Upon a pale horse... (The Mists of Ravenloft)

Celebration and Despair

Vistani Camp

  • When the Raoul’s wagons finally come to a stop Kira, Melantha and Evan go out to greet the members of Melantha’s tribe. Evan is greeted warmly and everyone is happy that he has returned from death. Kessler, Iadrei, and Zora had found their way back after being lost in the fight with Ebe. Luceitta (the daughter of Gabrielle Aderre and Matton) and Nicolletta and Stanislova are also present.
  • Evan tells all his tale following the separation at Castle Hunadroa and deaths over the last year. At hearing how Kazandra killed him quickly, Stanislova also comments to Evan that it takes an incredibly special person to evoke compassion and mercy out of a vampire. Perhaps she actually cares for Evan in some way, a thought that intrigues and frightens Evan.
  • The celebration is interrupted when and emaciated Vistani approaches the camp – Valanna a member of the tribe of Hyskosa cast out by Melantha who Evan had previous encounters with and believed to have killed. Although tense at first, she is allowed to enter the circle and speak.
  • Valanna tells of the activities of the Dukkars and although they cannot be seen by the Vistani sight, they can be followed by more conventional means. Using the Mists to travel, Melantha, Kira and Evan are able to witness a meeting of the know Dukkars, an unknown female Dukkar and Kazandra.
  • During this meeting Kazandra convinces the female Dukkar, Czesia, to aid them, saying “there is more to life than piracy”. Together the four use their powers to allow Malocchio to take a few steps outside of Invidia, although it causes him agonizing pain. Kazandra muses on what the power of all nine Dukkar could accomplish.
  • Back at the camp, there is much discussion about the implications of the activities and what to do about it. It is the general consensus that Azalin is attempting to use the Dukkar’s ability to distort reality to try and break his bondage. Valanna believes that they do not know the identity of all nine and that Azalin had sent out a scholar (only known as “S”) to search the lands for them.
  • Stanislova mentions the legend of the Sword of Vistan which will be present at the end of times. The sword is said to be a powerful weapon but must be bathed in the blood of the nine before it can vanquish the evil. Kira’s swords have already drawn blood of Malocchio and if she drew the blood on the others, her sword could be forged into the Sword of Vistan.
  • During the night, Kessler has a serious conversation with Kira and attempts to dissuade her from joining this quest to fight the Dukkars, which he feels is suicide. Kira cannot abandon her friends, especially Evan, and needs to explore her growing powers that manifested in Necropolis. Eventually they agree to part ways.
  • Kessler and Melantha have a long argument about where the child Luceitta should live. As half wolfwere and half Vistani, both Kessler’s pack and Melantha’s tribe is appropriate, but Melantha doesn’t want here to become a killer. Evan proposes that she spend time with both and act as a liaison, passing information between the groups. Melantha and Kessler agree.
  • Evan’s reading of the notes of “S” have the last entries mentioning someone called Meridoff on an island in the Eternal Sea. Although it isn’t much to go on it is a lead that might potentially allow Evan to find “S” and discover how she was able to break her bonds to Azalin. Also, if the female Dukkar is a pirate, they might encounter her as well on the Seas.
  • Melantha, Evan and KIra decide to head back the Dementlieu and make for the Eternal Sea from there. Evan wants to stop by his vault to check on the Skull, and see what has become of his family home. From there they will venture into the Eternal Sea to search for the Dukkar and the fate of “S”.
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Hope is Kindled
  • In the cloning chambers, Evan and the others took a moment to rest and formulate a plan to escape Castle Avernus. To avoid the majority of the castle’s deadly inhabitants, they decided to make their way back up to the top and re-connect with Kira’s eagle allies. As they mounted the eagles, a screaming voice could be heard, “This is not my child! Betrayers!” They quickly flew off into a gathering storm.

Ebb* Evan directed the group north, towards the village of Despondia near the former city of Il Aluk, now know as Necroplis. As the light grew smaller from the castle, they suddenly vanished all together, and a roar confirmed their fears, Azalin’s dragon, Ebb was giving chase. They headed into the storm with Melantha taking the lead as Evan and Kira attempted to delay the dragon with their magic. Kira intensified the storm and was able to strike Ebb several times with lightning. Evan was only somewhat successful as he was still weak from his ordeal in the towers. Eventually a powerful blast of lighting struck the beast and it plummeted to the earth. Only Evan, Kira and Melantha made it to the outskirts of Despondia, Kesseler and the others were lost to the storm.

