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Ravenloft

TheCorsair

Pulsar
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
“Why do I find myself doubting that where we are headed is any less safe then where were are fleeing, Andrei?" She whispered the question, but it still sounded frighteningly loud to his ears.

“Is anywhere safe?” Andrei whispered back , latching the hidden door and shooting two stout bolts. “But there is food there, and fuel for the lamps. Elrick...”. He swallowed hard at the name, choking back tears that threatened to well up. “We had considered fetching stores from the guest house, come the dawn.” Satisfied that the door was solidly barred, he rested his palm against the tough brick of the tunnel and cautiously began walking. “It will be safe.”

The last was more prayer than known fact. The guest house had to be safer. It had to be, or he was dead and Lady Ireena was worse than that. But this was no time to dwell on such thoughts. He focused instead on walking carefully, sliding his boots along the unseen floor, feeling for obstacles. It was less than a quarter mile, he knew. But in the darkness that distance was an eternity.

“If matters are this bad here,” Ireena wondered aloud, “I wonder how the rest of the village is fairing..."

“Better, perhaps,” Andrei observed. “The Beast seeks...”. He bit off his comment. She well knew what Strahd the Devil sought, better than he did. “What he seeks is not in the village. If they keep their doors barred, and hearten not to the whispers of the dead, they should be well enough.”

An eternity passed before Andrei felt secure enough to light the torch in his belt. Firelight kept and flickered, making the footing uncertain and the darkness beyond deeper, but the flame gave a measure of comfort. If anything found them, he would at least be able to see it’s approach.

Finally, they found the door. It opened silently, revealing the cellar beyond. He stepped in, sword drawn and nerves taught. Nothing erupted from the darkness, and he breathed a sigh of relief as he closed and barred the hidden door. “Would you light a lamp, my lady?” he asked. “It will make it easier to ensure the house is safe.”
 

xanaphia

To breathe, to feel, to know I'm alive
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
Location
Shoulder deep within the borderline
I don't intend to be anywhere near you, or your fucking mom when the Devil comes to take you.

Long before he even knows you are here.

Even when she sought answers, only more questions emerged. Who was this Devil, and why would he want either her or her sister? Why had they been banished from Barovia?

Esperanza mulled over the vampire's words as she tore through Arik's collection of rags. Once she'd found the two closest to clean, she took a long swig of wine, and soaked one rag. That rag cleaned the wound, and she hissed against the sting of the alcohol. Once she'd endured as much burning as she could stand, she wrapped the wound in the other rag.

Whatever the answers were, it didn't matter. Not now. They needed to get to safety, and the Vine was no longer safe. Ishmark offered up his guest house, and it seemed a better idea than waiting around this tavern for death to find them. She turned towards Xavier, greeting his warm smile with a determined nod. "I will of course go where you go."

"Then let us get out of here before the vampires regroup. Which way are we headed, Ishmark?"
 

Black_Out

Purveyor of Dark Delights
Joined
Jul 9, 2018
Ismark had stumbled down the steps with a worn looking brown leather pack slung over his drenching wet shoulders. His bleary gaze was focused towards the front wall of the tavern. But not because he was admiring the architecture or the vast array of barricaded windows. It was the low moaning sounds of unfortunate souls cursed to walk the lands as shambling rotting corpses that drew his attention. From the sound of it they were closing in, surrounding the beleaguered tavern and those who still remained within.

Ismark let out a drunken belch as he wiped his hand across his soaked forehead, pushing the meager amounts of his black hair into further disarray. "Uh." Ismark grunted as he looked across towards Esperanza as she raised the question. "Right out into that shite." He gestured with a absent toss of his hand towards the front door. The sound of some unseen horror pounded against one of the boarded up windows, rattling the slabs of wood secured across its interior.

"The guest house.." He paused with cheeky grin towards Teo. "Or my love shack as some of the wenches around here know it is just a short run away." The scratch of a claw, followed by a deep and eerie groan came from the front door. "Once we get out into the square we turn south and it ain't far from there." His hand slapped around his vest briefly before digging into the front pocket of his trousers. "I got the key to the front door. Place should be safe, ain't nothing that roams these lands at night interested in an empty house."

