We have left the northern fortresses of the dwarves behind us and journeyed deeper into the Storm Horns. Truly, we are far away from the civilised comforts of the west. I was awestruck when we first glanced at the enormuous Storm Horns the dwarves call home here at the eastern frontier. They make the mountains of Brennel seem like molehills. But now we have entered peaks so majestic, even the dwarves have not conquered them. They warned us not to go further, that there were dangers here even they dared not disturb. My hunger for discovery is stronger than my fear of the unknown however and I long to go where no man has gone before. Every once in a while, we come across great stone carvings etched into the mountainside. Our wizard does not recognise them, but says they are older than what he can divine by magic. I think we are on the right track…
The Storm horns to the east of the human-ruled western lands is the greatest mountain range in Éran. It is the stronghold of the dwarves and here lies their greatest kingdoms. Beyond even the borders of the dwarven kingdoms lie peaks and wonders greater than even what they can master.
I am at loss for words. I dared not even imagine such a feat possible. Yesterday, we aimed for a mountain valley we deemed must have been nestled between the three greatest peaks we could see, all close together. We found an old crudely made dwarven tunnel that lead us into the valley. Amazingly it is coovered by one giant lake. But that is not what leaves me speechless. The three mountains have all been carved out of the living rock into one enormous city. The size of this city defies belief. Towers of impossible height, gargantuan bridges connecting one mountain peak with another. Masonry of stunning beauty and decoration. I am amazed none of this was visible from outside the valley.
There is an eerie timeless air of abandonement about this place. Though several of the buildings have fallen over, it looks to be vandalism moreso than the wear of time. Everything is impossibly well preserved for how old it must be. Our wizard insists this is older than the oldest kingdoms of the dwarves. His divinations can still not determine their age.
There can be no doubt this is the work of giants. The scale makes it impossible for it to be anything else. Incredible to think that these barbaric brutes were once capable of such civilised marvel. We have camped near the lake, which is miles wide, for tonight. Our guide says he thinks it is artifically made. Tomorrow, we will enter the city proper and uncover its secrets. I don’t think I have ever felt quite so tiny and insignificant in my entire life.
At the end of the Age of Immortals, giants were the first of the mortal races to rise up against the dragons and claim the mountains for themselves, after winning the dragonswar. When dwarves and elves were still barbarians, the giants built gigantic cities of their own, feats of great architecture and magic.
We have entered a great hall, 100 yards tall!, that our wizard named for himself the Hall of Historians. Carved on the walls are great scenes of what must be ancient giant history, with runes retelling the tale. The first wall depicts scenes of entire armies of giants(!) taking on dragons and defating them. Sadly, most of this wall has been defaced and scarred and much of it is hard to make out.
The second wall depicts the building of this city. The third holds marvelous scenes of how it must have looked at its height. Who could have imagined these hulking savages as the sophisticated scholars and craftmen these scenes depict? Many even show them as great wizards! Uncanny.
The fourth wall depicts another war. It seems to be elves and dragons attacking them. Unlike the first wall, there are no conclusive scenes depicting the end of it though. Have we stumbled upon a forgotten piece of history? To imagine, elves and dragons working together deep in the mists of time! I doubt even the elves know of this.
Before even the recorded history of the elves, the giants eventually fell to an alliance between dragons and elves - The dragons vengeful of their defeat in the dragonswar, the elves hungry for the knowledge and accomplishments of the giants. It was from the ruins of the giant kingdoms, they elves pillaged their secrets and used them to develop their own civilisation.
We are not alone in this city. Yesterday, we first heard sounds suggestive of great beasts deeper in the complexes of the city. The went on into the night. Our leader has decided we are leaving the city after breakfast. The rest of our party is growing scared and they all believe the sounds are coming closer. Even I am finding my instinct of self-preservation growing stronger than my thirst for discovery.
We have caught sight the city’s inhabitant. An enormous dragon! Thankfully, our miniscule size in comparison to both the buildings and the dragon allowed us to escape unseen from the hall we met at. It knows we are here though. It was clearly searching. Our guide is now saying he is hearing the same sounds coming from elsewhere than where the dragon ought to be. He thinks there are several. My heart has been racing like a madman’s for hours now.
Unrecorded anywhere, but remembered in the long lives of the dragons and the giants, when the dragons defeated the city, they took it for themselves partly for its size as a iving place and partly as a monument to their victory.
Even now, the hostility between giants and dragons lives on and even today a dragon can fall prey to a giant hunting party, who have preserved some of their dragonslaying techniques despite centuries of barbarism.
Despite their fall from grace, the oral traditions of the longlived giants is strong, and the stories of their glorious past still lives strong in their memories, along with the bitter sting of defeat against their arch nemesis, though the role of elves seems to have been forgotten, a detail perhaps too small in giant lenses to be preserved.
For the dragons, otherwise mostly solitary creatures, this city remains a stronghold as a testimony to their superiority. A trophy they continue to brandish as a mocking reminder to the giants of what they once were and will never be allowed to become again.
There are dozens of dragons in this city! A swarm of them is circling the valley lake now, blotting out the sun with their monstruous bodies, scouting for our presence. Only the guile of our guide allowed us to sneak back to the dwarven tunnel undetected.
I have never seen anything so frightening in my entire life. The dragons in this city could wipe out the entire empire of Brennèl between them if they wished to. Never in my life did I imagine such dangers could even exist. We have been on the run all day now. A few of them have even scouted through the mountains outside the city, passing overhead. The lands beyond the west truly are too terrifying for any civilisation to take hold here.
I imagine I shall be running all the way back to border fortresses on the eastern frontier. The safety of being far away from such horror in the company of civilised humans has suddenly taken on new appeal…