Syvis, Hircus, Moire, Ina Old Svalich Road, Thunderstorm
Dropped items are quickly gathered and redistributed, Syvis resumes her equine form, and the damp march continues east to the village of Barovia. The wisp that emerged from the mad druid's chest drifts lazily uphill until its aura illuminates the edge of the forest at the crest. Trees around its passing seem to twitch and shake with more than the force of wind and rain.
The storm continues, cracking and flashing as trees press in again on both sides of the road. About a half hour later the woods end at another stone bridge fording a raging river. Beyond this crossing comes a sopping grassland, where the road is hard to stick to amid the mud and rain. It isn't much longer out here, however, before there's a sudden change in the weather and the rain ceases. Clouds drift apart to reveal a clear night sky with a crescent moon. Ina is first to spot lights in the distance, and before long you are approaching a sad little village bereft of walls or any other apparent defense. Lights flicker behind waxy panes and a few chimneys cough out sooty smoke. The road leads almost directly to a cramped central plot, where rainwater from the recent storm has pooled. It shouldn't be terribly late at all, probably around supper time, but there is no one out and about. A public house off the square presents an off-kilter sign that reads, Blood of Vine. On the opposite side there's a closed establishment called Bildrath's Mercantile, and that seems to be it for places of business here. A stone church squats slightly uphill from the homes of Barovia, which are humble to a last, save for the large, unlighted manor at the end of the road south of the square.
Loaded up once more with the group's gear, Syvis took on the duty of being a creature of burden, her hooves struggling and slipping at times in the slick mud. At least with four legs and a horses' center of gravity, she was able to catch herself most of the time. Either way, once the storm passes, she can't help but give a tired snort as the group continues on their way, the damp having soaked into her coat and hair.
Heading into the small village, her sight is limited by the form, but she senses she doesn't have much longer to it. Turning her head to face the Blood of Vine sign, she digs a hoof at the ground, tossing her head in an attempt to point that direction. Whickering lowly as well to get the group's attention -- the druid wanted to rest and dry herself off, hopefully before any other surprises found them.
The opportunity to pursue the druid's...will o wisp? Spirit? Feels like a missed opportunity. But only a madwoman chases a ghostly spirit into an unknown woods, at night, in a land ruled by a vampire.
Moire smiles a bit to herself as she puts things into perspective and feels a bit better about continuing on to the village. Upon arrival, she wipes wet black hair out of her face and hoists Syvis' bird cage up before shaking her head. "You look as soaked as the rest of us, little friend," she remarks to the bird.
Turning to Hircus, Ina and Syvis, the Paladin says "The public house seems to be the only place open. Let's stop here for the night. If there's time, I may pay a visit to the church before bed but let's at least get settled into rooms if we can manage it. To say nothing of a good, hearty dinner after all this rain and that druid."
She's happy to lead the way in, if no one raises an objection.
The walk, the rain, the encounter with the crazy man on the road did little to dampen the cleric's mood. Hircus continues on with the his companions as they make their way to the Village of Barovia.
"You will get no objection from me. I will gladly rest my legs, but I wonder what we will be able to afford with the little we have? We may end begging at the church for a place to stay." Hircus plods along beside the others. "But first, let's see what we can find in here." Hircus follows along after Moire.
Fianna looks around the strange work-room. It is at once reminiscent of her home and completely alien to her - none of the ingredients are things her mother would have used, but the idea feels familiar to her in a way that makes her heart ache. Instead, she walks to the window and looks out into the night. She does not expect anything more familiar or comforting to greet her there, but it feels safer, somehow.
"Would you tell me more about Jorten?" She asks, "are you his guest as well?"
Syvis, Hircus, Moire, Ina Blood of the Vine Tavern
Inside the public house, all is dim and cramped, despite the scant occupants. The bar is unattended and only three people are here at the small candlelit tables. In any case, this seems a simple drinking place, in no way an inn or rooming house.
Two men, perhaps in their twenties, sit together with a bottle between them, laughing and poking at each other playfully. By his clothing and long curly hair, the man on the left is a Vistana. His companion seems neither Vistana nor the general sort of Barovian villager you've met thus far. He's dressed in heavy gray robes that merge with a gray wrap that shrouds his head, leaving only his face and hands exposed. Farther back in the tavern, someone sits alone near the wall—a head of gray hair pitched forward on the table and nestled in crossed arms. An uncorked bottle and empty glass stand nearby.
