FifthColumn's Curse of Strahd

Canto the First

Last Rites

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill’d into a selfish prayer for light.

—Lord Byron, Darkness

Today at Dawn:
-Our heroes agreed to help Ismark Kolyanovich in exchange for assistance in reaching Madame Eva‘s Vistani encampment and later Vallaki.
-Ismark introduced them to his sister, Ireena Kolyana (alive, foxy, but certainly problematic: bitten twice by a vampire she called Strahd) and their father, Burgomaster Kolyan Indirovich (dead and still a problem)
-Their house was besieged nightly by wolves and worse things trying to get in. After father’s heart gave out, the attacks stopped.
-They asked the Outlanders to help bury father. Ismark wants to get Ireena away from the village to safety.
-They agreed, and transferred the coffin to the Church. Aethelred plugged the mule deficiency personally.
-They met Donavich, the priest. They heard the starved screams of Donavich’s son, Doru, who he said is a vampire, in the Undercroft.
-The group left Donavich, Ireena, and Orin to tend to father’s body. They stopped at Bildrath’s and found that the prices are exorbitant. Sydney bought Woodcarver’s tools anyway.
-Ismark led them toward the Vistani camp at the Tser Pool. On the way, the group was attacked by needle blights. Ismark proved he was no slouch in a fight.
-There was an old gallows. As they turned their backs to it, the corpse of a Barovian commoner appeared to everyone but Sydney, who instead saw her own corpse staring back at her. It dissipated when she touched it.
-Madame Eva told them many things STUFF HERE
-The Vistani told them a story of a Wizard who tried to fight the vampire Strahd. They tried to sell the outlanders potions that would “let them walk through the mist unharmed”. The party smelled a scam. They also tried to give the outlanders free wine, but only Aethelred was actually smart enough to really drink it. It was good wine (better than the stuff in Barovia).
-The party returned to the village. At the church, Ireena told them Orin had gone away and said not to wait for him.
-The party, expecting an attack overnight would try to hinder the funeral or take Ireena, busied themselves with reinforcing the church’s windows making Holy Water flasks, and Sydney even going so far as to set traps outside the front and side of the church.
-Liveth set up a sniper nest in the bell tower. The others stood vigil. Donavich slept/prayed/ranted. Doru screamed in the basement. Ireena tried to sleep.
-At Midnight, Liveth saw a macabre but spectacular procession as hundreds of glowing specters of non-Barovian looking people rose from the cemetery and marched silently toward Castle Ravenloft.
-The attack began at 3 a.m. with 6 zombies shuffling out of the woods in red and black livery toward the church. Liveth and Sydney took shots from the bell tower, Alistair fired Eldritch Blasts (which curiously looked entirely different tonight than this morning) through gaps in the boarded windows. Aethelred called roots from the ground to entangle the undead and an extremely effective Moonbeam to rend them with radiance. Rurik and Ismark kept guard over the front doors and Ireena’s bedroom.
-The zombies began to fall, but a few began to break through the fortifications. Aethelred magically mended the snapped boards while Liveth and Sydney dropped to the main roof to continue with ranged support. Rurik left his post at the door to block the zombies’ progress. He lopped the arm from one, only to learn that it continued to attack. Ismark similarly ran to the outlanders’ aid. Soon, the zombies were vanquished.
-Rurik ran to check the main doors which remained barred, and to check Ireena who had vanished. He found her somnambulantly unlocking the undercroft where Doru was still screaming ravenously. Frantically, Rurik carried her to the priest’s office and planted her there.
-Aethelred summoned his Moonbeam over the open trapdoor and heard anguished howls and sizzling flesh below.
-Rurik returned, slammed the trapdoor and threw himself bodily over it. He was surprised to find the vampire shove the door and him aside easily.
-Doru emerged, an emaciated waif, barechested and bloodshot. The heroes unleashed spells, blades, arrows, and holy water at the creature, who, while ravaged by the attacks, was not dissuaded from its purpose. Cornered, he scaled the walls effortlessly on fingers and toes and desperately scuttled through to the main hall, where he set upon the near-catatonic Donavich who had kept him prisoner and starved him for a year. The outlanders finally destroyed the foul thing, but not before he had killed and drained the priest behind his own altar.

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