A place to sleep - The Fading 12th - 1503
We continue further into the village Barovia in search of an inn to spend the night. The "Blood of the Vine" inn seems to be the only establishment which might have a spare room. Inside we see a couple of Vistani at one table and a very nice looking lady sitting alone at another.
We order some wine and Lowna asks the innkeeper about the rooms. She's pointed towards the stairs and she goes upstairs to get a nights sleep. The lady joins us at our table and tells us she's in desperate need of help to get her father burried. Apparently noone in the village dares to help out. I think it will benefit us to have an allie in this weird country so I tell her we'll definately help her out to the best of our abilities. In return she well help us out with our quest to rid the land of the curse.
She tells us she'll pick us up the next morning and she quickly heads home, appearing a little skittish. Once its time to get some sleep I learn the rooms are rather small so I order an additional room for myself and I go upstairs.
A funeral and a vampire - The Fading 13th - 1503
The next morning as we agreed, Ireena comes and picks us up at the inn. We follow her to her mansion which has seen quite a few brutal wolf attacks. Her brother opens the door and leads us into a dining room where they set up the coffin with her father with some wilted flowers beside it. Ulf manages to revice the flowers which makes for a much more respectable view. A few of us help out the brother, Ismark, carrying the coffin to the chuch in the village.
We quite easilly convince priest Donovich to help us out with the funeral, but during our talk we're startled by screams and yelling coming from beneath the floorboards of the church. Donovich explains it's his son locked up downstairs. He's been bitten and turned into a vampire, but his father doesn't want to give up on him yet, so he won't let Iolas and his undeath obsession kill his son.
We continue to the graveyard where Ulf turns into a badger to dig a hole. The priest performs his ceremony and then he continues to tell Ireena that her father wasn't her actual biological father. Ismark can confirm this story which leaves Ireena somewhat in distress. Although no familie ties might be beneficial for us as she's joining us.
After the cermony we decide we might as well get going already and we continue through the village. All of a sudden we see a weird scene unfold as a old woman is selling cakes and she gets a little child in return as payment and puts him in a bag. We approach her as that's just not done in my book. Lowna grabs the bag and returns the child to his parents. Urgoth meanwhile flips the cart, all cakes falling on the ground.
We ask the old woman, Morganta, what this is all about and she tells us she often gets children aas payment for her cakes and that she takes them up to her mill. This is not something which should continue so we decide to rid the world of her presence, but somehow before we can touch her, she vanished in a puff of smoke.
The Vistani encampment
We continue up the road to the west. At a crossroads we continue towards Tres Pool, passing a couple of gallows. Passing them, we hear some creaking and Dunstan is staring intensly at a corpse which is all of a sudden dangling from one of the gallows. The corpse seems to be staring at us with its hollowed eyes. Dunstan quickly cuts down the corpse, but it turns to dust before it can touch the ground.
Continuing down the road we see four colourfull wagons and a couple of tents on the riverbank. The Vistani have gathered around a campfire, making music and singing. We continue towards the camp. Some of us join the party at the campfire and get some wine. A couple immediately head over to the biggest tent to confront Madame Eva. The singing stops as an old man start to tell a story about a big magical fight which took place here decades ago. A magic user, Iljis, confronted Strahd and had to pay with his life, ending up dead in the river.
After a while a small girls appears from the large tent and beckons us all to join her inside as Madame Eva is ready for us.
Madame Eva greets all of us apart from Ireena with a personal message, something not even the rest of the group know about me. I'm glad the rest didn't really notice my amazement/shock. She offers to read our future on how to defeat the devil Strahd using her cards.
We also learn that we're part of a five year cycle in which a group of adventurers is brought into the world of Barovia to try and rid it of the curse. Madame Eva tells Ireena she resembles "her" but doesn't want to clarify what she means by it. She also thinks it might profit us as a group that Ireena has joined us. It might help us succeed where earlier groups have failed.
Ireena asks Madame Eva why the wolves attacked her house, and gets told it's because she resmebles her. Urgoth wonders out loud if she's Strahds sister. She asks Ireena if she hasn't old us anything than about your adoption and being bitten?
