Kweld Andu, Part 1
(10 Arhat 358 SV: 15 of 19)
It has been a day of hard lessons, and the price of exploration into Kweld Andu was Damaria’s life. Though she is now whole thanks to the favors of the thirteen, it was a traumatic moment for all involved. Evening has arrived and I pen this day’s log with the memories of the events still full in mind. Forgive me, good reader, if I touch upon that moment with too much emotion for that fact.
The venture began with an assembly at the picnic table of El Baine’s. Ammara, Myrta, Damaria, and myself made plans to pierce Kweld Andu’s mystery. Since both Ammara and Myrta had hunted there quite regularly, I gladly bowed to their experience to lead the expedition. We set out for the gates as I told them of our earlier examinations of the portal.
Myrta was a font of knowledge on this, and spoke of what I had failed to find on my own. The voice does hold everybody from entering unless they, or the person leading the group, have been graced with a priest’s protection from evil. If voice’s dire warning is ignored more than twice, the would-be interloper is struck with a burst of electricity to the chest. Those with poor constitution are oft times killed out right, so it is unwise to test oneself against these magics. Ammara and Myrta both bore witness that at very rare times the gate will forego the electrical storm and raise up both giant and lesser skeletons by the dozen to scatter the foolish.
(On a side note; it seems the voice did not single me out as brother by reason of guild as I had suspected, but purely gender. Both the Priestess Myrta and Damaria the Healer were named sister in its warnings.)
Kweld Andu is not exactly a graveyard but one large burial mound under which some monstrous battle has been covered. A desolate and unholy place where no trace of godly mana for either Priests or Paladins exists. It has been forsaken by all that is holy. Other than the massive gate itself, there are no memorials, tombstones, or monuments to mark whatever had transpired here. It is as if the memory of the conflict was unwanted dust to be swept beneath the rug. When I reach Riverhaven, or the great libraries of Crossings and Aesry, I will endeavor to discover more.
There are three >ed. note: This word is uncharacteristically crossed out< four creatures who wander in the bleak landscape beyond the gate. One is the Blood Wolf of which has already been chronicled, the other three are unique to this one location. Thank the Thirteen for this fact. I will list each of the three from the most prominent to the least common:
Bone Wolves are products of their environment in that they are poor specimens for wolves. Their pelts are gray and course, only the bone-white fur of their tails salvageable for skinning purposes. They are not undead as their name would imply, but the hunger within them drives these mongrel canines to attack anything not native to the boneyard. This hunger is so strong that they will face hunters Blood Wolves would normally run from.
Alone, I would classify Bone Wolves upon a level with their Blood Wolf kin. But they are scavengers and opportunist that will pull a hunter down by sheer numbers, or take advantage of those who have succumbed to another creature (monstrosity!) that dwells in the Kweld Andu: the Sun Vulture.
It is because of these bear-sized beasts, which have little of the sun’s glory and barely a connection to anything birdlike, that make this barren land so extremely dangerous. While they have wings of adequate size, flight is incapable to them for the dark fur they sport instead of feathers.
It is because of their eyes and literally explosive nature that they earned the “Sun” portion of their name. A vulture’s eyes glow with a golden intensity and it can turn this gaze upon any hunter who happens to be near at hand and not necessarily only those engaged to it either. If you cannot look away fast enough, the dazzling vision can blind and stun.
Slaying a vulture does not free one from danger, for their internal heat builds until it explodes outward much like a naphtha trap. Any and all hunters at hand are both wounded and stunned for the fiery event. This explosion happens whether the creature is disturbed by searching it for nonexistent loot or if it is left alone to decompose. I would recommend simply skinning the creature for it’s heart, disengaging any other creature surrounding you, and moving away with haste. The heart may be a grisly trophy for all the effort, but it is worth a few bronze to the furrier (who most likely resells it to some alchemist or experimenting mage).
Between the growling packs of Bone Wolves and the Sun Vultures there may be little need for holy mana, but there is one creature that stumbles about in Kweld Andu that is undead. They are rare, but one should be sure their weapons are blessed for when you encounter them. The Revenant Zombie is a shuffling shape with barely enough meat upon the bones to classify it more than a skeleton. Its original race has been erased by the ravages of the grave and all one can determine is that it was once approximately the size of a human or elf.
These four creatures (counting the Blood Wolf) fight better together than some hunting groups I have encountered. They use their terrain to their advantage and play to a warrior’s weaknesses. If you are unskilled against more than one opponents, the Bone Wolves get you…if you are unskilled in evasion and armor a few fiery Sun Vultures going off may wear you down…if you are dependent on holy mana for your battles, there is none to be had…and if you have forgotten to bless your weapons, you may find the claws of a Revenant Zombie quite close. Always keep your head, keep track of your opponents as they fall, and have plans in case you become separated.
Myrta, Ammara, Damaria and I faired well until…
Forgive me, gentle Reader. My gaethzen firefly is fluttering where I’ve set it on my portable desk. I have written to near Revelfae and must recharge the device before going further.