Ravenloft Campaign: Woven Fates

Tonight, I relate the story of a group of strangers that met here in the Land of Mists and, forced by destiny, wandered its roads in formidable adventure. Join us as I lead you from their first meeting along through their travels, their misfortunes and their shining moments. Grace them with your compassion in their losses; bless them with your support when the sky is dark and bleak. Do not forget to bestow your praise upon them as they vanquish terror and hold back the minions of darkness. Raise your arm to cheer for their victories!
And above all, share your glass with us for them, both in sorrow and elation, as you accompany them in the thorny road from lost adventurers to heroes of the mists.

Come, huddle with us by the fire here in the dark. The night is cold, but within the ring of Vardos, its evils cannot touch us. Tonight, you are a guest of the Vistani and nothing will harm you. Come, the Prastonata is over and now is time for the Doroq. Let the tales now unfold, let the revelations begin...

Monday, November 15, 2004

Log Entry 19-2

Upon entering the house, Alistair ushered Yuri and Eva into the main bedroom, the others remaining in the common room, that doubled as kitchen and sitting room. Anita was laying on the bed, visibly in great pain. Judging from her cries and suffering, the baby should be born soon. There was no time to lose, Eva set to organize everything immediately: she asked Alistair to bring, with the utmost urgency, hot water and clean towels to help her. She then tried to soothe Anita, easing a bit of her pains. Yuri, at the same time, helped competently, as one knowable in such matters. Alistair returned and everything was in place for the birth, but the baby longed and didn't come. At the same time, Anita's yells increased in volume and moaning, as the wind outside seemed to howl as an echo in answer to her hurtful cries. And the baby still didn't come. The time passed unnaturally slow: one hours, two hours, saw no change in the situation. Yuri, turning to Alistair, asked if this had happened before, but he said they had never had any babies, so he couldn't tell. "Perhaps then it is due to being the first time", said Eva.

Yuri felt for the baby, trying to understand if it was in the wrong position and if he could correct the situation, but to his dismay he could place it within Anita's belly. He looked puzzled to Eva, unsure of what to do. She understood his apprehension. The tension mounted, Anita was on the borders of collapse and the wind announced a storm outside when at last, fluid came out, and Anita relaxed and a smile announced her contentment for the baby born. Alistair moved to the end of the bed to be the first to receive his son, except that... there was no baby.

Alarmed, dumbfounded, all three looked at each other without understanding. Alistair was first to recover and said

"Please, let's keep this a secret. Tell her simply her baby was stillborn. Any thing else will make her mad."

They looked to her needs for a while, until Anita fell asleep. "Let's now leave her alone, to rest. Remember, not a word about this to her."

Meanwhile, the other three tried to accommodate themselves in the small room. They waited impatiently and with growing anxiety. The cries they heard were not of the kind to leave them rested and outside the situation wasn't improving either. To compound matters, Gregor saw, by one of the windows, a wolf outside in the snow, rounding the house.

At length, Alistair came out, with Yuri and Eva.

Nikola sprang to ask "So, is it a boy or a girl?", but the reply was nothing of what he expected. "It was stillborn", was Alistair's gruff reply. In shock, Nikola perceived Yuri waving his head negatively. Alistair cut

"Stay here. I'll get you hot food and see if you can sleep here. If not in the house, at least in the barn. It's night now, and it's better for you to stay than to go anywhere" and left the room.

"You were saying no with your head, Yuri. What happened there? Stillborn?"

"Actually, Nikola, no. There was no baby!"

"No baby? How, no baby?"

"Well, no baby.... We just stood there looking stupidly at her. The fluid came out, she relaxed, she eased she smiled and after a while she went to sleep, but baby,..... well, it never came out"

"Oh my, she gave birth to a spectre!"

"Don't play with serious things, Nikola. But if you want my feeling, this does not bode well at all."

"Well, then it will get worse, Yuri", interrupted Gregor, "There's wolves outside".

"Wolves? So near the house? But that's unusual. What might they be wanting?"

"I don't know, but if you want my opinion, we spend the night here as he said and leave first thing in the morning to go on with our trip. I really don't feel like spending overtime in this house", finished Gregor.

"We'll see about that..."

Alistair came just a few minutes after with a hot meal

"I can give you a room in the back. Hope you can manage there all five. If not, the barn is serviceable, and only a few meters from the house, but the weather is awful and if I were you, I'd rather stay here, no matter how cramped."

