Cornerstone Rampart (Inactive)

Game Master Me'mori

A spark of capability earned their passage into a unique school. Now, trained in the basics, they are sent out into the world to hone their skills.

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The discovery of the barest hint of your abilities was something that you might have missed, even if you had been paying attention. For your Master, it did not go unnoticed. Ever since then, your training had been different. In some cases, you might not have even noticed anything. When your Master gave you a coin and a referral after a couple of years of training, it may have been unsettling at first. Having been told that their training you was done, the direction and single coin that you were explicitly told not to spend— not that you had ever seen a coin of such a design– only that you were to present it when you arrived.

The Cornerstone Rampart was not what you expected, certainly not being any sort of bastion that the name might evoke, more a small settlement that grew up around a fort. Any amenities of luxury that you may have grown accustomed to were somewhat lacking, or at least sparse, depending on what was being taught, and how tasks were arranged. This was a school, both of magic and martial, and its location in Lastwall was uncertainly close to what was considered Orc territory, as well as rarely getting some of the strange fog from over the mountains from Ustalav. Nights when the fog rolled in were used for lessons of a different sort, and none who resided at the Rampart could be said to be quick to frighten after some time had passed, given those experiences.

With approximately two years having passed upon your arrival at the school, the majority of the first year was spent getting to understand the areas in which you were and were proficient. Philosophically speaking, one had to understand life to make sense of death— or so said the instructors. After all, the profession of Alchemy did take from life to produce the results, whatever the intended effect. That did contrast with the teachings of your former Master, who was more focused on the results and their benefits than any particular awareness of the source.

Observation and interaction being somewhat necessary to properly socialize, along with encouraged socialization within the school and its handful of students, your intelligence and force of personality also saw you accompanying the instructors in mercantile interactions and negotiations, though rare, often as practical lessons. Though for just what specifically was unclear. There was assurance that leaving would be as easy as walking away and never looking back, as those unwilling to learn were not wanted at this school. The things that you witnessed there spoke of abilities and powers much different than most of what you had learned, and while not necessarily a secret, these skills were certainly rarities.

Your speciality did not come as a surprise. What may have been surprising was how it was accepted, and instruction was given. Your instructor was Ayala Nefeli an aged Quadiran woman who demonstrated quite the proficiency for someone of her advanced years. As she instructed you in your talent, and you learned of your limitation, she could not give you an answer as to whether or not it had been learned or was there from the beginning. She helped you refine your focus, and you found that reanimation held many practical uses in day-to-day life, as well as serving as practice to further your understanding. Tireless workers were valued highly, and while humanoid materials were only used from those who had intended harm to the Rampart, bones— when well cared for– could build, repair, and cultivate quite nicely.

Recently arrived at just about a year now, the adjustment to the Rampart was not as drastic as the trip was. Discipline was something you had hammered into you, as well as the organizational methods of men-at-arms, not to mention the battlefield practice that you got in training. In fact, within a couple months of arrival and acclimation, you were entrusted with organization and tasks suitable for a small squad of students, at least in regards to tasks and duties. These tasks were not always inclined towards martial, as your group was expected to contribute towards maintaining the Rampart as needed when you were not being instructed. Often, depending on who was nearby or partaking in the tasks, some of them would become their own lessons, as the Masters saw fit. Some of your tasks would often be keeping the perimeter, building (or re-building, if something had gone awry), along with foraging, hunting, and with other esoteric tasks.

Martial skills were not the only things being instructed at the rampart. Aside from the three instructors that you saw the most, there were magics being taught at this school. Often, their application did not meet what you had heard of the stories, but there was no denying that it was magic of some sort that was also being employed here. If what you could pick up from conversation and capability, the implied strength of this place would explain why it could exist here, almost isolated, with little fear of anything nearby. There had to be more at play, of course, but in your assessment, anything short of an army assaulting this place had long odds of success.

You were surprised to see your dance lessons continued, however. One of your three instructors, A Cheliaxan woman named Makenna, was foremost in continuing to teach you how to dance. Though at this point, you realized that on the occasions that she picked up a weapon to illustrate a movement, if she were to use that weapon in a fight, she would be quite fearsome. Your other two instructors continued your weapons tutelage, teaching you more as they determined you needed, and your style began to grow from there.

It is soon to be going on four years that your Master gave you a coin to allow you entry to this place, this secluded school of teachers skilled in methods both magic and martial that defied the typical ideas of their use. They recognized that what had motivated that spark of talent was something a bit different from most that had developed themselves, or achieved an outlook that allowed them insight that eluded others. While you lived and worked at the Rampart, contributing where your skills would allow you— often in the crafting of saleable materials, a good number of the masters evaluated you and what they could perceive of your abilities. While it was determined that the direct arcane arts were a little bit beyond you for now, they also learned that you were drawn to the liminal times... Or perhaps more uncertainly, they were drawn to you.