  • Evan led his friends to the inn of the Squid and the Duck in a desolated part of the village, very near the border of the Shroud. Despite the cold and palpable effects of the shroud, the inn appeared warm and inviting. They were treated to a hearty vegetable stew by an ancient looking inn keeper. Evan asked about the whereabouts of “la Petite Lapin” and the innkeeper said that she stops by the inn from time to time.
  • Later that evening, a cloaked woman entered the inn and approached Evan. She was once an attractive human, but now appeared to be an undead creature, although one of free will. She said that very few knew of her nickname and she agreed to help him, although Evan didn’t know exactly what help was being offered. She provided the group with a red flower, the Amaranth, that would protect them from the Shroud as long as it was worn against the skin. Evan offered the others the option to stay behind, but both agreed to accompany him.
  • They made their way through the streets and crossed through the shroud. Kira was particularly affected by the experience, which had begun as soon as they arrived at the village. They narrowly avoided Pestilence as he rode by, and Evan’s old wound acted up once again. Eventually they reached an abandoned building and descended into the cellar. The woman handed Evan a small locket and gestured toward a large steel door. As he approached the doors opened revealing a large storage room of boxes and crates. Evan went in to examine the contents and found the objects to be those of a wizards study. He collected what he needed.
  • As Evan collected what he needed, the woman told a story of how she received the nickname of la Petite Lapin as a child and that only the innkeeper and her mother knew the name. She assumed that Evan knew her mother and only when she referred to her as “S” did he finally make the connection to one of his scholar associates working for Azalin. The woman was injured with her mother, and she was thrown into Necroplois by her mother where she died and was reborn. She was determined to seek revenge on any of her mother’s allies, including Evan and his friends.
  • She crushed the flowers and called forth her undead allies and a fierce battle ensured. The woman’s zombies were cut down quickly, but she was much more formidable than her allies. Under the focus of Evan, Melantha and Kira she eventually fell, with Kira landing the killing blow. As she did, she collapsed to the ground, vomiting and in total agony. As the worst of it a golden flame erupted from her. The woman’s flesh turned a healthy shade of pink and red blood flowed from her wounds, with a gasp she truly died. The remaining zombies dropped to their knees in awe, “It is a miracle. You must live so that you can return. Flee now, Death will know of this miracle!”
  • Quickly as they could, they followed the zombie to the edge of the Shroud. Kira’s energy apparently protecting them from the necrotic effects. At the border the zombie stopped and said “I know you will return to us.” As the group headed back to the inn, they happened upon one of Melantha’s vardos. Raoul greeted them and said that Zora, Iadrei and Kessler said that she would need some help. They quickly entered the vardo and headed out into the Mists.
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A Soul Saved

