The good priest Donavich is clearly in denial about his son, Doru. Donavich holds out hope that his son’s condition can somehow be reversed, cured. I do not see that happening. But perhaps the good Father has a stronger faith than I.
We buried the Burgomeister. Fr. Donavich insisted we separate the man’s head from his body before putting him in the ground. While this was quite unusual, I deferred to the priest’s greater familiarity with local conditions. A small crowd did show up in the morning to pay their respects. I have suggested to Fr. Donavich that if he cleared his church of debris, it might be a more visible sign of the hope that the Morninglord promises. Perhaps he will take my advice to heart while we are away. The next step will be to remove the wailing vampyr spawn from the church basement. Baby steps.
Our group has been joined by a man who knows how to use a blade, two blades actually, to good effect. This man, Duram, wandered into town and seems to be on a quest to find something strong to drink that isn’t wine. Whatever his purpose in life, his fighting prowess should prove valuable as we continue our search for Ash.
Yesterday, at Izmark’s request, we set out for Vallaki, a nearby town. He hopes that he and his sister will find safe shelter there, farther from the watchful eyes of Strahd von Zarovich. Along the way, we stopped at a Vistani camp to inquire about Aragol, the man who’d taken Ash from Portend Hallow. This camp was in high spirits and warmly welcomed us with dance, food, and wine. I confess that I was unprepared for the strength of the wine that morning. So caught up in the dancing and good spirits was I, I over-indulged in the wine. My companions were good enough to bundle me into our wagon when they departed.
I might have slept for the remainder of the day’s trip to Vallaki, but at mid-day, I was awoken by the sounds of fighting. Our party had come upon a group of scarecrows magically brought to life! By the time I recovered my wits and moved to join the fray, my able companions had dealt with the animations. Naught remained of the creatures but ashes. Fire proved to be quite effective against creatures made of straw. We continued on.
We were able to reach our destination just before nightfall. We were welcomed at the church by Fr. Lucien Petrovich. There were a number of other townsfolk present seeking the safety of the church walls. While the circumstances are unfortunate, it is good to see that hope still burns in the hearts of the people. It was my honor to lead the gathered folk in prayers and songs to the Morninglord and the night passed uneventfully.
After lauds, Fr. Petrovich drew me aside to share with me the grave news that the Bones of St. Andril had been stolen from the church and we were, therefore, perhaps not as protected as we’d hoped. I agreed to help him find out who was responsible and recover the relic.
I first questioned Yeska, the altar server for the church. He confessed that he’d over heard Fr. Petrovich praying about a month ago and passed on the information to Milivoje, the town grave digger. We questioned Milivoje and learned that he had dug up the bones and sold them to Henrick Vandervoot, the coffin maker.
The investigation continues.