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  #646  
Old Jul 15th, 2022, 10:27 AM
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Wakee-Wakee, Eggs-and-BakeeThe subtle change of darkness to very dim light isn't what wakes you. It is the sound of Arahja being aided by a teenage Vistani stoking the central fire in preparation to brew some tea and cook the morning meal that has you all shifting and finally extracting yourselves from bedrolls. The smell of warming tea already coming from the huge kettle has you all anticipating a hot mug. The morning is cold with the dampness of clinging fog that rolls off the Tser Pool, restricting vision and spirits with the promise of another gloomy day.

After getting your bedrolls tightly wound and secured, you're each handed a hot mug of the disappointingly weak tea. By this time, Rina has come from the wagon, looking bright and cheerful despite the late revelries. She has a basket and begins doling out a meager breakfast of a single boiled duck egg with a couple strips of venison jerky to each of you. Rina hands an additional pair of eggs to Polly with instructions, "Madame Eva asks that you bring these to her tent as soon as you've finished your own repast." Two eggs and no jerky. Makes sense for a toothless old woman. "She'll want a cup of tea as well, just wait until you're ready to go so it's still hot."
OOCA reminder to those who haven't done so (Grumpy & Vacation-Guy) to please get your Luck Points rolled in the dice thread ASAP (even if that's after returning from Hawaii): https://www.rpgcrossing.com/showthre...71#post9507971

Last edited by Wretched Rick; Jul 15th, 2022 at 10:40 AM.
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  #647  
Old Jul 15th, 2022, 02:03 PM
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Polly Titchwillow
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Polly woke before anyone else, as she was accustomed to. She liked getting up at the crack of dawn, to greet the sunrise, the first rays of light kissing the ground. When the monk opened her eyes, however, she remembered the the dreary, overcast sky permitted no sunlight to pass. It was yet another awful thing in this awful place, and Polly's mood was more sour for it. Sighing, she got up and, trying to ignore her hangover, started a set up sit-ups. Without the sun there was really no point in meditating- even if her headache would've allowed her mind to find peace.

When Rina comes to serve breakfast, Polly does little more than grunt to acknowledge her presence. At the request to bring madame Eva her breakfast, however, Polly is instantly alert. Sighing, a sense of trepidation taking hold, she takes the plate from Rina with a nod. Stuffing some of the jerky in her pockets for later, the Hexblood pops the egg in her mouth and, taking but a quick moment to chew, swallows the thing. The thing catches in her throat- but is quicky washed down with a quaff from her flask.

'I'll go now,' Polly says, raising a mug of hot tea. 'No sense delaying the inevitable, right?' she tries, going for levity but failing miserably, her voice cracking with unease. 'Don't worry,' she tells the others. 'I'll be right back. Just gotta go talk to the old lady. I'll be back by the time you finish your breakfast,' she assures them.

Then, with a heavy heart, she begins her march to Eva's tent. Her heart was heavy with trepidation, her momentary courage last night gone. She wanted nothing more than to know the answer to her question, to have the means to be rid of the darkness in her soul. But now that she was about to get her answer, Polly wanted nothing more than to curl up in a ball and have the world forget about her. Because once she knew her answer, she'd have to act on it... And that meant confronting a shadow she had tried to keep locked away since childhood.

When she arrived at Eva's cart, Polly fidgeted for a moment, then decided it was probably best not to let the crone's breakfast go cold. Keeping the plate of eggs between her wrist and midriff, and the cup of hot tea in the same hand, the monk used her free hand to knock before taking the cup again. 'Madame Eva? I've got your breakfast here,' she called, trying not to sound nervous. 'And, um... Your silver? If you have time?'

Cegilune's rotting teeth, why did the old woman fill her with such dread?


 
 
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  #648  
Old Jul 15th, 2022, 07:04 PM
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Sorry all, for DemonSlayer's eyes only.

