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HDK 121 † HDK Dungeon​​​-​​​synth magazine #7

by V.A.

You are running at breakneck speed along the path lined with gravestones, chased by a horde of ghouls. Despite the fog, the cold and the darkness of the night, you are drenched in sweat. You hold tightly to your sword and torch and your heart beats wildly as you quickly try to orient yourself to find the exit. Why didn’t you listen to the old wizard of the inn of Ork? He told you not to go to that cemetery but you - young adventurer - were only thinking of stealing some jewels from the graves and disappearing into the night. Instead... as soon as you moved the tombstone of that rich lady who died prematurely in mysterious circumstances, the violent gust of wind that lifted the dry leaves, revealing the upper part of a stone sarcophagus, should have made you suspicious! But no, you didn’t stop and uncovered the tomb. And what you saw - ancient gods! - no, it cannot be described in words. The lady was still there, in flesh and blood, well dressed, with her eyes wide open to the sky and... breathing! Her skin was ivory white, beautiful. You felt attracted to her. It was a magical force - you immediately understood it - but you couldn’t resist... until that horrible nest of huge spiders at the bottom of the grave brought you back to you, just when you were about to kiss her. But it was too late: to your extreme astonishment, the lady had parted her lips. The piercing scream you heard - for all devils! - was like a hundred claws on a hundred mirrors! That was when you ran away in terror. Dozens of those hideous ghouls had appeared. You thought you were faster than them, but the graveyard suddenly appeared sinister and strange to you. You no longer recognized the paths and the road taken to reach the tomb of the mysterious lady. And so you got lost among all those similar tombstones and you had to retrace your steps several times. Those damn ghouls are more and more... where the hell is the way out of this nightmare?
Day 131 My visions last night were again vivid. It’s His face that still beckons me to the Divide. My heart is firm in its commitment — tomorrow my small band begins our march toward the breach in the Divide — perhaps the only available passage — forged by a mage I know as Tekel the Visionary. I find myself thinking of my time on the prairie out west. The quiet surroundings of purple and yellow flowers, as well as the brutal struggle taken up against bushwacking hordes of chain wraiths and slavers. My band is small in number and marches in hopes we will meet a much larger force, inspired by our example, when we reach the Divide. I, too, have little other than hope, having only seen Tekel in my visions. Day 134 I saw Tekel again in my dreams, delivering the incantation that will allow me to see the passage he has created in the Divide. In preparation for the final leg of our journey, we made our way through a village along the river, a settlement of former slaves who had already made their way to safety. Their ragged tents and wilted, scarred bodies suggested much hardship. I spoke to a man whose face was pocked by fire. He said he had been chased by the chain wraiths and their bloodthirsty hound creatures through swamps, thick green forests and dry brown farmland, guided by a bright light across the river. He seemed hopeful despite his trials. I took the opportunity to collect the last of the materials I would need for the ritual of seeing — the bark of an old growth oak, water from the head of a spring, the jawbone of a fawn and a few different types of mushrooms — before we made our way to a cave on the river, where we hid some of our spare weaponry should we need it upon our return. Day 136 This morning we broke camp just before daylight, seeking to make up for some lost time. It was gray and raining hard, and the men were tired. As we approached a hill, my right-hand Shields spotted smoke drifting above the horizon. We peered over and spotted a small camp of slavers, some still sleeping. We quietly approached. Upon my signal, we set against them. Because of the surprise, the resulting skirmish was brief, but violent. After the gunsmoke settled, I surveyed the faces of these men. Some were younger than my own sons, one no older than 12, clutching a letter home he was writing. I read, in his unpracticed handwriting: “I write you as we make our way to the armory. I miss home terribly and feel guilt not being with you and pa during his illness. My feet are blistered and my stomach aches. I do not know where we are going and do not know how long it will take to get there. Please tell everyone at home I love and miss them. Jeremiah”. I wish that I could deliver this message. Day 137 This morning we arrived at the rendezvous point, where I expected to meet up with the army who had been inspired to storm the armory. Alas, only a dozen men were assembled, carrying humble weaponry. In contrast, the Divide loomed large in the distance, but gave little impression of its limitless size, offering only a slight shimmer from certain angles, as the sun reflecting in a looking glass. I paused before beginning the ritual of seeing. My next memory is waking up on my back, looking up at the sky, Shields and my other men staring down at me. My vision came into focus, and I could suddenly see the Divide for what it was — an impenetrable wall of the purest black as far as the eye could see in every direction. The breach before us was large enough for two men to enter standing shoulder to shoulder. The men are prepared to cross into the Southern Territory toward the armory. We were all at peace with death, but I found even my own constitution flagging at the magnitude of the task before us, given our small numbers. Still, we steel ourselves for the final task. I put aside doubts. I know that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood, even my own. I will shortly call for our advance.
The old wizard was called Kamor the sage. He lived lonely in the tower of the green Chmot plain. One day his young daughter was kidnapped by a Bugbear gang in the pay of her ancient rival, the wizard Nadir the Eternal. The two wizards had once been friends but for a few decades waged bloody wars to kill each other. Neither was successful: they only caused death, famine and destruction. Repenting that they had generated so much suffering for their own selfish purposes, they had decided to forget the old disagreements forever, each retreating to his own lands and promising never to fight again each others. For this reason the kidnapping of his daughter had rekindled a sharp resentment in Kamor. Not only had Nadir broken his promise but he had taken away from Kamor what he had most precious. You are an experienced adventurer, forged in the northern lands. Your sword has faced fierce creatures and monsters, always coming out victorious. But magic has always made you uncomfortable and this mission you fear that hides pitfalls that you will never be able to imagine. Something is wrong with this story: why did Nadir decide to break a sacred pact with his now old and ill rival? What vile revenge is this now? But Kamor promised you, if you bring his beloved daughter back to him safe and sound, to give you his collection of magical items of enormous value. And you accepted. As you approach the arid volcanic lands of Bothari, where the tower of Nadir the Eternal stands, you know that your sword may not be enough this time. You take courage and challenge the wind of those harsh lands, with your gaze turned to the horizon... You had heard the stories of Bothari, but they do it no justice. These hellish lands are almost impossible to navigate through. Geysers of lava appear instantly before you and require quick maneuvering to stay unharmed. The heat is almost unbearable, but you must press on. After hours of painstaking travel, you stand in front of the tower of Nadir the Eternal... Wasting no time, you enter the tower and begin fighting off the monstrosities created by this evil wizard. Your sword is swift and deadly as you make your way up towards the top. When you reach your destination, you are greeted by none other than Nadir himself who is standing in front of a peculiar door shielded by a magic barrier. “I have come for the daughter of Kamor” you shout with confidence while blood falls off your sword and face. “I know why you are here, but you are too late. Leave now or you will find the same fate as she did” said Nadir in his deep voice while showing a small grin. You charge towards Nadir and fight magic with sheer brute force, but he is a formidable foe. He dodges your attacks and strikes you with an icy dagger that appears to be floating. You are then swept off you feet. After regaining you footing, you realize you must change you strategy in order to be victorius and decided to drop your longsword. You charge once more, but with a small axe in each hand. With slightly more agility on your side, you are able to dodge his icy blade and manage to get close enough to the wizard. As he expects you to lunge closer towards him, you throw one axe right at his chest, jump through the air and swing the other axe. He was barely able to dodge the first throw, but your other axe proves deadly and you are able to strike Nadir down. As his body lays on the ground, blood pooling around him, you notice the barrier on the door in the farside of the room subsides... You enter. My god. He was right. She is dead. How could he have done this! This evil wizard deserved a fate far worse than death. You go to pick up Kamor’s daughter, make your way out of the tower, and bury her outside. Her suffering is over and she may finally rest.
The uncharted islands of the east indies are said to be home to what sailors refer to as the “Culto del Eclipse”. Most Spanish and Dutch expeditions believed them to be nothing more then a group of animistic and pagan savages. Most of what they knew was provided by locals who lived in straw huts in the outer parts of the jungle. Nevertheless their reports on these misterious people were considered unreliable, distorted and too fantastic to be true. The Spanish decided to launch an expedition. Their disbelief was undone when they had no further news from the expedition and remains were found in the jungle as offerings for their pagan deities. The high king sent without hesitating his most experienced conquistadores along with a small military party. When they got deeper in the jungle an incoming monsoon started to fall and every sound was muffled by the sound of heavy rain. While crossing a river, they noticed what the natives called “a shimmering anomaly”: a bubble-like distortion in the light that predicted an eclipse, and inside the bubble was Baltasar, one of the priests from the early expeditions. When they touched the bubble, it snapped in a shockwave and the men noticed masked figures watching them and soon run away in the confusion. Their muddy tracks led to a cave that had galleries and paths that could only be accessed by divers, the “moon” shapped carvings on the walls indicated they were on the right way. The carvings led them to a stone prison and inside one of the cells there was Baltasar. After releasing him they got surrounded by the masked cult and the anomaly. Baltasar said “Curse you, unholy abomination” and those were his last words as the bubble struck his chest with lightening. The spanish drew their muskets and a bloody battle raged in an instant with few losses on their side. The pagans ran and they returned to the river victorious. Outside, the sun was covered and they saw the unbelievable. It was Baltasar, unaware of his death, he was the one they saw moments before the battle, resurrected by time itself.


