Strange Aeons

Stepping through the Veil
The Deathly Rose

Deathly rose whose wilting is grace,
Leave marks of blood with each thorn embraced.

I remember Her.  The roses that fill my vision, the words that play over and over again in my head… they are Her.  And I can remember her gathering place just outside Cheliax, where we would gather among Her roses; it's the same place we would take the gnomes and halflings.

Flower blooming as the drum beats,
A ruby red, yet so discreet…

Murderer, that's what I am.  The revenant's existence and motivation confirms it.  I killed this man and he has risen from the grave to seek revenge upon me.  If not for the invisibility I believe he would have succeeded, though it was important to me to get him away from the others.  "Over here" I tried to shout, though it came out as a raspy, dust-ridden whisper.  It turned to find me and knew the instant it passed me.  But in a few moments, it was destroyed, another nightmare from my old life come to haunt me.

An urgent remark then was said,
So the ruby rose turned scarlet instead…

My companions thought the Wailing House might provide us some information, or at least clues, regarding the goings-on in the town.  Any place with "wailing" in the name is exactly the kind of place I seek to avoid.  Its very name indicates the lack of quiet we will find there, and noise brings punishment.  Sometimes it brings death.

Am I a thorn?  A petal?  The stem?
Surely my sounds will not condemn.

Our great welcome, upon noticing the unnatural darkness in the area, was a haunted tree, or enchanted tree… I don't know.  It attacked us.  It hit like you would expect something of that size to hit – very hard.  Even trees, however, can be flanked, and Wynzo positioned himself perfectly as I attacked and Argo burned it to the ground.

Piercing, slashing, maybe the thorn?
Even roses take time to mourn.

The entrance room should have been the sign.  Ghostly faces moved through the room, shouting and screaming as if death had not already found them.  Or maybe because it had and the afterlife is the only safe place to scream?

Velvety smooth, maybe the petal?
Chances are slim to show your mettle.

While I explored upstairs in the mostly ruined second floor, I suddenly heard some fighting from down below.  I hopped down and helped the others dispatch some zombies that were ravaged by nature.  The sweet smell of roses should come from death, not the stench these things gave off.

The stem, the base, from which a rose blooms,
Held like a blade, will only spell doom.

Together, upstairs, we found an enchanted, magical dagger.  First it found us by attacking on its own, with no one wielding it, not even a ghost so far as we could tell.  It glowed a disturbing green color until we destroyed whatever was enchanting it.  The others found it was a magical dagger that could deliver a magical poison, so I kept it when no one asked for it.

Not one but all – it's what I prayed,
I am the rose; I am Her blade.

In the next room we found a ghost of some kind, whose hits felt like having my physical strength, my mind, and my soul all sapped from me at once.  The first hit signaled the danger to me, but if it could hit me the others were done for, so I stayed in hopes it would fall to my blades or Drago's bomb.  And then I saw Her in a field of flowers, watching a single rose wilt until the last petal hit the ground.

Deathly rose whose wilting is grace,
Now comes repose, now ends the chase.

View
The Fallen Star

We can't seem to figure anything out about this town.  Each place we search only opens more doors.  We've heard rumors about the Wailing house so we decide to check it out.  As we approach it is clear there is some evil present.  It even seems darker and darker as we approach.  True to it's rumor it looks like it is a haunted house.  As we approach the door heading up the stairs the massive tree in front comes alive and begins swinging.  I don't think I've ever been hit by a tree before but I would be ok with it not happening again.  It hurt.  Luckily for us and what the tree didn't know is we have an expert in explosives and fire in our ranks.  We quickly burned the tree down.  What a strange occurrence though.  It must have been created or enchanted by some magic user.  

We head in to the house and quickly learn why it has the name the name it does.  Ghosts came pouring from the walls and began screaming the sounds of their death.  If it wasn't for the fact that I have seen a haunt poor a tsunami of blood down a hall, then this probably would have felt worse.  We quickly move on out of this screaming room.  

