The Edge of Darkness

27 Mid-winter, 758

The decision was made to leave Hadley and depart for Ste. Ronges immediately, because once in the city of Ste. Ronges it would be easier to decide a route to the Amber Wastes.

However, there was a delay in Ste. Ronges to help a paladin of Ezra find her missing friends.

The paladin, Thalia, and her friend, Jacob, were unable to remember details about a night one week earlier. Since that night Thalia and Jacob’s four friends had gone missing one by one. Sophia discovered after telepathically examining the memories of Thalia and Jacob that something had a grasp on their minds. A strange and alien monster somehow compelled Thalia’s friends to return to its lair so it could feed on them. The monster was destroyed but not before it had consumed the last of Thalia’s friends, Jacob, as well.

Because Thalia had lost all of her friends and felt as though she was in debt for saving her life she decided to join Thurik, Moe, and Sophia on their journey to the Amber Wastes.

In Ste. Ronges fare was purchased on a riverboat traveling south along the Musarde River to the town of Karina in Invidia.

After reaching Karina employment was taken as guards for a merchant caravan traveling east to Zeidenburg in Barovia.

Now, they wait in Zeidenburg for the caravan to continue south to the town of Teufeldorf.

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Sophia’s Journal – 5 Mid-winter, 758

Dead. They are all dead. They no longer walk this land or breathe this air. Murdered.

I’m not sure I can continue. Why should I? I can barely breathe myself. Each breathe I take is like a doubled fist to my stomach. It feels like a coiled serpent has wound its way around my chest and limits the amount of air I can take in. My eyes are red, no doubt. Red with shame and remorse. Red with sorrow and misfortune.

Ava. My heart beats her name and pains me all the more. My older sister is gone… Tears fill my eyes as I recall what happened over and over again in my mind, but I must record the details.

We left the “Inn” of the Westerman lands, and headed to dine with Lord Westermen himself later that evening. I gave the inn-keeper an extra gold to keep an eye on Ava while we were gone. I felt uneasy about this decision immediately, however, I rationalized we will only be gone but a few short hours at most.

The formidable guards escorted us to Lord Westerman’s estate. The architecture was nothing like any of us had ever seen before. The walls were stone, cold and unrelenting. The dining area, however, was lavish and rich with food. Enough to feed his starving people for a week to be sure.

Needless to say, Moe felt free to dig in. The rest of us, however hungry, continued as custom dictated. Lord Westernman casually mentioned he will decide if we are to live or die tonight, much to our dismay and shock. Moe nearly choked on the three biscuits he was chewing at the time, but somehow managed to swallow it without incident.

Shaking, Thurik, Artemis and I tried to get through the evening as quickly as possible and not say anything else that may influence his decision towards the latter. Unfortunately, Moe was another story. He mentioned (with his mouth full, I might add) Lord Westerman’s dealings with the Kavanaugh family twice. Unflinching, Lord Westerman’s head guard offered to cut out his tongue. Moe suddenly looked panicked, as if that would have been a punishment worse than death itself. He was quickly escorted out.

Once Moe left, those that were left felt even more compelled to leave without incident and spent the rest of the evening talking about the weather and other “pleasantries”.

When we left the manor, we found Moe running towards us with fright in his eyes. He tripped and fell at our feet and lost consciousness. He “came to” once we arrived at the inn. Upon entering, there was the same locals sitting around and nibbling on the rancid stew that Thurik seemed to enjoy so much.

I went to our room to check on my sister, when I opened the door, my blood froze. She was gone. Impossible. I went to feel the bed, cold to the touch. I ran to Thurik and Moe, my voice was shrill and panicked. I was barely able to form the words, “Ava is gone! Ava is gone!”. Thurik’s eyes widened in alarm.

All the emotion I felt and all that I had been through thus far, and now my sister missing broke the dam. I suddenly filled with rage. I turned towards innkeeper, Martha, and told her I would kill her if anything came to harm my sister. Her husband did not take kindly to my attitude, but at that point, it was all I could do to quell my anger and not openly attacked them both.

