Ravenloft Campaign: Woven Fates

Greetings!
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 21, 2005

Log Entry 34

Elizabeta accompanied the group to the front door. As they were going down the stair that led to the street, a man dressed in the Priest's Habit came up. He eyed Gregor with interest and Elizabeta explained:
"This is Gregor, Samuel, a new brother that we welcome in our family. Gregor, I introduce you to Samuel Valentin, my chief-advisor and so your superior."
After the introductions where done, each went back to his life.
"So, what now? The sun is high, we still have plenty of time" said Gregor cheerfully to the others.
Yuri was the first one to ask
"I think we should go shopping. We've been at the market only in passing, but there are a number of things we really need. To start with, I think we need a mule... at least. I'm tired of carrying this burden, and my horse has been complaining all along the journey."
Gheata joined
"I only know I want a silver sword."
"Why?", asked Gregor.
"Dimwits! Because I could not strike that wolf in the mountains and Eva could because she had a silver dagger. I want a silver sword..."
Yuri mused, and added with a serious tone
"Gheata has a point. That wolf was probably not natural, and our weapons were indeed almost all ineffective against it. And if it was wounded, that's because there must be more in the vicinity like it, or some travellers with stronger weapons than us, which I doubt because we haven't seen any marks of another group. That means we should get ready for whatever comes, and so, silver weapons we should buy."
They agreed they would look for those, but they went first to an inn where they kept some of their things and left the horses resting. Then, they proceeded to roam the market again. Decidedly in good spirits, Gregor considered his shopping list, which had a quite curious item
"I need an herbalist, an apothecary, something of the kind".
"Why?" asked Eva amused by the oddity of his request.
"I want some teas to get slim!"
"You what?" she broke off laughing.
"Now, come on Eva, don't you think I'd look much better if I lost some weight?" he made a pose in front of her, trying to disguise his enormous belly, but Eva couldn't stop laughing at the prospect.
"Sure, Gregor, you would. But I can't help you with that... reducing weight is not my expertise, I've always been in good shape."
With this mocking retort, Eva left Gregor thinking
"She's denied me twice, in Barovia. Surely that must be because I'm this fat. Otherwise, I don't understand what she saw in Gheata to have laid with that brute and not with me."

A few paces ahead, Gheata said
"I'm going to sell my Yeti's pelt."
But Gregor retorted
"Our pelt, right Gheata?"
"MY pelt", said this one, "I killed it."
"No, we killed the Yeti" said Gregor.
Gheata put on a menacing look and coolly, slowly, said
"I killed it! I put my sword into it, and it fell dead. I killed it. My pelt!"
That was the end of the discussion. Gheata departed alone to check on various traders and in the end managed to sell it for 150 gold coins. He then bought a guard dog and later joined the group, as they bought some travelling gear and checked on the possibility of silvering their weapons or buying new ones made of silver entirely. Meanwhile, Gregor had found an herbalist who gave him some hints on what to eat and sold him some herbs proper for slimming teas: all for the modicum price of 1 Wolf Fang, which he learned to be the Barovian gold coin.

They chose to make new weapons from scratch and were ordering them for the two days later when a clamour broke out on the other side of the street. Gregor paid attention, and he assisted Irina explaining to the others what was going on:
A group of ordinary Gundarakites was shocked to find that the grocer was charging them thrice the price he did for a group of Balok. They were outraged and demanding explanations, but all the grocer said was that it was the Special Tax Relief for Baloks. The Gundarakites wouldn't take it, they were seven and the Balok were three. One of the Balok drew a sword but two of the Gundarakites overpowered him and took the blade from the other man. His two other companions drew their own weapons, a mace and a hand crossbow and seeing this, the Gundarakite group fled. All around, the population was exacerbated and outraged crying aloud
"Help! Help! Those miserable Gundarakites are armed! They've got a weapon! Hunt them! Catch them!" The mod burst all around and the Gundarakites were given chase into an alley. Two militia guards appeared and chased them. The fugitives entered into some abandoned houses and the guards and many men of the common folk followed. After only 10 minutes, they emerged with five prisoners brought in line, tied by their hands. Two had escaped, but the guard cried aloud.
"These men will be executed in the open square for illegal possession of weapons. Any and all who want to assist, follow us to the designated place."

