Too Much Religion Will Kill You

The Lost travelers awoke in the morning to find that Bart had regained his wits, and was very keen on getting going to Krezk. While tearing down their camp, the party discussed the events of last night and–for a short while–entertained the possibility of trying to solve Damian’s problems immediately by heading south instead. In the end, Barts desire to go to Krezk and the others desire to avoid the wintery conditions of the mountains prevailed, and the party headed back north.

Before leaving, Xuza had a heart-to-heart regarding the Amber temple and what the party might find there. Xuza warned Marillion from letting anything loose from there, mentioning what he had learned in Strahds diaries. Marillion seemed a bit confused by the suggestion, but promised not to.

An hour or so into their travels, the party was met by their old friend Ezmeralda heading the opposite way. She said she was headed to Argynvostholt in search of the same journal the party had just recovered. As there was something off in Esmeralda’s behavior, the party decided not to divulge that they already had the journal. After bidding farewell, the travelers decided to follow her in order to find out what she was doing. Unfortunately, turning the cart around took long enough for Ezmerlada to have the opportunity to slip away.

The rest of the travel to Krezk was relatively uneventful. When there Bart insisted on going alone to his home camp in order to find out what was going on with his business. The rest of the party ventured into Krezk, with the aim of meeting up with Cinnas friend Illya and the abbot.

Arriving at his camp, Bart was met by his sister Ana and his father Pyotr. Ana was (understandably) somewhat upset about it taking Bart several days to respond to her message in the middle of a crisis, but after some encouragement of a plan being in the making she calmed down. Bart learned that no Vistani people were currently able to leave or enter Barovia, which significantly threatened not only Barts own business, but the supply routes and survival of the whole land. Bart verified the situation by venturing out to the mists surrounding Barovia, for the first time during his lifetime he was unable to leave through them. As a consequence, Bart decided it would indeed be time to take Nikolaj up on his word and start “exploring” alternative forms of government to the lands. Luckily Bart knew of a few capable travelers that might be up for the task.

Un the mean time, the rest of the group had (with Cinnas help) been allowed entrance to Krezk. Unfortunately they were told that Illya (the Burgomasters daughter) was too ill to meet with them, so instead they ventured up to the abbey to meet the abbot. After the tiresome hike up the mountain, they were greeted by two mongrefolk and taken to meet with the abbot. The discussions with the abbot soon turned south with the party finding out that he was building a bride for Strahd from body parts of deceased townspeople. The party also met Vasilika, the bride to be, who was only missing a face. Learning that Cinnas face probably would not do, and that Strahd actually already had a bride, the abbot asked the party to leave. Being slightly unsettled by everything they learned, the party refused to go. Especially Xuza seemed upset that a supposed follower of Eilistraee would commit such acts. Getting increasingly aggravated, the abbot finally revealed his true form as a deva, at which point the situation was heading toward all out aggression.

Full out combat was however averted by Xuza suddenly disappearing, right before telling the others to flee. The rest of the party exited under tense, but non-violent, circumstances and were joined a minute later by a transparent Xuza rushing out from the room. Xuza told them that he had been transported back into the plane of the dead, where he had a quick chat with his “patron”. After this, the party decided to leave the abbey, for now…

On their way back toward Barts vistani camp, Cinna made a new attempt at visiting Illya. Cinna found the girl gravely ill and very hungry. Worried and lacking any clear answers she promised to come back the next day.

The party spent the evening and night under the hospitality of Barts–or mostly Anas–camp. Wine was drunk (by some more than others) vague plans of rebellion were made (after some had passed out) before the party fell asleep under the stars and in the warmth of the Vistani campfire.