Episode Seventeen: The Chronicles of Klarn: You Do Know Jack
Chronicles of Klarn (Chapter 6)
Sounds of Silence
Reason is the greatest gift. It leads to
discourse, which leads to peace, which leads to Serenity. If all
could be convinced to reason with each other, the world would enjoy
harmony of benign order. Some refuse to use reason and instead
resort to violence, at which time action – governed by reason and
wisdom – is required to counteract their deeds and restore
-From the teachings of Rao.
Pain. And then merciful darkness.
* * *
Dreams punctuated the darkness.
A small man, eyes dark and cold and filled with anger,
glared down at the man known to his comrades as Silent Pete. The
man opened his mouth to scream an order at Pete-or at those who
held him down-but no sound emerged. Instead, a silent black fog
spewed out in a mist that congealed into a serpentine, almost
draconian, shape. It took on form quickly, and its eyes locked on
Pete’s. And then it shot with blinding speed right at Pete’s
* * *
Glauron stared at the infernal gate, and thought back-with much
distaste-on the events of the past evening. Pete, his friend and
the leader of the Silent Companions, had disappeared through that
gate not two hours past. And, all Glauron and the rest of the
Companions had done was watch. Yet, their orders had been clear,
given by Pete himself.
“We are here at the request of Father Ancalimë to stop
others from going into the gate,” he had spoken through motions of
his fingers. “Please stay here.” Then, only to Glauron, he had
signed, “I must enter. Somehow I know I will find information
regarding Tybold there.” And then Pete had entered the gate.
Father Ancalimë? Why protect the gate at the request of
a priest of Corellon Larethien? And where was Tybold Reisen, the
one they were supposed to meet in an inn in Aniel?
A night ago, all of the Companions had dreamed the same dream;
in the dream Tybold had first turned to ice and then had melted
into oblivion. Tybold, though not a Silent Companion, was a friend
of all of the Companions. They instinctively trusted him and in
mysterious ways were drawn to him. Tybold seemed to show up in the
strangest of times and locations, often meeting with the Companions
in a tavern to share information, or guiding them to refuge in the
cellar of an abandoned cottage, or in the inn of a friend. Two days
past, the Companions were traveling to Aniel, a small elven village
in the southern tip of the Gnarly Forest just outside of Celene.
They were to meet with Tybold and discuss an urgent concern raised
by recent actions of the Knights of the Watch, sworn enemies of the
Archclericy of the Veluna.
The Companions served the Archclericy of Veluna via the monastic
servants known as the Celestial Order of the Moons, a group
comprised of representatives of the seven noble houses of Veluna.
All of the companions, save Joord Gambol, the halfling, swore an
oath of silence to the Order upon joining the Companions. The oaths
were administered by a high priest in the Archclericy and they were
binding. Joord was not sworn to silence so that he could serve
specifically as the mouthpiece of the Companions. But as a result,
Joord never was included in sensitive information pertaining to
Pete had been building the Companions one-by-one over the last
six turnings of the seasons. Glauron was the first companion Pete
gathered. Back at the end of Reaping in CY591, Pete had come upon a
small party of orcs camped out near Drachensgrab Hills in the
Pomarj. The orcs had Glauron’s hands bound cruelly behind his back
with rough rope. One end of the rope left the knots at his wrists,
coiled tightly around his neck, and then led a few feet away into
the large grotesquely calloused hand of a large orc. The orc was
enjoying himself immensely. Every few moments he would pull hard on
the rope-choking Glauron-as he simultaneously jabbed him harshly
with a sharpened skewer formed from a long, stripped branch. The
end of the skewer was red-hot from the orc’s campfire.
Glauron had not so much been captured by the orcs as delivered
to them, perhaps purposefully, though to this day he wasn’t
entirely sure. What was clear was that his own family of elves was
responsible for his predicament, but the reason was a mystery.
It was clear he hadn’t fit into the world he had been born into.
As long as he could remember, Glauron, a dark elf from the
Underdark, had always had a fascination with the surface world. He
didn’t despise the Underdark, but it held only functional qualities
for him: He understood the Underdark, but did not enjoy it.
