Lost in the Mists
Following their escape from Kantora the party continued west and arrived at the boundary of Nova Vassa. They crossed into Vorostokov easily: evidently whoever the new Darklord of Nova Vassa was, he or she didn’t block the party’s escape.
With the jagged mountain peaks ahead of them, the party continued into the forest of Vorostokov. As soon as they crossed into the domain, an unseasonal blizzard began hammering down on them. Fearing the lack of cover in the brushlands, our players raced into the dense forest to cross to get to the mountain pass. The winds howled and the temperatures plummeted. The party needed to work together to fight against the elements.
Chilled to the bone, our heroes made their way through the ice and snow into the wood. As they came upon a desolate cabin, the winds died down and the night was still. The cabin’s door was wide open and allowed our heroes to investigate. A search of the structure revealed something ghastly had occurred there. Based on the bloodstains, at least three people had been brutally murdered in the cabin. As the party shared their conclusions with each other, the wind began to howl once again. Two voices could be heard in the dark night: one voice whispering about the party betraying each other and one voice screaming on the winds. Fearful, they barricaded themselves in the cabin.
The two voices were joined by another sound: a clawing from the ground outside. As Zephryam went to investigate the windows, three charred skeletons appeared and attacked the party. Some of our heroes began to fight the undead through the windows while others raced outside to support them. As the players ventured outside, they were attacked by an emaciated horned creature with a gaping maw and bony claws. This creature was joined by another that flew through the air with its feet aflame.
Our heroes were beset by a Wendigo spirit and it’s victims. Apparently, four men were staying in the cabin when a snow storm had taken them. With no way back to their village, the men slowly became vulnerable to a wicked spirit of the forest. The Wendigo preyed on the weakest of them, driving the poor man to slay his companions and eat their flesh. This grisly act offered no respite from hunger, and the surviving man went mad and became a risen wendigo. He had raced out of the cabin so fast that his feet caught aflame. The party had attracted the attention of the Wendigo, who raised the slain men and returned the hungry risen to the scene.
Regretfully, the party knew none of this, and attacked their foul foes with earnest. A pity that they would not know the full story of desperation. Perhaps the darkness offers other tales for them.
The party defeated the evil spirits and reanimated corpses and consecrated the scene. In the morning they set out tot he west to reach the mountain pass into Barovia. The trek has harsh and cold, and when they neared a small village in the woods they sought rest. The townspeople were a simple folk and offered the party what little they had, but they warned of terrible creatures that lurked in the woods.
Our heroes were brought to the town elder Durlain, who explained that they eked out a meager life in the woods, hoping to avoid the Dark Lord Gregor. Durlain explained that Gregor was rumored to have been a prince that killed his wife and began hunting his own people. He was cursed to be a werewolf and eat only flesh. Unfortunately for the people of his nation, he embraced his darkness and took them into the Mists with him. Gregor and his pack hunted regularly, but had great revels on the night of the full moon. None outside the walls of the villages were safe and, sometimes if sport was poor, even those in the villages were hunted.
Of course the full moon was that very night and no doubt Gregor knew of the party’s entrance into his domain. Goodman cursed the dark hand of fate that conspired against them to expose the Heroes of Mirdeus to the horrors of the Mists. The party offered to protect the town and offer themselves as prey if Gregor came.
Predictably, Gregor arrived at the full moon reached its zenith, bringing with him a score of werewolves and human slaves. The Dark Lord called on the party to present themselves, lamenting that the game in his domain was boring and he was eager to hunt them. He offered to spare the lives of the villagers, and allow them to leave the domain if they ran. The party accepted this and raced from the village to reach the mountain pass into Barovia, as the werewolves hungrily pursued them.
The hunters became the hunted as our heroes raced through the dark and cold forest. With the throng of barbarians and werewolves in pursuit, the party needed to work together to stop from being overcome. They were able to break their pursuers into different groups and lured a pack of feral humans into a confrontation at the nearest clearing. These human marauders were eager to claim the party a prize for their lycanthrope masters, but they all fell before the blades of our heroes.
As a chorus of bestial howls came ever closer, the party set off into the snowy night. Knowing that they were now being hunted by Gregor’s werewolf minions, the players used all their skill to draw the pack into a fight by a frigid river. They succeeded and faced the pack of werewolves. Without true silver, the fight was brutal as the beasts shrugged off injury in their war-forms. Working together, they focused on the individual werewolves to negate this and slew them one by one.
With the Dark Lord of Vorostokov in pursuit, they party raced toward the Baravoian border. But as they continued through the darkened forest, they heard fewer and fewer howls. Had their pursuors given up? Our heroes knew that that was unlikely. They continued on and after over an hour, they reached the base of Mount Baratok.
Before they could being their ascent and escape Vorostokov, Gregor appeared on a rocky knoll with this pack of werewolves in tow. The Dark Lord praised the cunning and vicious might of our heroes and offered them the “gift” of lycanthropy so they could run with his pack. Predictably, our players declined the generous offer and attacked the werewolves.
The fight was terrible, but Goodman used the alchemical potion given to him by the Nova Vassan apothecary to coat Saima’s glaive with quicksilver. With a silvered weapon, and the party working together splendidly, they slew Gregor and his pack.
Disappointingly, none of them were bitten by the dark wolf. A Pity, indeed.
With their victory in hand, the party left Vorostokov and began the ascent up the mountain to get to the Slavich Pass and into Barovia beyond.