Lost in the Mists
As the party rested in the Blue Water Inn, the Vistani Arabelle approached them and explained that there was a message for them outside. Goodman correctly assumed that they had drawn the attention of Lord Strahd. Not sure what fate awaited them, the party left the tavern.
Outside they saw a massive black coach with a single rider in dark armor. The rider offered no word, but handed the party a letter offering them egress from the country or, as he assumed they meant to stay, to join him for dinner that evening. He promised them no harm would befall them that night if they accepted either offer. Our heroes bravely entered the coach and told the driver to take them to Castle Ravenloft.
The opulent coach raced down the Svalich Road with frightening speed, but curiously the ride was smooth as the coach seemed to glide over the terrain. They raced past the small burg of Barovia and followed the Tser Pass through the dark forest. As they turned the final corner, the giant Castle Ravenloft came into view. The old fortress was bathed in pale moonlight and the drawbridge was down for the carriage to coast over. The coach stopped and when the party exited they found that they were quite alone.
The castle’s doors to the entrance hall opened of their own accord and invited the party into Ravenloft. In the entrance hall, they found the braziers lit and the supposedly gloomy space warm and welcoming. A lighted path led them to the grand dining room where a band of human servants were waiting to serve them a wonderful dinner. The food was marvelous but it appeared that the wine was laced with vampire blood.
Surprisingly, after this our heroes lost their appetite.
Their host came to greet them an hour later. The doors opened and Strahd von Zarovich, the Master of Ravenloft, joined our heroes in the dining room. Strahd welcomed the players to his home and commended them for their work in slaying Leo Dilisnya. He again offered them opportunity to depart Barvoia unharmed, an offer few had ever been given. The heroes of Miredus declined and noted they had other business to deal with. Strahd met the veiled threats with his own illusions to great harm he had visited to Lucas. Lucas mocked the lord, explaining that they had smote Strahd’s recent mistress. Strahd contended that Patrina was destroyed, but noted he would have a replacement soon enough.
Strahd explained that Azalin Rex had betrayed their location to him on the evening they crossed through the mountain pass. This frightening revelation did not shake our heroes and they remained focused. Goodman parleyed with Strahd, who revealed that he was in the charge of Samia’s missing daughter! Astrid had been well cared for in the Castle and wanted for nothing. Fears of a darker fate were laid to rest as Strahd showed the little girl was still human.
With this dark revelation, Strahd offered a temporary truce: no harm would come to Astrid and Strahd would not move against the heroes in any way—-on the condition that they accomplish a task for him. The task was explained as the destruction of a vampire named Lyssa, a former mistress of Strahd that had broken away and formed her own domain within Barovia. Strahd could not directly attack her, and asked the party to do so in exchange for the continued peace. Our heroes accepted these terms and set off from the Castle that night.
Isn’t it amazing? Ttwo forces that were destined to face each other in a duel to the death—-sitting at the dinner table peacefully enough. A better scene could never have been written.