The Abyss Stares Back

Birds!

We are transported to the university, in the wake of Strahd’s attack. There are several bodies hanging from the lamp posts in the quad, as well as the bloody chunks from other unfortunate individuals. I spend a little time examining the area where Mads saw Strahd, as well as the hands of the people he killed, just in case there is some physical evidence that got left behind. Milosh goes into the building that holds Johanna’s office to see if there are any students left in the closet. Mads and his familiar see an odd raven who might not be a raven up on the roof of one of the buildings and try to have a conversation with it. No luck there, but he sends his familiar off to make contact.

Mads and Milosh end up in Johanna’s office, which is vacant of students. Mads does find the note he scrawled, however. Shortly thereafter, Mads hears sucking sounds coming from the hallway, and looking out does in fact see something that sucks. Zombies! Or something like zombies, at least. Fight! It becomes evident that at least one of these are the students that Mads thought he was saving.

We commit murder with our usual efficiency and continue our search for Dr Braun, whose office is just three doors down from Johanna’s. It has obviously been ransacked, but we manage to find a letter from Susanna’s sister Belinda requesting her help with some trouble, as well as a family portrait including the two of them. Evidently, the professor’s sister lives in the town of Cuzou, and we theorize that she may have fled down there to hide with family. That will be our next stop.

Upon leaving the university, we encounter a dark clothed man in the quad with a raven on his shoulder – Mads’ familiar! This is the raven that he was trailing, now shown to be a wereraven. He introduces himself as Bray, and happens to be the member of the Order of the Black Feather that Sasha told us about back in the day. He is carrying a wanted poster of the Synod detailing our crimes and promising punishment to those who aid us. He wants to talk, and tells us to meet him at the Blood on the Vine.

So we do. He is the bartender there, and sits down to talk with us for a while. Mads goes on a short trip to his witch head trees while we begin. The short version is that he offers allegiance to our cause as long as we are all fighting Strahd, which is not a problem. To start with, he will aid us by spreading misinformation about sightings of the scholar to keep Strahd guessing, and we will relay anything we learn from Sebastian about the Order to him. He is interested in meeting with the Scholar personally, but we don’t make any promises yet. In fact, we maintain the misconception that the scholar is a man, just in case. We also don’t tell him that the Oracle is a vampire, although he will find that out the next time he meets with Sasha and sees Liesl’s missing arm.

Finally we leave for Cuzou, traveling by foot through the forest. It is not difficult to find Belinda’s house, since we have an address. Milosh and I knock while Mads covers the back door. A woman soon answers – Belinda, it appears – and it is obvious that she is very pregnant. Susanna comes from the back to shuttle her back in the house. We break the bad news to her in the most brutal way possible – by telling her that everyone she knew from the university is dead, and that there are vampires hunting her right now. We will probably take her and her sister back to the Heimat. But first, maybe vampires will attack right now?

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