Just as the snaking network of cables on the floor of the workshop they’re in trails further into the cave system, so must our party of brave souls.
Picking their way in the darkness over the top of the ever-bulging lines and wires, there’s a great sound further ahead and a rumble. The lights go dim and some kind of whining can be heard ahead.
Suddenly a huge bolt of blinding energy explodes just above their heads, showering them with melting slag and chipped rock. Looking up, they can see a red creature standing on some kind of framework in a rough cavern ahead, brandishing a smoking cable like a gun. The creature squeals and another blast leaps from the contraption towards the party—and hits the floor next to them, blasting holes in the blanket of cables there.
Problems of unity seem to exist in this underground society too, as another large red creature appears next to the first one and tries to wrestle the makeshift weapon out of its companion’s gnarled red hands!
Untitled No.57 takes the opportunity to loose a couple of crossbow shots at the pair but his bolts fly wide too. Loic Sadiq bounds into the cavern and leaps up onto the large metal ring structure the pair of assailants are standing on. He deftly manages to land a blow with his spear and flick the spitting cable out of one of the creature’s hands!
Untitled No.57 enters the new cavern too and takes in his surroundings. The walls, ceilings and floors are all pock-marked with the bubble-like recesses encountered in the tunnels previously, only much bigger, more numerous, and all seeming to emanate from the centre of the room, where a large horizontal metal ring construction the size of a house sits level, propped up by boulders on the cavern floor or make-shift scaffolding.
Rocks have fallen from the ceiling and smashed some parts of the structure in the past, but the cables snake around the stones, connecting the whole. The fat wires also run to a platform and pedestal on one side, where another red creature is frantically tapping at some kind of controls.
The entire cavern starts juddering and light and energy course through the construction! A strange kind of light show appears in the air, one of shimmering spheres or bubbles of different sizes moving around each other!
There’s a spark and small pop in mid-air, and a new creature tumbles out of part of the shimmering lights… A small winged person. She looks completely flabberghasted to find herself in this crackling, chaotic cave and flutters up to one of the many recesses on the ceiling.
Thinking that there must be no end to the fresh wonders of the world, Untitled No.57 is caught daydreaming as a new creature charges the shiny man and thwacks him with a large monkey-wrench, smashing his veneer and breaking many of his filigrees.
Knowing that he has not only anger on his side, but also respect for the arts, Untitled immediately caves the creature’s torso in with his shiny warhammer in retaliation.
Battle rages as the shaking construction seems to be doing its best to commit a kind of noisy, bright-lit suicide. The enemy creatures fall to cold steel and the searing bolts of arcane energy unleashed from the hands of the new flying arrival – as well as magical thorns and even… Bubbles? – as she flits around the smoky crevices in the cavern ceiling, out of reach of the creatures clumsy swings.
Only one enemy now remains: the creature at the controls for this nightmare contraption. Its console now in flames, it jabs at the controls one last time and a bright white rent in reality bursts into existence in the void at the centre of the construction. The creature makes a dash towards it, slips on the edge, scrabbles up again, then flings itself through the air towards the light!
There’s an explosion nearby and a sickening squelching sound, and the light blots out. The creature has disappeared!
It does, however, seem to have left its legs behind.
Another chain of explosions rock the cavern and everything is in flames!
Always good at making the most of a bad situation, Loic glances down and spots a trinket on the floor: some kind of bracelet? He quickly pockets it as the fires lick closer.
The party spy a new way out among the crevices on the other side of the room, but mob rule takes over and they run back the way they came, hopping over the cables in the tunnel as they too catch ablaze!
Back in the makeshift workshop, the fire follows them all the way to the ends of the cable network around the workbenches. The party back away even further, not wanting to end up as crispy by-products of whatever was going on here.
Now that all’s safe, the small winged person decides to make the situation even more safe by casting magical vines at the survivors to entangle them up, so she can make sure they really mean no harm!
Seeing the vines whipping towards them, Loic throws up his shield and appeals to the newcomer to recognise them as wholesome worshippers of Astarte and the The Great Ones – the kind of people your granny would approve of. The Sprite (for that is what she is) recognises these names and institutions and manages to whip back the magical vines before they can make contact with holy shield or filigreed metal. Maybe this lot are alright after all.
Seeing that things are really, really safe now, Loic decides to look at the bracelet he just found. It seems to have channels running all over it with a milky liquid bubbling through it.
Slipping it over his wrist, he gasps to see all the flesh removed from his hand!
And his other hand! And his arms… And the rest of his body… Glancing around, it’s like he can see through things! He can see the inner workings of the pieces of strange machinery dotted around, and the mottled interior of stones!
This could come in handy, he thinks, and slips the bracelet back into his pocket.