Part 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone
A cold mist falls on the lands surrounding the quiet farm town of Ravengro, threatening to extinguish all warmth within your bodies. Each of you have arrived to this seemingly unremarkable corner of Ustalav after having received a distressing missive from Ms. Kendra Lorrimor, informing you of the recent demise of her father Professor Petros Lorrimor, a man that's had an influence in your life whether you are aware of it or not. Evidently, you have made an impression on him too, as Kendra's letter goes on to inform you that your name is specifically mentioned in his Will and asked that you attend the funeral.
So, after a long and uncomfortable journey over dark roads, past superstitious peasants and unsettling gothic landmarks, you finally find yourself nearing the wrought-iron gates of Ravengro's cemetery, the Restlands. Kendra's letter requested that you meet her and the procession at the southeast gate, although when you arrive there isn't any indication that anyone from the village is yet present. The only greeting you receive is a frosty breeze and the smell of wet earth.
Everyone can make an introductory post here, as through a series of fortuitous events the PCs arrive at the gate at around the same time.
A cold and unfriendly gate. How fitting. It was a good as way to any to sum up Sentir's trip from the River Kingdoms. Hiking across half the River Kingdoms, and some of Ustalav, in the middle of winter with no friends and no money wasn't the best way to spend two weeks. Still, he owed it to the Professor. He had been a good man, a rare enough sight int his world, as Sentir knew all too well.
As usual, the young oracles mind drifted back to those frightening, terror filled days, years ago, when he had been fleeing Razmiran. Meeting Lorrimor at the border, just as scared and in danger as Sentir was. Both of them managing to stay one step ahead of the Inquisitors, crossing the border into Ustalav in the dead of night. They became friends, colleagues after that, and the Professor had helped Sentir escape into the River Kingdoms. But it had been years ago, and they hadn't communicated since. Even if the Professor had wanted to, a destitute traveling medium/conman was hard to get a hold of. Why had Lorrimor put him in the will? Surely he had family, closer friends, hell even closer enemies.
Sentir stood at the gate, looking around with his usual veiled interest. Was that the sound of another step behind him?
|Dr. Stefan Von Herzog|
Four hours ago...
Stefan re-read the letter for what seemed the hundredth time. It was late afternoon, and the sound of the horses and the creaking of the private coach was lulling Stefan into an almost dreamlike state. It was hard to imagine the world without his dear friend Petros Lorrimor. I hated him when I first met him, he mused. He was so tough on all of his students, and woe betide anyone who hadn't done the assigned reading! That one lecture that he made poor Anya squirm by peppering her with question after question that he knew she couldn't answer... but none of us ever skipped an assignment after that! He smiled in his reverie, as he knew that his old professor used that prickly demanding persona to bring out the best in his students' scholarship... and if students earned the professor's respect, how he could become a mentor and a friend. He reminisced about those evenings at the public house discussing philosophy, arcana, and history with Andrei and Professor Lorrimor... and of how the professor had been so comforting and fatherly after Andrei's death.
Stefan broke out of his reverie when he heard the sound of three arrows striking the side of the coach, and a man shouting, "Hold, or the next three go in your chest!" The coach lurched to a stop. Stefan peered out of the coach windows, and saw four dark-haired men approach the coach, each holding a cocked and loaded crossbow. He briefly considered attempting to ensorcell them, but realized that he was unarmed and outnumbered, and that he'd heard stories of bandits kidnapping doctors... or wizards... to take advantage of their skills. He decided to wait, but he first hid his wizard's ring, a gift from his grandfather.
The bandits were only interested in treasure. They went through Stefan's baggage, leaving mainly clothing and a few odd items-- they took just about everything of value, including his doctor's bag and his coin purse. He'd managed to hide a dagger, his cane, and a handful of coins beneath the seat, and the bandits didn't find those. After a few minutes, they retreated into the forest. Stefan re-packed his scattered belongings, and tended the coachman, who was also rather shaken.
"I am so sorry this happened! Regrettably, they took the money I was going to pay you with." He retrieved a sheet of paper and a pen and wrote a letter to his lawyer, sealing it with his signet. "After we arrive in Ravengro, you can drop me off and return straight away to Lepidstadt. Give this letter to my solicitor, and he will pay you for the trip, plus a little extra for the trouble."
Fortunately, the rest of the journey was as unremarkable as the first part.
Starting off with an off-camera robbery to explain why a successful physician has little gear and less money.
* * *
A fashionable-looking coach pulls up beside the iron gates of the Restlands, the two black horses steaming in the cold rain. The coachman jumps down and opens the door, and a tall gentleman in fine-looking city attire steps out, carrying an empty-looking valise in one hand and a brass-handled, black lacquered walking stick in the other. The man's short dark hair grays at the temples. He shakes the coachman's hand. "Thanks again. Please take that letter to my solicitor back in Lepidstadt, and you will be well-compensated for the trouble. I expect to be able to find my own way back home-- I don't want to put you in any more danger. Good day!" He stands to watch the coach pull away, then turns to approach the gate.
