In a Certain Realm...

S18 Fish?
Fish camp, Fish guards, Fish, Fish. Fish.

23rd of Highsun

At the edge of Winterthrone, Mellifluere senses for faerie crossroads. The results are confusing, at best. Some sort of fae magic is forcefully closing them, causing them to open, move, and close again. Perhaps the witches harnessed the portals that are in place to power their gates to Winter? It feels very chaotic and there’s a build-up of energy that seems … dangerous.

Nadia turns the expedition of dog sleds away from the city and towards the fish-camps that lay along the coast near Winterthrone.

We enter the fish-camps; the smell of fish is overpowering! Bragga changes her appearance to look like an average old woman, while the lot of us seem to fit in with the working crowds. Still, we are strangers and locals avoid us, while being polite.

Nadia leads us to a small but well-maintained hut. She knocks but there is no answer. Bragga takes a moment to notice that people seem afraid and are chatting amongst themselves.

Mellifluere steps into the hut to look around (Faufine opened the door after having come down the chimney). In her search she finds that Rignear Malencolf’s boots, cloak, and sword are missing; so Rignear Malencolf is probably out. Under a loose flagstone, she finds a bag of jacks. Three are painted, while the rest are bone coloured. They are religious token of Lira, goddess of joy and freedom. An odd thing to find here in the land of eternal winter.

The locals at the fish camp inform us that Rignear moved away. Nadia doesn’t buy it, and so we talk the local fishmonger. We eventually learn that Rignear was arrested by the fish-camp guard for being outspoken. The fish camp guard is a gang that runs the local protection racket. Rignear was probably taken to the fish guard’s outpost.

After learning a bit more about the fish-camp guard and where they are located, Faufine goes to investigate.
He reports the layout and has found Rignear.

We learn from a local lad that Rignear tried to organize the locals against the fish-camp guards, but got arrested instead.

Protected by a silence spell, Wanderroot bursts through the walls and ceilings beyond the secret door at the back of the fish-camp guard’s outpost. Bragga, Rustan, and Nadia run in and take on the fish-guards: several ogres and a human captain. When there’s a chance, Nadia frees Rignear while Lidia drags him outside to safety. As the fish-guards try to escape, they run into Bracca’s summoned celestial mountain lion; waiting for them on the other side of the door!

After the fight we talk to Rignear. Lidiya heals him (somewhat); but he is highly confused as to his rescue and who we are.
We toss the fish-guard’s outpost. We find a branch covered in spider webs with tiny spiders on it. There’s a little pouch containing 4 rough rubies (50gp ea), 180gp, and a silver mirror engraved with two lovers embracing (about 1’ tall on the wall) (100gp). The leader has a few magical items: An enchanted rapier +1, studded leather suit (enchanted, +1), and fine quality crossbow (light). We find 100gp on the dead along with a gold necklace with a noble’s crest (100gp).

Back at Rignear’s hut, we learn that the city is under lockdown and the current queen which has formed a new guard – the winter guard. He suggests we go to the Howlings (the district in which the winter wolves hold court). The only ones who can pass freely through the city, in the howlings, are the Jadigua (the nobles) and the winter wolves. We’ll need papers to pass us off as Jadigua once outside of the Howlings. Eventually, we should be able to reach the Heralds of Spring (what he calls the rebellion against the queen).

Rignear had a delivery to make of fish into the city. He informs us that those who are not nobles have to hide their weapons or have them confiscated when they enter the city. Once we go from the Howling to Morton’s house – this will be the most dangerous part – because trolls, ogres and wolves hold that region and the only law is strength.

During the night Lidiya uses her ability to create a moonlight script. Writing a short message in moonlight on the floor before she wakes. It reads: “Over, under, through steam and ice, find the blooming rose of red, orange, and yellow. She will guide you through the brambles to the hut.”

We learn that the leader of the opposition is named Solveg.

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S17 From Helsprin to Winterthrone
With a few minor stops along the way.

19th of Highsun

Along the way into the village outside of Helsprin, we come across the entombed body of the 2nd witch queen; Nadia tells us that when Babba Yaga and her alliance of fey and trolls conquered this country the 2nd witch queen tried to rebel against Babba Yaga, and was caught fleeing.

As we enter the village, Nadia notes something is amiss. Faufine scouts ahead.

He comes back to say the town seems empty, but for a man; he’s laying on the ground outside the last house on the edge of the village.

As we approach, Mellifluere switches out to Wanderroot. Rustam spots the fallen man while Nadia calls out for Marette.

Wanderroot recognizes the tracks as one of a quickling.

Borwild (the man in the street). is badly injured. As Lidiya is dealing with Borwild., Nadia and Marette call out to each other. Marette tells Rustan to stay away or they’ll kill you.

As it moves, we see it. It’s a blurry, indistinct, creature that moves super fast. It’s a quickling; and it puts up quite a fight. Lidiya and Nadia manage to get inside the house, followed quickly by Rustan carrying Borwild. The quickling is joined by a twig jack; but they are no match for Rustan and Nadia’s dead-eye aim, Bragga’s magic and Wanderroot’s strength.

Inside the house, the two children run to hide. Lidiya sees to Borwild. Nadia dashes out to get her sons, along with Rustan and Wanderroot.

The houses along the street are decorated in beautiful gingerbread patterns. The region is known for its wood carving. Brightly colored decorations are fairly rare. Marette says her boy was tricked into becoming a satyr.

They managed to get everyone (even the dogs) indoors.

Wanderroot finds the barn that (he learned previously) the fey are hiding in; at the edge of the village just outside of town.
As Wanderroot watches, the Quickling comes out of the second story, runs down the wall, outside a bit and then back in.

