Strange Aeons

Chronicles of One Luna Teak: Day 8-still and 9
Part Trois

We battled the foul creatures that pushed the wall into us. Brawl Dar was struck down by one of the beasts. Tolendian hit one ghoul with burning hands while I went in to strike with Red Destiny. Ku'uvilin dodged a blow, but I was not so lucky as the creature paralyzed me. Tolendian's freeze hands dealt the final blow to kill another one of them. According to Ku'uvilin, more of the fouls beasts arrived and Ku'uvilin and Tolendian hurriedly dragged Brawl Dar and me to the room with the dead lizard.

I awoke with Ku'uvilin pulling me by the leg into the room. Seeing the creatures chasing closely behind us, I sprang up to bar the door. We barred the doors as best we could with the rubble. Ku'uvilin healed us all with what spells and potions he had.  

We all rested in the room. Because we were not in the chapel, we all had terrible dreams. I dreamt I was back in the city being chased by some creature through the yellow mist. I felt it closing in on me and rather than continue running, I decided to face the creature. It quickly overwelmed me and tied me up. It left to fetch another named Ariadne. They cut into my flesh while cackling, "This one has no past. There is no monster inside." I woke up screaming but was thankfully rested. Ku'uvilin dreamt he was in a dark room where he could he Zandalas' voice in the distance. He made his way toward the voice and when he sees Zandalas in the distance, Zandalas transformed into Tatterman. He awoke screaming as well but rested. In Tolendian's dream, he met an ancient one. She told him, "The past sleeps in the doctor's tome and the Briarstone's mistress draws near. The past was sacrificed. Beware of the yellow walkers." Tolendian woke up abruptly and was fatigued. Brawl Dar had a dream that he was in water. He saw his brother and tried to pull him along. He found himself crawling on the floor with all of his family in containers. Someone says, "The little horn-like ones should be ex-communicated." He sat up awake but fatigued.

Day 9

My survival skills were finally of use as I cooked up the lizard creature for a few days of food. Ku'uvilin used the Wand of Lessor Restoration to remove the fatigue from Brawl Dar and Tolendian. After a little more rest, we started out to go toward the room where the ghouls dragged Ivory. Ku'uvilin scouted ahead and found that she was in the room with the crates turned into cages. Inside, there were three ghouls. One stood on top of a crate with a barking dog. Two were torturing an unknown man. Ivory was in a cage alone and badly wounded. 

We burst in, surprising the ghouls. I wound one with a bolt. Tolendian goes in for burning hands but the ghouls dodge out of the way. Brawl Dar sliced one badly but the creature remained standing and paralyzed him. Ku'uvilin swung his club at another but missed. I fire a second bolt that killed one. In my periphery, I see Tolendian ambushed by a fourth ghoul. He dragged away to the blood pool room. I shouted out, "Elf down!" to alert the others that Tolendian was in trouble. Ku'uvilin smashed a blow to the head of one of the ghouls. I fired two more bolts killing the last two ghouls. The Brawl Dar's paralysis wore off just in time for three more ghouls to come in. The one the took Tolendian must have alerted them.

One was larger than the other two and was wearing his arm as a pendant. Ku'uvilin was able to stabilize Ivory quickly before the next round of fighting. I miss my shot while Brawl Dar sliced into one of the ghouls. He was paralyzed again. I hit the other ghoul but was also paralyzed by their toxic claws. I could hear Ku'uvlin offer a diplomatic compromise. He was promptly tossed into one of the cages and locked in.

I woke up briefly in the blood pool.  I saw the Brawl Dar and Tolendian were with me in this foul mess. I tried to stand up but was immediately knocked out. As Ku'uvilin sat in the cage, he heard the dog growling that had gotten out of his cage. He next heard a ghoul's strangled cry. When he managed to break out of the cage, he saw the mangled remains of the ghoul. The fircesome dog came up to Ku'uvilin and appeared friendly. Ku'uvilin, Ivory who was still badly hurt, and the new dog that Ku'uvilin had aptly named 'Killer' headed back to the cultists in the dining halls. They passed the pot that was now silent.

In the dining hall, Juglan greeted them with, "Words fail." They wandered until they found 'Dr.' Elborne. He healed Ivory but her arm was too mangled to be functional again. As Elborne started to heal Ku'uvilin, he noticed that he was hiding some kind of magical device in his pants. Ku'uvilin, talented in diplomacy, was able to  garner that he was using a healing wand. Elborne didn't want the other cultists to know he was using such a device. Ku'uvilin offered to trade his wand for Elborne's. 

Ku'uvilin snuck into the blood pool room, which was now occupied by a single ghoul. In a heroic surprise attack, he directed the healing powers of the wand into the ghoul, killing him instantly. Ku'uvilin then healed us all. 

The gods were merciful today.

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Chronicles of One Luna Teak: Day 8
Part Deux

As we wandered through the camp of the Apostles in Orpimiment, I spotted Juglan Rivercaine – the non-sensical cultists who we unwittingly rescued earlier – milling about with the other cultists. I tried to look inconspicuous because if he recognized us, we would be in trouble. 

Dr. Elbourne gave us some information on the cultists. Their food was low. Only potatoes and dill were left. He also confirmed my suspicions that the battle with those pustule creatures diseased my companions. Ku'uvilin and Brawl Dar contracted leprosy and their flesh will start to rot off of their body in a matter of weeks. All of us also have filth fever from that damn rat swarm. I will enjoy a stew of those magical ratlings when I get the chance to hunt them. I had fortified my group as best as I can but we need a cleric soon or we will go through all the meds we have scavenged so far.

Dr. Elbourne has only started working at the hospital a week ago. We told him we found some of the patient files. He seemed eager to look at them and asked to read them. While shuffling through the files, Ku'uvlin noticed he grabbed a few papers and shoved them in his pocket. Ku'uvlin protested aloud to the denials of Dr. Elbourne. Brawl Dar picked him up and shook him a bit to dislodge them. He was scared and kept denying he took anything. Crumpled papers fell from Dr. Elbourne's pocket and he scrambled toward them, shoving them in his mouth. Tolendian pulled the wet papers out of his mouth. They were his patient files. Dr. Elbourne wasn't so much a doctor; rather, he was a patient. His family had committed him – apparently involuntarily – for “self-abuse” and “isolationist
tendencies”. He was a sex addict.

However, he did have some info. He claimed that Zandalus turned his most loyal followers into "oneirogens". Tolendian voiced that this was probably how the dream realm is entering our world. Elbourne said that one of these Oneirogens had been taken to the west tower. He gave us some healing potions from Elbourne - a vial to cure moderate wounds and one that cures disease.

A thick fog clogged the stairs leading from where we were, to where Zandalus had retreated. Rather than confront Zandalus, we chose instead to go west to the kitchens to raid some food and make our way to the West Tower.

We entered a large kitchen, with a number of cold hearths lining the north wall, and a large section of collapsed rubble to the west. Between the rubble and the hearths was a door heading west. However, a large pot was rattling near the door, and while one would think that a stew was bubbling over, the odd thing was that there was no fire apparent under the pot. A line of stones seemed to demarcate that the rattling pot was off limits. To our left were some doors, and behind which we heard some voices. Ku'uvlin silently crept over to the doors and peered in. He reported back to us that there were four cultists in a small room - two cooks and two guards. To the west, the doors were covered in rubble, as if someone had intentionally blocked them off. The walls to the south were cracked and damaged, and smoke from small cooking fires vented through these cracks. One of the cooks looked over her shoulder at Ku'uvlin and mouthed "help me!"

Brawl Dar kicked open one door and immediately sliced one of the guards in half. I burst through the other door and wounded the other guard one with a crossbow bolt, and Brawl Dar finished him off. The cook who plead to Ku'uvilin ran and joined us, thanking us frantically. She introduced herself as Ivory. Brawl Dar quickly killed the other one once he started muttering about the yellow sign. 

We hurried out of the cooking area and ran towards western door, with Apostles in Orpiment from the dining area in pursuit. Crossbow bolts flew past us as we dashed past the demarcating stones. The rattling pot suddenly tipped over, and my mind's eye was filled with the vision of a man, howling in agony. My infected rat wounds pulsed angrily, and a horrible smell surrounded me as the remainder of my food rotted instantly. 

As we past through the western door, we came into a small room. The door to the north, leading out of the asylum, was ajar, and yellow mist was wafting inside. From the rubble, a shriek and a multi colored lizard with six legs and a long neck emerged, snapping and scratching at Brawl Dar. Brawl Dar struck a mighty blow against the foul Iizard. My bolts were useless. Tolendian was dazed and shaken. Its tail swung across and knocked Brawl Dar down. He managed to scrabble back up and dealt another blow at the lizard. The tail lashed out again knocking Brawl Dar down and as the lizard lunged toward Brawl Dar, it impaled itself onto his sword and died. Heroic acts by Brawl Dar today.

We paused to heal and try to identify more of the magical items. I took Red Destiny so that I didn't have to rely on ranged attacks. We found that we scavenged some Soothe Syrup and Alchemist's Kindness. Before all of us could properly heal, the ground started shaking and the ceiling collapsed on us.

Ku'uvilin healed some of us, using a cure moderate wounds  vial. Many of us barely recovered from the lizard before the collapse. After Ku'uvlin and I stabilized everyone, Ku'uvlin stealthily scouted ahead to see the next batch of terrors that awaited us. Sounds of scuffling and growling filled the halls.

He reported back that there were three rooms and a stairway that lead to rubble. In the showers area were three ghouls and a pool of blood, filled with dozens of corpses. It appeared that the ghouls were feasting on the vile stew. One of the ghouls was particularly large and was seated on a "throne" covered in entrails and blood. One of it's arms was missing, and its missing hand was tied around its neck as a macabre pendant. Ku'uvlin paid in sanity for that sight. One room appeared to be a group therapy area. Crates formed cages and a couple of people appeared to be held captive. The last room was a work room. Ku'uvlin spied that three ghouls were peering through cracks in the wall at our group. As Ku'uvlin was relaying this information to us, the wall crashed down on us. The ghouls pushed through the rotted walls, sending debris raining down on us. Brawl Dar shielded us taking the brunt of the damage from one ghoul. He went down and Ivory tried to heal him with some potion but was knocked out by another ghoul and dragged off to the shower area.

