The Bardic Chef

Broiled Beholder and Other Dungeon Delicacies

Adventurers: Bom [Amanda], Tynnathier [Jeremy], Nicholas [Greg], Rose [Kiel], Thia [Sara], Euphemia [Deborah] EXP from this session:...

Session Recap - CoS - #04: The Wild Ride

By 8:04 AM

Adventurers: Bom [Amanda], Tynnathier [Jeremy], Nicholas [Greg], Rose [Kiel], Thia [Sara], Euphemia [Deborah]

EXP from this session: 3,600 total // 600 each
Received Further Instruction from Madame Eva: 450 EXP
Scaled a Canyon Wall: 450 EXP
Escaped The Black Carriage: 900 EXP
Delivered Ireena to Vallaki: 900 EXP
Met the Burgomaster's Family: 450 EXP
Met the Innkeeper's Family: 450 EXP

Treasure Found: Large gold filigree vase (worth 300 gp).

The adventurers, many members stronger, set out from the village on their quest to deliver the lovely Ireena to her destination. They opted to stay for a bit in the Vistani camp they had visited prior, and were greeted warmly by the young sixteen-year-old healer Tatyana. She eagerly showed off her new necklace- a gift from Madame Eva herself - made of authentic sapphires, then urged the group to stay for a hearty meal. After eating, the Vistani also suggested that the team members who hadn't yet met with the Madame do so immediately. Each received the same two question limit that their fellow party members had received before. Many questions were answered, from asking personal questions about lost family members, to whether or not the devil Strahd was "cute". Important clues were revealed, such as the Donjon card's return, suggesting yet another important ally was hidden beneath the card's meaning. Two allies at once? It must be the party's lucky day! Rose also received a stern warning to not pursue Strahd romantically, but that "death itself" would be interested in her. But prying, dangerous eyes were also revealed, making the Madame believe that the adventurers weren't very safe within her own camp site, and she urged them onward, warning them not to stop for any distractions along the way. A vistani man instructed them on two paths they could take - long and over the bridge, or short but down to the waterfalls. The team thought short was sweeter, and made their way down to the canyon below.

The rocks were slippery and covered in gross mold and sludge from the constant spray of the falls, but that didn't deter the team from trying. Rose valiantly (but barely) climbed her way up the rock face, somehow mastering the slippery grips without any climbing gear - but by the time she reached the top it was pretty obvious that her team wasn't going to be able to do the same without a fair bit of help. A rope was tried first, with Bom barely cracking 10 feet up before falling back down again. If BOM couldn't do it, the rest of the team didn't feel too sure they could either. The newest teammate Euphemia pulled out her pitons, and it was decided that they would hammer them into the cliffside, allowing for easier foot holds that weren't so disgusting. They all climbed their way out of the canyon, but the sludge and slime were caked in pretty deep under all their fingernails. With a look back at the bridge, it was pretty obvious that the long way around would've been much simpler, but hey, it was a team building exercise.

A crossroads sat before them. To the east, a sign pointing to Vallaki, and a sparse, but wide cobblestone path. To the west, a small, barely-used foot path, with no sign explaining what was in that direction. Right in front of them? A stately black carriage, luxurious, beautiful, with two black horses attached to the front. There didn't appear to be any driver, or any passengers at all, and when approached the door swung out, inviting them inside. Ireena was concerned - this seemed to be a little TOO convenient for her tastes, but the party piled in and beckoned her inside. When she climbed on board, the doors shut behind them, followed by a heavy thudding sound of a locking mechanism, trapping them inside. The horses, previously pointed to the east, now turned around and took that foot path they had wanted to avoid. Faster and faster the horses ran, until it was obvious there would be damage taken if they were to jump out. Bom and Tynnathier pried the door open with crowbars, and Rose failed an attempt to climb out of the carriage and to the front where the horses were. Bom took initiative and climbed out himself, grasping the reigns tightly, but the horses did not respond. An attempt to destroy the connection from the horses to the carriage also failed, as it sparked with bright red magic when a hammer was brought down onto it. As the carriage broke through the forest clearing, the team was met with the outstanding visage of Castle Ravenloft, and panic set in. They were on strict orders not to let Ireena fall into Strahd's hands, and here they were, delivering her right to his door! It seemed they had no other option - they had to jump. Bom grabbed Ireena and did his best to protect her from as much damage as possible, and one after the other, the party members leaped out - some face planting, others landing effortlessly on their feet. Rose pinned a letter to the inside of the carriage for Strahd, mocking his attempt to lure them to his castle, and the party began to retrace their footsteps, downtrodden and coated in mud and filth.

Halfway back to their original point, the trees rustled above them, making Rose stop short and point this out to her companions. Euphemia blasted the trees with her magic, and a raven flew away, disturbed by the show of force. Her apology met his ears, and he stopped short a few trees ahead of them, preening himself, and eyeing them suspiciously. Euphemia left out a bit of her rations and stepped back, allowing the bird to collect them. As the raven hopped forward, he transformed back into a well-dressed, good-looking young man with raven-black hair, and he popped the food into his mouth with a sassy little quip. After some back and forth, and a refusal to state his name, Ireena beckoned the man to please deliver them to Vallaki immediately, as the day was growing darker, and she really didn't want to be out in these woods that late at night. He relented, given her status, and took them back through a secret passage to the gates of the town.

