Lost in the Mists

Star Chart 768

Cosmic Event Q946-S294-M976: The star Cadris comes into alignment with five other celestial bodies. Two other stars intersect this alignment, Gaffis, the Laugher, and Vigrash, the Seer. One star is dominant over this stellar arrangement: Malikain, the Opponent. Very soon, myself and 5 other individuals will be experiencing conflict or threat with a dangerous pair of enemies.
I feel it was very important to examine my star charts this night. Tomorrow I join the Midnight Watch and I am, of course, concerned about what may transpire. My hope had been that by joining our nation’s defenders against this new darkness we find ourselves besieged by, I will be able to find a source of pure Darkness. After the completion of my Polyluminous -Omni-Optifier I discovered a significant flaw in the design. The device does in fact allow one to view the light of every star in the heavens, unfortunately the amount of light it produces is dangerous to observe with an unprotected eye. I believe when I discover the perfect Darkness which I seek I will be able to shield myself in order to safely view the night skies.
I must say I was disappointed to see conflict in my future instead of academic discovery, but at the very least I know I will have the aid of five others in this upcoming endeavor. I will have to examine these five stellar forms which align with my star. It will grant me insight into my new allies’ futures and how they will interact with my own ambitions and futures.

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Saima's Journal: The Kids Are Not Alright

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I’ve known Barlow long enough to take his predictions seriously, even if they are usually ambiguous and random. So when he implied that the night would be less than quiet, I mentally prepared myself for the worst. But gods, I am never prepared when it involves the children. It’s the worst when they come for the children. No matter what horrors I’ve seen here these past five years, I never get used it.
Staring at the remains of the Jester’s victims as we buried them, I ask myself the question that has been haunting me for years: Is my daughter still alive?
Goodman, whose gentle nature stands in stark opposition to his sharp, metallic, cold features, attempted to speak peace and comfort to the families of the children we could not save. I stayed in my shadows and spoke to no one. Goodman has probably never lost a child; otherwise he would know the terrible truth: There is no comfort to be found. There is only the endless fountain of grief.
I don’t know whether or not to be grateful for the time we have been given off. I am once again alone with my ghosts. I boil water and take a hot bath, even though I know the action is useless. I have not been warm since I became one of the Cold Ones. Even the boiling water does not bring heat to my body. But still, I cling to the glimmer of hope that one of these days I will find warmth again, that I will one day be human again.
Perhaps I will go visit one of my fellow Watchmen before I drown in my grief fountain again.

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Life #32 - The Lost Children of Miredus

I have served on the Midnight Watch for a little while now, as it has been the only chance for fighting the forces of evil in an organized way since we’ve been trapped in this “Ravenloft”. I’ve seen disturbing sights and faced loathsome foes, but yesterday was unlike any of the other missions I’ve undertaken.

Our post was the city proper; we were expecting an uneventful day. Well, most of us were. Barlow has some kind of unearthly understanding of the future. He can read the stars. I have vague memories of someone I knew with similar abilities lifetimes ago. It’s interesting how such knowledge, how such familiarity, with the stars and their meaning usually brings a certain “madness” with it. Everything has a cost.

Anyway, Barlow’s prediction that we would face a terrible tragedy was correct. The schoolhouse was attacked, and the children were lured away, far away from the city. We arrived at the schoolhouse too late to save the teachers, and after defeating two people who had been turned into mindless brutes by some bizarre arcane process, we gave chase after the children.

We were thankfully able to follow their tracks. We were lucky there were so many of them, it made following them easier. They had marched through the city, accompanied by someone else, and left through the western gate. Someone in the group was familiar enough with the Fey to guess that it was likely something from the Feywild at work. We headed for a likely hiding place that they would have chosen.

First we stumbled upon a small open glade, with a very small pond in the middle of it. It was there that we discovered what happened to the children when they were of no more use to the abductor. We were greeted by a naiad. At least, I think she was a naiad. Frozen within the pond were dead children, and they reanimated at the beckoning of the naiad. I was so enraged. The sheer audacity at her acts against the children, and the way she seemed so indifferent to their suffering, as if they were dolls for her to play with. I was infuriated. While the others focused on putting the children to rest I had a single-minded focus on her. I could hear her whispers in my ear, insisting that I would be with her forever in the glade. It only further encouraged me to kill her. But after we defeated her and put down the children, there was a nagging feeling I couldn’t shake. I just kept seeing that stupid naiad’s face and hearing her tell us how we were going be staying with her. I thought about how she must have told the children that and it made my blood boil.

