Carriage by Carriage, Vecna the Whispered One and Strahd von Zarovich walked, guided up-train by Queen Dannel of Cyre, the train was like a city forced into each narrow carriage and separated by hatches where guards stood always at alert for trouble. Out the windows signs of the Great War flashed by, armies of undead fighting armies of metal men, spells firing off in barrages of light and above all the dark mists tinged with sickly green necrotic energy where not flashed with lightning. Vecna knew it was not real for they had come abord in Tasha‘s Domain and there was no such horrors. Bored he put his attention to the people abord the train, mostly to avoid having to watch as Strahd and Queen Dannel flirted and seemed to have no regard for anyone else’s disgust at their obvious affection.
As they moved up train there was a clear improvement in quality, the cramped metal room they started in seemed a million miles away from the gilded carriages that made up the front of the train, here people dressed finely and the smell of cooked meat caught Vecna’s attention.
“Ah Dannel.. how lovely to see you!” the Chief called out to her in that strange gnomish language- waving a strange device from which a cube of meat glistened in the light.
There was something about that meat that caught Vecna’s eye and he found himself being waved over.
“You are a honest guest, yes come try try!” Vecna found the cube of meat being shoved in his face, while he didn’t need to eat he wasn’t about to let Strahd have it and so Vecna took the stick and ate it.. ah.. that was what was bothering him.. the meat was rich and fatty and most defiantly HUMAN!
He looked around at the people abord the train anew, the maths starting to draw into place – for while they had passed though carriages of animals there certainly was not enough to feed all of these people.. Cannibals! Now that was not something he was expecting of these people, but at last he could look past their inane smiles and kindness and see the dark deeds underneath. It had been there all along, the comments of Queen Cyre about how their people gave what they could, and how everyone had their place in keeping the spirit of Cyre alive.
For the first time Vecna had found something to like about these people.
Strahd continued to be entrapped by the beautiful Queen Dannel aka his beloved Titania wooing her as she lead them at last to carriage 1. Her carriage. If he had a heartbeat it would have sped up as she opened the hatch, exposing not the ornate grandeur expected for a Queen, but a more plain room. “I’m sorry for the mess” Queen Dannel said as she started to pick up some of the maps, lists and charts from the bed and place them onto the desk. The double bed the only sign of luxury ready and waiting for them as Queen Dannel blushed and looked aside at Vecna “I am sorry I did not think you would wish to…” she started before drawing her hand to Strahd’s face and turning towards him, a longing in her eye.
Vecna felt himself gag as Queen Dannel drew herself close to Strahd and on tip toes lent in to kiss….
But Strahd pulled back “Let me sing you a song..” he insisted, realising that he could not kiss her without exposing that like Daniel he too was a monster, his skin of jelly ruining his perfect vampiric complexion more then his attempt to protect himself from the sun with a cream made of powdered diamonds.
Vecna watched as Queen Dannel looked deflated, she nodded and waited as verse after verse Strahd sung the rousing Barovian National Anthem.
“Strahd.. my love.. my dear.. please” she whispered in his ear… the words ‘kiss me’ unsaid as she drew ever closer.
Strahd grew more despierate, looking around the room he realised with some shock that the hatch that he’d expected to lead to the Train itself was missing, instead there was nothing more then a large red light watching everything they did…
There was nothing like having someone watching them to ruin the mood – the fact that Vecna was in the background throwing up of course did not count! But this Captain.. now this was something Strahd would have to deal with.
“Ah.. my dear how I would love to.. but first we must speak to this Captain” yes, here was a excuse.. for while he yearned for her, he couldn’t admit that he was also sure that she would reject him the moment she saw his monstruous appearance. Curse that monster, and curse Tasha for being too useless to cure it!
“Oh yes.. the Captain” Queen Dannel’s eyes looked downcast, her voice hinted at something, Vecna found himself puzzled but Strahd stepped past as he noticed below the large red eye was a screen not so different to the one that had been in the metal room where they had started this leg of the adventure.
“Open up I need to speak to the Captain” Strahd said to the large red eye.
I AM AFRAID I CAN NOT DO THAT.
The words appeared on the screen before him. Strahd fumed but behind him Vecna had put two and two together.. the eyes that had been watching them across all the train were connected to this strange machine.
Strahd tried to tell the machine to stop the train, But again in cold words it simply said
I CAN NOT DO THIS
“Then turn the train around!”
I CANNOT, THERE IS NO TRACK
Suddenly genius flashed though the mind of Strahd von Zarovich, “Why use Track when we can fly!” he called out, Queen Dannell looking confused but this time the screen had something new to say.
CALCULATING. . .