The Underdark was a countless set of subterranean caverns,
chambers, tunnels, lakes and rivers all buried deeply beneath the
Drachensgrab Hills and other mountainous regions in the southwest
corner of the lands of Greyhawk. The Underdark housed many villages
and cities for Druegar dwarves, Svirfneblin gnomes, and the dark
elves know as Drow. There were other darker creatures and entities
as well, known to Glauron through the tales he had heard as a child
and through the training he had received in his teens and his
In his first thirty-five years, he had never once viewed the
surface world somewhere above the Underdark. He has listened
reverently to the stories of his elders as they described it
however. He had pictures that solidly filled his imagination of
what a starry sky must look like. He had dreams at night where he
felt wind flowing through his hair and nightmares where his eyes
were blinded and his skin burned. This compulsion of his, this
wondering, did not fit in well with his siblings. It did not fit in
well with his cousins and all the other elves of his house. He was
a respectful son, doing his duties without being reminded, without
being asked. His chores were accomplished quickly, freeing up time
so he could wander, so he could explore. All of his free time was
spent wandering the myriad tunnels and caverns of uncharted areas
of the Underdark.
This was difficult because the Underdark was vast, and over the
course of many centuries, the once growing populations of the
Underdark had not thrived but had instead shrunken. Entire cities
had been abandoned due to the ravages of wars and famine. Glauron’s
goal in his explorations was always to find passages leading up, to
ultimately find a way to the surface world. After more than a
decade of trying, he had discovered several mazes of passages that
seemed to lead up, but all of them, save one, had eventually been
blocked by collapsed tunnels or by unsurpassable rivers, or by
inhabitants deemed too unfriendly to risk further exploration.
However, ten months before being captured, he had discovered a
chimney of sorts in a never before explored cavern miles-and mazes
of tunnels-away from the Drow city where Glauron lived. His innate
powers of levitation had not developed yet, so traversing the
chimney was difficult; however within the interior tunnel of the
chimney were small pockets perfect for foot and hand holds. It led
up for what seemed an eternity, tasking Glauron to the point where
he was sure he would not be able to go on, but eventually it opened
into a closed structure. No phosphorescent moss was present and
even with his darksight, the darkness was complete. Faerie fire
revealed he was in the front of a large, empty chamber. The chamber
was longer than it was wide and had cavernous arched ceilings. From
his vantage point at the head of the chamber, Glauron could see
rows and rows of stone pews moving away from him in perfect balance
and spacing. Though layers of dust and dirt covered the room
entire, it was clear that this room was built with reverence. The
stonework of the pews was glass smooth, with intricate designs
carved throughout. The altar was raised in a series of levels,
steps moving down from the top to the round aperture that Glauron
had just exited. The different levels of the alter were ornamented
with countless braziers and many iconic figures carved beautifully
from stone, silent sentinels overseeing an empty auditorium, where
Glauron was now certain that innumerable dwarves had once prayed.
The top level held a stone podium behind which the largest dwarf
Glauron had even seen stood overlooking the podium, overlooking the
pews of his congregation. As he starred at the huge statue, Glauron
was certain the eyes of the statue moved. At the same time all of
the braziers throughout the chamber lit and the altar was bathed in
a warm light. The intensity of the light was almost unbearable, but
the fear was worse and Glauron let himself fall into the well he
had so recently came out of. The terror stayed with him for the
entire time it took him to return to his own city of dark elves,
far away from the dead city of dwarves.
It was over two months before Glauron could bolster up the
willpower to go back to the hidden city. For the first few weeks,
Glauron had more often than not woken in the middle of the night in
cold sweats, feeling the eyes of the dwarven god upon him. He never
spoke of his finding to others, partially worried about punishment,
but mostly because he still felt hope that this city would reveal a
path to the surface world. After two months, Glauron was able to
convince himself that ancient magics still lived in the chamber,
but the levels of dust he remembered convinced him that no living
dwarves still frequented the city.
Several explorations over the next few months proved him right.
