Text drawn from the journal of Willow, Mistwalker of the Virlych:
…Very interesting…I must remember to read further as boredom grips me, as I do so enjoy tales with a tragic ending…
17-21 Calistril, 4711 Absolom Reckoning
We came to Ravengro for the funeral of our good friend Professor Petros Lorromir. Most would think that he died an untimely death; but for those that knew him, his death was a bit suspicious. Though, not all people were willing to respect the dead. When we went to lay him to rest, we had a few that tried to stand in our way. We eventually got them to stand down and let us bury him, but it was quite unsettling that they were calling him a necromancer; it only really brought about more curiosity as to what really was going on. (Necromancer? How amusing…)
A town official read the will with the professor’s daughter and our group. The late professor charged the four of us with the duty to stay in town for one month to guard and protect Kendra from any harm. I have stuck with that last wish closely. As a group, we found out a few histories surrounding the Harrowstone prison and the various criminals that were housed there. But it seemed that after figuring out such information, strange occurrences started to happen. First, farm animals were dying; blood being sprayed on a gravestone, undead wandering through town, even a stirge attack. (Stirges? Pharasma preserve us, not…Gasp!…Stirges !) We needed to do something, sadly, the guys got a bit impatient and left without me. Sure Kendra tried to assure me that they most likely tried to find me before going to the prison, but I still have my doubts.
I went to find the guys after the strange things had occurred in town, not realizing just how creepy the old prison was. After finally getting through a screaming doorway and meeting up with the guys to go through the rest of the place, I realized that corruption of the land is only partially the problem in this town. The hauntings of the prison and the creatures we’ve faced prove as much. We got to a room with a bunch of sharp objects, very unsettling from what the guys have told me. They mentioned earlier about flying inanimate objects so I stayed out of the room, peeking in to see what was going on. Sadly, some creature formed when they used a haunt siphon to try and settle things. Unfortunately, it seemed that the siphon was backfiring. It didn’t react like the other two we had to use in the boiler room. After that everything was kind of a blur, I remember hearing this cry that had me fleeing the source as quickly as I could. I don’t know what it was about that cry, but I know that perhaps I should plug my ears the next time an undead monstrosity decides to open its mouth. (I wonder who these “guys” are that this Willow continues to refer to? I shall endeavor to learn more…) – A.
Text drawn from the journal of Destryn Dorvinius, Outcast Scion of Ustalav’s House Dorvinius:
(Well! Apparently this long-winded “scholar” from Thrushmore intends to publish this experience. No doubt he thinks it will win him fame as a field researcher. We shall see.
17 Calistril, 4711 Absalom Reckoning
It was an interesting carriage ride that I shared with a half-elf (I never spoke of this to him due to the treatment we of mixed parentage receive) “gentleman” by the name of Abel Steel (quite an ironic name). He related the story of how he and the professor met after an unfortunate incident involving highway brigands. A quick appraisal tells me that this man is very capable and might come in “useful” in the future, after all the professor did keep in touch with him. (Ah, some names at last)
The carriage dropped us off outside the cemetery of the quaint village of Ravengro and I sincerely hope that the citizenry isn’t as backward and superstitious as some other far-flung places I visited in my employ for Thrushmore’s Agency. We were met at the gate by what must pass as the village’s “upper crust”, a shabby looking “natural” woman carrying a scorpion of all things, and a dour looking dwarf male/female (I am always a bit unsure there) and made our way into the Restlands. Unfortunately the earlier hopes I had were dashed when, as the procession wound its way to the late professor Lorrimor’s tomb, we were accosted by a crowd of armed locals. They were ranting about the professor being a “Necromancer”, I laugh at the very thought, and wouldn’t “allow” him to be buried in the Restlands.
I of course had to restrain the dwarf (they are always looking for a reason to fight) and knowing that a bloodbath could permanently damage my relations with these superstitious and clannish folk, talked them down using logic and reason. After that incident, the funeral proceeded without interruption and we retired from the unpleasantness to the late professor’s “estate” where we currently await the reading of his will.
