Chapter 6; Senseless Destruction

<On the night of the Festival of the Blazing Sun.>

Elyadra crept through the quiet streets of Vallaki. She witnessed another thief leaving the house of one of Lady Wachter's followers. Elyadra ambushes the man just as he was about to enter his home. She dragged the corpse and lootbag into the house. She found a set of fine silverware in the bag and keeps it for herself. As she searched the thief's home, she discovered another man on the second floor. She found him in a dream pastry-induced stupor. She shook him awake, demanding to know where he got the pastry and when. The man couldn't give a meaningful answer, but insisted that there was something behind her. Elyadra killed him and turned to find she had been followed by three skeletal cats. Lightning flashed and she briefly saw Victor Vallakovich standing on the rooftop next door. A fight ensued and with the unexpected aid of one of Lady Wachter's followers, Elyadra survived.

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She claimed Victor's head and took his spellbook. She traveled to St. Andral's church, disregarding Lady Wachter's warning to avoid the place this night.

<Meanwhile…>

Strahd walked between the pews of St. Andral's Church as if he didn't notice Kylar sitting there, two vampire spawn slowly descended from the walls like spiders. "How can this be?" Father Petrovich asked in horror, he turned from Strahd to look at Kylar. "You did this? I told you about the bones and you betrayed me?" Strahd killed and drained the man before this question could be answered.

Kylar drew the sunsword, filling the church with sunlight. Strahd and the others shrank back, Kylar could see their skin begin to boil and blacken. Kylar offered to trade Ireena for his daughter. Strahd looked at Kylar as though he were seeing into him, then ordered the two vampire spawn to go to the inn, "Bring me my bride, my Tatyana, do not fail me." 

Strahd stepped up onto the altar and cast off his long cloak. "What claim do you think you have over her? Have you lain with her?!" Strahd demanded. Kylar said that he holds no claim, but could go get her for him – to make an even trade. Strahd said, "I thought you were going to be the one. But, you lack the wisdom, you lack the patience. You are not the one." He drew his own sword – a magic blade much like the sunsword, yet this one shed a cold, white light. He came at Kylar with the speed and precision of a predatory beast.

Related imageKylar struck out with his sword and his spear, invoking his divine smite, but found that he was no match for the vampire lord's terrifying skill. When Kylar fell, Strahd caught him, lowering him onto a nearby pew. "Unto my hands, commend your spirit," Strahd scratched open the pad of his index finger with his thumbnail, then moved his finger within an inch of Kylar's lips. "Drink this in remembrance of me." A drop of blood welled there. Kylar considered this; either to never see his child again, or to hold his child again one day, but with undead hands. Kylar mustered his strength to make one final desperate attack, impaling Strahd with his spear. The vampire lord shrieked in pain and surprise, immediately seizing Kylar by the throat and tearing his head and trailing spine from his body.

<The following is an excerpt from the journal of Winston, gunslinger and member of The Gentlemen Bastards.>

That night I wake from the chair near the fireplace to the sound of shrill cry. The scream came from Ismark and Ireena's room. I kicked open the door and Ismark was white as a ghost, his blood had been drained. I head to Sasha's room to check on her, she isn't there. I find her in Galinndan's room, her face is covered in blood. I believe she is responsible. Just as I was about to confront her, bats burst into the window.

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Following the bats, some vampires appeared. One came through the window and another is stuck in a hunting trap in the courtyard. The female vampire took Ireena out the window to deliver her to Strahd. Before they could escape, Grimm launched a fireball at the vampire, tragically killing Ireena by mistake.

As soon as that happened, lighting struck and the following thunder sounded like Strahd screaming, "NO!" in an anguished voice. Strahd was headed our way. He came on a flying black horse, its mane, tail and hooves were burning flames.

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Grimm and Strahd went toe-to-toe in a fantastic show of magical might. But,  Grimm suffered from a bite from the vampire lord. Strahd cast Grimm aside and charged after Galinndan. I watched as he took the form of a bat, followed the broom-riding elf and shifted back into normal form sitting astride the broom facing Galinndan. Their knees touching, their mouths close enough for a kiss – or a bite. They were both riding it. It was the only thing I could do, I took a shot at the broom, blasting it in half. They both fell, landing heavily, but both survived. Strahd came for me. I fired again, shot right between his eyes, this time it went right through – stopping him in his tracks. His body fell dead, 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. 

Rictavio gave me a resurrection scroll. I'm going to save it and let my party decide who to use it on. Sasha rushes off, claiming that it isn't over – that she must go to the castle and destroy him in his resting place before his body can be reformed. I consider going with her, but she doesn't wait for the others, she rides away alone. 

<Meanwhile…>

Elyadra reaches St. Andral's Church, she can't help but pick clean the pockets of terrified parishioners. Detecting no movement within, she enters quietly. She finds the bodies of Kylar and Father Petrovich. Kylar was still clutching his spear defiantly. She takes the paladin's head and his belongings to the Blue Water Inn, but makes a stop along the way.

At Wachterhaus, Elyadra meets with Lady Wachter. She learns that the burgomaster's family has been dealt with, only the baron's henchman, Izek Strazni continues to elude Lady Wachter's assassins. She told Elyadra that her sons were on the way to set fire to the baron's mansion. Lady Wachter asked for Victor's spellbook, hoping to undo the curse he had placed on her dear daughter. Lady Wachter promised to return it to Elyadra as soon as Stella recovers. Lady Wachter then gave her a set of keys to allow her entry to Wachterhaus, but asked that Elyadra only do this at night and only for matters of grave importance. For Vallaki will now be in need of Lady Wachter's leadership and she must keep these quiet dealings secret. Elyadra understood and agreed. Lady Wachter promised to contact Elyadra soon, by sending some creature she called Majesto to visit her.

Elyadra caught up with Nikolai and Karl Wachter at the burgomaster's mansion. She gave the place a once over before helping them set fire to it. She came away with a set of fine silverware and a bridal gown. Without waiting to watch the place burn, she set off for he Blue Water Inn.

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<Later…>

After learning Kylar's fate, the Gentlemen Bastards use the scroll of resurrection to bring the paladin back to life. They discuss how to proceed next, and decide they are not ready to confront Strahd in Castle Ravenloft. There are still many people in need of their help and more pieces of Madam Eva's prophecy to be deciphered. 

Chapter 6; Senseless Destruction

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