The herb fields are flourishing. We have carved a little slice of paradise out for ourselves here in Daybreak Borough. We have relative peace. Though, truth be told, the pirates to the south do accost us on occasion if we venture too close to their territory.
Recent news of the infestation and fall of the Kelleher Farmstead to the north is heartbreaking. But we are strong here. We have armed defenders willing to fall again and again to defend what we have built and now call home.
The defenders have fallen. After so many deaths we have lost our once-proud town guards to chittering madness or desertion.
The Withered horde from the Kelleher Farmstead was too strong; first in a manageable trickle of shambling flesh, but now, flowing like a heavy stream of rot and decay. This place has become overrun and little remains of the herb fields. We have no choice but to join the walled settlement to the west. Our hopes of a free and prosperous borough outside of such confines have been utterly dashed.
|Something is different about Jennifer. She has never been eager to peddle our pumpkins at the settlement before, calling the trek there twice as boring as it is dangerous. Now she practically jumps at the opportunity to sell our wares. Her father suspects nothing, but a mother knows. Something has happened with our little girl, now a grown woman in her rights, that drives her away from the farm. The next time we go to the trading post I will be keeping a close eye on her activities and conversations... She looks like how I first felt when I met Michael in the Old World.
|That gruff, tired-looking man who guards the Watchtower is different with me. He has seen so much death, so many adventurers wash upon his shores only to lose their minds and lives fighting off Drowned. Battleworn as he is, Reese always has a smile for me. I find myself longing to see that smile, longing to remove his helmet and see his face in its full, scarred glory. I dream of a day when I can walk the settlement together with him, arm-in-arm, so that everyone might see, even mother and father. For now, though, we exchange coded notes so that none can read what we wish to say to one another.
|Tomorrow Audrey and I will make an investigation of the Canary Mine to the north. We've packed steel weapons and tools for our expedition, as well as several helpings of cooked meat given to us by Lee. Nice man. Audrey insists we bring him something shiny back to thank him, for he would like that sort of thing. Audrey is always thinking of others.
|Here lies a friend to many, a crafter of renown, and a partner whom I shall never replace. Felled by the Corrupted Dredgers, Audrey Kelleher put up a brave and noble fight before her untimely demise, not reappearing in the inn or the camp we set up. My hatred for the Corrupted burns brighter than ever, and I will get to the bottom of this mystery regarding their presence, for Audrey. I will find out why the Corrupted are so far South, and I will put a stop to them.
|Death 7: Cornered on the staircase leading to the second floor.
Death 8: Barely got in the door this time before I was swarmed from all angles by Ancients.
Death 9: Reached the top floor! The Arcturian Piercer and allies proved too strong; I died but meters away from the treasure.
The treasure is so close I can taste it! How cruel, how unfair of these lingering skeletons to guard something they can no longer use.
I am making attempt number ten tonight and I am sure I, Kensington, will be victorious.
|The Piercer's gaze is calculated and cold. Sockets where eyes should be cut through my body, striking fear into my heart. Standing here I can avoid their line of sight, shaking in my boots as I prepare to take on the well-armored Guardian.
I ready my axe with unsteady hands and pause for a prayer.
May Providence guard my soul.
|We are thirty days at sea, tossed by gale winds and rumbling waves. The crew are tossed from their bunks when trying to sleep, and some have taken to tying themselves down for their resting shifts.
The closer we come to that strange land mass the more violent the ocean becomes, so we have tried our best to sail around it. The navigator is perplexed. There is no known island here on any maps.
|Pirates. Bloody pirates. We were boarded while I was abed last night and several of my men were slaughtered in the taking of the ship. Their bodies were tossed unceremoniously overboard and even more than that some living who defied the invaders were also thrown to the sea. I am cooperating for now, keeping my captain's log in a secret place.
I can only hope some pages survive, as it seems the pirates are intent to make landfall on the island we were trying our best to avoid. I believe it to be a suicide mission but their captain, Master Henry as he's called, is sure this island holds riches unimaginable. For the sake of my crew I hope these pirates get what they want, and then promptly let us go. Even life on a deserted island is better than being a prisoner at sea.
|Elizabeth Polly is a complete and total madwoman. She provides me with no weapon, no protection against the Undead tides she sends me through to get to the Fen. And then she damn near bites my head off when I return haggard and empty-handed, as if her tavern supplies are worth dying for! These pirates are a menace, but so is she. I quit.
