The Underworld is the abode of the dead (or at least most of the dead; it is suggested that the Underworld and Hell may not be the same thing). It is described as an "infinitely massive veil of shadow and mystery", but is well-run by an efficient bureaucracy nonetheless. Time has no meaning or relevance in the Underworld.
Roads to the Underworld[edit | edit source]
There are three known methods of reaching the Underworld.
- The simplest is to die. As this is irreversible, it is not popular among the living.
- The Old Road to the Underworld is long and inefficient, and plagued by unspeakable horrors that no mortal has ever survived. Magical creatures seem to be a match for these nightmarish fiends, but mortals must take the New Road.
- The New Road was created in the 21st century, and is direct (apparently instantaneous teleportation). It can be accessed by reciting an incantation as part of an elaborate ceremony.
Until the events of "The Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse", mortals navigating the Underworld needed to carry the Scythe of Muadru; should they release it for even a second, they will be trapped in the Underworld for eternity. By the time the Middleman returns to the Underworld, however, the Scythe has been done away with and replaced with a pin-on visitors pass, featuring the visitor's picture and the inscription: "Underworld Visitor's Pass. Time has no meaning or relevance."
Geography of the Underworld[edit | edit source]
The Underworld itself appears as an office building; the dead and those arriving from one of the two Roads appear from one of a series of elevators in the main lobby. The entire complex (walls, floor, and ceiling) seem to be made of marble. Bland elevator music plays over the area. The Information Desk is staffed by a persnickety clerk, who is himself dead and dressed in a vest and bow tie. The only staff member seen in the Underworld besides the clerk is a janitor running a floor buffer on the second floor.
The Hall of Records[edit | edit source]
Behind the Information Desk is a room which contains a record of every living being who has ever died. While it was originally a book, population demands caused the Underworld management to replace it with a proprietary system of files, similar to the Dewey Decimal System. The Information Desk clerk is also responsible for maintaining the Hall of Records.
The Thousand Years of Fire Room[edit | edit source]
When the Terra Cotta Warrior arrives in the Underworld with Duncan, he proceeds to this room to conduct a ritual which will rain fire on Earth for a thousand years. The room is small, but features a throne for the heir of the Qin dynasty. It is located upstairs and at the end of the hall from the main lobby.
It is never stated whether the Underworld has a vast network of similarly specific rooms for individual calamities.
Visits to the Underworld[edit | edit source]
The Middleman's statement that, "The service down here has gone to pot!" suggests he may have visited the Underworld at least once before his visit with Wendy Watson, but the first confirmed visit was when the pair journeyed down on the New Road to stop the Terra Cotta warrior in "The Accidental Occidental Conception". Wendy attempted to find out whether her father was dead or alive from the clerk, but was forced to flee before she got her answer.
The Middleman returned in the course of "The Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse", teleported in by the power of Chac-Mol (and so presumably taking the New Road again). By this time, the Scythe of Muadru had been replaced with the Underworld Visitor's Pass. The Middleman reunited briefly with Raveena Rao, then returned to the world above with an army of fallen Middlemen to battle Manservant Neville.