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Chapter III: Setting Up Shop
Thanks to the local folklore and legends, Meldave’er managed to pinpoint the entrance to the Underworld and the expedition party reached the foothills of Mount Olympus the very next day. Finding the cave that held the entrance was simple, as Meldave’er could sense the power emanating from it. However, as soon as they stepped on the ground of Hades, they were met by a grotesque gate, stretching high up into the smog above, seemingly never-ending. At the monstrous entrance, they found the gatekeeper of the Underworld – Cerberus. The three-headed hound, as the legends say, was there to prevent anyone from leaving Hades but wasn’t happy letting anyone through the other way around either.
Confident that the pathway is secure, the group went back up to the surface and set up a portal to Soranus-13, to start fortifying the position and erect their first forward operating base and research center. Right under Mount Olympus. This outpost is expected to be a great research opportunity for Dr. Holmes, and at the same time, it will serve as an early notice if anything breaks through the passage to Hades.
While the base was being built, Meldave’er and general Sucinai debriefed Daegna’ar on the latest news of the region and started planning their next move. It was clear that there is something brewing in the neighboring land between the Romioi and Shirdalinid Empires, and defensive positions on both sides were a clear sign that it could be somehow connected with the Shirdalinid leader, going off the rails, according to gossip gathered by the scouts.
Their next stop was Roma, the capital city of the Romioi Empire. It was decided to travel by ship to avoid going completely blind into something they knew nothing about. Hiring a small ship to take them to the capital was not really a hard thing to manage. Thanks to the portal capabilities, the group managed to stock up the ship with some provisions. In exchange, they will be boarding the cargo vessel heading out to Roma.
While traveling, Meldave’er studied the scriptures the Cuties sourced in Infernum. He went over the legend of the tower, learning quite a bit more about it. When he heard about the legend from the elders he talked to, he remembered that he welcomed several of the workers from that tower into Infernum. Most of them fell off the tower’s shoddy scaffolding, and all of these workers were very chatty upon arrival. Talking all about their great accomplishment, which is set to become the pinnacle of mortal ingenuity. They also talked about their King a lot. If memory serves Meldave’er right, that same king was roaming in Infernum with a pack of his devoted followers, searching for his new kingdom. According to the legend, they are all buried within the tower itself, but it seems like they have found a way out after being immured in that cursed building for who knows how many hundreds of years. The question is whether or not they got out through the apex of the tower, or through one of the lower levels. As it is said that the pinnacle of the tower holds an artifact made a very long time ago.