Turning the corner on to the northern path you soon arrive at the plot site. Mounds of fresh turned earth flank either side of a large hole. Standing at the head of the grave is an elderly man whom Kendra introduces to you as Father Vauran Grimburrow, the village priest. A pair of workers stand a respectful distance back, leaning on their shovels, watching the ceremony.
Father Grimburrow nods to each of you in turn as Kendra introduces you to him as you lower the casket onto a scaffold across the grave. After a short ceremony where Father Grimburrow consecrates the ground with holy water and a blessing of Pharasma he asks Kendra to step forward and say some words about her father.
Kendra, fighting back tears, recalls some of the events of her childhood and the happier times she spent with growing up with her father. Finished, she calls upon her father's friends to come forward and say something about their memories of Petros Lorrimor. Each of the townsfolk step forward to share a story or anecdote of their experiences with the Professor. After the last one finishes all eyes turn to you.
For each character who steps up to speak you will earn one trust point. For each character who makes an especially moving speech (DC:15 Diplomacy or Perform check) you will earn an additional one trust point).
Eloise steps forward, taking off her hat as she approaches the grave.
"I met the Professor in a dark place," she begins. "Many would not call it a dark place. Most of the people who live there do not think it is dark. There are great windows of crystal and glass, there is well-polished brass and gold that sparkles in the light of the sun and candles. Wealth and beauty are everywhere, there is song and incense so all senses may be delighted.
But I have known the taint on that place for as long as I could remember. No amount of polish and sparkle could hide the rot that festered underneath. I was... hiding, I suppose. I went from day to day, trying my damndest to hide the fact that I could see the taint, the decay, all around me and that I was struggling not to become a part of it.
Then one day, a stranger came to that dark place. A man of learning and courage, who had come to give a series of lectures. Professor Lorrimor."
Eloise coughs and briefly rubs her nose.
"He was... exceptional. He showed me that you can go forth and face what is filthy and tainted, that you do not need to hide from it and compromise with it. He showed me that the wide world was not just in books, where I could do nothing but sickly long for it; it was there for me to enter, if I only had the courage to go forth and claim it.
Goodbye, Professor. While you were there, that place was just a little cleaner. After you had to leave, I was a little braver. And now I stand here, and who knows where I will be tomorrow? Rest in peace, sir. You did well by me."
Eloise gives the grave a military-style salute and mutters: "That is all I have to say." She puts her hat back on and rejoins the others.
My earliest memories of Herr Lorrimor are born in fear, death and self hatred - he saved me from all three.
He helped me and healed me, taught and advised me. And he gave me new purpose. I don't hate myself any more... just those who took my future from me.
He looks to Kendra.
I lost a Father the day I met yours... and a Mother too. I understand your loss and I grieve with you. He raises his face thoughtfully, considering his next words.
Mein Freund und Mein Teacher, I wish you peace from the burdens of life, that the Lady of Graves would lead you safely though the Boneyard. We, who are left behind will miss you.
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14
As the procession continued despite the brief interruption Zindelo walked next to Tomnus, "Thank you for settling the crowd back their. They were ready for blood, especially that Gibs fellow."
As they reach the grave site and the ceremony begins Zindelo's attention drifts as he reflects on his time with the Professor. His attention is brought back when he sees Eloise step forward and offer her words of the professor. As she rejoins the others he listens to Mathus' words as well. When Mathus is finished Zindelo slowly walks forward to share his experience with the Professor.
diplomacy check 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15
"The Professor and I met outside of Riddleport. He was studying Thassilonian ruins in the city and had found my father to assist him. I was a shy and quiet boy, unsure of who I was. The Professor was the one who showed me who I was and what I could do. He brought me back to Ustalov with him and brought me to places of learning where I was able to understand who I am and what I can do."
With watery eyes, Zindelo is obviously trying to keep his composure. With a deep breath he continues. "If not for Professor Lorrimor I would not be who I am today. I will always remember his kindness and his love of learning."
