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  #1  
Old 06-14-2018, 04:29 PM
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Vance, the Death-Speaker

"Death is a friend of ours; and he that is not ready to entertain him is not at home."
- Francis Bacon



MANY FIND THE DESOLATION THAT COMES AFTER WAR TO BE QUIET, STRANGELY SERENE. After such a loss of life, the air hangs heavy with the silence of the dead. But in death, life is found anew. It may be an end, but it is in many ways a beginning. The common man often ignored this, and lived in fear and ignorance of death. As thousands of lives were taken outside the walls of Evermor in the Battle of the Twins, the common man found the desolate place to be one of silence.

Vance Farthing, a Gravekeeper, found it deafening.

You see, the Knights of the Grave, colloquially referred to as the Gravekeepers, were gifted with a sort of sixth sense. They possess the ability to interact with the dead, with an innate power none can explain. Though some may regard this as a blessing or a curse, the Gravekeepers often carry it as a thankless burden, for it allows them to define and protect the line between life and death. Theirs is an ancient order, and though dwindled, still exists throughout Vasloria.

Well, throughout what used to be Vasloria. After the reign of the Tyrant Zerah, one of the Twins, the Vasloria the race of Men knew was no more. It was took to being called the Sundered Vale, in mark of the desolation that had ravaged its rugged northern landscape. Perhaps those who were swimming in patriotism after Gola the Lightbringer took down his sisters' dark reign, sacrificing himself and beginning the Free Age, would try to raise the Vaslorian flag once more, but everybody knew that the world just wasn't the same. The people who fought for that flag? Most of them were dead.

And Vance could see them, he could hear them, the poor souls of war who were stuck in this world, unable to move on to the next. He had performed the thankless job of leading some to their peaceful rest, and yet leading others to accept their new existence and find a role within the spiritual community that haunted the breezes of Evermor streets.

That was a year ago. Now, hear the unspoken tale of Vance Farthing, the Death-Speaker, one of the first of a group who would one day change the world. Hear how he became embroiled in events of a gravity he could scarce comprehend, his actions in which would shape the most important stories to come years down the road.






Second Year of the Free Age
Goldenfall the 28th, mid-morning
Monarch Cemetery, Evermor

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IGNORANCE IS BLISS. When it came to their graveyards, the citizens of Evermor preferred to keep the dead buried outside of city walls. There was a certain supernatural element to the honored places of buried dead, where one could feel the weight of their presence. For most, this was something to be afraid of. That's why the Monarch Cemetery, the largest graveyard in Evermor, hugged the outside walls of the city. The tall, thick barrier of stone made the people feel safer, more secure. As did the large evergreen trees that had been planted throughout the grounds, staying green through all seasons and blocking vision of the cemetery. Out of sight, out of mind.

What a place for a Knight of the Grave to call home.

Officially, Vance Farthing's job here was to guard the place and deter any would-be graverobbers. Important, especially considering how it was outside the walls, but you would be surprised at how rare of a problem that was. His home was a small one, but comfortable. It was a good deal smaller than the other two buildings on the expansive property, those being the mausoleum, and the home of the undertaker, Oskar Ruby-Eye. It was more cabin than shack, but was by no means a palace.

But it was a home. And what more could anyone ask for?

On one of the mornings of the waning days of Goldenfall, just a few days shy of the Halloween, basically. See calendar & time info threadBlight, Vance's pre-noon business was interrupted by a polite rapid-fire knock to his front door. He could see the vague shadow of a shorter person, perhaps a child, through the sun-lit window. Strange. He hadn't heard them approach.

"Mail for you, Mister Farthing!" The higher-pitched male voice came through slightly muffled by the door. The voice was polite, though the supposed mailman seemed to be in a hurry.

Even stranger. Mail here wasn't usually delivered to his door.
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Last edited by nanovich; 06-14-2018 at 04:49 PM.
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  #2  
Old 07-21-2018, 09:44 AM
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Habit sprang to mind. Even here, it was inescapable.

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A voice rising out of the graveyard gave cause to reach for a blade. He stopped himself, not wanting to lose his place in his book before he had a chance to mark it. Half leaning in the chair, half leaning to stay in it, Vance sighed, a predicament to be sure. He didn't smell particularly good, either, but that was a perk of living in a cemetery, no one to complain.

Not entirely a blessing, that.

