Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes.   Posted by GM.Group: 0
GM
 GM, 103 posts
Tue 8 Jan 2019
at 03:11
Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
It was a gloomy and somber day in the small, wayward town of Ravengro, a dour little hamlet already predisposed to gloom and sobriety. The climate was typical for Ustalav's southern provinces. Grey and drawn, with wan, insipid sunshine often marred by lurking cloud cover that at the slightest provocation tended to drizzle a depressing and chilling rain. Once a boom town, Ravengro was now a tiny agricultural backwater. What in any other land may have been a sleepy farmer's town instead seemed suspicious, insular, and contracted.

The town had originally sprung up around a massive prison, now burnt out and decaying, that squatted on a hill overlooking the town like a great corpse. Many years ago a fire had destroyed the prison, and with it the town's main economic base, but the stubborn townsfolk hung on as only Ustalavians could, eking out a living from the rough soil.

The general air was only made more tragic by a sad procession that gathered at the entrance to the Restlands, Ravengro's large and inordinately well tended cemetery. If there is one thing that Ustalavians observed above all else it was the due to the dead. That it was a funeral procession was made clear by the large and lavishly carved casket resting on runners before the gate. Inside lay a teacher, a scholar, an adventurer at heart, a man who had traveled widely the lands of Golarion ever in search of knowledge. The dearly departed Professor Petros Lorrimor.

It was an odd funeral procession. Virtually none of Ravengro's native towns people made up its number. The group was an eclectic bunch. A pair of solemn faced nobles and a scholar in a creased cap, a trio of dwarves in boiled leather jerkins, an aging priest, a grief stricken young woman weeping into a black lace kerchief, and six adventurers newly arrived to mourn the passing of a dear friend.
Shara
 player, 5 posts
Tue 8 Jan 2019
at 04:37
Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Clad in a heavy, dark overcoat, under which she wore a simple tunic in the favored blue and white colors of Pharasma, Shara seemed unbothered by the weather. The moisture in the air made her raven curls stick to ashen skin as gray as the skies, but the young woman barely seemed to even notice. While some of the others in the procession wore looks of sadness and mourning, with the occasional sniffle or eyes red with crying, her expression was one of a comfortable placidity, as if death and all its trappings were a simple, familiar walk in a park far nicer than the dreary Ustalav landscape. Perched on her shoulder was a small bird with mottled feathers, one most people would recognize as a whippoorwill. It seemed unusually focused, watching the members of the procession with interest and remaining silent instead of crooning its distinctive call.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 8 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Tue 8 Jan 2019
at 13:01
Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Sir Constantine wearing his grey green cloak was in attendance as well the passing of a scholar and friend was indeed a hardship; try as he might he could remember the gist of the lectures he could not recall the vivid details of his lectures.  Though as interesting as they were the scholars path was not his own.

He had his shield freshly polished in a deep brown bringing out the grain of the wood; he saluted the man with his Morningstar a jest they had shared, nothing more than a pun, though personal and appropriate.  He thought briefly about sharing his memories but did not find a way to say so eloquently.

Uncounciously he found himself edging in to the space of the collection of three dwarves and settling in and becoming comfortable. Comfort is what he needed right now and no one could possibly know he had been raised by Dwarves.

He took in the other guests and remained in silence.
Garland Van Burke
 player, 4 posts
Tue 8 Jan 2019
at 13:37
Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland was a mountain of a man, standing six foot three inches with a muscular build his dark brown eyes wandered around the setting. He reached up brushing back a few errant long black hairs  over his face as he approached the coffin, letting out a barely audible sigh. He was dressed in a full suit of scale mail adorned with symbols of Pharasma along its pauldrons and painted black and he wore a long black and purple hooded cloak with Pharasma's symbol on his back.

