- See also: Paragon
I didn't think the Hissing Wastes would be so lively, but there are hunters prowling the dunes. One of them showed me a hidden watering hole, and some fine spots to camp. I asked her about the old thaig, but she didn't even know what a "thaig" was until I explained dwarves had more cities than just Orzammar. She clearly thinks I'm barmy, coming all the way here to study the ruins. Polite about it, though.
The statues here were chiseled thousands of years ago, I'm sure of it. Either these people loved dwarven architecture, or the "commonly known fact" that dwarves never built cities on the surface is wrong. This is the stuff world—famous treaties are made of.
The inscriptions on the ruins are all in the old tongue. (Thank you, Grandmother, for teaching this ungrateful brat Old Dwarven.) The writing talks about "the sad parting from the Stone." Hundreds of years ago, several houses left their thaigs to settle here under one leader. They were running from a war, or running so there wouldn't be a war? I read and re-read the pillars until the light faded, but I know I'm missing something.
I'll go back tomorrow. I wish Felicity's sister hadn't talked her out of joining me. I could use an extra pair of eyes to keep watch at night.
Legend says he died in the Deep Roads during a war between two thaigs who used his runework to build fantastic weapons of destruction. If he escaped up here, that means the records are wrong, or someone a thousand years ago tried to pretty-up the truth about his leaving. The most talented Shaper of Runes in dwarven history, escaping with his entire house to the surface—now that will fluff some beards in the Shaperate!
My father said our old family business used to be near an archway that was part of Fairel's Paragon statue. I wish I could have shown him this. He's the one who wanted to believe our ancestors in the Stone were still guiding us. Be nice to think it were true, old man.
I was tracing heraldry etched on a wall when I noticed pictures of weapons with winged lizards worked into the decoration. I spent the rest of the day translating the inscriptions. This verse was apparently passed down through Fairel's house, through his father to his father's father and so on for hundred of generations:
"From the Stone, have no fear of anything,
but the stone-less sky betrays with wings of flame.
If the surface must be breached, if there is no other
bring weapons against the urtok, and heed their
"Urtok" means "dragon." Why was it part of an ancient crest? Why were these dwarves so worried about a monster they'd never see that they worked it into their weapons?
This place becomes more impossible each day.
A few days ago, I turned from a statue to find a human woman staring at me. She didn't react when I screamed, or when I ran around picking up my dropped notes. When I asked who she was and how long she'd been standing there, she quoted some verses of the Chant at me, polite as you please. I offered her some water, but she shook her head, pointed to the east, and said "Blessed are those with fortitude, for they persevere in the name of the Maker." When I glanced back, she was gone.
The poor woman must be touched. She seemed harmless, but I don't know how she gets around so quickly in this heat.
I have just discovered Fairel's tomb in the east. I've never seen something so sodding grand in all my life. I won't write an essay on this place, I'll write a book. Several books. I will be rich and bring a whole expedition here and the University of Orlais will beg me to lecture when I'm not presenting my findings to the empress herself over dinner.
That is, if I can get inside the Fairel's tomb. The doors are sealed tight. It looks like there's a keyhole, but none of the ruins I've seen have anything even hinting at a key. On the way out, I saw I'd missed a few bones on the ground. They were still bloody. Sheer luck that whatever lives there wasn't home when I arrived.
A group of human mages have moved in. They're digging out buildings deep in the sand. When I tried to approach them, one of the workers dragged me aside and whispered to me to leave before "the Venatori" caught me. I wasn't going to listen until he showed me his cuts. These mages have been bleeding him for their spells!
I ran. I wish there were something I could do. What do these "Venatori" want? the buildings I saw looked like tombs in the ancient style. Fairel was a master runesmith. Maybe the city revered his work enough to seal it away...
Not a good day. Sandstorm blew in for hours, and I was almost bitten in half by one of those terrible spiders. Making the fire nice and bright tonight. Wound's wrapped up, but it feels hot to the touch. Dizzy. Rest a few days?
Discovered one interesting thing in all the mess—the name of this place. I puzzled it from some carvings on the doors of Fairel's tomb. Kal Repartha: "A place where we may meet in peace."
I hope they found peace.