Bernholdt, at the burgomaster’s mansion, is greeted by a maid and is brought the up to library to meet Izek Strazni. Izek is conducting an investigation on Rictavio and his tiger, as well as the disappearance of servants of the baron and the baroness. Bernholdt is asked a few questions about their plans, but is interrupted by a guard who informs Izek of a stranger by the north gates. Izek retrieves his battleaxe from his room and brings Bernholdt with him to the gates. However, Bernholdt manages to sneak a peak into Izek’s room before they leave, and is surprised by what he sees. The room is filled with dozens of dolls that all resemble Ireena Kolyana.
Nardresh meets Bernholdt and Izek at the north gates of Vallaki. Though the Barovians are suspicious, Bernholdt learns that Nardresh is a stranger to these lands like him. They see that they have both suffered a tragic past and were brought to these mysterious lands by an unnatural force. Izek allows Nardresh in, as long as Bernholdt is with him. They make their way back to the mansion to meet the burgomaster.
Burgomaster Vallakovich is not a pleasant man. He is convinced that happiness will break the curse on the lands, and his methods of controlling the villagers will bring happiness. He believes that punishing those who are unhappy by humiliating them in public will bring humour and joy into others watching. Bernholdt and Nardresh are disgusted, by they choose to remain passive. They mention that Ireena, the daughter of the late burgomaster of Barovia, was with the party. Izek does not react and says he has never met her. The burgomaster has also never met her, but he wishes to meet her and declares that she will stay here until at least the Festival of the Blazing Sun. He is unhappy with the idea of bringing her to Krezk. Bernholdt and Nardresh excuses themselves to meet the rest of the party.