That would certainly explain a few of the occurrences, at least.

The transitional periods of the day were the times that your instructors imparted knowledge to you, and this pattern held, though everyone is up and on guard on the nights that the fog rolled in from the direction of The Hungry Mountains. You don't quite understand why yet, but on those nights, you seem the most alive, as things feel the most certain for you when everyone feels the most uncertain.

A coin and a recommendation. It was hoped that this school would provide the proper channel for your talents that Father Isaiah, you were told upon your arrival. Indeed, your facility for medicine was quite useful in a place where injuries were not uncommon things, and especially so in a martial school where the proper use of edged weapons was taught. That they did not immediately teach you to resist your Hunger was very intriguing, instead urging you to understand and master it along with your pursuit of medicine. Three years had passed since you first saw the Rampart in the distance, and their approach, while somewhat unorthodox, certainly has garnered results.

Your facility in the arcane arts was something that continued to be nurtured, primarily by the Master healer, Berengaria Lyon. Equally possessed of the capability to restrain a thrashing patient as well as a bedside manner that could shame a saint, she along with a handful of acolytes saw to the well-being of the Rampart. Since your arrival, you have treated ailment and injury alike, lecture and lesson alongside more mundane tasks that everyone seemed to share to some degree. You've foraged in the areas beyond the Rampart, as well as tended to the small fields nearby, helped move earth and tree, as well as attended to more scholarly pursuits with records and readings.

Lessons are many and varied, with you gaining exposure where the instructors see fit, and the only time when you fervently hope for the lack of something to do is when the fog rolls down off of The Hungry Mountains. Work on those nights means something went wrong, and thankfully everyone is well-versed in their roles that as of yet, you have treated no injuries that would be a cause for worry.


HP 8/8| AC 13 (Touch 13, FF 10); CMD 13|Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +3|Perception +1, Sense Motive +1|Darkvision| Initiative +3|

The learning curve at the school was steep, in more ways than one. While Father Isaiah had taught him to be a healing, it was only the school's strict regimen that taught him medicine. He learned to not merely treat symptoms but to solve problems, with or without the magical arts, and the shift in perspective of the Father's trust in the divine and his new teachers' insistence on exactitude and knowledge above all else was jarring.

Still, Zacharia was adaptable, and that came soon enough at the patient hands of Master Healer Lyon, as part and parcel with the training.

Far more difficult was the years long journey to accepting and channeling the Hunger as part of himself. Master Warlock Fennix (a half-breed himself, of the fiendish variety) had decades of practice in channeling evil arts to good ends, and brooked no complaints from his charges. The man was harsh, abrasive, and exceedingly difficult to learn from but his mastery of the arcane was second to none, and genuine worldly experience tempered and sharpened a man who might otherwise have become a nebbish bookworm, so encyclopedic was his knowledge of magic.

The two opposing but no less dedicated teachers molded Zacharia from an idealist youth into a more practical and competent, if no less righteous young man, and by the time the curtains closed on his second year Zacharia felt grounded for the first time in his life, comfortable in his own skin and feeling more adventurous.

Where previously he'd been withdrawn and uncomfortable around others, he finally began to open up to some of his classmates rather than keeping them at arm's length, with his only regret being that he hadn't done so sooner.

Now close to closing the book on his third year, Zacharia is torn between the itch to go back into the world and use his talents to better it and his desire to stay in familiar surroundings with good friends and acquaintances forever.

HP 6 (13) | AC: 11 (10 base +1 dex); T: 11; FF: 10 | Fort: +5; Ref: +1 | Will: +2 | Init: +1 Spell Points: 6 (6)

For Dimitri, it wasn't his studies that was the hard part: the pursuit of knowledge came easy to him, as one might expect of a child raised to learn.

No, the hard part was the social assignments; some of them, like the negotiations, were interesting, but understanding social cues enough to attempt to engage someone in breeding was....a fool's errand at best.

Ask someone to a social event as a 'date' had been the worst. What had started as awkward conversation quickly took a nosedive when he brought up the topic of sharing of sharing a meal. None of the women at the school that he approached seemed at all interested in such an endeavor, which, if Dimitri had to admit to himself, was his thought on the matter as well.

Male Half-Orc Warlord 1

All along Gharol's overland trip to the Rampart, the half-orc had been dreading his arrival. He had been expecting an ivory tower filled with preening, self-important fools pouring over outdated manuscripts. The reality was truly refreshing. Competent students and faculty, lessons rooted in practicality and real meritocracy.

