Last Stone

The village of Last Stone was so named because it was the point where a modest Dwarvish mapping expedition into the Underdark turned back and went home. Out of supplies, dwarfpower, and money, those who could walk turned to face the long road home. Those too bedridden to make the attempt stayed, they thought then to die. 

But they struggled to survive and miraculously did. First they found water. Then small animals to eat and tame. Then caverns with sufficient moisture and soil to grow food. And finally, they began to cook; partially to survive, but mostly because there wasn't a whole lot else to do. I mean, the place is called "Last Stone," for Moradin's sake. It's named after a rock. A particular rock in a sea of rocks. The last one. After you've seen all the others.

But I digress. 

Simple living and simple cooking grew into the culture of last stone. Within a few generations, Dwarven civilization quickly forgot about Last Stone and Last Stone quickly forgot about Dwarven civilization. What could they offer Last Stone? Wealth? War? Rocks? No use. Last Stone had rocks aplenty. Too many, in fact. Seriously, how did we even live here? Do rocks breed? Are they multiplying? WHERE ARE ALL THESE ROCKS COMING FROM?

I am so sorry for digressing again.

The first generation of Last Stoners were content to only survive. But the second began to explore. If they could survive, after all, then surely there must be others. Sure enough, there were. Smaller towns, remnants of missing parties from the same expedition of yore. Word spread. Then goods and services. Last Stone became a local hub for the crevice towns. Ah yes, we discovered that we existed in a crevice in the roots of a mountain. A tiny sliver inside a big rock. How's that for blowing your mind? Rocks inside rocks. So many rocks.

Don't start. You gotta focus up. Nggggggg.

Cuisine mixed and flowed and similar dishes were compared. It was discovered that the water of Last Stone was distinctly different than water elsewhere. Sweeter. Tastier. The crevice town chiefs assembled a team of their finest chefs and sought to get to the bottom of this latest mystery. They did. After sifting through a lot of rocks (like a lot a lot), they found it. A crystal in the local aquifer, enhancing the taste of any food it was mixed with.

The soups and noodle dishes of Last Stone blew up. As teams of chefs developed new cooking techniques to deliberately utilize this crystal, Dwarvish rustic cuisine reached a new level. It was named in the noodle houses as "tasty rock" or "sweet T" (for sweet tasty) and became a local legend. Word spread to the other crevice towns. The population of Last Stone swelled* and the entire crevice prospered with new money and trade.

At times, I think it's too much. Life in Last Stone used to be small and simple. Now, you may not even know for whom you're cooking noodles. Unthinkable! Some days, I'd prefer a rocky wasteland over what we have now. I miss my days of nothing. I miss my rocks.

Ah well. At least it can't get any bigger.

- From the journal of Brodok Koraz, Apprentice Noodle Chef

*Editor's note: From the perspective of young Koraz, perhaps. In truth, to say that the population of Last Stone swelled is like saying your supply of a particular commodity (eg. rocks) increased exponentially because you found another one.

Last Stone

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