|11_Mourningdale_Body_01_01||The legend that launched a thousand ships... So many have crashed on these shores in search of azoth, with their crew cursed to live on this island...|
Or, perhaps they aren't truly alive. Their souls, torn asunder, are absent from their bodies. They shuffle on the beach in a blue haze.
It's my duty to protect the people of Mourningdale from them, to keep us safe. And so, I watch.
|11_Mourningdale_Body_01_02||The pains of my soul are compounded here. I stand here, alone, against the waves of the ocean and the waves of the Drowned.|
I know I must stand alone, at this tower, to keep our settlement safe. But this island... it tears my soul apart.
|11_Mourningdale_Body_01_03||I can feel my soul slipping from my being. It's a haunting feeling, one I've never experienced before.|
Each time I wake, I feel my mind falling apart. My body grows sluggish, with the cats posing more of a threat. My watch of the beaches is beginning to see a bleeding red from the port. Maybe my entire watch may soon be for naught.
I can feel my body failing, and my soul drifting. I feel I may not be long for this world.
Wallace, forgive me. I've failed.
|11_Mourningdale_Body_02_01||I've braved quite a number of skeletons while exploring here. I have to rest here to catch my breath. Most notable so far is the ruins of a statue in the middle of these ruins. Its face is split down the middle with a fine precision. Who could have had the ability to carve stone so precisely?|
|11_Mourningdale_Body_02_02||Marvelous... This old fountain is no longer active, but its design is an enigma. There are clear signs that this was once used to dispense water: the stone that composes the spout is eroded in a pattern that suggests water flowed through it and into the basin, but the fountain itself does not seem to be connected to any aqueduct or water source of any kind. Most curious...|
|11_Mourningdale_Body_02_03||Though its creators have seemingly long abandoned this structure, the lantern I've come across still glows an eerie blue. It should have expended its fuel ages ago. An energy swirls around it, an energy I've felt all over this island.|
|11_Mourningdale_Body_02_04||The stones that make up this road are very similar to the stones that make up the various ruins in the Flooded Plains. They seem to be brimming with an energy that I've learned is called "azoth." Now, when on a road, it matters less where you are and matters more where you are going. This road seems paved to go to the port in the northeast. What could the people who used this road intended it for?|
|11_Mourningdale_Body_02_05||The skeletons that guard the road, and many other areas on this island, are quite curious. Though eternal life seems the blessing of anyone on this island, it seems we always revive with our bodies intact. These skeletons do seem to have an air of life about them, but they are all bone and no flesh. Even the tattered rags and armor they have may have outlasted their flesh. Just how old are they?|
|11_Mourningdale_Body_03_01||get me out get me out get me out get me out get me out get me out get me out get me out get me out get me out|
|11_Mourningdale_Body_04_01||The ship crashed on the island after the Captain drove us directly into a storm. His eyes had a madness to them, darting back and forth, and he accused us of mutiny if we dared question him. He shot Christopher in the arm for speaking out of turn, and sent him back to work.|
|11_Mourningdale_Body_04_02||Shortly after we crashed, I witnessed a sight I hope to never see again. Lewis was impaled, thrown on a wooden plank that had splintered from the ship. He was writhing in pain, moaning for death, until he finally quieted down and expired. His body then... melted back into the sands. I felt mad just looking at it. Later that day, we found Lewis, guts intact, as if nothing had happened. Where the hell are we?|
|11_Mourningdale_Body_04_03||The crew needs me. For leadership, for guidance, to help them survive the sins I've committed. The promise of wealth on this island, it drove me mad. Though I have wronged my crew, I'll do right by them here. This beach shall be ours.|
|11_Mourningdale_Body_04_04||Some of us have decided to stay here, on the beach, in hopes that a ship may one day rescue us. The Captain remains hopeful, and fuels our will to survive. Some of us have decided to brave the perils of the island. Some come running back from the mainland, screaming of skeletons, and freaks with red eyes. Though we may waste away on this island, at least we do so with a sense of purpose and duty to each other...|
|11_Mourningdale_Body_05_01||I am left without my crew, without my vessel, and not a penny to my name. This island has taken everything away from me, but I'll be damned if I don't get it back. I came here for riches, and I'll get them.|
|11_Mourningdale_Body_05_02||My trek across the island has left me further debased, but I've found a group of missionaries here. Of all places? Missionaries? They speak of being blessed, that some god may have led me here. To their safety. Maybe so. But, I'm certain whatever led me here enticed me with the gold crosses they bear.|
|11_Mourningdale_Body_05_03||A few fake visions, some prophetic words, and speaking in tongues apparently a frenzy makes. The missionaries, and their followers, are all falling in line. I speak of the weird statues and gold on the island, and they practically throw the gold at me. I'm making them press them into medallions so that, when I get off this forsaken rock, I have a stock that only I can use. I just have to keep an eye on these simpletons. One wrong move and my con is over.|
|11_Mourningdale_Body_06_01||I've ventured away from my tower. The skeletons that occupy this tower may have the answers I seek. Why the beaches? What pulls boats to our shores, and with such severity that we Watchers exist? What role do I play in this grand scheme? Some may keep to their duty endlessly, even these skeletons do so. But, I must know.|
|11_Mourningdale_Body_07_01||We angered the wrong people. These red, glowing freaks cornered us, and the little ammunition we brought didn't hold them off. They flayed Stanley right in front of us, and as he lie dying, his eyes turned red just like them. It's only a matter of time before they do the same to the rest of us.|
|11_Mourningdale_Body_07_02||The plan was to use this port to get some azoth from the red-eyes and escape. We didn't know how quickly they'd find us, and how merciless they'd be. Maurice must be long gone, the lucky bastard.|
|11_Mourningdale_Body_07_03||Maurice, we'll use the boat to escape. Stay here until daybreak, not a moment later. We leave anyone who doesn't make it behind.|
|11_Mourningdale_Body_08_01||Truths drowned, resting under the surface. Hiding away ancient sins, hiding away ancient curses. I see them. The beings with four arms. I feel myself sinking under the water, my ears only hearing bubbling and sloshing. As I hold my breath, my chest tightens as my strength leaves me. I can't sense what, but something is pulling me under the surface, and soon I shall run out of air.|
As my mind leaves me, and my body begins to end its thrashing, I feel the waters surge within me. My lungs begin to fill, but oddly enough, it's not a cold wave entering the core of my body. I feel the water permeating my being, penetrating even to my very bones. I feel as if what was in me is driven out, and replaced by the waters. As I break my bondage and rise to the surface, my mind comes back to the world around me.
