Return of Hadrach

Bookworms and Books
1-Ianui (Welcoming Day)

The party assembled and readied an assault on the Holy Library of Tesra. Their goal: snatch or destroy the Heart of Sinakua to put an end to the Affliction that was crippling the divine spellcasters. Hurrying through the city, they arrived and climbed in through the same window that Midori had escaped through the day before. Climbing up the rope, the Library was fairly empty, save for Legionmaster Denuriel and a horde of imps.
The battle plan fell apart quickly as several bone devils appeared in the chamber, and the battle for the Heart of Sinakua began in earnest. Iktar threw up a wall of ice to prevent the swarms of imps from attacking them and summoned a lightning elemental to go and snatch the heart. Mason also leapt down to do battle with Denuriel and hold his attention while Griangi and Kia battled the Bone devils, hoping to make good their escape.
As Mason approached the Legionmaster, the creature emerged from the pile of ruined books and with a few words, cast a spell and vanished, taking control of Mason’s body.
Mason/Denuriel then snatched up the Heart of Sinakua and fled, leaving the party behind. With no prize to claim and no way to catch up to Mason, the party retreated back behind the Bastion Wall…

Hours later, Mason approached the Bastion Wall and submitted himself for arrest – without the Heart of Sinakua and, as revealed to the group, he also had the book, the Tears of Marsa. Now with both treasures gone, the party sat down to figure out what steps to take next…

The Devils and the Wall
Temur's Day

Dawn of Temur’s Day found the party marching on the Bastion Wall…

As the party set themselves to the task of taking the Bastion Wall, and Xiwrath the Caustic hovered high above, other devils wheeled and cavorted. Farinost’s troops provided support, battling the Host devils as they swooped out of the sky. Midori drank a potion of invisibility and promptly vanished, while the rest of the party put down the bone devils in fairly short order.

Xiwrath, in the mean time, summoned four more siegebreaker devils, ordering his brothers to destroy the party and the Bastion wall. As the four of them set upon the party, Xiwrath himself cast prismatic spray, blinding the party and turning Kia to stone. In the furious battle, the brothers of Xiwrath fell quickly, but not before crippling Dinara and nearly killing the other party members. Upon their destruction, each of his brothers exploded into thousands of black shards, which were promptly swallowed by a vortex. Xiwrath, injured by the spells of Ezra and the attacks of Dinara, chose to spit a stream of powerful acid at Dinara, reducing her to little more than disembodied, burned-off limbs and a bubbling pool of acid.

With two members down, one off on her own mission, and the battle for the Bastion wall heating up for Farinost’s men, the situation was looking more desperate. Regaining their vision, Mason and Griangi laid into Xiwrath and injured him enough that he finally fled.

For the next hour, the battle for the Bastion wall raged, and the line held. As the assaults of infernal forces finally began to slow and weaken, Midori reappeared, shot full of arrows and nearly dead, chased by a pair of darkly beautiful women with black wings and powerfully magical bows. Saving Midori, the party continued to battle the last of the devils trying to take the bridge and successfully killed the two female devils.

The Battle for the Bastion Wall finally over, Midori was healed up and the party took stock of their injuries and losses. Upon returning to the fortress, Farinost and Stephanos presented the party with four scrolls of Resurrection and extracted a promise from Wizard Jerak “Jerkface” Hefia to return Kia to normal on the following day.

Gorrok continued to train the civilians, and Farinost began moving the rest back into the city behind the Bastion Wall so that the fortress could begin to return to normal.

Midori finally shared the treasures she had retrieved and related the tale of her encounter at the Holy Library of Tesra (as related in The Devils in the Details)

The Devils in the Details
Temur's Day

Midori and the Library of Oh Shit, We May Be Fucked.

The grey, cloudy cold sky hangs low as Xiwrath howls overhead and Host devils pinwheel and spin through the sky. Rain has begun to fall, steady, cold, but not heavy as the Battle for the Bastion Wall rages.

A number of devils linger on the far shore, watching Xiwrath, and Midori is convinced they are ready to join the battle as well – a couple barbed and bone devils, with the soldier-like bearded devils hanging back. On Midori’s side of the river, Admiral Farinost deploys his column – Spears and swords are intermixed with the archers, while the archers are set up to shoot volleys at the infernal enemy. Several squads break off and head towards the tower and are scattered around. Midori sees that these groups are armed with the harpoon-style light crossbows and magical axes.

The devils on the far side of the bridge begin to crowd on to the bridge and Kia and Griangi battle them with little support. Midori sees no easy way to cross it, even if she were invisible.
Below the bridge, the river is a dark slate grey, the murky water impossible to see into. It moves at a fast clip, the water from recent storms pouring down from the mountains, through the city, and draining into the bay. Midori mentally calculates her chances of injury and how long it would take to climb down instead of leaping off the wall to the river below. Eyeing the river she estimates how quickly she could cross it using magic.

Looking north along the Bastion wall, Midori can see that the battle has not yet extended to other parts of the city, and, while the other two bridges have been destroyed, it may be easier (safer) to make it across further north. Midori glances at her map of the city sewers, prior to the infernal invasion, comparing the notes on her map to the entrances to the sewers. The entrances line the river banks at intervals of about 500’, each one large enough for a large creature to enter. It is clear to her that once she enters the sewer system, as long as there are no obstructions or groups of devils, she could probably make it to any point in the city; except the palace, she thinks to herself, these notes show they don’t connect.

Finally deciding as the clamor of battle grows, Midori pulls out a potion of invisibility and drinks it down. Her hands, clothes and feet all vanish before her eyes and she carefully picks her way through the rubble scattered across the street and steals around to the northern turret along of the Bastion wall. Slipping past devils as they swoop at the defenders, she swings her feet over the wall and, mentally reminding herself about the waterwalking spell that was cast on her, she drops down to the river below. Rolling with the fall, she successfully deflects the force of her landing so she doesn’t break anything, however, the cushion of air that keeps her from getting dunked in the water comes up unexpectedly and she stumbles and fall backwards. The “cushion” turns out to be a bit more solid than she expected and a quiet ‘ooof’ escapes from Midori’s lips when Midori slips and crashes to the ground. It’s just a bruise, Midori tell herself as she watches for any reaction from the dozens of devils around. None of them seem to have heard her over the clash of weapons and screams of the injured. Standing back up, Midori finds herself walking on what seems to be an invisible layer over the river.

Midori moves carefully across the river, then slowly picks up speed as she realizes her feet make virtually no sound until she’s almost running. The nearest of the sewer entrances was once covered by a large metal grate, but it has recently been torn off, as evidenced by the lack of rust along its ragged edges/. Broken metal bars jut out from the stone work as she moves past them. Once inside, Midori pause to take stock of her surroundings.
Moss and slime coat the stone walls, and the 10’ wide tunnel arches overhead. The passage was designed to have a narrow walkway, about 3½’ to 4’ wide along each wall, about 3’ up from the bottom of the round tunnel. A channel runs down the middle of the tunnel, and normally it would be easily deep enough for both storm runoff and the normal contents of the pipe. However, the water has somehow risen and stands two feet over the walkway, nearly unseen beneath the sloshing, murky water under her feet. All kinds of detritus floats in the water, from leaves and twigs to wads of what might be fur, dead fish, shattered pieces of waterlogged wood. The smell in the tunnels reminds Midori of rotting fish and seaweed.
Nothing moves in the darkness, not even rats. The sounds of the battle outside rise as the fighting gets more desperate.

Midori considers her map, trying to determine if she wants a direct approach to the Library, or if it might be better to take a more roundabout route through the sewers. Studying the map carefully, she tries to figure out if it’s best to come up outside of the Library and sneak in, or if she wants to search for an entrance to the Library proper from the sewer tunnels. Estimating only a few minutes of invisibility remaining, she calculates it would take her perhaps 10 minutes if she made straight for the building, while a more roundabout route would require more time and exploration. Once the invisibility fades, she would have to take even longer…

Deciding quickly, she walks quickly along the most direct path to the library for a couple minutes, still unnerved by the fact that she’s literally walking on water. Moving quickly through the tunnels, occasionally she passes something that sloshes about in the murky water. Not wasting any time, she hurries along, with barely a glance over her shoulder to wonder what it might be. As the minutes tick past, the sense of urgency is nearly overwhelming and Midori finds herself almost running before she catches herself and slows down again. After what seems like too short a time, Midori realizes the invisibility is about to wear off and she ducks into an alcove to hide as the last few seconds of the spell’s duration pass. Once visible again, she pauses to check her map to confirm her location.
Cloaked in darkness, but still feeling terribly exposed, Midori finally ventures out into the corridor again. She moves as swiftly as she dares, emboldened by the fact her shoes make almost no noise on the invisible surface over the water. As she hurries along, she estimates that she’s about halfway to the Library when she stops dead in a four-way intersection because of a nearly overwhelming stench of rotting meat. As she pauses, Midori hears the evil, sibilant sounds of Infernal speech to the corridor to Midori’s left. Midori pauses at the edge of the intersection trying to decide if she should… just take a peek. Midori listens carefully to the devils speaking, able to hear most of the conversation,
A growly voice first, “…1189th Legion is having all the fun. No one comes down here anymore.”
A second voice grumbles, “Of course not. There aren’t enough of them left. And if Nilar gets his contract, then the rest will get away.”
The third voice complains, “However it is he actually makes his numbers serving as the Herald to Xiwrath, I’ll never understand.”
Growly, “That’s why you’re not in Acquisitions, brother.”
Complainer, “Feh. I notice you’re not there, either.”
Grumbly, “You two keep squabbling if you like. Personally, I like being a guard. Especially here on Yerth. Even though the water isn’t as deep, it’s still clearer, and the prisoners don’t fight back as much.”
The voices chuckle in agreement and the conversation seems to move on to small talk…

Midori continues straight ahead, not pausing to look down the corridor. She does her best to keep as quiet as possible, even more aware of the danger she’d be in if she were to get caught. She utters a silent prayer to all of her gods – Namli especially. As Midori continues, Namli seems to smile on her. Midori’s passage seems to have gone unnoticed by the voices in the corridor. The stench gets worse as Midori continues on, and after a couple twists and turns, She comes to a large chamber that seems to be some sort of collection basin. Looking on this room, it occurs to her that perhaps she hasn’t made enough sacrifices to Namli lately – The smell clearly emanates from here, as there are dozens, if not a couple hundred bodies piled in the center of the chamber. Bloated and stinking, the waterlogged, rotting flesh hangs from the bodies. She gags slightly at the warmer air, and she can see that the bodies are crawling with insect larvae. Midori doesn’t notice any devils in the chamber, and her planned route will take her out an exit on the opposite side.
As Midori considers going around and finding another route, Midori hears sloshing in the tunnel behind her getting closer. She moves around to the opposite end of the chamber and ducks into the tunnel, moving as quickly as she dares away from the sound of the approaching infernals.

