NW D19

The inside of the building was lit by pitch torches and candles the entrance hall had people haphazardly scattered about lounging on the floor or slumped over low benches made of the same black rock that the outside seemed to have been made of, the floor was of a similar material the surface had a rough texture to it. A large open entrance towards the back of the room had more people scattered around in various stages of conciousness many were smoking pipes and a strange sweetness mixed in with the smell of bodies that permieated the hall. There seemed to be no ventalation and the smoke that didn’t escape through the fronto entrance curled its way around the ceiling like a dence fog.

Nobody seemed to take much notice of her as she passed through looking for the man that she had seen infront of the merchants office just a short while ago. She could see that the fog was thicker in the corridor and she decided to head on and follower the corridor, it seemed to curve around to the right and then opened up into another larger hall with more figures shrowded in darkness moans and groans coming from the collected bodies and the smoke was thicker almost enough to make her cough a harsh musk joined it. However she didn’t recongise any of the faces she could see, at the end of the room there was yet another large entrance, pausing a moment longer to look around and see if there were any guards but there didn’t seem to be so she pushed on.

Again a corridor that seemed to curve to the right as she entered another body filled flop room something pulled on her leg. Meredith looked down expecting to see some kind of animal but instead it looked like a haggard old person sunken wrinkled face a puckered toothless mouth and sullen eyes, hair grey and malting.

“Food” the wrinkled thing groaned pulling its way up Merediths leg.

“Get off.” Meredith pulled her leg back, the thing had a look of one of those gods forsaken shambling dead but without the good graces to be dead. This time the door towards the end of the hall appeared to be locked.

“Fooood” Meredith ignored the person and pushed on having to try to avoid standing on any of the bags of skin and bone that littered the ground but the dim light from the torches made it hard though even when she did accidentaly kick or tred on one they did little more than let our a slight groan or a moan for food. Meredith was begingin to think that this was simply a flop house and her mind had been playing tricks on her as she reached the locked door she looked back at the hall and then at the lock on the door.

“Magical?” she ran her hand over it before taking a little step back and murmering a few words then knocked quietly. The door then quietly opened of its own accord, she looked back at the hall again and confirming nothing had changed she slipped throuhg the door. Behind it was a corrider that went streight forward with a steep incline until all was enveloped in darkness, she looked at the door behind her again and took a deep breath to steady herself. Oddly the air here was clear and had a chill to it. She furrowed her brow and grabbed one of the lamps that were handing next to the door and lit it using the candle that was provided for the task.

It took a moment for the fire to catch as it did she placed the candle back and headed down the corridor the darkness was oppressive and the air got colder and colder as she went on her breath began to fog in front of her and she could hear the dripping of water, she looked up and around the ceiling of the endless corridor she could see that it was made of the same material the higher levels had been constructed of. She ground her teeth a moment bot carried on the light only penetrated a few meters ahead of her and she was yet to see any other light source. She looked abck for a moment thinking that she should go back but she felt a need to carry on forward. She lost track of how long she had been going down her hand tracing along the right hand wall and her other holding the lamp high, she thought about how unpleasent it would be if the lamp went out but pushed the thought to the back of her mind.

Her quite foot steps rung in her ears, everything was so quiet until she began to hear what sounded like chains jangeling and a sound comparable to that of a mill stone in a windmill that they used to make flour. She quietened her foot steps and took more care as she got slowly closer and closer to the source of the noise a door came into view signalling the end of the nearly endless corridor she’d walked down. She blew out the candle and then listened at the door, the sounds of clanking and grinding were clearly behind it, she tried to make anything else out but she could not. So she tried the handle and it turned with ease, she slowly pushed the door open and a dim red light flooded the corridor as she pushed it ajar and continued to listen for voices or footsteps neither of which she could hear so she slipped into the red lit room.

The room had lanterns of some sort giving off a dim red glow that seemed to travel further than it should, there was a raised area to the left of the room where the sound of grinding was coming from, The walls were no longer the strange black rock but instead it looked as though they were roots clawing upwards towards the surface, everything was dyed red so she couldn’t discern the true colours of anything. Occasionally her mind would play a trick on her and it would look as though a collection of the branch like material would form a face or a hand or some other macarbre body part. She couldn’t see anything else in the room and so she walked over to the raised area and it became clear that it was more like a low wall that led into a vast pit, looking over the side she couldn’t see the ground just an endless dark red abyss where the sounds of clanking and grinding echoed up from. There was a ladder in the middle that may lead her all the way down. She looked over and then looked around the rest of the room only to click her tongue and fling herself over the edge and onto the ladder and began to climb it rung by rung down into the unknowable depths.

As she went down the wall behind the ladder fell away and the hole opened up, the ladder seemed to hang in mid air and she could see what looked like the trunks of endless trees going down as far as the red light allowed her to see. Occasionally a gust of rancid air blew over her, she ignored it all and carried on going down.

“In for a copper in for a talent” she muttered to herself as she went down.

A loud squawk echoed up from somewhere down below and she grimaced and looked at first she could see nothing but as she carried on going she could see what looked like large birds circling what she realised was the ever widening hole, so large now she could only consider it a cavern the trunks behind the ladder were getting slenderer, leavless branches reaching out in all directions macarbe shapes, an oppressive feeling of dread was washing over her with each rung she decended. Then one of the large birds turned up its face was that of a crow mixed with much of its skull exposed and what looked like wriggling creatures in one of its eye sockets and a bulging yellow ball in the other.

“Shit!” She almost lost her grip on seeing the things face and realised it was heading up towards her at speed. Meredith grimmaced and then as it was almost upon her she slid down a numebr of rungs and the creature flew streight through the ladder as though one or the other were just an illusion, but the stench from the creature adn the turblance were enough to convince Meredith of the fact it were quite real. While she was also convinced of the reality of the ladder she tried to speed up her descent looking towards any sound to make sure that she could dodge their attacks when they came, and come they did, at times having to hold on by a single hand or let go entirely in the hope that she could grab back a hold before it became impossible.

Exhausted she almost lsot her grip several times the creature seemed aware of that, Meredith drew her sword and decided to face it down this time, it came at her with immense force and she returned its assault her own attack the two colliding knocking her loose from the ladder and at the same time hacking the creatures wing clear off it took a moment for her to realise she and the beast were both plummeting to the ground the ladder was out of reach she frowned and wondered how far down it was but then she closed her eyes and raced through her memory opening her eyes she smiled a moment having found what she was looking for and she began to recite a mantra several minutes past as she constructed the complex spell in her mind and the space around her shifted to comply to her new reality. Just as it would seem too convenient the spell clearly finished and instead of smashing into the ground and being smashed into a bloody pulp she slowed to a gentle stop and placed one foot on the squigy fleshy surface. She looked up into the sky and could see what looked like an endless forest of grim red trees almost dripping the from the roof their horrible branches hanging like the entrails of a person who had been quatered.

She stopped to take in the rest of the scenery, to was flat, red, and textured like an endless surface made from meat, not to far in the distance she could see what looked like a temple so she headed towards it. Black suns seemed to light this freakish underground world the crimson red that permieated everything, she looked at her own hand and it seemed clear to her that light did not work the same here as it did above.

She frowned and headed with legs that felt like lead after all the climbing of the ladder towards that temple. Tutting to herself and drawing her sword.