Fiona Wacher lay dead on the bed. I freeze in my tiny corner, just out of the range of sound, as the guards begin knocking on the door. “Lady Wacher, is everything all right in there?” one says.
I take a deep breath, recalling Wacher’s voice, before making my attempt. “How dare you disturb me,” I snip. “I am allowed to move about in my own quarters.”
The silence is dropped, and we search for the key. Cal tries the door, and the guards get suspicious again. “Lady Wacher, are you okay? You have your own key!”
“If you keep disturbing me, I will send you away!” I snap.
Anvyre comes up with the key from around Fiona’s neck. Gross. It gets handed to Cal.
Well, looks like we were going for a fight.
Before we could attack, I try one more tactic to end this without bloodshed. In my best Lady Wacher voice, I yell, “I’ve changed my mind. LEAVE!”
The guards respond hesitantly, but neither leave nor come inside. Well. I tried.
Cal unlocked the door to swing at the nearest guard… missing both times. The guards are only startled for a moment, before they attack back, wailing on his poor ass.
“Ahhh!” I look behind me, only to see in horror that Cera had miscast her magic. It backfired, causing her legs to start to… to melt! I recoiled in horror, shit, but a lesser restoration would fix that right up. Another spell flies through the air, making the nearest guard blind.
Shit, we need them dead. I run across the room, jumping up on the dresser so I could spin and cast shatter. Or at least, that was the plan. At the last minute, my ankle twists weirdly, and I stumble, the dresser falling with me. I mostly avoided injury, except a drawer fell out last-minute and rammed into my big toe. “Fuck!” I shout, hissing and clutching at the injured food. I mean, it’d be better in a second or two, but right now that was it for me.
I can practically feel Cera’s death glare on my neck as I bitch about a stubbed toe with her flesh currently melding with the carpet. I amp it up just a little bit.
Cera reaches out as the fighters attack. “Crown of Madness!” she cries, binding the non-blind guy to her will. He attacks his compatriot, who quickly goes down. I can see he’s unable to actually smack me, so I run up, cast shatter, and flee. Cal decides to finish him off by grabbing him and walking to dump him down the stairs. That’s… that’s smart.
T’homm runs over and casts a Hold Person spell so good that she can make the dude talk. Instead of saying ‘nothing’s the matter!’ the guy bellows, “Lady T’homm defeated the Burgomistriss! Long may she reign!” And then he dies.
Cera and I agree to go check the room, while T’homm and Cal wait, except they don’t and just leave. Assholes. Fine. We figure we can meet them at the Wacher house, and do. Cal now has Father Lucian over his shoulder. Upon the look we give him, he says simply “He tried to get away.” Well, okay then.
“You! You’re the ones who killed Lady Wacher!” the guards say, because of course the word was spread.
“Yeah!” T’homm states before I can even start crafting a lie. “Obey my authority!”
Well, that led to a fight (surprise, surprise), and a fairly easily won one at that. Upon entering, we search for the sons, only to find them having locked themselves in their room. T’homm kicks down the door to see they’re cowering in a corner. We question them, and as I expect, they’re just scared shitless and want to live. Upon casting Zone of Truth, we finally get out of them that they’re just looking to stay alive and keep on living. We even tell them about their dead dad being kept in ‘gentle repose’ in their mom’s bed, and their reaction was true disgust, so it didn’t seem there was much love lost between them and their dead mom.
Out of curiosity, we ask about their sister—the one that Fiona psychologically tortured until she thought she was a cat. They inform us that she just committed suicide after being bullied and tormented by Victor.
Next stop: Victor and his mom, the Baroness. Turns out, Father Lucian (still over Cal’s shoulder) is the Burgomistress’ brother, and we are able to put him down without fear of escape. After all, we need him to re-consecrate the bones. Victor denies the tormenting, saying that Lady Wacher was just desperate for him to marry the girl, and he was annoyed but not that mean. He is a bit of a necromancer, and we just fail to tell him that Cera now has his spellbook. I did chat with him for a bit on his skeletal cats, which were cute as hell before Cera blasted them to pieces. We convince the Baroness to rule, reinstate her, and then look the Wacher household.