Tracing a spiral over his heart "May The Lady of Graves ever keep you in her favor."
At the end of the ceremony Zindelo will ask Kendra's permission to play his flute. If she agrees then he plays a soft melody of mourning.
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5
wow.. the dice roller hates me. hopefully she didn't agree and saved me the embarrassment
As the melody starts Zindelo is overcome with grief and is not able to continue
After Zindelo finishes Tomnus will step forward.
"I haven't had the pleasure of knowing the professor for very long. But some of my friends back at the university knew him rather well. Many of my teachers in Lapidstat had worked with him first hand and it was through them I had learned about what he was passionate about. I soon grew eager to meet the man my self and my opportunity came a month ago when I was hired to help him on a mission... He pauses, tears welling up in his eyes. He takes a deep breath and composes himself before continuing.
"I was to meet him here next week...looks like I came a little early." with that a single tear runs down his cheek and he goes and joins the rest of the people, tracing a small circle over his chest as he walks.
Diplomacy:1d20 + 5 ⇒ (12) + 5 = 17
Waiting a respectful moment for Tomnus' words to sink in Theodor steps forward.
"I first met the professor by reading one of his papers on how to destroy the undead and slay those who raise the dead as their servants. While reading his research, he and I began to correspond on this topic and many others. His research and ideas helped me to learn about what it means to serve others and to protect those who cannot act for themselves. I consider the professor to be a mentor, a rock of stability in my life, someone I could turn to in my time of need and receive support and assistance from. Theodor pauses, gathering his thoughts, he begins to speak, softly at first, but building to a crescendo as he concludes:
"There are those people who come into our lives as agents of the Gods. The Professor was one such man. His teachings furthered the service I can render in Iomedae's name, and we shall all feel the loss of this light against the cold, dark of night. Rest well Professor, your dedication to your craft shall be missed, although your memory may live on in each and everyone of us. It is that memory which will drive us toward greater understandings and knowledge, and to use that knowledge to further the works of the Gods. We shall, in your memory, carry a light forward into darkness, remembering your inspiration, guidance, and wisdom."
"In Iomdedae's service, you will never be forgotten, and your light will shine for all humanity to learn from."
Theodor closes his eyes and steps back with the rest of the mourners.
Diplomacy 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
As Theodor finishes speaking, Father Grimburrow intones a final blessing of Pharasma for the Professor's enternal rest before tracing another spiral in the air over the open grave.
As the service concludes Councillor Hearthmount talks quietly with Father Grimburrow and after a vehement exchange the village priest approaches Kendra and the rest of the party. Taking the young woman's hands in his he stares into her eyes and in a voice pitched loud enough for all to hear he says "My poor young girl. Vashian told me about the ...altercation that took place. Disgusting! Rest assured the Sheriff and I will talk to those involved and see that nothing like that ever happens again." With a brief nod to indicate all of you Father Grimburrow takes his leave.
As the attendants prepare to lower the casket into the waiting grave, Kendra kisses her fingertips and lays her hand gently on the casket before turning, and with a wan smile, to invite everyone back to the house for refreshments. The townspeople all beg off citing the need to take care of their business in town but Councillor Hearthmount promises to visit this evening for the reading of the will.
Clearly disappointed Kendra turns to you and brightens "Oh well, it's just as well. Father never did like big parties." Without saying another word Kendra leads everyone back to her house.
Tomnus will remain silent for the rest of the service. As the others decline the invitation he can see the disappointment in Kendra's eyes and it saddens him. "Don't worry Kendra, we will celebrate your fathers life tonight the way he wanted." he said as he moved up beside her and walked with her back to her home.
Feeling let down even further by the lukewarm reception his words received Theodor follows the crowd to Kendra's house. He seems oblivious to the world around him, concentrating upon setting one foot in front of the other and looking for all the world, like someone who just let the weight of the world fall on his shoulders...
Mathus falls in with the rest and returns to the Lorrimor residence.
