Mistborne Souls – Session Fifteen: The Living Soul

By: Sandra – Twitter

Can’t find last week’s recap? Sadly, because of an update, some posts are temporarily lost and waiting to be recovered. Apologies for the inconvenience.

Mistborne Souls is a weekly recap of an ongoing game set in the land of Barovia. While Curse of Strahd lies at its core, the world of Mistborne Souls is a variation of the adventure of my own making.

 

While making their way down the mountainside toward Krezk, Artem asks Asha if she knows anything about golems made with “priest magic”. Asha says that she doesn’t, she hasn’t even heard of a golem before, but Izi has. Having noticed that Artem’s concept of magic isn’t as broad as her own, Izi explains the different types of magic and how they’re not always limited to one type of spellcaster. She says that druids, wizards, warlocks and clerics are like “jobs” for magic wielders and that it’s the source of their magic that differs. Since Artem believes that Izi is a druid, Izi uses this to explain that she can use some of the same magic, but that her power comes from her fey patron. Izi says that a lot of different types of magic go into making a golem, and she believes that a priest with enough power probably could.

Artem tells the others that she has someone she wants to visit and the group part ways. At the cottage Asha helps tidy up and set the table while Izi and Wynne help Anna with getting the animals fed and settled for the evening.
Down the road Artem arrives at a small cottage belonging to Janek, an old acquaintance of hers that used to work for the Martikovs at the Wizard of Wines, and his partner Andrej. The two men are happy to see her and let her inside for tea. She says that she is out travelling because of her father’s death and that she has come to Janek for him to share some of all the stories she knows he has gathered over the years. They talk about the vampire, about Argynvostholt and about some local beliefs from this part of Barovia. When Artem asks about Krezk and the abbey, Andrej lets her know that some villagers believe that the abbey either is the devil count in disguise, or at least in league with it. Before Artem leaves, Andrej says that while the village doesn’t have a church, they do have a shrine to the Morninglord where people sometimes go to pray.

During dinner at the Burgomaster’s cottage Anna gives Artem a letter. She tells the others that it’s from the Baroness but doesn’t give them specific details about its contents. However, she tells the Burgomaster that after the group’s visit to Vallaki, she worries that it’s unstable. The Burgomaster says that she might be right to worry but that he isn’t quite sure if there is anything that he, or any of them, can do about it. As the conversation turns into Artem asking further about life in Krezk, there is a loud knock on the door.
A frantic looking girl tells Anna that she needs to hurry and come because a woman named Dimira is in labour. Anna gathers her supplies and asks Izi to come along and help her. Izi quickly agrees and Asha gets to her feet and offers to help as well.

The birth is long and tiring. Anna and Izi work in quiet concentration, giving Asha orders on what to do and how to help. After several hours they have successfully delivered a healthy baby boy. However, the child doesn’t cry, something that unsettles Izi and Asha. The two attempt to figure out if there is something magical, perhaps a curse, happening but their quiet efforts come up empty.
When they are alone with Anna on their way back to the cottage, Izi asks Anna if she is used to babies not crying. Anna explains that she believes that the child lacks a soul. She tells them that she was brought up with the belief that most Barovians, herself and her husband included, lack souls. It makes them feel things less than people with souls, like the Vistani, and it causes them to not express emotion.

Back at the cottage they find Artem drinking warm apple wine and reading the book they had the abbott dispel the illusion from. Izi asks Artem if she knows anything about what Anna has told them and it’s clear that Artem has a hard time believing it to be true. Anna says that while she has no proof other than what she has been taught, she says she has seen it happen with her own eyes in her children, only one of which had a soul. She says that this isn’t a bad thing, it’s just how things are. Before Anna goes to bed, Izi tells her that she thinks she feels things differently to other people where she’s from too, but that there’s nothing less about people who do..

After Anna says goodnight, Asha asks Artem if at least what Anna said about Barovian children, that most don’t play or laugh or cry, is true. Artem shrugs and says that this is just how it is in Barovia. When Artem seems to not want to speak anymore about the subject, Asha asks about the letter from the Baroness. Artem says that it’s about the missing servants from the Vallakovich household, but that she isn’t sure what the Baroness wants her to do about these issues. The letter also mentions that the Baron is holding a speech in two days time and that the town is in unrest after the group’s visit. Artem says that there are two noble families of Vallaki that might end up battling for power and that she is worried about both families’ plans. Asha suggests that the Baroness might not actually want anything from Artem except someone to confide in.

Following a few moments of silence, Izi asks Artem what she has found in the book and Artem hands it to her to read. Once she finishes, she hands the book to Asha who reads it in silence as well. The text appears to be the beginnings of a memoir, detailing the life and death of Tatyana von Zarovich. She was once a commoner of the land and she was courted by Strahd von Zarovich, a count who ruled over the valley of Barovia. Tatyana however, fell in love with Strahd’s sister Sasja von Zarovich but their love was not to be. Tatyana was betrothed to Strahd, and when she and Sasja attempted to elope on the night before Tatyana’s and Strahd’s wedding, they were caught and Sasja killed. Strahd made Tatyana marry him that night, but when Tatyana found out that Strahd had made a deal with dark powers she ran and hid in the castle. Strahd killed Sasja, and when Tatyana found out, furious, she ambushed Strahd and killed him herself. When she did, the dark powers called to her, convincing her to seal the deal that Strahd had started by drinking his blood. As the castle guards turned against her for killing the count, she turned into a vampire.

Artem says that they might need to go back to Vallaki for a wedding dress, but in light of the contents of the book, the vampire might not take well to an arranged marriage. As they discuss, Artem suggests that perhaps they can find the ghost of Sasja and make the ghost reason with the vampire to solve their problems. When the others express their doubts on how to hunt a ghost, Artem blames being drunk off the wine for this idea.

In the very early morning Asha awakes to hear Artem frantically speak to someone, asking if they are alive. When Asha asks Artem if she’s okay, Artem tells Asha that it was only a bad dream. Soon enough, they both go back to sleep.

Heading out after breakfast to go visit the Abbey again, Artem feels a strange tug, similar to one she felt near the wall of mist at Yester Hill. She tells the others that she wishes to follow it and they all walk north through the village together. Soon they arrive at a shining pool of water next to a gazebo with a shrine to the Morninglord. When Artem feels herself being called to the water she grabs a hold of Asha’s arm and tells her to not let her go into the water whatever happens.
The others watch as Artem and Asha approach the pool. Artem leans over and looks into it, her expression serene. For several moments she stands perfectly still and then a hand made out of water reaches up through the pool’s surface. Artem looks at the hand, but grabs a tighter hold of Asha and pulls herself back. At this, the sky darkens overhead. A loud thunderclap is heard and lightning strikes the pool. The ground trembles with the impact and everyone but Artem tumbles to the ground. Next to them, they see the old wooden gazebo fall.

And that is where we ended our session.

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