Expedition to Castle Ravenloft (Mavrickindigo)

Journal Entry (Emen)
Journal Entry 9

     Since we have resolved our business at the ruins we went to the crossroads, this time our search bore fruit. We found a box which once held the Sunsword. However it appears someone retrieved it before we did. Considering the time we have taken I am not surprised. We made our way back to town to gather supplies before our assault on the castle.

     When we arrived Dubon inquired with the townsfolk about Ashlyn, and our suspicions were confirmed: It seems she found the Sunsword, but it was not activated. She along with her party went to Madam Eva to inquire about how to unlock its true power.

     As we went to Bildrath the merchant, we received a letter. It was from Strahd announcing his wedding where he will marry Ireena. My blood ran cold, my heart is racing. I do not know what Strahd has done, but I will not allow him to continue with his sick games. I have acquired a large amount of stakes, garlic, and flour for dealing with Strahd. I do not know how he was made a vampire, but I will unmake him. We have gone to Madam Eva to meet with Ashlyn so that she might aid us. I know my reaction is more than just my desire to slay undead, but this is still the right course of action. I do not hate Strahd because he is a tyrant (as some have called him). There are many other reasons, some of them personal, but every day I am reminded of why I must be unwavering in my pursuit of undead. Every time an item falls from my trembling hands or I hear errant whispers I remember why.

     Disaster has struck! My attempts at righting his wrongs have been delayed. By some incredible sorcery we have been transported to a strange world. We have been met by strange birds in absurd costumes assaulting a cook. I do not know if we are still on the material plane anymore. The sooner we can escape, the better. I must get out of here, no matter the cost.

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Journal Entry (Emen)
Journal Entry 8

     After dusting ourselves off and healing from our wounds we went deeper into the ruins. We entered some werewolves, no doubt they have made this basement their lair. We dispatched them quickly, apparently they suffer from some sort of illness or disease. Although one was still alive it could not help us learn more about this area. We came to a locked door soon, and spent some time attempting to unlock it. During this investigation Kess seperated himself from us via a stone barrier.

     In the next room we found a room of fire elementals staring us down. Thanks to quick thinking Rajani was able to understand their speech. It seems they were trapped here and anchored to that room. I was able to negotiate with them and break the anchor, allowing them to return home. I admit that helping them was an exciting experience, but I am glad that our meeting came to an end. However, what we found inside the room made the ordeal well worth the struggles we have endured.

     Among the bones of previous adventurers we found it! The Holy Symbol of Ravenkind! I do not know how it got here, nor do I care. I know that now we can finally approach the castle, and put an end to Strahd once and for all. We should attempt to procure the Sunsword before then, and make preparations before assaulting the castle. I can only hope that Ireena is safe. Before I distract myself I should log everything else.

     In the final room we found what appeared to be a woman, who was trapped by four magical runes carved into the ground. However something did not seem right, and she revealed herself to be a strange creature I did not recognize. Dubon still felt honor bound to help, and that we did. There were two beasts guarding the runes, as well as a way out, but they were of no consequence. The being was able to escape before Dubon could slay it unfortunately. We made our way back to Kess.

     While we were gone it seems he has lost his mind. Apparently in order to save that werewolf he bound his life to it. While this cured it’s disease, it still remains a lycan. Furthermore should it die, he will too. Now not only must we tolerate Kess further endangering the party and himself, but we are forced to bring a lycan with us. I think Dubon was about to snap. Rajani has decided to take care of the monster for now, apparently our new cohort (although I am loathe to use such a term) is named Tris. I can only hope this co-venture will end soon. Regardless we have made much progress, my thoughts are increasingly on Ireena. I hope we can find her before it is too late.

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Kess's thoughts prior to the party regrouping.

“I better start with the blade-guard” Kess thinks to himself “Huh-ta-dot-da it seems to be taking the others ages to get out. I’m sure their all right” He starts unpacking his lab and going about his work, heating up some vials or mixing various chemicals. “What am I doing?” He stops, holding a vial above a burner. “Has my reach exceeded my grasp?” He pulls his hand away from the burner, sloshing the vial from side to side in thought. “Was it right what I did?” He glances behind him towards Tris, who is watching a beetle slowly make its way up the wall. “Have I taken away her free will? Have I made her my slave?” He turns back to his lab, staring down at the vial he is holding. Slowly setting it on the burner.

A small angry fist slams into his makeshift table, causing some bottles to topple and spill. Scowling in anger Kess starts cleaning them up, but his mind continues to wander. “Have…have I really?” He pauses a moment, a rag in one hand and a chipped vial in another. “Is she not free to act? Is she still capable of doing as she wants?” He starts using the rag to clean the desk. “I haven’t taken her free will. She can commit wrong freely can’t she? I can’t stop her from doing anything.” He finishes cleaning and goes back to the vial on the burner. “What have I done then? I gave her rules didn’t I? I gave consequences to her actions, I have effectively put law into place over a single person.”
Shaking his head slightly as he takes the vial off the burner and replaces it with another. “She is free to act, but not free of the consequences of her actions. Am I different from that?”

He corks the finished potion. “Did the warren council not impose law and exile me, to which I accepted?” He brings his hands together, tapping claws together, his expression his seemingly confused. “I accepted those laws because they agreed with what I thought true. But I haven’t exactly bothered with laws in the past if they didn’t think like I did, can I pick and choose my laws to follow?”