We will likely die today in this madhouse.

To be continued in Day 8 Still. Return to The Chronicles

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The Chronicles of One Luna Teak: Day 7 and 8

Brawl Dar's smashing sent the ratling weasel back into the library. He took one look at Tolendian and immediately started to chant a spell. I hit him with a bolt to distract him, but the rest of the rats started hurling books at us. Tolendian started to make his way to the exit but not before another rat swarm appeared. He was knocked out. Brawl Dar hoisted him into his shoulders and started moving toward the door. Ku'uvlin tried to distract some of the dire rats by throwing books at them. They lobbed a bunch at him. The main ratling attacked him with another spell and Ku'uvlin was knocked out. I ran over to stabilize him and tried to drag him out but the ratling hit me with some spell as well. 

The next thing I know, I'm back at the chapel being healed by Winter along with the rest of the group. I was told that Brawl Dar single-handedly dragged all three of us back to saftey in the chapel. The man is a hero. 

End of Day 7.

Day 8

Bates is still sick though. We have to go back for his meds, but we need to rest up. We have filth fever from the rat bites and need to look after the wounds. I made bolts while the others cleaned the blood and muck off themselves. I gave some bolts to the guards. Food is low. We need to find more. I bet those ratlings would roast up nicely.

Rather than battle through the library, we opted to go through that weird bird room, carefully shielding ourselves with cloaks and blankets from the sight of the dead corpses.

Brawl Dar opened the door leading to the garden path. We hussled quickly and as we entered back into the building, a swarm of bugs began to swarm the garden. We made our way to the pharmacy. The blood river blocked our path. 

Ku'uvlin volunteered to go first with a rope tied too him. The blood slammed into him and pushed him down the hall. Luckily, he was able to grab a doorway as he was pushed down the blood river and scramble inside. He tied the rope to a sturdy oak table and we were all able to cross the blood. We untied the rope and made our way to the pharmacy.

The cultists were still there. One guy was asleep and looked like he was having a nightmare. The other had a wild look in his eye and likely hadn't slept in a while. He was babbling about being, "safe at the orpinant", "tatterman", and "briarstone witch". I don't know what any of it meant.

Ku'uvlin threw some water at the guy asleep to wake him up. We saw a guy turn into a ghoul having one of those nightmares.

Everyone starts looting through the pharmacy, grabbing anything of use. I took a healer's kit. Ku'uvlin grabbed two potions to cure moderate wounds. Tolendian found the Valaxian. Brawl Dar snatched several random drugs. We also find a book wrapped in paper with "confiscated" written on it. We didn't bother to open it but did drop it in the haversack.

The crazy cultists wanted to go into that dark room. We knew from experience that charging in was a bad idea. Ku'uvlin peered into the darkness. Even with his dark vision he saw nothing. He could hear whispers of doctors diagnosing people, a child crying, and Brawl Dar announcing he was going to smash something. We decided to go back to survivors with the medicine. We need to think more about that unnatural darkness. 

With the cultists in tow, we crossed back over the blood river and almost made it to the chapel without incident. When we were just leaving  a the bird room to cross the garden, that ghoul we saw tracking our movements earlier grabbed the medicine bag and ran off into the fog.

We brought the cultists back and Winter was just not happy on so many levels. We lost the meds. By survivors, she apparently didn't mean cultists.

We needed a light source and the only other item we came up with was the Debis' lantern. Ku'uvlin traded him the knight piece we found in his room for the lantern with no problem. 

Now, we just needed to track down that ghoul. The garden area was small and enclosed. We fanned out trying to herd the ghoul into a corner. 

It ran for a door on the other side of the garden. With the thick fog, we didn't originally notice that door. A sign on the door read, "morgue". We opened the door and cautiously walked down the wooden steps. The patter of running feet could be heard going down the steps. Then silence. And, then the sound of a melon smashing into rocks.

We made our way down the steps until they ended. Tolendian lit up a rope that I dangled down into the pit. It was over a 100 feet down. The grey smear at the bottom was what was left  a of the ghoul but at least the bag with the medicine survived intact. 

Tolendian took the Feather Light Fall pendant and went down to grab the medicine. He explored around a bit. The ground seemed spongy. The hills appeared to look less like hills and more like a very large creature asleep. It moved and the building started to shake and crumble. He levitated up, which was  a the first time any of us  had seen him do so. When asked,  he said he learned how to properly levitate while falling. That crazy wizard is a hero.

We headed back to the chapel. As we entered back into the building, we heard bat wings and maniacal giggling.

We delivered the medicine just in time. Bates is looking better already.

Level up.

We headed back out immediately with the lantern to bring light to that unnaturally dark room. After crossing the blood river yet again, we lit the lantern and enter the dark room. We heard relieved sobbing as the darkness faded. We watched as a creature with a mouse skull became visible in the light and then exploded as the darkness diminished. Disembodied hands touched the lantern and mysteriously dissipated.

The room was filled with destroyed furniture. The debris is pushed up against the walls. A sign above another door read, "Dining Hall". 

Brawl Dar opened the door. Inside, a savage tribe of cultists were living there. We saw people chained to walls with bags over their heads. Some of the cultists were armed.

One of the cultists noticed our arrival and approached us immediately. With our previous experiences with other cultists, we knew enough to interact with them without upsetting them too much. He didn't seem crazy though. Zandalas came downstairs with his enforcer, Agra Lymus, to talk about the dreamland.

The not-so-crazy cultist told us to agree to whatever he said and then we could talk in a more private area. His name was Dr. Elborne. The cultists were using Onigons to create the most. The doctor told us we had to confront Zandalas and the Onigons. One resided in the Western Tower.

We heard yelling and fighting on the other side of he dining hall. A loud feral cry resounded and a cultists was pulled outside by a clawed creature. We all put on robes to masquerade as cultists. The enforcer, known by many as the 'Bag Lady's came back into the hall with more holdouts. She pulled the bag off of one person. The cultists asked her to join and the person readily did so. The other person refused and was immediately strangled. 

We need to get away from this mad cult sooner rather than later.

To be continued in Day 8 Part Deux. Return to The Chronicles

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Chronicles of One Luna Teak: Day 7
Part Deux

Last time…

Some days never end. 

The ratlings cut off our way through the library and a river of blood that nearly drowned us, blocks our another way back. We decided to explore more of the rooms around us.

Brawl Dar entered what appeared to be Dr. Chuar's office. It contained a sturdy display case and some weird anatomical pictures.

Tolendian and Ku'uvlin went into another room that looked like a staff lounge. Ku'uvlin spotted a dead hand in the collapsed rubble and was shaken. He immediately covered the hand with a blanket. I don't blame him. 

In another room, we could hear scrabbling and murmurs of Aklo. Tolendian, Ku'uvlin and I stayed back, while Brawl Dar entered boldly and was attacked by dire rats being ordered by that ratling bastard who tried to shake us down for more scrolls. I went in ready to shoot and the ratling called for rat reinforcements. We were all swarmed. 

I fired a bolt at the ratling but missed. Tolendian used burning hands to clear away some of the rats. Ku'uvlin smashed at the ratling with his pole. Brawl Dar started bashing the desk that the ratling took cover under. I fired a bolt at one of the dire rats and missed again. The dire rats fled down the crevasse in the floor.

Tolendian returned to the room with the body under the rubble. Searching the corpse, he found a syringe filled with a cure for moderate wounds. That'll come in handy. Ku'uvlin has limits to how many boo boos he can kiss.

Tolendian and I opened a door to another room, and I spotted two dead corpses. I left immediately. Tolendian is made of stronger stuff. He searched the bodies and noted that they were both killed with blows to the head. He located a yew wand that he determined to be a Wand of Blessings. A note was attached to it that read, "Dr. Lance, this is a place of science not faith -EL".

I went back to Dr. Chuar's office. He was an expert on brain deformities based on the books and notes. Ku'uvlin searched his desk and grabbed his notes. Maybe they can help us figure out some of this madness.

We entered another room that appeared to be a meeting room. The large table and scattered chairs were a hint. I heard some movement in the closet and stealthily made my way there. I opened the door. There were jars in a nest of lab coats. Something tossed one of the jars above down and it shattered on the floor near the nest. I could hear something slimey moving so I shot a bolt at the nest and shut the door. I warned the others about the creatures in the closet.

Brawl Dar opened the closet and Tolendian used the bolt to search through the nest. Slime creatures jumped out of the nest to bite Tolendian. It latched on burning him like acid. He used his ray of frost to kill one creature. I was able to critically hit the other with Dr. Oastay's magical dagger. 

Afterwards, we could see that the nest had jars with various organs, spinal cords and horned creatures. The slime trails we noticed earlier might be related to this nest.

We decided that we were going to face the ratlings and just go through the library. Brawl Dar was in the next room trying  to smash the ratling leader. I think he came close.

Ku'uvlin ran through and made it nearly to the other door. I paused to shoot a hello bolt toward the ratling on the bookcase. I got a book to the head as a reply.

This day just keeps getting longer…

To be continued in Day 7 and 8. Return to The Chronicles

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Chronicles of One Luna Teak: Day 7

Soundtrack to Day 7

Rested, I woke up this morning to the sound of singing. A rare event these days. A nurse was holding Bates in her arms and was trying to comfort the boy. He didn't look good. I asked the nurse what's wrong and she said that he's out of meds, Valaxian. The seizures eventually will kill him. We have to find more at the dispensary near the dayroom that was overrun with those yellow-robed cultists.

Brawl Dar was still wearing the yellow robes and had that weird mark still on his head. York had a fit. Brawl Dar had to remove both and convince the idiot that he wasn't a cultist. Ku'uvlin shared his vision – a man with long hair crying out "When I sleep, he walks. When I am awake, he stalks!" No one seems to know what it means. He was able to convince Winter to make the guards give me more ammunition for my crossbow.

Denetta, the orderly that we rescued from the closet the day before informed us the woman with the bleeding chest wound was a patient named Vera Freeling. She was a hypochondriac, suffering from dementia.

Denman approached us. Since Juglan died, he had … changed. The way he played with his knife seemed more … casual than nervous fidgetting. He had a cold look in his eyes as he told us that before the uprising, he had worked in the kitchens. Some of his friends may still be alive and may have bene forced to join the cultisits – they weren't all willing converts. Please don't kill them indiscriminately, he asked us. 

