PURIFY THE KAER
The Writings of Kaerless – Elf Nethermancer
20th & 21st Veltom:
I’m still getting used to this idea of day and night, and days, such strange things to split your time up into day and night, where before all I had was the dark. After what my travelling companions claim to be a hero’s welcome was given to us, I returned to our previous lodgings, and procured a room in which to rest.
The next morning the others went about their own business. Karaath to talk to the old fool again, maybe they can practice being clowns together. Elora, to outside the village, hunting as she called it, yet I never saw her bring in anything worth eating. Jace was wheeling and dealing, and seemed to have formed a bond with Elora, sharing her room in the evenings, up in rafters, his dog was pleasant enough company though in the bar of an evening. Rastin, I don’t know, I saw him around several times, but could never say what he was doing for the most part. Gron, that one is the strongest, yet he keeps watching me, I do not know if this is for good or ill, I know the others don’t trust me, and I hear hushed whispers as I walk through the town, simple minds.
“I understand this shunning of the Nethermancer, as I have seen it myself being expressed against my own chosen discipline. Being a Horror Stalker often scares people due to their limited understandings of what we do. They seem to believe that our desire to hunt down and slay the Horrors puts us in unnecessary danger and are more likely to be tainted. They have similar misunderstandings of Nethermancer’s as some of their powers appear to be the same as Horror’s. I believe that to be able to be victorious against your foes you need to know them fully, and if that means using their own powers against them then so be it”
Gron, Obsidimen Horror Stalker
I’ve visited the undertaker today, there is a crypt outside of the village where those rich enough are displayed before being burnt, leaving no trace. With his permission I have taken myself there and thought hard about where I want to be, what I’ve learnt so far, and my companions. I’ve dissected where I went wrong before in my drawing of the powers, I’ve never had to do it in such a rushed way until now, and I hope this meditation will help me improve. I understand the others have also found their places of rest, and are thinking of the path ahead.
Last night Rastin called us all to meeting, we plan to leave tomorrow, heading back to the mine before hunting for this lost Kaer, I can see a gleam in the other’s eyes, something about these green stones and pieces of metal we found before, they mutter and scheme, they want more of them, I’ve still got things to understand about this system of trade, about swapping these small pieces of useless metal or stone for items of use.
In fine weather we set out, this group of clowns and misfits, schemers and hunters.
We walked, it still amazes me I made it so far, Rastin has shown me maps of the world, and the distances I have travelled alone and safe, are so much more than the distances I have travelled in this group, in danger and looking over my shoulder with every yard walked. We saw sign again today, giant tracks, bigger than any I had ever seen before, leading into rocky outcroppings, fortunately not travelling the same direction as ourselves. Of course Gron claimed this was more Servos danger.
One more night and we reach the old mine before next nightfall; Elora seems to have discovered more ways of killing small animals, though nothing larger than rabbits. I wonder if Gron is going to pester me to sit on his watch again tonight. He has a darkness within him, and I still do not know his interest in me, for now though it would be best to keep him between me and the others.
We were attacked last night, on last watch. I was awake before the dogs hit the camp, huddle cold inside my cloak, wishing I brought a blanket. Kaarath and Rastin came crashing back into the camp weapons drawn. They were only dogs, hungry looking, but with no malice only hunger driving them forward. Elora, Jace and Gron never moved until the dogs started tugging at their bedding.
The dogs weren’t interested in food, or the larger game present once it started to fight back, and circling they went for Jace hound, crying out Jace leapt from his treetop nest, and tried to wrestle the dogs away, but there were too many. The hound was meaningless to me, and I don’t know why I did it, but I lept after them with anger in my heart, the first one I touched exploded into a fine red mist, and followed through into the second, whilst I did it no damage, the destruction of its pack mate, and shove from me forced it to drop the hound.
Jace came in screaming and cleaved the dog in two, before dropping to his knees and clutching at his bloodied hound. The others came stumbling into view bleary eyed for some, shocked for others, I could hear Gron trying to extricate his weapon from a nearby tree, where he had imbedded it. Elora had made it to a perch high in the tree and could see the last hound fleeing with its tail between its legs.
Were we safe? Did we need to improve our camps? Each of us had camped before either on our own or in smaller groups, with a group this big we need more defences, and a better perimeter.
We reached the mine today, and will spend the night in the locked room, Jace has been hovering around his hound all day, whilst Gron has been doing nothing but talking about all the evil that comes from this place called Servos, I told him to be quiet when he started talking about the poisons these things might have carried within earshot of Jace.
28th & 29th Veltom:
Nothing much happened and I’ve been remiss in writing, about the only thing that occurred was Gron discovered a new animal to kill, taking his frustration out on a large snake following his clumsy attempts the other night with the wild dogs. Jace hound was still wounded and unresponsive, I pity the small Windling, he shares a bond with the animal that I don’t think any of us understand yet.
The hound is back on its feet again, and we are close to the markings on the map according to Rastin, and have camped out to approach during the day. Is it portentous that we reach our goal at the end of a month?
