Zietal Mar's Lost Pages
Summary[edit | edit source]
Throughout the island, various pages were scattered. Some were found by the Dwarves almost immediately, whilst a small handful were never discovered. The original purpose of these pages was unknown, until a small number of them were gathered and a narrative began to form.
Eventually, when the majority had been collected, collated, transcribed and referenced against one another, the Dwarves of Zietal Mar figured out the sinister background of the island. They were not the first Outpost to have been settled there and that their mission; to find the All-Gem, had already been completed by these previous inhabitants. However, due to the possible machinations of Lord Voman Stoutheart - the seemingly-benevolent figure behind the financing of the Outpost - it appeared that these Dwarves were wiped out to the last, with all their settlements and buildings on the island destroyed by the Grol.
The pages themselves were grouped into two lots. 'Ruined journals', written by Eilen Barumak, a Dwarf of Youand, and the 'tattered pages', written by Karul Polomak, a Dwarf-At-Arms.
This revelation steeled the Dwarves into fleeing the island, after destroying a fake All-Gem (in order to fool whatever spies might be lurking), to return to Bormar and try to present their case to the First House. Their fate has now become a story told across all of Bormar.
Ruined Journals[edit | edit source]
This paper looks to have been part of a series. What writing can still be made out is written as though by someone taking down notes.
I am Eilen Barumak [...] discovering the All-Gem.
The going was not easy. Al [...] it was my supposition that, if the All-Gem existed, it had to have been brought here by Dwarven hands, and if brought here by Dwarv [...]
[...] go south, to the forest, to begin our search. There are no signs of Dwarven inhab [...] ation here that we have seen, but perhaps that is simply because we have not looked yet.
We have been combing the thick spruce forest north [...].
I think we will go back south to Youan [...] pointless without direction, and I know the Overseer Bolro maintains contacts in Bormar [...] some books, anything to help us?
It took the better part of a month but to my utter surprise, Overseer Bolro’s request bore success! Apparently he is friends with a librarian back home.
I am grateful that she did so, but how any scholar could allow a tome as old and fragile as this to be shipped alongside foodstuffs and sundries across the ocean I’ll [...].
[...] studying this immediately. I can already tell the writing is old - it’s not even written in modern Dwarven, sugge [...].
The writing in the book is certainly archaic, but not Old Dwarven as I at first thought. Indeed, this seems to be exactly the half-way point between the two, which, i [...] 700 years old, r [...] It also means it’s the perfect age to ha [...] any sort of contemporary knowledge of the All-Gem. Dare I hope?
The book [...] promising that it’s making my scholar’s skepticism doubt it could possibly be the genuine article. How could the Overseer’s “librarian friend” just have this laying around? I will need to inquire with the Ove [...] fore leaving Youand again.
But everything fits. The cover’s made of goat hide, the t [...] parchment instead of pape [...] Gods, there’s symbols of Middle Dwarven here that I don’t think I even saw at the Hall back home! [...].
I spoke with Ov [...] , and about the book. He’s no scholar hims [...] take me seriously when I expressed my incredulity. He promised to get in contact with his friend in Bormar again and ask her where she acquired it.
I also spoke to him [...].
[...] depart tomorrow. We will get answers to this upon our return.
The book is easier to transl [...] Dwarven, but Middle Dwarven is still a handful to work with.
My interest at the Hall of Learning was always history, not language, but if my translation serv [...] , some kind of ascetic zealots who thought [...] was becoming too opulent and decadent, and that ruin would follow. So they stole the All-Gem, and [...].
It has been I reckon seven centuries since then, but landmasses are slow to [...] upheaval that would have changed these islands. They [...] same as when they arrived here.
Bormar lies to the east, meaning that is where they would, in all likeli [...] have [...] . We will search there.
This search among the eastern hills [...] We even looked into the water off the shore, as deep as we dared, but found [...].
Even if a bunch of religiously enthused, ascetic Dwarves had l [...] seven centuries of weather, tides and muck would have washed it all away. [...].
[...] little point [...] . I’m having my team continue their search of the hills themselves while I focus on translating the book.
