The story picks up with the adventurers stepping through a pair of heavy oak doors into a richly appointed hall. Unlike the dusty foyer, the hall is clean and shows signs of recent care. A black, marble fireplace dominates the north wall. Decorative oak panels adorn the other three. A sweeping staircase of red marble ascends to the second floor. A closer inspection of the wood paneling reveals disturbing images hidden among the otherwise wholesome carvings— skulls, serpents, and creeping skeletons.
A thorough search of the first floor reveals a small cloak room, dining room, kitchen, and a richly-furnished hunting den, complete with three stuffed wolves. A locked cabinet in the hunting den vexes Carric, but otherwise the three rooms are unremarkable. Like the hall, the rooms are tidy and well-kept.
The adventurers make their way upstairs, and emerge into another hall. Four suits of decorative plate armor stand against the east and west walls, each pair flanking a set of double doors. A fireplace dominates the north wall, above which hangs a family portrait depicting a dour mother and father, two glum-looking children, and a swaddled, faceless infant.
On the second floor the party finds a well-stocked library and a music conservatory containing a harpsichord and standing harp. The library has hundreds of books covering many different subjects. Thaelyn picks up one entitled The Lands of Barovia. Thinking that it may prove useful he takes it for further study. Meanwhile Carric searches through a large desk and discovers an iron key in one of its drawers. Back in the conservatory Aramaris inspects a dozen or so small, alabaster figures that adorn the mantel above a brick fireplace. The figures are carved in the likenesses of dancers wearing rich attire, though their faces appear gaunt and skeletal.
On the third floor the party encounters a suit of black plate armor that magically animates as they approach it. The animated armor attacks them, and a battle ensues. The adventurers are ultimately victorious, and Kinsey collects the scattered pieces of armor in the hopes of crafting a set of full plate later.
Further exploration of the third floor reveals more rooms in similar states of disrepair. Ormir glances out a bedroom window and notices two barefoot children playing in the middle of the cobblestone street below, even though it is well after midnight. He recognizes them as the children from the painting downstairs. As soon as he makes the connection they turn and look up at him. A moment later a wall of thick fog engulfs them. When it clears they are gone. A shiver runs up Ormir’s spine. Unbeknownst to him, his doom has just been sealed.
While this is occurring, Carric is across the room rifling through an ornate jewelry box that sits atop a vanity. He finds several pieces of expensive jewelry and pockets them. Aramaris notices what he's doing and confronts him about it. There are a few tense moments that are alleviated with a joke from Thaelyn, and the party moves on.
The adventurers continue to explore the third floor. Aramaris discovers a secret door behind a hinged mirror in what seems to be the nanny’s bedroom. On the other side of the mirror is a wooden staircase leading up. The adventurers climb the creaking stairs and emerge into an attic, where they find dozens of old pieces of furniture beneath white sheets. Under one of these sheets they discover a large chest, inside of which are the skeletal remains of a woman. Old bloodstains discolor her dress, and a quick inspection reveals that she died from multiple stab wounds.
Sensing treasure, Carric picks up her remains and shakes them out onto the floor. His compatriots try to stop him, but it is already too late. With a gibbering howl the enraged spirit of the dead woman manifests before them, and attacks with grasping, ethereal claws. During the chaos Ormir hurls a magical firebolt into the mix, and Carric accidentally steps in front of its path. The wad of burning goo hits the warlock in the head and lights his hair on fire, sending him stumbling headfirst into the wall. He connects solidly with a support beam and knocks himself unconscious. The rest of the party defeats the wraith in short order and Caerius reluctantly heals Carric, bringing him back to consciousness. They decide to remain in that room for a few hours in order to recover from the fight, and set about barricading the door.
After resting for nearly four hours, the party disassembles the barricade and sets off to explore the rest of the attic. They find a locked door nearby, and Carric opens it with the iron key he found downstairs. Before them is a small room containing a bricked-up window flanked by two dusty, wood-framed beds sized for children. Closer to the door is a toy chest with windmills painted on its sides and a dollhouse that’s a perfect replica of the dreary edifice in which they stand. These furnishings are draped in cobwebs. Lying in the middle of the floor are two small skeletons wearing tattered but familiar clothing. They are clearly the children from the painting, the same ones Ormir saw standing in the street.
Aramaris and Ormir decide to say some words over the remains, in order to put the spirits to rest. As they complete the rites they are surprised the see ghostly effigies of the two children manifest before them. In hollow voices the spirits introduce themselves as Rosavalda and Thornboldt Durst, and reveal that they were killed by their parents. They also warn the party of a monster in the basement, one that they have never seen themselves. When asked about the basement they point at the dollhouse, and then fade away. The adventurers take a closer look at the dollhouse, and soon discover a secret door located in the attic room where they encountered the wraith.
The party heads to that room and locates the secret door with little difficulty. The hidden panel swings open on oiled hinges, revealing a narrow stone staircase that spirals down into darkness. With weapons drawn and lanterns out, the party descends single file into the inky blackness.