In a Certain Realm...

S22 Lost in the forest
Where we take on the dawnseekers and the Baccaiu are amused

South of the stone alter is a house 30’ up in the trees branches. It’s tipping and it’s door is ajar. It seems to be the house of a cratfsman or perhaps a merchant. On the second floor of the house is a middle-aged man with a splinted leg. Two children hide with him.

Wanderroot carries Bragga and Lydia into the doorway. As the tree tilts, Wanderroot provides support before it tips over.
The 2 children come down and Lydia goes up. She heals Carind and splints his leg. Together they hobble downstairs. Wanderroot carefully takes us down. Faufine shrinks them and Bragga flies them down with, wrapped in her hair. Wanderroot picks up Lydia and carries her down. Faufine makes the family larger again. We give the family directions out of the forest.

Beyond the entrance to the clearing, we see a pond. And we hear the sound of rain.

We wander towards the clear blue pond in the centre of the clearing. Wripples flow to the centre and the drops of water go up. Standing, ankle-deep in the water, curled over herself is a female dawnseeker. Her fair face is twisted in a palsied look. She plays her flute beautifully, if hauntingly.

Lydia sings, matching the song and following it. Eventually the dawnsingger stops singing and starts talking. Lidya tries to get her to give up the hut. She’s warned that inside the hut is a kikimora (a female Dormovoy). She asks for her brother’s flute. If we manage it, she’ll give us the hut.

North of the pond we see a meandering trail. Willow-whips float about. The Willow-whips whisper to Wanderroot to come this way. People are hurt down here. He’s sure it’s a trap so we go another way.

Rustam sees two petryon shadows (antlered flying eagles). Their shadows pass over Rustan and Bragga. They fly down and attack Bragga. Rustan fires at one and hits, but misses the other. Wanderoot reaches up. His arm becomes a branch, it stretches out to a vine and he tries to slap the petryon, and misses. Nadia hits one with an arrow.
Bragga calls out and casts web. The unhurt one gets caught, but the other is not stuck in the web, but is forced to fly below the canopy. Wanderroot attacks the one that made it safely through the web. He kills it.

Lidiya throws her spear and strikes the trapped bird. The last Petryon manages to use its antlers to cut through the web and it falls to the ground. Wanderroot beats at it. It’s trashing about. Rustan kills it.

Three beautiful red haired women are dancing in the nearby glen. with them are three human men who look tired, and ragged, but still partying hard.

We are greeted and invited to dance. There’s no muscians or source of music. One of the man comes up and offers Lydia a drink. She sets it aside and offers him her hand. They dance, following the tree. Bragga casts dancing lights and follows the tree. Rustan and Faufine manage to sneak two of the shrunken men into the bag of holding as Lidiya dances the third out of the clearing. And behind us the Baccaiu laugh in joy.

As we enter the clearing, we see an upside down tree. It’s an ancient great birch, with it s roots out into the sky. Great thick branches descend into the earth, and then back out from the earth. In the roots of this upside-down tree are thousands of windchimes. Standing in the roots is a third dawnseeker. He clutches his pipes rather than plays them, and he smiles in a cold and cruel fashion.

Nadia warns us there’s 3 twig-jacks in the nearby brambles.
The dawnpiper becomes so bright that it hurts to look at him. Bragga, Lidiya, Nadia, and Rustan try to resist it. Bragga is blinded and starts bleeding from her eyes. The battle is joined, The Dawnpiper raises his arms to the sky and a powerful gust of wind sets the windchimes to releasing a cacophonous sound. And there’s a giant noise.

Bragga is now near deaf but she can see. She balls all her rage into a tiny golden pear which she throws at the dawnpiper and the tindertwigs. The tinder-jacks and the dawnpiper get burned into cinders.

When we go back through the baccais clearing, they let us quietly go through.
We go back to the water glen, leaving the three dancers tucked under a blanket.

Lidiya gives the dawnpiper the cruel brother’s flute. She follows us back as we return to the earth alter.
The earth dawnpiper drops the alter and the strange flickering glowing light fades and dies.

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S21 The end of the clocktower caper and into the forest we go
The list of loot is truly amazing!

We free the hostages of Granny Nan and tell the small girl and Bella to hide in the witches home. We go down to the ground floor landing and Wanderroot casts haste on everyone before he slams open the door the barracks. We take on the four trolls in residence. Once the blue trolls are felled, Wanderroot wanders through the level.

