(“Report to Emperor Thaddeus Rex, concerning the Blüdhafen Massacre” by guard lieutenant Viezmar; 11th of March, Year 123 of the Blessed Age; Blüdhafen)
Your most esteemed holiness, as per your orders, I have written a recollection of the events as I saw them through my very own eyes. I believe that my direct involvment in both The Massacre and the events that preceded and directly or indirectly caused it, will allow some much needed light to be shed on the mystery. I preemptively apologize for any vulgarities and lowborn language, as my studiousness alone cannot deny my origin.
First thing that needs to be known is, that whilst most consider it two separate unrelated events, the “Cult of the Dreamer” case and the Massacre itself are two halves of the same whole. Had we been more careful and less lenient, it all could have been avoided.
All those who are privy to the knowledge hidden from the public, blame the tenebrous accursed dagger for all the evil that had been done that day, but unlike them, I am of the thought that the dagger was but a potent catalyst, that only hastened something that would come sooner or later.
No, we opened the gates of evil when we decided that all of those who were once under the control of the dark powers would be let back into society without supervision; believing that there wasn’t something nefarious and unseen still skulking in their minds and bodies.
I have to confess my Emperor. I had on many occasions found the drastic measures of the paladin order detestable, and I was contented that the late Blüdhafen chapter was, what I had considered, more reasonable. But now I see that what I had seen as ruthlessness, was instead prudence.
These connexions might not be important to the grander scale of things, but I believe you would want to know of them, because if this corruption were to appear again, with these information, it could be crushed before it does any harm.
In the following words I will try to, to my best memory, retell the events as they had happened, in hope that they will never happen again.
It was on 29th of February that it all happened. I was in temporary command of the city guard, before a new guard captain was to be elected. The Cult of the Dreamer was all but gone, but we were still recovering from the damages they had caused and from the severe winter that was about to end soon. It was then that I had received a cryptic message from a member of the Blüdhafen paladin chapter. It was strange, because the paladins had stopped telling me anything for months, and the only inside information I had was, that a group of paladins from the Sonnendorf chapter were on their way here, to take it to the capital.
The message was short, urging me to meet the man at night, near the western city gate. I was to come discreetly, alone, and armed.
Ignoring the tingling feeling of dread and uneasiness, I waited until nightfall and went to the meeting place. When I arrived, my contact was there. Were it not for the attributes of his order, I would never had assumed this malnourished raving creature a member of the paladin order. When he saw me he quickly grabbed me by the shoulders and started rambling like a lunatic.
Even though his visage and behaviour were those of a madman, I quickly realized that whilst his mind and body were obviously tormented, there was very lucid clarity and purpose in his eyes. He was frightened and kept checking if we are truly alone. I didn’t understand everything he was saying, and he was often quickly repeating the same words and phrases, but his overall message was clear.
“I don’t have much time, the chapter has fallen, the seals have been broken, the gate has been opened. It has begun, the city is under siege. Warn the duke, make him rally the garrison and call for help; take this to him, he will understand.”
With those words he handed me his holy book. The book was covered in a mass of writhing moving flesh, and the holy sun symbol on it was replaced by a giant yellow gibbous eye. An eye that was looking right through my soul; it was very difficult to avert one’s gaze from the eye, as the longer you looked at it, the more it drew you in and encompassed everything you saw around you.
I managed to muster the necessary strength to tear my tabard and cover the book with it, but I was still horrified by this display of devilry.
The paladin whose willpower I now greatly respected, started twitching in agony. I tried to help him, but he shoved me away with a menacing growl. Suddenly, he drew a dagger and stabbed towards me, but before the strike connected, he led the strike away with his other hand, almost as if fighting against himself. He then forced the dagger into my hand and begged he to kill him; saying that he could feel something taking over, and that he didn’t want to end like the others. Seeing the state he was in, and the urgency of the situation, I understood that this was not the time for senseless sentiment, and with a prayer to Zuthar, I cut his throat as quickly and painlessly as I could.
Understanding the direness of the situation I started running towards the duke’s keep, but I had to make it through the whole city to get there, and though going around the paladin cathedral in the centre of the city was the fastest route, I assumed that it would be too dangerous. I emerged from the dark alleyway, and saw the beginning of what was to come.
The main street was littered with corpses, smoke and fire were enveloping the city in the distance, and I could hear screams of horror and shrieks of murder in the distance. And above it all, like a cyclopean monument of evil, visible from any point of the city, stood the cathedral. No longer the pristine symbol of purity and faith, but a black menacing structure, illuminated by the wretched fires that consumed parts of the city. For a moment I thought of the book at my side and had a vision. I could see the cathedral covered in the same mass of flesh and gore as the book was, but above the utmost spire of the structure, I could see the giant glowing yellow eye as well, looking over the city with cosmic otherworldly purpose. The vision faded in just a blink, but I believe it wasn’t just my fantasy, as in the following hours…this vision would become reality. The Blüdhafen Massacre had begun.