14th day of Summertide 1492 DR, Village of Barovia
We found Donovan, unslept, still uttering his verses to his lord over Titania’s wrecked body. A faint glow of the offerings atop her form told us there was still hope. Best to leave the priest to his work, save breaking his concentration.
We departed for the village centre, in hope of finding supplies and more information on our next move. I needed arrows, I lost too many in the clutter of the monster we put to death last night. With the swindling Mercantile the only known stock in town, I set off to discover if there were any other business open for trade. The rogues Mordecai and Aegon took advantage of my absence to ‘workaround’ the ridiculous prices at the Mercantile through a locked back door, only to be caught in the act by a simple, yet intimidating chap that convinced them otherwise
Regrouping, we investigated the screams we’d be hearing everyday in this village. We found Mary, who after a quick chat revealed her anguish was caused by the disappearance of her daughter Gertrude, assumed taken by Strahd for her beauty. She claimed her daughter had been gone a few weeks, yet, by all accounts Mary’s screams had been echoing through the village for years. Very suspicious. Little more could be drawn from the woman, even with some hospitality in the form of Mordecai’s signature drink: some tea and wine concoction he called a ‘Hot Mordie’. I didn’t partake, for fear he may have whipped some of that magic he wields into it.
A quick rummage around the missing girl’s room revealed little again, no clues but an open window and some ‘love letters’ from none other than Strahd himself. All evidence points to her running away by choice, but given what we’ve encountered thus far, I suspect foul play.
With Mary’s case at a dead end for now, we made for the ‘Blood on the Vine’ tavern, and the man called Ismark. Ismark’s father Kolyan was Burgomaster of the village, recently dead of a heart attack. Without her father around, Ismark would have us escort his adopted sister Ireena to neighbouring Vallaki, in the hope that she will find some protection there outside Strahd’s gaze across Barovia from his Castle Ravenloft vantage point. On our way to the large manor of the Burgomaster, Ismark explains that Ireena shares the likeness of Strahd’s brother’s wife ‘Tatyana’, and as such she is a target of his charm and influence. Puzzled by this story, we learn that in Barovia there are a limited pool of souls from which all denizens are formed; The result of which is that semblances are reborn every few generations.
We arrive and meet Ireena – not at all what I expected for one requiring an escort; Armoured and well armed, she appears confident and trained. She explains that before we can leave, there is the matter of burying her father. Apparently the village has been reluctant to assist in making the burial arrangements, given the tense parameters of their existence here under Strahd.
The party agrees to assist, not exactly what I thought we’d be doing with our afternoon, but we proceed with providing escort to the funeral sedan. Down through the village on our way to the chapel, the Burgomaster’s former constituents slowly formed up and joined the procession, it seems the man was well-respected.
Definitely an oversight on our part, we arrive at the chapel remembering the state that we’d left it in this morning. Fully expecting to find Titania still remaining lifeless on the altar, we discover she has been moved. Hoping for the best we roused Donovan, who to his credit, was able to prepare for the ceremony with little worry despite his strenuous efforts this past day.
After a few kind words, we headed for the prepared resting place for the Burgomaster. Initially causing me concern, apparitions appeared from the graveyard… faded heroes coming to pay their respects… perhaps past adventurers of this tainted land; Hopefully not an omen foretelling our own party’s fate in these lands.
Afterwards, the crowd dissipated and we sought news of Titania from Donavan. The man looks relieved, and informed us that Titania lives and rests in his quarters. With this knowledge, we take rest so as to start fresh for Vallaki with Ireena on the morrow.