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Author Topic: The Carrion Crown, Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone  (Read 19667 times)

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Offline Myrleena

Re: The Carrion Crown, Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone
« Reply #100 on: May 15, 2011, 01:06:29 AM »
Lilial Ambersight

Thinking for a moment, Lilial shook her head. "And this...it doesn't look promising.  I don't remember much...I'm sure that I heard about the Whispering Way when I was at the temple, but...my memories are a bit fuzzier than I would like.  Though if there is a group like that around...I just hope they don't have demons.  If there are demons, I just might turn and run screaming, whether I want to or not."

The elf gave a slight shiver, then opened her eyes, considering a moment more, then asked. "Actually...have there been any...unusual occurrences in the past two weeks, Ms. Kendra?  Just things that don't seem...right.  If he thought there was a cult of some form in the area..."

Offline JeramiahhTopic starter

Re: The Carrion Crown, Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone
« Reply #101 on: May 15, 2011, 01:10:07 AM »
"Not... not to my knowledge, no," Kendra says, with a slightly worried expression. "Though, I will admit, I was caught up in my own affairs, in the days before my father's death... do you think it might be related to that cult? That something might have happened to him, that it wasn't an accident?" She gives a slight shudder, then adds. "If you think it might help, you're welcome to look through my father's books. He's spent years in research, so he might have more information about this... cult."

Offline ShamshielDF

Re: The Carrion Crown, Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone
« Reply #102 on: May 15, 2011, 06:40:58 PM »
Celeste Devonshire

Celeste quirks a brow slightly to Lilial's comment, but shrugs after a moment and looks back to Kendra.  "If what your father wrote in his journal was accurate, and considering the professor himself I see no reason why it wouldn't, I would say that it is highly probable that his death was not an accident."  She seems to ponder for a bit, looking between the two other women, "perhaps it might be best if we went through the professors tomes and sought any information regarding the Whispering Way as well as anything regarding the ruins of the prison."

She looks to Kendra, considering the woman for a moment.  "If we head to this false tomb and the prison, would you care to attend with us?  It is likely that it will not be...clean or pleasant labor."  She looks to Lilian, "considering your garb and what little you have said of yourself, I assume that you would be interested in coming along?"

Offline Myrleena

Re: The Carrion Crown, Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone
« Reply #103 on: May 15, 2011, 09:12:54 PM »
Lilial Ambersight

"However, by the same token, it is possible that his death was an accident.  I do not think it likely at this point...but such is possible." Lilial added, frowning darkly and drumming her fingers on the table for a moment before adding. "And yes...research is in order, that is for certain.  I...do not like the sound of what he said about this 'Whispering Way'."

But at the more direct comment, Lilial looked up and blinked for a moment, then nodded. "Yes, I would like to look into these things, I think.  And if there are any members of this 'cult'...well, I certainly can help deal with them, one way or another.  If they were responsible...well, in some ways I'm glad I'm not a paladin anymore."

Offline JeramiahhTopic starter

Re: The Carrion Crown, Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone
« Reply #104 on: May 15, 2011, 10:08:06 PM »
Kendra holds up her hands at the offer of going to investigate the crypt. "No, no, sorry, I'm no adventurer. Dealing with the traders in the market is enough excitement for me," she says, with a chuckle. "But, please, feel free to use the tomes, at your leisure. You might also check at the Temple of Pharasma. I know father spent a lot of time in their library in the last few months."

Offline ShamshielDF

Re: The Carrion Crown, Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone
« Reply #105 on: May 18, 2011, 12:20:58 AM »
Celeste Devonshire

The dhampir nods slightly, considering something to herself for a few moments, staring off into the distance and slowly going still as she considers.  Just as the stillness takes on an almost eerie feeling, she shakes her head again, "very well...the three of us can split up in the tomes and see what we can come up with in an hour or two at least.  I would like to get to Harrowstone and investigate there...perhaps speak with the spirits."  She gives a wan sort of smile, "considering I'm halfway to such myself, perhaps they will be cooperative.  Mother has introduced me to a handful of the shades and ghosts of Caliphas, but I doubt they are on any sort of terms with the local spirits."

