It seems my death is destined to be far more drawn out than I thought it would be. Despite several fingers on my left hand having been smashed open (it’s fortunate I write with my right) and a gaping wound on my neck, it appears I will not die of blood loss; infection, more likely. I guess this gives me time to write my own epitaph and describe, in a bit more detail, the events that caused our demise.

Mistêm Kanzudber, born in 319, was a worshipper of Äs. He was also a farmer, a doctor, and the expedition leader of the doomed outpost of Ästekkud, “Cavepick.” Mistêm fought alongside his dwarf-kin to stave off an assault of zombie emus and managed to take down two of them. He died in midspring of 399 at 80 years of age.

Freakish weather, never a good sign

It doesn’t feel right to say that I died. Yes, I don’t foresee any other outcome, but I am not yet dead. It is difficult to diagnose oneself in the best of circumstances, and laying here in the sand next to the mangled corpse of a zombie emu is not the best of circumstances. At least I managed to get out of this freakish weather. There is abhorrent mucus falling from the sky!

We foolishly thought we could extend the reach of our civilization by establishing an outpost here, beside The Naughty Hills. The lure of The Fountain of Rinsing was strong as the promise of being able to set up magma forges on the surface of the volcano would mean a strong metal industry without upsetting the local elves by harvesting the trees. The Naughty Hills, however, are cursed; haunted!

Mistêm, unable to even clean himself

I have heard the cries of one of my friends as they lay dying on the battlefield. Äs forgive me, but the pain was too great and I was not able to get out to save them. By the time the pain subsided, so had their cries. All that is left to do is to write these warnings for those who find our bodies.

When preparing for this journey we arrogantly chose to bring with us a steel anvil at the cost of other supplies. No weapons, no armour, not even food was brought, save that which we needed for the journey itself. At the insistence of Domas we did bring a war dog along for a bit of protection while we got settled.

Starting equipment

The presence of Etur Ildomolta (or Etur Faintedgilt) the war dog proved fortuitous as he fought alongside Domas who was able to take down three zombie emus with Etur’s assistance. I would not be here recording these events had it not been for this valiant effort.

Highlighted squares are native, edible plants

In our defence, I will say that we did look around initially to make sure there were no ‘surprises.’ The curse of The Naughty Hills did make me a little apprehensive, after all. However, I also feared for food as we had not brought any, and those fears proved to be unwarranted. There was plenty of food to be had. Perhaps, I may be nervous for nothing.

The first sign that things would go terribly awry was the weather: it literally rained some sort of abhorrent mucus on us as we tried to unpack and move our supplies into a freshly dug cavern. The second sign would have been that Dôbar seemed to just quit on us in despair. The third sign, of course, was the emu horde.

I don’t know when the zombie emu horde first came within range, but they must have made straight for us as little time passed between our initial scouting of the area and the cries of Likot when she first sighted them. Much is lost in the heat of battle, and perspective is among the casualties. As I am the only one left, for now, I can only say what I know happened from my own experience.

Biting into a zombie…desperate times and all that!

I saw, with my own eyes, one of our turkeys get struck down by an emu, and then raise up as a zombie itself to join the emus in their fight. What hope did we have if the enemy would be our own corpses?

I now must rest. I fear I shall not wake up. Head my warning: stay away from The Naughty Hills and curse they posses!

– Mistêm Kanzudber