Fear of the Dark

Tenth and Eleventh Night
Svalich Woods / Vallaki / Confrontation with Strahd

In another world, darker than ours, Bastian Steele walked silently alone, hoping that one of the methods he had procured to travel to Barovia would pan out. The Vistani had taken his money, but left him behind. Other explorers dismissed its existence. In the thick fog and cobblestoned streets Steele walked, remembering his attempts to find the monster. The reincarnationist, the wold woman with a teleportation spell.

Steele came to his laboratory and was suddenly gone.

Uther awoke in a fine bed made of silk and feathers. He stood up in a large, bright room. He got to his knees, pulled out a flail, and began to whip himself in penance to Kord. His old hands were familiar with the procedure, the old cracks and calamus had shaped his hands for this purpose. His back ran red with blood before he got dressed.

Enthusiastically, he got up and opened the door to reveal a giant hall made of marble so smooth that he could see himself reflected in the floor. To his left were innumerable other gaudy doors like the one he had just come through, to his right was a railing for the balcony that extended from the stairs he had climbed the night before in exhaustion.

Karlotta woke up, undressed in bed, and immediately began to explore the giant room she found herself in. After dressing, she threw open the shades to the window, only to find illuminated glass on the far side. This was an illusion, not another place.

She left her room and immediately found Uther in the hall. “Breakfast?” The once hulking old man asked simply in a gravely voice.

“Of course,” Karlotta said, “And where is ”/characters/keesaiya" class=“wiki-content-link”>Kessyia?"

“The room between outs,” Uther said simply.

But that door opened and there was no Kessaiya. A well put together dandy named Bastian Steele emerged. Far too measured to show his panic, his wonder that he found himself in a new place he simply made his introductions.

The party moved downstairs where some barely caporal servants showed them into a dining room where Mordenkainen was waiting for them, reading through an old tomb at a long table.

He explained to the Party about how he was part of the last group of adventurers to come fight Strahd.

Shredd, Nyxis Nine, and Ginny Tealeaf (a warrior, a teleporting wizard, and a thief) covertly stole the Eye of Vekna, which some previous adventurer had foolishly brought to Barovia.

Fu Hao had led a militia with Mordenkainen to attack Strahd.

—During the attack, Uther, The Incorruptible, and the Corrupted (and late addition Ginny Tealeaf) were to go to a lost temple, the source of Strahd’s power according to Mordenkainen’s reckoning, and cut him off from the dark powers during the attack. Something went wrong, and Uther can’t remember what.

Uther made breakfast for everyone and they got to know Bastian a little bit before the spell wore off and they found themselves sitting in the woods. Mordenainen excused himself to find his relics and spell book.


The adventurers were back to where they started, and were worried about returning to Vallaki to face Izek, who they were contracted to kill.

They eventually did, and coming down the road to Vallaki in disguise they saw a stream of guards lying dead in the mud, arrows in their back as if they had been fleeing. Getting closer to the city, they saw the corpse of Vargas, dead, crucified, and disembowled, dripping in the rain—but still with the hideous grin that he had worn before.

The new guards were wearing red cloaks, the same kind that they had spied in the house the day before. They did not open the gate, but did summon Ernst to explain to the adventurers what had occurred.

Ernst explained that the festival was rained out last night, and seeing her chance, Fiona Wachter and her supporters—cultists with the slogan, “Hail Satan! Hail Strahd!”—rose up and took the city. Ernst wasn’t particularly happy with the adventurers having not killed Izek, but showed them Izek’s deformed arm that he carried as a trophy. Ernst then excused himself after asking, “Do you know anything about the saber-toothed tiger last night?” He then walked back into the city.

Sitting in the rain, barred from another city, the adventures wondered what to do next.

That is when they saw a bit or light flashing at them from the bushes.

In the bushes was Lars, who explained the battle a little further, explaining that Strahd and some other vampires had attacked the church and made a great slaughter out of everything The guards tried to stop him, but cultists appeared out of seemingly nowhere and started killing the guards. Panic happened, and then a saber toothed tiger came running through the city. Many of the guards broke rank and fled, only to meet an arrow storm on their way out. Having been injured, Uther healed Lars. Lars then said that, since Strahd had been in town, it was a good bet that Victoria was going to meet with him. He invited Uther and the other adventurers.

Lars led them to a little cabin. All having come in, Lars walked around the bright room, lighting lamps. As the room became lit, they could see a body on a table at the center—the mutilated body of Lars.

“Lars,” who had been lighting the lamps stepped through a shadow and revealed himself to be Strahd. A fight broke out.

Strahd did little, simply waved his fingers at Karlotta and let himself get hit. He turned to mist and disappeared.

Almost as soon as that happened, the girl in the skull makeup, Victoria, came in with another girl, Gertruda.

Victoria was horrified to see her father, covered in blood, sword drawn, standing at the table where her friend Lars was mutilated. She screamed and said that she hated her father.

At this, Strahd’s guards came pouring into the cabin, surrounding everyone.

That’s when Gertruda realized she recognized Karlotta as one of the people that had murdered her mother for sport.

Disgusted and angry, the girls screamed venom at the adventurers until Strahd came in behind them, feigning disgust at the party.

When Uther tried to explain, Karlotta—under Strahd’s control from the fight—said, “But Master! You said that we were to punish anybody in your daughter’s life so she would remain forever isolated!”

Horrified, Strahd was forced to compel the girls to leave before they fought the adventurers in an angry fury. He told his guards not to kill the adventurers as he left.