We continued further into the woods and found a small shack. Inside we found eight of the twelve missing children. The interior of the shack was covered in gore. The children were sitting around a large table staring blankly at this insane looking man dressed as a court jester. He was playing a steady rhythm on his belled scepter, and there seemed to be some effect on the children. One of the others in the group recognized him as a Fey, and he was seemingly draining some kind of energy from the children. With him was the most vile-looking woman I’ve seen in at least three lifetimes. She wore a blood-covered apron, and seemed ready to cook the children in a large chamber pot once the jester was done with them.

We sprung into action.

I ran for the jester and the hag. While the jester was able to roll to the side and vanish behind some cowardly illusion, the haggish-looking Fey was not so dodgy. As the others in the group caught up, we unleashed punishing blow after punishing blow on them. The ugly one fell first, as the jester had run off while invisible. He knew death was coming, and he was afraid. That gave me some small measure of solace, that he felt the same kind of fear the children must have felt. With the jester’s death, the remaining eight children came back to their senses. We brought them back to Miredus and there was a great deal of rejoicing for the safe ones, and mourning for the four we could not rescue. I promised myself that I would make sure the four victims would get proper burials. The others were quick to agree to help. Today we put them to rest.

We were given the week off for our service. I’d rather not take a break, but we didn’t have much choice. This land of Ravenloft is in dire need of people like us. We cannot stop this fight.

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Hymn to the Morning Lord, Verse 3
The points collect.

So it was that your humble servant, trapped in his form, did relinquish the exhile of the wood and joined with five. Five points of light in a dark place, from which your humble servant shone in the center, lending his light to theirs, building upon it.
Lucas, the native. A man from the darkness around but new to our lands.
Barlow, the seer. Who gazes unto the heavens and sees destiny there.
Zephyram, the divine wrath. Servant of a lost God your humble servant once communed with, rage given body.
Garrett, the change. Entropy follows his every movement, but entropy can be harnessed for the Light.
Saima, the walker between. She cries for justice from the Dark, but has much of it within.
Goodman, your humble servant. Healing the sick, protecting the weak, bearing your Light unto all.
Together these six came together to find death and despair in a place of innocence. Children spirited away, teachers with the life crushed out of them, monsters lying in wait. The monsters were banished, the path fresh.
A place of cold in the wild, a spirit of water, frozen and heartless, with innocence robbed beneath the ice. Your humble servant laid the children to rest, while the divine wrath and others brought the icy spirit to an end.
A home in the woods, but no sanctuary to be found. Innocents enthralled by servants of the dark. Your humble servant brought your light to protect the collected points, while the seer looked to the stars to fortell the future of she who walks between.
And lo, the Light banished the Dark and brought the children home. Your humble servant offered words and your love to those that lost, what little balm it was.
One sun cycle later, the collected points laid the passed children to rest and took a rest ad well, awaiting the next incursion of Dark.
Give light, Morning Lord, that we may see.

