It felt like a long tunnel, but not really. It didn’t really go down either - or if it did, barely. But it did have a small turn. And as I ran, suddenly, the dirt was gone. Once more, I was surrounded by only the stone. But then I saw something glowing ahead. I could only take a few more steps forward before I had to stop.
My eyes were widened. I had never seen anything like this before. The tunnel continued, except it was fully overgrown by short grass. But it definitely wasn’t anything like the grass I knew. It was glowing green, spreading its light everywhere around itself. I could see some of the roots trying to follow the stone floor, just to stop soon after. Only thing I could do at that point was to extinguish the torch - I didn’t need it anymore.
“Alright, focus!” I told myself, stepping towards the grass. It felt like I was about to enter an alien world. Yet I didn’t feel anything like fear. It was inviting if anything. And then I finally did it - foot landing on that grass. My mind was going nuts. Were the roots going to grapple my leg, and drag me somewhere? What was going to happen?
But nothing did happen. I just stood there, like an idiot. I began to walk forward, slightly hastened. I needed to remember my mission, my goal. But I didn’t need to do many steps before seeing a massive cavern in front of me. It was much more than I had imagined. It was a lot more.
In the Barren Lands
The greenest grass of them all
That poem echoed in my mind, almost as I was imagining Ceo’ge writing those words down on his deathbed.
It was everything like that. It had been in suffocating tunnels, yet I was suddenly somewhere amazing. And it was truly quiet. I couldn’t help but embrace the moment. One could say that it’s impossible to describe all of it. It’s truly hard to find the words.
But… I’ll try.
Every corner of the chamber was slightly glowing, some plants more than others. The ground was filled with the same bright green grass. But I could see occasionally flowers stretching out, every petal also glowing, fighting off the dominating green color. At the side of the wall, there were different kinds of plants that were climbing the wall to reach the ceiling. And some of them did it slightly beyond, almost like trying to reach something, desperately. I could recognize some plants, while some others stayed a mystery.
But there were grape vines right next to me, next to the entrance. The ceiling was pitch-black, but there were small lights glowing up there, almost as the cavern’s ceiling was filled with stars.
And then there was the not-that-massive tree, which was growing at the very center of the cavern. The descriptions Ceo’ge had written were true. It was as a tree was placed upside down, and the roots were touching or at least trying to touch the ceiling. And those few that did, they were almost like trying to drill through the stone with a minimum amount of success.
And there were flying sparkles, mostly where the tree’s roots were. I wasn’t sure what they were, but they felt like some kind of bugs, flying around, without any sound. Perhaps they were bugs who had found their way into the cavern, and thus became part of this magic show.
I couldn’t help but pick one of the grapes, tasting it. The moment I did so, I gasped for air. It wasn’t even close to any grape I had ever tasted before. My mind began to imagine taking a moment to make all of that grape into wine. I imagined how expensive that wine could be. I would be rich in no time.
I felt it in me, trying to get out. I could feel it telling me that I had found it, my treasure. And from now on, it belonged to me. No-one else deserved this. It was mine!
Yet I forced myself to take a few steps back from the grapes, reminding myself why I was there in the first place.
I began to walk towards the center of the cavern. I could now see that too. The face. And it was watching me. Just… looking. It was creepy. In some sense, I wanted to run away. I was not ready to face whatever Hin had faced. But would anyone be ready, ever?
I could not just see, but feel it looking at me. With every step, its eyes were moving with me. But yet it said nothing, even after I had stopped. Maybe the interest was mutual. If the stories were right, the last person he might’ve seen was Hin himself. Maybe the tree was lonely, or shocked? Maybe it didn’t want to scare me off?
I need to choose my words very carefully, I thought. The first words might matter a lot. But I needed to talk. My friends were merely buying me some time. They were still there, fighting. So I finally gathered my strength and opened my mouth. It was time.
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- Matthew E. Damson
I'm someone whose pen-name is Matthew E. Damson. Some others know me as Elven. I'm also known as elf, elfie, elves, pointy ears, and some more. To be honest, I have no idea why they call me other names, but they create nicknames, not me.
You can read my stuff and shorts at reddit.com/r/Elven
If you like my stuff, I'd really appreciate if you'd become patreon or perhaps show your supports with any other means ^^. Or show it via comments, discussing the story and sharing your thoughts.
I'm not the best at grammar, but I try to fight against it with a better story-writing.
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