Not hearing Moe or Thurik’s words, I ran around the building looking for signs of Ava. Then off in the distance, I saw moving lights. Not thinking, I took off towards the lights.

The lights were not Ava. The lights were evil. The lights brought death. Moe, Thurik, Artemis all died. Killed by the lights. I could not save them. My futile attempts to heal there wounds never came to fruition. With everyone dead, I turned towards the last light and gave it one last effort and snuffed it out. I then realized I was alone, in the blackness of night with the silence screaming at me.

I ran like I had never ran before. My eyes wide with alarm I was blindly running with all due haste back to the direction of the inn. Guy answered the door. He seemed slightly pleased at my tragedy. I was not in the state to give it any more thought. I ran to my room, shut and locked the door, closed and locked the windows, stuffed any cracks to the outside world that I could find. Turning the light on as bright as it would allow. I sat on Ava’s bed, hugging my knees.

Sleep was too far off. Sleep couldn’t of happened without an act of Ezra. Yet…yet I heard faint footsteps outside my door…softly padding to and from my door. Hours later I heard them again…soft footsteps…searching…checking…quietly creeping. Each time it made my hair stand on end. I called out with false bravado in my mind and aloud…no response.

Finally dawn broke. Ezra, blessed is your light! When the message I sent to Lord Westerman was returned, I saddled my war-worn horse and rode with all due haste back to Hadley, back to my room at the Inn.

That next day I sent messages back to the ones left in Mordentshire, telling them of the tragedies that had befallen us here in Hadley.

Suddenly I remembered Grey Ravenshaw. One would think I would have thought of him earlier, but my mind has been muddled with grief, shock and guilt.

When I found him, I collapsed at his feet. To see him was a comfort I was not expecting. I choked out what happened. Told him everything. Then he told me he could bring them back.

Disbelief flashed through my head, but quickly dissipated. This was Grey Ravenshaw himself, he could accomplish anything. I told him I would want that, more than anything. I have to have them back. This Land is a darker place without them.

He took off the evening of the first day of the new year. After of course, the Soul Sphere had brought him to his fully restored self. I busied myself trying to keep quiet and stay low until the time had come to meet him. I had to go and retrieve the bodies from the northern reaches. Frightened to go back, but steeling myself to muster the courage. I and four members of the Crimson Guard went and retrieved the bodies of Thurik and Moe; but not Artemis because he would have refused to have been brought back to life. So I buried Artemis where he died.

The corpses were in poor condition. They had been eaten, bitten, and they were barely recognizable. But we fought our way there, got them and fought our way back through the dense forest of knolls and bodies.

It was one of the most beautifully fascinating rituals I have even seen. He brought them back! Then told me of my sister. Her fate was the worst imaginable. The “rancid stew” Thurik was so fond of, was made of the flesh of people. The Inn Keepers had sold there souls to an evil god. They chop up and cook travelers and feed them to the locals. Ava suffered this fate. Grey avenged her and killed them both.

Now we are set upon paying Lord Ravenshaw back for his deeds. Thurik gave up his duty to the Lamplighters, Moe seemed somehow…darker in nature. But I suppose that is to be expected after to you come back from the dead. Now that we are all together, we must find a guide to take us to Hazlan, then to a Road with 1000 secrets. There we will find our way to the land of deserts. The land of unforgiveness. To find an artifact for Lord Ravenshaw.

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Insight Into Moe Prt3

Insight into Moe Part 3

The trip into the Northern reaches is a memory that seems like ages ago for Moe. He can remember Lord Durven Westerman, who to Moe at the time seemed to be an evil and vile man in a corrupt, twisted, and foreign land. His only goal is to kill the vicious gnolls that invest his land. Lord Westerman would do this at all cost, even to the cost of death to his people and his family. It’s apparently an act that has made him impervious to death.

Moe also remembers Bryant the Deputy of the Westerman family only for the simple fact that Moe thought he would loose his tastes buds forever when this man was about to cut his tongue out for speaking the Kavanagh name one time too many in front of Lord Westerman.

