03/08/998: Late Morning, Ebbington District- Broad Street Mortuary

03/08/998: Late Morning, Ebbington District- Broad Street Mortuary

Broad Street Mortuary Parlor

The parlor is calm. Still as death, one might say... and they wouldn't be too far off, either.

The mortuary interior seems to exude quietude, and an almost sacred silence. Even the babbling miniature waterfall near the front entrance, complete with tiny moss-covered rocks and dwarf trees imported from the Far East at great expense, seems quieter than it ought to be. Even the prized exotic songbird hanging in a gilded cage by the window, its feathers white as the driven snow, suns itself in lazy lassitude under the rays of dawn that filter through the stained glass, as if it is loath to rouse itself to melody.

Those people who make their way past the opulent funerary shop on their way through their morning rituals give the place a wide berth, peering with morbid curiosity through the rainbow portals to either side of the banded redwood doors, but not daring to enter. It's only natural, for though the apparent wealth of this place of rest beckons to them, its true purpose is one that fills them with mortal fear. It is that fear which urges their footsteps onward and away.

Oh, well. Window shoppers today... customers tomorrow.

At present, though, as you enjoy a light breakfast in the main foyer of your elegant establishment, you hear a sharp knock at the front door. A casual glance out the windows to either side reveals that the summoner is one of several in a small group of men in fine livery, wearing the colors of the Duke of Fairhaven. By the look of them, they are clearly agents of the City Watch.

And they look very impatient...


The city watch, this early in the morning, is rarely an indicator of a great day. Cymmeiian strides to the nearest sink and places his breakfast dish in it. Wiping his hands on the towel hanging next to the sink he cannot help but shake his head just a little. He rolls his right foot, checking to make sure that his kris is tucked into his black leather boots and closes his ruby-starburst eyes.

I'm not even dressed yet. They are going to see me in my leisure robe. It's not even imported.

Sighing deeply, the half-drow covers the emptiness between him and the redwood doors quickly, unbolts the main lock but keeps the chain lock intact. He pulls the door open a few inches and casts a knowingly morbid smile at the watchmen.

"Typically, gentlemen, only Death knocks on my door with such fervor. What is it that I can do for you?"

You are immediately faced with a press of unfriendly faces, the fore of which immediately opens his mouth to speak. However, he falters slightly when he notices that you have yet to dress yourself properly; the apparent leader coughs loudly, apparently having lost whatever bold demand he was about to make upon realizing he'd be delivering it to a man in a morning robe. He recovers after a moment, and acknowledges you with an air of stiff courtesy.

Corporal Miles Bridgeworth

"Good morning," says the uniformed man, bowing his head slightly. "I trust I am addressing Mister Cymmeiian, the owner of this funerary establishment?" He offers no pause after this question, instead continuing, "Mister Cymmeiian, I am Miles Bridgeworth, Corporal of the Town Watch. You have our apologies for interrupting your leisure, but we have come on official business which may not be impeded."

He nods to the chain restraining the door. "If you will permit, I would like to speak with you in private." He gestures to the cadre of guards behind him- though they carry arms, it doesn't look anything beyond their typical bear for patrolling the streets.

"My men shall await me outside."


Cymmeiian cannot fathom what would bring the Corporal to his doorstep at this hour. He was up late last night applying rouge and shellac to one Mister Berent Checz, an elderly human with an unruly mane of white hair and the longest fingernails Cymmeiian had ever seen.

Cymmeiian does his best to stifle a yawn inside a closed mouth as he shuts the door, releases the chain and reopens the door wide with a sliver of a smile and the fire of disdain for the normal soldier-escorts in the street.

"Of course, Master Corporal Bridgeworth. Please do come in."

As the corporal enters the mortuary, Cymmeiian will walk away from him, casting an opened hand to a plush, rust-colored chair as he disappears into another room to change into more guest-suitable attire. He quickly casts off his leisure robe and finds a quality robe of plush crimson fabric with purple and black embroidery of ravens flying from a leafless tree at the hem. Once his robe is on and his hair is reponytailed, Cymmeiian asks The Keeper of All That is Secret and Hidden to help his guise and make him more likable to the Corporal.

As the mortician returns he will head over to a dark wood hutch, produce a key and unlock the lower right door. Inside are various bottles of colored liquors and wines and several crystal glasses of various shapes and sizes. He takes a moment to run his fingers over the velvety wallpaper; a rich purple background with a paisley pattern.

Cymmeiian turns and faces the Corporal and casts the same indicating hand back towards the open cabinet. There is a thin, warm smile smeared across his lips which ends in a small, upturned edge on the right side.

