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Storyteller Carmine and Xar'rex decide that it'd be a great fun adventure to go find the behemoth Shajumani that lays in the caverns under the ziggurat. And so, leaving the closet, the two make their way back to the sacrificial chamber where they'd found Melody. Easily located, considering its bright red enamel and other wondrously lavish decorations, is the door into the Actual Chamber of Sacrifice, where Melody would have been lowered down into the catacomb

Carmine pushes it open.

Xar'Rex peers past Carmine

Storyteller Inside the room is a large, open hole in the natural rock of the hill the ziggurat is perched atop. It leads down into the depths of the earth.

Carmine steps inside, peering down the hole.

Xar'Rex peers down it as well

Xar'Rex looks around for a method of descent that does not involve jumping down

Storyteller The hole appears to be a considerable distance down into inky blackness. Carmine can't see the bottom, even when she squints! The rope laying in a huge coil near one wall appears to indicate that it can't be more then a few thousand feet, since the rope looks to be maybe 2.532 thousand feet.

Xar'Rex "Do you wish to descend?" he asks quietly. "I think we must."

Carmine nods. "I think we have too..."

Carmine "Could you fly down there?"

Xar'Rex nods and drops the rope down the hole, after making sure it is fastened securely

Xar'Rex descends!

Carmine climbs down after Xar

Carmine falls from the rope, about a 100ft below the tunnel lip

Storyteller Carmine attempts to climb down the rope but after a few hundred feet, as the rope becomes increasingly giggly, she finds her hands sweaty and...whups! She's falling!!!

Xar'Rex blinks, and tucks his wings in, no longer slowing his fall. Grasping Carmine's strap o silk in his claws, he snaps his wings back out, cupping them against the wind whistling past them, slowing their descent. "You must be careful. I will not tell Corve if you do not."

Xar'Rex idly wonders if any of his friends would have survived without him to catch them at various points.

Carmine "I wouldn't have been hurt... it might have been a while before you caught up though"

Carmine "It's probably best Corve doesn't know though."

Xar'Rex nods, and they glide the rest of the way down

Xar'Rex sinks his free claws into the rock near where the tunnel exits into the main chamber

Carmine "What have we stopped for?"

Xar'Rex "This is only scouting, yes?"

Carmine "We still can't see anything from here though..."

Xar'Rex climbs down a little further until they can see more, and dangles Carmine down out of the hole

Carmine yanks in a 'pull me up' way

Xar'Rex pulls her back up

Xar'Rex adjusts his grip to her arms, just below her shoulders.

Carmine "There's something down there. About the size of those giants..."

Xar'Rex "Giants?"

Xar'Rex "Did you see a way to bind it, or a weakness?"

Carmine "Like Normid. It was human-like too...or at least I think so."

Xar'Rex crawls down a little further, poking his head out to see better.

Storyteller Despite his new position, Xar is still unable to see anything of use.

Xar'Rex mutters a little, unable to see through the darkness, and unwilling to light it with his fire.

Carmine "So, are we gonna go back up, or go further down?"

Xar'Rex "I do not know if it will be useful to go down, only alert it to our presence."

Carmine "I don't think it's the behemoth ... It's rather small."

Xar'Rex "Maybe its child army?"

Carmine "Maybe..."

Xar'Rex "We can look further if you want. I can get us back up."

Carmine "It's so dark down here though..."

Xar'Rex "I could light it, but..."

Xar'Rex "I don't want to draw attention.... Or do we?"

Carmine "It would make sure the behemoth was here, so we didn't have to hunt it in the dark.."

Xar'Rex shrugs, and lobs a ball of fire into the depths below

Storyteller is now known as Giant

Giant roars in surprise as the fire flares past it and lands a few yards to its left. Frantically covering its large, pale eyes with its hands, the giant whimpers in pain.

Xar'Rex "Ooh it does not like light."

Carmine "...poor thing."

Xar'Rex "We could talk to it?"

Carmine "Maybe."

Carmine "If it gets angry, we can always glow."

Xar'Rex "Yes. Let us do that." He releases his deathgrip on the wall and they descend

Giant huddles itself up, hugging its pale-fleshed legs to its sleek, hairless chest. The entire beast, curled up as it is, resembles a monstrously big humanoid snail. It's eyes are raised above its skull on fleshy stalks, all four of them. On its back is a heavy growth of chitin, but it doesn't look like a shell. More like armor.

Giant whimpers quietly to itself, not noticing that it has visitors.

