Strange Aeons

Strangers in a Strange Town

https://youtu.be/M122HxEqTqk

We started with our group of amnesiacs completing some shopping for much-needed upgrades. Wands, armour, weapons, all were bought and ordered from out of town merchants at the High Market. (River actually ordered a custom set of armour – Full Plate, I believe?)

Following the shopping, the group made their way out of town, and found a place to set up camp in the wilderness, on the way to the grotto they had planned on investigating. Nothing untoward accosted the group during their rest, but when they arose the next morning, River revealed he had once again suffered nightmares all night long, and was not feeling very rested. Examinations showed no physical symptoms, but Lekovi discovered a moderate magical aura of the Illusion school. (Note – the GM said faint Enchantment at the time, but this was incorrect) Unable to do much for River, the group packed up camp and moved out to where Tolli had told them the grotto where he had seen the light was located.

Sure enough, the grotto was there, but it was in the face of a small vertical rise, fronted by a beach. Cailyn immediately found a tree not far from the edge to tie a line to, and took watch while the others started climbing down. River and Taber went first. While Lekovi was still climbing down, River stepped into the cave mouth, trying to get a better look into a side passage that was beside a larger wooden barricade. As he did so, his foot snagged a tripwire, triggering a large wooden spike coated with some form of sticky paste to fly out and impale him. As this took his and Taber's attention, the vines covering the cave wall opposite suddenly showed it was animate, and stepped out, wrapping themselves around River, and choking the breath from him. As Lekovi struggled to descend the rope, Scorcher nimbly climbed around him and to the small beach. Seeing a traffic jam, Cailyn instead moved off to the edge of the beach, trying to see inside the cave. Finding the way mostly blocked due to the height, Cailyn then hopped down to some rocks at the inlet's edge. Taber stepped in to help River, flailing his staff at the vines.

River was now able to hear, further inside the cave, what sounded like a voice, but could not make sense of what it was saying. Ripping himself free of the vines, he moved further into the cave, closer to the side passage. Taber also moved up to threaten the vine, while Cailyn used her bow, and Scorcher sent blasts of magic into the cave. Lekovi struggled to climb the rope, and eventually managed to drop the last few feet to the beach. Most of the group could now hear the sound of spellcasting coming from beyond the wooden barricade. Both River and Taber saw a translucent image of what looked like a giant mushroom with a mouth full of teeth appear beside them, and it bit River, knocking him unconscious, just after he had finished off the Assassin Vine.

Taber, reacting quickly, used magic to stabilise River. Lekovi and Scorcher waited to attack the mostly-unseen foe, Lekovi recognising the creature as a Phantom Fungus. Cailyn moved in, trying to protect River from further harm, and clawed at the invisible fungus, finally bringing it down. Taber, sensing more of a threat from the main cave, moved up to the barricade, and attempted to pull it aside, needing a little more time to budge the surprisingly heavy barrier, while Cailyn applied a syringe of healing to the downed River.

From the larger cave beyond the barrier came a pair of what appeared to be wolves, covered in some sort of plant matter. At the back of the cave was a woman, dressed in armour and carrying a wooden spear, her hands glowing with magical fire. The group made short work of the wolves, and then found that the woman was covered in large thorns that stabbed at them anytime a blow made contact with her. Still, after a short struggle, the woman was knocked unconscious.

Searching the cave, the group were able to discern that the woman had been making alchemical items at a workbench against one wall. An open wooden crate contained a number of magical and nonmagical alchemical items, ranging from poisons, to drugs, to healing and buffing potions. A folded note on the worktable was revealed to be a request for “more of your dreaminducing brews, as well as more of that oil,” signed by a person named Melisenn. On one of the walls of the cave was a strange design, drawn in some sort of ochre – a spiraling mass of tendrils with two long, descending tails. River was able to identify the design as devoted to the Great Old One Xhamen-Dor, also known as the Inmost Blot, some sort of fungal deity.

After securing the woman, the group woke her, and began to question her. She revealed her name as Daridela Cornett, and that she had resided in this cave for several weeks, after travelling to Thrushmoor to find another soul who was following Xhamen-Dor. Her aim had been frustrated, though, when she found her quarry had left town. Instead, she had begun selling alchemical supplies to a group that visited her at her grotto from time to time. Despite River's constant urging to kill Daridela, the group decided to take her back to town. Searching the rest of the caves, the group located a chest with some valuables and personal items in it, which was also protected by a poison needle trap, but Cailyn was able to resist its effects. The chest also contained quite a large stash of gold.

As the group made to leave the grotto, they were attacked from the inlet by some sort of aquatic giant (identified later as a Salt Water Merrow). The creature's long arms enabled it to land a number of blows on various group members during the engagement, but clever use of some of Lekovi's long-held scrolls (of Deja Vu) forced the creature to little damage before it was finished off. The group spent a little time healing, and then led Daridela back to town.

The group travelled into town via the south road, past the New Chapel. As they did, they found that a large, angry crowd had gathered outside the studio of the half-elven painter they had met the previous day, Lelwyn Hasok. The mob were yelling for Lelwyn to face them, and accusing him of painting the murals found over the town. Lelwyn protested in his awkward way, and Lekovi scanned the thoughts of the townspeople, confirming they were afraid, and taking their fear out on the most visible target. Scorcher attempted to calm the group down, but one of the townspeople threw a rock at Lelwyn. Cailyn tried to cow the group into leaving, but was also unable to turn the tide. Finally, Scorcher was able to get through to the mob, and convince them to disperse.

Grateful, Lelwyn invited the group into his small dwelling to thank them. He explained to them again how he was looking after the Chapel while he hunted out a reward for them. The reward turned out to be a Bag of Holding containing a pile of gold coins. While the group talked to Lelwyn, Taber looked around the artist's small studio. In amongst the various portraits and views of the bay, one of the pieces of work in particular caught his eye – a large, unfinished triptych, showing sketches of 5 people in full figure, their faces indistinct and incomplete. In the background, three different cities flow seamlessly into one another under a yellowish sky. Looking more closely, Taber realised the the figures depicted in the painting were uncanny renditions of he and his companions! The sketches were so accurate, they even showed River in his usual supine position! When Taber began motioning to everyone else, Lelwyn looked at the sketch, then back at the group, and exclaimed 'They're you!'.

After looking over the artist's work, the group asked how this had happened. Lelwyn explained that he had he seen each of them in his dreams over the last few nights, and was immediately inspired to put brush to canvas. The painter says his visions (which he can’t quite remember all of the details of) gave him the sensation that “Thrushmoor’s destiny somehow depends on them.” Lelwyn ecstatically offered the PCs 10 gp apiece if they agree to return and sit for his unfinished triptych, which they did. Lelwyn also explained that the house next door to his studio was also owned by the church, and that in his capacity as caretaker of the chapel, he invited the group to stay there while they were in town. He also reiterated that he had not seen the chapel's attendant priestess for several days.

After this unsettling turn of events, the group continued on to the Sleepless Agency, intending to hand Daridela over to Cesadia Wrentz. Outside the building, they paused to look over one of the murals they had heard about, on the wall of Agency's headquarters. Looking closely, it appeared that the mural had not been painted on. The mural looked like charcoal, but did not appear to have been applied with a stick of charcoal. The application instead appeared to have somehow been applied evenly across the surfaces it was on, almost as if a stencil and spray paint had been used, only with carcoal.

Inside, the group spoke to Cesadia, and handed Daridela over to her custody. Cesadia said she would arrange for transport of the prisoner to Caliphas, which was several days journey away along the coast.

After leaving the Sleepless Agency, Lekovi was hailed by a man passing on the street. A short conversation ensued, during which the man revealed his name was Keldrin Mon, and that he was a drinking buddy of Lekovi, but hadn't seen him in several weeks. After arranging to meet him at The Silver Wagon for a drink once he was off shift, he also mentioned that the last place he had seen Lekovi was poking around Pier 19, and that it had looked like Lekovi had shoved a bundle of some sort up under the pier.