The gates were being locked up for the night upon arrival, and it was some quick talk from Euphemia that convinced the guards to halt their process and let them in. They were ushered in with a warning about keeping that information to themselves, and the gates were locked behind them. Vallaki was a welcome sight for their eyes - the houses were in much better shape, and there seemed to actually be a population here. Banners and confetti from a recent festival littered the ground of the town square, and a large wicker basket was being hung in the center. The party wasted no time in getting to the Blue Water Inn, where the raven man had stated his family lived and operated. The inside was full of people, but seemingly no joy, as everyone sat around speaking quietly while drinking their wine. The party got their rooms, got washed up, and many reveled in far too much alcohol that night.

Euphemia, the only party member not indulging in the spirits, overheard a few people complaining about the frequency of the festivals, and how a festival held recently involved "decapitated heads of wolves". It was very apparent that the people here did not approve of these festivals that were going on.

As morning came, the party found themselves... in very interesting situations. Euphemia woke up normally, but her friends were worse for wear. Bom found that all of his money was missing, and nowhere to be found. Tynnathier awoke to bloody, beaten, sliver-filled knuckles, pockets full of fruit, and the vague memory of a fruit cart pissing her off. Nick awoke in an alleyway, with a very realistic tattoo of Ireena's face plastered across one buttcheek. Thia and Rose both awoke in the church during a funeral service - Thia naked and being prayed over by the clergy, and Rose dressed in fine clothing, while the corpse in the coffin wore her previous clothes. They all stumbled their way to the main room of the inn, baffled, confused, overwhelmed, and pretty sure that the Dragon's Crush wine was nothing to be messed with.

Back and forth conversation was had with the innkeeper, revealing that the festivals were the Burgomaster's way of keeping Strahd at bay, thinking that positive spirits were enough to do it. The people of the town were pretty done with the festivals at this point, and they had been happening weekly for years. Nick approached and asked if he knew of an "Old Raven", the one that Madame Eva had told him to search out for his own personal quest. The man seemed perplexed, stating that his father, the Wizard of Wines, was affectionately referred to as "The Old Crow" by their family, and asked what Nick wanted with him. Nick revealed he was seeking the name of The Lady of Ravens, which received a very dramatic, and obvious reaction from the innkeeper, who agreed that meeting with his father was pretty important after all. They were given directions to the winery to the southwest of town.

A young man entered the inn in a rush, carrying a basket of various food supplies that were barely picked at. He ran to the innkeeper, whose family resemblance was obvious, and stated that "she wasn't doing any better". The party asked what was going on, and it was revealed that the family of this inn had been looking after a crazy young woman who lived at Watcherhaus down the street. They were urged to go there and ask the young lady's mother about it if they thought they could be of any help.

Ireena announced she wanted to go meet the Burgomaster of this town, and the party set off, stomaches full of a good breakfast. They were met with no resistance upon entering, given Ireena's noble status, and found themselves greeted by the wife of the Burgomaster in her parlor. She had her husband and son called in to meet them, and spoke in very flowery language about the festivals, her husband's hopes and dreams, and how good this town was. The party was less than convinced. The Burgomaster himself appeared, greeting Ireena just as warmly, and promising her a place of safety in their town - then he turned to the party and urged them to take part in the upcoming Festival of the Blazing Sun. He agreed that if they had talents, they'd find themselves with some extra gold in their pockets at the end of things, and they accepted. His son, Victor, was introduced to them. Slightly taller than his father, around sixteen years old, and not as gaunt or death-like as his parents, he didn't say a word to greet them formally. Before either parent could lecture him on his rudeness, his father formally introduced him as "My son, Victor", spurring Nick's fairytale prince curse into motion. As Nick's clothes began to peel off, Rose leapt into action, trying to urge her party member out of the room "for the bathroom", as the Burgomaster and his wife stared in horror at the impropriety going on in front of them. The Burgomaster's face became redder and redder as Nick put on a very overdramatic show, begging for forgiveness in a very William Shatner-like way, and the man was about to throw the lot of them into the stocks. It was Victor's sudden laughter at the scene, a sound his parents hadn't heard out of him in years, that broke the tension, warming his mother's heart into urging her husband to forgive and let it be. They said their farewells, and the Burgomaster and his wife, bickering under their breath, left the room. Victor's eyes soon fell onto Rose, and he suggested that he'd enjoy them staying longer, and he waved to her in particular before heading back up the stairs of his home. 

On their way out, Rose eyed up a really nice fancy vase, the size of herself, and somehow squeezed both herself and this vase past the guards at the front door, and out to the alley. She didn't get away completely, though, noticing that the curtains in a window above her moved as she darted by - someone had seen, but who, she wasn't sure. Either way, the party got some more cash out of the situation, so they didn't worry all that much.


Back as the Vistani camp, well into the evening hours, young Tatyana pushed aside the curtain to Madame Eva's tent, ushered inside by one of the old woman's armed guards. She tucked her dark hair behind her ear nervously, and had a seat in front of her. It wasn't often that the Madame called someone in for a personal matter, but she had been told it was urgent.
"... yes?" she squeaked out, as the cold, wrinkled hands of the Madame found hers across the table.
"I have a gift for you," the Madame cooed, and Tatyana's eyes opened wider. 
"A gift? But you already gave me---" her fingers went for the sapphire necklace, but she stopped short as a carved, wooden box was slid across the table to her. The box was familiar - all too familiar - as it was nearly identical to the container that the Madame kept her beloved tarokka cards in. Tatyana's eyes widened, and she stared up at the woman in amazement. Prying open the lid, she found a beautiful silk pouch that contained exactly what she thought - a deck of tarokka cards.
"It's your time, my child," the Madame murmured, as Tatyana's fingers caressed the black inked decorations on the back of each card. "I have much to teach you."

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