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Old 09-09-2020, 07:54 AM
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Chapter 2: Among the Dead

First steps
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The party came to terms with their new surroundings in various ways. Isse's thoughts turned to those left behind, while the stoic Sizwe denied then celedons. Celeste also denied the news, but her erratic behavior belied her real terror. Eilessa and Melliare seemed both more pragmatic, probing the celedons for any information that might have led to their accidental incarceration on the plane without death being involved. The celedons knew nothing of these other methods, planar travel was not something that had been in their normal scope. Food broke out, as they waited for the psychopomps to arrive, Number One and Three assuring them that the answers they were seeking would be provided by them.

A strange sight crested a hill, a looming skeletal humanoid creature with large wings and a metallic jackal mask where its head should have been strode purposefully towards them, a porcelain-mask-wearing black raven on its shoulder, with the celedon and another ragged human trailing behind. They reached the crypt and the party could suddenly appreciate the overwhelming presence of the menacing creature as it stood several feet taller than Melliare. It held a sharp scythe in its bony hand and the empty black eyes stared out from its mask.

Suddenly the bird chirped, its voice high and piercing. "Oh, isn't this a meeting of obvious fortuitousness! Here you are, and here we are. Thank you, my mellifluous Number Three, the wonderment of their precipitating arrival is not to be misconstrued." The porcelain mask bounced up and down as the bird talked, while the skeleton kept flicking its gaze between group.

"How presumptuous of me! I have yet to introduce myself." The raven flicked out a wing and exaggerated a bow. "My name is Umble, and my non-elucidating brethren here is Thoot. We mean you no harm, despite the strange harmaments you seem to have already suffered. Yes, yes, this is the land of the dead, and no, you aren't dead yourself despite what you might have been told already to the contrary. You seem to be something of a special case - you seem to vitalitinous for this place."

The bird peered closely at each of them in turn, cocking her head to one side. "Ah, isn't this a amazitude! Your hearts have something lodged inside them, something that's brought you here, but kept you from doing so in the most orthidoxiumous fashion. " Suddenly Thoot stepped to one side, causing Umble to squawk with annoyance. "How many times have I told you, nincompoop! Slow and steady-slow and steady!" The skeletal creature merely shrugged its shoulders and indicated gamely to the huddled human behind it. Umble nodded her head excitedly and waddled across to Thoot's other shoulder to get closer to the girl. "So it transpires that you are not the only prosperi to grace our lands-this little one descended from your plane to ours through her own multitudinous ways. She too has an eccentricity to her being we cannot quite place. Strangeness is abnormal here, despite what you might think of our non-conformist appearances. I cannot help but ruminate; what has caused your strange condition?"


OOCWelcome to chapter 2! The questions you asked at the end of the last chapter are best targeted at the two psychopomps here in front of you. For any knowledge information about either one of these guys, feel free to roll Knowledge (Planes).

 


 
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Old 09-10-2020, 03:14 PM
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Sizwe of the Longazi
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This place was crazy, perhaps even that of a dream, since nothing he had seen was normal. The dead stone creatures now gave way to a talking bird and giant skeleton - and the bird seemed to be in charge.

The words coming out of the bird's mouth were almost as strange as the bird itself, filled with twists on words, some of which made no sense. He was able to pick out a few key tidbits of what the creature was saying - enough to make him respond to the beast.

"My name is Umble... here is Thoot. We mean you no harm... this is the land of the dead, and no, you aren't dead yourself... something that's brought you here... descended from your plane to ours... Strangeness is abnormal here... what has caused your strange condition?"

"And I am.. The Piercer of Enemies" he says, uncomfortable in giving his name to such an obviously enchanted being.

"I never believed those things when they told us we were dead. You are most likely right, something has brought us from our plane of existence to this one. And it is most definitely strange." he responds.

"You ask what caused our strange condition and that is a question I would like to have answered myself. But there are more important questions that we need answered first, such as how we get out of here." Sizwe says.

"But before we even discuss that, there is a matter of honor and justice that must be tended too" he says, his gaze locked onto Number Three.

"This one convinced us to release something from a crystal. As it departed from it's geological prison, it shouted about 500 years of torture and 5oo years of planning.

Do you know what this creature was? I don't care if Number Three is a servant of Pharasma, if it used us to release a creature of evil into this world, he will pay for his crime."
the young halfling said, his knuckles whitening as he grips his spear tightly.



