The Illuminated Ones

Illuminated Journal 8
By Zakhar Melnokov

… This evening we continue tracing leads for Infernal blade, and traveled to residence of Lord Fenwick. His manor within Noble Quarter was quite opulent and well maintained, showing his wealth and position were prominent in Caspia. We were not able to meet with Lord as he was unavailable, though his chamberlain informed us he would send word and organise appointment to meet at Lord Fenwick’s convenience.

Having our connection to Maxwell Sadler delayed, we decided to find most prominent bar in Noble Quarter, not accounting for exclusive member’s clubs. We found a bar called “The Three Lions”, filled with haughty, pretentious lesser nobles and lesser merchant class. We were not well received in our armour and weapons, though other than pathetic jeers from several patrons, there was no trouble. Diego and Mathias began talks with barkeep, who after the promise of coin and a few good words in his favour, divulged some information regarding merchant Sadler.

Maxwell Sadler, who prefer to be addressed as Master Sadler, regards himself as patron of scholars, young artists, and adventurers. As with Kayazy, he is nouveau riche, and has arrogance that comes with one reaching above station. By consensus, we decided it best to meet Lord Fenwick prior to any discussions with merchant, believing best to have backing of noble before further contact.

We soon departed and were returning to the Sancteum, when we were set upon by six thugs. Initially I thought they had been hired by pretentious person we had encountered, though we questioned only survivor who yield to us. Thug not able to give many details, as dead boss had made arrangement with employer. He able to tell us was they were hired by woman at “Hail of Bullets” bar near docks, and they were to deliver heads. He said woman was short and plain, though wore mechanika plate and rapier.

We made way directly to dock area in hopes that woman was still at dive bar. Mathias and Caleb disguised themselves as thugs with sack of melons. We spent some time at bar, and other than Caleb making friends with Trollkin bouncer, we not gather any information other than she had been regular here, though only first appeared few nights ago. Lucian spoke to urchins outside, and paid them to contact us if woman returned.

Late in evening, we returned to SAncteum, only to find our quarters had been ransacked. Nothing seemed to be taken, nor any evidence left behind. After talking to guards and those quartered nearby, only our rooms were targeted whilst Khadoran and Trollkin caused disturbance earlier that day. After tidying mess, we retired for evening without further event.

Following morning was quiet, and after morning prayers, we went to purchase some attire better suited for dealing with nobility. Although my comrades bought clothing off shelf, I found it best to purchase tailored. The clothing is too fancy, and not in Umbrean fashion, but will make do for dealings in city.

Upon returning to Cathedral at noon, we received couple of missives. We stowed new clothing in rooms, then opened first letter, sealed with wax and embossed with gold crown. Upon opening, the letter disappeared in explosion of green flame, and within presence, lesser infernal appeared, quite hideous, though easily dispatched. Whoever was trying to waylay obviously underestimated us. The question, how many people are out trying to kill us?

The second letter was from Lord Fenwick, inviting us to attend performance of “The Llaelese Duke” later in evening. We send RSVP we would attend, and planned few hours to continue investigate leads.

Our first meeting was with Prelate Reardon at Cathedral. She is staunch woman, and upset with trouble we bring with us, especially infernal sent to attack us on holy ground. We talk about unholy relic we seek, and Prelate best course to talk with old companion of hers, Gatar Redhammer, Rhulik follower of Morrow, and one of few accepted into church. We were warned he is slightly mad after his experience fighting Thamarites.

We go to Galtar’s house, which saw was barred. Showed paranoia and security conscious. After knocking, heard many locks being turned. His aide answered door and invited us in. Spoke with Galtar about our search, and seemed stable until Fraternal Order mentioned. Then showed he had bolt loose, accusations against High Mage Arland Calstar, simply because he is arcanist. He then mentioned Lady Elizabeth Baern, who Galtar said she helped fight against Thamarite cult, and earned great respect with Caspia nobility.

After we left deluded Rhulic, we journey to estate of Lady Baern. Her manor was well kept from outside appearance, and we were granted entrance with letter of introduction. Inside we noticed paintings removed from wall, and areas covered from disuse. We were escorted to lounge room, and meet Lady. She was arrogant and deranged, similar to Galtar. After talks, with Diego using his Llaelese charm to seduce older woman, we found she did little to help against Thamarite cult other than bring to authorities attention. For such a small act, she believe she entitled to fame and recognition. Lady have similar disliking of High Mage Calstar, because he not give her credit for doing duty any citizen should perform. She mentioned High Mage took infernal candelabra after cult destroyed, giving her suspicions, though not uncommon for Fraternal Order to store items such as this. It appears Galtar and Lady Baern are two sandwiches in same picnic. She did lead us to a mage named Gabrielle Madigan.

With a few hours to spare, we went to Fraternal Order to meet Madigan. We were escorted to her quarters, and found woman in purple hooded robes and gloves. Lucian showed his distrust of her robes, and she removed her hood to show beautiful woman. Madigan told us she wanted merit for abilities, not looks. She was wary of us, but after some convincing, she told us that on adventure in Bloodstone Marches, she found ritual to destroy bound relic. This will be useful, but for her safety, told her to keep quiet about ritual and said we would need services in future.

We departed, and as exited the college, we met old “friend” Wolfe Scorleigh. We pretend we had been looking for him, to protect intent of meeting Madigan. He took us to his office were we talked, and eventually had open discussion. He upset we had not come to him for aid regarding relic, and said he also had ritual to destroy relic. Wolfe was happy to later vouch to High Mage he could perform ritual when it came time. This worked well for us to help protect Madigan, but I am suspicious one of these people is cultist, especially Wolfe as he knew too much about our dealings in city over past few days.

It was then time to prepare for evening at theater. We returned to Sancteum once more and changed to meet Lord Fenwick. Once again we were attacked by lone assassin, and Caleb and Mathias gravely wounded. Lucian provided covering fire as Diego and I assaulted building. We prevailed, but need to start taking these people alive for interrogation.

Due to recent ambushes, we take coach to Seaton’s Theater. We were escorted to booth where we met Lord Fenwick who was very cordial and friendly, good change from recent noble meetings. He provided good hospitality as we talked and planned, and agreed he would invite Maxwell Sadler to luncheon at “The Griffon”. We wanted to take advantage of merchant’s weakness to gain sort after information. After business resolved, we talked more and watched Llaelese play, then parted ways for evening.

As we returned to retire for evening, we found urchin waiting for us outside. He inform us mysterious lady was at “Hail of Bullets” for few hours now, and child upset he had to wait. It was time for us to quickly prepare to meet woman trying to kill us.

Illuminated Journal 7
By Diego Vela

An excerpt from The Lost Tomes, circa 618AR: A private correspondence between two Vigilant Peers.

Historian’s note, 759AR: We are unsure as to the authenticity of this missive and cannot verify the facts contained therein for several reasons:

  1. As all historians know, events recorded a decade after the event are rarely as reliable as those captured directly after or even during.
  1. Hearsay is an unreliable mechanism for capturing objective truth, however in some circumstances a perspective is better than no perspective.
  1. We do not have any other corroborating evidence of the time, no similar missives, no proof that this sort of correspondence was common between the Vigilant Peers of the day, and no way of scrutinising the potential veracity of the claims made herein.
  1. So much knowledge was lost to us during the time of troubles. The great fire seized from us so much knowledge that could have been used to fact check the information contained herein. The roiling darkness robbed us of wise men in the interim who would have ordinarily kept objective records. Even now, as we look back on this time, 150 years ago, without the discovery of a hidden trove of secret knowledge, we may never be able to verify the truth of the matter. Did this band of Illuminated actually exist? Or were they perhaps a parable of sorts? Is the tale apocryphal – perhaps the moral ‘truths’ contained in this series of correspondence were more pertinent than the actual facts?

