Wednesday, June 4th, 758, On the road toward Tamrivena, Ustalav
The group spend the night outside, since the farm doesn’t have enough space to house them all. It’s a clear night, and they post watches. They hear wolf calls in the distance, but there aren’t any wolves that come close. John had slaughtered the carcass of the wolf that Dragos killed, and placed the head on a stick, presumably to deter other wolves from coming close. Kendra and Katarzyna talk about visiting a source of anatomical specimens to further their studies, and Katarzyna is very enthusiastic about the prospect. Dragos speaks with John about Caliban. Dragos later speaks with Kendra about the fear that the locals have of Caliban. She remarks about the relative rarity of “good” Calibans like Katarzyna, and that to some extent the prejudice toward them is justifiable. The night passes uneventfully for the most part, though it’s not a particularly restful night.
Thursday, June 5th, 758, On the road toward Tamrivena, Ustalav
The cock crows, and it’s a dewy, cool morning. John and Demitri are up early, and Gregore is talking with them and helping them with their chores. Abner is tending to the horses and wagons. Dragos checks the area for wolf activity. He finds tracks that come very close to the fire circle. At one point, the wolf tracks stop, and become human footprints. They appear to be the prints of a male human. Dragos questions Katarzyna, Abner and Kendra about the incident.
Abner, Kendra, Gregore, Dragos and Katarzyna load up the wagon and head out toward Tamrivena. The farmer has prepared food for their trip. He also gives Katarzyna a pillow made of wolf hair. Demitri makes moon eyes at Katarzyna before they depart, and Kendra chuckles. They head out, with Kendra on her horse, and the others in the wagon. Abner and Katarzyna sit in the front of the wagon, while Dragos and Gregore sit in the back of the wagon. It’s a warm day, and they stop for lunch. There’s a brisk wind. Dragos rides Kendra’s horse for about an hour after lunch. Dragos does fine in his riding. Katarzyna talks about buying a fan to match her dress, and Gregore rolls his eyes. On the road, they find a pole, with a cage atop it. There is an occupant in the cage. Dragos questions the man. Dragos throws a waterskin up to the man (after three tries). Katarzyna recognizes the man as a Caliban. He claims to have been unjustly charged with wrongdoing, resulting in his placement in the cage. Katarzyna and Dragos think he’s telling the truth. At first he claims he came to find medicine for his sister. Then he claims to have been looking for medicine for filth fever for himself, but Gregore mentions that he doesn’t appear to suffer from filth fever. Finally he says that his people are a cruel people. He is not the strongest of his kind, and is therefore bullied. He doesn’t agree with what they do, so he ran for his life. He was caught sleeping a barn. When he was found, a large number of men roused him, and locked him in the cage. The man is from Belzen. He claims that that his blood is sensitive to magic. Dragos offers to release him. Katarzyna pretends to cast a spell on the man, and he writhes in pain, apparently, showing the lie of his claim of “magic-sensitive blood”. They decide to leave him to his fate.
Later, they notice a small cart being driven toward them. It’s driven by a teenage male, and pulled by a large hog. He’s wearing a straw hat. Katarzyna asks where he’s heading. He’s going home. He doesn’t know John and Demitri. They take their leave, and head toward Tamrivena, arriving at the Palestone gate. There is some problem with allowing Gregore into the town, but eventually they allow them all to enter the town. They have to sign in and pay a 5 copper piece entry fee.
In Tamrivena, Katarzyna buys a tent and a fan, though the fan doesn’t match her dress perfectly. Kendra teases Dragos about buying a mule to ride. They find an inn and tavern to stay at for the night. The inn is called the Flask and Flail. Katarzyna agrees to sing for tips at the tavern. There aren’t a lot of people in the inn, but Katarzyna does a decent job. She makes 7 silver pieces, one of which is from Dragos. Gregore is writing a letter to Jominda. Katarzyna attracts the attention of several male admirers, but she manages to deflect their attention with help from Abner, Kendra and Dragos. Dragos plays cards, and does pretty well. They hear some stories and rumors. There have been nine bodies discovered at a certain corner in town, at Burk and Glass streets. Always with a note saying “Regards, from K”. All of the deceased had their throats cut.
At midnight, Dragos decides to take a walk, looking for the corner of Burk and Glass. It takes almost a half hour to get to the location. Dragos sees two city guards at the corner. The guards confront Dragos, and he returns to the Flask and Flail. Katarzyna goes up to the room around midnight, and Kendra isn’t there. Katarzyna turns in.