Offline Myrleena

Re: The Carrion Crown, Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone
« Reply #106 on: May 18, 2011, 12:26:57 AM »
Lilial Ambersight

"I wouldn't mind reading the books, of course, but..." Lilial hesitated, then added, softly. "And perhaps I should aid you and speaking to the spirits.  They...might be willing to speak to me.  In my own way, I'm closer to them than even you, Ms. D-I mean Ms. Celeste.  I do not wish to speak of why I think that."

She hesitated again before adding, smiling thinly. "Besides, I don't think it is a good idea for any of us to go anywhere alone.  Not if our suspicion of what may have happened to the Professor is accurate."

Offline JeramiahhTopic starter

Re: The Carrion Crown, Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone
« Reply #107 on: May 18, 2011, 01:09:08 AM »
Kendra nods. "Do you even know what you'd be looking for, at the old prison? If my father's notes are to be believed, whatever haunts there is trying to keep people away, and he was a fairly powerful wizard... I'd be worried about the two of you, if he was terrified of it."

Offline ShamshielDF

Re: The Carrion Crown, Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone
« Reply #108 on: May 18, 2011, 10:15:00 AM »
Celeste Devonshire

The dhampir raises one delicate brow to Lilial's comment, speaking softly, "my father was dead years before my birth and my mother has been a ghost for as long as I can remember...sometimes I dream of a time when..."  She shakes her head slightly and closes her eyes, only opening them several moments later, the color a much paler grey than before, all emotion draining from her face.

She raises from her seat with an almost eerily smooth movement, heading into the rest of the house, "we have much to do."

Offline Myrleena

Re: The Carrion Crown, Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone
« Reply #109 on: May 18, 2011, 06:35:12 PM »
Lilial Ambersight

The elf looked after Celeste and frowned, speaking softly. "I...think she mistook what, precisely, I meant.  Perhaps I misinterpreted what she meant by 'spirits', however.  But..."

She shrugged and sighed, moving after Celeste and speaking once she was but few steps behind her, her voice soft. "My apologies for upsetting you, Ms. Celeste.  I believe that I...mistook what, exactly, you meant when you said spirits?  If you are speaking of the unquiet dead, no, I am not closer to them than others.  If you are speaking of other spirits, of nature or of the heavens...those are what I was speaking of.  Though some of the unquiet would likely speak to me readily.  The reason why is...difficult.  I will simply say that, if I told the townsfolk, they would not take five minutes to form the mob to kill me.  Again."

Offline JeramiahhTopic starter

Re: The Carrion Crown, Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone
« Reply #110 on: May 18, 2011, 10:17:54 PM »
Kendra doesn't follow them, but does call out, as she heads for the front door, "I'm going to go do a little shopping. I wasn't expecting guests to stay for so long, so I'm going to stock up on some food for us," she calls, heading outside, intending to go to the market; she'll likely be gone for an hour or two.

Offline ShamshielDF

Re: The Carrion Crown, Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone
« Reply #111 on: May 18, 2011, 10:39:45 PM »
Celeste Devonshire

Celeste pauses in her steps, turning slowly to look to Lilial, her eyes half-lidded and cool.  She nods slightly, considering for a long moment to herself before speaking.  "And would I fair better?"  Her brow didn't even quirk at the comment or her question, remaining as blaise as possible before continuing, "yet you live on.  More alive than I have ever been."  She gives a slight shrug, returning to her quest for books silently.

Offline Myrleena

Re: The Carrion Crown, Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone
« Reply #112 on: May 18, 2011, 10:49:03 PM »
Lilial Ambersight

"What is dead, yet lives?  What has a soul, yet it does not depart?" Lilial asked quietly, tilting her head to the side for a moment.  She paused and shrugged. "You, at least, will live on after your death.  In one manner or another.  But yes, I do expect that you would fare better.  I wouldn't be run out of town, I would be slain outright.  But I will help as I can.  It is all I can do."

