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Whoops, accidentally spilled this everywhere:

โ„œ๐”ž๐”ณ๐”ข๐”ซ๐”ค๐”ฏ๐”ฌ | 13๐”ฑ๐”ฅ ๐”ฌ๐”ฃ โ„œ๐”ฌ๐”ณ๐”ž, 4711 | 0800


The morning came as quickly as the night had, yet it didn't seem to alleviate the subtle darkness that was still cast across the town. Dawn had come, evidenced by the crowing of an old and sickly rooster, but the overcast weather threw a sort of gloom across the entirety of Ravengro. Truthfully, the citizens of the little village had nearly grown used to either overcast or rain, and this was one of the brighter days they'd had in the last week or so. When the sun finally did shine through the crowds, there'd probably a small festival for the occasion.

For now, however, the gloom was immovable. Inside the Lorrimor estate, it was slightly better lit; the oil lanterns upon the wall seemed to flicker comfortingly - an astute observer might deduce that the lighting itself was another one of Lorrimor's creations. The oil in the lanterns remained at the same level, and the flames seemed to cycle through a pattern that only lasted a few minutes.

Upstairs, Kendra tossed in her bed. She'd fallen asleep without realizing it, and her own body was greedily sustaining the moments of slumber it had been lacking recently.

As the morning came, Ganth left his room quietly as to not disturb the courtesan, before commencing another round of the estate. Upon completion, seeing as there was no one about, Ganth decided to take a walk into town, forgoing his armor and weapons to blend in easily with the masses.

Morning in the town square of Ravengro was usually a fairly similar experience day-to-day. It was too early for the village children to be out playing; save for Pevrin, who was busy putting the daily news up on the Posting Poles around town. Most of the people who wandered to and fro were either workers, usually getting a drink and a bite to eat at the local tavern before tending the fields or heading to the lake to fish, or people hoping to get the jump on market goods as soon as the buildings opened their doors. Today, there was a fair share of both in the center of town. As Ganth's eyes scanned the few locals who darted around, he could see no signs of trouble. All seemed to be quiet for now.

Of course, there was more than one way to find trouble for an inquisitor. While some people might take the brash route and hunt for it like prey, Ganth knew that a gentler approach was often the best. Despite him being a foreigner, there was something about his appearance that made him seem trustworthy. Perhaps it was the slightly angelic features or the small smile; whatever it was, it meant that the gossiping womenfolk that walked around felt no need to hide their words as they walked past.

Ganth stopped short when he finally caught something of interest. Unrest. Vandalism. A lead worth following, for now. He waited for few moments so that his approach would not be suspicious, before turning toward the women then, feigning ignorance.

" Greetings, ladies." -He bowed his head, letting a friendly smile grace his lips -"Would you mind giving me directions toward I have heard of such landmark here in Ravengro."

One of the women looked to Ganth, a coy smile on her face as she did so. "Memorial? We were just talking about that! You wouldn't happen to be eavesdropping, would you? That's very naughty of you."

Slightly behind her, the other woman visibly face-palmed. "It's a little southwest of the town, along the river's edge."

"You have my thanks." -Ganth merely took the teasing in strides and bowed once more before departing, heading toward his destination.

With directions given, it wasn't very difficult to find the memorial referred to. Aside from the church, the 25-foot-tall statue was probably one of Ravengro's most distinctive landmarks. Despite the moss that had begun to grown over some portions of the stonework, the image was still strikingly clear; a proud, muscular human man wielding a truncheon and dressed in leathers, guarding over the town. A few names were carved into the base of the statue, but they were slightly overshadowed by the vandalism on the memorial. A large crimson 'V' had been painted over the names, almost calligraphic. Ganth knelt down next to the memorial, running a finger over the large V, trying to determine the material of the paint.

This was no paint; this letter had been painted on with blood. A fairly decent amount of it, from the looks - not enough to kill a person, but definitely enough to do some damage.

The revelation was disturbing to say the least. Ganth brushed the last of the dried blood off his fingertips, then decided to look around the site for any evidence of violence.

Oddly enough, there was none. Aside from the slight drops that rolled down from the letter, there was no additional splatter anywhere. There were plenty of footprints, but far too many to actually track anyone down - likely gawkers having come to see the memorial's latest addition. Stumped, Ganth took one last look at the bloody 'V' before leaving. Clearly, there wasn't much left to find there. He walked by the riverbank on his way back, glancing occasionally at his surroundings.

Sorry, but the RP is currently not accepting new players, and likely will remain with the current group of players for the entirety of the campaign. The interest is appreciated though, and you're free to check back and see how the party fares over the course of the adventure!
Bad Idea

Siena | Brent | Ernie
Emma | Marcus

A Collab by @Papitan @ERode @Diggerton and @Chasers115

๐•Ž๐•–๐••: ๐•†๐•”๐•ฅ. ๐ŸŸ, ๐Ÿš๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿš๐Ÿ˜ / / ๐”น๐•’๐•๐•• โ„๐•–๐•’๐•• ๐•€๐•ค๐•๐•’๐•Ÿ๐•• / / ๏ฟฝ๏ฟฝ๐•š๐•˜๐•™๐•ฅ๐•™๐• ๐•ฆ๐•ค๐•– / / ~๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ

โ„œ๐”ž๐”ณ๐”ข๐”ซ๐”ค๐”ฏ๐”ฌ | 12๐”ฑ๐”ฅ ๐”ฌ๐”ฃ โ„œ๐”ฌ๐”ณ๐”ž, 4711 | 1900

A dark figure stood on the porch of the Lorrimor Estate. The day was relatively overcast, not that it was an uncommon occurrence for the small town; most of their days seemed to be overcast. However, the setting sun combined with the thick clouds meant that it was quickly growing darker. As the faint shadows stretched across the landscape, the figure at the entrance raised his hand again, demanding entry.

