The Grotto Settlement in Smallscale | World Anvil

The Grotto

Not technically a grotto, but we'll call it that anyway.

Created & Written by IbbyWondrous
The Grotto is a small Miinu village located near the city of Minau, and is one of the five Stone Capitals dotted around Bituin. The city contains the Fossil Stone of a Meganura Dragonfly.  


The Grotto is located in a forested area on the base of Mount Harang, just outside of Minau's city limits. The village itself is located on the property of an Abandoned Cabin which is overgrown and full of junk. It is home to a large decorative pond which once housed koi, but is now a breeding ground for a variety of small aquatic creatures. A gravel path leads from the property in two directions, one leads to a small stream that acts as a fresh water source, and the other goes for a mile or so until it hits Minau. Beyond the stream leads to the Hive Kingdoms.   A majority of the village gathers around an old oak tree. The tree is thick and tall with strong branches that tangle outward in all directions, but it's also completely hollow on the inside. Yet it's still able to bloom leaves every year, and has done so for decades. Its believed the magic in the fossil stone placed in the center of it keeps the tree alive despite it's condition.  


The Oak Tree

The miinu have taken advantage of the hollow tree by building homes inside of it. Miniature tree houses dot the outside of the tree's trunk, which can be entered from doors inside the hollow tree. The inner walls are lined with stairs and platforms to make navigating the area easier. The interior of the tree is lit with Glow Mushrooms or custom made lanterns.   The tree contains many of the town's amenities, such as a clinic on the bottom floor ran by Dr. Leif, a village center, and a tavern near the top of the trunk. In the basement you can find the brood daycare, where eggs from expecting parent Miinu are kept safe.   Elsewhere, other smaller houses are build outside of the tree, but still close enough to the tree to use it as shelter in emergency. While many of the structures were created by Miinu, (See Miinu Houses ) some of them were supposedly created by Elainia Mineque and placed there as an offering. Other Miinu offer services out of their homes, mostly merchants who deal with miinu from neighboring villages.


The grotto tends to home cool weather forest insects and the native Miinu there mirror that. This includes ants, flies, bees, wasps, cicadas, walking sticks, moths, butterflies, dragonflies, mosquitoes and praying mantises. Since few miinu travel up north, the villages a primarily filled with locals who grew up in the area.


The region is under the authority of the Carpenter Ant colony. They tend to be a small but hard working colony that protects the city and is constantly repairing and upgrading the buildings in town. They also actively manage the community garden and are close allies with the Honey Bee Hive who also help take care of it.   The ants are often sent to scout out new territory and resources as well as mapping out the region and any new miinu settlements.


The Grotto was once part of a much bigger city with thousands of miinu to their name, in a place much different than where it is now. It was once one of the most thriving stone capitals around. However, human civilization quickly creeped up to their home, with more of the forest being demolished. Plans were made for having to move the city, but no one could prepare the miinu for how suddenly their home would be put in danger when humans invented industrial machines that trampled the forests.   Without warning, human death machines were out their doorstep, destroying everything in their path, nature, homes, miinu, anything caught in their wake of chaos was crushed. With no other choice, the Miinu that survived performed an emergency evacuation, while the ants risked everything to protect their Fossil Stone and make sure it got out of there safely.   The Carpenter Ants, their Queen, the stone, her people would barely make it out, and many were lost in the destruction of their home. The Ants guided what few miinu refugees they could to a new safe place far far from the human settlements. After a long journey, they'd settle in a dense part of forest near a creek and claim an old, hollow oak tree as their new home, which is where it remains to this day.   Many miinu were scattered from the initial chaos, while some where unhappy with the location the ants pick and continued exploring. Others refused to leave their land, and spent their days wandering the newly built human village as nomadic tribes. This left the once great city a fraction of it's former self, with many villagers losing family and their lively hoods. Rebuilding was tough, but they'd eventually find happiness in their new home. The incident instilled a new sense of community and comradery that is still prevalent to this day.   The migration didn't come without other issues, as their new village encroached on the The Hive Kingdom's territory, which lead to conflict between them. One particular conflict that lead to real battles and deaths is the war between the Carpenter Ants and the Yellow Jacket Hive.   When the cabin on the property was first built, there were concerns of another evacuation, and many miinu actually protested the construction by disrupting and sabotaging the project. However the cabin was built anyway, but the Miinu's actions did make the humans living there reconsider building anything else. Elainia Mineque, the wife of the home, would often make offerings to the miinu, believing they were fae that she needed to appease to protect her home. The miinu accepted these offerings, and even allowed the koi pond to be constructed near their tree, as it acted as a useful resource for them as well.   Eventually, the tenants of the house would move out except for Elainia, who would pass away in the house and leave it abandoned. Over recent years, the Miinu have been taking steps to explore the house and loot it for useful resources.


The Grotto Miinu were the first to ever have contact with humans, and it has changed much of how they function as a society. They are wary of humans because of their size, power, and blatant disregard for their lives. Few Miinu leave the general area around the grotto as anywhere else is deemed too dangerous. Their history of bad luck and disaster has made them a timid and isolated community. Despite their fear of humans, they often use their size and advanced technology to their benefit taking their food and trash for themselves.   The Grotto is a very small, tight-knit community. Everyone knows everyone, and are generally friendly to each other. Everyone is expected to help out and do their part in one way or another. They are very close with their history, and put great value in old tales and legends. For them its important to remember the past and pass it down to future generations, so they may avoid the mistakes their ancestors made.
Founding Date
Alternative Name(s)
The Tree Village
200 (+ Around 200 - 300 ants.)
Location under
Owning Organization


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