult at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.
Sorrel goes to inspect the shrine herself, giving it a once over. "Maybe it eroded from its time down here," she suggests curiously as she peers at it. "But I don't think it was for someone specific. Maybe a remembrance for someone or just an appreciation for the beauty of this place. And it is beautiful."
After the initial examination, Delilah brings the small scrap of a flake to her lips. She tastes it, and nods to Josephine's statement. "Pink salt. Definitely by the taste of it. Mining salt is itself not an easy thing, and this is a different flavour, a different kind of purity. I find that fascinating, Josephine. That would account for all the different sounds and possible subsidence of the land when water seeps in. The pillars holding up the roof could literally melt away if they were not properly enforced. Down here, wood actually might be better than metal, wouldn't it? I should think the wood would be preserved rather well. Or coral, but it's not as though you can just find coral. It is beautiful, though."
"Why is there salt here though?" Wonders Caspian back to the group. "Aren't we a bazillon miles away from the ocean though?" He wonders to them.
"Yes," Khanne says simply enough to Caspian with a nod.
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