Jake Omaze

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Jake Omaze was an "accidental explorer" and adventurer who lived during the Fifth Age. He is most notable for surviving over thirty-one years lost on the Duat.

Early Life

Jake was born in the city of Sun's Beacon where he lived into adolesence. He was one of four children of a middle-class banker and home-maker. He and his friends would often play and explore in the ruins interspersed throughout the city, paying little heed to "Warning" and "Keep Out". "Danger" typically necessitated the use of flashlights and, on rare occasions, closed-toed shoes.

He was about twelve when he and his friends first stumbled upon what he would later know as the entrance to the Duat. On the surface the place looked like little more than a vacant lot with the scant ruins of some ancient building. In a small corner, a game gone wrong broke through the slab and revealed it to be a roof. Or, rather, what was thought to be the building's foundation, was actually the ceiling of its first floor. The road level had changed that much. The boys had found an abandoned building, filled mostly with debris and garbage. But they explored it all the same, and found their way into a basement with similar, if lesser, trappings, and finally into a well-preserved sub-basement.

It was mostly empty, but the presence of rusted cells told them this had probably once been a guard house of some sort. At the far back corner, three stories underground, behind a rotting book case, Jake and his friends found a deep, rock-cut passageway into the earth. This, Jake would later say, was where his adventure began.

Duat Expedition

For three years, Jake and his friends played in the guard-house ruins, building forts and inventing games. Only occasionally, usually on a dare or to impress girls, would they take the steep decending passage that opened, over a hundred feet beneath the surface, on a natural cavern. With his friends he never dared venture more than a few steps into that deep sub-terranean world, but alone Jake would sometimes explore the passages for hundreds, even thousands of feet. At this time, he still did not know what he and his friends had carelessly discovered, and he made a rather juvenile mistake: he believed that the caves could only go so far, and that, properly equipped and provisioned, he should be able to explore them.

He told his friends of his aspirations many times, but could convince none of them to accompany him. Enamored by the cave, he resolved to go alone.

Jake packed a bag with food, water, camping equipment, and lots of flashlights. He was by no means an experienced caver and had not even camped in real wilderness. Had he told his parents or anyone in authority, he would not have been allowed to go. A few friends knew, but were sworn to secrecy. Having told hi parents he was spending the weekend with a friend, Jake set off.

"A few thousand feet from [the natural cave] entrance, I found the remains of a wooden wall and door, and what had been a store room. A bit past that, I found a brick cistern. All the while I was walking on packed earth or paved with rough cobbles and shards of shale. The place clearly hadn't been touched in forever, but this presence of human workmanship had me re-assured. This wasn't a mysterious cavern, it was like being in a park!"

Jake walked for hours before he found himself on the beach of an underground lake. A rotted rowboat sat on the sand while the remains of a wooden pier disappeared into the inky black waters. He followed the shoreline and into anther tunnel, and kept on walking.

"The first night wasn't bad. I had candy bars, comic books, my sleeping bag. I was scared, but only because I'd never spent a night alone before. The darkness didn't bother me, I was only scared like any kid would be. I didn't get really scared until I ran out of food... three days later."

Jake later recalled his first moment of real apprehension.

"I was walking through a passageway. Gravel, sand, and rocks at my feet. The walls slopped up, but the cave was so wide, I couldn't see them. The ceiling was so far above me. And all I could think, as my flashlight began to die, was that how could something this big exist beneath the city, and no one know about it?"

Search and Rescue Operation

Jake's absence was not discovered for three days, and it took another two before his friends, under intense questioning, told of the cave. Even then there was considerably dispute as no one knew for sure if he had gone into the caves or been kidnapped. He hadn't told his friends, they only knew of the abandoned building and the secret entrance, and Jake's fascination.

Still, city guards and rescue workers, aided by volunteers, searched for ten days, with no luck. Jake's passage into the cavern hadn't even yielded any discernible trail, and the conclusion was finally reached that he had more likely been kidnapped or ran away. The entrance was sealed from the surface, though in such a way as to keep other children out, just in case. Jake was declared a missing person, and after several months, the case went cold.

