The Cave behind the falls was the home to a Dwarf Trapper name Varikov. He is a depraved killer who enjoys trapping and skinning human prey more than animal quarry. The Dwarf and his pet Dire Wolf, Farkash, engaged the party in battle within the cave. Traps were sprung during the battle where Ghesh the Dragonborn found himself at the bottom of a 20 foot deep pit and Sir Urik, the Knight of the Raven, fell through a chute that caused our NPC knight to take a dip in the pool of water at the bottom of the falls. This was the last we saw of Sir Urik, it is assumed he is still fighting evil where he sees it. As the Dwarf lured the fighters in the party to the various traps, Zombies started to crawl up out of the floor to challenge those party members that are not normally in hand to hand combat. Eventually, the party was triumphant and defeated the Zombies, Dwarf and wolf companion.
Varikov’s latest work of human taxidermy was this adventurer he killed almost three months ago. He is dressed in his banded mail and posed as if in combat, holding a great sword in one hand and a sprig of wolfsbane in the other. He bears a plain gold band on the ring finger of his left hand.
The name of this adventurer is Jeref Maurgan whose wife asked the Church of the Raven Queen to find and bring him home alive. This task was assigned to the Deva, Ota, who is being chaperoned in this duty by the Dragonborn, Ghesh, by order of the Raven Queen Council. What this means to the two adventures is unknown at this time. The party then choose to take an extended rest, using the Dwarf’s cave as safe haven, to recover from the battle and prepare themselves for an assault on the Castle.
Earlier that day, after the battle with the Young Dragon, the scene changes to a throne room in Castle Ravenloft, a grinning victorious Kavan is found entering the room with Ziki behind him.
“Permission to approach you, my Lord”, asks Kavan on one knee before a very regal looking man sitting upon the throne.
“Granted”, replies Count Strahd, “I take it by your uncontainable grin that you were successful in your endeavor to gather another minion”“Yes, my Lord, The one known as Ota has been given the 1st of the three ritual bites. And thanks to Ziki’s ability to infiltrate their ranks, we have learned of their plans to enter the Castle.”
“To do so will mean their deaths”, states Count Strahd.
“Yes, my Lord”, replies Kavan, “however, we have also learned that they plan to attack the Trapper prior to approaching the Castle. With your help and Ziki’s abilities, not only will I be able to apply the second ritual bite to Ota but you will be awarded with possession of Tatyana.”
“Be warned, Kavan, you maybe my favorite minion but you are not my only minion. To promise me that which I desire the most and then not full fill your promise will only prove to be harmful to you.” threatens Count Strahd. “What do you request of me?”
“Yes, my Lord, I understand. First the battle with the dwarf must cause enough damage to them that they will choose to stay in the cavern to rest. The Trapper alone will not be able to accomplish that, but if we sacrifice some of the infected Zombies, that will help to weaken the group enough. Next ….”
Back to the present, the adventuring party found a nice stash of treasure that the Dwarf trapper had accumulated over the years and after dividing up the loot, stretched out for a night of rest. The two elfs in the group taking turns at watch as they only need 4 hours of rest.
About an hour before Dawn, unnoticed by Leia the elf, Ireenia rises from her sleep in a dream-like state. She makes it half way across the cavern before Leia can react. She calls to Ireenia but getting no response, begins waking up the rest of the party. Ireenia makes it almost out the door when the group springs into action to reach her.
Leia transforms into a hawk and flys over the chasm that is blocking the most direct path to Ireenia, Archer (Lohastan) and Druid (Esteru) rush to help remind Snarg the Fighter of the chute trap they must pass by in order to catch up with Ireenia. Ghesh gives chase but not at the full double move that everyone else has done. With all the focus on Ireenia, none in the group noticed that Ota didn’t actually get up. Nor did they notice that Ziki, in the form of Ota, slipped out of a hidden room and joined the chase for Ireenia.
Ota for her part, found herself in a battle of wills with Kavan. He was able to dominate his will over her for her turn causing her to remain still and quite while the others left. For her part, Ota was close to casting aside the domination but calling her power of “Memories of a 1000 lifetimes” she was able to bust the domination spell that Kavan had her under. (Note: GM here, now that I think about this, I’m not sure that Ota should have been able to use that power. I allowed that night, but let’s review when it can be used). Still dazed, she was easy prey for a second attempt at domination by Kavan, he slowly approached the prone Deva.
In the mean time, Ziki was able to mimic some of Ota’s powers by use of magical items given to her by Count Strahd. For example, she was able to teleport most everyone outside the cave. All but the Dragonborn who did not rush after Ireenia. Outside, presented an interesting sight. Count Strahd is using his dominance power to call Ireenia to him. Blocking the narrow path (on one side is the fast flowing river at the top of the falls, and on the other side is a fall down a cliff side of over 200 feet) are 3 Dire Wolfs. Ireenia is taking a double moves to reach Count Strahd.
The Minotaur Driud, Esteru, moved quickly to battle the wolfs, Leia still in hawk form flys out over the wolfs to try and reach Count Strahd. Count Strahd ignores the approaching hawk, and lunches a double magic missile attack against the Archer. Staggering from the impact, the Archer activates his boots of spider walking and runs over the cliff side and along it’s edge to come up behind the point where the wolfs are blocking the path and finds concealment in the heavy foliage. The Archer let’s loose a double shot that hits the vampire and causes some damage. Ziki, as Ota, uses a wand of lightning to mimic another power of the Deva’s and blasts the wolfs. Still no one in the party is suspicious of Ota. The Dragonborn, getting ready to leave the cave notices movement way in the back of the cave, but chooses to join the battle. And quickly works his way around the wolf battle just as the Minotaur Druid finishes her attack on the wolfs and shifts back trying to avoid a three on one situation. The wolfs turn and attempt to attack Leia as she changes back from hawk form to human, the attack would have been bad, but Ghesh uses his ability to teleport an ally away from danger and moves Leia closer to Count Strahd.
Back in the cave, Kavan successfully over powers Ota’s will yet again, but Ota once more surges her will power up to break free of the dominance. Further more, she was able to cast a protection spell that would harm Kavan mentally if he attacks her.
Outside, Ireenia was able to reach Count Strahd side. Together they begin to walk away. Ghesh however, uses another of his abilities and swaps places with Ireenia via a teleport spell. Now both Ghesh and Lea are flanking the Count. Snarg, begins battling the wolfs and finds himself knocked prone. Strahd, seeing that Ireenia has been denied him, casts a choking cloud spell that engulfs Ghesh and Leia and then disappears. Ziki, knowing that is the cue that time has run out on Kavan’s plan, changes back to her natural Changling form and spits in Snarg’s face. Using a rogue’s sneak attack, she attempts to deliver a killing blow to Snarg. Maybe it was the spirit of Shatner that Snarg always claims to channel, but at that moment he was able to roll away from the killing blow. Denied again her kill, Ziki flings herself off the cliff face and feather falls gently to the woods below. Ireenia faints from the dominance spell being broken.
For Ota inside the cave, Kavan tries one last time to dominate his will over Ota’s but fails. Sensing the defense spell that Ota has cast and that time has run out on his plan, he flings himself down the chute trap to escape.
The party should feel pretty good after having defeated a very well laid out sneak attack plan.