The pounding of the door rang through the common room once more, and Kendra, desperately trying to find some form of coaster to set her cup down on, finally relented by setting in on the side table, and hopping out of her seat. "Oh! That'd be the councilman now! Please, everyone have a seat, I'll bring him in right away!"

Iris took a seat beside the teapot, conveniently located at the rough corner of the sitting room where the group had converged, wondering if this was as simple a matter as a will and testament. Given what the Professor had insisted he learn prior to the unfortunate funeral, the courtesan doubted the matter was at all simple.

From the space in the common room, you can all see Kendra swing open the large oaken doors and address an unseen figure; beckoning him to come inside, judging by her hand gestures. Into the house, and after only a few loud steps into the common room, walks who you can only assume to be Councilman Hearthmount. The councilman is quite a large figure, in width more than in any sort of imposing form. His hair is slicked across his head, similar to his pencil mustache and small goatee, which are also slicked down. He does not give any introduction, his beady eyes glancing quickly over each and every one of you. It's very clear, even on the surface, that he does not approve of outsiders being involved in local matters. Or, that's what you could best attribute his apparent disdain for.

Kendra takes a seat in her armchair as the councilman produces a large scroll case, shows of the Professor's personal seal (which is unbroken), then breaks the wax and opens the case. As he does, a small iron key falls out of the scroll tube, clattering noisily against the floor. Hearthmount, undaunted by the key, unfurls the scroll contained within and begins to read aloud, clearing his throat once before he does.

โ€œI, 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 personal belongings entire to my daughter Kendra. Use them or sell them as you see fit, my child. I know you have never found peace in Ravengro, and have always longed to go back to the city, so I have arranged for an interested person to buy the estate.โ€

โ€œYet beyond the bequeathing of my personal effects, this document must serve other needs. I have arranged for the reading of this document to be delayed until all principals can be in attendance, for I have more than mere inheritance to apportion. I have two final favors to ask.โ€

โ€œTo my old friends, I hate to impose upon you all, but there are few others who are capable of appreciating the true significance of what it is I have to ask. As some of you know, I have devoted many of my studies to all manner of evil, that I might know the enemy and inform those better positioned to stand against it. For knowledge of oneโ€™s enemy is the surest path to victory over its plans.โ€

โ€œAnd so, over the course of my lifetime, I have seen fit to acquire a significant collection of valuable but dangerous tomes, any one of which in the wrong circumstances could have led to an awkward legal situation. While the majority of these tomes remain safe under lock and key at the Lepidstadt University, I fear that a few I have borrowed remain in a trunk in my Ravengro home. While invaluable for my work in life, in death, I would prefer not to burden my daughter with the darker side of my profession, or worse still, the danger of possessing these tomes herself. As such, I am entrusting my chest of tomes to you, posthumously. I ask that you please deliver the collection to my colleagues at the University of Lepidstadt, who will put them to good use for the betterment of the cause. โ€œ

โ€œYet before you leave for Lepidstadt, there is the matter of another favorโ€”please delay your journey a few weeks and spend that period of time here in Ravengro to ensure that my daughter is safe and sound. She has no one to count on now that I am gone, and if you would aid her in setting things in order before the buyer arrives, you would have my eternal gratitude. From my savings, I have also willed to each of you a sum of one hundred platinum coins. For safekeeping, I have left these funds with Embreth Daramid, one of my most trusted friends in Lepidstadtโ€”she has been instructed to issue this payment upon the safe delivery of the borrowed tomes no sooner than one fortnight after the date of the reading of this will.โ€

โ€œI, Petros Lorrimor, hereby sign this will in Ravengro on this fourth day of Calistril, in the year 4711.โ€

The councilman stops, wrapping the scroll up and placing it back into its case. His eyes dart around the room one more time, as if daring anybody to ask questions, before finally stopping rather expectantly on Kendra.

Felsi chewed on her pen as the councilmen spoke, a marked disinterest in her face until the mention of Lorrimorโ€™s tomes. Undoubtedly the professor had some truly remarkable articles knowing him, and she had every intention of reading as much as she could while they went about their assigned task- which she would also do, for she owed at the very least that much to the man.

โ€Er, excuse me, Miss Kendra, do you perchance know where this trunk is located?โ€ Felsi cut in.

Ganth rose to his feet when the councilman arrived, though he did note the man's dismissive demeanor from snippet of his conversation with Kendra. As the will was read, Ganth kept his expression somber, but he was also surprised. Why did the man choose him, of all people? Was a disciple of Pharasma suitable for such a task? Not that he scorned the task. He and his order was grateful for Lorrimor's help, and this was simply the least he could do. Yet, certainly there must be people more suited to this sort of work?

"Then I am at your service, Lady Kendra." -He kept his doubts to himself though, and simply bowed his head.

"O-one hundred..." A lot of money for such a simple job. Delivering some old books to some fop in a fortnight? Easy money, even accounting for guarding the woman in the meantime. "W-well, I guess that can't be helped. I too, shall help however I can."

"Oh! Yes! I think I know exactly which trunk he is referring to! Let me go retrieve it from the attic, I'm sure you would like to-" Kendra started, standing up from her seat.

"A-hem." Interrupted the councilman, looking once again at Kendra, still rather expectantly.