Another patient named Loic claimed he could hear his sister, Canda, out there in the rain.

Winter had bad news. An earthquake had recollapsed the stairwell to the basement, and the only path left was through the chute. DaNae's body had been found in the courtyard, her bones had been crushed. It looked as if she had fallen from a great height. Winter told us more about . what brought her here.

When Mother Thestia, high priestess of Maiden’s Choir Cathedral in Caliphas, personally called for me, I my life was about to change. Well after midnight, before the great statue of Pharasma in the cathedral’s sanctuary, the High Mother introduced me to a severe woman who identified herself only as Omari. This stranger, Mother Thestia explained, was one of the nation’s Royal Accusers, secretive agents who were sworn to Ustalav’s crown and operated outside the country’s baroque hierarchy of titles and privilege. Omari came requesting the service of one of the cathedral’s sisters on an undertaking that would lead them to Thrushmoor in the neighboring county of Versex. The High Mother didn’t deign to reveal the terms of the church’s bargain with the Royal Accusers. Rather, she explained only that I would aid Accuser Omari until the errand’s completion. Dutifully, I promised to serve to the best of her ability andfaithfully represent the church, fully aware that, when it came to twists of fate, Pharasma’s blessings and curses often appeared much the same.

The journey to Versex proved quiet enough. There were no interruptions, and all members of the investigation rode along in silence for much of the trip. Upon arriving, Accuser Omari left to keep some private appointment, a short task from which she returned with errands for each of her aides. Omari handed me a badge deputizing me with the authority of the Royal Accusers, and sent me along with a small contingent to nearby Briarstone Asylum to inquire after a handful of recently committed patients previously in the service of Haserton Lowls, count of Thrushmoor. 

Following the insanity that gripped Briarstone, I became a prisoner within. I had met only briefly with Administrator Losandro and had learned little of the asylum’s workings or those I’d been sent to inquire after, though I had been promised a chance to interview the patients. Even during my brief visit, I inferred something of the strangeness unraveling at the  sanitarium and had been granted leave to explore the grounds. It was during this investigation that the first of the quakes struck and the patient uprising began. In the chaos that followed, my compatriots and I found themselves attacked by ghouls, which overwhelmed my companions. Desperate to escape, I made my way to the asylum’s entry, but found that I wasn’t the first to be trapped by the unnatural mist surrounding the grounds. At my suggestion, a handful of survivors made for the nearby chapel to hide—and pray. My desperate plan saved the lives of several of the asylum’s patients and staff, who still linger in the chapel. I never expected the asylum's chapel to become my new home, but with no options for escape and terrors crawling through the halls beyond, fortifying the holy place and holding out for as long as possible seemed the only choice we had for survival.1

Ku'uvlin shared the Briarstone Asylum patient files and Administrator Losandro's journal with Winter, hoping that maybe they would help explain what was going on. Winter wanted us to locate more patient records especially the recent ones, as she wanted to find out more information about the new group of patients that were admitted right before everything went to hell. She also suggested that the library may hold more information. 

We headed back to the library. Listening at the door from the entrance hall, we heard chittering conversation inside, which I recognized as Aklo. Talendian cautiously opened the door and the chittering suddenly stopped. Fog was billowing in from the broken windows on the second floor. Ku'uvlin and Talendian informed Brawl Dar and myself that the ratling creatures are intelligent and magical. From inside the library, we a voice called out in Aklo "This is ratling territory. You can't pass unless you trade us something! You give us your magic, you can come through!" The little bastard rodents wanted our scrolls. One for each of us to pass through their territory. Ku'uvlin casted a spell, ghost sounds, to bluff the rodents into believing there was a  small army outside. They didn't buy it. Brawl Dar intimidated them to let us pass with 2 scrolls (Fox's Cunning and Cure Light Wounds). We all searched the library and found nothing. 

We made our way to Losandro's office. The weird pool of blood was still there. There was a lofted library in there. I searched the books looking for Chain of Nights. No luck. Only a few rare books that I grabbed. Never know when hell will end and might need some cash. We didn't find anything more in Losandro's office. We exited out another door and found ourselves in a long hallway with doors on the left and right, and another door at the far end. Signs on the wall indicated that the day room was through the door at the end of the hallway – and connected to the dayroom was the dispensary, and the life saving medicine that Bates needed. 

We heard a crash from a door to our right. Talendian opened the door with magic. Damn handy spell. It was a records office, filled with filing cabinets. A couple of apostles in orpiment, dressed in dirty yellow rags and with yellow flames painted onto their foreheads, were searching the office, pulling patient records from the filing cabinets and stacking them to the side. Brawl Dar rushed in and struck one down with his claymore, and Ku'uvlin followed up by smashing the other with his club. Talendian scanned through the patient records, and noted that they all mentioned Zandalus. A locked door at the back of the room bore a sign saying simply "special records." Brawl Dar bashed the door with the butt of his sword. Inside was simply a file cabinet filled with files documenting strange events which occured at the asylum over the years. A further search revealed four recent admissions:

Patient Name: Brawl Dar (full name?)

Description: Male of __ descent. Approximate age __. Home in Thrushmoor.

Committed: 27th of Arodus, 4716

Circumstances: Committed by request of Count Haserton Lowls IV.

Attending Doctor: Losandro

Treatment: Observation. Experimental treatments if ethical considerations allow. 

Developments: 27/Arodus/4716 – Patient apparently worked for Count Lowls in some capacity. The patient is amnesiac, suffering from a fugue state – most unusual for multiple patients to exhibit this rare disorder. Fortunately, this is typically a reversible amnesia and the personal identity, including the memories, personality, and other identifying characteristics of individuality should return with stimulation. To be discussed at staff conference. This should be priority – if CoN contains effective treatment for UV may also be effective on above named patient.


Patient Name: Luna Teak (Full name?)

Description: (Male, Female?) of human and elven descent. Approximate age difficult to determine. Home in Thrushmoor.

Committed: 27th of Arodus, 4716

Circumstances: Committed by request of Count Haserton Lowls IV.

Attending Doctor: Losandro

Treatment: Observation. Experimental treatments if ethical considerations allow.

Developments: 27/Arodus/4716 – Patient apparently worked for Count Lowls in some capacity. The patient is amnesiac, suffering from a fugue state – most unusual for multiple patients to exhibit this rare disorder. Fortunately, this is typically a reversible amnesia and the personal identity, including the memories, personality, and other identifying characteristics of individuality should return with stimulation. To be discussed at staff conference. This should be priority – if CoN contains effective treatment for UV may also be effective on above named patient.


Patient Name: Ku'uvlin (full name?)

Description: Male of kobold (?) descent. Approximate age unknown. Home in Thrushmoor.

Committed: 27th of Arodus, 4716

Circumstances: Committed by request of Count Haserton Lowls IV.

Attending Doctor: Losandro

Treatment: Observation. Experimental treatments if ethical considerations allow.

Developments: 27/Arodus/4716 – Patient apparently worked for Count Lowls in some capacity. The patient is amnesiac, suffering from a fugue state – most unusual for multiple patients to exhibit this rare disorder. Fortunately, this is typically a reversible amnesia and the personal identity, including the memories, personality, and other identifying characteristics of individuality should return with stimulation. To be discussed at staff conference. This should be priority – if CoN contains effective treatment for UV may also be effective on above named patient.


Patient Name: Talendian (full name?)

Description: Male of elven descent. Approximate age 130-150 years. Home in Thrushmoor.

Committed: 27th of Arodus, 4716

Circumstances: Committed by request of Count Haserton Lowls IV.

Attending Doctor: Losandro

Treatment: Observation. Experimental treatments if ethical considerations allow.

Developments: 27/Arodus/4716 – Patient apparently worked for Count Lowls in some capacity. The patient is amnesiac, suffering from a fugue state – most unusual for multiple patients to exhibit this rare disorder. Fortunately, this is typically a reversible amnesia and the personal identity, including the memories, personality, and other identifying characteristics of individuality should return with stimulation. To be discussed at staff conference. This should be priority – if CoN contains effective treatment for UV may also be effective on above named patient.

It's us. Crap. Winter was brought here to investigate us. Apparently, we all worked for Count Lowls and were living in Thrushmoor. None of us remembered any of this. 

Talendian, using magic, detected a hidden chamber in the records room. A large painting of dreary towers hung on the west wall – refreshingly pastoral in light of Zandalus's sanity-bending works. Nevertheless, Ku'uvlin took the painting it down and turned it around. Behind the painting was a small chamber in which laid a sword and a lock-box containing journals with detailed notes on Zandalus going back to 4685, the year of his admission to Briarstone Asylum, as well as 40 gold pieces, 6 pearls and a business card for a detective agency in Thrushmoor called the "Sleepless Agency". On the back of the card was the symbol of an accusatory eye. Ku'uvlin pocketed the card. Brawl Dar took the sword, which radiated magic. As he lofted it he said "Its name is Red Destiny." Talendian concentrated on the hammer amulet that we had previously found. "Brawl Dar," he said, "this is imbued with Warrior's Courage. It can protect against fear."

We returned to the hallway, trying doors as we proceeded towards the dayroom at the east end of the hallway, finding, for the most part, collapsed rooms. One door on the north side of the hallway opened to a large, intact room. Rows of shelves stacked with storage boxes lined the walls and created narrow aisles. Inside, we heard what sounded like a school lesson being taught. "Now, repeat after me… A, B, C, D, E, F, G…" We approached a clearing that had been made by pushing shelves aside. Arranged in a semi-circle were half a dozen dolls, seated at improvised desks with pencils and papers. They all had yellow flames painted onto their foreheads." A wild-eyed cultist, wielding a long metal ruler, stared down at the scene, scowling. The mf-er was teaching to a bunch of dolls. "Little Timberly, HOW MANY TIMES DO I NEED TO TELL YOU TO REPEAT AFTER ME!" In his rage, he swiped his yard-stick at the hapless doll, decapitating it. He turned to us and pointed the weapon, indicated for us to sit with his other pupils. Talendian began to cast a spell as the cultist-teacher screamed "Naughty Naught!" and charged me, slicing at me with the sharpened yard-stick. Talendian blasted him with an ice ray as I backed away, shooting him through the throat. Ku'uvlin used his mage hand to swipe away his weapon, and Brawl Dar grabbed him from behind, subduing him with a choke hold. At that moment, a cry broke the silence as another cultist jumped out from a row of shelves. I reflexively shot my crossbow, and I could see the look of terror on his face as the bolt went through his throat, and as he lay dying his eyes merely questioned "Why?" Brawl Dar and Ku'uvlin bound the teach with a straightjacket, and we searched the room. This was a patient's store room, and the cultists were obviously searching for valuables. They belonged to us now – three magical vials which could be applied to weapons to give them the properties of silver or to align them with good or evil, order or chaos.

