Author Topic: Badescu and Family - Tales of Barovia  (Read 216 times)

The Doorman

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Badescu and Family - Tales of Barovia
« on: July 28, 2020, 04:29:07 PM »
Badescu & Family: Tales of Barovia


This is a compendium of biographies and tales from members of the Badescu, Ciobanu, and other related families as well as their friends and associates. They are of the common people of Vallaki and other Barovian villages, and though they vary in theme and style, they all have two things in common: family, and fear of the night.


To The Bone: Darius Badescu
Part 1
Part 2

Just Like You Wanted: Marius Badescu
Part 1

The Sheperd: Sorin Ciobanu
Part 1

« Last Edit: July 31, 2020, 10:44:53 PM by The Doorman »
Lucius Von Braccen
He will fight no longer.

Darius Badescu
He remembers.

Thanks for reading.

The Doorman

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To the Bone (Part 1)
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2020, 04:02:20 PM »

To the Bone
The Dreams of Darius Badescu

Part 1: The Hand and the Door

Do you remember, many years ago, when I first told one of motherís stories?

It was a story that gave us all nightmares, us and the neighbor children also. Do you remember? It is the tale of choking water. Black bilious depths that close upon rod and line and craft and man like coils of the serpent. It is the tale of the water that feels, thinks, hates, and hunts. It is a tale like many others, but I saw how the others tried to laugh and put on their bravest of faces. I wished to see them try to laugh for me. Perhaps the laugh would be real, or perhaps I would beat them in this challenge. A challenge like when we played with sticks as swords on the shore, and we are yelled at to stop, or we will scare away the fish.

Do you remember? I told the story. I did not tell the story well, I think. No one laughed for me. No one feared. Perhaps because they knew the story already, but I was very young, and not good at telling stories. Come the morning, at the shore, there was a fish. A dead fish, but fresh. But when they took the fish and cut itís belly, what spilled forth was foul and acrid, as if it had died and laid in sun and filth just long enough to ripen.

Do you remember how there seemed to be more humors within the fish than flesh? I remember this.

That was the first time I went to sit with mother in her room, to sit as she does when she tells her stories but cannot listen. That was the first time I did not know the sun for many days. That was the first time I was clumsy, so very clumsy. To close my own hand in the door, not once, but twice? It was so very clumsy of me. I am fortunate, I think, that mother could not see or hear. I did not wish to trouble her. She does not remember, but that is all right. I do not wish to trouble her now, either.

Did you know the boat is sinking? It rots now, it warps and crumbles. Itís nets cannot be repaired. Fish flee from it like it is plague. The ones we catch are small or sick. Brother is a very good fisherman. It is not his fault.

When Uncle came last winter to see the boat and try to mend it, he asked if I had told any of motherís stories to anyone. I had not. I have not in many seasons, but I was still sent to sit with mother, when the clouds stay too long, when illness strikes the shore, when the Night is too cold, too loud, too dark. I am of poor health and spirit, I cannot go outside if it is not safe.

The boat cannot be mended. Brother must go beyond the lake to find more work. I will go with him, because I am well for now. Brother needs me, and I can be strong for him. Little Nica from down the path comes too, and we will look out for each other. We will be safe, together, and be home soon.

Do you remember when you said we must not go to Vallaki? You said outlanders clung to it, like fleas, like mange. They breathe vraja, court fey, pray to iadul, you said. You said Vallaki was sick, and when I did not remember, and asked again to go, you said I was sick also, and the ill in me sought companions, as it is in motherís story of the child with the bone-yellow blanket. I remember because that was the day I played with your best knife while I waited, and cut my thumb very badly. I remember Brother helped me. He has always helped me when I am hurt or sick, as he does for mother, as he did for you.

I must help him in return, Father. Please do not worry. We all have each other. If I grow sick again, I promise I will go home right away. I promise Mother and Brother and Uncle and my cousins and all the men of the shore will be safe. I will not make trouble for them.

And do not worry, Father. I remember I am saying too much. I remember it is not safe to tell stories to anyone. I remember the dead fish, its putrid guts, and my hand and the door. I remember, but do not worry.

My stories cannot hurt a man already dead.
Lucius Von Braccen
He will fight no longer.

