The World of Zarlona

Heroes, Hubris and Hammers

Our kind is the oldest living species, shaped from the very earth itself. Those that the lesser races call gods, are long gone. It was during the legendary war of the gods that they fell, and the world followed. With it the numerous noble Dwarven kingdoms, reduced to a mere handful. The traitorous elves’ forests, burnt to cinders. The ferocious giant’s population failed to reach double digits, such tragedies were everywhere. In that war there were no winners, only survivors. If any gods still live, they no longer meddle in mortal affairs. Knowledge of the gods, is perhaps why we don’t revere them. For reverence and guidance, we look to the heroes of legend, such as the Miner Oryx.

Oryx had no skill besides that of the pickaxe, but with over two centuries of experience with that single tool he could match anyone. Mining is a Dwarves most dangerous job, but Oryx is the best. His tremendous skill with a pickaxe limits not to just mining. On every Lith, he would go to the underground spring and use his pick to catch the biggest carp he could find. Oryx could and would use his pickaxe for anything. When the war started his weapon of choice? Well that is obvious.

During the war, the god Mammon, held Oryx’s hold on the brink of destruction. The foul god has the head of an elephant and twice the size, the mane and fur of a lion, the claws and ferocity of a wolverine, and the tail and venom of a scorpion. The hold had only one last gambit to play, to lure Mammon into it and ambush him. Oryx was part of the line and after a ferocious battle using his pick to defend and attack fighting for several minutes it ended. The plan succeeded put with casualties beyond measure the hold damaged almost beyond repair. Of those who fought five survived, one would later die from the gaping hole left in his side by the Mammon’s tusk, another from poison, the next bones crushed to later die from internal bleeding, the fourth would go insane from the encounter, only to be killed by the last Oryx.

Mammon survived countless traps, a cave in, explosives, fire, axes, swords, crossbows, even the legendary magic spear Qin, only to be felled by an ordinary pickaxe. After Mammon’s defeat came winter and the ending of the war for this hold. Oryx pickaxe broken, he forged a new one from one of Mammon’s tusks, his mane and fur became socks for the hold, his bones, claws, meat every part was used. The skull hung in their dining hall. Oryx was crowned king with an ivory crown, and the hold survived many winters and would prosper, because of Mammon’s corpse. It was said that Oryx would even forgive the foul god, after its death. That, some say, brought his downfall. Oryx was found dead! His body impaled by the last tusk on Mammon’s skull.. The skull split in two by an ivory pickaxe. The lesson? An elephant and Dwarf never forget a grudge.

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While talking, Welden and I learned of the lost kingdom to the North under the Silvertip Mountains. The land has been overrun by foul undead, and the necromancer’s who control them. The last large population that from which he hailed, is the stronghold of the Four Crosses. A city of unparalleled holy defenses ruled by powerful clerics. Even in this city the undead lurch to and fro, doing labor that is to dangerous for humans. It seems Four Crosses does not fall simply, because any who would attack them would be weakened and the other necromancers would defeat them. Welden was part of a paladin group that kills lesser necromancers before they become a new threat. Sarnath was one such individual. Or at least his autobiography, The Great Magus Sarnath volume VII says so. According to Welden, who had read the book, it was not even the final volume, and all necromancers seem to be narcissistic, unsocial megalomaniacs. Perhaps if they didn’t write so many books they could conquer the world.

Grim Release was forged at Four Crosses in holy bronze. It was a weapon used to kill zombies in a single strike, from a relatively safe distance. For arrows are largely ineffective accept in mass. And to engage in melee would likely get you overwhelmed by their numbers. The blade is designed to kill the undead and overly specialized for that single purpose. I believe if used against incorporeal undead it is likely it would still have some effect. Hopefully I will never get the chance.

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Through the Echo Mines we go to the dark lands. There we found a large amount of silver ore. Being a dwarf I refuse to leave it behind. My new friend the cyclops,(Thank Oryx, I speak ogre), being injured I cannot carry it out a lone. Using skill only a dwarf has, I create a temporary forge. There I was able to heat the metal, melting away all, but the silver. With a cyclops strength, the silver was turned into sheets, and a with a Dwarves skill I was able to plate my warhammer with silver. What silver remained I forged into a chain, making it easy to carry and use as currency in a pinch.

One would think a silver hammer would draw attention, but we head for the Darklands, and Dwarven steel would draw more attention. Silver is also a symbol of the holy, and the warhammer, based on the simple staff, is the symbol of fire. I bring this single torchlight into the Darklands to light my way. O’ Staff of Purifying Flames, I Name Thee “Solex the Silver Hammer.”