“I wish to speak to Norran!” Strahd said, his mind racing with ideas.
At last they were getting somewhere as with a crackle of static he heard the sounds of screams of Daniel in the background as the intercom system connected. “What would it take to make this train fly!” Strahd shouted over the noise, the recent adventure of him taking Castle Ravenloft to space still fresh in his mind.
Hundreds of Carriages behind them Norran pulled up screens, the screaming of Daniel had been all but forgotten as he was safely contained with the tube, with machines carefully stripping away his flesh and slowly the burn of acid was replaced with the actual burn of molten metal as liquid metal was poured down his throat and over his raw flesh.
“It.. it just might be possible! We’d have to reinforce and the air could be a challenge but yes.. it could work..”
Hope, was a dangerous idea, Queen Dannell looked up at Strahd as full of authority he narrowed his eyes at the machine “Take us to Barovia”…
WHERE IS BAROVIA?
Strahd was taken aback, he lived in Barovia and so it was just assumed that everyone knew where it was… he started to describe his homeland but realised he’d never actually known how to get to Barovia ..after all it wasn’t like he’d ever left his domain before!
“I’m sure we’ll be able to find it Strahd..” Queen Dannell said as with a click the intercom system turned off. “Until then if it’s okay I might slip into something more comfortable…. and I’m sure Norran will be able to find a way…..”
“NORRAN!” Strahd yelled suddenly sure that this all his fault, it wasn’t his fault that he couldn’t fully ‘woo’ Titania, it was Norran and he must die for it! “he will pay…”
Caught half undressed Queen Dannel could only watch in horror and call out “No Strahd.. you mustn’t!” as Strahd brushed past her and started moving full speed down train. Vecna put aside the wastepaper basket he had thrown up his human-meat into and followed suit – at last fun!
“I am bored of this”.. Vecna said as he followed Strahd down-train and looking to the people in the train his one good eye glimmered as he raised his hands.. necrotic energy lashing forth as he effortlessly killed the people abord the train and raised their bodies as zombies under his control.
Smashing glass, screams, blood splatters.. it was all too easy as strolling down-train Vecna’s horde of zombies laid waste to all before them.
Flashing red emergency lighting turning on and warning overhead messages informing the passangers that the newcomers had turned hostile all added to the noise and chaos as catching up to Strahd at least Vecna felt empowered by the terror he had unleased abord the train.
Strahd couldn’t help but have to out-compete and so called upon his Good Boys – aka Strahd’s Pack of Wolves ignoring the tight space the room quickly filled with wolves.. leaving no space to move for wolves where piled upon wolves and tangled in machinery.
What had been a clear run quickly became more complex as Vecna watched in dismay as Strahd tried to move his gasious form though the smokey form of his shadow wolves and commanded them to carefully move aside to create space so that he might press the button to open the release to the next carriage.. noticing for the first time the strange metal statues placed either side of the door. They looked like men – but made of metal and instead of faces had a red dot that moved from left to right, and back again.
They ignored them as they move into the narrow corridor of the Aquarium, here there was nothing to stop them except for two guards, one huddled in a corner crying and one standing tall, blocking the door “You will not pass” he said drawing a sword that crackled with lightning.
Behind him stood two more of those metal men, Vecna was confused, for it was obvious that this man would die here, so why bother, why fight and not run?
Vecna was easily able to flow though the Wolves and stood before the man only to be shocked as he felt the sword strike him true, how dare this puny man touch him! Did he not know that Vecna was a GOD! Yet it was not Vecna but Strahd’s wolves.. the pack flowing together into smoke and then seperating into a rush of teeth and claws.. blood soaked and splatters as with a final scream the guard died.
He had been doing overtime all to avoid his wife who was heavy with his ninth child.
His name, and story of standing up to a God flowing up and down train, his life ending but his legend living on as behind him the machines standing guard in all 999 carriages watched over them all….
Forged by the people of Cyre, the great invention that was promised to turn the tide of war, the robot people did nothing but watched, unmoving and uncaring as the main died before them.
A spatter of blood spashing across one of them as it’s red eyes went from left to right… right to left..
Vecna gains 1 point for learning that the people abord the train EAT PEOPLE
Daniel gains 1 point for helping the DM in providing descriptions for the random carriages the party venture though while Daniel is at the lab.
Strahd gains 1 point for insisting on a performance of the Barovian National Anthem.
Vecna gained 1 point for getting bored and deciding to make us go full Train to Busan.
Chris gains 2 points – 1 for playing the Guard NPC who stood up to Vecna, and 1 for figuring out that the robots on the train where not your normal warforged – they were Cylons!