Journal date: Neyavr 13th, 751 BR
This entry will encompass an extra day, as I was not in a position to document our excursion after we entered Harrowstone, encamping in the Warden’s office for efficiency as we did. This is not to say our time in the prison is terminated, just that we triggered to the fact that we could travel back to the Van Richten estate to tuck in our tired minds and bodies tonight, through the trusted information turned over to us by a transparent source. But I believe I have gotten ahead of myself.
Breakfast was early but beneficial, and Lady Beatrice behaved in her bizarre fashion, trying to make us believe she had become named Dorcas Harrington and speaking in a breathy, rasping tone below her normal benign register, but besides her accent she remained bound to the bid to use the carriage as our byway to the next bit of our adventure. The ride itself was relatively without remark, as we had risen early and many of the company remained nearly at rest, though they were not to reside for long in such a state after our arrival. As a student of the science that is engineering, as well as the study of the body biological, I sought to see the lift, sequestered on the eastern side I surmised, so as to better understand what its state was at the start and end of the suspicious situation that sundered this structure so long ago. Such being my skill set, I also sorted out that the smoke stained chimney I could see was set over the furnace.
For having discussed the facts from that information on the outside, we found ourselves entering the foyer of the falling down prison, where I was to find that the festering nature of the foyer was not reflected in the featured doors north of us. They were fine and remarkably intact, despite the filthy surroundings, though no faith or magical feel flavored the air around them. We were fortunate that the framework around us was not about to fail and the floor above was not ready to crash down, though observation found that the further reaches of the balcony above were not so firm.
The next chamber came with a caustic seeming collection of growth, mold and fungus that clung to the chilled walls, which somehow caused excitement in our alchemist Dr. Phil. He careened forward, with Victor coming along as a kind of reflexive condition. The chamber doors closed behind them with no cause coming from our collective, an action controlled by the creepy haunted forces of this cold place. The doors, crafted without locking mechanisms, would not concede to my attempt to open them and clear a path to our compatriots. In the chamber they encountered a caterwauling collection of countenances coming from the walls, we could hear but could not counter from our side. Clearly Victor was confident in the outcome, as he coated the door with holy water and caused the haunt to halt, also clearing the closure of the doors that came to hang open. We were all able to enter and examine the chamber and it’s many closed doors that would lead further into Harrowstone.
To the west we were to walk into a hallway, wonderfully quiet, where the workings of the prison guards, with offices aplenty, would be found. A wealth of information was located in the mouldy documents we would eventually collect, to be worked over and sorted at a more wise time. Once we had identified this was a space without immediate threat, we worked on understanding the other doors which branched out from the foyer, rather than wander down the hallway. To the northeast we noticed the large chamber was neighboring next to the southeast door’s niche, separated by only a neat row of bars. Not surprising, I should note, as this is a prison. The northeast room was large, with tables that were not stable, leaning and lapsing with age and decay. The smaller room stood furnished with a small stage, upon which set a chair and a stool. North the door lead to another hallway. We began with the west.
As I added earlier, the assorted documents were assembled, for a review at a later time. The advancement towards the end of the hall lead to the apertures that were an office for the Warden and a water closet. In the Warden’s chambers a sealed safe, secured and standing solidly after the passage of several years, stymied us. Something about this chamber spurred Lady Beatrice slash Dorcas into a feeling of safety, not just a small pause but a surety of security from the spirits in such a space. Using a spell I was able to sense that there was sucor to be found in the safe, magical solutions that sloshed and could surely be damaged if we started to stir the safe too much. Keenly, we could not find a key for the safe, so it would keep its collection until we had.
Across the foyer, into the small chamber showing the stage to the section beyond the bars, some of our crew noticed a severe temperature situation, as a spirit started to chill Dr. Phil, Victor, and Gorig-Nak. This cold spot haunt would only respond to a specific circumstance, information shared by Lady Beatrice slash Dorcas, so we were able to summon positive energy to squash it for some time, knowing it would show up again. The situation sapped the strength of those that rushed in to seek answers. The more substantive solution was somewhat involved and stood beyond our skills at this time. Our use of cures and summoning energy saved us for the next hour, so we were able to determine that the door beyond the disturbance was, as Swanhilda found a small plaque in the floor debris, the Property Room. The door was sturdy, sealed with a lock, and not subject to be easily entered, so we stepped away to seek another key.
North of the cold spot, towards the northeast corner, we could see the crumbling walls no longer concealed the outside, where the crater that had become a curious pond currently could be observed. Coming closer to this disturbance, we could see the crevice in the floor was more commonly covered by a crane and pulley system, indicating it could have been the lift. Close to the edge of this pit a cranium rested, and Lady Beatrice called out that there was something of psychic significance to come upon, coinciding with Victor’s claim that he felt the burned and charred skull was indeed creepy in some configuration. Ciprian was compelled to sense the undead, and confirmed five presences. This was the cue for the cranium and its four compatriots concealed by rubble to come forth and combat us. Clearly they could not know we were so conversant with the challenges they would present, and consequently the flaming skulls were dispatched with a combination of weapons and holy water, quite quickly.
