subterranean world

2

Tonight I get to hang out with Kman.

Going to catch Grayscale’s set at the Sub T and leave early to get some pizza at Dante’s.

I’ve been dieting and you just don’t know how much I’m looking forward to getting this pizza in and around my mouth. [That’s what she said]. I’m literally going to enjoy every single bite.

I’ve never been to this pizza place, nor seen Grayscale. I think this is Kman’s first time seeing them too? I don’t think they tour Chicago often.

I’m very happy as of late. But what is there really to be sad about? I try to stay positive most of the time because I am a very positive being.

I look forward to so much. I’m just ready to live life. Not that I haven’t been. It’s complicated. But that’s life for you.

To hand-crafted beers
Made in local breweries
To yoga, to yogurt, to rice and beans and cheese
To leather, to dildos, to curry vindaloo
To Huevos Rancheros and Maya Angelou

Emotion, devotion, to causing a commotion
Creation, vacation

Mucho masturbation

Compassion, to fashion, to passion when it’s new

To Sontag

To Sondheim

To anything taboo

Ginsberg, Dylan, Cunningham and Cage,

Lenny Bruce

Langston Hughes

To the stage

To Uta. To Buddha. Pablo Neruda, too.

Why Dorothy and Toto went over the rainbow
To blow off Auntie Em

La vie Bohème!

—  Rent
Siren Song - 5

Although Y/N had been exposed to magic her entire life, few rooms had left her in awe; her breath caught in her chest. She was transported into an alternate world, a subterranean haven disjointed and isolated from the rest of the castle and its inhabitants. As she stepped into the Slytherin common room, Y/N brimmed with an overwhelming sense of house pride. With her initial sweeping glance of the room, she knew this was where she belonged. This was her house. The sorting hat had chosen Slytherin for her for a reason, and Y/N was tooth and nail determined to make the most of her placement.

She surveyed the room closer, familiarizing herself with her new surroundings. The long room was bathed in soft green light that danced upon rough stone walls and Y/N’s eyes immediately were drawn to the large, ornate windows that offered no tableau of the night sky. Her eyes widened when she realized she was gazing into water and, much to her amusement and satisfaction, Y/N felt as if she were peering into an untamed, overgrown aquarium.  

“Wicked, huh? We’re under part of the Black Lake. No other common room is underwater.” Blaise had been watching Y/N’s reaction to the room. “It’s my favorite thing about our common room.”

“It’s awesome.  I’ve never been in a room like this before.” Y/N continued to search the room, her eyes settling momentarily on dark green blown glass lamps suspended by thick metal chains dangling from the ceiling, massive tapestries that dominated wall space and told moving stories about the trials and achievements of Slytherins past, high-backed chairs and large and small tables crafted long ago from some dark and sturdy wood, plush leather sofas sprawling in front of a tremendous stone fireplace, a fire that roared, crackled and glowed bright from its many embers, a tall bookshelf that contained an assortment of old, important looking books, and numerous serpents of all sizes incorporated into the architecture and decor of the room. The common room was dotted with several Slytherin students either doing homework or chatting with friends.

Visually overstimulated by the opulence and detail in front of her, Y/N turned her attention to the distinct smell of the room. If you had asked her an hour ago what she believed a dungeon smelled like, Y/N would have replied with damp, musty, stale, or stagnant. Pleasantly surprised, however, she couldn’t have been any more incorrect about this room. The Slytherin common room instead smelled of leather, rich-wood furniture, parchment, and burning logs from the fire. Occasionally, a whiff of cool, sharp lake water drifted into her nostrils.

Y/N inhaled deeply, “I could get use to this.” She turned her attention to the boy next to her, “Thanks again for bringing me here.” She smiled at him. “Could you also possibly point me in the direction of where my room might be? I want to check and make sure all my stuff got here okay. I already know my owl is in the owlery, but I’ve not seen my trunk or anything in hours.”

