On the fourth day of the campaign, Winter told the characters what happened before they reached the surivors’ camp in the Briarstone chapel. She spoke of the characters’ arrival being their first blessing, opening up options for the future they previously could not afford to explore. She also reported the probable date as 27 Lamashan, 4718 AR.
She said she was bound to a Royal Accuser named Omari who was investigating strange happenings at Thrushmoor. It seemed the Count of Versex had vanished or abandoned his duties entirely. The Count had apparently made numerous visits to Briarstone Asylum over the years, many very recently. Winter was asked to find out what he was doing there. She was to speak to Dr. Losandro, who was eager to help. Winter arrived late in the day, and the administrator asked permission to see to a particular procedure before meeting with her the next day, when she would provide Winter with a tour of the grounds.
But the next day never happened. Winter got a tour of the grounds from a Dr. Arosh Chawaar and was given a room to sleep in on the second floor. There was an earthquake early that evening. It was very serious, and Winter barely survived the collapse of the upper floors. They gathered survivors as best they could, but then there was a riot. Patients, staff, doctors, and nurses, all gathered around a patient named Ulver Zandalus like a religious cult. They called themselves the Apostles in Orpiment and they dressed in yellow and started slaughtering people. And then the doppelgangers showed up, and then the ghouls showed up. There was danger around every corner. They were badly hurt by a group of ghouls. It was only finding the chapel and its powers that had allowed them to survive. There have been raids by all three groups ever since, and it is pure chaos. The doppelgangers want to hurt and flay people, the ghouls want to eat flesh, and the Apostles go on raids, doing strange activities, presumably on Zandalus’ orders.
The earthquake was roughly ten days prior to Winter telling this story. She claims nothing unusual happened the day the characters woke up. In the nights leading up to the earthquake, patients and staff alike were dreaming of shapeshifters walking the halls of Briarstone. They were dreaming of friends and loved ones turning into ghouls and eating their flesh.
They made one expedition into the fog. They saw things they can never unsee, and after marching around for an hour, they found themselves right back at the door they left from. She claims reality is misshapen here. She believes they have slipped into the Dimension of Dreams, or are stuck halfway between the Material Plane and the Dreamscape.
They have not been able to find Dr. Losandro nor reach her office in the heart of the asylum. If whatever she was doing had anything to do with what is happening now, she might know about this phenomenon.
They have not found any corpses of the doctors known to have been impersonated by doppelgangers. It is their belief that these people transformed into doppelgangers and ghouls as they slept. Before they found the safety of the chapel, there was a shared dream of a yellow city filled with the fog they see outside. They were all hunted by the same man, the one with the war razor. They came to understand that what was happening in their dreams was as real as what was happening in the real world. That this man can change others’ bodies in the dreamscape and that those changes carry over into the real world. There are corpses in the chapel of people who died from wounds received in sleep.
First Reference: Chapter 10
Other Notable References: —