On our way down there we hear the sound of small wooden wheels rolling on cobbles. Trace the lonely sound to a hunched figure in rags pushing a small, pretty much empty cart. They seem to be knocking on doors, many of which don't answer. There is an unexpected aroma of fresh and tasty pastries.
As they are debating whether pastries should be purchased they see one of the doors opened by a small boy between the ages of 6-10. The figure opens what appears to be some kind of pastry and offer it to the child. Just then two apparently adult figures come and get in between the child and the figure and Delg seems sure that they are pleading with the cart owner in some way, though the others don't really understand what's going on.
A hand from the lady reaches out and grabs the child, pulling a sack from the cart and stuffs the child in. The parents seem unable to prevent this, though their begging intensifies. She starts to leave with the sack in the cart, and when Delg calls out to her she looks back and starts to hustle.
Delg and Sardalis pursue her as Pavel makes for the house to ask what happened. The parents are hysterical and say that Morgthana has stolen children from townsfolk befor and they don't know what she does with them.
Delg and Sardalis arrive at the woman and she offers them tasty pastries. Delg wants the child. She keeps offering pastries, eventually asking if it's any of his business. When she offers one to Sardalis he uses Hypnotic Gaze on her and while she's stun-locked Delg removes the child and the parents whisk him away.
Sardalis tells the others to scoot and he will catch up. They sneak off as best they can and watch from the shadows as Sardalis says "Actually I'm feeling rather full", ending the effect and sprinting after the others.
Pavel catches a gimpse of the old woman coming to her senses and slumping her shoulders as she realizes she has a gold piece in her hand not a pastry.
Delg thinks she was probably a Hag and that she was probably going to eat the child. He knows that Hags have decent magic resistance and some magical ability, also the ability to change shape into female humanoids (though he doesn't mention the last part to Pavel).
Delg considers his pastry treat, with it's rich honey glazing and cinnamon.
They make their way to the Burgomaster's mansion.
A weary-looking mansion squats behind a rusting iron fence. The iron gates are twisted and torn. The right gate lies cast aside, while the left swings lazily in the wind. The stuttering squeal and clang of the gate repeats with mindless precision. Weeds choke the grounds and press with menace upon the house itself. Yet, against the walls, the growth has been tramped down to create a path all about the domain. Heavy claw markings have stripped the once-beautiful finish of the walls. Great black marks tell of the fires that have assailed the mansion. Not a pane nor a shard of glass stands in any window. All the windows are barred with planks, each one marked with stains of evil omen.
A lot of wolf and human footprints are around the grounds.
The front door is heavily barred when they arrive with a shutter to allow people inside to check who is outside.
A paranoid female voice quizzes them trying to figure out if they are working for Strahd or not. Pavel eventually manages to convince her by telling her of their travel to the Vistani. They discover that the owner of the voice is Ireena Kolyana and that her brother Ismark Kolyana was waiting with her, though he said nothing while she quizzed them.
Our intrepid interlopers are informed that their father died three days ago, and since then there have been no attacks which is a long time compared to the norm. They are asked to take the corpse to the church where they will find the local priest, Donavich and have him put their father's body to rest.
As they go they take a detour as Sardalis wants to check if he can find any other cause of death. Nothing suspicious.
Church On Time
Atop a slight rise, against the roots of the pillar stone that supports Castle Ravenloft, stands a gray, sagging edifice of stone and wood. This church has obviously weathered the assaults of evil for centuries on end and is worn and weary. A bell tower rises toward the back, and flickering light shines through holes in the shingled roof. The rafters strain feebly against their load.
Heavy wooden doors are claw marked and scarred by fire. Seems like it's regularly been under attack also.
The doors open to reveal a ten-foot-wide, twenty-foot-long hall leading to a brightly lit chapel. The hall is unlit and reeks of mildew. Four doors, two on each side of the hall, lead to adjacent chambers. You can see that the chapel is strewn with debris, and you hear a soft voice from within reciting a prayer. Suddenly, the prayer is blotted out by an inhuman scream that rises up from beneath the wooden floor.
Church of Saint Andral (worship the Morning Lord).
Kids Korner Vampire Fact
Vampires can create spawn. Some of them born from death, and if that is the case they are controlled by the person who created them. If their creator dies they regain their own free will. Delg knows this!
