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HDK 77 † The downfall of Sondalis


Varg flies over the realm of Dalis, land of men. While he observes the luxuriant nature and the artifices operated by human beings from above, he reflects on these curious creatures capable of great works but also of atrocious evil. Observing the forests, rivers and majestic valleys still untouched by the voracious mining of humans, he realizes that it is now necessary for the Draki to conquer those lands and thus begin a new era, free from the yoke of men.
While the dawn colors the Sondalis tower with scarlet light, the symbol of the city overlooking the placid beach of the Ocean without End, Geraldus Fagus thinks about the words of the wise men spoken in the last Council. The situation is serious: the Kurki - once allies of men - have declared their neutrality with respect to the rumors that the Draki are interested in the conquest of Sondalis. Pepka, the Lord of the Kurki of the Moss delta, is evidently resentful of that old story about the silver deposits of the Kurkam quarries. It seems impossible that the placid and tranquil morning light illuminates such a terrible present. But Stannis - Geraldus knows him well - will still try to be a hero...
Pepka listens to the lively sounds of the swamp, observes the snappy movements of insects in the water. He has matured a wise detachment from the violence of men. This ingenious breed has taught the Kurki many things. Good things, such as industriousness, the ability to modify the environment to one’s own size. But men also taught the Kurki bad things: betrayal. Humans cheat all the time. Perhaps - he thinks - it is good that Dalis falls and a new era begins.
Mashir leads his pack into the forest of Thos. Legend has it that once upon a time here, instead of the tall oaks, there was an arid steppe: the voracity of men had cut down every tree, dug every deposit, dried every stream. But one day - it is said - the earth rebelled: the ancient lineage of eastern elves had driven out men. It was then that this magical forest arose. As he advances in the damp undergrowth, cautious, together with his associates, he is convinced that the only way to defend these places from new destruction is to occupy them before men do it again. The Rakka, thanks to the secret of druidic art, are the only ones - he thinks - able to live in this forest of a thousand colors without violating its mystical beauty.
At the edge of the forest of Thos stretch the vast plains of Bury. Stannis and Mashir watch the wind bend the grass violently, under the leaden sky that promises a storm. “There is no way to avoid the decline of your people, Stannis,” Mashir speaks, staring at the man with his feline eyes. “Give up and save lives.” The old man didn’t answer. The wind hissed in both ears, heralding an uncertain future.
Wotar observed the frozen peaks of the mountains in the crystal clear morning air. The armies began to move, the war was upon us. The dwarves had once fought alongside men, but would they prove to be loyal allies? Was it worth putting the lives of his people on the line to save Sondalis? The winged flocks of the Draki had easily conquered the villages in the mountains and headed straight for the fertile lands of the far west.
It was in a furious battle in the mountains that the Dwarves gained their freedom. In the narrow valley of Nugro, near the old tower, the sky was furrowed by the flight of the Draki, by the boulders of the catapults and by the bullets of the ballistae. The sound of steel sounded like the cry of hell. The earth was impregnated with blood and hope. Alongside Wotar, there was Stannis with a handful of men. Varg, who looked at the brave man with respect and a touch of pity, made his army withdraw: it was not worth insisting, there was another way to invade the kingdom of Dalis to the west.
Geraldus had kept his word: the Draki army had been able to cross the lake region without encountering the resistance of the monks of Pash, accomplices in the treason plan hatched by the Council of Sondalis. Following the course of the Mosh River, Varg and his Draki could then point to the city of Nathud. That traitor had kept his word: in exchange Varg would have to welcome the members of the Council of Sondalis into the new Draki kingdom. But was it worthwhile to speak with those who had conspired for the most terrible of betrayals? The blade of fate would strike unexpectedly.
The inhabitants of the city of Nathud, betrayed by Sondalis, had been massacred by the Draki. The fire of war had now reached the heart of the kingdom of Dalis and the star of death shone alight on the fate of the ancient kingdom of men. Stannis had realized too late that he had been betrayed by those who thought he was his friend: he should have listened to the words of Ashter Kur, the woman he loved but whose independence had always aroused a subtle unease in him, who had always been faithful to a cause. What could be done now?
While the Draki set fire to the fertile plains to the west, terrorizing the men, the elves and the Rakkas had made a pact: they would inhabit the forest of Thos in peace, based on respect for the forest. The draki would let them free. Old Elf Thurimer had met Stannis but realized he was unaware of the Council’s plots. He had informed Ashter Kur, to try to convince that proud and sincere man, but too little shrewd, to found a new Dalis government to replace the corrupt city council. An alliance between Elves, Kurki and Rakka could have stopped the Draki’s thirst for conquest. But maybe it was late...
Broken bonds 04:12
Geraldus feared that the Draki would not respect the pacts with the Council of Sondalis. The army of Pash monks had moved to defend the city of Sondalis. In this scenario of intrigues and betrayed words, the final battle was to come: the last evening passed calmly, without shadows. The sea was flat. Everything seemed still, motionless, hanging on the invisible thread of destiny. But nothing will go as planned and the blood will flow.
“Stannis, let’s run away together.” Ashter Kur is damn serious. “A successful plan and, in the night, we will sail the endless ocean to the south. There will be a place for us ”. Stannis hesitates, he knows he is at a crossroads. He would like to fight until the end but the fate of Sondalis - perhaps - is already compromised. Men are cynical, divided. After all, they were stupid. But what makes him hesitate more than anything else, are the mysterious eyes of the indomitable woman in front of him. A fascinating world and - despite the years together - still unfathomable, wild and unknown. “Let’s leave this city. There is nothing to save now “.
A boat plows the sea in the twilight. Two hooded figures paddle slowly, then let themselves be carried away by the current. Two glances intensely cross. The future is unknown again, ahead of them. Everything is still to be done. The flames of war will burn the past. Any memory will be buried. Being together is the most precious thing. It is what remains.


