Numerous small towns dot the fog-shrouded landscape of Ustalav. At first glance, these towns might all seem kindred spirits—cozy collections of quaint buildings surrounded by farmland, their skylines decorated by the steeples of Pharasmin churches or the steep rooflines of colorful taverns. Yet in Ustalav, appearances are often deceiving, and many of the nation’s towns and villages harbor sinister secrets. Such is the case in idyllic Ravengro, a town built originally to provide support for the notorious prison known as Harrowstone, but which today endures as a self-sufficient farming community with more than its fair share of secrets.
15th Pharast 4711, Ravengro, Canterwall, Immortal Principality of Ustalav
It is my duty to inform you that after the passing of Professor Lorrimor on the 14th Pharast, you have been named in his last will and testament. You are hereby formally invited to his funeral and the reading of his testament on the 25th Pharast 4711.
Low, gray clouds hang in the sky yet again today and a light drizzle has been falling more or less constantly for all of today. Huddled in their cloaks to protect themselves from the cold and wetness of an early spring afternoon a somber group of people has assembled at the entry of the Restlands - Ravengro's cemetery.
Close to the entrance, a coffin of dark wood with silver handles and a wreath of dark-red roses rests, a slim young woman huddled in a brown cloak, the cape pulled up stands nearby, her head lowered in thought, or maybe prayer. This has to be Kendra, the professor's daughter.
Several local villagers stand to one side, sneaking furtive glances at several other people - obviously strangers - which stand on the other side. One of them is definitely a noble, his dark-blue coat cut with care and his black boots polished to a shine, although now already slightly muddied from the underground. Just a few paces to the side stands his steed - a large black stallion with a saddle trimmed in the same dark blue of his master's coat. The nobleman is currently discussing calmly with a second man, this one stockier and much older, who's nodding frequently at the noble's words. A bronze batch on his sturdy brown raincoat denotes him as a member of Lepidstadt university. A bit further apart a lean woman garbed in leather is pacing back and forth, the rain dripping off the wide-brimmed hat she's wearing.
Among the villagers, you have two sturdy men dressed in farmer's garb, a man in a black coat who's taken cover under a large black umbrella who seems to be an official of some sorts, and a hard-looking dwarven woman. As you approach, you realize that all those people are just waiting for the last funeral guests to arrive - among them you!
You can post now. You can also add a bit about how you arrived, but you shouldn't have explored the town too much just yet, so that we can do that in-game.
Jack slips into the crowd, keeping his head down, more out of habit than because of the rain. He stops at the front of the crowd to look at the coffin and the young woman kneeling before it.
Oi, what a shame. A good man gets a funeral hardly worth his name. Poor woman, her father's funeral and this is all that shows...shoddy bunch iffa ever saw one. Some of these sods look worse off than the circusmembers...
A small smirk flits across Jack's features, followed by a twinge of guilt.
C'mon Jack, a man is dead. Fine one at that. Shaddup and take a seat. Show some respect.
Jack turns to look for a seat as the voice of his uncle fades from his mind.
The Professor strides confidently, and rather hastily up to the front ranks of those gathered. A he walks a moves a thick, gnarled staff with him, though it does not appear he needs it for support. The wood of the staff is a rich, glossy black. The only skin showing on him is on his completely bald head which is a sickly pale color, a bit gray in fact. The rest of him is clad in a black leather overcoat, drawn up tight against the rain.
He surveys those gathered though thin, wire rimmed spectacles perched on the end of his nose. Once he reaches the coffin he says a few words, not caring who hears them. His voice is raspy and dry, as if his throat is all shriveled up.
"Well my old friend. It looks as if I will be unable to share my great mysteries with you after all. I am truly sorry for that. I know that you would have found them fascinating, as I once did. You deserved better then I gave you. You were always the best of friends to me and I will never forget that. I pray that Pharasma is merciful with you, she was not with me... ... ...Fare well."
The tall man steps back into line with the others assembled and waits.
