The Carrion Crown

The Log of Dr. Joston Elveret, Entry 1

This is the log entry series of Dr. Joston Elveret, chronicling my excursion to the home of the late Professor Lorrimor in Ravengro, Ustalav. I had not intended on chronicling these events in log form, as I have bread back home that shall spoil as I write these pages, but the formaldehyde should well preserve all my mixing ingredients. I am certain, too, that my collection of fly larvae will also mature while I am abroad, but this experiment can and shall be recreated upon my return.

Upon arrival to Ravengro, I was greeted and bid to attend the Professor’s funeral the proceeding day. Customs include wearing Red for mourning, though I only have my tweed overcoat, and sewing coins into the eyes of the dead, burying them in designated locations of holy ground. The superstition of coins was invented to pay the dead to stay buried, though I do not foresee the application of money translating properly to the deceased in regards to whether they are risen or not; potential side effects of the misnomer may motivate petty grave-robbers to dig up corpses for their eyes and exposing the corpses to Necromantic sorts… ill thought out. On necromancy, a motley mob stopped the progression of the burial of the remains, siting that the Professor dabbled in Necromancy. I had stated that I do not do such a thing, but they did not listen to me, only to the other pallbearer, who walked in the funeral with a sword. The casket was comprised of pine and marble, a fine use of pine and a waste of marble, and the casket was lowered via a clever mechanical system, and I stated my intentions to return the three vials of Viscous Durrian I had borrowed in the last visit the Professor gave to my laboratory.

The reading of the will was to follow, for which the Professor had named me beneficiary within. The will dictated that I stay in the town with his daughter for a month reading his books, for which he had selected ten or so that contain most curious information. I shall have to read them all within my stay here. In doing so, the Professor will offer monetary compensation to conclude his wishes, though it is a debt I will gladly repay as I had not returned the proper Viscus Durrian earlier, and his tomes entice me.

She had let us stay at the Professor’s house, and he exhibited quite an extensive laboratory of his own. The house servants add wolvesbane to the tea to ward off spirits, an interesting theory I must test for validity. The Professor was working on a theory that the town was haunted, or that there was something amiss, though his note’s vagaries did not conclude much more then a Necromantic cult up to something. It was this hypothesis he was verifying when he was beheaded by a gargoyle in a prison. The Professor was planning to remove a list of prisoners from a false tomb, but went to the prison first, where he had a vial containing something in stasis that had escaped, and thief’s tools. His searches are quite intriguing, and some men I met at the house offered to go to the church he spoke of to investigate. While a man with a large sword talked inside, I intended on determining if the church was his target for burglary, but was informed that I should merely ask. A member of the church said they had not been burgled, so this was not his target. Apparently, the Professor came to this church a lot and told of his going to the prison, but was advised against it.

We returned for supper when a ghostly raven knocked, ever so politely, on the window upstairs. As we approached, it did not come in, but instead flew off in the direction a ghostly child was seen. I was curious about this seeming ghost magnet, so I followed. On my way out of the house, I met a fellow alchemist who too wanted to pay the ghosts some money. When we arrived at the fountain, we listed the names of the fallen victims of the prison’s fire in my notebook, and met a wonderful ghost child who turned out to not be a ghost, but instead a child. She was bringing her ghost raven flowers, as evidence indicated she had done a multitude of times before. She was going to bring us to meet her parents when three bloody ravens sprung from the fountain. I was startled at first, and concocted bombs from what I had at hand to stave them off, but quickly realized this was a phenomenon known as a “haunt”. In this, ghosts play out cycles of history or malice in an attempt to, as it would seem, draw attention to their plight. I quickly located the body of the dead raven, and some nice men and a woman defeated the bloody haunt’s manifestations.