Fifteen tankards, exactly as requested. I gave the porter a wooden mace and a new coat to defend himself on his way back to you. The poor lad barely survived the trip here, and his clothes were in tatters from how the Undead harassed him so. You really ought to put more stock into protecting your porters like Taptonn, Elizabeth, lest you want your supplies stolen again. Now that the pirates have had a taste of my fine craftsmanship in drink-ware. I fear they've acquired an appetite for it, and know to attack the porter on sight.
|Formidable in battle, the Guardians of the Ancient ruins of Aeternum are not to be trifled with. I have lost many a life to them in my research. Still, I have begun to notice some patterns in their fighting, allowing me to escape when the time is right. The Ancient Guardians wielding clubs rear back before they try to smash your skull in, a rather painful way to die, and I am able to predict their movements with some veracity in watching how they charge at me. My head is still ringing from my last death, the ghost of the crack in my skull throbbing idly as a reminder of my still having a long way to go in combat skills.
|Some of the bodies of the Ancient Guardians are only half-preserved, cursing them to an eternity of crawling on their bellies to reach their next destination. I made the mistake of underestimating these crawling torsos and was met with a swift death from the way they have adapted to jump up at and claw down their enemies. I refuse to give up on my research simply because of the forceful resistance I am being met with, but those crawlers haunt my nightmares in ways their standing brethren do not. I feel a chill down my spine writing about them even now.
|The weapons the Ancient Guardians carry are of a rudimentary level of craftsmanship. Occasionally they can be found with steel armaments but most often it is a low-grade iron with which they fashion their weapons. They seem to lack the capacity for ranged weapons beyond a few commanders carrying javelins for throwing, and are a people who live and die by the sword and mace. Their bony hands can also deal a great amount of damage when raked across skin, so even unarmed Guardians should be considered dangerous.
|The Guardians attack all humans who dare trespass on the ruins of the Ancients. While animals are free to come and go, anything that stands on two legs is met with immediate and brutal hostility. Without eyes how do they see what they are attacking? Some of their attacks are sloppy and seemingly blind, so perhaps they rely on the other senses in combat. How they stand and fight without muscles in the first place is still a mystery.
|These lookout towers reach up towards the heavens, perplexing the common observer as to how they were erected in the first place. Was scaffolding used? If so there are no remnants of it, and no external support beams to keep the towers up. To me they seem to have grown directly from the ground like proud stone evergreens, stacked high enough to touch the clouds.
|Even more fascinating than the lookout towers themselves are the massive orbs near the top of them. They look so large it vexes the mind to imagine how the Ancients got them up there. Is their directional positioning significant in any way? The orbs appear to bulge out of only one of the sides of the tower, and look similar to the orbs found around Windsward.
|I parted with the Syndicate today.
More aptly, they parted with me, those arrogant fools, but I was close to leaving them anyway. Their jealousy was bearing down on my back over this Ancient research and I believe they were either plotting to steal it from me or take me out of the picture. Alchemist Olivera seemed regretful to expel me but I surmise this was nothing more than an act. He has always been envious of how I take fate into my own hands and pursue the mysteries of azoth on my own without sharing my research. Why should I share? The Syndicate has never done anything for me beyond send me to my death chasing tokens of their favor.
|I can feel the glares from Adjudicator Amano and Commander Chauhan whenever I pass them in the settlement. They are not subtle people. I know they disprove of my research into the Ancients, thinking them heretics or weaklings, but I will prove them wrong. I will prove them all wrong.
|We all know that the earth is the center of the planets and universe, and it is only fitting that the jewel of our planetary system is the one with such a fantastical island like Aeternum on it. If our planet is the center of the heavens then Aeternum must be the center of the planet, located so closely to the equator and imbued with power as it is. Azoth, the substance found here and nowhere else, is further proof that is the primordial Eden of which the scriptures spoke, the place from which all life sprang. I am honored and humbled to be standing at the center of everything, and must know what the Ancients thought of this phenomenon.
