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  #16  
Old 08-28-2019, 12:05 PM
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Aubron Wranlana
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Aubron joined the others around the campfire in the Vistani camp. Others were doing a great job interrogating the humans about their travels in and out of these lands. No, the ranger took his seat and studied the people. Their ability to pierce the veil that shrouded Barovia was intriguing, but they already knew that the Vistani were agents of Strahd,.

He watched and he waited. Let the clowns put on the show for them. Aubron was preparing the one question in his mind that he intended to ask these....people. While doing so, he took no drink and ate no food. He attempted to garner the attention of the others and recommend they follow his lead, but he was too late. He was sure that Gareth and Tarton would enjoy their libations. Aubron relaxed just a tad when he saw the young mystic decline any sort of sustenance.
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Old 08-29-2019, 10:23 AM
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Tser Pool: Tizenegyedik 23, Szerda 9:45 AM clearThe tattooed vistani smiles at Maja and takes another sip of wine. “Now that… that is a story to be told.” The man stands and slowly stretches, leaning far back and then forward… almost like a coiled tiger getting ready to pounce. The other vistani quiet down, ceding the stage as he begins. His voice low, the man begins. “Many many moons ago… when the lands were roiled by warfare and strife, a great battle occurred. We… the vistani… played no part… having no home, we had nothing to fight for.” He waves his hands towards the colorful wagons and horses. “We made our homes were we found ourselves… loyal to each other only. But then a grievously wounded man was found… a man who asked for shelter and protection.”

The vistani looks gravely at the group as he continues. “This man was hunted. To help him was to bring disaster upon ourselves. This we knew… and yet we were bound by an ancient code of hospitality… a code you yourself are the beneficiaries of this very day. We took this injured man in… healed him… hid him from his enemies. The man slowly recovered and to this day he remembers his debt.” The storyteller shakes his head as he looks at the innocent Maja. “So no… sadly… you can not become one of us… your blood has not paid the price.”

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Old 08-29-2019, 11:26 AM
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Maja
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The Vistani's tale left Maja speechless, but only for a split second. The girl was quick-witted enough to digest this surprising — and shocking — information swiftly and to maintain her composure. After all, after her unsuccessful scene in front of Strahd and her later conversation with Gareth about it, she had sworn to herself that she would behave much more subtle next time.

"You foresaw the dire consequences that these lands would have to bear by helping this injured man," Maja stated matter-of-factly, and without a smidgeon of judgment in her voice. "Everyone who hasn't had to face the same decision the Vistani had, should consider themselves lucky."

She picked up a small pebble and played with it while she was thinking about her next words. "The man we are talking about is still honor-bound not to restrict your way of life, allowing you to travel freely," she said as she looked up again. "But what about you? Do you consider yourselves allies or neutral? Would you even consider rising up against the ruler of these lands to free the thousands in Barovia — and us — from the confines of the prison, which this demiplane is for us?"
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Old 08-29-2019, 12:43 PM
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Gareth Blackcroft
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Gareth catches snippets of the tale being spun around the campfire, but seems more interested in Arahja's jests, chuckling from time to time.

The two men take turns slapping each other affectionately on the back as if they were old friends reunited for a happy occasion. As Aubron fears, Gareth is clearly enjoying the wine.


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  #20  
Old 09-02-2019, 11:59 PM
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Tarton Wetfeet
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Tarton Tarton sat with the others, taking a long pull of the wine when it was passed. He inquired about some smoke leaf and a pipe. "To borrow or purchase, whatever you have. It has been some time since I've had some good leaf." He sat, quiet at first, getting a feel for the others around the fire. As the man tells the story of Strahd's beginnings, he found himself enthralled. "So...Strahd was this man then, yes? Do you know, are you the only ones permitted to travel in this way, to and from this plane? And if so, was it you, or perhaps some of your kind, that brought the ship we were on here?" Tarton chews a nail, inspecting it as he waits for the answer to the question - hoping that its clear he isn't making any accusations, but trying to figure out how they got here. He continued to drink the wine, the story of their journey thus far swirling in his head.