"There's a hidden tunnel in the cellar, leads to the manor, I can get you lasses to your mom from there. If she's still alive." He muttered the last bit under his breath as he turned his gaze between the twins. A fist clubbed against the front door as Ismark weaved his way drunkenly through the others until he was standing before Bucren. "I'll be needing my sword back before we run out into the night like fools." His hand extended forward, waiting for Bucren to deposit the handle into his waiting grasp.
 

xavierrol

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Supporter
Joined
Aug 24, 2013
Location
Ohio
Xavier watched Esperanza as she cleaned her wound, he would have preferred to have her let it bleed a bit more to get any infection out of it but he didn't doubt the warnings of the others. He had been less concerned about the wound than the near miss the arrow had represented. While there had always been the possibility of professional kidnappers coming for the Sergovia family's jewel, most of his protecting had been against overly affectionate would be lovers, most of whom were rather drunk. The arrow was a reminder that these creatures were ruthless, clever, and deadly. He took the soiled rag, soaked with wine and her blood and thinking of the vampires as hunters following a blood trail had a thought. Turning to Bucren he asked. "Do you think scraps of this tied to a well placed arrow could confuse our hunters?" They would need every advantage they could get out there. (If Bucren agreed he will cut the cloth into small strips to tie to arrows.)

Listening carefully to Ishmark's directions he pulled his sword out once again. He could feel the surge of adrenaline kicking in once again and hoped it would be enough. He watched as Ishmark asked for his sword back, he felt more comfortable with Bucren since he trusted him more though now that Ishmark seemed to have cleared his head the two would have to settle it between them. He then turned to the group more collectively but addressed the ladies. "Try to stay together if you can, I can assure you Esperanza knows how to use her blade." He hoped it would inspire some small confidence in them, but he was astute enough to realize they cared little for his words. He then focused on the gypsy. "You may well be safer here if they follow us, but stay or go, now is the time to decide."

Moving towards the door he asked whichever ended up with the silver sword. "Stay with the girls, keep the hunters from them, I will clear us a path" It pained him to not stay close to Esperanza but he knew he was best suited to clearing the way and he would need room to swing his sword like scythe and couldn't do that and watch his charge. He took a few broad swings with his sword to limber up his tired and stiff arm. Not being an actual soldier, Xavier had never been in a large battle. He had needed to fight his way through some angry mobs and some large raids so he knew somewhat of what to expect. In some ways he looked forward to having a clear cut purpose instead of being confused and helpless. "Is anyone not ready?" He asked loudly as he prepared to kick open the door and begin cutting their path.
 

Lady Bloody Ava

Ravenclaw Prefect
Staff member
Officer
Joined
Jun 25, 2010
Location
Hogwarts
Ireena nearly breathed out a sigh of relief when the entrance to the guest house was finally reached. Naturally, Andrei went in first, ready to smite anything that may be lurking. It was far more peaceful here than it was back at her home. The wolves were far in the distances. The scratching of nails on the windows was nowhere to be heard. At her guardian's request, the lamps were lit. A warm light glow was cast upon their untouched surroundings. The cellar walls were lined in the same brick that made up the tunnel. Fermentation casks here and there that were not quite ready. A table or two with dusty goblets upon them and equally dusty silver platters. A portable lantern was lit and grabbed by the handle should they wish to explore the rest of the home or lay low in the cellar, for now. "All we have to do is survive until sun up."

Without realizing it a hand rubbed a knot out of the spot where her vampiric suitor sampled her blood. The hair falling back into place as eyes roamed their surroundings and ear listened for what may lay beyond the cellar door and into the remainder of the house. Where Andrei went, she would follow. There was no questioning the matter. Despite their belief that this house was untouched, one did not wish to be caught off guard in these times, for it could very easily cost you your life. Ireena knew well that her brother frequented this guest house with his many female consorts. "If Ismark were not a the tavern, this is where he would go next." It was a simple observation. Often she found herself wanting to wring his neck, but she did love him; almost as much as she loved her father. "Shall we head upstairs? Do you not think that the light will attract attention?"
 