17 Calistril (Evening), 4711 Absalom Reckoning
The reading of the late professor’s will was very thought provoking. Toreg (The male dwarf), Willow (The “Natural” woman), Abel (My “gentleman” friend), and myself were tasked to deliver some intriguing manuscripts to his colleagues at the University of Lepidstadt. For delivering these manuscripts we would each be paid one hundred platinum pieces, which is incredibly convenient as my money supply has run dry. The only caveat of this endeavor being that we four must remain in town for the period of one month to “watch over” professor Lorrimor’s daughter Kendra. After the reading we collected the manuscripts chest from the professor’s room and browsed through them quickly. We found the professor’s diary and read the last few entries which contained some startling news. The Whispering Way is active in this area and especially the old prison Harrowstone (This warrants investigation).The journal also mentioned a “forgotten” hidden stockpile of the church’s in a tomb in the Restlands (This definitely warrants investigation). (Lepidstadt…duly noted.)
On a side note for future reference, Toreg lives in the village, Willow is staying with the professor’s daughter Kendra, oddly Abel is also staying in the house with the unmarried women (How very improper and may cause problems for us later), while I have taken a room at the inn (thankfully payment was not required up front).
18 Calistril, 4711 Absalom Reckoning
I just returned from a harrowing journey into that hidden stockpile that I mentioned last night. I barely survived an encounter with no less than five enormous centipedes, one of which took a bite out of my neck. I managed to snatch the hidden equipment and evade the monstrous creatures to escape with my limbs attached (For future reference; do not go it alone. This is the cardinal rule of survival). Unfortunately I had to have Willow treat my grievous injury, and in the process my true nature was revealed to her, which is better than letting the socially deficient townsfolk have that knowledge. I will have to trust her discretion in this matter.
18 Calistril (Evening), 4711 Absalom Reckoning
To my utter amazement these local, intellectually-stunted, folk have blocked my every attempt to further research the matters discussed in professor Lorrimor’s journal. The church archives are off limits to me and the acolyte that Father Grimburrow (The stunted head priest whom has to have dwarven or gnomish blood in his family tree) assigned to the task of helping me is a complete dunce. I asked for records of who died in the fire at Harrowstone and was brought the records showing that there was a fire at the prison. Then later I was blocked from viewing the town hall records by an old scarecrow like biddy. These small communities are infuriatingly clannish. (And our young “scholar” has just learned the first lesson of field research: It is never easy.)
19 Calistril, 4711 Absalom Reckoning
Finally a breakthrough, with Toreg’s assistance I was able to get Father Grimburrow to allow me access to the church’s historical records. And behold there was the information that I was searching for. It turns out that there were five high profile prisoners imprisoned in Harrowstone: the Lopper, The Mosswater Marauder, Father Charlatan, The Piper of Illmarsh, and The Splatterman. There is also a list of all the prison guards that died in the fire carved on the monument overseeing the lake. It probably deserves a visit tomorrow.
19 Calistril (Evening), 4711 Absalom Reckoning
After inspecting The Silk Purse for anything that seemed out of place (there were a few items that my “sight” showed were worthwhile investments), there was some sort of disturbance in the basement after one of the hired help were sent to retrieve bows for us. The individual came back looking extremely pale and wide eyed. When questioned casually he wouldn’t say what had happened, it took some prying but eventually he told me in confidence that he had seen a “ghost” around the ax rack.
We “guys” (As willow likes to call us) decided to head over to The Laughing Demon (An odd name for a tavern if you ask me) to mingle with the locals. The establishment is run by a jolly fellow named Zokar Elkarid, who is pleasant enough once you get past his boisterousness. I noticed that this was definitely Abel’s kind of place. We had a few drinks and Abel tried his hand at a couple of the “friendly” games. As we were getting ready to leave however there was a commotion at one of the card tables and looking over I saw the cards burst into flame. Simultaneously I heard the screams of dozens people burning alive coming from below my feet (I will assume from the basement). This left everyone quite startled. Shortly thereafter we retired to our respective domiciles (I was glad to see Abel had come to his senses and took a room at the inn instead of further intruding upon Kendra and Willow).