Jake, meanwhile, had already walked over fifty miles into the Duat, and was over a mile underground.

Early Years

When he began his journey, Jake made no attempt to count his lights, he simply took every flashlight and battery in the house. With careful rationing, he made them last nearly a month. Food was a much more urgent concern, but as luck would have it, he found another store room.

"This one was in a dryer part of the cave. The food was so old. I don't even know, maybe it was from the Mage Wars. I didn't know. There was some salted meats that tasted like ash, and something that I think was bread once. The bread turned out to be the best. It was barely edible, but it sated my hunger."

There was enough old food in the long forgotten store room to last a long time, but there was no water near it. Had he had water, he might have found an exit to the surface than and there--the store room could not have been too deep--but he had to keep going. When his flashlights died, he crawled along the ground, finding bits of water and searching for any sign of light.

Jake describes his first long-term camp thusly:

"I'd been in the dark I don't know how long. Weeks, maybe? It felt like months, years even. The light I saw was pale blue, like the light from a digital wrist-watch. It was far off and I had to swim to get to it, I got all my supplies and my sleeping bag wet, and for all my trouble it was nothing but a tiny, muddy island. The glow came from bio-luminescent algae growing on the side of a rock that made up one side of my camp. I found then that my own watch had stopped: maybe it died from getting wet, maybe it just ran out, I'll never know. I had no more sense of time; the light never ebbed or waned. I lived there a long while. Not years. Definitely more than a month. It was terrible.

"There were fish swimming in the lake. They were easy to catch, they had no fear of me. I could eat my fill--though I had to eat them raw. Still, the ancient bread I'd brought had been ruined, so fish was all I had. I didn't know what else to do. I couldn't leave this place. There was food, there was water. It was cold, dirty, and damp. Toiletries were perhaps the worst part, though.

"I couldn't simply go right there in the lake. It was my drinking water. I had to walk out, away from my camp, one, maybe two hundred yards through chest-high water, to a sandy beach. I could turn around and still see the glowing rock, but I couldn't see my own hands. I had to do my business in the dark and clean off as best I could with sand and rocks, then back to my camp to shiver until I was dry."

Eventually, Jake discovered that many of the fish were themselves bio-luminescent. He trapped some in a clear plastic water bottle, and with that light, continued his journey.

"I shudder to think of how I almost died on that tiny, muddy island. That rock was like the beacon, the gateway. Had I had the courage to press on away from it sooner, I would have been happier."

Beyond the rock he found a fabulous world of bio-luminescent plants. Fish were the only animals, and lived mostly in the lake. It was an odd paradise; but in it, Jake found the key to his salvation. His fish gave off little light and died after only a few days, but here he found enough algae to fill two of the plastic bottles. When concentrated, it was better than his flashlights. He found salt collected in rivulets and preserved fish, and by this light, he continued in search of a way out.

"My life, then, was curious sort," Jake recalls; "Its hard to describe much about it. I'd lost all sense of time. Yet the changes were there. My backpack seemed smaller, my shoes wore away, my clothing turned to rags. I wasn't... happy. My life was about nothing beyond survival. There were no days, no nights. I'd learned to stay alive in the duat. How to find rivers with fish, how to keep the algae that lit up the darkness. I never remained still, hoping each new tunnel would lead me back to the surface, so sunlight. I didn't know how much time had passed.

The Duani

{Note: what follows is an account based solely on Jake Omaze; no other Duat explorer has ever lent credence to this tale).

"They are queer folk with pale skin and big eyes. They are human, or I think were, once, but not one amongst their number has ever glimpsed the sky."

While deep in the Duat, Jake claims to have encountered a race of men, long-adapted to the darkness, who had no knowledge of the surface world. They used the luminous algae for light and could make fire, though they used it only for cooking (fuel was scarce) and kept fish as livestock in a series of natural and artificial pools. They had no metal, only stone tools, and wore clothing made from fish-skin.

"When I first met the Duani, I was nearly dead. Half-staved and injured from a fall. I didn't believe it, at first. I'd had many halucinations. I spent days in their village, being nursed back to health by their women, before I came to accept what I saw around me. At first, I believed them to be my salvation, and was sadened beyond all measure when I found what they weren't, and what had become of myself."

