Fate Comes to Call

Report 16th of the Harvester

Today I’ve witnessed miracles and curses. The Austere Lady’ herald healed me on death’s door from a pierced lung. We defeated the hag, and the unholy amalgam of bones.

Yet we are currently sitting inside a grave. Bats are surrounding us scratching at our hiding place, looking for the people that robbed the master’s power.

Which is us, but still. We should have expected some sort of retribution but I didnt think every creature would be tormented like this.

We were tasked to save the town, but I dread going there again. What would Ismark say? Irina? Ulrich? I almost fear facing their scorn and seeing the possible damage more than Strahd’s wrath. I can understand why he would hate us. But seeing a town we tried so hard to help being in shambles, torn against us…

Taking and claiming the fanes were necessary. Tactically, we needed to wrest power from the master to face him and even have a chance. But somehow every choice we make, no matter how tactical, always ends in collateral damage.

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The Tipsy Skeleton
Jolias's and Dakras's bar in Fiveport

After the voyage into Ravenloft, Jolias and Dakras decided to build a base of operations for the group. However, instead of a church, they decided to create a bar despite protests from other group members.
The top floor was a generic bar that is ran by Jolias. However, beneath the bar are the Catacombs. This is where Dakras stores some of his undead. It is also the home of the bar that primarily caters to undead. Therefore, the name of the bar is the Tipsy Skeleton.
A recent interview with the bar owners.
Interviewer: So Jolias, do you ever adventure anymore?
Jolias: Umm, I only go adventuring in hopes of finding and trying out new drinks. While the majority of the party fights for justice, I fight for booze.
I: What about your friend Dakras?
J: Dakras fights to just get new undead for the Catacombs bar below.
I: What is the bar used for? The one below? I heard many rumors about it.
J: Dakras first told me about the idea. At first, I was skeptical. However, he’s been a bro in the past so we went through it. Plus, Dakras said he “liked the ambiance of the place.” We mainly use the Catacombs under us to please the undead. However, its become a bar and a storing space. Dakras also disposes of unwelcome patrons by killing them and reanimating them.
I: How…strict…
J: Our place of business can tolerate a few mishaps in the name of fun. However, we do not tolerate acts of violence or mischief in our bar.
I: How do you guys deal with thieves and evil bad guys?!
J: Well, if you haven’t noticed, crime in Fiveport has decreased by 33 percent. The theives are actually too drunk to go rob people. However, some of the town watch are drunk as well. The hilarious thing is that they get along. As for the BBGs, they like the bar too much to scheme. Another fun fact is that the BBGs are looking for the Book of Vile Darkness. In my bar, we use it as a coaster for drinks. So it is right under their nose.
I: Well, thank you for your time, Jolias. Be sure to visit the Tipsy Skeleton at Fiveport.

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The wrath of the master...
is upon us all

Gentle reader, I pen this missive to you all while trapped underground in a former ghoul lair. The stench is foul and the lone exit from this place is blocked to protect us from the great swarm of bats circling outside. We do not know how long we will be trapped here. However, I fear that if this plague of winged nightmares doesn’t fly back to the castle soon we will all die from the lack of fresh air we are no longer receiving from outside.

Our quest to wrest control of the fanes away from the master of these lands has met with success at last. We defeated his guardians and then proceeded to put down the undead abomination that was foretold by Madam Eva’s prophecy. This was not done without cost. The godling lost his sight only to have it returned to him by divine intervention. The fact that it was not returned fully I believe to be a repayment on his insistence in taunting the gods themselves. I am not a follower of The Austere Lady by any means but I respect her divinity and thank her in my own way for the healing she bestows upon us through her agents. We have found during this journey that our respective gods have taken a very healthy interest in our lives and only a fool like Shango would continue to refuse to acknowledge their existence.

Not that it matters now.

When the master of these lands felt his connection to the fanes severed he reacted with swift and brutal rage. That anger took the form of a swarm of bats, more than I have ever seen in one place and one time that blackened the skies in every direction from the castle with their multitudes. Our only option was to run and hide from the endless swarms and so we did to save our own skins. We barely made it to our noxious hideaway and became separated in the process. The godchild went into Barovia with the drunken priest in pursuit attempting to get him to come back to us.

I know not as of this writing if they are alive or dead.

In any event the master of these lands is most displeased. He has issued an edict heard to all in the land that we are to present ourselves to his castle to be disciplined most harshly. I doubt that even my brothers and sisters will be willing to be hide us from his judgement now. If we could find them. It would seem that we have at last run out of time and our confrontation with the evil master of this place draws near.

My lone regret in this nightmarish mess is that I have not seen Madam Eva again since she told us of our fortunes. It is my reasoned opinion that she could make use of a powerful mystic related artifact we found underneath the castle in its crypts to break free of the dread lords influence on her and by extension to my people. There is a chance in fact that it might leave her perfectly positioned to come to rule these lands herself when and if we are fortunate enough to defeat him. I doubt that the people of Barovia would be pleased if this turn of events came to pass but even though I have pretended not to hear the insults, slander, and outright lies hurled at my people every day here, I have remembered each and every one of them.

