Ruins of Dalághast

by

AtlasWrites

Chapter 5 -The last days of Dalághast

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A note from AtlasWrites

In this chapter, our heroes set out from Halmstead and begin their quest to search for the fabled city of Dalághast. Along the way, they get a history lesson from Quintus. 

A torrent of ice cold water struck him full in the face. Hulbard bolted upright, spluttering out a string of swear words before his stomach heaved sickeningly. Agony lanced through his eyeballs and back into his brain, nauseating him to his core. He clasped a hand to his face with a deep growl, before peering up through his fingers into the impassive face of a Halmstead guard with a dripping bucket of water in one hand.

“Figure it’s about time you got going” he drawled.

“Urg” Hulbard managed to blurt out as he massaged the bridge of his nose between thumb and forefinger.

It took him a long moment to even remember where he was, his senses only returning to him slowly. He discovered that he was lying on a coarse rug near one of the towering pillars, the hall cast in deep shadow with only the first hints of a grey dawn lancing through a crack between its doors for illumination, all the candles burned out during the night. He also quickly learned that he was shirtless and pondered that revelation for a moment before figuring he must have stripped it off during the night for some reason. Possibly because he’d felt too warm at the time, though he was cold enough now.

Hauling himself upright with a monumental effort, Hulbard found his balance just in time to cringe as the guard emptied the second half of his bucket over Knox, who’d been snoring nearby. The hunter snarled as he jerked awake, stumbled hurriedly to his feet while blinking blearily around at his surroundings while he fumbled for the knife at his belt.

“It’s alright” Hulbard waved him down, “Just a jackass with a bucket of water”.

“Fuck. Me” Knox breathed, drenched hair hanging lank across his features, “Jackass is right”.

“Time to be moving on” the guard reiterated.

“Heard you the first time” Hulbard snapped, “Now get lost before I take that bucket off you and make you wear it”.

He departed, leaving the two to recover as best they could. Movement brought his head up as Quintus and Shankhill emerged down the staircase leading to their quarters. One looked his usual self, while the other looked half drunk still, wobbling on shaking knees as he tottered down the steps.

“G’morning” the Sorcerer nodded in their direction.

“Is it?” Knox moaned, “Because I feel like someone kicked me in the guts”.

“Where’s Trastgor?” Hulbard asked, words slurring as his thick tongue clumsily formed them, “And Semekt?”

“The Kurgal departed after midnight” Quintus told him, striding across the chamber with his staff in hand and pack slung over one shoulder. “I believe he wanted to see the temple and unless I’m mistaken, Semekt joined him”.

“What’s the bets he’s already burned the place down and ransacked it?” Shankhill’s voice was a dry, dusty croak.

“Not as good as him snapping your neck if he heard you say that” Knox mumbled.

Just then, a doorway to one side of the staircase swung open and Skye wandered into the hall. She was glassy eyed from her night of revelry and only half heartedly making an effort to smooth down her wild mane of golden hair as she went, her crumpled robes looking like they’d only been hastily flung on a moment before. Hulbard frowned as he suppressed a sudden surge of discomfort at the sight, especially when he knew that the doorway she’d just arrived through led to the guard’s quarters. Instead, he found his shirt lying nearby, plucked it up and wandered towards the doors, his stomach lurching violently every step of the way.

Outside, in the chill morning air, he found what he’d been looking for; the horse trough he’d seen to one side of the keep earlier the previous day. Dipping his hands into it, Hulbard cupped them together and lifted them to his lips, drinking deep. It tasted like burnt sawdust on his parched tongue, but he drank as much as he could. Gasping in a breath, he set his hands on the trough’s edges and plunged his head into the ice cold water, the shock hitting him like a brick.

Dragging his head back out of the trough, he shook out his shoulders, whipping his long dreadlocked hair through the air to spray water in every direction. An unpleasant wake up call, but it was more than he’d been offered with other hangovers and he’d often woken up in worse places and in worse shape. At least this time, he’d kept his pants. Still, his heart thundered in his ears, sending fire through his skull as he returned to the hall and brushed past the others, making his way up to his room in a sick daze.

He gathered his things and donned his armour with deliberate slowness, buying as much time as he could to let his mind recover from the previous night. Despite everything, it felt good to be back in his armour. When he returned back to the main hall, Quintus was lounging in the same seat from the night before with an infuriatingly smug smirk, while Shankhill sat beside him with his head cradled in his hands. Skye slumped on a stool to one side, staring into space like someone who hadn’t slept much since last he’d seen her. Hulbard kicked Shankhill’s chair in passing, making him grunt.

