Waking up I immediately realized something was wrong. Not only had it been later than my usual time that I roused from sleep, but also that I had awoken in a different place than when I closed my eyes to sleep. Inspection of the surrounding area confirmed that I was, in fact, in a different location, as well as a group of individuals who were engaged in combat with a small pack of wolves.
They seemed to have the situation well in hand, but I still endeavored to help any way I could. After the fight I realized I was standing amongst an amalgam of people: A Half-Elf, an Elf, two Humans, and another Dwarf. After defeating the wolves I was first approached by a Half-Elf who introduced herself as Ileyna, and then proceeded to introduce me to the two humans she knew the names of: Jaym and Olaf. I came to find that the names of the the Elf and Dwarf were Tannyll and Kildrak, respectively. We began to discover that we all were in the same situation: In a strange land and an unnatural and nearly impenetrable mist looming toward us. The group and I came to the decision to travel together, at least for a time, so that if similar dangers presented themselves, as I was sure they would, we would be better off.
Several hours later we came upon a gigantic stoneworked gate. Two gargantuan decapitated human statues towered over us while the gates, unassisted I might add, opened for us. Kildrak pointed out that the stonework walls and gate themselves were not of Dwarven origin, but seemed to be several hundred years old, at least. Resolving ourselves to entering the gate, we received a suprise when, upon entering the gate, the gate closed itself. If there were any chance to turn back, I feel that we had just lost it.
Down the path a ways Jaym, a very odd human(Man? Woman? Hell I still have trouble figuring this one out!) prone to bouts of great joviality in regards to drinking and dark depressions, noticed the stench of death. My companions seemed apprehensive at first to approach the source of the stench, either that or they seemed entirely disinterested. We finally agreed by majority to approach the source, which turned out to be a dead human who seemed to have been mauled to death. Kildrak and I inspected the body and determined with relative certainty that a large wolf, possibly a Dire Wolf, had killed this man. Jaym, upon seeing a letter clutched in the man’s hands, snatched it up and read it aloud. It appears that this man was a messenger for a Burgonmaster of a place called “Barovia,” whose adopted daughter had recently been bitten by a vampire. The message goes on to request salvation and a massive incursion of good into an evil land, all of which seemed the ramblings of a desperate man.
Kildrak, who seemed to bristle and gawk at my Clanless status and attitude of said status upon meeting, settled still with the body to bless the young man’s soul. At this point I heard howling in the distance from many directions. I recognized this as a possible hunting tactic to confuse prey, usually employed by wolves. These howls were definitely from creatures larger than common wolves. I informed the group of the possibility of encroaching danger and Jaym, who I had considered would be the most unbearable member of my impromptu party, had agreed with my plan to keep moving as fast as possible to avoid the possible danger.
We came upon a town some hours later, and with the day descending into evening I found the town a welcome sight. Upon entering, however, we discovered that many of the buildings themselves were boarded up, including the tavern. This came as quite a distress to Jaym and Ileyna, who could talk of nothing else except drink, rest, and shelter for the majority of the trip. No sooner had we turned around, though, that we saw two children a young boy and an adolescent girl. She was distressed over the fact that, in her words, a monster inhabited her parent’s basement, and that it had been let loose. The children’s parents had apparently gone to wrangle the monster, and her and her brother had come out to get further assistance. While Jaym bothered the children with pointless requests of noise imitations and Ileyna tried to comfort the young boy, I listened intently toward the house for any noises, and found none.
We entered the home, which was lavish and adorned with many grandiose symbols of windmills. I never could see the point of being so lavish, but the rich have a way of trying to impress others with what they can buy rather than what they can provide, but I digress. I kept an ear to the ground for any noises to present themselves but still found none, which I found odd. As Ileyna inspected an artistic wall pattern, Jaym explored a kitchen and closet, and Tannyll a dining room, Kildrak found a room that was apparently a showcase of hunting trophies that also served the purpose of a den. Kildrak, reluctant to explore the room itself, left it undisturbed. I, however, wished to clear the first floor of any possible traces of an entrance into an apparently nonexistent basement. Jaym and I entered the room and we discovered several wolf trophies, two cabinets, a fireplace, and a table with some wine and a tablecloth set upon it. Jaym almost immediately set upon drinking the wine when I found a pair of wineglasses in a box in one of the cabinets. I did, however, gain a little bit of amusement when Jaym attempted to unlock the other cabinet, failing several times and gaining more and more frustration with each attempt. I assisted the Rogue with a full wineglass, which apparently improves his skills in every attempt made. We found a set of hunting weapons, crossbows and the like, in the cabinet along with ammunition. Satisfied that we had cleared the first floor properly, Jaym and I went up the stairs, and found our other 4 companions studying scrolls and books in a library that were apparently found next to a dead body behind a secret door. A very dark omen indeed, as the letter among the scrolls details the lord of the manor’s hobbies, which boil down to worshiping in a cult, siring a stillborn son, and spending his entire fortune.
The party agreed to have a short rest while I administered first aid to those who needed it. Anticipation and apprehension building as we continued to explore this manor residing in this cursed land…