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Ravenloft

AlluringEnigma

Wet Narcissist
Joined
Feb 25, 2016
Location
Madness Incarnate
Teo rapped her knuckles against the wall, her arm flexed upward against the wood of the old guesthouse. Bucren at least seemed to grasp the situation, but she was concerned by his concern. He had been at the bottom floor of the tavern when the Vampires had come in, unlike her and Katya and Esperanza. Xavier wasn't going to be shedding light on anything anytime soon.

"So, while Ismark finds his wits at the bottom of a bottle, why don't you tell me what the hell happened in there, Bucren? You've lived here long enough to know the rules don't change, tâmpit. Ismark is right, they have to be invited in. So, did our dearly departed friend forget he was in Barovia and let them in, or did you make a pact with Strahd?"

Teo's other hand disappeared under her layers and grasped the hilt of the dagger. Of course, it was unlikely that Bucren had done any such thing - Strahd cared little for the village and its inhabitants and was unlikely to make a bargain with someone as inconsequential as Bucren. But Teo had not been getting her way thus far, and she needed to establish some sort of authority if they needed to move out of this place. Besides, despite her feelings towards the legends, who knew what was in this guesthouse? Certainly not Ismark - hard to see through the bottom of a bottle.

She pointed towards Katya and Esperanza "And who are you two? I'd ask your friend's name, but he doesn't have much use left for it."
 

Lady Bloody Ava

Ravenclaw Prefect
Supporter
Joined
Jun 25, 2010
Location
Hogwarts
Ireena looked up at those who had joined their slice of hell. Surely they all needed a moment to collect themselves. She herself had not fully recouped from their escape. It was clear that at least one was not from Barovia, but it was easily noted that two looked eerily similar. "Those... those are monsters; rats, wolves, the walking dead, female vampires, and many more creations of the Lord of Barovia. Plagues upon this village that appear when the sun disappears and the only other way out of here his riddled with more minions." Eyes looked to the new ones to join the fray. "It may be best that we stay here until sun up." When she heard the young girl's cries there was an instinct that compelled Ireena to hold her and comfort her.

"Is the bar no longer safe?" It was the only reason why she thought her brother would flee the haven that housed his liquid lover. The dagger handed to her earlier sat loosely in her hand. There had to be no letting her guard down. So many people had risked their lives for her and she would not go down without a fight. She longed for sleep, but it was proving hard to come by. That, and there was no way that she would sleep with a bunch of strangers huddled about in the same room.

As the one asking names spoke a button was pushed in how she spoke to the girls and while still polite her tone of voice was sharp as she spoke. "I know that death is a common occurrence in this village, but must you be so cold-hearted as to speak so ill of the recently deceased?" A nerve was touched and now Ireena found herself more awake than ever. "My name is Ireena, I am Ismarks... sister. How... how were you so unfortunate as to find your way to Barovia, young ones?" Anyone who did not know what was walking the streets was clearly foreign and it was best to speak and try and keep minds busy than think about what lurked about outside.
 

BennyQ

Supporter
Supporter
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Location
Canada
Bucren could offer little in the way of comfort or assurances for Esperanza, one of the newcomers, who did not like the idea at all of leaving Xavier behind. His bravery had given them the moment they needed to escape and for that, Bucren was grateful. But reminders of that would serve as empty platitudes and would assuage no griefs, so he said or did nothing. He felt for her, losing a friend and comrade, but such was the way of the world. If they went out there, they died as well. There was nothing more to be done by the door. They just had to wait until sunrise.

Ismark assured him the door would be impervious without extended invitation to those outside. “I’m not taking any chances, regardless.” He simply answered, wiping at his lips with the back of his sleeve, letting out a warm exhale as if to expel all thoughts of anxiety and fear from his mind. It didn’t work. He did not shy away from a fight but he at least recognized the difference between a proper battle and an unwinnable one and the latter was what they were in. But the wait before any combat was draining enough. Ismark had the right idea, however. A drink. A very good drink. Bucren’s eyes drifted between the two siblings, wondering if they might indeed produce this bottle. And hoped indeed the Burgomaster’s son might be generous enough to send it around.