Madame Eva tells us some more About Barovia, the ravens which carry the soulls of people who are called the soulless.
Heading to the mill - The Fading 14th - 1503
We're done at Madame Eva and the next day we leave the Vistani encampment. We follow a path up into the hills across a stone bridge with golumns on each corner. At dusk the roads forks and we follow it up into the hills, past a waterfall. We notice a big black chariot with two horses in front of it. Ulf can't resist and tries to strike up a conversation with them. But they completely ignore him. I go inside the charriot to find anything worthwhile, but then as Urgoth closes the door it starts to move. As it's quickly gaining speed I open the door and gracefully jump out.
We reach another huge gate, just like we saw as we entered Barovia and we decide to set up camp just beside the huge doors which again opened automatically to us. Lowna sets up an alarm around our camp. Urgoth refuses to stand guard during the night, which is weird as he's a soldier. They usually have a guard order in which everyone has to participate. I'll have to verify this and call him to account.
That night, during Iolas' watch a figure appears out of the darkness wearing an armor wielding a big sword. He slowly but surely walks towards us. Iolas wakes us all up and exclaims "Halt! Who are you?". The figure, which somewhat resembles a zombie, responds "Who are you? Are you servants?". I tell him no. "I am a knight" he explains "of the order of the Silver Dragon". Ireena explains it's an order which got demolished by Strahds army. "I'm going to the castle" and he continues to walk. we let him pass as he doesn;t seem to have any intention to hurt us.
The next morning we follow the road until it forks again. Vallaki is in one direction, the mill in the other. As we approach the mill a raven croaks at us. Ulf again is happy to talk to animals and starts a covnersation with the Raven which turns out somewhat more intellectual than a standard kind of raven. "Don't go inside, it's not safe!" And the raven flies off.
Dunstan explores the surroundings of the mill and then opens the door. A sweet sometimes tarry smell emits from the doorway. The croaking of frogs and clucking of chickens can also be heard. As we go inside we hear shriekds and cackles coming from one of the other floors of the mill. A ladder is leading up to them. Ulf frees the frogs which are now covering the entire floor jumping around. Dunstan goes up the ladder and I follow him upstairs, followed by Urgoth and Lowna.
Morganta is standing there sweeping the floor and looks up to us "New customers? Aaaah no, you...!". Dunstan tells her to let go of the children. Morganta responds they are her children in her mill. I show her the deed to the mill exclaiming its my mill. The tries to grab the deed and in response I stab her. A fight ensues in which two smaller versions of her appear from the topfloor aftyer Morganta calls out for Bella and Ophelia. Most likely they are her daughters. One of the daughters turns into my father somehow! Iolas eventually joins us upstairs and stabds Morganta to death with his silver sword. he daughters yell out "We shall avenge our mother" and vanish in a puff of smoke, just like Morganta did in the village of Barovia.
Now we got some time to investigate the mill better and we learn they use it to grind bone meal. On the top floor we find two children locked away in boxes. We learn they're Freen and Mirthel who used to live in the village of Barovia. They're really glad to see the familiar face of Ireena. I take some small flasks from the mill and we decide to burn it down, to avoid the two daughters ever returning here. I grab the chicken basket and bring it outside to avoid getting into another discussion with Ulf about animal cruelty.
We walk to a stone circle Ulf saw from the top window of the mill. carvings resembling the four seasons can be seen on the four stones. In the middle of the circle there's a small mount of childrens teeth. Dunstan buries the teeth and says a prayer. The cake which was hidden beneath the teeth gets thrown into the burning remains of the mill.
Time to decide what to do with the children. Bringing them back to their parents doesn't seem to be a good idea as they had given them away in exchange for some cake. Delivering them to Ismark, who Ireena is trying to get away from, doesn;t seem too bright of an idea either, plus it would take about a week to go back and return here again. I think we'd better take them with us to Valaki and ask the priest if they care of orphans, which they usually do. I'll have to check with Dunstan if he expects this to work, before I convince the others.