Once out in the open again, the group feels Harae's breeze whiz by them with an unfamiliar speed. it flies straight for the very top of the Lighthouse, which you can all see from your vantage point near the West Tower. A few moments pass but before too long, the magical light atop the Lighthouse begins to flicker once more. A few more seconds go by and the light stabilizes. The beautiful bright yellow light reminds you all of the radiance that commonly envelops Utar when he casts his spells. The Lighthouse has been restored.
(OOC: Let me know if you'd like to change anything about the details below, as I'll assume a few things.)
Before decomposition sets in for good, Neya decides to have her unknown companion buried. Graxx proposes a perhaps-more-efficient burial at sea and the monk agrees. The group spends the next several minutes making their way to the foot of the Lighthouse. Its bright light shines anew, making the trek there pleasant and well-illuminated. Not far from it, there is a cliff where a body can be dropped, respectfully of course, into the ocean.
Please described what is done during the ceremony. Feel free to make choices for Drazzim and Praxx's role in it as well.
The short ceremony begins (OOC: adding some flavor here; feel free to change it).
Praxx nods at Neya and pulls out his lute. His head bowed, the gnome plucks a few chords creating a solemn and respectful slow tune. None recognize it, and one might venture a guess that this is an improvised performance form the talented bard.
Graxx stands at the edge of the cliff, holding the dead agent's body like one might cradle a child. The warrior is ready to let go of the body upon receiving some sort of signal from Neya. He has even found a spot on the cliff that arcs outward, such that it makes it almost certain the dropped body would hit water rather than the rock wall.
Utar brings out his Driftglobe and manipulates it to shed a dim, warm, and welcoming tone of orange light. It mixes well with the bright and almost fully white light being shone from the Lighthouse, and gives the impression that an omnipresent deity is paying special attention on the ceremony being performed by the party.
Drazzim stands still, like a soldier in attention might when asked to do so. He holds his glaive vertically, its blade shining way above the dwarf's head. It is how he chooses to show respect in this moment.
Neya then says a few word...
(OOC: Everyone may contribute here, of course, but I am nudging @Drache to elaborate on what he meant by "recreating a tree" and to deliver the mentioned "short speech".)
Using minor illusion, Neya creates a 5 foot tall image of a tree that at first looks like an oak beside Graxx. But instead of its branches reaching upwards, towards the sky, they are bending downward, with its leaves darkening as they go down.
She then speaks:
"Daughter under the Elder Shade, we gather this eve in remembrance and to see you into the next life. You have been an example of how we live as a part of, and separate from, those around us. Unfortunately, lives like ours also comes with risks, both known and unknown, and neither of those are fully under our control. But, even when the hands of fate turned against you, you never wavered in the service in you duties and we will never fault you for that."
"Your loss is one we can only hope to recover from. We thank you for sharing a language with us. It is something we cannot do until, we too, are able to speak the true language of silence."
(@Drache: Beautifully done. Please add an Inspiration Token to your sheet.)
With speech delivered, nod given, and body released, all party members remain wordless for a few extra moments. Their respectful silence is only broken by the arrival of Darvag, the groundskeeper. He is accompanied by Rorin, his teen-aged son (i.e. the Wererat).
"Tyr be praised! You all really did it! You restored the Lighthouse!" A truly thankful expression takes over Darvag's face. "Our livelihoods are saved. The city's trade can restart once again!"
Rorin cannot avoid showing some relief as well: "You kept your word. That gives me hope for a better future." He winks at Utar.
"Come now, all of you. You must be tired. Hungry too. Shandra has prepared supper for us. She'll be happy to have you join. As long as you don't mind eating in the kitchen, that is. Come, come." Darvag begins to lead the group back to the Manor.
Once the party arrives, Rorin rushes to the kitchen to share the news with his mother. While the group settles in, Shandra comes out with a large smile: "Torm heard our prayers! You are all champions of his light! There is plenty of food in the kitchen table for all to celebrate!"
A sudden realization then overcomes her facial expression: "What about Master Igan? Is he still outside?"
After a moment of quiet reflection, Utar wishes Neya's fallen sister well on her final journey. He hopes Torm's hand guides her.
Looking round to Rorin, Utar gives the young man a friendly nod. Remembering that he is to take him to the temple once everything here is finalised. Being told he stands in the light of Torm momentarily allows him to forget about the dark deeds of the dungeon, but sadly Rorin's questions pull him back. Utar lets a long exhale go, almost deflating him. He looks around at the others
"Igan died. Igan died down there when he went down with the Black Fist guards."