It’s not long before she realizes they are moving far faster than she could if she wished to remain silent. Midori looks around and finds a small feeder pipe to squeeze into. Midori wiggles into the tight, shadowy space and places a bit of debris to camouflage the pipe just before two large infernals pass in front of hiding place. Their appearance is straight out of a nightmare – a hideous cross between a long, eel-like fish, the upper torso of a humanoid, and a crustacean-like head with four eyes and rams-horns pass by Midori, clearly on patrol. Midori recognizes them as Drowning devils, defenders of the waterways of Hell. They seem to miss her entirely and continue down the corridor.

Midori waits for a short time, and then crawls out of her little pipe. Smeared with gunk, she suspects it is a mix of ash, dust and mud. Harmless, she thinks to herself, but it still doesn’t smell terribly good. Moving on, she continues to navigate the pipes and finally identifies an exit close to the Library. Midori wraps her hand around the pendant Azata’s Faith and casts Detect Devil before peeking out from under the exit from the sewers. Concentrating, she look around and see no devils nearby. Finally she takes in the Holy Library of Tesra.

The structure itself is mostly intact, but the outside of has been defaced. Evil runes, written in blood are smeared across the facade. Studying them, she realizes they appear to be the name of some high ranking devil…Legionmaster Denuriel. There are additional runes below it that she studies for a moment longer – and she finally recognizes them as deadly spell. Realizing that anyone passing through the front door will activate the evil runes, the spell will likely kill nearly everyone close to them. Her eyes drift upward to see the top of the building is festooned with spears and somewhat more organic bone-like spikes, but underneath it all, Midori can still see a shadow of its original majesty in the layers of fine woods and marble. She can see several infernal guards lurking in the entrance, and more devils alight on the spikes and spears along the roofline. Even with the security provided by the guards, Midori glances to the south and can see hundreds, if not thousands of Host devils flying about as the Battle for the Bastion Wall rages on. At least they’re being kept busy… over there… She worries briefly about how her compatriots fare at the battle before refocusing on the task at hand.

Midori slowly slides the manhole cover to the side, providing herself with enough room to climb out of the sewers. She replaces it as quietly as possible once she’s out, then heads for the nearest hiding spot she can find, making sure she’s concealed from the eyes of the guards at the entrance of the library. She sneaks around the rubble and remnants of the buildings in the area to take a look at the Eastern side of the library. Once there, she doesn’t see any evil runes, but there are no entrances, either. Looking at the wall, she is able to see that she could probably climb it, and there are some windows on what appears to be the second or possibly third floor; easily 30’ up. Looking at the structure, she suspects that if there are other ground-floor entrances, they are likewise covered by those deadly runes.

Determined to make the climb, Midori crouches down behind some rubble and strips off the clothes most fouled by the filth in the sewers – leaving little more than her shorts, boots, and tunic. Taking her dagger to her leggings, she is careful not make any obvious ripping sounds as she cuts them off. Once finished, she stuffs the filthy clothes into her bag of holding, pulling out her last potion of invisibility shortly after.

She downs the potion and puts the empty bottle in her bag before heading to the middle of the wall of the Library. Taking a moment to mentally prepare herself, she leaps up, grabs a narrow ledge and scales the side of the building, her hands and feet finding ledges and gaps in just the right place, as if the wall was trying to help her. It’s a quick climb, and there are a couple of places that she nearly slips, but she makes it up to the window. She realizes that it is unlatched and with a quick shove, she opens it enough to squeeze in. She finds herself on the second floor of the Library, in the middle of the eastern stacks.

The floor she is on has a 20’ ceiling, the individual shelves stretching nearly the whole distance. Once oriented, She carefully moves forward and looks out on the Library proper. The The interior of the Holy Library of Tesra was once a wide, open, airy space. The eight walls stretch up three stories to meet in an arching glass dome that provides light and drew the eye upward at one time to contemplate the gods.
Now, the glass is missing and instead of open space, the building is filled with a network of dark chains, linking one end of the building to the other like a demented, tangled iron spiderweb. The chains are adorned with people, both whole and incomplete, attached by hooks, spikes, manacles and other, more horrific methods. The floor of the library, once a finely made marble and granite inlay, now is covered in discarded and destroyed books, torn apart and soaked in the veritable lake of blood that covers the floor.
Atop the pile of books sits what appears to be a golden ark, the edges of the chest encrusted with gems and gilded with precious metals. Two devil-like statuettes stand atop the chest and a huge rounded gem that looks like little else but a red and black crystalline heart. As soon as her eyes land on the gem, the light refracting through it seems to grow in intensity and drive painfully bright spikes into her eyes. Closing her eyes against the pain, she hears faint noises like whispers and furtive movement around her. Her eyes flash open and she quickly glances around, and it seems that the shadows in her peripheral vision move just when she’s not looking at them. As her paranoia grows, her eyes fall back on the crystalline heart, and she recalls an ancient legend about something called the Heart of Sinakua. As she struggles to remember details about it – more than the vague recollection of a minor god and madness – she realizes the crystalline heart is moving slightly, beating despite its structure. As she stares, the pain in her eyes seems to reach down to her chest, and she can feel her heart skip a beat, a feeling almost as if her heart is trying to align with the beat of the crystal. As she stares, she sees several Lemures move back and forth across the pile, and she notices that some of them bear faces that remind her of the acolytes suffering from the “Affliction” back at the naval fortress.
She finally tears her eyes away from the disturbing crystal and sees she is in the east wing on the 2nd floor. Midori can see that the third floor has vaults, and there are eight spiral staircases that connect the floors. As she stares out over the open space, she sees that the roof serves as a roost for bone devils, while imps and other lower devils infest the weblike network of chains strung across the chamber. Down on the ground floor, Something moves amongst the pile of books, and you see the strange, slime-like body of lemures tend to something larger than themselves. The air here seems still – as if the world is holding its breath to see your next action.
In the silence, you start hearing some voices – faintly. You can’t quite make them out, and as you look around, you see a book on one of the bookshelves inching its way off the shelf as if being pulled out by ghostly hands.

Midori cautiously steps over to the book to take a closer look, prepared to catch it if it falls. She tilts her head sideways to look at the title. The Betrayal of Juan Marcos. The book drops into her hands, and the voices are slightly more distinct. She barely makes out a phrase, “History is a lie”. Another book starts being pushed out of a bookshelf… then another… and a third… then five more. She hears more voices as each book begins moving… “History is a lie” “Faster!” “History is a lie.” “Our lives…Hurry!” “Save us…” “Hurry!” The voices suddenly stop as the books are about to fall…

Midori’s eyes go wide as soon as she makes out what the first voice is saying. Her heart starts pounding against her ribcage, and she’s not entirely sure if her hands are shaking from the force of her heartbeat or the sound of the voices. Still invisible, Midori clutches the book to her chest, glances at the other books, then hurries to the spiral staircase, just as the books fall to the floor as one. The imps’ gaze snaps to the floor where the books fell, and dozens of them leap from the chains and swarm through that section Midori just vacated. Swirling around, torn pages are lifted from the floor. As Midori begins to climb the stairs, she sees several Bone devils swoop down into the chamber, expertly avoiding the chains. They carefully eye the area, suspiciously looking about for the source of the disturbance. Midori continues to hurry up the stairs as other bone devils peer down through the shattered skylights. Down below, the pile of blood-soaked books shift and a large, bald, human-like head emerges. It says something to its attendant devils, too far away for Midori to hear and the lemures start moving the pile of books about. The bald-headed creatures eyes scan the chamber carefully and Midori pauses, just as its eyes pass over her. They snap back for a moment, as if reexamining exactly where she stands, then its gaze moves on.

Midori makes it to the third floor of Marsa’s wing and over to the vault door. She sees a number of scratches and dents on the surface and the charred remains of several imps lie on the floor nearby. As she looks at the vault door, the combination that Stephanos gave her springs to mind. Resting the spine of The Betrayal of Juan Marcos on the vault door, and placing her hand on the locking mechanism, Midori enters the combination. The vault’s lock quietly unlocks and the mass of devils seem to not notice. The floor of the library isn’t visible from here, but she thinks she hears some disturbance down there. Midori slips inside the vault, and seeing a handle on the inside of the vault door, she quietly and completely closes the door behind her before she begins her search for the Tears of Marsa.

The inside of the vault is more reliquary and less library. The room is lined with shelves and all kinds of artifacts and relics are stored here. Four chests are in the room. A quick glance reveals there are no books out in the open, but there are probably thousands, possibly tens of thousands of gold crowns worth of treasure here. Carefully picking the locks on the chests, she is able to get the first two open without a problem. Inside one are ancient vestments made of delicate cloth. The other contains dozens of potion-sized bottles and a few larger bottles. The third chest seems impossible to open – and her hands become suddenly visible while trying to open this particularly small chest. The final chest is also more difficult to open, but she finally picks the lock and it springs open. Inside is a small book, no more than 8” tall, 6” wide and 1” thick. The cover is made of woven reeds and the center of it is a moonstone cut in the shape of a teardrop. Beyond that, the book seems unremarkable. No clasp holds it shut. The silence seems to intensify and the whispers return… “Hurry” “Save us…” “Faster…”

Before reaching out to pick up the small book, Midori looks around her at all of the treasure. She bites her lip in frustration before her right hand starts to clench and unclench. Inhaling and exhaling slowly, she clutches at the dragon-tooth dangling from a simple leather cord around her neck. It’s as if she’s trying to resist scratching a very powerful itch. Just as soon as the moment begins, it’s gone. Finally, she closes her eyes as she lets out a sigh, before picking up the book in earnest to take a closer look at it.

