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The Haunting at Helorus's page

282 posts. Alias of goodwicki.


Narrator / GM

About The Haunting at Helorus

1875 US calendar

Times of Day & Doing Stuff:

Times of Day

Functionally each day is split into six 4 hour shifts for the purpose of rest, study, etc. In my posts I'll be using the following indicators for what time of day it is.

Dawn: Currently at 6:30 AM
Morning: 6:30a - 10:30a
Day: 10:30a - 2:30p
Afternoon: 2:30p - 6:30p
Evening: 6:30p - 10:30p
Dusk: Currently at 7:30 PM
Night: 10:30p - 2:30a
Wee Hours: 2:30a - 6:30a

Doing Stuff

Anything of any note you might want to do will take at least 4 hours: namely exploration and gather information checks. A task which takes 8 hours, such as the translations, has to be uninterrupted work; a character is assumed to eat, go to the bathroom, etc. during this time, but can't leave their effort to do something else "real quick". Outside of possibly a single Knowledge check to answer someone's question, the character can't actively pursue anything that requires them to make an unrelated check of any kind. A character could spend all 16 hours of the day on two consecutive 8 hour shifts of tasks to the exclusion of all else.

Characters also require 8 hours of rest to avoid penalties, which I assume is done at night; this rest time is not assumed to be 8 solid hours of sleep, and can include discussion between characters.

---- BOOKS ----

August Pallaver's Journal:

June 11th, 1869. Albert is lost to me. I see that now. I had suspected that there was more to his fierce curiosity and studiousness than a natural desire for knowledge, and uncovering his motivation does not place me at ease. He desires to learn that which I know to be forbidden; I have tried to persuade him to stop but he will not listen. My attempts incensed him and he swore me off, and this morning he is gone.

January 28th, 1875. Several of my books are in disorder. I have been keeping them in the back of the cabinet in the study, and I see now this was foolish of me. I am sure Katherine merely moved them while looking for some other volume, but they should not be so easily accessible. I have moved them to the proper chest.

February 21st, 1875. I spoke with Gregory today, and afterwards took a walk through the graveyard. It looked as if someone or something had been about the mausoleum; the grass and foliage had been trampled down, but the structure itself was undisturbed. I could find no clear tracks, but I am no woodsman. Probably just a deer or some other animal.

February 23rd, 1875. Last night I dreamt of Albert. I was in the root cellar, which I had visited earlier in the day, but in my dream it contained stone stairs of ancient aspect which spiraled down into the earth. Up from these steps he strode to stand before me, smiling, with what seemed to me a smug malice. He told me he had named that which he sought and so had power over it, and began to laugh. I then awoke.

March 1st, 1875. I signed my new will today. I cannot bring myself to report my suspicions to those who would listen, but should they prove true and some ill fate befalls me, I fear for Katherine’s safety. The tomes I possess must also remain in safe hands; I dare not risk sending them by post, even if I didn’t need them. I have chosen a handful of men and women I feel are up to the task, though I pray they need never be contacted.

March 18th, 1875. I dreamt of Albert again last night.

Gustav stopped me in the street today and began shouting about the old Catholicon. Normally I would ignore his tiresome and idiotic rants, but for the specificity of his tirade: he claimed two Sundays past he had seen lights and figures moving about in the courtyard at night. It may be a coincidence, but I cannot take that chance. I will investigate on the morrow.

March 19th, 1875. Someone has definitely been on the Catholicon grounds. I went there today, and found boot prints all about the place. The timing cannot be pure chance; I have been a fool to remain silent. I cannot send for help now, or even send a warning, without fear of it being intercepted. I cannot risk revealing those who would help me to their enemies.

I will go tomorrow and try to stop whatever is being perpetrated at that place, for I know they will return to reap what they have sown. I do not know who or what I may find there, and I pray that I am up to the task; if I am not, I fear for Katherine, and for all Helorus. I leave this journal where my enemies will not find it. I implore those who may read it:

Protect my daughter.

Etrusca Disciplina / Libri Fulgurales:
The Etrusca Disciplina is a loosely bound collection of parchments which appear to be hand-written in Latin with notes in the margins in French and more recently in English, all three languages written in different hands. The title refers to a book or books which detailed the religious beliefs and practices of the ancient Etruscans.

Current scholarly belief is that all copies of the Etrusca Disciplina were destroyed by the middle of the first millenium A.D.; only allusions and brief quotes in Latin made by Roman scholars remain. The Etruscan religion eventually fell out of favor with the Romans, discredited as mere superstition and purposefully purged from Roman culture. Even so, it is assumed that some of the rituals and practices of the Etruscans survived in the Roman religions, though specifically what those practices may be is unknown.