Wearing a black frock coat over a starched white shirt and scarlet cravat, black leather trousers, polished leather boots, and a black top hat, the man trudges through the drizzle toward the other man standing by the gate.
Tucking his cane under one arm, he extends his hand. "Good afternoon, sir! My name is. Dr. Stefan von Herzog, of Lepidstadt. I am here for the Lorrimor funeral. Would you happen to know where that party is meeting?"
Sentir self-consciously shakes his patched and weather beaten cloak, as the well-dressed gentlemen approaches him. More then ever Sentir felt like a down on his luck huckster. It was fine, refined gentlemen like this that deserved the Professors close friends, not ecumenical refugees like himself. The oracle, without even thinking, attempted to measure up the man as a potential mark.
Well-dressed, that's a good sign. Clear, cultured Ustlav accent that said money, also a good sign. Tipping the coachman means he is free with his money and carries it around, better and better. And the outstretched hand bespoke politeness, also a plus. But those eyes....those brown eyes held something behind them. Something that Sentir didn't want to try and touch.
Shaking his head to clear it from such thoughts, he reached out and shook the man's hand. The man's grip was a trifle weaker then Sentir's own, hard-worked hands. Deciding to be frank Sentir says, “I am here for the same meeting, Doctor. I know as much as you, I expect. But I would assume we should go inside, it is a bit cold out here....”
Hearing the doctor mention the funeral, a figure steps closer to Sentir and Von Herzog. He is armored and bearing a sword and a shield, though no threat is apparent. There is an odd cast about his features, and his skin seems redish and a bit unnatural, however his common is crisp with the local accent. "I am here for the Lorrimor funeral as well. I would join you if you don't mind too much as I do not expect to know many here..."
A soft melodic chant can be heard before a small woman is seen approaching. "-the souls of the departed find peaceful rest in your eternal Boneyard. Amen. Oh Lady of Graves, goddess who shepherds the dead and ushers in new life, may Petros Lorrimor and the souls of the departed find peaceful rest in your eternal Boneyard. Amen." As she finishes her prayer, the young woman comes to a stop in front of the three men waiting outside the gate.
Dressed in dark, heavy fabric, and wearing a black veil over equally dark locks, Tara takes a moment to store her prayer book and shake off some of the rain from her heavy traveling cloak before turning her attention to the group. Her eyes are puffy and her nose red, an obvious sign that she had been crying. The woman is short, not even reaching anyone's shoulders as she views the group with mismatched eyes. "I suppose you are all here for the same reason as I, the late professor's funeral?" Offering a hand to Stefan, she smiles slightly. "I am Tara Eliade. It is an honor to meet some of the Professor's friends. I only wish that it would have been under happier circumstances."
Feeling that he had already gotten more than he bargained for with the uncomfortable travel into the backwoods of Ustalav, Drace plodded along the road at a steady and stoic pace. The trek from the capital had left much to be desired in terms of hospitality from the locals, Drace was sure his large size and visible armament brought a degree of caution to their reactions too.
"I hope they have coffee in this village." Drace muttered quietly to himself as he made his way closer to the gathering crowd in front of the gate. "Hey there." Drace greeted the waiting party. "I couldn't help but hear, this is for the Lorrimor Funeral? I hope I'm not late."
The young redhead nearly jumps off the coach and looks all around with bright eyes, all full of vitality.
Then she reminds why she's there and tries to regain some calm and composure. Nevertheless, she still looks around with an avid curiosity.
So, this is Ravengro? Different from Karcau, for sure.
The slender green eyed girl- barely a woman- still looks around, hoping maybe to see someone who could help her, or who could be waiting for her.
She's pretty, if not beautiful, and her clothes are casual.She wears a small metal chain around her neck, the end of it being hidden by her loose shirt. She takes her backpack and throws it on her shoulders, revealing a sheated dagger stuck in her belt in the move.
I hope I won't be too late... I'm doing it for you, Mommy. Wonder what kind of relationship you had with the Professor.
Which way to... oh, nevermind.
She spots the local temple
The cemetary shouldn't be so far... Let's hurry.
Quickening her pace, she walks toward the temple, not afraid to ask her way to the locals with a bright, heart-warming smile.
Vivian finally reaches the old gates, and traces a spiral over her heart
Well, there is a decent crowd. Lorrimor's family, maybe? Nay. They are too different, I guess. Local? Friends? Just gotta ask, Vivian!
She puts her backpack down, rubs her shoulders, and offers another smile and a gracious bow.
Hello. I'm here to give my last farewell to the professor Lorrimor. My name is Vivian Deberth.
Seeing the black haired woman all dressed in .. well, black.
I'm sorry, are you miss Kendra Lorrimor, the late professor's daughter?
Tara offers a small smile to miserable looking man that approaches the group. "That is correct. This is for the Professor Lorrimor's funeral. I hope that our host will arrive shortly so that we may all get out of this rain." Turning her gaze skyward, Tara scans the top of the buildings in town, thinking.
