Disclaimer: This includes spoilers for Curse of Strahd so don’t read if you don’t want to know.
We made our way back after Sergei and Tatiana had appeared to us at the shrine. When we arrived we realized the Mayor’s Ball was in full swing. With all of our exploring we had forgotten about the festivities we had been invited to. Our party took this opportunity to listen to gossip, ask questions and investigate the town. My Bard glided through the crowds listening to conversations.
We learned quite a few things about this town and its citizens. First we heard that winter was coming and people were concerned about supplies lasting. We overheard several people complaining about the Ball itself, calling it wasteful and a drain on resources. There was a lot of gossip about our Red Dragonborn Sorcerer as his people were super rare in Barovia. We started asking people questions about the town like tourists would and we learned that the Abbot had control there because he was very powerful. Some of the citizens recounted a story of the Abbot bringing a child back to life! However, no one in the town seemed to know where the cacophony of barnyard sounds we heard came from. They simply accepted it as one of the Abbot’s many quirks. We heard an interesting tid-bit that no one was allowed inside the Abbey. We asked why and they just said that the Abbot preffered solitude for his worship. They also talked about the Bellview Family. They said it was an old family that took care of the grounds.
After the feast there was another round of dancing and gossip. In this round we heard from a farmer that he was upset about a bunch of missing sheep. There was also a general unrest in the whole town, they were worried and scared but not of Strahd. After hearing all we could get from the guests we retired to our rooms and slept. Milo the Rogue didn’t go to sleep. He snuck around the town and scouted out the Abbey, but upon setting foot inside he was teleported directly to the Abbot. They met and he was escorted off the premises. He told us about his exploration in the morning and we set off to search the Abbey and check out the Abbot.
We managed to fly or float onto the premises but some of the spells were definite. Before they ran out we managed to meet a guard but it was immobile and it was made up of different parts like Frankenstein. We floated through a hallway with hands sticking out of the walls and went down a 40 ft. drop into a garden. We watched through some windows and witnessed a ritual and 5 child-sized beings chained to the wall but we couldn’t get inside. We went further through the garden and came across several dead ravens mounted on pikes, we wondered if they were were-ravens. We wandered some more and just as our spells wore off we came across a beautiful lady. She turned around and we realized that she was made up of different body parts. She couldn’t speak and seemed scared of us. We also noticed an uncanny resemblance to Irina.
The Abbot came in at the time and started to explain everything to us. The Paladin, Wick, sensed that he was a celestial descendant, a Daeva, but didn’t say anything. He was charged with protecting the Abbey and when it became trapped in Barovia so did he. The Bellview family used to run the town but a strange illness overtook them and he was trying to keep them alive. To do so he had to turn them into beasts but they were no longer their own persons. We met some of them but they were too far gone, howling like animals. The Abbot explained to us that he had a plan. He thought he could sell the flesh golem that looked like Irina as an appropriate wife to Strahd and with the deal complete Barovia would be free. We followed along as it was very clear that the Abbot was no longer all that there. He tasked us with finding a wedding dress in Valaki for the bride and we agreed with no real intention of completing the task.
We also found out that Vasily von Holtz is a friend of the Abbot and wondered at the connection between him and Strahd since he seemed to be working for him. The Abbot told us he would protect Irina here in town but that we needed to get that wedding dress. So instead of waiting for us to leave he banished us to outside the city walls and with nothing much to do we headed to Valaki to continue our adventure. We were confident that with Strahd being unable to enter the town he would not be able to take Irina from there. We went on our way thinking about how to beat Strahd and how we could make ourselves powerful enough to do so.