Electing to do things right and leave paranoia at the door for now, Vance cleared his throat, feeling the phlegmy build-up in it from not speaking for perhaps a day, not even to his one companion, the skull on the mantle that never spoke back. He should name the thing. "Coming." Reaching and grabbing a piece of parchment, a letter from a friend from two months ago he hadn't yet responded to, he shoved it in the history book and sat it on his makeshift desk, which was more a chair with clothes and ambition stacked upon it, beside his bed. Realizing he wore no pants, he reached over to the hide pants at the end of the bed and struggled inside of them, not for girth of waist but for impaired ability, from sheer laziness.

Making sure his shirt wasn't an abhorrent sea of stains, he stood, and then considered his sword once again.

No, the crossbow. Leave Samedi to sleep for now, there was no real threat. It was just the mail, but why here?

He let the thought hang while he checked the crossbow, safety on. Everything in working order, he pondered why someone would know to seek him out here, let alone do so.Typically it was word of mouth that got to him and then he sought them, which, coincidentally, gave him the chance to clean up. Running a hand over his face, he thought about wetting it, at least to give it a sheen beyond the oil that was likely built up in the stubble. Looking to the window opposite the door, he caught his reflection in the pale light of the candle he kept lit, a haggard image distorted by mismade glassworks. Not much he could do there.

His feet fell heavily on the wood floor, creaking with each movement of his relatively light weight, his thin frame moving with expectant grace, though more like a hammer than a dancer.

Remembering the voice, he reconsidered the crossbow, and hung it from the hook beside the door, atop his jacket, and then opened the door.

"Odd thing, you comin' out this far. What agency do you work for, kid?" The light proved difficult on his eyes, he preferring the controlled light of his shack to anything else.

Something told him that his otherwise lazy day was about to be anything but.
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Old 07-31-2018, 12:39 AM
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"Kid?" The higher pitched voice took an air of offense as Vance's eyes began to adjust to the light, and he saw that the three foot tall fellow in front of him was sporting a thick, hairy beard.

Well, it was less of a beard, and more of two overgrown sideburns that were trying in vain to grow so low on his cheek as to meet each other at the chin. They framed a bulbous nose and beady eyes that appeared to take stock of Vance's mid-morning image, sparing no judgment. His common clothing was covered in dried dirt and mud, though it appeared to be loose-fitting and comfortable, allowing for easy movement. He had a satchel full to the brim of letters and scrolls, with notes on where to take them.

Ah, he was a polder. That explains why Vance didn't hear him approach the house. The polder were originally created to be servants to Man, performing duties of hearth and home, completing menial tasks. They were very quiet so that they could move about the table to serve wine and food without disturbing the conversations of their betters. This trait led them to become excellent thieves, which was a common profession chose among them after they had earned their independence. But rather than deciding to make a living taking stuff, the polder in front of Vance apparently made his living delivering it.

"My agency? Only Fourwind Press & Delivery, the biggest mail business in the whole of Evermor! Lot of buzz there this morning about you, Mister Farthing. You've been sent not one, but two priority doorstep messages, and on the same day no less!" He already had prepared in his hand what looked like a formal scroll next to grubby, dirty folded up note. They were tied together with a piece of twine, the note wrapping around the curvature of the scroll. He offered both to Vance, raising his hand up high so the Gravekeeper wouldn't have to bend down to accept them.
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Last edited by nanovich; 07-31-2018 at 12:41 AM.
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Old 08-17-2018, 03:10 AM
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Well. Crap.

He studies the polder and sighs. "Ah, hell. Look, I apologize; it's been. Well, it hasn't been much of a day, to be perfectly honest. I like that. But that's no excuse to throw around swear-words at you. You're no kid, and I respect an honest day's work." Was that racist? It felt racist. "Not that you'd do anything else, I mean, I just, uh." Oh hell. "Shut up, Farthing. Shut up while you're in dead last." Where else could he be?

And then, the big news: two parcels!

"Well I'll be damned." He reaches down to take it. "Oh, uh, first." Was it customary to tip? He didn't recall all of a sudden. Still.... oh, snap. He forget he didn't have change from the last big thing. All he had were ten gold ones.... Hm. Worse decisions made in worse times, but this was a hard one. Parting with a full gold! Well, a good cause, to cover his stupid, stinking mouth.

"Here you go. No change, keep it to the last. And you have a good one." Once the courier is done with him, he shuts the door and prepares to get reading.