“I can do better than just pointing you in the right direction.” Blaise walked to the back of the room and Y/N followed. He approached a swarthy girl with thick, unruly eyebrows. “Hey Millicent, could you do me a favor?” Blaise had heard a rumor that Millicent fancied him and he was willing to exploit this crush. “Y/N here is our new Slytherin. Snape said she’ll be in your room. Would you be a doll, Millicent, and show her where that is?”

Millicent stared at Blaise and nodded, “Sure, Blaise. Anything else you need me to show her?”

He shrugged his shoulders, “Whatever she needs, thanks.” Blaise spun around and addressed Y/N, “I’ll be in the common room for a bit if you want to find me after you’re done getting settled.” Often apathetic to the people around him, Blaise couldn’t help but be attracted to Y/N; she was like a shiny new plaything, but Blaise allowed that she probably wouldn’t let anyone treat her as such. Nonetheless, he wanted to get to know her better. And to be perfectly frank, she was appealing to look at and he wasn’t bored with her yet.

Blaise glanced at Y/N’s lips and wondered what they tasted like.

“I’ll be back here after I’m situated,” Y/N promised the boy. She turned to Millicent ready to follow her. The pair exited the room and proceeded up a spiral stone staircase to a dark door on the left. Carved on the front of the door was the Slytherin serpent standing upright with a coiled tail. Millicent pushed back the door and the girls entered the room.

Echoing the design of the common room, the entire back wall of the room was one large panel of glass that pressed against the murky green water of the Black Lake.

“Okay, now that’s fucking cool,” Y/N emphasized her approval of the room.

“Your bed is that end one I’m guessing, closest to the lake. The other three are mine, Pansy’s, and Daphne’s.” Millicent pointed at each of the fourposter beds. “Looks like your things are here. If you need the bathroom or shower,” Millicent waved her hand, “go through that door. I’m going to head back to the common room and work on my essay. Transfiguration is kicking my ass.”

“Thanks for showing me everything,” was all Y/N managed to get out before Millicent had turned around and disappeared completely.

Y/N approached her bed and flung herself upon the deep green comforter. She sank into the the material feeling as if she were floating on a cloud. The fabric was soft and silky, and Y/N knew she wouldn’t have trouble falling asleep tonight. She listened to the room around her and could faintly make out only the low bubble and gurgle of the lake around her. Her room was incredibly peaceful and Y/N couldn’t help but wish she didn’t have to share it with three other girls. Especially Pansy Parkinson.

After arranging her belongings for what felt like an eternity (and exploring the low ceilinged stone bathroom), Y/N returned to the common room with her class schedule, wand, a blank piece of parchment, a red quill, and a pot of ink. She intended to find Blaise and ask him for help with directions to her classes. Scouring the room, Y/N failed to locate him. The common room was considerably more crowded than earlier, but Y/N noticed an empty leather sofa directly in front of the fire. Placing her belongings on a dark end table by the sofa, Y/N walked to the tall bookshelf and browsed its contents. Settling on an ancient book about the founding of the Slytherin house, Y/N returned to her spot on the couch and decided to read until Blaise reappeared.

Absorbed in her book, she payed no attention to the three pairs of footsteps approaching the back of the sofa.

“You can’t sit there.” The voice coming from behind Y/N was cold and familiar. “L/N,” snapped Draco Malfoy, who was flanked by Crabbe and Goyle, “you need to move. That’s my seat.”

She whipped around to face her aggressor and met his gray eyes. “Do you have assigned seats or something?” she asked defensively.

“Not per se. But I always sit there — it’s my seat. And you need to find somewhere else to move to, away from me, because I’m allergic to blood traitors like you,” he spat his words like venom.

However handsome he was, Y/N thought Draco was acting like a toddler throwing a tantrum. “Well, Malfoy,” she stressed his last name as he had done with hers, “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I’m not moving just because you tell me to. If you want to sit next to me, you’re more than welcome to, there is plenty of room. But if you’re going to keep insulting me and calling me a blood traitor, let me stop you right there. Because I won’t listen.”

