After a few minutes passed, I was able to start making out my surroundings. It appeared that I was in some sort of cave. There were both stalagmites and stalactites, rock columns reaching vertically from the hardened ceiling to the solid floor. The temperature was warmer than usual, but my body seemed to be adjusting to it without much difficulty or perspiration. It was clearly much darker than anywhere I’d ever been before. Surrounded by different pathways on any side of me, I seemed to have landed in the midst of a crossroads of some sort. I couldn’t even begin to select which way to go so I just remained seated. Trying to find a logical explanation for which direction I was supposed to go in, I wondered if Sikal could still communicate with me in this new location.
“Sikal!” I yelled out loud and learned that the cavern echoed loudly. Hearing my own voice bounce off the surrounding walls and ricochet down the different areas, I grew a little afraid.
From my left, I caught sight of a flickering light growing in the distance. Looking over, I saw a fire torch moving in my direction. I stood up and waited as the robed figure approached. Silently, the figure extended their torch, barely avoiding my hair as they reached behind me, and lit another torch. Pointing at the torch, I assumed they meant for me to pick it up. Lifting the torch from its holster, I realized that it was heavier than it appeared and held it with both hands. The figure flashed once as a television does when the cable signal is lost and then disappeared.
My emotions were a mixture of pleasure toward my newfound light source and despair at the disappearance of my first contact with a living being. I would not and did not assume that the figure I had seen was human. The possibility existed that it was human, a demonlord like Sikal, a demon, or something else entirely. I hoisted my torch on my hip bone and began walking down the pathway where I had originally seen the figure. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was on the wrong pathway. About nine yards into the tunnel, my body began to feel disjointed and I involuntarily squeezed my eyes shut tightly. Opening my eyes again, I found myself back in the spot where I had initially landed.
“That’s odd.” I said to the empty area and then I had a miniature epiphany. I mused aloud to myself. “They’re one way conduits from one place to another.”
Based on my reasoning and minute experience, I deducted that the paths on my left all lead to my location and the trails on my right must lead away from this area. There wasn’t any evidence to support my conclusion except my single attempt, but I was sticking with my ideas. The passageways in front of and behind me could lead either to or away from my standing position, but I assumed they went in opposite directions. From my not-so-scientific theories, I eliminated going down the channels to my left. I could either go to my right, which I believed to lead away from this position, or I could experiment further and see whether in front of me would take me somewhere else or bring me back to the same place. Ultimately, I opted for going right because I was more assured that those routes would take me somewhere new.
Slowly, I approached the corridors on the right. There were about four along my right side and I wasn’t sure how to decide which one to go with. I stood there debating about it for a few minutes and resorted to a tried-and-true method.
Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.