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My strongest weapon, Grim Release, is overly specialized against the undead and it’s magic would have no effect on a dragon. My pickaxe though powerful in a masters hands it is not my trade. To use it would only bury the dead. Solex, thou of my trade and a masterpiece in its own right. Is but a warhammer of mundane means, against the extraordinary. I bring not an army, but a fellowship of five, a mule and a head. To defeat Subignes I need a means, but few are stronger than a dragon. You fight fire with fire, and to fight a dragon, one must use a dragon. The dragon’s heart was not the only thing stolen. Perhaps, the others still exist, thou in what form I don’t know. One may be of use. It is a place to start at least………

From the journal of The Last Grudgebearer Kromleck Axethrower

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Letter to Ironhand Bibliotheca

To Limon the Ironhand Clan’s Librarian

Secrets and history, it runs through our veins. A dwarf’s grudge is never forgotten it is only lost to the ages of time. I will tell you of one such grudge I will resolve one way or another. I head to the dark lands to the Bloodsword mountains. My chances are slim, but there is a chance so I am forced to go, or I will not be able to face my ancestors.

From before the Bloodsword mountains were called the Bloodsword mountains. And peace ruled the lands. There were no light or dark lands. A clan of dwarves lived in peace in those mountains. Though rich in minerals they contained very little iron, but what need did we have for iron in peace. Do not mistake this for being defenseless, what iron they had was turned into steel weaponry. The halls though small, could forever survive from being besieged from the outside world. What would destroy them would come from the beneath the earth. The dwarves dug too deep, the dragon awoke, and destroyed all that was above it. The dwarves fought back, line after line, and they died death after death. There were a few that fled among them, a baby, from a noble clan that ruled them. The majority of the survivors knowing that defeating the dragon was impossible, decided it best that the matter forgotten, and lived with their honor destroyed their ancestors would have lived in shame had they known this.

The minority believed that the grudge at least not be forgotten, and so the grudged was passed from one generation to the next. The first chosen to become a Grudgebearer, that single baby, and I will be the last. The Grudgebearer bares the knowledge of our shame so it least not be forgotten. I have spent my life searching, for more information on the dragon. Most of it was erased by my ancestors, but history moves on, and the dragon persists. It’s history only connected with dwarves for a short while, but I wish it to interact once more.

The stone dragon, “Subignes” or roughly translated in man tongue, “That Which came from Beneath the Flames”, history starts long ago, it’s destruction brought all around it to ruin. But from what would come from what is now known as the Dark lands came three “Slayers”. Do not confuse them with heroes they were most certainly not. These three would trap Subignes at it’s weakest. The first slayer a beastly humanoid of huge size, and immense strength would take Subignes’ left leg. The second slayer a humanoid shorter than a dwarf, used speed and skill to take his right leg. The third slayer a human of no strength, or magic would take both of Subignes’ claws, this man was known as Bloodsword. While these three attacked Subignes a fourth individual of unknown qualities, known only for his actions, came and stole Subignes’ heart without anyone‘s knowledge. This rogue would perhaps have performed the greatest heist of all time. And it’s knowledge would only be spread long after his escape.

The three slayers would later split, and form what would become later known as the Darklands. The rogue would never be heard from again. Subignes despite his great injuries would survive being the powerful being he was. Though without his heart he no longer terrorized the lands.

Subignes protects our lands from other titan beasts by his sole presence of living, so when he calmed down none wished the dragon’s death, at least none with the power to do so. The dark lands would thrive, and the only reason it fails to attack the light lands is it’s scarcity of iron, thou that was the case long ago the situation is no longer known. The rogue I believe would make his home in the Hills of the Forlorn. Where the dragon’s heart rested until by providence, or perhaps it was misfortune I found it.

I shall be the last to bear this grudge, if I fail to slay the dragon, no other will take up the mantle. I send this message so that my kin will be remembered for a little longer. Whether they had honor or not, time has erased it. And as this paper crumbles to dust, even it will be forgotten by mortals. Even the gods will forget of it’s happening. But perhaps they will remember one fool of a dwarf and the dragon. And that they clashed for even, but a single moment.

The Last Grudgebearer Kromleck Axethrower

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Mines of Echo Part One One On… O……

These silver mines in long past, were dwarves silver mines now infested by goblins and other vermin. We fought our way through. The goblins besieged were on their last legs, but from what I have no clue. Whatever it is, needs the blood of it‘s victims for some foul purpose. Undead cockroaches some of the first encounters in the mine do not bode well tidings for us.

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Journey to Bloodsword

Having acquired the stone dragon’s heart hidden in the necromancer’s lair. Lord Braxton’s wraith told a tale of the stone dragon and the thief, and the dragon’s riches for the return of it. The tale was such that those who know it surely walk to their death’s. Using money for supplies we were toset off to the Bloodsword mountains. Before we left a conversation with an old merc, Tiberious told of a way into the dark lands through an old mine that I knew as Echo mine. The only person who knew anything of the dark lands was a wizard in the tower on the outskirts of the town. While others spoke of unimaginable treasure he spoke of certain death, though he offered a little aid to the fools who march toward’s death.

Riding the farmer‘s, Publio, cart to the East we heard tales of the scourge, and a single nuisance of a cyclops. During the night we were set upon by wolves, no match for me and my axe. Then after a couple a nights we were set upon by the cyclops. We were able to have him show us the way to where the dragon, may be for that is where he dropped his bag of eyeballs. Then we were before them the Echo Mines.