“ We need to get a list of equipment and supplies together” the armoured man told him, “We need enough food to last us a lot longer than what we have at the moment. This doesn’t seem like any old ruin so we’ll need to be as prepared as we can be when we leave Halmstead”.

It took Shankhill a pathetically long time to produce a parchment and quil, but when he did, Hulbard continued.

“Alright, we’re going to need a handful of torches. We can use our old lanterns but we need new wicks for them and oil, so grab plenty of both if they can be found here. We could do with a good length of rope, thirty or forty feet if we can find it, and a new grapple head as well”.

“Arrows” Knox chimed in.

“Arrows” Hulbard repeated, “And a good, solid whetstone for the blades. We already have bandages, a needle and plenty of thread so don’t worry about those. We could do with a few fresh pairs of socks though”.

“Got it” Shankhill scribbled them all down, before thoughtfully pursing his lips, “If we can find some sort of pack mule for a halfway decent price, we should probably pick it up. Save our backs”.

“We’ll need some herbs as well” Quintus said, “But I’ll compose my own list and send Skye to the apothecary to collect them”.

“Huh?” she hummed, looking up for the first time in a stupor, but nobody bothered responding to her as the girl scratched her head with furrowed brows.

“You know where we’re going?” Hulbard asked the Sorcerer instead.

“Cervanus and I spoke at length about the route last night” Quintus told him, “I jotted down as many landmarks as I could on a map of mine. We shouldn’t go astray”.

“Good” Hulbard nodded, already feeling the haze hanging over his thoughts starting to dissipate as some semblance of order reasserted itself, “I’ll go grab Trastgor and Semekt, then we’ll wait for you by the main gate”.

“I’ll go with Skye and Knox” Shankhill said, rolling up his list and stuffing it inside his shirt, “See if a little haggling won’t wake me up”.

“Why am I getting dragged along?” the archer frowned.

“Actually, good point” Shankhill sighed as he stood, “You go get the two animals. Hulbard can come with me to carry all the heavy shit I don’t want to”.

“Pfft, knew I’d get landed with something dumb” the armoured man sighed.

“No point asking Quintus to carry anything” the man flashed a grin, “He looks like he can barely carry himself, let alone provisions. I’ve never much seen the point of trying to pull a wagon yourself when you have an ox to do it for you”.

“Huh” Hulbard stared down at him, “That’s very close to my own philosophy. Remind me to tell you about it someday when I don’t want to throttle you”.

“I’ll keep an eye out for that faithful day, my friend. But for now, we have provisions to secure”.

Stepping out into the dull grey dawn a minute later, Hulbard stifled an acrid belch. He had a pounding headache and felt likely to throw up at any given second, but it still seemed as good a morning as any to start an adventure.

They departed Halmstead under a lead grey sky and Quintus led them north east to another ancient, weather worn roadway of cracked pale stone. The wide, open plains surrounding the capital city caravan fell away, replaced instead by sweeping valleys hemmed in by ridges of sheer, razor sharp stone and carpeted with thick forests. They were connected by narrow, winding passes that rose and fell like the waves on an ocean, cresting where the wind blew cold enough to make even Hulbard shiver in his armour.

They hadn’t been expecting much, so it came as no surprise when they discovered nothing made by human hands in those high passes; no towns, no farms, not so much as a hunting cabin despite the ripe pickings for a prosperous forestry trade. Instead, they only found a deeper wilderness than before, rife with hidden pitfalls and deep crags. Even the moss shrouded stone underfoot proved unreliable as they often fell away, lost beneath the thick plant life shrouding the forest floor. This forced the group to scout the area, sometimes for hours at a time, before they could pick back up the trail.

The wilderness was nothing new to any of them but the terrain was difficult enough to force Shankhill and Quintus to call a halt several times a day to catch their breath. Knox chafed at these delays as their already painstaking progress slowed to a crawl through the more thickly wooded valleys. Despite this, the archer’s time was well spent during those long, exhausting days. He hunted anything that moved with his bow in an effort to preserve their rations and even spent hours fishing the lakes and rivers of the upper valleys. He returned from these expeditions with a variety of game ranging from fat bellied trout to lean hares, plump pheasants and just about anything else he could get his hands on.

Nobody was surprised when it began to rain on the third day. The boughs of the ancient trees were so thick overhead that they naturally sheltered them from the worst of the elements, though the change in the weather still left their already flagging spirits diminished. They travelled by as much daylight as they could, bedding down each night in whatever meagre cover they could find and rising with the dawn to be on their way again.

