|Biography||30 Lott||Nakhanibha yla Mabharl 975 A.T.||1,020|
|Book III||Book V|
Date: 25 Tos. 961 A.T.
Near the mountain, the group pushed on, with Alhicj and Mis’Kelin at the rear, still speaking quietly. “After this are you going to The Resistance?”
“I don’t actually know where it is. I’ve heard that it is somewhere around here, on this end of Parallelium.”
“This is quite a large sub-section of Omneutta. You could be searching for years, if not decades.”
“What if they do not want you?”
Mik shot his Poria friend a sideways glance. “And why wouldn’t they want me?”
“OLAH could be tracking you and find their hideout that way, since they shut down your guild…Or they could be an organization that is invite only. Maybe what you have heard is wrong and they do not want or need warriors. Perhaps they do not like Avotoc?”
“Alright, that’s enough. Who doesn’t like Avotoc?”
After more idle conversation and silent trudging, they had reached the mountain that was believed to contain this lost city. Mik had no clue on how to operate the mobile camp so Alhicj and the other pori coached him through the process of opening the camp, which he would soon be watching. Not unlike other Poria establishments he had seen, the living spaces—if you could call them that—were efficient. The archaeologists and ethnologists had space to put their belongings that they had carried all this way, and spaces only slightly larger for them to sleep in.
When it was dark, the pori would return from the shaft they had dug into the mountain, several meters up the side and take short shifts throughout the night, ready to wake Mik if there was a problem. In return, the avoc would watch the camp during the day for any threats. For two days it was fine.
On the third day since they had set up camp, Mik couldn’t shake a feeling of unease for several hours. In the previous two days, one of the pori would at least come to the side of the mountain from the tunnel until he acknowledged them, but on this day several hours had passed without any sign from the cave. More troubling still was the feeling that he couldn’t shake. He knew something was lurking but could not figure what. Reluctantly, he left the camp and approached the mountain.
Several meters from the mountain, about halfway from the camp he had the inclination to turn around and look at the camp. He was a little higher than the camp now, and had a better viewpoint. From here he could see them, closing in on the camp – he looked around and they were coming from all directions. How had the pirates, in such large numbers closed in on him undetected? Out of the corner of his eye as he turned to run to the tunnel to alert the pori, he saw the pirates lighting torches before lowering them to the ground. Quickly—and still running up the mountain—Mik looked the other direction. The pirates were lighting the whole mountain on fire.
“HEY! ARE ANY OF YOU CLOSE? CAN YOU HEAR ME?” Mik shouted, as loud as he could into the tunnel. He didn’t wait long for a response before quickly scrambling back down the mountain, somewhere between running, falling, and sliding down the lose rock surface. Back at the camp, he could see the pirates, a couple hundred meters away as they all amassed in one group to move through one section that wasn’t on fire. Mik—and the pori in the mountain—were trapped, and the pirates knew it. They had planned it.
Thankfully, the scientists all had their instruments inside the mountain, so there wasn’t much in the camp that he couldn’t take. He had all of his weapons already on his body, so he filled his hands with as much of his own food as he could muster, and threw a couple canisters of the materials that the pori…ate? Whatever it was, it was heavy and he could only carry a couple canisters in addition to his food. They’d have to share.
By the time he got to the tunnel entrance the pirates were already through ransacking the camp and were advancing on his position with haste. He went several meters inside the tunnel, where the light from outside ran out, and dropped his belongings. Thankfully, the canisters provided a small amount of light. Back at the entrance, Mik could see maybe a hundred pirates making their way up the mountain, single file. That has to be a pretty big galleon, or several ships worth of pirates… There was no way he could handle them all, even if he had the stamina.
Without a better idea, Mik retreated just inside the tunnel and took out a pistol. The pori had set up the first few sets of tunnel supports as arches, but as he looked further inside the tunnel they had used sturdier supports. Maybe because if they knew where the side of the mountain is, it’s easier to dig out this little bit than dig out a mid-tunnel collapse? Poria are usually smarter than me, so that seems like a good idea. Taking aim, he shot at the first two keystones in the arches, hoping their fall would collapse the entrance to the tunnel and the pirates could advance no further.
His shots were a partial success, as the second keystone popped loose, bringing down that section of the tunnel with it, causing Mik to retreat under a support beam made out of metal several meters further into the tunnel, where he had left what he carried. Where did they even get metal for these support beams? After waiting a few moments to see if the pirates broke through, he picked up his items and moved further into the mountain, unaware that the collapse of the second section brought down the first as the pirates were beginning to enter the tunnel, and thus sparing further pursuit.