The group watched amazed
"They're going to kill all of them" said Gregor, "as soon as they reach the square! I think we should try to free them."
The others were not convinced
"It's too dangerous, we do not have many resources at our disposal."
But Gregor persuaded them
"This is a golden opportunity to infiltrate their ranks. We may learn a lot from them, I think we should try."
They crafted their plan quickly. Yuri was going to scare away one of the guards with a bit of his divine magic. All that was needed was for Gregor to teach him how to say "Flee" in Balok. There was a lot of people standing in the street watching the spectacle of the arrested 'Rebels' as they were being labelled. Yuri mingled with them and managed to reach the front guard. He whispered the word Gregor had taught him and a strange compulsion held the militiaman who immediately bolted running in the direction opposite the alley. At that instant, Gregor cried aloud
"Look! The other two are over there!" pointing in that direction. The bluff was effective and almost the whole crowd ran behind the first guard, Gregor included. So disorganized was the mob, that the five captives were left with only one guard and two commoners. Gheata, who had stayed behind, approached the guard swiftly with his dagger and plunged it in his kidneys. He held the guard so that he didn't fall, but one of the other men noticed his movement and gave the alarm. In sudden reaction, Yuri shaped another spell and cast it at the scene. Strangely enough, everyone including Gheata felt no compulsion to be aggressive, except the one man that had given the alarm, but seeing that no one else followed him, he instead turned and flew away. The captives took the brief opportunity to run for their lives and Gheata, after making clear by gestures that he didn't understand them, followed their escape. They hid in an obscure house apparently well-known to the Gundarakites and waited for night fall. Conversation with the fugitives, though, was difficult as only one of them spoke a very broken form of Mordentish and so they could understand less than a quarter of what they said to each other. At least, Gheata had managed to bring his new bought dog and still had most of his wares.
Gregor had gone along with the crowd in the fake direction he had suggested. The girls and Yuri went back to the inn, each at their own leisure and by separate ways. Gregor eventually eluded the mob and found his way through the emptying streets, now that dusk was approaching, to the inn. The sun was already low as he crossed a street with a sign that called his attention: the Red Vardo Traders.
"Hey, these are the ones that carried the panther!"
That was only a minor curious point, but a window was slightly opened and Gregor heard things he was not meant to hear. A man was ordering the Traders to find and retrieve a Ba'al Verzi dagger, a very specific one. Gregor honed his hearing, but he missed some important details. All he could understand was that it had been involved in the murder of a burgomaster in Barovia village... and that the price for the whole mission was a tremendous 100 000 gold pieces.
His jaw dropped. He stood frozen in a moment, considering that he had held that weapon in his hands.
"Geez, just imagine the money we could have made!"
And then he heard footsteps. He feigned he was just passing and went about his life, but when he looked back, he saw a shaded figure walk away from the house in an ordinary cape and hood that hid all his features. It was apparent the figure walked furtively and he or she soon hid in the darkness of an alley and of the night that had just fallen.

Gregor arrived to the inn without problems, and the four of them discussed the happenings of the day over dinner. Gregor was thinking that he should begin his diet, but in the end, he said
"Ah, this is my last proper dinner, I want it to be good. Innkeeper! bring us your best plate! I pay the round."
And thus it was that they had a grand dinner on Gregor's first day on a diet.

As they ate, the question of Gheata sprang naturally.
"What will we do about Gheata?" asked Eva.
"I don't know. I think we're much better without him, to be frank" said Gregor.
Irina added that he spooked her, but in short, all of them agreed that they should go look for him in the morning. They had to wait two days for the weapons to be made, so they had some time to spend. Profiting a moment when Irina had to go away for some instants, Gregor told the others what he had heard of the Ba'al Verzi dagger.
"We could be rich by now", he said, but Yuri doubted
"I don't know. If that's worth that much, it must not be a good thing... Hush, she's coming."

They remained silent for some time, and thus noticed that a nearby conversation interested them. People were discussing the incident with the 'Rebels' that afternoon, how a guard had been found bleeding profusely on the street who was succoured at the last minute. It was rumoured that he died, but others said he had been taken to the healers of Hala and survived. Whatever the truth, that seemed not to be the most important: people were concerned about the rebellion, that it may be reaching Krezk and that the two rebels that had escaped in the first step had been the ones responsible for freeing the other ones.
"Such daring this scum has!"
"Indeed, but have they reached this far north already?"
"I say, I'm going to close my shop to Gundarakites and carry a weapon with me. They're all rebels, they're all bandits, you can't trust them that are here."
"I think we should burn the Sanctuary. Those vile wretches flock there like moths to a flame."
"Speaking of flame, do you know what I heard? That the boyar Ivan Szimin was murdered."
"Szimin?"
"Yes, and what's more, after his death there have been a lot of unexplained fires around his mansion and in the woods from Zeidenburg to the Dread Pass."
The talk died away and they went to their rooms: Irina stayed with Eva, while Yuri and Gregor shared a room. While Yuri studied his cherished book once again, Gregor looked outside to the street, slightly indisposed from the dinner. As he watched the moon and the empty streets, he saw a feminine figure emerge from the Sanctuary of First Light. She was armoured and carrying a backpack that looked well-furnished of equipment. She carried a short spear in his hand and walked boldly and with determination. She made a quick scan of the area, but not furtively, and then proceeded down the street that led to the forest. Gregor was intrigued and told Yuri what he had seen. The other asked him if Gregor knew anything of night rituals, but he denied any such knowledge.
"You know, Yuri, I think I would follow her if circumstances were other, but here in Barovia, I think I'll stay inside and let her go her way. I'm really curious, but.... I'm more interested in myself".
"A wise decision, my friend" were Yuri's only words.

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