Darius Badescu
He remembers.

Thanks for reading.


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Re: Badescu and Family - Tales of Barovia
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2020, 04:09:47 PM »
Marius Badescu - Just like you wanted
Part 1: Dear Mother

Dear Mother,

Piotr passed last winter. I had him buried in the southern wood, in Uncle's plot, as far away from you as I could manage.

We didn't last much longer after then. The boat rotted, the poles lost their spring, the lines frayed. So we went to Vallaki.

 I brought Darius, just like you wanted.

He remembers your stories, is learning a few of his own. He's worried he's going to get sick again, and I see him reminded of it when he struggles to hold a bottle. To pick something up. To sew a patch onto clothes.

I don't know how to tell him that his hands remind me of yours. How you closed your hands in that same door. How you cut yourself on Piotr's best fishing knife too. He doesn't remember these things and I don't know if I should tell him.

I don't know if I should tell him that Piotr and I went on a fishing trip after he got sick. Piotr stunk of Krofburg Ale just like everytime someone got their hand caught in a door, everytime someone slipped with his best fishing knife.

Piotr fell on that trip. He closed his hands in the box we used to store the fish, his legs too. He fell again and blackened his eye.

He couldn't walk so well after he fell. He couldn't repair the boat, build new fishing poles, twist new lines. He got sick too, and he passed.

So we went to Vallaki. We got as far away from Piotr and his doors and his knives.

Just like you wanted.

Little Lotte

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Re: Badescu and Family - Tales of Barovia
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2020, 04:16:18 PM »
Sorin Ciobanu - The Shepherd

The baying of the wolves was a constant fear to the life of a shepherd. Their flock was their livelihood and the loss of even one could set them back months. The Ciobanu family had cultivated and protected their flock for many generations, renowned for their quality wool and choice cuts of meat that often saw their village of Berez through the long winter months.
So when the barking and howling of the nearby pack of wolves drew closer, Sorin acted without much thought. The eldest of the Ciobanu children, he had worked the land with his father since he was old enough to hold shears, he understood the importance of their work not only to his family but to the people of their village. His heavy foot falls sounded thickly on the wood floor as he scrambled to yank his trousers up, dressing quickly to run out the back door, his calloused hands grabbing the only instrument available to him; a rake and he took off into the pasture.
The bleating of the sheep was all he heard now, nervous and grateful, his very presence bringing a great calm to the four legged beasts. Turning his head now, he glanced back at the farmstead and could see candles flickering in the windows; his family would be awake now and would soon come to help. A shrill scream pierced the air then, cracking the tension that had built up in his muscular frame and his neck twisted, to bring his eyesight away from the house and back towards the woods at the edge of their property.

His bare feet moved before he could stop himself, propelling his body quickly towards the scream. He barely heard the sound of his father's voice calling out from behind him, the urgency in his voice lost on Sorin as he drew nearer to the source of the screaming. It was animalistic, tortured and inhuman. It sent chills down the man's spine and a slick sheen of sweat formed all over his body as he ran, pushing himself further.

The acrid smell of blood reached his hooked nose next and fear washed over him. He was too late. A mass of clouds slithered across the sky then, covering the moon that had shone overhead to illuminate the pasture, now though all had gone dark. When he looked behind him, he could no longer see the candles of his home nor could he hear the sounds of his father. He was alone. His throat worked as he swallowed back his fear and took a much more careful step forward, following the sounds of snapping and crunching.

With the old rake still clutched in his hands he carried on closer, his bare feet snapping twigs and brush underneath. A hiss escaped his lips as a thorn caught itself in the pad of his foot, the sound drawing the attention of the monsters he sought. Two pairs of eyes shone back at him in the dark of the wood, red and malevolent. A low growl caught on the air, a warning to go back from where he came for this would be his only chance.

His father's voice could be heard again then, closer now, so close. Sorin did not dare move, nor break eye contact with the beasts. "Sorin! Son! Your mother!" There was an obvious fear in the simple words his father called out, so much so that it made his heart slow and his skin crawl.