The book tingles in her hand as soon as she touches it. Not unpleasant, but unusual. Lifting it up, she becomes positive this is the book she seeks. Opening the book to the first page, she sees that instead of the carefully illuminated script of most religious texts, this book has a handwritten scrawl across it:

Greetings, noble being, anointed Hand of Fate.
If this book is open, your world is on the brink of destruction.
The ritual contained herein may be of some use… in the right place, at the right time.
I wish you luck.

Hadrach, Hand of Fate, Lord of Man
Keeper of the Truth.

The writing, as soon as she reads it, fades away. Midori scrambles to get out ink, quill, and paper to copy down the disappearing foreword from Hadrach. She ends up hastily writing it down on the back of her map of Tesra, nearly spilling ink on herself. Once finished, she blows on the ink to make it dry faster.
Once finished, she pores over the Tears of Marsa. She finds the rest of the pages are filled with complex formulae, detailed descriptions of steps and prayers. Puzzling over it, she realizes this is unlike any prayer book she has ever seen to gain the favor of a god’s servants in order to obtain spells. This reads almost like a wizard’s spell. If I’m being honest with myself, She grumbles, this is well beyond me…
She puts both the Tears of Marsa and The Betrayal of Juan Marcos, as well as the writing supplies and map, back in her bag before glancing once more at the small locked chest. Cursing to herself, she scoops up the small chest and stuffs it into her bag as well. As she cinches the bag closed, she makes a silent prayer: Marsa, and all the rest o’ you gods – I swear, if there’s nothing in this chest that helps save Tesra, I’ll return it. I swear… besides, this is a library, after all… right?

Brushing herself off, Midori circles around the room to close and re-lock all of the chests that she’s opened… pausing briefly over the chest of potions, she can almost hear the voice of one of her mentors calculating the value of that chest alone. Once the chests are closed, she takes the empty potion bottle out of her bag, placing the open end of it against the vault door while she presses her ear to the bottom of the bottle. Listening closely, it seems the devils flying about outside seem to have calmed down. The enraged imps screech less often and it seems fewer wings beat the air.

Midori slowly opens the vault door a crack and carefully peeks out the door – directly into three large pairs of humanlike eyes. Time stretches out as the world holds its breath. Looking at the creature, the large, pale, worm-like monster stares back at her in surprise. Three large humanoid heads sit atop its torso, and it floats in the air without the assistance of wings. Finally, each of the creature’s three heads yell simultaneously:

Midori shouts back at the creature in the language of devils, “No! YOU’RE the thief!” then slams the vault door shut. The vault door automatically locks and the creature slams against the door a moment later. It screams and howls as it beats against the vault door.

Her adrenalin pumping, Midori quickly reviews her options. It’s been about 40 minutes since she left the Bastion wall. It’s possible the battle is over, but getting her friends here to save her would be risky, at best. Listening to the creature beat against the door, she suspects it will hold, but there’s no telling how long. She glances at the potion chest… maybe… wracking her brains, she can’t seem to think of what kind of devil the monster outside could be. Settling on “asshole bookworm” she goes back to the chest full of potions, unlocks it again, and with a prayer to Marsa for forgiveness, she sets to work trying to figure out what the potions could be. Minutes pass, all the while the asshole bookworm rages at the door, its attacks crashing against the vault door.. Booom! Boooom! From outside, the creature shouts epithets and vows to destroy her. Through it all she hears it call itself Legionmaster Denuriel.

After examining the potions more carefully, Midori realizes there’s 19 unique potions. She quickly checks them to see if she can figure out what they can do, and when she’s done, she grins and puts all of the potions in her bag except for two Stone Shape potions, and a potion of Flying.

Midori drinks down one of the Stone Shapes and begins to mold the stone into large braces for the door. It doesn’t take long to get through the floor, as it turns out to be only about 8” thick. Once through, she’s a little surprised to see that solid metal beams support the stone vault. She realizes they had escaped her notice when climbing the stairs from the lower level – The metal beams are hidden by additional wooden beams and wooden paneling concealing the structure from the library floor below…
Sticking her head into the gaping hole, she can see that the beams create a crawlspace between the wooden paneling of the 2nd floor ceiling and the vault floor. The dusty crawlspace is about 2’ tall and the metal beams run the length of the vault from the outer wall of the Library to the inner atrium where the devils gallery is filled with chains and body parts. More wooden panels serve to support the facade to the atrium, and the outer wall appears to be made of more metal beams and the outer stone wall of the Library. Considering her options, she wets down a cloth before tying it around over her nose and mouth to prevent herself from sneezing. The Asshole Bookworm Denuriel’s unrelenting assault on the vault door seems to get louder. Boom. Boooom. Boom…

Midori withdraws her head from the crawlspace, then sticks one of her feet down, testing how much weight the wooden panels can bear. As she puts her foot down on the panel, it flexes slightly. She’s not sure if it can actually support her weight, though she is reminded of surviving on thin ice by laying flat to distribute her weight… Unhappy at the prospect of scooting across the thin wood panels, Denuriel’s assault on the vault door suddenly breaks through; Booom… Booom… BOOOMMMCRACK…sizzlesizzlesizzle…

Her eyes dart towards the door and she sees a crack is split down the length of the door and a small, eyeball sized hole is being eaten away by some kind of acid. Denuriel’s three voices booms out at the same time, “THERE YOU ARE!” “THIEF!” “SUFFER!!” A few arcane words later and a thick billowing fog pours into the room, filling the space from the center of the room – Midori sees the fog wash over things like the shelves, their wooden surface begins to blacken, moments before the fog completely obscures them. Some of the softer objects begin to hiss, sizzle and melt. As the first vapors reach her, they burn, her exposed skin reddens and blisters painfully while the remainder of her clothes begins to smoke. The fog spreads like a living thing into the dark gap between the floors, and the air feels thick, resisting her movements. Midori finds moving through the viscous fog difficult, like trying to walk through a deep pool of water. A moment later, Denuriel’s assault on the door resumes as the acid continues to burn.

Acting quickly, Midori drinks down the flying potion, and leaves the other potion of Stone Shape behind. She drops onto the wooden panel directly below her as forcefully as she can. She hears the wood splinter and feels it flex… Nothing more, until she jumps one more time, desperately whispering a prayer. The wood gives way and she drops several feet, almost catching herself with the flight, but her foot catches on one of the bookshelves of the section below, and she swings around, smashing herself against another bookcase before she painfully crashes to the floor.
Above her, Denuriel’s assault on the vault door stops, and she hears his voices say in infernal, each voice talking over each other; “You, soldier – check on that sound. The interloper may be trying to escape.” The other two voices also issue orders, but Midori can’t pick out any more than those words. Then the Asshole Bookworm resumes his assault on the vault door. Booomm… Booooom….
Glancing up. The cloud doesn’t follow Midori into this lower chamber. As she picks herself up off of the floor, she see severals imps fly down from the floor above, and several more turn towards her from their roosts on the deadly-looking chains that hang in the atrium. They screech in recognition and warning as soon as they see her.

Midori takes a couple steps toward the westernmost window and leaps into the air, swooping down the row toward the window. She skids to a halt easily and yanks on the latch, pushing the window open with her foot. She glances over her shoulder to see the imps will be unable to keep up with her, if she can get into open air, and feels a surge of confidence… until two bone devils swoop down after her. One pauses to raise its hand and utter a few arcane words… while the other continues to swoop towards her. Midori steps off of the window’s ledge, hoping to catch herself with the Fly spell. The first Bone devil completes its spell a moment too late, and her escape route is sealed off with a wall of ice. The ice doesn’t even crack Infernal cursing is heard from inside the Library.

Still in midair and now outside of the library, Midori flies down and away from the library, making her way west of the Library. Flying as quickly as she can, she glances up at the top of the library. There, she sees a number of Bone devils stalking back and forth, looking in the direction of the atrium. However, two darkly beautiful women stand at the edge, watching as Midori flies towards the west side of the Library. Dark black wings hang at rest behind them, and as Midori flies, she can see them unlimber longbows and spread their wings to take to the air… Inside the library, Midori hears the booming voice of Denuriel as he rages, apparently at her escape.

Midori takes off like a shot, and the ground whizzes past her as the dark female archers take aim and flaming arrows rain down from their bows. Fire streaks past Midori and she begins to feel a little confident… until the first arrow smashes into her leg, feeling like a searing hot lance. More arrows rain down and a second one pierces her shoulder. Barely making it into what remains of the ruins, Midori flashes past several stone pillars and walls, more arrows striking the stones, raining smoking chips down on her. One more arrow strikes her, but each hit she takes causing her to lose altitude as the pain distracts her. from flying… She tumbles over the edge of the levee towards the river, her last glimpse of the female devils telling her that they’ve lifted off and are beginning to give chase. Several more Bone devils lift off along with them…

The Shade of the Leper
27-Murgus to 28-Murgus

Arrival in Tesra was not the joyous homecoming the party had hoped for. Instead, they discovered the city was embroiled in an infernal siege. Most of the citizens had escaped or were dead, but some surviving refugees were crammed into the naval fort on the southwest side of the port city. The bay filled with sunken ships and watergoing devils, the skies patrolled by Host devils and the fortress under attack, the party was able to leap to the defense of the fortress and save Admiral Farinost from being kidnapped, killed or worse.

Once the battle was over, they discovered the survivors had been held together by a newcomer named Iktar and her Eidolon, Farinost and his remaining soldiers and the Tesran High Priest Stephanos. The party learned that while Grand Duke Nilson VonCrosia had escaped with a portion of the city’s populace, there has been little those left behind could do, except fight a series of losing battles and retreating farther across the city. Now, after about three months of near daily battles, the defenders of Tesra were out of supplies, out of ideas and out of time.

Stephanos’ acolytes and under-priests were suffering from an Affliction that separated them from their deities, eventually leaving them catatonic. Stephanos asked the party to find a book in the Holy Tesran Library called the Tears of Marsa, so that they could summon the Host of Marsa, what the priest believed to be the last hope of the city. He also revealed he predicted he would slip into catatonia in just three days from the Affliction.

Farinost asked the party to help him retake the Bastion Wall, a defensive wall that lined the river and bisected the city. Taking the wall would let him relight the blacksmith’s shop and allow the other facilities in the fortress return to work, instead of providing care for the refugees.

