The New Blood: Curse of Strahd

Cipher

“Hurry honey, go pack your bag” Ellie said to her daughter as she frantically tore the large map down from the wall in the dining room of their small home. She sat at the table and began scrawling in a reddish-brown ink.

She’d always had an aptitude for calligraphy and, given enough time she could forge or replicate almost anything. Her hurried writing flowed from the tip of her quill naturally, whatever she was doing was something she’d given a lot of thought up to this point, even if she’d never put it to paper. The long intricate spirals and runes that she lined balanced perfectly upon the map’s embellishments and legend becoming less graffiti than something that looked as if it had belonged the entire time.

She’d spent weeks mixing and testing the ink, trying to get the best match to this map that she possibly could, and she’d done a beautiful job of it; looking at this map as the ink dried, the cartographer himself would have trouble distinguishing her additions from his own, original work.

“Why are you writing on our map?” Ness said, coming back into the room. The girl, no more than 9 years old stood, leaning forward to counter-balance the weight of her comparatively large and heavily stuffed pack. She clutched what looked to be a hand-carved, wooden mason’s mallet in her left hand as she touched the table with her right.

“We’re going on a trip soon” Ellie said, leaning down to Ness’s level. Her eyes began to well as she brought her hand to her daughter’s face. “Come on, let’s read a story.”

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