It seems the other fey have captured a golden faun and are trying to convince him to kill his mother. At Bragga’s suggestion, we head out to the barn. Nadia stays behind with her boys. Faufine scouts ahead, but gets caught! He calls out to Wanderroot for help.

Wanderroot bursts into the barn. Zababa (the Quickling) recognizes Wanderroot (as walking and talking trees are fairly rare in these parts). She gives him the chance to walk away, but they intend to kill the nasty humans. As she runs off to deal with new-comers, Wanderroot tries to grab her, and the nearby tinder jacks explode, doing him damage.

In the ensuing battle, the twig-jacks are killed and the Quicklings (2) subdued. The young faun is humanoid with golden hair and jacked legs. He’s wearing rags (perhaps a shirt and some pants). Once freed, he dashes home.

His mother opens the door and she runs to greet him, embracing him. Wanderroot takes the quickling aside to “hold court” with the fae. Mellifluere summons earth elementals who pull the fae down into the earth where they die.

Meanwhile, in town, the dogs are shoo’ed out of the house and the kids are left to play together.

Marette cooks a cabbage and pork stew. During the evening, Borwild awakens. After thanking us, Borwild plays his flute.
We chat with the young faun. Lidiya fixes up a shirt for him.

Ellarion offers to help the young faun figure out his powers.
In the night Hatch (the domovoi) and Nadia talk.

20th of Highsun

In the morning, under a light flurry of snow – good byes are said. Garron (the satyr) left during the night.

The dog sleds are hitched and we head out once more. We travel on to Winterthrone.
It takes 3 days go get there.

23rd of Highsun

The city is quite striking. From a distance, it seems to be completely white. Rich in textures, but absolutely white in color.
We decide to go into the fish camps, looking as much like peasants as possible.

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S16 From a tiny hut to Helsprin
in just 8 days

11th Highsun

Bragga gets her mask enchanted, and we buy an amulet of natural armour +1, some soulsoap, a magic pine cone, and a magical tea-pot all from Siljga and Fingoth.

We spent 4 days with them, recovering and waiting for items to be made.

16th of Highsun

We depart at dawn. Around midday, we spot a large patch of greenery. It’s a few miles wide!

As we approach, we feel waves of heat travel out of it. Inside this circular area, grass has sprouted on the open plain.
The trees show a year or two of growth.

Rustan spots a man in his late 30s with long, shaggy beard and hair. He’s discarded most of his clothes (wearing green trousers). His eyes are closed, his head is bent towards his staff and he is concentrating. Aside from the young trees, there are large piles of rocks strewn about. In the field is a 5’ monolith and the man is standing in front of it.

Faufine reports he saw large wolves chasing a giant elk.

We head towards the man with the stick. It takes about an hour to get to him as he’s in the centre of the green. As we approach, he seems to disappear.

The monolith is covered in carvings. Beside it now stands a short stunted tree. Wanderroot calls to the tree, and the man shakes off the tree shape. He is thin, but otherwise seems healthy. He introduces himself as Hako, from the Oakfather of Demara. He has travelled far to be here.

His circle made the stone and he intends to stay and defend the stone until the witches kill him, at which point the magic will fade. We try to convince him of a better way. We warn him that the witches have created multiple portals to bring winter to the other realms in Faerun.

He says Lidiya is a wolf trapped beneath the years of living as a human woman. He claims his circle could teach her how to let the wolf be free. Lidiya doesn’t understand – saying she is simply who she is.

He names the leader of the resistance in Winter throne as Solveg. She’s a follower of Lyra (the goddess of freedom and liberty). Hako admits the information we gave him is enough for him to return home and inform his circle of the new development. We can only hope his circle finds a better way to fight the witches of winter; although we are very grateful for a night in the green and out of the winter.

Nadia who agrees to take Lidiya to heal the injured giant wolf. We saw him injured in the distance while chasing a gargantuan elk. Nadia manages to get the wolf to let Lidiya touch the injured wolf to heal her. It works! Nadia is able to retrieve the elk’s horn that pierced the wolf and is covered with wolf blood. She keeps it as a talisman. Neither Hako nor Mellifluere share Lidiya’s approval of her actions.

Mellifluere requests a mud golem to bury the magical stone. It complies. Mellifluere hopes this will significantly delay the witches being able to find the magical stone.

Our game bag is over-full thanks to Nadia hunting and the overwhelming number of animals in this 6-mile wide clearing.

We eat well that night.
Tonight is a new moon. The dome of stars is wondrous.

17th of Highsummer

We travel back into winter and head on-wards.

The aerial reconnaissance with the hawks, Faufine and Wanderroot’s height gives us more than fair warning as we are passed by a large armed group. They seem headed to the summer place. They are a group of humans and goblins with a palanquin carried by either ogres or trolls.

18th of Highsummer

As we seek a place to camp, we are near Helsprin. We come across a village, but Nadia doesn’t believe it’s our destination. It looks abandoned.

Faufine identifies Selune’s iconography at the temple.

We enter the town/torp. It is a ruin. Tumbled walls, broken roofs. The only building that’s together is a small country church. It has a little dome. There’s a 4’ enclosure around the courtyard. On the door is the familiar iconography of Selune. The three statues in the courtyard are heavily weathered but are humanoid females. the doors are rotting, and inside are two robed figures.

The keeper of the temple tells us to go play with the others. We watch as the children flee past us, running away from goblins and trolls; the village burns around us. A lone child is running, and is suddenly pierced by a spear. The child writhes in pain and becomes a goblin ready to kill others. Bragga and Lidiya recognize it as a haunting, but the rest are crushed by the site of children suffering.

