Stranger Underground


Tonight’s story brings us to the mystical city of Lacuna.

As you recall, we’d previously fallen into a hole and ended up in an enchanted underground library. After overcoming some magical hazards we found ourselves face-to-face with an imposing guardian.

The huge stone sphinx never actually moved — I’m pretty sure — but every time you glanced about or lost focus it would appear to do something and draw your attention right back. It gets pretty unsettling, let me tell you, when an apparently immobile statue repeatedly growls at you or seems to be wagging its tail. It’s also weird when you’re sure it’s talking aloud or watching you but isn’t moving a muscle.

Anyway, we managed to rest and recover in its presence somehow (I didn’t sleep much) before undertaking the entry challenge. We answered the three riddles and were deemed worthy. For security reasons, I can’t tell you the answers even if I could remember the riddles. I do remember Telsin and I being clever though.

Past the sphinx we found an elegantly appointed though oddly colored sitting room. The floor seemed to be made of a strange flowing lava, though it turned out to be harmless. The room, with its strange orange and purple chairs, desk, and books, was a part of an understandably notable inn: the Lava Pit. It’s obvious where the name comes from, though I never did learn why the floor was like that.

To everyone’s great surprise, the room belonged to Braxtil who was an old friend of Daveon’s. Well, really, an old acquaintance. He seemed friendly enough when he offered us a tour but mostly he just lead us into the hands of the authorities.

You see, we were outsiders in Lacuna and since it is a hidden and carefully guarded city like Respite, we weren’t supposed to be there without permission. Understandably, they were quite concerned that we’d managed to enter the city without permission.

Naturally, we volunteered to leave. We didn’t ask to fall into a hole, enchanted library, or Lacuna. It just sorta happened. They weren’t having it. I understand; gotta protect your hiding place. Can’t just let unknown people leave with secret knowledge. So we tried a different track: Respite trusts us, so you should too. They seemed amenable to that idea so Daevon showed them Lord Aetil’s signet ring as proof of our word and we became provisional members of the Lacuna.

Like any good story, it’s never quite that easy though. We’d only earned our way out of jail and then had to prove our worthiness (again!) by helping the city. Our entrance was but one of the strange occurrences they’d been dealing with. Maddy, who I can best describe as a dark elf, was assigned to be our guide.

Hmm, right. I haven’t really described Lacuna. As you’d expect from how we reached it, it’s entirely underground. The population as mostly gnomes and dwarves, but like, particularly rocky-looking ones. It’s pretty clear they’re mostly related, but that theirs is much more of an underground society. Hehe. Like Respite though, as a haven for the out-of-favor, there were plenty of other races present, including our elven friend Maddy. Building-wise, most everything was stone as you’d expect, but they’d cleverly filled nearly every available surface in the cavern. The walls were obviously occupied, but they’d also filled out some neat towering pointy rock formations within the cavern itself. And all this was nothing compared to the Lacuna itself; the big magic crystal that made it all work.

So anyway, we set off to help. Maddy took us to a different section of the library that had also been behaving oddly. This one had a similar color scheme, but was decorated with Hydras instead of Gryphons. They’d been having trouble with their magical defenses and we helped by squashing some beetles. Poor Daevon, Maddy, and Caleb spent hours patching the books back together.

You look confused. Oh right. These weren’t like little garden beetles, they were like 10-foot-tall magical monstrous beetles. They plowed right through the wall destroying bookshelves in order to attack us. We fended them off. It was mostly no big deal. But like, heroically no big deal.

When you look back, it’s amazing how far we’d come. Once upon a time, slightly oversized wolves were this huge threat. And that was even before mobile plants and living elementals became familiar. And then these 10-foot beetle things? Yeah, they were mostly no problem. Ambushed in an underground magic library? Yeah whatever. Fixing the books turned out to be more work. Though some of that might have had to do with Daevon trying to read them all at the same time.

Oh, sorry. I’ve wandered off course again. Look at the time! We’ll have to finish up later. Goodnight.



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