In any event, I shall present the translations as they are and allow you, the reader to be the judge.

- Elbert Cravenly, Grand Master of the Khadoran Historical Society.

Esteemed Peer,

I refer to our most recent conversation at The Sancteum, where you despaired as to ever knowing how our Order may have managed to find itself in this state of atrocity.

When I reflected on your questions after our meeting, I recalled a tale spun to me one night over several cups of vintage Lhaelese red, by one who claimed to have been there. He was one of our rank for a small time before he died preternaturally, having been an investigator for the Order before being promoted to the rank of Vigilant. He told me of the events that led up to his appointment, and I think you will find in more ways than one, there are wheels within wheels, within wheels. I fear this tale may take longer than my patience for letter writing tonight, so I will undertake to get as much of the tale on paper as I care to now, with more to come in my next correspondence.

This former colleague told me of a mission he and his companions had been assigned, to locate certain artefacts of darkness, in order to prevent them from falling into the hands of those who would misuse them.

You see these items were entrusted to the safeguarding the essence of the creature we now know as Soulflayer. Each in isolation was a terrible threat, but united, they spelt doom for the world as we know it. By luck or happenstance, our former Peer’s band had already discovered one item of the triumvirate – the brass skull. Trying to understand what they had discovered set them on the path to locating the rest. The skull was entrusted to the Order for safekeeping, but it fell upon this band of investigators to locate the other objects of this unholy trinity. A professor at the local university by the name of Albus Westen, identified those artefacts as being the Dagger of Reaping and the Chalice of Wrath.

Western pointed the band toward Caspia, where the dagger was last seen and referred them to an old colleague of his, Dextrel Kirkson, a member of The Fraternal Order. According to Western, the artefacts dated back to the ancient Empire of Morrdh.

Cravenly’s note – Of this, we now have no doubt. If the story is true, then these items were surely forged in Old Mord, the events of the last sesquicentenary highlight this well enough.

The band decided they would travel overland from Corvis to Bainsmarket, where they would catch the newly completed rail link to the capital, where they hoped to investigate the Sancteum’s records and track down any information about the whereabouts of this dagger. Upon setting out from Corvis, they were approached by two road marshals, named Sewall and Uriel. (Ordinarily I would not remember such detail from a tale of long ago, but the names struck me as oddly prophetic, and I have always harboured an intention to look into our lore in more detail for references to these names.) These marshals asked the band to accompany a group of lay-folk to Bainsmarket to help ensure their security on the open road, which of course our good Morrowans agreed to readily.

This began a series of encounters with cutthroats, all the way from Corvis to Bainsmarket. In all, they were attacked four times by seemingly well-organised bandits. The oddity of this part of the tale is that the caravan they accompanied clearly had no objects of value, being a group of migrating peasants. However, the coordinated nature of the attacks led to a heated conversation amongst the band as to whether they were somehow being targeted for some unknown reason. Opinions were split, some believing it was a coincidence, and some believing it was something more sinister.

The fourth and most vehement attack took place under the cover of darkness, facilitated by the need to stop and repair a wagon wheel after the third attack – during which this wheel was specifically targeted by one of the bandits. This unusual strategy by the bandits led the companions to wonder what agenda this group of miscreants and ruffians were actually pursuing. Unfortunately the group did not think to leave any of their assailants alive for long enough to question them.

One of the travellers in the caravan was a scholar and member of the Fraternal Order by the name of Wolfe Scorleigh, who proved quite useful during the final attack. He was secretive about the purpose of his journey saying he only wished to continue his research. According to our former peer, he could not be encouraged to elaborate further on this research despite our peer’s companions pressing the issue strenuously.

When the companions finally arrived in Caspia, they met with one of our number, who was able to tell them what was known of Soulflayer at the time. Of course we now have much more insight into this foul beast, but at the time their information was limited to the commonly available – that the creature was a demi-god and a lead Architect of the Nonokrion Order of Infernals.

The band’s next stop was the headquarters of the Fraternal Order, where they sought out the Magus Kirkston. This ageing wizard posits two theories about the whereabouts of the dagger:

  1. It is in the possession of an infernalist cabal (surely the worst possibility!)
  1. There is another group keeping it safe, and this group has no idea what the dagger actually does (or they would have tapped into its power hence).

If it was to be option two, the ageing Magus warned the companions that they would need to demonstrate assurances that they knew how to deal with the threat it posed. This led to the second challenge; finding a means to destroy the vile relic. In order to do this, they would need to find an arcanist with a ritual that could defeat the evil.

The Magus then provided introductions to three individuals who may advance the search; High Magus Arland Calster, Tara Pellew, a retired Illuminated One, and Lord Fenwick, a nobleman with an interest in bringing down practitioners of black magic.

They met with the High Magus directly, who provided them with a recommendation under his seal, promoting support for their mission. He also furnished them with a letter of introduction to Maxwell Sadler, a merchant who dealt in the arcane and unusual.

Leaving the Order’s chapter house, the band headed to see Tara Pellew. Having heard that she loved to talk about her old adventures, the group flattered the retired adventurer and shared tales of battle. She quickly referred the team back to the Fraternal Order, admonishing them that they would have to earn the trust to the order before they opened up their secrets. She also pointed them to a Kerryn Reardan, a Prelate of Morrow in Caspia – I remember her well, she was a harsh woman and one of the first to fall. I always suspected that her knowledge of the artefacts somehow contributed to her swift conversion, but of course that was never proven.

The final gifts Tara gave to the companions were the tale she had heard of a group of adventurers who had discovered a ritual to destroy demonic artefacts, and the gossip that Maxwell Sadler was a man of dubious virtue – having conducted many extra marital affairs over the years, many with his staff. She warned the group to be circumspect when discussing this aspect of his persona.

Finally, she called aside one of our Peer’s companions and hinted at something called the Smoking Eye – a cult she had hunted almost 20 years before this meeting. Apparently Arland had been involved in the final battle.

Having many avenues to pursue, the group left her residence, feeling the wheels spin within wheels. A microscopic cog, in a catastrophic plan so to speak.

Well esteemed one, I have reached the end of my patience as foretold earlier. If this missive piques your curiosity, do let me know and I shall continue the story in my next letter.


Illuminated Journal 6
By Caleb Shaw

After being introduced to our new adventuring partner, Diego, we set out to visit Professor Weston for an update on events and his progress on researching further information on the remaining artefacts. No further progress has yet been made, however we are assured that it is being keenly pursued.

Although myself and Zakhar have offered our skills to aid in his research, the Professor believes it to be best if we were to apply them out in the field. Rumours have found their way to Corvis that the road north to Hampstead has been the host to some strange occurrences worthy of investigation. A guard detail had previously been dispatched to do so, but nothing has been heard from them since their departure. With little else to be done in town, we prepared for departure the following morning.

Town guards were turning away all travellers leaving via the north gate, for fear of what may befall any who travel that road. A detour via one of the other town gates would have been quite the nuisance, but I must say that Diego is quite the persuasive fellow. Some kind words and a generous handshake goes a long way when delivered from a skilled individual like him.

