The Erstwhile Window

Record from Pere Uelstra of Bismuthforge, Entry 02043  
I hope you understand that talking to you is something that I never figured I would do. I'd heard about you, Pere, you all are the dogs of the Imperial Nobility. You lot are worse than bounty hunters, worse than common thieves. You lot are the reason that my wife died... That being said, I'm not one to avoid a helping hand, and if that is what you can offer then I'm willing to lower myself to your level.

It started when I was a boy, just a small lad working the farms with my family. We had a small plot of land guarded by a kind enough leige. Things were good. Usually. Father had a habit of drinking, and Mother would stoke his fire with her own anger. It wasn't something that I liked to be around, so whenever my chores were done and my parents started to fight, I would run out into the woods in search of adventure. I know, it's childish and dangeorus, but I didn't care at the time, anything beat sitting and listening to them fight more.

One day, when they really started going at it, I ran in a direction I hadn't tried before. I usually went towards town, as it was still safer, and there was a chance of running into other kids, but this time I didn't. For some reason, this time I ran away from the world, towards the unknown and dangerous. I left with only a knife and a small water pouch, why would I have needed anything else? What a fool I had been.

The sun was beginning to set when I started to grow tired, I'd neglected to account for the lack of light to help guide me home, so when the moon rose and the light barely filtered through the trees... well, I felt a bit stuck. I didn't cry, I was stronger than that, but I could feel the tears of fear welling up. I wanted to call for my mother and father, but I knew they wouldn't hear me. I had gone too far from home. No, If I was going to get home, I'd have to do it myself.

I didn't. Or, it might be better to say that I couldn't find my way back. Instead, when the last light of the sun left and the moon reached its height, I was staring at a rundown cabin. It was small, barely standing and tilted to the right. Overgrowth had claimed most of it, but the door still hung open enough that I could see inside. Even in the lack of light I could tell it was empty. The floor was mostly grass and the roof had two trees collapsed atop of it. Still, the weather in the forest was hardly stable, and I was getting too tired to continue to walk. So I decided to take my chances inside the small cabin and sleep for the night.

It was empty, like i'd expected, and the grass and underbrush had broken through what floor had been there years before. Yet, I felt a sense of strange unease as I walked inside. I looked over the walls and structure, even as a child I knew a thing or two about woodworking and building. Father had had me involved with building the barn when I was just old enough to help, and I'd fallen in love with using my hands to build since. I inspected what I coult of the supports and made sure that I wasn't about to sleep in a giant coffin. When I was satisfied with the structure, I lay down and stared out the only window.

I remember thinking that it was odd, that the window of all things, had remained perfectly intact when so much of the rest of the home had fallen to disrepair. In truth, the window was more than perfect, it looked as if it had been pulled from the side of a fancier home, except for a line of chalk that still remained. When I looked through it, I felt like I could almost see something moving, but when I focused on it, nothing was there. I would have felt uneasy, but for some reason I found it funny. The strangeness of a perfect window in the destroyed home.

I had a strange dream that night. I dreamt that I was walking through the forest, but something was pursuing me. I didn't know what, and whenever I tried to turn around and see, nothing was ever there, but I knew that something was chasing me. I pressed on further into the woods, but found that things only managed to get stranger. I found my home, except it wasn't my home. The world was destroyed and gone to ruin. The house was old and overgrown, like the cabin had been. I ran inside, screaming for my parents, but found only dust and overgrowth. And the window. The window was there, looking back at me. The ring of chalk around it was gone, but the window remained. This time though, I could see something moving within the view. Something tall, it seemed to be as thin as the tree but moving like a person. It shocked me so much that I screamed, and when I did... It turned. It turned to look at me. I couldn't see the face, but I'm certain that whatever it was saw me. Then suddenly it was at the window, zipping forward faster than anything had a right to move, a long, spindely arm stretching into the room and reaching towards me.

