Logs:The Raven King -- Raven Hill: Part 1
|The Raven King -- Raven Hill: Part 1|
|Dramatis Personae|| |
15 January, 2018
Damian, Frankie and Aurore go on a hike through Crow Hollow to find the infamous Raven Hill Mausoleum.
An afternoon hike through Crow Hollow in the Hanging Hills. Crow Hollow, famously formed by drowning multiple towns, has a reputation for being haunted, after the unknown and unmarked graves turned up their dead when the dam began holding the water back, and attracting the crows in the first place.
It's an excellent day for a hike. Yes? Eighteen degrees out but it's not snowing at least. Conditions -could- be worse all considering. There's only...what... four-ish inches of snow on the ground in some places. The three have met on the nearest access road so that they could drive as far in to their destination as possible. From here, however, they're going to half to hoof it to follow make the twisting and round-about path towards the remains of the Nevermore orphanage.
Frankie makes her way through the snow, kind of assuming she's taking the lead here. She's good at navigation, guys. Also, she has a ghost crow flying above, scouting things out and checking back routinely. As the crow flies. That's Norbert. She's clad in her leather jacket (plus fleece beneath, and a hoodie), a gray knit cap, and boots. A pair of fingerless gloves with optional mitten flaps cover her hands. She's got the mitten flaps over her fingers. Hey, it's kind of cold.
Wholly lacking any abnormal resistance to the cold, save for whatever shreds of aid she might get from her Passamaquoddy and Mohawk blood, Aurore is bundled up warmly - and with a distinct eye to practicality over fashion. She has a heavy pack on her back, both hands spending much of their time holding the shoulder-straps as she ploughs determinedly along in Frankie's wake.
Damian made the mistake of coming out around these parts dressed inappropriately last time. It was a rushed thing, he doesn't this time. It's kind of a new look, but considering the weather, he has to be adaptable. Hiking boots, a small backpack that seems to be a little on the empty side form appearances. A longer coat, and some blue jeans. It's a new look. It all looks new and freshly store bought, taking away from an idea of a survivalist. He might have googled things. Leather gloves adorn his hands, enough for this kind of cold, if it isn't too prolonged. His eyes scan the environment almost constantly, like a sentry on guard.\
With Norberts help, the trio are able to trudge through the snow-covered forest in a relatively direct path to the old foundations that are still partially visible in about a half-hour or so. By now everyone would normally be quite warmed up from all of the walking but normal aint a word thats often passed around in these parts. Still, once they get to the ruins it is a logical time to pause for a small break
The house would have been rather large if the stone bits could be used to mentally outline a footprint. Theres a corner and over theres probably another. Wall fragments are visible here and there, but the vibe of the place seems off somehow. Crow Hollow is known to be somewhat haunted and this place is no exception. Years ago children were kept in miserable conditions but all of that was destroyed in a blaze set by parties unknown. Echoes of screams, children clawing at doors and windows, fire burning its way up from the basement to consume everyone within as a gathering of secretive old men gather around in masks might flash in ones mind but thats just a movie, right? Its been years, decades even if not more than a half-century since anything happened here. Echoes dont last -that- long...do they?
Frankie pulls out a Tupperware container with, oddly enough, some meat that's gone kind of off. She treads out into the snow, just inside what she guesses the entryway used to be. Frankie stoops down and shakes out the container, little gobbets of meat dropping out onto the frozen ground. Frankie drops the container, fishes around in her pockets, and pulls out a shiny button and a coin, which she also flicks onto the snow. Then they wait. Frankie stays standing still where she is.
Norbert lands on a tree branch nearby.
Some crows come, swooping in to pick up the meat. One goes for the shiny thing, and then another crow engages in a yelling match with the first. One of the first crows to take the meat lands in front of Frankie, who's gone kind of glassy-eyed, her vision on something distant. "A few people in the area since the snows fell, but nobody really comes this far," she says, her voice low. "No one with treats or shinies. They say to avoid the stone house on the hill. Ghosts are there. Bad things happened there. Bad ghosts. Bad things." That said, she shakes her head a little as if to clear it, and nods to the gathered crows. "Thank you." They don't seem to require thanks; they keep squabbling and take wing once who gets what is all sorted out.
