Cooper Carrion Crown

The Death of a Friend
A most unsettling summons

Dear friend:

It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you of the death of my father, Petros Lorrimor, due to a sudden and misfortunate accident. While I do not know you personally, my father spoke of you in high regard, and I am sure that it would be his wish that you attend his burial. You are mentioned in his will, which is to be unsealed and read after the funeral is complete.

If you can find the time out of your no doubt busy life to visit my father one last time, it would mean a lot to me and to his memory. Please come to the town of Ravengro in Ustalov on Oathday, the third of Gozran, when the funeral will take place.

~Kendra Lorrimor

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The Funeral of Petros Lorrimor

4 Gozran, 4711

The Professorwas buried yesterday; it is a surreal observation despite its simplicity. To think that he had survived, and unharmed it seems, fills me with a strange sense of uncertainty that I cannot quite place. The strange events of the past day, and stranger details of the Professor’s will seems a grim portent that his death will cause great ripples spreading wide and far to a fate none but the Lady of Graves could foretell.

The caravan I traveled with arrived in Ravengro just after midday. I proceeded straight to the Lorrimor Estate after receiving directions from an approaching merchant come to claim his wares. The prevalence of Pharasma’s worship I had heard so much of must have counteracted (for the moment) the equally numerous tales of Ustalavic suspicion towards outsiders. The estate was easy to identify, its size and ornamentation expensive but sensible though far less extravagant than I expected for a man so widely known and traveled.

Entering into the familiar atmosphere of a a home in mourning, my suspicions were laid to rest for in the coffin was indeed that of the Professorthough my confusion increased just as much because of it. There were signs of work done to the face to a presentable form after the accident I learned later of, which caused the Professor’s death-the priests did well on him. Conversing with his daughter Kendraon the specifics of the coming funeral I took account of those who arrived to pay their respects before seeking Father Grimburrow, a young woman clad in fine ceremonial armor doing her best to provide aid to the clearly affected Kendra, a Garundi man with his hair in braided cords, a powerfully built man whose bored attitude seemed out of place, and a tawny stranger caked in dirt and mud who carried a strange contraption, which i have learned to hate, on his back.

These individuals, along with myself and the Professor’s daughter were to be the pallbearers. Councilman Vashayn, as well as the owner of the local tavern the Laughing Demon and his son, and the woman who ran the nearby Apothecary shop were the witnesses to our procession to the Restlands.

Despite the sanctity of our course and of the cemetery grounds, we were made to remember the suspicion and paranoia of Ustalav’s people. A man named Gibbs leading a mob of peasants did their best to prevent the Professor’s burial on the grounds of many doubtful claims. Despite attempts for diplomacy and reason, the locals, as well as the accented rogue Mellic, were determined to disrupt the solemnity of the occasion with violence. Fortunately, the band was dispersed with little difficulty and none were seriously hurt though I am certain whatever volatile weapon Mellic carries, as well as his eager willingness to use it will cause problems in the future.

In spite of Gibbs’ foolishness, the Professor’s burial was duly relevant and respectful. I gave my farewell I believed he deserved a decade ago; despite the circumstances I was pleased to be able to deliver it at the appropriate time. Mr. Desericus also spoke in turn; I tried to listen though I found myself too irritated at the lack of respect given to the dead as Mellic walked coarsely away from the burial. Mr. Whitman’s history was, as was to be discovered, complicated and less than pleasant and did not speak though I believe Kendra was satisfied with her farewell to her father.

