Fate Comes to Call

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.

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.

The Third Fein

Although we believed that the mountain fein would be the most difficult due to its proximity to the castle I am now having second thoughts. The mountain did have its difficulties, the climb being one of them, but overall was not too terrible. The undead being would have been difficult had Axe not received a convenient vision that led us to figuring out its weakness. The Demons within were annoying but nothing we couldn’t handle, and the hag did little more than incapacitate Jolias.

The knowledge we have gained about the the forest is a little more troubling. The hag protecting this site is supposedly the old twisted matriarch of the wolf tribe. The power of a werewolf strong enough to force the rest of her kin to follow would be bad enough, add in the corrupting power of the land and we may have an issue. That is not even including the rest of the tribe we will need to evade, or more likely fight our way through just to find her.

This site does have the greatest stirring of desire within me however. Since the first sighting I have been secretly hoping that we would encounter a dire worg in a situation where we would have to fight. Such a powerful beast would make a marvelous undead, perhaps even serving as a mount when not needed for combat. Aside from that, if possible at all, an undead werewolf would likewise be an impressive specimen.

Report 15th of the Harvester

So much has happened the past few days.

The first time we set off for the mountain fane, we were trapped by the dwarf. We sought the gypsy camp only for me to accidentally set off sleeping darts. Luckily I and Jolias were up, but we had to resort to potions and ipecac to get everyone else moving back to town.

The cursed place we found on that mountain had not just one battle but a few. Some incorporeal creature that could only be hit from within a circle. Then down below in a cavern demons.

At the time I wasn’t sure what happened or how, but then lightning and fire began to rain down as the cavern started rumbling. Jolias became critically injured. Others had a few nicks. We found out Max had fallen off a ledge, and Axe had that “I’m gonna do something incredibly stupid and noble” look about him.

So I prayed. And I had never felt that close to the Austere Lady in my life. I had previously heard her wisdom and insight before, but this was pure knowledge flowing into me. It was as if I could see us on a warboard and the Lady moving us piece by piece into the proper place. It felt as if the knowledge would protect me and my allies

I instructed everyone to get out. I fell and landed unharmed. I picked up Max’s body and placed him in the circle as the knowledge instructed. He came back and I claimed the fane and left. If literally anyone else was there I would have gladly had them claim the fane, but I was not sure how others would react with Max claiming it. Dakras already seems to have a deep disdain for him. After I found out Max did in fact cause the lightning and fire in the cavern I felt a lot less guilty about it.

Then the euphoria left when I saw Jolias, a hag standing over him. Axe and I made quick work of her and we were left to carry him back (where of course, he milked his condition for as long as possible). I had a heart-to-heart with Max. If he (and the party) decides to allow him to keep traveling with us, I swear to the gods of the old world and this one that I will work with Max to knock some sense into him.

What I am concerned about is what Max told me about his death. He did not come back right away. He claimed there was a sinister shadow chasing him, and only a figure in red armor brought him back. I’ve only died once. I hate the idea of coming back – I want to be able to treat every chance at life as the only chance, not to consider death a way to wipe and reset. If what Max says is true, we may not be able to take death so lightly going forward.

The fallen priest

Gentle reader, I return to writing after a prolonged absence with word of our current misadventures and a warning. Our struggle to free ourselves from this wicked place and the master of this land continues. Indeed it appears that we may be making headway on that front with our successful incursion into two of the three “fanes” that ward the land and give our enemy a vast amount of power here.

The fanes have been guarded by witches who all seem to share a bond of some form almost as if they were part of a coven. Fortunately they seem much less organized and cooperative with each other than the three sisters in Siendart that guard the waterways there. I fear what their power could have been if they worked together in defense of the fanes.

On their own they were still formidable. They wield dark twisted magic that has bewitched the minds and bodies of myself and my companions. The tainted corruption that they equip like armour around them has made our struggle to stay alive difficult. By the luck of the gods themselves we have bested them twice and now our third challenge awaits us deep in the tangled forests of the cursed Svalich woods. The master of the lands is fully aware of what we are doing and if he is going to stop us in our quest he must do so now before we progress much further.

But he may have already defeated us, for I fear that the drunken priest has fallen.

His despair, misery, and despondency has reached a new low even for him. I fear he pays lip service to his supposed goddess of tactics while drinking deep from the cup of darkness that his new master Gelmar has provided him. His actions of late have shone no love of tactics or strategy, just a helpless self loathing and selfishness that is absolutely sickening to be forced to put up with. Even his own sister the Paladin has remarked upon it.

Yet put up with this I must for it appears that I am alone in my concern for having a depressed, suicidal drunk as this expeditions healer. May the gods have mercy on us all.

Prayer for Some Kind of Miracle

Austere Lady,

I know I ask for a lot. I know I’m probably pushing it right now. But we need divine intervention if we all want to get out alive.

Jolias is critically injured. Max is… Somewhere. If he’s even alive. Axe will probably do something unwise to save him. There’s fire and lightning and the cave might collapse at any minute and I’m not sure if we can come back from that. The relic may certainly be lost.

I can focus on getting everyone else out. If he is alive, please, please give Max some divine intervention or insight and I swear to you I will BEAT some of your teachings into him if necessary.

I know with war and battle there is casualties, and sometimes losing one to save much more is a tactical decision.

But if Max goes down I’m not sure if we will be fighting together for much longer

Prayer for Strength
Rocks fall, everyone dies

Austere Lady,

Please give everyone the strength to push on through this trial. I have a feeling we still have a lot more to go. This ghost-thing was bad enough.

