Long hours of preparation for the arrival of Chechelon and her host. Rows of stakes below the lower walls have been cut and placed, Kulag has anointed the spikes with the waters if Ioweh…we have all been working without sleep. Kulag has also laid dozens of his ‘Lanterns of Ioweh’ upon and around the walls to aid us in finding our targets. Kom has Klibreck’s Guard drilling in the courtyard, yet I think he places most of his hope in his own quiver and with his own blade….
Tragedy and Darkness – Finally Chechelon came onward with Zaghlool’s forces before her and her host spread beneath our wall, but the mountain opened and one of Zaghlool’s children climbed from the deep place to meet her…it tore away half her limbs and swallowed her head, driving the vermin and wild men against our outer walls…Kom and Kulag both fell before the black beast defending the lower gate…Kom’s helm I shall entomb there as a marker to keep watch over the deep place least evil rise again…Somehow the dark beast was able to route Kulag’s soul from his body and he fell without ever taking a blow. In return, using the Fire of Ioweh, I stole the darkness from the beast and slew it utterly with the powers of Sphaloon, though it drained me greatly. And all was quiet. The beast men lay all about, slain it seemed by the presence of Zaghlool’s child and the tower stood calm…Kom’s wives, such fair souls, and Lord Klibreck, as well as most others…all passed within hours from some disease brought up from the depths…
The burying work goes on. The remains of Chechelon, her many legged host, and the beast men corpses, I flung into the depths of the great pit. None of us were willing to touch them and it took a few days to get the job done from afar. I was able to enlist some of the Guard in helping me to properly prepare and preserve Kom and his wives as well as Kulag and the Lord and Lady Klibreck. I have begun work with Thuroq to make their final tomb preparations. I will send them on with all they will need, but a few great works should not rest forever in the deep tombs of Shuul Kulhar. Soon I will take up again the quest though now I am the last.
I have decided to try to begin again with the High Joronian. I will journey to Shuul Kulhar, though this time of year the woods are very dark and the rains will make the going slow, still, there I will spend some time finalizing and sealing the tombs of my friends, and order the work to begin on my own eventual home. Then I shall make the trip downriver to Batum for council and research in the great temple libraries. From there, perhaps to the ruins of Karakulthar where I must put together a work team to begin work on Ilyana’s monument.
The only fragment of good news that I have known lately is that work on Ilyana’s tower progresses more rapidly than I had hoped and I have made final arrangements with her Sisterhood for the sanctifying and final sacraments when it is completed. The entire season of rains has come and gone without a drop of water nor even any of the great clouds. The vast expanse of forest below grows brown in the continuing drought, and the heat is unrelenting. The land is struggling. Perhaps it is well that Ilyana did not have to bear this. I need to research the source of this scourge, if only I could see… but I imagine its origins lie with the betrayal of Zaghlool, perhaps some fell curse. I have buried Kulag and Kom and my own tomb is nearly ready, though I am not sure I will ever make it there should this quest end once and for all.
Word from the High Joronian arrived at last. After my third appeal last spring, it was finally decided again that the writings in the original are not to be seen or touched by those outside the most faithful. A ‘meticulously transcribed’ copy of the book of Joronen was sent by their red robed servants from his holiness, the High Uromas himself. It being identical to the others, I will close the door on that lead and pursue the faithful in Batamagia. Klibreck’s fortress has grown quiet. I am the last here and it begins to become decrepit. The kitchens are dank and foul and I hardly venture out of my tower anymore.
The great forests are leafless again this spring, and forest and meadow alike are beset by a thick growth of some offensive grass. Zaghlool’s curse appears to be taking hold. I have decided to take action and create some help to assist with maintenance as Klibreck’s tower continues to fall into ruin. In Ogonek of all places, I was fortunate to find a merchant who said he’d come from across the seas near Siduun to bring his ‘wonders’. One of the books he had he couldn’t even read but it contains the secrets for creating powerful constructs. My work is laid out before me, perhaps one day I’ll have to change the gate inscription to read, Welcome to the Humble Home of Azhir Kren….
I grow old in this place without sign of hope and my constructs are no companions at all. If only I could see …more … without having to drain this old body so. Perhaps I will consult with those self-important toads at court in Nabatum for an easier way to open the closed doors by which I am surrounded. Will this heat never cease…I suppose not without ultimate victory. Transport becomes a greater challenge and I will have to seek to regain the mounts of Klibreck…. The fallen walls will be repaired eventually, good riddance to the cold plodders, and a new door has helped with comings and goings.
I have another new companion. Thief and prowler, Fowles, that ‘Wizard’ of court came looking for what I had here in Azhir’s Tower. What I shall do with him… I am not sure, but surely something other than the freedom which he begged for I think. He was sent, I am sure, after his master Thuul Closkim mistakenly revealed to me the existence of the Seeing Eye, Morthil’s Pearl he called it. I have been consumed in the quest for this aid since I have learned of it’s existence and now I know that it is not of this realm, but lies with the Illithid beyond the stars. It will be mine. But first, to see that Mr. Fowles will look after things while I’m gone.
Success and final progress! Peering with Azhir’s Eye across the high alters in Batamagia I have found a parchment with new wording in Borogomagian. Even now, my very own blue toad, that thief Fowles readies his bag for the journey to obtain it for me. Fowles didn’t work out as I had hoped, perhaps I’ll do better next time. Ah well, success with failure. The pearl is wonderful, better than I would have imagined. Though I fear one of the Illithid has begun pursuing me as its quest. I have extended this place to new distant realms and even my tomb to places beyond their reckoning where I can keep safe. Safe and sleepless as I see more and more.
Mt. Katholinat!! I depart at once. After all this time, we finally are coming close.
Bitterly, a Tyrant of Eyes has made its home in the high hallowed halls and was more than a match for this old man. The Powers of Sphaloon wrought the place nearly to the ground and still I feel I made no serious threat. The inscriptions old and faded, but of the right style and formulation, there must be a doorway or foundation or chamber…some word or work to show the way…but healing and rest now…for some days. With aging solved there will be time, too much time in the end perhaps. On the way of my return I removed Ilyana’s story and other works from her tower to the great library of Karakulthar as Ilyana’s tower roof already begins to fail. All is a sea of grass where once the great forests stood. Never rain, never a cloud, and with the Eye I see things crawling deep in the earth.
Everything rises at once. The tyrant haunts my dreams, the watcher my days, and I know that those who fell from the dark disease of the deep, decades ago, they walk again in the sepulchers below.
The Illithid comes.