One of the people remembered shooting a man who the girl didn’t like earlier, so we brought her home, and then went looking for this potential raven murderer. The man had many traps of ill-hiding around his place, but all of which were easily spotted and even disarmed; perhaps if he had used a weighted pulley system attached to a pressure plate… but I digress. I set his house on fire, and asked to talk, for which he kindly allowed me into his home. The man was considered mad by those who were in his house, but I listened anyway, because he was referencing pages from one of the Professor’s books. His house plotted out a complex cult for which the ghost child was the leader of.

We asked him to apologize to the fountain for killing a raven in it, and he agreed, but when we got there another skirmish broke out. Fake gargoyle shades tried to attack us, but no one believed in them, and then the man burst into a hydrogoogle, or some such creature, that feasts on Intelligent brains. Quickly, three innocent bystanders were paralyzed by it’s magics, but a large gentleman showed up, and between his fists and my bombs, we splattered this creature. I remember reading vaguely about this form of creature, and will begin reading the Professor’s book on what we encountered tonight.

This town is interesting, and there are many curiosities here. Never before have I witnessed a haunt first hand, and tonight I saw two. There is a great deal of valuable spiritual research to be collected here, and I may well be able to fill a full month with wonderful data collection.

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Haunting of the Fountain 4-10-13

I am not one to record my thoughts or experiences, yet with the death of the professor I have decided to start a record of events following his death. I do this in hopes of gaining a better understanding of my abilities, and the events that surround his demise.

I arrived just in time to see that the funeral procession was beginning, I am very glad that I made it in time, as I was worried that I would arrive to late, due to my work with my father. Approaching the group of people that were around the coffin, I was more than a little surprised that the professor did not have a large congregation of mourners. I had expected that the professor would have had a much larger group of mourners and from the distress that his daughter was showing, she also had expected a much larger group than was present. With the town council in attendance, the only other mourners were a group of two scholarly looking men, a knight, and a demon (although I later learned she was a teifling, the mix of human and infernal heritage).

The group of us picked up the coffin and started taking it to its final resting place in the cemetery. The walk was short lived as I spotted a man on the hill near the entrance to a tomb, and once I spotted him I mentioned it to the knight in a whisper, in order to keep both of us aware of his movements, as he seemed unhinged. He started shouting shortly after I spotted him, something about all of us getting caught by a creature with many legs, whatever that means, and he ran into the woods after his short speech. Yet that was not the strangest event that transpired during our short journey with the coffin, as when we approached the final resting place of the professor, a mob of angry villagers was there to meet us. I attempted to talk them down, as I have little desire to hurt other living people. While I think given time I would have been able to talk them down, and show them that they should stay and mourn the passing of a friend, the knight had us all lower the coffin and then interposed himself between us and the villagers, placing a hand on his sword with a purpose toward violence. This caused the villagers to leave, and allowed us to finally put our friend to rest. Each of us said a few words about the professor, some of us more coherent then others, and then retired to the manor house of the late professor for the reading of the will.

While I was not expecting anything of note, what was given to those of us who attended the funeral was not what I had expected. It seems that the professor now expects us to spend a month here in the town, with the purpose of helping those in the village, and then return the books he had collected to help with his research back to a library in one of the larger cities in the region. We will be paid for the return of the books, yet I have an unsettling feeling being in the village, and was looking forward to leaving sooner rather than later. The others seem to have no issue with staying, yet the initial confrontation with the villagers does not have me in the best of moods to stay. One of the scholars found what looks like the personal journal of the professor, and noticed a number of things that the other have taken to be clues, and are all were all interested in exploring the same path that killed the professor.

Since the sun had not yet set the group decided to go to into town and talk with the clergy, something I do not think is wise, as the clergy has always looked upon me with hateful eyes. In an effort to allow the others the best chance at gaining information, I stayed outside along with the teifling. It did not take long before one of the scholars, the smaller of the two, came out and started walking around the church. Following the scholar, we found him standing next to a door, and it looked like he was attempting to break into the church in broad daylight. It took us a great deal of work to convince him that such an action would be both futile and does not prove that the professor would have done the same. I personally think it took a lot longer to talk him down than would be normal for any other person, I have a sinking feeling that this small scholar will pose a number of larger problems for the group due to his inquisitive nature.

