This last week was a close vote! But the Fire option won out. If you missed the first two weeks of this Adventure, here’s a quick recap:
You and Peter, your partner, have found the entrance to a cave system in which you hope to find a mythical Well that grants special powers. You carefully avoided telling the other two of your group, Horace and Arnold, because they work for the unscrupulous Baron Avedo and will probably kill you as soon as you find the Well. When you entered the entrance cavern, you found two levers, one with a raven and one with a salamander. Readers chose to pull the salamander lever. (If you’d like to read this part, click here.)
Pulling the lever dropped the floor from under you and you ended up in a small tunnel. The tunnel narrowed as you crawled through until you found two pressure plates, one in the ceiling and one in the floor. To get past, you have to press against one of them. One bears the symbol for fire, the other water. Reader voted to go for fire. (If you’d like to read this part, click here.)
Let’s see what happens!
“Here goes nothing,” you say and prepare to move forward.
Peter grabs your ankle. “Wait, which plate are you going for?”
Peter gusts a sigh and lets go.
Crawling forward, you reach beyond the water plate in the floor and arch your back up until you feel the edge of the fire plate on your spine. Then, with a steadying breath, you push against it to slide your body past.
What you didn’t mention to Peter was the possibility of the fire plate either burning you—the obvious danger—or the flame sucking all of the air out of your small tunnel—the less obvious danger. But these possibilities sit heavy in your mind while you press against that pressure plate.
At first, nothing happens and you think that maybe someone already triggered the plate and it didn’t reset.
But then you hear a whoosh and a hot breeze brushes against your face. You cringe and close your eyes, not wanting to see the flame coming toward you. Your eyelids light up with flickering light, but after a moment of just waiting, Peter nudges your feet and you peek an eye open.
Ahead, beyond where the small matches lit the tunnel, torches now light up the walls, showing that the chute expands into a corridor you can actually walk in.
Heady relief makes your limbs watery you as you crawl forward until you and Peter can stand.
“See,” he says with a triumphant grin. “Twenty-pound brain. What made you go for the fire option?”
You don’t have a good reason beyond the fact that you knew Peter hated the idea of water flooding the tunnel, so instead of answering, you approach the first torch and take in the etchings along the wall.
“What do you make of this?” you ask.
The wall is covered in salamander images. Some are just salamanders, but others seem to be in various stages of lizard turned fire until some of the etchings are salamanders made entirely of flame.
“Huh,” Peter says. “Crazy. Glad the fire plate didn’t do that to us.”
Peter continues down the tunnel but you continue staring at those images for a moment longer until you’re sure you’ve seen all the variations of them. Then you follow. With each step, the air grows hotter until beads of water run down your face. The back of Peter’s shirt turns dark with his sweat. All along the tunnel, the salamander images continue.
Before long, the tunnel widens further into a chamber and you understand why you feel like you’re being roasted. The middle of the chamber has no floor. Instead, a pool of magma boils with large bubbles spewing drops of fire.
The etchings rush into the chamber from the tunnel, swirl around the walls and create the feeling that the salamanders are spiraling into the magma pool.
“Here we go,” Peter heads toward a pressure plate set into the wall far to your right.
“Anything on it?” you ask.
He inspects it. “Nope, there’s scratch marks but no images, and it’s the only pressure plate here, so-” He reaches for it.
“Hold up,” you say.
A crazy thought rumbles through your head as you stare at the magma pool and the etchings. Does the Well have to be full of water?
You point at the pool. “What if that’s the Well?”
“What?!” Peter steps toward you like you’re a crazy and he’s concerned you’re going to hurt yourself.
“There’s nothing in the writings concerning the Well about what’s actually in it,” you explain. “What if it’s filled with something other than water?”
“Soooo,” Peter takes another step toward you, hand outstretched. “What are you proposing, touching it?”
You pause. What are you proposing? “What if we take some of it with us?” you ask. “We have the insulated thermos. If we can isolate some magma, maybe we can take some of it with us.”
“You’ve led me through some crazy things but this might be the most loony I’ve ever heard.” Peter hesitates though as he looks around. “But then, few succeed at the Well. Even people who find the caves don’t always walk away having found the Well.”
He slings his pack around so he can reach inside. Pulling out the thermos, he holds it up. “Up to you. We can try being loony or we can press another unknown pressure plate. Oddly enough, as I think about it, either option seems a bit unwise, but I don’t see a third choice, so—” he shrugs and waits for you do decide.
Feel free to join in this adventure by leaving your vote in the comments below! Next week we’ll return to see how this adventure ends.
Until then, blessings,