The priest screams that we should be with the others as a monstrous creature of the knight is revealed! And it attacks us.
One bad guy calls out Selune! Why have you abandoned us! The fight is quick, the two priests and the monstrous knight, images of the goblins are all defeated when the priests fall. After they admit their guilt to having sacrificed the children to save themselves. Lidiya kills the last priest.

The others feel the crushing weight on the party’s shoulders start to dissipate.

To bless the place, Lidiya performs a small mass. At the apex of the ceremony; she lights a candle then blows it out and relights it to show the cycle of Selune and the cycle of these men. In the light of the candle, one of the flagstones of the church sparkles as though its made of mica. Below it is a small coffer. It radiates of magic slightly.

Inside it are the remnants of the church’s treasury. An ivory scroll case (worth 100gp) with 2 scrolls: hold person, resist energy (cold) — both to Selune. 2 fire opals (worth 150 ea) and a small leather pouch 220gp, 27 pp.

19th of Highsun

At the end of the 19th, we reach Helsprin where Nadia will leave her children with friends.

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S14 Goodbye Villeday
... hello Ludovny

10th of Highsun

We leave Villeday, with Illarion, Nadia and her sons. Nadia has organized it so that we are travelling in three dog sleds across the frozen lands.

We are followed by giant flocks of ravens. The ravens attack, bombarding from the sky, as soon as the village fades from sight. We defended ourselves, killing all but a few. They took flight, but two hawks came down from the sky and greatly reduced the survivor’s numbers.

Faufine learns that the lord of the Hawks asked them to watch over us. Wanderroot detects that a fae gate has been opened recently and closed.

12th of Highsun

On the evening of the 2nd day of travel we arrive (mid morning) in the town of Ludovny. It is a squat little berg. Nadia tells us it’s a trading town, so it’s use to strangers and foreigners.

Mellifluere joins us to go into town. Near the centre is a castle, covered in icy rhyme. The populace is mostly craftsmen and visiting folk selling wood, furs, and the like. Most villagers are similar in appearance to those in Villeday, short-squat-and dark. Many of the local nobility are tall, blond, and white haired. Lidiya can pass as a noble quite easily.

The Dajiqua are the noble cast, they are descendants of the queens of the kingdom. Every time there is a new queen, the descendants remain and become lesser nobles. Every 100 years the nobles should change-out along with their queen. This tradition is now long overdue. Nadia notices that there are a lot more guards than when she last visited.

Lots of people don’t wear winter clothes as the ability to withstand winter is a sign of power. There are a lot of witches in the city and their familiars. There are also foreigners and dwarves.

At Nadia’s suggestion, the party rents a room at a local inn, in which Lidiya borrows various bits of gear from other party-members to make her look more like a Dajiqua. Then go to a money changer where Nadia “oversees” an exchange of 4000 gold for 40 blue eye gems. The merchant is obsequious, believing the deception.

After removing some of the jewellery, they go to the foreigner’s market. The merchants sell of blankets, spread out on the ground. Nadia goes to find Junie. We buy a scroll of Remove Curse and the Wand of Resist Energy (49 charges).

In the market Mellifluere notices a moustachioed man is being threatened by some local toughs. She wanders away to deal with it. Only Rustan notices it, and he follows from a distance. Naturally, the nearby friendly merchants flee from the region. Soon the whole group gets involved (as much to try and support and protect Mellifluere as a reaction to the local tough’s … demands on Mellifluere’s person.

Nadia recognizes our opponents. She calls out “Mordros! Let her go!” She draws her weapon.
In the fight the local toughs (later identified by Nadia as The Bavadir Clan) lets loose their wolf. It rushed up and no stops before Lidiya, staring at her.

The leader motions with his hands, and the Moustachioed gentleman is thrown into the mud behind them.
Moustachioed gentleman gets up and engages the enemy as he slaps the enemy with his rapier demanding he unhand the lady (that would be Mellifluere). At the end of the combat (after many blows are traded between our group and the toughs) Rustam freaks out over Bragga spewing up spiders at her enemies. The spiders and eagles pursue the fleeing toughs.

The Moustachioed gentleman presents himself as Sir Erethol Tintel of Uthmir.

Nadia manages to get the wolf to follow us away, even though his human is dead. We take him to the edge of town where Nadia sends him off into the wilderness.

We leave civilization behind. And we travel across the wide open plain. Nadia informs us that we’re following a travel route.

We eventually find a spot and camp overnight. A small snow-fall will slow-down travel the next day.

13th of Highmoon

Nadia takes us along a side-path that is better packed. It’s another trade route. We come to a close of trees. The Hawks are aggressively keeping other birds away. In the cops of trees is a little wooden hut. It is surrounded by a little picket fence. The posts are carved to look like they have skulls on pikes. There’s a plume of smoke coming from the chimney.

A woman opens the door as we approach. She is a beautiful red head and seems to be crying. Mellifluere identifies her as a fairie – a houldra. A hollow wooden fae (no back) with a foxes tail. She identifies Mellifluere as a tree spirit. She identifies herself as Sylgja.

Sylgia’s house is snug, but well organized.

To hide what she is, she married. Her sister, however, stole her husband (Fingarth) in the hopes that what protections Sylgja had by marrying a mortal would protect her too. She’s turned Fingarth against Sylgja; he attacked her as he is charmed.

When Babayaga conquered the winter thrown, she cast spells over an area of the city in which winter wolves could become like men. They call this area the howling.

We learn that Sylgja’s sister is a green hag (8’ tall) named Rigja of the pond.