Black_Out

Purveyor of Dark Delights
Joined
Jul 9, 2018
The Burgomasters Guest House had seen many visitors come and go over the course of it's existence. It's doors would always be open for those that came to challenge the Devil in Castle Ravenloft. The long, rectangular, and sturdy stone house possessed enough room to sleep ten comfortably within the confines of its four bedrooms up on the second floor. From its core, within the living room was a great fireplace that was more then capable of keeping everyone warm and cozy, even in the dead of winter. A pair of soft and supple leather sofas were arranged about the fireplace. Warming blankets were always nearby along with enough fluffy pillows to keep even the most ardent of pillow hogs content. The nearby study offered a place of solitude where its guests might find some peace and quiet from the hell that surrounded the home. And the kitchen, with its massive iron stove, offered up enough amenities to make a chef envious.

But those times had faded away, mostly.

Though it had fallen into neglect, the Burgomaster would never deny its comforts to those who came into these lands to challenge Strahd. He pinned his hopes on each and every soul that ventured to his estate and claimed they would rid the land of the vampires evil. He would gladly give them the key to his guesthouse. The kitchen would be stocked adequately with what fresh food that the Burgomaster could offer. There they could stay, collect themselves, and find sanctuary from the night when no one else would offer it.

Though visitors were a rarity in Baroiva, nearly every soul that had ever stayed under the clay shingles of its steep roof had come to meet their end. More then a few had perished right inside its very walls. The lucky ones remained dead.

With every failure the guesthouse grew darker and more ominous to the superstitious populace of Barovia. Between themselves they called it cursed, hexed, and believed it to be haunted. That latter rumor was supported on more then one occasion by those who stayed the night there. They spoke of unsettling apparitions, strange phenomena, and eerie auras, but nothing that ever openly possessed any malice. Over the years many of the natives had come to give it a name. "The House of the Hunted."
 

Touch Of Temperament

Super-Earth
Joined
Dec 29, 2012
Katya pursed her lips, watching the interaction between gypsy girl, Teo, and Bucren. She tended to agree with him, now was not the time for big introductions or lingering around here. At the door something was making these horrible groans, scratching at the door. It didn't sound like the wolves. Nor did it sound like a vampire. What other horrors did this place hold for them. She had her knife out, rolling her wrist warm it up. Right now her attention was on the locals, Bucren, Teo and Ishmark, watching them. Especially the former two, because the latter's drunkenness wasn't particularly faith inspiring. Also, just a moment ago he'd been ready to throw both Esperanza and her to the 'Devil'. So far Bucren and Teo had been geared just as much as they were towards surviving the night. She was out of her depth here, but they.. They knew far better how to survive this place then she could ever guess. And she would have to rely on her cunning most. "As much as I detest the sound of a 'love shack'. Let's just go."

Flipping her knife in the air repeatedly, absentmindedly catching it and flipping it back again, she slowly moved towards the door but also out of the way. So that whatever was behind the door wouldn't see her right away once the door opened. After they'd dealt with whatever awaited them out there, they would have to move fast. Fast she could do. "Shouldn't we have someone who knows the way in front?" She suggested. "And perhaps the person with the key."
 

BennyQ

Supporter
Supporter
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Location
Canada
Bucren handed the silver branded sword to Ismark hilt first. “Try not to forget it next time.” He muttered to the man, hoping not to see any traces of intoxication in the man’s first. They were going to need him and every sword they could get, even as hard blows began to rain against the doorway. Well so much for that way. Once more he brought his bow to the forefront, an arrow nocked but held casually at the ready. Something ugly, and with a horrid stench, was beyond that front door now. But Ismark’s more serious and less pessimistic demeanor loaned some steely resolve to their case.

He considered Xavier’s first query about the soaked rag and shooting off a decoy. He honestly never tried it before but the theory seemed sound. They did leave sacrificial offerings like full-on animals and beasts, either as a lure or some sort of tribute to avoid scrutiny on their own homes. Would they be fooled by the draw of any amount of blood? “No harm in trying. Lace one up, we’ll see how it goes out there.” Bucren assented, handing over one feathered shaft for it. He didn’t know how it was going to turn out so he couldn’t make any further planning beyond a promise to try.

