18 Calistril, 4710
Woke up early (dammit), got cleaned up, ate breakfast and then headed to the Lorrimor place. Supposed to go to the old man’s funeral and something was mentioned about his will (don’t expect to have anything left to me, damned old coot).
Arrived at the Lorrimor place, greeted by his daughter- can’t remember her name, oh yeah, Kendra. First time she has ever been cordial to me, probably due to her dad dying recently. She showed me to the study (like I don’t know where it is- been here a thousand times) and excused herself. Wonder how long I’m gonna hafta sit here? Ooh, whats that over there- the professors’ hooch- he won’t need any of this.
After having a few sniffs of brandy, Kendra returns with a tall, burly human male. She introduces us, think his name is Cyrus or Exerus or sumpin like that- either way, the guy is quiet. He sits down on the couch, looks around the room (probably thinking what he might get at the will readin), then stares out the window. I try to get his attention and be polite and all, but he ignores me. His loss, specially ifn he needs help finding his way around town later. I go back to the brandy.
A little while later, Kendra shows up with another human male. This guy seems a bit more cheerful, ain’t right though on this somber occasion, but to each his own, as I always says. Kendra says his name is Bob or Larry, didn’t really catch it, as I was too interested in his symbol of Phantasma he wore openly upon his chest. Just what we need, another Father Sourpuss in town. We really need a priest of Caydens’ to pop inta town; that would get things a bit more cheery here- I really miss the bustle of Lepidstadt sometimes. The two humans start talking to each other, as usual, ignoring the halfling in the room. Even worse, now I have even less of a chance of getting anything. Hope no one else shows up.
Damn my luck, another mourner; this one is a bit different. Ain’t human, not sure what the hell it is. Looks like a tabby cat walkin on its hind legs, but its wearing a cloak pulled tight up over its head and around its body; probably one of them ‘thropes I heard about, roaming the countryside. The critter sidles up to the window, ignoring everyone in the room, and looks mournfully out the window. Kendra didn’t give us a name fer this one, probably Cuddles or Boots or sumpin like that. Never saw anything around here that the professor would likely give this one, so goody! Maybe more for me.
After having to listen to the two humans prattle on for what seemed like days, in walked Kendra again (damn, how many people did the professor know?), this time a female on her arm, followed by what looked like some sort of disfigured turkey. She was announced as Rachelindria Dawn by Kendra, who then turned, says she will be back shortly and left us alone again- how long till the will readin’? Hopefully soon, my luck, the entire army from Taldor is gonna show up and say they were all friends of the professors too. Eek- the turkey is trying to eat me! Someone save me! Rachelindria calls her critter back to her side, pats it on is goofy lookin’ head and tells me that I’m safe from being eaten, unless she tells it otherwise. Gonna hafta keep an eye on this one while she is in town.
After waiting around all day, Kendra returns to the study and asks us if we are ready to join the funeral procession and if we would be willing to be pallbearers. All of the big folk agree, even the tabby cat thingy, but as usual, they ignore me. I can help too; I might not be able to lift the casket, but I can help them make sure they don’t trip over stuff and lead the way, announcing “coming through” and such. If these people need help getting around town, it’s gonna cost ‘em extra now.
So we all go outside- what a nice day it is too, sun is shinin’, birds are tweetin’, even that weird looking bluish raven over there on that tree limb. Outside on the porch are a few of the councilmen of Ravengro; they say a few things to Kendra then turn and ask us if we would follow them north of town to the outskirts of the cemetery, where we will grab the coffin and haul the old man to the Restlands to be buried and such. The motley group that has been assembled all agrees, stating that they will also be the pallbearers as well. So off we go.
We make it to the Restlands, that damned turkey thingy staring at me the entire way, and are met by Father Sourpuss, or has he is known around here as, Grimburrow, and a few of his gravediggers. A few other townsfolk have gathered here; I recognize the tavern keeper (keeps the good stuff stocked) and his kid, there is also the lady who sells potions and garlic and such to the townsfolk to keep the werewolves and vampires at bay. Not sure ifn it works, but they keep buying it up, and no one has been eaten yet. As we arrive, the townsfolk all say their pleasantries to the new arrivals in town, and agin they all ignore me. The religious human trades a strange gesture with Father Sourpuss, probably some sort of hex to keep the tabby cats’ fur from gettin’ on their clothes or sumpin’ like that.
