The Carrion Crown

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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The Log of Dr. Joston Elveret, Entry 4

It has been so few days since I have arrived on behalf of the poor late professor, and yet still the events that have occurred since have been drastically outside my standard regimen. These events have changed my perspective on my daily studies, and have convinced me that I need to be more prepared on-hand for odd occurrences, as well as being more prepared through research on this town. I had decided to venture into town to re-visit the apothecary so I can create the items I need.

One of the gentlemen I am staying with purposed while I was out to venture over to see the local wizard, who owned quite an extensive library. Naturally, being a studious individual, I asked him about my dead reflection, and he actually had encountered this before. I was offered a pendant to stave off the prying eyes of the reflection thief, and found to my amazement that my reflection did not disappear, but rather returned to normal; apparently he is not dead after all! I stayed and researched many of the happenings around town, finding out that there are many queer hauntings centered on this town, and apparently all somewhat associated with the Harrowstone prison. Of note, there were five prisoners that were delivered to Harrowstone before the fire that consumed the building. The gentleman even dug up information on one of the prisoners that proved it was he behind the strange blood splatterings in town, or his ghost… I have yet to exactly work out what manner of corporal state these criminals are in currently.

I was offered the opportunity to be commissioned to solve the queries of this town, along with anyone else staying in the Manor, and went to a town hall meeting to be announced. Strangely, the woman called upon a Tiefling to speak on my behalf, but her vocalizations were quite well thought out. All was not well, as has been my luck, as flaming skulls poured into the building setting the entire thing aflame with everyone inside. Many people jumped to action, and I recalled the Holy Water I had on my person, thinking to quench the fire with it. The blaze, however, grew too quickly, and I was forced to haul the last of the people alive out before the collapse of the structure. Before I had done so, I did manage to quench the unholy life from the last of the skulls, however.

I found it prudent to seek out the source of the attack, as no resolution had yet been applied to the cause of the attack, merely the effect, but the townsfolk argued that going to the prison site at night in search of a Necromancer would be unwise.

Later that night, as I was working in the laboratory, the Tiefling was rudely awakened to find her name scrawled in blood above her bed. I find this to be great news, as the ghosts of these five prisoners would not be so adamant about this Manor if it’s inhabitants were not on the right path. Logic and deduction will soon lead us to a conclusion, just as it has in the past happenings.

A list of curiosities for my memoirs:
A prisoner spelling names in blood has spelled “VE” so far…
A Necromantic cult was planning something at Harrowstone, perhaps killing the late Professor.
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.
Five important prisoners died at Harrowstone.
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 visited his own grave 50 years ago, or is dead, or is alive again, perhaps a ghost.

I must make sense of these oddities, as I am sure they are related to the overarching goal…

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Fiddlers Lament 5/1/13
Mitch

Waking up in the early morning, I had thought it was going to be a good day, the sun was shining, and the weather seemed to be taking a break. Going downstairs and having breakfast seemed pleasant enough, Dr. Elveret was still pouring over some glass shards, and Sir Hollander seemed a bit out of sorts, but all in all it was a pleasant start to the day. I had heard the lady of the house talking with the cook about going to the general store to collect the supplies for the house, and offered to help. My generous offer was taken and I prepared a cart for the journey into town to collect foodstuffs and assorted supplies. The others decided that helping would be a welcome distraction from the events of the past few days and joined me in the short trip to the general store.

Once we arrived at the general store, we were all greeted by the proprietor and his wife. Handing over the list and making small talk, the rest of the party started to explore the shelves of the store, looking for useful items that may or may not be of value to an explorer/ghost hunter, such as holy water. During the course of exchanging the list of goods and asking questions about the recent string of events in town, the children of the proprietor came bustling out of the back room, 6 in total, and scattered around the store, some hiding to view the newcomers to town, and a few going about the duties that had more than likely been assigned to them by watchful parents. Taking the opportunity, I slipped away to speak with one of the older children about the song that I had heard the other day. Something about a killer that fed the blood of his victims to stirges. At first the young woman was not forthcoming with information, yet I managed to coax some of the song from her with a few copper coins.

