Lost in the Mists

Life #32 - Dead Men DO Tell Tales

After the whole feast nightmare we once again were given a few days off. In the aftermath the citizens of the town began building a monument to those who were killed by the vampires, and Lestin was put on trial. He was found guilty and hanged on the green.
Shortly after the hanging, it was announced that Vosk would make his annual address to the city in three days. Durgan told us to be ready for anything, and it didn’t take long for us to find out what “anything” could be. The apothecary, Lirn, was found dead. Initially, it was believed he was killed by a vampire, but we were able to quickly determine that he was not killed by vampire at all.

I asked some witnesses about what they might have seen and learned of a group, all wearing similar cloaks, that had been visiting Lirn’s shop in the days leading up to his death. Goodman, meanwhile, had a ritual that let him speak with Lirn’s corpse. Lirn’s animated body told us that it was a man named “Revince” who led the group that killed him, and that they were there to “tie up loose ends”.

We learned that Revince and his group had been visiting Lirn’s shop for the last couple of weeks. Revince, we believed, could be Captain Revince of the Order. Based on what we were able to find, it looked like Lirn had received a large sum of money and was using it to acquire several different materials from the other apothecaries in town. We questioned the owners of the other shops and were able to figure out that Revince and his men were gathering large amounts of salt, crushed flint, magnesium, and mercury. These ingredients can be combined to create explosives. And with the citizens of the city gathering in just a few days to hear Vosk’s address, we could deduce what the target would be. It may be that whoever the mastermind of this plot is; they plan on killing Vosk and replacing him, sacrificing as many innocent civilians as possible in order to supplant him.

We knew that a large forge would be needed to create the explosives, so we set about trying to find somewhere that would contain one. In an abandoned blacksmith shop by the water, we found their workshop. They had left a trap, four barrels of their explosive, in order to destroy anyone who was on their trail. Thankfully, my companions are a talented bunch and were able to disarm the trap.

At this point we decided we needed to inform Durgan, and bring in Revince for questioning. Revince had retired for the evening, so we went to his house to find him, but it appeared that he hadn’t been there for several days. We went back and informed Durgan. It was beginning to grow late, so we decided to take a few hours to rest.

The next morning we were told that Councilman Greyson’s wife, Elyse, had been murdered. It again had been disguised as a vampire attack. Goodman used his ritual to speak to Elyse’s body. We learned that her own husband had slain her, in order to save their daughter Megan. We immediately went to Councilman Greyson and placed him under arrest. We started questioning, while I sent one of the guards to go fetch Durgan.

Greyson was very uncooperative when we tried to question him. But we were able to apply pressure with threats to both him and his daughter. He finally admitted that he had been conspiring with a devil known as Al-Keymer. Greyson had discovered that Vosk had made a deal with Al-Keymer that allowed him to defeat his enemies in the Drought War. Apparently, when Vosk’s coronation was interrupted by whatever power brought us to Ravenloft, it also interrupted Al-Keymer’s plans.

Al-Keymer was looking to advance in rank through his gains from Vosk’s deal. With Miredus, and Vosk, being drawn into Ravenloft, Al-Keymer sought a way here as well. Eventually Greyson contacted him and made a new pact: Greyson and his daughter would be free from Ravenloft and in exchange Greyson would kill Vosk and as many other people as possible. While I can understand wanting to protect one’s daughter, this man could not be more misguided in his attempts to do so.

After getting the full story on his plans Elyse’s corpse entered the room. Al-Keymer was possessing her body and tried to sway our loyalties by offering us whatever we desire. It seemed that for a moment, Saima was considering his offer to reunite her with her daughter, but in the end, she remained strong and turned down his offer. With the refusal of anything he could offer us, a fight was our only recourse.

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Saima's Journal: Maneater

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In any other place, the sight of a pale, young, white haired woman walking home through the streets, covered in blood, with a glaive slung across her shoulders, would be cause for alarm. But here in Ravenloft, no one even gives me a second glance.

Dammit. The blood stains will never come out of this dress. What a waste of time constructing it was.

I was so angry earlier. Just so angry at this place and the way it tortures us. I felt like I was losing my mind. Of course, when Lestin and the other revelers showed up, proclaiming that they only wanted to share the joy of the Feasting Lord, I knew they were trailing some fresh new horror with them, but an old part of me remembered what it was like to celebrate, to get dressed up and go to a party. And while I should have been investigating the newcomers, I instead went home, tore down my curtains and sewed together a party dress.

What a fool I am. Now I don’t even have any damn curtains.

