(OOC: Here is some information everyone would be familiar with regarding Kelemvor. Doozey may choose not to read this in case not knowing of the culture/religion/customs of Faêrun is part of his background.)
Kelemvor is also know as The Lord of the Dead or the Judge of the Damned. Kelemvor is seen as a just, fair, and comforting god of death. Death comes to all, and when it occurs Kelemvor is there to take each soul by the hand and lead it to the proper afterlife. Kelemvor’s priests teach that those who revere the gods according to the rites of their religion have done their proper service and will be offered the afterlife they seek. This god's symbol is an skeletal arm holding scales in balance.
The faithful of Kelemvor provide people with peaceful transitions into the care of the Lord of the Dead. They help the dying put their affairs in order, and they officiate at funeral rites for those who can’t afford the lavish ceremonies of their faith. The tenets of Kelemvor’s faithful compel them to forestall or prevent untimely deaths whenever possible. Different sects and worshipers define “untimely” in different ways. One group might concentrate on stopping the spread of disease, another on the prevention of murder, and yet another on eliminating the scourge of the undead. In fact, all the faithful of Kelemvor despise the undead and work to some degree to eliminate them, for undead of any sort are seen as an abomination of the natural order. This belief obviously puts Kelemvor’s faithful at odds with necromancers, priests of Myrkul, and others who promote the creation of the undead, and it also causes conflict from unexpected sources. For instance, priests of Kelemvor routinely destroy any writings about the creation of the undead that they find — an act that offends those who value knowledge for its own sake, such as the faithful of Oghma and Deneir. And there also exist undead that aren’t evil, such as the baelnorn, which the elves consider holy. Kelemvor’s devotees seek the end of such beings regardless of that fact.
(OOC: Being in Phaln for some time now and having worked with Brother Keefe before, you would all also know some history concerning the Kelemvorites in the city. Once again, Doozey may opt to not read it if it fits his character.)
THE GRAVEYARD AND THE KELEMVORITES IN PHLAN:
Valhingen Graveyard is located on the west-most shore of the Stojanow, the river that divides the city of Phlan and its immediate surroundings into three distinct sections. Phlan’s graveyard is a statuesque garden of flowering plants and trees. One of Cvaal Daoran’s (The Lord Protector of Phlan more than 100 years ago) first acts was appointing a small contingent of Kelemvor faithful to clear the graveyard of undead. They perform mortuary and interment services for the city. Since falling under their care, there has been no undead activity in the graveyard, although it served as the well-known resting place of Miltiades; an undead paladin of legend.
Typical Cleric of Kelemvor: The Kelemvor clergy in Phlan has been steadily growing over the years. For the most part, the acolytes are reserved as would be expected and dress in simple, rough-spun grey or yellowish robes, regardless of rank within the clergy. Despite the name of their order (Order of the Silent Shroud), they do not swear a vow of silence, but are nonetheless typically too busy for casual conversation.
Utar tries to recall some knowledge on Kelemvor and its followers in Phlan (in addition to the well-known information above) but fails to come up with anything given the mournful ambiance surrounding him and his friends at the moment. In fact, he is sure he is forgetting something he had already learned about this clergy last time they met Brother Keefe.
Doomguide Yovir senses a bit of hesitation in the group as Utar introduces each member. Doozey is the first to venture a conversation. The Doomguide gently interrupts the halfling trying to reassure the whole group: "Brother Yovir is fine, or just Yovir would work too. There is no need for formalities, my kin."
As Doozey continues, Yovir then responds: "You are welcome to grieve as you see fit. Most simply stand in deep thought while facing the graves, or bring gifts. Villonah here did both. The priests in the Valhingen Graveyard try to honor the dead a bit differently. We try to ensure the grounds they become a part of are as fertile as then can be. They give as much life as possible. Look around you: many plants and fruit-bearing trees. Life from death."
Villonah then finally speaks: "Yovir, this is the group my father hired to rescue me. Help was on its way whether they knew it or not, but they did help. They were there when I last saw the geezer. If I hadn't been caught... He might... He would still be here." She begins sobbing.
"Perhaps we should give you a few moments alone, dear Villonah." Yovir says. "Why don't I take our friends here to that gazebo over there and you can join us once you are ready?" Villonah doesn't respond, but she doesn't need to. Yovir gestures to you so you can follow, but will not force you either, in case you'd like to pay your respects to Rillo first.
