The wind gusted down the road and the scent of the early fall day filled your nose as you rode towards Ravengro and the Professor. The day was cool and comfortable, the sun's weak rays keeping you just warm enough. The trees that appeared along the road were covered in explosions of yellow, red, and orange, their leaves still clinging to the limbs but also seeming ready to drop.
Most of this seemed to pass you with little notice as your thoughts kept drifting to memories of the Professor. The shock of his death had worn off during the trip and all that was left now were the memories you had of the man you had called friend. And the curiosity of the letter you received from his daughter.
While you were close to Petros, you never imagined you would be included in the man's will. It had been some time since you last saw him and he certainly never made it known that he had a will or that you would be included in it. Still, even without the will reading you knew you wanted to attend this last tribute to the Professor, a man who touched your life so directly.
You arrive at the entrace to the Restlands, Ravengro's well maintained cemetary grounds on the outside of town. There are only a small number of people gathered, locals from the look of them who eye you warily as you approach. You also see a young woman standing near the coffin, her eyes red and her tears identifying her as Lorrimor's daughter.
As you move up, you notice others arriving as well. Like yourself, they seem kitted out in the gear of an adventurer and they all seem like capable individuals. It appears your's was not the only life the Professor touched in his long career.
As everyone gathers near the entrance, Lorrimor's daughter nods to you all in thanks before motioning to the coffin. Will any of you help bear my father to his new home?
Welcome to Carrion Crown everyone!
Post your thoughts/reactions/etc as you will. Introduce yourselves as much or as little as you like right now. There will be time later on to give deeper meetings of yourselves to each other if you'd prefer.
Also in your posts, please include whether or not you wish to be a pallbearer for the Professor's coffin. Up to all 6 of you may do so but a minimum of 4 people is required to carry it. While none move forward initially, the local townsfolk in attendance will take up whatever spots are empty if enough people don't want to do it.
Other than that, get to posting and I look forward to gaming with all of you!
Franco inhaled deeply the early autumn aroma and manages a relieved smile even on this grim occasion. A week ago he had been inhaling the same Ustalavan air, but he couldn't help but notice how much more satisfying the act was without chains around his ankles, chains that had since been removed thanks to the late Professor(and for the second time none-the-less). This thought brought him rapidly back to the destination he was nearing at the Restlands. He scoffed inwardly so as not to alarm the carriage driver. Franco had been emancipated by the old man's generosity twice, but he knew there as no such thing as a free lunch.
As anxiety lurched in his core along with the plodding rhythm of the carriage, Franco dug into his crowded backpack and produced a rolling parchment and his sack of tobacco. Skillfully folding the parchment into a pouch in one hand, he used the other to distribute the tobacco evenly. Franco brought together the two top ends of the rolling parchment together and lightly manipulated the tobacco inside to tightly pack it into a rough cylinder. The carriage jostled to a stop as Franco began forcing the bottom end of the paper behind the tobacco so that it stays and begins to become rolled. A final lick along the top edge and a bit of thumb work and Franco was finished. He used up one of his six tindertwigs in lighting it but figured it was a worthy use- Getting him through this funeral.
Franco placed a wide brimmed hat upon his head to hide the wild flume of red upon his scalp, but his prison tattoos, beard and adventuring gear made certain that none would be able to resist staring. He nods to the others who looked like they might be capable of holding their own and takes one last drag off of the cigarette before dropping the remains to the ground and squashing them underfoot.
He gives the Professor's daughter a comforting smile and places one hand on her shoulder" It's the least I could do for the man. It'd be my honor Miss." He says solemnly before letting the hand drop to his side.
The autumn leaves always reminded Mortimer of home. Even now, the smell of fallen leaves and their unmistakable musk of decay took Mortimer back to the estate in Ardeal where he had spent many a happy day in his childhood. Since then, he had lived most of his life away from there, first in Ardis, which he remembered being a dreary place, where his father had tried to force him into stuffy society, and then in Lepistadt, where he had fled to to escape the demands of family. Well, I have a mission now. No sense looking back on all that. he told himself.
Mortimer turned his gaze from the passing woods to the others in the carriage. One in particular he gave a thin-lipped smile to. "Well, Alexei, I think we're almost there."
When the carriage rolled to a halt, Mortimer was the first to descend. He climbed down with even steps. He wore a black slouch hat which he doffed as soon as he spied Kendra by the coffin. His clothes are formal, charcoal and black, even rich, but a close look will spy threadbare patches. A brooch of tin is pinned to his breast, bearing the symbol of the University of Lepistadt. He bears no weapons or armor but he is broad shouldered and moves with great confidence. His face is young, yet bears signs of care and weathering, and he wears a scruffy beard that looks good on him. His eyes are grey and very piercing. He walks up to Kendra and with a sorrowful look on his face, he bows and offers his hand. A signet bearing a noble heraldry is on his left index finger. If she gives her hand, he kisses the back of it lightly. "Kendra. Mortimer Valdebridge. I am greatly sorry for your loss. I will be honored to bear him to his rest." With a pat on her arm he steps aside and takes a position on the front left of the coffin.
It had been a long journey and Vharg was tired. Modern connivances such as carriages were crutch for the weakness of humans. Besides, if Vharg was being honest, Vharg doubted they would have wanted him onboard the man-machine at all. Too many wars, too much bad blood between his people and the Ustalavan's. Not that humans mattered much to Vharg.
Vharg had spent the last few weeks walking dusty roads, foraging and hunting as needed, as he slowly made his way to Ravengro. His feet were strong he had no need of pinkskin crutches. Still, he was not looking forward to the arrival. This was a debt he owed, but Vharg knew the people of Ravengro were as intolerant of Orc's as his tribe was of Humans.