Eager to perhaps find a clue to their past, the group rushed over to Pier 19. As Lekovi and Taber moved out onto the rotting jetty, a disgusting mass of eyes, mouthes and formless flesh undulated out from under the surface of the pier. Thinking quickly and eager to test his new spell, Scorcher placed an extradimensional pit under the creature. Unfortunately, it jumped away, and Taber, eyes fixed on the dangerous thing, did not, and tumbled in. Lekovi cautiously backed away from the pit, throwing bursts of magic at the thing. Cailyn sent Pat, his Rat animal companion, into the water after the thing. The thing gibbered, sending the rat, Cailyn and Scorcher out onto the edge of madness. River waited, and struck at the thing as it swam out of the bay. Cailyn, in confusion, fired an arrow at Scorcher, but missed him, while Taber attempted to climb out of the magical pit. Lekovi again sent magic at the creature, as did Scorcher. Surrounded by Cailyn and and River, the creature attmempted to bit at them, inflicting little damage, and the pair were able to badly damage the thing. Scorcher was then able to finish it off with another burst of magical energy.

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End of Dreams

https://youtu.be/Dim8ko9FBE8

Refreshed from another night in the Chapel, the group prepared to confront Ulver Zandalus. After performing some research into the Dimension of Dreams, the amnesiacs headed off towards the camp. Before leaving, Shadow tried to tag along, once again snapping at one of the children. But Cailyn was firm, and told Shadow to stay.

As the group entered a hall leading out of the Asylum's entrance hall, a group of Apostles in Orpiment rounded the corner, and accosted the group. After a short exchange of words, they attacked, and the group quickly defended themselves. After Lekovi bepselled a pair into slumber, and River sliced up a third, the fourth one distracted Cailyn, and then knocked her unconscious, before Taber finished him off. As the fourth Apostle hit the ground, his form morphed into something else. Caitlyn was able to identify the thing as a Faceless Stalker once she was back on her feet again.

As they looked for somewhere to stash the bodies, Taber pointed at a path outside the trophy room they had never visited. As they opened the door to the path, a strange sound was heard. Everyone paused, and then a mass of pale, wriggling things, a cross of worm and hairless bat, broke from the ground and took to the air in a swirl of pallid flesh. They quickly engulfed half of the group. Knowing how to deal with these abominations, Cailyn threw an alchemist's fire, only to have it catch on the doorframe. Taking the hint, Scorcher stepped up and used magical fire to destroy the swarm, finding just the right spot to not harm any of his group.

After dusting themselves off, and finishing the disposal of the bodies, the group continued back to the Orpiment camp. There, they found that the Apostles seemed to be gathering for war. All of the able-bodied Apostles were arming themselves. Rushing in to speak with Dr Elbourne, they asked what was going on. Dr Elbourne told them that Ulver Zandalus had discovered that the scary dark room was now empty, and had worked out that another camp lay in that direction. Dr Elbourne implored the group to go and deal with Zandalus now, before he could lead the raid. Heeding his words, the group hurried upstairs to Zandalus's chamber.

The room at the end of the hall was plastered with thousands of charcoal sketches, similar to the like they had already seen in Losandro's office, and the Oneirogen room, containing images of swirling skies, empty cities, towering monoliths, and threatening figures cloaked in mist. Standing in the back of the room was Ulver Zandalus himself, a gaunt man, with a ponytail of long and exceptionally straight white hair. He wore multiple patients' gowns that had been shredded and stitched to create a layered robe. His arms and much of his chest were exposed, revealing lines of charcoal and yellow chalk streaking his flesh, the most prominent of which was a yellow flame on his forehead, similar to that of the Apostles.

Upon seeing the group, Zandalus's eyes went wide, and his mouth fell open. A voice like tempest wind hissing over broken glass sheered from his split, motionless lips, as though something other than Zandalus himself spoke from inside his body. “You're supposed to be dead. I already, killed you” it hissed. “Why aren't you dead?” And with that, Zandalus began casting a spell.

Acting quickly, both Scorcher and Lekovi prepared spells in reaction to Zandalus actually casting and interrupted his spell, while the other three moved further into the room. Taber charged ahead of the others,  striking Zandalus firmly with his three section staff.

The three melee combatants of the group continued to back Zandalus into a corner, as Lekovi and Scorcher magically assaulted him. Zandalus was able to throw off most of Lekovi's attacks, but Scorcher's constant force missiles combined with the melee attacks soon felled Zandalus. As he fell to the ground, a thick yellow fog began pouring out from all of Zandalus's orifices, and even wounds hat had been opened in his body.

Not sure what to do, the group tried covering the body, slashing it more, and covering it in alchemist's fire, but the fog kept pouring out. Suddenly, from out of the fog stepped a form familiar to the entire group – the Tatterman! Laughing, he rasped “Zandalus dies, and I am free. Free to kill…free to kill you!” and immediately lashed out with his war razor at Cailyn. A feeling of dread washed over everyone, and Scorcher, Taber and River all felt very afraid of this creature. Cailyntried slashing back, but found it very difficult to get purchase on the creature. Even when she did, most of the damage was resisted. River and Taber also tried to hurt the creature, doing some damage, but the wounds began to close almost immediately. Lekovi was able to positively identify the creature as the Tatterman, and from what he knew of it's legends, told everyone that it was a spellcaster of some power, and that it had no particular resistances to anything. Lekovi then attempted to psychically command the Tatterman, who looked at Lekovi and said “You will die last.”

The Tatterman's aura of fear intensified, and Taber and Scorcher were immediately struck with fright. River would also have been affected, but a talisman around his neck glowed with power, and he stood his ground. Taber and Scorcher both fled down the hall, back to the former lair of the Oneirogens. Trying to prevent them from running, Lekovi threw a sleep spell between them, but both of them shrugged it off. The Tatterman attempted to throw magic around, but failed to concentrate sufficiently. Cailyn, unsure of what might hurt the creature, drew Red Destiny, but could not land a solid blow. River dropped his shield, and applied silversheen to his battleaxe. Off in the distance, Taber wrapped the silver chain of a Shelyn holy symbol around his fist, ready for when he overcame his fear.

The remaining four combatants danced around each other for almost a full minute, trying vainly to land telling blows on each other. The Tatterman threw out several enchantments, including a lullaby, and vanishing from sight briefly, and finally a touch of terror on Cailyn, causing her to also flee the room, just as the other pair recovered. The Tatterman managed to put River to sleep, but Lekovi quickly woke him, while assisting the others to land blows. River, concerned at how difficult it was proving to hit the creature, used a wand of bless he had recovered earlier. Finally, with Taber's silver-wrapped fists, Lekovi's silver dagger, and River's silversheened battleaxe, the tide began to turn aginst the Tatterman. Still fighting, the Tatterman critically hit Lekovi, and knocked him out. The Tatterman suggested River hand over his axe, but River fought off the trick. 

Just then Cailyn returned to the fight, launching arrows at the Tatterman. The Tatterman tried the suggestioin the trick on Taber, and Taber handed over his silver necklace. In retribution, River landed a critical hit, doing a grievous wound, and felling the Tatterman. Cailyn began searching the items that had been hidden under Zandalus's bed, River began some healing on Lekovi, and Taber went to examine the body of the Tatterman.

It was during this examination that the Tatterman suddenly lashed out at Taber with his war razor, to everyone's surprise! Reacting quickly, River, Taber and Cailyn again smashed their weapons into the Tatterman, this time inflicting grievous wounds on the creature, and it finally lay dead, and the yellow mist around the asylum began to clear at last.

