Campaign of the Month: February 2023

The Domain of Dread Council Meeting

The One Rule Above All

Daniel's Choice: Verdan breaks the rules and has to pay the price...

The moment stood still, the motes of light shifting as a rush of air followed… with not even a flicker of movement she arrived. Her face solemn as around her the rainbow motes danced.

Back at the camp the sudden change of mood caught all.. eyes peering towards the painful light of Isolde as she looked down upon Verdan.

“We have one rule..” she said plainly as she placed her hand upon the wicked looking blade strapped to her hip.
“Nobody is harmed, and nobody is killed”. There was a strong sense of power, something strange and different in the way there was a aura about them, and indeed the brightest point of the Carnival was not as Daniel had assumed to be the center.. but appeared to be wherever it was that Isolde was at any one point.

Verdan looked around, without the guests the people of the Carnival had started to remove their dour makeup, Amelia’s vampire wings no longer black but shimmering in purples and greens – for she was no vampire at all! But to Verdan, a native of Ravenloft he only saw freaks!

Thinking it a simple matter of misunderstanding Verdan grabbed the wrist of the headless vampire.

Isolde made a gesture and in a moment Verdan felt a unnatural twisting as his own hand melted into the flesh of the dead vampire. Trying to pull his hand aside he strained as the body fell forward, it’s hand now hanging from his own arm!

“Come… all must bear witness” Isolde said, for behind him there was only the whispers and accusing glares at Verdan the murderer.

For it didn’t matter if one was a stranger, guest or family, to hurt one was to hurt_ all_.

Against his will Verdan found himself no longer at the edge of the Carnival, instead he was standing before a dark tent titled ‘The Hall of Horrors’.

‘You must go in.. only then might you live..’

Verdan was sure that this was a lie, for surrounded by freaks and watched over by the cold elf he would surely die.

At least he’d die with dignity, or so he thought as he stepped forward then heaved as he dragged the body of the vampire behind him.
The other arm still clutching a hunk of metal to it’s chest like a child.

Verdan had no interest in mysteries as he found himself standing before one freak before another. The final mirror showing him back at himself. Whatever lesson he was to learn here was surely mistaken as he just saw himself. The horror of the body wielded to his flesh was no real problem that a good axe couldn’t solve.

It was then that he saw the body in the mirror twitch! A leg moving of it’s own accord and then a second.

Verdan had no control over this! The body started to right itself as in the mirror he saw the reflection of the thing the monster had been cradling, the crushed metal remains of a robots scull.

This time it was the body that lead, as it drew itself to it’s feet, stepping forward first shaky and then with more clear purpose to drag Verdan behind it.

Yelling that no parlor tricks would fool him Isode simply raised a eyebrow to Verdan’s complaints, “It wasn’t for you” was her cryptic reply.

The crowd outside watched, Daniel surprised to recognise Norran d’Cannith’s body cradled in one arm was the broken remains of the robotic scull of Queen Dannel of Cyre.

Verdan had no care for who it was, except that he was not impressed that he’d lost a hand to gain a entire second body that seemed totally out of his control.
So this is how they became freaks! Verdan would not show any fear or horror as he drew himself up to his full height and doing his best to ignore the body moving of it’s own accord stepped out of the tent. Seemingly satisfied the Carnival folk started to drift away back to whatever wicked tasks they held, for it was well told that while one might visit the Carnival of Dread -to stay too long risked turning you into a freak just like them!

From the bonfire Daniel simply watched as Mollymook winced, what a wicked fellow! He had been in high spirits but even this was due to put him off his drink.

“You!” Verdan called out pointing at the two Teflings “Come I need your sword to be rid of this” but as Verdan pointed he felt a strange sensation – before the arm that was under his control refused to move! The feeling of another mind, another presence fighting him for control.

No! This was not to be! He would not be turned into a walking puppet to be dragged around by a the doomed soul of this disgusting vampire!

Mollymauk Tealeaf couldn’t help his curiosity, Daniel watched as the brightly dressed Tiefling sided over “What seems to be the problem?”

He allowed himself to be drawn into the shadow of a tent, but his eyes drew wide at Verdan’s request.

You want me to what?!

