The decision was made: we would carry on through the night without rest or stopping.
It would be over two hours on the journey toward the Vistani camp. Trivallian navigated as Gillian handled the cart horse. Hasingstoke and Stumble took the other horse. The others rode in the wagon. Early on in the trip Gillian remembered the magic items she’d been trying to read earlier. She handed off the reins to Trivillan and studied the woman’s cloak. It wasn’t long before she was able to decipher it was a Cloak of Resistance (+2). Thinking this garment would be more harm than good on it’s current wearer, she began to untie the woman to remove the cloak and then retie her. Lucien watched menacingly. She offered the cloak up to the group and Rabbit was the most in need of it’s protection. It was much too big, but the bright young bloke took up the challenge and fashioned it to fit him.
Glancing at him reminded Gillian that she also had Halfling armor that had been left by another shriveled body from Morrik Mansion. She studied it and found that it was armor made for Halfling spell casters. Rabbit hesitantly put that on as well.
As the party approached the Vistani camp (they could see the light of the bonfire in the distance and hear the light melody being played), Trivallian struck up his instrument in the same tune. “I know one of them has been following Gillian, but if it’s alright with all of you, I’d like to make first contact” Trivallian offered. The party agreed and steered the cart parallel to the camp on the outside of the brush. Trivallian hopped off the cart and continued playing and humming to the Vistani’s song.
Upon entering the clearing, he was greeted with the music dying down rather abruptly and suspicious looks from all assembled merry-makers. Trivallian, undeterred, finished out the verse and applauded the Vistani’s music. He introducted himself as a traveler who needed help. Then he took off his hat to reveal two horn-like bumps on his head. The Vistani collectively slinked back a few feet and a large man with a work hammer approached Trivallian, with purpose.
“What I mean is that we need help and we’ve come to you for your wisdom…” Trivallian attempted to dig his way out of the potentially sticky situation. “My friends and I have come for your help.”
The Vistani man barked out some words in a language Trivallian did not understand. A little old woman came forth from the large tent and approached Trivallian. She looked at the horns and then said “You come. All come. Come.” In broken-Common. Trivallian walked back toward the woods to gather the rest of the party.
Meanwhile, back at the wagon. After hearing the music stop abruptly, Stumble began his own jaunty dwarven melody. Gillian tried to harmonize, but gave up after the first song as her light ethereal young voice did not seem to mesh very well with his baritone harking. Lucien, always suspicious, drew his arrow and scanned the area around them. Rabbit got curious and hopped off the wagon to disappear into the brush.
Trivallian came back to the wagon to let everyone know we should join the Vistani camp. Gillian started to hide the dreamfaring septer in the back of her bodice, but was advised that it may offend our hosts and cause them to want to steal it more. So she wrapped it up and shoved it deep down into her bag. The bag she kept very close to her the rest of the night. Trivallian gave instruction not to seem too cautious and to try not to offend our hosts. He then almost asked where Rabbit was, but shrugged instead. Lucien made an off-color comment about ‘besides, if we run into trouble, we’ll just kill them all…’ Which caused Rabbit to appear out of no where and pipe in “No, we’re not!”
With that, they drove onward toward the Vistani.
The large man with the hammer greeted the Cart horse. He looked over it’s weird falling out hair and mangled sharp teeth and nodded. He then, to the chagrin of Gillian, who was still holding the reins, unhooked the horse and led it over to be tied up for the night. The others had already hopped out of the cart. Lucien was keeping a close eye on the sick, unconscious woman.
Trivallian introduced the group with flourish. Another old woman came out to join the first. The second old woman asked if the uncouncious woman with our party needed help as well. Trivallian named the woman ‘Susan’, and said that yes, she did need assistance. The first old woman went over to the side of the Vistani camp and marked out an area and chanted and blessed and spat on the area. She then turned to our party and said “You sleep there. In morning you will meet Madame Eva.”
Gillian needed no further prodding. She threw her bag in front of her, and curled up in the center of the area so as to be surrounded by the men she travelled with. The rest hesitantly strolled over to the area. Stumble demanded that watches be set up. He and Lucien took them.
