|'Horrible' Harold Grimsley|
Each of you receives a copy of the following letter:
It is with great sorrow I write to you this day. Your friend, my father, Petros Lorrimor has died. Father spoke of you often and had hoped to see you again before the end. I am saddened that he did not get that chance.
As part of father’s final wishes, I am sending you this request. Father has asked for you to travel to Ravengro and participate in his funeral and sit in on the reading of his last will and testament. If you would consider it, we would be honored to have you act as one of father’s pallbearers. Please call upon me at my home when you arrive.
I wish you safe travel to Ravengro and look forward to your arrival.
Packing your belongings, you immediately began the journey to the town of Ravengro in western Ustalav.
After facing constant rains and unseasonably cool weather on the roads, you finally arrive. You barely notice your surroundings as you quickly making your way to the Lorrimor manor. The door opens before you have a chance to knock, a young woman greets you by name and introduces herself as the Professor’s daughter, Kendra. She leads you into a large foyer where several other people wait in solemn silence.
Thank you all for coming. My father instructed me to contact you in the event of his passing. Although I do not know any of you, I know of his great respect for each of you.
She pauses and clasps her hands together tightly in her lap. Your pardon, this has been a stressful time.
Kendra takes a deep breath and continues, Your arrival is well-timed, as father’s funeral is scheduled for this evening. The custom in Ravengro is to bury our loved ones in caskets, placing them into the care of Pharasma's faithful. I will need help moving the casket from the church to the Restlands, the blessed burial area where we lay our... deceased She says the last word with a small crack in her voice.
As I asked in my letter, would any of you be willing to help bear my father to his place of final rest?
Kendra seems very upset at the moment, and respectfully asks that you hold questions until after the funeral. She is willing to reveal two items: 1) her father apparently suffered a fatal accident near the ruined Harrowstone prison - he was found fifteen days ago by the Sheriff's men during a routine patrol in the area, and 2) her father's will is to be read immediately after the funeral, and all the characters are asked to attend.
Alexei stands before the group in a dark colored traveller's outfit, the fanciest clothes he owns, and therefore the most proper for this solemn occasion. He is of average height and weight, and his hair and beard are neatly cut and combed. His brown eyes are full of frustration, of things left unsaid and stories left unshared. His meager belongings are stored with his backpack in a corner of the room.
Tired and distraught from both the trip and the news of the Professor's demise, Alexei says nothing, not trusting himself to be able to speak to the girl in a language she could understand.
Instead, the bearded man merely nods to Kendra's request.
"I would be honored to bear your father's remains", a bass voice calls out from across the foyer.
The speaker is a huge Ulfen man standing well over two meters tall and weighing near thirty stone of hard corded muscle. His mane of raven-black hair is tightly bound and braided as is a thick beard that reaches midway down his barrel chest. The northman's features are square and rugged but marred by a nose that's been broken too many times. His eyes are a pale blue, just a shade lighter than a summer (non-Ustalavan) sky.
He's dressed in simple traveler's clothes; a sleeveless roughspun tunic, leather breeches, and worn hide boots. Slung over one broad shoulder is a leather pack with a suit of iron armor bundled and tied to its exterior.
A smooth, kind voice comes from under a black hood, "It would be an honor miss."
The man stands up and throws back his hood revealing a feline head. His fur is a smoky grey with white in his face and black rosettes from his neck down. The green-eyed cat-man moves with feline grace as the cloak reveals he is dressed in white underneath, including long gloves that only leave the tips of his fingers exposed.
A white quiver is strapped to his thigh and on his back, over the cloak, he wears a simple looking backpack though the thing is made of high quality leather.
Bjorn's eyes go wide at the sight of the man-cat and he stifles a gasp, Jadwiga!.
The big man clenches his fists as the blood pounds in his ears. Every instinct tells the Ulfen to slay the monster.
No, I've seen this creature before- with the Professor even.
And he wants to honor the Professor? Perhaps he can be trusted... for now.
The towering Northman seems to calm a bit but keeps a wary eye on the strange white-furred creature.
Alexei's face lights up with surprise at Oliar's appearance. "חתול...", a single word slips through his lips before he manages to cover his mouth, looking apologetic about his outburst.
Taking a deep breath, and looking at the floor for a moment, the man gathers himself. "Apologies, friend. I have never met one such as you, before."
Oliar smiles at both bearded men, "No problem, I have had many weird looks since I set foot on shore in Caliphas. I'm used to it by now." It was the reason he had been imported as a whelp in the first place, even though that was a different country.