The house was in poor condition.  Overgrown with plants and not very structurally sound.  The next room must have been some type of waiting room, but it's tough to tell with the roof having collapsed.  We begin to check it out while Theron heads upstairs to explore more.  As we're looking around from the mounds of the dirt erupt Draugr.  What the fuck are Draugr doing sitting in dirt piles in the middle of this house.  They didn't put up too much of a fight, but it was definitely an odd place for them to be.  This house makes little sense.  It might be just a haunted house as we have found nothing that gives us any answers to what is happening in this town, just more questions.

As we make our way up the shaky stairs a glowing dagger begins to attack us.  Really…a dagger.  Nothing invisible carrying it that we could tell.  We had to attack the dagger itself.  when we, put it down upon further inspection it turns out it was a magically dagger.  It must have been haunted or something.  The upstairs for the most part was empty of any more answers.  As I was looking around a Spectre appeared from no where.  This was easily the toughest battle we ever had.  All I could do was watch as he sucked the life force from Theron.  My silent partner was gone and there was nothing I could do about it.  I tried to save him, but I was helpless.

We carry his back to Winter to see if anything can be done.  While we wait we discuss what everyone has remembered recently.  Argo recalls his lab getting raided; Yusei remembered his last name, Lutharen; Andrea remembers that her shadow is of a creature that mind swaps; Drago remembered his cats name, Shade.  What did Theron remember, we will never find out.  Maybe he remembered people he had killed and that is why he stayed to fight instead of saving his own life.  If he had, I would have died and I'm sure he knew that.  When we recount what happened with Winter and she looks at the body she lets us know there's nothing she can do that is powerful enough to bring him back.  The Sleepless Agency might have something available though.

The agency obviously does not like us, the only way to open this relationship up is to be honest with them.  We have nothing to hide and if we are going to make a new name for ourselves we must start now.  We go through the events of the last few days without leaving out many details.  I think it is starting to work and they are warming up to us.  they ask for daily updates on what we find out.  After a long day it is time to go back to the Inn and rest.  With one star fallen, we must continue our new journey.

View
Shunned
Glimpses of the Past

This journal, nameless and singularly empty, lurks in my mind. She can feel that it was not always so. Its time-worn binding betrays a frequent usage. But the pages have told all their secrets and whatever remains was stripped clean. She will recount her thoughts here in a naive hope that once written cannot be erased. Some never learn.

___________________________________________________________________________________

The terror at the Asylum has passed. Although the island remains haunted we will do our best to return those here to sanity and safety. Or should I say, others will do that. I just wanted to get off the island. And I'm happy to help the rest do the same. But beyond that, we must all look after ourselves. Winter's aid has saved our lives I'm sure. But we've already repaid that debt. We are even. Perhaps we owe more to Desna and Pharasma. If they feel they are still owed they may try to collect. 

______________________________________________________________________________________

Her surety was growing. An identity was being developed. The poor thing. The more she tried to fill in the gap the more she opened the door. And once the door was opened a crack, many things could push through. Power would come first. But then she would realize the door should have stayed shut. It is the key and the gate. Ignorance could have been a refuge.

______________________________________________________________________________________

I've come to know my companions more now. Their names, their intentions, perhaps a glimmer into their pasts. Wynzobit has woven many tales. Now he is the yarn. Yusei was a physician or so he says. His connection to an otherworldly power is pure. It is reassuring that we can rely on it. Theron, I think, will not wish to remember his past. He hides behind a mask. This amnesia is just another mask for him. If he takes one off he may find he must remove them all. Argo I can't quite read. He is brash and disregards all social norms. Perhaps in the past he had a similar disregard for constraints on his research. He's already blended the mundane and the eldritch in his fires. What else lays just beyond his reach? Drago and his beast, tenacious to the end. His powers are growing faster than any of ours. Whatever malign influence held back Cat has been lifted. He is healthy and growing. I wonder how much larger he will get now that he is free.

