Lost in the Mists

A servant's tale, part 3

Within the mausoleum lair we came upon a warren of unlife, ruled over by a wight who claimed fealty amongst the skulking graveyard denizens. I entreated him to provide us with the answers we sought regarding the horseman and leave this place but of course he sought more, they always seek more. So more we gave unto them. His light shone bright and burned the scourges as the other Points utilized their many talents to bring the poor unfortunate souls to rest. The wight, companionless and dripping black ichor, finally offered the information we wanted in exchange for its miserable excuse for life. I gave my word on my power, if he would leave this place forever. I know this didn’t sit well with many, but if I can be redeemed than I must offer the chance to others, no matter how despicable, musn’t I?
He lead us to the horseman’s head, in the lair of a great beast he raised and failed to control. We approach it now, as I watched the wight slink into the mists. Woe to him if he doesn’t change his ways, for I have faith the Morninglord will put us on his path once more.

Life #32 - The Wight Decision

Our battle with the wight and his undead servants spanned the great open hall of the mausoleum. The decrepit, rotting bodies of his servants were much tougher than they looked. Goodman once again channeled the cleansing light of the Morning Lord and several of the undead monsters were put to rest. We put down all but the wight himself. With his fighting force destroyed, and several of his own wounds that would need tending, he yielded.

The wight told us that he had taken the head of the horseman to try and use as part of a ritual to raise and control the monster that the horseman had originally been called to fight. The ritual didn’t work as intended; the beast was raised, but not controlled. It now had the head in its lair and would attack any who approached it.

When we asked the creature about the horseman’s heart, his answers about what happened to it seemed to lend credence to our suspicions of the mayor and the true chain of events that led to the horseman’s death.

We made a deal with the wight, and said that if it led us to the location of the horseman’s head, and promised to leave this land forever, we would spare its life. The wight agreed and we set out for the monster’s lair, deep in the woods. The cemetery’s groundskeeper gave us a thankful nod as we led the wight out of the cemetery.

The wight took us deep into the woods and pointed out the area that the monster guards. All we would need to do is approach and the beast would spring out to attack us. As we agreed, we let the wight leave. We then pressed onward towards the lair of the creature. We would get the horseman’s head or die trying.

Letting this wight walk away doesn’t leave me feeling very good. It will only inevitably torment the people of some other far off land, but they gypsy fortune teller warned of the danger of letting my rage and hate control me. Slaying a defenseless being, even if it is an undead monster, could have lasting repercussions for my soul. I need to remember that.

What new hell is this?

Sometimes i wonder if perhaps the world itself is built upon a giant shard of the same material that now lives and thrives within me. Just when I kniht things cannot get any stranger, or more citoahc, I find myself wandering the streets of a town that has not changed in what appears to be 40 or more years. Who could have foreseen this? How is it even possible? And why does such a place as this realm even exist?
I feel strangely compelled to help these poor folks, if only to see what other unexpected events they may possibly bring to the world at a later time.

A servant's tale, part 2
Mystery ahead

He is the way, for His light guides us.

We left the village of Havensguard at His first light, making haste lest we come across the vile horseman again. We arrived in Tranquility where it supposedly all started, to find it was indeed the same. Time has passed slowly for the people of this heavily walled and warded town. Their records indicate it has been 40 years, but their age and their attitude tell a different story.
We met with Van Hessen, the mayor; a slight, untrustworthy man if I’ve ever seen one. His daughter lay ill inside, yet he, out of suspicion, would not allow a cleric to see you her. Reason eventually won the man over and he, along with several guards, led myself alone to administer to her. She was a quiet, hopeless child, filled with ennui. I imagine he keeps her locked away behind his walls always. It took a concerted effort to become conduit to His power to cure the girl’s affliction, more so than anything I’d ever felt before. I felt that I had healed her, and could plainly see it was so, but I also sensed that unlike every other time I’d performed the ritual, something prevented me from truly lifting it and it would return.
Also of note was a single blood red rose in the garden. It thrumed of importance yet revealed.
I filled in the rest of the points on the events they missed after Van Hessen expressed his gratitude and invited us for dinner on the morrow.
Late that same night a scream cut the sleep from me and I surged outside to find a woman cut down by the horseman mere yards from the city. I held vigel with Zephyram at the gates until His light greated us, then released several townsfolk of the burial duties, using the opportunity to put the poor soul to rest while also searching for clues regarding the horseman.
The grave keeper, an interesting fellow with too much experience amongst the dead, gave us indication of where he was buried. After laying the girl to rest we exhumed the horseman from his unmarked grave, only to find his skull missing and his heart likely taken as well. I surmise that this is why he claims the heads of his victims, for some misplaced rage at his primary aggressor.
As we considered this new mystery we were beset by a pack of ghouls and a living bank of grave dirt. After we dispatched the unholy abominations we traced their bath back to a mausoleum, which we are entering presently. I can only imagine what horrors await us. Regardless, His light shines bright, as it always has.