With little else going for them, the group returned to the VIstani camp. They briefly checked in on the Vistani before being invited into the homes of one of the Dusk Elves in robes around the camp…

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Eighth and Ninth Night
Vallaki / Lake Zarovich / Svalich Woods

The three sat through several moments in the dank lobby of Fiona Wachter’s house.

The old woman said, “Well, if you’re not the murderers, come to finally visit me.”

Usher objected, “I am no murderer!”

“Yes, yes,” Fiona said, moving toward the stairway, “If you would come with me.”

The group followed, coming to a room door. Fiona openened it without much of a comment, revealing a naked young girl on her hands and knees, moving with a feline touch. The rest of the room looked like it had been a mental hospital, complete with a bed with restraints and no hard are sharp objects.

“Meow!” The girl said, “Kitty smells new people! Kitty doesn’t know the new people!”

Fiona shut the door. “That’s what Victor did to my daughter,” She said. She continued back down the stairs to the parlor, “The ”/characters/baron-vargas-vallakovich" class=“wiki-content-link”>Vallacovichs are the only other nobility in town. I tried to get my poor daughter married to Victor. And he used dark magics to return her to me like this. I’m glad that you killed him."

“Oh right,” Uther commented, “I forgot about that.”

Fiona invited the group to sit down again. “I’ve had ”/characters/ernst-larnak" class=“wiki-content-link”>Ernst remove and hide the body of Victor. Anybody that runs across the room will assume that Victor died in a teleportation accident.

“But I need something from you in return.” The old lady looked more stern, "You know that the Baron of this town is quite insane. Not withstanding what he did to my daughter, he braced his mouth into that horrible smile, runs these kinds of constant festival, and has created a society that is dangerous to everyone within these walls. I need your help to stop this madness and save us all.

“Further,” She continued, “I will have Ernst tell you everything he found out about ”/characters/ireena-kolyana" class=“wiki-content-link”>Ireena’s location."

“What is it that you want?” Karlotta asked.

“You need to isolate and kill ”/characters/izek-strazni" class=“wiki-content-link”>Izek.

“Why don’t we just kill the Baron?” Uther asked.

Fiona swatted him gently on the head, “Think with your brains instead of your arms. If we kill the baron, there will be chaos in this town and it will plunge into disorder. This needs to be controlled, and the best way to do that is to slowly remove the power structure around him before dealing with him in a civilized way. If you take care of Izek, the gaurds will be in enough disorder that my followers can do the rest.”

“How do we isolate him?” Uther asked.

“Easy enough,” Ernst said, moving in from the shadows, “You know that there is something that he’s ashamed of — his doll collection. And you know that two of them are for pick-up at the toy store.”

“Okay,” Uther said, suddenlly getting up and racing out the door. He explained his plan to Keesya and Karlotta while he walked out of the Wachter property.


The first stop was to case Blinsky’s toy shop. They found a house next door, looked into the window, and saw strange figures in red robes conducting a ceremony.

The second house they looked into seemed empty. Keesya entered, and there was a great scream. Scores of rats covered her. Uther and Karlotta entered the house to fight the rats.

It was a grueling battle, and at one point Uther was on his knees as the rats worked themselves into his armour and began chewing inside of him. But they won.

Inside the house they found a shrine made up of animal heads on stakes around a blood pentagram in the kitchen that Uther destroyed. Upstairs was a bedroom with a few items including a hair pin and a corset.

The group decided to rest and keep an eye on Balinsky’s from the roof of the kitchen, which was accessible through the bedroom.

At night, when it appeared that Balinsky had gone to bed, the group decided to try and rob the dolls.

Karlotta used a disguise kit and other bluffs to dress as an old peasant woman. She knocked on Balinsky’s door. After several moments he answered, giving her enough time to summon a ghost servant to get inside the shop. Balinsky was happy to make a sale, but was baffled that the old woman didn’t want toys. He shut the door on her and pet his four-armed monkey downstairs telling him to guard the place.

When the ghost retrieved the dolls, the monkey began to scream. However, the ghost made it out of the store quick enough before Balinsky saw what was going on.

In the old house, the group was ecstatic. They decided to hide one of the dolls under the stairs of the house they had just taken over, and put the other in their room at the Blue Water Inn.


At the Blue Water Inn, Uther hired the two wolf hunters, Szoldar and Yevgeni, to help him assassinate someone. Not having revealed who, the wolf hunters agreed that they could “walk” at any time the deal went bad and keep the 200 gold that they were given as a retainer.

After that, Uther got very drunk. Urwin seemed very particular about keeping an eye on Uther, making sure one of his sons interrupted Uther any time something of substance might come up in ranting and raving conversation.


The next morning, the group got up from the house they had cleared the rats from. Today was the day of the festival, and they decided that they were going to do their best to assassinate Izek before the festival started later that day.

The group gathered the wolf hunters, who questioned the ambush site. They suggested they use the old dock on Lake Zarovich, suggesting that it’s more isolated from travelers and a more natural choke point.

In going to look at the docks, the group saw decrepit boats tied to a rotting dock. The woods around the lake were very heavy and dense. Out in the middle was a boat with a man and a little girl on it.

The adventurers hopped onto the boat and came to the side of the other boat, just as a man threw a girl into the water. Uther dove deep into the water and pulled the girl out, who looked identical to Karlotta—had Karlotta been a little girl.

Karlotta questioned the girl a little bit. She liked magic, she was Vistani, all attributes that Karlotta had had. Uther suggested that perhaps the mists don’t just work to change place, but also change time. However, nobody else seemed to support that theory.

The girl’s name was Arabelle, the drunk was Bluto, who had nothing on his mind aside from more drink and did nothing to anybody in the party when they attempted to yell at him.

The wolf hunters led the way to the Vistani camp to return Arabelle to her father, Luvash.

