The following is an excerpt translated from the journal of the Swordbearer:
“What I thought would be the end of my life turned out to be just the beginning. I had never known any other life nad thought myself an adventurer because I fought monsters and brought back their heads as trophies. Same as my dad and his mother before him. It didn’t feel heroic, it felt comfortable. Traditional. Boring old routine. The people always greeted and cheered when I returned home with the latest Giant Buzzer [presumably referring to the Quest Nymphs he slew prior to his exile].
“I used to think that it was just the big ones that were bad. I’ve learned since then that even the smaller ones are dangerous. The ones that have been bringing us food, must be doing it to make sure we continue to allow them to take the dead. I don’t know why they take our corpses and drop them into the pit of no returning, I just know I don’t like what it has led to.
“I never met my Grandmother. She died fighting her endless enemy. The Stunties [this is what the Swordbearer called the Ratkin Tunnellers], call it “The Guardian of Words”. The Big Buzzer that took my Grandmother away to its lair. It didn’t seem to matter how many times she and Grandpa killed it, the monster kept coming back to life. Good for business, but not good for my Grandparent’s need for revenge.
“That’s the way my Dad told it. He never went after “The Guardian of Words” himself. He preferred easier and closer prey. I feel it is my duty as the third in a long line of heroes to do more than just continue to battle the same monsters over and over. We need to go to the source, and I think it lives in the pit of no returning [I can only assume he means the reclaimer]. There was a story that an older hero, long before my Grandmother, that believed that death itself lived in there. He never came back, but his sword and shield were found in the lair of a Big Buzzer by my Grandma.
“So many of my people have tried to appease death, or defeat death, by going into that pit. Several more have gone in that weren’t willing. Following them would be foolish. My new tribe, the Stunties, know another way to defeat death that doesn’t involve leaping down it’s throat. They’ve been waging a war against the Buzzers for longer than time. They say that the Buzzers divided us, that the tribes were once united against them. My mentor tells me that, back then, we were called Rats.”
I’m relieved to finally have some idea what the Ratkin sacrifices are all about. It’s a shame that the circumstances weren’t better, or at least a little less ironic. I managed to extrapolate from his early writing, which was difficult to comprehend, that the Tunnelers bypassed the pictogram puzzle. The reward panel was locked, but the tunnellers got the tbooks from the other side. They studied them and developed a written language, just as Pan and I had planned, only it was supposed to be the Arboreals or the Hunters that figured it out. They passed the knowledge to the Swordbearer who, thankfully, is a very fast learner.
It seems the Tunnellers have also been crafting weapons and tools from melted down wiring and stored materials. I’ve learned so much more from the Swordbearers writings that I can’t go into now. The consequences of the bio-matter leak are still ongoing and currently demand my attention.