In the heart of the city of Ravengro, in the nation of Ustalav, the burial grounds known as the Restlands is the site of a somber affair. Amidst clouded skies and pattering rain a woman stands in black cowl and dress awaiting the arrival of an unknown number of mourners to pay final farewell to the man she knew as "father", Professor Petros Lorrimor.
You instructions were fleet and short; Lorrimor is dead. You are urged to attend his burial and the reading of his will. There was no mention of your history. There was no mention of your relationship. Simply a date, a place and ample expectation that clung in the air unsaid.
Feel free to narrate your approach. Include how you came to Ravengro if you so desire.
Adimov strode through the rain-slicked streets of Ravengro, his boots tapping out a staccato drum beat audible over the pattering of the rain and the whisper of the wind through the narrow alleyways than wind their way between the boulevards like a hundred tiny veins.
He shifted slightly beneath his cloak, hands automatically checking well remembered spots about his person: the silver crucifix tucked into his belt, the pistol holstered at his side, and most importantly the seals on his many powder horns. Any of these he might need to pull at a moment's notice, and the last thing he needed in an emergency would be wet powder.
Tucked into his sleeve was another important item: a folded scrap of parchment, still bearing the broken wax seal of Professor Lorrimor. Adimov had made the professor's acquaintance some years previous, and though their encountered had been brief a correspondence had been maintained. The professor understood the importance of Adimov's mission, and their exchanges had been mutually beneficial—if infrequent. It was most unfortunate that he had passed on so soon.
Arriving at the gates of the Restlands, Adimov pauses for a moment to say a prayer for the departed before entering the cemetery. He approaches the woman in black and offers her the letter. "I was summoned," he says, cooly.
Lorrent halted as he neared the graveyard gates. He touched the silver holy symbol that hung around his neck and said a quick prayer for the dead.
A sad, crooked smile spread across his lips. "I suppose that goes for you too now old man. Apologies I wasn't there for you this time."
He looked up at the clouds and the falling rain. "Fitting."
He passed his hand over the morning-star that hung from his belt, cast a spell to detect any undead foolish enough to get in his way, then continued into the graveyard.
Before long he a saw a man and a women standing quietly near the place where Lorrimor was to be buried. Without slowing his stride, he studied them as he approached. He passed the man with a nod and went straight to the women in black.
"My apologies for your loss." He pulled out the parchment with his instructions and handed them to her. "If there is anything I could do, I will see it done."
Some fun tense stuffing going on there guys :p Its hard to know which tense to use in PbP. By the by it would be helpful if you would post Lorrent's stats into his profile.
Kendra Lorrimor, a more young and womanly version of her departed father, blanches a moment at the arrival of Adimov, her face easily seen through the sheer fabric of the veil. Was it surprise or fear? Hard to say but after a moment the woman reaches out and takes Adimov's letter and gives it a cursory glance.
Nodding to herself Kendra hands the letter back to the man with the odd accoutrements and the precise bearing, Adimov...yes my father has mentioned you. He spoke of your skill as a warrior and the...power of your convictions. I thank you for coming...
Kendra's words fade as the sound of another person approaches. As the new arrival offers words of apology Kendra sniffs slightly, obviously trying to hold back tears.
Looking over the new man's letter the woman lingers on the page for a moment and hands the paper, wet from exposure in the rain, back to Lorrent. My father knew you as man of uncommon skill and faith. He would be glad that you are here.
Turning so as to speak to both Lorrent and Adimov, Kendra Lorrimor stands shorter than either man but with shoulders and back straight, I do not suspect many more will join us. If we can wait but a minute or two more, I believe the casket will arrive and then, with your aid perhaps, we can make our way.
Many roads had been traveled in the last few years. From the Dragon Kingdoms to the likes of Andor and Cheliax, Xaeken had wandered to learn and improve upon his talents and his knowledge. When the letter came the surprise was...total. The good professor had obviously kept close watch on Xaeken's comings and goings. Some might feel that invasive, to Xaeken the sensation was almost...paternal.