Once the five of you are in the gazebo, he simply says: "Speak your mind. I then may have something to share with you too." He lets you go next before speaking again. You can tell he is not necessarily implying that the topic of conversation should be Rillo Leadstopper.
Graxx walks up to Villonah wish his head bowed and eyes open.
"I'm... I'm sorry for what you're goin' through right now. If I've learned anything in this life it's that everything happens just like it was supposed to. You got caught just as fate had decided long ago and your daddy's time was decided prior. It doesn't make sense and it hurts. The emotional pain hurts worse than any dagger through the chest. It's an unfair and cruel world we livin' but you can't blame yourself. You'll go mad. Rillo went out bravely and that's more than most folks that have passed on could say. Use the rest of your time here to make him even prouder of you than he already was."
Graxx will wait for a response and if there is not one he will proceed to the Gazebo with the others.
When Graxx asks for a moment, Brother Yovir waves as if to indicate that he understands: "Take your time, I'll be waiting at the gazebo."
To both Graxx's and Neya's words, Villonah just nods slowly and says: "I was mean to him, you know. I thought he was overbearing and over protective. I rebelled. I joined the Order of the Gauntlet to show I was independent... Now, I cannot shake the feeling I was being just a brat. He did it all because he cared. He asked around town about me because he cared. He let himself be ridiculed when trying to get the guards to rescue me because he cared. He hired you because he cared... I was too proud to show him I cared back. Now I won't ever be able too..."
After a tear-laden but brief pause, she adds: "Thank you for your words. Go now, join the Doomguide. I'll be over in a minute or two..."
AT THE GAZEBO:
Brother Yovir invites you to speak your mind. Utar is the first to accept that invitation. Once he does, the priest responds: "Some of those more directly affected by the Sinking of the Lyceum might still harbor ill-will toward the gnome. We've had grave robbers in the past, so I would not put that beyond the realm of possibility this time around. As for the Black Fist, all I know is that the investigations intensified leading up to the execution. Someone mentioned seeing a gnome and an elf traveling northward and away from Lyceum soon after it collapsed. Villonah has informed me that it must have been her and her companion, Yllivia, after the rescue was completed. If I had to guess, once Rillo heard they might have had a lead on Villonah, he jumped in to take all of the responsibility, protecting her, her companion, and anyone else that might have been down there." He has a knowing look about him when he says those last few words.
He then changes subject a bit: "I have a request to make of you now that I know you were brave enough to rescue Villonah in her hour of need and even beat the Order of the Gauntlet to it. There have been reports of a ship manned by shadows that has been haunting the Stormy Bay Coast, destroying small villages and homesteads. The knights of the Black Fist have been keeping half an eye on the situation, given that the attacks appear to be moving in the direction of Phaln. Nonetheless, I do not think they are expecting an attack on our city. I disagree with them and believe their preparations to be inadequate. At least one Black Fist agrees with me: the same Captain Aleyd Burral you just mentioned, in fact. It would seem your group is more involved in this than what I initially concluded. At any rate, the captain has been tasked with gathering information on these attacks. I am of the mind to send her some help as the rest of the knightly order doesn't seem inclined to do so. Are you the ones to take on this task?"
Doomguide/Brother Yovir pauses to assess your responses and reactions. You can tell he has more to share, but is being careful (passive insight in action).
Utar looks hesitantly to the rest of Chaotic Relief.
"If you know we helped Villonah at her father's request, you should know we haven't exactly had the most... positive encounters with the Black Fist thus far."
He sighs, resigned to having to face Aleyd Burral sooner our later, wishing for more time to formulate what questions he most wanted her to answer.
"I have never known Captain Burral to be wrong in these matters. If she's concerned about something, we should be too. I wonder though, if you and your Brothers might keep an eye on a couple of things within the city while we are otherwise detained. Dead animals seen to be turning up with alarming regularity, which I know is troubling Biscuit here no end. More pressing are reports of muggings within the residential district of town, which might be controlled and targeted and would likely be tempted by the sight of a lone brother walking the streets."