It was nearing midday on the sixth day when they crested the peak of a steep and winding slope. Beyond, the trail dropped away into a murderously steep descent across open ground pock marked with spurs of dull grey slate stabbing through the surface, slick and shiny in the misting rain.

The floor of the valley below was split from left to right by a wide ravine, its edges crowded with overhanging shrubs and vines. A narrow bridge of strange, blue stone with crenulated sides spanned the gap, while the remnants of a tower stood watch over the scene from a ledge of stone on the opposite side of the gulf. While the bridge looked sturdy enough to have been constructed the previous week, the tower had long since collapsed in upon itself, leaving little beyond what looked like its lower third still standing.

“Finally!” Shankhill huffed as he sat down on a nearby boulder worn smooth by the passing centuries, “Some sign of life in this forsaken place”.

“Scarcely counts since I wouldn’t imagine the place has been occupied in a few centuries” Quintus muttered, stroking his beard as he gazed down into the valley. “That stone came from the far north, dragged up from beneath the snow and ice towards the latter end of Dalághasts’ reign”.

“You can tell that from this distance?” Shankhill asked sceptically, squinting through the rain.

“I’ve never seen anything from Dalághast in person the Sorcerer replied, “I only know of these things from pictures and descriptions in books, but I’d bet a lot of money that I’m right on this one”.

“Not another morsel of knowledge from Eirik’s pet then?” Knox asked as he stalked up behind them.

“I know considerably more about Dalághast than Cervanus” Quintus replied sharply. “But this is one of his landmarks. We’re on the right path, at least”.

“You should teach Skye about the place” Hulbard suggested.

“And why would I waste my time on such a futile effort?”

“In case you drop dead of a heart attack or something” Hulbard smirked wryly, “At least then we wouldn’t be completely blind”.

“Wishful thinking” Quintus glared at Skye before unwittingly mirroring her words from back at The Hunters Rest, “She wouldn’t get that lucky”.

Catching her eye over the man’s spindly shoulder, Hulbard winked, keeping a straight face with difficulty as she smirked knowingly.

“Well, don’t leave us in the dark” Shankhill prompted as he pushed himself upright and shook out his aching limbs, “We can trade roles for a while. Regale us with the true story of Dalághast and I’ll torment Skye in your stead”.

“You already do that” she told him scornfully.

“Clearly not enough” he grinned.

“Another time” Quintus said firmly, “Right now, all I want to do is get a closer look at that stone”.

“Lead the way” Knox told him, “Before we all catch pneumonia standing around up here”.

There was a strangely unsettling quality to the stone that Hulbard couldn’t place, but it left him feeling uneasy. It was eerily smooth to the touch and was clearly not native to Volyumenth’s grey mountains, unless it had been hauled from somewhere deep beneath the earth nearby. Despite this slim possibility though, something about the stone made him think that Quintus was right; that it had come from some far distant land, hauled there by a civilisation as old as the recorded word.

He’d paused just after crossing the bridge to look up at the ruin squatting overhead. The sight seemed lost on Shankhill, who stood by his side and peered in the opposite direction towards the dark horizon, shivering miserably in the wind whipping at his leather cloak.

Quintus moved among the stones with a spring to his step, eyes bright and hungry as he poked around the towers crumbling remains like he’d just stumbled across a treasure trove. Skye was dragged along in his wake, looking more annoyed than likely to share her Master’s newfound enthusiasm. As he stooped to examine a fallen chunk of stone, she puffed out her cheeks in a sigh, raked her drenched hair back from her face and cast a bored glance around.

Hulbard rolled his shoulders in his armour, settling the considerable weight of his pack across them in a more comfortable position and tried to catch word of what the old man was saying.

“Do you see this?” Quintus asked, only to be rewarded for his efforts with a blank stare from Skye.

He scoffed at her ignorance and returned his gaze to the stonework before them, reaching out a hand to stroke a block surrounding its still intact archway. His disappointment in her didn’t last long though.

“This stone was touched by Sorcery” Quintus told her, “Centuries ago. Whether to carve it, or aid in transporting it here, I don’t know but a sliver of power remains in this place. Any legends regarding Dalághast spoke of stone such as this but I never expected to see it for myself. And, if half of what I read about this place turns out to be true, this stone is nothing compared to what was used in the city itself”.