The camp was built atop a hill. Around the hill were hobbit holes, each with a closed door and a thin guard with a gray cloak in front of them. On top of the hill were 12 carts around a series of horses, and inside that pack of horses was a great tent.

Arabelle led the party into the main tent where her father was drunk and whipping a VIstani against a pole. The inside of the tent smelled like old wine and other alcohols. The Vistani here were mostly young men, all doing some kind drugs. Some were smoking, some were making some kind of powder drug that they were snorting. There was someone in a corner playing a strange looking instrument trying to make music.

It was Arrigal that did most of the talking since his brother Luvash was drunk.

He had Eddie run off and get a few hundred gold as a reward for bringing back Arabelle.

Uther noticed a container of booze from his home world of Aqua on the floor. Arabelle gave it to him and asked if he wanted to ax-guitar hybrid that the last person from Aqua brought with him. This was declined and the party continued with their plan.

Though, however, they took note that Arrigal was the person that Madam Eva had said they would need in their party if they were to defeat Strahd.


The party spent the rest of the day building screens and preparing the trap. They wrote a threatening note in a hand imitating that of Strahd saying that they had the dolls and would expose Izek as a pervert if he did not retrieve them from the dock. Giving the note to a bookish girl that Ernst said they could trust (and some silver) they had it delivered and fell back to the docks.

There, behind screens, they waited for Ernst to arrive at dusk. The wolf hunters went into the woods a bit to make sure that there was no flanking by wolves of Ernst’s guards. And they waited.

At dusk, it began to heavily rain.

And it continued to rain.

At one point, they heard a magical sound from around the lake, but did not look.

For hours it continued to rain.

Ernst never arrived.

After several hours, after exhaustion had set in, Uther sent the wolf hunters home, hoping to see if there was a counter-ambush waiting. So far as they could see, there was none.

Keesya noted that the eyes of wolves began to be seen in the forest. Debating their future, the party decided that they would get into a boat and see if they could find the fabled “Mad Mage” before the wolves or guards found them.

Karlotta got a whiff of smoke, but saw a fire in the opposite direction. She followed up with the visible fire she saw and motioned the others to join her.

There was a cave with a fire in it, and what appeared to be a door behind the fire. Approaching it, Uther realized that it was not a door but something mocked up to look like a door. As he realized that he heard a familiar voice yell, “You will never get me alive!”

And magic misses, of a familiar type, came pouring into the adventurers flanked from all sides by the cave walls. Uther told everyone to lower their weapons and reasoned with the figure he was speaking to. His broken mind kind of remembered seeing him, in Barovia, inspecting troops that Uther and Fu Hao had trained.

“Uther? Is that you?” The wizard said, stepping into the light.

“It’s me, ”/characters/mordenkainen" class=“wiki-content-link”>Mordenkainen."

He ran a spell that opened up a door with a dry, warm interior of a palatial mansion on the other side. “Come with me, come with me,” Moredenkainen said, stepping through. The party followed.

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Seventh Night
Vallaki

The party awoke in the Burgomaster’s house. They paid Blinsky another visit, and then came back.

Uther built a beautiful sun sphere that had gas components and everything to run perfectly.

Karlotta and Keesiya helped build the other arrangements.

While outside, someone passed them a note that said simply, “Wachterhouse.”

Taking a polite leave, they walked to a broken-down-once-was-great Wachter house. There a maid was about to turn them away when Ernst interceded and allowed them in. He showed them to a parlor where they were to sit. And in walked Lady Fiona Wachter.

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Sixth Night
Town of Vallaki

The adventurers woke up and went downstairs to continue their hunt for Ireena.

They had a chat with Urwin that had him ask of they could check the supply of wine to the west. Supposedly wine is the lifeblood of Barovia, the only thing that keeps everybody functioning.

Uther seemed most interested in doing this.

The adventurers commissioned Szoldar Szoldarovich and Yevgeni Krushkin, two wolf hunters, to be their guides.

There was also a rather annoying and flamboyant ringmaster named Rictavio they shrugged off when he tried to initiate conversation.

The adventurers, eager to find Ireena, were about to leave when Lars came into the bar. Lars explained that they should go to the Festival of the Blazing Sun in a few days, “It’s fun, but it’s a bit of camp. Baron Vargas takes it extremely seriously, so don’t let him know how hokey these things are. He thinks it’s what keeps Strahd away from Vallaki. But, if you ask me and a lot of the other men, it’s St. Andral’s Church that keeps Strahd from having control of the town.”

He also mentioned that there were eleven women and nine men that came into town the day that the adventurers arrived. One of them may have been Ireena.

He told them to keep an eye on Rictavio, who seems to be up to something. When pressed for details, Lars explained that Rictavio always says he’s going to see the toy maker, but doesn’t. He slips off somewhere else.

He asked about the Incorruptible, one of the members of the Swords of Eight. He said that, like most people, it was the Incorruptible that inspired him to fight. When this topic came up, Urwin interrupted. Lars said that, like most people, he believes that the Incorruptible is out there preparing to return to them when they prove themselves good and strong enough to defeat Strahd. Urwin asks why he would try to change that and to not talk about these things.

Lars also mentioned that the girls would probably be happier in the Vallaki camp outside the city gates.

Finally, he mentioned that he meets every now and then with Victoria, the daughter of Uther. Uther presses for a lot of details. Apparently Uther asked Lars to meet with her and make sure she’s alright. They meet at a little cabin about once a month. He just met with her a little bit ago, but when he hears from her again, he’ll let Uther know.

Uther changes his mind and decides that they’re staying in the city.

