Fate Comes to Call

The End of Fate?
What Did He Do!

The fight with the “Paladin” ended very oddly… During the fight there were demons summoned and attended to, eventually I threw everything into one swing to slay the enemy. The result was an odd shadow creature leaping to intercept the attack and being killed as a result. The paladin made a threat but before he was able to deliver he slumped over, comatose and the demons disappeared. We soon realized our wounds were gone, a sword that was melted in one piece, and only the paladins body remained. The material differences along with the now foggy memory of the fight led me to believe everything else was an illusion, and it made sense, until I realized Max was missing.

Max’s threat of blowing up the Tablets of Fate fresh in my mind, did he actually attempt to go through with his threat? I doubt the possibility of him succeeding with that goal enough to write it off as impossible. The closest result I can fathom is that Io noticed the attempt and finally recognized our interventions, as it was surely beneath his notice previously. That may have led to us being cut off from our ability to revive, and Max being tossed into whatever afterlife he belongs to, or merely erased from being.

This theory was destroyed quickly however when Max entered the room panting from the doorway. Eventually he revealed new scars, one from the Paladin, and two unexplained (and odd scales on his chest). It is possible that all of those were there before but even Max seemed unaware of the scars. I am unsure how he got those scars, perhaps he had a measure of success and got the scars as a result. The only thing I know for sure is that Max had meddled with fate to a greater degree than any of us previously have and it resulted in his spatial displacement, the disappearance of bodies, and the comatose/insane state of the paladin.

I will make a point to examine the tablet next time I see it to find signs of damage or change. This requires me to die again however… but the potential knowledge and other unknown benefits may be worth quickening the end of my current life. I will not know until I try…

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Report 26th of the Goodmonth
Two in game days late tsk tsk

Second night in castle this venture.

Let Duck prepare “Sight” and “Courage.” Bridge blown as Duck crossed, donkey turned to nightmare and flew him away. Left myself, Sassy and Max on other side. Vampires and large skeletons skirmished with other party members while we crossed. Duck flew by screaming, dropped a yellow potion before disappearing. Sassy helped Max cross, jumped across with me after. Jolias arm torn up, healed before continuing.

Dakras took control of two undead. Ambush of arrows waiting on other side of castle wall. Asked Max for help, he ended up not helping and almost dying. Dispersed and ran just as a major spell began, made it in doors and castle iced over sealing entry and exit ways.

Spent night in dining hall in an effort to hole up in defensible position. Antonio and Jolias looked worse for wear, Jolias with a matching eye like mine.

Continue to find treasury next day. Source of laughter in hallway was steward of Straud. Nice, certifiably insane, but nice. Bought wine and glasses from him. Controls large undead in kitchen.

Behind rune-covered door was a paladin celestial… but can’t quite remember details, perhaps some mind-affecting magic? Also holds desk, weaponry on walls, empty room, lichen-covered hallway leading to stairs going up.

Believe paladin wanted help getting into the next room but ended up fighting him and a number of other demons, I think. I clearly remember fighting, yet I don’t, and others seem to have similar feelings. I thought Max fell in battle in that room too, but he came racing in from the other side of the castle so that can’t be right. Fand-something ended up on the floor insane – killed him out of mercy and so Straud cannot turn him into another tool.

Discovered invisible beast is a troll-hunter or troll-slayer, I can’t recall. Through Dakras’ scythe, set it free and enlisted its help to find treasury. Also came across documentation allowing users to roam castle freely. May help if we come across intelligent undead.

Holed up in room behind rune-covered door with Nicoramus as guard until morning.

Will continue search for treasury tomorrow while we have our invisible guard.

Enemies encountered (both directly and indirectly)
x2 Large skeletal undead (w/ weapon) – before gate
x3 Vampires – before gate
Horde undead archers – on top of castle wall
Nightmare – first encountered as a donkey in gypsy camp, revealed on bridge
Celestial Paladin – behind rune-covered door, lower level
Summoned Creatures – from Celestial Paladin (if they ever existed)
Sasha (froze castle over)

Allies (or non-hostiles)
Nicoramus – Troll-slayer, hallway with trap lower level
Vampire – Under Dakras’ control, before front gate
Large Skeletal undead – before front gate
Cyrus – Straud’s servant, kitchen and wine cellar, lower level

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Antontio Discovers a Secret
Happy Belated Valentines!

