Knight Of The Black Rose (Ravenloft)
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Dark powers transport Soth to Barovia, and there the death knight must face the dread minions of Count Strahn Von Zarovich, the vampire lord of the nightmare land. But with only a captive Vistani woman and an untrustworthy ghost for allies, Lord Soth soon discovers that he may have to join forces with the powerful vampire if he is ever to escape the realm of terror.
Knight of the Black Rose is the second in an open-ended series of Gothic horror tales dealing with the masters and monsters of the Ravenloft dark fantasy setting.
The early morning sun flared through breaks in the swirling clouds. The rain had stopped. Silence shrouded the copses of hardy trees and stolid outcropping of granite, then the noise came again—a quick, sharp cracking sound. Soth got to his feet, his injured sword arm dangling at his side. The noise came a third time. It’s the traps, the death knight realized. Something has stumbled across the traps. “Wake up, Magda. ” The Vistani came awake instantly and snatched up her silver dagger. Without a word, she followed the death knight out of the cave and into the dawn.
With his newly heightened senses of smell and sight, he followed the trail left by his captors all the way back to the city. There he used the shadows to cloak his evil deeds. Over the next fifty years, he preyed upon those on the outskirts of Brigalaure, destroying homes and shops, killing those he found alone. Hundreds fell to his claws. The citizens of Brigalaure tried to hunt him down, but without success. “I’d found my craft,” Azrael noted proudly, leaning back against the white marble pillar. “And I was much better at it than any of ’em were at stopping me.
A grocer hurled an overripe melon at the cart. “The kingpriest is right! Even the Knights of Solamnia are corrupt! ” The crowd cheered when the missile hit Soth. Calmly wiping the smear from his eyes, he looked back at the grocer. In the man’s jowled face, made red from standing in the sun to hawk his wares, the knight saw more hatred than he’d seen from most foes he’d faced at sword point. I’m no innocent, Soth told himself as the cart lurched through the crowded streets. His inner resolve cracked, and a coiling thread of self-doubt wound around his heart.
Besides, she knows little that would be of value to our enemies. ” Azrael gingerly touched his swollen face. “She could warn Gundar of your plan,” he noted. Soth roused himself from his reverie. “That is not like her,” he replied. “She would put herself in great danger by contacting Gundar—if he is the madman he seems to be. That would be quite foolish, and Magda is no fool. ” He paused, pondering her disappearance. “Besides, these are not lands to be traveled alone. She will likely be dead by the time the moon rises again.
Panic gripped him just long enough for a spear tip to slip past his guard. The flint bit into his leg. As he struck that attacker down, another goblin stabbed him in the back. His left arm went numb, and his head began to swim. This isn’t how it happened, Soth realized as another goblin fell before his blade. On the day I entered the cavern, the goblin king accepted my challenge. I killed him and a dozen more of his kind. The others fled. I won. My courage earned me the right to petition the Knights’ Council for advancement… Another jolt of pain lanced through Soth’s sword arm, making it difficult for him to grip his weapon.