Not really. Since it seems like we're all sleeping, I think we can move on to the next morning.
Terri awakes shortly before noon and spends some time fixing up her coat, clothes, and armor. She stretches out the last of the sleepiness before cooking some breakfast and going to find Tove.
"Mornin'," she says when she finds the priestess. "I made us some pancakes and sausages. No syrup, sadly. Seems none of the bandits had a sweet-tooth or they had too much of one."
Tove wakes in the mid-morning and takes a walk around the perimeter of the ruined fort. She takes stock of the newly liberated location. In the cool morning light she can already feel the energy of the evil deeds committed here starting to melt away.
She settles down to her morning meditation outside the fort's gates and is thankful for Erastil's blessing as she feels a renewed sense of hope. When she is done, she brings her awareness back to the material plane to find Terri's beaming face and a plate full of fresh-cooked food.
"A fine morning indeed Terri. Come and sit, please." Tove spreads her cloak wide over the damp grass, preparing a space for the bard.
Tove takes a hold of the plate of food and starts to salivate as she slips a small eating knife from out her belt-pouch.
"A joke, a peck on the cheek, and a plate of food are hardly worth what I owe you for saving me," Terri says as she joins Tove and wraps a sausage in one of the pancakes on her plate.
"Do you think we should rebuild this place instead of seeing if it would be better put to use improving Oleg's place," she asks before taking a bite and savoring it. A small part of her can't but be disappointed by the lack of something sweet to go with the spiciness of the sausage.
Following Terri's lead, Tove folds a pancake over one of her sausages before cutting off a piece and skewering it with her knife. She chews the piece over for a while before swallowing. "Dry. But the spice is good."
"I think that reclaiming this fort would send a powerful message to any remaining brigands roaming free here. It also commands an excellent view of the lands we are supposed to be tame. Rebuilding here may serve us well in the long run."
"Now you know why I was sad that there wasn't any syrup, Terri chuckles as she takes another bite, chewing thoughtfully as she listens to Tove.
"There's power in symbols and imagery. Gestures with meaning can speak far louder than words. Redeeming and rebuilding a fort used by bandits to protect the people of the land certainly has merit, but so does tearing down a symbol of cruelty and lawlessness to build a bastion of hope and goodwill," she observes as she looks out over the lands rolling from the hillside.
"If we do rebuild here, do you think I could have the room at the top of the tower? I've always thought that if I could build my own place that I'd make at least part of the roof of glass so I could see the stars as I went to sleep." She closes her eyes as she pictures it, a clear view of the heavens and the eternal dance of the stars.
"What about you? Where would you make your room," she asks Tove as she takes another bite from her breakfast.
Tove laughs a little and takes a large drink from her waterskin.
"I think that sounds all right, if we do rebuild here. It sounds beautiful really, almost like sleeping out in the open."
She pauses to think on what her own room might look like.
"I don't know if there's really anything I'd desire specifically, not like that. Perhaps I could re-purpose the Stag Lord's room as a small hermitage? I think it would suit me well, just outside of the fort proper, I'm not really one for big stone walls."
Tove studies the bard's face.
"How long did you say you'd been on the road?"
"No reason to be by yourself. Maybe we can find some strapping lad with rippling muscles and a soft touch to be your acolyte," Terri suggests before she can stop herself. She blushes as she looks away and takes another bite to avoid further embarrassing herself while Tove asks her a question in return.
"A couple of years," she answers after swallowing her food. "The baron of the town I grew up in gave me Placid and some supplies before sending me on my way."
Terri's demeanor changes as she mentions the baron. Her eyes grow dull as she fixes her gaze on the toes of her boots. She's oddly quiet as she eats, something that even in the few days the others have known her seems strange.
Tove nearly chokes on her sausage. She looks over to the bard, but finding her face turned away, simply shakes her head and continues.
As her question seems to turn Terri's mood sour a pang of regret fills the cleric's stomach.
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have brought it up," she says softly.
"It's just, you're not like any city dweller I've ever met, at least you don't seem to be."