Dragging the straight-jacketed teacher-cultist behind us, we reached the door to the dayroom at at the end of the hall. I noticed drops of blood beading on the doorway. Ignoring my instincts, I stared at the blood as I tried the various keys, none of which worked. Brawl Dar grew impatient, and as he pushed past me to kick at the door, Ku'uvlin's eyes went wide and he dove back into the patient's store room. Brawl Dar's kick landed square on the door, and the boards of the door, already straining under the pressure of the supernaturally poolled blood flowing from the body of Vera Freeling, burst, sweeping us away in a wave of red gore. Talendian raced ahead of the blood, reaching the safety of Losandro's office, as Brawl Dar and I smashed against the wall. I felt a sharp crack as my head struck the wall and warm, sticky blood began pooling over me. As everything went black I saw Brawl Dar crawl to safety and call for Talendian to help me.  

I woke to the sound of Ku'uvlin chanting over me, and the pounding in my head subsided. The others confirmed that we were now trapped in Losandro's office. Vera Freeling's blood was flowing to the edge of the hallway. In the other direction, through the library, the ratlings had taken a stand and were not allowing us to pass. Shaking my head to clear it, I walked with the others to the antisceptic smelling hallway of the doctor's offices. Ratch Mamby, the leader of the ratlings, stood defiant between us and the library, flanked on each side by a dire rat. He stood a foot and a half tall, balanced on two legs, his two tails wagging back and forth. "Finally," he said to me in Aklo, "a human who can actually speak. Genny two-tails says you threatened us. This is our area. If you want to pass, you pay the toll – one scroll for each of you!"  Rat bastards! We returned to Losandro's office to ponder our next move. Trapped between the ratlings and the torrent of blood, we looked outside at the swirling yellow fog and the violent storm, and wondered if it might be safer to take our chances out there.

1. Adapted from F. Wesley Schneider's adventure path.

To be continued in Day 7 Part Deux. Return to The Chronicles

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Chronicles of One Luna Teak: Day 6

In the morning, we learned that Juglan has escaped and that the chaplain (who had been transformed into a ghoul) was strangled. The survivor-guard, Denman Winopress, had fallen asleep, and apologized profusely for doing so during his shift.

Talendian and Ku'uvlin attempt to identify the multiple items in our possession.

  • From Dr. Oathsday: a +1 dagger (carried by Luna), a handy haversack containing 3 platinum and a pearl radiating powerful magic (carried by Kuuvlin), and a Phylactery of Faith in a box with Pharasma engraved on it (carried by Kuuvlin). Brawl Dar claimed a set of well kept surgical tools. A potion, packet powder, and syrup remain a mystery.
  • From the chaplain's office, a restoration wand with 40 charges,  Incense of Open Thought which allow for telepathic communication with animals in the vicinity, and a candle which remains a mystery.
  • From Dr. Losandro's office, three wooden talismans:

    • the first, engraved with a cross, which will automatically provide heading power 4d7+7 HP when the bearer falls below half hp, then crumble to dust;
    • the second, engraved with a set of wings, will automatically cast feather fall when the bearer falls over five feet once per day;
    • the third, engraved with a hammer, remains a mystery.

I tried to get more bolts from from the survivors, but Winter wouldn't allow it.  There were now two barricades in the hallway outside the chapel – the one we originally came across and the one facing the door. The survivor-guards facing the newer one kept the mirror at hand to prevent the Argus Eye from growing back.

Outside the weather continued raining and foggy – all the trees which we had gathered food from had died. There was about a week's supply of food left for the survivors. We decided to head go to the kitchens to search for more more food.

We headed through the front reception hall of the Briarstone Asylum to the eastern wing, where the patient's quarters were. After considering our options, we decided to avoid the library – as it was apparently ratling territory – and we didn't want to risk going outside. As we approached the semi-collapsed areas of the eastern wing, we could make out the Eastern Garden to our left side. Through the sickly yellow fog drifting in from our left, we could hear the screeches and tittering of the winged creature that had thrown me to the ground (after tickling me…). We could see that the stairs to second floor had completely collapsed.

We crawled through the rubble into the intact eastern patient's quarters. It was dark and, other than the sound of the rain from the Eastern Courtyard behind us, the only sound we heard ahead was of something feeding. We approached slowly, and through the dim light, it appeared that whatever was eating was hiding behind a curtain in an alcove, and whatever it was feeding on left a bloody trail of ichor to its hiding place. Brawl-Dar stepped forward and pulled open a curtain to reveal a ghoul feasting on a human femur. Tolendian and I blasted it with spells and bolts, but the creature quickly fled down the hallway into the darkness.

Now that the curtains were drawn, ambient light broke the gloom a bit. I approached the window, commenting on how the rain had stopped and the thick fog was dissipating. As I wiped the condensation from the window to get a clearer view, some … thing … struck the window. A formless mass of flesh covered in eyeballs and mouths smacked onto the window, and slid down, leaving a trail of slime. I jumped back and closed the curtain, not getting a clear view of what the shape was attached. to.

We explored some of the patient rooms past the rubble, to the south. The first room appeared empty and unused. The second room appeared to be Debis and his brother's room, where we collected some chess knights under the beds. The third room had three dead bodies – two were cultists. Tolendian find a very fine pair of boots. The fourth has a chewed up body, missing the femur.

As we continued down the hallway exploring patient rooms, we began to notice an astringent smell. We proceeded to what appeared to be a admitting for new patients, with a strong smell of rubbing alcohol. Curtains drawn across the room divided it in half, and on the other side of the curtains, saw steady light. Tolendian pointed out that it must be magical, as it didn't flicker. He pulled the curtains open with a mage hand, revealing piles of filthy rags and a lantern resting on a chair. The lantern contained a flame, but it didn't flicker. "Strange…" said Tolendian, as Brawl Dar reached out for the lantern. As soon as he touched it, the flame flickered rapidly and the oil drained, and the light went out in seconds. As we stood bewildered by this, we heard sloshing sounds and movement under a pile of rags. Bloated puss-filled pustules crawled slowly toward us.

Boilborn

Tolendian torched the first with burning hands, while I shot the second, causing acidic pus to spray over Brawl Dar and Ku'uvlin. Brawl Dar cleaved at the creature while Ku'uvlin hacked at it with his pick. Tolendian shot a magic missile at the creature and I shot again, hits the same creature with another bolt. Brawl Dar again struck the creature and was splashed with burning goo as it burst.

As we gathered our breath and tended to our wounds, we felt an earthquake. We heard the sound of collapsing rubble and from down the hallway to the north, a cloud of dust wafted towards us. The second floor had fully collapsed, blocking our retreat from the patient's residence. We could see a door leading outside to the south. A stone path led to another door to the west. The fog was thinner and we saw no horrors outside. As we debated whether or not to risk going outside, we heard a sound from behind us. The ghoul had been watching us. As soon as it saw us, it scampered off into the hallway towards kitchens in the north. 

We headed north, past more patient's quarters. A long room with a row of beds separated by curtains‚Äč lay empty, except for a man, manacled to one of the beds. He appeared asleep, but in the midst of a nightmare. He shouted "No, stay away, get away… No!" He stopped thrashing and lay still. His mouth opened and yellow mist poured out. We stood agape as his flesh tightened around his body, claws grew on his hands, and his skin turned a sickly pallor. As he transformed into a ghoul before our eyes, Brawl Dar stepped forward and chopped his heads off. Tolendian read his patient chart:  Jeprin Mears. In a supply cabinet we found a straightjacket and hoodwink cowl.

We continued north into the a large dayroom. Tables, couches, and chairs were haphazardly scattered around the room. In the middle of the room, a woman sat unmoving in a wheelchair, blood dripping from her body. It pooled on the floor and was running in a stream to a hall in the west. At the end of the hall, it pooled up vertically, creating a wall of blood. 

Walking around the blood stream, we came to a window to the north leading to a nursing station. In the station a door stood ajar, from which we heard voices and saw a light. Brawl Dar climbed through window and knocked on door. Three men and women with yellow robes and rags were inside, digging through the cabinets. Empty bottles and syringes littered the floor. The cultists each had a yellow flame painted on his head. One of them looked up at Brawl Dar. "Have you seen the yellow sign?" Brawl Dar answered innocently "Of course …" The cultist emphatically pointed at his forehead "But how can you see the yellow sign?" He reached over to Brawl Dar's forehead and dug his finger in. Brawl Dar, nodded in agreement. "Well, perhaps you can help me see?" One of the other cultists passed over a small vial to the leader, who applied it to Brawl Dar's forhead. "Let me have your robes," Brawldar said, but none give them up. The leader explained that they  been sent  to gather supplies, but were now cut off from the  rest of the Apostles.  The Apostles had taken refuge in the  dining area. However, the area leading into the dining area was now darkened and a thing was guarding it.  

Brawl Dar entered the room, and it was competition dark, snuffing out his lantern light. A complete darkness that was unnatural. He heard dozens of voices of patients and doctors whispering. As he felt his  around  room,  felt something brush his arm,  a sharp prick,  as if a  creature such as  a cat  bit his arm. He tried to call out but, now sound emitted from his throat. He felt enervated and fatigued, stumbling out of the darkness towards me, Ku'uvlin, and Tolendian. Ku'uvlin used the Wand of Restoration to reinvigorate Brawldar.

