No one survived. Not one. It was the bloodiest scene I have ever encountered. Only the most evil and despicable would murder innocents.
The Northern Chadi caravan had left the Muioqa Desert Muioqa Desert headed back to the Chadi homeland. They returning from a successful trip to the region of Mount Niaholm to obtain supplies from the Niaholm Fungus Mine. Their goal was to make their way to Pekubogo Monin, at the border of the Kingdom of Orsholon - Region and Chadigartu, where they would sell their fungi to the merchants for use in various potions and tinctures including the highly sought after Sani Rakia Ike (Amando Fazio is a great proponent of this compound).
The fungi were a great source of income for the traders, and after trading in Pekubogo Monin, they would head to the Lawcrane Royal Infirmary in Lawcrane. There, they had constructed a deal to obtain the fungus used for Aca Fungal Steam Purple Haize treatments in exchange for a new possible treatment for the Pewamro's terribly debilitating mutations. There was also rumor that a new recipe for Dwarven Bacon was available, and that it approximated the legendary food.
Moving east, they would need to go through the Haranush Pass, near the village of Haranush. The pass was the easiest and quickest way to the coastline from Mt. Niaholm. Given the terrain, the narrow pass was nearly straight through the hills east of Haranush. The tall rock walls had been cut sometime before The Cataclysm and were an important route through the region.
At the same time, Vaergahl The Bearded, a vile, vicious Red Dragon, had been planning an attack on traders that his minions had told him were carrying carts full of gems and gold, as well as dragonstones. He had also been told that the caravan would be hiding documents that would tell the location on the highly sought after Mehnfrehm. These traders were believed to be heading east to the Chadigartu capitol. Vaergahl planned to make a swift attack, diving in from above while his minions closed off both ends of the pass. He sent them ahead to make camp and prepare.
Vaergahl's forces camped at the top of the cliffs above the pass, ready to rain down hell. When they received the call, they would work their way back down, essentially squeezing their targets into the pass, trapping them.
Word came back to Vaergahl that a caravan of traders was approaching the Haranush region, and he sent his thugs ahead. Unknown to Vaergahl, the caravan he was preparing to attack was not filled with gold and gems but mushrooms and fungi. Out went the call to his minions to prepare, and Vaergahl flew to the pass to execute the attack.
The caravan had stopped in the village of Haranush. There, they connected with a large group of Haranush pilgrims heading toward the Chadigartu capitol for a festival celebrating the upcoming Dark
. The number of those traveling more than doubled. After a rest stop overnight, the entire group, including most of the village, resumed their journey.
As they approached the pass, they did not see the waiting teams upon the clifftops. Nor did they see the various younger dragons, kobolds, and even human slaves circling behind them. But it was not before they were fully in the pass, and the trap closed. When the caravan reached the top of the pass, Vaergahl dropped in from the clifftops. His massive body and wings blocked out much of the sun. He beat his wings in massive sweeps that generated mighty blasts, raining dirt and debris on the travelers.
The travelers and traders cowered in fear, with a massive dragon blocking their way and hordes of angry kobolds and slaves trapping them in the narrow canyon.
The dragon's minions moved in, forcing the traders to show them their cargo. The pilgrims were searched, looking for the promised treasures. But there were none to be found. This was not the promised caravan, the massive haul that Vaergahl expected. Just fungi. And pilgrims.
Vaergahl roared in a fury. Without hesitation, he let loose a blast of incinerating the poor victims in front of him. He took flight and ordered his minions to "Kill them! Kill them all! Leave none breathing!" His hordes began cutting through the caravan, not just killing but mutilating every one of the travelers. Men, women, children; none were spared.
At the same time, the dragon rose out of the canyon and flew to Haranush. He descended on the village and decimated it. He burned homes and tents to the ground. He made sure that not one person would survive. His anger fueled his attack. His rage grew. He would punish the town for not delivering his sought-after treasures. But that would not be enough. He flew back to the pass and proceeded without warning to murder his own troops. He ripped at them with claws and talons, whipping them with his tail, then burning them intensely with his breath. No one was left alive. The scent of burning flesh and spilled blood would have been intense.
A few days after the massacre, a group of adventurers had planned to use the pass to move west toward the Muioqa Desert. They were heading toward the Puqopen Navu
to researh the Pewamro
, learn more about the Pewamro
, and the details of the historic Casildo's Lament
letter. They also hoped there might be some lore held by the Pewamro that would give clues leading to Sopowowe Qebaro
and the great birds, the Mosai Mekape
As they approached the Haranush Pass summit within the steep walls, they could smell the sweet, rancid smell of death and burnt flesh. The scene they came upon was horrific, Dozens of burned and dismembered bodies, human and kobold, pack animals and Baduhmian Oxen
lying in pools of dried blood, and scavengers like the Akuapa Mekape
picking at the remains. There would be no way to make it through the pass without stepping through the carnage. Shattered blackglass quill's
littered the ground.
The adventurers were shaken to their core. They returned to the coast and began to tell the tale of what they had seen.
The pass was never used again. It has become considered a cursed place. Without knowledge of what actually happened there, there was no way to know what happened with no witnesses. No one dared use the pass for fear that some demon or previously unknown evil would be encountered with a similar result. Not even members of the Calaun Crime Syndicate
would enter, despite being ordered by Bafon Jelric
Among the dead were the young Haranush Grand Guildmaster and, reportedly, a member of the Mepia Zanimel
who had been assigned to accompany the pilgrims. Of course, the Dyan
, descendants of the ancient Daehn
religion, declared the pass an unholy site, believing it to be a sacrifice to some evil god.
The Zabuion Sunulawe
dispute the demon interpretation of the massacre. Having intimate knowledge of the actions and behavior of the dragons along the Dragon's Spine
, they believed this to be the action of one of the more evil dragons. They had witnessed such carnage and willful cruelty when a dragon attacked during Kipa Qanaviaro Zabuion
in the high reaches of the Dragon's Spine
. The attack was laying waste to the village and the temple until another dragon intervened and battled with the attacker, forcing them to the ground and destroying them. They believe that the aftermath of the Haranush attack to be very similar to what they witnessed.
The taking of anything, even small remnants of quills or any other item, is considered a crime in Orsholon. In fact, anyone caught with something from the massacre will be jailed, and if caught trying to sell such an item, it can even result in being jailed in Hoggarth Prison
for up to a year.
One of the current Beacon Adjustment, Care, Operation and Navigation Technicians
in Lawcrane is believed to be a descendant of one of the pilgrims, and on the date of the massacre, holds a solemn vigil at the northern lighthouse, holding a torch by himself all night as a sign of respect.
The Phantom of Mercy
has reportedly been quoted saying that this massacre will be one day avenged, apparently also believing the Zabuion Sunulawe version of the attack.