Upon hearing someone address her, Tara turns her attention to the new comer. Offering a hand to Vivian, Tara shakes her head. "No, I'm sorry Miss Vivian, I am Tara Eliade. I am here to say goodbye to the late professor and ensure that his body is laid to rest."
As the group gathers and introductions are made, Teilaenthis adds, "I am Teil. Short for Teilaenthis. The missive I received said that the Professor's daughter would meet us here with the procession... I suppose we should just wait."
"Good. Thanks." Drace said nodding at Tara. "Happy I'm not late for the funeral."
Drace listened as the introductions went around. "My name is Drace, how did you all come to know the Professor?"
|Dr. Stefan Von Herzog|
"It's good to meet you all. I am sorry that we are meeting under such dreadful circumstances." The doctor introduces himself to everyone assembled.
"Are any of you family? I was one of Petros' students many years ago, and we remained in contact over the years. He helped me out with... a problem once, and I always felt indebted to him. I've been practicing medicine in Lepidstadt for many years, and I would meet with Petros for dinner or an ale when he was in town. He did travel far and wide for his work, and we mostly lost touch when he relocated here to Ravengro."
Drace shook his head at the mention of family. "No, not family. Truthfully, I didn't know him that well. I worked on an expedition he led a few years ago, he managed to dig himself into an old cache of undead skeletons. Thankfully I was there to help out, but it's been years since I've heard from him."
Drace sighed. "I'm afraid I don't even know what caused his passing. Did something happen?"
Current Date: Fireday, Pharast 25th, 4711
Shortly after making your initial introductions, the assembled group hears the sounds of a cart rumbling up the road, and then soon makes sight of a small funeral procession. Sitting in a rather well-maintained open wagon pulled by an old brown mare is an older, hunched over man and a young woman dressed in a conservative black mourning dress. Behind them trail 5 other mourners: an older gentleman wearing a finely made suit who moves with a straight posture suggestive of some military background, another fellow around the same age who immediately begins to scrutinize the group assembled by the gate, an overweight man with a large mustache who is followed by a boy around the age of thirteen, and a tidy, self-possessed woman with her hair in a bun.
The procession stops in front of the gate, and the driver helps the slender young woman off the wagon. With a closer examination, she appears to be in her mid-twenties, although an exact approximation is difficult at the moment with her red, puffy eyes that suggest her attire is not merely for show. Dabbing her eyes with handkerchief, she looks over each of you with a mixture of curiosity and relief, ”Oh thank heavens, you must be those who I've written to about my father's passing. Dr. Von Herzog, Mr. Kross, Mr. Damutu, Mr. Arcanos, Ms. Elaide, and Ms. Deberth?” She asks, looking to each of you to verify your identities, although it would seem her father described each of you very well as she has no trouble guessing the individuals by their appearance. ”I'm very grateful that you've traveled so far to pay your respects, I'm afraid that you may be the only ones. With things the way they are in town these days, not many of the residents were willing to attend either, only these kind people.” She looks back at the procession, as the townfolk in attendance politely attempt to pretend they weren't staring at Teilaenthis' tiefling features or Tara's mismatched eyes.
”We can speak in more length later about what happen to my Father and his Will, but for now we have the ceremony to attend to. Would any of you do my father the honor of acting as his pallbearers?” Kendra asks, indicating the finely made lacquered wooden box sitting in the back of the wagon.
Please let me know which of you will be acting as pallbearers (if any). There is room for six people to carry it, with a minimum of four.
|Dr. Stefan Von Herzog|
Doffing his silk top hat and bowing, Stefan replies, "Madam, I would be honored to offer your father this final service. I am so sorry for your loss."
Before the cart arrives
Vivian, unsure about what to do with the girl's hand, awkwardly shakes it
Oh.. sorry for the confusion. I've just never meet Miss Kendra before.
Hearing the iron clad man, probably a warrior of some sort
Well, I can't say I knewthe professor. My mother, Eliza Deberth, was the one who knew him. As she couldn't come to Lorrimor's funeral, she asked me to come instead, and give the Deberth's family our last prayers to the departed. Perhaps they were friends, when they were younger. All I know for sure is that when I was a small child, Professor Lorrimor came to my help at Karcau.Coming here to his funeral is the least I could do...
Vivian tries to hide her hair from the rain, when the cart comes
A too familiar sight...How many funerals did I attend to already? So much..
Miss Lorrimor, it is with great sorrow that my mother, Eliza Deberth, and myself, learned about your father's departure. He will be missed, by his kin and by those he honored of his friendship. A few people cherishing his memory are better than a flock of total strangers who never knew or cared for the deceased. We would be all honored to carry your father to his last home.
As Tara opens her mouth to respond to Stefan's inquiry, the procession arrives. Tara nods when addressed and steps forward to volunteer as a pallbearer. "It will be one of the greatest honors to serve your father in this way." Stepping up with Stefan, the Tara stands as tall as possible, though it did very little to help with her 4'10 stature.