Finally, the graveyard was in sight. Better to intimidated these weaklings into submission then try to hide and appear weak.
Stepping forward towards the gathered crowd a large being, easily seven feet tall draws fort the hood of his dark grey cloak. You can see a huge polearm strapped to his back. His face his hard, muscular, craggy and rough. His skin is a light shade of green with blood red eyes, and a hideous maw of teeth.
Looking the daughter dead in the eye the rough beast speaks for the first time. "Vharg will guard your father home, human-woman. He was great Shran-Tok!" Vhargs eyes narrow as he looks around at the suspicious and fearful weaklings. "And Vharg will let nothing stop him."
Alexei looks over at Mortimer and nods his head. His thoughts resting with Professor Lorrimor and his unusual summons.
Upon arriving Alexei descends from the carriage after Mortimer, with slow measured movements that have an almost unearthly grace to them. Wearing a knee-length black coat that buttoned up the front to his chin and opened at the waist, bone white lace at his collar and cuffs, he looked more an undertaker or butler than an academic. Gaunt pale skin and jet black hair completed the effect. The only other color is what looks like a thick grey leathery belt that looks somewhat knobby and lumpy. Adjusting a black shoulderbag that hangs on his left, he looks to Kendra with sorrow in his eyes.
Walking to her, he clasps hands with her and says My deepest condolences for your loss, Miss Lorrimor. My name is Alexei Dirven and since your father is responsible for carrying me to the life I now lead, it would be my honor to carry him to his next life as well.
Stepping out of his carriage, Calavas took a moment to gather himself, holding his cloak more tightly shut as the wind cut past. He looks up to the grey skies with a flash of wonder; despite having been outside of the Central City before, the sight of a sky unobstructed by soaring temples and clustered urban growth hadn't yet ceased to leave him somewhat awed. A leaf whips by in the breeze, it's path drawing him back to the cemetary gates, and his reason for being here.
Keeping his eyes focused forward, he moves to join the small group gathered about the entry to the cemetery, pausing a moment when the dark wooden coffin came to view. Calavas hesitates again, but steps forward when the young woman next to his idol calls for bearers.
"Certainly Miss Lorimor. It would be an honor." He looks back at the coffin briefly before continuing, "I never quite realized how well the Professor was regarded until the news hit Absalom. I think half of the Society came to offer condolences when they discovered I was going. If there is anything else, well, afterwards...he was the greatest man I ever knew. It would be the least I could do to repay him."
Kendra nods to you each in turn, her face a mix of gratitude and sadness. As you all lift the coffin to your shoulders, she heads off into the cemetery with you and the scattered villagers in tow.
The gravel underfoot crunches as you progress and thoughts of the Professor fill your mind as you help carry him through the Restlands. The cemetery is well maintained and clean, the grounds well kept and the tombstones and shrines cared for. The church of Pharasma is predominant here and their attendance to the graveyard is apparent.
After a few minutes, you round a curve in the path and come upon a group of villagers, at least a dozen or so, who block the way forward. They appear angry and one of them steps forward, an older wiry man with a scowl on his face.
That's far enough. We been talking, and we don't want Lorrimor buried in the Restlands. You can take him upriver and bury him there if you want, but he ain't going in the ground here!
Kendra's sadness quickly turns to anger at the man's words. What are you talking about? I arranged it with Father Grimburrow, he's waiting for us. The grave's already been prepared.
You don't get it, woman. We won't have a necromancer buried in the same place as our kin. I suggest you move on while you still can. Folks are pretty upset about this right now.
She bristles at his words. Necromancy?! Are you really that ignorant?
There is a feeling of tension in the air that is almost palpable.
Alexei is shocked at the interruption in the funeral proceedings and speaks up quickly I have known Professor Lorrimor for quite some time he was no necromancer. Far from it, he was a foe to those who would raise the dead from their proper rest as I can personally attest to seeing him stop a necromancer in Westcrown. Now please let us pass and put this good man to rest so that his family can grieve in peace.
Diplomacy1d20 ⇒ 18
Calavas' brows furrow in confusion at the man's accusations."Necromancer? The professor was one of the greatest adversaries to the undead in academia I knew of. Many I knew in Absalom credited his work to their survival in the field. He was anything but a practitioner of such things himself."
Diplomacy checks here? 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 2 = 12
His anger palpable, his eyes flashing, Mortimer stiffens and looks down his nose at the villagers. "You dare besmirch a man of such nobility? He was a great defender of Ustalav, and indeed how little you know!" he says in a commanding tone. "Step aside, men. You do your village a great disservice with this uncouth behavior. As my friend Alexei says, step aside and let us proceed with these proper last rites." He gestures with his left hand, sure to display his noble signet.
Diplomacy to aid Alexei 1d20 ⇒ 6
The casket weighed heavy on his right shoulder and Franco shifted his weight uncomfortably. For all he knew, he was carrying the body of a necromancer. Frankly however it wasn't a concern to him, whether he owed this final debt to a necromancer or a stage magician, Lorrimor had done him a great service and he'd be damned if a bunch of superstitious sheep would stop him. A certain anger quelled in his core and his thoughts wondered to the shillelagh like cudgel hanging at his side, although he doubted he could use it with much efficiency while supporting the weight of the coffin. He kept his gaze stern and focused intently on the older wiry man, scoffing lightly at the other pallbearer's attempt at honeyed words. If the crowd would not listen to niceties , he prepared himself to take a more sharp-tongued approach.