The most interesting item found in the crate under Zandlus's bed was an ancient book entitled The Chain of Nights, which had been mentioned in Administrator Losandro's journal. Lekovi was able to later read the book, and determine that the book contained a number of spells, and a ritual for removing natural nightmares from someone. However, the ritual warned that if the cause of the nightmares was an extraplanar being, then instead of harmlessly dissipating the bad dreams, the creature would be summoned. The ritual also explained that if it went wrong, a backlash of damage would be inflicted on the recipient, and if that damage was enough to kill the patient, they would be turned into an Oneirogen. From what they had seen, Lekovi believed Zandalus had purposely failed the ritual to turn patients into the Oneirogens they had encountered.

The team of amnesiacs then gathered the few items remaining in Zandalus's den, and returned to the chapel. They found all of the Apostles in Orpiment standing around in a daze. Finding Winter back at the chapel, the group quickly went outside, and discovered the road from the asylum down to the small dock clear, and a boat waiting. While Winter and Captain York began ferrying the survivors across the waters of the bay to Thrushmoor, the group went to the corner of the island to examine the standing stones they had read about.

They found three ancient monoliths at the site, covered in Kellid runes and ancient pictures. On the smallest of the three menhirs, they found a large rendition of what appeared to be the Tatterman. The other runes and images were undecipherable, but Taber took a rubbing for later.

Upon returning to the dock, the group found the boat ready to ferry another load of people, and Captain York asked the amnesiacs to hop in. He rowed the 15 minutes to Thrushmoor, and the group disembarked on the shore, to find Winter seeing to the group of refugees already there. Cailyn took the initiative, and sought out the local Church of Pharasma, and led the way there. 

At the church, there was only one person – a half-elven painter named Lelwyn Hasok. Talking to the painter revealed that the local priestess, Trilliss Mavaine had been missing for several days. Cailyn asked what other healers were in town, and Lelwyn directed her to Sentilar Ruoy, the alchemist at the HealersHouse. Travelling across the town, the group tried to convince the halfling alchemist to come help the refugees, but Ruoy refused unless he was promised payment from someone official, like perhaps a Royal Inquisitor. Ruoy also offered to sell the group potions to cure the Filth Fever a pair of them had. Heading back the way they had come, the group found Winter at New Chapel, and Cailyn asked for her Inquisitorial Seal. Winter explained that she was not actually an inquisitor, and only helping out the actual Royal Accuser, named Omari. She explained that Omari had planned on meeting her at the headquarters of the Sleepless Agency, the Sleepless Building. Feeling a little frustrated, Cailyn led the group next there.

The group was met at the door of the Sleepless Building by a young woman named Meg. She looked a little taken aback, but asked the group to wait in the lobby while she fetched her mistress. The head of the Sleepless Detective Agency entered the lobby a short while later, and introduced herself as Cessadia Wrentz. Lekovi and Taber saw a subtle change in the woman's attitude as she lay eyes on the group, leading them to believe she had some hard feelings about them. She brusquely addressed the group, asking what they wanted. Cailyn asked after Omari, but Cesadia refused to give any information, saying she did not trust anyone in the group enough to do so. She also seemed skeptical over Cailyn's claims of memory loss, and informed the group that perhaps if they wanted to prove they were indeed trustworthy, they should look into the disappearances that had recently plagued the town. Cailyn asked for a lead, and Cesadia suggested they look into the claims of a local fisherman named Toli Remsatter of glowing lights seen along the shore of the bay at night.

The group left, and decided the next logical place to go was The Silver Wagon. At the inn, they could get some food, take lodgings, and start talking to the locals. As soon as the group set foot in the inn, the barkeep spied them, and began shouting at them that they had been told to leave and not to return. Asking why, the proprietor said they knew damn well they still hadn't paid their bar tab, or made up for starting the bar fight, or any of the damages they had done. Handing over a pouch of 50 gold, Cailyn asked if this would be enough, and if they could have some warm food. Dena begrudgingly accepted the coin, and had them shown to a table, and given some 'cabbage soup', but refused to let them stay in the inn. Lekovi read Dena's surface thoughts, and confirmed she did indeed not like the group at all, and that they had been taken to jail after the bar fight.  Attempting to talk to some of the patrons, the group found themselves ostracised after their entrance, but were eventually able to find that Toli would more likely be found at the local tavern, The Stain.

Relocating to the Stain, the group found some people to talk to, including Toli. Toli was happy to talk to the group about his experience – how he noticed a light glowing from a small cover along the shore, about a mile out of town. The amnesiacs asked for some details, and took note of the location Toli had described. Toli also mentioned how the town was a little on edge, due to the coming of the Briarstone Witch, just like Elgrior Nasmeth had been saying. When the group asked about Elgrior, Toli pointed him out, outside the tavern.

The group saw Elgrior, a grimy man in shabby clothing, carrying a signboard emblazoned with “The Witch is coming!”, and shouting “Doom is coming! The second vanishing is upon us! Pray for your salvation that the Briarstone Witch doesn’t take you!”. Moving outside to talk to Elgrior, the group saw the tavern keep watching the man disapprovingly. The group talked to Elgrior for a short time, hearing how he was convinced the Briarsone Witch was returning, and that anyone who dis not pray for salvation would be taken in the second vanishing. Elgiror also told the group how the local government were conspiring with the Witch, as evidenced by them all being in hiding. He espoused how the officials were just waiting for the vanishing to happen, so they could then come in and take all of the spoils. Elgrior was also adamant that they would not take his beetle collection! Lekovi offered Elgrior a tinfoil hat, and then the group watched him wander off, shouting to everyone along the way. 

The next stop for the group was to do some much needed provisioning. Determining that they would likely have to live rough for a while, Cailyn went looking for camping supplies and magic. Food was available from the Fish Market and Farmer's Square. The group scoured the High Mart, and found that supplies from outside town would allow them to purchase common items (anything up to 2000gp). River went to visit the local smith, Binter's Smithy, and found that Kletta Binter ran a respectable business selling copper and lead ornaments. She did not stock any weapons or armour, or materials for making them, but she was willing to hire out her second anvil to anyone who wanted to use it.

After stocking up on various items, and offloading a few unrequired things, the amnesiacs left town, looking for a camp site…or perhaps they were searching for the cave?

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Yellow

https://youtu.be/CAME8GDRTfI

The group once again started out travelling from the chapel to the Orpiment Apostle camp, and towards the kitchens, intending to deal with the reported haunt. Along the way, in the previously dark scary room, they encountered a cloud of Vampiric mist, and quickly slew it. As the group went to leave this area, Lekovi realised that somehting was wrong, and apart from feeling weakened, discovered he had what appeared to be some sort of tumours growing from his already homely face.

Arriving at the kitchens, the group found it unexpectedly abandoned, the three stone hearths cold. Around the far hearth, a makeshift line of rubble appeared to denote the area of influence of the haunt. Sensing light and noise in the former preparation area to the south, the group moved in and found it had been repurposed to become a kitchen for the camp. Seeing the cook distraught and overrun, Lekovi helped out, and cooked a surprisingly masterful meal of potato cakes out of the stock of potatoes, bacon lard and dill. During this time, Cailyn smuggled as many of the huge bags of potatoes as possible into Lekovi's Handy Haversack, for delivering back to the chapel camp, while the rest of the group spoke to the cook, Ivory Garidine, about conditions here, and the haunted kitchen.

While the cooking and conversation was going on, the rubble-blocked southern doors were banged and rattled by something strong. With a pause between, both doors were tried by this unknown force. Ivory Taking this as a sign of a threat to investigate, the amnesiacs looked for a way to make progress, remembering there was another door into the courtyard from the camp. Moving to this exit, the group found the windows from the camp facing the courtyard were all barricaded, and four Apostles were on guard duty. They did not seem concerned about the amnesiacs wanting to go out the door, and when asked, said they were on guard duty against the monsters, and that they sometimes heard hooves.