As the party considered their options overnight, Prokhaz the Leper manifested, looking to Midori, begging the Oracle for help. The party was able to destroy the ghost again. The party guessed what she could have brought with her that would bring the ghost as well, and after determining it to be a silver candelabra, used a ballista to launch it well into the devil’s side of the river.

The next morning on Farewelling Day a Contract Devil who called himself Nilar, Herald of Xiwrath the Caustic arrived at the gates to offer the “Master of the city” a contract – the lives of the people for the soul of the Master of the city. Griangi convinced Farinost to decline, wait a day while they sorted this out. Farinost seemed to accept it, and Mason generously offered his legal advice and explained to Griangi and Kia that they could become the Master of the City rather easily:
1. Declare that they are exercising their noble rank to take command of the post from Farinost (in the name of the Grand Duke).
2. Demand Farinost’s troops to now be subject to their commands.
3. Provide a legal writ that they are now the Duke of the City, pending the return of Grand Duke Nilson VonCrosia.
The party later discovered what seemed to be evidence that Admiral Farinost was reconsidering the deal offered by Nilar.

After sleeping on the situation and considering the visit of Nilar, the party chose to send Midori on the mission to get the book for High Priest Stephanos, while the rest of the party marched on the Bastion Wall to take it, partially as a distraction for Midori.

As the party, the column of soldiers and the raw recruits that Gorrok was training arrived at the Bastion Wall, the battle began with two Bone Devils and the party. As the column behind them formed up and the battle escalated, Xiwrath himself appeared, a huge, dark, shadowy devil whose voice shook the heavens and promised the doom of everyone…

The Fortress and the King
24-Galenui through 27-Galenui

The party’s arrival in Vershina was accomplished via teleport, and there they discovered a highly-ordered military city full of a wide variety of civilians, including members of the Sawtooth Orc tribe: Orcs who work for and with the city’s militia to defend the Border Kingdoms from the enemies from the Frozen North.

Spending a short time in the city, Elvira was mugged and some of her items stolen. The party’s investigation led them to learn that Vershina has an entire underground farming area where they grow food and raise livestock over the winter under magically generated light and heat.

Having not found her items and not willing to delay much longer, the party chose to spend the next day searching, and if nothing turned up, continue on to Uliss.

The next morning they were awakened in the early hours by a city-wide search by the military and the Brothers of Torvash. Nine children had been kidnapped in the last several days. They figured searching the city would turn up the children, but the search was unsuccessful. The party conducted their own search, which led them under the city into the sewers, where they interrupted a ritual being held by a priest, 8 acolytes and a warrior. Inside the chamber, the party located not only Elvira’s items, but also the 9 missing children. Unable to stop the ritual completely, the children were sacrificed to bring a Bastion of Hell.
The party successfully stopped the Bastion, destroyed the Seed and killed the cultists.

That evening after they had explained the events to Marshal Vaclav, they returned to their inn where they prepared to teleport to Tabak.

Before they left, they met a young man with strangely large eyes who thanked them for saving his city and warned them to be careful of the Neagod Bogh.

Preparations and Cultists
5-Galenui through 23-Galenui

The party was transported far up into the mountains where they intercepted Nazal in an ambush and killed him near the rumored goblin city of Firecrag. From the deathbed of Nazal, after stripping his hide and removing his head, the party asked Svedjanna the Norn to bring them back to Urga.
Lifting the Tear of the Fallen Gods over her head, the party was transported to the base of an ancient, collapsed black tower.
Inside was a deep pit, the floor inlaid with silver magical designs and a cracked crystal orb.
The magic designs turned out to be a Devil Gate, which Shakaari proclaimed was hidden inside each of the newer towers. Svedjanna declared the cracked orb to be a Seed of a Bastion of Hell. The tower’s ruins, covered in dangerous, evil runes was determined to be too difficult to bury. The party chose to take the Seed and be on their way.

Returning to Urga, the party was greeted by grateful citizens and officials. The next two days involved dining with Count Artem, staying at the palace, a parade, a ball and culminated in a ceremony where the entire party was knighted and presented with the bounty of 15,000 gold for Nazal.

The next 3 weeks or so was spent in Urga, forging items, helping the citizens, and training.

On the 23rd of Galenui, the party spotted three Cultists of Hadrach who lured the party into an alley – and were set upon by a pair of assassins as well. The party dispatched them, though the two assassins seemed horrifically mutated. Upon their deaths though, their bodies seemed normal.

The party expects to be leaving Urga for Vershina post haste.

Tears and Fates
25-Grunni through 5-Galenui

The morning after the dragon Nazal the Spiteful killed nearly half the party, Griangi and the Wizard Tora prepared several scry and teleport spells to retrieve the lost and scattered party members and left just after dawn on the 25th of Grunni. With the scrying, he discovered Marigold had been killed, and the locations of Elvira who was safe and speaking with a giantess, and Pannya, who was fleeing Nazal after crippling his wing and successfully cursing him.
Two teleports later, Griangi, Pannya, Elvira and Tora all stood before the giantess Svedjanna, a Norn who promised to meet them the next day outside of Urga. Tora teleported all by Svedjanna back to the city, where they met Dinara, a ranger looking for a lift to her home of Tabak in Uliss. The party accepted and she joined them.

On the next day, the party, including the recently escaped Shakaari and the ranger Dinara met Svedjanna outside the gates of Urga where she offered the party a gift – a taste of power by touching the Tear of the Fallen Gods. All of the characters were affected in some way, but all felt more powerful.

Culled from Facebook; mostly cleaned up:
Dinara looks at the Norn, and asks " I am not afraid to touch your tear, but why vwere you expecting me? I do not know these people or this Hadrach you speak of. "

Svedjanna smiles placidly. "All people have their role to play – as the threads of fate are unraveled, their place in the tapestry becomes more clear. It has become apparent that the threat that Hadrach’s allies present can no longer be delayed. For want of two hundred years, the heroes nor the artifacts are in place. Something had to be done.
Nodding at Elvira, “her soul was not ready- her next life, probably.” She nods at Griangi, Kia and Ezra. “They are simply too young.” Nods at Shakaari, “Her brother’s place was to sacrifice himself for Elvira – but it happened two hundred years too early.”
“Other heroes have not yet been born, and so we have had to find new ones to re-weave the tapestry. Your threads have been moved so that you are here, now, with us today. So will you stand in? Will you be the imperfect hero this world needs?” Svedjanna finishes, looking at Dinara.

Griangi looks at the Giantess, and then at the ranger.
“You look strong, Ranger, but much has to be done before you have our trust. Every person here has bled for me and in the name of freedom from the chains that Hadrach’s fellowship would put on the world. Are you ready to do that?”

Shakaari “I’m making us all matching tabards!” interjects Shakaari.

Griangi "Actually, Shakaari, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that. Later. Well, Dinara?

Shakaari (Shakaari begins measuring Griangi for a tabard)

Griangi glares murder at the amnesiac gnome. “I SAID LATER!” while Jarbold gently ushers her away. Shakaari then measures Jarbold for a sidekick’s tabard You never knew someone could sigh in an Irish accent, but he somehow does it. He rolls his eyes and attempts to maintain concentration on the conversation.

Dinara I am not strong, I do not vwin arm wrestling contests

Griangi “Strong or not, I asked you a question. What’s your answer?”

Midori shuffles her feet akwardly, listening in on the conversation. Every so often, she glances over at Kia and Ezra, wondering just how the two elves got themselves wrapped up in this very significant quest.

Dinara let me get this straight, you tell me you dont trust me, and then ask me to swear fealty to you – for a quest you have not bothered to tell me about. I do not know you, or necessarily trust you yet either. Ve have only just met. I do not say no to you, but I vwill not say yes at this point with this level of information.

Griangi “Are you telling me that you took the Norn’s gift and now aren’t even sure if you are going to use it for her purpose? What more information do you need than a 15-foot benevolent demigoddess telling you it’s your destiny?”
“…and when did I learn the word ‘benevolent?’”

Griangi turns to Svedjana, “Well, you told her she’s in this, do you want to tell her what she’s in, exactly?” He looks over his shoulder at Midori “That one will want to know too, I think.”

Griangi mounts the now six-foot-tall Ragnar and looks down imperiously at everyone but Svedjana, at whom he looks up. Imperiously.

“Oh, I don’t know, Griangi…” Shakaari says, surprisingly coherent, “meeting a demigod doesn’t necessarily make you want to go along with them. I mean, you all met Hadrach, right?”

Griangi “Benevolent. Demi. God. And I’m not asking for anyone’s fealty.” He looks at both Dinara and Midori. “Just your loyalty.”

Shakaari “Benevolent? How does one measure the benevolence of someone you’ve just met?” Looks up at the Norn. “No offense. I mean… I assume you’re a class 4 Fate-or-Destiny-related pseudo-divinity, and thus perceive the Prime Material Plane from a temporally variable perspective, but, as you know, mortals such as ourselves perceive the fourth dimension in a strictly linear fashion, and are…” (this goes on for awhile)

As Shakaari talks, Griangi roots around in his bag, pulls out parchment and a quill (he already gave Shakaari the ink pot) and throws it at Shakaari’s feet, looking pointedly at her.

Shakaari “Oh, thanks!” Shakaari begins diagramming the time-space continuum, explaining it as she goes.

Jarbold tells her how fascinating it is and walks her about thirty feet away to talk more about it while the Aeon glares at Griangi.

The Norn shrugs.
“I suppose that she has accepted is enough. The skeins of fate have already found her here, today, just as the Princess,” nods at Akiara, "has been brought here earlier than she would have been. I would prefer to invite your help, rather than insist on your cooperation, but time is short, so I shall simply warn you: Turning away from this new destiny invites danger, madness, death.
“The future is not etched in steel or chiseled into stone, just as the past can be changed, rewritten, forgotten.” The Norn sighs as if suffering some great, deep pain. “Still, as the weave is formed, one can predict and see what it will make. Imagine a mug of ale pushed off of a table; should nothing intervene, you can predict, indeed it would be destined, to fall to the floor and spill the ale. You mortals can usually only see to the floor. We can see beyond…” She shakes her head, as if trying to clear it.
“The mug of ale is the world. It has been pushed off the table by the Infernal allies of Hadrach. You are the hand that must catch the mug.
“You must collect the Artifacts of Hadrach, then face him and his allies before they have gathered the strength necessary to enslave the world. This will take you to ”/wikis/hettach" class=“wiki-page-link”> Hettach’s Ruins, into the vaults of Cloudwalk, and over the Slave Pits of Molgar. You will return to the Beacon of Tesra, and to the smoke-filled roads and passages of the Drakkenstone.
“Since the tapestry has been shifted, and the threads are only now being realigned, I cannot see all that fate has in store, or where all of the threads lie. Some of you are necessary because of who you are. Others, you have been offered the honor of standing in for those who could not be here.