Jake describes spending time learning their language, both written and oral (and it is through his accounts of their tongue that the best proof of their existence comes; for Jake remembered their language, and had neither the training nor the wherewithal to invent such a complex tongue himself). It was also while living with the Duani that Jake got a look in a mirror, and saw, in his own reflection, how much time had passed. He had been a boy when he began his expedition, and he was a man now. Years had passed. A great many, but he could not count.

The Duani, he discovered, had no real sense of time. They slept when they were tired, and took rest from their work when they felt they were entitled. Even the concept of aging was difficult to communicate: in the constant half-light of the caverns, a Duani would change little from the day he reached maturity until he was deep into old age.

They were a simple people. Like him, their lives were largely dominated by survival. They worshiped light as a supreme deity, and spoke of ancient beings of darkness which, long ago, had stolen the great light from their people. Jake tried to tell them of the sun, of the surface world, but they would hear none of it. Their version of existence was nothing but the caves. "Up", they said, was dry. It got drier the higher you went, until there was no water and you would die of thirst. "Down" became wet and dark, until the very darkness drowned you.

Jake estimates that he spent perhaps three or four years with the Duani.

"They were a simple people, and it was a simple life. I liked having friends to talk to, not being afraid of finding my next meal, having clothes to wear and the warmth of an occasional fire... but as time went on, I think... I just feel I was bigger than them. They couldn't comprehend of a sky, or of electricity, or any of the things I'd grown up with. I loved their company and will never forget the friends I made. But I couldn't stay there. It was a little like living with a pack of stray yet affectionate dogs. The companionship is wonderful, but it's not like humans'."

Jake estimates there were around 30,000 Duani. They had no real tribal system, and occupied one contiguous network of caverns in which they'd cultivated plants and constructed elaborate networks of fish ponds. There was no leadership, no money. Just thousands upon thousands of them, living their lives, trying to preserve enough of themselves for the next generation. Jake reports that they had books and he was allowed access to a great library, but was not allowed to take any of it with him.

The Carns

"Deep beneath the surface lies a treasure so wondrous it would excite academic minds for centuries to come."

After bidding heartfelt goodbye to the Duani, Jake set out again in search of an exit to the surface. By this time he had begun tracking time himself, going simply by his patterns of sleep. Each 'sleep' he reckoned, counted for a day. And he counted over four hundred sleeps and many hundreds of miles of wandering between the Duani and his next great discovery.

"I always thought, when I made it outside, I wouldn't know it," Jake mused; "Because of these large caverns. I'd come across them sometimes, acres in size, so huge my light cannot show me all of it. I would laugh to myself in these caves, that it was night and I was really outside on the surface again."

"And, again, I walked for days before I knew what I was seeing to be true."

Jake had still not made his way back to the surface, but was closer than he had been in a decade.

"You wouldn't think it, but in the vast infinity of the Duat and nature's work, it gets hard to tell dressed stone from the natural stuff. A dozen times a day I'd see a rock too regular to be an accident, or walls I'd swear were brick. It doesn't help that the first few hours of my journay, many years ago, took me past many definite manmade artifacts."

"So, one can understand my scepticism when I felt I might be walking through a row of statues."

"Not helping matters were that they were buried half in sand and silt, and their features had worn smooth. But the placement was too regular [to be accidental], and the stone the wrong type for the area. I stooped to examine one and was elated when it proved to be a most definite work of the hand. I followed the row until I found a cavern in which an entire army, ten thousand strong, stood at attention. Each made of stone and each buried to his chest in gravel. They guarded a fabulous mausoleum made in the form of traced gardens, were flowers carefully carved of stone waited through eternity for no one but me."

"At first, I believed I had just found something made by the ancestors of the Duani, but a mural inside the mausoleum proved without a doubt that whoever made this had seen the sun. I was elated, something this big had to take an army of workers many years to construct! There was simply no way there wasn't a large road out."

"I was, as you can guess, notably disappointing when more images told the rest of the story."