The rage and taste for blood that has been building inside me finally broke free when the fight with the three priests began. Dayan revealed himself to be a vampire and called to me. I admit, part of me wanted to go to him, like he was the family I had lost so long ago. I resisted. I guess I am not that far gone yet. There was blood everywhere, my head felt like it was on fire. I drank from at least of two of them and it was glorious. When I found Lestin’s bag of children bones, my vision turned black. I would have drank him dry if Goodman hadn’t stopped me. And at that moment, with my stomach rolling with their vile blood, all the rage melted from me.

Of course, we still had to dispatch of the rest of the Feasting Lords followers. After that was done, I spent the long walk home alone, thinking about how was I losing it. God, that night I went after Barlow… what if I am a danger to my companions? They are the closest thing to friends I have here.

I am afraid. Afraid of what I am becoming. Afraid for my daughter, if she is alive. And now, I am afraid to look in the mirror. Today when I came home and washed the blood off my face, something about my appearance caught me off-guard. Its nearly imperceptible; I had to get close to see it, but its there.

There are now tiny specks of red in the blue of my eyes.

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Star Chart 934

Cosmic Event R273-S407-N149: Acamar hold is released on Caldris and the five other celestial bodies bound to it, all the while Morstael, the Weeper hangs heavy in the distance. Caldris comes into alignment with both Gibbith and Laxis 12, drawn on this path by Caiphon, the Guiding star. Malikain, the Opponent, raises ascendant and all the while Mordred rests dominant above all.

These are very disturbing times. I feel that the carnival of the feasting lord has damaged me in some way. Since joining the Nights Watch I have seen some terrible things, but when we entered Roche’s tent, to see the bodies just piled upon one another, blood everywhere; I shudder at just the thought. I knew the names of every one of their stars, and yet I was impotent to stop what happened. The only thing that made the scene even worse was that some of them were still moving, and I knew that I could not save them. Curse this bleak and wretched place that would destine good people to die like that! The Darkness In-Between would see everything suffer. But what Nox does not understand is that the more knowledge I gain the closer the guiding star brings me to undoing its horrific vision. Yes, Caiphon shall show me the way. It matters little that the portents suggest that this knowledge may come at the cost of my sanity. It is a small price to pay to strike light directly into the very heart of darkness! By the light of all the stars in the heavens, Nox’s will shall not be done.

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Life #32 - You Are What You Eat

After the battle in the street was finally over, we needed to rush back to the green and put an end to the whole affair. As we approached the big tent the priests were ready for us. We found ourselves facing several vampire spawn that were protecting the priests. Goodman was able to dispatch several of the spawn by invoking the power of the Morning Lord.

We killed Fusan, but Dayan was able to turn into mist and fly into the tent. Lestin, now alone, surrendered. We tied him up so he could stand trial later. With everyone outside the tent taken care of, we rushed inside.

Inside the tent there were maybe a dozen people from Miredus who were dead and being devoured by the vampires. Their corpses were strewn all over. Roche sat on his throne, damn near giddy. Dayan had reformed and was standing by him. Goodman didn’t waste any time and again used the power of the Morning Lord to kill most of the vampire spawn with a cleansing holy light. What few vampire spawn remained I quickly dispatched so we could focus our attention on Dayan and Roche. Dayan fell quickly, still weakened from the fight outside. Roche was a much more difficult opponent than his appearance would lead one to believe. His massive bulk moved with superhuman speed and strength. But his terrible claws and insatiable appetite for our flesh were not enough. The sight of the dead townsfolk enraged all of us and Roche was defeated.

We saved most of the townsfolk. And Durgan will certainly praise us again for what we did here tonight. But I can’t help but feel it wasn’t enough. We failed those people who were killed in the tent. How much more can the people of Miredus take? They’ve seen so much tragedy here lately.

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Hymn to the Morning Lord, Verse 10
The cost of indulgence

Their foe slain, his doomsaying revealed unto the points of Your light trouble upon the green. Approaching that unwholesome place, three necromancers could be seen in waiting, a host of vampires at their beck and call. Your light cleansed many, but the battle was not won easily. Fusan was eventually killed, Lestin captured and Dayan fled to warn Roche and the others that the points had come to wipe them from the face of this land, in Your mercy.
Those that would oppose waited patiently as the points entered, grimacing at the carnage before them. Many lied dead, cannibilized and drained of blood. Vampires stood, grinning evilly as Roche bad the points enter and join him. Nary had his words reached Your humble servant’s ears when he, caught in the horror, flung himself in the center of the undead scourge and cleansed them all.
The other points wasted no time, dispatching Dayan and surrounding Roche, celestial for JeJura though he may have been. The divine wrath and the walker between harried Roche constantly, even when he tried to use the seer to shield him from harm.
Finally, Barlow escaped his greasy clutches and the blackheart was put down, howling JeJura’s praise the whole time.
Many dead were to be accounted for and buried. The points dictated that a monument might be built in their honor, but also as warning to the excesses of temptation.
Give light, Morning Lord, that we may see.

