26th Day of the Reed, Year of the Crown
Future readers must forgive my failing script; I struggle to force my fingers to move in the right ways as they slowly mend. I should survive, though it comforts me to know that I have labored to set down my experiences in this journal — that even if it may take a thousand years, someday another may stumble across this record and learn what transpired here — that even if I should fail, knowledge lives on.
This place confounds my every bit of wisdom of the world we inhabit. The people are twice the size; the creatures are dark and eyeless. They slither and crawl about, feeding on unknown, seemingly invisible things. A moment ago I saw a small creature with five legs spaced evenly around its circular body, and no face whatsoever. It scurried off no doubt to be swallowed by some tentacular maw.
I do not intend to reveal this to my companions, but I begin to doubt our presence here, to wonder if this was a grand mistake. If we succeed in reaching the Dwarven Holds and if we find the mythic Indahammer we will be left with a dire question of what to do with it. But for now even reaching such a place is a matter of no small significance. This place is death to surface-dwellers. It smells not of rot — rot is a rich smell of earth, which hints at life — but of the absence of life. It smells like an old tomb. My hope is that this simile is not apt.