A Sword of Light will Kill Vampires

In the early morning light, the party set off from Vallaki with the (ambitious) goal of reaching the doors of the Amber Temple the same day. Cinnas and Geoff’s aerial talents ensured that travel went fast.

After just over half a day of travel, the party (flying on Geoff and Cinna) could see the bridge of Tsolenka pass. When landing on it, they were immediately attacked by a dragon statue. The statue seemed especially interested in preventing Xuza or Marillion from proceeding toward the temple. After a brief fight, the party was able to fend it off.

Recognizing the place of his dreams, Marillion suddenly became very interested in entering the barracks beside the bridge. Ignoring the slight magical aura around the door that Bart detected, the party rushed in. They quickly realized that Ludmilla was currently using the barracks to study the effects of extreme cold on different humanoids. Cinna and Darren found one of these humanoids on the second floor, the–barely alive–husk of Halric, an old acquaintance of Darren.

Rushing to Halric’s aid, Cinna triggered one of Ludmilla’s fiery precautions and, inadvertently, extinguished whatever little was left of his life. Meanwhile, Marillion had made his way up to the roof, where he finally found the sword that had haunted him in his dreams since he set foot in Barovia. The discovery was cut short by Bart realizing that the spell he had felt around the door was an alarm spell, which (correctly) made the party conclude that they would soon have company. The party decided to hurry back over the bridge toward the temple.

Running over the bridge, Xuza was stopped by a hold-person spell. As a consequence, the party realized they were being chased by Volenta Popofsky and some vampire spawns. Aggressions quickly followed. During the battle, the party soon discovered the presence of a spellcaster. Bart’s “see invisibility” spell revealed the newly turned Thiefling vampire Cassia, who seemed very interested in rummaging through the party’s bags in search of something. On her second attempt, Cassia managed to get a hold of Strahds’ journal, after which she quickly exited through the teleportation portal in the barracks (even if Bart did his best to stop her).

The party eventually vanquished Volenta, her weird wolf, and the vampire spawn (some of which met their end, falling 500 feet to the river below the bridge). After the dust settled, Cinna revealed that the battle had taken enough of a toll on her magical abilities to prevent her from reaching the temple the same day. Instead, the party put some distance between Tsolenka and themselves and set up camp. The night was interrupted by a big goat who came looking for food. Luckily Cinna managed to calm it down before it decided that the party would make for a dinner.