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  1. - Top - End - #751
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Curse of Strahd Solo Run (IC)

    As the tortle approaches the cave, a shape begins to emerge. Reflected in the moonlight is a pale white, heavy coat of fur. Two eyes stare out from the creature's face, dark and deep as a starless night sky. A great direwolf, more than twice Kellon's size, looms above him on the beach. Small wisps of cold blue fire begin to appear in the air throughout the beach, illuminating it in eerie blue light, not unlike the Barovian sunset.

    "Child of the sea," a deep, booming voice resonates through the cove. It doesn't seem to come from the wolf, but from everywhere. From the dark beyond the edges of the cove where the sand seems to trail off into an inky void, from the moon above, even from inside - resonating up from Kellon's stomach, in his lungs, through his veins. "Are you afraid? Do not be." The massive beast plods forwards, clawed feet sinking into the sand as it draws nearer. "You are being offered a gift. Only the ignorant call it a curse."

  2. - Top - End - #752
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    Kellon cannot keep the awe from his face as the mythical beast makes its appearance known. Its voice rattles his bones and sets his shell a-shaking like a mistreated infant. Still, Kellon finds strength to stand his ground. "I've seen what this 'gift' of yours is: bloodlust. An overriding desire to kill that goes beyond survival. It is evil, pure and simple. It is not me!"

  3. - Top - End - #753
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Curse of Strahd Solo Run (IC)

    "Bloodlust?" the creature's voice rumbles through the sand, shifting it and causing it to skitter away as the wolf steps closer to Kellon. There seems to be nowhere to go; even the sea fades to inky darkness past this little cove. "Competition," it booms, correcting him. "The survival of the fittest." It circles him slowly, methodically, like the predator it is.

    "Not so different from the storm, child of the sea. Not so different. We are both a part of the rules of nature. It is civilization that has brewed this softness in you," it reaches out and presses the curve of a long, wicked black nail against Kellon's chest, nearly causing him to topple in the unsteady sand. "This anger you feel... desire to rip apart the parents who betrayed their children... is it wrong? They have betrayed the most primal urge. They have betrayed the future of their line. For addiction. For comfort. Does it not disgust you?"

    "The bloodlust is yours'. The fury in your heart is yours'. I did not put it there."

  4. - Top - End - #754
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    The wolf's words stir uncomfortable truths in Kellon's heart. Yes, the bloodlust was already in his heart for the miserably irresponsible parents. Kellon's shaken resolve is nearly physical as the wolf prods him so disdainfully with a single claw.

    Kellon steels himself to refute the beast. "You think me so daft as to think that the blood curse is natural? Do not think to tell one who stands in the Storm's wake what Nature is! And yes, the anger is wrong. I was not who was wronged by their treachery! The punishment is not mine to give! I do not think myself on par with gods in dealing judgment. It twists my gut to see such wrongs, but I shall gladly turn my anger on the hags who rightfully deserve it!"

    Like thunder, a thought occurs to Kellon. He gives the wolf a triumphant look of irony. "All my life, I have lived by my own two hands. There is nothing I own that I cannot live without. That is the struggle that I have embraced. Even if Poseidon withdrew his miracles, I would carry on. But you... you would shackle me with your so-called 'gift'!" Kellon holds aloft his wrists to show the red sores. "You speak of addiction. You speak of comfort. Shall I become addicted to the rending of flesh and the smell of blood? Shall I achieve petty comfort by taking shortcuts to strength and a lack of conscience? Throw away control of my own fate? I am Kellon, son of Stega and Tuga, and I chart my own course! This temptation is no less a drug than one of the hags' Dream Pastries, a celebration of slaughter, not survival!

    Nay! I name it what it truly is... a crutch!!!"
    Those last words echo over the beach in Kellon's defiance.