The driver of the wagon he had hitched a ride on had been very kind to explain a lot about this country and it's superstitious. He also warned him to to go to the northern parts as there was supposedly a lycanthrope problem there and the man insisted that the local people would not be able to tell the difference between a were-cat and a true catfolk.
|'Horrible' Harold Grimsley|
The sweet pungent aroma of cigar smoke wafts across the others gathered in the foyer as a large half-orc exhales a long stream off to the side. Harold takes the cigar betwixt two of his fingers, knocking off the ash into the fireplace, while his other hand goes to the hat upon his brow. The hat, black and in the bowler style, compliments his well-pressed suit which is comprised of a tailored jacket, vest, and trousers. All of it appears to be customed tailored as to find a suit that would fit such a large man, whom easily matches the Ulfen in height and bulk, is quite the endeavor.
He places the hat across his breastbone, dipping his head toward the lady, "The prof was a good man. A bi' eccentric but did alright by me. I'd be 'onawerd ter carry 'im ter 'is rest eternal, Miss." Harold returns his hat to atop his short-shorn, red hair as he brings up the cigar to his lips and takes another deep drag. The embers of the burning cigar light up the dark crags that comprise Harold's face, a mug that normally sets small children to crying and scares dogs off.
Harold glances around the room at the others milling about until the funeral. His eyes size up the large Ulfen man, the most likely possible threat, while his mind is already churning away and cranking out methods to disable the man if the need arises. It's as they say, You can take the brute off the streets, but you'll never take the street out of the brutes. The cat, while exotic, didn't ellict much of a response from Harold. On the back streets of Caliphas, you saw all types of crazy thngs and a man-sized talking cat was the least of your worries.
After facing constant rains and unseasonably cool weather on the roads, you finally arrive.
A horse-drawn carriage pulls up and stops on the road outside the Lorrimor manor. A distinguishedly dressed and cloaked gentleman - hood pulled up and obscuring his features - exits the carriage and turns to tip the driver. Transaction completed, the gentleman respectfully nods to the driver as the carriage pulls away.
The gentleman turns and approaches the manor, an intricately carved walking stick tap-tap-tapping on the cobblestones as he walks. Beneath the cloak it is obvious that the gentleman is impeccably dressed in a finely tailored long jacket, wool vest, soft leather breeches, and spotless white linen shirt with a smartly knotted silk cravat.
"Oh dear. I hope I'm not too late!" the gentleman exclaims - albeit in a subdued tone - as he retrieves a silk handkerchief from a vest pocket. "I'm afraid this weather is not beneficial to my constitution," he mutters as he coughs into the handkerchief before replacing it in his pocket. A small blackbird sails down from the overcast sky and alights on the gentleman’s shoulders, greeting him with a melodious twitter.
The door opens before you have a chance to knock, a young woman greets you by name and introduces herself as the Professor’s daughter, Kendra.
"Ah! Lady Kendra! The good Professor spoke of you often," Korvus greets the strikingly beautiful yet obviously bereaved young woman. He lowers the hood of his rain-spattered cloak to reveal the bestial face of a male half-orc, a delicate pair of pince-nez incongruously perched upon his nose and a handsome bowler atop his head. He doffs his hat and bows his head, adding "I only wish we were meeting under happier circumstances. I am so sorry for your loss."
Korvus follows Kendra into the large foyer, nodding in greeting to each of the other gentlemen gathered in turn. He quickly studies each of the men in turn as Kendra makes her request. "By the Song of the Spheres! Could that truly be one of the rare Catfolk?!" Korvus thinks to himself. "I knew the Professor was well-traveled and counted quite a diverse group of individuals as friends, but I had no idea! And my goodness, the large human appears to be an actual Ulfen! The other gentleman appears to be of Chelish descent, if I had to guess. And the dapper fellow is another of Orcish blood such as I. Hmm... If he is a native of these parts I must enquire as to his tailor..."
As I asked in my letter, would any of you be willing to help bear my father to his place of final rest?
"Your father was a great man and a great teacher, Lady Kendra. I would be honored to serve as a pallbearer alongside these fine gentlemen as well," Korvus replies after the others, respectfully bowing his head to Kendra.
Kendra smiles as the last of you agrees, Thank you all. Please, the priests at the Temple await us. I would not delay any longer.
Kendra leads the party to the Temple of Pharasma, an ornate building on the western road. An elegant stained glass window takes up most of the southern wall, a surprise in this otherwise backwater town. Inside the Temple, a closed casket waits upon a table flanked by several young acolytes.
Each of you takes a place on the casket, two on each side and one behind. Kendra speaks, As his closest relative, I am to lead you to The Restlands. As is our custom, please refrain from speaking until we arrive.
Walking to The Restlands is relatively easy, and even the weather seems to cooperate for once as the rain becomes little more than cool mist. As you enter the graveyard, you note the care and attention given to the area. The acolytes of Pharasma obviously take pride in discharging their duties in Ravengro.