How dare this puny man tell Vharg what to do! "Do not make Vharg angry flesh blister You not like to see Vharg angry. Go now, back to kennel like whipped-dog"
Intimidate: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6
Do we want to put the casket down? Might be difficult getting into a brouhaha with a 600lb casket in tow
Well that was a terrible roll!
The men look around themselves sheepishly and while the anger seems to escape them there are still a few grumbles. But it seems like your words have swayed them as the begin to move off away from your procession towards the exit. A few cast nervous glances at the half-orc before scampering off.
As they leave Kendra turns to you all with a look of gratitude. Thank you for standing up for my father. And for resolving that without violence. Those men know no better. One of the men traveling with your procession pipes in as well, nodding towards you. Well handled indeed. Yes local farmers. Bit of a low character for most of them sadly.
Kendra leads the procession onwards, until you arrive at a prepared plot. An older man dressed in the garments of a Pharasman holy man stands waiting with two assistants, clearly this Father Grimburrow that Kendra had mentioned. As you bring the coffin forward, the assistants help you lower it to the straps in preparation for its interment. As everyone steps back, Grimburrow begins intoning a prayer for the departed and performing a brief sermon.
After he finishes, Kendra steps forward. She's fighting back tears as she looks at the coffin. My father was a good man. He was selfless and brave and he always knew what was right. He never asked for anything, even when he deserved better. I will miss him and the light he brought to this world.
Kendra moves back and invites anyone who would like to say a few words to do so. Most of the villagers don't say much, just putting flowers or tokens on his coffin. She looks to the group of you to see if any wish to say anything.
Feel free to be as flowery or taciturn as you wish. If you don't want to say anything, then please just pipe in with an observation of the ceremony so I know you're ready to move on.
Also, congrats on resolving the villager block without violence. You have earned 1 point of Trust. This mechanic will be detailed in the Campaign Tab shortly.
Looks like I've got to play a little catch up
As Cassandra emerges from the carriage into the town square she blinks her mismatched eyes, one a violet purple the other ice blue, as they adjust to the sudden light of the sun. Picking up her belongings from the ground where the coachman tossed them she looks around her at her surroundings. Glancing up at the rising sun she attempts to gauge the time of day. "Damn, I'm late. Of all the bad luck to have the coach break a wheel enroute. We lost most of a day while the coachmen fixed the damned thing."
Shouldering her pack, she approaches several different villagers before finding someone who would give her the directions to the local graveyard. Cassandra arrives just as the other mourners are getting ready to lift the casket. Noticing the young woman with the red rimmed eyes Cassandra approaches her "Mistress Lorimor, I presume? My name is Cassandra Blackmoore. Please forgive my tardiness, I meant no disrespect." Taking the woman's hand in her own she continues "You're father was great man and I was quite saddened to learn of his passing."
Taking her place with the other mourners Cassandra is lost in thoughts of the Professor when she is brought up short by the men blocking the way. Listening to the leader of the mob launch his tirade against the Professor, Cassandra looks over the men and tries to take a measure of the mood.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8
Seeing the distress on Kendra's face Cassandra can no longer hold her tongue "Gentlemen, please! Can you not see the pain you are causing Mistress Lorrimor. The young lady only wishes to inter her father in holy ground as the Lady Pharasma would have it. This is not the time nor the place to air your grievances. Please let us pass."
Diplomacy check: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25
Damn, rendered irrelevant while I was typing
Vharg's eyes narrow and he shies away as the man in black starts to intone prayers. Not burn? No deed singers, no war drums! Wise-man need more than this.
The lumbering Half-Orc shuffles forward, while putting as much distance as possible between himself and the robed priest. "The wise-man was great Shran-Tok. Vharg first saw wise-man standing before the gates of The Cenotaph, fearless as he faced down the ancient dead. He told Vharg that for three weeks he had walked alone in the Hold of Belkzen to reach The Cenotaph. One pinkskin alone, among the Orc's, great bravery he had! Gods were cruel. Wise-man should have been born an Orc!" At that Vharg rummages around in his backpack, producing a torch and he begins to strike a flint and steel to it. "Where are the Shran-Tok's riches and mates? They should be here to be burned with him. Vharg will throw the first torch in his honor."
Shran-Tok: Spirit Warrior, fighter of the dead
Unless someone says something, I'm planning to throw the torch. I love playing barbarians!
Alexei steps forward and says Hold noble Orc, the funerary rites of the humans of this land are not the same as the great tribes of your native country. They do not burn their departed loved ones here but place them within the ground to let them rest with their loved ones for eternity. If you would like, you and I can burn an effigy in his honor later and send Shran-tok the honor he deserves.
Hoping that that has temporarily placated the large half-orc, Alexei steps forward and says Professor Lorrimor quite literally gave me the life I enjoy today. He was more of a father to me than anyone I have ever known. When he found me on the streets of Westcrown...homeless, friendless, and without purpose, I was hired to help guide him to a butcher who had been slaughtering innocents for his dark rites. For the first time in my life, I had someone treating me as someone worthy of respect instead of derision. We triumphed and put to rest a great evil that day. If it had ended there it would have made for a great story...but Professor Lorrimor was never content with just a great story. He needed to do good wherever he went. He saw something in me during that time and decided to take me back to Lepidstadt to give me an opportunity to study and learn and make a better life for myself. He told me only one thing he wanted in payment. He said "Leave the world a better place than you came into it." Alexei sighs and you see what looks like a jet black tear fall down his face. Placing his hand upon the casket he continues with a voice full of sorrow I have tried to do so and will continue to do so the rest of my life. I hope to meet you again beyond the planes. Alexei then steps back and lets the next person speak.
