I don't own anything. Buffy and Pathfinder are not owned by me. Nor are the writings of H.P. Lovecraft. They are owned by rich, talented people. I'm a nobody. Please don't sue me. A Troubled Funeral
The Restlands was a large cemetery north of Ravengro. It was surrounded by a gray stone wall tall enough to keep unwanted people out, or in, save for four entrances opening onto winding gravel paths through the tombstones. In front of one of the entrances were four people standing beside a fine wooden coffin. Two of them were older men with white hair dressed in old fashioned black suits similar to those worn by Zokar and his son. One was taller than the other, with a thin well trimmed mustache and goatee, while the other stood with a cane although he held himself straight and firmly erect.
The other two mourners were women dressed in long black dresses similar to the one Buffy wore, although they both had large shoulder pads which Buffy had demanded her dressmaker leave off. One woman was in her middle thirties with dirty blonde hair pulled back into a braid and tiny silver rimmed glasses perched on the end of her nose. The other woman was only a few years Buffy's senior, with her features bearing a resemblance to Petros. Her long brunette hair was bound into a high bun, with several wavy strands having come loose framing her face. Her eyes were red and puffy, although she smiled with a combination of sadness and relief, along with some curiosity, as she set her eyes on Buffy.
“You must be Buffy Summers,” she said quietly. “I'm Kendra Lorrimor. My father thought very highly of you.”
“Hello, Kendra,” Buffy said, giving her a compassionate look, remembering her own mother's funeral. “I wish we could have met under better circumstances.”
“Thank you. I wish that as well.”
“I know you've probably heard it way too often already, and that it doesn't really mean anything, but I'm so sorry for your loss.”
Kendra met her gaze for a moment, and then she smiled shyly, her eyes displaying her vulnerability for a moment. “Thank you. I look forward to getting to know you better, Buffy. These are father's friends, Councilman Vashian Hearthmount, Councilman Gharen Muricar, and Jominda Fallenbridge. I believe you've already met Zokar Elkarid and his son Pevrin.”
“Nice you meet you all,” Buffy said, nodding to the others.
Councilman Hearthmount, the man with the cane, gave Buffy a brief nod, although from his look he didn't appear to like her much. Councilman Muricar gave her a leer that made her believe he liked her too much, although after a glance at the coffin he became somber again and only said a brief greeting. Jominda only smiled tightly at her, before looking away.
With so few mourners, and Councilman Hearthmount's need for a cane, Buffy, Jominda, Zokar and Councilman Muricar were all pressed into service as pallbearers. The coffin was heavy, but even though she had to hold it well over her shoulder due to her diminutive height, Buffy had no trouble carrying the front right side of the coffin. Once everyone was used to its weight, Kendra thanked them again and then lead the tiny procession into the cemetery.
The gravel path crunched under their feet as they followed its winding course among the graves. They had just rounded another bend in the trail when they saw in front of them a group of a dozen men. They were dressed in the dark, plain clothing favored by the local farmers, and all were carrying farm equipment such as rakes, hoes, pitchforks, sickles, scythes and hammers. The tallest was an older, wiry man, with thick muttonchops and a sledgehammer. He stepped forward as the procession paused.
“That's far enough,” the man said, his voice hard. “We been talking, and we don't want Lorrimor buried in the Restlands. You can take him upriver and bury him there if you want, but he ain't goin' in the ground here!”
Kendra answered immediately, her sadness swiftly turning to rage. “What are you talking about,” she demanded shrilly. “I arranged it with Father Grimburrow. He's waiting for us! The grave's already been...”
Buffy's eyes narrowed as the man cut Kendra off. “You don't get it woman.” Buffy looked around for a moment, until she noticed a fist sized stone among the gravel next to her. “We won't have a necromancer buried in the same place as our kin.” Buffy dug her toes under the stone and with a gentle kick of her foot, careful so as not to shift her long dress, she sent the rock straight up to her hand, catching it out of the air. “I suggest you move out while you still can.” Buffy tossed the stone in her hand for a moment, testing its weight. “Folks are pretty upset about this right now.”
Buffy threw her stone, striking the man in the forehead with enough force to daze him, taking him to his knees in his surprise. “What do you think your doing,” Buffy growled. “This is a funeral. How deficient are you that you would do this to someone grieving their father! Now unless you want to give the gravediggers more work, I suggest you leave.” The crowd hesitated for a moment, still angry but surprised over their leader's injury. Buffy called up every bit of her slayerness and glared menacingly at the men. “Now would be good,” she said, her voice glacial.