As Kendra turns onto a pebble path, a small group of people standing nearby take notice. Almost as one, they move to block her passage, with an older man declaring, That’s far enough! We don’t want no necromancer buried with our kin. Take him outside of town if you want, but he ain’t going in this ground!
Kendra’s demeanor swiftly turns from sadness to anger, What do you mean ‘necromancer’? she cries out in denial. The Temple has already given their approval, why to you seek to stop us?
The older man replies, You don’t get it, woman. We don’t care what the Temple says, he’s not welcome here! I suggest you and your friends just move along. He straightens up as he gestures as the men behind him, Me and the boys are standing up for the rest of our town, and we’ll do what needs doing! he says as he brings his right fist into the palm of his left hand with a meaty smack.
There are a dozen men blocking the procession. At a glance, they all appear to be unarmed, dressed in the simple clothing of common farmers or laborers.
Assume you have your typical "adventuring" gear.
Also, carrying the casket requires two hands...
The group had the speaker’s back, until the end. Several are now eying him with surprise and concern.
There is something about the way the group is acting that doesn’t seem quite right to you. The speaker’s words, the way he moves, how the people behind him stand so close together... you think something unnatural may be at work here.
Please post what you want to do. Once everyone has posted, I'll summarize and we'll move ahead as the situation dictates.
Bjorn follows where the group is led to, keeping a wary eye on the white-furred creature the whole time.
When he and the others are lead to the remains and the customs are explained, the Ulfen looks on the casket and reflects.
We carry a great man to his final rest in silence? We should take this walk warmed by his pyre with songs on our lips; Songs about his life, his loves, and of his greatest battles and achievements... but that is the Ulfen way and he is not Ulfen. Am I?
The rugged Northman takes up a position at the front end of the bearers. He matches the gaze of the big oddly-dressed Orc briefly. He looked like a strong one and the two of them would likely be doing the majority of the lifting. Once his pair is ready, Bjorn nods and then lifts with a grunt.
The Ulfen slows to a halt as the assembled villagers stop the procession.
Sense Motive - 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
"I do not know where you heard it but the Professor was no necromancer", the Ulfen growls. "Now step aside. Haven't you heard it's bad luck to speak ill of the dead."
The big man's aggression is audible in his voice.
Intimidate - 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (19) + 4 = 23
|'Horrible' Harold Grimsley|
Harold slows to a stop with the others as he glares at the assembled villagers before them. He glances to his fellow pall-bearers, giving them a look as if to convey, Would you look at this lot? All high in their breeches and ready to act like the grown-ups. He shifts the coffin's weight in his hands as the men continue on with their acquisations and proclaimations that the procession shall not pass them.
Sense Motive Check: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16
Harold wets his lips as he feels abit of the old furnance lit up in anger inside him, the words taking a moment to form in his mind. The Ulfen gets to the essence of his feelings a split second before the half-orc is able to open his mouth. He grunts and nods in agreement with Bjorn's words before adding his own bit to it, "As me tall friend said, da prof was a good man an' never did I see 'im muckin' abaaaht wiv da dark arts awer desecratin' da spirits ov those departed. Now unless da lot ov yew wan' ter become daffodils 'ere along da road wiv yaaahr simple little 'eads poppin' up from da dirt after me an' da Northman drive da rest ov yew down in'er it, I'd advise yew ter bite yaaahr tongues, step aside, an' offer yaaahr respects ter a good man an' 'is grievin' daughter. Don't make me put dis coffin down, it'll end badly. OK?"
Intimidate Check: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14
Bjorn falters for a moment as he hears something almost alien. The Orc was backing him. No one but the professor had ever spoken on his behalf.
The big Ulfen shifts the casket on his shoulder and nods as Harold finishes. He fixes his icy glare on the group's speaker.
Alexei looks worried at his two much larger companions threatening violence, but nods with them. A group of unarmed farmers wouldn't possibly try to harm them while in the middle of such a sacred task, right? And as the two men had so eloquently put it, the Professor was no necromancer. They had no right to stop them from interring his body.
"Let us pass. This is a sad, solemn occasion. Those who do not respect both the living and the dead shall never know the warmth of the Sun's forgiveness."
Oliar had simply nodded at the two Half-Orc's arriving. It was always a bit weird to him, simply because he couldn't fathom how a brute like an orc ever managed to have children with a human. Unless it wasn't voluntary.
When they walked outside with the casket Oliar was glad he had put his hood back up. These bumpkins would clearly make the worst of an associating between this "strange" cat-man, who might or might not be a lycanthrope, and the professor. He listened to his comrades and while their approach was probably appropriate for these simple minded folk they were facing it also was dismissive and those idiots hated it when you did that.
