A Light in Darkness
Third Victim Found
|You hear a loud scream and see a group of a dozen or so people gathered around an ally entrance along Zadnaya St. west of Anglisky. The few women appear to be clutching at men, burying their faces. You see a man towards the front appears to be retching and all seem ashen faced.|
|The narrow ally that leads north into the dense warren is chocked with trash and rubble piled near waist high. Climbing over the chunks of fallen building and squishing through fowl smelling wet waste under a layer of soot you make your way to the first veering intersection and turn east. Atop the stinking refuse near the cracked brick wall of the building to the south is the naked body of a young woman. Her long raven black hair looks neatly brushed and flows down over her pale shoulders framing a delicate childlike face.|
|Her snowy white flesh is peeled away in bloody inch-wide strips along her belly, inner thighs and the bottoms of her feet. Flexible shining wires are threaded through the flesh of her arms and razor thin slits are visible all over. Despite the obvious evidence of torture there is very little blood and none of the wounds are appear serious enough on their own to have killed her. Most horrifying of all, it appears that her eyes have been gouged out since two large and pure white flowers flecked with crimson sprout from the now empty sockets.|
|On the soot covered red-brick wall above her corpse a message is scrawled in greasy black letters in Vaasi. “In My Lady’s Honor”|
Horror Check DC 15 required by all who witness
- Heal DC 18: Despite the fact that she is extremely pretty, there is no evidence of sexual violence in the last few days.
- Heal DC 23: The stiffness in her limbs makes you think she’s been dead 3-4 hours. It seems like her body was forced into this position rather than just falling limply and stiffening leading you to believe someone arranged her corpse like this quite recently.
- Heal DC 26: Although someone has taken great pains to hide the evidence of it the burst blood vessels around her eyes and the slight blue tinge to her pink lips lead you to believe she was asphyxiated.
- Knowledge Local / Heal DC 18: Her tongue is stained the color of honey, a common trait among people addicted to harlot sweets
- Perception DC 14: She was obviously tortured extensively before she died but it was done with an almost medical precision. All of the wounds are clean and neat and no blood was allowed to dry in place.
- Perception DC 18: Ligature marks around the hands and angles make you think she was tightly bound — probably for multiple days judging from the extent of the bruising.
- Perception DC 20: The wounds follow three distinct patterns: razor thin slashes, peels of flesh and wire piercings.
- Perception DC 24: In addition to the three main types of wounds you see just one small pinprick, barely visible, on the lower part of the back of her neck. It’s slightly inflamed like an insect bite.
- Perception/Survival DC 25: You can see slight disturbances in the soot and filth as well as overturned stones that make you think there was one other person here, about human sized. (Survival only: the tracks lead about 10 feet further east to a pile of trash that looks to have been recently disturbed. You can tell that the creature that left them was probably carrying the corpse on the way here from the depth and spacing of the prints.)
- Linguistics DC 22: You can tell that the message was written in a hurry.
- Linguistics DC 24: The slight tilt to the letters and something about the angles makes you think that the writer was not a native Vaasi speaker.
- Knowledge Nature DC 24: The flower is a rare Novona Lilly, also known as a ‘Bright Diamond.’ As far as you know they don’t grow natively anywhere in the Core and have to be imported from exotic Sri Raja beyond the Mists.
Although the tracks lead into the crawlspace they don’t continue. Following the tracks or digging through the nearby rubble reveals…
|Beneath a ragged cloth and scraps of rusty metal you find a small cracked passage where a portion of the building’s foundation has collapsed inward. The unstable brick leaves a black gap into darkness beneath the structure.|
|Near the opening you see several other strange tiny prints and evidence of things being dragged in and out of the crawlspace beneath the crumbling building. As you move aside the coverings a stench of putrescence foul enough to cut through even the constant urine stench of The Warrens wafts out. A chill craws down your back and you feel an inexplicable dread radiating from that strange dark place.|
|There is only a few feet of space between the gritty stone beneath you and the cobwebbed darkness above. Heavy brick arches support the floor of the building above and obscure your view of the surrounding area allowing only eight feet or so of clear sight. In the darkness you can see drag marks across the floor and piles of broken stone and less identifiable debris.|
|As you crawl on your knees and elbows, occasionally brushing thick webs out of your face, the stench of rot just grows stronger and stronger. So too does the feeling of wrongness and evil about this claustrophobic place. You can feel the weight of the crumbling building looming above you. Suddenly your heart surges in your chest as you spot several pairs of large glowing orange eyes watching you from the darkness. Your head whips around and you realize in a flash that you are surrounded.|
Fear Check DC 15 required by any character trapped in such a circumstance.