Circular-AbbeyA journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Starting a Mythic session is always the hardest. Use the props you have already created: the characters, the setting, the NPCs, the threads. Then begin.

The forest path was visible in the snow only because it represented a gap between the trees. Ernat led them forward keeping to the widest part, trusting that this was the road. There were no other tracks. No marks of any kind to indicate that civilisation resided at either end of the track, though the path was wide enough for a wagon. Snow lay thick on the track and between the trees. The mighty pines bowed beneath the weight on their boughs. Occasionally they heard a thump as a clump of snow fell, but otherwise the forest was as still as the grave.

Ernat, Jurisco, Dide, Albergio, Eduare and Gari had been on the track for close to five hours now, wending ever upward into the geographically impossible forest. Around midday a thick cloying mist had enveloped them, reducing their visibility to only a few yards and slowing their pace to an endless-seeming deliberate walk. The horses heaved in the thinning air, as did the men, their breaths wreathing their heads like wraiths.

A deserted road through a high pass to a village could mean one of two things. It could mean that soldiers had been here before and destroyed everything and there was no life at the other end. The other possibility was that this was a forgotten community, untouched by the war, ripe for plundering and rapine.

A gateway loomed ahead. ‘Jutting from the impenetrable woods on both sides of the road, high stone buttresses loom up grey in the fog. Huge iron gates hang on the stonework. Dew clings with cold tenacity to the rusted bars. Two statues of armed guardians silently flank the gate. Their heads, missing from their shoulders, now lie among the weeds (and in the snow drift) at their feet.’ [Gate open? Likely. Yes.] The gates were open.

[Dide recognise the art/period? No way. No.] “It’s all Greek to me,” said Dide. “The carvings are unusual.” [Dide ever been to Bohemia or Transylvania? Very unlikely. Critical no.]

“Does that mean you don’t recognise them?” said Jurisco.

“No,” said Dide. “I’m saying that the carvings are Greek. Quite ancient. But meaningless. Come on. It’s as cold as a witch’s tit out here.”

They continued through the gates and soon lost sight of them as the path twisted away. Soon, without being fully aware of the transition, they found themselves in an open area. Trees no longer pressed in on the sides of the path and sense of expansiveness filled them. Strangely, this made them even more nervous and they faltered and clustered together. As if on cue a wind picked up and blew into their faces, gradually clearing the choking mist and giving them a view of the valley ahead.

A crazy, impossible, shear faced mountain loomed up in the near distance. It glittered in the growing twilight. Reflections were thrown from high ice shelves. Near the top, perched like some ridiculous woodcut of a German fantasy castle, sat a structure that defied rational architecture. It had spindly towers and spider web walkways. The party stared in awed silence for several minutes before Eduare broke the spell by speaking.

“I’ve seen better,” he said.

The bitter wind dropped a little and changed in texture. It became more solid, and wet. Sleet stung their faces. It got into the gaps around their necks and sleaves.

“I see a light,” Ernat pointed ahead.

Darkness was falling fast. Wolf howls seemed unpleasantly close. They spurred their worn out horses into ragged canters as the last light disappeared and the sleeting changed into heavy consistent snowing.

The first building they came to [Ravenloft randoms, 8 diamonds/5 diamonds] was an impressive stone structure with a black pool in the centre. It was obviously ancient, with classical pillars flanking the doorway.

“Roman baths,” said Dide.

The entrance was clear and trampled down. Moment by moment the falling snow coloured the muddy entrance, erasing the signal that the building was still in use. But no light shone from its portals, and Jurisco had an uneasy feeling about the place, so they keep going.

The next building [Ravenloft randoms, King spades/Ace clubs] was a destroyed schloss, an older castle, now reduced to rubble. As they picked their way through the wreck Ernat [25% chance to see who would notice] noticed that some of the rooms seemed more intact than others. Some seemed to have more flooring left [Ravenloft randoms, 10 Hearts] and he made a mental note to come back some time and see what was underneath.

At last they arrived outside what they took to be a public house threw open the doors. It was warm inside, and there was the smell of food of some kind. And thin beer.

“Well, well,” said Jurisco as he eyed the scene and clasped his crucifix, “what nest of heretics have we found here?”

**Just remembered that they have not lit their matches and primed their arkebuses. They are therefore armed only with their melee weapons, which will be longswords for the fighters, a warhammer of some sort for Jurisco, daggers for Dide, and a shorter style Italian stabbing sword for Ernat.

Good question. Do they have match cord for their matchlock carbines? [A sure thing, Yes.]

Open threads:
* Dide has critically not been to the eastern empire. What does that mean? (New character discovery: Dide does not like to appear ignorant. While he knows a lot of stuff if he does not know he just makes it up as he knows the others know no better.)
* What is the story with the mysteriously used Roman baths.
* What is the story with the destroyed schloss.
* What is beneath the floorboards at the schloss.
* Where are they that there can be high lands and coniferous forests in Flanders.
* Where have all the other travellers gone.
* What does Albergio’s dream mean.
* Will Eduare become a king and where is all this wine coming from.
* From where will the party get food and drink.
* Will the horses get fed before they die of starvation.
* Is Dide serious about cannibalism or is he just being an asshole as usual.