The locals are not taken with the prospect of a wake.... interesting. Maybe that fellow with the mob was just an outward sentiment of the community
"Gibbs!" trembling in fury she spits the name out like a curse "As far as I know my fathers never had any dealings with the man."
Striding angrily, purposefully Kendra remains silent until you reach what is now her house. Once inside the tension visibly subsides as she sets about making more tea and inviting you all to partake of the refreshments set aside.
Later, the promise of rain is fulfilled as the grey clouds turn black and a downpour begins. Soon the whipcrack of thunder is heard as lightning flashes across the sky.
During the afternoon repast Kendra says "Councillor Hearthmount will be here later this evening to read father's will. Father recently changed it and wouldn't tell me what was in it just as he made me promise that if anything happened to him I would send for the five of you. Almost as if he knew something was going to happen." she trails off.
Mathus steeples his fingers and cocks his head delicately to one side...
Tell us about your Father...
aid another for diplomacy 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16
Kendra begins, her voice a bit shaky at first but growing stronger as your outpouring of sympathy helps steady her nerves "It was a tragic accident. About two weeks ago father was wandering the grounds of Harrowstone prison, he had been poking around there recently, when one of the stones from a crumbling wall must have come loose and fell on him. The sheriff found him there after I became worried when he didn't come home for supper. At least he didn't suffer, according to the sheriff the rock had crushed his skull, death must have been instantaneous. But unfortunately due to the nature of the injury we weren't able to have an open casket for the funeral rites."
About an hour later there is a knock on the door. As Kendra opens it Councillor Hearthmount enters, his leather cloak and hood pulled up against the rain. As she escorts him into the sitting room the Councillor looks around the room with a slight look of disapproval on his face. as he takes a place at the table he reaches into a leather satchel and produces a scroll case which he then hands to Kendra "Can you verify that this is your father's seal and that it is unbroken?" he asks her in a very business like tone. She nods and hands the bone case back to him. He then runs his fingernail across the seal and opens the case. As he does so an iron key falls out of the case and clatters on the table.
Unperturbed, the Councillor produces a sheet of parchment from the tube and begins reading.
"I, Petros Lorrimor, being of sound mind, do hereby commit to this parchment my last will and testament. Let it be known that, with the exception of the specific details below, I leave my home and personal belongings entire to my daughter Kendra. Use them or sell them as you see fit, my child.
Yet beyond the bequeathing of my personal effects, this document must serve other needs. I have arranged for the reading of this document to be delayed until all principals can be in attendance, for I have more than mere inheritance to apportion. I have two final favors to ask.
To my old friends, I hate to impose upon you all, but there are few others who are capable of appreciating the true significance of what it is I have to ask. As some of you know, I have devoted many of my studies to all manner of evil, that I might know the enemy and inform those better positioned to stand against it. For knowledge of one’s enemy is the surest path to victory over its plans.
And so, over the course of my lifetime, I have seen fit to acquire a significant collection of valuable but dangerous tomes, any one of which in the wrong circumstances could have led to an awkward legal situation. While the majority of these tomes remain safe under lock and key at the Lepidstadt University, I fear that a few I have borrowed remain in a trunk in my Ravengro home. While invaluable for my work in life, in death, I would prefer not to burden my daughter with the darker side of my profession, or worse still, the danger of possessing these tomes herself. As such, I am entrusting my chest of tomes to you, posthumously. I ask that you please deliver the collection to my colleagues at the University of Lepidstadt, who will put them to good use for the betterment of the cause.
Yet before you leave for Lepidstadt, there is the matter of another favor—please delay your journey one month and spend that period of time here in Ravengro to ensure that my daughter is safe and sound. She has no one to count on now that I am gone, and if you would aid her in setting things in order for whatever she desires over the course of this month, you would have my eternal gratitude. From my savings, I have also willed to each of you a sum of one hundred platinum coins. For safekeeping, I have left these funds with Embreth Daramid, one of my most trusted friends in Lepidstadt—she has been instructed to issue this payment upon the safe delivery of the borrowed tomes no sooner than one month after the date of the reading of this will.