Draco narrowed his eyes viciously at Y/N. He wasn’t use to being challenged by his housemates. How dare she speak to him that way… Who did she think she was? She was below him, a blood traitor. Fire from her words surged within Draco, and for a fleeting moment, his anger seemed to dissolve into something else entirely. He was torn and couldn’t determine if he was experiencing outrage or desire. Where was this coming from? He wanted her to shut up, but he found her combativeness to be oddly enticing. He rebuked himself and dismissed the thought as quick as a lightning strike. Yet he couldn’t pull himself away from her. Instead Draco leaned over the sofa, purposefully encroaching upon Y/N’s personal space, and whispered loudly, “Move, or I will move you myself.”

His breath was warm on her ear and neck and smelled of peppermint. Y/N was twitching nerves inside, but she hardened her face and projected calm confidence. She could fight fire with fire and decided to do just that. She slightly turned her head and positioned her mouth by the blonde’s ear.

“Touch me,” Y/N replied slowly in a whisper, her breath now electrifying Draco’s skin, “anywhere,” she pulled away from Draco and stared, challenging him again, “and I will jinx you all the way to the hospital wing. Now please leave. Me. Alone.”

Draco was shocked not only by Y/N’s feistiness, but also the palpable tension that existed between them. Taking a step back from the sofa, Draco quickly replied, “Tonight you can sit here. Since it’s your first night, I’ll let it slide. If we see you sitting here tomorrow, we will really have a problem, won’t we now, boys?” he asked Crabbe and Goyle. The three boys laughed and sneered at Y/N before leaving to find an open table across the room.

“Well Malfoy,” Blaise had strolled out of the boys dormitory in time to witness the scene unfold and sauntered up to Draco. “She certainly ruffled your little white peacock feathers,” Blaise snarkily alluded to the preening pets that the Malfoy family kept on their lawn.

Snapping his head up towards Blaise, Draco growled, “Leave it alone, Zabini. Or else.”

He chuckled at the blonde’s hollow threat before turning to leave him, “Whatever you say, Malfoy.” Blaise felt his friend’s heavy, blistering stare as he joined Y/N on the leather couch.

Draco sat fuming at the table irritated by both his interaction with Y/N and Blaise’s subsequent, snide comment. And the fact that they were now sitting together in Draco’s spot. Since when did Zabini and some random girl get to insult him and get away with it? His pride stung, he was ready to regain his composure, move past tonight, and then stonewall Y/N for good. But he couldn’t get her out of his mind; she filled him with contempt and something else Draco was hesitant to identify.

3

One of the oldest (and most gruesome) stories I ever heard in France about the Catacombs was the legend of the ‘Green Man.’ This allegedly carnivorous denizen of Paris’ underworld is thought to stalk and ambush vagrants who sneak into his subterranean world…and devour them.

Sounds crazy but there are people down there that will steal your gear and stalk you undetected. True story: my Parisian friend Olivier and his friends stopped visiting the catacombs under the Luxembourg Garden after they caught a tall creepy man who had hidden himself in a rock alcove and was just watching them with night vision goggles. They had just stumbled across remains of what they thought was a Black Mass when one of his buddies felt like someone was watching them. They swept their flashlights around and discovered the guy’s hiding spot. And even though they directed some choice words his way for scaring them, the watcher never moved and never said a word. They made tracks out of there after that.

Olivier said there was such an awful vibe in the spot where someone was allegedly performing black magic rituals that they never explored that particular area of the catacombs again. The candles, Satanic symbols on the floors and walls and the scary stalker guy really spooked them. My reaction was like ‘if there’s one guy creeping around stalking people like that, there are more.’

Did the allegedly satanic rituals summon something that was still hanging around? Olivier said they all had nightmares about being chased through the catacombs for a week after that (I think he was still too spooked to go into much detail). Maybe something followed them home. Either way, they never explored under the Luxembourg Garden again. The big iron door in the pharmacy facility basement they had gained access from was welded shut not long after. Creepy.

