Zib’s player was absent again this week, so I had my hands full running him and Kokhed.
The party starts exploring the remaining rooms on the second floor of Argynvostholt. They quickly find themselves trapped in an upstairs hallway, a wall of stone manifesting to block the way back from the T intersection in which they stand. Through doors at either end of the hallway, float phantom warriors wearing the livery of Strahd, the spirits of his mortal army. While their mundane weapons are not very effective against the incorporeal undead, they still defeat them soundly. The two rooms have nothing of interest, and after a few minutes of searching for a way out, the wall of stone disappears, and they make their way back to the first floor.
It’s getting late in the day, and they hope to make it back to civilization before dark, so they decide to explore the non-spider infested side of the first floor and skip the arachnids for now. In a wood paneled den, they have one last supernatural experience. A fiery dragon-form erupts from a still hearth, floating above them.
“My lights have fallen into darkness. Save them if you can. Show them the light they have lost.”
With that, the fire burns out.
Cordelia and Devlin both think it would be a good idea to ask Madam Eva to do a reading about the dragon’s skull. So, with that in mind, they decide to make their way to Vallaki (now Wachterton) for the night as they will be closer to the Tser Pool camp. They arrive back at the town just as night falls, and make their way past the creepy gate guards and to the inn, where Kokhed is reunited with the Martikov clan.
Late that night, the smell of smoke wakes the party. After determining it’s coming from outside the inn, they make their way to the street. On the east side of town, flames rise from the Church of St. Andral. They quickly don their equipment and run over to the church. Outside, a group of masked cultists stands on the far side of the street chanting “Witness his glory” over and over. They look up, and see a laughing Strahd circling above the church, mounted on his nightmare. Ireena clings to his back, looking very cosy with the vampire.
From within the blazing church, screams can be heard. A villager runs out the door, making it part of the way down the steps before a feral-looking vampire spawn falls on him, biting deeply into his neck. The cultists cheer and resume their chant.
Tired, low on resources, and even lower in morale, Cordelia, Devlin, Esmerelda, and Zib turn back toward the inn. Kokhed changes into a raven, leaving his equipment on the street and flies into the burning building. He later rendezvous with the group back at the inn and reports there were no survivors within the church. The priest, and every innocent who sought nightly refuge there had been slaughtered by a group of vampire spawn. By morning, the building has been consumed by the fire, and smoldering embers and debris are all that remains.