Smiting these ghouls into ruin ended too soon for Valkyrie's tastes. Where was she? Where was Leona, her sister of light? The cardinal had finally admitted as to where he sent Val's love. Horrified, Val had immediately traversed the Gypsy path into this land of dreary tatters. The light of existence had been extinguished from the citizens of this cursed land. Fortune had smiled upon her enough for Val to find a group of adventurers also from Waterdeep. They strangely stood out, it seemed to her that they did not have the hollowing out of color she noted from the locals.
I am letting my thoughts wander too much. I must clear my mind. Breath deep, taking it step by step to bring this land back into the light. Discipline equals freedom.
I was called to the service of the Morninglord Lathander, the god of dawn, birth, creativity and renewal and made my way to Waterdeep at a young age where I began my service as a squire to the most noble Tlinthar Regheriad who would later become High Dawnknight of the Order. He was a kind and just mentor who taught me the ways of the Paladin order where I would later be knighted as Dawnknight in The Order of the Aster and would subsequently be attached as an officer with The Purple Dragon Knights of Cormyr where I saw horrors in battles that would forever change me and make me long for peace. No matter how just the cause may have been, I began to question my beliefs so much that after returning to Waterdeep and being granted the position of High Dawnknight of the Order, I decided to give it up and walk away. This was greeted with much derision,but I could no longer serve the institution and deal with the politics of belonging to the order. Don’t misunderstand me, these are good people with noble intentions; I just could no longer follow their rigid path. I still believe, although not as fervently as I once did and needed to be on my own to ask and answer internal questions about my life and beliefs. I’ve spent these last years traveling the lands and helping people on my own terms. While there are still times when I need to pick up my sword in defense of those who need it, I would rather aid folks in a peaceful manner. I’ve spent my life doing what I believe was right, but I’ve killed so many and seen so many killed that I carry around a heavy burden from the horrors of war. Someday I hope to find peace but the nightmares and the faces of the dead haunt me; they follow me no matter how far I wander. Now that I find myself in Barovia, I feel the call to once again pick up my sword to help these people find their own peace and assist them in being released from the curse of the evil Strahd.
Lathander, the Morninglord, retains the cheery optimism of youth and stands as a symbol of beginnings, and even though my faith is not as strong as it once was, I am bolstered by the optimistic thought of new beginnings.
The kids disappear. I don't really like not being able to see them, but I trust they will uphold our end of the bargain and not harm or possess any of us again. We all take a rest in the Burgundy Room. Eliza finally snaps out of his post possession melt down, and everyone else heals up. We move on to explore the other rooms we haven't gotten to yet. I nearly walk out of the first one we come to when I see another doll on the bed.
"A wife for Popov!" Cecil exclaims, holding up the nasty son of a puppet.
Popov and Mrs. Popov are given a moment. I move off towards the next room. Second room is boring, but the third room is filled with shapes, some humanoid, covered in sheets. We all start pulling sheets off, scared every time that something undead will jump out at us. Everything is just furniture. There is a trunk that Mike and Chekasha open, and inside is a bloody sheet that when pulled out reveals a broken up skeleton.
Satisfied with our searching, we head to the secret door and down to the basement. Rideyr the paladin goes first, and I follow close behind him. This is so exciting! I'm scared, but we are going to go fight a monster- it's going to be awesome! As we get deeper, a chanting fills the air. I don't know where it is coming from, but its creepy.
We check a couple rooms, and find some stuff. Nothing particularly exciting. The other fighter finds a magic sword. I wish I got first dibs on things, but I don't have a rogue friend. My windmill sword is going right back where I found it, darn thing isn't magic or anything special. What I wouldn't give to have mom's sword... she used to prank me by letting me hold it and then walking away. It would disappear and poof back into her hand. Oh, how I miss her! Auntie Morrigan gave me a magic knife when I was really little, but I nearly cut my finger off playing with it and Auntie Omen confiscated it for safekeeping. Why didn't I grab it before I left?!
"I'm getting demon summoning vibes from this chanting." Eliza whispers to me.
"How would you know?" I give him a look, but he just gives a sheepish look. Sure, he looks like some kind of demon, but he isn't one. He's just a tiefling like Auntie Mo. Nothing evil.
I follow Rideyr into a room and towards a dark alcove, looking in. We don't see anything. Suddenly people start getting attacked, and it takes me a moment to realize two snake creatures came from above us! Steinbjorn goes down, and I run over to the table to get a better view of the things. I start shooting, but I'm apparently not on my best game with the bow. It's been a while since I last trained with dad or Ulrich, I never did like archery. Steinbjorn gets up and retreats, so I take his place on the front line, dropping my bow and switching to sword. Eliza, standing on the table I just left, looks flustered.
"LIZE! JUST BLAST!!!" I scream.
Finally we all take the snake things out, and it's time for another break, which we take in the room full of straw bedding. We wanted to actually sleep, but the ghost kids said they were going to play if we tried. I offered to stay up and play games with them, but they really mean they won't allow us sleep. Little s***s. Chekasha scouts ahead, and we hear the sound of breaking wood and a surprised meow cut short.
The tabaxi fell into a pit trap, impaling herself on spikes, and when we get to her she's already dying. Chad stops her from bleeding out anymore, and we all work together to get her out. Once she is back on her feet, she retreats to the back and we continue our journey into the basement. Suddenly things burst out of the ground. Ghouls, ten of them!
I can't get into melee, so I retreat down the hallway after Eliza. The ghouls are coming out of both sides, and in find that I can shoot from around the corner. Eliza starts blasting, hyperfocused down the hall. I shoot arrow after arrow.
"Eliza, you're doing great! I'm so proud of you!"
"Stop distracting me!" he growls in infernal and draconic. His face is contorted, snarling with fangs out. I haven't seem him like this since the day he left, what little I remember of it.
I look through blurry vision towards the sounds of screams, both of rage and pain. Eliza is on top of Andrik, beating him senseless from what I can tell. Eliza's fangs are bared, his eyes focused only on his current task. He looks like he is going to kill him.
"Liza..." it hurts to talk, even breathe. "Stop!"
I try to get up to go stop him, but Andrik beat me too good. There's a lot of blood in the dirt next to my face, and I think I'm going to be sick.
"ELIZA!" Auntie Omen screams, running into the courtyard.
Uncle Red, mom and dad run in behind her. Mom stares at Eliza with a weird look on her face. Dad picks me up, and I try to protest, being a fifteen year old that is more than capable of walking, but that kid really got me good.
"You're getting heavy!" Dad says as he lifts me into his arms.
"So are you."
The adults wouldn't tell me anything about Eliza, other than he was trying to protect me. Auntie Omen said I had a bad concussion and must have been seeing things, but I know what I saw. Something unnatural came over Eliza, and if they hadn't shown up on time he would have killed Andrik. The jack*** deserved it, but killing a noblemans son would not look good on any of us.
Auntie Omen gave me something for the pain, and I slept for a long time. When next I woke, Eliza was already gone. He didn't even say goodbye.
Soon the ghouls are all dispatched, but Eliza still stands ready to blast again, arcane energy crackling in his palms.
"Lize, they're gone."
He's breathing hard, snarling. And he doesn't seem to hear me. I walk to his side.