After some discussion with the hawks; Faufine comes back and asks if Mellifluere is asking. We all go out onto the porch.

Sylgjia and Bragga discuss the art of magic.

Outside is a winter garden with plants that are at least trying to grow. One hawk lands on Mellifluere, but the other stays aloft, keeping watch.

Faufine explains that Mellifluererequests a boon from their master to see Rigjag granted sanctuary from the frost fiends of this place.

One of the hawks come back after talking to their master, they return with the message that he will do anything for his beloved. This points to Mellifluere being a beloved.!!!

We take out our snowshoes and walk across the field.
We travel an animal path towards the pond. We sing along the way.

We hear someone splashing in water nearby. She calls out “Fingoth attend me my dear.” As the trees clear, we see a green hag in the water. Large rocks stand frozen nearby. Over them all are giant trees that weave a canopy of branches.

Fingoth is naked and pink from the water. He is a strapping man of middle age. He is holding a battleaxe in a quite steady hand. Behind him is a tall veiled figure, helled up by a diadem of river stones. The veil covers her face and upper torso.

She demands we leave as we are unbidden.
Milliefleur starts negotiating for Fingoth’s release.
When Rigja takes off her veil and smiles at us. Her ugliness makes Faufine ill.

Milliefleur awkens Wanderroot who, once he’s filled in, opens a pathway so Ragja can see the place where she is offered sanctuary. The pathway appears within his trunk.

She falls back into the pond and then returns with her gear. She orders Fingoth into the realm beyond, but Wanderroot objects. She touches the bark and the tree envelops her and then pulls her through.

A minute later, she comes back through. And breaks the glamour.

Along the way we learn that Fingoth is 94. He admits his love for his life.

Their reunion is a joyous one.
We spend one or two days with them before heading out.
Fingoth thanks us enthusiastically.

17th of HIghmoon

We travel on for two days before encountering a dumbfounding sight. In the far distance is a large patch of green.
It’s a large big green open spot of summer. In the centre of all of this is one large tree.

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S13 The Fight to get Out continues
Still in the pale tower, still the same day

We stand in the northern reaches of Faerun, in the high frozen lands of Irisen. Us, the Black riders of Baba yaga, traveled to the pale tower along with Nadia Betzka, a local merchant and hunter to feed her village; we snuck into the pale tower from the top and took out Radnosec, destroying his romantic dinner, and tying up his date for the evening—we looted the lower and gained the allegiance of a goat (Balstoy). We also learn that Thora (Nadia’s missing daughter) had her soul bound to a magical doll. Her mother set that aside and is determined to seek revenge. Going downstairs, we stopped the captain from having sex; defeated her and her partner, 2 atomi, a satyr bard, and numerous guards from the cafeteria.

And then, from the conservatory, we hear the chains holding back the mandragora break.

Lidiya heals Rustan and Nadia while Wanderroot heals himself and then heads into the library.
The doors to the conservatory burst open and a demon potatoe steps forth!

During the fight, the demon potatoe bits Nadia and she becomes poisoned and confused. The potato is quickly mashed, but Nadia’s illness posses a greater problem. Rustan manages to knock her unconscious before she is able to beat her own head in.

Lidiya and Bragga rush forward and start trying to treat the poision. After 4 minutes of treatment, her breathing returns to normal and the foaming at the mouth stops.

Wanderroot and Rustan rush the kitchen.
Wanderoot takes up the knife in the butcher’s block and tosses it into the cafeteria. The cook (a grey-skinned spriggand) screams at them. Wanderroot attacks although Rustan would rather just lock the cook in the kitchen!

Wanderroot make the cook him surrender and puts him in the cage.

Rustan eats a cookie from the kitchen. It’s a white dragon cookie. He says its over-sweet at first but it gets mealy, but he works his way through it.

After some curative magic, Nadia awakes.

Wanderroot keeps looking for the shape changer, from the state of the book in one of the rooms (closed so quickly the page crumpled), we know he left quickly. Eventually one of the dead jumps up and runs towards the teleporter.

Wanderroot warns us! It dodges most of the attacks, but Bragga successfully trips it with her flail and then Wanderroot wallops it. It crawls away. Becoming Lady Argenta. Bragga and Wanderroot kill it. It melts away.

Nadia destroys the two teleporters that go downstairs.

We raid the library and take the books. They deal mostly with history (of the realms in general), as well as one on planes, Algorondian nobility, and a beastiary (covering fae, dragons, and magical beasts of the north).

When we’re ready, we take out the guardian statues near the teleporters. After several misses, we finally take down one.
Bragga is not amused. She lifts off her mask and screams at the remaining statue—shattering it.

We move to the top floor, and sack out for the night. When Mellifluere comes out we discuss the situation with her. Nadia is torn. She wants to stay with us, but Mellifluere worries about Nadia’s children.

Looking outside, the troll has eaten the dogs. We gear up.
“A gathering within the hall, take one, take us all” (think: north)

Wanderroot then Lidiya appears. A soldier appears in the hall, we take him out.

As another soldier enters. Rustan gun-butts him to the face.
We systematically mow through the soldiers. The last guard surrenders.

Rustan removes the dead bodies from the privies and puts the tied-up prisoner in with the priestess.
Lidiya and Nadia, Rustan and Bragga each go up into the opposite wings, and from there up onto the walls, from where we take out the guards and the Troll outside.

As we gather everything and leave, Wanderroot starts pummeling the Pale Tower. Determined to see it reduced to rubble.

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S12 Leaving the Pale Tower
... in the dust!

