Something is spreading through the Splinterlands. It can be heard on the breeze, like the distant waking groan of a Titan of old. It can be seen in the crazed looks of the birds as they descend like the darkness at day’s end on their helpless prey. It can be felt in each breath of the planet, like the rumble of a frenzied stampede, running from the greatest threat they have ever seen. Is it madness?
In the 982nd year after the Splintering, the Khymian Order of the Silver Shield sent an explorative party of their esteemed Archeologers deep into the Burning Lands. They were seeking answers to the many crises that continued to plague the planet.
The following are the last diary entries of Bertrus the Archeologer. These words are all that was recovered; they have become known as the Untamed Prophecy.
Day 1 - Burning Lands Expedition
I care not that the ground is blistered and riddled with flame. I’ll simply take care where I step. In truth, I am only happy to be off of that cursed boat. I was not made for the sea, nor as a meal for the ghastly monsters therein.
Day 5 - Burning Lands Expedition
They call it the Burning Lands, but the great fires seem to be contained in relative safety beneath the stones we trod. Geysers there are, and spews of molten rock, but our Goblin guides will be paid a Ferexia fortune upon our party’s safe return. In their eyes I can see that the Goblins are treacherous, but fortunately for this band of Archeologers, no shady dealing could make these Goblins richer than collecting their seed coin purse.
Day 8 - Burning Lands Expedition
The Goblin guides now tell us we must venture beneath the ground, into the molten innards of the planet. It is there and only there, that through a network of terrible dark caves, we may gain access to the area that Ferexia call The Unknown. I pray now in the script of Khymia that She and Her great band of Angels will guide us poor explorers through these ghastly places when the Goblins have assuredly failed. I wish the Order might have granted our party more than a single Paladin for protection, and I fear that he may not be up to the challenge of all the monsters we may encounter. Still, onward we press, to take back a thing that the Splintering took from us.
Day 22 - Burning Lands Expedition
Today we beheld daylight again. The light is magnificent, although the air is filled with a noxious gas which requires us to don masks of Goblin witchery to simply breathe with our Khymian lungs. Three brave Khymians were lost in the caves, to dark and monstrous things of which I dare not write, for fear they will haunt my dreams and the dreams of my son. It is a terrible loss to our great people. The bodies of Getrial, Humphart, and Bevalok will never be consumed in Khymia’s holy fire on the great stone pyre. Those of us that remain will do whatever it takes to survive. Still we proceed.
Day 25 in the Burning Lands
The land on which I now crouch to scribble these words is the site of a huge ancient battle. I have never read of it in Khymeria’s histories, but the colossal remains tell the tale of Giants, Dragons and Titans. Could it be that the Order has kept secrets from its people? Two more brave Khymians were dispatched at the hands of an inhospitable Ogre as we emerged from the caverns, and Lephropus the Paladin is growing tired from his repeated acts of heroism. Of the nine Archeologers that set out from Khymeria, myself and three others now remain. Still, we know we are nearing that which we seek. The Prophecy Stone has been emitting a faint glow for the last two days.
Day 28 in these Cursed Lands
We have suffered a great blow, and it is with trembling hands that I write this passage. Most of what remained of our party were dragged off by Fire Demons into the blistered night. We heard their screams go on for far too long, until they were eventually silenced. The Goblin guides laughed callously at this, saying it was a required sacrifice, and that the Fire Demons would henceforth leave us be. As the only Archeologer that remains, I now hold the Prophecy Stone. It burns my fingers to hold and it burns my eyes to look, for it now glows heartily with the deep red of fire and blood. I know that we will perish in this place, but I continue these writings in hopes that they may be recovered one day when the poison has cleared the air of these lands. I fear what the next days will bring.
Day 30 - What Will Become of Us
Lephropus the Paladin has a crazed look in his eyes. I know not what this means, but he has the look of one who is not in control, as if a child has tied strings and made him into its plaything. He has bravely protected me. I have no reason to mistrust this Paladin, but somehow I sense danger. I dare not sleep, for then he would have me.
Day 34 - No Trust
We are lost, but all is not lost. My head is pounding. The treacherous Goblin guides finally turned back over the last night, apparently deciding at last that their own hides were valued higher than a purse of seed coins. I cannot blame them. Lephrophus now simply waits for an opportunity to strike. He knows that I see the evil in his heart. Even now as I write, he stares me down, awaiting the moment in which I let down my guard. But I will not let down my guard. I must not let down my guard. Perhaps I will slit his throat in the night. Then I can die peaceful and alone.
Day 35 - I Found You
There is blood on my hands now. I got to him before he got to me. The fool should not have fallen asleep. Now there are none to protect me, but I have no fear. I have found what we were looking for, and now I lie at your great stone feet. The Colossus of Hongo. I have always sworn you were real. If the young blowhards of the University of Illumination were here now, I would smash their arrogant heads on your great petrified feet, my ancient master. What is happening to me?
Day 38 - Clarity
I have stayed with you now three days, my great stone master. I have found the answers I sought, and I can be of no more use to you. Following this passage, I shall entrust my diaries to your care and fling myself into the great lake of fire. The oceans shall rise, the planet shall split, the winds shall rip trees from the ground. The beasts shall be crazed, and anger shall spread among the living until everything that has been built is destroyed. I am no longer in control. What is happening to me? I am changed. I am twisted. I am Untamed.
The intense glowing of the Prophecy Stone, which continued after the death of Bertrus, the crazed Archeologer, caught the attention of the Elemental Phoenix, who patrols all parts of the Burning Lands by air. In the closed fist of the ancient petrified Colossus, she retrieved the few pages of diary that told of the dreaded expedition. Upon reading it, the Phoenix knew that a new council of the Ancient Ones must be called. A new evil was approaching, and this prophecy may hold the beginnings of an explanation. With a great majestic shriek, the Elemental Phoenix soared out over the sea to find the Spirit of the Forest.
Lore written by @chrisroberts, Lore Master.