He barely remembers the son of Lord Westerman appearing as a ghost in the dark woods outside of his manor. The visions that Moe saw while the ghost was touching him are very faint and almost forgotten now, as is the combat with the undead creatures that killed him, Artemis Garrett, and his friend Thurik.

Moe felt like he was awakened from the most wonderful dream he has ever had. There are no details of this dream that he can recall, however he is aware that the dream was the most peaceful and relaxing of his life. He knows that the food in his dream must have been endless.

Moe was awakened by the ritual that Lord Ravenshaw used to bring him back from this dream. Everything seems a bit different to Moe since he was brought back from death. He no longer feels that he is being watched, and his thoughts seem clearer now. His past memories seem like they were decades ago. The lights seem much brighter to him and the darkness seems let gloomy. Some how in the process from life to death and death back to life, Moe physically has changed. The darkness of this world has crept into his soul and afflicted him. He has emerged changed, his features drawn and pale, eyes dark and his form is stalked by flickering ominous shadows. He now can blend into the shadows more easily, and see into the darkness with glowing red eyes.

Moe now feels tied to the land of mist, to the shadowfell in someway. He is uncertain if this is something that Lord Ravenshaw has imparted on him or if it is something that the land has done to him. He still has a wanderlust about him that will most likely remain in his soul, but he now has a feeling of servitude towards this land and possibly to Lord Ravenshaw. Deep in his soul, he feels that he must protect this land. To him, this land is neither good nor evil, it’s just a place, his home and he will try and help those who wish to prevent its harm. Moe knows that Lord Ravenshaw is not from the Shadowdark, but feels that he has been reborn to this land and now wants protect it from those who wish to exploit the land.

Moe has died in a shadow, and stepped back into the gloominess with a bit of shadow in his soul. He now has a new purpose, the protection of this land. Moe still has a lot to learn about the shadowfell and now is indebted to a powerful individual that can teach him more about the land of the mist. He will follow in Lord Ravenshaws goals…. For Now.

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Former Lamplighter

Before leaving Hadley, Thurik pens a missive which he dispatches to Mordentshire, 20gp to whomever will ride there and bring back a response, if deemed necessary.

To the Esteemed Lamplighters of Mordentshire,

I, Thurik Orinbald, your former servant, regretfully inform you that I have failed. I was dispatched to Hadley, as you know, in order to investigate the disease know as Dark Adaptation.

The source of this dire plague was an arcane device known as the Soul Sphere, which was created nearly a century ago by a Necromancer called Grey Ravenshaw. I and my companions, including the late Eva Shade killed in action, have discovered the Soul Sphere and attempted to destroy it by a ritual involving the blood of an evil presence called a Dark Lord. From our research, these are beings who likely inhabit all the lands of the Mists, cast into our realm by greater forces in order to imprison them.

Unfortunately, I was incapacitated during a mission to find a known Dark Lord, one Dovavan Westerman, located in an isolated shire north of Hadley. I and my companion Moe the Goatherder were returned to Hadley by my surviving ally, Sophia Shade and the noble Crimson Guard, in order to recover. During my convalescence, I was informed that the Dark Adaptation had ended.

In spite of our efforts to forestall this tragedy, some 120 souls were lost. I believe that though I could have intervened, I was not competent enough to complete the task for which you have assigned me and have allowed a fellow Lamplighter to perish.

As such, I must tender my resignation. I feel that I am unworthy of the title of Lamplighter and must step down from such a noble position. I am leaving Hadley shortly to find an artifact that may assist an ally in Hadley in order to help further the struggle against the greater evil that we have discovered lurking here.

May The Lady bless us all, and I wish you well.