Tove stares down into what's left of her breakfast, pushing what's left of the pancake around the plate with her knife absentmindedly.
|Bassius "Bass" Vibulus|
With a loud yawn, Bassius walks up to the pair as they finish up their meal. He looks smaller than normal without his armor, dressed only in a travelling tunic and breeches, though he maintains his noble bearing. "Anything left for a hungry paladin?" he remarks. Then, noticing that they seem to be talking, he adds, a litte sheepishly, "I didn't mean to intrude. I'll leave you be, then," and turns to head towards the gate.
"How could you have known," Terri asks Tove just before Bassius asks about the food. She looks up at the paladin and gives him a wry smile.
"Sorry, Bass. I jus– Hey! It's alright! I would need to tell you eventually anyway," she begins to apologize but quickly changes her tone as she sees him walking away.
Once Bass has either left or rejoined us.
"Tove, you said that I wasn't like anyone from the city you've ever meet? The truth is, you're not the first to say something like that. I'm... I'm not exactly human," She explains, holding up her hand then flexing it like it was a talon. Her nails grow long and sharp, a match for some of the wounds on the bandits they had buried last night.
"I don't know what I am, but I can see in the dark, even with no light at all, and I can turn my hands into claws," she says before shaking her hand like she was trying to dry it and holding it up to show her normal looking fingers, though a close look shows that her nails are strange, more solid and tough than what they should be.
"I've always been different, and I think that was part of why the matron at the orphanage I was left at wanted me dead," she explains as she looks out over the sun dappled hills rolling away from them. "The other women there insisted I be taken in and cared for. I never fit in, though, no matter how nice or good I was. I always was the last to get anything special, if I got it at all. I'd overhear the matron saying that I was going to bring nothing bur trouble on numerous occasions. The adults grew afraid of me as I grew older because of my mismatched eyes and how I didn't act like other children. That only made the others avoid me more."
Terri's smile is gone as she tells her tale. The memories were not happy ones, and as much as she would rather have kept those memories locked away for the rest of her life, she felt the others needed to know what they may face by allowing her in their group.
"About four years ago, a couple was passing through town. They were a follower of the Black Butterfly and a priestess of Desna. They took me in and taught me everything I know about faith and the journey. They loved me for, well, me. To them, I was a young girl in need of a family. They didn't care that I was different. Unfortunately, some nasty rumors got started about them, and the town turned on them and killed them. I found out later that it was the matron of the orphanage that had done it, as well as her dealings with slavers and the like. I spent a year getting all I could against her, and when she was to commended for being such an outstanding subject by the baron, I exposed her for the wicked woman she was. The baron locked us both up while he investigated, and after he learned the truth for himself, even what happened to his own daughters, he put her to death and did all he could for me. He gave me a horse and supplies enough to see me through to the next town. After that, I wandered around, finding the armor and the sword I carry and honing my skills with magic and song."
She looks at her audience after she finishes, trying to gauge their reaction.
Tove flinches as Terri's hand shifts before her eyes. Her eyes flick towards the bard's own mismatched pair hoping she hadn't notice.
As Terri begins explaining her story, Tove's regret over her initial reaction only grows stronger. A sorrowful expression crosses her face and nods along to Terri's description of her traumatic past.
As the bard's tale comes to an end, Tove sits in an uncomfortable silence with her for a moment.
"Well... for what it's worth, I don't think you're so much trouble as all that lot. Your company was certainly a blessing here last night." She finally says.
"I...," Tove tentatively takes the girl's hand in her own. "I'm glad you're here, friend.
"Perhaps," Terri says as she takes old of Tove's hand. "I was the one that messed up, though. If it hadn't been for me, then maybe Razarak and Kressel would still be alive, and the fight would have been much less brutal. Ivo and I didn't even kill one of them before they found us out."
She sighs and leans agains Tove, taking in a deep breath.
"I'm sorry, Tove. I know he was your friend. I just wish I could have done more for him," she mutters.
It's okay. Tove whispers.
