Having escaped the crumbling great chamber where we’d set off the explosion to isolate Tarran Tor from the White Dwarves, we found ourselves in a strange set of tunnels indeed. At first all that was different about the passages we followed was that they seemed to be made of a mix of caverns put together like a grand puzzle. Evidence of this was found in the way the passages were suddenly made of entirely incompatible rock types.
But when we finally reached a chamber that had been finished by Dwarven hands we met an even stranger situation for we found ourselves at a doorway that was clearly marked on its lintels: “Here rests the beardless king.”
Could this be referring to the ancient beardless king that I recalled from our histories? The one whose errors and blind aggression in his pyrrhic battles against the skaven are now every parent’s admonition towards forethought?
We only had to step a bit further passed the masterly crafted ante-chamber into the beardless king’s apparent tomb to confirm this. Only we met with no sarcophagi for he and his loyal thanes. Instead they sat before us on thrones! But their flesh was made into lifelike stone by the truly wondrous new runes we found carved all over the room! Moradin be praised, needless to say I committed these to parchment and memory but had little time to rejoice in the finding before the earth began to quake outside the throne room.
It was at this point that Kalderak complained that we were being pursued by a malevolent spirit that was causing the tremors…and the bad spirit was seemingly getting closer.
Thus, our next step was to try and secure the artifact weapons and armour that were of no more use to the Beardless One and his boon companions. But this proved difficult until I found a way to weaken the room’s preservation runes.
We secured the sword, axe, hammer, shields and crown but feared that our tampering might also have brought the walls down around our heads at any moment. It did not. Instead we now all felt the presence of the malevolent spirit and it teleported us to an entirely new place where the treacherous rat Tchkriss was to be found speaking with what we assume was the very evil soul that had taken us to him.
He only noticed us after he appears to have won a victory of negotiation with the fell spirit. Whereupon he instantly looked upon us, summoned two poisonous stone golems from the walls and disappears in a diseased mist.
We dispatched the corrupted earth elementals and endeavored to keep their corrupted heartstones—all that remained of them—for further study.
We tried to search the rat shaman out but had no leads. We walked many miles through more of what I have described before: jigsaw elements of places we’d been, places we never have heard of and even encountered some of my runic labels…except only in chunks and often strangely mis-oriented.
Then the strangeness increased by another full measure: we realized at one point after Kalderak had done some mapping that we had been traveling lost for a VERY long time. By the time he felt evidence of familiarity (the grove where we’d battled the beetle so long ago) where we found the small refugee village, we realized that we’d been gone for 24 years! Thank Moradin for his ritual of renewal for the state of our equipment. But we have no idea what is causing us to no longer age or need normal sustenance.
It was an aged Vliksiss who we first found. He was friendly to us and this surprised us. Until he informed us of Tchkriss’ corruption of most of the other skaven…as well as the vast majority of Tarran Tor’s—our—people! He led us to the refugee camp where we now rest.
They filled us in on the recent history: of the defeat of the white dwarves followed by the plague in turn followed by the fell pact entered into by Tarran Tor with Tchkriss that saved our people from the disease…at the cost of their liberty and sanity…
Now we must decide what is to be done with these refugees. Should we follow Vliksiss to the surface? Should we find a way to free the Tarran Tor from their curse and rescue as many of the Marked as we can? Or do we strike out to find new dwarven civilization such that they take in our refugees and do battle with the Cult of Tchkriss?
I carve these runes on these walls lest we be struck down before we speak them.