Fate Comes to Call

Thunder God
Stand Alone God Complex

I now know that power of the gods is very real. I have tasted their strength first hand and can no longer deny their divinity. Antonio has spoken of mortals ascending to godhood and I find a rationale in that, mages that have attained that power through their own hand. Even now as I see that power on the far flung horizon out of my reach, I shall now strive to ascend to that level, for i now understand the vision. Antonio has been right all along, I am a child of prophecy, the blood of ancients past flows through me and grants me their strength. I am a god not yet awakened to my divine spark. The trial is now clear before me, as the Leviathan falls, I shall rise and seize my own Fate. My Divinty.

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Unnecessary Revelations

It appears that there were a few things blurted out that with our current knowledge was unneeded. The first of which was Max storming off ahead of us in order to warn the town of the incoming “siege”. As my previous statement suggests there was no need for this, yet i cannot actually blame max for doing so. His actions already started a panic among the villagers by the time we arrived with even more dire news… a dragon approaches. While the beast could hardly be called a true dragon and I referred to it as such it did not matter, the guards ignored the other part of the description and simply yelled in terror that a dragon was coming, or in another guards impressive display of mental fortitude, fell unconscious.

To go even farther into the pool of mistakes I brought my undead with me to the town, at the time i did not feel there was time nor reason to hide them away if a fight was coming. This lead to another minor uproar, but at least the proverbial undead cat is out of the coffin. Even though we are likely to leave for the castle soon I would still continue to hide the undead away anyway, no need to cause even more unease with their presence.

I am not sure which is worse, that we nearly frightened the town to death over a threat that did not show, or if a beast such as that did appear to verify our claims.

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State of the Party
With your host, Axe

Things have changed lately. I haven’t written in this journal in quite a while (I’m not certain I want to remember much of anything that has happened in this vile place), and I haven’t had much time to think either, aside from the time I spend meditating. And that’s not really time to think on conflict (well, interpersonal conflict. Fighting is another story). But I feel I should take some time to reflect on the state of the group.

Jolias has only gotten better at healing, and though his ego was stoked to rage-inducing heights early in our tenure here in this world of mists and horribleness, he has since calmed down to a degree. His skills in enhancement have only gotten better. If only he could drop his contrarian attitude and his odd reluctance to heal us, I think we could get along pretty well, especially because I’ve begun veneration of his deity.

Julianah is still stronger than I am (unless you count magical enhancement, which I don’t), and is developing into a legitimate messiah if I’m not mistaken. I expect that of all of us, her name will be on the lips of the Barovians the most if we manage to bring down Strahd. I have the feeling she’ll be the one to land the killing blow with that Sunsword.

Antonio is still Antonio. He and I infuriate each other, but I don’t feel any real hatred in our relationship. He has begun to tap into far greater powers, and though I don’t understand them, I don’t understand anything that any of the mages do, so that’s not saying much. I might ask him for insight on my future path, and given his own knowledge I feel he could help me a great deal.

Dakkras… I worry about Dakkras. He has a (partially) irrational hatred of Max, and I feel that he doesn’t much like the rest of us either, aside from Jolias. He also still won’t bother trying to disguise himself as anything other than a caster, though to be fair I don’t think he’d fool Strahd either way.

Max is problematic. I like him, I really do, and I feel that he has the potential to be one of the best of us. But he’s far too rash (Pot calling the kettle black, I know, but still he’s worse than I am). Despite this, his magic is like nothing I’ve ever seen, aside from Antonio’s latest trick. I watched him vaporize a monster pulled through time to destroy us like it wasn’t even there, and he did much the same to one of the fain guardians. I think with the proper training he can be something great. When we next get time, I’d like to work with him on tactics regarding his magic (though his performance in the last battle was exemplary).

While I’m worried, I have hope for the future. And if we get out of here, I’m not sure if there’s much that will be able to stop us once we get home.

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A Prayer to Ashlynn
An Apology and an Vision of the Future

“To you, the deceased Paladin Ashlynn
Your memory has not been forgotten

But some have forgotten your name, as they all call you the Paladin.
But to a few, we all knew you as Ashlynn.

We are heading into what seems to be a final assault in the castle.
So that we may save Barovia, at least that’s why I hope for.

The way my companions spoke of their true goal to get out of this twisted domain may be harsh. It seems they lost their human sense of doing good.

That’s what I hope to do. To impart my teachings, my ramblings to probably most of the villagers, to the denizens of the village so that they must not forget their path and stray from the Light.

We will kill Strahd. I feel it is our duty that we owe to these people. They look up to us. To take revenge against Count Strahd for the many lives he reaped, treating this land as his own personal kitchen.

I suppose one good Prayer and a apology for you and I is fit. For I do not know if I shall slay Strahd and finally embrace Death."

