Curse of Strahd

Burning Down the House

Session 10

The party, along with Elvir and Davian Martikov, escorts their cargo west from the Raven River Crossroads into the mountains, ultimately arriving at the village of Krezek. While the Village of Barovia is open to all, and Vallaki is closed to Vistani, Krezek is normally closed to everyone. However, Krezek’s Burgomaster—Dmitri Krezkov—is so relieved to receive their long-overdue shipment of wine that he permits its escorts inside the walls.

Elvir’s eager to explore the forbidden village, while Davian’s more interested in completing the remaining deliveries. Tom points out that the abbey on the side of the mountain could hold one of the treasures they’re after, according to Madame Eva’s fortune telling, and that’s enough to convince the party to go in.

While Grey and Brenna stock up on supplies in the village shop, Thud decides to check up on the Burgomaster (who Mr. Whooper has been trailing since the party entered town, while Tom questions some of the locals about how the town functions without so little trade and nobody coming or going. When the subject of the abbey comes up, everyone clams up. “We don’t go to the abbey no more.”

Thud discovers Elvir peering through the window of a cottage the Burgomaster and another woman apparently entered not long ago… Elvir can’t see much, but screams draw Thud inside, where she finds the Burgomaster’s wife delivering a new citizen of Krezek into the world.

Burgomaster Krezkov is angry about the intrusion, but Tom arrives and smooths things over by implying that Thud’s orcish nature renders her incapable of understanding proper etiquette (or even property). Tom smooth-talks the Burgomaster into allowing the group to visit Krezek again in the future, and the party leaves to complete their deliveries.

By the time the party makes it back to the Raven River Crossroads (this time headed for Vallaki), the party realizes they’re being followed. Stopping to investigate, the party discovers a pair of werewolves. They kill one; the other flees. Eventually, the group reaches its second port of call: the Vistani camp outside Vallaki. As co-presidents of Arrigal’s fan club, Grey and Brenna are disappointed to find that he isn’t there, but leave their fan mail with Luvash, who—grateful for the wine—agrees to pass it along. Tom and Thud attempt to trade with the dusk elves, but the downtrodden elves are convinced that Tom’s overtures are intended as a shake down and negotiations fail.

There’s a sundown church service in progress on the day of the Festival of the Blazing Sun by the time the party makes it back to Vallaki. Mr. Whooper spots a figure clambering around on the roof, but the party is more concerned with delivering the wine to the Blue Water Inn and checking in on Ireena. Upon reaching the town square, the party finds Lars Kjurls dead; clearly bludgeoned to death while being dragged behind a horse. The party’s concern intensifies.

At the Blue Water Inn, Danika tells the party that Irene has been exiled. When the “sun lighting” ceremony in the town square was spoiled by pouring rain, Kjurls couldn’t stifle a laugh at the Burgomaster’s expense. The Burgomaster didn’t take it well and when Ireena attempted to defend the guard who’d saved her life just days before, the Burgomaster had his right hand man with a demonic right hand confiscate her gear and remove her from Vallaki. Danika has already sent her husband Urwin to steal Ireena’s gear back from the city guard. The party sends Davian and Elvir to the eastern gate to see if they can find Ireena, while they head back to the western gate to begin a search.

Arriving once again at the church, the party finds it under siege by vampire spawn. When the party storms the church, they watch the Burgomaster and his family flee the church as a bat transforms into Strahd von Zarovich and murders the priest. Not only does the party see Strahd; he sees them too, and he realizes Ireena isn’t with them. He leaves immediately to hunt for her while the party tries (largely in vain) to save the townspeople from becoming vampire food.

Ultimately, Grey concocts a plan to barricade the church from the outside and set it and the vampires within ablaze. It works, and when Grey and Brenna reveal Izek Strazni’s obsession with Ireena, the party conclude that Isek must be holding her somewhere. The party rushes to the Burgomaster’s mansion to question to Burgomaster, only to find that the townspeople have taken swift revenge now that they know that the years of injustices they’ve been subjected to weren’t keeping them safe from Strahd. They’ve followed the party’s lead and set the Burgomaster’s mansion on fire with the Burgomaster and his family inside.

Among the townspeople, the party spots a newly-disillusioned Blinksy. He tells the party that Isek lives in the mansion, and Ireena is almost certainly inside. While Blinksy tries to appeal to the assembled townspeople for help, the party storms the burning building to search for Ireena.

Brenna searches the ground floor, Tom and Thud take the second floor, and Grey grapples her way up to the attic. In the attic, she discovers the Burgomaster and his family gathered in a teleportation circle made by the Burgomaster’s son. Grey—who’s been casting spells for over twenty-four entire hours—realizes that the circle isn’t put together properly, but her warnings fall on deaf ears and the family is obliterated as though they all just ate an Infinity Stone.

Tom and Thud find Ireena, Izek, a positively horrifying number of flaming dolls, and Strahd. Izek’s unnatural arm is no match for Strahd, who restrains him while Ireena murders him with his own axe. Strand and Ireena then leave together, and Tom’s attempts to separate the pair are very nearly lethal for him. As Strahd takes Ireena to his mount—a Nightmare—at a side second floor window, he spots Grey descending from the attic and recognizes her. Meanwhile, while Thud revives Tom so they can escape the house, she spots a pair of plaques previously used to label his shelves of dolls: “Ireena Strazni” and “Inessa Strazni”.

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Denton

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