This series tells Plato's Allegory of the Cave in two stories through a digitally illustrated alphabet. Completed and shared on Instagram as a part of 2018's 36 Days of Type.

A

Sombra is an Allegorian. Allegorians live deep within the earth in a never-ending network of caves.

B

Sol is a Hemelite. The Hemelite tribe flies above the earth in magnificent balloons.

C

Allegorians have everything they need beneath the earth. They have no reason to leave their caves, and so they never do.

D

Hemelites are nomadic. They travel the earth, seeking new knowledge.

E

The Allegorians often see strange shadows cast on the ground of their caves. They give these shadows names, but never look to see what it is that casts them.

F

On a Hemelite’s 16th birthday, it is tradition for her to travel the world on a quest of discovery and self-discovery.

G

While the rest of Sombra’s tribe is alright making up names for the shadows they do not understand, Sombra needs something more.

H

With 16 years behind her, Sol sets off in her little balloon. She floats past the forests of her childhood.

I

Sombra makes his way through the caves, always choosing the path that goes up. He doesn’t know why, but somehow he feels this is where he will find answers.

J

The landscape changes, and Sol recognizes less and less.

K

The path is long and winding, but Sombra’s curiosity drives him forward.

L

After weeks in the air, Sol sees a strange canyon. She wonders about the mysteries within.

M

Sol floats into the darkness, wondering if any of her people have explored these caves before her.

N

At last, Sombra sees something new. Light! His eyes slowly adjust as he climbs upward.

O

Sol studies the landscape beneath her. It becomes more and more alien.

P

At last Sombra emerges fully emerges from the caves. He looks around him – there are so many new sights to see!

Q

At last, Sol sees a place to land her balloon. She lowers herself onto a strange island and follows the path.

R

Sombra follows the path from his cave. He walks without expectation, but not without purpose.

S

The path twists and turns as Sol follows it deeper and deeper.

T

Sombra sees the balloons of the Hemelites floating by and decides to follow them.

U

Sol begins to notice human-made structures, and wonders who lives in this deep, dark place.

V

Sombra follows the balloons over mountains and through valleys.

W

As Sol walks she hears voices, but sees no one.

X

At last, Sombra’s path converges with the strange tribe of balloon-flying folk.

Y

At last, Sol meets the Allegorians. She greets them with excitement. They arrest her without question.

Z

The Hemelites listen to Sombra's stories. They welcome him to their tribe. They give him his own balloon.

0

The Allegorians lead Sol deeper and deeper. She takes a last glimpse up to the sky above the caves and sees her people floating overhead.

1

From his balloon, Sombra can see the many curiosities of the landscape, and how when touched by light, they make shadow.

2

Sol tries to tell her story, but nobody listens. They only lead her deeper and deeper into the caves.

3

Sombra learns about so much more than just shadows. He learns about reflections.

4

The guards escort Sol deeper into the caves. She sees fewer and fewer people, and as the light fades, Sol loses all hope.

5

Sombra sees how plants grow, and how they bend their leaves to face the light.

6

The Allegorians lead Sol down and down and down, into the pit.

7

The more Sombra learns, the more he hopes to discover.

8

The Allegorians leave Sol alone in the pit. This is where her story ends.

9

Sometimes, Sombra will see a crack leading down into the deep, and he wonders why his people never wondered.