Curse of Strahd

Cookie Monsters

Led towards Vallaki by Ismark and Ireena, the party finds themselves tailed by a mysterious raven that keeps just out of contact. Dismissing it, they press forward, coming to a dilapidated windmill just as night begins to fall. They decide to enter and seek shelter, rather than camp alongside the road. As they approach, they find themselves warned away from the place by another raven, telling them through the paladin's magic that the women living within are foul hags. Deciding they cannot allow such evil to exist, the party enters anyway, quickly figuring out the purpose of the windmill. The lower level is packed with baking goods, as well as piles of bones and ichor. The old woman they encountered in Barovia was selling magical pastries made from the bones of children. Enraged, they charge upstairs, the paladin's righteousness managing to keep the hags at bay while they whittle them down one by one. The fight turns in the party's favor as another raven flits into the room, shifting into a humanoid form and battling on their side. After a ferocious melee that leaves the party badly battered, they finally bring the evil hags to their final justice and secure the windmill for the night so that they can rest. The raven informs them that they should seek a new friend at the Blue Water Inn once they reach Vallaki and flies away.

The next morning as they set out for the final leg of their trek to Vallaki, they set fire to the unholy place. Upon entering the walled city of Vallaki they find a strange mix of sights. Banners from some festival adorn the city, along with signs reading "All is Well", yet the citizens are just as forlorn as those of Barovia. The town is decorated with the heads and pelts of wolves that apparently plague the area. Seeking the Inn, they meet another were-raven named Urwin, who asks them to investigate the loss of his wine supply as proof of their good intentions. Before they set out, they take Ireena to the abbey where Ismark feels she will be safe, only to find that the magics that kept it from Strahd's influence are no more, due to the theft of the holy bones of a saint from the cellar. The party manages to track the thief down to a local man, who upon interrogation admits to having been visited by what he assumed at the time was a nobleman, but he now suspects was the vampire Strahd. He paid for the relic to be stolen and hidden in his attic, while Strahd plots his next move, leaving a half dozen vampire spawn guarding it.

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