Lost in the Mists

Josiah's Journal

736, Yellow Summer of My 17th Year

The fields are well tended and producing much crop. Glory to Aurifar and may he continue to rain blessings on us!

The heat of this season is hard on Mother and little Abigail, but even with this we are blessed. Father tells that we will be able to eat very well through mid-winter and onto the rain season. Father even promised that he would show Lucas and I how to read elfish this winter, if the yield is great enough!

I am concerned that even with Lucas, Father and I working we will not be able to harvest everything before the frost claims it. It’s hardly fair that we should suffer such fortune. Still, there should be more than enough so that we could finally sell some crop at the market.

Glory to Aurifar!

739, Yellow Summer of My 17th Year

A peculiar thing happened today. A man came to our farm asking for aid. He was very strangely dressed and spoke with a gruff whisper. He looked as if he had never worked the field and would not survive in the wood, but I did hear Mother later say to Abigail that he was very becoming and winsome. Father laughed at this later for he is a good soul. The Stranger said he was wandering the road, but I think he was running from something for he kept looking around for some kind of sign he was pursued.

The stranger begged for a meal and stated that he could pay us in gold. Father welcomed him to our table for three gold coins. I’d never seen gold before; we could buy a new cow this spring! He accepted our food and told us many stories of the world. He must be some kind of bard to tell such tales.

Everyone loved him, especially Mother, but I did not. I did not like how he looked at Mother or little Abigail. He eyed them how a fox eyes the henhouse. But he seemed to lose interest quickly, so I suppose no harm.

The stranger left quickly, but asked again for food for the road. He said he had no gold left, but that he could give Father something better than gold. The stranger noted that we would lose a third of the crop simply due to lack of able-bodied hands. Lucas was upset at this, but Father agreed and that hushed him.

The stranger told of a magic potion that he had, that he could give Father to make a laborer. Abigail was crying at the mention of magic, and Mother took her away. The stranger told took Father in the other room and told him how to do it. Father seemed convinced and accepted the trade.

Lucas was scared. He uttered that saying that we heard in town last summer: “The day you see magic is the day you die”. Father disagreed and said that perhaps this is a sign from Aurifar.

Aurifar guide us!

861, Blue Summer of My 17th Year

We were anticipating this day for weeks. Not only because it was the first day of the Harvest, but also because it is the time to use the Stranger’s magic! Father said he prayed nightly, asking Aurifar for a sign that this was the wrong thing: no sign came. As Aurifar sees all, we must be blessed in this endeavor.
We worked hard all day and harvested a quarter of the corn field. The Stranger was right, we will lose at least a quarter of the harvest.

That night, we built a bonfire like the Stranger said and took one of the scarecrows from the field. While Mother and Abigail danced and sang the Harvest Song, Father opened the Stranger’s bottle. Its contents were dark and smelled of afterbirth; Father smeared it on the burlap sack that was the scarecrow’s head

We had to name it then, and we let Abigail name it because then she wouldn’t be afraid.

She named it Harold.

There was no magic flash and the scarecrow was just as lifeless as it’s always been.

Father was upset because it looked like he had been cheated. At least we still have the gold.

862, Blue Summer of My 17th Year

Aurifar Be Praised!

It looks like the Stranger was not a cheat after all. When we rose to work the field, we found that there was someone in the field already! Father grabbed the axe and called to Lucas and I. We raced out, expecting to find some miscreant stealing our crop, but we found something extraordinary.

The scarecrow was working the field! It was gathering hay, swinging the scythe like a madman. It seemed like it had been working all night. Father told it to stop and it did so, but it kept trying to resume work. It was amazing! After we determined that it was following Father’s commands, we let Harold return to the field.


873, Blue Summer of My 17th Year

Aurifar has blessed us!

With Harold working night and day, we have completed the harvest weeks ahead of time! Harold is tireless, completing the tasks Father gives him and then returning to the fields once again! We have loaded the barn with hay, and filled the silo and wagon with other crop. All done before the end of Blue Summer!

Abigail plays with Harold sometimes, the scarecrow will pause to play. It’s a strange magic of course.

We had a grand feast tonight, celebrating our fortune! Harold even celebrated too: dancing on the roof like a horse trotting along. It was thunderous and wonderful!

876, Blue Summer of My 17th Year

Aurifar Guide Us!

The Stranger’s magic has not changed and Harold continues to work the field. But there’s no crop left! He has been digging, already plowing far ahead of time. This could destroy the soil. Father commanded him to stop, but the scarecrow kept working! And every night Harold goes to the roof and dances.

Abigail cries in fear constantly now. Mother keeps telling Father to burn Harold, but Father wants to lock him up in the barn. Even I’m starting to be afraid.

What kind of magic is this?

880, Blue Summer of My 17th Year

Aurifar Help Us!

We locked Harold up in the barn with the cows last night. We heard him banging on the walls all night long. At dawn I went out to feed the chickens, I checked on Harold. I could see through the loft window that all the cows were dead. Harold had slaughtered all of them; skinning them with the scythe!

So terrifying was this that we kept little Abigail away and only told Mother a little bit. Father wants us to go to Town to find a cleric we can hire for the gold. We are loading up the cart to sell some of the crop and hopefully return with white magic to undue this foul thing.

Father is going to stay behind to keep Mother and Abigail calm. Lucas and I will go into town at noon. We will probably have to stay in town and return tomorrow morning. Father says everything will be okay.

881, Blue Summer of My 17th Year

We searched all through town, but Cleric Jorel could not be found for he had gone to a traveling carnival with most of the town. Lucas insisted that we buy a proper sword to help destroy Harold. We did, and we had just enough to eat and lodge before returning that morning.

How foolish we were to accept that Stranger’s offer! It has damned us all.

The sun was very hot as we approached the farm. It seemed very still. But I saw a shape moving on the house’s roof. As we approached we could see it was Harold. The scarecrow seemed to be kneeling on the roof over something.

Once we reached out outer fence, we quickly saw that Harold was laying out bloody blankets to dry in the sun. There were two big ones and one small one. I knew it first, and then Lucas cried out.

They were not blankets, but the flayed skins of our family.

Harold seemed to notice our despair and began dancing like an idiot on the flesh of our family.

He has remained doing so this past hour while I wrote this entry. Lucas has readied the sword we bought and I was able to grab the axe from the tree stump in the yard. We are about to go destroy this foul thing.

I will leave this journal by the well, in case we fail.

Maybe Aurifar has abandoned us. Do not trust in magic.



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