|'Ware the traps!|| I am Sheva of Koth, now give ear and learn wisdom!|
Know that in these walls are traps to crush, burn and flay a mans soul. Stalk carefully through these halls lest you trigger the mechanical wrath of the makers.
It was intimated to me by an acquaintance among the Relic Hunters that this brooding keep holds a great treasure and a curse. Men whisper of the Deathbringer and his Silent Legion, but I am the greatest thief these lands have ever seen.
So I tell you, whoever you are, if you find my bones moldering in these halls, beware! For if such as I have been slain, than such as you will quickly wish yourself back in the hearth of your home.
|A Confession|| In the silence of my soul, I know that all of this is my fault.|
When my belly began to swell, with Raiths child, I was happy. He was happy. Even his family, who had always viewed me with suspicion, were happy.
When the menfolk left on a weeklong hunt, the women bathed me in lavender and rubbed scented oils into my belly. They burned beeswax candles and we talked into the night.
When I lay down to sleep, I was full and happy as I had never been before.
I said a prayer to Crom to give my child strength.
I said a prayer to Crom.
Everything that followed - the raiders who came and took us from our homes, the sorcery that prevents us from leaving and even...even the loss of my child. I brought this doom upon us all.
|Acid-Eaten Journal||This book, bound in thick leather, has been almost destroyed by the acid that recently filled the pool. There are bare fragments of pages left, but there is enough to piece together a recipe for a special armor crafted from the skins of reptiles.Among the fragments of the pages you find a single initial, ZK, which is the only clue as to the authors identity.|
|Adventurer's Note #1||The Darfari horde chased us into an old ruin. It was a dead end. I thought it was over. Dear Semat stepped forth bravely to hold the entrance, but the leader of the Darfari, a wild brute with mud and twigs in his hair, cut him down. I was preparing to make my final stand, when the very ground in the chamber began to rumble. The walls shook and the earth moved. The savages fled, wailing, through the passageway, as ground beneath them began to rise. It was a staircase! This was the entrance we had been searching for!Quickly, I stepped over to Semats corpse, just long enough to close his eyes and grab his gear. Then I headed down the staircase into darkness. As my eyes adjusted, I came into a large cavern. What a sight! The floor is covered in ankle deep water and ghostfire burns above deeper pools whose murky depths are hard to fathom. Phosphorescent growths cling to the waters edge and in their dim glow, large creatures are moving in the water. I must be cautious. If the treasure is truly down here, I will need to stay alive in order to find it.|
|Adventurer's Note #2||At first, I thought that I had come to a dead end and that my quest for the treasure would be over. But then I noticed the stone mechanisms set high into the walls along the corridors. They were built for a taller race than ours (who knows what primordial race once stalked these corridors?, but they can be activated from below with a thrown object or an arrow.There is something else...a voice. It speaks to me and...It is probably nothing. The strain of the long quest in search of my ancestors treasure.|
|Adventurer's Note #3||The path forward grows less clear and yet with every chamber that I conquer, my certainty grows. This is the place where my ancestor, the legendary Zapayo da Kordava came in search of his ultimate dream.The voice in my mind whispers to me of the treasure that awaits me, she praises my strength and conviction. She tells me where to go and how to navigate this maze of confusing chambers.This is the path and soon I will have both the secrets of my ancestor and I will meet this mysterious lady who speaks in my mind.|
|Adventurer's Note #4||This is it! I can feel her presence just ahead of me! It is time to meet my love, and recover the precious journal of Zapayo da Kordava. If my father is correct, it contains the last recipe that he wrote before he went missing, designed based upon his adventures in the Black Kingdoms to the south.But this is secondary to meeting my love. She awaits me just ahead, and her sweet voice sings in my mind. She is beautiful. I will take her with me back to Zingara and make her my wife. All else is secondary, including the journal of my ancestor.She is telling me to put down my weapons and my possessions...why not? I have nothing to fear from such a gentle spirit...|
|Archery Note||Little brother, Got yourself so deep into something that even The Chief couldn't pull your arse off the fire. Everyone's nervous about the move. Father's being a nightmare, sitting by your bed and weeping, then going around bellowing at people. You've really made a mess of things. I wanted to stay, so did Freya and a bunch of the others, but father is insisting. You're the better brawler, but I've always been the better hunter. I don't know what this doom is that the Elders are babbling on about, but I've never seen anything that kept moving after it took an arrow through the eye. So I left you my best bow. Just draw and shoot, you'll be fine. I hope you'll be fine, little brother. And if you survive you can never tell anybody that I called you the better brawler. Or you'll wish the doom had gotten you. Drag arrows over a bow in the inventory to equip them to that bow. Shoot the archery targets to get a feel for archery.>|
|Carpentry Note||Sennu and his band of fools broke the gates on their last raid and whether you believe in this doom or not, a village without gates is a vulnerable place. We have most of what is needed stored around here. Just remember what you learned when we made the western gates last summer. Crafter Sebalia Open your inventory and find the recipe for gates in the crafting panel on the right. Use the crafting stations to craft the ingredients you need for the gates. >|
|Crafting Note||Your father asked that we leave you a message. He never said it needed to be polite. So take a look around. This is the livelihood of the village. The forge, the tannery, the carpenters...all of it to be left behind because of you, you thrill-seeking fool! We'll have to start from scratch, someplace else. Because you had to explore ruins best left to rot in peace! Our one saving grace is that we know how to harvest starmetal. With that secret we can make a comfortable life almost anywhere. So here it is, your father wanted you to forge your own sword of starmetal before... well you know what is coming. Everything you need, you'll find in this room. Except enough starmetal - so read this next part carefully. The secret is fire. You need to crack the outer shell of the star metal with a fire orb. It will crumble and give you access to glowing core. Harvest that with a pick. Go west to where the stars fall and gather enough starmetal to craft yourself a fine sword. It'll give your father something nice to bury you with. Crafter Sebalia Remember to take fire orbs and a pick when you go to harvest starmetal. >|
|Crossing the Wall|| Raiders, blood, and fire. That is the last thing that I remember. |
When I awoke, I was in a strange, warm land. I gave thanks to Ymir that I had not yet come to Valhalla, and yet this place of merciless heat and monsters felt unreal to me. On my wrist was a bracelet, wrought with ornate shapes and set with a glowing green gem. In the north, I could see the shapes of mountains and it filled me with a longing for the snows of my homeland.
