The cage mines

These mines are unnamed and of their origin, little to nothing is known. Absent from all archives, hidden from view, they seem to exist in a cognitive blindspot. Deep within a small private forest is the forgotten ventilation well, the only remaining access to the Cages. Buried in the side of an overgrown hill rests the small broken stone structure, raising up to the waist and not much bigger in diameter. Through the collapsed top one can rappel into the narrow rocky bowels several stories below.

Almost any keen-eyed observer, experienced or not, could tell from the velvet black surfaces that these mines were at some point producing coal. The steep passages dive deep into the dark veins twisting and contorting until the end abruptly or connect to one of the bottomless vertical shafts. Against the walls and across the ceilings, the remainders of strong hardwood beams are slowly giving in to the passage of time. In some places, these irregular supports have spectacularly shattered or rotten to the core under constant trickle and pressure.

Further than the rotten supports and rusted rails, in the very moist further reaches of the mine where the last pick must have hit the wall, is the final chamber. Barely wider than the tunnel itself it could nonetheless accommodate eight or none miners seated on the carved ledge around the central pile of rubble. From the ceiling a steady flow of highly mineral water has dropped the room in a delicate coat of limestone giving it a ghostly appearance.

In the center of this room on a crude pedestal of rubble draped in white concretion lays a round bird cage. Similarly coated in milky mineral smoothing the detailed structure of metal rods and carved wood underneath. The cage is eternally closed and sealed but seems empty besides a small mound of limestone at its bottom.

On the back wall of this chapel, the deep blackness of a hole at chest height contrasts against the pure chamber like a broken piece of space. It is barely large enough to fit a crawling man. This demented man would find themselves in one of the rare passages through the sharp and vile rock of the upper Agowl.