Curse of Strahd
Starday, 22 Harvester, 561 CY
The Citadel of Eight has been formed! I and Bigby, my brilliant apprentice, have decided to form a group to attempt to maintain the balance between the extremes of Oerth. Robilar, Rigby, Yrag, Tenser, Serten, and Otis have joined us! Inside my Obsidian Citadel we will fight for the freedom of all peoples!
Moonday, 13 Patchwall, 569 CY
The Citadel of Eight has been dissolved. Tenser, who has blamed me for the death of Serten, has left, while Robilar and Otis have left me for “ideological reasons”, whereas I believe that the grudges left between our original members have driven them to resentment, especially that Lord Robilar – I see much anger in that one. In the case of Serten, who fell two months ago fighting against the hordes of evil, I am much aggrieved at the loss. Perhaps, a new house shall arise from the ashes of the old?
Godsday, 11th Wealsun, 576 CY
A new day has dawned! Behold, the Circle of Eight! Its purpose has been made clear by the utter failure of the Citadel. My steadfast friend and apprentice Bigby has returned, as have the powerful wizards Bucknard, Drawmij, Leomund, Nystul, Otto, and Rary, who together, have completed the circle. A cabal of eight powerful wizards, with myself, naturally, acting as the defacto leader, should be more than enough to help balance the forces of Good, Evil, Law, and Chaos in the Flanaess. It is clear, now, that the failure of the Citadel was due to its composition! Only a group such as I have envisioned can succeed as its members are men of intellect and sorcerous skill, whose primary interests are so much more than material! Ah, so much work to do! Dungeons to uncover, dragons to quell, ancient mysteries to solve! We will triumph! How could things go wrong?
Waterday, 13th Sunsebb, 574 CY
Leomund has sadly left us to explore other what he calls “alternative planes of existence.” Tenser, however, has returned, begging my forgiveness for his transgressions. I, of course, have welcomed my friend with open arms. Welcome home, Tenser!
Freeday, 2nd Flocktime, 576 CY
Great news, everyone! Otiluke, current president of Greyhawk’s Society of Magi and member of the city’s Directing Oligarchy, has joined the Circle at my behest! Happy days are here again!
Godsday, 3rd Coldeven, 579 CY
Bucknard has mysteriously resigned and disappeared – I do not know if it is foul play, but I am suspicious of what has befallen my headstrong friend. Perhaps this has to do with that business with Maralee? Or his recent obsessions with that awful Worm Cult?
Freeday, 15th Wealsun, 581 CY
Jallarzi Sallivarian, a powerful and beautiful sorceress, has joined the Circle, becoming the first woman to join the Circle of Eight. She comes with great recommendations from her master, Tenser. Our inclusivity shows no bounds!
Waterday, 21st Reaping, 581 CY
Tragedy! The Circle has been broken! All of its members, save myself, have been slain by this “Halmadar the Cruel”, a tyrant from the former Shield Lands under the control of Vecna, who has somehow achieved godhood! I have responded to this outrage by assembling a group of brave adventurers to thwart Vecna’s plans in the hope of stopping this evil. Only time will tell if these heroes will stand the test.
Starday, 9th Goodmonth, 581 CY
Even though the evil of Vecna has ended, my friends are gone. I have recovered the remains of my allies and through arcane powers, have been able to fashion simulacrums of their past selves. I do hope that this will work. The process to revivify my friends into their new bodies has taken some time, the unfortunate fact being that by now we might have otherwise prevented the newly arisen “Greyhawk Wars.” A regional conflict, started by Iuz, has gradually widened until now where it is a continent-wide war engulfing almost every nation in the Flanaess. Gods, I implore you to let this bloodshed end quickly – I have seen too much.
Moonday, 15th Harvester, 584 CY
For two long years, the nations of the Flanaess have schemed, murdered, and warred against each other until nearly all sides lay bloodied and beaten: war has exhausted the land and the people. Furyondy and Iuz have ground to a stalemate; Nyrond’s vast coffers are drained dry and its overtaxed peasants turned rebellious; the Great Kingdom is shattered into a swarm of petty landholdings vying for power; Keoland fighting invasions on all sides; countless men, dwarves, elves, and orcs marching off to war, never to return; farms standing empty; fields laid fallow. The Flanaess can make war no longer. The Greyhawk Wars must finally end. The Circle, now restored, is currently working toward a formal end to these wars. Tomorrow, in the great city of Greyhawk, if all goes well, a treaty between all the great nations will be signed, bringing these accursed wars to an end!
