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 07, 2005

Log Entry 32

After the fight, Gregor went first to check Irina's horse. It was alive, but had gone unconscious due to the cold. He channelled the power of the Morning Lord and revived it. With uncontained joy he watched as it scrambled to its feet and stood upright, still shivering but clearly withstanding the cold. Meanwhile, Gheata skinned the Yeti and cut its head off. After half an hour, he was done, after which the group flocked around the dead beast and proceeded to quarter it into several pieces. Another fifteen minutes later, they had stocked on enough provisions for several days more. Happy with the goods they had earned from the fight, they turned to the most pressing need then: the finding of a shelter.
It wasn't snowing anymore, but the cold pressed on bitterly, and they couldn't withstand a night out in the open.

It took them much more that they were expecting. Only after two hours, already immersed in pitch dark, did they spot a viable opening in the rock wall. Actually, they found two. The first one was a low cave, which sloped down and stood 1 metre below the snow level outside. However, it was uncomfortable and didn't seem all too safe: there were dark spots and unreachable spaces that couldn't be closely explored. Small fissures seemed to lead into the rock and might house small but inhospitable creatures. However, it was ample enough for the whole group.

The other cave was up on the rock, its entrance about 5 metres high. Gregor thought it would be worth taking a look at it. However, the rock wall didn't seem easy to climb. Gheata went up to it immediately, attacking the ice wall with his bare hands, but at his difficulty to climb, Gregor derided him "Leave that climbing for professionals, Gheata". He didn't respond, but eyed Gregor menacingly, with a murderous sparkle in the corner of his eye that no one noticed. He went away and began picking the teeth off the Yeti's skull, which he simply threw away when he finished. Unaware of Gheata's attitude, Gregor checked his equipment:
"I've got climbing gear", he thought. "Pitons, rope, spiked boots.... Drat, I miss a hammer!"
"How could we be so dumb to forget buying hammers?" he burst out loud. The others looked aside uncomfortably... None had brought hammers either.
"I have one", said an acute voice. It was Irina. "I thought it might become useful. I brought pitons too. But then again, I know Barovia better than you".
Gregor was ashamed. He should have known better, but he thanked her politely and began to climb. He slipped twice, but fortunately held to the rope. In no time he was in the cave. It looked spacious and rather comfortable, for a cave in a frozen mountain's wall. It would do, but they couldn't dream of bringing the horses up. Their climb wouldn't be hard, and Gregor could even fix his grappling hook on the ground to ease the ascent. But Eva rejected the idea vehemently. She was not on the mood to abandon the horses even for one night. Despite all the inconveniences of the other cave, they still thought it was the better choice and so camped there.

They took precautions because of the cold and lit a large fire. Gregor took the first shift. He was relieved by Eva in the dawn. As she kept guard, strong winds and snow came to haunt the night and the fire went out. Eva tried to light it anew but failed. She thought of waking someone but she had noticed Yuri and Gregor needed a clear mind from a good night's sleep if they were to be listened by their gods during the following day; Irina was too fragile, and since she clearly knew magic of some sort, good or evil, she thought more prudent not to question, she probably needed a quiet night too. Gheata was the only one remaining, but they were not exactly on good terms and he had spent the previous night awake.
"Guess I'll have to solve this alone, then."
The snow was coming in heavily, so she thought the best thing to do was to cover the entrance, and she found nothing better than the Yeti's fur. She nailed it to the wall with the pitons and after a time she had a makeshift curtain, preventing most of the snow of getting in. She rekindled the fire, and noticed that amazingly none had awakened with her pummelling. One or two had twitched, she noted, but the day had been so exhausting that they fell back asleep soon enough.

13th October 751, 5th Night of the Waxing Moon

In the morning they woke early. Eva, worried about the effects of the heavy snow that had fallen, removed the fur from the entrance. They awed agape at the height it had attained, covering up to a half of the entrance's height. They were discouraged but determination soon came back.
"Better work hard than die", was obvious in everyone's mind.

Digging hard with their shovels they took around four hours to finally carve a way in the middle of the snow that would allow the horses to climb out of the cave, so it was nearly noon when they finally came out of the cave.

The day was as cold as the previous ones, but this time it didn't snow, fortunately. The horses, however, suffered heavily from the cold, but with good care on their part, and the skill learned from hard gained experience, they managed to bring them all in good shape.