But his attention was drawn from that by Teo’s, the gypsy, remarks. As far as he was concerned, her ilk was partially responsible for this, with their greedy, stick-to-your-own ways. But then again all of Barovia was like that. What had happened in the tavern was indeed stupidity. Certainly a new standard of it. He had no arguments in defense of what they did to answer the girl. “You touched it with a needle. But can you blame him, wanting to forget for a time that he was in this forsaken, dismal place? I know we’ve all done it. Or want to do it. The man actually succeeded in that. And now, he doesn’t have to deal with this town ever again, in a way.” Bucren explained wearily, hoping his dry sense of humour didn’t offend anyone else. Xavier was a good man, but his good heart had nearly cost them their lives.

“He was tricked. He can’t be blamed. It was quite a convincing ruse and even I nearly gave in to it. How long before that…bitch,” he spat venomously, “out there comes to this door, masquerading with his voice?” Bucren then suggested, pacing by the door, still unable to shake the notion that there were many deadly foes separated from him by that wall and threshold, further reinforced by the most strangest of superstitions. They had to be invited in. So simple, yet to forgo it would be fatal. He hoped they were all ready, mentally at least, if the vampire did attempt that evil ploy against them.

Bucren took stock of the room again and its inhabitants. Lady Ireena he knew, by reputation at least, though he’d be lucky if she even knew his name. The other was unknown to him but he looked a stout fellow. Bucren waited to catch Andrei’s eye, then nodded at him. “You been here long? Have you canvased the place? Is there any weapons, projectiles, we can gather in the meantime?” Bucren inquired, already starting to make his own search of the lodgings. Anything metal, anything sharp, perhaps it could be wilted to further reinforce their meagre defenses. Protected only by a common mannerism of inviting the enemy in…how ridiculous. He needed something to do though, something to occupy his time and idleness.
 

Praxis

𝔀𝓮'𝓵𝓵 𝓪𝓵𝓵 𝓯𝓵𝓸𝓪𝓽 𝓸𝓷...
Staff member
Moderator
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Apr 13, 2014
Location
The Neitherworld
Wait them out. Can't enter unless invited.

I'm going to kill him.


Katya felt her eye jaw clench in protest, but said nothing. Despite it being the most idiotic thing she'd been told in her lifetime. She continued to seethe inwardly while the room collected itself. Leaning against a wall furthest from the door and watching through peripheral for anything as it might've moved against the door, its brace and the makeshift barricade-work they'd hastily put in place. The throbbing in her ears was settling and she felt moisture return to her tongue where before only the cling of true, reeking death had reduced her not much more than bitter syllables for her would be saviours.

Settle down. You're alright. Just ...nearly dead.

"We're alive. That's what matter." She said flatly.

Barely! That walking draft-horse of a man was too stupid and too slow. And that's why he's dead. And you're not!

"I am ...sorry." She started, blinking back what began as artificial tears that had threatened a bit too tactfully to turn real. "For shouting at you all. Ismark?" She extended fingertips to him in an olive branch gesture; a wild shift from the violent shoves she'd rained on him only seconds before. It dawned on her then -and she couldn't say why, exactly- that they all seemed intimately more familiar with each other than even a small, dreary region would suggest. Leaving her, her strange little twin and the recently departed boulder as strangers. Strange, by comparison, seemed a flexible word given their current situation. Lord she hoped she'd said his name right. The tavern seemed like an eternity ago. "Ismark, you did save us all." She forced a dry chuckle. "So, thank you." Turning to address those she'd only begun to form opinions on, she'd offer a curt nod at Bucren.

If she hoped to survive this and be rid of Barovia by sunup, he was her best bet. Even if she had to ride his corpse down a hill to safety.

She properly hated Ismark in those minutes between death and the drink that he frolicked so effortlessly between. It would have been anyone's guess, the way she turned her porcelain features and wide, glassy eyes to the pale woman and her bulwark of a man across the open space. "Lady Ireena," her mouth twitched into a frown that she corrected almost instantly. "fortunate enough. We may have been left to be..." she hesitated, not wanting or not caring to find the proper, flowery analogy for whatever had happened to Xavier. She brushed it away with a befitting shake of her head. "We're alive." She repeated, hitting hard on this point to hopefully sell it as the major takeaway from this endeavor. Her mind was racing, and she found it difficult to reign her thoughts away from dashing off.

