Day Twenty-Six

Rene Oliver

Another brisk hike today. Finally stopped now, planning to spend a few days in this really huge city we stumbled across. I don’t know how to describe it, really. Don’t have much to compare it to. Haven’t seen many cities. It’s fucking huge.
So of course Zephyr decided we’d spend our time in this massive uninhabited city hanging out in another little hut. Classic. This one’s made of stone bricks, and it’s got multiple rooms - a little kitchen, a bedroom, and a restroom containing a pit toilet. The toilet looks to be connected to a whole series of sewer tunnels.
Because it’s made of the same stone as the rest of the caves (wonder if we’ll run into any quarries?) our hut is pretty well camouflaged. Gives me a little bit of peace of mind at night.

This building’s still pretty primitive. Most of the city is, which is weird given how huge it is. And how well-maintained it is, too. Even some of the unused portions of the Abyss are starting to go already. Wonder how all this basic stone shit is still so well-preserved.
Zephyr’s out hiking. Hopefully he’ll be back before I sleep, but I’m getting tired.

Still awake. Still no sign of Zephyr. Guess I should mention the gravestone outside. Looks a lot like old human gravestones. There are markings on it that Zephyr told me aren’t a part of any Vyrolikar language. From that he gathered that this town might’ve belonged to the race who destroyed the ancient Vyrolikar empire, not the Vyrolikar themselves.
Zephyr wants to dig this thing up to see who’s buried down there. I’m really not comfortable desecrating a grave. If he’s curious he can break his back by himself. I don’t think he will, at least not tonight. He’s been gone a couple hours and we spent all day hiking before that. He’ll be exhausted when he gets back.


Zephyr

We have, after a prolonged period spent hiking, found ourselves within another ancient Vyrolikar city (note that we have, in truth, been here for some time already. I am writing this following an extensive trek through the streets). The structures composing this city are of a much higher standard than the simplistic clay domes of yesterday’s settlement, and they were constructed in a great quantity. Ascertaining this city’s exact size would be impossible given the limited visibility. At a guess, I would approximate that it spans at least ten kilometers.
I wish to spend several days here - it could be the most important archaeological site in the entirety of these caves. After some time spent considering several temporary homes, we have opted for a small stone-brick abode within what appears to have once been a rather primitive residential area.
Despite the primitive construction, this hut - and every one around it - has several distinctive and interesting features. Most interesting is the extensive sewer system to which they are all connected - unfortunately, only by way of simple and uncomfortable pit toilets. Which is, in truth, more tolerable than the facilities aboard the Abyss following the blackout.
The interiors of these huts are split into multiple rooms whose purposes remain distinct even several million years following the end of this civilization. What causes these structures to remain so well-preserved is a mystery worth investigating in itself, but for now I can do nothing but be grateful that I have been provided so much to work with.

One of the first things we encountered upon settling down within this hut was the gravestone in its yard. The stone is marked in a language I have never seen before… perhaps this city was constructed, or at least inhabited by, the race who destroyed the Empire of Su-Kalus. If this is the case, I would be the first living being in tens of millions of years to witness the form of those who cast my people into darkness.
Rene seems uncomfortable desecrating it. This is unfortunate - the soil has proven to be rather heavy. Help would be greatly appreciated.

Within the grave there lay the skeleton of an ancient Vyrolikar, whom I presume to have been a soldier. I plan to return him to the ground as soon as I describe his body - and the artifacts with which he was buried - to the best of my ability.
His bones are mostly in-tact. Roughly twice as wide as the modern Vyrolikar bone, and far less porous. Apparent cause of death is obvious: there is a massive hole in his forehead. Even discounting the hole, the skull is perhaps the most intriguing artifact within this man’s grave. Below is a sketch of the skull as seen from the front:
To either side of his forehead there is a stubby horn, circled by smaller nubs of bone. A Vyrolikar with horns has never been described before, even amongst the most esoteric of our subspecies. Whatever this is, it is entirely unknown to modern science. I am not entirely sure what it means. Perhaps his ancestors engaged in some variety of esoteric race-mixing. Or perhaps these bones are of an older generation than any which have previously been discovered… I am quite partial to the latter hypothesis.
Most of his body is clothed in armor which must surely be ceremonial - I cannot imagine anybody doing battle in such equipment. The breastplate is gilded, with a circular jewel embedded into the center of its chest. Several smaller gems surround this jewel, mimicking the shape of the horns. Patterns inset in the breast, abdomen, and shoulder regions appear to have once been painted. One of these is similar to a tree; the others are incomprehensible to my eye.
The armor covering his legs is much more plain. Presumably, only his upper half was displayed during the burial ceremony.
Two items were buried alongside him - a sword and an amulet. The amulet was forged from a metal which has a slight blue tint. It was made to resemble a leaf with four sharp apices, each tipped with a small gemstone. The amulet was strung around his neck from a chain made of the same metal.
His sword is a very curious object. Both hilt and scabbard are made of gold and gemstones, in much the same vein as the armor, but its blade was crafted from something resembling bone. The blade is nearly a meter in length. Carved into it are several runes in what appears to be the same language as that inscribed into the gravestone.
What such a well-decorated man was doing buried within so primitive a village is the most confounding of the myriad mysteries raised by this corpse. Perhaps one day, once we have found our way off this world, a proper scientific team will be able to conduct a proper investigation of this place. But until then, I am the only Vyrolikar who is aware of this world’s existence. I am the only man in the universe equipped to speculate on it. I must do just that.


Continue to Day Twenty-Seven-->