Name of business: Paradise Portals (formerly Shady Gardens Cemetery)
Business conducted: Making all necessary arrangements concerning death and burial.
Owner: Tully-Jean Snapes
Description of buildings:
Covering 3 acres, the cemetery is a long standing landmark in Arylon, almost a public park. It is shady; fragrant tulip and magnolia trees line the paths and rows of stones. It is deathly silent.
Over 50 mausoleums and 300 graves dot the landscape, inhabited by the dearly departed of Inner Ward's west end. The older graves are stately and simple compared to the elaborate, sometimes gaudy, tombs recently planted by Arylon's rising middle class.
Chapel and Preparation Rooms:
A simple, white wooden chapel stands near the main gate. Inside the display room are pews, a stand for coffins, and a podium for the person delivering the eulogy. Tucked in the corner of this room is a small bellows organ.
There are two small preparation rooms in the back of the chapel where bodies are washed, wrapped in shrouds, and placed in coffins.
The caretaker's home is a large stone cottage in the middle of the grounds. It has a thatched roof and brown trimmed shutters and doors.
The stable is next to the cottage and is built of matching stone. It houses a black horse, tack, harness and the hearse.
Guard shack/tool shed:
This small building houses all necessary tools such as picks and shovels. It also serves as a retreat for the night watchmen during inclement weather.
Description of business:
Tully-Jean Snapes was the lowly assistant of Talynda Mox, the reserved and well-respected owner of a small cemetery called Shady Gardens. Shady Gardens was plotted about 100 years ago by Talynda's grandparents and was expected to remain in the Mox family, until now. Upon Talynda's death, everyone was shocked to learn her will named Tully-Jean the beneficiary of the cemetery and its attending structures instead of her favorite granddaughter. Of course Tully-Jean was less surprised, being a self-taught forger.
Since Talynda's death, there have been a number of changes in the cemetery, including the removal of several of the oldest graves and a new name. Tully-Jean has left behind the subdued ceremonies of Talynda's day in an effort to appeal to the growing middle class and "new money" in Arylon, an effort that is meeting with some success. Apparently, these newly wealthy are trying to outdo their neighbors even in death, and Tully-Jean is there to assist. If there is a service that can be provided having to do with death, Tully-Jean and/or a member of this enormous ragtag family is standing by ready to fill that need, for a fee. This includes a choir, extra mourners (and for just two gold more, they all cry), grave tending, flowers or other decorations, funeral procession complete with black horse and hearse, and whatever else the serious mourner desires. Tully-Jean has even sent his hapless nephew, Belvin, off with a caravan bound for Mulhorand. He hopes Belvin might be apprenticed in the art of embalming.
Tully-Jean Snapes (human male, thief 2, CN, owner of Paradise Portals)
Tully-Jean is 30 years old. He is skinny, with stringy, dark, oily hair and festering acne. When working as the assistant to Talynda Mox, she insisted that he wear simple and subdued clothing (and bathe occasionally). Since her departure from Toril, all that has changed. He has taken to wearing a black top hat; long, black coat; ruffled, dingy white shirt; black string tie and black velveteen breeches. He has recently moved into the caretaker's home which his new wife, Nona, has begun to decorate in flagrant shades of pink. As unlikely as it may seem, Tully-Jean is widely lauded as one of the few success stories of his family. Since his recent good luck, he has hired numerous family members in an effort to expand the variety of death care services.
Unknown to the patrons of Paradise Portals, Tully-Jean and Nona often steal valuable items such as rings off the corpses and fence the items. They are careful to wait until just before internment to loot the items, on the off chance the grieving family members may request one last look at their loved one. Tully then makes "business" trips to Elturel or trade shacks along the Chionthar to sell the items. He and Nona are careful not to sell the items in the city for fear that distinctive pieces will give them away.
Nona (human female, thief 1, CN, semi-retired prostitute)
Nona is 42 years old. She sees Tully-Jean as her meal ticket in shining armor. She is so obese that her mouth seems stretched across her face, an unfortunate occurrence not helped by the fact that she has tinted her lips an unnatural shade of red. Her hair is dyed a color that she calls blonde, but most would call orangey-brown. Because of her looks and sticky fingers, Nona was unable to find work in a respectable brothel and has spent most of her career as a freelance artist. Although she spends great quantities of the money earned from the cemetery, Nona is also a great contributor to her husband's work. Besides her ability to wail and weep convincingly when acting as a paid mourner, she believes her years in the service industry give her the ability to deal compassionately with the bereaved. Nona also 'consoles' some of the less picky mourners.
Thornton and Willy Snapes (human males, 0 lvl, CG)
Thornton and Willy are the harmless but lazy defenders of the deceased. They are respectful to mourners, but a little slow. Sometimes Willy catches himself genuinely crying over strangers. He is often chosen to be the paid mourner for departed adventurers, as he feels kinship with these daring souls. He hopes to take up a more exciting career before he returns to the cemetery for the last time.
Thornton has no such ambitions. He is content to stay up all hours, eat his midnight meals and play cards amidst the tombstones. He likes to pick grave flowers to decorate the little guard shack, placing them in the single window since there's no room for a table amongst the shovels and picks.
Dora-Lee Snapes (human female, 0 lvl, CN)
Ellith Berry (human male, 0 lvl, TN)
Sondo Snapes (human male, 0 lvl, NG)
Dora-Lee, Ellith, and Sondo live together in a ramshackle house in Dock Ward; all work under the watchful eye of Tully. Dora-Lee fancies herself a musician, and hopes to be a famous bard someday. As the craftiest of her clan, she is more likely to inherit the cemetery business than answer the call of pyrite fame.
Ellith plods through his life, often drunk. He is a poor supply master, often losing receipts and mis-adding his tallies. Dora-Lee makes Sondo do the work, so Tully need never find out and Ellith can sleep through the day.
Sondo is a stalwart 15-year-old who fears his mama and hates her boyfriend. Sondo is a dedicated worker, but is quickly growing away from his family and the cemetery. He is very fond of his aunt Belladonna, since she took the time to teach him reading and math. He misses his older brother, Belvin, long since departed to Mulhorand. Sondo hopes to join the Silver Crescents when he turns 16.
Belladonna Snapes (human female, 0 lvl, NG)
Gandy Snapes (human male, 0 lvl, TN)
Gandy is the slow brother of the clan. He never learned to count past 20. He has learned, however, to carefully draw his name. He loves picking and placing flowers on the graves, and gets irate when they disappear in the night. He seems to have skill with horses.
Belladonna was abandoned by her drunken parents at the age of eight. She married Gandy when she was only 12, to get off the streets. Since then she has made a rich life for herself despite her impoverished surroundings. She has learned to read, cipher, philosophize and sing through the church of Oghma, and has become a great friend to Elias Systrum, the teacher-priest of Arylon. She has had no children, but essentially raised Dora-Lee's two boys.
She is trying to get Sondo into the Silver Crescents and fears Belvin has perished in far off Mulhorand