Xar'Rex lands with a thud, and sets Carmine down, being careful not to mar her skin

Carmine "..hello?"

Giant huddles tighter at the thud, still covering its eyes with massive, soft-fleshed hands. It whines when Carmine speaks, peaking briefly out to see, then hurridly hiding its eyes again

Xar'Rex lowers the flame to a tiny glow

Carmine "... are you okay?" she asks, taking a step closer

Giant "Hurts!"

Giant has a soft, feminine voice with the high pitch normally associated with very small children. Strange, coming from such a huge creature.

Xar'Rex studies the giant

Carmine "Sorry." she says, and steps closer still, touching it.

Giant is unarmed and, aside from its shell-like back, unarmored. In the way of clothing, the giant wears a thick goat of mud that shines faintly with sparkly crushed rock. And some sort of animal skin around its nether areas.

Giant "Bright not-night hurts. Why bring not-night? Why hurt?"

Carmine "It's hard for us to see in the dark."

Xar'Rex "Are you here to take the girl that comes down?"

Giant nods, sullen and sad, still shielding its eyes.

Carmine "Where do you take her?

Carmine "

Giant gestures down the only tunnel out of this grotto. "Down."

Xar'Rex "Who is your master? Your father?"

Giant shakes head, whimpering

Xar'Rex "Please tell us."

Carmine "Who, then?" she sends some solar magic into him, easing his pain, making him heal a little faster

Giant "Father of mother's sister's father's husband's aunt."

Xar'Rex tries to sort that out in his head and fails

Carmine is likewise baffled

Xar'Rex "The Behemoth?"

Xar'Rex "Sha-Jumani?"

Giant nods.

Xar'Rex "Does Sha-Jumani not like light?"

Giant "Why bring of not-night say many know-eaters?"

Xar'Rex looks at Carmine, to see if she knows what the hell he said

Carmine "...know-eaters?"

Giant "say know-eater of know-eating? not know of know-eating?"

Xar'Rex "I'm confused."

Giant pokes one eye-stalk out of its hands to peer at the two.

Carmine looks confused too.

Giant "Know-eating eats the knows of other to know for self."

Carmine "...Oh."

Xar'Rex "What does your... Father of mother's sister's father's husband's aunt... wish to do? Is it an army he raises you for?"

Giant "feed the know-eater before seeking fullness of self!"

Giant waggles an eye-stalk at the dragon-king in admonishment.

Xar'Rex blinks

Xar'Rex "Uh.. what do you want to know?"

Giant "Know eater flies already."

Xar'Rex blink blinks

Carmine "...what?"

Giant "Feed the know-eater! Why you fly so many know-eaters!"

Giant is obviously getting impatient with your denseness.

Xar'Rex "I wish..to..free...you?"

Giant "Not trapped."

Xar'Rex "The girl who was to come down was afraid."

Xar'Rex "She wished to know what was here."

Giant "I here!"

Xar'Rex "Yes, but she is afraid of Sha-Jumani"

Giant "No hurt. No not-night here. Safe, safe, safe. Quiet, wet, night. Safe, safe."

Carmine "But we need the not-night."

Giant "Not-night bad. Hurt, burn. Warm, not cold."

Xar'Rex gives carmine a "well we discovered its weakness.." look

Xar'Rex "Yes, cold is good."

Carmine returns it

Xar'Rex "Do you think we should look down further?" he addresses the girl whom he actually *understands* ...well most ...some..of the time.

Carmine "How many brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers and aunts and uncles are you?"

Giant "Many. But only one mother and father."

Carmine "Can you describe Sha-jumani to us, so that we might tell the girl?"

Giant "He is bigger then the biggest, reaching from the far-away to the near. He sees with many catchers of the near-not-night and comforts well. Within his protect-against-harm, he dwells much, but parts of him come forth or, sometimes say old ones, all comes forth. The protect-against-harm is covered in shines-like-not-night-but-cool-and-hards.

Giant "He touches with small-soft-long-stretchy, like arms of stinging pool-plant-that-is-animal."

Giant considers

Giant "He eats much."

Xar'Rex "He... is a glowing tentacle monster?"

Xar'Rex "What does he eat?"

Giant "He eats what he wish."

Xar'Rex "Right."

Carmine "I think we should go now Xar."

Xar'Rex "Yes. Down or up?"

Carmine "Unless you want to look ... up."

Xar'Rex "Yes, we should go together, down. I will carry you. He jumps into the air, and circles around once, then snags Carmine's arms in his claws and flies up the long shaft.

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