The Haunting of Harrowstone

Zaren: Inflame

Trial again. Lost track of the days. Used to have a way to count the hours. This flask is convenient, but it takes away my measure. Don’t have anything to count anymore.

Went back to Professor what’s-his-name, got him to cast the spell so we could talk to the kid. Kid said that she’d been killed by a ghost, and had never seen the beast. Figured. Professor wouldn’t come in and testify, though, so it was just our word in court. Apathetic bastard. And you’re any different? Careful, your justice streak is showing. You cared once, remember?

Mo The claw-girl said I tried to warn her. Told her I was leaving after the trial. Told her she’d be better off. She didn’t listen. Said she’d miss me if I was gone. Why?

How long has it been since anyone cared whether you were alive or dead? You could have died in Daggermark a hundred times over, and if your body wasn’t in middle of a tavern, no one would have noticed for days. Even bodies on the street aren’t commented on. You got used to living like a rat in a hole, hiding from the living, hiding from everything. You remember how dark that room was. Do you really want to go back?

It’s better for them this way. Better for you.

Went to the courthouse. Holy man wanted me to talk. Like fucking hell I was going up there. They were doing just fine without me. Judges seemed to be listening to us.

Then the beast started crying when that one kid’s name was mentioned, the one he’d supposedly carried back into town, the one they’d thought he was laughing over. Le Ragged boy asked me to talk about that. Said that we needed to bring it up, that there wasn’t anyone else. Shit shit shit shit shit

Went up. Was getting shaky. Hadn’t had a drink since the trial started. Who fucking listens to a drunk as a witness anyway?

They were all staring at me. Couldn’t think for a minute. Couldn’t breathe. The others, they’re always around, constantly talking and asking things…it’s like drowning in words. You lost track of words for awhile, remember? A sentence or so every day, maybe two. Maybe none, if you had enough food and drink.

Said what the ragged boy had wanted me to say. Didn’t do as well as the others. At least they didn’t turn on us. Holy man took my hand afterward, said I’d done all right

Court ended. Ragged boy warned us that the spectators didn’t seem too happy with the way the trial was going. They wanted him to burn die. Judge said that we should keep an eye on the beast, keep them from taking justice into their own hands. Had the thought that I’d rather just shoot them and be done with it. It was wrong.

Went to see the last witness, the one from the arson case. Why is it always fucking fire? He was blind. Had lost his master and everyone else in the fire. And he still wanted the beast to burn, to inflict that fate on another creature.

Wouldn’t you? If someone found that thing thatThe monster that took Aja and Those raidersIf they were foundWhat would you do?

Nothing. Nothing will bring them back.

They wanted to go. To the place that had burned. Couldn’t talk them out of it. Almost stayed behind. Would have, if they’d argued with me about it. But they all seemed…understanding. Pitying. Couldn’t let them think I was weak. Even though you are.

Holy man said I was troublesome. And stubborn.

Took the horses again. Didn’t get enough for me to ride alone this time. Ended up with Sev the holy man. Thought that he might fuss at me some more, but he didn’t. He wasIHe

Fuck, I can’t write this down.

It almost felt like when Aja wasHe’s nothing like her. Nothing at all. So why

He was warm. It’s been four years since I was that close to anyone. Didn’t miss it. Not before

FUCK.

NO.

NOTHING HAS CHANGED, DAMN IT.

[And this entry is instantly flung into the fire.]

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Zaren: Haze

Village. Investigating.

It drags on you, this place. Full of ghosts.

Found out what killed the kids. It was a wraith. We got it.

Brought back a skeleton to act as a witness. Apparently we have to talk to that professor again in order to speak with him her fuck, I don’t even know it. Great. Holy man better be doing that, because I sure as hell aren’t signing up. Ragged boy says that we need to have a backup plan to break the beast out in case the trial doesn’t go our way. Sure, might as well become a fugitive. Why the hell not.

I think my aim’s sharper with this flask. Everything’s clearer when it’s just me and the gun. It’ll end with just you and the gun, and you know it. Nothing to think about except the way the breeze is headed, and the target.

