The Carrion Crown

The Log of Dr. Joston Elveret, Entry 12

Upon setting out to clear Leopold of yet another false allegation, I find that this investigation stuff truly suits me! I am invigorated with the sleuthing and the tests to bring someone to a logical conclusion of innocence or guilt, it is all so very wonderfully mathematical, and the verdict so logical. As well, I am gathering that, should one be a city full of unsolved crimes, though one cannot be a city, thought they can be full of crime, though not literally, they would do well to convict a curiously childish monstrosity. It seems that doing so, and alleging all unsolved crimes upon the man, or beast, or golem, or people, as it were, will set into motion the incremental solving of crimes at the rate of which I should think most sheriffs are unable to accommodate, truly fascinating. I still struggle with the theory of a “Innocence” Potion that will automatically tell if a man is of guilt for an act, but this is for later.

I needed not venture far to reach the asylum that Leopold was once again accused of burning, and again alchemist’s fire was found, which Leopold has demonstrated no affinity for. He states that he was actually at the facility, but only to save the victims, for which he was hindered to do, as he was chased off. Evidence pointed half to a perpetrator of the crime, and half to the oddity of the origin of the victims. It was rather easy to determine the true pyromaniac that set fire, as he walked in on me as I was investigating the scene, rather rudely, and asked that I stop investigation, offering, strangely, a broken leg as the positive incentive. This was not going to work, so I fought him off, recognizing him as a rage chemist, and used his weaknesses, forcing his rage to overwhelm his sane thoughts and ultimately suffocating his mind. From there, easy transport of the new “Beast of Lepstdat” was possible.

The presentation of my new Beast of Lepstdat was a great success, as the judges met with me and re-arranged everything based on the evidence. The old witnesses were brought forth and were asked against this new creature, finding themselves unsure between the two. The trial of the asylum was thrown out due to this evidence, or actually it was that Leopold was freed, as the deaths shouldn’t be thrown out, or forgotten, but who could forget, certainly I didn’t forget. I still needed to investigate the last piece of dirty business at the University.

A great Doctor at the University was happy to walk me through the crime scene. He himself seemed to be a greatly knowledgeable man, though he was unable to see the truth behind anything of the scene. To my best opinion, A set of Necromancers simultaneously used control undead to control Leopold, a summoned Imp to hide the statue, and another, flying, third beast of Lepstadt took it from there. A rather simple and easy crime scene that seems straight forward. I was able to track this all down to a man of stature within the city, for which I will investigate tonight.

The interesting thing of note is the involvement of these Mythos creatures I have been reading about. It came to me that the Mythos has been strangely integrated in most of these cases. I have taken a closer look at Leopold, only to realize that his scales are that of the Deep ones, creatures associated with the Old God Cthulu, for who’s statue has been taken. To further this, the patients of the asylum were all Deep one offspring, and I have uncovered a ring that was selling the bodies of these creatures. Everything points to such a simple conclusion, that Leopold’s father has been purchasing Deep one bodies to create flesh golems and have a multitude, all somehow related to Cthulu, or the statue he had them steal. It seems pretty open and shut to me, and I am sure the judges will see the truth in this misunderstanding as well.

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The Log of Dr. Joston Elveret, Entry 11

The trial was hard fought, and though we brought the true murderer of the 6 children to the court, it was true that at least one party was missing… from the puzzle, which was the case which was the court case of course, not merely missing from the court, as everyone was there, though one person did never show. The fisherman to testify on Leopold’s behalf, it seemed, never made it to the court. Apparently, as I found out later, a large man had stopped his ability to testify, just as I had feared would happen. We brought the bodies of the four missing girls, and the remains of what was found in the cave to court. I had wished to present all of this to the courts, but I was more valuable as an expert witness in Leopold’s trials instead. The courts were presented with all the facts, including the wraiths, the demon wraith, the spotting of shadows, and the summoning circle, but in the end I had no proof of the original summoner, or who would have brought the bodies down. I even was allowed to dissect the corpses in court, which brought back great memories of olden days.

The verdict was confusing, and I had to clarify, but Leopold was essentially found innocent of the murders of the two buried girls, and found innocent, but suspect in the other four. This merely allows them to re-try Leopold for their deaths, should another trial occur for the creator of the circle, yet to be found. At the moment, I have not let down my curious flesh golem yet.

Now to the trial of the burning asylum. I am drained, as this has drastically upset my standard laboratory schedule, and therefore my sleep schedule as well. I miss my lab half the time, but these adventures have pushed me to creatively concoct much more virile formulas then I have dealt with in the pas, which is in the name of progress. I will set off to find more evidence of Leopold’s evidence. Apparently, a large greenish man will be joining me as well, of orc descent no doubt. I will hope to find great new freeing evidence, for Leopold, as I am already a free man, of course.

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The Log of Dr. Joston Elveret, Entry 10

With the success of Leopold’s first trial, I have set out to find more information on this nasty business of the children who were kidnapped. This time, it would seem, Leopold would be held accountable for some murders and disappearances all taking place in a village admittedly near his home, and in a village he actually had visited. Leopold, however, assures me that the only victim he had contact with was his good friend. This injustice must be defended, so once again into the breech, as I sought clues as to the real killer.

