"This is what we have," Nlaminer put on the table all their
trophies; five books, a bag with flasks; medallion and the knife. "I
suppose this is not enough if we decide to explore the underground
5. The prison
Rhissa sat, thinking, playing with a pen. They moved their
headquarters to one of the guest rooms. It could be as easily
defended as the cave; and they could always climb down out of the
window. The window was mostly intact and when they started a fire,
the room began to give a sensation of some comfort. The cave in this
sense was a trap. Once besieged by whomever could come at night they
would have no escape.
"There are several strange places," Nlaminer continued. "One is
the library. There are void places according to the plan; large
enough for another guest room to fit in. However, there are some
strange signs on the wall, no secret passage or whatever.
"There are also passages leading deep underground and to the
north. The entrance is in the rooms beneath the smithy; the stores
under the kitchen are just monster pits and I feel myself not
equipped to confront anything that lives there. I think we should
concentrate on the underground tunnel."
"You didn't mention the crypt," Rhissa added and her friend
shivered a bit. "You are afraid for no reason, though. There are no
undead lurking there; and all small creatures are easy to calm. The
same about the kitchen. I do not want to fight anything that won't
crave for our blood."
Nlaminer sat tapping something on the table. "Well," he said at
last, "I think you're right. But without a reliable rope, hooks and
all other stuff it would be quite risky to continue our searches.
And even if we decide to leave the island,.."
"I doubt it," Rhissa said. "There is no boat any more. I think
that last storm washed it away."
Nlaminer paused. "Then it is normal to find some other way to
escape from here. I cannot cast Fly; and nobody of us could make a
boat out of stone."
"The key to all the events lies somewhere in the building,"
Rhissa objected. "Yes, we will study all the passages, but I think we
will have to explore all the places we did not visit here, in the
lighthouse, to understand how we should rid ourselves of our new
supervisor. For me, his actions bring only destruction. The
nightfall is nigh; I will examine all the entrances, if you would not
"And I will study the books," Nlaminer pointed at the books he
managed to save before the laboratory was ruined. "I think there
should be several helpful ideas here." Nlaminer cast Light on the
spent torch protruding from the wall and began to read. They had
little oil to spend; he had to use the magic now. Whatever force
was preventing gods from talking to their devotees, his magic powers
were recuperating normally. He made the Light a bit yellow and soon
was deep into comparing, writing, searching through the books. Once
he looked out of the window and saw Rhissa studying the outside of
While he was making calculations, writing down notes, a
thought, small but annoying, moved deep inside his mind. He went on
studying until he realized Rhissa was sitting behind him, meditating.
The thought began to materialize into more solid form... Nlaminer
looked at Rhissa and asked softly, "Do you hear me ?"
"Yes," Rhissa answered, her eyes closed.
"I think there is one more strangeness. One simple thing we
missed before and are missing now. Do you recall something unusual;
what we should have done, but didn't ?"
Rhissa slowly opened her eyes. "What do you mean ?"
Nlaminer considered hastily. The memory came back to him, and the
picture began to restore some of the lost details. "Where is our
boat, Rhissa ?"
"Washed away, in the storm, what do you..."
"But why didn't we hide it safely ? Eh ? Do you understand ?"
Rhissa looked at him, and the knowledge flashed in her widened
eyes. "Then we didn't scout the shore, but simply picked a cave..."
"... Came to the lighthouse in the open ..."
"... Didn't hurry to study the laboratory more thotoughly..."
"We did not take elementary precautions. I see !
He weakened our defense - we did not expect anything dangerous."
"There must be details we missed while studying the building
and its surroundings. He makes us feel safer than we are; several
times we were in real danger and only good luck saved us from worse
"So we should search everything anew," Rhissa resumed. "You are
quite right, Nlaminer. This is what was giving me wry sensations.
From now on we should distrust the obvious."
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