"May I offer you a drink Master Corporal Bridgeworth? A morning nip to help the awkwardness of catching a man in his pajamas?"

Corporal Miles Bridgeworth

"I am afraid I must strongly decline," answers the corporal politely. "It would be untoward for this servant of the city to imbibe alcohol while on duty." With that, Bridgeworth remains standing and carefully smooths out his city uniform.

Bridgeworth is a fastidious gentleman, that is for certain. Everything about him, from his crisply-pressed uniform to his dour expression, speaks of total control, attention to detail, and great devotion to his duty. He's clearly a man who has a no-nonsense approach to his responsibilities, and looks down very sternly upon anyone who might bar the execution of his proper duty.

"As I said," he says, after taking in his surroundings with a pronounced sniff, "I have come to call this morning on official business. There has been an... incident. I cannot yet disclose many details, such as the where or the why, for the office of the Duke wishes to fully investigate this matter before giving cause to upset the populace. His Lordship would certainly encourage due diligence in this matter before taking action, and so I shall abide by His will."

Bridgeworth removes his tricorner hat and gestures with a slight nod to the closed front door. "A man has perished in the night. We have borne his body hence, and would like you to conduct a full medical autopsy, to be carried out immediately."

Cymmeiian watches as the crisp Corporal refuses drink and goes about not explaining anything at all. Sniffing quietly, he gently closes the door to the cabinet, locks it and returns the key to its resting place. He cannot help but chew the corner of his steel-blue lip as he studies the corporal. A slight tingle creeps up the back of his neck as he knows the corporal is a man with much withheld knowledge.

"You may bring him in Master Bridgeworth. I must prep my examination room so you and your men will have to wait here with the corpse."

Cymmeiian watches as the men enter, then locks the door behind them. He draws a pitcher of water and several glasses for anyone who is thirsty before heading into the back room and downstairs to the examination room.

Several minutes pass before Cymmeiian returns; his clothes are changed as well. His robe is gone and in its place is a pair of supple, dark leather pants and a deep red shirt with a front that is laced with a drawstring.

"You may bring him down now, Corporal. You and I will stay in the examination room while I perform the autopsy. Your men must wait outside; perhaps they have other matters need attending? I would not want them getting bored and playing with the Iron Maiden or the likes."

Cymmeiian will help the guards get the body up on the metal covered table as gently as possible before walking them upstairs, seeing them outside and locking the door on the way back in. He is full of warm smiles and gentle eyes to the guards and sets the pitcher of water and the glasses on his stoop in case thirst rises again.

I would like to note that my posts will get more rich and detailed once I have everything finalized with Cym. It takes me a little to fully flesh out personalities and speech patterns.
bear with me...
These dice sets were omitted or moved: 1d20+4, 1d20+3, 1d20+3, 1d20+3, 1d20+3

Corporal Miles Bridgeworth

Originally Posted by Cymmeiian
"You may bring him down now, Corporal. You and I will stay in the examination room while I perform the autopsy. Your men must wait outside; perhaps they have other matters need attending? I would not want them getting bored and playing with the Iron Maiden or the likes."
"I fear I may not acquiesce to your request, Mister Cymmeiian," replies Bridgeworth with an officious sniff. "Owing to the unusual nature of this incident, I must firmly insist that my men remain close at hand." He gestures to the door of the examination room. "I will respect your wish that they not accompany me into the workroom, but they shall yet remain close at hand, outside the aforementioned room proper."

Cymmeiian's forehead creases like knead dough; his lips slowly turn from steel blue to a purplish variation as frustration begins to creep in the backs of his eyes. Slowly he rubs his hands together and quietly sucks his teeth.

"Corporal. Against my better judgement I will concede your demands. Please understand that I am a man of repute and I do not need your business. I am also a man who can only concede so many times without any concessions being granted."

Quickly he shows the corporal and guards downstairs. His steps are sharp and loud as he opens the door to his prep room and casts a hand towards the metal-covered wood table.

"He goes there."

Once the body is established Cymmeiian shows the guards the door, waiting for them to leave before closing it. Spining on his heel he walks over to a finely carved mahoganny bench that is built into the wall. Sliding open a silent drawer he withdraws a rolled bundle of ebony leather. Setting on the counter, Cymmeiian unties the silk string binding it and unrolls the bundle with a deliberate swipe of his hand. His fingertips dance across the top of each tool nestled in its unique pocket lined with grey fur. He dances across each one; left to right and then right to left, ensuring everything is in its proper place.

