I hope this letter finds you well, and with some free time on your hands, because we've got something of a problem. It's to do with father. Seems that he might have had something to do with L'Trel's recent troubles with the goblins, and I didn't want to bring the matter to the authorities because we both know he'd just weasel his way out of it. You've got some pull here in town, though. If you can meet me at the glassworks at midnight tonight, maybe we can figure out how to make sure he faces the punishment he deserves. Knock twice and then three times more and then once more at the delivery entrance and I'll let you in.
In any case, I don't have to impress upon you the delicate nature of this request. If news got out, you know these local rubes would assume that you and I were in on the whole thing too, don't you? They've got no honour at all around these parts. I still don't understand how you can stand to stay here.
Anyway, don't tell anyone about this. There are other complications as well, ones I'd rather talk to you in person about tonight. Don't be late.
The small, leather-bound booklet contains two dozen parchment pages, most of which Tsuto has filled with maps of L'Trel or erotic drawings of Nualia. The maps each depict different attack plans. The first set shows the attack for a group of 100 goblins–one of these maps is circled, and it is recognizable as the attack the goblins made on L'Trel. There are more pages which illustrate an assault on L'Trel by a force of what appears to be a thousand goblins. None of these are circled, and many are scratched out as if they've been rejected.
Most the drawings of Nualia show her as she has been known. The last pages though show her with a horribly deformed hand, along with bat wings, horns, a forked tail, and fangs.
The raid went about as planned. Few Thistletop goblins perished, and we were able to secure Tobyn's casket with ease while the rubes were distracted by the rest. I can't wait until the real raid. This town deserves another burning, that's for sure.
Ripnugget seems to favour the overwhelming land approach, but I don't think it's the best plan. We should get the quasit's aid. Send her freaks up from below via the smuggling tunnel in my father's Glassworks, and then invade from the river and from the Glassworks in smaller but more focussed strikes. The rest, except Bruthazmus agree, and I'm pretty sure the bugbear's just being contrary to annoy me.
My Love's too distracted with the lower chambers to make a decision. Says that once Malfeshnekor's released and under her command, we won't need to worry about being subtle. I hope she's right.
My Love seems bent on going through with it–nothing I can say convinces her of her beauty. She remains obsessed with removing what she calls her "celestial taint" and replacing it with her Mother's grace. Burning her father's remains at the Thistletop shrine seems to have started the transformation, but I can't say her new hand is pleasing to me. Hopefully when she offers L'Trel to Molag Bel's fires, her new body won't be as hideous. Maybe I'll luck out. Succubi are demons too, aren't they?
Within Thistletop was a room where the raid on L'Trel was planned. There were various notes there that described their future plans. Namely, that once "the whispering beast is tamed," the architects of the plan intend to mount a second raid on the town, one that incorporates not only additional goblin tribes culled from as far as the Fogscar mountains to the north, but creatures referred to as "sinspawn" who shall invade L'Trel from below.
Within the observation deck of Thistletop, there was all of Nualia's notes and journals. It detailed her history.
A foundling raised by L'Trel’s previous religious leader, a man named Ezakien Tobyn, Nualia’s childhood was lonely and sad. Her unearthly beauty made the other children either jealous or shy, and many of them took to playing cruel jokes on her. The adults in town weren’t much better—many of the superstitious locals viewed Nualia as blessed by Sirtay, a sort of “reverse deformity.” Rumors that her touch or proximity could cure warts and rashes, that locks of her hair brewed into tea could increase fertility, and that her voice could drive out evil spirits led to endless awkward and humiliating requests over the years. Poor Nualia felt more like a freak than a young girl by the time she came of age, so when Delek Viskanta, a local youth, began to court her, she practically fell into his arms in gratitdue.
Knowing that her father wouldn’t approve of a relationship (he wanted her to remain pure so that she could join one of the prestigious Windsong Abbey convents), they kept the affair secret. They met many times in hidden places, a favorite being an abandoned smuggler’s tunnel under town that Delek had discovered as a child. Before long, Nualia realized she was pregnant. When she told Delek, he revealed his true colors and, after calling her a slut and a harlot, fled L'Trel rather than face her father’s wrath. Nualia’s shock quickly turned to rage, yet she had nowhere to vent her anger. She bottled it up, and when her father discovered her delicate condition, his reaction to her indiscretions only furthered her shame and anger. He forbade her to leave the church, lectured her nightly, and made her pray to Sirtay for forgiveness. In so doing, he unknowingly nurtured her growing hate.