Garland felt an overwhelming sense of sadness overtake him as he saw his old friends coffin and he had to stop himself from breaking down though anyone probably would have noticed a single tear running down his cheek. "I will miss you Petros." he thought before approaching the weeping woman and stood tall despite feeling like he had just been kicked in the gut. He spoke calmly and clearly offering his hand in meeting, friendship, and consalance "My lady, I am Garland Van Burke, Petros was my best friend. I am so sorry for your...for all of our loss. Should there be anything I can do to help please let me know."

This message was lightly edited by the player at 00:41, Wed 09 Jan.

Murkau Holdheart
 player, 58 posts
 Dwarf | HP 24/25 | AC 16
 CMD 15| F +5 | R +4 | W+2
Tue 8 Jan 2019
at 22:29
Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Murkau stood apart from all others, even his own kind. He had known Petros for decades, watched the Professor age and his daughter grow to be a fine lass in her own right. He hurt, for he had lost a good friend, and that made some of the stoic dwarf's old habits resurface. He glared, hard-eyed and furious, as each newcomer joined the small crowd, daring a single person to let slip even a smirk. Despite his plainly obvious hostility, Murkau kept himself in a neutral stance having had dressed in his best clothes. A silk shirt brocade in black with muted silver threaded into the pattern of swirls, dark grey cotton trousers that ended in cuffs over top the wide soft leather boots. His belt had only a simple sturdy buckle, but held more than just his pants. A finely crafted waraxe, holstered into a simple steel ring, sat just behind the dwarf's right hip, easily within reach. His beard, streaked through with grey amidst the course black hairs, was styled into short mutton chops and oiled to keep it contained. Although the weather matched the atmosphere and general sentiment of those within the procession, Murkau had refused to change or to even wear a cloak. In the back of his head he realized that he needed to cool down, and let the misty rain fall upon his brow and beard, slowly wearing down the fury that had built within his short frame. In his left hand, Murkau carefully held an umbrella for Petros' daughter, keeping her as dry as the wind would allow.
GM
 GM, 105 posts
Wed 9 Jan 2019
at 15:18
Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
There was a brief round of introductions. The nobles, Lords Galdana and Maran, were patrons of the professor's research. Abraun the scholar, a colleague. The dwarves, Flian, Murdstone, and Boyle, were excavators that had run many of the professor's digs in the past. They made friendly overtures towards Murkau but, rebuffed, contented themselves in quiet conversation with Sir Godalming, reminiscing about the professor. The elderly priest was Father Grimburrow, Garland's brother in the church of Pharasma, if considerably his senior.

The pretty young woman with eyes red rimmed with crying would be known to any friend of the professor, by reputation if not by personal acquaintance. Indeed, he doted on and adored her so that any stranger who held ten minutes conference with the professor would often be regaled with tales of Kendra Lorrimor, the professor's daughter.

Kendra was a tall and austere young woman, although her austerity was marred somewhat by the mask of recent crying. There was sadness and intelligence in her features, slender and clever and well formed. She was younger than one would expect for the child of a man the professor's age, she was of an age with Shara, perhaps a year or two younger.

She placed a grateful hand on Garland's shoulder for his kind words as she moved to the head of the funeral procession. She presented a deep bow to the assembled mourners.

"Thank you all for coming." She said, the hitch of emotion audible in her voice.

"I know that the journey has been long for many of you. My father was a man with an eye for talent and a firm belief in the best in people. He brought out the best in many, and filled the lives of everyone who knew him with knowledge and wisdom. He saw knowledge as a transformative force, and he was always willing to teach and help people better themselves.

Are there any here, friends of my father in life, willing to carry him on one final journey?"
She asked, calling for any who would be willing to act as pallbearers in the procession.
Keldros Halfmoon
 player, 64 posts
 Half-Elf. HP 13/15. AC 16
 CMD 14. F +0. R +6. W +3.
Wed 9 Jan 2019
at 17:04
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Keldros was very sad inside but trying hard to keep his face a mask of stoic calm. He wasn't a huge fan of Ustalav for the most part, and one of the few bright spots and reasons to visit the country was gone now. He was here for only reasons. One, to support Kendra, the professor's daughter. Two, because he had been specifically asked to be. Well, and thirdly, because he wanted to pay his respects.