The others settled up their own decision making. There was no hope in staying. And numbers provided greater security. They were used to picking off ones and twos here. A strong party like theirs would be harder to overcome but the vampire sounded like she had a grudge against them. He didn’t give an answer to Xavier’s query but his response was written well enough in the determination of Bucren’s expression. “I know the way too, in case anyone should get lost. But Ismark, you with your fancy blade should be at the front, while I’ll pick up the rear. I’m sure no one will get lost between us.” He threw out there, if anyone should care for it, ready whenever the rest were. There would be a quick, ugly fight at this doorway but once they punched their way through, it would be a mad dash to the love shack, as Ismark so eloquently put it.

Not that he would recommend it. That place had an ill-repute and Bucren had gleamed that during his own brief stay there, many years ago. But it was the better choice, especially if this secret tunnel in the cellar that Ismark mentioned proved to be true. When all seemed ready, he stood several paces back in a direct line from the doorway, bringing his bow up and stringing his arrow, drawing back alongside his lower jaw.
 

TheCorsair

Pulsar
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
“The house is usually kept shuttered,” Andrei replied. “When not in use, at least - a precaution against vandalism. Still, you are right. We should be cautious.”

Drawing his sword, he eyed the stairs with a nagging feeling of hesitancy. It was tempting to remain in the cellar until dawn. Just bar the door, and further barricade the secret entrance, and wait until he could see light seeping under the cracks. But if the house was occupied, whether by vagrants or by the undead, they needed to know. And so he bit his lip and started up the stairs, cringing inwardly at each creak of the steps.

The kitchen proved to be empty. Empty, and with windows shuttered fast and barred. The rest of the first floor was equally devoid of life and movement, and a slight but growing sense of relief built in his stomach as he gently lowered the crossbar of the front door into place. “One more floor, my lady,” he murmured. “But We May have found you a place of refuge. For the rest of the night, at least.”
 

Black_Out

Purveyor of Dark Delights
Joined
Jul 9, 2018
Ismark let his gaze linger on the so called fancy blade in his hand as he listened to the others around him. Bucren was right, he knew the way and it was obvious he should lead. But the thought didn't thrill him. As he shifted his paling knuckles around the handle of his sword he lifted his eyes over towards Xavier. "I take it your good with that spear, probably better then I am with my sword." He gave the burly outlander an appraising look over as if he was considering the man as a new guard for the manor.

His teeth ground together as looked towards the door and stepped towards it, stopping just along its side. Practically in the same place that Pias had stood not so long ago. In fact the gypsy lads blood laid in a stain of crimson upon the floorboards of the threshold of the Vine. Ismark paid the ill omen little regard as he stood alongside the door as it buckled under the onslaught of the handful of zombies gathered just beyond it. His bleary eyes wandered from window to window where the dead could be heard trying to scratch, claw, and rip their way in to get at the warm flesh they so desired to devour.

Finally he took a steadying deep breath as he began to unbolt and unfasten a few of the doors locks. His eyes flicked over the group. Mostly strangers stuck in a strange land, but he was glad that there were a few familiar faces mixed in with those assembled. He bit his bottom lip hard in an effort to push himself as close to sobriety as he could as he looked upon Bucren. "When I open the door I'm gonna step aside. You put an arrow in the head of the first one you see." He leveled his gaze then on Xavier. "After that, you come in with your spear and drive em back. Me and you will exit at the same time."

Then he looked towards the ladies as he placed his free hand on the heavy wooden beam that kept the door from being forced open. "You lass's fall in behind us. Aim for their heads, bash their fucking skulls in. Once we're in the clear we make a run for it." Ismark took a one last deep breath. "Keep close, she might still be out there, hoping to catch one of us astray. Now let's get the hell out of here."

Ismark lifted the beam away from the door and flung it open revealing the decomposed, bloated, and rotting visage of what must of once been a villager. His eyes were all but sunken in, burned into blackness as the monstrosity he had become groaned out in hunger. Other shapes shambled about in the fringes of the fog beyond the zombie, their moans and growls forming into an unintelligible chorus of horror.
 

