Journal of Dereck Warden – by Net – narrated by Doctor Shroud
Hello everyone, this is Doctor Shroud, with a wonderful story by Net, entitled
“The Journal of Dereck Warden, captain of Hilt Guard”
I was able to acquire this journal at flea market in Ardoris. It is obvious that the seller did not know its value, because it was written in an ancient Obsidian cipher. Fortunately, I know a bit about cryptanalysis and was able to break the cipher and I am able to share this diary with immense historic value with you – the reader.
Journal of Dereck Warden, captain of Hilt Guard
Our task is to explore the lava tubes. There are reports of missing soldiers in one section. Our group consists of Shreya, Zyrus, Winston, Trix and myself. We have started to search through the lava tubes. They look abandoned.
We have found what looks like an entrance into the Catacombs. It seems that someone built a tunnel on the other side. We should explore where it leads.
We are moving to explore this part of the Catacombs. We have found something that might be an entrance to an underground fortress. We have made an encampment in the large cavern.
Zyrus, our sorcerer, blasted the gate open. I have ordered a search of the fortress. It is hard to tell cardinal directions down here, so we decided to call the gate Southern Gate.
The corridors are empty except for cobwebs. We have not found anyone so far. No bodies either. It seems someone left the place in the hurry. However, if that was the case, why was the gate latched from inside? Trix has not returned from his search of the Western side. He was a thief recruited by the Obsidians and cannot be trusted. If he does not return soon I shall send Winston to search for him.
We have been underground far too long. I am not sure whether it is day or night, whether it is day six or seven. It seems that this fortress was built by the Obsidians to protect the secret entrance into Hilt. Where are its inhabitants, though? There are no signs of battle or plague. Winston has not returned from his search for Trix. We should all go search the Western area of the fortress.
Still no sign of Winston or Trix. No signs where the former inhabitants went either. We are sweeping through the Western area of the fortress. I have a bad feeling about this.
Nothing. We have completed the search. No bodies. No blood stains. No exits. We found a treasure room. There were not many valuables, however there was a chest we could not open and no one has found a key that would fit its lock so far. We tried prying it open but we broke a sword during our attempt. We found a diary. Zyrus says that the Obsidians used shard metal to make the lock of the chest and some unknown magic. They were experimenting and trying to find the ultimate protection for valuable relics of the past. We should bring it to the Obsidian Sorcerers for further examination.
We have left the fortress. We should reach the lava tubes soon. We will be standing watch.
No one woke me for my watch. Zyrus went missing during the night. Neither of us knows where and when. Only two of us are left now. I am sending Shreya for help.
I have to pull the chest myself now. The sound of my feet on this cursed floor sounds like gritting teeth. Or maybe the sound is coming from the chest. My imagination is playing tricks on me. I could swear that the chest is looking at me, but it has no eyes. I have reached the tubes, but I am tired. I have to have a rest. I hope that whatever evil was hidden in the Catacombs will not follow me in here.
…After this there was only one note in the journal. It is not coded and it was clearly written by another hand…
Dereck Warden was nowhere to be found when we arrived. There is no sign he had left, yet there is no sign of battle either. He simply disappeared. We have recovered the chest and found this journal next to it and we will transport both to the Obsidian Sorcerers. We also blocked this lava tube. Shreya.
The caravan transporting the chest never reached their destination and the chest was never delivered.
Background music “Lurid Delusion” by Matthew Pablo at www.matthewpablo.com