20 Calistril, 4711 Absalom Reckoning
I awoke this morning to the faint smell of a mouthwatering breakfast coming from the common room below me. As I sat savoring my meal I listened in to the conversation buzzing around me. The events at the tavern were the talk of the day, at least they were until the sheriff showed up asking questions about the defacement of the prison monument. Further investigation throughout the day turned up other odd occurrences, some disappearing livestock and possibly sightings of the recently dead. A visit to the prison monument gave credence to what the sheriff was speaking of. The monument was splattered with blood and a large letter V was written in the same blood. Underneath the mess I was able to make out the names of the deceased guards from Harrowstone, with one standing out: the warden Hawkrin. (…piece no. one.)
Hours of research between the churches historical records and the professor’s library turned up more information on the “primary” inhabitants of the prison (For reference see my notes in the back pocket of the journal). Sadly I was still unable to procure access to the town hall records. Oh, it seems everyone has arrived for our meeting before heading out to Harrowstone at first light.
21 Calistril, 4711 Absalom Reckoning
We were all supposed to meet to head out to the prison together, but Willow never showed up. Not wanting to waste daylight (we all agreed it would be prudent to stay out of the prison at night) we decided she could catch up to us if she was coming at all (you never know with those “naturalists”). It was a short walk down the road to the ominous Harrowstone prison. As we passed through the main gate I definitely “felt” a barrier. We poked around the grounds a bit before entering the prison proper. Toreg decided to try his strength and managed to knock down an entire structure, it appeared to have been living quarters for someone (the warden maybe?).
After a cursory inspection of the grounds and lake, I noticed some script “written” on the base of the wall of the main prison structure. Upon closer inspection it seemed to be some sort of ritual invoking the name of Hawkrin, the flowing script was clearly written in blood and the syntax or the writing seemed to suggest a focus, as well as somatic and verbal components. The mystery of this ritual consumed me for most of the day as we explored the ruined expanse of the prison (see my notes in the back pocket of the journal for a sample of the writing). (noted…)
We faced quite a few dangers in the now obviously haunted prison, doors that grew faces and screamed, giant spiders, possessed flying straight jackets, a room that dropped inexplicably to freezing temperatures (my fiendish heritage helped here), and even a boiler that seemed to come to life (this we destroyed with a haunt siphon from the stash I liberated). Toreg was very unhappy when he found himself on the opposite end of some animated branding irons, (he has a lovely burn scar of the number 23 and a gaping hole in his beard) and I had to save him (quick reacting on my part I must say). We quickly devised a system of Abel checking things for traps and Toreg booting in the doors while I guarded the rear. Needless to say our prison venture became quite routine.
Sometime in the mid morning we came across a room near the outer wall that was literally haunted as it had a fully formed apparition that raged at us about trapping it here. I deciphered that this must be Warden Hawkrin’s wife after a few minutes of her ramblings. No attempt to calm her spirit succeeded. Toreg was clearly unnerved by her rantings and ravings because he ran into the room and scooped up her earthly remains in makeshift cloth bag and came back into the hallway. She never made a peep after that, but some of her ramblings stirred some thoughts about the ritual from outside (I still hadn’t figured it out yet).
After half a day of exploration and investigation Willow decided to join us (probably after some nature hike) and was almost immediately trapped by the freezing room. I wonder how she fared against the screaming faced doors? Anyway we came across a room filled with sharp objects that set off my fight or flight instincts, of which flight won out. I was a little surprised that no one else had the good sense to flee with me… (Ah, yes. One man exclaims that “good sense shall win the day,” while another observes cowardice. This one’s ancestor obviously groveled and mewed at the feet of Asmodeus as his black boots strode by in hell. Even so, between this account and the druid’s, I am at the least entertained, if not truly enlightened, mores the pity. -A)