And there it was, Hulbard couldn’t help thinking; the reason Shankhill had acquired the Sorcerer’s services so long ago. For all his faults, Quintus tended to know what he was talking about when it came to the arcane, whereas everyone else in their little band of heroes remained blissfully ignorant of the area. Turning away from the old man and his hapless apprentice, he couldn’t help glancing at the blue tinged stone standing nearby, spanning the gorge. Vainly, he tried to imagine a city built of such a stone, but it only left him feeling strangely disconnected from reality. Shuddering, he pushed the thought aside.

It got dark early that night and they were quick to bed down in a shallow hollow, where Knox managed to coax a fire to life on a shelf of sheltered stone. The rock surrounding them reflected both the flames light and heat, creating a surprisingly cosy alcove for the group to rest in, despite the rising wind outside. It whistled through the peaks, battered its way through the tree branches and filled the air with a cacophony of rustling leaves. The rain continued to fall, pittering and pattering against the wild vegetation, adding to the symphony of the stormy night.

Hulbard sat close to the flickering flames, hunched over his emptied backpack and squinting down at it as he worked to sew up a small hole in one of its corners, where it had been snagged by a branch earlier. It was a tedious task and he wasn’t much good with it, but considering the weight he was trusting the pack to carry, he knew it was better to tend to it now instead of waiting for it to get worse. The bag’s contents were neatly stacked to one side, alongside an empty bowl that had been filled with stew only a short time before.

Knox lay propped up on his own backpack to one side, long legs stretched towards the flames and arms folded across his chest with his hands tucked into his armpits for warmth. He was set to take watch after Semekt, who had likely slithered up a nearby tree, in a few hours and seemed to be making the most of his time before that task. The hunter would take over for a few more hours before Hulbard would keep the watch until dawn.

It was always the same, more or less, no matter where they’d travelled together. In more populated areas, they tended to double up the guard, though that hardly seemed necessary on the very edges of Volyumenth’s feral territory. Quintus’ eyes weren’t much good for the task at night and both Shankhill and Skye had been found asleep on watch so many times in the past that they’d been discounted from the role entirely. That left the burden to be divided between Hulbard, Semekt, Knox and Trastgor.

The Kurgal could take it easy for the night but would replace one of the others on the next shift, giving each of them a full night’s rest in turn. He sat opposite Hulbard now, his horned head bowed over his own assortment of instruments as he fashioned something from a length of coarse string and wooden beads. The fire played across his mask of bone, the hollows of his eyes glimmering eerily in the dancing light. The Sorcerer and his Apprentice sat opposite them huddled against the wall of slate for warmth, though Skye seemed to be keeping her head down in case Quintus decided to launch into one of his lectures. Instead though, the old man seemed content to stare into the steaming cup of tea he held in his gnarled hands

Shankhill sat closest to the fire, practically leaning over the flames with a small mirror held up in one hand and a cut throat razor in the other. A small wooden bowl of steaming water sat by his side, a soapy lather already floating on its surface from his work on the stubble clouding his cheeks. That left the newest and now final member of their team; the ancient and bow backed horse they’d acquired from a farmer in Halmstead with no more need for the beast of former burden. She was a gentle and placid creature, despite her imposing size, tethered now just beyond their firelight. Hulbard heard her paw restlessly at the ground from time to time, likely spooked by the rustling trees surrounding their hollow.

It was Shankhill though, as expected, that broke the comfortable silence.

“Is it time for that tale yet, Quintus?” he asked without looking away from his reflection, the blade scraping and scratching across his cheek. “I’m eager to learn more about this ruin we’re looking for”.

The Sorcerer said nothing as he set his cup aside and pushed himself solemnly to his feet. Looming to his full height above the wavering flames, Quintus suddenly looked every inch the teacher about to begin a lesson, straight backed and proud. When he spoke, his voice was low but still deep enough to be heard over the creaking tree branches and rustling leaves.

“What Cervanus told us in Halmstead was true, but only a very simple and ignorant version of a much larger tale” he began, eyes hooded as he panned them across the group. “Akarth’s Library is rich with lore regarding War, but little else, it seems. He claimed that he kept his explanation short to spare us unnecessary details but while you all drank yourselves into a stupor, I plied him for more information and found that he knew nothing beyond what he’d said. I, however, know a great deal more”.

“Wait” Skye said, brows furrowing, “If we find Dalághast, it’ll be one of the greatest discoveries since the damn place was lost. Why is this under the control of an Akarthian when they barely know what they’re dealing with?”

