Journal of Miyara Kyosuke (26)

    Miyara and I rushed to the fight, after Miyara had dashed upstairs to fetch her weapon.  We were about 30 seconds behind Jeison and Pireseri.  Goru and Carimera followed along with us.
    We approached the bridge to see Jeison fighting on the partly open bridge, weilding only a poker from the fireplace and of his armor wearing only his helmt, barely holding his own.  Hosei had grabbed an unconscious Pireseri and ran towards the town away from the river, shouting at us.  Skeletons had been crossing the river opposite the cemetary and were running towards the center of town from the northeast.  At this point Jeison, being outflanked, broke from his defensive position and ran too, letting the skeletons pour across the bridge as well.
    Miyara clearly intended to fight, and of course I followed her lead despite the actions of the barbarians.  She ignored the scared ravings in the barbaric language and called for us to make a stand at the Gehrig house.
    But the skeletons were shocking in their manner and appearance.  I, who had faced demons and bested them in combat, vomited violently for quite some time.  Goru was fine, but Carimera was shocked by them too.  Even Miyara was rooted to the spot for a short while.  In various stages of shock, we all retreated to the Red Bull and holed up inside to recover.
    Two skeletons continued to beat on the door, scratching wildly, while everyone else took the time to equip themselves with armour and weapons.  Carimera had not come out of shock, and Hosei and I tried to treat her with little success.  I was more successful at tending to Jeison's injuries.  From the windows, it looked like the skeletons were spreading out around the town.
    Pireseri had taken a dagger from Carimera, and with Goru opening the door a crack, the short elf touched each of the two in turn, whereupon they fell instantly into dust.
    Miyara suggested that we should all go hunting skeletons in the town as a pack.  Most of us were readied by now.  Everyone in the inn was instructed not to look outside and to keep everything closed up.  Hosei was to stay to defend the inn and tend to anyone behind; Miyara, myself, Jeison, Goru, and Pireseri went out to counter-attack.  Jeison in particular was very heavily armed and armored.
    We opened the door and slipped out, Hosei securing the door behind us.  The skeletons were now all over town and trying to get into all the houses.  The doors which were well secured were fine, although they were trying to get through windows where possible.  Jeison peered intently at the graveyard in the distance.
    As the skeletons noticed us, they moved towards us.  This way at least they could attack us just a few at a time.  With five of us and the dagger, we were thoroughly capable of handling them at this rate.
    Miyara told me that Hosei had seen a ghostly figure in the graveyard, but there had been no sign of it since and there certainly isn't now.  At the cemetary, once we'd fought our way across the river and through the dead to their source, it looked like all the graves had been exhausted.
    What was odd about these skeletons is that although they were coming after everyone, they didn't actually fight until attacked -- they'd chase if we ran, but if we just stood so did they.  It was simple to touch them with the dagger and they fell into dust.  So in some houses where people froze up in panic, they were all just standing until we arrived to kill the skeletons.  In other houses, where the occupants defended, those people had to fight and some were injured.
    At this point, Rabena and Ashu (with the Dorufurikata on horseback and the watch captain) had come back into town.  The lady checked in with her sister first (she was completely in shock but physically fine), and then started around town tending to the injured people; Rabena had seen skeletons before, she said, and apparently they are much less shocking the second time around.  Ashu of course chopped his way through any he came across on the way.
    During her healing, as she told us later, Rabena discovered that some of the wounded were infected although asymptomatic.  Since no-one knew they were infected, she just went ahead and healed it without them knowing.  She could have course have done this with mundane means, but better to get it over with quickly while no-one was the wiser.  She added that Jeison had been infected too.
    Over the next half an hour of skeleton hunting and healing, we checked everywhere and made some cursory searches of the woods, but there was no sign that any had left town that way.
    Gehrig's house gates were locked and so none had entered; he did not respond to any knocks or other calls to enter.  Jeison and Pireseri spoke briefly, then the latter tried the lock and it opened.  Then they talked with Miyara, and she and I along with Goru went off to double check the town while the other two went on to knock on the house door and speak with Gehrig.
    Once the town started to figure out that things were fairly safe, people started to come back out of their buildings.
