|The Great Garlic
The Underworld is known for its dinosaurs. We have what is probably the largest dinosaur zoo in square kilometers. Many who have ventured to see them think that it must be rather difficult living with them, but, in reality, they do very little harm and remain in the cages. They are docile creatures until provoked, but even then they do not get very hot. They are just like seeing a deer in Maine: they may not be there for days, but when one appears it is a nice treat from the usual. Underworld living is not made difficult by them, rather it is other things that influence our life that can hold us up to think, ďwhy do I live here?Ē
The first thing that comes to mind when talking about difficulties in the Underworld is the weather. Weather can be very unpredictable and deadly. You must remember now, this is the Underworld, so the way weather works is a bit different. It is hot year-round. We live within the Earthís crust, but far below where most other races live. This means we have an abundance of hot-springs. They are a minor source of heat, but what they allow in is seldom let out. The hot-springs also make it oppressively humid. Rain and thunder are an almost daily occurrence, and they last almost all day long. Another thing we have to be careful about with weather is rock-slide, weather which is unique to the Underworld. If ever, and this is often, there is even the feeblest earthquake, some rock comes tumbling down from above onto us. We also get deep crevices from these quakes. Occasionally, magma will rise up with the quakes, or when the surface above the magma-chamber has grown thin. With this heat, many ask if we have fires. They arenít much of a worry with all the rain, but if a dinosaur loses its cool completely then we may get a blast of fire, but the rain normally fixes the conflagrations that do erupt.
Another difficulty of subterranean living is managing light. We are fortunate in the Underworld in that we have many large and wide veins of diamond that allow light to enter the place we live. That sounds good, but it isnít. Each post has to elect some of their own so that they can go up to the ceiling to keep the diamond clean. If dirt, moss, or alga should ever grow over that to an extreme extent, we know that we would be doomed. That would cut our light supply, which would halt photosynthesis, which stops us and animals we consume from getting our nutrition. Keeping that roof diamond clean is top priority. We have had very few problems with it. If one post should ever need to withdraw the persons they send, then the others can surely cover for them. We make sure that we always have people working on this though. It is a life or death matter to the inhabitants of the Underworld.
Spring-jam is also another thing we must watch for. Spring-jam is simple to describe. A hot-spring gets blocked by something, fallen stones, dino-droppings, or cave-ins on the spring. The reason this can be a problem is that if the hot-spring gets too blocked up. The ground around it will begin to stink. This is because of bacteria that produce sulfurous gasses. If left too long, the area may explode from extreme water pressure, but that is relatively rare. The easy remedy to this problem is unclogging the spring. The rock or scat is removed to put it simply. Digging is more extreme, but sometimes needed. Another important reason for this is that the springs are our main source of water.
Communication is very testy. We do not have a very good communication network. We have parrots, and often they will just repeat what you say to you. In the past we tried drums, horns and chimes, but they were terribly ineffective because we could not develop any code complex enough to convey our words and thoughts over these distances. Dinosaurs also oddly attacked villages when we used these. They do no normally attack, as mentioned before, but there must be something about the sounds of the instruments that just hits the wrong chord with them. On a more positive note, we are slowly developing a letter-carrier system, but few of the young Tendas with legs well enough to travel the vast distances between the somewhat aloof settlements know how to actually find the other villages. They need to figure this out and train their young. This would be the beginning, but our youths are too bashful to send letters, so it isnít going so well.
Finally, I must admit we have very poor medicine. Our best medicine is rest, but that is not doing very well against the Green Germ, which causes flu like symptoms but strikes at the nervous system. Our medicine is young. We use herbs to alleviate coughs, and hot-spring therapies often remove poison and colds, but this new illness may become very vivacious one day and wipe out the Underworld Tendas in a heart beat. Fortunately, we still have time, but we donít know when it will hit. That is the primary medical concern, and the fact that we have no means of obtaining or producing any anesthetics. Hopefully, our herbs can make do.
So, that is what Underworld living is made tough by. The dinosaurs arenít bad, but most other things that tourists donít see are scourges.