After their ordeal in the Death House, the party seeks shelter in the local inn. Once they rest, they find themselves visited by the master of these lands, Strahd von Zarovich himself. He delivers them a warning, do not interfere with him and they will have one week before his hunt begins and offers them a gift in the form of knowledge of the coming of their death, an honor few mortals are granted. Uninspired by his "gift" the party sets out the next day to find a way to escape his grasp. They find an ally in a man named Ismark the Lesser, son of the Burgomaster of the village of Barovia. In exchange for promising to aid his sister in fleeing the vampire's grasp, he leads them to a vistani encampment where they find a fortune teller able to tell them how they may seek the creature's downfall, the only way to escape this cursed realm. Upon returning to the village, they witness the march of the dead, a nightly event in which hundreds the spirits of hundreds of fallen adventurers rise from Barovia's cemetery each night and relive their death at the hands of Count Strahd. Passing the local church, they also hear pained screams coming from its cellar. Driven by righteousness, the paladin urges them to enter the cellar, where they find a pitiful young man screaming to be fed. In his desperation, he attacks the group, who manage to put him to rest for good.
The next morning they meet with Ismark, and as they head for the Burgomaster's mansion come across an old woman selling pastries. They purchase a handful and continue on, meeting Ismark's adopted sister Ireena and learning that she has been visited on multiple occasions by the foul Strahd, having been bitten twice. Their father, the Burgomaster, has been plagued by nightly visits from Strahd's minions, finally causing his heart to fail. Ireena agrees to Ismark's pleas to flee to the village of Vallaki, if the party will see her father properly buried. Returning to the church they find the priest who's son they had slain the night before, thanking them for ending his misery and agreeing to bury the Burgomaster. He also recounts the story of Ireena's appearance in the woods outside of Barovia, covered in blood. The funeral completed, the party sets forth to reach Vallaki.