Aurore ruefully eyes Frankie, though the bird-summoning effort did earn rather more appreciate interest from the thaumaturge. She nods slowly. "Sounds lovely. I could have a //look// at it, try to confirm if it's somewhere that mundane reality's worn thin... but frankly it sounds like we already know that for certain."
It's quite handy having one's own flying drone to pick up features like...say...a hill with a stone structure on it about fifteen minutes worth of walking behind the structure. The location of the infamous Raven Hill seems to be down an old garden path, through what would have been a stone arch that's now in pieces on the ground and through a small twist in the wood.
Damian's eyes are still searching the grounds. He can see the signs of death. To most it would be jarring, to him, now, it's another day. It's not something you ever get entirely used to, but you start to become accustomed. He's silent as he watches the ceremony, and Frankie talk to the bird, but nothing seems to surprise him, or even dent that neutral façade he wears. A nod. "We were going there, anyway." A glance Aurore's way. "If what happened there is true, there is no doubt." He motions to Frankie to lead the way. Apparently he's following, or taking up the rear, even.
Frankie's head bobs. "Mmhmn. It's pretty certain," she agrees. She starts down the garden path, still leading the way. They're both okay with it! Frankie's pretty stealthy, given the givens: snow, branches, all that good stuff. Kind of ghostly silent, really, which shouldn't surprise anyone.
Aurore is trying to avoid causing a racket... but isn't really aspiring to real *stealth*. Avoiding talking and following in Frankie's footsteps as best she can, trusting to her more potently supernatural companions to provide protection, and her array of unusual senses to support Norbert in providing early warning.
Walking up the path to the hill you note that it's covered in dozens and dozens of small, rectangular gravestones all arranged in radiating, concentric circles. They just have numbers and dates upon them without the addition of any names. The dates of the grave markers would seemingly put everyone buried around the tomb no older than twelve years old and as young as eight. Each stone faces inward and looks directly at the statue.
The center of the hill is marked with a simple, now defaced statue presumably of Mr. Abernathy upon a small mound with a cobblestone walk encircling him. Beyond the statue is a modest-sized, stone mausoleum with a bronze door at its center and up a few stairs.
The statue has been defaced almost literally, someone or something has found a way to climb up nearly 12 feet and gouge out its eyes. Since this is a bronze statue that has developed a trademark green patina over the years, the eyes are big, gaping, black marks with odd tear-stain residues down both cheeks.
Frankie comes to a halt on the path, blinking at the statue. She glances back at Damian and Aurore, eyebrows raised. Like, do you see that shit? Then she's looking back to the statue, and then beyond at the mausoleum. "What do you think? Right to the mausoleum, or stop at the statue?"
That's really the weird thing. How eerily silent the both of them are. Damian might be more so than Frankie. Crunching of snow underfoot, well it barely does. Like he has footsteps on air. He waits for Frankie to lead the way, and for Aurore to follow before he takes up behind them. Once more, eyes scan the surroundings, as if looking for danger. Or perhaps, he's just enjoying the view of death. Then they come to the hill, his face shifts slightly, the corners of his mouth pull downward ever so briefly. That's his display of emotion. Eyes flicker to Frankie, maybe to catch her gaze, something silent passing between them, maybe just a look. He waits just a moment and shrugs. "Don't crows like eyes?" He knows one that does.
"Caw," says Norbert, from his perch on a nearby tree.
"That is *not* a standard graveyard arrangement," Aurore says dubiously, now thoroughly distracted from envy over how easily her companions 'do a Legolas' and move over the snow. "If a specific alignment is chosen, then in a Christian burial ground you would expect it to be either due East, or towards Jerusalem specifically. There are some stories of medieval clergy having themselves buried 'the wrong way round', to be facing their flock when the Day of Judgement arrives and everyone rises from their graves. But for the graves to be turned towards the statue of a mortal man is //really// not theologically good, if you're even pretending to much in the way of Christianity. And as for the statue and its eyes? Malcomb was known for his amber eyes... though there's an old reference to him as *blue-eyed* in his youth. Photographs of him certainly make his eyes look... striking. I'd, ahh, be inclined to examine the statue first. And move carefully."
