I don’t know much about these things, but that mayor of Ashenport keeps some strange secrets. The Billy-creature caught slaying the butcher was some kind of grey shapechanger; Lily called it a doppleganger. As we tried to hang it, it wiggled its child-like neck out from the noose and crashed through the wooden frame. Martam’s axe put a quick end to the thing as it tried to steal his shape and run off into the crowd.
Well, the mayor sees us and invites us back to the town hall later, all subtle-like. After a couple of drinks at the Slow Decline, we went there and he shows us this magic gem, big and blood red. As I grab it the thing whispers in my mind Ireena, and feels all warm. Lily takes it, yells out Ireena, and soon the whole lot of us are falling into a dark night, the mayor’s face leering sinister before becoming a moon above.
My companions rose slowly to find a caravan approaching. We tried to hide ourselves, but Percey decided we should make introductions. They tell us we are trapped here, that the Master lives in Castle Ravenloft overlooking the blighted town of Barovia. The gypsy hag reads our fortunes – some guidance on how we might get home. We bought their wolfsbane charms and map, before following their directions towards the nearest, and impossibly only town nearby. They give us a note about some Ireena, adopted daughter of the burgomaster.
The crazy gnome that follows us decided to go dance with the wolves – dread, unnatural looking beasts. Those wolves and the eerie mists following us seem to be the guardians of this boundary forest. A dead body is found on the way back to the road bearing a runed sword, and another note about Ireena. It exhorts any who find it to surround the land with holy wards and leave those within to the Master. Since we seem to be drawn in to this place through dark magic, it doesn’t seem the best of idea to get stuck inside.
It wasn’t until we saw the town of Barovia ourselves that I understood my Lord’s visions. The disaster wasn’t to befall Ashenport, but instead to befall us, bringing us to this land of sunless days. He has prepared us though, for speaking to the priest of Pholtus of this town fire and silver are our boon against the servants of the Master – a master that preys upon the folk brought into and trapped in this accursed place.
We brought the girl Ireena and her half-brother to the cathedral, for the burgomaster is dead, and Martam has destroyed the barricade that protected that estate. The girl is bit upon her neck, and strangely the wounds do not fester despite their depth. We also carried these Richten books back with us – their father prized them for the knowledge on the creatures of these lands, as well as some hoarded silver.
Tonight we face whatever follows us, for some of the townsfolk are pledged to the master and claim to be his eyes. Judging from the claw marks upon the doors and windows of these buildings it will be a long night.