I can always tell how upset I am when I go to bed because I end up with weird dreams and nightmares.  From the giant guy in the weird subterranean world who fell in love with a lady scientist promising her he wasn’t like the minotaur to the volcanic eruption dream and having to escape molten lava.

Green Children of Woolpit

The legend of the green children of Woolpit concerns two children of unusual skin colour who reportedly appeared in the village of Woolpit in Suffolk, England, some time in the 12th century, perhaps during the reign of King Stephen. The children, brother and sister, were of generally normal appearance except for the green colour of their skin. They spoke in an unknown language, and the only food they would eat was beans. Eventually they learned to eat other food and lost their green pallor, but the boy was sickly and died soon after he and his sister were baptised. The girl adjusted to her new life, but she was considered to be “rather loose and wanton in her conduct”. After she learned to speak English, the girl explained that she and her brother had come from Saint Martin’s Land, a subterranean world inhabited by green people.

(Source)

6

Albino Lullaby

A first-person horror adventure game set in a dark and fun subterranean world. Clinging to the precipices of underground cliffs the highly interactive environment twists and contorts around you in real time as you puzzle your way through its equally twisted narrative.

I’m going to give a quick shout out to Ape Law’s upcoming game Albino Lullaby. I actually haven’t looked into it at all yet (oops), but from what I understand Ape Law is an indie game developing team, made up of former Triple A game developers, including, but not limited to, former employees of Irrational Games. Employees who worked audio and level design for the original BioShock and BioShock: Infinite: Justin Pappas and Ryan Patrick Buckley.

They have a kickstarter up for this game, so if you’re interested and have the means, be sure to show them some support!

Miradas de  hora pico. Buenos Aires. Argentina. 2015

2

Cenote Ik Kil

Location: Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Ik Kil is one of the many cenotes located in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Cenotes are natural swimming holes formed by the collapse of porous limestone bedrock, which has revealed a secret subterranean world of groundwater pools. Most cave cenotes have fresh water - meticulously filtered by the earth, making them so clear and pure that you can see straight through to small fish frolicking in the plant life below. 

The Mayans revered cenotes because they were a water source in dry times; the name cenote means ‘sacred well’. Mayans settled villages around these spiritual wells with the belief that they were a portal to speak with the gods. Today, you can still see why cenotes held the Mayans in awe. Swimming in the pristine waters feels like stepping into prehistory, where giant tropical trees and vines form wild cathedral walls leading up to shafts of sunlight.

2

UNDERGROUND RIVER OF PALAWAN 

 The island of Palawan certainly has a terrific reputation. It has recently been named the best island in the world beating out their sister island of Boracay and the Philippines has a lot going for it in terms of tourism. With awards and titles like these, I knew the islands wouldn’t disappoint especially as it is now home to one of the new seven wonders of the world, the Subterranean River.

The Beginning of Ender (Hope it's okay if I resubmit this to this blog)

Line. All was Line, in the ancient days. In the days before Ender crossed the Edge and Became Form. But before Ender crossed the Edge, Ender often dwelled there. In the Far Lands, where Line met Form and its Edge took both. This was long, long ago, although the Far Lands only vanished relatively recently.

The time that Ender crossed the Edge into Form was very, very long ago. So long ago that even the humans who build impossible monuments and cross untold distances for no reason at all had yet to arrive. Before Villages. Not before the Nether, though, for the Ender had always been there, but definitely before the Nether was crossed so easily. This time was, however, before the End.

In this ancient time, Ender’s eyes were as green as their pearls. In this time, there was a much different kind of Builder in the world. They were not human, but they were definitely not Ender either. They were different. None of their kind lives in the present, although their bones still walk under the dirt and under the moon. These peoples were mighty in the ancient times. They built, but not like humans would in the far future, nor like Ender ever could and would, but somewhere in-between the two extremes. They built from themselves, from within, taking from the world and putting back something new. They built the strongholds, and they lived there. They did not much like the sun, although it did not hurt them. They just disliked it.

