Strahd vs. The Gentlemen Bastards
Strahd von Zarovich
Vampire, wizard, and lord of Castle Ravenloft
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Strahd von Zarovich is a vampire, and he rules all of Barovia. The dark silhouette of Castle Ravenloft looks down on the village of Barovia from its perch atop a 1,000-foot-high column of rock known as the Pillarstone of Ravenloft.
The Barovian people believe the devil Strahd is a curse placed on the land because of a forgotten sin of their ancestors.
Strahd had a fascination with Ireena Kolyana, the adopted daughter of the Burgomaster of Barovia, he had visited their home and bitten her twice.
The Gentlemen Bastards met Strahd for the first time in a churchyard in the village of Barovia. When Strahd appeared to them, Ireena fell under the vampire’s charm and approached him against her will. Kylar interposed himself between them and defiantly challenged Strahd, but was also captured by the vampire’s enchanting gaze. Under Strahd’s domination, Kylar grabbed Ireena by the hair and tried to drag her through the cemetery gates. The charm broke when Strahd retreated to Castle Ravenloft in response to the mysterious explosion above.
Kylar encountered the vampire lord again a few days later, when Strahd attacked St. Andral’s Church. Strahd killed and drained the priest, then mercilessly killed Kylar following a sword fight.
Meanwhile, Strahd’s minions attacked the Blue Water Inn in an attempt to capture Ireena for their lord. Ireena was accidentally killed by Grimm Firewalker in the struggle. As soon as that happened, lighting struck and the following thunder sounded like Strahd screaming, “NO!” in an anguished voice. Strahd rode a flying black horse – its mane, tail and hooves were burning flames – toward the Blue Water Inn. He recklessly threw himself into a duel of magic with Grimm. Strahd’s body was destroyed in this battle against the Gentlemen Bastards, but only after spewing forth a red mist. The crimson cloud appeared to briefly take the form of Strahd’s face before it was carried away to the east – toward Castle Ravenloft.
With the help of two of the Gentlemen Bastards, the dark lord has satisfied his single greatest desire by turning Ireena Kolyana: granting her eternal undeath as his bride and queen.
After an epic battle with the Gentlemen Bastards, Strahd and Sergei were finally brought face-to-face. A look of outright shock and pain shatters Strahd’s usual mask-like visage. He drops to his knees. Sergei looks upon the monster that his brother has become and is filled with despair. He drops to his knees likewise, his sword falls forgotten to the floor. The brothers embrace one another, tears spring to their eyes. Strahd’s countenance softens as his brother begins to speak. Sergei says, “What brought us here? Its all gone wrong. The world we were born into was pure and good. You were my older brother, my protector. One summer, we sharpened sticks into spears and ran with the centaurs of Harken Forest – that secret world made of green and gold. We climbed the High Mountain and together witnessed the opening of the Tannhäuser Gate – the mystery, the majesty! I fought under your command in our father’s army. I would have died for you then. I would have followed you into Hell itself, brother.” Sergei hesitates, it seems he can’t bring himself to cast the whole of the blame onto his brother. “I would have followed you then. And I still would.” Strahd’s hand moves toward the sunsword at his waist. The Gentlemen Bastards tense. Strahd holds the sword between them, the party lose sight of it briefly, he kisses his brother firmly on the head. Sergei stiffens. Without looking away, Sergei activates the sunsword, impaling his brother on a blade of pure sunlight.
Strahd’s body is destroyed. Sergei drops the weapon, releases a tormented scream and lowers his head into his hands. The sunsword falls to the floor and deactivates. Strahd’s blood slowly evaporates, creating a red mist that rises toward the ceiling. It lingers there briefly, before drifting toward the castle’s catacombs.