Karlotta decided she wanted to see what Rictavio was doing. She summoned a ghost to go sneak into Rictavio’s room and finds nothing of real interest.

Keesyia decided that she was going to engage Rictavio in conversation. Rictavio seemed to be very interested in finding out everything he could about the Vistani. Including their defenses and how many of them there were.

They decided that they were going to go around Vallaki and ask if anybody had seen Ireena.

On their way, they came upon a toy shop.

Entering very carefully, the adventurers opens the shop to find Blinksy waiting for customers.

Blinsky was almost overly friendly, obsessed with gold, and made scary toys. When Uther asked why he made such creepy toys, Blinsky responded, “Is that why business hasn’t been good?”

Among the toys were dolls that looked identical to Ireena. The adventurers tried to buy one, but Blindky told them that they were custom made for Izek, the sheriff.

The group commissioned Blindky to make an Ireena doll for themselves, and then went outside. Once there, they went to an alleyway and made a fake brick wall in hopes of catching Izek when he came to pick up the doll.

Their plans were partially foiled by being discovered by a mysterious man named Ernst that walked right through the wall illusion and introduced himself. When asked how he knew it was an illusion he replied, “I walk by this shop every day. There’s not a wall here.”

He explained to them that he was working for, “a friend,” and that he could help them out. He also advised the adventurers that they could find Izek in the town square.

Ernst took his leave and the adventurers went to the town square. Here Izek was directing soldiers to take down the posters for the last festival and putting up ones for the new festival.

The party confronted Izek and asked him what the deal with the Ireena dolls were. Izek, with his twisted gross arm, started to spark, and looked to soldiers. “Who have you been talking too?”

When they explained it was Blinsky, Izek relaxed and told them to mind their own business.


The group decided to go to the Burgomaster’s mansion. There they were welcomed in by the serving staff. They met Burgomaster Baron Vargas, a huge man with a fake smile stuck onto his mouth.

Vargas would continually proclaim, “All will be well!” And was so impressed by the bullshit the adventurers plied him, that he made them honoured guests at the festival and asked them to help both with the festival and find his missing lady-in-waiting and butler. They agreed. They also met his wife, who was meeting with peasant women and attempting to make good humor of one kind or another.

At night, when everyone should have been asleep, the adventurers prowled the house, looking for anything interesting.

They found Izek’s room, which was full of hundreds of Ireena dolls.

They also found a room that Karlotta had been dreaming about with a wedding dress in it.

When Karlotta looked into the mirror, she first saw herself. Then herself in a wedding dress. This changed to a reflection of herself as Ireena—wearing the same wedding dress. Seeing that it was not the same wedding dress in the room, she realized that she was both herself and Ireena wearing the dress in the room. In a horrible panic she saw that she was the bodies of both Ireena and herself, stitched together, to make someone new wearing the wedding dress in the room. She saw the reflection scream in an inhuman voice as blood poured from the stitching binding the body parts together. And then the vision ended.

In the attic, they found a forgotten room that had, “All is not well” scrawled upon it.

Breaking into the room, they saw seven skeletal cats and weirdly lifelike models of children facing a wall. In this room there was also a crudely made teleportation circle. Karlotta figured out that there was someone in the room that could cast an invisibility spell and tried to fix the teleportation device to work.

Victor, the son of Vargas, appeared and had a brief exchange about how he was attempting to escape Barovia with the teleportation circle. He admitted to accidentally killing the butler and lady-in-waiting after mind controlling them to getting into the teleportation circle and trying to make it work.

Now that Karlotta had corrected a few parts, Victor provoked Uther to attack him. Uther sent his dog, Buddy, to attack. Jumping over the teleportation divide, Victor activated it and incinerated the dog.

Uther then attacked, as did the rest of the party, and murdered Victor.

Having heard the commission, Izek came upstairs. In order to try and avoid him, Ernst came through a window and tried to provide an escape route to our heroes. Failing the rope check, they instead talked their way out of trouble with Izek, who was very suspicious but ordered to stand down by Vargas’s repeated assurances that, “All will be well!”

The party then got some sleep.

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Fifth Night
Vistani Camp / Windmill / Vallaki

When the adventurers woke up, they discovered that Ireena was gone. She provided a note to Uther that warned him that the other adventurers were murderers that killed Mad Mary in cold blood, tried to kill the priest, and threatened Ismark. She warned him not to follow the adventurers as they were thugs and killers.

Karlotta came up with a plan to capture Ireena and use her as a hostage to provoke Strahd.

Uther, worried about his daughter in Strahd’s hand, agreed. Keesiya played things pretty close to the vest.

They left the Vistani camp and raced to find her.

They tried to take a shortcut through some brush and ended up getting hurt by a rather ineffective punji trap. So there was that.

They next ran across a couple of Vistani, Eddie and Tyler, who were looking for something. Taking the adventurer’s money, Eddie and Tyler agreed to act as guides.

On their way to Vallaki, the adventurers came upon a windmill that looked like the one from the haunted mansion.

Deciding to investigate further, they walked toward the tower. When doing so, a black Irish Wolfhound came walking over to Uther, who seemed to recognize it.

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The adventurers, Tyler, Eddie, and the Wolfhound (Buddy) walked into windmill.

There was a kitchen, sounds of women from the floor above them, and pastries sitting about. Karlotta grabbed a pastry.

Then the group left.

They raced to get to Vallaki and hopefully find Ireena.

When they got there, Eddie and Tyler left a bit to the south. Nobody wanted to let the adventurers in at night, but someone at the gate recognized Uther by the name, “General.”

His name was Lars, and he ordered the guards to let the adventurers in and pointed them toward the Blue Water Inn.

