Thursday, 8 April 2010

ebon zikkuract - the northern stair

By your divine majesty's favour, we have commenced exploration of lands revealed by the northern stair of the miraculous ebon zikkuract of Algolia.  The land is blighted by cold and lit by three pale moons, lost kin to beloved Sahiri.  The eastern wind scour our skins and the air is thin, this place reminds me of the Athur-Dar wastes.  As the hierophant revealed, the miracle of the zikkuract was repeated here yet the basalt is icy cold. By your command, weresolved to explore the lands around the city to ensure the safety of future exploration of the stairs found in this zikkuract.  The ziggurat stands in the ruins of a city, there are broken foundations and cellars in the bronze-hard ground yet there were no living inhabitants only patches of ice mixed with bone fragments around the cellars.  One of the warriors found a footprint twice as large as a man's with claws on it's foot. We lit torches and measured the ruin as being the size of fair Uthuta of the Three Hills.  The land did not yield until one soldier heated the ground with his torch.  There is little water here that is not frozen - to colonise this city will need soldiers and supplies.

The beast came upon us suddenly.  We were exploring a cellar when a guard heard the keening shriek and we left the cellar to find him trapped under it's clawed foot, it's muzzle worrying his mouth.  It's eyes glowed white, it stood upright yet half as tall again as our tallest warrior.  It's legs were clawed, powerful as an ostryx, it kicked so hard the captain's shield buckled.  It's hide was hard yet our spears proved their worth.  It bled a chill mist with droplets of acrid water, it's blood burned with cold to the touch.  Yet the beast endured five warriors stabbing at it.  It savaged one guard so he was helpless and kicked out at the captain once again.  Then the guard rejoined the fight on the side of the beast.  To our horror, the beast breathed it's evil into him. He leapt like a madman, his wounds blue with cold.  I feared for my life yet my manservant stabbed his heart with his dagger.  The guard coughed red ice and then died, shattering as his body hit the ground.  The beast turned it's ire upon my manservant, ripping open his belly with a kick as it snapped at the guards.  Finally your guards prevailed against the beast yet all were marked by the beast or it's chill blood.  The captain took the beast's head and presented it to the hierophants of the ebon zikkuract for study according to your decree. 

The beast had a bony head, it's muzzle like that of a skinned hyena.  It's hide was warty and thick.  It's forelegs were shrivelled and weak yet it's legs were powerful and it's thick tail suggest prodigious strength.  It's corpse burned with unknowable cold, it's bite venomous with it.  It's organs drew heat from the bronze knife I examined it's corpse, acrid smelling and cold. I have never seen it's like, it's body steamed as heat was drawn from the air.  The bones were dense and pale, the bronze knife could not mark them yet their cold discouraged further investigation.  To capture another beast would be a heroic deed.  We hid the shriveling corpse in an abandoned cellar lest another of it's kind sought carrion and moved on.  The builders knew of construction but there was no basalt.  It would seem the architect of the ziggurat brought the materials from another location and knew more of construction than these people.

The hierophants of the ebon zikkuract have fragments of pottery that show people hunting four-legged beasts and fighting what appears to be a winged horror from Khadu!  I have found no evidence of coin or currency and believe these people were primitive traders akin to the Inburan.  Though we returned on the sunset of the same day, my record of the hourglass shows we explored for two days.  During this time, the sun-disk of Ankil was never revealed.  His displeasure with this place is evident for the beast was the only living thing we found here.  To conquer this land will need brave soldiers and workers who will need food stores.  The first priority is to purge the ice beasts from the area, there will be no peace until they are driven out.  May I commend your loyal soldiers who fought valiantly against the ice beast and may the gods find my service to your divine majesty favourable.

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