Benvolio Gallipoli, exiled from the Feywild, chronicles his mist-adventures in the land of Barovia in this new D&D blog series.
The Ballad of Benvolio Gallipoli – Session 1 – Goddamn You, Mist!
This is Hell. Nine months in the world of man, the stench hasn’t gone away. The sun has damaged my Elven skin. It’s been difficult finding work, I am still adjusting to being removed from my Fey magics. I managed to scrape enough gold together to get a decent set of armor and a shield. At least, when I was banished, they let me keep my sword. After a few odd jobs to acquire some basic gear I started looking into more serious work. I got a tip some farmers were complaining their cows were being killed, so I signed up for the team being hired for security/investigation. Figured I’d at least be around people like me: just looking to do the job and no small talk. God was I wrong.
The farmers were broke, and could only hire 3 bodies. I was desperate for funds so I low balled to make sure I was one of the “adventurers” (that’s what they called us) hired. The others were two of the oddest people I’d ever met. The first was human, not sure what gender. He/she was constantly talking to him/herself. I guess I should ask what gender pronouns I’m supposed to use, but I can’t seem to get a word in. He/she keeps having some kind of argument with…. no one? At least the conversation was happening on the other end of the wagon we were travelling on. Next to me, it took a few hours for me to get used to him. I’d never known a goblin personally. Usually too busy killing them to get to know them. This one, Xerox was his name, had plenty to say. At first, I wanted to slit his throat just to shut him up. Then he started talking about his wife. She had been killed by a fire breathing Paladin, along with most of his friends when they kidnapped the wrong kid. Xerox had been off on some other task, I didn’t bother to ask what that was. He may have told me, I tried to pay as little attention as possible. Even when he was talking about his wife, any kinship I felt washed away with the barrage of words flying out of this little package. I may have to kill him anyway.
We made camp, expecting to make it to the farmer’s community by midday the next day. Nothing exciting on my watch, I woke up the goblin so I could get some sleep. Apparently, he’s a really bad watchman. I guess it’s our own fault for expecting a goblin to pay attention and focus long enough to keep watch. All I know is, when I woke up the farmers were gone, the 3 of us were the only ones in camp. In fact, it looked like the camp was in a different forest. A strange mist clouded a lot of our area, so after talking each other out of killing the goblin, we all started to try and get our bearings. The mist did leave a section of the nearby road clear, whatever road it was. The goblin let out a shriek, some kind of skeletal rider on an undead horse just came trotting out of the forest. Somehow, that wasn’t the biggest surprise, as our human companion (who somehow managed to avoid telling us his/her name) moved to strike the rider with some kind of magical flame attack. I managed to stop the wizard form making a move after noticing the rider was ignoring us. No need to get involved in anything until we know where we are. That’s when I saw it.
From one of the undead horse’s saddle bags, something fell out and landed in the brush. The rider, still indifferent to us simply continued it’s ride and disappeared into the woods and mist as if we weren’t even there. I looked through the brush and found a child’s doll. It was a simple toy of average craftsmanship, but it struck a nerve in my heart. Memories of my little girl Hera, her beautiful hazel eyes. My wife’s eyes. Clutching a doll not very dissimilar to this one, staring at me with fear and confusion. My heart broke every time she looked at my that way. I prayed to any God that would listen to give me the strength to endure her fear and reconnect. Then, my final memory of her, ripped to pieces on the floor of our home. How afraid she must have been. How I wasn’t there to protect her. To take her place. To take my wife’s place. To have died instead of them. The sorrow was almost too much to bear. I hadn’t thought of them much in the last few weeks. I was focused on getting some money together to pay someone to get me back into the Feywild. So I could hunt the Alpha that murdered my family. Anger began taking over. I snapped orders at my companions, that we had to keep moving. They didn’t appreciate my tone, especially the wizard but they knew I was right. We needed the cow job, so we needed to get the hell out of here.
On the road, the mist seemed to be guiding us, parting in just a way to lead us down the road. It was quiet, enough to allow my mind to wander back to thoughts of my family. The wizard didn’t seem to notice or care, but the goblin wouldn’t leave me alone. Again, my sorrow got the better of me and I snapped at him. His ears sank, and he volunteered to scout ahead. I had clearly hurt his feelings. The next hour on the road was uncomfortable. I should have apologized, was going to in fact. Before we were interrupted.
From the mist, we could see movement. We were scattered, in poor formation to defend an attack from one side, let alone both sides of the road. They came shambling out of the woods, clearly some kind of zombie. They smelled so bad, I realized the overall stench I couldn’t shake had been gone since we woke up. That was bad. That meant we weren’t in the world of man anymore. It was too cloudy to see the sun, so no frame of reference on that end. We had bigger problems anyway. These walking corpses, although slow has us outflanked and outnumbered 4 to 3. Xerox was further down the road, the zombies pounced on the wizard and I. I got in a few slashes with my sword but these creatures were persistent. Each slash cleaved off a piece or limb, but the undead kept moving. A hard slash from one dug deep into my back as I defended against another with my shield. The wizard let out a burst of flame that completely engulfed and destroyed one and badly burned another. Unfortunately the on still standing on her side managed to dig its claws into him/her (how do I still not know?) and she fell to the ground unconscious. I managed to combine a well placed arrow from Xerox with a swipe of my blade to cut down the healthy on on my flank, leaving 2 severely damaged zombies left. That proved to be too many.
The remaining undead had only 1 viable target: me. The goblin was keeping distance, but his aim was off. The zombies piled on me and tore at my flesh. Even with my shield up I was unable to protect myself from both of them, one biting my thigh as the other tore out my throat. I clutched my wound, trying to stop the river of blood to no avail. As I dropped to the ground, numb from the blood loss, I could see them still tearing at my body. As things went dark I pictured my wife and child. I was looking forward to seeing them again. I felt my spirit leaving my body, rising towards wherever the Gods intended me to go. Then I felt something cold. The mist, the dreadful mist that brought me to my demise had grabbed onto me, began dragging me back down. At first I thought I was being taken to Hell, a place I couldn’t argue against being sent to. Then I could somehow feel my body again. But how? Then a chill came over me. Colder than I had ever felt before. Then my eyes opened. I was alive. How? Why? I sat up, felt around my throat. I could feel massive scar tissue, but no wound. My other wounds were still there and I felt weak and sick, but I was alive. I looked over and saw Xerox tending to the wizard, the zombies were gone. As I stood up, my companions looked surprised. For a moment they thought I was turned into a zombie, to be honest I thought I might have been. My pulse was there, I could feel the pain in my body. I must be alive. I didn’t want to be alive but I was. Because of the mist. “GODDAMN YOU, MIST!” I screamed.
Catch up on all of Benvolio Gallipoli’s mist-adventures here.