"Eliza, you can relax."
It looks like he's going to blast me when he turns his eyes, giving me a look of pure loathing. I do the only thing I can think to do, and slap him across the face. Luckily he seems to snap out of it.
"Are you back?"
"Yah," he rubs his cheek. "Sorry."
He grabs my hand, a weird look on his face, and then drops it.
"Are you okay, Zola?"
"I could ask you the same thing. What the f*** was that?"
"Nothing, I'll tell you later. But really, you're freezing cold. Are you sick?"
"No? I don't know what you mean, I feel fine." I touch my face with my hand, and notice nothing unusual. "Let's go, we've got a monster to find."
In another room we find skeletons hanging on the walls. This place just keeps getting more morbid as we go. There's no time to recover from the last fight, as shadows attack us. An icy cold feeling grips me, sending a shiver down my spine, and suddenly I'm no longer there. The visage of a woman with long black hair with her face obscured by shadow sits before me on a dark throne. Ravens sit around her, still but watchful.
"You are ready, dear Zola."
Is it her?
"Ready for what?"
"There is no time. Dig deep. It has always been within you."
I snap back to the present, standing shoulder to shoulder with the Dawn Breakers, shadows attacking from the front. I extend my hand, and three glowing darts shoot towards a shadow. What in the nine hells did I just do? I look for Eliza, to see if he saw what I did, but just as I do he is attacked by one of the shadows. A rage comes over him, his eyes flashing with darkness, and a growling stream of words utters from his fanged mouth, and something happens to the shadow. Why do I feel like there is way too much about the both of us that neither of us knows, despite having grown up together?
Tapping into my new found power, I send more of the missiles into a shadow, destroying it. Now that I'm raging like Uncle Grahz, I grab onto one of the shadows and send a shocking jolt of electricity into it. It doesn't seem to hurt it. I feel a dagger deflect off my armor, and Chekasha shouts an apology. Unfortunately, the shadow she was throwing it at now takes a liking to me. I'm able to dodge out of the way, its shadowy claws scraping on my shield.
There is screaming behind us, in another room, and I run in to see Cecil stuck to a door. The door has teeth. What? I can't make any sense of this! The others manage to get him peeled off the door, and we engage in a fearsome battle with the door. Finally, all the shadows are destroyed and the door is no more.
I'm exhausted, and have a lot to sort out. Was that the Raven Queen I had a vision of? How do I have powers now? And why is my cousin so different? This place is getting to me, and we haven't even found the monster yet. The chanting hasn't stopped, and it's getting louder. I'm not sure what we will find ahead, but I am ready.
Well, I did it Stein. You've been wanting me to test my mettle in battle, so I gave it a go. We encountered a Door Mimic today. The rest of the team had their hands full with Shadows, so I thought I could keep the mimic busy. My power of "mind over matter" helped me survive longer than I normally would have. Sadly, sheer will and determination was not enough. The rest of the team made quick work of the shadows and came to my aid. If they were just a few moments longer, I might have been a goner! Our repeated brushes with death, though scary, seem to be good for team building. This trust and team work will be essential to the Dawn Breakers' success.
As my powers manifest, I feel I will soon be able to aid my team in becoming more effective in combat. To maximize the effectiveness of this power, I should evaluate who are the most effective in combat. Chekasha and Eliza took out their share of foes in the most recent combats. I'll keep my eye on them as candidates.
Post by dragonforgotten on Jul 13, 2019 22:52:01 GMT -5
“Well be right behind you.” The kids fade away out of sight and I shiver. I really don’t want to go through that again. Everyone is talking about what we’re doing next. I staggered to my feet still shaking as my cousin helps me back up. I still feel like theirs bugs under my skin after that experience. A splitting headache pounding in my head. “Umm. I hate to ask but I could use a break before we continue.” With the concessions set we head back down the the master bed room. Zola flops right back onto the bed as I lean against the side of it on the floor knees tucked up. My head ache already begins to feel better. Zola’s chilling on the burgundy bed. The tears have stoped and so has the trembling thank gods. She rolls over on her stomach looking at me. “Feeling better now.” “Lots. thanks for saving me back there.” Suddenly she reaches down and pinch’s my cheek. “Anything for my baby cousin.” She says in a high pitched voice. “Hey! Stop it!” I blush pushing her hand away. She laughs as I rub my cheek. “Sorry you had to see that. I can’t believe I was crying.” “But you always cried! “Not anymore.” She stops smiling, her gaze burns under me as the mirth falls from her lips. “What happened to you Eliza?” I grasp her hand from behind, not looking her in the face. “Too much Z, too much. Not all of it was bad, but its been hard.” We fall into silence, watching the rest of the group milling about. “Sooooo. Who are they?” “Who’s what?” “You patron! “ “Oh!” I squirm getting uncomfortable. What can I even tell her. I can’t tell her, not yet. She wouldn’t understand. I don’t won’t my cousin to hate me. It would kill me. I glance at her heavy gaze sweating as I tap my talons against each other trying to find the words as my tail sweeps back and forth. How the heck do I even explain it? “Well.... You see. Some pacts are formed by other powerful begins besides the raven queen. “Well, What’s your then?” S***. How can I describe a dragon without it begin a dragon. I pick up my whip tail twisting it in my hands. “I don’t know how to describe her. Only that she’s hungry. Always. Hungry. Basically, she’s a b****. She tries to worm her way into my head. Sometime making me feed her obsessions.” She hums letting me know she’s listening. She then puts her elbows on my head. “this is much easier now that your horns aren’t in the way. They were really tall.” “Really? I didn’t notice miss tiny tusks.” I tease as I reach up and tug at her lip as she swats my hand away. With the mood lifted I start rambling thinking about the nature of my pact. I shuffle on the floor, my tail falls by my side still. “I know you wanted this so bad but it’s not what you think. The costs are high. Normally They either find you or you find them. We found each other, a long, long time ago. We made a promise, a vow of sorts” “Like marriage?” “Kind of.” I shrug. “So you'r married then.” “No! F*** no! Gods no! Mine is... well.. ahh! It’s complicated. I never would have done it if we didn’t need each other!” She looks like she’s getting even more confused. “I don’t get it. What do you mean you need each other? Isn’t it like you become friends with them and then they give you stuff.” “Some are like that. Others demand a price. she demands money and blood. I would have left if I could. We're only together because we need each other. We would die without each other.” I start to grow distant. My tail wrapped around my feet. I sag under her worried gaze but she doesn’t speak a word. Lost in her own thoughts. The group begins to get up from their spots on the floor as we begin to mobilize. Time sure does fly doesn’t it. Zola still doesn’t look satisfied from my answers and I feel sorry for not being able to tell her. “I just wish I could get into your head.” She then puts me in a head lock as I laugh trying to escape it. Eventually she lets me go when Stein tells her to stop goofing off. Suddenly I notice Chad has a knee aura around hims, a familiar touch of something different. I get to my feet approaching Chad carefully. “Chad, you ok?” “I’m alright son.” He says with a jovial mood I am not a custom to from him. “Are you...?” I fish out. “Let’s just say I made a new friend.” ————-