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Star Chart 837
Cosmic Event R182-S327-N093: The star Cadris comes into both a contrary and concordant alignment with the star Mordred, a star of ill portent which is also known as the Emperor. This particular star has changed since Miredus was spirited away to this new realm. While the star itself has intensified in its brightness it now seems to absorb the light of stars near it. It worries me that the stars of my companions and I are so close to it.
I suppose this is as good a time as any to discuss the five stars which have aligned with my own. The star Galtris was, prior to coming to this bleak place, a star which was identical to our sun. After the night of no stars it had appeared Galtris had collapsed. It is still there, just in a diminished and degenerate form. It now draws itself closer to other stars, though not in a menacing way. I have determined this is Goodmans star. Many people vanished on that dark terrible night, perhaps some simply changed. It leaves my wondering who he was, but I tend to dislike prying into other people’s affairs. If he wishes to tell me, he will, until then my star charts imply no problems from his reluctance to open up.
The Rashlin nebula has not changed since our transportation. I would suspect it will, over the years, continue to create more identical stars. It seems obvious that the Deva, Zephyram Anoth, is tied to this nebula. Each star it produces is another life which the Deva has lived, floating out into the heavens to send its light to darker place. It ties quite perfectly into Zephyram’s quest to crush evil wherever it hides. I enjoy the irony of a creature as complex as a Deva being truly so simple in his aspirations. It’s almost humbling.
The star Vaishis has altered immensely since that faithful night. It was a warrior star before and I suppose it still is. It lost much of its light in the past 5 years most of it being drawn away by Acamar, the Corpse Star. The lesser star Astrid which at one point circled Vaishis was pulled from its orbit by Acamar. The Star Astrid still exists however. This star belongs to the lovely Lady Saima Tsaruka. 5 years ago this young mothers family was murdered by vampires, her daughter Astrid, lost. I can’t begin to explain how in awe I was at discovering that Saima’s daughters name coincided with her stars name. I believe I will inform Saima that her daughter is still alive, though lost. Dark forces are keeping her star adrift, but the hope I might grant Saima may give her the strength to bring her daughters star back into alignment.
Zalbraik is a comet which screams through the sky seemingly at random. Zalbraik’s path pulls it away from the Laxis Cluster, a star system with no rhyme, nor reason to its orbits. This must be Garret. The man wields disorder like a battle axe. He also has made comments about our nation being peaceful. I assume he means comparatively peaceful. I would love to divine Garrets unspoken past, but I can make neither heads nor tails of the Laxis Cluster and whether or not any other stars have a bearing on them. I can still foresee his immediate future in stars, hopefully that means I can stay at least half a step ahead of whatever it is he’s fleeing from.
Lastly is a new star which did not exist in our old world. I have come to simple call it Ursa, or the Bear Star. All signs point to this star being an omen of resilience and fortitude. This star is heavily pursued by the hungry powers of Acamar. At some point also it was influenced by the star Allabar, Opener of the Way. It leads me to think this star once stood for something else. This star belongs to the elf named Lucas. I believe he has always resided in the dark realm. His connection to Acamar makes me think his past is tied to vampires, same as Saima, unlike her though he is beyond Acamar’s grip, for now. He has disclosed nothing of his past and so I will wait until he is comfortable to tell us. I will watch his stars, and hopefully Acamar does not draw closer to him.
Oh yes, the truth of Cosmic Event Q946-S294-M976 manifested to us. The two stars drawn to us by Malikain, the Opponent, were revealed. A pair of wicked fae were stealing and using children in town as their food source. We defeated these monsters of course, as that fate was already written in the stars, unfortunately so was the death of 4 of the children. Morstael, the Weeper was holding control over this entire event. It’s sad of course but one cannot dwell too heavily on the inevitable, in the end we must all accept our fates.
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New Beginnings

I have joined with the heroes from Miredus, and I find myself more impressed with their abilities after fighting alongside them, especially Barlow. He can predict the future by reading the stars! His predictions so far have been startlingly accurate. I wonder if his trade is common in Miredus, or if all who can do what he can share his eccentricity. I have not asked for fear of seeming ignorant to the others, although compared to their knowledge that is indeed what I am.

I will not dwell on the details of what happened, some are still painful to me and they are ultimately unimportant. What matters is results, and we were able so save eight children who had been taken from their families. Sadly four children were unable to return. I noticed that Saima was the only one who avoided any contact with the families of the deceased children. She attempts to hide a great sadness, and perhaps the others can’t see it, but it was very clear to me. Something other than the deaths of those children is eating at her.

Speaking of Saima, I have no idea what she is. She appears human but I can tell the cold didn’t bother her, and she appeared to drink the blood of our enemies during combat. It seems like it would be rude to ask and no one other than Goodman seems to have a problem with the blood drinking, so perhaps this is another Miredus normality.

Goodman amazed me with his presence. I never would have believed a man who looks like him could be remotely comforting to those grieving, but he was exceptional at it. Listening to him speak and sensing the truth and warmth to his words even made me feel better.

