Borders Drawn in Blood

Our travel to Pisa

Fighting the bandits proved a simple task; a slight change of pace from the more skilled enemies we’ve been facing recently. However, I wished that sort of thing did not happen with Carine, her son Ben, and Viola along with us. I bet they were frightened. Most of the bandits split after the first few were slain but we managed to run them down. While in pursuit of a couple bandits, and to assist Freiderich, I spotted the two dead on the ground with Freiderich stopped over them. He seemed to be pulling out teeth! I was shocked at first because this was unusual coming from Freiderich. “Freiderich!” I call out; “what are you doing?!” I ask. His response was calm, “what … I’m just keeping a tally.” Weird; he has never done that before. I shrug it off and calmly reply, “well … hurry up; we need to return to camp.” I need to talk to Viktoria when we get back. That was just too weird to keep to myself, especially with his new shadow trick too. I shiver at the thought.

We return to camp while the party members are chucking bodies off the side of the cliff. “Hey, Viktoria may I speak with you a second?” I ask and she says “sure.” “What in the hell!?” Viktoria shouts aloud. We share with the rest of the party … I just thought it unlike Freiderich as does everyone else but shrug it off to a new weird quirk if you will. Urr Zog the snow valley men’s leader collected bones and wore them as armor so if Freiderich wants to suddenly adorn a necklace of teeth who am I to stop him?

The rest of the night and subsequent two-week travel to Pisa passes uneventfully.

We’re traveling in to Pisa to meet with Uguccione in the hopes of housing Carine, her son Ben, and Viola there while we continue on our journey. Our house in Verona is no longer safe. He agrees as long as we pay two silver coins for each person per day. After discussion, the party decides to pay for Carine and Ben for 10 years and Viola for two years. We reorganize our loot, sell what we don’t want, and decide what we want made or repaired while here in Pisa. I decide to get a new hooded cloak and a couple of new traveler’s outfits. I newer pair of boots would be nice too. I also find a lovely hairpin for the ever-lovely Viola. The rest of my time is spent with Viola resting and wandering the streets of Pisa.

….

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death of the dog

sweet verona. i guess this is my home. Well we techniqually commondered the estate from the Gelfs.. i mean hell this breast plate isn t even mine. All gifts from the lord. We must arrange a meeting with congrande, he has been sick and aparently is not doing well and is being cared for in the castle. So we go there to set up a meeting. when we go to the gates the gaurds inform us that he can’t be seen and we must set up a meeting with his nephew. This leaves victoria unsettled..so that night we devise a plan to sneak in the castle to speak w the big dog .With all the gaurds we couldn’ t figure out how to go in without being seen, Nizzar knows a way we can walk in daylight with no one noticing, a trick from his lands. but how do we get to the window … victoria pulls me aside and says she has a way, and to trust her… yes, trust the queen that i met as a boy named lilo, who then was lila, and now i call victoria. Sadly this crew of falsehood are the only ones i can trust. So victoria asks me to keep this secret, that it would be, in the least, difficult to explain…. Her plan is for us to transform into angel like creatures and fly invisible to the window and get in., and thats what we do… when we get up to the window we sneak in . i keep telling victoria that if comes down to it we will have to use our swords, she keeps insiting that we will not draw weapons, we will not be fighting in the castle… in fact i think shes mad i suggested it…when we find congrande he has a cretaker in the room and we quietly approach him.. victoria and i proceed to mend him with our faith.He is consiteraly better. Victoria whispers something in his ear. we leave. we didnt end up drawling our swords. the Next day there is a crowd gathering aroud the castle. Congrande is better and we go to see what is going on…. his nephew then adresses the crowd and says congrande has fallen, and the caretaker is to blame as he tosses his body over the edge of the wall he was upon, we all look at each other in actulization that there has been fawl play. we retreat to the estate to get a knock by a gaurd saying if we still wanted our meeting with his nephew… shortly after we get a knock but this time its rossa… She tells us we have to leave, that the nephew is sending troops to us and we must leave now, usually thats my line..as pack my belongings i realize, i dont own much…it will be sad to leave this familar place and we have been ran out all over italy and there was only one allyy left . and thats where we must go… we escaped the city just in time and yet again we travel..a few nights in we are at camp when some bandits decide to approach us. Evil fredrick is on shift when he starts to unload arrows on this first scoundrol. We awaken and proceed to begin a battle i don t think theses bandits are ready for.