AlluringEnigma

Wet Narcissist
Joined
Feb 25, 2016
Location
Madness Incarnate
Teo flicked the knife casually in the air as plans were made about her without a care for what she had to say. She gritted her teeth and and her other hand tightened its grip on her second dagger, frustrated with the company she now found herself in. She had forgotten how annoying outsiders could be. Barovia was a place where very little change - constant death constantly loomed and the village persisted as it was, undisturbed by the world around it. A vampiress singling out a girl with all the hatred and venom it could muster was no small thing, and Teo was annoyed that she seemed to be the only one concerned by this information. Something didn't add up about Esperanza. That unsettles her to no end.

For now, though, Teo was stuck with the whims of the group. Her friends had abandoned her and the tavern was clearly compromised. So she would follow them as long as was practical. Perhaps she's rejoin her peers when opportunity struck. Perhaps she'd use these strangers for her own ends. One thing was certain - they were going to need Teo at some point and she was going get her fucking answers. Bucren might have been from Barovia, but he was no gypsy. Teo knew secrets about the area that none of them would possibly do without.

She steeled herself as the door was opened. Bucren let loose his arrow and the group eventually rushed out of the door, Ismark leading the way towards his shack. Teo stayed in the back, with Katya and Esperanza, though she made sure to keep as much distance as she could from the girl who had managed to piss off a vampire. She didn't particularly trust either Katya or Esperanza, but she figured it was better to stick closer to the one less likely to have a vampiress on her. As the group proceeded forward, Teo did her best to send out flicks of her daggers towards the skulls of whatever horrors encroached upon them.
 

Lady Bloody Ava

Ravenclaw Prefect
Staff member
Officer
Joined
Jun 25, 2010
Location
Hogwarts
Ireena could feel the weariness in her bones. The night had been filled with terror and the adrenaline that fueled any human to survive. The lack of sleep was weighing down upon her but was neglected to follow her protector through their new and unexplored surroundings. The woman was no stranger to the surroundings, though she found herself wondering the last time she had occupied these desolate walls. The thought almost made her laugh. That damned brother of hers loved to bring women here and the last time she visited the moans of his toy, at the time, could be heard as clear at church bells and sounded like a wounded bear.

She recalled cooking up something for Leo in this very kitchen. A hand reached out to skate across the cold, smooth, and dusty surface of a nearby counter. Sir Leo deGrey, her one and only. In that moment and hand idly cupped at the spot upon her neck that was sampled by Strahd, himself. From the lower floor to the upstairs, it proved a breath of fresh air to not have come across anything life-threatening, as of yet. Upon reaching the first floor her feet walked her over to one of the rooms by natural instinct. The moonlight peeking through the cracks between the boards was enough to make out the furnishings of the room.

Here it was. Here is where Leo graced her with the gift of their precious twin daughters. The hours of love exchanged were the most heartfelt moments of passion that she had ever experienced in her life. No man in the forlorn town of Barovia possessed the kind and honorable demeanor that the father of her children possessed. Upon never returning, no male held the spark to dull Leo's absence and quell the ache of missing her baby girls. After reliving the memories of Leo once more, she followed in the footsteps of Andrei. "We could both use the rest, Andrei."
 

xavierrol

Supporter
Supporter
Joined
Aug 24, 2013
Location
Ohio
Xavier's confidence was shook by Ishmark's instructions. He had assumed he was fighting the living and had chosen to fight with a sword, he had nearly forgotten the spear he had used as a staff on the trip here. He sheathed his sword, somewhat reluctantly but opted to follow the local knowledge over his own instinct. He had been so wrong about so many things here in Barovia and he just couldn't afford to be wrong again. He hefted the spear, feeling the stout staff, it wasn't his preferred weapon but it made sense. It would be a bit clumsy in the doorway but once outside he would have more room to work with it.

He took a last look at his compatriots, such an eclectic mix of souls, he wished there was more trust or even a hint of camaraderie but a base impulse for self preservation was about all they had in common. It would have to do, he thought to himself as he gave Esperanza one last look, hoping it wasn't the last time he saw her truly alive. It was against odds that all of them would survive this night, perhaps even that any of them would. He shook that thought from his head, thoughts could be deadly at such times and he couldn't afford to be anything but positive that they would live. He had to keep the faith.

