Ravenloft: Beyond the Veil

Manse of the Dragon's Bane

Entry 9 (26 Flocktime, CY 575)

26 Flocktime, CY 575

We set out from Vallaki to explore the mysterious mansion called Argynvostholt, a mouthful of a name even amongst those that fill my own tales of legend, adventure and terror. It is said, apparently, that long ago a dragon died here, and that the mansion has been abandoned ever since. I have been unable to uncover any more about the area, but I must remember to ask von Richten about the history of the place the next time we encounter him.

Reaching the manse did not take long—a couple of hours walk only scant miles from Vallaki, we saw the broken battlements of the ancient structure, of which about a third was collapsed in the rear. A dark tower rose above the structure and as we gazed upon it from afar, there was a crack of thunder and the cryptic and blood-chilling howl of wolves.

We made our way up an overgrown road to the mansion, which had a circular drive path before it, doubtless a “drop off” point for carriages who once brought noble visitors to meet and dine with the lost hosts of this manor. Behind the structure, beyond the tragically collapsed area, we encountered a courtyard with a ten-foot high statue of a dragon sitting upon an equally tall pedestal. The whole was extremely impressive, not the least when Davlin detected an aura of evocation magic abut it.

After a bit of debate, I moved forward to examine the statue, but we could not divine the source of the magic itself, or any effects the statue might have on the surrounding area (or vice versa). It was suggested that perhaps the magic was leftover from the statue being a real dragon that had turned to stone, but as anyone versed in arcane matters is aware, that would reveal an aura of transmutation, rather than evocation.

We investigated a burned-out stable, where we had to contend with nine giant spiders. We handled the vermin easily and moved on to explore the house, making our way in through the ruined portion.

We quickly discovered the whole had a draconic motif in the decor—the dining room, for example, was adorned with a massive twenty-foot long banquet table whose legs were in the shape of dragon legs, and whose chairs sported the wings of the noble creatures. Above, a crystal chandelier gave off a soft glow, apparently the result of a permanent light spell cast the gods only know how long ago. Within alcoves of the dining area were statues of knights whose armor was designed in dragon motif.

Water trickled in from cracks in the walls, a sad testament to nature’s reclaiming of the place.

We noted doors to a chapel on our right, with doors to the main hall on our left, and an entry to the kitchen directly across. We opted to explore the chapel.

Inside the chapel, which was large, well-appointed and dedicated to the Morning Lord, with a U-shaped balcony, a barred door on the left, and elegant stained glass windows, we were surprised to find ourselves in the midst of a strange fog. Squinting through the mist, we could see what appeared to be three knights praying at the altar.

I stepped forward and hailed them, only for them to turn, red-glowing eyes and drawn, pallid skin revealing their undead nature, and they attacked. Thinking them to perhaps be some strange servants of the Morning Lord and thus champions of light, I attempted to parlay, but my companions were having none of it.

Stefan attempted to turn them, only for the effort to fail horribly, our foes laughing at his presumption while the fell upon him with a fury. Cymrick and Adren strode into the fray and the battle was joined. Myra adopted her customary bestial form, and I joined my companions in the bloody throes of battle, my swords spinning and thirsty even as my heart sank but a little.

A difficult and deadly battle it was, indeed, for our foes would not be so easily vanquished as many we have faced thus far. We did, however, eventually put down our foes, and I felt my heart sink a bit, for I still feel as though somehow we’ve done this place wrong. Indeed they were undead, but is not everything in this dark and heavy place turned upside down and backwards? Is it not possible that here, some undead are free-willed servants of the light?

We sit and take our brief rest here to gather ourselves before continuing to explore, and I ponder this fact as I write these words. But more on that later. It’s time to continue our exploration and see what other fell secrets this Manse of the Dragon’s Bane holds for us…



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