It has been a week since our return from the warrens, and we have not yet been tasked with another exploration. I do not hold hope that Clarke has taken his satisfaction and will spare us from further explorations; rather, it seems that he intends for us to spend the most time yet within those infernal tunnels soon. A self-styled curator of curios has recently joined us in the hamlet, and while he is a rather unpleasant person his skill with a ledger has found him in charge of our stores. I have heard from York that he has set aside triple the usual rations at Cole’s behest, and I can only assume it is meant for us. Raziq has still not recovered from being subject to his own occult magicks, and has been suffering from fits ever since our return. He has been in Morgan’s care who has tried some elixirs of her own creation to heal his ailment, though none have yet worked.
Clarke himself is a rare sight these days. He has been seen less and less by the travelers, choosing to use Cole as his mouthpiece when a need to communicate with the us arises. I have seen him once in the past week, and it was strange to see that he diminished in some way over these past months. When he first arrived upon the estate, he had an emaciated appearance but he spoke with the authority of a man who had returned to claim what was rightfully his. Now though, he looks withdrawn and withered, speaking quietly when he speaks at all. No one save Cole knows where he spends his time when he is not within the hamlet, but there are insidious rumors that he has begun to walk the path that led his father to opening that portal beneath the estate. They are said softly, and never within hearing of Cole, but they are said all the same. For my part, I do not believe it, but I do wonder if perhaps his link to the rotting estate is a burden upon his spirit. If we are to banish whatever his father half-pulled into the world it is important that he maintains his fortitude, for without him the travelers’ sacrifices will be for naught.
York is suffering from spiritual disquiet of a different nature, though he has refused my attempts to help him. He has remained perturbed by the idea that the monster we last slew within the warrens was Benedict, or some perversion of him. York’s time within the leprosarium has rendered him resolute to the most horrific scenes of the warrens, but this lingering thought has proved to be too much for him. I do not believe that York counted Benedict among his friends- I do not believe any of the travelers have friends within the hamlet- but it is grotesque to imagine a fellow compatriot falling foul of the cultist’s horrific experiments. I have repeated that Benedict’s life was ended when the murderous cultist drove his dirk into his throat, but York has a myopic view of the Order and refuses to see the truth. He has demanded that I leave him be and I have acquiesced for now, though I hope he will be free of distraction before we are tasked to venture into the warrens once more.
I believe Wolfswift’s desire for vengeance has been suitably sated by our previous exploration, for she has calmed significantly. I have been looking after her injured leg which still bears open sores, and it is a testament to her fortitude that she is able to stand and fight while enduring such discomfort. It has taken much coaxing, but Wolfswift has relinquished her false limb for a time to Morgan who is working to make it more comfortable for the pagan. Wolfswift has added to the intricate design of the the leg, carving a blooded pig cowering before the wolf’s jaws. While it is a pagan image, I take the meaning clear enough. Of the travelers who have ventured into the warrens, I believe that she has been the least affected by the things we have seen despite bearing the most grievous of wounds.
I have been spending much of my time within the church, fortifying myself for the challenges ahead. I have performed the Mending twice a day, purifying my spirit of any taint the warrens may have left upon me. It has helped me maintain my focus, though I find my thoughts wander towards the bloody scenes we have witnessed within the warrens when I am not preoccupied. I still shudder when I think of my ill-fated venture into the ruins of the manor, as the undead fell upon me with their cruel swords. It is in these moments that I feel weakest, though I know that the Goddess is with me always. I have discovered a veritable library within the cellar of the church, a stack of forgotten and moldy scrolls. I have been perusing them to pass the time when I am not at my duties, and I hope to learn a thing or two about the history of this hamlet. Much of them have been ruined and what is legible is not very revealing, but I hold hope that I may learn more about the Clarke lineage. Perhaps it will reveal the activities of the elder Clarke before he passed, and explain the thing he half-pulled into our world.
I do not know when we will be expected to depart again. I will write to you if I am able, but I cannot promise it. If several weeks pass without a letter, please do not fret. I anticipate that our next exploration will be our longest yet, but I trust that my faith and the Goddess will see me through whatever trials lie ahead. Please send my regards to Acolyte Abigail.
May the light cast away the shadows of our fears.