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The Mine of the Marble Skull, (Part V)
Lost in Phys-lation
The success of the backpack trials did not immediately translate to the human body trials. This did not dampen the spirits of the group, however. Billy and Lily worked on a dinner meal cooked on the fire pit. Time moved differently in the mine's darkness. Not a beam of sunlight pierced the dark, the only lights to fill the pitch of darkness were the campfire and that strange pulsing blue-white light. Keeping track of the days would have been a struggle if it weren't for Billy.
Billy had caught a few fish from the lake a few miles north of the meadow opening. Strange, when considering everything east, southeast, south, southwest, and partially west of the mountain range was a barren desert. The Oasis mountains, as they were called by the nomadic tribes of the region, held many little secrets. The nomadic tribes of the day were Beduin-like in culture but rode upon strange six-legged rhino-like creatures.
The creatures had elephant feet, strong thick legs covered in hardened rhino-hide armor with a matching facial horn. The eyes were attached to a string antenna and could look whichever way all at once, they resembled a spider's eye. Yet stranger still, the creatures had no mouths or nostrils. It sucked up water through pores in its feet and had no other appendages. They lived forever it seemed to the tribes and only drank from earthen freshwater places and could store enough water for a year's worth of drinking.
"And did I mention, incredibly ugly creatures they were." Billy continued his cooking story, He too had been describing the creatures, though aloud. Matt and Darius had also encountered the Alik-leek people.
The salmon filets were cooking over the campfire, the smell was intoxicating. The flames danced playfully behind where Billy sat, upon the stone city walls. Anasazi looking structures at a first glance, except for they were carved out of granite and marble.
Matt sat laughing with his son and Lily. It had been the happiest he's looked in years, Darius observed.
The red-orange glow of his shire-men's lite up his face. A face etched with consternation and worry. He turned to look out at the chasm, recalling the pair of attempts to get Matt out onto the bridge pillar. Day's light didn't reach the chasm naturally making it difficult to time out attempts, Billy's return called for the end of the day's trials. Darius continued to look out into the solid darkness that swallowed most of the canyon, his eye eventually fell upon the blue light. the light itself was not pulsing currently, it remained a dim steady light which illuminated the opposite bank's mine entrance. He still had no clue the source of the light, and for Darius, the curiosity was unbearable.
"What are you?" He asked quietly of the light, speaking into the dark. He watched for a second not really expecting a reply, to which the light remained steady and un-pulsing. For a moment, it reminded him of a welder's torch, yet a scale of blue-white brighter.
"Hey, Darius," Lily's voice punctured his thought bubble, and he jumped. To which all members of the campfire fellowship laughed. "Come, join us." Lily finished saying.
"Yes... come, eat some food." Billy also chimed in. To which Darius gratefully accepted the night's meal, Billy gave him that signature smile, lifting Darius spirits as it always did. He sat completing the circle around the campfire. Lily had already finished her meal and cracked open her book of historical tales, returning to the stories told by the Alik-leek. Reading aloud, she told a story of how the Alik-leek used the incredible balance of the six-legged Rhinlorks to traverse the gap and how generations of royalty lived within the inner city.
Which so happened to be where the group was trying to get to presently. This Bridgeway was a major route used by those royal members, where massive amounts of riches and trade passed through this area daily. Presessions would stretch on for hours, in order for guests to treat with the Kings and Queens of old.
Toby gasped throughout the telling, his imagination racing. The three men listened quietly and politely.
The blue light pulsed on the other side of the chasm.