GRIFFSPOTTER CAVERNS (Mouth of the Gods / Delvings of Duncanthrax)

Although history gives Duncanthrax full credit for the excavation of the Griffspotter Caverns, this is not entirely accurate. Centuries of oral tradition give strong support to the notion that at least some large portion of the caverns near Egreth and Fort Griffspotter existed previous to the dawn of the Great Underground Empire and were known as the Mouth of the Gods.

Litbo Mumblehum, the noted scholar from the 4th and 5th centuries GUE, who was on hand for the battle against Belegur, remarked that, “the caverns were undoubtedly natural, hollowed out by unknown centuries of tides, coastal winds, and the flow of the nearby river.” Although Mumblehum's analyses of other events are surely beyond reproach, his skill as a natural historian must be called into doubt. Ernie Flathead, a somewhat less scholarly figure with years of extensive experience in the underground construction of that are, insists that the tunnels and caverns just off the coast are entirely artificial in origin. As evidence, he cites “the weird way the tunnels branch so evenly.” In other words, Flathead found it odd that the passage descended into the earth in the uniform binary pattern. When asked whether any combination of natural forces could be responsible for that sort of underground formation, Flathead’s reply came quickly: “No way, man.”

Perhaps an even more compelling source of evidence for the origin of the Griffspotter Caverns lies in the so-called Anatian Inscriptions. These rather cryptic engravings have been the source of much controversy. Some of these accept the inscriptions as authentic while others dismiss the inscription itself as an archaeological hoax. Others reject the whole idea outright, citing the entire engraving as nothing more than complicated chicken-scratch.

It would seem, according to an ancient legend of the Platypus Transformation that the mythic ancestors of the 10th century platypus kings were in fact truly human monarchs, ruling over a massive and forgotten empire centuries before the dawn of Quendor. Curiously, the people of this realm shared the same sort of obsessive interest in tunneling and underground living that so possessed the world from the time of Duncanthrax on. In fact, this mania for caverning seemed to take on an urgent religious aspect, the underground tunnels seen as a way for these people to attain communion with their gods. Some who have drawn comparisons with Brogmoids have spectulated that these early Anatians begain to dig on the shores of the Westlands in hopes of reaching the Great Brogmoid himself. In any case it is estimated that around 800 BE, a "goof-up of the first order" transformed without warning every member of the ruling Anatian family, and large segments of the population into platypi.

In fact, chroniclers of the early kings of Largoneth make it clear that one particularly deep branch of the caverns would be the sight of an epic battle between Belegur and the forces of Zylon the Aged in 398 GUE. This fallen Implementor took residency with a secret lair in the Griffspotter Caverns where he pulled the strings of all his marionettes into place to enact his wicked acts. Zilbo Throckrod, Litbo Mumblehum, and the Nezgeth tribe, descended into the caverns where they defeated the fallen Implementor. Zilbo had been skeptical about Belegur's death. To commemorate and guard the site of the battle with Belegur, he later ordered the foundation of a military outpost, the famed Fort Griffspotter, named in honor of the deceased military advisor. The caverns beneath were subsequently named the Griffspotter Caverns.

In the late 666s, Pseudo-Duncanthrax chose this obscure jungle area as the site of his capital. These pre-existing caverns became the nucleus of his underground empire. The great works of underground expansion initiated by Pseudo-Duncanthrax turned the area into the largest network of caverns anywhere outside of the Eastlands. The Griffspotter Caverns were renamed the Delvings of Duncanthrax, but the name did not last long, and are still referred by their previous name.

957 GUE would see the reemergence of the demon Jeearr, who established his lair in a large chamber of extraordinary size within the Griffspotter Caverns. The villain's plot for conquering the world involved manufacturing an army of millions of light-resistant grues, using infernal machines conveniently provided by the Frobozz Magic Grue Breeder Company (luckily, these grues were never released into the world at large). Other devices seemed to have been designed to aid the forces of evil while sapping magic powers of Enchanters everywhere. Also within these caverns, Jeearr built the Chamber of Living Death, and Hall of Eternal Pain, and another room where which was the control center for the evil experiments. He possessed Belboz and drew him to the caverns. Fortunately for the world, the same Enchanter who defeated Krill found Jeearr's lair and permanently defeated him.

Several of the most peculiar, and currently unidentifiable, creatures have been spotted within the bowels of these caverns. One was a low-crawling, four-legged, malformed rodent with large, bulbous eyes unaccustomed to the light. These cannibals had scarred flesh of an unnatural, blackened color. Immense sagging, fleshy earlobes ripped to shreds by the claws of countless underground dangers. Small but efficient fangs, still wet with blood.

Dozens of other creatures, smaller than the deformed rodents nested together. These solid, shelled beasts crawled around each other or over the motionless bodies of several hundred more of their comrades, small tentacle-like claws clicking, clicking.