Mortimer is secretly pleased to hear his mentor spoken of in such terms y a savage, but powerful Orc, but alarm lights up his face as the Orc begins to put fire to the torch and his intent becomes clear. He begins to step forward but Alexei moves quicker and applies diplomacy to the problem where Mortimer might have made the matter worse with a rebuke.
Alexei's words touch Mortimer and it is with a catch in his voice that he speaks when he steps forward, his bearing as formal and noble as he can manage. "My name is Mortimer Brandon Valdebridge." he says, letting the name sink in for any that may recognize its noble provenance. "Professor Petros Lorrimor saved my life, and brought salvation to my ancestral lands. For that, the Valdebridge family owes him a great debt. Professor Lorrimor... That is Petros, faced a legion of the walking dead with calm, intelligence, and most importantly, knowledge!" he says, shaking his fist for emphasis. "This was his greatest strength, and the lesson he taught me that day has carried me to where I am now. I saw that day, that it was not the mewling of preachers or the ignorant superstition of the peasants... Or the indifference of the aristocracy." Mortimer blushes at that. It only takes him a heartbeat to regain his composure. "It is the application of knowledge that will protect us from the scourge of the Unquiet Dead and those debased mortals who dare to unleash them on the innocent! Petros was the greatest of scholars and was also strong enough to battle evil when others prefer to pretend it doesn't fester under their very noses." he glances at Father Grimburrow, his disdain for the clergy apparent in his eyes for a moment before it is gone in the sadness of the moment as he continues. "Petros, you were a greater man than most, and I hope that I can use all that you taught me to continue the fight! Be Smart, Rein in Your Fear, Know Your Enemy, Strike with the Right Weapon. Thank you Petros."
Mortimer steps back then turns to Kendra. He takes her hand once again and kisses it softly before moving aside, his eyes bright with unshed tears.
Cassandra approaches the graveside and sighs. Clearing her throat she begins to speak "I met the Professor several years ago. He came to my village after I had suffered a brutal attack by a creature of spite and malice. I not only survived the attack but managed to drive the creature away. This piqued the Professor's interest and he came to my village to talk with me about my experiences. He found a confused and frightened young girl who was scared of the powers awoken in me that night. He told me to not be afraid but to embrace what had changed in me and to use those powers for the Light. Before he left he gave me several books," Cassandra pauses to issue a little chuckle "he always seemed to have books with him, to read. It was those books which guided me, and though I never saw the Professor again, we corresponded over the intervening years as he followed my life and I his. It is a great sorrow that I will never get the opportunity to speak with him again."
As Cassandra finishes her speech she bends down and traces the sign of the whirlwind atop the casket and saying a quick prayer to Pharasma. "Farewell, Professor. May the Lady protect you now."
Franco listens one by one to the others testimony. Noticeable uneasiness showed clear on his face but at the exchange between Alexei and Vharg a laugh escaped briefly before being quickly stifled by his better sense. When he sensed his time was approaching, a thorough rummage through his shirt's interior pockets produced a crinkled, but still smokable, previously rolled cigarette. Removing his hat and holding it in his off hand behind his back, he moved intently first to Vharg who he leans in close to for a moment talking lowly." Burnin' the remains always made more sense to me too friend. No use for it in the ground."
He uses the opportunity of his close proximity to the half orc, and more specifically the half orc's torch, to hold one end of his unlit cigarette in the flame. Stepping towards the coffin now he puffs it to life as a bit of smoke plumes upward from his mouth, caught up in his unruly mustache for a split second before being inhaled by his broad nostrils. He clears his throat and gives a long look down at the coffin before him." I didn't know this man." Franco begins matter of factually." At least not in a broad sense. In fact, a lot of what I know about him I've learned today. It seems he was one heluva' guy." He paused to inhale the tobacco smoke once more. Formalities had never been his strongpoint" Defeating undead and braving the hold of Belkzen and all of that, I imagine any man would be happy to be half of the man he was-" He looks in Kendra's direction with a knowing smile"-and I can't imagine how proud it must make you to call him your father." he extends an arm towards the girl for emphasis before returning the hand to his mouth for the cigarette.
" But I never got the chance to call him a friend, and I blame only myself for that." Letting his old dusty hat fall to the ground behind him, Franco laid his outstretched off-hand on the casket for a brief moment." I never have had too many breaks in my life, but I won't get into all of that here and now. The professor here paid me the greatest generosity of my life some time ago in Caliphas. He was there on business of some sort as it were and saw something tangible in me when he passed the slave market that day, and for no other reason than to give a fighting young man a fighting chance, gave me my freedom. I never knew the man, but I learned all I needed to know of his character on that day."
Franco experiences an unexpected welling of tears, but with some effort, wills them not to fall. He draws deeply from the smoke and clears his throat which had become increasingly tight against his will." I'm still trying to see that tangible something Lorrimor saw in me that day half a decade ago. I owe him my freedom, I owe him my life. Here's to ya old timer." He finishes with the half burnt cigarette up in the air in some sort of toast for several silent moments. Once he had said his peace, Franco recovered his hat and placed it on his head after a quick dusting off, stepping aside for any other who would speak.
"So no burn?" At that Vharg almost looks crestfallen as he looks at the lit torch in his hands, as if anticipating burning something. "If no burn then how does the Shran-Tok ashes ascend to the sky gods?" Looking briefly at the weak, frail, pale-man Vharg continues. "It ok paleskin, no cry for Shran-Tok, he go to big battle field in sky, fight for the gods, great honor. So no burn, but where war drums and mates?"