As the party slowly climbs up the walk through the concentric rings of the grave stones an odd...'pressure' seems to be felt surrounding them. The sensation is difficult to capture into words unless one's ever stood near high power lines and felt their vibrations from a distance. The air hums with energy though this is not something that people would be using to turn on lights. Each ring they pass (three in all before they cross the gate to the statue) ramps up the odd 'buzzing' sensation until the hairs on one's neck starts to stand up.
Those familiar with the energies of the Undead and the underworld the best way that one might describe this would be as if they were standing upon a huge...generator or battery. So much power just resting under the ground but, curiously enough, not a single ghost, spirit or anything of the kind nearby. Just the crows that seem to hang around in the trees to watch.
"Yeah, it's a pretty terrible sign that he was a pretty terrible man," Frankie agrees, setting off down the path. This place makes the hairs on the back of her neck prickle up.
Norbert takes wing and sails over head, soaring over to the statue and landing on its head. "CAW. CAW. CAW," the ghost crow announces, a dirge for the tiny bodies tucked below the soil. "CAW. CAW. CAW. CAW. CAW." One for every grave? The crow keeps calling. One for every grave. Dozens and dozens. An acknowledgement. His red eyes glowing, he brays at the other crows balefully. See this. "CAW. CAW..."
"Like facing their God." Damian seems to note, based on what Aurore says. It's dispassionate and cold. The man sometimes seems devoid of emotion entirely. "Disturbing." His tone doesn't really fit the word. Then there's that hum, and Damian stops, just at that inner ring. He looks around at the graves and then to the statue and the missing eyes. A brow raises slowly. "Nothing. That seems odd." Damian is very familiar with cemeteries, they are holy places to the Bound.
"Not necessarily God himself... but their route to the divine, at least. Jerusalem is where the risen go on the Day of Judgement, to gain entry to Heaven. If they're following an adaptation of Christian symbolism, then... my distant kinsman wasn't portraying himself as divine. 'Just' the next-best thing. Probably." Aurore is also unusually familiar with cemeteries... but is not accustomed to feeling this kind of paranormal *pressure*, in spite of her array of unusual sensibilities. She shivers, peering around warily, on both sides of the Twilight boundary.
The statue's base has the name "Abernathy" though there's no first name nor date so that information must be located within the mausoleum nearby. A few small stones have been placed around the statue's feet as well as some shiny bits of metal and the like - possibly gifts left by the crows though they could have come from anywhere. The statue itself appears to be cast bronze with rust stains emerging from the socket where the eyes should be. The man's right arm is raised as if inviting a crow to land upon his hand. Couched in his left and held against him is a journal or book. Upon the cover what was probably a symbol has also been removed though this appears to have been clumsily chiseled away with modern tools.
Frankie reaches up and rubs the back of her head, wincing. That hum. She looks down at the small offerings at the foot of the statue, then up and around at the crows watching them. One eyebrow is up. She turns toward the mausoleum, but lingers until the others start moving.
"I'm not sure I see the difference." Damian notes rather neutrally. "Still disturbing." There's naught to be done, and no one else is moving. That leaves Damian. "Back up, if you like." It's the only warning before Damian is stepping forward, standing in front of the statue. Another pause to look up at it. Then he rests a hand to it. If nothing terrible happens, to Frankie's eyes, thin wisps of plasm come off of Damian and surround and seem to enter the Statue as his eyes close.
Aurore tries a few angles, and fiddles a little with her phone... then sighs and shakes her head, talking softly as she warily watches the other two at work. "Not enough left up there to be sure.... But I'd guess the symbol was either Malcomb's personal sigil, or the icon of the Cult of the Raven Father. It's the right size and general outline for either."
