The Ghaldassii Ruins

The Ghaldassii Ruins

Rising up from the layers of Wild’s End are the splinters of a long-forgotten power. The remnants of a tribe of giants, known as the Ghaldassii, are all that remains of a mighty and mysterious people. What ushered in their downfall or hastened their abandonment of these lands remains sealed within their strange inscriptions. Otherwise the towering fragments they left behind are more like rotting timbers than tell-all tombstones.

A World Left Behind

There is a legend that every wind in the skies of Terminus visits Wild’s End at least once a year, each leaving a gift from their travels from across the globe. For better or worse this saying bears truth, as creatures and flora which ought not be have made a comfortable home in this lush wilderness. Yet far fewer ships than winds visit Sorhiryth. With no formal harbor, merchants arrive more often by drunken stupor than proper course, the beach littered with the bones of shipwrecks fleeing pirates or worse. It seems the greatest resource in Wild’s End is its capacity for the unknown, its chief exports, if Halfings cared for such pursuits, might be mystery and wonder. Yet these are frail elements, losing their value as soon as you put them in a box or bottle.

The Wild’s End of our day is dominated by gigantism. Immense insects known as Larga fill the skies, their size a product of unchecked generations dwelling in the most verdant valley of Kingsreach. Leaves as wide as bucklers drift down from the great Ulon trees, their sprawling limbs embracing clouds that roll in from the sea. The nameless mountains that shield half the land have waterfalls running over their shoulders, with crowns of frost forming in depths of winter.

Yet each of these natural features loses some of their scale when compared to a race that no longer walks the shores of Wild’s End. Many thousands of year ago a nation state of giants, known as the Ghaldassii, tamed this land and made it their capitol. Evidence suggests that their domain may have stretched out onto the sea, though none survive to confirm or deny these clues. How long the Ghaldassi tarried or why they left remains one of the great mysteries of Wild’s End.

What is Seen

One may be forgiven for missing the ancient stone remnants of the Ghaldassii giants, even as you look upon them. Local vegetation has drawn a thick curtain over what lies beneath, much like time has lain a fabric of mystery over the structure’s creators.

Vines, roots, and the nests of native Valley Krune, have claimed the majority of their stone surface, hiding what was once a vast cultural complex. Atop the broken pillars and doorways roost the lowland type of krune, a winged, predatory wyvern that enjoys feasting on the unwary and feeding chunks of flesh to their ravenous young. The krune diet is restricted to nearly every creature on land and sea, as well as the air, and their sharp talons and bone beaks have even been seen breaking open the shells of crustaceans. Halfing young learn early in life to avoid krune, as the beast cares not what type of flesh it consumes. However, their unique value as pets is an enticement that some cannot overcome, and the sight of a domesticated krune in Sorhiryth is evidence of a brave spirit and a cunning mind. (The relative size of a krune can be controlled by their diet in the first year of their life).

Beneath the flora, fauna, and krune lie the neglected signs of Ghaldassii habitation. Perhaps as old as ten thousand years, the stonework is surprisingly resilient. It contains the remnants of dwellings, pavilions and bridges, pointing to a civilization that had a dominant grip on the land. The script of the Ghaldassi is a mix of picture and rune, a hieroglyphic hybrid known as ‘Ghlain’dule’. Those who study the stonework say the massive blocks appear as if they were cut with the symbols immediately present, rather than having the pictographs added afterward. The vegetation may also be aiding in this preservation, achieving a protective layer with minimal cost to the stone. Most of the damage seems to have come from earthquakes and battle, rather than time.

It should be noted that there is some debate over whether or not the stone is of local origin, at least as far as the dwellings are concerned. It neither weathers nor chips when struck, breaking many an pick laid upon it. (There is even an informal monument to this difficulty at its base, where a collection of axes, staffs, picks and potions are piled high, each broken or emptied in futility.) To this end it seems that some of the Ghaldassi remnants were intentionally deconstructed rather than outright destroyed. Markings throughout the whole of Wild’s End suggest that there was once an even more a sprawling series of buildings, but nothing of those structures persists. For whatever reason the deconstruction was left incomplete in the valley and in the mountain heights, thus we see the testifying remnants of today.

What is Not Seen

The lingering questions regarding the Ghaldassii nation are about who they truly were, as well as why they ultimately departed this land. The only reason their name is known at all is due to an Elvonnen request that was given to the Halflings shortly after their settlement in Wild’s End. The request was spoken and given in writing by an emissary of the roan giant tribe, and it requested the smaller race, “Neglect the Ghaldassi throne, deny the Ghaldassii heir.” Of this the Halflings have had no trouble, as it provides nothing of interest to the majority of their host apart from krune hunting, and it seems likely that the Ghaldassii have died out entirely.

Remaining pictographs suggest the Ghaldassii arrived from the sea, quite literally walking out of the water and climbing the cliffs onto dry mountain peaks. What purpose they had in arriving, how long they remained, and why they abandoned the land is not so easily deciphered. On this the Elvonnen are silent, giving little more than a tacit confirmation that giants indeed dwelt in that area ages ago. Thus academia has wondered if the two giant nations were in fact rivals of some kind. Did they share the land together for a time before war, or perhaps held a common enemy? Do the now-peaceful but ever-secretive Elvonnen have a more warlike past? Did they evict their ancient brethren in an era past, or are they perhaps the children of more mighty Ghaldassii fathers?

Each of these theories are imprisoned by the unknown, unable to be freed by mere speculation or debate. What the Ghaldassii require are fearless souls and inquisitive minds, mortals willing to search the face of the past in order to learn what became of these forgotten titans.

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