When the runewell in the Catacombs of Wrath flared to life, Nualia’s own anger was a magnet to its magic. Seven months pregnant, the wrathful energies suffused her mind and she flew into a frenzy. She miscarried her child later that night, a child whose monstrously deformed shape she only glimpsed before blanching midwives stole it away to burn it in secret. As the child had been concieved in the smuggler’s tunnels below town, in close proximity to a hidden shrine to Molag Bel (the goddess of monstrous births), the child itself was deformed and horrific. The double shock of losing a child and the realization she had been carrying a fiend in her belly for seven months was too much. Nualia fell into a coma.
As Nualia slept, she dreamed unhealthy dreams. Fueled by the wrath from below and the taint of Molag Bel, Nualia became further obsessed with the cruel demon goddess and the conviction that her wretched life was inflicted on her by those around her. She came to see her angelic heritage as a curse, and the demon-sent dreams showed her how to expunge this taint from her body and soul, replacing it with chaos and cruelty. When she finally woke, Nualia was someone new, someone who didn’t flinch at what Molag Bel asked of her. She jammed her father’s door shut as he slept, lit the church on fire, and fled L'Trel.
The locals assumed Nualia had burned in the fire, a tragedy made all the worse by the death of Father Tobyn as well. Yet Nualia lived. She fled to Magnimar, where she enlisted the aid of a group of killers known as the Skinsaw Men. With their aid, she tracked down Delek and murdered him. Yet his death did not fill her need for revenge. L'Trel and its hated citizens still lived.
Seeing a kindred spirit in the tortured woman, the mysterious leader of the Skinsaw Men gave Nualia a medallion bearing a carving of a seven-pointed star called a “Sihedron medallion.” Nualia learned that she had a larger role to play, and that her dreams were a map to her destiny. Taking the advice to heart, Nualia returned to L'Trel, and found herself drawn to the brick wall in the smuggler’s tunnels where she and Delek had conceived her deformed child. Nualia bashed down the wall, and in so doing, discovered the Catacombs of Wrath and the quasit Erylium, also a follower of Molag Bel. For many months, Nualia studied under Erylium’s tutelage. During this time, Nualia received another vision from Molag Bel—a vision of a monstrous goblin wolf imprisoned in a tiny room. In Nualia’s dreams, she learned that this creature, a barghest named Malfeshnekor, was also one of Molag Bel’s chosen. If she could find him and free him, he would not only help her achieve her vengeance against the town of L'Trel, but he would be the key in cleansing her body of what she had come to see as her “celestial taint.” Nualia wanted to be one of Molag Bel’s children now. She wanted to become a monster herself.
The notes also outlined her plans to send an army of goblins against L'Trel and burn the town to the ground, not only to offer it all as a burnt offering to Molag Bel in hopes of being made a half-fiend, but also to fuel the Runewell in the catacombs below. The notes go on to detail how to cause sinspawn to manifest from the runewell, and that if one were to overextend the runewell’s stores, it would be deactivated. Nualia isn’t sure how to reactivate it, and several times stresses that the runewell shouldn’t be used much until after L'Trel is razed and the deaths of hundreds of angry citizens and goblins have refilled the well.
A note was found pinned to the sleeve of the victim by a splinter. It was addressed to Julie.
You will learn to love me, desire me in time as she did. Give yourself to the Pack and it shall all end.
On the bodies of the first murders was a piece of parchment
Messrs. Mortwell, Hask, and Tabe—
A deal has come about that I need capital in. It involves property and gold, and though I am not at liberty to tell you the exact details, it will make us all rich. Come to Bradley’s Barn on Cougar Creek tonight. We can meet there to discuss our futures.
In the insane asylum, a file was found on Timothy. This initial diagnosis read as this:
The patient has a combination of Multiple Personality Disorder and Schizophrenia. Through therapy we were able to calm him, and he has forgotten about the King in Yellow and the city of Carcosa. Hopefully this time it will be permanent. He has ceased trying to create the strange mask, although he still seems to like the symbol he previously drew. I have made a request to the Council of Mages if they have any knowledge of the terms he has been ranting about. Hopefully an expert testimony that they are fictional will calm him down.
Timothy Schmidt has escaped. I am not sure how he did it. The door was unlocked from outside and filled in with slime. Hopefully he will not draw too much attention to my work here.
