RotRL Wednesday Nights
Dwarven brothers and miners who stumbled upon the location of Xin-Shalast. Silas’s ghost gave the information the party needed to find the lost city.
The dwarven brothers Silas and Karivek Vekker came to the Kodar Mountains 70 years ago, following up on rumors of an extensive vein of gold in the high mountains. When they found gold in some nearby alluvial glacier deposits, they staked their claim and opened a placer mine As is often the way of dwarves, they were very secretive about their mine’s location, going so far as to build a cabin and mining headquarters several miles from their claim. Neither could imagine how close they were to the richest site in all of Varisia: Xin-Shalast.
Silas and Karivek worked their placer mine for several decades but knew it would soon play out, so they scouted deeper into the surrounding mountains, searching the streams and cliff faces for a show of color where they could potentially find new deposits for mining. Their skill at mountaineering and their dwarven stubbornness paid off—they accidentally found the headwaters of the River Avah, and beyond that, Xin-Shalast.
The dwarves only explored the very edge of the city before they were forced to flee from a group of enraged giants. Yet the wealth they saw in the city had done
its work—all thoughts of mining for gold had been banished from their minds. Why bother pulling gold outof deep holes in the dirt when you could just pick it up
off the ground? Yet Xin-Shalast was far from a safe place, and in order to harvest it properly, the dwarves realized they needed support.
They returned to Janderhoff, where they approached several mining consortiums and quietly secured supplies and financing to begin deeper exploration of Xin-Shalast, proving their claim with the strange relics they’d brought back. The investors asked the Vekkers to keep their discovery quiet and put vast amounts of money at the Vekkers’ disposal. The brothers returned to the north with a small army of miners, explorers, and mercenaries, all eager to make a fortune exploring Xin-Shalast.
Yet the Vekkers’ army never made it to the City of Greed. Only a day after reaching the glacial site of their first mine, an avalanche struck their convoy and carried off all of their supplies. An attempt to retrieve the supplies resulted in the deaths of seven more dwarves. Their return route blocked, the survivors made their way on, hoping to find solace, shelter, and—above all—more food in the storerooms of the Vekkers’ cabin, but upon arriving they found the place had been raided by the abominable snowmen that dwell in the Kodars. No food remained.
It didn’t take long for starvation to drive the dwarves to desperation and then to madness, and when Karivek suggested cannibalism as a route to regain their
strength for the journey back out of the mountains, only his brother Silas and a few other dwarves objected. The dissenters were outnumbered, and with a fury born of madness, Karivek and the rest of the starving dwarves fell upon their companions and fed well for the first time in a month.
Then a curious thing happened. The dwarves found the feast strangely invigorating. Their minds cleared and their strength returned, and with it their greed. The
dwarves decided not to turn back, but to continue on into the Kodar Mountains to find Xin-Shalast. As they traveled, those who fell behind or complained or merely
had the disadvantage of being the largest among them became new meals, and with each meal, the dwarves felt their strength growing. They paid no attention to the
strange whispers on the wind, or to feet blackened by frostbite and falling to pieces, or to the fact that they had been wandering the mountains for days without aim.
Eventually, only one dwarf remained—Karivek Vekker. With nothing left to eat, he sat down upon a lonely mountain ledge overlooking the Kazaron River, and as
starvation set in once more, he noticed for the first time the whispers in the wind. A shape congealed in the mist before his eyes, and as the source of the cannibal cravings took form in the air before him, Karivek looked upon the wendigo that had brought the doom upon them all and attempted to hurl himself off the ledge in despair. The wendigo caught him and dragged him through the sky with such speed that the dwarf ’s frostbitten feet were blasted away, and at the end, the evil spirit dropped him from a staggering height. Karivek had nearly a minute to despair and regret before he hit the ground.