This a seemingly complete Latin translation of the Libri Fulgurales, a single volume of the larger set of the Etrusca Disciplina. It instructs how one may perform divinations by observing lightning strikes, and is notated in both archaic French and modern English; the French notes allude to the Latin translations of more books of the Disciplina from the same source, and this mention has been circled and notated in English - "Not present in the archives; transferred to another preceptory? Must find!!!" Otherwise the notes either question or provide clarification on the divination methods described.

This text states that lightning is generally caused by the collision of clouds, with these collisions being the gods' method of announcing their intentions to mortals through the lightning they produce. The method of divination via lightning involves a "cartography of the sky," wherein the horizon is divided into 16 sections assigned to various deities, with each section is further divided into 4 subsections; the viewer then notes which section the lightning originated from. Also important is the nature of the lighting, which is broken down into three major categories: lightning which pierces through cloud cover, lightning which is forked, and lightning that burns; there are further minor categories of lightning, such as lighting which springs from the earth or lightning accompanied by earth tremors. Furthermore, the specific effect of the lightning is considered, with such factors as the lightning's effect on men, animals, landscape, architecture, etc. It is presumed that thunder is produced by lightning, such that the origin of thunder with no visible lightning must be guessed at to the best of the diviner's ability.

The volume of divinatory signs and their interactions with one another is impressive; to actually memorize the divinatory system would take weeks of effort and practice, but Amaya is fairly sure he could note the important aspects of any lightning/thunder he witnesses and later refer to the text to determine it's supposed meaning, if she was so inclined.

King James Bible:
A King James Bible, printed 1609. A heavily worn but otherwise well-preserved leatherbound Bible of obvious antiquity with several ribbons sticking out from between it’s pages. This Bible has a print date of 1609 listed, despite the fact that the first King James Bible was not printed until 1611.

KJB / Book of Tobit, pages from Chapter 6:
Summary: A young man, Tobiah, travels in the company of a disguised angel; a strange fish bites his foot, and the angel instructs him to kill it and remove certain organs that are useful for exorcising spirits and healing the blind.

2 When the young man left home, accompanied by the angel, the dog followed Tobiah out and went along with them. Both journeyed along, and when the first night came, they camped beside the Tigris River. 3 When the young man went down to wash his feet in the Tigris River, a large fish leaped out of the water and tried to swallow his foot. He shouted in alarm. 4 But the angel said to the young man, “Grab the fish and hold on to it!” He seized the fish and hauled it up on dry land. 5 The angel then told him: “Slit the fish open and take out its gall, heart, and liver, and keep them with you; but throw away the other parts. Its gall, heart, and liver are useful.” 6 Reluctantly he did so. After Tobiah had slit the fish open, he put aside the gall, heart, and liver. Then he burned the rest of the fish, for it was strange and unwholesome. Afterward the two of them traveled on together till they drew near to Media. 7 Then the young man asked the angel this question: “Brother Azariah, what medicine is in the fish’s heart, liver, and gall?” 8 He answered: “As for the fish’s heart and liver, if you burn them to make smoke in the presence of a man or a woman who is afflicted by a demon or evil spirit, any affliction will flee and never return. 9 As for the gall, if you apply it to the eyes of one who has white scales, blowing right into them, sight will be granted.”

KJB / Book of Tobit, pages from Chapter 8:
Summary: Tobiah is wed to Sarah, whose previous husbands have all been killed by a demon on their wedding night. On the night of her wedding to Tobiah, he burns the fish organs as instructed by the disguised angel. This causes the demon to flee, whereupon the angel binds it beneath the earth.

1 When they had finished eating and drinking, they wanted to retire. So they brought the young man out and led him to the bedroom. 2 Tobiah, mindful of Raphael’s instructions, took the fish’s liver and heart from the bag where he had them, and put them on the embers intended for incense. 3 The odor of the fish repulsed the demon, and it cried out. “The creatures of the deep arise, and with them their forgotten patrons!” It fled to the upper regions of Egypt; Raphael went in pursuit of it and there bound it hand and foot beneath the earth and left it there for worms to feast upon. Then Raphael returned immediately.

KJB / Book of Tobit, pages from Chapter 11:
Summary: Tobiah returns home with his wife Sarah and the angel, and uses the fish organs to cure his father Tobit of blindness at the angel's instruction. Tobit can see again, but can see all manner of spirits and angels as well, and laments his condition. The angel wipes Tobit's eyes and returns Tobit's sight to normal.

