Excerpts from the journal of Om Zur (Part 2)

  • Baron


    Excerpts from the journal of Om Zur (Part 2):

    14th of Rain's Time, 30SC
    Well... It's been an eventful day.
    I guess you could consider me lucky that my last journal entry wasn't the last. To be fair, it probably wasn’t wise to descend down a staircase I’d never seen or heard of before that leads deep underground, but it was getting dark and I wasn’t planning on becoming a tasty treat for the wolves. You live and you learn I guess, or at least, you do if you’re as lucky as me…
    Almost as soon as I entered the opening in the wall, the carved stone blocks slammed shut behind me with violent force and I was surrounded by darkness.
    I thought I was trapped down there, but thankfully as I approached the wall I entered through it slid open once again. I can’t tell if whatever was opening the wall was magical or mechanical, but whatever it was, it was extremely sophisticated.
    I now had an important choice to make: Do I descend further into the dark unknown? Or do I hope that every wolf in Myralis already had a really big lunch today? I thought for a minute and decided that both options sounded really dumb so I went inside the wall, let the stone slabs slam shut behind me and set up my bedroll near the top of the stairs, and immediately passed out, totally exhausted from my multiple-day travels.
    After sleeping for who knows how long, I was rudely awakened by two extremely uncomfortable sensations: a horrible rotting smell and a couple solid whacks to the back of the head. I awoke to see two small creatures (smaller than me even) dragging me down the stairs by my ankles. It was extremely dark so I couldn’t get a good look at them, but oh Sentinels, I could smell them. It was somehow worse than Uli Olgum’s ambient aroma of feces and rotting meat, I’d say it was actually worse than the feeling of my skull being slammed against over a hundred sets of stone stairs.
    At the bottom of the stairs was a bridge leading to an entire underground city, which probably would have been a magnificent sight if I wasn’t being dragged here against my will after suffering multiple head injuries. They dragged me trough towers and across bridges into a little dark cave where they strapped me to some kind of stone table. One of the creatures shouted something at the top of his lungs in a language I’ve never heard before and suddenly the whole area surrounding this table I was strapped onto burst into flames. The raging glow of the fire illuminated the entire cave and I finally got a good look at these creatures: they were short, hairy fellows whose flesh was rotting off of their bones. I probably would have felt bad for them had I not had the idea that they were trying to kill me.
    They left me on the table for a long while baking in the flames, I thought to myself if I had let myself get eaten by wolves instead they would have been quick about it at the very least. After probably an hour of the two creatures talking to each other or performing a ritual or something, one of them pulled an ornate-looking dagger from the sheath on his belt.
    “This is it” I thought…
    When suddenly a third one of these creatures barged into the cave shouting something at the other two. It looked like the three of them were arguing, but they were still speaking in a language I had never heard before so I don’t know what they were talking about. The three of them would occasionally say “om zur” or something like that, glance over at me, and then continue arguing. After a few minutes of this, one of them shouted something and the flames dissipated. The other two unstrapped me from the table and forcefully led me to their dungeon. A while later the creature who stopped the other two from turning me into a pincushion came by my cell and dropped off my pack with my journal and bedroll in it. He also handed me a a loaf of bread, smiled and said “om zur” as he gave it to me. It seemed like he was addressing me, maybe it’s their word for “prisoner?” I don’t know. The loaf of bread he gave me was extremely stale, I had to shatter it against the stone floor to get it into bite sized pieces. I feel like it was intended to be a nice gesture, but it’s hard to tell since I’m still being held captive, and I’m pretty sure they also just took my mule into the other cave to eat it.

