Saddened at receiving an invitation to the funeral of their old friend, Professor Petros Lorrimor, our heroes have travelled from distant lands to reach the mist-shrouded land of Ustulav.
Greeted by the good professor’s grieving daughter, Kendra, Tey, an inquisitor of Erastil, and Kahless, a half-orc cavalier from Lastwall, had the honour carrying the coffin to its grave site in the Restlands. The two attendant Councilmen, Vashian Hearthmount and Gharen Muricar, volunteered to share the load while Ashryn and Alvrana followed behind with Kendra and the remaining mourners; Tavernkeeper Zokar Elkarid, his 13-year-old son Pevrin, (yes, Pevrin. PEVrin) and Jominda Fallenbridge, Ravengro’s apothecary and one of the professor’s good friends.
As the sombre procession made it’s way along the Dreamwake path to the Eversleep, a mob of angered townsfolk blocked the way ahead. Their spokesman and ringleader, retired farmer and soldier Gibs Hephenus, tried to halt the funeral:
‘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!’
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. He’s waiting for us! 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 mob attacked, hoping to knock our heroes to the ground and take the coffin to be buried in an unmarked grave downstream. Ashryn was quickest of wit, leaping before the mob of angry men, pleading that they be allowed to pass in peace. The sudden appearance of this lightly-clad, young female bouncing before them seemed to fascinate some of the lonely farmhands who dropped their weapons as if under some sort of spell, but the others still approached, intent on knocking out the pallbearers.
The mighty swing of the half-orcs sword literally brushed opponents aside, had it not been sheathed they have surely been split in two. With the inquisitors help, the mob would have been easily been subjugated were it not for one man: Old Man Grimes.
Grimes, the toothless, long-retired, octogenarian farmer, effortlessly held our heroes in abeyance. Summoning the primal power of her patron, Ashryn struck him with a wicked curse, but the dark energies simply slipped off him. Tey swung a blow of his morning star that would knock-out any man alive only to have Grimes deftly knock it aside with his rusty old rake. Seeking to end this folly, Kahless gathered all of his might and struck Grimes with a mighty blow, but Grimes man simply stood there unperturbed, insisting that the half-orc ‘Gert orf my laaand’. Thankfully, for our heroes, the appearance of the towns holy man, Father Grimburrow, was enough to scare off Grimes, who gave one last defiant shake of his blunt rake before scampering back home.
The rest of the ceremony passed without incident. Grimburrow gave a heartfelt sermon to pass the professor to Pharasma’s care and Tey impressed the local attendees with some warm gratitude for all the professors great past deeds. As everyone made their way home, our heroes retired to the Lorrimor place with Kendra to await the reading of the will.
Vashian Hearthmount, head of the Council and the town’s acting solicitor, arrived an hour later to read the will. The late professor asked that our heroes spend a month in the town to aid her finding her feet. He also tasked them with returning some particularly dark and dangerous tomes to his colleagues at the University of Lepidstadt. In return, he would pay each 100 platinum coins on completion of the task.
Vashian, disturbed at the mention of such dangerous and dark books, insisted that they remain in the Lorrimor place until our heroes departure to Lepidstadt. There were already obvious tensions in the town over Professor Lorrimor’s research and given the implied danger of these books, perhaps there was some validity to their concerns. He left giving an ominous warning to take care on the journey to Lepidstadt as there seems to be news that The Beast is on the prowl again.
Kendra brings the locked chest of tomes from the study, but when opened, a relatively new book lies unexpectedly on top of the others, the words ‘Read me now!’ scratched in to the cover. It’s the professors journal and several of the entries are circled in red, the most recent of being the very day he died.
The entries circled all concern a group he calls ‘the Whispering Way’. He speaks of them as far back as ten years ago but more recently mentions of the Way having an interest in Ravengro, starting from two months ago. The Whispering Way seemed to be interested in Harrowstone prison and the professor, suspecting they were looking for someone who died there on the night of the fire, tried to make his own investigations.
His efforts were hampered by some sort of spectral force, mentioning odd symbols etched along the foundations that he was unable to transcribe due to the interference of ‘ghosts’. He was going to seek assistance in a false crypt in the Restlands, knowing that the church of Pharasma stowed the tools to defend against spirits there long ago.
The final entry seems hastily written, mentioning the urgent need to return to Harrowstone/ ‘It is imperative the Way does not finish’, he writes along with it being too late to update his will should the worse happen. It was written the day he died.
Using the professors personal library for research, our heroes discover a disturbing connection. If someone discovers too much about the Whispering Way, they’ll be murdered. In particular, their mouths mutilated to prevent their bodies from divulging secrets via speak with dead. The professor was found near an outer wall of Harrowstone, his face and neck crushed by a fragment of a gargoyle that had fallen on him in a ‘tragic accident’.
Returning to the graveyard in the dead of night, the false crypt is found exactly as Professor Lorrimor described. Alvrana effortlessly despatches it’s only inhabitants, two giant centipedes, one of which seemed particularly fond of Kahless’s face, to find an array of ghost hunting equipment.
It’s been a long emotional day for all concerned, what with the funeral, the fight simply to have a good man buried, the awful revelation that he may have been murdered then, finally, the excursion to the crypt, so everyone prepares to turn in for the night. Everyone, that is, except Kahless, who heads out to sleep in the garden with his horse, not wanting to befoul the ladies of the house with foul visage, as he howls a curse at the orc who defiled his poor mother with his dark seed into the night air… The ladies of the house are largely indifferent to this and head straight to bed.
Ashryn’s sleep is disturbed by violent dreams of dismembered bodies and rivers of blood, waking with a start at the horror of the scene. As the dream starts to slip away she wonders, ‘was that a voice calling me deeper in to the woods…’ but before she can dwell on this further, there’s sounds of a commotion outside.
There’s a crowd gathering at the monument of Lyvar Hawkran, the brave warden of Harrowstone prison who died in the fire. The statue has be vandalised! A large ‘V’ has been drawn in blood at the statues base, with more blood splattered on and about the statue. Was Ashryn’s dream a portent of what was going to happen? What does the ‘V’ mean? Who is responsible? More importantly, how much XP was earned up to this point?
700 XP each.