Dark Wings, Dark Words

Adventure 03

When our Adventurers last met, they found themselves walking with Ismark to his home. They made the journey quickly, and soon found themselves standing outside the dilapidated Burgomaster’s Mansion. The mansion had fallen into a state of disrepair, every window broken, and the yard overgrown. Strangely, while the grounds were overgrown, there was a well worn path surrounding the home. The wood of the outer walls was covered in deep gouges and black soot from a fire long ago. The group approached the old home, and Ismark knocked on the door. “Who’s there?” is replied in a hushed whisper from the opposite side. Ismark replies with a greeting, and the party can make out the sound of wood scraping on wood as Irena removed the barricade on the door.

Upon entering, our group notices that every room in the home has some form of holy symbol hanging on the walls or standing on a table. Every window is boarded up and there are only a few sparse candles burning in their candelabras. In a side room, the Burgomaster lays still in a handmade coffin. Ismark remarks that he died almost 3 days ago, his heart gave out from fear of Strahd taking his daughter. Tracer is able to convince Irena that they need to leave, and make for a safer place, but she refuses to go until her father is buried in the local cemetery. “He was an honorable man, he deserves an honorable burial”, she remarked as they tried to convince her to leave. Eventually the group agrees to bury the Burgomaster, and they make for the church.

The trip to the church goes quickly. As the group approaches, they find the church sitting atop its hill, and while the building is just as worn as the rest in Barovia, it is well lit and inviting. The church is a grey, sagging edifice of stone and wood. It’s obviously weathered the assaults of evil for centuries on end and is worn and weary. A bell tower rises toward the back of the structure, standing stark against the dark pillar of stone that supports Castle Ravenloft.

When the group enters the old building, they’re greeted by a screeching from under the floor. “Let me out Father! I know you can hear me! I’m starving! Please!” screeches out from the floorboards of the shabby structure. A short entryway ends in a large chapel, which is in shambles. Shattered pews and torn books litter the floor, and dozens of candlesticks light every dusty corner in a fervent attempt to rid the chapel of shadows. As the far end of the church sits a claw-scarred alter, behind which kneels a priest in soiled vestments. Again, a screeching voice from below calls out “Please! I can smell you, I know you’re there! Let me out!”

The Priest recognizes Ismark and Irena, and upon seeing Wrev crying the coffin, realizes that their father must have died. He offers his condolences and tries to start a conversation with the party, but the screaming quells his start. Upon inquiry, the Priest informs the group that the screams are coming from his son turned vampire spawn, who’s locked in the Undercroft of the Church. After some debate, KP is able convince the Priest that it would be better to release his son from his torment, rather than let him remain alive and imprisoned. He finally concedes, but not without a fight. He’s clearly quite bothered by the idea, and huddles in a tight group with Ismark and Irena. Wrev spends some time boarding up the Church’s doors and windows, while Tracer fashions some Wooden Arrowheads from the broken pews before heading to the Undercroft. A quick swing of Wrev’s mighty hammer, and the lock keeping the Undercroft closed is smashed. Cautiously, our Adventurers open the door set into the floor and start to descend the steps.

As the group entered the Undercroft, they could make out the shape of a man standing in the corner. Slivers of light entered through the cracks in the floorboards of the old Church, illuminating their entry. Wrev lead the way down, followed closely by Tracer and KP. As Wrev’s foot made contact with the hard packed earth floor, the spawn scuttled to a corner, and hid it’s face. Wrev made to charge the thing and swung his mighty hammer in its general direction. Mistaking the vampire for frail and weak, he missed and the spawn pressed itself against the wall. The spawn didn’t have time to hear the bolts whizzing it’s direction before they plunged into it’s back, sizzling as the sharpened wood pierced it’s flesh.

In this moment of weakness, KP rushed forward and called upon the might and grace of his Holy Lord, Lathander, fueling his pointed war pick with energy. He levied a piercing blow to the vampires abdomen, piercing the being, and filling him with the holy light of Lathander. The spawn stumbled back, realizing that he was out of his depth, and grabbed a hold of the packed earth wall. Using what strength it had left, it crawled up the wall, digging it’s long, pointed fingers into the earth. It quickly moved to the wooden ceiling, and started for the hatch the adventures had left open.

Tracer took aim and fired a few more bolts, but narrowly missed the being, underestimating its speed and grace. Wrev wouldn’t have any of it however, and ran after the being. Reaching up, he managed to snag on of it’s feet and ripped it from the ceiling, smashing it to the floor. KP saw his opening and rushed forward, again calling on Lathander, and smote the spawn where he lay. The vampire burst into flame and disintegrated quickly. The only remains were a pile of grey, smoking ash. Wrev collected some into a small jar and they made their way back to the main level of the Church.

KP spoke with Donavich, the Priest who’s name they finally learned, and conferred his condolences as well as the ashes. Wrev disassembled his fastening on the entry doors and the group stepped outside to finally bury the Burgomaster’s body. The grave digging went quickly, and after the Donavich said his holy words, they dug a small grave for his son as well. It was after they packed the dirt down on the second grave that the rain started. Light at first, but it started to pour quickly enough. As the group started to make their way back to the Church, an eerie green light suffused the Graveyard. From this light emerged a ghostly procession. Wavering images of daughters women toting great swords, wood wise men with slender bows, dwarves with glittering axes, and archaically dressed mages with beards and strange, pointed hats. All these and more marched forward from the Graveyard, their numbers growing by the second. The started a long march down the road, headed westerly.

The group decided they best follow, so they began the slog through the rain and mud, down the high hill that the Church sat atop. The road rounded a curve shorty into their trip, and as the group came passed out of sight of the Church, they found themselves facing a group of wolves, sitting curiously in the middle of the road. Wrev and KP drew their weapons, readying for a fight, when Tracer noticed that more of the pack and slunk from the woods adjacent to the path, surrounding them.

Wrev started the fight by running toward the set of beasts sitting on the road and leaping over the first. Landing behind the group, he swung his hammer, smashing into two of them. Tracer unleashed a volley of bolts while KP prayed to Lathander, asking for his blessing on the group. A wolf leapt at Edric, who managed to sidestep the thing, and with a wave of his hand and a magic utterance, ignited four of the wolves, bringing them to their death. A flash of lightening illuminated the shadow of a tall, slender man standing much further down the road. Wrev and Tracer finished off the last of the bigger wolves, and the remaining few ran off, headed for safer grounds. Once the wolves had gone, the party looked for the man they had noticed, but he had vanished.

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