"This guy, and I don't know who he was, was stupid crazy rich and powerful. He had this tomb built, his body stuffed inside, then his loyal associates back-filled every passage clear to the surface, and built a mother-fucking MOUNTAIN; an artificial Mountain, over the site to really seal in the flavors."

"Now, I admit, the place was posh, the dude had taste. I broke into his secret palace, and I tell ya: despite being ten years older than dirt, it was coooomfeee! I probably did a hundred sleeps there! Silk sheets, feather beds, it was the best I'd felt in ages. I could find food close enough by... much much like my time with the Duani, I couldn't stay there. Life in a palace was still life alone, deep underground."

"I did also found the a sealed chamber which I believe contained the sarcophagus. Many times I considered breaking it open to rob the corpse, or to rough it up, but I couldn't. I enjoyed his palace for a while, but I had no ill-will towards the man."

Academics' Note

What Jake had discovered was a vast, underground burial complex belong to a powerful Necromancer. The complex dated from midway through the Golden Age of Necromancy, or around B.G.A. 3200. Notably, had he taken the time to open the sarcophagus, the necromancer inside could probably have taken him to the surface.

Surface objects in the Deep

"What amazed my most was the number of items from the surface I cam across. Ping-pong balls and other floats were the most common, about one every hundred sleeps. Once I even found a whole car. At first, these objects gave me great hope, thinking that perhaps I was close to the surface. But eventually they became monotonous. The rivers of the deep flow far, and exits from the Duat are rare."

"Ice was another strange commonality. Again, finding chunks of ice in a stream or river made me think I may be near the surface. The temperature is constant deep underground, it doesn't freeze. So ice has to be washed down from the surface. This would be my salvation, but I didn't know it. At first, it took a long time, but it gave me a sense of the seasons. I might see a lot of ice, and then go a few hundred sleeps without seeing any, then see some again. It helped me get a sense of the years. And there were many."


"A horde of treasure, enough to make a thousand men rich for a thousand generations, waits lost in the deep places of the world."

Jake reports on finding mountains of gold, in one place. Based on his account it seems likely to be a dragon horde (most Eeries have entrances into the Duat), but Jake describes the place and dry and cold, while dragons prefer humidity and warmth. A widely held belief is that he did in fact stumble upon the lost horde of Rama Flight. Unfortunately, as Jake puts it:

"Years of isolation in the dark does weird things to a person's sense of greed. I didn't think 'great, now I'm rich!'. When I saw that mountain of gold, all I thought was 'someone had to have put this here, there MUST be a way to the surface!' But it was for naught. I wandered those caves for two days and found nothing. It was in a dry section of the caverns, so I couldn't stay long. I didn't take a single piece of it with me. I had no room for gold. Only food, water, and light."

Much like the Duani, the truth of this portion of Jake's tale is somewhat disputed.


"I think it would shock most of you to see just how many people are down there! Sure, my first few years were very lonesome, but as I wandered further I met others. Some, like myself, had gone into a cave exploring, and become lost. Others had been banished. Still others... well, they weren't quite there."

Jake describes meeting about fifteen people over the course of his journey.

The first was a group of bandits, banished from the surface. Jake was overjoyed as he thought it meant an exit must be nearby, but the men had been groping blindly in the dark for weeks. Jake led them to a 'wet' cave where bio-luminescent algae and fish could be found. At first he tried to organize them to search for the entrance they had used, but they explained it was under a prison and heavily guarded. For a while Jake thought to travel with them, but they seemed content to stay by the river, and soon began to talk of stealing Jake's meager possessions. Jake fled, and continued on his way.

Another time, he found an old man living in one of the brightest caverns he'd yet seen. A very large patch of particularly luminous algae was fed by a waterfall high overhead. The old man, like Jake, had sought to explore the caves and become lost. He'd finally settled here, and, too old for the scrambling and crawling required to continue searching for an exit, had resigned himself to spend the rest of his days in this place.

