What Did the Dwarves Dig Up in Bael Modan?
There are still many ancient secrets hidden beneath the surface of Azeroth, that, if unearthed, might bring unimaginable devastation to the world. I believe the dwarves just found one in Bael Modan.
Hello fellow adventurers,
I wonder if there is a place on Azeroth where the dwarves have not made any excavations, where you cannot see an active dwarven dig site or at least the remains of it. Dwarves have been digging all around the world with a great passion since probably their existence and even though they sometimes make quite useful and informative discoveries about the past times of Azeroth (see the Ironforge Museum for example), they also unearth things from time to time that should best be kept under the ground.
Something I noticed in one of my recent adventures in Kalimdor made me think that the dwarves might have made one such discovery, which is apparently being kept as a secret from the general public, for reasons I can only guess.
I was sent on a mission to help our dwarf allies at Bael Modan (Red Mountain, in Dwarvish), on the southeast corner of the Barrens, where they established their first settlement in Kalimdor, by taking the area from Stonespire Tauren. After building the Bael'dun Keep, a big fortress facing towards Thousand Needles, they -naturally- continued with preparing excavation sites, one just near the keep and one to the west, in Mulgore, since they had heard rumors of an ancient facility built by Titans, that was supposed to be located nearby. Not having a clear idea what they can expect to find, they dug, dug and dug.
When I arrived at the Bael Modan Excavation site on a hot, sunny afternoon, from the look of the site, it was apparent that the dwarves had already uncovered some parts of the Titan ruins.
As I walked through the site with my eyes wide open, I saw some intact and broken pillars decorated with snake skin figures, large snake statues, structural supports, excavation machines, explosives, digging and inspection tools, shovels, mine tracks, empty carts, wheelbarrows, tents, food supplies, boxes and other kind of things you would expect to find at an excavation site. Having seen similar structures and statues in other Titan ruins, I could easily tell that the rumors the dwarves had heard about an ancient Titan facility was true.
My task was to provide assistance and manpower regarding their ongoing problems with centaurs and quilboars who were attracted to the dig site once in a while, but mainly with the raiding taurens who were continuously attacking the establishment as a counter-attack to the earlier dwarf attack on Camp Taurajo.
I was walking around the excavation site amazed with the things dwarves had unearthed so far, when one of the scouts shouted to inform others about an approaching tauren raid. Without wasting any time, I found the captain of the guards, Captain Gerogg Hammertoe, and learned from him about the current situation in Bael Modan.
Even though he was quite busy giving orders to the guards, foremans and excavators coming and going, he was able to quickly brief me about how they were almost out of food and water, and how the tauren raids had gotten more frequent lately. He told me in secrecy that if the major help they had been expecting from Theramore for almost three months did not arrive soon, they would have to leave the keep and the excavation, and retreat back to Fort Triumph.
Since I was given permission to be of help for as long as it was necessary, I let the captain know that I would stay till the mentioned help arrived, and ease their job of defending the keep and the excavation site from the neverending tauren raids as much as I could. So, after refreshing myself with a little bit of water, I left the captain and joined the fight, a fight which seemed to be never going to come to an end.
That day, as the last lights of the sun disappeared behind Mount Kalimdor and the moon started to rise to an open sky, the tauren gave a break to their raids and started to gather their fallen and wounded ones; so did we. We buried our dead, medics tended to the wounded and the rest of the folks who can still walk prepared a humble feast not only to celebrate another successful day at defending the establishment but also to honor the fallen heroes. I have to say, after a long and tiring day of travel and fighting, it was a fine meal consisting of Roasted Kodo Meat, Tasty Lion Steak and Crispy Lizard Tail. I even greatly enjoyed the strange stew I tasted for the first time, ingredients of which the chief of the keep chose to keep as secret.
After the crowd left the dining hall and slowly withdrew to their resting rooms, I joined Captain Hammertoe at his small personal camp, overlooking the excavation site from the east. It was a very hot and humid night full of mosquitoes flying around and making it hard to sleep no matter how tired you were; therefore, we stayed awake for a while and talked about how he ended up there and what he and his man have been doing since then.
Since I saw the captain a bit thoughtful, I showed the courage to ask him about something I heard from an excavator guarding a closed cave entrance, when I had given a break to the fight in the afternoon. I repeated his words to the captain:
"Turn away, warrior.
Before the cataclysm hit, we found something.
We dug something up that should've stayed buried.