"Yes. Sorry. My apologies Mr. Hearthmount. You are dismissed; thank you very much." Kendra said, giving a slight bow.

The councilman offered no such bow in return, only giving one last glance around at the menagerie seated in front of him, before turning and leaving the room, the telltale sound of a door shutting indicating his exit.

Kendra immediately disappeared the other direction. From their places in the common room, the small group could hear her hustle up the stairs, the slight creaking and thud of what could only be a ladder descending from the ceiling, and a short silence. It was only a few moments before the creaking could be heard again, followed by the hustling down the steps, before Kendra reappeared. She was slightly dustier than before, and in her arms she carried a small chest; no bigger than a breadbox. On the front of it, a splendid silver lock clasped the top closed.

"I believe this is the trunk. I never could find the key for this thing, despite my father telling me to leave it alone." Kendra chuckled, looking it over in her hands before setting it down on the table. "I should have known he'd have some fantastic way of storing keys out of my reach."

"Would anybody care to do the honors?" she asked with a nervous grin.

โ€Yes!โ€ Felsi answered almost immediately, โ€If you, er, donโ€™t mind. I have quite an interest in these books.โ€ Felsi presented the key, having found it while Kendra retrieved the trunk from the attic. She approached the trunk with it, adding a small pause for the sake of dramatic effect before unlocking the trunk and opening it.

Throughout the proceedings, Iris had remained quiet, seated in the corner as the councilman made his speech and exit. It didn't settle well with him, why their motley group had been called together for something so simple. And certainly, a courtesan wasn't someone to be assigned on this sort of task, unless the daughter had some peculiar tastes in men, but he doubted the professor would hire anyone for that sort of "work." Quietly, he wondered if now would be the time to take his leave. The rest seemed more than capable of delivering a few books to another city's university and he, for once, felt far too out of place. But he didn't want to go--selfish as it sounded. Being entrusted with a dead man's will felt important. Far more than sleepless nights with customers. So he held his tongue, though the consternation crept onto his face in minute amounts.

As soon as the key was inserted into the lock, the top popped open quickly, swinging backwards and allowing full view of what was inside. The contents of the trunk were three small books, respectively titled On Verified Madness, Serving Your Hunger, and The Umbral Leaves. Despite their slightly sinister sounding titles, there appeared to be nothing very dangerous about these tomes. At least, not from the cover.

Identical notes stuck into the covers of all three of these books requests that they should be delivered to a Montagnie Crowl, a professor of antiquities at Lepidstadt University.

The fourth book was a larger one, its rich purple cover contained a brass scarab set with a single eye in its center. The covers were rimmed in polished steel and clasped with a small but intricate lock, the keyhole of which appeared to be for a key with a strange, triangular shaft. A small note stuck to this book indicated that it should be delivered to an Embreth Daramid, though the note asks that this be handled discreetly, and contains her home address.

Kendra, very notably having taken a step back before Felsi opened the trunk, relaxed slightly.

"Well, I apologize that you four are stuck here for a while. He really shouldn't have gone through all this trouble just to make sure that I was taken care of, though I suppose I cannot argue with his final wishes. There are plenty of guest rooms upstairs to accommodate all of you, and I do hope that you won't be too terribly bored in Ravengro."

"Ah wait, don't-" was all Tomomi could manage before Felsi just unlocked the box. She sighed. "From what I understand these are dangerous books. Best if we leave it in the box while we deliver them."

"All is fine, my lady. It is an honor that the late professor had chosen me to carry out his last will. I will give it my all." -Ganth eyed the books carefully as he spoke, raising an eyebrow when Felsi reached for the books -"Perhaps lady Tomomi is correct. Our duty was to deliver and protect these. Handling seemed...uncalled for."

Despite his curiosity about the books themselves, Iris remained at a distance, both out of practicality (for fear of the unexpected) and out of that keening sense that he was not supposed to be here.

As soon as the lock was open and her eyes scanned the trunkโ€™s contents Felsi reached an eager hand towards The Umbral Leaves, the book which she had decided sounded most interesting, but she was quickly stopped by the disapproval of the others. โ€Ohโ€ฆ wellโ€ฆ Iโ€™mโ€ฆโ€ her voice was filled with dejection, a small sigh quickly following. โ€Iโ€™m sure youโ€™re right.โ€ but still, Felsiโ€™s eyes fell on Kendra, perhaps in hope that sheโ€™d get the girlโ€™s approval.

Kendra eyed the books with the same amount of hesitation that everyone else seemed to give them, if not more. There was a slight start as her eyes met Felsi's and realized that the girl had been looking to her, before her eyes darted around to the rest of the group

"Well, I do believe that is everything taken care of. Iris, Felsi, Tomomi, Ganth..." Kendra said, looking to every one of them and giving a slight nod. "...if you need anything at all, please let me know. The estate is entirely at your disposal for the next few weeks. Myself, I believe I will be retiring for the night; it has been an exhausting day, after all." she said, slightly apologetic in her tone.

โ€œPlease enjoy your rest, lady Kendra. You certainly deserve it.โ€ -Ganth offered the mourning heiress a soft smile as he rose to his feet, his armor clanking as he readjusted the straps on his bracers โ€“โ€œMeanwhile, I shall sweep the perimeter. With your permission, of course.โ€

Nodding, Tomomi closed the box, before taking out the key and keeping it in her sleeve. "Then, I will safeguard the box on my person."

"Do what you must, Knight Ganth. I trust the safety of the estate in your capable hands." Kendra said, her slight grin making it unclear if she was actually worried about safety, or if she was just making a small little joke at the inquisitor's expense.