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  #21  
Old 09-04-2019, 03:29 PM
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Tser Pool: Tizenegyedik 23, Szerda 9:55 AM clearThe tattooed vistani nodded his head thoughtfully at Maja and Tarton’s questions and he sat back down on his stump, staring into the crackling flames. “Understand… who this man was… was not who he became. We couldn’t have known and now that we do… we hold no judgment. Honor supersedes all. He has honored the vistani and so we shall continue to do so in turn.” The man breathes heavily, clearly uncomfortable with the conversation.

He turns toward the halfling and shrugs his shoulders. “We are vistani. Good… bad… indifferent. I know nothing about the circumstances of your arrival in our lands. However to your point… rebellion.” He smiles and turns to another man seated at the fire, nonchalantly munching on an apple. “My brother, Stefan, a most talented storyteller shall continue.”

The man continues eating his apple as his stands up. Tossing the fruit away, he bows low to the group. “Thank you Grigori… you’re too kind. So rebellion… such a tedious thing but something that must be taken seriously nonetheless. A mighty wizard came to this land 10 years ago. I remember him like it was yesterday. He stood exactly where you're standing. A very charismatic man, he was. He thought he could rally the people of Barovia against the devil Strahd. He stirred them with thoughts of revolt and bore them to the castle en masse."

"When the vampire appeared, the wizard's peasant army fled in terror. A few stood their ground and were never seen again. "The wizard and the vampire cast spells at each other. Their battle flew from the courtyards of Ravenloft to a precipice overlooking the falls. I saw the battle with my own eyes. Thunder shook the mountainside, and great rocks tumbled down upon the wizard, yet by his magic he survived. Lightning from the heavens struck the wizard, and again he stood his ground. But when the devil Strahd fell upon him, the wizard's magic couldn't save him. I saw him thrown a thousand feet to his death. I climbed down to the river to search for the wizard's body, to see if, you know, he had anything of value, but the River lvlis had already spirited him away."

Stefan looked meaningfully at the party as he continued. “So as to your question about rebellion? No… we do not consider it… and neither should you.” Stefan sits back down as he rummages through his many pockets. Finding what he was looking for he grunts and tosses a small roughly carved wooden box into Tarton’s lap. “Leaf you can have… but my pipe… no.”

Meanwhile, nearer to the river:

At the mention of the name Sorvia, Arahja whirls in Gareth’s direction and spits on the ground at the thief’s feet. “MORTU!” He yells as he turns and begins to stomp away. “You think that… that… thing is VISTANI? She is MORTU! She is below the dirt… her and her sisters!” The formerly jovial man turns to face Gareth, pointing his finger accusatorially. “And you say that's the way you like your women eh… that's what you said… RIGHT?” He turns again, his angry words carrying over to the campfire.
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  #22  
Old 09-05-2019, 07:57 AM
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Renata Tyrfille
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Renata returns to the main group in time to hear the story of the fallen wizard. "We know that we are not the first abducted by Strahd. Why? What does he want of us, and the others before us?" Renata hears the disturbance by the river, but ignores it and waits for her answer. No surprise that Gareth has earned someone's ire.

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Old 09-06-2019, 12:57 AM
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Tarton Wetfeet
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Tarton frowned at the box, but his frown was replaced with a satisfied smile when the scent of it caught up with the container. As Renata began speaking, he quickly started rummaging through his pack, looking for his pipe. Or anything that could be used for a pipe. He grumbled to himself as he searched, having no luck at all. He began looking for something around that he could use. Failing, he removed a sheet of paper from his notebook and tore it lengthwise. He folded the piece of paper in half and started loading up the paper with the leaf, "a fine story you've told us, and I thank you for it."

He put the lid back on the container and placed it on the his pack at his feet, content with the contents of his stogie. "And I thank you for the hospitality here on the side of this road." He rolled the paper around the leaf and licked the end, hoping it would remain rolled long enough for him to enjoy. He lit the stogie with a bit of flame from the end of his finger, winking at the tattooed man, enjoying hamming it up a bit to a crowd that had most certainly seen and perhaps even performed similar parlor tricks. "A few days ago, we were all on a ship, not in these lands." He took a long pull of the smoke, "The ship was sleek, fast indeed - we were speeding along at an unbelievable clip. Surely, the fastest ship on the sea that day." The smoke came out of his mouth in puffs as he talked. He held the stogie up and smiled, inclining his head to the story teller.