We had a hard day today, both with internal and external enemies, upon discovering the entrance to the Kaer we sought; we fell into arguing about the best way of approaching within. Elora and Jace scouted the area, and whilst they did this the rest of us felled trees, the views here are amazing, from bleak rock to heavy jungle all within one view.
Crossing two pitfalls we made it into a network of corridors surrounding the entrance, with dead ends, arrow slits and switchbacks, much like the old keep, But showing signs of serious damage, claw marked and the remnants of broken weapons, yet not bodies, bones or armour left. These lead into two giant caverns, which I recognised immediately, though Karaath running into the first in wonder was almost killed when the dogs appeared.
These dogs were nothing like the ones from before, these were unnatural, glowing eyed, stilted gait, and razor sharp fangs made from what looked to be sword tips or arrow heads, as I backed away the Obsidimen charged forward, getting in the way of my casting, and forcing me to hold back. Whilst he laid into these constructs with abandon, they also tore chucks from his armoured form.
By the time the group had dispatched these monsters, I was certain I knew what else would be found, maybe another cavern or two, alongside some sleeping quarters, looking at this cavern it looked as if it could grow enough food in its heyday to keep thousands fed.
As we moved deeper we came across old barricades, destroyed hundreds of years ago by the feel of the wood, as it crumbled in our hands. As the others found another cavern they stopped and seemed to be arguing about the best way forward, picking up some of the heavier chunks of wood I threw them through the doors, clattering of the walls and stone tables, and again these construct hounds appeared, this time we made short work of them. As the others began to examine the cavern, I examined the bodies, they seemed to be made of many parts both organic and mineral, stone claws, iron bones, clothed in desiccated flesh, interesting.
We came to a large room; it appeared as if it might have been a market place or meeting room for the whole Kaer, almost the size of the caverns we had just been in. Within this room there is a stature of the world dragon, holding the heavens away from the earth, surrounding this dragon are statures of 7 of the name givers, and in the same breath both myself and Gron question where the dwarf statue is. All of these statues are coated in small metal scales, around an inch square, and the room itself is also covered in them, seeing the way these people covet there metal, I pick some from the floor around the dragon, and place them in my backpack after all dragon scales may be good to barter in the future. To our right, left and straight ahead were corridors leading off into the dark
Hearing scuffling sounds we approach the corridor to our right, kicking down the door with brute force (as seems to be his way) Gron barged through the door to be met with a group of shuffling cadavers. I could sense no spirit within them, and they fell easily enough to our weapons and touch.
This new room was even larger than the caverns and entrance halls put together, within the centre stacked like firewood were lodgings, small rooms set out with mouldering beds and stone tables. This was one of the living areas where people were packed like crockery one atop the other in its heyday, now sadly empty, silent and showing the damage of fighting. Strangely for somewhere that would have contained so many, and showed signs of fighting there were no bones, no armour, nothing, just dust. At the end of the chamber was another room, still grand though again coated in dust, Jace came wheeling out of the room screeching about a trap.
Whilst the others pondered how to get into the room without setting of a trap, myself and Gron went and collected of bed frames and threw them into the room, triggering the trap. It was all for nothing as whilst it was easy to see the rooms purpose as a meeting room, and story-telling area, there was nothing of worth. On the way out I made sure to separate the cadaver’s limbs from their bodies, destroying their heads; I did not want to have to fight them again.
“The Nethermancer has mistaken these shambling creatures for Cadaver Men of which they are not. They are merely Raised Dwarfs, obviously the unfortunate former inhabitants of this Kaer. Although it is always wise to sever head and limb from your unknown prey.”
Gron, Obsidimen Horror Stalker
Crossing back across the statue room we followed the next corridor, which led to much the same, and once the cadavers were destroyed, an examination of the hall led us to a locked sleeping area, Karaath muttered about traps again, but Jace opened the doors. Inside was a room untouched for countless years, showing a picture of family life frozen at the point of death. Upon one wall was a glorious painting of the sun, directly onto the rock wall. Below this was a shortened bed, containing the first bones we had seen within this Kaer, those of a dwarf, and child, intermingled now, but it was obvious they had died clutching each other tightly.
Feeling heavy of heart, we left them there untouched, even Jace seemed disinclined to rummage through this room.
We moved back to the statue room, there was one more path to take.
The corridor was covered in brown sand which glinted under the lights we carried, and as we moved through it we came to another great hall, and the question of the missing statue was answered.
Before us stood a stature equal to that of the world dragon, crouched behind a kite shield with a sword pointing down the corridor to where we stood, looking around we could see large rents in the stone walls. Imbedded in the walls and covering the floor are ancient and rusting arrow heads, before us is a large vision slit underneath the dwarf statue, and above the statue words were carved into the stone.
“Stand at my back brothers so I may walk into the light”.
The statue itself was again covered in these small silver scales. A great battle had taken place here, and moving around the room we realised this must have been the last stand of the Kaer, facing waves of Horrors and lasting out until they were eventually overrun.