All was quiet for a moment, until finally two of the men helped the leader to his feet and they all moved off, still grumbling but unwilling to start a fight. Kendra threw Buffy a grateful look, to which she responded with a reassuring smile. Pausing a moment for everyone to collect themselves, the group pressed on.
Standing next to an open grave were a pair of men with shovels and an old, wrinkled bald man with bushy white eyebrows and prominent ears wearing a black robe. When they reached the grave Buffy and the other pallbearers carefully lowered the coffin onto a set of straps and they then used them to lower Petros to his final resting place. Once that task was done the group backed up and formed a semicircle around the open grave with the robed man standing in front of it.
When the man cleared his throat and began to speak, Buffy recognized him as the man who had sent the message to her to summon her for the funeral. “Family and friends, we are gathered here to commend our friend, Petros Lorrimor, to the bosom of Pharasma, so that he may find his place in the cosmos. Petros lived a good life, teaching students, sharing knowledge freely, always generous with his worldly possessions, and willing to help anyone in need.
“While our loss of Petros is a sad occasion, let us not be overwrought. For he is now in a better place, in the presence of our goddess. Mourn for us, living in this harsh world without him, but do not mourn for him, for his fate is not one to be dreaded, but rather accepted, for it comes to us all in the fullness of time.
“Now, let us lower our heads in prayer, that we may let Pharasma know that a good soul has come before her for her judgment, and that we who knew him in life will dearly miss him. Someday we will see him again, but that day will not be this day. Not this year, not yet. For this life has much left for us, and we must live it to our best, as he would have wanted.
“Let us now have a moment of silent prayer for the soul of Petros Lorrimor.” So saying, he lowered his head, as did everyone else. After a long pause he raised his head again and placed his closed fist on his chest, a move mimicked by the others. When he spoke again, they all traced a spiral on their chests with their fists. “May the Lady keep you, Petros Lorrimor.”
“Thank you, Father Grimburrow,” Kendra said quietly, wiping her eyes as she stepped forward, facing the gathering. “Thank you all for coming here. My father was a good man. He always took time for me, even after the death of mother when I was so young. We both missed her terribly, but I always knew he loved me, no matter what happened in our lives.
“I remember when I was twelve, a group of Inquisitors came to our home. They were such hard men, they scared me so. But they had come to father for help. They were hunting a demon that had been summoned by a witch, and when they had killed her it had become free to work its own evil. They knew little about it, and did not know how to kill it, or even find it. But my father was a well known scholar, and he did indeed know what to do. When those men arrived they had been tired and desperate, but he gave them hope along with his council, and sure enough, they sent word soon after that his knowledge had saved many lives.
“Another time, when I was a teenager, he had to leave home for weeks. I was so upset, because it was close to my birthday and I wanted my father here, but he said he had to go. When he returned, barely in time to celebrate with me, I was still angry with him. I found out a week later that he had tracked down a cult who had poisoned an entire town and helped the authorities bring them to justice. I had been upset he was gone, when he was saving hundreds of lives. When I found out and apologized, he told me that it was fine that I was upset with him. After all, I missed him, and no matter what good he did for the world, I needed him too.
“Father always did what was best for me. The thing that I think I will always remember, even more than the times he saved lives, or did something heroic, was something he said to me. I was fifteen, and I wanted to learn magic. But I was afraid as well, having seen and heard some of the things that could go wrong from my father's work. But he found out that I was interested and he sat me down and told me to follow my dreams. That if I wanted to learn magic, I should learn magic, and that he would always support me. When I confessed my fears he said that I shouldn't fear failure, or doing the wrong thing. The only thing I should truly fear is never trying. I have tried to live that way ever since, and I will continue to do so, in memory of the best father in all of Golarion.”
After speaking Kendra stepped back with the rest of the group, crying quietly for a few moments. Buffy's heart ached, missing her mother and sister more than ever as she watched Kendra's pain. When Kendra brought herself back under control Zokar stepped forward. “Petros was a good man, and a regular patron of my tavern for all of the years he lived here in Ravengro. He was a wise man, and was always ready with an ear to listen to anyone's problems, or a helpin' hand to make sure that those problems didn't cause anyone to sink. But the thing I remember best, was the advice he gave me when my wife past eight year back. It was too much runnin' the tavern by my lonesome, with a kid to rear beside, and he sat me down and tol' me that of course I was screwin' up. I was human. An' my wife knew it too. That she would only be upset with me if I stopped screwin' up, cause that meant I stopped tryin'.
