As the wolves continued to gather in the dark forest, we ultimately came to the conclusion that we would go back and fortify ourselves against the potential onslaught of Strahd that night. We quickly stopped by the Vistani camp at Tser pool on the way back to see if they had any silver weapons they would be willing to part with. They did not, but they did have an artisan there who could coat weapons in silver if we supplied the silver and a modest stipend to the weaponsmith.
We arrived in Barovia village before nightfall and searched for a suitably abandoned home that we would be able to fortify against the evils that walk the darkness of night. While searching for sturdy boards to shore up our defenses we encountered several of those Zombies in an adjacent building. They shambled to attack and my friends acquitted themselves well against their foes.
Akkiir took his stance in the doorway – his blade seeming to sing even as his voice rose to accompany it. His movements were flawless as he danced against our enemies. The zombies could not touch him! Tetsuo darted in and out past Akkiir to strike efficiently at the undead while the rest of the troupe used ranged weapons to finish them off. It was another perfect battle against the slow moving zombies. It is gratifying to see that our group is becoming quite cohesive in our strategies in combat.
Entry 12 – Day 8
That night was like any other in this damnable place – nightmares and strange scuttling noises outside our makeshift fort all night long. Our first order of business was to begin gathering our silvered weapons. We took a run back to the Death House because I remembered that there was an ornate long sword with the Durst’s family crest on it’s hilt hanging above the fireplace. The house seemed a dead shell; it’s previous feeling of threat and terror replaced by an almost sagging sadness. The long sword turned out to not be silvered, unfortunately, but we took it anyway.
Ismark tried to reason with the mercantiler to gain silvered weapons to no avail. We could never afford that bandit’s prices. Ismark was able to gather up a couple of weapons as well as a smith who would be willing to silver Uphir’s great axe for less than the Vistani would charge. It would take two days, however. We would have to wait until the end of the day tomorrow.
We visited the priest, Donavich, at the crumbling church. He was the same as before, praying to the Morninglord for a miracle that was not coming from any apparent divine entity. We were remiss in fully investigating his son Doru and his condition last time, so we made a point to try and communicate with Doru through the trap door in the floor.
It was too dangerous to open the door, so we talked to him through it. He was desperate for the blood he could smell pumping through our bodies. We tried to learn as much as we could about our enemy from him, but we fairly quickly came to the conclusion that his condition, combined with the fact of his starving imprisonment, had rendered him a gibbering madman.
Feeling the heavy oppressiveness of the day, we decided that we would spend some time at the tavern enjoying, however we could, the wine offered from the indifferent Arik. Having our bodies sufficiently warmed, we passed the day away until we reposed once again in our makeshift refuge.
Entry 13 – Day 9
The night was as unpleasant as any of the others but we did not suffer any attacks from wolves or the undead. We thought we might go and check out the waterfall at some point today but otherwise had to wait until Uphir’s axe was made ready. Walking the streets of Barovia we soon saw the elderly pastry vendor pushing her cart through the streets and knocking on people’s doors. Nim’s uncanny senses screamed a warning to him that the old woman was not as she appeared. He knew her to not only be an evil creature, but a vile fiend from some dark netherworld.
We felt that from the look of her and what Nim’s senses were telling him that this might just be one of those Night Hag’s we had heard about from the Vistani. We called out to her as we approached cautiously, hoping to investigate further. She was selling her pastries to the people in the doorway for one gold piece each! This was an unrealistic amount to expect a normal townsperson to afford, but they paid it happily.
I perhaps pushed things too far with my irreverent banter – alright I admit I asked her if her pastries were made up of bits of lost children, but I was hoping to gauge her reaction. She was baffled by the boldness of my question and I quipped that it was okay, I ask that of every new person that I meet. Before my playfulness could continue much further, I felt a growing heat beside me as a flash of brilliant golden light exploded to my left!
I had been preoccupied and had missed the resolve steeling itself in my friend Janlynn. I am sure that she was outraged that one of these children-stealing Hag’s stood before her in defiance of Lathander and all that is good in this world or ours. Drawing upon the might of the Morninglord, she let forth a blast of golden light from her palms that blazed a hot path between her and the creature to slam into the hag with such force and energy that it partially blinded all who saw it’s effect and blew the hag down the street several feet.
Never have I seen such raw, naked power displayed in all of my life. Our hair and clothes were blown back and even the dirt on the ground dispersed from the sheer force of her attack – pushing outward as a shockwave just ahead of the Dawnlord’s powerful blast – I was almost knocked over!
Just as we all were coming to our senses, Janlynn stepped forward with an angry but righteous look upon her face and quickly followed up with another blast of intense dawn light! The evil creature crouched there, down the street, with the tendrils of darkness that the light had blown away from her slowly and desperately trying to rejoin her blasted and battered form. With a look of such pure hatred upon her face, she waved her hand through the smoky tendrils and she devolved into a dark, dissipating mist. She was gone!
The terrified townspeople slammed their doors and who could blame them. Janlynn used her magic and determined that the pastries were not poisoned and I used my gnomish powers to see that each of the pastries held a small enchantment within them. Perhaps that was why these poor people were willing to pay so much. Nim quickly began destroying the baked goods upon the ground, he was determined that no one else should eat and fall under the sway of the night hag.
We learned that the enchantment of the pastries caused the person who ate it to have good dreams that relieved them from their wasted and forlorn lives. They had some sort of narcotic effect upon them and they had to have more; always more. Our biggest surprise came from examining the hag’s cart. In a squirming sack underneath, a young boy was found. We quickly learned that his parents had given him to the hags as payment for their pastries!
What in Cyric’s name was going on with these people? How could they do such a thing? In anger, we stormed off towards the Childs home to confront his parents. Behind us many townspeople came out into the street to scrape up what was left of the destroyed pastries. When we arrived, Uphir could not contain her rage as she barged into the hovel to find the two parents passed out upon the furniture, evidence of pastries lying about.
The child was afraid and try as we might to convince him to trust us he was resolute to stay with the very parents who gave him away to a fiend. I slapped the father across the face to wake him up as Uhpir gathered up the mother by the scruff of her neck. As angry as we were, these wretches were not even capable of hearing our condemnation of them as they kept drifting back into their enchanted slumber.
A sort of compromise was reached with the child as he led us to his grandmother’s home nearby. To not frighten the woman, Janlynn approached and met with the grandmother who seemed to be of clear mind and pastry free. After her initial fear she was understandably disturbed to hear what the child’s parents had done and promised to look after the child. That was the best of many bad outcomes we could find to help the child. We gave her some silver and wished her well.