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Caer Chan Carega #14

Author: 
Stariovarius
Old Vault Category: 
fanfiction
Old Vault ID: 
442

Caer Chan Carega

Here and there along the tunnel sat piles of rubble, secondary rockfalls that Chloddio and his team had to clamber over as they made their way down to the exploratory face. They were the only relief from the monotony, and one that caused cursing, scrambling, and twisted bodies as Chloddio and his group stepped on unstable rocks, shifting underfoot and dropping them onto the jagged stones. The frequency of the rockfalls increased as they travelled farther down into the tunnel, and soon the stonemage began to feel the darkness closing in around him, for if there had been a larger rockfall down here, at the farthest point from the Hogof's entrance onto the surface, all the men behind it were dead. There would not be enough air, and some emergency supplies, as there had been for the men already rescued.

That fear settled closer about his chest as they neared the end of the tunnel, for the noise of metal on stone, or at least the glow of a single torch, should have greeted Chloddio if all was well. “Hello! Stalas, Rivnen, Hello!” rang out from miner to the left of Chloddio, carrying a torch and leading the way. It echoed down the tunnel, rebounding back at them, more muffled each time, until being absorbed into the unyielding earth around them. They stood for a minute and more, no sound but their breathing, waiting for a response from those below them in the tunnel. None came forth.

The tread as they resumed the march was more solemn, slower and funereal, none of them wanting to round the few bends that lay ahead and find what was now accepted as highly possible. Two bends came and went, passing behind. The third and final was ahead, the pace slowing even more, but Chloddio knew he ahd to see, and walked around the corner, along with a torch. The scene in front of him was a replay of the one he had spent a day digging through up above: rubble and rock piled against the boulders that formed the core of the cave-in, plugging the tunnel. A foot peeked out from under one stone, but any other sign of the miners or their tools was buried under the tons of debris. Chloddio stood and watched, his eyes running across the wall in front of him, covering its entire surface, before sighing and waving the men with him back up the tunnel. They set off in a weary trudge, and soon the darkness again covered the temporary graves of six miners.

The stonemage stood in front of Joestin Hogof, a large man, some of whose muscles from hours in the mine were dissolving into fat, for now he spent the day on the surface, enjoying the relaxed life of a mine owner, a welcome break after years of underground toil. He sat behind a desk of worked stone, broad and immovable and covered in the documents that had been generated by the cave-ins. Joestin Hogof had had to explain that his mine was still safe to use before it would be reopened, and persuading those in the city government had taken money, money from coffers already thinned by reopening his mine.

 

Caer Chan Carega #14 © Stratovarius

Migrate Wizard: 
First Release: 
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