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The Corvo Must Die!

Well after a short rest in Pisa, and arranging for the care of the women and child, we leave for Venice hoping to find the Corvo Cardinal there and eliminate him once and for all. I do not know how Friedrich and Ettore can leave the ones they love, if I had really rescued Jasmine I would not be traipsing across Italy looking to kill these Satan worshippers. I would be leaving the country and finding a nice safe place to live and raise my family, Like Spain maybe.
We have a short uneventful trip to Florence, I did not even get to kill some bandits. This is our third time visiting this city and I hope we can leave without being chased this time. We stay at a moderately priced Inn that caters to merchants. They are serving pork and wine with dinner but only grumble a little at my request for chicken and hot water. Shortly after we retire for the evening Friedrich starts to clutch is stomach and vomits. There is a commotion in the hallway, Artigli is dragging a sick Ettore to the room shared by Dominic and “Lila”. I leave Friedrich there as well and go to check on Gino. He says his stomach is a little upset but is fine otherwise. We head back to the “sick” room, Lila says it is poison that is making everyone feel bad. I am fine but I did not drink the wine or eat the unclean pork.
Dominic has cured Ettore but will have to wait until morning to fix Freidrich, who is now unconscious.
Poison huh, I leave to question the Inn Keeper, but at the stair between the 1st and 2nd floor is enclosed in pitch blackness, and I hear no sound from the common room. I go back to our rooms on the 3rd floor and tell the others. We agree to investigate. Gino will stay to guard Friedrich, Ettore goes out the window. The rest of us head downstairs where I will beseech Allah to banish the foul darkness. Upon reaching the 1st floor I call upon Allah and his power once again triumphs over the evil that called the darkness.
The darkness collapses in upon itself revealing a slaughter house. All the people here are dead. Cut down by sword or dagger, and many have the black hand print over a dagger wound. This is Corvo henchman work! We need to leave. Dominic, Lila and Artigli head to the stables to ready the horses. Ettore and I go upstairs to get our gear and Friedrich. Lila has granted us the ability to speak to each other over the distance.
We have just started packing when Gino screams in pain as he is cut down by a black robed woman. She vanishes into a hole in the air before I can even move. I rush to Gino’s side in hopes that he is still alive and I can stop his bleeding until Dominic or Lila gets here. Before I reach him I a stabbed in the back by the black robed wench. I call on Allah to fill her mind with fear and kill her. But her will is strong and she resists. She stabs at me again, and I strike back. But some of my attacks miss because she blinks out of the way. I hate this evil sorcery… She vanishes into the hole in the air, bleeding from several hits Ettore and I delivered. Gino is indeed alive and Lila has him healed but still unconscious, when I collapse unable to move. I think several choice curses at the wench as my friends lug the 3 of us downstairs to the horses and we leave. Lila talks us through the gate, and we camp off the road several hours from the city.
Friedrich recovers first, then Gino and myself within seconds of each other.
The next day Ettore still feels like we are being followed. That night Ettore spots someone outside our camp and it turns out to be the Svortza archer we capture outside Vincenza.
He tells us that 2 of the 6 sisters are with him and mean to bring us to Venice to face Corvo , Guelph, Messini and some woman who appears to be in charge of them all. He says the Svortza’s are involved because they were promised the rule of Milan. But what he saw at the Inn was too much for him and he is leaving, but needed to warn us away from Venice to ease his conscience. We allow him to leave and still plan on going to Venice. Lila says we must kill Corvo, I say we add Guelph Messini and this woman to the list.
The next day we track Svortza and eventually find evidence of a running battle. we find tracks of his and his archer companion, but no sign of who they were fighting. They lost as we find both of them partially skinned and hanging from a tree. We cut the bodies down and give them a Christian burial. As we can’t track the sisters, we search for a place wait for the them to find us. We pick and open clearing, but that did us no good as they attacked that night. Dropping that darkness over camp and flanking Dominic, dealing him grievous wounds over and over. Leaving him standing, but on the brink of death. I call on Allah and his power shreds the darkness once again. Ettore flanks the sister we fought at the inn, hitting her with his dagger in the back. Dominic’s Greatsword bursts into holy flame as he calls upon god to smite this evil person. His final blow cleaves into her shoulder nearly severing her arm and she drops. The final opponent steps close to her sister picking her up, we all attack and just when we thought we had her the illusion vanishes, leaving only a blood stain where the first sister went down. I HATE EVIL SORCERY!!!