Traveling up to the village will be rough, as it has since been abandoned by the villagers, though I suppose they can no longer be considered villagers as they no longer lay claim to the village. Does the village make the villager or does the villager manifest the village… perhaps not of mind, but definitely in wood and work. Either way, the villagers have been extracted from the village, making then just “ers”, I would surmise. The “ers” that are called to the stand are three sisters, speaking against Leopold, who place him in the village with the body of his friend. This did supposedly happen, but only because he was simply returning her for cremation, which is perfectly logical. I spoke with these sisters, only to find that their testimony is shaky and inconsistent with any real facts. Still, the aide of character witnesses on behalf of Leopold will work greatly to Leopold’s advantage.

I rented a boat to go upstream, for which the others joined me, and was regaled by a story of local lore of monsters in the rivers that accept payment for passage. I was able to identify these creatures as mythos origin, because one must have been escorting the boat the whole time I was in the river. I stopped briefly for a visit to a fishing village where I was able to find a kind fisherman who would testify for Leopold. This was great luck. The rest of the trip to the village was as simple as the first leg.

In the village, however, I soon learned that the ghosts of the six children had turned into wraiths and put down bear traps all over. The traps were not a bother, as I am not a bear, but the wraiths had me actually leap out of a window to get away. There may have been quite a bit to learn from these old houses, but the press of time led me instead to follow Leopold’s stories to a cave for which he found his friend lying in. Here I found an undead Demon who must have been summoned, freed, and tied into this whole mess. The battle was strenuous, but behind him lied the bodies of the other four girls. This is wonderful evidence towards Leopold’s freedom, as I can prove without doubt that the killer was at large! There was a bit of nasty business, and a complication or two… but I feel it will work out for the best. I must prepare for the trial, as Leopold must be exonerated. I have undeniable proof now.

I miss the voice of the books, they sang so wonderfully. Perhaps they will sing a song about a resurrection spell, they have referred to waking other things before, things sleeping. It would be nice, I could use a bit of waking the sleeping these days… we will see how this trial goes.

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The Log of Dr. Joston Elveret, Entry 9

The trial of Leopold was a success! Though the judges did not see fit to rule in an overwhelming fashion, the verdict was innocent of the murders in the swamps, which is I suppose quite overwhelming. I had gone into the swamps with the paladin and the other gentleman of the manor, for which there is no longer a manor I suppose, and interviewed the… people, there, if you can call them that. My medallion allowed me the knowledge that these folk are somehow linked to the Mythos, for which I have been conducting extensive study on. I do not yet know how they fit into these old Gods, but I do know that they hold mythos blood within them. Perhaps they are hosting the birth of a kinship, or assimilation. All theorems aside, today they were not creatures, no swampers, but victims of attacks that occurred. They provided a few key elements that managed to be excellent scientific proof of innocence on Leopold’s behalf: The attacker met the vague physical description, but was never identified, it was wounded badly on the shoulder and thigh, and as it was done so, it bled immensely. These clues were presented in court, juxtaposed against proof that the beast does not bleed, and offered the plea.

I am somewhat concerned that the prosecuter managed to sum up quite a great deal of our evidence, and wished that all of my findings were presented in full. While in the swamps, I was led to the location the attacker was returning to, only to find a deserted camp site, a dead dwarf, a vial of nightvision that had been expended, and a set of beautiful surgical tools. These items were not satisfactorily linked to the immediate trial, and so it was not to be assumed that the camp site was the attackers specifically. It is unlikely, however, that these tools belonged to the pregnant manticore that was encountered nesting at the site, as I do not believe they have the fine manipulators necessary for such a craft. It was clear to me, however, that this manticore only wished to protect its nest, and I opted for a steady and slow retreat, for which the beast seemed to actually be suited to, as she would not prefer to fight with child, or beastling, or manticore-let… what would one call a baby manticore; perhaps a cub? This cut short my visit to the campsite, but I believe a through investigation would need evidence that it was without a doubt the attacker’s site to begin with.

The trial hosted the normal ceremony, for which I am quite accustomed to, expert witnesses, evidence, and even some parlor tricks of alchemy, which I may enjoy presenting as well, but all this led only to Leopold’s innocence. It was however discovered, to my great surprise, that electricity can very effectively cure the wounds of a flesh golem. I met briefly a true pathfinder, who stated he chronicled events the world over, and though his manner of speaking gave off confidence in his knowledge, some disturbing inconsistencies arose in his facts. This was no matter though, as the prosecuter brought his own certified witness.

Next, I will briefly have to prove that Leopold did not murder some children. All of this running around makes me quite curious of a potion that could, when imbibed, state innocence or guilt for an action. Truly a justice potion, or moreover, a potion of sight that would allow the imbiber access to such for those he looks at, this may change courts the world over. Anyhow these children were killed close to Leopold’s house, I believe, and may prove more difficult to defend. I am, however, quite pleased with the judges focus, as it would be easy to remember that Leopold is stitched from molding people, for which seems to have the town angry.

