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Of the Lore and Legends of Y'hog, City of the Unclean Ones, and of that Raceby Geoff Gander
"The time grows short; they will find me soon. Let not what I have learned be lost in the sands of Time from which I, Khalid Al-Jafar, have found it. What I write here is my lasting testament to the world. Let there be someone who may use what I have written here, for the world's time surely grows short - just as the distance between myself and Those Who Hunt also grows smaller with each passing day. They have found me, and They do not wish any to learn of Their former servants, who must now still lie deep beneath the waves. But the tale must be told, for if not I, then someone must learn, and carry this word to all people, so that the Unclean Ones may never rise again. Let it be known, for as the Unclean Ones remain trapped, those they served, The Outer Ones, still stalk the shadows at night, waiting for the time when the gates shall open once again, and They will be able to roam freely upon this world, as They did in ages past. Enough! I hear already the baying of Their servants! May the cold desert sandstorm shield me from Their view! So must the tale be told.
"I found the following tract 'midst the ruins of Astor-Tzat, that fabled temple that is all but lost to the sand of Sind. I believe it is but a fragment of a larger piece, though only time will tell if this is true. He who has eyes, let him read and understand."
Of the Unclean Ones, and Their Ways
"In ages past there came unto the primal world a people that were unlike any to have existed, or ever to exist, upon its surface. None know how they came, or whether they happened to arise from our own world as such monstrosities of nature sometimes do, though they were here ere the first towers of fabled Lhomarr graced the land, and long before the first men of aged Blackmoor placed stone upon stone.
"Of their aspect we know little, save that they were of reptilian stock, and walked upon two legs. Truly they were a fearsome people, such as they learned to stride and run where they ought instead to slither and crawl. It is known that they built great cities of blackest marble and obsidian, in quantities now unknown to us, on the shores of the primordial seas that were their home. Only fragmentary legends from Blackmoor remain, that tell us of the great ruins that were left in their passing. Of that legendary black marble nothing is known - no one has yet found any upon this world. This has left many of our learned sages to conclude that these people, who became known as the Unclean Ones, had their origins on another world, much as the Alphatians are held by many to be foreigners to our world. Such is believed to be the only way that this mysterious rock found its way here.
"Their black towers cast long shadows upon the land, and there was nowhere where their touch was not felt. Many a living thing today bears in some way the mark of their tampering, a mute testament to their audacity. Their meddling in the ways of the world gave them the name that we know them as today - the Unclean Ones. They are named so because of the unspeakable rites they were said to practice by the light of the young moon and juvenile sun, imploring upon blasphemous powers that should not be named by sane men. Of their invocations and methods we thankfully know nothing, for such knowledge is best left with the Immortals. But in their magicks and sorceries they begat upon the world many horrors of which we now know nothing, save that they once existed. It is said that some of the fouler races, such as the Troglodytes, were created in this manner, products of unholy rituals upon innocent life. Such creatures as remain today are said to be among the most benign of their fiendish creations.
"A fragment of a great treatise by the Blackmoorian mage, Slaan, was discovered in the wastes of old Skothar, amidst such blackened ruins as should not exist in this day and age. It told of a great battle between himself and a sorcerer well-versed in the magicks of the Unclean Ones. The foul sorcerer unleashed upon Slaan a veritable horde of things that should not have been, things that had no right to exist in a sane world. Though the evil one was defeated, and his servitors slain, the great mage suffered serious wounds, from which he never fully recovered. Such was the evil nature of the enchantments of the Unclean Ones. Of the descriptions of these beasts Slaan said nothing, and went peacefully to his grave without sharing his hideous secret. Surely they must be such as to drive the strong mind unto the darkest vaults of terror."