That wasn't to say some of Gharol's other fears were unfounded. He had been expecting to eventually need to sit down and endure lectures on logistics, negotiation, and whatever other trivial desk work. He was correct in this, and the only time he didn't hate those lessons was when they intersected with his Golden Lion instruction. Gharol's instruction in both the Golden Lion discipline and these mundane professional skills came from "General" Durham, a hard dwarf taskmaster from the Five Kings Mountains. Not technically a general anymore but the name had stuck.

The martial lessons were where Gharol truly thrived, both enjoying and excelling in those curriculums. He found he took to the discipline of Mithral Current easily due to the emphasis on elegant bladework and footwork, a quality it shared with Scarlet Throne, which Barteo had already trained Gharol in. Gharol was especially receptive to the training in footwork as Barteo had also used dance as a training tool. In fact, Gharol suspects that Makenna, his instructor in these skills, is a past acquaintance of Barteo due to their eerily similar teaching styles and the fact that Makenna seemed to recognize Barteo's name when Gharol mentioned him once. While Gharol has asked her about this, he never got a straight answer.

Gharol did almost as well in his training in Primal Fury, though he enjoyed the lessons less. The discipline was built on instinct, which really meant it was built on muscle memory. That meant much of the lessons were primarily long, repetitive drill sessons to build the requisite muscle memory. The school's master of this discipline was a strong-and-silent full-blooded orc known as Belk. Belk is something of a mystery at the Rampart as nobody seems knows anything about his past. Gossip about him is common and all his students seem to have their own theory on who he is and where he comes from.

Outside of lessons, Gharol is someone the other students respect rather than actually like. His strong work ethic and natural charisma have won him a few admirers but status as a relative newcomer and tactlessness have kept him from making too many friends. Which is fine by him anyway, as he simply sees the Rampart as a stepping stone to bigger and better things.

Female HP 10/10|AC 19 (Touch 14/FF 15/CMD 14)|Fort +2 Ref +4 Will +5|Init +4 (Percept +7, Sense Motive +7, Stealth +8)

Lelache is, despite her best efforts, a born introvert. It's just so easy to stay withdrawn and just focus on the craft - glass is easy to work with, malleable and fascinating to work with. Sometimes she'd be entrusted with repairing windows whenever a training incident caused damage to the Cornerstone structure, which she appreciated - it felt nice to give back to the school she'd learned so much from. Considering how rarely she was able to actually conduct her martial studies - during strange astrological events, sunrise, sunset, et cetera - it was no surprise that she'd been held at the school for as long as she has.

The magically-inclined teachers and the more martial instructors really had to put their heads together to figure out how to harness whatever mysterious inner spark Lelache used to empower her abilities. She simply didn't have the requisite physicality to master a more hardcore discipline like Thrashing Dragon or Piercing Thunder - instead, she could evoke some inner energy, her ki, to impart her will upon the world. Whether it be speeding her own reactions or dulling another's with Riven Hourglass, or crafting illusory doubles with Shattered Mirror, or - and this was often the most intriguing to her trainers - even her ability to render the incorporeal solid through Veiled Moon, something she once was only able to do during heavy Fog nights but now has honed in to the beginnings of true mastery of the art.

Among her fellow classmates, Lelache is certainly an odd one - ill at ease when it comes to social situations, she endeavors to be friendly but simply comes off as, well, a weirdo. She'd like more associates, but her funky personality and the fact that she's rarely seen to actually be training means that there's probably a fair bit of ostracism going on. She keeps trucking though, dreaming of her future after graduation, and what she might do. Maybe move back to Canterwall.

As the hot days of summer began to change into that of fall, there was always a change in tasks as everyone got ready for the coming winter. Harvest tasks began as preparations were made for the change of seasons, with food being harvested and prepared, lodgings were checked to identify and repair any significant issues, while finished products were prepared for necessary trading. While the Rampart was not entirely self-sufficient, it also defeated the purpose of the training to have the school be entirely isolated from Lastwall. Intermittently, small groups were sent out with trade goods, to both serve as a practical test of skills, as well as an exercise in diplomacy.

The town of Roslar's Coffer is one such location. Located several days of travel from the Rampart through forested hills, the "coffer" part of its name is not coincidental. The trip of nearly a week brought you to this town that sits just off of a trade road, its size is twice that of the Rampart, though to everyone's eye the organization and discipline of the guards could use some improvement. All of you know that your arrival is part of the test to verify your skills before your graduation to the tile of Journeyman.

