The walls seem to smother you within this dark passage connecting Upper Umbric Plains to the Lower Basin of Stars. Fat drops of water produce echoes that fill the clammy atmosphere, as they plop against moss-covered rock formations. Fetid scum pits, that line the paths well-traveled, lie in wait among st the inescapable gloom.
The Screchethan tribe was the first of the tribes to rule before the houses. It was ruled by a dreamer named Hasenthes. Hasenthes had two sons named Agonarius, and Teng. Hasenthes declared once that upon his death, only one son would rule. The two brother fought viciously for rulership.
Teng won and banished his brother. After 10 years of Banishment, Agonarius returned to fight his brother once again, this time he employed the use of Nightmares. Teng had no choice but to retreat into lost caves to survive. Teng and his tribe were forced to live off whatever came within reach. They spent their times traveling carefully through rooms had not been inhabited by the mares.
Until one day, Teng was confronted by his brother Agonarius. Agonarius offered Teng one way to survive. That was to kill each other. The battle ended with neither brother dead. Both were too tired to make another swing. After hours of resting and consulting, they agreed on peace. Agonarius tried to call back the mares, but they were far too powerful to stop. The mares had developed their own leaders and lords.
So, Teng and Agonarius had no choice but to join sides and become enemies with the mares. Teng developed an insignia to memorize the very spot the where he and his brother agreed on peace. The insignia is currently in Teng's treasure hoard in Lost Caves. The off-centered circle signifies the chaos force in the dreams. The long line to the right represents Justice. The short line to the left represents Hatred. The top triangle to the upper left signifies Teng. The lower triangle is Agonarius. The insignia is to commemorate two brothers bonding to form Justice over Hatred.
The Lost Cave Carvings
Written By: Macky & Ashling
Our study of the Lost Caves carvings seems to have unearthed far more questions than it has answered. We have broken the carvings in the North Sanctuary of the Lost Caves into three sections of study. They are, The "Dream Carving" or the circular carving with a triangle above and below it. The "Guidepost Carving" or the eclipse over the strange shape with the arrow beneath it. Finally, the "Dark Figure Column" or the center column of the Sanctuary itself. The "Dream Carving" appears in three places within the Lost Caves. For the sake of this study it has been dubbed the "Dream Carving" due to its uncanny representation of the dream itself. This representation includes the Dorsal Rift, the upper triangle shaped exactly like the dorsal fin of a shark, and the Caudal Rift, the lower triangle shaped exactly like the caudal fin of the same shark. The rest of the dream is symbolized within the circle itself. The horizontal slashes could very well represent the broken Trinity / Basin Plane. ( It is thought that these planes were once joined due to their near identical nature.) For this to be true evidence had to be found to support it.
The Caudal symbol can be observed by itself on the walls around Teng's Lair right outside the entrance to the Caudal Rift. This wasn't enough.Then a discovery was made that seemed to bring things together. The Dorsal symbol was found by itself in the Chasm of Souls, Spiked Crossing right outside the entrance to the Dorsal Rift. It all seemed to fit. The only problem dating the carving. According to The Ancient, the "Dream Carving" predates The Great Loss and is in fact a symbol showing the tribal crests of Teng and his brother Agonarius as they battled for control over the dream. In fact he was quite adamant about it. It seems that he was Awakened at the time and recalls it all quite clearly. So where were we to go from here. If in fact the carving is the combined tribal crests of Teng and Agonarius and they existed prior to The Great Loss and thus the rifts themselves, we can only offer some speculation on the matter.
So, was Teng a prophet? Did he somehow foresee the forming of the Rifts? Or the "Dream Carving" is the combined symbols of Teng and Agonarius. The Caudal triangle would be the Teng tribal crest itself. It is displayed outside Teng's Lair proclaiming his power. That would make the Dorsal triangle the Agonarius tribal crest and we can only assume that his stronghold was the Spiked Crossing. So why do these symbols match the names Dorsal and Caudal so well? By shifting our perspective we can see that perhaps it was part prophecy and part coincidence that opened the rifts where they did. And it may well have been the presence of these tribal crests ,however misinterpreted from which the rifts drew their names. So where does that leave us? The "Dream Carving " does represent the dream but a dream embattled by two brothers. Not our current dream embattled by two Rifts.
