Age of Endless Night

Petros Lorrimor's Last Will and Testament

I, Petros Lorrimor, being of sound mind, do hereby commit to this parchment my last will and testament. Let it be know that, with the exception of specific details below, I leave my home and personal belongings in their entirety to my daughter and heir Kendra Lorrimor. Use or sell them as you see fit, dearest light of my heart.

To my old friends, I hate to impose upon you all, but there are few others who are capable of appreciating the true significance of wat it is I have to ask. As some of you know, I have dedicated my life to the study of all manners of evil that I might better out understanding of the enemies we might face in this life – For knowledge of one's enemy is the surest path to victory.

And so, over the course of my lifetime, I have seen fit to acquire a significant collection of valuable but dangerous tomes, any one of which, in the wrong circumstances, could have lead to an awkward legal situation. While the majority of these tomes remain safe under lock and key in the Lepistadt University I fear a few remain in a chest here in my Ravengro home. These tomes are promised to a colleague of mine in the township of Diamond lake in South Eastern Ustalav. While invaluable in my life's work, in death I would prefer not to burden my daughter with the darker side of my studies, or worse still, the danger of owning these works. As such I am entrusting this chest of times to all of you, post humously. I ask that you please deliver these works to Allustan Neff at his residence in Diamond lake. He will put them to good use for the betterment of our cause.

However, before you leave for Diamond lake there is the matter of the second favor. Please delay your journey for one month's time and spend it instead here in Ravengro to ensure my daughter is safe and sound. She has no one to count on now that I am gone and if you would aid her in setting things in order for whatever she desires over the course of said month, you would have my eternal gratitude. From my savings I have also willed you each a sum of 100 platinum pieces. These funds are in the care of Allustan Neff who has been instructed to issue payment upon the safe delivery of my chest of tomes and no sooner than one and a half months from the date of this will's reading.

I, Petros Lorrimor, hereby sign this will in Ravengro, under the auspices of the Town Council, on this the first day of Calistril, 4711 AR.

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Aisha's Journal - Ravengro
Haunting of Harrowstone Part 1

Pharst 3rd, 4711

Father,
What a day. I finally arrived in Ravengro for the dear professor's funeral. I just barely made it in time. I met up with the funeral party just outside the Restlands, what these Pharasminites named their graveyard, right before sunset. One of the town council members asked myself and two other out of towners named Daeris and Uriel to server as pallbearers. I of course agreed since the debt I owe is far greater than simply bearing the man to his rest, as did the others for their own reasons. Our procession was interrupted by an angry mob claiming the professor was a necromancer of all things. We tried to talk (threaten) them down but these idiots actually went so far as to attack the pallbearers with farm implements. They obviously weren't trying to do any lasting harm but still – Desna what is this world coming to? Uriel shot their leader in the leg, Daeris snuck up behind one and knocked him out with the hilt of her dagger and I called forth some lights and might have implied that if they touched anyone that person would turn into a frog… They ran like the ignorant wastes of existence that they were. The town priest arrived and administered healing along with a rather scathing lecture for the mob leader, a local farmhand of low repute named Gibs, and instructed him to turn himself in to the Sheriff for proper penalty. After the mess of a brawl we finally escorted the Professor to his rest. Each of us there said a few words, Daeris was particularly touching in her awkward delivery of an address and seemed to touch the hearts of the mourners just as the professor had touched each of our lives over the years.

Us out of town folks and Kendra (the professor's daughter) retired to her house and shared our stories over some fine drinks. The professor saved my caravan when I was but a child but as the representative of my people now It was my duty to answer his final summons. I was apprehensive as to what he was going to ask of me in his will but it turned out to be a rather minor thing. Daeris was taken in by the professor as a child and given an education while Uriel saved the professor during one of his early missions among the church, something to do with demons wiping out his whole unit and he and the professor barely surviving. It's hard to understand these Ustalavians sometimes – their accents are quite quaint. The councilman who asked for pallbearers, a rather rotund man named Vashian Hearthmont, finally arrived after an hour to read the will. All in all the professor just wants us to spend a month in Ravengro to look out for Kendra while she sorts out her affairs and to take a small collection of super evil nasty dangerous books to a colleague of the professors after that time. And we're going to get paid! Turns out I was worried for nothing.

