Article written by discerning reporter, and Prydaen kitten-about-town : Lilamina Fenwillow
Tunnels Found Under Crossing! It was coming on dusk on a beautiful Spring evening. I had just lost sight of a humming bird I’d been following, and found myself in front of Taelbert’s Inn. I ducked inside, greeted by the familiar smell of hearty food and good ale, and decided to treat myself to a crispy plate of mud hen fritters and spiced milk.
Muffled voices rose and fell from within a curtained alcove in the cozy, copperwood dining room. The rise and fall of their voices was too low to discern the topic of their conversation. After all, what are curtained alcoves for? But I did catch a few key phrases.
“ The tunnels…”
“Yes Father, behind the bookcase…”
“… your daughter. It’s just behind the stairs for her as well”
“Yes, yes, they’re perfectly safe……. meet you there.”
“All to the temple…Yes…each one in the city”
Well this had me intrigued, to say the least. The old adage about curiosity is true for this
tuft-eared gal. I'd always heard of the escape tunnels underneath what used to be called River Crossing, but I’d never found them! The Friar slipped out of the alcove, followed by a stout Empath. He glanced furtively my way before shuffling out the door. I finished off my saucer of spiced milk, looked wistfully at the last warm fritter, and took off on the trail of the Friar and his companion.
Down toward the Healerie he seemed to head. I slipped down the dim corridor and watched as he searched the hall, felt the walls and then seemed to vanish into the moss. Searching the shadowed areas of the hall, I almost missed it. Covered almost completely by mosses and lichen, an old stone portal. I crept inside, fearing what I might find, my ears and tail twitching warily.
To my surprise this was no dank, damp, foreboding tunnel, but an almost cheery place, well kept and very well built. Plump bees wax candles lit my way down into the flickering darkness of Hodierna’s Path. The candles danced in a faint breeze as I descended, and I was thrilled to see shimmering streams of Life manna coursing through the very walls. As I wandered, safe and dry, down the path I came upon a somber monument. I stopped to kneel at a humble, marble memorial to the Empaths that gave their lives to save the city and people of River Crossing. The tunnel lead me to a carved mahogany door and I realized I was under the south tower of the Temple. Across the hall from me was a well-polished Yew door. I ventured inside and the warm smell of rushes underfoot, candles and incense, surprised me. Truffenyi’s Way was even cozier than the last tunnel. Well appointed, with a candle laden altar and a broom nearby, to keep these escape tunnels tidy and always at the ready. Truffenyi's Way lead me to a quiet stone room under the Cleric’s Guild that's always been one of my favorites. Each path lead me to another tower under the Temple, or to a new secretive spot in each Guild Hall inside the city walls.
I don’t want to give away all the secrets and small surprises that I found on my journey under the city. I was thoroughly impressed though, with the expertise and planning that's gone into these tunnels, and the dedication of the people of Crossing, whomever they may be, for their upkeep. As I strolled back into the evening air, I couldn’t help but wonder how many secrets those tunnels held. How many sweet heart’s trysts have taken place, how many urgent summons in the night by Empaths and Clerics to help a fallen loved one or newborn. And from the sounds of the soft twitters and scuffles of small creatures I heard in the darkness, this might be an excellent place to go mousing… More to tell, dear reader, when next I delve down into the tunnels of UnderCrossing!