Friday, June 6th, 758, Tamrivena, Ustalav
They all rise and have breakfast. It’s decent, but not amazing. The leave Tamrivena through Port Vhiled. They pass farms and fields, heading toward a crossroads that will take them into the Shudder Wood. Karpad is about 75 nautical miles from Tamrivena. It’s a dark, thick woodland. There is a saying that “in moonlight, all men cast shadows of beasts” within the Shudder Wood. There are also giant hunting spiders, wolf packs. bears, and other animals. They head toward a Y intersection, and they take the left path. It’s hilly terrain. They decide to stop at the edge of the wood and camp. It had been a very hot day, and Dragos had to go shirtless. Their campsite is about a mile from the edge of the forest. They set watches. There is a sense of disquiet. Katarzyna notices a ball of light near the treeline. Pearl flies toward the light source, and Katarzyna thinks it’s a will o’ the wisp. She tells Kendra about it when she wakes her for her shift.
Saturday, June 7th, 758 On the road toward Karpad, Ustalav
Morning breaks, and they all pack up their wagon. Katarzyna enlists Dragos’ help in breaking down her tent. Dragos tells them that it’s going to be warm that day and the next. It feels to him that there might be some stormy weather a few days later. Katarzyna and Kendra practice language studies. Kendra tells Dragos that the language is called Akiri. They speak of the Order of the Palatine Eye again. She tells Dragos that the language is spoken in Har’Akir, and describes a bit about the land. There is a black bird circling overhead. They slowly, reluctantly head into the Shudder Wood. Kendra leads the way on her horse. The others ride in the wagon. They cross into the wood. Katarzyna is riding up front with Abner, but she and Dragos switch places, with Dragos’ having his bow at the ready.
The first couple of hours in the Shudder Wood is somewhat slow, as they are all a bit nervous. Eventually Kendra stops, and lets them know that someone is coming toward them. It is a person dressed in monkish manner. Dragos tells the person to “hold” as the person approaches. Kendra is on edge as well, and she keeps her gun pointed at the person. The person walks past Kendra, and comes in the direction of the wagon. The figure passes the wagon, and when they look back the figure is gone. They speculate that it is a haunt.
They stop to have lunch. Abner goes into the woods to relieve himself. They eat some bread, cheese, salted beef and some fruit. They only stop for a half hour or so. They continue on the road. They stop again, Kendra draws her pistol and looks into the forest. Katarzyna is nonchalantly looking at the tree canopy while the others notice a deer in the forest. As they start talking, the deer runs away.
They come to a crossroads. One direction leads to Griefmoor, one leads to Karpad, and one leads to Dargan. Katarzyna wonders about the signpost, and the accuracy of the information. Kendra lets Dragos ride her horse for a bit. The horse is a little more skittish than the previous day. Kendra decides to get back on the horse. Abner finds a clearing a while later, and they set up their camp. Kendra helps Katarzyna set up her tent, and opts to stay with her in the tent that night. Abner makes dinner. Kendra tells stories of a place called Saffron House, where spirits are thought to live inside the walls.
As they’re sitting around the fire, a hush falls over them, and several of them hear a sound of metal scraping. Abner and Dragos go to investigate. They see a figure heading toward them. The figure appears to be limping. The scraping continues, and as the figure approaches, they can clearly see that it is a skeleton with a bear trap attached to its leg. Katarzyna is unconcerned, since it’s just an undead. They all just watch the skeleton walk down the road toward them. When Dragos steps onto the road, the skeleton stops. The skeleton is behaving strangely, and Dragos’ dad notices that there is a rune in its forehead. Kendra approaches the skeleton to read the rune on its forehead. When the light from Kendra’s torch hits the skeleton’s face, Dragos notices that there is what appears to be tears on its face. At one point the creature drops to its knees, and appears to be in a posture of sobbing. Kendra tells Katarzyna to destroy it, and that maybe they’ll be able to remove the rune and the bear trap. Katarzyna hits it with Disrupt Undead twice. Dragos attempts to use a spell to learn more about the creature. It’s clear the creature is blind, and that it suffers from some sort of lamentation. Katarzyna and Gregore do damage to the creature, and then inspect the rune on the skull. As Gregore pours holy water on the rune, the mark starts to scab over and dissolve. At the same time, the bear trap dissolves. They decide to bury the remains of the poor creature. Kendra makes notes about the creature in her log book. Katarzyna does the same. They all turn in for the night.
Sunday, June 8th, 758 On the road toward Karpad, Ustalav
Katarzyna is the first one to awaken, other than Abner, whose watch it is. She is the first to have breakfast. Dragos is next to awaken, as he looks above, he sees a lot of spiderwebs. They discuss the spiderwebs, and Katarzyna goes to prepare her spells. Abner chats with Dragos about how unnerved he is by the goings-on. They break camp and head out. Katarzyna notices that the grave of the undead is worm-ridden. They travel for an hour and come to a Y intersection. It is unmarked, so they pause, and Dragos checks to see which track has the most signs of traffic in the past. The right fork seems to be more traveled. It appears both tracks have seen foot traffic and wagons. There is a broken sign that they find after a short search. It is a three-part sign, mark Ascanor, Karpad and Tamrivena. When they orient the sign with Tamrivina pointing in the direction from which they came, it indicates that Karpad is the left path. They take the left path.