The road was devoid of any activity aside from our own. It was eerily quiet aside from our footfalls and conversation, though it wasn’t long after the skies had darkened when we saw hints as to why. A near-empty camp on a clearing just off the road showed a recently extinguished fire and a body slumped nearby in what appeared in the dim light to be a pool of blood. Upon closer inspection of the body, it appeared to be covered in claw marks and a gaping wound in the stomach area. This wound turned out to be point from which all the internal organs had been removed—a telltale sign of a Hollowed.

Zakhar decapitated the corpse to ensure it didn’t rise again. One Hollowed is already one too many.

Further examination of the campsite revealed drag marks leading away from it, indicative of two bodies which had been removed. As Hollowed feast at the site of a kill, they are not responsible for the removal of these two campers. Unfortunately, it was too difficult to follow where the drag marks ultimately led after a short distance so we continued along the road.

We came across a farmstead a little further along, so we thought we’d stop by and see if anything could be gained from talking with the owners, and if they were alright. Upon knocking, the voice of a distressed man begged us to stop and get inside. We obliged. As we did so, a loud screeching rang through the night air. Unsurprisingly, the civilians inside with us howled in terror as a great number of Hollowed swarmed the building.

The Hollowed were dispatched with some difficulty and only a little damage to the farmstead. It’s worth noting that a mere scratch from a Hollowed is as unpleasant as the sight of one. There’s a seemingly insatiable thirst and pains of hunger that overcome you, surely similar to that which drives their behaviour.

After we and the family were safe and accounted for, we managed to learn something of what created such a great number of Hollowed in one place. The father informed us the town was assaulted, with a great deal of fire and screaming. It was likely to now be overrun with these beasts. The only possible safe locations ahead were a tower, said to house Christoph Tiren, an arcanist of some power, and a chapel of Morrow may also have held strong. After this discussion, we escorted the man and his family to the road so they could safely make it back to Corvis and then continued on our way.

Passing by the farmstead once more and sneaking our way through an open field, we made it through the town. The screeching and wailing was easily heard upon our approach. The sight was something else entirely, with much viscera and pools of blood before our eyes. The arcanist’s tower was visible from our location, but it was on the other side of town.

With careful movement and keen eyes, led by Lucien, we made it past the wandering horde of Hollowed and onto the doorstep of the tower. The door had been smashed in, the interior was severely damaged and many scorch marks decorated the walls. The amount of blood that painted parts of the walls and floor would’ve surely been fatal. Christoph Tiren appeared to have fought fiercely here, but ultimately succumbed to his wounds. Since no body remains, it is likely he now walks as a Hollowed or was dragged away. The last rumoured safe location of the Chapel lay further ahead, past many more hollow beasts.

Their numbers were no less thin out the front of the chapel. This time, it took very little to alert them to our presence as the heavy armour of Zakhar rattled just a little too loudly as he attempted a speedy approach. Thankfully the buildings between us and the Chapel provided adequate cover and enhanced our tactical advantage to quickly dispose of them. Unfortunately, those within the Chapel weren’t so lucky.

Upon disabling the lock on the Chapel door, the scene that met us on the other side was particularly gruesome. A number of altar boys had been eviscerated and their remains were strewn about the room. Their bodies looked nothing like that poor camper we first discovered. No survivors remained and every single door was locked, so whoever or whatever did this had locked their victims in here as they left.

We did manage to find some notes/a journal left behind by Father Brellac Monsen, saying they felt that these Hollowed were somehow connected to a man named Darien. He is said to live on the other side of the Black River.

After doing our best to collect the remains of the poor souls who were slain here, we blessed and buried them in the catacombs below. The chapel was a strong and safe location, so we spent the night there. At worst, there was intermittent scratching at the main door.

Darian’s house on the other side of the Black River was our destination the following morning. As expected there were many Hollowed to be found along the way and on the bridge, but we managed to slink our way past them. Thankfully the bridge wasn’t too much of a hassle to cross as the alternative of swimming across was far from ideal, especially considering previous attempts on my part.

Approaching the house of Darien as described in the Father’s journal showed it to be in a serious state of disrepair. Great amounts of damage had befallen the two storey place and many carvings and markings adorned the interior. Shortly after our entrance, objects within the house began to frost over as if caught in an ice storm. The presence of something evil could be felt within these walls. The giggling of a young girl was heard emanating from the floor above.

Standing in that house, I could reach out with my senses and affect the evil within. Mere moments passed before I felt that I had weakened it. As I did, the house shuddered. Mathias and Diego performed a ritual to achieve a similar effect. It seemed they succeeded when a great shriek rang out and they both fell to their knees. It was then the giggling girl presented herself at the top of the stairs, clearly a corrupted version of Elisa, Darian’s daughter. As she did, Hollowed began to swarm the house, no doubt as some form of defence mechanism.

Myself, Mathias, and Diego continued our mental and spiritual battle with the malevolent entity. The Hollowed relentlessly assault the house and completely surround us. I manage to further weaken the entity, swiftly followed by Mathias and Diego who deliver the final blow. Right at that moment, Elisa and all of the Hollowed collapse to the ground.

The feeling of triumph was short-lived. No sooner does the malevolent entity dissipate after its defeat, another seems to take its place.

With the house far from a safe place to be, and the need to dispatch Darien, we head back towards town. Darien and Brellac, the priest, cross our path with many Hollowed in tow. Although their undead support were kept out of sight, the movement of the cornrows lining the roadside gave their presence away.

Whatever it was that Brellac brought to Darien’s aid, it certainly wasn’t fortitude. Little more than a stern look was needed to dispose of him. Darien fell shortly after.

A search of Darien’s body revealed a bone shard amulet etched with runes, much like the bronze skull amulet found previously. Attempting to carry this amulet, even while well wrapped, was enough for its effect to take hold of you. It was much like the wound caused by the claw of a Hollowed, only much stronger. Carrying it in a sack tied to a hobo stick was the best means to mitigate the effects of the amulet while transporting it back to the Corvis church.

Upon our return to Corvis, aside from the safe storage of the amulet, recommendations have been made for dealing with the aftermath of events at and around Hampstead. We have also received word that Professor Weston has news.

Illuminated Journal 5
By Mathias Jurgen

Document 1

Notes of Brother Geraldin, devout of Menoth

As you know Potentate there has recently been a great deal of disturbance with the faithful in the Cygnarian city of Corvis. I have previously reported on the strange occurrences within the Temple and the disturbing alliance some of the faithful apparently made with members of the heathen Order of Illumination. I wish to reinforce that it is my belief that this alliance was fateful in the later catastrophe which has beset our Temple in Corvis.

There is evidence that the Sovereign Lambert – the highest representative of Menoth in Corvis directed that the heretic’s involved in the expedition to recover the dark artefact from the wilderness should be imprisoned. It is my view that this directive was advisable and given the later events when the cursed artefact the heretics delivered unto the bosom of the Temple, it appears that despite his caution the damned item influenced him to his doom.

Evidence I have been able to gather indicates that the imprisoned Order of Illumination almost immediately arranged their escape from the cells within the Temple. They appear to have broken free of the cell in which they were imprisoned together and then later also released another heretic of the idol Morrow from a separate chamber. It is obvious that Lambert underestimated the resourcefulness, desperation and savagery of his prisoners. This is further confirmed for the single guard, patently inadequate, was viciously murdered when the heretics made their escape. I am uncertain exactly how they navigated from the cells out of the Temple itself, however some stolen initiate robes were found outside the Temple – it is my conclusion that these vestments were used when the heretics fled.