  5. - Top - End - #755
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    The great beast stands above Kellon, looking down on him throughout his impassioned speech. As he finishes, it leans down to look him in the eye, meeting his stare. When it speaks, it as as though continuing from where it left off. "Nor did I put the shackles upon your wrists." Its pale head lifts away from Kellon's own and its ears perk up. "Do you hear that?" A pause. Then the sand shudders beneath a rumbling laugh.

    "You preach that you need no crutch, mortal? After praying to not one, but two gods for protection... for strength you believe you lack. Yet there are no gods here save for me."

    Turning aside, the wolf begins to tread back across the sand, leaving footprints that soon sift and fade. Receding back into its cave. "If you would sooner war with yourself than accept the gift for what it is... then there is no more to be said. Should you ever find yourself wanting for a patron that listens to his pack, you know where to find the Wolf God."

    As the last hint of pale white hair flickers out of view, the inky darkness begins to consume the cove. All falls away. In its place, visions. Fever dreams of struggling in the dark, of howling and despair. Then exhausted stupor blinks itself from Kellon's eyes. He is hanging from the manacles, his body sore and tired and his mind numb from lack of sleep. From minuscule cracks around the frame of the stone slab that seals the tomb, sunlight filters in. And even the thin strings of light seem enough for Kellon to make out dimly the shape of the room.

    Spoiler: Lycanthropy Effects
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    Kellon has gained 60 ft. Darkvision.
    Kellon, even in his tortle form, has Lesser Werewolf Durability. This grants Resistance to damage from non-silvered non-magical man-made weapons. However, he is also Vulnerable to damage from silvered weapons.
    Each night of the full moon - which is every night in Barovia - Kellon's werewolf form will run wild, leaving him with a point of Exhaustion come morning.
    The werewolf form is uncontrollable until such a time as he accepts it, or cures himself of the affliction.


    From the other side of the stone slab there is a light tapping. "Kellon? Are you you again?"

  6. - Top - End - #756
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    The wolf's sneering contempt is like a bucket of cold water for Kellon's defiance. He can only watch the great beast retreat into its lair...

    He wakes... or rather, comes to his senses. Where the Mist had felt like sucking the life from him, this curse was causing his inner flame to flare too hot. Kellon sags with his weight, which only causes even more discomfort in his wrists.

    When Gweyir asks for him, Kellon gives a gargling cough from his sore throat. The rough night has left him with little patience. "Are you looking for a specific answer, or will simple words suffice?"

  7. - Top - End - #757
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    There is a grinding of stone on stone, as blinding daylight shines into the dark. Kellon's eyes sting and water as they adjust to the change in brightness, two silhouettes standing in the open doorway. One of them moves in, reaching up to undo Kellon's manacles with a small key. "I'll take the lack of furious howling as a yes," Gweyir quips as she goes around to undo his other wrist as well. The flesh around each of his claws is a little swollen and sore on either side of the red rash that the silver left behind.

    "We at least know that the tomb will hold now," Ismark's voice speaks from the second shadow in the entrance of the tomb. "Gweyir says that she was scried upon last night, but the hags did not chance assailing Kolyana mansion."

    "Did you feel any scrying attempt last night?" Gweyir asks, casting healing magic upon Kellon's arms. "Easy now. Let me bandage these up." Though the magic mends the swollen, red flesh, the markings remain as a light rash and Kellon feels it itching. "Try not to scratch it."

    Spoiler: Mechanics
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    The silver manacles left him with 4 lingering damage, but Gweyir heals him for 5 with Healing Word, removing it.

  8. - Top - End - #758
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    Kellon stands wearily, rubbing at his sore wrists. "I honestly could not tell you... I was more preoccupied by the gigantic white wolf fancying itself a god. Tried to make me give in."

    Looking to Ismarck, Kellon asks, "Do the hags know who you are? If so, it's no secret now that you've been helping us. They'll be coming for you, too."