I know that I have some strange fixation on the song, yet a part of me thinks it is the key to everything happening here in town. I didn’t have much time to focus on this however as everything changed in an instant, and all hell broke loose in the store. It appears that in our moment of peace, the dead have risen in the town of Ravengro. Two zombies shuffled toward the proprietor and his children, one of the girls kept saying grandma, so I am guessing that they were blood relations at some point. Moving quickly Khaluu jumped in front of one of the children and was ferociously attacked by the grandmother, as rotten fingers and flesh tore into her back. Sir Hollander also stepped up to the task of stopping another zombie from assaulting the proprietor. Being quick to act, I also moved to help stop the undead assault, moving to help Khaluu since she seemed to be in the most immediate danger.

There was a small rat man that was in the store when we had arrived, and I think that he was talking with Hollander when I went off to speak with the small girl. As I ran past it looked like he was trying to hide from the conflict among the shelves. Not having time to dwell on the actions of the rat, I charged into the fray, attacking the grandmother. It did not take long to eliminate the threat posed by the zombies inside the building, yet the sounds of conflict from outside were easily heard once our own fight had ended. We also heard sounds of a struggle from the back room, deciding to split up, three went into the back room, while two of us, Khaluu and I, ran to the front to see what we could do to assist the town. Opening the front door, we were greeted with a full scale invasion of the dead. Five skeletions has surrounded a poor man who had decided that they best way to escape the undead was to climb a pole in the center of town. He was now trapped, and the skeletons seemed to be having a great time, poking at him with spears, while chopping at the pole with axes and swords.

Seeing that the man would not last long without assistance I rushed out to draw the attention of the group, fortifying myself with some divine magic that protects against the forces of evil. My presence was quickly noticed and I was set upon by the skeletons, one of which was riding an undead horse. I had anticipated being alone outside with the undead, as Khaluu could easily stay within the protections of the walls of the shop, firing out into the group as needed, yet she followed me outside. This proved to be her undoing as she was now within reach of the mounted skeleton, who rode her down, driving a spear into her chest. Khaluu collapsed, and I did not know if she was alive or dead, as I know that sometimes when a thing dies, it still twitches for a few moments after the killing stroke. Now surrounded, I was very worried about the likelihood of my own safety. Luckily the rest of the group, led by sir Hollander, came charging out the front of the shop, and the battle was truly engaged.

While the rest of us dealt with the skeletons, the rat man, ran off to help a child surrounded by a swarm of disembodied hands. The rat was able to extinguish the unnatural life from the hands about the same time we eliminated the skeleton threat. Taking a short reprieve we listened for more sounds of conflict, and unfortunately, were not disappointed. The whole town seemed to be under assault. After a quick consultation with one another, we decided that the best course of action would be to head to the chancellors building, as they had no guards or magical abilities to protect themselves from the undead. Moving through the streets as quick as we could, stopping periodically to help when someone seemed in especially dire need, we eventually made it to the chancellor manor. Sir Hollander was the first to arrive, as he had taken the opportunity to mount the draft horse we brought with us to gain more mobility, and attempted to protect one of the chancellors, who had rushed from the house, followed by an ectoplasmic entity.

The ghostly thing said something about betray and having his head taken, just before he was banished from existence by the good doctor. He threw one of the Haunt Siphons, and the negative energy of the haunt was absorbed completely by the green liquid inside the siphon, turning it black in the process. It was at this time that I heard the sound of a violin playing in the distance, and from what I could tell the general direction was that of the graveyard. Mentioning this to the others, we made all haste toward the graveyard, as if the music was connected to the dead, the graveyard would be the most likely place for this event to be occurring. Along the road we ran into the simpleton from the church, a good lad but not all there, and he mentioned that the priest of the village was trapped in a tomb.
While the others wanted to send the simpleton away, I felt that he may prove useful, as those not blessed with the strength of mind, are occasionally blessed with strength of body and spirit, both of which would be useful if the undead in the graveyard had risen in numbers to overwhelm us. As we approached the boundary of the graveyard, all of us could hear the haunting melody of the violin, and see the silhouette of the person playing among the forest of tombstones. Moving quickly through the marble and granite forest, we approached the fiddler and saw a woman, so engrossed in what she was doing, that she did not acknowledge our presence, or the sickly stench of death and decay as the undead rose from the graves she passed in her dance.