He didn't really introduce himself unless spoken to directly and only then to say, "Keldros Halfmoon." He stood near to Kendra, not so close as to invade her personal space or grieving, but close enough should she want or need support.

He stepped forward without hesitation but also without eagerness when the question was asked. "I would be honored to carry my friend one more time."
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 10 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 9 Jan 2019
at 17:45
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“I would gladly fulfill this honor; There are many to accept such an honor, perhaps those who worked with him day to day?”
SCG nods to the elder dwarves to see if they desire to accept the honor as a group or if one of them will be elected to the honor.

He rubs the smooth golden wood of the holy symbol around his neck
Murkau Holdheart
 player, 59 posts
 Dwarf | HP 24/25 | AC 16
 CMD 15| F +5 | R +4 | W+2
Wed 9 Jan 2019
at 23:38
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
The stoic dwarf listens to Kendra's words, slowly losing the hard-edge to his face until she finishes whereby it vanishes altogether. "Such a fool am I, to so easily forget what ye taught Petros." When she asks if any would bear her father to his grave, Murkau quietly steps to the side of the coffin, murmuring to Kendra as he hands over the umbrella, "I will carry yer father one las' time."
Garland Van Burke
 player, 5 posts
Thu 10 Jan 2019
at 02:33
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Garland stood next to Kendra the whole time in quiet comtemplation with his hands behind her back, standing at ease while they began the procession. He stepped forward setting his right hand on the wooden coffin and spoke softly "I will carry him to his final rest." was all he said before looking over the others. Petros had inspired all of them in some way and he was pleased to see that even with his best friends death his legacy was living on in others.
GM
 GM, 108 posts
Thu 10 Jan 2019
at 18:43
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
One of the dwarven excavators respectfully doffed his cap and handed it to one of his compatriots as he moved opposite Garland, and Count Galdana took up the last spot in the rear of the procession.

With six pallbearers a perfect, macabre symmetry formed around the casket. The weight of a pine box and an old man was compounded with the weight of history, camaraderie, and memory so as to be nearly infinite. But with the strength of six like minded backs sharing the sorrowful load such an infinite weight seemed nothing at all.

Kendra thanked each of the mourners for their kind words and lead the procession, Father Grimburrow at her elbow. The small funeral party wound their way through the Restlands, past rows of neat stone markers cataloging lost lives, up towards the small but well tended Lorrimor family plot.

Some distance into the Restlands our heroes became vaguely aware of motion along the rows of graves moving alongside the funeral. Someone, in fact a great many someones, appeared to be shadowing the funeral party alongside parallel pathways. Could they be latecomers seeking to join the funeral?

No.

As Kendra rounded the bend she stopped up short, motioning for the pallbearers and other mourners to halt. Stretched across the pathway ahead was a small mob of dark eyed villagers, clad in working garb and glowering malevolently at the funeral party. There were a dozen or more, and some were even armed with farm implements or clubs. Guttering torches spat and wavered in the drizzling rain.

Their leader, an unshaven old man with craggy features and a stained, threadbare tunic, stepped forward and brandished a torch towards the funeral.

"That's far enough!" He boomed, his voice surprisingly strong for his frail form.

"Yer not burying old Lorrimor 'ere in the Restlands."

Kendra's features shifted from disbelief to anger, pain and sorrow only adding to her distress.

"What are you talking about?! I've arranged everything with Father Grimburrow. The grave's already been..."

"Your don't unnerstand. We don't want that necromancer buried amongst our kin. You can take him out an bury him by the river, ifn you want, but he ain't going into the ground here."

Several of the club wielding toughs brandished their makeshift weapons and hot tears of frustration began to leak from Kendra's eyes. The situation was fast getting out of control.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 11 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Thu 10 Jan 2019
at 19:00
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
“Tis dark days indeed when in fear of heart and doubt of mind that men do think of all wizards both goodly and kind as foul necromongers.  No dark wizard came to speak at the temple of Abadar.”

