Underground


They are cold. They are wet. They are exhausted. Sitting cross-legged on the damp stone of the cavern floor in the lambent glow of a single candle, Valindra takes stock of their situation. They have travelled all night without sleep, following the course of an underground stream for miles, wading its icy waters before finding this relatively dry place to rest. Along the way, they have fought and they have killed.

She clasps a small wooden bowl of nettle and rosehip tea in her delicate fingers, sipping slowly, trying to warm herself even the tiniest bit, shivering in her sodden buckskins. Her face, like her companions’, is drawn and pale. Huddled together, they silently nibble their hard tack and sip their tea in the meager pool of candlelight. Beyond the light, the stygian darkness looms with almost conscious menace. Who knows what terrors the night may bring.

And yet, somehow, her mood is buoyant. Despite its perils, this subterranean realm awes Valindra with its ineffable beauty. The dripping stalactites, the pillared limestone cathedrals, the lilting music of the underground streams, the sheets of flowstone folded like fine linen curtains, the glimpses of mineral deposits winking fulgently in the deep silent earth. These all fascinate her and break her heart with wonder. As a creature of the forest, she has had but scant experience with the world beneath the earth’s surface, but the alien splendor of it all, the chthonic majesty, has piqued her elven curiosity and moved her deeply. Even in the face of death and peril she cannot help but ache at this newfound aspect of the Leaf Lord’s being.

She silently mouths a prayer of gratitude over the steaming lip of her bowl:

Thank you, Oh Father
For this amazing day,
For the true dream of the Earth,
For everything that is Natural,
That is Infinite,
That is Yes*


Valindra quietly finishes her tea and begins to restring her longbow. She has first watch alone tonight, and it will not do to have a dampened bowstring while the others depend upon her.

(*E.E. Cummings sort of)
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2 comments

2 Comments

Valindra's appreciation for nature really comes through in this. She can really see the beauty in everything
Really nice. I love the contrast between the cold and wet physical misery and the beauty of the underground. I can’t wait until Saturday!