"Think for a moment. Would we be burying a necromancer? Wouldn't a necromancer just turn himself into an undead creature? Think about it." His voice was calm, almost appreciative of those stupid hill billies.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8
Bluff: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11
Sense Motive check: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
"Necromancer?!" Korvus exclaims, rising to his full height of six-and-a-half feet while continuing to hold onto the coffin with both hands.
"My good man, I am shocked and appalled - yes, appalled! - that you would besmirch the good name and reputation of Professor Lorrimor in such a manner! Why, you should know that the good Professor would NEVER traffic in such dark arts! You should be ashamed of yourself for making such baseless accusations! And to do so in front of his poor, grieving daughter? Shame on you, sir! Shame!" Korvus fairly trembles with righteous indignation, fixing the the man at the head of the group with a stern glare through the lenses of his pince-nez.
"And as Lady Lorrimor stated and as you very well know, the good Professor's burial here has been authorized and blessed by the holy Temple of Pharasma!" Korvus continues in a slightly calmer tone. "Certainly none of us here wish to challenge the authority of the goodly church that is divinely charged with the protection of your souls, do we?"
Diplomacy check: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14
(Earlier that day)The dwarf is plainly dressed in sturdy workclothes, old but well maintained. His dark brown hair is shorn close to his scalp and his beard is unadorned and shorter than you've seen on most dwarves. Upon arrival he mumbles greetings and condolenses to Ms. Lorrimar the invitation letter clutched in his mitts like a protective talisman, and awkwardly places a large pickaxe in the umbrella stand by the door. His granite colored eyes widen at the sight of two half-orcs (and one dressed fancier than a banker's wife), but he says nothing. He never puts his back to them either. He nods in greeting to the two humans but keeps a polite distance. He has seen the occasional crow-man on boats on the lake, so another animal headed being, while surely unusual, doesn't visibly upset him. At Ms. Lorrimar's request, a slight bow of his head and a gruff, "Of course," are his reply.
At the funeral, upon the declaration of the mob, Gunther sets his stance, ready to take any spare weight of the coffin himself if the mob attacks. His jaw set in grim determination.
As you speak, several of the men behind the leader begin looking at one another with concerned expressions. Soft muttering breaks out and you clearly hear one man in the back question whether or not Lorrimor really was a necromancer. The original speaker, smiling grimly and clenching his fists, is taken aback. He spins quickly, forgetting you for the moment, "Don't listen to them, they aren't even from around here. They're outsiders! They don't know anything about Ravengro!"
From behind you, a strong voice replies, "That's right, and you're presenting a wonderful image of the folks around here, Gibs." A short man walks up the path past you to stand before the older farmer. He is easily the oldest human you have seen in town, and he wears the formal robes of a Pharasma priest.
"I knew Professor Lorrimor for 20 years, and he was no necromancer. He is going to be buried in this land, blessed by my hand, and watched over by my Temple!" As he speaks, the group behind Gibs begins to shrink back, somewhat resembling children being scolded by a parent. "Now, I think it's best if you all went home. Go on, all of you get on home."
While several of the men meekly turn to leave, Gibs looks at the priest and opens his mouth to retort. Before he can speak, several men grab his arms. Pulling him back, they finally turn him around and lead him away. From the look on his face, it was obvious that the priest's words did not affect his disposition.
The group moves away and the old priest turns to Kendra, "My deepest apologies, Kendra."
She closes her eyes and sighs. Unshed tears well in her eyes as she places a hand on the priest's arm, "It's not your fault, Father. I just don't know what's happened to the townspeople lately... so cruel..."
Standing tall, she quickly wipes her eyes, "Please, let us see this finished. Will you walk with me, Father Grimburrow?"
Several men are gathered at the gravesite, curiosity evident as they watch you approach. The old priest directs you to lower the casket into the open grave. After you finish, he speaks for several minutes about Pharasma and her obligations to the deceased, ending his service with a prayer for Lorrimor's soul.
Kendra approaches the grave, and drops a single flower into the hole to land on the casket. Turning back to the group, she asks, "If any of you would care to speak a few words about my father, now is the time."
It appears that your measured responses got through to enough men to delay what was quickly becoming a fight. Had you not been as convincing, combat would have surely ensued.
Characters are not required to speak at the funeral, but all are given the opportunity. If you choose to speak, please roll a Diplomacy, Peform, or similar social skill check. A character may take 10 for this check.
Korvus steps forward, bowler hat held respectfully over his heart as he begins to speak.
