Expedition log

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Expedition log
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AuthorGeffrye de Bayeux
LocationGeffrye's studio

Expedition log is a document in Azrael's Tear.

Transcript[edit | edit source]

As instructed by Tobias, Malick and I set forth with ten slaves. The expedition was to last for a week.
For the first three days, we traveled through dark, tiny caves beset by the small beasts we called Eugenes.
These caves stank with the accumulated filth of Millenia. We were ever hopeful of finding more evidence of those dwellings mentioned by the ghost of the well. Dwellings of gods, as she described. We were intrigued.
On the fourth day our expedition bore fruit. A small crevice gave into a large chamber. We stood with astonishment before a great rising staircase that was an echo of the wondrous ziggurat at Urnammu. That which scholars consider the remnants of the tower of Babel itself. At that moment we realised that the gods of Niamh were in truth men. The Babylonian fathers of the great empire of Byzantium.
After rest and reflection while the ziggurat was cleared of nesting beasts, we continued on and deeper into the caves for another week. We mapped various sizeable chambers that will serve well for the temple. My mind is filling with ideas of their form.
On the fifth day, two of our retainers were taken by the creature of the waters; on the banks of a sunless stream. On the sixth, my mind darkened with the weight of our discovery. A small series of Byzantine rooms within which horrific experiments using Grailstone had occurred.
In it, with even worse horrors, three mindless children; part animal; part beast; were hung on hooks, their very bones suffused with chips of Grailstone. When we return, I intend to have them taken to the surface where their souls may be returned to God.
I confess I wished to end our explorations after our previous discoveries. The deeper we go, the more horrors we find. Malick has convinced Tobias that we should continue. I am put to shame by his courage.
Our next expedition took us again into narrow, filthy craw-ways, though a passage has now been broken through into the ziggurat chamber, making the opening stages of the journey easier.
After two days of this, we found ingress into another Bizantyne area. It seemed safe and so we allowed one of our eager retainers to scout while we made camp.
He returned shortly, shaking with delirium, with a swelling the size of his head in his side. I went on to investigate and to my shame fled when I saw the very image of the manticore before me.
We returned as quickly as possible, but too late for the slave who expired in agony.
Malik, determined as ever to penetrate the deepest secrets of our Bizantyne precursors, returned to the chamber of the mantichora with five slaves. His determination to study and learn a way to subjugate these mosnters was admirable. After three weeks, he returned with the one slave that survived the venture with news of his discovery that the monsters were passable by virtue of their savage competitive nature. A full expedition was again possible.
Malick's excitement at finding just beyond this chamber a fitting sanctum for the grail prompted Tobias to join us.
And surely, in a deep, vaulted cavern, we found ourselves beneath the light of a thousand gleaming grailstone stars, while standing on a larger, more elaborate ziggurate then the other, topped with an altar. It seemed designed to be home to the grail.
We set out again, hoping to find the homes of our predecessors.
Beyond the chamber of the mantichora, we found corridors and passages collapsed by time and weight of rock above. Finally, we found a way through to a vast cavern filled with Eugenes and stranger vegetation than ever we had seen. This means Aeternis can be self sufficient without the need for external fields.
Days later, and far deeper, we gazed in wonder on the empty ruins of an entire Byzantine town.
At the end of this vast cavern was an opening that looked out upon a great subterranean lake; the call of enormous, unkown beasts carrying across on a stale wind.
On our return we were amazed. During two weeks for us, six months passed for the others and nearly four years outside.
Despite Malick's objections, Tobias has called a halt to further exploration.