Damian's hand stays around the legs of the statue, his eyes remain closed as if somehow communing with a hunk of metal. "I suspect, but I could be wrong, that the symbols are one and the same. Adapted over time, perhaps." A shrug and then Damian straightens a little. "Eyes were burned out by a claw like thing, maybe a claw. Nothing spectacular about its make." His eyes open and he's about to turn away when. He shakes his wrist, but can't seem to pull his hand off. "That's not good." He wiggles his wrist again, but his hand doesn't seem to want to pull free. "I'm stuck somehow and it's draining me."
"What?" Frankie turns around again, scowling at Damian. Who went and got himself stuck to a statue. "Crow. I... okay, I don't know what to do about that," she tells him, walking closer to Damian. She keeps him between her and the statue. "Draining you of...?" A glance at Aurore. Kind of helpless.
"CAW. CAW. CAW," Norbert calls. And finally, he seems to be done. The ghost bird flaps down from the statue's head and settles on Damian's forearm. He helpfully pecks at Damian's hand, once.
"Given ten minutes - maybe twenty - I can put up a ward and suppress whatever's working on him. Probably," Aurore says, eyes narrowing a little as she momentarily thinks she sees *something* on the edge of her vision in Twilight. "But I don't think we have that sort of time." Still, she's preparing to unbuckle her pack and swing it off and around to get to work if they want her to start.
"Kick me Frankie, as hard as you can. Away from it." Damian looks over at her and then Psychopomp. "Just don't touch it. And maybe don't touch me for too prolonged a time. No clue how this is working." As for what? Damian looks to his hand, surely she can see the wisps of plasm still wafting off him and into the statue.
Frankie gives Damian a funny look. Norbert squawks and takes off before the beatdown begins. Frankie shrugs, holds her hands up in a guarding position - it's automatic - and launches the side of her foot right into Damian's midsection. WHUMP. Like a prettier Chuck Norris.
Aurore does not proceed with any warding preparations... instead, she watches wide-eyed. One small part of her mind is quite simply *fascinated* by this profoundly unusual set-up of an occult energy-draining statue - but for the most part she's very fervently hoping that her companions' plan works.
Damian 's been hit by Frankie many times. Maybe though, never at full force. He knows it's going to hurt, but he also realizes a clock is ticking. He braces himself, unseen abdomen muscles tense, but other than that, his face barely registers anything but calm. And then he's hit and the woman packs a wallop. Damian's hand comes free a little too quickly, all of his breath is released and he hits the ground on his back as he falls away from it. He just lies there a second, sucking in a breath. A hoarse response. "Thaaaanks."
Frankie walks over to where Damian's fallen on his ass and holds her hand out to help him up. "Why did you think touching the creepy statue was a good idea?" she demands. She seems... cross.
"Caw," says Norbert.
"Shush," Frankie tells the bird.
"Well, it did provide us with some more information," Aurore ventures uncertainly. "Though I don't think that I'll try touching it myself, to find out what effect it has on me. If you don't mind too much."
Damian holds his midsection, as his other hand reaches up and takes Frankie's hand. He's still sucking in a breath or two, and he lets out a little groan. "I didn't have a better idea. Sometimes hands on is best. And now we know something. "It's a battery, I think. How it's able to do that is beyond me. It wasn't when it was constructed. Maybe when the eyes burnt out." He's standing, dusting snow and maybe dirt off himself, before looking to the eyes that were glowing. He looks over at Frankie, he knows she's mad, he's seen that look before too. He does look slightly apologetic? It's really his first real emotion on display.
Frankie releases her grip on Damian's hand and shakes her head. "Magic? I don't... I don't know. I want to knock that statue down even more now, though. Into the mausoleum?"
Aurore nods slowly. "Something was *done* to that statue, certainly. I wish we knew who by.... And... let's have a good look around the outside of the tomb, before we risk touching or opening anything."
The ornately decorated door appears almost vault-like with sturdy fixtures and a number of bird-like motifs displayed in the design. There is no apparent keyhole, hinges or any other method for opening the door.
