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The Caverns Of Juknungarr

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When The Goat was driven back into the Nightland by the people of the Light, his armies scattered and retreated into the dark, cold lands of their master, or hid themselves in dark fastnesses such as the Caverns of Juknungarr.

After countless years of war between the people of the Light and the Nightborn slaves of The Goat, the gods of the Daylanders helped their people to drive back The Swallower Of Light and throw back His glaciers. His lieutenant, Muggar, The White Despiser, was captured, tortured, and crucified by King Baitung’s Armies Of Vengeance, and the power of that creatures’ army annihilated. The armies of the Nightland scattered, broke, and fled, retreating through the wrecked lands that they had advanced across in waves. Some remained together in their divisions, lead by ghoulish captains towards the Dark; others broke up into a desperate, chaotic mass-peregrination lasting months, fleeing through the Daylands in panic towards the places of eternal cold.
Some of these groups of Nightland warriors, unable or unwilling to continue, stopped their retreats. Under the influence of surviving captains, or voting in monstrous caucuses, some armies of Nightlanders decided to remain in the Daylands and barricade themselves up. Hoping to raid the Daylanders and survive off their takings, or seeking to re-establish old footholds from during the wars in the hopes of reinforcements from the Land of Darkness, or perhaps even merely to escape their lives of black slavery and endless winter under the rule of their eternally evil witchgod, these armies holed up in places where they could protect themselves from Day and Daylander and prepared arms.

One of the largest of these Nightlander holdouts was located in the border-marches of the lands of King Baitung. Like many of these holdouts, it was located in a cavern. A great army of Nightlanders centered around a holy idol of their black faith known as the Banner Of The Broken Light, retreating Darkward across the Plain of the Martyrs, swarmed into these deep and uncharted caverns, curling miles beneath the surface, and constructed a great fortress at their mouth. Investing it as their base, the Nightlanders elected as their leader the ghoul named Ugchreh, who became known as White Vomit (a simplistic translation of his Ghoultongue name).

In those days, the Daylanders, weary and nearly broken by their struggle against the Lord Of Ice, retreated from battle. The armies of Light dispersed and tried to salvage what was left of their ruined lands with the aid of their gods. A great malaise fell over the kingdoms of the Daylanders, and most of all the realm that King Baitung had hammered together out of warring territories. Its people, reeling from the death of their god-elk Ha Meshar, and so newly united under their King, fell into disarray and separated into once again into a thousand tiny warring kingdoms when the Great Lord Baitung died unexpectedly. In this newborn chaos and weariness, there was nobody who could drive the Nightlanders from their cavern.

For many years, the great cavern at the edge of the Plain of Martyrs was left unscouted and unknown. Some knew that in that chasmic place there dwelt horrors and creatures undreamed of. But the princes of the Baitungi polities were too tired of great wars, too concerned with their own small suspicions and battles. And as decades passed, the quiescent host within the cavern dug deep into the ground, and filled the mouth of their cavern with gates and walls and fearsome fortifications, and waited; for some of the creatures of the Night are long-lived indeed, or indeed do not have life, as Daylanders deem life.
Soon, one-hundred times the World-Wheel had turned the year away, and in the Year Of The Lightning, forth from the cavern on the Plain of Martyrs came a wave of pestilence and madness that engulfed the petty principality of Ekrang in the form of a blackness which flew upon the winds and burst like a stormcloud over the tiny land, enervating and warping the land and shrouding it in thick mist. So the Sage Burubuz Subhaar took a man from each of the Baitungi kingdoms, until he had twelve (the consecrated Perfect Number of the ancient kingdoms of the Day), all of them condemned to death in their homelands, and he named them "Juknungarr", which signifies Divine Vengeance in a forgotten tongue. And he sent the Juknungarr into the poisoned land and thence across the Plain of Martyrs, to the very gates of the cavern of the Nightlanders, to go within that tomb-castle and destroy the Banner Of The Broken Light. None survived , or at least, no word came from any survivor. But forth from the cavern there came no marching hordes, and no green corpsefire shone from the black walls. And for their sacrifice the cave came to be known as the Cavern Of Juknungarr.

But mens’ memories are short, and in time the veil of ages passed over the stories of these things. The Baitungi forgot why they called the poisoned mistlands Ekrang (forgot, indeed, that there had ever been a kingdom there at all), forgot about the Juknungarr, and forgot about the deep fastness of the Nightlanders. The Baitungi kingdoms fell apart, and soon the people of Baitung drifted in tribes through the ruins of their ancient land. A deep forest wilderness was allowed to swallow up the Plain of Martyrs. And with the turning of the World-Wheel, this forest came to be known as the Forest of the Buried, for the roots of the growing trees pulled up the bones of the fallen from the ground and hung them in their branches and set them among their boles. The Baitungi tribes shunned this place, fearing their ancestors’ unearthed ghosts and the memory of ancient evil.



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Ideas  ( System ) | December 9, 2002 | View | UpVote 0xp


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