Where the Ravens Circle

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Fanta
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Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2016 4:14 pm

Where the Ravens Circle

Postby Fanta » Tue Jun 04, 2019 3:18 am

Irazú Mountains
Northern Zaruma
13 Feb. 1985


"Are you sure about this?", whispered Hector, slipping on his rain jacket in the Jeep.

"What if we're caught?"

"Tranquilo, man they'll never see us." replied Chico as he zipped up his large duffle bag. "Look at this camo I scored from the boat we found."

Chico pulled out the verdant green camouflage jacket he had stolen from a washed up North Point patrol boat. It was worn with age, but still bore the name of its owner, "Price".

"Fuck ", Hector swore under his breath as he flung open the door. "You carry the camera gear, perra."

The two men collected their packs, and set off down the rain slicked path into the heavy mist covering the valley. The humidity clung to them like wool on sheep, but they pressed on. They had both accepted a large sum from a leading Arteran Naturalist Magazine to collect photos of the rare, colourful birds of interior Veridis. Each had been given an assortment of high performance camera gear, along with a stipend to see them through the March holidays if necessary.

At least, that is what they had told the immigration officials in Coimbra two weeks before. Of course the underpaid sap at the desk had no idea that they were ex-Puerto Blancan army working as hired hands for a faceless client on the other end of the phone.

Their actual task given was to gather photos of what some described as an unholy, reclusive cult that killed any outsider on sight. What they were looking for, they were told, they'd know when they would see it.

Their only clue, a shard of broken pottery, presented them with an image of a smiling sun, encircled by 3 ravens.

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Fanta
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Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2016 4:14 pm

Re: Where the Ravens Circle

Postby Fanta » Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:19 am

17. Feb, 1985
23:54


Rain dripped softly on the brown tarp covering the blind Hector and Chico had dug under the canopy of Kapok and Xate trees. Small pools of quicksilver reflected in the pale miasma of heavy mist emanating from the waterfall upstream from their vantage point overlooking the Trujilo Valley.

"When does it start?" asked Hector, cleaning the camera lenses and binoculars they had set up in their blind.

"Soon", replied Chico, "the man said that it begins when the moon is gone."

Swatting a mosquito, Hector checked the lunar charts they had brought with them.
Last night had provided them with only a sliver of the moon to light their path through the dark trails of the jungle.
The anthracite clouds overhead were blocking their view of the firmament, but both men knew that there would be no moon that night.

Off in the distance, the dark figure of stonework loomed against the steep crags surrounding the basin of the waterfall. The pair could make out only scant, shifting silhouettes in the darkness through their equipment - but nothing definite. Only a structure they estimated to be between 30-50 metres tall, and large platform adjacent to the upper levels overlooking the river.

"Smoke?"

"Sure"

Hector carefully struck a match from behind the coffee can they had brought, ensuring that no light was visible from inside their temporary home.
He noticed as the flame danced along the end of the match, the wind had shifted - gently relieving them of the humidity they had come to know the past 96 hours.

The mist finally began to clear with the shifting wind, however, it introduced something entirely different to the men; the stench of death.

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North Point
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Re: Where the Ravens Circle

Postby North Point » Sat Jun 08, 2019 1:30 am

3 MONTHS PRIOR

"We swim in one hundred yards, make one left turn, and then we emerge in the first cavern, got it?" Stokes whispered calmly. Vickers and Jones looked apprehensive. Neither man had any experience cave diving. Vickers had dove on a few wrecks off the coast of Poyapano, but this was only Jones' first dive. Stokes and Vickers were from North Point. Jones from Praetonia. His sallow skin was burned to a crisp after several weeks in the Zaruman jungle.

"OK, and it's this button to release air, right?" Jones asked.

"DON'T press that one, you dumb fucking idiot... that one arms the explosive. I'll handle that one. You just leave it alone, right?"

Jones looked crestfallen. "Alright," he whimpered, before Stokes cut him off again.

"You pull this tab," he motioned to the air inlet on Jones' vest, "to put air in the BC. But don't do that while we're in the cave, alright?"

"Right..."

"OK, let's go. Stay right on my tail and do not turn your light off, no matter what..."

Without another word, the three men pulled masks on, put their regulators in, and submerged. Once underwater they flashed the universal "OK" sign to each other, before Stokes took the lead, his flashlight illuminating the darkening water. Small freshwater fish swam around them. All at once, the water turned hazy as they passed through a brine sink. Bubbles from their regulators rose upwards, collecting in pools at the top of the cavern. They swam single file. Soon the narrow and constricted tunnel opened up into what Stokes had called the "first cavern". All three men surfaced. Stokes looked at his watch: "00:42" it read. He pulled his mask off, pointing his flashlight at a small ledge off to the side of the pool.

"Alright, let's get the device set up."


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