The Heart of Barsaive
Kaer Ardanyan history pt 3
Supplies grew thin only a few months after the separation. No hall was able to feed their citizens alone—Kaer Ardanyan had not been designed for this. Cautious negotiations were taken up in the only neutral area left: Council Hall. The ambassadors agreed on a compromise: the treasure currently in the vault would be distributed evenly among the families, minus a share for rebuilding the town at the end of the Scourge. Everyone was allowed to increase his treasure by mining as long as he signed up with the Miner’s Guild and paid taxes. Additionally, each hall was allowed to set up its own laws on trading, enabling everyone to master his own wealth.
Council Hall became a marketplace, where designated merchants bartered with what their halls had to offer in exchange for other things needed. The ambassadors regulated and governed the new system of trade. It worked, but an undertone of distrust between the halls remained.
Within two centuries, a new government evolved. Generations of ambassadors had met in Council Hall regularly. They were aware of problems affecting the whole kaer, the only ones able to see the big picture. The ambassadors already helped each other out, sometimes even bypassing the laws for the good of everyone. After a long time, they eventually convinced their rulers to officially declare peace and create a new, united council governing the whole kaer. The governors formed the new kaer council, each of them still ruling over his own hall with their own laws and customs.
A few decades following the new council’s founding, the magicians of Kaer Ardanyan suggested that the time had come to mount an expedition. They frequently performed the ritual written in the Book of Tomorrow, and interpreted the results as an indicator for the Scourge’s end. A call for volunteers went out to the adepts of the kaer. After a few weeks of preparation, the kaer council sent out an exploration party to find a safe way through the wards and traps their forefathers had put into place.
When Leldrin returned carrying the dead body of the dwarf Fearghus in his arms, voices arose in the hall of Khar Rhûz. The governor demanded to verify what happened. The kaer council ordered the human Nethermancer Jandaan from Okoros to prove Leldrin’s words. Jandaan did as requested. The council’s worst fears came true—the Scourge was not over yet, and there was a Horror lurking in front of the gates.
The mood in Kaer Ardanyan slowly dropped to an all time low. People went missing over the next years, and each day sprouted new, scary stories. Whispered rumors of a secret cult devoted to the Horror at the gates made their round, of cultists sacrificing innocent people to strengthen the Horror. Of all the Name-givers that vanished, the elven population was hit hardest. Apart from the missing, a series of strange diseases killed dozens of elves in the gardens of Shal’Minar. More rumors were raised when people feared that Leldrin had brought a curse back with him. Repeated investigations revealed that there was no truth to these rumors, and they eventually ebbed a year ago—when a shining ray of hope returned to end the dark times.
Once every century, the only two obsidimen of Kaer Ardanyan (the brothers Romni and Basaltimus) wake from hibernation. They end their long time dreaming and talk to the people to hear stories of the things that happened and how the kaer developed. This time, the obsidimen stayed awake. They didn’t say why, but everyone knew it had something to do with the Scourge. A few weeks later, their awakening was followed by the t’skrang. No one expected their return, and an Elf Elementalist almost had a stroke when the first reptilian Name-giver appeared on the shore of Lake Vross.
Almost fifty years have passed since the first expedition—and everyone feels that the Scourge must have ended. A great burden lasts on the shoulders of the kaer council. They are forced to mount a new expedition by public demand, risking opening the kaer to a Horror waiting outside…