Thurik Ornibald

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A note to whom it may concern

I am Thurik Orinbald, Lamplighter of Mordentshire and this is an urgent letter to whoever may find it. I and my companions Ava Shade and Mo the Goathearder, have been dispatched to Hadley, and are now accompanied by Sophia Shade and Artemis Garret, in order to investigate an unusual disease referred to as “Dark Adaptation”. This is, in essence, a psychic or mental attack that causes its sufferers to experience an image of shadows and is usually fatal within a matter of days, as it consumes the soul of the afflicted. In our investigations we have discovered the source; The Soul Sphere, an arcane construct made by Grey Ravenshaw nearly a century past (the current date is 758 by Mordent reckoning, December 14th). Upon the death of his last scion, Scarlet Ravenshaw, the sphere was activated; its purpose, to generate sufficient lifeforce, by consuming the minds of the living, to resurrect Grey Ravenshaw, a vengeful and mad sorcerer. The only means of ending this supernatural plague is to destroy the Soul Sphere by means told to us by Grey himself, whom we discovered in his crypt, within the great hill of Hadley near the old mines, whilst still in the process of becoming whole. The means being the blood of a dead “Dark Lord”. We were informed by a Vistani witch that while one such force exists, in Hadley proper, she could not be certain where. However, she stated that within the territories of the Westermans, a Dark Lord ruled. We have traveled here in the hopes of finding this evil, whom we believe to be Lord Durven Westerman. The evidence to whit is that the villagers of his manor state that he has never been killed, even though he has been apparently wounded fatally several times. Lord Westerman has threatened to kill us, however, we have managed to negotiate a dismissal instead, forcing us to leave his domain. The ancient forest is infested by dogmen known as “Nolls”; they are ruthless and barbaric. If you find this letter some or all of us have perished, or I have been careless with my property. May the Lady be with us, and if you are an enemy, piss on you for I am out of ink. Thurik.

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Insight into Moe Part 2

Insight into Moe:

Things have been a blur for Moe over the past few days or has it been weeks? Moe is having a tough time remembering things or is he just trying to forget? He can only piece together bits of memories.

Constant feeling of someone watching him

Searching the Ravenshaw Manor and finding a silver platter with a Raven holding a rose.

Ava getting sicker and having to stay at the temple. Her sister Sophie showing up.

Sophie mentally attacking the “Vampire Spawn”, the elf “Tillven” watching through the gate he closed’ trapping us inside

The Wolf fighting and defending everyone

Finding some treasure.

The undead saying “Murder, Murder… Over and over.

A gold ring.

Searching and more searching

Finding a “Illusion” with a door behind it.

Master’s True Love? A big spooky undead guy.

Lots of books and papers.

A really nice dagger

The ghost of a long dead Ravenshaw. Total paralysis, evil pulling at his inside..Pulling at his soul..

His reflection showing that he physically has aged around 20 years.

A little boy screaming and running away in terror

The disappointed looks of people in Hadley

Biscuits from the tavern

Ava being cured

A talking black cat in a tree with a stern warning

A long climb up a rocky hill

A cave and a trap. Thoughts of suffocating to death. A magical spell and fresh air.

Restless sleep, fighting, falling, Panic.

Crawling into another small cave. A feeling of familiarity.

Really nice paintings of Grey. A Dragon, The dagger. A demon with a nasty bite.

Traps, Poison

A secret code on the floor

A gargoyle eyes opening. Water and water. Drowning.. Locks after Locks. Fresh air.

Restless Sleep, fighting, panic, excruciating pain, unconsciousness.

Confusion about foot prints, a vision of helplessness.

A puzzle on the floor. The letter ‘S”

Statues attacking.

Ravens flying around with the letters in there claws.

Grey Ravenshaw’s Picture Grey Ravenshaw’s Ghost Grey Ravenshaw’s Sarcophagus

Treasure and a really nice amulet.

Soul Sphere sucking up people from Hadley… Draining life

A white wolf running down the street chasing a black cat.

Ava worried and distracted

A potion of “False hope”

Biscuits from the tavern

Vistani woman and her message. “Being Even”

Artemis strapping on his large sword and studded leather

A peaceful walk into the forest

Looking for a white wolf

Finding dog/man foot prints

Hiding

8 horsemen with a black unicorn symbol on their metal armor

Hearing dog like laughter moving in from the forest.

