Solo Investigating the Inhumed

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A lawless town of anarchists, built on the ruins of an ancient mining city. [Lore]

Investigating the Inhumed

Postby Alric Lysane on November 5th, 2021, 7:09 pm



10th Fall 521 AV – Dust Bed – Lower Open Section

Alric would have been the first to admit that he wasn’t too keen on stepping into the realm of the dead, physically or metaphorically. The closest he had really come had been standing on the very outskirts of the Rotting Manor a few time. Places so steeped in death had the ability to provoke unusual and usually quite incisive thoughts and so he suffered the outskirts of the mansion but this day…well he’d be quite literally stepping all over the dead. And not even because he meant to but because no one really knew where they were all buried. He paused for a moment, hunched slightly as if it could protect him from the inevitable and pulling his cloak about him against the winds – they seemed to grow more bitter and cutting as you went above the city of Sunberth itself.

“At least it isn’t raining” he muttered to himself bitterly, glaring at the sky to see if it proved him wrong. After a few chimes he barked a laugh and continued onwards.

He reached the battered and dented iron gates, rusted and jagged in places as if suggesting you could slip and end up as one of the unlucky dead quite easily. He cleared his throat and his toes gripped the insides of his boots involuntarily. He wondered for a chime or two if this was really necessary, if he was truly the man for the job. He concluded he probably wasn’t but that the coin was too good and he was probably one of the few brave – or foolish – enough to accept the deal in the city.

He sighed, took a deep breath, and stepped into the graveyard of Sunberth. He had been here a few times before to see if he could find his parents but had never been successful and eventually had given up trying, leaving the dead where they lay. That thought turned him back to not knowing where the bodies were buried. He knew there was some definite free space a bit further up the path and so hurried his way there.

Sorry…sorry…sorrysorry…sorrysorrysorrysorry he said mentally with every step…just in case.

He made it to what Jebediah the Grave Keeper had once told him was clear earth. Whether that was true or not was a consideration Alric would leave for later as the idea currently brought him enough comfort to breathe properly. The sun was still up, and would be for some time, and so he didn’t think there would be any ghosts despite the warnings and reputation. If he had to return at night for whatever reason he would contemplate how much he enjoyed his life first but for now he thought he’d be fine.

“Besides…lots of people come here to pay respects…don’t they? Yes if course they do you saw flowers list time here. They must do…oh shut up Alric. Grow a spine you’re smarter than many…and it was a lot of coin” he muttered under his breath.

Besides he had been given advice and help…from a mage…a mage…and he really hoped they weren’t trying to kill him for some indiscernible pointless reason.

He wondered idly if he should have tried to figure out a way to get the little Moritz here, he’d have been able to perplex any spirits to…well not death but distraction…with his logical rationale. He smiled slightly at that thought and then began to wonder how it was best to go about the task at hand. He had a name – Craven. Family name. He couldn’t ever recall seeing it but then he hadn’t been looking for it before.

The Dust Bed was really just a collection of graves slumped, heaped and packed together across a few acres or so, easily traversable over a day or two even with a detailed study. He liked the idea of starting at the very back and working his way towards the exit – it seemed both logically mapped out and emotionally calming given that with every moment it meant he was closer to leaving the cursed place.

He carefully made his way towards what he remembered being the furthest corner he had ever found, the one that lay at the steps towards the higher and older areas he was most definitely not going to explore if he could help it.

Sorry…sorrysorry..sorry...sorrysorryso-





Last edited by Alric Lysane on November 9th, 2021, 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Investigating the Inhumed

Postby Alric Lysane on November 8th, 2021, 7:15 pm



Once he reached the area he had decided upon he stared at the roughly hewn steps the rose up a few feet away, rising and eventually disappearing into the cliff that separated the oldest from the newest. He had heard tales of the place and though he knew he had been suggested that this was where any Craven would be buried, he was hoping the Ovek would side with him and provide a boon in the less dangerous and more open Dust Bed. He wasn’t very hopeful in truth but he also acknowledged that a full investigation should be done or nothing at all should be done.