 
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Old 09-12-2020, 05:37 AM
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Celeste
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The minutes stretched as Celeste settled down. She had pulled a piece of jerky from her bundled rations. Absently nibbling it occasionally, she stared off into the vast deepness of unfamiliar night sky. Back home, she knew each star, each constellation, each cluster, nebula, and planet with a certainty rivaling her familiarity with her own face. It was a sense ingrained into her, and yet here, it was absent. It was a small void in her chest, a sense of emptiness, like a blind-spot she had just been made aware of. Like a milk tooth, loose in a child's mouth, she couldn't help but worry at it. Maybe that emptiness, that stellar blindness, was proof that she had died.

An hour had passed when Celeste's brooding was interrupted by the appearance of a down-right bizarre pair of figures cresting a hill in the middle distance, marching along the path. Well, technically, only one was marching, the other figure was perched on the first's shoulder. They were followed by one of the celedons and what appeared to be a ragged human girl. They made an odd party as they moved to meet her own motley crew. She grimaced at the jerky she had all but forgotten, and tossed it back into her pack before standing to greet the newcomers.

As soon as she got a clear look at the two outsiders, she recognized them for what they were: psychopomps. They looked and acted exactly as she'd expected: the vanth, silent and looming, and the nosoi, more vibrant and animated. Well, with an exception on bird-like outsider's part, with his intense interest with her and her friends.

Relief flooded through Celeste at Umble's assurances that they were, indeed, alive. Inexplicably whisked away to another plane, she could handle, as with an adventurer's heart, one could wander and find their way home, so long as they persevered, and had a little faith in Desna, of course. But Umble's studious gaze was an irregularity, even in this peculiar land. Psychopomps, even the more vibrant nosoi, typically were rather disinterested with the souls who passed through their domains. Even if her and her friends were alive, the outsiders would normally just try to find the most efficient way to rectify their situation and return them to the proper plane. But apparently, her and her companions had something lodged in each of their hearts that had prevented them from making their way to the Boneyard in, as Umble had put it, "brought you here, but kept you from doing so in the most orthidoxiumous fashion."

Thoot stepped aside and gestured to the accompanying human, and Umble went on to elaborate that this girl also had the same irregularity that landed her friends here. Smiling kindly, Celste moved forward and waved in greeting, addressing the psychopomps together with the newly arrived human, "Hello there! I am Celste. Your assurances of our... well, life, are much appreciated, Umble. I wish I could tell you more about how we came to be here, but we're at as much of a loss as you are. Last thing I remember before my arrival was falling asleep in my tent just outside Roslar's Coffer. I dreamt rather vividly, and at first, it was pleasant, but it soon burned away, as if soaked in oil." Shaking slightly, chilled by the recollection, Celeste continued, "All that was left was this hateful presence, and as I awoke, I could almost see a face. All that I could really discern was it's white teeth, bared in a rictus. I could hear it... laughing. It was awful..." She looked away, and took a deep, steadying breath. "I haven't a clue what it means. I just know I want to go back home."

She turned her attention to the girl specifically, taking in her ragged appearance, and a kind expression returning to her face. "I at least hope your arrival in this place was more peaceful than ours."
 
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Old 09-12-2020, 10:25 AM
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Pareetha
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The Young Human being carried along by Umble and Thoot
You recognize the young girl being held by the psychopomps and being drug along as the crazy little girl from Roslar's Coffer. She was often seen running errands for the refugees living on the outskirts of the town. The oddest thing you remember about her is her girlish ways and that she wore a ragged costume in the town as if she was pretending to be a superheroine of some sort.

Background
One of the older, retired guards "Sgt Biggs" had taken a liking to her and pretty much everyone left the girl alone as she cared for the refugees. You recall hearing rumors that cruel things happened to those that hurt any of the 'forsaken of Sarenrae'. So folks only ventured into the camp when compelled and left as quickly.

Description
Pareetha does not appear to be local to the region around Roslar's Coffer. Her arcane tattoos mark her as Viskanya and her facial features show her origins to be from far to the East (Casmaron). "Possessed of an alien beauty, these graceful humanoids see the world through serpentine eyes of burnished gold. Their supple skin is covered with tiny scales, often of a light green, which are sometimes arrayed in patterns not unlike those of a serpent. They cannot be generalized as good or evil, but since they truly speak with forked tongues, they are content to accept the gold they're offered and leave questions of morality to others". Inner Sea Races

Situation
He is quite groggy from her ordeal and speaks little. A light of recognition shows in her eyes as she recognizes some of you from town but little else shows that she is aware of her surroundings.

