Fate Comes to Call

Prayer of the Raven

The night has shown its wings.
With it, the the stars move. Light has invaded the dark sky.
At the end of the world, it flies. Carrying the hope of others to the end.
There was a girl who slain her entire kind to gain power. The raven followed.
A boy who was swallowed by Dark, the raven shown him the way.
The raven follows whoever can change the world.
When the raven lands on thine shoulders, can you feel the burden that rests on thee?
Your burden will decide the fate of the world. Your purpose, unchanging.
If malign, let the feast begin.
If lawful, let the rebirth begin.
No matter what, birds will fly because they want to fly.
Make your cause manifest
Into the will of the people.

An Escape

We have found a secret escape from the castle into the surrounding woods. We can likely only take this route one, maybe twice, more before our passing become noticed and it becomes locked off to us. While we are out of the castle we are planning on addressing Bildraft, I for one think leading him on may be a profitable vein of intellect but the others seem set on turning him in directly. While in the city I will need to find somewhere safe to store my skeletal champion. The old church may do but I find myself becoming nervous at the prospect of it being discovered and destroyed, either by an unkowing villager, a minion of the master, or some other monster that roams the area. I need to figure out a safe way to introduce the idea to the bergermeister or somebody else of using undead as our own so I can store it in the manor.

Should I learn the scroll in time it may also be worth discussing the prospect of bringing the bergermeisters sister back to life should she be killed. He may be willing to pay for the components and offer a reward for the return of his once again living sister.

While we are out it may also be worth deciding if we want to return to the castle or attempt to find the fonts of power. Taking this detour is essential at this point but if we do it now our absence will surely be noted.

That is enough of these rambling thoughts for now, I must stay vigilant in these dark woods.

A Grateful Prayer

Julianah knelt beside the two open coffins bathed in the soft blue light. She ventured into the blue light alone – except for the shadowy figure that appeared only for a second before it tauntingly disappeared – and discovered the final resting place of Strahd’s parents. After delicately removing the ancient, untarnished treasures from the tombs, she prayed.

I claim these treasures in the name of the Austere Lady and the Holy Order of the Raven Knights for my companions against the mad vampyr that brings darkness to this kingdom. May your souls rest easy knowing that your burial treasures will be used to purge evil from your land. . .

Julianah trailed off. The shroud was perfectly pristine despite its age, and perhaps was as beautiful as Strahd’s mother once was. The entire tomb seemed to radiate a holy aura with the soft blue light streaming through the stained glass windows. Surely Strahd’s family didn’t intend for him to end up like this.

Grave robbing done, Julianah hastened towards her party and tried not to think about how their souls would feel knowing that their belongings would be used to plot the downfall of their only surviving son

Into the unknown
Outside the walls

Gentle reader I have but a moment to jot down these short notes while my companions bicker about where we are going. We have (more through blind luck than any kind of skill) managed to make our way outside the walls of this dreadful castle once more. That in and of itself is quite the accomplishment given the gruesome end that occurred to the last band of adventurers to pose a serious challenge to the master of the castle. It also showed us what terrible fate awaits us if we fail here.

Tian-Mu of course wanted to turn right back around and grab the stash from the treasury we had left behind . As much as it pains me to not take such valuables with us, the fact of the matter is that dragging such a heavy load back to the village of Barovia would make us a slow fat target for whatever agents of the castle we may encounter on the way back there. We also have no clue as to what events have transpired in the town since we last saw it. It occurs to me that we may not get the warmest of receptions upon our return.

Personally for me I fear that my time spent in such close proximity to our fighter for so long has affected me in a strange and peculiar way. I didn’t want to go back into the castle mostly because I want to be out here for a time. To feel the fresh air and marvel at what passes for sunshine in this accursed realm. Even the trees seem less fearsome, twisted and tainted today then they did before we entered the castle walls…

Ugh. I’ll be looking for a Dryad to “befriend” here if this keeps up. Damn our fighter to the Abyss!

It looks as though we have decided to return to the village. What we will do if and when we get there however will have to be argued about along the way.

Farewell My Feathered Friend
Asgardian Raven, Ho!

Farewell, my feathered friend. It was enjoyable to have you as a companion on my shoulder. You’re presence provided me with comfort. I know that you’re not dead but I know that you’re somewhere else. Only if I knew what situation you were in. I admired you as an actual party member, an actual part of me. Just like Dakras’s raven Femur. I will drink to your memory. May you find peace in your new environment, Astaroth the Raven. May the Red Chessmaster guide you to safety.