I, Petros Lorrimor, hereby sign this will in Ravengro on this first day of Calistril, in the year 4712."
After finishing he hands the parchment to Kenrda and asks "Is this your father's signature?" She looks at the paper and, too distraught to speak, nods her head again.
His duty discharged Councillor Hearthmount's face softens as he stands to take his leave. Taking Kendra's hands in his he says "My dear Kendra, I am so sorry for your loss. If there is anything I can do to help don't hesitate to ask." With a brusque nod to the rest of you assembled he bids you good day and gathers his things before being escorted by Kendra to the door and heading out into the storm.
Kendra returns to the sitting room and putting on a brave face says that she will need some time to decide what she wants to do but in the meantime you are welcome to stay here at the house as it's what father would've wanted. "If some of you don't mind doubling up? Eloise you can stay in my room. It's about time I realize that father is gone and that this is now my house, so I will take his room. Now, if you will excuse me I will go get father's chest."
"Miss Lorrimor," Eloise says, her tone serious, "please stand for me, if you would."
Provided Kendra does so, Eloise goes to stand in front of her, draws her blade - and goes to one knee, sword held out horizontally.
"In memory and honour of your father, the man who helped me find my life, my blade is yours for the coming month or longer, if you should need it," Eloise intones. "As is my magic, my muscle, my mind, for as long as you need them. I am not your slave, but I will be your shield and your blade and, if such is possible, your friend."
Eloise gives Kendra a sincere, dark-eyed look. "Will that be acceptable?"
The reading of the will seems to not impact on Mathus at all, his expression of polite interest does not change throughout.Allow me to say that my sentiments echo that of these who have spoken. You have my pledge to such aid as I can provide
Flustered, Kendra blushes at everyone's declarations of support "No, that really won't be necessary. It'll only be a few weeks at most, until I've made up my mind what I'm going to do." Kendra seems unsure what to do next as she grabs Eloise hand and helps her up from the floor. Mathus' question seems to snap her back to reality "Oh, yes. The chest." she says as she opens a door off the sitting room into what must be a library.
Although libraries tend to have their books in organized rows, this room is a chaotic jumble of books and scrolls. From your vantage point you can see floor to ceiling bookshelves which are jammed packed with books, the overflow piled on overstuffed wingback chairs. An antique desk hold an array of books, scrolls and other bric-a-brac. In fact every horizontal surface seems to be full of objects of various nature.
Soon Kendra returns with a small oak and iron bound chest which she sets upon the table. Picking up the iron key, she hands it to Mathus. As the Alchemist insert the the key in the lock, everybody is holding their breath as he turns the key and an audible click is heard as the chest unlocks.
Opening the lid he finds a stack of books, the most striking of which is the one placed on top with the words "READ ME NOW!" scratched into the red leather cover. Underneath that is a stack of three black leather books all neatly tied together with twine, a note attached to the string reads "Deliver to Montagnie Crowl: Lepidstadt University". At the bottom of the stack is perhaps the most intriguing book of all, a purple leather bound book the edges of which are rimmed in polished steel. A brass scarab with a single eye etched in it's center adorns the cover and a small intricate lock, with a triangular shaped keyhole, holds the book firmly closed. A small note protrudes from between the pages of this book.
The scarab design on the front of this book indicates it belongs to the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye, a secret society which has an interest in all things arcane and political.
Pulling the paper from the book and unfolding it, Mathus reads a brief note written in the Professor's hand "Please return this book to Judge Embreth Daramid, 2323 Drackenstrasse, Lepistadt. Please use the utmost discretion when delivering this book!"
Knowledge (arcana): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16. Durr...
"A rather direct instruction," Eloise says, pointing at the book with the red leather cover. "I forget -- were we allowed to read any of the volumes in this chest...?"
Knowledge (arcana, history, or local) DC:25
Knowledge (Local) +5 or (History) as part of someone elses roll - aiding another . 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12
Interesting, he muses and moves to read over Tomnus's shoulder. He looks up to Kendra from time to time. You know anything of your fathers... work?
