From the journal of Alaric Clay:
I should have known. I did know. There’s no shadow without light. The woman was lighting candles, I saw her, I even said it out loud, but it seemed ridiculous… There were so many lights after all. So many flames. To extinguish them all…but then I took my torch to the top of the stairs and we kicked open the door and she knew, she knew as well, and now she’s dead.
It’s my fault. Well not again. Never again. Tower knows, it’s started helping me, a sounding board. It can’t do much yet, but at least we’re talking now. Tower will help me, just as I saved Tower’s life. I suppose twice now: the shadows consumed the ink in the books, and the oil in Tower’s gears.
The horrors we saw. The congealed darkness strung between horses’ ears. The acolyte who consumed his brothers and sisters and became a stuffed and bloated demon in skin. The shadows…another great shadow demon. Like in the town hall.
I’m rambling. I know that, but then I’ve been through an ordeal. My thoughts are slowly becoming ordered. I’m not a babbling madman; Tower confirmed that. I am a man of reason; of study. That’s why I went to the tower archive at the Oroborus Monastery. Henri and the others translated another section from Hugolin’s journal, and we learned of a weapon from ancient times that might defeat the great demon which has cursed us. One section of the monastery held clues as to its location; another, the tower archives, information on its nature; and below, a traitor who knew secrets possibly of use to us, and another great demon bound by a ritual that needed to be renewed. Some of the folk who had been to another demon-plagued village felt that the possessed villagers there may have marched on the monastery, so we decided we would all go to ensure it did not become a bastion of evil.
I decided to seek out Sister Margery, who had been researching the weapon in the archives. Tower came of course – though it had not started speaking yet – and so did Coal the gnome, Jack of the Woods and Raya the Unwashed, the orc child. Aside from Coal I did not know my companions well, but I had heard that Raya had already acquitted herself well in battle despite her age and size, and Jack – though I think he is one of those who made the pact with Redleaf – seems to genuinely believe his magic does not come from the Old Gods.
Anyway. We found demons. Horrific demons. Shadows which sapped minds and corrupted bodies and stole souls. We killed many of them – including a possessed servant who was relighting the candles. That’s how I worked it out – they were relighting the candles, because they needed the light to cast their shadows. But then we let light into Sister Margery’s study – she clearly thought we were demons ourselves – and the great shadow appeared and obliterated her. We killed it before it could destroy the information we came to find, but only just in time. And now we return home.
But I knew. I knew. And I know to trust my understanding in future.
For now…I will try and understand this weapon. Hopefully it is built on principles of magic; it seems old enough that it might predate the Cult of the New God.