I wanted to flee, but knew that whatever it was, creature or not, was just outside and waiting for me. Instead I searched around for a weapon in the house, forgeting all the while about the knife at my hip. I didn't find anything, excpet for a small, thin, stick of white chalk just long enough for someone to hold. I rushed forward and grabbed it, then without thinking, ran it the length around the window. Nothing seemed to happen as the line was drawn, and I had to avoid the slow grabbing arm of the creature, but when the chalk line ran the length entirely, the hand stopped and froze. Then, after a minute, it slowly retracted and the creature began to walk away.

I woke up in a cold sweat the next morning, eyes transfixed on the window across from me. I couldn't see anything moving outside, but the early morning light was doing little to help just yet. I didn't waste anytime, I ran home as fast as I could and didn't look back. When I think about that cabin, sometimes I feel I can almost remember one more detail. That as I ran away, I could swear there was a tree near the outside of window that hadn't been there before.

I had the dream a few times over the years, but whenever it would start I'd search for the chalk and draw the line around the window. I wasn't stupid. I know demons are real, and I knew that as a child too. I wasn't about to let myself be captured or possessed if I could help it. For a while it seemed to work. I managed to grow into my middle teens before it showed up again.

I was working the field a few days after turning fourteen, something that was becoming more and more of a habit as Father was prone to laziness. The sun was setting and I had just finished pulling another load of barrels up from the cellar, when I thought to have a rest and enjoy the cool breeze. I rested my head back against the house, expecting to avoid the long ledge of the exterior windowsil. Instead I bumped into something, something that felt like ornate molding around a window. I turned, and there it was. It didn't just look like the window, either. Something in me knew it was the same one.

I slammed shut the cellar doors and left the barrels, harvest be damned, running to alert my family. I knew we didn't have chalk, but for some reason that didn't concern me. My mind couldn't fathom the appearance of the window without the appearance of the chalk, like they were linked. I pressed open the door and found my parents arguing over something. Mother was furious, and held a cast iron pan at Father with vindictive anger.

I tried to quietly summon their attention, knowing full well what had called the creature before was noise, but Father beat me to it. He shouted and berated Mother with everything he had, riling her up into a full stupor of coiling violence. She swung, suddenly, striking Father in the head and dropping him into a heap on the wood floor, blood spilling into a pool around his head. She looked triumphant, content in a victory over an unworthy foe. I remember her smile of joy as she stared over his bleeding body with a sense of dread, because I also saw the creatures long arm begin to spill into the room.

She turned, just in time to scream, as the arm reached out and grabbed her with a slow, crushing force that sent the chilling sounds of shattering bones through the air. She vomited blood as the tightened around her, and the creatures thumb rose up to press against her head. She turned to face me, look of joy now replaced with a pleading grovel, as I watched my Mothers head burst like a melon from pressure.

That was when it started to pull her out the window, except she wouldn't fit. She couldn't fit, the window was too small and kept catching on her limp, dangling legs. I reached a hand out to my father, hoping to find one struggling back, as my mothers legs were ripped from her body and dropped onto the floor. My nose filled with the thick scents of blood and I fought back the rising bile in my chest.

Even with all that had happened, all the horror I had just witnessed, I knew one thing in my mind for certain. If I could find the chalk and draw the line, everything would be okay. That was all I had to do. Except, there wasn't anything like that around. The room was filled with the common trappings of their sparse house, but nothing new was there. Nothing to draw the line. I admit, at that moment I began to panic.

I didn't know what to do. I was trapped with my likely dead father, and the limbs of my dead mother. So I ran to the window, and stared out into the darkness around the house, hoping to catch a glimpse of the creature. I regreted that decision as soon as I did it, because I saw the beast. I don't know what I saw, but it looked like a tree... only, anything but one. It's impossible for me to describe, only that it held the torso of my mother in its gaping maw, and turned to see me.

It stretched its long arms in again and began to fish around for more, but I was determined to survive. I knew that my mother and father were likely dead, and that I would be too if I didn't find a solution. So, lacking any other solution, I dipped my hand in the pool of blood around my mothers severed legs, conveniently dropped at the base of the window, and ran my finger the length of the wall around it.

It took a few tries, as the blood would run off my shaking fingers and coated my arms and face. The tears didn't help, they made the lines blurred and wobbly, but eventually the arm froze. When it pulled away finally, I was a sobbing ball on the floor. Completely devoid of any understanding around me. I didn't hear the local guards come to the door some hours later, I had passed out, but when I woke I was on horse back. Tied and restrained.