Stepping outside, the group found that the mist was relatively thick, and it was once again raining heavily. Shortly after they went outside, there was a tremendous clash of thunder so loud, that most of the group was deafened.

https://youtu.be/ZK85OXiValM?t=23s

Cailyn looked for signs of tracks, and found that there were a confused mix of booted and unshod humanoid prints. In addition, there were hoof prints (unshod hoof prints, upon reflection), which seemed to appear and disappear in some places. There also appeared to be a path that led around the edges of the courtyard.

From out of the mist appeared a trio of what later turned out to be Ghouls. As they attacked, the group quickly reacted, but were unable to apply much in the way of strategy thanks to the heavy mist. As they did begin to defend themselves, from a different direction out of the mist, River was charged by, of all things, a Unicorn! Despite being almost impaled on the things horn, River and Scorcher fought bravely against it, while the other three were able to fight off the Ghouls, allowing one of the three to escape. As the group started to shift to concentrate on the Unicorn, it suddenly disappeared into the mist, with a popping noise that Lekovi identified as the Unicorn's Greater Teleport ability.

The group decided that dealing with the solitary Ghoul was more important than the Unicorn (which Cailyn felt was probably just misguidedly defending its home). Realising the Unicorn had only attacked those off the path, the group skirted around the edge of the Courtyard after the Ghoul, following it along the path, but forced to travel slower. As the thunder rang out again, the group found the door into the north west corner of the asylum, and Cailyn was able to see fresh tracks leading in.

Disaster almost struck the group as they followed the trail into the halls, and blundered into a carefully laid ambush. A wall, carefully prepared, was purposely collapsed on most of the group, and from several different quarters, the group was set upon by a veritable horde of Ghouls led by a Ghast with a severed hand hung around its neck as a grisly trophy. During the prolonged struggle, Cailyn was knocked unconscious and paralysed, and things looked bleak for a time, but the group won out, slaying all of the foul creatures.

Exploring, the group made another horrifying discover in the room to their north, stumbling across what looked like a larder. Several makeshift cages contained partially-eaten human corpses, and a crate concealed a black labrador/alsation cross puppy. Cailyn adopted the puppy, and named it Shadow. Lekovi discovered magic on one of the corpses, and retrieved a magical heavy shield, which replaced the newly constructed shield River had been wielding.

Exploring further north, they found an open door to outside, and in front of it, a strange reptillian creature, later identified as a Voonith. The group were able to quickly dispatch it.

Deciding they had taken enough punishment for one day, the group retreated to the chapel, concealing the puppy as they moved through the Apostle camp. They gave the stock of potatoes to Winter, and Lekovi prepared a fine meal for everyone from it. After a night of rest and recuperation (during which time, Cailyn constructed more makeshift weapons),. Lekovi's tumorous affliction was treated, and started improving. The group then set out again. Despite Shadow clearly wanting to follow, Cailyn instructed her to stay with Winter, who reluctantly agreed.

The group set out, and returned to the tower they had been told contained one of Zandalus's lieutenants. Entering, they were again beset upon by a trio of Ghouls, which were again quickly dispatched. Examining the tower itself, the group found that it contained a ruined set of stairs leading up to an upper floor. The remains of the stairs looked relatively easy to climb, and Taber scrambled up first.

The top floor room, largely open to the elements from broken windows, contained a wide array of crates and older medical equipment. In the centre of the area, Taber spotted a figure, wreathed in heavy yellow fog, hiding amongst the crates. In a silent exchange of gestures, Taber assured the figure he meant no harm, and then lowered a rope for his friends. As Cailyn climbed up, the figure approached closer, and all of a sudden, the pair engulfed by the fog felt like going to sleep…shaking this influence off, they found the man attempting to slam it's fists into Taber and Cailyn. After a quick struggle (during which, River was unable to even begin climbing up the ruined stairs), this man was killed. Examining the body afterwards, Lekovi was able to determine that the insides had essentially been scooped out and replaced by a portal, presumably to the Dreamlands. The yellow fog appeared to be substance from the Dreamlands, transported through this portal. Almost immediately after the death of the creature, the group could see the fog in and around the tower beginning to lessen.

Out of new areas to explore, the group went back to familiar ground, returning to the kitchen. Approaching the marked hearth, an empty cauldron suddenly boiled and tipped over, releasing an ethereal puddle of water from which rose a cloud of spectral vapour. Despite having left behind any food after a warning, Scorcher and Cailyn felt their stomachs churn as they approached, as though the food in their stomachs was being affected. Quickly applying positive energy, the group suppressed the haunt, but were unable to find any trace of the body. Talking to Ivory again, they discovered the previous head cook had an office that was in an area that had collapsed. After some digging, they were able to find his body, and give him a burial.

Tackling the other loose end, the group went back to the courtyard, and circumnavigated it following the path. In the southwestern corner of the courtyard, they discovered a body, formerly quite handsome, albeit very thin. Before they could investigate much further, the Unicorn appeared out of the mists and attacked. Despite numerous efforts from Cailyn to calm the beast down, it was eventually put down, and as it died, the body dissipated into nothing. Examining the body, Lekovi and Scorcher were able to find it wore a Ring of Sustenance.

At a bit of a loss for other objectives, the group traveled back to Dr Elbourne, intending to reconnoiter Zandalus's second floor stronghold. While the majority of the group stayed with Elbourne, Taber walked up both sets of stairs, finding one blocked, and the other leading to a room with a trio of apostles playing cards at a table, and a decrepit old woman lying on a pallet. Making noise enough to catch the attention of the Apostles, they told Taber to take off. He complied, going back to Elbourne's office.

A brief chat with Elbourne identified the woman as Aggra Loomis, a 70 year old woman responsible for the bodies with bagged heads above the stairs, and also for a number of similar murders in Rozenport 40 years prior. Now wary, but feeling confident, the group all ascended to the upper floor, and were attacked by the thugs. Aggra displayed surprising strength and agility, by leaping to her feet, and catching River in a chokehold. Before she was able to capitalise on it, River slipped out of her grip, and she and her thugs were quickly slain.

Moving into the next area around collapsed walls, the group found it largely open to the elements. Inside were three of the mist-spewing creatures they had already encountered. After a short fight, all three were killed with little loss to the group. Feeling out of resources, the amnesiacs once again retreated back to the chapel, feeling they were close to finally meeting Ulver Zandalus.

Current date – 23 Arodus 4717 AR

View
You Get What You Pay for

https://youtu.be/dZBAmSFCmQ0

While half of our group of amnesiacs rested up, Taber, Cailyn and Lekovi visited the library, and dug into the wealth of information stored there. Initially looking for information about the standing stones on the northwest of Briarstone Isle, they uncovered some unsettling details about Briarstone Asylum's and Thrushmoor's history, along with several references to The Tatterman and the Briarstone Witch. With some effort, these three also moved a solid table into the chapel, to use in making weapons to fight the Nightgaunt. After rejoining the other two amnesics, River and Lekovi attempted to identify the last few items recovered from Adminiatrator Losandro's office, without success, before setting out again.

After examining their map of the Asylum, the group returned to the front door. Finding the door stuck, most of the group began planning ways to open them. Upon spying Flowing River unshipping an axe, the others quickly decided on a plan involving rope, and the door was yanked open. Those near the door spied several indistinct shapes moving in the mist, and heard what sounded like a giant stomach gurgling. As they tried to make out more detail, what appeared to be a pile of corpulent flesh rolled out of the fog, and lashed out at the group.

Cailyn quickly lobbed a flask of alchemist's fire at the creature, setting it alight. Lekovi, seeing the thing burning, realised he had read of these things before, and identified them as Hungry Flesh. He relayed how these piles of tumorous flesh regenerated and grew larger if they were cut or stabbed, unless they had first been burned. After a quick struggle, the creature dissolved into a disgusting mix of liquidised flesh. Several more creatures were seen approaching the open front doors, and Scorcher slammed and barred them securely closed.