Did the air just get colder? Oh Raz...
Tove wraps her arm around Terri's shoulders and sits for a moment longer in silence.
"You did the best you could Terri, we all did. Raz and Kressel, their deaths are as much on my head as they are on yours, but they have gone to Pharasma now, and it's no use dwelling on could've-dones and might've-beens.
Ivo seems to pop up out of nowhere. The gnome apparently slept in a hay-filled crate overnight. Somehow his hair is already groomed and his clothes are cleaned of blood, though they still have some holes that will need patching.
"Morning, kids," he says with a yawn. "Hey, lemme put a little more wood on the fire there." He scrounges for some old rotten, fallen beams and drags a chunk of wood over to the breakfast cook-fire.
"So I've been thinking about this place," he says, oblivious to the emotionally-charged discusion going on. "First off, we need to take Raz back somewhere decent for a burial. We can't just leave his body here on the cold earth, or worse still, inter him in one of these defiled graves on the hillside."
"Second, while this place is falling apart, some of the bones might be usable. The stone, at least, is mostly salvageable. And there's not a lot of building stone in this area! Plus it has a commanding view of the lake, there."
Knowledge (engineering): 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (15) + 14 = 29
"I think, supplies permitting, this site is a prime candidate for rebuilding."
|Bassius "Bass" Vibulus|
For the record, if we haven’t yet buried our dead, Tove would have prepared at least two uses of Gentle Repose this morning, one for Razarak and one for the Stag Lord’s head. If we haven’t buried Kressel yet she could prepare another slot if we wanted to take her away for burial somewhere else too. These spells would replace Shield Other, Fear the Sun and Burst of Radiance from her usual roster respectively.
Blinking back the surprise at Ivo's sudden appearance, and at the sudden change of topic, Tove quickly removes her arm from its position around Terri and clears her throat.
Glancing back at the bard apologetically, she stands and makes her way over to the fireside with Ivo.
"Good morning yourself. I'm agreed with you there, we should inter Raz back at the trading post, beside Bran."
"Actually, while we're at it, we should send word to House Medvyed, and the rest of the old charter holders. They deserve to know what happened here, even if they choose not to come and pay their respects."
"Quite agreed," says Ivo cordially. He dusts his hands off, then makes a magical flick of the wrist that causes all of the remaining wood and dirt to vanish from them. Then he trundles off to find his pack and pull out some small biscuits to warm up for breakfast.
Biscuits firmly attached to a stick, he plops down next to the campfire to warm them.
|Bassius "Bass" Vibulus|
Bassius nods his head at Tove's thoughts, already warming his hands at the fire.
"I'll defer to you two on Raz's burial, since you knew him better than I. As for sending word to the charter holders, I agree as well, since not only should they know what happened, but it would allow for news to be spread that these lands are much safer for settlement."
I support putting down the owlbear, then heading back to Oleg's trading post to send a message to Restov.
Agreed. Although it hurts Tove to put down a caged animal, her Animal Domain doesn't allow her to speak to magical beasts so she has no way of asking it to move on peacefully. Tove can bless the party beforehand and maybe cast Admonishing Ray at the outset to hopefully help get things over more quickly.
"I know. It doesn't make it any easier, though," she says to Tove before brightening up
"It's a new day and a new journey. We should get all we need to do done so we can go explore some more of these lands. That's the other big reason why I signed up," she says, feeling a little better even after the weighty issues being discussed.
We could find something that'll knock it out and stuff some food with it. Once it's out, we could just put it down quickly with a coup de grace.
Garathane wanders into the camp with a brace of rabbits to add to the renewed cook fire. As he begins to strip and spit them, he speaks
"The lands around here are rich and it doesn't look like the bandits have made a dent into the local wildlife. If this place could be redeemed, it could be made into a decent settlement. If abandoned and kept out of the hands of upstart warlords, I think the forest would swiftly reclaim it. Personally I would rather have folks here that I could trust to keep banditry down.
