Jerrin talks his way out of the house a few days later, saying he was invited to a book club meeting by his new friend Marten; his mother concedes, recommending some “proper elven literature” to share. Richard awakens by dawn, but is unable to find Caery- her footprints lead out of the cave, up to the surface of the water, and stop. He wonders at her absence and apparent ability to disguise her prints, but thinks he’ll look for her in town. Marten leaves the house with a sneaking suspicion he’s late for Book club.
Aelita is the only one who has forgotten that this was book club day- Sasha simply doesn’t care, and heads out for a walk in the rain- Aelita won’t let her go alone, and Marten, Jerrin and Richard are caught up in Sasha’s search for someone to pick a fight with. Other people are out in the rain, performing minor repairs in the rain, trying to batten down the hatches further. At a loss, Sasha decides to take her posse to explore the supposed tunnels beneath the city- after some consternation, Marten lets Sasha know that the tunnels start beneath the Temple; they stop by Mona’s to get Jerrin some proper arrows, because he doesn’t have any. (His mother insists that a true elven hunter needs only three arrows, but really she has only three because she doesn’t want to buy arrows made by some Human.)Mona still has the arrows she made for Aelita, which Aelita doesn’t want to exchange for her blunts, so they loan those to Jerrin, no cost. Mona has been spending the day inside with tea and smutty books.
The group explores the crypts beneath the empty temple, finding more than half a dozen bricked-off pasageways, and seeing that the main one has been blocked with piled rubble. They pick a tunnel and proceed to kick in the bricks through ongoing concerten effort. Meanwhile, Richard goes and kicks in a second passage unbeknownst to the party, then returns. Though they hear a foreboding clatter, as of bones scattering on the floor, they enter the passageway. It leads down to a T-section, where they are ambushed by a magically-imbued (Gravetouched) ghoul. Though it’s a tough initial round, the party soon overwhelms the creature, and continues onwars to find the split seems to have once joined in a great chamber. An underground river rushes below, and the floor seems unstable- Aelita proves this by stepping out onto the tiles, and falling through into the water. Marten dives in after her and rescues her as the rest of the party comes running. Richard jumps down into the water from the other side, and discovers a passageway whose floor is just over the surface of the water.
The group gets Aelita wrapped up in a cloak whilst Richard, insisting he has another way up, refuses to climb the rope and then heads, alone down these waterlogged stairs. He continues long after his light runs out, until he reaches the level where the water has filled the passage. The party, meanwhile, grew worried after having not heard from him for more than five minutes, and followed- Aelita triggered ongoing healing on herself and jumped off of the edge after him. (I jumped off a cliff for you!) Richard swims downward, groping blindly in the water toward gods only know what, intending to return when he was a quarter out of breath. Under the water, he was attacked by a Lacedon, and retreated, but was struck unconscious from blood loss and trauma just as he reached the surface. The party arrived just in time to save him, and drag his unconscious body back up the stairs, where Aelita healed him. Having grown quickly exhausted of their expedition, they leave the tunnels. Sasha escorts Richard and Aelita back to the River Shrine, where she leaves them. Richard shifts, and moves to run from Aelita- she briefly grabs hold of him, but he wriggles free and bounds off, much to her chagrin.
Meanwhile, Marten and Jerrin go get Mona, whom they think is their best bet for help in closing that apparently dangerous tunnel back up. She is elated to have nomething more interesting to do, and gets dressed, following them into the tunnels where the three of them stack the bricks back up over the entrance, piling excess junk in the way to ensure it stays blocked. Unaware of Richard’s second opening, they leave that one alone.