There was really only one thing Nerius hated about living at the Labs, the summer weather. Fall couldn't get here soon enough, in his opinion, and even though fall was coming at the end of the month, summer still had a last hurrah to get in. A heatwave had struck, leaving it miserably hot for the whole week, and Nerius decided an escape to the mines would be a good way to cool off. It was also arguably a better use of time than sprawling on his couch in front of a fan in his underwear eating a carton of icecream.
Even just stepping inside the mines, he could already feel the difference in temperature. It was still warmer than he would have preferred, but it would get cooler the further they went. Ice, despite her name, hadn't seemed bothered by the heat, but she was always happy return to the mines no matter the weather.
He didn't have any specific location in mind, the mines were a maze of changing tunnels, and Nerius doubted he'd be able to return to a spot if he wanted to. He'd reached a flooded dead end on his last trip, anyway, and would rather explore a not yet plundered area of tunnels. Not plundered by him, at least, the mines saw a lot of visitors, and he usually had to go a decent way before finding a decent haul.
But the mines were filled with creatures, many of which liked to cart around gemstones, so it wasn't unusual for the odd bit of gemstone to show up far from any mineral veins. Indeed, Ice had already found one, Nerius had been letting the gem dragon lead the way, as usual, and she'd stopped to dig at a pile of loose boulders. After a few seconds, she returned, carrying a yellow and white stone.
It reminded him of candycorn, but the actual name of the gemstone was citrine. Not his favorite combination of colors, but he had to admit it was a pretty stone. Nerius put the gem away, and let Ice continue leading their adventure further down into the mines. They were still in artificially created tunnels, and those usually weren't rich in gems, having been picked over first by the people to dig them out.
This was usually how his mining trips started, there were natural openings of course, but those tended to be more difficult to reach, the more convenient tunnels being carved out years ago. At least, that was his guess, the mines had been open to the public long before Nerius had arrived at the Labs. Maybe one day he'd explore one of the more out of the way entrances, but for now he'd rather choose one of the easier entries, and just walk the extra distance to unharvested tunnels.
Besides, it wasn't like these tunnels were totally devoid of minerals, Ice had stopped again, digging at the wall to expose an orange stone. For a second, he was excited. The stone was amber, but when he picked it up and gave it a closer look, found it was clear of any bugs. That was a shame, but at least it looked nice, he supposed. Nerius put away the stone, then realized he needed to hurry to catch up with his mining familiar, Ice was on to something, and had darted ahead.
He should probably train her not to do that, for all the time he'd spent with the gem dragon, he'd never properly trained her, and it showed sometimes. It hadn't come back to bite him in the ass yet, though it could get inconvenient when he really wanted the familiar to fly over the narrow ledge but she just wanted to sit there and complain.
His thoughts about training were interrupted when Ice dropped a rock right in front of him, forcing him to stop suddenly to avoid tripping. It.. it was just a rock? It was a roundish brown stone that lacked any shiny bits, yet the familiar seemed to think he'd want it for some reason. "Why are you giving me a rock?" Nerius asked, though the gem dragon couldn't really understand him.
She did pick up on his lack of enthusiasm though, and made an annoyed scree, before giving the gem a sharp peck, causing it to crack in half. Ooooh, it was a geode. That was rather impressive, actually, he'd have just passed it over thinking it was a rock. They weren't exactly in high demand, but he grabbed it anyway. Once he did, Ice was satisfied, and scampered ahead looking for more gems. She was certainly good at this, and Nerius wondered how much more difficult this would be without her help.
As they continued, the slope of the tunnel increased. It had been descending at a rather shallow rate, but it was starting to get much sharper, though still wasn't too hard to walk along. It continued to increase slightly, until the tunnel hit a fork. The left passage was clearly carved by tool using hands, and had a reasonably shallow slope. The other, a naturally occurring tunnel, crossed the shaft Nerius was in at a sharp angle, presumably what had forced the direction change. It was also steep, and the way back up would be as much a climb as a walk.
