The party rescued probably-innocent nine year old Arabelle from a near unresponsive drunken Vallakian commoner, who believed sacrificing the child would bring fish back to Lake Zarovich. Arabelle told the party that her father would reward them for saving her, so she was escorted to the Vistani camp south-west of Vallaki, with the fisherman in tow as their captor.
Arriving at the camp, they discovered the existence of Dusk Elves in Barovia, meeting a guard and hearing about the leader of this mysterious race who lived in one of the houses at the foot of the hill. Most of the Vistani and Elves were out looking for Arabelle.
The group returned Arabelle to her father, Luvash, who was in the process of whipping one of his own men for taking his eye off Arabelle. Seeing her returned safely, Luvash and his brother Arrigal unlocked the treasure horde and let the party take any item they liked. He also told them of the Vistani’s understanding with Strahd, and the party convinced him to spare the fisherman and put him to use.
The party resumed their quest to cross the lake and meet the mage, putting a wager on who could cross the fastest, which Red and Parrparr won thanks to Red’s gratuitous misuse of spell slots.
After an hour or so traipsing into the mists on the looming mountain, the party came across a large elk tree imposed against the clouds, which suddenly polymorphed into a wizened and wild looking man, a crackle of eldridtch power in his crazed eyes. The Mad Mage of Mount Baratok promptly attacked, crying “You think my magic has grown weak? Think again!”