But somehow, they didn't stop charging forward - whether they had too much momentum or someone had pushed them from behind, they couldn't tell - and the whole group of six was plunged through the gateway into sudden darkness.
Location: Solitaire Island
Jaythus awoke to a stifling blackness. He couldn't see anything at all - everything around him was just endlessly dark.
As his tumbling mind began to recover, he realized he was on the floor, by the hard feel on his cheek and the odd feeling he was getting at his current angle. His helmet was not on his head; his blonde hair was dirty with bits of gravel, but the rest of his armour still seemed to be on him. Slowly, Jaythus heaved himself up, the clank and weight of his plate mail more burdensome than helpful. He wiped his face and hair on his glove, and stood upright.
He still seemed to be in the tunnels, but it was even darker than before. Jaythus reached into his pack, fumbling through things until he came upon a flint and tinder. Striking it a couple of times, Jaythus produced a small flame, which lit up the small passageway he was in with an orange glow.
His sword, shield and helmet lay scattered around him. Jaythus lent down and picked up his Morcian blade, and sheathed it. The shield was slung over his backpack. The cave felt strangely hot, so Jaythus put his purple helmet away in his bag.
Making sure to keep the fire alive, Jaythus looked around. Above him was a hole in the low ceiling; he seemed to have fallen - or been dropped - down it. Though he could just about touch the edges, he could not grab it and climb up through it.
Jaythus tried to think of a way up. He thought through the stories he had read about during the long, peaceful hours in his faraway home of Morcia. Jayko Falconensis, he remembered, had escaped up through a well shaft once, with Elwen dan Raleigh, if he remembered right. But he had a chain,
Jaythus thought miserably. The only rope had been with Viktor.
It was only then that Jaythus realized that he was actually alone - there was no-one else with him. Throughout the last months, he had been through terrible perils and had seen some horrifying sights, but there had always been someone - Santis, or Solesstorn, or Viktor - to share the fear and anxiety with, and to rely on. Now Jaythus was alone, and he only had himself and his wits and equipment to rely on. The thought crushed Jaythus.
But at the same time, he felt a surge of strange hope - he could still make it through, even alone. There was a long tunnel leading out before him - who knew where it went? Jaythus shouldered his pack and shield, lit a torch with his small fire, loosened his sword in its scabbard and began to march forward into the unknown.