Somehow, he wasn't surprised when Ice chose the natural tunnel. He bit back a groan; of course she wanted that one, not many people would want to go down that tunnel, which meant less people to pick over the minerals within. Well, he hadn't come down here for a casual stroll, it was the better option, even if he wasn't looking forward to it.
Ice hadn't even bothered to see if he wanted that tunnel, she'd started off down the steep natural tunnel without even looking back at him to check. Though, when the familiar didn't hear his footsteps after a while, did pause, turn around, and make impatient noises. "Ugh, fine," Nerius wasn't thrilled, but he followed after the gem dragon. At least, or so he hoped, she'd be able to help them avoid the worst of the hazards.
Though, so far it wasn't dangerous exactly, just steep, and it would be easy to slip and go sliding down the tunnel. That would be faster, to be sure, but also unpleasant, and possibly dangerous of the tunnel came to a sudden obstacle. He'd rather not hit a wall, or go falling off a cliff or something. This wasn't a dug out mine shaft, there was no telling what kinds of hazards were further down.
Mostly, Nerius was just focused on not loosing his footing, the floor was only getting steeper. The walls at least had enough texture for him to have something to hold on to as he descended. There weren't full stalactites or stalagmites, but there were enough ridges on the walls for him to hold on to those, and they weren't so rough that they'd cut his hands.
Ice had been having less issues, thanks to her quadrupedal posture, and her claws giving her a better grip, but as the tunnel continued, even she was having to flutter her wings to keep balance. That wasn't a good sign, sure she'd be able to fly if the tunnel kept getting worse, but that didn't bode well for Nerius' ability to traverse the tunnel. If the tunnel got so bad the gem dragon wasn't able to keep her balance, there was no way he'd be able to keep his.
The tunnel was getting steeper, and if it weren't for the texture of the floor, Nerius would have slipped already. It was still manageable, or so he thought, until Ice gave an alarmed screech, scrabbling at the floor. That wasn't a good sign, and Nerius carefully moved forward, until he was able to see what had upset the gem dragon.
As it turned out, he had guessed the hazards the natural tunnel had, or at least one of them, because less than ten feet away the tunnel opened up into a sheer drop. Nerius couldn't tell from where he was how far down it went, but he doubted he'd have wanted to slip off. But the question was, now what? He might just need to turn around, but it was possible there was another way down, other than falling. That meant getting close enough to look, and cautiously Nerius moved closer to the edge.
Slowly, carefully, Nerius reached the edge of the tunnel. It was deep, he couldn't see the bottom with either his flashlight or crystal torch. Out of morbid curiosity, he picked up a bit of rock, and tossed it over the edge. It took several seconds before he heard the stone clatter distantly on the bottom. That was not a fall he wanted to make, but Ice didn't seem overly concerned about being near the edge, but then again she could fly.
Nerius couldn't, but maybe there was another direction to go? He hesitantly peered over the edge again, paying more attention to the walls. Nothing but a strait drop down, and that was not how he wanted to reach the bottom. That wasn't encouraging, but as he looked up he saw another ledge on the other side of the cavern. Maybe there was a way around the side? The tunnel didn't continue on that side, but maybe a ledge wrapped around?
(Nerius: 20/20, hadn't been added before, but they are now!) (Ice: Lv 39, 195/200 | Lyl 39, 195/200)
Walking along, everything seems rather normal. That is, until the gravel beneath your feet starts to slip, sending you and your pet tumbling into a deep pit. The fall stings quite a bit, but that isn’t the biggest problem you face. The pit is rather deep, making the trip back up difficult at best.
To the left, the ravine continued further than his light could reach, with no visible way of walking around the deep pit. To the right though, it quickly hit a wall, and sure enough there was a small ledge that wrapped around the end. It looked rough carved, probably by an earlier explorer, and while not the easiest path to navigate, was wide enough to walk along.
Carefully, Nerius moved past the mining familiar, and carefully walked along the carved ledge. Ice followed him, unconcerned by the steep drop. Nerius was a bit more concerned about the long way down, and moved slowly as to not loose his footing. It took longer that way, but after a bit he did make it safely across to the other side of the tunnel. Or so he thought. The carved path had been sturdy, but the ledge on the other side was a natural formation, and while it had looked stable, and as he stepped on it the ground started to crumble into loose gravel.
