The HamletMuch work to do. Once a bustling hive of activity, the hamlet offered little in service. It, too, had felt the harsh sting of my lineage’s demise. Boarded up and left to time’s grasp. Rising above the rooftops our mansion silhouetted the sky with exposed beams like festering claws. No place to stay anymore.
We need fresh souls to infuse life into this dilapidated estate, and for that, a restoration of the stagecoach network is my first priority. With deeds and crests of sovereignty, the veins of commerce were once again revived.
Canouville was the first to alight into our bleak domain, an aspiring Vestal with judgemental vigor. Raoullin also made the journey, but his proclivity to plague made for an awkward commute. Our assembly is enough to embark upward into the ruinous remains of my bloodline.
The RuinsWith limited provisions we set out to my ancestral home. Gothic architecture rising above once demanded respect, now webbed in neglect it portrayed a more sinister abode. Leading the way through the grandiose entrance, I halted at the sight of candles bracing a raised altar beneath a muralled monk. Lit candles. Apprehensive we scanned the foyer, but skeletal remains adorning the windows only indicated a prior, more murderous occasion.
Ever east through creaking door to a corridor festooned with derelict shelves of vellum and decaying plaster. Still nothing, but the tension eats into Dismas and I as we exchange nervous glances. Of note, an unburned torch held aloft, poised for a task long forgotten. We will give it purpose again.
Up ahead, a strongbox placed proudly in the vaulted chamber drew our gaze while a rabble of bones lurched toward us in animated fits. “To Arms!”
Raullin, silent as ever, reacted first with a puff of emboldening vapours to break my shocked condition and keen the senses. Dismas drew and fired forcefully, splintering bone and exploding whatever foul mastery held its frame together. “Back to the Pit!” He raged. I followed with my own critical smite to blanket the floor with unholy remains. They CAN be fought, they CAN be beaten!
Our attention turned to the reinforced chest. Surely no sober logic leaves this prize so openly on display? A trap? Dismas dared the lock with well-seasoned expertise and proffered up coin, scriven records of land grants and an unlikely shovel. “We’ll be needing that” announced Canouville, scouting the upcoming passageway. True enough, a crude jumble of stones and debris stood tall, defying our advance. Protruding corpses of unknown labourers mocked our attempts to clear the rubble, but with grim determination and spaded steel we overcame the obstacle.
Lying in wait, a brace of skeletons lumbered toward us, backed by a masked cultist. Grapeshot peppered them all as Dismas took command, urging us into the fray. Raoullin let loose a blinding flask of fireworks toward the surprised acolyte while I zealously accused the leading skeletons; “Destroy. Them. All!” My words ripped through what fabric of control bound the bones together, leaving one in a clattering heap and the other wavering. Delivering holy judgement upon the stunned cultist, Canouville’s call boomed bright to rip clear the mask and expire the eyes behind it. The remaining soldier of bone took a grave slash toward our group, catching Canouville off guard. Dismas closed with knife in hand, but skilled execution in bloodletting offered no assistance in felling the calcified corpse, leaving the fatal blow to my own hand. A faint hope blossoms.These creatures seem poorly constructed and easily overpowered by zealous might.
Through the portico into another ruined expanse. No ambush or assault, but a choice of paths for consideration. We head East, more through comforting routine than strategic merit.
The torch, our lifeblood of sanity. Slowly ebbing into shadowy cocoon.