Adventuring Guild Strange Aeons
Trapped at Briarstone Asylum, the Pharasmin priestess Winter Klaczka has become the leader of a fragile band of survivors. She knows that it will take more than prayer if any of them are to escape the terror.
She’s wary of the PCs and has no compunction about making that clear, but deals with her unease and the new arrivals with the pragmatism of someone harboring greater concerns.
When Mother Thestia, high priestess of Maiden’s Choir Cathedral in Caliphas, personally called for Winter, the young priestess knew her life was about to change. Well after midnight, before the great statue of Pharasma in the cathedral’s sanctuary, the High Mother introduced Winter to a severe woman who identified herself only as Omari. This stranger, Mother Thestia explained, was one of the nation’s Royal Accusers, secretive agents who were sworn to Ustalav’s crown and operated outside the country’s baroque hierarchy of titles and privilege. Omari came requesting the service of one of the cathedral’s sisters on an undertaking that would lead them to Thrushmoor in the neighboring county of Versex. The High Mother didn’t deign to reveal the terms of the church’s bargain with the Royal Accusers. Rather, she explained only that Winter would aid Accuser Omari until the errand’s completion. Dutifully, Winter promised to serve to the best of her ability and faithfully represent the church, fully aware that, when it came to twists of fate, Pharasma’s blessings and curses often appeared much the same.
The journey to Versex proved quiet enough. There were no interruptions, and all members of the investigation rode along in silence for much of the trip. Upon arriving, Accuser Omari left to keep some private appointment, a short task from which she returned with errands for each of her aides. Omari handed Winter a badge deputizing her with the authority of the Royal Accusers, and sent her along with a small contingent to nearby Briarstone Asylum to inquire after a handful of recently committed patients previously in the service of Haserton Lowls, count of Thrushmoor.
Following the insanity that gripped Briarstone, Winter became a prisoner within. She had met only briefly with Administrator Losandro and had learned little of the asylum’s workings or those she’d been sent to inquire after, though she was promised a chance to interview the patients. Even during her brief visit, she inferred something of the strangeness unraveling at the sanitarium and had been granted leave to explore the grounds. It was during this investigation that the first of the quakes struck and the patient uprising began. In the chaos that followed, Winter and her compatriots found themselves attacked by ghouls, which overwhelmed those who had traveled with her. Desperate to escape, Winter made her way to the asylum’s entry, but found that she wasn’t the first to be trapped by the unnatural mist surrounding the grounds. At her suggestion, a handful of survivors made for the nearby chapel to hide—and pray. Winter’s desperate plan saved the lives of several of the asylum’s patients and staff, who still linger in the chapel. The priestess never expected the asylum’s chapel to become her new home, but with no options for escape and terrors crawling through the halls beyond, fortifying the holy place and holding out for as long as possible seemed the only choice she and the others had for survival. Winter has become the survivors’ de facto leader. Her common sense, calm demeanor, and honest desire to see everyone make it out of the asylum alive make her well suited to this role, even if she lacks any tested survival skills. She’s come to trust all of the survivors currently struggling along with her, Vaustin York foremost among them.