It did not take long to discov [...] place. Having made landfall, they supposedly carried on far [...] nland, looking for a suitably [...] -the-way location to hide the All-G [...].
[...] who wrote the book? If these dwarves all came here and never returned, who could possibly have transmitted this information to the author? I am honestly more interested in the mysteries of this book than the All-Ge [...].
Before we moved elsewhere, I resolved to translate more of the b [...].
It appears there was some disagreement amongst the dwarves over where to hide the [...] . This passage is key! If I can translate it, we might be able to skip all the rest of our search, and go straight to the [...]
I HAVE DONE IT. THEY WENT NORTH [...] T NO [...]
[...] name: “The Children of the Mountains”.
[...] red [...]
[...] land. The distance would be a bit too long for my taste, even fr [...] pass, but Farru assures me his boat-building skills are legendary. We shoul [...] land tomorrow.
Unfortunately the pag [...] following their hiding of the All-Gem are particularly worn. More’s the pity, I cannot even figure out what it is this wear and tear is hiding. I’ve left those pages for now and mov [...] , to their understanding about the gods, their “theo [...] you will.
WE MADE IT!!! Farru turned out to be as good as his word - and t [...] lives on top of a mountain! Where does a mountain-Dw [...] Dwarf like that learn to build boats!?
We will begin excavations imm [...], but we sent Larra back over the wat [...] inform the others of our progress. I am so excited I could burst!
I always feel so guilty bent over a desk examining an old book [...] rest of us move dirt in the sun and rain, but [...] important. We make fun of each other, but I am pr [...] to call any and all of these dwarves a colleague, and a friend.
But on to the Children [...] belief that the wo [...] was created by the Gods, and that [...]
[...] the All-Gem was discovered, the dwarves courted ruin by claiming it f [...] selves instead of [...] glory of the Gods. [...]
I’m writing this entry IN THE CHAMBER WHERE THE [...] IS HIDDEN. We made it!!!!!!
These Children of the M [...] have been eccentric, but it seems they [...] among their number. We’ve not tried to, but [...] very preliminary tests, nothing we have even gets a NOISE out of that [...] or. There’s some kind of riddle on the wall, and while my friends here [...] parated groan when they saw it, I think I have an idea as to the solution, thanks to those passages on the [...] beliefs.
It does also mean that, if I’m right, we’re going to have to leav [...] , or at least some of us. I’ll stay here to study the chamber further, bookmole that I am, [...]
[...] was, being so close, THIS close - the All-Gem seems worth the fuss. It will be good to claim it for Bormar. I am not the most pat [...] of dwarves, but this, I think, is worth doing.
I’ve been [...] of the book while we wait for the others to get back.
It would seem [...] Mountains, who, having partaken in the hiding of the All-Gem, did not leave himself in the chamber past t [...] instead left for home. I’m not one for superstition but if the other seven are sti [...] uarding it”, we might wish to be careful when we open th [...] door.Either way, [...] his return, he penned this book, not only so [...] knowledge of the All-Gem [...] erve the knowledge of his order.
As enthused as I remain about the possibility of the All-Gem - though it seems more than possibility by now doesn’t it? - [...] true treasure. No doubt the Lords an [...] enthused about another colourful rock, but this book is, I think, in its own way, even more valuable. [...] I hope I get answers about that soon. With any luck, the Overseer himself will come see [...] and I can ask him mys [...] lf.
My hope is fulfilled! Bolro came himself, and with him, a dozen others from Youand, and with them, those of [...] various regions on this isl [...]. For posterity, the [...] were:
[...] red [...] - ting a “ruby” -
[...] sapphire [...]
G [...] forest - [...]
And then we opened it. [...] something about that gem. Even in the dim cavern, it caught the light like a crystal chandelier, despite its hea [...] bulk. It was a sigh [...] to see, but more, we all turned to the Over [...] he deserved to be the one pick it up. And then he turned to me, and told us that we, our team, had don [...] work, that it was thanks [...], we should be the ones to do the hon [...]
I’m not one for giddyness [...] but Bolro Baykennok, you are a good dwarf.
I am writing this ontop of the island. With the All-Gem secured, it’s time to tend to more mundan [...] matters.
