Finn’s Journal. Presented here is the written account of the gnome bard Finn Fillydook and comrades, of his adventures in the mist-shrouded lands of cursed Barovia, and the greatest trial of their lives. The following is written from the point of view of the author and he has tried to put as much detail as possible about the locales and persons encountered in the hopes that his writings would survive and cross back through the mists to Faerun once again.
Finn is a forest gnome from the small and secretive gnome village of Glimmerglade, in the lowland forests of The Reaching Wood, near the Trielta Hills in the western heartlands of Faerun. It is there that he begins his adventure traveling south to the human lands to find adventure.
Please note: This continuing blog will contain spoilers for the official Dungeons and Dragons campaign adventure The Curse of Strahd. If you find this blog entertaining, please leave comments to let the author know how you feel and give him the encouragement to continue these accounts.
My journey has fair well begun. I have spent the first days of my adventure enjoying the hospitality of local farmers along the way south to human civilization. This has kept my belly full and my heart comforted by the warmth of their homely hearths. I never tire of seeing the delight and smiles on their faces – especially the children – as I earn my stay with song and story. **
Today has been an exciting day as I have met some interesting people along the road. Uphir is a magnificent creature of a type I have never met before. She is a Dragonborn and she is a barbarian of the High Moors to the north. There is a mystery about this loyal, honest, and courageous creature but her eyes hide a deep sadness. I feel safe in her strong presence and I know that we will be life-long friends. Janlynn is a pure delight! She is a healer and follower of the Lord of the Morning, Lathander. She is young, beautiful, and bold of heart and the world as seen through her eyes is one of optimism and every turn in the road ahead is a new beginning in her search for adventure. Her good humor and kindness flows from her freely to all who encounter her. Surely with such good friends we shall find adventure and stories to share with all. **
On our journey south with a merchant caravan we came upon a farmhouse that looked like it had been attacked. Further investigation of the house revealed ravenous wolves had taken up residence. Gods only know what happened to the poor farmers who once dwelt there. The wolves attacked, trying to make a meal of the three of us. That was their mistake. We three valiant adventurers defeated the rabid creatures and avenged those who were lost before us. As this was our first victory over adversaries as a group, we took trophies – Wolf tails and furs. My idea to name our fledgling group “The Company of the Wolf” was embraced by the others, and so our professional careers have officially begun! **
For some days now Janlynn, Uphir and I have been staying at the Pair of Black Antlers Inn – having been brought into the service of the lovely Innkeeper Tora – I as the entertainment and Uphir as the Inn bouncer. The city of Elturel has proven to be quite intimidating to myself, and I suspect Uphir, as we have navigated the crowded streets and seen every manner of men. Many seem to hold some distain for Uphir, but have not produced spine enough to do anything about it. “The Antlers” is different – they are welcoming and open to all manner of strangers, especially adventurers and I have learned much of the world abroad from these heroic people. **
We have come together with a regular troupe of adventurers now, all come to the great city of Elturel in search of glory. I shall introduce them in brief, and as our collective tale grows I shall have better opportunity to describe them in full. I have already introduced Janlynn and Uphir.
Nim is a halfling adventurer. I have not had much of a chance to get to know him well but I can say he has a strong heart and great courage and, as a follower of Ilmater, takes personal responsibility in helping those less fortunate than himself. For some as yet unknown reason, he hides behind a guarded and taciturn mask, unable or unwilling to let people see his true self. He is a stalwart companion and has shown wisdom in his thoughts and actions.
Akkiir is an Elf! Not a typical and usually grumpy wood elf, but a true high born elf as out of legend. He has the grace of the elves in his movement and manner and to watch him employ his blades is a sight most magnificent. His humor is sometimes hard to find, but what can one expect from such a creature. With Akkiir on the team, what danger can we not face?
Tetsuo is a man from the very far east, beyond the horde lands to the very edge of the world as known by men. All humans are a bit queer to me, but even the other humans seem to find this man different from themselves. He speaks an unknown language and his common is heavily accented. Like Akkiir, he is a warrior and carries himself with a strength and grace. His skills with the staff and his hands and feet are impressive. He is quiet and contemplative, but when he does speak, he gives wise council. He is always calm, even in the face of great danger. **
Well, we wanted adventure and we seem to have found it. Today a client has come into the Inn and hired us on the spot! I don’t even think we discussed payment we were so excited to have an actual adventure before us. He was looking for protection on his way north and was in a great hurry. We were planning to head that way ourselves so it seemed like the Wildwanderer was watching out for us.
