Destinations

24th day of Kethend Isk - ZyanyaZyanya


Where the river Uinen forks beneath Mount Sorontar lies Thauron Keep. Uruloki valley, beneath the shadow of the twin volcanoes Galuorn and Narchest holds Gurthang Keep. On Ringare Mount, above the second summit, where Helcaraxe spring bubbles forth, stands the fortress LondDaer. Below Hisilome, after traversing Radhruin gorge, is Morgai Keep.

The names given are in Abyssal, perhaps in reference to a map in some devil’s keeping. There are sketches of maps and a few other references that narrow down these four locations, as well as sketches of features within the keep. It is possible that if we can get to the rough location that I have posited here, the locals may know the precise locations and perhaps a bit more about what we may find within.
I believe LondDaer lies in the icy wastes north of the Sclavini lands, in one of two locations. However, a third possibility lies in Falkor. Morgai keep is almost certainly in Basira, and there are two areas that may be Radhruin gorge. One has a long reputation for being haunted by brutal spirits. Thauron Keep’s map and descriptions match a mountain in Righnach and a mountain in Onatah. Gurthang could be in either the jungles of Vasant or Itotia, and it’s feline guardians could just as easily be the Rakasha of Vasant as they could be Itotia’s Jaguar-men. I am most confident of the Basiran and Sclavini locations.
The fifth location, that of the island tunnels called Rouas, was most certainly the location on the island of Shieldmeet. There were references to a sixth location, however from what I could translate from the text it was either unable to be built or abandoned shortly after it was built. The Abyssal term for the locale, Tak’Ataropos, means roughly ‘Dead World’, and there is neither map nor landmarks provided. I would put forth that this sixth location may be otherworldly in nature.
A bit of interesting news is this: the entity now inhabiting Dima was not the author of the tome. In point of fact, it seems the author of the tome was aware the entity was a spy and found its ‘feeble efforts’ amusing. It was given charge of Rauos to keep it out of the way and give the rebels something to gnaw upon. The author of the tome believed the rebels would either kill the entity or the entity would crush the rebels, and either seems to have suited him. Based on this, I do not think the author of the tome meant for it to fall into the hands of the entity, though I am not certain if the entity could even read the tome. It is in some sort of code, and were it not for the impressions left by the Other, I doubt I would be able to translate it at all.
Considering the entity’s actions, most specifically the murder of Feodor, we most certainly should not think this somehow makes the entity an ally. Even if it is not the evil those who sealed the crypt believed, it is still evil. This information merely demonstrates that the entity’s motivations and purpose are unknown to us, which perhaps makes it even more dangerous. I fear for Lev, and we should make his recovery a priority. Recovering Dima will undoubtedly be difficult, but I do not believe it is impossible. It is a most worthwhile pursuit.
It seems that regardless of where we head next, I shall have to procure a ship. Since it appears none of those I have hired are sailors, I shall also have to hire a crew. Perhaps I can make arrangements with a Seafolk vessel. That would likely be the fastest solution, and probably the most efficient. Since I will likely have to remain here, I fear I will never discover if a story about a peculiar Sclavini superstition is true.
Since it is not my life at risk, I shall leave it to the others to decide where they wish to go first.

LondDaer

There are two mountains in Sclavini that may be Ringare. One is called Ringal, and is technically in Fadeyka. It’s sound is similar to the Abyssal name. The other is Agrilop and is located in Andrzej. Like Ringare, Agrilop/translates to ‘bitter cold’. But perhaps most tellingly, an account of Andrzej claims it is haunted by malevolent spirits. While there are many areas of Sclavini that are acknowledged to be haunted, all the other geographical features fit.
Mount Thoradal in Falkor would also fit, though I think it the least likely of the options.
The tome references creatures of ‘bitter ice’ and some sort of construct that were to be placed in LondDaer.

These are the relative passages that I have translated. The author's writings are disjointed, and most of the tome seems devoted to research of spells and alchemical formulae.