"I'll do my best." -Ganth simply bowed before quickly retreated from the room, weapon ready at his hip as he began to head toward the entrance, where he could properly begin his round.

The last of the sun slowly disappeared over the horizon, casting all of Ravengro into the darkness of night. As surely as the darkness settled over the town, so to did the silence. Even the bugs that usually offered some slight background noise were not present; the chill of Ustlav and the approaching winter having sent them into an early hibernation. Save for the slight tapping of Kendra's heeled boots as she walked across the upper floor, there was nothing to be heard.

I think I've got a fun idea that could work here; I'll toss in an interest point (Card? Token? However this works. Nyeeh)

Freeze in the Flood

๐•Ž๐•–๐••: ๐•†๐•”๐•ฅ. ๐ŸŸ, ๐Ÿš๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿš๐Ÿ˜ / / ๐”น๐•’๐•๐•• โ„๐•–๐•’๐•• ๐•€๐•ค๐•๐•’๐•Ÿ๐•• / / ๐•ƒ๐•š๐•˜๐•™๐•ฅ๐•™๐• ๐•ฆ๐•ค๐•– / / ~๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ

For a brief moment, the tunnels seemed like a safe place to rest; an opportunity that Marcus took advantage of for the few fleeting moments it was available. He leaned against the wall again, running his hand through his head, before slowly sliding down the wall into a sitting position. It was a pose very reminiscent of the Capture the Flags game, when he'd also found himself in a dark hole contemplating giving up. Although, back then it was just giving up on the had bigger meaning here in the middle of what could be tentatively described as 'another failed evacuation attempt'. He wanted to just give up and hide in the tunnels until an actual evacuation team came to pick them up. Surely they'd send someone to get them after their actual escape route had failed.

It was as he sat there that everything went to hell. It wasn't quickly this time, either. It seemed like whenever anything bad happened, it went by so quickly that Marcus had no time to actually figure out what had happened until afterwards. Here though, he heard it coming first. The curious sound of rushing water. The sound of a great wave. Normally he would have associated it with better times; back when he and Max would take a weekend away from home and drive down to the coast, relax in the ocean, hang out on the beach. Right now, that was not the feeling that came to mind. He looked down to his leg as the speaker crackled to life, Brent's voice echoing through both the cavern and his leg.

"Allison, what th-โ€ was all that came out before the voice stopped suddenly.

Marcus looked to the ceiling, attempting to figure out the sense of dread that his body had picked up on. He felt it rush over them, a brief shaking as if they were in an earthquake, before the trapdoor started spewing water and a frightening pace. It was like being on a sinking ship; the leak poured water into the tunnels, creating a current that washed over him before he got a chance to stand up. Everyone else in the tunnels disappeared in a wave as water crashed over his face, and he could feel himself being carried away. His lungs already burned; he hadn't taken a breath before it had crashed over him. He couldn't tell if the tunnels were full, if he'd be able to get another breath, if he was about to drown.

With so many questions, and the very real possibility of death...Marcus froze.

In the middle of the current, his body stopped suddenly, flickering slightly as the water rushed over his still body.

Two minutes passed as the water slowly drained, but to Marcus it seemed like it happened immediately.

The sound of water rushing past his ears was silent. The feeling of the freezing current was replaced by a dull thud as he fell a short drop onto the ground. Everything changed in an instant from his perspective. It was disorienting to say the least, and he shook his head once before he opened his eyes.

It was there. The eyes. Hot fear coursed through his-

Tater Tot licked his face, rubbing wet fur across his nose. Apparently he had been a suitable surface for the dog to latch onto, preventing the small creature from getting swept away into the tunnels. These were the events that had transpired, but not anything that he contemplated in a sudden burst of panic.

"AAAEHG!" Marcus shouted rather eloquently, his hands moving underneath Tater Tot and physically launching the dog through the air in one swift motion.

There was a quick moment of panic when Marcus tried to use literally all of his powers, shooting backwards far enough to nearly hit himself with the thrown dog, before scrabbling to his feet. Tater Tot hit the ground and rolled, splashing water as he did so, before also scrabbling to his feet. The two exchanged a look, before Tater Tot barked and Marcus flinched a little.

"Goddammit. It was too much to ask that you drown, huh?" Marcus said, staring past the dog at the figures ambling around the tunnels. Everyone seemed to be alright at least.

โ€œTransmit. You guys okay in there? We've got three dead-- staff members. Everybody else out here is alive, but weโ€™ve got injuries. Donโ€™t know how bad yet. End transmission.โ€

Most of them seemed to be alright at least.

โ€œRoll call. Who's still kicking? End Transmission.โ€

Marcus sighed, partly out of relief and partly out of exasperation. Callan was okay, everyone that was in the tunnels seemed to be okay. As selfish as it sounded, those were basically all the people that he cared about at this moment. He shivered slightly, the chill of wet clothing beginning to settle in now that he wasn't worried about the possibly of drowning.

"Transmit. Marcus, still here." he said, interrupted by a short bark from Tater Tot, as if the dog were exclaiming his own well-being.

"And Tater Tot. Over."

โ„œ๐”ž๐”ณ๐”ข๐”ซ๐”ค๐”ฏ๐”ฌ | 12๐”ฑ๐”ฅ ๐”ฌ๐”ฃ โ„œ๐”ฌ๐”ณ๐”ž, 4711 | 1730

It wasn't very much longer until the tolling of the bell ceased, playing one small sequence of notes before stopping altogether. Kendra shook slightly at the series of tolls, before looking to the three gathered around her. "Excuse me, my friends; I believe this is my duty."

