Strange Aeons

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.

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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.

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Trying to make sense....

 

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Life is the bitch, and death is her sister, sleep is the cousin, what a fucking family picture

I have I no idea what is what anymore or who is who or when is when.  Nothing makes sense

All I have are my thoughts but I am having trouble differentiating between my thoughts and reality.  

Bodies everywhere

Piles of decomposing corpses

They could have been innocent or evil either way it wears on one's conscious.

Who are the guards?

How are they so calm?

Are they even good?

How can people just stand on the other side of “safety” and watch while we struggle with every fiber in our bones just to continue living…no…just surviving, living implies something more something we lack.

Are we even surviving or just not dying?

What’s the difference?

Why me?

Question everything!

Trust no one!

Is this a nightmare or reality?

We sleep and experience something totally different.  

Sleep provides no rest no retreat no reprieve just more torment more mystery.

Of everything we’ve encountered death seems to be the most welcoming.

Any principles or morals one may have had before are all but gone because of this place.

Humans were hanging on butcher hooks starving to the point one was eating the others and we did nothing to stop it or help them.

Are we bad?

Maybe this is why we were put here, to suffer.

Why us?

Why me?

People fear the unknown, those people have never been here.

What happens if we succeed in our task what horrifying things are to follow after?

The bodies they’re everywhere.  All dead.

Bodies.

The argus grows but doesn't know

Nothing makes sense.

How come those creatures don’t come and kill us.

We are their playthings.

Why don’t they just kill us all?

Why have they not attacked the guards?

What are they looking for?

What do they want?

How do I get out of here?

Why me?

Why do the guards stay what is wrong with them?

How can they survive in such proximity to to to all this!?

Why are we not dead yet?

How are we not dead yet?

I guess I get live another day…or night.   I don't know.

Nobody knows!

Nobody knows anything!

Why us?

WHY ME!!!

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Crystal Clear
Sometimes Dead is Better

//Starting Sanity Damage 0; Ending 2

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.


It was at the Briarstone Asylum in Ustalav that everything began. Perhaps a furtive hope more than a truth. For it is unclear how much time has passed since I was committed. My possessions, could ownership be implied in my current condition, remained more or less intact. The same could not be said of my memories. Whether the start of my incarceration was of a larger, daemoniac plot or something on the whole mundane I did not know yet, and would not discover for some time.


She found that her condition was maddening. They had likely been only recently transplanted to their quarters. The foetid remains of the prior inhabitants was poor comfort for the newly awakened. A later reflection would deem those in the third cell and the furnace were the most fortunate few they encountered that day.

She was not alone in her plight. Five others seemed to share her fate.

There was the loud one. They called him The Mountain for his protruding personality cast a shadow far longer than his stature would permit. He proclaimed himself the leader and named this band of unfortunates The Rising Stars. Despite his odd countenance his words proved uplifting.

Gray, the one who smelled of niter, was a practitioner of the alchemical arts. That he should remember the nuance and ingredients for the assemblage of explosive tinctures was of undeniable important. He was a talented archer as well. But his alacrity was too easily aimed towards his improbable compatriots. When its shadow appeared around her, Gray was quick to offer a fatal solution to a problem she could not explain.

Edgar possesses the power of effulgence. Whether he generates this himself or bends the dimensions to transfer it from time and place is unknown. What is clear is that without such radiance they would have ended up much the same as the man strapped to that table, hasselbacked or flayed. It's possible the repeated use of these abilities have altered his biological essence. The tinge of it marks his hair.

Kit was a man who seemed to have spent his years traveling to get here. He may be the most recent addition to this group. He formed a fast bond with a panther that was chained up in an adjoining room. Maybe he was a trainer in another life.

Mask. There's not much to say and he would seem to agree.


When we finally escaped the basement cells we found ourselves in the asylum proper. The asylum itself was overrun and partially collapsed in some areas. Eldritch mists clung to the courtyard. The flower beds were beaten down slowly by a humid, misty rain. Lurking in the halls of this time-forgotten campus were dopplegangers; abominations that took the faces of their victims and delighted in charnel pleasures.

Inside one of the more complete structures was a barricaded area. The way was barred. Three women guarded their improvised wall but a man spoke for them with authority. None could pass save they could prove they were not themselves face-shifters. The former keepers of the asylum were now the prisoners of a many-faced horror, barricade or not.

I could not convince those at the barricades that we meant no harm. The face-shifters had taken my face, if it is my face at all. We turned the other way down a dank passage in the shadows. Kit's illumination revealed an aberrant shadow. It sprung from me and danced on the wall, seemingly mocking the frightful contortion of my expression. I could not explain such an indescribable thing.

The dreadful truth was that I wasn't afeared of the tenebrous aberration dancing on the walls. It was the creeping familiarity. The shadow on the wall wasn't a trick of light or magic. It was the shadow that stained my mind and insulated me from going mad in the darkness. And now others could see it too.

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