The Abyss Stares Back

Only Following Orders

The sign of the Iron Rook is an iron badge with a picture of a rook sitting on a castle. The package is about 10 inches across, wrapped with a blood red ribbon. It is not sealed, almost asking us to open it.

Milosh knows that Iron Rook agents are rare, but that they carry with them the might and, more importantly, the threat of Strahd. Milosh also suspects that the badges are being used to either spy on us or track us, so we should be careful what we do or say.

We pick up our horses from the stables and depart out of the city to the east, heading towards Sebes. We eventually break away from the road and take to a path through the woods. And then, another hour or so later, we approach the town.

From up ahead, we can hear the sound of combat and shouting, and we come across a motley group of militia pointing worriedly up into the trees. And then we see the giant bats attacking them. And then they are attacking us!

And then we kill them, cutting short their wild frenzy. The townsfolk who were being attacked stop and stare at us. Many of them look new and shocked. Their leader, who introduces himself as Janus, greets us and thanks us for our help. He is joined by a woman, his second in command, Camille, who is also the daughter of the mayor.

We tell them that we have a delivery for Camille’s sister, and Camille becomes visibly agitated, demanding that we leave the town, although Janus doesn’t know why. He does know that the two sisters are close, and that they used to have a younger sister who died in a hanging under mysteries circumstances. It seems as if she is expecting this delivery and fears it. But we won’t leave, and she stalks off into the town.

Janus points us to the mayors house, and we travel there. Camille is there with her father and other sister, and she is arguing with them, telling them that we need to be thrown out. She fails, and we convince the mayor to let us speak with his daughter Ludmilla. Camille tells him that her sister has been having the dreams, and he suddenly gets very serious, telling her to leave. He realizes that we’re there on Strahd’s behalf, and grovels, more or less begging us for forgiveness.

Milosh delivers the package to Ludmilla, and she fearfully opens it. Inside is a ruby necklace and a note, saying that she should join Strahd at her earliest convenience. She feels super bad, but she seems willing to go and be his concubine, or his lunch, whatever the case may be. Her father is quite shaken up, and asks us to stay the night and escort her to the city the next day.

And then, we go bad. Milosh goes to the butcher and threatens him into preserving the bat wings that Mads brought. Vistani curses are bandied about, countertops are broken, and sausages are delayed. I go to the inn and get caught up in their fake, fearful celebration, putting on a concert of my own ego. And Mads does stalker-y surveillance on Ludmilla to make sure that she doesn’t commit suicide, because we are the instrument of the destruction of her life.

Towards the end of the evening, Ludmilla is asleep and Mads sees someone enter the room. Who. Can. It. Be.

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