She attempts to break free of the psychopomps grasp and take a few faltering steps forward toward the group....
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Old 09-12-2020, 11:55 PM
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Psychopomps and Circumstances
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Nothing about the arrival of the psychopomps made much sense to Melliare. The one that seemed most apt to address them was silent, and the vociferous one made it apparent that it was quite literally insane. These are who we have to work with? The revelation that they were indeed not dead was a relief, but to hear that there was something embedded in each of their hearts gave her great pause. We are united in something after all. What would put something in each of our hearts? This is madness! There was no interrupting Umble as her words rambled onward, but that was of no concern to the knight. Simply parsing the odd phrasing proved a daunting task. It would not do to attempt to answer the question posed by the psychopomp, though. Instead, she gave herself a moment and allowed Sizwe and Celeste to speak. While Sizwe might be brash, she could rely on Celeste to strike at the heart of the matter.

Sizwe’s brashness manifested itself almost immediately, but not until after the halfling revealed something he had not previously told his companions. That is quite a name. Very telling. Perhaps something to bring up over a few pints while discussing philosophy. For the moment, they had more important problems. Oh that little idiot. "Sizwe! Sizwe, my good man, did you not hear the words of the guardians of the crypt? They say we have been working our way through a copy of Roslar’s Crypt here in the Boneyard, not the one back outside of Roslar’s Coffer. We aren’t in Lastwall anymore." Taking a deep breath, Melliare glanced once at the Umble, then at the celedons before returning to the halfling. "I felt betrayed until that was revealed. We have not unleashed anything upon the world of the living. If a spirit is released here, where does it go? I wager it goes to be judged by the Lady of Graves herself. Perhaps it would be best for you to inquire of these denizens of this plane before allowing anger to rule you."

Melliare nodded along with Celeste’s words. Looking to Umble, she cleared her throat politely, then spoke. "The last thing I remembered was my guard shift. I can’t recall if I had made it back to the barracks to catch some sleep or if I still had some time left at the gate. It’s hazy. Several of us are residents of or stationed at Roslar’s Coffer, the place where the original tomb of Ervin Roslar is situated. In fact…" the young woman trailed off, her eyes caught on the woman held by the larger of the two psychopomps. "The one you carry there. Yes. She is familiar, at least her appearance. I do not know her name, but if someone crosses my guard station as many times as she has, I can recall their face without difficulty. Whatever has happened, I assume it happened at Roslar’s Coffer, though I don’t recall ever seeing our halfling companion here. The rest would all have been relatively close to one another."

As the girl escaped Thoot’s clutches, Melliare held out a welcoming hand, urging her to close the distance. "Are you well? Have you gathered any wounds in the process of whatever brought you here? I can feel Iomedae has blessed me with more of her power, and if it may serve to strengthen you, I am glad to be available."

Bewildered as ever, Melliare looked around at the swirling skies of Pharasma’s Boneyard before settling on Umble once more. "I am Syr Melliare Wenderdam, knight of the Order of the Silver Key, and devoted sword of the Inheritor. I was stationed with the garrison at Roslar’s Coffer, ordered there by both my superiors within the Order and the field marshals of Vigil. If I am not dead, it is my duty to return to my station and discover what has happened." Taking in all five of the others, she nodded gently. "None of us belong here. What must we do to be returned to our mortal realm? There is no knowing what we lose in tarrying here."
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Old 09-13-2020, 11:10 AM
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Isse
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At the rough turn of the hour, the prestidigitation on Cawdor fades and the raven renews it himself - Turning a bright red this time. It's just about an effective clock to mark the passage of time.

The Sylph had been hastily adding new sentences and symbols to her spellbook from half-remembered spellbooks she'd managed to have glances at previously. They'd work... Probably. In the time she had, she committed Mending and a summoning spell to memory for the rest of the day and contemplated the possible methods for their arrival if they were indeed still "alive" as some of them protested.

She seemed more impressed by the bowing Raven than she ought to be - a little cog whirring in the back of her head telling her to teach Cawdor how to do so at some point - taking in Umble's words and weighing them. The Nosoi seemed to confirm the suspicions of some of her companions - they were living, or at least closer to living than dying. "Isse Deyemi." She shared her name like the others did - stepping closer to the pair of Psychomopomps without fear. They were unlikely to attack her for simply approaching after all, she was hardly disturbing the passage of the dead.