“Drakkenstone?” Shakaari asks, returning to the conversation despite Jarbold’s protestations. “Why does that sound familiar? thinks for a moment Do you think it might have something to do with that dragonborn sorcerer you used to know? The one who’s being held prisoner in Hell with that Tesran sellsword?” pauses “Wait… did I spend time in Hell? That doesn’t sound like me.”

Svedjanna shakes her head, “No, the Drakkenstone… you call it, ahh… Draima?”

Shakaari “Well, that just raises more questions!”

Griangi sighs (it sounds kind of like a growl) and shakes his head. “Dinara, Midori, you can come with us on our next teleport jump if you like. How far you go with us after that is up to you. We are committed to fighting this fight to the end; the Devils cannot be allowed to win. Know that if you are not committed as we are, you are a danger to us. Trust and loyalty are our shields. We need them to survive the coming battles.”

Midori thinks long and hard as she looks at the snowy ground for several minutes. “I still want to know jus’ ‘oo this ’Adrach is, but I guess it doesn’ matter when the fate of the world’s at stake. And I’d rather ‘ave a cause to follow than to continue wanderin’ aimlessly.”

Shakaari “Do you know what your tabard size is? I seem to have lost my measuring ta—” notices one hanging from her vest “—oh, nevermind; here’s another one…”

Midori The teenager stares down at the red-haired gnome, "Er… That’s all right. I don’t really want a tabard, if it’s all the same to you. Midori side-steps away from Shakaari, towards Kia and Ezra.

Svedjanna regards you for a few more moments as you stretch your limbs. They feel heavy and sluggish, as if you just woke up from not enough sleep. The Tear sparkles and glows and pulses with its bluish white light. One by one, your eyes are drawn back to it, and you can almost hear a thousand thousand voices inviting you to reach out for the massive gem.
“I must tell you this…” Svedjanna says, "and I am sorry to say it to you. The power of the Tear is but a seed that has just sprouted in the fertile soil that is your souls. What it has given you is fragile and small, and easily destroyed. It must be cared for and properly watered, lest it wither and die, leaving you bereft of the mighty tree it could become and you all the smaller without it.
“The seedling feeds on great deeds – heroic deeds. To ensure the power of the Tear takes proper root, you must prove yourselves worthy of it. You must kill the dragon Nazal. He has been a parasite upon this land, a beast that has made his own legend. Worse, with the twists to the weave that has brought you here now, and the deaths of your comrades, he is poised to become a deadly force here, dominating the region with hate, with tooth, with claw and with avarice.
“Kill Nazal. Prove yourselves the heroes the world needs, or this region will fall under a dark shadow that will not lift for a thousand years, and the seeds within you will wither and die.

Svedjanna says all this while she folds the Tear into the furs it is nestled in. Once fully wrapped, she binds it with a stout leather cord and stashes it underneath her fur-lined cape.
“One other thing – Time itself bends around the Tear of the Fallen Gods. Be warned – the hour spent here in its presence has been as a week out there,” she motions towards the city behind you. “It can also twist reality and realign some threads of the Great Tapestry. When you are ready, I will send you to intercept the monster.”

The Slaves and the Dragon
15-Grunni through 24-Grunni

Once the blizzard cleared, the party continued on through the snow, north and east towards Urga.

Finding a group of escaped Mongrelman slaves, they promised to protect the slaves to the city of Urga.

Three days of travel passed since the snow cave before a white dragon was spotted flying through the sky. Demands made, bargains offered, and it was settled that the party would offer one of their horses for the dragon to feast upon. Halfway through the meal, Shakaari and Marigold convinced the party to attack the dragon – it didn’t go well; Shakaari and Marigold were both killed, Ragnar, Fletcher and Griangi all nearly killed as well.

Kia took Jinora, Elvira, their guide, and the slaves away from the battle.

-Facebook discussion: again, somewhat cleaned up
Even though he is clearly fatigued and no longer invigorated by his wrath, you can still see the characteristic manic glint in Griangi’s overlarge Gnomish eyes. Foam flecks the corners of his mouth.
“This is war. This is a Hunt. The time is now, while he is wounded. We can recover by tomorrow. Maybe he can’t.”
He looks at each of you as he speaks, but seems not to see you.
“He will have dropped blood in the snow in his flight, so we could track him. Maybe we can still scry on him, even without our lost friends. Elvira, Jinora, Fletcher, Akiara, Ezra, Jarbold, we have to destroy this thing, or forever call ourselves cowards. If we reincarnate our fallen, it will be into a world without the thing that killed them.”
It is clear to you that Griangi is hell-bent on revenge.
After Griangi finishes raging for 12 rounds Elvira looks at Griangi and calmly asks “are you finished now?” After an awkward pause she looks at him and yells “of all the idiotic,
moronic, stupid ideas you have EVER had, teleporting on the back of a FUCKING DRAGON has got to be the WORST IDEA yet! WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?!” “I was…” Griangi starts “YOU DO NOT GET TO FUCKING TALK RIGHT NOW!” Elvira falls into the snow, crying. “….I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but everyone around me dies. Our friends….my family is in shambles…so wether you like it or not Griangi, you are all I have left. This isn’t just about honor, or saving the world, or Hadrach any more. Because if you die….I have no reason to be here anymore. And incase you didn’t notice, I don’t have enough healing spells to save everyone, I’m not a fucking cleric of Amalle.” She cries into the snow, picking it up and throwing it away from her like a child throwing a temper tantrum
For an uncharacteristic moment, Griangi is speechless. His eyes focus and become less bloodshot. He wipes the foam from his patch of wiry beard and the aggressive tension melts out his body, his shoulders dropping as his posture loses its primal hunch. He looks at Elvira silently for a moment as he seems to struggle with something you can’t quite fathom.

“Elvira, you have to find something more important to live for than me.”

He walks off, in search of Dragon’s blood.
I call a bolt of lighting, landing three feet away from him, right in his path. As Griangi looks back in shock, she gives him a glare that practically digs into his soul. Turns into a vulture and then goes to heal Fletcher and collect the others bones
Griangi amplifies his voice to the volume of a dragon’s roar and yells after her, “You’re mad? GOOD. Be mad at the thing that killed your friends. Use your anger. Find its power. Your tears don’t give you strength, but your anger does. Let it be your spear as you hunt your true enemy!”
Flecher I will kill this dragon forget taming I WILL BECOME THE DRAGON SLAYER!
While her cheeks are only a little damp, it’s clear from Jinora’s red, puffy eyes that she’s been crying. Her voice cracks a little as the responds to Griangi’s war cry.

“I swore to myself that I’d protect Shakaari… Marigold… I wish I could have been there to help them. I—” She stifles a sob, “You bet your ass I’m gonna help take that dragon down!”
…Evgeni stares at you all like you’re flippin’ idiots. You overhear Evgeni metion to Kia: “City of Urga only 2 days avay. Ve get dere mid-day, day after tomorrow. Ve get dere, ve vill probably be safe from Vite Death.”
After Griangi’s speech and Elvira’s tantrum, Kia looks at Griangi and says one word. “No.” Then she walks purposefully back over to Evgeni.
Evgeni clears his throat. “I vill do as elf noble says. No worse than leading her Veedma, I suppose.” He looks at Kia, “I gave vord of contract to Veedma Marigold. If you still villing to pay to get to Vershina, I take you to Vershina. If not, den I drop you off in Urga. If you vish to chase Vite Death… vell, I point in direction for you to go and vait for you to come back…” he shrugs, “but not too long.”

Flecher He gets so upset over what she said that he screams at Kia and says “your friends may have started this fight but they are still your friends I grew up with none! You should consider yourself lucky to have them! And if they face a dragon, then you should face it with them instead of running away and leaving them to die! Now that I know this group better, I understand that I will never stick my neck out for you two ever again! I may not have gotten along with the dwarf, but I still consider her my friend! I will one day avenge her! I am glad to hear that there is a chance for Marigold! She was a true friend and companion. But know this Princess, I will never forgive you for what you have done, and you will never have my trust, and I will see you in the dark pits of Hell when we are both dead.
“I am sorry I couldn’t do more master Griangi, and sorry for the teleporting thing. Mistress Elvira that was my idea, I will be sure to keep a leveler head next time. Now let’s head to the next town and bring back our friend and continue with what needs to happen.” At that he storms (with no horse) towards where Evgeni pointed is the next town

What does Evgeni say about the availability of magic items in Urga? Like Teleport scrolls or Overland Flight spells? Would people sell them at a discount to would-be Dragon Slayers?
At the questions about Urga, a scowl crosses Evgeni’s features. "Urga is… probably best place to meet Uchoneh… Is also best place to buy rare slaves – many for sale dere. City is always looking for ways to make stronger defenses, so maybe is good to find magic you looking for. I do not know – Urga is place for me to avoid – because of Uchoneh and slavers.
“Save money to buy tings to slay dragons? Maybe. Dey say Vite Death, he avoids cities, so maybe dey do not care about him so much.
“I tell you dis dough: is bad place to be caught alone. Maybe show up on selling block soon after. Maybe show up in street, frozen and dead. Also, is part of Kingdom of Voronezh, with Kalach. So ve hope Highness Kozlov not change mind about you.”
You don’t have Knowledge: Arcane to make a guess as to how long it might take for the dragon to recover. Jarbold (Know check 27) tells you that he thinks it might take about 4 or 5 days for the dragon to recover from his wounds, if he doesn’t have any magical healing.
Jarbold speaks with Evgeni (Diplomacy 19), and Griangi listens in (sense motive 9) and determines that with Urga, it comes down to:
1. It’s a dangerous place if you walk around alone or in small groups.
2. There are a higher percentage of wizards there, mainly tolerated by their ability to help defend the city. So while it is unlikely that you will be able to hire one away from the city, it is likely that you could get them to either sell you or make you something to help with fighting the dragon.
3. Count Artem is unlikely to care about the dragon – the city has not been attacked by any dragons as far as Evgeni has ever heard, and the Count’s focus has always been on defending the city for his cousin, his Highness Kozlov of Kalach.
Let’s talk compass points. From where you are, Urga is at about 40-ish degrees NE. The Dragon flew off at about 345-ish degrees N-NW.
Jarbold and Griangi draw some triangles in the snow and figure out that the mountains are 4-5 days away if the group goes through Urga. At first, Griangi declares this unacceptable, until Jarbold points out in his newfound Irish Hobbit accent that even if we don’t go through Urga, the dragon will likely be fully healed by the time we get to him. Griangi comes around after realizing that surprizing Nazal while he’s vulnerable might only happen if we go through Urga.

