We decided that the best way to get inside the tower was to try and sneak up as close as we could to the camp without being detected by following the raised railroad across the river and using it to provide a bit of cover. While sneaking closer, we happened to overhear a pair of people from the camp talking. It was difficult to make out, but the gist we got was that they were unhappy, and possibly being held there against their will, leading to talk of “escape” and the like. It was around this time that they spotted us as well. Sensing an opportunity, Kat and myself ran up to them to try and enlist them into our plans to get inside the tower. It was around this time that our plan of “stealth” started to break down as well. After some… unorthodox… persuasion methods by Kat, I realized that we really weren’t getting any where, and the fact that bullets were beginning to fly wasn’t helping matters. The woman of the pair we were talking to seemed to be the brighter and more useful of the two, and also probably higher ranking, so I dragged her to the other side of the tent we were using for cover to try and explain our situation more thoroughly. She did turn out to be the captain of the guards or some equivalent, and was able to call out to the others to get them to stop firing. While my compatriots had, ah, “persuaded” the man we had been talking to not to make a scene, using bullets, I was able to talk the woman into opening the door to the tower for us. I also tried to convince her to come with us, both because she might have useful knowledge and because she seemed like another soul that might need saving, but she could not be persuaded that far. Still, the door was now opened to us, so perhaps the Lord had a need for her elsewhere. Mysterious ways and all that.
Inside the tower, it was dark and musty. I was expecting…. I don’t know what I was expecting. I was expecting something more than what we found, at least. At first it just seemed to be a system of caverns, no different that what we would expect to find a thousand other places around the midwest. Certainly not anything worth guarding. There were no artificial or natural sources of light, so I called upon the Lord to provide us with a way of seeing, and he answered my prayers, to not leave His children wandering in darkness while trying to do His will. At this point our indian friend Will, being more practiced in stealth and scouting, took point and we began to explore.
We found a path down at one point, which was markedly different than any other we had found by virtue of having an awful stench coming from it. Given that this indicated at least something different than yet more rocks and cavern, we decided to explore that way. The path led us to a larger cavern which had some flowing water in it, falling off to a place so deep we couldn’t see it. There was also a large metal machine of some sort, possibly a power source? We didn’t get to explore it in depth, however. The water, as we approached, seemed to have snakes in it at first. As my comrades got closer, however, it turned out they were not individual creatures, but were in fact the tentacles of a massive octopus. We seem to have disturbed it, and it attacked. It tried to grab both (Ricky) and William, dragging them to the edge of the water with the apparent intention of drowning them. Fortunately, William was able to break free. (Ricky) was less fortunate, being knocked unconscious when the beast slammed him into the ground. While the others were firing at the thing to little effect, I was able to get close to our downed companion and used my faith to shield us from further attacks while also healing his wounds enough to keep him from dying. At this point it was decided that a tactical withdrawal was the best plan, and my friends dragged our companion out while I maintained the barrier that was protecting us. Our escape seemed to enrage the beast, and it broke the metal contraption we had noticed before, which turned out to be full of ghost rock. This also seemed to cause the water in the area to begin rising, and it seems we made our escape just in time, back down the tunnel the thing was too large to follow us through. Given its ferocity and size, we determined that while we were currently ill-equipped to deal with it, we would have to return later to put the thing down for the safety of anyone else who might explore the tower (or any other nearby towns if it should happen to escape). That said, we’ll probably need to bring some dynamite. Or lots of dynamite. Or maybe a cannon. Anyway, that was no longer our immediate concern, but something to be considered for later. (Also there was now a small fortune in ghost rock in the bottom cavern, another minor consideration.)
So, we continued exploring in other directions. At one point William tripped, I guess having caught a stray rock the wrong way. The noise or vibration or something must have awoken a nest of desert rattlers, however. How fortunate that he fell outside of what we would later learn seemed to be their nest, rather than first leading us directly into the middle of it. Again, truly a sign that the higher powers were watching out for us and guiding us in this mission. Anyway, we dispatched these horrible creatures, including one that was a different color than the others and proceeded to explode on being shot, spraying acid all around it. Fortunately I had realized the danger this odd mutant posed, and had directed my comrades to move away from it before dispatching it. However, the spray of acid was still enough to coat (and destroy) (Ricky’s) boots. Again, however, providence was in our favor, and upon exploring the nest of the awful rattlers, we found a corpse who, among other things, still had on a pair of boots that fit our companion close enough, despite protests of them being a bit too tight. The corpse was also carrying $250 in Confederate money. I try to avoid the money of traitors, but I suppose there’s something to be said for it if we can put it to more righteous uses. There didn’t seem to be anything else of use on the corpse.
So, this nest is where we have decided to rest currently. I didn’t tell the others, for fear of needlessly making them even more nervous (as there is no shortage of things to be actually nervous about in this place) but I’m fairly sure this “cavern” is actually the hollowed out remains of what was previously a Queen Rattler. Still, no others have attacked us, so we seem to have cleared out the nest. I will update this with any further discoveries we may come across.