ChainGolem.jpg

  • The chains arose from the mist covered depression in the floor and whispered “Why do you want to disturb my favorite plaything?” Having no patience for threats or negotiations with the beast, the group moved to attack.
  • Kira conjured a colored orb and threw it at the creature, striking hard a dazing it. Melantha moved forward and began slashing it with her swords, continuing to daze the foul creature. Iadrei chanting an old Vistani dirge as he attacked which caused the wounds on the chain demon to be more deadly. Zora twisted and turned, slashing at the chains and knocking pieces off with each precise dagger strike. Finally Kessler charged in landing several solid blows. Finally the creature fell, almost completely unable to act under the constant attacks.
  • As the broken chains collapsed to the floor, a great ball of fire erupted pushing everyone back and forming another demonic figure. The demonic creature was not as easy a prey as the chains and the force of its initial attack threw the party off balance. They recovered and Melantha finally took the beast down with a cascade of blows from her scimitars. However, the party suffered several wounds, particularly Kessler and Melantha, that Iadrei was only partially able to attend to.
  • With the immediate threats eliminated, the group approached the mist covered cloning vat in the floor. Above the vat was clear crystal with something moving inside of it. The mists pulled back from the cloning vat to reveal the body of Evan Moreau, naked except for a bracer on his right forearm.
  • Kira recognized that the apparatus could be a perfected version of the magic that Evan had explored on capturing souls in objects such as gemstones. Careful examination revealed that the bracer on Evan’s arm contained a socket that appeared to match the gemstone.
  • Hoping that there was no deception, Kira placed the gemstone into the bracer. Although it was a little snug it eventually slid in nicely. As soon as it was placed in the socket, the light in the gemstone vanished and the body twitched and began coughing and climbing its way out of the vat.
  • Fearfully Evan asked if this was a trick and Melantha asked if Evan knew who he was. Kira and Melantha were eventually convinced that this was Evan Moreau and tearfully they welcomed him back.
  • Evan described various memory fragments starting with his beheading at Castle Hunadora. Next recalled waking in this room only to be killed by Azalin. When he woke next he was tortured for a long period of time by the chain demons until Kazandra took pity on him and killed him. During his next period of consciousness Azalin beat him with his fists until he was dead. Evan remembered little else besides these horrible deaths.
  • Evan was wrapped in one of Melantha’s cloaks and the group started thinking on how to get out of Azalin’s castle.
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Where Eagles Fear to Go
  • Upon their return to the Vistani camp, they were rejoined by Kessler’s wolfwere pack. Although the hunting had been good, the wolves did not like the taste of Goblyn flesh. Lothar questioned Kessler’s leadership and a struggled ensued. Eventually Kessler was able to force Lothat to submit, but it was likely that was not the end of the issue between the two.
  • Using her powers of nature and life, Kira summoned a flock of giant eagles to take them to Avernus. Once again Melantha, Kira and Kessler were joined by Zora and Iadrei. As the eagles approached the castle, they began to become anxious, however, Kira was able to keep them under her control long enough for them to be deposited onto the uppermost spire of the castle.
  • As the eagles flew away, the banshee guardian began to form on the battlements. As she began to let out a scream, Kira presented the Eye to her. She immediately stopped, transfixed by the artifact, and demanded that Kira turn over her child. Doing so, the group quickly left her presence to plan their next move.
  • Deciding to avoid the arcane and mundane traps that were inside the castle, the group made a treacherous descent down the outside. They chose to use ropes to ease the effort, at the expense of making it more difficult to remain unnoticed.
  • The skill of Melantha and Iadrei were able to help the group remain quiet and undetected, although Zora’s strength failed her and she narrowly escaped a fall to certain death. Only a few tumbling rocks betrayed their presence and the group hoped it was not enough to arouse suspicion.
  • Reaching the level they thought was approximately the location of the cloning chamber, the group entered into the castle through a window. They found themselves in a dimly lit room with a strange circle of mist covered graves and a table of potions and other alchemical equipment.
  • Recognizing the cloning room they had visited in the past, Melantha moved to investigate the circle of graves, only to be repelled by a blast of necrotic energy. As she recovered from the shock, a pair of eyes appeared near the table, proclaiming to be none other than Azalin.
  • Kessler’s acute eyes were able to make out the form of an imp near the table, a servant of Azalin’s he assumed. Enraged, Melantha charged the cackling creature, smashing some of the vials, but failing to hit the devil.

Potions Puzzle

  • In a playful mood, the creature gave a hint about how the group might be able to cross into the circle of graves, noting that the price for failure was death. The group struggled to unlock the secret of the seven potions with the clues given to them by the imp. In the end, Kira determined the correct potion to drink to allow them access to the circle. Their trust in her turned out to be well placed as they crossed the barrier without incident.
  • However, once they were inside the circle, the mists above the graves parted slightly and a large number of chains began to rise out of the floor. With a clanking sound they continued to move towards the party…
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Into Tepest

Burning house

  • The party and members of the Moreau family and staff fled into the woods outside the Moreau Estates, followed by the angry mobs. The mists arose from the ground and the party arrived at group of Vistani Vardos and was greeted by Raoul.
  • The rioters could be heard on either side of the wagons, but did not intercept the party. Kessler and Kira could sense the presence of their pack and the occasional scream meant that the hunting was good.
  • When the last of the Moreau family was loaded into the wagons, the mists thickened and the ancient Vistani Stanislova guided the caravans safely out of Dementlieu. The smell of the burning estates was replaced with that of salty air and when the mists thinned, the wagons were outside the town of Mordentshire, at the estates of Pierre Moreau.
  • Their arrival was a shock for Pierre as was the news of the rioting in Dementlieu. Pierre invited them in and there was a celebration of their survival and a mourning for those that were lost.
  • Colette approached Kira, Melantha and Kessler and thanked them for saving her and Lucas. She confessed that she was conflicted about Evan and his friends, feeling that despite his faults he was a good man, but not being able to reconcile his involvement with the death of Elizabeth Hawthorne. She was treated coldly by the group.
  • The group made plans for their next move and sought council from Stanislova. “One does not simply walk into Avernus” she reminded them, but it was decided that it might be possible to fly and drop down onto the highest spire.
  • Kira and Melantha discussed their previous trip to Avernus while traveling back in time. There the group encountered a shadow dragon and a banshee near the top of the tower. They also remembered encountering the cloning rooms and destroying all of the clones – except that Evan would not kill his.
  • Kira remembered a story about the Banshee who was enslaved by Azalin. According the story she was once a shadow fey of Tepest who was killed with her child when discovered. Legend recalls being able appease the banshee if she was given an infant. Melantha rejected the notion of stealing a baby and giving it to the banshee, although Kessler thought the idea was a good one (and even suggested finding a sick and dying child). Kira went against her pack master and mates direction and sided with Melantha.
  • Stanislova told the group about an ancient artifact called the Eye of Vhaeraun which might appease the banshee as it would appear to be whatever a person desired most. The eye was believed to be in the possession of the three hags of Tepset, foul darklords of the land. The party decided to head to Tepest and try to recover the eye.
  • Arriving in Tepest via the mists, the group was joined by a brother and sister from Melantha’s tribe – Iadrei, who was a violin player and Zora who was a dancer. Both were capable in combat were eager to help Melantha. Kessler was able to convince his pack to run interference with the Goblyns that typically aided the hags. His pack was not pleased, but followed their leaders wishes.
  • Kira, Kessler, Melantha, Zora and Iadrei were given a potion that would temporarily nullify the effect of the Vistani artifact and allow it to be seen as a simple black orb. They headed out following a trail and the scent of of decay.
  • The group eventually found a cabin withe the discarded remains of many creatures around it. The cabin appeared empty, but the muck covered windows made observation of the interior difficult. Leading the way into the cabin Kessler found a mutilated Goblyn that was still alive. Kessler put the thing out of its misery.