|I can feel the toll of the last few deaths especially heavily. My stomach still aches where it was stabbed by the rusty sword of an Ancient Guardian and no amount of healing drops seem to soothe the pain. I am becoming weaker with each resurrection, waning like the moon until there is nothing left. I must put a pause on my research for now, and find someone who can venture out in my name and the name of the astronomical sciences. I shall wait in the settlement for someone of a like mind who can continue my fieldwork.
|All that racket Morrison was making last night must have scared off the fish. That damn fool, running around and singing at the top of his lungs like this were some Old World stage. Now I sit with my line in the water completely still, not a bite in sight. Lord knows why I put up with him.
|The bloated corpse of an adventurer washed up in the nets today, and the poor lass was neither dead nor alive. She was Withered, missing an arm and her wits. Morrison had to use his fishing spear to pierce her skull and put her out of her misery. It is odd, for Withered usually do not come this way. My instincts tell me this will not be the last Withered we will see, and that as more lost souls wash up on this island, more will be made into fetid and mindless husks.
|We've instructed the little ones in the ways of the Trading Post, and they seem to be taking to it swimmingly. They, with the protection of the older ones, take our goods to market while we sow the fields. All of Everfall now knows of the Olcott Family gourds and their quality. Our life here is so much more prosperous than we could have ever imagined when we took the risk to leave the Old World behind. Yes, there is danger abound here but if one simply sticks to the roads and a steady routine, even a family as big and peaceful as ours can survive and even flourish.
|I can hardly sleep tonight after father pointed it out. A red glow in the woods, ever so faint among the tops of the trees. I thought it mad at first, for who would climb the trees but a hunter setting up a blind? It dawned on me that this red entity could indeed be a hunter, and that we are the ones being hunted. I feel crimson eyes on me now. I won't take the little ones to market tomorrow, I won't even leave this house. Something or someone is coming, and we must be prepared.
|Polly said it might help me if I wrote some of my fears down. It'd take away their power, she said, so here goes.
Bears. Massive teeth, massive claws, and a roar to wake the dead. I am terrified of bears and know that they roam Bearclaw Pass to the east of here, hence its nomenclature. I have heard fearsome Lynxes roam the area as well... Oh, bother, I don't think this is helping.
|Another fear I have is ghosts. Polly looks at me strangely when I speak of this fear, but how could she not be afraid of spirits come back from the dead?! Their spectral hands reach for me in my nightmares to slash at my throat, grip cold and hollow. I know they're out there, and I think writing about them is only making me more scared...
|The ichorous, slow spread of red down from Brightwood and Great Cleave has not been given proper attention by the Everfall settlement authorities. Maecia is too scared to look, Clark is too busy with bloody paperwork, Lee is off doing... whatever Lee does. Patrowski is the only one who listens.
|The way these Corrupted work is of a singular mind, all their pickaxe blows to the rocks timed perfectly with one another. They take almost no breaks, one cook serving the entire operation that I can see from this vantage point.
|There have been even more of those violent storms as of late. I hear the crash of thunder and see the bolts of red lightning in the distance from my place at the watch tower. I am haunted that I cannot do a thing but wait to see if survivors wash up on my shore. Half of those who do wash up here are often too broken to be of any use, well on their way to becoming a Drowned or Withered. Am I truly so powerless as to not be able to do anything for them?
-3 crates of berries
-10 bushels of corn
-5 gourds (medium)
-3 sacks of grains
This should be enough to get you through to the next shipment, Reese.
Use it wisely.
|I have pushed my luck too far. I dare go no farther than this shipwreck.
I have tried in the past to make it to Huang's Hammer or at least the Harpy of Henninger, but each time I am swarmed by Drowned and... um, "die."
It seems like my soul comes back a little weaker than the last time. I cannot afford to lose faith, or even more will fall here.
