We left Karak Ostohar in the capable hands of Lord Ostohar in late summer. We left Eyrie in early spring, spent a few months walking here, spent a few weeks here (and a few other places and times), and now we have the prospect of marching right back to Kreuzhofen for the next few months. I suspect the trip will be uneventful, as the trip here was. The countryside is entirely empty.


It is now late fall/early winter, and I sit at the Red Bull in Kreuzhofen, resuming my journal. The past three months were as uneventful as I predicted. All in all, it was another pleasant respite from the usual flurry of activity regarding the doomstones. Life now resumes, full tilt.

The weather is unusually warm and dry for this time of year. Kreuzhofen is still recovering. Things have improved since we were here last, but it still has a long way to go. No obvious signs of the skeleton battle remain. The villagers seem to have recovered from their battle-scarred state of shock. The inn is doing fine. Carmella said it's not turning a significant profit yet, but it isn't losing any money either. She said the manager believed it was better to attract customers and not cut corners, and she agreed with him. The inn was fairly full again, which is a good sign. He had to move a few customers around to make room for us.

Now that Kreuzhofen is becoming normal again, I think this would be an excellent place to open a Hospice. It's on a major travel route, yet there are no doctors anywhere nearby. I will have to discuss this with Carmella and see what she thinks of the plan.

After dinner, while we were sitting around the table, people occasionally stopped by to greet us. The manager held out a small package that he had nearly forgotten about. It had come for us from Eyrie. Miara took it and we all looked at it. It was small, about the size of the journals I write in, and carefully tied up and wrapped in leather to protect it.

Miara opened it. Inside there were several layers of cloth with a small book inside that. My jaw dropped. They wouldn't even let anyone inside the library to look at a book, yet they actually removed one and sent it to us. We recognized Yazeran's symbol on the cover. Goldrim eagerly looked over Miara's shoulder and said it was written in dwarven. Miara handed it to him to care for and read through.

After Goldrim spent some time glancing through the small book, he said it's definitely Yazeran's journal. It seemed to begin about 100 years ago, and at first he wrote every day or so, telling of his journey from Kadar Helgad to Eyrie. He said the last few entries are much further spaced out and seemed to be from the last days of his life. It will take him a few days to read through it and pull out the important parts.

We will stay here a few days, to rest and re-provision ourselves. I believe the next few days at least will be cool (although warm for this time of year) and clear. Prestley still wants to take each doomstone and use the box to return it to the moment it was created. He thinks this will form a complete circle that will somehow remove the doomstones from the normal flow of time. The rest of us aren't sure about that tactic, and Sean is still dead set against using the box ever again.


Yazeran's Journal

He started out by explaining why he was writing the journal in the first place. He was assigned the task of finding a way to protect the Crystal of Air. The first few days are daily diary plus some history about how he got assigned this task and why, and some of his plans for what he was going to do, and his reflections on the subject.

He related the history of the Crystal of Air as he knew it. The dwarves of the Yetsin Valley were given it as payment for having built a keep in the middle of the valley for a human who styled himself the king of Yetsin Valley. (Who eventually was killed and yet whose spirit later inhabited Og's body.) When they received it, the dwarves of the valley already had one crystal in their posession (stone). Yazeran was given the task of protecting the Crystal of Air because they had seen an approaching army of orcs, and it was too much of a risk to let both of them get into the orcs' hands. The Stone of Stones would stay in Yetsin Valley, and the other was sent out of the valley in Yazeran's care.

He mentioned another dwarfhold he stopped at besides Kadar Helgad and Eyrie: Kadar Gravning. None of us have ever heard of it, and it certainly wasn't on any of my maps of the area. By that time, he knew he was on the run from the orcs and they were only a day or so behind him.

He wrote about his arrival at Eyrie. When he got there, it was just a village of human monks. But he saw potential in the pinnacle of rock. He changed his mind about going farther and decided to stay there instead to build a hold that could protect the the Crystal of Air. Eyrie would function as both a stronghold and misdirection as a monastery of humans. So he devoted the rest of his life to building Eyrie.