    15th of Rain's Time, 30SC
    I awoke this morning to the sound of something clanging on the metal bars of my dungeon cell. Outside the cell was one of those creatures I encountered last night. This one looked just like the one who had brought me my stuff the night before, but he was in much better shape. There was no exposed bone, rotting flesh, or horrible smell. He looked almost just like me, with the one exception being his reddish-orange eyes that seem to glow in the dark ever so slightly. “om zur” he said, handing me another loaf of bread before leaving.
    A few minutes later he came back, entered the cell and placed shackles on my arms. He led me up the stairs I had entered through and at the top of the staircase six other smelly, hairy, decaying creatures were waiting. The six of them moved out of the way to either side of the staircase as I was led up towards the entrance. After I was about a foot away from the wall, it slid open. There was a moment of complete silence as the wall opened up and then all seven of these creatures started cheering uncontrollably!
    “Om zur! om zur!” they all shouted as they sprinted outside as fast as possible, all but the one who had led me upstairs. The one who stayed behind chained up my shackles near the top of the staircase and descended back into the underground city. After a few hours of just sitting there, he reemerged from below, unchained me from the wall and brought me back to right in front of the wall. As he did, it slid open and the six who had left were all waiting right outside, but now, like the one who stayed with me this whole time, they no longer looked like the horrible decaying creatures they were when they left, they looked like me, or like the other dwarves I read about in ancient Myralian tales. After everyone was back inside I was led back into the dungeon for the night to sleep on the cold stone floor.

    2nd of Heat’s Rise, 30SC
    I’ve been here for a couple weeks now and I’ve fallen into a bit of a routine: I sleep on the hard dungeon floor, get awakened by one of the dwarves, eat some rock-bread, then I get led up the stairs and am left there until the dwarves return from outside. I’m not entirely sure what’s going on, but it seems like for some reason I am needed to open the wall to the outside world.

    11th of Sun’s Height, 30 SC
    It’s becoming hard to keep track of how long I’ve been here, and I’ve been stuck in the same routine for months now. Well mostly the same routine, they noticed I wasn’t eating all the bread so they’ve started giving me mushrooms to eat instead. These mushrooms taste like wet dirt, but at least they’re fresh. I feel like these guys are starting to like me (or at least I hope, some of them still look like they want to take a bite out of me half the time).

    8th of Warmth’s Reign, 30SC
    Today after my daily routine of letting all the dwarves outside, I was sitting in my cell when one of the dwarves (the one who usually comes to feed me) entered and sat down across from me. He pointed at me and said “Om Zur” and then pointed at himself and said “Bovrin.” I feel like introductions could have been done a bit earlier, but better late than never I guess. Without waiting for any kind of response pointed at first himself and then me and said “omo.” I guess that’s their word for people, or maybe just dwarves, I’m not quite sure. He then picked up a rock off the ground, pointed at it and said “Bo.” Clearly Bovrin felt it was about time I started learning their language because he just kept pointing at things and naming them for hours.

    23rd of Cold’s Edge, 32SC
    My Ghazan still isn’t very good, but I’m getting better and I think I’ve learned enough to figure out what is going on here. Apparently these dwarves were at war over 1000 years ago (and I don’t know if I’m just not understanding them correctly or what, but apparently they waged war against some ants? I’ll have to ask more about that when I get a better grip of the language). Whatever they were fighting against, they were losing. According to Bovrin, this place, Kar Bozan, is likely the last of the dwarven fortresses in Ostaria. It was built in secretly during the war, and a prince or princess from each of the dwarven royal families was taken here so that the royal bloodlines could be preserved. These princes and princesses were the seven dwarves I met here. They got worried about being the last standing dwarven fortress and made a deal with an ancient Caeson god to preserve the dwarven race. Caesus took their souls in exchange for preserving the dwarven race, but as Caesus is a tricky god he did so by turning them into immortal creatures that live in a state of decay unless they consume living flesh. Apparently as part of a measure to protect these dwarves, the entrance to the fortress was enchanted with a powerful spell that would only allow it to be opened by the presence of a dwarf. When Caesus took their souls, they were no longer dwarves, they were something else. The entrance to the fortress would no longer open for them, trapping them here for almost 1000 years.
    That is until I showed up, Om Zur, the living dwarf.

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