"I..." forcing herself to look anywhere Ireena wasn't, Katya felt at the hidden pocket along her jerkin front. "I received a letter." Dark eyes went to Esperanza again but only briefly. "Begging that I return here. To Barovia." She'd say nothing more then, feigning helpless confusion about as well any anyone who'd lied through their teeth in halves for every breath they took. Besides, they ought to know the rest anyhow. What had been so urgent that she'd needed to quite literally hike to her own funeral? She wanted to scream. To hurl herself fist, claw or dagger first into any and all of them if it bought her even another minute toward daybreak.

"We're ...strangers to this place. We mean no harm -to any of you!" Finally, she'd work her attention to her hardest sell: the Gypsy woman. "But it looks like we're in this together."
 

AlluringEnigma

Wet Narcissist
Joined
Feb 25, 2016
Location
Madness Incarnate
Teo snorted and ran her hand through her hair. “No the bar is no longer safe. And I doubt it was a good ruse, Bucren. It’s always the same ruse. It’s been the same ruse for as long as this accursed place has existed – some poor traveler or person in need in the dead of night. Except Barovia eats those unfortunate souls alive before they can ever cry out. Our armed party barely lasted out there and even we suffered losses – lone travelers die at night in Barovia long before they reach our doors. So while I would never want Strahd to claim another soul, I also feel it’s hard to sympathize with someone who brought this hell down onto himself and every unfortunate soul in the tavern without so much as asking for a word of counsel.”

She took a deep breath and gathered herself. Teo stood and walked to the door, rapping on the solid wood, drowning out the scratching of the undead for the time being. “This door remains closed. I don’t care if you hear your friend, or a brandy merchant, or the gods themselves. All this remains out there is death.” She gestured to Katya and Esperanza “Welcome to Barovia. You learn this or you die.”

Teo was not done, however. Ireena and Andrei no doubt knew of the place’s reputation, as did Bucren. However, she doubted that Katya and Esperanza did. “I doubt you know much about this guesthouse, but perhaps it’s fitting we’re here. This is where Ismark lets his foolhardy adventurers stay, before they go off to die at Strahd’s hands. It is a doomed place. People more superstitious than me consider it cursed.

She gave them a faint smile “So don’t feel safe. In fact, in Barovia it is probably better to never feel safe. Those are the only times you’re in real danger” Patrina flashed through her mind. “Ismark, I’ve never had the misfortune to stay here. Are there any other entrances?”
 
OP
Black_Out

Black_Out

Purveyor of Dark Delights
Joined
Jul 9, 2018
"Ya think I'd be here if the bar was safe?" Ismark stated bluntly as he stared after Ireena letting out an incredulous snort when she made no movement to fetch his drink for him. Then his gaze turned towards Katya and he produced a somewhat sardonic smile in response to her gesture of gratitude. "Yeah, we're all in this together, for now at least." There was a shrug of his shoulders as he looked briefly between the twins and then to Ireena. "And that letter doesn't sound anything like what my father would of sent out." There was a pause as once more he looked between the trio of women whose similarities were becoming all the more apparent by the moment. "No doubt Strahd was behind that letter you received, not my father." For a brief moment Ismark nibbled nervously at the tips of his fingernails before continuing.

"Teo here is right though, that door doesn't open for anyone. Hell, don't even so much as open a window." A short nod was curtly given towards the lone gypsy woman. "Just a quick lesson on vampires for those of you that don't know any better. Don't look em in the eye, they got a way of getting into your head if you stare at em for too long." He let out a exaggerated puff of breath as he stared at the seemingly distant cabinet where the booze was kept. "There's a door to the back in the kitchen, just as stout and hardy as this one here. Oh, and a tunnel in the cellar that heads back to my family's manor, which I assume isn't quite safe right now."

