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.