Mantelderith 16 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

Today is the day of the big celebration.  And what is the Baron celebrating?  It’s unclear exactly, but somehow the Baron has done something very noteworthy by being entranced by an old barbarian woman and then being set free of that entrancement through no actions of his own.  I suppose taking credit for what other people have done is kind of his job so it’s probably fine.  In this case I don’t begrudge them a little festival because really what it is comes down to is that it’s a celebration of surviving.  It doesn’t matter much that the Baron didn’t do anything, the fact remains that the crisis is over.  Why not have a drink and kick back and relax?  It’s a cruel world out there, no reason not to take your victories when you can. 

For a jubilee thrown together in three days in a backwoods shithole the festivities today weren’t half bad.  They were all bad!  Classic.  While hilarious that’s not entirely true, the preparations at the Manor itself are pathetic but things are actually pretty festive in Alleene – in a low down countrified kind of way.  A day off work is all most people really need to get excited.  I got up early to head into town and there were plenty of people who were already having themselves a good old time.  The place was festooned with strings of flower garlands (where did all the flowers come from?) and ribbons and the various other accoutrements of gaiety.  Amidst these joyful decorations everyone was chatting and drinking and eating in the spirit of good cheer.  Someone had constructed a castle out of hay bales for the kids to play on and get all scratched up and itchy and there were tents and booths set up for games and shows and whatnot.  Given the quick turnaround it was actually kind of impressive. 

Aleene has no temple of Odobenine, their sole religious installation is dedicated to Adariel.  I was little worried about this because the Odobeninists will do anything as long as you’re willing to pay for it.  Well almost anything.  No, anything.  Adarielianians are a little trickier to deal with.  All religious groups have convictions and codes of conduct and such, but the difference is they actually follow theirs (mostly).  I often wonder how that works with “adventuring” priestesses like those two that were with Bonder (before I killed him).  How are you able to reconcile being a kindly healer and caretaker of the weak and needed with the murderous selfishness of adventuring?  Maybe they weren’t really Adarielists, that’s probably just what they tell people.  That would be typical of adventurers, liars and killers they are, all of them.  I know what you’re thinking, it’s different when I do it – I have a good cause.

The temple had set up an outdoor kitchen or sorts along with a dozen or so long tables and was serving a free breakfast to whoever turned up.  The head priestess is some Juost relative (or course) but the underpriest or whatever you call the second in command of a church, looked to be half Kostelos.  With all the troubles recently on account of Kartak and the Sky Thunders I figured she would be keeping out of sight, but on one seemed to care, in fact she seemed to be rather beloved based on the people that kept coming up to talk to her excitedly.  I suppose the common folk in Alleene probably didn’t even really realize what was going on at the Manor.  When you’re at the bottom of the pyramid it doesn’t matter much who’s at the top.  Those two were watching on approvingly as their smiling charges dished up a hearty slop to the good people of Alleene.  They were also chatting with a tall powerfully built woman and a Shireling who, although they were both decked out in Adariel vestments, had the hint of fighting types about that.  Maybe a knight and her squire come to visit?  Knights are technically supposed to be religious folk, it’s just unusual when you see one that actually is.

I approached the head priestess, she was an homely woman with a narrow face and an overly tight curls in her hair.  A good loose curl can look quite fetching but then they’re all scrunched up like that it looks austere.  I apologized for interrupting her on this day of celebration but explained that it was a matter of urgency.  The maybe knight gave me a somewhat suspicious look but the priestess invited me to speak to her in private without a second thought.  She led me into the temple and through to her offices where she listened intently as I explained my predicament with the undead Wesel and how in less than three weeks my life would be forfeit if I wasn’t able to bring this off.  Once I was done she considered this for a moment and then nodded.

“It can be done.”

I was mildly shocked “It can?”

“Through the power Adariel grants us many things are possible.”

“Many?  Not all?”

She smiled slightly “No, not all.  Resurrection magic is very difficult, and it can be dangerous to the one performing the ritual, but it’s certainly something that can be done.  I lack the power to do it but I know of others in the church that can.”

“That’s great, last time I brought someone back from the dead it was a real pain in the ass.  Uh, sorry, I mean it was a real pain.”

She raised an eyebrow slightly “You’ve done this before?”

“Yes, once.  Someone died when they were in my service, it wasn’t really my fault, but at the time I felt like I owed that to her.  If we’re being honest I’m not sure it really worked out.  She’s alive, but she hates me now.  I have to imagine dying and coming back to life is a pretty traumatic experience, she’s having trouble adjusting..”

“If it makes you feel better you can’t bring someone back against their will, the spirit has to be willing, otherwise the spell fails.  She is in pain now, but she chose to return, and she may find peace again through Adariel’s good grace.  I pray that it will be so.”

“I guess being alive to hate my guts is better than the alternative.”

“Just so.  The question that we must ask is this – it can be done, but should it?  Raising the dead is nothing to be taken lightly.  Many die that deserve to live, is there a reason that our old Lord Wesel should be given a second chance?”

“It would save my life.”

“And?”

“Excuse me?  I thought all life was precious to you people.”

“And so it is.  I don’t mean to sound indifferent but you entered into this bargain freely, if you’re just trying to save your own life I don’t know if the church is going to be all that interested in helping you avid the consequences.  There are many that need aid, and we do our best to help them, but there’s only so much that can be done.  This sort of undertaking is a substantial use of resources.  It needs to be considered carefully.”

“That’s fair.  If you’re looking for justification, you’re right, my motivating is staying alive.  But I think that there’s a compelling case for Lord Wesel.  He didn’t ask to come back as an undead guardian – it happened when people came to disturb his mortal remains and those of his family.  All he wants is to return to the communion of souls, to rest with his ancestors once more.  He’s innocent in all of this, he deserves a chance to rest peacefully doesn’t he?  Not to mention you’d be ridding the world of a dangerous undead thing.”

