The Writings of Gron – Obsidimen Horror Stalker
8th of Rua
Looking over to this once grandiose fortification, we inspect the bridge to ensure its safe appearing to be so we slowly make away across expecting at any moment for it to collapse or to meet a swarm of termites charging out of the keep. Fortunately nether happened, which in some way was rather disconcerting, we could see recent tracks of these termites and not by any means had we been quiet, so either the tracks where of those crossing the bridge to the mounds through the tunnel or a yet unknown surprise lay ahead of us.
Checking the entrance to the keep we could see nor hear any obvious signs of movement cautiously we entered in to a court yard area, on either side where towers with many balistraria, which would have one day been this keeps first line of protection from invaders. Not wanting to risk being trapped and becoming pin cushions Jace investigated and found no traps, but we did get assaulted by a hand full of termites which once again were easily dispatched without too much trouble or concern. On the right side we found very much the same, a few more termites and a larger mound. All were slain and the mound burned by pilling wood from the sleeping quarters on top.
We then proceeded to search the two sleeping quarters as I stood guard near a central corridor whilst they turned over every rock and rotten piece of furniture to make sure that not even a single silver piece escaped there endeavours. Apart from some weapons and coin nothing extraordinary was found, I do feel that each and every time this group (well not all in the group) search, they somehow expect to find a haul worthy of a king’s ransom.
The corridor ahead of us looked quite long, Jace does a quick scan for any traps and then gives us the all clear. Slowly we approach the end and peer into what used to be a village centre hundreds of years ago. Now looking decayed, nearly all of the buildings have caved in and there are obvious signs of termite destruction. Looking down either side we can see at both ends a large termite mound. Not able to see of the wreckage of the fallen buildings Jace flies up and surveys the area and only reports that there is only one more termite mound to the right. Kaerless plan is to cast several of his ghost spells to the mound on the right whilst we stand and watch the termites being destroyed. Unfortunately the plan doesn’t turn out quite like this, as over and over again Kaerless fails to cast his spell; he has just learned it so he probably needs more practice yet.
Due to all this commotion some of the termites notice our presence and head in our direction, I stand in front of Kaerless whilst he continues to try and cast his spell, the rest start readying for their arrival. Elora]] manages to take one out cleanly with an arrow shooting straight through its head. Finally Kaerless casts his spell which keeps the termites on the right busy for a time whilst we concentrate on the ones that approach and swiftly dispatch them with ease.
Leaving the ghost to clean up we head around to the other side to investigate and notice two shops that are still standing. Leaving them for now, we continue to investigate the whole market area, by the time we get round to where the other termites where all have been taken care of by the one ghost that Kaerless cast in that direction. If only he was able to cast it earlier and more of them we could have just sat and watched the action from a safe distance. Although there hardly life threatening to The Circle of Light, it’s good to know that we have some very decent backup from Kaerless.
Getting round to the other side we found a 3rd shop left standing, all of these shops are built from stone, but strangely they have wood frontages yet don’t look to have either suffered from the ravages of time or been devoured by these termites, is there some protective magic at work here?
After carefully examine the first shop we didn’t detect anything strange or any traps. Looking through the windows in to a darkened room we could see that this once used to be a tailors shop. Sproon across the floor and decaying tables and chairs were the rotten remains of cloths and garments. Jace made quick work of the lock and as the others went inside to investigate I stayed on guard at the door, as I didn’t think there would be any threats inside a shop that had been locked for countless years. Once again the area was thoroughly searched and a whole bounty of winter clothing in new condition was found within a sealed box that had managed to withstand the travails of time.
Moving on to the next shop, this one didn’t look so promising as all we could see from the window was a mass of rotten provisions, this door wasn’t even locked, yet we still searched it from top to bottom, leaving no speck of dust untouched, but all that could be found was a small collection of silver dinner ware and some Red Wine. Now for me none of this seemed that interesting, however Rastin became rather excited by the fact that this was ancient wine and as such might be a gift worthy of giving to a king, Kaerless and Karaath also seemed to agree.
On towards the final building this one had been protected more thoroughly than the rest and was covered in strong boards, at first I tried to prise one away but failed to gain any leverage and couldn’t actually get my fingers between the boards to be able to pull one away. However I must have loosened it as directly after Elora tried and managed with ease to prise the first board away. Once that first one was out of the way it was straight forward for me to pull the rest of.
Jace proceeded to examine the door and once again no traps or anything untoward was found, the door was locked, but again Jace didn’t have any trouble picking it. Opening the door and looking inside was a glorious sight to behold, how we managed to glare in to the shop and not just run in I’m not sure. What we saw in that shop was shelf upon shelf of equipment, potions, charms, armour, weapons, shields, adventuring gear, books and pictures all in pristine condition. To find something like this in a keep so old and which has obviously been deserted for hundreds of years is very unexpected and I think this unexpectedness made us take a second look and think about the situation rather than just charging head long in.