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Belief

We have all endured so much through the years that it is hard to believe that things could actually be getting even more difficult. Unfortunately we seem to be at a crossroads and all of these roads lead to great danger with little chance of success. I am struggling with the fact that my friends, my family really, are following me on what seems to be a suicidal mission. I have asked them many times if they are sure about coming along and they all agree and are willing to see this through. I can only hope I do not get them all killed.

What is our mission? I have thought about this long and hard and I realize that I can’t speak for everyone because they all have their own reasons for being here. So the real question is what is my mission? My mission is to end Corvo and the woman who now helps him. Of this I am perfectly clear. I wish that we could just march to Venice and take him on but that is not possible. I also know there are many others who are in league with the 2 but they are merely pawns in the game Lucifer is playing with us. When tempted with their heart’s greatest desires, it is hard to blame one for succumbing. I am not here to punish all who have wronged me. That would be a very long list and could consume me before I ever got near Corvo. No, these men will pay one day but that is not my job.

So, Corvo and the woman are the ones we must stop. There are many who will stand in our way. None of the paths I have been shown are easy and most end in death without ever reaching Venice. We have so many enemies but only each other as allies. It seems that when someone does try and help us they too end up dead for their troubles.

We have 2 of the 6 Sisters after us at this time. They are very formidable opponents and while we have struck them down several times they always manage to escape and regroup. Dominic has be grievously wounded when they attack and I am afraid that they will succeed in killing him one of these nights. They use shadow and magic to assist them while we try to counter with light and magics of our own. So far it has been a draw but sooner or later one side will lose someone. We must come up with a strategy to stop them.

On top of the Sisters there is Messini and Lord Guelph after us. We must dispatch these sister before those two can catch up with us. There is no way we can fight all of them at once. We will surely end up on the wrong side of that battle. Assuming we manage to rid ourselves of the sisters, we will then have to track down Messini and Gelph. Hopefully they are not together and we can find some tactical advantage to assist us in stopping them. I wish I could make them understand exactly who it is they are serving, but perhaps they already know. I suppose that is not my job either, but it is a shame there must be so much bloodshed.

Even if we manage to rid ourselves of all of those obstacles we still have half the countryside looking to kill us. The bounty on our heads just makes it that much more difficult to reach our goal. This last encounter with a group of mercenaries proved very difficult and my poor Dominic bore the brunt of the injuries. But I know we must continue. I believe with all my heart this is what I am meant to do with my abilities. This is what God wants of me and I am willing to sacrifice everything for him.

I pray that God grants us the skills and strength to reach Venice and destroy Corvo and his Mistress. I pray that my friends/family are spared even if I myself do not survive the battle. All that matters is Lucifer is stopped, this time at least.

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its a trap!