We all rushed north and I had taken the opportunity to get to know our employer, Silvo. He was of the Vistani, a travelling people with a thick accent from some far off human place. Silvo is a man of great humor and love of creativity and music, so we quickly became fast friends. We all rode hard and did not stop until night was falling and we began to make camp with another unrelated group of wagons. Then things took a terrifying turn. As Silvo and I were playing and singing around the fire with a rousing rendition of “The Knights of Dragon Down”, Silvo broke into a secret, cursed last verse of the song. Suddenly a great gathering storm seemed to rush towards us all from the east, with lightning flashing and evil, strange colored clouds. Thick mist soon began to rise supernaturally from the ground all over the land as the hairs all over my body rose in chill terror. Uphir struck out at Silvo in anger, thinking that he had unleashed this terrible curse upon us all. Silvo was lighthearted at first, but then taken aback by the anger of Uphir.
The Knights of Dragon Down
Riding, riding across the plain, see them riding home again. Bright their shields, bright their chain- The Knights of Dragon Down.
They have gone where shadows creep. Their blades a bloody harvest reap. Another dragon put fore’er asleep By the Knights of Dragon Down.
On their fingers gem rings gleam. Of such baubles, the very cream Falls into the hands, in a steady stream, Of the Knights of Dragon Down.
In a dark hall a lady sits alone, Her bright eyes gleam as white as bone. Her dark spells a-hunting roam For the Knights of Dragon Down.
With cruel smile, a web she weaves. From each Knight, his soul she cleaves. Armored bone is all she leaves Of the Knights of Dragon Down.
Ladies scream at the touch of bone, As skeletal Knights come riding home. Undead now, fore’er to roam, Are the Knights of Dragon Down.
Hear them riding, nearer outside. Never sleeping, doomed to ride. There’s no place where you can hide From the Knights of Dragon Down.
Whether it was the cursed verse or not (It most likely was, just so we’re clear), soon evil shapes began to be seen circling the encampment, their huge canine forms silhouetted by the flashing lightning. Then the devil riders came upon the camp in a rush, with their terrible hounds, charging in and killing all in front of them, and the surrounding wolves did likewise. As much as Nim and Tetsuo were prepared to fight to save the people from being slaughtered, even they had to admit that escaping was the only option.
So, we ran west, away from the terrors behind us. Howling wolves and those massive hounds chased us, some in the group would say “herding us”, into a dark forest. Our beleaguered group ran as fast as they could, deeper and deeper into this strange misty wood. Eventually we decided to find a defensible position to fight off our pursuers. Sure enough, we found ourselves battling three massive “Ghost Hounds”, whose bodies turned to mist when they were destroyed. It was a hard battle but we prevailed.
We followed bobbing lights in the distance that led us to a narrow track and saw Silvo racing along with 2 of his wagons. We quickly jumped aboard and raced away from the danger as fast as his exhausted mounts could take us. The howling of pursuit followed for many long minutes until finally we arrived at a great wall and gate blocking the track, it’s tall walls going deep into the forest on each side. As we raced towards the gates in desperation, through no mortal means, the gigantic gates opened to let us in, and closed tightly behind us when we were through. The howling of pursuit ended there. Silvo needed to rest the horses, and some of us went to explore the giant gate. I was the unfortunate one to learn about the evil, life draining, thick fog just beyond the tree line. I could feel the immense cold of the fog draining my life while at the same time beckoning me to walk deeper into its deadly clutches. I barely fought it off and warned my companions of this new terror.
The axel on one of the wagons was fractured and many in the group were thinking up solutions on how to fix this. I suggested using wood from the forest around us to fix the axel. Tetsuo heroically leapt up into the canopy and dislodged an axel sized tree limb without hardly exerting himself.
The buzzing of flies alerted Janlynn and others to the remains of a youth in the forest not far off the track. The deadly mist seemed to have shifted so that it closed off our way back to the gate and pulled back deeper into the forest. The badly savaged body was found to be holding a sealed note. The note revealed a plea and a warning from the leader of the nearby land of Borovia.