Campaign of the Month: January 2009
Pursuit of Destiny
Harbinger House – Final Report
Written by: Ohest Veld – Superintendant
Regarding: Patient #2312038 8518 45192091425 2114615124
Patient Name: Aria Talodus
The patient was found unconscious at the bottom of the stairs of the north entrance of Harbinger House surrounded by a powerful stasis field <insert>. Early examination of the patient through the field provided the following information. The patient was a female, racially an Elf, blond hair, eye color (at the time unknown), roughly 5 feet 8 inches tall to 6 feet tall. Age was speculated to be in the mid to late 20s. No clothes or personal effects could be seen on or around the patient, except for bands that bound her hands and feet. No visible wounds or exterior distress could be seen either. After interviewing those around the area where she was found, the results were inconclusive as to whom or what left her at the facility.
The stasis field was visually akin to clear blown glass, while its strength was like iron. The field that surrounded the patient was slick as oil and no matter how we tried to manually move it we weren’t able to get a solid hold. With the assistance of 20 wizards from the Lady’s Ward we were able to move the patient inside Harbinger house, and placed her in an observation room. The magic behind the stasis field piqued the interest of those that assisted us in moving the patient and they requested fervently that they be allowed to study her. After discussion with the Board of Directors [See: Observation Licensing document – 1044056a in the Hall of Records section 70b – sub catalogue 404m – subsection B for a copy of the document they were allowed to observe the patient while still adhering to the rules outlined in the Observation Licensing document that forbid any direct interaction with the patient.
It wasn’t until the 2nd week of the 1st month that the patient began to move within the stasis field. Initially it was small movements of a finger or her eyebrows. Then one day she moved as if she was getting more comfortable within the stasis field. As if it was a bed or some kind of cocoon. She made no noise and had no signs of hunger or need for any sustenance. The Wizards continued to observe her as best they could, yet they were still confounded by the stasis field. The primary question was how she was able to breathe as the field appeared to be air tight. By the end of the first month we started to see facial expressions, a furrowed brow, or gnashed teeth. There was one instance where she smiled and I can tell you first hand it brought joy the heart of every man in the room. You could hear chuckles and everyone was beaming with smiles from ear to ear. It was a moment I can tell you I’ll cherish for the rest of my life, although I can tell you I’m not completely sure why.
At the end of the 1st month the color of the stasis field went from a clear blue glass to a flat onyx. It only took seconds for this color change to occur. We were observing her from a connected room at the time. Without a sound the stasis field then started to fall to the ground like dust, as the dust was settling it changed direction and took the appearance of smoke and vanished up towards the ceiling. The bands that bound her wrists and feet fell to the table she was resting on as if they were ash. Those in the observation room demanded information as to the next course of action, in addition to an explanation of how and why the stasis field vanished.
I had no answer other than showing the patient a level of respect as she was no longer just a woman under glass (as it were) but now was just a nude woman in an observation room. I rushed from the room and grabbed a blanket from a shelf to cover her. A few of the wizards followed me in and requested samples of the ash from the straps. I scraped up what I could with my hand on to a piece of paper and gave it to them. [See addendum to: Observation Licensing document – 1044056a in the Hall of Records section 70b – sub catalogue 404m – subsection B1, which allows for the transfer of the material to the aforementioned Observation license holders
The wizards petitioned for further access to the patient now that the stasis field was gone. All requests were denied. I found this repugnant as she was a patient in my care and as such would not be treated like an animal to be dissected. I ordered the wizards to exit Harbinger house and assured them that they would receive reports on the progress of the patient keeping in line of the Observation Licensing agreement. This would be a political wound I would no doubt feel in the future but my first responsibility is to everyone’s safety, and their childlike need for answers would have to wait.
By the middle of the 2nd month she was still asleep. We had dressed her in some proper clothes and moved her to a different room. We found that we were able to speak with her in her sleep and she would answer. Regardless of her being asleep she was able to provide us with some valuable information about who she was. In short we learned her name Aria Talodus. She had no knowledge of where she was from, or how old she was. She had no family to speak of. Further information on the conversations we had with the patient can be found in the patient’s case file located in the Hall of Records section 801a – sub catalogue 3301.
