Lost in the Mists

Hymn to the Morning Lord, Verse 8
Hanged, revealed

The points of light, having defeated the rope-given-body, set out to discover the dark puppeteer behind these atrocities. Your hand guided them to the cemetery once more, but once entering found Your light far from sight. The graves wound on impossibly long, dark moved to intercede and distract, laughter and screaming sounding from within.
It was at the center of this maze of tombstones and gloom that DuRay was waiting, with his freshly unearthed victims at beck & call. Your humble servant brought Your light to this place of darkness and revealed Your truth, that grace will always banish the murk that evil hides behind.
Fore being returned to rest, DuRay revealed twas the merchant Giles that brought him forth. The points went direct to him, to find him lost in his own darkness, cast from his mind and imposed perhaps by something greater, as yet unrevealed. There would be no reasoning with the man and the points sent him into your embrace with no satisfaction.
Times are caliginous.
Give light, Morning Lord, that we may see.

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Life #32 - The Mad Merchant

With Councilman Farley safe, we began searching for the source of the golem. We were unable to detect any necromantic energies, but nonetheless we went back to the cemetary.

When we arrived at the cemetary we discovered that the groundskeeper had been slaughtered. We moved on, further into the cemetary, and as we did the shadows around us grew, and then swallowed up everything around us. The lights were snuffed out and an eerie stillness crept over us. Slowly an awful moaning began picking up around us. At first they sounded tortured, but as they grew more clear, we realized they were exultant. And then suddenly, the darkness retreated and we were in front of the newly dug graves for Rivers and Joanas. The ghost of DuRay appeared before us. He was furious, and began telling us of Vosk and his quest for power. After some prodding we were able to get DuRay to admit that Giles, the merchant, was the one who brought DuRay back. Then DuRay raised the bodies of Rivers and Joanas and all three attacked us. Goodman used the light of the Morning Lord to give us the winning edge in the battle.

We found Giles in his home by the water. He talked about his previous involvement with a cult to the Elemental Chaos, but now, here in Ravenloft, he had some new, darker lord. Giles was mad, he was giggling constantly, and seemed to babble at times. His manner was congruent with the walls of his home, which he had smeared insane messages onto. Giles continued speaking gibberish, telling us at one point that we were going to replace Vosk. Finally, he attacked us, and we quickly put him down.

I don’t know who this new dark lord is that Giles kept talking about, but I fear what it may mean for us and any chance we have at escaping Ravenloft.

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Hymn to the Morning Lord, Verse 7
Length of rope

Sleep evaded Your humble servant, and in wakefulness came awareness of those points which should be watched, lest they journey further down the dark path. The seer did spend nights awake as well, studying the pilfered captain’s glass, and the walker between lurked around him. Whether for good or ill has yet to be determined.
A scream cut through the night, an executioner executed seemingly by his own hand, but through Your guidance light brought truth and dark play was revealed. The collected points sought the burial site of a DuRay, exhiled from Your light in unconsecrated ground for his crimes. The dark corrupted this place and several of the restless dead assaulted the collected points along with a tree, twisted from its true purpose.
Your humble servant fell in battle, but You saw fit not to take him, lest work go undone.
DuRay’s bones had been defiled, but no culprit was apparent. The Magistrate was next in danger, but too late, for he was found hanged.
Your humble servant began to fear his association with DuRay would come to light in a violent way, but it would be the Councilman next.
An attack in the very council chambers, at the stroke of midnight. An adversary given body in an impossible length of rope, defeats by your light, and no further darkness apparent.
Give light, Morning Lord, that we may see.

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Life #32 - The Hangman's Noose

After the pirates’ treachery, I found the people of Miredus more despairing than ever. Their hopes of escape and freedom have been dashed. But it has been a few days now and the people’s spirit seems to have quickly rebounded.

We returned to our duties and it was while we were on patrol that, once again, tragedy struck Miredus. We heard a scream and raced towards it. We found Joanas Rerkis, who used to work as the executioner, hanging from his second floor window. It looked as if he had tied the noose and then jumped out of the window.

