Sylvan Stories: Delver

Disturbingly eerie noises always emanated from the “research lab” (as it was unofficially titled by its owners) next store. Moans and groans would permeate the night, disturbing the subtle serenity of the small town it resided in. Joseph, the leader of the town’s investigation committee – which lay right next to the lab – began to have a hunch about the organizations true intentions. Something was wrong with that place, a strange uncertainty wafted off of its walls. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but as the weeks went by things became stranger and stranger. However without proper cause it was completely unlawful to investigate his strange neighbors. But Joseph couldn’t keep himself from doing so, the oddity of it all inspired his inner curiosity.

So he went to work. He’d watch the building like a hawk, monitor every movement in and out, watch the researches as they congregated and discussed, and write it all down in a carefully organized journal titled: “Case XII: Gilman’s Research Lab”.

At first all seemed to be fairly normal. Other than the strange noises that came from the building at night, and of course the very odd researchers, who all but refused to interact with the rest of the town, nothing out of the ordinary happened. The researchers followed a regular schedule. Arrive at the lab by sunrise. Leave at sunset. Every day they would stick to this schedule never faulting. They would not talk to anyone, they would not look at anyone, and they worked in an eerie unison that resembled a colony of ants. Sometimes one of the researches would disappear for multiple days, and come back with a mysterious containers of varying sizes, of which thick burlap cloths would always cover their contents from observers.

As time went on Joseph’s hunch about the lab began to drift away. After weeks of watching the lab’s patterns he just didn’t see the potential of anything dangerous going on at the place. He found it strange, normally his hunches were never wrong. But nothing ever happened. They just seemed to be a very odd bunch of biologists. Eventually Joseph decided to officially file the case away in an almost empty cabinet titled: “Low Threat/False Danger”.

Weeks went by, Joseph and the rest of his investigation team moved on. They worked case after case, stopped robberies, murders and other terrible crimes. They brought down a particularly malicious cult and gained an honorary reward from the town’s council – that’s when it happened. The night Joseph was walking back from the rewards ceremony, something sinister caught his eye. At first he didn’t acknowledge what was happening across the street, but he soon came to realize what he was witnessing. Quickly scurrying to a large bush Joseph observed in horror.

On the upper floor of Gilman’s Research Lab a man was standing with a syringe. There was a caged monkey next to him, which was hauntingly shrieking at the top of its lungs. Blood plastered the mans hands, and the syringe dripped with a bluish serum that shimmered in the lantern light. The researcher began laughing, and a sinister grin overtook his face. The monkey then twitched, its eyes bulged out in a grotesque display, and its arms began morphing into what looked to be mantis legs. A thick sinew looking material slowly overtook the poor animal and it collapsed to the floor of its cage, grotesquely altered and still twitching. The researcher then put on a pair of gloves and opened the cage door. He slowly shook his head and grabbed the monkey’s carcass. Throwing it into a black bag, he disappeared beyond the wall.

Horrified at what he had just witnessed, Joseph realized his hunch had been correct. Gilman’s Lab was up to something… something terribly horrific. He had to bring a stop to it, but more evidence needed to be found in order to get the council’s approval to make arrests.

Suddenly the side door of the research lab swung open interrupting Josephs train of thought. The loan researcher ran out of the building in a frustrated outburst. He threw what was presumably the monkey into a large pile of similar black bags. Joseph had never seen this pile before, and wondered if all of the items in it were from only this night.

After some time the lights in the lab slowly all went out. With the street now quiet, Joseph decided to go take a closer look at the bags that were piled outside. When he neared them a putrid stench stung his nostrils. He couldn’t believe an operation like this had been right under his nose the whole time. He proceeded to open up one of the bags and a blast of rotten air came out of it, a single giant antenna covered in the same strange sinew material as the monkey sprung up and almost hit him. Joseph’s face turned white and his stomach churned. He felt incredibly sick, quickly backing away he threw up.  After he managed to regain some composure, Joseph wrote down what he had seen in a journal he always kept handy and then ran back to his building. Entirely disturbed he passed out, collapsing on the floor in the middle of his office.


The next couple of weeks revealed more and more evidence about what the research lab was actually doing. But by the time the council had given its permission to investigate further, it was too late. The top window of the lab was shattered, and a single journal lay open on the table. All of the researchers, along with the terrible secrets they had uncovered were gone, mysteriously disappeared. Eventually the investigation had to be abruptly closed and filed as “unsolved”.

One night many months later – while the lab was in the process of being cleaned and re-purposed – Joseph swore he heard the rhythmic beating of a massive insect’s wings fly high over the town, disappearing into the distance never to be heard again.

Thanks for reading! Sylvan Stories is a weekly series, be sure to check back in a week for the next addition. If you have any questions, comments of concerns feel free to leave them in the section below.

And as always, happy gaming!




Sylvan Studies Team
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