Firstly, I spoke with Overseer Bolro. He himself [...] Yron Tearevek, our Outpost secre [...]
Somewhat… oddly, it [...] the sender was not strictly the Overseer’s friend, but [...] On the other hand it makes perfect sense; a Lord of Bormar has far [...] means of discovering an obscure historical tome, but [...] y would Lord Stoutheart wish to conceal [...] involvement?
[...] stay [...] longer to see if there is anything [...] on this preliminary examination -- but there is one thing of note: the tome was not embellishing. Inside the All-Gem chamber we did find [...] dwarven bones. Time has ground them down, but I believe if we took an [...] cact count - as I [...] - they would number sev [...] .
Lord Voman Stoutheart has been informed of the All-Gem’s discovery. In the meantime, I will resume my studies of the tome.
It is odd to think of dwarves from Bormar being the pious sort, [...] hildren of the Mountains” were. They believed in living simply, good conduc [...] purity [...]
I find myself wondering how [...] . Of course, there is no way the Gods would have “punished wicked Bormar” as they believed had the All- [...] , but would our country have been better for it? Worse? If there was an actual pinnacle to the wea [...] , would that have made things better?
There I suppose lies the risk in goals and ‘the bests’. They enco [...] pursuement.
The Children of [...] may have made an interesting counter-balance to the moneyed interests [...] after writing this book, the author - whose first name I have actually managed to translate, “Ran” - never taught his order’s beliefs to any dwarf else, and when he died, their philosophy died with him.
History aside, there has also been word from Voman. [...]
[...] suspicious one too many times. The Overseer is right. If the All-Gem belongs to anyone, it should belong to Bormar.
I can’t say how long I have left to live. I preserved all I could from our notes [...]
[...] was in Youand, but if I’ve estimated correctly, will be angry to learn it was destroyed. [...] justice done in time, but until then, not a one of these bastards will place hand on the All-Gem. The night before the attack [...] came to me in my chambers, and told me and my crew to get it out of [...] I [...]
It’s back where it was. Please, if you reading this are any friend to learning, or to justice, or to history, keep it from [...] throw it to the bottom of the sea if you must, but Stoutheart [...] HAVE IT. No one should kill this many and then be reward [...] r it.
[...] This will be the final one of these notes on our search for the All-Gem. I will now accompany Karul Polomak, one of our remaining soldiers, and travel with him until we discover a way off this island.
Eilen Barumak, Student of the Gandrand Hall of Learning, Dwarf of Youand
Tattered Pages[edit | edit source]
This is a torn page. It's quite tattered, but parts are still legible.
This is the final testament of the dwarves of Youand. We were [...] red by Lord Voman, and we were betrayed. The Grols [...]
I am not a good, virtuous sort of dwarf. I’m a soldier. But I swear by the Judging God, I will see justice done for this. Let every one of these Grols [...]
The history of the Outpost has been penned elsewh [...] and it is pointless to recount it here. Suffice it to say, all was well until we [...] Gem. [...]
Our Overseer, Bolro Baykennok stayed our collective hands. He thought [...] ALL Bormar, not just [...]
So we didn’t. [...]
The replies [...] that we truly got a sense of St [...] ‘s intentions. And at that point, we knew we could n [...]
Some of us figured we did not have the right to resis [...] ; others thought we didn’t have the means. But Bolro said we had to, showed us we could. We had [...] resources, a good, strong fortress, smaller posts scattered across the island. It was Voman [...] No band of thugs could hope to breach OUR walls. And he was right, and so we [...] ared.
It took three and a half weeks after that final letter for Lord Voman’s [...]
[...] of Youand, of its strength. And the Grols came. [...] despite Lord Voman’s [...]
We were prepared for them, but I think most of us still felt [...] shock when we saw their [...] view. When had Grols ever made boats [...]
Boom!, and the pillars and walls came crashing down… or flying up. That was the miserable, un-deserved end of Youand. We fought, and, Gods praise us, we fought even as the water came in [...]
But Overseer Bolro. It’s ridi [...] so many good dwarves having died, it’s Bolro Baykennok I think about. I’d never been much of a friend of his, always smiling and obnoxiously optimistic, [...] when this whole sordid business started, he was stern and straight as a stone pillar, all the way from preparing the defenses to when he swung an axe alongside us when the Grols came on. If you forget all the res [...] ames, remember Bolro Baykennok, Overseer of Youand.
