I should've seen it coming, really.
I joined the Underground, a forum created for fans of The Berinfell Prophecies, in spring of 2011. In the almost-four years I've been there, the site has gone down or messed up in some way about once a year. Sometimes it's from hackers. Sometimes it's because of spammers and the site's defenses against those spammers blocking the wrong people. Sometimes it's because the Underground has so many awesome people and stories and memories on it that it temporarily breaks the servers it runs off of. Each time something like this happens, it's frightening. But each time, someone steps in to fix the problem and bring the UG back online.
Each time- until this time.
On Friday, March 13- just three days ago- I tried to log on to the Underground and found it gone. There were no clues as to what had happened, only the message: The site you're looking for cannot be found. I tried again- still nothing. When the site was down the next day, I emailed Sir Hopper, the more active of the authors of TBP, to see if he knew what was going on. His reply: The server had been hacked. The UG as we knew it was gone.
From the very beginning, The Underground has been one of my favorites- if not my very favorite- sites on the internet. Why? I could list numerous reasons, but in the end, they all trace back to one cause: the people. The Elves of the Underground are, quite frankly, beyond amazing, and they've become some of my closest friends- never mind that I've never met a single one of them face-to-face. We've chatted together about everything and nothing, obsessed together over shared favorite books and movies and fandoms in general. We've shared our stories and our characters with each other and even written together- written epic, amazing stories, some of which were still in progress when the Underground went down. Most importantly, we've supported each other. Whenever one of our number was struggling, the others came alongside to encourage and pray for him or her. It didn't matter if the struggle was something big- depression, a potential move, a family member losing a job- or something small- an upcoming test in school, a need for inspiration in writing. We encouraged. We prayed. And we saw our prayers answered.
And now all that's gone.
Except . . . it isn't.
Just as the Elves of Berinfell didn't cease to exist when Berinfell was destroyed, so the Elves of the Underground remain even after the Underground is gone. And just as our namesakes salvaged what they could of their city and moved to a new place of refuge, so our Elven community has a new home: the Underground 2.0, Whitehall Castle Forum. True, it's not the same as the original Underground. True, we've lost a lot. But the people who made the Underground the Underground remain, just in a new location. If you're a fellow Elf who's been wondering what happened to your community, please come join us at Whitehall Castle. We miss you. And if you're not an Elf yet, but you enjoy The Berinfell Prophecies or just Christian fantasy and writing and awesomeness in general, come visit us- maybe even come to stay.
Rest in peace, original Underground. Long live the Underground: Whitehall Castle.
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)
P.S. If you know other Elves who haven't yet heard this news and you have a way to contact them, please let them know about this change! We're trying to make sure all the elves have heard, but there are some people we don't have contact information for. Thank you!