With a twist of his lips and a hearty groan he finally rose up from the comfort of his chair. "Guess I'll get it myself." On his way over towards a simple yet sturdy liquor cabinet of darkly stained wood he remarked towards Bucren with a quick glance. "Ya won't find anything down here, but there's a few bundles of arrows and some extra bows n' string up in the master bedroom. Couple of spots up in the windows too where ya can maybe pop a few shots to thin that damn herd at our door." Several shaky breathless groans rose from beyond the heavily fortified entrance, slamming fists and raking nails upon the stout wood that showed little sign of giving way to the efforts of the undead.

He grumbled as he got down to one knee as if was going to propose to the cabinet full of booze. "As for your friend, I doubt he's dead, they don't finish em just like that." He snapped his fingers as he yanked open the door and began to filter through the dusty bottles hidden within. With a disgusted snort his chubby hand grasped a hearty bottle full of drunken promise and he muttered, finally stealing a look towards Esperenza. "He'll probably be alive for a bit. They'll take em to the castle, bleed him dry slowly, that's what they like to do." Unwilling to lock his gaze upon the young woman for any longer then he had to Ismark turned his eyes upon the bottle in his hand and with an audible pop he wrested the cork free.

Turning with the freshly opened bottle in hand the plump Barovian noble made his way back to his chair and plopped his hefty self back down with a groan. "Say, where's Elrick?" With one look at the faces of Andrei and Ireena, Ismark knew the sad answer to that question. In response, immediately the bottle found its way to his lips and he tilted his head back, taking a deep swig of its contents. Rivulets of amber streaked down his pockmarked chin and fell to stain the unkempt ivory of his attire. A lazy pass of his forearm wiped the stain away from his cheek as the Burgomaster's son let out a satisfied smack of his lips before gesturing with his hand towards the open liquor cabinet. "Help yourselves if you like." Feeling that his obligations as a host had been covered, Ismark settled back into the comfort of his chair, seemingly oblivious to the sounds of danger scratching and clawing at the door.
 

TheCorsair

Pulsar
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
“The tunnel isn’t an option, not anymore,” Andrei said, finally breaking his silence as Ismark swigged down the brandy. “And Elrick is in it still. He’s... one of the reasons we can’t make use of them.”

It took an act of will to suppress his frustrated fury as he watched Ismark drink. It wasn’t supposed to be like this! He’d looked up to the Burgomeister’s son! He’d trusted Ismark to bring help! Trusted that, once he did, everything would be all right!

Hoped that his trusted “big brother” would make everything all right.

With a sigh, Andrei squared his shoulders. This was Barovia, and the Devil Strahd was on the move. Nothing would be all right.

“There are other weapons,” he said, opening a side door. “This s the Burgomeister’s summer home, after all. Most of them were moved to the main house, but there will be something. For the guard, just in case.” He gestured into a small room. Mostly empty weapon racks lined the walls, but there were still two halberds and three cudgels. “For dealing with bandits,” he explained, leaving the or unruly peasants part unspoken.

Instead, he selected one of the halberds. “Nothing that would kill a vrykolak, I’m afraid. But they’ll work well enough on wolves. Or on the restless dead.” He stared at the blade, then carried it back into the main room. “Oh. And I am Andrei Ovidiu Constantin, the, uhm... the Burgomeister’s Guard. May I ask your names, and what skill you have with the weapons you bear?” He cocked his head and grinned without mirth as something groaned and rattled the door. “We May have need to call upon those skills, ere Lathander kisses the land.”
 

xanaphia

Belle of the Brawl
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
Bitterness churned in Esperanza’s gut. Not even the presence of Ireena, the woman who by all likelihood was her birth mother, could comfort her now. She’d abandoned a family who had cared for her for one who had given her away, and her loyal guard had paid the price for her impudence.

“As for your friend, I doubt he's dead, they don't finish em just like that." He snapped his fingers as he yanked open the door and began to filter through the dusty bottles hidden within. With a disgusted snort his chubby hand grasped a hearty bottle full of drunken promise and he muttered, finally stealing a look towards Esperenza. "He'll probably be alive for a bit. They'll take em to the castle, bleed him dry slowly, that's what they like to do."

