Day Twenty-Four to Twenty-Seven
Finally we made our way to the orphanage with the kids, after having dragged them around the countryside for the last three days. Whilst Donavich set to warding the grounds with glyphs, the rest of us worked on the mill. Unfortunately we did not make great profit this time.
We went back to Krezk as that seemed to be the crux of many of our leads. But when we arrived we met with an expedition being planned. Turns out the Abbot’s miracle was not for free; he had asked the townsfolk for a wedding dress of all things. We got all the details and said to the retiring folk of Krezk that we’d take the mission for them instead.
We stopped in Vallaki to find a seamstress. The news was dire… if we used only one seamstress the dress would take over a month! This was unacceptable, so we hired all the seamstresses to work on it together with urgency. It cost a pretty penny, but it should be done in ten days. With nothing else to do, we thought it best to go back to the mill and try and make a profit again.
With all this talk of wedding dresses going on, Ireena had a vision of something, blood on white, she’s not quite sure.
Day Twenty-Nine to Thirty-Five
Work continues quietly at the mill. Still not cutting a profit. May need to rethink business strategy. Missive arrived from Strahd – desires my company for dinner once more.
Dinner with Strahd turned nasty, though not as nasty as it might have, realistically. It turns out the druids and the werewolves were servants of his, and he was quite angry at me for destroying them. Also he demanded I bring Ireena, Donavich and Radovan with me next time, and that I return the Sun Sword as it belongs to him. I left the castle with one certainty in my mind – the next time I visit that castle, I will not be a dinner guest.
I immediately called the others to me on returning and discussed what had befallen me. We agreed we had to close down the orphanage and abandon the mill for the time being. We cast out minds about for places we could go, and where we could take the children. We knew Krezk would take the children, but what of us? Ireena suggested we investigate the locked trap door in the woods.
I summoned burrowing bettongs and we dug around the trap door until we had made a serviceable entrance. When we stepped in I noticed some oddities. The tunnel was far more ancient than the bodies buried in it. And those bodies were rising now. We had enough time to step into formation, and I summoned two octopi to aid us. Once enough zombies had swarmed us, Donavich cast some almighty clerical spell that seemed to burn through a good half of the crowd. We noticed three sneaky wights around the edges and started gunning for them. It wasn’t too hard for us to make it through the fight relatively unscathed.
After fighting that horde we found a door guarded by anti-vampire magic, and beyond it chambers protected from scrying! It was perfect, and we thanked whoever our morbid, long-gone benefactor was. The chambers, with a little servicing, will be perfect for us to use as a base camp as we continue to plan our campaign against Strahd. Within we also found an unfinished magical item – a wooden stake.
The next day we had much work ahead of us. Donavich cast spells so that we might question one of the wights who attacked us yesterday. We learnt that it’s master was someone called Dilisnya, a name which Ireena and Donavich vaguely recalled but could say nothing specific of. Dilisnya had left to ‘find a new home’, according to the wight, whatever that may have meant. We asked how Dilisnya had planned to take on Strahd, and the wight said Strahd’s weakness, his arrogance.
After finding the spare key to the trap door, I summoned more burrowing bettongs to restore the entrance, and also to dig a pit to bury the undead in. I restored the greenery around the entrance again. While Ireena and Radovan cleaned the living quarters out, Donavich cast more warding glyphs around the place. It is ready for living, once we return.
On returning to the windmill we had to give the inhabitants the sad news, that we would be closing the orphanage for the foreseeable future. As we spent out last night as one big family, I spared some time to send raven messengers to Marja and Martikov, informing them of the changes to our plans and my fall from grace with Strahd.
So many changes, so quickly. Was I a fool to think I could make one nice place or hope and light in this dingy, nasty land?