Chills in the Cavern


Journal 1

Brother Tresta and I found the stone in the woods last week. It was just lying there discarded. It clearly was from the first dynasty. It took us weeks to clear the mud from the carved runes. Tomorrow we begin the tedious work of deciphering it. Tresta is far more optimistic than I am, but I guess we shall see.

Journal 2

Ok, maybe Tresta was right. This is fascinating. It seems to have been written before the Great Burning. Tresta seems to think it speaks about the first creation. He thinks it says that the old gods, the ones who created us mortals, turned on us. I think there is more to it though. I think, if I understand the interpretation correctly, we turned on the old gods! It was our lusting after their power that brought the shadow. That part about the “shadow in all of us” seems to refer to us mortals. Either way, I know how that ended. The shadow, wherever it originally came from, waged war on the gods. I’m not sure my mere mortal mind can comprehend their reasons for what they did next. Maybe they wanted to give up on us. Eradicate us and start over. Or maybe it was desperation. Maybe us mortals could have reconciled with them? Tresta doesn’t think so. He believes it was destiny.

Journal 3

We needed to stop our research into the stone’s secrets. Something is giving us headaches. I told Tresta the meat had spoiled, but he said it was fine. A Rituul visited us today, bringing flowers he picked. He heard us talking about the Great Burning and offered a story. It’s not often that a Rituul speaks, so Tresta and I revived enough to listen. He spoke of how the last few old gods called upon a race of beings to destroy the shadow. They came as beings of light, of fire. I’m not sure I believe him, but we know that the old gods were completely consumed. The races of mortals were almost burned off the face of the earth too. It was a lovely story, if a bit unbelievable, and we thanked him for it.

Journal 4

Tresta isn’t recovering well. He’s still in his room, with the shades drawn shut. He shrieks whenever I enter his room, yelling at me to close the door. I don’t think he’s eaten anything either. I couldn’t wait for him, something about the stone was tugging at my mind.

Journal 5

It’s unbelievable! The Rituul was right! Warriors of pure fire came and fought the shadow. The Great Burning was this war. It’s recorded in detail on the stone. I don’t know how I didn’t see it before. Maybe I’m becoming more astute at translation. Maybe it’s… oh there is commotion coming from Tresta’s room again.

Journal 6

I’ve never seen so much blood come from a single animal. I was sure I had locked Tresta in his room, but somehow the door had been opened. I guess he found the stable. The flesh had been ripped completely off the horse’s head. Peeled back like an orange. The eyes were pulled out, but still connected. At first I thought it’s tongue had been cut out, but he apparently had chewed it off. I’m sure I should find this more disturbing, especially as I read what I have just written. The stone’s secrets are so close to being revealed, though. I led Tresta back to his room. I didn’t bother feeding him. He didn’t seem hungry.

Journal 7

The shadow fell to the onslaught of the beings of fire. Most of the evil creatures were destroyed but there were many captured as well. To my dismay the stone’s story ends there, though I can’t get it out of my head. The runes burn in my mind, dancing like flames on the hearth. Tresta’s shrieks shake me from my visions. It was in this moment that I realized the stone wasn’t done with me yet. It did have more to tell, just not from the runes inscribed upon it. As it spoke in my mind, I could see what the creatures of flames saw. I could feel what they felt. I looked down and saw the fire that was my body.

There had been a schism between the beings of fire. The shadow had been enslaved and made to do their bidding. I felt myself feeling pity for these poor creatures. We extended mercy to them, and something truly amazing happened. It was as if something was completed. Parts that were separate, were made whole. We could see now that the world was broken. The race of mortals were damaged and needed care. But it wasn’t peace that our brothers and sisters wanted. It was destruction. They insisted that the shadow needed to be eradicated. They wanted their flames to burn everything away. I saw what my sister did to one of the poor mortals. It was one of the tiny ones. She reached out and engulfed it in fire, burning flesh and bones to ash. I was horrified at this display of death. I now weep for my extinguished sister. I had no choice. It had to be done.

Journal 8

The stone released me. I feel my life is coming to an end. Judging by the cobwebs and dust, I must have been under its spell for years, possibly even decades. I’m ok with this. It has shown me things I would never have dreamed of. My memories of being… someone, or something else is fading. I remember their last actions. Each side conspired against the other. Each side was trapped in hard crystal. The facets which linger in my fading sight. The mortals that served them stole them away. Fire with shadow, shadow with fire. The light and the darkness fades. I feel faint now. I saw the new gods fill the void. So much time has passed. The light is forgotten. The darkness is forgotten. I remember the last chant of the one whose life I witnessed.

Betrayal burned into us.

We yearned for peace, For protection,

For strength.

Their accusations sting like bitter wine,

Their cowardice spills across the land.

Destruction is all they lust after,

To destroy that which makes us whole,

That which gives us life.

We weep for our brothers.

We cry for our sisters.


Never to see the flames dance in the night.

I can still hear dear Tresta. He’s been scratching at the door. Maybe it’s time I see him again. One last time.


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