Curse of Strahd

Mei's Thrills

Despite the complete shock and despair in the initial contact with the mist, loosing track of my companion and ending up somewhere, the idea of being in the mists of this forsaken place brings so much excitements and all the new books, discoveries that seems to exist in here as dutifully remembered in my studies are far more surpassing my worries and until the moment I finish the book, also some duties. 

Memoir entry:

22-04 – Found mist, lost Roaringhorn, found group, found a house with lots of books and knowledge about alchemy which is my deepest desires to read as fast as I can and absorb all there is.

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Maestoff's writings 2
From the holy ground to a haunted estate

We put the preacher's son down today. Before our descent into the basement however, a newcomer arrived beside the poor woman that had lost her daughter and requested our aid. She was sent in search of Torrin, and ended up here in quite the same way as the rest of us. She calls herself Mei. Her features seem foreign to me, though I've seen similar folk in Waterdeep on occasion. She knows magic beyond our scope which should prove incredibly useful against an evil like Strahd.

The poor boy in the basement of the church didn't deserve his death. I regret not having some other way to cure whatever affliction Strahd gave him, but we could at least offer him peace in the next life if not this one. We put a stake through him and burned his body to be sure he wouldn't revive. We finally buried the burgomaster's body as well, and rested at the church for a while. Mei and Kass both seemed to take an interest in the books the church held, and studied while we licked our wounds.

It started getting dark, and we realized we ought to return to Ismark. We bid the holy man goodbye, and I prayed that Tyr protect him from further torment. As we made our way south towards the manor, however,  we found two children in our path. They called to us, asking for help, as some "monster" seemed to have attacked their home. Seeing these two children in the dead of night was unsettling, especially when Strahd seems to use magic and illusions to lead us astray. I cast Divine Sense and found them to be ghosts. I decided to keep it to myself at first, as a tortured soul deserves help no matter their state. We reached their estate and Kass called out to them to figure out more of their situation. They didn't say much beyond the fact that there was a monster, humanoid in shape, that had taken their house. As we moved through the house we could see just how twisted and corrupted it was. Like much of this place, on the surface I felt no real sense of dread or revulsion, but up close, these things showed true. The artwork on the walls, the cold quietness. We moved one floor at a time, clearing and searching for any signs or information.

(I'm a bit hazy on the details here since my connection wasn't too great and the voices kept cutting out. Hopefully this won't happen again, trying to schedule things better on my end so I don't get interruptions.)

Upon the final floor I saw a suit of armor as I entered. The suit creaked and shifted of its own accord and stepped towards me. We exchanged blows and all in all the thing wasn't too hard to bring down, our strengths combined are pretty damn strong. We rested and I fixed myself up somewhat,

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Kassandra's Journal

Draug and I were tracking werewolves. We were lured to a forest and after an hour walking we passed out. I woke up with Draug calling my name, he had some weird dream about kids afraid of a monster and asking for help. We kept walking and found a dragonborn called Torinn. The cleric, who was traveling with a caravan, got lost in the mist and found us.  A few more minutes walking and we and found Slate and his friend, Maestoff, on the floor. I got worried but after checking for his vitals we realized they were just tired and no medical care was needed.

Slate told us they were there because of a letter from Kolyan Indirovich. The burgomaster of a village in Barovia was asking for help. According to the letter, there is a very strong creature haunting the village and killing his people. Turns out that we all end up in this village, even those who were not going there.

The mist seems to never dismiss. The village was quiet and all the houses have it’s doors and windows closed. As we got there, we were lured by the screams of woman. Arriving at her place we talked to her and she said Strahd, a Vampire, kidnapped her daughter. She informed us the village was in constant danger. Minions and wolves were always around trying to murder and kidnap Barovia’s people. The woman sent us to the tavern, she said we could find help there.

Arriving at the tavern we found Ismark. He is the son of the Burgomaster (which is now dead). He asked us to help him scout his father’s body to the church. We met Ireena, Ismark’s half-sister. According to them, Strahd is somehow attracted to Ireene, what puts her in constant danger. As we spent the night with them they told us stories. This one in specific grabbed my attention… They said Ireena’s was bitten by Strad (TWICE!). I, honestly, didn’t trust this people very much and now even less, but Barovia people need our help and I will give my best to help them.

When were scouting the Burgomaster’s body to the church we were trapped by zombies. It was a relatively tough fight, we were not expecting that during day light. But we managed to kill those bastards. I need to admit, we make a great team.

Arriving at the church we found out that the priest’s son became a vampire. The poor man didn’t know what to do. We told him we would try to help, however, we all know there is no cure for vampirism…

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Slate is Thinking

Slate paced along the wall in the church vestibule.  How in the world had he ended up here?  Wherever here actually was. Let’s see, having a drink with Maestoff, the letter, the crazy mist and then Kass and Draug pop out of nowhere with Torrin – he knew them all – how did that happen?  He shook his head, “quit trying to find an explanation,” he told himself.  “Well,” he thought, “I couldn’t be in better company.”  He knew and trusted everyone, and they had more than proven themselves in the fight against the undead creatures. 

“Okay, let’s take stock.” He reasoned in silence and began a list in his head using the lessons he had learned from Brielle;

“First, Count Strahd, a powerful vampire lord, so dominating that he controls not just Barovia but all the area around it.  We aren’t nearly strong enough to confront him, what we need is knowledge…we need to know more about him, and probably need a lot more help. No confrontations!”

