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Memories: Neor’s Bounty

By Andiamo
I should have never listened to Grom. That blundering oaf led us straight into a horde of Gul’thian raiders. Then again, we did locate the old tomb of Mel’tha, although it is perhaps better for no one to find it ever again.
I do not believe that I will survive to see my friends again. So, I make this record for posterity, and hope that the bottle in which I will place this note eventually makes it to the Bay of Raz’thar. A home I hope I will survive to see, unlikely as it is. The place is crawling with raiders and their bloodhounds, and while I can continue to hide in this cave, one step out and they will most surely eat me alive.
It was a week ago that we arrived at the town of Pintherl. Suffice to say, the populace in these lands is of quite the morose sort. Can’t blame them, given the weather here. It just rains all the time. It’s quite a miracle that this entire region isn’t already submerged.
It took us four days on foot, crossing through the marshlands beyond the mountains, to find the old city. The city wasn’t marked on any of the old maps. So how did we know it was there? Well, it was good ol’ Grom that stumbled upon a map embedded within the woodwork of one of those old treasure boxes he was chopping up for recycling.
Greed. It was that greed that brought us here. The prospect of locating the SOURCE of all these treasures was too much to resist.
So here we found ourselves at the dilapidated walls of the old city, just at the break of dawn. It was immense. How could anyone have missed this? Perhaps it was the marshlands that kept this place insulated from the rest of the world.
Trees and bushes were growing all over the old stone buildings, but the walls were in remarkably good shape. Why did such an immense city get abandoned? There were no signs of any damage beyond what nature had inflicted. It was as if everyone just… disappeared.
We followed the map to the heart of the city, what looked like an old temple of sorts, adorned with statuettes and carvings of strange creatures. Perhaps that was the fauna of centuries past, or some sort of mythical beings, we didn’t know. The door to the temple was ajar, so we pushed the heavy wooden door open, and the sight within was one like no other.
In the pale light of dawn, we saw the domed ceiling of the temple glisten, with thousands of gemstones embedded into it. Stained glass windows left a kaleidoscope of colours on the floor, which itself was made of fine mosaic tiles of a multitude of colours. Along the walls were pedestals, on which were placed porcelain urns, golden chalices, bronze axes, jewellery, armour and all manners of exquisite artefacts.
As the sun continued to rise, we saw in the middle of the sanctuary a sarcophagus. This was the tomb itself. I was never one for disturbing the dead, at least not directly. But the others had other plans. Just taking a look, they said.
So while they busied themselves with trying to slide open the sarcophagus, I decided to get productive and start picking up some souvenirs: an old relic, a red feather of some sort, a pocketwatch, some golden coins.
Grom, too, turned out to have made the sensible choice by staying back to fill his bags up. For as the sarcophagus slid open, this terrible screeching noise came from within it. I turned and saw the most horrifying sight of my life. Tentacles reached out from within the sarcophagus, entangling themselves around our friends, all while the screech became ever louder.
The grandeur and beauty of the temple, or what we now know to be a mausoleum, was literally being peeled away right before our eyes. The gemstones embedded in the ceiling fell from their places, raining down like hailstones. At the same time, a black sludge started to erupt from within the sarcophagus, overflowing around its sides and spilling upon the ground.
Our friends… their limbs were ripped from them and flung against the walls, and their bodies were being engulfed by the sludge that was quickly flowing towards us. Despite this, greed ruled. Grom and I continued to try to sweep as many gemstones into our packs, before tying them up and running as quickly as we could out of the mausoleum doors and towards the city gates.
Just as we thought we were safe from whatever monstrosity it was which we had just witnessed, we heard them. The ominous horns of the raiders of Gul’thia. I remember them from my childhood, when a horde raided my village, killing my parents after they hid me behind a false mud wall, smothered with manure to hide me from their bloodhounds.
And now I heard them again, and then we saw them. A horde was coming towards the old city. I was lucky one to have survived a Gul’thian raid. As I write, I’m not sure I will be lucky again. As for Grom, I have no idea where he is. I pray that he successfully escapes.
I hear them close by, now. The grunts of the bloodhounds, the sound of trees and bushes being searched as the raiders sought me out. Of course, they would want nothing of me but my life. But today, I carry with me a bounty that would make its owner a rich man.
If I can’t have this, neither shall they. But to my dear friends in Raz’thar: if we do not meet again, seek out my bounty. There are many caves by this brook, but I will mark the one in which I bury my treasure with the red feather with which I am writing this message.
I leave no family behind. For my greed, I may pay the price of my life.
But by your wisdom, may it not be for naught.
Neor