Of Black-Tow' red Y'hog, Source of Corruption
"There was but one other element in this tract of that great mage of aeons past, that told of the nightmare-steeped city of Y'hog, wherein the Unclean Ones dwelt and spread their pestilence across the virgin world. Of this city there is thankfully no trace, as it sank beneath the waves before the time of the Great Rain of Fire, though the lands which it neighboured still bear the mark of its passing. For in olden days, the black city stood upon a marshy island, nestled between what we now call the Far Mountains and the northwestern coast of the Urr-ath, with brooding peaks at its centre. Nestled 'twixt the great arms of these peaks, before a deep bay reaching north into what we now call the Middle Sea, lay Y'hog. Of great size it was, with walls nearly fifty feet tall, and so wide that three horsemen could ride aside each other along their tops. The gates themselves were of purest steel, and graven with images that no mind must conceive, lest the ponderer flee unto the depths of madness. Of its teeming hordes we know naught, save that they were either of the stock of the Unclean Ones, who ruled with tyranny, or of the lower servitors, of whom the Troglodytes were members.
"Y'hog was a great port city, rivalling even Ecthelonius in long-dead Thonia, with its 100 quays and warehouses. Y'hog was the far greater port, fabled to have over 2000 quays, and 500 warehouses, laden with goods from piracy the world over. Great statues were said to line its dark boulevards and plazas, all of the various Beings worshipped by these unsavoury ones. Of these Gods we now little, save from ancient tomes rescued from the crumbling ruins of Astor-Tzat in the Sind Desert. These books tell us of a veritable pantheon of blasphemies, from Akh'All the Unmentionable, to Rasthz the Many-Mouthed, even unto their greatest god: He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Seen. All of these received their ghastly due upon sacrificial altars throughout the city. Such was the fate of those captured on the many raids of the Unclean Ones, or those who ventured too close to their shores.
"From the accounts of Brell, in his fabled siege of Y'hog, we know today that, in many ways, that city was much like those in which we live. There were markets, homes, shops, and temples. Only with the knowledge we have now do we realise that, beyond this, Y'hog was of a different world. It was from the Great Temple of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Seen that the evil of the Unclean Ones was brought forth, where their priests ruled, and where they laid their plans. For our own salvation, we know that this evil edifice was lain to waste by that selfsame siege by Brell, though he and his Lhomarrian fellows perished for their deeds, and fabled Lhomarr itself was drowned in a day. That is another story."
Of the Destruction of Y'hog and the Immortals' Anger
"It is said that the disease wrought by Y'hog was finally put to an end by the Great Rain of Fire. So say Myliehrian the Aged of Shieldtree, and Flavius Aurellus of Julinius. These learned sages are wrong, for the truth behind the destruction was the anger of the Immortals over the destruction of the blessed land of Lhomarr, which was consumed by the waves, emboldened by the foul magicks of the Unclean Ones. Such was their anger that they condemned Y'hog and its now-nameless island to the same watery grave that the Unclean Ones, in their audacity, had made for their enemies, the Lhomarrians. Their fate was not quick, for they were rooted to their land as plains gave way to swamps, and swamps to open sea. Try as they may, the Unclean Ones could not leave their island, for, in leaving their land behind them, they saw it come once again across the bowsprits of their ships. By the time Blackmoor had risen and fallen, Y'hog lay in the depths of the Middle Sea, where that water meets the Far-End Ocean. So ends the tale of Y'hog and the Unclean Ones, long may they stay in the depths from which they surely came."
Information (for DMs only!!)
The above information may be presented to players, in the form of a dusty scroll, a piece of torn papyrus, or in whatever form you wish. It was designed to have a kernel of truth at its centre, but lacking in vital details. It does not mention the name of the island of the Carnifex, nor does it say where Lhomarr once lay. In fact, the details are so surprisingly accurate, that many PCs would probably be inclined to doubt the contents. The references to the "Middle Sea", the "Far Mountains", and "Urr-ath" are also intended to be vague. The Middle Sea is what we now know as the Izondian Deep, the Far Mountains corresponds to the Arm of the Immortals, and Urr-ath is an ancient name for Davania. The original author of this tract was named Teleph-Khaa, a priest at the great temple of Astor-Tzat. It was written in BC 500 (AY 500), not long after the Alphatians had come to Mystara, and hence the reference to them. It was originally a voluminous piece of work, being an ancient tome of about 800 pages, all on the subject of the Y'hog and Lhomarr, and a detailed account of the war between them. It also contained speculation as to Lhomarr's original location on the surface (which, if this part of the work were discovered, would be surprisingly accurate).