We have transferred a few of the elementals to serve as guardians at LondDaer. Rumors are beginning to spread of the ‘bitter ice’ found in the mountain, and the villagers are beginning to cease their infernal habit of coming by to observe. The constructs no longer have to waste their time executing those that see things they should not.
I really did not think it was necessary to have to actually issue an order to stay out of the villages. I would have thought simple sense and logic would have dictated stuff, but it seems that good minions are hard to find. Jalith shall scream for some time yet, and I have placed Beryx as the new commander. Working with the living is always disappointing.
Beryx has pacified the villagers. The adults have been scattered. He has requested to keep the remaining children for the ceremony, and he may be correct about their increased effectiveness. His request will be granted, but not until Traian has been silenced. Let the fool be crushed under the weight of his hopes. Darus will throw himself on my blade to avenge his idiot brother’s folly. Pity, he would have made a fine general.
Radolf has finished construction on the fortress. I look forward to seeing the final implementation of his designs; they should be as entertaining as they are effective. Pity he will have to die, but conscripted loyalty can never be trusted. It may have lasted longer if Zahirah had not experimented on his wife. Her enthusiasm may have to be reigned in.
It seems Zahirah underestimated Radolf. His escape is merely temporary, the poison in his blood will kill him in less than two days. I shall have Beryx send scouts to recover the body in case he took anything interesting during his flight.
The first experiments were a resounding success. I shall instruct Beryx to continue with the ceremony immediately.
There have been some setbacks at LondDaer. Radolf, it seems, made it to Darus before he succumbed. Interesting how Beryx forgot to mention that. Still, it does appear I underestimated the man. We could not have foreseen how far into the Abyss he would delve. If Beryx had tread more carefully in the beginning, Darus would have been one of ours. All this over a spilled ale. Beryx will have to be chastened. Perhaps I will give him to Zahirah.
The rebellion has been quashed. Sad little Traian started to believe his own stories. Silly man thought to follow his brother’s path, but was apparently unwilling to make the same sacrifices. He can remain where he is for now, until I have time to deal with him properly. The surviving rebels can go to Rouas. It will be interesting to see what the little weasel makes of the situation there. Frankly, I’m betting on Traian’s little fey wife.
LondDaer shall have to wait for now, we must focus on Tak’Atropos. Zahirah’s work with Beryx has proven intriguing. Hopefully she can duplicate the results.

Gurthang

I know too little of both Vasant and Itotia to make a judgment here, and nothing I have found thus far in texts strikes me as a natural location for the keep. There was more Itotian influence in the crypt, thus I feel it the more likely option. There are guardians there of a feline nature, and also a reference to a fire-breathing serpent that I hope is not a dragon.

The jungle is proving slightly more difficult than anticipated. Unfortunatly, there exists little natural stone near the optimal location. Some of the natives have been convinced to help with the project, by selling us slaves to work at the site. Certainly much easier when you don’t have to deal with self-righteous paladins with overblown ideals about the sanctity of life. These people actually have useful knowledge of the necromantic arts, and may prove useful.
The alliance with the felines has proven fruitful. Zahirah had little difficulty convincing them that she was the living embodiment of their mother goddess. I must take care to ensure their worship of her does not go to her head.
Zahirah has put the felines in charge of the defense. They are rather vicious, and show a delightful knack for playing with their food.
Reports of scouts vanishing are becoming frequent enough for concern. The felines speak of ancient evils in the jungle, unclean spirits, and possessing demons. Zahirah believes it has more to do with the sheer number of poisonous life forms the jungle holds. She reminds me of a child left unsupervised in a sweet shop. I must remind her to leave enough slaves to finish the work.
The time spent dealing with LondDaer has cut into operations at Gurthang. A few of Zahirah’s pets escaped. I have instructed her to actually start training apprentices instead of experimenting on them. Even elves are not immortal, and her knowledge is far too valuable to risk losing.
Gurthang is beginning to prove a true success. I should have provided wyrmlings to Zahirah ages ago. I am not as pleased about learning of her elevation of the felines. Still, it seems it has cemented their loyalty to her, but my concern is that it will be hereditary. Could it be that Zahirah has taken their worship of her seriously, and done what thus far only the gods have? Has she created a new species? Has my little daughter become a living goddess?
How quaint. Zahirah is rebelling. I will deal with her and her little fire serpent as soon as I take care of the fey bitch. Pity none of her apprentices have her talent. Some days I think I should just kill everyone and start over.