In conclusion for this short report it is evident that the Sovereign correctly assumed that the artefact reported to have been recovered by the idolaters of Morrow was cursed. Despite this and his care in securing these dangerous operatives he underestimated both them and the danger of the artefact they delivered unto him. Later evidence, as I shall outline in another report, indicates that this artefact later influenced the Sovereign to his doom.

Document 2

Report: Lieutenant Falkirk Foch, CRS


I can confirm that the small Order of Illumination team did escape the Temple of Menoth where they had been kidnapped by the Temple leaders who evidence suggests were increasingly psychotic due to the influence of a dark artefact they had failed to control. The Menites had in fact gone so far as to inflame their followers in order that they protest the Cathedral of Morrow and it appears the Menites were preparing to escalate such protests to violence. My source within the Cathedral indicate that the Order team quietly entered the Cathedral, avoiding the mob and escorting a seriously injured colleague from another Order group who had been tortured by the Menites without any just cause.

You are aware that I was watching the Cathedral for the reason that a apparently high ranking Order of Illumination member known as Bainbridge had been arrested by the watch and implicated in the possession of forbidden articles. The newly arrived four man team; a gunfighter, an alchemist, an arcanist and a knight of Khadoran heritage, spent a short time within the Cathedral before leaving, I made the decision to follow. The Order team headed to a Tavern in a local slum and entered, I heard some exchange of insults and shortly three of them then left and began to examine the outside of the tavern. They stayed in the shadows of a side alley and made attempts to climb the tavern wall successfully and were joined by their fourth member. They then broke into a second story window and disappeared within the building.

My following observations are a conglomerate of my own observations, tales of witnesses and watch notes I have been able to observe. It appears that the Illuminated searched the upper story and then, with perhaps the aid of magic, managed to sneak downstairs passed the crowded bar and into the basement. It is apparent that this tavern housed not just a cellar but a further sub-basement and a later Watch investigation, at I understand the stimulus of the Illuminated, found an Infernal Shrine within. The Illuminated apparently found this dark sanctuary and, it is reported, defeated several demonic guards and the tavern master who appears to have been the shrine master. The Illuminated members then attempted to escape the crowded tavern with the tavern keeper, one Halek, as a prisoner and a boy they apparently released from the shrine itself. This escape attempt was made under the guise of a fire, the Illuminated, perhaps the alchemist, had generated great deals of smoke and everyone fled the building. In the chaos they escaped however the tavern patrons confronted the Illuminated and allowed the shrine master Halek to escape.

The Illuminated split up with the alchemist and the gunfighter heading to the central Watch building and the arcanist and the knight heading to the Cathedral. Later they all gathered at the central Watch house and with support of the evidence of the rescued boy, the late Jarek who was tragically later murdered, convinced the Watch Commander Helstrom of the innocence of Bainbridge and the location of the dark shrine. The evidence of the Illuminated and their prisoner was later utilised successfully, it appeared, at the trial of Bainbridge. However the Sovereign inflamed his followers and chaos ensued forcing the understrength watch to evacuate everyone into the city hall. Causing difficulties both Father Dumas of Morrow and Sovereign Lambert and his entourage also were present at city hall and I am given to understand that violent confrontation was only narrowly avoided.

I will continue my reporting later.

Document 3

Diary of Professor Weston

This evening I received a most unexpected visitation. Four persons of the Illuminated Order were escorted to my presence by Watch officers. They claimed to have recently snuck away from city hall, which some of my colleagues had gossiped was besieged by a mob of semi-educated Menite worshippers after some spectacular trial. The Illuminated told me a tale, difficult to digest, that they had recovered a dark artefact of Orgoth origin from outside the city and they requested my assistance to destroy it. It appears this artefact was central to the recent unrest between the Menites and Morrowans and my friend Potentate Reynard sent a note that he suspected the artefact had influenced his superior Lambert to the point of madness.

Of course I agreed to help, however upon opening the box I found to my utmost shock the decapitated head of a young man. The relic was not within and both the Illuminated and Watch men present were clearly as surprised as I concerning both the presence of the head and the lack of the relic. The Illuminated immediately returned to city hall and the watch present took possession of the part of the murder victim which was now in my office. Indeed it was a most unusual and disturbing evening.

Document 4

Chronicle of Father Dumas of Morrow

It is with regret I consider my failings on behalf of our Lord and reflect upon his majesty to provide the agents to support his mortal worshippers in their time of need. The chaos instigated by the unlamented damned Lambert formerly of Menoth and his ignorant followers found me trapped with many city luminaries in the city hall itself. Towards the morning I was approached by members of the Illuminated Order, who I am given to understand have been of great service already to our church while I was absent, and they presented a most unnerving tale. It appears as the full story emerged that these Illuminated member had aided Potentate Reynard of Menoth, a moderate I respect a great deal, in recovering a dark relic. Disturbingly this relic appeared to have contaminated the mind of Sovereign Lambert, who was a frothing ignorant fanatic to begin with, and this is the source of many of the recent troubles the Menites have caused.

Of course it was decided that the artefact should be destroyed unfortunately further reinforcing the fact that Lambert was lost to madness he had evidently stolen the relic and murdered an innocent before fleeing. Watch Commander Helstrom and I determined that he must be stopped, a fact which Potentate Reynard supported and we immediately began to form a party to contain the situation. However given the unrest and urgency of the situation it was felt that the Illuminated team would proceed to the Temple of Menoth immediately and try to stop or slow the damned Lambert. Meanwhile Renard and I continued to gather a force to help them and quell the chaos Lambert had brought down upon us.

Document 5

High Vigilant

I can confirm that Sovereign Lambert was indeed corrupted beyond redemption by exposure to the dark relic we recovered from the wild lands near Corvis. It is apparent that he was involved in inflaming the local Menites in order to attempt to unleash the full dark power of the artefact and that he had also corrupted several of his own priests and knights directly to devotion to his dark master. After discovering these facts and with evidence enough to convince the authorities we immediately moved to prevent whatever scheme the relic and its puppet were instigating.

We found fallen Lambert, several priests and some now damned former Menite knights in the middle of a ritual of desecration within the Temple of Menoth. We were forced into battle in order to prevent the ritual from reaching culmination, needless to say it was a most brutal and bloody skirmish. We realised early that the ritual required blood sacrifice and the cultists were only too willing to die, in fact Lambert killed one himself, for the dark pact. This further complicated our fighting as we simply could not kill the cultists besetting us as it then fulfilled the unholy spell. Zakhar was battered during the fighting but remained stalwart, Caleb in the heart of the fighting narrowly avoided death twice and it is only with Morrow’s grace his skull was not stove in. Nevertheless despite great opposition Lucien, Zakhar, Caleb and I managed to prevent the full completion of the ritual and struck down the damned Lambert. Unfortunately the spirit in the artefact did escape although we frustrated the spell which would allow it to achieve its full power. After the vicious struggle Father Dumas and Watch Commander Helstrom arrived to provide us with aid for our wounds and to secure the profaned site of the ritual.

High Vigilant, rest assured that we will continue to track this vile spirit which on this occasion escaped us. There will be a reckoning.

Mathias Jurgen.

