Thursday, February 16, 2006

A dead end - and bread

Gimlitin – who had a sprained ankle – held his lantern high.

The hole from the tunnel above was about 30 feet above us.

“That ceiling has been giving way for a while,” he said.

I looked around at the piles of ice scattered through he tunnel.

“So it is gradually giving way?” I said.

“Yes. Now I am worried that even more will give way,” Gimlitin said. “The village
may be in danger.”

I sighed.

“Can we fix it?”

“I don’t know,” he said.

“I think the more important thing right now is how we get out of here,” Eomar said.

I looked at him. He had scrapes about his face, and the beginnings of a black eye.

“We must have fallen 40 or 50 feet,” he said. “And it looks like more will give way if wqe try to climb back out the way we came.”

“Aye,” Gimlitin said. “Good eye.”

“So that means we have to find another way out,” I said.

At that moment we heard the rumble of ice falling somewhere in the depths.

“I think we’d better start now,” I said.

We looked both was down he tunnel. Both ways looked about equal, so we arbitrarily went to the right.

As we walked – or limped in some cases – Gimlitin and another dwarf, Arguntar – kept checking the walls, occasionally muttering to each other in a dwarfish dialect.

“Part of me would like to know what they are saying,” Eomar said to me. “But from the looks on their faces, maybe I don’t want to know.”

Occasionally we spotted cracks in the walls. Gimlitin and Arguntar stopped at some of them to peer into them.

We walked for a nearly two hours.

Then we turned a corner – and discovered that a collapse had blocked our way!

“We have to turn back” Eomar groaned.

“Let’s stop first,” I suggested.

We sat, and passed around some water.

Aolieas, one of the elves, said, “I wish we had some food to go with it.”

Arguntar slipped off a pack he’s been carrying. He took out some dwarf bread.

“Here. Not elvish fare, but solid enough”

We each ate some. Dwarf bread has a strong taste and a coarse grain – but at that moment it tasted like the finest pastry.

But I noticed everyone was careful to eat only a little and not to drop any crumbs.

We were all thinking the same thing: We don’t know how long this supply of bread has to last.


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