stonegod's Expedition to Castle Ravenloft: Ch. I [IC]

Kafkonia

First Post
DEFCON 1 said:
"Perriwimple... you have lived here most of your life, correct? Have you heard any stories or tales about the neighboring witches or nature creatures out in the woods?"

The large young man blinks. "Oh I do!" Perriwimple says, as though suddenly remembering something. "I know the witches can be mean. They put curses on you if they're mad. My uncle once said a witch gave him boils, but he gets angry a lot." He pauses. "Granma Margaret said the forest has wolves in it. Big, bad wolves that eat you. No one knows where they live, though."
 

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James Heard

Explorer
stonegod said:
Hawk-Jannis is soon at the crossroad again. It has been a few minutes, but nothing significantly had changed. Perching upon a rain gutter, she examines the scents at hand. Disregarding the sulfuric smell, the two strongest set of smells consists of a single scent going in one direction of the crossroad (south) and a small group of about three scents heading east. Both are about as recent as the other.
Janis heads east. While the lone scent was certainly tempting, the whole idea of this was to perform reconnaissance.
 

stonegod

Spawn of Khyber/LEB Judge
The Chase

Hawk-Janis flies after the larger group of scents, following it through the village. The occasional villager or group of villagers crossing the trail's path gawk at the odd bird, but the druid presses on. She notes several other older crossing paths as she follows.

Finally, after a few more minutes, she catches up to the group. Apparently, they have entered a run down house. Daellin has done his best to catch up, and find Hawk-Jannis perching on a nearby building, determining her next move.
 

stonegod

Spawn of Khyber/LEB Judge
Questions Abound

[Gather Info Check.]

Not receiving as much help as he would have liked from Perriwimple, the Stalker begins asking about for the questions that plagued them: What do you know about the witches? The forest and fey? The castle? While assiting with tending the dead, or pulling off boarded windows, or buying a round of ale brought with the caravan with the still taciturn townfolk, Jarrith is able to hear the following. As all stories, some may be true, some may be false, but a grain of truth may be found.

- "Fah! The Witches! Speak not their name. At least with the Devil Strahd, we knew the cause. But them, fah!"

- "Forest dark and terrible. No good hunting. The wolves hunt you!"

- "Fey folk? I've 'eard tales of a the rusalka out there. Lures men to the waters and drowns them for their wickedness!"

- "Dark, the castle is. No light lives there. My dziadek spoke of a great Burgomaster in his youth that tamed the heart of it once, but she too fell to it due to her pride."

- "The witches walk around in fair form, seducing the young to sacrifice them in their dark pacts when a dark moon shines!"

- "The Great Conquerer's almost-martyr founded a monastery on that foul Hill, to cleanse the taint of the dark ones that once worshiped there. It is said she went mad after returning to find all its stones covered in blood!"

- "The spirit of the wood---the czernovoi---lives deep in the forest to the northeast. He gathers his fey dancers for a wild and terrible ride on the forest wolves!"
 
Last edited:

drothgery

First Post
stonegod said:
Hawk-Janis flies after the larger group of scents, following it through the village. The occasional villager or group of villagers crossing the trail's path gawk at the odd bird, but the druid presses on. She notes several other older crossing paths as she follows.

Finally, after a few more minutes, she catches up to the group. Apparently, they have entered a run down house. Daellin has done his best to catch up, and find Hawk-Jannis perching on a nearby building, determining her next move.

"Well, do you want me to go in there or not? You're certainly doing a fine job of leading me around." Daellin says.
 

stonegod

Spawn of Khyber/LEB Judge
The Chase

As Hawk-Janis ponders her next move, her calling out to Daellin draws attention. A few windows of the neighboring buildings open up for the curious, but more interestingly to the druid is the door of the house in question. It opens, and a large man with a thick, black beard in simple peasant garb looks out, a look of confusion on his face. He shakes his head a moment and is about to close the door when a young girl, perhaps eight, sneaks between his legs to get a look at the scene. She giggles once, pointing at the strange bird, then is shuffled inside.

Daellin has time to accost the villager before the door closes, as does Hawk-Janis (though it is unlikely they speak avian).
 

James Heard

Explorer
Janis hops down of the ledge she was perched upon, shifting back to her more recognizable form as she does so.

" Either the creature's master is inside there, or else he went towards the crossroads."

Janis shrugs unhappily.

" I thought the outside possibility of a larger cell of agents working from within the town was a greater danger, and the risk of leaving town too great for the two of us alone in any case."

" I suppose it can't hurt to talk to the people inside?"
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
The villagers were a colorful people if nothing else... Jarrith decided for himself as his conversations continued. With years of experience pulling facts from fancy, he picked up on certain points that various folks said and followed those up with additional questions... hoping to draw out a little more clearly just what has happened here over the generations.