In the late morning, a wagon approaches their position. Kendra speaks to the wagon drivers. When they pass their wagon, they see the men, who appear to be fur traders. Katarzyna confirms that they are headed in the correct direction. He tells them that they should be able to make it to Karpad by the end of the day, and to look out for spiders and wolves. Katarzyna has no reason to suspect the men are being untruthful. Dragos asks one of the men if he did rituals to ward off the spiders, and the man looks at him strangely. They pass. A small discussion about religion follows.
They break through the tree line, and make their way toward the river. They refill their waterskins in the river, and in the early afternoon they arrive at the village of Karpad and make their way toward it. Everyone they see appears to be human. They head toward a large building on their right, it’s a large temple. There is a large graveyard behind the temple, to the west. It’s obviously a temple of Zon Kuthon. Dragos decides to conceal his holy symbol, and Gregore does the same. Katarzyna speaks with a man named Iargo, who gives information.
They talk about what to do next, so they wander around town a bit. They arrive at a building with guards outside, clad in chainmail and livery. The guards are very nice to Katarzyna, and they give directions to The Weeping Willow. There is a sign on the door that says “no Caliban allowed after dark”. Gregore holds the door open for Kendra and Katarzyna. Dragos also enters. There are two men and a women in the common room. There is a guy behind the bar, balding with dark hair fringe, and rosacea on his nose. He gives his name as Boris. A stout woman with curly hair is also present. She consults her book. The man offers them drinks, and Katarzyna has a sherry. They talk with Lorran, Boris’ wife. Katarzyna offers to sing in the inn, but Lorran isn’t into it. They hear a bunch of noise in the rear of the inn, so they head out to what appears to be a town square, paved with cobblestones. A gnarled leafless oak spreads out over an area that is serving as a gallows. There are about 30 people in the town square. There are three Caliban about to be hung on the gallows, a man, a woman and a girl.
Dragos and Katarzyna try to make their way forward into the crowd. There are people calling for the deaths of the Caliban. One man is loudly proclaiming the need to kill them. Dragos approaches the man. The man, Lucien Groy, appears to be wild-eyed and extremely agitated. Dragos tries to calm him. Lucien Groy’s daughter Olya is missing, and the Caliban are accused of poisoning the townsfolk with a disease that only affects humans, as well as having a hand in the disappearance of the girl. Several of the people around seem to be receptive to Dragos’ calming influence. Katarzyna finds out the disease is called tallow throat, and that the girl had been missing since the previous night. Katarzyna jumps onto the platform. She tries to calm Lucien but he appears to be in some sort of frenzy. Dragos seems to be able to calm the people in the crowd. Lucien is clearly distraught beyond all hope of reason. They work their way through the crowd and try to get the people to stop the frenzy that Lucien is creating. Dragos continues to work his diplomacy with the townsfolk, eventually convincing one last holdout. Finally Lucien stands alone in his fury. Katarzyna goes over to the little girl Caliban and takes the noose off her neck and holds the girl as she cries. Dragos frees the other two Caliban. The man thanks them profusely for saving them. The little girl’s name is Delia, the man’s name is Sergei and his wife’s name is Marrias.
Katarzyna walks back to the town jail, where Lucien is being restrained by his fellow officers. She is asked to leave the office, so she stands on the porch awhile. Dragos, Abner and Gregore take the Caliban family back to their home in the ghetto across the river where all Caliban live. Dragos talks to Ionela Zagrev, the mayor of the Caliban community.
Katarzyna rejoins Kendra in the town square, and they talk about what to do next. They head toward the Caliban ghetto, Shade Row. As Kendra and Katarzyna make their way into the throng of people, they overhear various conversations about what had just happened. Katarzyna notices a lady, who is hunched over has an extra pair of arms coming out of her back. Ionela Zagrev greets them all, especially Katarzyna. Ionela tells them that the Caliban of Karpad are descended from captives brought back as slaves from conflicts. Ionela talks about the happenings at the Boroi Manor, and how the conflict started after the tallow throat plague started. Caliban are immune to the disease, causing the humans to speculate that they brought the disease to the humans deliberately. All but one of the Caliban were fired from the estate. Gavril, the hound master, is the only Caliban still employed at the villa. Ionela talks to them at length about the situation in town with the tallow throat, and the dubious and unsuccessful efforts of the temple of Zon Kuthon.