  9. - Top - End - #759
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Curse of Strahd Solo Run (IC)

    "White wolf huh? Sounds like some kind of fever dream," pocketing the manacles, Gweyir leads Kellon outside. Ismark and Father Donavich begin moving the slab back into place over the tomb. After they heave the heavy stone into place, the priest wipes his brow and crosses his arms, while Ismark begins leading the way out of the graveyard.

    "I'm sure they are aware," Ismark answers with a steady voice, patting the sword at his side. "I'm also quite confident that they are no more dangerous than the vampire. So, does the plan remain the same?"

    At the gates of the graveyard, Sokol is waiting leaned against the stone wall, and Spider is perched up on top of it looking out to the west.
    Last edited by RandomWombat; 2020-11-26 at 04:04 PM.

  10. - Top - End - #760
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    Once Kellon gets feeling back into his legs, he emerges from the tomb like a hatchling from his shell. It is comforting to know that Ismarck does not flinch at the knowledge of the hags' ire.

    Ismarck's question provokes a thought through the haze in Kellon's brain. Speaking of vampires..." He turns to Donavich. "Father... Would you like us to help with your son? I don't know if you have the prayers necessary, but I am willing to assist."

  11. - Top - End - #761
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    The Father licks his lips, wetting them as he looks down at the ground. His expression speaks of conflict. "In my prayers today, I prepared to deliver Doru unto the Morninglord's repose. I very dearly want to help my boy. And yet, if we face the hags today, we will need all the strength of magic we can muster." With a hesitant sigh, he shakes his head. "We will see. We will see, when is done."

  12. - Top - End - #762
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    Kellon nods sadly. "I am hardly at my best, Father. My time spent with the Beast meant that I was not able to gain any blessings..." He trails off, the wolf's words from last night still stinging.

    "Yes, we will see. Evil dies hard in this land," Kellon grunts grimly. "So, let's be about it. Time for stout hearts."

  13. - Top - End - #763
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    "We know not when or if the hags will come to meet us. When we arrive at this campsite of yours', you should get some rest," Ismark recommends as the group exits the graveyard and begins making their way away from town.

    Gweyir has a new pack replacing the one she lost in their crossing, and draws from it a bundle which she offers to Kellon. "Spider had another meal this morning. I cooked and salted the dried husk of meat leftover. It's not the best breakfast, but it should get you some energy in you."

  14. - Top - End - #764
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    That... actually sounds very appealing. Since they will be forced to wait, anyway, might as well try to be rested for the fight.

    Kellon drinks directly from the alchemy jug like a man dying of thirst, fresh water pouring down his throat to soothe it. He accepts the morsel gratefully. "Oh, thank ye, lass... Very considerate. I can't believe you lot slept in that mansion after what happened yesterday."

  15. - Top - End - #765
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    The light meal of water and dried meat leaves Kellon still feeling hungry, but the group's trip north to the campsite goes uneventfully as they trudge through the shadowy woods. The mood of quiet anticipation dissipates as they arrive at the campsite, and find something immediately amiss.

    Anton's grave has been dug up, and lay empty. Sitting beneath the grave marker cairn, there is a small folded card made out of stark white paper, decorated with swirling black patterns around the edges. Despite the moist morning dew upon the grass and leaves, the paper is untouched by water damage.

  16. - Top - End - #766
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    The sight of the despoiled grave draws an audible gasp from Kellon. "Desecration!!! What filth would dare disturb the restful peace of the dead?!" Perhaps unwisely, he goes to inspect the evidence left behind by the culprit.

  17. - Top - End - #767
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Picking up the white folded paper, Kellon finds it to be a letter.

    Spoiler: Letter
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    My honored guests,

    I offer my deepest condolences for the pain of loss you surely experienced at the death of your friend. And I thank you for your graceful foresight in keeping his body fresh, and unspoiled by the rot and the worms. As I am a gracious host and a beneficent lord, I have exhumed our mutual friend Mr. Burrel to bring him back to my castle, and see to his speedy recovery.

