07
Apr
14

Hârn: Genisis – Entry 19

HÂRN: GENISIS – ENTRY 19
PREVIOUS: HÂRN: GENISIS – ENTRY 18
NEXT: HÂRN: GENISIS – ENTRY 20

2nd of Azura in the year 720 TR

We arrived in Goshen this morning. The weather has been fabulous and I have finally suppressed the Voice and the Savage long enough to enjoy it. Despite the sun, a sour mood hung over the town. While we broke for supplies, Echo led Falcon and I to the local temple to Larani. There we learned of the town’s woes.

Part of the town’s income comes from a small mine a few hours north of town. Nearly a week back, the mine collapsed, trapping a number of miners inside. Rescue efforts have been ongoing, but every step forward ends in two steps back as more rocks loosen and slide into place. After this much time, there seems to be little hope from anyone that they’ll even get the mine open again, let alone rescue survivors. Echo makes a big show of donating a hundred pence to the church for reconstruction efforts.

We are pointed to one of only two survivors who escaped the mine collapse, Tom Ferrin. We find Ferrin in the local tavern, where he has apparently spent the last week in a drunken stupor. Today is no different. Echo is clearly angry with the man’s “weakness” as he sits around swilling alcohol, though I can recognize the pain and regret driving him to this state. I’ve been through my share regret over my actions.

It takes awhile, but we eventually get a portion of the story out of him. He claims there was “something” down there, a purple mist that filled the caverns. I noticed later, when we recounted this story to the others, that this point drew looks from Talon and Marcus, though they never revealed why.

A purple mist was seen briefly by Talon and Marcus upon exiting the hole they had created a few days prior. They were the only ones to notice and have not discussed it directly with the rest of the party. Just prior, Marcus had also had a vision of collapsing rock and screams. At the time he thought it was portents of the hole they then found themselves in, though he now realized it was related to the mine collapse in Goshen.

About the same time, some of the miners began acting strangely, dropping their work then attacking and grabbing their fellow workers and trying to drag them down into the mine. We learn the name of the second survivor, Craig Hearne, who lives a short distance away. Craig was supposed to join Tom, but has been notably absent from his drinking the last two days.

Thinking Craig might at least be a sober source of information, we set off. We reached his home, but found no one home. Down the street, Merrick notices a man watching us who runs as soon as we spot him. Echo shouted out for me to catch him, invoking the collar as though it were necessary to spurn me on faster.

I raced after the man, my pace quickening as the Cleric released his hold on my collar and letting the air flow again. Years in the coliseum made the chase a joke. I quickly outpaced my party members and closed with the man, despite a significant lead.

As I reached him, I could feel the Savage struggling to burst forth. Even at full speed, I could see his Achilles Tendon straining and tense under every step. I knew exactly how little it would take to cut the tissue and end this chase. My heart was thundering in my head and my breath came fast and furious, even though I had barely broken stride. It was only as I felt my sword drawing from its sheath that I became aware of and was able to repress the Savage struggling for control. I tackled the man to the ground, squeezing my arms tight around his chest to immobilize him, more for his safety than my own.

The others quickly arrived and the questioning began. The man, Craig, was clearly afraid, though he wouldn’t say what. He only confirmed the story we had from Ferrin. Falcon, the Cleric of Siem, stepped forward and laid his hands on Craig’s head, chanting. I didn’t know what he was up to and Craig seemed as terrified as I was confused.

Apparently Siem’s divine powers grant the cleric the ability to commune with and see the thoughts of life around him, a power I pray he never tries on me. The things I have seen, the savages I have done and the terrors I have endured might break him. He told us Craig was the one who collapsed the mine as he and the others ran from the strange attacks.

In tears now, Craig confessed to everything. He was trying to protect the town, and himself, from whatever madness had swept over the mine. To that end, he had condemned nearly two dozen men to their deaths. He tells us of one possible alternate entrance to the mine. While mining, they had broken ground near an oak on the side of the hill, some distance from the entrance. They had not mined out the area completely as they turned to riches deeper within, but we might be able to find a way in from there.

Merrick offered to see Craig home, then meet us at the mine. We proceeded on ahead, finding the old oak Craig mentioned. Falcon again used his powers to commune with the tree, a skill apparently not limited to humans. Whatever it was he did, the tree itself uprooted, its roots tearing rock and dirt out of the ground and revealing, through a short crawl, entry to the mine tunnel on the other side.

Falcon informed us of the “deal” he had struck with the tree spirit. The miners had dug too deeply, their work scarred the earth and the earth, according to the cleric, was striking back. We could enter and remove any survivors, but we were to convince the townspeople to leave the mine closed up, to allow the earth to heal. I suppose it won’t be difficult to convince them of this for the short term, though I wonder how long their commitment will last when the income from the mine’s riches dries up.

PREVIOUS: HÂRN: GENISIS – ENTRY 18
NEXT: HÂRN: GENISIS – ENTRY 20
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