Journal Of Marsys Lightouch
13th of Wealsun 636 CY
The Wisdom of Ancient Kings
I knew from the history of the Heroes of the Key that the Royal Jewels of Geoff are magic; and powerful magic. I did not know that they could awaken the line of ancient kings of the realm for a sit down discussion in a special room beneath the castle that had statues of all the kings. Now, there is no reason I should know that before I see it, but there are the kinds of things that made me leave home: The desire to see the amazing. Yes, to be honest, the universe and the gods have been overly accommodating in granting that ambition.
Of all the alternate futures we saw, by far the most dangerous was one where the mad god is free. Because of that King Tristan Everdawn of Geoff took us to have a conference with the ancient kings who knew more about the prison of the mad god than anyone outside of the gods.
The first thing that must be mentioned is the reverence that even the old kings pay to King Llewellyn I of Geoff. He was the first king the one who fell in battle but protected his people against Vecna. Who forged bonds with the elves and ruled in a kind of impossibly long mythological timeline. Or so I though it was mythological in length. It did not take long to see how a king could have ruled for an oddly long time and held the archlich at bay. Indeed it became apparent when we saw his platinum eyes. In all the multiverse only Bahamut and the Greyhawk dragons have such eyes. This also applies, in theory, to any direct children of the Dragon god. So Llewellyn the First, King of Legend, was a son of Bahamut.
They told us that in the beginning, what Geoff legend calls the Dawn Times, the mad god was chained and imprisoned on the astral plane. But shortly after, in what is called the Morning of the World, the prison had already become dangerously weak and his influence was getting stronger.
At the time there was a man who was loosely related to the ancient tribes of the Flan, named Strahd Von Zarovich. He stood against the armies of Vecna and helped to repel them from his ancestral home of Barovia in the south west of the Sheldomar Valley. Years of war against the archlich has taken a good man and made him twisted and without hope. But even he did not know it yet. He had a brother Sergi, a Paladin of Pelor, who was engaged to a peasant girl named Tatyana. Strahd, with his brother blind to his obvious obsession, desired to possess the young woman. The kings did not know what great evil occurred next. The best bet was that a rival to the throne killed the royal family at the celebration the night before the wedding. And that there was some massacre.
That is not what happened but it is what we believed happened.
But, the kings explained, the gods somehow used this and removed Barovia from the world. They took it and fashioned it as a prison for the mad god. In some way Barovia, and all the plane that has grown around it is the very prison of the Never-Ending Cold. I have no idea how it all works…that is the realm of a mage or cleric. But what is obvious is something was wrong. There was some unseen flaw that helps to give egress from the prison for the reach of the mad god with greater strength than should be possible. The kings believed this was possibly because of a cult of the god that was pulled into the prison and that helped forge a two way link that made the prison weaker than intended. They wanted to send us back to when Barovia was pulled into the mists and fix that problem. The only issue was that we would have to allow the massacre to take place first.
Will could not do that so she elected not to go. Villius spoke up and said that if fate decreed these actions then fate could stop us from stopping them. But we would try to stop the massacre too. Although some thought it was best to let it happen and be sure of chaining the mad god, others would not allow such a vile act and sit idle. It was decided we would go and we would try to stop it. We would also try to eliminate the cult of the mad god.
So the ancient kings used their power, led by the form of King Llewellyn and sent us back with the look of the era and papers in the kings own hand. He told us also that his cousin on his mother’s side, prince Vistan, would be visiting the country for the wedding and would be pulled into the prison place as well. I am not sure why he mentioned this, but something about the Heroes of the Key comes to mind. I will have to check my notes on them later.
We arrived and gained entrance to grand event the night before the wedding. Will was able to sense great evil from a Leo Dysillna a cultist of the mad god, who had corrupted a great deal of the staff and from a cousin of the Count, a Pretov Von Zarovich a cultist of Vecna who had apparently aroused the Count’s perversions to possess the young bride of his brother in an event to destabilize the kingdom for invasion.
Nothing happened at the party and we went to bed outside in the court yard with other guests. But…soon Will sensed great evil. A great and powerful evil, like the cold itself. We went into the castle to find the young Sergi dead and Strahd chasing his object of desire who threw herself from the high castle walls. What we had not seen or understood can be surmised in the following:
Strahd Von Zarovich had wanted to possess his brother’s wife. After years of erosion to his morality, he felt she was owed to him for saving his people and not to his brother. Young Sergi loved Strhad and idolized him, indeed all of Barovia does. He did not see how truly disturbing the looks from his brother toward the bride to be had become. He did not see the hate in his brother’s eyes when he looked into them himself. So what Will sensed was Strahd selling his soul to the mad god for some gift. But the gifts of the mad god, like the fabled Scorpion Crown, are twisted. He sacrificed his brother and went to claim his prize but she escaped him. He became a vampire…and I think, from what I know of history…the very first one.
It was then the people of Barovia and all of us were transported in a land made into a prison for the Face of The End. The Lord of Castle Ravenloft and ruler of Barovia had mortgaged his will to evil. He was the land itself, and it all became the mad god…and the gods took the opportunity and essentially imprisoned the mad god within itself.
We used the confusion to kill Petrov, but we kept Leo unconscious but alive. He was still of Oerth and we thought that maybe it was Strahd killing him in the original time that created the link to Oerth that was the crack in the prison. Soon the mists came upon us and we found ourselves not in the Barovia just transformed into the prison…but a Barovia that, if we left it, would lead us to our own time.
But we do not know the way out. We have to protect Leo while on this plane. And I have a feeling the master of Castle Ravenloft remembers the odd guests at his brother celebration so long ago and would have words with us in the castle high above. I am a halfling and I sometimes know the language of beasts…and I hear the invitation in the howling of the distant wolves that grow closer by the moment.