The Kalarian Precipice - Chapter Six
Coral of white crunches underfoot as Sela steps downwards. Above, evenly spaced holes within a contrasting basalt ceiling provide shafts of natural and welcome light. The staircase eventually winds to the right, before terminating at a door. The face of it is constructed from further coral, but unlike the steps has retained a most natural and organic form. Knobs of bulbous matter, fingers that reach and intertwine, all congealed into one. At the center, a clear faceted stone some inches across, shines like a dewdrop upon freshly laid snow.
“Nice,” the dwarf observes.
The pitchling waves a hand as if greeting an old friend, making herself known to the presence of the jewel before the entrance swings open.
Your eyes fall upon the cavern within. A place threaded with the duality of darkness and light. Here, pillars of the cliff’s raw material are woven with veins of white. Some are coral, others appear to be pale rock not dissimilar to that which Jeovanna scratched at many hours ago, in the corner of a boulder-blocked cave. Here and there, hanging from the walls, slippery plantlife adds tones of green, brown and red to the scene. At last, some color! The smell of salt, the sea alongside fresh and decaying seaweed tickle the nose.
Throughout of confines and perimeter of the space, numerous shadow-filled passages lead off. Some at ground level. Some at head height. Others up higher, well out of reach.
In the center of the space you see what looks like a dais. Formed of coral of course, it is cylindrical and stands several feet high. Around the girdle, like stones in some ancient crown, small gems are set and happily sparkle.
Then she turns.
On the other side of the dais a woman swings her arms wide and rotates to meet your eyes. Her face though old is beautiful, wise, and set with eyes darker than a moonless night. Long tangles of black hair fall beside pale features, as though she too were once formed of the very coral that surrounds you. There is no doubt in your mind that this woman shares Sela’s blood. Though dressed in little more than a once-white flowing gown, she has a presence fit of a queen, and a voice that hums with both knowledge and mystery.
The excitement on her face is unmistakable.
“If it is true, and it is Immel you seek, then here I am, and so very pleased to see you. Do not be afraid, come, sit, rest, for as long as you wish you remain you do so as our guests.”
A thin white finger is then beckoned at Sela, who hurries over to Immel’s side.
“Dear thing, would you please tell Cila to prepare some sustenance for our visitors? They must be famished.”
Her eyes move back to you then, perhaps sensing a little anxiety.
“Magaw? Is that you? Well well, you too are welcome then, if you promise to behave. Perhaps there is even hope for you... yet. Your present company is far more congenial than the usual.”
The skull hovers near the entrance, clearly nervous about entering this area. Moving up above the group’s heads he replies, “Immel, I will not think less of you should I not be welcome here this day, and to the darkness return…”
She cuts him off then. “No. Magaw. You may enter also, on one understanding. A breath of trickery or hostile movement within these walls, and you will be returned to your mines as nothing but dust. You were witness and partaker of allowing these fine creatures access here, so now I’m afraid, you are as much of this as they are. Behave, and all will be well. You have my word.”
Magaw nods in response. For now the truce will continue.
Immel waves for the rest of the group to enter. Around the cavern there are small boulders of black and white upon which to perch, and also serve as tables during this gathering.
“Please come, sit! Tell me what you seek, strangers. The mines are an unkind place as you’ve most probably witnessed, so if any of you should need the work of a healer, say so now.”
<Feel free to make insight checks on Immel, and deception should you wish to conceal any truth behind your purpose in visiting the mine area in general as we go along.>