Kess sniffs the air, realizing one of his vials is burning he hastily pulls it off. After checking to make sure its alright he corks it with a sigh. “What gives me the right to impose law over another? Especially when I mostly despise it being done to me?” Kess leans against his make shift table, thinking. “What gives anyone the right to impose law? Divine right? If so, does that mean an anti-paladin given divine right by Rovagug is just as lawful or right as one given divine right by Iomedae?” Kess frowns “If they have opposing views then who is right? Both have been given divine right, is it who is stronger? Does might make right?”

Kess replaces another vial on the burner, staring into the finished one. “What about the cases like now? When its a rat imposing law over a savage? I am stronger then her, does that make me right? Am I right because of my might?” Kess freezes in place, suddenly aware that Tris is staring intently at the back of his head. “She’s thinking about me, I…How did I know that?”

His potion on the burner starts issuing smoke and he moves to take it off. Corking both bottles and putting them away. Shaking his head slightly he turns his attention back to what he has done. “I suppose the dominion of gods is nothing but contradictions, better I just do things how I see them. What I see is someone evil I can redeem or fail and die trying to. What I see is a chance to help someone help themselves whatever the cost to me.” He pulls his last vial off the burner, tracing a clawed finger along the mouth of the bottle.

“I’m a hypocrite aren’t I?”

“I despise restrictions on my freedoms but do it to another, justified or no.” He pauses, tightening his grip on the vial he holds. “Then so be it! If I have to break my own code to do what is right then fine! Better to be a hypocrite then a callous monster that would watch another slowly die a painful death!” The vial he is holding emits a large snap, his grip tightening enough to cause it to crack.

Kess looks down at it, annoyed with letting his anger get the better of him. “Did I always get angry this easily? I need to get a hold of myself, I’ll need to be thinking clearly when the group gets back.” He starts packing away his lab, just as he is about to finish he thinks “If they get back…” Sighing, he sits down on his bag.

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Journal Entry #3 [Dubon]

       Ismark the Lesser’s advice was most helpful, and we’ve found the Holy Symbol of Ravenkind. We haven’t gone without hardships though; Two writhing masses of vines attacked us, and only by the grace of Iomedae did we escape with our lives. I was sure the Worgs stalking us from the crossroads would swoop in, but I suppose they were only sent for reconnaissance.

       The small settlement we went to was derelict, where the doors fell open at our touch and the walls were barely recognizable. It seemed trapped in time from a temporally distant place, although that proved to be good for us.

       The inside of the tower there, if you could call it that, had a ceiling ready to cave and a door leading to a spiral staircase downwards. At the base, there was a long hallway with a suspicious lever. That caused us trouble later, but the werewolves and wolverines beyond the hallway’s door an immediate threat. They were hardly fit to fight, both she-wolves suffering from some disease. We tried to cure one after the fight (her companion fell in battle, alas), although our potions seemed to have helped her little. She’s tied up right now, back with Kess behind a great stone slab blocking the entrance. He’s been quite the handful recently, starting fights and getting out of hand to the point where I had to restrain him. I hope he doesn’t do anything brash.

       We saw a fey creature during the fight, although it appears to be an imprisoned being kept here until the end times. Such an unjust punishment not even Strahd is deserving of. I’ve agreed to help it, but my friends are wary. I hope they know I am no fool; If it truly is a being of evil, I will deal with it once it has been freed.

       However, all of these problems are minor in light of our success! When we were preparing to journey deeper into the dungeon, we met a door scalding to the touch. It was here Kess had the bright idea to go and try out that lever, as it may have shut off whatever kept an underground room boiling. It instead released a massive stone, blocking our exit and destroying Tris, that is, the she-wolf’s friend. What lay beyond the door was a group of enslaved beings of fire, perhaps kept as a ward to deter adventurers.

       Rajani was able to understand them, thank goodness. She’s a wonderful girl, and I’m glad to have a fellow follower with me. Hopefully she will be able to accompany me after we’ve taken Strahd down, and maybe form an organization for Iomedae, or at least join as a unit under a current one. I’ve attracted a number of others to my side, but I thought it best they stay at the village, lest Strahd decide to pay a visit. I’ll have to figure out what we’ll do with them later.

       Ah, but I’m veering off on personal matters. Rajani understood their speech, and how they were enslaved by an eternal flame attached to a rune at the center of the room. Emen managed to extinguish it, conjuring a geyser of water from his hands, channeling it into the hole. I know he’s become restless lately, but we found the holy symbol after the steam cleared and the fire beings ascended! He even managed to smile.

       After that was when we met the trapped being. We’ve seem to come to an agreement; We shall help them escape, and they shall help us. I hope it stays true to its word.

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The events between Kess and Tris as the party was trapped in the dungeon.