Ishmark’s words, as cynically as he said them, were a beacon of hope for Esperanza. Xavier might yet live? There may yet be a chance to rescue him? “By morning then, we’ll–“ She looked around then, realizing she was the only one who cared if Xavier lived or died, so far as she could tell. Barovians were hardened to the plights of others, and she doubted she’d find any assistance here. Clearing her throat, she started again. “I’ll go, once morning arrives. Rescue him from that castle. Then, hopefully, I’ll be out of your hair forever.” Turning her gaze in the direction of the castle, not currently visible with the door closed and the windows shuttered, she added mechanically, “One way or another.”

And here she was, staying at this cursed house, before pledging to make the journey to Strahd’s castle that next morning. Clearly, so far as history was concerned, she was as doomed as the rest, but she was beyond caring at this point. All that mattered now was making it right.

The other man introduced himself as Andrei, the Burgomeister’s guard. She spared him a brief nod, and patted her sheathed blade. “Esperanza Sergovia. I can use the blade on my hip, so I’ll pass on a halberd but I might take one of the cudgels, if no one else needs it.”
 

Lady Bloody Ava

Ravenclaw Prefect
Supporter
Joined
Jun 25, 2010
Location
Hogwarts
Ever since Katya spoke, the inquiring eyes of the Burgomaster's daughter could not be torn from her and Esperanza. Amber eyes watered for a second as anyone who spoke before Esperanza was drowned out. The got a letter to come back? Even the blind could see that these two girls were twins. Were he daughters separated from one another? The woman looked to Ismark with a look of absolute surprise, but the lush was knee-deep in what he loved the most. As Esperanza spoke of going to the castle it made Ireena's heart wench.

"Ismark... you know who they are?" Ireena wanted to get up and touch her daughters, but fear held her back. Fear that they would be taken away from her again. Fear that she would lose them, as she had their father. "You go to that castle and I will lose you just as I had your father and that is no doubt what he wants and I am so sorry." Ireena was on the brink of losing it emotionally. Her baby girls were here and in a danger the likes of which the world outside of Barovia has never seen. "You were not supposed to come back. Selfishly I wanted you, but you can see why I needed to let you go. I lost your father, who was a Holy Knight on a conquest to slay the vampire lord himself and free the lands of his accursed rule. Needless to say, he never returned, but he gifted me two beautiful girls. The gypsies took you away from Barovia. It was what was best." The woman was prepared to be hated for abandoning her daughter. For risking their lives outside of the walls with total strangers as opposed to keeping them at her side.

"Esperanza, you can not go. I would rather give myself up to him that have him take my daughters." The seriousness was undeniable. "Andrei is right, there is no going back to the manor and as far as leaving Barovia... if it were that easy then none of us would be here." A word of caution. They were in this for the long haul and it was a day by day battle to survive. "We must do something though, I just..." Giving herself up sounded so simple but the idea of how many lives were lost up until this day to save hers stopped that thought in its tracks.
 

BennyQ

Supporter
Supporter
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Location
Canada
With all the selfishness in Boravia, Valery Bucren was surprised when one of the young women, Katya he thought, offered up an apology for her actions. Being accountable? This was certainly a day of firsts for many things. He gave the woman a solemn nod in response to her own. Honestly, he felt more wrecked by survivor’s guilt than anything. Xavier had been the one to hold the line and give them the precious seconds they needed to escape. But he was gone now. There was a reason selfishness was so abundant around here. It kept one alive. Maybe things might change. Or this will be a one-off like almost every other event around this dismal place.

The others seemed to discuss something personal and intimate amongst themselves, especially the two young women who were new to the village and Lady Ireena. For now, Bucren lingered apart, giving them some privacy. Teo responded to his remarks and Bucren agreed with her to a great extent. Old to them, maybe, the ruse employed. But for the newcomers, they were getting a very hard education on what it means to live around here. Bucren could only hope they lived long enough to profit from the lessons learned, which might be a duration of some hours given their current plight.

