The Epic of Kibotesh is widely considered the first written work of dwarven literature. While the lengthy poem relates many fantastical tales, its own story is almost equally remarkable.
The name Kibotesh is attested in some of the most ancient documents ever recovered from excavations at sites that once formed the eastern part of the great Dwarven Empire. Almost all dwarven cities that were not built in the mountains were destroyed in the Ages of Ruin, long before the eastern dwarves evolved into the Infernal culture we see today.
Not only do we find references to Kibotesh in these early documents - a name attributed to a mighty ruler - but we also see mentions of his "song". It seems that the tale of Kibotesh and his adventures was well known among the eastern dwarves. We even have a tablet with the precise archival catalogue number for a series of documents containing the "twenty-fold cycle of Kibotesh". Another mentions a poem called the "Lament of Kibotesh and Gantar".
Yet, while these findings show that many versions of the Kibotesh myth once existed, today we have only one: the twelve-tablet epic here presented.
The discovery of such a perfectly preserved work of literature without any alternate versions is puzzling to say the least - especially since all such versions were reportedly lost in a series of strange accidents among Infernal libraries in the preceding decades.
Yet researchers are convinced that the new tablets are authentic. They were found at the excavation of Tel Imeni, stacked among hundreds of similar kiln-fired clay documents. Their condition was good, but they showed the usual effects of time - chipped edges, sections of text worn away. The language and runic script perfectly match the era, right down to the imprint of the specific kind of stylus whose use ended not long after the tablets were composed. In short, if they are forgeries, they would have to be so masterful as to defy credible likelihood.
The diaries of Prof. Petanque, who oversaw the excavation, show that visitors from a nearby Infernal temple visited the site at the time the tablets were found, and generously provided the expertise to confirm beyond all doubt that they were real. The page that may have mentioned which temple the dwarves hailed from was ripped away mysteriously. In any event, per the agreement with the local Citadel, Petanque kept plaster copies of his findings, while the originals remained with the dwarves.
Suffice to say that many elements of the epic of Kibotesh are surprising to many scholars of Infernal archaeology. Tablet 12 in particular - the so-called Heresy Tablet - has raised eyebrows both in Vetia and the Blasted Plain. The reader may judge the content for themselves.
Sections that are missing, defaced or untranslatable are marked in the text as "..."
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