Minetown is not only some place where adventurers pass through, or where Izchak keeps his shop. I know the history of Minetown. You might not have heard these legends, because the residents of the town rarely talk. Batumi, the late narrator, may she rest in peace, taught me some of these legends. I heard some of these legends from the dwarves, and the gnomes, and one centaur, during my own trips to the Gnomish Mines. I heard a few parts while I took my meal at the delicatessen in Minetown.
One meeting is not enough to tell the entire history of Minetown, from the beginning to the present. You listen as I tell you one part of the many legends of Minetown.
The Legend of the Green Gem Edit
You listen as I tell you the legend of the Green Gem, of the very beginning of the Gnomish Mines and the founding of Minetown.
Scores of generations ago, there was a people who lived on the mountains of the surface world. This people was a wandering people, a people who crossed valleys and traversed passes, until this people found a home. This people stopped wandering and settled in a place called Zurich. The residents of Zurich did not abandon the will to explore. So attached to one place, the residents — you ask what? You want to know whether the people was of humans or gnomes?
I must say that the people of Zurich was of gnomes. I will call them the gnomes of Zurich. Residents of Zurich created the Gnomish Mines, and founded Minetown. The dwarves came to the Gnomish Mines later; the humans came much later, so the Gnomish Mines first had only gnomes. So I must say that the residents of Zurich were gnomes, or were ancestors of gnomes. No, Zurich and Minetown are not the same place. Minetown is deep underground, within the Gnomish Mines, but Zurich was of the surface world. I have seen Minetown, but I know not where to find Zurich, or whether Zurich continues to exist today, or if Zurich exists today but with a different name. She was Batumi who said that we might not recognize the residents of Zurich as gnomes, because they lived not like gnomes, they lived not underground. She said that the residents of Zurich might have been human, or near human, who became gnomes after they moved to Minetown.
So where was I in the story? Yes, the wandering people stopped wandering, and settled in a place called Zurich, but explored the area around Zurich. This was before the beginning of the Gnomish Mines; there was no Minetown. I think that the explorers of Zurich would have found every spot, every opening and every cave. If there was any Green Gem near Zurich, then some explorer would have found it.
There was a day when one of the residents of Zurich found a cave. The gnome, if it was a gnome, entered the cave and encountered the Green Gem. I am not sure if the gem was an emerald stone, or a jade stone, or only a worthless piece of green glass. I am not sure if anyone identified the Green Gem. I know that this gnome took the Green Gem and screamed, "Mine!" This gnome, if it was a gnome, returned to Zurich and displayed its gem, screaming "Mine, mine, mine!"
The cave became no secret. The gnomes of Zurich, if they were gnomes, assembled at the cave and searched for more gems. The gnomes produced pick-axes, dug further into the cave, discovering more gems and also chunks of gold. They took the gems and gold and screamed, "Mine, mine, mine, mine, mine!" The gnomes returned to Zurich and displayed their gems and their gold, screaming "Mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine!" The cave became the Mines. As days became weeks, and as weeks became months, a greater number of gnomes entered the Mines and took a greater number of gems, screaming "Mine, mine mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine!" The Mines became very large and very deep.
At first, the gnomes of the Mines brought their gems and their gold to Zurich. As days became weeks, and as weeks became months, greater gnomes stayed in the Mines, but fewer gnomes stayed in Zurich. So the gnomes of the Mines stopped bringing their gems to Zurich. The gnomes stayed in the Mines and displayed their gems, screaming "Mine!" ever greater times while underground. The gnomes forgot Zurich and settled in the Mines.
Far from Zurich and deep underground, the gnomes established a new town of the gnomes who scream "Mine!" We know this town as Minetown. This town was Minetown, scores of generations before Izchak opened his shop there. During the first year, I am not sure whether Minetown had any shops, though Izchak was not there. The gnomes forgot Zurich and made Minetown as their new town. The gnomes of the Mines lived underground all their lives, forgot the sky and the sun and forgot Zurich. Minetown replaced Zurich.
There came one day when a gnome remembered the sky and the sun. This gnome desired to return to Zurich. This gnome ascended the staircases from Minetown and sought the way to the surface. If this gnome would have found the original Cave of the Green Gem, then this gnome would have exited the Mines near Zurich. This gnome searched the upper levels of the Gnomish Mines but failed to find the Cave of the Green Gem, or any path to the surface. The gnomes of the Mines had forgotten the sky and the sun and lost any path to the surface. The Gnomish Mines were isolated from the world and had no way out.
So this gnome, or perhaps a different gnome, dug a new way upward and outward from the Gnomish Mines. By some accident, this gnome connected the Gnomish Mines to the Dungeons of Doom. Since then, the way from the Gnomish Mines to the surface world has always been through the Dungeons of Doom. So you understand why I cannot find Zurich. When I start from Minetown, I can only reach the Dungeons of Doom, but the Dungeons of Doom are not near Zurich. The Cave of the Green Gem is forever lost.
So you refuse to believe me? So you think that the Gnomish Mines was always part of the Dungeons of Doom? You might not hear this, but some gnomes despair that their connection to the surface world is now through the Dungeons of Doom, and not through the Cave of the Green Gem. If this connection would not exist, then the legends of Minetown would be very different. The legend of the Green Gem, as I tell it, must be true, because it is the only explanation for the very beginning of the Gnomish Mines and the founding of Minetown. You can be sure that because this legend is true, so every legend that I tell about Minetown is true. You seem disappointed that this legend was more about the gnomes of Zurich, and less about Minetown. I know more about Minetown. I must retire now, but later I can tell you the other true legends.