Curse of Strahd

Old Bonegrinder

Leaving the Vistani camp in the morning, Malakee is no where to be found. Heading towards Tser Falls:

You follow the river to the base of a canyon, at the far end of which a great waterfall spills into a pool, billowing forth clouds of cold mist. A great stone bridge spans the canyon nearly one thousand feet overhead.

The chasm’s walls are slippery and sheer, and can’t be scaled without the aid of magic or a climber’s kit. The bridge is slick with moisture but safe to cross, the road heads north and cuts through the mountains. The gargoyles on the bridge are harmless sculptures. The battle between the wizard and Strahd took place in this area, 1 year ago.

Travel along the road is fairly quiet, a couple of members notice a raven flying nearby. Another set of gates are encountered, just like the gates when they first entered the valley of Barovia:

After a couple of hours travel the group notices a windmill in the distance, just off from the main road (O on the map).

The Old Svalich Road transitions here from being a winding path through the Balinok Mountains to a lazy trail that hugs the mountainside as it descends into a fog-filled valley. In the heart of the valley you see a walled town near the shores of a great mountain lake, its waters dark and still. A branch in the road leads west to a promontory, atop which is perched a dilapidated stone windmill, its warped wooden vanes stripped bare.

Closer investigation of the windmill yields a few more details:

The onion-domed edifice leans forward and to one side, as though trying to turn away from the stormy gray sky. You see gray brick walls and dirt-covered windows on the upper floors. A decrepit wooden platform encircles the windmill above a flimsy doorway leading to the building’s interior. Perched on a wooden beam above the door is a raven. It hops about and squawks at you, seemingly agitated.

Deciding to approach, they head on in.

The ground floor has been converted into a makeshift kitchen, but the room is filthy. Baskets and old dishware are piled everywhere. Adding to the clutter is a peddler’s cart, a chicken coop, a heavy wooden trunk, and a pretty wooden cabinet with flowers painted on its doors. In addition to the clucking of the chickens, you hear toads croaking.

The sweet smell of pastries blends horridly with a stench that burns your nostrils. The awful odor comes out of an open, upright barrel in the center of the room.

Warmth issues from a brick oven against one wall, and a crumbling staircase ascends the wall across from it. Shrieks and cackles from somewhere higher up cause the old mill to shudder.

From up the stairs a voice yells at them to “go away!” unless they are there to buy pastries. Looking around a bit:

Small human bones litter the flagstone floor.

Suspicious Thulrum begins to head up the stairs.

Two ugly young women wearing silk shawls and gowns of stitched flesh are on the floor above. Long needles stick out of their tangled mops of black hair. The dirt-caked windows allow very little light to enter this eight-foot-high chamber, most of which is taken up by a large millstone connected to a wooden gear shaft that rises through the ceiling in the center of the room. A stone staircase continues up.

After trading insults and being warned to leave before mother comes home, a fight ensues going up one more level to the bedroom. Thulrum is dropped unconscious as the hags turn invisible and leap out the window.

In a rotting wooden closet are three crates, stacked one atop another, with small doors set into them. Next to the closet is a heap of discarded clothing. A ladder climbs to a wooden trapdoor in the nine-foot-high ceiling. A moldy bed with a tattered canopy stands nearby.

Downstairs on the main floor the door opens and mom comes home. After some startled cursing and spell-slinging, a raven flies in through the window and attacks the hags face, distracting her. Soon after she too turns invisible and retreats back out the front door.

Upstairs Ayrole has revived Thulrum and 2 children are discovered in the crates: Myrtle and Freek.

Regrouping the party finds out that the hag makes pastries from the bones of children that cause a euphoric trance for several hours. The 2 children had been given to the hags to pay for more pastries by their addicted parents.

A search of the windmill uncovers:

  • 3 small, labeled containers that hold elixirs. The first elixir, labeled “Youth,” is a golden syrup, the second elixir is labeled “Laughter,” the third elixir is a greenish milky liquid labeled “Mother’s Milk”.
  • 6 pieces of cheap jewelry (worth 25 gp each)

Outside the children recognize Ireena and Ismark from the village and latch on to them. The party leaves the area, heading toward Vallaki, with the windmill in flames behind them.

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