Antonio grumbled to himself as he read. This day was, unfortunately, like so many other days in Castle Ravenloft. Though things had gone somewhat better since their brief alliance with Nicoramus and Thor’s attitude adjustment, the castle was still full of deadly threats. Still, he supposed some their latest find was worth it. A journal kept by one of Strahd’s recently deceased minions. The rest of the group was either searching the room or standing guard, but Antonio immediately gravitated to this source of information.

And, eyes widening as he read what was on the pages, he realized that no matter what this was the most valuable thing in the room. He slid the fabric bookmark to the page he was on and snapped the book closed, conveniently getting the room’s attention.

“Ladies and Gentlemen. I have found something of great value. Tomorrow, we must make haste down to the tombs— Strahd will be distracted.”

Axe looked ready to say something, but a punch to the shoulder from Julianah cut him off. She spoke in his stead.

“How can you be sure, Antonio?”

He opened the book again and cleared his throat. “I quote. ‘On the fourteenth of this month every year, the Lord absconds to his room and demands privacy for the entire day. I do not know why, but Fiero decided he wanted to figure out why, and snuck up to the master’s door and listened. He claims he heard sobbing from inside, and not the usual kind from when the master decides he wants to torture something. I don’t believe him for a second, but I do wonder what the master is doing in there. I’m not going to go ask him, of course. I enjoy my life-after-life, I’m not going to throw it away.’”.

He snapped the book closed once more. “I’m not certain what it is that the master of this castle is doing tomorrow, but whatever it is he will be preoccupied for the whole day. This is our time to strike!” He proclaimed.


The Next Day——-

Strahd stared at the portrait on the wall and sobbed.

“Tat—y—annnaaaaaaaaa” he moaned, as tears ran down his face, making a mess of his eyeliner. As any scholar can tell you, true sadness knows no boundaries, not even undeath.

Valentine’s day always made him horribly sad.

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Thunder and Rage

The halls where the gods reside are awe-inspiring— their true majesty could never be appreciated by the eyes of mortals. Even so, there are portions of the divine realm that are less impressive than others, though no mortal would ever be able to notice this. Such was the domains of the gods of lower rank than the Greater Gods.

In this particular locale, the air was damp and the wind blew as the god in golden armor stalked towards his destination. He knew that this sanctum was often abandoned, given that the goddess that resided within tended to spend her time on the material plane, but Velloa always returned when she was called for. After all, who could resist the call of Saint Eldthor, god of Humanity?

Sure enough, the sea goddess was there, dressed in a bank of mist and a dress that resembled flowing water.

“You called?” She asked in a neutral tone.

“Yes. I need a favor.”

She arched an eyebrow. “Really? What does the all-powerful god of civilization need from a weaker being like myself?” she mused, clearly enjoying herself.

“It’s a matter of adventurers.” He waved his hand and an image formed in the air of two men examining a Wall of Force. “They’re in the Land of Mists. An traitor paladin of mine is causing trouble for them. I want him dealt with, but I don’t have any sway with the group. They may all be my children, but they do not follow my ways.” This last part came out as a grumble. It was well-known that Saint Eldthor was sore about the fact that not all of his chosen race worshiped him.

“I don’t have anyone in that group either. Why speak to me?” Velloa retorted.

“I know you’ve taken interest in the storm sorcerer, and he’s the only one I can trust to trigger a fight without more deliberation. Vitaelyus’ worshiper is hardly devout, and the Austere Lady’s servants are too cautious to make the kind of move I need. The sorcerer is already going to try to get around the problem. I just need to you to make sure he does it.” the saint elaborated.

Velloa considered this for a moment, before shrugging. “Fine. You have a deal. You owe me one.” She made an idle motion with one hand, sending down a tiny portion of her power.

The lightning bolt shattered stone and disintegrated summoned flesh with ease.

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Home revisited
Wine is proof that our deities love us and want us to be happy...