“Oh Paladin of the Sun, the death you yearned for was finally granted to you. I wish for Death more now than ever. But once this is all over, may Soldral and Io see your soul, as well as the souls of your companions, to be finally at peace. Maybe this time, my cup of ale won’t plunge me into the depths of despair, but into the gateways of Hope.

There are not many chess pieces on the board left. There are almost no moves to make. Which ever side makes the best turn will win this drawn out game. But with newfound determination, I shall win the game in your memory. Paladin of the Sun, I shall join you soon so that I may tell you tales of my heroism and recklessness."

Once I return home, I shall dedicate a passage of a book to your bravery. I haven’t wrote anything about the book in a long time. Maybe I shall write the book so that people may know the tragic extent of my failings.

“Ashlynn, I’m sorry about what happened to your body in real life. My companion and I were under the dark influence of Strahd. I know that I am late but I am sorry. Deeply sorry. I am tortured every night by that twisted dinner that was thrown together by the Count. I don’t admit this to anyone but I am an idiot. Still am. But I cannot gather enough courage, even that which takes the form of ale, to admit this to anyone.

I pray for the future of everyone, of Barovia, and mankind. For evil has no bounds. Once I get home, I shall do more than worship the Austere Lady. I wish to become a Herald of War, to worship both the tactics and the destructive nature of conflict itself and to wield that power between my fingertips. So that no one must experience the same fate and endure the same despair I felt. For the battles shall end swiftly."

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Charge of the noble adventurers!
The castle awaits...

Half a league half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the castle of Death
strode the six companions:
‘Forward, the Noble Adventurers!
Charge for the master of the castle’ he said:
Into the castle of Death
Strode the six companions.

‘Forward, the Noble Adventurers!’
Was there a companion dismay’d ?
Not tho’ the confederates knew
Some one (Max) had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do & die,
Into the castle of Death
Strode the six companions.

Wights to right of them,
Ghouls to left of them,
Vampires in front of them
Volley’d & thunder’d;
Storm’d at with bolt and spell,
Boldly they strode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Strode the six companions.

Flash’d all their weapons bare,
Flash’d as they turn’d in air
Stabbing at the vampires there,
Charging an undead horde while
All Barovia wonder’d:
Plunged in the obscuring mist
Right thro’ the line they twist;
Vampire, Wight & Ghoul
Reel’d from the sun sword-stroke,
Shatter’d & sunder’d.
Then they strode back, but not
Not the six companions.

Wights to left of them,
Ghouls to right of them,
Vampires behind them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with bolt and spell,
While Sassy & other heroes fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro’ the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six companions.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All of Barovia wonder’d.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Noble Adventures,
Noble six companions!

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But at what cost?
Walking the knifes edge

“All great sacrifices demand a price to be paid.-Anon

Gentle reader I have walked a thin line between life and death today and I somehow have returned to tell the tale. In a moment of great need I have paid a terrible price to bring the power of shadow into the world, and its full cost has not yet been decided. I did this not for my companions or for personal power but to allow my people, my brothers and sisters to live another day. As I feared Madam Eva knew that I would be needed to make this sacrifice and now I find myself instead of lauded for my actions indebted to both my people and the gods I serve. One wonders where all the tales of noble heroes making great sacrifices for others and being richly rewarded for it come from. I most certainly wont be writing anything of the sort I assure you.

As it stands my people did need me. A large pack of werewolves ferociously mauled the caravans retreat to the bridge. We allowed my people to pass and attempted to slow down pursuit

That did not go well at all.

The werewolves jumped over the wide river we thought would funnel them onto the bridge and quickly surrounded the majority of my companions. Only the undertaker and I could fly or levitate above the fray and even then we were targeted by enemy spellcasters and giant rock throwing beasts. It was there at my lowest ebb with my left hand smashed into a useless pulp that I saw what else was coming to kill us.

Given more time I might have properly learned what I did next. Given careful thought and observations, I might know just what in the hells I did back there…the events are somewhat hazy. But unlike the drunken priest who prays to his gods for power or the godchild who seemingly rips it from the skies overhead by the force of his own will, I called upon the luck I have earned as a Fatebender to nudge the great wheel of time into an outcome where I was successful in my actions. The enemy host was defeated before me. Brought low before the powers bestowed upon me by the gods I serve. It wasn’t pretty but it was effective and in the end it almost killed me.

Almost. But not today.

Evidently I shouted a warning to flee before I fell senseless into the river after my display of power was completed. I was saved from drowning by our fighter friend who jumped in to save me. I suppose that I should try to be nicer to him after all that in the future.

At any rate the die has been cast. The coin has been flipped and all the world waits to see which side it shall land on. There is a price to be paid for what I have done today and soon I shall find out just what that is.