“Eliza! Come in here and meet Popvo's wife!” “I’m good here! Zola would love to meet her.” I call out from the doorway as Cecil holds up the dusty china doll as a tiny spider crawls into it hair. She truly is a perfect pair for that creepy bastard Popvo. Zola whips back to me, fury in her bright eyes as her lips move in a threatening promise. “I’m going to kill you.” I read before she swings her head back around. She wouldn’t hurt her baby cousin right. Right?! After we let Popvo get to know his new friend we explore the rest of the place and walkthrough a room with lots of object covered in cloth. After ruffling about there was nothing underneath to our relief. Only a single chest with a blooded sheet and a broken up skeleton. I can’t help but thing back to the Spector. She attacked me the moment I opened that door. Could she be the mother to that baby? Could this skeleton be her? Why was she murdered? Well besides these bones all that’s left are the stairs down to the basement. The stairs creek and moan under our feet. Just as we reach the middle of the stairs I feel the hairs on the back of my neck bristle. the muttering voices echo around us, chanting a discomforting ton, vibrating throughout the staircase... “"I'm getting demon summoning vibes from this chanting." I whispers to Zola. She then turns her head and gives me the look. "How would you know?" I shrug giving her a sheepish smile. I can’t describe it. It just my gut talking. When we reach the Bottom of the stairs we find a complex dungeon under this old house. What. the. hells? The next room we step in seems like a place we’re lots of people gather and meet up since theirs a table with chairs, staw palettes on the floor. The chanting still present. There’s more going on here. We search the place but we don’t find anything and thus we go down more steps. The chanting growing louder. How far down does this place go? Next we find more beds and the more I’m seeing and hearing the more I’m starting to think my gut is right. This monster might be more then we can handle but we must and we will! She muttered to me again when mike finds three moss agates but I stifle her. Pushing her to the back of my mind. Everyone wants to long rest so i remind everyone that we only have three days to get to mrs Ava in time. The kids don’t seem to let us sleep anyway and we’re not tired. We let Che scout but it ends quickly when she falls down a spike pit. The chanting growing stronger past it towards a flight of stairs. There are still more rooms. My gut is telling me we need to hurry but everyone else wants to search the place. We enter a room filed with skeletons laying on the ground there’s a dark corridor ahead that one can’t get a good look at. this place is giving me the creeps. I linger in the hallway with everything in my sight as Chee watches the corridor toward the source of the chanting. Ryder bravely strides in and I can only shout a be careful as he steps into its threshold. Suddenly a cry goes out and from the dark and two horrible beaked snakes with tentacles around its mouth screech. I hang back but I can’t get a clear shot! It’s looking grim when stein falls and Zola backs off. I clamber up the table but I still can’t get a shot. I'll hit them! Their too close! But their getting hurt by those things! This is exactly what happened a month ago. What do I do!? My hand shakes as I debate. “Liz just blast it!!” Stein screams at my as my ears press against my head. “I-I can’t! I’ll hit our friends.” “They’ll be fine! Just shoot that thing!” He screams pointing. “You don’t know what you'r asking!” “Eliza we are going to die unless you step up!” We’ll die sooner if I hit them!! I think to myself. “But-!” "LIZE! JUST BLAST!!!" Zola scream slashing downwards at it. I think I see an opening but Ryder is too close. My new assamar buddy is too close. Zola’s too close. I choke, lowering my hand. I can’t let that monster out right now. It won’t stop once it starts. “I’m sorry.” Beaten and bloody we manage to survive With blades fly from under the table killing the last of them. Stein comes towards me arms crossed. Just like commander. “I’m sorry. I couldn’t do it.” I apologize staring at my feet. He sighs with a heavy familiar disappointment. “Eliza, you can’t freeze up in the future. We all depend on each other to survive.” This is familiar. That’s what he told me before... “I know, sorry.” My ears sag and so does my tail. Zola claps her hand onto my shoulder. “You need to have more faith in yourself. I know you can do it.” I smile feeling a little better. Stein and Ryder begin the march down the hallway when another cry goes out. “Ghouls! Range fighters go to the pit!” Stein screams, barking orders as he bashes ones head in. I go to the pit and stand at the ready. Stein appears and stands on the first step going down towards the chanting. I wait, patient. There it is! it shambles into my sight hissing and moaning with long sharp claws. “Eliza blast it! Blast it now!” He doesn’t have to tell me. There’s no one in the way and no one besides my target to hit. I ready my aim, narrowing my eyes and blast it. the charged sparking energy hits with deadly force of burning crackling light. I watch its skin crack and smoke, black blood pooling through its wounds as it collapses dead. There’s a stirring in my chest. Suddenly the beast raises its head awakening to the sent of blood. My vision is beginning to bleed red. The last of its life drains from it and flows into me as I hiss. “Burn them my lovely.” Dark energy floods my veins, invigorating and burning. It’s intoxicating. I lunch another blast. Two hits and it’s down, another takes its place. Hit. Burn. Bleed. Dead. The cat steps in front of me. I’m about to shoot at it when It steps out of way of my prey. A sinister smile curls at the corner of my lips as it wails in pain. I ready another blow when someone shouts over my revelry. Her voice barely penetrates my ears over the sounds of my pulse drumming in my ears, drowning out the noise. “Good job Eliza! I’m so proud!-.” “Don’t distract me!!” I roar blasting. Suddenly the man in armor fells my prey. I shriek an animalistic roar enraged. “That was mine!!” He gives me a weird look before going down the corridor. No more come out to feed me. I hear them. They are just ahead. I start running jumping the pit but there are no more left. I need more! Where are they!!?? I wonder around my vision bleeding into hues of red and black searching. I smell the blood. Desperately searching, hands still crackling with energy as hungry eyes dart back and forth. I need more! “Eliza you need to relax.” A voice echos again. I need more! I need more!! Where!??! She’s hiding them!! She knows!?! Suddenly she strikes me across the face and I’m startled by how horrorifyling cold she is. I raise a shaky hand to my face, breathing hard as the red starts to fade from my eyes. What.. was I...? Oh.. “Lizie are you back.” I look back to Zola who looks like she’d seen a ghost. Did she always look so pale. So sickly. She was so cold. Cold as death. I rub my burning cheek. Stunned. “Ya, sorry..” I take her hand and it isn’t my imagination. She’s cold as ice. “Are you ok Zola?” “I could ask you the same thing. What the f*** was that?” “ Nothing. I’ll tell you later. Enough about me, you'r freezing cold! Are you sick?!” She takes her hand back, confused and conflicted. "No? I don't know what you mean, I feel fine. Let's go, we've got a monster to find." I watch her brush past me confused, seemingly oblivious to what just happened with her. Too bad she isn’t when it comes to me. That wasn’t normal. No one just suddenly get that cold. She keeps glancing at me. I can still feel it inside me. The dark twisting energy inside me. it feeds my strength, bolsters my power. It’s wrong but it keeps me alive, at least those things are monsters this time. At least I am back to myself again thanks to Zola slapping the sense into me. No one ever slaps the sense into me. They’re too afraid once I’ve gone to far. In another room we find skeletons hanging on the walls. This place just keeps getting creepier and creepier. I never much want to go to the chanting. Mom always told me that if someone other then friends are doing a ritual you throw a fireball in the middle of it. I catch Cecil and Mike go around the corner. There's no time to recover from the last fight, as shadows suddenly attack us once one of us touch this ghostly orb in the statues hands. S***! I then cast a spell to blind one and I look at my hand astonished. When could I do that?!Zola stands their for a moment looking at her hands till suddenly magic missiles dart out of her hands striking the shadows. I jump back startled beyond beilef. “Since when could you cast-!?” Before I can finish speaking a ghostly shadow tears it’s claws down my torso and I scream watching the blood pool, my strength fading. I catch an evil smirk on its face and my vision grows red. My blood starts to boil and all I feel is rage. A seething hatred under my skin. The loss of vitality and my pain fuels my anger. The blood enthralls me. A piercing scream tears up my throat as the being is suddenly consumed by fire. I take this moment to back off. It doesn’t take long till the fighting ends and the screams of Cecil brings our attention to him. What the hells? I see him begin eaten by a door as he squirms and shrieks in pain. I summon the power in myself and point a commanding finger to it. “Drop him!” I shout, the creatures jaws sags but the gnome doesn’t fall out, a sticky goo stuck to him. S****! Through a series of blasting and Paladin man handling the gnome we kill the thing. Beaten and tired, I can only hope theirs enough time to have another break and get to the bottom of this annoying chanting. I spare a glance at Zola wonder what else Ive missed.
