Built by the Inconnu in service of their Lord Arawn, the Crypt serves as a homeland and waystation on the way to escorting the souls of the dead to the Underworld.
Lore[edit | edit source]
It is said that Arawn, the Lord of the Underworld, came into existence at the same time as death itself. As Lord of the Underworld, it was the task of Arawn to collect the spirits and souls of the dead and bring them to Annwn, the land of the dead. To help him with this task and many others, Arawn created the Inconnu to do his bidding. The Inconnu were unlike any other being in Annwn, for they were living creatures rather than incorporeal spirits or the souls of the dead. Often though, with their pale, ghostly skin and large black eyes, they were mistaken for the dead that they were to serve. When Arawn gave the Inconnu life, he assigned them one purpose – to serve him without question or complaint.
In serving Arawn, the Inconnu were ordered to do many things. They were sent to retrieve the souls of the newly dead and escort them to Annwn. The way from the land of the living to the land of the dead was long. It was easy for souls and spirits to become lost in the journey down into the depths of Annwn. The Inconnu would lead the spirits down through the earth of Albion and into the Crypt where the Inconnu dwelled. The spirits and souls were not allowed to remain in the Crypt of the Inconnu but instead passed down into an area called the Deadlands of Annwn.
Arawn ordered the Inconnu to build a city. He did not want to anger the dead by allowing those of the living to reside with them, so he randomly chose an inconnu named Jaro’yen and ordered him to build a Crypt for all of the Inconnu. Arawn told Jaro’yen to use as many Inconnu as needed, provided it did not interfere with any mission Arawn may have already given them, and to do whatever was necessary to get the Crypt built. After giving Jaro’yen a vision of what the Crypt should look like, Arawn went to see to other more important things. Since Inconnu did not question the orders of their lord, Jaro’yen simply nodded and set out to build the city.
To anyone other than an Inconnu, the task of building a city from scratch would be an immense challenge. To an Inconnu, though, it was simply another task to be completed. Never having built a city before, Jaro’yen used the freedom granted by Arawn to secretly watch the people of Albion, especially the Arawnites that were building the temple to Arawn. As he watched, Jaro’yen saw that the people used stone, wood, and metal to build the temple. With his newly acquired knowledge of materials, Jaro’yen returned to Annwn to begin building.
Upon returning to Annwn, Jaro’yen ran into a large problem in constructing the Crypt. Annwn was plentiful in only these things: incorporeal spirits and the souls of the dead. It lacked the wood, metal and good stone that was essential for building a city such as Arawn wanted. Jaro’yen searched the Deadlands of Annwn and other parts of the underworld, but was unable to find any of the necessary materials. Knowing that Arawn would not accept this excuse, the inconnu turned to another source. Jaro’yen knew that Albion could provide the stone, metal, and wood needed to build the Crypt. He gathered a group of Inconnu and led them into a distant part of Annwn. There, he opened a portal from their world into the depths of Albion. Once the portal was stabilized, Jaro’yen ordered the other Inconnu to begin to cut blocks of stone from the walls of the surrounding the cave. These blocks of stone were then taken back to the lands below the Deadlands of Annwn, where they began construction of the Lower Crypt.
Because of the vast amount of stone needed for the buildings, soon the small cave had grown into a large one. As more and more stone was quarried from around the cave, tunnels were left where the stone was removed. It was as these tunnels were being made that Jaro’yen discovered that there were deposits of silver ore within the stone. He ordered the other Inconnu to collect this silver ore, and after watching how the people of Albion work with the metal ore, had the Inconnu begin to do the same. Soon, they had collected enough silver to use in the construction of the city.
As construction upon the Lower Crypt was nearing completion, the Inconnu made a second discovery. As they quarried the desired stone, their tunnels became longer and longer. Since they often did not pay attention to the direction in which they were digging, the tunnels twisted around in all directions. One day, a group of Inconnu removed a large block of stone to discover they could see daylight on the other side. They had dug all the way to the surface of Albion. One of the Inconnu fetched Jaro’yen who then cautiously stepped outside the tunnel entrance. After determining they were alone in the area, the Inconnu began to explore.