 

And me? I remember. I remember the doorway into the mind. I remember how to open it, come through.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

I am the key.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

We've made it to Thrushmoor. The town is sparse and yet somehow inviting. At least this town is alive. I want to go, to feel, to let the emotions of the past and the future wash over me. And yet my so-called friends are apprehensive. I've never seen them more unified with a singular purpose than when they shunned me. This hurts. They don't care of my feelings. I can feel. Even if I everything had been blunted and gray. Maybe parting ways after we finish here will be a good idea. 

_______________________________________________________________________________________

And I am the gate!

________________________________________________________________________________________

It may be a better idea than I realized initially. For it seems that we know this town. We used to be local toughs, working for the Count. Everyone treats us with fear and trepidation. It was for good reason. We regularly abused the people of this town. Well, my "friends" certainly did. Argo may have blown up a bar. Wynzobit extorted merchants for protection money. Unpleasant accidents may have befallen competing artists. Theron probably murdered someone. Maybe the people here have more to fear from them than me. A part of me is enjoying their surprise when they find out that inside they worse than what they think they saw in me.

The feeling passes. The people here need help as well. And since we wronged them we should fix it. We have a debt to repay and may never be able to repay it. We try to help a lost traveler with her cart but it goes poorly. She may have gone missing. Many others in the town have gone missing as well. We have a number of leads to follow. The local fort seems to have shut down. The Count has gone missing and his manor may be empty. A local painter is drawing murals of an endless cyclopean city. And the detective agency should be able to provide us with some more information. Our first stop will be the painter. And then I think the agency and meeting up with Winter. We may need her help to convince the agency to help us.

View
Rocking Chairs

More horrors of undead waited for us; they're everywhere, like a constant reminder that here death is not a finite experience.  You linger on as a mockery of life.  We destroyed them quickly, and looked to the somewhat stable stairs that would take us toward our goal.  The others kept talking, always making noise, so I climbed up and checked the hallway beyond.

The further I climbed, the more obvious it became someone damaged them intentionally.  They want to keep us out.  We will not be denied; She will plant roses in the path of blood I make.

Sneaking forward about 20 feet up, I find yellow fog in a room filled with crates.  It looks like a storage room someone has used to hide, and then I see a man staring forward, aware unlike the woman, with fog billowing from his mouth.  He doesn't see me as I watch, studying him.  He looks like a man, but there is something strange about his chest and the way it moves.  His breathing is off.

I head back, tie a rope to the stairs for the others to climb.  They do, but make so much noise.  If they could see my face they would see the winces I make every time they make a sound.  Unsurprisingly when we reach the room as a group, the man is hiding.  Luckily, the cat finds the scent of something and finds the man.  We dispatch him, but he has a lasting effect on the others.

Whenever the others are close to the man, they fall asleep and see more visions of that thing and the events surrounding it.  It is their punishment for making so much noise, a prison of the mind meant to afflict you with madness when you should be resting at ease.  It is a cruel punishment.

The dream discussion is interrupted by angry barking and terrified screams.  I immediately jump down the stairs and head toward the dog and man we left alone in the dark.  The others follow, most of them slowly.

Drago sent his cat forward with me, telling it to follow and guard me.  At the other end of the hallway beyond a pair of double doors we found more ghouls standing in or around what used to be the washroom.  In the center of the room was a pool, or bath, or stew, of acrid water filled with dead people.  It is nightmare made manifest, like everything else in this place.  One ghoul talks like he's in charge, gesturing to the others and barking orders.

We fought them and won, but not without some lasting scars.  I almost died in the drink, drowning as the life drained out of me.  But the man?  He should have died.  After having his neck ripped open and arm torn off, he should have died.  He started drowning in the pool, too, but they saved him.  Drago healed him just enough to be scarred mentally, so much so, that now he won't talk.  It shouldn't take so much torment for people to learn to be quiet.