As they walked to the Blue Water Inn, ravens began to fly over them, shitting all over Karlotta and Kessyia. After shitting, the ravens would go find shit on the ground, pick it up, and drop it on the women. Covered in shit, they came into the Blue Water Inn. The room fell silent and people spat at them.

There were two rowdy boys, probably college age, making crass remarks that stood out.

Uther walked to the bar and met with the bartender, Urwin.

When asked why the crows were shitting on the girls Urwin gruffly replied, “They’re smart animals. They probably don’t like it when murderers try to justify their killing with a display of gods and crows. But they’ll cease.”

The adventurers got rooms for relatively cheap and set up shop.

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Fourth Night
Vistani Camp

Keesya woke up in a Vistani cart. It was very similar to the kinds of Vistani carts that she was used to, but with plainer colours on many things, and the use of paper was made for barriers. Wearing black clock is a girl named Hannya,

Hannya immediately mentioned that Keesya was a little too old to go through the ascension, and that she went through it when she was 15.

When asked what the ascension was, Hannya, in an overly dramatic way, explained that it was where the VIstani chose their paths.

Keesya asked where her friends were. She was told that Maddox was dead and that Karlotta was seeking recovery and may or may not be back.

Hanna led Keesyia out of the cart, explaining that the fleeing from Greenglen caused a lot more Vistani f from a lot more realms than usual to come into Barovia, where they are treated safely.

The camp is, indeed, swollen. There are all kinds of games that Keesyia can play. She leaves the Sasserinian Roulette, and goes right to the drinking contest. In doing so, she cheats her first round, but ends up maintaining her composure so well that she ends up getting a lot of money.

SHe also ran into drunk guy that went into some detail about a wizard and a group of adventurers, the Circle of Eight, that had come a year ago to the camp, got their fortunes read, and went to face Strahd and died.

She also ran into an awkward boy named Cal who was in love with a beautiful Vistani named Esmer. Cal asked Keesyia for advice and she told him to be honest.

There was also Samesh, a guy that was frantic that his wife was dying as they escaped Greenglen. He wanted to bring her body into the camp instead of the graveyard where she was dumped, but the old crones in the camp won’t let him. He asked Keesyia to speak on his behalf. She refused, and he was found having hanged himself later.

Later on, Keesiya was taken to a grotto. There most of the Vistani women were, with curious wolves on a ridge watching on. They painted her face, taught her the Sign of Vestani, and some curses she can use. She was formally inducted into the Vistani people.


Karlotta seemed to make up. She remembers concentrating and seeing the Githyanki explain to her that she needed to concentrate. Mr. Wilcox emerged as well, asking if she had ever had visions before.

In the dream though, this background faded. She found herself in a room that smelled of powder and fine perfume. A vanity with a mirror stood against one wall and a faceless wooden mannequin wearing a white bridal gown was there. Mounted on the other wall was a full length mirror.

In the mirror, she saw her self, young, in a wedding dress.

Then she saw Ireena, very clearly, in the wedding dress.

Then she realized that she was the same as Ireena, and that they had been torn apart and stitched back together.

Finally, she realized that Ireena, Karlotta, and a lot of other people had been butchered and made into the corpse of a woman in the mirror wearing the wedding dress.

Very clearly the words called out as she looked in the mirror:

Magic mirror on the wall
Summon forth your shade
Night’s dark vengeance, heed my call
And wield your murderous blade.

She woke up with some confusion in a graveyard.

Karlotta got up and saw gallows near the graveyard. She also observed several other people in white sheets. One was a shaking boy, another was a woman covered in parasites. There were a few dead people, and some sheets left behind from people that had woken up and moved.

Karlotta felt the pull to go either into the woods or along the road. She chose the woods.


Uther heard a voice and saw a woman in front of him behind light. “Do you remember? Do you remember?”

He began to think of Veruca, his wife in Innisfarne. On the salt flats. He remembered having a play-fight with his young son, Vurn.

“Remember”

He remembered Vurn as an adult.

“Do you remember”

He remembers the Black Paw growing irate and throwing a chair when the human mediator couldn’t satisfy the orc to the answer that Uther gave.

“Remember”

He was on a ship in the fog…

“Remember”

Strahd’s asking him to take apart a sword. There was a kind of magic, the hilt was the only thing he couldn’t break down. Uther pretended that he could and hid the hilt from Strahd.

“Remember”

Uther came back to the cabin one day and found a note from Victoria, his daughter, about her leaving with Strahd. Strahd left some gold for the payment.

In dispair Uther went to the woods and screamed for Kord, his god from Innisfarne who had not answered him since the fog took up.

But out of the fog a black dog, he later knew as the Mark of Cain, emerged. He was under the protection of the Raven Queen, the goddess of death and thus the only one with a faint presence in this land, from then on out.

Then he remembered.

Looking around, Uther found himself in a decrepit cabin. He reached for a bottle of wine and found it dusty and made of vinegar. Vines were growing in through the walls. It looked like months since he had last been there. Maybe years.

Fu Hao stood in front of him. He had a vague memory of both of them teaching a militia how to fight. But the last year or so was completely lost for him. And fu Hao looked awful now.

“Palor’s light has yet to penetrate Barovia, even after the ”/characters/the-incorruptible" class=“wiki-content-link”>Incorruptible graced these lands.

You hear barking wolves. It seems odd.

Fu Hao told Uther, “I came to this cabin assuming you were dead. Do you know what happened to the incorruptible?” Uther did not. “If you’re still alive a year later, maybe there’s hope for him too. There is so much for you to know.”

Uther became aware of another woman in the cabin.

