The Marx Brothers Missions: Operation Ravenloft

Madam Eva's fortune-telling

The gypsy leader Madam Eva provided them with....well, perhaps useful, even vital information, or perhaps nothing more than the ramblings of an old woman. Her predictions for their near-future were based on the drawing of six cards from an old, well-worn deck. The first card turned was a Ten of Diamonds (how odd for the four adventurers to see a normal deck of playing cards in this world so different from their own!). The old woman's voice croaked as she interpreted this card. "This card", said she, "is a symbol of great power. It tells of a powerful force for good and protection against the forces of darkness. This is in a place of dizzying heights that all loathe to travel. The road winds ever upward and the rocks themselves live here! The diamond blesses your skill here, but bodes poorly for your protection." She paused before turning over the second card, a Seven of Diamonds. "This card tells of history. Knowledge of the ancient may help you understand a foe. You may find this amid the ruins of a place of supplication. Again, the diamond will in this place bless your skills but curse your protection." The third card, a Jack of Hearts was turned. "Ah! I see darkness and evil behind this card. Your foe is a powerful man whose enemy is light, and whose powers are beyond mortality. You will find him with a fallen prince of old. The brother of dark is light and he rests in this place. There is a very good influence there. If you are there, the powers of good will aid you."

As though fatigued by her efforts, Madam Eva closed her eyes and breathed deeply, quickly. Her eyes opened, seeming to stare into a distant place, as she turned over the fourth card, an Ace of Spades. "This card is good for you, and bad. It is a card of power and strength, the victor's card. It tells of a weapon of light, a weapon with a vengeance. But it is in a very bad place, in the very heart of darkness: his home, his source. The place is his center, and his life. It is the one place to which he must return." As the old gypsy-woman speaks, there is a short pause after each "he" and "his", as if she must battle with the simple pronoun for control of her speech. "The spade is a dark shadow of evil cast over that place. You fight under its influence there."

The next card, the fifth, was turned over quickly, as though Madam Eva fearing lingering over the Ace of Spades. This card was a Four of Clubs. She peered at the card, then closed her eyes. "This card shows the object of your quest. A book, yet more than that, the ultimate beginning of the inevitable end, watching and waiting....." A pause, then, "It is hidden behind one of the heroes, as it was so long ago when the fates decreed this domain should be created. To find it may bring about two victories, but at a great cost. The club sustains your strength in this place, but holds you from victory."

The old woman's eyes opened again as she turned over the sixth and final card, a Jack of Diamonds. "And here, here is the root card. Out of darkness and chaos, this card finds the reason and foundation for darkness and chaos. This card shows the purpose of all things. It is the key to life and death and else beyond. The darkness loves a light and desires it. Great subtle plans are in motion about you; plans that the dead may find warmth from the living."

Further attempts to get information from Madam Eva were in vain. So, despite little more than vague knowledge of the enemy they faced, they planned their assault on Castle Ravenloft.