The camp has been moved to the eastern side of the cavern. There, the coast is vast and much more even. This area will be ideal for any long-term research camp and has the potential for some more permanent infrastructure that I had planned.
On the well-lit eastern lands flows the Chol Vae which vaguely translates to “warmly lit flow” in the ancients’ words. It plummets from high up the monumental wall before running vigorously down to the shore in a clean bed of milky pebbles. Part of the Vae will be deviated to a perpendicular trench that will suffice to irritate a large area of cultures. The soil, while rich and thick, is better suited for the variety of edible fungi and plants of the deep but could potentially sustain some surface-dwelling crops.
Evan is currently digging the trench with a great deal of effort, while I myself have been clearing out the area and traveling to and from the surface. I must admit his knowledge in botany and agriculture has been immensely beneficial to this project. In addition, he has been so enamored with the prospect of such immense uncharted lands that he shows no signs of homesickness yet. He seems fully satisfied with a long term lifestyle as an underground castaway biologist. It reminds him of the era of great explorers, he says, a time of discovery and adventure. I wish his mind would remain as light and objective when he inevitably will be drawn deeper. To places where the warm glow of the Amarina is but a dream.
North of the Vae close to the camp, we were able to construct a sturdy furnace. It is being fired as such: a large tank is filled with decomposing lichen mulch and produces a large quantity of highly flammable gas, which is piped to the lower portion of the firepit. This alone produces a constant, bright, and smokeless flame. The biomass is plentiful. Easily collected from the lower prairies, and the tank only needs filling every 30 to 35 hours. When the furnace is not being used, logs of tall fungi are being cooked into a brittle coal-like material, which is in turn used to complement the fire as higher temperatures are sometimes required.
This material is in fact light and burns strongly for long periods of time, which makes it ideal when camping far from the main base.