Week 2, Dropping in
We left our heroes scheming how to get into a misty gateway to a valley in a pocket universe so as to have the best chance of getting out again.
Tom tried several things but was unable to get his Second Sight to work through the anomaly, as we have been calling the gateway. Yet the patterned telekinesis we've been using on our probes appears to work all right. Just to be sure, Alag sets a timed glamour on the camera. We send it through and it records a somewhat sketchy mirage of a bird. So psychic powers work on the other side of the gateway but cannot CROSS the gateway.
We then took out 13 weeks to train in an assortment of things we'd been meaning to do, such as psychosomatics, mnemonics, binding, glamour, swimming, karate, and pistol. [Players absent at the last session please note.]
Sophie industriously produced a set of form-fitting kevlar armor for each of us, so good it doesn't hinder your movements at all.
We also cruised up and down the most recent month, trying to get an idea of the rhythm, if any, of the anomaly's opening and closing. There doesn't appear to be any rhythm, but the anomaly seems to be there 60% of the time. It does NOT always open on places in the valley. How big is this pocket universe, anyway? The time rates appear to be the same. And every time we send the diadem detector through, it sparkles, though less when the anomaly is not in the valley.
At last, we launch our expedition. We will be launching into the air, a mile up. Daewen takes our surviving flying belt, Alag and Lorelei fly telekinetically, Chris and Sophie take a skycycle, and Tom drives a grav sled laden with trade goods and supplies. We leave through the pantope cargo port, woven with protective glamour of invisibility.
Sure enough, we emerge from a cloud a mile over the valley. Our ears pop. We descend in graceful spirals, scouting out the lake and its shore as we do so. Sophie spots a herd of some large animals. The detector just flickers. We note the lake leads out through a river and vanishes through a cleft in the mountainous wall of the valley.
Daewen conjures a telescopic lens from the air and uses it to pick a landing point on the lakeshore, near the river, some distance from the herds. Tom notes that one of the herds is being herded by people. Keeping invisible and downwind, and with our motors muffled by Tom's first use of glamour in the field, we approach for a look at the herd and herdsmen. The animals are big and black, looking to Chris like some form of extinct bison. The men look African, dress in simple capes and loincloths, and carry seven-foot staves. One carries a spear tipped with metal and several wear jewelry, so somewhere in the valley, or coming to the valley, are people who work metal.
The herdsmen are heading in the direction of a small cluster of tents. Flitting over that way, we note the camp contains mostly women, children, and the elderly. There is no sign of metal-working, and in fact the whole thing looks at least semi-nomadic. Lorelei feels for traces of magic and finds none. Tom puts a clairvoyance tracer on the largest tent.
Daewen decides to go take a look at the pass at the end of the valley. As she goes flitting down the shore, she passes a herd of ... well, dinosaurs. Triceratops, to be specific. She thought that's what they were, but had Chris take a look through her eyes telepathically.
Beyond the dinosaur herd, the lake gives way to the river that drains it. The river vanishes into the mountain pass and from the mist and noise one presumes there is an impressive waterfall or at least a set of rapids beyond it. This however, is not nearly so impressive as the dirigible that comes looming up out of the mist before Daewen.
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.