I set out across the desert.
Along the way I encountered men who were little more than beasts. They spoke fearfully of a curse that wraps this land. Strange pillars that strike down any who try to cross the wall of curses.
I persevered until I reach the northernmost reaches of the desert. And there my path was blocked by the strange pillars that had been described to me. Beyond, I could see fertile lands and the great slopes of the mountains that spoke to my very soul. I dared not cross the borderline, lest I perish.
I sat at the base of the pillar and gave in to exhaustion and despair.
When I awoke, something had changed. The jewel in the bracelet on my arm flamed a pulsing crimson and the wall which blocked my progress flickered and gave way.
Holding my breath, I stepped past the wall.
I have settled myself among my people in the village named New Asagarth. There are Vanir and Aesier mingled here, but the old blood feuds are forgotten and forgiven.
To the north, another walls of curses blocks access to the other side of the mountains. But I am confident that one day, we can escape.
|Crumbled note|| Berries and wine in all glory but when you need the strength of a bear and thunder in your heart, nothing beats a good booze-up!|
Within these pages, I have written down the recipes that I know for some of the most foul-smelling, bad-tasting, eye-watering home-brew booze I have ever had the misfortune of tasting.
These cimmerians seem to enjoy them, though. Go figure. A sour drink for a sour people.
|Crumbled note|| How I miss my tavern in Pelishti. I was appreciated there. At the very least until the arrival of mad king Akhirom who banned all wine and threw me to the street. Madness. |
Nevertheless. I am here now and I must make the best of it. My only wish is that I had not run into this pack of wild men that call themselves the Dogs of the Desert. In this forsaken place, the sword and fang rule supreme and there is little I can offer but my expertise in brewing fine wines.
Having said that, these beasts are not entirely without culture and as it happens, I do remember some of the recipes from my tutelage. So far, it has kept them from devouring me.
For how long this state of affairs will last, I cannot tell.
|Faded note|| This is where I die. The bridge collapsed shortly after I arrived here and there is no way down except for the short way.|
However - it is better than starving to death. It is the height of irony that I came here foraging for bird eggs to stave off starvation.
|Foragers note|| I have been attempting to scavenge for more mushrooms in the area but have found none. I brought my notes so that I could show my companions the pictures of which mushrooms to forage.|
Last night, Hragnar brought a red-speckled one that I have not seen before. I have made some notes on potential uses for it but I will not be the first to try them out.
|Grave Cairn||Here lyes Sanus from Ophir. A coward, a joker and a man with a strange obsession for sheep, but he saved my life. I could not save his. - Braga of Cimmeria|
|Harlot's Journal #1||The old chieftain, wretch that he is, lies dying now, and I can do little to help as I have no knowledge of the arcane arts or of medicine. My expertise in bedroom acrobatics will be of little use to the old fool - it might even bring him closer to the brink, if not push him over it completely. When he dies, I wonder what will become of me. Still - Chamiel, his son, is strong and not very intelligent. If I play my cards right, I may still have a safe haven here. I think I shall have to pay him a night-time visit to ease his weary mind and muscle. The thought of getting caught is enticing in itself, although the prospect of the wheel is less so. I shall have to be careful.|
|Harlot's Journal #2||Miserable bastard. The chieftain is infuriatingly strong-willed! He simply refuses to die. To make matters worse, I believe Chamiel has been bragging about our acrobatics to the camp guards, despite my pleas to keep our meetings a secret. The situation could be dangerous, especially if the chieftain recovers and hears the rumors. I may have to leave this place prematurely... perhaps I should head south, past the walls and towards the riverbed.|
|Harlot's Journal #3||It pays to have an ample supply of lubricants and oils handy. I managed to slip out of the shackles binding me to the wheel of pain during the changing of the guard. I ran through the desert until I could no longer see the village. Skirting the outer walls of the cursed city, I made my way to this place. For a wasteland this desert teems with life and plenty of souls in need of a warm embrace and soft words whispered into their ears. I won't settle here, however. The cursed city looms over me like a beast and I cannot relax in its shadow. I also have no intention of waking up to a scorpion skittering between my legs. I have enough of that horseplay from the locals. I will follow the river, and see where it goes.|
|Harlot's Journal #4||Had I known of the crocodiles, I would have taken my chances in the desert! The scaled monstrosities followed me at a distance and I thought I had lost them. Alas! I was not as lucky as I had hoped. One of the larger ones lunged at me from the water and tore my dancing silks, forcing me to abandon them for plainer fare. Thankfully, the crocodile seemed more interested in thrashing about with my torn clothing, than with me, so I was able to escape. I am exhausted and will make camp here before I move further north. I have seen a spire stretching towards the sky. I will make my way there.|
|Harlot's Journal #5||I have set up a temporary camp in the area. The tent threatens to blow away in the wind and the ruins whisper to me at night, so I dare not stay here for long. My arms and legs are sore and for all the wrong reasons - travelling in this fashion is a strain on my constitution much worse than any man or woman I ever bedded in the bordellos of Zamoria. It may be wishful thinking but I believe I can hear occasional sounds from the north. There may be an encampment there. Tomorrow I will find out. I miss my bed in the village. I even miss the old chieftain.|
|Harlot's Journal #6||How refreshing! Food and the company of men and women to my liking! I have been welcomed with open arms and robes. The men fight for my fancy and many have claimed me for themselves. My skills are useful here. A fluttered eyelash here, a crooked finger there and a mysterious smile at the right moment.They practically line up at the entrance to my small tent.Protect me, I whisper as they enter my room and they swear eternal guardianship.Shelter me I plead as they pull the deerskin pelt over us both and they promise that I will never go without.I could get used to this treatment. Yet - their leader watches me. She is strange, commanding the respect of her men but never bedding them. Always watching the ruins to the southwest. I wonder what horrors could lie there.|