They said I killed my parents in a rage, and must have eaten my mother. The blood over my body didn't help my case, nor did the strange markings around the window. I had drawn the lines, but had also plastered blood all over the wall in strange and, honestly deranged, manners. I had been consumed by fear, and tried to explain that to the court, but was ignored and treated as a miscreant. Someone who had devolved into using dark magics against his parents, and had paid the price for it.

They put me in jail for twenty years after that. Sentenced me there, in front of the whole town, for a crime I never commited. Well, I didn't let it get to me. I didn't have anything anyway. No home, no family, no future. I spent the twenty years reading, and learning, actually got pretty good at carpentry all things considered. The only saving grace for the whole thing, was that the jail gave us chalk. They didn't mind it if you asked, and were kind enough to beat you for it before giving you some. So no matter what, whether the window was there or not, I kept those lines around my cell window, because the dreams never stopped.

Not much happened while I was in. I lived, learned, got my fair share of beatings. Learned to hate the Pere guards, they were the ones that hit the hardest, they never cared about what they did. When I got out, well... that was different. The world had changed in that time. The town was more...well, more. More people, more homes, less country and more of the raging cities that people oft wanted. Actually, things were pretty good. No one cared if you were fresh out of a jail cell, so long as you were strong and could work. Both of those things I could do, and do well.

I found work at a carpenters workshop, just as a hand around, and settled down for a life of doing the samething everyday. I met my wife there too, she was wonderful. Kinder than I deserved, but she cared about me in a way I never thought another person could. She believed me! She trusted me!

She thought I was crazy when we moved in together, I kept lines around all the windows. She went along with it though, provided I assured her it was just a precaution, not because I saw the window at the time. For a while, things were calm and nice. Life was peaceful, and we married to a wonderful reception. Life was good. The dreams almost seemed to stop.

Then one of you pere decided to stick your nose into my life. He was a tall, rail thin, mardan with long ears and slicked back hair. He made my skin crawl, and I almost refused to let him in. When he said he could help me with my problem, well I nearly laughed. I didn't think it possible that anyway would know about it, and even less that someone could help. Still, when he mentioned that he knew my parents were killed by a beast... I let my guard down.

I offered him tea, let him in, let him talk, and was kind enough to show him around. He made gestures, comments on decor, and eventually placed a hand on one window in particular. Then he said he needed to spend the night with us, as a precaution. He said the creature was strongly attuned to the house and was likely going to strike again soon, and assured me that if it did, the chalk wouldn't be enough.

I feared for my dear wifes life, and cared little for my own in the moment. I begged him to help and he agreed. He didn't want anything, the only payment he wanted was the creatures head. I was thrilled, and agreed. I should have pushed him out the door then and there. Or killed him myself.

It appeared that night, just like he said, except this time I was prepared. I'd purchased a pistol from the local smith and had trained with it for some time. I was actually begining to get rather good at it, and I had hoped it would be enough. What I hadn't expected, was for the Pere to produce a whistle and wipe away the chalk. He blew the instrument and the beast rushed against the house, fully bent on slaughtering all within. Then he pulled out a small token and began to speak strange words.

Whatever it was only managed to make the creatue more angry, as another arm reached inside and ripped him apart in mere moments. The first hand, sustaining a few quick shots from my gun, reached for my wife and split her in twain with its force. Impotent to stop it, I fell to my knees and begged for something to aid me. Nothing came though, and as the lifeless bodies of the former people around me were dragged out the windows, I ran through the house and drew new lines around each one.

I was safe again, but with a new set of corpses on my hands. So I ran. They found me eventually, obviously. I can say one thing for certain, I'm glad the jails still carry chalk. So there, thats the story. Now what do I have to do to get rid of this thing?
— Philip Dellson of Restbvard, convicted killer.


History


My research into the window demon, as I shall refer to the being within the artifact, has proved rather pointless. The information I've recieved only describes individuals, usually murderers, claiming to have been cursed by a window that follows them and kills those around them. I have been unable to properly assume the regular tasks I would take for concurrant gathering and the affirmation process.