This less than perfect victory weighed on my soul in a way I’d only felt once before. When I first escaped Strahd and thought about Dianna’s death was the first time. It was stronger then, more overwhelming but still very much alike how I felt after seeing the dead children. I was able to shake this new feeling of dread quicker than some of my companions, but as we took our week of rest as “reward” for what we’d done I could see all of us overcome the grief. That is no small blessing, the challenges we face will be dangerous enough with a clear head.

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Life #32 - The Curse of the Briny Pig

This has been an interesting couple of days…

After our week off, which I spent reading a few books that I had been meaning to get to, we were sent on another patrol within the city. This time we were on the eastern side of the city when things once again took a turn for the unexpected.

We were there walking near the blacksmith’s shop and we noticed a group gathering by the shore. There was a large ship approaching. We’ve never seen a ship in the whole time we’ve been in this Ravenloft. Because we have no docks the ship’s crews moored the vessel a few hundred feet offshore and then a few men rowed over in a dinghy.

The whole process took a while, which gave us ample time to alert Durgan, and make sure that one of the other council members was also present at the shore. We cleared all the civilians from the area and waited with a contingent of the city police force, as well. When the sailors finally reached us, we were greeted by Vert Lumere. Lumere was not the captain of the vessel, which he said was called the “Briny Pig” (what a name for a boat), but he spoke for the captain. They wanted to offer us a mutually beneficial trade. Barlow picked up on it first, but Lumere was definitely putting on an extra sugary-sweet face for us. The deceit didn’t win him any trust from us. But the council agreed to meet with him and so Vert was offered an audience in the council’s chamber. After their discussion the council needed time to discuss the matter, so Lumere and his two companions were offered rooms at the inn for the night.

That night while speaking with people at the tavern, I learned that a great many people in the city are looking for any release they can get from the bleak lives we have been living these last several years. They were desperate to try to run away with these sailors. I also overheard Lumere with one of the barmaids later in the night. He teased her with a chance to run away if she agreed to leave her blind father to die. She agreed, and he rubbed her face in it, told her she deserved to be here, and then tossed her out.

When the council met with Lumere the next morning, they agreed to his deal. The crew of the Briny Pig required the seamstresses and tailors of Miredus to repair their sails. And they also needed a team of adventurers to perform an errand for them. In return the people of Miredus would gain knowledge of the world of Ravenloft, as well as grain and salted meat. A very beneficial trade for the city, indeed. My group was chosen to perform the errand. We haven’t worked together much, but I think we make a good team, despite how odd some of them seem. Goodman has been really stand-offish the last couple of days. I think the incident with the children has just affected him more deeply than he’s willing to admit. Barlow continues to read the stars and speak with a wild look in his eyes and an exasperated madness in his voice. Lucas let slip that he was creepily watching us from the bushes for months before introducing himself to us. Saima and I seem to be becoming good friends. Some of the others are put off by her vampiric nature, but she has given me no reason to hold it against her.

We were brought to the Briny Pig via dinghy where we were introduced to the captain of the ship; a well-dressed, and well-spoken man. We learned a lot about this Ravenloft that we find ourselves in. My long-standing suspicions that we had been transported to another plane of existence were confirmed. And it seems that this happens often here, with whole villages, towns, landmasses being brought here. Lords rule over all these little domains and have a certain amount of power over them. Vosk is almost assuredly lord of Miredus in Ravenloft, which means our futures are tied to his. As for the crew of the Briny Pig, their fortune is tied to their former captain’s, and more specifically right now, his old spyglass. Our errand is to fetch the spyglass from the island where the captain was last seen; a small island full of shadowy nightmares and beings that can reach out with their minds and enter the thoughts of others.

We’ve just arrived on the island. I’m writing this now in case we don’t make it off. We have three days to find the spyglass before the Briny Pig leaves without us. So far we’ve encountered just one of the island’s inhabitants. It was a disgusting looking beast that could grab hold of our minds and briefly command us to obey it. I usually like to try and grab the attention of our enemies; I’d rather take the hit than let one of my allies possibly get hurt too badly. But what if we face more of these things and I can’t protect my friends?

