1 – An Introduction
I fear it is time for me to finally write down in words the full truth to how I became Mayor of the small town of Wilthaven, and how I have come to hold that position for so long, in spite of local grumblings.
For, you see, for many years now, my position here has been under question. Many feel that my appointment was done under duress, and that the continuing plagues that befall this poor dwelling is somehow my doing. I can only hope, that through this telling of my tale, the people of this fair town and beyond will understand what it is I have sacrificed in order to be in this position, and what I must continue to sacrifice in order to stay in it and – for lack of a better word – keep it safe.
A preposterous notion, I’m sure you’d agree, especially if you were a resident within Wilthaven itself. The nightly terrors that strike our town, combined with the great losses we still suffer to this day do not give creed to the idea that we are better off. However, by knowing the alternative, one can come to realise that it is a lesser of two evils. Why, is it better to divert the train cart yourself so it kills a solitary man, than to leave it be and let it kill dozens. Why, when one talks of the plague in Wilthaven, one usually means that terrors and abominations that are a constant occurrence. Only I suffer the true pain of knowledge.
These petty grievances aside, I should introduce myself to you – the reader – should you not have made my acquaintance. I am Charles Dexter Crest, the only son of Nathanial & Marjorie Crest. I was born here, in Wilthaven, in 1826, and have been a resident ever since. I studied ancient history at Wilthaven University, and have had a keen thirst for delving into the worlds curios ever since. From the Standing Stones of Pynia, to the Arcane Etchings found in the caves of Tavuna, the stranger the find, the more I yearn to discover more about it.
This curiosity did, in turn, lead me to partake in an interesting youth. As soon as I was free of my parents firm hand, I took whatever travel I could across Pangaea, and sort out adventure in the name of finding something unknown. I wanted the Crest name to be the one that was responsible for imparting something across our fair realm, and would not stop until I found it.
Of course, had I known all along that this discovery would be found more closer to home, then perhaps I wouldn’t have as many stories to tell. In truth, none of them became as interesting as the one I am about to tell.
It was in 1859, when I returned from a trip to Bavaria to find that my home town had been struck by the most awful malaise. My parents informed me that a great number of fatalities had occurred over the past few months, and several small children had gone missing during the night. Of course, the towns authorities had attempted to act on these crimes, but suffered their own misfortune in doing so. One group, led by one James Witfell, was savaged so badly in the great plains that their only remains were a few shreds of clothing and a parchment that read only one word:
The second group, led by Chester Laymon, had more success, but only if a sole survivor is your barometer of such things. Mr Laymon himself returned from a night-time search in the woodland, only to be struck by the most severe catatonia and covered in wounds not cut by man.
I should note now, however, that Chester Laymon is well known in our society as a great author and chronicler of Wilthaven’s more severe curiosities. To know him in this period of convalescence was, indeed, a thankful one, but I should inform those not in the know that before then were very dark times for the Laymon family indeed.
Alas, to the disdain of my peers, these tales did little to dissuade me from returning to Wilthaven, rather to fill me with such a fevered excitement that I should look into this matter myself. If only I could go back and talk to this young man full of folly, I wonder if I would convince him otherwise. The curse that weighs upon me is large, but such a weight would be minor given the alternative.
As I say, my true story began on that day, 30th March 1859. If you’ll indulge me further, I shall tell you more about it.