Beyond The Cloudspine
Wednesday September 17, Plain of Scales
Crüniac is dead. Our sergeant, Garrick, says he saw the commander and half of the color guard running like hell back through the lines ordering a general retreat. When Garrick caught up with him, Crüniac collapsed; he had been holding his guts in with his shield. Crüniac’s last words were of the bravery of the color guard, who had given their lives trying to save him even as Soulblighter had delivered the killing blow.
I have not heard that name since the days of my youth, when my grandfather would tell me stories of the Great War. According to legend, Soulblighter was killed in the last battle of that war, when Balor’s severed head was thrown into the Great Devoid and the armies of the dead collapsed.
But after the horrors I have witnessed so far, no tale is too terrible to be believed. And if Soulblighter is alive and the minions of the dark have risen to do his bidding, the events of the last few weeks begin to make sense.
All of us agree we must reach Madrigal and King Alric soon. But it would take months to get to Madrigal on foot. Garrick believes there is a World Knot directly west of us on the other side of the Cloudspine. Although it was destroyed during the Great War, the Dwarves seem confident they will be able to repair it. This I will have to see for myself.
As we were breaking camp, Garrick handed me a journal he had recovered from Crüniac’s belongings. The commander must have taken it from one of the Baron’s libraries.
What significance it may have had to Crüniac I do not know, other than it appears to have been written by a man who served in the Legion during the Great War.
- Crüniac: An officer of the Legion. His father is the mayor of Shoal. He has political aspirations, and joined the Legion to distinguish himself. ↩
- Soulblighter: Balor's second in command during the Great War. Arguably the most dangerous of the Fallen Lords, his cruelty and ambition knew no bounds. Many think that he was once Damas, one of Connacht's lieutenants. ↩
- Balor: Once known as Connacht, great hero of the Wind Age, Balor returned wearing the mantle of the Leveler to lead the armies of the Dark during the Great War. Chief among the Fallen Lords, he fell in battle with Alric at his fortress in Rhi'anon, and his head was cast into the Great Devoid to ensure that he would never return. ↩
- The Great Devoid: The Great Devoid is a chasm near Myrgard that is said to have no bottom. It was created when the Callieach destroyed themselves rather than be hunted to extinction by the Trow. Following his defeat at Rhi’anon, Balor's severed head was brought here and cast into the Devoid. ↩
- Madrigal: A city in the northwest of the Province, Madrigal was the site of a great battle between Rabican and Shiver during the Great War. Though it was successfully defended by the Light for most of the war, internal strife and the crushing weight of the Dark armies caused its downfall only weeks before the war finally ended. ↩
- Alric: An Avatara of years past, Alric is the only surviving member of the Nine sorcerers who opposed the Fallen Lords during the Great War. Alric reclaimed his throne after defeating Balor. He has spent the last sixty years rebuilding the Province. ↩
- World Knot: Ancient relics which allow near-instant movement from place to place. ↩
- Cloudspine Mountains: A mountain range spanning the continent,running north to south across its center. An almost impassable barrier, the Cloudspine has only three passes—Bagrada, Seven Gates, and The Stair of Grief. Even these are only passable during the summer months. ↩
- Dwarves: A diminutive race of sturdy craftsmen. The Dwarves delight in the elements of Fire and Stone, and are unrivaled masters of both. They share a deep hatred and countless years of war with the Ghôls. Driven from their homelands in Myrgard and Stoneheim, they returned to reclaim them following the defeat of the Dark at the end of the Great War. ↩
- Baron Kildaer: The Baron came to power ten years ago, appearing out of nowhere. With the aid of his brigand cohorts, he laid claim to Keep Kildaer and the surrounding lands. ↩