The Professor’s Log: Savage Land

“Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” Friedrich Nietzsche

I hate this place. The naked misogyny and racism could almost be excused from an anthropological point of view, given the historical context, but the naked savagery of the place was driven home to me in an indelible way. Contrary to what the rest of the crew thinks, I’m not a pacifist. I have no problem with the use of violence when it’s called for, and although I’m not proud of it, I’ve taken my share of lives, but I have never seen the level of butchery I witnessed today, and I use the word “butchery” quite literally.

We were finally ready to leave town and get Carter’s job done when a comet passed overhead. Even in a place such as this, it should have been noteworthy, but not terror inducing. Unfortunately, one of the local kings took it as an omen that a usurper was born. He ordered that every male child under the age of six be slaughtered. I’m a teacher and I remember when my own sons were that age. I couldn’t imagine what would drive a man to order the execution of that many innocent children. There wasn’t any way for us to prevent their deaths, but if there had been, I’d have gladly sacrificed my own life to do so. All we could do was to get that retched kingdom behind us as quickly as possible.

We traveled for a few days, and along the way, I became close to one of the women traveling with us. Unlike almost every woman we had seen so far, she wasn’t a slave. She was a warrior. Her name was Svetlana. Strong and plain spoken, she was more than capable of handling herself in any situation. I enjoyed her company a great deal. It was the one bright spot in this trip, and I hope she stays with us.

Eventually, we came to a village, but it had been recently sacked by raiders. All of its people had been either killed outright or taken captive. The only survivor was some sort of minor priest who hid in a secret room in the local church. He told us the story of the attack and claimed that it had been committed by some sort of cannibalistic creatures. The closest word for them that he could find translated roughly as “goblins.” His story jibed with what we had witnessed and we found evidence that these goblins had taken their captives up into the nearby mountains. After a lengthy and heated debate, we decided to camp in the town that night, and set out to save the captives in the morning.
The next day, we tracked them to a large cave that was obviously their lair. John took out two of the guards and we went inside. It was much larger than any of us expected. Rather than a simple cave, it was a network of natural tunnels that led to an underground complex.

After dispatching a few more of the goblins, we ventured further inside with makeshift torches. While we were exploring and looking for the captives, the entire place was rocked by a large earthquake. How we avoided being crushed by falling rubble I’m not sure. When we reached what looked like the main goblin encampment, it became clear that that was the fate that met most of them. There was no one left to offer resistance, so we began searching for the captives or some indication of what had happened to them. What we found still gives me nightmares.

In one of the rooms, we found the only two remaining goblins in the process of skinning the body of a young girl. After killing them, we found a room with the remains of the other captives. There were over 60 of them, butchered, skinned and left to hang on meat hooks. We did eventually find four living captives chained in one of the chambers, but when we tried to free them, it triggered some sort of trap that decapitated one of them. The three that remained were the only survivors.

On the way out, we found some minor bits of treasure, but it was cold comfort after what we had seen. One of the captives we freed was the high priestess of the local church. She was understandably grateful for her rescue and our efforts to save the others. By way of reward, she gave us a chest of scented oils that she said we could sell. All I want to do at this point is get the job done as quickly as possible and get the Hell out of here.



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