PrefaceSurveyor Snypes reporting:
The expeditionary corps has completed its one week observation of the island of Guantil-ya. We landed on the shore on the first Keepersdey of Wexling, 1698 GE and departed on the second Keepersdey of Wexling, same year. Corps members: Jeffrey Snypes (commanding surveyor and magical support), Henrietta Haverkamp (soil analysis), Yanosh Clavoslav (ambassador) [deceased], Jeremiah Snypes (threat assessment) [deceased].
Preliminary result: Inconclusive.
Recommendation: Keep any future surveyors at least twenty miles outside the Rim City proper. Reconsider standing trade agreements. Involvement of the Middle Lands, Miyako Fluxum, or other large powers to deal with the Rim City case may be required.
Report 29ζ, Code Name: Arrival [Abridged]We have shored on the western banks of Guantil-ya, furthest away from the Guantil-ya Harbor near a cliff-side to mask the approach of our small vessel.
We beach the ship, gather our supplies, and then conceal it with local flora.
Once we begin our march due south to survey the parts of the island further away from Rim City first, Clavoslav voices his concerns for the first time: "Something is not right." He says. I agree but do not verbally confirm his assessment. Instead I urge him and the others to move on and follow the mission.
Report 29η, Code Name: Unknown Properties[Abridged]Tock, Tock. There is a strange noise that follows us intermittently. We have made good way and covered a large area within two days. Due to prior surveys there is much of the south-eastern part of the island we need not explore. We make our way towards Rim City. Henrietta has discovered the source of the strange noise: it is her multimeter. She informs us that she cannot identify it as her instructor has neglected to explain this function to her and this is the first time she is hearing it in apparently twelve years of working with the contraption. She says it seems to be accompanied to one of the scales, but she does not know what it stands for, only that it was once described as an experimental function only built in for very specific research in a minor branch of experimental gyrometrics, though she does not recall which one. It is not her field of study. Tock, Tock. We press on.
Report 29θ, Code Name: The Crabs[Abridged]Tock, Tock, Tock. We all feel it now. Something is wrong. The sky looks desaturated to me. I feel unwell. We are all more thirsty than usual. Clavoslav is hit the worst: He keeps hearing the hissing of crabs. At least he describes the sound as such. We laughed on the third day, which was the first day he started hearing it. We became worried on the fourth. Tock, Tock, Tock, Tock. It is now the fifth day and Rim City is in sight. He still hears the noise, and he has slept very little because of it. There is a mad look about him. I am worried.
Still, the mission must continue. When Clavoslav asks to forge on ahead of the group to assess the city and pave the way for contact if viable, I hesitate but then agree under the condition that Jeremiah accompany him. My brother will take care of Clavoslav, I am not overly worried.
Report 29ι, Code Name: Odd Land[Abridged]Tock, Tock, Tock. Henrietta and I stay in the same vicinity. She wants to take soil samples and analyze them. There was thickly growing vegetation further away from the city, and we came across two empty villages with derelict and overgrown farms. Where did the people go? Is there poison in the ground or in the water? We are still very thirsty and drink a lot. The top soil seems to further agitate Henrietta's multimeter. Tock. She doesn't know what it means, neither do I. I want to smash her multimeter.
Report 29κ, Code Name: Withdrawal[Abridged]Tock, Tock, Tock. I feel a growing presence. At night I feel safer than at day. The light frightens me, makes me feel as if I am too visible to whatever is just behind me. Clavoslav and Jeremiah have been gone for two days. I panic for no apparent reason and order Henrietta to evacuate to the ship with me. It is still watching me. There is an almost divine presence that weighs me down like a ton of bricks.
Report 29λ, Code Name: The FacelessTock, Tock. We arrive at the ship. Jeremiah is there. He has company. But not Clavoslav. We approach with caution, but he waves us over when he spots us. Something is wrong with him.
When Henrietta and I arrive, it is the eighth day of our survey. Jeremiah has red lesions on his face, as if he is suffering from sunburn. I ask him about Clavoslav. He tells me that there was something very wrong in the city: Some of the streets seemed almost ransacked, and there were no people in plain sight. They noticed solitary persons peering around corners, trying to get a good look at him and Clavoslav, but vanished quickly. All of them, apparently, had been suffering from Spellblight, almost as if it was a city of blighters. Clavoslav had lost it and run amok after screaming "The crabs, the crabs!" and clawing at his ears. An antropmorphic creature with metal arms had come out of nowhere, struck him on the head, and then dragged away his lifeless body.
My brother seems ashamed at the fact that he left Clavoslav for dead. I commend him for returning with the information. But my gaze keeps wandering away from him. His strange following has me on edge, and I have been patient enough to hear out his report. But now I must know: what are these creatures? He shrugs his shoulders. Apparently they have been following him soon after he left the city. They scared him at first but seem harmless enough.
How should I describe them? Well, they look human for the most part. They are always close to the ground, squatting somewhat, their knees bent. They have paper white hair like blighters. Their features are incredibly slight and sunken in, and they have no face, even though their skull is clearly human-like. Where nose, eyes, and orifices - including ears - should be, there is only smooth skin, except for two nose-like slits through which they breathe with some difficulty. They do not seem to eat, but sometimes they drink, and it is a pitiful sight to behold: By immersing their faceless fronts in water, they can suck it in through their nose-holes, which are clearly not meant for this purpose. They then have to close their windpipes so the water can roll down their esophagus, which usually does not work quite well, causing them to expectorate violently through their nose-holes, clutching their heads as though in pain from the excess pressure. They are strangely docile and seem to be curious about Jeremiah, though I cannot say why. I tell him we need to leave and have a healer look at him. His lesions look bad and he looks as though he is concealing quite a bit of suffering, but he begs to rest for one more night, so we do.