DM-Camris' CARRION CROWN Chapter 2: Trial of the Beast

Game Master Camris

The Beast of Lepidstadt has been captured! Upon traveling to Lepidstadt, the adventurers must discover whether the legendary monster is truly a killer or merely the instrument of some greater evil—and either way, whether it’s too dangerous to be allowed to survive.
HERGSTAG OVERVIEW


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Continuing the game from the previous chapter; HERE--Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone...


You begin in an overcast day in the town of Ravengro.
The survivors of the cleasing of Harrowstone Prison are about to set out by coach to the city of Lepidstadt to the north to complete their errand for Professor Lorrimor—delivering his sinister book collection to Lepidstadt.
Before you leave, you may be able to learn a little about your journey, and about the burghers of Lepidstadt, from local people in Ravengro.
A Diplomacy check to gather information or a Knowledge (local) check reveals the following information about Lepidstadt.

Diplomacy or Knowledge (local) DC10:

The distance from Ravengro to Lepidstadt is about 100 miles. No journey in Ustalav is without risk, but the old Mountain Road is generally regarded as the best route. This road follows the southeastern foothills of the Tusk Mountains, passing through the towns of Tamrivena and Courtaud before following the Lesser Moutray River up to Lepidstadt.

Diplomacy or Knowledge (local) DC15:

The city of Lepidstadt is currently the scene of intense local excitement. The dreaded Beast of Lepidstadt—a terrifying abomination that has terrorized the people of Vieland for years—has been captured. Hundreds of people have f locked to the city hoping to catch a glimpse of the horror and watch it burn for its crimes.


Male Elf Bard (Detective)/4;HP 34/34; AC 17 T 12 FF 15; Fort +2; Ref +7 Will +4; CMB +3; CMD 16; Per +11; Init +3; Spd 30ft.

Ereviss brushes Kendra's gray lock of hair as he chokes Bach tears. He thinks how close he was to losing her.

He clutched two books, the story of the Harrowstone Haunts and the wedding book he had made for Kendra. He wanted her wedding to be special and hoped it would include him.

kn local: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18


Male Half-Orc Paladin (Undead Scourge)/4;HP 43/43; AC 19 T 11 FF 17; Fort +9; Ref +5 Will +8; CMB +6; CMD 18; Per +1; Init +1; Spd 20ft.

Agrimar spends much of his time in silent prayer and contemplation over Ysabot's and the Professor's graves. He prays to Iomedae to give him the strength to bring the men responsible for their deaths to justice. Death to the Whispering Way.

If Ysabot's cat survived, will Kendra take him in?


The end of the one month sequestration imposed by Professor Lorrimor's will finally arrived.
Now free to travel to Lepistadt with the books, the survivors (plus Kendra, who insisted on escorting them) gathered in the village square to take the weekly coach. It is late though, and towards sundown it finally arrives; one of the horses is limping, and coach has suspension damage.
"Sorry folks," the coachman said to those disembarking as well as those waiting to board; he leapt to the ground.
"I'm afraid we won't be leaving until the morning. I have to arrange for the coach to be fixed and the horses switched out. The company has arranged for rooms at the Outward Inn here.
"We should be ready about nine tomorrow morning.
"Again, sorry for the inconvenience!"
He said cheerily.
After that, he sauntered off to the Laughing Demon tavern whistling a merry tune.


Male Varisian Inquisitor 7 (AC 23/15Tch/19FF, 22 CMD/18FF, HP 55/55, Fort +8, Ref +7, Will +9, Init +7, Per +13)
Skills:
Climb +5, Heal +10, Intimidate +9, K(Arcana) +7*, K(Dungeon) +6*, K(Nature) +7*, K(Planes) +5*, K(Religion) + 11*, Perception +13, Ride +7, Sense Motive +16, Spellcraft +9, Stealth + 13, Survival +10*, Swim +5

Rising from his seat, a swarthy Varisian man of average height and atheletic build unlatches the door of the coach and steps down heavily to the dusty streets of Ravengro. The man has short cut brown hair and a well trimmed beard that frame a weather-worn face. He pauses as he scans his surroundings with practiced eye, then he swings a heavy and well-worn backpack over his shoulders. A longbow of excellent craftsmanship and a short spear are strapped along its side, while a silvery morning star dangles off its side. Dressed in a blood red cloak and tunic, a black-lacquered breastplate, black trousers and tall boots, a Pharasmin undead hunter is readily spotted for what he is. Any close enough to him have their doubts cleansed when they see the spiral symbol of Pharasma tattooed on his neck.

He takes a few steps away from the coach, evidently without any other baggage, and pauses again looking about. Frowning in frustration, he sighs and spots the cluster of locals who were waiting on the coach. He approaches, asking, "Pardon me, I'm looking for the residence of the late Professor Petros Lorrimor. Can you direct me towards it? I wish to pay my respects."