Lidiya healed Mellifluere of her wounds.
In searching the other rooms of the tower, Rustan is attacked by an ice statue of Noisima; and he is cursed with an illness that sucks the life from him. Lidiya and Mellifluere rush to his aid, but they end up using a scroll from Bragga. Mellifluere reads from the scroll and heals Rustan.

Bragga learns the little girl was used to power a protection doll that was sent back to the Forgotten Realms and that the goat’s name is Balstoy.

In looting the vault, Wanderroot can’t open the treasure chest. He kicks the chest along the ice floor saying “Hey Rustan, here’s something for you.” Rustan, sitting on the bed – takes a shot at the treasure chest and the lock pops open.

Wanderroot finds a portal that seems to be linked back to Mellifluere’s grove.
Lidiya takes note of where the other five portals are.

  • Two in Faerun (one is in the yearwood)
  • 1 in Karatur
  • 1 in Mastaca
  • 1 in Zakara
  • 1 in the open ocean (near Evermeet).

The key to use the anywhere teleporter is the phrase “Make haste and retreat with the ground beneath my feet”.

Balstoy (the goat) warns us that a shapeshifter came to the tower with a plan to replace Lady Argenta.
The shapeshifter is still here, but permanently in Lady Argenta’s shape.

We go down to the main hall and as we’re preparing to entering the library, a man comes to the door.

The party launches its attack early, shrinking the man at the door, and rushing past to attack the guards in the nearby rooms. It is a free-for-all against the Captain, two guards, two atomi, Frafine (the satyr bard we met along the road). It is a particularly long and hard -fought battle, leaving all of the party injured in some way.

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S11 Frigid Towers
The Ravens were really a murder waiting to happen

On the mid-summer’s eve Mellifluere interrogates the Domovoy in Nadia’s house. He use to live in the Pale Tower.
In the morning, the priest retells the tale of the mid-summer pact with the wolves. He omits a few things and emboldens others, but the legend is reborn.

Mellifluere has a map on birchbark of the Pale Tower. She also knows the passwords to get between levels and who lives within.

In the dark of the night, patterns of light flow across the sky. We talk briefly; then go to bed.

Mellifluere finds a small crown of deep dark purple flowers deposited on one of Wanderroot’s smaller branches. There is a slight magic about them.

1st of Highsun, 1378 year of the cauldron.

Tonight is a full moon.
Lidiya uses her moonlight script to determine if the adventure into the Pale Tower is weal or woe. There is no answer. She decides this is a good thing.

Nadia and Rustan bring the guard’s dogs to heel. Lidiya and Nadia’s boys play with Nadia’s dogs in the meantime.

Bragga examines the mirror. The mirror is not inherently magical. As she peers deeper into its facets, she finds residual divination magics, but more as a focus (from the exiting of the magic). Some red wizards have spells designed to speak through a specially prepared item. The magic probably required it’s placement in the inn; having been moved should have broken the spell. The priest, once warned, puts it in the basement of the church — and expresses an interest in bricking it up.

Bragga, Mellifluere, and the priest search the town for magic. There’s a magical shield above his hearth. The general store has some magical items (nothing divination-based). There’s more Stuff in the Alchemists’s home. The chapel has some residual magic. The woodcarver has something magical in his house (but, again, it’s not divination).

The priest gives Lidiya a vial of oil that he says will protect her from evil.

We take two sleds to carry everyone. Ellarion comes with us to watch the dogs while we’re away.
We take the cloaks and the helms of the soldiers as well as 100 feet of rope and a grapple. We also take the potion of protection from the elements.

Ellarion wears a suit of studded leather armor.

We head out. It’s a beautiful summer day and the snow is knee-deep. In the sunlight it’s only -10C. It’s not too windy and rather pleasant. There are occasional stops to get up, stretch and shake out the furs.

We dodge the Snare-sisters (trappers that work for the witches), thanks to Wanderroot’s talking to the trees. We avoid the patrols and guards, and pass through grandmother’s gift; a thick stand of birch trees.

We stop some distance from the tower and take cover under the trees. Ellarion takes the dogs a distance away. He says he’ll wait 3 days. As he departs Nadia erases all our tracks within a 60’ radius.

As the sun sets, the crows flow in and out of the aviary.
At the foot of the tower, we can feel the cold radiating out of the ice.

Faufine takes the rope and flies up. He places the grapple and the knotted rope falls down.
Nadia, Rustan, and Wanderroot climb up, while Bragga and Lidiya hold onto Wanderroot.

The aviary is a strange shaped room. Wires run across the room, upon them sit the crows. The room has two crates and several doors. A lattice on the floor glowing with pale blue light is the strangest feature in the room.

Nadia dashes forward, pushing everyone out of the way and starts killing crow after crow, grabbing some with her other hand and chucking them away onto the ice spikes.

Silence returns to the aerie.

Wanderroot ties the door shut. Beyond the door is a priestess of Oriel (maybe).

The store room is long and narrow and its full of stacked crates. There are shelves at head height that are filled with dollhouses. The dollhouses have minor enchantments. Many are filled with crap; a jeweled silver dagger (with the hilt resembling a winter wolf) +1, jade bracelet in the form of a dragon, a gold ring, silver medallion decorated with sapphires, gold signet ring with a seal or noble crest, and three blue quartz crystals.

The crates contain food for the ravens, surplus metal wire, and poultices for the ravens.

The group opens the door and rushes in, but the priestess of Oril is not in her room. The leaf-shaped room holds a bed hard-up against the back corner. There are two windows in this room, and a rather pretty crystal mobile of birds.

There’s a light wooden shield in the corner. A potion (transmutation; unidentified) and a scroll (conjuration;enchant a weapon to grant it the power of returning) in a foot chest that are magical. There’s a pouch of 84gp in the foot chest.