As I lay down to rest and look at my comrades I see men who have grown into fierce combatants. . People who put aside religous differences… a girl that is becoming a leader… a group that has put everything at risk ..even there moral standings in order to seek rightousness. Its amazing I can sleep anymore , with the evil that is hunting us. We have decided to wait this one out . To set a trap for the vial sister’s. So as I lay here prettending to sleep I think of Rosa. …hhhhhhhhhhaaaaah…roooooossssssaaaaa…
ghost! (Not now) then there’s a skirnish with the horses.. there stampeding towards us! Look out! As beast and beast run in fear from a black entity..creeping in the distance I stand…just in time ..shit (as I dodge the first stallion.) " haha ..u mi…." ( as I get over run by the second warhorse….back to where this started..eyes closdd on the ground. Ghost its time…. shortly after I return to my feet. Moun t on my horse.. and see….nothing but stomped friends…and pierre…I see Frederick ….wait.. I see two fredricks…. not two of those evil motherf…. let good sort this out as I pray for insight on which ones my friend…. poof the evil sister shows hers self and we are only left w one evil…..well one enemy…we all charge the sister and wail on her continously till she is mangled like roadkill her jaw is unhinved like a snake and …..and ..and …shes still evil “shes still evil!..SHES STILL EVIL!!!!!!…” our newly accomidatd pawn continues to wail on her .. the back stabbing sister apears from air ,these slimmy creatures of the dark aren t natural. Her evil blade seems to have a real effect on damage.. people are goi g down fast . Wheres the body of the other sister… shes gone… this is not right… nizzar thinks he sees her and victoria allows her to be seen again. Shes standing next to fredrick again.i try to smite the backstabber its hard to hit this evil doer..sometimes its like I dont even have a chance to hit. The jawbone sister goes down again but we are left w the last devil.. she stabbed me…and I feel…wea……….(as I fall and slump on my horse…..shortly after battle) " so you are telling me frenchie here runs up…everyones down except him and victoria…and he slaughters her?.." I say to victoria. " yes. He did quite well" she proudly acknowledges. .." she z not dead and not a single one of u should lay a blade on her…"we talked her up and prepared to restore her back to life before we do..victoria attempts to dominTe her mind… when she does the oddest thing yet happens… " victoria…your eyes are radiating light… and you…your evil?!…" she thinks im joking…we have to show her in the river…she contiues to link her mind w the witch… shes talking to her and says ghat thersz 4 sisters.in 4 towers… and that there coming for us and they will be here soon…. that they were sent to protect a mortal…lord Gelf. What does all this mean… and whats in store next

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Something Lost, Something Borrowed

