The whole party arrives in a cold room within the Abbey of St. Markovia located in the village of Krezk. Well, almost all of them; they all begin to realize some went other ways with the colored rocks: Emil went to Valaki with the green stone, Kasimir went to the Amber Temple with the blue stone, and Shep, well, he should have made it with them but is no where to be seen (or even sensed by Breath of Wind’s revenant ability). The party hopes Shep is ok but are more concerned with the grotesque, two headed viol player in the room with them.
They meet Clovin, a drunk and the head servant of the Abbot. The human priest only named the Abbot has, for over a century (and not aging), taken care of the Abbey of St. Markovia which was believed to be cursed by the villagers of Krezk for a long time. They all meet the Abbot who, at first, assumes the party is servants of Strahd since coming through the teleportation device. Once true intentions are revealed it seems the Abbot has been creating flesh golems in hopes to appease the Devil, himself, with a “perfect” bride which will return the lands of Barovia to a happy and peaceful time once again. He believes his current one is ready but just needs the most perfect bride dress. Senna is ready to take on the Abbot (who has been respectful to these new visitors this whole time) but he turns into a beautiful angel and clobbers Senna with his mace in one hit. The party, ready to fight, begins to make their attack but Ismark is able to calm everyone down. Breath of Wind realizes the item they need, the Tome of Strahd, is here in the Abbot’s dining room. The priest didn’t know this and proceeds to pull the secret cache out behind the mantle over the fireplace. Breath wishes to have it but the Abbot finds this as an opportunity to trade: the book in exchange for them to find a dress for his flesh golem, Vasilka. The group agrees and they leave the abbey as they hear strange screams, laughter, and all sorts of commotions behind locked doors further inside the temple. They also ask Clovin to take care of their friend, Shep, if he shows up sometime soon.
The heroes descend the cold mountain and into the village of Krezk. They become good friends with the Burgomaster, Dimitri, who assumes they are with the Abbot. They only say they are travelers on a quest for him. The burgomaster is able to give them warm cloaks and a place to stay after Breath of Wind is nice enough to perform a worship service for Dimitri and his wife, Anna’s, late child who died of disease just a few days ago. Talks of who will take over as Burgomaster when Dimitri and Anna passes away have been floating around the community since that was their last child who has died. To add insult to injury, someone has been grave robbing in the middle of the night to steal entire bodies for the past few months within their community.
Ireena is drawn to the natural spring to the north of the village for some reason. Locals say the pool was blessed by St. Markovia herself long ago. Ireena has a similar feeling as she did the other night after her horse died. She explained to her brother that her horse, Lo-Shid, spoke to her in her dream last night (while in Rudolph’s tower), telling her that he was in a safe place but that his name was not Lo-Shid, it was Sergei. It turns out this sense of calling was the spirit of Sergei himself, who reaches out to his beloved “Tatyana” (aka “Ireena”) who appears as a water spirit from the blessed pool. Senna has a similar experience there by the pool but senses her late half-brother, Thorin, who was almost killed but saved by his vampire lover, Hulda, who changed him into a vampire as well. Even the water spirit, Sergei, looks similar to Thorin according to Senna. Because of this similar connection, Senna prevents Ismark from stopping Ireena from touching the water spirit’s hand. Ireena exclaims, as if she has known all along yet she has never said anything like this before, “My beloved Sergei! In life, you were a prince and a man of faith. We were to be married long ago. Has this blessed pool called your spirit to me?” She reaches out and embraces the water spirit, Sergei, and, with that, she is pulled into the pool as they both look so happy; they fade from existence. Ismark is mad, and frantically tries to rescue her. But she is gone and the monk is struck by blue lightning as a thundering voice comes from the east that bellows, “She is mine!” Strahd is not happy.
All is not lost though. The party finds the pool has restoration magic to it for those who first drink from it (and only one time). Also, Ismark finds new purpose as his new weapons begin to de-age in the pool. You see, Ismark found a scroll from an ancient monk sect known as the Okina Tobira (“The Great Door”) within Castle Ravenloft’s walls while they were there. This kensei secret group of monks were sworn to prevent outsiders from entering the Amber Temple. They practiced the art of the Katana (sword) and Yumi (bow) and were trained to specifically take on spell casters since the Amber Temple has a plethora of knowledge of the occult. It seems one of these monks tried to take on Strahd many years ago and failed so now Ismark takes on this Kensei mantle and agrees to help the heroes in order to get to the Amber Temple since he is called there himself.
They get back to the cottage of the burgomaster where they had tied up the “Barovian” they captured and brought here from the Castle. Unfortunately, the thug slipped away out the back window when no one was there. The party gives up on that lead and decide to rest there for an hour, partaking in a meal provided by Anna. The locals tell them that Vallaki has the best tailors in all of Barovia and they would be able to make a beautiful wedding dress for Vasilka.
Before leaving Krezk, they see the thug they had tied up before on top of the city wall not far from the main gate. He points at Senna and casts a Vistani curse upon her, “Forever you shall be cursed! May the beasts of woods prey upon you and the wounds you receive from their jagged teeth forever scar you!” The Vistana jumps over the other side of the wall and onto a horse (with the help of another Vistana it seems who is on his own horse) and gallops off. The party takes pot shots at them but are unable to strike any of them down.
With that, the heroes travel towards the east to Vallaki. On the way they find a bundle of clothes hidden in a hallowed out tree log (peculiar…). They also come across an abandoned hut along the trail. There, they are greeted by a large pack of wolves who begin to over power the group. Breath and Ismark don’t know what to do as the wolves devour Senna before she can even try to climb up on top of the house; it seems the curse on Senna was effective. Suddenly, a werewolf peeks out from the woods and whistles at the pack of wolves; the pack scatters. Emil shows his face as the werewolf and gives them a smile and says, “You saved me, now I saved you. We’re even.” And he trudges off into the dark woods. But it’s too late for Senna. Her lifeless body lies on the ground. But not for long. Once again, the Raven Queen, has found a new follower yet Senna’s head is filled with new powers as a revenant and the whispers of the dead that distract her constantly. The undead slayer is not happy as she becomes a partial undead servant for the goddess, The Raven Queen.
The group is quiet the rest of the way to Vallaki with Senna trying to understand her new found powers. Once at the gate of Vallaki, a raven greets them, beckoning them to follow it. They trust it as they enter one of the side gates and up and down various dark alleys in order to keep from drawing too much attention to themselves. They arrive at the Bluewater Inn and are escorted quickly inside by Urwin Martikov, their wereraven friend. They are given refuge that night in the raven’s loft that is only found by a secret door within the inn. Urwin explains that with the Wachter’s all but dead, missing, or imprisoned (the Wachter boys are), the Baron is blaming the adventurers for the tiger attack (Rudolph’s tiger that went on a rampage inside the town a few days ago) and the Wachters and their cult. Rudolph and the rest of the party are wanted criminals in Vallaki. When asked about a wedding dress, Urwin mentions that the Baroness had a beautiful wedding dress ready for Stella Wachter who was supposed to be wedded to their son, Victor (though that never came to fruition). With that only lead, the group prepares for tomorrow an infiltration into the Baron’s home, grab the dress, and get out of town quickly.