The personal musings of Thad
I’m not too sure just what is going on. It seems that ever since went through those large gates, the world has changed for the worse.
As an example, after spending the night on the road, we came to a strange town. We walked along several streets and saw no one moving, even though it was time that businesses would be open. I think that the town is called Barovia. It only gets stranger.
After a short while of walking on the deserted streets, I spied a couple of children standing alone in the center of the road. It took a few minutes of talking to find out that they were Rose Valda an eleven year old girl and her younger brother Thorn, a seven year old. Soon they revealed that they were afraid to go home because there was a monster locked up in the basement. Their house was just across the street from where we were. They also told us that their younger brother Walter was on the second floor in the nursery. Rose said that she didn’t know where their parents were.
We asked if they would like us to get rid of the monster for them and Rose said yes. While most of us were figuring out how to proceed, our dwarf barbarian Dench went up to the door and started to go in. The rest of us finally got him to wait for the rest of us. Dench seems to run into a fight, a door, never thinking what may happen or that he should wait for the rest of us. Sometimes I wonder if he has a death wish by the way he acts. Entering, we found a neat and clean entry. I noticed that hidden in the intricate carvings were other strange carvings. More of these hidden carvings will be found throughout the house. Some were disturbing.
It took a while for us to search the first floor, finding nothing. I did notice that there was a place that seemed out of place in the corner of one room. Carefully we took the stairs up to the second floor. There were several doors around an open area. There was also a set of armor standing in the far corner.
As I was checking the doors, the armor animated and attacked. It was a tough fight but we finally prevailed. I checked the first door on the left and determined that it was safe to enter. No sooner that we were in the room, this strange apparition appeared. Again it was a tough fight and several of us were injured. Our cleric Wolfe said that the thing was a specter. One of the doors leading out of this room went into a much smaller room. It looked like a nursery, complete with a shrouded crib. Removing the shroud displayed what looked like a baby sized bundle wrapped in swaddling. Wolfe unwrapped the cloth and found nothing inside.
We returned to the open area and I went to the next door. Opening it showed that it was nothing more than a broom and cleaning closet. I stepped in to do a quick search and immediately was attacked by a broom. To make matters worse, it hit really hard and I went down.
After the fight I was healed and we continued searching the floor, finding another storage room and what we think was the parents’ bedroom. This looked like a good place to rest so we camped.
We finally ascended to the attic, it had several doors and one of them had a padlock in it. Cracking my knuckles and taking out my thieves’ tools I made swift work of opening the lock. Then someone hands me the key. Thanks a lot after its open. Just inside the door, lying on the floor were two skeletons. They were dressed just as the children outside. The boy was even clutching the same type of doll as the one outside. Shivers ran up my spine. Looking around I could see that the windows had been boarded up from the outside. Two small beds, a doll house and a toy chest were the only other things in the room.
I went to look at the chest. Right above the two skeletons, the two children appeared and it was easy to see that they were ghosts. We talked with them for a few minutes and they told us how to get to the basement. As we went to leave they tried to stop us.
As I had thought, the strange area on all the floors, held a hidden stair that could only be accessed from the attic that was obscured behind a secret door. We descended all the way to the basement. There we found crypts that belonged to the members of the family. We also found the empty crypts for the children. We returned and retrieved the skeletons of Rose and Thorn and laid them in their respective crypts. Wolfe preformed last rites as he knew them hoping they would suffice in this strange land.
Now in the basement we could catch an occasional sound of a chant but nothing intelligible. We explored for some time, finding several rooms, some with moldy mats, some with old beds. We found a pit trap in the floor and luckily no one died. Soon after the trap we were attacked by a pack of zombies. It seems that everything we fight in this place is tougher than those I’ve faced in the past.
The chanting has become louder and now we can make out the words. Not wanting to leave a possible enemy behind us, we continued to explore this area before going down a set of stairs.
We found a room with a statue of a man with his right hand on the head of a wolf statue. We wondered if this had anything to do with the werewolves. In his left upturned hand he held an orb that was about the size of a large apple. One of the ladies of our group spent a few minutes and cast Detect Magic. She said that she saw the items that we carried that were magic. She them cast Mage Hand and started to lift the orb.
This turned out to not be a good idea, as three shadows appeared and started attacking the party. We managed to get one of them down when two more appeared. Not good. Soon several of our party were down but those still able to fight finally dispatched the shadows. We really keep our cleric Wolfe busy healing us. Our young half-elf Ven picked up the orb and put in her pack.
Next we took to the stairs following the increasing volume of the chant. A strange room with small niches along the walls was at the bottom of the stairs. The niches held weird items that out bladesinger said would be useless in some rituals he read about in some books recovered upstairs. He said the rituals were bogus. Leading out of this room were two openings. I decided to inspect one and found a series of cells. Most were empty but one held a skeleton that was wearing a ring. Our sorceress again used mage hand to remove the ring as the rest of us stood guard, ready for what may happen to appear to challenge us.
As I stepped back out of that particular cell, I noticed something in the cell across the aisle, a secret door. As usual Dench went charging through. Within the room, was a large pool of murky water with a raised platform in the center with an altar on it. Above the altar were chain hanging from the ceiling and dried blood could be seen on them. Surrounding the pool was a walkway. To the left of the secret door was a portcullis that was down. On the wall near it was a wheel that would most likely open it.
To the right of the secret door what appears to be a large trash heap can be seen through another opening in the wall.
What is becoming common place for Dench, walked around the room and looked at the trash heap. Then he proceeds to go on to the platform and look at the altar. This is when it really hit the fan. This strange creature seemed to appear out of the trash. It was gross. Naturally Dench ran to attack and was soon engulfed by whatever this was. The rest of us had no choice but to try to kill this thing.
After taking Dench it put down our Warlock, it then came after me. One hit and I was down. The next thing I remember was opening my eyes and finding myself on a rickety platform high up in the air. All I could see was what looked like clouds or fog below me. Looking a little closer I could make out other platforms poking through the mist. The closest was about 20 feet away and was occupied by a cloaked figure. Hearing a sound I looked toward the base of my platform and could see nothing but vermin. Looking closer I could see them starting to make the climb up to me with blood in their eyes and their yellow teeth ready to tear me apart. I felt at my waist but found that I was unarmed. Looking out I could see the cloaked figure reaching out to me. He said jump I will catch you.
How could I jump 20 feet? It is too far. I looked over the edge again and could see that sever of the rats were nearing the top. What to do? Fight with my bare hands and probably be torn to shreds in agonizing pain or jump an impossible distance and maybe being caught with the possibility of falling to a quick death.
I backed up to the edge and leaped for the hand. All went black. Then I opened my eyes and I was back in the pool feeling fine. I moved to get out of the pool. Knowing I didn’t want to get within reach of that thing again I used my short bow. Soon Wolfe went down and the creature moved after its next victim. I ran across the pool and was able to make Wolfe stable. I returned to the assist our bladesinger in finally killing the creature.
It seems that the only casualty was poor Dench. We found a secret door and a set of stairs that took us directly to the first floor. For some reason we had not been able to find this passage except from beneath. All the items in the room have seemed to have aged extremely fast in the length of time from when we had been here before. We returned to the second floor finding here also that things were aging. We decided to take a long rest and to lick our wounds. Wolfe planned to give Dench last rites.
In the morning I ate my trail rations before we left the house. I can only call this place a death house as one of our party died in the awful place. Looking around, I was not surprised to not see the children. Within 15 minutes of eating, I was having horrible pains in my stomach, my vision was blurry and I felt like I was going to die. I think I will ask Wolfe to take a look at me.