SESSION TWO: Burial at dawn
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
Ignoring the rest of the group’s protests, Izi inches into the next room toward the mysterious chanting. Lucian follows, but in spite of his attempt to be quiet, he steps through a human skull, breaking it with a loud crack and startling everyone nearby.
In the tense silence that follows, Izi realizes that magic seems to be emanating from below and decides to try and follow the sound of the chant to its source. With Izi taking the lead, Lucian, Wynne, and Asha follow. Asha, wishing to be as sneaky as possible, dispels her magical light and sends their human rogue acquaintance into darkness. The rogue has no choice but to hold onto Asha as best she can.
Finding a narrow hallway, at the end of which they can barely make out a wooden staircase, the group walks slowly over the dust-covered planks. Lucian and Izi trade places at the front and Lucian hurries toward the staircase to make sure that it’s safe to walk down. The rest of the group sees him vanish as he falls down a hole in the floor. Badly injured by spikes at the bottom of the trap, Lucian lets Asha help him up before channeling Lathander’s light to heal himself.
The narrow stairs lead down and open up into a wide room with niches in the wall. At the end of the room stands a statue of a cloaked figure, a crystal orb in one hand and the other resting on the back of a giant wolf. The niches appear to be holding many different offerings, possibly to whatever deity the statue depicts.
The group make their way further into the cellar and down a row of prison cells. While afraid to get locked in, Lucian eventually gives into the need to investigate and enters one of the cells. Nothing happens. Soon he finds a secret door in one of the walls, and upon walking through, the ominous chanting echoing around them stops abruptly.
This room is bigger than previous ones, its ceiling higher much higher and its floor covered in water. There is a ledge along the walls to walk on, and a dais in the middle of the room. In the eerie quiet, Lucian goes ahead into the water, surprised to find it both shallow enough for him to walk in and that nothing attacks him under the murky surface. Making his way up on the dais, he finds an altar. As he approaches it, thirteen robed figures appear around the room, holding candles giving off black light. When the figures appear, chanting can yet again be heard throughout the room: “One must die, One must die, One must die!”
While the others investigate the robed figures and the altar, all seemingly unsure what to do, Wynne goes in hunt of a small animal. The group soon realize that the figures can’t be harmed and that they do not seem to react to their presence. Nearby, Wynne finds a good sized spider.
The druid makes her way, barefoot through the grimy water, over to the dais. By the altar, she puts the spider down, stabbing it to the stone with an arrow. With this, the robed figures vanish, and the chanting yet again changes in nature. Wynne, happy with her work, makes her way out of the room, appearing unsurprised when she finds a new door leading to a staircase in the room with the niches.
As the group make their way to the ground floor via the staircase, they discover that the house above them seems normal yet again. The windows and doors have returned, and the street lies empty in the night outside.
Gathering in the vestibule, the rogue tells the others to follow her running, not stopping no matter what might happen. Confused, the rest agree. Wynne spends a moment to say goodbye to the children before she leaves the house.
Running through the streets of the village, the group is led up to a large mansion. The rogue shouts for the door to be unlocked. Inside, they are met by a very confused human man, about the same age as the rogue. After barring the door behind them, the man hugs the rogue before reprimanding her, telling her that he had assumed she was dead. He then barges off into another part of the house without greeting the rest of the group.
The rogue, at last, introduces herself as Artem Vasilyova, and tells the group that she is a resident of Barovia. Izi recalls Artem’s name from the letters they have come upon and tells her that they have been called to aid her. As she’s handed the letters, Artem sees that the letter that sent the group to Barovia isn’t written in her father’s hand, and that it is sealed with the crest of von Zarovich.
The man who let them in returns with food for the group, and introduces himself as Artem’s brother, Frederyk. Artem hands him the letter that the group found outside of the village, and its contents seem to leave Frederyk shaken.
At the late dinner gathering, Artem explains that although her father had sent the second letter, he is now dead since three days. This death is the reason why she approached the adventurers. She and Frederyk need help carrying the coffin safely to the village church. Not requiring much convincing, the group agrees to do her this favour.
Artem and Frederyk take some time to explain the contents of the letters. They explain that the land of Barovia has been ruled over for long by a vampire, that it’s dangerous to go out at night, and that the mists keep people from coming and going to the land as they please. During the conversation, it becomes increasingly clear to the rest of the group that they can’t just leave this place.
The group makes camp for the night in the mansion’s parlor and though they are awaken once by strange noises they return to sleep when it fades.
An hour or so before dawn, Frederyk wakes everyone up. Wynne and Izi offer to scout for the party. Asha, Frederyk, Lucian and Artem take the weight of the coffin. While walking, Wynne and Izi spot something flying back and forth overhead. Wynne identifies these creatures as bats, but they disappear soon after.
At the cemetery, the group hears wails and cries from inside the church, although Frederyk and Artem don’t seem to think much of it. When Lucian asks about it, Frederyk explains that the noises were coming from the village priest, Donavich, who is mourning over his lost son.
The party make their way into the Artem and Frederyk’s family crypt, while Wynne climbs another nearby crypt to stay on the lookout. Sitting on the roof of the structure she can make out not one, but two voices from the church, and in the distance, she spots animal figures in the mist. The creatures do not seem to be approaching the cemetery, so Wynne does not alert the others.
In the crypt, Frederyk and Artem wait for the pale grey light of dawn before praying over their father’s coffin in unison: “Morninglord, whose days are without end. Our days are like dust, the wind blows over it and it is gone, yet your light is everlasting. May dawn guide them to safety, give eternal rest unto them, and let perpetual light shine upon them. This we pray.”
And that is where we ended our session.