“It's gonna be hard on all o' us to keep on without Petros. But all the same, it's all we can do. An' if we fail now an' again, that's alright too. Cause if he was still with us when we failed, he would be the first to help us back up an' on our way. So even if he's gone, all we can do is as he said, and keep fallin' down, so long as we keep on gettin' back up again.”
When Zokar finished and returned to his place Buffy stepped forward, her eyes on the grave. “I didn't know Petros for long, but we went through something that makes you feel close quickly, you know? When I met him I had been poisoned, and was so out of my mind I still don't have any clueage as to what happened. But I do remember him taking care of me. Doubt I was very good with the first impressions, but I know he made one on me.”
Buffy smiled sadly, blinking away tears. Being drugged out of mind had reminded her painfully of the demon that had stung her just weeks before everything fell apart. She might have survived the poison without him, but Buffy doubted she would have made it through everything that had happened so well without his support. Just having a friendly face made all the difference in the world, she thought, images of her friends that had kept her alive and slaying for so long in her head.
“When I came to,” she continued, forcing her voice steady. “We were locked up together in a cell, being held by monsters. He didn't try to hide what was happening from me, or try to protect me like some damsel or something, but he did try to reassure me. Before long, I was promising to free us, and he promised to help me with a problem I had. And when I did free us, he didn't even hesitate. He just started to help me.
“We only spent a few weeks together,” Buffy said, looking around at the sad gathering. “But those weeks meant a lot to me. He was a good man. Brave, selfless, willing to help a stranger in need. And he was smart. He liked to learn, even though he was already so big with the knowledge. The whole world is a sadder place without him in it.”
Buffy stepped back into her position, and Kendra gave her a tremulous smile, which she returned to the best of her ability. Kendra looked around the circle of mourners for a moment before stepping forward once more. “I want to thank you all for coming today. It really meant more than words can say to have you here with me at this difficult time.”
Buffy stood back and watched as Kendra slowly made her way through each of the guests, thanking them for their words of condolence, even as the gravediggers slowly filled in the dirt over her father. Buffy smiled sadly, impressed. She had been a wreck when her mother died, only holding herself together by sheer willpower, keeping herself together for Dawn and her duty, and also her pride, which wouldn't let her show weakness, even to those she loved. Kendra was obvious very sad for her loss, but she wasn't crumbling or pushing it away to keep moving. She just dealt with it. Four months ago Buffy wouldn't have thought much of it, but she was no longer burned out and barely hanging on. Now Buffy could only be impressed at the strength her friend's daughter possessed.
Finally Kendra finished talking to the others, and she approached Buffy, she had a sad but real smile on her face. “Thank you for what you said. I always knew my father was brave man, but I never really had the chance to speak with many of the people he went into danger with, and on his own he rarely spoke of his accomplishments. He was always my hero, and it makes me proud to hear about him being strong.”
“Your father was a hero,” Buffy told her seriously. “He was a very kind and brave man, and he managed to raise a strong daughter. I didn't know him long, but I could tell how proud he was of you.”
Kendra wiped a few tears from her eyes. “Thank you. You made quite the impression on him yourself, you know. He talked about you often these last months.”
“Really?” Buffy asked, surprised.
Kendra smiled at her gently. “Yes, very much so. In fact, a month ago he updated his will to include you. Which, in point of fact, we should see to.”
“The will reading. Councilman Hearthmount has some business to attend to, but he will be available to read the will in about an hour. If you would like to accompany me, we could talk some more before then.”
“I'd be honored,” Buffy replied, slightly surprised to realize that she actually was.
The two walked in contemplative silence through the town, gathering Mr. Gordo and Buffy's possessions as they went, until finally the reached the Lorrimor residence. It was a nice home, not too large, but not too small, made of sturdy if dull gray stone like the rest of the town. “Welcome to my home,” Kendra said, smiling slightly.
Buffy looked around as she entered. The first thing she noticed, even before she looked, was the smell of old books, the scent even heavier in the air than in Giles' apartment. Every wall was covered in wooden shelves, and every shelf was full of leather bound tomes. The rest of the furnishings were moderately expensive but obviously well used tables, chairs, and couches, with various nicknacks and decorations scattered about at random. All in all, even more than the library feel it should have had, it felt like a home.
Kendra ushered Buffy onto a comfortable couch before disappearing into the kitchen. She returned a few minutes later with a tray laden with tea and small cookies. “Thanks. You really didn't have to.”
Kendra smiled sadly. “It's no trouble at all. What would my father think of me if I wasn't a good hostess, anyway? Now then, milk? Sugar? Honey?”
“Three sugars please.”
Kendra raised an eyebrow but didn't comment as she added them to the tea. “I wanted to thank you again for saving my father from those vampires.”