While Brawldar had been with‚Äč the cultists, Ku'uvlin was trying to deal with the stream of blood. He first built a build a makeshift dam with the furniture to try and block the stream of blood to no avail. The blood forced is way through, breaking the dam after being momentarily diverted. Mean while, I heard sounds emanating from a closet. Exploring, I found an orderly with multiple stab wounds hiding behind some bins. Her name is Denera Hobs. She explained that  was grievously wounded by cultists while she tried to protect some of the patients. She had been hiding in the closet for two days and having nightmares about a figure in tattered rags stalking her. She appeared to be human so Ku'uvlin agreed to heal her. Denera recognized the woman in the wheelchair as Vera Freeling, a sweet but hypochondriac old lady. "She was one of the patients I was trying to protect."

Wounded and running low on energy, we chose, to brave the garden path we noticed earlier. We opened the door,  the fog, while sickly yellow, was thin. Denera walked outside first, and as she made her way along the path, the earth started to boil, as hundreds of tiny snorting worms surged up and onto her legs and. We followed, trying our best to avoid being engulfed by the snorting swarm. 

We made our way through the door at the other end of the path. Bursting into the visitor room that we had explored  day before, everything was as we had left it. The bodies of two cultists remained – one impaled on a set of antlers hanging from the wall, and another crumpled in the fireplace. Brawldar reached for the cultist in the fireplace, overcoming his fear of the corpse. "You won't be needing this anymore, my friend, and Brawldar needs it to join the cult!" As he removed the clothes, taxidermied birds in a cage in the middle of the room, began chirping pleasantly. This was short-lived however, as the chirping became klaxons. We rushed out of the room, but Brawl Dar continued removing the robes. He was lifted bodily into the air and thrown against the wall. He crawled over to the robes and finished removing them before being lifted and thrown again. He fled the room with robes, kicking the cage over on his way out. 

We finally returned to the chapel and reported to Winter. We had been unsuccessful in retrieving food, but she was glad to see we had found another survivor.

Seeing that we were exhausted, she promised to explain more about why she was at Briarstone Asylum in the morning. As Ku'uvlin completed his meditation, he had a vision of a blonde man, Zandalus, who cried out "What can I do? While I stir, he stalks in dreams! While I sleep, he walks again! Please help me!" 

To be continued in Day 7.
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Chronicles of One Luna Teak: Day 4 and 5

The possessed body of Administrator Losandro fell sideways into the massive pool of blood with a sickening wet thud. Everything was silent as the rainbow mists slowly dissipated. Outside, we could hear the sound of rain beating against the large windows to the north of her office. To the south, directly in front of Losandro's body and the pool of blood, was a large desk. To our left was a wrought iron spiral staircase leading up to a small loft. Two doors led from the room, one to the southeast, and the other to the southwest, from where we cam.

We made a quick search of the room and found some interesting, morbid curios: a brass sculpture of pyramid, bookends depicting decomposing figures, and a wooden box carved with the shape of a brain. Searching through Losandro's desk, we found a magnifying glass, 2 vials of alchemist's kindness, smelling salts, 4 doses of antitoxin, 2 vials of opium, 3 scrolls, magical incense and candle, and three talismans, the first with a winged figure, the second being a cross on a leather cord, and the third a hammer on a chain. The loft contained a small library, but nothing magical, so we left the books. Searching Losandro's body, we discovered a ring of keys, potions, and Dr. Losandro's journal. As Brawl Dar and Ku'uvlin searched the room, something caught my eye. A number of grotesque paintings were lined against the northern wall, in between the windows facing the north garden. Under each painting was a name plate bearing the name Ulver Zandalus and a date, ranging from 4687 to 4716. I was drawn in, utterly engrossed, feeling as if I were falling through unnatural angles into cyclopean landscapes. Ku'uvlin put his hand on my shoulder, shocking me out of my fugue, before I was drawn in too far, but I felt cold and shaken to the depths of my soul. "It's not good to stare too long at those paintings, Luna. Take it from me…"

Looking outside, we could see the already fog dimmed day was receding into night. We needed to hurry back to the chapel, as we were still nursing our wounds and exhausted. From Administrator Losandro's office, it was a short journey short through the research labs and doctor's offices to the library, and out the second story window. However, we were concerned about being attacked again by monkey-rats in the library. Ku'uvlin pointed down the west hall of the research labs, to a collapsed section of rubble. "There's some kind of trail of slime running down this hall," he muttered. "But look, that collapsed section to the west looks like the northern section of the courtyard near the chapel or the collapsed hallway where we fought with the shapeshifting doppleganger."

Brawl Dar and I began clearing the rocks – noisy work. Ku'uvlin kept watch, continually jumping at the whispered voices, chittering, and skittering sounds coming from down the hallway. "Luna, come here, listen…" I stood near him but didn't hear anything. "You're just jumpy, Ku'uvlin." As he tried to convince me that there was really something in the hallway, we heard a loud exclamation "Brawl Dar is doing it!" As rocks flew back into the hallway from the ruins, a thin yellow mist began seeping into the hallway, and we could hear the sound of the thunderstorm outside, sounding disturbingly like laughter. Brawl Dar let out a belly laugh as he heaved rocks "Ku'uvlin was right! Our little miner!" We redoubled our efforts and the pallid yellow fog poured into the hallway. 

"Uh, Luna, there's definitely something here…" Ku'uvlin shrieked as some … things brushed past him and a horde of rats poured out of the mists, crawling, biting, and clawing at him. Three monkey-rats suddenly blinked into visibility as, as they chanted in Aklo, bursts of energy striking Brawl Dar and I the last thing I remember.

Day 5

I woke up in a dark room, my heart racing and my head cloudy. I fumbled around, feeling for my weapons and a light. My hand touched something wet and slimy on the ground. Ku'uvlin quietly chanted a spell and a crack of light appeared in our lantern. He explained "That's a trail of slime on the ground leading from the hallway into this room," as he adjusted the door of the lantern. He sat, a grim look on his face. "Ku'uvlin, I saw … things … while we slept." He nodded, knowingly. Brawl Dar bolted up, sword in hands. We stared at him, and after a moment he got his bearings. "Brawl Dar had bad dreams!" We all had bad dreams, bad enough that Ku'uvlin was not able to meditate and refresh his spells. 

"Why didn't those rat-monkey's kill us?" I wondered. Brawl Dar and Ku'uvlin were at a loss to explain. After the initial assault they retreated back into to the fog, apparently. I peeked around the crumbling wall of the room into the hallway. I could see about six meters down the hall, into to billowing yellow fog that was now coming through the openings in the pile of rubble. It was still too small to squeeze through. Other than the strong whistling sound of wind outside, I heard only silence. Rather than risk another attack while we attempted to clear rubble, Ku'uvlin, Brawl Dar, and I decided to try to sneak back through the library and out the window.

As we quietly approached the library, we heard no scampering or chittering. We quickly climbed the spiral stairs to the second story and approached the broken window, from which yellow fog was billowing into the library. Ku'uvlin scanned the room while Brawl Dar removed the ladder from the window and placed it outside. As Ku'uvlin started descending the ladder into the western courtyard, a book struck me on the back of my head. The monkey-rats were throwing books at us! I could hear them chittering in Aklo (a very difficulty language to understand) "Leave! Library belong ratling!" As I started climbing down, Ku'uvlin scanned the sky with his crossbow drawn and Brawl Dar continued. "Uhf! Don't throw books little rats! Books for reading!" As Brawl Dar began climbing down, a I attempted to stabilize the ladder against the foetid smelling wind. Brawl Dar nearly tumbled down as the ratlings grabbed the top of the ladder and began pulling it up. The wind blew stronger, and Ku'uvlin cried out "I hear that thing giggling, hurry up!" We ran through the courtyard to the western ward of the asylum as the ratlings pulled the ladder up and continued throwing books at us. 

We made it back to the chapel, where we met the robed elf from our dream with the ragged stalker. He introduced himself as Talendian. He had a similar dreams, in which he was stalked and murdered by the ragged creature with the blade, and awoke with no memory of his past life. He was escorted by guards to the chapel, where he met with Winter and introduced to the group. As he rested in the chapel, he gathered a pen and paper, and began scribbling madly, until he realized he was writing spells. He was a wizard! Talendian used his newly rediscovered magic to find secret doors and magic, but to no avail. He spoke with Juglan Rivercaine in the basement dungeon, but Juglan said very little other than "Zandalas sees!" and "Praise!". 

We finally were able to get some rest. Waking up in the early evening, we discovered that Baisley, our friendly somnambulistic patient was missing. We searched the area near the laundry where we had battle Dr. Oathsday - she had been doing gruesome experiments. Talendian found Baisley curled up on one of the tables asleep, amidst the corpses. She told us that she had a terrible nightmare of being stalked by the ragged figure in tattered yellow robes.

We were now faced with a dilemma – were were stuck in the western hall of the asylum. The gruesome eyeball door was blocking our passageway to the east. The ratlings had blocked our passageway through the library. We pondered what to do and I recalled the nightmare that I had after I was knocked out by the winged creature – I was washing my face, and my eye began itching. As I scratched it, it swole and blistered, gruesome pulsating veins reaching from it into my cheek and forehead. The eye grew bigger and bigger, and a soft weeping filled the air. I resisted the compulsion to turn away, and as I stared at the eye, the weeping grew more intense, as the eye shriveled and the veins retreated, finally returning my eye to normal.

Brawl Dar, inspired, went to the chaplain's office and grabbed a mirror hanging on the wall. He carried it to the hallway and I pulled the curtain back. Before us, the Argus Eye began to dissolve and dissipate into the ether. We propped the mirror nearby and went east through through the door into the foyer of the asylum. This was the area that Ku'uvlin had explored earlier. To the north was the library. To the east was a hallway leading to the patient's quarters. To the south was the front door, leading outside, to the pallid, yellow mist.

In the silence, I opened a storage closet. Cleaning supplies were scattered on the ground; the back wall of the room was collapsed. I stepped over the debris and rubble, crossbow in one hand and lantern in the other, and tripped over something large on the ground. As I focused the light on the object, I gave a cry in panic as I realized what this was. Half a dozen bodies were laid out in a row, cloth bags covering their heads. Brawl Dar, Ku'uvlin, and I cowered in the corner, terrified at what might come out of the bodies if they were disturbed. Talendian chuckled at our fear and examined the bodies. "Interesting. It appears they were all strangled, and the bags placed over their heads after they were killed."