Pray to whatever you believe in that the landslide was enough to keep it down."
and asked him if he could tell me more about what that excavator meant and where the now-collapsed cave was leading to.
The captain replied: "What? He said that to you too, eh? I will give that lad a good beating in the morning, fer sure. I am just sick and tired of replacing the guard in front of that cave because they simply can't keep their mouth shut as they can keep it open when they see something to drink."
"Oh well..." he continued. "Now that you have heard of it, I don't see any harm in telling you what it is all about. But know this: There are things that I know, there are things that I don't know and there are things that I wish I hadn't known. I will tell you what I know, naturally I can't tell you what I don't know, but I will definitely not tell you what I wish I hadn't known."
I was not sure if the captain was a little drunk but I was glad to hear that he was going to tell me about it. Hesitant to be insisting about hearing what he wish he hadn't known, I looked into his eyes interestedly and told him that I was ready to hear what he was about to share.
"Listen to me carefully lad, as I don't want to repeat any part of this cursed story." The captain took a deep breath and stayed silent for a moment; as if he was bringing his thoughts together. Then he continued with his words:
"You seem to have seen a lot in your adventures and explorations, but let me tell you this, I can guarantee that you haven't seen anything like what we have seen here.
When I was assigned as the captain to the guard of Bael Modan and arrived at my new place of duty years ago, a group of archeologists from the Explorers' League were on the brink of a major archaeological discovery on this part of Kalimdor.
Since my duty was to ensure the safety of the keep and the uninterrupted progress of the excavation, and I was quite busy doing that like I am now, I was not much interested in what my digger buddies were seeking under the ground. But from their talks I was hearing, I could say it was going to be one of the greatest discoveries ever made on Azeroth.
That surely grabbed my attention and I started to join their late night gatherings and conversations about the excavation and their progress so far, as much as time permitted.
At one of those gatherings, I learned from the chief explorer that the location they chose to start their excavation was believed to be a place that was once home to a large Titan complex, which was a research facility or a lab perhaps, that was known as The House of the Makers. It was assumed to be the biggest facility of the Titans on Azeroth, where they not only tested their new creations, some of which are currently inhabiting Azeroth, but they also tried to understand a unique magical phenomenon they have come across only on Azeroth.
As the work of the Titans on Azeroth came to a break, they gathered most of their relics, artifacts and discs -which are believed to be their encrypted data storage devices- scattered across Azeroth and stored them in a secure, colossal chamber at this facility, guarded by two of their strongest guards, one of them is known as Acheras the Custodian. The Titans then sealed the facility, leaving the guards inside, preventing anyone to enter from the outside or exit from the inside.
The chief explorer said that they thought that the seal was believed to have lost its effect during the global cataclysm, and that they were so close to reach that colossal chamber. In fact, they expected to reach it the next day, if they could continue digging with no interruptions from the tauren raids. Fascinated by what I heard, I promised him that my men would make sure that there would be no interruptions and I showed my desire to join them in this great discovery by asking if I could come with them.
Don't look at me like that now, of course I had not forgotten my duties, but a discovery of this scale could've easily changed the course of the battle and given major advantage to our alliance. I swear that was the only reason I wanted to join them in the next day's excavation.
Early in the next morning, I assigned my most trusted sergeant to serve as captain in my absence, gave orders to all other men and told them about the importance of that day's excavation so that they would make sure no breathing or dead tauren gets through the excavation entrance, and quickly went to join my archaeologist buddies.
Led by the chief explorer, we grabbed all the equipment and entered the excavation cave. We passed through an endless labyrinth of tunnels and reached the spot where they had left off the previous day, after about an hour. The excavators started digging, I started watching them.I won't bore you with all the uninteresting details and boring archaeology chatter -I almost fell asleep while waiting- that took place till one of the excavators' pickaxe hit on a strong, shiny wall surface in the deepest part of the cave. If you aren't an archaeologist, you can never understand the sheer amount of joy those excavators, including the chief explorer, had at that moment. After some loud "Hooray!"s and celebration hugs, the chief explorer quickly re-organized the excavators, as the focus of the dig was given to breaching that wall.
To my surprise, after just a few minutes, they managed to open a crack in the wall as large as the largest Dwarf can pass through if he just pulled his belly in. Didn't them excavators work fast as if they were rushing to a feast table at the last night of the Harvest Festival? One by one, we slowly crawled through the passage and found ourselves in such a huge chamber that none of us could see its ceiling or the wall on the opposite side.