These peoples made the strange stones with which they built their underground cities. Some of the stones were not proper, however. Sometimes the person’s inner evils would taint the stone, and instead of a proper stone an egg of stone would be created instead.

These peoples built farms under their stone roofs. They built massive libraries, which they filled with their secrets. Which they created bookshelves, and books, to write their secrets in. These people created, and enabled the future creation of, all non naturally spawning things. They even dealt with the mobs that spawned in their cities, putting them all behind bars which they made for this exact purpose. These peoples were absolute. Nothing stopped them, nothing could, and nothing did. They changed the very world itself when nature stood in their way.

But then Ender crossed the Edge. And suddenly these peoples had a problem they could not solve. Ender were weak, in these days, but they could move all blocks without destroying them. Ender were born of shadows, and were too tall to fit in the prisons these people had made. Even if they could fit, Ender came from shadows, not darkness. No amount of lighting could eliminate shadow. These peoples had an enemy that for once they could not take care of.

Unfortunately, these peoples were absolute. There was nothing they could not do. So in the face of something they truly could not eliminate, they showed the true, full extent of their prowess. In these ancient times, the Nether was extremely hard to reach. A simple frame of obsidian could not be lit and walked through, the world could not do that. These peoples could make it possible, however. And they did. They used their own massive underground city, their subterranean world. They destroyed parts of it, leaving only three massive cities arranged around a central point. The very center of the world, to be precise. By doing this, they were able to anchor the Nether to the Overworld, and once it was anchored they could travel to it much more easily. This was important, because with two dimensions layed over each other it was easy for these peoples to weave a third dimension into being. Although even these peoples could not create a full world, so it was little more than an empty pocket of static in the Void.

These peoples then had to build a gate to this new world. But they made it hard. They created a gate, made of blocks that no person of mortal blood could craft. Powered by something which did not yet exist, but would soon. With these preparations made, these peoples wrought their cruelest, most sinister magic yet. Together as one, these peoples stole from Ender what made their eyes green, and hid it in the Nether. The Nether, a world of fire, gave fiery Form to the essence of Line, and what humans would some day call the Blazes were born. Stripped of their mortality, Ender became a tiny bit less Form, and from then until the end of all would have the gift of teleportation. These peoples then went into the Nether and slayed many Blazes, then smashed their bones and stole the powder of their essence. These peoples slew many Ender, and took their Pearls. Then, on the benches of creation these peoples created, the fiery powder was sprinkled over the Pearls, and they became Eyes of Ender. Twelve of them were made.

Twelve End Gate Stones, twelve Eyes of Ender. Each Gate Stone filled with an Eye, and the End Portal was opened for the first time. In a flash, Ender was stolen from the Overworld. These peoples rejoiced, and plucked several Eyes to disable the Portal. They did not realize many Ender were carrying blocks and built an island. They did not realize that Ender could take blocks of End itself, either, and build a permanent home. And lastly, they did not realize that Ender could cross through the Void and out of shadows and thus back into the Overworld.

These peoples met their downfall at their hubris. They reacted to the quick return of Ender with irritatio, and Ender reacted to the banishment from their Home with Rage. The mere act of looking at Ender brought these peoples to their death. Caught in their hubris, their sureness that they were absolute, they never thought to consider that they would have to avoid looking. They never dared consider anything being not for them to do. They died, as a result.

Ender has no hatred for humans. Ender, in fact, admires humans for their immense creativity. However much they care for humans, though, a Stare is a crime beyond forgiveness. Although Ender has long since forgotten why, the Rage remains. Humans do not mind, for the most part. Humans, for the most part, Respect the Men of The End.

And The End thanks them.

we are grateful for the sharing of the story of ender

Corpse Orgy

The image above is from the Tome of Horrors Complete and was done by Eric Lofgren.

