Today, I depart. Happily, Rene has agreed to accompany me! My excitement and nervousness grow in tandem with each passing minute. I hope to maintain a daily travelogue of my journey, as I have kept an account of my life in the caves ever since we crashed.
The first day of our journey took us only a short distance from the Abyss. Interestingly, the parts of the cave through which we are traveling appear to be entirely void of smaller chambers. The shortest of passages require little from a man of my build save that he hunch his back slightly. Perhaps this cave system was artificially expanded, or entirely artificial. The ancient Empire most certainly had the technology to accomplish such feats of natural engineering.
I have identified yet another species of mushroom which is indigenous to Su-Kalus: the highly toxic Mobek Epta. This mushroom, in small quantities, is relatively harmless and causes only mild muscle pain. Ingesting about half a pound of the Mobek is enough to kill some animals. I do not know where the human capacity for Mobek toxins lies. I do not wish to find out. To a human’s eyes, this mushroom looks almost identical to some of the edible fungi on which we have sustained ourselves. I must keep a close eye on what Rene is eating.
We discovered more ruins today. Clearly post-Empire structures, based on their primitive construction. Little more than clay huts, it is a wonder that they have held together for so long. Perhaps civilization here died out more recently than I previously speculated.
Rene and I have chosen to take residence in one of these huts for a night. The area of the caves which we are in is extremely cold, and the clay dome does only so much to alleviate the chill - even with a small fire burning in its center. As such we have opted to sleep in close proximity to each other. This arrangement is uncomfortable but necessary.
I decided to join Zephyr on his little odyssey through these caves. Feel weird leaving the prisoners behind, but I’d feel worse leaving Zephyr alone for so long. I mean, who the hell knows what’s down here with us? Not that I could protect him from some of it. But at least he won’t die alone if the worst comes to pass. Got several weapons in my bags, and a few mushrooms. Left most of the mushrooms behind for the prisoners. Zephyr and I can forage for food.
We’ve been walking pretty much all day. Zephyr is very excitable, to put it mildly. Good to see him like this again. Still, thank the Queen he decided to stop! We’re holed up in this little clay dome, in a little clay dome city. He thinks some primitive post-apocalyptic Vyrolikar group made this city. Says it might’ve been built fairly recently. Well, recently in archaeological time.
I’m not entirely sold on the post-apocalypse theory myself. Zephyr seems to have a very specific view of the Empire of Su-Kalus. Every city must be impossibly grandiose. All technology must be advanced to a degree that would impress the Twin Monarchs. But that’s not really feasible, is it? Any civilization that huge has to have had a lower class. What if this was a prison colony or a ghetto or something? Maybe these people didn’t go all primitive because their civilization collapsed. Maybe the civilization’s existence meant these primitive conditions were the only conditions they could afford to live in.
Asked Zephyr. Apparently, there was next to no poverty on record in the Empire. And they apparently treated their criminals very well, so a prison colony resorting to clay huts would, in theory, be unheard of. So unless we come across some never-before-seen historical texts, I’ll be retiring that theory.
Unless they just chose not to record all that stuff…
Still worried about access to testosterone out here. Have brought all my remaining supplies with me, but those will only last me about a month. What then?
Guess I’ll get there when I get there.
Continue to Day Twenty-Six-->