Sentir steps forward and offers a somewhat callused and strong hand. [b] I would be honored to help. He was a great man, truly. [/b/] With that Sentir takes a place at one handle on the heavy wooden coffin. He had never been a pallbearer before...he had never been trusted by anyone enough to bear them on the final journey. It was an important job.
Sentir sets his face in a solemn countenance, matching his inner feelings. With this large coffin, the fact that Lorrimor was dead was hard to ignore any longer. It hit hard, even more so for all the years since they had met. A tear tries to form but the oracle forces it away.
"Certainly, I would be honored to carry your father. Drace said somberly to Kendra as he moved into position to carry the casket with the others. "Take your time, we'll move when you're ready."
"Of Course..." Teileanthis walks all the way around to the left side of the casket grabbing quickly with his right hand, so that he may keep his shield on his left arm. As he bends to lift, you notice a wand is clutched in a barbed, prehensile tail under his cloak.
Sniffling, Kendra appears quite touched when each of you offer to escort the Professor to his final resting spot. ”Thank you all for your kind words. I do appreciate you serving in your mother's stead, Vivian, but I am quite certain that my father requested you directly by name in the Will. Although, I must admit he did not reveal the significance of that.”
With that question looming in the background, the six of you lift the coffin off the wagon and begin to make your way past the gates and into the cemetery proper. The well-made coffin is quite heavy, so you quickly discover you'll need to use both hands to properly carry it. The rain has appeared to stop for the moment, however, making the burden a little less onerous. As Petros' closest living relative, Kendra fights back her tears to take the lead along the wet gravel path, with the pallbearers behind her and the rest of the somber procession following suit. Once the group is a respectable distance away, the wagon turns and leaves.
The path through the cemetery curves a bit as you make your way across it, as scores of stone monuments pass by your peripheral vision. Everyone remains respectfully quiet, the only noise coming your footsteps across the path.
As you round a corner around a large mausoleum, you discover a dozen surly men standing in your way, each carrying some farming tool that could act as an improvised weapon. One of them holds a rake, another a hoe, with sickles, pickforks, and hammers rounding out the rest. The tallest of the group stands in front, an older, but wiry man with muttonchops adorning his craggy face. Upon seeing the procession he holds his hands out in a stopping gesture, ”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 goin’ in the ground here!”
In the background, one of the toughs whispers loudly to another, ”Look at the devilish one! You can't tell me that Petros wasn't involved with the diabolical!”
Sentir winces as he grips the heavy casket. His blackened and burned hands tremble with the pain of clenching the rough wood. He isn’t weak, but holding things often causes him pain, doubly so when gripped tightly. the charred and crispy flesh even crackles slightly, in the chill air.
As soon as the oracle spots the angry mob, armed and angry, he knows it is trouble. Pausing in his solemn stride, he removes one hand from the handle and waves it grandly.
“How dare you deny the dead his final rest! Who are you, to disturb such an ancient and grand ceremony? Shame on you, to say such things in front of the late man’s very daughter, who stands before us in tears! Your fathers, forefathers and ancestors going back centuries would be ashamed at their descendants interfering with the burial of good and honest men. We do nothing but honor the memory of a great man, one who has helped each of us and, I’m sure, many of you. Now, stand aside and let this ritual continue, this solemn grieving for his family and friends.”
With that, he grabs the handle and attempts to move the group forward.
Bluff: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 20
Hopefully the Bluff will convince them we are doing good, honest, important work. While aweing them, of course.
Diplomacy is best in this situation, one of you can roll it and everyone else can aid that roll if they wish. I will give a bonus to the Diplomacy roll from Sentir's Bluff roll, but since I really don't see anything Sentir just said as a lie per se, nor does it get around the issue that the mob doesn't want him buried here, someone should try a diplomatic approach.
Sense Motive: 1d20 ⇒ 3
Knowing the weight of the casket is carried by the five others, Vivian release the handle carefully, stepping aside with a resolute face.
She traces a spiral over her heart, in front of the local crowd, and shows her open hands
Please, this in not the time for anger. This is the time for sadness, meditation and mourning.I don't know much about the late Professor, only that he didn't hesitate to help me in my time of need, when I was just a little girl. When he was beating, his heart was the heart of a good, just and honest man. Now that his live has ended, all he asks for is the peace of the grave.
Lowering her face
I can't say I understood his work, and sometimes what we don't understand cause fear and distrust. But please don't let fear cloud your mind, don't let distrust close your hearts and soul. Petros Lorrimor was a good man, I think, and if he did some mistakes, as we all do during our lives, only the Lady of the Graves can judge him. Only Pharasma can judge us truly, without fear, contempt, anger or misconceptions, because she's a goddess and we are all mere humans.
