Journal Posts

Tag: fate

Chapter 1: Barovia
The heroes were not the only outlanders at the Blood on the Vine tavern. Two other travelers, adventurers from Faerun hired by the Lords' Alliance to deal with a band of marauding werewolves in the Misty Forest, had arrived in Barovia after being lost in the mists. The first was a burly half-orc man wearing chainmail and carrying a silvered greataxe. His name was Shokk, a paladin in service to Tyr. He was accompanied by Caxius, a ruddy-skinned tiefling warlock. There were others of their group that had become separated, and the duo didn't know if they had made it to the village safely. But having overheard the heroes' conversation with Ismark, they volunteered to aid the worried man's sister.

Night had fallen, and they hurried south through the village streets toward the Burgomaster's home. The cries of a woman issuing from a boarded up house attracted their attention though, and fearing the worst, the heroes stopped at a boarded-up home just south of the main square. Cira, Caxius, and Kyne made their way inside, and the rest cautiously followed. They found a grieving woman upstairs, clutching a little girl's doll with a tag that read "Is no Blinksy, is no fun!" They were able to calm the woman, Mad Mary, and discovered her teenage daughter Gertruda had gone missing. Promising to do what they could, the heroes left her to her grief and pressed on.

The burgomaster's mansion was old, the rusty iron gates were bent off their hinges, and the windows had been smashed out and boarded up. Ismark knocked on the door and was admitted by his sister, Ireena. She had curly auburn hair and was quite beautiful, but she was armed and suspicious. Ismark allayed her fears and brought the heroes inside. For weeks they had dealt with attacks in the night. Ireena said she had been seen by Strahd one evening as she returned from picking wild blackberries on the edge of the forest. Their father, Kolyan Indiriovich had died only a few nights ago, the strain of protecting his daughter too much for his heart to take. Teh former burgomaster lay in a coffin in the drawing room, wilting wildflowers surrounding his body.

Ireena Kolyana was no shrinking flower...

"We have been unable to bury him in the churchyard," Ismark confessed, "as the villagers will not help and Donavich, the priest of the Morninglord has turned us away. I do not know why, but he seemed upset and distracted. If you can help us survive the night, and bury our father, I would ask you to take Ireena from here. The town of Vallaki is found to the north, on the shores of Lake Zarovich. It is fortified, and its burgomaster Baron Vallkovich is a stern but just man."

The heroes rested for a few hours, and come midnight, the attack began. Caxius saw the mists rise around the Burgomaster's house, and dark figures move through the gates. Zombies. Rotted, fetid corpses shambling forward, led by a withered form in dark robes. "At them," it rasped, "take the girl and kill the rest!" They heard a crash upstairs, and Shokk ran upstairs to confront them. Cira moved to join him, but only after the cleric had raised her holy symbol and turned nearly half the zombies. Caxius and Evan blasted at them with magic, as the wight leading the zombies shattered the window with a spell, then blasted back with a lightning bolt! The zombies began to force their way in, and both Ireena and Ismark took up swords and began to slash and stab at the undead fiends. Kyne lurked by the door, taking shots with his bow and stabbing any that managed to push their way inside. Upstairs, a pair of zombies with wings made of flayed skin and broken bone had crashed in through the windows. Shokk and Cira hacked away at them, and Caxius joined them with magic moments later. The half-orc paladin grappled with one and they fell out the window, a blow from his axe ending it as both tumbled to the flagstones below. The wight attempted to flee, but was brought low by magic and blades. The attack was over.

The dawn came, and the heroes made their way to the church at the far end of town. It was in the shadow of a tall spire of stone, a spur of the great mountains, atop which stood a dark and massive castle - Castle Ravenloft, as they would learn. They made their way quietly into the church, and heard a man softly praying in the chapel. As they made their way forward, the voice of a young man cried out from below. "Father, help me! I am so hungry!" The chapel had been damaged, with many pews broken, and the church's exterior also showed signs of damage. The priest, Father Donavich, urged the heroes to leave, but Caxius, Kyne, and Shokk had gone looking for the source of the plaintive voice. They found a trapdoor that was chained shut, likely leading to the church's cellar and managed to open the padlock.

Doru's thirst could not be by blood.

Cira, Verity Starkiller, and Evan escorted Father Donavich to the cellar, as Caxius went to start preparing a snack for whoever was below. Descending into the cellar, the heroes saw a slender, bedraggled young man...with fangs and lean, feral features. This was Doru, the priest explained, his only son. A foreign wizard had come to the village weeks ago and led several of them on a crusade to destroy Strahd. They failed, and the wizard was apparently destroyed. Donavich only wished to save his son, now cursed with vampirism, but could only contain him. Cira tried to remove the curse upon him, but to no avail. The young vampire spawn bolted towards the stairs, clawing at Shokk and sinking his fangs into the half-orc's neck. Father Donavich tried to stop him and Verity with an incantation, but failed, and Kyne stuck the priest with a dagger. The half-orc paladin's blade, Evan's spells, and Cira's prayers managed to reduce the young man to ash. His father was grief-stricken, but Shokk's words comforted him, and he was able to mourn for his son and gather his ashes for burial. They broached the subject of Kolyan Indirovich's funeral, and Donavich agreed to bury him. "Come shortly before dawn, and we will hold the service then."

With aught else to do, the heroes went to the tavern for a drink and stopped by the mercantile house. The proprietor's prices were outrageous, and Cira thought twice about purchasing supplies. After talking with one of the Vistani women at the tavern, Shokk, Verity, and Evan decided to head to the Vistani encampment outside of town to have their fortunes told. The rest agreed to accompany them. As they crossed the river and reached the crossroads, they saw a gallows, and Kyne saw a vision of himself dangling form the noose. None of the rest had seen it, and the vision passed. Unnerved, he and the rest followed the trail to the pool at the foot of Tser Falls.

The Vistani encampment was lively, with men and women working, cooking, laughing, and drinking among a circle of wagons and tents. They joined the festivities and shared a few drinks, and one Vistana told of the wizard who had come, and how she saw he and Strahd battle atop the castle's ramparts, only for the wizard to plunge off into the falls. His body was never recovered. Thus warned about the dangers of Castle Ravenloft, the heroes made their way to Madam Eva's tent.

Madam Eva showed them their fate in the cards of the Tarokka.

She was an elderly woman, but wise and sly, and offered to tell their fortunes. Verity paid a silver coin, and the cards were drawn.

She saw that the knowledge to defeat Strahd could be found in a room with walls of bones and bone furnishings.
She saw that a man in a carnival wagon carried a talisman capable of warding off great evil.
She saw that a blade of light could be found in a fallen house that belonged to a dragon.
She saw that they would find an ally in a man with two faces and a song in his heart.
She saw that Strahd would only face them truly at the seat of his power.
She saw that one among them could not be trusted, and would prove false in the end.

Informed, if not enlightened, the heroes returned to the burgomaster's mansion to await the dawn. Cira had healed the wounds in Ireena's neck, removing the taint of vampirism from her. The night passed quietly, save for the howling of wolves from all around shortly after midnight. Shortly before the sun rose, the heroes helped bear Kolyan Indirovich's casket to the graveyard behind Barovia's church to the Morninglord.

The funeral of Kolyan Indirovich.

As dawn approached, the clouds rolled overhead and the thunder rolled. They could almost hear a voice on the wind saying, "she is mine!" Suddenly, the door of a nearby crypt burst asunder and a dozen graves erupted with earth as rotting bodies clawed their way to the surface. A trio of undead came forth from the crypt, two in rusted mail and carrying notched longswords, one with grayish skin covered in grave dirt. Cira raised her holy symbol, driving many of the zombies back, as Shokk ran up to engage the trio of dead warriors. One grabbed him, seeking to slam him to the earth, but the paladin resisted. Caxius joined him shortly, and the rest dispatched what zombies remained. The battle was over swiftly, and the heroes made sure Ireena and Ismark's father was laid to rest.

Father Donavich urged them to take her to the Abbey of Saint Markovia, in the village of Krezk, to the northwest. They would leave shortly, heading out before noon. It would take most of a day to reach Vallaki in the north. Despite the dawn, the sky was dark and a cold wind blew down from the mountains....
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Tags: Fate , Quest , Recap