Sensing a relatively easy way to practice their skills, the group resolved to lure the piles of meat in one at a time to destroy them. They readied themselves in a defensive formation, and River rushed forward to open the door. As they concentrated on the foe that moved in, none of the group noticed a lurking shadow elsewhere in the room, and as soon as they were all otherwise engaged, the Spring Heeled Jack they had encountered and imprisoned earlier leapt out, stabbing Cailyn in her kidneys.

Recovering quickly, Cailyn turned to meet this new threat, while her allies continued to deal with the tumescent ooze. Expecting the tumble in, the Jack slashed at Cailyn again, and even the ooze tried to lash out. River, seeing the danger, also moved over to threaten the dark fey creature. The Jack leapt out from between the pair, throwing out a blaze of fire, sending Cailyn crashing to the ground, while the flesh pile grabbed and overran Lekovi.

River stooped to heal Cailyn, while Taber and Scorcher continued to wound the flesh creature. Lekovi was badly wounded, and fell to the ground, just as Taber felled the creature. Concerned for his friend's welfare, Taber used strange magic to staunch the bleeding.

The Jack, sensing an opportunity, leapt in and gleefully retrieved his knife from Cailyn. Holding it to the sky in triumph, the Jack didn't see Scorcher throw a color spray in his direction, and he looked directly at it. Immediately stunned and blinded, the Jack dropped his precious knife. River moved in, and cleaved his skull.

Barring the front doors again, the group retreated once again to the chapel to rest and recover resources. The three spellcasters tried to scavenge scribing supplies, and between them, were able to find enough for a single low power scroll. Cailyn, fearing the Nightgaunt, carved wooden javelins from the table.

Heading back out the next day to the second courtyard, the group found that the fog was a little thinner, partly due to strong winds blowing. Cailyn and Taber spread out, trying to draw the creature out, and sure enough, it swooped down at Taber, grabbing him. Cailyn did not at first detect the creature over the howling winds, but the rush of her allies towards it clued her in. Thanks to a sudden windstorm, the creature was unable to lift its victim aloft, and was trapped on the ground, where River was able to rush in and slice at it. Trying to move past her friends to an open spot of ground, Cailyn was unable to evade the Nightgaunt's talons, and was also held fast in it's grip, although it then quickly released Cailyn, but lost its grip on Taber.  Scorcher sent an Enfeebling Ray towards the creature, but it evaded, only to be smashed down by Taber's staff.

Feeling that the tide had turned, the group spread out into the courtyard to explore, but found nothing of value. They did discover a wooden shed in one corner of the courtyard, and entered it. Inside, they found some garden tools, and stairs down. Curiously, the walls and stairs ended at some sort of gigantic open space. Dropped rubble sounded out that the floor was at least 200 feet down, and sounded leathery rather than stone.

The group then decided to explore new territory, and walked to the formerly dark 'scary room'. On the other side, they found something surprising – another settlement. This large open area contained many makeshift tents that appeared to have been made from many different scraps of cloth and other materials, small fires burning in front of some of them. Corpses, their heads wrapped in cinched bags and pillow cases, adorned the walls, dried blood on the walls beneath them. Large staircases were visible to the upper floor. People sat around the tents and fires, some dressed in yellow robes with chalked flames on their foreheads, all showing at least some small amount of yellow-dyed fabric in their clothing. Taking this in quickly, the group ducked back out of sight, and redressed with some of the yellow robes they had already recovered.

Stepping back into sight, the group was approached by a handful of thuggish-looking people, holing improvised weapons. Before anything could develop further, a blond man dressed in ragged doctor's outfit. Introducing himself as Wren Elbourne, the man quickly ushered the group away from the crowd gathering, into what appeared to be a makeshift hospital, screened off from the rest of the camp. Shooing away a pair of patients with minor injuries, Dr Elbourne began an in-depth conversation with the group. Dr Ellbourne's side of the conversation is just below – after hearing all of this, the group has found several new avenues of action, including the nearby haunted kitchens, and the northwest tower.

Who are you? “I’m Doctor Wren Elbourne. I study and treat diseases of the mind. I only started working at Briarstone a week ago, and was excited for the job… that’s hard to believe now.” 

Who is Ulver Zandalus? “He’s this lot’s leader and the one responsible for all this. I hear he used to be just a quiet artist who had bad dreams. I don’t know how else to explain it, but something let his dreams loose. He convinced a bunch of patients that he’s some sort of prophet and that he can lead them to the land of dreams. That was enough to start a riot. Soon after, those strange mists rose outside and an earthquake caused much of the asylum to fall apart.
We’ve been trapped here ever since.”

Where is Zandalus? “He and his closest followers keep to what remains of the halls upstairs. No one is allowed up there,
though. Zandalus’s thugs stand guard, but worse, that weird mist collects up there like a snake in a hole. Who knows what they do in that fog? But we all hear the chanting and screaming…even though we try not to.”

Who is the Tatterman? “A lot of people are having the same dream of a gaunt thing in yellow rags hunting them. They say if he kills you in your dreams, he reveals what you really are. Sometimes that’s a corpse, sometimes it’s something worse. Regardless, everyone is terrified of sleeping, fearing the nightmares. Worse, they say that the Tatterman works for Zandalus. It’s all the more reason not to defy him, lest he send his dream assassin after you.”

Who are the people wearing yellow? “Zandalus calls them the Apostles in Orpiment. They’re his followers. Some have bought into Zandalus’s creed that dreams are prophecies and that Zandalus’s visions foretell the coming of a great change, but most are just scared, former patients who need treatment.”

What is the fog outside? “Zandalus found some way to breach the border between dreaming and wakefulness. The fog is a result; it’s like spillover from whatever dream realm he’s tapped into. But the fog isn’t the problem, it’s the things that came along with it. Weird things, like from nightmares. The worst seem content to keep to the fog, but I’ve seen strange forms slip into the asylum—figures I can’t rightly describe.”

Why are people having nightmares? “If all that’s happened here wasn’t reason enough? I can’t be sure, but everyone’s suffering from the same bad dreams, me included: mostly visions of bleak skies and empty cities. Some say they’re the dreams Zandalus used to have, that now that they’re free of his head they’re infecting everyone else. Some say the Tatterman brought them, and he’s haunting all of our nightmares. Others think they’re visions of what’s beyond the fog. But who can truly say?”

View
Dancing in the Dark

https://youtu.be/129kuDCQtHs

On their way to explore the last couple of areas on this side of the 'scary room', the group checked in on the two captured men in yellow robes, still restrained in the communal ward they had been left in the previous day. Leaving the ward, the group were attacked by a strange fey creature that Lekovi recognised as a Spring Heeled Jack. The creature leapt around, slashing at members of the group before being knocked unconscious. The Jack was then restrained, and brought around for questioning. All the Jack did was to threaten Cailyn, who was now in possession of his knife. The group locked him inside the cage that had previously held taxidermic birds, in the Visitor's Room, and returned to their other tasks.

They returned to the records room, and unlocked the special records room behind it. Here, they found information relating to any number of supernatural or unexplained cases and patients. Behind a painting of the asylum's entrance, the group found a safe, which held a number of valuable items, including Red Destiny. There was also a cash box, which included a calling card for the services of the Thrushmoor office of the Sleepless Detective Agency. Lastly, the group recovered the patient records relating to Ulver Zandalus, listed in the previous adventure journal (yes, a small retcon…).

Continuing through the Administrator's office, the amnesiacs explored the last set of rooms on this side of the Dark room. They found a strange slimy trail of preservative-smelling liquid leading further down the hall, but stopped to investigate noises in a closer room.