These pinkskins are stupid, no rituals, drums, or deed-singers. Shran-Tok deserve better. Vharg come back tonight and burn body, that way the Shran-Tok no take revenge, not let foolish slave-chattel superstition ruin final spirit journey.
And you gulag-man! No free spirit should be in chains. Fight! That is only way to go, no weakness, no submission. Shran-Tok show his great wisdom again. I think I like you Gulag, tonight we drink to Shran-Tok! Then we burn...
Calavas steps forward a moment after the rougher-seeming man finishes speaking, casting a brief, but curious glance to the half-orc. 'Shran-tok? I'll have to ask later...' Looking back to the grave, he smiles a bit shakily before speaking.
"It seems a bit unbelievable, that Professor Lorrimor is gone. I've spent so much time chasing after him, ever since I met him in Absalom. When I was just a little kid, who couldn't get others to see the patterns that seemed to permeate the world, and why no one else could help him understand. It didn't help that I was a bit of a brat about it." He chuckles slightly, catching a couple of tears. "This great man, known throughout academia, studying a relic that's stumped Pathfinders, and some nosy little child is telling him that he's doing it wrong. I'm surprised he gave me the time of day, but that's what I've grown to admire most about him. He didn't only seek knowledge for his own reckoning. When he saw the chance to guide another in the path of understanding, he gave them every opportunity he could. It near drove the house-mothers at the orphanage to fits, every day wanting sending another letter about some new fact I'd learned, or what my tutor was teaching me that week, or how the spell I'd picked up nearly burned up the curtains! And he always answered. Always."
He lowers his head, allowing a few more tears to fall, before gesturing to the rest standing at the gravesite. "The only thing I think he every asked of me in return was to give others the same chance I'd gotten, whenever I could. I see what he hoped to achieve, I think, right here. All of us benefited, in one way or another, from the work the Professor did; anything we do afterward is a further extension of those works." He nods to the coffin. "I'll try to live up to that, Professor. Thank you. For everything."
Forgot to mention you could include a Diplomacy or Perform roll with your eulogy so I'll handle that real quick. So long as one of you hits a DC 15, the group earns 1 point of Trust with the town.
Alexei: 1d20 ⇒ 15
Calavas: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10
Mortimer: 1d20 ⇒ 9
Franco: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5
Vharg: 1d20 - 2 ⇒ (6) - 2 = 4
Cassandra: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (7) + 7 = 14
Next update coming shortly.
Kendra nods in thanks to you all after your moving words. She moves to thank the small amount of gathered villagers for coming and then returns to the group of you. The attendants begin lowering the coffin into the ground and covering it up as the other villagers disperse back towards town.
After a moment Kendra begins moving towards town as the rest of you follow after her. Mr. Hearthmount will arrive at my father's ... at my house in about an hour to present the contents of my father's will. You don't really take in much of the town as you walk with her, your thoughts on any number of different things.
Entering the house, it is both familiar and strange at the same time. While none of you had ever visited the late Professor's home before, it seemed like it was setup exactly as it should be from what you knew of the man. Every room was crammed with bookshelves that strained under the weight of a number of tomes. There was a sense of organized chaos about the place.
Kendra invites you all into the parlor and you all awkwardly sit and stand around the room, making idle chatter and getting to know these other companions of the Professor better. (You have an hour to kill in the room, this is designed for everyone to get to know each other. Feel free to elaborate on this more as you like when posting.) Almost precisely an hour after arriving, there comes a knock at the front door to the house and Kendra goes to answer it. She returns moments later with an older gentleman following behind her.
As Kendra settles herself, the man wastes no time in beginning. It's easy enough to see that he doesn't seem to approve of outsiders being involved in local matters but he makes no mention of it either. Pulling out a scroll case, he holds it out to display the Professor's seal in wax on the case and to demonstrate that it hasn't been broken. Cracking the seal with a small knife, he opens the case and a small metal key clatters to the table in front of him. Moving it to the side in annoyance, Hearthmount smoothes out the scroll before beginning to read.
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 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 4710.
As Hearthmount finishes he looks to Kendra who nods at him. Thank you master Hearthmount for your services. He rises and gives her a consoling pat before heading out of the house. Kendra then turns to the rest of you.
I want to thank you all again for coming here for my father. This is a lot to process and I'll need at least a few weeks to decide what I want to do with the house and my future. Of course as my father stated in the will, you are all welcome here for the duration, there are plenty of rooms for everyone and any food you may want will be provided as well. I thank you all for your help. Kendra moves to the parlor door. Please pardon me a moment and I will fetch my father's chest.
She returns shortly with a small wood chest bound with iron straps. Setting it on the table, she picks up the key nervously before setting it on the table before you in front of the chest.
Phew, that was a lengthy one. Alrighty, ball's in your court guys. I will post responses as appropriate but otherwise you guys have free reign for now.
Mortimer walks with Kendra, his every attention on her in her time of mourning. His own face is drawn with the sorrow of the day, but he remains courteous and solicitous as they make their way to the house.
Once inside, he remains standing in the parlour. Keeping a wary eye on the savage Half-Orc and the former slave, he approaches Calavas. "Calavas Orlosky? It is you isn't it?" he says, offering the man his hand. "I thought it was. It is a great thing you have done, travelling so far. Ustalav is a difficult journey to undertake from Absalom." Mortimer smiles at Calavas, shaking his hand firmly if offered. "I regret it was this sad event that allowed us to meet."