I stayed with the man and the dog as the others ventured back upstairs to question the hollowed out man; apparently we did not injure him enough for him to be truly dead.  They used the magical incense to communicate with his mind and did not share a great deal with me.  That's okay, I don't need to hear it… and I don't want to.

The others decided we needed to head back to the shrine to rest and regain their magic.  To avoid the man we now know is an imposter, a patient pretending to be a doctor, we went outside the asylum to the visitor's center instead of traveling through the asylum.

View
More survivors, more problems

19th Arodus, 4717

Mira, the silent guard, gathered us up. Something moved furniture down the hall we originally came from. I assumed it was the result of more ghosts in the night, but we had to check. Sure enough, we found no creatures. Could be ghosts, could be rat people, but hopefully nothing worse.

20th Arodus, 4717

No bad dreams, thankfully. It always feels like they are on the edge of my thoughts. We set out as soon as we could, this time back to the darkened room.

The next area was not what we expected. Then again, I'm not sure what we expected to find. We just knew we had to search for food and hopefully a way out. Instead, we found a gathering of survivors, all dressed in yellow tatters. Clearly weakened from lack of food, and probably lack of sleep, they didn't attack us, but were cautious nonetheless. Eyes followed us as we walked through the camp and a doctor seeming quite lucid approached us.

His name was Ren Elborne and he led us into his room, or at least makeshift shelter. There were injured there, seeming to sleep. He explained that all those in yellow were dedicated to Zandalus and he was merely pretending. I wasn't sure we could trust him, at least with the knowledge that there were other survivors, but he did give us useful information. We talked of Zandalus and how he and his closest followers are in the remains of the second floor surrounded by yellow fog. It was tempting to simply charge in, but he mentioned it would be better for us to hunt down something called an oneirogen. He believed killing it would reduce or eliminate the fog.

It was the best lead we had so we set off. Our path put us through the kitchen so we searched for food but found nothing. Nothing besides a disgusting haunted cauldron. An adjacent room, the prep room, held the yellow cult's kitchen staff and the remaining food. I didn't think entering would be a good idea, but I was outnumbered.

In the kitchen, things were awkward and more than once I clenched my fist on my staff, ready for anything. But Wynzo was able to maneuver the awkward and dangerous conversation and determine a cook was able to help us and snuck us some food.

I breathed a sigh of relief as we left, but I knew we were simply jumping from the pot into the fire. The next area was filled with danger. First, we fought a strange lizard creature that nearly killed Wynzo. Then we had a wall of stone pushed upon us by some ghouls. That time Argo nearly fell. It got still worse, as we found a screaming man being tortured and eaten alive by ghouls. His name was Ilky Volus and we encouraged him to stay put in the hallway as we searched for our prey.

Around the corner we found stairs and another door. We went for the door and found a room that was likely once quite peaceful, filled with rocking chairs. But we found out filled with ghouls looking up at the ceiling, seemingly fascinated. Perhaps our prey lurked above.

View
Argo...

Again my mind continues to fray apart.  Life continues to be bleak.  There have been noticeable changes in our group even in the short amount of time we’ve actively remembered being together.  We find fragments of information of our “former” selves.  If that's even true, who knows.  Our sense of urgency to get out of this asylum is still there but everything about this place makes it painstakingly slow.  Even the most minor of encounters can set us back an entire day.  We are like tired dogs sent out to explore, find safety, supplies, and a way out only to return battered and broken less than 2 hours later.  Any time I feel like we are making serious progress this nightmare finds another way to strike us down.  I have grown weary and cold of this life we live.  I feel as though I should be offended and taken aback for some of my actions but compared to the rest of what's around us mine our tame.  Our blatant disregard for dead bodies and our unceremonious ways of moving them, such as myself dumping one out of a wheelchair so we could cross a violent river of wine, should garner some sort of reprimand but here it's how we’ve managed to survive.  Some weren't so lucky.  We ran across an attic whisper the other day.  Some in our group were fortunate enough to not know how they come about to be.  Unfortunately, I knew the dark truth behind the existence of such a creature and was my burden to share with the group of how they come to be.  In this case it was the lost brother of the boy back at the chapel.  How could anyone do such horrible unspeakable things to a child as to create an attic whisper!  Even the Mountain, who as far as I know is the cheeriest person in existence, was overcome with such emotion he couldn't even speak.  So to recap we have come across:

