(Warning: this story deals with the death of a parent.)
The door of Inkstain's study opened just a little, then a pause before it swung open fully. Thumbprint walked slowly inside, set her lamp on a sitting table, and lit the ones embedded in the stone walls. The rest of the home was dark. Her mother was finally asleep. Or at least pretending to be. Resting, at any rate. Inkstain’s remembrance had been observed but a few hours ago.
Walking the space of the room, Thumbprint turned to one of the book shelves, and there he was. Lined up in a row, the books that made up his life’s work. A comprehensive history of trollkind, named and numbered. A quiet gap at the end, for the book he hadn’t quite finished. A 'modern history', he'd called it. What life was like in the here and now, told by the participants to one with the same eyes. A 'lighter' project Cauldron had put him on to keep his mind active and help putter away the time of a longer retirement than he'd got. A packed sack of unfinished notes in the half-empty hollow below.
Eyes closed, Inkstain's daughter let her hand choose a title. A book selected, she retired to his writing chair and lay it open on the desk. Thumbprint turned to the introduction page, her index finger touching the lettering somberly as she read.
"In the last volume of our long walk through time, we journeyed into The Era of Warlords. Three and a half centuries of territorial infighting which followed the Great Rebellion. Having thrown off the yoke of slavery, our ancestors struggled to learn how to rule themselves. As a people, we languished.
How ironic the instrument of change away from that darkened life! It was the return of our former captors, or perhaps their offspring, which caused a great many trolls to examine their lives and realize how they had already been ensnared by their own kind. A new generation of heroes emerged to lead them in dismantling the Warlords' power-base of terror and retribution. Freeing us all from those bloodied hands before they would drive us to complete destruction.
That magnificent work done, they did even more! They built the life we have lived for two millennia. Come with me now on a journey into the very beginnings of Underhaven. Together, we shall meet the small band of revolutionaries who changed our world. We shall sit with them in cramped hideaways, and again at the First Conclave. We will watch the great Obelisk Clock rise up from the living stone. We shall walk ancient tunnels which have since been lost to our own phenomenal growth.
Akin to a grateful child telling tales of a dearly departed parent, Underhaven of Old is a world which now only exists in the retelling, and in the marks it has left in stone for others to find. Stories which must be hoarded, maintained, shared. Memories which can never truly be forgot so long as we keep telling them."
Thumbprint read on, hearing her father’s voice reverberate in her mind as clearly as if he were standing beside her.