Sunday, August 27, 2017

Watch Report - Food and Water Storage, Archival Standards, and Quarantine Procedures

Coming to the gate of the Moonlight Monastery it was not especially surprising to find that it was far too quiet for an active monastery. We found the gates to the facility ajar and easily shifted for entry. Miss Freehand entered ahead of us to look for defenses that had been left in place for an attacker and waved us on in. Within the gatehouse we found signs of weaponry gouging chips out of the wall. The estimation I came to was that whatever might have occurred here began at about the same time that we first set out from Athlin close to two-weeks ago.

The first signs we found that the monastery had been inhabited recently came when Miss Freehand and Dame TJ opened the door upon what had apparently been either a kitchen or dining hall. It was now completely overrun with rot. We later found a similar situation in a room that may have once been a larder where the stench was so severe that even that tiefling found himself retching. This is rather concerning as a larder is supposed to be a location where food can be held in storage for a lengthy period of time. That the stores could rot shows quickly indicates a distinct lack in taking proper precautions when building the larder. Though there might be a supernatural element to this rot in which case it may have been difficult to plan for.

I had tried to conduct some analysis of the contaminated water that Dame TJ found in the well, but it proved to be something I had no experience with. It did have a visual similarity to the corruption we'd seen on the Silver Oak earlier though not quite as thick or viscous. Of course I avoided actually touching it but it seemed to have no impact on the ration I had tossed into it. I have left a sample of the stuff in the middle of the courtyard to see if it shows any change or motion.

While Dame TJ, Miss Freehand and the others continued at searching through the upper levels, I turned my attention to an archive that they had uncovered. My first thoughts were to look for a book that had been more recently investigated than others, but the room was far too clean for any sort of pattern of use to be determined.

There was a central pedestal which carried a sort of record of the monastery. The most recent entries had been put in by one Maeryn who had most excellent handwriting as well as a concise and direct to the point manner of organizing the information she recorded. The earliest entries had been placed by a Rosalyn whose handwriting could be barely deciphered and seemed to ramble off on tangents one way or another. Still, between the two and the occasional entry in between, I was able to glean some interesting information.

Most interestingly, there seems to be a lake dedicated to Selune atop the peak and this lake never seems to dry out or drain to empty. Its waters are apparently blessed and flow down to join in with a river some way beneath which feeds out both into the swamp and river to the south and takes an underground route to pass under the Silver Oak Monastery. Rosalyn presumed that despite the Silver Oak's worship of Obad-Hai that some of their powers might instead have their source in Selune. Which seems to be reasonable as I seem to remember somewhere that the two might be allied. Though my memory on the source of that knowledge is a bit foggy. Hellenae could likely tell me more precise information, but she is not here.

In addition, I was able to find some information about what had occurred at the monastery. Some entity from the depths of the mountain, presumed to possibly the same one that had driven out the dwarves, had pressed up into their monastery and had been proving difficult to contain. The entity in question seemed to appear as normal undead save with greater than usual intelligence and bleeding some black corruption of some sort.

I have begun to wonder whether our enemy is indeed undead as I have heard of several infectious parasitical organisms that could reproduce the appearance of the undead. The yellow musk creeper springs to mind, but, of course, that does not fit the symptoms shown. Regardless, the impact remains largely the same. If they are not true undead, but some grotesque infection or corruption by an ooze or something similar, we must still destroy it. Granted, the process of destroying it might be a bit vague at the moment.

Once the upper levels of the monastery had been uncovered and a cursory examination of the Headmistress's Office had been made, we began to turn our attentions downward. There was, unfortunately, nothing I could really find in Maeryn's office as most of the letters I found proved to be written in Elvish, and presenting these toward Elanil simply found that they were day to day matters. So no last-breath warning or record of a desperate plan was brought to light and we go down into the dark armed with very little knowledge. Though that tiefling seemed to have acquired a robe and finally clothed himself after all this time.

I will note, however, that the monks had done an admirable job of quarantining the infected, including themselves. We opened the gates to find dozens of the zombies with their grotesque and infected manners just sort of milling about, locked in the chambers downstairs. They proved slow to respond with Khodrin and TJ able to open a path for the rest of us by use of their shields. Miss Freehand, of course, had no need for their waymaking and simply sprung from space to space through the horde, never letting it pin her in. 

Passing through the first horde of zombies found us facing another door, this one barred heavily. As this was a lock against which light-fingered cleverness couldn't easily avail us, we turned to Dame TJ and Master Khodrin to set their orcish and dwarvish brawn to the task. Between the two of them, they were able to make short work of the bars and open the way to the next room where we found yet more of these corrupted monks now turned grotesque zombies.

Miss Freehand and that tiefling passed through the horde like shadows and even though one of the zombies made an attempt to grab at that tiefling as he passed they seemed in no real danger. The rest of us followed along behind Dame TJ and Khodrin as they shoved zombies aside and we quickly followed, the moaning and shambling entities filling in slowly behind us. I can certainly say that it was a heavy temptation to simply call up an orb of lightning and start to swing it through the hordes, but no, that is something I should save for the confrontation ahead.

Eventually, we were able to reach another door and close this one against the zombies behind us. This last door opened onto an unworked cavern which Khodrin said was a natural development. I asked whether it might not have been carved by water and he agreed that it might very well have as most caverns seemed to be. I took the precaution of placing a light cantrip upon a copper coin and bouncing it down the path to get a look at what we were walking into. The walls seemed quite bare of that black sludge that had infected the others and I thus recast the light upon my dagger.

As we moved down the sound of chittering came to the ears of Miss Freehand and I was obliged to conceal the light I had placed on my dagger. Pressing on, we found ourselves in a great cavern. For Nicola and I, we had only the darkness to consider but the rest of our party noted that there were stalagmites everywhere and that the walls and ceiling of the cavern were beyond even their visions. That chittereing was now loud enough that everyone could hear it.

Then there was a sort of horrible shriek, as if something had discovered us and was charging right then. I moved to draw the dagger and release its light, but while that provided a small circle of light for myself and Nicola to operate within, it did not reveal the position of the creature stalking us. Another shriek came as Dame TJ and Miss Freehand edged forward to make best use of their night vision, and they seemed to shiver briefly at the sound. I think I shall pause this account for now, as I must collect my thoughts on the row that took place following.

1 comment:

  1. Outstanding writing! I'll be back for the next installment.


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