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The Rising of Aengmor
[Editor's note: This eyewitness account was submitted by Julius Fyodorov, an old friend of Dorrik from Threshold. Julius is an accomplished archaeologist, having obtained a degree at the University of Biazzan in the Empire of Thyatis. This is Julius' first time writing a correspondence for anyone, as it will become clear by his occasional ramblings and changing of subjects. Still, despite Dorrik's suggestion of editing most of it out, I have decided to leave most of it as is, at it helps show the reader Julius' perspective of things.]
I've first seen the Joshuan Almanac last Nuwmont in Kelvin, where I was working on the ruins of the ancient city of Lavv (may Halav protect us all!), and those predictions in the end immediately attracted my notice, especially the one about something arising from "deep below". At first I thought: "Hey! We'll have to dig no more, Lavv will finally raise to the surface", but unfortunately it wasn't so. A few months later my old friend Boldar, a dwarf from Highforge, comes to my home in Threshold and tells me that his uncle Dorrik will be the publisher of the new Almanac and that he thinks that prophecy refers to the city of Aengmor and that they want me to write something about it for the next edition of the Almanac.
At first I thought they wanted me to write about the long history of Aengmor and I accepted with pleasure to help my old friend, so imagine my astonishment when I later realised that they wanted me to go there, in Aengmor I mean, and report on what was happening. OK, I've done a few adventures when I was young, but it was a long time ago. Anyway I draw out my old adventuring gear and headed north-west to "conquer" the inexpugnable city of Aengmor.
Boldar informed me that diviners claimed the city would rise sometime in Fyrmont, but how could I get there, if even an army of dwarves didn't manage to enter the underground city? "No problem", said the new publishers in Mirros, "wait for friends in Corunglain". I waited there, studying the old buildings of ancient "Corun's Glen". Suddenly, one foggy morning, a bunch of noisy gnomes "kidnapped" me from my bed and took me to their city: Serraine. It was the ugliest journey of my life: even today I feel sick recalling that damned journey on that Cloudclipper. Hopefully Halav protected me.
In Serraine, after spending a couple of hours at immigration control, a gnome called Baublebob welcomed me and brought me to the Imperial Hostelry where there was a room reserved for me. Baublebob also told me that he was an old friend of Belzamith, that he knew about my mission and that I was supposed to fly with him in his Tomcat for an aerial observation of the raising city of Aengmor. I was terrified, but I could not refuse, so I started praying to Halav. A few hours later I learned that I wasn't the only reporter here, there were also correspondents from the Glantrian Free Press and the Ierendi Adventures Quarterly. It seems that the Mystaran Almanac is not the only one to use sages, psychics, and diviners to learn what will happen before it does.
On Fyrmont 2, a beautiful cloudless day, the city of Serraine was cruising high above the Broken Lands when at sunset someone noticed an extraordinary volcanic activity in the area known as South Gnollistan, just along the Streel river. Me and Baublebob quickly boarded his flying machine and took off, I had with me also the magnificent gnomish farseeing contraption.
We swiftly descended among burning ashes and squirts of molten lava down to a few hundred yards above ground level in the small canyon between the Sun's Anvil plateau and the mountains to the west, and the sight was both astonishing and terrible: the land was shaking and rumbling. Bubbling water from the Streel river was flooding the nearby rocks before turning into steam. All around screaming gnolls and orcs were trying to flee the falling ashes. Suddenly large cracks opened in the ground and lava started flowing outside burning everything it found in its course: gnolls, orcs, and their villages (or should I say lairs?).
Then a large city emerged in a cloud of smoke. It looked as if the city was floating on lava as Floating Ar does on air (and Serraine too, of course). Some sort of dark bluish magical dome covered the city, protecting it from the ashes and rocks that were falling everywhere else, destroying all they landed upon. Then the magical dome started to fall apart, and the mystical blue energies fell down into the lake of lava beneath the floating city, and had an amazing effect: the lava quickly cooled and solidified, turning the lake into solid ground, anchoring the formerly floating city into place once and for all. So the prophecies were true and Aengmor was now under sunlight after so many centuries.