The PCs' Tract
As for the writer of the paper that the PCs discover, the above information is correct. Khalid Al-Jafar was born in AC 178 to a family of nomadic herdsmen in what is now southern Ylaruam. Always interested in history and the obscure, he left home as soon as he was able, and, after receiving a dream (a message from Ixion) instructing him to head west into the Sind desert, he discovered the ruins of Astor-Tzat in AC 218. There, he found a fragment of the tract of Teleph-Khaa, and found that he could read it (another "gift" from Ixion). He then made his way back to Ylaruam to study the work in detail. All of this was a plan by Ixion to have the knowledge of the Carnifex of Y'hog reach mortals once again, for he knew that, some day soon, they would break free of their prison. After studying the obscure work for five years, Khalid became aware of strange beings following his every move, and it was not long before he deduced that they were sent by the Outer Beings formerly worshipped by the Carnifex. He believed that the Outer Beings did not wish to have knowledge of the Carnifex or Lhomarr spread among the surface peoples. He was correct, and it was not long after he wrote this version of the tract, in AC 225, that he abruptly disappeared one night from his town, amidst the sounds of roaring and baying inhuman voices. His body was never found, and is even now enduring an eternal torment in the home dimension of the Outer Beings. Fortunately, his manuscript survived, ultimately to end up wherever the DM wishes it to. It should pique their interest in a world that was long dead when Blackmoor was new. The information below provides you, the DM, with the real story of Y'hog.
The Carnifex of Y'hog and Their Practices
To begin, the beings known as the Unclean Ones were in fact a degenerate, amphibious branch of the Carnifex. They measured between 5 1/2 to 6 feet in height, and were of a very slender build. Their bodies were covered in tiny greenish-grey scales, their hands and feet were clawed, and their jaws were filled with rows of sharp teeth - which were often used to rend and tear their sacrifices, often while the victim was still alive. Never a very fecund race, their numbers were confined largely to their island home, and a few scattered colonies in Brun and western Davania.
Of their practices, the legend is truthful. The Carnifex of Y'hog indulged in all sorts of evil rituals, in order to create their servitors, such as the Troglodytes, and to perform their spells, often of an elemental or necromantic nature. Their dabblings in the forces of nature, and their deeds, justly earned them the name "Unclean Ones". As a race, they interacted seldom with foreigners, save for ritualistic purposes (see above), and in their numerous acts of piracy and conquest. Many a people in western Brun and Davania has ancestral tales concerning foul lizard men looting and burning the villages of their ancestors. The Troglodytes and other servitors were the actual warriors, the Carnifex being too frail for that sort of thing.
Y'hog and Environs
The tale is also true in its telling of the approximate location of the island of Y'hegg-T'uhath, upon which Y'hog, and other Carnifex cities, stood and grew. The description of Y'hog is accurate - its walls were that big, and its port was of that size. Plunder was not the only thing passing along its quays, however, as there was also a brisk slave trade with less savoury peoples now lost to the mists of time. The island is also visible on the precataclysmic outer world map, where there is an island between the Arm of the Immortals and northwestern Davania, but it is not present on the modern map. I have simply made that island the island of Y'hegg-T'uhath.
Information concerning the Lhomarrians will be given in a later supplement, but suffice it to say here that they belong to a fourth sub-race of humanity, which vanished from the surface world when Lhomarr sank. In appearance, they are of average height, with brown eyes and dark brown hair being the most common colouration, although blue or green eyes and reddish brown hair are not unknown among them. Their skin is generally an olive complexion, much like the Milenians or the Thyatian peoples - attributable to the location of Lhomarr and their constant exposure to the sea. While they existed on the surface, they were renowned for their seafaring, exploring, and combat skills.