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Life #32 - The Fellowship of the Feast

The affair with DuRay and the ravings of Giles have left us all feeling… out of sorts. The idea that we are somehow the puppets of some dark force just hangs on our shoulders like dead weight. I haven’t slept well these last few days.

During the tail end of our shift, a wagon entered Miredus and the occupants of it began tossing food out to the people. Fresh looking food. Good looking food. The kind of food the people here have not eaten in years. A cleric led the folk who were sharing the food, and his name is Lestin. He spoke of the “Feasting Lord, JeJura.” He and his people wanted to hold a grand feast in the city, as was the will of their lord. Durgan and the council had to agree to the feast, because it looked like the people would riot if they refused.

We had several hours to prepare before the feast, but instead of getting right to sleep I went out and took a look at the rest of Lestin’s caravan. Lucas came with me, and despite spending a couple hours searching about outside of town, and watching the members of the caravan set up their big tent, we didn’t see anything suspicious. They set up on the old green where Vosk’s coronation was held.

The feast began and while I was happy to see so many of the city folk enjoying themselves, I couldn’t shake the bad feeling I was getting. There were a lot more people from Lestin’s group than I had seen in the afternoon. Even if they were all hiding in the wagons, it still looked suspicious that there were so many more of them. We spoke with some of the members of Lestin’s faith, including the individual who seemed more or less in charge. His name is Sirius Roch and he acts like no holy man I’ve ever seen before. He also weighs more than any holy man I’ve ever seen.

As the night wore on, the townspeople began showing the signs of excessive food and drink. They were passing out, stumbling about, and speaking incoherently. The others and I corralled them into the old church so we could keep them safe in case Lestin’s people tried to attack. It turns out we were right to suspect them. Our actions drew the attention of Feasting Lord’s followers and soon a heavily armored man was leading a group of men out into the city. A few of us followed them and we discovered that the “holy people” of the Feasting Lord were vampires! They were planning an attack, including lighting the old church on fire.

We needed to attack before this contingent could rejoin with the main group back at the green. The fight was brutal, but we won. But our work isn’t done if we’re going to make sure the people of Miredus are safe. This promises to be one hell of a party.

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Hymn to the Morning Lord, Verse 9
A feast most fowl

Merriment could be heard coming towards the centre of Miredus, a caravan of priests in crimson in worship, so they said, of Jejura the Feasting Lord. The points were suspicious but played along, lest they rob the townspeople of much needed joy needlessly.

Their spokesman, Lestin, was giving charity and food, leading the crowd to town hall like the Pied Pipper. The council, warily, gave he and his permission to hold a three-day feast on the green. The points were tasked with supervision of the setup and feast, lest any untowardness be visited upon the people of the town.

The feast was began, men in crimson cajoling under fake smiles, enticing the people to eat and drink past their regular tolerance. Sirius Roch, a horrendous pile of a man, poked and prodded the points with veiled insults while his man-at-arms leered and sized up Zephyram.

Your humble servant along with the seer began to issue the drunk and stuffed to the once-holy places to offer them some protection, sensing something sinister at work. The change followed the man-at-arms into town as he divulged his intent to light the churches aflame whilst the drunk and slovenly rested, and called to the points for aide.

The man-at-arms bared his fangs and promised to feast on the points, but not before tempting the walker between with brotherhood amongst his vile ranks. She, gladly, turned him away and Your humble servant called to You, using Your light to bare the souls of these men. The struggle was desperate for a time, but You saw the points through and in the end evil was extinguished once more.
Give light, Morning Lord, that we may see.

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Star Chart 928

Cosmic Event R264-S386-N131: The Corpse Star Acamar reaches its horrid power out towards Caldris, Galtris, the Rashlin nebula, Ursa, Vaishis, and Zalbraik as Mordred slackens its own grip, simply letting Acamar attempt to consume them, while Janos the Broken Mirror hangs in a contrary path attempting to hide the connection. Halitaus, the Immortal rises asendent over Caldris, and Vaishis aligns in a contrary alignment, all the while Nox slips between the stars breaking the paths of the stars and shifting fate in its own image.