Hag

  • The group searched the cabin and found a trap door beneath the table the Goblyn was on. They also discovered a woman chained inside a large cabinet. Despite her pleas and begging to be set free, the group was distrustful of her and left her there. Kessler went into the crawlspace beneath the cabin to search for the eye among the other treasures.
  • With her ruse not working on the jaded adventurers, the woman transformed into a Hag and started to attack the party. Two more Hags appeared during the vicious fight working their foul magic on the party. Eventually two of the Hags fell and the third disappeared in a puff of smoke.
  • Kira went into the crawlspace and quickly discovered the Eye while the rest of the party stood watch in case the last Hag returned. The group then headed back to the Vardos.
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The Moreau Estates

Moreau library

  • Inside the library the group is afforded a brief rest where to tend their wounds from the fight with the undead.
  • Melantha examines the rose petals to find that they are mostly dead, but not totally. Kira begins searching through Evan’s research, with several books found by Kessler, and finds information to trapping the souls of the dead.
  • While Kessler and Melantha search for more useful books, Kira examines the roses and confirms that there is still some life in the dead roses. Interestingly, each of the roses appears to be exactly identical to the others, as if they were the same rose.
  • Finally locating some useful tomes, Kessler delivers them to Melantha, who discovers a magic ritual that can contact the souls of the dead. Kira’s lack of familiarity with the principles does not allow her to assist Melantha.
  • Kessler locates one of Evan’s journals that describes his ordeal with Lynn where he successfully captured her soul. Although it was a crude attempt, he was sure that there were better ways to perform such magic.
  • Melantha failed in her attempts to use the ritual magic, with her body ravaged by necrotic energy. At one point in her attempt she spoke with an unearthly voice, saying: “Your wizard is not here, stop looking for him.” Not wanting to risk further damage to herself, Melantha abandoned the attempt.
  • Kira took a different approach and attempted to commune with the roses. She felt herself journey to another land where she met the spirit of Sarah, who had given the roses to Evan. Sarah revealed that she had seen Evan die once in the crowd and twice more in “the place where birds fear to travel and death reigns from a throne.” She was still waiting for Evan to join her in the afterlife, but he had not arrived.
  • Recognizing that description as possibly meaning Castle Avernus, the home of Azalin in Darkon, the group decided to journey there in an attempt to free Evan’s soul. They decided to tell Sophie of their plan in an attempt to get her to leave the Estates.
  • As they left the library, strangely a long time had passed. Sounds of violence and screams could be heard coming from the main house. The group rushed in, finding the main house being attacked by an angry mob.
  • Kessler ran into Gerard who joined him holding off the mob at the front doors of the house. Kira and Melantha split up to search the house for any family members, particularly concerned about Evan’s son Lucas and Sophie.
  • During the long search, Kessler managed to hold the front, only retreating to the grand staircase when he was joined by more guards. Kira and Melantha managed to search the entire house, rescuing a large number of servants and family members. Eventually the group retreated through the woods.
  • In the end Louis Moreau IV was taken and Valerie Cross was not found. The rest that were sent out of the house were grouped with Fendrick, who miraculously survived, and led off the property into the countryside.
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The Moreau Estates