Illuminated Journal 4
By Zakhar Melnokov

Having dealt with the hags of Branweald, we continued our journey into Thornwood Forest, to seek the skull of Potentate Olsen’s vision. As we entered we found that the forest dark and oppressive, with little light filtering its way through the canopy.

Our first day travelling into the Thornwood was uneventful, though at night the forest seemed to be more alive with wildlife. We decided it was best to set up a cold camp and maintain our vigilance throughout the night. The night passed without event, and we continued our travels deeper into the forest the following day.

Around midday Potentate Olsen said we had reached the source of his vision. After a prayer to our gods and the ascendants, we passed through the forest to find a desolated clearing, void of significant life, apart from a small group of Tharn. Their shaman was performing some ritual at a monument, littered with human remains, which sat upon a small burial mound. Once we entered the clearing, they spotted us and instantly attacked. The battle was short, and we prevailed with minor injuries.

We quickly searched the mound in case more Tharn were attracted to the sounds of gunfire, and found a small alcove concealed by human remains. Upon clearing the carcasses, we found a set of heavy stone doors, engraved with Orgoth carvings. With some force, we managed to push the doors open, and entered a musty corridor. We continued exploring, passing several secret passages, and the site was filled with murals depicting parts of the Orgoth Invasion, particularly the acts of whomever was buried here.

As we ventured deeper into the tomb, we found a pair of guardians known as Dread, corpses filled molten iron, engraved with wards and their arms fashioned into scything blades, similar to the mechanithralls created by Cryxian forces, minus the mechanika. After defeating these Dread, we entered a room with a depraved throne, and human remains littering the area. From these bones emerged several Thrall Warriors. Once again we prevailed and searched the surrounding rooms. In one we found what appeared to be trophies of broken weapons and armour, and several banners that were centuries old. In the other, we found a sarcophagus. Opening the casket, we found the remains of an armoured Orgoth champion, with the skull shaped pendant wound its neck. With great care, we removed the relic and carefully packaged it as best we could, then left the area to return to Corvis.

With haste we made our way back to Corvis to secure the relic, hoping the Menites had crafted a warded vessel to contain it. The small pendant weighed upon the soul, making travel slow, and Matthias took most of the burden. On the first night we returned, near dawn, we were awoken to the amulet chanting, having released itself somehow from Mathias’s pack. It seemed to have enchanted Mathias, drawing him closer. We were forced to subdue Mathias, knocking him unconscious. Once this occurred, the chanting stopped, and we collected the relic and continued our journey.

Not long into our travels, the relic started to emit a high pitched screech. We then started hearing horns blown in our vicinity. Obviously the Tharn that had been tracking us could hear the relic’s call. We hastened our pace, though could hear the calls of the Tharn getting closer, and decided to stand our ground and prepare for the imminent attack. Within minutes, a small war band of Tharn appeared, and we could hear other groups closing in to our vicinity.

As we readied ourselves, we heard mounts entering our area. They were fellow members of the Illuminated, and with their aid, we were able to despatch the Tharn savages. Once the battle was over, we were interrogated by our rescuers, who were members of the Ordo Fidelus, in regards to their fallen comrade Gault Keller in Corvis. We explained our investigation that led to the assassins in the undercity, and informed them of our investigations. We were then introduced to the members Ulric Fisher, Jonas Bainbridge, and their leader Malek Hartcliff.

The Ordo Fidelus escorted us back to Corvis without further incident. After entering the city, we made our way to the Temple of Menoth and reported in to Potentate Reynard and toasted our success. A majority of us consumed wine, though Mathias and Potentate Olsen drank water, which turned out to be poisoned. Both collapsed, and Olsen was transformed into a Thrall by the toxins. We were forced to cut the blind priest down. We then heard a commotion within the temple, where others had been afflicted. We managed to discover the kitchen well had been poisoned, and we sealed the well so the Menites could purify it. Once the commotion died down, we were then summoned to Sovereign Nikolas Lambert. The Sovereign requested we keep the incident about the poisoning secret, and that we investigate the matter discreetly.

We then returned to the Church of Morrow where Mathias informed them of recent events, and then conducted some tests on poison residue we had discovered. It was found to be as lethal as Khorva’s Kiss, mixed with Necrite, causing a fast acting poison that enabled its victim to be transformed into the undead.

The following day we regathered our stores as we investigated, and met with Malek from the Ordo Fidelus. We had surmised that further poisoning would occur at one of the main wells within the city, so we requested the aide of Mallik and his men to keep on of several of the wells.

As Caleb and I surveyed the well at the Docks, we saw an individual approach the well around midnight. Awaiting him to act, we called out when we saw him reveal a glowing bag. The poisoner ran and I managed to chase him down and subdue him, as Caleb collected the necrotite-infused poison that had dropped scattered near the well. We then collected Lucian and Mathias, and returned to the Temple of Menoth to hand in their culprit for interrogation.

Sovereign Lambert managed to get a confession from the poisoner, and provided us with a map to the base location, which coincided with the path he took as he ran earlier that night. We also discovered the Sovereign was more inclined towards the harsher justice of Menoth, unlike the Potentates we had met who were more moderate in their beliefs.

We travelled to the map location, to discover an old warehouse. Lucian entered with the aid of Lucian’s occultation, and emerged with a captured guard. A deal was made with the guard to give up information on those within, and we were told there were five people below, one of these being Fitch, the crafter of the poison. In return for the information he provided, we let him leave without harm.

Entering the warehouse, we delved below the building into an old alleyway. We were spotted by the guards, and we launched an assault upon their base of operations. The guards were heavily armed, and it appeared Fitch was a Thamarite Priest, wielding arcane powers during the fight. Unfortunately we were unable to take Fitch alive, though the last remaining guard yielded and we questioned him about Fitch’s undertakings. We then seized several items, including a barrel of the necrotic poison, a Thamarite tome, and items gathered from a makeshift altar.

Upon exiting the warehouse, we found the city watch en masse on the streets as there had been several small isolated outbreaks within the city. We handed custody of the henchman over to the city watch. An initiate of Menoth had then found us, requesting we return to the Temple of Menoth with due haste. When we returned, we were arrested by the Sovereign and a dozen Errants, accused of being heretics. We had no choice but to surrender, and were imprisoned within the temple.

Illuminated Journal 3
By Mathias Jurgen

Vigilant Peer,

Following is a summarised report of our actions over the past days representing the Order and assisting the Temple of Menoth. While in Corvis following the recent murders and the loss of the Relic, we received a request to attend Potentate Reynard of the Temple of Menoth and he requested our assistance with a task. High Vigilant, given our Church’s efforts to maintain cordial relations with the Menites it was agreed that we would provide what help we were able.

The Potentate Reynard’s colleague Potentate Olsen reported a recent vision, despite his affliction of blindness, that he felt certain was both divine in origin and a dire warning. He saw dark hills near the city, beheld a fey and evil aura upon them and saw step forth an Orgoth bearing a dark artefact, a bronze skull. He felt certain that this divination warned of the vilest of rituals and impending tragedy, and our help was requested to accompany Potentate Olsen, protect him and help him to where he felt the vision led. Once there it was hoped that combining our skills and the fortitude of our faiths we could prevent the impending horror.

