Disclaimer: This includes spoilers for Curse of Strahd so don’t read if you don’t want to know.
We made our way into the northwest woods where we had heard the Baron, most of his family, Irina and Ismark, had fled into. We were wary as these woods were reported as the haunting grounds of the mad mage. We came upon a clearing where it seemed the Baron tried to make camp. His body was there along with his wife and their retinue of soldiers. They were all bloodied and mangled. We continued after looting some of the bodies. I know it sounds cruel but resources were slim in Barovia and we needed all the help we could get. After a little while we heard the sounds of a fight and ran towards the noise.
We came upon Ismark the Lesser, Irina’s adoptive brother. He was fighting a young man whose left arm was a demon arm and could shoot fire. Ismark was about to strike the final blow when Irina cried out begging for him not to kill her brother. Apparently they were related. Ismark faltered and looked back at his sister. That’s when the young man drove his demonic hand through Ismark’s chest in a killing blow. The young man cried out when he realized what he had done and seeing Irina’s reaction to killing the only other family she had left. He ran into the woods and disappeared from our sight. We rushed over to Ismark only to see him take his last breath. Irina began to cry in anguish.
That was when the mad mage showed up. We squared ourselves up for a fight but realized that it wasn’t some old mage running around terrorizing people. It was Mordenkainen! He told us he was nearby and we carried Ismark’s body with us so we could give him a proper burial. This whole time there had been a running joke about Ismark always being the Lesser because his father was Ismark the Greater but he was so brave when it finally got down to protecting his sister. We asked for Mordenkainen’s help and he used some magic to carve out a rectangular recess at the base of the mountain where Mordenkainen made his home. In a startling move, our Sorcerer, Mithra, engraved the rock face after Ismarck had been laid to rest. It read “The Lesser No More”. Mordenkainen assured us his magic would preserve the body in the mountain forever.
We took the distraught Irina into Mordenkainen’s home, an ostentatious Magnificent Mansion, the first. It was amazing and humbling. The mage let us know we could sleep here for the night but first he needed to know what happened. Irina began to explain that the young man was named Izac. He had taken her from the Baron’s home, seeing that she did not want to be there. He had explained that he was her brother and how they had been separated as children. She had been saved while he had been abducted by the Cult of Strahd. They had experimented on him and other children eventually succeeding in melding a demon’s arm to replace his human one. It granted him great power but the experience also broke his mind. He had escaped and scraped by on his own as best he could. Eventually, the memories of Irina came back and he began looking for her. He had been shadowing her for a while.
Then Mordenkainen gave us some much needed knowledge. He let us know that Strahd was not the biggest threat. He suspected that a deal had been made between the Fiend, Vampir, and Strahd. Tossing a necklace at Aleera the Bard, he explained that it is the Symbol of Ravenkind. It could only be worn by someone good-hearted. We ended up giving it to Wick the Paladin. He also explained how he came to be here. He came to fight Strahd and release the land from his hold but could not overpower him. In defeat he had gone insane and lost track of his memories for a while. After some time he had realized who he was and began to organize and plan for those who would eventually defeat Strahd and allow him to leave this pocket dimension. After hearing everything we needed, Mordenkainen told us to get some rest and that in the morning he would take us to Krezk. We thanked him and set up sleeping arrangements in his giant foyer.
We went to sleep worried but more knowledgeable about our situation in Barovia. In order to make sure Irina stayed put and didn’t wander off again we tied her up and told her to get some sleep. She wasn’t happy about it but understood that we couldn’t be worrying about her and get some rest at the same time. We all fell asleep and waited for morning to come.