Everyone present surrounds the coffin, hefts it upon their shoulders and begins the procession to the professors’ grave. As I now can’t reach the coffin, I instead go to the front of the line and keep onlookers back, watch so no one trips and other such important things. As we get nearer to the grave, it seems that a bunch of townsfolk have gathered ahead of us, probably here to pay their last respects too.
“That’s far enough. We been talking, and we don’t want Lorrimor buried in the Restlands. You can take him upriver and bury him there if you want, but he ain’t goin’ in the ground here!” nope, guess they ain’t here to play nice. I recognize the “leader” of their group as Gibbs, an older human who owns most of the farmland around town, and as usual for these parts, is mean and foul-tempered, even towards the other townsfolk. Kendra is swift to respond, her sadness swiftly transforming into anger. “What are you talking about?” she cries out. “I arranged it with Father Grimburrow. The grave’s already been…”
“You don’t get it, woman. We won’t have a necromancer buried in the same place as our kin. I suggest you move out while you still can. Folks are pretty upset about this right now.”
“Necromancy!? Are you really that ignorant?” the group of townsfolk steels themselves, grasping their shovels and pitchforks a bit tighter and begin to tread forward.
The Phantasma clergyman steps forward and tells them to stop their current actions before things get out of hand. He tells them some cockamamie story that they actually buy and they turn around, albeit begrudgingly. “damned necromancer had buddies”, I hear a few of them mumble as they trudge away.
Kendra thanks the cleric for his help, and asks if we can continue on. We haul the professor the rest of the way to his final restin’ spot and the coffin is set upon the ground. The Phantasmite and the Wild Turkey lady mention sumpin’ about cutting off the professors head, cookin’ it, and other such nonsense- damned foreigners have no respect for local or personal tradition. This is how the professor wanted to be interred; this is how he should be interred. Some such nonsense about the professor might come back as the walking dead; he was a necromancer after all. After a few minutes, with shock and horror upon the face of Kendra and a few of the onlookers, the two settled upon this bein’ the way to bury the professor. Father Sourpuss says his respects and funeral words and such, and then asks if anyone has anything they would like to say. The two male humans and the cat (it can speak!!!!) all say a few words, respsectin’ the professor and such. Afterwards, Kendra says her goodbyes to the gathered townsfolk, and invites me and the rest of the visitors to her home for the reading of the will, to be overseen by councilman Hearthmount. Everyone agrees, and we all head back.
Now I get to see if the old man left me anything or if he overlooked the halfling like usual.
As we are finishing up, I notice a strange little man crouching in the distance behind some tombstones. As he notices me looking right at him, he turns and runs. Rachelindria tells her turkey “fetch”, and it runs off after the little man. Moments later, it grabs him by the back of his breeches, and while it is able to hold him off for a moment, the man breaks free from the grasp of the critter, bounding off into the nearby countryside. Rachelindria sets off to where her critter caught up to the man and greets her pet as she arrives; they then return back to the graveside of the professor. I mention I have seen the man every so often, but do not know who he is, other than he does not inhabit the town proper.
We arrive at the old man’s home, Kendra invites us into the study and says she will be back in a few minutes, sit and get comfortable. After she leaves, I try to talk to the large human male again. He tells me some story about being from Lastwall, but that’s all I get from him. I see out of the corner of my eye the tabby lookin at me, licking its lips, so I ease my way over to the female with the disfigured turkey, confident she won’t tell it to eat me. We exchange a few words, and as usual for a human, she is racially prejudiced towards halflings. Too bad, she seems like a nice lady, even with her strange customs and garb. And that damned turkey thingy.
Moments later, Kendra returns and announces that we will have to wait for the councilman to arrive before we read the will and asks if anyone would like a drink or something to eat. As he won’t be drinking it, I ask if I can have some of the professors’ hooch. Kendra brings back a bottle of his cheap stuff and I tell her I would prefer the good stuff. She proclaims she doesn’t know where it is, even though it is on the shelf right behind her. She probably wanted to keep it all for herself, selfish child. She tells me that I may have it if I wish, as she pulls it down off the shelf and offers me the bottle. “Let me get you a glass” she says. “I don’t need no glass”, and I take a swig; ahh, the good stuff.
After what seemed like hours, with all the prattle between the visitors arranged around the room, councilman Hearthmount arrived. He sits down at the professors’ desk like it’s his, pulls out a scroll case and shows everyone in the room that the wax seal is still affixed; like that couldn’t be faked. Anyways, as he finishes this flourish, he breaks apart the seal and opens the scroll case. Reaching inside, he pulls out a furled parchment and a small key falls to the desktop, which he ignores or doesn’t notice.