One of our band stopped fighting today as Eliza fell in battle; I’ve been praying for him. I don’t know which god he prayed to, so I’m asking Lathander to help his soul on its journey onward. Eliza was a brave and loyal comrade whose death is a terrible loss. I can only hope that he is free and at peace now.
The evil in this house is palpable and it gets more and more dangerous with each step we take. We located a room in the basement that seems to have been used for sacrifice—possibly to Strahd himself. Zola, a courageous and relentless fighter, and I moved into the room, which was filled with 2 feet of water and a dais with an altar in the middle. Zola and I immediately went up to check out the altar. Ready for some type of action, we saw that the altar had shackles and was covered with dried blood. The others subsequently moved into the room and set up positions along the perimeter. Shadows eerily appeared behind them and began chanting for a sacrifice. There was no way we were going to sacrifice anyone to Strahd or anyone else, so we braced ourselves for an attack. Cecil and Mike investigated a space where the wall had been compromised and a huge monster made out of refuse came to life as Zola moved off the dais. IHe abomination moved toward the altar, and I quickly moved to find a better position to fight the creature. Everyone jumped into the fight, and once again Cecil, who continues to impress me with his courage and power, used some kind of mysterious force that summoned 2 shadows whose repeated attacks seemed to drain the monster’s strength. Despite this it was still dealing out major damage, but everyone fought valiantly and distinguished themselves in the battle, and I humbly thank Lathander that I was able to divine smite the monster and do my part. During the battle I was almost killed only to be saved by Steinbjorn’s timely healing spell. I was able to get back up and was hit again—once again falling and coming close to death. This time Zola dragged me out of harm’s way as the others continued the battle. I am so thankful that they risked their lives to save me. Poor Eliza was struck down and absorbed into the monster where he eventually perished. It was an awful sight that I will never forget. Mysteriously the monster lost his form and disappeared, but I don’t think we’ve seen the last of it. Steinbjorn picked up Eliza’s lifeless body and began to carry him so we can give him a proper burial. I have so much respect for his integrity.
As we started to leave the sacrifice room, the ghosts of the two children, Rose & Thorn, re-appeared and said we couldn’t leave because we promised them we’d protect them. Knowing we had made such a promise and knowing how much damage they did to Steinbjorn, we knew that we needed to keep that promise and help them. Zola came up with the idea of burying their skeletons, which were in a room upstairs. We quickly set out to find a proper resting place for them. As we moved through the house we did battle with two more spirits and defeated them after a difficult fight. Cecil found what turned out to be a cloak of protection and generously gave it to me—once again proving that my first impression of him was totally wrong. He is not only intelligent and brave, but he’s also generous and kind; I’m humbled to be a comrade of his.
We finally found a room that contained the crypts of the Durst family and there they were: two were empty and had Rose & Thorn’s names on them. We hurried upstairs to retrieve the childrens’ skeletons but found the house had changed: a large window had been bricked up and there were now spinning blades where the door to the childrens’ room had been. Instead of attempting to get through the blades, Mike tried to knock down the wall which triggered an attack by a swarm of rats. I jumped into the swarm to attack and Zola did the most amazing thing—she jumped through the blades unscathed. I was blown away by this, and we were able to kill all of the rats. The only way to get into the room was to jump through the blades, and I took the leap making it through unscathed as well. Zola and I retrieved the childrens’ remains and we once again jumped through the blades and once again were unscathed, which is astonishing to me. We’ll have to come up with some kind of nickname to remember this by: bladejumpers? That’s not good, but I’m confident Zola can come up with something creative. I feel guilty feeling elated about this after Eliza’s death, but I feel that we did a truly great thing for us all by braving the blades and helping to release the children and hopefully ourselves. We were able to bring them to their crypts and inter them there—witnessing their spirits moving on. It was a heart-warming experience. They were finally free. With this completed, we were able to rest but fear that some other evil being has materialized. We’re not out of danger yet, so we will fight on.
The Dawn Breakers continue to impress me, and I’m continuously humbled to be a part of this group. And while I mourn for Eliza, I am so thankful for those who continue the struggle for good—especially Zola, Steinbjorn and of course Cecil. I hope we can make it out of this house without any further losses.
Having a moment to rest is a natural time for reflection. I continue to mourn the loss of Eliza and continue to pray for his soul. Much too young to be gone. I think of his cousin Zola and how she must be feeling, but I also think of his parents when they hear the news of his untimely death. I have sometimes been the bearer of that news, and it is a monumental task but nowhere near as difficult as receiving it I would imagine. My heart goes out to everyone who loved him.
My thoughts wander to myself, and I think of all the battles and the wars that I have been through—an old campaigner who isn’t as old as he feels. There’s been too much bloodshed and too many who have died too young, just like Eliza. My mind wanders back to when I was younger—an earnest squire who was eager to taste battle in service to what was right. And I think of myself now—wearied by war and death and destruction. I’m not sure I really remember that younger version of myself now that I think of it.
I do remember being humorous and fun-loving though—not something one thinks of when a Paladin comes to mind, but it’s true and got me into some hot water with those in charge at times. I lost that over the years, but I’ve sensed it coming back recently. Why? It’s these people, these Dawn Breakers, who have given me back a bit of that spark of life that I’d lost along the long voyage of my life. I’ve enjoyed joking with Cecil who looked at me and asked me if my behavior was Paladin-like. It’s definitely not—having fun and laughing are not normally associated with Paladins, but I’m enjoying feeling my human side once again. I’ll stop ribbing him if it bothers him, but I hope he understands that it’s all in good fun, but I don’t want to do it at his expense; I’ll have to talk with him about. And Zola, Steinbjorn and Valkyrie are amazing as well. I need to make a point of getting to know Mike and Chikasa better. We also came across another soul in the Durst house named Creed; I look forward to getting to know him better as well.