|Harlot's Journal #7||The encampment has been overrun by raiders and miscreants. I have yet again been forced out from my home. I made my way here, where I knew they would not follow and now I understand why. I hear the breath of the beast, even above the thundering sound of my own heartbeat. I will stay here no longer than I need to in order to make certain I have not been followed. Thankfully I managed to steal enough bread and water to sustain me for a short period. Yesterday night, I saw lights in the south. I will travel there. Perhaps the light from the fires will keep the hyenas at bay.|
|Harlot's Journal #8||I am wary of these people. I am unfamiliar with their customs and ill at ease in this place despite the warm welcome. My travels have taught me the importance of being careful. I had a dream last night after bedding the high priest. A dream of blood and water. An outstretched hand holding me in the skies only to then lay me down in a river. The eyes of the men here undress me hungrily... which is odd because their dark-skinned women go bare skinned all around.Perhaps it is as my first madame taught me - it's what they don't see, what they imagine, that fuels their lust.|
|Harlot's Journal #9||Cannibal savages. I have made my way here, as it seems they will not come close to this area. But the wretched bastards have beaten me still. Something courses through my veins, not the fiery visions of the lotus or the blissful dreams of the poppy, but a dark swirling maelstrom of pain that hovers beneath a tentacled shadow. I should never have drunk their infernal concoction. It is becoming difficult to move. Zath take them! I see now what the dream foretold. A premonition. I go to the embrace of Zath willingly. Perhaps in his afterlife, there are beds of finest spider silk...|
|Hastily scribbled note|| I fear for my life. These Darfari cannibals are unthinking brutes with no discipline and I do not know how much longer I can convince them to leave me alive.|
The cooking pots reek of human flesh and my trusty book of recipes counts for naught amongst these savages.
|Horn Note||If you are ready to face the doom then blow this horn. When it comes, it will come from the north, along the pass. Whatever preparations you have made, I pray they are enough. Be steadfast. Our ancestors will give you strength. Use it. Blow the horn to summon the Doom of Skyholme and begin the final battle. You will not be allowed to blow it until you have made basic preparations.>|
|Impaled Skeleton||The dry desert winds have mummified this poor wretch. The arrows embedded in his leathery skin cannot be removed without breaking them.|
|Mitra Altar Note||Child, It grieves me that we leave you to face this alone. Were the world a different place... When our clan began to worship Mitra, it was hard for many of them to give up the old ways. The totems and spirits which watched over our clan slowly disappeared. Mitra is a just and powerful god, but I fear he is less...personal than the spirits of wood and air. If you go west to the river, then follow it north, you will come upon the ruins of an ancient settlement. Whoever it was that lived there is long gone. But the spirit of Martuk, the great bear, has been known to manifest there. It is blasphemy for me to suggest it, but I believe that Martuk might offer you guidance in this dark hour. Elder Tor Go to the ruined village and find the spirit of Martuk. He will guide you to something that can help you against the doom. >|
|Mountaineering Journal||I have climbed many towers in my life. My skills have come to prove useful even in this sweltering desert, it appears. I am glad to have found someone of like mind such as you. So here is my challenge to you... find one of my stashes. Bring me what I hid and I shall reward you in kind.|
|Note on Table||You're a reckless fool. The other villagers have been saying it for years. It's only now, when it is far too late that I recognize it myself. You've imperilled our people and imperilled your home with your recklessness. Whatever you awoke in those ruins...it is coming. The Elders have consulted the totems and they believe that the beast comes for you, Thargrim. The village has been evacuated. We will find a new place to settle. But you must remain. The men who found you say that whatever you saw in the mountain brought upon you a strange madness. They think that the doom has blasted your mind into this numb stupor from which you cannot be roused. I hope that you remain oblivious when the doom comes. But if you do awaken, then I would that you will face it as a man. Blade in hand. If you must fill the hours before your death with something, let it be preparing to strike back at the doom which comes to claim you. The other villagers had the scribe write you notes of their own - you'll find them around the village. May we meet again in the next world, son. Chieftain Grimold Your father has left you gear in the chest next to the table. Equip the weapons and armor and explore the village to find other tasks. In order to complete the trial, you must finish the tasks outlined in your Journey. Press J to view your journey tasks.>|
|Ophirean Journal #1||A stick of charcoal and a few leaves will have to serve as my diary in this god-forsaken place. Perhaps my words will be of use to some unfortunate soul in the future. And this seems to be a land of lost souls.Once I escaped my bonding to the cross, I found that I was not alone in my fate. Two other poor fools had been crucified nearby - a dead Zamorian and a glaring barbarian. He looks like one of those savages that haunt the northern borders of fair Aquilonia, a Cimmerian. His piercing eyes and the sullen look on his face gave me doubts but I decided to free him anyway. This is no fate for a man.Braga, as he is called, is gruff and uncouth. He offered to travel with me in order to pay my debts. He is severely wounded - unlike the leather bonds that bound me to the cross, Braga had been nailed there. We have spotted a bridge to the west. Bridges mean water, a resource we lack.|
|Ophirean Journal #2||Crossing the sweltering desert was an exercise in discipline. We came across a small encampment, seemingly abandoned. Wary of the possibility of an ambush, we approached the smoldering embers of the campfire but whomever had been here before us were nowhere to be seen. Unfortunately, without food to cook, we could simply stare at the embers and dream of smoking slabs of meat. To raise the mood, I described to my companion the beautiful noblewomen of Ophira. Braga crossed his arms and told me that I talk too much and that he wasn't interested. I offered to describe the sheep of my homeland instead... Braga thinks that we ought to travel north from here, across the bridge. I mumbled my agreement through a mouthful of broken teeth.|
