Cave Paintings

By DystoJ.


In my studies I have come upon some fascinating findings which, I suspect, may in time have a great bearing on the balance of power in this place we call Bridgeworld. Most of my fellow inhabitants have become consumed by the pursuit of wealth and the navigating of insufferable politics. While I certainly do not intend to follow suit, I would be remiss to ignore consequential evidence that has come to my attention.

In the course of our expedition into the icy ascent of the northern mountains, we made some fascinating geological observations that seem consistent with previous studies of samples from the low canyons. Layers of sediment in the alpine environment bear striking similarity to those found in the old sea beds. Our hypothesis is that the history of geologic activity in Bridgeworld is far older and more complex than we imagined.

Furthermore, in seeking shelter from the snowstorm of the seventh night, we stumbled upon a cave that, while clearly untouched for generations, was home to remarkably detailed murals. The artistic style there is like nothing I’ve seen before, generally darker and with harsher lines, a product perhaps of a more crude or dangerous world. But what is most disturbing and fascinating are the depictions of things and events completely foreign even to the historians in the group. Fairy tales, perhaps. But we cannot rule out the possibility that someone or some community used that place to record their own experiences.

The two most prominent images I describe here:

Mural 1: Ten monstrous creatures command attention, distributed loosely across the overall image. They are not painted with great detail, but enough that it is clear they are unique. Some appear to have people and even structures atop their backs. Each includes a round background of a different color, calling to the imagination words like “aura” and “spirit.” They are additionally accompanied by some symbol of nature, and an inscription in written symbols unknown to our members. Etched lines extend out from each to the others, drawn between them but extending beyond as well, to the boundary of the overall image. Depictions of landscape and geography appear along the paths, drawn larger at each point where the lines intersect. In a couple of rare cases, large artificial structures appear instead.

Comment: Upon closer inspection, it became clear that the lines were in fact thin veins of Magic within the cave wall. Additionally, examining the distribution and features of depicted landscapes, it is hard to deny a rough resemblance to known areas. Although, others (particularly closer to the periphery) were entirely unfamiliar.

Mural 2: A dome of purple surrounds a small group of figures. Some appear human-like, depicted with a variety of weapons and armor like those carried by the strongest Genesis Legions. Others are entirely unfamiliar, with oddly shaped heads or animal-like bodies with intelligent seeming facial expressions and bearing sophisticated weapons or tools. Above them, great rocks fall from the sky, covered in fire. In the background, other figures appear falling into red chasms in the ground, while others still seem to be attacking a fortress drawn with a star inside. In the middle of the sky, a broken stone or crystal floats ominously, emblazoned with a dark and monstrous silhouette.

Comment: We assumed that the purple dome is meant to be protecting its inhabitants from the surrounding chaos. Like the lines of the opposite mural, this feature is composed of a mineral vein like Magic, but of an unfamiliar color and quality. Without disturbing too much the sanctity of the work, we collected a tiny sample for later examination.

We uphold several societal truths which are rarely challenged, but would stand in contrast to our findings in the mountains if they are indeed historical records of some kind:

Firstly, it has been widely accepted that our grandparents’ grandparents were the first to arrive and attempt to make a living in this land. Indeed, even the Genesis Legions (at least those willing to speak about it) who were around at that time seem to truly believe the same. The existence of these drawings, let alone their contents, appear to predate both.

Secondly, regarding our understanding of Magic itself. While we see its effects throughout the land, particularly in the occurrence of the natural Treasures, the Genesis Mine has been our only source of extractable Magic to date (and thus the center of politics and power). The lines depicted in Mural 1 are suggestive of powerful flows of Magic distributed across some area, which furthermore may or may not be meant to represent our Bridgeworld.

Thirdly and finally, both the creatures depicted in Mural 1 and the protective dome depicted in Mural 2 seem to have no connection to heretofore understood natural features of our land. Suggesting either we have something now to discover, or these forces are meant to be of another world or perhaps spiritual origin.

In conclusion, I am left with several questions which are quite difficult to consider but cannot be ignored as worthy of additional investigation. Namely:

  • Did Bridgeworld harbor societies prior to any of our current and known inhabitants?

  • Were these beasts fact or fiction, and what is their relationship to the flow of Magic? Are they somehow unknown in our world, or extinct?

  • What possible power could have precipitated the scale of disaster depicted in the second mural? Does it exist in memory of the past, or in fear for the future?

  • Who would have left such images in that remote mountain range, and why did they feel it must be so hidden (or protected)?

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