A lovely young woman with a white streak at her temple looked startled. She set her trunk down and approached Christoph.
"I am Kendra Lorrimor, Professor Petros Lorrimor's daughter. I am afraid you are too late. His funeral was last week."
She sniffled at that point and quickly swiped at her eyes.
"I'm sorry. You've come a long way and must be tired. Since the coach won't be repaired until tomorrow, you can come to my f... My house."
She turned and remembered her companions.
"Oh yes, this is Ereviss and this is Agrimar, both friends of my fathers who were also invited to the funeral and the reading of the will. What was your name again?"


Female Elf Slayer 1 / Wizard (Void Elementalist Shadowcaster) 3 | AC 18 T 13 FF 15 | HP 25/32 | F +4 R +6 W +2 | Init +3 | Perc +6

Travellers mill about following the coachman’s announcement, stretching and shaking out the tension of a long day’s journey, grumbling good-naturedly about the delay, glad that they were at least able to make it to an inn. Among them, a tall, lean figure appears in a fiery blaze of silk; though imposing, she humbly helps others lift their luggage down from the coach’s roof. A few smile and nod their thanks, but turn away quickly, and any passerby taking more than a cursory glance recognizes the woman’s distinctly inhuman profile, her pointed ears and whiteless eyes clearly marking her as an elf. Taking her own bags down, she looks around her diffidently, awkwardly aware of her own difference.

At least there was another stage to go when I caught up with the coach, she thinks. How fortunate that I was able to dress … marginally less conspicuously. She smiles to herself to think of the reaction her first appearance, in gleaming mail on a conjured steed, provoked. Though wary, the other travellers accepted her subdued explanation of dangers on the road, and they did not press her for details. This is a mournful country indeed.

Her thoughts are interrupted by what she catches of a conversation to one side. Spotting the Pharasmin’s robes, she realizes with a start that he was travelling with the same goal, and thinks it was a pity she didn’t think to introduce herself more fully in the coach.

Making her way over, she takes up Kendra’s question. “I’m sorry, I couldn’t help but overhear. I’m Skiia Anamabon – I corresponded with your father.” She glances at the man beside her. “I’m sorry we’ve come too late. There’s been trouble on the roads.”

Her eyes narrow briefly as she recalls whatever her obscure reference points to, but after a moment she adds softly, bending her head in respect, “Our deepest sympathies for your loss. Your father was a good man.”


Male Elf Bard (Detective)/4;HP 34/34; AC 17 T 12 FF 15; Fort +2; Ref +7 Will +4; CMB +3; CMD 16; Per +11; Init +3; Spd 30ft.

The fine featured elf hovers protectively over Kendra, seemingly distracted by the professor's daughter. He offers a monagrammed handkerchief when she seems distraught, but otherwise seems to be writing in a large, leather book.

He steps forward after Kendra speaks:
"We had a problem with an evil force that the Professor was able to identify. We barely escaped with our lives after facing all manners of horrors."

He continues: "I have checked the spirit board, and it appears our troubles are far from over after we travel to Leipstadt. We may have to find a caretaker for the house."


Male Varisian Inquisitor 7 (AC 23/15Tch/19FF, 22 CMD/18FF, HP 55/55, Fort +8, Ref +7, Will +9, Init +7, Per +13)
Skills:
Climb +5, Heal +10, Intimidate +9, K(Arcana) +7*, K(Dungeon) +6*, K(Nature) +7*, K(Planes) +5*, K(Religion) + 11*, Perception +13, Ride +7, Sense Motive +16, Spellcraft +9, Stealth + 13, Survival +10*, Swim +5

Christoph winces as the young woman explains who she is. He nods politely to the her introduced companions. As Skiia intervenes, he holds what he had been about to say, listening. "I would also like to extend my condolences for your loss. The Professor was an inspiration and his death saddens all. May the Lady of Graves judge him justly. As for me, I am Christoph Metzger, Voice of the Spire and devotee to Pharasma's grace. Your father and I corresponded for a time. His expertise proved invaluable in the hunting of undead in Ustalav. I had a great deal of respect for him. All this said, I appreciate your gesture, but I wouldn't wish to be an undue burden. I can take my rest in an inn if that is more convenient."

I'm also glad to meet you, Miss Anamabon and Master Ereviss." Christoph looks at Ereviss, perplexed by the seeming non sequitur, "I'm afraid that you've lost me, sir. What are these... evils?... that you speak of?"


Female Human Oracle of Pharasma 7; 42/52 HP; AC:13 [19] Touch 13 FF 10 [16]; F +6 R +4 W +8 (+12 fear); Init +2; Perception +7 (+11 undead/ can percieve ethereal undead)

Rhia looks out of the carriage window, the gloomy sky reflecting her mood. Though she knew that the Professor would be with the Lady of the Graves now, and that she should celebrate his life, the fact was that she would sorely miss the old man and their late night conversations over mulled wine.

It was he who had helped her come to understand her unique gift and truly embrace the connection she had with Pharasma's realm.
As the carriage rumbles to a stop she gathers herself, stepping out of the carriage and onto the dusty streets after the others have disembarked.

I wonder if I'll get to see him as….

