Marpenoth 4, 1489DR – Leafall (October), Wednesday
After speaking to the burgonmaster the group decides to investigate the mysterious bard, Rictavio. They ask some of the townspeople where they can find a carnival wagon, and they are directed towards the local stockyard, where most travel vehicles are stationed once they enter Vallaki.
The stockyard has several locked sheds along its periphery and lies adjacent to a roomy warehouse. A wooden sign above the front gate reads "Arasek Stockyard." The stockyard is a general store and a facility where storage sheds can be rented. It is owned by a middleaged married couple, Gunther and Yelena Arasek.
Parked at the south end of the stockyard is a sturdy carnival wagon, its colorful paint peeling off. Faded lettering on its sides spells out the words "Rictavio's Carnival of Wonders." A heavy padlock secures the back door. While the group checks out the wagon, Dale enters the store to speak with someone in charge.
As the rest of the party investigates the back of the wagon it suddenly lurches, as though something big has thrown itself against the inside wall. You hear the cracking of wood, the scraping of metal, and the snarl of something inhuman. Upon closer inspection, you see that the sides of the wagon are spattered with dry blood . You also see an inscription on the wagon's door frame that reads, "I bring you from Shadow into Light! "
Arannis is pretty sure the sound resembled that of a “big cat.” It was best to leave that part of the wagon alone.
The group then heads towards the front of the wagon and finds another door, locked. Asher easily unlocks it and enters to further investigate. Although he doesn’t find much of interest Master Do is able to find a hidden compartment with treasure inside, including the “Sunsword,” or “sword of sunlight” from Madam Eva’s fortune. They take the treasure and exit the wagon.
Meanwhile Dale is informed by the stockyard owner’s that Rictavio has paid a generous sum of money to keep his wagon safe. Rictavio pays them and they in turn don’t ask any questions. They also know that the bard has been staying at the local inn for about a month, but they don’t know much else. Dale bids them farewell and returns to the group, unaware they have entered the wagon and retrieved treasure.
As they discuss where to go next Rictavio appears in the stockyard and bursts into angry screaming when he notices the party has broken into his wagon and stolen property. Dale is surprised and also angry at the group, as he never agreed to steal, only to investigate.
After a heated exchange, Rictavio is handed back his property, but allows the party to keep the weapons. He has agreed to tell them the location of a werewolf den in Barovia if they help him defeat Strahd and fight the Vistani. They could discuss the matter further the next day at noon, at a specific location decided by the bard. He marks the party’s map and leaves to attend to his unfinished business.
Our adventurer’s take some time to shop in the village and complete other small tasks, before they revisit Lady Wachter’s house now that they have been given access by the burgonmaster.
When they reach the mansion’s entrance they see two young men arguing with one of the guards, they demand access to the home, and appear to be a little intoxicated. Our adventurers discover the two young men are Lady Wachter’s sons, Nikolai and Karl, who wish to enter their home but find themselves locked out by the guards. The party is able to diffuse the situation and hand them some gold so they may return to the tavern and resume their drinking. After some moments of consideration the pair agrees to leave without further incident.
The group investigates the first floor without finding much worthy of note. They run into Lady Wachter’s spy, Ernst Larnak, who had previously tried to hire the group in service of the Lady in the parlor area. He is unhelpful and unconcerned with the group.
A secret staircase is found to the home’s cellar and the party descends. Below they encounter a group of skeletons and another secret door through the cellar’s door opening into what appears to be some sort of ritual chamber. Four cultists are waiting within, but they are defeated, albeit, with some difficulties at the end. (Arannis almost dies DIES!)
Although all foes are defeated, Dale feels some sort of presence move past him and out of the room. The party still needs to investigate the 2nd floor.