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  #649  
Old Jul 16th, 2022, 08:25 PM
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”Bright blue skies, song birds singing, and a beautiful rainbow,” Mara said out loud as she opened her eyes to stare up at the dull grey expanse that blanketed the countryside. ”I wish.”

Used to living on the move, it took Mara little time to see to her morning rituals and get her gear packed up, before spending some time putting her armour back on. All of this she did before she ate, because didn’t want to be caught unprepared again, and breakfast could be eaten on the march if need be.

”From the floor of an inn, to a nobleman’s guest room, to a bedroll on rocky ground, it’s been a few interesting nights; not to mention the day’s between.” Twisting side-to-side, bending forward at the waist, lifting her knees up high, the half-orc looked rather ridiculous as she got her armour to sit comfortably. If yesterday was any indication of life here in Barovia, she was going to need every pound of that steel. ”I wonder where we’ll be tonight?”


OOCArmoured up.


 


 
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  #650  
Old Jul 18th, 2022, 05:22 AM
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Polly Titchwillow
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Awkwardly stammering words of thanks, Polly got up and left. Partly because she didn't want to offend madame Eva, but she also felt the need to think about what she'd been told, the old woman's words heavy on her mind. She kept quiet, lost in thought as she made her way back to her friends, ignoring the Vistani with whom she had celebrated so vigorously last night.

Back at the fire, she saw her companions had mostly packed up their belongings. Thinking it best not to dwell on her conversation with the crone, Polly crossed her arms waiting as the others got ready, chewing on a bit of her recently acquired pocket jerky. 'So, uh,' she started, trying to shake the sense of doom she'd been left with. 'How about that hair thief? That sort of seems like something we should look into, yeah?'


 
 
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  #651  
Old Jul 18th, 2022, 06:48 AM
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Barry
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"Gleam glean, tomayto tomato. You know what I meant at least." Barry kept his usual smile up as he was teased by Ireena. It would take a lot more than that to embarrass the cleric.
Words aside, he got to work on the broach. A half hour of meditation passed. ....Just as I expected, a broach of disguise. It's all trinkets, smoke and mirrors. I'm gonna have to start doubting this Strahd's true power...and to also thank him for letting this little treasure fall into my lap...
A little prank woke in his mind, but realising Polly was watching him and waiting for answers, he needed to shake her off. "Ah, just a halflings hand me down...But please excuse me, nature calls."
Barry hurried of to privacy to "releave" himself. In actuality, he affixed the broach to his cloak and transformed. What was once Barry, the male elf was now a female version of Jhorn, or Jhornette. However, as it was Barry's first time with this kind of magic, he was still waiting his own clothing and armour. ...well I suppose that's for the best given the mornings drama. Don't want to end up split in half now....
Barry sneaked back into camp and laid down next to Jhorn,waiting for him to awaken. ...What line should I use? Good morning sunshine...?....How about...You look like you had a rough night? How about a relaxing morning....hmmmm...Any secret scars, tiger?...


 


 
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  #652  
Old Jul 18th, 2022, 07:06 AM
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Halas Fogbarrel
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Polly came back to the group as they were preparing to leave, having had her second visit with Madame Eva, a visit that the others were not invited to.

The halfling crossed his arms and said, "Keeping secrets are we? I'm assuming you're just not telling us what the old bat said so her trained dogs here don't tell her you told. Once we get out of this camp...you're spilling the beans!"