By the early afternoon, they were stopped by a lone wolf that was crouched in front of their way. The pass was a narrow gorge at this point, so they clearly had to pass by the animal. This wouldn't too much of a concern in normal circumstances, since the wolf was crouched over itself and seemed oblivious to them at first. But alas, these were not normal circumstances at all. The wolf was badly wounded. This elicited great compassion from Eva, always the animal lover, but Irina was shivering in alarm. First than anyone else, she had noted that this was not a mere wolf: it was a huge wolf for its kind, "almost twice as big as a regular one", she said.

Besides, when the wolf noticed them, it became openly aggressive and hostile.
"He must be maddened by his pain", suggested Yuri. "We'd best not upset him".
Gregor approached it, but the wolf snarled and moved on his direction fiercely. Gregor retreated and tried ask the Lord of Dawns for protection and guidance. But Gheata strode forth trying to pass around the wolf. This leapt instantly and attacked him, but missed. The others reacted immediately. Eva shot an arrow true to the target and it plunged deep in the wolf's fur, but to their dismay, they watched in horror as the would seemed to close around the arrow and the wolf completely ignored it. Eva and Irina called the alarm immediately
A cloud of doubt fell on them, and Gheata was so surprised that he didn't react fast enough and was hit by the ferocious claws. The others tried desperately to scare the wolf away, while Eva aimed at length, and with great determination, an arrow at the beast. She let it fly with all her strength and this time it sunk in and hurt badly, for the wolf yelped and backed away. But still it pressed on and Gheata avoided his blow with a quick jump to the side. His own blade, though, seemed simply to slide off the wolf's skin. Irina faintly announced she had a silver dagger, and lent it to Eva who swung it at the beast and saw it cut with ease. The wolf felt the wound deep. Not meaning to lose its life, it turned around and ran. They still fired some shots in its direction, but missed and the wolf vanished in the white background.

They rested for a while. Gheata's wound was not deep, but all of them knew the wound of a lycanthrope may carry the dread disease with it. They had more pressing needs for the moment and they moved on, but for the rest of the day all of them thought what would happen if Gheata had truly been infected. It was a matter that wouldn't leave their minds so easily.

The rest of the afternoon was much as the morning, but they moved faster, pressed by the ominous words of Yuri after fight. Recalling what he had learnt in his classes of folk lore and legends about the dark creatures, a werewolf can not be damaged by most weapons. The wounds will simply close, as they themselves had witnessed. They might hurt it a bit, if it is hit with more than average strength. But the werewolf they had met was severely wounded, which suggested one of two things: either it was attacked by someone with silvered weapons (this much they all knew, it was common knowledge to most of the Core) or, so told Yuri, by another of its kind. And the sole thought that another werewolf, in better shape than the other one, could be around, lent an extra supply of will and determination, of courage and resilience to all the adversities, that they almost ran over the snow.

The afternoon was coming to its middle point when they began checking the rock wall for another cave to spend the night, and they found one two hours before the sunset. This gave Eva and Gregor time enough to go looking for firewood, and they eagerly returned with enough for three nights. At last, the circumstances began to look positive for them: they had food and wood to last a few days, enough for them to reach Krezk, estimated Irina and Yuri, with a study of his book of Barovia's trails and roads.
Besides, it wasn't snowing anymore and they had known how to control the cold. Yuri and Gregor could protect them from the cold completely with their divine favours, and they would tend to the horses as they had done that day.

14th October 751, 6th Night of the Waxing Moon

The night passed peacefully in the cave, and so did the next day, for once without any confrontation. It was a monotonous walk the whole day through the snow-covered meadows, as the mountains around them opened into vast high plains. The menace of the wolf still hung in their minds, but they saw no trace of it. Finding shelter was now harder, for the rock wall had retreated and lowered considerably, but they still found a suitable place by the end of the day.

15th October 751, 7th Night of the Waxing Moon

On the following day, they set forth with their spirits high. The sun was shining openly in the sky, free of any clouds. It barely warmed the face, however, and the chill air still stung mercilessly. But as their walk turned downwards to become a gentle knoll, they perceived in the distance, but a few hours away, a large city that could only be Krezk. Finally, they were in view of their destination, and Gregor felt elated.
"At long last," he said aloud, "I will redress the emptiness in my heart, and earn a good deserved rest from my tolls and labours. At last, I will be able to rest from these mountain journeys and forget about wide travels for a while.... a few good months until summer comes back again, I'm sure."
He caressed his belly, already in anticipation of good meals in Krezk. But Yuri reminded him, in a cool, factual voice:
"You may want to stay here for winter holidays, but we've still got that business with the Count to do, don't forget it."


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