The burial being concluded, the will was unsealed and read; those present at the cemetery were each as well named principles in the Professor’s will. Kendra was bequeathed the Professor’s home and belonging’s as would be expected. However what was left to myself and the others was far stranger; a request by the Professor to deliver four dangerous tomes he researched as part of his lifelong quest to understand the methods of evil individuals in order to combat them, to a Professor Montagnie Crewl at Lepidstadt University after one month, during which we were additionally asked to look after Kendra and ensure her affairs and well being were in order. We each were additionally to be gifted one hundred platinum pieces to be distributed by an Embreth Daramind. I confess in my wildest imaginings I never anticipated myself in such a situation…

Among the books left by the Professor in a locked chest, I was shocked to find, was the hateful religious texts of foul Urgathoa and Zon-Kuthon, whose titles I will not transcribe here, as well as a strange volume entitled “On Verified Madness” containing information on the Dark Tapestry and a locked tome without a key. Despite my warnings, everyone was eager to grab the books and read their contents. Mr. Desericus reached for The Midnight Lord’s tome and was painfully drained in some way (I hope that is all) though I could find no wound on him. We each agreed not to take or read any of the volumes without the others present’ if the Professor was wary of them we should be as well.

Also included was one of the Professor’s diaries which contained information on each of the five inheritors of the Professor’s final request. I am shocked and amazed that the Professor suspected my origins! I thought myself responsible for his “death” by not telling him and now under the pressure of the past day’s revelations I am unsure what to conclude. More unnerving than this however is the discovery of the Professor’s efforts against a group of undead-seeking necromancers known as the Whispering Way who seem to be involved in a dark plot within the nearby Harrowstone ruins that may threaten the safety of Ravengro and moreover, possibly the death of the Professor!

I do not enjoy the circumstances I find myself in although if I am to honor the Professor’s wishes by keeping his daughter safe, these ruins must be investigated to ensure whatever evil is being worked there does not threaten Ravengro. I find myself experiencing a nervousness I have not felt for nearly ten years, though the significance of these uncanny events force my hand. Those who study the wisdom of Pharasma know the difference between coincidence and fate…

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The First Letter

To my loving Arden,

The road was too short to the Professor’s home. I felt if I had never arrived, perhaps he would still be alive somewhere. Though he visited my home many times, I never had chance to visit his. It is sad that it had to be on this occasion. I had heard much about Kendra over the years and though we never met it is as if we shared the same sorrow.

I know you and the Professor were close, and if you could have attended the funeral I know that he would have been greatly honored. In truth, the gathering could have used the light of Sarenrae to fill the rooms, there were scant few of us there. It seemed those that did come were his true friends, one even traveled from the Mana-Wastes to be there. Truely there was great love for the man who was taken from the world far too soon. It seems as though there was an accident involving a gargoyle falling from an old rooftop. It is a queer thought to wonder, but I am forced to muse whether he thought that particular statue was of high enough quality, of the right era, and if the sculptor’s fame matched his own. Surely he knew and thought these things as it came barreling down on his head.

Dark thoughts, I know. I have more dark news to report though, my love. It seems the locals thought our beloved Professor Lorrimar was a necromancer or witch, and sought to interrupt the burial. They gave no proof to their accusations, and myself along with the other funeral-goers were able to convince them to leave without further death.

It is not customary to read the will so soon, before the dirt is settled on the grave, but Kendra seemed most anxious to get it done. More dark news, I must report. We all knew that the Professor was a collector of all sorts of information, but it seems that there are several tomes of great evil that he had in his possession. I have looked them over and there seem to be no useful bits to us, but I will continue to delve. I did not think the Professor would leave this world without filling his promise to help my family, and perhaps this will lead to an answer. It seems also, that I must stay with Kendra along with the others for a month. It was the Professor’s final wish, and I would be honored to fill the duty.

I am eager to hear news of you, so please, as your duty allows, write me at the Lorrimar Manor. It has been almost a year since last we saw each other, and I would count down the days until our next meeting if I knew when it would be.

May the Light of Sarenrae fill your days and the glory of Iomedae fill your heart.

