Monday, January 7, 2008

Forsaken Caverns

Written 7 January, 2007

Forsaken Caverns

You live in a place—in fact, you build a place, you think you know it!

Last night I was walking down the northern shoreline of Pele, enjoying the waves on my feet, when suddenly the sand gave way and I found myself underwater.

My first impulse was to fly out, but my hair was already wet, so I took a moment to look about. At first I saw nothing, but a second look at a concrete sea wall revealed an inset circular (well, toroidal) metal door. Signs suggested it led to some sort of biological research station. I was surprised when the door slid open at my touch.

Peering inside, I could see a large, dimly-lit cavern. I swam through the door, pausing at a low fence that prevented me from sliding into the murky depths. In the eerie distance, I could see limestone flowstone, stalactites and stalagmites—and was that movement at the limit of my vision?

Oh, goddess, what sort of creatures have been lurking down here, just meters away from my renters’ houses?

Trying to get a look, I edged along a precarious catwalk until I stepped on a prim that some long-ago builder had set to phantom. I tumbled to the bottom of the abyss, scraping my side badly (note to self: buy a set of bruises for use at times like this). A hasty check proved me otherwise unhurt, so I ventured forward.

There was indeed life! I spotted a species of albino fish and any number of seaweeds. Then a slowly pulsing jellyfish, luminescent in the gloom, appeared in front of me. Stepping hastily to one side to avoid its poisonous trailing tendrils, I blundered into the most fearsome squid, who promptly covered me with ink (Sweetie would later chide me for leaving Chey-shaped smudges on our expensive white couch).

Fortunately, he (or she, I know little about the sex life of the cuttlefish) was more afraid of me than I was of it, and it scurried away to hide in some crevasse.

I continued my explorations.

I was thinking about Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher lost in that Missouri cave and wishing I had brought along a ball or twine to unwind. At first I smiled at the idea (I have a map button on my viewer interface, after all), but I soon realized I had lost my bearings. I felt the start of panic.

Fighting my fear, I turned off my Mystitool avatar light.

It was black as midnight, and I was afraid the squid would take advantage of the darkness to attack, but I forced myself to stand still, letting my eyes adjust. Soon, I thought I could make out the merest glimmer, a spot where the blackness was one step from absolute. Could that be another entrance?

Yes! It was indeed light! It was indeed a way out.

I stumbled forward, sobbing with joy, clambering up a steep slope and making my way through a narrow tunnel, the light growing brighter by the second. Suddenly I was out of the murk and into the light.

But where was I? Oh, there are the familiar crooked legs of a pier, one of my first builds! I must be in the Forsaken river!

But no, but that couldn’t be, for the pilings of the platform at East Beach should have been hard by, and they weren’t in sight.

Had I blundered onto a new sim? Had I discovered a new method of inter-island transportation? My heart raced at the thought.

Then I remembered placing a second pier somewhere else on Forsaken. Yes, that must be it!

I was home.


The Forsaken caverns will require further exploration. How were they created, and to what purpose were they used? What were the nature of the artifacts I stumbled over? Why did I see biohazard and radiation warning posters?

Stay tuned, dear reader, and I, courageous explorer, will keep you posted on developments in central Pele. Or maybe I will make it a tourist cave and charge $13L for a tour which I will conduct with a flashlight held under my chin, pointed upward while I made up absurd stories of Pele’s past.

It will be lucrative for me and perfectly safe for my clientele.

Although I may lose a visitor now and again to that blasted squid.

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