Turning to see who has entered, the man in gray robes gives a thin smile, his face flushed with drink, and half raises himself in his chair before thinking better of it and settling back down. "Look here, Hanzi," he says, "more far travelers like me, lost in your mists. Excuse me for not standing to salute, friends. I am told we have finished the last of the wine. I am Taaj Furrowbrow from the land of Al-Qadim." Turning his head away from the Vistana, he gives an exaggerated wink with one eye. At Moire's side, Ina leans in and applies her elbow to the paladin's ribs.
Even with her father's eyes, it's hard for FIanna to make much out in the storm-tossed night sky. Certainly, though, this place, a tower, based on the curve of the wall, rests high above the trees and mist below. Far off a cluster of dim lights is visible—some tiny settlement out in the rainy night.
"We have our own business here," the young woman says as she measures some substance out at her workbench. The hefty cat on her shoulder tries to bat at the vial as she decants from it. "Jorten was the Master's old favorite and thought he would get to be a vampire, but the Master only made him half a vampire, so he has been frustrated for a century or more. And now, worse for him, there is a new favorite, a girl from the village. She is a tease and hides from the Master, so we will make a potion to scry her out, but only for practice. Do you want to help?"
A new sound comes to accompany the storm outside: peals of laughter—cackling, really—from behind the closed door across the room from the windows.
"Who is your master?" Fianna asks and turns to approach the strange woman. "And I'm not sure I'd be much help," she adds with a careful look at the potion taking form in the cauldron. "I have never used any of these ingredients before." To herself, she thinks she could probably figure out enough to contribute, but helping a vampire's servants find his chosen victim is not what she intends to do with her life. However, it may be possible to surreptitiously harm the potion-brewing process enough that the girl can live out her life without being turned into an undead abomination.
"No need to stand or salute, friend!" Hircus furrows his brow and looks longingly at the bottle, "The last of the wine you say? It seems there is no wine anywhere in this land. What is a thirsty traveler to do?" The big man's hands drop to his sides with a slap. Looking around the room, at the man at the other table, then back at Taaj. "It's probably for the best. More than a drink, we could use a place to rest. Can join you? My feet are aching from the road." Hircus reaches for a chair.
Syvis, Hircus, Moire, Ina Blood of the Vine Tavern
"But of course," Taaj says, extending an arm to some nearby chairs. The table he and Hanzi share is too small to accommodate more than one or two more, but there are certainly plenty of other empty tables that could be moved closer. Taaj smiles as he invites everyone in, but Syvis sees a trace of reluctance in his eyes, and a subtle tensing of muscles, like an animal interrupted in the middle of its meal.
"That is our new burgomaster," Hanzi comments mirthfully when Hircus draws attention to the man in the back. "He is called Ismark the Lesser, in contrast to his father, the late burgomaster of the similar name. Do you see what I am saying?"
Placating Hanzi with a hand on his shoulder, Taaj says, "You see, friends, things are not so different here in Barovia than where we hail from: great family dynasties, love of drink, the customs of hospitality ... say, Hanzi, is there any more of that delicious cheese in the back? These travelers must be famished!" Hanzi obligingly, if unsteadily, stands, nods, and weaves a path among the tables to a door that presumably leads to a kitchen or pantry.
As soon as the Vistana has left, Taaj leans in close to Hircus, glances quickly back at Ismark the Lesser, and whispers, "Not to deprive you of your cheese, Hirc, but Van and I are working here just now. If you'd be so kind as to make a convenient excuse, there's an abandoned house around the corner—a blue mat out front and horns over the door. I'll meet you there within the hour." The voice is Tegan's, sure enough, though Taaj bears only the slightest physical resemblance to him. He doesn't seem nearly so intoxicated as he did a moment ago.
Hanzi returns bearing a tray of the promised cheeses and other morsels, nearly dropping it a few times before making it back to the table. At once Taaj's shoulders slump forward and his eyes droop, heavy with drink.
Plodding slowly with the group towards the structure, the tired mare stopped by the outside wall, allowing her form to fade and then untangled herself from the heavy tent and other gear she had been saddled with. Taking Otrev's cage back, Syvis was still quiet from the earlier shock and display.
Entering inside she keeps to the back of the pack, her eyes searching the room from habit, looking around at potential risks. The sound of chatter caught her attention especially, amber eyes focused on the men that seem more awake than the slumbering drunk in the back. As Hircus and the one man talk, Syvis' eyes narrow slightly at the body language she sees, her stance shifting slightly in case another fight awaits them.