What to do with Max

Max has once again proven to be infuriating. Upon my return I was informed by Antonio that Max had shot Femur with his crossbow. Needless to say I was furious, ready to lash out with either word or violence. As it appears Femur has no visible harm, Max claiming he used one of his own healing potions, I agreed with Julianah that his punishment should wait until we are in a safe place, or at least as safe as can be expected while still being in this castle…

Later on Max used the Ring of Nine Lives to save himself from a Mhorg, which seemed to backfire. It turns out the ring was cursed, every time his body or mind was tested the ring pushed spikes deeper into his finger. When I examined the ring I had a sadistic enjoyment hearing him yelp in pain as I applied pressure to the afflicted area. It came as a surprise later on when the ring, running its course, lopped the finger off and became inert. After examination I believe I may be able to reattach it but it was decided it would take too long so I preserved the finger so we can attach it later. Between the skill and magical ability of myself and Jolias I may have the skill to put it back in working order… But I have other plans. I will likely use this opportunity to combine life and unlife. This is a very small scale experiment but it should be enough for my curiosity. I will soon find out if it is possible to take a removed limb, void of life, and animate it with negative energy before affixing it to a living subject. It is my hope it goes well, the applications of this is boundless. A farmer that had his arm removed in an unfortunate harvesting accident shall no longer be reduced to a burden and beggar for his remaining life, assuming he survived the original accident in the first place. The risks are as horrid as the benefits are great, it is also possible that a rot begins after the surgery from infection, or the animating energy does not hold resulting in a dead, useless body part being attached to the body.

I will soon be able to start my first trial.

What happened to Astaroth
Animal companion upgrade!

Unlike most ravens, Astaroth (as he had been named by his Knight) had experienced travel between dimensions before. It was not so abrupt last time however. This time, he had known only violet, felt a strong tug, and then suddenly he landed on a slab of wood.

Looking around, it was a very long slab of wood, filled with food of more kinds than Astaroth had ever seen, and drinks that smelled similar to the ones his Knight favored, but stronger. More importantly, there were a large amount of large, hairy men and large, less hairy women sitting around this large slab of wood. Astaroth quickly rose into the air, startled by the presence of so many creatures that were obviously carnivores.

Astaroth noticed that many of these carnivores were looking at him. Nervously, he began to circle the room. Then, suddenly, there was another raven in his face.

“And what are you doing here, young one?” It croaked.

“Lost. Lost Knight. Violet.” Astaroth cawed to the much older raven.

The duo flapped up to the rafters of the high-vaulted ceiling. There was another raven identical to the first one sitting up there already.

“Interesting. I see. You’re quite a long way from home, Astaroth.” The second raven cawed.

Astaroth wondered, in its own ravey-y way, how this raven knew its name. “Yes. Need to find Knight.”

“Master says we can’t help you for the moment. Something about fate, or the like.” said the first raven.

“But he does say we can train you. He has a soft spot for ravens, and even though raven knights never end up here he likes them too.” said the second.

“Train?” croaked Astaroth, cocking his head to one side.

“To do some of the things we can do.” returned the first raven. “I’m Muninn.”

“I’m Huginn. Welcome to Valhalla.” finished the second raven.

Odin watched as the three ravens flitted around the dining hall.

Well, that is slightly inaccurate. Odin watched a lot of things, in a lot of times and places, but in the present he was focused on the three ravens in his dining hall. Astaroth, as the new raven was called, was still nowhere near as fast as Huginn and Muninn, but he was speeding up. There was little better for training speed than trying to steal food from the plates and hands of hungry Einherjar.

Odin was almost tempted to keep the third raven. It was quite polite for a being with the intelligence of a young child, even if it was mischievous at times. But unfortunately, Odin had only two shoulders and Huginn and Muninn were enough of a handful already.

Besides, Odin could see what would happen if Astaroth did not leave. While he could handle it, and it would not be the end of the world, Odin would prefer not to have to deal with something of that magnitude. The time when Astaroth would have to go if things were to go as planned was fast approaching. Soon, he would return to his Knight’s side.

Astaroth flew into the sky of Valhalla, with Huginn and Muninn at his side. This had been a very informative excursion, but the Master said it was time to go back. Huginn and Muninn had shown Astaroth how they went to the mortal world to watch things for the Master, and Astaroth had been taught how to follow their example. All three ravens twisted their winds just so, and slipped sideways through reality, vanishing with a crack of air.

Astaroth had seen this transition twice before now, but this time it was of his own volition, and that changed everything. Huginn and Muninn were not there, as they were going to a different location. But Astaroth had just one spot in mind.

He focused on his bond to his Knight. He appeared in a different sky than before— much like Astaroth, his Knight had done much traveling in this time. He could see his Knight and the other travelers in a clearing in the forest, moving about their campsite. Astaroth dove out of the sky and alighted on his Knight’s shoulder, where he belonged.

The other humans looked surprised, and looked at each other and the Knight, speaking in their own tongue. The Knight looked to Astaroth, confused.

“I didn’t think I was getting another raven after that trap. What changed?” he croaked in raventongue.

“Nothing. Not a new raven. Sorry took so long to get back, Knight. But here now.”

The Knight’s eyes widened. They grew even more when Astaroth decided to steal the large bone-wearing human’s food, since he was hungry, and did so and got back before the Knight could so much as blink.

On Odin (not Max) and the Vanir
Peace in our...ah crap!