Investigating, they found Ratch Mamby, the ratling sorcerer mentioned earlier by the other ratlings encountered. Ratch seemed incensed, and attacked the group, along with his accompanying Dire Rats, and a summoned rat swarm. In the ensuing struggle, River, Cailyn and Scorcher were all bitten by the rats, but they were eventually put down, and Ratch captured and bound. Ratch was interrogated lightly, before the group continued to investigate the slimy trail.

The trail continued to a partially-collapsed conference room, and ended at a closet. Opening the closet, Cailyn was surprised as a mason jar full of preservative liquid was smashed on her head. Looking up, the group saw the unsettling sight of a pair of undead foetuses. River cut one apart on sight, causing it's remains to splash all over both River and Cailyn. The second one leapt at River, and tried to bite a chunk out of her ankles. Cailyn quickly dispatched the second disturbing creature.

Turning now to the last unexplored area in this half of the asylum (apart from the large courtyard haunted by the nightgaunt), the group faced the room described by the apostles as the 'scary, dark room'. Opening the doors, they again found it supernaturally dark.

River moved into the dark area, and immediately heard children sobbing around him, then was touched by something trying to cause harm. River backed up, just outside of the dark area, and found his voice no longer worked. Cailyn moved forward to also attack the creature, and had difficulty finding it. Scorcher and Lekovi threw magic to little effect, and Taber surprised everyone by using magic to shield himself, before also stepping forward.

Hearing the sobbing voices say mention the name of one of the children in the Chapel, Lekovi pulled the wooden toy knights that had belonged to them from his magical bag, and threw them into the room. Nothing appeared to change. River, focusing on the voices asking to 'relight the Lantern', entered the dark room, trying to find a lantern to relight, but found only rubble in the dark. Taber, thinking the dark was the issue, grabbed hold of the creature, and dragged it into the light. Revealed was a child's skeleton, wrapped in scraps of night clothes and the drawings of children, with a fox's skull. The creature struggled, but was held fast. It tried to bite Taber, but could not.

River continued to explore the dark area, while Taber and Cailyn tried to restrain the creature. Eventually, the creature slipped loose from their grip, and moved quickly away from the group, trying to use another entrance to it's lair. Taber moved to try and cut the creature off again, while Cailyn moved to surround it, and the two arcanists threw more magic at it. Cailyn and Taber surrounded the creature, and finally finished it off, causing the darkness to dissipate from the scary room, now visible as a trashed guard station.

Spent of resources, the amnesiacs pulled back to the chapel again, and rested for another day, throwing off the remaining filth fever and ghoul fever infections.

View
Dreams in the Mist

https://youtu.be/mrZRURcb1cM

After finding one of their number were infected with some affliction, the group asked Winter for assistance, and discovered that not only had Scorcher caught Filth Fever, but Cailyn had somehow been infected with Leprosy. Although Winter was not strong enough to heal either condition, she was able to relieve Scorcher's suffering, and began helping to provide long term care. Winter also reminded the group that the refugee camp was running low on supplies, and would run out in only a few days. She also told the group that Administrator Losandro's office had been situated in the centre of the assylum, and that it may hold further clues to the happenings, or their identities.

The amnesiacs returned to the area they had previously been searching, and continued north along the hallway. They examined each of the small bedrooms along the way. The ceiling in the first had collapsed, but thankfully nobody had been harmed. Three more corpses were in the next room, two in the yellow robes they had seen previously, but the third an old man, holding a fine boot with a bloodstained heel. The pair in yellow appeared to have been beaten to death. The third room contained a pile of pillows and blankets, and the group discovered a pair of toy, carved knights among them. The fourth and last room contained a grisly, human-shaped carnage lying on the bed.

Moving further north, the group spied something strange in the next large open area by the light of Taber's conjured lights – what looked like a river of blood. Not wanting to chance leaving an enemy behind, the group firstly checked a door off the main hall.

Behind the door, the group found a long room, with a row of beds, separated by curtains. All of the beds were also fitted with restraints. The bed in the middle of the row contained a sleeping man, restrained at waist, arms and legs. The man thrashed about, clearly in the grip of some disturbing dream, and began calling out “No! Not again!”, “Keep away!”, “I don’t want anything from you!”, “Get away from me, bastard!”, in an increasingly panicked voice. While Lekovi searched for traces of magic, Cailyn approached the man, and attempted to rouse him, with no success. With a final, piercing shriek, the man stopped struggling, and lay still. River approached, to confirm the man was dead, and to try to discern the cause of his fate. Almost unsurprisingly, as Flowing leant across the man to listen to his hear, his eyes flicked open, and he bit down hard on River's wrist. Rushing into action, the group quickly dispatched the poor, restrained man. Searching the room, the group found a spare straightjacket, and a hoodwink cowl.

Moving back to the hall, the group continued north to a large, open area, with large windows to the east. Before the windows, facing away from the group, was an old woman, sat in a chair. A constant stream of blood seemed to flow from the woman, and then pooled on the floor beneath her, before flowing down a west-running hall, and then forming a vertical pool.

Looking at this, Lekovi recognised it as some form of haunt. Despite this, Scorcher tried to attack the form of the woman with Disrupt Undead, to no effect. Taber and Cailyn approached the woman's body, and looking at the front, discovered she had a gaping hole in her chest, from which the blood was running. Taber attempted to cast a stabilise cantrip on the woman, which seemed to distrupt the blood flow briefly, but had no lasting effect.  Lekovi tried to disrupt the blood with his foot, which caused a large wave of blood to sweep him down towards the pool, but he was able to struggle out of the flow. Cailyn tried making a bandage from a sheet, and stuffing it into the wound, but the blood rushed up and swept Cailyn across the room as well, but she was also able to struggle free from the flow. River moved to the woman, and applied a cure spell, and the corpse's wound closed up, and the flow of blood diminished, showing a door further down the hall.

Once again not wanting to leave unexplored areas, the group investigated a serving hatch further north. Cailyn climbed in silently, and crept ahead. Behind the hatch was another dark room, containing three more people in stained, yellow robes. Reacting quickly, the group turned the tables on the men, and subdued them. The group awoke one, and questioned him, finding out about the 'scary, dark room' leading north through double doors, and that Ulver Zandalus was leading the forces of the cult. They also asked about the kitchens, finding out they were futher north as well. The group then dragged their three prisoners back to the ward, and left them restrained on the beds.

The group opened the double doors to the north, and found an area that not even darkvision could penetrate. Thinking better of exploring this area for the moment, the group closed the doors, and checked the next door north.

This door led to a storage room, containing clean and dirty linen, cleaning supplies, and a corpse on the ground. Not taking any more chances, River took the corpse's head off before examining it. He discovered the man had been stabbed to death. Lekovi checked for magic, and found several items of note, including a cloak, which Taber claimed.

Continuing east, through the door that had been covered by the vertical pool of blood, the group found another hallway, with several doors leading north and south. Cailyn moved quietly in, and heard sounds of activity to the south west. The group prepared to rush in, and were able to surprise two more men in yellow, and quickly dispatched them. The room also contained many records, which the men had been in the process of searching, and were now strewn all over the floor. Once again not wanting to risk leaving enemies behind, Cailyn moved to the doors across the hall before they examined the records, and found a third yellow-robed assailant, who was also quickly disabled.

The northern room turned out to be some sort of storage room, containing all sorts of personal items and junk, although they were able to discover several magical vials, containing silversheen and an oil of align weapon.

Back in the southern room, the group were able to find some records that seemed to pertain to them – they contained no names or much in the way of personal details, but the descriptions matched the amnesiacs. The files indicated that the group had all been in a catatonic state, and had all been committed on the same day, almost two weeks prior.

While searching amongst the patient records strewn on the floor, the group also discovered a record for Ulver Zandalus, shown below.

