We left the church in Vallaki shortly before noon. We had our original party along with Andor, Sasha, Ireena, and Ismark. The plan was to go to the Wizard’s Tower and find Rictavio.
Once out on the streets one of the first things we noticed was the abundance of Vistani walking down the street. It seems news travels fast. Several of them smiled at us and waved. It appeared that they knew us on sight.
With what had happened in town the day before, we were a little on edge as we made our way to the gate out of town. Each of us let out a sigh of relief as the gate fell behind us.
As we followed the road, it wasn’t long before there were trees along the sides of the road. I noticed that Ven kept looking off to one side after a short period of time. Soon, she called a halt and started walking toward the tree line that was about 30 feet off the road. The members of our original group all followed and asked Andor and Sasha to stay and guard Ireena and Ismark.
After walking through the trees for 15-20 feet, we saw a large tree and while we watched, the leaves turned brown and fell. In almost no time the fallen leaves turned to dust. Then the branches of the tree withered, died, and fell. Those also became dust in no time. Finally the tree trunk itself crumbled to dust. This all happened in the space of a few minutes. Then to our dismay, a sprout of a new tree started growing right where the last tree had stood. We watched for a few more minutes which was enough time to see the sprout become a new tree, grow tall and large, and finally start to shed its leaves just as the one earlier.
Someone picked a leaf off the tree. The leaf seemed to decay slower. I hope that whatever is affecting the tree doesn’t affect them. Weird.
It wasn’t too long after we had continued on our way, that I spied the strange rider on his horse again in the distance. He seemed to look at us for a short while, then drop something and ride off disappearing down the road. When we got to the spot, we found a small bottle of perfume with a picture of a happy Wolf on it and the word “Conjunction”. Not a clue what to make of this.
Soon we came to the road (path) that was to lead to the tower. In just a few minutes we could see out on the lake an island with an 80’ tower in its center. The tower was slightly shrouded in a veil of foggy mist. A narrow dike that went from the shore to the island had a narrow road on its surface. We could see that a wagon was parked on the island.
When we got out on the island, things really got strange. First, the wagon was not Rictavio’s. We also saw some scaffolding going up to a hole on the third level of the tower. It looked real rickety. The door to the tower had a word carved above the door “Kahzan” and had some weird symbols and lines embossed on the door itself.
Andor and I went up to the door and found that there was no handle or keyhole, only a large knocker below the symbol. I reached up and used the knocker. Andor and I were knocked over 10’ to the ground and took a bunch of damage from some kind of lightning.
Maylynn came closer to the tower and cast Detect Magic. She said that when looking at the tower it seemed to absorb the spell. She looked at the wagon and it showed that it was covered in magic also.
Then Ven, (our strange young sorceress) came up and looked at the symbols for a while, and then started doing this funny dance. It involved putting her arms in weird positions. All of a sudden the door opens. Thinking of it later, Ven was imitating the symbols on the door following the order of the lines.
Being wary I crept up to the door fully expecting to be zapped again. As nothing happened, I followed Ven and Andor into the first floor of the tower. Scattered around was a lot of debris, several crates, and what looked like four clay statues. The statues were each facing a chain that rose from the floor through a square hole in the ceiling. The floor above looked like it was pretty rotted. All three of us felt strange but could not put a finger as to what it was. Ven tried to cast detect magic and nothing happened.
I looked up through the hole in the ceiling and saw that the chains were attached to pulleys. I tried to pull on the chains and nothing happened, so I inspected the crates and the rest of the first floor. The crates were empty and the rest was nothing more than trash. Muttering to myself, I walked between the statues on my way outside. I must have said something that triggered the statues, because they began reaching up and pulling on the chains.
Ven and Andor had already left the tower so I ran to the door hollered that something was happening. Andor returned as a small platform attached to the chains stopped at the floor between the statues. The two of us got on the platform. Both of us said several different things hoping to go up. Then Andor said “Two” and the platform went up stopping at the second level. We could see that the floor here was very rotted and most like would not support our weight. We continued on to the fourth floor after noticing that the third was also highly rotted and had a hole in the wall.