I came close to death twice while battling the monster in the sacrificial room. I’ve never been hit so hard in my life—twice! I’m still feeling the after effects and the pain is excruciating but not enough to stop me. I’m grateful to the morning lord for looking after me and Steinbjorn and Zola for saving me. I’m grateful for the younger self that these friends have helped me to find once again and if I am to die here, then so be it, but if I do I’ll die happier than I’ve been in many a day.
Thirteen years we had together, and then the journey to Barovia and the past couple days here. That is it. That's all I will ever get. We may not be family by blood, but our bond was deep. I just wish I knew his secrets, why he left us... Where he got his powers from... but he is gone. And it's all my fault.
He is the ancient.
He is the land.
He is the ancient.
He is the land.
We followed the chanting, and found a room with an altar in the middle of a room either flooded or purposely containing a pool of water. On the other side from the altar, a pile of refuse identified by Cecil as a Shambling Mound. Rideyr, my paladin friend, went up to the altar to examine it so I followed.
One must die. One must die. One must die. One must die.
I don't think the chanting could be more clear, and judging by the blood on the altar... one must die to leave this house. Above us, where some of our party, including Eliza, stands there are now thirteen apparitions. Black robes and faceless.
One must die. One must die.
"What do you think, Rideyr? Must one die?"
The paladin laughs nervously. Cecil reports back about the Mound. We talk about drawing it out, and I decide to retreat to get my distance from it. I step of the dais, into the water.
Lorgoth the Decayer. We awaken Thee.
Uh oh. That doesn't sound good.
Cecil is able to summon two shadows that take the form of Popov, and they attack the mound. I send a bolt of fire towards it, but the damage seems minimal. This thing is not something to trifle with. I can only watch in horror as it turns and attacks Eliza. He can't even react, he goes down, and then he is engulfed by it. I can only hope he makes it out okay.
Cecil pummels it with his mind powers and his shadows, and I find myself extremely impressed with his abilities. He even said something about me being his second in command or something... I forget the title now, but it was something cool. That gnome is the coolest guy ever!
Rideyr is taken down by the mound, and I keep dragging him back out of the way. The thing just wants to eat him, but I'm not letting my new friend die. He is too important, the clerics too! Steinbjorn uses his healing to get Rideyr to his feet, but the damn thing takes him down again! For a moment I think we will all perish to this thing, but then with a final attack by the shadows it completely falls apart. The shadows surround me, dancing like two creepy Popovs, and then they disappear. I run to Eliza's side, Steinbjorn hot at my heels, and drop to my knees beside him.
"Lize, please be okay! Wake up now, its over!"
He is growing cold. His chest does not rise and fall. Steinbjorn takes one look and gives me a look of helplessness. Eliza is dead. Past the point of saving dead. Dead because of me. ---- "You know I'll always be there for you. Always."
"I know, Zola. But you really shouldn't bring a sword to school."
I sheath the short sword, taken from our armory. I wanted my magic dagger, but Aunt Omen still has it under lock and key. I'm surprised this room is open.
"Its my job to defend you. If those little s***s are going to tease you, they can have a little chat with cousin Zola. Let's go."
"Expelled? Arrested?! Are you proud of yourself, Zo?"
I've never seen mom look so angry. I'm in her office at Castle Waterdeep, standing between two guards. She turns to them.
"You can release her, boys. She's no danger to you."
"Is she safe from you?" One of them jests.
"We're good here. Get yourselves to the bar, put it on my tab."
So that's why everyone loves working under her. She's cool when she's not being scary. The door shuts behind me, and mom slumps into her chair. Zoltan resumes cawing at something outside the window in between bites of corn. Mom lets down her wavy brown hair, running her hands through absentmindedly. I wish I were as pretty as she is, maybe then I wouldn't get picked on. I hate school.
"What happened? Why would you bring this to school?" She motions to the sword laying on her desk.
"Those boys were harassing Eliza all week. I had enough. I'm tired of seeing him cry."
"We all are, Z. I know I said it's your job to protect him, but you went a little far, don't you think?"
"Nobody got hurt."
A smile slips out on her face, and she is back to trying to be stoney faced.
"That is true. But what is done is done. You scared them enough to get yourself kicked out. And how is Eliza?"
"He went home. Crying."
"So, ops normal." She gets up, strapping the sword beside her longsword, and calling Zoltan to her shoulder. "Let's go home. If dad asks, I already punished you."
Those kids never tried teasing Eliza again. I started being homeschooled with Aunt Omen, but every day I would wait for Eliza to leave school, and just my mere presence scared those boys off. I had enough of being teased myself, I didn't want the same for Eliza. It's a hard world for a Tiefling sometimes. He is family, and I will never let anyone or anything hurt him. Not while I can fight.
I try to be strong, pretend I'm okay. I help destroy the altar. I don't even snap at the kids when they tell us we cannot leave. I can't process what happened yet, because acknowledging it was real means Eliza is really gone. He could come in through the door any moment, tell me it was all a joke. A horrible joke.
Steinbjorn hoists Eliza into his arms, carrying him reverently as we move on to explore this place to find a crypt. I suggested we have to bury the children with their family, but we don't know if there is such a proper place here. We find some cool trinkets in a room full of niches, and I take a dagger made of bones for myself. Metal! I also recognize one thing as a Hag's finger and another as a direwolf tongue. How I know that, I choose not to question.
In another room, Mike pulls a cloak out of a chest. Suddenly two walls burst down, and we are attacked by ghasts! One of them claws me pretty good, and I kill it in a rage. Chekasha kills the other one, and we continue checking the chest. We find lots of goodies, including what we determine are healing potions after Chekasha and I do shots of them together. Great finds, just wish they were cherry flavored like the ones dad makes!
Finally we find the family crypt, and the names of Thornbolt and Rosavalda. We need to get their bodies from upstairs, so we go up... and the house is different. Instead of doors, there are now scything blades. This looks fun. Not.
Mike makes a hole in the wall, but is promptly attacked by rats. I attack them, but cannot get through the passage he made. I look at the blades, and suddenly I no longer feel fear that I should. I lost my cousin, is my own life really some precious thing to me? I jump through. They don't even leave a scratch!
"The blades aren't that bad!" I call to the group. "Jump through!"
Nobody follows suite. We dispatch the rats, and I follow Rideyr through the next set of blade doors into the children's room. He grabs Thorn, and I grab Rose, and we go back through the blades once more. We rush downstairs, and Rideyr places Thorn in his tomb. He calls for his sister as his spirit begins to fade.
"She's coming, sweetie. Hold on." I say, placing her remains down.
The two spirits fade away, gone from this house forever. I hope Eliza's soul finds freedom, and that his is not the apparition trapped in the altar room. I made a promise long ago to protect him, always, and I failed. His death is on me.
We make to go back up, to escape from this place. We forgot one small detail.
"Guys, remember when I mentioned that shadow that would come in an hour after killing the mound?" Cecil says. "Well... it's here."
( This letter arriving extremely late, because the halfling it was entrusted to got a little "distracted" en route. Mostly because he HAD to stop when he found this great fishing spot just outside of Daggerford. Then there was the lovely town of Secomber. It had the most wonderous bakery. Although they kept "misplacing" their muffins. Good thing he found them for them. He hung onto them for safe keeping. Then he just HAD to go see with there had been a battle with a ghost or something near the High Moor. That's what it said in the letter anyway. [He read said letter while eating a muffin one morning.] Then he got a little lost on the forest. Well, that's what he told the cleric that answered the door when he arrived. The truth was he found a patch of wild blueberries and spent most of the afternoon eating his fill [ while reading more of the letter. sorry about the blue finger prints.]. He spent most of the rest of the next day picking as much of them as he could. Maybe he could make a pie later, if the clerics will let him use the kitchen.)
