Wealth brings wyrms, the elders always say. This is why the old cities of the Above were always so strongly fortified. Dragons would seek to steal their wealth from above, and the insidious Below, the cursed refuge of evil souls that writhes deep within the planet, would seek to bubble up from below like an overstirred pot. The great fortresses of old, be they made by the slow folk or the quick folk, were always reinforced at both ends.

But that was before the Age of Reason, when the dragons were all hounded to the far corners of the earth and killed, and the Below was brought to a low simmer by declining belief. A soul that believes in nothing, after all, never reaches the hell Below or the bliss Above but merely ceases to be. And dragons, the great agents for the Above and the Below in their various shifting allegiances and guises, were all but extinct.

All save one, anyhow. And she had a plan.

The greatest dwarven city of the Age was sunk deep into the richest mines ever discovered, with a vast metropolis wade by the quick folk set atop it and owing fealty to the nobles below and the mythical King Underground. What if a dragon were to make their way to the basement of this great city and claim its horde? It could be done in secret and with subtlety, and as the last of the drakes still possessed her dead consort’s seed within her, it could be the birth dry of a whole new generation of her kind.

So she snuck into the great city in the guise of a petty quick folk and began to work downward. Quick folk, slave, elf, and even dwarf – she made lives as them all as she worked ever downward. It was decades, centuries, before the miners and the dwarven houses that employed them began to notice the deep tentacles in their society, the wealth flowing downward, the crime bosses and gangs acting in concert with the mysterious evil rising from below.

By that time it was perhaps too late. Distracted by the shiny bauble of the Lord Regency and its power, the nobles had allowed a true Queen Underground to arise, and the time when she will make herself known and feast on that which has grown fat an complacent is soon at hand.

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