Take wing, soar and fly, let me view the winter sky – the password for the next teleporter.
Wanderroot goes through the teleporter first.

As we all gather in the hall below. There are strange noises coming out of the green house.
Wanderroot is holding the green house door shut. Nadia and Rustan enter the double doors into the hall of mirrors. There is a bright red carpet covering the floor from the double doors to the teleporter further along down the hallway. On either side are two naked silfs, standing guard.

We all shuffle in quietly, close the door behind us and make our way to the teleporter. Fortunately, we are alone in the corridor.

Onward, upward, in a tick, don’t be late – just be quick.
Wanderroot goes first.

The room is dominated by a giant sphere covered in lines and designs. It is transulcent and energies and forces ripple along it. There’s a bubbling caldron in the corner, and beside it is a goat. Standing up on either side of a tressle table is a tall male hummanoid and on the other side is the priestess of Aurel.

Nadia attacks Radosek Pavril screaming “Where’s my daughter!”. Aurel claims her innocence, but it is ignored as Radosek admits to recognizing Wanderroot as the Dryad’s treant. He is surprised that Wanderroot survived. He calls out to the goat—Valstoy protect me! The goat seems unimpressed. He intones over the cauldron, which bubbles madly.

As Wanderroot deals with Aurel, the cauldron overflows with water and the water turns to ice and ice elementals step out of the ice. The ice elementals fight hard, but eventually the party manages to shatter them and kill Radosek. The goat asks for clemency.

Loot

Radosek has an icicle wand, a bandolier with two bulbs of similar potions, a magical scroll, a crystal ring, a blue cloak and an amulet of a steel sphere.

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S10 Negotiations and love songs
Well, maybe less love songs than negotiations...

Still in Vilday, we’ve been asked to leave Nadia’s house so that Mellifluere can talk to the domovoy.

The rest of the town are gathering in the inn. Games are played (cards, and even knifing), drinks are drunk and a happy time is had by all.

The old women and men of the village share their tales with Braga.

Before the witches, the village was watched over by (willingly) the wolves. On the night of midsummer’s eve, there were flowers that grew at the foot of the statue. The ladies knew a way to braid the flowers the way the wolves liked and they would ride a pooka to find them. But of course, this is just a story.

At midnight, Bragga goes out and searches around the foot of the statue. Digging the snow clear of the statue’s base, she sees something red. After carefully dusting off the snow, its a series of seven long green stems bearing red daisy-like flowers.

She goes to get Lidiya, who cuts and weaves the flowers into a crown.

Together, they go find Faufine (who was guarding Nadia’s house). He tells us a pooka is a short man who can turn into a pony or a wolf. They trick people to ride them until they fall unconscious. Then they leave you to sleep it off in the town.

We head back to town, away from Nadia’s strangely light-throbbing house. We find Caska back at the Inn. She tells us they still warn people not to go to pony pond. She gives us directions. She says the wolves were known as the Pack of the High Tooth. They would congregate around a high toor. They are very dangerous and now serve the witches.

We go find Rustan. We gear up and head out together.

We go into the forest. The gibous growing moon and her tears lights the night. As we trudge towards Pony pond, Rustan notices that there’s movement in the trees following us. It’s crows – half a dozen smallish crows.

One of the crows lands in the path ahead of us. It calls Lidiya moon maiden and asks about the crown. Lydiya makes him a little crown of string.

As it leads us toward the pond. The crows swarm us trying to get to the crown. They just appear.

They steal the crown (two fight for it), one snags a talisman from Bragga, but none get a button from Rustan.
Lidiya and the others get the crown back and Lidiya mends it.

Having kept hold of the crown, the maid, the witch and the huntmsan continue on.
We hear in the distance the baying of crows. Sore loosers.

The ice is cracked and broken. We see tracks of elk who came and drunk at the pond. Rustan takes a drink from the pond, it’s very refreshing.

Lidiya sings the song Faufine taught her. By the second round, she hears a pony making noises behind her. After a bit of discussion, all three of us climb on the pony.

Bragga ties us on, and the pony shoots off.
Lydia praises him. He’s faster than Selune’s tears, greater than the north wind over the snow. (Bragga plays Pride!) It’s been so long since he’s gotten to exhaust a human and now he has 3!

We ride for over 2 hours, and we’ve circled almost back when he slows down to a trot. And we’re back to Pony Pond. We see our tracks into the pond, but he left no tracks.

He gives us gnarly branch to fend off the wolves. We need to fend them off until they remember the promise. Lidiya offers to sing of summer to them to help them remember. We learn the pooka’s name is Isak.

He agrees to help us. He summons two ice ponies. Maybe they’re magic? No? “Oh god my bits.”
Lydia rids Isak, while the other two ride the ponies makde of ice.

Lidiya casts endure elements on Rustan.
Once we are all three mounted and Isak does a little snort and we are off!

We hear the wolves howling.
Before we can do more than sing of summer, the pack is around us. Shadowing and running with us. In the distance the narrow tall tor of stone comes into sight. And at its base, the whole pack is waiting.

The wolves try and bit us as we run. They miss but keep trying.
Bragga ties herself on with her hair and Rustan bats mightily at the wolves to keep them at bay.

Lidiya changes her song:

Long ago in days of summer
When ice was no more
There was a pact between man and wolf
When flowers bloomed before
Midsommer eve when red flowers bloomed
A maiden maid with a crown
The forest would test her and
A pooka carry her
To the mighty tooth toor
There wolves would listen
And they would remember
The pact that came before
The promise of protection for Vilday
When ice was no more.

