Curse of Strahd

Of Portals and Faraway Lands

From the journal of Krystalline Stormwind:
Dusk, 13 Mirtul, 1490, Year of the Star Walker's Return

We had found a Feywild portal and decided it was best that I enter it first alone.  I was pleased that the group was listening to my advice.  I thought that perhaps a skill in leadership might be showing in me a bit; perhaps I could deal with people if I was allowed some measure of power over them.  Once on the other side, I noticed the surroundings were not the forested nature I had known and loved when I’d been in this plane before; rather, it was a luxurious room, draped in curtains and other expensive-looking items.  Alas, I realized that it was some kind of magical mirage.  A spirit dog bounded up to me, his words ringing in my ears yet no sound came from him— telepathy of some kind, to be sure.  I ask Pandy about where we are (Feywild), if he opened the portals (yes), and he insisted on wanting to help us if we would play with him.

I worried that since he seemed to have control over the Fey Crossroads that he might try to entrap us to “play” with him forever, should his heart be impure.  My mistrust was unnecessary we soon found; because the rest of my party came traipsing through the portal, which closed behind them, and then proceeded to speak with Pandy (and play with him, throwing a stick or some other such nonsense, I do not remember).

Eventually, as the colors of duck spatter the sky, Pandy returns us to our plane, dropping us all right near Gralm’s camp.  I tried to convince the group of the brilliance of my plan (me shifting into a wolf, Yoruk disguising himself as a Goblin, pretending to be a messenger, in order to peaceably deliver the scrolls to be read/signed, etc.,.  I even explained an escape route!  But the group ignored me, time and again, shooting down all of my ideas.  Disheartened, I withdrew a bit from the pack, letting the rest take lead from then on.  Once they decided to walk into the camp willingly, I waited and watched, hanging my weaponry and pack in a nearby tree, out of sight of any giants or goblins, high in the tree tops.  Once that was finished, I rejoined the party, walking defenseless into the camp of goblins and giants.

We see etin, hill giants, goblins, and more— once we entered a tent and met with Gralm, we noticed that one head was male and seemingly dumb as rocks, and the other was female, and seemingly too intelligent for a typical etin.  Eventually, Gralm agreed to sign the scroll if we competed against their champion in some dull, and, if I’m honest, moronic, challenges.  After the rest of the group participated in the challenges (hah, as if I would sully myself…), Maxima was able to strike a deal with Gralm.  Gralm’s female head asked us to "bring the heads of some fey who are plaguing Gralm with the fey music" and then Gralm will honor the scroll.  Until then, Gralm claims it is a signature of blood with no real binding.

We decided to leave and set up camp for the night, as it had grown late after such athletics.

First Light, 14 Mirtul, 1490, Year of the Star Walker's Return

The night passed with no disturbances, and after we were ready to venture once more, we opened a portal to the Feywild to find Pandi and see if he might be able to help us a bit more with regards to this “music” that might be plaguing Gralm.  At first, we did not see him, nor could we find him; so, I searched for his tracks.  It took a bit of time; but I found the tracks he'd made while jumping around us in circles during our last visit to the Feywild, then followed the trail he made, and we found him lying in a clearing. He explained that the "music" Gralm was apparently hearing is coming from our plane of existence, from some Pixie troupe. He would help us return to our plane once again so we could fit things.  We followed him, he opened a portal, we all stepped through; however, when I arrived, everything looked very dingy and… off.  I felt like everything was wrong.  

Right before the portal closed, Pandi screamed "Oh, wait!"  Unfortunately, whatever he was going to say, we’d never hear again (at least a of the writing of this passage in my journal).  We meander in the direction we think Parnast would be, if we were in the right plane.  Some thick, eerily otherworldly fog settles in.  Eventually, it becomes too dense to see almost anything at all.  I suggest that we cast Light (Maxima casts it), and that we use some rope to tie it around my neck, as a wolf, and lead us like a dog leading the blind.  I explain that we should have some kind of code.  Silence=no, growling=bad things, barking=yes.  The group agreed to follow through with my plan.  Almost immediately, once I was turned into a wolf, the smell of a human snuck into my senses.  I decided that was the best path to follow.  Humans typically mean live-able environment.

We walked out of the fog, the fog behind us seemed like it was shifting— like a wall of snakes, or something.  We came upon a muddy road, which led up to a gate, which had a pair of emaciated headless statues.  We found a half-buried human corpse, with many wolf paw prints encircling it, which is what I was smelling back in the fog.  A howling noise can be heard in the distance.  Instinctively, I howled a response.  What was I even saying?  ‘Hello, here I am, come destroy me because there’s 20 of you and only 1 of me’?  After the fact, I realized how foolish I had been, giving away our position with my howls; but in that moment, some animal instincts took over and all I could think of was meeting up with the pack of wolves.  So, whenever I heard them howling, or felt like I hadn’t heard them howl in awhile, I would send out a howl.

After some time, a pack DID showed up, a pack of 6 with one massive unnatural looking beast with red eyes leading them.  I managed to shift out of wolf form and use some of my Druidic powers to befriend most of them, or at least tame them, to keep them from attacking the party.  I managed to keep one under my control long enough to ask it some questions.  

The questions I asked are brief, but the basic tidbits of information I was able to pick up are:
-Zombies exist somewhere nearby.
-The wolves are under some kind of spell from their “pack master” (some Sorcerer? Druid? Wizard?)
-Their “pack master” will live forever (hah!)
-There are other wolf packs and other humans
-The wolf has never seen or heard of any “portals” or “shimmering floating things”
-His pack leader doesn’t live with him, his den is very far away, doesn’t know where the master’s den is.
-I tried to convince him to come with us so we could protect him and provide for him, take care of him much more than his pack master has been; he declines and leaves not long after that.

I wanted to go after the “pack master” because it seems like it might be a druid who is disturbing the balance.  The rest of the group seems set on figuring out what’s up with the local village.  With some resistance, I reluctantly agree to go with.  We come upon a pair of children, huddled up and crying about some monster that lives in their house.  We all fell for this portrait of innocence they were spewing for us about how their baby brother was trapped inside with the monster; so we entered the house.  We found ourselves locked in the creepy haunted house not long after that conversation.  I eventually realized that those children we’d seen before were ghosts, based on the portraits in the house and the disgusting way it was not taken care of over the years.  When we found the baby’s nursery, a ghostly lady attacked us, sorrow very apparent in her eyes rather than rage.  I realized this must’ve been the baby’s mother, and the baby had passed away and some other horrible things must’ve happened in the house…

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