    Hosei and Ashu returned to the Red Bull and tell us what they'd found.  Gehrig and his butler had been uncooperative, but there was no sign that either had been to the graveyard.  Hosei and Ashu had then gone on to the graveyard, but there were no undisturbed graves and no tracks other than skeletal.  Ashu had picked up the scent of the person from the beastman incident, the one who had stayed there for a long time.  This time this scent was right in the center of the graveyard where Hosei had seen the ghostly figure.  Ashu added that the particular scent was absent at Gehrig's.
    This event was the last straw for most people -- almost everyone was leaving town.  Obviously the Dorufurikata wasn't, and neither was Gehrig, while Stampy (Gehrig's fairy servant) was being especially helpful -- offering to help them pack, offering to watch over their houses and so on.  The boats too were leaving, packed with people running from Krutzhoffen.  Of course the effects of the springwort were still active, and that would have contributed to the panic.
    There was no sign of the militia captain, aside from a note on his door saying "Gone for help."  His horse was gone too.  Hosei pulled the note off the door, wrote something on the back, and pinned the revised note back on the door.  The watch captain was still around, having fought the skeletons, and was now helping as much as he can with the Dorufurikata.
    Hosei called loudly for a town meeting with drinks on the house.  He said he'd cook for everyone too.
    Before that, however, Hosei told us he thinks there are two mages involved.  One would be an illusionist, who could fly, make himself invisible, hide his tracks, create images of beastment in the woods, scare someone to death.  He couldn't summon the dead, and he couldn't just simulate a vampire with the puncture wounds with his magic.  Hosei added that he either knew necromantic magic as well, or had a device to do it.  Doping the water supply with springwort would be easy if he could be invisible.  Hosei then considered that we didn't see an undecomposed body of Sigi wandering around, and perhaps his death had been faked?  It could be worth checking his specific grave, with Pireseri to look through the ground.
    So we checked Sigi's grave: there was a coffin, and his body was still in there.  On the other hand, Bastia's grave was empty -- there was an intact coffin containing only dirt.  The Dorufurikata (who was with us to point out the graves) said he was buried after our report on why he died.  The undertaker lived in Weilerburg; it would be possible to get there and back before nightfall, so we left quickly.
    There weren't that many people left in Weilerburg either.  It was clear that the skeletons did not reach there, but most were leaving anyway.  Back at the Red Bull, Dagoma told us that she thought that the undertaker left after the incident -- she thought she remembered seeing him just before the screaming. 
    So that evening, Miyara and I, Pireseri, Hosei, and Ashu went to check the undertaker's house.  The door was not locked -- as it would not normally be, it was just a one-room hut while he did his work outside.  A search indicated no signs of foul play or anything to confirm our suspicions.  He was not there, and nothing of value was left, as if he'd just packed up and left exactly as Dagoma had said.  Pireseri did find a hidden compartment, but it too was empty now.  That scent was not here either.
    While we were in Weilerburg, Hosei suggested Ashu wander around the place to see if that particular scent was anywhere around here.  Pireseri told us which houses were empty -- all of them -- but one of them (Dagoma's house) was locked with a weird latch mechanism.  One other house was an old couple who remained, frightened but not frozen in fear -- Pireseri knocked on the door, and the old man talked with him briefly from behind the closed door.  The short elf was quite persuasive in his tone, and after some time calmed the couple and dispelled their fear some.  That house was sniffed around outside only; Ashu did not pick up that scent anywhere.  It was getting dark, and we returned to town.
    Many of the people had left or were planning to leave soon, but there were a few who were staying.  Most of those remaining were here at the Red Bull: the baker and his wife, the elf, the doctor, watch captain, Dorufurikata, Dagoma Tausika, and Johann from the Black Eagle.  Benito, Elenora, and Guido were still there, although of course continuing with their plans to leave shortly.  The staff had left; Hosei and Benito did all the cooking.  Tonight also in the inn was an old woman who lived in the woods -- when Hosei asked idly if it was to rain that night, she said it would not, and clearly everyone here believed her implicitly.
    A discussion naturally arose about what was going on.  Hosei too quickly said that someone was trying to drive people out of town, and was met with bemused expressions...