A timeline summarising their rise and fall is below:
BC 10000: The ancestors of the Carnifex of Y'hog arise in the swampy region at the source of the Adakkian Sound. Soon afterwards, they migrate towards the northwest, but remain isolated from other members of their race. On the whole, they are inferior to their fellows, having a much-reduced talent for spellcasting. They do not take part in the wars between the other Carnifex and the Immortals. Because of their relative inferiority, they are not seen as a threat by the Immortals, and thus avoid imprisonment.
BC 9000: The Carnifex arrive on the island that is to be their home, just after the last major conflict with the Immortals had passed. They name their island Y'hegg-T'uhath.
BC 8700: The Carnifex are well-established. Y'hog has already been standing for some 250 years, and other cities are built elsewhere on the island. By this time they also begin the practice of sacrificing foreigners to their gods.
BC 8500: Carnifex mages rediscover their brethren's secrets of manipulating life forms. The first blasphemous creations are produced soon afterwards.
BC 8300: Carnifex society has evolved to its highest form. The Carnifex themselves occupy the top echelon of society, with Troglodyte and other servitors performing the common tasks. Decadence soon sets in.
BC 8250: The first extensive raids upon foreign settlements are conducted. The Carnifex grow rich from their plunder. Colonies are established on the western coasts of the Arm of the Immortals and Davania, as well as underwater. Emissaries from Lhomarr arrive in Y'hog, seeking to open cordial relations. After a sumptuous feast, drugged with sleeping poisons, the diplomats are sacrificed.
BC 8100: The colonies on Davania grow mighty, and development there divergs from the rest of Carnifex civilisation. These beings take to living underground, and begin building great subterranean cities. Those on Brun and underwater are less successful, many destroyed by the elements, or by local inhabitants.
BC 7900: The first of a series of wars erupts between Lhomarr and the Carnifex of Y'hog. Many early nations lying between the two realms, primarily on Davania, face the brunt of the hostilities. As a result, large areas of the continent are laid to waste over the next 400 years.
BC 7500: Carnifex magics have become potent enough that actual communication is now possible with their imprisoned masters, the Beings from Beyond. Lhomarr, almost broken from the strain of constant war, allies with other human nations for a final crusade against the "Unclean Ones".
BC 7465: Azhat-Ith, the largest Carnifex city on Davania, falls to the Lhomarrian-led crusaders, after a three-year siege. All of the inhabitants, primarily Troglodytes and Carnifex, are put to the sword. Soon afterwards, the hinterlands of that colony fall into human hands. It is upon this site that the Milenian city of Kastelios will be built far into the future, under which the catacombs of Azhat-Ith remain untouched.
BC 7380: By this time the entire northwestern region of Davania has been freed of Carnifex influence. Human settlement of this region begins, primarily by those whose ethnic stock would later be called "Oltec".
BC 7200: After over a century of quiet, the Carnifex of Y'hog send an invasion fleet to the shores of Davania. Coastal cities in the northwest soon fall to the invaders, and those not slaughtered in the wild orgy of killing are sacrificed on the spot.
BC 7180: The Lhomarrian colony of Eldamir, built upon the site of Azhat-Ith, is surrounded by a horde of Troglodyte slave-warriors and Carnifex mages. Otherwise, the Carnifex advance is halted.
BC 7178: After a two-year siege, the starving inhabitants of Eldamir surrender to their enemies. None survive. Eldamir is given its old name and is repopulated by Troglodytes and Carnifex.
BC 7153: Azhat-Ith is once more besieged, and this time it is razed by the furious Lhomarrians. None shall settle here until the Milenians found Kastelios.
BC 7140: Once again the northwestern coast of Davania is cleansed of enemy forces and occupants, and resettlement begins. No trace of the earlier Oltec colonists is found. These had, in fact, fled earlier to what is now Brun, to the region now known as the Atruaghin Clans.