With the efforts of the trial demanding me in so many different directions, well not directions, but places, for which I will attend via directions, I must keep a vigil of directed notes:

The Necromantic cult that captured the Warden at Harrowstone, and possibly killed the Professor, still has unknown motive.
There is a town that fell into a sinkhole that may require looking into.
A creature that is linked to cabal cults has appeared to me, pretending to murder my reflection.
The book’s next verse is still unknown to me.
Rumors exist of a spirit who holds a crown of keys, and breaks into houses.
I must collect character witnesses to exonerate Leopold.
I must succeed in freeing Leopold in three trials yet.

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The Log of Dr. Joston Elveret, Entry 8

Venturing once again into Harrowstone, The Lopper and The Mosswater Marauder both fell to their own weapons, collected yesterday. The worst image was of that of the warden’s body, strapped to a chair and tortured extremely. The only solace I can think is that pain of this measure should well have passed him into unconsciousness early on, sparing him the feeling of his death. When the crest was returned to the ghost of the Warden’s wife, she used it to seal off whatever had happened here, or bring the ghost of the warden back, or something I am yet unaware of, but the end result left the prison free of ghosts of the past. While the symptom of Harrowstone that cursed the town is remedied, I fear that the Necromantic cult that brought this about is still at large and relatively unhampered by this.

The town was extremely grateful for the white flash of light we had created, or perhaps the meaning of said flash… either way, they offered me a parting gift of a covered wagon packed with all of the items from the deceased apothecary’s shop. With the town in relative safety, the month of time spent for the good Professor, and the manor no longer in a habitable state, as it was sold to the town, I must now fulfill the returning of the books to the mentioned parties of the will. Te lady of the manor wished to travel with me to Lepstadt, along with the other of my same obligation, so we set off.

I was told to avoid a town that once fell into a sinkhole, as it is believed to be haunted, much as everything else around here. As well, I came across a traveling sideshow that was in distress. Try as I did, I was unable to help them out, as they had lost a member of their show. I had located her, but only in a field of strewn items that apparently a phase spider was collecting. Surely she was dead, and the individuals did not take this lightly. Still, they offered thanks, and told us of the attraction in Lipstadt; The beast of Lepstadt.

This beast business surely is not my interest, as these petty public murders in the name of justice or entertainment offer me little more than a turned stomach. Surely I just wished to return the books, and return to my tests within the laboratory, but it seemed this was not meant to be. The woman for which some of the books were to return to was also a judge, who was also THE judge of the trial for the very beast. She implored me to assist in the defense of the creature, and I must say I was intrigued by this, as I have played professional witness to many scientific and physical truths in trial back at home on the stand. This was a different story though, as meeting the beast was quite an eye-opener. The beast was not at all a beast, nor very beastly, though he had a sizable structure. The flesh golem that stood before me was not only able to independently think, feel, express, and talk, but it also seemed to act without the will of a master. He is one of the most complex and interesting experiments I have ever seen in the field of golem-craft, and I should like to study him in great detail, which will not be possible should he be guilty and consequently cremated alive.

Apparently, there are a few charges for which he has recollection of in various ways. I must now prove this creature is not guilt of a handful of murders in a town he swears to have never been to, the burning of a building that killed yet more for which he was in attendance, but attempting to save people from, and a theft which, also resulted in murder, for which he cannot explain. I fear he may actually be guilty of the last of this, though maybe not under control of his actions.

I now have a new set of goals to attend, so this list will be updated as follows:
The Necromantic cult that captured the Warden at Harrowstone, and possibly killed the Professor, still has unknown motive.
There is a town that fell into a sinkhole that may require looking into.
A creature that is linked to cabal cults has appeared to me, pretending to murder my reflection.
The beast must be given a fair trial.
The book’s next verse is still unknown to me.
Rumors exist of a spirit who holds a crown of keys, and breaks into houses.

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The Log of Dr. Joston Elveret, Entry 7

As the letters of the Warden’s wife’s name came close to fruition, I had stated that I needed to at least solve the mystery of the Splatter Man. Unfortunately, because of where he died, it was obvious that I would need to not only face him, but the ghosts of The Lopper, Father Charlatan, The Piper of Illmarsh, the Mosswater Marauder, and all of the additional ghosts, haunts, and perhaps Necromancers that all inhabited Harrowstone Prison. This task was by all means daunting, and so very far from the comfort of my burners and beakers. I had recently stocked up on the widest variety of Alchemical items that I could find, and I am as prepared as I will ever be to enter what surely is both my greatest curiosity quencher, and my most dangerous task. Those from the Manor joined as well, and I set forth for Harrowstone.

As I arrived, it became apparent that the most obvious obstacle laid in the fact that this was once a prison, and none of the doors were created to be bypassed except with the proper keys, for which I did not have, or at least I do not believe I have. Though my nimble skills at manipulation are quite keen, as are those of the Rat man, neither of us were able to penetrate the locks of this facility, and I came quickly to contemplating how much acid it may take to burn a door… quite a surplus I would believe. At this point I became enthralled again with the Necromantic symbols that surrounded the base of the building, and as I have done much study in town, I wanted to see if I could figure it out again. I was able to understand the just of the spellcraft mechanism, though a great deal of the complexities still elude me. It appears that this spell was designed to summon and entrap the spirit of the Warden, for whom there was little doubt was keeping the horrors in this place at bay. The mysteries of these Necromancers is curious to me, in why they would bother to raise such a grudge back to life, and why they would wait until this time to do so… perhaps if we ever locate one of them I shall inquire to sate my mind.