The sky seems ready to weep as she exits the coach in front of the house, a vision of somber ethereal beauty, dressed in flowing black and silver for the occasion, the deeply cowled hood of her cloak plunging her beautiful face in shadow, a reflection of the deep emotions she was feeling.

Those she passes feel gooseflesh rise along their skin as the air chills slightly, faint mist coming from the mouths of by passers who step aside without truly realizing why.

The delicate, wraithlike figure seems to glide forward, her cloak moving against the wind almost as if under water as it wraps around her form.

Alongside her, almost unnoticeable, the dust kicks up as if stirred by another pair of feet to her left and a little behind her.
As she lifts her head, grey eyes, of an almost crystalline clarity gaze out of a face at once both youthful and ageless, filled with an awareness far beyond imagination.

Those eyes pass over the others assembled, locking on Kendra, as she moves forward to embrace her old friend.

”I’m so sorry I couldn’t be here sooner Kendra.”


Kendra Lorrimor hugged Christoph, Skiia and Rhia tightly.
"Thank you for coming anyway. I know my father would appreciate it...
"But come! You have come a long way, and you will stay with me at the Lorrimor house tonight. I won't hear of an Inn!"
She said imperiously.
It is clear to the newcomers that the Professor's daughter had changed since they had seen her last. No longer a callow youth, she seemed older than her years. And that white streak in her hair...

She led the way to the house, recruiting whatever help is needed to shift luggage. He unlocked the door and bustled about relighting lamps, reopening doors and windows and righting tables and chairs from where they were in storage mode.
Soon they sat around a fire in the living room, a glass of a nice chardonnay in hand.
"I've asked the Inn to send over a meal for us all, but it will be twenty minutes or so."
She hesitated, unsure as to how to explain what happened clearly; it was all so muddled when she thought back.

She begins by describing the Funeral, which had been briefly interruped by fear haunted villagers trying to drive off the 'necromancer' and his henchmen (you) before being run off by your display of arms.
She then described the reading of the will. A transcript of which is in the Campaign Info tab.


Female Human Oracle of Pharasma 7; 42/52 HP; AC:13 [19] Touch 13 FF 10 [16]; F +6 R +4 W +8 (+12 fear); Init +2; Perception +7 (+11 undead/ can percieve ethereal undead)

"I'm happy to help in any way possible, Kendra. I will gladly travel with you all." Rhia says quietly.


Male Elf Bard (Detective)/4;HP 34/34; AC 17 T 12 FF 15; Fort +2; Ref +7 Will +4; CMB +3; CMD 16; Per +11; Init +3; Spd 30ft.

"We know there is a greater evil out there, but we are much stronger now. The Warden's wife has given us a great talisman, and our flighty spirit board will answer questions with occasional honesty."

The elf adds: "The inn has great food. Hopefully we can enjoy it before going on trail rations. Coaches tend not to have meal wagons."

Ereviss looks at the wine, and brings out his own bottles of a more exotic vintage. Sharing seems to be out of the question as he realizes how much his supply has dwindled.


Female Elf Slayer 1 / Wizard (Void Elementalist Shadowcaster) 3 | AC 18 T 13 FF 15 | HP 25/32 | F +4 R +6 W +2 | Init +3 | Perc +6

Skiia listens attentively to Kendra’s introduction to her summary of recent events, sipping occasionally from the glass of wine whose stem she holds delicately in her hand. She had hardly expected to be haring off as a guardian of proscribed tomes as soon as she arrived, but she supposes that that’s what comes of a singularly inconvenient delay.

“The books are safe for now, though?” she asks. She smiles gently, her head slightly inclined in self-deprecating acknowledgement that it is difficult to indicate innocent interest in such volumes. “This does seem to be difficult country to be a wizard. Some of the villages on the way were positively … unfriendly. Affairs must have been quite unsettled lately if people here took it out on your poor father. Why, I remember he told me once…”

Skiia briefly relates an anecdote about the Professor from happier times, drawing on her memory of their correspondence. She watches Kendra discreetly and sympathetically from the corner of her eye as the conversation shifts, knowing from bitter experience how important it is to try to remember the good even in the depths of mourning. A shadow briefly flits over her own heart at the thought. Ysmine.

Even now, she almost breathes it. As the feeling passes, her attention returns to the earlier part of Ereviss’ utterance. “The warden’s wife? From the old prison? I thought the place was ruined years ago. I would hardly have thought she would still … be in the area,” she finishes awkwardly, trying not to stress human mortality. “What happened? Should we expect interference on the road to Lepidstadt?”


Female Human Oracle of Pharasma 7; 42/52 HP; AC:13 [19] Touch 13 FF 10 [16]; F +6 R +4 W +8 (+12 fear); Init +2; Perception +7 (+11 undead/ can percieve ethereal undead)

At the mention of The Warden's Wife, Rhia's head cocks to the side as if listening to something only she can hear. "Ah, her spirit remained...a strong good will." she says nodding, taking the glass that floats from the table to her hand seemingly without noticing that she was doing anything unusual.


Male Elf Bard (Detective)/4;HP 34/34; AC 17 T 12 FF 15; Fort +2; Ref +7 Will +4; CMB +3; CMD 16; Per +11; Init +3; Spd 30ft.

