Dreamwinder #2

By NFDoggo

Report of Investigation – Dreamwinder - Exhibits

Exhibit B – Merwyn’s Folly – Battlefield Report (Selected Excerpts)

Description: Approximately two days ago, the Century responsible for safeguarding the cache of emergency supplies at Merwyn’s Folly failed to timely report. A handful of Empire representatives, including myself, were dispatched and arrived at the site late this morning. The fortress was empty save for the corpses of its former occupants.

I will leave the full details of our findings to my colleagues to document but suffice it to say that a quick survey revealed that all of the supplies had been taken, which was worrisome but not surprising. However, our search also revealed two unnerving facts: (1) there were no enemy combatants among the dead; and (2) over half the Century was missing.

We discovered Immune Howorn, Merwyn Folly’s quartermaster, half mad but still alive, hidden in a kitchen flue. After providing the Immune with a mild sedative, I conducted the following interview.

Interview Log – Immune Howorn

Author’s Note: Inquisitor Xuam is joined by Immune Howorn in the officer’s ready room. The interview proceeds according to Inquisitor standards. For the purpose of this Report of Investigation, only the relevant portions of the interview have been included.

Inquisitor Xuam: The Empire thanks you for your cooperation thus far, Immune. As you are no doubt aware, much will be asked of you over the coming days. For now, though, it is just you and me. This is your opportunity to prove your loyalty to the Empire, to help us understand. Please, in your own words….

Howorn: They came at night, there must have been dozens of them (Howorn mumbles to himself).

Inquisitor: Tell me who came. I need details, as much as you can remember. Were there any officers among the mutineers that you can identify for me on the record?

Howorn: (Howorn’s face splits in a sickly grin) No, they came later.

Inquisitor: We did not see any sign of a breach and our scans did not identify any insurgents among the dead. Tell me who came.

Howorn: Our parents, our brothers, our sisters… (Howorn is silent for several seconds), our children. They showed us our world burning to ash in a sea of black! Burrowed, they burrowed, gnawing, incessant, relentless.

Inquisitor: You mean they came from underground? That might explain why we didn’t… (Howorn interrupts). (edited)

Howorn: Our heads, our thoughts… I can still hear them, I hear them now (Howorn pounds his head with his fists repeatedly)!

Inquisitor: The hags and other fey creatures have scattered to the wind; the Empire’s mages closely monitored and use of magic regulated. You need to be honest with me, drop the charade, or I will not be able to help you, spare you from the Empire’s more… invasive methods of extracting information.

Howorn: (Howorn continues, ignoring me)… yet I was not afraid, then. Motes of light, other worlds, in the dark, drawn to the flame of ours like moths. A new world of worlds - better! Promise but need to prepare, must prepare, they are coming, must be strong. Promise but not for Segwyn (Howorn begins to sob)… it wasn’t her, it wasn’t her, it wasn’t her, it wasn’t her…

(Howorn is incoherent for several minutes, unresponsive to attempts to interject. He eventually takes water and promises that he is ready to continue and that he will be cooperative).

Inquisitor: I must remind you, Immune, that I am here trying to help you. Let me tell you what I heard, you tell me if I’m close, and then you can help me fill in the gaps, yes?

Howorn: (Howorn’s hands are shaking but he is quiet, responsive, and nods).

Inquisitor: The insurgency tunneled into, or otherwise found a way to infiltrate, Merwyn’s Folly from below two days ago. They came in large numbers and confronted the troops individually after they retired. The infiltrators had a vast amount of personal information regarding the troops’ loved ones, threatening their well-being if the troops did not cooperate. Am I close, Immune?

Howorn: (Howorn falls out of his chair, laughing uncontrollably, smashing his head against the stone floor. The interview ends.)

The Merwyn’s Folly report is the first evidence that the Empire obtained regarding an extremely powerful and previously unknown form of magic, which I believe can be traced back to a single source, the Dreamwinder. It appears as though the Dreamwinder can target multiple individuals and may have some limited ability to discern personal facts about his targets, such as their relations, motivations, and fears, though there are clearly limits. – Inquisitor Lesant.

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