<kess>: I suppose your…injuries still hurt. Do you? Do you have a fever still? Feel like coughing at all?
Tris groans and curls up, letting out a cough in answer
Kess scowls in irritation.
<kess>: Figures the anti-plague didn’t work, doesn’t always work on the first dose. I have more though…
<tris>: “W…why…?”
<kess>: Hmm?
Kess spins the bottle he is holding on the stone floor in front of him while thinking.
<tris>: “Why… are you… doing this?”
<kess>: I…
<kess>: Well…
<kess>: It’s the right thing to do
<kess>: Why would I let someone die, someone who can think and talk. You never actually hurt me, I have no cause to hurt you
Tris coughs again and lets out another groan of pain. “E-even after k-killing my pack sister… you try to save… me…”
<kess>: My party members killed her because they had to. We didn’t have to kill you so we didn’t. If anything we’d rather help you then harm you, despite the….unfortunate start. Why does this seem strange to you? Surely your pack helps you freely?
<tris>: "We are, were, a pack, you are not…
<kess>: Were?
Tris looks over to the slab, seeing the blood pooling out from beneath it. “She… was all I had… left…”
Kess frowns, then grabs the ropes binding Tris and pulls her up to sit against the wall like him. Once righted he holds out a vial. “Drink this, please, it will help your injuries”.
Tris opens her mouth, closing her eyes and breathing slow deep breaths
<kess>: So your alone then?
Kess has a half worried half sad expression on his face.
Tris coughs up some of the drink, but doesn’t answer further than that
<kess>: I can…well….I can relate to the feeling. Us Ratfolk live and fight communally . I was….exiled when I fought for my people, I…well…in my unthinking manner caused more destruction then had I not acted. Or at least might have.
<kess>: My people decided it best I was exiled, You know I have yet to meet one of my own kind since I left?
<tris>: “You would… benefit… from the gift I have… you’ll… forget.”
<kess>: I don’t want to forget. How am I supposed to learn from my past if I can’t remember!
Kess slams his fist on the stone floor.
Kess sighs wistfully.
<tris>: “What else are you going to do?” she asks. “I’m without a pack… you’re without your comrades.”
Kess gives a small smile.
<kess>: They’ll be back for us don’t worry. Guess neither of us are alone long as we’re right here talking right?
<tris>: “Civilization’s done nothing to help you” she said, seemingly ignoring his suggestion "why stay with it?
Kess thinks for a moment.
<kess>: You know, when I was a wee rat in my warren I used to test my explosives on stray cats.
<kess>: Fed em fish until they got close and blew em sky high. I reasoned it was the best way to test bombs.
<kess>: Then my dad found me during a test
<kess>: I think that’s the closet he ever came to outright beating me, really things might be different if he had.
<kess>: He was just disappointed in me, he yelled at me for what I did. Until I ran off on my own.
<kess>: I ended up running into an old tunnel, tears streaming down my face. I was alone.
Tris sits there, eyes closed, but ears alert
<kess>: I think, now I could be wrong, but I think I learned the biggest lesson in my life at that moment.
<kess>: I was attacked by a centipede, big ugly creature. All legs and pincers
Kess shivers at the memory.
Tris lets out a small, pained laugh
<kess>: When your my height large bugs can be worrisome you know
<kess>: I was out of bombs, I didn’t even own a weapon at that age. I was completely defense-less as this giant bug bared down on me. I wasted my only defense killing innocent animals.
Kess frowns.
<tris>: “If you had the power I wield… you could easily kill any insect in your… path”
<kess>: Aye, but I was very young then. I could have died even with your power
<kess>: I ended up getting saved by a passing sheriff. He shot the centipede dead and led me home. He had to carry me actually, I was too shocked to walk.
<kess>: I remember most clearly though, just sitting on that mans shoulders and thinking “Had I saved my bombs I’d have been safe. Why did I use my weapons to hurt the innocent when something out there is ready to harm me at a moments notice?”
<kess>: Really drove home what my dad yelled at me
<kess>: I…uh…stopped using strays as test subjects
<tris>: “Innocent?… there is no innocent… just prey, and those who hunt them.”
<kess>: Oh is it? Does that give me the right to end you here and now? Why not? I’m stronger then you, but instead I chose to help you. Can you guess why I did that?
Kess’S expression is both angry and stern.
Tris turns her head, fluttering her eyes open but not looking at him
<kess>: Look, I not only spared you but I healed you and tried to remove your disease. Why?! If I’m stronger that makes you prey, why did I help you?
Tris turns and snaps her teeth mere inches from his face, baring them with a pathetic growl
Kess sighs.
<kess>: I thought like you once
<kess>: Civilization, waste of time, better to be free and wild. Live off the land. Sometimes I still think like that.
<kess>: But the same thoughts always creep back into mind. What do I do if I get sick? Who can I turn too? What if I break my limb? I’ll need help but I won’t have any.
<kess>: I’ll be…..alone. More then I am now. I won’t even have humans or elves to lighten the load.
<tris>: “What do you want?” she snarled
<kess>: What do I want?
<kess>: That’s a good question!
<kess>: Tell me, if I infused myself with chemicals. Made myself as bestial and fierce as you. In size and strength. Would it change anything?
Tris looks at him in confusion
<kess>: I could make myself just like you, a big brutish animal with nothing but anger and hate and hunger for prey. Then I could be just like you! Alone and angry until something I couldn’t deal with by myself came and killed me!
<kess>: Is that what you want? To be alone? Packless! Is that it?
<tris>: “I am alone!” she snarled, trying once again in vain to escape from her bonds. “They all died and soon I too will die! You’re wasting your time! I am weak and the strong kill the weak!”
Kess sighs again.
<kess>: Strength isn’t about hurting people, it’s about hurting the right people.
Tris sighs and slumps forward “I can’t hurt anything.”
<kess>: If I broke your bounds right now, gave you all you needed to reach full strength. Would you kill me?
<tris>: “I would have quite a thrill in a hunt to the death.” She said, a little chuckle coming from her. “At my full strength, you would have no chance, little one…”