According to The Ancient, the Lost Caves carvings date to before The Great Loss. The "Dream Carving" (the circle with the triangle above and below) shows the crests of the two brothers, Teng and Agonarius, as they fought over control of the dream. The Lost Caves were the stronghold of Teng's forces. This is evident by the carvings throughout the caves. It is my belief that the Chasm of Souls was the stronghold of the forces of Agonarius. This is based on the markings of Agonarius in the Spiked Crossing.
This leads our studies to the second carving in the Lost Caves Sanctuaries... "The Guidepost" (the eclipse over the strange shape with the arrow beneath it). It is my belief that this carving shows the way to a once secret portal. The portal in the Lake of Tears, Edgeward Barrows. Let me take you back to a time when a war between two brothers was tearing the dream apart. Agonarius lead a force of Nightmares. His goal? To control the dream. His brother Teng lead a band of dreamers against this menace.
When the time was right Teng gathered his band together and held council in the North Sanctuary of the Lost Caves. Here he revealed to his band the secret that would turn the tide of the war to their favor. You see... Edgeward Barrows was a battlefield... It was here that Teng fought to contain Agonarius's minions and finally reach his brother and put an end to the madness. With his army carefully hidden inside the Cave road, Teng lured the mares of his brothers army to the Lake of Tears. Playing the easy target and swimming out into the lake seeming to make a fatal mistake.
The Mares followed thinking of an easy kill. Teng vanished under the waters and seemed to drown. As the mares closed in looking... suddenly they were in the Cavern of Tears, surrounded by the armies of Teng. Not a single mare escaped this trap and the secret of this portal lasted for a long time. It was in fact this trap that gave the forces of Teng the edge they need to finally vanquish Agonarius and bring a chaotic peace to the dream for a brief time. The mares continued to enter the dream but without Agonarius to lead them they were easy targets for the wary dreamers. Why put this secret on the walls of your stronghold? Inside the Sanctuary it was safe from the prying eyes of the mares.
Teng never need to fear discovery. But what this? How do I know the shape behind the eclipse in the carving is the Lake of Tears? To answer this you need only to travel to Edgeward Barrows. From there go to the Lake of Tears just north of the Earthen Sanctuary. Face the eclipse in the sky and follow the arrow in the carving ( the one that points to the right) you will soon find the "once" secret portal of Teng.
The Final Stand Part 2 - Lost Caves
Harmon spoke up as everyone was getting settled in the room "This is where we trap it?" Lace once more outlined the general plan "Now we wait for it to try and grab another of us. Then the flow will work, This be outward as positive. The other be a neutral flow outward, and the third flows inward to the Cauldron." Alina stepped up "Where should we be?" Purple Lace leaned down and made adjustments on the star in the center of the DreamSoul pad as she answered "around the center." Darkness then poured into the room wildly, my vision was darkened once again. The room erupted around us, avatars being burned. "Dun let them get taken." Lace told the group. I commented that I couldn't even see where they were. Soon after my vision returned to me and as it did, Nathan's exclamation took the words from me "Eyeballs!" Eyeballs were everywhere in the room, staring at each dreamer and Yissen. I looked over to Hrrum and asked "do you want to try another barrier?" He nodded to me. The darkness began lashing out at Alina, many of us focused our restorative abilities on her. Nathan unsheathed his blade and aggressively stabbed at an eyeball. The room once again erupted around us. Hrrum moved closer to the center edge of the pad and extended his pedipalps in each side. I ducked under some eyes, sliding across the pad to position myself opposite of where Hrrum had placed himself.