Seeing how quickly the dead were rising, we attempted to stop the woman with physical force, landing multiple blows upon her back and legs, with sword and claw, yet each wound seemed to be healed by the strange music. Taking this as a sign, both Sir Hollander and I, started trying to break the violin, but had much the same effect, any damage we did to the violin was gone a moment later, as dark magic’s worked toward keeping it whole. As a last ditch effort to stymy the tide of undead overwhelming us, I tried to wrestle the woman to the ground, only to be pushed aside by the garment she was wearing. Luckily Sir Hollander was able to knock the violin out of her hands, through the distraction that I had provided with my attempt to knock her to the ground. As soon as the violin left her hands, the undead fell apart, as the magic animating the decayed flesh and bones, was now gone. Hate and rage seemed to fill Sir Hollanders eyes, and for a moment I thought he was going to slay the now catatonic woman. Yet something deep within his mind must have brought the knight to reason, as he stayed his blade, and allowed the rest of us to take her into custody.

The simpleton was moving quickly toward one of the mausoleums in the graveyard, mentioning that the priest was inside. Looking at the barricade of tombstones propped up against the door, it looked as though someone or something did not want the priest to be lose while the song was playing. We sent the Simpleton off to town with the catatonic woman in tow, while we tried to figure out how to free the priest. It did not take long to notice a crude trap behind one of the stones, a bomb set to explode one the stone was moved. Once the trap was taken care of, it was a relatively simple matter to leverage the stones off the door. The priest was surprised to see us, as he had not noticed that anything was amiss, they were still in the process of preparing the tomb, oblivious to the events outside. Once he was brought up to speed, he agreed that the best course of action for himself and his assistants would be to return to town and help the wounded.

I had hoped that the excitement for the day was over, yet it seemed that one last play needed to be resolved before I could rest and recover from the trials of the morning. The woman seemed to be something of a legend in the town, a lone survivor of a massacre that took place over 90 years ago. Now the town wanted blood, and were willing to risk the wrath of the sheriff to get “justice”. It took some effort, but Sir Hollander was eventually able to talk down the town, protecting the now defenseless woman from a mob of very angry townspeople. While I do not think that our efforts in protecting the woman, a victim of evil magic, will be well liked by the town, it was the right thing to do, and I am proud that we were able to avoid any more bloodshed on a day that was filled with death.

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The Log of Dr. Joston Elveret, Entry 3

As a new day approached, I found to my dismay that my reflection is still taunting me, posing as myself as best as it can. I wish to learn more about these creatures that see fit to confiscate my visage, my mind wanders on the possibility that all young children ponder; is the reflection in the mirror truly a view into another active dimension or realm? Were this to be so, is my other me forever deceased, never to return? What will this mean for my shaving habits? I have taken to carrying a hand mirror with me at all times to keep an eye on this body snatcher, as I believe that if he feels he must mimic me, he will have to spend his time doing so rather than whatever other nefarious plans he has in store. To be through, I checked to see if I still had all of my other necessities in tact: My shadow is still attached, my mass seems unchanged, my symmetry** is only off by the usual, and if I were to try to quantify a spirit or soul, I feel they are unchanged as well, though I cannot confirm these.