As to what we should do in the short term, Tove and Ivo, you both knew Raz best. Do you think he would have wanted to be buried at his home or should we consecrate a new spot? Sadly, if this is to become a settlement, a place to lay the dead to rest will be needed. Do we have any more of those Dryad tokens?"
"Dryad tokens? What are those," Terri asks with childish glee.
"Magical tokens that create an oak tree in an instant," says Ivo absently as he rotates his stick-of-biscuits.
"I suspect... well... Raz was kinda out here because he was finding his own way. I think, given his predilections, maybe he would want to be cremated?"
"A sufficiently-endowed priest could always consult with his spirit about his last wishes."
I think a lot of the spells that damage undead specifically are also necromancy.
Terri's glee vanishes as Razarak's fate is brought up again. She looks out over the rolling countryside as she has a thought.
"Did he have any gods he followed?"
Tove struggles with Ivo's suggestion. The thought of staring into her former companion's lifeless eyes, the pain of having him ripped away from her again.
She turns to the gnome with her arms folded against her chest.
"Ivo, I don't much fancy the idea myself, but if you really want to bring him back, I suppose I could do it. Just for a moment, you know?"
Tove pauses, choking up at the thought. "Maybe it will help us get some closure, we... I don't think any of us actually saw him fall, did we?. At the very least we could ask him what funerary rites he would prefer."
A longer pause as Tove collects her thoughts. "It can't be much more than that though, I can only hold him here for a moment."
At Lvl 5, Tove can bring Razarak back for as much as five minutes I think, but he'll only have the capacity to answer two questions during that time. It'll be his choice whether to come back too, as his alignment differs from mine he is technically entitled to a DC 16 will save.
Terri hugs Tove as she begins to choke up.
"I'll be there with you," she promises the cleric.
Tove's heart jumps. There it is again, that soft, safe feeling that had eluded her for so much of her life. This hugging thing is starting to become a habit isn't it?
"Thank you," she whispers.
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We need more huggers in the world. :)
"I'm your friend, Tove. You don't need to thank me," she chuckles. "Friends stick together, don't they?"
I like hugs :)
So in light of the new plan, assuming we're all agreed, is it okay for Tove to swap out Admonishing Ray for Speak with Dead today or will we have to wait for tomorrow?
|Bassius "Bass" Vibulus|
I agree, though are we also agreed on heading back to Oleg's afterwords?
With other issues seeming dealth with for the moment, the paladin stands up from the fire.
"Well, those bandits aren't burying their own sorry corpses. I'll be a stone's throw outside the main gate if anyone needs me."
Bassius then finds a shovel in the fort, girds his sword, and begins carrying bodies out of the fort, making a pile a ways off the path to the gate before he begins digging a single large grave for the lot of them.
Tove excuses herself while Bassius heads off to start the business of grave digging and the rest of the group eats their morning meal. She soon finds another quiet spot and sits down to prepare herself to commune with her recently departed companion.
Once she has made herself ready, she returns and signals for the others that the time has come.
"If you wish to be a party to this ritual, come with me now."
Leading whomever elects to follow her, the priestess makes her way to the spot where the bodies of the fallen were gathered after the battle last night.
She pauses to look down at the corpse of the reformed bandit, Kressel.
Not that long ago, Tove had been ready to kill this woman. She and Jacobus had even sentenced her to hang before the others convinced them to reconsider. It seems they were right to do so. Here she was, right where she promised she would be. Tove wonders how the woman's change of heart might weigh against the sins of her past when she reached the Lady of Graves.
Razarak, the priestess turns her attention to the former sorcerer. You came here to escape from the burden of your family name. You certainly have. I wonder what they would think of you now?
Pouring a small amount of water into her palm she wipes the caked blood from the corners of her departed friend's mouth. Her heart pounding, she looks to the rest of her friends for a sign that they are ready. How many more of you will I wash for the grave?
She sighs and does her best to banish the thought. Locking eyes with Terri, she steels herself for the task at hand.
Casting Speak with Dead on Razarak.
|DM Talomyr - Kingmaker|
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@Bassius - I'll get back to you and grave-digging off the path in a bit. MWAHAHAHAH!