The altar of the chamber would always come to life, but no other
signs of life existed in the dwarven city. The city was vast, and
in months, Glauron had made little progress in visiting all of the
buildings and chambers. He was amazed at how little time had
affected the city. None of the buildings were in disrepair other
than the dust that neglect for untold decades caused. Many chambers
and, in some cases, entire buildings, were locked off and thus
rendered inexplorable; the locks protecting these areas still
seemed to look perfectly functional, time had not tarnished them,
but no keys were found and it was readily apparent that no amount
of force Glauron could apply would open even the smallest of these
The doors that were unlocked, whether large or small, opened
easily and silently on hinges of some unknown construction, hidden
from view. The twin doors leading out of the cathedral were of
particular wonder. They were constructed of stone, and intricately
woven with iron bounds. The doors were each greater than ten feet
wide and rose thirty feet or more towards the beginning of the
arched ceiling. Upon first encountering them, Glauron was sure he
wouldn’t be able to budge them. But he had opened them with as much
effort as it would have taken to move a curtain wall. They had
opened up to show that the cathedral was one building among a city
of buildings nestled into a vast cavern that housed the entire
dwarven city. The city was swallowed by the cavern like a drop of
water in a pond.
Over time, Glauron became quite familiar with the city. Through
his innate abilities, he often uncovered clever walls that would
rise or slide out of sight into a pocket in the stone construction
of the buildings. Hidden rooms and passages were uncovered this
way, but much to his wonder, very little was every found in these
passages. Glauron became convinced over time that the peoples of
this city had abandoned it rather than losing it to war. Nothing of
value seemed to remain.
His searches always were with the target of finding a way beyond
the city, a way up to the surface. On the day that he finally
succeeded, his elven senses had alerted him to another dwarven
secret passage, this one off a set of crypts. A solid wall had
split down the middle where there had been no seam visible moments
before. It had only opened a foot or two, but from the tunnel
beyond Glauron felt for the first time in his life, a small breeze
play on his skin and through his hair. The feeling was thrilling.
He followed the flow of air out of the tunnel and into a small
chamber from which the night sky was visible. For the first time in
his life, he saw the open sky. The light of the stars was painful
to his eyes, but the sight of the sky and the stars was the most
beautiful sight he had every seen. Tears streamed from his
The chamber only had a small exit and Glauron had to climb to
reach it. He forced his way out of the small hole and was standing
on the craggy lip of a high mountain. As he looked out, overseeing
the Drachensgrab Hills, he felt a sharp pain simultaneously at both
his neck and thigh that was the last thing he noticed before going
unconscious. When he awoke, he was no longer high up on the
mountaintop. He was in an orc encampment, tied and bloodied. He
felt for the wounds at his neck and thigh, looking for darts. None
were found, but he recognized the symptoms; he knew he had been
brought down by his own people.
In the orc encampment, Glauron did not initially see Pete-nor
did the orcs. But Glauron did just catch Pete’s initial attack. Out
of the side of his eye, he saw something move swiftly through the
camp. Afterwards, many orcs lay upon the rough earth. The remaining
orcs reached for weapons, but in a blinding series of punches,
kicks, and swings from a large spear-like weapon, they soon also
At that point, Glauron got his first clear view of Pete, a
sturdy and somewhat unsightly human male. At least he looked human,
but he was disproportionately large, more akin to the size of an
ogre. Pete held his finger to his lips as he quickly severed
Glauron’s bonds and then motioned for him to follow. They ran off
together into the night and kept running until they were far from
the orc encampment.
That’s how it all started, Glauron thought.
Eighteen months past. Left for dead by my brethren, I never did
find out why Pete was there. None of us know how he comes to us.
But he saved me and trained me and here I am.
All of the Companions had similar stories. All stories involved
Pete. Most stories involved Tybold as well. Joord Gambol had been
the second to come to the Companions. The Halfling had been a
prisoner in Whitehale, a small but powerful province of Veluna,
accused of the murder of a minor noble in the Landis family, the
most powerful family in Whitehale. Joord was hours away from the
noose, but Pete- with information supplied from Tybold-had proven
Joord’s innocence. Unfortunately, the actual party responsible for
the murder, a first cousin of the Landis family, had escaped.