Moe constantly has a feeling someone is watching him. His memories are very fuzzy and sporadic. If he tries to sort through them, he gets an intense feeling of panic and feeling of someone holding him or grabbing him, not letting him move. Since he was a child, he has always had the ability to put bad memories or thoughts in a little closet in his mind. He has seen many horrid things in his travels and this is how he has learned to deal with them. It seems like since his soul was touched by the ghost and he physically aged (or was it before this?), the closet door is opening on its own and letting out old memories of things Moe believes he has seen over the years. He has resorted to trying only to think of the present, this seems to keep the door closed. Unfortunately, he knows that when he tries to sleep, the door swings wide open and he is assaulted with bad thoughts, or “Memories”. This is his rational on why he has been sleep-walking. He is scared that he may harm his friends or himself, so for the next few days he will try and stay awake at night. As long as this works, he will not alert his friends to his problem. They have enough to worry about, let alone a 40 year old teenage Halfling with bad ju ju thoughts.

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Sophia’s Journal – Day 10

We made it. Alive and well, we made it through to the actual tomb of Grey Ravenshaw.

It was nothing like I expected. After we managed to kill off the “statues” and took a risk by jumping through a portal, we came to his tomb.

When Thurik opened the ornate iron door, I was almost immediately overwhelmed by the arcane magic. It was so powerful, I lost consciousness.

When I came to with Thurik’s aid, we looked around at the splendor of magic. Suddenly, Moe pointed to a cloaked figure above the long staircase. It stood still and held, what looked like a staff. It then began to come towards us slowly.

We quickly realized it was Grey himself, well I should say a shadow of his former self. He spoke cautiously, obviously taken aback that we should come this far.

In only moments, I had learned from him a great many secrets few could know. For instance, the Land of the Mists is a Shadowfell realm of existence. This discovery, is difficult to wrap my mind around. Meaning, Mordent could almost be referred to as a hell itself. My mind began to wander. Could I get my family out of the Land of the Mists? Could it truly be better? I must learn more. Looking up at Grey, I could almost feel his aura of wisdom and power. He was the key to unlock knowledge beyond comprehension. Knowledge that I had to obtain. “For the greater good”, I told myself.

With his tutelage, I could become one of the most powerful beings to walk between realms. I knelt, and pledged my fealty to him. What I could learn from him, would not be in any book or any person I could find on my own.

Why didn’t I leave Hadley with Ava? I came here to save and help her. We are now no longer plagued by the dark adaptation. We could have left. But why didn’t I? I’ll tell you. I have only just realized. I want to know more, I wanted something bigger than this ignorant existence in Mordent. Of course lives are currently at stake, but there could be a larger picture we are not seeing. I tried to explain this to Thurik, but he is duty-bound and will not deter his mission of saving the people of Hadley. I decided to keep my thoughts quiet for now.

I may not agree with Grey’s way of resurrection, but then he is wise beyond all. Who am I to question his ways?

Upon realizing that the 3 of us are currently not a threat to him, he seemed to relax. Moe started going up the stairs on the left according to his curious nature. After giving Grey the ring he found, Grey imparted on to him a beautiful medallion, the value of which is greater that I can fathom. His eyes got large and he quickly secreted it away in that bottomless sack of his.

According to Grey, we needed the blood of a dead dark lord to stop the Soul Sphere. We are running out of time, and I fear it may not happen. Thurik is hell-bent on going through with this.

When we arrived (safely) back in Hadley, the death toll was above 60. Ava was still in good health, but worried because she has not seen D’Artanion. This concerned me. D’Artanion has never left Ava’s side for as long as I can remember. He was last seen chasing after a black cat. Even Grey himself, does not agree with Alabaster’s sinister nature. Alabaster surely led him into danger, which in turn I believe, Alabaster wanted us to follow.

Ava, distraught with grief and dismay, still agreed to continue on with us after we informed her of what occurred in Grey’s tomb and what Thurik was now after. After further research and a dire warning from the Vastani woman, put us on the path to the Westernman lands, in the north reaches of Hadley in the Forest of the Ancients.

