The Carrion Crown
The History of Harrowstone Prison
Here are the important details that the characters have unearthed:
Harrowstone is a ruined prison—partially destroyed by a fire in 4661, (current year is 4711 – so it has been 50 years since the fire) the building has stood vacant ever since. The locals suspect that it’s haunted, and don’t enjoy speaking of the place.
Harrowstone was built in 4594. Ravengro was founded at the same time as a place where guards and their families could live and that would produce food and other supplies used by the prison. The fire that killed all of the prisoners and most of the guards destroyed a large portion of the prison’s underground eastern wing, but left most of the stone structure above relatively intact. The prison’s warden perished in the fire, along with his wife, although no one knows why she was in the prison when the fire occurred. A statue commemorating the warden and the guards who lost their lives was built in the months after the tragedy—that statue still stands on the riverbank just outside of town.
Most of the hardened criminals sent to Harrowstone spent only a few months imprisoned, for it was here that most of Ustalav’s executions during that era were carried out. The fire that caused the tragedy was, in fact, a blessing in disguise, for the prisoners had rioted and gained control of the prison’s dungeons immediately prior to the conflagration. It was only through the self-sacrifice of Warden Hawkran and 23 of his guards that the prisoners were prevented from escaping—the guards gave their lives to save the town of Ravengro.
At the time Harrowstone burned, five particularly notorious criminals had recently arrived at the prison. While the commonly held belief is that the tragic fire began accidentally after the riot began, in fact the prisoners had already seized control of the dungeon and had been in command of the lower level for several hours before the fire. Warden Hawkran triggered a deadfall to seal the rioting prisoners in the lower level, but in so doing trapped himself and nearly two dozen guards. The prisoners were in the process of escaping when the panicked guards accidentally started the fire in a desperate attempt to end the riot.
You have also uncovered an eerie children’s song that seems to be related to the five prisoners that died in the fire:
“Put her body on the bed. Take a knife and lop her head.
Watch the blood come out the pipe. Feeds the stirge, so nice and ripe.
Drops of red so sparkly bright. Splatters spell her name just right.
With a hammer killed his wife. Now he wants to claim your life.
Tricksy father tells a lie. Listen close or you will die.”