They decide to make their way toward the baron’s villa. It’s a very imposing structure, built high on a slope overlooking the town. The manor is octagonal in shape, with great bonfires raging around the manor, highlighting the rather sorry state of the place. They knock on the double doors. They present the letter of introduction provided to them by Mikayus. The human butler Laurenzio ushers them into an antechamber, decorated with statues, banners and portraits. The room appears to have a better level of maintenance than other areas they see. They pass into a courtyard, also in a rather sorry state. Katarzyna notices that the water looks tainted somehow. They pass into a recieving salon, where a table is set with sweets.
Anya Boroi comes out to meet them. She is wearing a short sleeves gown, that shows off scarification on her arms. She has two fingers missing on her right hand, as is the custom of followers. Laurenzio serves them and leaves. Anya tells them about her husband’s deteriorating sanity, the disappearances and the deaths from tallow throat. They talk about the situation in town and what to do next. She rings a bell and summons a servant to bring her son Merrick, so Katarzyna can see him.
Dragos goes outside for some air, while Katarzyna and Kendra continue to talk with Anya and Merrick. Anya asks them to investigate the disease and find out what’s happening. Katarzyna agrees to investigate the matter.
Katarzyna and Kendra are in the disheveled and dank garden, and go toward the kennel to speak with Gavril. Katarzyna exits the courtyard from the north wall, into a room with a spinning wheel and several paintings. One enormous painting depicts Stepan and his parents and siblings. She goes to the north door, then goes left/west, which leads back to the main entry chamber. On the far end of the chamber is a stairwell that leads down to a torture chamber. Katarzyna and Kendra speculate that the room is a Zon Kuthon shrine. Katarzyna approaches, and speaks to a woman who identifies herself as the aunt of Baron Stepan. The iron maiden opens and Katarzyna sees the device has sexual apparatus. She speaks with the woman, who claims that Stepan’s title should have gone to the elder Boroi sons, but Iozif and Henric Boroi both died quickly before they could become baron.
Dragos and Gregore are heading toward the temple of Zon Kuthon, but notice Gavril and his dogs. Gavril calls out to Dragos as he approaches. The hounds have located something in the woods adjacent to the estate. As Dragos enters the Shudder Wood, he sees a large dog in an aggressive stance. He recognizes it as a Barovian shepherd dog. He also spots some other creature near the dog. Dragos attempts to pacify the dog. The dog has a saddle attached to its back. Dragos’ attempt to pacify the dog doesn’t go well. There is someone with the dog who attempts to pacify it as well, but is unable to as well. Gregore notices that someone is talking to the dog. Gavril manages to approach the dog without incident. The dog is finally pacified. The other person present turns out to be a fey creature, 2’9” creature with ashen white skin, with red hair fading to white. The small man’s eyes are a milky blue, with no discernible pupil. The creature is dressed in black breeches with riding boots, a twill vest and a flannel shirt. The creature is proportioned like a slender human. The creature is apparently male, and has a bit of facial hair. The creature looks like it has been wounded, and his clothes are torn. As Dragos approaches, the dog is aggressive again, but the fey man calms the dog. The fey makes a hand gesture, and the dog becomes subservient to the hound master. Dragos and Gregore then approach the fey, and Gregore pulses to heal the dog and the fey. Gregore examines the fey for further wounds. Dragos greets the fey, asking his name. He gives his name as Grewen, and says that he was attacked by servants of darkness. Grewen doesn’t recognize his surroundings. Grewen had been gazing at a dead body, and was blindsided by shadows in the night. Dragos and Gregore return to the manor house, with Dragos carrying Grewen. They go through the back entrance to the manor. Gavril goes in to tell Anya about the injured person.
Katarzyna is talking with the Baron’s aunt, when she hears a commotion upstairs. She goes up to see Dragos, Gregore, Gavril and Grewen. The butler escorts them all upstairs. Gregore takes Grewen to a room where he continues to work to heal him. Gregore uses a wand to heal Grewen of his diminished strength, and then ask Dragos to fetch Kendra. Laurenzio leads Kendra and Katarzyna to the courtyard, just as Dragos comes to fetch Kendra to heal Grewen some more. Grewen is fully healed by Kendra. Grewen hears Kendra say something about “bleaching”. Dragos goes back into the room, and they all head down to the courtyard. Grewen releases the dog from service to the hound master. Dragos asks Grewen what manner of creature he is, but he gives an evasive answer. Kendra tells Dragos in Low Mordentish that Grewen is a gnome, when Katarzyna asks in High Mordentish, she also tells her. Grewen notices the water in the fountain as they’re all talking, and realizes that there is something wrong with the water in the fountain, as Katarzyna had earlier. He tells the others that there is a poison of “presence” in the water, that it is not a poison in the sense that most poisons would be, but something else. The “dark ones” present in the water taint it with their presence.