Evelyn

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What we Take with Us
~MvM

Arrived in the distant land. You are here.
I saw you follow me to the West.
The strange faces collected by the professor were grieving in their own ways, if at all.
The ceremony to this is always the same.
I know you followed me here, promise to remain close.
I could smell you as we carried the remains, when wide eyed peasants hurled words, then blades.
One tried to describe you, with limited vocabulary.
I told him your true name with my long arm, so he would not soon forget you.
The others…
The professor’s collection of faces are capable, if shy to your brand of affection.
There is a necromancer who says he is not, a priest who fears for his enemies, a woman in false armor who shares in my loathing of undeath, a large man whom the professor tricked, as well as his daughter in grief.
You saw them all there in the rain. They were burying rehearsed words in the dirt when I saw you.
I seek to bury words in the living, the words they need to live. That’s what we talked about.
I thought the Wastes were special to you, but you followed me.

He was crushed by a gargoyle, which hand did you push with?
Amongst the professor’s valuables we received worrying books.
Keys and locks, one lock with a key, and one without.
The living to watch.
Your voice leads us to the whispering way, are you telling me they are loathsome?
An old prison…

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Origins: Ad Perpetuam Memoriam

A message comes in the descending night.
The story begins as another ends.
Sir, friend, and father you were all to me.
A passing to more calm and peaceful days.

You’ll find no religious zealot in me.
But these are the origins of the tale.
I invoke Aroden, The Last Azlant.
Or whomever rests in the fabric of
the voids, attentive to these great events.

I must travel north, to my old homeland.
It is the will of his will that draws me;
That consumes my thoughts and engenders fear.
Why? What cause? And to whom do we give blame?

It is a long and lonely journey there.
The night is deep and the wind howls with pain.
More death now permeates Ustalav’s flesh.
I have returned because I must, Lastwall.
I am the guard, the barrier, their wall.

Unscathed, I reach the town where ravens grow.
It is dark, damp, heavy with the weight of fear.
Why be a citizen, a denizen
In such a cold, grim, and scarred village?

Alone, I ride to a familiar site.
The former home of Petros Lorrimor.
A knock, rap, and a thump on the portal.
A woman in decorative armor -
pledged to Iomedae – answers the door.

Kendra Lorrimor floats from room to room.
Inside, in the study, the coffin resides.
Amongst books, notes, and treasures, Petros lays.
His face broken, a simulacrum – pray.

I sit to prepare my words of comfort.
I sit alone, waiting for the others.
An unfit Andoran man soon arrives
And goes about talking to the women.
I ignore them but I don’t hide my ears.

A rude man with a firearm enters,
leaving dirt, mud, and debris on the floors.
A solemn priest of Pharasma appears,
speaks few words but makes a strong impression.

Lorrimor always kept strange company,
but this coterie still surprises me.
Few more strangers arrive to pay respects;
there are less than there should be for Petros.
Respect and praise followed this man’s vitae.

Pallbearers, the five of us are to be.
The individuals mentioned above,
and me, to carry the dead to his stone.
The coffin is heavy; heavy on me.

The procession of the dispossessed comes.
Through the Restlands we walked; a death parade.
We march in silence, the Pharasmite leads.
Others walk alongside us, their heads bowed
as my tears quietly fall on the path.

We are halted by a mob of dim fools
Shouting false words about Petros’s life.
Necromancer and demonologist;
Why fear these titles if the man is dead?

Silence them hastily, no death this day.
My intentions are not to kill these men;
I do not, ensuring spells and attacks
Are rebuffed with assaults on their simple minds.
The fight ends soon; no more death on this day.

The burial continues with respects.
Most speak with praise, though disrespect remains.
The eulogy from the priest strikes true
to the hearts and minds of those listening.

Concluding ceremonies involve the
unfurling of the will of Lorrimor.
The five pallbearers, bound by this paper
Are given five books which must be taken
To Lepidstadt thirty moons from today.

Umbral Leaves – a treatise of pain when touched.
I am drained and overcome by my blood.
Faint, I read what remains of Lorrimor.
A diary details why we are here.

We are inheritors to his many tales.
Whispers trying to raise their voices to
a roar – one which must be subdued, silenced.
But nay, time must pass for revelations
to emerge and we must protect Kendra.

