We looked at each other and nodded.
"We're doing this then; Right. So, where do I fit ? " Targon ask as we all gathered round the work table at the start point.
"First we bleed into the flask here, until it's up to this mark. Then we mix that with the powdered Dragonbone in this bowl. That will link us to each other and the Dracolitch. Then you will take your place in the Guardian's circle over there. Once the lines start glowing you will be able to step out of the small circle and travel freely around the perimeter. You'll have a view as if this were the edge of the island. And your job will be to warn us of anything if anything big enough to break through the spells shows up." I explained as we each took the ritual knife and added our blood to the flask.
I felt a rush of power as my blood dripped into the flask and we became linked. In that moment I gained a deeper understanding of the allure of Blood Magic.
Then I poured the blood into the bowl of powdered Dragonbone.
The world went away for a moment, or an eternity, and when I was able to notice details again I was happy to see that none of us had fallen. Although it was clearly a near thing.
I felt the Dragon's pleased laughter in my/our minds *"Impressive. You are a party worth joining."* she said/Thought.
She was huge. It is one thing to know that Dragons are Big, and quite another to be face to face with one. Words truly cannot convey the feeling of being in the same room with a creature who's head alone is taking up more space than your entire party.
The room itself was also on an epic scale. Even with the Dragon's skull taking up a good fourth of the available floorspace; there was still plenty of room to walk around the transmutation circle, carved into the middle of the room's floor, and get a good look at the worktables, alters, and so on set up around it.
And walk around it we did.
It was likely the single largest, most complex ritual spell setup any of us had ever seen.
or were ever going to see, even if we lived for another hundred years or more.
And yet, once you got past the sheer scale of the thing, and the number of spells layered into it; It was elegant. Each spell streamlined and crafted so as to flow smoothly as possible into the next.
Magic is sometimes called The Art; and this was a Masterpiece. While the whole was complex, each part was as simplified as possible to the point that even an apprentice could have followed the general flow of the whole and told you what each part was supposed to contribute. There was really no way to hide anything in the ritual. It took time to walk through all the steps, but each was simple and flowed easily into the next.
We went over it twice, as much to admire it, as from any other need for understanding or fear of treachery.
The Dracolitch watched us, with glowing points of light, where her eyes had once been. Lights that shifted from reddish-orange to a mellow contented blue, as we openly admired her handiwork.
There is something satisfying about having your work admired by a fellow craftsman who can fully appreciate it.
"Once, I did not trust Dragons or Spell Casters. Yet, now I am friends with several. Mayhap, the time has come to find that an Undead can have honor and earn my respect."
"Thank You, Barbarian. That is the kindest thing anyone has said to or about me in a very long time."
"Enough Talk. Those who know spells need to see your Ritual Chamber and spells; then we can decide and Act. Lead on skeleton."
And so we followed our boney guide through a maze of twisting passages until we came to the Lair of the Dracolitch.
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 Varque, 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.