Not the least glimmer of light escaped the castle’s tall black windows. its broken battlements sketched a jagged line across the darkened sky. Castle Ravenloft brooded over a bleak, mist-shrouded valley. Constructed on the sheer side of a thousand-foot cliff, the terrible fortress was occupied by something ancient and evil.
A blot of night detached from the shadowed walls of the castle and moved out onto a narrow balcony. Lightning revealed the sneering countenance of its dark master.
His eyes, burning with a never-satisfied hunger, took in the drizzling twilight, the looming peaks, and the few sad lights of the village below. He clutched one hand to his chest and muttered, as if making a promise, or perhaps delivering a curse, a single name…
He grimaced, and his sharp canine teeth promised mayhem. A bitter wind spun dead leaves about him, billowing his velvet-lined cape.
Another fit of lightning burst from the storm’s underbelly, casting stark light across his face. The angular muscles of his visage and the taut lines of his hands revealed a man accustomed to exercising complete authority. In that face, no pity lived—but perhaps, hints of growing madness?
His eyes narrowed as he spied the newcomers. A group traveled down Old Svalich Road toward the village. His grimace transformed into a hideous smile. He knew they were coming, knew why they came, and relished what would be their ultimate fate. No plan could be called good unless blood was spilled during its execution.
All the pawns were finally assembled; all the pieces, prepared for so long, were in place and waiting to play their parts. Even from where he stood, he felt the dark power that has been granted to him, which sustained him with vigor even more potent than the unholy existence he had enjoyed these many centuries. Precious few weapons could permanently harm him anymore.
Soon enough, he would personally attend to the newcomers.