Gavril rejoins them, and they begin to question him. They tell him that they’ve already talked with Ionela Zagrev. Gavril takes them outside to the area near the kennels. He tells them that he is worried because someone named Ireni recently disappeared, and he was having an affair with her. Ireni is a human, and she is married. Gavril says that the town’s chandler, Katalina, was the last one to see Ireni before she disappeared. Ireni’s husband’s name is Johan. Johan is the baker for Karpad. Dragos asks Gavril when Ireni went missing. Ireni went missing a week and a half ago. They decide to go talk to Katalina the chandler. It’s later in the afternoon at this point, much had happened in the brief time since they arrived.
On the way to town, Kendra ask Grewen if he’s from Darkon, and he says he isn’t. He doesn’t seem to have memories from before he found Amelia.
In town, Katarzyna tries to talk to one of the townsfolk, but he is extremely rude. Dragos approaches a woman, and talks to her about the location of the chandler’s shop. The woman’s name is Katrina. Katarzyna goes into the chandler’s shop. Grewen goes in without Amelia. It’s a quaint shop with candles on every surface. There is a life-size wax figure, and Katarzyna thinks it’s a golem. The golem answers simple questions. Grewen sends Amelia around the house to look for other entrances. Dragos talks to the golem. Grewen tries to distract the golem, but it doesn’t move away from the door it’s guarding. A fight breaks out, and the golem is destroyed. They go through the door that had been blocked by the golem.
Kendra and Katarzyna go into the room beyond. Katarzyna sees a trap door in the room, and goes over to it and triggers a lightning trap. She is immediately healed by Gregore and Grewen. They move all the ledgers that are blocking the wardrobe, but its contents are mundane. Katarzyna reviews the room with Detect Magic, and sees very little of note.
Abner arrives, and looks at the trap door, and notes that it doesn’t have any traps anymore. He also looks at the box, which is also not trapped. He then opens the box. The box contains money and a candle. Dragos determines that the candle is magic. They then turn their attention toward the trap door. Dragos goes down first. The room is piled high with crates of candle making supplies, dumped haphazardly. There is the corpse of a woman on the ground. As they watch, the corpse’s throat rips open and shadows pour out of the neck. A fight ensues. Katarzyna Turns two of them and they flee. Dragos dispatches one as it tries to flee.
Kendra and Grewen look at the body. Kendra tells Grewen that the body of the woman is the chandler, Katalina. They find an everburning torch, and some portions, and a ring. Kendra thinks it’s a ring of climbing. They also find that the tracks from upstairs lead to another door down in this room. Dragos uses his ability to sense ethereal resonance, and discovers that the woman had died within a half hour. They talk about the nature of the trap and such, then decide to go through the door in the direction that the tracks are going. Grewen brings Amelia down.
The room smells of hot fat and it is overpowering. There is a candle drying rack, broken in the middle of a circle of blood, and vats, each as tall as a human. Kendra thinks the room is a makeshift altar for sacrifice. There is a small winged creature in the room. It tells them that he is acting on the orders of the Baron. They have a standoff, and it is revealed that many of the missing people are present. Katarzyna confronts the winged creature and demands that he release the captives in the vats, and it casts a spell throwing the room into bright light. A strange encounter ensues, wherein the group tries not to harm the humans serving the fairy creature as thralls. Gregore uses a harmless spell to subdue the male, and Dragos tries to grapple the woman. Katarzyna makes her way toward the sound of a child’s voice. The fairy creature tries to charm Katarzyna, but she is undeterred. Katarzyna goes right to the vat with the sherriff’s daughter Olya, and sets about trying to free her from the grip of the wax. Katarzyna is blinded by the creature.
The combat continues. Katarzyna is trying to cast Resist Energy on Olya. Grewen’s dog Amelia is trying to sniff out the location of the fairy creature. Dragos, Abner and Gregore are attacked with color spray from the fairy. Dragos swings at it, but misses. A desperate battle ensues, and they are all unable to hurt the fairy. Katarzyna manages to knock over a vat of melting wax, but the wax inundates her and renders her immobilized. The fairy is highly effective against the group, keeping them fighting desperately for quite a while. Dragos has to kill one of the mind-controlled villagers during the fight. Grewen uses a spell to soften the stone floor, and has Amelia dig into the softened ground and spatters the fairy with mud, rendering it somewhat more visible. The fairy mind-controls Grewen and he attacks Amelia, causing her to run away. The fairy tries to mind-control Kendra also, but fails. The fairy manages to mind-control Katarzyna, and removes the blindness it had cast upon her earlier. Pearl attacks Silvio, and Silvio manages to sever one of Pearl’s limbs in combat. Katarzyna is VERY angry with Pearl. The fairy sees that the combat isn’t going its way, traces an outline in the ceiling of the chamber, and creates a portal to escape the chamber.
