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DEMESNE OF THE WITCH LYSAGA
CoS - Berez Ambience
Long before Ireena Kolyana, there was a peasant from Berez named Marina. The vampire Strahd first met Marina in this small village on the shore of the Luna River. Marina bore a striking resemblance to Strahd's beloved Tatyana, both in appearance and manner, and she became Strahd's obsession. He seduced her in the dead of night and feasted on her blood, but before she could be turned into a vampire, the burgomaster of Berez, Lazlo Ulrich, with the aid of a local priest named Brother Grigor, killed Marina to save her “soul from damnation.” In truth, Lazlo was conspiring with Brother Grigor to replace Marina’s adoption papers with a marriage certificate to himself. That’s right, Lazlo was the Woody Allen of Barovia. Enraged at the death of Marina, Strahd slew the priest and the burgomaster, then used his power over the land to swell the river, flooding the village and forcing the residents to flee. Later the marsh crept in, preventing the villagers from returning. Berez has remained mostly abandoned since.
The ruins of Berez are now home to Baba Lysaga, an almost mythic figure tied to Strahd's ancient past. A hermit, she spends most of her time crafting and animating scarecrows to hunt down and kill the ravens and the wereravens that infest Strahd's domain. When she isn't working evil magic, Baba Lysaga sacrifices beasts to Mother Night and collects their blood, then bathes in the blood on nights of the new moon in a ritual to stave off the effects of extreme old age.
When Strahd was still a baby in his crib, Baba Lysaga cast protective spells on him and crept into his nursery on stormy nights to sing magical rhymes to him. She also placed the "spark of magic" in him, ensuring that he would become a spellcaster.
Baba Lysaga's unhealthy attachment to the baby Strahd did not go unnoticed. After she received several disturbing reports, Queen Ravenovia was forced to banish the midwife from the kingdom. Lysaga never saw Strahd again, but she has succeeded in staying alive to witness the triumphs of her beloved boy, who, in her mind, is eternally blessed. Despite the horrors Strahd has wrought, Lysaga still envisions him as the perfect child she delivered into the world. Strahd is the only thing in her life that matters to her.
During her exile, Baba Lysaga made countless sacrifices to Mother Night, pleading with the goddess to afflict Queen Ravenovia with ill health and visit death upon her. Lysaga eventually got her wish, and after Strahd settled in the valley of Barovia, Lysaga moved as close to him as she dared to.
In the filth-ridden depths of her heart, Lysaga knows that Strahd would never accept her as his true mother, nor could she bear his rejection. As a result, she has never confronted him. She would rather exist in perpetual denial, whiling away the days, months, and years practicing fell magic and looking for ways to help her "son."
Baba Lysaga has allies in Castle Ravenloft - a coven of witches. Through the aid of these witches, Lysaga recently uncovered a potential threat to Strahd: a secret society of wereravens called the Keepers of the Feather, a group that uses ordinary ravens as their spies.
Strahd doesn't consider the wereravens a serious threat, but Lysaga has chosen to make them the bane of her existence. After much searching and scrying, she discovered a wereraven refuge at the Wizard of Wines winery (chapter 12), and she has begun to wage war against it. In addition, she has forged an alliance with the mad druids that haunt Yester Hill (chapter 14), convincing them that she gave birth to Strahd, whom the druids consider a god. With the druids on her side, she expects to rid Barovia of its wereraven menace.
The goddess Mother Night has bestowed magical gifts on Baba Lysaga as rewards for her ceaseless devotion to Strahd. Her skin has the resilience of stone, she is resistant to harmful magic, and she is shielded against divination magic. Mother Night has also imparted to Lysaga the secret of longevity, which requires her to bathe in the blood of beasts on nights of the new moon. Failure to do so causes Lysaga to age rapidly, becoming mere dust and bones in a matter of seconds.
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Creative Commons Sampling Plus 1.0 License.
List of audio files used:
- Woodpecker Young by By BenBoncan - www.freesound.org +)
- Raven - 4 caws by dauser from http://freesound.org +)
- frog_concert_and_crickets by Glaneur de sons from http://freesound.org +)
- Hand Drums 1 by Jack Braglia [www.BlastAudioSolutions.com] +)
- water_splash by junggle from http://freesound.org +)
- Deep Rumble 1 by Mathias W. *)
- Tumbling Creek by Sarah Burkeen +)
- Grasshopper long by www.soundsnap.com *)
*) Soundsnap.com license