By the time I had solved this mystery, someone located a door on the third story of the prison that we may be able to enter. How or why they had been looking into the third story eludes me, as we have a perfectly good first story on this building that requires no climbing at all to get to, but it was in earnest the only entrance known to me. As I climbed up, I found that the collapse of the roof of the tower had weakened the door frame, picking the lock for me. There was quite a commotion on my way up, as some very friendly earth elementals assisted in clearing away the debris, though where they came from or went off to I may never know. I entered and descended to the second floor, the first of the conquests in this place.

I found myself quite interested in the happenings of the prison as it once ran, but the Paladin was only interested in laying to rest the bodies we found, quite reasonably recommending mass cremation. It was not long before a dirge on a pipe could be heard, and there was no mistake what this could mean, as the Piper of Illmarsh approached. He brought with him a few Stirges, and one gigantic specimen the size of which I was unaware these creatures could size up to. Quickly, I assisted in dispersing the mettlesome sturges, and then focused my abilities on the Piper, who took quite a few positive energy attacks before I at last captured him in a Haunt Syphon. My scientific nature told me that this should have destroyed the haunt, but my better nature reformed my hypothesis that it would not be so easily defeated.

We also located the remains of Father Charlatan, who was apparently housed on this floor, and surprisingly without an active haunt surrounding. He was bound by chains representing the Gods he had sinned against, and though symbolic, made very little practical or even judicial sense as part of a sentence.

The first floor held very little threat as well, as we only came to experience a cold spot. I had thought that I was simply absorbing the spirit into a warmed piece of metal when I suddenly dropped dead, something I can quite honestly say i have never experienced before. It was truly my surprise to find that after dying I then woke up, as I would not have thought of death as a temporary aliment. There I was greeted by a monk that informed me that after 42 years, I had been resurrected by a fund from my friends. A number of things rang incorrect to me, as I was not cremated as my will wishes, and I am unaware of any friends that would have resurrected me after 42 years. It was when the monk told me that in this future Alchemy was forbidden that I had ceased following with the charade, and I was abruptly presented with the ghostly visage of Father Charlatan. Apparently the individuals form the Manor were attacking him as he had killed me, or was killing me, and either had resurrected me in the future and transported me to the past, or merely brought me to the future to lie about being the future… or perhaps it was not the future at all. The theories of parallel timelines that run parallel and yet in advanced time format intrigue me, though I have a slight feeling that the ghost may have just in fact lied to me. I am unsure if I had died, or if he had just convinced me that I had done so, of that convincing someone that they have died is not all it takes to kill them, so long as they are thoroughly convinced…. I digress. In the end, I had lived, and the Father was put down.

It was on this floor that I met with the spirit of the wife of the Warden of the Prison. She was drained, but not malevolent, and had informed us, in between her deaths, that she was suppressing the haunts that we destroyed, and that we would have a few days before they revived. This bit of good news, along side the confirmation of the suspicion that the Warden was keeping everything at bay, was all I needed. With the haunts out of the way, all I needed to do was find the warden’s “symbol”, perhaps his badge, and I would have what I need to do…something, I think. I also located a storeroom that had the items confiscated from the prisoners, and one each from the prisoners I came to destroy. The Wife also confirmed that these items would be of use as well.

Finally, I descended into the basement, where the worst of the prisoners were kept, the failsafe blew, and the warden was said to be trapped. I only made it so far before I came upon the room holding the Ghost of the Splatter Man, a full fledged entity that I have never seen the likes of before. This ghost, and the presence of a grey ooze, became quite difficult to put down. the ooze reacted poorly to my alkali acids, but managed to survive with a robust quality unique to oozes, perhaps I will need more for just this reason, and the ghost proved a weak point within my arsenal, as I did not have anything that can break on incorporeal creatures. I shall also have to look into this. As this most eminent threat was put down, and the promise from the wife that I had a few days, I felt it necessary to venture back to town to regather my potions and extracts, for surely there is still the matter of the Lopper and the Mosswater Marauder, both of which I intend to be better prepared to face.

The book has not sung to me for a few days, and I miss it’s melodious voice. I want to know the tale it has to tell, as nothing was ever truly written to not be read… or else it merely would not have been written at all.

I feel I am nearing the core of this city’s issues, but I wish to maintain my list perhaps until it is smaller and more managably remembered without:
The Splatter man, The Lopper, The Piper of Illmarsh, Father Charlatan, The Mosswater Murauder, the Warden’s wife, and the letters in town are all tied to Harrowstone, for which I am on the verge of rectifying.
The Necromantic cult that captured the Warden at Harrowstone, and possibly killed the Professor, still has unknown motive.
A creature that is linked to cabal cults has appeared to me, pretending to murder my reflection.
The book’s next verse is still unknown to me.
A “Saffron House” seems to speak of an unknown haunt.
Rumors exist of a spirit who holds a crown of keys, and breaks into houses.
A ghostly stagecoach has been spotted at night.