Directly in front of us was a small reception area covered in a rather grand rug at which Rastin lifted up to reveal a 15 foot deep pit with huge 6 foot long spears at the bottom, just ready to catch those fool hardy enough to just rush in and make away with all the precious goods this shop had to offer. However; Rastin may have had the foresight to check under the rug but his next action wasn’t so clever. Karaath suggested he could dispel the magic on the floor as the floor was covered in runes which defiantly suggested that stepping on them would be a fool hardy thing to do. However, whether it was an eagerness to grab the magical goods or an unthinking action Rastin cast the rug in to the room.
As soon as the rug touched the floor, the room started to shake violently and around the room along the walls many runes started to glow and pulsate. At this dust started to fall from the ceiling as it started to slowly move down. Realising we had very little time and believing that any traps had now been triggered we all dashed inside to collect what we could. Fortunately we all managed to grab a few items and escape before the ceiling completely crushed everything else within the room.
If only we had been more patient, it seems the allure of this vast array of magical items made several in our group stop to think and consider our options more carefully before taking irrational actions, maybe in future they will learn not to be so rash.
Nothing unsearched now remained in the village centre and once again we headed up the one remaining corridor not knowing what we might find. The end of the corridor opened up in to a large open area with two corridors to either side. Going right we entered in to a huge dining area with sleeping quarters and a small armoury, searches completed which gained us yet more ancient Red Wine and a few bits of silver ware and crossbow and bolts, we headed in to the last remaining room.
I was now starting to feel we had come to the wrong place and all that was here were termites and a long dead keep, if the next room is the last then now what do we do? The small fragment of map of the Skytha Mountains didn’t show us any landmarks or where to go; we had just headed for the general area and by happenchance ended here.
Looking inwards to the last room we saw a high ceiling covered with old and long extinguished light quartzes and all around was the remains of what once must have been a vast beautiful garden area. Exploring the area and finding no exits out of nowhere a huge termite larger even than myself suddenly started charging towards us. We all at this time had become a little over confident I feel, as usually before entering a new area we would have checked for traps and cast protective spells. None of this we did, fortunately for us the foe we now faced although huge wasn’t a match for my mighty Night Harvester and after a few swift swings the beast was dead.
I managed to kill it just in time as it happens as the beast, which we determined to be the Termite Queen had managed to impale me with one of its pincer’s and shortly after it toppled ever muscle within my body started to cease up and I could no longer move. Fortunately the only other assailants were a few small termites which the rest The Circle of Light made swift work off.
Still trying my hardest to move, the more I tried the worse it seemed to get, at this point, Rastin poured a booster potion down my neck and although I nearly choked I recovered from the paralysis immediately. However Elora then decided to dissect the creature and in here clumsiness somehow managed to cut herself on the very part of the creature that caused the paralysis. Realising now that this paralysis was temporary we made here comfortable and waited for here to recover.
Whilst we waited Jace started searching around the walls, I believe he thought similarly to me and that this couldn’t be all there was. His endeavours paid off as after several minutes he had managed to locate a secrete door after determining that there were no traps and discovering the opening mechanism, we all stood in front as the door swung slowly open.
Cautiously walking down the ancient corridor it lead us to a small dusty room that took our breath away, and what we saw was very much like the grave of Valus Rargthat we found at Harrows Field. This entire room was carved in pictures and Dwarven texts of excellent craftsmanship and detail. Taking a few more steps inside our light shimmered off the ancient walls and we stared in wonder at the pictures before us
Looking closer at the pictures we noticed that they start nicely with wonderful carved pictures of mountains, strongholds, miners and happy Dwarven families. However from there the pictures start becoming worse and we noticed pictures of fighting, bodies burning and foul horror like creatures that are depicted as having huge fangs and long razor sharp claws
Under some of the pictures there are simple lines of Dwarf text as scribed below:
Looking at the first picture that has writing beneath it is of an heavily armed group of around 50 Dwarfs deep in a underground tunnel with their weapons drawn and looks of fear on their faces as standing before them is a tunnel that leads off into the darkness, and from within that tunnel there must be a hundred sets of eyes looking back at them from the shadows. The simple line of text underneath says
Here in Skytha the demons came
The next picture shows a huge battle scene of a Dwarven fortress that has fallen under heavy attack from these foul horror like creatures, hundreds of Dwarfs are desperately fighting to hold the battlements as thousands of horrors crash into the walls like a sea of terror. The line underneath reads
We were been overrun, like a sea they flowed into the deep, into the belly of the beast
Moving onto the next picture thousands of people are being evacuated from the mountains in huge lines that stretch back as far as the eye can see. Many of the people evacuating are injured and have looks of panic and horror upon their faces. The Dwarven text underneath reads
The orders were given, the complete evacuation of our entire kingdom began, now only the armies remain to cover the retreat, the armies fighting within the deep
The fourth panel shows a rather upsetting and graphic scene of around 400 Dwarfs who have fortified themselves in the centre of a huge underground crossroads that we can only assume was a key tactical point. However as the light shimmers off the wall we brush away a little of the dust and see the Dwarfs were surrounded on every side by countless horrors coming from every direction. Looking closer into the detail we can see Dwarves been tore limb from limb and being eaten alive by swarms of foul horrors, and clearly they were been overrun. The line of text underneath says
Here in the halls of Avalus we soldiers of Skytha made our last stand, we are outnumbered, we are alone, we are dying, long live Skytha
The next picture confuses us as while the battle for the great crossroads rages on, with Dwarfs been ripped apart, most of the Dwarves seem to be stud cheering and raising huge weapons above their heads in some kind of war cry of honour and glory and the Dwarfs even have looks of courage and bravery on their faces.