I grab Victoria by the collar of her shirt, she gives a minor protest but more out of confusion than anything. I take her to the stream and push her down to her hands and knees so that she is looking at her reflection in a moderately still pool. Then she sees what the rest of her party have been staring at, her eyes now glow like candles in the darkness. I notice that she is frightened at first but then she begins having a one way conversation shortly afterward. “She is talking to herself again!”, I shout to my other companions. I leave her be and begin collecting the horses. That’s when I realize how much that poison has taken out of me. It doesn’t take much more than crossing the river and I am out of breath and weak. Fortunately the horses have calmed down and are easily brought back to camp. After Victoria has finished her conversation with herself, we sleep the rest of the night, most of us too weak to go anywhere at the moment. Ettore is the worst off, he is extremely pale and with any movement, he is breathing heavily.
We wake the next day with the intent of trying to round up the rest of the horses and finding a safer place to camp. I manage to track most of the horses but several have run off. By the time we get to the ones that have stuck around, I am so out of breath I can’t motivate myself to get them, so Nizar and Geno step in and manage to get all but one. After a short respite we look for a place to camp. During the search, I can hear Victoria shouting something about wanting to hit Nizar but I missed most of it because of the distance and the grogginess in my head from being so weak. I do manage to find a cave which is a godsend considering how many caves are actually in this part of Italy. I try to hide our tracks going in and quickly head inside for a nap.
That night our rest is interrupted by a call from outside the cave. ‘Apparently I didn’t do a well enough job hiding our tracks this time’. Thirty men are outside the cave looking for us to surrender. I take a peek at the one yelling out us, from the look of him we could easily take them on normally but i wouldn’t risk it in our condition. Victoria manages to coax them inside ‘She is getting better at tactics, bringing them in an area that takes away their advantage in numbers, but she may be a little over confident in our abilities at the moment.’ Once they are in, she yells “The man next you is going to cut you out of the loot”. One of them responds “Hey, she’s right” followed by an all out brawl just inside the cave entrance. ‘How did she manage to do- ugh never mind’. The fight doesn’t last very long, most of them kill each other leaving only four alive but injured. Geno and Pierre dispatch them quickly and we begin to take care of the unconscious ones. ‘Hmm, what if we were to use them, they could have useful information or could be fodder for us. We might have to torture them though for them to cooperate.’ I suggest sparing some of them and they could be useful but the rest of the party shoots that idea down. ‘Well if they are not going to be of use to the group, one might be of use to me’. I begin surveying our dead and unconscious pursuers, I see one who is still alive and who appears to have been in a lot of battles. I look to see if anyone is looking and I start dragging him out of the cave and into the forest. I hear Ettore’s voice “Friedrich, where are you going?”
‘Damn that boy’s good eyes’. “Just taking a leak”.
“Ok”
‘Well that was easy’
I bring the unconscious man a good distance from the cave. After I prop him up against a tree a take a small break, I am out of breath again. After I take a moment I kneel in front of the slumped over, still unconscious man. "You look like you have been in a lot of battles, probably have done a lot of horrible things. I think we both know where you will be going, so really you should be thanking me. I am giving you a little more time before the inevitable. I then reach my hand toward his chest, I push against it and my hand passes his skin like I am reaching through a thick liquid. I am not reaching in him, there is no wound, its not a body part i am reaching for, its something else. After a moment I feel it, like silk scarf stretched against a body. I take hold and pull. Its tough at first but eases up as I pull. I almost have my hand out when the man wakes up. He gives out a horrified scream but I press my other hand on his mouth to stifle it. I give one last long pull and i can see the white wisp resembling his figure begin to emerge, it also having the look of pure terror. One last tug and I rip his soul from him. His eyes now glaze over and his body once again slumps over, now dead. I stand up, still grasping the almost intangible object when I hear a voice come from the direction of the cave.
“Friedrich, you alright?”
“Yeah,” I look back at the body, “there was just a straggler I had to take care of!”
I then look at the ‘object’ in my hand, it remains motionless, waiting for me to say something. “You will remain hidden, for now. Overlap my shadow and do not show yourself until I say”. I let my new shadow and it floats down, doing exactly as commanded and becomes indistinct from my real shadow. I return to the group, they don’t ask anymore questions and they don’t notice my new ‘friend’, perfect.
After a few more days we decide to take care of the sister in our custody. Remembering what happened the last time, we make sure to tie her up before we execute her. Once we are ready, we remove her head and upon doing so, Victoria’s eyes return to normal and the now removed head begins to let out a long wail. The rest of the party remove the rest of the body’s limbs as I wait for something to happen, and I hear a voice in my head “MURDER THEM ALL”. I am filled with an overpowering rage and almost out of instinct I raise my bow and shoot at Geno, hitting him and dealing a crippling blow. Dominique closes with me says something I didn’t understand, and then punches my arm. I hear a loud snap and my rage leaves me. I collapse from the pain, when I look down I can see my bone protruding from my upper arm. I am then filled with regret, “I am sorry Geno, I don’t know what happened, …. i am sorry…” the rest of the words are indistinguishable.
After a bit of healing and several apologies to Geno later, we emerge from the cave headed again east. We cross the river and it doesn’t take long before we come across two armored soldiers. After a short talk, we learn that these men are commanded by Guelf, and they are on the other side of this ridge. One of the second soldiers lights a huge fire and we kill both of them shortly after. We take position on the other side of a stream and see several men heading our way. We get ready and wait for them to come to us……

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The Platemail Tortise and the Fire Hare