1 As they drew near to Kaserin, which is opposite Nineveh, 2 Raphael said: “You know how we left your father. 3 Let us hurry on ahead of your wife to prepare the house while they are still on the way.” 4 So both went on ahead together, and Raphael said to him, “Take the gall in your hand!” And the dog ran along behind them. 5 Meanwhile, Anna sat watching the road by which her son was to come. 6 When she saw him coming, she called to his father, “Look, your son is coming, and the man who traveled with him!” 7 Raphael said to Tobiah before he came near to his father: “I know that his eyes will be opened. 8 Apply the fish gall to his eyes, and they will make the white scales shrink and peel off from his eyes; then your father will have true sight and will see the light of day.” 9 Then Anna ran up to her son, embraced him, and said to him, “Now that I have seen you again, son, I am ready to die!” And she sobbed aloud. 10 Tobit got up and stumbled out through the courtyard gate to meet his son. Tobiah went up to him 11 with the fish gall in his hand and blew into his eyes. Holding him firmly, he said, “Courage, father.” Then he applied the gall to his eyes, and it made them sting. 12 “What is this you are doing to me, my son?” Tobit asked. “What is it that smells so foul?” 13 Tobiah used both hands to peel the white scales from the corners of his eyes. Tobit saw his son and threw his arms around him. 14 He exclaimed, “I can see you, son, with the light of my eyes - I can see angels and spirits of the air!” Then he began to weep, and prayed, “Blessed be God, blessed be his great name, and blessed be all his holy angels. May his great name be with us, and blessed be all the angels throughout all the ages. 15 God it was who afflicted me with blindness, and God who has afflicted me with sight. Please have mercy on me, blessed Lord.” And Raphael wiped the gall from his eyes, and Tobit smiled. “Now I see only my son Tobiah!”

KJB / Book of Tobit, page from Chapter 12:
Summary: There is a feast for Tobiah and Sarah at Tobit's home, where the angel Raphael reveals himself to Tobit and Tobiah, who are awed and afraid of him.

11 “I shall now tell you the whole truth and conceal nothing at all from you. I have already said to you, ‘A king’s secret should be kept secret, but one must declare the works of God with due honor.’ 12 Now when you, Tobit, and Sarah prayed, it was I who presented the record of your prayer before the Glory of the Lord; and likewise whenever you used to bury the dead. 13 When you did not hesitate to get up and leave your dinner in order to go and bury that dead man, 14 I was sent to put you to the test. At the same time, however, God sent me to heal you and your daughter-in-law Sarah. 15 I am not Azariah as I told you, he is but a mask to disguise me. I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand and serve before the Glory of the Lord.” 16 Greatly shaken, the two of them fell prostrate in fear.

KJB / Book of Daniel, pages from Chapter 14:
Summary: Daniel proves to the King of Babylon that the priests of the god-statue Bel have tricked him, and the King slays them all save one that could not be found. Daniel then slays a dragon the Babylonians also worship as a god. Before dying the dragon tells Daniel that it was also Bel, and that it wears many masks; while it's body may be destroyed, it is eternal. Daniel is then thrown to the lions by the Babylonians, who are angry at him and at their King.

1 After King Astyages was gathered to his ancestors, Cyrus the Persian succeeded to his kingdom. 2 Daniel was a companion of the king and was held in higher honor than any of the Friends of the King. 3 The Babylonians had an idol called Bel, and every day they provided for it six bushels of fine flour, forty sheep, and six measures of wine. 4 The king revered it and went every day to worship it; but Daniel worshiped only his God. 5 When the king asked him, “Why do you not worship Bel?” Daniel replied, “Because I do not revere idols made with hands, but only the living God who made heaven and earth and has dominion over all flesh.” 6 Then the king continued, “You do not think Bel is a living god? Do you not see how much he eats and drinks every day?” 7 Daniel began to laugh. “Do not be deceived, O king,” he said; “it is only clay inside and bronze outside; it has never eaten or drunk anything.” 8 Enraged, the king called his priests and said to them, “Unless you tell me who it is that consumes these provisions, you shall die. But if you can show that Bel consumes them, Daniel shall die for blaspheming Bel.” 9 Daniel said to the king, “Let it be as you say!” There were seventy priests of Bel, besides their wives and children. 10 When the king went with Daniel into the temple of Bel, 11 the priests of Bel said, “See, we are going to leave. You, O king, set out the food and prepare the wine; then shut the door and seal it with your ring. 12 If you do not find that Bel has eaten it all when you return in the morning, we are to die; otherwise Daniel shall die for his lies against us.” 13 They were not perturbed, because under the table they had made a secret entrance through which they always came in to consume the food. 14 After they departed the king set the food before Bel, while Daniel ordered his servants to bring some ashes, which they scattered through the whole temple; the king alone was present. Then they went outside, sealed the closed door with the king’s ring, and departed. 15 The priests entered that night as usual, with their wives and children, and they ate and drank everything. 16 Early the next morning, the king came with Daniel. 17 “Are the seals unbroken, Daniel?” he asked. And Daniel answered, “They are unbroken, O king.” 18 As soon as he had opened the door, the king looked at the table and cried aloud, “You are great, O Bel; there is no deceit in you.” 19 But Daniel laughed and kept the king from entering. He said, “Look at the floor and consider whose footprints these are.” 20 “I see the footprints of men, women, and children, and those of some strange other thing!” said the king. 21 In his wrath the king arrested the priests, their wives, and their children. They showed him the secret door by which they used to enter to consume what was on the table. “And what made these other footprints?” the King asked, but all were too afraid to answer, even when offered their lives. 22 The king put them to death, and handed Bel over to Daniel, who destroyed it and its temple. 23 There was a great dragon which the Babylonians revered. 24 The king said to Daniel, “You cannot deny that this is a living god, so worship it.” 25 But Daniel answered, “I worship the Lord, my God, for he is the living God. 26 Give me permission, O king, and I will kill this dragon without sword or club.” “I give you permission,” the king said. 27 Then Daniel took some pitch, fat, and hair; these he boiled together and made into cakes. He put them into the mouth of the dragon, and when the dragon ate them, it spoke. “Those that worshipped Bel worshipped me, for I wear a thousand masks. And though you may destroy the mask, I remain eternal,” whereupon it burst. “This,” Daniel said, “is what you revered.” 28 When the Babylonians heard this, they were angry and turned against the king. “The king has become a Jew,” they said; “he has destroyed Bel, killed the dragon, and put the priests to death.” 29 They went to the king and demanded: “Hand Daniel over to us, or we will kill you and your family.” 30 When he saw himself threatened with violence, the king was forced to hand Daniel over to them. 31 They threw Daniel into a lions’ den, where he remained six days.

