Journal date: Neyavr 5th, 751 BR
Breakfast was spent assigning the equipment. I felt uncomfortable speaking of my abilities, but this group did not seem to blink at the knowledge that I was a spellcaster. Even though I was not wearing the appropriate hat, perhaps that is because I have a familiar? Peculiar. I still fear sharing too much of myself, as there will likely be longer term consequences. I was also able to find that the great hall was acceptable for dance practice. Without at least stretches and warm ups I fear I will grow rusty. I believe that is an accidental pun.
The sisters continue to toil at City Hall, due to obstruction by the local populace. It has been concluded that their lack of popularity, and by extension ours, may extend beyond Old Man Gibs and his associates. That is disappointing to hear but good to know. Our actions will have consequences with the superstitious townsfolk if we do not use caution. With that in mind, we elected to spend the morning hours alone and regroup at the next meal to investigate our current issues further.
Victor appeared to be engrossed in the Doctor’s journal, though why he spent an hour staring at the spine I cannot quite fathom. Lady Beatrice and Gorig-Nak went for a walk and to talk to the people in town. This seems reasonable, as she seems to be more socially acceptable than many of the rest of us. Perhaps this will put some of them at ease. Dr. Phil was studying one of the scrolls we had uncovered, but seemed frustrated. Ciprian left to do some shopping. After I spent the requisite period in rehearsal, I proceeded to town to listen for more information about the defacement of the statue. It is likely this will be blamed on outsiders, which means us as well as the Vistani. I was able to confirm that the two leading rumors are either the Vistani, or the remaining manifestation of the Warden’s wife. Her name, apparently, began with a V, though finding out the name itself has proven difficult. But Swanhilda was anxious for food, so we elected to visit the Laughing Demon, as it was convenient and amiable to our presence.
The rest of the group seemed to have the same thoughts, so we sat mostly together. Ciprian retreated to a curtained booth. He is a very private individual, which I respect. Lady Beatrice was quite enamoured of her salad. I found it nutritious and quite adequate, but she was waxing poetic about balances of acid and sweetness in a way I found confusing. Swanhilda almost fell into my tea trying to get to the carrots because I was distracted and not providing my familiar with her needed meal. Zokar was enthusiastic about our return, and provided a sort of “challenge” that entails attempting to consume every dish on the menu. This seems indulgent and difficult for those of us who will only be in town a single month, especially as our morning and evening meals are provided at the manor. The majority of our consumption period was completed in this manner, meaningless civil conversation and digestion.
The table next to us was using a modified Tarroka deck as playing cards. Given the superstition surrounding and origin of Tarroka, I was surprised to observe this in the quaint population of Ravensgro. To my perception it was tempting fate to use a fortune telling deck as standard card game fodder. I should not have been surprised when the winning hand was on fire. No, not figuratively like a “hot streak” but literally bursting into a pyre of flames. Several of us were blinded by the flash – this caused an odd perception of screams, muffled as if coming from below us, perhaps noise from a basement amidst the crackling of an inferno. This is what I perceived while blinded, at least. Given the information we have gathered about the Harrowstone fire destroying the belowground area, I do not believe this to be a coincidental vision. Zokar, in an attempt to preserve his business operations, attempted to convince people to stay with a “round on the house,” however the deck owner was one of those that was not swayed. I was hoping to inquire where the deck had originated. The fire seemed to be connected to a single card, as otherwise the hand was not valuable per the rules of the game. Dr. Phil retrieved the card in question, and it was The Ghost, it implies the looming past, the return of an old enemy, or discovery of a secret buried long ago.
The singer that had been providing an attraction in the form of background noise also fled. Zokar was urgently looking for replacement entertainment. I have no particular talent with singing, however I do continue to practice dance. Gorig-Nak apparently knows a single song, entitled “Beer”. That is also the lyrics of the song. I wonder if it is related to the dwarven song “Gold” that I have heard one of my coworkers at the clockwork shop singing while occupied with construction. We were able to improvise suitable entertainment working in concert. That is also an accidental pun.
Once again, just as things seemed to be operating at a normal capacity, the unexpected occurred. Creatures known as stirges – flying entities known to drain the life essence from those they can grapple – descended from the rafters. The first target was a man listening to our performance, and while I intended to aid him, three additional stirges also descended and the first moved from the bystander to latch on to me.
This was disturbing to witness, as it began to fill with a clearly non-organic fluid. In front of a room full of people. As my life force was draining away, I became aware that were my condition public it would cause discredit to those I had associated with, despite their ignorance. The Doctor and I had discussed this matter at length, and I was grateful that when the parasite was removed, with fluid that was clearly unlike standard vital fluid, Ciprian was close by and covered me, as well as the leeching creature, with his cloak. To avoid close inspection by others of the gesture, I mimicked a faint so I could be removed quickly. The other creatures had been dispatched by my companions, including a shot at her own neck by Lady Beatrice and an apparent wrestling match with the stirge held and won by Gorig-Nak, as well as a strangely feminine version of Dr. Phil due to the evident effect of his mutagen – perhaps we can discuss potions in the future. Zokar was effusive with his gratitude, offering us favors and meals, as we left rapidly.