Across the stream the squad of White circle knights exchange bow fire with us. And aside from a lucky shot that severed Gino’s thumb, Dominic channels the power of his god and reattaches the thumb. We are winning the battle, when Victoria changes her song and some of the men start fighting amost themselves.
About then a fire bomb drops on the road behind us, the fire starts to slowly spread. Then Victoria gets hit by an arrow even though she is hiding behind a bush. She “suggests” that I make everyone invisible. So I channel Allah’s power and the knights can no longer see us as we start to cross the river. We are part way across and half of the group looses thier footing and begins to be washed down stream. The rest of is catch everyone but Pierre the mercenary. He becomes visible when he leaves my radius of power. The last we see of him is his battered body being drug underwater by the wieght of his platemail.
We finally reach the other shore, only to notice the fire, started by the guards signal torch, is spreading as well. We start up the road when a fire bomb drops on the road ahead of us. We are limited to Dominics pace as he is slowed by his heavy armor. Another bomb drops behind us, we are trapped unless we can make the gap between the cliff and the rapidly spreading fire. Move! Dominic move! We all pass Dominic and go single file, with the fire licking at our heels. Several of us become visible as they leave the radius of power to avoid being burned, but I don’t think anyone saw us because of the smoke and fire. Another fire bomb drops on the road ahead and another mad scramble and we are finally clear.
As we round the rocks and near the ruins on the hilltop, we find Lord Gelph on his war horse and even more disturbing one of the Undead plague victims on an undead horse. Worse yet he can see us and charges Ettore who is in the open, relying on the power of greater invisiblity Allah granted me. As we attack we become visible and Lord Gelph charges Dominic, dealing him a greivious blow. Ettore, Gino and Friedrich manage to take down the undead man and start in on the horse. When more men pour out of the ruin and begin fighting amongst themselves in the doorway. Dominic, Artigli and I are doing massive amounts of damage to Lord Gelph but he returns the favor dropping Dominic and turning his attention to me. Wounds open on his back as Ettore gets invloved. That “boy” can do some damage and Lord Gelph goes down. Artigli finishes the war horse. Other men are involved now as the fighting in the doorway stops because Messini killed the men effected by Victoria. And we see more in the building still. Freidrich drops one of the men filling him with arrows in seconds. Victoria heals us all, and Dominic heals himself. We are all still hurt some, but ready our selves for the next onslaught. Messini throws a Jeruselem cross on the ground and points to me. He is going to die today and Allah and I have a suprise in mind for him.

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Bigger and Badder
Who killed Messini?

We once again managed to survive an intense battle that added yet another level of confusion to an already strange few weeks. We have encountered some of the “Sisters” that are apparently demons or devils I’m not really sure which, that have taken possession of some poor soul. So for all our efforts to destroy them we merely kill the body and the “creature” moves on to find another one to inhabit. At least we are slowing them down. I realize we are in a battle that will never be over but for me, it is one I must continue to fight.

This battle ended at least one version of a Guelph General but it seems his body is no longer where he was slain. It ended Messini as well, although not in the way Nizar envisioned. We learned there is something more sinister out there that managed to kill Messini by sending a bolt of light through his chest. Messini was scared to death of this new threat which I thought for a brief moment was a good sign for us. However, this same thing managed to banish Michael, yes the Angel, into Dominic and throw him across the room pinning him to a wall. So much for this thing being on our side.

We saw 2 or maybe 3 or maybe even 4 “Sisters” leaving the ruins and who thank the Lord did not spot us. We now have the group of not quite dead soldiers marching along with the “Sisters” as if they needed some sort of protection. If that wasn’t so funny I would probably cry.

So I prayed again for guidance and it seems fairly clear that attacking them on the way back to Venice is not going to be an option unless some of the split from the group. So we have decided to head to Venice ourselves and hope we find opportunities to strike at the “Sisters” when they are NOT, I repeat, NOT altogether.

looks over at Nizar

If he doesn’t get out of this “I must kill them all, consequences be damned” mindset he is in, he may just get us all killed. I don’t know how to reach him. He has not been the same since we had those visions with the “waif”, aka Lucifer. Actually he is much like when we first met him. Hostile to the point of suicide. Luckily his great skills as a warrior have managed to keep that from happening.

