SESSION SEVEN – Balancing acts
By: Sandra – Twitter
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.
It has started raining again, heavy drops falling around the group as they head toward the wagon at the other end of the stockyard. As they near it they see that it appears to belong to “Rictavio’s Carneval of Wonders.” Artem tells the others of the half-elf she spoke to at the inn and says that this wagon must belong to him.
When Lucian walks up to inspect it the wagon makes a sudden lurch, as if something heavy has thrown itself against the inside wall. They can hear growling and the animal sound makes Wynne curious. She climbs atop the wagon and finds a hatch to peek down into. Below she sees a massive cat, unlike anything she has ever seen. It’s striped, with big teeth sticking out over its chin. She describes the creature to the others, prompting Izi to try and speak to it. The tiger makes it clear that she’d rather be left alone and not be hassled by strangers yelling at her so the group take their leave.
After asking for directions they find their way to the coffin maker Henrik van der Voort’s shop. When Lucian knocks they are told repeatedly to go away. Even when Lucian directly confronts Henrik about the bones stolen from the church, the man on the other side of the door just tells them to leave him alone and refuses to say any more after that. While the others talk about what to do, Asha has been keeping watch to make sure Henrik doesn’t try and make a run for it. Finding a back door, she breaks it down and enters the house. In the workshop, she finds Henrik huddled under a table. He is scared and once the rest of the group follow Asha he tells them that the bones are upstairs in a bedroom closet.
Questioning Henrik it soon becomes clear that he had made a bad deal a few weeks earlier and that his shop since then houses a group of vampire spawn. He is very afraid of these creatures and did what they told him when they instructed him to steal the bones. When Izi seems insistent on clearing the house out from the spawn Henrik tells them that they are very dangerous and that fighting them might be unwise.
Artem disappears from the room for a moment, but when she returns she tells the others that it’s best to not be stupid and fight the spawn. Lucian casts a protective spell on her before she sneaks upstairs to retrieve the bones, passing by the door leading to the spawn as quiet as she can. She finds the bones in a bag and takes them back downstairs, unnoticed by the monsters nearby.
Before they leave, Izi confronts Henrik about his bad deal as he claims to have been promised good business. She asks him what he thought that would entail, and the man cannot seem to find a good answer. The group leave him still huddled up in his workshop.
On their way to the church to return the bones Wynne asks about vampire spawn and Artem tells her that she has seen one of them before, in the church in the village of Barovia.
Father Petrovich is very grateful to see the bones returned to the church and he promises to find someplace new for them, a spot where they might get stolen again.
Artem asks the priest about Izek Strazni. Father Petrovich tells her of Izek’s past as a troubled young man, a bullied orphan who turned cruel under the circumstances he grew up with. He tells them that the Burgomaster took the young Izek in instead of incarcerating him and that even if Izek’s monstrous arm is a later addition the priest doesn’t believe that Izek is in allied with the vampire unless the Burgomaster is.
Huddled in the doorway of the church, Artem tells the others that they shouldn’t go about trusting people they met just a day ago. Izi says that choosing to trust Artem could have gone worse for them. They discuss their future plans, still curious about the presence of necromantic magic in the Burgomaster’s house, Izek commissioning dolls bearing Artem’s resemblance and Rictavio’s giant cat in a carneval wagon. After coming to the conclusion that approaching Izek might put them in danger for overstaying their welcome in the town and knowing that entering a house uninvited might be difficult, they decide to head back to the inn.
On the way, Lucian and Wynne notice that they are being followed by a dark haired man. Wynne turns into a cat, causing a scene in the middle of the street but leaving the commotion behind to climb on top of the Vallakian rooftops. Wynne follows the man and sees him enter a small shop. She returns to the group and leads them on the right trail.
However, when they enter the shop the man is nowhere to be seen. A young shopkeep explains that the previous person already left. Asha opens a door into the next room without asking for permission and a couple of the others try and interrogate the shopkeep who is increasingly unsettled as Wynne turns back into a human. Artem attempts to apologize for the situation and urges her companions out of the shop.
Heading across the street and in to the inn, Artem says that she can’t keep stepping in to make excuses for them and their behaviour. Not making civil conversation and using magic in the street is sure to unsettle more than it aids them in their quest.
At the inn they overhear Danika speaking to a couple of hunters about a patron who has not returned to the inn recently. The group gets settled at a table, but Wynne soon retreats to her and Lucian’s room. After a while they are all served dinner and soon Rictavio comes in and settles down to do the same. Lucian goes over to the bard’s table and sits down next to him once invited. Rictavio tells Lucian that he has been in Barovia for about a month. He was travelling by horse and wagon but soon mists enveloped him and eventually he was led to this land. Rictavio asks Lucian how him and his party came here, to which Lucian tells their similar story, claiming that it might have been destiny. When Rictavio asks about this Lucian prefers not to say any more.
In return when Lucian, right before he leaves the table, attempts to ask Rictavio about his giant cat, the bard does not wish to speak about it. He instead suggests that they might discuss such a topic at a later time. Izi grabs Lucian when he gets up from the table and asks if she can take a look at his arm. He accepts and the two go upstairs where the infernal scarring on Lucian’s skin is revealed to not just cover his arm but his entire chest as well. Izi is only more confused after looking at the scarring than she was before.
Having bought a pitcher of wine Artem sits down with the two noblemen regulars, that they now know are part of the Wachter family. She makes friendly conversation to the brothers delight and they invite her to come celebrate the upcoming festival with them, hinting at them being slight troublemakers.
When he returns to the taproom Lucian asks Danika about the conversation he overheard earlier. She tells him that one of the inn’s regulars, Bluto, has not been returning as usual. While she’s suspecting that he might just be very drunk, failing to show up for this long a time is unusual. Danika seems taken aback when Lucian offers to go look for this man but offers him some information on where to start looking if he truly wants to.
When they settle into sleep, we end our session as the group are plagued by bad dreams.