“I, Petros Lorrimor, being of sound mind, do hereby commit to this parchment my last will and testament. Let it be known that, with the exception of the specific details below, I leave my home and personal belongings entire………..yadda yadda yadda”, get to where it says what he left for me? Yea! He left me money. Now I can pay my tab at the tavern and pay off the innkeeper for my back rent. Wait! What did he say? We hafta watch over his kid for a month and THEN take back some library books he stole from Lepidstadt before I get my money? Damn my luck. Even worse, the visitors are asked to do the same thing; A month in town with all these weirdoes. Guess I can make some cash off of ‘em and haul them around town, showing them the sights.
After the reading of the will, Kendra rises, leaves the room and returns with a small chest. She places it upon the desk and I give the councilman the key that he dropped. He shakes his head, gives it to Kendra and announces he has to leave. He bids Kendra farewell and exits the house. Kendra then unlocks the chest and begins pulling small tomes out it, reading the titles as she does so. The first book, sitting on top, has a hand-written note proclaiming “read me first”. Thumbing through it, Kendra exclaims it must be her father’s personal journal. She hands it off to the Phantasmite, who opens it to a few pages that have curled corners and such, and says some of the entries have been circled in red ink, noting their importance.
The next book removed from the chest has a purple cover with a brass scarab set with a single eye in its center. The spine reads “Manual of the Order of the Palatine Eye”, within it is a note saying to return to Embreth Daramid, in Lepidstadt. It doesn’t appear to be of much use though; it will probably take a much longer reading to determine what it is about.
Next is a musty tome, a jet black cover stenciled with the name “On Verified Madness”. Thumbing through it, the cleric exclaims it is a book on otherworldly creatures and deities and such. It does not seem to interest him much.
The next tome does, however. “Serving Your Hunger”- the professors’ personal recipe book. As he reads through it, however, he realizes this is no cookbook. “This book is pure evil and must be destroyed!” he announces. After going back and forth over doing what the professor wished with the book and just outright destroying it, it is determined to do as the professor wished, to the chagrin of the cleric. I still believe he must have read it wrong.
“The Umbral Leaves” is the last book removed from the chest. A quick scouring of the tome shows it to be a translation of the unholy text of Zon-Kuthon. It’s lookin’ more and more like the professor might actually BE a necromancer. What other purpose would he have for books such as these?
Readin’ through his journal, it is becoming apparent that the professor thought there was something sinister goins on in Ravengro. He mentions the Whispering Way, breakin’ into an old crypt in the Restlands and wantin’ to steal a bunch of stuff. Sure, when I misappropriate something, the sheriff puts me in jail fer the evenin’. But when a human does it, it’s not even noticed; Typical. The Phantasmite says maybe we should find this crypt and gather whats inside. If the professor thought it was important, maybe it is. After a small discussion, it is determined that he will talk with Father Sourpuss about getting’ at the goods. So now this group has aspired to become adventurers in the name of the professor. Great, just what Ravengro needs.
As we were discussin’ current matters, I happened to notice a strange sight outside the window; tapping upon the window pane is a bluish glowing raven. How strange. As I peer outside the window, I see the little man from earlier at the cemetery hiding behind a nearby tree. I inform those present of the bird and the man, and the Phantasmite and the turkey lady both go to the door. As he spots them at the door, the man turns and runs off into the night. The tabby cat and the cleric both go out to the tree the man was hiding behind. They search for his tracks and lose them in the night. They return to the house, proclaiming they could not follow him in the dark.
The group then started askin’ questions about things written within the journal, all of which I was more than capable of answering. What the Whispering Way was (a group of necromancers, active in Ustalav thousands of years ago), tales of the Harrowstone Prison (south of town, high upon a small hill; it housed thousands of the country’s worst criminals; the town of Ravengro was built up south of the complex to house the prison workers; it burned down hundreds of years ago, killin’ everyone inside; how I led the professor there on many occasions to explore the complex), stories of the most evil inmates housed inside (the Lopper- liked to hide for days and then surprise his prey and chop off their noggin’; the Mosswater Marauder, jealous dwarf artisan who kilt’ his wife with a hammer and then tried to relivin her by collectin’ the scraps of her skull. When that didn’t work, cuz he lost one part, he started trying to collect parts of other peoples skulls instead; the Piper of Illmarsh, who liked to feed his birds with the dried blood of his poisoned victims.) I mentioned there was a shrine erected just south of here, commemmoratin’ those that died in the prison fire.I tell them that if they wish, I will guide them to all the places they need to go around the town and outside of town as well, with the first day being free of charge. But after that, I will need to be paid my commission as a guide. I have debts to pay, and sustenance to acquire and some such things. They thank me for my expertise and willingness to guide them around town and I tell them I will return from my manse in the morning. I bid them a fond fare-thee-well, and retire to my “home”.