He felt that buzzing warning of danger even before the stones started to slip, but there was nowhere to go, and though Nerius grabbed at the ground to try to hold on to something, the stone just crumbled away, and he slipped of the ledge with a loud yell.
It was a long fall, and time seemed to slow as he dropped, though there was nothing he could do, other than to instinctively wrap himself in a shield of magic, and there was a flash of blue white light as hit the ground. Ice had slid as well, and had accompanied his yell with a loud screech of alarm as she slipped over the ledge after Nerius. She however, could fly, and while the shifting ground had startled her, the gem dragon had managed to correct her fall into a descending flight, and landed much more gracefully beside Nerius a few seconds later.
The fall had stunned him a bit, the magical shield had protected him from actual harm, but it still hadn't been a gentle landing. Ice, for her often irritable temperament, actually did care about him, and it was the gem dragon nudging his arm, and making concerned chirps that spurred him into moving. Nerius groaned, pushing himself into a sitting position, at least he hadn't landed on his tools.
"I'm alright Ice," he reassured the mining familiar, giving her a somewhat unsteady pat on the head, while looking around the area he'd landed in. The floor was smooth, at least, other than the fallen gravel, with no sharp rocks for him to have gotten impaled on. Unfortunately, the walls were quite smooth as well, and it didn't look like there were any decent hand or foot holds. And given how bad his last climbing attempt had gone, even with very obvious ledges, Nerius doubted he'd be able to climb back up.
It was a long way back up too, much farther than he'd climbed in the icing stalagmite cave, and if he slipped again he'd not be able to protect himself with magic. That was assuming he could climb it at all, he wasn't useless at climbing in general, but cliff walls weren't his strong point. Maybe there would be a better way out further down the ravine? The tunnel he fell from had cut right through the end of the ravine, which meant while there was a dead end in one direction, the other continued further than he could see.
Nerius hoped there would be a better way out that direction, either an easier place to climb, or even better, another tunnel lower up the ravine. Ice wasn't helping look, she was still more concerned about him, and was doing what seemed like checking over the arm he'd used to pat for injuries.
Renathan: I feel ya on that one TC; I thought I had most of mine done but alas. It's a good motivator!
Oct 22, 2021 15:08:00 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: (And this just might give me the kick in the butt I need with updating the images in my kennel and everywhere else to neocities, before starting the registration. X3)
Oct 22, 2021 15:02:46 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: It definitely looks pretty with how you did it Silver~! XD
Oct 22, 2021 15:00:38 GMT -6
Xentus: I suppose I'll share my trick here too for those working on registry/inventory stuff. You can drag and drop images from one thread to a different post if you have the two windowed, side-by-side. The receiving end needs to be previewed
Oct 22, 2021 9:52:11 GMT -6
Silver: I just want people to register stuff in whatever way is easy for them (while still being enough that it's easy for staff to read if we need to). So I hope people aren't too stressed.
Oct 22, 2021 2:43:35 GMT -6
Silver: Ah! Thanks. I try.
Oct 22, 2021 1:49:37 GMT -6
Ashe: Yours is so pretty tho
Oct 22, 2021 1:43:44 GMT -6
Silver: For anyone looking at my inventory - don't worry you don't have to do it like mine, the list is very clear about what you need to register - I've just gone extra with mine!
Oct 22, 2021 1:34:25 GMT -6
Renathan: Heheh-yeah! New registries! :3
Oct 21, 2021 18:53:24 GMT -6
Alma: Same old same old for me. Glad it's going well for you two, hope it reaches decent spook-levels.
Oct 21, 2021 13:55:02 GMT -6
Ashe: Super busy, irl not as spooky as I'd like, but on here it's going great
Oct 21, 2021 13:13:15 GMT -6
Badrani: Really well! What about yours?
Oct 21, 2021 12:56:08 GMT -6