Doozey similiarly left words of condelences to Graxx and Neya, but would wait patiently by the wayside. Prior to leaving to the Gazeebo, he lingers still, hands shaking at his side as he looked to Villonah until a nudge from Biscuit brought him back to reality. He turns, smiling gratefully, then after a moment's pause whispers something to Biscuit after dismounting from him. With that, the halfling left to join the others, trusting his partner to make their wolly way over to Villonah's side for silent comfort. And no amount of complaints would get the beast to leave until Villonah herself looked genuinely ready to step away from the grave.
At the Gazebo/Present:
"Aye." Doozey says after a while, then in a clearer voice he repeats the word. "I've given it some further thought, and its no disease at that. Not exactly your realm of expertise I'm sure, Brother Yovir. But something to keep an eye out for while out 'n about. This was no mere beast doing the attacking for sure. Bodies were slashed and bitten, but not consumed in any fashion... and there were the birds as well." He trails for a half a second, then shook his head. "I had half a mind to carry a corpse for your examination. But Biscuit would not let one be near him long enough." A sheepish smile briefly blooms as he looks back to the dog. "About this ship and shadows. I do not suppose you know of any local legends or the like that could pretain this would you?"
Rollback Post to RevisionRollBack
When you realize you're doing too much: Signature.
"True, we've had the misfortune of meeting some of the less ethical members. But that vote of confidence for Captain Burral from Utar is enough for me, for now."
"We have heard rumors of such a ship. Often it's a passing mention (referring to when Fat Mar mentioned something similar, possibly in jest), but nothing concrete. This is the first time we heard that it has been getting closer to the city. Whomever is on the ship seems to be getting more bold."
(OOC: Props to @Drache for remembering Fat Mar's mention. DM Inspiration die to you, sir.)
Doomguide Yovir responds first to Utar: "Yes, Villonah told me everything in her grief. Once you made your entrance and she mentioned you were the ones who rescued her, the rest was simple to deduce." He then agrees with Neya: "The lower ranks of the Black Fist are rife with corruption and pettiness. No different from any order that acquires some sort of political power. It doesn't surprise me that you had some unfortunate encounters. That said, I would advise not judging the entirety of any group of people by the behavior of some."
Once Utar mentions keeping an eye on recent events in the city, the Doomguide waves a hand from side to side. "I am sorry, Tormite," he says noticing the amulet around half-orc's neck. "We Kelemvorites make it an explicit policy to remain neutral to the intricate web of political and policing events. We are tasked with guiding people to the afterlife, not interfering with when they arrive there. We especially despise the undead, for they are an affront to the natural cycle of death. While this spurs us to action at the mention of a ship of shadows, it also keeps us at bay concerning any other occurrences. Moreover, we barely ever leave the graveyard grounds. Our supplies are delivered and our needs are met within the grounds. I have duties outside every so often, but those are the burdens of the Doomguide alone. I do not mean this as anything other than trying to be helpful within the limitation of my beliefs, but perhaps your request would fall in better hands were you to ask your fellow Tormites, or maybe another group you have made allies of in this city. I am sorry."
To Neya's comment on the actions of these shadow sailor, Yovir adds: "Bolder and perhaps more powerful. In addition to these shadows, I hear rumors about liches. Exagerations, I hope, but we better not dismiss them. These sort of powerful undead are extremely rare but unfortunately have not been that uncommon in the history of the Moonsea region. The followers of Kelemvor are staunch enemies of the undead and when they surface, we do our part in stamping them out."
To Graxx, the Doomguide simply nods in agreement and says: "I wish you luck in both matters, brave worrier."
When Doozey mentions animals, Yovir reinforces his earlier point: "As I mentioned, you'll need to find different allies in your investigation of these strange animals, alive or dead. I realize it sounds a bit hypocritical of me to ask for your help while denying some in return, but I ask that you understand and respect the teachings of Kelemvor, which we so deeply follow here in Valhingen. The best I can do, is perhaps offer to help you find some leads in this venture. A contact I trust and who is not bound to this graveyard, perhaps. Of course, if you rather recruit your own allies, I will respect that too."
When the halfling changes subjects to stories of legend, he then says: "Many stories of haunted ships, houses, and villages out there. Most are told to scare children into obeying their parents. There is no telling which ones are rooted in some ancient half-truth. Ask different people and they will all tell you a different horror tale. My favorite has always been the one about the Audacity and its crew of hellish sailors. My mother used to tell me that one so I would keep away from the water, you see... She never really liked water that much." He smirks underneath his bushy beard, surely lost in reminiscence.