Gharol was in charge of the group, deciding on navigation and organization, while Dimitri was expected to meet with the head of Roslar's Coffer. There were already some cases that Zachariah was to look at, as the town's headman had a list of some of the more major issues. Lelache was here as part of several of the finer trades, to examine some of the materials along with a few other students of other crafts. A checklist had been provided to Gharol to distribute upon their arrival, but beyond securing lodgings, there was not much more that could be done before night fell.

Of the three inns in town, The Singing Copper was the closest, and came well recommended by comparison to the others.

HP 6 (13) | AC: 11 (10 base +1 dex); T: 11; FF: 10 | Fort: +5; Ref: +1 | Will: +2 | Init: +1 Spell Points: 6 (6)

"We should choose the inn that is recommended by other travellers." suggested Dimitri. "They often have the best knowledge of such things."

Female HP 10/10|AC 19 (Touch 14/FF 15/CMD 14)|Fort +2 Ref +4 Will +5|Init +4 (Percept +7, Sense Motive +7, Stealth +8)

Lelache nodded her assent, glancing over the material list she'd been given to ensure the Rampart got what it needed. "Sounds like a plan," she says lowly, a flat affect to her voice. "It's got a cute name too. Real folksy."

HP 8/8| AC 13 (Touch 13, FF 10); CMD 13|Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +3|Perception +1, Sense Motive +1|Darkvision| Initiative +3|

"That certainly seems the best plan. Hopefully the name denotes it's cheap as well, I'm not too keen to spend a ton of money during our stay."

"Would you mind booking the room for me if you have nothing else pressing? I have some patients to see to while we're here, and I want to speak with the headsman to set up a list of priority cases before bed so I can get straight to work in the morning."

Disregard that second part if I already have the list; it's a bit unclear whether I've been given it already or not.

Male Half-Orc Warlord 1

"The Singing Copper, then. I'll make the arrangements." Gharol takes the lead on securing lodging for the group at The Singing Copper, distributing his provided checklist to the others first. "Read over that while I set up the rooms. I want everyone to know exactly what they're doing by tomorrow morning."

How are we handling wealth and equipment, by the way?

The residents of the town were somewhat used to seeing arrivals from the Rampart, so the group of ten arriving in town was not given too much more attention than a few cursory glances, and a couple of lifted hands in greeting. It appears that the townsfolk recognized either the students or their manner. As it was, none of them chose to approach now, knowing that they would be in town for the next few days.

The Singing Copper was a small inn, wooden tables arranged closely to the right in the best use of the space that could be made, a short bar to the left of the main door, connected to the kitchen. Stairs ascended to the right, presumably to available rooms. A shared hearth lay past the bar and kitchen, with a few chairs nearby on a heavy woven rug for those that preferred more warmth.

The innkeeper was a stout man, his once-black hair going to grey at the temples and streaking down through the short beard that sat under a pair of spectacles on his generous nose. He moved well despite his age, with a little bit of a squint when he looked over the tops of his glasses. Gharol's approach elicited a smile and he came from around the small bar in the back, extending a hand to shake in greeting. "You the newest Cornerstones? I'm Broadus Chaucer, and welcome to this fine establishment. We've been looking forward to your arrival once the weather turned."

His handshake is strong and confident, roughened from work, but warm and honest. His voice was as warm as his manner, projecting like someone that was used to raising their voice to be heard over a din. Brown eyes looked over Gharol's shoulder to regard the rest of the group, his smile open in greeting. "Rooms for the week, with board, I take it?"
Zachariah, you have the last list sent by their contact, but you'll have to get any updates in the morning.

HP 6 (13) | AC: 11 (10 base +1 dex); T: 11; FF: 10 | Fort: +5; Ref: +1 | Will: +2 | Init: +1 Spell Points: 6 (6)

"That would be delightful, thank you." said Dimitri. Perhaps if I just imitate the way my teachers spoke, it will be fine.

HP 8/8| AC 13 (Touch 13, FF 10); CMD 13|Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +3|Perception +1, Sense Motive +1|Darkvision| Initiative +3|

"Yes, how did you know?" Zacharia says, flashing the innkeeper a smile to let him know he's joking.

Female HP 10/10|AC 19 (Touch 14/FF 15/CMD 14)|Fort +2 Ref +4 Will +5|Init +4 (Percept +7, Sense Motive +7, Stealth +8)

Lelache just shoots the innkeeper a thumbs up while she looks the other way. She's scoping out The Singing Copper's interior, seeing if there's anything of note around the place. She has to lean to the side to look around her comrades.

Male Half-Orc Warlord 1

Gharol returns the innkeeper's firm handshake with one of his own. "Rooms for the week, with board." he confirms, reaching for his coinpurse. "Drinks and food too." Gharol's eyes wander over to the bar and kitchen. A proper meal and an ale would really hit the spot after almost a week on the road.

