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HDK 87 † The Tower of Doom

by FVRFVR

/
1.
For a few days, you wander through scenarios of death and desolation, wrapped in cloaks to hide the army uniform from view. Loot food and weapons from devastated camps. You move fast, but fear is around every corner. Someone told you that in the east there is a region where there is no fighting, maybe you can find safety there. There is no time to lose...
2.
After days of walking east, the echo of the battle fades. For a whole day of walking you do not meet anyone, neither soldiers nor civilians, nor villages nor camps. At dusk you come to a hill: a dense forest of unhealthy and gnarled-looking trees appears in front of you. A good hiding place to spend the night. As you enter the forest, however, you have the impression that you are not alone. You hear noises and you see something moving, but dusk does not favor clear vision ... then you understand: a pack of wolves! Ten large wolves with lousy raven-black coats, with very long fangs; they have blood scabs on various parts of their bodies, their eyes are fiery red. You start running away and they chase you, even if they don’t seem to want to attack you. They seem rather willing to direct your escape in a specific direction, in the heart of that dark forest ... at some point you fall to the ground exhausted. The wolves to your surprise have disappeared.
3.
You camp in a threatening forest clearing. The darkness that surrounds you seems alive and of a strange material entity ...
4.
The next day a sickly white sun lights up the forest. An unnatural silence reigns. You continue your journey. The forest is tangled, the ground is now steep, now flat, there are pools of standing water and moss. There are deep and steep crevasses on the side of the path. At one point you hear a chilling sound that is anything but human and one of you disappears: it has slipped into a gorge, but you see it: it swings in the air, suspended in the center of the crevasse! He is trapped in a spider web. Hideous giant spiders emerge from cracks in the rock. You have to fight them to save your mate.
5.
You clean the swords of the greenish blood of spiders. Not all evil comes to harm: one of the spiders had a large oval-cut precious stone with a mysterious quality set on its back. You take it and go on. At a certain point you spot footprints in the earth: you decide to follow them. Maybe they lead to a human settlement! No: they lead to a large deserted clearing. You see a large oak. A noose hangs from a branch. You come closer. From behind the tree appears a bloodless-looking noble swordsman wearing ancient clothing. His neck is torn, just like a hanged man. He looks at you contemptuously. He says nothing and is still. After a while, one of you hits him with a sword blow. The lunge fails: he is a ghost! That disappears. The sword goes to stick into the trunk of the oak. From the cut spills blood. What devilry is this?
6.
Somberflow 03:45
Suddenly darkness fell with unnatural speed. A river flowing in the distance is heard. Go down the slope, and you find it: it is a black river, here the darkness is strange and very dense, so much so that you cannot see the opposite bank. The sound of the water is muffled. Try to figure out how to ford the stream, but it looks deep. To find a point to wade, follow the bank for an indefinite amount of time, but it seems to always return to the same place as if the river flows in a circle. After walking for miles in vain, one of you goes into the water out of desperation. Suddenly, you see ten figures of massive wolf-headed warriors appear standing on the stones that emerge from the water, the same wolves who chased you into the forest. They raise their sword points towards you. You feel frightened. Unfortunately, you cannot know the meaning of all this: the wolves, like these humanoids, are the ghosts of the knights of the Lord of the Wood who remained to protect the Mute Princess. They want you to free the forest from the curse, that’s why they pushed you into the forest and now they block your way out ... At some point you just have to camp exhausted. Slip into a troubled sleep.
7.
The morning is identical to the previous one. You no longer hear the flowing water: on the other hand there is no trace of the river. At the edge of the clearing in which you camped there is the mouth of a damp and moss-filled cave that, exhausted, you had absolutely not noticed the previous night. Who knows if that cave does not come out on the other side of the hill ... You light the torches and enter the dungeon...
8.
The tunnel leads to a large cave. Suddenly, you feel a hiss and a pang all over your body, as if the veins turn to stone and the blood stops abruptly. Your first in line has the speed to cover his eyes with his hand, just in time before he transforms into a granite statue. “Close your eyes!” he shout. A basilisk is a rare cave reptile whose gaze has the power to petrify any living thing ... including him. Luckily, his hiss is well audible and his movements very slow. Try to move in the darkness with your eyes closed and hide on the sides of the cave, although terrified. Then the idea. One of you polishes the blade of the sword with the cloth of his robe, places it horizontally to cover his eyes, brings the torch to his face and throws himself out towards the monster. Moments of apprehension, cold sweat. The monster approaches, hissing furiously. Fire keeps him away or at least it should. Then a gasp and silence. The basil met his gaze reflected on the blade of the sword and ended up petrified. Inspect the cave - the monster had accumulated a lot of coins and jewels in one corner. Like all unintelligent monsters, he was attracted to things that sparkle. Among pieces of glass and metal of no value, find a hundred gold and silver coins and a massive bronze key: a woman’s face is chiseled on the end. The basilisk had a precious stone set on its forehead in every way identical to that of spiders. There is a tunnel that continues beyond the cave. How strange, it is no longer made of natural rock, but it seems carved with fine human skill ...
9.