Greypeak Keep: Holy Temple of Kelemvar
To: Master Kye, High Cleric and Master of the School of Custodia Mortis.
Dear Master Kye,
I hope this letter finds you well. I apologize for not writing sooner. I'm sure that you were worried, but you know I don't like writing. It's hard for me to sit still long enough. I know that's part of the reason why you sent me on my first mission earlier than most. I've followed your instructions for the most part. Observing and reporting only, any signs or rumors of the workings of the Red Wizards near Daggerford and attending to the Duchess Marwen. However, there was a chance to help some farmers out side of Secomber, and I felt compelled to help. I will detail that in my report, which follows.
Report of progress thus far;
I traveled west along the foothills of the Greypeaks to Southwood. Passing through Southwood, I followed the River Delimbiyr to Secomber. I stayed for a bout a month preforming minor clerical duties ( burials and tending to minor injuries etc.). I heard nothing of any import to our order, until 2 days before I was to leave. Some farmers came into town seeking help with a ghost that was troubling them. A couple of the towns guards headed out to see what was going on. I offered my services and they brought me along. It turned out to be minor haunt near the edge of the High Moor, much like the one you had us train with. Not very exciting. I quickly put the poor spirit to rest with the help of the guards. This was, for lack of a better description, a natural haunt. I found nothing to suggest the Red Wizards had anything to do with this.
I left the following day and continued to follow the river to Daggerford. As ordered, I presented myself to the Duchess. This is where I have been for the last 3 months. As instructed I awaited the arrival of her nephews body. It turns out he had been killed by a wizard of Thay while investigating a matter for the Council of Waterdeep. I preformed the rituals you requested of me and made sure I was't a "nuisance" during my stay. While preparing the body for burial, I noted strange glyphs on the body. I included a separate parchment with a copy of the glyphs and there locations on the body[ slightly smudged with blue fingerprints]. A good thing too, as they faded after I preformed the ritual you gave me.
Since the funeral, She has kept me busy helping out in the town with plenty of minor clerical duties. I watched the grave for a straight (boring) month and there has been no sign of unrest. I was making ready to head back to the temple when the Duchess called upon me to attend a dinner. She has had issues with a large group of gypsies outside of town and has hired a group to go and " discuss" their departure. She suggested that I go with them. I was going to refuse stating my need to return, but this was an interesting group. One, that I think you will agree, I should keep an eye on. Out of the group were two that claimed to be the children of two of the heroes of the dragon war. One, Zola, a half-elf fighter by the looks of her, and one called Eliza, a Tiefling mage of some kind. Claiming to be the child of Omen. If I recall the stories, she was a wizard or Warlock of Thay. Now you know why I've chosen to go along. There is another though...I can't put my finger on it. There is a human ranger named Dragul. There's just something about him that make's the hairs on my neck stand up. I will watch him as well.
I will report again soon. Hopefully with some kind of useful information. Until then, May the peace of Kelemvar protect you.
Your servant abroad, Chadwick
The group, having met with the gypsies, found out that they were here because of a great evil that is plaguing their homeland. The group has decided to try to help. Partly just to help ( there is a paladin and another cleric that were very keen to), but also so they would leave and could safely return home. I have agreed to go. I will report whatever this "great" evil is, as soon as I find out. It is in a land called Barovia. I couldn't find it on my map. Perhaps it is a vale hidden in the mountains.
We have arrived in Barovia. A place as warm and hospitable as a frost covered mausoleum. The mists that we crossed through on the way here were unbelievably eerie. As though it was made from the wispers of the dead. I feel like this may be a geart test from Kelemvar that lays before me. The gypsies have informed us that the mists are a barrier and that we are stuck here. Only "IF" we defeat the great evil then we might be able to leave. It turns out that the "Great Evil" is in fact a vampire. A vampire lord Called Strahd. Although the gypsies were not exactly forth coming with information prior to our agreeing to help, they have actually been a bit helpful since we've arrived. They admitted they work for Strahd, but at the same time they desperately seem to want to be rid of him. So much so that they have been giving information to help find the items we will need to defeat him. Surely this is Kelemvars will. I was meant to be here. I will do all in my abilities to help put this unnatural creature to it's final rest.
As it seems that I will not be able to send reports back, I have decided to keep a log of quest. Hopefully in time, with the guidance of Kelemvar, I will be able to return and make a good account of myself and my absence.
The group appears to be well rounded and mostly works well together. This land is a TRUE test. It seems to be the home for undead. The whole place is unnatural. The living look barely alive and the dead don't seem to know they are. Very quickly we found this out when one of or group unleashed a vampire. He paid with his life. We have a local unofficial official guiding us in exchange for help burying his father and escorting his sister to a location far from the Vampire Strahd. Who he thinks has taken a liking to his sister. En route, we uncounted some children that required our help. Their parents are trapped in the house by some kind of monster. It has turned out that the children are in fact, ghosts. We a currently in the process of clearing out the house. and I have been busy putting many restless spirits to rest. I write this during a brief rest after our latest encounter. We are all very weary, but this place is a place of unrest. I will conclude this log for now as we are getting ready to press on. I will write again soon. May Kelemvar protect us.
Side note: The passage here appears to have stirred up some latent power within me. Father and master Kye both used to say that I was Fey touched. I don't think they meant that in the nicest of ways. HAhaha. Turns out they were right. Through my dreams I had been hearing voices, or in the back of my mind while awake. Like a second conscience. Well, being here apparently opened me up to the Archfey and they have granted me Fey abilities that I'm sure will be of use. This should be fun.