This allowed us to further explore the final outcome of the fire on the lift and find that it was the flames damaging the superstructure, causing a failure that flung the remains into the now-pond. The mechanism framed around the lift had fittings for some form of device or mechanics that cannot be found now. The hole would be fine to climb down after the first 20 feet, but that chance of fumble early on spawned enough fear that we found it preferable to find somewhere else to explore first.
Maintaining our northerly direction, my eyes found a plaque that read, with much muck making it difficult, Ember Maw. My reading was merely visual, but Lady Beatrice slash Dorcas used her mind to do a psychic reading that marked the name ‘Benjan’ as one of major value. We made note of this for more review later, as in the moment we had a room to look into. Dr. Phil, Swanhilda, and I moved towards the metal furnace, the menacing face plate looking like a skull, and before he could move away Dr. Phil felt a large measure of molten energy that nearly marked the end of our master of alchemy. I meted out my healing energy as Swanhilda wisely moved to safety. My healing measures were also useful at turning the malignant force of the furnace quiet. Lady Beatrice slash Dorcas was able to make out that Benjan, the prisoner that met his end in the furnace to the merciless act of merry guards, was missing something that may be in the furnace itself and made this haunt happen. By removing the remaining bones of Benjan, and placing them in the pond water, we were able to ensure Ember Maw would rest.
The next room seemed benign at first, beds and basic exam cubicles caused us to believe it was the infirmary. But before Lady Beatrice slash Dorcas could be sure of any psychic benchmarks, Dr. Phil and Gorig-Nak, behind which trailed Victor, made a bee-line for the basic medicines they beheld. This effort was answered by a skeletal figure in between the debris, belying their best efforts with a bellow of fear that beset Victor and Gorig-Nak. I was also in the blast, however I have yet to experience what became them. However, that does not block me from aiding others, and I brushed against Victor to better his judgement and remove the fear. Swanhilda, being a beast, is not above emotions, so I felt it better to leave her outside of the room. While the figure became less tangible, and less visible, it persisted in beleaguering us with bottles, tools, and other debris. I began to collect the valuable medical bottles that still bore contents before the poltergeist was able to snare and sunder them at us. I was aided, and between us Victor, Dr. Phil, and I bravely saved the brews, allowing Lady Beatrice slash Dorcas, Ciprian and Gorig-Nak to battle on. Using our best judgement, we backed up to the Warden’s base of operations, to take stock and breathe.
It was there we elected to ease our efforts by resting for the evening. The day had already been full of excitement, and though we expected this we still found we were exhausted. Lady Beatrice slash Dorcas felt that our safety was ensured by the effect the Warden had on the inmates in life and extending even beyond death.
I elected to take the first watch. I would have taken every watch, but I did need to enter a powered down state to recover the spells expended, and the appearance of exhaustion was required to avoid further exposing my essential nature. In examination of my senses, I estimate that my ears were more aptly attuned than that of my watchmate, Victor, as I was able to extricate the sound of sobbing from the environmental noises and he was not. Our watch showed no other excitement, and at the end I empowered Swanhilda to keep the next episode of attentiveness as I elected to ease my eyes by “sleeping” in the corner. In my estimation this was a passable effort, as it caused no alarm in my compatriots when I “woke”.
Upon rising it was realized that Gorig-Nak was required to run a letter for Lady Beatrice slash Dorcas back to the residence for appropriate dispatch, and then he was required to take a day of rest from his regular assignment.
Our explorations revealed a room with a rack with spaces for six potions, she regaled us of their importance, relying on her psychic revelations for this. Five of the rack slots were bare, the last remained an empty vial that had become residence for a tiny arachnid. Over an hour of examination and no vials were extracted from the environment. I should note that Lady Beatrice remained in the Dorcas persona, reinforcing that the evidently rather young woman would behave in a role that required her to be old and enfeebled.
The journey into the jail continued, and just as we spent hours in idle speculation that failed to justify our caution, we were reminded of the jail’s true jurisdiction, that of danger just around every corner. In this instance, it manifested in an infusion of spiders, coming to inspect and attack us. Swanhilda and I were ill-prepared for such an infestation, however in time we inflicted harm as indicated by the actions of the others in our party. It did involve an excursion down the hall for Victor to incapacitate the last of them.
Searching for the source of the spiders, a chapel was seen, dedicated to the Advent of the Scarlet Maiden, it seems. This is where our searches finally showed results in the discovery of some vials, sealed with wax. Ciprian was sure these were holy water. A scroll also resided in its secure case, set next to a small ash wand. My skills at spellcraft identified the scroll as that of lesser restoration and the small wand was sure to cure some of our lighter wounds, so I elected to steward the use of that special item.