How much longer

I just want to get this over with.

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Zaren: Trial

First day of the trial. Not as bad as it could have been. Not good, either. They all just want him to burn. They want someone to blame. If it wasn’t him, whatever did this is still out thereNot your concern.

The others wanted me to talk. Like hell I was going up there. They do just fine at talking to people without me. I didn’t sign up for this gods-damned trial anyway. Anything I would have to say would only make matters worse. I am tired of all this. Tired of people following me around, tired of the fussing and the conversations and the fear. In Daggermark, I could go for days without saying a single word to anyone. I grew accustomed to silences, and to people talking around me, but my participation was rarely required. And they think I can stand up in front of an entire room of people and talk, when a life depends on those words? It is impossible.

The claw-girl drew all of us. Made me chuckle to see what she thought of everyone. And then I got to mine. Big brother. No. No no no no no no no no no no. I have lost that role for good. It burned with the rest.

Leave them. Leave them now, while you still can. While you can remember them alive, and not cursed and broken and cold.

Visited the carnival folk again. They had an addition to their troupe, a small man who told fortunes. The others all wished to hear their futures. I did not. I do not need a crystal sphere to tell me what I already know. A bottle and a small room at an inn, rotting. The crystal was defective in any case; it exploded when the man tried to use it. It has nothing to do with you; you didn’t even ask for your fortune; it’s not a sign it’s not a sign it’s not a sign— He said that the others had a great destiny. When we left, I felt something in my pocket. A flask, filled with dwarven fire whiskey. No matter how many sips I take from it, it never becomes any emptier. One expense taken care of, one less interaction to have. Definitely not letting the holy man know. He’d probably try to take it. I think he’s angry with me.

Went to investigate the next case. Children killed in a town whose name I don’t remember, town abandoned because their ghosts haunted it. Ghosts again. Talked to three sisters from the town. They didn’t like us. They want vengeance for their losses, too. Pointless. They said that the last death was a girl in her bed. No disturbance of the house, no intruders, not a mark on her. That’s not the work of a flesh golem.

Went to the town to investigate. That girl’s house seemed normal. Abandoned, with things still there as if they were planning to return. Don’t return. Don’t look back. What will dwelling on the dead avail you? Believe me, I know. I cannot stop. Her ghost appeared. The knight shot it. Probably ill-advised if we wish to speak with her. She would not answer my questions. (Can they speak? So far there has been only that laughter.)

I do not like this place. I do not like being involved in their quarrels, their justice, their vendettas. I do not like being involved with the others. You are getting tangled up again, can’t you see? You said never again. You made a promise.

You made a promise.

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Zaren: Stay

I remain with them. Not by choice but admit, you are relieved.

We have become involved with an investigation. Somehow. Unclear on how exactly we got roped into this mess, but the others volunteered our services. All of us. Including me. (Damn you all, I am not yours to command.) We are promised a substantial payment, equaling the one we received from Lorrimor’s bequest. Never have to scrub tavern floors again; that’s certain. Is it worth it? Perhaps not. Not if you continue growing attached, you fool. This is not going to happen again, is that clear? This is a delay. Nothing more.

Investigation. The Beast, the one they mentioned when we first got to town. It’s him. We are meant to investigate his case. If he is found guilty, they will burn him alive. What sort of fucking barbarians have that as a sentence?

Ones who have never smelled flesh burning, or heard the screaming that goes along with it. Ones who do not know what they do, who never will know, or those who don’t care as long as there is a punishable party. The law does not always listen to justice, let alone truth.

Talked to the Beast. It—he—is a flesh golem, according to ragged boy, but…sentient. A bit slow, but he talks. Apparently that’s not usual. Said he didn’t do the crimes he’s accused of. Wouldn’t matter if he did. Come to that, I’d put a bullet in his head myself before letting this sentence happen.

This had nothing to do with you, remember?

