Our party, (Balion Vicarson, Amara IxChel, Izadora Smith, Kaviri, Petra Clock, joined by Vermillion and Stoney) set off from Perkisville to travel to the Disputed Zone and visit the strange town of Withering Birch on their way to Vorr Rakoth. They took a moment to review the file that the King’s Elite had given them. It contained a map of Vorr Rakoth and information about Coyote’s Refuge, a supply point out side of the dead city. Their contact in the Refuge was Melby Fairweather, a halfling entrepreneur who knows about the Nightmare Forges.
Linna stayed behind on Unifier business. Vae stayed behind to gather more information on Vorr Rakoth from the Iron Circle.
They traveled for a few days to Withering Birch. They we’re headed there because they wanted to find out more about Mistress Helaena. They suspected her of being a hag. They also wanted to visit Ol’ Miss Ghenna who had crashed Samael Wynreaver’s wedding. Isadora’s mentioned she knew someone in the town who could help them.
They was difficult but Kaviri’s skills kept them on course. As they came within a day of the town they began to notice little stick figurines hanging from the trees. Amara and Vermillion said these were put there to ward away spirits. Petra pulled one down and licked it. Amara then put it back and did a small offering to the spirit.
They later spotted a burly human man chopping down a dead tree. Amara mentioned that old Elven kingdoms sometimes struck accords with human towns. If the humans never harvested a living tree then the elves would keep the humans safe. The man’s name was Jera Jeremiah. He seemed very suspicious of the party and that made the party suspicious of him. He pointed them to the town and told them to go to the only inn, Sheep Gut Tavern.
The crew arrived at the tiny villiage. It had a few small orchards and some farmland. The main villiage consisted of a few businesses and a road leading up a hill to Mistress Helaena’s house. They first stopped at Ol’Miss Ghenna’s Curiosities. There was a sign that said “Thieves Pay Double.” The old human woman was a crafter and had strange things she had traded for. Kaviri took an interest in a raven that had a lion’s roar. Vermillion bought a couple of drama faced wands. He tried to compliment her in Sylvan and accidentally insulted her, which she found incredibly amusing . Amara traded one of the Bloody Hammers for a very fine cloak. Kaviri (I think) bought an umbrella and Petra bought a bone walking stick with a skull on top. She was told that Mistress Helaena would probably enchant it for her. Petra also noticed that a few small items had gone missing from her pack, likely taken by the spirits.
Balion went in and checked for undead and fiends. He noticed a doll giving off an evil aura and went to check it out. The doll was of a well dressed vampire and when Balion touched it he alone heard it scream “Tatyana!”and thrash for a second. He traded a barrel of potatoes for it.
The group then approached Mistress Helaena’s house. On their way they spotted Geuryon and his bodyguard leaving the house. Balion said hello and Geuryon was startled to see them. The old Elf asked about Linna, briefly. He then made excuses and left for the edge of town. He did not appear to be carrying any travel gear.
The mansion with a walled in couryard and acre of garden in the back. Guards stopped the group and then led them in to meet with the Mistress. They had Stoney wait outside. The house was in beautiful condition and had paintings showing mortals interacting with gods and immortals. Mistress Helaena appeared to be a beautiful middle aged woman draped on a sofa. She welcomed the group and asked what they needed of her. She suggested the group wait in her smoking room while she took their requests in private. Isadora asked to speak with her first. On the way out Vermillion asked to read a book about the Illusionist Nystul. In exchange she would go to him for a spell. He agreed.
While Isadora addressed the Mistress privately, the group discussed how the place felt wrong and that the lady was some kind of evil, probably a hag. Balion had tried to detect evil, but found nothing. Not even the vampire doll in his pack.
When Isadora returned she looked relieved. Then, Petra went in to bargain. When she came out she had a tattoo of an eye on her wrist. She said they had to return the next morning in order to pick up her new walking stick. She was going to enchant it and make it so the skull could be thrown. She said all she had to trade was her ability to ever have children. Mistress Helaena came to the room and told them she would arrange for seven rooms at the Sheep Gut Inn. Balion was uneasy the whole time but did not take an aggressive action. Mistress Helaena seemed pleased with deals. Vermillion made a comment and she smiled at him, and implied that he gave away more than he realized.
The party retired to the Sheep Gut Inn. Vermillion had Isadora perform while he cast Detect Thoughts. He saw that the townspeople were scared of them and wanted them to go away. The mage spotted Ol’ Miss Ghenna walking down the street but was unable to detect her presence whatsoever. He did manage to read the mind of the terrible presence inside the doll. It was a Vampire Lord named Strahd. The doll would need to be kept safe. If it were to be destroyed it would unlease the mavolent spirit within.
The night saw several personal events. Several wolves howled at the full moon. When the party awoke, they found the stairwell had been fitted with a rudimentry alarm bell. Vermillion went for tea with Ol’ Miss Ghenna. Balion, Kaviri, and Petra went to the Mistress’ house and the paladin tried to Dispel the magic that kept him from detecting auras. It did not appear to work.
The group gathered their things and left town. Balion was unhappy about having to leave a villiage in the thrall of an evil witch but saw no choice but to move forward with his mission. Petra was thrilled with her new club and the ability to throw flaming skulls. Will she ever know the true cost of her strange new weapon?
The King’s Quest
-Remove the Void Hallow.
-Seal the Demon Forge.