“Or at least as complete as possible” he whispered, the words the same ones his mother had tried to instil in him so long ago now. She had always been one for properly knowing something or not bothering to even try. A waste of knowledge she had called it. He hadn’t understood then, he wasn’t sure he fully understood now.

He set his jaw and grit his teeth, refusing to fail his own mother’s instruction, and scanned his eyes across the entirety of the Dust Bed that he could see. Some was tucked behind the curve of the cliff he knew but he could plan out much of it. He mentally did what he remembered h had been shown, separating it all out into grids and numbering them, the corners made up by convenient landmarks where possible – a gnarled yew here, a shrub there, sometimes a more ornamental gravestone. He went over it several times in his head so that he was as sure of its outlines as he was as sure of the fact that he needed a smoke.

He resisted lest he offend any of the spirits. Pass quickly pass quietly and pass politely he had been told – in effect.

He set about his work, inspecting each gravestone starting with the grid he was in, and looking for any markings that might indicate the name Craven. It was hard going, harder than he had expected and his expectations had started fairly dire to be sure. Many plots of dust had no markers at all, some had wooden ones long since rotted or dried and snapped in the winds. The ones which did have a gravestone or some form of marker made of a hardy material were worn, weathered and otherwise scraped by the elements so as to be difficult to read. Yet he studied each one as if it were to be his own.

Some names were commone ones – Smith, Jones, Mason. Others were more interesting – Jocquer, Cherise, Hammole and Gruberton. In and of itself it was a curious survey of the makeup of Sunberth, so many different family names now given that according to the stories most of the people that even survived the Valterrian had died and been lost to time. As he searched, he wondered where all of the names had come from. Were they all from other places? Was Sunberth just a city of immigrants ignorant of its past? Or were they just variations after generations of the original survivor lines that now comprised thousands of families, distantly related but never fated to know?

After he had gone about searching three of the ten grids that he had mapped out mentally he had come up with nothing regarding the family line of Craven but he had discovered an aching back and aching legs. Bending over, squatting down and then pushing himself up repeatedly was not something he enjoyed, their results inevitable. He sat down in as absent a part of dirt as he could find and drank a little from his waterskin, deep in thought.

He was trying to remember other lessons his mother had taught him. It was difficult he had been 9…or ten perhaps…when they vanished. It had been so long since he had thought of much beyond their fond memory. Specific memories were difficult to dredge up for some reason. He had heard others found it easy, he found it hard. He knew not why.

You were the researcher, I remember that much. Parchment, ink, quills and books. Scroll cases…I remember scroll cases…and the smell of candles and oil lanterns. Why can’t I remember the lessons? he sighed to himself. It was a shame, he could have used them he was sure.

He pushed himself back up to start of grid 4 and try to get to the end of 7 before taking another break. He set back about his task.


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Investigating the Inhumed

Postby Alric Lysane on November 8th, 2021, 7:52 pm



He continued to be systematic about the investigation, he didn’t want to miss anything and have to return another time without a need to do so. He still did not touch any of the markers, he was not foolish, but his back and legs ached all the more from having to bend down and squat across the next two mental grids. He found some interesting names and a few near misses – Coven, Cradey and Corvin stood out the most as their weathered markers had actually been carved with some now largely vanished patterns – pillars at either edge he had thought and some crests perhaps.

There was clearly much about Sunberth that Alric did not know and he was coming to wonder if many knew much about such matters at all either. Tales and myths aside he wasn’t aware of anyone who actually studied the history of the city beyond what was comfortably reinforcing of the common opinion. To be sure he had asked around since his meeting with Madeira – there was no reason to work too hard if he had no need to – but he had come up empty for now. Still, he would try again f only for his own curiosity’s sake.

