The Journal of Rocco Barisano
"The Journal of Rocco Barisano," pieced together from the fragments of manuscript found within the Serpent Sewer.
First day, noon. My daughter Andria is such a naughty imp. I carved her a marvelous wooden doll and her mother dressed it in a copy of Andria's favorite dress. "Don' wan' dolly!" Andria shrieked, throwing the doll much farther than one might have anticipated. With uncanny luck, the doll sailed high into the air and neatly dropped directly through the grates into the sewers below. Immediately, Andria became distressed and so here I am, searching the wretched sewers for that doll.
First day, evening. I can only imagine it is evening, for the unchanging light here below the streets makes it difficult to tell what time it is. I immediately found Andria's doll, soiled by the refuse of the first sewers but otherwise appearing intact. As I reached for it, some foul denizen of this dark place neatly plucked it from my fingertips and disappeared with it. I tracked it to the second level that we call the Serpent Sewer. It is not infested with serpents, but is called that as the tunnels twist and turn.
Second day, morning. A most uncomfortable night spent mostly clinging to an iron ladder. I thought it would lead up and out of this foul-smelling tunnel, but the hatch at the top proved locked tight. I pounded on it and called, but there was no answer. Except, of course, for the watchful silence which was very unpleasant. I wrapped my limbs around the ladder to keep from falling into the muck below.
Day two, evening. Have I really been walking in circles this whole day? Yet another ladder and another locked grate at its top! Try as I might, I could not push or pull it open. How very frustrating. I am getting quite hungry, despite the smell in the air. There is a damp staleness, despite the numerous iron grates. I am going to find my way back to some gnomish heating devices I passed earlier; perhaps I can huddle against them to dry.
Day three, after waking. I cannot tell if this is morning, but I am certainly awake now. There is a busy, busy gibbering in the darkness at the far end of the tunnel. The gnomish devices are everywhere down here, some spew forth steam and some fire! These are truly amazing works, though I do not know what they might do. Wait! I hear voices! Perhaps a search party has found me -- I must go.
Next day. I am losing track of the days. I continue to hear voices echoing through the gloom, but always just around a corner or through one of the many grated tunnels I cannot access. Even when the sound seems to be coming from directly above me, my calls are not answered. I have not found a way out of this place. My food consists of the vermin I catch and cook on the flames of the gnomish device. I dare not go too far from it, lest I lose it and not be able to cook my meat.
Another day. What do you suppose? As I gutted and cleaned one of the refuse vermin, the head of little Andria's doll popped out of its stomach! Its wooden face was covered in tooth marks, but it is unmistakably the head of the doll that got me into this mess in the first place. I threw it into the fire.
Another day. By taking some of the flotsam here in the sewer, I have constructed a sleeping area beside the gnomish device. It is warmer here, and I have gotten used to the stench of the sewer. Tomorrow, I will take some of the wood I have been drying on the platform and make torches. If I leave these in the sconces I've seen through the tunnels, I'll be able to find my way back, in case I do not find the way out. Again.
Another day. Who do you suppose I ran into, down here in the Serpent Sewer? The Overlord himself! He seemed very surprised to see another person, as was I! I showed him the cozy corner I built for myself in the sewer and he gave me some dried meat in exchange for some of my wood. He was very cordial and said he would give my regards to his family. I was so impressed it wasn't till hours after he had left that I realized I should have asked him the way out.
Another day. I've built up several stores of wood and have started drying the extra flesh of the beasts I capture. Do you know, I am quite enjoying the peace and quiet and frankly, if I never see that whiney little brat Andria again I will be quite happy. I do miss my wife, though. She was good with laundry.