We left the next day, with Artemis in tow. About 6 hours into the travel, we came upon a small party of men of horseback with the Westernman symbol on their chests of armor.

They were enemies who cared not for the town of Hadley they supposedly protect. Their motives were their own. They would not left us pass or continue further, however, they wanted us to stay and camp here. They said they would return with news from their master. Even I could tell they were lying. We fortified ourselves with the landscape as best we could. Since they were never aware of Moe (since he managed to hide when they approached), we kept him out of sight. With watches set up for the night, we waited…

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14 Early-winter, 758

Several days have passed since Thurik, Moe, and Sophia last saw the light of day, since they began their descent into darkness, into the tomb of Grey Ravenshaw…

The descent has been arduous, pushing everyone to their limits. There have been endless puzzles and traps—one more insidious and deadlier than the last.

So Thurik, Moe, and Sophia have been forced to rest often, but resting has been frustrating; because everyone understands as they rest people are dying in town. Also, each passing day is one day closer to the resurrection of Grey Ravenshaw.

Death has been elusive, but for how much longer?

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Sophia’s Journal – Day 7

After checking on everyone in the Temple and revitalizing our bodies with food and sleep, we received a most peculiar message…from Alabaster the cat. Though he was no ordinary cat, he was as we thought, Gray’s familiar. He wanted us to meet him in the back of Ravenshaw Manor at noon the next day. Our curiosity piqued, we couldn’t help but go.

When we arrived, his voice seemed to come from the trees surrounding us and we never actually saw him. We had to leave, he said. Leave Hadley and let what happened to the people actually happen. As barter, he would allow myself to be cured and not harm us, but Thurik spoke for all of us and blatantly refused. Good ol’ Thurik, always wise, always right. We then knew we were on the right track, however slow getting here, we were on the way.

We left immediately for the tomb. Climbing the cliffs on the East side of Hadley, we came upon a cave. Of course, being somewhat “junior” investigators, we headed right in. Moe first to check for traps, followed by Thurik and myself. About halfway in this dark tunnel, a large stone blocked our exit and the door we found at the end of the tunnel, we quickly realized was false. We were trapped! Not sure if it was my imagination, but the air was becoming thinner and thinner. It was getting harder to breathe. Thurik pulled out his scroll he received from Trevor to “walk through walls”. Praise Ezra it worked! The stone blocking our way seemed to dissolve briefly while we walked through. Sucking in a lung full of air and sang praises to Ezra.

We camped. When we awoke, Moe seemed a little strained from some reason, bad dreams maybe? Not unlike myself, chasing the shadows in my mind perhaps. We searched the nearby area and realized Moe was missing. Thank goodness he hadn’t gone far, he found a small crawlspace nearby and went in without concern! Frustrated, I went after him after Thurik tied a rope around myself. A strange red light seemed to be coming in from the end of the tunnel. Once I realized Moe was fine, I looked around and gasped.

We found the real entrance to Gray’s tomb. I was surrounded by splendor and beauty. There were exquisite paintings on the wall, all depicting Gray at various points of his life. It was something I hope to have towards the end of my own life as well. It told such a story in such a vivid way.

We explored, fell through traps. Then out of exasperation, when nothing we did or said seemed to work to get us further, I tried to push aside this demonic screaming mouth at the end of the tunnel. I slipped and to catch myself, my left hand reached out for the bottom jaw, I felt a burst of pain, took my hand away and screamed. I just lost the top of my four fingers! They seemed to disappear in the ever ending blackness of the Balok’s mouth.

Its maddening…this curse. Each moment that passes makes me consciously aware of the struggle going on in my mind. It takes all my energy and focus not to let it consume me and fall into darkness.

Looking around, it seems I am not the only one struggling to figure this out. Thurik, always wise and brave seems to have the best attitude. Moe, his face, now aged you can see his brow furrowed with concern. I must say it is easier to read now, much to his dismay I’m sure. We have been trapped in this “puzzle” that our dearly departed Gray Ravenshaw left us for a few hours now. The gorgeous artwork on the wall is worthy of decking a king’s hall to be sure. Yet, one of the painting’s beauty is a lie. Our initial inkling was the painting of the dragon. The concept is just too…far fetched.

