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Caer Chan Carega #13

Author: 
Stariovarius
Old Vault Category: 
fanfiction
Old Vault ID: 
441

Caer Chan Carega

“Go, take those torches and search deeper, and make sure you have at least some food and healing supplies with each torch. There's no one this close to the cave-in.” Chloddio did not want the first body they found to be a corpse, for that would dampen the spirit with which they searched now. He remained near the entrance, coordinating the rescue attempt, for everyone had to return to where he stood to reach the surface. Food and water came down slowly from above, feeding the rescuers as they searched. It was some little time before the rescuers found the first group of miners, huddled together under as many blankets as they could find, trying to stay warm. The rescuing miners had heard the faint shouts, caused by trapped shouting at glimmers of light that promised hope, and sped towards the source, bringing back five cold and hungry men. These could walk, slowly, and Chloddio waved them back to the surface, escorted by several of the rescuers.

From them on it became a slow trickle, coming in spurts of two or three, some injured in the darkness and needing stretchers, others able to walk on their own, each returning through the small rescue tunnel. Soon all but six of the miners had been found of those who worked the night shifts, and Chloddio sent out the lower stonemages with the search parties, for they had the ability to sense anything in contact with the stone. That sensing did not extend that far from the stonemage and required concentrated effort, but would be used in the dark and distant places that the miners themselves would not in the dim light of torches. Chloddio went with the deepest of these groups, reasoning that he could cover the most ground of any of the mages, and that there was no more need for him to coordinate, as each group was under instructions to simply bring those they found, if possible, to the surface, and to send a runner for help if it was not.

Chloddio's party went down through the deepest tunnel of the mine, where they explored for new veins in the stone, ensuring that the mine itself never ran out of work. A work party was always down here, branching off in one direction or another to search for new veins (finding them was a rare treat, and a reason to celebrate), and at least one of the men was known to be among those that had not reported back in. The tunnel was unlit, for most of the face wasn't worked and was rarely travelled, and so anyone who had work down here simply carried their own torch. Chloddio lead his group down into the tunnel, two miners with torches at the front and back, while those carrying the supplies, including Chloddio, walked in the middle, surrounded by the four points of light.

They encountered no one, nor any sign of life, for the first half an hour of the journey, with Chloddio stopping to check for signs of life at any place where the torches couldn't reach, although this was more expected to be a formality than anything else. They inched farther down into the mine, with the only noise beyond soft speech and footsteps the dripping of the water off of the walls and onto the floor, leaking through the porous rock to sit in the tunnels. The footsteps stretched out into a monotonous thudding, and time became measured in the noise of those footfalls.

 

Caer Chan Carega #13 © Stratovarius

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