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Winter, year 85

Nearly three kilometers (approximately two miles) beneath the surface of Nera's Tooth


It was a chill wind that blew across the Gulf of Viktor, freezing the land to the bone. The night was quiet, but beneath the earth the ever-industrious dwarves picked there way through ancient stone and permafrost, seeking minerals and artifacts. For five years Prosk the Heavy-handed had been responsible for overseeing this mine, and this day had started no different than the rest. He checked his equipment, which shone in the lamp-light, checked his boys, who stood tall and proud, and checked his charts for the day's work to be done. His mine, as he thought of it, was well known, though it often failed to deliver gold, gems, or even workable iron. What it did turn up was history, of the kind dwarves most appreciated. Ancient relics of years long past, some so old their purpose was beyond comprehension, were littered throughout the glacial frost; Their delicate structures kept preserved from the ever-clawing hands of time.

This day, which had begun like any other, took a swift turn for the better in the early hours of the work, as Prosk's team broke through a rock wall into a large cavern, easily the size of a small hamlet, built half of ice. The walls of stone were clearly pock-marked with veins of coal, and blackened bits of earthen brick and ancient clay were scattered across the floor, marking the location of a settlement many eons past. The pickdwarves took a short break as surveyors marked the cavern to be reinforced and cataloged the obvious finds, and then work began in earnest.

"Hugin, take a team and start shorin' up the north wall. We don't want that frost shiftin' on us and taking the whole cave with it." Prosk barked orders like a seasoned general, doing the dance he'd performed a thousand times before. "Di, start your group on the eastern coal vein; We could use the fuel. Everyone else, get to your bleedin' work!" Dwarves snapped to attention and hoisted their tools, ready to do as their foreman commanded.

As hours passed, pillars were erected to fortify the walls and tracks laid out to shift material to the surface. Hunks of coal were tossed into the waiting carts with the casual ease of uncountable practice, and the cavern gradually expanded as the stony walls were torn asunder. On the northern end of the cavern, ice as blue as the sky remained untouched, but a small crew of miners marked out what would become a tunnel, used in search of finer prizes. Three dwarves, each built like a stack of bricks, began to pick away at the wall, as two more prepared to lay beams behind them. They were hardly a meter in when the largest of the pickdwarves, Oodeg, held up a hand, signalling the others to halt. "You boys see what I see, here?" He pressed a meaty finger against the ice, and where he pointed, a shadow could be seen. The others crowded around him, trying to get a good look, but he elbowed them away and gave a huff. "Oy, respect a man's personal space, yeh? I think we've got an artifact in this wall. Who's got the ice-breaker?"

One of the beamdwarves pulled a thin, sharp handpick from his belt and passed it forward. It took nearly ten minutes for Oodeg to gradually unveil the blackened lump from its frosty cradle, being careful not to damage it, in case it was of any value. When it was finally free, he pried it gently from the wall and turned it over in his hands. It was a pitch-dark lump of mineral, like many others he'd seen, and he scowled down at it. "Just another lump of coal." Tossing it over a shoulder, he hoisted his pick again and got back to work. Behind him, the lump struck the ground with a soft crack, splitting in half. The blackened exterior proved to be only a thin layer surrounding a thick red soup, which began to pour out onto the ground.

As another dwarf approached to place it in the carts, the dull reflection of the liquid caught his eye, and he bent to inspect it. It was emptying slowly into a small pool, and had bits of congealed slime floating along the surface. He kicked the shell across the cavern in disgust, and turned to go back to his digging, not noticing that the sticky paste had clung to his foot until he stepped down and a soft squelch reverberated through the room. The next thing the dwarves heard was a bone-chilling scream, as the miner flailed his leg, trying to dislodge the contaminant. The rest of the crew turned away, thinking their friend a fool, until he called out, "It's in my bleedin' leg!" The first dwarf reached him in time to watch his eyes roll back into his head as he collapsed, then slowly went pale. Crewmen gathered around, taking off their caps in respect for the dead, muttering in confusion at the circumstances, when suddenly the corpse began to twitch. Its once-strong limbs shriveled visibly as it jerked and jumped, nearly turning itself over in the process. Many prayers to the Thiolith were made just then. None were heard. With a thundering crack, its chest burst open and blood showered the troupe, who stood in slack-jawed terror at the scene they had witnessed.


Prosk the Heavy-handed stomped down the halls of the mine, ready to crack skulls if his crew had broken another piece of equipment. When he entered the cavern, there was no-one to be seen. Tools lay scattered, as though their wielders had simply vanished. No trace was left of the thirty-odd dwarves he was responsible for. He turned to search the nearby tunnels for his apparently lazy crew, and the last thing he saw was a black-veined hand as it gripped his face and he felt the sting of his flesh being pierced by what seemed like one-hundred flaming needles.

Players beware, Carn the Purifier now stalks the lands of Epoch

Purge the Impure
Devour the Unworthy
Destroy the Unclean