Strange Aeons

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

Comments

elfiran LunaTeak

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