Journal of Elder Aust of Harrogath
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Please note that the numbering of years doesn't seem to match with Deckard Cain's Journal, where he describes the past year's event with a demonic onslaught arriving in Montath of 1265, while Elder Aust clearly states Montath of 1266.
3rd day of Montaht, Lauds
My dearest Elora
It's been ten long years since you were taken from Anya and me. In my mind's eye, I still see your beautiful face and remember the happier days of our time together. It comforts me to write and think that, somehow, you are reading this yourself. It may not be long before I join you in the afterlife.
Our people's time here in Harrogath is drawing to an end. Recently, our seer, Caldra has been afflicted with terrifying visions of our doom. Last night, the whole village awoke to her screams. When I reached Caldra's cottage, our daughter, Anya, was already there comforting her. During the night, the seer's raven hair had turned stark white . She was delirious when I entered the room, howling senselessly and tearing out her hair in bloody clumps.
It took us some time to calm her -- but even then, she seemed only a shadow of her former self. She wouldn't respond to any of us directly, instead staring into some unseen world beyond our own. the healer, Malah, came but her attempts to cure Cladra were futile. Our tortured seer was not sick of body -- she had quite clearly gone mad.
4th day of Montaht, Sext
This morning as the dawn came the other Elders and I held a vigil over Caldra's comatose form, praying to the Ancients for guidance. Then, just as suddenly as it begun her madness broke or so it seemed. She sat straight up in bed , thin strands of her once beautiful hair draping over her nightgown - her eyes seemed to glow with a feverish inner Light. By the Ancients, she looked older than any Elder there.
She gazed slowly around the room, looking at each of us in turn. With a slight, almost mocking smirk, she whispered in a ragged voice: "Baal comes . . . and destruction follows him like a storm." She then sank back into the bed and with a shudder, breathed her last. By the gods, Elora, as long as I draw breath, I will never forget her terrible portent.
5th day of Montaht, Vespers
If Caldra's prophetic words were not enough to move Qual-Kehk and his men to take up arms, then the black clouds of smoke rising in the south surely proved to be! We surmised that a great army was marching towards us. Led by none other than Baal the Lord of Destruction. Our worst fears were confirmed when we lost all contact with our capital, Sescheron.
I fear the worst, but I put my faith in Qual-Kehk. He's always defended us against those who would attempt to assault sacred Mt. Arreat. It's likely that Sescheron was taken by surprise -- may the Ancients watch over them -- but we, the sons of Harrogath, remain vigilant. The ancient barricades and watchtowers built for this day stand ready as they always have.
The old prophecies speak of a dark day when destruction will wash over us like a torrent of blood and fire, leaving nothing but the ashes of our people in its wake. As I look south towards the darkening skies, I know that day of doom was finally come.
7th day of Montaht, Matins
It seems that I am not the only one who cannot sleep. Qual-Kehk readies his men even now, as I ready myself. This morning, I shall propose that we perform one of the long-forbidden Druidic spells of warding. As Elders, we alone are capable of summoning such tremendous energies. Though the ward may drain us of vital magical reserves, if our land is to be saved we will do what we must.
Our people once considered the Druids brethren -- but after the terrible Mage Wars, the druids were exiled to the harsh wilds beyond our homeland. Since then, our Elders have kept their fearsome Druidic powers a closely guarded secret.
The danger of unleashing such powers once again terrifies me. If done incorrectly, the warding spell could consume us all well before the arrival of Baal's army. However, I have studied the rites, and I am confident that I can cast the warding correctly with the Council's help. The ward will bar passage to any spawn of Hell -- even Baal himself. I intend to place it around the entirety of Harrogath.
Casting the spell in this fashion requires that all seven Elders venture outside the protective walls of our city. The danger is great . . . We may all be killed. However, I see no alternative. I go now to take this matter before the assembled Council of Elders.
My meeting with the Elders was as trying as I suspected it would be. They vehemently disagreed with my plan. Nihlathak argued that there must be another way to stop Baal's assault, but neither he nor the others could offer a real alternative. In time, five of the Elders came to see that my plan was the only way. Regrettably, Qual-Kehk remained unconvinced.
Though Nihlathak reluctantly agreed to participate in the spell, he refused to help convince Qual-Kehk of my plan's merit. I must admit I was intimidated by Nihlathak -- even though I am older than he and of higher standing within the council.
When I pressed Qual-Kehk to support my plan, he bristled with anger. I cannot recall ever seeing him so upset -- not even when his finest protege left in search of adventure, never to return. But I stood firm in my resolve and finally convinced him that this alone could ensure the safety of Harrogath. Even now, he readies his best men to guard us while we cast the Druid ward.
As I write this, I can hear the screams of the dying in the distance ... calling to us ... mocking us. But before I cast what may be my final spell . . . I must see our beloved Anya one last time.
7th day of Montaht
1265 Anno Kehjistani
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