It’s happening dear listeners. A break in the shadows. A bastion that held against the hawks swirling around our sheep and vigilant wolves. Hurt. Tired. Empty. But alive. And with life comes strength, weary or no. And with strength, victory is made possible. Even now I ache as I lean over my journals, recounting their tales and pains. They have come so far, nearly broken and failing, my words spilling unbidden in attempts to salvage them. But here the resolute are made, and directions are chosen.

Here we begin to see heroes, and see their cloying burgeoning chance to cling at hope.
Please join with me to pray that it does not strangle them.

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The dark was not something that frightened most folks of Innistrad. The dark’s embrace simply held most things that one should rightly be scared of. But it was in this setting sun that the chiseled visage of Strephan Maurer surrounded by splendor flickered the telltales signs of fear. We know it not to be terror of the fight before him, his fervor and slick confidence could never escape him before a fight. Yet in this velvet chamber flickering with the lapping tongues of candlelight he seemed at a loss. It was something less than anger but greater than sorrow. Selfish, wallowing, and haughty. Yet there was still such pride in this man, that he swallowed it all. And with a sweep of his hands snuffing his bothersome flames, submitted himself to the night.

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Bone dust, bone dust… The Church folks wanted bone dusts. The vile siblings stirred in their home, the scent of sickly sweet pastries and dried fungus melding in their breaths. Whispers amongst them, some wordless, some stated to express the feeling. Bone dust he wants. The church folks step back at the word of the witch boy, but sit idly by at the works of their magics. The black mana, seeping from the swamps and fetid places of the valleys, the fallen cities and graves. More scoffs. More shuffling. But then the question comes: Would we avoid such magic?

The crones had persisted. They were practically features of the land, though not all visited their decrepit home for fear and rumor, let alone the avoidant signs of life on the inside. Peddling pastries made from questionable things, things the consumers wouldn’t want to know fueling their dreams and peace. But what was persisting in the face of change. What was existing against the path of magic.

Morgantha, oldest, grown brazen in her fell confidence leaves first. Her sisters follow after, packing their goods and ingredients with low grumble. There would be no home to return to in the face of these slayers. They want to argue, to trap, to plot. But Morgantha is not one to lose an argument. They know her answer as it echoes painfully through their shriveled minds:

“The stirrings of the dead and the rise of hungry magic are the change in this land. And that change will bear us to greater heights. Be patient sisters. And for now: Serve.”

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Plotting in secret was a hallmark of Innistrad. Scientists in labs slaving over slabs and vials or nobles and vampires confined to winding towers and darkened rooms lit only by whispering candlelight. Which is why it was so refreshing to the crystal eyes of Inghild to see the tinkerer working in the open, stacking heaps of slag and salvage toward his plans. He wasn’t tireless, but he was dedicated. She exhaled, some emotion between exhaustion and disappointment buried beneath placidity as she tightened her pale grip on the shattered neck of the still straining vampire at her side. Keeping it a secret forever would be impossible. But perhaps with some effort, it could be played down. Perhaps this was the first step to stopping him. She gave a light calculated grin as she vanished back into the embracing shroud of needles and leaves. Things were going… Deliciously.

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Magic is a fickle thing. All practitioners know this whether their origins are holy or otherwise. Their intricacies twist and unravel into infinite threads of possibility, from which those lucky strands that are able to be made manifest coalesce as force. From mana to spell. From spell to action.

Viktor hated magic. Not the power it gave him, no that was useful. That let him be more than his skinny frame could be as he trudged the dark hills toward the sleeping giant of the windmill. What he hated was the esoteric rules. They way it pushed back against him. He drifted up the tired worn wooden steps to move to rap on the door.

He had done so much correct and so much still escaped him. The circle he made failed, sending wait staff in pieces to his yards. His undead creations limited and small cramped up in the attic, mostly the bodies of cats he took from the town. But he had practiced and learned. He waited, heart in throat as the noise of shuffling footsteps approached him. Hopefully those sacrifices were enough to prove himself, as the door creaked open.
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