And with that, she turned back to the books herself, falling silent.

Offline JeramiahhTopic starter

Re: The Carrion Crown, Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone
« Reply #113 on: May 18, 2011, 11:04:38 PM »
The professor certainly has a wide collection of books; simply going through the titles, looking for books that might be relevant to their search takes quite a while; hos books contain information on all manner of dark creatures, from the denizens of the lower planes, to undead and haunting spirits, to the wicked creatures that wander the world, as well as a number of mystical organizations, both arcane and divinely focused.

While Kendra, somehow, managed to miss the construct, just outside of her house, as she was leaving, on her way back, carrying a large bag, laden with food, she spots the dark, metallic creature, and gives a start, very nearly dropping her bag. "You? What... what are you doing here?"

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Re: The Carrion Crown, Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone
« Reply #114 on: May 18, 2011, 11:09:05 PM »
The construct glanced over at Ms Kendra, before shrugging, the gesture stiff and somewhat unnatural, but still getting the point across. "Waiting for the other two to come out, since I was not polite yesterday. And yes, I believe it wasn't an accident, but a deliberate act of someone, possibly this cult you three were discussing. The former prison definitely has something there able to cast spells, and judging by what the other two have discussed, they were also targeted by something. I doubt a coincidence would be so bold as to effect three different individuals at the same time."

Offline JeramiahhTopic starter

Re: The Carrion Crown, Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone
« Reply #115 on: May 18, 2011, 11:18:03 PM »
"You... you were listening to what we were talking about? Inside?" she asks, looking a bit terrified. "Just what do you want with us, anyway?"

Offline ShamshielDF

Re: The Carrion Crown, Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone
« Reply #116 on: May 19, 2011, 12:19:10 AM »
Celeste Devonshire

The dhampir sits quietly in front of one of the bookcases, staring unseeingly at the rows of books, wincing inwardly at Lilial's words.  That was the question in the end, wasn't it?  Did she actually have a soul to carry on?  Was she ever truly 'alive' to have such a thing?  Or was she merely some animated piece of meat devoid of spiritual essence?  Father had always insisted that she did, albeit not in so many words, just his quiet encouragement.  But in the end, she still wasn't certain...how could she be?  She was neither living nor dead, really, trapped in some eternal half-life.  Had it not been for the professor...well, at the very least, she would have been certain of the answer, wouldn't she?

She slowly becomes more and more still, until even her breathing is a bare hint of movement, her eyes glazed over and unfocused as her mind turns inward, one hand reaching up without thinking to brush a faint mark at the base of her neck slowly.  She wasn't nearly powerful enough, as of yet, to ask such questions of beings higher than herself, and likely as not, never would.  She bore the curse of her fathers blood, yet none of the blessings, really.  Were she to be found by the townsfolk, they would not differentiate her from her father, and given she wasn't remotely his equal, the conclusion would be...gruesome.  Depending on just how bad these folk were, it was entirely likely they would simply burn the house with Lilial and Kendra within, fearing they might be contaminated by her 'evil'.  Her probable lack of a soul just lurking in the shadow of her being, taunting her with its uncertainty. 

Her hand slid down from her neck to land limply on the bookshelf then falling to her side bonelessly.  Given the way that some spoke, she gave better than even odds that this tomes held more 'soul' than she did, in the end.  More substance than she, more contribution.  What was she, but a pale shadow of her father or the deathly image of her mother?  There were so few moments...so few in the whole of her so-called life that she could likely count them on the fingers of one hand, that she felt truly alive.  When the heat of the moment took her across some invisible, intangible barrier into...something more.  And even most of those left her so very near to death after, like the weight on the end of some pendulum between being and unbeing, never able to exist more than halfway without some opposite effect.  And yet...and yet indeed. 

