The Dark Fantastical Worlds Beneath Us

I’m a small woman (It’s true. Read my “About” page on my website.) Sometimes, the world feels too big. Everything is so high and out of reach. There’s all this empty space. It’s lonely and, if I want to dig down really deep, it’s uncomfortable in an existential way. So, I’ve always been fond of creating my own small spaces, like blanket forts and huts made out of twigs and bushes outside.

Then, one day, I was visiting a friend who lived in the country and they had a small limestone bat cave on their property. From that moment on, underground spaces intrigued me. I’ve toured many of the great cave systems of America and have plans to see more. I love researching ancient subterranean civilizations, like those in Turkey, and I’m fascinated by fantasy creatures from fairytales, folktales, and myths.

Have you guessed what this blog is about yet? That’s right! Fictional tales of those who live in the dark, fantastical worlds beneath us.


In Welsh and Cornish mining towns, there are tales of little people about two feet tall who dress up like miners and cause mischief. While this sounds delightful at first, further research into it showed that there are antisemitic roots to this tale. There were claims that the knockers were Jews, and therefore wouldn’t cause trouble on during Shabbat (possibly a way to get miners to clock in on Saturday). It seems those running the mines found knockers a handy scapegoat at the expense of the local Jewish population.

Art by Sam Thiewes


Known today as troublemakers hiding behind keyboards, trolls originally came from Norse mythology and have expanded from there. They’re not known for their beauty or brains, but brute strength they have in spades. They live in caves, burial mounds, and mountains, possibly because they turn into stone in the daylight.

Troll statue at the top of Fløyen Mountain in Bergen, Norway


“Gnome” is an umbrella term used by fairy-worshipping witches for any Earth elemental. Other than that group, most people know them as little people that live underground and wear conical hats. They’re benign for the most part, even helpful. They guard mines and go aboveground at night to do favors for those sleeping. Now, small ceramic versions of them grace gardens everywhere.

These guys are impossible not to love.


It’s no surprise that dwarves are Germanic in origin. They’re known in fantasy books and games for their love of a good beer, after all. They’re short with impressive beards, and there’s some debate over whether female dwarves also have beards or simply don’t exist. They’re smiths who guard vast caverns of gold and treasure underground. This features heavily in J.R.R. Tolkien’s books.

Dwarf Warrior by Li Hao

The Dark Series

Dark by Paul L. Arvidson

Recently, I lucked out on starting a new series that I know will keep me entertained for a while. I’m a fantasy author, but I enjoy a good science fiction book when I come upon one.

Paul L. Arvidson’s book Dark is the first in The Dark Series. It’s about an underground civilization that seems a lot like those you would read about in a Tolkien book. The more you read, however, the clearer it becomes that this is actually science fiction. I don’t want to give too much away, but there’s a reason why it’s called Dark.

The characters are different types of “folk” with rodent-like features. They live in vibrant cultures in subterranean networks. As the main characters of this tale explore their known world, they learn that what they’ve been told all their lives has barely scratched the surface of the truth. Between some chapters, you can find distress messages offering clues as to who these “folk” actually are and how their underground culture came to be. It’s truly unique. I’ve never read anything like this.

You can learn more about Paul L. Arvidson’s books at his site, which are sold wide. I highly recommend also signing up for his newsletter. I’m a subscriber and it’s a bright spot in my inbox.

Did you like reading this? Then, you’ll love my book!

Struggling With the Current is the first book in The Telverin Trilogy, a story about an exiled princess who finds herself in a terrifying world with equally frightening powers.

Read the Beginning Now!

Click on the download button below to receive the prologue and first chapter.

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Princess Eya’s life changes forever with the discovery of the Statue of the Goddess Winds, just as she’s coming of age. The long-overlooked kingdom of Hicares finds itself in a war it isn’t prepared for against the far more powerful empire of Pescel. To survive, Eya must flee her home, losing everything and everyone she loves in the process.

Yet, by leaving behind all she’s ever known, she learns that her sheltered life didn’t prepare her for the real world’s strange and frightening nature. She encounters people, places, and creatures beyond anything she ever imagined, along with sinister enemies from every direction. Perhaps her most surprising revelation is that she is developing terrifying powers of her own. Will Eya be able to find happiness in her new life, or will she continue struggling with the current?

Struggling With the Current is the first book of The Telverin Trilogy, a fantasy war story that takes place between several countries in the world of Telverin.

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