Despite the name, the corpse orgy actually isn’t an undead being, it’s an aberration, and fortunately for those of us of more delicate palates, the name has more to do with appearance than anything else.  Similar to oozes, corpse orgies absorb the bodies of those they slay, the pile of rotting corpses giving the creature it’s name, replacing the corpses as they rot away with fresh meat.  As a large mass of body parts, whole corpses, and even less describable detritus, these monsters have no real features beyond their absorbed bodies, even using them to defend itself as its slam attacks or even grapple opponents.  Usually found underground, corpse orgies tend to stick near areas with living humanoids to insure a fresh supply of kills rather than being out in the complete wilds.  Given how active a lot of worlds’ subterranean depths are, that’s probably not hard to find but in desperation, these monsters have been known to move toward the surface.  Despite their intelligence and apparent ability to understand Aklo, Undercommon, and even Common, no one has ever successfully communicated with a corpse orgy. Or at least, no one’s done it and survived to report the success to anyone else.  Because of their insular natures and monstrous habits, corpse orgies stand out to me as obstacles rather than the central figure of an adventure but at CR 13, they’re going to formidable challenges.

Accidentally drawn forth from the Abyss by a poorly performed summoning, a fiendish corpse orgy has become the center of a splinter cult to the ascended vrolikai known as That Which Feeds in Shadow.  Seen as an avatar of their gluttonous master or mistress – the vrolikai’s gender is a subject of debate and occasionally lethal strife, something that greatly amuses the nascent demon lord – the corpse orgy seethes with Abyssal energies, occasionally muttering foul proclamations in a sinister combination of Abyssal and Aklo from two or more of the mouths of its absorbed prey.  Inevitably, any corpse the creature absorbs comes to bear the features of a tiefling as it decays and the horns and hooves are the last tattered remnants of its victims.

Seeking to tap into the mythic power of a rumored archmage, the wealthy and eccentric tiefling occultist Delisiron is recruiting delvers and explorers to reclaim two of the archmage’s prized posessions – an adamantine dagger with a fantastic emerald in the pommel and a ruby ring of a mysterious coppery metal.  While there are enough clues from recovered scraps of journals and old legends to eventually point the occultist’s minions in the right direction, the final fate of the archmage’s corpse will make recovery difficult.  Although her body has long since rotted away, the dagger and ring are both still contained within the ooze of the corpse orgy that consumed the slain mage.

While most corpse orgies are completely reticent to communicate, not all of them are so silent.  Some even enjoy a good conversation from time to time with those creatures they consider worthy.  That definition generally excludes anything a corpse orgy might be interested in absorbing. One in particular has struck up an odd partnership with a roper, providing a sardonically utilitarian counterpoint to its friend’s pseudo-philosophical ramblings.  Although the pair inevitably exhaust the wit of any would-be debate partners, their bodies always go to good use and the corpse orgy is even kind enough to arrange to absorb particularly skilled debaters so that they can continue to enjoy the discussion after death, though the quality of their input does rather diminish.

- Tome of Horrors Complete 121

Wondering what the ring in the second seed is made out of?  For me, it’s horaculum one of the skymetals detailed in Pathfinder #61 although you might prefer something like Plato’s orichalcum.

bbc.co.uk
BBC Radio 4 - Neil Gaiman - Neverwhere - Episode guide

London Below. Richard Mayhew finds himself in a mysterious subterranean world

The first episode of BBC Radio 4’s Neverwhere, starring James McAvoy, Natalie Dormer, Benedict Cumberbatch, David Harewood, Sophie Okonedo, Anthony Stuart Head, Sir Christopher Lee, Bernard Cribbins, and oh, lots of people,  went out today, which means you have 7 days left to listen to it, wherever you are. (It’s at the bottom of the page.)

(The next 5 episodes will go out over the next 5 days.) You can listen to NEVERWHERE  anywhere in the world using a desktop/laptop computer.

If you are using a tablet or mobile device you can still listen but you’ll need a radio app like TuneIn Radio