We’ve been here for a week now, and things are looking up a bit.
After all of the survivors in our group finally woke up, we waited around a for a bit until one of the rock walls in front of us dematerialized. It just faded away and vanished. We had checked all of the walls and made sure they were solid, so it had to have been more than just a holographic image.
Beyond the rock wall was a corridor made from square tiles, which were in turn made from what looked to be some sort of limestone. There were odd, disturbing images carved into every tile in the corridor, but after a few moments of talk, Al-Kitaabi led the way forward into the corridor. I was second, and the rest followed after me. There was no discernible light source, and while the lighting was dim, there was most certainly something giving off light. We ourselves seemed to give off no shadows, so it is possible the light came from all around us.
We walked down that long, straight corridor for about five minutes, until we reached a large door graced with the image of what looked to be a hideous fusion of kraken and sea serpent. The image itself seemed to waver before my eyes, so I didn’t look at it to much.
Then the door opened, sliding into the wall, from the other side, and I believe I may have fainted at the sight that lay beyond it.
When I came to, I was lying in a comfortable bed, in my own, private room, with a window overlooking an enormous, grand, impossible city contained in an enormous cavern beneath the ground. I am still here. The buildings don’t seem to quite make sense, and I have a vague sense of unease if I stare at any one for too long, as they seem to blur the lines between real and unreal. If that makes any sense.
Arches are the predominant form of architecture here; in fact, every single building seems to be an arch, composed of those same tiles that lined that initial corridor. There are big ones and small ones, but all are identical in shape and material. There are windows scattered around all of the arches, and doors at their bases for their inhabitants to leave. The arches near the edge of the enormous cavern we are in are of a different form, as one of their bases ends in the cavern wall itself, while its other base stands firmly on the cavern’s even ground. The cavern floor is similarly covered with the same sort of tile, and there are pools scattered everywhere about it, filled with kelp. Occasionally, the strange inhabitants of this place will emerge from those pools en masse, and head into one of the larger arches so haphazardly placed about the city, and then leave there again after a few hours, returning to their homes, I presume. I have not yet seen any of these beings do down into those pools.
After my awakening, I tried the single door in my sparsely-furnished room, and found it opened into a circular room with more furnishings, including several tables and chairs. The rest of my team was sitting around one of the tables, and waved me over when I emerged.
They explained to me that I had been unconscious for almost a day, and then proceeded to try and explain the wonders of this city. Following my fainting fit, we had all been escorted – and me carried – through a maze of corridors that led eventually to one of those odd arches that stood on the edges of the great cavern. We all descended down that arch and exited onto street level, where we were led to the largest arch of all, in the center of the city, that was topped also with a tower that reached to the roof of the cavern. We had been given this suite as a place for us to stay while we waited for… well, for something. No one was sure what, and we still aren’t, as we can’t communicate with the beings.
They are, for lack of a better word, kelpmen. They possess distinctinctly humanoid shapes, but seem to be made entirely of strands of kelp wound tightly together, with thicker strands on the outside hanging off of them like long hair. They have no discernible faces, but speak with muffled voices through their heads. They are larger than us humans are, and stronger; yesterday I watched a group repair a crumbling arch, each one lifting up what looked to be several tons of tile when the need arose.
We can only assume that these kelpmen – whatever they are – rescued us from our submersible after our accident, for whatever reason, and brought us to live in this arch, which seems to be a palace of sorts. We live near the top of the arch, and have not yet been permitted to leave our suite. We have food brought to us seven times a day, and while the fish and seaweed delicacies are delicious, they are rich and hard to keep down at times. We eat as much as we can, for fear of offending our hosts. Kitaabi has been speaking with the one who gives us food – or trying to – and says he thinks he is slowly beginning to understand their language.
In my capacity as a biologist, I have yet to discover what sort of beast they are. They puzzle me, and I suspect somewhat that perhaps they are not made of kelp, but merely dressed in kelp. I shall keep working on my hypothesis.
It is most boring here now, especially now that the danger seems to have passed. We are far from anything that might hurt us, and are just locked up in this suite all the time. They took my diary after I was knocked out, and they just gave it back to me a few hours ago. I must say I missed this thing. Interestingly, the kelpmen seemed to have activated a chronometer on it, which I didn’t even know it had. I assume it was accidental, but I am grateful to know how long it’s been. It’s been longer than I thought since we began; I think I must have lost some time somewhere… maybe between Hubie crashing and us waking up?
I’ll write again when I find out more. Kitaabi and the others will tell me all that they know as well; this diary is now our sole link to the surface world, assuming it still works.
I hope it does.