Codex: The Record of the Old Watchtower

Amid the bodies found in the Old Watchtower you find a Scribe’s Logbook detailing the events that led to the destruction inside the keep. After many pages of monthly accounts of minor comings and goings, account reports, and observations on river travel in the Econ you find the last few pages of this logbook quite unusual:

February 1st, 1620- Sealed several of the older corridors in the “tombs,” that is: the lowest basement level. Several guards reported seeing shapes moving in the darkness. No sense confronting whatever living things have moved in down there. We aren’t using it, they might as well. Hopefully the mortar and stone will hold. Jack reported that one of the Manatees has gotten into the pumps again. We checked by there wasn’t anything there. The thing would have to be the smallest manatee I’d ever seen to get into the pipes but you never know. Stranger things have happened.

March 1st, 1620 – Baron Eogan has recalled most of the Garrison back to Eogan Keep, perhaps permanantly. His worries are simple: the Watchtower is old and many rooms have collapsed in stone and rock. Until he decides to renovate or abandon the watchtower the ten of us will hold down the fort. I’ve locked the lower basements and kept the keys with me. The lizardfolk down at the docks are rarely a problem, but I’d rather they not get into the whiskey again. I don’t think I can take another night of Zumba dancing.

April 1st, 1620 – Visitor arrived today, calls herself Anne. Says she is doing a local survey of the watchtower for the Baron. Her papers were in order. A lovely young thing, though her lovely blonde hair reminds me too much of my dearest lost these long five years. Warned her to avoid the forest southeast of the watchtower. The valley is pretty remote and unconnected to the rest of the world, but there are strange things about down there and at least one truly large bear. We put out some traps, would hate to see a young lady hurt her leg picking plants.

May 1st, 1620 – Some of the fellows say they heard some rumbling in the lower levels, maybe a small-scale collapse. Not sure what would cause such, though there has been some rumbling in the walls of late. I assume it’s just the rhythm of the Lizardfolk’s music. We’ve given them the old docks and island cave to make a little refuge out of. Poor fellows apparently have been homeless since something drove them out of the Econ Eddy. So long as they keep bringing us fish I don’t see any harm. It’s saving us a ton on supplies each week, though Anne and Raymond both keep complaining they want to have something aside from Blue Snapper. Don’t know why! The stuff is very tasty.

June 1st, 1620 – Anne wants into the lower levels, including the tombs. She worries the foundation isn’t holding for the upper levels. I offered to send some of the lads down with her, but she said she would be fine. Raymond and David will be following her just beyond sight, just to make sure. It’s probably just some spiders and bats down there, but you never know what might wander up from the deep places in the world. Gregmond came back from the southeastern forest injured. He was looking for herbs to go with dinner when he spotted an Arborkin in the stone glade. He chased her hoping she would grant him a wish and she led him right to a sleeping bear. Poor bastard’s got the worst luck. One of the Baron’s Paladins came by and a few stitches, some healing, and a week or two keeping off of his leg and he’ll be right as rain. Asked the lizardfolk to keep down their banging at night, though they feigned not knowing what I was talking about. As if anyone could sleep through all that steady racket. Their drums seem to go straight through the stone.

July 1st, 1620 – Anne has cleared several rooms in the tombs level and has begun working on measuring some form of subsidence in the central chambers. Seeing her play with her little hammers and cups to hear through the stone is quite impressive, though she constantly complains about the amount of echos she hears, especially at night. Anne thinks there must be some large chamber beneath the watchtower, maybe an older burial chamber or crypt. If she can get into it she might be able to determine if it can be filled or supports made to keep the tower from collapsing. We’ve relit many of the levels in the tombs. Aside from the occasional spider or bat it seems safe enough down there. With all the ruckus in the forest last month I have the boys placing traps to try and catch that damn bear. Hopefully we will get lucky. It would be nice to have something aside from Fish after all.

August 1st, 1620: Anne has found an older passage down into the Tombs off the old fountain room. Why it was bricked up, I couldn’t dream to guess. She brought up several artifacts of Heartlander origin, easily dating back hundreds of years. An old knife, some clothes, a dusty old book filled with pages of dreadful images, and a dusty purple cloak. She’s going to take the lot to the Versity Magical Academy for research once her survey is through. We found a nice little chest with one of those Grandmill rubber seals on it to keep them safe and fresh. The banging at night is getting louder. I think I’m beginning to understand why the lizardfolk were kicked out of the Eddy. Whatever was their neighbor down there must of wanted a good night’s sleep and kicked them out.