We find and take a good wedding dress, as that was a request of the Krezk commune for their weird meat doll.
I see the crystal decanter Cera had stolen and ‘returned’ earlier, and laughed, passing it up for the golden goblet alongside it. When I look back at Cera, I see the decanter is once again gone.
We look in the library to find a room full of feral, howling cats. T’homm magics a cat to be still, and I see a small key around its neck. We clean up the room a little, and Cera finds a secret passage. Inside is an iron chest that opens with the key, and we start looking through it. Yeah, some electrum and gold with Strahd’s face on it, and I divvy up the gold and keep the electrum for safe-keeping. There’s an antique wooden pipe just used for smoking, and five scrolls with deeds to land that Strahd had given Fiona. I see a leather-bound book and my eyes light up at the title: “The Devil We Know—Worship of Devils Leads to Happiness.” “Mine,” I say, shoving that into my bag. Under it is an old letter, and I pick it up and read it. “It’s to Lady Lovina Wacher,” I say, standing. “It’s from Lord Vasili von Holtz, thanking Lovina for her hospitality and loyalty over the year.” Seems… interesting. I carefully fold it back up and put it away.
We head to the wine cellar, which had a weird decorative pentagram on the floor, and as I explore the south side, eight skeletons burst from the ground to attack. I scream as they cut me quickly down, one more attack knocking me out despite my attempts to flee. I wake up to Anvyre over me, knowing I owed her my life a couple times over at this point. Shaky on my feet, we return to the Burgomeister’s mansion and to our rooms.
I give a riveting speech to the town square about peace and love, but everybody’s way too scared of us. Fair; we seem to be on the side of nobles, and that lot is a bunch of bastards. We simply tell the wereravens to keep an eye on leadership and let us know if something goes down. After all, apparently ‘fixing government’s is our tagline now.
We head to the bank to clean out Wacher’s cash, and find 1000 Gold, taking 100 gold each and leaving the rest to her sons. We also make sure Father Lucian and his son re-consecrate the bones to protect the church. After putting in an order for a carriage (which I think is entirely silly, but they want a very fancy one for some reason) we head to Krezk.
Once there, we hand over the wedding dress and get our resurrections, which don’t work on the bones we’ve been carrying. Too old. Cal find a sacred bit of water, the Pool of the Morning Lord, and throws in the demon arm he’d taken from Isaac. It vanishes forever, irretrievable even with mage hand.
We head back to the Vistani, get 5 healing potions and Cal’s wagon and horse, plus our silver weapons. We now know the bone’s identity as well—Leo Delosigna, an adventurer who betrayed Strahd on the day of his and Tatiana’s wedding. I hate this stupid country. We stay with the Vistani, resting up so we can head back to the windmill tomorrow.
We head back to the windmill. It’s been a week, and there are no defenses up.
“Dibs!” yells T’homm, already heading inside.
“Can we come up with a plan!” I hiss at her back. With no response, I sigh and use up a Bardic Inspiration on her. Goddamn.
Cal hangs back. “The fuck?” I ask him, knowing that T’homm was in there alone without any tanky backup.
“I wanted to arm wrestle for it,” he pouted.
“…the fuck.” So I head inside to back up T’homm, since he was too much of a baby.
The fight is long. Cal apparently got offended that I also decided to go in, but I’m just not arm-wrestling for shit. T’homm gets hit with enfeeblement, and Cal pushes past me to get in front of her and start hitting the witches. Thus, when T’homm throws her hammer, she keeps clipping him.
Behind me, Anvyre investigates the oven and finds delicious smelling pastries, human bones, and a big cauldron of gross. I also hear the sound of breaking windows, and glance behind me to see the bottom of a ladder Cera was climbing up. To stairs further up? Possibly…
Curious, I run outside to the fight, as I can’t see anything of this one besides T’homm’s butt. I see a witch leaning out of the third story, trying to cast magic at Cera, so I run out and hit them with some attacks before I duck back in. Thus, I miss when Cera misty-steps inside the third-story and then subsequently blasts the witch out, who hits the ground hard.
