"The Cavern lives still, or so they say,
"And it will for long after we've gone away."
Yet I never believed them until today
When I came back to D'ni.
I'd heard of the whispers, both dark and low
Of something that only Explorers would know -
"There's something strange going on down below
In Ae'Gura; you have to see!"
And so, once again, I packed up and left
And drove out west, towards the Cleft
To the summer home nearby, otherwise bereft
Where my Relto book did lay.
Once there, I gathered up my Ki,
My old notebooks, my pencils three,
And thoughts and memories of D'ni -
With those, I linked away.
My Relto remained as it always had been -
A place of solitude times ten.
But my bookshelf beckoned to me then,
And to Bevin I did link.
"Hello?" I cried as I arrived.
"Is anyone there? Hey, look alive!"
My voice cut through the silence like knives;
The silence was black as ink.
"Nobody here," I sighed as I walked
Along the walls of solid rock -
And then the thought hit me like a cinder block -
In Ae'gura they must be!
I ran to the terminal fast and far
And found the book was still ajar
As I walked up to the pedestal bar
And linked again (that makes three).
From there, I walked to the terminal,
Chose my link, and watched the gears slowly pull,
Grind, and squeal as the mechanism found the right hull
And presented the book before long.
Without any further deliberation,
I used the book, that odd innovation,
But when I arrived, I felt great consternation -
Something here felt terribly wrong.
A palpable aura so strong in the air
Hung 'round the place just like a noose's snare,
And its message to me was all too clear - beware -
As I walked through Ae'gura's streets.
From Tokotah Alley to the Great Stairs I went,
And there I discovered a regiment
Of explorers, lingering not too far from the tents
Standing rooted in place on their feet.
I passed by one and cheerfully murmured, "Hi!"
He gave me neither a response nor a cry
But ignored me entirely as I walked by.
Clearly, his concentration was elsewhere.
Then I peered at the others gathered around -
Some of them standing, some sitting on the ground.
All of them were awestruck, not making a sound,
All acting as though I weren't there,
All of them facing the same solemn place -
Towards Kerath's Arch with a cold, expressionless face.
A screech rang out then, assaulting my ears like a mace,
And I turned towards the Cavern in startled fear.
Countless Bahro were flying in a widening gyre,
'Round and 'round that great communal spire,
Screeching loudly and soaring ever higher and higher.
I trembled, humbled, and whispered, "Why are they here?"
And nobody answered me; no, not a one,
As if playing Keep-Away with secrets for fun
As their cold gazes seared me. I broke into a run,
And they stared through me, and beyond...
I still don't know why Bahro flocked by the score
That day, and what afflicted humans who came to explore -
But this story's the truth, and of it there's no more.