Biscuit remains a few dozen feet away, by Villonah's side.
Yovir then concludes: "So, may I count with your assistance in this matter? I have more information to share, but I am reluctant to do so unless I have your unanimous agreement. I hope you will agree to it. I heard it from Villonah and I can already tell from out brief interaction that you are trustworthy adventurers. Captain Aleyd Burral could certainly use your help. I can sweeten the pot by offering that contact I mentioned."
Utar bows his head, ashen faced in case he has caused some offence.
"I did not... I mean, I don't want you... I only meant..."
He sighs, closing his eyes for a moment then launches into his reply to Brother Yovir.
"I did not mean to suggest for one moment that you abandon your vows to Kelemvor. I only thought to ask that should any information on either of the things I spoke about make its way to you and your Brothers, it might also find it's way to us. Phlan is our home, for good or ill, and at times it feels like it is a black, bleak place. I would rather it was not..."
Utar lets his voice trail off, thinking on Brother Yovir's words. After a moment Utar cocks an eyebrow and looks at Yovir from the corner of his eye as if trying to get a fresh angle on the Doomguide. He smiles, suddenly aware of how shrewd Yovir is.
"For all you Kelemvorites try to stay neutral, you are quite insistent on having us meddle in affairs of politics and policing on your behalf."
Graxx raises his eyebrows at Utar's last sentence comeback. He raises his fist to his mouth and looks off to the side holding in a mixture of laughter and being awestruck. He takes a moment to compose himself bites his lip and turns back.
"Well. I reckon it's about time to find out if these ol' shadows can bleed." says Graxx.
Graxx then looks back towards where they came from.
"It probably 'aint the right time to ask about now but Villonah's in the Order of the Gauntlet. They might be willing to help us when we get back with some of these other things.", says Graxx in both a statement and question voice in-flexion.
"Insistent might--" The halfling starts to say, only to wisely shut his trap. Leaving the matter to cool or boil as it may, Doozey slips a foot back, and bows part way at the waste to Yovir. "You have my thanks for the advise, Wise Brother. If you have another contact to speak of on the matter of, well, the animals especially, that too would be appreciate. I fear being new in town for the most part does not make for a strong personal backing, to say the least."
He glances over to Graxx. "Speaking of backing... You know... She might insist upon being that support, Mr. Graxx. More directly, if'n you catch my drift. So... uhm... That's not to say we shouldn't look into it of course 'fore right and proper see'n to these shades on the sea. Just to keep it in mind, if the plan is to approach her about it."
Rollback Post to RevisionRollBack
When you realize you're doing too much: Signature.
Yovir fully appreciates the apparent conflicting ideas he has put forth, revealing so with a knowing smile behind his bushy white beard. Nonetheless, his calm demeanor never wavers: "As I mentioned, we followers of Kelemvor vow to remain neutral before the matters of power, politics, and the daily functioning of any society. Our only realm of expertise is death and our mandate is to offer the guidance needed by lost souls trying to reach it. However, our belief-based shackles are removed if the matter at hand involves the undead. That is when the followers of Kelemvor desist from being passive observers and spring into action. A ship potentially full of undead shadows fulfills such moral requirement. Me enlisting you to help the person formally assigned to investigate the issue is how I am acting."
Noticing that all four of you have started to nod in agreement, he begins sharing the additional information he had mentioned: "I suggest that you begin by gathering information about the attacks in Phlan itself. Captain Burral is an obvious contact on the matter, but there is another. Yesterday, a man from a small unnamed hamlet two days southwest of Phlan was picked up just outside the city. Raving about a dracolich, and seemingly insane, the man was delivered into our care. I'm afraid his mind is gone and it will take some time for him to recover if he ever does at all. We were unable to gather any useful information from him, but perhaps you'll fare better. Apart from these two, I'm am sure successful adventurers like you have other contacts throughout town. I encourage you to reach out to them if you think it would be helpful. You are obviously also welcome to come back to me if I can be of further assistance."