The others had followed in similar ways. Nine months past, Milav
and Dunai had been students of a monastery in the Duchy of Ulek.
The monastery had been burned to the ground by unknown assailants.
Pete had shown up, traveling with his friend Tybold a few days
later and had offered the brothers a new home. They had
And most recently Benito Mierow had been brought into the
Companions. How Pete had come upon Benito was still not clear to
Glauron. Benito was a mystery to all actually. There was a darkness
within the man. Even before he joined the Companions, he never
spoke. His oath of silence was made with his eyes and with small
nods. Benito was still new to the drow sign language that all of
the Companions used to converse with each other, but even with this
language, Benito spoke little, more acknowledging others than
Benito joined us two month’s time past. Tybold was with us
in Devarnish and he witnessed the ceremony as Benito became one of
the Companions. He left shortly thereafter. We were training in
Devarnish until a week past when Pete informed us we were to leave
to meet with Tybold.
“We must find him near Aniel,” was all that he had signed. So
the Companions had left Devarnish and traveled to Shernobb. And
somehow they had gotten wrapped up with Father Ancalimë and
the gate. And now Pete had been lost as well.
* * *
Pete could not move and pain like he had never felt spread from
his mouth like the angry rush of rapids over sharp rocks. He tried
to search his mouth with his tongue to discover the source the
pain, but for some reason he was unable. Nor could he reach for his
mouth with his hands; in fact, he could not move any other part of
his body. Then he remembered something. Wetstone.
I’m encased in stone. Wetstone.
The wetstone had already constricted upon him, crushing ribs and
driving the breath out of him. The pain throughout his body was
excruciating, accentuated severely by the agonizing pain in his
mouth. His mental conditioning was of almost no use in mitigating
the pain. He was completely encased save for his eyes. From his
eyes, light was visible through long cylindrical tubes which gave
Pete a crazy, warped vision of the world around him.
And he was unbearably hot.
I’m being cooked alive, Pete thought.
And then he continued to remember. He had walked through the
gate. He had fought a wingless dragon. He had lost the fight. He
had lost consciousness.
When next he woke, he had been held in chains by orcs. And then
he had first met the small and evil man. The small man had asked
him who he was and why he had come through the gate. Pete had
remained silent. He was sworn to silence. And besides, Pete really
didn’t know why he was here. As always, he had trusted a vision.
Where the visions came from, he did not know.
The man had quickly grown angry.
“Hold him down; spread him out! If he will not use his tongue I
shall find a use for it. I am growing tired of these fools.”
The orcs had pinned Pete down. The small man had gazed down at
him, anger burning in his eyes. The anger did not seem to be
entirely directed at Pete however. The man had looked to another, a
tall dark-robed, dark-eyed figure standing near. The anger had
magnified as he said, “Aerdaluna, can you not see this? All you
have to do is nod and tell him to speak.”
Aerdaluna? Pete had thought, recognizing the name from
the vision. That is who can help me find Tybold.
The one called Aerdaluna did not move however, nor did he speak.
Instead, he shrugged and turned his back on Pete with indifference.
The small man’s eyes glowered with anger. His fingers reached for
Pete, fingers that ended in sharp, scaled claws. The claws pierced
the cheeks to each side of Pete’s mouth and with preternatural
strength, the man easily forced Pete’s mouth open. With his other
hand, he then grabbed Pete’s tongue. In one quick action, his claws
dug deeply through the rough texture of the tongue and then with a
sharp pull, the tongue was removed.
“Grumic, are you hungry?” the man had said to the largest,
ugliest orc, tossing him the bloody stump of a tongue. Grumic
caught the stump and wolfed it down greedily.
“Coat the foolish monk in wetstone and bake him over an open
flame,” the man had said to the orcs. “Maybe that will make him
talk.” Then the man had looked at his hand, wet with the blood from
Pete’s tongue. “Or maybe not,” scoffed the foul man.
And then Pete had passed out.