BC 7037: A great naval force is assembled at Valannir, on the northwesternmost section of the Davanian coast. Led by Brell, a legendary general of the Lhomarrian army, the force prepares to invade Y'hegg-T'uhath, and destroy Y'hog.
BC 7036: The force crosses the narrow expanse of water to Y'hegg-T'uhath, and lands on the southern coast. From here, they loot and burn the city of T'Kach, killing all of the inhabitants they can find. The Carnifex wizards and priests in Y'hog are alarmed that their island has actually been invaded. They attempt to contact their gods, but to no avail. Their gods have, in fact, abandoned them to their fate.
BC 7035: The port city of Az' Ath, on the eastern coast of the island, falls to Brell's forces. It meets a similar fate as T'Kach.
BC 7034: The far western city of Yian-Xoth is destroyed, as is the northern port of R'lzakh.
BC 7033: Y'hog is surrounded by Brell's forces. He sends an emissary to demand their surrender, whereupon mercy might be given. The emissary is sacrificed in open view of the Lhomarrians.
BC 7031: After two years of skirmishes and sorcerous contests, the legendary siege of Y'hog succeeds. The main gates are broken down, and Brell's crusaders charge into the city, killing in a frenzy of hatred and bloodlust. Within four hours, Y'hog's defenders are forced to retreat to the Great Temple, and from there into the catacombs beneath. On the surface, the crusaders destroy as many artifacts and items of the blasphemous gods as they can find, and raze all of the lesser temples. The crusaders, satisfied that their enemies are defeated, leave for Davania after looting the Great Temple.
BC 7029: A final host of Carnifex and their minions, at the behest of their gods, carry out a perverse crusade of their own. They land upon the shores of Davania, and raze many seaside villages there. The gods of the Carnifex have, for the most part, abandoned their worshippers, and have used what power they can freely exercise while in their prisons to plant suggestions into the leading Carnifex priests. They do not care about what happens to these creatures; their only goal is to hurt their rivals, the Immortals, where it counts - through their worshippers. This is merely an act of vengeance.
BC 7027: The Battle of Pelenzor takes place in a great valley which is now long buried by the Izondian Desert. Brell is slain by the foul sorcery of the Carnifex, and much of his army is routed.
BC 7025: By this time the remnants of the Lhomarrian crusaders have been pushed back to the eastern coasts of Davania, onto the Cestian Peninsula. There, they gather reinforcements from the Lhomarrian colonies nearby, and gain renewed strength. The Battle of Okhtor Pass is fought on the neck of land joining Cestia to the rest of Davania, in which a sizeable portion of the Carnifex host is turned back.
BC 7024: Despite their bravest efforts, the Lhomarrians cannot hold the peninsula, and are forced back to Lhomarr. This is not before a Carnifex artifact, given to them by their gods long ago, is destroyed by the surviving crusaders. This artifact helped channel the Outer Beings' mental energies, so that they could influence the thoughts of those who possessed it. In their wrath over this loss, and at the consistent failures of their minions to destroy Lhomarr, they decide to take matters into their own hands.
BC 7022: The Outer Beings pool their energy to create a breach in their prisons, one which lasts long enough to direct their powers unhindered towards Lhomarr, the perpetual thorn in their sides. The waves rise up and smash the small continent, earthquakes destroy its cities, and, within one day and one night, Lhomarr vanishes beneath the sea. Before the entire civilisation is destroyed, Ka the Preserver gathers several villages' worth of people, from all walks of life, and sends them to the Hollow World, to the continent of Suridal. There, they begin the process of rebuilding their realm.
