The group girds their loins to somehow release Strahd from his physical madness. The party arrives at the castle during the rise of a powerful storm. Shadows are longer, colors are blend to gray.
Cautiously, then walk into the grand entrance. The slowly ascend the stairs, pausing as the suits of armor to ensure that they will not animate. They enter into the grand audiance chamber. The room is briefly lit up with flashes of lightning, revealing a large, dark sphere, hovering near the throne.
When you stare into the abyss the abyss stares back at you.
Approaching slowly, the group investigates the odd sphere. They notice that while the sphere does reflect the surroundings of the room, it does not reflect the viewer! They also notice that the throne is offset – it appears there were two thrones but now there is only the king’s throne. Voices carry in the room, some from the sphere (“join us”), some from other parts of the world.
The group takes it time, experimenting with the sphere. The toss something into the sphere, and it is gone. The only evidence is the surface of the sphere acts as if it were water. They toy with a rope and observe its strange properties. The strange thing is if they put part of an object in the sphere, that part of the object is gone. However, the weight and balance of the object appears unchanged. Finally, they even cast magic missile into the darkness! (classic).
Merula gets bold and touches the sphere. It is cold and watery. She concludes they should go in. She and Gar hold hands and step into the sphere…
Blood is Thicker
They enter a dark, foggy area with only an immediate light near each of Gar and Merula. Although they feel each other’s hands, they do not see each other. They call out, and hear each other from afar. As then close, they find they are approaching Kavan’s Ruined Manor from different directions. Eventually, the rest of the group enters the sphere and finds Kavan’s Manor.
They here the sobbing of a woman in the house. It appears to be from the cellar under the kitchen. Then enter the cellar and the trap door slams shut! Gar immediately tries to bash the door open, but to no available. The voice wails “why didn’t you save us?!?!” Blood gushes up from the floor. Radovar casts an airy barrier to see where the blood is coming from. There are more bones of the slain women in under the floor where Kavan’s coffin resided. In the blood, there is …something… reaching out to the heroes.
Gar looks up and notices the ceiling is in bad shape. He smashes open a hole and Radovar shifts to an gut of wind and shoots up. He finds himself in the undercroft of the Church of the Sovereign Host…
Past Fears Arise
The group quickly climbs out of the cellar into the Church. They see someone curled up in the corner near where Donavich performed his hidious ceremony on his son. He turns, and it is a sickening cross between Danovich, Doru, and the Blaspheme! Then zombies erupt from the floor!
The fighting is fierce and the zombies are unrelenting, more erupting from the floor to replace those fallen. Some even change – one on Merula balloons up and erupts with a noxious gas cloud.
Malkus draws out Danovich’s Mace and strikes the creature, renouncing his resistance. He immediately disappears! The other of our heros begin to understand they must fight the source of their fears. Merula revolks the crimes of her father as she strikes, Gar his rage, etc.
They all overcome their fears and madness, and find themselves back in the Audience Chamber. Instead of the black sphere, they find a grotesque fleshy mass. Since they now can see what Strahd cannot – the physical manifestation of madness. Strahd enters the room with a wild, mad look in his eyes. However, the PCs destroy the fleshy mass, freeing Strahd from that which controls him.
“Its over.” Says Strahd. “Leave while you can.”
The group, not wanting to risk being trapped in Barovia any long, leaves the lands in a wild ride in Strahd’s Carriage.