“This is ”/characters/ireena-kolyana" class=“wiki-content-link”>Ireena," Fu Hao said, “We must protect her from Strahd. His wolves are after me. Please protect her—take her to Vallaki where she may be spared from Strahd…”

With that, Fu Hao ran into the woods and let the wolves come after her.

Uther walked into the woods with Fu Hao and tried to understand what was going on. It was about then that a sound of rustling came about. Behind Uther and Ireena stood several of Strahd’s undead guard.

Little known to them, behind them was Karlotta. Karlotta, Uther, and Ireena killed the creatures.

As it got to evening, Karlotta, Uther, and Ireena saw something in the sky that looked like Palor’s symbol about to break through the clouds. Curious, they followed it, finding it hovering over the Vistani camp.

At the same time, Keesiya was emerging back to the camp and saw a giant fire, where the Vistani were burning Fu Hao alive.

She said that in her death, her soul would go to Palor, who would need to break through into this world. However, her soul was absorbed into a a bag made out of the remains of Maddox

Eva invited the adventurers into her cart.

She sat down and announced that they were part of a plan that started a long time ago, and whether they like it or not, it was something that had to be seen through.

These were her specific instructions:

She took the adventurers in and gave them these specific introductions:

To Kessiya:

Sweet child, we are so happy to have you home. You lived your life away from home, but in the midst of the dragon in Greenglen have found yourself back here. Back home. We are all very happy to have you with us again, as your parents were before you.

You sold your soul to gold under the eyes of a vampire as a child, and it is right that you are with us under a vampire’s eyes. What I am going to ask of you is hard, but you should always remember that these are plans put into motion long ago that you shall cultivate. What fate calls for you to do is what’s best for you, best for the Vistani, and ultimately best for Strahd.

To Uther:
I remember you. When the Swords of Eight came to me, they were but seven. Your card was pulled by these withered hands for the Fourth Space. Take heed of the fate of the seven and of Maddox; fate moves in a direction, but it is not straight.

You long to return to the dead salt flats that made you a man. They were taken from you, and in the damp forest you lost all that you were; out of the reach of your god, another found you. It is not time for you to go back to the nothingness yet. Two daughters still have beating hearts. Even if they no longer beat for you, so long as they continue, they may one day return.

To Karlotta
Sweet sister, I tried so hard to keep you away, and yet you found your way back. Did not Mr. Wilcox warn you to stay away from this place after that Githyanki foolishly opened your eyes?

But how I enjoy seeing my old eyes reflecting back in what could have been. Have you come to see…Oh…You don’t know?

…How interesting.

There is much that you don’t know. You are not quite the same as the last time we met. You honestly don’t remember…

And how could you?

I can see no further in you than you can see in me—Or you yourself for that matter. What your friends think you are is false, this you know; but what you think about you is more false. Your blood is but background to this realm, and I can see no more.

The Predictions
1. This card tells of history. Knowledge of the ancient will help you better understand your enemy.

I see a sleeping prince, a servant of light, and the brother of darkness. The treasure lies with him.

2. This card tells of a powerful force for good and protection, a holy symbol of great hope.

The thing you seek lies with the dead, under mountains of gold coins.

3. This is a card of power and strength. It tells of a weapon of vengeance: a sword of sunlight.

The treasure is hidden in a small castle beneath a mountain, guarded by amber giants.

(this triggered a memory with Uther)

4.This card sheds light on one who will help you greatly in the battle against darkness.

A man of death named Arrigal will forsake his dark lord to serve your cause. Beware! He has a rotten soul.

5. Your enemy is a creature of darkness, whose powers are beyond mortality. This card will lead you to him!

I see a secret place—a vault of temptation hidden behind a woman of great beauty. The evil waits atop his tower of treasure.


After that, the adventurers were given a cart to stay in. Uther made noodles and kept confusing Kessyia with the name of another woman.

They got to know each other and only slept late..

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Third Night
Village of Barovia / Old Svalich Road

The party awoke the next day. Maddox was up first, then Keesya, and finally Karlotta was up last.

Ireena gave Keesya a dress that was fully cleaned of the blood from Mad Mary.

Ismark made a big breakfast for the party and proposed that they bring Ireena to Vallaki. Ireena refused until the burgomaster was buried.

Maddox demanded more money. Ismark explained that the town didn’t have much money, and then Maddox turned demonic and with a deep voice and dagger in hand, demanded double the gold.

Ismark got up and insisted that he would not give into threats.

Maddox compromised, saying that they would help to bury the body and negotiate afterward.

The party left to the graveyard with the body, and though typically reserved, the Barovians showed respect to the dead burgomaster.

At the church, the part came across Fu Hao. She explained to the party that the priest, Donavich, had a son that she had trained in a militia to attack Strahd a year ago. The son, Doru, had returned a vampire spawn now captured in the basement screaming for blood while Donovich felt sorry in the church.

Fu Hao convinced the party to go into the basement and fight Doru. A few things were learned:

-Fu Hao buffed, but did not use weapons on the vampire spawn.

-The sunlight was too dim to harm the vampire, but did interfere with its healing.

Defeating the vampire, the party (now with Fu Hao) went up to bury the burgomaster with a short ceremony.

Ismark explained to Fu Hao the plan to take Ireena to Vallaki. She agreed. As the party left to the escort Ismark had prepared with the remaining militia that Fu Hao had helped to train. Keesya wanted to go get supplies to help.

However, Maddox stayed behind and attempted to murder Donovich. Dodging, Donovich ran to Fu Hao and the rest of the group, who protected him.

Karlotta tried to help Maddox by summoning the illusion of a vampire, but little occurred.