Gentle reader over the course of our journey in this cursed land, my companions and I have been subject to all manner of calamities. A cavalcade of misfortune and pain brought down on us by the twisted master of these foul lands and his associates. The taint of this dark place is actually palpable at times and seems to crawl across ones skin looking for an access point to your soul. All of us have felt its effects now and its corruption grows with every extra hour we spend here. We are still trapped here, still alive for now but hope of our exit from this castle of death recedes like water from the beach at low tide.

It was at this lowest point yet in this journey of agony that I found myself experiencing the closest thing I have ever encountered to the traveling peoples dreams of home in the waking world. A small glass of wine so perfect it ridicules all comparisons of it to other alcoholic beverages. Perhaps what made it so perfect was its limited quantity, I confess that I do not know. But I believe that I have in part solved some of the mystery of why our priestly companion drinks so deeply. He also seeks this worldly unity in a perfect drink. A union of body, mind and spirit that entire legions of monks would kill for. This is how unearthly this wine was. Worldly perfection and harmony in a small glass and gone in just an instant.

It still pales in comparison to the drinks that are served in the dreams of home by my people.

Home to a gypsy is a dream that will never be. The gods taunt us with these visions of perfection to remind us of how we have failed as a people. The people, music, meat and mead of this dreamworld can never be replicated in the waking one.

But here in this foul warren of evil and decay came a light in the darkness that was as close to it as I have ever had.

That moment of unity passed by us all to quickly. At least the drunken priest and I got to experience it together. He owes me a favor now, and I intend for him to be around to pay off his debt.

Eventually.

Other things have happened, but I must think about how to best utilize this lever I have over my usually intoxicated companion.

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Sweet Manna from Heaven

It seemed to take all the wits Antonio and Jolias had left to keep from openly weeping as they sank to the ground in joy.
Judging from their reactions, that tiniest drop of alcohol contained all the happiness in the world.

I would believe such a reaction from Jolias. His drunken antics have been a daily occurence since he first swiped ale from one of the mercenaries. Antonio though – he usually is able to keep his emtions under check… Unless he’s annoyed with one of us. But even he acted as if all this troubles were washed away with the tremendous splash of a single drop.

Perhaps those few drops really were the world in a glass decanter. If those two could act as if we were leisuring in a fine vineyard despite being trapped in a madman’s death dungeon, maybe the sweet honeyed nectar in those aging casks will be our siren song to paradise.

When Cyrus took my hand and escorted me inside, i could hardly breathe with anticipation. I listened to the light ringing of crystal as he rambled about this and that vintage. The light from the torch seemed to dance and play along the crystal, highlighting the liquid ambrosia dripping in the glass.

I raised the glass up, and for the first time in a long time, my hopes rose too. Perhaps I too could taste the sweet embrace of inebriation as the liquid passed my lips.

It was OK

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The Drink That Pierces the Tongue
The sequel to "The Blade that Pierces the Earth"

Me and my companions push onward through Castle Ravenloft, wary of any dangers that may beset upon them and tear them from their mortal coil. They come across a demented Man-Servant named Cyrus, he is a quirky one but seems pretty harmless at first, but do not be fooled he is cunning as he is forgetful. The party does what they can to get information from him but as it begins to seem we are talking in circles, I get impatient and decide to scout ahead while words are minced. And boy are they minced…this is only compounded when that cunning old man plays upon the Vastani and Priests greatest weaknesses, Booze and Money. He truly is a Mastermind that knows how to cut to the heart of our party and stop our progression dead. He even convinced the Paladin with the Holy Artifact to meet him behind bars….Alone. And they say I am the foolish one, tch. While they were drinking their sorrows and sobriety away with priceless alcohol more than likely fermented with Paladin blood. I was being proactive. This may have seemed like an Oasis in a desert to them but I will save my drinking for when I return home and keep my sobriety until I leave this cursed place. Even if I have to blow every part of this castle apart. We later encounter a wall of force, Antonio and Dakras seem pre-occupied with their side conversation, when I declare I can handle the problem the scoff at me as if my magic is not strong enough or that simply because I am not as studious as them I couldn’t possibly figure this out. They underestimate my power, I am wise enough to understand you can’t always go straight through, sometimes you have to step aside….and blow the wall next to your problem, no need to over analyze, fuck this wall in particular, I will escape this place.

What’s that sizzling sound and burnt flesh smell on the other side…oh….

