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.