Thrandir was once again returned to the party by his mother, the prophet ___.

Upon arriving in Urga several on the 19th of Grunni, the party spent a week (24th of Grunni) having the Druids returning Marigold and Shakaari to life and restoring them. Shakaari much the worse for wear – her sanity broken as soon as she discovered she was now a Gnome. Due to her damaged mind, she was held at the druid enclave in Urga while Thrandir took her place.
Marigold seems more sane, despite her being a gnoll.

During the week of gathering their resources and waiting for Marigold’s recovery, the party met a priest of Marsa who joined the group in a plan to kill Nazal in his lair.

On the 24th (Akiara’s birthday), the majority of the party set out to attack Nazal. Unfortunately the plan went awry, with only half of them (Marigold, Elvira, Thandir, Jinora and Pannya) arriving in the dragon’s lair. The others (Griangi, Jarbold, Fletcher and Raksis) only teleporting a short distance from the city. Attempting to flee, the members of the failed attack split up.
Over the next 12 hours, Nazal tracked down and killed Marigold, Thrandir and Jinora, and captured Pannya.

Griangi and Fletcher arrived in the dragon’s lair about 30 minutes later with the wizard Tora to find everyone missing. Searching the canyons was fruitless, so they returned to Urga to prepare new spells and find the missing members of the party.

Tales and talk
12-Grunni through 14-Grunni

Taken from Facebook Chatter on the three days in the snow shelter… mostly cleaned up…

Jinora: what’s the DC on making a single-person ice-hole in the middle of a storm. I can’t imagine that Jinora , or the party for that matter, is going to get much sleep with Fletcher probably prattling on all night…
With guidance from Evgeni, DC 13. If you sweet talk him with a gold piece, and are not an elf, he’ll do it for you.

Jinora asks for Evgeni’s help on finishing the hole that she and Marigold were working on previously. Hooray for a separate hole to sleep in, away from Fletcher’s non-stop talking!

Fletcher "Dear self, leave the dwarfs alone they are kinda bitchy " he says as he writes in his journal loud for everyone to hear

Marigold I spend as much time as I can getting to know Fletcher, and getting Evgeni to teach me survival skills in the snow. If I have to pay Evgeni I will though I dont offer it at first…will try convincing him, with thoughts like if I know better he doesnt have to save my ass from my own stupidity – as he is already contracted to be my guide

Fletcher I will write up everyone’s story well as much as they will tell me and find out what’s going on with the world everything that gose wrong I will blame it on my curse an will try and copy the designs of all the magic armour and weapons and tell them how they could be so much better and try and get Grigi to teach me his language and if there might be a spot for a arms and armour in his new duchy

Marigold doesn’t have to pay Evgeni to do it for her, he will just do it at your request. “You may be veedma, but at least you pay well.” Later, he shows you not just how to build the shelter, but the wheres and whyfors… he even shows you how to build a shelf to lie on so that you stay even warmer… your den is almost cozy.

Shakaari reads her book.

Fletcher I will also keep bothering Shakaari over and over on what she is reading and what kind of spells she knows and stuff

Shakaari will continue to be quiet and surly while observing Fletcher covertly to determine what the hell is up with him. My kn:arcane mod is +11 — can I take 20 to figure out what the hell Fletcher is.

Fletcher he will tell you his life story whether you wanna hear it or not

Your indoctrination and schooling and careful listening to what he says tells you he is the most dangerous of all spontaneous sorcerer like casters – the Summoner. He’s lucky to have survived this long, possibly due to the fact that he appears to be insane, or an idiot. Possibly also that he left the Draiman Combine. But then again… Maybe he’s smarter than he appears – didn’t he say that he was actually in the city? He’d have to be extremely clever or lucky to avoid the notice of the Magistrates and Justicars.
In fact, you recall overhearing a discussion between Aminda Voco and a Justicar, looking to bring in a few Summoners for… Investigation.

Shakaari Given the proclivities of House Voco, can I assume I’ve read a book or two on Summoners?

2 treatises on the Origin of the Eidolon (in hindsight, probably full of propaganda and poor assumptions), 1 Dissection manual, and one short report on how the structure of magic connects with their body. (It was bloodstained)

Evening of the first day, after Evgeni shows people how to build individual shelters, and shows you how to dig down deep enough in the snow for the horses to forage on buried grass, Ezra makes a pot of hot stewed millet and jerky, and some hot water for whatever everyone prefers for themselves (tea, coffee, coco). You even overhear him say to Kia when he brings a bowl for her, “I saved you the best of the jerky…”
Evgeni eyes the two young elves as they sit close to each other for warmth and says to the group over his bowl of millet, “Who wants to hear the tale of Icefang, Hunter of the Wastes?”

Marigold MEEE MEEE I want to hear the story<clapping>

Fletcher “Icefang is he the dragon?!” “How long has it lived?” "is he a rogue dragon from the dragon city? What are these barbarians he supposedly leads? Will we run into any of them? ‘Cause I don’t like to fight if we don’t have too, but if they try to hurt my friends (points to all of you) I will kill every last one of them "

Shakaari puts down her book.

Fletcher “Whoa the dwarf Draiman wizard is actually interested in life then what’s behind a book she surprises me every day”

Shakaari frowns.

Fletcher “Did I say something wrong” “or did I do what they call said the wrong thing to say in that moment”

Shakaari picks up her book and goes back to reading.

Evgeni coughs, sips some tea and starts in on the tale:…/ice…
Evgeni looks up from his empty tea cup as you hear a mournful howl in the distance over a brief lull in the blowing storm.
“Maybe is Icefang’s pack that hunts us now- ve ought to be careful – it vould be terrible thing to vake up with Icefang’s jaws closing on your throat…”
With that, he gets up… “Sleep vell…” and he retreats to his personal ice cave.
Fletcher “if that is what hurt the duke I have no problems killing every last one of them”

Fletcher you may have noticed that before battle he was a little scared but the moment they hurt Griangi his face and attitude turn very serious

Shakaari “Quite a story,” begins Shakaari , putting down her book. “I would be interested in meeting these goblins, as, I suspect, would Marigold.”

Kia Apparently I am a little late to the party but; while everyone was doing stuff during the day before Ezra made dinner Kia and Ezra were camped out in the corner of the large shelter. She was laying with her head in his lap and they were telling each other stories in Elvish completely unaware that their speaking Elvish was making Evgeni uneasy. This is the really the first time you have seen either of them looking so relaxed and not standoffish and you are once again reminded that they are really only essentially 16 and 18. Both of them seem to be in good spirits considering the party is in a winter wasteland. Even laughing a bit too loudly at one point.

Did they listen to Evgeni’s tale?

Kia yes they had already stopped to eat the dinner Ezra made at that point. Some of you might even have noticed how much Kia and Ezra love stories.

Jinora , to Shakaari , “Why on Yerth would you want to meet supposed killers?”

Fletcher “Maybe they ate his brother?” “Or he is pure evil!!!”

Shakaari “Professional curtesy.”

Kia To Fletcher “No actually Shakaari tricked the devil unto bringing her brother back from the dead.”

Shakaari “That was the best [Christmas] ever.”

Fletcher "Wow you got lucky then the devil didn’t put a curse on you that dosent make much sense

Jinora opens her mouth as if to say something in regards to Shakaari ’s situation, then shuts it. The wizard gets enough trouble as it is without Jinora making it worse – or, at the very least, more annoying.

Fletcher “Well I will help fight him if you want if you help me stop being cursed and hunted by inquisition”

Griangi “If Icefang is a self-freed slave, turned into a ruler of beasts, I respect the beast. I will be all the more proud if it ever comes to battle and I slay the creature. Ragnar would wear his amulet proudly.” To Ragnar, "Who’s a good boy? WHO’S A GOOD BOY? "

Shakaari “Actually,” says Shakaari , putting down her book again, “should this worg prove to be not only real but intent on our deaths, having Ragnar wear his amulet and Griangi his pelt might be just what we need to get the locals on our side.”

Jarbold perks up. “What a tale to tell!”

Griangi: “People do like it when we kill their enemies. And this badger pelt I wear may be due for a replacement. It never really recovered from when I ran into that burning farmhouse to save those children.”

Fletcher “I feel that maybe we should wait for him to come to us ‘cause it sounds like he is after us why don’t we set the trap this time” “and this time I will have Raskis”

Griangi “We can’t delay our mission too much.” Griangi looks sideways at Fletch. “We have to come up with a plan that allows us to keep moving, and if he comes for us, we spring the trap on the road. After all, Evgeni didn’t sign up to hunt Worgs, and we have a world to save.”
Griangi I’m guessing that was out of character, despite the quotation marks.

Fletcher "

Fletcher "What’s this whole save the world thing did the dwarf really piss off a stupid high devil? Or god? And what do you suggest master Griangi? and do you guys have the ability to help Raskis he is not enjoying the cold so he could help us

Marigold We don’t need to seek to kill this worg, and I doubt he is after us at this time. It would be fascinating to talk to these goblins, if they were willing to talk, but that is not why we are here. We have things to do.

