Curse of Strahd
I started having really weird dreams a while back. As time when on, the dreams became increasingly vivid and lucid; and the scenes that played out in front of me were eerily familiar. Night after night, I’d feel myself inside of strange but familiar characters. Sometimes I’d look down at the old tattered clothing of a pauper and notice the grumble of my hungry stomach; other times I could feel delicate silk shirts hanging from my body and catch glimpses of an exquisitely manicured visage in a mirror. Sometimes I was old, sometimes young, but no matter what changed in my person, there was always this sameness I could not shake. I know it sounds crazy, but over time I realized that these were not dreams at all, they were memories and visions of past lives.
Often times the visions would be intense and violent. I would feel immense power emanating from my core in heated moments of battle. Facing off against foes of all shapes and sizes, I found myself accessing otherworldly energy flowing through my veins. However, amidst the awesome feelings of magic, I had a nagging sense that I was not in full control of my power – that I was more servant than master. There was something deeper – shrouded in secrecy – something that none of my past selves did not seem all that eager to face.
The memories became so encompassing that I had a tough time staying focused while working. On more than one occasion, I completely forgot essential details about a mark and almost slipped up in the middle of a con. I always ended up on my feet, of course, but there were some close calls that might have raised the eyebrows of my “colleagues”, that is, if most of them weren’t thickheaded brutes.
A couple of weeks ago, I was hired for a gig, and it seemed like a pretty sweet one. All I had to do was to snag a gold embroidered snakeskin book from some shmuck. When the time came to run the con, it didn’t take me long to get a handle on the mark. I quickly convinced him that we needed to have a private conversation in his personal study, hoping to at least case out the joint. As he led me down a hallway towards his study I took notice of the sound of a few sets of footsteps following behind us. He took a seat at the desk and began talking, and the book was there…sitting right atop his desk, ripe for the taking. Forgetting that I might have to contend with whatever bodies those feet that I’d heard were attached to, I whipped out a dagger and told him to sit still and shut up. I snagged the book, catching a mix of fear and surprise from the poor shmuck. Of course it was at that moment that I heard the door behind me creak open and I whipped around to see two thuggish brutes standing right in front of my nose.
As I quickly sorted out my options (I probably wouldn’t do well in an all out fight – even one of those thugs would probably be too beefy for me to handle), the solution came to me as if in a dream. Grasping at a power I didn’t know existed within me, pure instinct took over. I felt magical energy flow out of me and watched the guards immediately fall to the ground snoring. I heard a stumble from behind me, and I turned to see that the shmuck had also fallen fast asleep, snoring comfortably in his chair. I swiftly but casually sauntered out of the shmuck’s compound to go get real paid.
Ever since then I’ve been practicing on my own, and I think I’ve actually gotten pretty good…course I’ve only been playing solitaire (save for the occasional rat or stray that I’ve been using as targets). I know that magic users are supposed to be high class, so I started inventing mannerisms and characteristics that I thought would project myself as classy as hell. This whole noble spell caster thing has become such an easy and natural con, that I’ve even started to fool myself.