Sackcloth & Ashes

Welcome to Sheol

Some Words of Welcome and Explanation from Master Isabella Bird

The first night after the survivors of that cave climbed out of the canyon (using rope that Isabella had secured to come down the side of the steep walls), Isabella set out some bread and water in the main hall of La Ferme and pointed out a pile of blankets that people would have to use until bunks had been constructed and the bunkhouse repaired.

The next morning, a large meal had been prepared and as everyone sat down to eat, Isabella spoke.

I’m sure you all have many questions; hopefully this will help to answer the bulk of them. As I mentioned before, all of you are dead. This world named Sheol in which we now live is neither Paradise or Punishment, though. It exists as a possibility for redemption for those whose lives on some other plane lacked distinction or fulfillment. It also represents a threat and a last chance to those that continue to live empty lives. I say this because a person’s ownership over their soul in this realm is tenuous: on this plane exist beings that seek to take your very souls as a resource for their own schemes. By dying here, you lose ownership over your future, and your life becomes tied up in the actions and decisions of others.

In order to leave Sheol, it is said that one must prove themselves worthy of a fate of either glory or infamy. Few achieve that goal. I believe, though, that there is another way.

When I arrived in Sheol, I heard tell of ways to travel between the planes. This is something that the greater members of The Pantheon are rumored to do with ease. Rather than toil aimlessly with nothing but hope that some being would take notice of my exertions, I decided to look for a way to move between planes as the gods did. With this goal in mind, I assembled a party and struck out to search far and wide for the means to leave here. Eventually, our renown had grown enough that we could claim some of the power that those gods had, and the members of my party and I ascended to the rank of Master. We decided to form our own Great Houses and continue to work together under the auspices of The Cartographers Guild.

And so, I have recruited all of you to assist me and, in the process, help yourselves. The other members of the Guild and I have decided that the best way to cover as much ground as possible in our search is to divide our resources, and so each of us has focused on one field that we believe has the most promise. I am confident that there is something that can help us inside of The Etemenanki. It is one of the only areas in Sheol where entry is regulated, and further, as a Master, I am no longer afforded entry: powerful magics prevent me from setting foot within it. However, I will continue my search from within Castle Mikra. Perhaps being around the higher deities will shed some light on how to move between realms.

Regardless, you should relax and recuperate today. Get to know one another. You are family now. Starting tomorrow, you will receive instruction from an expert in your chosen vocation, and you will help repair some of the dilapidated buildings on this property so that we can better function, starting with the bunkhouse. Enjoy breakfast, and welcome to House Bird as its founding class.

  • After two weeks, all of you are officially level one of whatever class you chose.
  • All of you also gain proficiency in carpentry from two weeks of non-stop restoration of the bunkhouse, mess hall, and stables on the property. While it isn’t ornate, it is functional and sturdy.
  • Isabella will answer what further questions she is able to answer after her speech, just post them in the comments here.


Questions for Isabella:
-How Long has she resided here in Sheol?
-Why does she and the rest of the houses want to return to their original plane?
-Wouldn’t that imply they would be rising from the dead?
-Who/What judged our previous lives and placed us here?

Welcome to Sheol

1. Time doesn’t seem to pass in the same way that it did from her memories of her home plane – there are no “seasons” with which to peg the passage of time, and she has failed to discern ways to track the passing of time other than just writing down each day survived. Further she stopped counting for a while when she became depressed and lost hope that she would ever leave. In spite of this, she estimates that she has been here for well over a hundred years.

2. She and the others don’t like the precarious state of their souls on this plane, and she believes that her death on her original plane may have been caused by an interfering spirit from this plane, although she has no solid evidence to prove this and similarly no leads on which (if any) spirits might be involved. She also isn’t focused on returning to her plane, but more specifically in leaving this one. If she can get back home, all the better, but being here is no good. She notes that not everyone has arrived here from the same plane. She points to the elves, dwarves, and halflings among the group and says that those races didn’t exist in her plane. She also believes that the monsters and other beings that might be considered threats by the civilized groups of this plane have also come from some other plane (or planes) of existence. “It’s possible that they don’t want to be here any more than we do,” she says.

3. If they travel to their original plane, sure. She’s just looking for a way out at present, and she’s willing to travel to any plane that will reasonably support human life. But bureaucratic terms of life and death are a matter for someone else to sort out once they arrive. She’s prepared to worry about that when/if it happens.

4. She doesn’t know. She hopes to find those answers as well.

Welcome to Sheol

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