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Party 17

MaxPowerKL5

Kiv Turnuroth
Seeing the figure standing in shadow, Kiv slips into his familiar's senses as it perches on a nearby branch. "Well that's... strange," he says, eyes appearing blank and lifeless, then shifting back to his own senses. "That guy looks an awful lot like the innkeeper. Maybe a brother?"
 
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Garros

Member
Eight other figures emerge from the trees. All of them wear dark leather rain coats and cowls which obscure their features.

The old man that beckoned steps forward, pulling his hood back. His face looks old and weathered by the years. Small pluck of white hairs protrude from his otherwise gleaming scalp.

"I do not know what brought you to this place, but you picked a bad day to pay the winery a visit. Dark druids have raised the forest itself against our family to claim our winery -our birthright!-." The old man then stares intensely at each of you. "I am Davian Martikov and I am the patriarch of the Martikov clan. The winery is mine to lead, though as I told you there is currently an issue with that. Tell me strangers of beyond the mists, would you be willing to lend us your aid?"
 

Styrium

Junior Member
Magnus's heart skips a beat as the eight figures walk out of the tree line, his hand goes halfway to his rapier before he catches himself doing it and stops. "Yeah, sad to hear that. Urwin sent us to pick up the last wine shipment that never arrived, but the vineyard is currently controlled by dark druids?" He arches an eyebrow and sighs, "first vampires, and now dark druids! It sounds like we can't get a day of rest in this gods-forgotten place." "Well, we can lend you a hand, right guys? I'm not the best at fighting, but we'll do our best to rid your land of the dark druids, whoever they might be."
 

MaxPowerKL5

Kiv Turnuroth
"You will fight with us to secure your birthright?" Kiv asks, scowling. He normally enjoyed the rain, but here it only chilled his scales. Fighting was always a good way to warm up. "Tell me where these druids lie. I don't like surprises. I'd rather get a look at them first." He nods to his owl, while flaps its wings and takes flight.
 

burritochancho

New Member
"Huh, I thought druids were supposed to be the helpful type."

Thorvir stretches his shoulders and lazily draws his axes. "Let's do this then, aye? No sense wasting time when we've got our steel to speak for us."
 

Dodgeit

Rabert / Rolax
Rolax rolls his shoulders "Well, I've brought my Axe a long way, it would be a shame to not put it towards some honest work"
 

Garros

Member
The old man Davian seems bemused at your words. “Good to see such eager young folk. Urwin sent you? That's at least something good that idiot son of mine. Evil druids and blights have attacked the winery. One of them wielding this strange staff has infiltrated our home. We suspect that he is the source of the attacks. He proved too strong for us, and I don’t want to risk more of my family’s lives. We can distract the blights outside for a short time. You will need to find this druid as quickly as you can and deal with him.”

Davian then gestures to the figures behind him. “Me, Adrian, Elvir, Stefania and Dag will get the blights’ attention.” The people he addressed nod at Davian’s words. The old man then turns to a teenage boy. “Claudiu, keep Martin, Viggo and Yolanda safe you hear me?” You now realize that the other three figures are two young boys and a baby girl. Claudiu stands at attention and nods. Davian smiles for a moment. “Good boy. Now strangers, let’s go.” Before you can react the five adults rush forwards.

Situated in the midst of the vineyard, the winery is an old, two-story building with multiple entrances, thick ivy covering every wall, and iron fencing along its roofline. The trail ends at an open loading dock on the ground floor.

A wooden stable of more recent construction is attached to the east side of the winery, next to the loading dock. West of the winery is a crumbling well and a wooden outhouse.

You hear the rustle of dead vines all around you. Inhuman shapes emerge from the vineyard, their limbs cracking as they trudge forth through the mist and rain.

Davian starts to yell: “Go, be swift as the wind!” Suddenly his and his family’s clothes drop to the ground. From where they stood, five large ravens take off towards the army of blights.
 

Styrium

Junior Member
After Kiv's familiar gave them the layout of the place, they got ready to storm inside the winery. The first few rooms were cleared easily enough, with Magnus sticking to the back of the group, knowing very well he wasn't the most resilient of them. The last druid found managed to almost run away, and before being killed gave the blights the final order to advance. The bard quickly picked up the staff as he heard the many plant creatures approach from the outside.

He quickly analyzed the artifact and recognized that it could be used to stop the blights, or as perfectly fair-obtained loot. It was not a hard choice, although he would deny if asked about it later. Snapping out of the staff's influence, he looked around and see his nobility-inclined friend struggling to barricade the door and tried to attract them away from it with a perfectly executed melody played from his pan flute. It turns out, plants don't have very good taste in music and thoroughly ignored his perfect presentation.