Ereviss catches them up somewhat.
"So we found a bunch of magic arrows in a tomb, so I decided to develop my archery skills. We faced the ghosts and spirits of five nasty prisoners. The last one was the hardest, a nasty mage."

He thinks: "We need the church to cleanse the prison."


Female Elf Slayer 1 / Wizard (Void Elementalist Shadowcaster) 3 | AC 18 T 13 FF 15 | HP 25/32 | F +4 R +6 W +2 | Init +3 | Perc +6

"Well, that seems a mercy, at least. If a necromancer learned of the possibilities..." Skiia inclines her head. "Your bravery is inspiring. Perhaps we can hope that our journey to Lepisdstadt will be uneventful after all, and the clerics there might be able to send someone to check that nothing remains to unsettle the spirits of the prison's inmates."


Male Varisian Inquisitor 7 (AC 23/15Tch/19FF, 22 CMD/18FF, HP 55/55, Fort +8, Ref +7, Will +9, Init +7, Per +13)
Skills:
Climb +5, Heal +10, Intimidate +9, K(Arcana) +7*, K(Dungeon) +6*, K(Nature) +7*, K(Planes) +5*, K(Religion) + 11*, Perception +13, Ride +7, Sense Motive +16, Spellcraft +9, Stealth + 13, Survival +10*, Swim +5

Christoph is caught off guard when Kendra approaches and hugs him. He returns it after a second, awkwardly patting her bag and saying, "I... ah... wouldn't miss saying goodbye for anything. I'd have come sooner, but I was in the field until just recently." As he moves back, he straightens his tunic and tries to remember what he could of the young woman. Too long since I've visited. I remember a gangly youngster. Getting older, it seems. He accepts her assertive offer of hospitality with a polite (if terse), "Thank you."

As they arrive, he stows his sole pack and unbuckles a variety of weaponry from his person. Stowing his armor, he's left with just the red and black livery of his order. Sipping at his wine, Christoph listens to her description of the events of the funeral and the will. It seems like those tomes ought to be destroyed, but the professor would know best. With his professional curiosity piqued, Christoph offers, "I would also be happy to assist on this trip to Lepidstadt. In fact, I would be remiss if I didn't join you."

Listening to the Skiia's tale, Christoph is struck by how many people the Professor had contact with. We truly have lost a paragon and a good man. Feeling numb as the reality of the Professor's death grows relentlessly stronger, Christoph takes a gulp of his wine and focuses on the conversation again. "I might have a few contacts within the Church that could assist. I'll give it some thought. The other members of my order will doubtless want to see it taken care of."

@DM-Camris: Do I know someone within the Church/Voices who would want to deal with the situation in the prison? Added a knowledge roll below. Know(Local) with a circumstance bonus (untrained) may be more appropriate. Presumably this is just working knowledge for my backstory.

Knowledge(Religion): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22


Female Human Oracle of Pharasma 7; 42/52 HP; AC:13 [19] Touch 13 FF 10 [16]; F +6 R +4 W +8 (+12 fear); Init +2; Perception +7 (+11 undead/ can percieve ethereal undead)

As he speaks, Rhia's gaze is drawn towards Christoph, an aura of death and the supernatural clinging to him, as could be expected given his clothing. She pauses, running the town through her mind.

Knowledge Local.: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (16) + 5 = 21


Christoph:

Father Vauran Grimburrow is head of the local Church of Pharasma. He has the reputation of an arch conservative, but reliable.

Rhia Van Der Geist:

The little village of Ravengro is a backwards community far from centers of civilization. It has been mired in the depths of economic doldrums ever since the destruction of the Harrowstone prison some fifty years ago. The town as a reputation of being highly superstitious.


Skiia wrote:
“What happened? Should we expect interference on the road to Lepidstadt?”

Kendra shook her head.

"No, no. We managed to banish the spirits that had haunted Harrowstone and the whole province. At a high cost." She said with a sigh.
"It is these cloaked men; the whispering men who trapped the spirit of the Warden and killed my father by crushing his skull."
She shuddered.
"They're still out there. Somewhere."
She dashed the tears from her eyes.
"So yes; I am grateful and accept your offer of escort to Lepidstadt."
There is a knock at the door.
"Oh! Here is our supper finally." She said.
Rising to her feet, she accepts a couple of large baskets from a boy and brings them to the dinner table.
She quickly serves out an excellent stew, with hearty black bread, butter and honey.


Female Elf Slayer 1 / Wizard (Void Elementalist Shadowcaster) 3 | AC 18 T 13 FF 15 | HP 25/32 | F +4 R +6 W +2 | Init +3 | Perc +6

Skiia’s eyes are wide with empathy. She takes a step forward and then pauses, just to indicate that she is listening, but giving her old acquaintance’s daughter the room she needs. Skiia considers how the details might fit together, leaving her subconscious to work even as her surface thoughts keep going. Now is not the time to ask about what ghosts are like, or mention zombies and skeletons on the road. I wish I were better at this. Do I even have a convenient handkerchief I could offer?
Knowledge (arcana): 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (20) + 11 = 31 Trying to see if she can have heard of “whispering men” as likely to be part of any particular tradition of magic, given that Ereviss mentioned that their most difficult foe was a mage.

