A sneak peek at the next thrilling Lore of the Underlings episode,
which I’m writing as we speak (Episode 4 ~ Preview 8)
The Guard had led them from Liar’s Tree field down a road by a glade to the foot of a hill. There, yet under night’s thick cloak, they saw a dark structure loom ahead enshadowed from the moon. It was oddly tall amidst the trees with a face of silent stone — a visage unwelcoming, gray, and cold. Windowless it was this façade, though oriented east, as if keeping some secret unseen within or shunning the light of the world without.
And so by the push and prod of the pike were the three strangers sent single file inside, to and through its open maw all of two stories high and yawning wide. On their left and their right there they passed twin great gates of hardest ironwood wrought by hand. Upon those gates a herd of shapes adorned the void that they minded with beasts.
One thing low and snaky, two lofty a-wing, some devilish dirt dog, an odd cat-like king. Bull-sheep and bear-ass greeted them too, both by a boar-rat and all under toe of a tusky behemoth from realms far below.
The clear voice of the tall young woman rang like a song through the stony hall. “Why this menagerie?” she sang. “Why honor these unheard-of creatures here?”
But she and her friends knew not of this place. And the Guard were in no mood for show and tell.
Rudely were they ushered on through a chamber of dull-colored quarrystone. Its floor was smooth, worn down in places, as if by rituals oft repeated. Yet its ceiling soared halfway to the heavens. They glimpsed strange implements hung from the walls, devilish things that seemed made to maul or maybe maim or make holey somehow.
Dead ahead a pair more of the armored Guard awaited them mirthless and still — stoic sentinels standing on either side of a gaping inner doorway. The hole of it filled a space like the first through which they had safely passed, but from this deeper one there spilled an unavoidable blackness. Far off to the left at a table there sat two others, yet Guard those were not. They looked of old plainsmen, swarthy and crude, who eyed the strangers with cold disdain. One leaned back with his feet propped up as he sharpened the tip of a goring pole. It was bile-stained a vile green. The other bit into a blood-red pom and spit out its seeds with spite on the floor. Both wore the leathery skin of countless seasons riding wild and free, as ranger men of a treeless land, ever awash in sun and dust.
The doorkeepers held abreast and ready a brace of heart-crossed battle pikes. Now each rapped his own two together twelve times in a duel of hard knocks to announce their guests. By this were the guests held in rapt attention with no choice but to listen. Nor had they a hope to avoid the vision of hosts of apparitions sprung from the chamber’s phantom lamplight just for the chance to dance for them.
Ghosts of a hidden history… were we never let to tell our story… but for the shadows upon these walls… where we evermore dwell…
… to be continued. Stay tuned!