Going back to the manor we ate dinner and were interrupted by a ghostly tapping from one of the windows in the upper floors of the manor. Approaching the window we saw the ghost of a bird, and if that wasn’t enough it screamed murderer and flew away. It was at that point that the teifling pulled her “gun” and shot at something in the darkness. Following behind the others I picked up my pack and went into the darkness with the rest of the group.

It was at this time, while trying to track the thing the teifling shot, that we were told by the paladin, turns out he is a holy knight, that the head priest said that a ghost of a girl has been seen near an old memorial to the souls of guards killed in a prison riot that happened years ago. With this new information, and the lack of ability to track the thing the tiefling shot, we headed toward the war memorial. Upon arriving nothing seemed out of place, each of us took to looking at various things in the area, as I do not think anyone else had any prior experience with ghost, as I sure did not. I moved close to the small scholar, as he was writing down the names on the memorial, I dediced to take a different approach, and made a rubbing of the names, just in case he lost his copy. It was while we were working on this that the rest of the group started making sounds that were both a bit of wonder and fear. The reason for this is that a ghost of a small girl was walking up the fountain near the memorial, and it was only after she dropped off some flowers in the water that we all realized that she was not actually a ghost, but rather just a very pale girl. As she tried to run away, the knight managed to talk her into staying and we learned a number of things, one of which is that the ghost bird we saw was her pet. It was while she was talking that a sudden explosion of water occurred behind us, and three spectral birds started trying to attack the girl. The knight took to shielding her with his own body, while a few of us attempted to kill the ghost. We managed to eliminate two of them before the small scholar figured out that this was a haunt, a residual energy left behind by the dead, and located the body of the girls’ pet bird.

Taking a moment to collect ourselves, the paladin decided that it was time for the girl to go home, and we escorted the girl to her house. The paladin ignored the girls pleas for quite, and awakened the girls’ parents by knocking on the door to the house. The father was most disappointed and angry with his daughter, yet the paladin did not seem bothered by the fathers anger. Taking that last moment we all decided that the best way to end the haunt would be to follow the advice of the small scholar, and seek out the killer of the bird, which happened to be the same crazy man we saw in the cemetery. Heading into the woods, we started searching for the path to this madman’s house, and it was a blood trail that helped us to get there, as it seems that the thing that the tiefling shot was the crazy man.

It took quite a while to finally traverse the distance from the town to the house of the madman, and house is a courtesy, as he lived in a shack attached to the top of a tree. It looked to easy, and proved to be that way, as the paladin accidently tripped a trap, falling into a pit with sharpened stakes. Further progression toward the shack, included a trek across a trapped bridge, and the tree house was inaccessible without a means of climbing up the tree, as the trunk had been coated with a poison that acted upon contact. We were a bit too loud however and the crazy man heard us and attacked, throwing a barrel of some foul substance on one of the party. I managed to talk him down and he allowed us access to his home, and the inside was just as crazy as the outside. The man was clearly deranged and the crap he had in his home just drove that fact home. In order to end the haunt we needed this insane man to come with us and apologize for killing the bird, yes I know this sounds crazy as well, and I was finally able to convince him to come with us to end this, if for no other reason than it would give him some piece.

Making our way back to the memorial, it took just a short amount of time for things to fall apart. As soon as the crazy man apologized he started having convulsions, and the four gargoyle statues on the fountain gained a semblance of life and attacked us. The small scholar was able to tell us that the gargoyles were not real, only manifestations of our own fear, and with that revelation they vanished, little more than tricks of light. Unfortunately the dismissal of the gargoyles signaled the arrival of something worse, and we brought that something with us. A extra planer creature exploded from the body of the crazy man, killing him in its birth, and attacked us quickly, sending out a cascade of light toward myself and the knight and tiefling. While it knocked out the other two, I was just stunned by the turn of events.