Ismark took charge of the situation. Now he was forthcoming with some information, once the drunk had worn off from the chase and running battle. Still, with all that was said, Bucren didn’t feel too safe or assured in that knowledge. The bottle was indeed fetched but when there was mention of weapons, including not a few arrows but quivers of them, along with bows and string, Bucren’s attention was grasped away. “It’ll be my pleasure.” He said with some deadly relish to the prospect of shooting from the higher ground. Any archer’s ideal dream scenario.

Xavier, Ismark then said, might be alive, taken as livestock and worse back to the castle for who knows what perils and tortures then. That was worse than a flat out butchery outside the door and it quickly over shadowed the prospect of rearming himself. No pleasure now, just gritty soldier’s work to be done. He followed the one called Andrei into the other room where there were empty weapon racks and a few lonesome devices left. Halbreds? Not for their close quarters combat inside of homes or in the streets. Too heavy to move quickly with anyways. He did find the quivers that Ismark mentioned, pulling out the arrows and examining them intently.

“Well met to you. Bucren. Was a mercenary for some years. I know how to use a bow and hunt in the wilds, or at least I did before I came here. And I can handle myself with a sword.” He explained rather dully about himself, before dropping his own cracked quiver to take one of the more pristine one quivers in the master bedroom, at least in comparison to his gear. He kept his own bow though, as he rather not waste time acquainting himself with a new weapon. It might be all the difference between life or death, using a bow he was not fully accustomed to, with the draw and the weight and the like.

When the one called Esperanza mentioned her willingness to go to the castle to look for Xavier, Bucren was somewhat astonished by her declaration. Brave, certainly foolish, but very brave. Sort of how he used to be as a young man. What had happened to him? He came to this place and prematurely got old, at least in mind if not body. Lady Ireena, who was apparently the two girl’s mother, was against such a plan. But she was right in a way. They had to do something. Just…what?

“Teo.” Bucren said to the gypsy girl who accompanied them. “You need a weapon. Come get a cudgel or bow.” He suggested, though he didn’t press her anymore after that. Having rearmed himself with a quiver full of arrows, some twenty-two of them, he went over to the bottle that Ismark put aside and finally had himself a swig. “I’m going to have a gander upstairs and see what it looks like outside. Try and not leave without me, eh?” He smiled ruefully, before heading up the narrow stairs to the top floor. Orientating himself briefly with directions, he went to the window that faced the same direction as the street they had come in, above the doorway. He could hear the groaning of the beasts outside and standing next to the window, practically hugging the wall, he peeped it open a slight ways to have a look outside.

At once he was assailed by the smell. Rotting corpses certainly had them. Through the narrow crack, he first espied the tops of those gathered outside the door, before looking down the street before him, seeing if he might get a glimpse of their fallen comrade, or some sign of what might have happened to him, if he was indeed butchered on the spot…or dragged off. Then maybe there was cause enough to go looking after him, when the sun rose.
 

AlluringEnigma

Wet Narcissist
Joined
Feb 25, 2016
Location
Madness Incarnate
Teo rolled her eyes at the offer, though it wasn't a serious rebuke, more of a playful tease. Bucren might've been the only one there who had been around her enough to know how prickly her sarcastic shell was. She pulled out one of the two well-sharpened daggers hidden inside the layers of her outfit and expertly flitted the steel between her fingers, the well-worn handle an old friend in dark times. "I don't need such brutish weapons. I'll kill more than Ismark with a blade a quarter as long as his." For a second Teo pushed past her exterior facade and leaned towards Bucren with a mischievous glint in his eyes "Don't tell the ladies though. Best not to crush his hopes with them until after we don't need him anymore."

However, her ears perked up at the suggestion of going to the castle. It was an interesting quandary for her. On the one hand, she would have loved for nothing else but an expedition to go and see whatever was left of Patrina. On the other hand, Teo still enjoyed the perks of being alive quite a bit and didn't fancy throwing them away on a fool's errand for either lost soul. On the other, other hand, Ireena was the exact kind of Barovian she had little patience for. A noble soul in a land that had no patience for them. At least Ismark, with all his titles and his bluster and his hope, knew enough to give up his noble facade when the chips were down. Ireena was out here crying about giving herself up for Katya - as if Strahd or anyone else in Barovia cared for her noble promises. Besides, if things got rough, she liked her odds escaping. She had managed to survive too many close encounters to be caught whilst in the middle of other foolhardy adventurers. If things went south, she'd use them as distractions to make her own exit. Perhaps she'd save Bucren - he was the only one so far with a head on his shoulders.