Lace spoke out to Alina "The pad, Alina, tis a dreamsoul pad. We outsmart The Darkness, let them TRY to take ye now!" She stomped her foot angrily on the step while OfF was stabbing at an eye with a blade. Darkness began flooding over Alina. A constant barrage of black, deadly energies assaulted her. Nathan continuously cut at an eye with his blade. Hrrum's claws started to shimmer with emerald columns, sending beams of resilience toward the dreamers on his left and right. "Grab onto her!" Shouted Lace while Mandus popped the cork on a vial of blood-red fluid and poured it over the edge of his blade. Nathan grasped onto Alina. I clutched the talisman hanging from my neck to my chest. I traced runic sigils onto the pad, pressed my hand against them and a flash of resilient energy met up with Hrrum's. Mandus stepped forward and gritted his teeth, holding the blade high above Nathan and Alina as it dripped purified resilience. The Darkness stuck out again, a near wall of solid black energy slammed into Alina. I directed Sadara to join my and Hrrum's efforts building the barrier of resilience around the pad. Suddenly my body was thrown into a spin, I stumbled slightly down the stairs. Coraal nodded at Lace, then reached out to touch Alina. With his other hand, he touched his crest and attempted to call upon the Shadow to cloak Alina, to prevent The Darkness from perceiving her. Sadara sighed gently and began coursing a plum aura around her right arm and extended a stream toward Hrrum and I.
As this was happening, Bloody Teeth entered the room. I caught myself on a step and pushed myself back upright and refocused myself on the barrier with Hrrum and Sadara. Purple Lace growled low, while Sadara spoke to Bloody ""Well surprising to see you. What happened to you! You have me worried!" Alina looked around the room "Clearly, it's here, what next?!" Coraal continued to softly chant, channeling the Shadow around Alina. Alina looked over to Bloody Teeth "You need to help them trap The Darkness when it attacks again." "We need to lure it to the Cauldron." Lace said. Thea nodded to Purple Lace and slipped out of the room. Harmon's voice was heard next "It will follow Alina. Throw her in the cauldron and it will jump in willingly." "Keep it busy and dun let it eat her yet." Lace instructed as she ran out of the room. Bloody finally spoke "Protect the Yissen, eh? An odd state of affairs." Mandus growled and looked at the eyes with his soaked blade, "Well, lets distract it shall we?" Sadara was next to Bloody and asked him "Can you do it for me?" His response a simple "I will." Just then another insurmountable wave of Darkness crushed into the room from all sides, smashing into Alina. Once again I was hurled into a spin about the room. Coraal crushed a Power Token in his hand and redoubles his channeling of the Shadow around Alina. A Razorwind suddenly tore through the room and converged upon where Alina was standing. The room was suddenly a cacophony of screams of dreamers. I held my hand out to Alina, pulling into the dreamsoul of my own avatar, I directed it towards her to strengthen her.
Lace had returned and started showering Alina with vision. Mandus coughed loudly and cupped his hand over a gaping wound. Myself and others as well were taking cuts along their avatars from the winds assault. Suddenly a fear rocked through the room, dreamer's legs carried them crashing into each other and the walls. Thea had reentered the room and Lace yelled to her "Be the portal ready?" Thea shouted back "Yes, the portal is ready!" "This way... Alina... come this way!" Lace instructed. Soon after Corral's voice was heard "Alina, go. Quickly" Elysea also spoke out "Yes ok!" Everyone followed out the portal and made their way into the Kabal, to a room with a cauldron in the center and a myriad of artifacts, essences and codexes set about. In the center of the room near the portal a dreamer stood, smiling wickedly. Nathan shouted "It's the....Revenant!" I stopped, wiping blood from my face from the cuts and looked over to him. Darkness suddenly encapsulated Alina. Revenant spoke quietly "You got so close." Suddenly the room exploded into chak fire as Revenant lashed out at everyone in the room. Dreamer's were dodging in and out of fire. Thea collapsed admit the grunts and screams of pain from the attacks of Revenant. Each time I was hit, I would stumble and spin in place, causing momentary confusion. Elysea was the next to collapse as she was screaming "Stop this!" Sadara collapsed by friendly fire from Bloody Teeth, as well as OfF not long after.
I was collapsed next by Revenant, losing sight on them from being once again spun wildly at a wall. Sadara fell once again, this time to Revenant. I was restored by Coraal and prepared myself for more combat. Suddenly Revenant collapsed, I couldn't see by who. We went about restoring the fallen and collecting ourselves. Dark energies began to form inside the Revenant's soulsphere. Bloody called out to the room "Stay on yer guard! Warriors among us, be ready!" Mandus growled and held his blade forward. Purple Lace stood against the cauldron and swirled down waves and waves of energy into it. Darkness began to pour out of the Revenant. Lace pointed to a Sphere on the ledge of the cauldron speaking "That, may be a lock we can use to lock this energy up with." A whisper assaulted my ears in that moment "FLEE!" Alina countered the whisper as she shouted "DON'T FLEE!" Mandus growled loudly, "No more running damn it!" "Finish it, Lace" Corral said. Suddenly a burst of burning energy erupted into through the room. Alina looked beside her to Elysea, Harmon, and Thea before speaking, "I'm sorry." Lace nodded to Coraal and stuck both arms into the Cauldron, pulling out globs of dark, oily substance all over her. she slung it around wildly. Mandus wrinkled his nose at Alina, "Don't do anything stupid. We've come this far." We suddenly sensed Darkness boil out of Lower Palisade at an alarming rate, flying towards Lost Caves. The Darkness from within The Revenant flew upwards to meet the descending energy from the Palisade.
