The surface world is ruled by the Empire. That's what its called. The
Empire. Not the Empire of Something, or the Something Empire. Just the Empire.
It's understandable. There's no need for elaborate names when there's only
one game in town.
There is the Empire. It is ruled by King Hawthorne. It has been there,
for all practical purposes, forever. And it will probably always be there.
The Empire has made everything calm and orderly. The criminals? Timid,
or dead. The Dragons? Dead. Fantastic creatures of all kinds? They were
a sometimes difficult and always unpredictable presence. Now they're gone.
Order at any cost was called for, and order was obtained.
But the Empire had mercy. It was ruled by humans, with human consciences.
When the inevitable question of what to do about the misfits, the unruly,
the generally awkward and useless originally came up, as it always does,
the government opted for the simplicity of killing them. Recently, however,
a group of reformers came into power, and they felt that this bloodshed
had to stop. Just because someone opined that the Empire perhaps wasn't
the best possible thing, it was decided, didn't necessarily mean that person
should be killed. But something had to be done. On that everyone agreed.
Order had to be maintained.
So, for five decades now, the Empire has rounded up the square pegs,
the loudmouths, and the people just too independent for safety, and thrown
them into a gigantic pit in the ground from which there could be no escape.
There, they could live out their lives in peace, doing what they want, saying
what they want, and never seeing the light of day again.
This worked so well, in fact, that the Empire started throwing the few
magical creatures remaining into the pit as well. That these creatures might
be a hazard to those already there was seen as a plus.
The grand experiment of teleporting misfits into the underworld was a
great success, and caused nobody a bit of trouble. Well, at least as long
as you weren't one of the ones thrown into the teleporter.
Unfortunately, someone has decided that perhaps the people above would
be better off if you were no longer among them. So down you go...