|Ophirean Journal #3||It has proven wise to travel together. My companion has crafted a crude stone sword - one which he applied with great strength to an aggressive crocodile. I cowered in fear when the monster attacked and I am thankful to my companion for both the protection and the sustenance the flesh of the beast provided. It tasted like chicken.We have decided to venture further north, following the river. My companion has taken an interest in the black walls of the ruined city. I am less enthusiastic about the prospects of a safe haven there.|
|Ophirean Journal #4||We have set up temporary camp at the black walls. Even Braga seems taken aback by the ghostly sounds coming from within the ruins and he is only slightly more expressive than the stone itself. I have firmly declared that I have no intention of exploring them. My companion sighed at my cowardice but agreed to head further north. Perhaps we can find an opening in the wall that will not lead to certain death. That would be much preferred.|
|Ophirean Journal #5||I scribble these words with the dread fear that they may be my last. Nightmare creatures have come boiling forth from the nearby cave, screaming and attacking my companion and myself. Braga beat the first wave back, but at the cost of our precious food supplies being stolen by the creatures. Braga and I have become so close on this journey that even a slight shift of weight conveys an entire conversation - when he looked to me, I knew he wanted me to stay and guard the camp while he descended into the cave an retrieved our supplies. So here I crouch, nervously awaiting his return. Addendum: Turns out he actually wanted me to follow him into the cave and help him. And now I have a headache from the clout he gave me.|
|Ophirean Journal #6||I feel ill at ease here. I do not know what happened to the builders that began this project but I cannot imagine their fates being pleasant. Braga climbed the scaffolding and threw himself off onto the back of an antelope, which he killed with a brutal wrench of the neck. Tomorrow we will continue our journey west towards the ruins but tonight we feast like kings!|
|Ophirean Journal #7||I am convinced that one of the infernal creatures here has stung me. Perhaps one of the small scropions that hide in the deep sands? I did not feel the sting, but a strange lassitude has overcome me. I feel tired and ill and my legs can carry me no further. I pleaded with Braga to rest here and he complied, although not without protest. To the west lie great salt flats which we will cross tomorrow. Perhaps we can break into the north, where there seems to be greenery and an end to this infernal desert.|
|Ophirean Journal #8||I am undone. The venom is coursing through my veins and slowly, insidiously, I am dying. I no longer feel my legs. I wonder how many others like me this desert has claimed. Even taciturn Braga has shown some concern. You are truly cursed when a Cimmerian takes pity upon you. I told him a joke about sheep to cheer him up. He cursed and spat into the fire. As I write this, my companion is snoring loudly and my hand is firmly grasping the dagger that will end me. I will go into the afterlife by my own terms.|
|Pirate's Note||Our quartermaster found a chest amongst the flotsam containing a number of peg-legs, hooks and eye-patches. I find them rather dashing. We will begin using them immediately, even if it means cutting off limbs to do so!|
|Priestking's Message|| Of all the bonded who serve our kind, you have been the greatest, Deathbringer.|
But the triumvirate can no longer trust you as vassal and leader of our armies. Return to the outpost at Xullan. If the meeting at the Circle of Swords goes as you promise, we will have further duties for you.
If we are betrayed, we will come north with all of our might to burn and destroy what you love.
If you betray us, you will be cursed for an eternity.
|Prison Cell Note|| I do not sleep.|
Somewhere in the distance, there is sobbing and the slow drip of water. The sobbing occasionally stops, the water never does.
There were reasons that I came here. I dont recall what they were. I have been here so long, I have forgotten my name.
Who I am, what I was - those are gone. The only thing left in my mind are burning eyes.
I do not sleep.
|Raknys Journal #1|| Fellow traveler!|
I am Raknys - he who is worshipped by women and feared by men! Vanquisher of Dragons and Herald of Death! You belong to me now and soon you will pay your way through these lands with blood and tears.
Despite the shrieks in the night, the undead rising and the fearsome wildlife assaulting me, I am not afraid and cheer at the opportunity to prove myself!
I will claim these lands for myself as I have hundreds of thousands of women. Seek me out to the north-east where the snow falls!
|Raknys Journal #2|| Fellow traveler!|
I am Raknys - master of the sword and destroyer of Thoth-Amon! Warrior Supreme and the Drinker of Blood!
But not even I can slit the throat of the skies. The weather has forced me to move my camp onwards. Seek me out to the west. When we meet, I shall teach you the ways of the blade like I have done many before! But fear not - as part of my army, you shall experience the glory of war and victory!
We shall eat honey-glazed poultry in the halls of my numerous castles!
|Raknys Journal #3|| Fellow traveler!|
I am Raknys - legend of the northern highlands and Destroyer of Those Who Walks Between the Crags! Lord of all that I behold and Reaver of Souls!
These cowardly nordheimers are not worthy of my attention and require much more training before becoming worthy of me! I have decided to move onwards to the west. Fear not! We shall meet soon enough, at which point I will take you as my companion and we shall travel these lands, defeating all that stand in our way!
|Raknys Journal #4|| Fellow traveler!|
I am Raknys - he who is worshipped by men and women alike - Lord of Justice and Harvester of Skulls!
Would that this could be the location of my new homestead! Alas - the presence in the area is untouchable by my blade. While this circle of swords speaks to my very essence, it is infected by the spirits of the dead! I do not fear them! But their screams make it hard to sleep at night - and so, I have decided to move ever onwards to the southwest! For glory! For me!