"Fey folk? I've 'eard tales of a the rusalka out there. Lures men to the waters and drowns them for their wickedness!"
"When you speak of 'rusalka'... do you have another translation of what that is? I'm afraid I do nort understand that word." Jarrith then pulls out Ismark's map and shows it to the villager. "And do you have a specific body of water you are referring to? The river that runs through Barovia in general, or perhaps are you refering to the Tser Pool or further west at Tser Falls?"

"Dark, the castle is. No light lives there. My dziadek spoke of a great Burgomaster in his youth that tamed the heart of it once, but she too fell to it due to her pride."
"Really? How long ago was this?" He pulls out his notebook and begins taking down the information. "What was this woman's name... the great Burgomaster? And when you say she 'tamed the heart of it', do you mean she had a relationship with the castle's lord, or are you referring to the castle itself?"

"The witches walk around in fair form, seducing the young to sacrifice them in their dark pacts when a dark moon shines!"

"By dark moon, do you mean a full moon? Or a new moon? When you say they seduce the young and sacrifice them... is there children specifically here in Barovia that you are referring to? Is this a frequent occurance?"

"The Great Conquerer's almost-martyr founded a monastery on that foul Hill, to cleanse the taint of the dark ones that once worshiped there. It is said she went mad after returning to find all its stones covered in blood!"

"Who is this 'almost-martyr' you speak of? Does she have a name? I have heard talk of a great woman, the town's Burgomaster in the past, that dealt with who is in the castle. Do you mean the same person?" The monestary aspect intrigues him, and he focuses on that. "So Lysaga Hill is home to a monestery, hmm? Do you know what Order she founded there? Is there someone in town, a historian perhaps, who might have more knowledge about what this monestery was for and when it was built?"

"The spirit of the wood---the czernovoi---lives deep in the forest to the northeast. He gathers his fey dancers for a wild and terrible ride on the forest wolves!"

"Hmm... I do not believe I've ever heard the word 'czernovoi' before. Is there a translation into the Common tongue of what that is? And when you say he lives deep into the woods to the northeast... would you happen to know if that is north or south of the road out of Barovia?"
 


stonegod

Spawn of Khyber/LEB Judge
Questions Abound

DEFCON 1 said:
"When you speak of 'rusalka'... do you have another translation of what that is? I'm afraid I do not understand that word." Jarrith then pulls out Ismark's map and shows it to the villager. "And do you have a specific body of water you are referring to? The river that runs through Barovia in general, or perhaps are you referring to the Tser Pool or further west at Tser Falls?"
As far as Jarrith can put together, a rusalka is a watery spirit of a drowned maiden. However, his impression is that it is not necessarily an undead spirit, but a fey. As for where, the stories are contradictory. Essentially, wherever there is water, there might be a rusalka.

DEFCON 1 said:
"Really? How long ago was this?" He pulls out his notebook and begins taking down the information. "What was this woman's name... the great Burgomaster? And when you say she 'tamed the heart of it', do you mean she had a relationship with the castle's lord, or are you referring to the castle itself?"
From the old man's age and his ramblings, Jarrith would place this 'Great' Burgomaster to be at least 80 to 120 years ago. The man does not know of a name. It is made clear again that "There is no lord of the castle; only the dark curse of the Devil Strahd." Or so the man says.

DEFCON 1 said:
"By dark moon, do you mean a full moon? Or a new moon? When you say they seduce the young and sacrifice them... is there children specifically here in Barovia that you are referring to? Is this a frequent occurance?"
The 'dark moon' is a new moon. New moons happen quite frequently due to Eberron's twelve satellites, but after some questioning, Jarrith figures the 'dark moon' is specifically the moon opposed to the moon of the current month. Some quick discussion with Mateusz determines that the 'dark moon' of Zarantyr is Therendor---due to become new in five night's time.

Jarrith does not find any particular names of the disappeared, though with the Curse, wolf predation, and other misfortunes, life expectancy in Barovia seems to be low.

DEFCON 1 said:
"Who is this 'almost-martyr' you speak of? ... Is there someone in town, a historian perhaps, who might have more knowledge about what this monastery was for and when it was built?"
The matron seems surprised by Jarrith's lack of knowledge, and names the almost-martyr one St. Ecaterina, a name unfamiliar to the Stalker. Her Order bore her name, but the ruins on Lysaga Hill bear witness to its distruction.

Unfortunately, as Jarrith secretly expected, the town historian is dead, killed by their own hands. Apparently, the priesthood of Barovia was the only written tradition of the area.

DEFCON 1 said:
"Hmm... I do not believe I've ever heard the word 'czernovoi' before. Is there a translation into the Common tongue of what that is? And when you say he lives deep into the woods to the northeast... would you happen to know if that is north or south of the road out of Barovia?"
Forest spirit is the best Jarrith can determine. It sounds like a powerful fey spirit, tied to the woods specifically. It is supposedly a dark trickster. Its lair is said to be in the thickest part of the woods where the wolves run---north of the Barovian road.
 

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