Doru isn't interested in talking, so Delg begins to advance on him. This causes him to spring into action and combat is initiated. Sardalis hits him with magic missiles. The vampire climbs easily to the ceiling and crouches there.
The wounds from Sardalis' magic missiles are already beginning to close when Delg moves towards the vampire. Sardalis fires a ray of frost at him and it partially destroys a pillar as the Tiefling yells for them to protect the exit.
The vampire's overly enthusiastic swing dislodges it from the ceiling and Delg pours holy water onto him before moving back towards the stairs.
Pavel takes a shot with his hand-crossbow as the vampire approaches but it doesn't seem to do much. They do note that the creature doesn't seem to be healing so quickly now that it has been doused with holy water.
Sardalis continues to pound the creature with bolts of force but Delg fails to hit with his hammer. The vampire appears to be regenerating by the time Pavel gets another bolt into him and lunges at Delg, getting his claw stuck into the pillar but lunging at the dwarf to chomp at his nose.
Delg takes an unpleasant amount of necrotic damage to the face.
Pavel throws a flask of Holy Water into the vampire's face which seems to arrest the rapid healing again, lending support to the earlier theory about the effect of holy water introduced to vampire epidermis. The vampire now seems desperate and lunges at Delg with an insane frenzy but the warrior casts Shield.
Donavich leads them to the crypt where his son was interred. Delg does the duty of staking the vampire and a peaceful wind blows past them. They return to the church to find Donavich finishing with preparations to bury Ismark the elder and they take the makeshift coffin to the graveyard.
Pavel heads to the store to enquire after wooden stakes and rations. Doesn't buy a mule because he can't afford one. Goes to the church to seek holy water and finds Donavich is packing up to leave. He's going to Vilak also, and Pavel offers for him to come with them. Donavich gives them each 3 holy water for their company.
They leave at daybreak (07:00) and as they pass the crossroads with the gallows Pavel once again sees his own corpse twisting in the wind. No-one mentions anything and Pavel mutters to himself (partly in a language nobody else understands).
A bit beyond that point Sardalis notices someone watching them from nearby bushes and they bolt when seen. Sardalis pursues him and finds him to be an peasant child. He's hunting with friends. They used to be Borovian children but their parents sent them out to fend for themselves as it was safter than living in Borovia with Morgthana stealing children.
They say she takes children to Bonegrinder. They explain that Bonegrinder is a windmill where the hag takes kids to be processed into food.
Sardalis gives them a couple GP for the information they give them about The Hairy Ones, and Beserkers up north as well as wolves.
A Bridge Over Troubled Water
You follow the dirt road as it clings to the side of a mountain and ends before an arching bridge of mold-encrusted stone that spans a natural chasm. Gargoyles cloaked in black moss perch on the corners of the bridge, their frowns weatherworn. On the mountainous side of the bridge, a waterfall spills into a misty pool nearly a thousand feet below. The pool feeds a river that meanders into the fog-shrouded pines that blanket the valley.
Even as they pass into the mountains the fog is inescapable. The road branching to the east has some signs of cobblestone indicating it was once an important thoroughfare. As they head through the gates they are very reminiscent of those guarding the entrance to Barovia, with huge iron gates hanging from the stonework, headless statues flanking them.
As they approach the gates they swing open as if of their own volition.
Bonegrinder or Vallaki
They decide to head on and try to make it to the town before nightfall, and they do!
The gates are closed and flanked by pikes with wolf heads on them.
They are "greeted" coldly by the guards who tell them they don't need them causing any trouble. Pavel responds "Neither do we" and this seems to please the guard.
The town seems a hell of a lot nicer than Borovia, there's a general feeling of life still present here.
They head to the Bluewater Inn to try to get the lay of the land.
Gray smoke issues from the chimney of this large, two-story wooden building with a stone foundation and sagging tile roof, upon which several ravens have perched. A painted wooden sign hanging above the main entrance depicts a blue waterfall.
Sardalis upsets the bartender with his poor lying about enjoying the Red Dragon wine.
A bed for the night here will cost 5 sp and hot beet soup is complimentary with any drink. A wolf steak costs 5sp.
They decide best to get rooms here for the evening and that they will head to the windmill called Bonecrusher tomorrow to try to put an end to the Hag terrorising the townsfolk of Borovia.