Calavas startles slightly, then accepts Mortimer's handshake with a pleased smile. "Yes, Professor Vadlebridge, I wasn't sure you'd know me first thing. I was wondering how I should introduce myself." At his comment about the journey, he grimaces and puts a hand to his stomach. "There were a lot of boat rides. Up the Sellen, then the Gold Pan and Profit in Druma. I admittedly didn't see much of Druma, though, too queasy."
His smile turns wistful at the reminder of their purpose here and he nods in agreement. "I was rather hoping to get assigned to the Lodge in Caliphas, once I joined the Pathfinders. I imagine we would have been running in closer circles at that point. It is good to finally meet you in person, though, in spite of the reason for it." He pauses a moment, glancing over Mortimer's shoulder, then asks, "That gentleman that came in with you. Does he work with you at the University?"
Alexei moves over to Mortimer and says A month. Do you suppose we can leave our studies that long? What am I saying?!? For Professor Lorrimor's last request we can do anything. Noticing that he has just interrupted he pauses and says Oh please excuse my rudeness. I did not mean to intrude.
"Oh, no, Alexei. I was just about to introduce you. Calavas, this is my colleague Alexei Dirven, Alchemy and the Arcane. Alexei, this is Calavas, Pathfinder, and also a student of Arcana. I'm sure you will have a lot to talk about!" Mortimer says with a smile. He leaves the two men for the moment, his gaze going to the Half-Orc and the other man. After a breath, he makes his way over to Franco first.
"Hello, my name is Mortimer." he says. His smile is friendly, but he remains guarded as he offers his hand. "It seems our friend Petros touched people in many ways. I hope you do not find us inhospitable. I think anyone who Petros valued is worthy of inclusion into a very select club. Welcome." he says.
Franco immediately notices Mortimer's wary eye upon him as they stand in the parlor, and stands with arms crossed across his chest, giving his most stern expression. He was used to folks being wary around him, and maybe anyway it wasn't a bad idea, Franco wasn't even entirely sure what kind of person he was. As the man approaches, Franco gives a thin smile and shakes his hand halfheartedly."Thanks, the name is Franco." he retracts his hand and now that some of the tension has washed away, allowed his stance to relax and his eyes to take in the sights of the Lorrimor house." I have to say; now that young, attractive Kendra is out of earshot, I don't have much experience babysitting, but I could get used to the digs." He pulls a random volume from a bookshelf and thumbs through it while speaking, seemingly uninterested for effect. He even gives Mortimer a slight wink at the mention of Kendra, clearly making a slight effort to get under the skin of the polite man. "Beat's the hell out of the jail house that's for sure, Mortimer." He laughs lightly and glances up at the half orc who he had drifted near." It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance as well big man, From your words at the Restlands I gathered that your name is Vharg was it?"
Cassandra sit on the setee with her legs curled demurely under her, lost in thought "100 platinum, such a princely sum. Far too generous for something I would do for free." a look of concern crosses her face " A month? I will have to write my parents to let them know I won't be home for a while, just so they won't worry."
She sits quietly as the men introduce themselves to one another and seem to ignore her "Typical" she thinks. As she listens to the brute who calls himself Franco she snorts under her breath "Babysitter? I don't think she'll be needing a nursemaid. I saw the iron underneath her velvet exterior when she confronted that rabble rouser in the cemetery. After all she is the Professor's daughter."
As Vharg enters into the Shran-Tok's great hall for the first time and sees all the books he tries not to let the anxiousness on his face show. Many memories from dead men. Vharg will be careful, great power in words Furrowing his brow Vharg begins to absentmindedly rub a jet black stone hanging on a leather cord around his neck. Shran-Tok's was great warrior, but a tiny human gaining so much honor from so many men! Sighs Shran-Tok would have been good war chief if he was born Orc. At that Vharg stops looking at the books and curios Perception and begins to openly examine the other individuals that knew the Shran-Tok.
"Yes, I am Vharg. You are Franco. People fear you. That is good. We drink to Shran-Tok?" Vharg begins to rummage around in his worn, threadbare backpack, and fishes out a long bulls horn that he removes the cap from. Whatever is inside of it smells like mold and half cured leather. "Here, drink. Make you strong like Vharg" With that Vharg thumps himself on his chest and takes a long pull. "How did Shran-Tok die?" Vharg asks as he hands back the horn to Franco, then turning, Vharg's eyes narrow as he looks at the tiny woman with mismatched eyes and he feels the hair on the back of his neck stand. Something attacked her and she drove it away, Shran-Tok came to hear her story, does she have majic's?! Again Vharg begins to rub the jet black stone pendant around his neck. "Woman. What is your name? What attacked you? How did you drive it off?"
Mortimer's hackles are up when Franco makes his innuendo about Kendra. His eyes go hard and he clamps his mouth shut to prevent himself from making any comment. He does not smile, but lowers his head slightly as the other man drifts away from him. He looks over to Cassandra and is about to go speak to her when Vharg asks about the Professor's death.
Mortimer's head snaps around and he focuses on the Half-Orc's words, everything else momentarily forgotten. "Yes, I also want to know what the circumstances of the Professor's death were." he says, a little more loudly than he intended. He clears his throat before continuing. "Petros Lorrimor was not a young man, but he had more life in him than a man half his age. I cannot imagine he perished due to any mundane mischance or common illness."
Alexei extends his hand and grasps Calavas's with a firm shake. Alexei has a grip of iron...he's stronger than he looks. A pleasure to meet you Calavas.
Moving over to the sole woman in the room Alexei gives a small bow, looking almost like a butler rather than an accomplished academic. Alexei Dirven. Miss Blackmoore is it? I was very moved by your words about the late Professor at the funeral. He was an incredible man.