"If I might... I have contemplated on our arrival in the case of us not having been shuffled off of our mortal coils as it were and have come to a conclusion that would explain the circumstances of our arrival in all but the dreams that I would wager we all shared." She nods towards Celeste as she has described the dream already. "For reasons unknown, it is possible that some malign person, peoples, or creature has performed a plane shift on each of us, which would require... A very powerful caster, several moderately powerful casters, or... Well, I suppose we could have all been beaten into unconsciousness without waking up which is not out of the question and would certainly allow for one moderately skilled wizard to do this to us, in conjunction with several teleportation spells thereafter to make up for the lack of precision in the shift. There was, after all, a lingering magical aura inside of myself when I awoke but it's hard to know how long we were int those coffins..." She explains her theory, looking for confirmation in the body language of the two beings who were quite obviously more experienced with this plane than any of the others.

"Would that not be possible? And quite possibly the only way to do it without far more powerful magics or relics? Or have you your own contemplations on our arrival?" She asks curiously.
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Old 09-14-2020, 07:34 AM
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First steps
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Two pairs of beady eyes bored into Sizwe's soul. Umble piped up, the chatterbox reveling in exploring the very bounds of her vocabulary, including making up the odd word or two.

"Piercer of Enemies? Pierce-to penetrate, spike, gore, stick, impale, percolate, pervade, stab... Well aren't you just the most truculent of adversaries? And you think that something else transported you here? Yes, I suppose the transitory supposition could be explained via unorthodox means, but believe me when I say you should be dead, you just aren't." The masked raven dived across from Thoot's shoulder and landed nimbly on Number One's, who was standing near Isse. Seeing the red Cawdor, Umble gave an undignified squawk and flapped her wings irritably. The raven turned back to the others, trying to ignore the colorful abhorrence nearby. "See-there was a rather injurious and disadvantageous 'boom' that dragged far more than you 6 to this plane, but through the anomalous peculiarity that now lies within your very vitalitaneity, you have been spared. Bah... enough of this-you say you have more distinguishing problems?"

Umble jerked a talon towards the crypt. "This spirit you released-what gives you the impression that it was evil? Perhaps it was a maltreated and penurious soul desperate for release! These Celedons are torch-bearers for Pharasma, far above the perniciousness and triviality of such things as 'good' or 'evil'. They do as they are ordered, nothing more." Thoot rumbled for the first time and nodded his skeletal head, the scythe bobbing in what could only be apparent agreeance. "Don't get me wrong-if these ignorami have overstepped, the Lady will call them to answer. No need to pierce these enemies young halfling. Pharasma can do all that and more, nine ways to Oathday. " Chuckling to herself, Umble flapped her wings and landed delicately back on Thoot's head.

"As for you two..." Umble's sharp eyes turned to regard Isse and Melliare. "You wish to repatriate yourselves to the land of the living, hmmm? There is something you must know." The celedon shifted as Umble and Thoot removed their masks. "Post-mortality is not normally as convoluted as your own... longitudinousness, the Graveyard of Souls brings their multiplicitous dead in normally standard ways. Yet sometimes there are extensive events that cause ripples here. One such event did cause the uhhh... genocide.. no, no-too heavy. extinguishment... errm, apocalypictal annihilation of your town, dragging all denizens of fair Roslar's Coffer all at once to our lands. That you were misplaced in unfortunate, but presents us a possible option for your first steps on your remediatory journey. As often happens with such calamitous occasions, the inhabitants of Roslar's Coffer aren't quite ready to admit that they have died. Despite their obvious amortality of course."

"Now, Thoot and I, we are not psychopomps in the greatest esteem. One might say we're on our last chances around here. But because these souls have arrived in our territory, it is our duty to make them accept their motality and move them along in a more regulatory soulwardly way."
Umble ruffled his feathers again and Melliare caught sight of a small cut under the psychopomp's wings. More indignantly now, Umble squawked out the next few words as if spitting out a painful memory. "They took one look at us and called us 'Monsters'! They even accosted us with homocidal intent, not allowing us one ounce of discussionment over their predicament. Now, eventually more powerful psychopomps will be along to settle this all out, but Thoot and I will be in a terrible amount of trouble due to this failing. Now-we have done well already, gathering all six of you overtly-living-dead together in one place, but there is more to say."

Hopping down to ground level, Umble stared up at the 6 assembled living adventurers. "Here is our propositionality: if you convince these souls they've expired - as, until the recent event of their passing that you somehow avoided, you were among their kind - we can tell you about the Dead Roads, the roads that lead from the Boneyard to the mortal worlds, that is. Have we a deal?"