Among the super evil nasty dangerous collection the professors journal was included and had "read me now" scratched into the cover. It's written in some sort of complicated code thingy but Kendra said she could probably figure it out. There was some debate whether that was meant for us or for his colleague but I personally really want to know soooooo yeah we're reading it (when we can). We headed to the local tavern, a place called The Laughing Demon, which is owned by Zokar who attended the funeral. He has some really odd dishes – Corpse Chowder, Vampire Steaks and Wolf Balls, and this cool glowing green ale he calls liquid ghost and even has a ghost story to go along with each cask! The Vampire Stakes were great – I think it was beef cuts on long wide stakes, kind of like those kabob things grandpa used to make. Dinner took a turn for the worse when a local started play the flute and seemed to get possessed and forced to continue playing while bleeding massively out the ears. The song attracted these horrid magical bugs known as Stirges that were basically GIANT fucking mosquitos that moved in beat with the song and tried to eat a few villagers. I will henceforth refer to them as "the darkness" as I successfully killed one with a burst of magic missiles while Daeris knocked the flute form the man's hand and Uriel tried to shoot the other stirge with his bow. Disturbed and unsure what was exactly going on we retired to Kendra's place where we all decided to stay to keep an eye on her for this month of waiting around. I don't look forward to what my dreams will be like here. They've been getting worse and worse the closer I came to this town. Desna… Father… please watch over my sleep and let me wake.

 

Pharast 4th, 4711

Dear Dad,
This place is getting weirder and weirder. Right after dawn the town Sheriff, Benajn,  woke all of us up to ask us where we were last night. SLEEPING duh? Apparently someone desecrated the otwn memorial to some place called Harrowstone with a big V in what they assumed to be animal blood since no people were carved up or anything. Uriel and Daeris talked the man down but still things were just getting worse here. Maybe a month here won't be as easy as it seemed when the will was read. Apparently these folks are mostly bookworms as Kendra decided to spend the day working out her father's code and Daeris wants to look into what happened at this Harrowstone place some 50 years ago. I end up fronting the money for her to use the local school teacher's private collection of books but Daeris was properly thankful. I end up wandering around town where I come across Uriel talking to five little girls ourside the town hall. They were singing a super creepy song while playing skip rope and part of it caught his attention:
 Put her body on the bed.
Take a knife and lop her head.
Watch the blood come out the pipe.
Feeds the stirge, so nice and ripe.

Drops of red so sparkly bright.
Splatters spell her name just right.
With a hammer killed his wife.
Now he wants to claim your life.
Tricksy father tells a lie.
Listen close or you will die.

Turns out the song was about five famous prisoners who died at Harrowstone when it burned to the ground 50 years ago – which is what Daeris told me anyway. The part of the song that cauight Uriel's attention was about some bloke known as the Piper of Ilmarsh who fed his victims to his pet stirges while playing the flute for them like a proper performance. All in all Daeris' day was helpful as she uncovered the extent of what happened at Harrowstone as far the official records were concerned. The prisoners started a riot taking over the entire bottom level. In an act of heroism the warden collapsed the way out other than the main lift up and down. The guards eventually panicked for some reason and accidentally started a fire that ended up claiming the lives of all the prisoners and the majority of the guards. It seems like some of their spirits might be haunting the town but why after 50 years are they just starting up now? Uriel and me went to the church and talked a bit with the grumpy old man but somehow Uriel threw his weight around enough to get permission to use the church records. When we got back to Kendra's a deputy girl named Riff was hanging out outside keeping  watch to make sure we didn't leave in the middle of the night to write letters on buildings with blood. Uriel gave her some coffee and we all turned in for the night. All in all a useful if unsettling day.

Pharast 5th, 4711

Dad… things are getting worse and worse. The dreams won't stop. I don't know how much longer I can deal with this.
So Kendra finished deciphering the professor's journal and left us a copy on the kitchen table. Uriel (who for some ungodly reason turns out to be a morning person!) woke us up and we convened to learn some unsettling truths. A group of super evil nasty dangerous cultists called the Whispering Way were in town and messing around with Harrowstone before the professor died. Daeris shared what was a rather informed opinion of the group who seem to revere undeath as a perfected state and sought to do all sorts of unpleasant things to achieve lich-dom or worse. There's a possibility that they killed the professor rather than his death being an accident. This easy stay looks to be much much harder than anticipated but I owe Lorrimor. I'll protect his daughter. I spent the day asking around town about strange happenings and found a little girl named Elsie who woke up to find her cat drained of blood and strung up by its entrails over their doorway. Poor little tyke. I helped her bury her precious Mister Muffins. Uriel and Daeris headed to the church to read more musty records and found that a giant E had been painted on the side of the church. Benjan was there and turned over the supernatural investigation to Uriel. They learned about one of the prisoners who might be involved in the desecrations who went by the moniker "The Splatter Man" a serial killer who spelled out the names of his victims in blood before finally killing them. He was obsessed with the power of names after an encounter with a demon bitch of some kind. Yay for other worldly beings fucking us pathetic mortals over… ANYWAY we went to the laughing demon for dinner, you really would have liked Zokar dad, and tried the Wolf Balls – lamb meat rolled into balls and served on a giant white painted plate to look like a full moon. Again dinner was to be interrupted as the sacrilegious peasants used a Harrow Deck to play a game called Towers and one of them pulled a winning hand centered around The Uprising card. The winning hand burst into a pillar of flames several feet tall and nearly blinded us all. Daeris swore she heard men screaming as they burned alive from the basement while the flames burned but just like that they disappeared, leaving the cards and table unmarked but smoke lingering in the air smelling of burning flesh. The Uprising shows a mob among a field of flames in case you forgot your Harrow Cards daddy. This incident inspired Zokar to make a new dish – flamebroiled Tuna served as "Prisoner Flambe." We headed home and caught some sleep although Daeris and Uriel planned to stake out the monument and church to try and catch the desecrator in the middle of the night. More power to them. I'm off to my nightmares. Watch over me dad.