The fight ended quickly however, as the two scholars managed to lob bombs that the beast, and one of the scholars actually turned into a monster himself for a time. The small scholar collected some samples, and we took the remains away from the memorial, as there is no reason for the death to spook the rest of the town. We went back into the forest to collect the information from the “not –so-crazy” mans’ house. Afterward we went back to the manor and rested for the night. I have a feeling that this will not be our only encounter with the dead in our stay here in the town, I only hope that we have the ability to survive the month we have been asked to stay for.

The Log of Dr. Joston Elveret, Entry 2

This morning, the strangest thing has happened to me, and considering that last night I chased down a mad man, forced him to apologize to a fountain, and then defeated his intestinal tract, hat is saying a lot. In the mirror in the hallway of the manor, I was brutally slain. Of course, this was only my reflection, or else my writing this would be neigh impossible, but that is irrelevant to the point. Seeing as how I have freshly entered the realm of the existence of haunts, at least not through another’s recollection in a book,I figured that this was in fact a haunt that is taking over my reflection. I set to test on a mirror by grinding it own into powder, and quickly discovered that it is in fact no more than mere tempered sand. Looking into this further, I opted to go into town, where a very lovely lady in an apothecary had some wonderful ideas about how to proceed further. I took back to the laboratory to test these theories, but again I was left with no more conclusive data. All the while, my reflection ceased to appear in anything, inside or outside the house.

Later in the evening, a group of individuals brought in a corpse of a stirge that was oddly enough attacking a mass of people. As this is unlike stirges, I had to hypothesize that they were drawn to this gathering, for which the others stated a bard was present. I believe that the bard was singing a song that attracted the stirges, and so it was decided that we should investigate. Also known on the matter, I overheard children singing a song about feeding stirges on purpose, and there was a post of a farm where stirge attacks were quite frequent. It would be easy to hypothesize that the bard knows how to control stirges, and has some unsettled feud with the farm. It could also be said that the girls were either keen on the attacks, familiar with stirges, attempting to shock individuals, or all together ignorant of which they sing. It would also be equally probable that this is completely wrong. Either way, I quickly placed the stirge in formaldehyde, which made some Paladin of stirges angry, I think, and set off to the farm, as the others also followed.

It was late, and as I approached the farm, it was decided that the farmer would be angry if I solved his livestock problem without the sun’s presence, and I naturally wandered off to the graveyard. One of the men had a wonderful point that all things in the church, especially a mausoleum, would be carried to the graveyard, and if the professor were seeking this mausoleum, it surely would be transported as such. As well, if the graveyard offered up a haunt, I believed I may be able to haunt my haunt and regain my reflection. I spotted the late professor’s handy work readily as I saw his signs of breaking in, and followed into the belly of the tomb. There, a Paladin of not being a Paladin was buried, or not, as was his case. I uncovered a wonderful alchemical stash of anti ghost and haunt items, and wrestled them from the local centipedes, which seemed to infest the area. Strangely, these creatures were undead and revealed signs of being ghasts, which creates speculation about a Necromantic centipede’s existence. I found a great deal of wondrous items, one of which was in a case similar to one of the professor’s books. This will be the first book I begin to read.< br />

When I returned to the house, one of the people there stated that he was aware of a creature that is capable of attaching someone’s reflection, and that this may be what I was suffering from. This morning, I again saw my reflection, but it was waiting for me to move before it reacted. Surely this creature has puppeted the wrong reflection, as I will not let me beat myself in this matter…

The Crypt 4-24-13

Our resolve was tested today, as we explored what this village has to offer in the way of amenities. Staying in the village will be harder than I had originally thought, as the villagers are not taking to me as quickly as I had hoped they would. They look upon me with distrust and hate, a byproduct of my heritage, and the mystical power I possess. The tiefling is also experiencing the same level of hate, and even a bit more, yet one of the villagers did offer her a job during the morning excursion. All that she needed to do was come to the village in and drink for the evening, not a bad job if I do say so myself.

