A Masquerade of Vampires

In our previous session we arrived at the city of Aevan-Vhor, which had been consumed by Carcosa and put under a curse where everyone was undead but didn’t know it. Our Strange Aeons campaign continues as we find out more about the curse and the people (un)living under it.

The barmaid led us to the manor house of Lord Eldarius, and left us at the gate. Rather unsurprisingly she didn’t want to go in herself, and quickly returned back to the inn. The manor was a ruined building with a partial exterior wall and a roof which had collapsed long ago. Ray went inside and shouted out “Hello!”.

A young girl of maybe 9 or 10 glided out of one of the ruined rooms – she was vaguely translucent and didn’t so much walk on the floor as glide just above it.

“Who are you?”

“Is the lord of the manor available?”

“Daddy will be in his study.”

She glided back out of sight, leaving us to wander further into the ruins. At the back there was indeed a study, in which there was an incorporeal stout man, middle-aged and balding, dressed in fine clothes. On questioning he made it quite clear that he was aware that he was dead, and confirmed that he was Lord Eldarius.

“Aevan-Vhor has been damned. A cult performed a ritual and the city was banished to this cursed place.”

His overriding goal was to save his family, who he felt deserved to live. There had been a musician here by the name of Erich Zann, who had betrayed him and damned his daughter through his failure.

He told us that Erich was a powerful and wise person, who had governed one of the other stolen cities in Carcosa. He was a trickster though, and had ways of navigating this world safely. Lord Eldarius had invited Erich to his home, and had persuaded him to try the risky ritual that would take his family away from Carcosa. He failed though, and his daughter Delmaria had been turned corporeal, but she was also lost.

She was now a vampire, and was due to feed on blood for the first time on the night of the bleeding moon. During this time, from midnight to dawn, all the undead of Aevan-Vhor gain an understanding of their state, and are forced to live with the horror of it before returning to their normal state.

The next bleeding moon is tomorrow night (of course), and she is staying with the vampire Lord Avaric who plans to throw a party that night and have Delmaria feast on blood for the first time. I could see where this was going, and Lord Eldarius was soon asking us to rescue his daughter. In order to convince her to trust us, he provided us with a small clockwork armadillo which was a favourite toy of hers when she was a child.

Eldarius is unable to leave the ruins of his house because of the curse, so can’t go himself. If we help though, he will tell us where the Star Stelae is. Erich is also possibly at Lord Avaric’s.

We decided to head back to the inn tonight and travel to Lord Avaric’s tomorrow. The innkeeper was suspicious of us turning up late at night, and waved garlic and other materials at us before letting us inside. Apparently he believes in the goddess Holy Mother Isis, Star of the Sea, who keeps him safe.

22nd Gozran, Fireday

Lord Avaric lives in a three story mansion which seems to be better quality than many of the buildings that we’ve seen. There was the usual debate outside of how we were going to approach this – blast our way in through the door, sneak in a side window or simply knock being the obvious choices. Not wishing to risk harming Delmaria, I walked up to the door and knocked. The door was answered by a servant, and on inquiring about Miss Delmaria, we were invited inside.

There seemed to be a party of sorts going on – or at least being prepared for, since there were several people here dressed in fine garb. They looked a lot like they should be vampires, since dark colours were a common features of their clothes, but possibly like the others under the curse of this land they didn’t know their true nature. Lord Avaric came to meet us, though at first refused to wake Delmaria who was ‘resting in preparing for tonight’. In the end Sheena managed to charm him into sending for her, and we attempted to have a private conversation with her though Avaric insisted on being present.

We showed her the armadillo, and she was most taken with it, and told her that she needed to return to her father for that it was dangerous here for her. Eventually she agreed, and Avaric agreed to let her leave as long as Sheena stayed behind for a while. I’m pretty certain that he, like Lord Eldarius, knows that he is undead.

So we took Dalmaria back to her father, though she seemed unwilling to stay. Whilst we were trying to convince her, her father cast a spell upon her, putting her into a slumber which he told us should last a couple of days. Long enough to keep her here until after the bleeding moon.

There is the risk though that the vampires of Lord Avaric will come here for her, especially during the bleeding moon when they remember their undead nature and possibly being aggressive monsters. Eldarius now tells us that the Stelae is actually somewhere in Avaric’s house, so we need to go back there anyway. Possibly we can find Erich, possibly he knows a way of lifting the curse, and possibly we can break the enchantment of the stelae. I’m expecting that whatever happens, we will end up fighting vampires.

Samuel Penn

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