Session 4-5 I, Strahd – CoS – The Fall of Durst House

The mimic hungrily chomped onto the warlocks’ wrist but missed damaging him and with help from his allies Nuz and Adrik he was able to best the monster. Meanwhile, in the statue room, the cleric pondered the symbols and writing and who the statue may be. The writing looked occult related however Sevahn did not recognize the language. Regarding the strange faceless statue, he immediately made an assumption though he had neither seen nor heard the name before this day, that this must be a depiction of Strahd Von Zarovich, the man who was the author of the letter found in the house. The warlock then entered as Sevahn started to speak aloud his assertions as if he was able to magically hear the cleric’s reasoning that the orb the statue was holding may be used as an arcane focus as he started to explain that to Adrik. 

  The warlock’s ability to decipher text came in handy as he was able to decipher the strange language: “He is the Ancient, He is the Land”.  The cleric and the fighter discussed how a phrase like that could be used to describe a mere man. Perhaps the true origin of the deity as it were remained to be seen. Adrik also decided to try and topple the statue over without much success. Against better judgement, as the rest of the party joined him in the room, Sevahn reached out to touch the smoky grey orb that rested in the hand of the statue.  As soon as he touched the sphere, shadows of the cult members protecting the crypt and its large statue sprung out and attacked.  The party took several turns laying into these shadows who remained relatively stationary as it were and took them down with several rounds of attacks.  Adrik and Nuz suffered from strength zapping attacks but the party prevailed, a little worse for wear.  The party, using divine guidance of some unknown force felt graced by the gods favor, and agreed they were all comfortable enough that another long rest in the children’s room would be the safest way to restore their affected party members strength and spells. 

The party was now out of water, so the need to move along was very strong in all of them as they regrouped in the cults’ morbid dining hall littered with fleshy human bone remenants scattered about the floor.  Some discussion was had among the party members on where to travel next. The cleric and the fighter wanted another look at the statue – Adrik attempted to push the statue over a couple more times, with no success and no reaction when the orb was examined again. The orb remained looking much like a mundane decorative item, however the two of them decided to leave it behind and maybe not touch it this time.  

Nuz spoke of the stairwell leading further down the stairs, while the warlock, accompanied by the cleric, decided to search a room to the west of where the mimic had sprung forth to frighten the warlock on his solo reconnaissance mission.  The cleric and the warlock decided to search this room – a bedroom with a rotten, moldy mattress, a wardrobe, a footlocker and two painting depictions of Gustav and Elisabeth Durst wearing what looked to be cult garb.  The party members rummaged through the room as the fighter decided to follow close behind.  The barbarian and the bard decided they would stay behind and wanted no part of that cursed area of the dungeon.  While the other party members explored, the bard and barbarian separated to get a better look of the basement’s nortwestern tunnels.  A room with a very fresh looking well of water was not tempting enough for the bard suffering from Stockholm though knowing he was lacking water, would not venture into the room with the well.  As he walked back out he stopped short of a hallway heading south down the tunnel.  With his keen senses he realized that the hallway in front of him was void of any ancient footprints.  The bard told Nuz to avoid that route as they headed back towards the dining hall. 

Meanwhile, in the cult leader’s bedroom, the warlock and the cleric searched through the items and found several interesting items in the open footlocker: a yellow bound book was of particular interest. The cleric reached into the chest, and as he did so, a huge, rotting figure sprang forth from the wall behind through the picture of Gustav Durst, hitting the cleric with a claw attack. As he did so, through the photo of Elisabeth sprung a foul creature with a long slimy tounge, who hungrily struck at the cleric, missing him in the process.  The warlock unleashed a powerful fire attack, singeing and thoroughly roasting the ghoul, while the cleric took another strong blow from the creature, momentarily paralyzing him. He was able to overcome, and Sevahn and Adrik, who came running down the basement tunnels worked together to take down the foul creature.  The items in the footlocker were salvaged while several other supplies were left behind in favor of travelling light.   

The party fearing the worst, and with Adrik suggesting they leave now as they had no interested in the house and its inhabitants as they weren’t relevant to the bigger picture, perhaps they should burn the house down and leave the residents to their fate.  The barbarian reminded them of their promise to the spirits of the two children that they would see this through and might as well push forward since they had all come this far and survived.  The party decided to head down into the sub-basement of the house, following the sounds of the strange chanting deeper into the earthen hell of the dank dark basement.  As they approached, the barbarian in the lead, a false step was luckily avoided by the very agile half orc. At the bottom of the landing, the chanting could finally be understood. “He is the Ancient, He is the Land”.  A familiar howl was heard in this part of the basement.   

Onyx had been found, and though frightened and snarling, the barbarian was able to tame the creature a second time, who happily barked and wagged his tail at Nuz.  The half orc gave the goodest boy some very nice pets.  Onyx barked and trotted off in the way of one of the downstairs tunnels and sat and looked behind, waiting to be followed.  Skamos examined an opening into the room beyond, where the sound seemed to emanate from.  Shaping water did nothing to reveal a way to open the portcullis.  The warlock attempted to look through with his darkvision and saw only blackness. Flame was thrust in, the darkness lapped at the flames and nothing illuminated it. The party searched the chamber and disovered several occult items within the walls, totems for the cult’s dark rituals. The barbarian mentioned to the other party members that Onyx was trying to lead them somewhere.  The party followed the barbarian and his overgrown pup into a dungeon area, the walls holding rusted chains, a single skeleton, flesh still clinging to his body as if he was a more recent inhabitant of the house. More exploration turned up a gold ring on the finger of the body, and a small chest was opened with some difficulty containing a small amount of gold and silver and a few other items.   

The wolf again seemed to signal to Nuz. He began to pace around a particular spot in the wall.  With some searching and help from the warlock, they were able to locate a false wall that opened into the chamber beyond, into that impenetrable darkness. Skamos walked into it, finding the room beyond, however his party members could not see him. They decided there was no turning back and thrust themselves into the darkness. Inside, a flooded room, blood strewn about the floor and the walls, a giant, looming raised platform covered in the remains of sacrifices long ago made. The chanting went deathly, eerily silent.  The party all entered and walked up to the platform.  Suddenly, thirteen hooded figures appeared briefly, fading back into the walls as the chanting started again, this time changing the phrase. “ONE MUST DIE”. Over and over and over.  The party, somewhat confused as to the meaning, tried a number of methods to try and appease the chanting.  The portcullis was opened. Blood was spilled on the altar, however it did not stop the chanting. A tadpole in the brackish water could not be caught to be used as a sacrifice. Skamos then offered himself up to appease the house, an idea that the cleric strongly opposed, throwing himself on Finally, a voice of reason remembered the talk with animals scroll that the fighter had.  They used it on their friend Onyx. 

Onyx revealed that the party was there because of the “bad man”, and told Nuz he wanted to help his friend, to save Nuz, to protect Nuz from the bad man.  Nuz, taking this to mean the wolf was volunteering to sacrifice himself, nodded, hugged the wolf and broke its neck.  The house fell silent. No other toils and troubles befell our party as the secret door to the first floor was found on the way out of the house, ,opening to the hunter’s den, the wolves that had been destroyed previously, somehow magically restored themselves. Everyone took this as a clue to gtfo and everyone left the house, the mists receding back into the forests behind.  With a mighty groan, the house began to fold into itself like origami, imploding into nothing, leaving rubble in it’s wake.  The party stared into the near distance, at what appeared to be city gates, with an ominous tilted sign: “Barovia Village”. Thus was the story of the Durst house, and just the beginning of our journeys together.  

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