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Tuesday, 28th November, 2006, 02:54 AM #1
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stonegod's Expedition to Castle Ravenloft: Ch. I [IC]
stonegod's Expedition to Castle Ravenloft: Chapter I
IC: Ch. I, Ch. II, Ch. III | OOC: Ch. I, Ch. II, Ch. III | RG
- Jarrith Bronns (DEFCON1): Human Silver Flame infiltrator
- Janis Stormhand (ir'Sandal) (James Heard) : Human Cyran ex-pat aristocrat
- Ashlyn Alsedora Dorandanna (Stormwind): Human Lightbringer Chosen of Dol Arrah
- Tessaryl (pathfinderq1): Human Aberrant-touched Cleric of the Sovereign Host
- Marot "The Deadly" (Maraat Jaasakah) (s@squ@tch, formerly Isida Kep'Tukari): Human Ghaash'kala warlock.
- Ladreth Dorkunan (ethandrew): Quiet half-orc Deneith mercenary.
- Selase Kolandra (Doomhawk): Human Vol adherent. Killed by the zombies of Barovia, risen by their plague, and put down by her companions.
- Bergeron "Foebender" d'Jorasco (Kralin Thornberry): Halfling Jorasco scholar. Slain by the foul death magic of a mad Barovian priest.
- Sir Khensu Feral (GwydapLlew): Shifter Silver Flame Inquisitor. Patrolling.
- Daellin ir'Ayellan (drogthery): Elven Cyran undead hunter. Killed by the mad spirit of the monastery.
- Perriwimple (Kafkonia): Human brute. Killed by the mad spirit of the monastery.
Prelude: The Pieces Move
Crownhome, Korth, Karrnath
The room was dark. She could see perfectly, of course, but only a few, dim candles provided any illumination for those not of the night. She waited impatiently, irritated by the delay.
She heard the rhythmic clatter of footsteps before their wearer came into view. The Karrn solider---an eternal solider, now---approached with a measured gait. It bowed, once, a stiff military affair. Her eyes glittered in amusement.
"It is done." The skeletal voice was grating, an unnatural thing. Like everything in the room.
"Good. The pieces move. Now we await the gambit."
The Svalich Woods, Barovia, between Karrnath and the Mror Holds
The messenger ran. Heart pounding. Out of breath. The afternoon mist hung around him, smothering him like a blanket. He never should have left the path, never should have fled into the looming shadows of the twisted woods. But he had no choice. They had been waiting.
The Burgomaster had been clear. The message had to get to the outside. Though he had never left the valley, he had heard the tales from Visanti, passed on via Bildrath, that the outside had means of sending words on the wind, of spreading a single thought farther than the raven can fly. It was fanciful, but the Burgomaster seemed to believe, and that was all that was important. Someone must be found. They must be stopped. They must be.
Up ahead, the darkness lifted, leaving only the oppressive mist. Sunlight, even if filtered, was a blessing. It gave him hope. He uttered a quick prayer to the Sovereign's, and hoped the Divine Blood within would sustain him through his flight. Perhaps it would.
Chapter I: Into the Mists
15 Sul, Zaranthyr 998 YK
The dwarf was impeccably dressed, with a tasteful display of wealth and prosperity. A Kundarak scion, which made his delivery of a package all the more strange. That was the providence of House Orien. The dwarves were master of security, would not deign to be brought to the level of a hired courier. But, nevertheless, there he was, battered silver box in hand, a wax seal with a glowing sigil of a flaming crown warding the seam.
Patting the intricately engraved box lightly, the dwarf looks at you sternly, its manner business-like. "Our patron made it clear that this box be delivered securely and personally to your persons. Its sanctity is sacrosanct; thus, it can only be opened in our presence. In addition, we are to verify that its contents have not been observed, intercepted, or otherwise modified upon receipt. As you are the recipients indicated, let us finish this business."
With that, the dwarf handed the box over. It felt icy cold to the touch, and you felt an involuntarily shiver. The singular questions on everyone's mind? Who sent it?