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The Log of Dr. Joston Elveret, Entry 6

As another day passes, the more normal of men from the old Manor has taken to asking us all to gather against the spirits of this town. I must say, the decision to go to the Church for rest has drastically delayed my alchemical workings, and I have half a mind to move back into the laboratory. Today we were presented with three tales of outlandish horror to investigate, and I must say that for all the time within the laboratory I am missing out on, this field work is greatly opening my eyes to so many more interesting things!

A haunting of a Sapheron House seems to be a mainstay haunt of the town, and the rumor of a Spirit of a thief holding many keys and unlocking doors also seems to have worked itself into every day myth of the town, but a haunting of a Doll Collector’s house has recently taken two children, and this led me to want to solve this first. Children should be working over a brand new alchemy set, not being kidnapped. The Sapheron House seemed contained, and was not a threat if you did not enter, so I left it alone. Try as I wished, the tales of the Key Thief merely expounded and grew more complex every time I inquired about it, as though it is becoming a mainstay tale in the town, though evidence supports that it may be more then just fantasy. Finally, the Doll House had a definitive background and a clear past of repeatable events; that of a doll looking like the missing person appearing with blood running from its eyes. I conjecture that though this haunt if of mysterious fashion, I may be able to concoct a transmutation potion that may have much the same effects, Though I am unaware of the physiological repercussions of crying blood if your tear ducts are transmorphed into wooden ducts… Perhaps something to look into.

As I have felt ill prepared in our past gatherings, I decided to create a belt of many pockets to contain vials of the most varied concoctions I am aware of, let us hope these may offer me the courage that the large sword does for the Paladin. I spoke briefly with the town wizard about the house, but found very little of note, though The rat man spoke to the children, and was confided in! One of the groups of children dared the two children who went missing to go inside, and they never emerged. Furthermore, one of the children even found a hidden bloody letter. This reminds me also that the sheriff also killed the Apothicary and used her blood to letter the doors of the church, which is most tragic, as the void of the girl will leave the shop most likely closed! However, returning to the rat man and his ability to speak to children, I would like to conduct an experiment that pits like-sized individuals together and see if there is a social bond for being even-keel with eyes… most interesting.

The book spoke of old ones, they rise, they come… now what WAS that next verse? The book needs to whistle it to me again, I think I may have forgotten… my what a melody that book can carry.

We of course brazenly entered the Doll house, well not a Doll’s house, but the house of Dolls, which was owned by a boy who turned into a doll, but not the size of a doll, which does not make the doll house the size of a doll house, but that of a normal house of dolls. Inside, I was surprised to find no dolls at all, as the stories spoke of thousands upon thousands being gathered and piled within. Soon however, I started to notice the dolls, they were of every type and size. Though I seldom saw them move, the dolls would position themselves behind my back and rearrange. They set traps, and I even saw one taunting me with a tiny dagger in its hands. The Tiefling lady must have lost her wits early on, as she started to shoot at everything rather brazenly. Because of this, I attempted to not be mistaken as lurking or hiding, lest she think I am something else and shoot at me too!

I heard a constant female voice off in the distance taunting me as a child would, which theoretically should take pity on the Rat man, as he is their size, though it did not seem to. One doll mimicked a child in need of help, and upon glancing at it for searching for the child, I felt a portion of my soul slip away from me into the doll. The Paladin soon figured out that every doll could cause harm to the entity, and proceeded to burn a number of them in holy light. I ceased playing the doll’s games early on, and instead found the hidden servant’s stairs leading up, and again the entry into the attic. Here a doll sat upon a makeshift thrown, keeping all of the other dolls in check and moving them telepathically. Upon seeing this doll, I was reminded of a type of doll that Witches craft for fertility. The idea is that loving the doll as a child should cause a barren woman to become fertile again, but the trick is that once a child is born, the doll falls to the wayside and inevitably always grows dark with anger. Thus… Haunted Doll’s house. We were capable of convincing the doll that there was a woman in town for which we had killed her husband before she could become pregnant, and that the doll could gain the love it required there. It agreed to let go of those that it still had trapped but not killed.

The doll will be happy with the woman that cannot have a child, and the woman will love the doll as it requires, but what of when she passes on? The doll will need love or it will slip into darkness again. Furthermore, we are running out of letters in the warden’s wife’s thankfully long name. Rumor is that she wails still in the ruins of the prison, and I had an idea to contact her with a method of talking to the dead, so that we can gain first hand her side of the story. Perhaps I will present this idea to the manor guests.

Again, I shall carry over my list and update for the sake of memory:
The Splatter man closes in on the end of the Warden’s Wife’s name, possessing random townsfolk.
A Necromantic cult was planning something at Harrowstone, perhaps killing the late Professor. Evidence of a spell on prison walls.
A creature that is linked to cabal cults has appeared to me, pretending to murder my reflection.
A song of feeding sturges, and cow mutilations are occurring outside of town. The Piper of Illmarsh.
Five important prisoners died at Harrowstone, one of which is plaguing each of us.
THe book’s next verse is unknown to me yet.
A rat man has apparently taken to talking to his tail.
The Paladin’s own grave is empty.
A “Saffron House” seems to speak of an unknown haunt.
Rumors exist of a spirit who holds a crown of keys, and breaks into houses.
A ghostly stagecoach has been spotted at night.

