Our heroes make their way to their fallen friend’s funeral by way of the Old Svalich Road, now reopened.
They each make the acquaintance of the Woman Carrying Water, who is suspicious and dismissive. They also meet young Evan Braeburn and the very mournful Bethany Innsmot, who appears to be wearing Sir Vincent’s medallion.
They are eventually led to the mayoral mansion, where Cordelia Black reads to them Sir Vincent’s last wishes, and entrusts each with an unusual item. Sasha received a wrought iron cage with a dead bird in it. The cage seems to attract other birds. Ulrich is given a mummified raven’s claw. Tsora receives a wooden hand. Andrei gets a bottle of purple-black ink that creates a nauseated, uneasy feeling in anyone who stares at it for long. Senna receives a lantern with a single black candle that burns green, and doesn’t burn down or blow out.
Further, Cordelia says, Sir Vincent’s will entrusts the group with his research notes and sword, so long as they are willing to carry on his research as a group. However, neither the sword nor the notes could be found.
As they wrap up the discussion, a decanter of wine falls seemingly on its own. Ulrich smells leather and cigars, tell-tale signs of Sir Vincent. He follows down a hall, where a painting falls of its own accord! Clearly something spooky is going on.
Later, at the actual funeral, Andrei meets Sister Agnieszka and poor Father Donavich. Discussing with Agnieszka, he learns of Donavich’s torment under Strahd and the situation with his son, Doru.
He also talks to Bethany, who reveals that Sir Vincent died not just suddenly but nearly instantly. Within the space of an hour, he became very ill and convulsed until he died. Our heroes suspect poison.
Agnieszka leads the funeral, until she is rudely interrupted by Mori Cheffeur, who yells out that Sir Vincent now can’t protect them from “that thing out there.” The party later learns that this refers to a mysterious creature that stalks the woods, known only as “the Hunched Man.” After chastising the teen, Agnieszka resumes the somber service…
That is, until all the candles suddenly blow out, and the room fills with a chill wind. The doors slam shut and bar themselves, and our heroes find that they are suddenly the only ones in the otherwise empty church.
Ulrich approached the altar and placed his hands on the urn that held Sir Vincent’s ashes, asking “Sir Vincent, are you there? We are here to help you!”
He smelled the familiar leather and cigars as a gravelly voice intoned “THIS IS NOT ME.” Ulrich felt the mummified raven claw curl in his hand.
The group began a prayer to the Raven Queen, which synced up with the prayer that was in progress at the funeral, and suddenly everything was back to normal.
After the funeral, Andrei stays and talks with the townsfolk, including one who takes a particular interest in him, Olivia Reid. She says she can tell he has overcome a great deal in his life, and she respects that. She also says she wanted Sir Vincent to train her, and she provides additional details about Doru.
Senna and Tsora, meanwhile, follow Mori Cheffeur to Sir Vincent’s dwelling. They surprise him as he peers into a window. He claims he wanted to find a weapon, since the town is newly without a defender. Senna uses her magic to misty step into the building and unlock the door, which TERRIFIES Mori. He runs into the woods screaming. In the room, they find simple decor, animal trophies, and dust that suggests books and notes had been here but were moved elsewhere.
Ulrich and Sasha, on the other hand, headed to the mayoral mansion. They investigated the basement wine cellar, where they found a crude altar with arcane symbols in a corner. Ulrich smashed it, but Sasha retained the parchment on which the symbols were inked. She showed this to Senna later, who concluded it was jibberish, the scrawlings of someone untrained.
That night, the group retired to the Blood on the Vine inn, where Tsora serenaded the party with a song in memory of Sir Vincent. At the end of the haunting tune, applause from the doorway startled everyone: it was Madame Eva! She complimented Tsora’s musical skill and invited her out for a walk.
On their walk, Madame Eva spoke: “I know you are an exile, no longer of our people. But I sense you will serve us still. I know what you seek. I have seen that you will find it in the company of those gathered in the tavern.”