Kendra stood sharply, standing in front of the casket. Although she was attemping to look strong and prideful, it wasn't hard to see that grief still plagued her mind, and the tears were threatening to spill over her face.

"It is time for the procession." Kendra announced, looking over the few people seated in the church. "Will anybody- she stopped for a moment, her breath catching in her throat. "...Will anybody carry my father down the Dreamwake?"

Being unfamiliar with the local customs, Tomomi simply gave her a puzzled look as she stood up as well. "The Dreamwake?"

โ€œIt is a path of The Graveyard.โ€ -Ganth supplied helpfully, seemingly broken out of his deep thoughts just then. The Inquisitor observed as the young woman rose to call for pallbearers, the customs and proceedings all too familiar to him. So with little hesitation, he stepped forward with a raise hand.

โ€œAllow me.โ€

โ€Oh yes! Allow me!โ€ Felsi raised a hand and sauntered up, her voice holding none of the solemnity that it should have. It seemed to her that sheโ€™d come out here for new experiences, and this was quite the experience. It was the chance to learn about local customs hands-on; and, also, she supposed that she owed it to the old Professor, although that was an afterthought.

"Is that so?" So a Dreamwake was simply the path going to the graveyard, and the woman was simply asking for people to help carry the coffin. Nodding solemly, Tomomi spoke up again. "I'll do it."

The young woodsman in the back stands as well, with only a gruff "Aye." as confirmation before he gently scooted past Iris, walking up towards the front. At nearly the same time, the well-kept man with the dark hair also stands, but says nothing, silently walking up towards the coffin with the rest of the group. Durisian, for his part attempts to slink down into his seat, but is shot an angry glare by the woodsman, more intimidation than coercion. The hopeful adventurer looks at him once, before slowly standing to his feet. "Yes. I- I will also help! It would be my pleasure!" he says, approaching the five other gathered people.

Kendra, as the professor's closest living relative, has the job of leading the procession through the Restlands and down the gravel pathway of the Dreamwake, which for her part she does very well. Her steps are slow but sure, and she does not turn back to the procession to make sure everything is progressing; to do so would be seen as not trusting the people who had volunteered to carry the burden of the deceased's death. Those that carried the casket would find that it was an easy job with the six of them, the slight slack from Duristian's side easily compensated for by the strength of the woodsman.

As the procession reaches the halfway point along the Dreamwake, they round a corner onto the Everpath, another trail through the Restlands. It is here that the procession seems to be blocked; a group of a dozen surly looking local people stand in the path, the tallest of the group speaking out as soon as the procession is noticed.

โ€œThatโ€™s far enough. We been talking, and we donโ€™t want Lorrimor buried in the Restlands. You can take him upriver and bury him there if you want, but he ainโ€™t goinโ€™ in the ground here!โ€

โ€œWhy is it so?โ€ -From the front, Ganth narrowed his eyes at the men. He kept his gaze level, but his tone was sharp. For the followers of Pharasma, to be denied rest in worthy grounds was the greatest of insult, and he would not let Lorrimor suffer such.

"We won't be having a necromancer buried with our kin. I suggest you move out while you still can!" came the reply.

"A necromancer?" -Ganth raised an eyebrow -"Surely you are mistaken, good men. I have known the professor ever since I first came to Ustalav. He was definitely no heretic."

The group of thugs collectively pauses, many of them exchanging looks or otherwise murmuring to themselves. After a moment in which it seems like the tension might boil over into a fight, one of the members of the mob slinks off, followed by another, and another. They all sullenly disperse, but not without a few venomous glances shot towards the rest of the procession. Nonetheless, they slink off and leave the Restlands, allowing the procession to continue.

Curious, but careful not to draw attention to himself, Iris peered at the irate citizens reluctantly walking away, the news of necromancy completely unexpected. He would not have been wholly surprised if the rumors were confirmed given the professor's wide array of knowledge, but the opposition to it seemed adamant in their cause--at least enough to try gathering and protesting before the knight in front scared them off. Deciding to hold his questions until after the burial, Iris continued along, walking closely behind the woodsman.

"Well done." Tomomi was in no mood to talk nor bargain. While she was loathe to spill blood during anyone's funeral, she would not have suffered such fools lightly, especially then they intruded so rudely upon the ceremony.

"There is just a misunderstanding, I'm certain." -Ganth said simply -"They don't know what they are accusing him of."

"No doubt." spoke Kendra, huffing once and flattening the front of her dress down nervously. "Necromancy. It's hard to believe a group of people could be so very ignorant."

Kendra nearly turns to face the procession, getting half a rotation before stopping suddenly and whirling back around to face forward. "You have my thanks, and my apologies. I didn't mean to put any of you as the target of anger, however foolishly misplaced it was."

"It's no worries, lass. Those thugs would have quickly met the business end of my knuckles if they'd tried anything. Fortunately, our silver-tongued friend here prevented that." speaks the woodsman, shifting slightly under the casket.

The assault now past, the procession continues up to the plot that has been readied for Petros. There are no further complications that prevent the lowering of his coffin into the open grave by the gravediggers. The priest, a small wrinkled old man known as Father Grimburrow gives a very short sermon, and invites Kendra to say a few words about her father.

Kendra, who has to take a moment to fight back tears, nods gratefully at the pastor, before stepping forward. "My father was a great man, as many of you know doubt know. But he was more than great, and he was more than just my father. He was a scholar of nearly everything, from ancient ruins to his middling in botany, and all of his research has gone to benefit someone else. Even if it was just one person, my father always made sure that they were taken care of. He was not just a professor, but a friend. He was as much a friend to me as he was a father...and there will be many other people apart from me who feel this loss. I thank you all for attending this; it means more to me than you could ever know, and if anybody else has something to say, please do."