It is a relief when the knock comes at the door. As the group stirs and resettles, Skiia quietly helps to hand the good things around, her mind still busy.


Male Varisian Inquisitor 7 (AC 23/15Tch/19FF, 22 CMD/18FF, HP 55/55, Fort +8, Ref +7, Will +9, Init +7, Per +13)
Skills:
Climb +5, Heal +10, Intimidate +9, K(Arcana) +7*, K(Dungeon) +6*, K(Nature) +7*, K(Planes) +5*, K(Religion) + 11*, Perception +13, Ride +7, Sense Motive +16, Spellcraft +9, Stealth + 13, Survival +10*, Swim +5

Christoph winces as Kendra outlines the events that had lead to the death of one of his mentors. "It seems that you've dealt with a great deal in a short time. These undead you faced and perhaps more grimly these Whispering Men who are engaging in necromancy are a danger and an affront to the Lady of Graves. I feel further bound to assist you in seeing these tomes to safety, and perhaps beyond. I will need to send word to my superiors, but I am between assignments so this should not be an issue."

Feeling awkward as the young woman sheds a few tears, the Voice interjects clumsily, uncertain if he should comfort her or not, "It... ah, it would be best to reach out to Father Grimburrow, the local head of the Pharasmin church, to see the Harrowstone consecrated."

He accepts the bread and stew she serves with a murmured, "Thank you," before he tucks in with an appetite. This business of necromancers is never good. Praise be unto the Mistress of Fate for directing me where I need to be.


Female Human Oracle of Pharasma 7; 42/52 HP; AC:13 [19] Touch 13 FF 10 [16]; F +6 R +4 W +8 (+12 fear); Init +2; Perception +7 (+11 undead/ can percieve ethereal undead)

Rhia moves over to Kendra, putting an arm around her, a handkerchief floating from her sleeve into her other hand where she plucks it from the air and hands it to her friend.

"I will gladly come with you and see them safely delivered."

Knowledge Religion: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (6) + 9 = 15
Knowledge History: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12


Skiia:

Wondering about the 'Whispering Men', your thoughts take a dark turn. The hair raises on the back of your neck as you consider, could they be The Whispering Way?
The Whispering Way is a sinister organization of necromancers that has been active in the Inner Sea region for thousands of years.
Agents of the Whispering Way often seek alliances with undead creatures, or are themselves undead. The Whispering Way’s most notorious member was Tar-Baphon, the Whispering Tyrant, although the society itself has existed much longer than even that mighty necromancer.
The Whispering Way itself is a series of philosophies that can only be transferred via whispers—the philosophies are never written or spoken of loudly, making the exact goals and nature of the secretive philosophy difficult for outsiders to learn much about.
Exact details on the society are difficult to discern, but chief among the Whispering Way’s goals are discovering formulae for creating liches and engineering the release of the Whispering Tyrant. Agents often travel to remote sites or areas plagued by notorious haunts or undead menaces to perform field research or even to capture unique monsters. Their symbol is a gagged skull, and those who learn too many of the Way’s secrets are often murdered, and their mouths mutilated to prevent
their bodies from divulging secrets via speak with dead.

Rhia:

Wondering about the 'Whispering Men', your thoughts take a dark turn. The hair raises on the back of your neck as you consider, could they be The Whispering Way?
The Whispering Way is a sinister organization of necromancers that has been active in the Inner Sea region for thousands of years.
Agents of the Whispering Way often seek alliances with undead creatures, or are themselves undead. The Whispering Way’s most notorious member was Tar-Baphon, the Whispering Tyrant, although the society itself has existed much longer than even that mighty necromancer.

Christoph wrote:


"It... ah, it would be best to reach out to Father Grimburrow, the local head of the Pharasmin church, to see the Harrowstone consecrated."

Kendra choked on her tea and coughed a couple of times before she recovered. She gave Christoph a genuine smile.

"Yes of course! Father Grimburrow is a good man, and Harrowstone is in his territory after all. Ah, just remember, when you meet him, that 'good' is not necessarily the same as 'nice'."


Male Half-Orc Paladin (Undead Scourge)/4;HP 43/43; AC 19 T 11 FF 17; Fort +9; Ref +5 Will +8; CMB +6; CMD 18; Per +1; Init +1; Spd 20ft.

Agrmar has been sitting by the fire, studying the warden's badge. Never the most talkative, since the death of Ysabot it would seem he has taken a vow of silence. A grunt or head nod being his only communication with Ereviss and Kendra.

"Whatever the Whispering Way wanted with Harrowstone, the Professor was killed to keep it silent. I fear they will not be the first casualties in whatever campaign the Way has planned."


