Age of Worms: The Return
The Whispering Cairn
The Whispering Cairn is an ancient burial site created by the Wind Dukes of Aaqa and located several miles outside Diamond Lake. Inside the Whispering Cairn the party discovered many different items and relics with inscriptions in Auran, the language of ancient elemental creatures of air. Additionally, inside the Cairn was a finely-carved wooden staff designed as a mockup of the Rod of Seven Parts.
The region around Diamond Lake is littered with tombs honoring the warriors who fell at the Battle of Pesh. The greatest of these tombs honored Icosiol, a Wind Duke slain by Miska the Wolf-Spider in the final cataclysmic conflict between Law and Chaos. Others contained Icosiol’s fallen servants and sub-chiefs, each with its own treasures and stories to tell. One of these smaller tombs held the corpse of Zosiel, a warrior prince who fell to a demon’s blow shortly before the Wandering Dukes employed the Rod of Law to banish Miska from the world. This is the Whispering Cairn.
In the millennia since its construction, the Whispering Cairn hosted countless visitors. They first made off with the most attainable of the tomb’s treasures, statuettes of peerless sculpt, platinum canisters of priceless incense, and a hundred harder to describe baubles of unquestionable value. No few explorers fell victim to the ingenious traps of the tomb’s chief architect, a noble Wind Duke named Nadroc. Only a few explorers discovered that most of the cairn was but a ruse meant to distract from a still greater tomb filled with even deadlier menaces. Even thousands of years after its construction, the Whispering Cairn yet holds unplundered mysteries from the days of its creation.
The last notable expedition to the Whispering Cairn occurred nearly 60 years ago, led by an unscrupulous archeologist called Ulavant. The reprobate scholar had the backing of the Seekers, an order of like-minded academics and adventurers. The affair ended in tragedy, with all hands lost to Nadroc’s insidious traps. These days, only footnotes in musty tomes in the Seeker Lodge of city of Liberty record the fate of Ulavant’s band.
About 30 years ago, a young runaway named Alastor Land came to the Whispering Cairn, desperate to escape his uncaring family. Light enough to prance over pressure plates and lucky enough to avoid the tomb’s sentient guardians, Alastor penetrated farther into the cairn than most skilled explorers. But even the luck of youth was no match for Nadroc’s keen intellect and cunning protections. Consumed by hate at the time of his death, Alastor lives on as a ghost, and still haunts the most secret chambers of the Whispering Cairn.
These days, the youth of Diamond Lake hold the location of the Whispering Cairn like a shibboleth. They dare each other to spend a night within its depths, using the place as a test of mettle. These visits tapered off about thirteen years ago, when a local girl vanished while sleeping in the cairn, devoured by a snake that has since left for more fertile hunting grounds. But still the children come, to marvel at the tomb’s uncanny sounds and to carve their names upon the entry walls, their shaking hands etching proof of their courage upon the ancient stone.