Halls Under the Sea

Beginnings

The Winter Sea was frozen between Elderland and Sunderland. Only during the summer months could ships attempt to sail through the shifting islands of ice and whirlwinds of ice and snow. Only elves were swift and sure enough to attempt the voyage and for many centuries they refused passage to any not of their kin. Long ago humans had tried to cross the solid ice and their bodies could still be seen, perfectly preserved in their crystal tombs. Other mortal races were either too wise or timid to follow them. Yet the dwarves had another route.

Deep beneath the ice and snow, beyond the water and the sea floor, there were thousands of tunnels and caverns. Orcs claimed they were fashioned by the ancient dragons that hid from the sun by burrowing ever farther into the earth, only to find its molten core and there learned how to breath fire. Dragons said the passageways were made by a terrible serpent that ate any elf foolish enough to go look for shiny things, which is why the fair folk live in the woods where they can always look to the sky and seeing the stars eases their greed. No matter what a folk believed, all know that these dark places were claimed by the dwarves who came down from their mountain homes and fashion entire cities in the stone.

For a millennium the grand kingdoms flourished and trade flowed under the sea between Elderland and Sunderland, until the Day of the Chaos. Great waves swallowed islands whole, mountains ranges rose from the plains, and rivers dried up. The kingdoms were lost.

Yet, a year ago a hunting party of the Great King Crowseye stumbled upon a crevice in the mountainside. The trench went deeper than any of our halls, farther than any of our mining tunnels. It went into the core of the earth itself. As one of the nameless, I was chosen to be sent down into the chasm on a slender length of elven rope. I never reached the bottom, but what I found was unmistakable. Here was one of the seven entrances to our ancient homeland.

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