This is only the beginning for us.
Choices will be made and who shall we trust?

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Operation Vigilant Shadow - Report I

Field Operative XVII
Vigilant Shadow
Report I

Subject entered Ravengro. Procures room at The Outward Inn. Room 3; second floor, first door on the right. Places items and locks room. Travels to Lorrimor home to attend funeral. Greeted by female in armor, not battle ready. (Name is Evelyn Tousand) Enters home introduces self to members there. (Lorrimor, Kendra/ Hallows, first name not determined/ Desericus, Isaac) Later joined by stranger with Alkenstarian weapon, speaks with Varisian accent, unknown if it is a ploy. (Vas Mana, Mellic; ID’ed by personal affections upon inspection)

Subject declined to speak for Lorrimor. Distaste was palpable. Subject still unsure about reasons for attending. Attempted to stop potential harm by words. Did not work. Subject attempted to land a blow on assailant (Hephenus, Gibbs); missed. Was incapacitated by magic by member of the funeral party. Came away unharmed.

Subject attended Lorrimor’s will reading. Recieved task to deliver book assortment to Lepidstadt after thirty (30) days of staying in Ravengro. Books have to be inspected at next convenient notice. Unable to at this time.

Interrogative:
Peculiar features around Ravengro proper. Feeling. Will determine nature with evidence at further date. Unnatural in essence, unable to document further.

Subject appears intent to follow lead on a “haunted” homestead and inspect Harrowstone prison.

Surveillance ongoing.

-A
“In the twilight, at the ready.”

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Operation Vigilant Shadow - Report II

Field Operative XVII
Vigilant Shadow
Report II

Subject has been busy since last report. Often seen with companions wandering Ravengro proper. Appears to be attempting acclimation into Ravengro social circles. Inhabitants seem weary but are warming up to subject’s and certain companions.

Subject’s companions have been busy as well:
Hallows, (first name determined) Matthias attempted integration with local church, rebuked. Busy researching at Lorrimor estate.
VasMana, Mellic was forbidden to use his firearm within city boundaries, later ignored.
Desericus, Isaac gained short access to the Unfurling Scroll. Entered for short while but left.
Tousand, Evelyn accompanied VasMana to Hephenus, Gibbs home but was turned away.

Entire party entered a crypt. Went unseen for some time. Emerged later on with changed appearance. Dust, scratches, small fatigue. Bags and pouches heavier. Upon inspection crypt was false. Padlock on front was for appearance, false in nature.

Interrogative:
Strange occurance witnesses. Bell’s sounds are not immediately heard. Lag time between ring and sound.
Pair of children seen singing a song in the mornings in front of Lorrimor estate. Lyrics attached, may be off. Uncovered that song is sung by most children before teenage years. Child becomes teen, forgets part of song. When child becomes adult, forgets song entirely.
Research on matter. Need to know possibilities. Contact with findings.

Surveillance ongoing.

-A
“In the twilight, at the ready.”

