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The Underdark

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Day 1:

This is Sir James Hetherland of Newport, Rhode Island, documenting my time in this expedition into the deep unknown of the sea. I know it’s a week early, but… I just can’t help myself! Two whole years of preparation for this! My cousins, Phillip and Argy, set it up. I merely am being brought along to document the different creatures we find down there. Many are too afraid to venture down into the depths of the sea and others say we’ll find nothing but the other side of the world.

Well, whatever the case, we’re spending a lot of money to be able to go down there and, hopefully, we’ll get it all back and then some. Many hired hands are banking on our trip to be profitable to support their families, or their own private vices.

At any rate, Susan, my wife, is heavy with child at the moment. I have my own personal reasons for hoping this trip will bring forth good fortune. We’re hoping the new knowledge we bring back will be able to set us up for life, but who knows? And most interesting of all, Argy has managed to create a way for us to sink down low enough into the sea without suffering from compressive problems.

He calls it a “Deepwater Sinker." If this expedition is a success, he will be made a millionaire for his invention. England will be hailed as the first military power to gain hold of an underwater vessel!

Day 6:

I haven’t been able to update this journal since Monday. Damnable weather has been giving us the run-around as we scramble to get all of the needed supplies onto the large hunk of a vessel. Its odd shape makes storing things a bit difficult. I brought this up to Argy, but as usual, he shrugged me off with his atypical, “Yee-har! Don’ worreh ‘boot it, mate!”

Also, I must note the rather strange occurrence I had today: a ragged, old hermit of a woman crept up to me this evening. She seemed to have been stalking me all day, as I spotted her staring at me as I was at the docks, taking care of preparations, then again while I was at Wilson’s shop. This evening I finally confronted her about it and she spoke to me in the most hoarse, churning voice I had ever heard… And that rancid breath! It was like she had eaten a rat or something!

She told me our expedition was a bust, basically. That our “demise was certain” if we continued with our charted course. Naturally, I shunned her as a wicked old wretch and was on my way. Damn doomsayers and their hunger for attention…

Day 6 ½:

She was here again. Twice I awoke to the sound of pattering on my window pane. On the second time I turned and there she was, staring at me with a pair of white, glossy eyes and a mouth hanging with very few fanged teeth. She had been scratching against my window with her yellowed, cracked fingernails. I let out a scream and turned to light a lamp but by the time I had, she was gone. Susan thought I had lost my mind… But I could’ve sworn that I saw her. I could’ve.

Day 7:

Launch day. The old woman wasn’t here today, thankfully, though I alerted the town guard of the incidents. They agreed to keep watch around my neighborhood for suspicious activity. I don’t want her around my Susan, especially when she’s with child. At first I simply thought she was a mere crazed bat with a penchant for prescribing false death sentences, but now… I keep hearing her awful moaning and that damned window pattering in the back of my head. It sends me chills even still.

Day 8:

We are now underwater and are still sliding deeper into the unknown! Thanks to our pressurized vessel, we will be safe from harm. I will now be writing every hour on a notation of the different things of note we see. I look forward to it!

Day 8 - Hour 1:

Everything is dim out here, underwater. Below us, through a pressure-protective window, we can see the dark chasm where we’ll be searching. This vessel has windows almost everywhere to see what is outside, as well as shielded lamps that can be accessed from the inside, meaning we’ll have to change them periodically. Argy cracks jokes still while the men guide the vessel down. Something makes me… uneasy. To myself, I heard a high-pitched… moan of some kind. Phillips assured me it was just a whale, but I saw nothing out there. Everything is… dim.

Day 8 - Hour 2:

Everything is dark and cold. The lamps have been lit and, already, we’ve spotted some strange sights. Phillips is pretty well-versed in Marine zoology and classifies some of the things we’ve seen so far as eels and jellyfish. Still, other things down here have chilled us all to the bone…

Earlier we spotted a dozen lights shining below us and, after further inspection, we found a group of lit-up jellyfish that looked like swimming lanterns being devoured by creatures with large rows of sharp teeth. Their eyes were a glossy white, reminding me of the old wretch from before… I had to turn to my gaze lest I faint. The resulting white goo floating up to our vessel was enough to nearly make me vomit.