 



 

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Old Jul 18th, 2022, 08:06 PM
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Foggy Morning
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Arahja seats himself amongst you, grinning like the kind of morning person you've come to loathe: the too enthusiastic barmaid at breakfast when you're horribly hungover. "My friends!" he exclaims too loudly for your leftover wine headaches, although most of you attempt to not appear disgruntled in the face of his beaming demeanor. "There are many things we must speak of, but first!" He waves a hand as if casting a spell and Rina rolls her eyes before walking to him to hand him a basket she was holding. "I have a special treat for you, for all in the camp!" He begins handing out pieces of soft sweetbread swirled with cinnamon and sugar. "No ingredient to these is native to this land. I suppose it's less of a treat than it would be had you been here longer, but savor it nonetheless. When I saw you feeding a king's ransom worth of grain to your mules last night, I realized your ignorance on the matter, so now I must educate you. You see, there are many types of plants that will not grow within this light-dampened demi-plane. Some plants require much more sunlight than others. That is why you will never find bread, ale, noodles, anything made from grain. The grain you've brought for your mules is worth more than you can know in Vallaki. Some plants can be grown here that your mules will be happy to eat: carrots, potatoes, turnips, even apples. I do not have the coin to purchase your grain as you could sell it in Vallaki, but for a paltry sum, I could gift you with some of these other vegetables to keep the beasts going on their journey. My advice to you is to stop feeding them the precious grain!"

Seemingly finished with his pacing about you and hand-waving theatrics, he takes a seat. By this time, he's delivered a piece of sweetbread to every party member and hands the basket back to Rina. The slim, stately woman carries it off to the outer fires where other Vistani familial units are gathering to finish passing them out. "So," Arahja finally retreats to a less irritating conversational tone. "You had some questions for me last night. I spoke with Rina about them in our wagon, but we are sadly ignorant of much. I believe many of those questions can be answered by someone who has truly explored this land and is much more familiar with its geography. Whenever our tribe comes to this land, we only camp here. There was one question that struck a chord with our memories, though. Madame Eva mentioned something about the Ladies Three? I cannot be certain, but this term is an ancient Barovian title for the three fanes that ruled this land before the coming of Strahd, at least according to some esoteric folklore we've managed to gather over the years. There was a fane for the forest, the swamp, and the mountains. They were minor goddesses in their own right, sometimes still worshiped by feral druids found in this land, but somehow stripped of their power by the devil of the mountain. I know nothing more of it. As I say, it is ancient lore predating the coming of Strahd and the transformation of this land."
OOCStarting to worry about MIA Grumpy. Still waiting for your luck point roll in the dice thread and an IG post.
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Old Jul 19th, 2022, 06:16 AM
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Polly Titchwillow
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Polly gave Halas a side glance, recognizing the halfling's thirst for answers. Part of her wanted to keep quiet- out of shame, mostly. But she supposed she owed her friends an explanation. And besides, keeping her secrets bottled up felt suffocating, like a knot in her stomach she would be glad to be rid of. 'Later,' she agreed, before she was cut short by Arahja's words of warning.

'Thanks for the tip,' Polly offered, walking over to Jacob's saddlebags. Undoing the clasp, she dug into one of the thick leather pouches, and produced four which should be four days' worth of feed... Which I removed from my sheet!ten-pound bags of grain. 'This is for the vegetables, then- and for the hospitality... And the advice,' she stammered. 'I'm not sure if you can grow it, but if this stuff's as valuable as you say, well...' She shrugged. Personally, she had no plans to settle down as a farmer, and besides, she didn't have much use for gold. The only good thing about grain, to her, was that it kept for a long time- that's all she needed, the knowledge Jacob would have plenty to eat for the foreseeable future.

When Rina told of the three fanes, Polly listened intently. 'Druids, you say? Any idea where we might find them? If they worship these three fanes... Who knows, they might know where to find them? Or hey,' she piped up, 'maybe we don't need to meet these ladies three. Madame Eva said we should help them- but maybe we just need the druids to explain their will to us?'

She shrugged. 'I dunno. Maybe I'm just hoping we don't need to speak to actual gods,' the monk said, clearly unsettled at the prospect.


 
 
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Old Jul 19th, 2022, 07:56 AM
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Aender remained mostly silent as they woke in the morning. His mind trying to figure out why someone would want to steal Jhorn's hair. Was it some spell that was to be cast against him or something of that sort? Perhaps a curse even, what else would require such an item.