We thence travelled, with Potentate Olsen, north-west into the fell Bloodsmeath Marshes taking the little travelled road towards Fellig. In the hamlet of Bransweald we were forced to stop as we came upon a frenzied mob assaulting an aged woman. The mob were seeking to strike down the woman’s step-child, a girl named Autumn, they accused of Witchcraft and many horrors which had beset the village. The woman, Sadel, was resisting, and the rabble were escalating in aggression, we felt such vigilantism could not be tolerated; we stepped forth and prevented any savagery with promises to investigate on the authority of the Church. It must be emphasised that the mob was in such a frenzy that it took considerable intimidation from our group to emphasise our authority to look into this matter properly.

Evidence from the hamlet, which was populated mainly by ignorant folk of the Menite faith, surely indicated that dark events were occurring and that the villagers were wont to take matters into their own hands. Farms had seen livestock slaughtered in a most unnatural manner and one of the villagers, the Baker, remained afflicted by a dark attack of an apparent shape shifter, reputed to be the Witch Autumn. The villagers were suspicious, they had previously executed an accused Witch not some few years ago, and the evidence of the Baker was that while his attack was real, his ‘harm’ was greatly exaggerated. Eventually with the weight of evidence that true black magic was being used and with reports that the girl Autumn was strange, withdrawn and had disappeared following the horrors we confronted Sadel. It required short work to convince her we did not intend to condemn her step-daughter out of hand and she revealed to hiding the girl at an old tin mine nearby.

Travelling to the tin mine we came upon a sight of foul and depraved murder. The Baker’s son, Gailan a ringleader of the aforementioned mob, and some of his stalwarts had obviously found the mine and they had been dismembered. The men, all young and strong, had been massacred and parts had been set forth as trophies displaying the gruesomeness of the deed. The mine entrance also showed recent occupation and had been ransacked. Clear evidence of both human and wild beast was obvious in both the area and in the slayings.

With this crime destroying our chance of finding the girl Autumn we made the decision to find the place of the previous murder of the other villager who had been accused of Witchery. This path of our investigation was supported by finding drawings done by Autumn’s hand which indicated that she had visited the site of the execution. Near the river where the young woman had been burned we found a hut and the drunken hunter who lived in the hovel named Guffrey. From this man, using both threats and bribery, we discovered the exact sight of the burning, an old boat hulk, and proceeded. The river proved perilous as it was home to an aggressive Bull Snapper and we were forced into a vicious battle in order to kill this river monster. However after slaying the lizard we searched the burned out hulk where the accused villager had been murdered and found a still legible map hidden within.

The map was our only further evidence and we followed it to one of the locations it marked finding the ruin of a hut. Exploring this hovel we discovered a hidden tunnel and following this found the bones of many persons, all obviously murdered and eaten. While in this hidden dwelling we were attacked by the crazed occupant a hideous and clearly berserk Hag. The creature attempted to destroy us but we were able to provide a measure of justice to its (her?) victims and destroy it. Further searching of the evil cave found an old diary, apparently once belonging to the murdered woman which indicated she was being seduced by darkness and this dead creature was part of that, it further directed us towards a nearby ruined tower.

Proceeding forth we found the tower and gained entry into the ruin. Immediately we were beset by two massive lizard bipeds, Gatormen, armed and intent on our destruction. A vicious melee ensued but we were fortunate to emerge largely unharmed from the battle, killing both the savage beasts. Within the tower we found stairs leading to higher levels which despite the dilapidated surrounding remained intact and we moved to explore. On the upper floor we found a vile and powerful Hag and with her several massive Dusk Wolves and the girl Autumn wearing a veil and clearly undergoing some dark ritual of transformation. It was evident that the Hag, naming itself Groa, had exploited the young woman’s insecurities and weakness to convince her to participate in a rite of hideous nature and transmute her into a Hag. (Of note I am in my studies uncertain as to whether this process is the sole process of ‘reproduction’ of this vile species of creature, effectively a variety of sexless transformation through black magicks or if they have a more traditional reproductive method also).

We attempted to reason with the girl Autumn and also to demand that the Hag Groa release its charge and end the rite without success and shortly were forced to fight in order to prevent further evil. The Hag Groa clearly possessed magic of the darkest nature and we found ourselves beset by nefarious power, additionally whether by the rite or not the girl Autumn was also able to hurl dark spells towards us. The ensuing battle was quite desperate but we were able to destroy the Wolves and shortly, after some viciousness, struck down the Hag Groa, we also with difficulty managed to subdue Autumn both without permanent harm and before the ritual of transformation had apparently reached a conclusion. We recovered certain valuables and evidence of the infestation from the tower and returned quietly to the mine with the subdued Autumn.

In order to prevent a vigilante mob killing we summoned Sadel to the mine where we made camp and stressed to her the evil which had befallen her step-daughter and that we would reserve judgement provided she travelled to the care of the Temple of Menoth, to which she is a follower. Potentate Olsen, also informed of the investigations results, supplied a letter urging his Temple to both support the two women and to take the greatest measures to ensure the girl was not so infected with darkness as to be beyond redemption. We are given to understand that the girls transformative process is slowly returning to her natural human features and that she has arrived at the Temple and appears to begin to comprehend the horrors she was participating in, I think we can hold careful hope for her soul. Finalising our unexpected interruption we also travelled into the village, informed the townsfolk of the Hags and that this was the source of the evil. We did not mention the fate of the girl Autumn and further attempted, with I suspect minimal success, to emphasise that mob killings of women ‘suspected’ of ‘Witchcraft’ were not to be tolerated.

Following this unexpected delay our group and the Potentate Olsen have since continued on our original task. High Vigilant I hope this report explains the logic and reasoning of the decisions we have made. As always our central task and overwhelming goal is to investigate and eliminate the vileness of dark magic and we feel in these circumstances some justice was achieved.

Illuminated Journal 2
By Caleb Shaw

After our safe arrival at Corvis and departure with the Captain Skarrow and the people of Barrington, we headed to the Cathedral of Morrow where we were welcomed by Father Morten. His excitement couldn’t be contained when we presented the relic obtained from Father Decklan. After exchanging pleasantries, he returned to his chambers for its examination.

Soon after being shown to each of our chambers by Initiate Arias, we were summoned to meet with Watch Commander Julian Helstrom. It is then that we’re told that during the brief interlude since our meeting, Father Morten had been murdered and the relic stolen. It was insisted that we surrender our weapons and remain where we were as the investigation commenced. We in turn insisted to be involved in the investigation, as our interests mirror both that of the watch and the now-deceased Father Morten.

On inspection of Father Morten’s body and the state of his chambers, only a few pieces of evidence were to be found.

  • A dart protruded from his neck, which was carefully removed by Mathias in hope of preserving some of what may have coated it. There were traces of a clear liquid lining the tip, but Mathias was unable to determine what this was.
  • Mathias’ examination of the body revealed reaction to an extremely deadly poison that goes by the name “Khorva’s Kiss”. A victim’s death comes within moments.
  • The weapon used to deliver the dart was an injection pistol. Close proximity to the victim was needed, which was conveniently provided by an open window beside him.
  • Along with the relic, Morten’s assailant also removed his written observations. Thankfully the underlying papers remained and a charcoal rubbing revealed what these were.

A painting of Morrow, likely to be of the living man himself was what Father Morten observed. Beset in a frame of Rhulic, or Rhulic-imitation design some time after the painting was made. By his written words, it seems he saw the painting sans-frame and much of it was covered and in excellent condition. Could there be something more to this painting only visible once removed from the frame, or is there more value to it beyond the obvious?

Whilst the others went to obtain goods for the investigation, Zakhar and myself set to researching this relic with the resources available to us. It is intriguing that there is no mention of it anywhere that we looked.