Umble extended a wing skyward, her eyes flickering between them all, waiting for the response with eager zeal.


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Old 09-15-2020, 10:21 AM
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Sizwe of the Longazi
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Sizwe was not happy. The thing that called itself number three had used them to destroy something he was quite certain was evil. It had then promised to show him the exit to this place, but merely brought them to another creature of this strange world.

"Is it common for the creations of Pharasma to lie and deceive?" the halfling asks, irritated by the undead beasts that stood before him.

"After using us to achieve what is most likely release a creature of evil, it promised to show us to the exit of this place. And instead, it leads us to you. And you seek to follow it his footsteps, trying to use us to do work you do not wish to do.

I will not be an ignorant tool for you any longer. If the price that you wish to charge for your aid is to do this task, then convince us first. Tell us why these creatures are truly dead while we are not. And tell us why it is important that they know this."
the warrior says, digging the butt of his spear into the ground as he makes it clear he would no longer be a tool of this creation of death.



 
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Old 09-16-2020, 06:02 AM
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First steps
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Umble squawked and flapped her wings in irritance. "Why did the celedon lead you here? You say you wanted the exit-but I suspect you were not specific enough for the servants of Pharasma to truly understand. They led you out of the tomb at the least..."

Number Three rumbled and spoke for the first time, mostly ignoring Sizwe and addressing Umble and Thoot directly. "Psychopomps - We were not aware they were not dead. We do not have your sight, nor knowledge of the workings outside this tomb. Thinking that they were mislaid and confused, this was the only logical thing to do, bring them to the surface and allow them to be found by you." The other celedons nodded in agreement, they were simple servants-what more could be expected of them?

"As for the spirit, we had an incursion whereby several mites and other annoyances had infiltrated the crypt. Where these fey and undead had come from I do not know, but they had disturbed the sanctity of the crypt. The not-dead here helped clear out the tomb to their credit, but distrusted me immediately as I tried to fully clear the crypt. Your wise words would be beneficial here, so that they can resolve their feelings and we can return to our duty. There is much to be cleared up."

Thoot lowered his scythe and pointed the tip towards Sizwe. Umble flew back up in the air and alighted delicately on the end of the scythe, so that she was a foot away from the diminutive halfling's frustrated face.

"Now you must understand something here, vigorous one... This place isn't used to your kind of... muddle. The stumbling blocks that immodestly vitalitinous creatures such as your alluring selves are bound to draw undue attention soon enough. Convention says that you should be shunted off to the Eight Courts to be judged and sent onto your appropriate after-world, but only once you are dead dead. Now that we know the six of you are somewhat post-deceased, ex-departed, we need to find out what you are."

Thoot raised the scythe and turned Umble around to face him. Umble squawked and ruffled his feathers again, turning around and looking skyward as if to search for something the others could not see. "Thoot and I need time to do some digging. There is another - Mictena - who already knows of your existence and would rather dissect and anatomize your beings to find The Thing that makes you singular in your being here, but that would, by and large, involve your being to be in many varied jars across her desk. Not the nicest way to spend your centuries waiting for Pharasma's guiding light, yes?"

The verbose raven seemed to be finally getting to the question that Sizwe had posed. "As to why you are not dead and the others are well... I should start by pointing out that you should be dead, you just aren't. You were in Roslar's Coffer along with your friends who have arrived here in the proper fashion, but there was something involved with your travel here. There is something that is right there for the seeing, if you could see into your hearts. It's ah... a bit of a tweak, you see." Umble continued to balance precariously on the end of the scythe as Thoot started to raise her up in the air.

"I know... I know! The halfling still doesn't believe us. But what do we have to gain from lying and misleading? Suffice to say those of us who are servants to Pharasma have no interest in good or evil, only what we know is supposed to happen deep in our minds. If the celedon here convinced you release the spirit, then it was supposed to happen. Do you believe in fate, Piercer of Enemies? Pharasma certainly does, and thus do those who serve her in this plane. Fate has spared you, but death can still be brought to bear on those... difficult cases that arrive on our doorsteps. Take the hand that is dealt, and run with it, hmmm?"


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Old 09-16-2020, 10:02 AM
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Pareetha snaps out of it
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Pareetha stumbled forward taking the hand offered by Melliare and sweetly smiled.