Tamarisk asked "What do you need me to do Lace?" "I need help gathering the Darkness into the Cauldron." said Lace. "I need that lock opened. The Sphere here on the ledge" Elysea's head jerked from one side to the other, her eyes widened. "I need a few to help funnel this energy into this vat." continued Lace. "Got it" I replied to her. Thea looked over at Alina, her voice lowered as she whispered softly. "Don't stand around, help her!" Bloody urged. Mandus jumped up near the cauldron with the rest of us with a curse. The Darkness exploded as the two streams connected, lashing out at all nearby. Once again the sounds of pain being inflicted on those in the room was echoed through. Purple Lace growled and grabbed wildly at dark shadows and threw them visibly into the cauldron. Nathan shifted his stance, giving healing energies to the dreamers in the room. Tamarisk raised his arms in the air and sent a shadow funnel up to collect some of the Darkness. He spoke softly, "Embrace the Shadow". I unbuttoned the cuffs of my undershirt and pulled up the sleeves to my elbows. I bit down on each of my wrists, blood poured off them, dripping onto the floor. The blood turned into a funnel of resilience which directed the energy into the cauldron. Mandus evoked channel and nodded to Lace, "I'll force it to you, you put it in, yeah?"
"The Sphere there be a cryptex." explained Lace hurriedly "There be a word, which must be spoken...look at it, please" In that moment The Darkness sliced into Elysea Fraine and destroyed her. Nathan gasped "Not again!" The Darkness then decapitated Thea Bloom, destroying her. Nathan's voice once again was heard "Thea!!!!!" Coraal grabbed the cryptex and began to turn the rings, trying to align the symbols "How are we to know the word, Lace?" "I know only one word to use." She replied before whispering to him quickly. Bloody barricaded the portal leading out of the room, "Keep the Darkness contained, and concentrated!" The Darkness arced towards Harmon, who then jumped behind Alina. Alina suddenly was torn apart with Harmon speaking coldly "You should have killed her when you could." Coraal aligned the symbols, his hand shrouded in Shadow, as he spoke the word, "Balance". All eyes cut to Harmon, witnessing what he did. Sadara closed her eyes as she began to levitate, a plum aura surrounded her. She sent out a cone of resilience cupping the dark energies toward the cauldron. She closed her eyes as tears began to fall down her cheeks. Corral's teeth barred at Harmon, "Murderer". Harmon removed his crest and joined The Darkness in a cloud of black smoke. Lace yelled over to Nathan "We need the Radiance!" "He was an emissary of darkness, after all! Stephen was right." Nathan said. I looked at the dreamers, "We cant stop now...focus!"
Suddenly, with Harmon joining the darkness, it lashed out once again vigorously. "Aye, stay focused!" Bloody yelled as the room erupted once more into flames. As we were dealing with the cascades of darkness directed at us, our balance was once again thrown askew. "We will have to seal this off!" Lace exclaimed. The Darkness began striking out at Bloody Teeth. Mandus stumbled off the pedestal and formed his hands into a channel. Coraal spoke towards the Cauldron, his voice echoed in the chamber, "I call upon the Shadow to aid us in bringing Balance! Let the Darkness be contained" Nathan invoked the radiance, directing it's energy towards Bloody Teeth in a protective field. The Darkness began to be drawn into the Cauldron, but it continued attacking violently, it was straining to get free. Another burst of burning energy engulfed everyone. Bloody Teeth struck at The Darkness in return with its glaive. "The Crown, seal it off with Crown?" Hrrum asked. Mandus growled but kept his channel intact. Lace looked faint, and on the cusp of passing out. Coraal raised his Shadow covered hands. He grasped the Darkness with the Shadows and tried to draw it down into the Cauldron as swiftly as possible. Bloody Teeth placed a skeletal hand upon the crown and held it's glaive towards the cauldron. Suddenly darkness tried to surge out of the cauldron, tossing dreamers backwards. "Your not taking him! Bloody the Crown!" Sadara yelled. I was flung against the back wall, sliding down slightly but catching myself and moving back to the cauldron. "Contain it!" Yelled Bloody. "Use the Crown!" exclaimed Lace.