HP 6 (13) | AC: 11 (10 base +1 dex); T: 11; FF: 10 | Fort: +5; Ref: +1 | Will: +2 | Init: +1 Spell Points: 6 (6)

"Food is the 'and board' part, Mr. Half-Tusk." Assuming that Gharol introduced himself as his alias name, Dimitri would from that point on have called him 'Mr Half-Tusk.'

The amount that was quoted to Gharol was less than anticipated, but not unexpected, given that nearly everyone there was there to provide what services they could, both as comparison of trade technique and practice. Even Gharol and those chosen as escort were to check in with the woodsmen and help to address any potential difficulties or logistical issues that may have arisen beyond the capabilities of the locals. Thoughts of tasks aside, Broadus grinned and nodded. "Aye, it's likely been a trip for all of you. Go on and get situated, and I'll have some food and ale out for all of you. You can collect your keys when each of you decide to turn in, or I do, whichever comes first."

To Lelache's eyes, The Singing Copper was two stories of timber and brick, the stone floor smooth and clear. All of the furniture looks well-worn, and well cared-for. The tables themselves have benches instead of chairs in the main part of the common area, the marks of use in the wear. As far as decorations go, apropos to the name, there is a large artwork of beaten copper hanging on the wall behind the bar. The artwork depicts a spread deck of fortune telling cards, though the iconography of the cards is that of Ustalavian origin, with some orcish imagery, as well. A curiosity among the other bits of carved artwork and other ornamentation, but by no means especially odd.

As everyone hears Gharol confirm that they were staying there with the innkeeper, they all fanned out from the semi-disciplined wait into the room, immediately livening up the atmosphere with an influx of noise and color. There were four other individuals in residence at the moment, two humans, one male one female, as well as a male dwarf and a female elf. The humans seemed dressed as merchants, while the elf seemed somewhat capable with the weapons that were on her person, and the dwarf wore the livery of some house, it appeared.

It would not be too long before the merchants were conversing with some of the students, having chosen correctly on which inn would see their arrival, and thus business might begin early. There is the scent of bread baking, filling the air of the common room, as well as perhaps a stew still simmering under that.
Inn layout is linked in the Campaign info

HP 6 (13) | AC: 11 (10 base +1 dex); T: 11; FF: 10 | Fort: +5; Ref: +1 | Will: +2 | Init: +1 Spell Points: 6 (6)

Dimitri paid the man for the rooms and then said "I would just like some water please."

The money was taken, with five numbered keys passed across the polished and stained wood of the bar. "As you like." There was a few seconds as he looked him over, taking his measure. Nothing was said, but he eventually nodded and turned away beginning to pour the other tankards.

HP 6 (13) | AC: 11 (10 base +1 dex); T: 11; FF: 10 | Fort: +5; Ref: +1 | Will: +2 | Init: +1 Spell Points: 6 (6)

Dimitri distributed the keys to each member of the group (keeping one for himself), and then went and sat at one of the larger tables, opening a book from his satchel to a bookmarked page and beginning to read.

HP 8/8| AC 13 (Touch 13, FF 10); CMD 13|Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +3|Perception +1, Sense Motive +1|Darkvision| Initiative +3|

I think I accidentally closed the page on my post before hitting submit earlier. Whoops.

Zacharia eats and drinks in a workman-like fashion, efficiently downing his food and only slightly stopping to savor the bitterness of the ale, downing it almost as someone might a tonic for some ill.

"Thank you Mr. Chaucer, that was perfect after such a long trip."

He is genuinely pleased with the quality of the food, though in truth barely noted its taste other than it was nourishing and seemed to have nothing in it which had spoiled. Most food is largely unimpressive to Zacharia, his body craving something else he knew he could never let himself have, at least not in the way the Hunger tells him he wants it.

After dinner he sits quietly a moment, enjoying the warmth and camaraderie of the other patrons, and waits for the light buzz from the ale to relax him further. Once it has, he stands up languidly and makes for the stairs to the rooms.

"I believe I'll make an early night, much as I would wish to enjoy everyone's company the rest of the evening. I've an early start tomorrow and wish to be at my best."

HP 6 (13) | AC: 11 (10 base +1 dex); T: 11; FF: 10 | Fort: +5; Ref: +1 | Will: +2 | Init: +1 Spell Points: 6 (6)

Dimitri meticulously picks through his food, ending up eating only about half of it. He offers the rest up to someone else in the group. He does, however, seem to enjoy the water assuming that it's clean, that is.

As Zacharia moves to leave, Dimitri says "sounds good. Have a good night." without even bothering to look up from his book.

Male Half-Orc Warlord 1
Someone said wrote:
Assuming that Gharol introduced himself as his alias name, Dimitri would from that point on have called him 'Mr Half-Tusk.'