Follow me and we shall shake our fists at the very gods themselves! Even Set and Mitra shall bow before us!
|Raknys Journal #5|| Fellow traveler!|
I am Raknys - Ultimate Warrior and Conqueror of the World! Legend of the Sword and Battlemaster of the Gods!
This place is too hot. I will travel north tomorrow towards the settlement I see in the distance. There, I will make everyone bow to my fists!
|Raknys Journal #6|| Fellow traveler!|
I am Raknys - Touched by the Gods and the Living Embodiment of Bravery! King of these lands and all that I behold!
These people I do not like. And I will make them bow before me! Tomorrow I will venture into their crumbling mounds, spit on their chieftain and make myself their leader!
|Relic Hunter Journal|| 'Forget it - it's too dangerous'|
That's what I told them. Noone cared, of course. And now, here we are - looking for some godforsaken treasure. Long since forgotten, and all we have to go on is the ramblings of that old fool.
'Below the path. The Archive! The Archive!'
Over and over.
|Relic Hunter Journal|| My old man told me to watch myself in this place. I'm beginning to see what he is talking about. The undead swarm this place as if the very earth itself rejected them from its womb.|
I need to find where he hid it when he ran away from that... thing. An obelisk of some sort. I should look for a bloodied handprint. Not much to go on but noone said it'd be easy.
|Relic Hunter Journal|| For anyone reading this - I can't go much further. So near but yet so far... I doubt I will survive a jump but even though my limbs are tired the undead are slowly searching me out, leaving me with no better option.|
If you have found this, know that I stashed my gains before I leapt. Too heavy to climb down with it. If you can get to it, you've certainly earned it. Don't make the same mistake that I did.
|Relic Hunter Journal||Krysez told me he stashed it behind the flame before he died. Great. Fantastic help you are - where is that then?!|
|Scholar's Note|| I write this, good Drethan, to put to rest your incredulity. I have studied the ruins and stones around this region and I am certain that a great battle took place here.|
I have reason to believe I have found the burial chamber of one of the commanders of the battle. Alas it is locked tight by some mechanism and I simply have no idea how to open it. I have translated the runes around the door to this:
Blood to seal and blood to hold,
Blood to warm the dead and cold,
Blood to sign the final pact,
Blood to seep between the cracks.
Before you ask, yes Ive tried my blood. And it simply does not open. Perhaps what is buried inside is too different from what we are for this to work.
|Sealing the Borders||Slave, War-maker Klael has ordered the sealing of the borders, including the destruction of the bridge. This is to discourage your treacherous kin from entering our lands. For hundreds of years we have patiently welcomed your people into our lands. And our kindness was repaid with war. No more, Bonded One. You will break the bridge and as you do, think about the consequences of betrayal. Think about what your people have done to you.|
|Sinkhole - Entrance||The Arena serves the city as a place of blood sport and competition, bonded one. Our kind are far too few to be wasted on arena battles, but your kind are as numerous as rats and the exceptionally strong are tested here. On battle days, the great gates to the city are thrown open and the people go forth in a great throng along the verdant valley to the gates of the arena. It is a festival and a sacrifice to the glory of the Old Serpent. You are assigned to work, not to watch. There are three levels, the Pens, the Arena Floor and the Gallery. Find your assigned position, Slave. There is always work to be done.|
|Techtosa's Journal #1||Let these pages serve as a record of my attempts to civilize one of the degenerate brutes that haunts the southern reaches of the Exiled Lands. I, Techtosa, will train them to be the perfect thralls - stronger and more obedient than humans! Capturing the creature was difficult. Meat drenched in a sedative of my own design managed to fell the beast. My hand trembles as I write this - imagine the possibilities! I attempted to show the creature how to surrender. As I held up my arms, it lunged at me and tore into the side of my face. If, for the price of an ear, I can create a constant source of tireless thralls, then the sacrifice will be worth it.|
|Techtosa's Journal #2||I have decided to keep the creature on a chain instead of a leash and have fashioned a crude muzzle out of iron. Though the others call me a fool for this experiment, I am not such a fool as to give up my other ear. I approached the creature today. Slowly at first and then more assertively. It held out its arms and moved towards me. It wished to embrace me! I stepped towards it and... I am correct about the incredible strength of these creatures... though the bearhug it gave me may have shattered a rib or two. But a man can heal. I have now given up on the creature surrendering freely to me. Perhaps bribery will work better.|
|Techtosa's Journal #3||My attempts at teaching the brute have not yet been fruitful. But my resolve remains strong. I cooked some gruel in order to entice the miserable wretch to grovel for food. It has not been fed for days. Damned near cost me my toe as it clawed at my feet. Clearly it prefers the taste of meat. But where the carrot will not work, the stick must be used.|
|Techtosa's Journal #4||Today, I attempted to communicate with the creature from a distance. It may be chained to the wall and muzzled, but I wish to keep the precious few limbs that I have. I attempted to teach the creature directions by pointing. The creature responded by picking up a stone and throwing it with remarkable accuracy at my throat. That hurt quite a bit.|
|Techtosa's Journal #5||My fellow exiles do not seem to be supportive of my venture. Several chunks of meat have gone missing from the local storage shed and a small group came to confront me about it I was hoarse from yesterdays incident but I explained the intent behind my experiment to the crowd, rather eloquently if I do say so. They cheered and clapped vigorously and left. The creature, however, was less impressed and took my moment of distraction to defecate on my doorstep.|
|Techtosa's Journal #6||As I exited my house today, I slipped on my doorstep. I did not have to examine the ground to know what caused this. I turned my head only to see the creature mimic the cheering and clapping from yesterday event. I cannot deal with this today. I went back inside.|
