“May I inquire as to what left such an unseemly gash on your cheek, m’lady?”, asked a gruff voice. It took me few seconds to grab ahold of myself and focus on responding to the question addressed to me. Sergeant Bingham furrowed his eyebrows out of concern as he’d realized that I was staring off in a daze into the distant sea, from the edge of the fort. I’d fumbled and stammered as I tried producing a definite answer, and I only recall rambling about something sharp in the kitchen. The true cause of the mark on my face was the blade of a jumbee, which met my cheek as I attempted to flee from the three of them that guarded the ship. The ship - what was a SHIP doing in the middle of a forest?
I’m most certain that I was the first person to enter the town, given the lack of red or black coat uniforms adorning the corpses along the floor. The interior was seemingly devoid of any movement, so I made my way into it. And of course, I decided to investigate the only item that seemed incongruent with its surroundings - the dilapidated vessel. I managed to find a paper that seemed to indicate who the former owner of the ship was, or at least the alias he assumed to avoid scrutiny from the authorities - “Deckard Argentwall”. I tried racking my brain to figure out if this was a pirate that I’d known when suddenly the feral jumbees arose and climbed up along the sides of the hull. These creatures were Jolly Roger’s most dangerous weapons.
What unnerved me about them, even more so than the skeletons that I’ve encountered so far, was the fact that I was able to hold a conversation with them. One flippant remark about how their defeat was inevitable, and I’d received a verbal riposte right back at me. With the skeletons, at least you can rest easy knowing that their meaningless barbs are just the remnants of their former lives’ memories acting out, but these jumbees were very much alive and human. I swung my dagger at the neck of one of them, but my arm was caught mid-swing by hers. Her other arm instantly grabbed the dagger away from me and slashed it at me just as I’d jumped off the ship into the water below, leaving a cut on my cheek. I decided to flee in order to leave enough of a distance between myself and my assailants and made my way near the waterfall. It was then that I began to hear the whispers in my head. I started seeing visions as well, which felt more like… memories. Thoughts of joy, longing, and suffering flashed in my mind, and they weren’t my own. I’d snapped out of it when a light gust blew some of the water on my face, only to notice a pack of jumbees and skeletons gaining on me.
I fled after that, hoping to never return to that monstrous place, but left with an immense resolve to find out what happened in that location. And so there I was in Fort Charles, hoping to gain access once more to this week’s EITC report. It didn’t take long for Bingham to start chatting up another woman at this gathering, the second one in 2 weeks, so I used this opportunity to once again see myself into Winston Piper’s office. The cadet that I’d encountered the last time around didn’t seem to be anywhere in sight. An unintentionally wise decision of course, as I wouldn’t have had any compunctions about lodging a dagger in his throat.
The report lay there on the table amidst various paraphernalia, almost as if it were waiting for me to peruse it once more. I skipped through most of its contents to get to the relevant bits.
The individual who was reprimanded as mentioned in the previous dossier has been identified as Robert Cartwright, son of Milton Cartwright. He had resided in the location colloquially referred to as the “Hollowed Woods,” which was surreptitiously inhabited by various traders, sailors, and pirates, until nearly a year ago. The residents were affected by a preternatural entity, referred to by them as “the Watcher”. The entity was responsible for the disappearances of the residents ever since it first appeared in the town. Robert claims that his father was one of the merchants who discovered an ancient shrine and encroached upon it, with the intent of selling its parts in the markets that concern such occult items. The Watcher was immediately released thereafter, causing mayhem in the area. Robert and his father immediately fled the scene along with the cursed items that they found. Milton passed away some months later, and so Robert decided to bury their treasure in a warehouse that they owned in the main town of the port. A gypsy named Myrna was said to have been tasked with sealing the small pathway that led to the town, as she and other residents decided to stay in and fend off the Watcher.
The undead forces managed to break past the wall and create a massive pathway for their army to enter. Our best spies managed to witness them climb up a hill within the enclave, and noticed them fighting with the aforementioned entity. Their forces had considerably dwindled by the end of it and were forced to retreat into what was left of the town that they had attacked earlier. As our spies set up camp in King’s Run, they noticed another contingent of the undead army make their way up the hill. Our gypsy contact among them confirmed that this was one of the enemy’s most powerful soldiers - the so-called “jumbees”. She also added that these beings are animated by a stronger force than normal, rendering them immune to the Watcher’s magic. Our forces were advised by the gypsy to stay away from the town, as she has claimed to have felt the Watcher’s influence grow ever since the entrance was reopened.
It seems to me that the presence of the jumbees is either for them to withstand the power of this Watcher and thus harness it for their master, or at the very least prevent others from stopping it as it gradually unleashes its influence over the island port, which would cause enough mayhem for him to make a move on it.
It has been suggested that Robert Cartwright be sent to the gallows with utmost haste, as he has both served his purpose and is a liability to the Company with the knowledge that he possesses. He has revealed to us the location of the items that comprised the shrine, and we have taken them into our possession. These objects will soon, as ordered last evening by Ian Mercer himself, be transported out of Port Royal a few parts at a time in heavily armed transport vehicles, which will make their way to the designated base of operation. These ships will also each be protected by a of escort ships, so as to prevent such valuable items from falling into the hands of our enemies.
I doubt I’ll be able to save Robert from his fate, although I will try to while I’m still here. In the meantime, I have to inform Alaina about these developments. We need to strike at the heart of the woods, just as we need to prevent the Company from using the objects for their nefarious ends. Our ships need to be at the ready to launch a coordinated assault on their fleets.