Moving to the last door in the hallway, the group opened it, revealing an enormous, expensively-appointed, two-story office. Apart from a wrought iron gallery wrapping around the top floor, the most striking feature was the kneeling Garundi woman, surrounded by a large pool of blood. Her head was bent to the sky, her mouth open in silent scream. At irregular intervals, rainbow-coloured mists spurted forth from her open mouth, before dissipating into a gritty residue. 

The group explored the room, and discovered several curios, including a wooden box carved into the likeness of a brain, bookends depicting twin screaming and crying figures, and a brass sculpture of an Osirion pyramid. Several valuable books were also to be found amongst the large collection in the office. On top of the desk were six framed charcoal sketches, showing vistas of a familliar, deserted city. Copper plates at the bottom of the frames revealed the artist to be Ulver Zandalus, and showed dated the sketches over a period of seven years, the most recent being about 12 months prior. Searching the desk revealed a locked drawer, which Cailyn was able to open. A number of enchanted items were in the drawer, and several alchemical items, but nothing of immediate use, along with Administrator Losandro's journal.

Over a long period of investigation and experimentation, the group were able to determine that the kneeling woman was unresponsive, and unbreathing, despite appearing quite alive. Examination of her throat revealed some sort of opening inside the woman's body, which appeared to be the source of the mists spurting from her mouth. The amnesiacs were also able to detemine that the puddle of blood was not actually blood, but some sort of planar energy field that caused anyone spending time in it to fall asleep. While asleep, the group members dreamed of several different experiences within the deserted city they had dreamed of before. River also dreamed of meeting an ancient Keleshite woman in a room in the city, who advised destroying the sources of the mist.

Unsure of what further action they could take, the group turned to divine inspiration – they each tried using the phylactery of faithfulness they had found earlier to determine if killing the woman would be against their alignment or religion. They also checked if leaving her alive would be so antithetical, and Taber determined that leaving her alive would be against Desna's teachings. Unhappy but resigned, the group ended the woman's life. The mist stopped, and the pool of planar energy dispersed. The group took their findings, and retreated again to the chapel to rest, taking with them

The contents of the journal are largely mundane – filled with notes from staff meetings
and interviews with the families of would-be patients - but in entries written during the last year, the names Haserton Lowls and Count Lowls appear with increasing regularity. The most recent contents of the journal are shown below.


 

View
Living the Dream

https://youtu.be/Yam5uK6e-bQ

After an exhausting first venture, our amnesiacs had rested for a full 24 hours. During that time, the man they had rescued from the surgical table has joined the party in their haven. At the end of the third rest shift, the poor man awoke screaming from a nightmare, changing form before the group's eyes. His skin became grey and wrinkled, and he grew claws and fangs. Immediately, he started lashing out at the group, paralysing several of the group members. Scorcher tried to put him to sleep, but he was not affected. Lekovi, realising the man was now a ghoul, finally tried the same trick, but using his own special version that affects undead creatures. It worked, and they took the poor, sleeping man, and locked him into one of the storage rooms.

After recovering from this fresh horror, the group returned to their explorations north of the barrier. They discovered a room where three men were chained by their wrists to overhead pipes…one of the men was dead (with the flesh chewed almost entirely off his left arm), one was a ghoul, and the third was dressed in dirty yellow robes, with a chalked yellow flame on his forehead. Taking advantage of the ghoul's incapacitated state, they destroyed it, and freed the man in the robes. This man appeared unwilling or incapable of saying more than a few phrases – 'Zandalus Sees', 'Praise' and 'Words fail'.

After being freed, the man walked back down the corridor towards the barrier, and began attempting to climb over it, heedless of the warnings given by the guards. After a short scuffle, the man was overpowered, and locked into the second storage room.

Continuing their progress again, the group found a large laundry room, with curtains hung across the middle of the room, a lantern shining out from behind it. Bodies were haphazardly strewn in the corners, and a table piled high with body parts was in the middle of the visible area. While Lekovi started detecting magic, the warpriest charged forward at an image behind the curtain, but found nothing. Clearing away the rest of the curtain, a makeshift surgery was revealed, with a woman's body on a table, and a set of surgical tools and a lantern on a footstool beside her.

Lekovi confirmed the woman was covered in a magical aura. Immediately suspicious, the warpriest charged and attacked her as she lay on the bed, after which she vanished. The rest of the group prepared an attack, and as expected, she reappeared behind the warpries, slashing him with a dagger. Her true form had been revealed, that of a doppleganger dressed in a filthy, bloodstained nurse's uniform. After a quick struggle, the creature was overcome, and restrained in manacles. The group paraded the creature before the guards at the barricade, and ended its life. Assured that the party were not doppelgangers, Captin York led the group into their sanctuary.

A short distance from the barricade, a set of doors led into a large, multi-denominational chapel, which had been converted into a refugee camp. Almost two dozen survivors, in a mix of patient smocks and staff uniforms lay on pallets around the large room, some resting, some sobbing quietly, some preparing a meal. Captain York introduced the group to Winter, and she briefly spoke about where they all were. Winter made it clear the group needed to earn her trust before speaking more, so the party split up to take on a number of jobs. Lekovi helped out with the cooking, and was able to whip up the best stew anyone had eaten since coming to the camp. Flowing River and Cailyn helped a pair of wounded people as best they could, applying long term care, while Taber chopped some firewood. Scorcher helped calm down one a man who had been a patient, and convinced him to take his medicine before he became overwrought.

Seeing that the group were sincere about helping, and at least somewhat trustworthy, she sat down with them while they all ate, and spoke at length about their situation. She told the group about how she came to be in Briarstone Asylum, and spoke of the patient revolt that had occurred almost a full week ago, supposedly led by a man named Ulver Zandalus. The group recognised having heard the name from the manacled man they had rescued earlier. Winter also outlined how the camp's supplies were relatively low, and that they needed a way out, as well as more supplies. What they had left was likely only going to last a few more days. Winter also told the group that the entrance to the Asylum was just on the other side of a strange phenomenon at the end of a hall.

The group explored the other rooms around the chapel, and discovered there were also a pair of children, being kept amused by one of the former nurses. In another area, they discovered an archive of older patient records, but nothing relevant to them. They also recovered some magical remedies. Moving to the end of the hall described by Winter, they found a makeshift curtain had been hung, concealing the end from sight. A soft whimpering, sobbing could be heard. Parting the curtains revealed a very strange sight – a wagon-wheel-sized eye, embedded in some strange sort of fungal growth, closing off the end of the corridor. After one of the group attempted to shoot the eye, it began screaming in a strange, triple-threaded voice, and then began sobbing over and over, saying 'What am I become?' Thinking quickly, Taber fetched a mirror, and showed the abomination a reflection of itself. After letting out one last sob, it withered and faded to nothing.

Revealed behind the giant eye was a door, which led to the entrance of the Asylum, as promised by Winter. Outside the front windows, the strange yellow fog could be seen blanketing everything, and churning away. The group found a staircase to the upper floors collapsed, much like other areas they had already explored. Several other exits led fromt his area – a wide corridor to the east, a double door north, and a regular door also east. Taking the northern route first, the group discovered a large, well-stocked library.

Immediately on entering, the group spied small, rat-like humanoids on top of a bookshelf to the north, who started spellcasting. Cailyn, Taber and River approached them, while Lekovi and Scorcher threw magic at them. Two of the three ratlings were disabled in their first turn, but the third summoned a swarm of rats. While most of the group moved to counter this threat, Taber continued to move to engage the ratlings. After a short scuffle, and the killing of the swarm, the ratlings surrendered. Talking to them revealed they had only recently entered the asylum, from their own warrens beneath the ground it is built on due to the tremors collpasing parts of them, and cutting them off from their den. The survivors also told the group another of their number was exploring further into the asylum, and they had not had contact for some time.