We have already fallen into a couple of trap doors, I have lost the tops of my fingers on my left hand in the mouth of the Balok. I would be more dismayed, but something tells me I could have lost a lot more, and for that I am thankful. What kind of magic could that be? Unassuming, yet extremely affective nonetheless. When and if we get through this, I want to go back to the study of Gray and spend time studying what he left behind. All that knowledge and history is amazing! And to think, it could go left undiscovered for the rest of time. Coming to the realization that Gray’s intentions may not have been the most scrupulous, but his expertise is undeniable. That is for another entry…

Whether out of frustration or educated guess, Thurik begins to hack away at the dragon painting, and after a few moments, we discover what seems to be a door behind the smooth, flawless plaster. Energized with this discovery, we clear away the rest to find a completely plain door.

Moe opens the door and inside is a dark tunnel. I pick up the lantern loosely with my injured hand. Its no longer bleeding thanks to Thurik’s healing, but it throbs with every pulse. If I am not looking my bandages, I still feel my fingers and there is no question in my mind that I lost them but moments earlier.

We head into the tunnel, Moe going first to check for traps, then Thurik and myself with the lantern. We move slowly and carefully until we come upon beautiful glowing runes in the stone of the floor and our way is blocked by a mist that blurs out what looks like a stone statue with its hand up motioning for us not to continue.

After carful study of the puzzle, Thurik seems certain of the answer, from the beginning. Moe and I are not as certain. It just cannot be that easy to push in all the “S”s. Yet after some back and forth, we cannot come up with an answer as good as Thurik’s, so we go with his theory.

After pressing all the “S”s in the puzzle, I braced myself for an unseen impact and closed one eye. Lo’ and behold, it worked! The mist cleared away and the statue almost welcomed us with open arms. Thank Ezra and her blessings for bringing us Turik and his wise soul! I could have kissed him with relief! Moving on, we discovered a labyrinth of a puzzle with magical gates and levers. In one room, we even found 2 stone knights that nearly killed Moe and Thurik with there long arms and deadly force. It went without saying that was not the right room. If it was, we would surely have died with no one to come get our bodies. Nothing short of Ezra herself, could stop those statues.

Plan B, not that there ever was a Plan A to begin with, but our current path wasn’t leading us to our destination. We split up and finally figured out the puzzle of the tunnels and gates. Now that we are completely exhausted, we had to sleep. We knew we would be secure, the way these gates open and close, so we felt safe enough to rest and set up watches. When the time came for my watch, I focused and concentrated on squelching the fires raging in my mind. I knew for us to continue and live, I had to stop this. After hours of fighting the shadows, I came to, drenched in sweat. Out of breathe and wiping my brow, I cam to the realization, it was gone! It was gone! I have beat the shadow! Praise Ezra! Wait, it was me that did this, me! I alone without the aid of priests or healers…I cannot believe it, yet I do.

I began to feel light, giddy even. As the realization hit me, if I could cast away magic as powerful as that without aid, what else is my mind capable of? I looked around at the sleeping bodies of Moe and Thurik and smiled to myself. I look forward to finding out what else I could do knowing now there must be no limit.

I woke them up and told them that my fight with the dark adaptation was over. Thurik still seemed slightly cautious, but he will see.

After we were all roused and had some rations, we continued on with the plan. In the next room, a stone gargoyle sat in the middle, unmoving. As we proceeded to the door on the opposite side, it’s gaze started to follow Moe. Suddnely, the room began to quickly fill with water and the Gargoyle came to “life” and began to attack us. Once he was vanquished, we turned our attention to the water, waist deep now with no sign of letting up. I tried to help Thurik as best I could to help stop or slow the flow while Moe tried his best to unlock the 3 locks on the iron door.

