Crazyman’s mines of Cokala

The mines of Cokala are truly a sight to behold and an unforgettable experience in the higher layers of the abyss. While being a relatively little network in the far northern regions they stand out by the richness of their heritage.
Having been dug ages ago into some of the deepest permafrost, the walls are partly – rock hard – frozen soil, partly translucent ice. These marbled passageways are also keepers of ancient relics as a myriad of skeletal remains, half unearthed, testify of the rich mega-fauna that grazed the lands above in a distant past. These fossils are so plentiful they often compose monstrous murals that protrude in every direction. The tusks rising from the walls and plunging into the ceiling and the unidentifiable remains of enormous beasts that compose these chaotic ivory ornaments must have astonished the very first occupants of these tunnels. Sadly for them, their exhausting excavations must have been interrupted abruptly as the network seems to jave been abandoned and forgotten until much later.
The fascinating story of this place doesn’t end there though and in very unusual way the further we advance in time the further it dips into legend and myth. The last verifiable facts are from soviet sources stating its re-discovery by a group of hunters in the early stages of WW2. Quickly requisitioned by the military for scientific and storage purposes it was abandoned just as fast due to a series of collapses rendering it inaccessible and unworthy of attention in the geopolitical storm of that time. From there on the story fades but doesn’t end. The myth says that one man, either part of the military operation or an unlucky looter, was condemned inside this labyrinth after the rockfalls. Imprisoned in ice, he was surrounded with equipment and perfectly preserved provisions that could last for years. And for years they lasted. It is said that the man, alone and slowly drowning in his own thoughts, lived on 15 years with a sizable part of those in complete darkness. Despite the dark and cold he spent all his captive time painting. Painting the bones from floor to ceiling. Painting every last sharp tooth and enormous ribcage. Every broken skull and antler. What drove him to dedicate his inevitable demise to this titanic work will forever remain unknown.
Not until recently a passage was opened through the ceiling of the Sliin, very close to its source, all the way up to the crazy man’s tomb. The galleries for the first time exposed to a man’s eyes were described as traumatic. At first the otherworldly patchwork of colors seemed devoid of sense and reason. An alien, incomprehensible landscape. Yet after a moment of surprise the sculptural boneyard changed. The colors that were so familiar started turning into unrecognizable shades. The psychedelic chaos of nightmarish shapes captured the deep distress of a dying man in a more chilling way than the sub zero temperatures of the place. As the light rolled insatiably over and over on the glistening walls of crystal and paint the eerie realization dawned on the admirer that every stroke was intended and that this immense tapestry was driven by something otherworldly, beyond sanity and more ancestral than the frozen beasts.
The tortured soul was missing. The legend says that two broken shells were found on the ground made of thousands of layers of dried paint. The outside was thick and deformed like a ogre’s claws but the inside was the familiar cast of a man’s hands.