You start to follow Heather down the tunnels. However, due to the sudden lack of lighting, it's not long before you lose sight of her completely and are left to fend for yourself.
"Great," you mutter. "Just great. Now what do I do?"
You look around, hoping to find some clue as to how to get out and cursing yourself for not bringing so much as a box of matches or a lighter.
The sound of voices drift down from somewhere to your left. It sounds like an argument's getting started. But, you think, any human company's better than none. Maybe they can tell me how to get to the Lerin Plains.
Having decided on this course of action, you feel your way around the wall and try to follow the voices. After about ten minutes of fumbling around, tripping, and generally heading towards the sound, you emerge in a room that could quite happily house a shopping mall. It's roughly oval in shape, with several tunnels leading out, a few ledges leading into large caves which, you notice, are all empty, and no ceiling.
The argument, you notice, is happening almost right in front of you. Two girls are standing almost nose to nose and talking about something in a completely foreign language, and one you think you couldn't begin to learn.
"Uh...hate to interrupt," you say tentatively, not knowing if they understand you, "but..."
The two of them turn round simultaneously.
"Oh, that's okay," the dark skinned one says. "I'm Vhari, and my friend here," she turns to glare at the other, "is Liaza. We were just discussing what to do about the Eledranis."
"I was discussing," Liaza corrects. "You were ranting and raving. To cut a long story short," she adds, ducking the playful swipe Vhari takes at her, "we've spent all our time here trying to sort out the Eledranis, and we've only just managed to get settled into our own place. We're actually best friends, although you wouldn't think it to hear us, and we wanted one together."
"After all," Vhari cuts in, "who else could prank the others in this mountain?"
"Right, right, so dragonriding was out of the question. They like one person per cave, not two. Then Vhari remembered seeing a strange creature when she was out exploring...turns out it was a Xeenith. We eventually managed to track down where they came from, and noticed there were quite a few abandoned creatures there."
"So we decided to adopt them!" Vhari finishes excitedly.
"Not adopt, not yet," Liaza corrects. "We've applied to adopt them from the Night Plains. We're still waiting to hear from them...although we do have a couple of our own creatures," she adds.
"This is Fina," Vhari tells you, raising one arm. The gold flitters down to land on it, preening. "And this little blue ball of trouble," she adds lightly as a blue comes to join her, "is Zafor."
There's a brief argument between the pair as they contest for space on Vhari's arm. Eventually the girl jerks irritably, sending both flying into the air.
"I just wish they got on a little better," she says lightly.
A slight chirruping noise causes you to look down.
"Oh yeah," Vhari says with a grin. "That's Iko the iboe. He's a custom iboe from DragonMoon." She sighs. "Sadly, it's closed down now, but luckily we were able to get Iko just before it did."
During this exchange, a bronze has come to land on Liaza's shoulder. He perches there in a kind of dignified manner, as if to show what good behaviour is.
"We found a clutch at Sapphire Weyr," Liaza explains. "Vhari got the queen and the blue and I was lucky enough to get a bronze!" The bronze stretches his wings, then curls up on her shoulder. "His name's Arilm," Liaza tells you proudly. "He's-"
"There you are!"
You turn and see Heather emerging from a different tunnel, panting.
"I've been looking all over for you!" she says. "Why didn't you stay behind me?"
"I tried," you answer, "but it was too dark."
"Oh, okay. I've been meaning to get some light down in that tunnel anyway-you're not the first who's gotten lost. Although I have to admit, not many find their way up here. Are you ready to go?"
"Yeah, I'm ready," you answer. "Come back another time," Vhari says. "Maybe we'll have some new friends up here!"
"Not much chance of that," Liaza mutters. "I think I'm stuck with this old friend."
This sparks off another friendly argument and you decide it might be better to follow Heather outside.