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.
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.
End of Day 3.