We start out spending the night at Father Donovich’s church. We take precautions to make the place safe, which seems to make Donovich uncomfortable. He seeks out the company of some fellow villagers for the night rather than stay there with us. Probably wise.
In the morning we search for manacles, which leads us to Bildrath’s Mercantile again. We buy provisions, and Lucy speaks to Pariwimple whose real name turns out to be Parpol Cantemir. She convinces him to join us on our trip to the castle, and magically compels his uncle to accept this. He arms and armors himself and we set off.
We find an empty black carriage and horses waiting for us at the intersection leading to Castle Ravenloft, but we choose to ignore it. It heads toward the castle, ahead of us. We make our way to a hill overlooking the castle instead. From there, Glimmerald uses her Arcane Eye to scout the location.
When Cereus hears the distant roar of a dragon, we decide to move into the castle to avoid that fight. Stepping into the open entrance, the doors to the castle are magically opened and we move inside. We hear pipe organ music inside and to the south.
A dusk elf appears on the stairs near us and Kasimir immediately knows who it is: Rahadin, the betrayer! Lucy teleports him in to face his enemy, and we cut the beast down quickly.
We move on down the hallway to find the source of the music. We find a large room with a long table set with fine food and drink. A cloaked figure plays the pipe organ at the far side of the room. As we enter, he says, “Ah, finally, you came. Come, sit. Enjoy my hospitality.”
The Goings On
We rest the day at the Church of the Morning Lord in the Village of Barovia. Glim tinkers with Fritz the Shield Guardian some more, while others cover the windows to try to deter unwanted visitors. Come bedtime, Glim produces a Tiny Hut for us to sleep in. Ever the wild card, Turk sleeps in one of the beds for the night. Elsewhere, Donovich does some paperwork and Fritz keeps watch outside the church doors.
At some point during the night, Donovich wanders outside and off into the night. Distrustful, Cereus tags along behind Donovich to keep an eye on him and finds him wandering to a village house where the lights are still on. He speaks to the occupants at the door briefly and then enters the house.
Cereus knocks on the door. An elderly woman opens the door a crack. Cereus asks for Father Donovich, and the woman claims not to know him. Cereus argues with her, in a somewhat threatening manner and she claims to need to speak to her husband. He hears furniture moving near the door. Cereus asks more loudly for Donovich, and the old priest soon appears at the door. He says that it’s nobody’s business where he spends the night. He seems upset. Cereus uses Turk’s name to intimidate him, but it doesn’t seem to change the Father’s mind. Cereus returns to the church shortly after.
Cereus returns to tell us what happened. He then bars the doors of the church.
Ireena decides she needs some manacles, to securely attach her sword’s hilt to her wrist. We search the church for manacles. We try to find the basement, thinking that Donovich probably used some to restrain his son. In a filthy room, under a rug, we find a trap door and immediately head down into the darkness.
The basement is riddled with posts, and in the far corner we see a gaunt and huddled figure. The figure moves around at the far wall until it reaches the bright light of the sun blade. It then hisses and moves back to the corner. Finding no manacles, we return upstairs.
We head to Bildrath’s mercantile to find Pariwimple. Also to buy manacles, if they have any. We learn that they do indeed have manacles, for only 20 pieces gold; a bargain at one tenth the price. Bottles of ink are 100 gold per ounce. This market is out of control. We do not see Pariwimple anywhere around. Glimmerald haggles over child-sized clothing.
We hear Pariwimple out back, and Lucy messages him to ask him to meet her out front of the store. He heads out to meet her. He tells her that Parpol Cantemir is his real name, but everyone calls him Pariwimple for short. She tells him about fate, and how it’s his fate to come with us to the castle. He asks if it will be a date, and Lucy says yes. She tells him not to worry about convincing his uncle, she’ll take care of that.