"To say the old man was happy or content would be an insult. He was angry. He was sad. I believe now that he was deeply depressed. But what other choice did he have? he had to stay near food. And I knew damn well I couldn't go back for him even if I did find a way out. Even then I think I knew in my heart that if I ever did escape, it would still take years more. But I never wanted to be like him. I never wanted to give up."

Another time, he encountered a traveler whom he believes was born in the caves.

"He was not Duani, and to the best of my understanding, he seemed human enough. A queer fellow, he used a strand of glowing rocks to light his path; though he could cover these and move about swiftly in the darkness. Whether it was extreme isolation or some condition, I did not know, but he seemed to be not quite 'all there'. He spoke Common but accentuated it with many grunts and words he'd made up himself, or insisted certain words meant one thing when they really meant something else. Unlike me, he wasn't lost, and seemed to know the tunnels and be able to navigate (or so he claimed). I asked if he could lead my to the surface, and he implied that he could, but only if I had gold to pay him. I had none, and we parted ways. He also spoke of a vast city that he described as "far away" but also underground. I found the whole encounter disturbing."

"Then there was the old woman. She claimed to be part of an expedition and to have intentionally come down here to colonize the Duat. She had goats, a small garden of strange plants, and like the Duani had cultivated fish. She was very old and asked that I stay with her and be her helper. I declined, and not just because she kept intoning that the rest of her party had died mysterious, violent deaths."


"More common were the bones of past adventurers who came before me. I don't like to think about it, much, but I found so many. Entire parties, dead, long decayed. I didn't want to be like them. I wanted to get out."


Jake reports that, throughout his entire ordeal, he never once gave up.

"Finding [a way out] dominated my every thought, my every action and decision. Rest was difficult, even when I knew I'd been traveling for weeks, and my body ached, stopping for a few sleeps to rest made me uneasy. What if the very next bend was the way out? But as the years stretched on, I think I grew delusional. But it was the delusion that saved me."

Jake's typical logic was that since water flowed down, if he followed the many underground rivers he found, one would eventually take him to the surface. This was not an all together wise assertion, and usually ended in impassable waterfalls or tiny trickles flowing out of cracks. Still, it worked out in the end.

"I had been following this one stream through a narrow tube. It was maybe four feet high at a 45-degree angle, with 6 or 8 inches of water flowing across very smooth stone. Dangerous going, but I had to explore it. I reached a point at which the slope ended at the bottom of a shaft. Normally, this is where I'd turn around, but fate had diened fit to smile upon me that day..."

Jake recounts how the light danced and flickered at the bottom of the shaft, in a hunting, beautiful way. Looking up he could see nothing, but light bounced everywhere, reflecting off of slick rocks. As he stood in the cold shower, staring at the dancing light, it began to wane, and, finally, disapear.

"It was a light unlike any I'd seen, and I won't deny that I thought it was all in my head. The delusion that it was somehow special kept me there, and made me go back after a sleep. I stood in that cold water for hours, along in the darkness, waiting for the dancing light. And when it came... I just knew."

He didn't dare admit it consciously, but Jake knew that in the Duat, light does not wane and return. Their are no cycles in the deep places, only darkness, stillness. The light waning and returning meant sunlight, though it seemed to come less than an hour a day.

Jake made camp at the bottom of the tube, in a place he could fish and survive. and there he waited.

"I had counted six winters since I first became cognacent of the seasons. I knew another was coming, and that my only hope in hell of getting out was for the water to freeze. I waited and waited, and forty sleeps after when I thought the ice should come, the shaft finally began to freeze."

Of course, it wasn't icy the whole way down. Whatever river fed the shaft had frozen, and water had frozen most of the way down. But eventually it reached a point where the underground temperatures were above freezing, and began to melt. This left the shaft far from dry, but free of the torrent.

"I waited another ten sleeps, hoping conditions would improve, before I began the climb. Climbing sheer walls wasn't something you did in the Duat. Shafts were even more dangerous. You could reach the top and find no ledge, only an end. This one was worn smooth by aeons of water."

"In my time I had faced starvation, dehydration, deranged killers, floods, cave-ins, underground rock slides, and a myraid of other fears. Nothing I ever did was as dangerous as this climb, and yet nothing else had ever brought me so close to daylight. The higher I got, the more sure I became. I still could not see the sky, but I could see the reflections, the shadows."