Watch Commander Julian Helstrom sought us out for a status update and, upon hearing what we had found, informed us there have been another 3 murders recently using the same method.

  • Doorman at the Steam & Iron Workers Union
  • Watchman at Corvis University
  • John Doe in the Grocers Bourg

The Grocers Bourg was the closest and the scene of the crime showed a blood trail leading towards a sewer grate. The grate had been tampered with to provide access to the sewers and an attempt had been made to disguise this fact by way of patching it back up. We thought it wise for Mathias to concoct a treatment for Khorva’s Kiss should we encounter it, and a way for Zakhar and Lucian to see in the oppressive darkness.

Investigations at the university and the SIWU failed to provide anything useful. A watchman was killed due to seeing someone making an exit from a window, but the university is too large to determine what, if anything, was accessed and where from. We attended the SIWU next morning as it was getting late, but it made no difference as they refused access, citing they had nothing further to add to their previous report. Morrow forgive me for losing my cool with those ankle-biters.

Mathias proceeds to brew his potions for the next days’ sewer adventure. Meanwhile, the rest of us sought after the body of our John Doe. Initiate Arias tells us someone else also came seeking him. He described dark-robed men and the leader and speaker for them had a scar on his nose. Arias recalls them mentioning the name ‘Galt Keller’ in reference to him. They paid for a burial service and the body is now buried in the northern graveyard. Inspection of the tombstone reveals the name as they said and it also bears the insignia of the Order of Illumination. However, next to the insignia are the letters ‘O F’; no one else seems to know what these letters signify.

After the snubbing by the knee-highs at the SIWU the next morning, we ventured into the sewers. Aside from Devil Rats and the inescapable stench, the trek through those dark tunnels weren’t too bad.

Not long after navigating the newer tunnels into the older, less used regions, we encountered a crew of cutthroats. After blasting our way through some of them, our dart-injector-wielding assassin revealed herself. Thank Morrow none of those poison darts found their way into our flesh during the skirmish that ensued.

As is the way with firearms, there’s not many options for incapacitating in a non-lethal manner. Due to this fact, our assassin died before we could encourage her to reveal her client. At most, we managed to recover the injection pistol with an unused dose of “Khorva’s Kiss” and the golden frame from the stolen relic.

A message from the Menite temple was waiting for our return. Potentate Reynard has requested our presence…

Illuminated Journal 1
By Caleb Shaw

We stood nearby Captain Skarrow as he spoke to the town, attempting to bolster the morale of Barrington’s townsfolk. A shot rang out from a distant dilapidated building and a bottle exploded beside Skarrow. Soldiers of the Skorne empire caught our attention as they made their way over the nearby bridge into Barrington. We moved to intercept and engage them before they could progress any further.

Though their numbers were only a half-dozen, these Praetorians were quite resilient. Zakhar engaged the majority at great peril to himself, affording the rest of us much-needed time and space to dispose of them. It was a hard-fought win over what appears to have been little more than a scouting party for the 200 or more that were soon-after reported to be marching upon us.

Curiously, no further shots were fired in our direction after the first bottle-shattering surprise. One can only assume this was a warning, but from whom?

With scant resources and barely a dozen able soldiers, weary as they were, there was little choice afforded to us other than to recommend the evacuation of the town. Captain Skarrow advised the town to pack light as we were to move out for Corvis. Only a few days travel awaited us.

Alerted by an upset child we set out for the town healer Granny Mosley who had wandered away from camp on the first night. Though no relations of her were amongst the townsfolk, she was lovingly called ‘Granny’ by all.

We tracked her to a nearby forest clearing where she had come upon some Iosan Mage Hunters, and they had their crossbows aimed at her by the time we arrived. These Iosans had found her picking some White Willow Bark and made accusations of sorcery. Mathias assured them that she was merely a healer and the herbs were supplies to prepare salves, poultices and the like. Although I was aware that these particular herbs could also be used in ritual magic, I reiterated Mathias’ statement. Strangely, this appeared to be enough for these Iosans as they lowered their weapons and left without saying another word.

A plundered merchant cart was discovered the following day. The lifeless bodies of those that escorted it were found strewn nearby, littered with arrows – later discovered to be of the kind used by Bogrin. Nothing of value, interest, or otherwise remained.

Up ahead from our position and out of sight, Father Decklan was blessing the recently departed when we heard him cry out. Racing to his aid there was naught that could be done for him. Father Decklan was suspended in a pit, impaled on many sharpened spikes. To our surprise, he still lived. With what little time he had left, he passed on an old relic – a golden frame contained the image of Morrow of unknown age or origin – asking for its delivery to the Cathedral of Morrow in Corvis. He expired moments after.

It’s hard not to think, as we dismantled those spikes and filled in the pit and buried Father Decklan, that such a trap could’ve been intended for us and those that traveled with us. Perhaps the merchant travelers were merely targets of opportunity, or they were mistaken for us by those that ambushed them. Unless the perpetrators were desperate for food and other basics, general goods don’t seem like a high value target.

Once again that evening, Granny left camp and we were alerted to this by some very upset children. She had left a letter behind, addressed to Captain Skarrow, as she had no intention of returning this time. Her intentions were to return home and avenge the fate of her father, brought upon them by the Skarholt family. Fortunately, as we investigated the ambush site earlier, some of us heard her muttering to herself as she stood in front of a long-disused trail leading off to “Dorshep”.

We set out to this path and followed it to its end, where Granny Mosley was performing some kind of dark ritual. She was chanting as an object in her hand shined intensely. We tried to get her to stop what she was doing, but she was having none of it. There was little else that could be done after she produced a ritual dagger to cut herself with. If she spilt her blood, surely the ritual would be complete and release something terrible.

There was no way to close the gap between us and bring an end to her ritual without causing harm. Lucian acted quickly and fired. Knocked to the ground and still writhing with purpose, Granny was working the dagger in her hands in an attempt to complete her task with what energy remained in her. Lucian fired again, killing her instantly.

While it is a shame that she died in such a way, it would have been worse for her and others had she completed the ritual. Rereading her note, it seems she was willing to sacrifice her soul to pay for whatever she summoned forth. Surely Morrow will forgive her transgression; it was an act born out of love, but twisted by the pain from the loss of her father. At least her soul is not forfeit and Morrow will see Granny reunited with father once again.

I recovered the object that was shining during the ritual. A very old ring, with markings that are so worn as to no longer be legible. My guess is that it is a family heirloom, either from her father or passed down by someone before him. I do not think it is evil in itself, merely used as link to her father in casting the ritual. As she has no living relatives or anyone particularly close to her, I will keep it as a reminder of that day and the many lessons it has taught me.

Captain Skarrow and the townsfolk of Barrington were incredibly upset at the news of her passing. He doesn’t seem to believe that she could or would do the things we witnessed and reported to him. After knowing someone for so long, it can be difficult to accept that which goes against everything you believe. Of course, the rest of the townsfolk were told that she wandered off to revisit the town where she grew up and was attacked by wild animals in the attempt. There was no good reason to upset anyone further and sully the image of someone they held so dear and had nothing but fond memories of. Interesting, however, was the fact that even the oldest members of the town only remember Granny as an old woman.

It was this event which inspired me to learn more in the way of Infernals. Never again did I want to be caught unawares like I and my companions were that day. The thought that the White Willow Bark she picked have such a wide range of uses, including the ritual she attempted, and that there were no other signs of what she was planning doesn’t comfort me.

