Helaman's Play By Post Carrion Crown

From the field notes of Father Jaru Toth
An empty grave and vandalism

23rd of Calistril, 4714

I find it a good idea to keep some account of the events that have occurred recently. Some detail might prove invaluable in days to come. Fate has thrown me in a dark and dire place. I pray to Pharasma that I am up to the challenge.

The Professor’s grave has been defiled and his remains have been stolen. I suspect the leader of the mob that sought to deny the Professor a proper burial, a drunkard named Gibbs. I spent yesterday with Father Grimburrow searching the lands around the town for the body, but turned up only two more dead men. Killed by some sort of blood drinking bird, I am assured. I feel awful to have not been more aware of Father Grimburrow’s age and health. He fell ill from the exertion, but appears to be recovering quickly fate willing.
Our rest that night was interrupted by a summons from the Sheriff. A crowd had gathered at the cenotaph to the Harrowstone Fire. A local dog had been sacrificed and a ‘V’ written in its blood splashed across the monument. The pale elf had arrived first and was disturbing the townsfolk with his ill tempered display. With some assistance from Lament, we were able to disperse the villagers to their homes. What can be meant by this act of vandalism, I do not know. Gibbs appeared affected by the death of the dog and I cannot see any reason for him to have done such a thing.

The next day there was a ceremony held for the dead dog. I spent the day at the Temple looking for anything that might explain the previous night’s strange events in the hopes it might be tied to the theft of the Professor’s body. We uncovered little beyond more details on the Harrowstone Fire and further mention of this Whispering Way cult with which Simeon seems so obsessed. I discounted it until that evening when Kendra offered us access to the Professor’s more recent journal.

I am afraid the information contained within proved fearfully illuminating. The Professor reported most dire omens and the presence of the Whispering Way in Ravengro. He seemed to imply they sought something or someone lost in the fire. Could it be one of the five prisoners that died? I shall have to continue my research tomorrow. The professor also mentioned a false crypt that might contain tools or more information. I shall ask Father Grimburrow if we might investigate that as well.

More and more, I am convinced that Professor’s death was no accident and that the theft of his body was no act of local hooligans.

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From the diary of Simeon Plavini 22nd Calistril, 4714
Strange happenings in this strange little town
NB To those reading this, if you have received permission from myself or my estate then read on and enjoy, for I know you must! If not, be warned that this missive is cursed, your extremities and private parts will wither and rot away to nothing!

22nd of Calistril, 4714
Strange happenings in this strange little town.

Rose quite tired after a night of reading, met the others in the meeting room when word came to Miss Kendra that some miscreants had absconded with our dear Petros’ corpse, exhumed as they say.

Off we went, securing our precious tomes of course, to mutter and maunder around the hold in the ground that had been Petros’ grave.

We found the so-called Sheriff lording about, but it was obvious that the man had no clue. The others asked some pointed questions that had the man almost frothing at the mouth! Very unprofessional. The prime suspect was that primate Gibbs who had accosted us on the way to the funeral yesterday.

And so all and sundry went off to the Gibbs residence where questions were flung and insults returned. Seems the dullard had some friends who it was thought perpetrated the vile act. Nothing of substance was achieved…how surprising!

We were then invited to the local tavern by the owner, Zoltar, apparently an associate of the good Professor. Quaintly, Petros had the man provide his menu items with ghoulish pseudonyms.

Somehow, my recollection isn’t clear, some of us, myself included were convinced to participate as judges in a local food competition. All I desired was to return to the residence and continue my researches.

Quite a bother.

Gained a tour of the town from the inn-keep’s son, whose name escapes me. Store, Forge, Pharasmin Temple, Apothecary, Loan Shark, another Inn and pleasantly surprising, a wizards’ Shoppe. Quite the list for a quaint country town.

Met the village mutt.

Met with some petty official to be ‘sworn’ in as judges…..really, how preposterous!

Jaru, the Pharasmin went off to the Temple.

Interminable day, walking to and from contestant’s residences, seeking their innermost motivations for cooking such and such a dish. Quite tiresome. Until the wizard Shoppe. Was shocked at the proprietor’s name: Ghoroven. Mistook the man for his brother, a much more accomplished man. Still, I will sup with him at a later date.

The judging was upon us. Despite my misgivings, some of the dishes were fairly accomplished. A dessert won first prize.

The festivities was interrupted by the Pharasmin arriving from a jaunt on the moors with the decrepit High Priest, Grimsbottom.
After a near riot, I swear these ignorant country folk are a surly superstitious lot, we heard that the two holy men had come across two corpses on the moor.

After my expert examination, I determined that the men were attacked and killed by nasty creatures called Stirges. If they’re the ones that took Petros’ body, good riddance.

Back to the faire. The surly lot of fair-goers were, as they are wont to do, gossiping and carrying on. The combined work of myself and my companions served to distract the people of Ravengro enough to declare the event a success.

Exhausted by my efforts, it was welcome to return to the residence. However, our day was not finished.

Kendra was waiting for us. With her father’s diary and another ominous letter from my dear friend. This Harrowstone, he seem to think it dangerous. It was only propriety and my love for her father that let me allow the girl to keep possession of his diary, she desired to read it first!

Most importantly, however, she produced the key to Petros’ library. Finally!

I quite respectfully and tactfully requested some privacy in my first forays into Petros’ library but that Pharasmin outrageously thrust himself where he didn’t belong!