"Professor Petros Lorrimor was more than a man; he was a gentleman and a scholar," Korvus begins. "The Professor was a dear friend of my parents, and encouraged them to enroll me into the Stone of Seers in Magnimar when I demonstrated a gift for academics and wizardry - even though no one of orc-blood had ever attended the school before. Indeed, I believe it was his letter of recommendation that finally convinced the Deans to grant my admission. The Professor was a frequent guest lecturer at the school and his time was in high demand, but he always made an effort to spend time with this young student. Why, I'll never forget all the hours we spent debating the finer points of arcane esoterica!" Smiling wistfully at the memory Korvus retrieves a silk handkerchief from a vest pocket and dabs at his eyes. As he does so, the black bird perched on his shoulder trills softly in his ear. Korvus rubs the bird gently under its neck.
Korvus places the handkerchief back in his pocket and turns to speak directly to Kendra. "Of all my teachers I would have to say that it was Professor Lorrimor who truly inspired me not only to excel at my studies, but to open my eyes to the wider world around me. If I can someday become at least half the man that he was - noted scholar, intrepid explorer, and kind, giving soul who inspired others - then I will feel worthy of all the effort he put forth on my behalf. This world is a better place as a result of his presence in it. He will be sorely missed."
Korvus bows his head to Kendra and then steps back to allow the next person to speak.
Diplomacy check: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (11) + 4 = 15
Alexei simply stands back, clenching his hands. His frown is not quite as pronounced as before, but he still appears distraught. "פרופסור..." the man says, mostly to himself. To his credit, no tears run down his face, but one can tell Petros Lorrimor's passing weighs heavily on Alexei.
The bearded oracle simply puts a hand to his heart, praying deeply that the Professor's soul is now at rest.
The hard lines of the Ulfen's rugged features grow harder still as he searches for the words to express himself.
"For almost ten winters, the Professor has paid me to escort him on his errands but for what he's always paid me he could have hired half a dozen men. I believe he thought of me as more than a strong arm and a shield to guard his back", Bjorn explains. "That was his greatest gift; He saw the whole of things, beyond what his eyes showed him."
The hulking Northman hesitates as he finishes, "This world is diminished with his passing."
Perform (Eulogy) - 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (11) - 1 = 10
|'Horrible' Harold Grimsley|
Harold holds his hat across his chest as he glances around at the others, at silent tears and somber expressions. The mood seems a bit too depressing for remembering such a man with the Professor's vibrant character, so the half-orc clears his throat after the Ulfen speaks up, "The Professor was an alright bloke an' shouldn't be remembered wiv such 'eavy 'earts. Remember da ride, not da final destinashun. There was dis one time in Caliphas, we 'ad left a tavern not five minutes befawer, after 'avin' a few drinks an' chattin' i' up wiv some ov da local color, when da Prof got i' in'er 'is 'ead what 'e wan'ed ter 'ave a 'eart-to-heart wiv a vampire. A few are whispered ter roam da nights but I never expected ter actually run in'er one what evenin' but wouldn't yew know it, da Professor suddenly 'ad ter drain da dragon an' when 'e stumbled in'er a nearby alley ter unlock da floodgates 'e ended up pissin' all over da leg ov a blood-sucker drainin' 'is late night snack right there in da shadows. The crazy sonvanewt finished up an' wen' right in'er quesshuns while 'is piss was still drippin' down da vamp's trousers. I was sure what would be da end ov us an' I barely got da Professor pushed aaaht ov da way as da fanger leapt at 'im. I tell you, I never new a little guy could 'i' so 'ard, nearly broke me jaw off wiv a 'aymaker. Think I even caught a sight ov da Boneyard in da distance, drawin' closer by da second, when da Professor comes chargin' back up, 'oldin' aloft somebody's potted shrub what 'ad been ripped right aaaht ov its pot an' 'astily 'acked in'er a poin' where its roots should ov been. That crazy old geezer 'ad mawer balls van most blokes 'alf 'is age, an' somehow 'e scared da vamp off an' saved bof aaahr lives what night."
Harold quiets after his little story, a sad smile on his face as he bows to the grave, "May Pharasma smile on yaaahr soul, Professor. And if she don't, tell 'er yaaahr buddy, Harold Grimsley,'ll come a callin' some day so she might as well go an' loosen 'er corset befawerhand."
"At the risk of sounding overly dramatic: The professor gave me back my life. Without him I'd still be stuck on the streets of Macridi. I had suffered a betrayal from someone I depended on and had lost trust. The professor learned me to trust again, just by being himself. He was a grand man and I will remember him fondly." Oliar hung his head.
|'Horrible' Harold Grimsley|
Harold pulls a small metal flask from his jacket pocket, taking a swig of the brandy within to help clear his throat and head before wordlessly offering a shot to the Ulfen.
