"There was a light coming out it, like it was glowing or something. And it wouldn't stop screaming... it sounded like Johan that day the pit prop broke and the tunnel came down on his leg. It were just screaming and screaming."
Espen sighed and tried to summon up some sympathy for the woman, but it wasn't working. Miners were a bloody superstitious lot - often with good reason - and she was the third person who come up out of the shaft and refused to go back down today. But still a ghost was just a bloody ghost, horrible it might be, but she would just have to screw her courage to the sticking place or find another job. He tried to explain to her, as he had with the others that there was no real danger here.
"It's a ghost Francisca, just a ghost. It can't harm you. It can't do anything to you. Just ignore it. If you can't manage that, just give the thing a full belt with your pick and that it will drive it off for an hour or two. You work in a mine for pitys sake, a ghost is nothing to be scared of."
The light in the mine passage flickered and then went out. Espen cursed inside, as the tunnel was plunged into darkness. Just what he needed - the superstitious woman was bound to take it as some dread omen. He fumbled for the flint and steel at his belt before he realized he could see them through the gloom after-all, bathed in a pale green light.
Espen stared at the apparition as it hung in the air. The miner was already running - and the thought went through Espen's head that perhaps he should have had the courage to run with her. Instead he stood transfixed by the sight, unable to think what to do.
The thing was tall and thin and so gaunt he couldn't tell if it had once been a man or a woman. The light came not from the ghost but from knots of spectral green flame that curled over its body slowly blackening the flesh where they touched. It opened its mouth - as if to say something - but only whisps of green flame came forth. It reached out towards him, to touch him or perhaps to cradle him in its arms. But as their flesh joined he felt the flames searing his skin, burning sinews and tendons to the bone. A tiny part of his brain screamed at him that none of this was real, that this was just a projection of the ghosts fears.
But the rest of him just screamed until their was no breath left in his body. When they finally managed to stop him screaming the next day his throat was so damaged they had to give him Marrowort before he was physically well enough to speak of what had happened.
The Druj are poisonous creatures - deadly in victory, but savage and vengeful in defeat. It is once claimed that they took to poisoning the swamps in which they dwell, merely to deny the land to any that might conqueror them. Now that the Empire is finally forcing them back, the extent of their evil has become apparent.
The Pits of Ennerlund have been under the control of the Druj for many years, but the Vigilant Swan was under the Druj yoke for only a few seasons. Enough time however for the Druj to turn both sites into charnel houses, the bodies of the slaves they worked to death left to rot where they fell. Still they needed the mithril and the granite the sites produced, so they kept them working while they held them.
But once it was clear that the Druj were beaten, they have acted to destroy the mines. The Pits were collapsed, and that will take months of expensive work to clear. But as the rubble is removed it is clear that this was just the least part of the vengeance of the Druj. A bloody harvest, a ritual slaughter of hundreds of citizens forced to work the mines has taken place just days before they could be rescued. This is more than just murder however, it soon becomes clear that the butchery was for a purpose - a fell purpose intended to render both sites unworkable.
As the Imperial citizens have returned to try to work the Swan and to reopen the Pits, they have found scores of ghosts haunting the mines. Every passage seems to contain the restless spirit of some poor soul, tortured and murdered in the most gruesome ways imaginable. The ghosts are not harmful... at least not to the body... but it is more than the spirit of any normal citizen can stand to work the site for more than a few hours.
As a result, any attempt to work either resource is completely stalled. No work can be completed to clear the Pits of Ennerlund to prepare them for use and no white granite can be extracted from the Vigilant Swan until the problem with the ghosts is solved.
The civil service have assumed that they can count on the heroic priests who attend Anvil to help with the work of clearing the mines, once their business at Anvil is concluded. But even so it will take months of painstaking work combing the passages to find and exorcise the ghosts that the Druj's twisted murders have created. There are enough priests able to exorcise a ghost to clear a site in a season, but it will require at least 50 liao to achieve this and a clear indication of which suitably skilled priest is going to lead the gruesome work.
Critically, since there are two sites that are plagued in this way - and only sufficient priests to clear one at a time - someone is going to have to decide which site should be cleared first, assuming that sufficient liao can been spared.
The civil service looks to the Imperial Synod in this obviously spiritual matter, and stands ready to assist with the organisation and accommodation of the priests venturing to whichever one of the sites is chosen to be the focus of the Empire's attention. A judgement by the General Assembly would be sufficient to express the intention of the Empire's priests in this regard. The judgement should also name the priest versed in the exorcism ceremony who will lead the endeavour, who should also be the priest to collect the required liao.
Obviously, whichever of the two Bourse resources is addressed first, the problem at the other resource will persist and will likely need addressing during the following summit.
The successful cleansing of either the Vigilant Swan or the Great Pits will require the assistance of a very large number of Imperial priests. Our assumption is that any player-character priest will be able to help at the chosen location - but only at one of the two sites will such efforts have any measurable effect. There is no need for specific priests to contact Profound Decisions to discuss their actions in downtime - the assumption is that any priest who wishes to can role-play having helped in the spiritual clean-up exercise.
The priest who is chosen to lead the endeavour should put the 50 liao required into their inventory, and ideally e-mail Profound Decisions after the event.
During the Summer Solstice, Ozren de Orzel of Dawn was named by the Imperial Synod to oversee the exorcism of the Great Pits at Ennerlund. The following season, during the Autumn Equinox, High Exorcist Solas was nominated to oversee the exorcism of the Vigilant Swan.