Damnation and hellfire. We finally managed to trace some minor thefts earlier this month to Acele. Rather than hang the man, Insein claimed that she could eliminate his proclivities with something called negative reinforcement behavior or something similar, a Nurse Ratched nodding with her. The nurse is apparently her protege, a severe looking woman who takes a very no nonsense approach. I approved this rather than having the admittedly powerful man hung, and at it appeared to be successful, and Insein left the treatment of Acele in Nurse Ratched’s hands. Insein then left with Sigmah, Ambrosine and Kormok to investigate the Warrens, as Insein was extremely curious about the way the swinemen were manufactured. Sigmah and Ambrosine just wanted to kill all of them, and Kormok… well, he grumbled something ‘someone has to herd the cats’. Not sure what he meant. However, they were successful, and Insein immediately left to check on her Nurse’s progress, which was reported as an undeniable success. I had my reservations at the time. In her success, she announced that other treatments would be free for a short time, but would cost additional fees later. Understandable, but I would call back the money and ask for a discount on supplies if Acele reverts to type.
After his treatment, Acele volunteered to take a team into the Cove to redeem his actions and prove to the others that he had changed. Kormok and Silverdawn I have come to trust and rely on as honorable people, and a new face, Jander, a man in motley and masked, volunteered to accompany them. Jander had arrived earlier in the weeks but I had not thought him a fighter, merely an entertainer to distract the masses from the horrors of our situation.
When they returned from the Cove, successful, Silverdawn reported with some surprise that Jander was more than capable with a knife, and his strange fighting style bolstered their own, as well as left surprising ends for the enemy fishmen. Kormok apparently did not appreciate the japes, but I did notice him tapping a foot to one of the Jester’s lively tunes. Acele, it seems, has been completely left without his thieving tendencies. With this confirmed successful test, I have authorized more funds to the Sanitarium, and Insein’s experiments especially. She was ecstatic, and went into a flurry of papers and orders for the nurses under her care. Vae’gaun and Akhania were admitted there a few minutes later to correct a few of their lesser issues as well, nothing as bad as Acele’s kleptomania.
Shortly after this news, Akaiatana came to me with dire news. The brigands hiding in the Weald were growing bolder, and were wheeling an actual cannon to assault the hamlet. I called forth those we had assembled and Aunne immediately volunteered, making it no small matter that he would be going. When pressed, he revealed he had a bounty list for brigands longer than my forearm. Capable man, Akaiatana agreed to go as well, his dog still willing to hunt for the brigands. Insein also volunteered claiming she needed new experiments to test and the brigands would be the perfect subjects. I asked Arialynn to go with the group, to keep them healthy and safe, and she agreed, though there was a bit of fear in hers, and indeed every one’s eyes, in facing a cannon. Only a few have actually seen one up close, but almost all know of their destructive power since they came into play in the last war. I only prayed they would be able to dismantle the foul mechanical monstrosity before it was able to fire into the hamlet or into the group.
During this hunt for the brigands, distracted as they were by moving their machinery, the road was clearer, and more recruits for the army were found. Idella and Vael, once apprentices of Razas, had found their way here to avenge their master. I for one welcome the additional aid. Another Flagellant of Vae’gaun’s sect, arrived, an optimistic man who nonetheless found purity in pain. Strange fellow, Tybalt is, even more than Vae’gaun, but I suppose every person is different in the end. Another cursed young woman arrived as well, an apparent twin of the lost Elli. She and her sister had meant to arrive together but were separated during a church inquisition. I quickly assured her as long as she intended to help with the Situation, the Church would have no power over her. Indeed, Vae’gaun offered to take Idella, Vael, and Etsiyona into the cove to show them a taste of the horrors we face in this little hamlet. I had thought that Vae’gaun would also take Tybalt with him, but Tybalt smiled and said that the “Burden of pain may not be shared.” Perhaps some theology that I am missing in their extremist views.
I agreed, cautiously, as Vae’gaun, seemed in a particularly zealous mood. Idella, Vael, and Etsiyona agreed to go with the maniacal zealot, however, eager to prove themselves. They headed off just as Akaiatana, Insein, Arialynn and Aunne returned from successfully dismantling the cannon. In their reports, it appeared the creation had a crude, malign intelligence to it, ringing its bell to summon reinforcements from nearby brigands. Moving quickly and using distracting techniques such as smoke bombs and flash grenades, the team was able to keep the cannon from firing, as while the bell was active, it could not fire itself.
More plans were made to improve the buildings and the facilities of the hamlet, and we began enacting them, however, I am still missing a number of supplies. The work goes slowly, but surely. Vae’gaun leading the team was a success, though it seemed the two occultists were traumatized by what they had seen in the cove, with Idella mentioning her fear of the fishmen and their strange allies. All of them heard a strange, haunting song coming from deeper within the caves, and I fear that our violence in the cove may have attracted a Siren to wreak vengeance. My grandfather’s notes mention that the Siren is attracted by offerings of wealth or blood, and there has been more than enough of the fishmen’s blood spilled to bring one to the pools. I will have to select carefully, as we will need men and women of strong will, at the very least, to brave the Siren and hunt her down.
On that end, Acele volunteered, with counseling from Novina, to search for more information regarding the Siren, and possibly any artifacts that might be linked to beguiling monster. Tybalt volunteered to join, and another recruit, Athalia quietly volunteered as well. I had almost forgotten the young woman had arrived, she had been so quiet and unassuming in her presence. Together they slaughtered and interrogated a number of cultists and fishmen, but were unable to find any further information regarding the Siren, other than the fact that she travels with a number of elite nightmares that she has beguiled. Dismayed, they returned with this information, but were buoyed by the significant amount of resources they managed to recover.
A different song calls to me from the ruins below the manor. A haunting drumbeat, of terrifying intent. I worry that we are running out of time, but I do not know how or why the feeling is there. To make matters worse, more materials have gone missing, and Acele has been cleared of the issue. He was upset but understood when we first thought it was him.
Frustrating as this is, we must continue. Only half a year has gone by and I will temper my expectations. And I must ignore the drums, and the building uncertainty despite mounting victories. Ignore the drums. Ignore the drums.