He opens the door to the armoury. There are two armour dummies. the walls are covered with racks and racks of weapons; it looks like the winter guard are confiscating or stockpiling weapons. In the middle of the room is another troll who is sharpening his axe. Behind him is a female troll and a Troll Dog.

Rustan, Nadia, Gretta, and Faufine take on the hound, while Bragga takes on the axe-weilding troll. Wanderroot goes root-to-toe with the she-troll. The fight is fast, but nasty.

After a few more doors to open, we find the children in cells. We bar the front gate and loot the tower.

Polar bear pelt room (She Troll’s room)

  • Locked chest with key contains the payroll (767gp)
  • A greatsword made of brass-bronze metal, fairly light and magical. +1 Milarani sword. Kopeshe in shape.
    She Troll
  • A little mummified hand of an elf on a string and it’s magical. It can be used at will to summon a ghostly hand (mage hand at will).
    Hound
  • Leather collar studded with ice diamonds (400gp)
    Armoury
  • Ton of weapons. Given to the resistance
  • Magical suit of scale mail armour (human sized) Masterwork +1
    On the trolls
  • 50gp (variety of coins)
  • Sketchbook of Irisani witches in “positions” beautifuly drawn (blackmail material) (1000gp) Given to the resistance
    Kitchen
  • Magical cauldron – +5 to alchemy – Cauldron of Brewing
  • Food
    Children’s room
  • Wile wood labyrinth
    Granny’s Room
  • 3 potions – cure moderate wounds, fly, invisibility
  • A ring of flaxen hair (magical-abjuration) – protection +1
  • A snowglobe of the winter palace (200gp)
  • A box with a lot of correspondance and paperwork. Given to the resistance
    Dragon’s Lair
  • Lots of stuff (we take it all!)
  • Large wooden Kite Shield (Magical) +1
  • Adamantite Warhammer (we call it our lockpick)
  • Small serpentile figurine of an owl (Magical) – Figure of wonderous power (3x for giant owl, no max – any owl).
  • Bone scroll tube containing wizard scrolls
    • Blink
    • Scorching Ray
    • See Invisibility
      *2 wands
    • One that’s kinda hard to see – silent image 16x
    • Very light and precise – true strike 17x
  • Massive gold censor to Selune (500gp)
  • 5 tourmalines (50gp ea)
  • Monies — 240pp, 620gp, 1905sp, 7326cp

Bragga takes some of the blood from Gramma Nan.

We free the opera singer (Bella) and 7 kids.

Bragga, looking like the granny, organizes our escape. The group and kids (and goods) are transferred out via the bag of holding.
Once we’re out, and headed back towards the resistance, Wanderroot and Melliefluere summon earth elementals and pull down the tower.

Faufine goes to guard Wanderroot while Melliefluere comes with us. We return the children, weapons, paperwork and blackmail material to the resistance. Solveg is delighted to see Bella.

As the effects of our emptying the guard tower (and Wanderroot destroying it), one of the gates is taken by the Iron guard. And the guards that were centred in market place have dispersed.

The Heralds of Spring copies the smut to better display the queens of Iricent, often adding additional characters.
Curfew is heavily enforced tonight.

After a night’s rest, we spend time organizing the loot and magical items.

27th of Highsun

A few days later, the Iron guard has meet with the resistance and so far, it’s gone well.

We take the cart towards the market. The forest that fills it is an intimidating thing. The trees are tightly grown together and what spaces do exist seem filled with thorn wrapped vines. The cart is able to press into a nearby clearing, but the canopy dome the sky overhead. A lone patrol walks the circut of the market. There’s a disance music that fills the air. It’s a strange dulcet haunting music.

Despite the lack of guards, Melliefluere insists we travel via bag of holding and an earth elemental.

After the transition we are in a clearing inside a grove, about 60 × 70 feet in a weird shape. In the grove is a big rippling zone of shadows. On the other side of this swirling mass is a shape, maybe a building. Off to the east is a large bolder with smaller boulders swirling around it. The sound of piping seems to be coming from there too.

Sitting cross-legged on a floating boulder is a dawn-singer. It circles a stone stage about 10 feet high.
The music stops when the dawnsinger recognizes us as mortals. And we introduce ourselves.
The dawnspeaker says the hut is claimed and we cannot have it. They found it and so claim it.
With our tale, we are able to sway Ravathiel to our cause and he is willing to give us access to the hut in return for giving his name to grandmother as he did protect the hut from all the witches of Irysinth.

His sister is at the alter of water and is mad.
His brother is at the alter of air and is cruel.