History 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 23 (so, so close)
"The brass scarab with a single eye seems so familiar. I think I may have seen it before." Zindelo seems as if he has the answer just withing reach, but is having difficulty grabbing hold of it.
If Mathus' aid another is successful (and I can use it) then the +2 gets me to 25 and I tell everyone what I know.
OK, I'll give it to you but please in the future if you wish to aid two separate skills please make two separate rolls and specify which is for which.
Tomnus opens the red leather book and begins leafing through it. It appears to be the late Professor's journal. Although most of the entries deal with the day to day goings on in Ravengro several of them are circled in red, as if to draw attention to them. The last entry, also circled in red, was made seventeen days ago, the day the Professor died.
Ten Years Ago:
The Whispering Way is more than just a cabal of necromancers. I see that now. Undeath is their fountain of youth. Uncovering their motivation does not place me at ease as I thought it might. Their desire to be eternal simply makes them more dangerous.
Two Months Ago:
It is as I had feared. The Way is interested in something here in Ravengro. But what could it be?
One Month Ago:
Whatever the Way seeks, I am now convinced their goal is connected to Harrowstone. In retrospect, I suppose it all makes sense—the stories they tell about the ruins in town are certainly chilling enough. It may be time to investigate the ruins, but with everyone in town already being so worked up about them, I’d rather not let the others know about my curiosity—there’s plenty of folks hereabouts who already think I’m a demonologist or a witch or something. Ignorant fools.
Twenty Days Ago:
It is confirmed. The Way seems quite interested in something—no, strike that—someone who was held in Harrowstone. But who, specifically, is the Way after? I need a list of everyone who died the night of the fire. Everyone! The Temple of Pharasma must have such a list.
Eighteen Days Ago:
I see now just how ill prepared I was when I last set out for the Harrowstone. I am lucky to have returned at all. The ghosts, if indeed they were ghosts (for I did not find it prudent to investigate further) prevented me from transcribing the strange symbols I found etched along the foundation—hopefully on my next visit I will be more prepared. Thankfully, the necessary tools to defend against spirits are already here in Ravengro. I know that the church of Pharasma used to store them in a false crypt in the Restlands at the intersection between Eversleep and the Black Path. I am not certain if the current clergy even know of what their predecessors have hidden down below. If my luck holds, I should be able to slip in and out with a few borrowed items.
Seventeen Days Ago:
This evening I return to the prison. It is imperative the Way does not finish. My caution has already cost me too much time. I am not sure what will happen if I am too late, but if my theory is right, the entire town could be at risk. I don’t have time to update my will, so I’ll leave this in the chest where it’ll be sure to be found, should the worst come to pass.
Reading over Tomnus' shoulder Kendra is so engrossed that at first she doesn't respond to Mathus' question. She looks up from her reading and says "N...No, Father never told me what he was up to."
Tomnus will read the entries aloud to the group and then will close the book. "Hmm sorry for you to find out this way Kendra... Tomnus says looking over his shoulder at the young lady. He then looks at everyone else.
"So it looks like the professors death isn't as simple as it looked just a moment ago. We need to come up with a plan here before we just run off and get ourselves hurt or killed. From whats written here it sounds like the whispering way is not to be messed around with..."
"The Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye!" Zindelo says as he comes out of his pensive state. "A secret society which has an interest in all things arcane and political. That is what the symbol on the purple leather bound..... book...... is."
Looking around Zindelo notices the expression on the other's faces and meekly says "My apologies, I wa.. wa... I was engrossed."
After a brief moment he says, So what are we to do?"
"Should we investigate this matter?" Eloise asks. "Harrowstone... What is Harrowstone? Is the list of names the Professor mentions in his journal in this box, or do we need to visit the Pharasmin priests ourselves? Did the Professor manage to retrieve the items he mentions, or do we also have to pay a clandestine visit to the cemetary?"