Prologue - Part Two

Several days later, you find yourself within the battle‐scarred ruins of Barrington. Your journey was mostly uneventful, though you passed a number of refugee groups fleeing from war and strife. With the fall of the Thornwood to the Khadorans, the belligerence of the Trollkin Kriels, and skirmishes with the Skorne and the Protectorate, life on the borders of Cygnar has become fraught with peril. This has also extended inland, as the wreckage of several refugee groups you have discovered can attest. With an increase in traffic has come a commensurate increase in banditry, and the military forces of the Kingdom are stretched too thinly to adequately protect the roads. There was little you could do for the unfortunate victims, save for the saying of a benediction for the souls of the slain and ensuring a dignified burial of their remains.

You survey the shattered remains of the town. A surprise night time attack was launched against Barrington by the Skorne several weeks ago. They assailed the walls, broke inside, and completely overran the eastern half of town. The defenders rallied at the bridge, however, and a nine‐day battle for Barrington ensued. Thousands of Cygnaran troops and mercenary allies reinforced the town and the bridge became a scene of unbelievable carnage. Stymied, the Skorne destroyed the eastern half of town and then marched south. The focus of the campaign soon shifted to Fort Falk itself and Barrington seemed safe. Regiment after regiment was called away from Barrington to strengthen Cygnaran forces elsewhere.

The survivors began to rebuild. The eastern half of town was so thoroughly destroyed that it had to be temporarily abandoned. Barrington natives, plus many refugees from even less fortunate settlements, went to work in the ruins. The task of burying the dead took weeks and the rotting corpses caused a contagion that further reduced the survivors’ numbers.

The population of Barrington is currently around 75 people, mostly farmers and townsfolk. All able‐bodied residents are expected to contribute to the town’s defence, standing guard duty on the town walls and the riverfront palisade for a few hours a day in addition to their normal activities. The town is effectively under martial law, run by Garrett Scarrow, the Captain of the Watch.

Barrington’s temple was destroyed along with the rest of the eastern half of town, but Father Decklan has established a makeshift shrine close to the western end of the bridge, where he conducts services. From your interactions with the Priest, you know that he tends to be humourless, but he is honest, forthright, and extremely devoted to both Morrow and Cygnar. The cause for the lack of communication with his superiors was due to the time he has had to invest in aiding the townsfolk rebuild, in addition to the fact that no traffic has passed through the town until this morning, when a messenger from Duke Ebonheart arrived from Corvis. The Priest then dispatched his overdue correspondence with the departing messenger.

With your duties acquitted, you had begun to make preparations to return to Caspia; however, Father Decklan has begged an indulgence of you and asked that you remain for a few more days – the beleaguered citizens of Barrington could use your assistance. Garrot Scarrow has called for a town meeting in the square, and the citizens of the town begin to gather in anticipation of his words…

Prologue - Part One

You kneel within the Holy Chapel of Morrow within the Grand Illuminated Library. Embraced within Morrow’s holy Sancteum in Caspia, the Grand Illuminated Library is the heart and headquarters of the Order of Illumination. Mere yards from Morrow’s Seminary College, the Grand Illuminated Library rises as one of the tallest structures in the Sancteum. It bears the seal of the order’s emblem, the Radiance of Morrow, and the symbol of Ascendant Corbin. Aside from the decorative iconography, the library is a relatively plain structure. Its slate and marble walls are broken only on one front by its main entrance and a towering stained glass window depicting Ascendant Corbin rising several stories above it.

The light of the sun fractures through this window to bathe High Vigilant Peer Venessari Marpethorne in its golden radiance. Her bearing is almost regal as she stands before you, showing nothing of the weight of her 60 years nor that of her long‐held position as head of the Order. Behind her, in the shadows, stand several robed and cowled figures that you know to be the Vigilant Peers; a mysterious court of eight that assess rumours of heresy and foul magic, dispatch Illuminated peers on specific missions, and manage the internal policing of the order. This court judges evidence of infernalism and other dark arcana and decides how best to act. To defend both their lives and their virtue, these individuals are protected by layers of magical guards and illusions to conceal their identity.

The cold stone of the floor is only a mild discomfort; your year of rigorous training within these halls has subjected you to far worse. Indeed, of the score or so would‐be Illuminated that began the training with you, only you and the few others beside you remain. You recall your trials with a barely‐repressed shudder. They were designed to break the weak, the unworthy ‐ and break them they did.

The High Vigilant addresses your group. “You have emerged from the crucible of your trials to have the honour of serving Morrow in this, his most demanding calling. In successfully completing the demands of the exacting training to which you have been subjected, you have demonstrated the resilience of your bodies, the strength of your minds, and your unshakable faith in the Lord of Light. You have been reforged anew as Morrow’s weapon against the evils that beset Immoren. Necromancy, infernalism, heresy, depraved cults, such foul enticements seek out the weak of spirit, tempting the unwitting with the promises of evils both inscrutable and ancient. You will be the instrument of their undoing.

“In Morrow’s name.”

“In Morrow’s name,” both you and your fellow Illuminated respond. The High Vigilant moves to a table nearby, and takes from it a weapon and a holy symbol fashioned in the sun‐and‐sword icon of the Order. Both of these are presented to each of you in turn, the weapon being that favoured by its recipient.

“These instruments of holy reckoning have been crafted, blessed and sanctified in The Prophet’s name. Wield them righteously.” The High Vigilant steps back and gestures for you to rise. “You are now an Illuminated of the Order. On behalf of Primarch Arius and the Exordeum, I congratulate you. A Vigilant Peer will with you shortly to assign you your first task.” With a respectful bow of her head, the High Vigilant and seven of the Vigilant Peers depart the chapel.

The last Peer approaches your group, and addresses you all in a voice that is muffled and indistinct so as to conceal their identity – just as much as the voluminous robes that swirl about them do. “Illuminated. You have trained together, and in these trials have forged a personal bond of shared experience. This will strengthen against the enemies of the Church that are to be found beyond these walls, and for so long as these bonds remain strong, you will prevail against the darkness. Until notified otherwise, you are to act together in your assignments. Nonetheless, you will undoubtedly encounter disagreement and discord in matters to come. In such situations, look to the teachings of the Prophet. They will guide you.”

The Vigilant Peer pauses for a few moments. Within the darkness of the cowl you can discern nothing of their thoughts or expression. They continue: “Your first task concerns a Father Decklan, recently dispatched by the Exordeum to Barrington. It is a small town situated on the banks of the Black River, not far from Corvis. Father Decklan’s predecessor was killed in an attack by the Skorne several weeks ago, one of many launched against Cygnar’s borders in recent times by the heathens from the east. In the ensuing period we have received no word from him, and are concerned that he may have met a similar end. You are tasked to journey to Barrington and ascertain his fate. If he yet lives, it is the wish of the Church that you render unto him whatever aid he requires ‐ within reason. The spiritual well‐being of the faithful of Barrington is also of the highest priority.

“You are to leave at first light tomorrow morning. Within your quarters, you will find sufficient provisions for your journey. When you duties are acquitted you are to return here, unless matters of the Church or the Order require your further intervention. In such an event, you are advised to use your discretion. Ensure that you send word of any such developments through the appropriate channels.”

The Vigilant Peer raises a hand in a gesture of holy benediction. “May Morrow protect you and guide you.” With that, the mysterious figure bows respectfully, and you know that you have been dismissed from their presence.


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