“You don't have to thank me. I was taken captive too, you know. And even if I wasn't, I wouldn't have just left some vamps un-slain.”
“Yes, father mentioned that you were a mystically chosen warrior called the Vampire Slayer.”
“Yup. Which made it really embarrassing when I got taken captive.”
“Please, tell me more about what happened.”
Buffy smiled and did so, making sure to tell Kendra about what her father did in particular. Kendra was a good listener, asking pertinent questions but mostly letting Buffy explain things in her own way. Without even realizing it Buffy found herself telling her everything she had done since she had arrived in Golarion.
“These were the boots he gave me. They were made by elves or something. Aren't they cute?”
Kendra leaned forward slightly, smiling at them. “They do look very nice. You said they were boots of elvenkind?”
“I guess so. I mostly focused on how cute they were. But when I put them on they resized to fit me exactly. And they're so comfortable!”
“Yes, they are probably boots of elvenkind then.”
“What are those?”
Kendra sat up straight and began to lecture. Buffy smiled fondly as her new friend resembled a young female Giles strongly in that moment. “Boots of elvenkind were originally created by the elves for their rangers and other guardians. They are responsible for some of the actions attributed to elves in stories, in particular some of the incredibly feats of agility and balance associated with them. People who wear boots of elvenkind are able to walk lightly and safely across even the most rough or uneven surfaces.”
“Huh,” Buffy said, looking at her feet. “That sounds handy. Still cute though.”
“Yes,” Kendra agreed, sounding amused. “Very cute.”
Buffy grinned in response, but before she could speak she was interrupted by a knock at the door. “That's probably Councilman Hearthmount now for the will reading. Just a moment.”
Kendra returned a minute later with Councilman Hearthmount, who hadn't changed from the funeral and still leaned on his cane as he walked. “Would you like some tea, Councilman?” Kendra asked him as he sat in a wingback chair across from the couch Buffy and Kendra had been sharing.
“No thank you,” he said gruffly. “If it's all the same to you I'd prefer to conclude this business.”
Councilman Hearthmount pulled a small wooden scroll case from under his jacket before showing the it to Kendra. The end of the tube was coated in red wax with a seal pressed into it at one point. “I'm sorry for you loss, Kendra. Petros was a good man.” He paused for a moment for her to nod before continuing. “As you can see, the case with his will is still sealed. He left instructions for it to be opened when you and Miss Summers were present, and so we have waited until now to do so. If there are no questions?”
He waited until Kendra shook her head, ignoring Buffy while he did so, until finally he pulled out a short knife and broke the wax seal. Opening the tube he removed the single vellum sheet within and slowly unrolled it, a heavy iron key falling onto the coffee table with a clank when he did so. Clearing his throat, the Councilman began to read. “I, Petros Lorrimor, being of sound mind, do hereby commit to this parchment my last will and testament. Let it be known that, with the exception of specific details below, I leave my home and personal belongings entire to my daughter Kendra. Use them as you see fit, my child.
“Yet beyond the bequeathing of my personal effects, this document must serve other needs. I have arranged for the reading of this document to be delayed until all principles can be in attendance, for I have more than mere inheritance to apportion. I have two final favors to ask.
“To my friend Buffy Summers, I hate to impose upon you after the way that you saved me that night, but there are few others capable of appreciating the true significance of what I ask. As you know, I have devoted many of my studies to all manner of evil, that I might know the enemy and inform those better positioned to stand against it. For knowledge of one's enemy is the surest path to victory over it's plans.
“And so, over the course of my lifetime, I have seen fit to acquire a significant collection of valuable but dangerous tomes, any one of which in the wrong circumstances could have led to an awkward legal situation. While the majority of these tomes remain safe under lock and key at the Lepidstadt University, I fear that a few I have remain in a trunk in my Ravengro home. While invaluable for my work in life, in death, I would prefer not to burden my daughter with the darker side of my profession, or worse still, the danger of possessing these tomes herself. As such, I am entrusting my chest of tomes to you, posthumously. I ask that you either give them to my colleagues at the University of Lepidstadt, or put them to good use yourself for the betterment of the fight against evil. In addition, that trunk contains all of my work on the problem that you gave me when we first met. I hope that I have found the solution before I perished, so that I can repay you for the debt that I owe.
“Yet before you leave for Lepidstadt or any other destination, there is the matter of another favor – please delay your journey one month and spend that period of time here in Ravengro to ensure that my daughter is safe and sound. She has no one to count on now that I am gone, and if you would aid her in settling things in order for whatever she desires over the course of this month, you would have my eternal gratitude. From my savings, I have also willed to you a sum of one hundred platinum coins. For safekeeping, I have left these funds with Luramin Taigh at the Silk Purse, the moneylender in Ravengro, with instructions to issue this payment no sooner than one month after the date of the reading of this will.