-Massive mounds of dead strewn about bodies.

-Undead creatures hanging from meat hooks eating each other.

-A priest in a washing basin who was mutilated and changing into something terrible.

-A paralyzed lady on her knees spewing multi-colored fog from her mouth and secreting blood, which has since turned wine, out of every pore on her body.

-An old woman in a wheelchair with a massive hole in her chest with seemingly an unlimited amount of wine flowing out from it.

-Two interns locked in a closet with their heads bashed in.

-A dorm room completely covered in guts and wine.

 

And that's just the stuff that hasn't attacked us.  The only thing beyond the chapel barricades that gives me hope is the dream lichen we found growing.  Thankfully Myself and Edgar were able to collect it without damaging it.  Now when we get a chance it will be up to me to probably prepare it for use when needed.  It gives me hope that something so good can grow in such a terrible place. It also helps that almost every room we explore there is always a source of wine, although the others do seem to make a fuss when I drink it.  Not like anyone else was going to drink it.

 

Notes to self:

-My blood seems to have been replaced with wine…….mildly concerning.

-Also according to papers found my name is Argo

View
Patient Name: Andrea
The heat of the moment shown in your eyes

//Sanity = 16 -6 -2 = 8

Patient Name: Andrea

Treatment: observation, therapy, anti-psychotics, mood stabilizers.

Notes: patient discussed "his work" and attempted to use magic on the staff.

Nothing in the description seems familiar. She doesn't know what the work is or why it's important. She doesn't remember that her name is Andrea. It's not. Not really. It's not really fair to hold her to account for what was done. Her current state is precarious. The asylum is dangerous. She should leave before she finds herself lost in dreams. The nightmares of the past would find her again.

I am alone here with all of these people. No one her understands me. Sticks and stones may break some bones but the weight of the world is in my mind. It feels like it always has been. But I'm stuck here. Alone.

We venture out in a haunted repetition. No one willing to admit the truth. The food is running out. Sanity is in short supply. Each new day a new hope is beaten into the ground. My mind spreads out across the physical dimensions but all I feel is the wailing of the dead. Maybe through esoteric space I can escape. But I've forgotten the key to the gate.  There's nothing to be done now.

I suppose I'll lie here a time. I feel as though my memory may be improving. I rather preferred when I was a scarcely remembered shadow of the distant past. I was little more than a disturbed reflection in a puddle of rain. Even once stilled, it fades as well.

There is peace in stillness.

Perhaps I shall return there soon.

View
Blood Hallway

It was time to rest for the day.  What a horrific scene, the lady sitting there, blood pouring from every orifice.  As we made our way back, two people appearing to be inmates came from the visitor's room and immediately charged us.  Is this their normal behavior or have they been driven mad.  It is so hard to know what was in place before this place went to shit and what what happened after.  A mad house that drives people even more mad.  We knocked them unconscious with relative ease and decided to keep them locked up in the basement.  Being surrounded by that much death and decay might be just as bad as if we had killed them.  

I tried to figure out what some of these magically items are.  It's so difficult to determine what the properties are when I can't even remember who I am.  Bits of information come to me as we wander these halls, but I don't know why I know what I know.  I could only figure out a few of the items, but I will try again in the morning.