September 1st, 1620: First cold wind of autumn blew through yesterday. Most of the blankets and cloaks were down for the wash, so Anne decided to wear the old cloak she found down in the ruins. We all agreed it looked fetching on her, but Gregmond laughed and said it made her look dusty and dark. She took her box and quietly excused herself and wandered down into tombs, I guess she was embarrassed. She had been making moon eyes at Gregmond these last few weeks. Damn fool boy is going to be a slight bit worse than his bear mauling if he doesn’t learn to mind his tongue.

September 2nd, 1620 – Anne came up from the tombs today, her hair was a brownish raven. I guess she dyed it overnight to get back at Gregmond. She seems angry, and complained about having been cooped up too long in the keep. I suggested she go into town for market day, all the local villagers would likely be about. She seemed to like this idea, and took her spooky monster book with her. I guess she wanted something to read over a light meal.

September 3rd, 1620 – Anne came back early this morning. She seems taller, maybe she bought some heels at market. Anyhow, she wouldn’t take off the cloak and kept insisting we leave her be. Gregmond tried to apologize and she wouldn’t have it. He grabbed the hood and pulled it back, and… well damn. She had tatood her face! All around her eyes in a deep, bloody maroon like the hill folk of the old days. Gregmond was speechless. She said nothing and went down into the tombs. I’m a bit worried about her. Even her speech seems off these days. You know what they say, though. The outer planes hath no fury like a woman scorned.

September 5th, 1620 – Word has come down from Eogan that the undead have been spotted at the outlying farms. Baron Eogan is still in Kingsbridge for the Council of Lords, until he gets back we will hold position. Finally gave the lizardfolk notice today, The banging is too loud, and now its at all times of the day. They have a month to get their things and go. Put in a request to town for some meat and grain. Anything but fish.

September 14th, 1620 – Anne didn’t come up from the tombs today. She’s still down there doing some kind of survey, though lately she has been using chalk to measure out stress levels. Some kind of College of Pragmatics symbology I’d guess, though I never paid enough attention to the magical arts in school. We’ve started bringing down her meals. Hopefully Gregmond and her will put this silly lovers tift aside soon. It’s very tiring going down all those stairs. Jack said he felt like he was being watched in the Docks Storeroom today. Not sure why anyone would be down there, but Jack is a flighty sort.

September 15th, 1620 – There was a massive echo this morning that shook the entire tower. We called an alarm and almost everyone rallied to the courtyard. Anne hasn’t returned yet. No sign of Raymond and David either. Going to give them another hour and then the lads and I will go down there to hunt for her ourselves. I suspect she is still down in the tombs. Hopefully it won’t become hers.

You turn the page to find a grimy and dust line page. There are no dates. The handwritting is scrawled and rushed.

I don’t know where to begin. Raymond is dead. David too. We found Anne at the center of the tombs, or what was left of them. The floor has collapsed into some massive underground chamber so dark that you cannot see the bottom. She stood across a massive divide… and… I don’t even… some kind of… demon got into her. She is not herself. She floated across the chasm, as if lifted by puppetstrings. Unnatural creatures were everywhere across the cavern, hissing and wailing at us. We fled back up to the docks level and barred the door.

We tried to run to the tower to sound the alarm bell, but as we ran through the docks we found we weren’t alone. One of the walls had collapsed and skeletons and zombies were everywhere. Raymond and David were cut down before we realized what was happening. Gregmond tried to make it to the dock but a horrific looking woman with bones in her hair was there. She cut him down where he stood. In seconds, his eviscerated body shambled to it’s feet and charged. Hill screamed and used his saber to take Gregmond’s head clear off, and still it charged us. We managed to get through the doors to the upper levels and barred them locked them behind us.

We’ve barricaded the lower levels and are holding out on the main floor for now. In the morning we will make for town. I’ve sent a bird to Mayor Sterling. Hopefully he will have something for us. Jack asked what message I sent. When I told him he wept. “You should have told them to flee.” He sobbed. “Nothing will stop this. Nothing can stop this.” I may send word in the morning once the messenger hawk returns. Whatever is going on down there merits a full regiment to take on. Hill keeps saying he hears things on the other side of the barricade. He’s probably right. It just has to hold a few more hours. Worst case we flee the tower. I hope whatever it is doesn’t harm the lizardfolk. They may be a strange people, but they don’t mean any harm.

We cannot escape. Strange statues line the parapets. A strange transparent barrier blocks us in. We can hear fighting on the lower levels, hissing and howling. Something terrible is comi—-

The sentence ends midway through, a hastily inked line stretching across the page and over the table where a dried quill rests. One last note is written, this one in blood, apparently with a finger.