The corridor is carved with mysterious bas-reliefs, encrusted with moss and limestone. It is the entrance to an ancient elven tomb. The corridor ends with a smooth wall on which the face of a sad young elf is carved. He has hollow eyes, naturally the shape of the two jewels you found set first in the spider and then in the basilisk. You stick them in the holes. They sparkle. The wall disappears by sliding across the floor. A vision of majesty and beauty appears before you: a circular room of white marble lit by magical torches. The walls are hidden by a tangle of vines, evidently magical too. In the center you see an altar on which lies the marble reproduction of a warrior elf. Leaning against his chest are a large white daisy cut as if it were just picked and a sword with a long thin blade that looks like crystal. Mysterious eyes open among the brambles on the walls and stare at you. When one of you grab the crystal sword, mouths open between the brambles and begin to chant a dull “ohm”. The sword glows and produces shards of light that hover around the room like dust. Those of you who hold the hilt of the sword have the feeling of being at a crossroads, of having to make a drastic choice. The room is shaking. The choice, whatever it is, is made. The ceiling begins to crumble, until large blocks break off and fall on top of you. Only a providential (perhaps magical?) alertness allows you to dodge and save yourself. A conduit has opened up on the ceiling that leads much further towards the open sky. The mouths stop intoning the disturbing ohm and start blowing with increasing force so that a vortex forms in the room. All of you are lifted up to the ceiling and sucked into the shaft until you are spat on the bare ground, stunned. Although it seems to have lost all semblance of magic, the crystal sword is still with you: evidently the elven gods have deemed your choice right and have given it to you. But what is the choice you have made? You don’t know. However, your mission is clear to the spirits who live in the woods: to break the curse, to defeat the ghost of the Lord of the Wood so that his resentment and his guilt slip away from these lands.
10.
You have emerged from the basement at the top of the hill: you have a clear view of the hollow at the foot of it. In the middle of a large clearing, an ancient tower rises in the mist. You wrap the crystal sword in a cloth: it looks like a thin and fragile piece of glass. You are about to descend along the crest of the hill towards the tower ...
11.
It’s him, the man you saw next to the oak. The swordsman with the torn neck and the obsessed look. You spot him standing on the rocks watching you with apprehension and hatred. Then you find him a few meters away, he attacks you with hysterical screams, his skill with the sword is evident, but his slashes do not hurt you. At least, they do not cause you external wounds, but they weaken your willpower, they exhaust your soul. They cause pain in your heart and legs that force you to stop exhausted. After each fast attack he disappears to reappear far away, motionless and to look at you with contempt ... you continue all together laboriously the march towards the tower.
12.
Vampire ivy 04:00
The tower is completely wrapped in brambles and trunks of ivy with strange dark red leaves. So much so as not to allow you to locate the entrance door. At the first blow you pull to cut through the vegetation, the vampire ivy comes alive, clings to all of you and drags you. The thorns penetrate your flesh and suck your blood. Blow the main logs! After having prevailed against the terrible carnivorous plant, finally identified the massive entrance door of the tower. Luckily you brought the bronze key found in the basilisk’s lair with you ... because that’s exactly what unlocks the door.
13.
The inside of the tower is impressive: a massive stone staircase winds up along the walls. On the sides of the staircase, statues of squat warriors in armor and the face of a bat are placed in niches regularly spaced a few meters from each other. When you pass by, they open their eyes revealing all the same look: that - which you know well - of the lifeless swordsman! They become threatening, they seem to have warlike intentions. You will never be able to fight them, there are hundreds of them! Then behind you someone or something enters the tower: they are the 10 black knights with the wolf’s head who had blocked your way to the river. With the swords they sternly indicate to you to continue along the staircase and face the enemy. A couple of them lead by example by taking down the first of the tower’s magical guardians. What to do? You jump into the fray and a slow and bloody climb to the tower begins ...
14.
You are at the top of the tower, in the room where Princess Mute was imprisoned. The walls gradually fade, you suddenly find yourself immersed in an unnatural darkness. The only light comes from the elven sword which began to glow as you saw in the tomb. Dozens of images of the lifeless swordsman appear and disappear whirlwind. You do not know what to do, you are disoriented, until you feel monstrous pangs in every part of the body. His invisible slashes are hitting you, but here they are much more painful than before. You! You understand: you are the one who made the choice, you are the only one among your companions who can hold the crystal sword and use it in combat. You do it. You start hitting. You see nothing, but your sword does. It is the sword who guides your shots to the invisible target. Superhuman cries of pain arise from inscrutable sources. You’re hurting the ghost’s soul, no longer his simulacra. You lose all connection with time and space. The duel may have lasted seconds or years, but in the end ...
15.
You open your eyes on your feet with the broken crystal sword in your hand. It just looks like a piece of glass now. You are outdoors, on top of the tower. The night is bright and the sky is starry. A fragrant spring breeze blows. You dominate the valley, its luxuriant woods, its emerald green meadows. In the distance flows a river with crystal clear water. Your companions emerge out of breath from a trap door on the floor and are happy and surprised to see you safe and sound. You all remain motionless to admire the enchantment of this full moon night and of this new fairy kingdom that appears before you, so different from the sad and sick land that was there before.
16.
Misericorde 02:42