Godsday, 16th Harvester, 584 CY
The Day of the Great Signing. A pact had been resolved and nearly all the nations had agreed to sign it. As this solemn ceremony got underway, however, a tumultuous event occurred. Even now a haze obscures the details, as it does my heart… On the very night all parties involved were to sign the treaty, Otiluke, Tenser, and Bigby discovered a plan by Rary himself to slay all the assembled diplomats via a diabolical trap! Unfortunately, Rary had witnessed their discovery, and a great magical battle ensued, killing my good friends Otiluke and Tenser, and severely wounding my poor Bigby, who was unable to pursue Rary as he escaped. The motive behind Rary’s treachery remains clouded. That fool was probably a pawn of the Scarlet Brotherhood! Word had come later that Rary’s allies, among them that blaggard Lord Robilar, had ensured Tenser’s and Otiluke’s deaths by destroying every clone they had prepared for such an incident! My friends, all gone! Rary and Robilar have fled to the Bright Desert, southeast of Greyhawk, where I cannot pursue at my current strength. May they both rot an ounce a day for all eternity!
Freeday, 19th Planting, 586 CY
The Circle has once again returned to its full membership of eight-plus-one. Though Tenser has been returned to life via a “clone” that I had hidden on one of Oerth’s two moons, he has sadly expressed that he has no desire to rejoin the Circle after the tragedy and betrayal he had witnessed. I am sad to say farewell to my old friend, but I cannot blame him.
Waterday, 21st Patchwall, 586 CY
Through much a to-do, and despite the tragedy we have all experienced, we have found our newest members! I am pleased to welcome Warnes Starcoat, Alhamazad the Wise, and the high elf Theodain Eriason, the Circle’s first non-human member (again, hurrah for inclusivity!) who have replaced our fallen members.
Sunday, 10th Sunsebb, 586 CY
In all my travels, I have not experienced a day such as this – the very mists along my travels came and stole me and my traveling companions off the road and have placed us in this demiplane of existence over which, I have come to learn, a great and powerful evil rules from a high castle. It is of no matter – I have faced greater evils than this in my long existence. Though the evil be great, I will end it!
Date unknown, Barovia.
I do not know the date any longer and this place’s calendar confuses me with its strange season and lack of sunlight – clearly a side effect of this “Strahd” and his power over the land. I have assembled a valiant team of Barovians and adventurers who have also emerged recently from the mists to storm the gates of his castle and destroy him, ending his reign of terror. A daunting task, to be sure, but one in which we can succeed if the will of our fellows is strong. Bah, who am I kidding? Strahd is a formidable and intelligent foe! Worse perhaps than Vecna himself! No! I must not despair! My magic is legendary, and will serve me well. Ah, if only Elminster and Dalamar could help me now. They’d know what to do. Rautheene, how I miss you. You have learned so much – I had hoped to celebrate the destruction of this foul creature upon my return. But now….
Date unknown, Barovia.
I have failed. So many poor souls have perished in the attempt. The creature was too strong, even for me, and has bested me in a duel of power. Me! How I have fallen from the greatness that was once Mordenkainen the Magnificent! Fallen… how apt. Although I feel from the heights of that accursed waterfall, the mists provided an apt camouflage for my feather fall spell. My companions, however, were not so lucky. I heard their screams as he threw them from the cliff above only to land with sickening force in the waters and rocks below. Strahd! His power is drawn from this curst land, and the land itself invigorates him with necrotic strength! Strong though he is, he is not invulnerable. I must discover a way to destroy him, but how? My power is what he desires, even now! I must remain out of his senses!
Date unknown, Barovia.
This will be my final entry. Strahd somehow has ascertained that I survived the fall, and is searching for me, no doubt to collect my spellbook for his nefarious use. Wizards, even undead ones such as Strahd, are a nosy breed, and often probe and poke about in places where they have no business. I suppose that I cannot blame them for this – a wizard’s nature is every bit as inbred as a sheep’s – but it still sets my blood ablaze to learn that this creature would attempt to pore through my personal effects in search of some new and esoteric bit of thaumaturgical knowledge with which to decimate his people. In the eyes of a power hungry mage, every book on a wizard’s shelf is a volume of spells – even if it is merely a collection of poetry of his once-favored companions. Positively deplorable. I will consign my spellbook and journal here in this cave and protect it from tampering or theft. Neither will I let myself be captured nor tortured for this information. To safeguard my mind against those evil forces who would plumb the depths of my knowledge, I will cast a mind blank spell on myself so that if captured I shall not even be able to know my own name, let alone where I have left my book. Only my trustworthy servants will be entrusted with the knowledge of who I am, as Strahd cannot reach them. I have tasked my newfound “friend” to cast this mind blank spell on me every night as I sleep in my mansion, as I have instructed him. To this end, my spellbook shall remain here, guarded with traps and incantations that only I can solve, so that when the opportunity presents itself, I will retrieve my book, restore my powers, and end the reign of this vampire king once and for all!
Postscript. I do hope that my newfound “friend” agrees with my decision to leave the book here. He does seem to question my actions quite often. Troubling. However, as he cannot ambulate, he is most certainly harmless. I only wish that I knew from whose skull he came from…