Arising from their short snack and water break, the adventurers made their way into the next room, containing an old brass brazier and various rusty branding irons. Branding irons which rose up, suddenly glowing red-hot, and flew at our brave explorers. Taras and Galifreyna ended up with scarred brands from the encounter before the glowing irons floated back to their resting placed and cooled.
They then found themselves in the prison workshop, strewn about with various sewing paraphernalia and moldering heaps of cloth. And a skeletal arm poking out from one of the mounds… As they entered, the translucent, pale blue form of a young woman rose up and addressed them as “the new guards” come to relieve the cowards who locked her here years ago. They and found the ghost of Vesorianna Hawkran, wife of Lyvar Hawkran, the once warden of Harrowstone.
Vesorianna explained some of the prison’s history, as well as her own. Seeking out her husband when he was late for dinner; the emergency dead-fall being triggered, sealing guards and prisoners alike in the dungeon; a desperate last-ditch attempt by the guards to contain the prisoners by dropping barrels down the supply-lift shaft; the accidental setting fire to the lift; her becoming locked in the workshop as the fire in the dungeon grew out of control; and her eventual demise, along with several other guards and prisoners due to fire or suffocation.
She was also able to confirm many of the groups’ theories on what had been happening around Harrowstone. Black-robed cultists that “spoke only in whispers” had come to the prison and set about inscribing something on the foundation. They had been interpreted by the capture of an old man, presumably the professor. She described a “whirlwind of darkness” that the leader of the black-robed cultists had called forth to kill the professor, and then how they had disguised his death by smashing his head and face with fallen debris. The “villains” then completed their ritual out of her site and she felt and the instantaneous disappearance of her husband’s spirit, long ago constrained to the dungeon he perished in. She relayed how his presence had kept the other ghosts and haunts in check, and with him gone they are rising in power. She has done what she can to fill Lyvar’s position of power in the prison, but something (later identified as relating to the Splatter Man and the bloody letters in town) is sapping her ability to do so and will in time destroy her, releasing the angry spirits from the prison. Vesorianna was able to point out 5 distinct personalities of evil in the prison and tasked the new guardsmen with their defeat and with finding her a symbol of her husband’s office over the prison. With that she would be able to banish the haunts of Harrowstone entirely.
Before Galifreyna could point out the hidden door she had spotted, Taras ran out and bashed down the door to the adjacent room.
Next door, in the old laundry, Elsbeth prodded at a slightly moving pile of moldy old clothes, releasing an animated straight-jacket that flew at her, attempting to wrap and bind her in its clutches. It was quickly doused in oil and set aflame, narrowly missing the imolation of poor Elsbeth, as well.
The gruop elected to spend the night in the prison, barricading the doors to the workshop.
At Vesorianna’s urging, they eventually made their way back to the prison property room and located several items, distinct to each of the 5 major spirits in the prison. The warden’s wife warned the party that while the items may give them an advantage to defeating the spirits, they also carry a dangerous link to the individual spirits they represent.
As the group ascended the stairs to the next floor and began exploring the Western cell block, Galifreyna heard the haunting sounds of a far-off flute. The Piper of Illmarch was near…
(spoiler: they defeated it)