The world is a cold, dead place. The Green Moon shines brightest, but only casts a fleeting shadow at its fullest, and then the shadows are short. It is said that the shadows play tricks on their owners. It is said that the Grey Moon casts no shadow because it is a shadow itself.

Many things are said, but what is said most of all, and most earnestly, is that there was a time when the sky was so filled with light no stars could be seen. To stand in such brilliance was to dance with a flame that burned only those things that haunt dreams. There were no Underlurkers; there were no Devourers. The Beneath was not death; it was to be trusted. Safety was not an island; danger was. The world was soft, warm, colored, and alive.

But that is what is said, not what is done. What is done is to scrounge, to gather, to hunt… To survive. To keep the ember of life smoldering so that it will not be cold when the time comes to dance with the flame again—Only the dead dance with cold ashes in the dark. From your youth, you have learned to subsist in cold light and on meager helpings. Before you could walk, your mother showed you how to pick the insects from within the tangles of The Mat. As you grew, you learned to bind a half day’s gathering’s worth of their ground carapaces with slime crushed from The Gunder to make enough bugcake to feed yourself.

Now you are old enough for the hunt. The Underlurkers await you, and where they go, the Devourers are never far. It is said that to see a Devourer on one’s first hunt is a good omen.

If, of course, you survive it…

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The World is Not a Cold, Dead Place

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