Heroes of the Mists

Meeting new people, & going to Vallaki.

Barovia becomes increasing more grim.

Having buried their dead companion, Gedney Foulkes, the party heads back to the village of Barovia. Along the way, they meet a strange figure in heavy robes & a mask, who turns out to be a deep gnome by the name Esoban.

There is a good deal of confusion as they talk, due to Esoban talking about places the group has never heard of & vice versa. Hand-waving the issue and the fact that Esoban is both strange & unfriendly, they all head back into the village. They find the place barely more lively than it was the night before, spotting only an ugly old woman pushing a cart along a street. When they try to approach her, it is quickly apparent that she is trying to avoid them, so they give up & head to the tavern.

The tavern is largely empty and doesn’t have a lot going for it. The group does meet Ismark Kolyanovich, who gives them some information about where they are and what dangers may lurk around the corner. Ismark also asks them to escort himself and his sister, Ireena Kolyana, to the fortified town of Vallaki. It appears that the Devil Strahd has taken an unusual interest in Ireena, and Ismark wants to get her to safety before it is too late.

The party agrees, they go to the the recently deceased burgomaster’s house, who happens to be Ismark’s father, and they meet Ireena. It is quickly settled that they will help Ireena with getting her father a proper burial.

They go to the temple of the Morninglord, finding it to be a sorry place, with an even sorrier priest. While there, they hear screaming coming from under the floorboards, Father Donavich explaining the tragic tale of a wizard who came to Barovia, stirred up the masses, and then attempted to overthrow Strahd. The wizard was seemingly defeated, and many of those who followed him were turned into vampire spawn. The screaming was coming from the good Father’s own son, Doru, who he has kept trapped while he attempts to determine how he can save his son. Taking it all in stride, the party gets on with the funeral.

Along the way, Ziggy Bismuth & their new, odd gnome companion, spot the old lady with the cart again. They also see some Barovians apparently trading their child for some of the pastries that she is selling. The pair immediately intervene, pay for the child to go free, and Ziggy also buys a pastry for later examination. Ziggy ultimately follows the old woman to the edge of the village, where she quickly disappears into the misty forest.

The group sets out the next morning, their journey largely uneventful for a while, if you can call a mysterious hanging body appearing and disappearing uneventful. Eventually, they are attacked by a group of dire wolves. The battle is over quickly, with no injuries to the party or their charges. It is also very apparent that Ismark is a skilled swordsman. They continue on their way until they come to a gorge with a bridge over it.

There, the party sees a white raven, seemingly trying to lead them down a barely visible footpath. Recalling the white raven that led them to their lost companions before, they follow. Eventually the path leads to a Vistani camp. The encounter is largely pleasant, with some of the party going into a tent to meet with Madame Eva. Madame Eva gives them a card reading, most of which means little to the party at this point. Still, they take note of what she says. Once that is over, they head back to the bridge and continue on their way.

Along the way to Vallaki, the group spots the windmill that Ziggy believes he has the deed to. It is decided that getting to Vallaki is more important for the time being than investigating the windmill.

On arriving at Vallaki, they find that the town is, indeed, fortified. The guards at the town gate are also suspicious. Still, they are allowed to enter, being directed to the Blue Water Inn. Along the way, they spot a strange wagon in Arasek’s Stockyard. The group finds the inn nice, with a limited menu. Urwin Martikov, the innkeeper, arranges for rooms for everyone. They also hear a bit about Rictavio the Bard, the owner of the wagon that they saw. Urwin also talks about the wine shortage, offering the group free room and board if they will go to the Wizard of Wines and find out what has happened.

Once everyone is bedded down for the night, Ziggy sneaks out and heads over to snoop around the wagon. It quickly becomes apparent that there is something large and dangerous in it, though it’s not exactly clear what it is. Ziggy also finds a secret compartment, within which is all manner of gear appropriate for monster hunting. Feeling very satisfied with himself, Ziggy heads back to the inn, finding it pretty much empty and quiet. He heads immediately to Rictavio’s room and starts making cheeky comments about his monster hunting activities.

Rictavio, apparently lacking a sense of humor, draws a sword on the gnome and puts a lot of thought to killing him. After several tense moments, the bard decides to let Ziggy off with a warning. At that point, the gnome decides to call it a night.

The next morning, the party prepares to head out to the windmill, affectionately known as Old Bonegrinder. Maiesse Tolivant decides to stay in Vallaki with Ismark and Ireena, though Sigra Ironshoulders is more than happy to go along.

The trip is uneventful. and the group just goes barging right into the windmill. There, they find an oven with cooking pastries, and the old lady that was pushing around the cart in Barovia. Ziggy produces the deed, claiming to be the owner. The old woman essentially tells the gnome to get bent, but Ziggy persists. The old woman’s response is to throw a lightning bolt at the group. The old woman’s pair of apparent daughters quickly join the fight, shedding their disguises and revealing themselves to be green hags.

What follows is a brutal, bloody fight. When it is all said and done, one green hag is down, while the old woman is decapitated, which leads to the revelation that she is a night hag. The second green hag makes her escape. Half the group is down, while Sigra is actually dead from one lightning bolt too many, and the Bonegrinder is on fire thanks to a lightning bolt hitting the oven. A quick check of the building finds a pair of children, who are immediately freed and led to safety by Pewter Silverforge.

The party gathers a safe distance from the windmill, watching it as it burns. They also bury Sigra, with Brimstone Silverforge taking her loss rather hard. He leaves his maul as a grave marker, taking Sigra’s warhammer so that he can honor her memory. With that, the party starts back to Vallaki.

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