Katarzyna is horrified by what she sees in one of the vats as she goes to check it. [Failed Horror Save] It is full of cut up body parts, covered with maggots and giving off an awful stench. Katarzyna runs out of the room, unable to cope with the situation, and Abner goes after her. Barefoot, in a ruined white dress covered in wax and blood, Katarzyna accepts a little whiskey from Abner.
Kendra boosts Grewen up so he can talk to one of the children in the vats, the boy says the farmer, Fain, lured him down to the chamber. Katarzyna goes back into the room, and walks over to the vat that Olya is in. She uses the magic rope to allow her to pull herself up as the wax starts to melt. Olya, Zona (a farmer) and Delian (a butcher’s son) are finally rescued from the vats. Kendra identifies a magic dagger for Grewen.
They discuss what had happened, and what to do next. Gregore questions whether the fairy had been acting on the Baron’s behalf, but Katarzyna thinks the idea is absurd and that the fairy must have been lying. Grewen tries to reconcile with Amelia again. She finally comes around. Dragos heals her after she returns to Grewen.
As they leave the building, they run into some townspeople, who run off to jail to let the sherriff know that his daughter had been rescued. One of the townspeople returns to them, and takes Dragos aside to let him know that the sherriff had died of tallow throat.
They arrive at the Temple of Zon Kuthon. They bring the three rescued people inside. The junior priest fetches the high priest. Radu Miklos is the priest’s name. Gregore asks to speak with him away from the others. The others prepare to return to the chandler’s to make sure nothing was left behind that could threaten the town. Radu speaks with Katarzyna about the situation in town, but he is quite terse with her.
On the way to the chandler’s shop, they hear a voice cry out for help. Katarzyna approaches the woman, who is dressed in the livery of the city guard. As she approaches, her throat explodes and shadows erupt from it. Combat ensues. One attacks Dragos and grievously saps his strength, one attacks Katarzyna. She manages to get one good hit, and Kendra manages to dispatch both of the shadows.
They return to the chandler’s shop. They go down to the basement room to check the other doors. They check the doors on the south wall. There is cotton cord, twine, resins. There is a female corpse with a thin layer of wax on it. Katarzyna and Grewen hear Amelia barking, and Katarzyna sends Grewen to see if there is someone at the door who should be let in. The guardsmen come downstairs, and when one of them hears about their fallen comrade, he runs out. The guards come downstairs, and they identify the wax-covered body as that of Ireni, the baker’s wife. They open the second door, and find two more bodies, both covered in wax. One is Neliana, the weaver’s wife, and the other is the weaver, Durbic. The last door has two more corpses, the guardsman doesn’t recognize the deceased, but knows they were brothers and worked as lumberjacks. Grewen deduces that the lurkers in the light can bring in other fey by sacrificing mortals in the area. Kendra mentions something about the fey having brought in a satyr.
Gregore and Abner arrive at the chandler’s shop and Gregore uses his wand to help Dragos regain his strength. They decide to go to the inn to regroup. Grewen manages to slip away, because he is worried about his possessions that he left out in the forest. He goes off scouting by himself, in the woods, by himself, without telling anyone where he is going. At the Inn, the group notices that Grewen is missing. Gregore and Dragos go out tracking Grewen. They track him to the edge of the woods, and deduce that he went in search of his belongings.
Katarzyna and Kendra are drinking wine with Abner as Gregore and Dragos return. Dragos strikes up a conversation with some girls who are sitting at the bar, giggling at the people at the table. The girls seem interested in Abner. The girls are Lillia and Marren. Kendra takes Katarzyna up to her room, as she had over indulged in wine a bit.
Monday, June 9th, 758, Karpad, Ustalav
The morning dawns, and Dragos goes in search of Abner, who is not in his room. Grewen has returned, and is quite tired. Amelia is also quite bedraggled. Grewen decides to sleep in the stables. Katarzyna has to wear her pants, since her dress is all but ruined. Dragos goes off in search of Abner and Grewen. He manages to find Grewen and Amelia. He heals Amelia and returns to the inn for breakfast. He tells them that he hasn’t found Abner. Dragos and Katarzyna go out and find a store to buy some shoes, so she doesn’t have to wear her entertainer outfit shoes. Katarzyna talks with the shopkeeper a bit about the baker and his wife.