Very few of us, that I saw, made it out of Youand’s ruin. [...]
[...] Bastion, in the red north. Youand had had nearly all our stores of food and resources, but Bastion had been built specifically as a place to hide in when things went nose up. “Vanity project” my beard! [...]
I went through the forest uninterrupted. I didn’t see any other dwarves, but no Grols either, so I can’t say whether Voman’s monsters were still busy wrecking Youand or if they’d been [...]
Bastion still stood, grey and impassive against the red hillside, and I went in. The dwarves there [...] gate. Our [...] gate.
I stayed there for three days, if counting serves (I never was good at mathematics though), but all too late [...] lock [...] gift from Voman.
You ever been in a siege where the enemy just unlocks your gate and walks in? I imagine it’s damn sight funnier in better circumstances.
[...] blew up, [...] earlier. These Grol, the big ones with big [...] Bormar manufacture. Those bombs weren’t made in any [...]
[...] did our best to prevent it from becoming another butchery like Youand, and so we split into groups. I think (as far as I could figure in [...] and all) far more of us got away from Bastion, but even better, we got all our letters, all our supply shipment lists, all our communiqués. No doubt [...]
We travelled south as quick as we could. With [...] and and Bastion fallen - or flown, if you’ll pardon the dark humour - Bronzetower was [...] third-best bet.
We didn’t talk as much on our way - I think we didn’t sleep for two days straight - but I did trade some words with Old Yron, our Outpost secretary, fella’ in charge of all the paperwork. He’d learned that every [...] gone not to any magistracy, but straight to [...] every one of our letters, from the get-go. By the time you see this, Voman w [...]
I’ve never despaired in my life, even now, but I [...] tower levelled, not a stone left on st [...]
[...] Bronzetower all wrecked, we debated what to do. That the Grol weren’t [...] anymore meant that they’d gone to scour the rest of the island, or left. [...] here to do a thorough job of wiping us all out, destroy even all memory of us. That’s when I understood why they’d wrecked Bronzetower so bad. In a few years, or even months, there wouldn’t be much of it visible save some mossy rubble. Outposts fail all the time - professional hazard - and no one would bat an eye at just another far-away island being lost to the nation. [...] Voman, and so he had to [...] I just wish to be there when it [...]
In the end we resolved to make it to that Wolf Island (judge us by our actions, not the creativity of our namings, please). The Grol wou [...] n’t know of it’ [...] unique hazards [...]
[...] teered to stay behind, but I was one of the better sword-hands left among us, and as far as we knew, our party [...] of that tower was all that remained of us. Five of us, Reagon Lerevar, Ranta Mayikkonik, Cerres Warrum, and Urm and Qais (don’t remember Urm’s and Qais’ surnames - sorry) split off and would wage some kind of a guerilla war on the Grols. Probably not the smartest move given that we [...] even know where they were or how large of a group they moved in, [...] t can’t fault a dwarf for valour. Much.
I admit it took us embarrassingly long to figure this out, but on the way to Wolf Island, Teru thought of something: the Grol couldn’t have been here without a boat, and there was no way they [...] accept being left on the island without it in sight from the shore. If we could take it while they were away, and commandeer it [...]
I actually argued against the plan, figuring it would take too long and have too high of a risk of failure, but caved like a shoddy tunnel when everyone else was in favour.
I’ll [...] we failed. We wen [...] lit the explosives in the hull, still - it baffles me to think of how m [...] man must have give [...] damn things.
If any of the others made it, [...] I was alone.
The catastrophic defeat at the boat made me realise something. The Grol would never have blown their own escape if they [...] but that they did shows that they did. Voman mus [...]
As fortune would have it, though, on my way back the way we had originally been goin [...] Eilen, and her team. Gods, of all the dwarves [...] rvive, she had been among the last. But she had. She and her team had hidden the All-Gem [...] where they found it.
That connected a few thoughts for me. If the Grol were getting so established here, [...] THEM to find the All-Gem for him, [...] us.