The simple line below reads (May the passions be praised they have come from the East to save us, in our darkest hour the brothers of the mountain have come
Moving on to the next panel initially is just as confusing as the last as the Dwarves still cheer and fight and they are obviously being overrun. But new figures can be seen appearing in the darkness, these new figures are walking out of the walls. The picture shows that far behind the horrors on one of the tunnel walls around 200 Obsidiman have simply walked out of the walls as if by magic and with a huge and mighty war cry that must have echoed through the entire halls of Skytha the Obsidiman heavily outnumbered have charged the horrors back lines head on and have begun ripping them to peace’s with their bare hands” The line underneath simply says
The charge of the 200
The next picture shows the Dwarfs screaming with rage and anger, screaming with bravery and hope as it would seem the arrival of the mighty Obsidiman have bolstered the Dwarves courage and set alight a Dwarven rage inside. The Dwarves fuelled by pure rage and anger have charged the horrors head on to meet the Obsidiman. From there the picture shows a mighty battle where huge Dwarven axes smash down onto the foul demons and massive Obsidiman heavily outnumbered rip the horrors limb from limb using nothing but their bare hands
Nearing the end of the picture the Dwarves and Obsidiman have finally smashed through to meet each other leaving countless dead horrors in their wake, the remaining horrors have begun fleeing to the tunnels around them. The last scene of this picture shows a small group of around 100 Dwarves and 100 Obsidiman who are bleeding and heavily wounded but are cheering in valour and honour as the horrors retreat. In the centre of the picture there is one Dwarf and one Obsidiman that are stretching out a hand of friendship towards each other. The line underneath says
The last battle of Skytha, may this friendship last forever
The next panel (one of the last in the story) is of a huge underground forge that is bigger than any forge ever seen. Stood together in the middle of this forge is one Obsidiman and one Dwarf both working together on the same weapon. The Dwarven text underneath reads
This mighty weapon is built to seal our friendship, it will be the first weapon ever built by both the Dwarven, and Obsidiman masters.
It will be the last weapon ever built by our dying kingdom.
The last weapon ever made in the great forge of Skytha
The last scene of this picture is a of Dwarven figure holding a colossal golden axe above his head
This (the last picture in the room) not only has a map carved into the rock but it shows the Dwarves and Obsidiman standing together. Following the picture onwards it seems that two groups were formed and left the mountains in different directions. The text underneath says:
The brothers of the mountain “our saviours” need our help, they have come far from the East to seek our knowledge and now we must help them. We now leave our home forever, one group south towards the mighty Throal Mountains, the other group east towards the ferocious Caucavic region where the brothers of the mountain need our help, may the passions bless them
Long live Skytha, and long live Engia
The map in the last panel shows that the Dwarves and Obsidiman set off from here in two directions one going south which looks most likely to be going towards Throal, the other is heading east into the Caucavic Mountains. This region of mountains is known to be treacherous and unyielding but this now looks like our next destination. Before we set off again we are going back to Serpents Cove to sell our bounty and make preparations for our next journey. We also need to seek out any information about the Caucavic Mountains, Valus Rarg, Engia or anything to do with the story of the Obsidiman and Dwarves battle that was shown on the pictures.
I personally have not heard about this, but other Obsidiman may have more knowledge of what happened before the scourge. The story that was told in the collection of pictures must be known by someone due to the epic nature of the events it is highly unlikely that this event has been forgotten in time.
9th to 14th of Rua
Resting for the night in the keep the next day we head back to Serpents Cove and decide to find a different way rather than risking the balancing act of getting over the ravine. On our Second day just as we got to the top of a hill off in the distance we see a frightening sight a horror of such hugeness it blotted out the sun as it moved swiftly of into the distance. I have heard of this horror before and it goes by the name of Amygon also known as “Walker of Worlds” and there are stories of it attacking distance cities but hasn’t been seen in Barsaive for an age. This sighting doesn’t bode well for our world as I’m sure such a huge beast isn’t here for naught but destruction. We must alert the authorities, although any preparations that can be made against such a mighty beast may be little.
Our journey back to Serpents Cove is an uneventful one, now the planning begins once again, this time we need to ensure we stock up with supplies and gain as much information as we can before we head in to the Caucavic Mountains.