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Report 17th of the Harvester

Went back to town. Unclear if any townspeople died.

Strahd blamed the werebear’s people for stripping the fane’s powers. On one hand, I was relieved: we have the element of surprise and managed to pass unnoticed. On the other, the town lost a powerful ally.

We strategized with Ulric and Ismark, although I dont know what good it will do. The town can’t support us too much with what little supplies they have.

We agreed to let the Gyspsies come to town. Communal protection and trade would do both factions good, if they can get along. I saw Antonio’s annoyance at Ismark’s pointed words.

We must meet the caravan at the bridge at noon tomorrow. I think this was a wise decision, and hopefully we can make more of them and avoid any direct fights as long as we possibly can

12 Hours Later

Hey guys, there’s like, 45 freaking werewolves to our party of 6, we should maybe tactically retreat? No? Ok on average everyone has to have a K/D ratio of AT LEAST 8/1. Still no retreat? Fine, I guess

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For the Horde!!
Wolfs Rain

The horde of canine pursuers charges across the bridge after the vastani, through a combination of magic and tactics we prepare ourselves to weather this storm of fangs. We used the bridge as a choke point but that proved fruitless as the beasts jump clear over the river. Some enemy spells later and we are literally up the river. We need to do something big…maybe we should actually work together…

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Aftermath

After digging our way out of our self-made tomb we found the results of our meddling. On our way to town we heard the booming voice of Strahd, bouncing off every wall it met, coming to show his superiority. He announced that the town is to meet in the center of town to witness what is to happen to their “heroes” that were opposing him. At this point I, only half jokingly, asked if any of the other companions with me would prefer to flee at that. While none went with that idea something more surprising did happen, we stayed where we were and hid…

It appears the were-creatures were to take the blame for us, Strahd ripped the head of the tiger me recently met cleanly from his spine, yet still none charged forward at this. This response of course is to be expected from Antonio, Julianah was unexpected but I believe this was the tactical choice, but the largest surprise was from Axe. He too remained still and quite while another died for our crimes, because of this we escaped a fight with the lord. If a conflict had broken out I had a plan I hoped would work, but hope and the honor of Strahd is all it relied on. We have yet to use our letter of Leniance which should allow the forgiveness of any crime we commit, whether it would cover taking the feins of power is now something we will likely never know.

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A bridge too far

Gentle reader it would appear that we had finally encountered a stroke of luck here in this evil place. Not only are all of my companions alive at this time, but it would appear that the master of the castle is convinced that we are not the ones who severed his connections to the land. Instead that “honor” was bestowed upon the smallest of the local werecreature tribes. As a result the foul villain chose to publicly execute one of the commanders of those werecreatures in the center of town in Barovia the day after the bat swarms ravaged the place. While it is tragic that they paid the price for our success, their sacrifice would have given us a golden opportunity to sneak back into the castle and attempt to “air our grievances” with the lord of the land on terms of our own time and choosing.

But that was not to be.

The Burgermeister wanted to speak with us about our conduct at the Fanes and how we have endangered his village. During this far ranging discussion he voiced his concerns about the declining strength of the people of the town of Barovia. As I was speaking about our parties inability to speak with or locate my own people, I was stunned when he offered an unlikely solution to our problem. The Burgermeister actually offered to allow my people to come to town to live for a time and aid in its defense.

Of course he then shat all over his solution by offering to have some of his more skilled carpenters craft us all some wooden tableware “to insure that the good silver doesn’t go missing”

Ingrate. That silver should have been turned into arrowheads long ago.

In the end I was more than happy to take him up on his “wonderful” offer. It has turned out that my people need the help the Burgermeister has offered because their own situation has turned desperate. The message we received from the traveling people was just a few lines finely scrawled on a scrap of parchment attached to a crows leg. Small. insignificant even. But the words carried to us on dark wings had the weight if not the penmanship of Madam Eva’s hand behind it. With her words we are gearing up to meet my people at a local river crossing to “escort them into town.” With her words we travel out again to face the unknown. I can only hope my people make it to us in time.

After a night of troubled rest I fear that we speed towards a crossroads of prophecy and destiny. A confluence of fate and dark fortunes that not all of us may survive. I see the great wheel in my dreams clearly once more crushing, maiming, and killing all who stand in the way of it. But go to this uncertain future I must. For this slim and small message also stated that I must be there. That I must be present to show my people the path to Barovia. It weighs heavily upon my soul. By all rights we should be even now deep inside the bottom levels of the castle searching for items to help us drive a steak through the heart of the master of these lands. Instead I head off into the morning sun to honor my words to my brothers and sisters.

I cannot help but wonder if they would do the same for me.

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