Having been threatened by Maddox, and having had Karlotta come to the house covered in blood, and having had Maddox try to kill Donovich, it was decided that they should be kept away from Ireena and everyone else.

Ireena, Ismark, and Fu Hao, escorted the party out of town.

Maddox climbed on top of balcony and attempted to get the town on his side. Karlotta prepared illusions of ravens and the Morning Lord and Mother Night to try and persuade the town that only the party could kill Strahd, and that they would do everything in their power to kill him. This, however, failed spectacularly and the town turned fully against them.

The militia escorted the party out of Barovia forever.

The party, at dark, went walking along hoping to get somewhere safe. The many wolves that were following them in the woods at the burgomaster’s house were thick in the woods and attacked.

Outnumbered, they fought the best that they could. But it was not enough.

Karlotta was pounded upon, her life torn from her body.

Maddox was ripped apart by wolves.

Keesya fled into the woods, running in a panic, then back in the road where she came across a Vistani cart. There, some children she had seen back in Greenglen before coming into Barovia, helped her into a cart. Nearly dead, she rode along the rocky road…

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Second Night
Death House/ Village of Barovia

When the adventurers awoke, it was dark. Keesiya and Karlotta looked to Maddox, who was living, but still a pile of torn skin with breathing and jumbled bloody organs. The only piece that looked right was a single eye, looking around in panic within the shattered portion of a skull piled on top of the pile of pieces.

In the pitch darkness, Karlotta found herself standing in the tower of a great office. A brother she had never seen before was in front of her. Then she was in an orphanage, walking around with the boys. Then walking in a quaint park with her husband, pregnant. Again, again, again, the images of lives she never lived flashed in front of her. Faster and faster, until her own life was not only lost in the shuffle, but the lives themselves became a blur. Karlotta tried to scream, but whether anything was heard in the constantly shifting lives, nobody can say.

Keesiya stood in the dark, sensing the presence of many more in the room, hearing them whisper and talk. Consumed by the fear of Rose who possessed her, there was nothing she could do.

Then, into the darkness, a light shined through the door.

Keesiya got up and nervously followed it to the source. Through the dirt tunnels she went, coming into a chamber where a statue stood. Across the statue was a woman, chained upside down, badly beaten, naked, head shaved, and a symbol of Palor glowing through the burnt flesh somebody had used to try and scour the symbol off.

Keesiya unchained the woman, who called herself Fu Hao. Taking a potion, a table leg, and a banner to make into a crude cloak, Fu Hao followed Keesiya back to the chamber where the others were.

Fu Hao explained that she was a member of the Swords of Eight, a group of adventurers that had come to the realm in order to defeat Strahd. She led a militia against him and failed. She does not know who brought her to the Death House.

Fu Hao blessed the soil, releasing Karlotta. She made a spell that took the loosened spirits and put them into a blank book that Keesiya had found.

She then built a hole in the blessed dirt in the shape of a boy. Mixing her own blood into it, she poured what was remained of Maddox into the dirt and added a healing potion. She covered the mess and prayed for one night.

At the end, through the dirt, Maddox emerged intact. He grabbed the book that had the power of the souls he had consumed.

The group, with Fu Hao, continued to press on. They came to the room that Fu Hao had been chained in.

The room was festooned with madly skeletons that hung from rusty shakes against the walls. A wide alcove in the south wall contained a painted wooden statue carved in the likeness of a gaunt, pale-faced man wearing voluminous black cloak, his pale left hand resting on the head of a wolf that stood next to him. In his right hand, he held a smoky-gray crystal orb.

The chanting that they had crown used to, grew louder and louder.

Maddox attempted to take the orb, releasing five shadows that the party had to face. They defeated them.

While exploring the room they found a trapdoor that would lead them back to the rest of the house, but that would have been pointless.

The party went into a smaller room and found, what appeared to be, the leader’s den.

Keesyia took silverware, and Maddox attempted to open a door:

It was actually a mimic. They fought and beat it.

They continued into the Cult Leaders’ quarters. They went to the foot locker, releasing two casts from the earthen walls. They fight them, and get a few spells and a few other items.

The group continued on to a large room that had a series of petty treasures on each side, just weird stuff. Nervous after the last few rooms, they moved slowly to the end.

The chanting stopped and a huge room opened with pillars on each side, full of water with an alter in the middle. Rusty chains hung above the alter. The group moved in and a portcullis fell, trapping them inside.

Walking to the alter, the chants began again as ghostly figures appeared along the walls, each holding a torch that seemed to absorb light more than present it.

“One Must Die. One Must Die.”

The party halted. Karlotta and Maddox debated sacrificing Fu Hao, but never acted. Growing weary of no sacrifice, the cult grew angry and the chant changed, “Lorghoth the Decayer, we awaken thee!”

A shambling mound came to life and the chant changed again, “The end comes! Death be praised!”

The party had to fight the shambling mound and won. Maddox found the controls to the portcullis and raised it. Fu Hao stood in front of it and fought off cultists, and the party waited for her before shutting it.

The party ran upstairs to find the house with bulging moving walls, in full decay. When they pulled open the door that came off the rotting wall, a tornado of items moving quickly blocked their way. Fu Hao, again, defended Karlotta and Kessyia as they dove out, taking damage.

Maddox could not take any more damage, so Fu Hao lifted him up and dove out of the door, taking the damage to herself.

The spirits of Rose and Thorne were left on the porch of the house, now decayed and awful looking. The group was badly injured as they looked around them.

Tall shapes loomed out of the night. The muddy cobblestones at their feet were wet. The windows of each house around them had only pools of blackness. No sound could be heard aside from a distant sobbing and a horse trotting. In front of them, atop a mountain, a great castle could be seen silhouetting the moon.