Since I forgot it up above, Diplomacy Check: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (17) - 1 = 16
Part 1 of 2
After the last person speaks, soft sobs can be heard from various attendees. It appears that what you said has struck an emotional chord with several people. Kendra stands up and moves to grave facing the crowd, "Thank you, one and all, for your kind and heartfelt words. Father?"
Father Grimburrow shuffles up to stand beside her. Taking her hand in his, he raises his other to the sky, "Now we commend into your care, Petros Lorrimor, devoted teacher, scholar, friend, and father. Please watch over his soul as he stands before you for judgement."
The acolytes attending the ceremony punctuate the end of Father Grimburrow’s prayer with a low monastic chant, starting as a dirge, but ending with an uplifting chorus that seems to soothe the raw emotions throughout the crowd.
Kendra leans over and hugs the priest, "Thank you." you hear her say.
Moving toward you, she raises an arm, "Let’s get back to the house. I don’t know about any of you, but I could use a drink." Turning toward an older man in the audience, she inquires, "Vashian, are you still coming over tonight for the reading?"
The man she speaks too is an older human with close-trimmed hair and a neat beard. His stance and manner indicate years of military training that has yet to disappear. He nods slowly, and in a gravelly voice, "Yes, my dear, I’ve got to go home to retrieve it, but I’ll be along shortly." Kendra clasps her hands together and bows her head in appreciation.
When you arrive at her house, Kendra insists on all of you staying in her house, at least for one evening, as her guest. Without waiting for an argument, she begins assigning you to rooms. Though the house is very clean, almost every wall is covered with a bookshelf – the Lorrimor manor likely has more documents, scrolls, and books than many libraries you have visited. Even the bedrooms have shelves and stacks of books in nearly every available space.
After making sure everyone has a room, she meets with you in the study where you spoke with her upon arrival. She provides a drink for everyone (even if it's only a glass of water), and proposes a toast to the memory of her father. Kendra begins by saying that she does not have any idea what the will contains since her father was constantly updating and changing it based on his latest research and findings.
Before any real conversation has started, a knock at the front door announces the arrival of Vashian Hearthmount, Councilman of Ravengro, and the executor of Lorrimor’s will. Kendra hurries to the door, then leads him into the study. Without preamble, he pulls a large scroll case from his jacket. Holding it up for everyone to see, he purposefully turns it so that the unbroken wax seal is clearly evident. He pulls a small knife from his belt and deftly slides it under the seal, opening the scroll. Placing the knife back in his belt, he turns the scroll sideways and begins to unfurl it. As the scroll opens, a small key drops out and lands with an audible ‘clink’ on a wooden table. Vashian glances at the key, then back to the scroll. He begins reading:
I, Petros Lorrimor, being of sound mind, do hereby commit to this parchment my last will and testament. Let it be known that, with the exception of the specific details below, I leave my home and personal belongings entire to my daughter Kendra. Use them or sell them as you see fit, my child.
Yet beyond the bequeathing of my personal effects, this document must serve other needs. I have arranged for the reading of this document to be delayed until all principals can be in attendance, for I have more than mere inheritance to apportion. I have two final favors to ask.
To my old friends, I hate to impose upon you all, but there are few others who are capable of appreciating the true significance of what it is I have to ask. As some of you know, I have devoted many of my studies to all manner of evil, that I might know the enemy and inform those better positioned to stand against it. For knowledge of one’s enemy is the surest path to victory over its plans.
And so, over the course of my lifetime, I have seen fit to acquire a significant collection of valuable but dangerous tomes, any one of which in the wrong circumstances could have led to an awkward legal situation. While the majority of these tomes remain safe under lock and key at the Lepidstadt University, I fear that a few I have borrowed remain in a trunk in my Ravengro home. While invaluable for my work in life, in death, I would prefer not to burden my daughter with the darker side of my profession, or worse still, the danger of possessing these tomes herself. As such, I am entrusting my chest of tomes to you, posthumously. I ask that you please deliver the collection to my colleagues at the University of Lepidstadt, who will put them to good use for the betterment of the cause.
Yet before you leave for Lepidstadt, there is the matter of another favor—please delay your journey one month and spend that period of time here in Ravengro to ensure that my daughter is safe and sound. She has no one to count on now that I am gone, and if you would aid her in setting things in order for whatever she desires over the course of this month, you would have my eternal gratitude. From my savings, I have also willed to each of you a sum of one hundred platinum coins. For safekeeping, I have left these funds with Embreth Daramid, one of my most trusted friends in Lepidstadt—she has been instructed to issue this payment upon the safe delivery of the borrowed tomes no sooner than one month after the date of the reading of this will.
I, Petros Lorrimor, hereby sign this will in Ravengro on this first day of Erastus, in the year 4711.