Life #32 - Ghoulbusters

The next morning we set out for Tranquility. We left early, so as to avoid the Horseman again, if possible. After a few hours of walking along the road we saw a small town on the side of the road. It was surrounded by a tall black iron fence. Atop the fence were the holy symbols for dozens of gods. I spied one of Pelor and that was comforting sight, it had been so long since I’ve seen one outside my own personal belongings.

We were able to enter the town without incident, and the few townsfolk we spoke with initially were happy to hear that we planned to rid them of the Horseman’s blight. They also told us that the large graveyard just north of the town was full of many of the Horseman’s victims.

We began to investigate the town’s connection to the Horseman, and try to learn if it was indeed the Tranquility from the stories we had heard in Havensguard. As it turns out, this was the same Tranquility, but the more we learned, the more confused we became. The horrible events that included the Horseman’s death and the town of Tranquility being trapped in Ravenloft only occurred ten years earlier by the reckoning of the townsfolk, but their written records told a different story. We found harvest records going back 40 years to when the Horseman’s death would have occurred.

More investigation revealed that the current mayor of Tranquility was also the mayor at the time. His name is Eli van Hessen. After the Horseman initially saved the town from disaster, they wanted to elect him as the new mayor, but then he quickly became corrupt. Or so the story goes.

We went to the mayor’s estate to try and learn more from him directly. His property is surrounded by another small fence and is watched by guards. We were able to arrange to meet him and he came out to greet us at the gate. He spoke of his daughter, the same one who had been attacked by the Horseman so many years before, and told us she was quite ill. The mayor was definitely not old enough for 40 years to have passed since the first incidents with the Horseman. When I asked him about the written records he tried to pass it off as the scribe’s error. He was uninterested in discussing that particular topic further.

Goodman was eventually able to convince the mayor to let him try and cure the girl. Goodman was escorted inside the house and we waited for him by the gate. We weren’t able to learn anything useful from the remaining guards while Goodman treated the girl.

Less than half an hour later Goodman returned. Whatever curative he used on the girl had worked, it seemed. As a show of gratitude, the mayor invited us all to dinner the following night. It was clear that we were not going to learn anything more from him. Goodman gave us some curious details about the inside of the estate, but we are still grasping to understand the situation.

As we slept that night, we heard a scream from the road. The Horseman had taken another life. The following morning we interrupted some townsfolk who were going to bury the victim and offered to do it ourselves. We were going to explore the graveyard anyway. We took the girl’s body and went to the fenced off graveyard north of the town. The groundskeeper came out of his small shack to speak to us when we arrived. He was able to give us rough directions to the grave of the Horseman. We buried the girl and then continued to the grave.

We found the Horseman’s grave without too much difficulty, considering it was unmarked. We exhumed his corpse and found that the head was missing. That would make putting his spirit to rest much more difficult. From the abnormal placement of the ribs, it also looked like his heart had been taken as well. We would need to find both his head and his heart to put him to rest.

We were still standing there around the grave when a pack of ghouls suddenly sprang out around us. Some manner of golem made of the graveyard’s soil also rose up to attack us. While the ghouls were vicious, and the golem was trying to pummel us, we were able to destroy them. We tried to follow the path of the ghouls and came to a large mausoleum.

We descended the stairs in the mausoleum and came to a large hall full of zombies and ghouls. There was a wight ruling over them who called himself the White Reeve. He spoke to us at length telling us that we would serve in his undead army. We took to that idea as well as you would expect and sprang into action.

Saima's Journal: Carry on My Wayward Son

Vosk is dead. I saw him die by our own hands and still I cannot believe it. Even still, I feel… no, I know, our work is not done. We are still trapped here in Ravenloft. We may be free of Vosk, but we are not free of the curse that brought us here. And now I can leave this place and find out what happened to my daughter.

In the heat of one of the battles, I turned into a bat. I don’t know how it happened, but apparently I have a vampire power I never knew of. It took some time, but I’ve learned to control the change and use it to our advantage in battle. However, I believe it comes at a cost: there is more red in the blue of my eyes. I’m trying to avoid looking into the others faces, but I don’t know how much longer I can hide it.

I am afraid for all of us. Zephyrum is ever our strong and unshakeable Angel of Pelor. If he is afraid or doubts our party, he never reveals it. Goodman, having been revealed as a former adviser to Vosk and finding that we still stand beside him and called him friend, seems to have found a peace in himself. I hope these two continue to be the lights of our group. The rest of us don’t seem to be fairing quite as well. Lucas has looked sick since it was suggested that we leave Miredus in search of Barovia and Strahd. I wonder what demons await him there. Garrett seems to be becoming the embodiment of Chaos itself. He is not as careful and as quiet as he used to be. I have caught myself several times starting to reach out to straighten his hair and clothes. Most be a mother’s instinct. I guess it never really goes away.