Ganth kept his head low, bowing in respect of the deceased. Otherwise, he was quiet, his words choosing this moment to abandon him.

Felsi chewed on her lip, looking towards the ground when Kendra called for people to speak for her late father. She certainly had words, yes, but she never was very good at expressing them, so instead she opted to keep quiet for fear of ruining the event.

"Then, allow me." Tomomi stepped forwards. "I am Kinpachi Tomomi, one who he had hired again and again to guard him. There was once, when we stumbled upon a monster far beyond my skills, a formidable creature with skin hard as rocks. We escaped by the skin of our teeth, and by virtue of my own skills, but, I had taken grievous wounds while keeping him safe. It was truly a formidable monster, you see. But as I said, I suffered grievous wounds. Any other would have bolted, and left me for dead, or perhaps do even worse. Instead, he patched me up, and helped me get back on my feet. The monster was really strong, to leave me that wounded see, else I would have dispatched it with ease."

She frowned slightly. "Hmm, I have lost my train of thought there, but what I wanted to say was, Lorrimor may not be a perfect man, but he is certainly an honorable man in my eyes. And those who claim he is anything less would have to answer to my blade."

With that, she bowed and stepped back again.

"What if I do claim he's anything less?" Iris piped up, vaguely amused at the threat to the reputation of a dead man. He wasn't especially close to Lorrimor, nor did he have the same reverence for the scholar as the rest of the group, apparently, but he did have something to say. "There are two ways to dehumanize a person, did you know? Look down on them and look up to them." The Aasimar licked his lips slowly, the action intentionally promiscuous. "I'm a courtesan by trade," he explained in the aftermath of the gesture, laughing lightly, "so I'm quite used to being looked down upon both figuratively and literally. But the Professor never did that, despite everything he saw. So I'd like to think he wasn't some detached holy man whose sensibilities passed far above ours, but someone who could stand on equal footing with every sort of noble and miscreant this world has to offer. No 'greater' sort could look a naked courtesan splayed out on the carpet dead in the eye and hold an earnest conversation with him." At that Iris laughed again, the sound at odds with the somber event. "But less is more for that man. In a way, he stepped down to my level and I thought that made him so much more than just a wise man and a scholar. It made him a fellow human who knew flaws and vices and held them with a measure of respect--at the very least for their power over others."

A quiet sigh followed the lingering traces of laughter and speech and the rest was spoken mostly to himself.

"Whatever awaits us beyond, Professor, I'm sure you'll have it figured out or befriended by the time we get there, isn't that right?" Slipping into silence, Iris let the moment dissipate, eyes tracing the shape of the coffin.

There is a moment when nearly all the guests frown angrily at Iris as he talks, although they soften up considerably when they realize the extent of his point. The tears flow freely from Kendra's eyes again, the older gentleman at the dark haired one both close their eyes solemnly, and Duristian has to cough once to fake composure, his misty eyes giving him away. The rest of the burial goes off without a hitch, as the casket slowly disappears beneath the dirt.

Kendra takes this opportunity to personally thank everyone for attending, flitting between guests once she has regained herself. It doesn't take too long before the grave is completely filled, the Father gives Kendra a few parting words and a quick hug before he and the gravediggers pack up and head home for the evening. There, with the sun setting, the guests depart one by one, and it is just the five of you standing in the Restlands. Five living visitors in a garden of the dead.

"Well then." says Kendra, wiping her eyes and nervously flattening the front of her dress again. "I suppose we should be going then. It's starting to get awfully chilly out here, and there's still the matter of the will to attend to. Let us return to my estate." she says, pausing to remind herself.

The walk through the market district of Ravengro isn't anything very interesting. The shops are all beginning to close, save for the Tavern, whose warm light flickers invitingly. You only see two other souls on your way; a child that looks to be in her early teens running through the square, and an old farmdog curled up under the gazebo steps, who the teen pauses to pet before scurrying off towards what appears to be the residential part of town.

Just outside of the market square, there sit a small number of regular houses, and one modest estate. It is at this estate that Kendra climbs the steps and pulls out a key, unlocking the door and inviting you all in to sit in the common room. The rooms are decently furnished and there are a few paintings of far off lands hung on the walls, but most of the extra space is taken up by large bookshelves, which seemed to be crammed in every available nook and cranny that could feasibly fit one.

Kendra herself sits in one of the armchairs, looking over the rest of you. "I apologize, but the councilman isn't scheduled to arrive for another hour or so. Please, make yourselves at home." she pauses for a moment, seemingly contemplating something, before jerking up and nearly launching herself out of her chair. "Where are my manners!? Would anybody care for a drink? Some tea, perhaps?"

โ€œJust some water for me, if thatโ€™s no trouble.โ€ -Ganth accepted Kendraโ€™s hospitality, settling down on one of the nearby chairs. Arriving just in time for the ceremony, the Inquisitor had yet to change out of his travelling outfit, the many layers along with various strenuous activities earlier had begun to feel rather uncomfortable. As he sat, Ganth observed the guests as well as the interior of the room.

"You just buried your father, my lady. If you'll tell me where the refreshments are, I can manage that much, I'd think," Iris replied, setting his pack down near the door.