The next room manifested manacles, after mildly mauling Cipiran when he molested the door with a kick. But not mere manacles, in fact they were animated as Beatrice would come to mind on her entrance. My mind supplied that they were manifestations of the maudlin state of the facility. Dr. Phil ingested his mutagen, and after a mass of misses from the rest of us, a near misfire of Lady Beatrice slash Dorcas’s firearm, he manipulated the situation in his favor by using a bomb, melting the manacles to slag, and also maring Victor’s meticulous coat in the process. I made sure to make Victor slightly more hale with the new wand.
Progress down the corridors displayed the plaque proclaiming we had found the Branding Room. Lady Beatrice slash Dorcas plied her psychic power to proclaim there was much physical anguish. Dr. Phil and Victor, prominent in the lead as the pattern of the progression dictates, proceeded to bear the burn of the brands. Victor used the properties of holy water to persuade the brands to return to their temporary rest. In my perpetual habit I found myself healing Victor, but neither Victor nor Dr. Phil were perfectly recovered and the brand remained perpetually upon their skin.
Finally we found our feet carrying us to the last room on the main floor, the laundry room. Profound and found close by, Lady Beatrice slash Dorcas felt a level of grief that overwhelmed her fragile senses. I looked into the laundry lair, but I was too late to let Victor know that something was less than wholesome inside, as the straightjacket latched on to him. Animated objects litter about this place, it seems. Ciprian was laid low by the living clothing, however my spells were able to restore life to him with a little timely application. Dr. Phil again finished the fight with his ferocious fire bombs. We found little of interest though the odor made Swanhilda feel uncomfortable, laundry left untended for so long leaves a lingering malaise.
Such a structure seemed to be standard, but a few of our folks found a secret door. I stepped into the hallway, seeking to understand the spatial relations to the door in the hall. Through the door I was able to surreptitiously sense the conversation inside. Lady Beatrice slash Dorcas used their Spirit Trumpet spell to seek out the spirits, but the response was slurred and indistinct. On the suspicions based on our slew of clues, she summoned the spirit of Vesorianna, the Warden’s wife, offering our services to return her husband home to her. The spirit regarded those entering as new recruits to the system, but otherwise seemed amiable.
Through conversation that I could hear through the door, Victor and Lady Beatrice slash Dorcas chatted her up, gaining more clues to the five convicts that continued to make her life complicated. One convict, counter to the others, resided above ground, and we were able to conclude it was Father Charlatan. Her name congealing on the monument was credited to the Splatter Man, and her concern was that we must resolve the matter before the name is completed, or he will succeed in siphoning the source of her spirit. She asked us to consider the artifacts the cursed convicts were connected to, concealed within the property room. As we have the common knowledge of their crimes, we could make the connection to which objects were theirs. She also confirmed the cultists were responsible for the contusions to the “funny gentleman” that I clearly believe was Doctor Van Richten.
With her advanced aid, the property room was able to be accessed. Through the aperture we found an assortment of antique goods, but not aligned with the artifacts we were seeking to be attached to the five. After some extra effort, Lady Beatrice slash Dorcas was able to ascertain that an additional secret aperture awaited us, and through it we advanced to find the assorted accoutrements we were in search of. We acquired:
- The Lopper’s bloodstained axe
- Father Charlatan’s knotted assortment of holy symbols
- The Maurader’s masterwork light hammer
- The Piper’s tarnished silver flute
- A spellbook coated and caked with mold that must, by elimination, be the symbol of the Splatter Man.
In keeping the items from pooling their power, we parsed the prizes out one to a person.
- Victor: Axe
- Ciprian: Holy symbols
- Dr. Phil: Hammer
- Beatrice: Pipes
- Coppelia: Spellbook
I suspected the Splatter Man of being a sincere threat, with strong emotional ties, so I spoke up of a desire to steward the item belonging to him. I sensed that my muted emotional state could serve me well. The conversation on where to stay the night started up, however I suggested we step away from the haunt and retreat to safety before we speak about these matters. So we related to the Warden’s safe space. From there I suggested we speak with Vesorianna about our next steps.
She cautioned us to use care with who held the items, as they all carry curses of varying degrees of danger and different natures. Latent curses can carry past the walls of Harrowstone, especially to be cautious of the spellbook’s custody. This inspired confidence in me, even though I have caught sight of my name, created with blood, in corners and surfaces we have passed. Blinking clears the occurrence of ‘Coppelia’ that I have caught, which convinces me it is not clearly there. A strange sensation has settled in my abdomen carrying with it a chill that I am not familiar with, carrying along with it a concern that I will lose the ability to cast my spells. I am mildly confused by this, as it brings about a tightness in my chest in a manner that coincides with descriptions of fear I have reviewed.
Vesorianna was very unclear if it was preferable to leave the vicinity with the items or to linger in the Warden’s venue of safety. She did feel that her own existence was very much vulnerable to the inscription manifesting on the monument, via the efforts of the Splatter Man. The countdown has visibly vexed her, as we veer closer to the ten characters that will eventually be her possible end.
With much evaluation, we elected to err on the side of absence, returning to Ravensgro.
An astute audience would already have become alerted to the addition of alliteration through all of this address. Alas, I am aware that all of that may have been an idle attempt, and your awareness of such an affectation may only now be activated.