The Underthing is a series of rooms and tunnels located beneath The University.
The Underthing is divided into many sections that are named for their unique characteristics by Auri, who resides in them. It is a mysterious and unique place that hints at the forgotten or lost history of the realm.
The following is a list of known rooms and locations within the Underthing:
- Apple Court: a courtyard, completely inaccessible except by roof top or through the Underthing. An apple tree grows within the courtyard providing some sustenance for Auri. This is the place where Auri and Kvothe first meet.
- The Twelve: a room containing a deep pool filled from the drain gates far overhead. It is also called the "Gray Twelve", "Silver Twelve", and : Yellow Twelve", depending on the amount of light able to filter through. One of the "rare changing places" of the Underthing.
- Mantle: Auri's home within The Underthing. It is where she sleeps and lives.
- Rubric: a maze of pipes and tunnels that provide necessary utilities for the University.
- Throughbottom: a room like a cathedral, it is so big that neither Foxen's light nor sympathy lamps can illuminate the highest peaks of the ceiling. It is filled with huge, ancient machines and great wooden beams covered in white fungus.
- The Woods: a series of crumbling halls and rooms where ceilings were propped up with thick wooden support beams.
- Cricklet: a long, low room with a tiny trickle of fresh water running down one wall that attracked crickets, who filled the room with their tiny songs.
- Vaults: a narrow hallway with three deep cracks running across the floor that must be jumped in quick succession to make it to the other end.
- Billows: a maze of intersecting tunnels that despite being located at least a hundred feet below ground were filled with a steady, rushing wind that smelled of dust and leather. Kvothe initially misheard the name as "Belows". A door hidden away in the maze of tunnels of Billows leads directly into the lowest level of The Stacks.
Other mentioned locales include: Annulet, Bakery, Black Door, Borough, Boundary, Candlebear, Clinks, Crumbledon, Darkhouse, Delving, Downings, Draughting, Dunnings, Faceling, Greely, Mandril, Mote, Ninewise, Nodway, Old Ironways, Pickering, Port, Scaperling, Sit Twice, Taps, Tenance, Tenners, Tree, Tumbrel, Umbrel, Van, Wains, Winnoway, and Withy.
In The Chronicle
Besides being the home to the elusive Auri, The Underthing garners an importance to Kvothe as it is the only way he can access the Archives after he was banished from them in The Name of the Wind. After befriending Auri, she allows Kvothe to explore The Underthing, where she shows him a secret entrance into the repository. The Underthing is expanded upon later in The Slow Regard of Silent Things, written from Auri's perspective. In this installment we learn that The Underthing is a vast and not entirely explored subterranean complex.
It is hinted that the Underthing is the former university and that the current one was built upon it. Elodin suggests the following as he is explaining the origins of naming to Kvothe:
- "Once upon a time, there was a University. It was built in the dead ruins of an older University. It wasn’t very big, perhaps fifty people in all. But it was the best University for miles and miles, so people came and learned and left. There was a small group of people who gathered there. People whose knowledge went beyond mathematics and grammar and rhetoric."