Times were hard for Blade Blagovich, veteran of the famed Thirteenth Phalanx, a mercenary comapny of the recently ended Civil War. He had found a little work as a caravan guard, but his Vistanti heritage kept some away, and his battle scars scared away the rest. But he was now on a mission, a quest to meet his old fighting buddies, as the Grand Duchy of Karameikos celebrated the first anniversary of the Civil War’s end.
On his way to the capital of Specularum, Blade found himself in the dour port city of Sulescu, in a seaside tavern, the Barnacled Dock, deep in a mug of ale, waiting for an employer and listening to a pair of halfing bards on stage. Their set ended, and they joined the soldier. Then the door swung open….
The Baroness of Sulescu’s guards flung the bounty on the table. Blade, always in need of coin, was to chase off the Vistanti who had set up camp outside of town again. The Baroness decided Blade’s heritage would help. The two halflings, Skylark and Klepto joined in.
After negotiating with the Baroness, the party met the Vistanti at their wagon caravan encampment. Their leader, Stanimir, welcomed them heartily, saying that he had been waiting for them. He then ordered the Vistanti to strike camp.
Stanimir insisted the party join him and go into Barovia. He related the true tale of the vampire Strahd, that he was just cursed, and that is was the Vistanti’s fate to help remove that curse. Strahd himself knows this, and he allows the Vistanti safe passage to further aid the Vistanti. Stanimir then claimed that a prophecy foretold the party would be the ones to end Strahd’s curse and they must come with him immediately.
They reluctantly agreed, having no better prospects, and they joined the Vishanti caravan. They left Sulescu heading northwest unto the mountains. The Vishanti guides warned them to beware the fog and to always stay on the path. A deep fog enveloped them soon, and they all felt sleepy, with all but Klepto passing out. Klepto stayed put, and the other soon awoke, but entirely exhausted.
The caravan entered a land devoid of color or light. Now at night, the moon was behind deep clouds, so that the forest path the caravan now passed though was darker than pitch. Wolves would be heard baying off in the distance. The deep dark trees closed in and all became convinced they were entering the land of the dead.
Soon the forest gave way to a mist covered farmland, the crops looking mostly dead and moss covered. Then a small village appeared, there at the base of a huge steeply pitched cliff. Atop the easily thousand foot escarpment stood a castle, tall and towered, made of dark stone. Back down in the valley, little sound could be heard, but cries of unknown origin could be heard faintly from the castle.
The party decided to take a break while the caravan got more food for the horses. The They chose to avoid the Bar and began slowly looking at houses. Sure enough they found one with a young girl and boy out front.