<kess>: So you’d do it then? You’d kill me? When I’ve done everything I can to help you. To put you in the position to survive. Why? Why not save your strength for a real fight, against someone who wants to hurt you? Why risk killing me when you can live to fight a real threat like a unthinking shambling corpse, only meant to harm?
<tris>: “You are no cat… you are smarter, much more dangerous… you’d be a worthy hunt. Corpses hold nothing for me. I cannot feel their blood bathe my body as I rip them apart. If you are as worthy as I think, even if I hunted you, you wouldn’t die…”
<kess>: Is that all you care about? Fighting? Is that how your see your life, a short brutal jaunt of savagery? How can you expect to find a new pack if you kill everyone you meet?
<tris>: “nnngh, why do you lecture me? Why? I follow my nature!”
<kess>: Then why am I not skulking in the dark and stealing food from better men then me huh!?
<kess>: Why am I not a scurrying rat!?
<tris>: “raaaah!” she thrashed violently, laying on her side, and curling up, shivering. “I’m dying… we’ve tried everything we knew. No natural remedy cures this affliction”
Kess scowls.
<kess>: So is that it? Now you want my help? You want my civilized ways? My skill that defied my nature is what you want is it?
<kess>: Why should I help you when you have outright told me it will lead to my death?
Tris howls and squirms around pathetically on the floor
Kess lets a long drawn out sigh.
<kess>: Your pathetic
<kess>: You know that right?
Tris lets out another howl, but this one is followed by tears, and sobbing
<kess>: Stop it…just…stop. I can’t stand another creature crying please. Look, I’m sorry, I let my temper get the best of me.
Tris continues, but it is quiet, controlled sobs now, curled up on th floor, facing away from him
<kess>: You don’t have to live like this you know. I can help you. You don’t have to be civilized, you don’t have to give yourself up. You can be who you are, you just need to control your anger. If you focus your strength on hurting real threats. People who want to hurt everyone you will live alot longer.
<kess>: You’ll face prejudice, you’ll face people who think you have no right to exist. But forget them, if you do what is right you can find yourself a pack again. You don’t have to be alone.
<tris>: "I’m going… to die… down here…
Kess retrieves a bottle from his coat.
<kess>: I have more anti-plague. This stuff doesn’t always work but with enough doses any disease will die. As for your wounds I can heal you back to your full strength.
Kess sets the antiplague on the floor in front of him.
<kess>: Look
<tris>: "It’s no use… I can tell…
<kess>: I can make you strong again, even if I can’t get rid of the disease two clerics number among my party. Somebody somewhere can heal you. I can get you that help. But you have to make a promise to me.
<tris>: “The girl… said she could help us… but wanted us to go through the door…”
<kess>: Girl?
<tris>: “Knew what was… wrong… in corner, circle…”
<kess>: The fey women! She can help you?
<tris>: not… anymore" she said, shuffling up to the stone
Kess thinks for a moment. “The stone fell when I pulled the lever over there. Will it rise if the lever is pulled again?”
Tris doesn’t really respond, and just lays there
Kess gets up and moves over to the lever, staring up at it.
<kess>: I can’t reach it….Even if I jumped and grabbed it again I couldn’t force it back up…Hmmm
Kess jumps on the lever, desperately scraping his feet against the stone wall. But his foot claws can’t find any purchase.
Kess drops his hand, falling on his ass again.
<kess>: You know…
Tris sniffles
<kess>: If I cut your ropes you could pull the lever yourself. Which might open the stone and get you closer to your cure. I’m willing to bet my friends are already near the fey women’s chamber.
Tris turns her head, then lays back down again “do whatever it is you will…”
<kess>: How long do you think you have?
<kess>: Weeks? Months?
<kess>: Years?
<tris>: “Perhaps a day…maybe two…?”
<kess>: Oh..
<kess>: that is not good at all
Kess thinks for a moment, running his fingers through his fur.
<kess>: I can prolong your life, if anything temporarily. Least until we get the fey women’s cure.
Kess drops his backpack off his back and starts rifling through his coat. Working swiftly he unpacks his alchemy lab and brewing cauldron.
<tris>: “what could you possibly make to help me…?”
<kess>: It’ll take me a few minutes he says as he thumbs through his formula books but I can make something to stave off your disease. Us ratfolk are used to carrying plagues without any negative effects. I’ll think of something.
Kess closes his book and sighs. Slumping to the floor admixed his lab.
Kess glances at Tris.
<kess>: If I saved your life, it’d come at a price. I need to know your actions before I do this.
Tris was now turned over, facing him, watching him
Kess sighs.
<tris>: “You want me not to harm you or your companions?”
<kess>: I can remove your disease and you’ll live. But the formula, the magic. It will bind us, the book isn’t clear. But I think we’d share lifespan and life force.
<kess>: Should I or you die we both die
Tris ‘s eyes widen
<tris>: Why would you consider that?
<kess>: Because….Because….I…it’s the right thing to…..No…I..
<tris>: “Why?”
Kess covers his face with his hand, embarrassed.
<tris>: “W…what?”
<kess>: You remind me of myself, look, I was alone too and in some ways I still am. Humans, elves, they only look at me like a short little rat and nothing more. Even if they like me they always view me like an animal.
<kess>: Your…your like me! An animal and your alone.
<tris>: “I…” she says, but begins coughing violently
Kess removes his hand, hastily wiping his eyes.
Tris continues to cough
<kess>: Look, I can save you. I can be your pack. But you have to know now. You ever dare to hurt the innocent and I’ll end myself and you. If we’re in this together then we do it for the right reasons. We hunt other hunters, not prey! Got that?
Tris lifts her head but continues to cough some more, red droplets spitting out into the floor before her
Kess doesn’t wait for an answer. If turns back to his lab and begins his work.
Kess furiously works, an unnatural quickness to his hands. Creating and downing an extract as he works he quickly pulls out all manner of vials and ingredients. Smoke and exotic smells fill the air as he brews and distills many liquids. His expression throughout his work is a blank curios look except for his eyes which alight with insight.
Tris , meanwhile, continues to cough and howl in pain, eventually her fit stops and she lays there, breathing shallowly
