Before I send you off into the world of Underking, a little back story is due. Rather than give you the first part of the story, I have chosen a scene from a bit further on as I felt it would be more interesting. As a result, there are things you must know. Previous to this excerpt, our protagonist Joshua Hopkins has determined that it's high time he investigates the abandoned coal mine behind his house, which he has decided must be full of dwarves (or that he's hallucinating - he's a fairly
cynical practical teenager in that respect). So, guided by an apparently magic rune stone (hence the accusation of cynicism), he descends into the mine. However, his little adventure takes a turn for the worse when he realizes something is following him. Now, running through the dark, he's not watching where he's going...
His feet slid out from under him, losing his footing on a puddle he hadn’t noticed. Scrambling for a handhold, he slid on his back and found himself falling feet-first into a hole. It was a short drop, maybe a foot at most, but it knocked the air out of his lungs as he continued to slide. Trying to protect his head, he lost his grip on the flashlight, and it bounced away in front of him, leaving him in darkness.
He couldn’t tell how long he slid down into the darkness, being tossed to and fro as the seemingly endless hole carried him deeper into the earth. He was sore and battered and probably bleeding from being flung against the rough stone surrounding him. He could only hope it ended soon.
At last, the hole opened into a larger space and he was flung out, landing in what seemed to be wet sand. A quick check found that he still had all his limbs and, thankfully, nothing seemed to be broken.
Now there was just the matter of trying to figure out where he’d ended up.