As Polly produced the large quantity of grain and gave it to the Vistani he smiled. "They had given them shelter for the night even if he personally felt somewhat slighted by the lack of answers offered to his own questions. Still, her generosity might prove useful if they came across the group again. It never hurt to have allies, especially in such a place as this land.

"Thank you for the safe night's rest Arahja. It was very much appreciated. We have not found many opportunities to rest safely since arriving. May the road treat you and yours well."

When Polly mentioned finding the druids, he nodded. "I have a feeling the druids might be easier to discover than some near-forgotten demi-gods. Not that the sound of stomping about in a swamp sounds very much fun, or safe."


 


 
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Old Jul 21st, 2022, 02:06 PM
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Foggy Morning
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"I feel the need to caution you if you seek out the druids of this land. They live in packs like feral animals and are purportedly unfriendly or hostile to outsiders. You may find another who knows more of ancient lore than Rina and I without having to try and establish contact with those wretches." Arahja is visibly taken aback at Polly's generosity in gifting the grain sack. He smiles widely, revealing his teeth, a few of which are gold or silver. He turns and gives some instructions to a couple boys who burst into a flurry of action. Within a half-hour, the boys have managed to stuff I forgot her nameBarry's mule's saddlebags with 80 pounds of turnips, carrots, garlic, cabbages, and onions.

In the meantime, Mara finds herself looking out over the pool from the edge as the mist finally begins to thin out. Contemplating the creation of a new poem, she sighs inwardly as she notices the approach of Ireena being trailed about ten paces behind by her protective sibling. "Hi Mara,"she begins cheerfully. "I was thinking to check your full waterbags, so you should take your top off in the stream." Mara's head snapped around, her expression incredulous, and noticed the purpled, mortified expression on Ireena's face. "I... I meant..." she begins quietly in a choked voice. Clearing her throat, but not able to meet Mara's eye, "I meant to say that we should check if the waterbags are full and top them off in the stream." Mara had never seen someone blush so deeply before. "Yeah," Ismark chimes in from behind, "but what were you really thinking?" Ireena whirled on her smirking brother with such a venomous look, it would have likely spelled murder if it had not been between siblings. Saying nothing, she whirled again and stalked away with a stiff spine. No longer smirking, Ismark mumbled "I suppose topping off the waterskins is a good idea. Sorry, I'll see to it."

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  #657  
Old Jul 21st, 2022, 07:48 PM
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"...Jeez, werewolves sure do need to sleep a lot." Barry was starting to get impatient as it seemed to take an age for Jhorn to wake up. "Fine!" he grumbled as he rose to his feet. He stomped off in the direction of the group and Arahja, sour that his joke didn't pan out. Yet, he did spy Mara and Ireena, and had the thought of using the broach to give those two a little nudge in the right direction. The thought of Ireena's nervous crush brought the smile back to Barry's lips. It was nice that even in such a dark place, the heart can still shine. ...Hmmm....If Strahd is after her, perhaps the broach can keep her a little safer. Will need to come back to that thought later...

He approached the group still as Jhorn. Their confused looks of why Jhorn was wearing Barry's armor written across their faces. "Oh." he said, dropping the magic."Yeah. Magical broach of disguise." he added nonchalantly. "Can discuss the best use for that later. Sorry, did I hear something about old-god worshipping druids? Perhaps Levente may know more? Man of the wilds and all..."