But enough foolish dreaming. We are in a great deal of danger and will willingly be marching or be herded into a great deal more peril very very soon. By the powers of the gods I serve I hope that they are able to influence the fates in our favor and that we are ready to face the trials ahead of us. .

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The Master's wrath tm
Uh oh

As the blighted relic falls the very ground shakes and the sky is turned black with the wings of bats, the swarm seeming to form into a clawed hand lashing out against all borovia. Max is no stranger to wrath and this is pure. The final encounter draws near as we scrape up what last bits of power we can. The castle beckons us. The Vampyr shall now visit his full strength upon us, can we endure the storm?

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A countdown to the final day

It appears Strand has taken full notice of our recent actions. After claiming the forest and destroying the blighted relic a swarm of bats was released from the castle with an announcement.

This may be a sign that there may be no more delaying our final fight. Perhaps I can still persuade the group to take the two detours I desire, but the likelihood is low.

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Blinded by the Light
I can't see clearly now and the Pain has come

With a glorious flash of light the Hag is destroyed but where is her corpse, why does the light not fade to reveal my triumph. Hmmm, I hear a commotion, that cannot be good. Jolias, tell your “deity” that if she shows but one more miracle, I will concede her divinity. A few moments later and nothing, perhaps she wishes for me to remain blind so that I may learn to hold my tongue in my criticism in her…what deity could be so thin skinned, no, she is no god, she is only a mortal of great strength. But how does one attain such power and fame? It must be her following, the power she draws from those who pray to her, siphoning their strength for her own. This power can come from within, divinity is nothing more than a heightened state achieved through the will of oneself and the energy of others attained through ritual offering of magical energy. But not all gods have such a following…perhaps their legend is their power, the stories of their might which allows them to generate a following which willing offers their energy up in prayer…

Perhaps Antonio has been right all along and I have been just too blind to see it.

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Taunt the gods...
and their curses will follow

So Odin wishes to continue to flaunt his mockery of the divine? Well then, it looks like he has started receiving repayment for such blasphemy. The gods I serve may not be kind ones with mugs of everfull ale and sweetbreads every ten day, but I am alive and he is blind. That alone is proof enough of the will of the gods in this matter.

I do hope that my companions have remembered that we must “defeat what we have created” which would indicate that the artifacts will join together in some fashion when they are all unite…...

Watches while the reliquary rips its way free of Axes backpack

Evidently not.

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Prayer of Gratitude

I do not deserve these blessings and boons you are sending

You have bestowed miracles on me not just once but twice, granting me the fane and sending your herald to heal me on my death bed.

I’m not sure why I have been blessed so. I suppose even Strahd may be a hinderance to the gods’ master plans.

But even as this blighted foe looms before us, I promise to continue on this red path that blazes before me.

I just wish Jolias would follow.

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The Gnats and the Dregs

Why have the gods forsaken me???
All I have done is follow in their practices, to be only delivered hollow promises to move on.
The gnats. I can feel them all around me . Biting at my every bit of my body and soul.
How we’ve come to this.
This dreg heap at the end of the world.
That hag’s touch is pure darkness. And no one can see it.
Blinded by the false journey in order to get home.
Nothing exists but pure darkness and despair in this part of the world.
Their eyes are not awoken to the true form of this world: a dinner table for the Master.
It’s too late for me. Not even alcohol can satisfy me anymore.
All is left is death. That’s all I can expect from now on.
Dearest sister, can you feel the gnats biting you too? Surely, it’s not only me.
They nip and pick at every moment.
I can see them. I can feel them. This is what is like to be alone.
Eventually, the gnats won’t have anything to feed upon this carcass and soon this whole dreg heap.
Beware of the gnats. The plague of beasts is nigh. Let the feast begin.

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Atheism/Agnostism from a Mage

Max is an atheist/agnostic in a world where gods do exist and do display miracles and favors to their servants. For typical DnD players this seems absurd for someone to be in such denial with iron clad proof before them. Well it’s not so ironclad if you think like a mage. Magic could be as simple as a technology or technique no one understands, Old real world myths of magical swords and miracle blades were nothing more than improved technology and techniques that the masses had yet to understand. From a mages perspective the same could be said of miracles of faith or the so called divinity of gods. To a mage they could simply be extremely powerful mages with a cult following, still mortal and flawed in there own way outside of their sustainable immortality. But with a clout and reputation that exaggerates their strength whether or not it is rightly earned. Anyone with a great power that is not understood, could claim divinity but only the truly powerful could back it up and claim the following to ascend to “godhood”. Thus to Max, there are no true gods, only mortals who have cheated death and possess powerful magic beyond the current generations understanding. To him, to claim divinity instead of acknowledging your own power and the path you took to it is pretending and unworthy of what you truly are. How Julianah’s efforts will effect this will remain to be seen, but this is an explanation of Max’s “Religious” inclinations. Not a popular opinion in such a world, but Max isn’t exactly the kind of person to rely on anyone but himself and his companions, in the realm of mortals and will actively buck the will of a so called higher power, for better or worse Max is the maker of his own Fate.

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