I began by first trying to calm some of the scared people outside and urge them to leave us to our investigation. Saima didn’t hesitate to run in and get to the room Joanas had leapt out of, so I didn’t wait long to follow her. Our investigation of Joanas turned up some peculiar pieces of evidence that seemed to make this look like less and less of a suicide. The bruising on his body suggested that he was injured before going through the window. And there was some kind of faint necromantic energy lingering.

We tried to reason who could have done this to Joanas and what the motive could have been. Nathan DuRay came to mind. He was one of Vosk’s lieutenants. During Vosk’s coronation, when most of his other advisers and subordinates died or vanished, DuRay remained. He went into hiding and gathered a gang together. They tried to subvert the work that the Council was doing to organize the city. DuRay and his men were captured before long, and sentenced to death. Their executions are the only ones Miredus has had since coming to this Ravenloft.

We went to the graveyard to see if DuRay’s grave was intact, but found out that he and his men weren’t buried in the city’s cemetery. They were buried under the tree they were hanged from. We found the tree outside of the city, and our suspicions that DuRay was to blame proved true. The tree itself animated and ripped itself free from the ground. The corpses of DuRay’s men also animated. They all attacked us. The corpses proved to not be too much of a threat, but the tree was vicious. At one point it ensnared me in one of its nooses and began strangling me. With all of us working together, though, we were able to bring down all of our assailants.

Upon inspecting the graves, we found that DuRay’s bones had been desecrated. We aren’t sure who would have done that yet, but it’s fair to say that is probably the reason DuRay has risen. Since the first victim was Joanas, the one who executed him, we decided the next target would probably be Magistrate Rivers, the one who sentenced DuRay and his men to death.

We raced back to the city and to Rivers’ house, but we were too late. We found Rivers hanging from the rafters in the basement. It appeared that he had been dead for some time, at least several hours. Councilman Farley, who DuRay had tried to assassinate while he was still alive, was the next one we thought might be on the list.

We went to Farley and found him with the other council members. After explaining the situation to him he agreed to wait there with us guarding him. We didn’t have to wait long. Around midnight the ghost made its move. A chandelier came crashing down to the floor and the rope that had been holding it up coiled up into the shape of a person. It began attacking us and trying to strangle us. Thankfully, that was the only attacker and we were able to put it down handily before it became a threat to the Councilman’s life.
But questions still remain. Who desecrated DuRay’s corpse? And how do we stop these attacks?

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Hymn to the Morning Lord, Verse 6
Vengeance begot

The five points of light, collected, ventured deep into the heart of the Dark Isle, seeking those lost but not truly so.
Upon the summit of a mountain they sat, not in rest but in waiting, unliving and seeking vengeance. Your humble servant pushed them from the points with Your light, the points dispatching them to rest once more.
Upon the once-Captain was the spy glass of note, which inspecting, gave Barlow a covetous gleam.
The points returned to the ship, wearily. The Briney Pigs crew had changed in demeanor, cold and vicious. Soon it was revealed by Saima, Lucas, Garrett and Zephyram that the crew had unpure intentions and caution was taken.
True motives came revealed when Meridus was in sight, the crew offering subjugation, not succor. The points fought in Your name in defense of their home and were true. Flames cleansed the taint of the Briney Pig from the land, and the unholy sharks took their due.
A calm finally took your humble servant, but with it came unneeded wakefulness.
Give light, Morning Lord, that we may see.

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Saima's Journal: Flagpole Sitta

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Well, the Briny Pig and its crew are dead. When it became apparent that they were intent on destroying Miredus, we had no choice but to stop them. After we lit the boat on fire, we fought Cresson, Lumier, and some of the crew. It was a bloody battle, but we survived. After Zephyram dealt the final death blow to Cresson, I pulled a button off the captain’s jacket. Another decoration for my glaive. We sailed away in the dingy and watched as whoever we didn’t kill was taken by the flames and the sharks.