"Thank you Lady." she said while finding a place to sit down cross legged.

Shivering, not from cold but from fatigue, she did her best to listen to the others and attempted to figure out where she was and how she had gotten there. Wrapping her ragged cape around her chest she looked up as the strange creatures spoke...
"As to why you are not dead and the others are well... I should start by pointing out that you should be dead, you just aren't. You were in Roslar's Coffer along with your friends who have arrived here in the proper fashion, but there was something involved with your travel here."
WHAT? MY FRIENDS ALL DEAD? THE ONLY FAMILY I HAVE EVER KNOWN?

The Viskanya jumped to her feet, her yellow pupiless eyes glaring at the creatures with a feral brighness and she screamed at the top of her lungs...

"HOW DID THIS HAPPEN. WHO IS RESPONSIBLE? HOW CAN AN ENTIRE VILLAGE BE DESTROYED? WHAT ARE YOU HIDING? TELL ME!!!"

She advanced toward the psychopomps, arm extended, finger pointing, rage, sadness and confusion taking control of her normal quiet demeanor. Tears streaming down her face as she heedlessly closed the distance...

WHO OR WHAT CAUSED THIS? TELL ME NOW!!!
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Old 09-16-2020, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Umble
"I should start by pointing out that you should be dead, you just aren't. You were in Roslar's Coffer along with your friends who have arrived here in the proper fashion."
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Roslar’s Coffer had never truly been home for Melliare, but that didn’t mean that it failed to hold any sort of sentimental value for the young paladin. To hear that the entire town had been killed at once sent her mind hurtling along more paths than she could easily count, her heart brought low with sudden mourning for the rest of the garrison, along with several of the townspeople with whom she had developed special rapport. Even if the town itself was somehow intact, it would never be the same. Echoing laughter in the tavern might sound much the same as any other time, but without the notable silent presence of Tessaraea, it would be wrong. "If, as you say, our status as not being dead is an anomaly, my first instinct is to take my sword to each and every one of my companions here, as well as myself. It is a horrendous thought, to be sure, but my calling is to serve Iomedae in her crusades against these sorts of wrongs." Making no move to draw her weapon or buckle on her shield, Melliare looked to each of the others. "But that course of action seems futile. If something killed everyone in Roslar’s Coffer except us I doubt that a simple blade of cold iron would succeed where that thing failed."

Staring Umble down, Melliare fought to put some fire into her words, but the melancholy of the Boneyard had permeated her being. Knowing that she should be dead, and not just that she had escaped a lethal situation, weighed on her heavily. It was not within her nature to suffer the undead to live, though she didn’t know if she could truly classify herself as undead. It was all too much. She needed a priest to consult. A priest or a deity, more likely. "You say this other psychopomp poses a threat to us. We can’t question it because to do so would be to risk our exceptional positions. We need to avoid her." Sighing heavily, she gave the psychopomp a weary look. "What you’re saying is that it would be easier for most of your kind to ignore our desires and see to their own ends, likely causing us harm, but that you would be willing to offer us a way to seek our return if we do you a service and save your jobs. I don’t see any significant problem doing that, but I have one request." Hardening her gaze, she raised her eyes to the strange creature once more. "If we do this, we need more than just the way to the Dead Roads. We need you to find out everything you can about what happened to Roslar’s Coffer and arm us with that. If you can promise to provide that, I, for one, am willing to serve."

The impassioned outburst by the strange girl from town struck Melliare as entirely understandable. The only thing keeping her from a similar display was her general detachment from the people of Roslar’s Coffer. Her only loves were far away, both in Taldor and wherever Cianda had been dispatched to. What if she has been told of my passing!? "Young woman, please," she called out, trying to be as soothing as possible. "These are but servants of the Lady. They likely know little or nothing aside from who or what enters this realm. If you wish to know more and to deal with whatever has sent you here, we need to get back to Lastwall. Save your fury for those who deserve it. I swear to you that you have my sword alongside you in this if you can calm yourself long enough to see this task through. There is nothing we can do if we are stuck in an entirely different world from our own." It hurt to even try to dam up anyone else’s emotions. She wanted to rage and cry and kill as much the others. The only thing holding her back was her training. I will be temperate in my actions and moderate in my behavior. I will strive to emulate Iomedae’s perfection. "Iomedae would use her head before her blade. We should do the same." Her eyes softened as she looked to the furious girl. "Take heart, child, that you do not share the fate of your loved ones. Without you, they have nobody to avenge them."
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Old 09-17-2020, 05:54 AM
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Celeste
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A moment's hope. That was all she had. And now, it had been crushed. She was alive, or so it seemed, but according to the nosoi, Celeste was... alone. All the people she was terrified of leaving alone in the world, her mother, her master, her baby cousin, the pretty Sarenite priestess, all... Gone. What had before been dread and regret was now replaced by something else. A cold, hollow mass in her chest, a malignant grief that threatened to overtake her. The constant turmoil of her emotions had exhausted her, and she couldn't muster another outburst. She was too drained to manage anger or denial. All that was left was... despair. Her home was no more. She, after almost two decades, was alone again.