Earliest records place the apearance of the Window Demon to nearly fourteen years prior to my investigation. The first report comes from a small city just outside the Hatoian Capital, in the plains. The man was a hunter and had disappeared for a few days before returning to his family, that night he murdered them all and was found curled in a ball, claiming to have seen a monster with long limbs that looked like a tree.

It is my assumption that the demon is some sort of tree spirit, or creature that was damaged and possessed during the Abyssal Campaign, as is often the case, and simply found a way of extracting life and sustinance from mortal beings. Probably grew tired of livestock and animals, instead choosing to hunt people. The means of aquiring food is rather strange though... I've never heard of a lesser demon doing something so close to a ritual, at least not without a very good reason.



Encounter & Engagement


My interactions with Mr. Dellson was limited to the recording that I could capture during the initial interview. While there were more tests and procedures I was willing to provide, he was adamant that the task be done at speed. Mr. Dellson is serving his sentence for some time yet, but I do believe he wished for it to be at least a little more peaceful. After all, if his story is to be believed, then the man is innocent and has been falsely imprisoned twice.

I originally grew interested in the strange case surrounding Mr. Dellson when I was stuck in Restbvard for a small engagement with a colleague. We were wasting time in a coffee shop, when we overheard the startings of a pair discussing recent events. I admit I eavesdropped and, found myself floored when I heard that a man had killed both his Wife and a Pere. When they mentioned that the man in question had drawn strange markings with blood around his window... Well, I guess that was when I really became sold on the idea.

It wasn't far fetched to blame the occult and the bizarre, in fact the life of blaming such things is my bread and butter. I serve my world, and my Goddess, by finding and containing these creatures as best I can. I know very well, that one day they shall claim me and all my work shall be for nothing, but until then I shall continue onward. So I investigated the statements of the two, my colleague joining me to keep me safe.




Capture & Containment


Statement for capture procedures is as follows: The subject in question is not to be approached without the proper understanding that the window, as it possess both a physical and ethereal form, is connected to the window demon. they are one. One cannot exist without the other, and as such that makes containment of the issue rather simple. So long as the window is contained, so is the creature.

When my colleague and I arrived at the home of Mr. Dellson, we discovered that the window was contained by the means of some sort of strange ritual writings. The blood markings meant very little, but my companion mentioned that the words were actually Hatoian, and spelt out the words "Keep me safe, of Goddess of Life and Light." This is the same Goddess that I believe in, and that I believe runs The Last Stop that I've recorded about before.

We were... unable to properly contain the window during the first engagements, as we left the creature and construct contained within the previously established ritual structure, whislt we retired for the evening and made to devise a dispelling ritual for it. I came to the decision that a simple path should be done for something so light. I made sure to establish a basic system of renouncement and went through the process of updating my companion on my goal. Together we were able to work out a system that could pull the window from the wall and destroy whatever contained the creature.

We returned the next day to find that the window had not moved, but some of the blood was beginning to fray and that was concerning. The ritual writings were the reason that the Window Demon was contained, and so it was important for our work to make haste and not allow the benefits we had gained to go to waste. We instead made quick work of the precedure and had the window removed from the wall and broken several times in half within the hour. We heard a number of screams and felt the pressure of Ethereal Energy press against us during the destruction of the window, but after the frame had been shattered, the energy began to lessen.




Final Thoughts


I've submitted my findings to the proper authorities and with luck, it shall shed some light onto the bizarre case of Mr. Dellson and his unjustly impisonment, but if I'm honest, it may not do anything at all. There is little chance that the word of two Pere, well regarded or therwise, may have on the public opinion and preception of a known case such as what happened with Mr. Dellson.

This was a strange case, but not in any sense the most difficult case that has come across my desk, so to speak. It revolved around a poor man in a bad situation, and concluded with the man in no real better of a situation. No payment recieved for the job, though I think the story is worth the work on this one.

Comments

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21 Mar, 2022 18:27

Almost like a junji ito manga put into prose. Highly recommend giving this a read