Grewen wakes up and immediately starts tending to Amelia, and discovers that her wounds are healed. He spends about an hour cleaning her up. They then head back to town. He meets up with Dragos and Katarzyna, and they all head back into the inn. Katarzyna takes her ballerina flats back up to the room. Kendra greets Grewen as he sits down for breakfast.
Kendra, Katarzyna and Dragos go to the baker to buy bread. Dragos talks to the baker in Low Mordentish. They seem simpatico. The baker tells Dragos that his wife had been missing for a couple of days. The baker talks to him at length. They buy a TON of bread. Katarzyna is very pleased.
They stop at the city jail. Katarzyna talks to the constable, he had already visited the baroness and confirmed their story. The baker is there, being told about his wife’s death. The constable who had been involved with his colleague is rather quiet. They then make their way toward the temple. There isn’t any productive discussion at first, and the priest is rude to Katarzyna. She is miffed at his treatment of her, so she and Grewen go down to the bridge, away from the temple. The priest tells Dragos that he should talk to the woman Fewsdra who tends the baron’s mausoleums about the unusual circumstances of the funerals for the baron’s two older brothers. The group speaks a bit about Grewen’s disappearance, Katarzyna asks him to let them know if he wants to go off by himself.
They head to Fewsdra’s cemetery, to the Boroi mausoleum. They find a woman tending a hedgerow in the Boroi family area. Dragos goes up and talks to the woman, introduces himself and the others. Dragos asks Fewsdra about the baron’s older brothers. She tells them that the Baron paid her to bury them, so she did. Katarzyna ask her why the baron didn’t observe the normal rituals of Zon Kuthon. Fewsdra, after a hefty bribe, tells them that she doesn’t think the Boroi brothers’ coffins have bodies in them. After another hefty bribe, she takes them to the crypt where the bodies ostensibly lay. She leaves, and Gregore and Dragos take one of the coffins down and open it up. Inside the coffin, there are bags, with something inside. Dragos cuts open the bags, and they’re just rocks. They open the second coffin, and it’s the same situation as the first, full of rocks. They leave the crypt.
They head to the Baron’s estate, and they are let inside by the butler. Katarzyna goes downstairs, and the others follow. Katarzyna talks to the ghost of the baron’s aunt. Katarzyna tells her about the lack of bodies, and the aunt seems to have gained some respect for her nephew Stepan. They go upstairs and discuss what to do next. They go into the courtyard. The fountain is still defiled by the dark essence. They decide to talk to the baron.
The butler Laurenzio guides them to the baron’s study. They introduce themselves to Baron Stepan, and notice that he has no shadow. They tell the baron about the fairy in the chandler’s shop, and how they defeated it and rescued the townsfolk. Katarzyna studies the reaction of the baron. He grows ashen at the mention of the fairy, whom he calls Ilquis. He tells them that he had met Ilquis, and he had hired Ilquis to fight the shadow with light. The Baron says he had unwisely given Ilquis a free hand in defeating the shadow.
Dragos asks Stepan about his brothers, and haltingly at first, the baron tells them the story of their fate. Stepan was the third son of a minor noble family of Ustalav. He wasn’t content to let his eldest brother Iozif inherit the Boroi manor. He discovered an ancient mirror, brought to the estate centuries ago by an ancestor. The mirror showed Stepan an image of a manor, but where the figure of the man should be was a tall figure, Nicosor. Nicosor was a Shade, a being with a body formed from living shadow. Nicosor had been an advisor to the Boroi family, during the height of their power in Ustalav. The Nicosor was imprisoned 950 years ago inside the mirror, for fomenting a revolt against the Boroi. The prison was slightly damaged and the mirror brought shadow-tinged energy into Karpad. Nicosor spent many years looking for someone to essentially “trade souls” with. Nicosor agreed to help the young Stepan Boroi succeed in his quest to become baron in place of his brothers. Nicosor would trade places with Stepan once every ten years in exchange for his help. The last time they traded, Nicosor killed Stepan’s brothers, ensuring Stepan’s ascension to the barony. Horrified by this, Stepan refused to trade places with Nicosor the next time, and the shae have sworn revenge. Stepan asks them to go into the demiplane prison of the mirror to destroy Nicosor and rescue his brothers, who are presumably still alive inside the plane.
Grewen and Dragos are suspicious of the baron, and ask him to release his shadow from the Book of Night to prove that he is the real baron. With some reluctance, he does so. They decide to go to the basement and talk with Stepan’s aunt again. The aunt greets her nephew as expected. Evgenia Boroi is the ghost’s name.