Female Human Oracle of Pharasma 7; 42/52 HP; AC:13 [19] Touch 13 FF 10 [16]; F +6 R +4 W +8 (+12 fear); Init +2; Perception +7 (+11 undead/ can percieve ethereal undead)

Rhia's eyes go completely white, her body shift fliudly as if underwater as she begins to speak in an echoing monotone.

"The Whispering Way...... organization of necromancers.......plague to the Inner Sea region......thousands of years.
Agents of the Whispering Way........allied with undead with undead creatures,.......becoming themselves undead. Tar-Baphon,..........the Whispering Tyrant,.........their most dreaded but far from their first."
she says before releasing a shuddering breath and slipping out of the trance.


Female Elf Slayer 1 / Wizard (Void Elementalist Shadowcaster) 3 | AC 18 T 13 FF 15 | HP 25/32 | F +4 R +6 W +2 | Init +3 | Perc +6

Rather anticlimactically, the silence that follows Agrimar's pronouncement and Rhia's unexpected litany is broken by a soft tinkle as Skiia drops her spoon. "Of course, I should have thought of it sooner. That would make sense, and that creature I tracked on the road..."

Her tone is pensive, but then becomes more decisive. "If they are becoming so bold in the region, the sooner we get these books out of here, the better, and hopefully the Council can see that they must take action."


Male Varisian Inquisitor 7 (AC 23/15Tch/19FF, 22 CMD/18FF, HP 55/55, Fort +8, Ref +7, Will +9, Init +7, Per +13)
Skills:
Climb +5, Heal +10, Intimidate +9, K(Arcana) +7*, K(Dungeon) +6*, K(Nature) +7*, K(Planes) +5*, K(Religion) + 11*, Perception +13, Ride +7, Sense Motive +16, Spellcraft +9, Stealth + 13, Survival +10*, Swim +5

Is it safe to assume that the Whispering Tyrant and his reign of terror are common knowledge in Ustalav, given his importance?

Christoph's jaw tightens as the Whispering Way is outed as an organization of necromancers, whose head was the hated Tar-Baphon. "It's grave news if this vile pact is about and up to mischief. Action is indeed required and I see now why the professor was so concerned. We can speak with Father Grimburrow in the morning, perhaps, and then continue on our way from there."


Nodding, Kendra said;"I agree. We depart tomorrow morning."
She rose.
"I must to bed now, if we are to get up early enough to find the good Father before the stage leaves. Good night all!"
She takes a taper and goes to her bedroom.


Left unfed, the fireplace dims slowly.


Male Elf Bard (Detective)/4;HP 34/34; AC 17 T 12 FF 15; Fort +2; Ref +7 Will +4; CMB +3; CMD 16; Per +11; Init +3; Spd 30ft.

Ereviss nods:
"I think we used lots of holy water in the prison. Maybe the good father can give us a refill."


Male Varisian Inquisitor 7 (AC 23/15Tch/19FF, 22 CMD/18FF, HP 55/55, Fort +8, Ref +7, Will +9, Init +7, Per +13)
Skills:
Climb +5, Heal +10, Intimidate +9, K(Arcana) +7*, K(Dungeon) +6*, K(Nature) +7*, K(Planes) +5*, K(Religion) + 11*, Perception +13, Ride +7, Sense Motive +16, Spellcraft +9, Stealth + 13, Survival +10*, Swim +5

"Given the gravity of the situation, it seems likely he will be happy to. I will bid you all a good evening, as I will retire as well." Retrieving a taper, Christoph makes his way to the guest room which had been provided. After taking a few moments to jot down what he'd learned of the situation here in his journal, Christoph drifts off into an uneasy sleep.


The next day dawned overcast and threatening. The mist rising from the Old River enshrouding the area with ghostly white fog. Sound is muted, giving you the impression you are the only living things in the universe.
Getting an early start, Kendra arranged for a hearty breakfast to be delivered from the Outside Inn.
Who is going to the Temple of Pharasma?


Female Human Oracle of Pharasma 7; 42/52 HP; AC:13 [19] Touch 13 FF 10 [16]; F +6 R +4 W +8 (+12 fear); Init +2; Perception +7 (+11 undead/ can percieve ethereal undead)

Rhia awakens and breathes deeply, realizing that today would be the beginning of a journey that was a part of a solmn task, delivering materials that could prove incredibly dangerous in the wrong hands. Slipping out from under the covers, she stands up, the clothing she had removed the previous night scattered across the floor, as was the norm for anything she put down, tossed by the more restless of her spiritual entourage.

She stretches, leaving the blinds drawn shut, and lighting a candle in the dark room, she sits cross-legged on the bed, sky clad as she uses the flame to draw her focus, reaching out to the spirit world, her morning ritual, part meditation, part communion with a world with which she possesses a unique bond.

There was a strong yet quieted spiritual resonance in Ravengro, moreso than she had ever encountered before, a sign of.... something, though she did not know what.

Perhaps an hour later she opens her eyes, smiling at the spirit of her grandmother, watching over her. It was fitting that as a cleric of Pharasma her spirit would be walking with her today.

She rises, washing with almost ritual care, applying an appropriate perfume ,myrrh based, carrying the spiritual energy of final rest. She dons simple gauzy linen robes, a long flowing light cloak completing her outfit.