We returned to the cathedral to rest.

To be continued in Day 6.
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Chronicles of One Luna Teak: Day 4

Newly refreshed, we made our way to the chaplain's office. Children were drawing and playing nearby. Survivors apparently used this space for some quiet time.  We noticed a gated area. In the gated alcove, appearred a cabinet that Ku'uvlin could sense magic emanating from. Brawl Dar took a metal bar and ripped open the doors.

Kuuvlin went through the items with magic while I took the non-magic ones. He found scrolls to Pharasma and magical ones to heal light wounds. There were a couple of scrolls he was unable to figure out at that moment. He found a wand in a wooden box. I found patient files (see file section). Noteworthy was the file on Juglan who apparently improved when able to express himself through art. The file on Zandalas (from the "Zandalas-sees-all fame") also appeared to have artistic skills. The other files gave more info on the survivors as well as a few patients we haven't met yet. I also found a flogger that I decided to keep. Why not?

We see a vent in the room. It was just large enough for Ku'uvlin to fit. I talked to the rat creature in the boiler room to see if i could convince the rat creature to explore the shaft for more food. He refused. Ku'uvlin went down to the cells and gave art supplies gathered near the chaplain's office to Juglan. He drew a horrifying picture that caused Ku'uvlin to lose some sanity.

Kuuvlin went through the shaft and found that it ended in an office area. He removed the grate and lowered himself down. He found a register and pamphlets showing a rough map of the hospital. He grabbed both. He noticed the pictures of the founders and doctors at the hospital. He peered through one door and noticed a library. Through another door he heard crying. Ku'uvlin whispers out a greeting to no response. He decided to climb back up to the vent and return to the group.

The group went out again to find the kitchens. With the map, they realized they could either try to scale one of the walls in the courtyard or go through the area with the curtain that hides a hideous eye-tentacle creature attached to the door. We decided to try to scale but the sheerness of the wall made that impossible. We noticed a third option across the courtyard, which was to climb up to the windows of one of the buildings adjacent to the courtyard that lead to the library Kuuvlin spied. 

Kuuvlin kept watch. Me and Brawl Dar went back to the shed where a usable ladder was found. We brought the ladder out toward the window when the sky began to rumble loudly, deafening the both of us. We got the ladder up and Brawl Dar climbed up first only to be attacked by a gargoyle creature that hits him with its tail wounding him. 

Luna goes up next but was grabbed by the creature, tickled midair and then dropped for damage. I tried shooting at the creature but only managed to graze it with 1 bolt for 2 damage. Kuuvlin tried to distract the gargoyle with a conjured eagle, and I tried again to get up the ladder but was grabbed again and dropped. I went back to the guards and asked for more bolts. He agrees to give me his bolts. I went back out to try again and was grabbed by the creature. This time the drop knocks me out. Kuuvlin ran out and tied a rope around Luna to drag me to safety. Meanwhile, Brawl Dar was exploring the library area, according to Ku'uvlin.

I dreamed that I was grooming myself: brushing teeth, brushing hair, washing my face. My eye itches, and I rub it. It started to swell, and grew a sickly yellow. Veins of unnatural liquid run from my eye along my face, as the infection spread from its source. I couldn't stand it; it's too horrifying. I forced myself to face what i was becoming. I stared in the mirror at the eye, and the writhing veins of putrescent liquid began to shrink and retreat. As I stared at the alien thing my eye has become, I sensed an alien intelligence which screamed and protested at having been seen, as my eye returns to normal. 

I woke up, gasping, as Ku'uvlin poured a healing potion down my throat. I try once more to scurry up the ladder and was able to crawl into the library before the stalking horror swooped in and grabbed me. Kuuvlin went inside to use the vent shaft to get to the library. He met up with Brawl Dar and they explored the rooms nearby. They went towards the room where yellow fog was coming from. They found Dr. Laasandro in a pool of blood kneeling and a weird purple-ish mist emanating from her. 

In my last try to get up the ladder, I made it and went through the window but not before the creature clawed at me for damage. The adventurers regroup and Kuuvlin heals both myself and Brawl Dar. They explored more of the rooms. They found one room was locked and won't budge even with the mighty Brawl Dar kicks. Another room had an antlered beast with the corpse of a priest in yellow robes impaled on the the antlers. The group decided to go back to the library to try to rest for the day. 

Brawl Dar and Kuuvlin pulled the ladder in to cover the window. The group explored the area where books were shredded. I could just catch random words in Akklo from creatures in the tunnels we noticed upon closer inspection of the shredded book area. Our presence had not alerted these creatures but they appeared to be more intelligent than the rat creaturesin the boiler room and more malevolent. The group decided not to rest but to kill Dr. Lassandro.

They entered the room with the doctor. I fired a bolt into her chest for a some damage. Brawl Dar went in for a two-handed strike and hit back by one of the doctors unnaturally strong arms. A second bolt hit the doctor and Brawl Dar went in for another strike. He was hit again by one of the doctor's arms. A third bolt hit the doctor and a final strike from Barwl Dar killed the creature. 

The group uncovered Dr. Losandro's journal, as well as potions, master keys, books, and various items. Ku'uvilin discovered that the two mystery scrolls were healing scrolls. The room was filled with morbid paintings by Zandalas. I looked a little too long and lost some sanity.

To be continued in Day 4 and 5. Return to The Chronicles

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Chronicles of One Luna Teak: Day 2 and 3

Day 2

In the morning we met more of the survivors: Baisley, a friendly woman with a tendency to sleepwalk; a 9 year old boy named Brenton whose brother, Debis was missing; a mute woman playing chess with Brenton named Mura; another boy who suffers from seizures named Bates; and Winter Klazka, the leader of the survivors, a beautiful cleric with porcelain white skin and jet black hair. Winter was chanting a ritual to Pharasma to create water for the survivors.

Winter thanked us for bringing the food we had, but noted that the couple dozen survivors would not make it long without more. Chaplain Setrachian, Dalami Calabar, Jasmine Argade, and Simon Lethbridge had not returned from their search for food. Perhaps he was in trouble and we could go to his aid. Alternately, we could continue gathering food from the trees outside or find the kitchens. Another issue was fuel and hot water – the chapel was cold and the survivors were burning furniture. There was no hot water and morale was low. If we could get the boilers working spirits would be raised. Winter implored us to do something to aid the survivors. 

The chapel itself was a large cross shaped room with stained glass windows. Outside, despite the pounding rain beating down, yellow mist swirled about. Dozens of candles flickered in small alcove shrines dedicated to various deities. Two altars caught my eye in particular. The first, a large stone statue, depicting a woman in a robe like dress holding an hourglass – Pharasma, the Gray Lady. The second, but smaller, was a delicate two foot tall porcelain statue of a woman with butterfly wings – Desna, the Tender of Dreams. 

Guarding the barricade was our old friend Denman – from the previous night – he looked nervously at me, fiddling with a knife. Although the survivors only had a limited amount of ammunition, I convinced him to give me five crossbow bolts. I asked him to cover me while I visited the the boiler room to talk with the Zoog. I was hoping to convince it to nest outside. I explained that there was plenty of food on the trees outside. No luck. There was something out there that the Zoog was terrified of. I returned to the chapel.

Meanwhile, Ku'uvlin explored further down the hallway past the chapel, where he found a floor to ceiling curtain drawn from wall to wall. Behind the curtain he heard a soft sobbing sound, and pulling it back, he began screaming at the sight he behld. Brawl Dar and Captain York ran to him, and by the time they arrived, Ku'uvlin had pulled the curtain back and was backing away, paying for his curiosity with a bit of his sanity. Capt. York calmed Ku'uvlin down. Whatever it was behind the curtain, Captain York was aware of it. It didn't seem dangerous, but it upset the patient-survivors. He thought it best to just leave it alone.

Accepting that the Zoog and its rat swarm were infesting the boiler room and there was no hope of restarting the boiler from there, Brawl Dar and Ku'uvlin decided to brave the basement again. They slid back down the shaft to the furnace room – landing on the pile of rotting bodies. Armed with torches, they loaded the furnace with coal and rags, and got the fire going. However, in the meantime a swarm of strange insects overwhelmed them - hybrid creatures with the bodies of insects but tiny faces of humanoids and animals, once again testing Brawl Dar and Ku'uvlin's sanity. Brawl Dar swung his torch to drive them off, but the nightmare insects crawled on him, driving him made with their insane whispering. He ran forward, striking his head against a wall and fell unconscious. Ku'uvlin continued to hold them off with the torch until finally the swarm dispersed. Ku'uvlin healed Brawl Dar and they returned to the chapel.

In the meantime, Baisley and I went out to the shed to scrounge for anything of use and to pick more fruit from the trees in the garden. Baisley explained that these were enchanted trees and that they produced large amounts of fruit every day. We gathered any tool with wooden shafts and metal ends that could be fashioned into crossbow ammunition as well as pruners and shears for knives. Next we started gathering fruit. I noted that the storm had uprooted some of the trees. The rain had stopped, but the storm was apparently coming back as I could hear thunder in the distance. As we picked I wondered about what it was that the zoog was so frightened of. The storm continued closer and the thunder became louder. A clap of thunder burst overhead – so loud that I was literally deafened – as the rain began pouring again. I looked up at the swirling yellow fog twenty feet above, and saw a large batwing shape float past in the mist, but only for a moment as Baisley pulled me inside with what we had found. I fashioned crossbow bolts until I fell asleep. My hearing didn't return until the morning. 

End of Day 2.

'~'~'~'~'~'~'~'~'~'~'~'~'

Day 3

The guards had seen Dr. Oathsday walk down the hall towards them, and out the door to the courtyard. She returned later and went back down the hall. They tried to speak to her but Denman said she had a mad look in her eyes. Ku'uvlin, Brawl Dar and I decided to explore the area to the north, in hope of finding Chaplain Setrachian. Baisley joined us. Past the area where we had encountered Dr. Latchke, the hallway was completely choked with rubble. It appeared that whatever had damaged the building had collapsed the area above and now we were cut off from the north wing of the asylum, where the kitchens lay. Half buried in the rubble, Baisley recognized the body of Dalami Calabar, one of Chaplain Setrachian's companions. She must have been killed when the hallway collapsed.

