The Adventure Continues: The Toy Store

We left our heroes back at the inn looking for more clues that would lead them out of this nightmare when the realized they were being surrounded by ravens!


 

… the ravens the adventurers had discovered were decorating the inn all around. The more they looked the more they saw the theme of the ravens surrounding them, including above the bar where they saw a diorama depicting a nest of ravens. This clearly harkens back to the tarot cards where they were foretold some cryptic info about their future by the gypsie. What it means they do not know, however they have keep moving; they are losing time and need to keep gaining ground on Strahd if they are going to survive and ever return home. After some quick discussion, they decide to head to the toy store to investigate further.

After they arrive at the Toy Store, they arrive at Bolinksi’s to find an eclectic collection of creep toys. As they are looking around, Gaydolf Bolinski himself comes out to the front to greet the group of adventurers, he’s a robust man above average in size with a monkey on his shoulder. “Welcome to Bolinski’s, I make magical toys for children”. He was a bit odd, but it seemed genuine that he was a shopkeep with no hidden agenda so far as they could tell. Andromeda meanders around the shop but finds nothing of particular consequence. The group notices that there are two dolls in particular that are notably interesting; one that appears to look like Strahd and the other that looks like Irena. They ask why there is dolls that look like these two characters, and Bolinski that he made the one that looked like Strahd from what he heard in the stories, and the other doll that looks like Irena he is asked to make one each month and it’s picked up by the Burglemeisters’s main thug Isaac. This seems to anger Shamesh and Bent in particular. They press him for more information and the situation escalates quickly. Bent becomes very aggressive as he rips a head off a doll and demands answers as to why the doll is being made and when it’s being picked up. Gaydolf does not seem to want to back down, nor answer anymore questions, and demands the adventurers leave, immediately. Bent nearly loses his cool as the rest of the group watches on in disbelief, the sorcerer charges the shop keep and knocks him to the ground, then unleashes a whirlwind of cantrips that tear up the shop. Bolinski is visibly shaken and tells them that Isaac comes each week to pick up the doll; then he begs for the his safety as his monkey climbs to a high shelf to get away from harm and screeches at the group. Satisfied with the information that Bolinksi has now given up, the tiefling drops a gold on the shopkeep and leaves, followed by the rest of the group. Andromeda, who seemed to be unaware of what was going on, comes to the front, noticing the shop in disarray, helps the shopkeep to his feet and consoles the monkey that has returned to his master. She scratches the monkey lovingly on the head and gives Bolinski another gold coin. Elated he gives the little girl a handful of dolls to which she accepts and excitedly runs outside eager to show her friends. The group then decides to bring it’s cheer to the Burglemeister’s house.

Because the Burglemeister is asking the toymaker to create this doll that looks like Irena, which seems uncomfortable at best, they want to know more. They arrive at the home and they are welcomed in by the Burglemeister and his wife, plus his dogs. After the Burglemeister greets them, and introduces his wife; she laughs lightly in response, in a relatively uncomfortable manner. Bent and Melrick start in, without much tact, on questions around the dolls. They explained that they went to the toy shop and found the dolls and were interested in the collection of dolls that he had. The Burglemeister seemed miffed by the conversation and asked Isaac, who was overseeing the conversation, to escort the group out. The group questions the motivation to have them removed so quickly; then, attempting to de-escalate the situation, they trying to explain they are only interested in resolving the issue of the missing children that belonged to Mad Mary. He concedes his position and offers to let them see the collection of dolls that belong to his son. His son is in the attic and doesn’t come down, he doesn’t explain why stating only that he wastes his time in the attic all the time. He continues to deny that he has dolls made and that there is even any interest in having dolls made. The adventurers brought to the son’s room and there is in fact a collection of creepy dolls clearly from the toy store.

Melrick presses the conversation and wants to know the stance the Burglemeister has on Strahd and the situation in the land of Barovia. The nobleman states that he thinks Strahd is a monster and the constant celebrations are what is keeping his town of Valliki safe. The Dwarf boldly suggest that it’s possible that Isaac may not be loyal and could be working for Strahd; the Burglemeister is skeptical but is willing to listen. Melrick and Shamesh suggest they can get proof for the Burgelmeister if he would be willing to give them a letter for Bolinskii which would allow them to release the next toy doll to them instead of Isaac. He agrees, goes to a desk in the room, scribes it, signs it, folds it neatly and hands it to the dwarf, they heads downstairs to find that Isaac has his own plans, and was waiting with a dozen soldiers. He demands they lay down their weapons; without hesitation, the Melrick draws both weapons, and Bent ignites his palm and the battle ensues. Isaac immediately is on Shamesh and buries him in a big swing from his great axe. The Paladin was staggered but steady and fought back breathing fire. Melrick was overwhelmed quickly, but steadfast, despite being surrounded by four combatants. Bent litt up half the guards with fire and despite the burning they were emboldened, surrounding him. Andromeda realises quickly how desperately the situation is getting  and moves to the wall, crawling like a spider to the ceiling. Shamesh continues to try to fight off Isaac, and it barely making a difference, fighting to what will likely be his last. The dwarf was not dismayed landing two axes, but felled neither guard; this was bad. Isaac was furious, landing another great axe into Shamesh who was on his knee and finally onto the ground. Andromeda was quick to respond, and growled in anger about her friend being felled, and the Paladin was saved. Bent was not faring well, but still burning the group around him; he was running out of life to give. The guards were continuing to press their advantage on the heroes, but were starting to falter. Shamesh tried to save himself by doing some additional healing but it wasn’t enough. Isaac wasted no time in putting the Paladin into the dirt, again. Andromeda would not allow her friend fall, growling in anger, and keeping the Paladin breathing. She moved to above Isaac, and leaped from the cieling to knock the captain guard prone, but he still gripped his great sword. Shamesh, unable to gather himself, is unable to land any blows on Isaac, despite him being on his back. The guards them jump to the opportunity to get to Andromeda, and they start beating her, forcing her to disengage immediately. Bent made a decision he was going to give his life, unleashing a fireball on Isaac, while he is exposed, but it cost the sorcerer dearly, as the guards around him beat him to the ground. Andromeda makes for the wall again and climbs quickly, and Isaac turns his attention back toward Shamesh, and brings him down yet again. Melrick finally took down two guards, but that was the last he had, before he was taken down by the remaining guards around him. There was one hero still standing, Andromeda was alone. She look around and realized there was no salvaging the situation and climbed across the ceiling to the door, and the guards were unable to reach her before she escapes, leaving the heroes battered, beaten and on the floor surrounded by the guards…


 

Will our heroes survive?! See if Andromeda can save them next time… 

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