She did not long for destruction.  She feared it in a pure, almost animalistic way, being wholly unable to know what would happen to her when she crossed that final threshold.  She could preach and praise and lead others towards the glories of Calistria, but...she had to take it on faith for herself.  Beyond that certainty that so many of her brother and sister clerics seemed to have, she had to base her whole existence on faith to one degree or another.  She knew, beyond doubt, Calistria existed, that she granted her favor and blessed or scorned the world by Celeste's own hands and fingers.  But that certainty they had, of what was going to happen when they died?  That they, indeed, stood a chance of facing their lady in her own realms?  The sense of inner peace that seemed to grant them on some level?  That had always escaped her.

No manner of meditation or prayer had led her to such peace.  She grasped for such, but one may as well attempt to catch water with their fingers, feeling that there is something there, but being unable to hold it the way others did, and only becoming frustrated with the whole thing, seeing others with their cups and buckets and pitchers of water, yet not having one of your own.  Harmed by the very spells that healed the living, and healed by the spells that would slay them, having some sort of opposite of life, and yet not undead.  And not yet undead, either.

Her eyes finally close, sealing out the light within the house, feeling the weight of her icon, her holy symbol of Calistria resting on her breast.  Resting just over her heart, nearly.  Her always too softly beating heart, so light and thready she could only feel or hear it with focus.  If it had been stronger...oh, if it were stronger, perhaps, just perhaps, she would not always be so quick to notice the beating of the hearts of others.

Offline Myrleena

Re: The Carrion Crown, Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone
« Reply #117 on: May 19, 2011, 10:22:37 PM »
Lilial Ambersight

For a little while Lilial continued to browse the books, then she glanced over at Celeste, and she blinked in surprise at the expression on her face.  Or rather, the lack of expression on her face, and the unseeing eyes.  The elf paused, chewing her lower lip for a moment, then sighed, moving closer, and waved a hand in front of the other woman's eyes as she spoke.

"Ms. Celeste?  Are you alright?  You seem...out of it." Lilial asked, ready to jump back in the case that her intrusion was unwelcome.

Offline ShamshielDF

Re: The Carrion Crown, Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone
« Reply #118 on: May 19, 2011, 10:42:22 PM »
Celeste Devonshire

At the hand waving before her eyes she finally blinks slowly, giving a shuddering breath.  "I...do not know.  Am I all right?  Am I all wrong?"  She holds up one hand, curling her fingers so that her nails bite into her palm, watching in silence for a moment as the sharp edges bite into the flesh and blood begins to well up around the nail.  "Do I truly live?  I bleed, do I not?  And yet...I also crave blood as my father does, since before I remember.  The energies that heal the living...burn my flesh as it is wont to do to the undead.  And the energies that invigorate the undead will mend such wounds in my flesh.  Am I really alive?  Have I ever been?" 

Her eyes turn to Lilial, nearly unfeeling, but with some glimmer of...beseeching lurking in their depths.  "The undead have their souls, but they, at least, lived once.  Golems and made things have no soul, but never lived to have one.  Where...does that leave once such as I?"  She looked back to her hand, the trickle of blood running down from her fist towards her elbow, "do I have one?"  She whispers.  "Do I have a soul?"

Offline JeramiahhTopic starter

Re: The Carrion Crown, Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone
« Reply #119 on: May 20, 2011, 01:09:44 AM »
Kendra politely asks the construct to leave... which he does, heading off into the town, to continue his adventures. She steps inside, and begins putting away the food she purchased, spending a few minutes doing so, before looking for the two women. She peers into the room, and asks, politely, if they need anything, but otherwise leaves them alone.

(After about eight hours of research, you can make Know: Religion or Arcana checks, towards your research on the Whispering Way, with a +2 bonus. If Lilial doesn't have either skill, she can make an untrained aid another check, (DC 10), with the same +2, to give Celeste an extra +2.)

Offline Myrleena

Re: The Carrion Crown, Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone
« Reply #120 on: May 20, 2011, 03:58:22 PM »
Lilial Ambersight

Lilial paused, blinking a couple of times before she spoke, somewhat surprised. "Well...of course you live.  Some bats crave blood, and they are the most mundane of creatures.  Some forms of the energies that you speak of harm the undead as well.  But your body lives.  You have a consciousness.  You speak, you think, you worry.  And consider this.  So long as an undead exists, they cannot be resurrected.  That means that their soul is still attached to their body and spirit.  And only from a living soul can come a life.  Perhaps you do not believe it.  But...what if choosing not to believe causes such to become the truth?  Choose to believe.  Strive.  Otherwise...you lose everything."

