Travelling further south the Survivors came across another traveller’s cave, this time marked with a metal sign painted green. Sensing more terrifying weather, they wisely chose to stay the night here.
Investigation of the cave revealed it was somewhat heated by a geothermal vent, no doubt the reason past travellers had marked it with a sign. The cave’s walls were made up of volcanic rock which, when scraped away in one part, revealed the back end of an unfamiliar four-wheeled vehicle.
In the morning the Survivors were greeted by what at first seemed to be more perverse weather. Air pressure fluctuated wildly and everyone felt the need to hold their ears until a loud pop happened. But the pop wasn’t their ears, it was the appearance of Bradamante. After some initial confusion, the group were able to figure out that though Bradamante didn’t look (black skin) or dress like them (stone age hunter/gatherer)…that somehow Bradamante was one of them. She spoke their language, felt hunted as they did and they all instinctively felt comfortable with each other.
After this there was some tense travel across rolling hills which eventually brought them to the base of the Sheared Mountain, part of a range of tall mountains which seemed to shield whatever lay south of them from the horrible weather systems the Survivors had seen between there and the Lighthouse. Along the way Bradamante had a disconcerting habit of periodically flickering in and out of existence, always returning with no memory of where she had been.
Cautiously going up a winding path which lead to the mountain’s decapitated peak – which seemed to have an opening that could lead to valuable shelter – the survivors encounter the first non-survivor they’ve seen since The Boatman. It was a very rusty, seemingly decades or even centuries old robot. The robot had a trilingual head resting atop a spherical body which was supported by three long, spindly legs that brought it to a height of about seven feet.
Unfortunately for them it was some kind of guard robot with a still functioning laser protruding from it’s torso. After Roland was able to blow one of it’s legs in two, Shiva tipped the creature and wrestled it into submission before dragging the thing to the top of the mountain and casting it down a steep slope. During the fight it landed a hit on Rydell’s shoulder which showed how surprisingly durable the black suits they’d all woken up in were.
As night fell, the survivors found their way up the rest of the path to set up camp just inside the gated cave. They all agreed it was best to be properly recovered from the day’s travels and encounters before exploring deeper into the mountain.