Above the door, written in Latin, are the words "Inter Mundos" or "Between Worlds" in Latin. Each letter is thickly raised off of the plaque upon which it was molded nearly a quarter-inch.
"I suppose." Damian can't help but to pause and look up at those eye sockets again. "But what does it do? What if it had finished?" He's not touching it again though. Curiousity. He shakes his head. Then glances back at Aurore and nods. "Maybe Mr. Blackwell." He joins the others at the door, but he doesn't know Latin. Instead his eyes scan the area.
It means 'between worlds'," Aurore provides, peering quizzically at the door. "The way to step between worlds is by opening a portal - and for that one needs a key." She nods to the door. "And... is it just me, or does it look as if it might be possible to do something with that 'o' in the inscription?"
"That looks like Jonathan's symbol." Damian notes. "A key, wasn't it?" He couldn't read the words, so he could only stare at them. "One second." Damian glances back at Frankie this time, already with a preemptive apologetic expression. He doesn't touch the O though, instead he touches the door. "Get ready to kick me again." If Damian could be said to be joking, that might be it. You can't tell though.
Frankie crosses her arms over her stomach and scowls. She doesn't say anything to dissuade Damian, however.
Aurore fights the urge to back away a bit, instead watching closely. "I *suspect* the letter - or letters - need manipulated," she muses.
Damian doesn't pour plasm into the door, or anything of the like. He touches it, presses a hand against it here and there, and then again, as if looking for something. When he finally decides everything he can about the door, he reaches up and pushes the O. "Stand back, maybe." He could be wrong.
Frankie glances over at Aurore, arching an eyebrow. Then she looks back at the door and takes a couple of steps backward. Norbert watches from the top of one of the gravestones, his head cocked to the left at a weird, birdy angle.
The door clicks opens with a loud and solid 'thunk'. It rocks open on invisible hinges so that people could enter. It's dark inside but you can see a solid, stone floor within and the corner of a crypt within.
Aurore's dramatic, heroic response is... to delve into her pack and sort out a couple of egg-shaped lamps: crank-powered batteries hold charge for a couple of hours at a time, and their flat bases let them be set securely down if needed, while handles let them be carried from the top. "So, ahhh... who wants to go first?"
Damian takes off the backpack to grab the flashlight out of it and something else. An odd bunch of stencils and some chalk which he stuffs into his pockets. He turns the flashlight on and shines it into the crypt, peering inside. He looks ready to go, but he turns to Frankie, raising a brow. You or me?
Frankie pulls out a flashlight of her own. Small, compact. She turns it on and steps into the mausoleum. Back in the lead again. Ready to kick anything that jumps out at them! Damian can attest to her might. Norbert stays on the outside, on the gravestone.
"Maybe we should prop the door open with a big rock or something?" Frankie ventures.
(map: http://imgur.com/tvKMWBS )
Within the tomb you see the four-walls of stone and at the center is a large sarcophagus of white marble that stands four feet tall. The sides of the stone walls are carved with some kind of text and the sides of the marble sarcophagus are decorated with a sculpted relief of some kind showing a bird-headed figure, towers, stars and other iconography from some epic story or legend.
The walls are decorated with the inscription of the Canticle of the Raven King (DUH DUH DUH!)
It starts on the wall panel to your left and has five stanzas for each section with the Raven head logo above each one. However, the 14th panel has been damaged and the last two letters of one of the words have been chiseled or scratched to blur them. Ooc
And there you have it, she's in the lead, so Damian motions for Aurore next. He'll take up the rear. One supposes that leaves Aurore between them, maybe even in their protection. Maybe that is the plan. "There's another way out, if we have to, I don't see anything big enough." Damian doesn't elaborate, but once Aurore is moving, if she is, he follows. He sees the writing on the wall, and his flashlight goes to it, reading. "I think we're in the right place, or wrong, depending on perspective."
Aurore delays long enough to shrug her pack securely back into place, then activates both lanterns before stepping inside - holding them out to the sides to spill their light as widely as possible. "Keeping the door open sounds good to me," she agrees in a hoarse whisper.