Once busy with building Eyrie, his journal entries slowed down considerably. At the end, there's years between entries. But it does mention many details (which we already knew, mostly) about building and designing Eyrie. He wrote about his search for us and his attempt to contact us (through the blue fire at our camp) and his joy at believing he was successful without knowing for sure. He could only hope. He wrote about inventing the prophecy to tell the monks who we are. There's even drafts of the prophecy. He worked pretty hard at it. He also wrote about the cards but without any details.

The last entry he wrote when he knew he was dying. He hoped his life's work was successful. He mentioned almost in passing his belief that there's another stone at Kadar Gravning. If there is one, it has to be the Crystal of Water. It's the only one left.

Goldrim said that the location of Kadar Gravning was lost a long time ago. Kadar Gravning is legendary in dwarven tales. He gave us a brief synopsis, although he was unclear about times. 2000 years ago was the peak of the dwarven empire, and that's when the dwarven-elvish wars took place. After the wars, the dwarves built tunnels throughout the mountains to connect all the major holds. But the dwarves were declining, and the tunnels were overtaken and destroyed by goblins. So for a long time, Kadar Gravning has been lost. The dwarves of the Yetsin Valley knew it was there, but they didn't really have any contact with the other dwarves. They became twisted, and eventually the orc invasions that Yazeran ran from ended the Yetsin Valley dwarves.

Goldrim thinks he can find Kadar Gravning based on comments in Yazeran's journal. We can go to Eyrie as a waypoint, then to Kadar Gravning, and finally to Kadar Helgad to retrieve the Stone of Stones. Which ought to be there, if we did everything right and didn't get lost in time.


So after a few day's rest, we once again took to the road. Our first stop was Eyrie. Over the summer, they hadn't gotten very far. The wall is still missing, and the dwarves they sent away for haven't arrived.

On our way there, Goldrim told us more about Kadar Gravning. The area around the Yetsin Valley was settled 1000 years ago by a noteworthy dwarf. He fell during the elf wars in the Loren forest (Hargrim's Last Stand). Their desperate heroism impressed the elves, who won, and the bodies of the dead dwarves were returned to the dwarves. They changed the place's name to Gravning, which has something to do with burial places in dwarven.

New dwarves came in, the orcs were cleared out, and the tunnels were built. A generation later, the orcs poured out of the darklands and the dwarves were overrun. Kadar Gravning managed to protect the sacred burial ground. As holds fell, the orcs attacked through the tunnels. The dwarves collapsed the tunnels, protecting themselves at Kadar Gravning, but isolating themselves completely.

So Kadar Gravning is the last burial place of one of dwarven history's greatest heroes.

While in Eyrie, I worked with the monks to research maps and any information regarding Kadar Gravning, but we found nothing. It also feels like we'll have another week or so of the same unnatural weather; cool and clear.

We stayed only for the evening, and then we left for Kadar Gravning. We travelled along the road into the Yetsin Valley from Eyrie. An hour or so after Eyrie, the Yetsin creek runs alongside the road. Another hour later, Goldrim said he thought we needed to turn there. He pointed to a branch of the stream that headed into the mountains and said we needed to follow it. He led the way, and we followed him.

About six hours later, we were still following the stream, occasionally having to walk in the stream, there being no road. The two doomstones Ashe and I carry began to glow brighter. Since nothing else had changed, we can only assume we're on the right track. Somewhere nearby is the Crystal of Water. Ashe and I separated, walking farther apart, and covered up the rocks to hide their bright glow.

Eventually, we came out into a wide, deep valley that runs roughly north-south. We were at the south end. At the North end was what was obviously a dwarven hold, presumably Kadar Gravning. The small valley was full of streams that criss-crossed and joined. There were entrances, open, broken, and scarred, into the hold. Roofs have collapsed in the intervening years, and ragged gashes in the hillside showed where magics had been used in the battles. At the entrance stood two dwarven guards.

Goldrim would have to be our spokesman here. We wound our way across the valley. As we approached, they shouted for us to halt, and asked who we were and why we were there.

Ravenna, A Monk of the Biancan Order

Part the First:
Blood and Mud

Part the Second:
Murder and Mayhem

Part the Third:
Puzzles and Crystals

Part the Fourth:
Dwarves and Rocks

Part the Fifth:
Diplomacy and Daggers

Part the Sixth:
Crystal and Chaos

Part the Seventh:
Sheer Insanity

~ The End ~