He tells her that he’s strong but also quick. He knows how to fight! To use a spear! He runs off to get his spear, while Lucy steps inside to convince Bildrath. She magically compels him to support Pariwimple, and also to provide her with a new dress. He complies with both, and finds her a lovely, low cut red dress. She thanks him and we wrap up our dealings. She also mentions that he should offer his nephew some armor, and he tells Pariwimple to take a suit of studded leather, which he does.
Leaving with our new ally, we consider approaching the castle from the east, though the cliffs are dauntingly tall. At least two thousand feet! We realize that we cannot safely approach the castle from that direction, even if there were a secret way in somewhere up the cliffside.
Instead, we follow the road around and up toward the top of Tser Falls, and to the intersection where we will find the road leading to the castle. Parked at the fork in the road and facing east is a black carriage with two jet black horses. The door of the carriage opens. We see nothing inside. Pariwimple starts to charge at it, saying “I got this!” but Turk grabs his shoulder and Lucy stops him with a quick “Pariwimple, please wait!”
Cali hops in the carriage and the rest of us briefly pause to consider getting in the carriage, but choose to spurn the offer. As Cali exits and closes the door, the horses break into a trot and pull the carriage off to the east. We make our way along the road following it, and break off to a hill overlooking the castle before we reach a point where we would be visible to the castle.
The lowest spire is about 200 feet, while the tallest is a bit shy of 400. The lowest ramparts are just shy of a hundred feet up. The gates are open, and the doors to the castle beyond appear to be open as well.
Glimmerald casts Arcane Eye to scout the entrance of the castle.
She thinks that the wood of the drawbridge is weakened, and the drop below is perhaps a thousand feet. The outer wall of the castle has a gatehouse where the drawbridge’s chains connect, about a hundred feet up. A thick fog swirls around the courtyard. As the eye moves into the courtyard, the weather turns to rain and thunder and lightning threatens the clouds above. The gatehouse has ironbound doors with built-in locks, and the lock holes are big enough to peek in. Each of the gate house rooms have flagstone floors, mechanisms for raising and lowering the drawbridge, a latch mechanism, but are otherwise sparse.
Some walls separate the front half of the courtyard from the back half. Twenty foot high and wide archways provide access to the other half of the courtyard, blocked by a portcullis.
There is a stone carriage house, with the doors open a crack. Inside she can see the carriage.
Opposite that, a slender wooden door reinforced with iron bands leads into the keep.
Another interior wall separates the back courtyard into two smaller courtyards.
As the eye is crossing over to the other quarter yard, it sees iron gates leading to some sort of overlook. There are flowers. The overlook is a balcony over a long drop. When the eye reaches the balcony, there is a flash of lightning that illuminates the rooftops of the village of Barovia below. A chapel separates the two back quarter-yards. In the southeast courtyard, she finds nothing of interest and no means of entering the structure.
She moves the eye to the keyhole of the ironbound back door. The door is swollen and stuck in its frame… too tight to fit the eyeball past its edges.
Above, the windows are stained glass and seem to be boarded up from the inside. On the front there were the large open front doors with light spilling out from inside. Above, a large broken stained glass window is about 50 feet up. It looks like it’s been broken for some time. She sends the eye into the front doors.
Ornate outer doors of the castle hang open. Twenty feet inside are another set of doors, which are closed. The ceiling in this space is thirty feet tall. We cannot see the broken stained glass window from here. Torches light this entrance.
Back at the group, Cereus notices two sets of footprints on the road, matching Van Richten and Ezmerelda, he believes.
Through the inner doors, Glim sees a room. Cobwebs stretch between columns. It’s a dusty hall. Torches in sconces sputter. Eight stone gargoyles squat on the rim of the ceiling, which features frescoes covered by decay. There are bronze double doors to the east. To the north is a wide staircase climbing into darkness. To the south is a hallway.
Going up the staircase, she sees a discarded toy on the edge of the stairs. A Blinsky? It looks like a spring-loaded, wind-up set of wooden teeth with its fangs painted white. Etched into it in tiny lettering, it says “Is no fun, is no Blinsky!”
