From the Journal of Haldor Bargewright
5th of Balor, 1132
We are trapped in Castle Mormot. I will not try to hide my anger in these pages as doing so would be a disservice to my sanity. My confidence in my team has waned incredibly, and since the passing of my dearest friend Gregori, my spirits are left at an all time low. I have gone on at length in these pages about the many ways that I will exact my revenge on Inara for her role in his death, however after having dedicated several pages to the many ways I can watch her suffer and expire I find that my desire to further that cause has waned some. All that said, I do not know how much longer I can entertain a goodly nature and fear that if I do not quit myself of this cursed land I may suffer in the same fate as those that have passed before.
Back to Castle Mormot, from the outset it appears to be a relaxing respite from the depression we encounter elsewhere in the land. The lord of this castle, Kiril Stoyanovich appears to be accommodating and generous. However that does not reduce my annoyance at having been detained here due to the death of some inconsequential peasant whom I have no link to, nor a care for. Do they not know we are on an incredibly urgent mission back to Vallaki? Damn this contemptable land!
In the interest of expediting our escape from this situation, Pavel and Jacob have volunteered to assist in the investigation of this murder we have become witnesses to. As far as I can tell, the list of suspects are as follows Kresk who is an acolyte from a monastery, Abbis and Yafu who are merchants that became lost, Marto & Jim, woodcutters from Lake Luna, a mercenary named Gria on her way to Vallaki, and then a handful of servants and peasants. At this point I would be happy to put the screws to the lot of them until the first one squeals a confession, and be done with the whole affair. Of course we have to do the noble deed and actually investigate. What a crock.
From what was relayed, Pavel and Jacob were lead to the location of a very bloody murder, however no body was present. The room appears to be the castle commode, and after checking for deviltry (magic) and finding none they then check the throne and find that the structure has been damaged, widening the opening through a brute force action. Returning to the spot of violence they surmise that the murder was most violent and animalistic. As if a wolf had ripped the poor fool to shreds. Jacob then lowers Pavel down the chute and he checks the grounds for activity. He finds naked foot prints and wolf tracks heading into the woods.
Back at the Great Hall, Lord Stoyanovich approaches myself and Victor with a story of his poor Chamberlin Emil Toranescu. Out surveying the lands, he was bit by a pack of wild dogs and is now exhibiting signs of lunacy. The wolves carry some sort of infection that drives men mad, and he has banded together with others similarly inflicted to harass the Lords people. With this information all signs point to this Emil character as being the villain, Lord Stoyanovich gathers us together and charges us with ending this pox to his land. In exchange for our assistance he gifts us with his prized rifle and allows us passage out of the castle. So we gather up the remains of our Guild, and the new companions we have met and set out to expunge the blight of Emil so that we may finally be on our way. Lady Stoyanovich, the comely daughter of the Lord tries to join us in our task, however it is determined that she would be a detriment to the proceedings as she is quite young and as a woman is ill fit for such activities.
We head south of the keep to a river which is not far from the castle, and as we arrive we are soon engaged by a pack of rather hungry looking wolves. Pavel strives forward and due to his affinity for taming wild beasts attempts to becalm wolves. What strangeness occurs I am hesitant to detail. However I know not any other way to continue. One of the wolves separates from the pack and approaches our team. As it closes the gap a strange transformation occurs, its fur begins to disappear, and then it lurches up on its two hind legs. The strange transformation continues as the snout of this vile beast shrinks and compacts into a human nose and mouth, and the ears shift down to form unmistakably human ears. It is something I do not believe I can forget and hope never to witness again.
He introduces himself as Emil, and claims that Lord Stoyanovich has engineered these horrible acts, framing Emil and his people in order to chase them from their ancestral lands. He goes on to claim that Lord Stoyanovich is not the rightful Lord to the land and that it belongs to himself and his people. He then asks us to assist him in retaking the Castle and driving out the evil that is Lord Stoyanovich. I do not feel comfortable with this exchange. Anything that can do what Emil has done cannot be good, and we have received nothing but generosity from the Lord of the manor. However the rest of the party is immovable in their desire to assist this abomination, so I keep my trap shut on the matter. Best to go with the flow and end this quickly so we can be on our way.
Victor Von Schmidt, and Pavel feel they have some ability in curing these skin changers of their affliction, and so after securing the Wolf Mens promises, for what those are worth, we agree to help them if they all take the cure to return them to a state of normalcy.
So ends today’s entry.