Offline ShamshielDF

Re: The Carrion Crown, Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone
« Reply #121 on: May 21, 2011, 11:34:13 AM »
Celeste Devonshire

The dhampir closes her eyes and takes a slow deep breath before opening them again and frowning slightly at the line of blood running down her arm, threatening to drip to the floor.  She lets the breath out in slight sigh and then simply licks the blood line clean almost sensuously.  Looking to the still bleeding wound, she holds her holy symbol forward slightly and expends one of her few spells for the day to heal the damage, the spoken portion sounding rather...broken and twisted from a usual 'healing' spell.

Her eyes drift back to Lilial, lingering almost sadly.  "It is...something I have dealt with all of my life, and expect to continue for some time."  She gives a sad half smile, "simply something I must...live...with.  That was the gift of the professor...the will to live in spite."

Offline Myrleena

Re: The Carrion Crown, Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone
« Reply #122 on: May 22, 2011, 03:35:28 PM »
Lilial Ambersight

Lilial considered a moment and shrugged slightly.  Her voice was soft as she replied, looking Celeste in the eyes. "I understand you have lived with such your entire life.  I cannot entirely understand such, but I likely can better than most.  But while you might have doubts about having a soul, I do not have such doubts.  My challenge is simply in believing that I am not going to fall and become a being that must be destroyed.  Which...is not comforting.  Not in the slightest.  But...I'm going to do research.  Because to not strive is my doom."

And with that the elf turned back to the books, beginning to go over them more closely.

((Knowledge: Religion 25, with all modifiers.))
« Last Edit: May 22, 2011, 10:55:45 PM by Myrleena »

Offline ShamshielDF

Re: The Carrion Crown, Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone
« Reply #123 on: May 23, 2011, 12:46:35 AM »
Celeste Devonshire

She seems to consider for a moment, contemplating to herself for a bit, before speaking again.  "Think of a half-elf.  Are they human, or elf?  Is one aspect dominant over the other?  In the end, they are neither.  They are half of one and half of the other, the rest is determined from culture.  Thus, what is half vampire?  Are they living, or undead?"  She shrugs slightly, "what may seem intuitive to you is...much more frustrating when you must deal with it all your life.  Every moment, every day.  As for resisting falling, well...my father has striven likewise since he was turned.  While he has been undead now for better than eight decades, he has not fallen to...his nature.  Not completely."

She skims the tomes within the library, finding related tomes and cross referencing information between authors as much as possible, trying to make sense of the mystery that the professor has left to them.

[Knowledge - Religion: 12 + 8 = 20]

Offline JeramiahhTopic starter

Re: The Carrion Crown, Chapter 1: The Haunting of Harrowstone
« Reply #124 on: May 23, 2011, 01:02:25 AM »
After hours of research through the Professor's tomes, the two women seem to have uncovered quite a lot of information about the Whispering Way. In addition to the information Celeste managed to recall, earlier, they discover that The Whispering Way itself is a series of philosophies that can only be transferred via whispers—the philosophies  are never written or  spoken of  loudly, making  the  exact  goals  and  nature  of  the  secretive philosophy difficult for outsiders to learn much about. Exact details on the society are difficult to discern, but chief among the Whispering Way’s goals are discovering  formulae  for  creating  liches  and  engineering the release of the Whispering Tyrant. Agents often travel to  remote  sites  or  areas  plagued  by  notorious  haunts or undead menaces  to perform  field  research  or  even  to capture unique monsters. Their symbol is a gagged skull, and  those  who  learn  too many  of  the Way’s  secrets  are often murdered,  and  their mouths mutilated  to  prevent their bodies from divulging secrets via speak with dead.

(For spending the day in research and uncovering secrets, both players gain 750 exp.)