That had been two weeks ago. The box was ancient, Janis could verify, and both the strange mage and the itinerant of Vol recognized some of the symbols on the box as being relics of the pre-Galifar age. Once the Kundarak scion has verified the integrity of the contents, the open boxed had revealed documents both aged and recent. Later study of the former would confirm what the latter had indicated. That these were details of a pre-Galifar necromancer, whose power seemed to have been unrivaled at the time. This "Master of Zarovich" had lead a necromantic force for the great Karrn the Conquerer long before Karrnath's fated undead armies. And the location of the records of his ancient power had just been found in some archeological efforts outside of Lakeside in that beleaguered nation.
Mateush Orchem, the mousy Karrn that had assembled you all, the Thaloist Six, had indicated that this would be the case. He had lead that expedition, on the behest of the Twelve, the arcane research branch of the Dragonmarked. And now they sought you out.
"A simple arrangement. These documents indicate that this book of power, this 'Tome of Strahd,' is located in the land granted to the ir'Zarovich's after Karrn's conquest. These lands lay in the inhospitable border between Karrnath and the Mror Holds, an area that had not seen taxman or solider since long before the Last War. It is there were wish you to go. To help us recover this tome for the study and safekeeping of the Twelve."
Khesu had protested; the shifter did not like the idea of a tome of such vile power being freely given away. Mateush had deflected his worries, if not abated them. "Ah, Sir Templar. I understand your fret. But, be it known that the Twelve have only the best intentions in mind for this work. There are many ancient secrets which could benefit the Five Nations, historically if nothing else." In a lower tone, one that only Jannis could here, he added, "And those that assist us will sure share in all of its secrets."
Louder now, he addressed the Flamists directly. "But, if that was not enough, I must inform you that we are also asking you to make sure that this historical artifact does not fall into the wrong hands. As you know, Karrnath has had a... problem... with certain extremists." The Emerald Claw. It was unsaid, but the implication was clear. "We have learned that they had certain agents amongst our efforts, and we are certain they too also seek the Tome. It should be clear that the Tome in the wrong hand would be... Well, it would be a tragedy, at the least. We have the best intents for the Tome. Can the same be said for others?"
Two weeks. Two weeks was the time it had taken to assemble the expedition Mateush and his masters at the Twelve envisioned. Provisions for the journey, supplies, a few Orien teamsters, all were arranged. House Sivis sent a scion with a precious commodity---a speaking stone, to establish communication should it be needed. Cannith arranged for an unmarked artificer to accompany the journey as well. Finally, all was arranged, and you had found yourself on the lightning rail, on a one way journey to the Ironroot Mountains.
After debarking outside of Irontown, your caravan had followed the Lower Mror River for several days, inching ever slowly in the mountains. And away from civilization. You doubted that few travelers had been this way in ages. If this 'Barovia' was still habited, they would be a people out of time. Before the Last War. Before Warforged. Before the Day of Mourning. It was almost unimaginable.
It was five days into your journey into the mountains when you had found some traces of the living. A small community, no more than a few farmhouses and a simple inn, nestled in a small, forested vale. Children in the street---no more than a rut, really---had gawked at the two filled carts and your small band. And older man, when asked, shook his head at the mention of the name "Barovia", never having heard it, but knew of occasional travelers from elsewhere in the mountains that passed through. Perhaps the innkeeper knew the name.
And know he did. The proprietor of the Weary Horse Inn spoke of thickly accented traders, few in number, that rarely made their way down from the mountain. He did not know from where, and did not care, but that was sign enough for Mateush. So you stopped for the night; you would press on in the morning.
And that is how you found yourself. Nursing a few drinks, having finished a meal, night and fog having fallen over the mountains. The few patrons of the inn stared at you sullenly when they deigned to notice, so you kept to each other.
Then the door had swung open loudly, its *THUD* startling the assembled. Every head turned to the weatherbeaten young man, his dark hair wild about him from a hard days ride. He looked over the room quickly, then strode confidently over to your table, seeing something the was searching for. With a quick gesture, he tosses a scrollcase on the table.
"The village of Barovia is in need of heroes." His accent was thick, even deeper than the most green Karrn peasant. "You'll do as well as any." With that, his message delivered, the messenger turns to leave.
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