I would think the view from up here would be kind of nice, if it wasn’t for this fog. Regardless if the fog wasn’t here it would be nice to get a raven’s-eye view of this place. Obviously we arent in Siendart anymore, but it would be interesting to see just how far Barovia stretches.

A bad thought did just cross my mind though. We had such a hard climb up. Some of us fell a few times.

Should we survive of course, I hope getting down the mountain is not as difficult as getting up.
A mountain of regret

As the party climbs the mountain dakras reflects on the old world. He certainly knew such mountains existed and had seen a small number in the distance but had never been close to, much less attempt to climb one.

During the early stages of the climb it was easy, just don’t lea, forward and watch your step, once the first major obstacle was upon them it was another story.

Floating up the mountain with levitate had benefits aside from no risk of falling. As the others were forced to watch the wall dakras was free to watch the landscape, seeing the region from the air, instructing the undead on how to climb, and securing ropes as needed.

The fear of the prized undead falling to its doom was one of the fears present in his mind, especially during the first vertical portion. The fear was replaced however when the skeleton forced its way up. It may not have had the mind required to plan its next step, or the technique of a seasoned climber, but what it did have was pure strength. When there was no obvious hand hold it instead drove its fingers into the stone making its own.

While everybody else climbed dakras was left to wish he had the strength requires for the climb. Using magic to ascend had its use and was easy but provided no improvement. He would not become better or stronger by taking the easy way.

A test of Resolve
Bitch Please

As we ascended the Mountain Fane I could feel every muscle in my Body begin to tear, Axe seemed unfazed by the incredible difficulty, only missing a step once or twice, I tried to assist him as best I could using my command of the stormy winds. As we struggle, I see Antonio and Dakras essentially cheating the challenge. On one hand I want to ask them where their sense of self improvement is but on the other hand I’m quite impressed with their ingenuity. I would commend Dakras on this, but he seems colder to me than usual, perhaps he is still upset about femur…he hasn’t mentioned anything otherwise. As I ponder that thought, we arrive at the top and I see a glorious storm brewing above us, one of the first times I have felt moderately comfortable in this wretched place, however even here there is a palpable taint that unnerves us all, this is an evil place. I decide to bolster the party’s resistance to electricity, understanding quite intimately how an enemy storm mage could be quite dangerous here. We make our way to the burned out tower only to face a legion of ghostly entities enveloped in one terrible monster, Dakras and Antonio in their great wealth of knowledge do not even know much more than it’s name. It soon attacks Axe first as it lashes out against him causing him to live out all his nightmares. I too soon feel this effect, but it cannot sway me so easily, it cannot show me anything I have not overcome before, I have been through the darkness once before, I refuse to go back. My resolve is absolute, even if my mind and body falter, my Will carries me on.

Barovia Wars 2: The Dwarf Strikes Back
Everyone looked like swiss cheese that day

It was determined that we were to go after the Mountain Fane next on our journey to stop the Lord of the Lands and to go back home. But I was expecting there to be some sort of mountain pass. No. Of course not. We had to go climb the mountain. On our first journey there, I tried my new spell. I didn’t tell anyone about the spell. Omen of Peril is what it’s called. It said the journey was safe. For the most part, it was true. I was safe from whatever happened to the my companions. A shower of arrows pierced my companions as I just stood outside from the area that they were. With arms crossed, I watched as my companions fell to the ground because of a sleeping poison that was on the arrows. This is the handy work of the dwarf. No doubt about it. The walking stepping stool set a trap for my companions. Sadly, the one who triggered the trap was my sister. Now I got something else to annoy her about. Luckily, my sister was the only one to make it out of there unaffected by the poison. Using her strength, we carried our companions all the way back home. My sister gave Dakras a potion and the others a something. I forgot what the name was but when you said it, it made it sound like you were a cat throwing up a hairball. Anyway, that’s what happened with Max. He threw up everywhere. We got back to the manor in time. Everyone was put to sleep. Antonio expected me to heal them back up.
“Not this time I’m afraid” is what I would’ve want to say to Antonio.
However, after this incident, the dignity of my party shriveled up as soon as we retreated. So my answer was more on par with what everyone expects of me to say to them when asked if they can heal the bleeding wounds that was the cause of their mistake.
“No.” With that response, I slammed the door of the manor behind me and went to go to the bar to drink some more “liquid courage.”
“In memory of my party’s dignity that day.”
I drank two cups of my liquid “dignity” and gave advice to the villagers to always watch your step whether it be cow manure or a tripwire that puts the majority of your party at risk.
I come back home to a somewhat annoyed Julianna, which was no surprise.
The next day arrived and Antonio was annoyed at me during breakfast. He said “It would be very tactical of you to heal us the day before, Jolias.”
What I wanted to say is that “It would be very tactical for the trap finder to find traps, wouldn’t it?”
However, I just stayed shut. If I said that, one of the party members omitting Dakras would tell me to go “screw yourself.”
Antonio wanted to go through another luck ritual. I refused to join but paid for everyone’s cost of the money as I have reason to believe that this is some sort of scam to rid of everyone’s money. The party didn’t question where the money came from except for one: Dakras. But no paid attention to Dakras at the moment, so my church fund is safe. For anyone reading this, please understand that the money was for the construction of the Church of the Austere Lady. I still remember my original mission to spread the word of the Austere Lady while my sister goes into other people’s affairs. Once we get home, I wish to start the Church of the Austere Lady in Fiveport. However, it will take more than some platinum pieces and some gold pieces to start construction.


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