Chapter Four

From Bottle to Bathroom

Once every one had settled down and regained a hint of self-control, they began talking again. Phyllis had plopped in his chair in front of them, and they leaned back comfortably and allowed their tongues to loosen under the effects of the powerful alcohol. Each had taken only one swig before the bottle was corked and put to rest on the old-timer's lap.

"So, let's see here, where to start here…" The old croon looked thoughtfully at the ceiling, his face appearing to quiver in the green glow of the flames that had overtaken the room like a heavy fog. Sakeya could only stare at his face as he began to speak slowly and delicately.

"Well I guess it all started about five hundred years ago, when Nirnith was first becoming occupied by the far-eastern colonists, or something along these lines. It's pretty much all hearsay, ya know, but at my age, I've heard a lot and said even more."

Sakeya chuckled as if partaking in an inside joke, bobbing his head slowly.

"Our people were living in the land above us, and keep in mind, there were a whole lot more of us back then, but most of our people died in the fighting that took place back then. Ya gotta understand, this was a big war. Millions died, ya know."

"I've heard about that…" Roy nodded, eyes halfway closed. "This whole continent, and most of Garven… there were people living here, but I thought they were barbarians. They were all into witchcraft and magicks, and built pyramids and sacrificed to Gods and stuff. I heard there were these one people that could turn into, like, I don't know, like… pigeons or something." He paused and laughed, paying no attention to Phyllis' empty stare, and didn't seem to mind when the old man began abruptly speaking again.

"Well, you're right, there were people here, like I was saying. Anyways, while the war raged on for about fifty years, my people slowly moved into the mines down here. You see, what most people don't know is that we were being attacked on both sides; the pre-conquest Garvens were also invading from the east. Now, these people were nasty- real brutes. They killed and burned everything that they couldn't eat, and some that they could.

"Well since we didn't have anywhere to go, we thought up a plan… We thought we could protect ourselves from the invaders by collapsing the mine tunnels and waiting for the Garvens and Nirniths to meet and duke it out up top, then we'd pop out and kill whoever was left.

"So we all slowly appeared to lose on both sides, while really we were all moving down here. And we kept digging deeper and deeper as we collapsed more tunnels… see, there used to be dozens of different mines, all over the place. What we didn't expect one day was when we broke into this here place."

"This is where it gets a little jumbled, see." He stroked his beard, thinking while leaning farther and farther into his chair, giving his audience a thorough examination. Roy had, at some point, given up hope in keeping his eyes open, and laid down under the overhang on the bed, while Sakeya sat cross-legged, staring at some point over the man's shoulder.

He looked over at his friend vacantly and laughed weakly. "Hey… hey Roy… You're not gonna make sure… I don't get us on another train again? Hahah…" Appearing too weak to laugh, he lolled his head and mumbled, almost incoherently, "Ahh, well, there ain't no trains to take nowhere anyways… Heheh, I don't know… Maybe I'll land us like a mine cart, hahah." He rested his head on his right shoulder and closed his eyes, noting Phyllis' stare out of the corner of his eyes.

"Hmm… Doesn't look like your friend's a trooper, eh?"

"Heh, you wouldn't believe it, but he really is…"

Phyllis laughed, not truly understanding what was implied but continuing with his story nonetheless. "So, supposedly most of us reached this area around the same time, and when we got here, there were these… People, I suppose, living here. There wasn't a lot of 'em, only in the hundreds. So we all stormed in and took over the place, or at least, this part of it. Ya see now, most of these caverns aren't even explored yet. They've mapped some of the places beyond this one, but almost all the folks that go in there, don't come back… supposedly-"

He leaned in, masterfully getting Sakeya's attention. "Supposedly- there's more of these people- the Rozats- out there farther in the cave… a lot of 'em. And people say, someday they're gonna try and take this place back."

He had apparently finished his story. Sakeya chuckled and clapped his hands. "Very nice work there Phylly, ver' nice!"

"Heheh, thank you…" He sighed and fiddled with the bottle absent-mindedly, apparently running memories through his mind. Roy began snorting in his sleep and rolled over, snuggling against the wall. "Well," Phyllis abruptly began again, "Roy's asleep and we're both wasted, eh? Guess I'll see you when ya wake up. Since I got you this plastered I'll help you to your bed, I suppose." He was about to rise from his seat when Sakeya, staring at the corner of the wall to his right, voiced a thought.

"Hey, Phyllis. What do those Rozats look like, anyways?"

"I don't know, never seen one. Some say they've got tons of little legs, like spiders, others say they got a stinger like a scorpion. And still others say they're tall, rat-like folks with four rows of teeth! But in each case, they're all supposed to have blood- red eyes that can see a hundred feet in the dark." He then rose from his chair, his bones cracking as he stretched and yawned. "Mmm, anything else then?"

"Nah… oh, wait a sec…" He struggled to stand up, leaning on to the edge of the bed for support. "Yeah, I was wondering… About this excellent sewage system, right…?"

Phyllis chuckled. "You wouldn't believed it if I told you, come on, it's upstairs."

Using the short old man as a cane of sorts, and the old man using the wall as a walker, the pair stumbled up the stairs. Quite a few minutes later, Sakeya crawled back, plopping himself on the bed on the opposite side of the room. Under his breath, he mumbled, "Simply unbelievable…"