Without turning to adress the corporal; "So Master Bridgeworth, does His Lordship have a timeframe for this examination? To be perfectly certain of the cause of death, I will need several hours. If you need an answer sooner then I will work as diligently as possible until you tell me I have no more time. You may ask any questions while I work but you may have to repeat yourself as I may not hear you the first time. I expect answers to my questions in return. After all," Cymmeiian turns to the corporal, a small, delicate feather duster in his left hand and
Diplomacy check
a smile smeared across his face, "I can only read minds at night."

Please understand that I am a man of repute and I do not need your business. I am also a man who can only concede so many times without any concessions being granted.
Corporal Miles Bridgeworth

The Corporal offers a wan smile and a curt nod. "Oh, I sincerely hope that we shall not reach that threshold. I would dearly detest having to compel you to service by right of Ducal writ."

With that, the Corporal gives a signal and a gruff order to his men to bring in the body.

As you watch, a wooden horse-drawn carriage bearing no sigils of identification rolls up in front of the mortuary, its bearers looking a bit apprehensive. Even the horses seem a bit skittish as the watchmen surround the vehicle and open the side door. It takes five of the men working together, but with enough heaving and stern resolve, they finally succeed in extracting a long oaken coffin from the interior of the cart. Its bearers parade it past you and into the mortuary workroom, while the remaining watchmen keep shooting wary glances up and down the street. Thankfully, it appears their caution is not necessary, for the road happens to be deserted at the very moment they bear the coffin indoors.

You note- with somewhat grim interest- that the coffin they carry bears a black ribbon, with a large, ebon wax seal upon the coffin's lid. The seal features a grim-looking skull and crossbones, but beyond that, you are not aware of its significance.

"So Master Bridgeworth, does His Lordship have a timeframe for this examination? To be perfectly certain of the cause of death, I will need several hours. If you need an answer sooner then I will work as diligently as possible until you tell me I have no more time.
Corporal Miles Bridgeworth

The corporal nods to your reasoned explanation. "Very well, Mister Cymmeiian," he replies as he removes his tricorner hat and dabs at his brow with a white silk handkerchief. "Take the time you need, but only just; His Lordship wishes expediency in this matter in addition to subtlety and caution."

You begin to get the feeling that "His Lordship" is either the Duke of Fennick himself, Versephius Madragorn, or some high-ranking official who rules in his stead as he conducts the ongoing war with the Province of Umbershal. You're not very familiar with the niceties of court, though, or at least the technicalities of the Duke's chain of command, so you're not really sure who Bridgeworth is referring to.

At Bridgeworth's and your direction, the watchmen bear the coffin into your workroom and set it down next to the metal examination table. The pall makes a heavy, protesting thunk as it settles upon the cold floor. With trepidation, and nervous eyes aplenty, the men select one of their number to open the seal and bear the body to the table.

Suddenly flushed with nervousness and a fair amount of perspiration, the hapless watchman dons a pair of heavy leather gloves and draws a dagger, with which he slices the ribbon and seal away from the coffin's lid. He then opens the container with a loud, jarring creak, and reveals the body within to the open air.

The sight within is a bit disappointing, given all the build-up leading to its revelation. Inside is a middle-aged man, perhaps in his late thirties, with a receding hairline and a jaw that looks to have been broken one too many times in the past. His build is heavy and stocky, and his clothing is rather plain and cheap.

His face appears to be set in an expression of great anguish. Whatever end he met, it was probably quite unpleasant.

Breaking the reverie of viewing the deceased, the watchman who opened up the coffin previously reaches in and bears the man with some difficulty up onto the table, where he settles down rather heavily. His labors completed, the watchman sighs, nods grimly to his companions, then walks out of the parlor. The watchmen mumble and mutter apprehensively to one another, but Corporal Bridgeworth merely nods to you, indicating that you may begin.

And so the dark work may start in earnest...

Cymmeiian watches as the guard struggles with the dead weight and grimaces a bit as the corpse is not-so-gingerly dropped onto the table. As he moves in to take his first looks over the body, Cymmeiian gathers up the ribbon which was tied around coffin and tosses it into a wooden box which holds other items of junk. He the turns and
spot check
studies the body from afar looking for the obvious external signs of death. After being satisfied with the external appearance of the front, Cymmeiian moves to roll the corpse over.
"Master Corporal, was there a specific reason the guard donned a pair of leather gloves while handling this corpse? Or does touching a dead guy give him the willies?" The last question was asked with a
I am going to continue to try and win this guy over...let me know if I roll Diplomacy too much
smile and a wink. Without a second thought, while waiting for the Corporal's answer, Cymmeiian begins whispering words of prayer to The Keeper of All That is Hidden and Secret, asking for his guidance in ruling out
cast Detect Poison, WIS check below
poison as a source of death.


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