The journal is a large dusty leather-bound book, the front marked with a heraldic device in simple red and white.
Flipping through the dusty book you find it’s written in a dated version of Thell (with some additional script you’re unfamiliar with used for some additional marginal notes on many pages) and appears to be a journal of some kind, many pages bearing dates that would make the journal somewhere a little over 200 years old.
While the writing is dated, dense and overly verbose (and often delves into arcane diatribes about research matters and potions) you are able to get the general idea that this was a combination of research log, alchemical recipe book and personal diary for the last surviving member of the House Ferrel (hence Ferrelton) bloodline. About halfway though the book there is a full-page diagram of an idol of a female figure. It appears short and round, the notes in the margins seeming to imply that it was squatting atop a tentacled creature but seem unsure if it was giving birth to the beast, or it was a vanquished enemy. It appears to be clutching a hammer to it’s chest and tusks protrude from it’s bottom jaw.
The last of the bloodline of House Ferrel was the only son of the house in his generation. His sisters were all wed to members of families elsewhere but his parents passed before they could arrange a bride for the last Lord Ferrel. Eventually he became enamored of a low-born maiden from Ferrelton (and she of him) and the two made plans to wed. A sharp minded man with an interest in alchemy and history he would occasionally make visits to the Edhelgoroth because he was perplexed by the Dwarves’ aversion to the region.
It was on one such journey that he and his dog (Indiana) found the idol and an old shield in an area far from the main field of battle. He took the idol home, documented it, wrote several letters inquiring about it to other scholars and went on about his business. Except his dog took a great dislike to the idol and became increasingly aggressive the longer it was around.
It was during a visit from his fiancee that his dog turned, he attacked the future Lady Ferrel biting her viciously. Lord Ferrel tended to her wound and bound the dog in a section of the sub-crypts where he had established his alchemical laboratory. Since the animal continued to become increasingly violent Lord Ferrel felt that he had to be put down and took a dagger to do the deed. Except, after putting the beast down, it began to twitch and got back up, clearly still angry and wanting to attack. Lord Ferrel closed the section of crypt with the animal in it and left to visit his beloved.
The future Lady Ferrel was not well. Lord Ferrel had her brought to his keep so that he and his servants could tend to her but she continued to waver on death’s doorstep until she finally crossed the threshold. As Lord Ferrel was mourning the loss of his love, she too arose with a violent intent. With the help of his servants Lord Ferrel was able to restrain what was once his future bride in the crypts as well, shackled to a wall.
Seeing a new danger in the idol and what was once his bride, he fortified the crypts to try to keep the contents out of the wrong hands. Then he paid his servants well and dismissed them all, swearing them to silence. In the final entry he apologizes for not being able to continue the House Ferrel bloodline and resigns himself to the crypt cell with his beloved.
The rest of the tale you are able to puzzle out amongst yourselves…
No doubt eventually one of the servants let slip what had happened (probably after a few too many drinks at the Ferrelton pub) and the story was probably not taken well. Distrustful of the details, the story was quickly twisted by the low-born who believed Lord Ferrel had taken his fiancee and inflicted this malady on her himself. The smallfolk stormed the now abandoned keep, took anything worth taking then burned whatever would burn. With no noble family to help communicate and organize things for the town with the Thell government [pre-unification] the town eventually begin to decline and the remaining families left.
Ferrelton was left a ghost town and the remains of Ferrel Keep no doubt lay empty for decades before being inhabited by a clan of industrious Kobolds. Serving as their home until Lord Ferrel’s old letters to other researchers about the idol were discovered again, sparking a race to recover it.