Carrying on from yesterday’s update, here are two places you really don’t want to end up in in the Blight. The update today comes with a warning that it deals with the subject of mutilation and is not be suitable for younger players…
The Punishment—Torment in the Unreachable Gables
One further—and particularly vile—aspect of the Capitol remains firmly outside the building; the Punishment. The Punishment are a large wing of gargoyles, individuals from their own kind with a grotesque reputation for violence and cruelty and who have been encouraged to roost within the lower to upper reaches of the outer cliffs. These cliffs are impossible to reach through climbing alone, and also impossible to escape from by similar means.
The Punishment are well named, at any given time between 15 and 45 ‘criminals’ (usually with any immediate family) are tossed from the Capitol’s upper walls into the grip of this diabolic group. The Punishers rule their flock with a refined and vile cruelty, and are encouraged to torment those in their power. Once a prisoner of the Punishment, even the opportunities for death become limited. The gargoyles keep their flock alive to continue their torment, always seeking to ensure that punishments are meted in full view of—and sometimes with the enforced participation of—those nearest and dearest to the prisoners.
The gargoyles, led by the fiery Anger of Rain (CE male gargoyle barbarian 7), number between 20 and 30 at any given time, and they delight in loitering at the edges of the highest cliffs of the Capitol, where they expect to be feted and groomed by their slaves the prisoners. Often the gargoyles amuse themselves by taking their prisoners for a fly across the worst places, and play games with them involving catch. The gargoyles love games, and have perfected them to a cruel art. Sometimes, the dreadfulness of the situation becomes too much for a prisoner and they jump; if they hit the bottom they are lucky, if the gargoyles catch them on their descent the Punishment unleash one of their most cruel of retributions – the fettering. Fettering victims have their hands and feet removed, after which they are immediately cauterized and then healed, any family members are then tormented or assaulted by the repulsive gargoyles and then daily punishments continue with renewed, frenzied, enthusiasm.
The gargoyles love hunting games, and these usually involve the scattering of the prisoners and then hunting them across the rooftops; sometimes they kill most of them, others they select to keep alive through healing magic to abuse.
You don’t so much see, as hear and feel it coming. The screams hit you first, then the pleas, then the stench; a fetid hanging odour of humanity and fear. Then finally you arrive at a functional stone wall with a single great gate, hung above the gate is a sign, it simply reads Purgatory.
Purgatory is the worst place to be in Castorhage.
The ruling families use Purgatory as their personal debt settler, their research tool and questioning place. They keep it almost totally secret, almost—certainly no one has ever escaped or left here alive after incarceration—but they do allow whispers of its presence to escape.
His Grace Alexander Borxia (LN male human aristocrat 4/wizard 4) is in charge of questioning, and is assisted by a trio of lillin devils (Tome of Horrors Complete 199). The prison, a claustrophobic iron and furnace hell, usually has only a handful of special prisoners set aside for the maximum attention from the quartet. Refinements of torture here are far more mental than physical, something the lillins and Borxia are masters at. Borxia is a particularly unpleasant man, having been cruelly abused by his kin when a small sickly child.
The sick questionings of the quartet have birthed a horror from Between known simply as the Tall Man of Misery, a unique Between creature. The Tall Man is part sadist, part madness and wanders the city rooftops with his crooked staff stealing into the nightmares of those with particularly vivid imaginations and dragging them into those nightmares in Between, giving birth to their deepest fears and desires and making them flesh and bone, bearing teeth to bite and claws to rip...