"The climb took three days."

"Three agonizing, terrifying, exhausting days. I fought for every single inch, checked every single hand-hold. I used loos rocks I carried with me and others I found to chisel out holds where I had none. Ledges were few. When I slept it was on an edge barely wider than my body. The shaft was thousands of feet, and I was not an experienced climber. But daylight, the surface waited for me, so I urged myself upward."

"There was, of course, another, more pressing concern as I climbed. I very quickly reached a point where going back would be more dangerous than going forward. Several times I climbed over nothing but ice, and had it fall away as soon as I was clear. There was no going back. If I did not reach the top, I would die. So I climbed."


"It's hard to describe my feelings in those first few moments. I had pulled myself up onto a slanted sheet of ice, and ocne I was confident I would not slide down, I rolled over. And there, for the very first time in thirty-one years, I saw the sky."

"It was cold and overcast that day, a thick blanket of clouds that hung low. But it was still the sky. I laughed, I screamed, I cried. I dragged myself away from the mouth of the shaft and up to a tree, which I clung to, weeping with joy. Wood. The largest plant I had seen in thirty-one years was a mushroom."

"I don't know how long I sat there, but I gradually realized that I may haps have only traded one desperate survival situation for another. I was dressed in a sort of thin leather made from fish skins, and had a bad made of woven cord. My clothing was meant to protect my body from scratches while crawling through crevaces - it was not warm. I wore only sandals on my feet. Now I was sitting in a snow bank, under a tree. I was cold - its not cold in the Duat. There is some bit of chill that you grow accustomed to, but it is mostly the same. I had never been this cold before."

"Always fearful of leaving a water source, I stayed near the stream which emptied into the shaft, and started casting about for things to make a fire. I hadn't had one since I left the Duani, but I was desperate, and starting a fire seemed like my only salvation. I found wood and various other bits and started trying to light them, all the while worried it would grow dark and I would freeze. I was so caught up in my frenzy that I didn't hear the foot steps, just the voice."

"You can't build a fire here!"

"I turned and stared."

"It had been so long. Not since I'd seen another human, that had only been a few years. No, what had been so long was since I'd seen... well, modernity. He wore a uniform, tailed, machine-stitched polyester. A synthetic fabric coat. A hat. It was like a picture in my head, from my youth before the cave had come to life. I ran towards him, screaming. Not with anger, but with joy. I think I scared him. He was reaching for a weapon when I threw my arms around him and hugged him and cried into his chest, begging him to save me. All I said was that I was lost and alone and cold, and could he save me?"

"He took me to his truck. We were all of maybe a hundred feet from a parking lot and an overlook. There were other cars there. We got in a forestry service truck and he turned up the heat. I don't recall much of what he said, just that he was taking me somewhere they could help me. I feel asleep as we drove. The foreign sensation of a car altogether forgotten."

"I don't know what happened next. When I awoke I was surrounded by darkness. I screamed and cried, thinking the whole thing, my whole ordeal, had been a dream. I struggled, I was tied down! I screamed! Then the lights came on; I was in the hospital. They'd restrained me for my own protection. I begged the nurses to leave the lights on. They hurt my eyes, but I had to see it."

"At first, no one believed my story. They thought I was a fragrant, a homeless man who'd been wandering in the national park. But I think my odd fish-skin tunic convinced them. Eventually the police came and took my finger prints, and matched them to ones taken when I was twelve, an eternity ago. My identity confirmed, the slow process of unraveling the pieces began."


Jake had emerged from the mouth of a hole called the Devil's Spillway: a stream crossing a rhyolite knuckle, split in half. Half of it flowed down to a lake some miles away; the other half dropped eight thousand feet into the earth and disappeared. Spelunkers had occasionally asailed into the shaft, always finding a pool of water at the bottom. No one knew exactly how deep. There had, however, been a drought over the last few years, and a shift in the stream's course meant much less water going down into the hole. Those factors let Jake find the other end of it, in the Duat, and a clear passage back to the surface.

