Exploits of the Deep
A Compilation of the Origins of Temuair’s Dungeons
By Dartanian Lestor in Dark Ages
Author’s note: For those of ye who have heard me speak, I am certain ye’ll be happy to know that I do not write in me native Pietian accent. Especially serious works like this one. It would not only be difficult to read an entire selection in me dialect, but the emphasis on the theories I am about to impart on you would be lost. I have seen the three dungeons in Temuair around (me definition of a dungeon being one of those things sticking out of the ground with the tacky dragon-headed display on top) and have oft wondered about their origins. This curiosity seeped through me head like fresh water through sand.
Eventually this question was encompassing my every thought. So I went to the mundanes around and asked them the origins. Most of the mundanes could simply shrug and state that they had always been there. However, a few of them seemed delighted that I’d asked, sat me down with a cup of tea, and started rattling off interesting theories and tidbits. Since these are folktales at best, I regret that this is not necessarily true history. However, I do feel that these are valid theories, and if ye’ll bear with me, I hope they might encourage other Aislings such as myself to contemplate on it and search for the true origins which have been hidden in the depths of time.
The crypts have been standing since time immemorial so that most mundanes have forgotten their origins. However, some of the elder denizens of Mileth suspect that the crypts were actually originally built as a stronghold against the Dubhaimid in the Shadows War. The Dubhaimid are now concentrated in a castle north of Rucesion where the magick is strong and the element of darkness seeps through, but they previously had been roaming everywhere. Some of them weren’t even the forms you see today, but a miasma of darkness just lurking over the streets. It is thus why lamps were later introduced as protection against these creatures that could hide anywhere and they were kept at bay. Eagalad ruled from Loures, but the "Steel Swan" was not an idle ruler as King Bruce seems to be. She donned armor easily and traveled to Finach (modern day Mileth) in order to keep the evil at bay. The underground stronghold was built as a last line of defenses. Piet had no army to speak of and Loures did not have the manpower to face such a threat by itself, plus any siege on the castle was bound to be bloody. Eagalad decided to build an underground stronghold, full of supplies and weapons which are still stored in the chests ye see down there today. Normal weapons, however, could not beat this entity, alone, and the element of Light was still far from discovery. The guards inside the stronghold went mad at the unbeatable foe and started to slaughter the inhabitants of Finach without mercy or recognition of their fellow man. The Finach Massacre, rumored to date Danaan 3076, was the darkest day in the Shadows War. Eagalad was shocked beyond belief at the slaughtering of her own subjects and ordered the men responsible buried alive inside the stronghold and the stronghold itself sealed up. She did not realize that they had been taken over by the Dubhaimid and held them at fault. Slowly over time though, the seal dissolved. The inhabitants of Mileth curiously went inside those crypts to check the tombs. The tombs were empty however. All they saw inside were hideous monsters: centipedes, rats, spiders, bats, and the like. With the exception of the rats, all the creatures inside were deformed, mutated to man-sized creatures. A rumor is that these creatures are actually the souls of those young soldiers that went mad that day, their bodies twisted by the dark influence. The supplies sit in the chest, unused for ages and the soldiers ferociously protect them with their lives.
Most people that look at the dungeon off in the southeastern most corner of Piet may be surprised to find that it was only intended to be a simple well. Piet had always relied on the Loures River to supply a quench for their thirst. Normally this river had a lot of sand that acted as a filter, collecting any harmful sediment that would wash by. However, the sand eroded away. Still the Pietian residents were not worried. The water always seemed pure enough to drink. Then, some people started dropping off. The people were dumbfounded. No one knew what to do. They assumed this plague was from the gods and prayed fervently for forgiveness and redemption. Then one night, as they were drinking away their sorrows, one of the newcomers dropped a strange flower. Appie, the apothecary, just happened to be walking in through the door, took one look at the flower, sniffed it, and yelled for guards. It was hemloch.
The trial was one-sided but effective. The newcomer, whose name has been forgotten by the town, confessed to everything under the torture. He was a member of an underground rebellion in Undine and sought to poison the water so that King Bruce might take a sip and Loures would be no more. They felt slighted by the occupation and wanted vengeance. The man was charged with treason and drawn and quartered.
