The Long-Standing Online Campaign, beginning in Germany, travelling through Italy and Greece to the Sea of Azov.
Thursday, January 3, 2013
The Defile Upwards
October 31, 1650, Friday afternoon
Weather: with cool temperatures and overcast conditions, with a fresh breeze
As the weather warms to where it is at least tolerable, the party finds themselves marching up a very narrow defile, no more than three or four feet wide, on steps cut into the stone that seem to have been here for centuries, perhaps millennia. Worn smooth by boots, the angle of ascent is nevertheless 45, sometimes 55 degrees upwards. In most places, the rock is so close and high over the character's heads that it seems to threaten them, as though it would press together suddenly and kill all. The rock sometimes bends over above, hiding the sky; it is glittery white in color, carved over untold years by water and wind.
After the first three hundred feet, the steps meet with a small stream, a couple of feet wide but quite deep, which has formed the crevice through which the party climbs. The steps swing from the left to the right of it, so that now and then the party has their feet wet. Lazaro and his son, #2, whose name is Abantes, both follow the party. #5, the bowman, whose name is Januz, leads the way. He is an Albanian, evidenced from his accent, which Ahmet recognizes.
In time, after a thousand feet (and two rests along the way, in small bowls upon the mountainside offering no view at all), the party comes to the foot of a waterfall. The lip is about 75 feet above you. There is not much water that falls, but it splatters over the rock face and makes it dangerously wet and slippery. A set of stairs are carved into the rock, hitching back and forth straight up the waterfall ... but climbing them would be insane while the water is falling, even for a thief.
Hadji Lazaro shouts, and a man's head appears above you. He's too high up to hear, and the water would make it impossible anyway ... but after a couple of minutes, the waterfall suddenly stops.
"Very well," says Lazaro. "We go up. Beware the steps; they slope outwards. Rub your feet upon them to dry them as you climb, and you will be all right."
Lukas has said he will do whatever is asked of him ... but I felt I better stop and have the party give their opinion at this point.