Skip to content Skip to navigation

Teaser Tuesday: Dungeons but no Dragons

Tuesday, October 8, 2019 - 07:01

One of the hazy images that came to me when I was first plotting Daughter of Mystery was a system of nearly forgotten catacombs under the city of Rotenek. I think the original image was in connection with Margerit and Barbara fleeing when the mystery guild was betrayed. That vision of the scene was discarded, but I kept a vague fondness for the idea of underground passages. The image merged eventually with the developing idea of the chanulezes and the thought that some of them had been covered over and nearly forgotten. Old European cites have layers and layers of forgotten history, shut behind doors, covered by new foundations, walled away when inconvenient. When Roz and her friends needed a different way to return to Saint Rota's well, that image of underground passages returned.

And, like Chekov's gun, the existence of a set of tunnels and forgotten access points lying underneath the main Plaiz between the palace and the cathedral just may be relevant in another book or two. Or three.

* * *

Maisetra Iulien said later that it would have been more of an adventure to find our way all on our own. But it seems to me adventures are enough work, and you should take help when you can. No one does great things all by themselves, except maybe in Maisetra Iulien’s stories. Look at Celeste’s charm work. She’s the one with the knack to put together a charm against the fever, but she never would have tried using the well water except for Mesner Aukustin wanting to explore the chanulezes and Liv providing the boat. And she wouldn’t have had dared to finish the charm, except for Liv’s nephew needing the cure. Even I’d done my part, carrying the chest of charm-goods for her, so I wasn’t going to grudge the cellarer his bit.

The iron-banded door took three of us to drag it open once we’d cleared out the rubbish in the way, found the right key, and oiled the lock into life. The passage went on and on until it felt like we must have crossed under the whole city. But in the end it led straight to a door with a simple bar, like it was only meant to be opened by someone from inside the palace. When we pushed it open, there was a rush of damp air and the hollow mutter of the current in the hidden chanulez. The water was higher, most of the way up the steps to the well, but sweet water still flowed down from the fountain into the dark.

Major category: