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  #616  
Old Mar 31st, 2021, 10:57 PM
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Howling
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Rolen found himself smiling at Nikolai's comment about the dangers being an improvement. Well, at least they're semi self-aware. He thought. I'd rather face wolves over devils or vampires any day. He nodded as they started up the scaffolding. The Vistani heart comment quickly wiped his smile away. That's something else they will have to talk about. But, everyone did say the camp near Vallaki was different. In service to the Deadman.

Arquiztex wasted no time formulating a strategy. He took off his pack and started digging for the trap. "Yes, good thinking! Remember, they will try to surround us and attack from all angles. As long as we have this island we hold an advantage. Fire is an excellent idea, it was very effective before." Yes, glory was right. From the sounds, it was the entire pack.

The ranger carefully stepped through spilled oil and ball bearings to secure his hunting trap in the middle of the dirt causeway. He tried to camouflage it with whatever detritus was around but with the numbers he heard, one was certain to step on it. Then, after he finished, he found a place about fifty feet away from the trapped land bridge, on the opposite side as the Rak'ta, and readied his bow.

"I'm hoping the rider finds us before the wolves, for their sake. Whoever it is may be racing away from trouble straight into slavering jaws. I'd like to warn them but I'm sure they can hear the howling. Not to mention that boom." Rolen realized he was smiling again. This hunt has been full of surprises.

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  #617  
Old Apr 1st, 2021, 12:11 PM
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Mercy's mind is divided between the puzzle and battle preparations. Everyone else is concentrated on the wolves. Then a rider appears, galloping toward the islet. It looks like a woman, and she's not slowing up.

"OUT OF MY WAY!"
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  #618  
Old Apr 1st, 2021, 03:32 PM
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Mercy Petreva, Human Light ClericMercy stands tall at the end of the thin strip of land where Arquiztex has laid her oiled bearings and Rolen has set up the bear trap."The causeway is trapped!" Mercy calls out to the rider, her words ringing out across the water. "I have allies you cannot see. This is your warning. If you come on, you will be harmed and your horse may be killed. Who are you and who chases you?"

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d20+7 (20)+7 Total = 27

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  #619  
Old Apr 1st, 2021, 08:04 PM
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Gestation Under the faintly smoking ground, Primble is an ash.

Black and gray and white, banked and cold, in perfect darkness.

Now, that voice says. Now. My rebuilding.

She turns from the hand. The rot is gone. The fire is gone. Here, it is dank and cool and quiet. Why not stay buried and be done with it?

She traded MADQUITEX for WENS and Co? How was she so stupid? Beauty for ashes.

Now she is ashes. She thought Mad could help her save them all, with no harm to her small green-scaled perfection, so slickery and dear. The Lizard’s gift. The cool-blooded center of her own cool-blooded heart.

No. Better to never burn or rot. Better to be ash.

You are mine, says Lumina de Noapte. And you shall do neither. What of Rolen, who puts aside his own deep horror to love you through undeath? What of my pretty Mercy, who flirts so beautifully between me and Sune that both of us adore her? What of Arquiztex, who gave you----

Mad. The lizard gave her Mad. But Mad is gone ---

Her mother says. How dare you! HOW DARE YOU! How dare you not trust me? LOOK.

She sees. Eglantine. With the Pers. Those stuffy arses---OH! MEN! Why must you always think that you know best! The Pers did not swap the souls back as she and Arquiztex instructed. Not until the little lizard-souled human girl tried to eat one of her crèche-mates. THEN the Pers took care of it. Eglantine, in that fast-mobile way of lizards, can now toddle and bug-hunt. She is with the Pers! UNEATEN! THRIVING! WAITING!

But perhaps this is reason enough to be at peace and rot down to the ruinous matter that the Lizard so enjoys studying. She has never personally s**t, but she is willing to be fertilizer.

So. You leave her? Over memory, that fickle, lying birch! Do you remember me? asks Lumina de Noapte. Child! When I came to your grave, did you remember me?

No. I do not remember. But...I know you,
Primble says.

Then trust she will know you. But only if you escape. Only, if you Kill the Dead Man, L de N says. Madquitex Eglantine dreams your face. Your glowing eyes. Have you not long dreamed mine?

Yes. She says. Yes. Lumina de Noapte.

Her mother laughs, throaty and low. Is that what you call me? Fine. I am yours, and you are mine, and you christen me Lumina, and I christen you Bramble. Grow. Change. As I direct. When you are as full as my moon, and ready, I shall pull you to the surface, oh my daughter, my own child, my... paladin.

