The party awoke the next morning and all met on the second story of the Blue Water Inn. Together in a single room they decided to have a change of heart. Perhaps they had been too rash in their decision to abandon Ismark and his sister Irenna. Hurriedly they departed downstairs to the main room of the inn hoping to catch them before they left.
On the party reached the bottom of the stairs they were met by an already busy hearth room. Rictavio, who Vertalas had already met the night before was already on his way out with a raw steak in one hand and apples in the other. In the darkest corner of the room and under a large mounted head of a dire wolf sat two dour men. They wore cloaks of wolf skin and had longbows perched in the corner of the room beside them. They were quiet and sipped their wine alone. Next to the hearth sat two brash and loud men who were obviously brothers. Despite it being the earliest part of the morning with the sun just beginning to rise, these two were already quite drunk. They spoke loudly of adventurers and their despise for the burgomaster.
Urwin Martikov spotted the party and beckoned for them to meet him at his bar. He was already talking to another feral looking man in a patchwork cloak and muddy boots, but it appeared their conversation was coming to a close and with a smile the feral looking man made his way to the door.
Are you headed out to the Wizard of Wines to see what the hold up is with that wine shipment, friends? said Urwin. The previous night Urwin and the party struck a deal that if they would investigate what happened to his wine shipment at the Wizard of Wines then he would give them free lodging. The party assured him they would be looking into it but that they were in a rush at the moment. Urwin quickly gave them some directions there and the party hastily departed, eager to catch Ismark and Ireena Indirovich.
They found them rolling their bedrolls in the stable of the inn. The party offered their condolences for their differences but the night before, but assured Ismark and his sister that they had a change of heart, and despite the obvious danger in accompanying them, that they would see them to off west to the village of Krezk.
The party all together once more traveled through the muddy streets of Vallaki. They noticed that by this point all of the wolf heads that adorned that palisade of the village
had been removed and that all the older flyers for the wolf’s head jamboree had been replaced with the new flyer proclaiming the festival of the sun. Through the town square villagers could still be seen stuck in stockades wearing plaster donkey heads, some local children called them names through the bars. In the middle of the town square today a stage had been constructed with a wooden scaffolding giving way in front of it.
The party passed through the square without trouble and began making their way through the west side of the town. During their travel they passed a peculiar sign shaped like a rocking horse with a “B” engraved on both sides. The signs hung off the front of a building with large windows to the building’s face. Peering through the party took notice of several odd and gothic toys, all of which wore a tag saying “Is No Fun, Is No Blinsky.”
It was at this point that the party bard, Dandelion of Streep. Noticed that the party was being followed. About twenty yards back a Vallaki commoner slowly lurched after them, with great interest. Dandelion shared his discovery with the other members of the party and quickly they all devised a plan to investigate. Belladonnä & Anon took a sharp left and began walking down a more secluded alleyway, Vertalas attempted to hide behind a dumpster, his elf ears betrayed him, sticking out from behind the dumpster like shoots of grass in an uncut field. Dandelion popped into the toy store to make a quick backstage costume change.
Inside Dandelion encounters a plump and friendly man with a monkey on his shoulder who introduced himself saying “Wyelcome, friend, to the House of Blinsky, where hyappiness and smiles can be bought at bargain prices. Perhaps you know a leetle child in need of joy? A leetle toy for a girl or boy?”
Inside Dandelion and Blinsky had a brief but informative conversation in which Dandelion learned that Blinsky was Vallaki’s local toymaker and a self-proclaimed “master of little wonders”. Through his clever social ways Dandelion quickly gained favor with Blinsky and told him that he would purchase one of Blinsky’s toys and be his friend if he would help him by allowing him to assume a disguise as a common Vallakian and then pretend he wasn’t aware of the change.
Blinsky was excited about the concept of having a new friend as he struggled with loneliness being a black sheep in the land of Barovia. Blinsky hoped that his toys would bring joy to the people around him, but in actuality they pushed the people away that he hoped to bring happiness.
Dandelion quickly searched around through the toys and purchased a doll that looked like Strahd Von Zarovich and a doll that looked eerily close to Irenna. Upon asking he discovered that Blinsky produces a doll that looks like Irenna everyday, though he doesn’t know who Irenna is. The dolls are for Izek Strazni who comes by everyday to pick them up. Blinsky doesn’t ask why. In return for making the dolls Izek provides “protection” for Blinsky’s store.
Before leaving Dandelion also learned:
– The Burgomaster has an enemy, Lady Wachter, who thinks that she should be the burgomaster in Vallaki and would like to replace Vargus.
– Vallaki has a festival every week (Blinsky makes most of the decorations)
– Blinsky’s monkey’s name is Piccolo and he was given to Blinsky by Rictavio, the circus ringmaster who stays at the Blue Water Inn, and Rictavio told Blinsky he has a tiger as well
Dandelion exited the toy store and returned to the street. At this point the stalker had begun following Anon and Vertalas down a nearby alley. Dandelion in the guise of a common Vallakian followed from behind and together the party surrounded and ambushed the follower.
Through their combined efforts the party intimidated that man into revealing that his name was Ernst Lansk and he was stalking the party on orders from Lady Wachter. Ernst was to follow the party of new adventurers and study them, and if they proved to seem worthy Ernst was to invite them to meet Lady Wachter for an interesting proposition…
The party declined the invitation at this time despite Ernst’s pleads for them to see Lady Wachter. However, he informed the party that when they returned to Vallaki if they wanted to meet with Lady Wachter he would facilitate the meeting. saying that “Lady Wachter has many eyes in Vallaki.” And with that, he hastily left.