In a fantastic and primitive land, the kingdom of men is falling. Other, more evolved races control the destinies of the world. The realm of Dalis is the last bastion of humanity, located at the edge of the world on the shores of the Endless Ocean. Weak and divided, men have become prey to powerful neighboring kingdoms. Their greed led them to betray each others. Furrowed by centuries of wars and injustices, the territories of the once prosperous kingdom of men have been largely conquered.

The future of Sondalis, the capital of Dalis, hangs in the balance: there are those who are still struggling to organize a counterattack, those who seek alliances, those who betray and flatter the enemy to survive. There are those who instigate, those who despair, those who resign themselves and carry on everyday life as if nothing had happened. Who invokes the clemency of the gods of the apocalypse. Who awaits the end. And there are those who finally still try to build a new and unexpected future for their fellowmen, repenting on the ruins of a past of cruel domination. All this happens in Sondalis.

And you, whose side will you on?


Two years ago we flew to Tokyo, Japan, to meet Ryosuke Mochida (the author of "Kowloon Neon city" series for HDK), composer with long experience in the field of videogames, anime and tv-movies. Ryosuke is not a famous composer, but a music-employee like many others in the huge Japanese entertainment market.

Enjoying a tofu and fermented soybeans based snack, we asked to Ryosuke if he had anything for HDK and he said: はい! (which in Japanese, fortunately, means: yes). From a dusty hard-disk he hauled an unreleased gem of epic-fantasy music: the soundtrack of "Downfall of Sondalis", a computer RPG that was never actually made.

At the time, Ryosuke composed a handful of songs which, however, were never bought by the production house because the project was wrecked. Today these magnificent tracks of synthetic-orchestral music in sweet OAV-style finally see the light thanks to (modestly) HDK.

However, we are not satisfied only with the music, but we have also recovered the original "Downfall of Sondalis" scripts and drawings, reconstructing the plot and setting of this non-existent CRPG (thanks to the artist Stefano Artibani who created the artwork for this cassette from the original drafts). So, attached to the "Downfall of Sondalis" cassette, you will find outlined a real fictional universe with lots of maps and characters that can inspire your fantasy RPG campaigns. Hurray!


released September 26, 2021





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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