In this week’s session, Izek Strazni remanded Ireena Kolyana into custody while the party decided not to make a fuss about it. Under the watchful gaze of several town guardsmen, the party of Aike, Gae-al Thuliaga, Mahel and Ulfrik walked through town to the Burgomaster’s Mansion, while Ismark “the Lesser” Kolyanovich stayed as close as possible to his sister and Rudolph Van Richten separated from the party. To Mahel’s consternation, she hadn’t receieved word from Albreth, AKA “Al” the Weasel since she sent him to scout out Fiona Wachter’s manor house….
Meanwhile, Leowen returned to Vallaki, stopping at the church in the hope of finding her compatiriots. Sadly, she did not, arriving too late. However, the church was now full of parishoners and she was able to speak again with Father Lucian Petrovich as well as see how Myrtle and Freek were doing after being taken in by the church. Seeing that Myrtle was interested in her powers, Leowen attempted to convince her that all she had to do was reach out with her thoughts and speak to any number of inter-planar entities who would be more than willing to strike a deal with a willing soul for a little power. Myrtle seemed overly exuberant and intrigued, somewhat to the horror of Freek. Leaving the church, Leowen continued her travels onwards to the inn, attempting to retrace her party’s steps.
The other party members were brought into the home of the Burgomaster, Baron Vargas Vallakovich. Aike attempted to escape captivity, but was severely beaten into unconsciousness by Izek. The guards then took their weapons and led them before the Baron. The Baron, along with his wife, Baroness Lydia Petrovna, demanded the party leave Vallaki, blaming them for the violence in town in the last couple days. The party determined that they could not leave Ireena in the hands of Izek and stated that she should make her own decision in the matter of her fate. Although Izek was enraged by the thought of losing his sister yet again, his duty to the Baron seemed true, and he retrieved Ireena from upstairs to make her fateful choice.
Back at the inn, Leowen met again with Danika Dorakova and Urwin Martikov who, upon discussing the incident at the Inn from the night before, determined that it was time to reveal their true identity: they were were-ravens! Moreover, they were the leaders of a group called the Keepers of the Feather that resisted the rule of Strahd and attempted to overthrow him with the aid of any potentially strong enough group. Urwin appealed again to Leowen to help his brother Davian Martikov at the Wizard of Wines, who he hadn’t heard from in a week and was worried. He also suggested that if they were to leave town to find a true solace for Ireena, that the town of Krezk, with it’s mysterious Abbey of St. Markovia, might be a fit. Leowen thanked him for the advice and walked down the main thoroughfare to the town square.
At the manor, the Baron determined that it was only fair to have a representative from the party speak as to why Ireena was best left in their care rather than spending the rest of her life with her supposedly long-lost brother. Raven skulls were drawn from a small pouch, and Mahel drew the fated black skull. Speaking eloquently on Ireena’s behalf, Mahel appealed to the Baron’s better nature and convinced him that it was best that Ireena leave town with them, if only for the danger that she posed as a lure to Strahd. The Baron, fearing Strahd’s wrath, seemed convinced. Izek became infuriated and his demonic arm pulsed with rage.
At that moment, a gigantic roar outside attracted the attention of the group. In fear, the Baron and his wife retreated to the floor above while Izek and his guards stormed outside to face the terrifying foe, which turned out to be a Saber-Toothed Tiger, unleashed on the manor house by Rudolph Van Richten while he attempted to stealthily extricate Ireena from the house. In searching for their gear, they stumbled upon a room filled with dolls, all of which looked exactly like Ireena. Aike attempted to burn the dolls on the bed with Alchemist’s fire, but ended up setting the bed itself completely on fire. Ulfrik, seing the danger in the situation, successfully put the fire out by smothering it with his bedroll. The party found all their gear stashed in a trunk, as well as a young man, manacled in a closet upstairs. They carried him out, meeting Van Richten in the process and fleeing the scene. Although Van Richten could not accompany them in their escape, he did mention that they could potentially use an abandoned tower to the west as a base of operations, remarking that they only need to “use the door in the right way” before running away in the faltering light of day.
On the main road, the party bumped again into Leowen, who agreed with the suggestion that they leave Vallaki at once before things got more hectic. Leaving at dusk, although inadvisable, seemed to be their only option, either to Krezk or to the tower. Resummoning her familiar, Mahel learned that the invitation to Fiona Wachter’s was actually a deadly trap, as Fiona was some sort of devil worshipper, perhaps as insidious as the Baron himself. Leaving the unconscious form of the manacled man at the church, the group just made it out of the closing eastern gates as night folded its cold embrace over the land and the road to the west beckoned…..