about

𝒯𝒽𝓇𝑒𝑒 𝒞𝑒𝓃𝓉𝓊𝓇𝓎 𝒾𝓃 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓅𝒶𝓈𝓉...

The king calls the warrior nobility to arms because a people of crude barbarians threatens the borders. “Fear not, king! Our allied armies will wipe out that horde of yokels as if they were crumbs of stale bread!” the clan leaders snorted. Instead, endless years of bloody battles await them. The Lord of the Woods is a brave warrior, devoted to the kingdom and to his beloved, the Mute Princess. He would do anything for her, except betray the king. So, reluctantly, he is ready to leave her alone and set out for the borders of his kingdom. Whoever knows the Lord of the Woods well, however, knows that behind the appearance of a faithful vassal and noble swordsman, he hides a shady and sick character; he knows that he, tormented by mysterious feelings of guilt and by fits of jealousy, has a real obsession for the Mute Princess. On leaving for the front he segregates her in a watchtower in the forest to which only a few faithful servants have access. On guard he leaves ten of the most valiant and devoted of his knights.

But what was supposed to be a lightning battle lasts ten very long years in which the kingdom is marred by poverty and disease. A plague devastates the population. In the Wood everyone perishes: villains, servants, knights. The only one to survive is the Mute Princess, but she is imprisoned in the tower. From above, she watched death spread across the region. Her devoted knights brought her food as long as they could. Then death took them suddenly, dragging even the key that opens the lock of the tower door into oblivion. So the Princess spent weeks in agony, without food or water, knocking on the door and calling for help.
Upon returning from the war, the Lord of the Wood finds the region devastated and his beloved dead in that stone coffin he unwittingly prepared for her ten years earlier. Her segregation preserved her from the plague, but ... it killed her anyway. Devoured by guilt and loneliness, the Lord of the Woods hangs himself in the forest.

Since then his restless spirit has wandered the region, whose land is polluted with resentment and pain. A death spell hangs over this remote land ...

...𝒜𝓃𝒹 𝓃𝑜𝓌:

On the borders of the Khanate, in what was once the heart of a prosperous kingdom and today is a poor region plagued by political instability, wars have been fought between the local lords since time immemorial, good only for those like you who practice the profession of mercenary soldier. You were in the ranks of the regular army when your superior preferred to change sides, selling himself to a bloodthirsty local lord. Fighting alongside cutthroats for the interests of a sinister murderer? Return to an army decimated by hunger and weakened by corruption? That’s enough. You have decided to desert. But it is not easy to be deserters for two armies at the same time, in an unknown land, hunted by your fellow soldiers sold and by those who are not yet. You have to escape as far as possible. But where? You thought that was the right direction ...

O=={==========>

HDK proudly announce this incredible album by a well-known artist from the Dungeon Synth scene. Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the new FVRFVR (aka LORD CERVOS) album! The american artist overtake himself offering a gorgeous album of classic dungeon synth mixed with chiptune sounds: the high quality of the composition and the arrangements immediately rise this album to the best of its kind. "The Tower of Doom" is a epic & dramatic quest through a mysterious land devastated by war, where plagues and betrays are everywhere and where - in the end - our heroes will succeed in breaking the curse. Listen to the songs while reading the booklet inside the cassette for a more involving experience!

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released February 22, 2022

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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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