Though the coin would be nice too. Knowledge though, as they say, is power. Not that I’ve ever been powerful enough to know what power means he pondered, scratching his chin as he inspected another solid and less weathered marker.

“Lucy Haddings, survived by her son…well that name’s gone…432…missed” he read it aloud with a sigh.

Such had been the things turned up by his searching so far, ferreting out things of interest but not of value to the person he had come to the Dust Bed for. He pushed himself up once more with a groan and sallied forth to the next visible marker. His gaze took in the figure of Jebediah. He had been watching Alric for some time he had noticed and was getting closer by the Bell, peering at him and possibly glaring. He had yet to approach Alric and so he kept his distance. He meant no ill will to the fallen, but he didn’t really want to have to deal with Jebediah today, he wasn’t the average Sunberthian.

He kept up the search and finally achieved his goal of getting to the end of grid seven, leaving three more painstakingly annoying and painful grids left. He sat down once more and wiped his brow, taking in yet more water from a rapidly diminishing supply from his waterskin. As he had gone along he had kept a track of dates and general condition of the markers, such as they were. He fancied that he had a decent map now of which area were oldest and which were youngest. It was strange though, there didn’t seem to be much of an order to it. It wasn’t as if it went from oldest and furthest from the entrance to youngest and closest – though he had not finished. Still, it wasn’t that simple.

There were clusters of dates and names that clearly once had been attempts at keeping family together and those seemed to be clumped in grids of years of say 50. And these 50 year sections seemed to be set at random. Or at least he could not fathom any order to the controlled chaos. If he was right though he’d find further family and period clusters in the last 3 grids and he could then be sure of one thing.

“If the name I’m looking for is so old that all the family were put together…and they aren’t here…there’s only one place they could be” he said, not looking up towards the other graveyard site but shuddering slightly still at the prospect.


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Investigating the Inhumed

Postby Alric Lysane on November 8th, 2021, 8:50 pm



Alric had finished now and was sat with his back against the fallen and ruined stone that must have once made up the outer wall and gate of the Dust Bed, frowning out across the massed graves that he had forced himself to investigate and which had defeated him. Naught but worn stone and he could hear them mocking him with their laughter as if the dead were indeed present and enjoying his minor torment. He ached all over, had dirt and dust smeared across hands, face and pretty much all of his clothing and hair. And he would be walking away with nothing.

Not nothing, just not the conclusion that I wanted he told himself with a growing grim realisation.

It would have been so easy to have found it all in the relative safety, if eerie skin crawling morbidity, of the lower Dust Bed. He should have known from the start that he was not that lucky. Perhaps he had but had simply lied to himself. If so then he vowed to give himself a stern talking to when he returned home to scrape together what food he could to fill his belly before much needed sleep and rest.

“Well Madeira, who would’ve thought?” he said with some annoyance, “even dead mages end up in tombs fancier than my little shack. In Sunberth…the city that hates mages. Not fair at all if you ask me” he growled to himself, fists tensing momentarily before breathing out slowly and relaxing.

Perhaps they met a grim and painful end…that would at least be fitting. If thy died peacefully in their sleep I swear I’ll become a mage myself! he thought to himself, chuckling at the foolishness of it all.

He went over the past…he had lost count of the Bells but he knew it would be growing dark soon so it had taken the best portion of the day to finish his little investigation. Yet he went over it piece by piece, grave by remembered grave. Some had come so close in name he had had to read it several times and even blow dust out of the carved grooves to make sure they were what they appeared. He was certain of two things.

There were no Cravens…and there were no Lysane’s. He had kept a running tally of both and had ended the day with zero. He was certain that he hadn’t missed them. He was far from the best investigator he would be the first to admit but reading names was something even he could do. It was possible, he conceded, that they could have been on the destroyed markers – mostly wooden ones – but he could only work with what the Dust Bed had. They could also not have markers – either one wouldn’t surprise him too much. Mages were hated so if they were lucky enough that enough body remained for a burial an unmarked grave would make sense. He had thought that through too as he had spent the day – it was possible but Madeira seemed to be talking about a long time ago indeed, and the oldest were above him and Craven did not get put in unmarked graves.

