Part 12: Entry 12 - The Caldera Lake
The Linking book on Tay returned me to the Moietys secret room behind the prison. I was at a bit of a loss though.
I would need to trap Gehn first, and all signs pointed to him being in his newly written Age, but the domes protecting the linking books were still a mystery to me.
Still, there was something I had missed, quite a while ago according to this journal. It was well enough that I was back on the village island. The prison entrance rumbled into place, and all the guards and villagers were still cowering in their homes.
I was left alone as I walked back to the clear cut part of the forest. The one spare track leading to the last island suggested another way in.
The cart here, likely for lumber, seemed like the culprit.
I climbed into the cart and noticed a lever on the side. You could conceivably pull it from up top, but it seemed like people were meant to ride this thing with the lumber.
I decided not to dwell on it and pulled the lever.
The cart began to steadily trundle down the rail line.
It was honestly a fairly sedate trip at first, but as the cart continued I noticed a glow from ahead and the ride began to pick up speed.
The glow turned out be strange rings emitting heat. The burn was uncomfortable, but it wasnt the worst part.
The cart started to go at breakneck speed through the rings. I just had time to notice the water around me, kept at bay by whatever mysterious mechanism governs it.
The hot air rushed by in my ears, and I felt every ring passing by emitting its heat. It was everything I could do to stop myself from being thrown from the cart into the ocean in between the islands.
It was a long trip between islands, but eventually it was finished.
At the top, I recognized the locked building and the long footbridge.
The cart had slowed down by now, and slowly trundled into another cave.
Gradually the cart pulled to a stop at a metal grate. I took a moment to catch my breath before climbing out.
Which turned out to be a bad idea. The bottom of the cart opened up and dumped me in a chute.
And then I landed in a wood chipper.
Fortunately it wasnt on. I tried the lever out of morbid curiosity but it didnt do anything. Which was just as well, I could imagine this process being automated.
Instead, I clambered off the machine and took a look around.
The island looked like a giant caldera lake, with high sheer cliffs surrounding the entire area.
Along the shore were two wrought metal machines.
One was the wood chipper I arrived on. A pile of wood shavings still sat on the dirt besides the machine.
The other appeared to be a boiler, considering the boiling water, the heat, and so on.
The machines I recognized from one of the stained glass images. Bookmaking machines, isolated on their own island. This may just be Gehns inner sanctum.
The center of the lake had some sort of mechanism poking out of it, with tubes running towards the machines here, and one more leading up into the cliff face. I wasnt all that interested in making wood pulp, so I left it alone.
A path behind the boiler led further around the lake. A balcony above the lake marked my destination.
It was just another climb up the cliff face to reach it. Not the easiest thing in the world but my impromptu nap on Tay had left me refreshed.
So I didnt curse and shout when the hatch at the top merely clunked in place. This place was very secure, no doubt about that.
I clambered down and took another look around. The large outflow pipe of the boiler led up the cliff face as well, and was more than large enough for a person. Maybe that was another way in.
I turned back to take a closer look at the machines.
First off, the strange device in the middle of the lake.
Taking a closer look showed that there was a lever for controlling it, and it seemed to turn to the three pipes. I thought back to the steam powered bridges on Temple Island. Looks like I could only power one thing at a time.
I thought to test it out, turning it to the pipe leading to the wood chipper.
Returning there and pulling the lever revealed I was correct. The machine whirred to life with greased efficiency, probably enough power to reduce a tree log to dust in moments.
That was enough messing around though. I rerouted power to the boiler to see if I could open it up.
I noticed the large access door on the side, but it was securely closed. Probably a safety feature, as I could hear the water boiling inside.
Around the corner were the controls, which seemed like an arcane mess at first.
I poked around with random levers. The one on the right turned off the heat, but the inside was still full of water.
Trying the handle near the window didnt do anything at first, but I noticed the pipe tracing to a point to my left.
It was the pipe leading from the junction in the lake. Looks like there was another split here.
Switching it caused some sort of platform in the boiler to raise to the top of the water. Interesting, maybe for cleaning out the inside.
The wheel on the left raised the tube to some kind of device, but nothing else.
But I realized it was probably powered. Flipping the steam switch to its original position created a churning sound as water emptied out of the boiler.
I had mostly just pulled things at random, but it worked. The boiler was empty and ready to enter.
It was still warm and very humid inside. The metal flooring and rails were hot to the touch.
But the platform let me enter the pipe at the bottom of the boiler
The trip was cramped, dark, and humid. This was probably the pipe for emptying wastewater after the wood pulp was finished.
After crawling for a while on my hands and knees, I noticed a light from ahead, and a ladder set into the pipe. At least this one wasnt straight up and down.
Reaching the top revealed the exit to the pipe.
I was a little concerned when the view appeared to be the ocean far below.
Checking below revealed a perfectly reachable ledge below me that didnt involve plummeting into the ocean.
I hopped down and followed a barely there dirt path around the top of the cliff. Reaching the top gave me an excellent view of the lake below.
The path led to the balcony I had seen from below.
First things first, I wanted to open up a path that didnt involve climbing into a boiler.
The hatch had a handle on this end, which clicked and opened up easily. Now the only thing barring my way up here was a two story climb.
But I didnt anticipate going back down there. I entered the doors of the balcony to see more of this island.
Ambient: Dripping water
I entered a cool, dark cave. Something about the way my footsteps echoed on the grating suggested an open space far below me.
It was still humid, but cool and clammy instead of warm and cloying.
The only thing in the cave was some sort of cage device though.
I tried the lever, and nothing happened. I was confused at first, but then I remembered the device in the lake, and the third pipe disappearing somewhere in the cliffs.
It wasnt a long trip, especially with the hatch opened, but my legs were burning from all the climbing Ive been doing.
I got back and caught my breath. I noticed that there was a steady noise coming from above, and noticed the fan there. The grate had popped off, somehow, but the fan itself was still running. But why ventilate a cave?
In any case, I was curious about this thing device. The handle at the top opened the cage, revealing a pad. It looked like a trigger of some sort.
The bowl at the side was full of pellets of some kind, some sort of animal food. I picked one up and carefully placed it on the pad.
The lever lowered the cage into the depths of the cave. I sat and waited for a bit, but nothing happened.
I strolled back to the balcony to look around. There didnt appear to be any other paths around here.
I could even see a metal walkway to the right, but thus far I didnt see any way there.
While I was looking around, I heard a snap from inside.
I headed back to the device and pulled the lever to lift the cage from the depths. It was closed.
Curious, I used the handles to pry the cage open.
A small orange and black frog stared at me from inside. It chirped, just like the eye near the tram station. Interesting. I wondered if the bright colors meant the same thing here as they do on Earth.
It hopped, looking like it was trying to hide. Then it hopped away into the darkness. After a second, I heard a splash as it hit the water far below.
It was an interesting diversion, but I had reached another dead end. The island here, which seems to be for making books, is distressingly barren. Sensible, if it was an old caldera. Still, I know theres more to this island. I just need to find where that entrance is.