Book One: Ordered by Gods
CHAPTER NINE:

Besth's Research Journal

This is a summary of the journal kept by the Hobbit researcher, Besth
Found along with the hand of a Hobbit in a secret room inside the Devourer
Some notable marginalia is included here, on the sides.

 

Sunfalls, Bithal
Research Journal Begins: Olidamarrak Moraday, Year of the Awakening

• The Halfling, Besth, begins keeping a research journal. She has been hired by someone she refers to only as “the Client” to determine the whereabouts of an ancient Durgoshii power site located somewhere in the region of Lake Dakar - find it, explore it, and map it. The Client is quite wealthy and he (or she) seems to have provided her with a generous retainer, but otherwise Besth’s notes give no hint about who the Client might be.
• The Client has provided her with three triangular obsidian keys and a “winder-finder” (this is a mechanical device used to locate its mate). She is to use the device to map the shortest distance from the entrance to the device’s mate.
• Besth spends some time at the Libriohenaeum Cloister in Sunfalls where she seems to have had the access of a Master of Texts. After several months of research, she learns of an Orcish legend of a Giantish site east of Lake Dakar known as “the Devourer.” The site is approximately 900 years old and pre-dates the construction of the Wall of the Righteous.
• The site seems to have been the “final destination” of a massive trade in slaves and sacrifices that drove the Giants ever further afield to make war, even on their own kind. In relation to the Giants’ war with the elder monotheistic worshippers of the One, Besth has circled two lines of her own marginalia: “Did the war with the Order fuel their site? / Or did the needs of their site fuel the war?”
• A shred of a poem in Drüüg is included in Besth’s notes in a section that relates to the site. It is a translation that dates back to the Giantish Durgoshii Empire, apparently of a far older poem from the ancient Hrakuu civilization: “From deepeth pahst thaye didst come / Destroyne neare ahll but sayving sum / Not thee firth to fiyte the One / Thayve payne enough to thwart its come / Payne enough if focust done.”
• She learns of the site’s use of Bakare mathematics and her notes contain several pages of Bakare numerical codes. They apparently have some relation to the doorways and traps inside the site.
• Besth knows a Goblin necromancer named Sally, “who would be perfect” for this type of work. Sally currently works in the morgues in Riot’s Gate.

Riot’s Gate
Begins: Beltfhanha Mentedakarday

• Besth does some more research on Bakare codes and architecture related to the triangular keys.
• Besth and Sally meet Gurghur, a calloused and cynical Dwarven warrior in a tight financial spot.
• The two convince Gurghur to join them, Besth uses part of the Client’s wealth to cover some of his debts and the Hobbit and the Goblin thereby acquired the services of a fighter before setting off to Cauldron to research land titles and slaver records East of Lake Dakar.

Cauldron
Begins: Yondhalla Claireseulnday

• Besth spends several more weeks doing research while she and her companions apparently live quite well. She is confident she has located the site based on some old Bandeirante journals and other records in the city’s archives.
• She begins to worry about the religious overtones of the site and decides they ought to hire a cleric.
• Gurghur meets Thom Glass, a human Cleric of Erythnul, while gambling. They hit it off and he introduces him to Besth. Although he is a little unpredictable, he was a once a soldier and is capable of some self-discipline. Besth thinks he is suitable – mostly because he is eminently disposable (“no one will ever miss him”) but, given the nature of “the Client” his participation could provide a hedge. (This is the only revealing reference to the Client in the entire text).

Dryad’s Grove
Begins: Tirna Eofreeday

• Besth has seen the Dryad and prefers not to step into her grove. Gurghur, Glass and Sally have killed eight corrupted “tree men” while she is completing her research. They spend about four days here.
• Gurghur and Glass spend much of their time baiting and killing monsters in the vicinity of the cave entrance, of which there is never a short supply. Gurghur has been getting seriously wounded, and Glass is making him pay to get healed. All of this irritates Besth to no end.
• Besth’s notes for this period contain a great deal of Bakare equations. She appears to be working on the right combination for the triangular keys based on the coded notes she had made.