Teo walked over to the general vicinity of Katya and Ireena. "Knowing Strahd and his ilk, that poor boy won't last much longer than few weeks with how few travelers we've seen in the last couple months." Casually, with the tone of discussing the weather, she remarked "He won't even want to survive that long if some of the stories are true."

She leaned against the wall, idly inspecting her fingernails. "You'll need someone who knows the way. Ismark knows the town, but I know the safer routes - the ones we use to stay out of sight of everyone else" Teo shot a sharp glance at Ireena. "I would warn you, though. No one is safe in Strahd's domain, as you all just saw. This isn't the type of place you go to expecting to come back."

Teo paused and flicked her dagger back out from its hiding place, idly toying with the blade. The longer they were cooped up in here, the morefidgety she got. "Regardless, we need to survive the night first. And that's hardly a given after the compromise of the tavern. I'd suggest you take Bucren's advice and arm yourselves. Unless you think Ismark is sober enough to really know all the entrances of this place are secure."
 

Praxis

𝔀𝓮'𝓵𝓵 𝓪𝓵𝓵 𝓯𝓵𝓸𝓪𝓽 𝓸𝓷...
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 13, 2014
Location
The Neitherworld
Katya’s stomach sank, actualized by not much more than a tensing through her posture and what felt like an immense frown taking ugly shape across otherwise rather pretty features. She resembled a wounded fawn for the briefest of moments then; wide eyed and frozen in place by nothing as crude as a hunter’s arrow or predator’s tooth but something that had very clearly gored the woman all the same. Abating the urge to flee -or cry perhaps- with a tightly clenched fist, she’d pass this off by smoothing over the leather grain of her jerkin, avoiding the thickness of where a letter still nested. Full of lies it’d been. Not even very convincing ones, at that. Yet, she’d followed them, led either by nose or polite insistence at hidden, secret place of her heart toward answers. Answers to questions she’d very pointedly never asked.

In the end, what had it taken? A mysterious stranger, an impassioned message and the willful ignorance of those who’s fate was now tied to hers by thread the color of blood. Another of those waves came then. Warm and intense from her chest, radiating outward until the tips of her fingers went numb and she found herself staring dumbly back at Lady Ireena.

You fool. She cursed herself.

You absolute, careless, sloppy fool.

“That’s …madness.” Was all she managed through a near whisper. She probably could have lived with stabbing Teo -the gypsy woman- then, if it wouldn’t have completely dismantled her guise of the helpless lamb. It was easy enough, she figured, to detail the circumstances of their doom when she’d only ever known it. Glibness, defense mechanism or not, rubbed Katya in a way she cared little for. On another evening, in another town, one not infested with the living dead and vengeful, malevolent spirits, she might’ve had more patience for her. And, if not patience, certainly tolerance that’d stay her urge to scream. At Teo, at Ismark, at all of them if only to expel the burning fury that still scorched her heart.

Only Esperanza would have likely escaped her ill-informed wrath. Out of a guilt that had already worked itself well into her fibre and hung near as sour as the stench of death from the festering streets.

Her sister?

No. That was madness. And these people were insane.

“I …have this.” She offered, slipping a fleur shaped blade halfway from its leather sheath. Feigning unfamiliarity with it took a bit of effort, wielding the weapon backward first before orienting it properly in her small hand. “I don’t suppose this will save my life if it comes down to it. I can use a bow…” her voice dropped, taking with it a pair of dark eyes that timidly preferred the floor. “But it’s been years since I’ve tried.”

In truth, she was excellent with a bow. She doubted if she’d be able to replicate Bucren’s specific brand of close-quartered efficacy with one but would still have preferred something with a bit more range in her arsenal. The ability to pinpoint and lacerate the more vital regions of a human body did her little good when the enemy apparently had no need for the stuff. Leaving her with a good dagger, a promise of more and the best defense she could afford in those moments.

Plenty of meat shields.
 
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