It was a time long ago, but almost twenty years after the gods and champions of Asgaror led by Odin had declared war on the Vanir. The war had been long and bloody unto this point with no clear victor. As casualties mounted on both sides and once fertile soil was ruined by the blood and destruction of war, a call for peace was made. It was ignored by both sides for years, but after years of devastation wiser heads prevailed and the diplomats were sent for to arrange a truce.

The process took months. Countless hours of bickering and arguing led to days of hostile negotiations. Eventually however the reality that both sides must make peace and cooperate with one another slowly began to sink in. The long hours spent by the negotiation team also gave them a rough sort of grudging respect for one another and their respective homelands. The task of making peace was still arduous and difficult even with this newfound respect.

Eventually the two sides decided upon a formal end to hostilities. The document draw up to commemorate the event was dense, long, and filled with many provisions seeking to guarantee a lasting peace. The capstone of this document was to be an exchange of high ranking prisoners to live as “honored guests” in each others feasting halls. The Vanir’s exchange went perfectly with no cause for concern. It appeared as though the two sides would be able to co-exist for a time and perhaps even begin to put aside their many differences.

Then the Asgaror exchange took place.

Mimir was a hearty wizened old warrior who had spent many years feasting in Odin’s hall. His council was valued greatly by Odin and all of his line. His title was not granted as a courtesy, for he had fought in Odin’s many wars and proved both his valor and might many times over. In these his elder years he was often the voice of reason when younger blood would rush to bloodshed. Mimir was the lone voice to speak against the war with the Vanir. He was shunned at court for many years, but when his prediction of the stalemate came true he once again found himself summoned to Odin’s side to provide council. Now Odin was asking Mimir to give up a life of feasting, companionship, and luxury to make peace with an enemy still hated by many.

Mimir agreed without hesitation.

The exchange itself went as well as the first without any signs of trouble. But as the Vanir war party “honor guard” was escorting him back to Vanir lands a strange and troubling event occurred. The Vanir were cresting a hill with a Asgaror war party “honor guard” when a raven as black as midnight materialized right before them all. It sqwarked loudly several times before flying directly to Mimir and alighting upon his shoulders. Fearing betrayal and an ambush the Vanir attacked the greater Asgaror host and were slaughtered to a man.

But not without loss.

The attack was sprung to allow a lone Vanir defender the opportunity to behead Mimir before dying. He is said to have thrown the head of Odin’s wisest advisor back at the Asgarorians before succumbing to his wounds. His last words were a curse in his native tongue, holding "The owner of that thrice cursed Raven " accountable for what was surely to be a continuation of the bloody war between the Vanir and Asgaror. He spoke his actual curse in the old tongue with his own lifesblood to seal it.

I fear for the owner of that Raven, for it was not Odin’s.

The war rages on even now. The truce has ended and bloody battles rage on across our lands. It is said that Odin himself has taken Mimir’s head and embalmed it with herbs so that it would not rot. He also is said to have spoken charms over it, which imbued the head with the ability to answer Odin and continue to give him the wise council he has lost.

If this is true, I hope Mimir can save us all from further bloodshed.

Raising the dead for fun and profit

It is curious that I should be the first to gain the power to truly bring a person back from the dead. By this I do not mean undead either, but fully alive. this spell is the stuff of legends, no longer is the user forced to feel powerless after having a loved one slain. The unfortunate side of the spell is the expense of carries, the materials it requires puts it solely in the realm of nobles and leaders of the clergy.

An interesting aspect of the scroll we found its that it is of the necromancy school. This is unique to my knowledge and I don’t yet know what difference it will cause. It is possible there is no tangible difference, or perhaps it will cause the target to be brought back undead. Not as a zombie, vampire, or any other group of undead, but simply themselves with no heartbeat.

An unfortanete aspect for our group is this power is nearly useless. When one of us falls we simply come back seconds later. The only use we can find in this spell is to revive an ally or other important person.

A hypothetical scene far in the future
In response to a facebook post

Dakkras allowed Axe to lead him to the center of the sanctum, blindfolded. He had questioned if this was really necessary, but Axe stated that he wanted it to be a surprise.

“Can I take this off now?” He asked, somewhat annoyed.

“Yup. Go ahead.”

Dakkras pulled off the thick band of cloth that had covered his eyes, then widened those same eyes.

“It’s… It’s…”

“Yeah?” Asked Axe, a smug grin on his face.

“It’s not made of bone?”

Axe raised an eyebrow. “Dakkras, what was I going to kill that was going to produce this much bone? I have my limits.”

Dakkras had to admit that was logical. Still, though. “I thought you were against tree murder?”

Axe grinned. “Ooooohhh. Yeah, I didn’t kill any trees to do this. This is all deadwood. I thought that was appropriate.”

Understanding dawned on Dakkras, and he smiled. “I suppose it is.”

“Don’t get me wrong, some of the decorations are carved from the bones of various monsters. Max actually sent me some teeth from that Leviathan he killed last year, and I incorporated them with some petrified wood— which, let me tell you, would not be easy to carve if my tools weren’t magical…”

Dakkras shrugged and let his old friend give him a tour of his newest sanctum. Even after all these years, they could still surprise each other.


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