Fate Comes to Call

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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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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