Kess frowns, dumping a new vial into another, blue smoke issuing from it. His expression molding back to his blank look. Eventually his starts mixing vials together, each one bubbling or smoking and even once changing color. “Almost done” he whispers to himself. “Just two more things”
Tris pants slightly and whines as she thrashes about, trying to free herself from her mortal pain
Kess pulls a knife from his bag, wincing before the blade even touches his wrist is slits a semi-deep cut across it crying out in pain. Making sure not to miss a drop he pours a small amount of blood into the mixture, causing it to change color to white.
Tris lets out mournful whimpers and doubles over once more
Kess hurriedly dashes over to Tris, not bothering with his knife he holds it to her lips. “Spit your blood into this, quickly!”
Tris coughs up once more, drops of blood getting onto the vial and slowly trickling down
Kess watches in dismay as the vial changes color almost instantly, going from white to a grey color. Then it shimmers and changes to a midnight black color. “Remember” he says before drinking half the elixir “We hunt other hunters, the innocent are not our prey!”
Kess holds the vial out for her to drink the rest.
Tris finally wraps her mouth around it, tilting it back and letting the liquid go down her throat.
Kess reaction is almost instant, he slumps to the floor as he feels some of his life go out of him, he teeters on the edge on consciousness as his eyes flicker.
Tris ‘s eyes shoot open and her body bulks up from its sickly and entropic form, the rope snapping under her strength, she gets to her knees, her teeth showing as she clenches and unclenches her fist, her chest rising and falling in quick succession before she throws her head back in a triumphant howl
Kess fumbles with his coat. Weakly trying to keep awake he tries to open his vial of smelling salts but can’t do it. Sliding back he mumbles something unintelligible.
Tris looks down at the pathetic rat before her and stands up, looming over him. She bends down at the knees, claws gripping at his shoulders, puncturing his coat as she lifts him up and slams him against the wall. She shows a wide smile of those powerful teeth as she looks at the half-conscious man in her grasp
Kess ‘s head bangs against the wall. Waking him as his salt vial slides from his grip and onto the floor.
<kess>: I…What are you….you doing?
Tris stands there, staring at him, with those intense animal eyes, her hot breath brushing at his fur. Suddenly, her grip relaxes, and she leans in, her cheek nuzzling against his for a moment before she lets go of him and heads out towards the stairs.
Kess slides onto the floor, as soon as he touches ground he bolts and tackles her. Despite his size he leaps and barrels straight into her!
Tris stumbles a bit, but catches herself by placing one hand on the wall, she looks over her shoulder and growls “Let go!”
<kess>: No! Your staying with me! tightens his grip around her neck We’re in this together and your staying where I can keep an eye on you. Try to run and I’ll…I’ll kill myself! Then we both die!
<tris>: “You’re crazy!” she said, reaching up over her back and gripping at him, pulling him off of her and tossing him aside. “I want to run free!”
<kess>: You’re damn right I’m crazy! he yells as he lands on his feet skidding, without missing a beat his launches himself back at her I’m your pack now, we stay together from now on!
Tris was facing him and grabbed at the ratfolk as he jumped at her, throwing him to the ground. She lowered herself onto her hands now, eying at him, ready to strike against him.
Kess jumps to his feet, reaching into his coat he pulls out a acid bomb and raises it above his head. “You take one foot outside without my say so and I blow myself to kingdom-come and we both die! Try me bitch!”
Tris opens her eyes wide and she shudders, her ears lowering “Why are you doing this to me?”
Kess lowers his arm. “You do it to yourself, Come on”
<kess>: I can’t promise things will work out
<kess>: I can’t promise you’ll live a long happy life of a righteous hunter
<kess>: But I can promise you this
<kess>: As long as you stand by me and fight with me you’ll get your fill of blood. And maybe, just maybe, be happy
<tris>: “If you keep me leashed, I will kill myself. Then what will you do?”
<kess>: Die
Kess smirks at her.
<kess>: I’m willing to gamble my life for your sake
<tris>: “I seek compromise,” she growls
Kess smirk widens.
<kess>: See ol’ gal. Already your picking things up. What is it you want from me?
<tris>: “I want to run free, to not be stuck at your side… but to choose when I hunt with you”
Kess raises an eyebrow.
<kess>: Out of the question, we stay together at all times. I need to be there to tell prey from hunter otherwise you might kill the wrong one. But I have a counter offer.
Tris snarls
<kess>: Look
<kess>: If we are alone and either dies we both die, we need to protect each other alright? But I can make you a even better hunter.
<kess>: I can use my science, my natural magic, my alchemy to make you stronger. I can toughen your hide, strengthen your muscles, and heal your wounds. I can’t do it if you wander off.
Tris slowly crawls up to him, the growl still on her face. “I won’t make you regret your decision, you… you thick-headed….ggggggrrrrrr!”
Tris turns away “for now, but I need to be alone.”
It as at this moment Kess notices Tris has been naked this whole time, his face colors but he ignores it for now.
<kess>: No no no stop being so damn stupid girl!
<kess>: You leave and you die, your staying right here with me. You prove your trustworthy and righteous and I’ll let you wander off but until then your stuck with me. Unless you want death? Is that it? He waggles the acid bomb at her, a sly smile on his face
<tris>: She rises up on to her hind legs, grabbing at his wrist and lifting him up, narrowing her eyes. “I’ll play your game, for now…” she says, with one hand she reaches up and scratches at her cheek, as she does, Kess feels a burning at his own “But two can play your game…”
Kess raises an eyebrow. “We share pain….but that means…What else do we share?” to concerned with that line of thinking he ignores the werewolf grappling him. “If I drink a extract will you feel it to I wonder?”
<kess>: Will you gain the benefits I wonder
Kess frowns.
<kess>: For once I’m at a loss for what I’ve created.
<tris>: She curls her mouth up into a smile. “You’ve created a monster.”
Kess smiles back at her. “No dear, I think I created a whole world of possibilities!”

