Belly Of The Earth


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3. The Caves

Caves greeted us at the bottom of the stairwell, opening out into a vast cavern. Caves! Below the highstreet ! Ancient places, as old as our ancestors, here beneath the cobbles ive spent the last fifteen years walking on! It was truly the most incredible sight. Jagged brown rocks jutted out into the sandy space, lit by a roaring fire in the centre. The flames licked up to reveal the greatest cave painting, wild colours and shapes adorning the arching ceiling. Untamed landscapes were side by side, brought alive by shades every bit as bright as the natural world. Someone had managed to bring the earth inside itself.

"Which is your favourite part of the painting?"
Monlay's voice drifted through the firelight as i pondered.
"Thats easy. I don't even need to think. I love the green hills with the stone circle nestled in their depths. Thats exactly what I would have done. Ive always wanted to see lands like that one up close."
It was the honest truth; I have. I often have a long list of unexplored places.
" A beautiful choice. Not what I expected you to pick. I prefer the seascape: I am far too fond of oceans and sands. Shall we move on ? I am very aware that still you do not understand why you have been summoned. Or rather, offered this honour."
"Honour?"
"It is clear to me that you have a deep connection with the natural world. That us why you are the perfect person to help us hold its greatest secret."
We moved on through the cave, strolling deeper into its depths where more fires lit the way.
The world! That reminded me of what I had intended to ask Morlay. I went ahead and asked her now.
"Monlay, why have you called the shop above us BELLY OF.."
I stopped. Something was unfolding on a shadowy ledge of rock high on the wall beside us. I had trailed off but Monlay picked up my thoughts.
" These Dragons were born here in the belly of Mother Earth."
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