Barlow has become dangerously unbalanced. I can no longer take Megan with me on my trips to make sure he is still alive and eating. The last time I took her there, he was sitting on a chair, hair covering his face, muttering quietly to himself. Megan approached him with a plate of food when suddenly he grabbed her by the arms and cried, “I was wrong! I was wrong!”
I had him pinned to the ground before I knew what was happening and nearly tore out his throat. I was shocked back to my senses by what I saw in his face. One eye has turned purple, the other has clouded over and moves around violently. It’s horrifying. I could not look away until he spoke: “There is red in your eyes.” He said.
“You are one to talk.” I helped him up. “You’ve been spending too much time looking at the stars.”
He sat down on the chair and started to cry, “I was wrong. All this time I thought I was looking at them. And all this time they have been watching me. I was wrong! I was wrong!”
I never took Megan there again, much to her displeasure. She worries about him as I do.

My poor Megan. The girl has already lost her parents and now I must leave her. She cried so hard when I left. I had to promise her that I would return. I should know better than to make promises I can’t keep.

One missed step

I feared that my snoinapmoc might be startled by the changes within me, as well as my outward appearance. That fear was unfounded, as I now know. I could have worn a live chicken upon my head and spoke only in rhyme, and I am certain no one would have even noticed, so drastic were the changes to our skyward seeking brother, Barlow. For the briefest of stnemom I feared more for his future than my own.
That moment was cut short when my life, and head were almost taken from me by this creature that now bars our way. A creature who may in fact suffer a curse far worse than my own. It seems as if my fears for planning my own erutuf have allowed me to become distracted, and thus I mistepped in our flight through the woods. That one wrong step almost cost me everything. I must endeavor not to allow such things to happen again.

{all words spelled backwards are found written in Primordial}

Life #32 - The Long Road to Havensguard

Despite killing Vosk, Miredus is still trapped in the realm of Ravenloft. There were some changes, however, as the King’s Blade that stood in file around the kingdom’s outer limits vanished. All that surrounded the territory was now an unnatural wall of dense mist.

Goodman pored over Vosk’s notes while we helped the town work towards recovering from Vosk’s cruelty. Goodman learned about many of the other domains in Ravenloft, including what appeared to be the first one. Barovia, which seemed to lay at the very center of this world, was ruled by a dark lord named Strahd. Lucas had escaped from Barovia, his homeland, and was able to tell us a little about his journey.

We decided that our next course of action should be to get to Barovia and see if by facing this Strahd, we might be able to free Miredus from its imprisonment in Ravenloft.

We said short goodbyes to Durgan and some of the others, and then made our way to the wall of mist. It was unsettling, to say the least, to see something so impossibly large and so obviously unnatural. But we pressed on.

Inside the mist we found we had no way of navigating. We bound ourselves together with rope to keep from losing track of anyone. As we continued onward, we were attacked by shadowy wisps that dwelled within the mist. Their claws seemed to dig into our very souls with each strike, leaving a growing cold burning that swelled within. The creatures tried to separate us, pulling us into the mists. They had the advantage, given the setting, but we were able to defeat them after a harrowing battle.

Soon after defeating the monsters, we exited the mist. We were in a very different landscape than Miredus. The land here was full of rolling plains and scrub-land. A long road stretched ahead of us, but there were no other signs of civilization. We began the long walk down the road, not seeing any other alternative.

After a few hours we found three headless bodies that appeared to have been a family. They were decapitated and left in a ditch by the roadside. Searching the bodies, we found a map, but nothing else of note. We continued down the road and saw a small village. Night was quickly coming and so we decided to camp outside the village for the night, and greet the villagers the next day. We sent Lucas ahead to stealthily watch the villagers and see if he could learn anything about them.

As we set up the camp the night quickly darkened, much more quickly than usual. Back on the road we saw a horseman riding a grotesque black stag. The horseman was wearing black armor and he had no head! Instead he was surrounded by a glowing aura made up of dozens of ghostly heads. In his hand he wielded a twisted sickle.

The rider began approaching, and clearly had one thing in mind. As the rider was bearing down on us we were deciding whether to stand and fight, or to run, and then Lucas appeared. He was sprinting toward us shouting that we should flee towards the village. We didn’t hesitate.

We ran towards the bridge that would take us over the river and into the village. We desperately zigzagged our way along the road to evade the rider. Garret started to fall slightly behind and the horseman slashed into his back with the sickle. Goodman was able to help Garret with some healing magic. Then as the rest of us made it across the bridge, Goodman prayed to the Morninglord to repel the rider who disappeared in a burst of shadows.