Once we reached the shore and reported to Durgan, we were given some time off to rest and recover. After all the sleeping I did last week, I don’t plan to sleep for some time. Lucky for me, Barlow now stays up all night studying the starry sky with his newly acquired spyglass. There is a strange comfort in spending time with Barlow. I don’t have to be alone, but I don’t have to go through the mundane effort of making small talk. Unlike most people, who regard me as a predator waiting to strike, he seems to be at ease with my quiet presence. I watch him mutter to himself, sometimes in excitement, sometimes in frustration, and write quickly, like a man who knows he is running out of time. By the second night, I realized he was forgetting to eat. Stirring the motherly instinct in me, I have begun cooking for him, making sure he eats, and covering him up with a blanket when the sun rises and he falls into a fitful sleep. I wonder what nightmares haunt his dreams. I want so very badly to ask him about what he said on the ship…

“By the way, did I tell you that your daughter is still alive?” he said, just after we set the ship on fire. Goddammit, Barlow.

I planned on asking, but part of me is afraid of what he will say. And part of me is very concerned about the fact that every night Goodman has been watching us. I’m partially annoyed at how incredibly not stealthy that giant metallic man is, but mostly I’m suspicious about why he is spying on us. Goodman used to be the warmest and friendliest of the group, but lately he’s been so ill tempered. And since we have reached the shore, he has been downright cold to me. Maybe something has taken him over? Maybe he knows something about the vampires that attacked me? Maybe he is in league with them??
Maybe I am just paranoid.

But then again, maybe I let my guard down too much with this bunch. I mean, what do I really know about them? Barlow is quickly losing his grip on reality, who knows when he will snap completely. Goodman, a strange metallic man whose appearance coincided with our arrival in Ravenloft, has spent the last few weeks trying to kill me with his glare. Lucas admitted that he was spying on us for weeks before joining the Midnight Watch. Doesn’t that raise any alarms for anyone else?? And Gavin, a man who apparently has no past, walks around with that blank look on his face and lately has been held unnaturally captivated by shiny objects. The only one who has actually been friendly to me is Zephyram. Maybe he is just being kind because he wants something from me?

I should watch my back from now on.

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Saima's Journal: Stand my Ground

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I’m embarrassed to say that I fell asleep before I could finish my last entry. And as you can see by the fact that I am writing a new entry, we survived Terror Island and retrieved the spyglass. Of course it required killing a horrific psychic sea creature and a small army of zombie pirates.

Never a dull moment in Ravenloft.

As we sailed back to the Briny Pig, I felt the fatigue that had plagued me for so long finally lift. In fact, everyone looked a little more uplifted by our victory except for Goodman, who seems to only be more irritated by our survival.

The thrill of our victory quickly faded when we boarded the ship and the crew finally dropped their warm and welcoming act. I could practically hear them thinking about how we were no longer any use to them. My companions and I have decided to go everywhere in teams of at least two now. I’ve chosen Zephyram, my closest friend in this group, to be my partner. Together we went with Lucas and Garret to the victory party with the crew. It was quickly evident that they didn’t want the three men there, and that they wanted me for… other activities.

The human part of me is terrified by their filthy propositions, but the vampire in me wonders what their blood would taste like. It’s the dual nature of being a half-breed, I suppose.
When we returned back to Goodman and Barlow (I’m surprised that Goodman didn’t kill him while we were gone) we told them what we learned. The former captain and the other men were left on that island to die. And we are all starting to get the feeling that helping Miredus is not on their to-do list. In fact, their intentions are likely the opposite. We will all try to get some rest for now, and see what fresh horror the morning will bring.

Unable to sleep, I cleaned off the zombie gore from my glaive, and studied the two trinkets that hang off it. I remember the day I made the glaive. It was the last and most magnificent weapon I have ever forged. When making a weapon, especially one that has arcana weaved in, it is important to infuse it with the intentions of its future use. As I watched the chunk of metal heat to red hot, I filled it with the thoughts of protecting my city and finding my daughter. I clutched my locket, with the lock of my daughter’s hair from her first haircut, close to my now unnaturally slow beating heart. And then I threw it into the fire, where it melted and fused with the hot metal. I like to think that in doing that, I added a bit of extra luck and magic into the blade. I almost threw the dragon charm in as well, but thought better of it and tied it to the pole after the glaive was finished. I like the visual reminder of why I joined the midnight watch in the first place. Someday, I may have the heart to write the story of the dragon’s original owner.