The earth smokes. Bramble sleeps.

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  #620  
Old Apr 1st, 2021, 10:27 PM
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A certain sense of danger
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The frantic rider is showing no signs of slowing. Are they friend of foe? Are the wolves upon them? Rolen squinted his eyes. He didn't seem to recognize the woman shouting Out of my way! The uncertainty was unnerving.

The ranger nocked an arrow but did not take aim. "Easy, mind the traps! We mean you no harm!" He called out after Mercy warned the rider. Could this be Khazan?

"Walk your horse across. The wolves will be here soon but I will cover you." If this stranger was friendly he would hate to make an enemy over some wolf traps and rash riding. "Is this your tower? Are you... Khazan?" This land was always throwing surprises. Rolen was trying to stay ahead.

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  #621  
Old Apr 2nd, 2021, 01:45 AM
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Arquiztex
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”Arquiztex Thurkar” by @ThePsysquatch


Through King Fyodor's eyes, Arquiztex watches as she waits.

If the rider does not stop, but seems not an enemy, then the Rak'ta will rise from the waters to save her and her horse from the trap.

If the rider is an enemy, then the trap will be sprung and the Rak'ta will rise to attack from the rear.

 



 





The rider approaches.

 

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Old Apr 2nd, 2021, 12:06 PM
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The rider pulls up at then end of the causeway, and Mercy can see her glare all the way to the other end.

"What the name of infernal manifestation," she shouts in a Vistani accent, "have you done to my Vardo?"

Her horse stands dripping lather, its sides heaving.

"And who are you, destroyers of property, that I should explain myself to you?" She looks behind her, into the trees, and then a bit up, and then, at Rolen's direction, she urges the animal forward in a quiet walk. She makes no further answers until she reaches your side, not even when a lizard person rises from the water nearby.

She stops near Mercy and Rolen.

"I was held captive by the master of this land," she says. "I have escaped, and I flee to my master for help. He dwells in the upper reaches of this tower. And I must get inside, and you must... get somewhere safe, before his wolves reach us."

"She's got a point," King Fyodor tells Arquiztex. "Wolves are checking the woods, maybe looking for stragglers. Perhaps you would like to come up this tree with me?"
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  #623  
Old Apr 2nd, 2021, 01:50 PM
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Mercy Petreva, Human Light Cleric
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Mercy holds the horse while the newcomer dismounts, and then loosens the girth and runs up the stirrups. She passes the horse off to Aunt Donkeyhead with instructions to towel him off, walk him slowly in the open area, and not let him drink too much.

"I've instructed my associate to take care of your horse. If this tower is yours, by all means go inside. I won't stop you. You claim we have a mutual enemy. Fair enough. We'll worry about His wolves. You get to safety."

Mercy moves back to listen for wolves and block the causeway, keeping a very very sharp eye on the rider if she approaches the door or does anything with the lock.



Mercy’s Actions
OOC: OOC I don't trust her at all. Zero insight on the crit. IC Mercy assumes this is Strahd.
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Action:
Bonus Action:
Reaction: Use Improved Warding Flare to impose disadvantage on an attack on Mercy or an ally. (4/4 remaining)
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  #624  
Old Apr 2nd, 2021, 10:18 PM
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Unknown rider
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The stern woman heeded their warnings and slowed to cross safely. She questioned the destroyed wagon as well as their intentions. Rolen couldn't blame her, you couldn't be too careful these days. But, her answers only sparked more questions.

"You escaped? Ravenloft?" The elf's eyes shifted towards Mercy ever so slightly when the rider mentioned being held by the Deadman. "Interesting. Our apologies about the vardo, it really was unintentional. We are hunters on the trail of a pack that attacked Vallaki. When we came upon this lonely tower, it matched something that Madame Eva's cards showed us. Naturally, we chose to investigate. We are not bandits or burglars, simply outsiders trying to get home."

Rolen was also curious how she would get into the tower and if the lightning trap was still charged. "But, as you said, the wolves will be here soon. I like our chances on this island, the causeway is a choke point. After the wolves are dead or fled, we would very much like to speak to your master." He turned his attention back to the trees and howls.

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  #625  
Old Apr 3rd, 2021, 01:28 AM
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Arquiztex
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”Arquiztex Thurkar” by @ThePsysquatch


Arquiztex listens to the others talk.

She's not terribly impressed by what this rider has to say.