“Hear my plea to not add to our burden of grief.”

Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 18 using 1d20+9.  Diplomacy

This message was last edited by the player at 19:02, Thu 10 Jan.

Garland Van Burke
 player, 6 posts
Fri 11 Jan 2019
at 02:04
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
A hint of anger shot through Garland like lightning through water to hear his old friend's name tarnished with accusations of necromancy. His eyes narrowed as he looked past his other pallbearers his voice carrying truth on the wind. "I am a cleric of Pharasma and even I carry Petros Lorrimor to his final rest. My senoir Father Grmiburrow and I would never consort with a person that distorts the natural order or life and death. Who are you to make such claims when we knew the man as a shining beacon against the night and the mists that haunt Ustalav!?"
Shara
 player, 7 posts
Fri 11 Jan 2019
at 02:07
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Shara, who'd been appreciating the ritual and pageantry of the funereal services up until that point, steps forward to face the crowd.

"Necromancy? What are you talking about? If there's clear evidence of such foulness committed by the dear professor, by all means produce it. But if it's just wild speculation, crazy rumors, or whispers of conspiracy, then it is you who are offending the gods with your disrespect of this solemn ceremony." she states clearly, strange eyes scanning the crowd for a clear ringleader or signs of falsehood.



18:07, Today: Shara rolled 24 using 1d20+10.  Perception.
18:07, Today: Shara rolled 16 using 1d20+9.  Sense Motive.

GM
 GM, 109 posts
Fri 11 Jan 2019
at 18:38
Re: Chapter 1 - Ashes to Ashes
Before the situation could get truly out of hand Constantine's words of reason, backed by Garland's support, quickly defused the tension. The ringleader still seemed bent on stopping the procession but murmurs of discontent began to sound behind him. It would appear that most of his small mob followed more out of deep seated superstition than an active fear of the professor. With no desire to behave uncivilized, and even less to tangle with a party of highly competent looking mourners, they begrudgingly began to disperse.

And yet the perceptive Shara could sense some deeper fear driving these men than simple superstition. Even the insular Ustalavian natives would hardly waylay the funeral party of a member of the community at the urging of just one voice.

"Ya cowards. Cowards!" The ringleader began shouting and gesticulating wildly. But his sway was already broken. Without realizing what he had done he had begun ranting at his dubious followers, not at the funeral procession.

He whirled on the procession and stalked forwards, index finger pointed like a dagger.

"Look you here, ye little whelp. That misbegotten old..." His rant was cut short with a sharp crack as Kendra smacked him full across the face, trembling with petite fury.

"Gibs Hephenus! You ought to be ashamed of yourself! Raising a scene, spreading lies, stopping my father's... Your wife would be ashamed of you. Go home." She said coldly, regaining some measure of self control as she brushed past him.

Gibs stumbled back in shock. He looked for a moment like he was about to surge forwards but Count Galdana gave him a dark look and a rash of chuckles from the dispersing crowd sent a flush of ashamed anger through his features. He whirled on his heel and stalked off.

Father Grimburrow, wringing his hands in panic as the situation developed, finally regained his composure and cleared his throat loudly, motioning for the group to follow Kendra's stormy wake. The procession to the professor's grave was short and uneventful after the ruckus on the path.

Father Grimburrow gave a short, poignant service and then all the able bodied members of the group helped to lower the coffin. Last words were said over the grave, small tokens were laid atop the casket, and then the funeral party retired a short distance to let the grave diggers begin their work interring the body.

Father Grimburrow laid a consoling hand on Kendra's shoulder and then made his way towards the church on the edge of the Restlands. The dwarves paid their condolences and then made ready to journey on, as did most of the remaining guests. As the funeral came to a close Kendra stepped up to thank the assembled guests and to invite them all to her home for supper and the reading of the will.

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:39, Fri 11 Jan.