Jake was upset, but unsurprised to learn the full length of his ordeal: thirty-one years, nine months, and sixteen days.

"I always knew it had been a long time. I never let myself think to hard about it. Since I started counting time by 'sleeps'. I had come up with fifteen years. Since the slightly more accurate winter counts, six. I knew my methods weren't right, but I didn't think it could have been more than twenty. I was fifteen years old when I set out, now I am forty-seven."

The Devil's Spillways is located over eleven thousand miles from Sun's Beacon, at the far end of the Agras Plain. Jake recons that he generally traveled south-east, but the tunnels were full of twists and turns, and it's very easy to get lost. It is a minor miracle he found an exit where he did: further to the south-east would have left him in completely uninhabited regions.

Jake stayed in the hospital for two weeks, being treated for injuries sustained on the climb, malnutrition, and various other maladies that come from spending thirty years in a cave. He had to be sedated for extensive dental work, having not even brought a toothbrush with him on his original three-day jaunt. After two weeks he was discharged and left with a sizable bill, and had to face a new reality: how to survive on the surface. Jake had never finished his education and had no marketable skills. Initially, no one believed his fabulous story. The algae he used as light, died within days of being brought to the surface. Further, when he attempted to contact his family, he found that his father had died, and his mother was in a nursing home.

Jake sold his story to a reporter and used the money to travel back to Sun's Beacon, walking out on his hospital bill. He had to travel by train, as he could not afford the airfare, and was only able to make it by "stiffing tickets and stealing food", as he reports:

"I'd get on a rail line and buy the cheapest ticket or just board it with no ticket. I'd hide from the attendants, make up stories. Sometimes I got kicked off, and I rode on freight trains. I ate out of garbage cans and from discarded plates at sidewalk cafes. It wasn't exactly the life I'd envisioned, all those years, but I guess in a way I felt like I wouldn't really have escaped until I made it home to Sun's Beacon."

At Sun's Beacon, Jake found himself initially homeless. His mother was suffering from dementia and did not remember him. Few of his old friends remained in the city, and finding them was not easy. After months of living in shelters and surviving by panhandling and odd jobs, he found a friend who remembered him. Together, they tracked down the site of the old guardhouse (which now had a new building on top of it) and the long-forgotten entrance to the Duat.

"It gave me chills," Jake recalled; "Standing at the top of those stairs again. I think I had a panic attack, or something like it. I couldn't go down, certainly. But I think it gave me some closure."

Eventually, one of Jake's nephews gave him a spare bedroom to live in, and helped him get back on his feet. For a few years, he toiled in obscurity, doing menial labor and generally getting by. He took some classes at night to finish his basic education, and spent much of his free time writing out as much of his experience in the Duat as he could recall.

Eventually he began to publish his writings, selling some off as fiction, and others to legitimate publications. These soon caught the eye of Lionel McFerro, a Slayer Dragon in Arindell who was quiet familiar with the Duat. Lionel traveled to Sun's Beacon and was quite shocked to find Jake living in poverty and toiling at menial jobs.


Lionel took Jake back to Arindell with him and gave him the title of Explorer in Residence, part of the Stormwind Antiquarian Society. He was given reasonable salary and an office in the city, and tasked with writing down everything he had seen and found in the Duat. This information would then be cross-referenced with the work of other explorers. It was while working in Arindell that much of Jake's story was checked and verified. The underground mausoleum, the treasure horde, and his information on the Duani.

Researchers also used some of this information to try and put together a map of Jake's movements. Very little of the Duat had ever been explored, but a few known entrances coupled with some of his discoveries allowed them to get a general idea of where all he had been.

Later Life and Death

Jake lived in Arindell for 20 years, working for about twelve of them. After he had finished the task of recording all he knew, he worked as a researcher, and eventually retired with a pension. He lived to be 72 years old. His dying wish was that he never again be placed underground. His body was interned in a cemetery outside of the city, in an above-ground crypt. The coffin itself had a very thick glass lid, and the top of the mausoleum had a vaulted glass arch. He was not buried underground, and was left where he could see the sky for all eternity.