When the strange man in a strange land leans in towards Hircus, the druid starts to feel her claws grow out in preparation of him trying something on a member of her pack, but it fades as a confused expression crosses her face, the voice faintly familiar though she's confident she doesn't know anyone who she couldn't recognize their face. Tapping on the bird cage she moved towards one of the tables for now, opening Otrev's cage and offering a strip of fabric, muttering to the small bird, "Here ... something to help dry your feathers."
Moire is only too happy to get out of the rain. The interior of the Blood of the Vine Tavern isn't the most elegant she's ever seen but it is dry and the Paladin is grateful for that alone. Taaj's introduction merits a smile but Ina's suspicious jab in the ribs makes her look again. Still, it's not until the robed man sends the proprietor away that she realizes who she's talking to.
The promise of cheese is alluring but Tegan's sudden appearance is too fortuitous to risk. They needed to talk more than she needed to eat. So instead she steps forward, grabs Tegan's arm and clasps it firmly in something much closer than a handshake. "My friend," she says, beaming at his revelation, the warm of her tone conveying all that the words truly mean to her.
At his request, she simply nods once, looks to Hircus, Syvis and Ina before she steps back among them and looks at Hanzi as he returns. "Thank you, good man, but we just wanted a moment out of the rain. Perhaps we'll stop in soon to sample your delicious wares. In the meantime, we must bid you a good evening all."
And with that, Moire steps back out into the rain and remembers that friendship is worth being drenched again. With a quick look at her companions, she says "I think we'd better find that house." As she starts looking, the Paladin says to Syvis "We know Taaj. He's...like us. I'll explain once we're indoors and away from prying ears." At which point Moire devotes all her attention to finding the house with the blue mat around the corner.
The big man's back straightens and he almost let's out a chuckle at the revelation, but instead covers his mouth to hide the rush of relief at seeing Tegan. Hircus just stares at his friend for a moment marveling at his disguise. He realizes as his shoulder muscles soften that he was tense at the prospect of meeting more Barovians, but his friend sitting here safe, not dead. Did I presume him dead? Did I not trust him to make his own way in this land? He was alone... That's the moment Hircus realizes that Tegan was not alone when he last saw him. As Moire talks and they begin to make their exit, Hircus scrutinizes Tegan's shoulder and robes for the telltale lump of their dubious companion, no, hitchhiker Vanwandir.
With a wave and a smiling nod Hircus follows after Moire.
The woman looks up from her work. "Why, the master of Castle Ravenloft, of course. We of the Mad Kindling Spotter Coven are tutored by Count Strahd von Zarovich himself."
That name, Strahd von Zarovich, unlocks vast chambers in Fianna's mind: the mist-shrouded prison-land of Barovia, the paladin Aurica Markovia and her followers who traveled there on a holy mission to defeat its wicked ruler. Fianna's own wanderings that brought her unexpectedly to Barovia, joining Markovia's people to survive, that desperate assault on Castle Ravenloft where trickery and confusion spread Markovia's forces to be picked off in tiny groups...
The air feels strangely charged near the silver statuette on the altar of the abandoned chapel. Moonlight enters through tall stained-glass windows with many panes missing. The benches are empty; Fianna is alone here among the columns and bas-reliefs. Her heart is pounding.
"Here is the last rat in my walls." A dry, sardonic voice from the pews. Count Strahd, the vampire lord, is there now; he has found her. "The night is over. The others are tucked in. I see you are drawn to the Icon. It was a gift from an old family friend. Can you feel its power?" Strahd comes closer. His skin, which first appeared smooth and fair, now seems more like cracked and worn flesh masked by layers of powder and paint. He reaches into his robes and draws out a rolled parchment. "I should save this for a time of greater need, but I will indulge spectacle instead to draw the evening to a close."
He unrolls the scroll and recites its arcane syllables. A deep, dull pain takes hold of Fianna, soon cloaked in creeping numbness. She cannot move. She sees her arm in front of her, but cannot feel it. As she watches, her hand curls and shrivels. The skin splits and crumbles to dust that drifts away. The arm follows before she topples over, and everything goes dark. "Return, now, to dust," is the last she hears.
The next sensation of any sort is loud knocking. "Dampgrin! Mayhem! Waddlehump! I know you've got her in there. Open this door at once!" It's Jorten's voice, though he's lost his cool demeanor. There are sounds of stomping and a fuss. Nearby, shrill voices complain, but Fianna cannot turn her head to look; she is as paralyzed as she was in the vision of the chapel. A stooped old man with sparse hair, mismatched eyes and ruddy cheeks brings his face right up to hers. "Who's this then, Miss Dampgrin?" he wheezes in a high, thin voice, "What mischief are you about?"