I must remain cautious, remain vigilant, and await help.
|Today is a dark day at Fallowhill Farm. Farmer Paulson succumbed to Withering, leaving the once-proud man naught but a chittering, gibbering mess. We mourn him, but we must also now be wary of him and others who, in their repeated deaths to the Corrupted and elements, may follow him. Could this signal the end of our prosperity? I pray to Providence that no more of us turn, and that this farm stays productive for the Everfall and Monarch's Bluffs settlements that rely upon our crops.
|I have spotted them from the distance, a creeping red tide of Corruption miasma. They encroach upon the nearby Bradbury Fields after the Bradbury family abandoned their homestead, filling the vacuum of power left by their departure. This does not bode well for the Everfall settlement to have Corruption so far South, so close to our homes and workstations. I will keep my agents close to the farm and observe how the Corrupted move, making sure they at least do not cross the Fields into civilization.
|Regarding the Ancient Guardians of Aeternum, it is clear that these beings worship Ancient society but are not Ancients themselves. The statues around ruins like Arcturus and others of its magnitude indicate the Ancients had four arms and a split face, of which these skeletons that guard the ruins have neither. We can only be left to conclude that the skeletons that shamble about Ancient ruins are those of heretics and traitors to their own humanity in revering beings like the Ancients.
|Some might ask: what is the difference between fishing in the Old World and Aeternum?
Well, first of all the fish are more abundant here in Aeternum for the island's regenerative properties. Two to more than twenty fishers can be in the same spot and still find gainful fishing.
Secondly, the fish here have an incredible amount of biodiversity. Fish found in salt waters around the world can be found here, and the same applies to fresh water fish.
Finally, fishing in Aeternum is different because it's just more exciting! Setting up a cast and hearing the bushes behind you rustle with the movement of an animal... Ah, the adrenaline rush is unmatched on this dangerous island.
This would make a good introduction for my fishing book.
|There is one fish so rare in Everfall that even I have not seen fin nor gill of it. The legendary Mandje Mandje is said to look like a little man with webbed feet and hands, but that cannot be so. One day I will catch it and prove the ridiculous rumors wrong, but that day is not today.
Do you think it's real, Machera? You would know best.
|Is there any better feeling than fishing under starlight?
Besides being a relaxing way to spend your evenings on Aeternum, night fishing offers opportunities for fish that wouldn't normally be seen during the daytime. Some fish hide away until the moon is out, and they have the cover of darkness. It's not impossible for these fish to be seen when the sun is up but some fish prefer the cloak of night.
|Some fishers want to blame the pole when they go home empty-handed, but that's about the poorest excuse I ever heard. I know better than that.
The pole is important, yes, and a superior one can be engineered in any settlement with the proper station upgrades, but it's not everything. True fishing comes from the heart. I was born with a fishing rod in my hands and while I've preferred some over others the size and rarity of fish that I catch come more from a successfully-aimed cast than an expensively-crafted pole. The crafted poles will last you longer and get you higher quality fish though, I'll give you that.
|No one, not a soul on this ship but myself and the guard who watches the cargo hold, knows what I have stored away. These objects of power will assist our journey to this mysterious, supposedly-uninhabited island of riches and magic. A storm brews in the distance, but it will surely pass and allow us safe passage to the mythical Aeternum.
First Mate Guo
Chief Technical Officer Jia
Second Mate Zan
|- Twenty crates of nonperishables
- Fifteen muskets
- Two hundred units of shot
- Twenty five longswords
- Gold bars for possible bartering
- One milk goat
|Day 27 at Sea:
Yimu has steered us in the wrong direction once again. Land has been spotted in the distance, but it is not marked on any map we have. That, or we are more hopelessly lost than ever. A storm approaches to the west, and supplies are running low.
I am writing to report to you of our dismal failure in the territory known as Everfall. As promised, there are ruins here that retain some of the Ancients' power. How we might harness it, however, I haven't a clue, and I don't think we'll be acquiring that knowledge anytime soon. Unfortunately, the bountiful nature of this land seems to have seduced Legatus Maecia to the extent that she has abandoned our cause and turned utterly provincial.
For years, she justified our ongoing partnership with the residents of the settlement here, but it's become clear to me that she is simply making excuses for us to remain here… indefinitely. Believe it or not, the people here have even elected her to be constable of the settlement, an appointment I regret to say she eagerly accepted.
I have stuck around a few months, uncertain of whether it is my duty to see her punished for dereliction of duty. Even if I were so inclined, however, the locals here would thwart any attempt I made to do so.Rather, I am sending this report to inform you of the situation, and I will instead journey west in the hope of joining up with Legatus Fulvius before he goes to Reekwater.