Holy man wants to talk to me. Like hell that’s going to happen. He’ll just fret at me again. I AM NOT YOUR FUCKING RESPONSIBILITY

Went to a swamp town to talk to witnesses of one of the attacks. Headman didn’t seem inclined to talk to us. Ragged boy did something. Was friendlier after that. Said that the creature that attacked the town was bitten by a crocodile. He’d have a scar. Beast doesn’t have a scar. I don’t think he did it. Any of it.

Not your problem.

Have to be at the trial tomorrow. Damn it.

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Mollileen: Today I learned...

Dear Diary~

Today we got to Lectus-stad and I learned so many new things along the journey. I also learned things while in town. I thought I should right them down. If you forget to remember it is like you never knew at all!

We decided to leave early on for Lectus-stad (I know it isn’t really called that, but no one seems to understand that I was trying to learn how to make a joke. I think I was still able to tease Lec about it) and I went out and hired us a carriage to take us on a journey of magic and wonder. Here is a list of what I learned while we were traveling.

Number 1: Circus folk are ever so much fun.
The are really nice and really friendly! I made a new friend for life: Mr. Wolfboy! We played lots along the way! I think I would really have fit in if I had met these nice people earlier in my life.

Number: number 2- Sand is not good for swimming.
While we were helping the circus-friends look for a lost girl, I stepped in some sand that tried to eat me. It was kinda fun, but a little scary. Then a monster came and it got very scary.

Number Next: Sneaky spiders are sneaky.
While I was swimming and we were lost girl-looking we were attacked by Mr. Hungry Invisi-spider Mr. HIS was very hungry and very sneaky. It bit so many people. I used one of my super special magic tricks to slow it down then it ran away. Also Lec set it on fire. I don’t think it liked that. Mr. HIS is still out there somewhere…waiting. .

After we got to Lectus-stad (really called Lepistad) I just kept on learning.

Number After That: Old Men can be kind of cute sometimes.
After we got settled in and went to school to drop off books because Professor Zombimore asked us to, we met an old man who could transform Mr. Carriage Thief back into Mr. Sevda. I really like him. He was nice and I thought he was kinda cute in an old man kinda way. I think the others agree with me on this on; they were all rendered speechless by his cuteness.

Number Last: Beasts can talk.
One of the most amazing things I learned is that the Beast of Lectus-stad can talk! Aparently Mr. Beast was arrested because he got angry and broke things and stole a statue. But Mr. Beast says “No I didn’t!!” The fact that a beast can talk is so awesome…but I really don’t know what a ‘beast’ is. I hope to learn this soon. Maybe I can meet Mr. Beast! If I do I will have to give him a great big hug so he can stop feeling so gosh darn angry. Then maybe he will talk to us and we can learn the truth so he can get all un-arrested. I am so excited!

Lectus-stad is such a magical land and all my friends are still with me! I can’t wait to meet Mr Beast or to see Mr. Wolfboy again! I have been feeling so happy lately!

Loves!
Molly~

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The Red Knight: a Reminder -- a Warning

To Our Avenger,

The Shaman has told me that you killed the ghosts at the Harrowstone — good. You’re actually proving to be useful. Maybe your dream is not as foolish as I had once thought. So tere few city-kind see you as a hero — a start.

I have heard you made some allies — good I suppose. They seem to have some special abilities — useful. Don’t get too attached. Just be sure none of them have a knife looking for your back. I don’t have to remind you about your hero the Shepherd.

And I certainly don’t have to remind you about what you have to do to anyone who knows who you really are. We don’t need city-kind tracing you to our clan — got it?

May the Spirits and the One keep you from getting yourself killed.

Your Great and Powerful Chieftan

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Zaren: Divergence

Made it to Lepistadt. In one piece. Surprisingly.

Found a circus troupe on the road. Others were bent on stopping to talk to them, so we did. Turned out one of their own had gone missing. A kid. They wanted us to look for her.

Giant spiders. Lect Ragged boy wasn’t too happy about that. Neither was Lorrimor’s daughter. Helped more than I’d thought she would. He said they were Phase Spiders. We found her body. Little, light. Like a bird. Brought her back. They didn’t blame us. Holy man said it wasn’t my fault, that the kid was dead before we’d ever even met them. I know he’s right. But.

