Title: Ditmar's Tale
Excerpt from the diary of Ditmar, Scribe of Biblia
Later known as Ditmar the Mad
Once again I stand on this high point, looking down on the sprawling mass of buildings called Glaoveln. Five long war sloops lie tucked in the harbor there an another stands but a few hundred yards off shore in the waters of the Darkstone Bay. Dull grey smoke lies over the city like a blanket of fog, and at first glance an innocent passer-by might assume that it is fog that shrouds the town, but after these many long days of observation this fog of filth and suffering has not lifted from the land.
When first I came here, appointed by the Council at Biblia to observe this culture, and to report on the qualities and ways of life among the Krol, I was full of naive hopes that we could come to understand this people and to live with them in peace. Only my talent with illusions and disguises has allowed me to pass among them in relative safety. Yet even their own children are not safe amid the cruel perversions of these people.
This morning I bore witness to the most foul scene I have seen yet. It is on this terrible event that I must now focus my report. As I have previously reported, the current Krol king, Walfeor Gal'Kel, has commissioned the building of a flotilla of the long war sloops that the Krol favor in their piracy. Six have now been completed, and four more lie in various stages of completion along the shore. I suspect the ships will be 19 in number when all is told, as this number seems to have some significant religious meaning to the beasts. Today, the sixth ship was launched and made seaworthy with a dedication ceremony so foul it compares only with the terrible Arachne perversions.
Five human slaves were used in the ceremony to dedicate the ship and to appease the foul Krol gods. As the ship stood on shore, ready to be launched into the sea, a young woman was lashed and secured low on the bow of this ship with long iron spikes through her hands and feet. When the ship was launched, her tortured body entered the water first as an offering to dark Menachrahan, the God of the Sea. I know not whether she drowned, or was consumed by the fierce eels and sharks that abound in these waters. I can only pray that her death was quick and merciful, and that she now rests in the arms of Lorminstra.
The second part of the terrible ceremony was no less gruesome. Four male captives from a recent slave raid on some distant town or city were taken aboard the ship. These unfortunates were staked out on the forward deck of the ship, once again with long iron spikes driven through their bodies to hold them in place. The Warfarer of the ship then drew his sword and mutilated the men in a grotesque manner that allowed their blood to flow freely from their bodies. The crew of the ship gathered the blood in deep bowls and used it to wash down the entire deck of the sloop. The men died slow and terrible deaths, and their screams of agony were used by the Krol to appease the War God, Kraalta'ain.
I know not how much longer I can endure the evil ways of these beasts and still retain my sanity. Each day reveals to me acts more vile, more despicable than the worst of trolls or orcs. Now word has reached me that the fell king of the Krol has made a truce with one of the dark Dragon Lords. More on this will I report when I have learned the facts of it.
Behind the Scenes
Most of the Tomes of Kulthea were excerpts from copyrighted material in Shadow World source books. However, this story appears to be unique to GemStone, so the words have been modernized wherever possible. These practices refer to the archaic religion of the Krolvin. The most significant part is the ending, because the Dragon Lord to the northwest of Glaoveln was part of the implicit backstory of the Council of Light. He was a major power with "The Iron Wind." This story established a recent alliance with the Krol. Such an alliance was previously made to destroy Quellburn. It was the stage setting of rival invasions of Saralis with orcish hordes by Lorgalis and potentially Sulthon Ni'shaang.
Referring to the city as "Glaoveln" is based on a typographical error in the original. "Trelkinaark" was used when "Trelkinaark'est" was meant, which was later changed to "Krelnark" on the Isle of Glaoveln. However, the city is not called Krelnark any longer, instead known as Glaeve. The Kraal king Walfeor Gal'Kel is really a nom de guerre in the local trader's language of Seoltang, meaning loosely "the terrifyingly evil bitter killer." The most recent king according to the source book was Nelkinaak, who may be the same figure given the names are different languages. Ditmar would have been considered a "Sage" of Nomikos, performing the same kind of information gathering work as Selias Jodame.