The Next Day

One of the items we received was an incense that let's creatures in the area speak telepathically.  I don't know if it's the worst idea or the best idea, but we are going to light it in the room with the administrator to try and gather information.  Hopefully something comes of it.  We make our way back to the administrator and light the incense.  There was nothing at first.  A few people heard screaming and whispers.  It appears she is trapped in some sort of dream world wandering the mists and forever afraid.  Some of us believe we should end her life to spare her this torture, but Edgar wants to keep her forever wandering her torment.  We will have to watch out for him, he appears to be a healer but must have a dark side if he wishes that fate for her.

We snuff out the incense and move on to the rooms we moved past yesterday.  The slime on the ground led to one room where we discovered a couple Pickled Punks.  Undead fetuses born of the necromantic energy.  Why do I know this?  A thought for a later time.  They can be created two ways, on purpose from Necromancers or with enough Necromantic energy.  This tells us something.  Whatever happened, mass amounts of Necromantic energies were involved.   Maybe whatever new experiment the head administrator was taking part in was some sort of necromantic ritual.  The Pickled Punks had killed Chawaar, one of the Doctors here whose office is across the hall and already rummaged through.

The other room of note was one that had two individuals that seemed to have recently died.  They were unconscious due to some blunt damage to the head and were lying under their desks.  This room was locked coming in.  Very strange.  There was a wand on the desk with a note from the administrator scorning the use of magic.  Hypocrit.

We continue forward past the administrator's office to a long hallway with a few rooms to the sides and a door at the end of it.  We begin searching the rooms and quickly come across more of the inmates who are aggressive without words.  This place must have driven them even more mad,  or maybe they won't attack anyone in the yellowish robes.  We quickly knock these ones unconscious as well and continue to search bringing us to the end of the hall.  

Blood, so much blood.  It is everywhere.  Rushing down the hallway, smashing all of us against each other.  Dripping and coated in blood.  We can't escape it.  How can we escape it?  It's in this room, it's in the next room.  It's everywhere.  There's footprints of blood.  Our cuts from the battle prior…more blood.  How do you escape that which gives life…we are surrounded by it.

View
Rats and Bloodbaths

Our entry into the library was met by the sudden appearance of four swarms of rats.  Not that I am accustomed to seeing rats all the time (to my knowledge), but this did not seem like something that just… happens.  Eventually we were able to see the cause was some number of tiny people with the body of a rat were the ones who called them on us.  Kit had climbed to the top of one of the shelves by the time we started to get overwhelmed.  It was then that Crystal called for a retreat.  That seemed tactically reasonable considering we had no idea how to deal with what was in front of us.  Mask and the Mountain got out of the room and Kit called them out for abandoning him.  I guess you could take it that way, but clearly that wasn't the intention.  We managed to get everyone out and eliminate the swarms on the way.  From there, we recuperated briefly.  I diagnosed Kit and Cat with filth fever and did what I could to help deal with that.  From there we went back in.  Combat ensued throughout the far end of the library and we eventually dispatched 3 of them and then offered to talk to the last one since it was clearly about to die.

The last one's name was Jenny, and now she (he?) was our ally.  I healed the creature up and we learned what we could.  Apparently their people lived underground and were forced up into the facility by some kind of corruption underground.  Here, they took on a diet of books.  Delightful.  We instructed Jenny to talk to the rats to get any information for us about the creatures that occupied the facility.  

Exiting the library, the next hallway had several doors coming off of it.  The first on the right had voices of the rat people beyond.  We decided to leave that situation alone.  It sounded like Jenny telling the story of what happened to a displeased voice in the library.

At the end of the hallway, the name Eliage Lessndro (Administrator) labeled the door.  It was locked, but Mask was able to let us in.  What we were met with was something I hope a significant amount of medication will let me forget sometime.  A woman was kneeling in a pool of blood from an unknown source and had multicolored mist coming from her gaping mouth.  She remained still.  I assumed she was shell of a person, but upon closer inspection (with care to not step in the blood) I found her to still be alive.  She also seemed to be perpetually bleeding, which leads me to believe it may not be her own blood coming out of her.  Also, getting too close to her nearly made me fall asleep.  The last thing I needed was to be face first in a pool of blood of unknown origin.  