Regarding the Perception check, nothing jumps out at you from your cursory scan of the room.
I'm enjoying watching the interactions amongst the party, really good posting everyone. Keep up the quality and we'll have an amazing game. As a heads up, the next "substantial" update from me will come if any of you decides to unlock and open the chest Kendra brought down. I'm not trying to meta-game or lead you guys, and I will typically try to avoid giving you hints. I just don't want people to stop or hit a lull and no one posts cause everyone is expecting someone else to "move things along". As I said, a good portion of this first part will be driven by you guys and what you decide to do.
Calavas blinks in surprise at the strength of Alexei's handshake but nods in acknowledgement. "And you as well. Professor Valebridge said that you were a student of the Art as well? Practical or theoretical?"
At Vharg and Mortimer's question, he frowns slightly. 'That is odd. No one said anything about what caused his end. Illness or age is possible, true, but one would think Professors Valebridge and Dirven would be aware of that, given their proximity...'
Calavas muses on this until the solicitor arrives and the will is read. Shortly afterward, he drops, somewhat shell-shocked, into a nearby seat. 'One-hundred platinum?!' Logically, the less stunned part of his mind reasoned that the Professor was clearly well off, by residence alone. It made sense that such resources would be at his disposal. But such an amount being given to him...Calavas pushes that train of thought aside in favor of the immediate concerns. Gesturing to the chest, he suggest, in a somewhat dazed tone, "Maybe we have some answers to be found in there?"
Shran-Tok was strong. He not go in sleep. No one knows how he died? Vharg seems to think for thirty seconds or so formulating his response, then he begins to rub the black stone around his neck again. We ask Holy-Man? See if he know? What you want to do about box? it seems that patience is not one of Vharg's strong suits. Vharg also hungy, eat while you decide. Vharg walks over to the fireplace and begins to build a fire. Survival Trying to decide if it is acceptable to use the books as kindling, Vharg's wisdom seems to win out. He shakes his head and using some twigs and bark from his bag he kindles the flames. Once the fire is burning strong, he reaches into his bag again and withdraws a dead chicken, plucking the feathers and throwing them and the entrails into the flames. Then Vharg shoves the remaining carcass onto a dagger and begins to slowly cook it.
Survival 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24
Alright gonna use Calavas's post as intent and get things moving.
Calavas decides to follow through with his own advice and picks up the key Kendra had placed on the table. Inserting it into the small chest's lock, it fits perfectly and turns with little resistance. Lifting the lid, there are five books resting in the chest, four that are older tomes and a newer book resting on top of the others that looks more like a journal. Scratched into the surface of the newer journal are the words "Read me now!" In the other four books you can see a small slip of paper sticking out of the top of each one.
Cassandra looks up at the half orc towering over her "A creature of pure malice, known a as a shadow, came upon me while I was alone in the forest. The shadow began drawing all the strength and energy out of my body with it's bone chilling touch" Cassandra shudders at the memory "As I lay there, dying, something within me, a spark of life, refused to yield. That spark so became a roaring fire that consumed me, transfiguring me into a being of pure energy which caused the undead nightmare to flee. When I returned, shaken, to my village I was unable to tell anyone what had happened to me as I was speaking in a language that I nor anyone else in the village was able to understand. After I was able to calm down I was able to speak normally and tell what had happened. Many of my friends in my village refused to speak to me afterwards and some townsfolk even began to make signs intended to ward off evil spirits whenever they saw me." She looks at the others gathered around, as if daring them to say something "It was shortly thereafter that the Professor arrived to visit me. We spent a couple of weeks together as he made me realize that what had happened to me that night wasn't my fault, wasn't a curse, but a blessing and that I should use my abilities for the common good. So I began using my healing powers to help out those in my village, even those who had feared and hated me. It took some time but eventually I was actually looked to as the village's healer/midwife/wise woman. All thanks to the wise words of Professor Lorrimor. So when I received word of his passing I was stunned and shocked but came as soon as I could to be here to help lay the good man to rest."
Aww, man. Did it really take me 25 minutes to type all that.
Vharg stares at the woman as if transfixed by her story, his face equal parts wariness and awe. This tiny pinkskin can call FIRE! She becomes FIRE? Drives shadows away? Vharg licks his overextended fangs and his voice quivers in excitement "Yes! fire strong, fire cleanse, fire pure! My tribe shaman, he used darkness, shadows and blood. Called dark creatures, things not be spoken of. Powerful, strong, vile. No honor in blood sacrifices." Vharg shutters as he thinks of the night he was almost a sacrifice himself. "Vharg not like shamans and holy men, but fire. Fire good." Vharg unclenches his huge paw of a hand from the black talisman from his neck and lays a hand on the tiny woman's frame. "Shran-Tok wise, see power in you. You show Vharg fire soon." Then turning back to the chest, Vharg scrunches up his face and regards the objects within. Dangerous tomes, darker side of my profession. "Vharg not have dead men's memories go in head."
I think Vharg would be horribly scared by any dark juju, but he's down with fire. I think he can get behind that. Can't wait to see what happens the first time she goes "flame on"
Knowledge: Religion on Shadows1d20 + 10 ⇒ (11) + 10 = 21
"You are fortunate to be alive, Cassandra." Mortimer says. "I am interested to see how it is exactly you drove the Shadow away. It is one of the most troubling of the Undead spirits."
When the chest's contents are revealed, Mortimer sees the book on the top and his hand moves to pick it up before the others. He holds it for a moment, looking around the room at all the others. "Petros intended for us to read this. Shall I?" Mortimer asks.