Approaching the Restlands Xaeken pulls at his cloak and mask to ensure they are properly placed. The layered and colorful wraps of his people were exotic enough but the illusion was in the sandals and the mask; these put people off guard but probably strangely more at ease than they normally might be. Xaeken was unsure who would take what reaction to his form and he knew Ustalav to be a place somewhat hostile to outsiders. The result was a mask of wood, leather and minor colors with a long beek and wide glass eyes. The plague tenders of the cities had word something less elaborate so the the style was known. Xaken's sandals were similarly adorned and strips of color and leather were made to complete the illusion of almost unnatural bird feet.
Seeing upon his approach that others had arrived and presented thier grim invitation Xaeken shuffles about his person for the letter and as he comes closer he bows his head. Hand extended to the woman, leather and metal gloves masking his hand's true shape, Xaeken offers the envelope.
The mask muffles his words but the accent is distinctly Chelaxian, I have come to pay my respects and honor final wishes. I deduce you to be Kendra and if so, I am at your disposal.
Kendra nods at the strangely adorned newcomer and, like before, reads over the letter and passes it back. Yes, Xaeken...have I said that properly? My father spoke little of his time in your part of the world but spoke fondly of his hopes for you. Welcome.
In the distance on the cobbled rock of the path comes the click clacking of horses. A covered wagon approaches adorned with the regalia and colors of The Lady herself, Pharasma.
Upon seeing the cart the woman sniffs again, a small barely uttered sob shaking her for but a second. As the cart pulls up a steward and a cleric descend from the seats and move to the back of the wagon.
My father thought highly of each of you. Would you honor him, and me, by carrying him to his final rest? Kendra gazes expectantly from her veil at each of the newcomers.
Lorrent eyes the oddly adorened new-comer. His times dealing with odd and twisted cults of the dead have exposed him to any number of costums but he had never seen one quite like that. And he had learned to expect anything in a land such as the Restlands. As Kendra greets the new arrival, however, Lorrent eases his guard.
Expect anything indeed.
When the cart comes into view, Lorrent says another quick prayer and upon Kendra's request he gently bows his head.
It would be my honor.
He greets his fellow cleric and takes a place ready to bear the casket.
The group of you form up and with the remaining steward lift the highly polished wooden coffin out of the wagon and onto your shoulders.
As you arrange the casket amongst yourselves the priest goes into the cemetery ahead of you. Apparently by local tradition the procession carrying the casket is to be met at the sight by the cleric, rather than having him walk with you.
A small smattering of locals arrive on foot and one couple arrives by carriage as you move the professor to the entrance of the burial grounds. Kendra offers polite thanks and a smattering of instructions and you are told to follow her through the cemetery along the gravel path known as the "Dream Wake".
Shoring up the casket the 3 of you and the steward wind your way into the Restlands following Kendra along the "Wake". While the casket and its contents are not light, the distribution of the weight between makes for steady progress. As you wind along the path you see a party of people, some bearing simple farm implements and clubs standing in the way of the procession.
One man with a darker complexion steps forward from the group, 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!
Kendra stands tall in anger, What are you talking about?
The small group behind you stirs gently. Anyone want to do anything or just stand by and listen?
"Whatever ill blood there may have been between you and the professor, it's done now. The man is dead. Have the good grace to let his daughter lay his spirit to rest in peace. His bones will do you no harm, least of all with a servant of The Lady of Graves bearing the casket. Now quit this foolishness and stand aside."
Diplomacy => 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11
Lorrent can easily see the man is agitated and very close to provocation.
To Adimov's appeal for diplomacy the man spits in the direction of the coffin, Nothing but trouble that "professor" and he died doing evil! A few of the men behind him nod and bark in agreement.
The leader, wielding a wooden club in his right hand, points at the group. Take him back down the Wake and load him in a cart or we are gunna do it for you. We don't need no fancy outta town noble or his foreign friends telling us how we do here in Restov!
Kendra attempts to interject but is drowned out by the yelling of the assembled men. Please, my father would never want anyone to be hurt! He was a good man! He deserves his rest!
You might get away with one more Dip check but its rough going at this point.
"You would threaten violence against servants of the gods, on holy ground, while laying the dead to rest? I thought that the men of Restov were good, honest folk. You dishonor yourselves and your people by your actions," says Adimov, bluntly.
