Diary Entries[edit | edit source]
1st June 1716[edit | edit source]
It's been two month since I left Canterbury, owing to my stay at St. Claire's. Lord Webster had said that the weather would be warm at this time of the year, but it's still brisk in the fishing village lining the coast.
After days of being knocked about in a carriage, I have finally arrived at Nemeton Prison - an evil-looking place, leering down on a barrel plain from atop a cliff battered by the chill sea breezes.
Lord Webster told me to keep the strictest confidence. I cannot say what lies within this old, lonely building ; only that while I'm yet young, I have been a guard many years, but I have never seen nor heard of a gaol built in a place such as this.
While Lord Webster didn't tell me much about the prison's history, it is easy to imagine the part this foreboding place played in quieting conspiracies and political struggles...Although I do not look forward to spending my days here,
I have no choice.
My family depends on it.
2nd June 1716[edit | edit source]
Nemeton Prison... A hell on earth. While conditions here are no worse than Newgate, they are no better. I had imagined it would be so, but imagining a thing and actually experiencing it are different.
I shudder to think of the countless souls imprisoned here over the centuries.
There are people from all walks of life here-from members of the Pale removed from contention for an inheritance to simple barbers locked away to prevent them from repeating what they innocently heard while performing their jobs.
Locked away... and tortured, and killed. My research into the prison's records show the only a select few of those sent here were ever convicted of a crime.
This is not the simple prison it claims to be. It is rather simply a dungeon, where those in power seal away those without it who stood in their way.
How ironic that this place, built as a house of God, should become a house of horrors, forsaken by Him !
3rd June 1716[edit | edit source]
I have discovered something nearly impossible to believe - because I do not wish to. According to the prison's records, from 1632 last year, over 8200 people have met their maker withing the walls.
And these are only those for whom they are records... How many more hapless souls have died locked away here, with no one ever caring ?
4th June 1716[edit | edit source]
Today, I was ordered by the warden to watch over the prisoners in the west wing. Although this is my first assignment since arriving, I do not look forward to it. This is different from punishment some simple beggars. What sort of man could take pleasure in beating women and children ?
Received a letter from Mum in Southampton today. She complains that I wasn't able to attend my sister's wedding. Apparently, she married a Gibbs boy-one of the wealthier land-owning families in the area. I'm sure she'll be happy; she's been brought up well and should have no problem fitting into even a gentry family.
It seems like just yesterday she was a baby, following me around clutching her favourite little doll. I'm fiercely proud of her, though, even though I worry she may have been pampered a bit too much.
I wish her the best of luck as she now starts her own family.
5th June 1716[edit | edit source]
We began the "questioning" of Prisoner 27 today. The warden tells us he was instructed to do so by one of the nobles currently in favour with the Crown. He looks to have been a man of good learning and some standing.
He broke down and cried like a baby after the iron was pressed into his chest. Knowing he will never be released, we need not take care to leave him whole.
I am used to using water or a rack - something that would not leave a mark - for such things, but there is no purpose, no design to convert a heathen or bring about repentance.
Here, the punishment is only meant to cause as much pain as possible until death.
A job is a job, and while I have no intention of taking it up with the warden, I still have reservations what we do here - after all, we are still nominally employees of the Crown. Getting paid to inflict pain on others - are we no different than common ruffians ?
6th June 1716[edit | edit source]
Torturing people has become a daily routine. And there is no shortage of tools here - whips, chains, Iron Maidens, Spanish Boots, cages, spiders... Even some I had never seen or heard before coming here.
I must admit I am impressed at the ingenuity of the human mind, and the way that it can create such a myriad of ways to inflict pain upon another living being. But which is worse - those who think of such devices, or those who use them ?
All those we torture beg us to kill them, but we instead keep them alive that they may suffer more. There is no rest for them - not now, not ever.
14th August 1716[edit | edit source]
Received a letter from Mum today. She says my brother is wanting to go to some fancy school in the east and needs money. Why he would want to go to such a place is beyond me. Imagine - a university graduate in our family !
I wonder what Pa would think...
I know she gets some money from my sister's family, but I'm sure she doesn't want to always be asking for handouts from her daughter.
I want to help ; I want to do as much as I can for my family.
31st August[edit | edit source]
The mad woman in solitary confinement has died. If there is such as thing as fate, she must have been born under an unlucky star. She was a merchant's daughter whose hand had been promised to the heir of a wealthy family, but he had a change of heart and abandoned her.
He eventually married a nobleman's daughter, and was adopted into the family, which had no heir.
She was brought here to keep her out of the public eye. She kept the wedding dress she never got to wear until the day she died. I wonder - who is more insane, her or us ?
26th September 1716[edit | edit source]
A strange rumour is making its sounds amongst the prisoners. The number of people who say they have seen a sign from God in the night sky is growing.
None of the other guards believe there is such a thing, but such rumours are often a sign of trouble. I hope nothing happens...
3rd October 1716[edit | edit source]
Torture, pain and death. These fill the days of all who live here. I have come to envy those who quit living. Dear God, have mercy on my soul. I did not come here to become an executioner.
I have pleaded with the warden to have pity at least on those suffering from illness, but he turned a deaf ear upon my please. In the end, there are only two things people care about : Power and Money. They who have it use it, they who do not only suffer.
13th October 1716[edit | edit source]
I feel as if I'm losing my mind. I can no longer bear to hear the screams of those trapped here. Could I help them would, but since I cannot, I do not wish to share their confinement a moment longer.
Were it my choice, I would quit this place at once, but my family looks to me for support. I cannot let Lord Webster, who found me this job, down - I must repay his confidence in me.
The other guards say that I will grow used to it soon enough, that I should not let myself be affected by trivialities.
Can they not hear the screams ! I understand now... They are as mad as any of the prisoners... That, then, is my fate - I, too, shall end up mad, just like them.
29th October 1716[edit | edit source]
Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord !
To what end is it for you ? The day of the Lord is darkness, and not like. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him, or went into the house, and leaned his hard on the wall, and serpent bit him.
Shall not the day of Lord be darkness, and not light ? Even very dark, and no brightness in it. (Book of Amos, Chapter 5)
1st November 1716[edit | edit source]
I am writing this after having awakened by gunshots in the middle of the night.
There are screams of joy and anger throughout the building ; we are being attacked by an armed band.
Apparently, the "sign of God" the prisoners had been discussing was actually a signal from people outside the prison plotting to aid their incarcerated friends.
The freed prisoners are going mad, killing the guards and other staff. Their positions reserved, they flee for their lives but are hunted down, beaten, killed, even burned alive.
I find a strange satisfaction in watching them, they who were so drunk on power and wealth, dying like insects at the hand of those they brought they were masters of.
The mob is sure to make its way here in time. The time of our-my- judgement is upon us.
Do not grieve for me, dear sister. I will welcome them with open arms, as a fellow suffer and sinner. Even now, I hear footsteps. They are just outside my door...they-
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