Rude. Trying to find anything better to target their enemies with, Magnus saw Rolax throwing bottles on those that were swarming the entrance he was guarding. He swiftly climbed the support beams, holding a few bottles himself, and got those poor twigs even more disoriented due to the multiple-front attack. After being done exhibiting his many tricks, he warned Ismark to get their attention and sneaked past the rest of the swarm that was still standing to flank them and thin out their numbers.

After these many desperate tricks pulled by the group the druid was pinned down as the last few blights were taken care of. "Buddy, that was almost a really good plan I gotta tell you. Unfortunately, we got the upper hand in the end. Now let's hope the von Raven family doesn't have anything planned for you."
 

Baba Luga

Vestige
ismark2.jpgOnce the siege begins, Ismark does his best to help out, but nothing seems to go his way. He's well trained with his blades, but a life as the son of a minor noble in the smallest village of a moribund land hasn't prepared him for the sort of innovations and wily maneuvers that his new companions are practiced in. He's also distracted with thoughts of his sister Ireena back in the big, unfamiliar town of Vallaki. How trustworthy is that priest, really?

In the end, Ismark looks to the strange mummer Magnus for suggestions on how he can be useful, and that certainly goes better than his solo endeavors. When the winery is secured and the plant creatures in retreat, he looks for a corner to sulk in. Maybe one of these barrels still contains something potable.
 

burritochancho

New Member
As the ravens took to the air, Thorvir rushed in just behind Rolax, covering his assault. The Druid, he thought, recognizing the one who was 'activating' the twig beasts. With an axe in either hand, he fought tooth and nail against the druid, but not before the swarm of twig monsters started chasing them down. As the druid sprinted through the corridors of the winery and made his way upstairs, Thorvir followed like a hungry wolf on the tail of its next kill. Just as Thorvir closed the distance, the dark druid catapulted off of a railing and landed on the ground floor, not missing a beat and continuing to flee. Muttering a curse under his breath, the half-orc followed, launching onto the druid and driving his axe into the spellcaster's shoulder. The blow wasn't lethal, but the druid was slowed enough that Kiv and Ismark could finish the blighter off.

"I hope you know what you're doing with that thing!" he shouted at Magnus, now wielding the twisted staff. Thankfully the bard looked like he knew what he was doing. As Rolax smashed plant after plant that came near, Thorvir tied a hasty knot around two pieces of furniture, making a jerry-rigged tripwire. It wasn't pretty, but it did the job and bought the group precious seconds needed to keep moving and surviving. Just as everyone made it upstairs, the ranger found a large wardrobe and pushed it to block the doorway. That didn't last long, however, and the wine-soaked blights soon started scrabbling at the party's feet. Thorvir and the others held them off with torches and blades, but the end seemed to be looming over them.

But just as their fates seemed to be sealed, Kiv spotted a shape through the window - the other druid! Rolax leapt out to kill the puppeteer, but landed just short. The druid now alerted, Thorvir took his chance where he saw it. He hucked his torch into the crowd of twigs with a grunt, and pulled out his old longbow, stiff from not having been used in some time. With Kiv spotting for him, however, Thorvir was able to pin the druid down and disarm him with a well-placed arrow, sending the few remaining blights running!

Wiping the sweat off his brow and breathing in deeply for the first time, Thorvir said, "Well, that could've been worse."
 

Dodgeit

Rabert / Rolax
Quickly they burst through the door.

Taking down the first druid with ease.

Rushing up the stairs Rolax charged and hacked at another druid.
Together they put an end to her before looking for more.

Rolax roared and took a couple of swings but the druid slipped out of their grasp and leaped to the lower level.

Before being silenced, he managed to cast a spell.

The noise of the approaching blights grew louder.

Rolax looked around at his comrades and set himself in the door.

As the blights started to pile through, he hacked, bit and tore at them. Using his body to block them.

Roaring in rage he threw bottles and anything he could get his hands on.

He ran up to the top level and spotted the druid controling the blights.

He paused and said a silent prayer to Ilmater. "Give me the strength to fight. The strength to keep standing while I suffer for offers"

With that. He charged at the window.
As he was about to leap, his vision flashed "You have that strength. Route out the evils of this world"

With his vision returning, he felt a holy energy fill him alongside his rage.

Unfortunately this caused him to miss step. And as he leaped, he knew he wasn't on target.

Crashing through the window, he flew through the air. Landing short of his target.

He looked up at the druid. Ready to take a hit. But before the druid could react. Someone behind Rolax snuffed him out.

He turned and looked at the energy fade between his fingers.
 

Garros

Member
The battle finally dies down. Looking out the windows you see all the remaining blights scatter in droves. Their directions are uncoordinated, suggesting that the plant monsters are under nobody's control now - for better or for worse. Whatever small blights remained in the vat run off into the wild as well.