    Should you find the time in your adventures, we would be most pleased if you could pay us a visit. I would enjoy to dine with you, and speak in civilized surroundings. A carriage will await you at the border crossroads, in the former hamlet of Goul. It will guarantee you safe passage to Castle Ravenloft.

    - Lord and Master of Barovia, Strahd von Zarovich


    While Kellon is reading, Gweyir crouches down next to the excavated grave, feeling the edges of the hole and looking at the edges. "This was not dug with a shovel. Magic was used to clear out the dirt. See, here," she motions to the walls of the hole with a finger, with are unnaturally smooth and cleanly cut, as if someone sliced a perfect rectangle out of the ground. The ground around the grave is raised, in a small hill that was not there before, but the grass has not been disturbed.
    Last edited by RandomWombat; 2020-11-30 at 10:45 AM.

  18. - Top - End - #768
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    Kellon is visibly trembling with rage by the time he finishes reading the letter. He looks in the direction that he knows the castle is and swears like an angry sailor.

    "Thrice-damned bilgerat body-stealing deathmonger! I bet you stole the coppers from his eyes, too, you crab-fondling scurvy-ridden pile of rank seaweed! Not enough for him to wind up dead, but now you turn him into one of your lackeys?! You can take this invitation and ram it up your stern along with the rudder!" Kellon angrily shakes a fist, seeing red and uncaring of whether the vampire can hear his words or not.

  19. - Top - End - #769
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    "Crab fondling?" reaching out carefully to take the letter from Kellon's claws as he rages, Gweyir looks over it. "... Aye, this Strahd is a crab-fondling rat bastard alright. Ismark, you know this vampire. What do you think this means?" she asks, holding out the letter to him.

    Ismark takes it from her and looks it over from top to bottom. "I fear he intends to raise your friend for some purpose. Certainly not the benevolence he claims. And by the invitation, he must mean to use it as a means to taunt or coerce you."

  20. - Top - End - #770
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    "I know that," Kellon bellows uncharitably at Ismarck's observation. "Yon vampire will find that this fish doesn't bite for just any worm on a hook!" He paces back and forth, waving his arms animatedly. "We're not his guests and are under no obligation to play his little games!"

    The tortle sits down beside the open grave, suddenly feeling very, very tired. "I'm so worn out that even boiling blood cools. I'll settle for a simmer and try to settle down. As riled as Strahd has me, I'm going to try and get some rest. If I start snoring, just roll me into the hole." Kellon kicks some loose dirt into the grave irreverently. "Only good for one night's rest, the bloody thing... Gods, this land is a curse," he mutters before laying on his stomach. This time, he does not bother to retreat into his shell.

  21. - Top - End - #771
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    As he lies down, Kellon finds himself starting to drift off. In spite of the rush of anger, or perhaps in exhaustion after it fades, sleep comes easily to his tired body. As he fades, he sees Spider climbing up onto the rock wall to begin the weaving of its web.

    Sleep is fraught with fever dreams. As he begins to wake at last, Kellon recalls only bits and pieces. Gnawing hunger, the hunt, bloody slaughter and fresh meat. The gnawing hunger has not subsided, even in the waking world. A dome of web has been woven around the campsite, with a hole woven into it at the top, and one leading out into the bushes at ground level. Everyone is milling about in the light that filters down through the dome.

    The weakness in his limbs from failing to sleep at all has subsided.

  22. - Top - End - #772
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    Sleep is hardly a comfort, but a necessity. Kellon stretches before standing up, taking a moment to collect himself and invoke the blessings of the elements. As Kellon does so, however, the wolf's mocking words haunt him. Still, he prays to protect his friends and bring divine vengeance down on the evil hags who have caused such grief and misery.

    Kellon slakes his thirst with more water from the alchemy jug. His stomach rumbles, aching for even a meal like what he received for lunch yesterday. He could eat more, but Kellon knows that only fresh blood and offal will satisfy the beast within. Looking to the others, he asks, "So, we have a real riddle here... If the hags are only scrying at night, my magic will be worthless. I fear that I will be a greater threat than help, even chained. My howls are sure to draw them here, even if the scrying fails. The only thing that I can think of is if you aim me like a weapon, find some way to free my bonds so I will go after the hags instead of you lot."