"She's my new friend," says the young woman from earlier.
"Nonsense," answers the old man, "you have no friends."
Jorten's attack on the door continues and a high, nattering voice shouts, "Just a minute, we've got a hairy demon conjured in here!"
"Ugh, Jorten, Jorten, Jorten," the old man groans. "Let's just get her out of here. Why is she just lying there? What did you do to her, Dampgrin?" The voice of the young woman denies all culpability.
There's a sound of creaking metal; someone is opening one of the windows. "Oh, come here airy earth spirit," a lusty voice sings in Terran, "Bliss Lowrot needs your helping."
"Good thinking, Bliss," the old man says, as many crooked, scabby hands grip Fianna, lift her off the floor and carry her towards the open window. Her head passes through the frame first—rain beats down on her forehead and hair. It seems the witches are about to toss her from the tower, when hard talons grip her shoulders. A gargoyle with a pinched, impish grin is waiting outside to enfold her in its stony arms and immediately launches off with her into the night storm. "Take her back to where they all begin," shouts the Terran speaker as her voice is drowned out by the rain.
Bobbing nauseatingly, the gargoyle spins around and takes off with Fianna in a different direction. As they turn, there's a brief view of the colossal Castle Ravenloft and, through one of its many windows, a fleeting vignette of the coven of witches scurrying around in the Element Room, before the gargoyle swoops down and away, and Fianna sees only the dark forest far below.
Several minutes pass, chill and damp, before Fianna's limbs begin to tingle and she feels she might be able to move again, though the gargoyle holds her tight to its stone breast.
As recollection rolls over Fianna, she lets out a gasp of shock before being overcome by the vision. While her body is trapped, her mind stars working all the harder to make sense of this deeper, darker strangeness. Whatever it is that has truly happened to her, whoever she really is, she is very far from home.
Terror overtakes her as the hairy man and her new witchy acquaintance (friend is taking it quite a bit further than Fianna would agree). Being trapped like this while dangerous people speak about her so casually is like the nightmare vision come true, albeit at a smaller scale.
The rain, wind, and cold of the Barovian night is nothing new to Fianna (her home in Cloakwood is hardly a paradise), but combined with still being paralysed and in the hands of a gargoyle of unknown persuasion, being away from the witches' coven does little to alleviatie her fears.
The view of the castle takes her breath away and the enormity of this thing that has marked her as its enemy begins to dawn on her. She is alone in a strange place and clutched in the arms of a being that is not her friend. The loss of her mother hits her as it has not since she woke up in that strange grove, and grief and loneliness pushes out the fear as her tears mix with the rain.
The house Tegan described is, sure enough, a short distance away. Just a few buildings separate it from the rear of the tavern. Its door is not locked, and why should it be, for all within looks like the long-abandoned detritus of former occupants. A moth-eaten blanket draped over the back of a badly-listing sofa is the only sign that anyone has been here recently. That, and the fat, black and yellow toad watching from a scarred tabletop.
"Yes, yes, you have done it. This is the place, the inner sanctum" croaks the toad. Strangely, Syvis does not hear these words as the Sylvan language, which is how animal speech normally reaches her ears; the creature speaks the Common tongue of humans, dwarves and elves instead. "The local manor was apparently not to our exceptionally high standards and therefore we choose this rustic roadhouse where even the flies have fleas. That is how we gad about these days, Tegan and I. I must confide in you, I'm not sure I made the right choice." He blinks slowly.
"I will further own my surprise to see all three of you still among the living—I was dead certain you would have met some ghastly fate by now. And you've even expanded your ranks. Good evening to you, whom I acknowledge as Banavits, which also means Double Bacon," the toad says to Syvis specifically. "I am Vanwandir in these circles."
"In the cosmic balance, your fortunes appear to have gone contrariwise to those of my old traveling companion Lemon Pony, late a resident of this sad suburb since leaving my erstwhile master and the rest of that broke and dead gang. It was just yesterday, I believe, he tried to wheedle Tegan and me into the incoherent scheme that brought his doom. I will give Tegan that, at least his schemes don't end in our nonexistence, even if his path is turning out to be as circuitous as all the rest of you easily-distracted types."
