Upon approaching the town center the valiant party could see that Zombies had broken through the East barricade and were descending on local businesses where townspeople had holed up for protection. Two Vargouilles came flying over the rooftops, shrieking hideously! Luckily the party held themselves together. Valimora began pumping arrows into the Vargouille and felled them both from the sky. Meanwhile Dewey succeeded, in the name of Pelor, in turning two zombies early. Ashlynn, the Lightbringer-member and Paladin fought bravely against multiple Zombies. An Entomber promptly came up from behind her and magically thrust her into the ground as cobble stones went flying and dirt rippled. The Entomber was covered in dirt and mumbled with its mouth sewn shut, unable to speak. Even slashing weapons seemed to have little effect on the Entomber. Later, the party learned from Ashylnn that silver weapons were most effective against Entombers. Chalice unleashed a powerful fire mind blast, and considering the zombies tactics, was highly effective. As a burst of flame injured 3 zombies, their 2nd life was clearly in peril. Ashlynn began to dig herself out while the Entomber moved onto Dewey. Meanwhile Richard enganged with a Zombie slashing with his Throwing Axe augmented with a TrueDeath crystal (least). Mandel also engaged in melee combat using a Scimitar that Chalice had brought from Rendor. Chalice bravely ran over to Ashlynn just as she dug herself out of the ground. Ashlynn, badly wounded, drank a potion, and proceeded to fight using special weapons including a wooden dagger encrusted with phosphorus, garlic and sliver powder, as well as her powerful long sword. Both Mandel and Richard took a lot of damage from these very strong zombies but dealt out significant punishment as well. Dewey, after being entombed, partially dug himself out while Mandel came and got him out the rest of the way. Dewey then proceeded to channel Pelor’s holy power and turned the Entomber and another zombie. Equipped with no silver weapons to defeat the Entomber, this quite likely turned the tide. In short order, the party then dispensed with the remaining zombies who were pawing at the other barricades.
After combat, the party finally met the villagers of Barovia and were able to talk to Ashlynn. Dewey was able to learn about the Lightbringer’s guild including how to join. After joining, future training is possible to learn new abilities in fighting undead. When joining the Lightbringer’s, you take on a personal goal to defeat a certain number of undead.
Ashlynn was happy to share that she and her companions, Thendrick and Mathilda went to the church to investigate the zombie infestation. However, that was 3 days ago and they had not been heard from since. Ashylnn is eager to go to the church but also seeking assistance. She’s willing to hold off a couple more days if the party will accompany her. Ashylnn also mentioned that she and her companions also came in search of the SunSword, the original weapon by which all future SunBlades were crafted from. She believes that the SunSword was last seen and used in the area of Barovia. She was seeking the guidance of Madame Eva who seems to know a lot about the area. In fact, she sought the guidance of Madame Eva before heading to the church, but her companions were as brave as they were stupid and marched straight to the church.
After the zombies and others were handled, the Blood of the Vine tavern occupants were briefly relieved before settling back into general fear. The bartender promptly referred Chalice to someone she noticed coming in, a man alone with a goblet of wine wearing royal blue and white although dirty and tattered, still, clearly the attire of a nobleman. He introduced himself as Ismark the Lesser and proceeded to explain that his father, Kolyan, the Burgomaster died some 10 days ago. Ismark is convinced that he is not a zombie unlike his sister who stays at the mansion making sure he doesn’t turn. Ismark explained that he believes his father was poisoned by the Devil Strahd, the “man” who rules the castle. He visited Kolyan at night and was held at bay by the Holy Symbol of Ravenkind. However, the next day, he died. Ireena last had the Holy Symbol, but Ismark and Ireena were unable to unleash the powerful magic the symbol possesses. Ismark, clearly desperate begged Chalice and Richard who approached, to help quell the zombie invasion. Richard was unimpressed with the villages lack of resources but Ismark explained that practically the entire village was holed up in the town center and as a small village has no army or even a militia, just quiet farmers and townsfolk. Ismark, after Chalice shared the letter delivered by the Vistani, claimed the letter was a farce. The writing was not that of his father. Ismark also explained to Richard who came down hard on Ismark, that if anyone was to blame for the zombies it was the town priest, Danovich. After his son was killed by brigands on the road, within days zombies were attacking the village and Danovich was nowhere to be seen. He normally performed vigils which kept the undead at bay. After wrapping up with Ismark and buying him a bottle of wine for his trouble, Chalice and Richard went across the street.
After some hard negotiating, Bildrath opened the doors of Bildrath’s Mercantile for business. Perriwimple, with his bulging biceps watched the party. The party was unimpressed with Bildrath’s price gouging, especially considering the village being under siege. Chalice charmed Bildrath and eventually read his mind with her psionic powers. This got prices respectably lower and searching Bildrath’s brain led to mysterious thoughts of Lucian and a 5 platinum piece payment. Bildrath clearly had misgivings but did want to help the party. Richard ran some interference while Valimora snuck around the shop. She poked her head into a backroom, which was cluttered and basically full of backstock of the typical goods. Bildrath did sell the party some coats of Silversheen, some garlic, wooden daggers, and a special “Lightning Javelin” invoked by a special command as well as magical bracers.
Meanwhile, as Chalice and Richard were consorting with humans, Mandel spoke to the Vistani who had come out to repair the barriacde. They didn’t say much but their lips loosened when a few gold pieces were tossed on the ground. Their advice: “Visit Madame Eva, she can tell you what you want to know”.
At one point Richard inquired about the whereabouts of Jeref and someone mentioned that he was last seen leaving Barovia quite some time ago.
After some discussion, the party decided that their best course of action was to head West from town to track down and find Madame Eva after healing up. Other topics discussed were heading to the Burgomaster’s mansion or heading to the Church. For the night, Ismark agreed to make room for the party in the tavern which is full of people including some cowering in the closets…..night is near…..thump thump thump…