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A Haunting We Will Go 5/22/13
Mitch

Following the fire, we have spent every night following that event in search of creatures and specters that prowl the dark moments between the setting of the sun and the break of dawn. We take rest when we can in the church, as we hope that sacred ground will help to keep the spirits and nightmares at bay. Unfortunately this precaution has not stopped me from having a dream that seemed all too real. I awoke in a start one day after the fire, with my body paralyzed, unable to move, yet one of the hands was wrapped around my throat choking me, and the feeling that this was my end washed over me. I couldn’t breathe, as my own body betrayed me, however just as I felt the dark edges of unconsciousness close around me, the grip released and I had full control of my body again. This was not something that I planned on telling any of the others, as they each seemed to be taking great comfort in the new accommodations we have secured here in the church.

Seeing that we had a great deal of information to collect and not a lot of time to do it, we each took turns searching for information, for what one person views as irrelevant, another may see as the key to a puzzle. Experiences from our past and the unique perspective that each of us bring to this endeavor will prove to be the key to our success, of this I am sure. Instead of seeking out the means of entering the prison immediately, I suggested that we attempt to find out about these other spirits that are haunting the village; The Starving Spirit, The Saphron House, A ghostly carriage that moves through town, and most recently A Headless Horseman, that kills people on the road outside of the village. Some suggested that we look into the horseman first, yet I felt that our energy, and likelihood of success, would be better served by looking into some of the more passive haunts first, not on that actively seeks out and kills people.

Ultimately we were split as a group over what direction to go, so we all worked on both projects at the same time; The Starving Spirit, and The Headless Horseman. We found a good deal of information about the spirit, and I was certain that we could put him to rest without destroying his soul, if that is what spirits truly are, and the good doctor and Sir Hollander managed to find a lot of information about the Headless Horseman. Some of the information about the Starving Spirit we would not have been able to find out without the contacts we have made over the past week in the village. We had to contact the head priest, the sheriff and a councilman in order to piece together all the information about the dead grave keeper.

Seeking help with the Starving specter however turned out to be low on the priority list of the town, and we would be seeking out a vandal who was writing letters in blood on the town monument was to be the first event tackled. Spending the night prowling in the darkness looking for the vandal, each of us took up positions as far from the monument as possible, while Skeevin took up a watchful eye on the memorial. It did not take long before Skeevin saw the culprit, and as I suspected it was a flesh and blood person not some ghost. From what I understand from Skeevin and Hollander, they managed to subdue the man with relative ease, and Skeevin followed the tracks back to his base of operations (a small shack on the river) to see if he could find any other evidence that this man was in fact the vandal. As the town would likely take his side over ours if all we had was our word against his. Sir Hollander and Skeevin did mention something that struck me as odd, he mentioned that we would not be able to stop them from killing her again.

While Skeevin and Hollander were stopping the vandal, Khaluu was attacked by the horseman on the road. Hearing the pounding hoof beats of the horse in the night, she tried to hide in the tall grasses lining the road. Unfortunately for her, the grass was not tall enough. The headless rider saw her try to hide, yet did not push into the underbrush, even after she shot at the horse. And in an instant the rider was gone, he had sensed another soul upon the road, and hopped to that location, an unfortunate guardsman wandered back onto the road, and was beheaded by the horseman. The information that the horseman did not seem to be able to leave the road proved useful, something we could exploit if we have the means of stopping the haunt.

Back in town, the sheriff and the group gathered to discuss the vandal, and he was not convinced that this man was in fact the person responsible for defacing the monument. If it wasn’t for the fact that Skeevin keep the blood filled waterskin and razor the vandal was carrying, chances are they would have let him go. Take a proactive approach to this it was suggested that we trace his steps, and an analysis of the blood was conducted by Dr. Joston. The good doctor found that the blood was elvish in nature, and Khaluu remembered that the only elf in the village recently was a trader that left town the other day. So Khaluu and the sheriff left to track down this elf, while Skeevin and Hollander escorted the guards to the shack to conduct an additional examination of the location for more clues. After a great deal of searching they found what they were looking for, proof that he was in fact the vandal, with an added bonus that the man was also a killer. They found the body of the elf trader in the river next to the shack, drained of his blood.

Keeping our word the Sheriff agreed to help us with the Starving Spirit, as the we needed to gain the original grave plot from the councilman, as he had bought it from the grave keepers brother, forcing the body of the spirit to be buried in the no-man’s land area of the graveyard. Moving up through the graveyard, it only took as single sighting of the spirit to cause the sheriff to turn tail and run, heading directly toward the location he knew the councilman would be, sharing the bed of one of the other councilmembers, the same woman who put Khaluu on the spot the other day. After a short discussion, and some threats by the sheriff, we were given the deed to the grave plot and moved to put the spirit to rest. We started digging up the grave and she spirit arrived, and we told it what we intended to do, give it the burial it deserved and planned for, and to my surprise it seemed to understand, allowing us to transfer the remains from one grave to the other. Once we put it in its proper place, and Dr. Joston placed two gold coins over his empty eyes, the spirit vanished. Leaving us covered in mud and grave grime.

