When Posy and I set out to explore the vast, unknown depths of Hollow Earth Underdark, our excitement was tempered by a thrill of apprehension.Â What would we discover?Â What secrets lay in wait for us?Â What mysteries might transform us?Â Would we need a travel buddy?
Safety In Numbers seemed like a most excellent policy.Â Serendipitously, Posyâ€™s friend Note was able to join us, increasing our numbers from two to three–not counting Posyâ€™s kitten, which I privately felt was too young and smallÂ to be much good in a close-quarters conflict, anyway, should such an unfortunate situation arise.Â (Truth be told, we felt safe with Note in our company, as he is tall and quite imposing.)Â Thus emboldened, we three intrepid explorers met at the dock beneath Tekeli-li and prepared to embark.Â We began with what fortunately turned out to be only a minor mishapâ€”our caveboat, alas, was designed to seat two and not three.Â However, clever Note found a way for a third passenger to â€œstow away,â€ and we were off!
We set out among the glistening caverns, gliding smoothly on the silent waters.Â Deep cave vistas, when traversed, disclosed mysterious subterranean gardens in which great glowing mushrooms and shining crystals grew side by side, vegetable and mineral together.Â Were both alive?Â Closer inspection revealed, scattered among the fungi and glassy shards, darkly beautiful flowers whose appearance should have made them seem sickly, yet somehow they seemed to shimmer with degenerate health.Â Prudence and caution prevented us from sampling whatever fragrance they might have possessed.Â Still further on, the caverns opened up and revealed signs of habitation and civilization:Â arched bridges connecting the stone islands, and small huts that could have been homes, shrines or decoration for decorationâ€™s own sake.
Around a bend, we came upon a great glowing angerlfishÂ of monstrous and unusual size, slipping silently through the deep.Â At first we worried that Note’s dangling toes might be at risk, but the leviathan seemed interested only in his own pursuits.Â He left us alone save for his swelling wake that gently rocked our caveboat as he passed.
To our amazement, we soon spied what could only be a dock, where one could spend a few idle, relaxing moments indulging in the altogether innocent pastime of fishing.Â Truly, it boggled the mind to contemplate what terribleÂ piscine creature might take the bait and emergeâ€”wriggling, seething, spitting?â€”at the end of the gossamer line.
Of all these marvels, none could possibly have prepared us for the stunning sights we beheld in the next cavern.Â For there we saw unearthly castles of stone and glass, roughly hewn and formed as if growing from the very living rock, rearing up toward the false sky of the cavernâ€™s vaulted heights.Â Great glass panels (could they somehow be windows?) crawled with light that gleamed but did not shine, and more curved bridges connected island to island, structure to structure in what could only be a kind of community.Â Could this be where the Deep Ones lived in darkness, far from the eye of Man, and dreamed their dangerous dreams?Â We let our little boat glide silently along the great stone foundations, the gleam from the great glass panels towering above us all but overwhelming the light of our boatâ€™s brave little lamps.Â As if by paranormal mental consent, we did not speak.Â Perhaps we feared rousing and waking someone or something that lay sleeping within.
Having moved on safely and without interference, we found ourselves fascinated once more by signs of less unearthly life within the maze of caverns.Â Noteâ€™s toes seemed far less at risk from the next fish we encountered, although I believe I did notice him surreptitiously drawing his feet into the boat, just for a moment, as they passed.Â It is better to be safe than sorry, I suppose.Â Perhaps subtler than living fauna but no less suggestive and intriguing were the underwater structures over which we passed.Â I had not noticed them at first, as they were all but hidden in the depths; but the waters were very still and clear as crystal, so a closer look revealed almost all.Â Although I was unequipped for diving and so could only gaze from afar, I could tell that the structures, whatever their nature might be, were of at least two distinct types.Â Some were small, rounded caves or huts, with underwater flora and crystal clumps thatÂ might have grown naturally or been artistically placed.Â Others were more more elaborately constructed in the likeness of giant tentacled creatures, with gaping maws as doorways, glassy sections as possible windows (or eyes?), and sucking cups always at the ready.Â I could not help but wonder, what manner of creature could call such a dwelling its home?
