Dinner With the Devil

The day started with the party (together with Goeff and an increasingly anxious Ireena) waking at the abandoned mill. The night had been relatively uneventful so they got on with their travel toward castle Ravenloft. Arriving past the gates they found Strahds vagon waiting for them. While Irena, Cinna, Bart and Goeff continued their journey in the black caravan, Xuza and Darren continued the journey with their own horses and caravans.

After crossing a bridge high over a chasm, a bridge that seemed to creek a bit more under the partys caravan than under Strahds, the lost travellers arrived at the courtyard of Castle Ravenloft. They were met by the chamberlain Rahadin von Zarovich who greeted them and told them that dinner was to be served a few hours later. The party was asked to store away their horses and shown to their rooms.The first task was initially blocked by an uncooperative gate that refused to open for the party until Cinna revealed the secret word “openogatto” (apparently the first and only magic word of the castle that Cinna got to choose).

The time before dinner was spent exploring the castle. After setteling in the guest room, Ireena was asked to meet with Strahd. Since the party thought that letting Ireena go on her own would be a bad idea, Darren agreed to go with her. Meanwhile, the rest of the party went to look at Cinnas room.

The meeting between Strahd and Ireena happened in the audience hall, a floor above the guest quarters. Darren fell into his old habits and was standing an observant guard. During their meeting Strahd asked Ireena Kolyana (mistakenly calling her Tatyana at least once) to stay with him in the castle. In exchange the cities of Barovia would become calmer and Irena would (finally?) find a place she would feel at home at Even if Darren could observe some interest, Ireena finally decided to decline the invitation and return to the guest quarters together with Darren. During their trip between the guest quarters and the audience hall, Ireena & Darren were escorted by Rahadin. They also met Lief, the ghost accountant of the castle.

Meanwhile the rest of the party walked through the castle on their way to the tower Cinna had called home in the latest years. In the cathedral they found the body of a former adventurer reaching for a silver statyette on the altar. While especially Bart seemed interested in investigating, they followed an insisting Cinna toward the furthest tower and a really long (mostly abandoned) staircase up. Ascending the stairs the friends realised that, while Strahd seems friendly with CInna, the rest of the inhabidants of the castle definitely less so, so her quarters are a bit separate from the others. Arriving up there they found a variety of textiles covering the room, echoing Cinnas somewhat chaotic personality. They were also surprised to find that apparently Cinnas room also serves as the entrance for the visitors of Strahds castle travelling in bat form,

On their way back the curiosity got the better of Bart and he decided to try to get the silver statyette. After some investigation the party realised that the statyette might be a reason for the early demise of the previous adventurers. In order to be on the safe side, Bart tapped into his newfound powers and raised a zombie out of the body, This seemed to disturb especially Xuza, who however did not say anything. It turns out that the caution was well-founded, as soon as the zombie touched the statyette, it was instantly obliterated by a lightning bolt of energy. Luckily, it did manage to push the statyette enough to make it fall to the ground, where it seemed to be rendered harmless, and picked up by Bart.

Reconvening in the guest quarters, the party filled each other in on what had been going on. Before dinner they had been visited both by Esher and Ludmilla Vilisevic. While Esher seemed to be sympathetic toward the partys predicament, Ludmilla seemed annoyed by the fact that Ireena was here. Cinna explained that Strahd has a habit of getting bored with current consorts when more interesting ones come along, thus Ireenas presence in the castle poses a threat to Ludmillas position.

After some time discussing and getting ready, it was finally time for the main event. The part was collected by Rahadin and brought down to the dining hall. For dinner they were joined by Strahd, Ludmilla, Esher, and Volenta. Dinner was served by Helga and cooked by Cyrus Belview who had also helped the party with horses earlier. The menu consisted of Lobster Bisque, followed by Roastbeef and wine sauce, fresh bread and homemade butter. For dessert the party enjoyed fresh fruits, the likes of which they had not found anywhere else in Barovia. Strahd and his consorts chose to not partake in eating, only enjoying a redish drink instead.

In addition to extremely fine dining, the dinner was filled with somewhat tense discussion and atmosphere. It was clear that Cinnas recent actions in Vallaki (specifically…. dispatching Anastrasya) was not very well received by the other consorts. However, worst aggressions were held at bay by Strahds authority. Most of the dinner discussion revolved around the partys recent actions in Barovia. Strahd had seemingly grown increasingly agitated by the party meddling in the affairs of Barovia. Discussions circled round what kind of behaviour is acceptable for a group of strangers arriving in a foreign land. Other than that, the party learned a tiny bit about the history of Barovia and Strahds role in it. They also learned of some information regarding why Marillion and Xuza are in Barovia. They also heard about a new arrival in the castle, something about a

At the end of the dinner Strahd suddenly declared that while Marillion, Xuza, Irena and Goeff were free to go (and actually expected to leave). Cinna, Darren and Bart would stay in the castle, Cinna as a guest, Darren and Bart as prisoners. Strahd and the rest of the consorts left the dinner, leaving Volenta in charge of incarcerating Bart and Darren. However, with some fast(ish) thinking and the sunlight feature of Xuzas medallion the party managed to escape the castle, into the (somewhat dangerous) Barovian night.