The Dungeon
Begins: Tirna Mentemoraday

• Her work is interrupted when a creature that could only be Garasoth chases a badly wounded Gurghur and Glass and ultimately drives the party into the cave sooner than Besth would like. Gurghur apparently met his end almost immediately upon entering the dungeon, as did Glass, shortly thereafter. Besth’s notes on the issue do not go into detail.
• Sally and Besth find a secret room and decide to hold up there.
• Besth’s notes become much more frantic and worried. Sometimes they are only a few lines. Most make reference to an increasing number of disturbing dreams and visions experienced by both as they do their best to recover from the wounds - too frightened to leave but too beaten to go on.
• Besth makes a reference to Sally’s increasingly “eccentric behaviour.” In fact, her own notes bespeak her own deterioration. Her writing is much more cramped and painfully detailed during her final entries. The meticulous researcher is gone, increasingly replaced by someone far more disturbed. Besth seems to be writing the notes as a way of speaking to someone called “Fossey” who has apparently been dead several years, but who has recently begun speaking to her.
• They hold up for three days until they are well enough, physically, to continue. Sally has been making forays out of the hiding place during this time. Besth feels she is beginning to behave strangely.

Final entry…

“Thank the Destructor Fossey! Not a moment too soon, the winder-finder has found its mate. Their Captain gave me the Client’s completion sigil, which is worth its weight (and wait) in gold. I made it plain that you and Sally covered me from behind. Good thing too! I am sure they would have simply killed us and taken the map if we hadn’t taken that precaution. Good thing for Glass’s holy symbol – Sally made them think she would bring Erythnul himself down upon them. Stupid Brutes. What luck Fossey. It’s as though our every step was pre-determined. What rubbish, Fossey, I am only joking. Now, we can leave this horrid place. Sally tells me she wants to stay and rob the Brutes as they pass our hiding place and she wants to explore the secrets of these whispering halls and darkened and flooded tombs. She’s mad if she thinks the Brutes will fill this place with anything but their blood and screams, but she probably knows that, which is probably why she wants to stay, Fossey. They’ve barricaded themselves behind their portals, waiting for their dark masters. Won’t they be surprised, Fossey? Won’t they? Don’t you think? They will stay there I think. Let Sally wander the catacombs, try to rob them. Crazy, smelly she-Goblin, Fossey, just like you always told me to avoid. She needs my special ring for her plan to work, Fossey. Got to convince her, the completion sigil is worth more. More with the map with all of its traps marked. Thank you Fossey, that was a nice flourish. With her share of the reward, she could buy every Cultist in the Vile if she wanted. Maybe you could talk to her Fossey, tell her there’s nothing here but death. Oh, you are right Fossey, that is what she wants, isn’t it? Should have listened to you Fossey. Still, even crazy, smelly she-Goblins have their uses, Fossey. What’s that? To Winter with them all, Fossey! I am tired of skulking through here, and want us to leave forever. If she is not back in two more hours, Fossey, we will leave without her. Maybe we should leave now. Yes that’s what we’ll do. Can I tell you a secret, Fossey? She’s starting to behave strangely, and the walls here are whispering louder and louder. I do not know how the Brutes can stand it. They’ve barricaded themselves well enough, Fossey… what? I know, I said that already. I am not stupid Fossey, but they truly have no idea what horrors this place contains, Fossey, what horrors I fear may be awakening, Fossey. What horrors have they awoken Fossey? What horrors have we become Fossey? I saw a corpse lumbering in the great chamber last night Fossey. First movement of corpses I have seen since we arrived, Fossey. Did Sally do that? Stupid Goblin! She says that this place speaks to her. She’s crazy! Where is that wretched Sally? We will leave as soon as she is done collecting her bones. I don’t trust her Fossey. She wants my special ring. Needs it for her plan. Wants us to forget the map. Stay here. Become part of this place. She doesn’t know I saw her looking, Fossey, but I did. Oh – there is her knock, my Fossey. Maybe we should just kill her and feed her to this place. Make her stop loo