Marigold “Fletcher, the pissing off came much later than the world saving part”

Fletcher “O well I don’t know. I hardly know my new friends! Especially the dwarfs I think they hate me and the princess and her ‘man sex slave’ (he says quietly) keep to them selfs and the Druid only wants to have ‘fun’ with the guide and I know you’re from another world, whatever that means, but I honestly don’t know what’s going on”

Marigold “Fletcher, the core thing you need to know, we actively came to save someone from dying alone in the snow, the rest comes with time. And if we don’t match your needs and you ours when we come to another town you can always go another way.” “You will have plenty of time to get to know us and us you on the journey to the next town.”….in fact tell me more about your companion, I have never had the time to converse with a sorcerer as yourself? Is he like a familiar? Is he from another plane?, Does he have a time limit that he exists from day to day? ….<add>

Fletcher “I am not a sorcerer at least that’s what the elf told me but for some reason Drama thinks I am and keep sending people after me Raskis scares people so maybe that’s why?” Fills you in on Raskis

Shakaari takes mental notes…if he’s to be believed, yep, those books were full of propaganda and poor assumptions.

Marigold “hmmm perhaps not a sorcerer, it seems you have more of an affinity for summoning thing”

Fletcher “O yea I do I can get some cool friends out almost better then her (points at Shakaari )”

The first evening passes with the occasional howling in the distance heard over the brief lulls in the blizzard. Ragnar is at first interested in the calls of his wolfy bretheren, but then when the howls get a bit closer and more clear, he crawls further back into the snowy den and curls up next to Griangi – only by touching him can you feel the slight shivering tremor of fear running through him.

Day the Second:
At daybreak in the driving snow and wind, Evgeni recruits Griangi and Ezra (and whoever else is interested) to extend the shelter for the horses, clear more snow for them to forage, and other basic tasks to maintain the health of the horses (by taking 10 on Handle Animal and Survival, along with help from Evgeni, this is easily accomplished). The rest of the day is spent examining, repairing and expanding the existing snow shelters, and digging out and building a cover for the foxhole. Evgeni makes it clear to you all that the worst thing to do is work up a sweat, and that if you start getting too hot from exertion, you should remove a layer or two and slow down.
During the day, you don’t hear or see any of the worgs, just the blowing wind and snow.
That evening, Ezra heats up another thin stew of millet, with a couple of dried vegetables and some jerky to liven it up a bit, and also gets you all some hot water for tea/coffee/cocoa. As you savor the warmth, you listen to the winds blow sweeping snow across the plains. “Vid dis snow, and better shelter for horses, dey are safe for evening. We check on dem every couple hours.” He plunks down with the Ezra set out for him, eyes it suspiciously for a moment, looks at Ezra as if trying to determine if Ezra’s the type to poison him, finally shrugs slightly and gets started eating the thin millet stew.
Fletcher “Does someone have a spell to help my friend in the cold so I can have you all meet him?”

Shakaari “That can be arranged.”

Fletcher “Come with me outside I don’t think he will fit in here” I summon Raskis outside and start talking to him in draconic about what’s going on and what has happened so far

Evgeni follows along suspiciously, and upon the summoning of Raskis, lets out a squeak of fear (not unlike a little girl), and scoots back a few steps… then, as puzzlement invades his features, he says, “Dis? Dis… is dragon? Not quite look like dragon. Why is blue?” then once again concern and worry cross his features. He suddenly draws his falchion and points it at Fletcher, and without taking his eyes off of Fletcher – he yells at Marigold, “He is another Uchoneh?” spits “Where is Uchoneh books? Why you no tell me?”

Shakaari “Evgeni, please put away the sword.”

Fletcher Raskis stands as tall as he can and try’s to intimidate him as he says “I am no dragon, I am an Eidolon of the great Fletcher!”

Evgeni falters, the towering Raskis, backed by Shakaari and Fletcher is more than enough to make most people quake in terror. Evgeni slams his sword home in its scabbard and mutters as he turns away, “Dis deal is getting vorse all de time.” He stops in front of Marigold and says loud enough for everyone to hear, “I gave vord I vould be guide. But you keep your Uchoneh” spits “under control ven ve meet others on road. I don’t vant to die for dem.”
Evgeni stomps over to check on the horses, then back to snow shelter to finish his meal while the rest of you marvel over Raskis. He mutters more under his breath, “Evgeni, never again take money from Veedma” spits
Meanwhile, Ezra grabs Kia by the hand and drags her to see Raskis. “This is amazing, Kia! You have to see it!”

Fletcher Raskis full of himself starts “stretching” his wings and is genuinely showing off Fletcher says “I didn’t mean to make anyone upset I sorry for how he acted I can put him away if you want but he is a good guard and all around better at fighting then me” Raskis “that’s not master your outstanding with your magic and your a good shot with your crossbow” they talk with each other in different languages and having debates about weird subjects

Shakaari “Evgeni — complaining about the circumstances surrounding the fulfillment of your word is, in its way, as bad as breaking it. If your personal problems prevent you from keeping your commitments then, by all means, leave us, so long as you can live with it. Otherwise, keep your opinions on wizards, sorcerers, and witches to yourselves, as we have politely held our tongue regarding your orcish heritage.”

Fletcher "Hey orks can be friendly- maybe a lil too friendly! How do you think we get half-orcs?

Evgeni stands up, and looms over Shakaari , his enraged features explaining why he is suddenly heedless of Raskis. "I expect nuting less from Dwarf. Dat you not from here is worse. Dat you are arrogant Uchoneh? Even worse. " spits "If you vant to survive trip, you shut up now and listen to me.
“Here, people don’t care vare you come from. Draima is too far away to help you. Here, Uchoneh and Veedma rank lower den slave. Is okay to kill Uchoneh like you, or Veedma like her.” He points at Marigold. "People vill cheer and spit on corpse. Leave body to freeze. Not even vorth it to burn. Drop body in river or leave in plains. VOOD is more valuable den you. To kill slave? Is crime. Burn good slave bodies in winter, bury dem in summer. Killer pay fine or go to prison.
“Here, you just dead and no one care. Maybe all your friends die too, just for knowing you. If you Sorcerer or Druid, den is okay – Even Cleric okay. But you stop pretending to be so big here, or you get us all killed, and I VILL NOT die for you.”
He finishes, punctuating his sentence with his fingers in Shakaari ’s chest, then stares her in the eyes, his bald anger giving him the willpower to stare her down.
(anyone care to do a sense motive on him?)

Shakaari Sure but I can’t remember Shakaari ’s skill on it — probly +6

rolls dice hmm.
It is clear to you that he is using his rage to hide some deep-seated terror…

Shakaari “Who or what I am,” Shakaari begins, calmly, “is irrelevant to this discussion. Either keep your oath in good faith or go back where you came from. I have no interest in your childish outbursts, your superstitious nonsense, or your threats. I may die in this land but I will not be whined to death by some sorry excuse for a trail guide.” She brushes off the front if her dress where he touched her. “And if you ever again lay hands upon me without my permission, you will lose them.”

“My oath is to her,” he points again at Marigold. “Not filthy, arrogant and stupid Uchoneh like you.” He spits on Shakaari , turns and stomps back to his now cold bowl of millet stew. On his way, he stops says to Marigold, “If we meet anyone on road, put that thing in chains or she vill get you killed.” He brushes his hands twice in front of Marigold as if finished with work, and then turns to Ezra, Kia and Elvira. “Now, I find someone vorse den elf. At least you have brain.” He scoops up his bowl, downs the rest of it in a single gulp, tosses the empty bowl to Ezra and heads back to his own shelter.

Fletcher I mentally order Raskis to get in between Shakaari and the Orc before things go down and if he needs to make him do an intimidate check on her saying “now is not the time nor the place to get on a high horse Draiman wizard”

Jinora Upon the summoning of Raskis, Jinora tenses from her spot near the main ice cave. As Fletcher and Raskis talk to each other, she mutters to herself, “Well, no wonder he’s crazy.”

Jinora: As Shakaari’s and Evgeni’s argument heats up, Jinora steps toward the wizard. Her only regret is not being quick enough to stand between the half-orc and Shakaari , before he spits on her companion.
Jinora growls as Evgeni turns away, “You may not be willing to die for her, but I am. Just do your job and guide us, and keep your trap shut.”

Marigold I will roll a sense motive(+0) on Evgeni, Marigold stands up, Using a commanding voice, which you have literally never heard from Marigold (Intimidate +10) she booms out “ENOUGH” if you need to take a breath, go outside and take a moment. BUT to survive in lands we know nothing about, in this terrain we know nothing about, WE HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER! That means showing respect to everyone regardless of your beliefs, EVERYONE here has great abilities, strengths and weaknesses. Turning to Evgeni, I apologize to you for putting you in this position you despise. I know you will honor your word, I see you to be an honorable soul, however, please respect the entire group. Spitting and calling us names does not create a good environment. You know not what trials they have been through, and it is disruptive. Instead, teach us about your society so that…as you put it, we don’t get you killed….with our lack of knowledge. We are who we are, and regardless of where our abilities come from. We are here for a good purpose. In my lands witches are abundant, and some are good people and others are evil and hurtful, just as a warrior can fight for people or do evil acts. Judge each person for who they are, and you better find out just who they are and what they have gone through before you do. In my lands orcs are looked down upon, but I looked at you as an individual. In each being you meet there is something of value you can learn about, some beauty about them. If you didn’t see it, you didn’t look hard enough! < Marigold breezes outside, and if not too stormy flies up into the air hair streaming loose> and if those who haven’t seen her hair in all its glory look, they might notice the sheer volume of hair. Her diplomacy is non existent but does have +2 charisma

Marigold With the word EVERYONE I am glaring at everyone in turn and making eye contact with everyone who will look

Shakaari, wiping spit off her face, returns your glare with a look that says she’ll be damned if she’s going to apologize for not letting the guide threaten people with swords unchallenged.

Fletcher “Me and Raskis are at your command Capetian”

Jinora returns Marigold’s gaze with a hard one of her own, but averts her eyes just before the witch makes eye contact with the next person. She lets out a sharp sigh before sulking over to check on all of the horses. Making sure to give Raskis and Fletcher as wide a berth as she can, of course.

