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Author Topic: Kaliklies Library - The Citadel of Ice  (Read 1574 times)
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Spell Energy / Taint +12/-3
Posts: 715

« on: July 13, 2010, 05:02:13 AM »

The Citadel of Ice

I had been lost in thought over the last three packets and didnít see that Kalikliesí servant had come in and left me both food and drink. He was quiet and efficient and Iíd have to thank him.  I also needed to talk to him and find out if he knew anything about these packets.  He was no scholar but could have overheard something of importance. As I ate, I looked at the scattered packets in front of me.  They seemed to be in no particular order.  I could pick any one I wanted.  If there was a connection between them, some purpose for what order they should be read, it wasnít clear or Kaliklies didnít have time before he died to leave cleared instructions. 

Without looking at the cover, I took one at random.  Pulling open the ribbon, I read the title, The Citadel of Ice. From the fetid swamps of the south, my next mystery was literally across the entire continent into the frozen north.

The Abandonment of Tarris Pass, 47 Third Age
ďThe court still celebrates our victory against the Shadow, holding the Fortress Wall and driving the Dark God back to his wastes. They believe the war is over as the orcs no longer raid into the human lands. Come to the Highhorns and tell me the war is over. The mountains are still teeming with orcs, and every day, I have their blood on my knives. No matter how many I kill, their numbers keep growing. My scouts found the entrance to two new warrens in the past half year.

Our orders have come to abandon our home in Tarris Pass; the home of my people for hundreds of years. We were north of the Fortress Wall, a watchpost on the western edge of the mountains. Most of the fighting had been well to the east and for much of the Second Age we were the lone safe haven for patrols and a way to watch the orc migration. We all knew it was just a matter of time.  Too many had died holding the Fortress Wall and our lines were too thin.  Holding this pass took too many warriors; warriors vitally needed elsewhere. Still I felt great shame abandoning my ancestral home. I delayed leaving for several arcs and that delay was almost fatal.

With the few warriors left to me in those last days, I had stopped patrols and hadnít realized that a large band of orcs had moved south of the pass, effectively blocking our way back to Erunsil lands. I realized that mistake less then a day after I finally sealed the gate and started heading south.  We ran across the orcs pickets and ended up fighting a running battle over a period of days as we were pushed north and west, further from safety.

Without a good option, I chose to cross a large glacier hoping to slow pursuit and buy time. I had never crossed this glacier and not been this far west.  It was a bright day, with little wind or blowing snow when we crossed.  The crossing was treacherous and we frequently had to anchor ourselves to the ice.  It was when I was driving a spike into the ice that I saw it, a fortress frozen in the heart of the glacier. With the bright light shining through the ice, I couldnít tell how deep in the ice the fortress was. One thing I saw clearly were the forms of soldiers still manning the walls as if the ice had overtaken the fortress without warning.

I wished I had time to study the fortress; find some way to reach it, but the orcs were too close. We were barely able to make our escape. I still think of that fortress and the soldiers, who like me, stand guard in this frozen realm.  Unlike me, they never abandoned their post.

Kaliklies notes: A remarkable find.  If the report is accurate, it is a perfectly preserved elthedar fortress.  If only I was able to examine it and the preserved remains of the soldiers, how many mysteries of our ancestors would be solved? Strangely, I could find no record of such a fortress or what they must be guarding against.

Taken from the body of a soldier legate, 86 Last Age

ďMaster Gerran,

Your information was correct, I found the fortress. Itís only visible on the brightest of days due to the depth of the ice. Once I found it, I set up a camp and had the orcs begin to chop through the ice. It took days of work to get through just feet, as the ice was dense and very hard. After ten days of digging, it felt like we werenít getting any closer. For all I could tell the fortress was hundreds of feet below the ice.

On the twelfth day, the weather suddenly changed, going from clear skies to one of the worst summer storms I have ever seen. Intense hail and high winds ripped our camp apart. When the storm cleared, much of ice that we cleared had returned, as if the glacier was healing a wound. There was a sorcery here, faint, but present everywhere on the glacier. If I had to guess, I would say the sorcery emanated from the fortress itself.

Since the storm, strange things have been happening; equipment has gone missing, wood has refused to burn, and several of the orcs are gone. I have set guard posts and had Terax possess a mountain hawk to search the area for fey, but it found nothing. As the number of missing has begun to mount, I have tasked one of my legates to carry this message to you. I will continue to dig, but itís as if the glacier is fighting against me.

Your servant, DaroldĒ

Kaliklies notes: The legate was killed by an Erunsil patrol and the letter sent to the court. The Shadow has found the fortress but, at least as of 86 Last Age, has not been able to reach it through the ice. The mention of sorcery, and the events that occurred, point to a still potent magic that makes reaching the fortress ever more important. I am not convinced that the guards are truly dead and may somehow still be defending their posts.

Like Kaliklies, I am fascinated by the thought of finding a perfectly preserved elthedar fortress. The comments of the servant of Shadow are suspect, likely hiding his incompetence or trying to set the stage for his eventual failure. I canít believe that there is still something alive under that ice.  Kaliklies, if he was still sound of mind, would not believe it and would demand more proof then a scrap of parchment written by a legate. Still, I believe there could be real value in reaching the fortress if a team could safely be sent that deep into the Highhorns.

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