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 21, 2005

Log Entry 6

19th September 751, 2nd Night Before the Full Moon

Gregor and Nikola returned late to the temple, and found Yuri walking disquietly in the hall. He was uncomfortable with the previous night's failed excursion to track the ghost. That didn't prove his theory wrong, but certainly made things more difficult for them. Now, they would have to guess if the ghost had a cyclic existence and learn it if they were at all to confront him. So, when Nikola proposed that they went asking William Milhouse for more funds to pay Baku's exorcism, he agreed without much effort.

Thus, they knocked at the nobleman's house and were introduced in his study.
"So, what brings you here so soon? Any novelty?"
Gregor began to answer, timidly
"Well, we..." but was rudely interrupted by Nikola
"We want money for your investigation."
Milhouse was slightly put off at Nikola's abrupt request.
"I have given you adequate funds already, I think. Have you spent it all?"
"You have nothing to do with that, old gaffer. We have a solution for your problem and it costs. So pay up, old scumbag, or do the job yourself... though I think you are too cowardly to actually do anything and so prefer to ask others to do your dirty works... Wimp."
Everyone was in absolute shock, now. This was a facet of Nikola they didn't know. Milhouse's mouth turned into a thin sliver and his eyes turned glassy cold. But keeping all composure and dignity, he simply called for his butler and ordered
"Put these intruders in the street, and don't let them enter this house again. I won't hear any protest, so kindly leave and let me be in peace in my own home."

They were dutifully and swiftly escorted to the street, where the amazed Yuri and Gregor tried to find what had all that been about, but Nikola cast them wrathful eyes and insulted the pair with fouler words than he had darted at Milhouse. The other two attributed that to some madness or bad temper that had struck at Nikola, and hoped it would pass. They left Nikola by himself, and decided instead to visit Edgard Lescaut at the City Records, and see if they could find anything else about Dalia's father, that was now Yuri's main concern. The old man took the usual long time to come up with an answer, and the only thing he could tell them was Holger had been a travelling merchant. They returned to the church after this, where they considered their options:
"I'm at a loss, Gregor. I don't know what to do."
"Neither do I. I wanted to solve this matter with Dalia, but now what can we try? We can not battle a ghost!"
"We could, from what I've read, but I doubt we'd survive. We need to find the motive that keeps her haunting the living. I still bet the White Knight has something to do with her! Perhaps we have to look for him again."
"I'm not sure. But what's worse, Nikola has made us lose our support. I really don't know what's passed in his mind!"
Yuri nodded. He too was puzzled.
"And then there's the matter of the sick girls. Tersis is there today, so I think it's alright if we don't go there. And in the middle of all this, we have neglected Kirien's death which, in truth, is the only thing we should be investigating. But also in there we're stuck! Kirien was poisoned, but how? Did anyone enter the room to poison him? But everything was locked! Was it suicide? Why? Who sent the flower? Why didn't we see her at the Ball? And what is its role in all of this? I don't get it, I need a sign."

If a sign it was, it came later in the afternoon. A man named Ferrouche came to the church in search of them, saying that he was a medium and had sensed their need of guidance. Still chafed because of Baku, they thought he had simply heard them looking for a medium in the streets and now presented himself at an opportune time to try to make a living at their cost. He was an unassuming man, quite simple in his clothing, and even helpful-looking. He looked poor and quite distant from wealth or material interests, in fact, very much at a loss in this world. Yuri and Gregor scrutinized him, and gave a rather involuntary but disdainful look. But Ferrouche was undaunted by their cold reception, and pointing at Gregor, and concentrating, said solemnly:
"I don't know you, but I can feel more than you know about yourself. I can feel there's an emptiness inside you, there's a void that festers in your heart and gnaws at your own soul, destroying your confidence. You feel weak and powerless, and yet, and yet... I can tell you that your fate lies in Barovia. The filling that will replenish your void, is in Barovia that you will find."

These words jolted in Gregor's mind. After that day in front of Dalia's house when his prayers had not been heard, he had never again talked about his inner problem with anyone else. Even to the rest of the group he had not told the extent of the anguish he felt. And now, this stranger pierced his shell and awakened his pain with words that could not be more exact. But at the same time, he offered hope. This enlightened Gregor, and he lost any doubt that he had that the man was a genuine medium.
"I believe you. How can you help us?"
"Just tell me what it is you're needing help for, and I'll assist you".
They told him of the mysterious house and ghost, and Ferrouche offered to go there with them. They thus left the temple and made their way to the house whence they had fled twice in haste. In arriving, Ferrouche opened the door slightly and gave a look inside. He immediately felt the assault of a foreign will on his mind, but after an initial surprise, he turned to the two priests and said
"Fear not, I will shield you from her. Come with me, please, and we'll see what I can gather."
Ferrouche led the group, as he walked around erratically, eyes closed but touching everything, without, however, climbing to the second floor. Occasionally, he had strange tremors, and other times he seemed lost in sleep, but at length they came outside and Ferrouche told them:
"There is great suffering. Many feelings are warring inside, and covering the house in a shroud of sadness. And even though this is the most prevalent emotion that I could feel, I could understand there was also a great deal of hope and despair all around. There was a strong imprint of love mixed with a sense of duty in the whole house, but mainly around the stairs, but a love that becomes heavy and overwhelmed by the duty. And very strongly fixed around the chair in front of the window, an enormous potential for love that, alas, did not come to fruition. I also felt sorrow for one who left forcibly. From what you told me, I believe it was the ghost's father that left to see if he could provide more for the family. And that sorrow is attached to images of a rag doll and small shoes, so I believe she was a child when that happened. Also, it seems that the greatest shift in emotions happened perhaps fifty years ago when the duty eroded and gave place to... to... that's it, despair, all around just despair and loneliness. I guess that must be when her mother died, or slightly after.
I'm afraid this is all I can tell you now."

Yuri and Gregor were amazed with how much he had told them. They reached for their purses (Gregor's was still nigh empty) and asked how much he wanted for the service he had performed for them, but his answer was off putting:
"You don't need to pay me anything, as long as you do me a favour too."
"It depends. What kind of favour?"
"I have a friend of mine that is in need of help... or will be, but still doesn't exactly know. She will be looking for heroes to help her, and one day, you'll cross paths with her. Please, help her, her quest is good."
"And how will we know who she is?"
"Oh, that's simple, she's called Larissa Snowmane. Keep that name in your mind, please, and if you help her, you will have paid me."
"I agree, Ferrouche, you have done more for me than merely this" said Gregor, shaking hands with him warmly. Yuri was more discreet, but vaguely agreed to help Larissa too, if he found her.

* * * * * * * * *

At the end of the day, Evangelina, Drulovic and Thérèze arrived in Keshgel. The meeting with family had been brief, for all of them wanted to be the least time away from the city. Together with them travelled a new acquaintance, a woman named Nostalia Romaine that was lodged at The Walking Knight. She said her carriage had broken down some miles back and while her henchmen fixed it, she rode ahead and stayed at the inn. She was a lady of high bearing, hailing from Levkarest, in Borca, and was headed precisely for Keshgel. When she heard that a group of people was going to her destiny, she asked if she could join them, leaving a message for her team to look later for her in Keshgel at the Royal Crown, where she would be staying. Evangelina spoke to her during the whole journey, and of course asked her if she knew whether a Spider-Rose was a poisonous flower. Nostalia acknowledged the flower, but as for its properties, she was fully ignorant and could tell nothing to Evangelina.


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