The condition of the house causes Hircus to grimace and look to his companions to see if their faces register the same disgust as his. Then, with a snap of his neck he turns back and marches toward the table, stopping short when Vanwandir begins to speak. He let's the toad make his introduction and then places both hands on the table and leans in to examine the creature. "Did you make it to the castle as you and Tegan planned? You might have stayed with us, because we met the king just a day ago." Standing upright once more Hircus scratches his chin. Then continues, "Lemon Pony, was he a short fellow? About yay tall?" The cleric holds a hand about hip height, "And a yellow shirt, lots of pockets?"
"Well, as to that," the toad says, "we spent the better part of yesterday afternoon up there, orbiting the walls. But, to my disappointment, Tegan lacked the nerve at the critical moment. No ... he was really not himself yesterday." Vanwandir frowns as best as he's able with a toad's mouth. "Oh, but we did have lunch with those charming people who live in the windmill by the road. Do you know, that selfless trio manufactures delicious sweetmeats for all the valley?"
"In any event, that brought us to last night, when we arrived here for the reunion with Lemon Pony—yes, as Haskafadoux describes, down to his nasty little pockets. Tegan was only humoring him, but that fellow has no comprehension of irony and actually took off with his longstanding plan of murdering the local priest's son. It's all very complicated, and certainly beyond my understanding, but it all ended at the long-overdue terminus of Lemon Pony's ride. The locals are sedate as a rule, but I suppose that was one step too far for them; they escorted Lemon Pony off along the road and came back later without him. Tegan got the rest out of Blade of the Coast over at the tavern."
"So now we've lost another day here. I hope you haven't come to extend that with entreaties about stealing the Steadfast Shaman's magic pouch or retrieving a foreign dagger from the belly of a whale for a bandit's brother-in-law."
It's unclear how much time passes, gliding and bobbing high up in the gargoyle's cold, hard grip. Rain chills and nearly blinds Fianna as they travel farther and farther from Castle Ravenloft, towards the far-off lights that were just visible from the witches' tower room. Eventually, the rain subsides and then stops, and the only sensations left for Fianna to focus on are the rush of the air and the low, deep rumble that seems to emanate from the gargoyle that holds her.
Finally they are close enough to the little village for Fianna to make out individual houses in the night. The gargoyle passes directly over it before swooping down in an alarming plunge and releasing Fianna at a greater height than seems safe. She crashes painfully in a field of soaked grass, just past the nearest houses. The gargoyle flaps its wings and climbs back up until it's just a dim, retreating shadow in the night sky.
The sight of the abandoned house draws a depressed sigh from Moire, and its interiors drag her features down into a frown. As a pirate, of course, she'd encountered (and lived in) all manners of conditions but the life of a Paladin had been...well...a bit more dignified. That last thought dispelled her frown and drew a small rueful smile. If dignity was the only thing she lost in her time in Barovia, it would be a trip well spent.
When she sees Vanwandir, she doesn't have to feign surprise or delight. Listening to his naturally verbose, winding speech is a bit of familiarity in a land that otherwise...well, has too much familiarity but at least the impish familiar is the nice kind of familiarity. "Needs must, Van," she says, walking into the house and beckoning the others inside so she can shut the door and give them the additional privacy. "You and Tegan seem of a like mind so I don't begrudge you the choice but I hope you know I value your counsel. Hairy Golem that I am," she adds with a twinkle in her eye.
"Thank you, by the way." Clearing her throat, Moire's face grows somber as she says, "I believe we encountered this Lemon Pony. I'd thought of him solely as a victim. And while I don't condone his execution, it eases my heart to know justice was their motive...or if it was revenge, at least it wasn't unprompted."
With a sigh, the Paladin considers taking a seat to wait for Tegan and decides not to upon second look at the furnishings. "No, we're not here to steal trinkets or look for trouble. Trouble's already found us. And we mean to use what time we have to save ourselves and those we can. Let's wait for Tegan, though, to avoid repetition."
And while they wait, Moire extends a hand towards Van and mimes stroking, offering the familiar affection if he wants it. "Oh, Banavits is Syvis. And her little friend there is Otrev," she says, tilting her head in the direction of the bird cage.
Just as she'd sat down, the party looked ready to leave again, the tired druid pushing herself back onto her feet. Already she could tell the other three were becoming relaxed at this person's apparent return, but her mind was still too focused on the fight along the road to follow the conversation much. Besides ... this person was part of the pack before her, the relationship was different and she had no part in it.
