The gang is summoned by an old man in the woods not far from the winery. They talk to him, cautiously, as they find out he is Davian Martikov, the owner of the winery (he is accompanied by a few others from his family). He explains that a bunch of druids came into his winery and took over the place as he and his family ran out in a hurry a few days ago. The party agrees to help them.
The heroes approach the house and are greeted by dozens of deadly blights. They run into the house and find many more blights along with the crazed druids who seem to be poisoning the caskets of wine. With the help of a few swarms of ravens inside the winery, the group is able to vanquish the blights and the druids (though one gets away). They are able to take on the 60 some enemies because Shep and Ireena find that one of the druids had a magic staff that controlled the blights. Once they broke it the remaining blights collapse in a heap of branches.
The family is thankful and shares with the heroes that they are secretly wereravens themselves, sworn to protect this land from Strahd. Breath of Wind references the Raven Queen but they mention they follow the practices of Mother Night who no longer hears their prayers. They also mention that the winery will be inactive from now on as the 3 magical seeds that gave life to their crops was stolen by these druids. 2 of their last known whereabouts were taken to the ruins of Berez and Yester Hill (the third is unknown). The party agrees to search for them and helps the delivery of wine get back to Vallaki (with a very happy and drunk Ismark on the back of the cart).
While they travel north to Vallaki, Senna explains what happened to her in Vallaki. She met Lady Fiona Wachter, who she did not get along with well but found out that the Wachters aren’t a fan of the Baron and his leadership. Senna also found out from Nikolai that his sister, Stella (the one who is mentally disturbed), was supposed to be wed to Victor, the Baron’s son, but that fell through a few months ago when she started acting like she was a cat.
After leaving, Senna spent her day with Blinksy and his toy shop. He was kind to her (though his toys were quite creepy) and his monkey, Piccolo, warmed up to her as well. In her travels throughout the town she became quite soaked and Blinksy offered her a red dress as an apology for his untrained monkey who stole her purse earlier. She agreed and got to know Blinksy learning that he is in search of Fritz Von Weerg’s (his mentor) greatest invention, a clockwork man that he believes to be in Castle Ravenloft. As Senna looked at all the dolls, however, she noticed one that was not for sale that looked exactly like Ireena (and her). When questioned about it Blinksy admitted that Izek threatens to close his toy shop if he doesn’t continuously make these dolls for the captain of the guard. Every month Izek gives more details of what he is looking for; this made Senna uneasy as the toy shop owner didn’t know why he wanted these.
That night, after dinner with Blinksy, Senna strolls back to the inn while a billow of smoke and fire looms overhead on the opposite side of town. On her way a vampire spawn draws her into an alleyway and introduces himself as Escher. He bites her, marking her neck and claims, “I will have you later, my lady. You are ravishing.” She slumps down, horrified, as he sprints away. A guard comes to help her and runs after the vampire spawn. Senna, scared for her life, finds an abandoned home and spends the night there. She returns that morning to go with the party to the winery.
Upon arriving in Vallaki with the wine, the Martikovs reward the party for their help along with the Baron at his home with each hero asking for a specific reward. Examples of some of those rewards are: gold, an unlimited wine ticket when staying at any tavern in Vallaki, a new toy from Blinky’s shop, and a written consent of safe passage into the walled city of Krezk (as Ireena and Ismark feel that this town isn’t safe for them to stay at either). They plan to leave the next day but are asked by Vargas to be his honored guests tomorrow afternoon for the Festival of the Blazing Sun. Also, Senna received an apology letter from Lady Fiona and an invitation to dinner tomorrow (along with her friends too) after the festival at the Wachterhaus. They realize their time in this town is not yet over. Senna was worried about her hair falling out from previous nightmares throughout the night and that some kind of curse was on her. Thankfully one of the rewards they got was an elixir that cured that of her.
They get to the church to see how Father Lucien is. Everyone is happy as a small service is being held in honor to the Morninglord of the restoration of the bones of St. Andral. Suddenly, a swarm of bats looms over the pale moon, enveloping it into darkness and screeches. From the swarm a single bat descends and transforms into a misty figure, shrouded in fog. A gaunt handsome man steps down onto the road as people begin to run in fear. The beautiful lord looks at a woman and says, “Fetch me a glass.” Scared, but quiet, the woman nods her head and walks into a house and begins to assault a man inside for his bottle of wine. She screams, “Give it! Give it!” Struggles and grunts can be heard and a crash as a pool of blood spills out of the house. The woman, with torn dress and a black eye, steps out onto the street with a bottle of wine and a glass as she begins to clean the blood off the long stem. She pours it for the heavenly dressed man and he takes it from the peasant woman, sipping it while looking at the heroes who are now standing in the entrance of the church. This is Strahd von Zarovich, the devil, himself.
In one hand, he holds the glass of wine that he swirls around and sips – its crimson contents clinging to the sides of the glass. In the other hand, he fiddles with a familiar deck of cards, drawing them, regarding them, discarding them. He looks to you. Father Lucien tells the party not to leave the church as they are safe from the devil’s minions and the count himself.
“I should have known you’d find yourselves here, despite all my efforts. It appears you are guided here by," he flips another card, “fate. What a fascinating concept. For time eternal, I believed myself to be the master of everything in my life – before and after my ascension into the night. Outsiders have come and died; what’s consistent is that I get what I want. Ireena, you will be mine, no matter what you might say or do. Satisfaction will be mine in time, for I control fate, as I control everything. But you,” Strahd drops the cards and wine to the ground, staining the woman’s dress a bloody red, "you have threatened to shatter that. My beloved, Tatyana, will know her place, in my arms once again for eternity. I’m driven forward unlike any creature this world has ever known. The pain and suffering of my people can no longer be ignored. The world will see me rise up from the ashes of this city (if you so choose to take me on) and know the Von Zarovich family return with fury and hellfire at their backs. I step out into the world with the sole purpose of it’s destruction, and how does the world greet me? They send me a rag tag bunch of vagrants who know nothing more than fighting and murder. You have no understanding of what I have lost, but after today you’ll begin to feel but a fraction of my pain. We will prove it so with a simple decision for you.” He calls out, “Freek, Myrtle, come to me, my children.”
Before you can find the children you saved at the Bonegrinder Mill, they are next to the vampire lord, in a trance. The count places his hands on the heads of the two children, “For not giving me Ireena, this is your punishment, you decide: which of these two will live?”
The party is quiet as Shep’s eyes well up with tears. The catfolk is the only one who takes action and answers with an attack spell at the lord which seems to evaporate into darkness as it gets close to Strahd. The vampire scoffs, “If that’s your answer then…” He tosses both kids to the shadows as 4 vampire spawn from the coffin maker’s home descend and swarm the children. A short yelp is heard, and all that is left is clothes and dry bones when they finish eating.
“You have doomed these children to the bonegrinder as their original intent was. You could have saved at least one of them if you had proper manners.” The hag, Morgantha, appears suddenly before Strahd, kneeling and asking for her ingredients. The vampire nods and the woman collects the bones of the children and disappears once again.
Strahd turns around with his retinue of undead and floats a letter over to you the party. “With that out of the way, I hope we can be more…civilized. All is forgiven, I would suggest to take the letter.” Shep, with anger in his wet eyes, lights the note on fire with Strahd leaving the city by the eastern gate as he doesn’t seem to notice the young warlock’s response. Once again, there is quiet and eerie calmness in the poor city of Vallaki with only a priest sobbing in the streets.