"The steely grey sky reached down to the steely grey sea that day; the horizon was nowhere to be seen. And suddenly the sea was reaching over the ship. What the sailors called a rogue wave smashed onto the deck. All hell broke loose." He took another long haul on the leaf, "the mast was torn from the ship. That's when I went overboard - just as the sharks arrived. And then, I came to on a mist covered beach. The beautiful ship had aged; hundreds had passed for the ship, but no more than an hour or so for us. The air was thick with powerful magic." Tarton leaned back in his camp chair, the last bit of smoke coming out his nostrils. "Somehow, we survived. Or were chosen." He shrugged and took another pull on the smoke and smiled. "And that is how we came to this land." Tarton exhaled, ending his story.

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Old 09-09-2019, 08:34 AM
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Gareth Blackcroft
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A look of confusion flickers across Gareth's face as Arahja stomps off, berating him for something he doesn't quite understand. The rogue seems to consider his options for a moment as the wanderer continues to lecture him but eventually moves back towards the fire, hands raised in a shrugging gesture.

"Seems like I've hit a nerve, although I can't tell if it's the woman or whatever a Mortu is. But please, by all means, enlighten me. I won't deny I'm a sucker for a pretty face and a clever mind, but I think we're talking about different things."

Gareth puts on his best 'friendly smile', but the look of annoyance in his eyes, something that his companions have learned to spot, gives away his true mood.

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Old 09-11-2019, 08:17 PM
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Tser Pool: Tizenegyedik 23, Szerda 10:05 AM clearThe Vistani assembled before the roaring fire sit enraptured by Tarton’s rollicking tale of abduction and terror on the open seas. There are audible cries of surprise when the halfling describes the wicked rolling sea that fateful day and the weak hearted amongst the travellers almost faints dead away when told of the unfortunate shark related fate of some of the passengers of the Soul Keeper. The younger vistani clutch tightly to their parents, burying their faces away in fear.

As if planned, Gareth takes this moment to rejoin the group, Arahja having stomped by towards the largest tent in the clearing. Gareth steps into the flickering light of the fire as he tries to ascertain just what drove Arahja mad. "Seems like I've hit a nerve, although I can't tell if it's the woman or whatever a Mortu is. But please, by all means, enlighten me. I won't deny I'm a sucker for a pretty face and a clever mind, but I think we're talking about different things."

The children look as Gareth’s face is illuminated by the flames and in unison they scream in horror at the hideous scarring that covers his face. Before the vistani can clamp a hand over the children’s mouths, embarrassed by the outburst, the flap of the large tent opens and a hunched over old woman, draped in colorful robes and scarves steps from the illuminated interior. She frowns at the thief as she shakes a finger in his direction. “Gareth… Tarton… please stop scaring the children,” she says in a cackling voice. “There is more than enough to scare them in this world… wouldn’t you agree Renata?” she continues as she takes a few shuffling steps forward.

Arahja stands silently by the old woman and the rest of the vistani watch silently as well. “Come… come talk to an old woman who has waited patiently for you.” The woman then turns and shuffles back into her tent, the flap closing behind her.
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Old 09-12-2019, 08:08 AM
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Renata starts slightly at the old woman's statement to her, but quickly recovers. "Dreams," she says quietly to the space where the woman had stood. "Illusions, tricks, and now tea leaves." Then after another moment, she strides forward and breaches the flap to enter the tent.

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Old 09-12-2019, 03:07 PM
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Gareth Blackcroft
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Gareth frowns at the screams and looks of terror, confused by the children's reactions, but quickly realizes that his marred face is the source of their terror. The rogue's face flushes with anger, and it's clear that he still forgets the brutal scars from time to time, making the harsh reminder all the more unsettling.

Gareth is about to say something when the old, crackling voice calls his name. The young man turns to gaze upon its source, though he turns so as not to reveal his hideous scar. The look of defiance quickly fades from his eyes and surprisingly, he gives the woman a curt nod.

Two can play at this game.

"As you wish, Madame Eva."