"Step aside, and I swear that whatever ill may have been done, I'll set it right. But this man deserves be to buried in peace."
Second Chance Diplomacy, GO! => 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16
Lorrent moves to set the casket down.
This is an odd turn of events. Im accustomed to defending the living from the dead, not the other way around.
Lorrent shifts his cloak to better reveal his holy symbol. I am a servant of The Lady of Graves, and an old friend of Lorrimor. I will lay this man to rest. Now I suggest you do as my friend asks, Lorrent says as he gestures toward Adimov. Then we can discuss these accusations afterwords.
1d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21 [Adi]
1d20 ⇒ 13 [Lorrent]
1d20 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5 [Xaeken]
1d20 ⇒ 12 Rabble
As the casket descends and Lorrent's words fill the air there is a pause as the leader considers. Adi's and Lorrent's reflexes are superior though, and both men know that trouble is about to start.
No Surprise Round, Init is:
I probably won't bother with a map here but basically it looks like this with about 30 feet from Adi in the front to the leader:
(K= Kendra, S=Steward, and so on...)
Adimov steps forward, his boots crunching in the mud, until he is even with where Kendra stands. He draws his pistol slowly, leveling the weapon at the crowd in front of him. "I'll harm no peaceful man. But anyone who steps forward will prove his ill intention, and I'll not hold back. You can still choose to stand aside," he says. "I'd step back, miss."
Move action: Step forward, draw weapon.
Standard Action: Readied action to attack the first hostile person who moves forward:
(Ranged Touch Attack => 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (15) + 5 = 20, Damage (using Focused Aim) => 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 3 = 10)
Lorrent moves forward and puts himself between the mob and Kendra, pulling out his mace and shield.
One soul is enough for The Lady this day, I have no need to put more to rest. Go live your lives and leave us be.
Adimov steps forward and presents his weapon, I'll harm no peaceful man. But anyone who steps forward will prove his ill intention, and I'll not hold back. You can still choose to stand aside. and then asks Kendra to step back, the paladin holding his gun firmly in hand and ready to act.
Lorrent steps in front of Kendra and shields Kendra offering his words to move the crowd, One soul is enough for The Lady this day, I have no need to put more to rest. Go live your lives and leave us be.
The leader of the group seems undeterred and with anger in his eyes he rushes at Adimov with club in hand. The bullet rings out in the rain like thunder as Adimov releases a shot. The bullet strikes the man in the shoulder and spins him on his axis, as he falls to the mud and gravel packed trail he looks not unlike a child's toy coming to rest.
The other rabble rousers fall silent as do the gathered procession. The wound smokes slightly from the bullets heat as blood pools in the rain beneath the man.
Kendra wails out as the others stand in abject shock, He is a fool but death cannot be his punishment, someone heal him, help him, please! It becomes unclear who she is talking to as she stumbles back to her father's casket. How could you ruin his path to rest? He did nothing but good in this world! All I want to is let my father rest in peace!
Lorrent steps forward and kneels down by the wounded man.
Not today. At least not before we get answers.
He touches the man on the temple, and says a prayer to Pharasma. For a brief moment both his holy symbol and his hand glow. The man's wound stops bleeding and his breath steadies. cast stabilize
Lorrent then stands and faces the crowd, then raises his voice.
Who knows this man, where he lives or can be cared for?
A few people step forward and lift the man noting that they can see him home to get rest. Kendra also acknowledges that she knows him and knows where he lives.
The rabble rousers break though not without casting more than a few dark looks at the stranger with the odd thundering weapon. Kendra for her part composes herself and as the crowd disperses she looks to the group, May we lay my father to rest now?
As the rabble disperses Lorrent catches the eye of those carrying the injured man.
That man's life now belongs to me. See him well tended, but also see that he does not leave this city before I have a chance to speak with him. If he does, I will find both him and you.
Lorrent turns and walks back toward the coffin. As he passes Kendra, he gives a slight bow.
Apologies for that grim display.
He retakes his place and readies to continue.