  23. - Top - End - #773
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Turning, Gweyir regards Kellon hesitantly. "I think you're right about them being active at night, but... we might need to fight you even after if we win."

    "We may not have a better option, loathe though I am to try and 'weaponize' something like the werewolf curse," the Father points out. "Biggest issue would be making certain he does not lash out and infect whoever sets him loose."

    "What about using ropes instead of the manacles? We could cut the rope when it's time to let him loose... but there's a chance he could break out of the ropes too."

  24. - Top - End - #774
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    Kellon gives Gweyir a stern look. "You do what you need to do to stay alive, even if it means striking me down. I am far more worried about you than I am myself. When the moons rises tonight, I will give my best effort to combating the beast."

    Casting his gaze over the clearing, Kellon suggests, "What about chaining me to a tree? If I face the middle and someone frees me from behind, I doubt the beast will bother turning around when three meals come landing right in front of it."

  25. - Top - End - #775
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    "We might have to knock you unconscious, but I'm not about to kill you," Gweyir insists. She looks around at the trees, testing the branches and trunks to see which ones are the most sturdy. Coming along to a tall, moderately thick tree with a good view of the expected entryway for the hags, she pats it with her palm. "I think we could fit your arms around this behind your back, but not comfortably. I could undo the manacles from behind the tree, and out of view of you when you're turned. Worst case scenario though, is you accidentally dislocate an arm, or both, trying to fight your way free beforehand."

  26. - Top - End - #776
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    "That is a risk we will have to take... or rather, the only one I am willing to take," Kellon replies. He approaches Father Donavich and hands a scroll over to the man. "This will allow you to invoke the weapon of your god, Father. I likely won't be in any shape to use it."

    Kellon's stomach gurgles within his shell and he growls in frustrated hunger. He takes out dried jerky from their rations and gnaws on it with his beak. The dried and salted meat won't get rid of the pangs, but will at least dull the edge.

  27. - Top - End - #777
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    Father Donavich accepts the scroll, tucking it into his belt with a nod. "Thank you. I will ensure it is put to good use."

    Watching Kellon gnaw hungrily at the jerky, Gweyir looks to Spider and makes a clicking noise with her tongue. "C'mon, let's go find some food." She makes her way to the hole into the bushes, pulling her hood closer so as not to catch her hair on the brambles. Spider crawls up to follow close on her heels. Stopping at the opening, she looks at Kellon, "We're going to go forage and hunt what we can. We might be here all day, after all."

  28. - Top - End - #778
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    Kellon stops gnawing and tearing long enough to say, "Be careful. If there's trouble, or you feel a scrying, you get your arses back here."

    Regarding Ismarck, Kellon offers, "I've got a flask of alchemist's fire if you fancy yourself a decent throwing arm."

  29. - Top - End - #779
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    "Don't worry, Spider and I know our way around the woods. Isn't that right little guy?" Gweyir responds as she ducks out through the gap.

    "Do I ever! We will bring back so much food," Spider chirps in agreement, following her out.

    Standing across the campsite from everyone else, Ismark is examining the rock face leading up the cliffside. Or at least the part of it inside of the web. He comes over when called, a bit distractedly. "I think I should be able to manage," he says, looking down from the wall to meet Kellon's eye. The man has his shield ready on his arm, and Kellon can see he's attached a torch sconce to the face of it since last time they fought together. "...I feel ill at ease here, for whatever reason... like we're right under his nose." Ismark glances up again, in the direction of Castle Ravenloft.

  30. - Top - End - #780
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    Kellon hands over the fire flask and comments, "We're close, aye, but 'tis a defensible position." The words sink in a little more and some unpleasant possibilities come to mind.

    "...Does Strahd have any riders under his command?"

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