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A Rising Threat

6 Gozreh
Events in Ravengro continue to hinge on the strange and suspicious. To most this town would appear dull and uninteresting, perhaps most of the time it is however I feel a tension in the air, a nameless threat hovers over this place drawing ever nearer like the Boneyard’s baleful moon. Experience tells me these townspeople will not warm to our presence in light of this, but will hunt us out of fear and anger unless sufficient proof or force be gathered to check them; most do not yet feel its menace but soon… We must investigate Harrowstone as soon as possible.
I visited Father Grimburrow on Fireday, to seek entry into the church’s library in order to research the supposed “tools” the Professor spoke of in his diary for “dealing with” the Whispering Way. I was shocked and affronted to be denied access due to my lack of citizenship to the town. Such claims are certainly not standard practice and I suspect them in fact to be at least partially fabricated. Grimburrow claimed that the majority of the library’s holdings contained classified information concerning documents on many key figures and practices crucial to Ravengro. He informed me that due to my station within the church that he would make exception provided I return the next day after the library had been adequately censored.
Meanwhile the others, with exception of Mr. Desericus, who wished to investigate the local magical academy the Unfurled Scroll, traveled the town with Kendra receiving basic information about Ravengro and its people. Kendra must indeed be well liked among the people for somehow the lot of them ended up sharing dinner with Councilman Muricar… I observed his Wealday Chronicles while returning from the church, rumors all but interesting nonetheless; vague hearsay concerning some intrigue in the capital over an alleged elixir of youth as well as ghost tales involving a haunted site known as the Saffron House.
While the others, especially Mellic and Mr. Whitman, drank with the Councilman I instead perused the Professor’s study, surprised to find that he replaced much of his collection of books with tomes containing information about the Whispering Way. There are so many volumes that I could not research as much as I wished that night, instead cataloguing them all to be read later. I was however to discover information which illustrated the gravity of this organization’s involvement here. If the Professor’s sources are accurate the teachings of the Whispering Way are responsible for the rise of Tar-Baphon himself, making their existence almost four thousand years old if the Whispering Tyrant was able to prepare for his return in life. The fact that this cabal has existed for so long in secret makes me all the more suspicious, for when they returned, the others informed me of much they had learned from the Councilman-mostly information concerning the history of the town and how it relates to Harrowstone (I wonder if Muricar would know much of the history and character of the others on the council, it would be helpful to know what to expect from the government of our hosts…) There also was a bard by the name of Stern Urden who revealed his knowledge of the Whispering Way! No tavern entertainer should have any such awareness, even a well traveled collector of lore…we should be wary of him, though I am unsure if the rest share in my suspicions.
The following day, waking again to that disturbing children’s song, itself further evidence of the sinister nature underlying Ravengro due to its strange connections with the ages of the town’s children, I was unable to concentrate on my meditations I had intended to pray in the church, as I had further business with Father Grimburrow to ask him of the lacerations within the Professor’s mouth. As I started to leave however, the entire manor began to smell of smoke as if an inferno raged around us! Searching the house and finding nothing, I checked on the state of the books we are charged with delivering, the Midnight Lord’s tome was again filled with life. Given the book’s fiery history I was sure this phantom blaze to be evidence of the curse it was rumored to possess. Furthermore, the cut Evelyn received on the edges of that “other” volume developed an infection which I was unable to treat. As if such events were not enough, the local sheriff arrived to investigate our involvement in the defacement of the Harrowstone Memorial the night before, which was vandalized with a bloody “V”. After deterring him, at least for the moment, denying our involvement with any criminal activity, I took both of my tome-stricken companions with me to the church, Father Grimburrow confirmed my fears and promised to treat them both the next day (I told them all not to touch those books!!).

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Operation Vigilant Shadow - Report III

Field Operative XVII
Vigilant Shadow
Report III

Tousand, Evelyn encountered a strange occurrence, name in blood over Lorrimor, Kendra. Lorrimor was sleeping at time, unaware. Checked if magical, not conclusive. Tousand, Hallows and Desericus visited Temple of Pharasma. Exited looking better, probable cause for visit: healing needed for various ailments.

Subject, Vas Mana, Desericus and Hallows visited Unfurling Scroll. Conducted research into Harrowstone. History of prison. Events leading to its demise. Bartered access with Ghorovan, Alendru.

IMPERATIVE: Discovery of connection between Lorrimor, Petros and the Whispering Way. Information is scarce but connection seems overt.

REQUEST: Further agents at this post. Immediate. Mission potentially compromise. Outside of Operative’s jurisdiction.
REQUEST: Information as to procedure involving development. Contact must be made immediately.

Mysterious letters appearing in blood on the Harrowstone Memorial Statue. “E” appeared. (V-E-, have appeared thus far.)Subject, Desericus, VasMana and Tousand accompanied by Sheriff Caellar, Benjan.