“Is he so innocent if he’s going to kill you?”

“I don’t hold it against him, being an undead monster probably makes you a little crabby.”

“And what about you?  Is your life worth saving?”

“Isn’t all life worth saving?  I could list off all the great deeds I’ve done and the people I’ve helped, I could list off some real shitty stuff I’ve done as well – sorry – some things that might curl your nips.  But none of that matters in Adariel’s eyes does it?  We’re all her children, none of us favored above the others – from the cruelest blackguard to the kindest saint she had love for us all.”

She smiled “Well said.  Do you believe those words?”

“If you’re asking me if I’m one of the faithful, no I am not, but I believe in the spirit of those words.  Baron, Duke, high priestess, cobbler, cooper, candlestick maker, liar, killer, heretic – we’re all just people.  Some are better, some are worse, but we all stand shoulder to shoulder you know?”

She regarded me for a moment “I get the sense that you’ve lived an interesting life.  And I mean no offense, but you don’t look like the kind we sometimes get making these kind of requests that come from leading an interesting life.”

“You mean like your friend with the sword outside?” She nodded “I just dress better is all.”

“If what you’re saying is true we might be able to help.  I’ll look into your story and decide on the best course of action.”

“When might that be, kind of a tight schedule here you know, what with the impending death and all.”

“Of course, I’ll see what I can find out tonight, meet with me tomorrow after services and I’ll make sure that I keep you in the loop.”

“Sounds good, and when are services?”

She gave me a judgey look, but seriously did she think I was the kind of person who would regularly attend services?  I’ve been wracking my brain but I don’t really have any other ideas to bring Wesel back other than begging the church for help.  That doesn’t sit well with me for a variety of reasons, foremost among them – what if they can’t or won’t do anything?  I need other options.  As I was leaving the priestess’s office I saw the Shireling was leaning against the wall waiting for me.  Even in holy vestments he looked like a mean little piece of work.  I think it was his eyebrows, they made him look like he had a perpetual scowl.  The two blades he had at his sides didn’t help.  He fell in beside me as I walked out.

“There’s another option, Miss Fancypants and I could just destroy this undead menace.”

“Hasn’t anyone ever told you that eavesdropping is impolite?”

“All the time.”

“He can’t be destroyed, he’ll just come back.”

“Then there’s no harm in us heading in there and doing a little smiting is there?”

I stopped to turn and face him “I would rather you didn’t do that.  I don’t want anyone messing around with this particular unquiet spirit – not unless I have no other options.  I don’t want anyone making things worse accidentally.  Or on purpose.”

“A lot of people would rather a lot of things didn’t happen, what does that got to do with me?”

“Okay, let me put it a different way – mess around in there and I’ll ruin your fucking life.”

He chuckled and held his hands up “Okay, okay, I won’t tell her ladyship about the undead creature laying curses on people – there’s no way you’d be able to stop her.  She’s like a dog with a bone once she gets on the trail of the undead.  She hates ‘em she does.”

“Who doesn’t?”

“Necromancers.”

“Fair.”

“When the full moon is closer if you haven’t gotten this thing figured look me up and Long Tall Sally and I will go in there and do things the hard way with this undead bastard.”

“Why do you care?”

“Tombs of rich people usually have some expensive stuff in them.”

“What kind of Adarielian are you?”

“Hey sweetheart, holy crusades ain’t cheap.   And these are tough times, the faithful don’t donate like they used to, I’m just doing my part to help fill the coffers of the holy mother during these trying days.”

“Adariel helps those who help themselves right?”

He tapped his nose “Now you’re getting it.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 53,040 platinum, 21,660 gold

XP: 1,147,551

Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Tankard of the Drunken Hero, Ela’s Dazzling Garment, Belt of Physical Might +4, Ring of Urban Grace, Black Marketers’ Bag (5), Tidy Trunk, Whiterock Family Ring (Ring of Binding), Ela’s Elegant Boots, Ela’s Extravagant Necklace, Ring of Counterspells, Brooch of Shielding, Cloak of the Hedge Wizard (Abjuration), Headband of Subtle Misdirection, Antiquarian’s Monocle, Unbalanced Scales, +1 Glorious Undead Bane Short Sword

Noble’s outfit (5) collegium ring,  pocketed scarf, wrist sheath, signet ring (2) assortment of fake signet rings, silver chain set with moonstones, gold and emerald ring (2), garnets (700), gold necklace with jade pendant, ivory combs, tax collector’s badge, gold bracelet with ivory inlays, silver necklace set with rubies, gold earrings with jade inlays, silver and gold brooch, silver necklace with ruby pendant, disguise kit, covenant ring, tiny diamonds (26), Saryah Phidaner gown, masterwork thieves’ tools, onyx (55) personal signet ring, tiara, masterwork red and black long greatcoat, Turnbill blade of first forging (one of three), darkwood and platinum music box, silver bracelet set with bloodstones, platinum ring set with fire opal, silver and moonstone bracelet, holy symbol of Kozilek, dwarf journal

Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane, Piltis Swine, Rince Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle the butler, Alice Kinsey , “Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror, Eedraxis,  Skin-Taker tribe, Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander, Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee,  Helgan van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer, Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot Sheepskin, Lumber Consortium of Three Rivers, Hellerhad the Wizard, Forsaken Kin, Law Offices of Office of Glilcus and Stolo, Jey Rora, Colonel Tarl Ciarán, Mayor Baras Haldmeer, Rindol the Sage, Essa, eyeless hag, Baron Saltwheel, Baron Harmenkar, Colonel Tarl Ciarán’s wizard soldier, Victor, Beharri, Cebuano, Mayor Eryn, Chimera Trading Company

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