 


 
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Old Jul 21st, 2022, 10:16 PM
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ĒIÖĒ Mara managed to utter after Ireena was already out of earshot. She shared an uncomfortable look with Ismark as the older man began filling his own waterskins. ĒA good idea, I suppose, while the water still runs clean in the mountains.Ē

She knelt at the edge of the pool and refilled her container, making sure it was full for the travels ahead, ĒA little cold for my tastes, but I do like to swim,Ē she offered absently as they worked in silence, her face scrunching up in confusion as she tried to figure out what she was even talking about. She looked after the woman who was still storming off, the faint taste of cinnamon still lingering on her tongue from the sweetbread, ĒYour sister is a veryÖ passionate person, isnít she?Ē

Without waiting for, or expecting, a response from the nobleman, Mara stood and stowed her water for the journey, before heading back towards the others as they discussed the next course of action. The Which Iíve copied onto the notes section of my character sheet if anyone needs to quick reference it without searching back through the threadtarokka reading had given them vague ideas about how to defeat this vampire, Strahd, but in her mind there was only one immediate task.

ĒWe should be getting on the road to Vallaki,Ē she said as she joined the others, Ēwe can figure out what to do next when Ireena, Ismark, and Lucian are safe there.Ē




 


 
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Old Jul 22nd, 2022, 08:46 AM
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Polly Titchwillow
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Slowly, Polly nodded in agreement with Mara. 'You're probably right. This place is dangerous- the quicker we bring the siblings and Lucien to safety, the better. Still,' she added with a shrug. 'We've got some things to be on the look-out for, on the road there. A tower in the water, a saint's house, the Ladies Three and a guy with a monkey. And maybe some less than agreeable druids, or anyone else who knows about the fanes. Levente, maybe- you have any idea when he might be back?'

Sighing, the monk got up, stretching her limbs with her staff behind her neck. 'Well, looks like our dance card is full.' She quickly made her way to Jacob, inspecting his wounds before calling Ireena over. 'Ireena! I have no idea what I'm looking at here,' she said, indicating the mule's wounds. 'Think you can take a quick look, make sure he's good to travel?'


 
 
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Old Jul 22nd, 2022, 10:57 AM
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The Road Least/Most Travelled
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Ireena walks over to Polly and Jacob, obviously glad for the distraction. She spends a few moments looking over the worst of Jacob's wounds, then turns back to the monk with a bright smile. "They're healing wonderfully," she exclaims. "I think he's up to travelling. The wounds are already closing nicely with no sign of infection or other irritation. It looks like she pats Barry's mulethis girl is carrying much more now and doesn't seem like she'll struggle for it. Still, we might wait until tomorrow before loading him with our personal packs again. I think he'll be fine to carry Lucien as well, if you're okay with that. Come now. I want to put something to Barry and the rest of you, and I want you there too."

Walking over to Barry and most everyone else, "Ismark and I spoke about it last night, and we want you to decide which path we travel to Vallaki. It seems foolish to be paying for your expertise and then try and micromanage how you go about the task. There's still only two real choices that I know: we can return to the main road to make better time, probably making Vallaki in four days if we push hard, but also passing right by the main approach to Castle Ravenloft and likely being easier to locate by our enemies at any point on the march. The second choice takes us directly into the lowlands where there are no roads so, much rougher travelling and a guarantee of every night spent in the open. Ismark favors this course, as he believes it will be harder for Strahd to find us if he were to try. I convinced him to go along with your decision by pointing out that we really don't know the level of his capabilities, and that it was only an assumption, not fact."

"Anyways, please take a few minutes to talk it over and be sure."
OOCThis is one of those things for which the Barryleader will make the final decision, but not without consultation. The idea of the leader was only to be the final arbiter, but who bothers to post their character's opinion about it in the next 3 dayseveryone is to give their opinion for his consideration. I vastly prefer an IC discussion over OOC please. I was a little surprised when the marching order was posted without anyone else's opinion, as that was not the intention. Only to end several day's worth of passive opinion sharing with still no definitive answer to my question is the idea. Everyone who wants to have a voice still needs the opportunity to have one, even if their proposition is overruled in the end.

I would like for DemonSlayer and Azure Nokori to add a simple stat block for their mules at the bottom of their own stat block - and include the beast's name. The same for JaredSyn with his owl familiar.

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