Last Edit: Jul 21, 2019 15:48:37 GMT -5 by DirtyMerc
Post by dragonforgotten on Jul 22, 2019 2:26:14 GMT -5
------- past ------- Has it really been a year. I walk away from the aroarious laughter of my seniors as the warm glow of their fire fades from my back. I’ve finally gotten tired of the noise. the sun is setting against the covered wagon. This is a perfect time to draw. There’s a perfectly good rock over there. I ruffle through my pack and pull out my sketchbook and start to draw. Forgetting about the day. Going to my happy place till suddenly hands clasp onto my shoulders. “Whatcha doing!” I screaming jump out of my skin as I flounder to catch my book as laughter roars around me. I clutch my heart trying to regain my breath. “Bloody hells! What the-!” When I turn to see my tormentor I’m met with that one yellow eye. A tall teifling woman with shock white hair, leaning against my rock “C-c commander! I- WHat?! Why!?" She laughs even harder nearly knocking me off my rock as she slaps me across the back. "What can i say. I couldnt resist. Even more so when you get all pouty." "I don't get pouty." She then pokes at my cheeks. "oh, whats this then. I think thats a pout." She then hooks her claws into the corner of my lips to pull them into a smile and i push her off the rock as a real smile pulls on my lips. "Theres a smile." She then sighs as she climbs back onto my boulder to sit next to me. She then takes a swig from her wine skin. "you need to smile more. You'r too young to be all doom and gloom. Otherwise you'll get wrinkles at 25. Trust me on this." Her eyes dart to my sketchbook, held limp in my hands, quill lost somewhere in the grass. "Can i see?" I hesitate, not knowing what to do till finally i relent and hand it to her waiting hand. She pages through my book, eyebrows raised. "Your very talented." she says as I hide my face behind my scarf, feeling accomplished but still very, very embarrassed. Her sickly eyes then turn to me, unreadable. "Why would someone as talented as you come seeking work from a band of ruffians like us? Was home so bad that the taste of blood and war was better?" I look down to the ground. "I cant go home." "No? Then why do you clutch that scarf so tightly. Do you miss your mum Eliza? Do you miss the people you left behind? is that it?" She can see me. Her ghost eyes always can see through us. She nods knowingly. "I see. It's what inside...." It's my turn to look back at her, a burning question in my mind. "You and me are both the same. How do you live with this power?" She places a hand to her chin, brows crossed in concentration. "Well. Power does not define the person. It is how it is put to use i say. Despite the pact we still have the free will to decide who we want to be wether it leads us to the Hells or somewhere great. Thats how i see it." Suddenly she pulls me into a hug. "You'll have to face what you've run from eventually. Till then i will guide you. I will look out for you. That is my creed." I huge her back, my heart feeling light. "Thank you Commander Creed."
-------------------- present ----------------- We took another break and with a few moments of peace i went to pull out my sketchbook only to find it changed. Draconic ruins have been burned into the spine and when i open it i screamed in horror as years and years of my beautiful drawings have been replaced and twisted into magical spells and tricks. She could have picked any book, she chose my only life line to sanity. "You b****!" I had screamed out. It takes Zola and Stein and Cecil and Ryder to calm me down, convince me that this is a good thing. I now have more options that will help us survive this house. My poor drawings... We go deeper into the house, the chanting growing louder. "Her is the Anceint. He is the Land." This is really creepy. We march through a shallow pool of water when we come across a gate. the moment they touch the gate the chanting stops, a dreaded unease sinking in my stomach. They lift it easy enough but it wont stay up. I then remember that my book of shadows contained a way to manipulate water just like mom use to before she met dad. "Hey guys!" no answer. "Guys!" still no answer. there too busy trying to figure out how to keep the gate open while Im getting annoyed. "Hey GUYS!" I then proceed to create long pillars of ice and slide them under. They all sigh in relief and we can finally proceed but it doesn't lead to anywhere good. We are let into a room flooded with water as ledges line the wall, a giant dias stands in the middle. Cecil finds a maybe dead creature called a Shambling mound. Im not sure what that is. Ryder and Zola climb on top of the Dias, looking for clues as i take a position on the ledge for better shooting. Suddenly thirteen faceless robed shadow appear, hoods drawn over their heads as they begin chantings. The hairs on the back of my neck raise. "One must die. One must die. One must die. One must die." "What do you think, Rideyr? Must one die?" Jokes Zola The paladin laughs nervously. I look back to Zola on the alter and i feel myself get angry. They are not having my friends. She steps off and the Mound starts to come back to life and the chanting changes and grows louder. "Lorgoth the Decayer. We awaken Thee." That doesn't sound good. I get even more nervous when a cast my strongest fire spell on this weed and it doesn't catch on fire or burn as hot. "Guys! This thing wont burn!!" Cecil declares this is too strong and i can feel my stomach twist in fear. Zola needs to escape. I watch Cecil conjured shadows, our only hope in this hopeless situation. Before i can even react the mound strikes me and my world starts to go black.
----- ------- ----
I wake to the world awash in grey. It’s the same as I stood in but it’s so different, there’s no warmth here. I stand among the dark faceless shadows, hoods drawn over their heads. I am cold and empty inside. I look around and only see the shadows. Where are they? I pull away from them but the shadows try to restrain me. Just as they touch me arm they wither away as dark fire burns up my arms. Where are they? I walk through the water, past my ice pillar, up the stairs. The house has lost its color. I walk through a room and past a mirror when I freeze in place. A dark shadow stares back with soulless lights for eyes peering through the darkness, black ikor tears begin to pool from its eyes to patter and sizzle against the floor before vanishing. Who is that? I raise my claw hands to my face as the shadow does the same. I the grasp my hood and watch in growing horror as the hood falls to its shoulder. My face. A dark penumbra of my features. My tail lashing back and forth. I open my maw with fangs wide and shriek in despair of what I've become. It rattles the walls unheard. A deep agonizing grief consuming me as I slash my claws against the wall but it simply passes through. I wonder, wonder aimless. Pulled by the only source of life in this house and they they are. There I am in a mans arms, cold and dead. I reach out to touch it but my hand passes through. I want to go back. I want to go back home. I reach out to touch Stein which I manage to do but he does not acknowledge me. The black tears run down my face. They didn’t leave me behind. They didn’t leave me behind. Then I see her. She's full of life. She stands against the grey like a beacon, a light that reminds me of what I am before this. I wrap a claw hand around her arm but she does not take notice of me as she carries a skeleton down into the crypts. The ikor oozes from my eyes as wisp of shadows spiral from my form. She has them. My horns. "Im here...." She looks behind her at me but her eyes look beyond me unseeing. My grip tightens desperate. ———- Creed ————-
“What the f*** was that?” I say to myself as I once again try to unlock the closet door. The screams of trapped souls. A common occurrence in this land but this one was different. This one was familiar. Those no good ghost brats. This is why I don’t deal with kids! The fog was rolling in and I ducked into the nearest house I could find. I heard bad things about the fog. Im not chancing it. Not five minutes latter no good ghost trap me in the damn broom closet! Ive been screaming for help from Borus but he hasn't come to release me. Then i remember he's dead. Sank in bog muk yesterday. They always underestimate the bog muk. Knew him for only five minutes. He owes me money. I sit on my chest despair till i hear voices! At last!! "Hey! Help! Im Stuck! Open the F***ing door!" I then ram my full body into it falling out onto the dusty floor. At LAST! S****! The voices are fading down those set of stairs! S***! Theres no time to grab my chest! F***! I end up dragging the chest going down the stairs as the voices get louder. I have half a mind to toss the thing down the stairs to avoid carrying it. I arrive just in time to see the ghost brats vanish from existence as they are laid to rest in their crypts by a large group of people. At last! Living people! I catch the attention of a tall human man with blond hair holding someone in his arms. Did someone in their group die? Would explain the screaming. "Who are you?" "Oh right! greetings! Its been so long since Ive seen living people! My names Creed. "Stein." "Nice to meet you- wait." I approach the man and turn the head of the corpse to look at me. my blood goes cold. In the mans arms is someone i recognize and hold dearly. Young Eliza dead in his arms. "Eliza?" I gasp, feeling my articfial heart bleed. I didnt think it did that anymore. "You know him?" "Ya, i was his mentor. I was sent to find him by his mom." At least half of that is bull. "So you'r a bounty hunter then?" "In a way yes." I failed him. How did this happen? I refuse to allow this. I defy you death. I will find a way to bring him back. That is my Creed. Im snapped out of my loathing by a short gnome with a creepy doll. I looks a little old to be playing with dolls. "Guys, remember when I mentioned that shadow that would come in an hour after killing the mound? Well... it's here." "Pardon!?" Before i get a word in a giant lumbering shadow crawls its way out from the floor
What a startling discovery we have made! We got to the bottom of all this chanting only to discover a chamber of sacrifice. The spirits in this chamber serve an old being - a shambling mound. Quite terrifying, but I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to use my new ability - Shadows of Popov. I knew the monstrosity's fortitude was too much for us to whittle down, so I used the shadows I call forth to sap its strength instead. Despite this cunning strategy, one of our rank fell in battle. Eliza was consumed by the shambling mound.
