"It is a wild adventure we are on. Here, as we are rushing along through darkness, with the cold from the river seeming to rise up and strike us, with all the mysterious voices of the night around us, it all comes home. We seem to be drifting into unknown places and unknown ways. Into a whole world of dark and dreadful things."*
The whole time she had been speaking in trance-like tones her eyes had drifted back into the middle of her head, leaving milky white orbs, bloodshot and ancient with sagging, hollow dark circles around them. Her skeletal hands coated only with the thinnest layer of see-through skin stretched tight ended with long fingernails painted dark violet, resting on a swirling crystal ball of mists. Suddenly the vistana crone snapped out of her trance and flailed, her glassy eyes returning and her hands trembling as she weakly reached for her tea. Madame Eva looked at the young full-lipped woman who sat across the table from her in the old crone's vardo, one Novana Hiregaard of Nova Vaasa.
Novana thought of the mission she had been sent on by Bastion Sarlata Otrava of the Home Faith of Ezra.
"Why have all the attempts made to establish churches of Ezra in Barovia failed? The last Acolyte I sent to Barovia, to do just so, was three months ago. Sentire Abonia Gestin is her name, and I sent her to the town of Teufuldorf, and not heard from her since. What has happened to her, why has she not sent word? Go, and return or send word of what you find," Bastion Sarlata Otrava had asked of her, her voice like that of an angel. Her silky white gown blushed, near transparent, her hair long and dark in contrast. Her silver longsword was sheathed at her side and her holy symbol matched the crimson color of her striking almond eyes. Novana Hiregaard was to find out.
Novana had taken her eye-patched** (taken out by a crossbow bolt in Nova Vaasa by a group of brigands) and large-headed** steed swiftly to Sturben, then back into harsh, rural Barovia, the realm held in the grip of tyranny and superstition under the rule of Count Strahd von Zarovich XI, its landscape dominated by the Balinok mountains, particularly the snow-capped peaks Mount Baratok and Ghakis. She came into heavily fortified Krezk, and headed south to Zeidenburg. Her next stop was Teufuldorf, but the road between the two towns was longer than she had expected, it seemed. She was not going to reach it by dark. As the cry of wolves in the forest split the dusk she came upon a vistana camp, deciding it would be safer to at least attempt to keep camp with them instead of camping alone for the night. The vistana men were charming and inviting to her, as Novana was an attractive maiden. She soon found herself sitting in the vardo of the camp's raunie, Madame Eva.
print screen windows xp
"This is what I see, but not for you Novana, necessarily, Madame Eva continued when she recovered, trembling hand setting down her tea in a way Novella was sure it would spill. It did a little. "But I am the oldest and wisest of all the Vistana seers, she croaked at Novana, "...at reading your fortune with the Tarokka cards. My deck, is the First Deck. Only a small price you must pay."
The Madame held out her quaking palm for coin.
*Bram Stoker, Dracula (1897)
**random horse traits. Novana, you have a Nova Vaasan steed, a riding horse with +10 base movement compared to a normal horse.