He nodded to Ishmark's plan and stood clear of the door, spear held in both hands, more like a staff than a spear. He noted well what he said about bashing skulls as the smell of whatever horror seeped through the door. A moment of disgust took hold of him at the first sight of the zombies but he quickly recovered. He waited for Bucren's first arrow to hit home. He took a deep breath of foul air and held the spear at arms length, eager to keep the undead horrors as far from him as possible. He had to hold it at a diagonal to get through the doorway but rushed through with all his might. He cleared the doorway but merely pushed them back, if they could be killed it would take more than that to do it. He left Ishmark to head towards his love shack as he stepped to the side to get room to swing his spread like a cudgel, allowing the others to exit behind him and follow Ishmark. He brought the oak shaft down heavily upon one head, crushing the skull and watching with satisfaction as the creature buckled and feel lifeless to the ground. If he could kill one he could kill more. He resisted the temptation to check on Esperanza, he would best serve her by helping to keep the path clear.
 

BennyQ

Supporter
Supporter
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Location
Canada
The moment the door was opened, Bucren let fly the arrow he had pulled back. At this range there was no way of missing and the bow resounded with a satisfying twang, before followed by a sickening thud as it punched through the eye of the first ghoul through the door. The others, Ishmark and Xavier, proceeded to get stuck in with the bastards, followed by the trio of ladies. Bucren notched another arrow to the string and quickly followed. If death ever had a song, it was the sounds coming from without. Bucren was last out of the tavern, his nostrils immediately assailed by the horrible stench. He was right behind Teo the gypsy, though while they rushed up the street, Bucren spun to face whatever was down the other way.

Another satisfying twang resonated in his ear as he let fly another shaft at a distance target. Then he spun on his boot, leapt over the bodies of the slain ghouls, and ran to catch up with the others. He could still hear that symphony of death behind him, almost as if they were mere inches from seizing his ankle or shoulder and dragging him back. He needed to focus. Nock, draw, aim, and shoot. He repeated it to himself in a whisper. Another twang, another voice removed from the orchestra of decay and foulness. But they were far too many of them for him to hold off. He hoped Ishmark got them to the shack rather quickly, though he wasn’t in too much hurry for that place. It was cursed by all accounts.

“They are catching up. Move it.” He called to the others, bringing up the rear, bow in hand as he followed. They might have an issue though when they got to the place in question. What if Ishmark had to unlock the door? That might take precious seconds they didn’t have. And then filing through the doorway, one by one, which might cause them to bunch up. “Shit.” Bucren hissed, reaching for his quiver as he eyed down the oncoming rush of zombies. His hand pulled out the next shaft and it was the one with the bloody rags of Esperanza’s blood wrapped around the arrowhead.

Time to see if Xavier’s plan worked. The man was decisive and possessed good judgement so Bucren was content to try it. He nocked it to his bow, aimed not at the heads of their pursuers, but trying to line up between them. Another twang and the projectile leapt forward, striking not a single zombie, hitting the side of a home with a thud. Hopefully the scent of blood bought them a few more seconds. He caught up again behind Teo, the last in line, pushing forward with the others. What a day this has been turning out to be.
 

xanaphia

To breathe, to feel, to know I'm alive
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
Location
Shoulder deep within the borderline
Esperanza made her way through the streets of Barovia, staying close to the others. As effective as her blade was against the vampires, it wouldn’t do anything against the mindless dead that lurnched for them now. Decayed flesh and protruding bones proved a great defense against the slim blade. A blunt weapon would have been ideal, but lacking that, all she had was fists and elbows and knees and feet, kicking and punch and striking away at the nearby foes.

They’d be safe once they got to the guest house. She had to believe they’d be safer there, had to believe there was some point to all of this, some point besides ending up a meal for the damned creatures that roamed the city at night. So that determined stayed her fear, drove forward. At least the arrow Bucren loose drew some of the mob.