|Techtosa's Journal #7||I will give it one more attempt today. If todays attempt proves as unsuccessful as the others, I will have to get rid of the beast. I approached it with sword and shield but it seemed disinterested in me. I poked and prodded it but there was no reaction except for what seemed to be a shrug. Perhaps I had broken the beast after all? I turned and began to walk away. This proved to be a mistake, as the beast kicked me in the back and sent me flying face first into a nearby tree. The vomit-inducing, worthless piss-streak of a creature dies tomorrow!|
|Techtosa's Journal #8||I, Techtosa, must confess that I have failed. The creature is unruly, uncouth and unpleasant. To think that I though it might have made a good thrall! Bah! I have my shield. I have my sword. I am ready. I will wipe away my failure with blood!|
|The Aqueduct||Water flows through our city, from untainted sources in the high places and down through the mighty aqueducts that we built to sustain us. And the sewers carry away the waste from the city, washing it away in a torrent of pure clean water. Slave, you have been chosen to maintain those sewers. To sweep away the debris and creatures which gather in the foul-smelling darkness. Be honored, bonded one, and be wary. Strange things grow in the gloom of those tunnels.|
|The Arena||Behold the sands of the arena, Bonded one. Here the games of mortality are played beneath the sun and the moon. Your people are puzzling to us, slave. Once we set a group of them to fight one another, and they sat in the sand and refused to fight - even though they knew that our retribution would be swift and merciless. Another time, one of them fought and killed and dragon singlehandedly. You are spared the fighting, slave. Your job will be cleaning up what is left after the battle.|
|The Dam|| Behold, slave, the lake that feeds our city. |
The food that you eat and the water that you drink is sourced here, at the base of the mountains. The fertility of our lands is reliant upon the dam.
Your people could never have constructed something of such majesty - but you are given the great honor of maintaining it. Remember your duties, slave, for the water that flows south is as precious as the gemstone that your wear on your forearms.
|The Dregs Tablet||Bonded ones, you have the honor of being assigned to clean The Dregs. To cleanse the passageways beneath our great city is to ensure that the city continues to thrive.But there are dangers in The Dregs, and excellent servants such as yourselves cannot be wasted. You will need to know how to make smokeless light and how to ease your breathing in the flooded chambers.We have gifted you this knowledge. Make good use of it.|
|The Fallen King's Tablet|| Beneath the earth, my wounds have healed. My mind has also healed. I suspect that some part of the curse that I threw upon the Deathbringer was reflected upon me.|
There has been ample time to think about events, both recent and ancient. My mind has run through everything, piece by piece. There is one inevitable conclusion.
This war was a lie. We were deceived and manipulated into destroying each other. By those who came before.
The Shadow Kingdom lives.
|The First Pillar||Behold, bonded one, the very boundaries of civilization. Beyond the passage of our highways lie the wild places of the world where untamed savages make endless war upon each other. You cannot pass into the endless wastes, Enslaved. Your bonding prevents it.Return. Follow the road. Any road. All roads lead to the city.|
|The Gallery||Here in the gallery, you are required to serve, Bonded One. It is a great honor for you to be among the trusted servants of the Priestking. Do not do anything to draw his gaze. Though it would be a great honor for you to be sacrificed on the altar of Sacred Set, we would be losing a loyal servant. To provide privacy for those of our kind using the Gallery, the enchantment that allows you to understand our language will be disabled while you are in the area.|
|The Gladiator Conscriptio||Slave, by order of the War-maker, the gladiator arena has been closed. All gladiators have been called to serve in the war effort and the competitions have been closed. All beasts have been penned for the duration and all slaves work the arena are recalled to the city for reassignment. Obey and return, slave. The war requires everybody.|
|The Long Lost Box||This box was long lost.This box was long lost.This box was long lost.This box was long lost.This box was long lost.This box was long lost.This box was long lost.This box was long lost.This box was long lost.This box was long lost.This box was long lost.This box was long lost.This box was long lost.This box was long lost.This box was long lost.This box was long lost.This box was long lost.|
|The Observatory||Slave, in the beginning it was thus - the blackness of an utter void, with the cold winds of cosmic space blowing through it. We have not forgotten our origins, slave, nor the immensity of the void. Nightly the star-dreamers search the heavens for their wisdom and at midnight, a moonbeam messenger carries the whispered dreaming back to the War-maker, the Archivist and the Priestking. Thus is our future read from the heavens and engraved on this earth. Your service here, will bring you much honor.|
|The Pens||The pens are where we keep the beasts that we have trained for the arena, Bonded One. Most of these creatures are wild and deadly, but you will need to learn to handle them. They are exotic species, sent as worship gifts by the lesser kingdoms that surround us. The Priestking takes great pleasure in this tribute, though the War-maker is far less enamored of the blood sports. It is rumored that if the war continues, the War-maker will move to close the arena.What the Archivist will decide is not a matter of speculation for you, slave. There will be beasts to tend.|
|The Refugee Highway||Slave, know this as the Road of Refuge. Your people came to us as exiles, weary and harried. When we revealed ourselves, your people fell to their knees and worshipped us. In return, we fed and clothed you. But you came in untold numbers. We could not clothe you all, nor would we offer you of our water or our land. In time this led to conflict, eventually to war. Though it caused us grief, we were forced to dominate you. Slaves to our whim, your treacherous species will never betray us again.|
|The Refugees #1|| You are not alone. You are not less than them. You can be free. You do not have to believe their lies.|
I have left these stones for you, my lost and misguided children. I have subverted their sorceries so that only slaves of the bracelet can hear my message.
I am the mother of your race. I am secret-bearer, god-killer, witch-queen.
I will guide you, I will teach you and when the time is right, I will free you.
|The Refugees #2|| Perhaps you were born a slave, and you do not remember the fate that shaped us. |
We were a people of the sea, voyagers and traders. Our islands were warm and prosperous and we spent our days fishing and sailing.