The lead wolf howls, changing the timber.
The wolves back off, a few try to bite but no one gets bit.

The howls rise to a fever pitch, then stop. We race ahead and the wolves fade back.
The ice ponies fade and Isak shifts back into a man.

Lidya curtsies. The whole pack is watching with yellow eyes. The alpha male gets up and approaches us. He lowers his head and Bragga has to move Lidya’s arms to place the crown atop the alpha wolf’s head.

The howling begins again. Little pups come out of the cave and try to howl along. The howls resonate around and through us. And we feel that they have accepted the pact. And then it slips into “now get off our land”.

Isak turns and we all climb on and race back to the outskirts of Vilday.
He asks us to wait for him, so we do.

We learn earlier this year that a powerful woman (grandmotherly) honored him by visiting his pond, and she said that three of her riders would follow and they would need a key to follow her. It’s a statuette of Grumsha’s wife (a fertility symbol) – Luthic the cave mother. It’s wrapped in a bright red cloth with embroidered arcane symbols all over it.

Bragga takes it. He says thrice we will need 2 keys; these are the first 2.
Lidiya finds the village priest and re-interates the tale, making him write it down for future generations.

Bragga finds Kashka at Nadia’s house. She starts to tell the tale, and Kashka rushes to the base of the tower where she finds a single bloom that did not quite open. She tells the tale.

As she finishes, Nathander crests the horizon, and the new day begins.
And the door to Nadia’s house opens, and a bleary-eyed Mellifluere steps out.

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S09 Welcome to Villeday

30th of Flamerule

We are in Vilday; it is a mirror image of Heldren.
We spent most of the day resting and resupplying.

We learn the winter witch of the area is named Vasillia Vatona; she is the great great granddaughter of Rustan’s missing witch; Baba Yaga. Vatona’s tower is in the same spot as Meillifleur’s grove relative to Heldrun.

We were discussing our plans of leaving in the morning when a local boy arrives and knocks at the door to warn Nadia that there are soldiers approaching.

Lidiya and Bragga go to Varna’s Assundries to buy supplies and sell goods. Then they visit the local apothecary (after receiving directions, as there are no sign of it). He is badly scarred by fire, and is missing his left arm. After a short discussion, he accepts the tasks we ask of him. Mellifluere is there to cast the spell to make the device. Faufine is left to watch over Wanderroot as he sleeps.

Rustan goes to the smithy to make some bullets. The smith is curious, but lets Rustan do his work.
After spending time at the temple and shopping at the general’s store, Bragga and Lidiya go back to Nadia’s.

Towards the end of the day, there’s a commotion in the town square. Rustan is cleaning up his workspace, when he sees a gathering of soldiers in the town square. The leader is a bearish-looking man, he and two of the soldiers stalk into the local inn. Two other soldiers are coming back from the temple, leading the priest away.

The smith warns Rustan not to get involved. Rustan gathers his things and leaves by the back door. He slowly makes his way around the outside of the village, avoiding the soldiers. He crosses a street when he is spotted. They call for him to halt, but he keeps going. While running, he enters a house by bashing through a door and then puts a chair against the door. He leaps out of the window and climbs a nearby tree and hides atop the snow covered thatch wood.

At Nadia’s house, a boy comes to warn her that the soldiers are coming to the house to find the foreigners. The older woman takes the two boys to the atic. Lidiya takes a moment to clean up and she and Bragga hide. From the attic, she calls to Faufine and send him off to warn Mellifluere. Hopefully the soldiers did not notice.

Faufine finds Mellifluere and warns her. She thanks the alchemist and then leaves. Faufine shrinks her down to a tiny person’s size. The soldiers rush past her, seeking out Rustan, and ignoring her.

In the house, the soldiers demand Nadia’s presence as the Sargent wants to talk to her about the strangers she’s been hiding. The soldiers insist, and after threatening her children, they are let in and they half-assedly search the place. They leave taking Nadia away.

Lidiya and Bragga grab all the gear and retreat to Wanderroot. Eventually Mellifluere, Faufine and Rustan return and Wanderroot wakes up.

The soldiers call out to the villagers and insist everyone come out to the square. Nadia and the priest are both tied up. The party moves to hide behind the White Stoat Inn. We can hear the Sargent talking. Mellifluere walks into their midst and starts talking to them. She successfully charms the Sargent.

Lidiya, Bragga, and Rustan meet up with Nadia as she heads back to her house. And we strategize.

Mellifluere learns who is in the tower and what we might face when we go there. The Sargent is very forward, giving the passwords that he knows.

We meet again at Wanderroot, the party takes up positions and hides. Rustan can kind of see what’s going on. The Sargent has drawn his cold iron sword, looking beyond Mellifluere as she sinks into Wanderroot and he awakes. Rustan decides to wait and see what the soldiers do.

As Lidiya blesses her allies the Sargent calls out to assemble his men.
Bragga quietly curses the Sargent.

Wanderroot is warned the Sargent is an enemy. Wanderroot rears up and digs his branches into the Sargent, turning him away and doing massive damage. The Sargent’s cry for assembly turns into a scream of fear and pain.
Nadia races forward and hits him in the neck with her axe.

Soldiers come out of the inn and call for others. And so, they fight. Bragga and Rustan, Wanderroot and Lidia, all with Nadia’s help, manage to defeat the soldiers, but not without getting hurt.

As Rustan barges in, the innkeeper starts screaming at Rustan to leave. He claims we’ve brought the witch’s wraith down upon the village. Wanderoot takes the mirror out from the back of the bar. Rustan finds crossbow that the innkeeper was hovering, below the bar.

