On the inside, the cave was much roomier. I had enough room to stand straight comfortably. A seemingly endless passage that winded deep into the mountainside greeted me. I couldn’t see very far in front of me so I had little idea how deep the cave went or more importantly what lurked in it. I may not have believed the crazy cave dweller but I was certain he wasn’t lying about all the caves being occupied. Not when he was so prepared at protecting his cave.
I didn’t want to walk down the dark tunnel, not when there was a chance that something very big and mean lived on the other end, something that breathed fire and burnt down little villages that only farmed. Farming wasn’t terribly interesting. Crops died and grew, but that didn’t mean they should be burned to nothing. Farmers worked hard to grow their crops.
I wondered how mighty golems would be if they were able to put their differences aside like humans do or even like the elves. Maybe golems aren’t as smart as humans or elves or as crafty as dwarfs, but we made up for everything in size. I’m certain golem society would be much bigger and bolder than other civilizations. Certainly, golem housing would be nice.
I took my time feeling my way down the dark passage, carefully making sure I wasn’t surprised with a face full of stone or fall down a hidden crevice. The further I went the darker the cave became. Eventually, I could only see with the dim blue light emitted from my core. It wasn’t a particularly bright light. If I squinted I could maybe see two feet in front of me. It was hard to tell for sure though.
My head throbbed and toes grew numb as I stumbled my way through the cave. Rocks hung from the top of the cave-like icicles, hiding in the shadows, waiting to smack my face. The predatory rocks also attacked from the ground tripping me up when I was too focused on avoiding the evil rocks from above. I wasn’t enjoying my time in the cave. My body was going to be bruised and battered when I left this godforsaken place.
I nearly slipped as my feet met with cold water puddled on the ground. I shivered but continued onward. The water level was slowly rising the deeper I moved into the cave. It was noticeable but came no deeper than my knees. A faint glow came from the water much to my relief. I was able to see farther than an old man.
I realized now why old men were always crotchety and angry. I had met many of them while serving under my master. Move this or get out of my way you large empty-headed brute, they would typically scream. Now, I realized they probably had more aggravating problems than I realized. It certainly made me come to respect the few that were generous and polite. Then again, maybe those old men just had better eyesight.
The glow from the water shot upwards illuminating the unfriendly and frankly outright evil spikes that hung over the water. I was convinced they were waiting for me to stand under them before they cannonballed into my back, missing the water entirely. Like a moth to a flame, I slowly trudged my way through the knee-deep water towards the glowing light.
As I got closer, I could hear a low hum resonate from the water. It was deeper than the hum that came from a bee, but not as deep as the basement door in the mansion. It was an off-limits space only for the master and sometimes his closest assistants. I daydreamed about what was down there. I wondered if the room might contain a mechanical contraption used to produce little things or maybe it was a persistent demon trying out for an acapella group. Either way, I knew it wasn’t my business so I always stayed out.
The quiet noise wasn’t so quiet when I stood above glowing water. It was an uncomfortable noise that I didn’t care for but not enough where I would back away from the strange glow. It was enticing, I wanted to know more about it, to experience it. I lowered my hand gradually, touching the glowing water. I pushed it deeper and deeper.
Suddenly something latched onto my hand and jerked downward. The bottom I stood on was slippery so it took seconds before it sank into the water. The light beneath the water blinded me, I had no idea what was going on. I thrashed in my panicked and confused state trying to get whatever had grabbed me to release me. It wasn’t any use. Whatever had grabbed a hold of me had jaws of iron that firmly grasped my hands.
I sunk for the first time in my life. I was terrified. Golems were heavy and no golem survived the slow and painful death of drowning. My mind was numb, losing the sharpness I had. It was difficult to think.
I awoke on the floor in a room that was lit, not by torch or even magic. No, glowing rocks lit up the room I found myself in. They glowed the same blue that came from the glowing water. I was tired of waking up to strangers. This man looked much like the other crazy man I’d seen, except less ugly, a little taller, and maybe a little cleaner. He kept his distance and rusty looking shiv in his other hand. It wasn’t a particularly friendly look.
“What’re you doing in my cave. You’re not a cave poacher are you?” said the unfriendly man with the rusty piece of metal I wouldn’t exactly call sharp.
I let out a sigh. Not again.