23rd of Highsun (night)
We discuss tactics and decide that Lydia will cast a divination to learn whether it is wise to interact with the Iron Guard to see if they will help the revolution.
Lidiya, Nadia, and Bragga head out to the Red Cockril. Rustan helps the local resistance examine their defences and offers advice. Melliefluere goes out to talk to the trees.
After a few false turns, we arrive at the Red Cockril. The place is quite busy and loud. Lidiya meets with Gretta. They discuss the town and the current politics of the place. There we learn of Lord Oreo – the iron captain. There are 3 Jadguiga families in the city that have grudges against the current ruling family. If they’re all staying in power then, these families won’t get a chance to seek their revenge against Queen Ilvana’s clan.
We learn that the locals worship Meylar. God of the hunt, blood & beasts.
Melliefluere learns there’s only one way through into the forest. The branches form an impenetrable dome while the trunks form walls and the roots form a dome beneath the earth; but in one spot, where the trees are cut down daily – there is a gap in the roots. The gap is just big enough to get in.
The dawn-singers gather in places of earth and water and air. And the hut’s in the middle of the whole thing. The Bacchai are in a small clearing. They are having a party.
Rustan tours the Heralds of Spring’s outpost with Soulveg.
To make the hut stop we must say: Isbushka, Isbushka, turn your back to the forest and face me.
That night, we sleep in the revolution’s headquarters. And Lidiya dreams about the moon, seeing it above her. She thinks about her quest to bring the iron guard into the revolution. And words come, and so she writes in fire on the wall.
24th Highsun, 1378
In the morning, when she awakes, the stone wall has engravings within it.
When iron strikes ice, anger and strife will rule the streets
For spring to emerge, and peace to come,
Grandmother’s words must ring in the streets.
We agree to act as emissaries between the revolution and the iron guard. Solveg sends out a request and learns the Iron guard has set their meeting to the Crooked House at noon.
The pass phrase to identify our contact is: The sun is setting earlier today.
The counter sign is: Yes, but eventually it will rise again.
The Crooked House is on a rise of land called Two Hills, in the highest place of the city. It is home to craftsmasters and artisans as examples of their crafts. It is rumoured to be haunted. It’s not crowded, but there’s always people here – showing off examples of their building techniques or examples of various styles.
We wander this large building. At some point a short thin man approaches, and looks at the same piece of carving; he says the pass phrase and Lidiya responds. We follow him slowly through the rooms until we come to a small meeting room. The man is sitting in a chair in the room. We go in and take seats.
Ogrevich, the captain of the winter guard. The representative of the iron guard wants this dragon dealt with. Once he is gone, the iron guard can attack in the confusion. They can give us a way to notify them that it’s done.
Ogrevich was a man once who was cursed to be a dragon. He lives in a clocktower. He has troll guards with him as well as prisoners for food. He is very confident in his abilities. If legends are true, he can breath ice and cold from his maw but he’s not a mage or sorcerer; he has no specific protections against fire. He still fights with his old weapon (his hammer—it’s said it can smash anything).
He gives us a crystal. Dip it in the dragon’s blood and expose it to the open air and it will explode telling the Iron guard the task is done.
Lidiya goes to get Gretta. She has to wait a few minutes, but Gretta comes back with a servant. She seems surprised but agrees to come along. Lidiya is certain Gretta is hero material, and Gretta does not seem to pause when she learns Lidiya and her friends are out to kill a dragon.
Gretta tells Lidiya that people in the city knew Lidiya’s father. He was a Jadguiga, a great huntsman. The stories are that, about 15 years ago he had fallen in love with a wolf. No one knew her name. He vowed his love publicly, after imbibing too much wine. And he’d be with her and ask Baba yaga to let his love walk on 2 legs permanently. And he never returned from that quest.
At the resistance, they learn that Solveg’s lady love is a prisoner in the tower. There are other prisoners: children. Solveg agrees to help any who escape the tower. She gives over a scroll of lesser restoration and 3 potions of healing for our task. She lends Nadia her weapon (+1, can cast remove fear). And she warns us of the old witch that lives in the tower.
We meet outside the clocktower, congregating in the covered wagon. After Faufine shrinks us, we get into the bag of holding and are flown up into the clocktower.
At some point the bag opens. Melliefluere pulls us all out and we grow back to regular size. We are in the top layer of the clocktower. There’s an automaton track running around the bells. In 3/4 of the room is a heavy clock work that makes a ton of noise. 20 minutes after we arrive and place ourselves, we hear the dragon’s arrival.
We wait in ambush. When the dragon touches down inside the clocktower, we cast upon it a flurry of blows. The dragon-captain strikes back several times, almost crushing Gretta and disarming Nadia in his attacks; but we prevail. As he dies, he turns back into the man he was.
Wanderoot opens the trap door in the floor. It leads down to a ladder that leads down to a larger room that opens up and holds the pendulum. A stairway continues down. We all climb down.
At the base of the stairs is a locked door, which Rustam opens with a blast from his gun. Wanderroot peeks in and sees a scared woman. He turns the nearby mirror to face the wall.
Behind the door is a long corridor, at the end of which is a bunch of crates and barrels. We open the left-side door. It opens into a 15’ square room that is a little old lady’s foyer. Three doors lead out. Wanderroot tries the doors. Only the door to the watercloset is locked.
Wanderoot uses his strength to open the door to a little old lady’s bedroom. The old witch is in here with a pet rat.
Rustam sees movement behind the crates. It looks like a doll made of a bunch of bits and pieces woven together. The head is a giant rats skull. It’s an attic whisperer. Rustam hears sobs of children crying. The group is divided, attacking the attic whisperer in the hall and Granny Nan in the bedroom. Neither fight goes well. Granny Nan is able to phase through the walls and into the other room where she wakes up the Gobbler, an iron pot-bellied stove. It’s a close thing, as the Gobbler eats Gretta, but Lidiya pulls her out of the beast’s fiery stomach and keeps her alive. The party finishes off the Attic whisperer, and after the Gobbler falls, Granny Nan falls soon after.
When the attic whisperer falls apart, it breaks into its component parts and a few keys.