Session 21 The Festival of the Blazing Sun

Festival of the Blazing Sun Poster

Escorting the Drunken Wachter’s Home

At the tavern, our heroes have a dilemma: to escort the drunken Karl back to the Watcher house or leave him and retire for the evening. As they deliberate, Nikolai walks into the tavern, wearing a fresh pair of trousers. He takes some ribbing from the band of heroes, who have taken to calling themselves The Couriers. To be neighborly and make up for their friendly teasing, they offer to escort the brothers safely home.

Once they’ve safely deposited the two teetotalers at their mansion, they head back to the inn for a long rest. Despite their night of much-needed sleep, only Thaldir and Aydin emerge without exhaustion.

Morning at the Blue Water Inn

Tilly dons her finest plumage for the day. After filling one of Thaldir’s flasks (which he gladly empties for her with a single gulp) with a strong, warm concoction, she is ready to perform.

Ireena enters, glowing from another love-filled night with Vasili.


“I don’t know what you said to him, Tilly, but he seems to be a changed man. He asked me if I felt safe with him, and I told him I did, indeed.”

The travelers look at each other with question marks in their eyes. Thaldir expresses concern. “Child, you just met the man!” Ireena will not be discouraged by any objections. She seems resolute at her decision to move in with Vasili.

The Festival of the Blazing Sun

Outside the tavern, The Couriers join the procession that is forming, alongside people in sun masks, colorfully adorned riders on horseback, and smiling children. At the center of town, the Burgermeister stands triumphant on a large stage. Izek approaches the stage with a large torch.


The Burgemeister addresses the crowd with some empty words before reminding them, “All will be well!” He then instructs Izek to light the giant sphere, which instantly blazes nearly as bright as the sun. The crowd applauds, and the Burgemeister summons Tilly to the stage.

Swarm of Bats

As she finishes her first low and slow number to monstrous applause, the townspeople shudder at the thunderous sound of bats flying overhead. They find themselves caught in a torrential downpour, which drenches their clothes and extinguishes the giant sphere.

At the moment the swarm of bats disappear into the horizon, the rain stops. A bewildered crowd hears distant laughter. Out of the misty fog, a man appears. The Couriers recognize him as a guard they met when they first arrived at the Blue Water Inn.

The Burgemeister tries to reassure the crowd that “All will be well,” and Thaldir does his part by waving a magical, calming hand over the people.

From behind two imposing guards, Lady Watcher emerges and addresses the crowd, “My fellow Valakians, the time is now for new leadership in this town. The Baron is corrupt, and he must be stopped! Does he not trap you in stocks, beat you mercilessly, and kill you at will?”

As the Burgemeister and Lady Watcher continue their verbal sparring, each one defaming the other’s ability to protect and lead, The Couriers find themselves with a dilemma: whom should they endorse?

The angry Baron turns to Tilly and demands that she speak in favor of his leadership at once. She turns to her friends, and tells the people that this should be their choice.

Vasili has been watching and waiting. He nods in agreement with Thaldir, who challenges the Baron’s treatment of his subjects.


“You put them in stocks, and you are cruel to the people here. Are you willing to change the laws that keep them in misery?”

Furious, the Baron struggles to speak in a friendly voice through clenched teeth. “The laws will stay as they are. The people need a firm hand.”


Term motions to his companions to have a more private conversation about what is happening. They debate as to who would make the best leader for the town went on for several minutes. Tilly and Ireena felt like Vasili could be a trusted leader for the people.

Term was insistent that Lady Watcher could be powerful enough to provide the protection that the town needs. The Couriers were united on this one, important thought: whatever the decision, it should come from the people.

But how? An election? Some sort of agreement by a committee to rule?

They finish debating and turn back to the crowd, at once trying to calm the people and encourage them to take action to help determine their fate.

Suddenly, from the crowd, a man cries out, “The guard killed this man!!” Blood spurts from a bystanders neck. But, no guards are near the gasping, dying man. Thaldir spies a dagger partially concealed in the cloak of the man who cried out. He shouts to the guards to take the man away, then turns his attention back to the debate.

Lady Wachter Takes Control of Vallaki

In the end, Lady Watcher proves herself the obvious choice for leadership, having assured the people that hers will be a just and fair rule. She says the Reformation Center will only be used for the most serious crimes. She points to The Couriers as the saviors that were foretold by the prophesy, who will ultimately rid the land of the curse of Strahd.

The defeated Baron is led away to the stocks. Our heroes take this last opportunity to question him. With a pointed thump on his ear, Tilly demands that he tell them why he believed this festivals would keep the Devil at bay. He refuses at first, but a persuasive, skull-rattling smack from Aydin has him rethinking everything.

The Baron grudgingly confesses that he murdered his own father as a sacrifice to protect the town. In exchange for his father’s life, he gained the position as Burgermeister and, as long he kep up the festivals, the townspeople gained protection. He couldn’t name the dark power who made the bargain, but he had been hearing its voice since he was a young boy. The source of the voice and the darkness was a small piece of amber he found in a cave. (Syrren wonders if it is the very same amber they gave to von Richter for safe keeping.)

As for Izek, his allegiance to his brother remained true. He agreed to accompany The Couriers in the quest to defeat the hags.


Just as the heroes gained a new traveling companion, it seemed they were also destined to lose one. Vasili comes to Thaldir to ask permission to make Ireena his wife. Happy at the thought of Ireena finally being safe, they all offer their blessings (except a broken-hearted Aydin), with a few conditions. He readily agrees and plans to propose that night.

With the future of town moving in a positive direction, The Couriers decide to take their leave of Vallaki and make haste to confront the hags again.

Back to the Windmill

The Windmill

Tilly moves quietly through the tall grass surrounding the windmill. No sign of life is present, but she continues around the outside peering up at each open window. She returns to the group, and they advance together toward the dilapidated structure.

Term and Tilly enter first, gingerly moving about the first floor, while the rest of The Couriers come through the front door in a single line. The hags appear suddenly and immediately launch an attack at Term. Izek looks to his brother for guidance, even as he dodges a pointed attack from the evil trio.


This time our heroes are ready. Tilly shatters the hags with a thunderous noise. Thaldir’s spiritual weapon adds to their pain. Jaylin quickly conjures an orb that sends all three witches spinning. With blows from Aydin’s mighty sword, Granny begans to waiver. Bella and Offalia can’t seem to land any blows as the battle continues.

Granny’s lightning bolt turns the conflict in the witches’ favor, dealing crippling damage to Term and Thaldir. Bloodied, but not defeated, Term casts a rejuvenating glow of aide on Aydin, Thaldir, and himself, giving them a boost of life and the ability to battle on against their evil opponents.

Stay tuned for part two of this epic showdown…

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