We began to clear the rubble to bring her body back, when Ku'ublin noticed something squirming inside her. As he stumbled back over the rubble away from Dalami, her corpse exploded, writhing viscera wrapping around Ku'uvlin's body, arms, and legs, constricting him as he struggled to make the proper gestures and words for magic. Dalami's head detached from the body and floated towards me, then swooped in, biting as it passed. On the next pass, I stepped aside and landed a bolt directly between the eyes, sending the thing skittering across the floor. In the meantime, Dalami's two hands crawled onto Brawl Dar as he atttempted to aid Ku'uvlin. Brawl Dar wrestled with the two hands, which possessed the unnatural strength of the dead. He threw one to the ground and crushed it beneath his boots while he  peeled the other off his throat as it choked him. I didn't dare to shoot at it, for fear of hitting Brawl Dar. Finally, whatever was animating the corpse faded, and Ku'uvlin was able to free himself of the tentacle like intestines that had attacked him. The three of us swore never to come near a corpse that we didn't kill, but really we were just hiding our newly developing terror beneath a shell of bravado.

Moving on, we came to a large laundry room. Across from us, past tables with linens scattered across them and spilling onto the floor, were three figures chained to a pipe running across the far wall. The first, a man in yellow robes with a flame painted onto his forehead looked at us as we entered and smiled. "Zandalus sees!" he exclaimed. He looked to his left, past a second figure – the mutilated body of a man wearing bloody patient's rags – towards the third figure, and said mournfully "Words fail…" The source of his dismay was obvious. The third figure, a ghoul, was feasting on the body of the figure between them. As it appeared that the three figures could slide back and forth across the pipe, but not escape, it was only a matter of time before the ghoul turned to the man in yellow. 

I lifted my crossbow to kill the ghoul, when it looked at me, and pitifully begged for its life. "Argade fell asleep and woke up so hungry… so hungry for Simon!" and with that began ravaging the body again. I took a shot at the ghoul and killed it. So, with Argade turned into a ghoul and Simon murdered, that only left the Chaplain as a possible survivor. Baisley recognized the man in yellow as Juglan Rivercaine, a patient. He hadn't been among the survivors and she didn't know how he would have gotten here. We decided to leave Juglan chained. "Words fail!" he yelled, as we continued on. "Zandalus seeeees!"

We continued into the laundry. Peeking through the door, we saw large basins lined the western wall, and a curtain was drawn across the room from west to east. A shadow was silhouetted against the curtain by a light cast from behind the curtain. In front of us, on tables, were the dissected bodies of patients and staff, as well as monsters (ghouls and dopplegangers). More sick experiments by these devilish doctors turned doppleganger. One of the bodies wasn't dead, it was a woman moaning in pain. We gave the woman on the table wide berth, having learned our lesson from our previous encounters with Dr. Scaen. We also gave the corpses wide berth, as we were terrified what might happen if they were disturbed. Ku'uvlin and I put on the uniforms of orderlies, and feigned that Brawl Dar was our prisoner. Approaching the curtain, we could hear scraping sounds. I pulled back the curtain but the room was empty. There was no light and nothing casting a shadow. The scraping sound countinued, coming from one of the large basins.

We debated what to do next. It was obvious that the woman on the table was severely injured, having been tortured. And, it was obvious that one of the shape shifting doctors was in the room. The question was which of the corpses it was disguised as … or was it disguised as the woman on the table. As a precaution, before trying to heal the woman, we attempted to manacle her. As we did this her features began shifting. "Dr. Oathsday!" Baisley exclaimed. The doctor began chanting a spell, and it became hard to think clearly. I began to see that she was my true friend and prepared to aim my crossbow at Brawl Dar and Ku'uvlin to defend her. As I took aim and began firing, my friends beat the former doctor to death, breaking her spell on me.

We turned our attention to the scraping back to the scraping sounds. The basin from which the sounds came from was about eight feet from floor to the top lip, with step ladder that would allow one to easily peer inside. Brawl Dar slowly mounted the ladder. Suddenly, a pair of dirty claws reached over the ledge. The claws appeared to be those of a ghoul, and it appeared that the creature was trapped in the basin and trying to climb out. Brawl Dar sliced off the creature's fingers with a swift blow of his sword, and the ghoul fell back into the basin with a cry of pain and a thud. We all scrambled up the ladder to peer inside, and saw that the ghoul was wearing the filthy outfit of a cleric. On the ground outside the basin, we found a holy symbol of the Gray Lady, a spiraling comet. Chaplain Setrachian had also succumbed to whatever was transforming the patients and staff into monsters. Brawl Dar entered the basin and manacled the creature.

In the end, we brought the chaplain and Juglan Rivercaine back as survivors. However, because they were both dangerous, we took them down to the basement and locked them in separate cells. Exhausted, we turned back to the chapel, and collected as much fruit as possible. The situation was becoming more dire, as we gathered more food from the fruit trees outside we noticed the storm had ripped more of the trees.

Level up!

To be continued in Day 4. Return to The Chronicles

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Chronicles of One Luna Teak: Day 1

Day 1

"That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die."

The first thing I remember was sitting in an unfamiliar city at a cafe with a small half-orc wearing bones, feathers, and a skirt, an elf in robes, and a large human in a shirt so tight that it looked like it would cut the circulation to his brain.  I later discovered their names (at least, those that they could remember) – Ku'uvlin and Brawl Dar – as well as that Ku'uvlin was half kobold as well as half orc, an oracle apparently, and that Brawl Dar was some kind of fighter. I also learned that none of this was real. But, at the time, everything was as solid as the page I'm writing on now. The only name I can remember for myself is Luna Teak, and based on my ears (and the way I smell, according to Ku'uvlin), I'm half-elf, half-human. They insist I'm a ranger. Labels…    

We sat at the cafe, drinking and chatting, everything going on around us a haze. Whenever I looked around, it was difficult and disturbing, as if I were staring back at myself through a mirror, and I was the reflection. Thick yellow fog swirled through the street on the other side of the window, and slowly drifted in through the open door. Our waiter approached, and said something about "what we want underneath". I turned to speak and my mouth hung open as I saw myself staring back at me, repeating "Let's find out what's underneath." As the waiter spoke, it turned slowly from me to the others, it's face shifting to copy each of us in turn. As it became Brawl Dar, and began mouthing again "Let's find out what's…" Brawl Dar, apparently a man of action not words, flipped the table towards the waiter and shouted "What foul sorcery is this! Beer and coffee, not tricks!" The waiter's face and body melted into a nearly featureless shape, and it menacingly approached. 

The fog continued to drift in, and more figures approached. Cloaked in mists, their bodies shifted with a praeternatural threat that left no doubt of the peril we faced. There was no question of what to do – we fled through the unfamiliar streets.

What followed next was most singular indeed. Running through the pallid yellow fog, the four of us were separated. Turning a corner, I was surprised to come across my parents, who had been killed many, many years ago. They had a feral, hungry look in their eyes, and approached me, insisting that they wanted to see the "real me". They embraced me, and I was powerless to move or resist as they sniffed and pinched me. I gagged as a foetid smell of rotting flesh filled the air, and as I broke away, I could see the bodies of my adoptive mother and father transforming, their skin becoming a pale greenish-grey, as their muscles all but wasted away, leaving them almost literally skin and bones. As I fled into the swirling mists, the last I saw of them was razor sharp teeth growing from their mouths and filthy claws from their fingers.  

I fled in terror through the strange streets and alleys, as from the mists behind me the sound of something relentlessly pursued me. Exhausted, I turned to face my stalker, and felt my mind shatter as "the yellow fog parted, and a mask of grey rags emerged, strips of something fleshier than fabric worming and constricting across a body that was almost humanlike – mut too lean, and far too flexible. Gauzy grey ribbons reached out like tendrils towards me, each grasping for my less doubtful flesh to claim."1  The creature left no quarter for me to defend myself. It approached with maddening languidness, and suddenly a flicker of metal and a spray of blood and it was over. As I slumped against the wall, my life force draining from my body, I saw the blood spray on the walls had spelled a word "ME". My gaze slumped to the left and I saw the rest of the message "SAVE UP WAKE". I heard the message echoing in my head as everything went black. "Wake up! Save me!"


I woke with a start. Candles flickered behind a barred gate, providing some illumination (thanks to my half elf eyes, this was enough for me to see clearly). I took stock of my situation. I was on some type of cot, in a small cell or cage. Ku'uvlin and Brawl Dar were in the cell with me, also stirring. Through the gate, there was nothing in front of me, but the flickering of the candles to the left, around the corner. From that direction, I heard a wet scrape and the sound of a man moaning. It sounded like someone was in pain. More wet scraping sounds.

Ku'uvlin caught my eye as Brawl Dar sat up, and we both rushed to him, but too late. "Brawl Dar doesn't know where he is!" The wet scraping sounds stopped, and the silence was broken by the sound of something metallic being dropped. Footsteps approached and a figure appeared in front of the cage. She appeared to be a doctor or nurse, from her blood covered outfit. A name tag simply identified her as "Dr. Scaen". She looked in the cage, held her index finger to her mouth, and made a sound, "Shhhhhh…" She went back, out of sight. I rushed to the bars and peered through. Outside our cell was a narrow hallway with a number of cells on either side. To the left, strapped to a table, barely conscious, was a man, covered in cuts, portions of his flesh stripped from his hands and arms and laid on the table before him.

"Doctor" Scaen rummaged through a number of sharp instruments gathered on the table, and selected what appeared to be a garden trowel. As she raised it I cried out "Stop!" She turned, locking eyes with me, and for a moment there was only silence. Suddenly, her face twisted and I was staring into my own visage. "You're next!" she exclaimed, as she lifted the trowel and brought it down to the man's gut. Blood pooled on the table as he moaned in pain. He gazed towards me and silently mouthed a cry for help. 

I backed away from the bars, my heart racing and barely able to breath, terrified beyond words at what I had witnessed. Behind me, Ku'uvlin and Brawl Dar had wasted no time. Brawl Dar was dismantling the bed, and had armed himself with a long metal rod. Ku'uvlin passed me a loose brick that he had pried from the wall then armed himself with our chamber pot. Through the bars, he heaved the bucket at Dr. Scaen, covering her in filth. Infuriated, she raced to our cage and berated us, while Ku'uvlin deftly grabbed her key ring and unlocked the gate. "Ho ho, Brawl Dar is here!" Brawl Dar stepped through the gate and swung the bar at Dr. Scaen with both hands, striking her across the brow. Apparently not wanting to face three foes, Dr. Scaen fled down the dark hallway out of the candlelight. 

