The Land Slaviors, still in awe, watched Strahd leave the graveyard on his devilish horse. Seconds later, the party, Ismark and Ireena, in tears, mourning their second loss of their father, watched the raised corpse of the Burgomaster turn around at the fence and ever so slowly, come back to the grave pit and lower himself inside of it and freeze in actual death.
Robert immediately started shoveling dirt onto the second time dead Burgomaster, and Father Donavich, paper pale, whispered to Fiercenanda to follow him into the temple. There, he led the half-elf to the office, unkept and disturbed as the rest of the place, and told her the Morning Lord’s shrine was now hers, the books, the relics, the building – Donavich gave her everything. With tears in his eyes, holy man left Fiercenanda to inspect her new property and a couple of minutes later, she and everyone outside her the shrine heard bell ring once.
After burying the Burgomaster, Medea and Ismark, who was also hardly containing himself, tried to console crying and shocked Ireena, and the group started moving towards town, deciding to move Ireena to Vallaki as soon as possible. Just having entered a street leading to ‘Blood o’ Wine’ the party noticed an old lady, with a white hair bun and stiched pastel clothes, pushing a shabby cart and in a bit crooked, but still quite sweet voice shouting: ‘Pies! Fresh pies! Anyone? Fresh Pies!’. DeShawn immediately started bartering with her and bought everything she had on the card – a whole bunch of regular cinnamon buns and dozen or so cinnamon buns with white sugary frosting. DeShawn paid a gold coin, but using sleight of hand, took it back. Handing him the buns, the old lady touched his hand and murmured something. Slaviors started chatting with the buns lady and learned she has a bakery close to Vallaki and sells buns to that town and Barovia village, they also got some information about the road to Vallaki and that the buns granny had two daughters, working with her. Everyone eating cinnamon buns and Medea with DeShawn munching on the ones with frosting, the group moved to the inn.
Meanwhile Fiercenanda quickly inspected her new temple, collected some books and returned to the group. On her way to ‘Blood o’ Wine’ inn she called for a familiar, and an eagle came to her.
With Robert calling the party to find and slay Doru, the party discussed their plans for the future and agreed that Doru would probably be headed to the one who turned him, presumably Strahd von Zarovich.
Medea, getting nervous about locals staring and her or hiding from her, decided to visit Biltradh’s Mercantile. There she was offered a shawl and hat for ridiculously high price. She chose a simple, a little worn straw hat and went outside. Sean, learning about price frauds and impoliteness to his friend, strode to the shop and challenged Biltradh to a duel. The owner immediately called for his bodyguard – Parriwimple, a large mass of muscles with not the smartest face of the world. Sean and Parriwimple exchanged several strikes and moved outside, where Bildrath was shouting loudly he was under attack. Hearing this, the Land Slaviors spilled from the inn and Ismark started taking the matters into his hands.
Solving the dispute, Ismark understood that after his father’s death, the burgomaster’s duties fell to him and he had to take care of the town. Nervous, he asked the Slaviors, if they would be so kind and take Ireena to Vallaki without him, while he solves some issues here and he would join them in that town several days later. He also pledged his eternal debt and undying gratitude to them. The Land Slaviors agreed and decided to move immediately.
After stocking some food, Fiercenanda sent her eagle to the attic of Bildrath’s mercantile with a certain spell ready and the group left Barovia for Vallaki. Exiting the town they walked past the Durst House, where they previously encountered many ghouls and a shambling mound. They burned the house down and to their horror now saw that the house was slowly growing back – parts of brand new walls rising from ashy and dark coals. Roscoe splintered a piece from such newly reemerging door and put it in his bag. After sometime they turned back to see the Barovian village and saw a pillar of smoke growing to the sky, and Fiercenanda’s eagle returned to her.
Eventually the Land Slaviors approached a stone bridge across a river, with four small gargoyles on the sides of it. Travellers decided to enjoy the water for a while and chatted a little, DeShawn tried to woo Ireena, but several badly made assumptions instead insulted her. Sean, being self conscious, bathed naked away from everyone else.
