I have always been drawn to the dark and the dangerous, and, often, the parts of the world hidden from view reveal much about the visible world as well. Much as the servants in a manor can tell a tale about their master, so can the condition of the less-fortunate and desperate tell a tale about a town's crown jewels.
Having ventured into the subterranean depths of Victoria City recently, I decided to pay a return visit to Rivet Town, and see what - or who - might be lurking below the streets.
A good crowd had assembled in the tavern, but I skirted by the lights and noise and strong smell of cheap beer, and instead pried open a manhole cover.
A short descent brought me below street level, in a lighted series of tunnels.
The smell was dank, and I could hear the squeaks of rodents as they scurried through the tunnels. Worried that a larger species of vermin might also be living in this space, I had come prepared with a shotgun and shells with enough stopping power to take care of any problems smaller than a rhinoceros.
As quietly as possible, I made my way through the corridors, finally seeing the narrow walkway open into a large but dimly-lighted room.
Within the chamber were some lanterms, a dirty couch that apparently doubled as a bed, and a cache of gunpowder kegs and steel parts. What sort of mad plot was being concocted down here, and by what desperate men? I realized that my shotgun would be of no use here - one errant spark and I would die myself, taking out half the town in the process.
Hearing footsteps heading my way, I quickly stepped out of the room in the other direction, and silently made my way back to the ladder, and to the surface. I fear for Rivet Town. However, as a stranger, would my alarm be believed? Would they simply think me part of the plot and lock me in the town jail? Not wishing to risk either outcome, I opted for a third strategy: I left the manhole cover open, hoping that one of the tavern's denizens would leave his chair with at least some sobriety remaining, see the cover ajar, and have the presence of mind to investigate. I only hope that no one returns the cover to its rightful position without peering inside...