Showing the cemetary
Shall I remind you that we all are on the threshold of her kingdom, that you are, maybe a little foolishly, defying the goddess of Fate by refusing a burial to take place, refusing Her the right to collect a soul for judgment? Do you want to risk her wrath, for you and those you love, in your time of need, be it birth or death? What will you tell to your wife, to your daughter, to your mother, if the Pharasmin won't come and pray for them at their last moments, won't help them through a difficult birth, because of your action today? "Pharasma watches on us from the womb to the tomb", as my mother, Eliza Deberth, one of her priestess in Karcau, always says. You could have some resent, some disagreement with the professor while he was alive, but those must end now that he's no more with us.
Looking each of the men in his eyes, showing only compassion
What you are doing, right now, is adding to the grief and torment of his innocent daughter. I ask you again to gently step aside, and to let us proceed to the burial of the Professor. No harm has been done yet, only some badly chosen words, which stinged the worried mind of a caring daughter and some respectful friends. Let each of us walk in peace, and say no more.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22
|Dr. Stefan Von Herzog|
"Please, friends. All we want is to lay our friend to rest. Let us pass. The grief of his passing is hard enough on us all!"
Diplomacy (aid another): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 22
Tara takes in the make-shift mob with a narrow gaze. It is clear to everyone that the she is enraged, but as the others make their case to the group, her temper abates. "As Ms. Deberth has made the case, all that we wish to do is see a member of this community put into his eternal resting place. If you have an issue with this, then I am sure that the church of Pharasma in Tamrivena would be more than willing to help."
Diplomacy (aid another): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
Drace frowned intently as he saw the men bar their path. Death was a sacred part of life, especially when it came to honoring your family. It was something held dear to him even more due to the nature of work that his family was known for. More often than not, the dead rested peacefully when treated with dignity and respect.
“Vivian speaks the truth. How would you stand if you were burying your father, mothers, brothers or sisters and someone added grief to your day? Grief that is unwarranted and unkind. Drace said sternly. “If you will not stand with us to celebrate the life of a man gone to enjoy his final rest, then stand aside and go on with your own day, but impede us no further.”
While Sentir's smooth rhetoric grabs their attention, it's Vivian's long speech that begins to calm the mob, aided along with the words of the other pallbearers. Almost immediately, the group sullenly begins to disperse, making way for the procession to proceed, yet some of the men continue to murmur warnings to each others about the outsiders. With his mob no longer angry, even the elderly ringleader steps aside, ”Yeah fine, but if this brings a curse to the town, we know just the people responsible!” He implicitly threatens as he leads his group out of the cemetery.
Kendra breathes a sigh of relief once the men have gone, ”Thank you so much, I don't think we could have proceeded without you! I'm very sorry you had to see that, there are just some people in town who cling to their superstitions no matter how you attempt to convince them otherwise."
The two older gentlemen in the funeral procession nod at Kendra's words, with the one in nicer suit speaking up, ”Yes, but it's shocking at how brazen they have become. Worry not, I recognize them and will have the sheriff keep an eye on them. They are just local farmhands, all men of low character. I assure you they do not represent our fine town.”
”I would appreciate that, Councilman Hearthmount, thank you.” The young woman replies with some gratitude, before positioning herself in the lead once more towards the gravesite.
Once the people have dispersed and they begin moving once more, Drace speaks up. "Have there been issues in the town that would cause them such concern? I can understand some superstition...especially...in our country, but to interfere with a funeral?"
|Dr. Stefan Von Herzog|
Nodding in agreement to Drace's words, Stefan adds, "I would concur. That was most distasteful!" He turns to Vivian, and says softly, "Your words were truly moving. Thank-you!"
Sentir remains silent after his grandiloquent speech. Obviously it failed to have the effect he wished, and Vivan’s heartfelt words touched the crowd. ‘heartfelt lecture’ Sentir thinks bitterly. Usually he could play a crowd like a lute but the weight (metaphysical and physical) of the coffin had messed with his head, made him off balance.
His scarred hands ached as he gripped the handle and he didn’t join in the conversation that Mr. Kross started. The oracle did keep an ear open however.
”I don't understand it either,” Kendra answers Drace's question through a few tears, ”My father has always been an upstanding citizen!”
”Lack of education that leads to a mistrust of the arcane arts, no doubt,” The sole female member of the procession opines.
Although Kendra does not appear exactly satisfied with that explanation, she returns to the sorrowful task at hand and resumes leading the group to the grave site. Soon the group arrives at freshly dug grave with three men already standing nearby, arms crossed for warmth. The elderly member of the trio wears Pharasmin clerical grab, although his most obvious feature are the big bushy white eyebrows that stick out from his bald head. By their plain garb, the other two younger men are probably the gravediggers.
The older cleric nods solemnly at Kendra and then silently directs the pallbearers where to place the coffin. ”I heard some noises earlier, I hope there wasn't any trouble.” He says to Kendra.
”Actually, there was Father Grimburrow!" She replies with some anger, "Gibs Hephenus gathered up a mob and tried to stop us from burying Father here in the Restlands! Fortunately, his old friends were able to talk them out of stopping us.”
