Chapter 1: There Wolf, There Castle.   Posted by DM.Group: 0
DM
 GM, 1 post
 Goddess of Destruction
 Love Me & Despair
Fri 24 Feb 2017
at 01:36
Chapter 1: There Wolf, There Castle
It is a dark and stormy night.

The squall came up without warning, interrupting what was up until early this evening a beautiful and crisp autumn day in the province of Ludovica.  The sudden downpour has driven indoors many travelers who might otherwise have decided to camp along the road.  Tonight though, more hospitable lodgings are in order.

Outside the Randy Vixen tavern, the rain lashes against the windowpanes.  The damp, cobbled pavement of the inn courtyard glistens as the lights of the common room dance across the slick stones.  The weather chills the bones of any who remain outside for long.

Inside, the tavern is full to bursting with locals and wayfarers alike, all seeking a hot meal, a cold pint, and shelter from the storm.  A fire is blazing in the hearth, and the common room is alive with voices.  A group of Vistani chats boisterously around one table while elsewhere a game of dice is in full swing.  Based on the loud groans of dismay coming from most of the players, nobody is doing especially well.  A huge wolfhound belonging to the proprietor lies stretched out in front of the hearth, filling the room with the odor of wet dog.

The storm has made strange bedfellows of the tavern clientele, as total strangers are forced to share tables with one another due to the crowd.  One table in particular is attracting more than its share of strange glances, possibly due to the sheer oddity of its occupants:

-a man with dark hair that contrasts starkly with his unusually pale skin.  He looks as though he has spent the majority of his life underground.  Although a hood is pulled low over his face, every so often one can catch the glint of gold eyes with abnormally slitted pupils.  The other occupants of the tavern give him as wide a berth as they can within the confines of the room, occasionally sneaking perturbed glances in his direction.

-a young woman, wiry with muscle, with stern pale blue eyes and red-gold hair pulled back from her face. She does not appear to be from around these parts, and observes the other tavern guests with interest.  Her chain mail garb and warhammer are incongruous with a battered instrument case made of supple leather that sits by her feet.

-a young Vistani man man in his mid-20's with dark brown eyes, olive skin, and rakishly tousled black hair; dressed flashily with rings on more than one finger.  He is dashingly handsome and he knows it.  As he smiles at and occasionally converses with those passing by, he fiddles with a deck of elaborately painted cards.

-a man in his early 30's with dark hair and weather-beaten skin, his simple attire well-worn from much time spent on the road. His sole gear consists of a pack and a walking stick.  The man sits closer to the roaring hearth than might otherwise be considered comfortable, and a faint but noticeable odor of smoke clings to him.

-a nondescript young man <Lavender>man/Lavender> with a rapier at his hip.

Suddenly, the tavern door swings open and a hush falls over the room.  Framed by the lamplit rainfall, a form strides through the doorway.  His heavy booted footfalls and the jingle of his coins shatter the silence.  His brightly colored clothes are draped in loose folds about him, and his hat hangs askew, hiding his eyes in shadow.  The man is easily identifiable as one of the Vistani, judging from his garb and his olive complexion.

The Vistani are known for being a gregarious folk.  This man, however, is admirably succinct:

"I need help!"

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:43, Mon 27 Feb 2017.

Oswald Weiss
 player, 3 posts
 Unbent. Unbroken.
 Inflammable.
Mon 27 Feb 2017
at 17:59
Chapter 1: There Wolf, There Castle
In reply to DM (msg # 1):

Like many other patrons, the man by the fireplace glances up at the Vistani's boisterous entrance. His gaze takes in the stranger's clothing and countenance before it moves up to the ceiling, and he utters the long-suffering sigh of someone who is about to do something they already know they'll probably regret.

Typical. Word already got around...so much for laying low.

"Stop yelling, man, and join me by the fire," he calls out, beckoning to the Vistani with one hand while gesturing that the nearest serving girl should bring over a pair of pints. "Help may be nearer than you think."

This message was last edited by the player at 18:01, Mon 27 Feb 2017.

