Strahd vs. The Gentlemen Bastards
Chapter 4; One Elf Spies, Another Dies
<The following is an excerpt from the journal of Winston, gunslinger and member of The Gentlemen Bastards.>
The next morning, we wake to a hearty breakfast. Something tells this might be my last meal for awhile. I feel my party is getting too comfortable here. Its probably best if we get moving. After breakfast, we ride out to the west toward the winery. Kylar stops at St. Andral's Church to make a donation and receives a blessing.
After the crossroads, we notice we are being followed. Its the vistani looking for his daughter. He asks about the necromancer. We tell him we haven't seen him in a day. Unhappy with our answer, they ride back toward Vallaki.
Elyadra remains behind in Vallaki to conduct a solo mission. She seeks out the Wachter brothers, but doesn't find them at home. Next, she travels to the mansion of Burgomaster Vargas Vallakovich. She spends a couple of hours casing the place (at one point, she witnesses a strange purple flash of light from the attic) and summons her unseen servant and sends it inside.
When an enraged townsperson causes a violent commotion, Elyadra takes the opportunity to make her move. She enters via the kitchen window, saps the butler, quickly starts a fire on the 1st floor. Then she takes the servants' stairs to the 2nd floor to see the burgomaster and his two dogs rounding a corner on their way downstairs. She slips into the burgomaster's study; searches his desk, steals a ring of keys, and adds a dose of pale tincture to the man's wine. At this time, she hears a thump coming from the room next door. She investigates, disabling the lock with practiced ease. She finds a man shackled in a closet, he's been badly beaten. She frees him, and speaks to him briefly – learning his name is Udo Lukovich, a shoemaker. He had been arrested during last week's Wolf's Head Jamboree for carrying a sign that suggested that Vallakians should feed the baron to the wolves. Elyadra helps Udo out a 2nd story window by rope and asks him to remain hidden and not leave without her.
Next, Elyadra locates the baron's bedroom and finds a trapdoor in the ceiling. The commotion downstairs has stopped, the fires have been put out. Someone's coming. She climbs up into the attic, closing the trapdoor quietly behind her. The only thing of interest here is a door with a skull engraved on it, and a sign below that reads: "ALL IS NOT WELL!". She investigates the door, but fails to notice a glyph of warding on its surface. This is triggered, dealing a severe amount of lightning damage to her. She loses consciousness.
She wakes, tied to a bed, a young man looms over her. She learns that her captor is Victor Vallakavich, the baron's son. Victor is obviously quite excited to meet a fellow magic-user – and such a pretty one. He's full of questions, but Elyadra manages to get some answers of her own and talks him into untying her. She learns that Victor hates his father and that neither apparently serve Strahd. Victor is working on a high-level teleportation circle spell, but can't seem to get it right. He wishes to use this spell to leave Barovia forever. He admits to accidently killing two of the servants in attempts to use the spell. Victor quickly learns that Elyadra doesn't have any insight to offer him toward getting the spell to work, he sketches another glyph of warding on the door and then draws a knife. He launches a fire bolt, but she dodges. She grabs her shortswords and attacks him, only to find him much more resilient than she expected. Outmatched in her currently weakened state, Elyadra goes for the window and makes her escape. She doesn't find Udo in his hiding place.
Elyadra finds the shoemaker as the man prepares to leave town. He sees the burgomaster's keys in her possession and asks her to help him release the prisoners from the stocks in the town square. She tells him that now is not the time and hints that the burgomaster won't be a problem for long. She learns from Udo that the no one hates the burgomaster more than Lady Fiona Wachter, who is often quoted as saying, "I'd rather serve the devil than a madman."
Elyadra returns to Wachterhaus. She is taken to a cozy den to meet the lady of the house. The two make fast friends, finding a common enemy in the burgomaster. Elyadra learns that Lady Wachter was the one who ordered the stealing of St. Andral's bones. She learns that Lady Wachter is a devout servant of Strahd, whom she sees more as a negligent landlord than a tyrant. Lady Wachter also introduces Elyadra to her daughter, Stella, who has been put under a spell by Victor Vallakovich – the girls believes she is a cat.
When Lady Wachter learns that Elyadra has poisoned the burgomaster, she rewards her with a pair of magical earrings. Lady Wachter also offers two pieces of advice. First, that one who she believes to be an enemy of Strahd has been seen in the woods north of Lake Zarovich and she would pay to see the man dead. Second, that Elyadra would be wise to avoid St. Andral's Church on the night of the festival. Elyadra takes her leave, going back to the Blue Water Inn.
<Returning to the journal of Winston, gunslinger and member of The Gentlemen Bastards.>
Halfway between the winery and Vallaki is a road leading to a mansion on a hill. We continue to follow the road toward the winery.
A cloaked, hunched figure waves us toward him. The man introduces himself as Davian Martikov. He warns us of druids that have taken over his winery. He also says he was robbed 3 weeks during an attack by scarecrows. He warned us about the druids plant creatures.
Inside the estate was a druid spawning twig blights, we killed the druid and cleared the 1st floor of all living vegetation. We clear the whole manor, dispatching anything in our way. Our reward is a staff made from the wood of the Gulthias Tree and a few bottles of a vintage wine. When Grimm and I touched the staff, we witnessed a vision of the place called Yester Hill.
Outside, we find Galinndan, the wood elf, stuck with a few dozen needles from the plant creatures. His twisted body lay lifeless in the dirt, it appears he fell from a great height from his broom after death.
Sasha claims to know of a man who can bring him back. I don't believe anyone can have such a power. I keep to myself and make haste toward Vallaki. Sasha takes the body to Krezk. On the journey home, we find a mummified raven's claw. We are then ambushed by berserkers from Yester Hill. No match for us, we slaughter them like their friends back at the vineyard.
We make it back to the Blue Water Inn; deliver the wine shipment and receive the Sunsword.