In Barovia, Ismaark suggests trading for horses with the Vistani since it will take too long to get to Vallaki without them.
They go down Old Svalich Road and reach a crossroads. There is an old gallows and blank gravestones. As they leave, Rakanishu sees himself swinging from the gallows, dead. Nobody else sees this grisly vision.
They found the Vistani camp and the men standing watch advised them to speak to Madame Eva. She mentions something eerie to each of the members of the party, things she could not have known about them. She does a tarokka card reading for them.
- The Traitor: This card tells of history. Knowledge of the ancient will help you better understand your enemy. Look for a wealthy woman. A staunch ally of the devil, she keeps her knowledge under lock and key, with the bones of an ancient enemy.
- The Monk: This card tells of a powerful force for good and protection, a holy symbol of great hope. The symbol you seek is hidden behind the sun, in the house of a saint.
- The Avenger: This is a card of power and strength. It tells of a weapon of vengeance. The weapon lies in a dragon’s house, in hands once clean and now corrupted.
- The Innocent: The card sheds light on one who will help you greatly in the battle against darkness. Your ally is not who she seems. Born of the mists, she knows not her own past or her strength.
- The Seer: Your enemy is a creature of darkness, whose powers are beyond mortality. This card will lead you to him! He waits for you in a place of wisdom, warmth, and despair. Great secrets are there.
They ask for more detail and get none. Ireena seems disturbed by the reading. Ismaark trades for two horses and a cart. The party joins some vistani by the fire. Dalinar keeps watch hidden in the woods. The vistani tell them the story of the cursed prince who came to them for aid when he was injured, and granted them safe harbor in his lands once he was returned to his home. The vistani said they were waiting for adventurers to free the prince of his curse. The drink and the warmth of the fire made them drowsy. They sleep through the night but the vistani are gone when they wake up. Kozac communes with a horse and becomes a horse. They check out the Tser Falls. Vannah carves “Vannah was here” into a tree.
They backtrack to the high road and reach a canyon with a bridge. There are mossy stone gargoyles on either side. Balthazar licks the moss. It tastes humid. Dalinar sneaks down the bridge. Spatula casts an illusion to make it seem like nobody is on the bridge from the other side for extra stealth. They make it past the bridge uneventfully.
They reach another crossroads. There is a black carriage with two black horses drawing it. A man steps out. He says he heard rumors of adventurers asks if that was them. They ask his identity, and he introduces himself as Strahd von Zarovich, the lord of these “cursed lands”. He mentions he is also cursed. Spatula checks on Ireena and Ismaark in his compact mirror. They seem dazed and their eyes are glazed over during this interaction.
Strahd gives them open invitations to dine with them at Castle Ravenloft. He gets in his carriage and leaves. Once he is gone, Ireena and Ismaark look around and seem confused. Ireena asks if that was Strahd and if he invited them to dine with him. She vehemently refuses to go to the castle. She strongly suggests they do not go either. Spatula asks “What is it he did to you again?” And Ireena says “He sent his minions to attack my house!”
The group decides to drop off Ireena at Vallaki, get paid, and then go to the castle for dinner.
On their way to Vallaki, they notice a disturbance in the woods and are accosted by bandits. Vanna attempts to intimidate them by pulling out the wolf’s heads. They step back but don’t run away, asking to be paid gold instead of demanding it. The party refuses and a fight ensues.
During the fight, Vanna is knocked out. Spatula has magic surges that cause him to shout and to have three copies of himself. Kozac surprises the bandits by attacking and they are very confused why this horse has it out for them. Dalinar jumps out of the woods to save the day with his rogue super powers. One bandit and Rakanishu are locked in a duel where neither one can hit the other. Vanna is healed by balthazar and taunts the bandits saying “These wolves put up a better fight than you.”
Dalinar finishes off the last bandit by cleaning out his ears with a dagger. They loot the bodies and find some delicious gold. Balthazar wants to take the bodies with them to be buried. Ismaark looks very uncomfortable about this. The party builds cairns for the bandits instead. That was nice of them.
They continue to Vallaki. They convince the guards that they aren’t vampires. The guards tell them about several interest points in the town and about the festival of the blazing sun.
In the town square, they witness a man and two guards replacing posters. The old posters are about a Wolf’s Head Jamboree, the new posters advertise the Festival of the Blazing Sun. The man explains that the Burgomaster throws these festivals every few days and attendance is mandatory. Ismaark runs into the bank to withdraw money for the party and pays each of them 300gp. They begin to discuss where to go next.