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PROUD MAKERS OF CHAMPAGNE DU LE STOMP
CoS - Wizard of Wines Ambience
Wine is the lifeblood of the Barovian people. It is one of the few sources of joy and levity in their otherwise bleak, and often short lives. The only source of wine in the valley is the Wizard of Wines winery, run by the Martikov family, who distribute the wine to the few taverns in the land. Lately, the winery has been under attack by dark forces, which has disrupted the supply of wine. Left unchecked, these forces will destroy much more than Barovians’ favorite drink.
The Wizard of Wines was founded by a mage whose name is buried in the annals of history. The wizard fashioned three magic gems, each one as big as a pinecone, and planted them in the rich valley soil. These "seeds" gave rise to healthy grapevines, which produced sweet, plump grapes. Even after Strahd's curse settled over Barovia, the gems kept the vines and their grapes from succumbing to the darkness.
Strahd bequeathed the winery and vineyard to the noble Krezkov family as a reward for the family's loyalty. Later, an arranged marriage between the Krezkovs and the Martikov family led to the land being taken over by a Martikov descendant. The winery and vineyard have been tended by the Martikovs ever since. At some point, the Martikov family became infected with widespread lycanthropy. The current patriarch, Davian Martikov, is a wereraven, as are his children and grandchildren.
The wereravens provide the wine to Barovian taverns for free, knowing the good it brings to the Barovian people.
The winery is known for three wines: the unremarkable Purple Grapemash No. 3, the slightly more tantalizing Red Dragon Crush, and the rich Champagne du le Stomp. Ten years ago, one of the vineyard's magic gems was dug up and stolen, and as a result, the winery stopped producing its best vintage, the champagne. No one knows what happened to the gem. Davian Martikov blames his middle son, Urwin (see chapter 5, area N2), for the loss because Urwin was on watch the night the gem was taken. Davian is convinced that Urwin shirked his duty to spend time with his betrothed, and the two men have been at odds ever since. To this day, Urwin steadfastly denies his father's accusation.
Adding to Davian's misery, the wereravens have been fending off frequent attacks by Baba Lysaga's scarecrow constructs. Three weeks ago, during one such attack, another gem was found, dug up, and taken. Davian believes that it is in the possession of Baba Lysaga (see chapter 10, area U3).
Davian's belief is correct. The gem was a lucky find for Baba Lysaga, who had previously suspected that magic was the root of the vineyard's health but knew nothing of its source. Even after this great discovery, Baba Lysaga continues to send her scarecrows against the winery, antagonizing the wereravens like a bad neighbor.
Five days ago, evil druids stole the third and final gem and bore it to Yester Hill (chapter 14). The wereravens launched a counterattack on Yester Hill, hoping to get it back, but to no avail. The druids and their blights proved more than a match for the lycanthropes.
Two days ago, the druids returned with a horde of blights and drove Davian's family from the winery. Generations ago, before the mists enshrouded Barovia, the druids were able to shapeshift. Back then, they were a normal, peaceful bunch of druids. And then the darkness came. They planted the Gulthias tree and began to worship Strahd von Zarovich as the icon of the land. At that point, nature itself rejected them for their evil deeds and they lost the ability to change their shapes. The druids know the Martikovs can change into animals, so they are searching for a way to gain the same power. Unfortunately, this is a fruitless endeavor, they do not know that.
They've also poisoned the fermentation vats, leaving the winery with only a few bottles and barrels of drinkable wine. The druids worship Strahd because they view him as a representation of the land. By extension, they also revere the forlorn nature of Barovia and its environment. Anything that goes against Strahd and the “land” is blasphemous. Thus, anything that brings levity and an escape from the darkness, including the wine, is sacrilege against the land. So, rather than bust open the vats and let the wine spill onto the land that they revere so much, the druids instead plan to poison it and distribute it in disguise to all of the taverns around Barovia.
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License details for "CoS - Wizard of Wines Ambience"
Creative Commons Sampling Plus 1.0 License.
List of audio files used:
- rustling leaves Lundby forest by Agnese Priekule +)
- Ship squeak by By Noise Collector - www.freesound.org +)
- Raven - 4 caws by dauser from http://freesound.org +)
- Raven - 7 caws by dauser from http://freesound.org +)
- forest pulling fallen branch by kyles +)
- wind howling by soundsnap.com *)
- Leaves rustling by www.soundsnap.com *)
- distant thunder by www.youtube.com/audiolibrary +)
*) Soundsnap.com license