”The audacity! How dare they interfere with funeral! Were any of you hurt?” Father Grimburrow asks, quickly examining the group for any obvious injuries.
”No, no. Sentir, Vivian, and the others managed to handle it without violence.” Kendra says with a grateful smile to pallbearers.
”Good, good.” The old cleric says with a nod, looking somewhat impressed. ”Let us begin then.”
With that, the gravediggers slowly descend the coffin into the grave via rope while fresh tears begin to flow from not only Kendra, but also several of the other local residents. Once the box is successfully lowered, Father Grimburrow begins a short sermon:
”We gather here today to lay to rest Professor Petros Lorrimor. He was a father, an educator, a protector to people in need, sometime adventurer and, most of all, friend to all of us here today. His journey in this life may be over, but now he leaves to join the Lady of Graves and receive his final reward. We can be assured he will finally find the peace that these sometimes harsh lands hardly ever provide the living.”
”O Pharasma, you who shepherd us through life and judge us in death, look with compassion, we pray, on those who gather here. May we remain grateful for all the moments we spent in the presence of this great man, and learn from his example to make the most of every moment of our short lives.”
Finishing with his arms outstretched to the heavens, Grimburrow then turns to Kendra, ”Would you like to say something in remembrance of your father, dear?”
Fighting back tears, the young woman nods, ”I'm afraid I will have to be brief or I don't believe I'll be able to finish. Each of you knew my father in your own way, but what I remember best about him was his courage and selflessness. When I was a little girl, he spent much of his time taking care of me despite his other obligations, then as I grew he made sure I had the very best education. So many times when some darkness would threaten someone's well-being he would be the first to lend a hand. Not to mention how much knowledge he imparted on his students, and the artifacts he helped to uncover. I simply miss more than mere words could ever express...”
Barely in control of herself she looks to those assembled, ”Would any of you care to share a few memories of my father?”
Feel free to jump in with your character's memories of him if you wish. If you're trying to be particularly moving or uplifting, you may make a Diplomacy or Perform check.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 19
The redheaded girl steps forward once more, her face both sad and solemn
My memories of the professor are far and few, because I was only a little girl when I met him, maybe 8 years old.That was two winters after my own dad died. He came to my help, even if I was both strange and a stranger to him, all the way from this place, or another, to Karcau.Dark shadows and restless spirits were troubling me, perhaps because I was already someone with a wild imagination and too much energy.Anger, pain and death are all too common in a Pharasman temple, it's no surprise that some kind of ghost were haunting me.
She shivers at the memory
I think that probably my mother and the other priests would have get rid of them, praying day and night to Pharasma, but he was the one who took time to make me laugh, playing hide and seek in the gloomy temple, never forgetting that beside a soul to save, there was a frightened child who needed love and laughs, care and attention. Such was the man we lost. A man of knowledge and skills surely, but with a big heart first and foremost, a man with humanity and compassion, with a warm smile and true kindness, a man I deeply regret I never will have the chance to know and understand more.
She wipes away a small tear
From Elisa Deberth, who was your friend or maybe more, I give you her blessings and prayers. From me, Vivian, my best wishes, may your travel to the realm of Pharasma be safe, and may She judges you kindly. From the small child you kept alive inside me, I can only offer grateful tears... Tears are the currency of sorrow, and I am forever in your debt, Petros Lorrimor.
She steps back, and offers again her whispered condolences to Kendra
The tiefling seems more comfortable with maintaining a background role in this instance. He was stoic but quiet as the mob challenged the procession and now simply bows his head rather than speak of how he knew the Professor.
Those nearby hear him muttering something under his breath. "his death makes it even less worthwhile... I will have to prove my worth even more now.
"I only knew the professor for a short time during our expedition together. I found that he was a good man. Excited to use the wit and talent given to him in uncovering the history of our country and in the pursuit of knowledge." Drace paused for a moment. "Our lives are poorer yet his passing, but yet even richer for having known him. Will will honor his memory for the rest of our lives. Rest in peace, Petros Lorrimor"
|Dr. Stefan Von Herzog|
Stefan waits a respectful moment and the steps forward. Turning to address the other mourners, Stefan opens hs mouth as if to speak, pauses, looks back at the grave, and sighs deeply.
He turns again toward the congregation. "My name is Stefan Von Herzog. I am an old friend and colleague of Petros from Lepidstadt. I've been thinking about Petros Lorrimor and the time we spent together very much since I'd learned of his passing. I have a couple of stories I'd like to share. I first met Professor Lorrimor about 20 years ago, when I was just a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Lepidstadt. Within the first five minutes of his first lecture on Applied Thaumaturgy, I must admit that my initial impression was that I didn't like him very much. He had a reputation as an excellent instructor, but I wasn't prepared for his style of teaching. The good professor did not tolerate anything but the best from his students-- the assignments were always taxing, the readings voluminous, and the practical exams next to impossible to perform perfectly. He seemed merciless in the way he demanded perfection from his students, yet he had a way of pushing us to demand perfection from ourselves. Students who couldn't hack his demanding teaching style dropped the course, yet those who stayed managed to earn his respect. Once you had that, he became a very different teacher: someone who encouraged, challenged, and tried his best to make you the best you could be. I found myself honored to be among the few he chose to mentor through the rest of my days at the Universtiy.