Now in the village, we went to the inn. We met the owner, Jerek, who told us we were in Havensguard, built on the banks of the river, because the horseman refused to cross the river.

Jerek told us of a town called Tranquility, that a long time ago was a stop on a highway to an ancient kingdom called Behlem. The small, but wealthy, town of Tranquility was attacked one day by a terrible beast. There’s no consensus on the actual nature of the monster, but what they all seemed to agree on was that a powerful warrior arrived in town to fight off the monster. The warrior’s name is forgotten, but he is remembered now as “The Horseman”.

The Horseman arrived in town with a small company of fellow knights and slew the beast, saving the town. The people of Tranquility were soon under siege from their savior, however, as the Horseman began to extort payment from the people. After the Horseman forced himself on the mayor’s daughter, the people rose up and took down the evil knight. They executed him on the green.

After the execution, the people of the town found that the road to Behlem was gone. And shortly after that, the road outside the town was haunted by the Horseman, who was now some kind of ghostly madman. He killed anyone he encountered on the road. He could not leave the road, however, and running water and holy symbols seemed to repel him. The road that the Horseman haunts was apparently swept into Raveloft, just as Miredus was, and is now its own domain. Havensguard and other small communities began popping up on the road as travelers became trapped by the rider.

Jerek told us that if we continued down the road, we would find a town called Tranquility, but he doesn’t believe it to be the same Tranquility from the stories. Nonetheless, he does believe we might find more answers there.

A servant's tale, part 1
A tale of light begins

He is the way, for His light guides us.

The rays erupt from me now. I am become the sun, vessel of His holy light. My hymn complete, I sing this song with joy in my heart. It radiates out from my cold, spiky skin.

Barlow is slipping into something darker, like the opposite of my change. He thinks he is gaining knowledge, and power, and clearly he is, but at what cost? I know a thing or two about the road to power, and the sacrifices required. He must beware. I shall aid him in which ways I can.

Saima is trying, as well. I feel amused now that I ever worried she was in the dark. The love for her adopted child shines like His light. It may be misplaced love for her missing child, but that makes it no less true.

Zephyram’s change mimics my own. Divinity flows through him, though his is more violent than mine that makes it no less good. He makes violence holy, a chant echoes from his weapon as it swings through the air. I see it better than most.

Garrett has become chaos as I have become light. Everything about his is change. His muscles twitch, he eyes wink, his hair moves of its own volition. Yet he seems so in control of his swirling insanity. He does not worry me like Barlow.

Lucas has become more nervous, introverted. I’ve had barely a word with him since we toppled Vosk. Perhaps he mistrusts me for the revelations of the spectres of my past. No matter, I will build his trust again. I must still atone for my past sins, Vosk’s death has not changed my form, so my pilgrimage continues.

We collected together to decide what next. The writings and maps of Vosk are as from a madman, while also frighteningly making sense. It was decided, we must venture forth into the mist and attempt to find The Villain spoken of in the cards. He was the key. Even Vosk thought so, may He help me for agreeing with Vosk. The mists were cold and full of tricks. They tried to separate us and smother our life, even whispered to me that my friends were no more so, but I shone bright and burned the fog from my head and my surroundings. Apologies were made, roads were once more traversed. She will forgive me, in time.

We came upon an act of evil: a family departed and decapitated on the side of the road. Their clothing was strange, unseen by myself or my companions before.
We made camp off the road and sent Lucas to scout the town ahead, lest they be cannibals hungry and waiting.
Night fell like a blanket and a horseman appeared, wreathed in necromancy and glowing skulls, he made way towards us as Lucas ran towards us, screaming for us to flee to him.
We raced for a bridge as the horseman rode us down, slicing a brutal slash across Garret’s back. It took all of our combined efforts to confuse, rebuke and flee the evil horseman, who himself had no head.
We find ourselves now in Havensguard with a mystery to solve and a great evil to turn. He has guided us correctly again.

Hymn to the Morning Lord, Verse 17
An adversary falls

The villain revealed, Your light banishing any shadows behind which he might hide. Stolen into his chamber The Points found themselves faced with many misguided souls to batter aside, striking with the Sword of the King into the heart of Vosk’s vile being. His corporeal form ended, his spirit refused to rest. The points redoubled their efforts and finally managed to bring an end to Vosk’s evil reign.

Your humble servant felt a rush of triumph and pity at destroying his old friend. The kingdom no further improved with his passing. Days became weeks and still nothing changed in the land. The people cast nervous glances at the tower no longer, it being felled to the ground, but few smiles were still to be seen.

Thus this hymn does come to a close. Your light shall continue to shine, as it always has and always will. Let it shine out forever.


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