There is a flurry of activity as the laborer types who threatened the group slink away, the crowd following the progression are whipped into order by a few of more regal bearing (most likely local leadership) and Kendra murmurs an apology as she moves to lead the procession.
As the four of you move to lift Lorrimor's casket the older dour faced priest from the cart can be seen making his way to the group. Kendra offers a hand up in conciliation and the priest beckons for the group to continue.
At the site gravediggers take the casket from the pallbearers and work to lower the casket while the priest, Father Grimburrow, offers a rather melancholic treatise on the Lady of Graves and her plans for those who pass on, etc, etc. etc.
The service is short but capped with an opportunity to share thoughts and feelings about the good professor. Kendra begins and manages to hold herself together recounting a handful of short stories that reflect the learned enthusiasm, patience, and general good character of the professor. After she is done an invitation is offered to the crowd to also share stories. There is an errant cough or two but is plain to see that few have anything to say and most are looking on the out of place out of town types to take the lead...
After glancing at the group of silent mourners, Lorrent takes a small step toward the grave.
The Lady of Graves has blessed my family for many years, my mother a priestess, my father an inquisitor. When our Lady's bidding brought us to this area, they would often call on Lorrimor's expertise. And he often called on theirs.
Lorrent looks down at the box sitting in the ground and a sad grin touches his face.
Not long ago, when I was still earning my place, the professor asked for my family's help exploring an old fort of the Whispering Tyrant. For the first while the ruins offered little beyond some rubble and a few remnants of the Tyrants armies. We didn't think it would take long to cleanse the place and hallow the ground. Lorrimor even seemed dissapointed at the lack of excitment and interesting things for him to discover.
Lorrent couldn't help but shrug and shake his head.
Then we found a false wall, broke it down, and the professor strode right in. Then something grabbed him. My father and mother followed but that thing still had enough time ravage the professor. We fought it back, but more were coming so it fell to me to get Lorrimor out of there.
By then he was already unconscious and dying. I had never healed in the midst of combat before, but I couldn't rely on my parents. I prayed to Our Lady as hard as I ever have and by some miracle She granted my prayer.
Lorrimor's eyes popped open, first in horror, then confusion and finally understanding. With a word of thanks he got back to his feat and helped finish purging that hole. We got out mostly unscathed.
After a short pause Lorrent continues.
Later that night, the professor looked over at my mother and said he thought it was about time I got a true holy symbol of my own. He pulled out a bag and filled his hand with silver trinkets saying that we could use his share of the loot.
Lorrent pulled his silver holy symbol into view.
I was a great man in this life. I have no doubt he well continue to be in the next.
After the priest sits, Adimov stands. "I can't say I knew the professor well. We met only once, though it was quite the adventure. But in that short time he proved himself to contain more nobility than any noble I've met. He was a good, honest man who sought the truth above all else. I would say 'the world is a dimmer place for his absence,' but we all know that is not the case. Everywhere he went, Lorrimor lit a fire in the hearts of those he met. It burns in me, as I am sure it burns within all of you."
"The light from those fires will, in time, far outshine that one beacon. That is the legacy of Professor Lorrimor, and the sacred duty which each of us is called to. To shine the light of truth upon the world, and call out for others to do the same." Adimov turns to the grave, "Goodbye, Lorrimor. You were the best of us."
Xaeken casts a glower at the men of faith though the mask hides it well. Such words, the words of belief...how am I to follow that?
As the the others speak Xaeken sits motionless but rises to his feet after Adimov finishes his speech.
Xaeken notes the eyes upon his strange costume but steps forward and speaks regardless, the precise Chelaxian accent muffled by the mask, Where I come from those like me are shunned, left to do the work of slaves and beats and treated the same...Lorrimor saw my potential as I saw his desire to teach and learn. He vouched for me, he brought me to a family and a lord. He helped me find purpose and training. He...believed in me. I have lost most of what he helped me gain. Now in losing him I can only hope to do his final bidding with success.
Xaeken moves quickly to sit as he finishes.
A few others rise and tell simple stories of generosity, wisdom and learned passion. In general those who speak of the man seem bright to the idea of the Professor and yet a dark pall does mute the proceedings. It is obvious that how Lorrimor met his end is a matter of speculation and unease. These people knew him a long time but something about his demise has led to a general ill opinion that seems to tarnish even his most ardent supporters.