At first, we were careful to not get in the blood.  We used some chairs from the library to get over to her desk that had a number of things in the drawers.  Eventually Kit grew tired of this and waded through the blood to get to the other side of the room where several paintings depicting images that could have been from our dream adorned the wall.  Kit also managed to retrieve the keys from the woman's pocket.  We took what we could and retreated to known areas to evaluate our findings, among which was her journal.

View
A Mirror, Two Eyes, and a Birdcage
When the asylum keeps the madness outside...

Some sensations are periods of sleep that take up all the extent of the mind, like a fog.  They don't let us think, don't let us act, and don't let us be.

No nightmares during my repose.  It is the same for the others… so they say.  The magic-wielders seem able to regain their strength, but it's possible they were holding out before… to protect their own hides.  This place is a breeding ground for the insane, maybe the corrupt.

Winter, the cleric of Pharasma, and Edgar seem to be making progress with the injured children; the boy's broken bones are mending and the girl doesn't appear so ill.  Overall, it looks like people are in better spirits, and everyone but the little Mountain seems to have given up on trying to get me to talk.  Do they not understand that words lead to pain?  I can already smell the sulfur.

Let them continue their little talks, like the coos of a victim when it sees a predator approaching.  I'll check on the barricade, move silently behind the Captain and two guards.  I need to know their strengths and weaknesses in case something goes wrong.  The mute notices me, tries to take the silver dagger, but my tail slaps her hand away.  Still, she makes no move to point out my presence to the others.

Captain York jumps when he finally sees me.  He should.  So did I when I first saw what was under the mask.  I gesture for him to tend to the firewood, confirming my place at the barricade.  The pretty guard introduces me to the mute.  I just stare.  I wish I had a soothing voice to share with you, one that did not invoke pain and punishment.

Now we must get the mirror, going back to that demented laundry room with the fallen cleric.  It was a mercy; I had to do it.  Kit, the cat, and Gray join me down the hall at first.  Stay here.  Nothing suspicious… yet.  Heading into the hanging room it looks like rubble has moved near the crack in the floor.  Not large enough for a creature, like one of those dopplegangers, but maybe a rat.  Why don't they care?   Gray seems to be losing whatever faith he had left.  His comments are increasingly bleak.  The mirror is light, but Kit is strong, so we head back.

While we were away the crazy X eye found its way into Crystal's forehead.  Between the weird shadow and now this eye, Crystal needs to be watched.  Despite it not seeming to hurt Crystal at all, or have changed her demeanor, they all want to surgically remove it from her forehead.  Any excuse to make something bleed, I guess.  Fine.  I'll remember.  So we head to the furnace and hold her down while Edgar carves her new eye away.  So much for no more nightmares.  The Mountain puts it in the magic bag while Edgar heals Crystal's wound.

Gray thinks the mirror is suspicious and I agree.  The Mountain takes a look and finds it's a special type of metal that is remarkably light, but also very fragile.  Then Gray moves the curtain and we see yet another horror.  An eye the size of a wagon wheel with teeth in the pupil and stringy yellow fungus around is plastered on the door and stone.  Fight back the horror.  Fight back the madness.  But showing it the mirror works and it immediately begins to shrink.  Words are not always required.  We hear "What have I become?" as it disappears, leaving behind a warped doorway.

Kit and Edgar leave to report to Winter and the Captain.  While they're away I confirm the others heard the voice.  Despite Gray's abysmal attitude and crippling social behavior, he seems to understand my miming best.  Hooray?

