Cornelius Journal 2
These things don’t sit well with me. Liberty being in danger, I started it with that damn map, wasn’t expecting death traps left and right. Xan was in it for the money and I can’t blame him. I’d have never seen the trap and it hit me in the damn face. Fire everywhere and I rolled as fast as I could, luckily it just scorched my eyebrows. I forgot that when he jumped on board, he is a businessman, not a raider of crypts. Hell I’m no raider either, but least I’m used to pain and heavy work. Lib, Xan, they haven’t got experience in the mines, in the underground. Mom’s a little better, quiet, a bit of rough and tumble… I like Mom.
Fire, heh, it burned, not like I haven’t burned before, managed to get by it mostly and when I looked to Xan he could only shrug and look sheepish. I could only shake my head. Everyone seemed all right for the most part and when Xan and mom seemed to look to me, Xan exasperated by the constant bad luck, I expressed that I had no desire to leave an opening unexplored at our backs but Xan was intent on going up… So we went to the blue hall to check out the upward passage.
Up an old chain apparently. Dead skeleton at the bottom should have been the first tell but we ignored its ominous message, and I hefted myself up the chain. It was rough but years pulling rope to move boulders served me well. I swung to the alcove and tied my rope around myself and lowered it to the others. Best not to be caught alone. Once we were all up it was time to set about searching the passage. Not long up the hall and some crazy face at the end burst to colored life, lighting the hall and screaming bloody murder at us. Xan and I stood un-phased and tried to face down the gale scream but Liberty and Mom were held fast. Couldn’t let Liberty go off that ledge, would have been a killer drop so I grabbed her and bound her to me with my rope again and before I could drag on the blast hit me hard, knocking me down and tumbling to the ledge, Liberty skittering along the way.
Managed to grab the edge and hop over hoping to shorten the fall and then noted the chain again and leapt to it, grabbing hold and watching the girl drop. It was slow motion to my eyes, I could tell it was going to suck getting yanked by full dead weight, but I wasn’t about to let her daddy down. I held tight and clenched the rope and chain and Liberty dropped a short ways and swung out under me forcing me to lose an inch. That’s when I noticed Xan and Mom headed our way. Healing washed us as they leapt to the chain, and I dropped a couple of feet to allow them purchase. Damn healing snapped Liberty out of her stupor only to wake in the terrifying event of the dangle she was in.
She started mouthing off to me, and I was fed up with these traps. She griped asking me what the hell was going on, and I hollered back that she was just plain lucky, that’s what. She began to panic, and I started the journey down and we finally met the solid ground again. Perturbed, I looked to Xan once more. “Up” was not an option. He offered for me to make the choice with sarcasm, which I’ll say, had I been less sober would have been fighting words, but I clamped my teeth and told them all we needed to head down. So I checked the safety of us all, need for healing or such, and once we were fit we headed toward the green lantern hall and the darkness beyond.
The climb down was cake, got to the bottom, looked around. The place was freaky, full of images of the founders I’d imagine and some sigil with the name “Nadroc.” That was when Xan said he heard bugs like before, and at his request I readied some explosives. We ventured forth and there around a corner was some foul orange muck. We tried to retreat from the oncoming swarm but one of the damn queens showed its ugly head and hosed us with acid. Mom washed us with Kord’s healing, but I had had enough. I slugged the infernal thing in its ugly face, Xan followed up with his rapier, and Liberty hit it spot on with elemental fire; kid’s got spunk. Mom hosed the ground with oil, and Liberty lit it up, and as they shrieked in protest I ignited the remainders with fire. The place smelled of acrid smoke, burned stone, alchemical fire…and I loved it.
We searched the bug nest and managed to find a few trinkets, some corpses and the gem of it, a ring of feather falling. All I could do was shake my head at the irony of it all, and we all agreed that Liberty should keep it. Mom and I could help a fall, Xan has some acrobatics to him. Liberty however, when it comes to the face again, she needs to be able to live through that drop. We ventured on and found another room, enchanted and occupied by a lone beetle, the others dispatched it swiftly and the room was mostly empty but for a single ring of decent value.
A short walk away and we found ourselves in some sort of shower facility. Mostly it was unremarkable, spigots, bathing slots, benches, except for the undead thing in the back. Close quarters are never good and that’s what Mom and Xan found themselves in with this thing. They stabbed and stabbed at it and from around the corner I tried to beat at it, but it was a hard fight. Finally it dropped and we looked about. Xan came away the better with a blade of magic and I managed to come across a ring of the same symbol as the dead men, quite the valuable find. It was then that I really understood, doing some quick math in my head, that we were in a place that could indeed make us rich… If we lived.
We decided to call it a day. We were all tired, our abilities drained and ready to recover. We discussed heading up. I had at least one more fight in me, but Liberty and Mom were roughed up and exhausted. It was time to return to our base camp.
I didn’t like it, sleep was going to come from exhaustion, not the way I wanted it. Exhaustion leads to worse dreams and, I had no whiskey to dull my mind. We talked a little about the other adventurers looking for money. They weren’t a problem yet, but I’m sure they will be. Liberty felt bad about lying to them, but you know, better us than them, all the way around. I didn’t like the idea of sleep, I didn’t like the idea of sleeping around them, but I didn’t have a choice. I listened to them talk about how strange it felt and I wanted to get this nightmare over with so I grumbled for them to sleep. I dreamt that night, and without the liquor, it was more vibrant than ever.