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Journal Entry (Emen)
Journal Entry 7

     It seems Strahd isn’t content to merely keep us out of his castle. While we were resting he sent a group of undead to harass us. After we awoke we promptly bought supplies and left to seek the Holy Symbol once more.

     We found some ruins that have been left alone for some time. However it seems it was not abandoned. We were ambushed by plants infesting the ruins and were nearly killed. We are lucky to have escaped when we did. It seems Variel has killed the remaining vines and we can continue once we have healed.

     Furthermore Kess does not seem to remember our encounter. I don’t know if I prefer it this way, but it will work for now. Perhaps later I can explain my frustration. For now I hope we can finally make some progress towards defeating Strahd. I still do not know what to make of Rajani, but if Dubon trusts her and she will aid us that is enough.

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Variel's Version II
Second Entry

I had another damnable dream this evening. This one however, was far more cryptic and…I’ll say more morose than usual. What particularly disturbs me however was the appearance of a cloaked figure near the end of it. I was unable to see if it was the same cloaked figure from earlier, but I feel them to be one and the same. As for the dream itself, I am unsure of it’s meaning, and I doubt it will be the last of its kind. I suppose all I can do is carry on and wait for answers, though I am loath to the idea of being visited by more of these dreams.

In regards to the waking world however, much has happened since I last wrote. Our ‘host’ for dinner, and ruler of these lands turned out to be a damnable vampire, worse yet, a vampire who fears not the sun. After a short hostile engagement (Started of course by Kess,) and subsequent escape One of our companions, for reasons unknown to me, proceeded deeper into the castle and away from the rest of us. I fear that she has likely already met her end somewhere in the halls of the castle. More blood on the hands of this likely already bloodied vampire.

In the memory of my brother, I can not let this vampire continue his retched unlife, lest more are made to suffer as I have. My companions seemed to be in like minds with me, so we set off to look for any sort of tool we could use to combat the fiend. Namely, they speak of some holy symbol of ravenkind, of which I’ve unfamiliarity with. Though I feel my companions haven’t the slightest idea where it may be. Though we did find a (rather morbid) hidden cavern, which housed a hidden labyrinth, which housed a hidden scholar (of whom I have much suspicions of.)

After escorting him back to the human town, Kess happened to cause a little incident, followed by another incident, followed by a rather big incident where he had to be subdued and knocked unconscious by the knight and the priest before he caused any more uproar.

Sometimes I feel Kess thinks more with his fists than his head. I will have to apologize on his behalf to the others later.

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A Legend Discovered!

Oh how joyous! I knew I would be able to find what I was looking for if I just asked the local populace! Thanks to the people known as Vistani, I was able to find a soothsayer who will be able to point me in the right direction. She told me that the cards will reveal the location to me. And, I can’t believe it, but they opened a door! A door I used! This has to be the key I need! Yes! Fame, Fortune, Knowledge await!

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Journal Entry (Emen)
Journal Entry 6

     I do not know how much longer I can tolerate these circumstances. Our party is becoming difficult to work with, and I fear they are losing focus on our mission.