As the service ends Grimburrow offers his condolences to Kendra while a handful of other mourners come and exchange words with Lorrimor's daughter. Of the more gentrified one man, a Councilor Hearthmount, tells Kendra that he will be bye the estate in about an hour to go over the will. He politely introduces himself to the group but leaves little opportunity for conversation as he leaves on "official business."
As the mourners take their leave, the dirt is leveled, and the priest and steward take their own leave, three strangers are left with Kendra Lorrimor at the sight of her father's grave. I suppose we should make our way back to the house. It is not far. We have some time so we need not rush...
Obviously floundering in the face of grief and her new social responsibilities as hostess for the trio Kandra can only offer a wan smile and a loose gesture out of the funeral grounds.
Let me know if you say anything to her on the way to her house or if we should just skip ahead.
The four of you wind your way along the outskirts of the town, Kendra obviously eager to keep herself away from any large crowds or familiar faces. Your route takes you past the temple of Pharsma and some of the closest farmland to the city proper before weaving easterly over the river to the Lorrimor house which is on the southern side of town. (Spot "N" on the map, see Campaign Info Tab) For the entire walk Kendra oscillates between idle small talk; weather, local gossip, so on and a somber silence.
You arrive at the home and Kendra offer you places to stash your various coats, weapons, backpacks and other accoutrements. She notifies you that whatever house help she may still have has the day off and may no longer be with the residence depending on how her father chose to resolve his mortal business.
There is certainly a tension in the air as Kendra flutters about the place attempting to play hostess while awaiting her fathers final words.
The house itself is ever the reflection of Lorrimor's personality as you came to know him. While there are a variety of rooms most of them are stuffed full with book on every topic ranging from history to culture, magical minutae to treatise on obscure sects of long forgotten religions. All of the major deities receive attention in some manner though, much like any true son of Ustalav, the section devoted to Pharasma has some particularly rare tomes and splendid editions of the faith's myriad works. Artifcacts and weapons, most of an ornamental nature, also litter the walls and bookcases. This was the home of a man who studied far and wide.
Between the long route and the tour and plenty of idle nervous energy the hour passes and the previously introduced Councillor Hearthmount arrives. Of a doughy build and thin facial hair it is plain that though the man is a professional, the arrival of strangers in "local" business is not something that sits well.
Pulling Kendra off to the side a few words are exchanged and then the lot of you are asked to sit at the main table with Kendra while Hearthmount reads the will.
Hearthmount produces a scroll and offers it for inspection to the group, showing that Lorrimor's personal seal is intact. Twisting the case Hearthmount pulls the case open and a large brass key clangs to the table. The Councillor ignores the key and pulls forth a large scroll. He clears his throat and begins to read in a pinched but clear voice:
“I, Petros Lorrimor, being of sound mind, do hereby commit to this
parchment my last will and testament. Let it be known that, with
the exception of the specific details below, I leave my home and
personal belongings entire to my daughter Kendra. Use them or
sell them as you see fit, my child.
“Yet beyond the bequeathing of my personal effects, this
document must serve other needs. I have arranged for the reading
of this document to be delayed until all principals can be in
attendance, for I have more than mere inheritance to apportion. I
have two final favors to ask.
“To my old friends, I hate to impose upon you all, but there are
few others who are capable of appreciating the true significance of
what it is I have to ask. As some of you know, I have devoted many
of my studies to all manner of evil, that I might know the enemy and
inform those better positioned to stand against it. For knowledge
of one’s enemy is the surest path to victory over its plans.
“And so, over the course of my lifetime, I have seen fit to acquire
a significant collection of valuable but dangerous tomes, any one
of which in the wrong circumstances could have led to an awkward
legal situation. While the majority of these tomes remain safe under
lock and key at the Lepidstadt University, I fear that a few I have
borrowed remain in a trunk in my Ravengro home. While invaluable
for my work in life, in death, I would prefer not to burden my
daughter with the darker side of my profession, or worse still, the
danger of possessing these tomes herself. As such, I am entrusting
my chest of tomes to you, posthumously. I ask that you please deliver
the collection to my colleagues at the University of Lepidstadt, who
will put them to good use for the betterment of the cause.
