Strahd vs. The Gentlemen Bastards
Chapter 3; Stealing the Bones
<The following is an excerpt from the journal of Winston, gunslinger and member of The Gentlemen Bastards.>
On the 3rd floor of the windmill, we encounter two foul-looking old women. A fight immediately breaks out. Kylar gets his throat slit (was later healed by lay on hands) and one of the hags escapes out the window. In the corner of the room is a box with holes in it, we open it, inside are two children. Apparently, their parents sold them to the hags for meat pies. We agree to take the children to Vallaki. As we are leaving, we light the windmill on fire.
We ride out, to the northwest there is a large lake with a village surrounded by a wooden wall. We have finally reached Vallaki. The wood elf goes off on his own to do some hunting. Approaching the gate, we find spears with wolf heads on them. After convincing the guards to allow us in, they declare that "All will be well". The party splits up, Grimm and I head toward the Blue Water Inn.
Kylar went to St. Andral's Church. Before the evening's services began, he questioned the priest – Father Petrovich. Kylar asked after his missing daughter, describing her and suggesting she may be in the company of Strahd. Petrovich did not recall seeing a girl of that description and assured Kylar that Strahd could not enter the church because it is protected by the bones of St. Andral. Kylar asked the priest if he knew of any holy artifacts that could help him slay the devil Strahd - assuring Father Petrovich that he was the one who would do it. The priest referred him to Urwin and Danika Martikov, proprietors of the Blue Water Inn, for they possess a family heirloom that may be just what Kylar is seeking. With this information and the priest's blessing, Kylar headed for the Blue Water Inn.
Sauron visited Arasek Stockyard just long enough to purchase some flasks to carry the demon ichor he had procured from the old windmill. From there, he left Vallaki via the western gate, seeking the nearby Vistani camp. There he encountered Luvash and Arrigal Vadu severely punishing a young vistana for failing to keep a watchful eye on Luvash's daughter, Arabelle. He asked after any magic-users in the camp. They gave him the name Kasimir Velikov, a dusk elf living just down the hill. Sauron told them he may have found the missing girl and described the party's encounter at the windmill. Luvash demanded Sauron to take him to his daughter. But, at the town gate, the Vistani were denied entry. The guards cited the burgomaster's edict that Vistani are not welcome. Luvash raged at them and begged Sauron to go in and bring his daughter out. Sauron found Ireena and the children at the inn, where he discovered this girl was not the one the Vistani are looking for. Ireena told Sauron that she would be taking the children to St. Andral's Church, the priest there is the caretaker for orphans. When Sauron reported to Luvash, the brute grabbed him and accused him of keeping his child from him. The town guards threatened to fire on him. Luvash released Sauron and pounded on the gates, saying "I know she's in there! I know it!" Sauron left him there, returning to the inn.
Elyadra went to the town square first, where she found a number of villagers in the stocks, some wearing plaster donkey heads. Knowing that using the Thieves' Cant would draw the attention of her fellow scoundrels, she sent out a few signals. Two young men approached her, obviously twins, they introduced themselves as Nikolai and Karl Wachter. Elyadra got the sense that these two were amateur pranksters at best, but was able to glean the location of a shady dealer. She followed their directions to the coffin maker's shop and a man named Henrik van der Voort. He claimed to be closed at first, until Elyadra told him the sort of business she was looking for. His interest peaked, he invited her in. She was led behind the shop counter, into his workroom. Henrik showed her what sort of things he had to sell to rogue-types; poisons, caltrops, saps, smoke bombs and the like. Elyadra was also able to fence some stolen goods. Rather than taking her money, Henrik offered her a small job – one to prove her worth and establish a deeper business relationship. "No one has to get hurt, of course," he told her. He tasked her with stealing some old bones from the crypt beneath St. Andral's Church. Elyadra agreed and took her leave to meet the party at the inn.
Galinndan went hunting over the forest to the west. He found a strange doll in the woods, bearing a tag that read "Is no fun, is no Blinsky". He also found a headless wolf corpse and proceeded to follow its back-trail. This led him to the northwest. He soon found himself surrounded by ten wolves. He identified the alpha and spoke to it, asking to be taken to the she-werewolf that the prophetess had spoken of. But, immediately discovered these wolves were simply wolves and quite hungry. He flew away on his magic broomstick. Next, he came to a smaller lake with a single island in the center. On this island was a stone tower with a single door with strange symbols on it. He made a note of its location and returned to Lake Zarovich and the town of Vallaki. On his way to the Blue Water Inn, he saw a young woman coming out of Arasek Stockyard carrying wooden stakes and other monster-slaying paraphernalia. He tried to follow her, but was quickly spotted. Amused by him, she introduced herself as Sasha Ivliskova. She told him she was leaving Vallaki to slay Strahd for what he did to her. She asked if he knew the stories about all the missing women and children in Barovia. Fed up with the way the burgomaster and others ignore the problem, she aims to travel to the heart of problem – to plant a stake in it. Galinndan agrees to accompany her, but they both agree to bring his friends along for more manpower. They travel to the Blue Water Inn.
Ismark is granted a meeting with Baron Vargas Vallakovich, burgomaster of Vallaki. The baron is a sour, old man with tiny hands and an elaborate comb-over. Ismark tells the burgomaster of his and Ireena's plight, and warns him that at least two of The Gentlemen Bastards are possibly minions of Strahd. Baron Vallakovich assures Ismark that he will keep his sister safe and that "All will most certainly be well".
<Returning to the journal of Winston, gunslinger and member of The Gentlemen Bastards.>
Upon entering the Blue Water Inn, we meet a man named Rictavio - who was interested in Grimm's profession. Its made clear that he wants to use Grimm for a carnival attraction. Before retiring to his room, he leaves a card on the table that says he wants to talk privately about Strahd.
Grimm and I follow him. Rictavio claims he isn't actually a carnival ringmaster. His mission – like ours – is to destroy Strahd. I hint around the clues I got from Madam Eva and Rictavio is able to provide some answers. He claims the "knowledge of the ancient" lies within the spire of Ravenloft. He also suspects the "den of ravens" is in fact this very inn. Be believes the 'werewolf holding a secret hatred for Strahd" may be found in a den to the northwest.
Kylar meets us at the inn, he has a private meeting with the innkeeper – Urwin Martikov. Galinndan introduces a woman to us, she wears a wolf necklace. Her name is Sasha. She doesn't say much, but claims to have a strong hatred for Strahd. Urwin gives us a quest to secure his next wine shipment from his father's vineyard – The Wizard of Wines Winery.
Elyadra leaves the inn after night falls, she makes her way to St. Andral's church. The priest and orphans have gone to their rooms, there are a few parishioners sleeping in the sanctuary. With a combination of stealth, magical trickery, and sapping a poor old lady in the back of the head; Elyadra gains access to the bones. She picks the corpse clean of any valuables before tossing the bones into a burlap bag. She returns to the coffin-maker's shop to deliver the bones. Henrik is very pleased and impressed with her work, but apologizes for not inviting her to stay awhile for he has visitors upstairs. Leaving the bones with Henrik, Elyadra returns to the inn for a night's rest.