It was the stark loathing in the eyes of the villagers, that made the sounds of laughter stand out, as we wandered the village, speaking with shopkeepers, and learning the way around the town. Moving in the direction of the laughter, we found a number of young girls playing with a rope, jumping over it and singing in time with rotation of the rope. The song however was not happy, regardless of the joyful way they sang the song. It was something about a killer that chopped the heads of his victims and then let striges drink the blood.

Our shopping took us to three of the stores in town, including the tavern, and each stop seemed to give us a little more insight into the workings of the town. The money lender seemed to be doing a fair trade, but had a dislike for the apothecary, and the Apothecary seemed to be sleeping with (or at least had a relationship) the sheriff. While asking questions about the town and its people did not generate a lot of relevant information, I did learn a good deal about the items that the village has in the stores. The money lender had two magical items for sale as the owners had defaulted on a loan, and the apothecary had a number of potions and ointments that will undoubtedly be useful if we are to keep to the letter of the will the professor left behind. As he wanted us to explore and remove any residual spirit energy in the village while we wait for the 30 day time frame to run its course.

As night fell we all adjourned to the tavern to see what the proprietor wanted with our teifling friend. As we arrived the entire room was packed, and I think that our paladin friend was a little shy, as he opted to stay outside instead of joining in the party. Chester, the tiefling, and I all went in and were welcomed to a hush, as the revelers realized that a demon would be joining them for the evening. The party soon got underway again and drinking ensued, they even forced one man up on a table to sing a song or two. It was during the songs that we were suddenly set upon by some stirges. They came right through the door and flew right at me and the tiefling. The shock of being attacked in such a place caught me offguard, but I was able to fend off the first stirge. I then pulled it out of the air, ripping it in two, as the other few toward the Tiefling. A few seconds later and they were both dead, having been killed quickly, yet the damage was done, the taven was in a panic, with people pushing and shoving to get out the single exit.

Taking the three stirge bodies back to the manor house, as the paladin killed one outside, we attempted to gain some more insight into the nature of the creatures. The good doctor Joston stayed in the manor instead of coming to the party, he was having some problem with mirrors, that he has yet to fully explain. Upon arriving back at the house, we showed the creatures to Joston, and he confirmed my suspicion, that they were in fact Stirges. Seeing as we still had some time to kill before the evening was complete, I suggested that we explore the crypt that the professor had mentioned in his journal. The others seemed a bit apprehensive at this suggestion, yet I figured that we would be fine, as we seemed to be stronger as a group then were are as individual.

Eventually the other agreed, and we headed into the cemetery in the dead of night. It did not take long to find the crypt mentioned in the notes, and it was Joston that noticed the telltale signs of acid on the hinges, and we surmised that the acid was used by the professor to gain access. A slight pull and we managed to open the crypt, entering a very macabre antechamber. Bone sculptures and mosaics were in the primary room, depicting Pharasma and her role in the afterlife. Moving quickly out of the room we entered the main chamber, and found a large sarcophagus with a paladin fresca on the lid. Attempting to move it proved much more difficult than I had anticipated, and required the combined efforts of most of the group. It was due to this that we did not see the bone creatures sneak up behind us.

Caught off-guard as we were, the creatures struck quickly and with a purpose. They bit and clawed at us, and a dreadful poison seemed to be excreted from their attacks, paralyzing the paladin. I did my best to hold off the creature attacking the paladin, but I was also poisoned. Taking a step back I released my eidolon in hopes of summoning another creature to protect the paladin, but I also succumbed to the poison, paralyzing me in place as well. It is through the skill and ability of the others that we are alive today, although I think that the paladin may have actually crossed over for a second or two as the creature clawed into his paralyzed form. I fear that it may take days to actually recover from this nights activities. On a positive note, we did find the hidden stash that the professor mentioned, and I am afraid that we will be putting the items to use sooner rather then later.

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.

Fiddlers Lament 5/1/13

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.

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…

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.

Burning Down the House 5/8/13

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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