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Star Chart 852

Cosmic Event R236-S339-N114: The night sky dissolves. What is left in its place might as well be the sky of another time and place. Certain stars prove their omnipotence to over all things. Stars such as Delban, Caiphon, Acamar, and others of their ilk. Though currently it has lost its ascendance Mordred holds power, 2nd only to Acamar and one other. The 6 celestial bodies Galtris, Caldris, Rashlin, Vaishis, Zalbrik and Ursa have come into concordance with the blue star Capria, the Mariner. On this new night, Capria rules over all.

I have come to a horrifying discovery with this last examination of the heavens. The very stars of this strange land alter depending on which “realm” you currently reside in. Last evening the fates of my 5 allies and I were irrevocably tied to the star Mordred, which at this point I am all but positive is the star of King Faydan, and now Capria holds our futures in tow. I have not yet determined if Capria belongs to Captain Cresson, or this blasted realm’s original captain, a man named Fermier. Oh yes, in all of my anxiety I have gotten ahead of myself, you see, I have seen dire portents, but I will get to that in a moment. Anyway, we are currently on board a ship known as the Briny Pig. We have been tasked by master Durgan, of the Nights Watch, to assist the crew of this ship in exchange for information about “Ravenloft”, which is apparently the name of this dreadful place we have been spirited away to. To make things even worse Gibbith, a star of pure madness, reaches its power to our stars. This is very worrisome as it would seem soon we will enter a new realm, and while I am fairly certain we will prevail over Gibbiths power, I cannot be sure. The stars had once provided me with the solace of certainty, but even that has been stripped from us in this shadowed nightmare of a world. I worry though that Gibbith is not the worst thing which may befall us. Rising high above even the star Capria rests Janos, the Broken Mirror, a portent of duplicity. I have been second guessing myself so much recently, I worry I am not as effective as I may normally be. These last few days have crippled me with fear. A fear I have not felt in years: the fear of the unknown.

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Hymn to the Morning Lord, Verse 5
The Ship & The Dark Isle

Lo! A sail upon the horizon, and attached to it a ship, greater than any your humble servant had yet laid eyes upon.
From the ship came it’s emissaries, the leader of whom was called Vert Lumere.
The name which, in a foreign tongue, did indicate a light of green pallor such as one would find cast by a corpse candle. Your humble servant took this as an indication to be wary, lest the man cast deathly light upon all he gaze.
The ship, it was said, had a pact to make: goods for services. The voices of the town Elders decreed that the collected points must bring your light to the Dark Isle of which the Briney Pig had previously fled to retrieve a token of the old Captain.
Three days the collected points would have to banish the dark heart of the Dark Isle and collect what needed to be, lest the ship sail and light be trapped in a place of dark forever.
Immediately they were beset by a darkness from Beneath, a true agent of evil. You saw fit to lend your humble servant purifying light, and thus the beast was vanquished.
The Dark Isle looms.
Give light, Morning Lord, that we may see.

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Strange times

When we rejoined it became obvious that we served as a reminder to each other of the darkness we had encountered. I could see the pain they were all trying to hide, and how it impacted their personalities. I wonder if they could notice it too? The signs were subtle, except for Goodman. He became blunt and short tempered to the point of being rude. He called me out for not knowing what a vampire was, apparently it’s common knowledge where they come from and it is what Saima is. I let it slip that I had been watching them for months before approaching them, I hope they don’t think of me differently.

We saw a ship approaching during our watch. I’ve never seen a ship in person before but judging by everyone’s reaction this one was impressive. A smaller boat came out to greet us, and while we didn’t trust the man we believed he intended us no harm. We followed him and I kept an eye on him while I rested. He took pleasure in being cruel to the woman he brought in his room, but only with his words. Had he hurt her physically we would have intervened. Normally I wouldn’t state something so obvious but given how dark things have been I feel the need.

We agreed to help the crew of the ship, called the Briny Pig by the way, in return they would tell us about Ravenloft and give food and grain to the town. Our initial meeting with the captain was very informative. He explained that the landscape of Ravenloft is always changing, growing actually as new lands are transported here. I helped fill in his map a little with my limited knowledge of Barovia.

As we embarked to retrieve the former captain’s spyglass we were attacked by a strange creature that lived in the water. It spoke to us in our minds, and it was trying to diminish our will to fight. It even used it’s power to make us attack one another. We defeated it and made our way to shore, where I worry about what we will encounter next.

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