Toward The Edge Of The World

Castle Ravenloft

Are you a prince?

We wandered down the road a while. We lost the road… somehow… several times along the way. Fortunately, we kept stumbling back on to it often enough to keep making progress. Ran across a patrol, that help us when we got close to what we thought of as dark (really hard to tell). Followed a trail to a nearby farm. They were happy to give us use of their barn for the night, and were otherwise hospitable. The lot of them, as well as their goats and chickens, really looked fairly scrawny. Nigh unhealthy even. The soldiers showed fairly obvious signs of war weariness. That dull look in their eyes was all too familiar.

Dobrich, a barricaded city, is our immediate destination. Mery pulled out the Wayfinder and fiddled with it, asking it to take us to the King of Transylvania. No apparent effect. On a whim, I offered to try, and repeated her attempt. This time, the Wayfinder pointed a way, off-road. After some discussion, we ignore the Wayfinder’s direction in hopes that a branch from the road would offer some a better alternative. A bit further down, we do find a better road-based path that heads us closer to where the Wayfinder points. Somewhere along the way, we bust through a bunch of the local goblins. They slice up pretty regularly, but fade away or disperse when killed. Over the next few days, we slowly become accustomed to this dark place. We continued asking locals where to find the King of Transylvania. We’re somewhat excited when we finally get the point when the answer changed from “Transylvania” to “in the mountains.” We run across one of the empty cities, and work our way around it, which takes a while since its boundary isn’t even or predictable. Or maybe Garrick is losing his touch. Naaah. We got ambushed by a crazed screaming/wailing human, not well clothed, dies to Garrick’s fast shot. Doesn’t fade away like the goblins. We move along hastily as more start approaching our flank — and then they fade away as we get beyond the town. As we continue, we found ourselves really losing track of time, including what we might call “dusk” or “dawn.” Sleep is hard, yet sought more often. My thoughts turn somewhat… homicidal as all of our normal habits and customs become newly aggravating. On day 167, or maybe hour 32, and a few more fights with the ghoulies (with repeat customers), we arrive a something new. A different kind of barricade on the road, fairly well defended. We’re brusquely ordered to halt (which we do), and we wait for a squad to deploy a forward V wedge from the gate with some kind of officer in the middle. We exchange a few, lets call them pleasantries, show our papers, and wait a bit for a response. We pass the the initial inspection, and a new guy, a Priest named Rovak, welcomes us to Regina. Tomas notes in passing that we’re nowhere near where we thought we could or should be. Damn mist. Rovak shows us through the City, packed full of refugees. Rovak tells us the crowned King of Romania ran off sometime ago into the mist. The other “King”, the one the army follows, Strahd Von Zarovich, is probably off at his home in Castle Ravenloft. Somewhere down one of the roads out of Gate #3. Milo spends several days at the local hospital, healing the wounded, with the rest of us pitching in as best we can. While there are a bunch of other priests in town, they don’t have the healing prowess of Milo. They tried to explain this to me, and I didn’t quite follow it all. Something about divine access, being exposed too long to negative vibes and such. Tomas learns that Rovack is probably the Romanian ArchBishop from before the mist. Pretty much running this city-sized refugee camp. Most of the country’s populace is probably here. Safe, though not overly thriving. The city is raided pretty regularly by the goblin-ghoulies, but the soldiers handle it well. Garrick spends time with the city patrols, getting familiar with the local area, the way they work, and learning a lot more about how to survive in this damn country. Mery spend time here and later in our encounters with high-ranking Romanians looking for an eligible Prince. After the hospital’s roster of wounded is largely purged, we head on out via Gate #3, and fully aligned with the Wayfinder’s arrow. The locals’ directions shift from “in the mountains” to “to the West” and such. For once, we run across a mounted patrol, with cavalry paraphernalia, led by one Captain Viscalvo. The Captain apparently has been asked by Lord Marshall Zarovich to escort us to Castle Ravenloft. The cavalry troupe looks well fed, fit, and prepared for pretty much anything. They really stand out compared to the rest of the Romanians so far. They doubled us up on horseback and a newly-requisitioned wagon, and we rode pretty darn hard to the Castle, via an elevating winding mountain road, and finally a drawbridge. The Captain delivers us, in the courtyard, to a waiting man. He is dressed well. Milo and I notice the Iomedae emblems, Tomas picks up on the family crests. This guy is mid-30s, probably 5th or 6th in line for the Romanian throne (later we learned firstborn, 4th in line for the throne until he entered the order). He introduces himself as Sebastian and plays host while his ‘master’ is indisposed at present. During our initial conversation with Sebastian, a few of our group hear a soulful scream of rage. Sebastian reveals that the Curse (!!!!!) has afflicted his Master (the Lord High Marshall Zarovich), watching a repeat of the murder of his family — sounds similar to what we saw in the city replay. Sebastian also mentions th e curse being on the Castle. I do not get much sleep that night. At breakfast the next morning, we meet the High Lord Marshall. to whom we can refer to as General. Who arrives in full battle armor. To the only seat without breakfast. Big mountain of a man. Maybe the “giant shadow” we’ve been seeking? After attempting to foist the necklace on to him, the General tell us we need to make Romania safe, and find the artifact that is creating the Eternal Siege (or is the Siege). Mery whips out the Wayfinder and gets a lock on the direction. I ask if he has much experience with seers, and he revealed that his (murdered) wife was one. The General believes the goblins are operating according to some large master plan (and not necessarily explicitly on their own). They were too well prepared, organized, and bred far faster than anyone expected. The Siege was likely carried by 3-4 goblins.

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