I was underwater, completely submerged. Is this what it was like to die? Is this were it was going to end for us? Blackness was everywhere, I could not see. I could only feel the water pressing me down and hear the slight tinkering of Moe and the scrape of Thurik’s shield on the stone wall. My lungs were begging for air. My body was screaming for relief either air or death. I began to fight to live. I will not go down like this! Suddenly, the water began to quickly move out in the direction of the door. Moe must have gotten the locks in time! There is yet hope…

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Sophia’s Journal Day 3 or 5?

I seemed to have lost track of time…

The shadow in my mind has grown stronger. I’m not exactly sure how long its been since I first recorded my arrival. Thoughts are getting foggy and facts more difficult to recall. I shall try my best…

We entered into the ruin that was the Ravenshaw Manor formally. Dust, debris and decay were the only things present physically. We climbed in through a window, later we assumed to be a window of the servant’s quarters. We didn’t get to far in when we stumbled upon 3 spectres. Not 1, not 2 but 3! Never in my life have I seen such a thing, but then again, everything has changed since I arrived into Hadley. Somehow we managed to rid ourselves of them. But they are still on my mind with their sick and strained whispering voices echoing in the shadows.

Trembling, (at least on my part) we continued to look through the rest of the ruined house. Every creak of a rotted floorboard, every crumble of dirt made me choke back bile surging into my throat. Fighting the urge to crawl into a ball or the urge to flee, we continued on even still. The thought of my sister suffering gave me just enough courage not to close my eyes and break down.

We quietly searched every room, not sure what we were looking for exactly and afraid to find out once we came upon it. In the remains of the master bedroom, Moe came upon a small gold ring with a loving inscription from a wife to her husband. So obscure was its hiding spot, it’s a wonder how Moe found it, but he did. Nothing more was found…then we reached the library…

It must have been great once, the library. Now only a former shadow of itself. I strained my mind to find something magic, something we aren’t seeing. Then looking at the far wall I noticed an illusionary spell. As soon as I did, it melted away into a smooth surface with a door, and one intricate lock. It did not match our key we recovered earlier from the new Ravenshaw Manor. Moe, being Moe performed a little magic of his own and managed to unlock it. I held my breath as the door silently swung open, and consciously held my eyes open against their instinct to close.

I stopped breathing when I saw a cloaked figure, dark and glooming. Cobwebs and dirt covered its shoulders, when we approached a huge scar cut across its face and then it spoke.

“What is my master’s true love?”

Looking at each other in half amazement half fear, we responded, “Audrey… Audrey Ravenshaw”. The wrong response and I wouldn’t be writing this right now, but by Ezra we were right. He let us pass into Grey’s real study. Before we found out what the room was, I wasn’t sure I wanted to find out, let alone walk by the animated dead guarding the door.

We spent the next couple of days in the enchanted room, I would have loved to spend another month in there with the wealth of knowledge. It was worth more than a goldmine to be sure! Yet, as the hours passed I became more and more aware of the struggle my mind was having over the shadow. After those 2 days we found out the basic location of Ravenshaw’s real tomb and the fact that he had the soul sphere with his body.

After those days in the study, we had to go back. We took what information we had and left. Not sure why, but Moe managed to take a dagger that must have been worth a fortune and sneak it past the “guard”.

Once we got to the salon, we heard a man’s voice. Clear as day. Talking to someone, then talking to us. We froze in fear. Trying to continue on and leave the manor, the ghost walked right through Moe. Moe started in panic, passing out, then he seemed suddenly not himself. We talked our way out of it and ran out across the river and to the gate and heard crying.

The crying was coming from Trevor, the little boy that showed us around Drust earlier. His hand were bound and it looked like he had been there awhile. Tillivan’s doing. Damn him! I’m glad he now has to fight the shadow in his mind too! He saw us and became frightened of Moe, immediately backing away. After coaxing him, we managed to get him to let us cut his bounds and open the gate, though he steered clear of Moe.

Trevor led us out and quickly ran away. The bright light of day made me realize that we had been gone a long time.

We made our way to the temple to Hadley, where we were slightly less than welcomed. Looking past the accusatory stares and suspicious looks, we noticed more seemed to have died, though, thankfully Ava was cured! Blessed be Ezra and her infinite wisdom!

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