The young aasimar took in a shaky breath and turned from the group, and slowly trudged a short distance away, turning her empty gaze to the void above them. She remembered what it was like being an orphan, unwanted and forgotten in a Korvosan bunkhouse. This wasn't the same. She never knew her birth family, had never felt their love, support, and protection. This loss was a trauma she may not overcome.

Softly, she began to sob quietly, and turned away from the group, she didn't allow them to see the tears that began flowing down her cheeks, dripping onto the silvery breastplate, and wiping away the dust from the crypt, leaving subtle tracks on the metal. Celeste didn't bother wiping them away, she just folded her arms in front across her stomach and tried to maintain her breathing. So much for waiting to cry.
 
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Old 09-19-2020, 05:39 AM
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The three celedons took a step back from Pareetha as the young girl started screaming at the top of her lungs. Number One looked warily at Umble and Thoot, then at Sizwe, before finally turning to address Pareetha even as Melliare tried to soothe the girl.

"No servant of Pharasma are truly aware of the lives of those we tend. There are ways, if we must, but we are discouraged from such attachment. Please do not presume this makes us more callous, it is merely a protection for us. The dead are often confused, disoriented. It is the psychopomp's task to smooth their transitions to the best of their abilities."

Besides this, death is never an end, here it is a transition. It may not even be the final iteration of that person's life on the Material plane; the Lady of the Graves already knows which souls are destined to be revived, reincarnated or resurrected. While those concerned are not usually aware of this circuitous option, their souls are marked. This is why it takes a couple of centuries for the Lady to pass judgement on each soul. Your friends have time."


Thoot clacked his fingers on his scythe and nodded his head, and Umble croaked in agreement. "Yes! The souls of the dead can have a very circumlocutory and meandering path through their existence, so fear not! All you have to worry about is not getting killed with any finality yourselves." Umble cocked her head to one side, considering something. "Come to think of it, I don't even know what happens to souls such as yours who die in the Boneyard. Can you die? Is it even possible with that uhh... modification?" Umble looked back at Thoot, who shrugged. The celedons shifted uneasily, the dead and the undead were perfectly acceptable, but the party in front of them weren't either and thus, untested at best.

Umble addressed Melliare directly now, responding to her counter-requests. "Carving out your heart is likely what Mictena would like to do. She tinkers with things that fascinate her, and you are bound to enrapture her with your singularity of existence. Best to avoid her indeed. And generally speaking, yes, the psychopomps are here to ignore your desires and shuffle you off to your correct coil. We are beaurocrats, administrators that are best used to keep order and sensibilities in the Boneyard. I dare say there are some records of what happened back when you took your slight detour down to visit Roslar deep in his crypt. Thoot and I can go searching if you are indeed contented with your next task?"

Thoot clacked his fingers once again and pointed his scythe towards Celeste, some way off from the others. Umble piped up one more time, pointing a feathered wing across to the aasimar. "Celedons! Perhaps some of those wise words would be well spent if they were to be spread around?" Number Two nodded and made his way swiftly over to Celeste.

Number Two and CelesteNumber Two approached Celeste who was standing and staring without seeing at a pair of gravestones a short way away from the group. A hand, outstretched yet tentative, passed in front of Celeste's tear-stained eyes. The hand delicately held a black-and-purple butterfly. "Aasimar-you mourn for your friends? Did you have loved ones in Roslar's Coffer with you, people that you wished you could speak to one last time?" The butterfly fluttered its wings and landed lightly on the gravestone in front of Celeste. "You have a chance here, to visit those who have moved on and speak to them once again. This is not something that is normally granted to anyone, you understand, yes? Your goddess, Desna, protects and uplifts you always, luck has guided your steps this far. What's to say that she is still not here, allowing you to make the right choices again?"