Considering he never knew his birth family and was raised by street urchins, I'm actually gonna say that Half-Tusk is Gharol's actual last name. I imagine him making it up as a kid and then being too prideful to ever get around to changing it.

Gharol stops to address the students as a group just before they disperse, raising his voice with fierce authority. "Remember that this isn't a holiday, Cornerstones! Escorts! We will be continuing arms and armor drills at dawn tomorrow! The rest of you! Any of you show up to work late or hung over tomorrow and you will be answering to me!" With that, Gharol allows the students to disperse and relax. They'd probably need the rest for the week ahead.

Gharol allows himself to relax too, taking the time to savour his stew and ale. And time was something he had plenty of here, since to ensure the other students went to bed at a reasonable hour, Gharol made a point of retiring to his room last. After polishing off Dimitri's uneaten dinner, of course. Big man had a big appetite.

Female HP 10/10|AC 19 (Touch 14/FF 15/CMD 14)|Fort +2 Ref +4 Will +5|Init +4 (Percept +7, Sense Motive +7, Stealth +8)

Lelache took care to secure the key in her bag before sitting down beside the copper art fixture. She was intrigued by it, inspecting it closely as she fastidiously ate her stew.

But, as with all food, eventually it ran out. She stood up, having not touched any drink, and not having spent much time chatting with the rest of the group - she was concerned they wouldn't really be in to her conversation topics, after all, and they were just classmates.

She still bids the others good night as they depart for their rooms, giving a small smile to Dmitri as he stuffs his nose in a book. "Good night you two," she says as she sidles between them to head to their quarters. "Don't be up too late, we've got a day ahead of us."

HP 6 (13) | AC: 11 (10 base +1 dex); T: 11; FF: 10 | Fort: +5; Ref: +1 | Will: +2 | Init: +1 Spell Points: 6 (6)

As Lelache goes to leave, Dimitri again says "sounds good. Have a good night" while not bothering to look up from his book.

Time passes, and the conversations in the common room of the inn rising and falling as some of the townsfolk enter, greeting the new faces with a friendly air and taking their cups and seats to pass some time in the evening. Gharol does get to meet a few of the woodsmen that he and the escorts would be assisting, and they exchange rough details for the next morning. The merchants are the next to depart, and the students that had been conversing with them depart soon after. The townsfolk take their leave in ones and twos until it is just Gharol and Dimitri.

Even Broadus heads to turn in, finishing the cleanup and close up of the night as the two of you do get to meet his wife, Yora, in passing. The one responsible for the vegetable stew of the evening, she is short, with golden brown skin and dark hair. Her brown eyes have a hint of a chill to them, her hair is trimmed close to her head. The clothes she wears are the well-worn, but hang off of her, just too large for them to sit right. No real conversation is had as her cool-but-reserved greeting is interrupted by a yawn, not slowing as she heads for the stairs up.

"Light with you all, good night", she says, her smoky voice holding a touch of thinness. Her husband just looks at the two of you staying up even as the fire in the hearth burns low, the light having since turned from a cheery orange to a dull orange-red

"Candles are on the bar", he calls from the stairs, shaking his head both from the yawn that was provoked by his wife as well as the stubbornness of the two students.

HP 6 (13) | AC: 11 (10 base +1 dex); T: 11; FF: 10 | Fort: +5; Ref: +1 | Will: +2 | Init: +1 Spell Points: 6 (6)

Dimitri glanced up from his book as the light dimmed, and realized that the room had emptied around him. Sighing, he collected his belongings, marked his place in his book, and made his way to his room.

Once inside, he locked his door, then lay down on his bed and went to sleep.

When each of you open your eyes, you are surrounded by stone walls but a few inches larger than you. You are in a dark, stone box, surrounded by the scent of cool earth. You dimly recall going to sleep in one of the inn rooms of The Singing Copper, but this is not there. It is an absurd thought, but... have they put you in a coffin?
What equipment you've brought with you is there, provided it can fit alongside you. A Strength(13) is necessary to move the heavy stone lid of your room.

HP 6 (13) | AC: 11 (10 base +1 dex); T: 11; FF: 10 | Fort: +5; Ref: +1 | Will: +2 | Init: +1 Spell Points: 6 (6)

Dimitri tries pushing against the stone in front of him...

Strength: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (8) - 1 = 7

but nothing moves.

HP 8/8| AC 13 (Touch 13, FF 10); CMD 13|Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +3|Perception +1, Sense Motive +1|Darkvision| Initiative +3|

"What the..." Zacharia starts, then cuts off, looking around irritated.

Strength: 1d20 ⇒ 7

He pushes against the lid to no avail.