Jaro’yen was pleased to see that there were a lot of trees in the area. Not knowing how often the people of Albion wandered by the area, he ordered only a few trees cut down and taken back to Annwn. He then ordered the Inconnu to dig other tunnels to other parts of Albion and gather trees here and there, and told them to make sure that the entrances to the tunnels were well hidden. With the quarrying of stone, the gathering of ore, and the collection of wood, soon the Inconnu had quite a set of mines and tunnels running beneath the surface of Albion.
Jaro’yen and his Inconnu team, with the help of the mines, were able to finish the Upper Crypt in a short amount of time. Even after the Upper Crypt was complete, Jaro’yen ordered that the entrance to the mines be left open so that the Inconnu could obtain any materials they needed to maintain the Crypts. On one of their maintenance trips into the mines, Jaro’yen and a few other Inconnu discovered that one of the hidden entrances to the mines was open. Although they found evidence that someone from the surface had entered the mines, the intruders were not there now. The Inconnu sealed that entrance to be safe, and then went about their tasks again.
Unfortunately, that was not the last time they discovered that a hidden entrance had been opened. As more and more people explored the surface of Albion, they uncovered the Inconnu’s carefully hidden mine entrances. Because the tunnels were confusing, very few people actually ventured deep into the mines, but Jaro’yen was still worried that one day someone would find the entrance to Annwn. He hesitated to close the mines completely, though. Its resources continued to provide them with the materials needed for maintaining the crypts. But then, something happened that changed Jaro’yen’s mind and convinced him to close the mines completely.
A group of explorers from the surface had managed to make their way deep into the tunnels, nearly discovering a group of Inconnu at work. The Inconnu had heard the noisy Albions coming down the tunnel and managed to hide themselves in the shadows. The Albions entered the room where the Inconnu had been working and were surprised to see signs of recent digging there. They touched the hammers and pick axes the Inconnu had been using to dig the ore out. After a quick search, the Albions headed back to the surface and the Inconnu went back to work. A day or so later, the Inconnu who had been working in the tunnel became very ill. Arawn saved them from dying, but he was angry with Jaro’yen for allowing the Albions to enter the mines. Jaro’yen took a group of Inconnu and sealed each tunnel entrance to prevent the surface-dwellers from entering. He closed the portal from Annwn into the mines, sealing the mines forever, or so Jaro’yen and the others thought.
Many, many years later, when trouble began to rise in the Lower Crypt and the Deadlands of Annwn, the Inconnu were in need of stone to build barricades and metal ore to forge armor and weapons. By that time the Inconnu had become immune to the diseases of the Albions, so Arawn ordered the mines to be reopened once again. During the time the mines were closed, evil creatures moved into the mines and the tunnels were now unsafe for travel and work. But since the Inconnu were unable to disobey an order from Arawn, they fearlessly entered the mines to obtain the materials needed to defend the Crypt of the Inconnu from evil.
He had the Inconnu build the Crypt both above and below the Deadlands of Annwn so that they could be close by to the spirits and souls they were charged with watching. Although spirits and souls were allowed to pass through the Upper Crypt to reach the Deadlands of Annwn, they were not allowed to pass back through to the living world nor were they allowed to enter the Lower Crypt.
The souls and spirits that passed through the Upper Crypt were always awed by the city Arawn had ordered his servants to build. The buildings were made mainly of stone, although some were made of wood. The windows of the buildings were tall and narrow but deep-set, with high arches accentuating them. The entrances to the buildings were also in deep-set arches and some had large stained-glass windows over them. Eerie lights from within the buildings set the windows to glowing. Many of the surfaces of the buildings, especially those around the windows and doors, were elaborately carved with grotesque images of death and Annwn. Statues of demons, spirits, and magical creatures decorated the roofs of the buildings. Some buildings were connected by covered walkways, also trimmed in elaborate carvings and statues. Throughout the Crypt, carvings, entrances, and even statues were trimmed in silver work. With the eerie lighting of the Annwn, the feeling of the Crypt was one of darkness and death which is how the Inconnu and Arawn both liked it.