The old man Davian Martikov, leader of the wereravens and patriarch of his family, steps inside the winery. He looks both relieved and amazed at what you have accomplished. "Incredible!" Davian exclaims, "This will keep those nasty Strahd worshippers away for a while. The remainder of them are still in Yester Hill, but I do not recommend you go there now. It is the heart of their power after all."

On inspecting the barrels Davian sighs however. "Oh no, they managed to wreck so many fermentation barrels? We only have enough wine to supply Barovia for a month now..." He turns towards you, handing you a bag of gold. "Inside you will find 200 gold pieces to be divided amongst yourselves. You have done much already, but I am desperate..."

Davian Martikov gestures to the destroyed barrels of wine. "You see, our secret to growing wine in this desolate place is magical in nature. We had three stones, each capable of letting a different grape vine grow and prosper. All three are gone now." His face looks dejected as he recounts the story, "The most magnificent of them all was used to grow our champagne grape. That one disappeared one night while that Urwin that useless son of mine was keeping watch. We do not know who took it. The other two stones however... A few weeks ago a terrible witch known as Baba Lysaga and her scarecrow army descended upon us. We were able to drive them away, but not before she took the second stone. That one made it possible to grow the grapes for our high quality wine. She resides in the ruined village of Berez to the east. Be careful however if you go that route. That witch is quite powerful. As for the third stone..." Davian points to the forest, "The druids now have it. But again I must stress heroes, only go to Yester Hill when you are stronger. Should you retrieve the stones, you not only will be helping Barovia but also yourselves. In our possession are ancient treasures, family heirlooms, that I will give you for each stone you bring back.
 

burritochancho

New Member
Thorvir nods at the old man's words, a mix of determination and relief crossing his face. They had accomplished much, and yet so much more remained undone...

"Thank you for the kind words, Davian, but we were only able to drive these fiends off with the help of you and your flock," the half orc mutters at the wereraven elder. "I think we should take some time to recover and then set out for Berez; the sooner we can get these stones back the better. Unless the rest of you would rather return to Vallaki for supplies first...?" He trails off, seemingly doubtful that this is the best course of action.

The ranger studies the barrels for a moment, noting the splattered grapes and splintered wood around them. His eyes fall again on the old raven, and an eyebrow raises. Thorvir's rust-colored eyes flicker with realization and widen, and he hurriedly adds to the party, "When we've a moment, let me speak with you all."
 

Styrium

Junior Member
Magnus heard Davian explain what happened to the winery and during the druid attack. "Sorry to hear that. What he says is true," he nodded to the half orc, "we'll try our best to bring all the stones back to you. But first, we noticed the old windmill on our way to Vallaki, y'know, the one infested with fiends obviously. Any word or story about that place? Other than the obvious warning not to walk to our deaths." He turned around to face the rest of the group. "I wouldn't mind stopping by the town first. I realized I need to obtain a pearl for one of my spells." Stupid! You should have gotten that before we left.

He shook his head and focused back on how he could actually happen in the current situation. "Sure, buddy, whatever you want."
 

Garros

Member
Davian Martikov’s eyes widen at Magnus’ question. “Ah so you were the ones that walked past the windmill? Let me warn you all now, danger lurks in that place. Three night hags have taken residence over there. You might be able to take one of them out of your own, but all three together are quite powerful.” The old man sighs, “We have been keeping an eye over them. So far they seem to be content with selling their strange pies to people… in exchange for their children. We tried to stop them, but they are too much for us to handle.”


After the explanation and saying your goodbyes, you take a cart with several wine barrels back to the Bluewater Inn in Vallaki. The innkeeper Urwin happily greets you all and hands over 200 gp to the group.
 

burritochancho

New Member
Thorvir raises an eyebrow at the old raven's mention of night hags. "Huh. I always thought those things were tales told to scare children. But I guess at this point we've seen some things that would qualify for tales. Perhaps we'll head there and rid the place of those creatures after some preparation."

As the group of travelers returns to the Bluewater Inn, Thorvir picks a moment when they are left relatively alone to bring up something that had been eating away at him for some time. He clears his throat and begins in a low voice.

"So, I had a thought about the winery. Madam Eva charged us with finding several 'keys' to completing our quest against this Strahd. Do you remember the fourth thing she mentioned? She told us to find 'the leader of the feathered ones among the vines'. Who could that be but Davian? The patriarch of a family of ravens who runs a winery?" He pauses a moment to let the thought sink in. "It sounds like Davian thinks we need more experience to help with his problems. But I think we'd be fools to forget about him."
 

Styrium

Junior Member
Magnus found himself shaking nervously once again while the Davian explained what was in that building and quickly shoved his hand inside a pocket. Wow... I'm glad we didn't do anything extremely dumb this time around... Left speechless, the half elf just nods in agreement and follows the others back to town with the wine shipment.