There, that was the manor, wasn’t it? It had to be, because her well of hope was dwindling. No wonder her mother had sent her and her sister far away from this wretched place! And what a fool she’d been to come back, drawn back by dark, indiscernible dreams that hinted at a family. If she survived the night, she’d be a better daughter. Marry as her parents wanted, and uplift her entire family. She wouldn’t rebel any longer, wouldn’t fight their wishes.

If she survived the night.

The manor loomed above, its dark exterior betraying the hope she’d placed upon it. Structurally, it seemed in decent shape, but worn and neglected. Whatever, she certainly couldn’t be picky now. Except…

“Is there some light within?” She asked, voice scarcely a whisper. One of the windows seemed to glow, warm and inviting, but the implications chilled her. “Is there already someone there?”
 

TheCorsair

Pulsar
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
“I could have used the rest for many nights now, my lady,” Andrei replied without thinking. He regretted it instantly, mortified that she might think he was complaining. Or worse, that she might feel responsible or what had happened. “But,” he added quickly, “I have been fortunate enough to be able to sleep during the day.” Most days. Well, some days. When the Burgomeister’s dwindling Guard wasn’t required to make an appearance to keep a semblance of order in the accursed town.

“A bit of rest would be welcome, though. And this room appears secure enough.” He made no comment on the portrait of Sir Leo DeGray, nor on the pain that flickered across Lady Ireena’s features. It wasn’t his place to speak - he’d loved the great man like a second father, but he knew she had loved him far more deeply.

Shaking his head, Andrei sought refuge from painful memory in action. He’d left his spear in the tunnel (in Elrick), but his scabbarded sword served to beat the dust from the bed. It exploded upwards in a thin cloud, making him cough and reminding him how fortunate he had been to be trained as a guard instead of a household servant. “Get some rest, my lady.”

Her disapproving stare drew a laugh that was quite against his will. “And I will as well,” he assured her, dragging an overstuffed armchair across the floor. “But,” he continued, shoving it against the door, “I think I can still fulfill my duty as I do.”

Just then, a sound chilled his blood. A small, simple sound. The sound of a hand trying the locked and barred front door. “I pray you, my lady,” he hissed, voice barely above a whisper, “as you value your life, be silent.”
 

Black_Out

Purveyor of Dark Delights
Joined
Jul 9, 2018
It was a all one chaotic storm to Ismark. His heart raced at a pace that had him believing that it could burst out of his chest as his short legs carried his portly body through the misty dark streets of Barovia. South, it was an easy enough direction to find, he knew his way blindfolded through the handful of worn cobblestone roads that crisscrossed the town. But he almost found himself running north for a moment as the decayed denizens that awaited them outside of the Vine swarmed in on them. One glance at the dark and foreboding shape of the castle that hovered over the town to the north had him correcting his course in an instant.

Beads of alcohol infused sweat beaded across his brow. He could feel the claws of night closing in for the kill. But fate had granted him company on this reckless venture. Company that was far better equipped and trained with the tools of war then he was. Plus they were far more sober then he was, though the terror of it all seemed to send a surge of adrenalin through his veins that granted him a boost of clarity and coordination that was much needed. His bloodshot eyes found that flicker of light at Esperanza's softly spoken mention of the glow from the interior of the guest house. For a moment his heart skipped a beat. No one, at least not any locals besides himself would ever consider setting foot in that place unless they had absolutely no other choice.

Ragged breaths that led to labored heavy words ushered from his panting lips as he barreled towards the front door. "Your guess is as good as mine." His words exploded into a grunt as the mans heavy shoulder bore into the stout front door and rattled it. "Key, key, where's the fucking key!" He exclaimed as he leaned his weary weight against the face of the wooden door while his fingers fumbled in his pockets. "Got it!" He shouted triumphantly as his fingers produced a single rounded key of brass from a pocket of his unbuttoned vest. His fingers pushed the key into the lock, the sound of it unclasping the bolt helped to form a sigh of relief. And then he turned the handle.

"Shit and bloody fucking shit!" Ismark cursed to the dark clouds that blanketed the moonlit skies. "It's fucking barred, it's never barred!" The meat of his fist banged on the door. "Open the damn door!" Ismark bellowed out as the sound of their pursuers that had fallen behind began to draw closer and closer to catching up with their quarry.
 
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