The cavern was dark as pitch this far down. One had to be either very brave or very stupid, or perhaps very much both, to even dare venture halfway here. Yet it was something every initiate had to do. The Bonewell, where the cave floor dropped thirty feet without warning, was simply a way to filter out the unworthy.

The ground crunched beneath her thin boots, and she knew without a doubt that it was the sound of bone. Her cane bounced against the cave wall, her breath was short and quiet. A gentle breeze came from somewhere deeper into the cavern. That meant she was close.

She shivered. While it was warmer than she had expected, the bones littering the cave floor made her feel as if she were intruding on some ancient gravesite. In a sense, though, she was. Among her lay the remains of those who had failed the ritualistic journey. The newest of those bones were two years old now, though if she didn't tread carefully that would change. The floor here was slick with stagnate water, and judging by the rank, metallic stench she guessed there was a copious amount of blood as well. Her stomach churned, yet she went on.

It would be the ultimate disgrace to the gods to turn back now. She didn't wish to offend them, but she also didn't wish to die.

Which left her one option. To succeed.

She froze up as she felt the cane bump against a wall. Reaching forward, she placed her hand on a moist cave wall. She smiled and began to follow it slowly, eyes trying to find any sign of light source, though there were none. And so she wandered through the pool of remains of the unworthy, hand on the wall and cane checking the floor ahead of her. The breeze was coming from somewhere near here, she just had to find the passage way and-

Aha! There it was! She quickly felt around it, her hands dancing as the cane rested against her leg. It was a small passageway, but she was sure she could squeeze through it; it was bigger than the one before Bonewell, after all. She'd have to crawl and leave the cane behind, but the gods had smiled upon her by revealing it.

In the dark it took a while to properly get herself into the crawlspace, but she managed. Elbows dug into rough stone, and rock dug into her knees and tore up her linen pant legs. Pushing forward she could feel the warm breeze against her face more and more, a humidity in it that reminded her of breath. Rocks cut into her flesh, drawing blood, but it was too late to turn back now. It would be impossible. She prayed she wouldn't find a skeleton in her way.

Soon she had made her way through the stone esophagus, her body covered in sweat and blood. She had nearly fallen face-first to the ground when she emerged, but had managed to use the height of the cave floor here to her advantage. The floor was high enough (or had the crawlspace gone low enough?) to let her use her hands like front legs, and thankfully there wasn't a stagnate pool here.

As she stood up, she was unable to see a thing though. Darkness enveloped her entirely and she hoped she had reached the final cavern, the one she had been told about. She stepped forward and she could hear the echo of her boots on the stone floor instantly.

Lights shimmered to life. She smiled and nearly jumped with joy, relief overwhelming her at this point. Tiny, green stones glowed to life, the light dancing like a candle's flame. It was without a doubt the last of the cave's trials that she had just passed through. She had made it to Shatterlight Cavern.

Now she just had to find herself among the glistening imrel stones, wherever that might be.

/r/Worldprompts Thread