We tried everything we could, but he was too far gone. Again, I struggle to maintain my humanity, especially in this wretched place. I know how I should feel, but I still look at the members of the Dawn Breakers as a series of numbers and statistics. I wish we could have saved Eliza, but we must move on and maintain morale. I will go through the motions and ensure he gets a proper burial...he deserves it.
Now we must recover our strength and find a way out of this nightmare of a house. Also, it seems the house is alive - it has changed it's appearance since we've descended to the basement and has added new hazards on the floors above...Maybe we don't need this as a base of operation after all...
I’m standing outside of what has come to be called “The Death House” and am thanking the Morninglord for delivering me here. I am battered and bloody from being hit twice by the spinning blades that appeared in each of the doorways, and I only hope my comrades make it out as well. Fortunately the mist, that we were warned to stay out of, has dissipated; I can only deduce that Strahd controls it, and I fear that he may be toying with us. We’ll have to be vigilant for he seems to be a formidable and crafty foe.
Thank the Morninglord that Zola has just made it out to the street; she too has been struck by the blades, and I rush over to make sure she’s okay. She minimizes her injuries, but I can see that they are serious; she is one tough fighter. One by one the others start to come through the door and many have taken damage from the house and the shadow that attacked us as we were resting. Steinbjorn heals us once again, and we are very grateful for his kindness and generosity; he also gives each of us a goodberry to further help the healing process—some eat it right away; I tuck mine in my pouch saving it for a moment when I’ll need it more. If my first day here is any indication, I’ll be using it soon.
Hiw did we get to this point?
After defeating the Shambling Mound, we sat down to rest—in hindsight it wasn’t a good move as some of us were caught without any armor and had to go into battle with less protection when we were surprised by a shadow. After some scrambling we were able to defeat it and finally were able to rest.
After equipping ourselves, we started the process of trying get out of this god-forsaken house. Luckily Zola had located a secret door when we first entered that room and we agreed that was our best bet as we made our escape. I led the way with Zola right behind and the others following. As I made my way into the next room I saw that it was filled with a noxious black smoke that made it difficult to breathe and see as it stung my eyes horribly. I made my way across the room and was hit as I jumped through the spinning blades in the doorway. I was injured but at least I was in the next room which was also filled with smoke. I made my way around the room but wasn’t sure of the way out. I was vaguely able to make out the large staircase across the room—somewhat getting my bearings and decided to chance going through the next set of spinning blades towards what I hoped would be the exit. I was hit again as I made it through the door and was bleeding badly. Fortunately this room wasn’t filled with smoke, and I recognized it as the alcove. I was overjoyed as I yelled back to my friends, letting them know that this was the way out but to be careful. I was able to make it through the next two sets of spinning blades unscathed as I made it onto the street and waited for my comrades to appear.
I’ll have more to add later, but for now we must move on.
Steinbjorn has carried Eliza’s body through the death house so we can give him a proper burial—a noble gesture that everyone in the group agrees with except for one: our newest member Creed who wants to carry the body to the next village in hopes of some form of resurrection. I’m not sure why he would want to do this, but someone mentions something about a mentor/mentee relationship. Zola should have the say regarding how to best deal with the remains as they were cousins, but Creed is unrelenting causing much consternation in the group, especially Steinbjorn who says, fine then you carry him to which Creed agrees. On one hand I can understand wanting to resurrect him, but we lack the necessary funds and the person to actually carry out the ceremony. I try my best to stay calm but feel myself getting angry over this situation. Chad makes it clear that it’s dangerous to carry a dead body with us as we make our way to our destination and others agree while adding that the body will continue to decompose causing even more issues. Everyone in the group makes it clear that we must bury the body and Creed unwillingly acquiesces. A Grave is dug and we bury Eliza with Chad and Steinbjorn saying prayers. I silently pray to the Morninglord and others pay their respects to our fallen comrade. I check in on Zola, who is handling this better than I expected, and I offer her any support she may need. She nods and motions that it’s time to move on. Rest well Eliza.
After visiting a shop and encountering a very cantankerous shopkeeper, The Dawn Breakers Set out with Ismark and Ireena as well as a huge young man named Partiwimple who has decided to join us because he fancies protecting the lovely Ireena. He must really like her since he openly defies the orders of his uncle, the shopkeeper, who tells him not to come back. I hope the young man is making the right decision for himself.
After a long trek we finally make it to Valaki where they welcome us and hurry us inside the gates because night is falling—a dangerous time in this land. I get a strange vibe from the guardsman who tells us that there is a festival of some sort every week here and kind of shakes his head while saying it, yet admonishes Cecil when he makes a derogatory remark about the town. Strange.
We make our way to the Blue Hill Inn where we see a carnival wagon parked out front. More Vistani? No trusting those people. As we enter we are greeted warmly and I enjoy a glass of Red Dragon Crush wine—one of the best vintages I’ve ever enjoyed. What a marvelous respite after what we’ve been through recently. For an instant I feel like I can truly relax. The bartender, noticing that Zola is a half elf, motions over to a solitary half elf sitting alone and she decides to go and speak with him. Being a half elf myself, I walk over with her. He is older and very friendly, evidently the proprietor of the carnival and wagon out front. I look forward to some interesting stories and some more wine in what I hope will be an enjoyable evening, when I hear Cecil talking with the bartender about the wine running low since the latest shipment has not been delivered. He asks us to check into it for him, but that adventure can wait until tomorrow—as long as the wine holds out tonight. We secure lodgings for the evening, and I look forward to a good night’s sleep, even though I’m fully aware that this land may contain unspeakable dangers, I feel safe for the moment; I hope I don’t come to regret that feeling.
We made it out of Death House...well, almost all of us. What a relief it is to be out of that nightmare. Luckily, we have some strong able bodies in the group that were able to carry Eliza out and ensure he was given a proper burial. Creed seemed to think resurrection was a possibility. Maybe, given some more time in this place, he will come to realize anything coming back from death won't ever be quite the same...not in Barovia at least
Some exciting news for a change of pace - we may have found one of the pieces to our prophecy! Partiwimple seems to fit the description of the young man who can help us on our journey. We were able to convince him to join us with the promise of visiting the "puppet factory" Popov comes from as well as his interesting in protecting Ireena.
We set off to the town of Vallaki and settled at the blue water in for the night. It seems we can offer our services in a multitude of ways here. The inn keeper Oorwin requires help finding where his shipment of alcohol went. Also, according to what we've heard of the Baron of Vallaki, he might be an insane oppressive ruler. The Dawn Breakers have a duty to rid this land of all evil, which extends beyond just defeating Strahd. We will keep our ears open...