The fourth floor was a complete change. It showed that it had been used recently. The floor was in very good condition and there were several arrow slits around the perimeter. There was a stove with wood, a bed, a writing desk, a chest and a set of armor in the room. Andor and I inspected everything in the room (aside from the chest) fairly quickly and found nothing. Being leery of possible traps I spent more time on the chest and happily found none. I carefully opened the chest and immediately jumped back. Inside the velvet lined chest was a well-preserved head.
It was about this time that we heard and felt to some extent a large explosion outside. Andor looked out and saw that the wagon had been blown to bits and people were sprawled on the ground. There was still stuff falling from the sky. He quickly got on the platform and said “One”. The platform started heading down. Andor made a leap when it was at the third floor trying to get to the hole so he could go down faster. He never made it that far as the floor crumbled under his weight. I called for the platform to come back, but it continued on to the first floor before returning to the fourth.
As I left the tower, I got there just in time to see Ismark catch Ireena as she fell a couple of feet. Several of the party appeared to be injured in one way or another. Wolf knelt by Ireena and cast a spell. Ven seemed to be down. Where the wagon had been was a hole in the ground and a wide field of debris.
After making sure that everyone was alive I spent a fair amount of time searching the wreckage looking for anything salvageable. Nothing.
By now it was late afternoon and the decision was made to spend the night in the tower. For some reason Andor didn’t want to have Ven on the same floor as Ireena, so he, Ismark, and Ireena stayed on the first floor and the rest of us went up to the fourth.
Now with more time I started searching the walls looking for anything odd or out of place. I found that there was a spot behind the armor that the mortar on the bricks was different. I could barely get my dagger in behind to scratch the mortar. It flaked away but removing the brick was impossible. I tried to dismantle the armor but it seemed to be welded together. I tried and even got help trying to move it and it wouldn’t budge. By this time Ven had awoken and said to the armor “Walk forward”. I jumped as it moved. She moved it far enough so that I could continue removing the last of the mortar and finally the brick. In the small opening is a book. It is later determined to be the beginning history of “Strahd”.
As we start to settle in, someone looks out one of the arrow slits and sees a pack of wolves coming down the dike road. As they watch, one of them changes into a man. The man and wolves look around the tower and the wreckage of the wagon for a while. Finally the man comes closer and looks up to the top of the tower. He says that if we come out, some of will not die. We say we will stay where we are.
He says something to one of his wolves and it comes up to the door. We hear a crackle and see the burned and mangled body of the wolf thrown to the ground. It is about this time that Ven seems to go into a trance. The guy says that they can stay out there longer than we can stay in the tower.
I try to shoot one of the wolves, but my aim was so far off, I don’t think I even hit the island. I’m not sure who it was, but someone else took a shot and hit a wolf. The leader gathered his forces and made a retreat back to the mainland. Ven came out of her trance shouting that we needed to kill the leader of the wolves now. After some shouting and scuffling she was convinced that we were in no condition physically to attempt a fight at this time.
Andor came up to the fourth floor and said that in the morning he, Ireena, and Ismark were going to Krezk to ask for sanctuary for Ireena and Ismark. There was some discussion with Ven being against it. Andor returned to the first floor and we settled in for a long rest.
What a laugh. The wolves howled for hours and some of us just couldn’t rest. Finally they got quiet and sleep came. Early the next morning, Andor, Adrien, Ireena, and Ismark headed to shore on their way to Krezk. As they set foot on the mainland, myself, Maylynn and Old Wolf started across the dike. Soon after, Ven followed. Everyone was wary, ready for an attack by the wolves and werewolves. As the first group entered the trees, they slowed and soon the entire party were reunited.
It was a little more than an hour to Krezk. Upon our arrival we found that we were kind of persona non grata. Ismark finally spoke with the local burgomaster and made a deal that if we could get them a wagon full of wine they would be allowed to enter.
Well, I guess it’s off to the “Wizards of Wine”.