Having narrowly escaped the Death House, the party conveyed a stable but unconscious Strider to the local Blood on the Vine tavern, seeking aid for him. The burgomaster's son, Ismark Kolyanovich, started to provide help, but drew up short upon learning that the injured stranger was actually a vampire. Taking the word of the party that this particular vampire was trustworthy, he helped them back to his home, where his sister Ireena was languishing from a vampire bite from Strahd himself.
The night passed without incident, but in the morning, the vampire began exhibiting strange symptoms and panic. Eventually, Tine realized it was because he was carried into the house while unconscious but was never invited; he managed to get out of the house to remove his affliction and quickly disappeared into the alleys.
While the rest of the party stopped at Bildrath's Mercantile to sell off the deed to Death House for only 75gp (Bildrath was thoroughly unimpressed with Lucius's sales tactics), Strider investigated the source of some mournful sobbing. Ismark would later explain that the sobbing came from a woman named Mary whose daughter Gertruda ran away a week prior and has not been seen since.
The party continued to the church of the Morninglord (Strider rejoining in splendid fashion by crashing through the roof of the building), where Father Donovan was praying fervently for the curse of vampirism to be removed from his son Doru. The followers of Torm tried to convince the priest that his son was no more and that the most merciful action would be to destroy the creature he had become, but Donovan wasn't fully convinced until Lucius put on a groundshaking performance as the Morninglord himself.
The party then undertook that task with great difficulty, nearly losing the vampire spawn to the wilderness before felling him just past the entrance to the church.
Doru thus dispatched, the party assisted Ismark and Ireena with burying their father, Kolyna Indirovich, whose heart had failed days prior due to the assault on their home by Strahd's minions. After completing the burial, the party agreed to escort Ismark and Ireena to the town of Vallaki, where Ismark felt Ireena would be safer from Strahd than in the village.
Along the way, the party passed an empty gallows, but upon leaving that area, saw a body hanging from the rope. Although most of the party saw a nondescript Barovian, Tanine saw herself swinging in the breeze. Unsettled, they continued on until reaching a Vistani camp, where they were invited to join in on food and drink and revelry. One Vistana told the tale of a wizard engaging Strahd in battle but being cast into the waters below. Then, the party was encouraged to speak to Madam Eva, a gifted Vistani woman with the power of foresight. She greeted them by name, including the mysterious vampire, who was revealed to be Alessandro. She performed a card reading for them, revealing the following things:
- "This card tells of history. Knowledge of the ancient will help you better understand your enemy." The card was the 3 of Swords, the Soldier. "Go to the mountains. Climb the white tower guarded by golden knights."
- "This card tells of a powerful force for good and protection, a holy symbol of great hope." The card was the Master of Glyphs, the Priest. "You will find what you seek in the castle, amid the ruins of a place of supplication."
- "This is a card of power and strength. It tells of a weapon of vengeance: a sword of sunlight." The card was the 2 of Glyphs, the Missionary. "I see a garden dusted with snow, watched over by a scarecrow with a sackcloth grin. Look not to the garden but to the guardian."
- "This card sheds light on one who will help you greatly in the battle against darkness." The card was the Mists. "A Vistana wanders this land alone, searching for her mentor. She does not stay in one place for long. Seek her out at Saint Markovia's abbey, near the mists."
- "Your enemy is a creature of darkness, whose powers are beyond mortality. This card will lead you to him!" The card was the Darklord. "He lurks in the depths of darkness, in the one place to which he must return."
Leaving the Vistani behind and continuing onward, they encountered a woman who had a child bound in a sack among the last remnants of her wares: dream pastries, a kind of narcotic treat sought by some as an escape from dreary Barovia. The woman gave the child, named Lucian, up without a fight, and even shared some information with them, but when the party threatened to tie her up and bring her along to Vallaki to be dealt with by the authorities there, she vanished into thin air.
Lucius secured a couple of dream pastries and the party took the wagon and Lucian along to Vallaki, as the boy refused to return to his parents in Barovia, as they had sold him in return for dream pastries.
As the party arrived in Vallaki, most noteworthy were the pikes with wolf's heads on them outside the gate into the town. What unknowns await them within?