The rogue quickly follows Renata into the tent, but as he takes his leave of the fire a ghastly skeletal hand drifts in his wake, waving at the children.

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Old 09-14-2019, 01:38 PM
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Maja had carefully listened to Stefan's tale of the wizard and his moral of the story. Before she had sorted out her thoughts, Tarton began to retell their story. The day they had left Waterdeep with the Soul Keeper. The wonderful view from the deck towards the Sword Coast. The sudden rogue wave. Turmoil, death, and Gareth's sudden rescue on the beaches of Ravenloft.

As he told their common story, Maja was overwhelmed by her memories and emotions. She was re-experiencing their ordeal as if it had been the first time. The young mystic shivered all over her body. She broke out in tears.

"Don't abandon me!" she pleaded with Renata as the paladin began to walk into the old woman's tent. Frightened and feeling god-forsaken Maja ran after the warrior of Tyr.
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Old 09-16-2019, 01:13 PM
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"The tales and the cow dung was deep nearest to the fire," Aubron thought to himself as one after another told their story. He was disturbed by the origins of Strahd and the code that these Vistani seemed to live by. However, on the surface, Aubron sensed no threat and their neutrality in the whole battle with evil was understood. At least, they seemed to be neutral, however, time would tell.

Aubron continued to sit as the others went about their business with the gypsies. Gareth tried to make the children laugh, but he was met with screams of terror. Tarton told the story of their ill fated arrival, and that seemed to warm up the hippies. But, Aubron sat and watched. His ears were alert for any signs of danger from the forest...his second home. Part of him longed to be back among the trees and the underbrush. It was safe. There was no evil to sink its sharp fangs into him.

When Renata got up to join the old crone in her tent, Aubron stood as well. He walked near to the dark skinned woman, and quietly said to her. "Watch your mind in there. Tricks abound with these folk."

He then moved towards the edge of the camp where it met the surrounding trees. He stood there admiring the beauty of the moon over the water and the sounds of the living creatures in the folds of the forest. He waited. For what, he did not know. But, he sensed that it would soon present itself.
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:29 PM
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While Aubron thought he would continue his usual skulking in the relative darkness near the edge of the camp, Madame Eva had other plans for the elf. As the ranger moved to walk away, after a quick, probably unneeded warning to Renata, a loud clapping sound could be heard as the tent flap to the old crone’s tent opens yet again. The ancient looking matriarch claps her hands again as she points a gnarled finger towards Aubron and then at Tarton. There is no question about what the old fortune teller wants… and they both know that they have no choice but to do as she asks.

Magic flames cast a reddish glow over the interior of the tent, revealing a low table covered in a black velvet cloth. Glints of light seem to flash from a crystal ball on the table as the hunched figure of Madame Eva peers into its depths. As the crone speaks, her voice crackles like dry weeds. "At last you have arrived!" Cackling laughter bursts like mad lightning from her withered lips. “Oh… I have waited for you… yes I have… long days and nights, but here... who can tell the difference.” The old woman sees the haunted exhaustion reflected in the party’s eyes and she motions for everyone to take a seat around the table. Reaching out with withered, trembling fingers, she pats Maja on her hand.

“Now, now Maja… we all must lose in this life… some earlier than others unfortunately. I’m sure Darvin has not forgotten you… and as long as you live in his heart… can you ever truly die?” She looks thoughtfully at the young girl, still rubbing the mystic’s hand. “Aubron will hold Jharak’s memory in his heart… it's all he can do… as Renata does for her lost children… the poor… poor children… a tragedy.” Madame Eva wipes a solitary tear that traces its way down her gaunt cheek. “Some don’t have to wait for tragedy… their birth is one itself… isn’t that so Iados? Hated for what you are but never for who you are?”

“Yes… I have waited for you and you have now arrived.” Madame Eva smiles at Tarton as she takes out a pure black deck of cards and begins to shuffle them quickly in her hand. The cards seem to dance through the air as they jump from hand to hand like water cascading over a waterfall. The wizened woman winks at the fledgling mage. “Can you guess what comes next little man?” As she continues to shuffle she turns her eyes to Gareth, and stares at the man saying nothing, cards continuing to dance through the air.
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