I was convinced that this ordinary D'ni dwelling
contained some kind of secret. When I was a kid, I'd heard stories from
my grandmother about her childhood home, but even after finding records
indicating she was born there, I could not find the hidden room of which
she had spoken. Supposedly, it had been the bedroom of an elderly member
of the family but had been converted into an entrance to a hidden chamber
upon his passing. My grandmother claimed it was so well concealed that
even she had forgotten its exact location, but I've always believed she
was just trying to lure me with my own strong curiosity into visiting
D'ni, since she was never able to convince my mother. I had always wanted
to see the Great Cavern, however, and on my 18th birthday I began my journey.
One surface year of exploration later, I was
now sitting in my great-grandfather's scarlet-cushioned chair, decorated
with the emblem of the Guild of Writers, trying to think of any part of
the house I had not yet searched. The only thing that seemed out of the
was a missing picture frame in the main hallway, and even if that was
the answer I had no idea where to find it. I thought to myself, “Why did
I even leave home? My family lives on the surface now, not in this ancient,
dusty stone structure.” Then it came to me: The missing picture was at
home, hanging above the bed where my grandmother had recently passed on!
I immediately traveled home to retrieve it. The frame was shaped like the D'ni numeral 25, so I knew it would fit perfectly in the empty space that had been left visible in the residue on the wall. In each of the frame's four segments was a portrait of a member of my grandmother's immediate family, of whom she had been the only survivor: Her father, mother, brother, and herself. The whole family. “To Twenty-Five,” as the D'ni would have said, hence the frame's design.
When I returned to my family's ancestral home after retrieving the frame, I placed the heirloom in it's rightful position, and as I fastened it to the wall, I heard a mechanism begin clicking inside the stone. Suddenly, a large section just to the left of the pictures fell into the floor. When the dust cleared, a terrifically ornate bedroom was revealed. So the stories really were true! And on the bed lay an unmarked descriptive book, no doubt leading to a long-forgotten age; And, perhaps, a long-awaited adventure!