Leaving the majority of her gear in her room until after the visit to the temple, she makes her way down the stairs to join the others.


Male Elf Bard (Detective)/4;HP 34/34; AC 17 T 12 FF 15; Fort +2; Ref +7 Will +4; CMB +3; CMD 16; Per +11; Init +3; Spd 30ft.

Ereviss awoke and joined the others in the visit. He wished to thank the good father for his help, and possibly see if any holy water was available.


Female Elf Slayer 1 / Wizard (Void Elementalist Shadowcaster) 3 | AC 18 T 13 FF 15 | HP 25/32 | F +4 R +6 W +2 | Init +3 | Perc +6

Skiia wakes in the half-light of the foggy, overcast morning, and stretches luxuriously. A night in a comfortable bed has done her good, and though somewhat more oppressive than the mists of a cool morning at home, the obscuring fog somehow reminds her of the shrouded streets of Iadara. As the sense of where she really is settles more securely over her, Skiia looks over to where she left her spellbook after reviewing it last night, feeling reasonably confident about her preparations for the day.

Reflecting on the gravity of the situation, if the Whispering Way is involved and getting bolder, Skiia decides to wear proper armour until the Professor's books are safely delivered, although she does anticipate feeling rather ostentatious. She lays out her mail on the bed, and descends for breakfast in a quilted tunic, planning to return for her armour once the others are ready to visit the temple. Knowing this is likely the only opportunity for her to get a look around Ravengro for a while, she resolves to make the best of it.


Male Varisian Inquisitor 7 (AC 23/15Tch/19FF, 22 CMD/18FF, HP 55/55, Fort +8, Ref +7, Will +9, Init +7, Per +13)
Skills:
Climb +5, Heal +10, Intimidate +9, K(Arcana) +7*, K(Dungeon) +6*, K(Nature) +7*, K(Planes) +5*, K(Religion) + 11*, Perception +13, Ride +7, Sense Motive +16, Spellcraft +9, Stealth + 13, Survival +10*, Swim +5

Sorry, ended up having to run an errand during my lunch break.

Rising early, Christoph looks the window of his guest room with a sense of foreboding. This fog seems an ill omen when we are about to embark on a journey with unknown peril all around. Mistress of Fate guide our steps through the danger. Kneeling, he prays for an hour, seeking his Lady's guidance. Rising and ignoring his aching knees, he dresses, buckles his black-lacquered breastplate into place, and securing his remaining equipment. Greeted by Kendra as he prepares to leave his room, he pauses, realizing that he has dressed for battle when he will be joining the others for breakfast. "Good morning, Kendra. I apologize for the warlike attire, it's an old habit that I wasn't thinking about."

Unbuckling his weaponry, he joins the others wearing his breastplate and other armor, but otherwise unarmed, "Good morning to you all. I trust you had a good rest?" He doesn't pause and allow the others to answer, but continues, "I suppose that after breaking our fast, we will speak to Father Grimburrow?"


Kendra smiled at Christoph's concern.
"You need not be concerned. The neighbors will gossip no matter what you wear. Feel free to wear something more comfortable, but..."
Her face turned serious.
"Do not go unarmed. Even if it's only a staff or walking stick. Those Whispering Way people are still out there, somewhere." She said, remembering the fate of her father.


Setting out for the Temple, you pass through the dirt streets like ghosts, barely seeing more than twenty feet. Houses and fencerails would loom suddenly out of the fog, making you tense up as if being ambushed.

It is only after you cross the bridge over the Old River that you climb up out of the fog into the merely overcast dim.
As you approach the temple doors, they open before you into a dark interior. A shadowed figure stood before you.
There is a sudden stab of lightning in the skies above, revealing THIS before you!

The BOOM of thunder rolled over you and a cold rain started falling.


Male Elf Bard (Detective)/4;HP 34/34; AC 17 T 12 FF 15; Fort +2; Ref +7 Will +4; CMB +3; CMD 16; Per +11; Init +3; Spd 30ft.

Ereviss follows, but as they approach the temple he moves towards the front. As the doors open he rushes forward a smile on his face and he speaks in a lilting voice:
"Father, I would think you would be less dramatic, but I'll play along."

Ereviss changes his voice to effect a serious tone:
"Father, I bring you visitors from out of town. We would like to consult with you. Perhaps purchase some holy water from your supply."


Female Human Oracle of Pharasma 7; 42/52 HP; AC:13 [19] Touch 13 FF 10 [16]; F +6 R +4 W +8 (+12 fear); Init +2; Perception +7 (+11 undead/ can percieve ethereal undead)

A quiet smile crosses Rhia's lips at the dramatic presence, as the hood of her cloak draws up over her head to keep out the rain as if by a protective parent.