Much as the day had progressed with unexpected turns, the race to the manor was also interrupted. Lady Beatrice was interested in Ciprian’s ability to carry me easily despite our comparable sizes, and he offered to discuss the matter in private. I remained “unconscious” for most of the travel time, until the party was confronted by shuffling townsfolk. My viewpoint from under the cloak let me detect that these people were not, in fact, current residents but previous occupants that had expired and were reanimated. I stepped out of Ciprian’s carry, to allow him to engage the undead. Another combat ensued. Victor was able to demonstrate his axe-pertise. That is an intentional pun. Both Gorig-Nak and Ciprian were brought down to critical health levels, though it seemed to impact Ciprian more distinctly as he lost consciousness. I was able to rectify that situation, and when combat was resolved I was then able to address Gorig-Nak’s damaged state to a level that allowed us to discuss the matter at hand.
It was decided that this activity would not be able to be concealed and it was better to be the ones to notify the officials of our defensive actions, as well as their potential issue with the restless bodies of former residents. However much as the Weathermay-Foxglove sisters were struggling with bureaucracy, our representative members were also not allowed to present this information to any officials. I remained with the remains, as did Victor and Ciprian. No questions were asked about my sudden return to consciousness by my colleagues. Victor did use the remains to caution those who passed us on the road as to the potential dangers. I am not certain the citizens took it in the way he intended. Due to the inability to notify officials, we relocated the remains to the stables, after Victor had ensured the corpses were delimbed to ensure safety. I was able to take a sample, and elected to try an experiment with an ability I have given great thought to but never used.
Regrouping occurred at the manor. The sisters believe that gestures such as pastries will convince councilmembers to address our issues more directly, and sought to know if any of us had culinary talent, but we were lacking. Victor and myself both recalled Zokar’s promise of a favor and his aptitude for edibles. This seemed a fortunate alignment, and the Councilman Hearthmount was recalled as being more amiable to us during the funeral and reading of the will. It was determined that most of us were not in a state to pursue further matters the next day and would need bed rest, myself included. Ciprian offered his medical knowledge to aid me in recovery. I assumed this was a request for a private discussion of my unusual nature. I was incorrect.
The next day, after Ciprian aided me, he silently departed without asking about the abnormal coloration of my vital fluids. I do not know if I have ever encountered someone so respectful of secrets, which engages my curiosity about his own privacy – but I will offer him the same respect. I remained in my bed, the sisters departed to begin the pie plan. I was able to hear some of the household activity, including new rumors from town about another desecration to the monument with the letter E. There is still no information about the name of the wife. Beatrice’s voice had an unusual cadence, but I was hearing her through a door so perhaps the error is in my perception.
This morning we regrouped, recovered and ready to address the matters at hand. The sisters took on the next phase of the pie plan, discovering where Councilman Hearthmount lives and dropping a calling card. I proposed, as an experiment to see the reaction of my compatriots, a tracking of the undead to their creator or other source. Even those from Paridon did not seem alarmed or suspicious of this. Perhaps we all have secrets to keep. Using an eye of the undead remains I began to use the ritual known as ‘Carrion Compass’ and it led us through the heart of town. While I am willing to test the reaction of those I spend the most time with, I was not ready to test the town citizenry, so a quick use of herbalism let me convert the organ to a floating herbal sachet – still unusual but less likely to cause concern, and pleasantly scented of lavender instead of undeath.
The duration of the spell took us most of the way to the Restlands cemetery, where our physical trackers were able to finish the job by concluding the distance, and identifying the new undead climbing out of their intended resting places. Four skeletons engaged us and were quickly dispatched. Swanhilda was feeling aggressive, but by the time she approached one and was ready to take her bite they had all been cut down. I will have to let her gnaw on me in recompense. Beatrice was not able to find any signs of necromancy that would have resulted in these beings, however we did identify the six graves of the current undead. That means we do not have unaccounted for corpses so far as we know.
The Lady Beatrice wanted to try to contact the spirits in the cemetery for more clues as to what had occurred to cause the dead to rise. While some like Ciprian believed it was a bad idea due to the nature of the spirit board, I believed the practical implications of partaking in a public venue were ill-timed for our reputation with the townsfolk. Alternative locations of the ossuary were recommended, but again if we are seen entering and leaving once more, as we were last time, our suspicion amongst the citizenry will rise.
In lieu of a mid-day seance of questionable wisdom, we elected to return the bodies to their appropriate graves. Lady Beatrice and I kept watch while the others returned to the manor and retrieved the original two sets of remains, so that we could replace all six in their resting places, hopefully in a more permanent manner.
The manor, our standard meeting place, hosted dinner and conversation. The sisters will pay their visit to the councilman tomorrow. I retired with the intention of regaining my spells through meditation, the day had been costly in magical expenditure. However midway through the sleep cycle, Lady Beatrice began screaming as though she were mortally injured. When we attended her chambers to determine the nature of the injury, she indicated the writing of her name, nearly complete, in blood on her headboard. She bore no injury, and the blood appears human instead of rat this time. She claims it was sourced by her dream, a description of what sounds like a prison cell that responded to an assault on the wall with a stool by writing her name, character by character, on the wall at a measured pace. When she awoke the nearly-completed name “BEATRIC” was present in outside of her dream. I am given cause to re-evaluate her earlier hallucination in the graveyard.
We will use the spirit board and planchette here, as there appear to be spirits connected to Harrowstone in every inch of Ravensgro. From that deck of cards to the dispatch in her room, and even possibly the defacement of the monument, Harrowstone Prison is around every corner.