Pharast 6th, 4711

It just gets worse and worse. I swear I woke in a pool of blood again. What's happening now dad?

I'm writing this while waiting for Uriel and Daeris to catch some sleep from their long night. In the morning I got caught up but it seems that in the middle of the night, some time after the date changed, Daeris spotted a man trying to sneak up to the monument carrying a bulging waterskin that seemed dyed the wrong color in places. She was seen in return and it turned into a foot race which Daeris won only to get her ass handed to her by a crazed Gibs (that bastard) with his shaving razor! She got a good hit in and managed to take a hit and play dead long enough for him to run off. A town deputy arrived on scene and helped her up and the two of them took off after Gibs. They followed his blood trail to the Town Hall where the letter "S" was written on the door. Vrodish, the deputy, woke up the sheriff and the followed the trail back to Gibs' house where they found obvious evidence he was the culprit and took him back to the jail. Daeris gave a statement then got Uriel and came back to pass out for awhile. For once I'm going to be the one who wakes them up!

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Circled Entries in Professor Lorrimor's Journal

Ten Years Ago:
The Whispering Way is more than just a cabal of necromancers. I see that now. Undeath is their
fountain of youth. Uncovering their motivation does not place me at ease as I thought it might.
Their desire to be eternal simply makes them more dangerous.

Two Months Ago:
It is as I had feared. The Way is interested in something here in Ravengro. But what could it be?

Fourty-Four Days Ago:
Whatever the Way seeks, I am now convinced their goal is connected to Harrowstone. In retrospect,
I suppose it all makes sense—the stories they tell about the ruins in town are certainly chilling
enough. It may be time to investigate the ruins, but with everyone in town already being so worked
up about them, I’d rather not let the others know about my curiosity—there’s plenty of folks
hereabouts who already think I’m a demonologist or a witch or something. Ignorant fools.


Twenty-Five Days Ago:
It is confirmed. The Way seems quite interested in something—no, strike that—someone who was
held in Harrowstone. But who, specifically, is the Way after? I need a list of everyone who died
the night of the fire. Everyone. The Temple of Pharasma must have such a list.


Twenty-Three Days Ago:
I see now just how ill prepared I was when I last set out for the Harrowstone. I am lucky
to have returned at all. The ghosts, if indeed they were ghosts (for I did not find it prudent to
investigate further) prevented me from transcribing the strange symbols I found etched along the
foundation—hopefully on my next visit I will be more prepared. Thankfully, the necessary tools to
defend against spirits are already here in Ravengro. I know that the church of Pharasma used to
store them in a false crypt in the Restlands at the intersection between Eversleep and the Black
Path. I am not certain if the current clergy even know of what their predecessors have hidden down
below. If my luck holds, I should be able to slip in and out with a few borrowed items.


Twenty-One Days Ago:
Tomorrow evening I return to the prison. It is imperative the Way does not finish. My caution
has already cost me too much time. I am not sure what will happen if I am too late, but if my
theory is right, the entire town could be at risk. I don’t have time to update my will, so I’ll
leave this in the chest where it’ll be sure to be found, should the worst come to pass.

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Prelude
Grim Tidings

Calistril 12th, 4711AR

Each of the characters awaken on this cold dreary winter day only to find a letter delivered to their doorsteps:

 

With heavy hearts each of the characters gather their belongings and set out for the isolated town of Ravengro in the western most province of the Immortal Principality of Ustalav, unaware that this was but the first step along a path that would lead to either their ascent as heroes or lead to a doom that will blanket all of Golarion beneath the shadow of an ancient evil.

 

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