The Abyss Stares Back

Somewhere, a Place for Them

Milosh and Mads start off at point hope after putting in an order to Johanazon for overnight delivery of a necromancer. They intercept Camille before she leaves for the evening, and Mads suggests that she terrorize Zeidenberg for her evening meal, because no one there is of any personal importance to him.

Back at the Heimat, Johanna informs me that the man who betrayed Ludmilla (Camille’s sister, from Sebes) to Strahd has been brought to the Heimat. I take him to my torture room and we talk for a while about Camille and her fears and weaknesses. Evidently, she is likely still sensitive to the fact that she was never as popular as her sisters, sensitive to the insults she endured as a child (being called ogre), and it will no doubt hurt to hear that her commanding officer is the one that caused the death of her sister and her own monstrous transformation. Having gathered traumatic horrors to destroy Camille’s will, I retire for the evening.

The next day, the necromancer from Johanna is ported in – a spirit by the name of Gregor stuffed in the body of Heinrich. He and Lucinda speak for a few minutes (she’s quite excited to have another monk to work with), and then Mads and Milosh take Gregor off to Kreszk to raise the spirit of the specialist. It takes several hours of Gregor squishing rotten body parts together before her spirit can be summoned, and then they spend some time tormenting her soul orb to get her to talk.

She reveals to them the three sets of command words (frenzy, sleep and suggest), and also tells them that she has 5 suggestions as to how to remove his vulnerability permanently – kill him, kill everyone who knows the words, deafen him, convince Johanna to remove the words or bring her back to life and let her resume her experiments, but with the goal of undoing her work. Milosh also demands that she reverse what she did with Abalescu, which she says she cannot.

None of these answers please the merciless overlords, so they destroy her soul orb and rebury the body. They hope to find a way to use Vistani curses to edit words before they reach Sebastian’s ears.

I meet the rest of the team in Point Hope, after leaving one of Sebastian’s cravats near Camille’s room. We discuss the possibility of using Gregor to retrieve his crazy children from whoever he sold them to in Zeidenberg (probably one of the gangs).

Camille comes out of her hole with the cravat and asks Mads where it came from, but nothing is revealed. They have a discussion of what could be done with Sebastian, what the specialist said in particular, and she is made even more not happy, between the terrible choices they were given and the fact that Mads won’t break Sebastian out right now.

That night, Camille visits me and is all cranky about the cravat, but I tell her to go away. Mads has a dream about vampires attacking the university in which he sees Strahd killing the staff trying to find out the identity of the scholar. He manages to get 4 names of potential suspects, which we now know. Mads saves some students hiding in Johanna’s office by leading them to the hidden room, then leaves instructions for them to go to Berez. After waking up, he rushes out of Point Hope to meet them, because surely they could have covered hundreds of miles on foot in the last hour without being eaten by wolves. Then he forgets where he told them to go, rides towards the wrong city, then realizes the error and abandons them entirely in his mind.

In the morning, we contact Johanna and explain the situation with the other professors. She tells us that one of them is dead and dumped in the lake, one is mindless and wandering in the woods outside of Barovia and one is missing entirely. We will gather them all up and hide them somehow to keep Strahd searching.

But first, off to Zeidenberg to find Heinrich’s children (enslaved by the gangs) and take them somewhere… better. Which is funny, really, because no place here is better than any other.

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