Number Two moved fully into view and smiled. The celedon pointed over at the group, still in deep conversation with Umble and Thoot. "Look to these 5. You might not have known them before, but Luck and Fate have thrown you together now. You might not understand all the decisions being made for you, you might not agree with them, but you are out now, with more truth perhaps that you ever wanted to know..."

"You are not alone, yes? You have your friends made here, you have a world to return to, you have your memories to hold close. Here, we deal in death every moment. The fields of this plane are full of those who wait for their loved ones, search for their friends and beg us to send them back so they can reconcile their differences one final time. You are special, you have been given this second chance. Take it, and allow Desna to guide your footsteps just as Pharasma guides my own." Number two stepped back and waved an arm back towards the group.

"Your friends await."


Back on Thoot's shoulder, Umble squawked and clicked her talons on Thoot's bones, eliciting a grunt of annoyance from the skeletal psychopomp. "So what do you think, munchkins? Thoot and I can dig deep into the situation that caused your peculiarities here and you can help guide some 400-odd souls to appreciate the circumstances that they have found themselves in?" Umble's beady eyes moved across each of them in turn, before resting on Sizwe's. "And, little halfling, perhaps I can locate the spurious and scurrilous spectre that squirreled its way out from the crypt. There is every chance that it was destroyed as soon as it was released, 500 years of planning be damned, but if it will rest your mind, well... nobody could say that psychopomps can't be accommodating as well, hmmm?"


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Have taken the Oath of Sangus.

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Old 09-19-2020, 07:04 PM
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Celeste
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Lost in her own dark thoughts, Celeste didn't hear the celedon's approach. The proffered butterfly slowly opened and closed its wings, and then took alight onto the gravestone before her. Sniffing slightly, the young woman took a breath, and turned, forcing an unsteady smile. "Your concern is touching, especially from one I thought an automaton. I mean no offense when I say I didn't think you would be capable of such compassion." Taking another breath, she continued, "I... I not only mourn for my family, but... I'm scared. I remember what it was like... before they took me in. I--" Her voice broke, and she swallowed hard, stifling another sob. "I don't know if I'm ready."

Shaking her head, she wiped her eyes with more force than was necessary. "Sorry, I probably sound like a child." She took another steadying breath, and knelt, looking more closely at the butterfly. "I feel you are right... concerning Desna, I mean." She lightly held her hand out and allowed the butterfly to flutter onto her palm. "I've always felt an affinity with her... When I was young, and the women who ran the orphanage would talk to us of the gods of our land, I always loved the stories of Mother Moon the most." A small sad smile graced her features at recalling those distant times. "Later, after I was taken in by my tribe, it became evident I wasn't like the other children. Not only was I neither fully human or elf, it turns out I wasn't even really a half-elf." Her nebulous eyes flit to the meet the celedon's own stony gaze. "I guess I felt comfort in my studies. Desna doesn't care what you are, human, elf, aasimar, tiefling, whatever. So long as you're... Free."

Standing back up, she carefully lifted her hand and saw the butterfly flutter away. "Thank you for your kind words." She self-consciously straightened non-existent wrinkles on her pants, and patted her face, making it flush. "I mustn't fall to despair... I am free now, of that crypt, and... I must free my family from their own denial. If I don't, they'll be imprisoned here, in between life and death. They deserve peace, at the very least..." She unhooked her waterskin from her belt and dribbled some of its liquid onto a cupped palm. She splashed it onto her face and rinsed the tears away. She dried her face her sleeve, and took a quick drink before replacing the skin onto her hip. "Let's go." Turning, she slowly returned to the group, now with a purpose.
 
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Old 09-22-2020, 12:29 PM
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Sizwe of the Longazi
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The halfling stands pensively for a moment, trying to understand what is going on. His eyes lock onto Pareetha for a moment before he turns to the psychopomp.

"So this one is quick?" the young halfling says, making sure that she, like the others, were alive rather than dead.

"And you, who were created to shepherd the dead to the afterlife, are asking us to do your job for you." he says, shaking his head at the thought of it.

A determined look crosses his face as the young halfling responds. "I do not like you or what you stand for. I believe that your ineptitude could be part of the reason that we are all here in the first place." he growls, his fingers tightening on his spear as he speaks.

"If there are those that need to be shepherded into the next life, then I will do what I can. But understand this, you useless automaton... I will do this only because Celeste has it right. The dead deserve peace, and if you will not give it to them, then we will do it for you." he snarls, beyond angry at the repugnant, unnatural creatures.



 
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