Celo and Morath headed off west through the tunnel. The smell of horse droppings was strong in their nostrils, quickly masking the stench of blood that filled the gate behind them. It was still early: a pallid pre-dawn glow from the open gate behind them soon leached away in the depths of the tunnel.
Straining their ears and eyes the two rogues padded as silently as possible westward. A deep, low sound, as of a mighty roaring masked by many feet of rock, filled the tunnel: it seemed to press in on them as a physical pressure, the deeper in they crept. A dull orange glow began to be visible, pooling out across the junction of the T-shaped outer defenses. Somewhere beyond the glow to the left or south, the main gate detail waited. Had they heard Yemmi’s racket over the background noise? And somewhere straight ahead, the third guard section defended the west gate.
Far below their feet, the Valkia ended the first leg of its journey at the sheer rock face. At this time of year, rains swelled the river to a roiling giant. Here at the mountain pass the Valkia disappeared underground, shouldering its way down under the raw rock of the mountains, becoming a nameless maelstrom beneath the templar fortress, and at last emerging, tamed, in Gunderland. Its tremendous power could be felt and heard throughout the natural stone bridge that was the Roaring Pass.