Assuming consent from the others, he opens it to see what message it may contain from the man who was mentor, savior and father to everyone present.
Mortimer picks up the small leather book and begins to thumb through it. It's quickly apparent that this isn't one of the tomes to be returned to the University mentioned in the will. The Professor's concise script covers the pages of the book and it's clearly a personal journal of some sort.
As he scans it, he quickly notices a number of passages and sections have been circled in red. They seem to span the length of the journal and he flips back to the first one he saw, a circled entry from over ten years ago. Starting with that first one, Mortimer begins to read the passages picked out by the Professor.
Ten years ago
- The Whispering Way is more than 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 first 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
- Tomorrow 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 worse come to pass.
After the last highlighted entry is read, Mortimer shuts the book and looks around the room. The last entry was written the day the Professor's body was found.
Alexei's face hardens by the passing word read eloquently by Mortimer. Well it appears the mystery deepens. The circumstances surrounding the good Professor's death have just become even more troubling with the inclusion of this cult. Has anyone heard of them before?
Mortimer's face reddens as he reads the Professor's words. When he closes the journal it is with a SNAP. Looking up at the others he growls,"Necromancers! Of all the foul, accursed, treacherous..." Still gripping the journal, he looks around the room, his eyes wide. His gaze stops on Alexei, and his question seems to calm him somewhat. "Hrm. The Whispering Way? I think I have come across references to them in my research, and now that I think of it, it was a topic of conversation between Petros and myself some months ago..."
Knowledge: Religion on the Whispering Way. 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24
Sigh, walked away from the monitor and forget to hit 'submit'. Need to knock that off.
Calavas pauses in his examination of the trunk's contents to listen to Cassandra's story with clear interest, thought he seems visibly confused at her mention of initially being scorned by other villagers. "You were shunned after driving of an undead monster? With light and fire? I'd of thought that to be the Dawnflower reborn, myself. Had there been other bad experiences there with the clergy, or divine practitioners?" He seems about to ask further questions when Mortimer lifts the journal from the chest and suggests he read it; Calavas flushes slightly, and steps to the side. "Yes, certainly, Professor Valdebridge."
Hanging his head briefly, Calavas mutters softly. "I...I guess that's an answer, of sorts."
K. History - Whispering Way 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19
K. History - Harrowstone 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22
"The group sounds faintly familiar, I couldn't tell you from where. Maybe something I read...maybe while reading up on Harrowstone; I remember doing some digging into it after finding out the Professor lived here. But what I must admit unnerves me is the idea that Professor Lorrimar of all people could encounter a situation involving undead that he felt ill-prepared for."
"Shran-Tok killed by Dark-Shamans! No! We will avenge Shran-Tok! Vharg will crush the Shaman's, see them driven before Vharg and hear the screams of their women!" Looking around at the rest of the party a strange light almost seems to glow in Vharg's eyes as he pictures the glorious destruction he will reap upon the slayers of his friend. "Gorum, Vharg has never prayed to you before. Vharg have no tongue for it. If Vharg does not fight and slay these men who murdered the Shran-Tok then nothing else matter. That is what is important. Battle's pleases you Gorum... so grand Vharg one request. Give Vharg Revenge! And if you do not listen, then to HELL with you!" With a roar Vharg uses his knife to cut his hand and runs the bloody handprint down his face. "We. Go. To. Harrow. Stone. Now."
Alexei looks a bit alarmed at Vharg's vehemence. Vharg we will go to Harrowstone but there are some things we need to get and learn first. If someone as experienced as Professor Lorrimor was killed then we need to know a bit more before we go charging in. We need to know more about Harrowstone and the Whispering Way and we should also try and see about this cache of equipment that was left in the false crypt.
Mortimer grins at Vharg. "You have the right idea, Vharg! I am ready to hunt the bastards down." He seems almost ready to rush out the door with the Half-Orc, but Alexei's words bring him back to reality.
"Ah, thank you my friend, for the perspective. You are absolutely correct." he says, then turns to Vharg. "We will get vengeance for our friend. But Petros' - the Shran-Tok's words in this book tell us that there are spirits not of flesh and bone there, and in his wisdom he has pointed us to weapons that will help us fight these spirits." Looking at the others, his smile vanishes. "I know I am prepared to brave this haunted place to find answers and hunt down this threat, and Vharg has already expressed his readiness to do so. I will not ask you all to do the same." he says.
Whispering Way Knowledge (either Arcana or Religion):
- Mortimer: The Whispering Way is a sinister organization of necromancers that has been active in the Inner Sea region for thousands of years.
- Mortimer: 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.
- Mortimer: 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.
Harrowstone Knowledge (either History or Local):
- Calavas: 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.
- Calavas: 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.
- Calavas: 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 dungeon 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.
So the above info is what Calavas and Mortimer know off the top of their heads. Anyone else can attempt the same or similar checks to see if they know anything. This is a onetime only roll, it's what you remember type of thing. I'm assuming everyone is sharing so no spoilers needed.
That being said, there may or may not be other info that could be learned but if so, it will need to be researched further for Calavas and Mortimer (and anyone else who doesn't get high enough on an initial roll). There are resources in and around town available to do this, for these or other topics that may arise.
Dominate away! I just want to make sure people are still active. If you're the only one posting, you'll be the one dictating what happens and everyone else will just have to live with it lol. "But we didn't want to attack the giant evil beastie!" Sorry, Mortimer was the only one posting and since he charged it, you're not going to leave a man behind are you.