They ate fast, remembering suddenly how hungry they were. Alistair led them to the room and went to his wife. The group debated their actions in the morning and waited a while without actually trying to sleep. It was as if some dark foreboding kept them awake and told them there was something yet to do before calling it a day. And if they did feel this, they were right. Alistair came back three hours later

"Erm.... Yuri, Eva there's something you have to see."

He led them to the main bedroom. The scene was disturbing. Inside, Anita was sitting on a chair, her arms poised as if feeding a baby, caressing him gently. Only that in her arms they could see nothing. As they entered, her eyes grew wide

"Isn't he beautiful?"

and she looked once again at her invisible baby with adoring eyes. But no one else could see what she was looking at. Above her arms, they could simply see was her white gown. White and...

"Look!", cried Eva.

And all of them saw, with a slight touch of horror in their faces, a tiny red spot appearing on her gown over her breast, and increasing to reach up to the size of a child's palm. Alistair turned his eyes with disgust and shame and while the others looked quizzically at each other, Yuri stepped forward and holding his holy symbol, invoked the blessings of his goddess and concentrated. He fanned his attention in the direction of Anita but after a few seconds, he shrugged, disappointed, and said.

"Nothing! I can feel no magic here."

"That spot... is it blood?", stammered Eva, but no one could answer her.

"Anita, he's a very beautiful child, but doesn't he hurt ? He seems to suck hard."

Anita's eyes brightened once more

"Oh no, miss. I'm already used, he never hurt me before."

They shook off the incongruence of her answer as caused by the extreme tension of the last few days, so Yuri simply said

"Eva, you'd better stay here with her and calm Anita. I think we belong outside."

As they stepped outside of the room, Alistair burst into tears, incapable of holding any more grief and consternation. He felt impotent, powerless to help his wife and ashamed in front of strangers.

"I have to tell you the truth, I have to.... I can hold it no longer... the truth" he mumbled within his tears, his face hidden in his hands. Yuri patted him on the shoulder "What truth?"

He raised his head and looking straight at Yuri

"I lied there inside. We've had a baby before. It was a year ago, precisely. But he ... he ..."

They waited for him to regain his composure

"Barton was three months old. We went for a walk outside. I was going to chop wood for the winter and Anita was carrying him in the sled. I don't know what happened, it was too fast. Anita looked aside, something caught her attention. I swear!, it was just an instant, but when she looked again, there it was! A wolf cub, still small but dragging my dear Barton away. I ran, and Anita ran too. But the cub was faster than we were and soon its mother appeared. It gashed at Anita as she desperately tried to hold Barton. I chopped the wolf in two and the cub run afraid, but Barton was still on the red-tinted snow. So still... I can see him yet.... so still, so cold."

"Anita wept like the sky in a storm. We couldn't bury him that day. The snow was freezing cold and for a week it snowed like not even the elders had seen. We were locked in the house. Anita couldn't release Barton, she didn't accept he was gone. At last, I buried him eight days later but Anita became like mad. She was always calling for Barton, Barton, Barton and refused to accept he had died. She became melancholic and distressed. She only got better when she knew she was pregnant again. She was so happy! Another son was the chance to restart, to be mother again, to have a child again. When she learns what happened, I doubt she'll be able to take it... I don't know what to do!" and began to sob uncontrollably.

Alone in the bedroom with Anita, Eva looked stupidly to the red spot on her vest. Anita put her "child" to the side "I'll let him sleep now. He's so small, and so beautiful, but he needs rest!" and took a finger to her lips warning Eva to be quiet. Eva approached intent on understanding better what the spot was. She touched Anita's dress

"Doesn't it hurt here? Aren't you bleeding?"

"No", came the puzzled reply, "look!"

and undid a bit of her gown to reveal an unblemished breast. No mark of wound or bite. Just clean soft skin. And the cloth looked as if it simply had been red in that particular spot ever since it had been made.

Eva didn't know what to think when suddenly, she heard the sound of a rattle behind her. Turning quickly, she saw nothing out of the ordinary. Everything was in place. Just then, in the corner of her eye, she thought something had moved and that the towel at the top of the pile on that stair in the corner had just been hovering half an inch over the others and fallen just when she looked. She rubbed her eyes. Was it the late hour? Weariness? Lack of sleep?


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