We traveled with them until we reached Lepistadt.

[In increasingly unsteady handwriting, gets wobblier with every line. To the extent that there ARE lines, by the end.]

Found a place to stay. Found the university. Delivered some of Lorrimor’s books. The professor we delivered them to directed us to a man that could cure the holy man’s curse. Professor something-or-other. Most fucking awkward interaction I’ve ever had in my life. At least he fixed the holy man so he can dance naked in the town square howling at the moon for all I care; he’s my favorite person in this town. Holy man is back to his normal bubbly skippy self, and that’s what matters.

Shit, did I just write that down?

One more set of books to deliver. The work of an hour, and then? They’ll be gone. They’ll all be gone.

It’s for the best.

I don’t want to leave them. Especially But I must. Both for their sakes, and mine. The next time I lose people, it’ll be on MY terms, damn it

Deliver the books. Then it’s time. Did you think this could last forever? Nothing abides. Nothing.

Only ash.

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Sevda: A Continuation

I, like many of my companions, am going to take a moment to relish our victory against the atrocious prison that not only attempted to destroy us but to destroy the town (and maybe even the world) around it. It was arduous and I was very nearly certain that we would not make it out alive. I am not one to go back on my promises, but there was that little voice whispering to me that nothing we could do would save these people. Despite that I could not allow myself to give up, not when this behest had been given to me directly. To leave these people would mean turning my back on my fundamental morals and I could not do that nor would my Goddess condone such behavior.

So we trudged on through the old prison that was constantly trying to kill us. Slowly but surely we found each of the strongest spirits that inhabited this place and helped to put them in a place where Vesorina could control them and, hopefully, help them to move on from this plane. In our final days battling this spirit I found myself face to face with Father Charlatan. How I got to that point, well, I had been a fool. I should have known better. This place almost felt like it was made to trick us.

I saw Miss Kendra Lorrimor trapped within the confines of this maiden filled with spikes (a Mourning Maiden was its proper name) and I made a motion to save her from it, or try to. Had it truly been her I could not simply allow her to die in such a way without attempting to help her. It was an illusion and I was pulled within the device. My body was wracked with a searing pain. It was terrifying, being trapped in such a place where there was no escape from the imminent death of the horrendously loving embrace of the mourning lady. There is no pain quite like it. I could not explain it in a way that would allow one who had never experienced it to understand and I would never wish such an experience on anyone.

When I opened my eyes once more I was surprised. I had been certain I had died and the man that was awaiting my return assured me that I had been. He had the most startling red hair I have ever seen in my life. It was nearly as bright as his smile as he welcomed me back to the world of the living. He informed me that I had been brought here by my companions after they found my dead body. They left me behind here until the members of Pharasma could find a way to revive me. It seemed…odd. I asked him if he knew where they went and he did not. I was tired and, to be honest, more than a little mortified. I had failed. I had done exactly what I told Zaren I would not do. Despite my feelings, I could not shake the feeling that something strange was happening. I asked the man his name and he told me.

Sefric Corvan. Father Charlatan. The spirit trapped within the walls of Harrowstone Prison had created an illusion of some kind. I assume it was all within my own mind, but I cannot be certain. It was strange. I didn’t think to attack him, not at first. I wanted to understand the situation before I did so. He truly believed he was fooling me the entire time. He very well may have if we had never stopped to do the investigating that I wanted to do. We had a somewhat pleasant conversation for what it was. It wasn’t anything substantial. I asked him about his world, what was happening, if he was well known, etcetera. It seemed that every time I challenged him personally as to who he really was he tried to assault me somehow. A type of spiritual magic perhaps? Either way it was a battle of Will and those are not ones I lose easily.