I was an apprentice to the Cult of Dagon.
But then came the great cataclysm. The world shook and our islands exploded in fire and chaos, then slowly, they began to sink beneath the waves.
The dark water came, lapping, unstoppable, inevitable. The ocean, once our ally, now claimed all that we were with an insatiable hunger.
We gathered what boats and wreckage we could, and we fled, into the west.
|The Refugees #3|| To know the past, child, is to avoid the same mistakes in the future.|
When we fled from our sinking islands we made landfall on the eastern coast of this continent. There were a people there with whom we had traded from time to time.
As we made landfall on their coastline, they took it as an act of aggression. Half-drowned, numbed by the loss of our homes - the wicked Khari took full advantage of our plight. We were rounded up, chained, and put to work.
That was the first time that our people became slaves.
|The Refugees #4|| As masters, the Khari were relentless.|
For you, child, I do not need to detail the brutality of existence under the Khari. You live a similar existence today, under the yoke of your masters.
Needless to say, there were those of us who lived beneath the Khari who were versed in lore that was alien to them. Our island civilization was far more advanced than theirs - if the war had been a fair one, we would have shattered them with our powers.
As it was, some of us escaped. A remnant of a remnant, thousands strong, but all that remained of a mighty empire.
We fled west, always into the west.
|The Refugees #5|| The trials of the journey were long and our people grew weary. We came to the shores of an inland sea and built boats and rafts to cross it. There were islands there - at least two of which had been inhabited before our coming.|
Some of our people chose to stay, hoping to recreate the seafaring life that we had enjoyed before the cataclysm. But the water had betrayed us once, so many of us continued westward - a remnant of a remnant of a remnant.
|The Refugees #6|| And so we came at last to this kingdom. It was a fertile land - rolling grasslands and temperate hills that gave way in the south to the dryness of a desert. In the north were mountains, but not the snow-covered mountains that we had seen on our journey, just jagged rocky peaks.|
And a swamp, thick and brooding, that lay over the eastern part of the region like a shadow.
But it was clear that this land was inhabited. Carved blocks of mighty stone covered the landscape, and a crystal clear lake in the north was dammed and siphoned along a great aqueduct. And the city... such engineering was beyond humankind.
I saw the great monuments, the statues brooding over the river and the towers that flamed unnaturally across the landscape...
And I confess. I felt fear.
|The Refugees #7|| When we met the ones we call the Giant-kings, some of us fell to our knees in worship. Surely these were gods in living flesh, come to offer us respite at the end of our long journey.|
We could not speak their language, but our sorcerers and theirs came together and worked a powerful ritual. Enchanted gemstones enabled our communication. We forged bracelets to hold them - thus could our communion with the Giant-kings begin.
|The Refugees #8|| There were mistakes in this stumbling, fumbling relationship. Our allies had little contact with humans and our impatience as a people meant nothing to creatures with such long lives.|
To us, they were painstakingly slow to deliberate and make decisions, to them we were like children who rushed forward without thinking.
Still, there was progress. They have agreed that we could settle the swampy lands on their eastern borders. For them the land had little value, but to those of us who remembered our seafaring roots, it gave us a chance to be close to the water once again.
And, given time, we would be able to call upon Dagon once again.
|The Refugees #9|| In the beginning, our friendship with the Giant-kings bore great fruit. We traded with them - knowledge, food, baubles - and both peoples prospered.|
But the Giant-kings became alarmed, I suspect, at the rate at which we gave birth. Theirs was a people who took centuries to reach child-bearing age, and they remained few in number.
Whereas we spread across our new lands and began to encroach upon theirs. In order to avoid this fate, I began sending scouting parties far to the north, outside of the borders of the Giant-kings kingdom. They were to find fertile land that would not encroach upon the territory of our hosts
|The Sentinels||Know this slave, that when the kings of lesser races come to pay us homage, they come along the river that winds through the heart of our lands. Their pleasure barges come, laden with tribute of gold and silver and sacrificial flesh, to pass between the Sentinels, the gateway to our kingdom. As they pass into the shadows of the sentinels, the merriment stills. The supplicants tremble. Look upon our works, ye mighty, and despair!|
|The Song of Telith|| Love, do you remember?|
You were lost and battle weary.
I was singing on the island.
And your eyes. Your eyes.
As if you hadnt ever,
beheld another being.
You were watching, you were crying.
I was there. For you.
Forsaken and forbidden,
Together we will flee.
Well have love and well have laughter.
But we will never know peace.
Dying in the winter,
Lie still and listen deep.
Remember me, my lover.
Let the warrior sleep.
|The Spawning Pools||Your kind call them abominations, slave. But they are our children, forged of flesh and unholy communion with the outer dark. See their glistening flesh as they emerge from the spawning vats, gibbering insanities. How their shadows writhe and dance upon the naked earth, a blasphemous taint that stains the soil of the earth itself. Your kind fear them, slave, and with good reason. When we march against your kindred with our hungering children slithering in our wake, their fear will be justified. But you need not fear them, slave. You are loyal. Your flesh is safe.|
|The Summoning Circle||Slave, this is the place of summoning. You are here to maintain the integrity of the circle and clean up the reagents used by the masters. The rituals that the Priestking and his acoloytes perform here are messy, but pay them no mind. Be mindful of your sanity. The whisperings of those who come from the Outer Void can have a disturbing effect on the weak-minded. Under no circumstances should you feed the one that they call The Lord of Empty Abodes. Its power waxes when it tastes the flesh of your kind.|
|Torn Diary Page|| Today, I found a scrawny weasel of a man attempting to steal food from the village. When cornered, he claimed to be Raknys, lord of something or another.|
I approached him in an effort to help but he screamed in terror and backed away into a corner. As I attempted to calm the man down, madness gripped his mind and he charged me wielding a halibut.
