Day Twenty-One Continued
Arriving in Krezk, we learned that the wagon had arrived safely and met up with the
Martikovs again. Krezk was quite different from what I expected on the inside. Actually
I quite liked it. It seemed to be a bit of a commune type place. However there was the
disturbing spectre of the ‘Abbott’ of Krezk looming over the place. Ireena said she
could hear ‘a voice’. After lunch with the burgomeister and his wife (recently bereaved
of their fourth child!) and learning that none of the children we rescued were from
Krezk, we returned to the vineyard for the night. We did our best to entertain the
kidnapped children with stories, cuddles and animal rides.
The next day we left the children in the care of the Martikovs. while Ireena, Donavich
and I strode forth to check out the druids’ hill. It was an hour and a half’s walk down
there, and we ran into some scouts we knew from Vallaki who were going there too. Turns out people from Vallaki had been disappearing, and these scouts had tracked them down to here. We resolved to work together and snuck up on the hill.
However, just as we were about to leave the safety of the tree line, we saw terrible
sight upon terrible sight! First, we saw a dark object speeding towards the hill. It was
Strahd, in broad daylight, upon his nightmarish steed! He alighted upon the hill where
he stared into the wall of mist to the west. This kicked the druids there into a frenzy
of activity, hoping to impress the one they worshipped. They took the kidnapped
Vallakians and chained them to a statue, a hideous mockery of a tree. We could only
watch in horror as they slew each of the prisoners, letting their blood flow and
activate a crystal in the heart of the statue. Soon it stood of its own power and began
to stomp down the hill towards us!
We ran to the side as it came crashing through the forest, heading in a straight line
for the vineyard! We charged after it, and finally some distance from the hill managed
to catch up to it and begin the onslaught. Though we finished it off in a flurry of
blows, nevertheless it managed to outright kill two of the scouts. Immediately after the
battle we bid farewell to their living comrades and ran back to take on the druids while
they were unawares, but first we retrieved the crystal from its core – it was the magic
gem of the Purple Grape Mash Vine!
When we arrived at the hill again we sent flocks of ravens forward first to harry the
inhabitants. Many were taking a midday nap and so we caught them quite unprepared. We focused on taking out all the spellcasters first, which we managed to do before any of
them knew what was happening. However, numbers were still very much against us. We faced down many blights and a handful of brutal warriors. Donavich fell in combat, then
revived to shoot off another spell, only to go down again. I then revived him once more
and he was back at it again. Ireena was near fainting when the battle was through, but
she had carved out the lion’s share of damage with her Sun Sword. I was unhurt, as I had
hid most of the battle in order to keep concentration on my raven swarms.
After the battle we sent for aid from the Martikovs. Though the hill was clear and we
were safe now, we wanted an escort home as we were all out of healing spells for the
day. While we were there though, we discovered the tree that was the source of all
blights in the land. We chopped it down with a well-designed axe that some poor
adventurer before us had used, and been killed in the process. We had to rip it out from
the roots, but some horsepower helped there. Also we found a sentient magical spear, and though it is a bit bloodthirsty, Donavich wields it for now. The axe I have given to
Radovan, who was most peeved at missing out on today’s adventure.
Back at the vineyard, we replanted the crystal in the Purple Grape Mash field, and a
modest party was held. Tomorrow we must return to the mill and take these children there for safekeeping. Also, Donavich has had some good ideas for protective spells to cast on the mill. Finally, one very interesting occurence: the Martikovs have offered me
lycanthropy as a rewward once I take on the witch in the ruins of Berez. A tempting