After a little rest and some get to know each other, the Land Slaviors moved on and came to a crossroads, where they fixed the road sign and learned directions to certain destinations. In one corner of the crossroads they saw what appeared to be several old graves and gallows, with a single rope swinging in the air. Moving towards the Tser pool, they glanced back and saw a body hanging on the gallows, although a minute ago there was nothing there. the Slaviors ran back trying to save whatever or whoever was there. After removing the body, the group revealed its face, and while everyone else saw just a quite long dead stranger, DeShawn saw himself dead in the noose. Terrified the group dug another grave only to see the horrible hanged man scatter to dust in the wind. Mesmerized, the Slaviors continued towards Vistani encampment at the Tser pool.
They find a small valley by a river, with forest surrounding one end of it, and the other runs below a high stone bridge, accompanied by a very distant sound of waterfall. The encampment is small but very lively: the adventurers find several travelling wagons and horses, and a band of merry singing and already a bit drunk Vistani. One of them welcomes the group and tells that Madam Eva has been waiting for them. They are led to her tent, a little ways away from the main camp and crackling fires.
Inside, among many colorful and decorated pieces of furniture, drapes and furs, they see Madam Eva, and old woman with wrinkled, tattooed face, already shuffling cards and inviting them to sit down, as they have come for their card reading, to learn about foes and allies and ways to escape.
She let each of the Slaviors draw one Tarokka card and place it on the table and herself draws the final, seventh card. In a crooked old voice she read the ominous cards:
The first card tells of history. Knowledge of the ancient will help you better understand your enemy. A man, who has it, is not what he seems. I see a carnival wagon. There lies what you seek.
The second speaks of powerful force for good and protection, a symbol of great hope. Look to the place where sickness and madness are bred. Where children once cried, now the treasure lies still.
The third card is of power and strength, it is a weapon of vengeance, a blade of light. What you seek lies in a pile of treasure beyond the Amber door.
This card tells of many who challenged the evil and weapons they created. A scattered power of divine faith. You will find it at crossroads by a dead mountain.
The fifth card tells of ancient powers, that have once been defeated and now sleep awaiting rebirth. There are three broken hearts, mend them on a bloody stone.
Sixth card sheds light on the one who will help you greatly in the battle against darkness. Your ally’s mind is broken but his power is not.
And finally, your enemy is a creature of darkness, his powers beyond mortality. Darkness hides his throne from my eyes. You will have to find him on your own.
Some of the Slaviors were not impressed by Madam Eva’s fortune telling, but others insisted on getting personal readings too. So each got another card and the old lady whispered to each one of them:
I see you behind Amber door counting gold...
Roots so deep, entangled with monstrosity and good. Blue eyes.
Committed the unspeakable. Entangled with darkness, buried deep beneath
the mountains. Careful not to relive the destiny of a best friend…
Old friend has tricked you.
To Robert: Avenge another brother.
To Roscoe: Girl with pale gold hair has it.
The messages were vague and Mdam Eva said she could not explain anything more, as she was just a vessel to bring them to the adventurers, but someone else, a Vistana girl, wandering without her tribe, maybe could.
The Land Slaviors eventually joined the Vistani around the fire, and Sean, still feeling a little bruised after encounter with Bilthrad, decided to search for medicine. He wandered into a tent by turning invisible, but someone was there and notices his presence. He pretended to be a ghost and another little fight ensued. Bruised even more, he was found out… They eventually managed to settle the attempted robbery and sat by a fire to discuss what the hell has been going on lately.
Talking about events in Barovia inevitably led the Slaviors to mentioning Count Zarovich’s name a lot of times. And suddenly, out of thin air the Count himself appeared. Quite startled, the party tried to talk to him about his obsession with Ireena, although he did not seem to be quite listening. Being the ruler of the land, Strahd excused himself to leave and do whatever he was busy with before.
The party was about to go to sleep, when we left off.