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

Book One, Chapter Three

Heroes attend an expected wedding and another not-so-expected wedding

September 9, 747 – In the early hours of the morning on the day following the Castle Street Riots, tensions were still simmering. Following the orders of Jacqueline Reiner, Dominic Levigny pulled all of the city guard out of the Harbor District and barred all travel in the hopes that the various gangs and criminal elements would turn the district into a lawless pit and the people would blame Louise Reiner.

Louise turned to her associates who assisted her in overthrowing Gerard Le Mains. True to her word, she gave them each some information that they were seeking…

  • To Lydis Solnychnev she revealed that her agents have seen someone matching her sister’s description frequenting the notorious brothel called Yellow Songbird.
  • She granted Evan Moreau access to her library where he was able to unlock more secrets from his mysterious tome.
  • She revealed to Villim Steinadler that his brother will not be hard to find as he is soon marrying Nina Levigny, daughter of the Lord Governor Dominic. She also explained to him that as Richemulot is founded as a nation of immigrants, all Echkardt would have to do is swear fealty to Jacqueline Reiner and Richemulot and he would be considered a full citizen… and thus extraditing him back to Falkovnia could be viewed as an act of war.
  • Finally, Louise asked Helen of Verbrek about a star-shaped scar on her hand. Helen said she had no idea about where it came from. After a long pause, Louise Reiner revealed that she believes that Helen is really Antoinette Reiner, her only daughter, believed lost for nearly 17 years.

Boris and Maria

It is also during this time that Boris Strugalla receives a letter from his secret love (and Villim’s sister) Maria Steinadler. She says that her father is planning to marry her off to Drago Novak, ally to Wolfram and Governor of Silbervas. She writes that he is a hideous a brutal man and she can not bear the thought of being married to him. She said also that had fled from Falkovnia and is currently en route to Mortigny and will arrive soon.

Pierre Egout

September 12, 747 – Louise then ordered the group to help her restore order in the Harbor District, particularly relying on Villim to organize a civilian militia. As part of his attempt to do this, he visited his friend Pierre Egout, sewer foreman for Opera de Mortigny. At his work, he found out the Pierre had not show up for work since the Castle Street Riots. The group went looking for him at his home and found him collapsed on the floor, drink with despair. His wife had been missing and he feared her to be dead.

At first, the group feared that she had potentially been killed in the midst of the riots, but after some brief investigation, the determined that she had been seen after the riots.

The group searched about in the area where she was last seen and discovered an abundance of dead rats strewn about the streets. They entered the sewers nearby and encountered a strange Caliban who roamed the sewers. He said that he had been making himself scarce because the “ratmen” were “up to something.” The asked him to lead them to the area where the “ratmen” were and he did, disappearing shortly after.

They discovered that the wererats had a lab in the depths of the sewers and were performing obscene experiments on kidnapped humans and injecting them with a vile Lycanthropy Serum. The infected humans were turned into insane, brute-like, rat-monstrosities.

These beasts were released on the group as the ratmen fled, destroying the lab in the process. After slaying the beasts, Evan was able to recover some lab notes as well as a syringe of the Lycanthropy Serum.

A search of the bodies of the infected revealed no clue as to their identity, but it was presumed by the group that Pierre’s wife, Claudia, was among them.

The group returned the information to Louise who appeared to be very distressed about the development.

Villim, Helen and the Vistani

In order to deal with his own situation, Villim enlisted Helen’s aid in contacting the Vistani. She believed a caravan to be close and the two ventured into the House of Sages hoping to locate a caravan. After many futile hours of searching she heard the familiar calls of the Vista Chiri and lead Villim deeper into the forests.

Here they encountered a group of Falkovnians preparing to hang a Vistani boy whom they accused of theft. Helen was enraged and Villim commanded the Falkovnians to release the young gypsy, but they refused claiming that they were merely protecting their property. There was a brief battle and the Falkovnians were killed. Grateful, the young Vistana (who called himself Iadrei) led Helen and Villim to the Vistani camp.

At the camp, Helen was reunited with her friends Raul and Nicoleta who told her that they were expecting their first child. Villim spoke with Madame Yvonne, the Raunie of the tribe, and told her that he wanted a potion that when imbibed would make the drinker appear to be dead for several days. He intended to give the potion to Eckhardt at his wedding and then steal his “body” away in the night. She agreed that she would give him just such a potion and in return he would agree to “do the next thing that a Vistani asks you to do.”

Villim and Helen spent the night with the Vistani and then returned to the group and made preparations to go to the wedding.

Lydis and the Yellow Songbird

Lydis went to the Yellow Songbird in search of her sister and fearing that she had been forced into prostitution. Lena was there, but to Lydis’ surprise, she was serving as a healer to the whores and was treating their illnesses.