Fu Hao explained that she had to get to the church in order to see what happened to The Incorruptible and that the rest of the party could meet her there. She was off.

While debating about where to stay, it became apparent that the horse and cart was drawing closer. Hoping to avoid battle, Keesiya, Karlotta, and Maddox hid in an alleyway and hoped the cart would keep going.

But it stopped. A strange silvery elf sat as the driver, looking only ahead.

The door opened and a tall man in dress military garb from long ago stepped into the torchlight. Handsome, in his way, he was also terrifying. The light from the torches projected his shadow into a hideous version of himself, attempting to clutch the adventurers.

“I am ”/characters/strahd-von-zarovich" class=“wiki-content-link”>Strahd," He said, “You may come into the light.”

Maddox, a child from Bavaria, pissed himself in fear. They poked their head into the light just a little bit. Being a little closer, they could see a young woman in the carriage, with her face painted as a skull.

“I must admit that I am unimpressed with you,” Strahd scolded as his shadow attempted to attack them. Strahd pressed the party, warning them that Ireena Kolyana was his, like everyone else, and that they are now his too—even if they didn’t know it. At seeing the name of Ireena mentioned, the woman in the carriage winced a little bit.

Strahd then took his leave.


The party, tired and badly injured, went to look for a place to stay. As they walked the wailing got louder. Deciding to investigate, they came upon a house.

Upon entering, it was clear that it had not been well cared for. They followed the wailing upstairs and found Mad Mary there, wailing into the darkness.

The group asked her what was wrong; she answered that her daughter had left. She spoke of how Barovia, the entire region, was a kind of hell and she had tried to protect her daughter from it. Now her daughter had left out to the world…

The adventurers found the daughter’s room, which locked from the outside and had the window boarded up. Leather restrains were on the bed, and toys were strewn about. One doll said, “Is No Fun, is No Blinsky!”

Maddox decided to kill Mad Mary. Keesya was against the idea, but did not attempt to stop Maddox and Karlotta.

Keesya heard something in the room she was in. Then, following that, Mad Mary came crawling into the room on her hands and knees, begging for help. She came to Keesyia, bloodying her dress, and begging to have her friends stop. Keesyia looked down absently at Mad Mary while Maddox came up behind her and murdered her, absorbing her soul.

Then the group took anything of value, again hearing something once while doing so.

….

The group left the house and then found the Blood of the Vine Tavern.

Arik the bartender was a little obsessive compulsive with the glasses, and there were Vistani sitting in the corner. But it was a particularly friendly Barovian named Ismark the Lesser greeted them.

Explaining that his sister, Ireena, was hunted by Strahd and that he wanted their help in getting her to safety, the party informed him that his sister was already in Strahd’s cart.

Ismark, in a panic, took the group with him and ran to the old Burgomaster’s house. The burgomaster looked as if it were under siege, and in the woods around it, the party saw countless wolves moving about, keeping eyes on them.

Opening the door was Ireena, safe and sound. The mysterious girl in the car was someone else.

Inside the house was the dead Burgomaster. They had not been able to bury him because of the frequent attacks on the house.

Ireena revealed that she had been bitten twice, and after the third time she would become a vampire spawn, Strahd’s slave, damned for eternity.

Ismark and Ireena agreed to let the party sleep at their place and launder their clothes. They would speak in the morning.

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First Night
Death House

Keesya emerged from the fog while slipping away from her fellow companions in Greenst.

Walking through the fog, she emerged on three children in front of a large old Victorian house.

There is a brother and sister, and they inform Keesya that there are monsters in the house and that their parents need to be saved.

272rosethorn.jpg

They inform her that the oldest sister is named Rose, her little brother is called Thorn. The other boy is Maddox, who was simply wandering the town with nowhere else to go.

Keesya entered the house with the children, but as soon as she crossed the threshold the door slammed shut and Rose and Thorn disappeared. Sitting inside the house, strangely, was Karlotta—who Keesya had seen killed days ago. Karlotta has no clear idea why she’s in in the house or alive.

Kessya, Karlotta, and Maddox explore the house. While moving around, they notice a lot of windmill imagery. Closer inspection on almost anything else reveals elaborate designs to be complicated pieces of horrible things happening to people.

In a secret room, the group finds the following letter, seemingly from Strahd:

_My most pathetic servant,

I am not a messiah sent to you by the Dark Power of this land. I have not come to lead you on a path of immortality. However many souls you have bled on your hidden alter, however many visitors you have tortured in your dungeon, know that you are not the ones who brought me to this beautiful land. You are but worms writing in my earth.

You say that you are cursed? That your fortunes are open? You abandoned love for madness, took solace in the bosom of another women, and sired a stillborn son.

Cursed by darkness, of this I have no doubt. Save you from your wretchedness? I think now. I much prefer you as you are._

The group continued through the mansion, fighting haunted armor and other strange things. It was only when they found a locked child’s room with the skeletons of long dead Rose and Thorne, that a clue about how to escape the house prevented itself. The adventures found a doll house made in the model of the house they were in, and upon finding it could find secret passages that were otherwise hidden.

Leaving the room, the ghosts of Rose of Thorn, afraid of being alone, inhabited the bodies of Keesya (Rose) and Maddox (Thorn).

The group continues on to a basement where they hear horrible chanting all around them and dirt tunnels leading in all kinds of directions. After battling a little bit, the group is hurt; and when Maddox (haunted by Thorn) went into a panic, he fell into a pit of spikes.

Kessya, in the dark, pulled the body up and took him into a little room that they had cleared. Here the group slept…

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