We felt the spell snap into place, and before any of us could say anything, a skeleton stepped out of one of the doorways and said, "Adventurers, I wish to bargain."
We all looked at each other for a bit and then Yerico said, "speak."
"Your allies trapped me, and my undead legions, here during the war. But I was already trapped by my undead state. Having had much time to think I have devised a plan by which I can escape both, with your help."
"Why should we help you?" Targon demanded.
"Because, Barbarian, it is the only way you can get out of here. And by aiding me you gain a powerful ally"
"An ' ally ' we have little reason to trust, is not that tempting an offer." Latara observed.
"The resurrection process I have devised will allow you to place a Geais on me. So that I have no choice but to serve your goals, for a time."
"How long a time ?" I ask.
"Until Melkior has fully vanquished Varkue, I will do all in my power to aid him in that goal."
"And you swear this by your honor as a Dragon?" Latara demanded.
"I do. Freely and of my own will; So, long as you honor your part of the bargain."
"Which is what; exactly ?" Kain inquired.
"To preform the ritual, I will provide, so as to enable me to go forth from this place as a member of your company."
"Restoring one to life often requires a life in exchange. I will not sacrifice any member of our company to free you." Hawk stated flatly.
"Peace, archer. There is a blood price, but not a death price. You will each need to sacrifice some of your blood and life force into the Gollum body I have prepared, so that it will be 'alive' enough for me to use. But no one will need to die for this."
An answer to the overcrowding of our planet.
Sky cities and Sea cities; both floating and underwater; being some other options we could consider. I see underground as the easiest to do large scale. There are ships out there right now that could be counted as cities. But I'm thinking of a large, selfsuficient sort of thing. And I'll cover that option in a later post.
Now then, I'm thinking that a basically four level system would be the best way to go. Starting at the top, we would have several caves/chambers for water storage. These would be at a depth where the temperature is around 60 degrees F/15 degrees C and would be connected to the evaporation and steam caves on levels 3 and 4. With the water vapor condensing on the ceiling, which would be sloped with the cool end lower.
There should be 4 to 12 such chambers to allow for repairs/maintenance without causing any disruption to service.
The water caves would be connected to the city proper, on level 2, so as to not only provide water But also Power.
A series of turbines along the way, if engineered correctly, should be able to provide most of the power needed to run the city. With Steam caves on level4 providing the rest. Level 4 is mostly intended to be a backup system as it will be so deep and therefore hot, that protective gear will be needed to work on anything down there. Likely the turbines and so on would be connected to the cranes used to lower them into place, for ease of extraction When repairs are needed.
Level 2 would be not only the living quarters of the city but also the level at which food would be grown and processed and whatever other manufacturing process would take place.
Level 3, the wet caves, would be where the city's waste water is treated, with some additional farming operations.
This level would be at a depth where the temperature is around 90 to 100 F
With the city proper being at a depth where the temperature is around 70 to 80 F.
There would need to be fans and a good bit of natural chimney effects in place to ensure proper airflow.
But this is the basic idea in a nutshell.
After almost an hour, of working our way around bogs, that were too thick with mud to sail through, but still too wet to walk on; we reached the central island or islands. Hard to say which as there were streams everywhere with fallen trees bridging most of them.
In any event there was a building in the middle of the whole thing, which we eventually made our way to.
There were Runes and Glyphs, more than half hidden by moss and vines, above the doorway. We really should have taken the time to study them. But we were all wet and tired, and beyond the archway was a courtyard covered with smooth, dry, solid, flagstones. I don't think words can really convey how good solid ground can look after an hour or so of slogging through knee deep muck, and slipping on moss and slime covered rocks and treetrunks.
So we all rushed through the archway into the courtyard. And as soon as we were all inside, the magic snapped into place. Every one of us knowing that this is the Lair of a Dracolitch. Every one of us well versed in Magic; even Targon. He might not be a spell caster like the rest of us, but he's faced enough magic using foes...And we blunder through a Rune covered archway like amateurs.
Thankfully our tale doesn't end here, with us becoming the undead servants of a Dracolich. No, our story didn't end here; it just started a new chapter, or maybe a new volume.
Over the next several days, their dinner conversations allowed me to learn a great many things. Both amout my hosts, and the history of the world in general. I won't bother going into detail about that here, as such matters are both better recorded elsewhere and likely already well known to most of my potential readers. It is enough to note that my earlier speculations about how far I was from my own time and what had happened in the interim were largely correct, with the remaining details being as unknown to my hosts as they were to myself.
The other gain from my spying, was a steady supply of items that needed doing around the farm. Various small items that I could easily do in such a way as to both repay them for their unknowing hospitality and to hint at my presence without fully revealing myself just yet.
I was still stuck as to a plan for how to approach them and was hoping, once they were aware of a shy yet helpful presence around the place, That they would hatch some plan to draw me out. Then, I would need only play along. Not a great plan, I admit, but the best I could come up with at the moment.
"*What was that ?!*"
"*Things not going according to plan. Well, not according to plan A, at any rate. *"
Anna gave Garm a questioning look
Garm resumed human form and spoke a Word to restore Anna as well.
"By this point she was supposed to have lost the Naazz and be slipping quietly through the trees not setting traps to try and take them down. And if that wasn't one of her traps going off, I'll eat my boots."
"I'd love to get you some hot sauce for them; but, assuming you're right...?"
"They'll probably be coming out of the trees over there near the edge of that field. If they're in human shape and walking, we relax a join them. If they're in cat shape and running..." Garm paused to string a longbow he'd pulled from his pack "...We get to find out how good you are with one of these." He finished passing her the bow and pulling a second one from his pack.