Today is not that day.

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Star Chart 899

Cosmic Event R247-S351-N120: The great star Acamar opens its maw wide and devours the star Raykair, the Traitor, which prior to now had been obscured by Janos, the Broken Mirror. Capria, the Mariner, is released by Raykairs grip and comes into alignment with the star Caldris, lead on by the guiding star Caiphon. Subtly in the distance, Nathraix, the Burning Tower, exerts it’s power over Caldris and the 5 other celestial bodies tied to it, a sure sign of a false peace, or hope.
We have returned to Miredus and, as it had already been written in the heavens, my friends and I have been victorious, in a manner of speaking at least. There were many dangers waiting for us when we left the ship in search of Captain Fermier. The presence of Gibbith in our future became evident when, before making it to the shore, we were attacked by some fell entity from the Far Realm. The things destiny was to fall before us and so it did, but still, it was not a pleasant experience. On the dark island we were able to find the captain of the Briny Pig, or at least, we found his corpse. The poor captain had died of exposer and, it would seem, betrayal. This had made it unable for him to pass on and his body was still quickened with rage. When we arrived at the place of his death he rose and attacked us with the aid of the undead corpses of some of his loyal crewmen, luckily for my allies and I, though the corpse star Hadar was ascending the night before, its zenith was not greater than that of our own celestial bodies, and in the end we vanquished our foes. It was there in the broken body of the Captain Fermier that I found what may have been the greatest discovery of my life: the captains spy glass.
After examining the lenses of this object I have determined that it is infused with the same fate binding powers that are possessed by the heavenly lanterns which stare down at us each and every night. I saw within the lenses the same purple light which pulses forth from the star Caiphon, the guiding star which can reveal anything, if one is willing to pay the price. The idea that such a simple instrument could possess such incalculable power is practically mind shattering. And to think, we were going to give it back to those filthy pirates. I am oh so glad destiny is on my side and had other plans for these omnipotent pieces of convex glass.
After returning to the ship the crew of the Briny Pig was ecstatic, though, not with us, only with the return of the spy glass. By this point I had already determined that the star Capria had nothing to do with the new Captain, and that, due to his betrayal of Captain Fermier, Cresson’s star was most likely Janos, or a hidden star guided by Janos. At this point I knew we could not trust him any further than we could swim past the sharks which circled the ship, so the next day when the Briny Pig continued to sail past its original mooring, straight towards Miredus I knew, unequivocally, that the crew of the Briny Pig intended to attack my homeland. Quickly, Saima, Lucas and I stopped the pirate that was sent to fetch the firearms for the rest of the crew while Goodman, Zephyram and Garret stayed above to make sure nothing happened. By the time we returned above deck, after setting the ship ablaze, something had, of course happened. I suppose that’s what happens when one leaves a chaos mage somewhere to maintain order. The melee was short, but violent, and I can say without remorse, that not a single one of those traitorous swine survived. Before the killing stroke Zephyram told Captain Cresson, with all the pomp and flair which a member of the divine host can muster, that he and his crew had earned their fate. The Captain told him we would never leave the realm of Ravenloft. Pity for the captain that without the spy glass, which I now possess, he could never know that as fact, and after I integrate the lenses into my Polyluminous -Omni-Optifier, I will be able to discover the fate of my cursed nation, and discover if we shall stand victorious or remain forever cursed like the crew of the Briny Pig.

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Life #32 - Never Trust a Pirate

The island wasn’t very large, but still contained some dense forest. Working together, we were able to find a hill that likely would make the best camp site. Sure enough, we found the decayed bodies of several former crew members from The Briny Pig. As soon as we approached, though, the bodies stood up and began attacking us. They had become undead monsters and the former captain lead the assault.

We used the hill to our advantage, forcing several of the group, including the old captain, down to the bottom so we could kill some of the others. Whatever power had raised the dead sailors had given the old captain some surprising abilities. For instance, when we first thought we had bested him he was swallowed up the ground and reappeared at the top of the hill. He stayed down the next time, thankfully. The spyglass was on him. We also noticed that it looked as though all the sailors had been shot in the same spot on the side of their head. It suggested that, contrary to what we were told, they were all brought to that spot on the island and executed.

