Oh fuck off. I mean, I'm not that sad he's gone, but fuck off. We could've used the extra strength.
The tunnel is long, the tunnel is circuitous, and the tunnel is weird. Though ostensibly straightforward it seems to wind it large, long loops down into the earth, and as we travel the path we have to stay together. Yesterday Jeffrey made the mistake of dropping a canteen and walking back for it, and when he rounded the corner of the path back the way we came he vanished. Logan followed after him -
- and, of course, both of 'em were shot right back to the beginning of the tunnel. Their confirming yells floated down the passage to us a few minutes later, but we had to wait almost an hour before they caught up. What a pain in the ass be magic. A shame all the damned magic users I know either aren't here or are evil... maybe June or Grayson would have an easier time of this... Celine's taking the rear, and she's assured us that she won't let anyone turn back, so hopefully we won't go through this again.
Anyway. We eventually hunkered down for the night, all of us grumbling about the drafty nature of the tunnel as we laid down sleeping bags (rest assured we only walked forward to lay down our bags, never backward), and after a long argument between Traveller and Nagi over whom would be sleeping in whose bag, and what they would be doing in said bag, we slept.
I dreamed. I dreamed that the fog, the mist, the haze, came upon us in the tunnel. I stared, unable to move or speak or scream as it skewered Logan, Jeffrey, Grylock, Celine, Nagi, Plato, Traveller, and the rat with a spiralling black tendril. I thought it might do the same to me, the tendril dripping with gore...
... but instead it left me alone. And somehow, that was worse. I woke with a start.
Everyone was still asleep, some snoring loudly. Now wide awake, I counted the sleeping bags around me for reassurance, just barely able to make them out in the dim light of our guttering lanterns. Logan, Jeffrey, Grylock, Celine, Nagi, Plato -
I stopped. One bag was empty, save for a snoozing rat flopped upon its pillow.
"Oh shit," I muttered to myself. I shook the nearest sleeping bag. "Logan. Logan! Up! Fuck! He's gone!"
Logan groaned loudly. "Wtf... this is not lol material, man, lemme alone..."
"No! UP!" I hissed the word in his ear. "Traveller! He's gone! EVERYONE WAKE UP!"
They did, each grumbling their discontent at having been roused after only a few hours of rest. Their bad attitudes quickly turned to concern when the realized where they were - and that concern morphed to... well, a variety of emotions... when everyone noticed that Traveller had wandered off.
"Fuck 'im," Nagi announced, flopping back down in her sleeping bag. "He's a pain in the ass. Maybe I won't feel sexually harassed every five minutes with him gone."
"He is kind of a dumbass," Grylock agreed. He hacked out a cough and shivered. "Gods is it cold down here."
"We need someone of his strength," Celine pointed out. Her father nodded agreement. "We have no idea what we'll find at the end of this tunnel."
Plato shrugged. The rat, having swapped back to his previous roost on the platypus's shoulder, looked unworried. I guess they've gone through this schtick with Traveller before.
We argued for a few minutes over what we should do, but, ultimately, the consesus was kinda forced on us by the circumstances. We couldn't turn around to search, as we'd immediately get shunted back to the beginning of the tunnel. We couldn't start searching down the tunnel yet, either, as all of us were still exhausted from the previous day's trek. All we could do is sleep a little longer, and hope we'd find Traveller upon resuming the journey.
We walked for ten hours today. No sign of Traveller. Not a whisper of babbled, one-sided conversation, not the pounding of a rock or the scream of a woman being harassed, nothing. Traveller may have fallen off the face of the earth, for all we know.
Great. Fantastic. Peachy. Marvelous.
We travel in the dark. My dreams get worse.
Dragomir the Wanderer