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Journal from Frore

By Chris L'Etoile

During the now-famous Sudden Season, adventurers tracked the source of an unnatural winter to the lost city of Frore, where Gelidite necromancers had enchanted a vast floating gemstone to drain the world's heat. The following journal, taken from a slain Gelidite, reveals a little of the necromancers' history and motives, and suggests that they did not fully understand the magic they tried to control.

It has been a month since the first of the barbarians assaulted the gates -- a month of constant assaults and combat, with but a few hours of respite before the next wave threw itself at us. Most are berserkers, attacking with none of the finesse shown even by the Yalain, our old oppressors. They have little knowledge of magic beyond brute force. Yet many have shown the cunning and persistence of the rats that live in the tunnels below the city.

After a thousand years of work -- ten thousand years of exile -- we are finished. The Council of Three, Blessed Fenngar, Ferundi, and Frisander, have been slain. Their bodies lie at the upper gates, battered and blistered to a final death by the barbarians. The outlanders swept through the tunnels, and Frore below, killing all the Initiates and Acolytes who dared oppose them, reducing our golem servants to rubble. The squares and passages are littered with corpses. We now have but a pitiful remnant of our forces.

So many years we spent, weaving our spells around our Great Work, bending it to our needs. At last the heat of the deep earth was being drawn into it, contained. The world had cooled. Snow covered the deserts. Soon it would have been a frozen wasteland, suited only to ourselves. With all our enemies dead, we could finally return to Gelid. The Old Lords which revile us, the barbarians, the Olthoi . . . that idiot boy of Yalain sitting smug and aloof in his lofty fortress -- all would have passed into ice and memory.

When the Work was assaulted, to our own surprise it defended itself like a living creature, casting flame spells of incredible strength. It slew many, drove the others back again and again, regenerating with astonishing speed. In the end, however, it was overwhelmed. The Great Work of Frore lies shattered, bleeding its warmth back into the undeserving earth.

There is a darkness now where the Work fell. No matter how much light we place in the room, that spot remains dim and strange. I cannot explain it. Perhaps Frisirth, with his intuitive understanding of the Work, could have.

How did we come to this? The ancient prophecies of the Falatacot said the Fourth Sending would begin in a city of Dericost named Frore. We were the nobility of High Gelid, Dericost's royal province. We established Frore to fulfill the prophecy, and extended our lives at terrible cost to buy the needed time. Yet we are broken, and the world recovers from our near-success. For this we fled the lands of the Yalain? For this we accepted the ritual of undeath, the burden of rotting flesh?

We have been our own gods. Perhaps the old gods have brought us low to teach us humility again. I mean the gods of the swamp and the deep earth, the true gods of terrible aspect who live in ageless splendor.

These walls of stone and marble have long seemed to me an enclosing womb, protecting us from the unearned enemies we have suffered for millennia. We came here to build a holy city, from which we might return home in triumph after our long exile. Now, I look at the walls, and can only think of them cracking and crumbling, collapsing inward, burying us in the vault of eternity into which so many of the Old Lords were thrown.

I rest uneasy, when rest can be had. I feel cold.

[Found on the corpse of a Gelidite Lord of Frore

Translated by Kuyiza bint Fuda of the Zaikhal Arcanum]
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