He repeated “CUT MY HAND OFF!”

Now this was a dilemma for while Mollymauk could see that the man was clearly distressed to cut off a person’s arm would break the rules and risk the wrath of Madam Isolde. He’d already seen one person fall foul of the women today and he certainly didn’t want to be the second.

However, there was the gift of gold and threats and more and more he saw the man struggle against himself. Surely there was a loophole that if he consented what harm would it truly be?

Very well, and so Verdan held his arm as straight as possible. Every muscle taught as he focused all his will into controlling it – for any small slip could mean disaster.

Mollymauk drew his scimitars, this was not his usual deal for more often then not it was his own flesh he pierced and yet he focused hard and with a single blow stoke true! A sickening crunch as bone splintered as blood started to rain down from the wound.

The pain was intense, Verdan gritted his teeth, willing himself to stay awake as for a moment he felt his awareness dip. The promise of release in darkness was not a luxury he could enjoy.

As Verdan placed his remaining hand upon his stump to seal the wound once again there was that strange sense of time standing steal as drips of blood caught in the air.

“Mollymauk? You I expected better of” Isolde’s face was hard to read but to Mollymauk there was just the clearest hint of disappointment.

“He asked me to do it! " Mollymauk said trying to explain that it wasn’t really harm if it was consensual.

Isolde shook her head, reaching down to the ground where the body of Norran bled out with his other hand still protectively held around the metal bundle.

“Did he?” She asked pointedly as with a touch she stemmed the bleeding of the other body.

Mollymaulk was confused, but as he glanced from Verdan to the body it started to dawn upon him. He had only the word of Vardan and at the Carnival the rule of three was that as long as there was a witness to disagree he was unable to prove himself innocent.

His eye went to Daniel, but here was no help for they had been hidden in the tent, Mollymaulk’s mind racing as [[:isolde | Isolde] aided the body to it’s feet, her eyes narrowing as her ear rested against it’s ear.

Mollymaulk had to watch her lips carefully to read the words ‘are you sure?’

Her eyes for a moment showing a depth of sadness before she nodded and with the slightest gesture gave Norran what he truly wanted.

From the broken ruin of Queen Dannel of Cyre wires snaked out and wove into the flesh, the body once again straightening and Norran’s eyes opening once more before a moan escaped his lips. Slowly the muffled words forming the voice of Queen Dannel coming from the wrecked body of the great engineer.

Horrified to find herself once again in the flesh.. but not of her own but of Norran.. her mind not in his brain but carried in her hands.

“Never again” Isode said as from the crowd a group of refugee’s from the train came to care for the remains of their leader.

“Mollymauk what has occured must never happen again… if you wish to be welcome here then I have a task that you must bear” she said before nodding towards the wretched figure of Verdan Crowle “that one might also be of some use…”

Intrigue! Daniel had little interest in quests but he was bored and so wandered over to see what was happening. His metal nude form making it hard for Mollymauk to concentrate as he nodded and agreed to aid Daniel on his quest. Maybe it wasn’t all that bad for rarely had he come across a Tiefling so willing to bear all?

“Come to my wagon, we have much to discuss” Isolde said before disappearing.
Daniel and Mollymauk shrugged, it wasn’t like they had anything better to do.

After the violence of the day Isolde had no time for fun and games “There is a creature, a being invisible to even the gods that I seek. Daniel knows of him and with this we might at last have means to track him!”

Mollymauk looked rather confused, for in Isolde’s hand was nothing at all!
Reaching out to be a good sport his hand brushed a smooth rod. ‘Oh my’ before feeling the shape of a plunger one invisible to eye yet entirely solid to touch.

Isolde explained “This will help you find him but to travel the Mists is dangerous. These should aid you” she said drawing out of her tent three ornate pumpkin shaped lanterns. “Be careful for they are fragile and not easily repaired”, they were made of pure glass of every colour, Mollymulk approved for they matched his outfit well.

" Madame Fortuna may be able to point you towards a safe path. I simply hope that we are not too late" the light seemed to darken for a moment with her mood, as she bid them good hunting Mollymulk and Daniel ventured back to try and find the foolish man, though what help a one-handed idiot was going to be was beyond them?