Having used some resources, the group pulled back, and explored in a different direction. They found the single door leading east from the entry hall had been barricaded, but were able to force it open. Inside, they found one of the walls had collapsed, giving access from the another room. Laying on the floor were 6 corpses, all with their heads wrapped in sheets or bags and cinched tight. Leaving this grisly scene and returning to the hall, the group found another set of double doors leading south, and several other doors besides in various directions.

Opening the southern doors revealed a large comfortably decorated room, flanked by large, open windows. The bay window to the east showed a path also leading off to another part of the asylum from a door in the same wall. At the southern end of the room, though, was a grisly sight – a body impaled on the horns of a stuffed elk head. Upon exploring, the group triggered another haunt – stuffed birds in a birdcage began making a chirping noise, that quickly began rising in volume and intensity. The quick-thinking monk, in the process of forcing open the doors of the cage, damaged the birds, and the noise stopped. The body on the antlers was recovered, along with a second body found behind the cage. Both were dressed in yellow-stained robes, and with yellow flames chalked on their foreheads. Several items of some use were recovered.

Deciding they did not wish to move outside, the group moved back to the hall, and around to the next door, beghind a partial collapse. Inside, they found a large room, again divided by hanging curtains, with another long hallway leading north. Lantern light was visible behind the curtains, but strangely not flickering. As the group approached, from a discarded pile of dirty bandages came a pair of hideous sights – mobile, pus-filled wounds, crawling along on what looked like hairs. The group quickly defended themselves, only to find that when destroyed, these creatures exploded in a wet mess of acidic filth.

After recovering from this encounter, the group tried the next door around in the first hall, which turned out to lead out into a large courtyard, only lightly shrouded in the yellow fog, apparently due to it's more sheltered nature. Spreading out to explore this open area, a faceless, black, winged horror swooped down, and grabbed Lekovi in long, rubbery fingers, flying back up almost to the fog. The group reacted quickly, and attempted to disable the creature, while they decided to pull back into the hall and away. Dropping Lekovi, the creature wheeled up into the fog again, and then swooped back down. Injuring another member of the group heavily, the group disentangled itself from the fight, and retreated back to the chapel to rest once again.

View
These Dreams Go On When I Close My Eyes

https://youtu.be/41P8UxneDJE

A disparate group of characters became aware of each other, as they fled ahead of a wave of rolling yellow fog, through grey city streets. The group turned to face the threat…and one of their number, a Warpriest with a Battleaxe, was sliced to ribbons by an invisible foe.

The spray of blood on the wall seemed to spell out the word 'Up', so the group started trying to climb out of the way. The two physically capable warriors climbed their way up, but the two spellcasters were unable to make any progress, the Psychic of falling to the ground, only to be sliced to death by an invisible foe, his lifeblood seeming to spell out the word 'Me' on the ground.

The brave sorcerer unleashed a torrent of flame, and saw the outline of his foe. The unholy creature stepped forward, wrapped in what seem to be interchangeable strips of rag and skin, carrying a jaggedly sharp strip of metal, and sliced apart the poor Ifrit. Again, a word was spelled out by the gore – 'Save'.

The Changeling, unable to keep his grip with the horrible events unfolding beneath him fell, but was able to land well. He then took off into the mists. Behind him, he heard his last human companion bravely attempt to fight the foe, but heard him scream his last. As he did, he heard a faraway voice, scream a whispered word…'Wake'.

The disparate group awoke from their shared nightmare, to the sound of a man screaming 'Wake up, damn it, sand save me!'. Imprisoned in cells, surrounding a doctor tending to a patient restrained on a splintered wooden table…with half of what appeared to be garden shears. A bench held many other implements, including twisted scraps of metal, kitchen knives, and shards of glass.

The poor patient screamed as the doctor sliced into his thigh, adding to number of existing wounds – she had clearly been working on him for some time. Thinking fast, the sorceror cast a sleep spell at the doctor. Puzzlingly, the poor man on the table fell asleep, leaving the doctor apparently unaffected. The doctor stalked over to Scorcher, and pulling down her facemask, ordered him to be quiet. For a moment, the doctor's face flowed into a different shape, and looked just like Scorcher's, then returned to the previous form. The doctor turned back to her patient.

Across the way, Cailyn frantically began attempting to pick the lock on her cell. Taking advantage of the doctor's proximity to the cell he shared with Scorcher, Taber tried to punch the doctor through the bars, but failed to connect, the arms of his straight jacket catching on the bars of the cell. Flowing River attempted to force open the cell door, but it proved too well constructed. Lekovi psychically flung one of the blades at the doctor, but she dodged it.

As Cailyn continued working on her lock, Scorcher threw another blast of fire at the doctor. In response, she stormed over and thrust her claw into his stomach, and he fell to the ground, trying to stop his entrails from spilling out.  Taber punched the doctor in response, but she seemed to hardly feel it. While Flowing River continued trying to break the cell door open, Lekovi threw a pure blast of magical force at the doctor, and she clutched her head, dazed.

Cailyn finally unlocked her cell door, and threw the it open, and rushed over to give Flowing River the other half of the garden shears. Recovered, the doctor charged at Cailyn, slicing into her with claws. Taber unlocked and opened his cell door, while Cailyn sprouted claws of her own, and slashed at the doctor. The doctor retaliated, opening great gashes across poor Cailyn. Lekovi calmly flung another blade at the doctor, hitting her squarely in the head, but with the flat of the blade. Cailyn swayed unsteadily on her feet, Flowing River looking on helplessly. Taber  rushed out of his cell, thumping the doctor in the back, while deftly flicking the keys into Flowing River's cell. 

The doctor turned to face the new threat, and slashed Taber with her claws. Taber responded by knocking the doctor to the ground, unconscious. Flowing River, finally free of the cell, finished the doctor off with the garden shear. Before their eyes, the doctor changed shape, revealing herself to actually be some form of strange, humanoid creature. Cailyn identified the doctor as a doppelganger.

While most of the group searched for exits and gear, Flowing River did what he could to repair his companion's wounds. In a cold furnace adjacent to the cells, Cailyn makes a grisly discovery – the remains of many humanoids, burned. Behind a door, the group find another terrible sight – a pile of dozens of corpses. The corpses wear a mix of normal clothing, and what seem to be white uniforms. Recovering their gear, the group then decided to climb up through the furnace vents.

Taber emerged in a stone building with a wooden door. The rest of the group soon followed. Cailyn opened the door, to find a gardened courtyard, with heavy rain falling. Above, the same yellow fog the group had seen in their shared nightmare roiled around.

Stepping into the courtyard to look around, Cailyn discovered the rain was actually scalding, and quickly and quietly opened another door, leading into a dark corridor. To her south, she found a barricade manned by a pair of guards with crossbows, and quickly beckoned forth Scorcher to talk to the men.

The men pointed their weapons at the group, and called for their Captain. The Captain showed up, and began talking to the group, indicating he could not trust that they were not shapeshifting nightmares. To prove their intentions, the group needed to go kill some of the creatures roaming the halls, and return the bodies.

The group began exploring, and slew some groups of vermin. At the end of the corridor, they found a ruined office, damaged in some sort of collapse. Lekovi stepped forward to examine bodies in the rubble, and was able to see humans, as well as doppelgangers, and a new type of creature – ghouls! As he relayed this, as feared, one of the bodies attacked from the ground. In a panic, Lekovi tried to use a sleep spell on the presumed undead creature, but it failed to work, despite some additional psychic power. After some effort, the group were able to kill the creature, at which point it returned to it's natural shape, revealing itself to be another doppelganger.

Now badly injured, and with very few magical resources left, the group retreated to a boiler room near the guarded barricade, and rested for 24 hours, sleeping in shifts. Everyone suffered from horrible nightmares of the creature they had earlier seen in their shared dream. Worse, Taber was badly affected by his dreams, waking just as tired as he had been before going to sleep.

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