We made our way back to Barovia. The woods seemed lighter though the sence of immeninent death was still lingering. There were no encounters on the road back, which was a relief. I kept thinking of the way that The Forest Fane had regarded Ivan. The Nymph had lingered long in looking at Ivan. As if his presence had given her pause. There is somthing about him that gives all of us pause. His time with us has been a strugle, though I think he is comming around. When we got to town there were people out working rebuilding children playing. We heared some one say “Thats them, the ones who lifted the curse… White Rabbit.” Many people waved or greeted us with kind words as we went towards Lady Ashlins room at the Inn. An old woman stood in the door way of her home. She pointed to the sky then to us then to her heart.” Save our lands.” I could read the words on her lips. Had we come to yet another place wrought with opression and pain. There was so much to be done. We openind the door to the inn. At first I thought the light from outside was playing tricks with me. Sister Lanora was sitting next to a Dragonbourne that looked incredibly like Hesken. When he spoke I knew it was our beloved friend. “Hello my friends. Good to see you well.” Lanora was smiling and began to laugh. Kef charged through me knocking me to the side he grabbed Heskan in a bear hug and lifted him off the ground. Hesken belched out a laugh. Then I came and embrased my old friend. Maulin was behind us grabbing all three of us in a Big Bug Bear hug. Lanolin was embrasing Sister Lanora tears of joy were on both of thier faceses. ” I couldn’t bear to burry him. Praise the Gods I was too weak to say good bye!”she told Lanolin. I looked at Hesken tears filled my eyes ” I’m sorry we left you behind. I’m sorry we failed you.” Hesken smiled, He seemed to have a glow about him. “Don’t say such things my brother. You never failed me. The actions we all took were all part of our role in this life. you all gave me a chance to restore my honor, and Bahamut decided my part in this tale was not over.” “Well I could of told him that!” Kef interupted. We all laughed long and hard. Lady Ashlin had the barmaid bring us all a round of drinks. She looked solum, her friends were still in her room waiting for our spells to bring them back to the living. “Fear not Lady Ashlin we have not forgotten our promice. Before this day is out you will have a reunion of your own.” Hesken heared me, and added “Yes the lady and I were well met. She told me of your Valor, and courage in this town. She also told me of many other things you have uncovered in this land.” Maulin finally spoke, ” There is plenty of time for all. First tell us how you managed to be among the living again.” “Things are a blur for me right now, but as time passes I seem to remember more. I remember being in the presence of my Holy Father after we spoke I awoke to Lanora over my body there were tears on her cheeks. At first I thought I was the only survivor from the tower. Untill Linora told me what had happined, you guys killing a Dragon, and Desmund sealing the portal.” He was holding her hand while he talked about her. “She prayed over me. To all the gods of light and goodness I think there is more than one God who would see us succseed in our mission.” “Lets hope so.” Kef laughed “Come lets sit, and drink to your return. There is much to tell you.” Heskan paused, and looked at Ivan. He had been standing behind us with the untouched mug of ale Ashlin had brought him. His look said he was bored, tired, and iritated. “Got a vision problem?” Ivan spoke to Hesken with an air of sarcasm. “No the vision I had was clear. Be wary of those who dont see the path before them. Thats what My Lord Bahamut said.” “I see lots of paths.” Ivan said like he knew what he was talking about. I spoke to him “You see too many paths they distract you from the one we have chosen.” “The path you choose is a fools road. You go about your life seeking to do the will of your God. I see him using you like a puppet, A play thing, to entertain him and mabe conjure the Ire of beings far beyond your realm of contention. All you will do on your path is die a poor death.”....A long pause then. “Why is he here?” Hesken asked with a look I had seen before. ” I’ve been asking myself the same question for three weeks now.” Kef said and sat forward with his hand on the shaft of his spear. “Ivan has a problem dealing with people.” I tried to explain to Hesken. “No I have a problem with you, and your friends alwayse putting me in stupid situations that I really don’t want to be in. I have a problem with Desmund Ardent, believing I could actually put up with the lot of you, or with all of your foolishness. What are you trying to achieve here in Barovia? Some holy quest? Is it Manifest Destiny that brings you here to cleanse the land of evil? Who are you to decide what is good and evil. I bet if the Vistani knew what we did to thier camp of gypseys they might see you as the monster!” Maulin shifted forward in the chair he was setting in. “Thats the most you have said since we have known you. I’m getting the idea you don’t care for us too much.”The Bug Bear spoke sarcasticly. Lanny stood up and got right in Ivans face. Her hands were clentched into fists. “I think that Desmund might have made a mistake.” “I know he did.” Ivan interupted. “You guys think your actions will result in any real change? I think you are all crazier than I ever thought I was. And I’m sick of being in these lands!” “Then Go. I no longer care if Desmund Ardent commands you to travel with us. He has not had to bear the burden of your stupidity. Return to him and tell him your services are NOT WANTED!” Lanolin shouted the final words. Ivan smiled then turned, and looked at all of us trying to disern our thoughts. “Good at least I won’t die a foolish pawn of the gods!” He looked at Kef with a glare that was ment to taunt the Dwarf. “You have any thing you want to add shorty?” I put my arm on Kefs shoulder and gave him an ancious glance. “Ignore him. Just let him go.” Kef only smiled “You be careful out there. I wouldn’t stay around here long. One of your card player friends wasn’t at the camp. He is probbly in town. I bet he would be real interested to know that you have parted ways with us.” Ivan smiled “I just might go and make new friends.” “THEN GO ALREADY!” Heakan shouted smoke billowing from his mouth as if he were trying to hold back the power of his fire breath. Ivan slowly backed out of the room. Opening the door behind him, as he left. His final act was to look directly at me and spit out a sarcastic “Pray for me father.” he laughed then closed the door quietly behind him. Lady Ashlin broke the silence “Well he was a real Ghoul.” We all laughed, but it was more to relieve the tension we had all just felt. “Lets get your friends among the living again.” I smiled and motioned for Lanolin to come with me to Ashlin’s room where her friends lay in waiting. “Guess Im going to have start praying as well.” Lanny smiled and kissed Heskan on the cheek. Sister Lanora’s eyes got real wide. Then she smiled and offered to help with the rituals. “I am pleased that the gods have given you power over the dead you will need it in these lands I fear.” I smiled “You better believe it. Barovia is very unforgiving.” The four of us left Maulin, Kef, and Heskan at the table to catch up, and drink up. We would stay the night at the Inn, and rest when we could. Hesken was the lightning bolt we all needed. He had brought life back into our hearts. We all fealt a renewal of purpose, and the joy of a Reunoin and Departure.