::Copies of this letter are found tacked on walls scattered throughout the Barony of Travance and on each side of the Rift, brought by local messengers in the weeks leading up to the Baronial Feast.::
We write to you, to whoever finds these notes, not for ourselves, but so that you understand. There are some that do not support our cause, feel it is too dangerous, that it is misguided – Please, read these words, learn what we've learned, see what we've seen – in doing so perhaps you will understand why we must do what we do.
There are creatures among us, mortals so depraved and cruel that they invite pure Evil into their bodies, into their souls. They become the hosts of dependant symbiotes that grant them great and terrible powers over dreams and shadows. They are the True Warlocks, and they could be anyone. The Belmont Household of Hunters have made it their familial mission to seek out this invisible enemy amongst us. Of this great family there once stood a legendary hero, Laurent by given name. He believed the True Warlocks were not a race unto themselves, but rather a breed of Demonic entity – and to that end, that all demons were actually negative energy beings and the true, greater adversaries of the Belmont House. Through wisdom gained from two powerful ancient artifacts, Laurent believed that a way could be found to break through the defenses demons of the Abyss possessed, so that the positive energy used by Hunters could be used successfully against all of their kind. The key, he swore, lay in a set of three artifacts – the Circlet, the Amulet, and the Thread.
We have proof that this is not just a story. With the help of citizens of Travance, we have recovered the Circlet, and it granted us a frightening vision. We apologize if it seems disturbing, but perhaps the knowledge gained will aid us all. It came to us in broken scenes and images:
Laurent Belmont, old, accompanied by a handful of Hunters, laying down a long golden rope – The Thread. A great beast, shrouded in shadow, thrashing and snarling at its entrapment inside. A younger Laurent, surrounded by students young and old, teaching and speaking on his own visions. His voice lecturing on the nature of True Warlocks, and that Demons are the ultimate threat to their House. Laurent, even younger, lifting the Circlet from a hidden alcove. He puts it on, slowly, and is overcome with images of this own, a vision within a vision:
A flash of blood red fire fills ones vision. Suddenly, there is the nauseating feeling of falling, falling endlessly through layers upon layers of darkness and painful flame. It goes on and on, but just as it becomes unbearable there is a sudden change in direction, a rushing upwards higher and higher, and one is flying to the peak of a darkened tower and soaring inside its cold and ancient walls into utter darkness. There is a Demon, strong and powerful, struggling against the unrelenting grasp of a pair of huge Abyssal Creatures holding him by each of his arms. From the darkness, there is a feeling of a presence – a glimpse of sickly white skin, of flame red hair, of cruel relentless eyes – A Demon Lord of great and terrible wrath. One word escapes this being's dark lips, the name of his chosen sacrifice - Raqoztl. There is a flash of white gold as the thread of rope sizzles against the sacrifice's skin, searing the flesh as it wraps and tightens against him of its own volition, pinning him against the stone pillar that rises up behind him. A circlet of leather and metal, lifted by the Creatures, is pressed to his forehead and hammered into his skull, each iron nail as an agonizing, suffering pain that does not end. The Demon Lord, dressed in shadow, steps forward and reaches into his captive's chest, pulling from its depths a beating ruby red heart. It pulses in his hand. There is smoke. Agony. A feeling of being torn apart in body and in soul. There is a harsh masculine scream, and then silence. Raqoztl is gone. In his place, a Seal is burned into the pillar on which he was bound. To the floor fall three objects – the Circlet, the Amulet, and the Thread – each taken and scattered across the whole of Arawyn, hidden away and lost.
We are the followers of Laurent Belmont's teachings. We must break the Seal. We must fight the Demon scourge. And we will need your help.
In Galladel's Name,
Leilah Laurent-Belmont & Sareena Rowans, Primary Disciple & Personal Attendant to House Elder Evelyne Laurent-Belmont