During the night, Gillian, Lucien, and (one other player who I don’t remember which one) had a disturbing dream: they were buried alive in a wooden box, when suddenly the box is ripped open and large glowing red eyes in a pale white face with large fangs is standing right in front of them. Then they wake up. Lucien was the first to wake up with this and shookenly kept it to himself. However Gillian woke up screaming in the morning and shared the disturbing dream with the others.
Upon awakening, the party found the man with the hammer still keeping watch over them as well as several other Vistani milling about the campsite and making breakfast. Our hosts offered us food which we graciously accepted. However, once each of us had woken up enough we began to realize our symptoms had gotten worse. Trivallian’s horns has poked through the skin. Esmire’s skin was turning a reddish color. Rabbit’s hair went white. Gillian’s black nails were more pointed and poking through her gloves….. etc…etc…
The two old women came out of the big tent. They ushered the party toward it. The second old woman told Lucien to leave ‘Susan’ outside with them. Vistani attended to her.
Inside the large tent there were rugs of all shapes and colors. There were throw pillows and two tables. One had a ball-like figure with a cloth draped over it. The other had several cards laid face up upon it and behind that table sat a third old woman. However after a moment the party realized that the table was not small, it was of average size…. The woman however must have stood at least eight feet tall and was mildly spherical in girth. Her haggard voice demanded to know who the leader of the group was. Gillian and Lucien immediantly pointed to Stumble and cleared way for him to walk forward. Surprised, he conceded and stepped toward the table. It was around this time that Gillian noticed that the ball and cloth were glowing that tingly magical glow. So as stumble passed her, she mocked falling into Travillan which allowed her to scoot closer to the magic table. She wasn’t able to study it quite yet, but she did keep an awareness of it.
The old woman told Stumble to pick a few cards. She did some magically looking signals with her hands and then looked up from her table. “You have brought great evil here” she said as she pointed to each of us. Then she told us that help is coming (per Stumble’s prod for assistance from the dream world). She couldn’t tell us when help was coming but that we only had “three days”. She said we should seek the “horse that is not a horse, in the house that is not a house.” Gillian assumed this to be some sort of temple with a symbol of a horse as their holy symbol. The rest of the party was not so sure, and so they all gnawed on that information for a moment.
It quickly became clear that it was time to leave, when some of the party began hearing hissing sounds coming from the table with the ball and cloth on it. Stumble shoo-ed most of the party out, but as Gillian was turning to leave, her new claws got snagged on the cloth that had been covering the ball. This revealed a crystal ball filled with black smoke. Stumble tried to grab Gilli to get her out of the tent, but she shifted the wrong way and ended up falling instead. Stumble’s glare at that moment would have been something to have been frightened of had Gillian not been paying so much attention to the smoke filled ball. For, before Stumble was able to pick the young girl up, she witnessed the same glowing red eyes, pale skin, and fangs that she’d seen in her dream staring up at her from the smoke of the ball. The words “You have failed me.” were all that was spoken before Gillian went into frenzied explanation of how the face was the same from the dream. Lucien overheard the commotion from inside the tent and drew his bow. Rabbit had been checking with the Vistani who were tending to Susan. Esmire and Hasingstoke mulled around outside until further instruction. It was Trivallian who re-entered the tent to try to help Stumble and Gillian. Gillian had seen enough and ran from the tent toward the horses. Trivallian saw the figure in the ball and grabbed the silk from Gillian’s claw to toss it magnificently back over the ball as he ran out of the tent as well.
Trivallian joined Lucien and Gillian as the three of them grabbed the horses to resaddle one and retie the other to the wagon. Rabbit was still musing over the Vistani near Susan. Stumble had exited the large tent as well and was now staring with Hasingstoke, Esmire, and the rest of the Vistani toward the rapidly darkening sky. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of screeching, whirling bats were circling above the camp and, in defiance of their nature, blocking out the noonday sun.
To say that danger was upon us would be quite the understatement….