I was prepared to cut him down with my sword but there was no need. The strange man tripped over himself, fell to the floor and crushed his own skull on the ground.
These are strange days.
|Torn diary page|| This wretched heat!|
It spoils meat faster than a Shemite runs from battle! My search for the essence of pure flavor brought me here but I fear nothing can be learned from this scorching hell.
What tid-bits I have managed to learn, I have written down at the back of this journal. Some more useful than others.
|Torn note|| These highlands chill me to the bones. I would much prefer the warm comforts of the Luxur brothels back home in Stygia.|
As if the climate was not enough, the uncultured brutes here have no appreciation of cuisine and I have been thrown out of the nearby village when suggesting that a diet consisting mostly of raw mammoth flesh and beer would not be healthy in the long run.
A curse upon them. May their ears turn into arseholes and shit all over their shoulders. At least they allowed me to pack up my belongings, including my book of recipes.
|Torn note|| Despite the hostile creatures roaming the hills and mountains, I have managed to convince my brother to accompany me on the hunt for food.|
He is almost thirteen now and must learn the ways of the warrior sometime. Today is as good a day as any. I have my fathers notes about what ingredients to gather, and we will set out while the sun is still high in the sky.
|Torn note|| My fellow Cimmerians think me mad for foraging in the wilds. Do they believe we can survive on rabbit and mead forever? I say to hell with that. |
The dead may roam the area and wolf howls echo throughout the hills but that does not mean we should take no chances at all. I have just about had it with mead and rabbit.
I have scrawled down some notes about what to collect and will set out tomorrow to get the proper ingredients.
|Torn note|| Fish, fish, fish.|
I am sick and tired of eating fish! In Turan, I was the Yezdigerd's personal cook for crying out loud! Here, I am reduced to little more than a common fisherman.
Gods, how I hate fish. To keep my sanity, I have started to jot down a list of recipes for a more varied diet. Perhaps I can convince someone here to hunt and forage for me.
|Torn note||Dear brother, I hid the treasure behind the collapsed stones we saw towards the north. I am sorry for being cryptic, but you know as we as I do that we are not the only ones seeking it.|
|Torn note||Fifth arch from the west. Look inside.|
|Torn note||I daren't enter the citadel to hide away the treasure. I stashed it nearby, between the two entrances.|
|Torn Page||High and low have I searched for the ultimate flavor and yet I have still not found it. These pages are what I leave behind - some legacy! At the very least, my culinary experiments will not be in vain if others can learn from them.|
|Torn Page #1|| My thoughts turn to the black abyss of oblivion and the comfort of everlasting silence.|
My life was so far and so long ago. The world means nothing to me, and I no longer have any meaning to the world.
Everything passes. Everything crumbles.
|Torn Page #2|| Telith... I once clung to hope that the world would remember her. She was the flaw in my forging, the nick that turned the blade.|
But time slams shut even the doors of the afterlife. Telith lives only in my memory.
And that too is fading.
|Torn Page #3|| In my days of war, the sword was not spared. There was blood and fire, great contests and great wars.|
My victims called me Kinscourge and Maimer. My men called me Deathbringer.
Death has always stalked beside me. A companion for the long years. But never a lover.
|Torn Page #4|| Memory fades and I feel it trickle away. Was the laughter of my child as sweet and clear as I remember? Did Telith smell of summer grass or has my treacherous mind embellished that detail?|
The curse that my father left me, was to never die. But he was wrong.
I die. Every day I die a little more. Eventually, an empty husk will brood over these dark halls.
There is a grief.
|Torn Page #5|| Footstep in my hallways. The living come as the living always come.|
They come for me but the curse that holds me is stronger than they are.
I am bound for eternity. I am lost forever.
Come, living ones. I have not yet forgotten the art of war.
|Trebuchet Note||Yer old man wanted me to set up the hurler. Can't say as I put much faith in this gibberish about Dooms, but yer dad's a mess and if ye ever wake up I'll give ye a bootin' such as ye've never felt afore. Yer old man was always too soft to punish ye properly. Do ye remember how to use the hurler? First the stone load, then the counterweight, spin the wheel and pull the lever. I've loaded er up. Just pull the cursed lever. Give er a few practice shots afore this doom comes. Them stones'll put a dent in anything. And be safe, lad. Experiment with the trebuchet on the wall to get a feel for how it works. Aim it by pushing on the sides>|
|Wheel of Pain Note||Do you remember Sennu? He was always jealous of you and your brother. He used to follow you around like a puppy. About a year ago, he left. Went off to run with the bandits who rob travellers passing through. Turns out Sennu makes a pretty good bandit. He's their leader now and he's been using his knowledge of Skyholme to his advantage. His men have raided us three or four times in the last few months, striking at places that only a local would know how to access. Last time, they smashed down the gate from the inside, leaving us vulnerable to further attacks. Not that it matters with everyone else leaving but... Those gates need to be repaired. But even more importantly, Sennu needs to be taught a lesson. And I think the Wheel of Pain might be the best place for him. At worst, maybe this doom that is coming for you will take him instead. Good luck kid, Jindar You can capture enemies by knocking them out with a truncheon and attaching a rope to their legs. Drag them back to the wheel of pain and use it to add them to the wheel. Over time, the wheel will break their will and they will become your willing servant>|
|Witch-Queen's Message|| Deathbringer, Maimer, Kinscourge.|
Your wounds were healed and your life was bought by your lover, Telith. The price is that you will never raise your hand against our people again.
The Deathbringer shall become the Peacemaker.
In good faith, your son Xaltar will dwell among us in the east.
He will be raised among our people and never know the truth of his father. This is the price of our mercy for you who has been so merciless.