When she finished giving treatment to the women of the Yellow Songbird, Lena took Lydis back to Richemulot’s Hospice of Hala where Lena had become a recent convert to the Halite Faith. Lena introduced her sister to Vivianne, the proprietor of the Hospice, as well as Lena’s closest friend and mentor.

Lydis witnessed the poor conditions and lack of funding that the Hospice suffered from and when next she met with Louise Reiner, she mentioned their plight. Louise seized the opportunity to publicly donate a large sum of money to the Hospice furthering her goal of stabilizing the Harbor District and bolstering her public image.

Evan and Devard

During this time Claire and Sophie Moreau were sent to Mortigny to check in on their brother Evan who was supposed to be negotiating shipping contracts for the Moreau Shipping Company. Claire instead used this opportunity to drag Evan into the Mortigny social circles, where her flamboyance, snobbery, and drunkenness embarrassed the typically reserved Evan to no end. She even went so far as openly mocking the popular philosophies of suffering advocated by Compte Jean Marcel de Penible directly to his face.

Evan’s time within Mortigny’s social circles wasn’t a total loss: he was contacted by a young man named Devard who showed great interest in Evan’s field of study, particularly the Tome of Sanguinary Repercussions. He claimed to represent an order in Richemulot known as the Society of Astrologers who had vast arcane resources.

He offered to give Evan access to their knowledge in exchange for his help in a simple heist. They were to steal several books out of the library of Dominic Levigny during the upcoming wedding of Eckhardt Steinadler and Nina Levigny.

The Wedding of Eckhardt and Nina

September 18, 747 – The group (along with Claire, Sophie, and Lena) were dressed by the finest clothier in Mortigny at the expense of Louise Reiner, and taken by carriage to the estates of Dominic Legigny in the Capital District. Here they stood shoulder to shoulder with Louise as she traded smalltalk and insulting innuendo with her twin sister and ruler of Richmulot, Jacqueline Reiner.

Villim needed to poison his brother, Eckhardt, with the sleeping potion he had recieved from the Vistani, but knew that he would be watched like a hawk and wouldn’t be able to do it himself. So he pleasantly traded thinly-veiled insults with his brother while sending Cara to do the deed of poisoning Eckhardt’s drink.

Evan slipped away from the group to rendezvous with Devard. The two went silently into a deserted corner of the Levigny library where Devard betrayed Evan and stabbed him in the back. Evan was mortally wounded and collapsed in a pool of his own blood. Devard taunted him before he took the Tome of Sanguinary Repercussions from him. Sophie had been trailing Evan to see what he was up to and shrieked as she saw Devard over her brother’s bloody form. Devard assaulted her with dark magics, knocking her unconscious, and he slipped away in the chaos.

Lydis rushed to Evan and Sophie’s sides and through her healing magic, she was able to stabilize them and the group rushed from the manor to the (relatively) friendlier grounds of Hotel Blanc. Here she was able to save their lives, but the attack had left Sophie permanently blinded.

During this chaos, Cara was able to dump the potion into Eckhardt’s drink which he promptly drank in a mocking toast to his brother.

Boris’ secret

Awaiting their return was a messenger with a letter for Boris: his secret love, Maria Steinadler, had arrived in Mortigny. Once Evan and Sophie had been stabilized, Boris took Lydis and Helen with him to her hiding place and asked Lydis to wed them, witnessed by Helen. It wasn’t until she stated her last name during the wedding ceremony that Lydis and Helen realized that Boris had just married Villim’s sister.

Boris and Maria begged the priest and ranger to keep their secret as Villim’s loyalty to his father would likely lead him to send Maria home to marry the vile Drago Novak. They reluctantly agreed.

Aftermath

September 19, 747 – The next morning, the streets were abuzz with “tragic” news from the night before: Eckhardt Steinadler had been found dead in his marital bed… It seemed Villim’s plan had worked!

Fearing for their further safety, Claire took Sophie and returned to Dementlieu, leaving Evan alone in bed to plot his revenge upon Devard.

Villim offered his condolences to Eckhardt’s new bride and requested that he be given his body to take back to Falkovnia. Nina flew into a rage and said that she would never allow him to be taken back to the home country that he hated so much. Villim expected this and planned to steal the body away following its internment.

September 21, 747 – He waited three days until the burial of Eckhardt and that night he sneaked into the graveyard (with the help of Helen, Cara, and Boris) and exhumed his brother’s casket. He was interrupted by Nina and her personal guard who had been keeping watch over the grave. Nina laughed at Villim and told him to open the casket. He did, to reveal nothing but dirt. Eckhardt’s body was not there…

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