"So. You escaped Ravenloft? Who hasn't. I escaped. He escaped. She escaped," she says pointing to herself, Rolen and Mercy. "Well, they didn't escape", she points to the Wachter brothers, "but ... point is. Many escape. Not impressive. Impressive is kill wolves."

And the Rak'ta returns to the waters to wait.

After a few seconds, she rises back up.

"Nice hat."

Then into the waters again.

 



 





I'll fly in with the wolves. Try not to die; it means I go poof! in mid-flight.

 

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  #626  
Old Apr 3rd, 2021, 11:45 AM
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"I am pleased to meet others who do not serve Him," the woman says. "You will pardon me, however, if I observe some small caution. I have been deceived before. For all I know any one of you might be the Enemy in disguise."

She shakes her head as she passes the charred scraps of her vardo on her way to the tower door. You note that she walks strangely, and eventually figure out that one of her legs is prosthetic. She stands in front of the door and oscillates her arms in some sort of pattern until it opens. She looks back at you as if in some indecision, and then shuts the door behind her.

Shortly afterward there comes a great rumbling from within the tower. Both the Wachter brothers come into sight in the gaps in the upper walls, staring inwards.

Then the rumbling stops, and you hear the woman's voice again.

"Who in the name of the child of the Triple Soul are you?"

Nikolai points at his chest as if to say "Who, me?"

And at this point, far down the road, you sight the first of the shaggy gray wolves.
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  #627  
Old Apr 3rd, 2021, 01:58 PM
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Arquiztex
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”Arquiztex Thurkar” by @ThePsysquatch


Arquiztex hears excite at the mention of the Child of the Triple Soul?

If she lives through this, she will have to ask about this and its possible connection to the Barovian snotling and the egg that she had trusted and surrendered to another.

But for now, there were wolves to dispatch—and the Rak'ta was all eagerness at the thought of dragging one into the waters and watching it struggle, gasp and bleed below the surface. She hoped she could dispatch two or three of them this way ... though that still left at least 10 wolves to kill.

Well, as she had said ... there were enough wolves for glory.

 



 





It has been a long time since I have hunted wolves. This is good. This is worthy of me. You are fortunate that I am here. I will fly down and claw at its eyes as you pounce. Share my vision and prepare.

 

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Old Apr 3rd, 2021, 11:02 PM
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Snarling, they come
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It is a nice hat. But Rolen couldn't make any sense of the movements used to open the door. He was just pleased the lightning didn't come again and cook the Watcher brothers.

However, the wolves would not wait. They would have to ask questions and be suspicious of each other later. The howls are growing ever louder and the wolves are now visibly running down the road. Rolen watched and waited. He has an arrow readied for when they crossed the causeway. His trap was waiting too, along with the oil and ball bearings.

Rolen smiled. Yes, there were plenty enough wolves for glory. He was glad he remembered to buy more arrows. Should've got oil. The ranger reprimanded himself. Casually he brought up his longbow as the wolves pressed on. "Here they come straight into our kill zone."

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  #629  
Old Apr 4th, 2021, 11:36 AM
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Rolen23
wolves21
Karl7
Nikolai5
Arquiztex4
Mercy4

OOCNote that Rolen got a Nat20 on initiative, and so...

...may make any attacks this turn at advantage. Sic 'em!


The wolves cluster at the end of the causeway, over a dozen of them. They huddle for a moment, and then sprint toward you.

Half a breath after that, you hear equine screams from behind the tower, and the Wachters start shooting... toward the rear.

"Sucky!" shouts Karl. "The dratted horse was Sucky!"

OOCOddly enough, besides his innate ability, Strahd actually has the fourth level polymorph spell.
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  #630  
Old Apr 4th, 2021, 08:49 PM
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Arquiztex
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”Arquiztex Thurkar” by @ThePsysquatch


Wolf glory would have been enough for Arquiztex—a difficult battle, a dangerous battle, an almost impossible battle ... but a battle with a chance of winning.

This battle? Well, this one left them no chance.

The only silver lining she could see is that the one place to shout "Strahd" safely, was any place where Strahd was next to you.

Following Fyodor's vision, Arquiztex leaps at the vampire from behind, doing her best to strike him as hard as she can before the battle—inevitably—turns the other way.

As King Fyodor flutters around Strahd, the Rak'ta rogue rises and strikes, then latches onto his neck with her jaws.

"Stwaaahd," Arquiztex mumbles through her locked jaws, "deed yuuu cawm hew to wind yaw weeeenus?"


 



 





Now this is an opponent worthy of me.

King Fyodor flutters around and claws at Strahd's head.

 

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