“I would guess because the other Libraries are either too far away to have felt the stirrings in the tides of Sorcery yet, or are unsure what it means” Quintus answered. “All of this is, after all, a shot in the dark at the end of the day, but an educated one. Dalághast is rumoured to have been around this area and the ruins of other Sorcerer’s still stand testament to attempts made to breach whatever shroud had enveloped it to begin with. Now, with the Tides beginning to shift, it is a logical supposition that the cause for this is the barrier weakening. Akarth is the closest Library and was therefore the quickest to respond”.

Skye nodded thoughtfully and when he saw no more questions forthcoming, Quintus continued with his tale.

“At the beginning of time, before Dalághast was ever even conceived of and when humanity was still new to this world, it was inhabited by an older breed of creature” Quintus explained patiently, every word laden with emphasis, “They are known now by many names, but they were essentially primordial monsters. No two were alike, which makes them nearly impossible to categorize in any meaningful way. What we do know about them is that most were huge beyond the scope of modern comprehension. Those best known to us were the size of mountains, while others were small by comparison but still large enough to dwarf even the largest of our living mammalian species”.

“While these creatures are shrouded in speculation and mystery, their existence is an accepted fact due to evidence left behind of their lives. Humanity and other races lived under their shadows for centuries, doing various things but mostly resigned to squabbling among themselves”.

“That is” he said with enough emphasis to make Shankhill pause in his shaving, “Until a man named Varkalios Colthir appeared. He is widely believed to have been not only one of the first Sorcerer’s, but also the greatest, capable of feats our mightiest masters could only dream about today”.

Hulbard finished tying off the last stitch in his work and set the backpack aside before stretching his cold hands out to the crackling flames. Likewise, Trastgor had paused in his own work to peer up at the Sorcerer with his ears cocked attentively. Even Skye looked like she was listening now as Quintus’ sonorous voice did its melodious work.

“With this power, Varkalios slew one of these great beasts. After that feat, it was easy for him to convince the masses to bow before him and, under his command, they built a monument to his might using the bones of that first fell titan. By the time the others started to notice the ants gathering beneath their feet, it was already too late”.

“With blade and Sorcery, Varkalios began to seek them out and bring them crashing to their knees. He became known as a Godslayer. His legend grew and, with it, the numbers that flocked to his side. He set in motion most of the laws, traditions and ideals that existed into the last days of Dalághast. Varkalios was also a great believer in procreation and there were no shortage of women enamoured by his power, leading to no less than ninety seven offspring if the tales are to be believed”.

That drew a low whistle from Shankhill, and Hulbard couldn’t help smirking at his companion’s reaction.

“These descendants split into several houses, though they were quick to marry back into each other in an attempt to maintain the purity of their Magical heritage”.

That drew a lower, less eager whistle from Shankhill.

“They carried on Varkalios’ work and forged the empire of Varminthir” Quintus continued without acknowledging the sound, “They also made an art out of hunting these primal entities, expanding their borders with each new creature felled. In time, the original rulers of this world began to fade away into half remembered whispers as Varminthir flourished to spread their borders across the known world and ushered in centuries of peace, prosperity and enlightenment”.

“After that, the history books get a little complicated but all you really need to know is that in its prime, the legends describe Dalághast as a truly vast city full of unimaginable beauty and wonder. It had its share of strife and conflict, but it endured for over a thousand years”.

Here, the Sorcerer paused as he seemed to consider his next words, his gaze impassive as he panned it across the group surrounding him. Stirred from the spell of the old man’s voice, Hulbard glanced down at the fire to see that it had burned low. Grunting softly with the pain in his stiff joints, he leaned forward to stoke the flames back into life, watching as the glowing logs crumbled in upon themselves with a soft rustle, spraying embers upwards into the air.

“The fall of Dalághast” Quintus resumed smoothly, “Came after several generations of weak rulers. Multiple assassinations, decades of civil wars and numerous coups followed in their wake. The fact that a successor of the Varkalios line survived at all is something of a miracle, but these events all took their toll on Varminthir and left the empire close to ruin by the time Magnus was born”.

“Following an ambush that left both King and Queen dead, he took their place on the throne at the age of thirteen as the eldest of four children. Despite his youth, Magnus proved his mettle even then. Where most successors of that age had left the duties of their empire in the hands of a delegated council in the past, he set them aside in favour of taking the reins himself. It didn’t take him long to prove himself a capable and fearless leader of men. Apparently, he was something of a prodigy concerning strategic matters both on the field of battle and in the political theatre. Not only this, but he was also extremely skilled and powerful in the Craft, with an insatiable appetite to learn more”.