I trust that either you or the gods themselves will see to it that Maecia is cursed for her betrayal.
The moment I set foot in Everfall, I knew I had found paradise. How could I ever return to the infernal Brimstone desert knowing this was here? I decided then and there that I'd be abandoning the Legion. I just had to wait for Legionnaire Carolis to give up on me, which finally came to pass, thank the gods.
My affection for the autumn colors hasn't waned to this day, but I do feel like I've become stuck somehow. Like the season itself, I'm in transition, waiting for a winter that will never come. Furthermore, I've started noticing a change in the people here, a hollowness about the eyes.
Yesterday, I went out and they all looked like puppets from some traveling mummers show! Then the weight of the sky started bear down on me, like a crushing misery. I just ran back into the town hall, and frankly, I'm now scared to leave.
I know Legionnaire Carolis would say I was cursed for betraying the Legion. I don't know if it's that, or some further stroke of ill luck, but I won't be leaving town hall anytime soon, if I can help it. I just hope the town doesn't turn against me.
Have you ever held a conch shell to your ear so you can hear the ocean?
Have you ever held a bushel of Everfall-grown corn to your ear? The principle is much the same, but all the more disturbing are the results.
Whispers, barely perceptible at first, seem to emanate from the kernels. A scratchy voice tells tales in tongues with the occasional recognizable word slipping through. I heard your name, Maecia, and knew I had to write to you at once. Please come see me soon.
|Potatoes used to be my favorite before coming to Aeternum. Living in Everfall means, for whatever reason, that the food begins to lose its succor.
Now when I eat a potato grown from an Everfall field I recoil, disturbed by the bland yet acrid flavor on my tongue. I long for a baked potato with butter and cheese the way it was made in my homeland, but I shall never taste such satisfaction again.
|Partake in the Everfall Banquet, dear friend, but be cautious when doing so. Not every settlement is so lucky as to have piles of food lying about for any hungry adventurer to snatch from a table.
Partake in the Everfall Banquet, but be warned, the more you eat the less you taste. The denizens of Everfall Hamlet must choose between hunger pangs or a crop of bountiful food that soon turns to naught but ash in your mouth.
Things were not always this way, but in Aeternum nothing is guaranteed. On the Night of the Blue Flames the azoth released made for immense crop growth, with its eventual tastelessness like a punishment for meddling with the Shattered Obelisk. The Obelisk can never be repaired, not by human hands, so Everfall must live with this cursed bounty.
-The Everfall Leadership
|That Obelisk wasn’t always shattered, or so the people who arrived in Aeternum before me report. The Ancient Guardians once slumbered, naught but piles of bones on the old stone floors of their monuments. It was the explosion of the Obelisk that awoke these old warriors, igniting blue flames around the island that cannot be extinguished by water or any natural means.
Was there some sort of timer device? Did someone interfere where they should not have? Further research is required.
|I am not the sort to write down what I see, for one day on Aeternum is as strange as the next, but last night compelled me to put quill to parchment.
Outside of my window was a blue glow, unmistakably the blue of azoth. It shone in and pressed itself upon me, stirring me from sleep entirely. When I approached the window the massive obelisk in the center of the towers was destroyed, chunks of rock floating in the air as if suspended by wires in a stage show.
I know not what this means for the future of the settlement or the island, but I am sure this marks a new era with horrors yet untold. I cannot return to sleep. Every time I close my eyes I see azoth blue.
|It brings me an odd peace to walk the Ancient ruins of Aeternum.
At least it did before the Night of the Blue Flames.
That’s what the citizens have been calling last night, the awakening of the skeletons that now guard the Ancient ruins. Blue flames went up all over the island I hear from the Magistrate of Weaver’s Fen who sent a runner this morning to report on the phenomenon.
My suspicion is that whatever happened to the Obelisk triggered a mass revival event for the bones we all ignored in our exploring. No longer will the coffers of the Ancients stand unguarded, free for looting. We must warn everyone.
There’s no telling what else the azoth explosion did to the land around us. We must remain vigilant now more than ever.