Female Elf Slayer 1 / Wizard (Void Elementalist Shadowcaster) 3 | AC 18 T 13 FF 15 | HP 25/32 | F +4 R +6 W +2 | Init +3 | Perc +6

Skiia hurries through the temple's doors, glad that the group arrived before the rain broke, and that she thought to pack all her things, so she won't have to run through the rain twice to get them to the coach when they're ready to leave. All the same, she feels highly conspicuous in her shining coat of mail, knowing that the wave-like murmur of its links will be heightened by the ringing of the rain off her armour once she goes back outside. The feeling is not relieved by Ereviss' bantering salutation to the old priest. Mind, he does look like quite the gremlin, Skiia finds herself unable to resist thinking, wickedly. She waits to follow the lead of those who already know the priest, trying to think if she has anything particular to ask or to offer. If anyone wants it, she will try to aid another if a Diplomacy check is called for.


Father Grimburrow looked at you all flatly, then stepped aside.
"Be welcome and enter in Pharasma's final grace." He said flatly.


Male Varisian Inquisitor 7 (AC 23/15Tch/19FF, 22 CMD/18FF, HP 55/55, Fort +8, Ref +7, Will +9, Init +7, Per +13)
Skills:
Climb +5, Heal +10, Intimidate +9, K(Arcana) +7*, K(Dungeon) +6*, K(Nature) +7*, K(Planes) +5*, K(Religion) + 11*, Perception +13, Ride +7, Sense Motive +16, Spellcraft +9, Stealth + 13, Survival +10*, Swim +5

Christoph casts a sour glance skyward as the chilling rain begins to fall. Grateful as the elderly priest opens the door and allows them entry, he steps into the room. As the echo from his boots rings in the church's lofty interior, Christoph traces the Pharasmin spiral over his heart, murmuring a soft prayer, "May the Lady of Graves judge me justly."

Shaking some of the moisture from his red cloak, he turns and bows politely to his superior, "Father Grimburrow, it is my pleasure to meet you. I am Speaker Christoph Metzger, Voice of the Spire. I considered Professor Lorrimor a friend and mentor. I was detained by my duties until now and I have come to pay my respects. Some of the situation surrounding the Professor's death demanded my attention. I thought it best to seek your aid and guidance. Master Ladyhunter and Master Agrimar's experiences in Harrowstone Prison in particular seem to demand our intervention. Such a cursed place seems fit to be hallowed."

I did some more research and there are no details about the hierarchy about the Voices of the Spire, so I made up a title for myself. :) I figure a Speaker is a moderately experienced member of the Voices.


Female Human Oracle of Pharasma 7; 42/52 HP; AC:13 [19] Touch 13 FF 10 [16]; F +6 R +4 W +8 (+12 fear); Init +2; Perception +7 (+11 undead/ can percieve ethereal undead)

A ghostly hum of a hymn to Pharasma sounds around around Rhia as they are welcomed, something that has happened every time she's come here.


Father Grimburrow smiled and ushered you into the temple.

Ereviss and Agrimar:
Seeing a smile on Father Grimburrow's face... it's just wrong!

"Ah, Speaker Metzger! And you Lady Rhia! You are very welcome here! Come in, come in!" He said, lighting tapers to throw light in his personal quarters. Books and papers were stacked haphazardly, in places all the way to the ceiling.
"How can I be of aid to the Voice and the Oracle of Pharasma?"
He looked at Ereviss and Agrimar, and his face fell back to its old familiar harshness.
"And the rest."


Female Elf Slayer 1 / Wizard (Void Elementalist Shadowcaster) 3 | AC 18 T 13 FF 15 | HP 25/32 | F +4 R +6 W +2 | Init +3 | Perc +6

Bad blood here, Skiia thinks, trying not to wince at the sharp change in tone. She is relieved that whatever is between the Pharasmin priest and the two men unaffiliated with the Lady of Graves, she and Kendra seem to have been left out of it, and so she continues her attempt to be unobtrusive. The temple helps, as the rather grim edifice brings solemn memories back to the elven wizard. She finds Father Grimburrow's private room a surprising relief with its towers of books, lit warmly by the bunches of tapers rising among them. She casually scans the spines for titles out of mild curiosity.


Ereviss wrote:
"We would like to consult with you."

"About what?" The priest asked flatly.

Ereviss wrote:
"Perhaps purchase some holy water from your supply."

"The Holy Water of Pharasma is available to those with holy missions." Father Grimburrow replied suspiciously.

Christoph wrote:
"Master Ladyhunter and Master Agrimar's experiences in Harrowstone Prison in particular seem to demand our intervention. Such a cursed place seems fit to be hallowed."

Father Grimburrow's face fell even further than you thought possible.

"The ghosts have been banished, it is true; but... to actually hallow that entire prison site is beyond mine and my acolytes power. Needs I must resort to appeal to the prelate of this province."
He shook his head with disgust.
"And of course, the haunted prison has been SUCH a priority that the Prelate has not set foot in this area in the sixty years since the fire." He said bitterly.

Skiia wrote:
She casually scans the spines for titles out of mild curiosity.

Skiia:
You see texts on the history of Ravengro, the tales of the first crusade, the lineage and family trees of local folk, many religious texts with a high proportion of the prophesies of Pharasma, liturgical errata, sacred songs through the ages, etc.
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