Log: Deep Hollow (Story)


Log Entry 1: Deep Hollow Discovered

The trek to the old settlement was no easy task. I’ve lost count of how many arrows were blocked by my shield. My trusty sword was worse for wear from fending off the living dead, and I’ve escaped more than one explosion by the skin of my teeth. Perhaps I should feel lucky that I’m alive, but whether that streak of luck continues is in doubt.

The cave system from which the settlement was built was dimly lit by the soft glow of some mysterious type of berry, with just enough light to outline the contours of what passed as building in the depths of the world.

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I finally stepped foot inside the settlement. More zombies? A band of rogues ready to jump me? The decayed bodies of the old inhabitants? But instead, when I explored the dusty corridors of this decrepit place, all I found was empty rooms and empty beds, with not a trace of the former inhabitants, lest for a single sign hanging outside: “Beware the Hollow.”


Log Entry 2: Getting Settled

Despite the spartan amenities and the uninviting interiors, the settlement was perfectly habitable. There were ample beds for resting and clean water being drawn from an adjacent aquifer. Unfortunately there was little in the way of food. If I were to establish a work camp here, there would need to be a way to source grain from the overworld. We'll need to get settled if we plan to uncover the secrets.


Log Entry 3: Supplies

Gathering a crew is proving… difficult. Unsurprisingly not many people want to spend part of their lives living in a dreary cave surrounded by moss and spiders. However, I have not been without some good fortune though. A friendly, though odd fellow has come up with a way to gather supplies from the surface. A nearby ravine open to the air just happened to be in the spitting distance of a town. Although his specialty mostly centered around swamps, he is surprisingly good with railcarts. Soon bringing in supplies and people will be an afterthought, minus the cost of paying for all of these ventures. I have quite a supply of emeralds for now, but if I wish to find the source of power hidden below here, I’ll need to find some ventures to raise capital.


Log Entry 4: Mining

The cave system from which the settlement was built happened to be a good place for mining operations. There is an abundant amount of coal and iron, not to mention a decent amount of gold. My associate on the surface has managed to recruit a few miners with the promise of a decent wage and a place to sleep. We ship the raw ores up to the surface to the villages in exchange for crafts and emeralds. The profit is underwhelming for now, but it paid the expenses well enough.


Log Entry 5: Expansion

News of plentiful ores has lured more people to the settlement. Besides the mining crew, we have also attracted several people in other professions. A general store was set up, a smithy was well under way, and even a priest had shown up. It wasn’t my intention to end up with a township on my hands, but I have to say being in charge of my own little settlement treated me nicely. However, governing this little settlement has unfortunately, had the effect of distracting me from my task.


Log Entry 6: Town Assistant

Before I even considered it, my associate on the surface offered to help with running the town. At first I was a bit hesitant, since he and his methods were a bit.. Off, but I decided to give him a chance. Within the week he had already proven his worth. Without needing any guidance, he had already begun expanding the settlement, finding new rooms to house our growing population and hiring some muscle to protect the outskirts of town.
Now that the burden of running a was taken care of, I have renewed work on trying to find information on the secrets of the Hollow.


Log Entry 7: Uncovered Secrets

I’ve been importing books from the surface of various kinds, from old atlases, archaic totems and even the occasional fantastic tale. Most of what I have read was useless in terms of progressing my research, but I have found nuggets of information here and there. Names of places, hints of dark secrets, tales of the Hollow…
Soon enough though, a breakthrough occurred. While mining an iron vein, one of the miners accidentally uncovered a small nook containing several small slabs containing some unknown language. I had some miners help me move it into my quarters. The next week was spent pouring through my books and tomes until, finally, I was able to decipher part of the script.

Log Entry 8: Digging Up the Past

What exactly the secrets of the Hollow are I’ve yet to figure out, but now I know exactly where to look to find them! Finally I have the information I need to uncover the secrets of this place!
I immediately halted all mining operations that were going on and had them start excavating downwards. My associate seemed perturbed by this sudden turn, but nevertheless he helped organize everyone.
It took the better part of a fortnight to excavate the area, but eventually we found what I was looking for. A great, cavernous room, empty of all but a lone, foreboding door If I was correct, the secrets I have been looking for were behind there. All that was left was to find a way in, fabricate some kind of key to open the door, then the secrets will be mine!


Log Entry 9: The Key

I have been secluding myself in my private chambers, working day and night to find the way to open the door. Days passed by, then weeks, the answers eluding me the entire time. I’ve suspected that the others have begun to worry for me, though their check ups on me have begun to lessen, reduced to a simple greeting when they bring me my meals.
But none of that mattered. All that mattered was the key, the key to the door, the key to the door to the Hallow . And then, I found it.


Log Entry 10: The Door

I stood at the door, clad in black bricks melded into the slate walls. My hands began to tremble as I pulled the key from my pack. The mercenaries I hired shared a look, but I didn’t care. I was too focused on the door. A thought occurred to me, a little voice telling me perhaps this wasn’t a good idea. What might happen to me when I go through the doors?
But I resist the thought. Nothing to do now but test my theory. I have the key. I will use it; more to follow.

Log Entry 11 : Missing in Action

No one knows what happened to the mayor after he opened the door. No one, except the lone survivor of the party, but he was not talking. Something from beyond the door must have scared him, dooming him to a fitful state of being, no longer able to talk coherently. We sent him to the best doctor on the surface, in hopes of treating his condition, but so far it has amounted to nothing
After it became apparent that the mayor and his crew were missing, we went back to the door and found it closed again, with only the mayor’s log book and the lone survivor. After reading the log, we made a decision: What was behind the door was dangerous, a threat to everyone here.
We collapsed the tunnel leading to it and never looked back.
Before too long, the settlement went back to normal. There were veins of iron for years to come and the tight knit community held strong. Still though, on sleepless nights I wonder, what was the secret of the Hollow?