The Walhkrevt’s Well

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

An homage to Undermountain and the mega-dungeons…

On an exposed outcrop high on a stony mountainside there is a broad pit. The pit is ringed by a low stone lip carven with all manner of gargoyles and obscene figures; swaying over it is a heavy black bucket large enough to fit two men, suspended with thick cables from a sturdy-but-worn wooden frame. A great, iron winch carven with skulls beckons. None know who maintains the apparatus, only that it is.

To those few mountain-dwellers of the area, this place is called the Well, but no one draws water forth from its depths. Only evil.

Were a brave or foolish soul to descend in the bucket (as some have), they would find someone–something–has carven rooms and burrowed tunnels through the casement all along the descent into the nethermost-depths; each entry along the way down leading to new complex of rooms: some small, some large, and some sprawling. The Well holds level-upon-level of cursed dungeons and cavern lairs, each holding horrors independent of the others. And at the very bottom…

Both mountain-folk and the cursed Silver Dwarves tell of travelers abducted in the night and dragged screaming into the depths of the Well by monsters that have climbed up from therein. They tell of demons who rise from the pit to spread murder and insanity.

None of those who remain in the reclusive dwarven kingdom of Silverhold would dispute any of this, and their great iron doors are shut fast each night, opened for no man or even dwarf who has tarried outside beyond sunset.

What lurks below? Who dug the Well and its dungeons? Why would someone place a bucket and pulleys for descent into such a foul place? What is the Walhkrevt?

None can answer these questions, and yet many tell rumors heard of the depths…

  • The entrances down along the shaft shift and change, and any fool who descends can find the entrance to each dungeon only once. For the entrances do not lead to places carved under the mountainside, but are portals to other distant places in this world as well as other realms entire!
  • A necromancer lives in a small series of room near the upper portion of the well, his dwelling is marked by a lintel of skulls above a tomb’s archway. Some seek him out to curse their enemies, others claim he is a foul lich learned in the darkest arcane secrets and not to be trifled with.
  • One entryway belches brimstone and glows with flame, but is only open on specific nights of the year. You can tell if you look down into the well, for its depths glow on those nights. A hellish landscape of magma and fire lies beyond, filled with demonic creatures and fire-y analogues of the mountain-side.
  • That the dwarven king of Silverhold will shower any with wealth who can return the kingdom’s treasure to him, stolen by some horror from the Well centuries afore as his kingdom began its decline. Especially the Stone of Farthing, for which he might give his entire kingdom (few think to ask why a king would give up his kingdom for a treasure he could then not keep).
  • Upon one level there are vast, slanted caverns that reach down into the very roots of the mountain, wherein writhing dog-things multiply in untold numbers. Miners once accidentally tunneled into the furthest tip of this place, and out of sheer horror collapsed not only the tunnel leading to it, but the entire mine to keep such horrors from being loosed.
  • A mad wizard carved endless corridors in the depths, down-and-down, seeking metals unknown to even the dwarves, for use in ancient rites said to be written by the giants before their fall. His undying servants and servitor demons continue the work they were tasked with, building trapped halls, carving temples to strange gods or crypts for fallen fools, guarding lost treasures and abandoned wizardry, and onwards.
  • Goblins, black orcs, and worse have made homes in the caverns at the deeps of the wells, as well as taking over the fallen ruins of an ancient mine, or city, once built by the dwarves. They battle one another for power and control, but band together sometimes to raid the surface seeking slaves and trade goods.
  • A white orc with red eyes and pale skin, nearly translucent enough to see his black heart, lairs beyond an entry in the casement that seems to promise succor and peace beyond. Rich tapestries, jeweled statuettes, silks and cushions, all surrounding by white marble, hide cunning traps and poisons, spiders, snakes, rats and worse.
  • The bottom of the Well is the stomach of a slumbering giant, sleeping until the ringing of the bass chimes that signal apocalypse awaken it. Some think the giant may be slain while it sleeps, sparing the world its ravages upon the chimes’ tone and saving many. But first one must find its heart or brain.

What else might lie in the depths?

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