As for Lysane’s…that was different entirely. There could have been hundreds buried within his gaze but with no markers they would be invisible forevermore. Still it worried him a little, there had been pretty much every other name that he was familiar with. Did it mean that his family were not actually from Sunberth? Was it a new family name…or an invented one? Why? He had no answers for Lysane’s.

“But I can try to get one for Craven” he stated with determination, seeing Jebediah was still watching him and deciding there was only one thing left for him to do here.

Try to get it out of the mad Grave Keeper.


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Investigating the Inhumed

Postby Alric Lysane on November 9th, 2021, 4:43 am



“Been watching you lad”

“I hadn’t noticed, you were very subtle”

“Don’t mock the one who might bury you, may not work out”

“Good to meet you as always Jebediah”

He had met the man several times now over the years, each time he had the sense that Jebediah was not the most normal of people. He had been told that the man never took anything seriously or ever really gave a straight answer. Whilst seemingly eccentric he had never troubled Alric too much and as long as he talked about the dead, he seemed to be truthful if not particularly long winded in his words. Direct, to the point and serious was how he’d describe the talk about the dead. In his own way.

“Spirits say that you’re lying, are you lying boy?”

“Today or every day?” he asked with a frown and then a sigh, “do the sprits say why I’m here today?”

“Looking”

Alric blinked for a few moments without answer. He was not sure whether it was spirits or just obvious from observation, but it still made his skin scrawl that spirits could be watching him. He shook his head.

“If you’re going to talk for the spirits wouldn’t it be easier for me to talk to them directly?”

“Wouldn’t want that lad, you’d turn tail and run and never get what you want. I am the shield”

“I suppose so,” he scratched his chin, “yes I am searching for something”

“Family again is it?”

“Not mine this time”

“Ohoo, got you running around then have they? Find what you wanted?”

“No…not yet. Spirits say what family I’m looking for?”

“Maybe lad, maybe. Maybe they say you don’t want to find it”

“I do, I really really do so I can get this over and done with”

“Over and…done with. Fixing to dig a grave lad? You won’t leave here if so”

“No no, I don’t even really want to be here let alone at night with a…shovel I suppose? No, just need to find where they lay, if anywhere”

“Oh they’re here lad”

“I don’t think so, I spent quite some time checking as you know”

“Name, what was the name. Say it aloud”

“Craven”

“Hated name,” Jebediah said as if listening to something, Alric couldn’t tell if it was just an act or if he was mad, “spirits don’t like it. Restless and filled with loathing. Mage…mages…above”

Alric blinked again a few times, trying to maintain a grip of his sanity or what little remained after a day spent in a graveyard. So the place he was looking for was in the older and higher parts of the Dust Bed. He shuddered and shook his head, raking his fingers back through his damp hair. He was going to truly hate this investigation despite the miza on offer.

“Yes…I was afraid of that. Do you know which one it is?”

“Yes but go lad…go before you disturb the dead! Go lad! Before the ghosts come for you!”

Alric was so disturbed by the act of his shouting and beginning to gesture with his hands, eyes wide and maddened white, that he turned tail and did what he had been wanting to do so many Bells now – run out of the Dust Bed and not stop running until he was back inside the city outskirts proper. The grave keeper cackled at his back all the way and he felt like he could hear the cackling still as he walked towards his home, shoulders hunched and feeling very embarrassed indeed at his panic.

Some investigator I am indeed…should probably try to do better next time he thought to himself.

Still, he had done what he had set out to do and so the first stages were completed, and he could wisely afford to wait a while before trying another investigation. If he had to go right up to the top, then he had to be prepared anyway. Materially he might already have been but mentally…well that would require some more development he knew as he made his way home.

It was time to start developing skills that he had never thought of before this season.


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