BC 7020: In retaliation for the Outer Beings' acts, and for the actions of the Carnifex, the Immortals decide that such beings cannot roam free to lay waste to the world, or to enslave its people. They decide to make the Carnifex face the same fate as their former enemies, the Lhomarrians, who were liked by many Immortals. Instead of sinking their island immediately, they make the Carnifex suffer through their fate. Over the next 100 years, the island of Y'hegg-T'uhath slowly sinks into the sea, while those living on its surface are unable to leave it. Those sailing away from it are teleported by the Immortals such that, as Y'hegg-T'uhath vanishes behind them; it appears once again before the bows of their ships. Realising they cannot escape, the Carnifex retreat into the catacombs of ruined Y'hog (it was never rebuilt after the hostilities).
BC 6000: By this time most memories of the Carnifex, Y'hog, and Lhomarr have faded into legends, and vague ones at that. Davania is largely uninhabited, and many of the ruins of the civilisations occupying it have crumbled to dust. Only the remnants of the sturdiest Lhomarrian and Carnifex cities and fortresses are still recognisable for what they are, and few of those survived the wars.
BC 5000: No one now remembers the Carnifex or the Lhomarrians. In the Hollow World, the Lhomarrians have built a vibrant, peaceful civilisation, one that is eager to explore its surroundings. It has made contact with the Brute-Men and some Neathar tribes, but no one else (they do not know that no one else is here, yet). On the surface, some descendants of the Carnifex colonists of Davania roam the caverns of the Adakkian Mountains, but their number is small, and they have grown to fear the surface world. Underwater, the city of Y'hog has been rebuilt by the Carnifex, who, because of their amphibious nature, have survived the sinking. They find they still cannot venture far from what was once their island, nor can they reach the surface. Instead, they brood in their city, planning vengeance.
BC 3000: The Great Rain of Fire occurs. Many Carnifex citadels underneath the Adakkian Mountains are destroyed by the earthquakes, reducing that group to the merest fragment of its former self. Y'hog also sustains some damage.
AC 400: The Lhomarrians have explored large areas of the Hollow World by this time, exploring most of the coasts of Iciria, and even venturing as far as the polar openings. They have made contact with the Nithians (with whom they trade sporadically); the Antalians (with whom they have infrequent wars); the Kogolor dwarves (who are occasional trading partners); the Krugel Orcs (who fear the Lhomarrians, and will not attack them); the Milenians (who also trade with them); and the Merry Pirates (whom they find interesting, if slightly amusing). They have no interest in the Azcans (who killed their envoys), and have not passed by the lands of the Traladarans since before they came to the Hollow World. Apart from this, however, the Spell of Preservation keeps their civilisation largely within the territorial waters of Suridal (they occupy about one-third of its territory, and are its only civilised inhabitants). This suits them fine, as they are peaceful, and have no imperial leanings.
AC 1000: The present day. The Carnifex of Y'hog, confined within their undersea prison, begin experimenting with magics that might weaken the hold of the Immortals, and allow Y'hegg-T'uhath to rise to the surface once again. Their relatives in Davania have recovered somewhat, but remain much more primitive than their fellows in Y'hog.
AC 1008: Some Lhomarrian adventurers succeed in making a trek through the southern polar opening, but have forgotten the way back. They find themselves in a cold land, with blue skies, and a yellow sun.
AC 1010: The Carnifex of the Adakkian Mountains begin rebuilding their civilisation in earnest, after their priests receive messages from a disguised Atzanteotl in their sleep. He promises them dominion over all they survey, to the farthest coasts of Davania. Seeing his message as a ray of hope for their declining people, the priests eagerly obey Atzanteotl's every wish. He now has a new set of servants on the surface world.
AC 1015: Tales are told in Kastelios, Raven Scarp, Garganin, and other Davanian ports of brave, swarthy, strangely-dressed adventurers defeating great monsters, but speaking a language no one understands. Those that have met them learn that they speak an archaic dialect of Milenian, as well, and have learned from them that they come from a land called "Lhomarr", which no one has heard of before. They are believed to be insane by most people.
AC 1025: Word spreads in the ports of Davania of groups of "lizard men" roaming the Adakkian Mountains, and strange buildings of black stone being built up on the peaks.