“I, Petros Lorrimor, hereby sign this will in Ravegnro on this first day of Erastus, in the year 4711.”
Councilman Hearthmount cleared his throat and carefully rolled up the will, placing it and its case on the table beside the key before using his cane to stand. “Once again, I give my condolences, Miss Lorrimor.” Kendra rose and escorted the Councilman out.
Buffy frowned slightly as she noticed that at no point the Councilman even looked at her. When Kendra returned Buffy smiled at her slightly. “Well, he was friendly.”
Kendra chuckled slightly. “Don't worry about him. He doesn't overmuch like the presence of outsiders disrupting his neat little town. Now then, will you be staying for the month?”
“Yup. I'll go find the inn and...”
“Oh no!” Kendra interrupted, shaking her head emphatically. “That cannot do! No, I must insist that you stay here. It is truly the least that I can do when you are going to so much trouble for my sake.”
“It really isn't any trouble at all. And I wouldn't want to get in your way or anything...”
“Please, I would be happy to have you stay. And beside that, these last few weeks have been so lonely. It would do me well to have a friend here...”
When Kendra trailed off uncertainly Buffy jumped in. “Of course we'll be friends. Thanks for letting me stay.”
“Well then,” Kendra said, smiling bigger than Buffy had seen from her so far, “time has flown on us a bit, so perhaps we should see to our repast?”
“We should eat.”
“Why didn't you just say so,” Buffy said, rolling he eyes.
* * *
The next morning Buffy had been resting late trying to make up for sleep lost on her frantic trip to Ravengro until she was jerked awake by a loud knock at her door. “Whud'ya w'n,” she answered as clearly as possible.
Instead of going away as she had hoped the door opened and a far too amused voice pulled her back out of her drowse. “Good morning, Buffy.”
“Buffy and morning are unmixy things,” Buffy said, leveling a slayer strength glare near Kendra. It would have been more effective if she could have aimed it better, but she was too sleepy to try, and so the dresser took the bulk of her wrath.
“Unmixy? How tired are you?” Kendra asked amused. “And I hope I don't hear anymore complaints about my use of the language.”
“I'm the slayer,” Buffy grumbled, burying her head back into her pillow. “I kill things that go bump in the night. Which means I go bumping in the night after them. Not get up at the crack of dawn.”
“Closer to the crack of noon than dawn I should think. Its almost 10 of the clock. Besides which, something odd has happened, oh slayer of bumping things.”
Twenty minutes later Buffy was dressed and eating the fresh berry pastries Kendra had made for breakfast as they strolled down the dirt lane along the outskirts of Ravengro. “So, what's the what?”
“What?” Kendra asked, bewildered.
“Exactly. What's going on?”
“Oh... Well, you'll just have to wait and see for yourself.”
“Come on,” Buffy said, turning her best pout on her new friend. “At least tell me whats up with the weird makeup.”
Kendra's smile turned somber. “We Pharasman's put ash on our eyelids for five days after the burial of a loved one to show our mourning.”
“Oh,” Buffy said, subdued. “Sorry.”
“Don't worry. As my father would have said, never fear asking questions.”
“Then how about the question of the day. What are you dragging me off at the crack of dawn to see?”
Kendra rolled her eyes, though she was smiling again. “We're here.”
A small crowd had gathered around a large stone statue along the riverbank. It was more than twenty feet tall and covered in moss, depicting a well built man dressed in leather and holding a truncheon. As they approached they could see that the statue was spattered with blood. “What is this?” Buffy asked, her eyes taking in the scene.
“This is the Harrowstone Memorial. It was built to honor the guards, the warden and his wife, who all died when Harrowstone Prison burned fifty years ago.”
“What's with the blood?”
“It happened during the night. But that's not the strangest part. Look.”
Buffy peered through the crowd to where Kendra was pointing. At the base of the statue was a large, flat area with twenty-five names chiseled into the stone. Scrawled along the left front side of the flat area, partially covering the first column of names, was a single large letter 'V' written in blood.
“Huh. And I was afraid I was gonna get bored.” Author's Notes
This officially started the Carrion Crown Adventure Path with #43, the Haunting of Harrowstone. I lifted a couple of lines of dialog directly from that book, specifically the conversation between Kendra and the troublemakers and most of Petros' will (which I modified to better suit my purposes). I also used information on Pharasma from AP44, Trial of the Beast.