The Carrion Crown
Rumors and tales heard from Lady Meinster, her groom Klove, and on the grounds of Lepidstadt University. Attempts to question Gereta, or even talk to her, meet with disapproving stares and pursed lips.
Letters of Introduction from Ravengro Councilor Gharen Muricar
The Markiza Lady Martita Meinster: A well-born older woman of a once-fine family. Although less active in society since the deaths of her husband and only child, a son, she still maintains the style of a lady. Only a few rooms in her townhouse are used now, and she is served only by Gereta, who maintains the household and looks after the Lady’s needs, and Klove, who does whatever else is required.
Ghasten Tastoran: Possessing similar interests to the councilor, but less capable of moderating his appetites. He has not been seen in public for some years and it is rumored that four strong servants are required to move him about his townhouse.
Lacantur Blastinos: Prone to plunging himself wholeheartedly into whatever took his fancy, he was rumored to have suffered some sort of collapse a year or so ago. It is said he checked himself into the Karb Island Sanctuary for a rest cure, and was there when the place tragically burned down, killing all within.
Cults of the Outer Gods – The University has the finest collection of tomes and artifacts related to the worship of the Outer Gods in all Avistan. Of course, it is kept locked away in the inner vault and only scholars of unimpugnable reputation and significant magical ability, such as the late Professor Lorrimor, are permitted to study, or even handle, items from the collection. The so-called “Doctor” Meirtmane at the Sicomakti School of Sciences is a charlatan and little better than a common grave robber.
Firearms in Lepidstadt: Firearms are generally viewed as a new-fangled fad worthy of distrust in most of Ustalav. “How does one behead a vampire with a firearm?,” is a common response to seeing one in action. Even so, Lepidstadt is a center for alchemical studies, and the street of alchemists (down by the river past the tanners and butchers) will likely have many useful items for sale. There’s even a powder shop, if it hasn’t blown up yet.
Oh, and one of the traveling carnivals set up outside the city is advertising a “shooting gallery” where you can shoot a firearm at several different targets for a gold piece.
Gravecharge: The church of Pharasma. An army of skeletal horses races across the facade and around the central dome of Lepidstadt’s cathedral of Pharasma, ever rising in a course similar to the goddess’s symbol as they ascend into her ethereal domain.
The worship of Iomedae – Despite her role in liberating Ustalav from the Whispering Tyrant, there are no temples to Iomedae in Lepidstadt. Klove knows of an old townhouse with the sign of Iomedae carved in stone above the door, but he does not know if it is still used by her worshippers. It may well be as abandoned as her temple in Caliphas.
Maguses (Dr. Carolan cannot bring himself to use Magi for the plural of a group of people who hit things with swords): Lepidstadt University is a center for the study of the “mortal sciences.” The University is second-to-none in the study of Alchemy, but there is no organized instruction in less scientific forms of magic. Since a magus also fights with a sword, perhaps one of the University’s dueling societies can point Kreul in the right direction.
Copying spells – Merddin is far too busy to make time for Kreul to copy from his personal spellbook; however, he will instruct his assistant to make his spellbook available for copying. Of course, the sort of spells academic diviners learn may not interest an adventuring magus.
Oreads and/or monks: One of the traveling carnivals set up around the city is advertising a “man of stone,” or maybe it was a “man of brick,” and almost every carnival has a strong man you can wrestle or arm wrestle. The closest thing to a monastery in Lepidstadt is the prophets’ hall attached to the Gravecharge, although there is a Monastery of the Veil in the mountains of the county of Ulcazar.
The University of Lepidstadt: Ustalav’s internationally renowned center of learning, Lepidstadt University endorses the so-called “mortal sciences,” espousing the ability of medicine, mathematics, and the sciences to unveil wonders rivaling the miracles of magic.
Dr. Montagnie (MON-tain) Crowl: Head of the Antiquities Department.
Merddin Carolan: Curator of the Special Collection. Short and thin with close-cut gray hair, Dr. Carolan is excitable and enthusiastic, but perhaps not about things that anyone should be so excited and enthused about.
The Whispering Way: As you already know, the Whispering Way’s habit of communicating via whispers and eschewing written correspondence creates few authoritative written sources. The university does have many accounts of the Shining Crusade and those may have some relevant information, although all of it would be several centuries old. This does not mean there are no written accounts, just that they may take some effort to locate.