The party battled the fearsome "Wintersplinter" summoned by the druids of Yester Hill. The 30-foot-tall creature proved more than formidable as he seemingly ignored most attacks against him, and even appeared to be regenerating from the blows that did seem to have an effect. The Tree Blight lashed out with it's thick roots in an attempt to restrain the party as it reigned down vicious blows with its massive arms.
Eventually the party overcame the monstrosity and retrieved the magical gem the druids stole from the winery's vineyard. In rough shape after the battle, and fearing the druid's imminent return, the party opted to travel back to Krezk in the dark of night rather than wait for the sun to rise. The Martikov family greeted the party as the returned, but the weary adventurers insisted on immediate rest before discussing any of the night's events.
The following morning the party met with Davian Martikov and relayed the events at Yester Hill. When Davian asked for the winery's stolen gem, the party attempted to leverage him for more support in the fight against Strahd. While the exchange seemed to ruffle Davian's feathers a bit, he did pledge the support of the Keepers of the Feather in achieving their goal. The family instructed Rolen in how to use the family's trained ravens to send messages, and said they would keep an eye out for the party whenever they travel in the civilized areas of the valley.
Then the group took possession of four barrels of wine, and set back out to Krezk.
Shortly after delivering the wine to the burgomaster, the Abbott unexpectedly paid a visit. The Abbot told the burgomaster and his wife that he wanted to raise their son, Ilya, from the dead. He claimed that the “gods of light” wanted the Krezkov bloodline restored. The party was escorted out of the home as the burgomaster set about the task of digging up his son's body.
Before long a scream could be heard from inside the home. The party rushed in to see Ilya, stunned and dishevelled but fully alive, being held firmly in the embrace of his hysterically overjoyed parents. With a soft smile on his face, the Abbott turned and headed toward the door without a word. As he passed the party he stopped and extended an invitation for the party to visit the Abbey and join him for dinner.
Following the Abbott's departure, the party roamed the roads of the small town encountering several of the locals. The villagers of Krezk (called Krezkites) offered the following bits of local lore:
- Residents never leave the village for fear of being attacked by wolves, dire wolves, and werewolves.
- About once a month, a wagonload of wine arrives from the Wizard of Wines, the winery and vineyard to the south. The business is owned and operated by the Martikov family.
- Burgomaster Krezkov recently lost his fourteen-year old son, Ilya, to illness. Ilya was the last of the four Krezkov children.
- A pool at the north end of the village provides fresh water throughout the year. Next to the pool, the village's ancestors built a shrine to the Morninglord in a gazebo. It's known as the Shrine of the White Sun.
- The Abbey of Saint Markovia is named after a priest of the Morninglord who took a stand against the devil Strahd. After a fierce uprising, Markovia and her most loyal followers stormed Castle Ravenloft, only to be destroyed.
- The abbey was once a hospital and a convent, but it fell on hard times after the land was swallowed up by the mists. Some of the clergy fell prey to Strahd, while others went mad and either starved themselves to death or turned to cannibalism.
- The head of the abbey, called simply The Abbot, arrived over a century ago and hasn't aged a day since. He occasionally visits the Shrine of the White Sun but doesn't talk much, and he demands tribute in the form of wine. No one knows his true name or where he came from, and many believe he's Strahd's servant or the vampire himself in disguise.
- No one from the village visits the abbey anymore. The abbey's bell rings at odd times, day and night, and the place is filled with baleful screams and horrible, inhuman laughter that can be heard throughout the village.
During their wandering, the party observed a woman sprinting past them to a local home. The group learned that a woman named Dimira Yolensky was about to give birth. In the absence of a priest, the burgomaster's wife, Anna Krezkova, supervised the blessed event and offered prayers for the health of the mother and the child. Dimira eventually gave birth to a healthy baby boy, but the baby didn't cry. One of the midwives commented to the party in confidence "That child has no soul. Very sad." She explained that she was raised to believe that newborns are soulless if they don't cry, and that most Barovians lack souls.