IMPERATIVE: Reanimated body of Lorrimor, Petros assaulted the Lorrimor house. Tousand was incapacitated. Subject retaliated and split the husk in two. Questioning within group resulted. Argument ended agreeably. Strange song was sung by five children. Interrupted those inside Lorrimor estate. Group came to some realization. Will have to follow up on this and find more.

Second outing of Subject, VasMana, Desericus and Hallows resulted in finding Hephenus, Gibbs with small child. Gibbs was witnessed cutting the girl and writing an “S” on the monument. (V-E-S-) Child (Elkarid, Pelly) did not survive.

Surveillance ongoing.

-A
“In the twilight, at the ready.”

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Deeper Into Harrowstone

This prison is larger than it appears from the outside, I had thought we would have finished our quest by now but we still press on through these endless halls, and without encountering another of the spirits yet. However, the day has not been without benefit-the aid of Father Grimburrow has once more proved invaluable to our efforts, as well as that of Isaac. Though unorthodox, his spirit still lends aid; perhaps after our task is done he may move on to his proper judgment.

Discovering that “Father” Charlatan visited Ravengro with a band of five Varisian “clergy” nearly sixty years ago is interesting though perhaps not surprising considering his crimes and the location of his incarceration. More intriguing however is his theft of church property from the town…I wonder why the stolen goods were not returned upon his capture; perhaps the fire occurred soon after his imprisonment. Though in retrospect, after our discoveries further in Harrowstone, I may have been incorrect in assuming the strange weights shackling his body were the church’s belongings, they do no good now to a vanquished spirit and should still be returned to a place where they can be made of use.

The haunting of this ruined prison is far stranger than I had thought. Even I have never heard of an animated crematory furnace lashing out against the living. Thankfully not all our encounters with the remnants of this place were deadly. The ghost of Warden Lyvar Hawkran’s wife, Vesoriana appeared to us and explained much of Harrowstone’s distant and recent history. Evidently the Whispering Way cultists somehow removed Lyvar’s spirit from his place of rest; an action that it seems allowed the five criminals to gain in strength. The inscriptions around the base of the building must hold some piece of the puzzle, I cannot believe I forgot my appointment with Ghorovin… it will be almost unbearable to have to deal with him now. Vesoriana tells that there were five cultists in number, four men and one woman, and that they indeed killed the Professor as I had suspected. She also informed us that she was taking up her husband’s mantle as warden of sorts, trying to contain the evil of the criminal’s spirits and that she was the key to vanquishing them once we had defeated their manifestations. While I am hesitant to accept the word or the aid of a member of the undead, I sense no lies in her words and her efforts are, I must confess, noble. It is at times easy to forget that the aim of a cleric of Pharasma is foremost to ensure the order of judgment applies to all; her aid in destroying these evil spirits may allow her to rest and proceed to whatever fate the Lady of Graves has in mind for her.

However, if we are to do this we must hurry, for she warned that one of the criminals was sapping her strength. Based on our early morning disturbances, the Splatter Man must be the one to blame, for he is but four letters (and therefore four days) away from completing her name, allowing the evils of Harrowstone free reign to terrorize and endanger the people of Ravengro. We were told of a vault containing the confiscated belongings of each of the criminals, and that their usage against them would aid us in our fight against them, though at the cost of a nameless danger that was unknown. We soon found the vault, containing, with a note attached to each penned by the Warden himself, the Lopper’s hand axe, Charlatan’s holy symbols, the Splatter Man’s spellbook, the Marauder’s hammer, and the Piper’s silver flute, as well as a portrait of Taldor’s Stavian I which while certainly quite valuable is surely to be reduced to tatters by the time we leave this accursed place.

We have made our way into the basement now…my magics are depleted for the day and we each have been wounded severely many times during this visit, at least I still have these wands of healing magic and we still have several potions left as well. Even still, I believe we must turn back soon as these items will not last forever. We are proceeding south down a tunnel labeled “The Nevermore”, I see a corpse slumped over in one of the rooms, it looks…like a dwarf.

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