Bragga figures out that the mirror might be a way of informing the witch.

We regroup while Mellifluere goes to talk to Nadia’s domovoy for more information.

Loot

The 6 soldiers all have cold iron long swords, regular daggers, crossbows and bolts, 6 potions of endure elements, 6 chain shirts, 6 light (small) steel shields, and a total of 94 gold pieces amongst them.

The Sargent has a potion of endure elements, two cure light wounds potions, 1 unknown potion, two magical crossbow bolts (faint enchantment +2, screaming), chain shirt, spiked light shield, cold iron longsword (masterwork), light crossbow (masterwork), 30 gold pieces and a little mirror.

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S06 Mellifluere's Grove

We traveled to Mellifluere’s grove. The trees tell Wanderroot that the nearby cave has been overtaken by between 1 and 3 trolls. Getting to the cave is tricky, as most of us struggle through the snow, although Wanderroot easily walks atop it.

Once inside we see that there are two bear rugs on the floor (Wanderroot claims to have known them). Sitting there, is a large troll. He’s looking at something shiny.

Between Bragga’s orchish curse and Wanderroot’s massive branches, the Troll is taken unawares. Lidiya calls down the moonlight while Talasine throws vials that explode into firely death upon the troll. Fafine guards our backs and keeps watch outside the cave.

As the others search the cave, a frost fae comes out of the snow and flies towards Wanderroot. The frost fae calls out for Teb and a little stone falls into the cave and explodes.

“Begone. The mistress of ice now owns this place!” A figure appears, made of light and flickering flame. Bragga calls out “Your illusions won’t fool us!”. And we move to engage the ice fae.

A second exploding rock strikes Wanderroot, causing a big chunk of Wanderroot’s shoulder flies off. The fae casts color spray, striking Bragga and Wanderroot.

Bragga’s hair takes on a life of its own, and grabs the winged fae. Wanderroot reaches over and grabs the fae from hBragga’s hair. He tries to put both in the cage on his shoulder. Lidiya turns as the fire dies out and from the back of the frozen troll a red-eye’ed eagle bursts free and flies at us! Rustan takes a shot and it disappears into a small rain of feathers and gore.

Talasine tries to strike the last arrival, but he ducks back into his igloo. Wanderroot reaches into the igloo but can’t quite grab it; his fists bang into the walls and his fist breaks the floor, uncovering a pit trap. The fae comes out of the top of the igloo. Between Bragga’s curse, Rustan’s knife at the end of his rifle, and Wanderroot’s grappling, the fae is at last captured.

After the combat we search the many igloos in the area.
The storm comes from a centralized location; it is surrounded by a ring of sharp spears of ice.

There is a rough path through the ice, but we back off.

Loot

  • Teb has his crazy spear,
  • a wineskin filled with a magical liquid (feather step),
  • a small key,
  • and a tiny divination mirror.
  • The tiny potion taken from the frost fae is a potion of cure moderate wounds.
  • 2 divine scrolls – remove curse, resist energy (fire).
  • The chest in the cave was locked. It contains four more giant skins of potion (feather step), 4 ice quartz (100gp each), a silver didem (300gp), 1 nearly flawless diamond (500gp), jewled necklace (400gp), 3 sapphire rings (75gp ea), gold (2457), silver (3313) and copper (1768).

Wanderroot knocks all the igloos down. Then, we gather and head to the center of the storm. Wanderoot identifies it as an open fae crossroad. As we are watching it, a thrush flies through the crossroads. It lands on Wanderroot’s hand. The thrush stands up. It’s a tiny human wearing a thrush’s cloak. He introduces himself as Dralish of the court of beasts. He’s been sent as a messenger from the court of trees.

The court of trees has planted itself to lend strength to help the local trees. It falls to Wanderroot to deal with this problem of unnatural winter. The court of beasts will do their best to engage the enemy. It seems the shadow court has awoken. In addition to all of this, there is someone waiting on the other side of the portal to talk to Rustan.

Talasine and the thrushling leave to report back on all we have learned thus far. The rest of us take shelter in the cave, building a small fire and trying to stay warm through the night.

Wanderroot takes root in the grove, and Meillifluere steps out.
Lidiya and Meillifluere talk briefly, then Lidiya seeks the warmth of the cave.

During the night, Meillifluere gathers the frost fae and holds court. She condemns the imprisoned fae to death by fire.

29th of Flamerule.

The next day, the storm still rages out from the portal. We gather food and supplies and approach the portal. As we step through there is a brief flash of super-cold! And we step out into night.

We’re in a forest clearing that’s snowed in. The sky is dark, but clear. There is gentle snow falling, but as it approaches the portal, it gains speed and is forced through. As we step through, Lidiya is a wolf. She is luminescent in the moon light with a black silver crescent on her forehead.

In the far distance there is a light beacon. Wanderroot gathers us up and keep us together. He takes hold of Lidiya, and she sneezes – blowing the snow off the path for 50’. Focusing on Lidiya, Wanderroot is able to find and walk along the silver path. Along the way, Rustan finds a cigarette butt.

We are walking throught the forest. Then we’re not. We’re in a plain. In the distance is a woman with her arms spread out. Every pace is a great distance. As we approach the snow, Lidiya burns it away using the light that envelops her. Eventually, we come to a fork in the road. One path goes straight while the left path snakes up a hill. Atop it is the beacon we’d seen earlier.

Atop the hill is a black building with spires and towers. The top-most bulb is emanating the light. Rustan recognizes it. At the crock of the path is a peasant’s house. It’s surrounded by garden, and there’s a goat tied outside it. From inside comes a woman’s laughter.

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