Confounded by this query, and wanting nothing more than to study these reflection creatures, I needed to remove my mind from my body, so when a kind man offered to take me to town for a grocery run, I decided to do so, perhaps the local precipitation of the morning would have lifted my reflection’s spirit. I was saddened to find that the haunt syphons would not cure this alement of mine. In the grocery shop, everything seemed to be in order, as the locals were mingling and the grocer was collecting the goods. At a random point, a Paladin seemed to have thrown a suit of armor at a zombie, which though I am unfamiliar with combat, seemed to be an odd method of fighting; tossing your armor at the enemy. None the less, there was quite the quandary that a zombie was in fact shopping here as well, and seemed to become violent. Naturally,I put this creature back to rest by concocting more weapons. It was further discovered that this zombie was not the only creature roaming, as screams and cries started springing up all over town. I raced around to assist this Paladin in aiding where we could, and actually found a Tiefling being torn apart as it shielded a child from another zombie. We again assisted, and raced to the storeroom where the grocer had gone. There we found him unconscious, with a shadow being hovering over him. I had to think quick, so I tossed a sun rod at the creature, hoping to weaken it. I seem to have merely angered it however, and had to dodge incoming attacks while putting it down as well. My concoctions seemed to be doing well again, as I seared it’s essence, and it ran through the floor to escape.

We had not made it any further than out of the door before we found a group of skeletons attempting to skewer children. For which the Tiefling and another were fending off. In the distance, however, yet more children were being attacked by disembodied hands. This chaos immediately struck me as inconsistent for a normal day in this town, which concluded to me that a greater force was at work. I did my best to destroy the skeletons, nearly splintering the rider of the horse, as a Ratfolk actually rushed to the aid of the dog, clearing out these hands. After this immediate danger, the man who came with me from the Manor pointed out to me a disembodied fiddler’s musical score that was pouring throughout the town, for which must have been the source of this effect. He also rushed to the store, and brought me a great boon of holy water, which was brilliant thinking on his behalf.

Further down the way, those of us who had gathered from the store, a Paladin, a Ratfolk, a Tiefling, and the man from the Manor all came down to the aide of yet more villagers, all fighting large hordes of zombies. Thankfully, the Sheriff also rode in. I think this group personally makes a find band of brothers, and perhaps we can consider the idea one day.

At this point, the Paladin was eager to continue assisting, but I had to consider the bigger picture; if I fight a thousand dead, it is no more effective than if I strike at this melody in the air. Listening carefully, I heard if coming from the North, and started heading that way. As I passed, carnage was abound, and the dead in all incarnations were attacking the living. A poor fellow was attacked right in front of me by a curious combination of a haunt and a resurrection, truly worth a study in any other circumstance. As it stood, the others were ineffective at attacking it, and I knew that each moment halted is a moment of bloodshed, so I unleashed a haunt syphon that seemed to consume this axe-bearrer completely, and rather effectively. We continued even further to the source of the noise.

This was the most interesting part of our grocery run, as we spotted an old elven woman in a strait jacket furiously dancing and playing a very unique fiddle, one I recognize from an old text as the fiddle Rebec Malevolenti. I knew from history the stories of this wonderful traveling fiddler who had befell on hard times, and I know all to well the story of a fiddle that appears to wreak havoc throughout history; this is a historic and deadly artifact. As the very ground beneath me crumbled at the loss of so many bodies within it, I wracked my brain on how to destroy this item, and suddenly considered the simplest solution; merely cease her from playing. At this, one man sprung up to knock it from her hands, and succeeded. I asked everyone to back away, and dawned a glove before even handling the bow of this musical necromancer. There was a few priests trapped in a nearby mausoleum that I spoke to, and the head priest agreed to assist me in locking this away deep within his vaults. I asked that he and Pharisma neither speak of this fiddle, as it is an infernal contraption.

This group returned again to town, and the Paladin even assisted in dispersing a mob. Oddly enough, those of us that met in the general goods store are all staying at the same Manor, I feel I’ve even met some of them before. With this nasty business over, I feel that I must spend some time in the laboratory concocting a belt full of various chemicals, as this is going to prove useful if the supernatural insists on reincarnating so frequently in these lands.

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