On the positive side Fredrich has not done anything utterly creepy lately which gives me a little hope that his soul might be saved still. Ettore’s skills with both weapons and deception are almost supernatural these days. And Dominic, my ever vigilant protector and champion, is becoming ever more powerful as the days and battles continue to test our group.

Venice will be the end for us. How it will all is the question.

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Reuniting With an Old Friend and Setting a Trap

We arrive in Venice and I must say, it has seen better days. The streets are crowded with an influx of men an arms, the houses now have constructed make-shift racks on the side of the to allow additional sleeping places for more people, further limiting the amount of room to walk. The streets are slippery with salt water, algae, and dried blood. The monastery now lies in ruins. Large amounts of warships patrol the harbor and lagoon. Venice is preparing for war, against whom we don’t know. The corpse collectors also seem to pulling a double shift, taking infected people to an island named Poreglia so they can be ‘cared for’ by the sisters. Sounds like they are rebuilding their plague army.

Friedrich reflects as the party finds a place to hold up while in Venice. We found a room in a “inn” which is a attic in a converted house which was obviously taken by a hostile takeover. The first thing on the agenda is to find out what has been going on since we have left 4 years ago and to see if the abbot is still alive. After an interesting first night, sharing half an attic with a lonely old man can make things awkward when there is only one ladder up there, we manage to bribe a local, with food, and he tells us that Admiral Gotti is now in charge of all of Venice. The Doge it seems has left the city in his charge and hasn’t been seen in over a year. We are not sure if he has taken an extended vacation or he has been ousted. The man also tells us that the monastery had held up to several sieges until an earthquake tore it down and the Venician troops stormed the place. The locals also think the place is haunted by the ghosts of a thousand templar, guarding the place in death which they couldn’t in life. ‘At least the locals will avoid the place, that will help us avoid any unwanted attention when we are on the island itself’.

We do manage to take a boat to the neighboring island of Giudecca, putting us spitting distance from the monastery. After getting more information and wild stories from the locals, we manage to find somebody who is allowing us to borrow a boat, which isn’t his, for the night as long as we tell him what we find on the island. We go to the designated spot that night and find the boat, along with a bag of rosaries and crosses most likely for our protection. Ettore steers our boat to the former concrete dock which we landed years ago, now a rubble beach, and we all head out looking for any signs of life. Ettore goes ahead and finds a well tended garden. I begin scanning the ground, I find a set of fresh tracks leading to the monastery, “No more than a day old, most likely an Italian man from the foot size, walking pace, also appears to have a cane or crutch from the small and regular indentions on the side of the trail…” I look back at my group, I can see that they looking at me like I am crazy. “Never mind, just follow me” I say under my breath.

We follow the tracks to the monastery where they disappear on the stone floor and we begin exploring the place. Ettore unlocks a trap door in one of rooms and we hear a loud clanging noise. ‘If anyone is here they now know we are too.’ We open the hatch to reveal the large bar holding the door in place has fallen onto a well placed pile of pots and kettles purposely put there to act as an alarm in case of intruders. ‘Touche.’ I go down the ladder first to find a large cellar filled with large barrels with spigots. ‘Can it be, I have heard that the monks make it in their monasteries, but I never thought I would actually be in one.’ I approach one of the barrels and pull out a cup from my pack and put it under the nozzle. ‘Here goes nothing’. I turn the handle and a liquid pours out, I fill it just enough for a mouthful and close the spigot. I put the cup up to my nose, ‘It doesn’t smell like wine, maybe…..’ I take a swig and the cool, bitter carbonated fluid enters my mouth. My eyes almost swell up in tears of joy as I swallow the beer down. I take a moment to savor it ‘Oh, I have missed you so’. I fill the cup up this time and down it quickly down it in a few gulps before I call up to the rest of the group letting them know the coast is clear. Further exploration reveals a sleeping area and staircase leading up into the kitchen. Victoria cries out “Is anybody there?” A voice replies: “Lila, is that you?”