I stood against him and challenged him in every way I could before resorting to my abilities to do any damage to him, assuming I could harm this form with my channeling. Somewhere far away I could hear something in the distance. It sounded like Zaren. I couldn’t quite hear all he said. It was far away, tinny, but I think I heard him begging me not to be gone. I didn’t have the time to mourn or try to find a way to show him that I was alive. I had to win against this man or I wasn’t certain what would have happened to the rest of the party. It was a terribly back and forth between he and I. I feel I did a very good job. When he did lash out, it was the most painful thing I had ever felt in my life. Even more so than the Mourning Maiden. The most accurate summary I can think of is that it was like someone had split my skull and raked their claws through my brain. I did not stop. I couldn’t.

And I didn’t. I was victorious. I awoke in Zaren’s arms. He stayed with me the whole time. He believed me to be alive even when the others didn’t. It was most certainly touching. I was grateful for him. Had he not been helping me as he had, I’m not sure I would have done as well as I did. After that we decided to retreat. I needed the rest. I went to the Father of the local church and he informed me of what I feared. I had been cursed by the device in the torture chamber and there was nothing I could do about it. He was not strong enough to heal it, nor was I. I was exhausted. I fear I will be for some time now. I feel ill constantly and I am hideous.

Zaren stayed with me until I fell asleep. He sang to me. It was the most beautiful lullaby I have heard in such a long time. For the first time in years I found myself missing my mother. Perhaps I should write her soon, see how she is doing. Perhaps she has found a new young lady to take over her business when she gets too old. Although I’m doubting she will ever be too old. No woman has as much fight in her as my mother. Oh dear now I really do miss her…

I didn’t have time to be homesick. We woke to find fissures in the ground and we decided that we needed to return to the prison and end it. Right then and there. So that we did. We returned to the prison and we found him. At first we had to fight the room. It was…interesting. I never had such an experience before now and here we were, fighting a cursed room. Well, curse might not have been the appropriate word to use but oh well. I could go into the details of the fight but I do believe that the only thing that needs to be known is we won. We very nearly lost Molly multiple times. I have reason to believe she was taking the damage that Nanya should have been taking. I knew Lectus could take care of her. He’s a better healer than he believes himself to be.

In the end we were victorious and when we went to tell Vesorina. At that moment it was like the prison had become an entirely different place. It was lighter and…quiet. I took a moment to admire that we had truly returned this place to one that could return to a peaceful place. The people in the town below no longer had to fear such a place and it could return to legend once more. The townsfolk gathered all they could afford to give and paid us for our work. Part of me thought of rejecting the payment, but my wallet has been pretty empty and I haven’t been able to buy anything…

Anyway. We spoke to Miss Lorrimor and it turns out she would like to come with us to Leptistad. We will return the books. After that I am not certain what will become of us. I am rather fond of the people I have found here and I do not wish to part from them just yet, but they may have their own agendas…

This is strange. Usually I’m the one that leaves. Is this apprehension what others feel when we inevitably part ways?

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The Red Knight: The Great Spekter -- Victory!

To our Venerable Shaman,

At last, we have done it! The treacherous Horrowstone prison is free of its horrid spirits! My compatriots and I fought nobly and made great sacrifices, but we have all survived — victorious!

We explored the remainder of the upper floor where the haunting Piper resided. There, we found the remains of a man wrapped in chains and locked by what Holy-Sevda confirmed to be god symbols. Many of them. He took these and held on to them in case of emergency – will not question the holy man in matters of the holy. With every stone of the prison turned, we made our way back to the torture room in the basement. There, many of the torture devices sprung to life! This horrible man-shaped casket filled with spikes, they called a “mourning maiden,” sprung open to reveal the illusion of a dead friend of ours inside. Nobly, Sevda charged towards it to save her, but it was a trap. It sucked him in and closed.

When we opened it, he was dead.

Something awakened in me. Everyone was furious and traumatized, but their words I could not hear over the sounds of a hundred bees buzzing in my head. My eyes dimmed and could not focus. I saw the device responsible for my friend’s death, an object, not even a living thing, and assaulted it with every last ounce of fury I had. When I could think again, I was in a cave, helping to fight some ooze creature. The maiden was in pieces, and, somehow, Sevda was alive – thank every god responsible! We decided to return to town to rest after such an experience.