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S20 A hunting we will go
A sortie on the clock tower; madness in the planning

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.

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S19 Winterthrone via the Howlings and into the Bathhouse
Introduction to the Heralds of Spring

23rd of Highsun

Nadia and Uncle Rignear Malencolf push the fish cart. We follow them with what little cover story we could manage. The city on the hill looks so white as to be made of bone.

As we approach, a tall, leggy, white haired woman carrying a big axe comes towards us.

Lidiya from Narfel is introduced to Gretta. They chat. Gretta mentions that she goes to the Red Cockerel Inn sometimes. She’s very… um. Interested in Lidiya!

As we walk between two close-by buildings, there’s a semi-circle of carts parked before a building. Bragga, Rustan, and Mellifluere spot some blue figures crouching behind the carts. To our left, in another covered alley they spot another one. This one is holding a small vial, ready to throw. It’s an ambush by ice goblins!

We’re entering into a larger area. Lidya howls, Bragga casts glitter dust on the 4 goblins hiding. There’s a bright explosion of golden particles, and the one on the left immediately gives up. In the air, the hawlks circle. The winter goblin immediately gives us 2 gp and a tiny vial of cure light wounds. They are terrified of the “wolf lady”! This is a first for Lidiya.

We take a sharp left and go into a covered alleyway. Walking into view is a cloaked figure. The cloak has golden tassels and a central design. It has a mirror for a face. It carries a thin golden sword that is very reflective. Rignear tells us that is a mirror man, they are the eyes of the witches. We take shelter under the trees. It speaks to Lidiya in her mind. Lidiya acts like a tourist and it suggests she visit the market. He wanders away.

We go to a house where Rignear knocks. Once he’s identified, children rush out and grab all the fish before disappearing back inside. Rignear feeds them because their masters don’t. This is considered suspicious activity here, apparently.

We follow Rignear. We see a few people about, but not many. Turning a corner, two trolls wearing white tabards and two drunken wolves are arguing loudly. One of the trolls notices us and nudges the other. We take a quick left but Mortin isn’t answering his door. Faufine opens it with a key.

Bragga uses dancing lights in the trees to distract the trolls. We sneak into Mortin’s hut and find he’s … quite the nervous type. He eventually accepts that we are “clients” and agrees to make our papers. Yelina = Lidiya, Hedwig = Bragga, Rustan = Victor, Mellifluere = Vallia

Mellifluere learns from the trees that there’s a forest growing in the Market for the last week or so. There are shadow fae in the trees. And they are guarding Grandmother’s hut! We decide to go by the market, after Mortin has made us all new papers.

We pass by a dead servant in the street, killed by wolf bite.

We leave the Howlings and are approached by two mirror-faced men. They gather papers, check them over, and let us pass with a warning to obey the martial law and the winter guard.

In the market are many foreigners. The market sells fine porcelain, furs, and other goods. The main street is barricaded by a group of 20 beings (trolls, humans, wolves, and the like). It would seem Grandmother’s hut is spewing out forest around it. They can’t cut the trees faster than they can grow back. Mellifluere says that the forest seem to be creating another portal.

As we work our way around the forest, we see a white dragon fly down and land nearby. It starts conversing with the soldiers. It seems to be in charge. Gossip says the captain of the winter guard is a white dragon.

We walk along the street of skulls. It is paved in the skulls of those who dared oppose the queen. We are taken to the Winter Palace, a great bathhouse for nobles and foreigners. It is surrounded by smaller bath houses. Rignear organizes a bath for us. We are taken to a room to disrobe and he opens a secret passage. We go into the bowels of the bathhouse through tunnels and passageways leading ever deeper.

At last Rignear knocks on a wall. A brick slides aside, and Rignear speaks to someone behind the wall. Eventually, the wall slides open and we go into the room beyond. We are surrounded by 6 guards with crossbows. A young man approaches Rignear.

We’re introduced to Igor. He’s the commander of the day watch. They bring in a young paladin to verify we are not evil. The rebel group calls themselves the Heralds of Spring. Igor brings us into a deeper layer, through narrow passages into a natural cavern that is quite warm. There are pallets on the floor and tables nearby. People are living here. We meet Solveg, a priestess of Lyria.

She brings us alcohol and we introduce ourselves and chat for a bit. She sends out an invitation to negotiate with the Iron Guard. She offers us a place to stay for the night.

Overnight, Lidiya asks the moon to learn what benefits we can use to broker the alliance with the Iron Guard and the Heralds of Spring.

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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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