Kromleck Axethrower

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Hills of Forlorn Part Two

After Thyl and Bart recovered their strength, the humans and I returned to the hills of Forlorn once more. After searching everywhere once more, we found that their was nowhere left to go. On the walls we were able to find writing riddles in ancient tongue , far above our minds to comprehend. It was only with me dwarves nose that I was able to find where to go next. Passages hidden from view trapped and guarded, was where our destination lie. On the emerald path lie, hellhound fire enough to badly burn Thyl, lightning which would kill with a strike, and a cursed rope which Bart tried to hang himself with. On the path of the ruby, dual giant skeletons held guard, darts of astounding speed, and unholy altars to the dark gods. On each path we were able to find an unexpected ally, Wilhelm the disembodied head, and the wraith Lord Braxton. They spoke of the necromancer’s atrocity’s and a passage to the South.

After much hassle, and great brainpower on the part of Bart. Were we able to get through the South passage. There we found the foul Necromancer Magus Sarnath, and a half dozen of his foul creations. Thyl was no where to be seen, and of no help occasionally you would here the sound of his broadsword against stone. Ando in fear of the undead aim missed it’s mark and many an arrow reached Bart’s back. Bart himself slew many a zombie and the necromancer himself. Thou he seems to be suffering memory loss for the entire duration of the hills of forlorn. Bet he took a blow to the head while he wasn’t looking. Luck would have it he would would forget the treasure we found in the dungeon, and that light tap with the battleaxe I had with his back. I fought the rest the rotting creatures by myself, until midway I found myself a meter off the ground, and my fists going through the zombies heads with no resistance. Thought the blasted beasts had killed me luckily I returned to normal about a half minute later. One shouldn’t mess with necromancer’s, if you lose there are worse consequences than death.

Krom Axethrower

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Hills of Forlorn

In Forkbeard’s alehouse one can get drunk, and forget their worries at least until one runes out of silver. The strangest thing thou once one runs out of silver work seems to magically appear. This time a dying man appeared came to our table, and handed me a parchment. After much deliberation of the parchment I handed over to Kromleck the Dwarf, he can actually read.

From their we headed to the Hills of Forlorn. Our party five, Kromlech the Dwarf, Bartholomew the Bandit, Ando the Wildling, and myself, Thyl . Upon arrival we had to fight living bones, and rotting flesh. I was knocked out in the fight, only to be awoken after they were all dead. To the north we found treasure. Myself I got a pair of crystal shoes, of invisibility. Problem is thou once I took them off I was missing all my clothes. Next we went down a big hole, I was the first to go. All I seem to remember is eight legs, and giant fangs. Next thing I know I was back in town.

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Starry Gate

We stood before the starry gates. It was encrusted with rare stones, and jewels. One among the party pried a jewel from the door, only to be immolated by strange energy. With help of the party we were able to pry the door open, hoping that greater, safer treasures lie within. We had farmers among our people. They put down their pig and rooster. While we carefully made our way forward. The brave rooster made his way forward only to be skewered by four spears thrown by statues ahead of us. As we went into the next room we found another statue this one followed our movements with precision. As the pig left the room through the right door. He was engulfed in fire by the statue. Our party, fearing further reprisal scattered to left and to the North. The statue soon ran out fuel, and we needn’t fear it any longer. I was among those who went to the left. There we found a giant snake of twenty feet in length. The snake spoke in broken tongue and then attacked those in our party. With great valor, and concentration we were able to fell the beast. then it turned to ash before our eyes. In the room there was a throne. I sat in this chair. In the chair I saw the stars, and thousands of years of movements in mere minutes. What it all meant I shall probably never know.

Our party was able to regroup at the fire statue, we then went to the right. After passing a roasted pig, we came to catacombs. Where we came across six skeletons. We were able to destroy them, but at a cost of one of our own. We then headed north once more, my compatriots spoke of a pool guarded by foul crystal monstrosities, beyond that a room full of miniature clay soldiers, and at the end a room full of clay statues that look if they are ready to move from their still stance. I would not be able to make it that far for, one of our compatriots attacked the crystal beasts, and they were soon upon us. After two of our number were dead and two of theirs, we were forced to retreat or we would all die. As we exited through the starry gate it disappeared behind us. Of the eight who entered 3 humans survived, and me, Kromlech the Dwarf.

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The Journey Begins

The Journey Begins

Living a peasants life is not easy. Early rise and late to bed. Day after day, especially during the harvest season. This past year has been unusually difficult due to the darkness that seems to spread ever further from over the Blood Sword Mountains.

Old Man Roberts has worked so hard this past year that he has nearly bought the farm and I don’t mean a piece of land with a home on it. As he lies upon his death bed he shares with a few young, local peasants about his past adventures and his lack of courage to explore the supernatural portal that only appears once every half-century. He tells them that it leads to a burial tomb of a war wizard. If only he had ventured further he might not have lived the life he has lived. He encourages the young lads to do what he never had the courage to do.

So off they went, eight of them. They found their way in and faced unending deadly challenges and enemies. When they finally emerged from the portal they were changed men, but only four returned.

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