The final day had a different feel than the others – ominous. It was as if we had all known since dawn that this would be it. Many of my allies were having personal conversations with each other – likely discussing battle strategies. Whilst in town, great fissures erupted from the ground! We traced their origin to the prison – a sign. It was today or never.

We explored the cave I had awoken in the day before. This cave, this Path to the end, struck a chord with me. It led to a room – the fateful room. As my friends and I set foot in here, the walls began bleeding. Some of my allies saw their names being spelled – thank the One mine was not one of them! Unless it would spell “The Red Knight.” Trust me, in city-folk tongue, it would just look silly. At last, the cowardly Splatterman spekter emerged, firing balls of searing light at all of us – a magicker for sure! We fought him valiantly with bow and spell and smiting. The spekter fled into a pool, but to no avail. Nanya, the summoned creature, dived after him. I would have too if it weren’t for this blasted armor sinking me like a stone. However, the man of Splatter was a sitting duck for Sevda’s holy blasting. Mollileen, the creature-girl, was absorbing the wounds of Nanya much to her peril. After a long and tiring battle, we struck it down at last – glorious! The prison creaked and gave one last heave before coming to rest. We had won the day!

The town regarded us as heroes! Children dressed up as us – a good a start as any for followers. We were rewarded gold for our exploits in the prison – I have sent my share in this note to the tribe. We must continue on to deliver these special books. It is necessary to avenge Lorrimor. The Path is true, I avenged this fallen man, and now an entire town regards me as a hero. This will be the first of many. Soon my reputation will be great, and we will have hope yet of joining the city-kind! May I some day honor the Shepherd.

Progress and Victory to All Our Kind!

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Mollileen: A Fond Farewell to Professor Splatterman

Dear Diary-

Today was the most eventful day of all the eventful days! First me and Lec (he seems to like it when I call him that~) talked alot in the morning. I didn’t really understand what he was trying to say, but I smiled and nodded so he would feel better. Something about “it is okay to not be okay”…do you think Lec is maybe not okay? Maybe I should sit down and have a better talk with him…maybe he needs Molly to be his big sister. Tee-hee, just imagine that…me as a big sister. I’m sure my hugs and snuggles will help him feel happy again.

Next we all went back to play at the prison. We went upstairs looking for Mr. Father Charlatan but we found only his bones so Nanya threw them outside. I didn’t know you could kill ghosts like that…we searched all over the upstairs but found no ghosties so we went back to the messy playroom. In there a metal box ate Mr. Sevda and put a whole bunch of holes in him. We were all sad cuz he was dead but then Mr. Zaren yelled alot, Nanya broke the box, and me and Lec played with a board while Mr. Red Knight fought slime and Mr. Sevda stopped being dead so we were all happy once more. We all got super tired so we went home for sleepies.

The next day we visited Professor Splatterman in his room and had a civil disagreement with him. Seems like he refused to stop all that haunting shenanigans so Nanya beat him up. Me and Nanya and Mr. Red Knight fought the hardest. Lec kept me feeling good when I got sleepy and he also burned a book because reasons. Mr. Zaren and Mr. Carriage-thief (That is Mr. Sevda’s new nickname)…well they tried hard too. Mr. Zarren splashed him and shot him a little and Mr. Carriage-thief was doing something too (but Prof. Splatterman seemed to hate him) but I don’t know what it really did. I’m pretty sure Nanya and Mr. Red Knight were the real heroes this time. I was just waking back up, but I’m pretty sure I saw Mr. Red Knight punch Prof. Splatterman. The punch defeated the bad ghostie! Try hard to live up to Mr. Red Knight everybody! (I’ll try too…)

Afterwords there we was heroes and the whole town loved us! Now I know what I have been doing wrong all these years! All I have to do to make friends is to chase away evil prison spirits! Now I know what to do in the next place I go. Well, we all are going to say good bye to Ravengro and deliver Mr. Zombimor’s books to Lectus-stad. Sounds like fun…but…

After we do…do we have to say ‘Goodbye’?
I hope not…
Mollileen~

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