Notes on Excursion to Mouth of Gal Barag, by Gavros Moonsheut (15 of -, - AD)

gavroche3

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Apr 27, 2021
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Ride from Fabernum to The Mouth was mostly uneventful, we were accompanied by a contingent from Northern Bank led by one Goru Qanaya, whom we contacted for this specific purpose.

Only notable incident consisted of falling off my horse just outside the gate, managing to make a fool of myself in front of the company before our trip even started.

The approach was treacherous on horseback, ---, stayed on ---. --- almost lost --- horse, but we managed to stay on track.

Upon reaching The Mouth, I noticed the standard Huergar architecture: geometrically inspired decoration interlaced in design on columns and walls. The Mouth of Gal Barag faces south-by-southeast, so the structure itself seems to point towards Dragon's Peak (Usumgallu Seru in the Huergar tongue.)

As we entered, the first four small chambers were bloodied and contained pieces of broken wood. Perhaps remnants of prior expeditions?

We encounter our first Murnahas as we approached the first large chamber, massive beasts wielding enormous war-axes. --- made impressively quick work of it, probably due to the high quality of his blade.

This first large chamber consists of two wide walkways on the left and right side of the chamber as you enter, with one narrow stone bridge running parallel along the middle of the room. Between the walkways and the bridge looms a deep chasm, so --- advised us to watch our step.

Across the bridge we ran into a small hallway, which connected to yet another enormous chamber, this one also containing a narrow bridge spanning another deep chasm below. Across the bridge lay a series of five staircases, carved into the mountain itself, zig-zagging upwards.

More Murnahas. I attempt to help by casting minor healing magic on its target. For no real reason, I casted some Spiritism magic as I got a queer feeling of being watched.
I noted the presence of a few fellow Spiritists watching our group from the Ether, and made this known to Goru and the rest. Tineghaliin, a fellow scholar and Spiritist, and I would henceforth keep watch on these disembodied Akh as we progressed.

Past the stairs we come upon three hallways in sequence. They appear very dilapidated and unkept, in stark contrast to the rest of the construction. In the middle hallway I noticed that the majority of the floor had collapsed, with only a narrow strip allowing us to progress without falling into yet another deep cavern. ---. Huergar must be immune to height-induced vertigo. I, on the other hand, am not, --- hugged the left wall of --- support.

We next came across the first interesting find of the expedition. A large, rectangular room containing a series of elevated stone sarcophagi. On their sides were carvings of what appear to be human faces, and on top we found writing in what seemed to be old Tindremic, but it was difficult to ascertain.

On the far end of the room lay five Huergar statues in a row, all depicted clad in robes and mouth agape, as if yelling. An opening on the north side of the room led further into the complex.

This room appears to have some significance to the builders of this place. If this is indeed the ancient entrance to the city of Gal Barag, there must be some significance in placing these tombs here. Who could they possibly belong to, to merit the honor and respect of all who enter Gal Barag? And then again, when the Huergar sealed off the gates, why did they leave the front gates open? Perhaps to allow access to this chamber?

My working theory is that these belong to ancient Tindremenes who in life through some heroic deed earned this prominent place of rest among the Huergar. After the break in relations following the Nordveld campaign and the retreat of the underground Huergar, perhaps this chamber was intentionally left open to the surface as one last honorific to these long-forgotten Tindremenes. It would certainly explain the writing on the tombs (though, again, we couldn't fully verify that these were indeed ancient Tindremic characters.)

As we exited the sarcophagi room through the north side we came across a series of four chambers, each connected by descending hallways and staircases leading deeper and deeper into the mountain, twisting counterclockwise in their descent. Note that these are still very much Huergar in construction and as one continues the descent, the turns are all right angles, with none of the elegance of Sheevran stoneshaping.

Interestingly, the last four chambers appear to have been recently habitated. We found these chambers lined up with supply crates, barrels, and sacks. The penultimate one even had a number of rustic beds, tables, and even a small campfire with reasonable cooking tools. Too small for Murnahas, these must have been very recently used by one of the sentient humanoid clades of Myrland. But who? Why? And how long ago? How did they get this deep into The Mouth without being disturbed by the Murnahas?

The hallway before the last of these chambers was notable in that it contained a number of small stone shapes on the floor to which metal rings were attached. One ring per stone. These are the sort of rings you would run a chain through. But why? what is their function? Why here and nowhere else before this point?
As we continue we come across yet another large chamber containing a deep chasm, and narrow (so narrow) stone bridges suspended over the darkness below.
More Murnahas, more blood. I stayed behind documenting the statues and taking notes for my map.

Crossing the bridge leads us to yet more turning hallways.

More stairs. Deeper and deeper.

One more hallway, littered with these tiny stones with metal rings affixed. What where these attached to? Where is whatever/whoever was attached to these things?
At the end of this hallways we come across yet another stone bridge over another enormous sinkhole. Seriously! ---. --- and their obsession --- heights!

This one deathtrap is curious enough, as the bridge is flanked on either side of the room by gigantic statues depicting two warriors in armor, arms crossed. Without being able to get close to the statues it was impossible to determine the composition of the material used to create these colossi, but the markings and shape of some of the metal (in particular, there appears to be some gold-colored circular shape along the shoulders) is reminiscent of the Gaul Kor blast furnace.

I have a hunch that these circles are made of Oghmium, and perhaps serve some practical purpose, such as allowing liquids to be inserted into the statue? --- thinks such speculation is too far-fetched. Maybe they're right.

At each end of the bridge we found two pairs of these curious stones with rings. What are these things!?

One more hallway, and then the largest chamber, many times deeper than the rest. Hot lava flow through the lower walls, filling the depths and providing some illumination, and quite a bit of heat as the fumes make their way upwards to our party. Much of the room is collapsed, one particularly narrow staircase suspended over lava is still standing somehow, but it is mercifully dysfunctional, and so we make our way down an alternative route.

More Murnahas. I sit and regain my thoughts.

We arrived at the entrance to where --- expects the Murnahas leader resides. As I sit here, writing down these notes waiting for the party to take a short rest, I can't help but wonder whether those tiny stones with rings were meant to keep the Murnahas chained.

Their location makes sense if their purpose was to guard the inner chambers, but still allow access to that strange sarcophagus room. But they somehow broke free? How long were they chained there? Gal Barag is meant to have been sealed off for centuries, and there are reports of Murnahas roaming this area much more recently. And what of the supplies? Did they somehow elude the Murnahas long enough to set camp? That seems very unlikely. Were they working with the Murnahas? Controlling them? And where are they now?

A noise, further back. Will check.

---.

---.

Horse dead, ---. A--.

Akh manifested. ---. Multiple ---.

Stairs cleared, some party members dead. Spirits ---, way into --- portal.

--- again.

Murnahas have --- stampede ---.

---.​
 
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Raknor

Well-known member
Sep 14, 2021
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Hyllspeia
It was a pleasure to accompany you and your friend and I must say our warriors performed valiantly under the conditions. It saddens me deeply that you did not deliver in my highest hopes of finding a way to open the doors to Gal Barag. I knew before departing the chances of success were slim to none and yet... on those hallways, on the shadow of the magnificent Huerghar architectural genius cast by the fire... how can I not dare dream of being reunited with my true kin?

The evil spirits may have cut our trip short but they did not diminish my hope. For now I shall return to Hyllspeia and attempt one more time to lay my pickaxe to the sealed entrance... perseverance will set it open.