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Author Topic: Kaliklies Library - The Annals of Iron  (Read 1774 times)
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Kane
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« on: August 24, 2010, 05:07:46 AM »

Annals of Iron

I had such respect for Kaliklies that I kept hoping that all of these packets weren’t just the last addled thoughts of a dying man. Some of what I had read seemed plausible and had support from a reliable source, or at least one that had no reason to lie. My heart began to sink when I saw the title of the next packet, the Annals of Iron. This was fool’s gold, a story every member of the order knew but no one believed was true. According to the legend I was told, at the start of the First Age, the dwarves were a united people and had created marvels of engineering and magic steeped in the power of the Ayrth. To protect that knowledge, the dwarven king ordered the accumulated knowledge inscribed on iron plates to ensure it would last through the ages. The annals were supposedly lost as the dwarven unity was shattered by betrayal and the death of the royal line.

Over the centuries there have been countless people who have searched in vain for the annals. If the annals existed, most believe they were deep under the Icewalls; an area now out of reach. The stories of what the annals contain grow with each generation.  If just a fraction of what was claimed is true, the knowledge contained in the annals would be priceless. Like virtually all of my order, I did not believe the annals existed and if they did they are forever lost.

The Fall of Clan Dorin, author unknown, 2011 Second Age

“At the turn of the eighteenth century after the rise of the human kingdom, our people suffered their greatest betrayal, as the Dorin clan turned to the darkness and opened a breach in the Fortress Wall. As hundreds died to stem the tide of the Dark God’s vermin, the Black Bloods struck their first blow against their brothers, attempting to seize the Annals of Iron. With most Clan Ushtan’s warriors sent to fight the orc incursion, the annals were poorly protected when the traitors struck.  Women, children, and the aged were cut down without mercy. Only the power of the clan’s lore masters and the timely arrival of a heavily armed relief party prevented the annals from being lost to the Shadow.

The attack on the Ushtan holdfast revealed the danger to the annals and the value placed on them by the Shadow. As the call to arms spread through the north and word of the Black Blood’s betrayal spread, the annals were secreted away.  The Icewalls were no longer safe, and clan Ushtan, tasked with guarding the dwarven people’s greatest treasure, was gravely weakened. In this age of betrayal, stealth was more important then strength of arms. The Ushtan used the confusion to slip away, disappearing from sight. For over three hundred years the Ushtan and the annals have remained hidden.”

Kaliklies notes: With our poor access to dwarven records, this is the most contemporary account of the annals I could find. The account matches much of the legend that has surrounded the annals. It also clearly identifies the clan assigned to guard the treasure.  I found the clan symbol, two crossed chisels atop a hammer in a listing of dwarven clans at the beginning of the First Age, so there is strong evidence that the clan existed. In my assessment the account is plausible and shows that Shadow also highly values the information in the annals.

Letter to Queen Aradil from Vodun in Calador, 81 Last Age

“The end is near in the north, we can not hold. The road to Calador will be open in less then a dozen years. We can not match the Shadow’s numbers and the spawn released in our tunnels has forced many clans to withhold their warriors. The fight for our race will be at Calador. New fortifications are being built but we have lost much of the skill and knowledge held by our ancestors. The Annals of Iron, our heritage, have not been seen in over an age, and if they survive, they are likely in the orc infested Icewalls. The runes and metallurgy used to create the Fortress Wall can not be replicated. To survive this battle, we ask for your aid, access to your lore for anything that can strengthen our defenses.

Both of our races face extinction. The time for secrets is over. Neither of us can spare soldiers but we can share our lore. I don’t know how much longer we’ll be able to keep open a line of communication, so I ask that you scour your libraries and send what you can to help us ward our city. If there is anything I can provide in return, you have but to ask.”

Kaliklies notes: A remarkable letter from a proud leader seeking to save his people. I have visited our fortresses in the Veradeen and we could not build them today.  The dwarves in the Second Age had abilities that far surpass our finest craftsmen. The writer believed that the Annals of Iron exist, or did exist at one time. It was also clear that the annals contained the secrets used to construct the Fortress Wall. That knowledge would be invaluable in our current war.

Note sent in cipher to the Queen’s Avatar in Davindale, 97 Last Age

“The past season has shown a decline in the Shadow’s ability to control the orc warbands both above and below the Kaladruns. The dwarf resistance north of Calador has effectively collapsed, with some holdfasts abandoned and others sealing themselves in. The vast distances from the breeding grounds in the north to the current battles has strained the Shadow’s ability to both resupply and control the disparate bands. I’ve seen evidence of the old animosity between the tribes leading to bloodshed. If the dwarves can hold at Calador, the Shadow army could break apart.

I chose to break my silence due to something I saw just north of the ruins of Idenor. My unit was attached to a large warband of the Blood Mothers. The warband was burdened with the loot of a recently seized holdfast. In amongst the artifacts were two large iron plates engraved with dwarven runes. The orcs placed no value on the plates; they were buried under dwarven weapons and armor. I have copied the writing as best I could without revealing my interest. If they are of value, send word by the usual route and I will try to retrieve the plates.”

Kalilies notes: It was finding this note that started my research into the Annals of Iron. I deciphered the dwarven runes and they do discuss a ritual that I don’t fully understand.  The ritual is incomplete, but I believe the plates our spy found are part of the Annals of Iron. Could Clan Ushtan have used the fear of Idenor to hide the Annals? Could they have been that close to Calador all along? Did the Blood Mothers leave the rest of the annals in the Ushtan clan hold, not realizing their value? Are they sitting, unguarded, covered in dust waiting for us to find them?

After reading through the accounts, it was clear that we are not the only ones who are desperate, clutching for any hope, no matter how faint. The dwarves believe their legends and seek to recover their lost lore. Did our spy actually find part of the Annals of Iron or just an imitation; a more recent attempt to preserve knowledge using the legend as their model? As a scholar, I would give my own life to obtain the annals; but without a more exact location, the risk is too great no matter how rich the reward.
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