Morgai

It is difficult to be certain considering the maps lack a scale, but I think that Radhruin gorge is Ra’idah gorge, near the Ubaydah Oasis. There may be an element of wishful thinking there on my part, as I have friends among the nomads of that area. The other option is Ghalib gorge, further to the south, in the territory of the Bhuka.
There are references in the tome of experimentation regarding elementals taking place there.

The black door can only be opened with Saghir’s Key.
The oubliettes can bring even the most stubborn into our service.
There is an irony that those who once fought so desperately against us will now serve for eternity.
Children of Baha Al Din do wrap themselves gleefully in chains and their futile struggles serve only to entwine them more firmly to us.
It may be worth further study into the effects of the crystals. We may be able to harness their energy for future use. Zahirah believes they possess a form of sapience.
Saghir’s son will make a fine seneschal. Raising believers may be more effective then converting them. There are certain things that can be passed through the bloodlines. I shall have Zahirah look into it. Loyalty is a most worthwhile trait and should be highly rewarded.
Study of the elementals is proving intriguing. They do have souls of a sort, once brought fully to this world, and can be used for necromantic rituals. The results are truly astounding.
The woman is intriguing, as is her complete immunity to the necromantic arts. The ghoul that was unfortunate enough to touch her melted into something resembling a faintly acidic mud. Her wounds heal almost instantaneously. Zahirah finds her fascinating and they have spent long hours talking. I believe she has been training Zahirah. Useful, yes, and yet her basic nature provides a tremendous threat to us. Could she be an avatar of the Primal? And if so, could simply killing her bring about the desired results? Is it even possible to kill her?
Morgai now exists for a single purpose, study of the woman. I have decided to separate her from Zahirah and send Zahirah on to Gurthang. The woman’s intentions are far too murky and I feel Zahirah has learned enough from her.
Results from Morgai are nonexistent. None of the undead can survive her touch, and none of the living can be trusted with her. The constructs are frustratingly inept and the elementals lack the intelligence to make useful observations. I must have the gnomes work more diligently

Thauran

Mount Matchitisiw in Onatah and Mount Anbhas Gcroili in Righnach both fit the description given in the text. Both are reported to be dangerous (in fact, both mountains have names which translations include the term ‘death), both are near inaccessible, far from civilization, and in territory controlled by monsters hostile to humans. Flipping a coin may be the only way to decide unless more information can be uncovered.
The guardians here are referred to as ‘abominations of slime and madness’.

The view from the keep is truly spectacular. I can see the birthplace of the three rivers. A fitting location, for water is life, as they say. The snow on the mountains will remain all year, and the natives take their dead there to be buried. Intriguing how they also tie death into the source from which the rivers, and thus their lives, spring.
I have completed work on the library guardians. Such fascinating things the gnomes create, and yet their feeble minds so rarely see the potential. An inherent failing of the species I wonder? What would be the results if this flaw was repaired? I must acquire a few of their younglings and have them brought here to the academy.
The minds of the halflings have proven too weak. One literally exploded when the energies touched him. The gnomes survived, as did the dwarves, and the humans had mixed results. Zahirah was the only surviving elf of the three, if you can truly call her an elf. The results of the Ilumian were fascinating. The failed ones that survived are interesting, living embodiments of madness. I wonder at the nature of the slime they manifest? Amazing little abominations, truly.
Evaric really thinks he is fooling me. Intriguing the human capacity for self-delusion. He is a useful little wretch though, and his knowledge of necromancy is vast. I am allowing him to go to Rouas for now, his knowledge of necromancy, and knowledge of the Primal when that time comes, is too valuable to waste. Besides, if I kill Evaric, they may next send a competent spy.
Times are troublesome. Rouas has fallen. Easy enough to rebuild, but now is not the time for distraction. That worthless little fey is lose, and I do believe she actually is going to try to attack me. The sorceress does not appear to have survived, and good riddance. I should have just killed them both instead of trying to study the fey. Ah well, those mountains are full of her kind, I should be able to replace her easily.


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