Moreau estates

  • Melantha, Kira and Kessler approached the Morea Estates to warn them of them impending danger. At the front gate they asked to speak with Colette but were forced to wait for over a half hour before Gerard who told they that they were not welcome at the Estates. They managed to convince Gerard that the situation was desperate and he allowed them to enter the Estates.
  • After waiting for another hour Colette finally makes an appearance and is upset with them for bringing up memories of Evan. They learn that the majority of the family thinks ill of Evan for going off and “getting himself killed”. None of the family believe that there is any real danger from the peasants.
  • They are gradually joined by many members of the Moreau Family, including Louis, Anton, Pierre and Sophie De La Rue. Despite impassioned pleas describing the dangers the family is not convinced and only Sophie, who wants to leave, and Gerard, who wants to increase the guards, appear to have any grasp of the situation.
  • Frustrated at the irrational behavior, the group attempts to do what they can. Kessler searches the grounds and discovers that there a few paths out of the Estates that could be good escape routes if needed.
  • Kira heads to the library and finds it to be unkempt and generally run down. One oddity was that the rose bushes were in bloom. The roses were only to be in bloom as long as Evan was alive. Kira felt a strong presence of magic but was not sure what was going on. As she watched, the roses began to die.
  • The Gerard informed the party that the family would be staying in the Estates. At the mention of the roses, Gerard mentions that they have bloomed once before and died quickly again. Gerard suggests that if they want to stay, they had better keep a low profile. Unsure as to the significance of the roses, the group examines Evan’s tomb and finds his body still within, decaying as Gerard has said it would be.
  • A further investigation of the library shows that the locks on the door have been broken. A search of the area reveals that several individuals apparently broke in and looted the entry way. The robber’s trail was followed and lead to a gate to the basement at the end of a long hallway. There were five corpses near the gate.
  • Horribly, the corpses stirred, rose and began to move towards the party. A fierce battle ensued with Melantha taking many wounds. Eventually the corpses were defeated and the party retreated from the gate to tend to their wounds.
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A Renewed Friendship
  • Roughly one year has passed since the heroes fight at Castle Ravenloft where Strahd Von Zarovich was defeated.
  • The winter in Invidia was cold, but quiet with good hunting for Kira and Kessler, who now was the wolfwere pack master following the death of Matton.
  • In the spring a conflict between Borca and Flakovnia, with northern Borca being occupied by Viggo. Ivan Dylsinia is captured or killed. The four tower’s treaty is invoked, with the majority of the aid coming from Dementlieu. Falkovnia in turn cuts off grain supplies to the four tower’s countries, which affects Demenlieu most of all.
  • In Barovia, without the Count’s protection, Shariza has run the Barovians mostly out of Barovia.
  • Rumors of the reappearance of Antoinette Reiner in Richemulot who is attempting to unite the country.

Vistani wagon

  • Melantha has been travelling with her tribe, the remnants of the Tribe of Hyskosa. As the 1 year anniversary of Evan Moreau’s death approaches, Melantha has a vision of the Moreau Estates bathed in blood. In order to preserve the pact that Evan made with the Vistani, Melantha feels bound to come to their aid.
  • Melantha travels to Invidia and lures Kira and Kessler to her camp with the smell of curry. Kira agrees to help Melantha protect the Moreau Family and Kessler decides to come along to help his mate and repay the debit he owes Evan. Together they travel the mists to Dementlieu where they encounter a noble’s hunting party chasing a 10-year old boy.
  • A fight ensues as Kira, Kessler and Melantha come to the rescue of the boy and quickly dispatch most of the hunting party. When the question the boy, they find that he’s part of an underground movement called the “Son’s of Enlightenment”. They claim that the nobles are starving the peasants because of the wars. Sympathetic to the plight of the peasants, they set the boy free.
  • The remaining member of the hunting party claims that they are not simply a dissident movement, but a well organized terrorist group. The Moreau Estates have not been attached yet, but there is a movement against them. Apparently Louis Moreau IV arranged to have a pig farmer sent to debtor’s prison when one of his pigs disrupted Louis’ daughter’s equestrian show, causing the horse to break an ankle. Feeling that the noble would cause nothing but trouble, they finished him.
  • Kira, Kessler and Melantha managed to sneak through the back country of Dementlieu and reached the Moreau Estates.
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Book Two, Prologue the Second
A murder most vile...

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Book Two, Prologue the First
Deadly secrets discovered in the jungles of Sri Raji
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