Thursday, June 19, 2014

Day Seven-Twenty-Four: That's Not Ominous At All

The rats... the rats noticed me today. I had the dream about the murderous haze again, and when I woke up I found a dozen ghostly rats staring at me through a window. At me.

I didn't do anything. I swear to the gods I didn't do anything.

The search through Below continues, though at this point I'm beginning to wonder what we're even searching for. Was I brought here to speak to Iko? Or was there more to learn beyond the old man? Or, perhaps, was this all just some horrifying trap, and we'll continue to bleed members until I'm the only one left...?

I don't know why I assume I'll be the last one. I just feel that whatever's going to happen down here won't really happen until I'm alone. Only then will Iko come out to play, 'cause I'm the one who's supposed to talk to him. The rest of my friends are just filler. Another reason I would love to take him down. As if I needed more reasons.

We found what I assume used to be an enormous park in the midst of several city blocks today. Similar to the baileys in the old castle but a hell of a lot bigger, the park probably teemed with life back when Below was a thriving metropolis. I bet there were stalls full of food, bards and actors putting on shows, politicians belting out their agendas to who would listen... now, though, it's just empty.

Well. Okay. Empty isn't the right word. Nor is 'park' or 'bailey'. It's actually more of a crater these days. A crater largely occupied by a giant, black sphere, surrounded by a crust of crushed stonework.

None of us knew what to make of the thing upon discovery. Resembling an enormous cannonball, thousands of times bigger than the kind you'd find in the Dauphine, the sphere is dusty and nicked and cracked in many places, yet the metal feels incredibly smooth. Touching the sphere is like running your hand across the surface of a wet rock that's been submerged for a decade or more. Smooth, you know? Very smooth.

The scratches aside, I thought the sphere was unbroken at first. Just one giant ball. Then Celine skirted the edge of the park, to the opposite side of the sphere, and found a huge, metallic girder jutting out of its side. Rusted almost as black as the sphere, the girder appeared to be a giant hinge of sorts, its two sections meeting at ninety degree angles and narrowing into a series of long-dead cogs and belts.

"Huh," I finally concluded, crossing my arms. "Huh. Any ideas?"

"S'a weapon, obviously," Grylock croaked. His legs dangled from Logan's shoulders, and he settled his chin on Logan's mop of brown hair. "Biggest damned cannonball in the world. Wouldn't wanna see the cannon ye'd need te fire that baby off."

"That's silly," Celine decreed. "I believe it is a transport. Similar to the Dauphine. Perhaps this... metallic... structure... is a leg. Or the strut for a wheel. It is partially buried in the ground; who's to say what else is connected?"

"And who's to say it's even a sphere?" Jeffrey cut in. "Could be a dome. Maybe there's something underneath it. I've read of defensive fortifications shaped like domes."

I tapped the surface of the sphere. The metal zapped me lightly, the same zap you get from moving across a rug and touching something. I pulled back and shook my hand. " Ow! Bastard! Ergh... it sounds hollow enough, I guess... kinda... any other thoughts?"

Logan shook his head. "Let's get outta here. We're lookin' for an old guy with a beard, right? I doubt he's in there. And if he is, he can come out and find us. This thing weirds me right out."

We could all agree on that much. We left the sphere behind, and though I remain curious as to its purpose, I'm quite happy not knowing. We have better things to do.

We're camped about a dozen blocks from the sphere. Dome. Whatever you wanna call it. (I think it's a sphere, myself.) None of us were quite comfortable 'til it was out of sight, and given the size of the thing that took some doing. I pray nothing comes of it, or out of it, or from it in general, during the night. Night, of course, being relative down here.


Dragomir the Wanderer

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