An enclosed message from the Council of Mages:
We are indeed familiar with the “King in Yellow” and “Carcosa” and we do find it interesting that you have a patient that is mentioning them. We would be most appreciative if you could bring Mr. Schmidt in to our L’Trel location so that we could interview him.
We have received word from a traveller that you have been looking for the history of a Timothy Schmidt. We had such a person here once, the son of Marina Schmidt grew up here. He was a good man and started a farm. He was well beloved in the village. Then one day, about ten years ago, he simply disappeared. He searched the surrounding area for him, but never found the remains. He was survived by his widow, Betty Haywagon, and three children.
—Gillan (Transcribed by Father Matthias)
On the body of Aldern Foxglove was found a letter, written in Necril.
You have served us quite well. The delivery you harvested from the caverns far exceeds what I had hoped for. You may consider your debt to the Brothers paid in full. Yet I still have need of you, and when you awaken from your death, you should find your mind clear and able to understand this task more than in the state you lie in as I write this.
You shall remember the workings of the Sihedron ritual, I trust. You seemed quite lucid at the time, but if you find after your rebirth that you have forgotten, return to your townhouse in L’Trel. My agents shall contact you there soon—no need for you to bother the clock tower further. I will provide the list of proper victims for the Sihedron ritual in two days’ time. Commit that list to memory and then destroy it before you begin your work. The ones I have selected must be marked before they die, otherwise they do my master no good and the greed in their souls will go to waste.
If others get in your way, though, you may do with them as you please. Eat them, savage them, or turn them into pawns—it matters not to me.—Xanesha, Mistress of the Seven
I trust your little band of murderers is doing well, gathering the greedy souls needed for our Lord's rise? Has L’Trel proven to be as sinful as you had hoped? It may interest you to know that my plan to nurture greed in this backwater has blossomed—the quality of greed in a soul is so much more refined when given the proper care. Are you still simply carving the Sihedron on them as they expire? How crude! My method of marking is so much more elegant. In any event, I am sure your plans for harvesting greed where and when you can find it “in the wild” are progressing well enough—I just hope that your raw ungroomed, and likely inferior victims don't interact poorly when mixed with the purity of my subjects. If you tire of your little project there, know that you're always welcome to come to Turtleback Ferry and serve as my assistant, little sister! Fort Rannick should be in our control by the time you receive this letter, in any event, so there'll be plenty of room for you if you choose to take me up on my generous offer.
Oh! Before I forget! Have you managed to harvest that Titus Scarnetti yet? By all accounts he might just be the cream of the crop in L’Trel—his soul might even rival several from my hand-grown harvest!
I have recovered some documents that indicate the Libre Blaspheme is buried in what is now the town of Rousillion. This should help make the plague much more destructive. I have sent Achler to see about recovering it.
-Conte Senir Tiriac
Danovich's journal describes in the last half his grief over his son’s death, reveals his descent into madness, and rationalizes his subsequent decision to read the Libre Blaspheme
The scroll tube is made of adamantine and is cleverly locked by a series of interconnected spinning discs that function almost like a combination lock.
The codex consists of 18 large scrolls prepared on wyvern hide—they must be handled with extreme care to avoid fragmentation. All 18 scrolls are written in Thassilonian. The first nine comprise a minor artifact called the anathema archive. The next eight contain one divine spell each: greater restoration, heroes’ feast, order’s wrath, regenerate, resurrection, scrying, symbol of stunning, and true resurrection (all at caster level 17th).
The final scroll in the tube is written in Thassilonian.
To be presented to the clockwork librarian of the Therassic Library for the securing of full access to all archives held within.
Ware the shining guardians, for they guard the library without bias, and any who would enter are counted thieves and vandals to be slaughtered.
Speak aloud the name of Master Architect, Viosanxi, afore entry is attempted via the bronze doors, if thou wouldst avoid their blinding wrath.
Scattered among the stacks of Mokmurian’s invasion plans, battle tactics, and research notes is a single piece of paper depicting a map of the Hidden Coast region of Archstedt. Five points along the coast have “X” marks on them—three placed several hundred feet out to sea along the coast, but one is right over L'Trel and the other over by Tegel. A note on the map, written in Giant, reads “Hellfire Flume ruins—foundation stones from each would know where the traitor Xaliasa dwelt and perhaps where he hid his key to Runeforge.”
Within Molag-Bel's shrine, the Scribbler had written a poem on the walls throughout the complex.
If magic bright is your desire,
To old runeforge must you retire!
for only there does wizard’s art
Receive its due and proper start.