Eloise looks at Kendra. "We would not be able to commit our full forces, such as they are. We have vowed to protect Miss Kendra, so someone should stay with her at all times, yes?"
Knowledge (arcana) check to identify 'the Whispering Way': 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (13) + 8 = 21
The Whispering Way is a sinister organization of necromancers that has been active in the Inner Sea region for thousands of years.
Agents of the Whispering Way often seek alliances with undead creatures, or are themselves undead. The Whispering Way’s most notorious member was Tar-Baphon, the Whispering Tyrant, although the society itself has existed much longer than even that mighty necromancer.
The Whispering Way itself is a series of philosophies that can only be transferred via whispers— the philosophies are never written or spoken of loudly, making the exact goals and nature of the secretive philosophy difficult for outsiders to learn much about.
Suddenly, Eloise turns a few shades paler, her eyes widen, and she slaps her forehead.
She curses in an odd language, then says: "I remember... The Whispering Way, they are necromancers, the order of Tar-Baphon of bleak history. They ally with the undead and seek undeath to become eternal... They are a secretive evil that has whispered its way down the centuries, and it continues to survive.
I have only heard of them, in... Back in the bad old days. Their secrets are never written down, but if I say that Tar-Baphon was their most famous member, then surely you will all understand how terrible they are. The Whispering Way is an evil that can not be tolerated in a sane world.
... And I doubt they would have taken kindly to Professor Lorrimor learning even as few of their secret plans as he did."
"Then we face truly terrible foes, and perhaps will try and recover some of the Professor's materials. Kendra, I do believe that we should not wander far from your home during the evening hours." Theodor pauses thoughtfully.
"Perhaps the Church of Pharasma can help us recovering some of the items? I wonder if anyone has seen any strangers about town, other than ourselves?"
Let's not run around in a panic kommerads. Research... "know thy enemy". Patience is a stern master but regret is a harsher mistress, no?. Mathus speaks calmly and matter of factly.
We should seek to understand how the Professor died, perhaps examine the site, understand from the local folk if we are the only strangers in town, seek to find who is an ally and who is our enemy. Be wary of asking the Pharasisms for these things the Professor spoke of without having more than a journal entry and shadowy suspicions to lay in front of them.
He shakes his head.
First order is to look at these books and at our friends library, get organised... and then prehaps head into the town in small groups of two or three to ask after other strangers and Harrowstone. A visit with the Sheriff may be helpful too.
"Good thinking Mathus, perhaps there is more information we can find on the Whispering Way in these texts. I would be more than willing to go and gather information for us, provided we think that is the best manner of carrying out the Professor's will." Theodor thinks a moment, then continues, "The fearful accusations of the villagers may tell us more information, maybe we can convince them to share and from that we can learn."
Mathus nods in agreement.
We must look to all sources of information... these books, the villagers and what we can gather from inference and observation.
He looks down into the journal again.
knowledge local+5 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8, knowledge history+5 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16
He thinks for a while. There was a Prison called Harrowstone but is it local to this area? I will think on this some, and see what I can remember of it.
Harrowstone is a ruined prison partially destroyed by a fire in 4661, 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 (Area O).
As I recall... yes... Harrowstone is a ruined prison partially destroyed by a fire in 4661, the building has stood vacant ever since.
Harrowstone was built in very late in the 4550's. In fact, he said, warming to the subject, 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 is reported, when last I read of it at any rate, was relatively intact.
Mathus paused, thinking... and then continued somberly, 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 should still stand on the riverbank just outside of town - may be worth our time to go see if its still there.
The locals suspect that it’s haunted, and don’t enjoy speaking of the place... which makes me wonder why Lorrimor and the Way were there in the first place.
"Speaking of hauntings and the like," Eloise says, her voice coming with some hesitation. "That man Gibbs wanted the Professor to be buried upriver. I doubt that area is as heavily consecrated and warded as the Pharasmin cemetery.
The followers of the Whispering Way are necromancers. You don't think...? Could they have intended to question the Professor as to how much he learned of them post mortem?"