I started peering at the ancient city with my gnomish contraption: there were many creatures, probably shadow elves, running in the small and tangled streets, most of them were trying to protect their eyes from sunlight, others were crying, a few others were preparing for battle with shining swords in their hands. I had just noticed a strange elf with a purple mark on his face looking desperately at something that he kept in his hand, when the gnome advised me of an incoming threat: several flying beasts (skinwings) mounted by shadow elves were taking off from Aengmor.
Baublebob started manoeuvring to get out of range, but unfortunately something (an arrow? a spell? molten lava?) hit our Tomcat and we were forced to a so-called "crash landing". Thanks to Halav we landed... ehm crashed almost unhurt a few miles south.
The sun was already set, so we decided to spend the night there. I took first watch, while Baublebob started meddling with what was left of his flying machine hoping to build something useful out of it. It was there, on that moonless night, that I met Eleandor, a female shadow elf with long silver hair and a big purplish mark on her forehead. She looked frightened, as if she was fleeing from someone or something. I know a bit of elvish, so I tried to speak to her, but her elvish was quite different from the one spoken by the Callarii. Still, they were a bit similar, and I managed to learn that she was looking for a particular cavern that would allow her to get back to the City of Stars deep beneath the ground. We took shelter in a nearby cave, after driving away a few fearful and panicked orcs. We decided to help Eleandor, for reasons I still don't know why; probably because I felt ashamed of leaving someone looking so helpless and frail alone in an area infested with goblinoids running around in fear.
The trip to the cave to the City of Stars took two days, during which I tried to learn something more about Eleandor and the city of Aengmor. The following is what I learned: Eleandor isn't a common shadow elf, but a member of a particular race recognisable from the purplish mark on her forehead and worshipped by common shadow elves as a messenger of their Immortal, something similar to what happens in the Thothian society. That crystalline dust was part of a bigger amulet, a sort of symbol of power, that she certainly broke during her hazardous escape from the city of Aengmor.
I managed to learn also what she was fleeing, and these aren't really good news for us. The followers of an evil Immortal, probably Atzanteotl but I'm not sure, took control of the city and managed to raise it again to the surface, thus weakening, but I don't know how, the marked-ones like Eleandor. From what she told me it looks as if most of the dwellers of the city of Aengmor are evil, warlike and ready to wage war on the humanoids first and the bordering human nations then. [Ed. Note: Upon questioning Julius again, he is forced to admit that his interpretation of what was said could be wrong. Indeed other investigations show various factions and beliefs within the city. Therefore, the above statement on the attitude and plans of the shadow elves is merely hearsay, and quite possibly an incorrectly translated hearsay as well.] She said that the whole city co- operated to raise the city to the surface, though she and her fellows tried to stop the others until it was too late.
When Aengmor was finally raised, she was forced to leave because she feared for her soul; I didn't understand this very well, but I think it means that she feared that the evil elves in Aengmor have some sort of necromantic power and use it on the bodies of dead people.
We finally arrived safely at the cavern two days later, then left her to proceed on her way to the City of Stars. As a final comment I must say that, if this stuff is as true as it sounds, we should start worrying now about this new threat to humankind. If you thought that Bargle and the Master were the most dangerous thing you could meet in your life, you'll have probably to reconsider all, because these shadow elves from Aengmor (the city) look really nasty as told in the old Alfheim legends. I don't know if the elves in Rafielton are so evil too, but I fear it and hope that the marked elves will help us. [The Editors of this Almanac would like to once more remind the reader that these are solely the opinions of the correspondent, and not necessarily those of the Almanac. The shadow elves are a concern, but one should learn more about them before judging them based on old, superstitious legends. Ed.]
May Halav guide us... we need his help.