We never thought less of the people around, we never needed to. We respected them, I myself was fond of the workers, the artisans, and the crafters. That was until the engineer built a mysterious box. It had runic cyphers on the sides and an eye on the top, a deep christening red, like blood of the people. With a white trim as bones were of the skeletons. We never thought less of it. And one day, the engineers house shook, light exploded from the windows, never in the eyes of the R’ayya or the Ascendants have we seen such amazing display. Then it slowed as fast as it started. And it sunk back in, the world was quiet. The wolves cowered, the goblins shrieked, and the kobolds winced.
For what happened in that house. We will never know, but the engineer was slowly going insane under our eyes, unnoticed, we couldn’t see it fast enough, we thought one of the workers died from a recent goblin ambush, as the herbalist checked her wounds, she noticed clean incisions on the body, like a piece of alien craft. She immediately kept the body for further examination. Then another succumbed, this time of starvation. we were puzzled, we had 3 master Farmers, and this poor man could not find food. Again we carried his lifeless soul to the herbalist hut, same incisions, but this time we noticed the body was extremely light, like all traces of life was drained from his shriveled corpse. She kept that one too, then the engineer slowly descended into a maddening Nirvana, like his time was further going to waste, he withdrew from our feasts, our battles, and our buildings, the turrets withered down. He succumbed to whatever he saw in that box, only a matter of time until he came after the rest of the group. We set up Knights and Footmen to watch his house.
At this point my stories sound of the campfire ability, but assure you, I wouldn’t be running if it wasn’t for my encounter.
It was a deep wintry night, we were stockpiling our food, when one of us casually complained about the stench, we thought nothing of it, thought it was some spoiled food, then it got more potent as the winter carried on, then we needed to get rid of it, we haven’t seen the engineer since Warmun, so we send our best infantry man, a pale man, prime young age, silvering hair, to check on the engineer, and just 5 minutes of going to the house, he came back running, screaming like he witnessed a horrific enemy encounter, he babbled and said “He harvesting- h-h-hes har-harve-” and he bent down and wept, we were concerned, this man showed no mercy as he killed multiple goblins and kobolds. And here he is crying, like he saw the Four Horsemen. And we continued to armor up, we lost 20 people since he built that box, it was time to move. I still have fears of that day…
The night struck as fast as it axed the light, we had maces, swords, and armor, we were ready. But we weren’t ready for what beholded us. We stormed the town, telling women and children to lock the doors, we needed to act if he tries again. And we gathered up at his house, vines and mold covered the wood and stone like he never came out of his insanity. And we busted the door. And the most overwhelming stench veiled us like a new winters snow. Most of us Expelled out feast from previous hours. Then we entered the house. And most of us cried and ran.
Bodies, bodies littered the halls, floors, mounted like a sick predators game. Organs were littered across workbenches. Like he needed to study the anatomy of our fears, we needed no introduction, but he lays out the housewarming gift quite uniquely. Then we heard it. A slow rattling. Like bones, then with the crescendo of a opera, an earth shattering crunch. What was left of our militia left, besides me, the blacksmith, and the herbalist. We had no choice.
We droned at a sick pace to avoid seeing the events that were unfolding. We never thought of the engineer as a monster. Hell we never thought of him as human now that you think of it. And we reached his workspace, the door forced shut by months of neglect. And pried it open, slowly, but surely, we saw him…
Hunched over, his goggles sprawled out on the dresser, pale as the snow. Wrenches and hammers sprawled the floor. And he had a new victim. We had the queens soldiers visit a while ago, 3 days to be exact. And he was still isolated, how he ended up with the chief was beyond me. He was doing twisted experiments, fusing bones of the dead onto chairs, organs cut and dressed like decor, one body had incisions, and I immediately recognized the corpse, it was the first person to succumb to his rampage. We were appalled, the blacksmith ran, and I followed suit, we had not acquired the right of fighting this Frankenstein. And we never saw the engineer again.
The house was demolished, the dead were put into the resting places they were given the right for. And overtime the events took a toll of the emotional status of our quaint town. the herbalist went into social isolation, we checked on her often, 3 years passed since that faithful night, she never spoke again, she never harvested her bellblooms. What she saw when we left, haunted her. We tried to comfort her, and then I made the horrific connection I will ever make in my life.
The engineer has a interesting tattoo on his left arm, a small insignia, his wife’s name, before she died in a goblin attack, when he first withdrew, he didn’t have the tattoo anywhere I could see, we even brought it up one feast. As we comforted the herbalist, we saw a peculiar tattoo on her left arm, and as soon as the blacksmith tried to run, well, when he ran, the floor shook, and it leaked blood, the stench resumed after a hiatus of years, and he fell through the floorboards, as this happened, I busted a breakneck run to the window, I managed to get out before she turned her neck towards me. And I ran out of that town, I ran, I hiked, I swam, it seemed like weeks before I stumbled upon your town, you wondered why I ran, my eyes bloodshot, my tears streaming, well its simple, the engineer looked into the eye, he was no longer the engineer, but a lifeless drone of the Eye, sent to reclaim the dead. The mechanical coroner, at some point, the herbalist took a gander in the box, and resumed the Eyes work, they took the bodies to make corpses, the undead. We never encountered one, but we heard storied of the dead shambling the woods, the eye wont stop, it will find me and reclaim the duty of the once alive coroners that befell before me. It will find us it could be an animal, or a worker, but lets say this, you can tell when one has been controlled by the eye, he will stop his work, and isolate his former self, slowly descending into madness. And he will withdraw from gatherings, he will never open his once thriving doors, you say you have a gentleman who has succumbed? I say its impossible, but i’ll let the tattoo of my dead wife I used as a corpse do the talking, he just might be sick… unlike me…