Curse of Strahd

Chapter 3: The Vallaki Blues

The groups makes their way away from the camp along a rocky incline that takes them to a stone bridge at the top of a waterfall. They cross the bridge and continue onward towards Vallaki. Along the way, they encounter a derelict windmill, grinding steadily in the open air. They decide that this must be Old Bonegrinder, the place that the Vistani at the camp had warned them of. They make the decision to press on; however, as they do, a raven drops a package near them. Recognizable to Talitha, it is the book she traded to the old woman…but its pages are no longer empty.

Along the road to Vallaki, the group is harassed by a group of shambling zombies. Their mindless assault leaves several wounded and Ireena severely so. With the help of Hadriel, she is back on her feet and the crew continues on.

Late in the day, they arrive at the wooden walls of Vallaki, where tall pikes hold the severed heads of wolves aloft above the parapets. The wary guards prove themselves to be an obstacle all their own, and it’s only with some persuasion that they allow the group to pass through the gates.

Once inside, the guards explain that the wolves are leftover from one of the Baron’s festivals. In fact, the Baron has festivals once a week, and the next is in three days time: the Festival of the Blazing Sun. The guards advise the group to make the acquaintance of the Baron, lest his right hand man seeks them out instead.

On the guards’ instruction, they make their way to the Blue Water Inn (witnessing a stockyard with a barrel-topped wagon parked inside on the way) with plans to meet the Baron the following morning. In the Blue Water Inn, the adventurers find an air of friendship. The owner’s wife, Danika Martikov, greets them warmly and serves them half-full glasses of wine, regretfully explaining that their supplies are limited and the next shipment is late.

At the corner of the bar, a flamboyantly dressed elf is regaling a couple of brazenly drunk brothers, Nikolai and Karl, with tales of his travels. When Amaterasu approaches, they are immediately shocked, but quickly come around and attempt to familiarize themselves with this exotic woman.

While Amaterasu is getting drunk with the brothers, Talitha pulls aside the elf for a conversation. He introduces himself as Rictavio, the owner of a travelling carnival. He explains that he has been in town for a month, paid by Baron Vargas Vallakovich, to entertain at his festivals.

At this time, two dirty and dangerous men enter the tavern, carrying a bundle of meat. They are met by the owner, Urwin Martikov, who emerges from the kitchen to pay for the meat. He gives the men free drinks, and they go sit at a quiet table.

Danika introduces her husband to the group, and after pleasantries, Urwin leans over the bar to Greybeard. He explains to Greybeard that the shipment from the Wizard of Wine is late, and that if he wouldn’t mind checking into the business, there would be ample payment.

Hadriel approaches the new arrivals sitting in the corner. They are Szoldar Szoldarovich and Yevgeni Krushkin, wolf hunters. There is a drawn-out quality to them and they speak only as much as they have to. They offer some information and warnings regarding the lay of the land.

Talitha assists a blacked out Amaterasu to their rented room while Hadriel and Greybeard continue to drink at the bar. Some time later, after the night has gotten on, they decide to retire. As they get up, they discover, just in time, that their shoes had been tied together. They hear the laughter of Brom and Bray, the Martikov children, as they scuttle back to their room.


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