For a full week now, the Hamlet has been overrun by mosquitos and other insects. Given that, you might be wondering if I’m in the southern parts of Europe where winter doesn’t hit nearly as hard. I am not. It is two (metric) degrees above freezing right now, and there are bugs everywhere. I guess European bugs don’t mind the cold so much? Really, these ones seem to be thriving on it. I guess that one part of Uncharted 3 where the villa in temperate France houses tons of enormous spiders was more plausible than we thought.
The stress of our last venture into the ruins hung over us all like a dark cloud even as I sent you last week’s letter. Over the past week, we’ve all done our best to cope with Croc’s death. It turns out that some of us have very specific coping mechanisms. For example, Busquent is an alcoholic, and Reynauld refuses to do anything else except go to the church and denounce Venice. The good news on that front is that the town mayor has finally left the hotel bar, so Busquent went straight there. The bad news is that he then went straight to the altar and began denouncing Venice! What with the church still being a bit of a mess, there’s not really enough room in there for both the mayor and Reynauld, so he just kinda hung out in the hamlet the whole week, trying to convince everyone that the mosquitoes are Venetian.
Fortunately, there’s a few new arrivals in town, so it’s not down to just Dismas and Dufay this week. The newest additions to the team are Vesci, who appears to be some kind of carnival magician of some sort, and Bourassa, who is a dog trainer. I really don’t know what either of those things has to do with archaeology or security, but Dismas reassured me that they’d be great additions to the team. Since the only other guy who speaks any English is currently arguing with an empty room, I guess I’ll just have to trust Dismas on this one.
We set off for a two day expedition deep into the ruins. Our goal was to try and smoke out some of that zombie cult that Busquent was so harsh on last time. We definitely found a lot of them!
Like, a whole lot of them.
Like, whoa, there were so many of them in there:
We camped out inside the ruins partway through and set out again in the morning, and I’m happy to say that we were actually quite safe. It turns out Vesci can do some kind of magic trick where he speaks words not meant for mortal tongues, his skull glows bright with hateful flame, and the flesh of his allies twists itself back together. I’ll bet he has a bright career on a Vegas stage show after we finish up investigating here in the Hamlet!
Do you happen to know how quickly skeletons decay, by the way? Like, I know they can last for at least a couple of months. I’m pretty sure they can even last years, although maybe that’s just in the desert. I don’t think they can last for centuries. So, like, if someone died in the 16th century, and their body wasn’t mummified or anything, they’d be dust by now. This leads me to my question: Why does our family estate have a torture chamber in fairly active use?
At least two people died in this place since, what, maybe 2014 at the earliest? Did the cult do this? Why do we even have a torture chamber? Is it historical, and the cult just started using it again? Is it a Denouncing Venice thing (there’s definitely some suspect looking facilities in the church in town, but it seemed rude to ask about religion, especially when everyone’s already under so much pressure)?
Whatever was up with that room, we were in just about the final corridor of this section of the manor when we stumbled across this weird altar with an inscription:
So apparently if we put a torch in this altar, we are all going to die. Thank goodness someone left that warning! Otherwise we might’ve stuck a torch here just to help see. We really dodged a bullet there, especially with only two rooms left to search in the ruin before our mission was complete! It would’ve been really demoralizing for some horror to show up and force us to retreat. If it’s as nasty as the altar implies, it might have even killed one of us! I really can’t overstate how terrible it would’ve been to face something like this “Shambler” right at that moment.
Ten feet later, this guy showed up: