After defeating the Abbot, who turned out to be a fallen Angel (how did they not see that coming), our heroes met with the burgomeister, Dmitri, and other leaders of Krezk to discuss a number of items. Ireena had convinced Dmitri and the town Council, made up of Gludin Hardhelm (Head of Forges), and Tafflehoff Nightryder (Farming and Water Chief), that the party represented the best chance the people of Barovia had of finally overthrowing Strahd, and that Krezk, as the only remaining town with any strength, should accept refugees, put them to work, and bolster their defenses.
They also discussed what to do with the 60-or-so mongrelfolk that were found in the Abbey. Lastly, the burgomeister officially made the adventurers citizens and <u>Protectors of Krezk</u>, and were given the responsibilities of acting in the town's defense when needed, advising the Town Council, and to continue their efforts of opposing Strahd while prioritizing the safety of Krezk and her citizens. They could use their discretion as to what quest or task would best meet these goals.
The party volunteered to escort a messenger to Valaki sending an invitation of alliance, and would move on to the elven village nearby and then to Barovia Village, inviting the oppressed residents to go to Krezk and join the commune. In exchange for labor, farming, joining the militia, or other appropriate service, the refugees could become citizens of Krezk.
Upon reaching Barovia Village, the party spread the word and then visited their old kind-of friend, Father Donovich, who let them sleep in the Church. That night they were assaulted by revenants with powerful magic abilities. The revenants seem to be coming from the nearby Fey circle.
When they visit the Circle the next morning, it turns out the revenants are several of the Barovians who betrayed their people and joined Strahd, their souls now cursed. They accuse the heroes of being the very ones that convinced them to do so, in cooperation with Strahd's Devils. This is odd since that occurred over 400 years ago, but our heroes have their theories. The adventurers persuade the revenants to release their hold on the Circle in exchange for vowing to kill Strahd. If they fail to do so the revenants will return for vengeance. The heroes realize that if they fail to kill Strahd, they will likely be dead anyway, so what the hell. It's not like there's such things as souls or an afterlife where angry ghosts can pursue and torment you…
Jennik's brain-buddy informs him that the Sergei from the pool and Ireena's past-life boyfriend is likely Sergei von Zarovich, Strahd's brother. He also tells him that normally Planar beings such as angels and devils are not destroyed when they are defeated in the Physical Realm, only banished to their home Plane (the Heavens or Nine Hells). However, in Barovia the mists prevent any souls from leaving and thus such Beings lie dormant for some time and then re-manifest physically in Barovia. So it is safe to assume the Abbot will return eventually.
On the way back from Barovia Village, the party also visits Annie at the Mill Circle, because we could all use some tasteful sideboob. She corroborates the tale that Strahd killed his family not long after conquering the Valley, but tells them that she herself did not witness events — she and the other Fey retreated, hid, and "slumbered" soon after their defeat. She recommended exploring Argynvostholdt further if they seek knowledge about the Devils in Strahd's army — there may be records or clues there.
The party decides to make camp at Khazan's Tower, but when they arrive they find the tower destroyed. Ezmerelda's wagon also seems to have been destroyed, likely because the attackers tripped the explosive trap on the wagon door. She searches the wreckage, and finds a few items and some papers had survived. She gives a book and some notes to the adventurers. The book is apparently an unfinished draft by van Richten, "A Guide to the Fey" and the papers a few pages she found of his journal.
They then head to Argynvostholdt, with the day near ending. They plan to sleep in the crypt with the door barred after investigating a bit. They soon find a surprise message from the Dragon himself to free his Knights from some eternal curse, as well as a local dusk elf, Savid, hiding in a wine cellar. He fled the elf camp when Rahavid attacked. After the party healed him, he informed them that he was actually alive when Strahd first came to the Valley (elves can live close to 1000 years), and acted as a medic and messenger during the war.
We closed with the party in the midst of escorting Savid out and making preparations to camp for the night.