"Ha ha, funny prank! You've trapped the vampire boy in the coffin, very droll. NOW LET ME OUT!" he yells banging against the coffin lid.

Male Half-Orc Warlord 1

"What the hell!" Hyperventilating, Gharol's head whips around and his trembling hands shakily explore the space inside the coffin. "...What the hell!" The half-orc slams his palms into the underside of the coffin lid and pushes with all his might, desperate to get out. Tight spaces and Gharol did not mix.

Strength: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20

Gharol practically launches himself out of the coffin once the lid's off, his hyperventilation calming into heavy panting and his trembling hands become merely clammy. Once out, he turns and sends his hands back in to secure his equipment, his weapons especially. Whoever put him in this coffin was about to get very well acquainted with those. As he grabs up his gear, he also casts his eyes about, trying to calm down as he takes in his surroundings.

Female HP 10/10|AC 19 (Touch 14/FF 15/CMD 14)|Fort +2 Ref +4 Will +5|Init +4 (Percept +7, Sense Motive +7, Stealth +8)

This is... definitely not the bed she went to sleep in. Lelache stares at the grey stone before her, blinking in confusion. She presses her hand against it, trying to push on it gently - no dice. So she tries shoving...

Strength: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (9) + 1 = 10
She huffs in annoyance, eyes slowly adjusting to the darkness - not that there's much to see. She raps on the lid as well. "Hey! Is anyone out there? Hello?

Can we hear each other?

Gharol: With no light in the silent room, everything stands out in black and white. The room is perhaps fifteen feet wide and twice as long, a number of carefully cut dark stone sarcophagi set atop low biers are interspersed along its length. Muffled noises can occasionally be heard from three of the other five resting places, a couple being louder than others. What could be a crate sits under a dropcloth in the far corner.
Relief carvings are on the wall at the head of each sarcophagus, carved images of heroes, perhaps?
Perception checks to hear anything. The sarcophagi are well constructed. You can attempt to escape again through other means at your disposal besides a Strength check if that is not working for you.

HP 6 (13) | AC: 11 (10 base +1 dex); T: 11; FF: 10 | Fort: +5; Ref: +1 | Will: +2 | Init: +1 Spell Points: 6 (6)

Can I use touch of corruption to damage the sarcophagi lid?

Male Half-Orc Warlord 1

With his weapons at hand, Gharol approaches the other sarcophagi. Had others been closed up as he was? Gharol starts with one of the sarcophagi that muffled noises are coming out of, attempting to move the lid off.

strength: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (14) + 4 = 18

If Gharol finds Dimitri, Lelache or Zacharia, he's going to go ahead and try to open the other two noisy coffins.

Solid stone. Well-crafted, and more importantly, heavy. Mustering the strength to move the lid seems beyond you. Straining does not seem to budge it, and without a clever idea, you just may be stuck inside. However you may have gotten stuck in whatever this was, there's just enough time for the thought that you might possibly be trapped in this stone box before the lid starts to move. The sound of the lid sliding does demonstrate just exactly how heavy it is, and its movement is accompanied by grunting and strained breathing from Gharol.

With some teamwork, everyone is able to be freed from their sarcophagus, and for all that you were freed, the room is pitch black. Without a light source, right now only those able to see in the dark are able to make out any detail.
Everyone is freed eventually. Those that have Darkvision are able to make out the details described above.

HP 6 (13) | AC: 11 (10 base +1 dex); T: 11; FF: 10 | Fort: +5; Ref: +1 | Will: +2 | Init: +1 Spell Points: 6 (6)

"Does anyone have the ability to make light without fire?" asked Dimitri.

Female HP 10/10|AC 19 (Touch 14/FF 15/CMD 14)|Fort +2 Ref +4 Will +5|Init +4 (Percept +7, Sense Motive +7, Stealth +8)

Lelache is just beginning to get worried about this whole stone lid situation, when abruptly - well, not light, but a different shade of darkness came in to view. The scraping of the stone was loud as hell, making her wince, but she was soon able to sit straight up as the lid gets moved enough to squeeze out of. Lelache falls to the floor with an unceremonious grunt, pulling herself back up. She looks around and... well, sees nothing. "Thank you," she says to Gharol though she can't see him. She isn't even particularly sure who it was that moved it, but considering the average strength of the other companions...

"Not I. I certainly didn't think we'd need tindertwigs or anything like that..." She sighs, leaning against the heavy coffin. She runs her fingers over the rims, frowning. "You know, I read an Ailson Kindler story about getting kidnapped by village cannibals once. I wonder if that's the situation we're in? Stuck in some basement somewhere..."