Felsiโ€™s eyes visibly lit up at the sight of Lorrimorโ€™s book collection- it exactly what sheโ€™d been hoping for. โ€Iโ€™m, er, quiet all right, thank you.โ€ she said, examining the contents of the nearest bookshelf before picking the first tome that caught her eyes. โ€I hope you donโ€™t mind.โ€ she muttered in Kendraโ€™s general direction, already starting to read the book.

Kendra relaxed in her seat slightly, looking at Iris. "It's in the kitchen. The tea bags are in one of the cupboards above, and the stove is right there. Be careful with it though; it's one of my father's projects. All you have to do is turn the knob and set the kettle on the fire. It should heat the water fairly quickly."

With a nod, Iris walked off towards the only hallway leading anywhere further into the mansion, finding the kitchen quickly enough by the obvious counter and stove in the room. The knight had asked for water and Iris wanted tea so while the water boiled within minutes he found a small wooden tray on which to carry the glass of water and teapot. Just in case anyone else wanted a hot drink, the courtesan placed four more cups onto the tray, arranged around the teapot. Just then, the kettle's whistled, as fast as Kendra had promised, and Iris was soon returning to the sitting room, tray in hand.

Felsi's book wasn't a super interesting one; a small encyclopedia on naval navigation, including the methods of reading stars, different types of weather patterns and how to observe them, and the basic fundamentals on how to sail a boat in inclement conditions. Everything an aspiring sailor would need, but most likely very dull to those not actively interested in the topic.

There was a moment of awkward silence before Kendra spoke up again. "So...where are all of you from?"

"Very far away, I doubt you would have heard of it." -Ganth shrugged -"But it hardly matters now."

"Water, was it?" he asked as he approached the armored knight. A smooth glide of movement took him towards Ganth's seat after placing the tray down almost soundlessly on a table nearby. The glass of water was offered with both hands, one to hold and the other for the cup to rest upon while Iris dipped his head in a slight bow.

"Thank you." -Ganth accepted the cup, noting the dancer's posture. He did mention it, didn't he? A...courtesan? -"There's no need to be so formal, my friend." -Regardless, he offered Iris a smile.

"I'm Ganth, inquisitor of the Pharasman faith."

Iris returned the smile, straightening. "Iris, the courtesan," he replied, the casual admittance of his less-than-illustrious profession the invitation to ask, if there were any questions. "A pleasure to meet you, Sir Inquisitor," though the title came out in a gently teasing tone. "Thank you for dispersing that mob from earlier, though I'd expect no less from an imposing knight like yourself."

โ€œImposing? Am I?โ€ -Ganth took a sip from his water, before letting his lips quirk up in a smile โ€“โ€œI thought I tried not to be.โ€

"Ah, I'll have tea please!" Tomomi spoke as she piled her traveling kit onto one corner. Reclining on one of the chairs, she let out a sigh, feeling happy to have some degree of comfort after long days of hard travel. "I'm from Tian Xia. Just a wandering ronin, looking to see the world as she travels."

"Of course, my lady," Iris bowed in her direction before returning to the tray, pouring some of the rose hip and jasmine tea he had found into a porcelain cup and saucer and presenting the drink to Tomomi in much the same way as he had Ganth. "Tell me about your homeland? I'm afraid I've never traveled far until now, so much of my experience comes from travelers with storied pasts."

Felsi had been mildly interested in the book, if only for the fact that it covered a topic she had little to no knowledge of, but at the mention of Tomomiโ€™s homeland she snapped the book shut, returning it to its proper spot on the bookshelf. Felsi directed her gaze towards the Aasamir, โ€Oh yes, please, do tell. Iโ€™ve read much of Tian Xia, although that doesnโ€™t quite compare to a direct account.โ€ Felsi said, already pulling out her notebook once again.

Pleased to be the center of attention, she sipped some of the tea. It tasted... different, certainly not bad, but not what she was used to. "Hmm, where do I start... Ah, I lived on Minata, though I'm actually Tian Min, my parents moved there see." Tomomi wasted no time in telling them about her home town, about that old lady that seemed to have lived there since her father was a boy, her teacher, her training, and minute details like how certain food that was common there wasn't common here. There were of course, parts she skipped over, parts she was unwilling to speak of. "Well, I didn't want to stay there my whole life, so I picked up what I can, and started to wander about."

"Oh! Minata! My father told me stories of Minata; he went there for a about a month while I was just a little girl." Kendra chuckled to herself, sipping some of the tea Iris had made. "He always used to bring me back little toys and candies and presents whenever he returned, and I remember him lamenting about the one thing it seemed like Minata didn't have: bakeries. The very first thing he did when he got back was take me out to one of the local baker's. 'I've been craving a well-done eclair for three weeks now!' he shouted as we walked in. That poor baker was so confused."

She chuckled a little harder, taking a breath before the slight wave of melancholy washed over her again, trying to hide the sudden shift by taking another sip.

Quietly, Iris placed another full cup of tea on the table closest to Kendra, returning to the teapot with a feigned interest in checking how much the leaves had steeped by then.

Up until now Felsi had been diligently taking notes on Tomomi's description, listening with a marked interest. However, once Kendra shifted gears she had a surprising moment of social awareness, softly shutting the book and stowing it once again, "He... he was a good man." Felsi said uncertainly, not quite sure how she should act in this situation.

Ganth shifted uncomfortably, suddenly found his glass of water fascinating. As much as he respected Lorrimor, they were acquaintances, nothing more. Ganth had few stories to tell of the professor.