Once inside the Inn and freshly paid for the job well done, Magnus listened to what Thorvir had to say excitedly. "That's surely it, she gave us all sorta clues and leading us to a guy that would lead us further to other stuff is exactly what a seer would do. Especially one that actually sees the future instead of the common party-trick variant." Magnus glanced worried to the innkeeper and lowered his tone. "Even though we can't actually follow the merry band of scarecrows back to their villainous leader, maybe we can still find out something about the first stone that our former employer managed to lose... Just saying it's worth a shot." He laid back on the chair and sized up the coin pouch they just received for the delivery. "On a less excited note, y'know the pearl I mentioned? The one that would help us size up any magical treasure we stumble upon? Yeah... I can't actually afford it if we divide that equally..."
 

Baba Luga

Vestige
ismark2.jpg "Pardon," Ismark asks one of the Martikovs who run the Bluewater Inn, "but would you happen to know if anyone in Vallaki might have jewelry or fine baubles to sell? It seems one of my friends wishes to purchase something pretty."
 

Styrium

Junior Member
Magnus takes Ismark's lead and walks up to Urwin with a big smile. "Hey, friend. How's it going? I'm pretty sure you must be really happy with the wine shipment and everything. We did talk to your family while we were getting that for you. Charming folk, right? They, however, might have mentioned something about a certain stone and you had something to do with that." The half elf leans forward and lowers his voice a little. "I'm fairly sure that couldn't have been the whole story right? You run such an outstanding business here in town, it doesn't line up with the way your folks talked about you. I think it's always nice to hear both sides of the story, right?"
 

Garros

Member
Urwin leans at the bar as he hears the party's questions. To Ismark he grimaces, "I'm afraid the only ones who would have such things are the burgomaster Baron Vallakovich, or Lady Wachter. They might give you those expensive trinkets if you can get on their good side." His expression darkens even further at Magnus' inquiry, "So my father told you about that? I got distracted during my watch by my now wife. The loud roaring of thunder and goat noises for some reason didn't help my watchfulness either. That's all there is to it."
 

burritochancho

New Member
Thorvir raises a hand in peace. "Of course, Urwin. We mean no offense. But what can you tell us about the burgomaster and this Lady Wachter? I don't think we've heard too much about them thus far."
 

Garros

Member
Urwin waves back at Thorvir, "None taken. The issue of the stolen gem has ripped our family apart. As for the two nobles..." The sighs as he pours himself a drink, "They're both bloody nutters. And dangerous. Baron Vallakovich likes to hold these festivals often, saying that they keep Strahd at bay. They don't of course. The latest, the Festival of the Blazing Sun will be held in the town square two days from now. The previous one - the Wolf's Head Jamboree or something- only was les then a week ago. Unfortunately the 'good' baron also has quite the fragile ego. Anyone that speaks ill of the festivals or his favorite saying 'All will be well' are thrown in the stocks."

Looking out the window Urwin continues, "There is only one man that keeps the Baron in the burgomaster seat: Izek Strazni. He is a dangerous brute that has a monstrous arm with which he can conjure fire. As for Lady Fiona Wachter..." He scratches behind his ear, "She is the only one that is able to resist the Baron openly, as he fears her. Her -very old- family has old ties to Strahd. We have been keeping an eye on her for that reason, but aside from her two idiot sons she hasn't caused any trouble... Yet."
 

Styrium

Junior Member
"They sure do sound like lovely individuals." Magnus tried his best to simply smile to the barkeep and ignore the fear that was building up inside him. "Maybe the Baron needs some help with the festival? He holds them so dearly, he will be quite happy to know more people were interested in helping them... succeed, I guess." He glanced around and added in a lower voice. "Besides, it wouldn't be wise to mingle with someone feared even by those who have nothing to fear."
 

Dodgeit

Rabert / Rolax
Rolax had stayed quiet so far. Pondering the unusual power that been bestowed upon him.

Listening to the conversations happening around him, there still did not seem a straight and sure path to take in his mind. The Rolax of old would have stepped to the front. Dished out directions or opinions. But he knew where that had got him before. Rushing head first without thinking.

So he stayed his impulses. He thought. Then thought some more. Finally he walked to each of the group in turn and whispered the same thing quietly in their ear.

"When this quick business is done, let's talk."

He went to a table in the back of the inn. Sitting so he was facing the room, his back to the wall. He waited for the others to join him.
 

burritochancho

New Member
Thorvir blinks several times and sighs deeply. "Thank you for the information, Urwin. You've been nothing but helpful towards us. But if you don't mind, I think we'll confer in private, now."

Thorvir steps away from the bar and nods at Magnus, putting a hand on his shoulder briefly. He nods towards Ismark and Kiv, as well, and joins Rolax at his table. "What are your thoughts? Good ideas, I hope. By the sounds of the Baron and Lady, we'll need some."
 

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