Kendra looks up as Ka'alith speaks, aknowledging his presence with a thankful nod. The assembled somehow manage to shuffle back a bit as the professor joins them, without even appearing to do so, leaving just a halfling that has sat down on a rock, feet dangling in the air, next to Ka'alith. He can almost taste the unease of the villagers at this funeral and the presence of so many strangers in their midst - feelings which probably explain why there are so few of them in attendance. The halfling, on the other hand, doesn't seem to aware of the atmosphere.
by the way, Jack doesn't have a perception score on his sheet.
A young man walks from the midst of the mourners. He leans heavily on a scythe and his limbs tremble slightly as he walks. He wears no protection against the rain, letting it plaster his short hair to his forehead and soak into the light armor he wears. His eyes pass over the various groups gathered, lingering on the noble and the two others standing near him. When they turn to find Kendra, he crosses the intervening distance to her and wraps his arms around her in a brotherly embrace as his eyes fill with tears. Kendra, I'm sorry I wasn't here... I shouldn't have left so soon, or perhaps I was just gone too long. He pulls back, one hand resting on her shoulder, the other wiping the tears from his face. I suppose I should tell him goodbye...
Readjusting his grasp on the scythe, he hobbles over to the casket and stands silently next to the dark professor already there. As he examines the coffin, his eyes seem to glaze over and a slight mist seems to lift off of him, dissipating into the air.
Kendra looks up and a smile almost manages to make it onto her lips before you mention the professor, which brings tears to her eyes as she whispers, "It's not your fault. It was so sudden ... nobody could have expected this." She falls silent, struggling to keep her composure. You're pretty sure that the wreath of flowers on her sarcophagus is her own creation - Kendra loves flowers just as much as the professor loved his research.
As Januarius greets Kendra with obvious familiarity, those present can hardly miss that the young noble with the dark blue cloak observes the scene with barely veiled interest. As he catches sight of him, Januarius spots barely concealed jealousy on the noble's face before he turns his back to him again and picks up the conversation with the other man again. Ka'alith too can hardly miss the mute exchange between the the young scythe-wielder and the nobleman, but Jack is too distracted to really catch the meaning of the exchanged looks.
Ka'alith nods solemly to Kendra in response. She is a remarkable young woman. She must have many suitors now that Lorrimor's presence no longer shelters her. Do I take over this duty? ... No, in a life past I would have, but no longer. My purpose is clear.
The professor watches the glare of the young noble as the young man with the odd scyth greets Kendra. That noble could be trouble. I will watch and wait.
A late arrival to the funeral, Pan approaches the gathering of strangers with a sullen look on his face. He had just arrived by wagon from Karcau, it was raining, and here he found himself at the funeral of a man who had made such a huge difference in his life in such a small amount of time. It had taken him some time to find the cemetary upon arrival, since the town was new to him, and it was only once he found it and joined the gathering that he realized just how little he knew about his mentor. Here were all these people he had never seen or heard of before, all gathered to mourn the same man. He must have been special to all of them.
Pan steps forward to pay his respects, but he is unable to think of the right words to say. Death was something new to the boy, and this was not just an ordinary death. He keeps his head down for a moment, thinking of what to say, when suddenly he has an overwhelming urge. He takes his flute from is belt and begins playing a somber tune, the notes drifting through the air for all to hear. This is for you. The surge of emotion from playing for his idol unwittingly transfers these last thoughts telepathically to those gathered around.
Finishing his silent good-byes, Januarius listens intently to the dirge played by the latest arrival. He is slightly startled by the mental subnote, but he racts to it only a little. His eyes however drift back to the noble and his companion from the university. He watches them with a cool disinterest while the melody plays. At its conclusion he nods to the musician, then returns to Kendra's side and quietly asks How many of these strangers do you know? It seems an odd collection is gathering. He muses silently The collected work of the Professor, but doesn't voice the thought for fear of setting Kendra to tears again. Particularly, who are the three strangers at that end of the yard? He nods slightly towards the noble, the university man, and the woman with the large hat.