When he could reasonably examine tea leaves no longer, Iris decided to follow up the comment, figuring awkward silence wouldn't help anyone's grief. "When I first met the Professor, I was servicing a client. The brazen sort with no respect for etiquette--so he had me in the room, sitting on the floor right between his legs, wearing nothing but jewelry. I remember preparing myself for all sorts of outrage and insults when the door opened and the Professor walked in." He brought the teacup to his lips, but didn't drink. "But he just asked me if--of all things--it was all right to move my clothes off the nearest chair so he could sit down." At the memory, Iris laughed into his tea, a soft exhale of quiet amusement, tempered with the sorrow underlying the occasion. "I don't think I'll ever meet anyone like that again."

There was a brief moment in which Kendra looked at Iris, her expression shocked. He'd dare tell a story of his sexual exploits in a time like this?

But, it soon became apparent that this wasn't her thought process at all. A small smile grew across her lips, eliciting a small chuckle, before growing wider. Finally, it was full-blown laughter, with Kendra being forced to set her teacup on the stanf beside her chair to avoid spilling anything on herself. It took a few moments for her to stifle herself enough to talk, a small laugh escaping occasionally between words.

"Of course he did. There was nothing that fazed that my father when he was conducting business. I could have lit myself on fire and he wouldn't have even blinked if he were in the middle of research. God, what a daffy man. Move the clothing off his chair...that was him alright." she said, shaking her head incredulously. She finally brought the tea back to her lips, hiding a wide grin this time instead of a sudden bout of sorrow.

Tomomi just stared quizzically at Iris, wondering what he meant, but keeping her questions to herself.

"The professor had always been...single-minded." -Ganth concurred.

The conversation from there dealt basically along the same lines; short small talk while the group awaited the arrival of the Councilman. It wouldn't take too much longer until perceptive ears heard the thumping of large feet up the stairs, or the sudden pounding at the door. Exactly an hour had passed - and there was certainly someone outside. The thick oaken wood of the doors providing the only barrier between whatever it was, and the small group huddled inside drinking tea; their own shadows, cast by the fireplace, flickering across the walls.
Alex, Korgath, Liv/itus, Ahnci

'Well...that seemed easy enough.' Vitus commented, surverying the situation as best he could from Liv's eyes. He couldn't hear anything in the cave, which either meant that there had only been six of the Sahuagin, or something else had already slaughtered the rest. Even he knew that monsters were usually not great at stealth.

However, he couldn't do much about surveying the darkness; being limited to Liv's eyes meant that he had to stare at the same things she was. In this case, the recently fallen bodies of the monsters, which she seemed to be paying more attention to than anything else.

'Talk about boring. Thought there'd be more than six.' But six was still six. Letting the previous weapon dissolve back into its incorporeal form, the scale-clad warrior took a glance around the cave, finding nothing of more importance, before giving a slight shrug of the shoulders. Dead or alive, she didn't have the best night vision. Easily solved with either torches or magic--the latter was more appealing, but even Liv's mighty arsenal didn't carry something convenient like a perpetually glowing staff. Not one that would feasibly light the path, at least.

"Well, before I get ahead 'f myself here..." Towering over the recent kills, Liv let herself delve into the sensation of death. Eerie as it sounded, it was the only way that the girl could ever describe the oddly familiar prickle of knowing that there was something ready to be taken. Two weren't worth the effort it would take to divert, another two so measly that they were immediately pressed down to the bottom of the list. A few steps, and Liv raised an arm, inky wisps of an ethereal crimson and smoky black trailing from her palm, off her fingertips, and then down to her preferred corpse, reaching and twining together into a hazy pathway.

Never waste anything, after all.

'Ah yes. Subtlety. Don't mind us gentleman; we're just over here preforming strange voodoo rituals on dead things, you folks go about your business!'

Internally, Vitus rolled his eyes; a sensation that would no doubt come across to Liv's part of the conciousness.

'Do you at least want to ask if anybody here has a torch or some magic? One of them might have a perpetually glowing staff or something. Might let you borrow it if you flutter your eyelashes and say 'pretty please'.' There was a tone of irritating smugness to his voice; if only for the reminder that there were no thoughts that Liv could hide from him any more.

'Oh boo-hoo, I'm taking the souls of some fish shit that tried to kill us. What a terrible loss,' Liv shot back without stopping her actions. If there were a way to somehow extract Vitus for long enough to punch him... Thankfully the thought was distracted by the feeling of another presence being guided to the gem in her chest, a chaotic sense of relief following directly after. The adventurer made a mental note--well, not quite. It was more like a demand from the fellow soul-fueled magician in her head--to reforge it when they returned from their little excursion.

Happily, she ignored the roll of the eyes, but countered with a sweet venom of her own.

'You think all of us need to carry torches? God forbid there's something else in here waiting to lop our heads off once they see light coming at them in this dark cave.' The girl stretched her limbs, feeling slightly refreshed by the quick bout of combat, but far from satisfied. 'Besides, I'm sure one of them has it handled. If we split up, I'll just take it then.'

Vitus also felt the distraction of a soul coursing through their shared body. The fact that the gem was implanted directly into their chest made getting new souls an interesting experience to say the least. Like the smallest hit of a backalley drug; a sudden sense of clarity and strength that lasted far too short of a time for his liking.

'You need to think ahead more, unless you want to end with thinking without a head' Vitus joked. Her impulsiveness was basically expected at this point in their mutual cooperation, but it certainly didn't stop him from nagging at her about it.

"Haha, so funny. Really. Unbelievably so.' Liv was certain that one didn't have to be Vitus to detect the sarcasm in the thought. One just had to be a noun to detect it. "'sides, I thought that was your job."
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