“Second, Mary: the woman we found consumed with quiet hysteria over losing her daughter Gertruda.  She thinks Strahd has taken Gertruda to his castle.  Maybe, maybe not.  Again, we need to know more but we clearly need to find this little girl.”

“Third, Ismark, who’s father, the mayor just died, has begged us to protect his half-sister, Ireena.  Ireena is a peach maybe not as beautiful as Kass but at least she won’t turn me into a newt like Kass could.  I’ll have to get to know her better.  Ireena asked us to bury her father in the church cemetery, which led us into a fight with the undead…eight of them.  I was the only one among us in a position to put some distance between myself and the creatures and was fortunate to take no damage.  It makes me feel guilty, but a ranged attack is how I can help best.  That brings us to, Donivich, is that his name?” 

“Fourth, the village holy man, Donivich has barricaded himself in the church which, it seems, has been attacked again and again by wolves or other creatures that can cross hallowed land.  Undoubtedly commanded by the hand of Strahd.  We’ve placed the coffin of the mayor in the cemetery but the more pressing problem is the priest’s son.  It seems the son has been bitten by and has morphed into a vampire.  He is currently locked in the church basement.” 

Slate’s thoughts turned back to the present.  “I know about vampirism.  How can I tell Donivich that his son no longer exists.  Of course he hasn’t eaten, all he ‘eats’ is blood! To him his father is no more than a meal but the poor man can’t hear that.  The truth is the only way a <u>son</u> can come out of that basement is dead.  Whether my friends know it or not, there is only one cure.  If we go into the basement, it has to be with a ferocious intent to kill that thing, not save it.”

So what’s next?  We need to rescue the soul of Donivich’s son and bury the mayor.  Then we have to decide how to protect Ireena.  After that, who knows.  First things first.

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Maestoff's writings 1
These are the writings of Maestoff Vakthund.

       Slate and I visited an active pub, seemed to be a good place to see the movers and speakers in Waterdeep's underbelly. As we sat down to talk about our stratagem, some stranger clad in robes entered and made quite a scene. He called for all able-bodied and honorable folks to come to the aid of some far off lord. The man's daughter seemed to be in some sort of trouble. The stranger had plenty of coin, and made a big show of it, buying all the patrons their choice of alcohol. I'm not one to turn down drink, certainly not one to reject a plea for help. Slate and I made our way out of Waterdeep, headed north. Felt strange to be walking this road again.
    The fog was thick upon us, but I kept my stride. I know I did. Yet the road became unfamiliar through what I must now assume to be black magic. Our minds failed us and we fell to the side of this alien path. When I came to, I saw Slate speaking to some familiar faces. The Naule cousins, the elf Draug from the emerald enclave and Kassandra, a half elf that had seen much in her years of seafaring. I feel for them, they lost quite a lot, just as I have. A dragonborn cleric accompanied them, Torrin, he called himself. I'm not sure how or why we met on this gods forsaken trail, but we reasoned there was strength in numbers and pressed on.
    After a while we came upon a massive and ancient stone wall. Two statues silently guarded a great gate which seemed to swing open just for us. Seeing no real reason to turn back to the fog behind us, we ventured onward. I have faith in my companions, our strengths are varied, our goals aligned.
    Another blighted omen! Not long after our entry to this foreign land we've found a body on the roadside. I prayed silently for some god to ease his pain in the ethereal. He seemed to be another adventurer like us, with a letter similar to our own pleading for aid. This lord must be in desperate need. We moved onwards for a time, passing by some unmarked grave.
    We've finally reached Barovia, the oppressive black of night seemed to be the norm here. There was no movement, no action. I feared a plague swept through here until we found a family poorly barricaded in their home. They seemed terrified, and warned us of the dangers that the night held. A scream cut the silence and we rushed towards the source. Slate and Kassandra Naule found the woman alone in her home, weeping and mourning the loss of her child. This land is befouled by black magics, there is no doubt now. Unholy beasts come in the night to steal children away. The poor woman told us of the fallen lord Kolyan Indirovitch and some unknown Count Strahd. He seems to be the source of this evil.

    We promised her our aid and she directed us towards a tavern to the north. We met a man by the name of Ismark. We learned from him that his father had passed away recently, the same man that requested our aid. He then told us that our letter was false, that some other soul drew us here. The damned Count Strahd, surely. I cannot respect Ismark, he hides in this tavern while his people suffer and live in fear. I know he did not ask for his father's burden but very few seek such things out. I see some good in him, however, as he seems to care dearly for his sister. Strahd wants her, though he is unsure why. He asked for our help keeping her safe, keeping Strahd from stealing her away.
    We followed him to their home, larger than the surrounding hovels. Inside we met Ireena, she seemed a strong soul, honorable too. She held her ground, asking us to deliver their deceased father to the church north of the town. We slept there until morning. I'm certain Strahd knows we are here. I pray that Tyr keeps my blade steady for whatever infernal thing comes. Our group carried the coffin north.
    Ambushed. One building on our path held a great many abominations. Undead, they're called. They swarmed us unexpectedly. Draug and Torrin were in danger, I curse myself for not being able to do more for them. They both took a beating and were felled, thankfully Kassandra brought them back. We eventually dispatched them all through sheer force of will. If Strahd has such unholy beings under his command, I worry for our souls.
    We did make it to the church, though it was in disrepair. The preacher there seems to have suffered as much as any other we've come across. His son has been corrupted by the count. Strahd must be destroyed. The pain he's brought to these people is unforgiveable.

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