"And, while he could be so intimidating to students who hadn't yet proven themselves to his level of satisfaction, his kindness and generosity were also legendary." Stefan pauses to wipe his eye. "I lost a very dear friend while at University, in a lab practical that went very, very, wrong." He paused again, clearing his throat. "Petros was there for me-- he was the one who came to our rescue. We couldn't save Andrei, but he did save me." Stefan looked into the assembled mourners again, gathering his words. "He gathered experts to make sure that the evil of that day was put to rest. And he invited me along, a third-year university student, someone who would likely get in the way. Yet he realized that I needed to be there too...." His voice cracks. "...to end the evil that had taken Andrei from me." He sobs once, then wipes his eyes with a white handkerchief. "And afterward, he was there for me when I needed a fatherly friend."
Seemingly composed again, he smiles. "Sorry, this doctor doesn't usually get so emotional. Ahem. But that's the kind of man Petros was. When you get right down to it, he was a great man: a scholar not afraid of the darkness of the world, a man not afraid to get his hands dirty in rooting out evil, and a good friend. The world has suffered a loss in his passing. May the words and deeds of his friends and loved ones live up to his memory. Thank-you."
He then steps back into the assembly of mourners.
Nodding solemnly to the officiant, Tara finds a place near the center of the room to stand and silently begins to cry. As Kendra finishes her eulogy, Tara has descended into quietly sobbing into a handkerchief. Unable to properly articulate words, Tara merely makes a gesture of a spiral above her heart. Kendra's eulogy had hit close to home, bringing back memories of her own father's funeral and the events that lead her to seek out Professor Lorrimor three years ago.
With Vivan's recollections and kind, heartfelt words, those in attendance appear deeply moved, nodding in appreciation and remembrance. ”Couldn't have said it better myself,” Councilman Heathmount murmurs in support as he dabs a tear away.
Although Drace's words are shorter, he still receives a sad smile of thanks from Kendra and the quiet support of the crowd.
Likewise with Dr. Von Herzog's deeply personal story of his connection with the departed Professor, many in attendance appear engrossed in the tale as it represents a side of the man they had never witnessed, leading them to perhaps a new understanding of him and his life.
As the recollections of the crowd finish, Father Grimburrow delivers another short prayer to Pharasma, and Kendra gently throws a handful of dirt on the open grave as is the custom in this part of Ustalav. After a moment of quiet reflection, she walks away from the grave and begins to softly thank all in attendance.
After the last member of the procession says goodbye, she invites those of you remaining back to her house in Ravengro for the reading of the Will. Only a short walk to town from the Restlands, the village rests against a river and is composed of a number of sturdy houses with a town center set up in a circle around a gazebo. Laying inside the structure to avoid the rain, a dog of indeterminate breed perks up as you move past, then returns to his nap. Aligned around the center you see various shops such as a general store, a forge, an apothecary, and an inn, as well as posting poles set up in varying spots advising the town of local news and job posting. Although few villagers mill about, those that do mostly just stare as you move past before returning to whatever task they were performing.
To the south of the town center rests Kendra's home, formerly that of the Professor. It's a modest, but well-maintained structure, and, as she lets you inside, you see that every room is crowded with bookshelves and various decorative pieces that look to be antiques, even the furniture. Kendra guides you to a small sitting room with a desk and invites you to sit, while she works to start a fire in the room's fireplace, ”Councilman Hearthmount will be acting as solicitor for the reading of the Will, but I'm afraid that he advised me that has some small business to attend to and will be along in an hour. Would any of you care for a drink while we wait?”
Here is another opportunity to role-play getting to know each other and ask Kendra any questions you might have been waiting to inquire about. With a holiday weekend coming up, I'll continue with Will reading on Sunday.
Oh yes.. I need something strong to drink, Kendra, if you would be so kind. I sounded soooooo much like my mother, today, I need to wash the wisdom outta my tongue. Yuckie.
Vivian makes a silly face, then her good heart show itself again
Do you need some help to serve everyone?
Highly subdued but, not really mournful, the odd teifling finally brightens up a bit. "Yes, I could defintely use a drink. I'm sorry if I am a poor companion, but I would be honored to share a drink with you all."
|Dr. Stefan Von Herzog|
"Thank-you, Miss Lorrimor. A drink would be very refreshing right about now." As his hostess leaves the room to serve her guests, Stefan looks about the room. "It's hard to fathom that Petros is truly gone. I had not heard that he was ill-- if he was I should hope that he would have sent for me. Have any of you heard what happened to him?"
Sentir sits down heavily, in a seemingly old and valuable chair. He stretches his legs out, enjoy the feeling of a soft and well-loved bit of furniture. usually he had to settle for old, splintery wood (when he wasn’t just sitting on the damp ground). It was a nice change of pace, the oracle admitted to himself.
