Julius leads me across the narrow walkways of the elf village, pausing from time to time to speak with another curious elf before continuing onward. We take a turn and I can’t help but notice the growing crowd of scruffy little people following us. I keep my eyes forward and stay close to my guide, keenly aware that I am at their mercy should they decide to turn against me.
We stop in front of a wooden door that is small enough that even Julius would have to stoop to get inside. “Do not speak, no matter what,” he whispers to me, his voice so quiet I am barely sure I hear it.
He raps his knuckles against the door hard and the assembled crowd of elves behind us murmurs. I try to pick out what they are saying, but their voices are too low. We wait for a minute, then two, before the door knob begins to turn. The noise carries into the cavern as the crowd goes silent. Everyone, including myself, is holding their breath. The door opens and a pale yellow light spills into the cavern, making the bright light from above feel cold and pale in comparison. “Oh, my God,” I whisper as the door comes to a halt and I am greeted by a sight strangely familiar to my eyes.