This morning, the three of you awoke to some miserable thunderstorms at the Blue Water Inn and decided to pack up and head for Krezk instead of waiting around for some joyless festival. The runestone in Velimir’s pack began to glow, and Velimir deciphered the runes to read Venatrix, the name of the Huntress. Over breakfast, you overheard hushed whispers between Danika and her husband, Urwin. Something about “wine,” “late delivery,” and “family stubbornness.” You said your goodbyes to Izek and Ireena, and arranged for Izek to bring Ireena to Krezk in case things go upside-down in Vallaki. A quick pit stop in Lady Wachter's library revealed a little bit of information about the Forest Folk, the druids and barbarians that inhabit Barovia. As you left Vallaki, you noticed that the morning's storms seemed to have subsided, and the burgomaster and his wife were preparing to continue with the Festival of the Blazing Sun as planned. You made your way back to the windmill easily and once again found the circle of standing stones around a boulder blocking the entrance to a cave. Velimir spoke the name "Venatrix" and the boulder moved aside enough for one person to enter. Inside the cave, Velimir found a series of tattered tapestries, and an abandoned, bloodied stone altar. He sacrificed his left forearm at the altar, emerged from the cave, and... now what?
By now, it's just reaching noon. Krezk is a little under six hours away to the west- you can reasonably expect to make it there before the sun goes down. Where are you going? Who is doing what?
Simmon looks at the map in his hands. "Well, it looks like we can either go around this city on this road here," he mutters as he traces the map with his finger, "or we can go straight through the city and out the other side. We'd pass through the festival, and we'd get to stop by St. Andrals and say goodbye to Father Lucian and Ivan. Poor little guy. We promised we'd visit. I at least want to say goodbye and tell him we'll be back to see him. What do you two think?"
"Then let's head on through! Dharos, does that sound good to you? Vel, who would you go to to get an arm? This city has no magic." Simmon takes several steps away from Velimir and fakes kicks at him when he approaches with the nub. "I will get you right in the shins you little pest," Simmon says with a smile, "Then let's head through the city. We'll make a brief pit stop at the orphanage, and then head through the Kresk!"
“I’m all for passing through but we should be cautious. The Burgomaster made these festivals near mandatory to attend so we don’t want to get caught up too much in the festivities. They might insist we stay but we don’t want to start anything. Push might come to sh-Velimir, please stop touching me with your nub.” Dharros takes a few steps away from Velimir.
"Well, now that you mention it, maybe going back through the city isn't the best idea. Honestly they might not even let us in... The road to Kresk goes right past the gate though, so why don't we write a letter and pay a guard to deliver it to Ivan at the orphange. I'm sure someone would do it for a gold." Simmon starts walking east, toward Vilaki. "This way we get word to the little one, and we should make it to Kresk by nightfall! How does that sound?"
Okay! With your new trajectory in mind, the three of you turn your backs on the standing stones and the windmill, and make your way back towards Vallaki. The Old Svalich road winds through the trees, carrying you over a hill and down towards the Eastern Gate. The fog surrounds you, and a few distant dark clouds threaten the horizon. As you approach the city two hours later, you can hear the wan melody of a few instruments, accompanied by the sound of people clapping in time.
From a distance, you can tell that the gates are shut. Two guards stand in front of the gates, wearing full plate armor bearing the Vallakovich family crest. You can spot another handful of guards on the wall, staring down at you. What are you doing?
"Ah! We must ask one of these gentlemen to deliver our message for us." Simon sits down on the side of the road, and grabs a scrap of parchement and some ink. "Hmmm. I'll let him know where we're going, and that we'll keep in touch. I don't know when we'll be back, but I'll make sure he knows we'll come check on him within a week or two. I think we'll have to come back this way." Simmon's letter reads,:
"Ivan! I'm so sorry we aren't able to come say goodbye in person, but we are headed to the west. We will send you another letter in a few days so you know we're ok. I don't have an address that you can reply to yet, though when we get to an inn that we'll be staying at for a while I will let you know. I hope the orphanage is treating you well and you're making lots of friends and that you're happy there. I hope that the festival today isn't too weird. We will be back to see you and tell you all about our adventures! Stay safe and be kind. Make friends and do the right thing. Blessings of the Morninglord and Mother Night upon you Ivan.
Simmon, Velimir, and Dharos"
Simmon shows Velimir and Dharos the letter, "What do you think?"
"I worry about that. Especially Ivan's...role in it all. Though to be honest, I am not sure what we can do about it. We found those sigils on the beds, but we don't know anything about them! Should we write to Annoushka and Father Lucian as well?"
I am sorry to leave without saying goodbye, but my friends and I are going to Krezk. Please let me know if something bad happens here while we are gone. I will send you a letter from where we are staying so that you know where to write me back. Also, if you know anyone that could make prosthetics, I just lost my arm to the Huntress spirit in the woods.