He then turns to Doozey and adds: "On the matter of your other investigations, I recommend seeking a man by the name of Podo. He used to be a acolyte of Kelemvor here in the graveyard up until several months ago. Drink and wanderlust drove him away from Valhingen. I hear he now lives in the streets of the residential district, in the east portion of town. If these burglaries are happening there as you mentioned, or if there are lots of dead and strange animals around, he'd likely have noticed a thing or two, sobriety permitting."
It is then that you hear Villonah shift her weight a few feet away from you. She is clearly getting ready to make her way to the gazebo. If there is anything you'd like to talk about with the Doomguide before Villonah joins in, this is the time.
Doozey purses his lips at the mention of Dracoliches, and tries to remember...
History: 6. (Unless I can use nature, then its +2 added on)
"Podo...Podo... Okay. I think I have it. My thanks again, Brother Yovir. May Yondalla show us all favor in our future endeavors in the coming time." A small smile briefly creeps into his face. For a brief moment, it looked as if he might say something more, only to hesitate hearing Biscuits warning 'Boof' in the distance. Seeming to forget the train of thought in the process, he steps up a few feet as if meaning to meet the approaching duo half-way, only to step off to the side to keep the path clear.
In the meantime, a much mroe active Biscuit strides up to walk side by side the gnome on the way to the Gazeebo, going from worried to warily happy now that she finally was on the move.
Beginning at 1st level, you have survived the imbibing of the Hunter’s Bane, a poisonous alchemical concoction that alters your life’s blood, forever binding you to the darkness and honing your senses against it.
You have advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to track Fey, Fiends, and Undead, as well as on Intelligence checks to recall information about them. If you are actively tracking one of these creature types, you cannot be surprised by any creatures of that type. You can only be tracking one type of creature at a time.
Rollback Post to RevisionRollBack
When you realize you're doing too much: Signature.
Doozey: You do not recall anything specific about Dracoliches, except for the inference that if they are indeed real, they sure sound like they'd be undead. Brother Yovir seems to know that for a fact, and he is supposedly an expect on the matter.
Graxx: The only other time you came across the word Dracolich, was during yours and Utar's, and Neya's, and a few others' last visit to Valhingen Graveyard (Episode 3). Back then, Brother Keefe asked you to investigate rumors of dragon bones within one of the mausoleums. Inside, the party accidentally finished an experiment that awoke a malformed Dracolich. That undead aberration was shaky at the joints to begin with, surely not as strong as the real thing would be. You had your suspicious of who could be behind the experiment and the abandoned lab, but never found a culprit.
"It is worth a try," the Doomguide responds to Neya.
Villonah then reaches the gazebo, one hand on Biscuit and a hint of a comforting smile on her face. "Thank you," she says to the dog. Turning to the men and woman within the mostly decorative piece of temporary garden shelter, Villonah speaks: "Everyone here is aware that I am a member of the Order of the Gauntlet." She looks at Doozey, who was perhaps the only one to whom this is news. "Well, the reason I am back in Phlan is that I had been assigned a discovery mission. Finding out about my father while passing through town was a cruel twist of fate." She closes her eyes momentarily. "Before you arrived, the Doomguide here was trying to both console and recruit me, and by extension my faction, into looking into a series of attacks along the coast by an alleged undead ship. I have no doubt he has since moved on to recruiting you instead. As it turns out, The Order of the Gauntlet is also concerned about these events. One of my superiors, a half-orc by the name of Zern Xerkstil, also known as the Hammer of Impiltur, believes that there is something more infernal to these rumors of undead. A hunch he says. He has tasked me with bringing back proof of the existence of infernal corruption in these parts." She pauses for a moment. "I could use a fluffy mastiff by me side in this adventure of mine... and maybe his four friends too."
Graxx minds drifts back to facing the malformed Dracolith.
"I bet it's that darn cult again! I just know it. There is too much evil in this world... We can only kill so much."
Graxx frustration fades.
"But.. We have been making a difference as of late. I just know it! We gotta stay focused and not get distracted or we'll never get nothin' done."
Graxx turns to Villonah.
"Looks like fate has brought us together once more. Let us face this shadow corrupt stuff together. I am pretty excited myself about seeing Ol' biscuit in action and my blade needs to get wet... If shadow's bleed of course. Hope they do or else we might be in trouble." says Graxx