HP 8/8| AC 13 (Touch 13, FF 10); CMD 13|Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +3|Perception +1, Sense Motive +1|Darkvision| Initiative +3|

Zacharia nearly smacks Gharol in the face as the lid is lifted away in the midst of him pushing and banging on it.

Pn seeing his face, Zacharia is annoyed, then relieved.

That relief fades a bit after looking around.

"What...? I don't believe that's possible Lelache. This doesn't look like the mausoleum of some village. Besides, we have close ties with the people of Roslar's Coffer. If they were insane we'd have known years ago."

HP 6 (13) | AC: 11 (10 base +1 dex); T: 11; FF: 10 | Fort: +5; Ref: +1 | Will: +2 | Init: +1 Spell Points: 6 (6)

"One cannot deny, however, that someone in Roslar's Coffer was involved in bringing us here."

HP 8/8| AC 13 (Touch 13, FF 10); CMD 13|Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +3|Perception +1, Sense Motive +1|Darkvision| Initiative +3|

"But where is 'here', is the question? I'll take a look around."

Any doors or anything?

No Darkvision:
The room remains pitch black, but you can gauge the relative positions of your companions if you trust in your other senses.

Carvings in the wall above the various sarcophagi display several heroic figures, that curiously bear some resemblance to the four of you. Above each carving, the words "Red Shrikes— Noble Companions in the War against Evil. Rest Well, My Friends".

There is little else in the room besides what could be an old crate in the far corner, covered by a heavy cloth. On the opposite end, there seems to be a door to another room.

HP 6 (13) | AC: 11 (10 base +1 dex); T: 11; FF: 10 | Fort: +5; Ref: +1 | Will: +2 | Init: +1 Spell Points: 6 (6)

Dimitri gropes around the sarcophagi that he was entombed in, looking for his possessions. Assuming he finds his belongings:

Dimitri says "I can raise a Burning Skeleton if you like, which might produce a bit of light, but it will produce fire as well."

HP 8/8| AC 13 (Touch 13, FF 10); CMD 13|Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +3|Perception +1, Sense Motive +1|Darkvision| Initiative +3|

Zacharia looks curiously at the carvings but files them away as a curiosity to be explored once the situation has been fully assessed.

"Hold off on that. There is a door, but there's no telling if we can get it open; a fire could burn away what could be a limited supply of air and suffocate us all."

"Gharol, help me with this?" Zacharia asks, moving to inspect the door and see if it will open.

HP 6 (13) | AC: 11 (10 base +1 dex); T: 11; FF: 10 | Fort: +5; Ref: +1 | Will: +2 | Init: +1 Spell Points: 6 (6)

"That was my concern as well, hence why I voiced my idea instead of merely acting upon it. Since it sounds like you can see in the dark, are there any other exits? How big is the room we are currently secreted into?"

HP 8/8| AC 13 (Touch 13, FF 10); CMD 13|Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +3|Perception +1, Sense Motive +1|Darkvision| Initiative +3|

"Sorry. I sometimes forget not everyone can see right now. The room is approximately 15, maybe 20 feet long. I see a door, as well as a covered crate. I had thought to check the former first, maybe there is light outside if we can get it open."

He hesitates for a moment.

"Also the sarcophagi we woke up in have images eerily similar to our own carved above them in bas relief. It refers to the occupants as 'Red Shrikes, companions in the war against evil'. I thought that was of lesser concern for now, but it did catch my eye."

HP 6 (13) | AC: 11 (10 base +1 dex); T: 11; FF: 10 | Fort: +5; Ref: +1 | Will: +2 | Init: +1 Spell Points: 6 (6)

"Good to know. I agree that we should get the doors open post haste." says Dimitri, although he makes no move to try and help with the door.

Male Half-Orc Warlord 1

"The noble Red Shrikes, huh?" Gharol muses, examining the carvings, then glancing around the room "Apparently not noble enough for a nicer tomb than this pit." He spares a glance to his companions. "Any of you heard of this bunch?" he asks, probing his own memory at the same time.

Knowledge (History): 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (7) + 0 = 7

Gharol has a hearty chuckle at his door-concerned companions. Honestly, it was a bloody door! What was there to be afraid of? "Alright, stand back children." Gharol says as he confidently strides toward the door. "If whoever put us in here meant us any harm, they wouldn't have left us with our weapons. This is either a prank or the Rampart is getting real creative with it's tests. My money's on test. Running errands for Roslar's Coffer is beneath us." Gharol grabs ahold of the door and attempts to simply open it.

HP 8/8| AC 13 (Touch 13, FF 10); CMD 13|Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +3|Perception +1, Sense Motive +1|Darkvision| Initiative +3|

As they work on the door, Zacharia racks his own memory.

History: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (18) + 8 = 26

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