Quintus paused to turn towards Skye and arch an eyebrow disdainfully. His Apprentice gave the old man a half hearted shrug, before he went on.

“Throughout his teenage years, Magnus brought Dalághast to heel. Several of its territories had broken away from Varminthir to form their own countries once it started to show signs of weakness and had been prowling its borders ever since like jackals eager for the kill. Magnus was quick to show them the error of their ways and bring them back into the fold. After this, once he had restored order to his fractured empire, Magnus turned his attention back to his studies with renewed zeal”.

“Where Cervanus lacked the most information” Quintus said with emphasis, “Was where our target was concerned, ironically. What he called a ‘Star’, was a colossal jewel. We don’t know where it came from, or much about it at all, but what we do know is that Magnus got his hands on it in his early thirties and retreated from the public eye to tinker with the thing. It is believed to be a vast repository of Magical power, but that is speculation at best. As for the flooded docks? It may have been the result of a spell gone awry or it may have been something from beyond the clouds falling to earth at a very convenient time. Either way, nobody can say for certain”.

“And yet you know so much more about this than the person who was sent to investigate it” Shankhill mused, “How does that happen? How do you know these things?”

“There were plenty of authors and poets that lived through the final days of Dalághast and fled the city when they feared their doom was approaching” Quintus spoke as he peered into the flames, “Many wrote about that period, though very few copies exist of their writing. The originals, however, were housed in the Library I tutored in and I managed to secure several sessions to read through them personally”.

His eyes shifted from the flames as Quintus seemed to drag himself back to the present. Somewhere in the distance, Hulbard faintly heard the low, mournful howl of a wolf lilting through the valleys and the sound sent a shiver up his spine. Clearing his throat, the Sorcerer continued.

“Whatever the case may be, shortly after something fell from the sky, crashed into the sea and flooded the docks of Dalághast, the history books go blank. The city simply fell off the face of the world. All trade ceased and every road leading to it suddenly met a dead end of one description or another instead”.

“The world moved on without it, no easy task considering the fact that Dalaghast had been its heart for so long. The greatest Libraries ever founded rested in that place and without them, those Sorcerer’s that came after were forced to create their own as a safe haven for our kind. Many believed that Dalághast had simply been misplaced in some fashion and set to work trying to reach it again. All, to my knowledge, failed. Several even constructed elaborate structures to aid in this task and it is to one of these that we are going now”.

“And that” Quintus clapped his hands, “Is that. Class dismissed”.

“A fanciful tale” Shankhill ventured cautiously, “But I’ve heard many like it”.

“I have held the historical documents myself” the Sorcerer stared down his nose at the man, “In these very hands. They are no mere tales”.

Quintus stepped back from the flickering firelight and slunk into deeper shadow as he returned to his place huddled against the slate wall. Shankhill said no more and instead tossed a fresh log on the fire, poking at the embers thoughtfully with a long bladed knife.

“And what do you think of it all?” Hulbard asked softly as the lingering flames began to lick across the bark, eager to consume the fresh fuel.

“There are many lost cities, but Dalághast stands apart from the others” Quintus told him, stroking his lengthy, braided beard, “The legends surrounding it are nothing short of extraordinary. In its prime, it was said to be so vast that someone could live there their entire lives and not see everything it had to offer. I think that if we can find a way into that place, we’ll be the first souls to set foot there in hundreds of years. Our names will be forever remembered in centuries to come, whether we find this jewel of Magnus’ or not”.

“It is just another ruin” Knox said dismissively without opening his eyes, making Shankhill start at his side. “Whatever happened hundreds of years ago, it is just another empty place for us to trek through. We’ve explored how many of them now? Four? Five?”

“It was the largest city ever built” Quintus said sombrely, “Despite being ‘just another ruin’, it would be foolish to underestimate Dalághast”.

Silence descended among them after that, leaving them all to their own thoughts as the rain pattered, the wind whistled and the wolves howled.

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About the author

AtlasWrites

Bio: Hello all,
I've been writing for as long as I can remember, mostly fantasy though I dabble in science fiction from time to time. I wrote commissioned pieces of work for several years but found that it was taking up so much of my time that I wasn't ever getting a chance to work on my own ideas so, deciding that life is simply too short, I left that chapter of my life behind and began dedicating all my free time to developing my own stories, whether they are short in stature or full scale novels.

At this point in time, I have several projects on the go and I'm mostly just looking for ways to branch out and reach a broader audience.

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