Vashian rerolls the scroll and places it on the table beside the key. "Mrs. Lorrimor, I have fulfilled my duties as executor, if there is any further business regarding your father’s will, please call upon me at your convenience. If you will excuse me, I am sure you have much to discuss. I will see myself out."
The current date is 3 Rova, 4711. The will was written and dated approximately two months ago.
Part 2 of 2
Kendra stands and moves to the door of the study. Pausing, her voice cracking with emotion, "I will go retrieve the chest for you, please wait here."
She returns a few minutes later with a small wooden chest reinforced with steel bands along the edges. She sets it down on the floor in front of the table where the scroll and key rest. "I do not yet know what I plan to do with the house and belongings my father left me, but I will have a decision well before a month passes."
"Unless there are any other pressing issues, I would retire for the evening. If acceptable, I would like to meet with you here tomorrow morning to answer any questions you may have, as well as provide any information you desire. And thank you again for coming, it would have meant much to my father to know that the only people he cared about other than his family repaid that love by being here tonight. Good evening." Kendra turns away from the door and heads for her room.
The small key on the table fits opens the locked chest with a solid click. Inside the chest are several old tomes and a worn journal. Three of the tomes appear to be scientific texts, and they are tied together with a note indicating they should be delivered to Montagnie Crowl, a professor at Lepidstadt University.
The other tome is a rich purple color with a brass scarab on the cover containing an eye set into the center of its back. An ornate lock prevents the book from opening, though you can see the edges of the pages appear to be golden in color. This book has a note asking that it be returned to Embreth Daramid, a judge in Lepidstadt. Strangely, the note asks the delivery to be handled discreetly, and includes Embreth’s home address.
The journal appears to be the personal diary of Petros Lorrimor. A note is tied to the outside with the words “Read Me Now!” written in what you recognize as the Professor’s handwriting. The journal appears to cover the past fifteen years of Lorrimor’s research into evil beings and organizations. A majority of the entries are mundane in nature, simply reporting results from examining documents on various arcane and mathematical theories. As you flip through the journal, you begin to notice several sections that have been circled with red ink.
Ten Years Ago:
The Whispering Way is more than just a cabal of necromancers. I see that now. Undeath is their fountain of youth. Uncovering their motivation does not place me at ease as I thought it might. Their desire to be eternal simply makes them more dangerous.
Two Months Ago:
It is as I had feared. The Way is interested in something here in Ravengro. But what could it be?
One Month Ago:
Whatever the Way seeks, I am now convinced their goal is connected to Harrowstone. In retrospect, I suppose it all makes sense—the stories they tell about the ruins in town are certainly chilling enough. It may be time to investigate the ruins, but with everyone in town already being so worked up about them, I’d rather not let the others know about my curiosity—there’s plenty of folks hereabouts who already think I’m a demonologist or a witch or something. Ignorant fools.
Twenty Days Ago:
It is confirmed. The Way seems quite interested in something—no, strike that—someone who was held in Harrowstone. But who, specifically, is the Way after? I need a list of everyone who died the night of the fire. Everyone. The Temple of Pharasma must have such a list.
Eighteen Days Ago:
I see now just how ill prepared I was when I last set out for the Harrowstone. I am lucky to have returned at all. The ghosts, if indeed they were ghosts (for I did not find it prudent to investigate further) prevented me from transcribing the strange symbols I found etched along the foundation—hopefully on my next visit I will be more prepared. Thankfully, the necessary tools to defend against spirits are already here in Ravengro. I know that the church of Pharasma used to store them in a false crypt in the Restlands at the intersection between Eversleep and the Black Path. I am not certain if the current clergy even know of what their predecessors have hidden down below. If my luck holds, I should be able to slip in and out with a few borrowed items.
Seventeen Days Ago:
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 worst come to pass.
It is approximately 8pm in the evening when you finish your initial review of the chest’s contents.
Kendra has given you a room in her house to stay in tonight, though you are free to seek out different accommodations if you desire.
To identify the books, a variety of knowledge checks might be able to determine what they are as well as who might be interested in them. The purple book must have its lock opened before examination, and it requires a successful Disable Device check to open it without destroying the mechanism.
Let me know what, if anything, you wish to do.
Bjorn listens in silence to the rest of the ceremony. The Ulfen nods in agreement at the suggestion to retire to the Lorrimor estate for drinks but he does not lower his guard and keeps a close eye on the white-furred catman.
Bjorn noisily drinks and sups on whatever is provided (favoring meat and the harder spirits). When he is shown to his room, the hulking Northman follows readily - he'd stayed here before. His things stored, the Ulfen returns to the common area for the reading.
After the will is read and Vashian takes his leave, Bjorn is quick to respond.
