SESSION THREE – Burden of a protector
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.
CONTENT WARNINGS: Death, Violence against animals.
In the pale light of the early Barovian morning, the group exit the grave and Wynne climbs down from her perch on top of a crypt. She tells the others that she heard two voices from the church while keeping watch. Although they had been initially reluctant, this convinces both Artem and Frederyk to pay the mourning priest a visit.
No one answers their knock on the church door and the group decides to walk in anyway. Artem warns them that Donavich might not take lightly to their presence, seeing as “people like them” was the reason why he lost his son.
The group finds the priest lost in his sorrow in the chapel. Only after a long moment does he respond to them at all, apologizing for how he was acting. Thanking them for their concern, he tells them not to worry about him and leads them back to the front door. Suddenly, they all hear screams coming from downstairs. Donavich shuts down, refusing to answer questions. He insists that they leave since this is none of their business. Artem follows him back into the chapel, trying to convince him that the villagers need the church.
In the hallway, the screams change in nature, now calling out “I’m starving, father, please!”. At this, Frederyk follows the noise to a nearby locked door and attacks it with his sword. It swings open just as Artem comes running to her brother’s side. The next room is small, but Asha notices a padlocked trapdoor in the corner of the room. She attempts to pull it open with her hands but it turns out to be a more of a challenge than she initially thought. When Asha fails to pry it open, Artem kneels down next to her and opens the lock with a hairpin.
The group descends into the undercroft. In the sparse light leaking in from the candles in the chapel above they can make out a huddled creature of a man in the furthest corner of the room. Lucian notes that the man’s skin is an odd cold shade, his bones and features at odd angles, and he appears malnourished. Wynne asks if this is the priest’s son, Lucian states that the son is supposed to be dead. Frederyk tells them both that Doru is still dead. He seems visibly upset as he orders the others to leave the undercroft. Most of the group does as they are told, although Artem lingers. She sees Frederyk’s hands shaking as he asks her to leave as well, telling her that he would prefer it if it was just him taking care of the situation. Artem reluctantly leaves but does not go further away than up the stairs.
Long moments pass in silence before a single scream is heard, Artem recognizes her brother’s voice. When the group rushes in, they meet Frederyk coming up the stairs. He is covered in blood, carrying Doru’s lifeless body. The group can see the sharp teeth and angled features of what was no longer a man.
Walking past them, Frederyk says that he is going to build a pyre to burn the body. Outside, the others help him gather sticks and wood, Izi using her magic to help create a fire. When the flames die down, Frederyk leaves to go feed the animals.
Left on their own, Artem tells the group that she is taking them to see the Vistani. She explains that since they helped her, she will lead them to a place where they can find horses to travel further into Barovia or wherever they wish to go. While they’re walking back to the mansion Wynne finds a tarokka card tucked away underneath her clothing. The image on the card depicts a ghost. She has no idea where it came from, but she tells the group that she once helped an injured woman in the woods, and that the woman had read her future in the same type of cards. Artem tells Wynne that the Vistani might be able to give her answers about the card as well.
At the Burgomaster’s mansion, Wynne and Izi run over to the Vasilyov- siblings’ animals to speak to them. Wynne happily clucks at the chickens and Izi talks to them through magic. Asha and Lucian take up post nearby to watch the others.
Artem gathers up what she needs before finding her brother in the kitchen, where he is crying and chopping onions. The siblings share a quiet moment of goodbye and Artem promises to be back again in time for dinner.
Trekking out to the west of town through a misty fieldland, the group nears the Ivlis River when Wynne and Lucian tells the others to halt because they heard something out in the mists. Asha casts faerie fire which reveals, prowling toward them in the mists – four bear-sized wolves.
Artem makes a very impressive first shot at one of the wolves. When the wolves get close enough to bite at them, Izi uses a spell to bury the wolf closest to her in a pit, making sure that she can run away from the center of the battle without the wolf attacking her. Wynne casts animal friendship, instructing one of the wolves to run away and thus giving the group an upper hand.
While fighting, Artem notices something unsettling in the mist on the opposite side of the road. Watching them stands another large wolf, but its eyes are a glowing red and it appears to have no intention to attack the group.
Artem gets the final kill, driving her rapier through the fourth wolf’s head. After noting that the red eyed wolf has disappeared, the group drag the remaining wolves to the side of the road before they continue on their way.
Soon, they reach the crossroads by River Ivlis. As the group head north toward Tser Pool, they all turn around at a strange creaking noise. A body is hanging in the nearby gallows, although everyone is certain that it wasn’t there before. As the body turns slowly, swinging in the wind, they all see Izi’s face staring back dead-eyed at them.
The group is unsettled, Izi in particular, but Artem instructs them to pay it no mind and move on. She doesn’t seem able to explain what is happening, but the rest of the group follow her lead.
Arriving at Tser Pool, the Vistani present invite them all to sit down by the fire and have lunch. Lucian asks Artem if they can trust these people and Artem shakes her head. Most of the party still agrees to eat with the people of the camp. The children take an instant liking to Wynne, who lets them touch the animal skull she wears on her head.
After being served tea, the party hears a Vistana tell the children a story of a wizard adventurer who had once fought the vampire at the castle, to much excitement for the kids. With their tea nearly gone, the group looks around and notice that Artem is missing from the campfire.
And that is where we ended our session.