DM
 GM, 4 posts
 Goddess of Destruction
 Love Me & Despair
Mon 27 Feb 2017
at 19:53
Chapter 1: There Wolf, There Castle
The other patrons of the tavern breathe a barely concealed sigh of relief when some other poor sap volunteers assistance.  Strangers seeing aid on a cold, rainy night such as this can hardly bode well.

The man turns at Oswald's invitation.  His face shows relief as he heads over to the indicated table, though he is brought up short by the motley crew sitting there.  He hesitates, warily regarding the pale man and the foreign woman, but the sight of one of his own people and the frothing mugs of ale now arriving at the table seem to clinch the deal.  With a short burst of decisive action, the stranger sits awkwardly on a rickety stool.

"Thank you, friend.  It's good to see that there are still folks of honor willing to aid a stranger in his time of need," he says in accented Common. He takes a sip of his pint and looks uncertainly at the other occupants of the table.

"Er. . .are these your associates?"
Alaric von Innsbruck
 player, 1 post
 Silver for monsters
 Steel for men
Mon 27 Feb 2017
at 20:13
Chapter 1: There Wolf, There Castle
The hooded figure shakes his head. We just met, he says in a voice rough from weeks of traveling dusty roads without much cause to speak.

He pauses, regarding the Vistano with something akin to curiosity.

What sort of help?
DM
 GM, 5 posts
 Goddess of Destruction
 Love Me & Despair
Mon 27 Feb 2017
at 23:31
Chapter 1: There Wolf, There Castle
"I am a courier," the Vistano says, "sent on behalf of Burgomaster Kolyan Indirovich, of the village of Barovia.  Alas, the Burgomaster could not come himself.  He is otherwise occupied these days and. . . well, this should make things apparent."

From within one of the innumerable folds of his attire, the stranger produces a letter which he places on the table.  The letter is rolled into a scroll and is still sealed with a blob of deep burgundy sealing wax.  The crest on the seal is unfamiliar to all of you:

http://db4sgowjqfwig.cloudfron...ges-4.jpg?1469998564

Up until this point the other tavern patrons nearest the table have been doing their best to "subtly" eavesdrop on your conversation.  The instant the stranger utters the word "Barovia," however, the mood changes. Any semblance of interest disappears from their faces, and they turn away from you in their chairs, shunning you to a man.

Clearly Barovia is something of a taboo subject in these parts.

[OOC: As I was telling Aaron earlier today, you're probably aware of it in the same way that we are all aware of Transylvania, and with similar connotations: lots of scary stories set there, but you probably don't know that much about it irl]

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:40, Mon 27 Feb 2017.

Oswald Weiss
 player, 4 posts
 Unbent. Unbroken.
 Inflammable.
Tue 28 Feb 2017
at 01:01
Chapter 1: There Wolf, There Castle
In reply to DM (msg # 5):

The color drains from the man by the fire's face at the mention of Barovia, but only for a moment before his curiosity gets the better of him.

"This letter is sealed."

He allows the statement to linger, picking the missive up to get a better look at it...and to get a feel for its heft. He holds it above his head, squinting at it.

 "To whom was it intended?"

This message was last edited by the player at 01:03, Tue 28 Feb 2017.

DM
 GM, 7 posts
 Goddess of Destruction
 Love Me & Despair
Tue 28 Feb 2017
at 03:29
Chapter 1: There Wolf, There Castle


"Yes, well," the Vistano says ruefully, "in full disclosure, you are the first travelers I've met who are still talking by this point. Every other likely soul has heard the word "Barovia" and is no longer interested in hearing the particulars.  Your curiosity is a bit of a surprise.  Though I guess it shouldn't be, give some of your. . . .professions"  This last is said with a pointed glance at the hooded man.

As nobody at the table shows any immediate signs of opening the letter, the Vistano sighs, reaches into yet another hidden pocket, and emerges with a heavy sack of gold that he places on the table.

"I can see you're still dubious.  Understandable.  Consider this an attempt to sweeten the deal somewhat.  Take it or leave it as you wish.  You're under no obligations to come to Barovia if you do.  But if you decide to help investigate the Burgomaster's. . .issue, then there will be more where that came from.  Kolyan Indirovich is a rich man.  And currently, is also a desperate one."


"Incidentally, my name is Arrigal."