You find yourself in a hallway. The walls are constructed of luminous marble while the floors are a highly polished onyx. There are many in front of you in a line, and seemingly many more behind you waiting for the judgement of the Lady of Graves. While you wait, you occasionally see strange black birds wearing what appears to be plague doctor's masks flying back and forth, obviously carrying out tasks for someone or something.
The line moves along in a moderate pace, not too fast, not too slow, just seemingly at the pace it is meant to. If you were still alive and in the realms of mortals, you suspect you would find this waiting quite tedious, but here it just seems meant to be.
As you move along in the line a voice calls out in your head, the voice of your friend, Tove, calling your attention back to the mortal realm - if only for a short time...
Tove prepares Razarak's body for the spell to speak to the fallen sorcerer from beyond the grave, calling out to her fallen friend. As she completes the spell, you hear Razarak's voice. It is clearly him, but the voice is echo-like and distant.
I'm going to play a bit fast and loose with the rules of Speak with Dead here as I think in this case it will lend itself to a bit of closure for the characters and will treat this more as a roleplaying encounter rather than the strict mechanics of the spell. (Assuming that's something you'd be interested in.)
"I take it the stag lord is no more? That means my death wasn't for naught and for that I can tak solace." raz says. "was I the only one?"
Thank you DM.
Tove's doubts about performing the ritual are washed away the minute she hears Raz's voice. She knew it couldn't last, but for a brief moment, it felt like he might not have passed at all.
"That's right Raz. We killed him. We couldn't have done it without you."
The priestess smiles but she can already feel her voice starting to waver.
"You were the only one of us, yes. Maybe you saw Kressel fall earlier? I don't know. I'm... I'm sorry I couldn't save you Raz. I... I'm so sorry."
Tove places her hand on the sorcerer's arm, knowing full well he probably couldn't feel it there. She tries to continue her apology but her breathing is short and shallow and she finds she can no longer form the words. She gasps for more air but only manages a loud sob before another sharp inhale. Stupid, stupid girl. What were you thinking reopening this wound? God's Antlers, how could you be so naive?
Tove flinches at the gnome's forthright touch, but biting her lip she tries her best to hold back the tears and focus on the task at hand.
"Razarak, we, err," This is so stupid. "We wanted to ask you how we could best honor your um... your p.. your passing."
Pull yourself together Tove.
"We know your soul now walks the Astral Plane, but we were talking about where you might like your body to be buried, if you even wanted that. Ivo thought maybe a cremation would be preferable. Do you, do you have any preference?"
Resting her head on the sorcerer's cold shoulder she whimpers. "I'm so sorry."
Terri is there beside Tove, holding her shoulders and being a rock for her.
"It's okay, Tove. It's not your fault," she says soothingly. "I don't think Razarak blames you for this."
"no Terri, I do not blame her. I dont blame her at all. As for my body you can cremate it. Do what you will of my worldly possessions, as long as none of them find their way back to the medveyed household. I came to make my own name, and I'll not have them taking any credit for the liberation of the stolen lands. You were all great companions." Raz murmurs, barely a whisper,
Tove sits in silence, letting the tears spill down her face as she processes Razarak's words. A weight feels like it's been lifted from her heart. It doesn't totally alleviate her feelings of failure, but it's a step in the right direction.
If anyone else wants to speak with Razarak or ask him anything further please go ahead. I don't think Tove's capable of facilitating the conversation anymore but the spell will remain in effect for the remainder of its duration.
Ivo pats Tove on the hip awkwardly. He's too short to really give her a good hug.
"Good-bye, Raz," says the gnome wistfully. "You did it - you made a name for yourself fighting the Stag Lord."
"I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to know you" Terri says as she tears up, sharing the pain of her companions. "Thank you for letting me join you and help."
"Thank you Ivo, and Terri, It was long enough. Good bye everyone. I think it's my turn in line for judgement. Good luck." raz whispers one last time before falling silent, forever