Still the question remained though. The hemloch poison would take several moons to thoroughly wash out harmlessly to sea so that the river water was safe enough to drink from. A council of five came up with the idea. An area of land near Appie’s shop was vacant and had soft soil. Plus there was also underground water that seeped down from the river, filtered through layers of clay and rock to be safe to drink. It was decided then. The town would erect a well next to the apothecary shop. They elected several of their strongest who were up to the task of the digging.
Construction went well. Within just a few days they had already dug down several fathoms and it seemed like it would be completed soon. The hole started to get damp and moist though. The workers, however, ignored it and continued digging. Each day, the cavern got damper and damper, the ceiling started dripping, the air got humid, puddles were surrounding them. It seemed the puddles were alive. A lesser worker found a crack in the wall of one of the lower caverns, and he naively dug it opened. Giant sized crabs, anemones, frogs, and other sea creatures poured out of the cracks. Stunned, the boy dropped his shovel and ran up the ladder to tell his supervisor. The creatures poured into the cavern, attacking the workers furiously. The well was never finished and was labeled off-limits from then on. No one is sure exactly how the creatures got down there, but it is suspected that the hemloch had a strange effect on the normal creatures in the riverbed and sea.
Author’s note: I am not personally as sure of this dungeon as I am of the others. I have tried to explore the inside but as I set me foot in the entrance, haunting visions of an untimely demise surrounded me. I felt a sick feeling and decided it would be better not to continue. However some of the mundanes gave me tidbits and, as with the others, I compiled my own theory as to the formation of this abomination on the coastal shores of Abel. Any other Aisling who feels they can give more information on it is more than welcome to.
The coasts of Abel are a source of beauty and wonder. The waves are ones that shine with the light of a full moon upon them, glittering. I have oft wished to swim here, but have respect for me wife whose fear of the ocean and ship travel keeps me from journeying here often. But I did sneak away and found an interesting area that does not seem to be on any map. It looked similar to the dungeon entrances in Piet and Mileth, but it seemed long ignored by the footsteps of mundanes and Aislings alike. I suspect there must be some powerful foes lurking inside, and I also gathered that the story behind it must be most interesting as well. I had a talk with the lighthouse keeper, Ase, who seemed reluctant to talk about it. However, a few glasses of wine in her made the lips flow freely.
It seems in times of darkness, one lighthouse was not enough to ward off the enveloping black void. The leaders of Abel, guided by Aricin and Ase’s influence, thus approved the building of a second lighthouse a little ways down the coast. Ase was in charge of the overall design and oversaw the construction. It was built tall, so that the light could shine outward far into the oceans and ships need not fear the darkness when returning to port. The original lighthouse was built so the light faced westward towards Suomi. The logical step was to build one facing east so that incoming ships from Rucesion could dock safely.
Construction was completed and the new lighthouse worked well and saved many ships. A few weeks into it, however, the new keeper noticed a strange shaking whenever he entered the lighthouse, and the entrance had grown cold, sending a chill down the spines of anyone entering. Every day, the shaking grew in intensity. Also, mundanes who looked closely thought they could make out a faint discoloration in the sand around it. Some of the granules were turning black as coal, and the rest around the base of the lighthouse were dimming. Then, about one and a half moons after it was built, the keeper noticed it strange that he now had to duck in order to get in the doorway where he didn’t before. Also, the light didn’t seem to shine quite as far. Little did he realize the danger as he went inside that lighthouse that day. No sooner did he enter than the sand at the base flashed with an unholy black light and proceeded to swallow the lighthouse into the ground. Dark spirits seem to have been resting underneath the building sight and resented the accursed light-giver that was placed above them. Therefore, they absorbed the lighthouse into the ground themselves where it rests today. The poor keeper was buried alive inside it, and Ase was left too traumatized to speak of it openly.
I do hope that these works inspire other Aislings to search on the quest for the true origins of these theories. I do not profess to count them as factual account, nor do I intend for ye to take my word for it. However, looking at these places, their layout, as well as information that the mundanes involved were willing to impart to me, I do believe that these can pass as valid explanations for the placement for these sites. I implore any Aisling or mundane who reads this work to not take it lightly, and to search for the true history that may still be out there. I could quite well be accurate in me interpretation, or I could be completely off base, but all theories, whether they be political, magical, or historical, need a starting point and I have set me foot firm in one.