     We finally cleared what we could of the labyrinth, and when we met Dubon he had a large chest full of items, as well as a person, likely someone hiding from the beasts inside the maze. When we left the maze and had a chance to inspect it. It did not have the Holy Symbol of Ravenkind. It seems we came to this place for nothing. We decided to head back into the town, in order to buy some supplies and get some much needed rest.

     Unfortunately that would be impossible. When we came to the town Dubon inquired about the Holy Symbol with Ismark the Lesser. He told us of a possible location. Before we could end the day and rest, or continue on our way however a fight broke out. It seems some of the Vistani in town became angered with Kess and had drawn weapons. I cast a spell to allow both the Vistani and us to flee, in order to prevent casualties, and we retreated to the northern church. However, these actions likely have scared the townspeople. We could have simply left and been on our way, or we could have slept, or maybe we could have not fought, but no matter, weapons were drawn, and now we will have to deal with the consequences later.

     As for the consequences I am afraid that I am partly to blame. After we retreated to the church I could not contain my anger, and attacked Kess. I told him what I thought of him, and blows were traded. I do not think I got through to him after all of the tonics he drank, and Dubon tackled him to prevent him attacking again. Eventually he was subdued and there was no permanent harm I suppose. However this does not excuse my behavior. Violence was not necessary, yet I used it anyway. It is clear that I have much more to learn. However he reacted I should have restrained myself. It did not help us, and only made the group more fragile.

     Our news was not all bad. It seems people in town have taken a liking to Dubon, and he has gained some followers. One of which is Rajani, a holy woman. It seems she wishes to join us in our quest. I do not approve of bringing more innocents into such danger, but Dubon approves of her. I will trust his judgement. We have gone to rest in a tavern, and hopefully we can leave the town before reprocussions occur.