The next day we redoubled our efforts to find a means to eliminate the Headless Horseman, as he was a major threat, and we found a few things that spoke to us that may end this threat. One was that the horseman could be destroyed by placing a holy weapon in the ground, and causing the horseman to ride over it would banish the spirit forever. Another was that the warden of the prison at one point in time served at the worldwound, and he could very likely have had a holy weapon of his own. Deciding to take a chance, we went to the prison to see if he did in fact have a weapon.

Searching through the rubble of the old prison, we found some strange markings on the walls, part of a ritual spell was our guess, but that is all we could glean from the symbols. Inside the compound we did find what used to be the home of the warden, and seeing the state of disrepair it was in, none of us were looking forward to exploring the deathtrap. Yet it was Skeevin who stepped forward, and offered to do the exploring, as he was hired by the professor in the past for just this sort of purpose. After a few tense minutes, Skeevin emerged, holding the same cudgel that was depicted on the memorial to the men who died in the prison fire. Seeing as how it was almost nightfall, we hurried back to town to lay a trap for the horseman.

With little effort we were able to coax the horseman to ride over the weapon, it took only Khaluu and a well-placed shot from her pistol to cause the horseman to charge over the weapon, and the research we conducted did not prepare us for the explosion of energy that emerged from the combination of positive and negative energy. The fountain of light and shadow that emerged awoke everyone in town, something that I was not prepared for, but has proved to be a boon, as they have all witnessed the lengths we have gone to in order to protect the town.

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Burning Down the House 5/8/13
Mitch

We have spent the past few days laying to rest the dead that assaulted the town. The events of the past week have left an indelible mark on the people here, and it has not altered the perceptions of us I am afraid. The still look at us with suspicion, especially since we voiced the desire to save the disturbed woman who was enthralled to the violin, when all they wanted was blood and vengeance for all the death and destruction.

Yet with the passing of the days, the life of the village has returned to a semblance of normalcy, people go about their daily lives and we work on solving the mysteries surrounding the current state of paranormal unrest in town. It came to my attention that there is an extensive library within the town, owned by the proprietor of the Unfurling Scroll. After the events of the past few days, I felt it would be prudent to go to the Scroll and see if we could gain access to this library.

The proprietor was extremely helpful, offering to allow us to use his library for a modest fee, something that was both reasonable and expected. He also offered a piece of magical jewelry to Dr. Joston. Something to help him with his reflection problem, and as soon as he put on the necklace, his reflection returned to its normal pattern of behavior. We learned that this was one of the means by which a secret society spies on those who are moving against their plans, which is both a good and bad sign, as we have been marked as enemies of this group that we know very little about. Spending the day in the library was very productive, we learned a great deal about the prison, and the last inmates to have been incarcerated there, a group of five extremely dangerous and violent men.

As we left the library, the Dr. and I were informed that the group was invited to a town hall meeting, to speak about the events of the past few days, and one of the councilmembers wanted to have us address the group specifically to ease the fear in the village. Seeing this as a grand opportunity, we all dressed in our finest clothes and headed to the center of town, to take part in this meeting. The initial speeches were rather boring, and long winded, as politicians are generally little better than a wailing babe when given the chance to talk at length (all hot air and screaming, that does nothing but cause irritation and a desire to agree to shut them up). As each of the speeches was concluded, one of the council members said she had a special guest in the audience that would speak as to the extent of the hauntings, and what will be done about it, and instead of pointing to us all as a group, she singled out the demon girl. After spending the past week with her, I knew that if she was to speak to the gathered people, they would be frightened by whatever she said, as she has a bad habit of telling things like they are and not easing the fears of those around her. Thinking quickly, I had Sir Hollander create a short, and rather loud distraction, while I cast a spell to help her, something that I could use to whisper to her from across the room, without anyone noticing.

Thankfully, the ruse worked, while she did not repeat everything that I said verbatim, she did manage to relate enough of the process to ease the tension in the room, and I actually think that the people were starting to see us as heroes instead of strangers. This was short lived however, as once the mood in the room started to change for the better, death and destruction entered the room. Five blazing skulls broke through the windows and door of the building. Setting fire to the structure, and attacking the people in attendance. I did what I could to shout over the terrified people to direct them out of the building, as the structure was rapidly filling with smoke and supernatural fire. The others attacked the skulls, or carried the wounded out of the building.

In less than a minute the fight was over, and the building was lost to the flames. We had managed to save a number of people, yet we could not save everyone, and a number of people lost their lives in the inferno. Some people suggested that we start hunting the source of this right away, yet I offered the suggestion that we follow the plan, and learn more about what we are facing, instead of running off without any information. The late professor more than likely looked into the very things we are chasing now, and he died, even being prepared and ready for the threats that faced him. We took some time and conducted additional research, yet events still outpace us. As more terrors are visited upon the town as we search for the clues as to how to stop the events from continuing.

The demon girl, Khaluu, had a nightmare the night following the fire, one in which she was in a burning building, locked in a room with the fires licking the outside of the door, the heat radiating from a small window and smoke pouring in, as she felt the flames consuming her. Upon waking, we were all at her side, since she screamed with such terror that all of us awoke and tried to rouse her from the dream. None of us had noticed until she woke, that her name was spelled out in blood above her bed, a sign from the Splatterman, one of the last five inmates to arrive at the prison. A message from beyond the grave that we are treading toward dangers that we are not yet prepared to face.

