The Adventure Continues

The tunnel on the other side of the muddy pool, is about five feet wide. It ends in murky water from which rises steam. Ghostwheel is floating there, and has extruded a tendril of silvery material as though tasting the water. "The sulphur content of the water is not high enough to produce sulphuric acid." The AI reports. "The temperature is 52.5 degrees Celsius. I do not recommend staying in these waters for longer than necessary."

There is no sign of the Windseeker.

Aurora winces at the temperature and then gives the waters a dubious look. She moves closer to the edge to peer into it. "Can you tell how deep it is? Is anything living in there? And what are we supposed to do? Swim in that and hope it comes out on the other side to someplace free of attackers?"

"Windseeker has traversed it." Ghostwheel reports. "She advises that the other side appears to be in a different dimensional variance. It has breathable air and the temperature is 34 degrees Celsius."

Aurora stills a moment while she converts that in her head. "Wait. Define what a different dimensional variance is first. Will we end up in another Ways?" She looks back over her shoulder in the direction they left Aunna. "I'm concerned about separating the party. You will have to let the others know where we have gone and how to get there." She eyes the cocoon floating beside her. "And what about this?"

There is an instant of silence. "Negative." Ghostwheel says. "Windseeker is in the same Ways as we are. But this Ways appears far more complex than we initially thought. Instead of one single world, it is stitched together from multiple worlds. The Tower of the Sun and the external shell of black crystal appear to be the only constants."

She looks agitated by this. "What? How is this good? Has Windseeker found another way back to this one besides this pool? How—" she trails off and looks at Julian. "If it is stitched from other worlds, does that mean other dimensions are accessible from it?"

"Negative. The black crystal terminates all dimensional routes." Ghostwheel replies. "Windseeker and I theorise that now we know what to scan for we can scan for other Gates. It is also theoretically possible for an initiate of the Pattern to forge their own Gates between the stitched worlds."

Aurora just hums at that. She shrugs one shoulder and morphs her clothes into a sleek scuba suit, her boots into equally formfitting slippers that meld with the bottom of the suit. There is an extra fold of the material under her chin to pull up over her mouth before she gets into the water. Pockets become pouches attached at the small of her back. She tightens her ponytail in readiness. "I wish I had a scuba mask," she mutters. "But we're in too much of a hurry for me to take the time to conjure or transfigure one."

The sound of a blaster-pistol firing occurs thrice from whence they came in the cavern, where they left Ariaunna.

Looking back that way, Aurora then looks up at Julian. "We need to go. She'll be right ticked if she gets here and we're loitering after she stayed to cover our escape."

So saying, she directs the cocoon over the water and wades into the hot after it. Her face scrunches as she concentrates on it. She is going to have to modify a teleport into acting like a tractor beam so it will stay beside her underwater. The spell works, much to her satisfaction.

"I won't leave her behind." Julian states simply, and pulls Aurora back. "Bide just a moment." He focuses and calls up the Pattern. "If we can travel between worlds, then Reality is malleable.. "I will try to cool the water, or pull forth a raft or water craft from the other side. I know what this world feels like now, we won't leave it." So saying, Julian attempts to see which option reality accepts more easily. He does not relish the notion of traversing this water in armor, especially armor he's unwilling to remover as they are still being pursued.

Aurora just sighs and waits. She doesn't bother reminding him that he told Aunna they were going, but he would come back if she hadn't joined them in a suitable amount of time. Which to Aurora's mind was more then five minutes. Or that a raft wasn't going to be much good for going through an underwater passage.

The water cools as Julian desires, probability dancing to his will, even as Aurora wades into it. The waters before her, where the tunnel submerges,ripple as Windseeker emerges.

The redhead starts at the appearance of the other AI. "Windseeker. How long is this underwater passage?"

"Fifty feet." The silver-black sphere replies. A pause. "Ariaunna is about to detonate an explosion. Swiftly, please. We will meet you on the other side." She adds before soaring back the way they came. The Ghostwheel begins to generate light, ghostly, illuminating the dark waters.

"Right." Aurora moves further out and calls back to Julian in a very no nonsense way. "Come on. If you do not come right now, I am going to Summon you. Don't think I won't. The cocoon will help keep you from being too weighed down."

Julian curses and moves into the water. "That does not sound like a good idea." He checks his weapons, and shoulders his bow. "Will the cocoon sink with us?" He asked, and begins to wade into the water with Aurora. He pushes at the cocoon, "Go on, I'll follow." He inhales a few times, prepared for a long swim. He'd taken off his suit, so it meant a real swim.

"I've modified the levitation spell on it so it should follow me," she explains as she quickly pulls up the hood part of her suit. "But your weight on it would probably help it stay down, and help pull that armor
through easier." Knowing that time is of the essence, Aurora takes a deep breath and drops down under the water. She begins to swim, cutting through the murky gloom and looking back over her shoulder to make sure the cocoon follows - and that Julian doesn't try and stay back to do something stupidly heroic. She's never done this - trailing an object behind her under water - so she puts more of her Will behind the spell to make it act as she wishes.

The cocoon shimmers with inner light, between Aurora and Julian, even in thedarkness of the shadowed gloomy water. Aurora finds that the tunnel cuts smoothly through the rock as though carved by human hands. On the other side, she finds herself surfacing in the middle of another pool of water, this one like the circular lake above the waterfall but without flowing water. Above there is nothing but sunlit sky. The walls of the depression are rocky.

TOCA Patchwork World

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