The titanic chamber seemed to be illuminated with unknown sources of lights. You could clearly see most areas of the chamber as far as your eyes could see, but you wouldn't be able to locate even one single light source. Unlike most other dwarven excavations, the chamber was not full of gold, treasures or shiny gems. Its walls were covered by engravings in a language even the chief explorer had never seen before, its floor was covered with sharp pointed, irregularly placed stepping stones, going neither up nor down. If I hadn't seen many dragons of different flights in my time, I would have sworn that was the back of a dragon. In front of the walls of the chamber, at least as far as our eyes could see, there were gigantic statues of unfamiliar creatures we had never seen before. Between those statues, were tall structures that looked like shelves, taller than the Ironforge gates, showcasing many relics, tablets, artifacts and some really big discs.
Amazed with what we had seen so far, we cautiously walked away from the passage we came through and towards the other side of the room, hoping to eventually find the center of the chamber.
I don't think we walked more than half an hour, but in such a wondrous place of pure discovery, your eyes not able to rest at any point they lay on more than a few seconds, your mind constantly wandering away, thinking of limitless possibilities about the creation and the planes of existence, and your soul enjoying the fact that you are walking in a chamber no Azerothian had ever stepped in before, it felt like an age we walked.
"Stop! Look ahead!" the chief explorer suddenly shouted gently, as he pointed with his forefinger at some silhouettes far away in the direction we were walking. They looked to be two huge constructs, not moving, just standing, no different than statues. Such things or creatures, I didn't know what to call them, none of us had ever seen before. Between fear and curiosity, we proceeded towards the constructs and as we got closer to them, we were now able to appreciate their size better. If I was sure you are not going to blame me for exaggerating, I could safely say they were as tall as Khaz Modan (oh, how I miss you...), because I was sure they were, if not taller.
Without making much noise, we passed by their feet, one of which could easily trample a hundred dwarves. When we looked up, to see how their faces looked like, we couldn't see their heads clearly, probably because they were so tall.
We stopped between the feet of one of the constructs and gave a small break to eat and rest a bit, and also to talk about the magnificent things we had been seeing since we entered through that small passage in the wall. The chief explorer, with a noticeable happiness on his face for making the greatest discovery in the recorded dwarven history, told us that this must be the storage chamber of the Titan research facility he had mentioned earlier, and the two constructs we were just standing next to must be the two Titan guardians who were assigned with overlooking the facility after the other Titans left.
After witnessing the chief explorer's joy, all this hard work was making better sense to me now and I was feeling proud to be a part of such a major discovery. Me and my buddy explorers were already in a cheerful mood, eating and drinking, sharing the joy of the moment with funny jokes and songs, when we heard an annoyingly terrifying sound of metal scratching on stone, which lasted for a few seconds. The sound felt like it was not made by cold metal, it felt like it was made by a fiery metal that was just taken out of the forge after being held in it for hours before it was shaped.
Quickly grabbing our tools from the ground and staying close to each other, we decided to slowly walk towards where the sound came from. Minutes later, we saw a huge rock in the distance, standing on the floor on its own. I don't know why but an instinct made me run towards it, the others followed me. As we approached it, we realized that it was the head of one of the huge constructs. As we turned around it to see its face, we were shocked by the sight of its eyes, each of which were larger than a boat.
Though the head was lifeless, its eyes were still wide open, petrified with an impression that I am much familiar with: an impression one would make only at the last moment before a fearful death.
As we were whispering as to what might have happened here, we heard the same terrifying metallic sound again, this time it was louder and closer. From the nature of the sound, I didn't think what was approaching had friendly intentions, so, as the captain of the guard, who would naturally take the lead among the explorers in such situations, I kindly requested that we start running slowly back to the wall passage through which we entered the chamber. It looked my buddies were readier than me when I realized that I was the last one running behind the group.
Those of us who had the courage looked back from time to time but none of us could see what was chasing us. Either it was too slow, or it was too big that its sound was coming from a majestic distance. As the sound continued to get closer, the ground started to tremble, which helped us run even faster till we passed the constructs and then the statues, and reached the passage on the wall. I wouldn't describe the process of getting through the passage as humanely, well, it was of course dwarvely. Everyone rushed to the passage and pushed one in front of him as strongly as they could. If they pushed this hard while excavating, there would be no unearthed thing on the whole Azeroth, I tell ya.