"Sorin! Don't look! Come back, my boy! Come back!"
It was then that the wind picked up, the leaves on the trees rustled and swayed, the warning from his father swept away as if by a malevolent force. The wolves in front of him began a series of calls, hacking barks as if jeering at the young Barovian man and then it all went silent. The glowing eyes of the creatures were gone and with the wind, the clouds had made their journey across the moon, letting the sparse light illuminate the dense forest he had found himself in.

His dark eyes widened in horror as he took in the scene. The blood he had smelled was everywhere, splattered and smeared along the forest floor and soaking into the dirt. Shredded clothing, with a floral pattern, was caught in a blackberry bush, the thorns having caught it as she fled.


His body moved on instinct before his mind could tell it to stop. Only ten paces. That was as far as he had gone before he found her. His mother. She had been torn open, her throat a gaping maw. Her lovely features were screwed into an expression of terror, her arm outstretched on the ground in the direction of their home, desperate for someone to help her.

He had no idea how he ended up on his knees, but when his father finally reached him Sorin had pulled the remains of his mother into his lap. He clung to her, rocking back and forth as she had done for him so many times in his youth. Tears streamed down his face to mingle with the splotches of his mother's blood that he now wore, staining his threadbare shirt.

ďIím here, Mama. Iím here. You arenít alone.Ē He cooed out the words softly, resting his cheek to her slick forehead, he desperately needed not to focus on her lifeless eyes as they pointed fearfully to the sky.

Time moved slowly around him, he never put her form down, not even when he felt the strong hand of his father on his shoulder, nor the muffled retching of his brother Nelu. He simply held her there, protecting her from whatever else may seek to harm them there in the woods.

And in the distance, the mocking howling of wolves could be heard.

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To the Bone (Part 2)
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2020, 10:44:19 PM »
Part 2: A Bad Dream, and Nothing More

Do you remember when Brother and little Nica would race the other children at the lakeside?

They were always the fastest. No one could outrun them. Others would race with them. Others would try. But they are fastest. Brotherís legs are long, Nica runs as if on air. I could not race, but I could hear. I could close my eyes and see it. Hear the other children laugh and jeer and try to curse with words their fathers taught them. I remember the time they raced to the edge of the woods and returned. I remember you told them they could not go so far, should not go near the woods. You asked mother to tell the story of the little girl with the house on a hill, whose mother told her she could go anywhere she chose, as long as home was in the corner of her eye. I remember how the story ends, when fog and cloud hides the house, and the little girl cannot find her way home. You did not like when the stories were told, but I know why you had it told to them. You did not want Brother and Nica to lose their way home.

You forgot that is not what the story means, but that is all right. I will remember it for you. The little girl with the house on the hill could not find her way home, because she did not know the world when she could not see it. The little girl did not know how to find her way home, because she was not taught how to find the way home. The story is not about the little girl at all, it is about the mother. How she wished only the best for her child, and instead created the perfect condition for her child to die. It is a sad story, but many of motherís stories are sad.

Mother told the story three times after she told it to you. You did not stay to listen, because she was shut away, but it is all right. I know what you wanted. You wanted Brother and Nica to stay away from the woods. And once you were gone, they did not remember.

Brother has been working very hard. Even when I am resting, reading, when I am home with mother, he goes farther than you ever let us go. He does important work for the warehouse men. The three of us work there, and because we are young and strong, none of us have to eat fish. We can drink with our meals, and I have even ridden the ferry now, that you always said was run by a gambler and thief so we could not go near it.

Did you know the ferryman does not remember you? Perhaps because you were unkind to him.

I remember the story of the race to Sullen Wood because of something that has happened. Brother says I have had one of motherís dreams, I have remembered one of motherís stories, but it is just a story I remember. This will make you angry, Father, but it is all right. I will tell this story only to you.

We went east, the way you have never gone. We had things to carry and we would be paid to carry them. We saw the stone fist of Wachter, the strong outpost Zeklos, the hard working men that live there. We were given letters to carry home, and we had goods also for the Lodge. We would cut through the wood, brother said, so we would not be caught outside in the night. He and Nica raced, and I followed. I cannot remember getting to race with them, and I was happy.

But night is more than the setting of the sun. In the deep shadow of the woods, there are wolves that carry the night in them. The trees bind close like laced fingers against the sun, and night is there like a fog. There are things like men, also, but not men at all. Things that hunger and slaver like the wolves but are night itself.