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My Sister's Got the Booze, Therefore We Have to Save Her!
Antonio and Jolias actually bonded over something

A blessing in Ravenloft?! Say it isn’t so. When the depravity hits hard, especially in the eye, times might seem tough. The milky whiteness of my eye does not bother me! I must go forward, to see if I can get out of this mess. But the blessing that came upon me was the crazy madman of a servant, Cyrus. Cyrus looked to be tending to the guests in South Tower maybe. Cooking food and managing alcohol aged beyond any of the party member’s age. One drop of that divine liquor he gave me was euphoric. My mind was clear. Antonio even had a drop of some aged wine. We clanked our crystal goblets together and with one sip, we fell into a place where only peace and harmony existed. What made it even better was the purchase of this divine nectar from the skies. I paid back Antonio for this kindness as we acquired a flask and some crystal goblets to smash once we drank it. We gave our sister the flask and goblets since Antonio or I would try to drink all of it in a short amount of time. Finally, the ale I’ve been searching for. The cream of the crop. The top of the world. Hopefully this joyous moment would not be ruined.

Reality kicks in

Wait, who’s that man, clad in gold armor and has wings? What is Max doing?
CRACKLE! BOOM!

“What have you done? Now you shall perish!!!!!!!!”

As soon as I know it, the doors closed right before Antonio and I. Our group is also in the room. That means my sister has the golden divine booze. That means the group doesn’t have their healer. But the booze. Oh my AUSTERE LADY, NOT THE BOOZE!!!!!!!!!!! NOT ONLY MY SISTER IS GONNA DIE, BUT THE BOOZE IS ON THE OTHER SIDE!!!!!!! HOW ELSE WILL I REACH A PEACEFUL STATE WITHOUT THE LIQUEFIED GOLD!!!!!!

ANTONIO!!!! WE’VE GOT TO SAVE THE BOOZE!!!! I mean, our party. BUT THE BOOZE AS WELL!!! CHARGE FORWARD!!!!”

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Surprise fight
Damn it max

Of course Max couldn’t control his urge to throw lightning at a problem, why we would any of us suspect anything else! The man whose room we entered was strange, Antonio said he was a half-celestial, or at-least he looked like it. There were some red flags raised by him, such as why we had not seen him previously if he entered a few days ago we surely should have passed him. The other major issue was that supposedly Strahd does not like this man, if that is true then how has he survived thus far?

After hearing his story I was still slightly suspicious but was willing to cooperate. After a hushed conversation with Antonio he revealed he too was suspicious, and asked me to look around the room. Somehow Antonio got a name from his god and when he prodded the stranger with it he revealed the rest of his story. Supposedly he came with a friend who betrayed him and sought his corruption or destruction, the man before us wished to kill his former companion for this betrayal.

Shortly after this reveal Max decided he wanted to bypass the magical barrier by blowing a hole through the wall beside it…. It worked but he ended up frying… somebody that was hiding on the other side. For now we have no clue who that may be, it could be that the person before us was an impostor holding the original prisoner, this may have been a trap and Max unwittingly killed the person waiting to stab us as we passed, or it could be that the entire story was fictional and the men are completely different. We will have to wait until later to discover if Maxs impulsiveness was a blessing, dismantling a trap before we knew of it, or an error, killing somebody that could have given information or other help.

Seeing as we are down 2 in this fight and the enemies nature we may be in for one hell of a struggle, I believe I will try throwing everything I can muster into one large hit. Hopefully I will destroy the target or at least weaken it enough to be easily finished by the next person to hit it. As a side note this will be interesting to see how Thanifex responds to such a large exertion of power…

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No turning back

It would appear that the few undead we fought were not in fact the ambush that we were warned about. Not even enough time to catch our breath passed before Julianah found the next stage. She wandered forward and was promptly full of arrows. As expected Max charged forward, made a safe spot with wind and engaged in a ranged battle. I am still unsure if I should be surprised or simply annoyed that he failed to create a safe passage to the doors until AFTER everybody else made a run to them, getting shot in the process.

Luckily for me the vampire appears to be not only quick but skilled in unarmed combat, deflecting many of the shots with his bare hands. The champion on the other hand… it is at least sturdier than anything I have made so far. The mistress sealed us into the castle as we passed and we have no where to go but forward.

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