Ku'uvlin and I rushed to the man to aid him, but he his wounds were too much. "Everything went mad … patients, staff, doctors…. monsters… find Chaplain Setrachian…" A blood stained name tag identified him as "Orderly Campre". As we searched the hallway and the cells, we discovered that we all had the same disquieting dream, including being having family and friends transform into ghouls and being stalked and killed by the ragged figure in yellow. In a cell across the hallway, we discovered another sleeping figure – the elf from our dream. Unable to rouse him, we continued searching the hallway.   

We came upon a furnace, unlit and cold. Before it were piles of discarded clothes, bloodied and torn. Ku'uvlin and I looked at each other. He sorted through the clothing, and gave a start. "What is this…?" he pondered as he pulled a small violin from the dirty rags. The violin was well made and in perfect shape. Ku'uvlin peered inside and found a little note, with the word "Ausiel". Continuing the other way down the hallway, in the direction that Dr. Scaen fled, we opened a door in the darkness and were assaulted with a foul scent. Ku'uvlin, able to see in the dark with his orc-kobold eyes, was the first to comprehend the horror. "No, no, no…" he muttered. As Brawl Dar came up behind us with a candle, it was clear where the stench came from and who the bloody clothes belonged to.

In this dark stone room, piled up under a chute, lay dozens of corpses, piled on top of each other, limbs askew. They were all naked, with various wounds indicated a violent death by weapon, claw, or bludgeoning. Dozens of bodies that had been casually tossed down a chute.  "C'mon", I said. "We've got to find a way out of here." But, unfortunately there appeared only one way out. A stairwell to our right was buried in rubble, as was the passageway heading to the left. It appeared that the only way out was up, and that involved crawling over the corpses. 

Once I made up my mind do make the climb, I distanced myself from the gruesome task and scrambled up, into the chute. It was an easy climb, and as I carefully approached the top, I lifted a hatch. I was barely able to make out my surroundings in the dim light coming from under the wall to my right, but it was obvious that I was in a small gardening shed. A small shed with shovels, hoes, forks, wheelbarrows… and a chute for disposing of bodies. Outside it was raining. Brawl Dar and Ku'uvlin followed me up the chute. We gathered some supplies (rope, torch, lantern, flint), and exited the shed. We stood under a small overhang, and looked around the walled garden we found ourselves in. There were a number of fruit trees, and swirling amongst them was that same yellowish mist from our dreams. The sky was completely obscured by the yellow fog, and rain beat down in the garden. We felt heat emanating from the rain. To our right, under the eaves of the roof, was a door with a sign that read "West Ward – Chapel – Facilities – Administration". Across from us, to the east, was a large wall with windows running across the top, and to our north and south the walls had collapsed in rubble. Ku'uvlin pointed out that the wall behind us (to the west) was intact and that there was a door heading in. As we were famished, we walked into the storm to gather apples, but were forced back by the scalding rain. 

I listened at the door. Hearing nothing, I slowly opened the door. Inside, a hallway running to the left and right, with a sign  "< Chapel — Facilities / Administration ->" – dimly lit by the pallid daylight and some candlelight from the left. I entered the hallway and immediately felt a sharp pain in my arm. I had been shot by a crossbow bolt. Another flew past me, missing the mark by a wide margin. "C-captain York! Th-there's another!" A voice from the direction of the chapel exclaimed. Huddled behind an improvised barricade of desks and chairs twenty feet from me, a man and a woman, both dressed in uniforms similar to that of poor Campre, aimed crossbows at me. The man was shaking nervously, but the woman's aim was steady and true. "Don't come any closer", she said. Behind the barricade, lanterns lit a hallway which turned to the left, with a number of doors on either side. From a door behind the barricade a man appeared, bearing a crossbow in one hand and a sword on his hip. He wore a scowl on his face and walked with a martial bearing. His uniform confirmed that he was no doctor or orderly. The nervous orderly stood up and whispered to him, his hands shaking violently, as the woman maintained her aim at me. I held up my hands. 

Captain York fixed his eyes on mine. "We've no patience for your kind. Leave now or die." I tried to explain but was interrupted. "Enough of your tricks!" Captain York roared. He turned to the orderlies. "Another one came by recently?" They nodded in confirmation. "I think it was – used to be – Dr. Scaen." Captain York regarded me, he called for assistance, and two more appeared. Now, with five crossbows aimed at me, Captain York said, "Tell your friends to enter, slowly." Ku'uvlin scuttled in, and Brawl Dar sauntered. Both were eating apples. Captain York said "Bring me back a body of one of those dopplegangers, and we can discuss your story." I begged him to give us something to fight them with. York's face twisted with rage and he opened his mouth but was interrupted by the nervous orderly, who whispered something. "Fine, Denman, you're probably right." He turned to me. "How many apples do you have. Give us those and we can give you some cloaks and shields." We had collected a couple dozen apples, and I rolled them towards the barricade. Denman, the nervous orderly, entered a door and a moment later came out another door in front of the barricade. While the York and the other orderlies kept their weapons trained on us, Denman gathered the apples and threw a bundle of cloaks and three shields towards us.

"Now go." York motioned with his crossbow down the dark hallway, towards the facilities. "That's where your friend went. Tell her and the rest of your shape-changing to leave us be." We headed off into the darkness. 


We quietly skulked off into the dark hallway. Brawl Dar holding a candle and armed with a metal bar, and Ku'uvlin and myself armed with gardening tools and pieces of rubble. Ku'uvlin led the way, as he was unhampered by the complete darkness. As we walked down the dark corridor to the north, it was evident that a great deal of destruction had taken place. The stone ceiling, floor, and walls were cracked, and rubble littered the floor at places. Occasionally a draft blew through a crack. With no idea where to go, but knowing we had to confront Dr. Scaen in order to convince Captain York of our good intentions, we began checking each door as we passed.

A sign next to one door indicated "Boiler Room". Ku'uvlin quietly opened the door, and scurrying sounds filled the air – perhaps seeming louder than they really were because of the darkness. In the far corner of the room, two large round water tanks were connected to the wall by a number of pipes. The boilers were apparently not working, as there was no condensation or heat in the room. Rubble lay scattered about – it was apparent that Dr. Scaen was not in here, although rats were in abundance, as evidenced by the continued scurrying as we searched the rubble. I found a chain hanging from the wall, and as I gathered it, I heard "Brawl Dar sees a light under the pipes!" Sure enough, two small beams of light darted quickly around the room from behind the pipes, casting unsettling shadows in the middle of the room. I was surprised to hear from the direction of the lights a few muttered words – "Hungry… home … lonely" – in Aklo, an otherworldly language found in the Darklands, used by aberrations and other unnatural creatures. Ku'uvlin squatted down, reaching behind the pipes. "I think it's a zoog." The creature bit his hands and would not let it go. The rats in the room began swarming, crawling on us and biting. Finally, the rats scattered and the zoog let go of Ku'uvlin once I promised, in broken Aklo, that we would leave it alone.  

We continued our search. In a linen closet, we discovered a pendant. While pondering whether we should grab it, giant centipedes burst out of a crack in the ceiling and chased us away. Continuing into the darkness, the piles of rubble became larger. As we entered the administrative offices, the magnitude of the the destruction became apparent. Entire sections of walls had fallen, making it impossible to move quickly. We carefully balanced as each step caused stone and timber to shift, echoing loudly in the darkness. As we made our way through the offices, we heard a moaning, and came upon an elderly nurse, partially buried in the rubble. I splint her leg, which had been wounded in the cave in. She introduced herself as Grata Rubolia, and slowly followed us as we continued to explore the ruined offices.  

Deeper into the administrative offices, we faced another shock. Muttering and mumbling, a doctor stood with his back to us, dissecting the bodies of patients and monsters. Strips of flesh hung from wires strung between shelves. Nurse Rubolia hobbled forward, "Dr. Latchke, these lovely gentle-beings pulled me out of the rubble. They are in need of treatment." Dr. Latchke turned around, its face a featureless mass of flesh, it's coat soaked in blood, and holding a bloody scalpel in its hand. With the scalpel, it pointed at the table. "Lay down and await your turn please", it said good naturedly. Brawl Dar wasted no time, and swung his metal bar at the back of Dr. Latchke's skull, striking home. Nurse Rubolia's face twisted in rage, mimicking Brawl Dar, then settling on Dr. Scaen's face. The "wound" closed up, but although her leg was not really injured, she was now hobbled by the splint I had luckily fashioned for her. She swung her long, sharp claws at Brawl Dar's back, knocking him to the ground, where he struck his head and fell unconscious. Ku'uvlin and I grabbed surgical tools from Dr. Latchke's table, and battled with it. Dr. Lathke's grip tightened around my throat, and I passed out as I saw Ku'uvlin stab it over and over and over, while Dr. Scaen hobbled away, over the rubble into the darkness. 

I awoke with a sore neck, coughing and hacking. Looking around at the dim light, I saw that this had been no dream, but that I was actually living in a nightmare. As Ku'uvlin chanted over me, a soothing sensation washed over my neck. I saw Brawl Dar, dragging the body of Dr. Latchke, had similarly been healed. Ku'uvlin shrugged "It just came back to me…" If his memories would return, perhaps mine would as well. We brought the body of Dr. Latchke back to the barricade, and, true to his word, Captain York begrudgingly allowed us is. "I've got my eye on you," he warned.

A group of about twenty survivors were gathered behind the barricade in the a chapel of whatever or wherever we were. We were promised that we would be given weapons and armor if we would help protect the survivors and find more food. Ku'uvlin spent the last of his energy helping to heal the wounded survivors before passing out. As I drifted to sleep, I saw Captain York speaking with a beautiful raven haired woman with pale white skin, confirming that we had brought down a doppleganger and that yes, we could probably be trusted to find the missing Chaplain Setrachian. 

1. F. Wesley Schnieder wrote this brilliant description. 

To be continued in Day 2.
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