Who in the grave could want him this badly?
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Old 09-14-2018, 12:02 AM
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The Day Begins
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The polder raised bushy eyebrows at the Gravekeeper's slight ramble, but produced a toothy smile at the sight of the coin. He left after a deep bow, muttering to himself as he jogged along. Vance thought he heard him say something about him getting into graveyard duty if they make that kind of money.

The door closed with a slight creak as Vance picked his way back to the 'desk,' moving the history book aside and examining what the polder had given him. He undid the twine around the two objects, setting the scroll aside. The scroll was sealed, with the seal of the King's Army - a heron flying over crenelations - which made it look rather official compared to the crumpled note. Vance peered at the note to examine it, immediately recognizing the poor handwriting. Tarron Rendale.

The Grubby Note
Vance

Alanar has called for a Gathering for the night of the 28th, at sundown. The few of us left in Vasloria are meeting then at Riven Tor southwest of the city.

Don't know what he has planned or why there's a Gathering. You're the only one of us in Evermor, so expect to have to talk about the situation there.

Don't be late.

T

Vance

Alanar has called for a Gathering for the night of the 28th, at sundown. The few of us left in Vasloria are meeting then at Riven Tor southwest of the city.

Don't know what he has planned or why there's a Gathering. You're the only one of us in Evermor, so expect to have to talk about the situation there.

Don't be late.

T
*


A Gathering.

Vance hadn't been to a Gathering since he was a boy, and he was still being trained by Tarron. The Gravekeepers, recluses by nature, weren't exactly fond of them, and there were no real friendships between any of the Knights of the Grave. Only Alanor could call a Gathering, as he was the Knight with the most seniority in the Vaslorian region, which only consisted of about half a dozen.

Heck, and Vasloria was really the only place left with Knights. At least, as far as Vance knew. He hasn't exactly kept in great contact with the order.

Riven Tor. He knew the place. A rocky outcropping about an hour's march from the city walls, or a half hour's ride on horseback. The sun would be setting about five hours from midnight. He glanced out the small window, even though he couldn't see the sky. He needed to be at the Gathering about eight hours from now.

There was still the matter of the scroll. Breaking the seal, he rolled it out and read the much nicer, flowing script.

The King's Army Dispatch
Vance, it's Dallis.

You didn't respond to my last letter, so you're either dead or stupid, but if it's the latter, try real hard to pay attention. I've been promoted to Inquisitor, thanks to my role in liberating the city. Fun job, involves lots of dead people, you'd love it. I even get to place the Army's seal on my 'official dispatches.'

Though, I went through a mail service rather than an Army messenger, as you can see. I think there's people here want to see me fail. At least, I keep getting the hardest cases, the ones no one else can figure out. This far, I've handled everything they've thrown at me. But this time, I'm at a dead end. There's a noble murdered, and there's just so little physical evidence.

If you can help me out, it's off the books, but I'll pay you myself. The site's in Sacred Stones, west of the Auric, in an alley behind the upscale tavern Effervescence. I'll be there, trying to figure it out. Been here all night. Don't ignore this letter - if you bring me something to eat, I might consider forgiving you for the last letter.

Dallis


Well. When Vance woke up, the day seemed like any other - but now it seemed he was getting booked up.

Dallis. She was Vance's friend. They weren't exactly good friends, and met very rarely, but considering the Gravekeeper's track record with friends, she was among the best. Though very young, she was instrumental in Gola's coup to take back Evermor from his twin sister, Zerah, just a year before. Unfortunately, due to Gola's death Dallis didn't get the recognition she deserved in the newly established King's Army. That is until now, but from the letter it sounded as if she still wasn't in the best situation.

Dallis was a hot-tempered counter to Vance's cool. She was arrogant and headstrong, and extremely stubborn - but when she set her mind to something, she got it done. And it seemed, from the little word they've had, that she was set on getting Vance out of his reclusive cabin. Hopefully, she wasn't lying about the situation with others trying to see her fail, and the toughness of her case just to get him out into the city. No, that couldn't be it - Dallis was honest to a fault. That's where she and Vance were similar.

Vance set the letters aside. A Gathering of the Knights of the Grave at sundown, and a case likely to end in gallivanting about the city with Dallis to take up the day. He was about to get very busy, if he let himself get swept up into it. The question was, how would he prepare for the day?
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ad ven ture -(noun): a series of terrible decisions

Last edited by nanovich; 09-14-2018 at 12:10 AM.
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