19 Calistril, 4710
I arrive at the Lorrimor “estate” just before breakfast; the adventurers sitting around the table, Kendra serving them food, no doubt prepared using the professors’ newly uncovered personal cookbook. She greets me and bids me to be seated and asks what I would like for breakfast. As I had not eaten yet and was ravenous, I gave her a list of things I would like and asked her to surprise me with anything off the list. Minutes later, she returned with a scrumptious meal; she actually isn’t as bad as I might have first thought. Of course, if she had only done this years earlier, I might have thought different of her.
The group scattered around the table were discussing their plans for the unfolding day. The cleric wished to go to the Phantasma church and speak with Father Sourpuss about appropriatin’ the gear the professor spoke about. I told him that the church was to the east of where we were currently, just over the river. He rose to leave, gathered his gear and left the residence. “I will be back soon”, he proclaimed. The remaining members spoke little, while I asked politely for a second helpin’ of breakfast. The remainin’ adventurers wanted to go see the shrine and wanted to explore the area of the Restlands where the professors’ squished corpse was happened upon; I told them after the cleric returned, from the church, we could head to the shrine, then go north to the Restlands.
Within an hour, the cleric returned, proclaiming Father Sourpuss would allow us to enter the crypt to gather the contents; To keep an eye on the cleric, Father Sourpuss sent along an acolyte. The group all rose to head off to the shrine, then the Restlands, with me as their guide. I noted we would need to stop off at my residence, so I could gather my possessions, as it was on the way to the Restlands. I bid Kendra farewell, and leading the band of adventurers, we headed to the south end of town. After a short, but brisk, walk, we arrived at the shrine. And someone had defiled it by pouring what looked like blood all over the base of the shrine. The cleric even went so far as to taste the liquid, proclaiming that it was indeed blood, though unsure as to what kind, humanoid or otherwise; Disgusting, must be a religious thing.
If asked, I told the group that they should say I was with them the previous evening. I did not do this deed, but knowing Sheriff Caeller, I would be blamed for it and have to spend ANOTHER night in his jail. Upon a closer inspection, it appeared that the blood also spelt’ out a very specific symbol, the letter “V”; how strange. We left the shrine as we found it, not wantin’ to destroy anything that someone else had done; maybe it was a religious thing or maybe something more nefarious. We headed north through town, goin’ to the Restlands. As we got closer to the town square, we happened upon a group or small children skippin’ rope and singin’ a little ditty I had been hearin’ fer some time now.
“Put her body on the bed.
Take a knife and lop her head.
Watch the blood come out the pipe.
Feeds the stirge, so nice and ripe.
Drops of red so sparkly bright.
Splatters spell her name just right.
With a hammer killed his wife.
Now he wants to claim your life.
Tricksy father tells a lie.
Listen close or you will die.”
A while later, we arrive at the Restlands; Using the information found in the professors journal, we head to what they think is the crypt he wrote about searching fer. As we come upon it, I notice that the lock appears to have been melted by some sort of acid and then reattached so as to not appear to be messed with. The cleric throws the door open wide and peers into the darkness below. He wiggles his fingers, says a prayer and poof- he is glowing with a pale white light, shinin’ as bright as a torch. He then steps into the crypt- not sure ifn he is brave or ignerant. The tall human male (think his name is Ky, he still hasn’t said much) and the tabby cat follow the cleric into the tomb.
Me ‘n the acolyte ‘n Rachelindria decide to stay outside and guard their backs; lots of strange happenins’ goins on around here.
A few moments later we hear a few shouts, things like “AHHH, it tried to bite me” and “get the critter” and such; Rachelindria sic’ed her critter on whatever was in there. To see ifn they were okay, I sent in the acolyte. A moment later, he returned, proclaiming those inside were alright. A few minutes later, the cleric and his companions exited the crypt, arms full of things they “found” inside the crypt. Ifn I had done this, I’d be in jail fer sure. They hand Rachelindria some of the stuff and ask her ifn she can cipher what they are, as the cleric says they are magical; they had found the items the professor had to be lookin’ fer.