When I go back in, I try and trip up the witches, but I’m now in the way of Cal’s healing. He just picks me up and moves me. T’homm then rubs herself and moans as she heals, so I leave to go outside and cast shatter on the witch still twitching on the ground. The witch attempts to attack Anvyre and gets smacked for her trouble.
I decide to reach into my bag and pull out a ball of fluff, the first time revealing what this present from Strahd does. “Haydn, go!” I yell, and as I throw it, a majestic as fuck owl flies out perfectly. He swoops the witch, causing one point of damage, and then beautifully comes back to land on my arm. I pose a little. Then I shatter the witch to death.
Cal apparently (I am not there to witness it) grabs the remaining witch and yanks her out. I run upstairs and see the broken window and the missing Cal/witch, and figure this out immediately. Cera then leaps out of the broken window using feather fall. T’homm follows, but nobody catches her. …this group is fucking insane.
Anvyre is in the third floor, and I go to follow. I freeze at what I see.
Two young children, chained up and crying to not die.
T’homm had been up here. And Cal.
I look around. These kids had been in here longer than a week.
They knew there were kids trapped in here.
They just left them to rot.
I see red briefly. Then I go to help the kids, cleaning them with some magic and comforting them. Their names are Freek and Myrtle, and their parents got addicted to the pastries and sold them to the hags for more. They are from the Cantemir and Dilisnya families in Villaki, which will be good information for the future, but they want a family—specifically Ireena, who they’ve heard so much about. Well, she owes us her life, so that could possibly be arranged. Anvyre checks the attic and doesn’t find much while Cera comes up and mends their clothes some.
“I was up here, I didn’t see much of anything,” Cera says to me. She’s thinking the same thing, though.
We herd the kids downstairs, only to pause when we see one of the hagwitches’ bodies missing. “Shhhhhhhhiiiioooooot,” I say, remembering the kids. “Fudge. She must’ve recovered.”
“Dang. Dang it all to heck,” Cera sighs.
Outside, we suddenly see four giant megaliths, each to a different, old city, representing the four seasons. Anvyre moves to the middle and removes the dream pastry and children’s teeth that had been desecrating the area. Cera cleans the stones. I turn to T’homm, sheltering the children under my hands.
“T’homm. Guess what we found,” I said, leveling the dwarf with a death glare.
“Ummm,” T’homm starts, but Myrtle moves forward.
“I knew you’d come back for us! I know you,” she said.
“…no?” T’homm says. Cal echoes her sentiments, less shitty but still not convincing.
I feel like I can see directly into her soul. I step to her, cupping her face in my hands. “I know what you did,” I whisper. “I do not forget.”
[Side-note: Gal rolled a nat 20 for insight, and T’homm fumbled her deception.]
[Other side note: The DM now knows Gal is prime for betrayal of T’homm. Hmmm.]
We head back to Krezk, with the kids in the cart and everybody to the sides. Suddenly we’re attacked by wolves, my horse rearing up as four come to flank me.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see Cal jump off the cart. “I am alpha!” he roars. Fine by me; one of the wolves peels off to attack him, instead, but it doesn’t prevent the wolves attacking me from biting me. I see Anvyre getting attacked hard, but I had my own problems, casting shatter to defend myself before I can help her.
Cera jumps up on the cart. “I am alpha!” she mimics, before unleashing a circle of fire that cleans out a good chunk of wolves. Fuck, that was a lot of shit.
We finish killing the wolves, beat up some, before Cal pulls out a knife. “What the fuck,” I repeat, and he goes around to butcher them, getting wolf steaks and an excellent pelt. “…I need a nap.” It’s been a long day.
We pass through Villaki, still terrifying everyone. I am cold towards T’homm and Cal, processing my thoughts. We see the skeletal rider once more, and a swarm of friendly ravens, and I think about how I’m trapped here, and who I’m trapped with. We finally arrive at Krezk around sundown.
Cal goes to a tanner and hands over the pelt so he could make a hood. More importantly, they accept the kids, good for us.