I had not actually known the Gem was not in Youand when it fell: I guess it speaks to my moral fibre that [...] dying, I had never thought about the gem. Or just that I was too busy to, take your pick.
Still, I’d like to see the Grol [...]. Maybe they’ll send him some dirt as consolation? Would certainly go with his crappy personalit [...] hah!
I travelled along with Eilen and her crew from then on. We went a bit slower, then: [...] my choice, but she made the not-unreasonable point that [...] hurry, and I was not going to be able to see this through alive if I never took a rest.
It was during one quiet, nightly camp - by this point we’d noticed the Grol didn’t seem to like moving at night eith [...] - that Eilen raised a point that, more than anything else in this book of drivel should concern your Lords and Ladyships.
It took about a month [...]. It’s impossible that Voman [...] all in one month. He must have been planning this for at the bare minimum a year - more, if all that damn arsenal he’d given [...] indication.
No one would get to killing each-other over the All-Gem - most don’t even believe it exists - but what about [...] Would not such a dwarf use it as a pretext for his invasion of his own damn [...] nd? I need not advise you your own business, but [...] our neighbours would n [...] care.
This Outpost - [...] a damn, bloody cloak. Good Voman [...] - that is the only reason he would need to set loose a band of damn idiot dwarves [..]
If you send people to that island, to this island, you will, I swear to [...] still see evidence of the Grols. There’s no way in the Gods’ good graces they will have all gone, much less been able to hide that they were here. Kill them - or just look at the battlefields yourself - you’ll see that wearing [...] by BORMAR HANDS.
I’m no smith - I’ve never had the patience for it - but that offends even me.
But we carried on. We eventually made it to the shore, on the opposite side of which, was Wolf Island. It was the morning twilight, then, and as ridiculous as it seems to write this now, with all that’s happened and had happene [...] hope.
We quickly got to making a few mise [...] boats, but then they came from the treeline, a whole heap of Grols led by one “Breaker” of theirs.
[...] as soon as we did. These beasts spoke dwarven, though, so I demanded answers from their leader, the bi [...] hammer-wielder.
Da [...] ool confirmed my suspicions. Evidently he (it, more like) thought we were so utterly defeated the information could never come back to haunt him, or his master. They’d dig here, once we were [...] d [...] ad, and THEY’D bring [...] his damn [...]
But that’s when our volunteers from earlier earned their keep, and damn it, lordships for the lot of them. They made such a noise, coming through those trees, that it sou [...] Thundering God himself [...]
We tried to join the fighting, but Urm shouted and told us to run [...]
[...] separated. But it was then that it came to me that Yron had put a sheaf of some copies he’d made of our [...] a rock. They weren’t the best work, done under duress and imminent doom as th [...] were, but [...] than nothing, would ADD to the reckoning [...] heart.
I suppose escaping death and dealing it so many times in the past… I suppose weeks it had been by that point, had made me overconfident. I made my way back to [...] ronzetower, and I saw two Grols sitting by [...] campfire. [...] could make them without fear of being found out and gutted for their efforts. Theirs the luxury.
I just charged in, but as it turns out, two fresh Grol who got a nice warning in the form of my battle shout (it had been intended to shock them, but guess they weren’t [...] easily surprised) are quite the match for one tired, hungry, battered dwarven soldier.
[...] them, funnily enough, but before I did, one of them got me good in my left leg, and the other one in my chest. Right through my breastp [...] no less. That’s what not having access to a good smith when you need one [...] do to ya.
[...] retrieved the papers, but here I am, dying.
No [...] Grol coming. They must own this island by now. They’re not that much fiercer than dwarves when it comes to it, but [...] rayal from the inside and the advantage of numbers and resources will do it.
The copies [...] too ruined to use now from the rain and the scholarly touch of the Grol [...]
I’m feeling like this body of mine won’t last much longer. So I’m using [...] this, as I wrote, as a last testament.
Remember Youa [...]. Keep [...] Ge [...]. Voman. As much as it hurts my little vanity to admit, this is [..] gger than us now. Bormar can’t fall because of [...] jewel that by rights should be myth.
Whoever reads this, whoever finds this - get it to the First House. Avenge us.