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Table for Two

Sep 13 23:04:24 <rajani> Dubon and Rajani arrive at the Blood of the Vine. She leads into the building and looks over her shoulder to him. “Is a table in the corner private enough for you, Dubon? Or would you prefer a room?”
Sep 13 23:05:01 * Dubon pulls out a chair, “Here is fine. Please, take a seat.”
Sep 13 23:05:14 * Rajani sits at the chair “Thank you, Dubon.”
Sep 13 23:05:47 * Dubon takes his own seat, “So, I’ve apparently earned myself a name? What of my companions?”
Sep 13 23:06:39 <rajani> “You seem to have acquired quite a few in your short time here. Many I see are no longer with you.”
Sep 13 23:07:24 <dubon> “There has been some struggles, some parting of ways. I fear we’re going to have another on our hands with Kess.”
Sep 13 23:09:16 <rajani> If you do your best to set him on the right path, the Lady of Valor will not begrudge you if he chooses to leave
Sep 13 23:09:57 * Dubon perks his head up, “Lady of Valor? Do you also follow Iomedae?”
Sep 13 23:12:30 * Rajani nods. “Yes, I do. Not always, though.” She shakes her head. “Before, I was on a sure path to enlightenment, but that’s why I wanted to speak with you. I feel somehow, you changed the course of my life.”
Sep 13 23:12:36 <rajani> “or should I say, my lives.”
Sep 13 23:13:31 <dubon> “Lives? Forgive me for asking such a rude question, but what are you?”
Sep 13 23:15:23 * Rajani shakes her head. “It is no problem. For what I am is tied much to you, I feel. I am a Samsaran. I have lived many lives in the past and this is to be my final life before I reach the end of the journey and will be allowed to pass beyond to realms most mortals may only dream of.”
Sep 13 23:18:51 <dubon> “Mmm… Well, I suppose it’d only be respectful for me to reveal myself in turn.”
Sep 13 23:20:07 * Dubon removes a gauntlet, showing only his hand to Rajani so as to not scare the locals, “As you can see, I’ve the body of one of those cursed demons walking these lands.”
Sep 13 23:21:02 * Rajani clenches her fists a bit on the table, looking straight at his hand, then to his helmet. “Then, perhaps you are the key. Dubon… have you been plagued by visions. Visions of a castle in chaos, and a woman, mourning on a day that should have been her happiest?”
Sep 13 23:22:11 * Dubon puts his gauntlet back on, adjusting it, “Yes. I haven’t told anyone about them, though. Are you also afflicted with these visions?”
Sep 13 23:25:32 * Rajani slowly nods “every night I see a little bit more, but it is so foggy. Dubon…” she reaches out, placing a hand on his gauntlet, looking through the eye slits of his helmet. “I can feel it, I don’t know if you can, but somehow, we are connected. Perhaps we were comrades in arms, or friends, or…”
Sep 13 23:27:02 * Dubon places his other hand atop hers, “Perhaps. But we must find out the cause of these visions. And, most importantly, we must stop Strahd. We will have much time to ourselves afterwards.”
Sep 13 23:27:28 * Dubon removes his hand, “Sorry, the metal must be cold.”
Sep 13 23:30:55 * Rajani shakes her head “N-no, it’s fine. Really. I don’t mind, I feel like its ‘right’ to be here. that’s why I traveled all this way, across the world, to this place. I searched for so long to find the source of my visions. When I heard of you I knew it sounded right. You must have been alive back in those times, in the life that plagues me. I feel I cannot pass to my final rest, and must stay upon Golarion, until I right some
Sep 13 23:33:13 <rajani> wrong that occurred in both of our lives. I am not as skilled as you, but I wish that you will allow me to accompany you in your quest.”
Sep 13 23:34:55 <dubon> “I would be more than happy for you to accompany us, but you must understand that we’re going to constantly be between rocks and hard places. Nothing will come easily for us.”
Sep 13 23:36:42 <rajani> “I understand, and I will be here to support you, for Iomedae has brought us together on this mission. Once we reconcile our past and put the evil here to rest, then we shall enjoy a peaceful future in Heaven with her.”
Sep 13 23:38:37 <dubon> “It shall be just reward, but we will earn it. Welcome to the good fight, Rajani.”
Sep 13 23:39:06 <rajani> “Thank, you. Dubon.”
Sep 13 23:42:02 * Rajani sighs and looks out to the misty evening. “It is starting to get late, but do you wish to speak more? There is so much we can discuss and piece together.”
Sep 13 23:43:11 <dubon> “After being alone in my thoughts for the past few weeks, since I awoke, I’d love to.”
Sep 13 23:44:05 <rajani> “What do you remember, Dubon? My memory is foggy clouded with other lives afterwards.”
Sep 13 23:47:41 <dubon> “Where to begin? I suppose the first memory came when we talked to the townsfolk. They cowered at the name of Strahd, but I didn’t think it be the same one from centuries past.”
Sep 13 23:49:17 * Rajani flinches at the name of the word and slips from his gauntlet-clad hand “Strahd” she hisses, the first sign of ire on her soft and kind features.
Sep 13 23:51:45 <dubon> “The worst part yet was when he recognized me himself. He knew of my family, recognized my armor like you, but worst was his insult to Iomedae. Saying she’s nothing more than a leech feeding from a dead patron’s surviving followers…”
Sep 13 23:54:02 * Rajani gasps “Don’t let his words hurt you like that, Dubon! Iomedae is a true goddess! How else would I be able to perform my miracles in her name? Where would you find your strength to be pure when you could succumb to whatever dark wiles that keep you tied to this realm?”
Sep 13 23:55:29 <dubon> “I know his words were meant to hurt, but I feel that I let Iomedae down. I wasn’t able to respond, to defend her, to uphold the faith.”
Sep 13 23:55:54 * Dubon lowers his head, “And everything else I’ve seen in my visions makes me question whether I’m worthy of this second chance.”
Sep 13 23:56:52 * Rajani places a hand upon her chest. “If you have no faith in yourself. Have faith in me. For I have faith in you.”
Sep 13 23:58:22 <dubon> “Thank you, Rajani. I hope your faith isn’t misplaced.”
Sep 14 00:00:28 * Rajani nods, then takes a deep breath. “It was like a dream, but I saw you, standing tall, fighting… for some reason, but… your conviction was strong and true. I know in my very soul that it was as true as any knight.”
Sep 14 00:03:23 <dubon> “I won’t deny that I am a good fighter, but I would have fallen many times over were it not for Emen and my other companions, wherever they may be now. I hope that I’m not casting a shadow over them.”
Sep 14 00:04:48 <rajani> “No, I’m sure they are each as important to your quest as you are to theirs. but… permit me to be selfish this once and ask… have you any inkling who I might have been? Any visions of others, not of that horrid monster Strahd?”
Sep 14 00:06:16 <dubon> “I… I’m sorry, but I do not believe I have. I have seen visions of a weeping bride, Tatyana, and I know that I have done wrong to the Knights of the Raven, the order in this land.”
Sep 14 00:07:06 <rajani> “So you have names?” she said, furrowing her brow. “We should find what we can of Tatyana and the knights.”
Sep 14 00:07:46 <dubon> “Tatyana… That was what Strahd called Ireena when he visited her dreams.”
Sep 14 00:08:08 <dubon> “I know of a Knight of the Raven, too. Sir Urik.”
Sep 14 00:08:29 <rajani> “Ireena?”
Sep 14 00:09:07 <dubon> “Ireena Kolyana, sister to Ismark the Lesser. She is the one I led directly into Strahd’s clutches despite protest.”
Sep 14 00:09:27 <rajani> “Oh…”
Sep 14 00:09:42 * Rajani looks down, voice dropping to a slight whisper at that revelation
Sep 14 00:10:19 <dubon> “I have much to do, it seems…”
Sep 14 00:12:36 <rajani> “you are but one man, you cannot carry the burden of the world on your shoulders alone. You are good, and the people here see you as good. You could gather up a small group to help around this town and keep it protected so that no one else may be taken. Then we could go ourselves to rescue the maiden.”
Sep 14 00:15:34 <dubon> “I’m conflicted. Strahd has placed targets on each of our backs, and us staying here will jeopardize these townsfolk more than we can help them. However, they need help setting up a proper guard. I don’t believe we’ll be able to touch Strahd should we encounter him, either.”
Sep 14 00:17:17 <rajani> “He is a crafty one, isn’t he? and Tatyana…” she looks down at the table, rubbing her hand upon the wood gently. “we’ve both failed her. We can’t fail Ireena.”
Sep 14 00:18:52 * Dubon looks at Rajani, peering through his helmet slit, “We won’t. And we won’t fail these townspeople, either. We will fail no one else, Rajani. And most of all, we won’t fail each other.”

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