Day Ten Continued…
We returned to Vallaki for safety’s sake that night, taking the children with us. While in town we had several goals. One of my first was to commission toys for my orphanage from our toymaker Blinski. He started making a rocking roo, and has plans to make the biggest doll house you’ve ever seen. We bought a mule, who we called Bruce, hired a cart, and bought some carpenter’s tools and supplies. And then we went and found us the two hunters from the other day as guards, an architect, a carpenter, nine labourers, and a nanny/cook, a kindly old woman called Katarina.
We left at first light and arrived back at Raven Mill to a terrible sight. All our chickens were dead and something had attacked them and the mill. It appeared to be old Spiky. We resolved to hunt him down while the labourers got down to their work and built their dormitory.
We tracked him into the forest only to find ourselves ambushed by Spiky and Lady Wachtir’s imp. Despite the hideous spikes we recognised the spiky demon instantly – it was Izek, somehow. He attacked and just like last time picked up Ireena and ran. But he and his accomplice did not know of my secret weapon – swarms of ravens. They were harried by them and we managed to catch up. We freed Ireena, made short work of the imp and then focussed on Izek. Once we had killed him he incinerated and we collected his ashes. Had his demonic pact been the cause of his transformation post-death? Would we ever know?
That being done we returned to Raven Mill and Donavich and I begun our task for the day, which was digging a pond for our resident toads. My wombats did the trick with digging and Donavich created the water through his spells. We dumped Izek’s ashes within. That evening the dormitory was finished, which we were all most relieved about!
As the workers began on fixing up the windmill into a livable structure, Ireena and I went back into town. We heard that elections would in a week’s time, and that the priest had been warned by an emissary of Strahd not to stuff this up. We dropped off the wagon we had hired and got more supplies – including ten chickens and a goat called Copernicus – then went back to the mill.
That night I went to dinner with Strahd. He did not try and press me about Ireena this time, happily. We talked of business and of my conquest of the mill. Then we went running as wolves. He showed me a most disturbing sight. He had wiped out the secret camp of the wereravens. I had to hold my face still and watch as wolves devoured the bodies of the Matakov family, my allies. Vengeance will come.
We went back into town to pick up the rocking roo, and not only that, but we bought every toy Blinski had in stock. I figure it’s only fair since we had killed his most prolific customer…We went back to the mill where the mechanics of the mill had been fixed. Tomorrow we will fix the vanes and know whether we can use this mill for its intended purpose. I bought some wheat in town just to test it out.
A quiet day at the mill as the workers constructed the vanes. The only things out of the ordinary were that they found a lock attached to the ground in the forest (what could that lead to?) and that Copernicus’s milk was curdling. Donavich worked out the cause, and we removed the ashes from the pond – we would have to take them to hallowed ground.
Late afternoon the vanes were finished. I made a gust of wind and we found the mill to be fully functional! That night for supper cook made us fresh bread.
As the team made a wagon for us Donavich, Ireena and I went down to Vallaki again for a two-fold purpose. First to bring back Hans, Katarina’s husband with us. He would be our maintenance man at the mill long-term, and as a veteran guard hopefully good enough to help defend the mill should it come under attack. The second purpose was of course to ask the priest to put the ashes of Izek in the vault. But as soon as we entered the hallowed ground of the church the ashes burst into flame and vanished. The bones of Saint Andril saw to that.
Today the fences were completed and the work complete. My mill/orphanage/home is complete. We left behind Hans, Katarina, Freek and Myrtle and took the hired workers back to Vallaki. We threw one last big party all together, with their families, in the inn. They were a good team, and I’m grateful to them for all the work they’ve done. We’re sleeping at the inn tonight – tomorrow we head back to the mill with our cart full of grain to grind.