The Abyss Stares Back

Cool Paws Luke

During the night, we have our own sleepy time hijinks. Milosh dreams of the matriarch of the Vistani camp that we had gone to earlier (by the name of Rouney Marya). She tells him that he must bring down the devil by lying with the demon, and then a dark shadow rises up behind her, and he wakes up horrified.

I wake up with Johanna looking at herself in the mirror and she’s actually looks genuinely happy. She expresses that she is glad that she doesn’t have to go it alone anymore. Then we go at it together.

Mads wakes up on a rooftop, even though he had passed out in the alley where Sebastian fed on him. He had a nice note from Sebastian clutched in his whatever that thanks him for being a friend, expresses distrust for Urban, and says not to tell anyone about him trying to eat someone and for the people he will eat in the future. Made scratches out that part and leaves all the nice things about himself, then steals breakfast from a wealthy house.

We return to the university to be on our way. Johanna gives us the opportunity to rebrand ourselves, but we’re pretty happy with our names. Milosh does become the Champion rather than the bodyguard, since our bodies do a good job of guarding themselves. She tells us that her people are aware of a skirmish in the Forlornwald that surely must have been perpetrated by Strahd’s people, if not Strahd himself. And then she creates a portal to take us there. Milosh takes his armor off in case she has enchanted it to deceive us, but it all appears to be real.

Mads ascends into the trees to look around and sees the town of Lowenturm in the distance. We head there, in the hope that someone there has heard of an attack on the Vistani in the area. The hospitality coordinator of the town gets us and wants to give us a tour, but we refuse. She does tell us that a caravan came through here a few days ago and departed to the south, which would seem to be the one that we’re looking for. After helping her with the tourism slogans of the town, we leave to follow the caravan.

The trail of the wagons splits off of the main trail towards an ambush location and we follow. A clearing up ahead has 3 wagons that have been attacked, with the people murdered and bloody (about a dozen overall). We go to work.

It appears that this is the same caravan that passed through the town, as it bears the name of the magician guy that the hospitality lady from the town described. A quick autopsy shows that the people here died of blood loss from what appears to be a mammalian attacker with dark hair, but there was no obvious sign of feeding. Tracks in the area look canine, but they do not appear to have left the area. We decide that werewolves are the culprits, but it is not obvious where they have gone since the tracks do not exit the campsite.

There are a few areas that are burnt as if by fire, and I determine that there are two distinct types of marks, one of which appears to be from a summoning spell and the other which appears to be from a stroke of lightning or another kind of electricity. None of the Vistani here appear to be able to cast spells, nor do any of the bodies have marks of electricity in them, so there isn’t an obvious explanation.

At that moment, Milosh hears the sound of a Vistani dirge coming from the woods somewhere to the north. Fortunately, he is a master at the concertina, and he joins in with harmony to try to me the player into the clearing. And he succeeds! The player is a man, or appears to be at least, but instead he admits to being a wolfwere. He says that he knows who did this evil deed, but he won’t tell us unless we evict some people from his forest. Sounds good to us.

The people to be evicted turn out to be a family from another world who are disturbingly innocent. They recently arrived here through the mists and have set up a logging and fur trapping operation and just want to be left alone. After a good amount of convincing and a fair amount of vague threats, we get the family to agree to move to the outskirts of Lowenturm. We also eat some delicious biscuits. Finally, they are out and we return to Luke.

He tells us that it was a woman who committed these murders, and was capable of summoning spectral wolves to kill the Vistani. She is described as having long dark hair and being small and compact, with an herbal smell about her. She departed to the north, returning to the town where I can only guess she is the mayor. Her goal appears to have been to not only kill the gypsies, but also to frame the wolfweres for the job. We tell Luke that it was probably vampires, since they don’t really get along. And then we head off to the town to find the culprit.

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