The sound of crickets provide a soft music to The Litwick Market, the smell of fresh food, roasting corn on the cob and the smoke of the bonfire leading Daniel forward. His heart heavy with the death of Bruce who he had promised to save, and the countless innocents doomed to suffer and die abord the Morning Rail. He’d wanted to save them, and yet immortal as he was Daniel felt powerless once again.. no matter what he always survived and yet on days like today it felt more a curse then ever for living forever meant seeing everyone die – over and over again.
He had no mood for games, nor really to look around him. Yet the motes of light and calls from strangers drew his eye as his heavy metallic feat took him further from the dark and into the soft light of the Carnival of Dread. He saw people look at him, some with fear but more then a few with curiosity.
He wasn’t afraid, not just because he had the profound sense of recollection but because what did he have to fear when the worst had already happened to him?
What he didn’t expect was recollection, for instead of strangers Daniel found himself surrounded by old friends,
“OMG Daniel.. you’re back.. and wow you’re all shiny!” a pale women with black vamire wings fawened Daniel still felt cold due to his iron skin even as she gave him a warm hug and lead him past the Ferris Wheel listening as he explained how he’d failed Bruce and the cows of the Morning Rail.
“Oh no.. that’s terrible but look.. you’re not the only one who survived.. "Amelia pointed to the edge of the camp where in first ones and twos, then in other small groups refugee’s from the Morning Rail stubled out of the Mists. Daniel remained sad even as she pointed towards a section of the Canival where braided ropes marked the Circus Animals “maybe you’ll find them there?” she suggested and while he was not hopeful Daniel found himself wandering over, stopping to look at the cages where inside one a leapod laid being pattered by a wood elf who’s aims and legs where covered with snakeskin. Daniel wasn’t sure what he was looking for but glancing up at the signs decorating the cage he noted that the Lepod was ‘Raja! ’The Hidious Man-Beast’ and the empy cage next door was plastered with ‘Daniel – The Unkillable Tiefling!’ Living forever often meant forgetting things but as she glanced over the candles and offerings.. some made of small stones of protection while others marked with the ‘evil eye’ to ward against him Daniel found himself crying.
What use was it to carry on? Exhaustion nipping at him he climbed inside the cage to rest, the sadness breaking as he awoke to the smell of cooked food, a bowl offered to him from Amelia. Something had changed and as he climbed out of the cage and looked around he found far less people, the nightly performance over and most of the people clustered around the campfire where the sound of a lute and songs rung out.
He found himself drawn into the light, sitting upon a log and his sorrow being caught out by a flabouyant Tiefling who insisted that he was safe, that nothing bad would happen at the Carnival because the boss wouldn’t allow it.
He didn’t know how long he sat before something drew him towards the center of the Carnival, here behind the big top was a wagon that glowed brightest against the gloom. Inside he heard swearing and a crash of someone searching. For a moment he waited but a distracted “come in” beckoned him to enter.
There was more then a few different stories about Isolde, some said she was a angel, others swore that she was a devil in disguise. Daniel had met both and didn’t think much of it as he found stepped into her wagon, scraps of papers, maps and markings fastened to every wall and amid the mess was a cloth covering the unmistakable shape of a plunger. “Daniel… it seems you arrive right when you are needed most” Madam Isolde said, her skin had a strange glow about as she placed a strange object upon the bed and with great care removed the cloth to pick up the plunger and place it in Daniel’s hand… “Careful.. do not lose it” she said her eyes staring at the nothingness with a intensity that he’d never seen before. “One of the refugee’s brought it with them.. have you known of it’s like before?”
Daniel nodded before explaining about the Invisible Person…
“So you have seen it! Alas how it comes to this! So close and yet.. and yet………..” Isolde’s hand placed itself upon the sword at her hilt, as if ready to strike at a moments notice. Catching herself she looked outside.. reminding herself of the people under her care.. the ones who were only protected as long as she was near.
“Tell me everything…” she said, and Daniel did.. she listened to every word and in a way Daniel felt soothed more so then he had prior as he explained how they’d been abord the train and how they’d been travelling with Strahd and Vecna prior to Strahd murdering poor Norran and Queen Dannel.
When he was done Isolde sat in silence for a moment. “So much you have been though.. come you must eat.. sit by the fire a while as I muse over what you have told me..”
For the Carnival only had two rules, everyone did their part, and a hurt to one is a hurt to all.
Sadly not everyone got the message.. for emerging from the mist Verdan Crowle look around himself, unsure of where he had arrived in his search for the one true king of Barovia he closed his eyes for a moment, distrusting what he saw as he focused for any lingering sense of evil about him….
The aura of Fey was strong from all around.. a great light of fey and celestial light ahead of him.. but more pressing was the stench of decay.. amid the shadowy figures of the refugees was a undead.. Cane at the ready he strode towards the wretched figure, shuffling though the gloom and bent over to protect something it held close.
It was almost pitiful the way it tried to protect it’s bundle as Verdan clicked his cane-sword into place and with a single strike killed the fledgling vampire as he stood.