Noh is curious about the runes and takes a closer look at the chalk circle with his learned Druid's eye. Some of the symbols he recognizes from a magazine article about whaling: they are ancient good-luck charms that the mariners of Kingsport and Nantucket would carve on their ships to ward against sea monsters or perfect storms. Other, fresher chalk-markings are modern, plain-English warnings like: Pit of Insanity, Don't listen to a word It says, Its Promises are Poison, or Adventure Club Members Please for the Love of All You Hold Dear, don't LOOK at It!
Occasional drops of salt-water drip from the ceiling like slow water torture. One of the drops falls on the back of Noh's hand, and Carc shivers at the near-miss of his own feathers. Out of instinctive curiosity, Noh licks the liquid from his skin. It tastes salty, viscous, and full of minerals. It reminds Noh of one time he was a kid and got his nose busted up by a bully. He licked his top lip and got a mouthful of blood, snot, and tears. The feel of this primal cave-soup in his mouth gives Noh a flashback to that childhood moment of shame and defeat.
Noh estimates that the slow percolation of sulphorous mineral-water from the cavern roof, would be the bare minimum to sustain the life functions of a large, amphibious creature trapped down the well. The subject would not thrive or be comfortable, but neither would its skin completely dry out. Hobbet hydrologists couldn't have engineered a better system, to sustain an aquatic prisoner at death's door for a long, long time.
As Noh ponders all of this, he notices that Dougal's big toe is right up to the edge of the protective chalk circle. "Uhhh.... Dougal?" he warns out loud.