“The gleam in her eyes was like warm sunlight on a still pond. That light is gone forever. When I try to imagine those eyes, all I see is a mad abyss” – Strahd von Zarovich
A slight grin crosses my face as I watch my prey enter Vallaki. It was rather delightful to watch the townsfolks’ response to the arrival of strangers. Especially one such as the oracle, whose magical talents are strong yet completely unnerving to my people. It seems that my prey do not recognize the terror they instill upon my subjects.
I watch them meet with their Vistani helper. I allow Madam Eva her reading with her “heroes”, and never reveal that there are those among her midst who serve me. The Vistani’s talent with those cards never ceases to amaze me.
“This card tells of history. Knowledge of the ancient will I help you better understand your enemy,” I hear Eva whisper hoarsely as she flips the first card—her hands are trembling.
“I see a throne fit for a king.”
Quickly, she turns the next card.
“This card tells of a powerful force for good and protection, a holy symbol of great hope…I see a sleeping prince, a servant of light and the brother of darkness. The treasure lies with him.”
Her hands are trembling harder, and she squints as she looks at the third card.
“This is a card of power and strength. It tells of a weapon of vengeance: a sword of sunlight. Look to a place where sickness and madness are bred. Where children once cried, the treasure lies still.”
She takes a drink of her water, her eyes roll, and she reaches for the fourth card.
“This card sheds light on one who will help you greatly in the battle against darkness. Evil’s bride is the one you seek!”
She moans as she reaches for the last. I am grinning like a wolf. My finger twitches absently, and her body spasms slightly.
She mutters something about Arrigal, and I cannot stifle my laughter. Then she speaks again.
“Your enemy is a creature of darkness, whose powers are beyond mortality. This card will lead you to him! He lurks in the one place to which he must return-a place of death.”
She seems weak when she is finished, but these would-be heroes seem mystified and satisfied by her proclamations at the same time. They believe they are the hunters here. Ehrume has done his job well, and will be richly rewarded for his service. And these?
Soon, they shall learn to fear the night.
A shuffle beside me alerts me to another’s presence within my sanctum. I do not need to turn my gaze to know who it is.
“Take a group out to the Abbey of St. Markovia. Explore the ruin. There might be something there of interest to me,” I tell my servant.
Some of the cryptic messages within Madam Eva’s cards are not entirely lost to me. I would see dear Ireena again, before I begin this hunt. In the meantime, I will call upon a pack of wolves to harry my prey. And then the darkness ever-present within my damned soul enfolds my being, and I become one with this night.