We went back to The Briny Pig and the crew was elated to the spyglass back. They didn’t seem very welcoming or grateful to us, though. The demeanor of the sailors was dismissive at best, and outright hostile in some instances. We decided we wouldn’t go anywhere alone on the boat until we arrived back in Miredus. That night the sailors began celebrating raucously, looking forward to their journey home. I decided to go up to the deck with Saima and Lucas to try and learn more about the situation.

The men were still dismissive or hostile towards us, but I was able to get one talking. I wasn’t able to learn much, but he didn’t seem at all sorry to hear about the deaths of his former shipmates. With more prodding it seemed likely that our suspicions were correct that the former captain and his supporters had been executed on the island. He also told me that the current captain of The Briny Pig is aware of everything happening on his ship, as Vosk is likely aware of what happens in Miredus. Something about Ravenloft ties people to places or items and gives them power.

The next morning as we approached Miredus the situation was tense. The crew on deck seemed to be anticipating something besides just returning home. It seemed like they were waiting for a moment to jump into action. We passed the point that The Briny Pig had previously weighed anchor and it became obvious that the captain was about to order the men to begin some kind of attack. I asked the captain how he could believe in such action, knowing that it was evil actions which brought them to Ravenloft in the first place. His answer was that Ravenloft both punishes and rewards evil actions, and that is part of its mystery.

We didn’t have much choice, so we attacked the crew first. The crew had the benefit of fighting on their own ship, but they underestimated how well our group works together. We smashed our way through them. As the captain lay dying I told him that our killing of him and his crew is how we answer his treachery. He replied that we would never leave Ravenloft before he choked on his own blood.

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Saima's Journal: Sail

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When the ship emerged from the mist and its First Mate Vert Lumier stepped on the shore, I felt a surge of hope. Finally, here comes someone who may have news from outside of Miredus.
Hope, like all good feelings in Ravenloft, is always fleeting.
Lumier, speaking on behalf of the captain of the Briny Pig, met with the council to discuss the terms of a “mutually beneficial” trade. Judging by the faces of my companions, none of them were buying his act either. Later, at the tavern, I approached Lumier and attempted to use my “womanly charms” to glean more information from him.
I learned three very important things that night:
1. Vampires steer clear of the sea so the crew has little news of them
2. Lumier is more clever than he looks, as he insisted on nursing a single drink all evening and chose his words with me carefully, always turning the questions on me and trying to learn more about Miredus and myself
3. I am not his type
When I realized that I was not going to get the information I wanted from Lumier, I very quickly dropped the act and excused myself from the conversation. I thought of speaking with Goodman, but he has been extremely testy and irritable lately. So I did the only thing left to do: I drank alone. A lot. I drank enough to even invite sweet sleep to me. Luckily, Zephyram was kind enough to half carry me to the hotel room for our stakeout of Lumier’s room. Embarrassingly I slept through the entire night and did not dream. Zephyram woke me in the morning and told me about the exchange between Lumier and the barmaid.
I am definitely not his type.
We agreed to board the Briny Pig and assist the crew on their mission to obtain an object from an island filled with death and darkness. Just thinking about this mission is making me tired. I cannot shake this fatigue. And I have never needed much sleep since I became… whatever the hell I am.
On the deck of the ship, I watch Barlow muttering to himself, looking up at the sky and making notes. Tonight he learned that the stars of this world are constantly changing and I can see that this thought is plaguing him. I am worried about the strain this is putting on him. His sanity is already very fragile as it is. The concern for him is making me… weary.
To keep myself occupied as we sail to the island. I methodically clean and sharpen my glaive, the bells from the Jester’s shoes making a small tinkling noise next to the small silver dragon figurine tied in with them. These two trinkets remind me of why I joined the midnight watch and why I fight the horrors of this world. The dragon usually gives me strength, but I still cannot overcome this weariness.
Why am I so damn tired?

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