“Yet before you leave for Lepidstadt, there is the matter of
another favor—please delay your journey one month and spend
that period of time here in Ravengro to ensure that my daughter is
safe and sound. She has no one to count on now that I am gone,
and if you would aid her in setting things in order for whatever she
desires over the course of this month, you would have my eternal
gratitude. From my savings, I have also willed to each of you a sum
of one hundred platinum coins. For safekeeping, I have left these
funds with Embreth Daramid, one of my most trusted friends in
Lepidstadt—she has been instructed to issue this payment upon
the safe delivery of the borrowed tomes no sooner than one month
after the date of the reading of this will.
“I, Petros Lorrimor, hereby sign this will in Ravengro on this
first day of Calistril, in the year 1496.”
Hearthmount clears his throat again and rolls the parchment closed and replaces it in the case. Handing the case over to Kendra the Councillor looks out to the rest of you with a cocked eye, Is there any instruction that requires clarification or any questions that any of you might have of me before I take my leave?
Hearthmount clear his throat and look to Kendra for a moment, Ah yes well I can say officially that his body was found at Harrowstone prison, in bad shape it looked to be quite the fall. No evidence of anything but an accident. Any other details on this front can be shared after my departure, which I am happy to make, if you can confirm for me that the document's stated instructions are clear and understood by you gentleman?
Yes the documents are clear enough, but what isn't clear is what's really going on here. I have known Lorrimor for many years and simply falling in a prison is quite unlike him. Then add in the racous at the graveyard, the fact that he wants his hier watched over and protected and your lack of interest in helping us, I find all rather...odd.
Sense Motive 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (7) + 10 = 17
Lorrent can tell that the man is evasive and it certainly is a mix of some sense of "I don't like outsiders" and a certain sense of politeness in the shape of Kendra's feelings on the subject.
Hearthmount reddens ever so slightly but his voice remains calm, though he does clear his throat once more, Well I apologize if I seem lacking in aptitude but I care not to speculate on the motives of men or the nature of their demise. As I said, Ms. Kendra can share with you any number of anecdotes about the situation. Quite frankly sir your order and peers would know far more about death than I ever will so perhaps you might level your questions at them or, if you feel your mandate is some sort of hunt for this information, the sheriff himself?
Hearthmount's hands close ever so tightly on the top of a leather document case that he had brought underarm but had since placed atop the table in his move to leave, As a member of the Town Council and in my current capacity I strive to be impartial and relay facts. Facts are what you have been given.
"Obviously he's eager to quit this place, so let him go," says Adimov.
"Miss Kendra, it would be my duty and honor to remain in Ravengro for the time being, in accordance with your father's wishes. Perhaps in that time we might be able to resolve whatever lingering business might have been left behind.
"For right now, however, I think perhaps some food and hot drinks might do us all a world of good, and then we can speak amongst ourselves."
Hearthmount clears his throat a final time and nods to the group as he makes his exit. As Kendra closes the door behind him she sighs lightly,My apologies. Hearthmount is a good man, but like many here in Ravengro he is prone to suspicion of outsiders. He was closer to my father than many and even he has doubts considering the details of my father's demise...
Kendra looks about the room with a flash of desperation as though she isn't sure what to do next. Closing her eyes for a second she steadies her breathing and opens her eyes again. If you gentleman feel up to the challenge, the makings of tea and light refreshments are in the kitchen. Would you care to prepare a light lunch while I secure my father's effects so we might review them?
Not staying for the answer the woman picks up her skirts and steps lightly and quickly up the stairs leaving the three of you to your own devices.
Adimov looks to his two new compatriots. "Food preparation is not among my skills, but I believe my tea brewing to be above par. Let us make our way to the kitchen and see what can be done. If we're lucky, the Professor might even have left us some cream in the ice cellar."
He marches ahead towards the kitchen. He rummages through drawers and cabinets, assembling a tea service from among the odds and ends that litter the cluttered kitchen, and stoking the stove to boil some water.