It was a fairly natural crevice, unworked by heat or hammer, and as such how wide it was tended to fluctuate greatly. Roob found himself sideways (shoulder first) on several occasions, squeezing himself between the sections of blood-red material that he could. His gear didn’t help the situation, and Roob blamed his foresight in the matter. Already deep within the scarlet walls of the crevice though, Roob decided it best to continue forward. For a split second, after looking back and forward, Roob disoriented himself, forgetting for the briefest of instances which shoulder had been leading. The confusion lasted only a second, and Roob continued, hopefully in the same direction he had been going. He distracted himself from the tedium by considering the value this vein would have to the Tribe. If it ended in a cavern, the opening could be widened out and used as a Barrow. Even if it didn’t, this was a sizeable vein of critical material, worthy of being mined.
Roob almost fell face first on his next step. It was a tricky squeeze: the two walls were only navigable in a lightning bolt shape for two steps, each perpendicular to the last. As if tight, blind corners weren’t enough, the walls opened up sideways and the floor down into a set of steps. Roob’s balance saved him, as he threw out the arm that wasn’t holding the lantern and grabbed a hold of a jut in the wall.
He stepped down a couple of steps and carefully turned to examine them close up. There… Roob had thought the light played strangely on them, and closer he could see the tell-tale signs of workmanship on the material. The hammer-and-chisel marks left by the white-hot tools were even, and still hard to notice. Roob turned back down the stairs, his face quizzical; the knife usually at his hips in his hand.
Roob knew there weren’t supposed to be any other Tribes in this area. He made a point to ask for the most recent territory maps his Tribe had before going out to look for Barrow sites. Roob by himself didn’t have the station to negotiate with another tribe for mound-access rights. He’d been sent to do so for other Tribes before, usually as a peace gesture, but stumbling into someone else’s turf and then nosing in their business usually made you seem confused at best and incompetent at worst. This place, so close to the trees, was not and had not been claimed by any Tribe. If there was material to be had here, it was believed it would only exist under the tree roots, and since the trees defied the Rain and forsook its gifts, no one was willing to bother.
The situation back at Roob’s Tribe had grown bad however. They were quickly outgrowing the Barrow and needed to find a new one soon or start casting people out. They didn’t have the man-power to force another Tribe to give them access to their mounds, not since a freak accident had wiped out one of the Tribe’s Barrow. Their few allies also didn’t have any mounds to spare, nor with the Wet season coming on, could they spare any men. So they’d sent Roob out to investigate the mounds in the no-man’s land.
The stairway continued into the depth, until the ceiling that had previously been omni-present, was now aloof. At the same time, the stairs ended into a naturally even floor, facing a small hallway that led to a dome. Roob had heard of pockets of critical material forming shapes with shapes, usually domes within domes. In regular practice, one mined the critical material out from the middle and used it for day to day necessities… one did not often encounter doors in them.