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Valley of Deamhans

The Valley of Deamhans (“Demons”) is one of the most unnerving places we’ve ever experienced on Anomaly (or anywhere else, for that matter)… Considering the places we’ve been and the things we’ve seen, the weight of this remark should not be taken lightly! Much of this anxiety stems from the absolute silence covering this place. It’s almost like stepping into a sound-proofed chamber, but outside and without any kind of acoustic dampening agents I could identify. Deamhans casts a blanket of mortal terror that clings to one’s skin like a sweat-soaked tunic. Even the wind treads silently here, and the sounds of wildlife, or even the insects, are ominously absent. The quiet is so complete, you’d swear you can hear your own heartbeat…and sometimes, your companions’ thoughts. (One shouldn’t read too much into this phenomenon. Anyone who comes here is probably feeling the exact same thing… We are all a family of fear.)

The valley itself is not impressive in size or depth compared to many others we’ve seen. What is unsettling are the gigantic statues carved into its walls...

The entire height of the walls-- from floor to plateau-- measure upwards of 1000m or greater in some areas!

Someone, or something, of incredible power, size…and sharp tools had to sculpt these massive figures. The People speak of the “Cave Demons” in quiet tones reserved for gods, nightmares and ghosts. After listening to Caderyn go on about these creatures, I honestly believe them to be a tangible chimera of the three. Tangible enough in their ability to kill us, but ghostly enough where we cannot do them serious harm. I do hope my travel companions cannot smell my fear, else I must be giving off a terrible stink. It is impossible for me to tell what these creatures are, but we’ve been assured they are very real.

They are the only race neither The People nor Moncs have ever faced in combat. I asked Caderyn and Bal’ka on different occasions why... Caderyn looked at me as if I had gone completely mad and replied, “Would you wish to fight such a beast?” He pointed to a gaping hole in the sheer, solid stone wall to the Cave Demons’ lair. The inference of the Cave Demon’s size, we now know them as Nolacs, made his argument for him. It was the one time he admitted fear. Not that I would ever question his willingness to fight even something this menacing if duty required it.

Bal’ka had a bit more levity in his retort. “Why” would he offer to fight a Cave Demon? “They’ve done nothing to Bal’ka!” I didn’t have the heart to tell the Third Maj of the Moncs he had a moment of invisibility flicker across his body as he spoke.

I decided to ask Aodh why we haven’t seen such obvious “giants” in our travels about this place. She looked me straight in my one good eye (or perhaps focusing on my missing one…who can tell with her?) and said they moved about underground. Not yet done with my foot-in-mouth disorder, I then inquired how far such underground networks went. She simply shrugged her shoulders and answered in a hurried whisper—as if afraid a Cave Demon would explode from the ground.

“Everywhere…” She waved her arms across the desert in a large, sweeping motion for emphasis. “Possibly even under our very feet. There is no way to know for sure.”

To say I walk about this planet with the same confidence I did when we first landed would be a lie. Up until now, we’d believed the most dangerous thing that might slurp us into the desert were the Death’s Hand. Now we have, for all intents and purposes, “invisible giants” to worry about as well.

There are so many unpleasant ways to die on this world… Oddly enough, it makes me feel totally alive. Some, I think, for the very first time. Anomaly taught me that technology has rendered me and a lot of humanity detached from the very things that make us human. How perverse is that?

I love this place… (Alas, my crewmates do not share my philosophical adulations.)



CRITICAL ACCLAIM