Mandus nodded to Bloody and held the channel firmly as he could, drawing the energies downward. Coraal growled, holding the Darkness as tightly as he could. His hands formed fists to channel the Shadow. "Melt it o'er top of the Cauldron!" Lace directed to Bloody. Bloody Teeth stumbled back away, Sadara grabbing onto his shoulders. I held out a hand to Lace and Coraal, the blood drawing upon my own strength, directing it into them. Coraal reached out a hand to touch Tam's shoulder, then pushed even harder with the Shadow. Hrrum locked the circle sending his energies to Lace and Tamarisk. Lace took my hand and began to form a seal over the cauldron. A flame sparked onto the rim of the cauldron, taking up about half of the circle. Mandus leaned forward, his teeth gritting. He forced the cone downward, and held it against the rim of the cauldron. Bloody Teeth held its glaive towards the cauldron and channeled the strength of the Crown. Sadara sent her energies toward the rim of the cauldron, joining it with the others. The Darkness erupted in fury, slamming into Bloody Teeth. Bloody collapsed, Sadara screaming "No!" I kept my stream of energy surging from myself into Lace and Corral. "Bloody, melt it on top to make a shield." Hrrum said as Bloody was restored to coherence. OfF KiLTeR fanned the blaze with tempest. Mandus shook his head violently, bits of blood flying from various cuts as he looked to Bloody.
Tamarisk focused his blast on the base of the flames to help heat things up. Sadara grabbed Bloody's shoulder forcefully and stood in a defensive position as she continued to channel energy toward the cauldron. Purple Lace shuddered and looked around, beads of sweat dropped from her forehead onto the cauldron. Coraal continued to channel the Shadow and hissed, "Hurry and bind the damn thing." Lightning crackled from down the Crown through Bloody Teeth, and outward from the glaive towards the cauldron. As it began to be trapped inside the Cauldron, The Darkness suddenly severed itself, a tiny fragment remaining while the rest of it receded back to the Palisade. The fragment of The Darkness became sealed inside the Cauldron as the Crown bound it fully. Bloody Teeth howled in pain. Mandus growled loudly, watching the darkness escape. He forced more energy into the channel, his blood mixing in with it, "Get back here you piece of shit!" he yelled. Darkness receded from across the City, pulling back to the Lower Palisade. Sadara looked at Bloody and grabbed both of his shoulders, channeling energy into him, "Bloody its ok..." Coraal dropped his fists, leaning to pant heavily as he released the energy of Shadow he was channeling. The Lower Palisade rumbled in fury. Human screams of torture and death rang out all at once. The room was rocked, the ground shook underneath us, making us lose our footing. Hrrum oofed as he plopped down. Lace covered her ears and looked around, disoriented. Mandus collapsed against the stairs, panting heavily. Blood and sweat pouring over his figure.
Nathan covered his ears as he trembled at the terrifying symphony of screams. I tried to catch myself but stumbled and slammed into the ground hard. The side of my head smacked off the hard stone, and instantly I could feel the blood start to soak into my hair. Hrrum looked towards Bloody Teeth "The Altar, we can let it to regain strength." "I know those screams. Those are prisoners." Bloody responded. Sadara looked down and then to Bloody, "What do you mean?" "Altar needs to be destroyed" Hrrum answered. "That it does." Bloody responded.
We collected ourselves for a few moments, taking in everything that had happened. Sadara sensed Alina in the Lower Palisades and we all steeled ourselves. We knew what had to be done next. The darkness was pushed back, but destroyed, not yet. One last fight remained, and the Yissen were not there to lend any aid. We all had them in our thoughts as we walked through that portal, bloody, beaten, but not defeated.