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The Log of Dr. Joston Elveret, Entry 5

Today as we awoke, I felt a terrible illness upon me, I am certain it is unrelated to the events in town, but none the less I have been in and out of a fever pitch all day, and so my recollection may be off. However, I shall recount here what I can of the passing day in my chronicle, as these notes will be worthy of study for some time to come.This morning, I decided to join the house’s guests in entertaining yet more of the town’s haunts, as these perils seem to rule the lives of the locals, and we yet seem adept at quashing them, which is both fun, and useful. We focused today on a haunt of an old gravekeeper who has been seen quite often, but as the day progressed we also came across a murder just last night of a headless horseman who has beheaded a farmer, lest I not loose my head myself, and finally caught the pesky farmer who has been vandalizing the town.

All three of these deeds were interwoven throughout the day, and my mind was not able to chronologically order the events, so I will instead extract each occurrence separately. The gravekeeper was the simplest of the three, but took the most time, as we had to construct a custom made coffin, locate his rightful plot, and find his unmarked grave. The man seemed to be afraid of being berried alive, and therefore had very specific details for his burial, ones that his brother did not keep, as it was cheaper to bury him as a peasant. The father at the temple knew only roughly where the corpse was, and though I excel at engineering myself,my weakened state made it more advantageous for a Tiefling to create the coffin. Her job was fine, and my expertise was not missed. Lastly, we had to force a politician to allow us access to his burial plot. Against my judgement, I was forced to hand the vial containing the previously absorbed haunt to the rat man, who was to use it as leverage. When we met, I tried to convince the man he had no need fora burial plot, as cremation is much more sanitary, but he was attached to this plot of land. In the end he wanted proof of the haunt’s existence before agreeing. We presented the sheriff to the haunt, and he quickly pulled the man from bed to get access to the land we needed. Finally, all we needed to do was bury the corpse in the coffin in the land, and though the ghost appeared to us, once it saw that we were meeting his wishes at last, he seemed quite agreeable, following in his own new funeral procession to the new site. All in all, this was a very agreeable haunt, and rather nicely laid to rest.

Next, the rat man purposed that he stake out the monument of the random painting of letters. Having us all out in plane sight on patrol, we lured the culprit to his favorite spot with the rat man in hiding. He was caught easily as he attempted to paint the new letter on the monument, and we proceeded to watch the farmer as he transformed beings. I have heard of this as a possession, and fully believe that the ghost of the Splatterman, one of Harrowstone’s prisoners, has been possessing this man. We spoke briefly with the ghost, that informed us that “they” will not be stopped, presumably the five big prisoners, and that “she” will die “again”. The references to “she” and “again” lead me to believe that not only has the spirits of these five men come back from the collapse at Harrowstone, but that the spirit, or even reincarnation, of the Warden’s wife has also come back, and they are at odds. This theory is aided by the fact that the letters have been spelling the Warden’s wife’s name, though we have not seen a manifestation of her in any way yet around town. With the Spaltterman personally going after the Tiefling, and the Mosswater Marauder after the rat man, that leaves Father Charlatan for the Paladin, the Piper of Illmarsh for the other gentleman, and the Lopper for myself. All in all, I must solve this case with haste, lest I loose my head.

Lastly, we heard of a death that struck in the night of a local farmer, severing and stealing his head. I am not certain I initially intended to solve this haunt, as it sounded deadly, but with a body on the minds of the Sheriff, I would not turn away. The ghost was described as being headless, and riding a steed, so perhaps not the work of the Lopper himself. The night we patrolled to steer the vandal to the monument, the Tiefling and myself almost lost our lives to this ghost at night, but it quickly became apparent that we had only to step off of the roads to avoid the beast. We later learned that many horse wranglers were drug through town by their necks, which would fit the description. It was decided that we needed to get the haunt on to holy ground to stop it’s evil, but we needed a holy weapon buried under the soil to anoint the location. Some research lead us to the cudgel of the Warden, which was blessed. A brief trip to Harrowstone allowed us to retrieve the contents of a safe the Warden kept, with not only this weapon, but documents as well, which I have no doubt hold valuable information. Simply burying the cudgel, taunting the ghost, and not dying resulted in it’s passing as well. All things considered, not half bad while I was on the mend from my bug.

Below, I shall continue, carry over, and update my list of townsly curiosities, so that I may better keep a log of the oddities that plague this town:
A farmer, or a spirit possessing a farmer, is spelling the warden’s wife’s name in blood. Splatter man.
A Necromantic cult was planning something at Harrowstone, perhaps killing the late Professor. Evidence of a spell on prison walls
A creature that is linked to cabal cults has appeared to me, pretending to murder my reflection.
A song of feeding sturges, and cow mutilations are occurring outside of town. The Piper of Illmarsh.
Five important prisoners died at Harrowstone, one of which is plaguing each of us.
A book is now humming verses of a curious poem to me, but I cannot recall the pieces.
A rat man has apparently taken to talking to his tail.
The Paladin’s own grave is empty.
A “Saffron House” seems to speak of an unknown haunt.
A Merchant’s house, north of the town, also speaks of an unknown haunt.
Rumors exist of a spirit who holds a crown of keys, and breaks into houses.
A ghostly stagecoach has been spotted at night.

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