Following into the home she doesn't quite know where to place herself, but the sound of a voice catches her off guard. She'd seen the toad, but no one else -- and the voice that spoke didn't involve the strange mental buffer of her natural attunement shifting the gestures, sounds and behaviors into language as she understood it. Instead it seemed to come straight from the source, directly. Her amber eyes narrowed at the apparent nickname bestowed upon her, trying to figure out what it even meant, and kept silent as the others spoke casually with the creature. Being introduced by Moire she dipped her head slightly.
Recognizing a pause in conversation she opens her mouth to speak: "Are you a cursed one? A shapechanger? I find it strange, unnerving in its own way, to see an animal speak but not in its native tongue." Her eyes narrowed slightly, "Or are you simply like so much else here, familiar but not, like silent songbirds and shifting fog."
Fianna screams as the gargoyle first plunges and then releases her to fall freely. There is something cathartic about it, and as she lands with a soft thud, she lets out only one last gasp before recovering herself. Shivering in her cold and thoroughly soaked through clothes, she manages to form the words that make up a small cantrip to purge the liquid from her garments, leaving her no less cold, but dry at least.
She gazes after the disappearing form of the gargoyle that dropped her, wondering briefly why she was let out of the castle if its master wants her dead. She shakes her head, working out the plots of strange, ancient horrors is a waste of time when you know so little of who they are. Instead, she sets her eyes on the house she touched down nearby and makes her way to the door. Hopefully, they or someone else in the village will offer her sanctuary for the night.
The toad eyes Moire's stroking hand with suspicion, makes a little, "Hrmmmmm..." sound and sidles away a bit. When Moire doesn't persist, he turns his attention to Syvis' questions. "Why yes, Banavits, I am cursed and familiar, but perhaps not as you mean on either count. I come from far, far away, farther even than Lemon Pony and the rest of you. I was called from my home as an adviser, some say familiar, but now am as trapped here as you are. This handsome form is just one the guises I choose to wear."
The door opens and Tegan enters, looking more familiar to Hircus, Moire and Ina than he did back at the tavern. As if to emphasize his last point, Vanwandir shifts rapidly from a toad into a bat and flutters to Tegan's shoulder. Tegan unwinds his turban and rubs his eyes. "Sorry about that back there," he says. "Just had to wrap things up. It's more exhausting than you'd think, pretending to be drunk for hours on end. The hangover feels real enough though."
"Hello, you," he says, grinning and extending a hand to Syvis. "Tegan Fiendsbane's the name." He squints one eye and rolls the other up, as if concentrating very hard. "No, not getting anything at all," he says after a bit. "Are you from back in the Saint Markovia days, or a more recent arrival in sunny Barovia?"
"Well," Tegan says after hearing Syvis' response, "has Van given you the lay of the land here or is he talking in riddles again? Things didn't quite work out up at the castle, so we spent the night here. Plenty of empty houses around if you want to stake your own claim. We're apparently near the eastern border of this whole awful place."
"That halfling, Oblio, who was part of Van's old gang, stayed behind here when they moved on. I talked with him a bit last night. Seems he took something I said the wrong way and got himself into trouble—really his own damned fault. But I did learn that back when Van and the others were here with Oblio, there was some business with old Uncle Strahd and the Burgomaster's auburn-haired daughter. It ended with the Burgomaster dead and the daughter taking off, incognito, for Vallaki with Van and the others. Now the old Burogmaster's son is left to run the place, but he's not up to the job and nobody respects him much. That was him dead drunk back at the Blood of the Vine."
"So what's your news? Next plans?" Even free of his tavern disguise, Tegan seems a bit chary of this reunion.
The nearest house at the outskirts of this little village is a ramshackle single-story place, with shuttered windows and no signs of being occupied. Quite a contrast to the towers and windows of Castle Ravenloft, still faintly visible high in the mountains a couple of miles away.
Syvis nods slightly, "I ... think I understand. Like the totem spirits I call upon, but you're given form and linger."
Hearing the door open she quickly glanced that way, looking at a vaguely familiar face, the few moments she had seen him before he'd left. The druid stared at his offered hand before trying to adjust her hold on Otrev's cage, and grasped his hand but didn't move it at all. His strange expression made her wear a confused expression until he spoke, "I arrived to see you leave this pack before," she answered simply, letting it hang for a moment before continuing, "I don't know a Saint Markovia, I was brought here while trying to find those missing from my pack ..."
At the question of plans she merely looked to the others.