Journey to Keening

Keening

It is impossible to miss the border between Tepest and the accursed land of Keening. As you travel north the dense forest gives way abruptly to sparse copses of dying trees, black and gnarled in barren sandy soil. The chirps, buzzes and rustles of nature fade to silence, broken only by the groaning winds. The air itself seems thick with a pall of melancholy and the sunlight fades to a feeble wintry glow.
Pushing on, the skeletal thickets quickly dwindle, leaving only a stony wasteland of withered grasses. At this point the central figure of Keening rises into view, no longer half-glimpsed through the shadows of trees but a granite spectre clad in mist. The tortured shape of Mount Lament inspires a shudder. The other notorious peaks of the Core tower arrogantly, but Mount Lament hunches on the breast of the landscape alone and forgotten.
Gradually the last traces of thorny scrub brush and grass fade away leaving a bleak tableland of stone. Scattered pebbles, cobbles and boulders abound in the wasteland making travel arduous. Lichens of pale yellow, green and blue encrust the stones lending the region an otherworldly vividness amid the surrounding grey. Many of the rocks appear to have been deliberately arranged in vague patterns that mean nothing to the casual observer.

After passing the Graveyards the travel becomes ever more difficult. Though there is but one peak the land lies jagged and broken.

Near the foot of the mountain the journey becomes a breathless labyrinthine hike over barren stone. Many times you are forced to clamber on hand and foot across jagged ridges and sheer crevasses that appear suddenly in your path. Rima shows a supernatural instinct and frequently directs the group to follow hidden or difficult paths ignoring the more clear routes which, from a later vantage point, are revealed to be dead ends. Here in its very shadow you can see that Mount Lament is an eerie jagged ridge rising to an unspectacular, blunt summit. Wisps of white fog crown the peak, heedless of the weather. Long, vertical black streaks mar the ashen stone, as though rivulets of tears once streamed down the slopes.
As you pick your way up the slope you reach an near vertical cliff face. Rima says, “Unfortunately I can see no easy way around this path. We must attempt to climb.” The rough rocky cliff is about sixty feet high and stretches away to either side. Off to your left there is a steep drop off to a narrow ravine, on the right the cliff just seems to rise higher and higher. This does seem to be the best place to climb to the narrow ledge above before proceeding.

Cavern

As you make your way along the gravelly broken trail slowly making a switch back up the mountainside you finally spot a narrow dark crevice leading into the mountain. Rima pauses, saying “He entered here. I have heard in the past that the caverns of the Arak can only be entered from caverns near the top of the mountain. There must be a separate passage through here, we should proceed carefully. I still believe that banshee queen’s servants will allow us to pass but there may be other traps and hazards within.”
You can see the cavern widening up ahead. It appears that there are several branches leading in different directions.
With no warning the shadowy cracks and crevices that line the cavern walls begin to shift and wriggle. In a matter of seconds it seems that dozens, scores, hundreds of tiny rotting shadowy creatures begin to form from the very living darkness. They leap and fling themselves in a revolting attack that is all the more horrifying because it is perfectly silent.

Journey to Keening

A Light in Darkness MKing MKing