We find Abbot Morrisini doing pretty well considering all that has happened. After a quick greeting, we swap information of what has happened in and out of Venice. Apparently Denato was part of the attack upon the monastery and also is the Admiral’s information gatherer. At this point we can only guess where the sisters and mother of mercy are, but if we capture him, we could work their locations out of him. We also learn that the last Corvo we couldn’t identify, Estavan, is the spiritual adviser to the Holy Roman Emperor. Whether they are planning a great war pitting the empire against Venice or if the Corvos are playing both sides making sure they are with the winning side we aren’t sure. But first things first, we have to capture Denato. We devise a plan to drop rumors of a group or individuals like us hiding in a remote part of Venice called Pellestrina. This will hopefully lure him out with not a lot of protection where we can kill his guards and capture him.

We leave the Abbot in his monastery, after I filled my waterskin with the best beer I have ever tasted, and return to the spot where we got the boat. On the way back we create a story about ghosts and evil spirits and we proceed to scuff up the blessed items the boy gave to us. When we pull up to the shore, the boy is waiting for us. I immediately leap out of the boat and begin kissing the ground thanking the lord that we are safe. Victoria tells the wide eyed boy a story of how we nearly escaped certain death and presented the damaged rosaries and crosses as proof. He leaves us, satisfied with knowing what is “really on the island” and we go and prepare to set our trap for Denato.

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The Trap Worked (sort of)

After spreading our rumors, we buy supplies for a couple of weeks and head back to the ruins in the swamp at the south end of the island.
We wait for 8 days and then at night during Victoria, Artigili and Gino’s guard shift, I am woken up to hear a man’s voice in conversation with Victoria. He is spinning some BS about running from the law and coming here to hideout. Victoria moves outside flanked by Dominic and I, the man appears from nowhere at the top of some ruined stairs. He releases an effect at me and I drop screaming in agony and deafend. Victoria has been playing her harp all the while, and when she moves to get closer she runs into something invisible. She moves left then right running into something each time. So she releases her song, there is the sound of armored men clattering to the ground. Dominic prays over me and my agony subsides. All the while Friedrich, Gino and Artigili launch arrows at him. The man, we can now see is Donato, points at Artigili, and Artigili shouts he can not see. He drops to the ground inside the ruin, getting out of sight. Ettore rushes toward Donato only to trip on the invisible bodies. I regain my feet and ask Allah for the blessing of seeing invisible things. There are a total of 18 plague collectors, 9 collapsed at the base of the stair and 9 more to the left, 3 of which begin firing arrows at me. Damn they hurt as I am struck by multiple arrows. Friedrich and Gino begin firing at the soldiers, but the hit me with another volley. Donato the releases another song and we are stunned and hurt by the sound. And before Ettore, Dominic and I can reach the top of the stair Donato shouts again, this time only hurting some of us and a lot of his own men, but we are knocked prone. We rise again only to see Donato vanish into the floor. Victoria says he is within a quarter mile and we must find him. She also banished the invisibility on the men, saying they are only paralyzed. Ettore, Gino and Donimic start to slaughter the helpless evil men. While Friedrich, Artigili and I race for the beach where I believe he has a boat. Yes Artigili his blindness wore off. Victoria and Friedrich vanish leaving Artigili and I to run down the twisted path to the beach. as we reach the beach Friedrich is there trying to hide in the bushes. He says he has not seen Donato , but there is his boat. Friedrich then releases 5 arrows at me and I drop to the ground “dead”. Friedrich’s Shadow attacks Artigili, but he is unharmed. Victoria then appears flying with angel wings about 15 feet in the air. Well that is new!! She then dispels Friedrich’s mind control. everyone takes cover and Victoria heals all of us. We can hear Dominic and Gino running toward the battle. Ettore is silent as always. I stand and use Allah’s blessing to glitter dust the invisible Donato, so everyone knows where he is. We close with him and Victoria heals us again. Friedrich contects with several arrows, Artigili hits him several time using the flat of his sword and shield to due subdual damage. I wade in with a ponce attack and remove his arm at the elbow with my Kukri. Play your damned lute now you bastard!! and my final hit renders him unconscious. We won… sort of.

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