Hello dungeoncrawlers!

With this seventh chapter of your favorite dungeonsynth magazine on tape, we intensify the pace of the releases. In fact, this is the second spring issue of this 2022: your contributions are many and we thank you from our heart for all the commitment and affection you show! We also remind you that, in addition to music, we are very pleased to receive proposals from writers to help us conceive the stories. On the other hand, the peculiarity of this magazine is indeed the union of stories and music, in a logic of strict reciprocity. When music and words reach perfect synergy, both are empowered as in a magical spell.

In this chapter, we get off to a great start with Fogweaver. Behind this name there are well-known characters from the Dungeon Synth scene with several projects. Here they delight our ears with the soundtrack of a cemetery tale, with gothic features and rather full of action: it is called “The lady in the graveyard” and tells of a young adventurer who finds himself in bad troubles. It continues with Apparition of the plains: behind this intriguing monicker we find a new artist of the DS scene who, with his Casio HT-700, takes us on a story inspired by the US activist John Brown. The beautiful story is titled “The march on the breach” and mixes the diary formula with historical and fantastic references.

Turning the side of the tape, we start off again with momentum with the epic Unsheathed Glory and his “The rivals”: it is the story of two powerful wizards, once friends, then ferocious antagonists, whose truce is interrupted by a kidnapping. But is this really the case? Our compilation ends with the surprising Topografia, an intriguing and evocative sound project directly inspired by Tangerine Dream. With “El culto del eclipse” that universe of sound is placed in a Masonic and disturbing context, made of superstition and fanaticism.

What else to add? Happy listening and see you next time!


released April 25, 2022

Support artists here!
FOGWEAVER: thefogweaver.bandcamp.com
APPARITION OF THE PLAINS: bluebeartapes.bandcamp.com
UNSHEATHED GLORY: unsheathedglory.bandcamp.com
TOPOGRAFIA: instagram @topo-grafia_




Heimat Der Katastrophe Milan, Italy

DIY label focused on ambient punk, minimal-synth, dungeon-drone, wartime music and post-nuclear wave. Managed by a creative punx collective from Milano city.

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