They go back upstairs to have lunch. Stepan tells them that the midnight mirrors are magical prisons used by the churches of Zon Kuthon. The mirror at the Boroi manor works differently than a normal midnight mirror, allowing two willing subjects to switch bodies. The Baron goes down to Gavril with Katarzyna and Grewen. Gavril takes over Amelia’s care while Grewen is inside the mirror. Katarzyna tells Gavril of Ireni’s passing after the baron goes to run his hounds.
In the library, they discover that the switching of bodies from the mirror is a form of Magic Jar. Kendra, at Grewen’s urging, discovers some clues in the library’s historical tomes.
Katarzyna goes out and talks with Anya. She tells Anya about finding the kidnappers. Anya is saddened about the situation with the baron, but at that point they hear Kendra shout that she has found something. They all rush back upstairs and Kendra tells them that she found a story about someone who had destroyed a midnight mirror. The manifestation of the mirror’s consciousness has to be destroyed.
In the course of the conversation, it comes out that Abner has contracted tallow throat. Everyone is shocked and dismayed, especially Katarzyna and Kendra. Gregore tells them that Abner’s situation makes him less comfortable with compassionate and empathetic treatment from others, and more comfortable with aggressive treatment. Grewen goes out to commune with Amelia. Grewen sends Amelia in to comfort Kendra and Abner.
They all make preparations to enter the midnight mirror. They talk with Stepan before going in. Kendra tells them that they must use a piece of the creature’s essence to destroy the creature. Stepan gives them a piece of the mirror, and they give it to Abner to use. Stepan says a few words, and they all find themselves inside the mirror.
They are in a frigid room, and the only source of light comes from the mirror surface behind them. Instead of a reflection, they see the room of the manor they just left. They find a door, and exit the room. Grewen commands Amelia to defend Katarzyna. Kendra tells Dragos that the place will probably be a distorted version of the baron’s manor. The first room they enter appears to be a smaller mirror image of the room that Ebjinnia Boroi inhabited. Dragos checks a door on the right, where he finds a hallway with shadowy coffins in niches in the walls. Strewn about the floor are a few dozen toe and finger bones. Kendra checks the place out, and guesses that a ritual is required to enter the room. They check the iron maiden, and it’s empty, but giving off an unnerving spectral energy. They decide to go down the hallway of the finger bones. Dragos, Abner and Grewen step into the hallway. They hear a skittering on the stone. A deformed skeleton rushes out of each of the alcoves to the side. The creatures are called necrophidias, a constructed bone creature that necromancers sometimes make. The necrophidias attack, and Dragos is bitten immediately. He isn’t affected by the bite. The necrophidias starts to move in a hypnotic fashion, and it fascinates Dragos, leaving him stunned.
They defeat the necrophidias, then decide to look inside the sarcophagi. Inside one is a silver mask and a silver mace, with a bunch of dust. There is another pile of dust, a mask and a pitted battleaxe in the second sarcophagus. The third contains deformed skeletal remains, Kendra thinks it’s a Caliban skeleton, with a silver short sword. The fourth sarcophagus contains another Caliban skeleton, and there is a small bit of gold shining among the rags at the bottom of the coffin. Abner picks up a brooch [magic] after Dragos calls him over to check it out. In the fifth sarcophagus, there is a magical cloak. In the sixth and final sarcophagus is rusty armor and an almost completely deteriorated weapon. The cloak goes to Katarzyna, and the brooch goes to Gregore.
They decide to go up the stairs. They are on the eastern side of a wing, and there’s a window that looks outside. Katarzyna and Dragos both notice that their ability to see in darkness is different here. They turn left, and the room contains two Caliban, a Banshee and a male of some sort. They manage to avoid conflict with the Caliban.
They continue wandering purposefully around the shadow mansion, and encounter two Caliban willing to talk. They give them information about the Heart, that it abides at the center of the structure. They are even more purposeful in their intent to find the center of the mirror villa, using the layout of the real villa as a guide to finding the location of the courtyard fountain in the mirror villa.
They come to an area they think leads to the mirror courtyard, and notice that the surface of the wall becomes different as they approach, like ichor. When Abner cuts into the wall with the shard, the whole wall shakes. After a few minutes of cutting, they manage to cut their way through. There is a twisted reflection of the courtyard inside. Kendra tells the others that the giant tree inside the courtyard is Tenebris tendricolus. It is a huge creature, and very intimidating. They attack, and when Kendra casts a Light spell on it, it seems to panic the tree. It lashes out with its limbs, or rather, tentacles. They are actually doing a fair job keeping the creature at bay until the gnome is swallowed by the tree. Abner tries valiantly to hit it with the mirror shard, but he doesn’t seem to be able to land a solid hit. Eventually, Abner strikes true, and they manage to kill the tree. It is at that moment that the entire realm starts to dissolve.