After making sure everyone else got through the passage and exited the chamber safely, being the last one still standing inside the chamber, I decided to look back, hoping to see what was causing that terrifying sounds and making the ground tremble. Others were shouting at me to hurry and get out before the walls of the excavation cave collapsed due to the earthquake that thing's movement was causing.
I was eager to get out as soon as I could but I also wanted to see the thing we found inside that chamber, or I should say, the thing that found us, so I stayed for a bit longer. The walls of the cave started to collapse, earth and sand started to cover everything, I could barely breathe. I jumped into the passage backwards, my feet towards outside and my head towards inside, with a last hope to see what was chasing us. My explorer buddies grabbed me legs and started to pull me out. I was keen to stay till the last moment before the cave collapsed so they must have felt like as if they were dragging Ol' Rhapsody.
At that instant, just before I was fully dragged out and the last boulders fell down and caused the whole cave to collapse, I was able to see it. Yes... I saw it... I saw the...
Oh, what? How come I told you more than I planned to do so? My intention was to stop telling my story at the time when we reached the two constructs. Oh boy, anyway, what is told is told. As soon as we got out of the excavation cave, it collapsed with a deafening sound, as if the whole mountain was tearing apart.
Still in shock due to the things we had seen inside the chamber and the thing that chased us, I gathered the explorer crew and made them promise they won't say anyone about what we found in that cave. The first thing the next morning, I ordered me man to build the biggest cannon in Azeroth, put it at the top of the keep and direct it towards the collapsed cave and keep it loaded and ready to be fired, and of course, not ask any questions about it. I also started putting guards in front of the cave entrance and ordered them to steer away the curious folks. Since then, fortunately, we had no incidents or signs that whatever that was beneath the ground was trying to get out. I didn't report the incident to authorities because I didn't want to be responsible for anyone's death who would be sent to investigate.
Now, you will also promise me not to tell anyone about this incident, ok? I wouldn't want to beat you too, but I sure will if I hear the story from anyone else. Hey, lad? You sleeping already? Too much of a story for you, eh? Well, you missed the best parts but that's much better I tell ya."
I knew that the captain was going to make me promise not to tell anyone; therefore, towards his last sentences, I pretended to be sleeping, so that I didn't have to make any promises. When he stopped talking and started snoring, I really fell asleep this time.
The next day, I woke up early in the morning before anyone else, grabbed a pickaxe, a shovel and a lantern, and went directly to the collapsed cave. The guard in front of it was also sleeping, so it was easy for me to get past him and reach the cave entrance. Hearing the captivating story of the captain, I was now sure that I was going to dig and see the thing they had found in that chamber, not worrying about the dangers involved. So I started digging...
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8 Jul, 2017 19:45 UTC
What a detailed story, that I could fully immerse myself in. :)
Thank you so much, Eom, for taking the time to write it in such depth.
I could easily picture you across from the captain.
The sentence "Without making much noise, we passed by their feet, one of which could easily trample a hundred Dwarves." - was such a great description to give the reader a very clear idea of the size of those...statues...
You bet I will look forward to the next part :)
And thank you for changing the way I look at dwarves and their excavations, too.
You make the world of Azeroth even better, than it is already.
9 Jul, 2017 13:47 UTC
Thank you, Alunaria, for taking the time to read and share your thoughts, highly appreciated.
I didn't rush this one but when I re-read it, I realized that I could expand some portions a little bit more, to give more flesh to the story. I might do that at a later time.
This adventure won't continue, the untold parts are left to the imagination of the reader. As much as a reader might hate it, a writer likes to do that a lot :)
Dwarves are super cool. They are fun, they can find something fun in everything, they are strong and sturdy, they are stubborn, they are charismatic, they are honorable and loyal, they are the type of folks you would want near you in any exploration, adventure or battle.
13 Jul, 2017 22:31 UTC
Such an immersive story, love the descriptions. Also, yay dwarves ^^ It's my favourite class, and I'd like to think of my dwarf mage as an explorer of Titan structures/history!
14 Jul, 2017 06:06 UTC
Thank you Bryssa, for reading and for your nice words :)
I enjoy writing about Dwarves, asking them to be part of my stories/adventures, since when you look at a Dwarf, when you listen to what they say, when you observe their face, clothing and actions, you can almost hear not only the personal story of theirs, but also many more stories to be told while sitting around a warm campfire.
I also enjoy Titan and archaeology themes, so they are all a perfect mix for me. Coincidentally, my next (work-in-progress) fan-fic story is about Dwarves and Titans, taking place at another location of Azeroth, but that one will sure take some time to finish.
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