In the span of the 3rd week of the 7th month she began to have a chain of nightmares. The result of these nightmares had physical consequences. 3 attending orderlies were killed, in addition to the patients who were kept directly above and below her room. We found no signs of forced exit from her room at any of the times of the killings. Those who were killed seemed to have been cut to pieces by a bladed weapon of some kind or burned with fire from the inside out. In addition to that there were numerous occasions where angelic apparitions where seen all over Sigil itself. The apparitions initially seemed calm however over the course of the week there were 1,400 deaths at either the hands of the apparitions, or from other means where as previously mentioned they were burnt alive.
Her nightmares from what documentation we were able to gather was centered on a crime she believed she had committed. The “crime” was on a realm called Celence. [Note: No record in Sigil of the realm “Celence” was found_]. She was sent there for an unknown reason. She had great animosity towards those who lived in the realm and wanted to conquer or destroy them. The reasoning behind the animosity was unknown. In her nightmare she built an army of some kind and subjugated the realm in a matter of years [We were unable to define how long a year was on this realm, or how large her army was.]. She talked of temples built in her honor that was walled off by the skulls of her enemies. There was talk of statues of her, in addition to her worship and holidays in her name. She often returned to portion of the nightmare where she destroyed the ruling house of a powerful kingdom and she removed the eyes of the king because of in her words_] “his boastful eyes”. [Again in her words “She burned the family alive and left them as a symbol as they clutched their dead father.” More information is available on these nightmares and other observations in the patient’s file located in the Hall of Records section 801a – sub catalogue 3301.
After the chain of nightmares at the order of the Board of Directors she was placed on a daily regimen of heavy sedation. We found that we were unable to just give her the normal dosage we would give any other patient and had to resort to giving her 20 times suggested amount. At my recommendation we never went above this amount as my concern was that over a prolonged period of time it would have negative effects on her health. In addition to that we took the precaution of moving any patients whose rooms were directly adjacent to hers. As we’d hoped we found this drastically reduced the number of deaths, however we did have many instances where the apparitions would continue to appear on different floors of Harbinger House, but only inside Harbinger house. The apparitions were not always hostile, only in times when someone would attempt to get close to the patient. We surrounded her room with a field that would (normally) dampen and magic and our hope was to limit the angels from going farther than the vicinity of her room. We found this also didn’t work.
As such we were forced to limit the amount of time any one staff member would be allowed to be in contact with the patient in addition to limiting access to the floors directly above and below the patient’s room. While the patient was on the sedation she was pleasant and showed no aggressive leanings.
Regardless of her current “pleasant” state, the Board of Directors demanded that I provide them with a plan to get the patient to a place where she could be worked with towards rehabilitation. Their concern was that her body would eventually become used to the sedation we were giving her and she could quite possibly wipe out the whole of Harbinger House. I spent roughly 2 months going over her file, and reading all the documentation that had been gathered on the patient. My plan was in no way the best moral option, but it was what I had to do in light of the patient’s condition. [See: Rehabilitation Study 1544a – sub heading – Superintendant Ohest Veld
My plan was slated to begin at the end of what was now the 5th year the patient had been in my care. In short, the plan had 2 phases to it. Phase 1 was to bring about a sense of trust and an understanding of the reality we were creating for her. Phase 2 dealt with suppressing Phase 1 to a subliminal level and then building a new reality around the patient. The plan was centered creating a reality for her that was in line with her nightmares, as well as providing a reason for her being in Harbinger House. It was to explain to the patient that a “god” she supposedly worshiped placed her in Harbinger House as punishment for her deeds. [Note: We decided to not use any of the existing gods as we were unsure how being confronted with a rival god would impact the patient_]. That her nightmares were the way her “god” was not letting her forget what she had done. [_Per the orders of the Board of Directors, they wanted a means to make the patient believe that her abilities were removed as a consequence of her actions. This was also to be an action of this “god” that she had dealings with. Other than what had happened in her nightmares we were all under the impression that she didn’t actually know that she had as much power as she did. This new reality would be one that she couldn’t deviate from even if she wanted to, one that would allow for her to become a different person while suppressing her power under the guise that she didn’t really have as much as she did.
The rehabilitation would require the patient to remain on heavy sedation, however we were seeing progress. There were times we saw sorrow and regret for these actions we had created for her and a true desire to “make things right” was expressed through our conversations. [See: Patient’s Case files for detailed progress reports located in the Hall of Records section 801a – sub catalogue 3301. Within a year we were able to wean the patient from the sedation and get her to start to ask questions about what she could do to help her rehabilitation. This was a huge step for the patient as we had gained her trust and we found that the time spent seemed to be providing the intended result.