Determined to ignore the interloper, I gained access and was amazed at the quality of Petros’ sanctum. He had volumes I’d only heard rumors of…an original of Forkul’s Necrogammatron, two copies of Hazzuth’s Hellish Descent! Amazing! A lifetime of collecting by one of the foremost minds in Ustalav and here I was standing in the middle of it! It was a dizzying experience.

Collecting myself, I approached and read a diary that seemed Petros had left to be discovered first.

Revelations!!!! The Whispering Way! Incredible! Petros was and had been for some time investigating The Whispering Way! The insanity of it! The bravery of it! It beggars my mind that he kept this hidden from me all these years, but I think the clues had been there , had I been observant enough to have made the connections.

I’ve finished my initial survey of the diary and grow weary, those that read this now know that Petros was on to momentous discoveries that I hope to discover anew with the dawn.

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From the diary of Simeon Plavini 21st Calistril, 4714
Arrival at Ravengo and funeral of a friend
NB To those reading this, if you have received permission from myself or my estate then read on and enjoy, for I know you must! If not, be warned that this missive is cursed, your extremities and private parts will wither and rot away to nothing!

21st of Calistril, 4714
Journey to Ravengro boring as expected, even Baradier’s nonsensical maunderings failed to divert. Spend an evening in a ramshackle traveller’s inn, decent beer. My travelling companions and self interrupted a domestic dispute….quite violently. The Pharasmin had to beseech his Lady to save on dullards’ life. Nightmares passing on the road made for a fitful sleep. Morning brought the death of said dullard, head separated from body quite neatly but an apparent ghost rider…..strange tidings indeed.

Arrived, eventually to Petros’ domicile, in Ravengro, a village hardly fitting the term. Farms and such surround the dismal place, though Petros’ home was tidy and well kept.

Met by Kendra, wonderful girl, has Petros’ eyes. My companions all, were apparently invited as well by Petros. Such proclivities he had, a foreign Pharasmin, a stunted harrower, and a devil-spawn, oh , and the most morose elf I’ve had the misfortune to meet.

Thrust right into the procession to the local boneyard. Were threatened by the town drunk, who apparently didn’t enjoy a suitable appreciation for the late Professor’s investigations. He was sufficiently cowed by the Pharasmin’s ire; name of Jaru Toth. Said a few eloquent words at the burial, suffered through a few other banal reminisces.

Back to the house for sustenance and the will. For a tidy sum , we we’re all to deliver Kendra and some of Petros’ more pertinent tomes back to Lepidstadt after staying for one month….I wonder what Petros’ knew….I need to get to his study, he’ll have left some notes.

Kendra brought us the tomes…. Such knowledge, it was all I could do to not snatch them up and run off to a secure room. As it was I plucked up a battered tome “Serving your Hunger”; a quaint little book, razor sharp edges was a nice touch! Some interesting notes in the margins….avenues for research!

Notes on companions:
Pharasmin, Jaru Toth, extremely devout, solid head on his shoulders
Harrower, Lament, truly odd, but obviously talented
Devil Spawn, Vigilance, cold as ice, but observant
Nighteyes, elf, violence lurks within this one
Iomedean, Elidal , woman of conviction

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A letter from an old friend and a tragedy to be investigated...
The Summons

My Dear Friend,
Forgive me for contacting you so abruptly, but current circumstances make haste the superior virtue over propriety, and I strive for virtue in all things. I look back upon our prior association fondly, and, Pharasma wiling, our possible future enterprises, because it is in the spirit of re-kindling an old friendship that I write to you now. I hereby formally invite you to visit me at my home, where I can share with you the results of my latest line of inquiry. It would surprise me greatly if you did not find it as fascinating as I do. I trust you will find your way to me in due time, and until then I wait with bated breath.
Yours in friendship,
Petros Lorrimor,
Prof. Emeritus, University of Lepidstadt,
Dept. of Cultural Preservation

That Professor Petros Lorrimor would remember you among all the others he had dealt with is, perhaps, a reflection of the trust and deep affection that he held for you and your talents, and of the friendship that developed all that time back to when you first met him. That the Professor is asking for you, specifically, out of all the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of students, partners, employees, and acquaintances he had made over his career, makes your heart swell with pride nonetheless, albeit mixed with feelings of concern.

Were it not for the code phrase, “with bated breath,” you would never have thought to heat the paper, revealing the secret message Professor Lorrimor encoded therein. Several key letters appear emphasized and previously hidden symbols appear. Quickly snatching up a quill, you scribe the emphasized letters, hidden symbols and word breaks to discover the Professor’s true message:

COME TO RAVENGRO AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. TERRIBLE DANGER. ENEMY. CANNOT SHARE MORE. FIND YOUR WAY TO ME. P.L.

Shivering, and not from the chill night air, you cast the paper into the fire, planning to depart for Ravengro in the next few days, dreading what the Professor couldn’t trust, even to a cipher… sadly news follows in its wake.

I write on behalf of Kendra Lorrimor, the daughter of your friend, Petros Lorrimor. I regret to advise you that the Professor has died in a tragic accident. Kendra, mindful that her father mentioned you prior to his departing into the arms of the Pharasma, bids you come to attend her fathers funeral.
In Sympathy
Your Servant
Vashian Hearthmount

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