On Verified Madness:
On Verified Madness, by Dr. Byron Pallaver & Dr. Hoyt Foramen, printed 1808. This grey book is a treatise on the insane, including a variety of case studies from the Helorus Catholicon, or so claims the title page. The book was meant to be bound by the buyer to match their personal collection, a practice common at the turn of the 19th century.

The preface to the book states that Doctor Pallaver was granted his M.D. from the University of the State of Pennsylvania in 1781, and founded the Helorus Catholicon in Helorus, New York in 1795, an institution dedicated to the study and treatment of disturbances and maladies of the mind. Doctor Foramen was granted his M.D. from the University of Edinburgh in 1792, and began work at the Helorus Catholicon in 1801. The purpose of the book is to prove that while a variety of mental aberrations may be curbed or cured by surgical intervention, there are some derangements that occur without any physical trauma or abnormalities and which are therefore immune to any conventional attempts at medical treatment beyond constant sedation or the infliction of permanent idiocy. The authors consider such cases to be examples of the eponymous "verified madness." In these cases, the authors hope to show that alternative methods of therapy they have devised may have greater effect in curing the afflicted.

The book is very technical, obviously meant for trained medical professionals, and much of the referential information and supporting data is lost on Amaya. She does understand that Doctors Pallaver and Foramen suggest that a sympathetic approach to the mentally disturbed, encouraging the patient to describe and "fully realize" their madness, allows them to then confront and overcome their affliction under the guidance of a doctor. Three cases of complete success from this method are described, all achieved through the efforts of Dr. Foramen. These patients were a man who suffered hallucinations of being burned alive, believing that the fires of Perdition would find and torment him whenever he had un-Christian thoughts; a woman haunted by visions of a hunched, ghoulish figure stinking of sulfur and rotting meat; and a man convinced that rats followed him everywhere: inside walls, floors, ceiling, and even the ground and trees when outdoors, unseen by him but not unheard. Other cases from both doctors report lesser degrees of success.

Regardless of her personal opinions on the matter, objectively Amaya is unable to tell if the claims made in the book are scientifically credible due to her unfamiliarity with the field

De Umbrarum Regni Novem Portis:
De Umbrarum Regni Novem Portis, by Aristide Torchia, printed 1666. Translates to 'The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows'. Infamous in European occult circles, this very rare book was supposedly co-authored by the Devil and is said to contain the knowledge of summoning demonic forces and attaining infernal enlightenment.

Steel Book:
This book’s covers and spine are encased in polished steel and clasped with a small but intricate lock, the keyhole of which appears to be for a key with a strange, triangular shaft. Neither the cover nor the spine bear any writing.

Book with cross on cover:
A tome with a cracked brown leather cover with a stylized cross adorning the cover (without any text on cover); the pages inside are illuminated in a Medieval style and hand-written in Latin. The cross iconography on the cover of this book is most probably associated with a knightly order of the Catholic church. In medieval times such orders were relatively common, though few are still active today. You're unable to identify which specific order the symbol might indicate.