The new reality for her would be one where she would be a guard here at Harbinger House. This all would stem from her desire to protect while on a subliminal level would satiate her need to make up for her actions in her nightmares. The conditioning would establish for her the ground rules of Harbinger House. This would also deal with educating her about Harbinger House, Sigil, and what her role would be at the facility. By the end of phase 2, her programming was complete and at the request of the Board of Directors she was placed under observation for another 3 months to ensure that the conditioning had the desired results and that any residual memories didn’t pose a threat. By the end of the 3 month observation period we saw no threats and slated her to be put into service at the end of the 4th month.
I personally was there when she woke up from the final round of observation. We had dressed her in the garb of a guard in Harbinger House and we had created a story to explain an altercation she had with a fictional patient who in the struggle had died. In order to solidify the reality we had created, we provided her with papers of citizenship in Sigil. For the record, I found it interesting that when she filled out the paperwork she signed her name Celence. I kept this to myself at the time and asked her to keep her papers to herself. From that point forward I never mentioned the name Aria Talodus again.
For the next 5 years she was the perfect guard. She rose in rank and we continued to keep up the ruse. We put in place rules that wouldn’t allow for her to leave Harbinger House, but allowed her to roam freely. This continued to add credibility to the story we created and she honestly seemed quite happy with it. She dressed in such a way as to inspire awe from the other patients. This was a psychological tactic she adopted on her own that worked quite nicely over the years. I will say that one thing that always shocked me about her was that she never aged a day. She looked exactly the same as the day she entered Harbinger House.
The patient showed no signs of regressing to her former self and the plan created many years ago seemed to be working. This was all until a patient named Garrek Esch was brought to Harbinger House. Further information on this patient can be found in his case file. [See: files 405b – sub catalogue 9980 in the Hall of Records
As soon as Esch entered Harbinger House Celence exhibited some traits of her old self. Her nightmares returned, as well as a number of instances where she openly attacked and killed 4 other patients for unknown reasons. She would have no recollection of any attacks on the other patients. We moved Esch and Celence to opposite wings of Harbinger House in hopes that the distance would lessen the effects of whatever tied them together.
Celence continued to do her job as expected after the initial altercations. The distance seemed to reduce the number of attacks Celence had drastically. As previously mentioned her nightmares did return and often times other patients would be maimed or burned alive. Esch exhibited no feelings either way about Celence and as a result of it we were unsure if the effect he was having on Celence was on a subliminal level or a reaction that was coming from Celence on her own.
Per the orders of the Board of Directors another round of sedation treatments were given to Celence in order to attempt to remove the problem she had with Esch. The treatments took 5 months and we saw 8 orderlies killed during the process. By the end however we were able to bring her to a state where she viewed Esch as being nothing more than a patient in Harbinger House. It took us another year before we were comfortable allowing Celence to patrol the wing of Harbinger House where Esch was located. When she did, there were no ill effects and it seemed we had fixed another problem.
5 adventurers entered Harbinger House with the intent of solving a murder of some kind that they believed centered on one of the Patients. [See:_ Security Record 8853 for more information on this event_] They entered the facility and started to interrogate various patients who they believed where part of their investigation. There was little we could do with this for fear of physical repercussions. They ended up breaking into the room Garrek Esch was being held only to be met with a quick death. At the time Celence was patrolling the wing where the altercation was happening only to find Esch attempting to escape.
Garrek made it outside of the facility with ease and Celence as if on cue was not far behind. Other members of the facilities security followed both patients out of Harbinger house only to return a report that a portal had opened and they both fell through. As soon as Celence stepped through the portal closed.
I have a strong feeling that the conditioning is going to start to break down for Celence. Harbinger House was one of the grounding aspects to her rehabilitation. My hope is that she’ll hold on to some of the things that tied her to the facility and Sigil and they will act in small part as a means to hold the conditioning together. We didn’t have time to examine how confronting her with her supposed past would have, in addition to what kind of power she actually wields. My hope is that she will continue on with the understanding that she is a guard from Harbinger House and will attempt in every way possible to return here. More in-depth information regarding the patient’s care and treatment can be found in her case file in the Hall of Records section 801a – sub catalogue 3301.
The loss of Garrek Esch is a mild concern. I have documented my feelings on Garrek Esch in his case file. Patient #2121311 239144 218914719 451208 – See files 405b – sub catalogue 9980 – for more information.