Excerpt from ‘The history of the Black Shroud, from Amdapor to Gridania’ by Archon Niniri Niri.
The events that struck the Deepcroft a short period after the Lambs of Dalamud were slaughtered in its tunnels began in a small rural village in the foothills of Alabathia’s Spine and ended in the ancient ruins of Gelmorra beneath the Shroud, provoking a potential disaster of regional proportions.
The Deepcroft Proper
The central room of the Deepcroft is a colossal vaulted chamber. The walls are populated by antechambers not current accessible by the main room, and which likely contain the remains of Gelmorra’s aristocracy and royalty. Indeed, reports on the Deepcroft discuss the emblazonment of the subterranean city’s crest. This crest is strikingly similar to the crest of Gridania, retaining the twined adders but replacing the central lily with what appears to be a bushel of fungi or other subterranean flora. This makes sense, as the surviving annals of Gelmorra tell us that the twin adders represent the bond between hyur and elezen, while the lily is a more recent invention that symbolizes Gridania’s pact with the elementals. The fungi likely instead represent Gelmorra’s flourishing in the harsh circumstances the city found itself in. The testimony of the warriors that cleansed the Deepcroft stated that a grand orb of dark energies hung over the chamber, channeled by Edda Pureheart herself to resurrect her dead lover. A wooden bridge had been erected, linking the platforms of the Deepcroft where the old stone bridges had long ago collapsed. This bridge may have been built by the forces of Gridania that re-consecrated the Deepcroft after the Lambs of Dalamud were destroyed, or perhaps by Edda herself. A torn folio page found here, penned by Edda, testified to her obsession with her fellow adventurer, Auvere, and the Warrior of Light, who seemed to have been a hero to both individuals.
The Altars of the Deepcroft
The Deepcroft contains a triad of altars festooned with now-cold incense-burners and candelabra. These were the sites where the Lambs of Dalamud were channeling energies for their summoning ritual, and although they are no longer present the testimony of adventurers speaks of an ornate orb used to channel the energy used to bring forth the voidsent. The ancient names of these altar are fascinating, and are as follows; the Greenwood, Hardwood and Wormwood altars. Greenwood is a term used to refer to a forest that is in full bloom, while hardwood can be used to refer to wood from broadleaved trees, though I suspect that it may instead reference the term for clippings of mature plants taken in winter. Wormwood is both a kind of shrub known for its bitter taste used in alcohol, as well as a term for bitterness and grief. On the first altar was another note from Edda, discussing her disdain for the small, closed-off nature of her home village after visiting it in the wake of Auvere’s death, and proposing a tour of the continent with him, talking to him as if he yet lived. The note in the Hardwood Altar discusses a trip to Mor Dhona with Auvere’s decapitated head, as well as her increasing delusions. On the final altar Edda left a note stating her intention to use the bodies of Gelmorra’s dead to reconstruct the body of Auvere, and bring him back to life through this prowess.
The Interring Chamber
This area of the Deepcroft was inaccessible when the team arrived previously, but repaired bridges allowed access on this more recent trip. The large chamber was damaged by large tree roots protruding through the roof, below which was a deep channel of water. A series of coffins lined the walls of the room, doubtless used to house the upper class of Gelmorra who were not deigned worthy of their own family chambers. The Gelmorran crest adorned the center of the floor. The name of this room might imply that it was used as a ceremonial site for placing the bodies of Gelmorra into their sarcophagi.
There were many small mausoleums throughout the Deepcroft, defiled now by the trespasses of Edda. Inscriptions of blood across the walls, likely placed there by Edda herself, included the words ‘it came’, ‘whisper’ and ‘reply’, babbling testaments of her madness. Large sarcophagi stand throughout the rooms, and a note from Edda was found amongst them with Edda describing how the heat of Thanalan was rotting Avere’s head when she visited. In a separate room was another note about Edda imploring Avere to wait for her to find him a body, and not to rot too much. The word ‘missing’ was written above it, perhaps a plea to find such a body. A third room contained a small treatise by Edda on the importance of powerful souls in necromancy, with the words ‘where is it’ above it. Amongst these tombs were the amulets and seals that previously blocked access to the Deepcroft, their Lamb-infused magics presumably turned to Edda’s purposes.
The Tomb of Galvanth the Dominator
Two chambers have been accredited to Galvanth’s tomb in the Deepcroft, a smaller mausoleum found previously by the team and this larger one. The reason for this is unclear, but this could be a more ceremonial remembrance of the King while the smaller room was where his body actually rested. A sizeable circular platform emblazoned with a flower sigil, the walls of the area bear the Gelmorran crest at various intervals. In life Galvanth was the monarch of Gelmorra and a talented lancer in his own right, a fact that made his corpse the ideal of prey of the Lambs of Dalamud’s foul rituals prior to their presence’s ending in the Deepcroft.
The Eternal Calm
The central platform of the Deepcroft, the Eternal Calm was a wide pillar with a series of braziers and linked Gelmorran crests at the top. The name of this platform doubtless holds significance with respects to death, and is likely a term for death itself. Clearly then, the platform held a critical role in the funeary rights practiced within the Deepcroft. This may have taken the form of a platform on which ceremonies were carried out, or as a place in which particularly revered figures lay in state. Edda had changed this platform by adorning it with blood-red inscriptions and candles, to best fit her darker purpose. The inscriptions were maddened repetitions of Edda and Auvere’s names.