Chapter 3 Page 3

Cassandra couldn’t believe it. After years of study and months of searching, she was standing in front of a complete Far Shoals gate. This might even be the last complete gate left in the whole world. She bounced and squealed, “Yes, yes, yes, yeeeeeees!”

Her wet tits bounced right out of her top, bet she just shoved them back in and fumbled for her recorder. “I am one wet hot mess of a researcher, but I found one. Finally, a complete undamaged gate. I can hardly believe my eyes. I can already tell I’ve been misreading the rune order. There’s so much to learn. I’m going to spend the last week of my trip here staring at this beauty. Hopefully, when I bring this information back to Larscorp, I can get more funding. It could take years to fully understand this ruin.”

Excited, Cassandra dashed back to her plane, splashing through the wet mud several times. She grabbed some crates, holding them high above the murky water to protect her equipment. She stacked her crates haphazardly in front of the gate. The rain had evened off to a mildly annoying drizzle, but Cassandra rushed through her chore to get her equipment into the protection of the cavern before another downpour started.

Once the crates were safely stowed in the cave, she began setting up a camp office. Two large battery-powered lamps shone spotlights on the arcane writing. A kerosene heater helped take the edge off the chill in the moist air since Cassandra’s bra and panties were now soaked again. There was no point in putting dry clothes on over wet underwear, so she unpacked a comfortable camping chair, and plopped down. In a short time, she had crafted a temporary workspace to study her discovery.

Cassandra began by sitting in her chair and sketching the gate. She made a rough copy of the whole structure, and then started on more detailed inkings of the individual runes with notes about their location on the arch. She worked for some time before a loud wet squishing noise startled her and made her smudge her most recent rune.

Cassandra jumped and spun around, knocking her chair over, and dropping her art supplies. There was nothing behind her, just the steady dripping of the rain outside the cave entrance. She shook her head at herself and sighed. “Jumping at shadows is a sign you’ve been alone too long.” She paused a moment, “So is talking to yourself.”

Cassandra stooped over and righted the chair. Then she began picking up the sketches and art supplies scattered across the stony ground. One errant pencil had rolled into a crevice behind the stone pillar, and Cassandra had to squat to reach it. When she reached down into the tight space, her hand brushed against a smooth piece of wood.

Forgetting the strange noises and the scattered art supplies, Cassandra carefully extracted this newest discovery. It was a stick, varnished in black, and covered in the same runes that decorated the gate. It was old, at least two hundred years by her estimate, but it was in flawless condition. This would make an excellent souvenir to bring home with her.

There was another squishing noise, and the light in the cave shifted dramatically. Cassandra turned just in time to see one of her lamps come crashing to the ground. She shrieked and brandished her new prize like a club.


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