Day 8 - Hour 3:

Something has rocked our vessel. At first we all assumed it to be us hitting another rock formation or something, which we must be careful about doing since a puncture hole would mean the death of us all, but almost immediately after we saw a mass of scales glide over us. As the beast passed us by, we looked to the window on our rear and noticed it fully: a long, scaled monster of green with small legs and webbed talons propelling it forward. Luckily, we never saw the creature’s face for I’m certain I would’ve suffered a heart attack if I had. I urged Argy to bring us further up but he rebuked me, calling me a coward and that the expedition is going perfectly. How long are we to be down here in this dark Den of Demons?

Day 8 - Hour 4:

I awoke this time to the sound of the high-pitched moaning again. I asked Phillips if whales could survive down in this cold area and he denied, thus proving it was something… different. As time passed, we came upon a massive row of bones and a skull similar to that of a crocodile. On close inspection, we discovered small, spider-like things skittering across the remains.

They were a dark green and, when our vessel was mere inches from them, Argy dared to tap at the window to get their attention. They emitted the most accursed hissing sound my ears ever had the discomfort of hearing. Argy himself even recoiled in fright at their hostile speech pattern. As they hissed, they twitched at us while emitting dark green fibers that floated up from their furs. Their large, spider-like fangs clicked together hungrily as they stared at us, but they merely stood there, waiting. We moved on, but as we did they continued to stare at our departure for a while before returning to their business.

Day 8 - Hour 5:

We have discovered a sort of cave formation near the ocean floor. Argy thinks we should check it out, but Phillips and I agree that we should conclude this expedition soon. One of our crewmen, Reginald, has fallen ill since the sight of the spider creatures. Argy agrees that we shall return after this last venture. I sure hope he’s right… I’m tired of seeing these monstrosities.

Day 8 - Hour 6:

Sweet Christ in Heaven! I’m still shaking from it! Yet another Demon has impeded us on our journey, this time with full-intent on killing us! It had a suction-like mouth with rows upon rows of sharp fangs, pressed against our window’s glass.

Like the old woman and several others of the creatures living down in this abysmal world, this… thing had white, glossy eyes that stared directly at us as it sucked against the glass, hungry for our flesh and blood! It didn’t know what we are. It couldn’t have, it had never met a creature like us before nor we it and yet it was so… hungry… It cared not what we were, all it cared about was food! God help us… We thought this was an expedition, but we are descending into the pit of Hell itself!

Argy has been driven mad with despair. Several times have we doubled back to escape this labyrinth we’ve entered, but each time we just end up in circles and possibly run into that… that THING again! I can’t take it… I need off! I need off!

Day 8 - Hour 6 ½:

We’ve… made it into a wide, spacious area but not an exit. A ceiling is far above our heads, meaning we are still trapped. I have… come to silently accept the possibility that we may not make it out of this Hell. Reginald has vomited in a corner and it wreaks in this tank of despair.

Everyone is quiet, for we know if any one of us speaks, we all shall join in a chorus of cries and pleads to God Almighty. It’s freezing down here… I want to cry… I want to go home, to hear my Susan’s soft words again… This is all that woman’s fault, and Argy! If he had not brought our damned souls down here, we wouldn’t be terrorized by these abominations of God!

Day 8 - Hour 7:

I don’t know whether to count ourselves privileged… or accursed. We have looked into the Devil’s eyes, at last… The eyes of the Demon God… The glossy, white eyes that see nothing… and everything. Upon reaching the end of this canyon, we discovered what looked like a wall of grey, smoothness.

But upon fixing our lamps one last time, the wall revealed itself an eyelid. I heard that call, that wretched call, once more… It was loud and it cracked one of our windows. I don’t have long. This may be a futile attempt to document this last moment of my life, but I feel it necessary.

Phillips, that philosophical prat, has christened the Demon Leviathan, the sea monster mentioned in Job. For now, it stares at us, judging us… lowly mortals as we are, but that call it made will most certainly attract others. It’s feeding its monstrous children in this underdark, and we have been made a prime meal due to our damaged vessel. Argy is still raving mad and it took Joseph smashing a tool box over his head to shut him up. If anyone manages to read this, ever… Leave this place immediately and never return, but tell of our tale and our plight… And warn those above to never visit those below. There are monsters down below. This is the Hell.

(Scribbled in corner) Eyes, staring… hurts… forever… eyes… wretch… hungry… need to… hun-… feed…

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