After a week’s worth of slow nights where I have been able to amply study the stars which hang around Mordred I must regretfully accept that this quiet peace is at an end. There has been a lull in Mordreds ascendance, and Acamar has taken control. I can only assume that since Acamar weighs so heavily on the stars of Lucas and Saima, both people with strong ties the vampires, that those wicked creatures of the night are coming to our desperate nation. What’s worse that they will come in disguise, one that somehow we will not be able to pierce. This week I have seen a number of stars vanish into Acamars event horizon; there will be deaths, I cannot stop that, I can only play my part in saving the ones that are to be saved. On a positive note I will be nigh unstoppable in the events that will be unfolding shortly. The Immortal star’s convergence with my own stars path means this is all but certain. The other event that disturbs me is that if I am reading the events properly, then Saima was very close to hurting me a few days ago. The Laxis cluster is influencing her behavior; she may even be on the brink of madness. I am safe for now, but I will have to watch her. I would hate to see her loose herself before the time of Astrid returning to alignment around Vaishis. She does miss her daughter so, but here in Ravenloft I believe we all miss something.

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Saima's Journal: Hurricane

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Ravenloft is not a place. It is alive. It is a sentient being and its only purpose seems to be to drive us all into despair.

The last few days my companions and I have been attacked by a tree, a rope monster, corpses, ghosts, and a mad man. But the last horror came after the death of Giles when for a moment I saw the face of my beloved Astrid in the dust. As quickly as it appeared, it was gone. I left the house and my companions without a word before the madness overtook me.
My house sits in a now mostly abandon area of the city and I have no neighbors within a close distance, which is fortunate, because I could not control the screams and sobs that tore from me that evening. This place, this damned place, has taken everything from me: My friends, my family, my hope, my humanity. And now it taunts me with visions of my child. I want, I need, to know why. In a moment of half insanity, I went to Barlow’s house to seek answers.

I am glad that he wasn’t home. I don’t know where he has gone. All I know is that the monster in me is growing stronger and darker. I can smell the blood of others and it awakens the horrible endless thirst. If Barlow had been there, I may have…

I don’t know what I would have done.

I am losing me.

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Star Chart 912

This evening, I see the night for the first time. ( scrawled at the top of the page.)
Cosmic Event R258-S377-N124: Mordred, the Emperor dominates the horizon, its brilliant light being feed by the dark spaces-in-between. Nathraix, the Burning Tower, slackens it’s hold over Laxis Seven as the ever-flickering comet Zalbraik floats dangerous close. Hadar’s hateful influence is clawed away from the dwarf star Galtris and for a fraction of time and space Astrid and Vaishis are in alignment once more. The celestial bodies Caldris, Rashlin and Ursa remain aligned with the others and all the while, Nox, the Darkness In-Between, crushes in, seeking to devour the light.

After learning a method of installing the lens of the Caprian spy glass into my Polyluminous -Omni-Optifier I had discovered it is much more difficult to keep track of all the new information which is visible to me, but with last night’s revelation given to me by that lunatic Giles, the equation which will help me find the answer to the fate of everything has now become oppressively complex. The new insight which has come to me is that the Darkness that rests in-between the stars is working in a way to obscure and counteract fate. Just as the light of the heavens guides each of our existences to their ultimate conclusions so-to does Nox, the Darkness In-Between, try to swallow our destiny and leave us with no futures of which to speak. As of right now I have no way of knowing whether this holds true in the reality which Miredus is originally from or if only the heavens of Ravenloft are so corrupted.
After reviewing what has transpired in the last few nights and reviewing my star charts I’ve been able to get a clearer picture of what I had been reading in the stars. I had been so worried about the asendent powers of Nathraix that I never bothered to notice that the Burning Tower was being influenced by Laxis Seven, of the Laxis Cluster. You see, the unquiet ghost of Nathan DuRay, had been stirred to anger by the efforts of the merchant master Giles. This man had made deals with the powers of chaos, but now it seemed this lunatic was fully under the influence of Nox. The Darkness In-Between seems to be sentient if Giles was to be believed. This thought is beyond terrifying. In his dilapidated home, he had torn away a section of the roof to give him a clear view of Vosks tower. Looking upon it I then came to realize the deeper darkness which surrounds the star Mordred was not the Emperor star devouring the light, but the influencing presence of Giles’ dark masters, or as I now know them to be, Nox.
I once again find myself in the midst of one of my frequent emotional conundrums. It was fated that Magistrate Rivers, and Joanas Rerkis would see their ends at the hands of DuRay. Also, the part my allies and I would play had already been written as well, and yet, I feel bad that I could not do anything to save them. Maybe this will be alleviated when I can more accurately translate the movements of the heavens. Perhaps the stars have already written in my ability to ready them more effectively. I will redouble my efforts. Nothing will escape my notice. I will see everything; the future will not be a mystery to me. I have already decided that Giles home will become my new observatory. Nox presses down heavily on Caldris, but Caiphons light will guide the way to truth!!!

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