Brother and Nica are very fast. They raced quickly. ĎRuní, brother called, and we ran. We ran as if the sun was setting.

But I am not fast. I remember it was cold before it hurt. I remember it was cold all over. I remember cold like rain on my ankle, my leg, my hand, my wrist. I remember I fell and the cold finding me, in pieces, and it pulled my warmth away. I remember I wanted only to curl into myself and be warm. I wanted to sleep there, on the forest floor, and not have to feel what I felt. I do not remember if I slept. I do not remember if the cold stopped. I do not remember when my warmth was gone.

I remember stone and quiet. The smell of candles. I remember thinking the stone beneath me was as warm as any bed, and the colors of Ezra on many banners. I remember a man in black telling me to stand, to come, and I remember following him from that place intoÖ the night.

Night. I remember the night. I remember the sky. I remember the moon. I remember the stars. I remember just beyond the light, shadows of men that were not men walked in stumbling silence. And I remember this man in black, this hollow space in the color of night, and I remember his words to me. ďRun. Follow the road until you are safe. Do not look back. Do not turn away. Take this, and in time, I will come to collect my debt from you. Do you understand?Ē And when I told him I did, he said in parting: ďI will not permit the Blood of Balok to falter.Ē

And with a passing of his hand, some cold and clinging vraja, he erased my being. I was not as afraid as I should have been. I was the color of night. I could not see my hand before my face, I could not cover my eyes for I had no hand at all. But I could feel the ground give beneath my feet. I could feel the manís gift in my hand. And I could remember what he told me, so I did as I was told. I ran, I ran, I ran in the cold, past wolves and stumbling men that are not men, until I reached the gates of Zeklos. I begged them to let me in, but I could not be seen, so they would not. I stayed there, waited, until the vraja was gone, and asked again, and they let me in. I went to the resting house there and it was quiet. There were no hardworking men, there were no friends, no family, no outlanders, no one to receive me. The owner did not have so much as a word for me, but how could he have a word for so fool a boy as I, to run about when night has fallen over Barovia?

I looked then to see what the hollow manís gift for me was. A bag, full of golden fangs. Hundreds of fangs. More coin than I and Brother and Little Nica had made in days of work. More coin than I had ever seen. If the boat still lived, with this coin perhaps I could have saved it, and still had coin to spare. What would I do? What could I do? I remember so many stories of hollow men with hands full of fangs. I remember so many stories of fools and thieves that find riches and grow to greed, to madness, to sickness, like the men of the mountain are sick. I do not want to be sick anymore, so I did not do as others do. I spent only the coin for cold potatoes, for soft cheese, and for tsuika. My first tsuika, my first drink. You did not drink tsuika, you and Little Nicaís father hated tsuika. I remember you would say, and Nica says still, that it does not matter. That cheaper drink would get a man drunk sooner. That tsuika was a waste.

Father, I like tsuika. And there in that quiet inn, my first night alone, without Brother, without Mother, without family, with tears in my clothes, my bow lost to the woods, and the fangs of a hollow man in my pocket, I drank my first tsuika, and I liked it. And I did not forget my way home, father, because when the sun returned, when I went back out onto the road, home found me. Brother and little Nica were there, and they held me and said I was well.

I wanted to tell Brother the story, but he told me I had a bad dream. He said I must have grown tired from following them, and slept in a bush in the woods. He said I was lucky to be safe, and he was happy to see me. When I told him my bow was gone, when I told him of the hollow man, he did not listen. Not like mother does not listen, but like you did not listen to mother, when she told the story a second time, a third time. ďIt was a bad dream, Brother,Ē he told me. ďA bad dream, and nothing more.Ē

I do not know what he wants forgotten. Does he want me to forget the hollow man in the wood, the coin, the wolves?

Does he want me to forget the fall, the cold, the color of the night?

Or does he just want me to forget that I was alone?

I do not want to forget any part of this dream. Not the cold. Not the hurt. Not the fear.

Because the dream ends with Brother and Nica and an embrace.

It ends with family. Together again.

So it is worth it.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2020, 01:49:59 PM by The Doorman »
Lucius Von Braccen
He will fight no longer.

Darius Badescu
He remembers.

Thanks for reading.