We continued to drift onward, and might well have pushed further into the cavernous depths had it not been for a sudden wave of shadow that somehow passed over and through all we could see of the subterranean world.Â Although the crystals seemed to glow in the sudden darkness with even greater eerie beauty, we were relieved when the low glow that suffused the caverns returned as inexplicably as it had vanished.Â Fearing that some underworldly night might be falling, and deciding that valor allowed also for discretion, we turned back and began to retrace our watery steps.Â This task had seemed at first to be easy enough, as on our inward journey we had simply followed what seemed to be the only route through the caves.Â However, the way back proved to be elusive.Â At times we found ourselves confounded by a fork in the aqueous road, and we argued among ourselves which way was the right one.Â We floated in fearful anticipation down high-walled corridors that were all but featurelessâ€”and, worse, seemed unfamiliar.Â Once, the walls closed in without warning and we had to make our way back without sufficient room in which to turn the boat about.Â The charged excitement of our adventureâ€™s beginning was supplanted by a mounting apprehension that we might never find our way outâ€¦or be allowed to find it.
At long last, and entirely without fanfare, we rounded a final bend and beheld what was, for us, in that moment, the most welcome and wondrous sight in the world:Â the dock from which we had departed, not so very long before.Â We eased our trusty caveboat alongside and disembarked with alacrity, but hopefully without unseemly haste.Â In a blink, the boat vanished as though it had never been, as if to protect the mysteries of the deep, or perhaps to protect us from them.Â One day, perhaps we will return, but for now we plan to enjoy adventures of other kinds, adventures in places where the sun shines.Â No doubt the dark places will wait, patiently or impatiently, for our return.
The Hollow Earth Underdark was created and built by Tekelili Tantalus.Â Start your journey of exploration at Hollow Earth 77, 166, 22.Â Free caveboats are provided for avatars of both ordinary and tiny sizeâ€”just touch the corresponding crystal on the dock.Â 7 Seas Fishing is available within the caverns.Â Afterward, climb up to the Tekeli-li shop and peruse the offerings there.Â Or shop there first, and you may just decide to go exploring as a Deep One!
- # | # | # | # | # | # | # | # | # | # | # | # | # | # | # | # | # | # | # | # -
For my deeply mysterious spelunking expedition, I put together a casual ensemble with a few exotic and mysterious touches of its own.Â I love love love this Persian Sheer Shirt by Drusus DuCasse, with its scalloped neckline, sleek lines and sheer fabric.Â The â€œNasserâ€ style Iâ€™m wearing has decorations that shine convincingly like gold leaf.Â L$130 at Zanzo (Zanzo 182, 182, 15).
Iâ€™ve worn Machang Pichotâ€™s Color Denim Pants here before, but I like them a lot, and I feel like IÂ didnâ€™t really get to show them off.Â Their casual styling and low-low rise made them seem a great match for the shirt.Â Crumply sculpted cuffs always look great with the Boho Sandals, which I canâ€™t seem to stop wearing, no matter how hard I try.Â L$90 at AOHARU (AOHARU 110, 124, 23).
Mhaijik Guillaumeâ€™s Mhystery Bracelet (L$150), Ring (L$100) and Leather Necklace (L$150) are set with blue stones that seem to shine with the light of watery deeps.Â What spell or magic has imbued these gems with the essence of other, possibly alien places?Â It is, indeed, a mystery.Â Individual pieces priced as indicated, or buy the set for L$300 at Mhaijik Things (Pheosia 56, 227, 152).
The hairstyle Iâ€™m wearing is “Beach” by Rita Groshomme.Â I featured this just recently as part of my Hair Fair coverage, but Iâ€™ve been wearing it for a few days and I have to say that I find myself liking it more and more.Â L$200 at Curio (Curio 128, 128, 37).