"One final task from the professor? If this was his dying wish, I'll see it through. 100 platinum coins? Even in death, he pays too much", the Ulfen observes.
When Kendra retrieves the chest, Bjorn shows little interest. Content that it's accounted for and intact, the big Northman lets the others dig through while he maintains his vigilant watch of the potentially dangerous were-cat.
Oliar waits patiently as the priest finishes the ceremony. His time in Druma taught him there was actually little need in life for gods, but he guessed Pharasma was an exception as she was the goddess you needed in death.
Once inside the manor Oliar readily accepts both the offer to take a room in the house and for a drink, though he only takes water as per the strictures of his faith. Once he returns from placing his belongings in his room the others can see he is fully clothed in white and the symbol of the prophecies of Kalistrade is embroidered on his collar.
One the will is read, the chest is brought in and Kendra takes her leave Oliar turns to the others, "I don't think I've properly introduced myself. My name is Oliar and I hail from Druma. I met the professor when he was in Macridi looking into the ongoing war between the groups of local fey." He then whips out some tools from a hidden pocket on his body, "Now lets see if we can liberate the secrets imprisoned behind this lock."
Disable Device 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (15) + 8 = 23
As the catfolk reaches for the lock-bound tome, the Northman interrupts.
"His will asked that we deliver these to his comrades, not help ourselves to them. If the professor had wanted us to pry into his secrets he'd have mentioned it."
Oliar sighs, man that guy was thick, "Neither, though I have no clue what a jadwiga is. As for the fey, the only connection I have to them is that I lived in a town that has peaceful contact with three different fey courts that are at war with each other about every other week."
He sighed once more when he interrupted him while working on the lock, "Well, we already read his journal didn't we? What if this book contains more important information about the matter? It looks like the professor died working on this, the more we know the less likely it is we will as well."
Sense Motive - 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (15) + 1 = 16
Bjorn eyes Oliar warily. Not a werecat and no connection to the jadwiga...
"Jadwiga are sons and daughters of the witch-queen, Baba Yaga. They wield foul magics and often spend their time crafting creatures not unlike yourself."
I'm not assuming Bjorn read the journal, so unless someone specifically read it to him or otherwise relays him the information, he doesn't know what it says.
"The Professor dabbled in all manners of things that I didn't care to understand. That hasn't changed now that he's gone", the Ulfen says.
Alexei ponders over the contents of the journal, trying to decide what action to take. Surely, informing Kendra of her father's last studies may not be something she needs to hear at the moment, but she may have some insight into his actions and things that are not included in the journal.
Sitting down in one of the study's comfortable chairs, and slightly dazed by his full stomach, Alexei rubs his bearded chin and tries to decide what to do.
|'Horrible' Harold Grimsley|
After the Funeral
On the way back from the funeral, as everyone walks back somberly, Harold places one hand gently on Kendra's shoulder, "Miss Kendra, since da Prof is now livin' i' up wiv da gods, if yew ever need a 'and around da area, yew feel free ter give me a 'oller. OK?" He nods his thanks when she gives him a room to spent the night, lugging his baggage up to it and plopping the pack down next to the bed. When the others gather downstairs for drinks and food, Harold takes a large glass of whatever liqour Kendra has on hand.
After the Will reading and examination of the chest contents
After letting the more cerebral of the group examine the journal and contents, Harold lifts up the little book in his big hand, cracking it open as he reads down the passages with his sausage-sized index finger pointed toward the text to help him keep his pace. The half-orc grunts at the sounds of the cat and Ulfen chatter back and forth to one another while the others silently survey the rest of the books. Harold reads some of the passage aloud to himself as if hearing the sound of his own voice helps him process the information. When he finishes with the last passage, Harold closes the journal gently so not to crack the spine as he glances at the others, "Necromancers an' ghosts. The Prof knows 'ow ter go aaaht wiv a bang, I'll give 'im that. I don't know abaaaht yew gents but dis all smells ter low 'ells as an accident-disguised murder. I've know a few blokes who do similar jobs in Caliphas, beat a geezer over da 'ead until i' pops like a raw egg awer break 'is neck then 'push' 'is remains aaaht in fron' ov a speedin' carriage awer even make 'im take a swan-dive off a buildin' onto some nice 'ard cobblestones."
"...I don't know about that, but considering the last subject of his work, it is much more likely that his death may not have been as accidental as we have been led to believe." Looking at the half-orc while still seated, Alexei nods once. "This definitely warrants more investigation... I wonder if we should discuss this with our hostess?"
Alexei stands and gives a look to each of the other gathered men, curious for their input.
His interest piqued, Bjorn turns his focus from the catman to the Chelaxian briefly.
"What kind of investigation?", the big Ulfen asks suspiciously.