He perks up as Dr. Stephan asks a question. “I have to say, I do not. I lost contact with the Professor years ago, and this notice was the first I had heard about him in a long time. Still, he was rather….aged.” Sentir says, delicately. “I didn’t give his particular cause of death of much thought. You don’t think…..” he breaks off, sending a guilty look at Kendra.
The walls of the sitting room are covered in a number of bookcases filled to capacity with tomes ranging from the mundane to the obscure, with a fireplace in the center of the room. Above the mantle rests of a painting of a demure young woman who stares out curiously. Several high backed chairs and small couches also fill the room facing one another, while a small desk sits opposite the fireplace. Set in one corner of the room is an exquisitely made chess set, in which the white pieces are represented by an angelic host, while the black is represented by a devilish horde.
"Thank you for the offer to help, Vivian. Oh dear, where are my manners? I hope you don't mind the informality, my mind is elsewhere. I'll fetch the drinks, I need the distraction." The woman replies, disappearing for a minute before returning with a tray containing a bottle of brandy and a bottle of fine Chelish wine with a number of glasses appropriate for both drinks.
As she begins to serve each of you whichever you prefer, she answers Stefan's question, "Please, you may call me Kendra if you wish. With all that you've done for father and I at the funeral today, I consider you friends. I'm afraid that it was a bizarre accident that is to blame for his passing. Father's body was found on the grounds of the abandoned Harrowstone prison just south of the village. I do not know why he was there, but evidently the stone face of a gargoyle broke off and crushed his head. I'm told he most likely passed instantly. With all the incredible adventures he experienced in the past, what ill fate to meet his end in such a manner." She sniffles at the thought, but refrains for the moment from succumbing to her sorrow.
Teil raises an eyebrow at the story. "Ill fated indeed. Almost so ill fated to be unlikely as much as unlucky..." He then turns to his drink, taciturn.
I should have thought to try and get a read on his items... No.. that would have seemed ghastly. Perhaps he was just doomed to die, and I shouldn't have saved him to begin with. But that is not the way a man like the Professor would go.
"I would be honored to call you a friend." Drace said accepting a drink, taking a small sip of the brandy letting the taste sit with him while he listens to everyone speak. "That is ill fated indeed." He agreed echoing Teil's sentiments, wondering why the prison was abandoned - though if it was crumbling to pieces...
Sentir steepled his fingers as he heard of the professor demise. Hearing it, led to picturing it, which lead to feeling it. The weight of the Professors death, so ignoble, so wasteful….With a spurt of rage at an uncaring world, the oracle stands up and paces over to the ornate bookcase.
Trying to hide the tear in his eye, he closely examines the chessboard and the books, taking some refuge in the collection accumulated by the Professor over the many years of exploration and research. So much wisdom, so much knowledge cut down and for what? Because of a crumbling building? It seemed so….fake, so pointless.
Knowledge History on books and chess set: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18
On the way from the service to the reading, Tara manages to compose herself. As she takes her seat, Tara graciously accepts a goblet of the Chelish wine. "Kendra, please call me Tara." Taking a small sip, she pauses for a moment before saying "If you don't mind me asking, when you met all of us with the procession, you mentioned that things in town were keeping others from attending the your father's funeral. What type of things were you referring to? When I studied here with your father two years ago, the town appeared to be getting along nicely." Sniffling a bit to help clear her head, Tara takes in the sitting room.
|Dr. Stefan Von Herzog|
The doctor accepts his snifter of brandy graciously. He frowns at the news that the professor was killed in a freak accident. "Killed by a fallen statue? Given your father's work and his many accomplishments—not to mention the many dangers he'd faced down over the years—that hardly seems fitting. For that matter, what was he doing at an abandoned prison?"
With a quick examination of the nearby bookcases, Sentir spots such historical volumes as Thassilonian History, The Time of Earthfall, Ustalav Through the Ages: A Primer, and The Rise and Fall of the Taldan Empire. He does not see any particular historical value to the chess set, however he does find himself realizing that the set could fetch upwards of 100gp to the right buyer.
After placing a log upon the nascent fire, Kendra makes herself a drink before addressing Tara's question, "I must freely admit that my perceptions may be clouded by my current state of mourning, but there seems to be some sort of dark cloud affecting the townspeople as of late. I cannot quite determine what it is per se or what might be causing it, but some of others that I've spoken with agree with my observation." Kendra pauses and ponders her words for a moment, "There's just much more suspicion and paranoia in the air, I believe the mob in the cemetery is a sign of that."
Taking a deep breath, she then returns to the topic of her father's death, "As I mentioned, I do not know what my father was working on at the time of his death. I, too, thought the cause appeared suspicious, but having seen..." She pauses again to collect herself, "...his corpse, it seemed quite plausible from the injuries. As far as I know, the townspeople avoid the area altogether, so I would doubt any of them had anything to do with it even if it wasn't an accident."