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Caer Chan Carega #10

Author: 
Stariovarius
Old Vault Category: 
fanfiction
Old Vault ID: 
438

Caer Chan Carega

As the four stonemages, drenched in their own sweat and condensation, emerged from the tunnel, they were greeted with shouts of “Are you through? Are they safe”, “They're back”, and a premature “We're through! We're through!”. As the others simply lay down on the rock and fell asleep, Chloddio stood, leaning against the wall, to answer those who called out. “We haven't broken through, but we're more than halfway there. However, none of us mages will be of any use for another long gap. That means to break through as fast as possible, volunteers need to go back in and begin digging out the tunnel head again. This time though, there will be no mages to smooth and test the rock to make sure it won't fall. It shouldn't, but I can't promise that. Those who want to help, organize yourself in shifts and get started. Someone wake me in five hours.” Chloddio lay down against the wall, falling asleep almost instantly as fatigue sucked him under.

Some six hours later, Chloddio roused to the rough touch of a hand on his shoulder, shaking him awake. Bleary eyed and still tired from his exertions, Chloddio staggered to his feet as the world slowly came into focus around him, rubbing his eyes until they cleared slightly. One of the miners came up with a bucket full of rock runnings, the water that seeped into the mine and down the rock walls, and that Lysja had proposed his pumping solution to. Splashing the cold water on his face brought Chloddio fully into the realm of the real, and the labour that was going on around him finally made its way through the cotton of sleep that had clouded his eyes and plugged his ears. There was an energy in the air, all of the miners awake, chatting quickly and quietly in groups, an expectancy that said they all looked to some great event happening in the near future. A few of the men were occupied with tasks, but even those often paused, eyeing the rescue tunnel and the slow flow of rock out of it.

Someone had improvised a simple pulley system to help shift the rocked mined from the front face of the rescue tunnel, comprised of a very long rope, a single pulley that must have been at the face of the tunnel, and men out in the open hauling on one end or the other, dragging a bag filled with gravel and stones out, emptying the waste into a nearby minecart, and then waiting for the order to pull on the other end of the rope. Whenever a new bag appeared, the men would all rush forward, eager to help clear it of rubble, as if the faster a bag was cleared and ready to be sent back to the face sped up those enclosed within the tunnel, hacking at stone that yielded but grudgingly to the tools of men.

For a time Chloddio stood or sat and watched, occasionally engaging in brief conversation with the miners and others who would come up to him, most looking for a reassurance that those on the far side of the collapse would be alright, that a man's friend had not died this day, or that the mine would be sent aright and no one would have to lose their jobs over the issue. On this latter Chloddio was worried, for whenever there was a collapse in a mine, blame would be affixed to a suitable party, perhaps even the guilty one if the situation was clear. If no other could be found, one of the stonemages charged with the safety of the mine would shoulder the weight of the blame, and although those who ran the Hogof mine were of decent sort, they would still find fault. At least if they found fault with him, Chloddio had enough saved over the five years here that he could spend some of his unwelcome empty days walking the high peaks, the cold yet crisp wind blowing in his face as the sun shone down to glisten off the white skirts of the stone giants, relearning the joys of alpine life. Several of the miners turned, catching the smile on Chloddio's face and the slightly vacant cast to his eyes, often a symptom of senses scattered far into the rocks, and began turning towards the mouth of the tunnel, thinking that perhaps Chloddio had sensed something approaching through it that meant the end of the long hours of waiting.

 

Caer Chan Carega #10 © Stratovarius

Migrate Wizard: 
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