On eastern shores of steaming mirror,
At end of day when dusk is nearer,
Where seven faces silent wait
Encircled guards at runeforge gate.
Each stone the grace of seven lords,
One part of key each ruler hoards;
If offered spells and proper prayer;
Take seven keys and climb the stair.
On frozen mountain Xin awaits,
His regal voice the yawning gates
Keys turn twice in Sihedron—
Occulted runeforge waits within.
And now you’ve come and joined the forge
upon rare lore your mind can gorge—
And when you slough the mortal way
In runeforge long your work shall stay.
The bulk of the journal catalogs Vraxeris’s studies and the development of an improved version of clone that effectively granted him immortality. The drawback was that each time he switched bodies, he lost a huge portion of his own knowledge and experience, forcing himself to relearn much with each incarnation. At several points in the book, he also speaks of how with each clone the debilitating dementia that lurks at the end of his life manifests a little sooner—with each new body, his effective lifespan shrank. It seems obvious that the dementia finally struck soon enough to prevent him from creating a new clone, and thus finally, death claimed him.
Of more interest are the journal's notes on more recent events:
“The runeforge pool awoke! I first took this as a sign that Runelord Xanderghul had risen. When I arrived at the pool to investigate, it seemed that the others had come to the same conclusion. The foolish Wardens of Envy thought to disrupt the recrudescence, and with the aid of Azaven, Ordikan, Athroxis, and that lovely creature Delvahine, we were able to defeat them utterly. Their Abjurant Halls lie in ruins. Our treaty was short-lived, though. Azaven absconded with the bodies and that treacherous wench Athroxis nearly burned me to death before I made it back here.”
“I was mistaken. Runelord Xanderghul still slumbers. It is that monster Karzoug who quickens and nears rebirth. Damnation! He must not be allowed to precede Xanderghul into the world, for he would rebuild Thassilon in his own inferior image, a testament to his own greed rather than one of pride in the work. He must be delayed or defeated!”
“I have managed to escape this place, to a certain extent. By astral projection I can explore what the world outside has become. It is a brutish place, yet it pleases me to see Thassilon’s mark endures in the shape of our monuments. Still, the wilderness of the world vexes me. Gone is the empire I knew. Karzoug’s city of Xin-Shalast is now hidden high in the mountains, and when I finally discovered it, I found the spires where his body is hidden to be inaccessible, warded against astral travelers by the occlusion field around the peak of Mhar-Massif. As long as his runewell is active, I fear even a physical approach would be impossibly deadly. I must determine a way to pierce these wardings, and to send an agent in my place. No need to risk my own life before my clone is ready.”
“I have taken steps toward an alliance with Delvahine. She may be able to escape this place, for she was not of the original blood. At the least, she can call upon agents from outside, and perhaps through them we can secure servants in the outer world. She seems uninterested in Sorshen’s return; all the better for Xanderghul, that.”
“The runeforge pool is the key. As I suspected, the occlusion field around Karzoug’s fortress in Xin-Shalast has a flaw. His lack of knowledge of the intricacies of Sorshen’s and my own lord Xanderghul’s powers have left an opening. My agents must use components infused with our lords’ virtues, extract the latent magic within these components, and then anoint their chosen weapons with this raw power. The runeforged pool seems to have enough reserves to enhance no more than half a dozen or so runeforged weapons, but those enhanced with enchantment and illusion magic will be most potent against Karzoug’s defenses. They may even be pivotal in his defeat. For my own part, fragments of any of the mirrors in the Peacock’s Hall should suffice for a component. Delvahine’s... equipment... should suffice for enchantment, although one might be wise to cleanse them before they are handled.”
“The search for an agent goes poorly. Delvahine seems more interested in her own lusts than aiding me. Worse, the lapses and fevers are increasing. I fear that I will be forced to see to Karzoug myself, in which event I will need to use the master circle Jordimandus built into the Halls of Wrath to escape this place. Yet first, I must set aside my work on delaying Karzoug’s return and turn back to the final development of my 205th clone. I only hope I have time to finish before the dementia takes hold...”
Within the books here are notes and descriptions of the solution the Lords of Greed hit upon to protect Karzoug from the fall of Thassilon. By building a runewell larger than any before, Karzoug could place himself in stasis between realities, suspended between Kire and a hostile plane called Leng. Once the dust settled, the plan was for one of Karzoug's apprentices to release him. The details of this process are not recorded in the books—the wizards of the runeforge were focused only on aiding in the runewell's construction, not what came after it was completed.