Moving through the battlefield, past the destruction, knowing we were walking where hundreds had fallen, we came to another corridor that opened out into a long room. In the darkness ahead more movement, shuffling and groaning more cadavers appeared, along with another, something, something with a spirit, but a spirit of evil. The others glanced at me as these things approached, and I noticed it was garbed much the same as me.
With a roar Gron charged into the fray, and before this new monster could even lift its weapon, he had severed its thread to this life with one mighty blow from neck to groin. The other cadavers quickly fell to our weapons.
More rooms led from this area, an old food hall, empty of all but a few barrels, an armoury closed with a portcullis, and an old throne room. The throne room contained little bar the etchings of the long dead pleading to the passions scratched into the walls.
To gain access to the armoury Gron lifted the gate up whilst we placed the barrels underneath to support the weight. Within we found many weapons, some ancient armour, and a locked box containing many of these coins they all value so much.
Going back to the statue of the dwarf I found Karaath and Jace searching for something, both muttering about “Gyption” something or other, when suddenly one of them pulled this large lever, and the room shuddered. A column of light appeared and raced over the dwarf statue, shooting down the corridor to the main statue room, which burst into a great light.
As we all ran down this shaft of light to the statue room, there was more grinding noises coming from the room? Standing on the threshold we watched the world dragon move, sliding out of the way and become a ramp leading up to a new room.
As we climbed into this room, we found a strange scene of a dwarf skeleton crumbled over a table, with its arm resting on the hilt of a dark sword. The sword imbedded into the table, through a sheaf of papers, and surrounded by green stones of all sizes, and an emerald chest of some magical property. I’ve attached the papers we found to this log, for future reference of any readers. Suffice to say, it makes sad reading, and shows my own reasons for doing what I do next.
Our Kaer has been breached may the passions help us. We first heard the horrors smashing at the Kaers’ door several months ago now, the people were terrified and panic broke out but there is nothing we could do but wait as the foul beasts smashed through the first door
We managed to hold them back for several weeks in the entrance halls and fought day and night without rest. Hundreds came, maybe even thousands we killed so many we lost count, but they just kept coming and before long had overrun the pit traps and entrance corridors
We tried to barricade ourselves in but the secondary doors didn’t hold and we were soon over run. From there the horrors breached the sleeping quarters and garden areas, mass panic broke out an I even lost my wife and my wonderful son who was killed in the sleeping areas before we could save them
We retreated back to the armoury sealing the doors behind us, but one by one the horrors smashed through them until only one door remained. The people were terrified, children cried, mothers screamed to the passions for help and we had to lock them in the throne room. For five weeks we fought day and night to hold the corridor, taking it in turns to fight as each day hundreds of horrors came
It got so bad at one point we had to send men running around the corner to pick up arrows and bring them back, it was chaos but we fought every second. We were low on ammunition, our food from the stores was running out and it was at that point that myself and 20 other brave soldiers tried to take back the Kaer and in one last act we charged up the corridors into the darkness
The horrors were everywhere, the magic of the sword glowed green with the rage of a thousand men as we fought our way to the statue room. By that point my mind had smashed beyond the terror and my only hope was to see my wife and child again before I died, or at least lay next to them in my certain death. However there were just too many horrors to break through and with the rest of the men dead I managed to climb up into this little room and seal myself away
For several more days I heard screams of terror and pain in my mind, but all has fell silent now, I am the last one left. I am so afraid now, for the first time in my life I’m scared within my heart. I have lived all my life here in this Kaer and have never seen the sunlight, I have never seen our world, it was my dream one day to take my wonderful wife and son and walk out into the sunlight together but the last time I will ever see them is laid dead below the painted sun picture in our little home
I understand now that I am going to die, I understand that I will never see my wife or son again and will spend the rest of time locked away in this horrific tomb. But what scares me most of all, what makes me so afraid, is the thought that the sun doesn’t exist at all
I am injured; I cannot stop the bleeding.
May the passions help us, may the passions help us all.
Dwarven Parchment on the fall of Kaer En’Faden Loki
Map of Kear En’Faden Loki (The Forward Light)
As the others searched the room, myself and Karaath left, and whilst I went outside, he went to collect the other bones we had discovered, them belonging to the family of the dead dwarf in the emerald room. I dug a large shallow grave, and as Karaath and the others brought out the bones, we arranged them on the hill overlooking the Servos Jungle, and as dusk fell there was a commotion in the jungle far away, but loud enough for the sound to travel.
The others go inside, I stay out and kept watch over the long dead.
2nd of Charassa:
Keeping watch until sunrise, waiting for what I hoped to see, I wasn’t disappointed. As the first rays of light hit the still uncovered bones in the shallow grave, faint images could be scene. One large, one slightly smaller, and a last one between them, looking at the sun as it crested the mountains. The largest one seemed to turn and its head moved as if in a nod of thanks, before all three shadows disappeared into the morning mist.
I don’t know what the future holds for me or the group I’ve now joined, but to know we can do some good out here, settle distraught spirits, help those that need help and cleanse this land, gives me fresh hope for the future. That and of course finding the knowledge I seek, what I carry holds a heavy weight over my mind.