Meanwhile, in the outside world, the elves of Dorneryll, Galenas’ homeland, were creating quite the stir. Ever since Tempus had been spending so much time in nearby Haven, the Silver Princess had been acting odd. She had not been attending to the upkeep of the nature, and the bonds keeping Haven attached to the world were slipping and weakening. This worried the elves, for if Haven went, surely the goblins of the Dymrak Forest would invade Dorneryll and kill everyone!
Word spread quickly from Dorneryll to all the elves of Karameikos. . . find the Chosen One, Galenas, bring him back, and hurry!
One who head the call was Loelin, another veteran of the Karameikan Civil War, but not of the 13th. He was an archer from the free companies of elven archers that volunteered to fight the evil Black Eagle Barony. His company fled under the onslaught of the great demon brought forth that terrible day among the willow trees near the river. For this, the humans saw only cowardice in the elves, especially Leolin’s company.
Nevertheless, Leolin had happened to have seen Galenas at a veteran’s dinner (see Chapter One!), and had followed him to a Vistanti camp along with some human soldiers. Soon Leolin found himself in the back of a Vistanti wagon heading into the cursed land of Barovia, following about a day behind Galenas and the soldiers. The fog crept over him and he passed out completely.
Back in Vallaki, the group decided to split up. Ireena was deathly afraid to travel outside the town, lest Strahd come for her. Her dreams had grown full of fear and suffering, and Strahd was in all of them. She would be protected by Izek and Ismark, plus Skylark was not well from the battle with the vampires, having been knocked out. The rest would push on to find the artifacts needed to defeat Strahd.
Before they could go, Urwin Martikov. the taven owner, drew them all into his chambers and told them in secret that he was a were raven! The were ravens were the only real forces of good in the land with any hope of fending off Strahd. They had done so for hundreds of years. Urwin possesses the Feather of the RavenKing, and uses it to help fend off Strahd. He would give it to the Adventurers if they would complete a quest for him. The local wine is the only drinkable substance in Barovia. Lately, no wine has been shipped to Vallaki. The Wizard of Wines, as he is called, was Urwin’s Step-Uncle. Also the ravens have sensed terrible evil afoot at the winery. Without the wine, the people of Vallaki would not have anything untainted to drink, as the Curse of Strahd corrupted all the water in Barovia. All of this meant that the heroes could have the Feather if they took care of the problem there.
On the way out of town, the Burgomaster asked the group to take a message to the Burgomaster of Krezk. This way they could also gain entry to the town for shelter if needed. As the group left the gates, Blade spotted a Vistanti encampment, and chose to investigate. There they found Leolin. He was being cared for by Kasimir Velikov an Eladrin who led a small group of other Eladrin sharing the camp with the Vistanti. He told them of a place he wished to visit: the Amber Temple, a place with a huge stone head for a entryway.
Leolin awoke and was reunited with Galenas. He was saddened to hear they all were trapped in Barovia until Strahd was slain. They all then went over to the Vistanti to get answers. Unfortunately, they were busy doling out punishment to a boy who had been found guilty of allowing the chief’s daughter to disappear. Half the Vistanti were out looking for the girl, Arabelle. Blade spoke to the chief, Luvash Korovich, asking for horses, but none would be given unless the daughter were found.
The group then left west towrds Krezk and the winery. They were accosted at one point by bandits, but otherwise the walk was simply a long one. They would not reach the winery by dusk so they headed to Krezk for lodging.
Krezk lay on the side of a steep mountainside. Tall walls made of stone proved this place was ancient. It was clearly a Republican-era monastery of St. Halav, built for protection and seclusion. They were high enough in elevation that snow began to fall and the fog froze on the group as they traveled up switchbacks to the strong gates of the place. The guards let them in after they showed the letter from Vallaki. Meeting this town’s burgomaster was not as harrowing, but much more serious. Krezk stayed safe by keeping all strangers out and relying on the power of the Abbot of the Abbey. Towering above the main part of the monastery was a abbey with an octagonal tower and attached dormitory. It seems the Abbot came to Barovia after the fall of Strahd’s Curse. The abbot’s holy powers keep Strahd at bay, but at the price of complete obedience from the town’s inhabitants. The abbot’s demands were few, however, and mostly kept to himself in the abbey above.
The party was intrigued by the Abbot and asked to meet him; the burgomaster suggested they leave him alone. Nonetheless, they continued up the side of the mountain as snow began to fall heavily now. They reached the gates of the abbey’s outer wall, and found it unguarded and open. They continued, but Sven snuck around the side of the structure to look for clues. The rest continues up a path to the front door of the chapel. Sven peered though a window and saw a handsome human man in robes teaching a red haired woman how to dance. Sven paused unsure what to do.
By now though, the rest had passed into an interior courtyard of the abbey and witnessed madness. walking past double doors, they saw a row of nine small sheds, each with a small humanoid inside, behind a wired cage door. Three posts stood in front of the cages and chained to one was another figure under a blanket. The group felt a sense of dread as they walked further into the open courtyard, noticing that the octagonal tower lay to the right, and the dorm was to the left. Then out of a nearby well, a sound could be heard, and then a figure climbed out: a grotesque man with spider eyes, a frog foot for a hand, and a taloned raven claw for the other. It leaped at the party, and immediately, the things in the cages began screaming, and the figure under the blanket flew up, it too a mongrel-folk of a woman with spider mandibles and bat wings. She strained at her chains, flying up and screeching a mad wail.
Inside the tower, Sven saw the Abbot react the commotion by grabbing the woman and heading out a door to the courtyard. Sven went through the window into the room. Outside, the party was fighting off the spider-man, just as the Abbot came out the door. The combat killed the red-head, actually a flesh golem, and this enraged the Abbot. He revealed his true form, a angelic deva, but one with a clear madness about it. They fought and the Abbot was slain.
Inside the dorm, they only found more abominations that it appears the Abbot had created from people that had come seeking help and asylum over the centuries. They decided to burn the place to the ground. They then made their way back down the mountain, the abbey ablaze behind them.