I recommend making a new barricade; the others agree.  Captain York wishes to follow our progress from the doorway once it's broken open.  They will fill in the barricade but be able to see us from the other side.  All York cares about is leaving.  Is he blind?  The fog and that thing will find you!  York insists we can make it to Thrushmore or off the island using boats.  We agree to check out the front door, and hopefully we will have a map sooner than later from someone the Mountain and Edgar talked to in the chapel.  Why would we trust this map?

Before we head into the next area, I remember the room we have not searched – Tollman's room.  It is a nice room, a stark contrast for the rest of this damned place, but he does have a barred section that is locked away.  I start picking the lock as they tend to the barricades, finishing with the lock very quickly.  Inside the file cabinets are patient records, and some magic items.

Following up on individual progress, Gray's broken mind becomes obvious to everyone, and the Mountain takes him aside.  Can you fix his personality with that wand, too?  The magic of the wand, and maybe some encouraging words from the big personality, immediately changed Gray.  Even he admitted it.  Or he's faking it.

Before heading into the now-open entry room, the mountain gives me a scalpel, saying it is "magically enhanced and will help me strike truer."  It will help me make our enemies bleed, and from their blood we'll grow a garden of roses.

Kit looks over the front door and finds it swollen.  Maybe it has an eye on it, too?!  Some people look over the desk in the center of the room while I study the library doors and storage door.  York confirms he's going to shut what's left of the door into the entry room, asking us to give him a sign, but quickly realizing they're dependent on our success and words.

The storage room door is blocked, and even I cannot slip through it.  What's in here?  More bodies?  Another pile of 50?  60? 

Despite saying he was going to close the door, York calls out and asks why we fear the mist.  A quick moment of unfiltered honesty from Edgar does not make too large a difference to York.  "You said you would check," he says.  Kit does not want to be a liar.  Well I don't want to be dead.  You open the door.  Several of us try to help, but it still won't budge.

The next door in the hallway isn't blocked and upon opening it we find the wall burst open, probably by some creature, because then we find a pile of 6 corpses.  Crystal asks for a ring on one of their fingers, and I grab it.  A few days ago that pile may have bothered me, but I'm starting to see death everywhere.  Am I an agent of death?  Or does it just follow me?  Or maybe one of my "friends"?

The next room we enter is the visitor's center, which several of the others seem to have forgotten.  Stuffed birds in a cage start chirping a happy tune.  I don't trust it.  Nothing happy can stay here.  Just as I'm getting used to it, the tune changes to a shrill screech; Gray starts floating off the ground, showing us how the corpse impaled on the horns of a taxidermy figure met his end.  i try to help him down, but I'm not strong enough so I leave the room, following Crystal.  Breaking the bird cage ends whatever curse was on the room.

Re-entering the room to search it, finding some magic items like potions, Gray brings up a concern from one of his dreams.  "Beware the yellow walkers."  One of the corpses on the floor is wearing stained yellow clothing.  They start cooing again, so I walk over to the corpse and slit its throat.  Stop debating things that don't matter or we'll die.  Nothing else of consequence in this room, so I head to the door that seemingly heads outside.  The others step away.

I hold my breath and open the door.  I see wilted flowers and yellow fog, and I hear giant wings overhead.  I smell sugary candy on the fog.  I look around and see leathery flesh, and bulbous masses moving ahead us in the fog.  Fight back the horror.  Fight back the madness.  I close the door and Crystal immediately asks me what I see.  I don't want to remember, but I'll never forget.  I point to my leather armor, make flapping motions, and point up.  We agree to keep this to ourselves for now.

Then I head to the library.  I don't hear anything from the other side and the door isn't locked so I open the door.  At the center of the large room is a table with uncomfortable chairs, with sagging shelves along the edge.  There is a smell on the air, some unnatural scent that smells more like a wild animal than the simple smell of books.  Then I hear a shrill, tiny voice say something quickly in a language I don't understand.  It must have been a warning, because that voice causes growling from something else in the room.  

A single rose begins the garden.  Keep planting and eventually one will emerge.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.