Shandra is stunned by the news: "I... I... had a feeling that was the case. Poor Master Igan and his adventurous nature. It must have been something quite dangerous if not even Sergeant Grim could save our quartermaster," she says solemnly. She then changes subject: "Well, I am no longer in the mood to celebrate, but dinner is served nonetheless. Please enjoy and regain your strength. Rest well tonight. You all deserve it."
Shandra calls it a night right then and there. Darvag takes the lead in getting the supper finally served and all of you join him and Rorin for a warm, cozy meal. Though it is not a banquet (Shandra was not expecting you for dinner to begin with), there is plenty of food to go around. The main fare is a large, whole, braised chicken seasoned with just the right amount of coriander and served alongside a generous loaf of acorn bread. Darvag makes sure there is enough brandy to wash it down with: "Well, Master Igan won't be drinking it anymore..." he says in a grieving tone. Rorin stays mostly silent through the meal, but a loud and full-of-joy Rupert, the fisherman turned ferryman who brought you over to Thorn Isle a couple of days ago, joins in before too long. It would seem he never left, enjoying his stay at the luxurious Manor since arrival.
(OOC: I'll pause here to allow you guys to add flavor and some RPing during the dinner. Otherwise, let me know and we can move forward with the next step, which I am guessing is to take a looooong rest!)
Utar sits, and while not feeling particularly hungry a moment ago, falls upon the food with relish. As the brandy is passed around he raises his glass in silent toast before draining it.
Thinking back to his conversation with Elias and the particular concern he had for Neya's group, Utar realises he knows relatively little about them. Between mouthfuls of chicken and bread, he tries to broach the subject.
"Neya... the ceremony we performed at the clifftops... What was the significance of the tree? Are you, and the others like you the leaves? Is the tree your people, growing strong together? Weathering the fiercest storms? What is the Elder Shade?"
Neya chokes a little bit, "*ahem* I guess I opened myself up to those questions..."
"That tree is a real plant that grows back in my home village, albeit much larger than I was able to represent. We it an "Occlusive Oak." There are five mature individuals, so far. Indicative to its name, the Elder Shade is the oldest of them."
"As you saw, their features are unique, and would make them stand out in any forest. But they seem to possess an innate glamour that almost makes the seem as if they belong. Even to the point where they can just be ignored. One of the effects of this is the surrounding area becomes oddly quiet. To be honest, I don't know how they acquired that trait."
"They also seem to have some affinity to nighttime or darkness... On nights of the new moon, they seem to almost glow. I find it's a oddly serene sight."
"You might be right that they've influenced our philosophy... They've certainly been our inspiration to our means of operation."
Rorin whispers back to Graxx: "Good riddance! I hope he burns in the nine circles of hell. I can't wait to be rid of this curse he left me." The way the teen gnaws at the chicken leg he is holding is more animal like than otherwise. Graxx swears that his two front teeth have grown a tad since the prior night.
Rupert the fisherman also eats with the savagery of a man who probably does not see a lot of food on a daily basis. He chews with his mouth open and does not demonstrate a lot of knowledge or interest in the world at large judging by the topics he chooses to include in his conversations. You all begin to realize he does not necessary have the best moral compass either, especially after he reveals that he has decided to leave "that bitch of a wife to live the good life here in Thorn Isle."
Darvag spends his conversational efforts making small talk with everyone around the table. Every now and then he stands up to check on Shandra, just to come back with a "she's fine" comment and resume eating. At some point during his small talk, he says a couple of sentences that pique your interest. "A few of days ago Igan had been really excited, bursting with energy, but frustrated about the fact that sergeant Grim was not present; having returned to the city for official reasons. It is sad to think they'd both be dead shortly after reuniting..."
Darvag responds, not realizing the importance of his words: "Well, the sergeant would go back to the mainland every now and then to renew his assignment. You see, guardsmen typically assigned to the Keep didn’t seem to like the assignment at all. They seem to see it as a form of punishment for troublesome members of the Black Fist. But not this sergeant. He would always volunteer for the assignment, but he had to do it in person. I gather he liked it here on account of being friends with the quartermaster, you know."
He continues: "As for Master Igan himself, he was happy because of his research or something like that. Always mentioning some long forgotten treasure. Children's tales, I say. They both went looking for it and are now dead... waste of good men."
He looks over to the corner: "By the way, what's in those large burlap sacks up brought with you into the kitchen?"