The party’s rest is interrupted at dawn by a Vistani knife at Mira’s neck. Her assailant demands to know who the party really are as they lead her to the Tser pool. The pristine water has been transformed into a lake of blood. The Vistani are furious that the group has brought Strahd’s wrath upon them. Madame Eva manages to defuse the situation but suggests that the party don’t stay for breakfast.
They continue through the mountains towards Valaki. Along the way they spy some neatly folded clothes hidden in a bush dusted with raven’s feathers. The rogue takes the feathers and slices the collar of the shirt. Later they fight off a pack of werewolves seeking prey. Meira suffers multiple bites, which probably doesn’t mean anything.
They spot a coloruful carriage making it’s way toward Ravenloft. Soon after they come upon They come upon the windmill depicted in the Death House, now in a deadful state of repair. A flock of ravens act erratically as if they were tyring to warn the group away. Taking the birds advice the party contineues, finally reaching Valaki at dusk.
Unfortunately the city does not look quite as safe as they’d hoped; the pallisades are papered with layers of faded party announcments, streamers, patrty favours, and colourful signs. Wolves heads on pikes line the walls, remnants from the Wolves Head Jamboree. The top layer of signage announces the upcoming Festival of the Burning Sun. The door to the town is locked and they are refused entry until the rogue bribes the guards with Hermans Dream Pie.
Valaki is littered with the refuse of dozens of disappointing parties. The citizenry bear wide, false smiles and meaninglessly call “All will be well!” to passers-by. The party visit a chuch overburdened with refugees before finding rooms at the Blue Water Inn. It’s owner, Urwin Martikov, welcomes them and fills their cups. He laments that the that the wine isn’t their finest; no shipments have come from the Wizard of Wines in over a week. He tells them that if they are able to get the wine flowing it will be worth their while. He also introduces the group to the only other guest of the inn, a colorufully dressed Elf called Rictavio.
They party spend the rest of the night at the inn gathering information. Except for Herman, who engages in a drinking contest with two local hunters and nearly kills them. Rictavio in particular shares quite a bit. They learn:
- the Burgomeister, Vargas Vallakovich, is obsessed with happiness. He has forced the town into bi-weekly festivals for what feels like forever. Unhappiness is a crime.
- Vallakovitch has a cruel henchman called Izek that enforces his bidding.
- The Wachters are a wealthy family that oppose the Burgomeister.
- Purple lights have been emanating from the Burgomeisters attic.
- A town called Krezk is further down the road and much safer, although rumour has it something stange is afoot with the Abbot there.
- The church is a safe haven for refugees and is protected by a powerful divine source.
- The general lay of the land (lake to the north, Vistani camp to the east, Krezk to the west)
- Rictavio is a travelling entertainer who has found his way into Barovia by accident. he’s been stuck here for a month.
Addtionally, the rogue has a strange encounter with Urwin after dressing in a disguise that included the raven’s feathers; the innkeeeper grew very serious and demanded to know where the feathers came from. The rogue defused the situation. He was also able to pickpocker a few electrum and a key from the wealthy Wachter brothers.
In the morning the party explore further, searching for safe haven for Ireena. In the town square they witness a cruel-faced man have children toss rocks at people in stocks for the crime of unhappiness while a gigantic wikcer sun is erected. They decide to explore the lake based on Madame Eva’s property but instead find the image from Galens dream journal: in the middle of the lake sits a dull-faced man in a row-boat. Across from him sits a burlap bag. Half the party rush toward him in a boat as he tosses the bag overboard; a young girls voice screams within. The dull-faced man drops into the water in resonse to their screams and grabs the bag. Herman dives in and slices his fingers off as Galen levitates the boat into the boat with Trin.
Trin opens the bag to find a very angry Vistani child. The girl demands to be taken to her father immediately…