Continuing up, the massive stairs rise to a landing. Stone arches support a ceiling covered in frescoes, depicting knights on horseback. Everything is dusty. At each end of the south wall is a staircase rising into darkness. Between the staircases are a pair of alcoves containing dusty suits of armor on stands, each clutching a dragon-headed mace. Both suits of armor are covered in dark stains. Above each alcove is written something, but she can’t read the scratched out lettering. She takes the stairway to the right.
The stairs climb to dim light from outside through the broken window to the courtyard. She realizes both stairs lead to this same room. This immense room is full of brooding darkness. Empty sconces are found on the walls, and cobwebs adorn everything. Across from the window are a set of double doors. To the south, a single door leads away. At the southern end of the room is a wooden throne on top of a dais. The throne faces away from most of the room. She doesn’t notice footprints through the webbing.
Back outside, hiding among the trees on the hill, we’re getting quite wet. It’s a full thunder and lightning storm now.
Atop the main building, we see that there is another large window at the top of the building, up above the broken window. A ten foot wide walkway surrounds most of the keep. Four large panes: enclosed by a lead framework. The sections have small iron hinges built into them, with small iron latches to lock them in place.
From the west, Cereus hears a familiar roar in the distance. The dragon! We decide to move to the courtyard before it arrives. Cali crosses, holding the rope, and gets across safely. Pariwimple crosses then. Cali ties the rope to something secure. We begin to move across, one by one until we’re all on the castle side of the bridge.
On the gatehouse above us someone sees a patch of green slime, which we easily avoid.
We approach the front doors. Cereus pokes his head into the lit interior, looking up. In the corners of the high, vaulted ceilings there are shadows of four statues. Not gargoyles, they’re shaped like dragons. They look like they’ve been painted red. Cobwebs cover them. Cereus feels uneasy, of course. There is no sign of charring on the floor.
Cali steps in, and as she does so two things happen: First, the doors to the east open on their own, revealing the octagonal room beyond. Second, we hear organ music. It sounds like it’s coming from the east, and south, seemingly from the southern corridor.
We step in and investigate the hall to the south. Large double doors hanging slightly open at the end. There is a suit of armor in an alcove just before the doors.
Almost upon us, we finally hear the footfalls of a dark skinned elf coming down the stairs. He stops, looks down at Cali, Turk, and Pariwimple. He says, “My master is expecting you.”
Hearing the elf’s voice, Kasimir grabs Luccaria’s arm for support. She knows immediately that this is the elf who slaughtered so many of his people. She takes Kasimir aside and teleports them both to near the betrayer, and then she steps forward to confront him.
Cereus sneaks in and sticks three deadly arrows into him. Parpol runs up and makes a couple of quick stabs, though his attacks don’t seem as effective as our own. Cali mocks the elf viciously, and Glimmerald slings six magical missiles at him.
Suddenly, in her mind, Lucy hears the anguished screams of the thousands of Rahadin’s victims! Parpol seems badly affected by it, though Lucy resists.
Kasimir unleashes a barrage of magical darts, which brutalize Rahadin and drop him dead where he stands.
Catching our breath, Kasimir casts Detect Magic and tells us that Rahadin’s scimitar is non-magical. In fact, Kasimir detects nothing magical at all on him. There are three darts in his bracer, each in a tiny scabbard; probably poisoned.
We head down the southern hallway, and find a side passage leading to a spiral staircase just before the suit of armor.
At the southern door, which is slightly ajar, Cali sees a table set for a great meal. There are three huge crystal chandeliers. In the center of the room is a long table set with a white cloth and food dishes of all kinds. Places are set for each of us. At each place, we see amber liquid in goblets. At the far end of the room is a huge pipe organ and seated at the organ, a single caped figure pounds the keys in raptured ecstasy. Strahd slowly turns toward us. “Ah, finally, you came. Come, sit. Enjoy my hospitality.”
Here we end for the evening.