|11_Mourningdale_Body_08_02||The rattle of bone, a watchful eye, their humanity removed, their death denied... I see it. I see a giant stone statue being marched, slowly but surely down the path. The same beings, those of four, guide us down the long and mystic road. The giant statue is carved in their image.|
Those who move the statue are trapped in a servitude, unable to deny or disobey; for what has been taken from us cannot be restored, and what has been given to us cannot be returned. I hear them sing songs as they move the massive stone, and the melodies ring in my ears like a bittersweet memory I never had.
|11_Mourningdale_Body_08_03||A darkened sky, akin to night, stars above, and a blinding light... I see it. I see the giant obelisk in the distance. The night sky is dotted with stars, and I wonder what is beyond them. Perched on high at the top of Vela, my vision blankets all of Aternum and the watchtowers dot the landscape like spires from the earth.|
But something is wrong. The energy, it seems to gather into a massive orb, summoning a power I have never seen before. And, at the apex of its growth, it explodes.
The obelisk shatters, sending a shockwave all over the island that rocks me to my core. I fall over, and try to fix my vision on the burst of light and energy that reminds. And what I see shocks me.
Frozen in space, frozen in time, the obelisk stands shattered, but still together. Destroyed, but not. Trapped in a single moment. And that explosion, that shatter, echos in my head.
|11_Mourningdale_Body_08_04||A guiding light, crashing shores, and sudden landfall. A tall tower, rain of fire, and a siren's call. Like some kind of sorcery, or an ill-omen, the blue flames of the bay turn red. They have come. They corrupt everything they touch, changing the very essence of the beings of this island. The bay is slowly taken over them, and they overpower even those of four. What few guardians are left are pinned to a small part of the bay, and the red eyed monsters begin their work on the lighthouse.|
Those enchanted by the siren's song of Aeternum soon find themselves caught in storms, attacked by spires of dark corruption that send their vessels crashing into the shore. They came seeking a paradise, but all they found was darkness. Those of four have all but left us to die. But we cannot die, they stripped us even of that.
|11_Mourningdale_Body_09_01||There are fishing poles out there that can do incredible things, but none will ever be as lucky as mother's pole. I keep her, the pole I mean, in excellent repair and try my best not to die when I carry her with me. She has seen the walk from the settlement to my fishing spots more times than I can count, my constant companion both steadfast and true.|
Mother withered long ago, but her last gift to me was the fishing pole she'd used to 'catch' father in the Old World. The bond between my parents was an unbreakable one, forged in fishing. When mother and I came to Aeternum after father's death she was never the same, losing herself death after death. She put herself in dangerous situations on purpose, and died more often than I could save her. Now she babbles nonsense and has joined the ranks of the withered. All I have left of my parents is this pole, and I treat it well.
I suppose you wouldn't care about this though, would you Davies? No, I don't think I shall send this letter.
|11_Mourningdale_Body_09_02||The constant rain of Mourningdale makes for slippery, uneven ground. Grass often shifts under my boots, squelching and squishing in the mud.|
A Master Fisher needs a pair of sturdy, water-proof boots. I wear my late father's, though they are a size too big and often fill with rainwater around my ankles. No craftsperson in Aeternum could ever match the Old World stitching on these, and when I close my eyes it is as if father is with me. I fish in silence, guarded by memories and protected by my parents' last gifts to me.
|11_Mourningdale_Body_09_03||Have you ever stepped on a stone near the water only to have it slink away out from under you?|
You may have encountered Hafgufa, then. This gigantic breed of fish uses the rock-like structures on its back to float near the surface and fool travelers into thinking they've stepped on steady ground. With how slippery the rocks are here in Mourningdale I must catch this Daemonaja before someone slips and breaks a neck.
Machera, do you have any thoughts on this?