I’ll assume that Marigold caught him as he was opening the door before leaving – rolls dice hmm.
Evgeni turns, the dark look still on his face. "Death is out here. It hunts us – each of us. All of us. You may die from tooth and claw, or ice and snow or starving or hundred other vays, but is all the same. Is called Vinter. It doesn’t care if you good people or if I respect you or if I judge you. It doesn’t care if person has value or if you have beauty or vat your purpose is. It vill kill you, kill me, and no one will know or care until snows melt, and probably not even den because your rotten body vill be forgotten.
“Dis is fact: If you are named Veedma or she is named Uchoneh by people here, you vill die. Either from dem catching and killing you, or from dem running you out of town to die in de snow, starving and hunted, vit no supplies. Dis I give you? Is but small taste of what you see later. Dese people do not care how good you are or if you vant to save vorld or vatever you vant to do. Dey only vant to know dey are safe and you will not kill dem.
“If you villing to listen, I vill guide. if you villing to vork, I vill help. If you villing to learn, I vill teach you to stay alive. But ven ve meet others – I tell you now – muzzle your Uchoneh dwarf, and you should not say vord either. Dis is advice to keep you alive, not to save pride or face. Saving face gets you killed” he glances at Shakaari and back to Marigold. “Put avay your pride, de cold doesn’t care.”

Shakaari (As Evgeni rants, Shakaari mocks him by flapping her hand like a sock puppet in time to his speech — she then returns to her book)

Griangi tears himself away from comforting Ragnar long enough to interject, firmly:
“I’m tired of this crap. There are enough dangers in this place without us fighting each other. I know, maybe more than any of you, that what people think you are, right or wrong, is as much a danger as this cold, and about as impossible to be rid of. Shakaari , do you want to invite danger from the people of this place? Do you want more distractions? More hurdles between us and what we came here to do? Yeah, it’s stupid and wrong that these people hate wizards. Do you want to fight that battle, or the battle we actually came here to fight? We’re going to be careful about how much magic we throw around in this place, and who we do it around. To protect ourselves. Just like you wouldn’t go naked in the cold. We’re done getting ourselves into fights with the locals when we should be fighting the Fellowship.
And Evgeni, if you spit on my friends again, right or wrong, I will cut you apart, feed parts of you to my wolf while you watch, and wear your skin to take the edge off the cold. You can mutter to yourself all you want about ‘Veedma’ and ‘Uchoneh,’ but as soon as part of you touches part of them in anger, your life is forfeit. This fight is done.” Intimidate +16.
Griangi gives everyone one last glare before going back to Ragnar.

Shakaari “All I wanted him to do was stop waving his damn sword around!”

Evgeni stares at the little gnome for a moment… then breaks out laughing – guffawing, really. “See? He is leader because he is smart! You, gnome – you may give dese fools chance to live. Maybe dey listen to you more den me.”

Griangi “Sm…smart?” Griangi is speechless.

Evgeni offers Griangi a small swig of strong, clear spirits and says, “Yes, smart enough to know de cold doesn’t care. Ve survive first town, I vill buy us all drink, and we celebrate. Ve survive trip, I buy you keg. Is good, no?”

Griangi takes the drink and smiles. “Is good.”

Shakaari groans and starts on the chapter about using rings to bind others to her arcane will…

The second evening passes with some tension – the shouting match and close proximity leaving everyone on edge. Evgeni finishes sharing his strong drink with Griangi, and when he is asked what it is, he calls it “Root vine – is good for heart and for breathing.”
As night settles in, the winds seem to kick up even more, and those on watch are almost constantly digging out the foxhole despite Evgeni’s improvements… not that those on watch are really able to see much – visibility quite literally drops to zero and getting from the warm snow cave to the foxhole to the horse’s shelter and back is a matter of carefully following guide ropes Evgeni had staked out the day before.
Changing watch is a burden as well – the snow piles up against the door of your snow cave such that you have to dig yourselves out just to step outside. Evgeni finally suggests at the end of 2nd watch that you check on the horses and cancel the watch for the night.
(looking for last actions for the evening before I start in on Day 3).

Day the Third:
Overnight, the sounds of blowing wind and snow are eventually muffled by the snow that piles up against the door. In the morning, Evgeni casts Endure Elements on himself and removes the blocks and digs a small tunnel to crawl out of. Those that follow him find wind strong enough to knock most people down if they are in the open. The sky is barely lit despite Evgeni’s insistence that it is about an hour after sunrise, and it is difficult to see beyond 5 feet, and nearly impossible to hear unless you are shouting next to the person you’re speaking to.
Checking on the horses finds them all in good health, Evgeni makes sure they are fed, brushes the ice out of their fur, checks blankets and so forth.
Raskis seems to be in a good mood despite being left out of doors all night, and I’m sure someone renews the Endure Elements spell on him as well (though, to be fair, since we’re not burning Endure elements on Ragnar, Expey, and Dorian, we can skip it for Raskis too, I guess). Though, he is a little jealous of the badger and the wolf getting to stay inside the cozy snow shelter.
The day passes much the same as the day before, and the winds and driving snow seem to abate somewhat in the afternoon. Visibility increases to between 20-30 feet and the wind drops to a mere 50 mph. As the sun sets, you check on the horses again, and they are all fine, and you hear a mournful howl on the wind. Ezra, after spending the day chatting with Kia and playing some kind of sticks-and-pebbles game with her for hours, gets up and makes more thin millet stew for dinner, with hot water for tea or coffee. He passes bowls around, again saving the one with the largest bits of meat for Kia.
Evgeni says, “You know, is tradition on cold, quiet days to share stories, or tell of places ve have visited. Helps pass time…” He looks at your group expectantly…
Shakaari Are we considered to be using the Wand of Endure Elements on everyone who needs it, every day?

Shakaari “Robspierre… your hour has come…” mutters Shakaari as she leafs through a chapter titled “Rebirth Stones”.

Re: wand; Not during these three days, unless you expect to spend more than an hour outside of the shelter. Since I think Ezra has the shoes and Axe-Master-G has that Barbarian ability, you should be fine to not use any on day 2, and possibly 3. Remember another thing you can do is ask if Elvira is willing to spend some of her Lv-1 slots on Endure Elements to preserve the wand power, but that’s up to Christina.

Jinora Following Evgeni out? I thought he had a separate hole for himself, just as Jinora does?

Shakaari Robspierre proceeds to tell Evgeni the entire history of the forest dragon race, beginning with their ancestors, the forest linnorms.

uhm that’s just a psychic conversation, because Robs only speaks draconic, right?

Shakaari Robs will bug Jarbold until he agrees to translate.

…Evgeni politely listens.

Fletcher “that dosnt seem true” “but ok”

Shakaari “…and that is how the Kobolds named me their Emperor. Now in 2371 FDC, we established the…”
Fletcher “I did not know dragons could lie there asses off”

Shakaari “…of course, the art of horseback riding was originally invented by the forest dragons so that we could use them for polo…”

…Evgeni politely listens.

…Ezra says, “Excuse me, but I thought we were going to hear a story, not a um… ‘history’.”

Shakaari “That is exactly the conclusion we dragons designed you elves to come to.”

Ezra: “What? that… I… Uhm… riiight. So, if you’re done, I’ve got an ACTUAL tale to tell… if you’re interested…”

Fletcher “Oooo this should be good, did not know that concubines to royalty can talk without permission. What a strange country”

Jinora “I’d love to hear your story, Ezra,” Jinora blurts out, bored out of her skull by Robspierre’s rambling. The corner of her mouth flickers a smile at Fletcher’s concubine comment/assumption, but she doesn’t bother to correct the summoner.

Kia to Fletcher, “If you insinuate something like that again you’re going to wake up without a tongue,” Kia says in a low, deadly serious voice. Then the turns to Ezra with a cheerful grin, waiting for him to start telling his story.

Shakaari Robspierre says “Geez, what is it with humanoid females and amputation?”

Kia turns back to the group guessing that most of them—because they have never been to Voruub—have no idea how incredibly insulting Fletcher’s statement was. “To say that someone is a sex slave, is to say that they are lower than dirt.” She holds Fletcher’s gaze, to make sure he understands that she is not playing. “Never make the mistake of saying that to Ezra ever again.”

Ezra coughs, and places a hand gently on her shoulder and says quietly, “it’s okay, Kia, really… besides, I’ve got this story…”
He sits down in the center of the snow cave, and says, “this is a story from the village I was born in… it is at the base of a huge mountain that watches over our little village.” Ezra then uses his magic to weave glowing, wispy trailers of fire and smoke in the air drawing people, creatures and small landscapes as he tells his story of the Phoenix and the Bear King…
When he is done, he sits back and smiles, seemingly pleased that he once again had a chance to perform for people.
Fletcher After her comment I hide behind the witch and listen to the story Raskis you hear outside growl and say in draconic “I dare to see you try” then is hushed by Fletcher telepathically

Jinora ‘s eyes widen in awe as Ezra paints pictures in the air with fire. As he finishes the story, she turns directly to him, beaming like a small child after their first trip to the faire. "Anytime you want to share another story, Ezra, I’m all ears. That… that was wonderful!"
She goes to slap him on the back in camaraderie, but hesitates and withdrawals, remembering that both he and Kia don’t seem to like being touched by others. Jinora smiles apologetically, then toasts Ezra with what remains of her cup of tea.

Kia to Ezra, “That one’s always been my favorite.”

Shakaari looks up from her book to watch Ezra’s display, her face pensive, as if remembering something. She deflates a little, and goes back to her book.

Ezra gracefully accepts the praise, “Perhaps sometime later”
Evgeni grins his toothy, broken-fanged grin and says, “Yes, is very good story – proper story! My stories – not always so happy. Maybe is place you are from… Does anyone else have story to tell?”

Shakaari Marigold — Shakaari turns to Marigold and says “Any interesting tales from Argentier?”

Marigold is not in the room, she has been out with the horses since the last night

Marigold she does have protection, but regardless she is with the horses in a shelter, she is just not in the main shelter

That is with the horses shelter. if you were out side of it, you’d be subject to the wind chill of 50-75mph winds and -20 temperatures of the night before:
Extreme cold (below –20° F) deals 1d6 points of lethal damage per minute (no save). In addition, a character must make a Fortitude save (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or take 1d4 points of nonlethal damage.
…which is why Evgeni was saying everyone should stay inside.

Marigold She can make her own enclosed shelter she assisted Jinora with hers, and she has the boots

Okay – if she’s got her own shelter, it’s fine; she’s in her own shelter.
All: Understand, during the worst of the blizzard, the temperature and wind chill would overwhelm even your Endure Elements spell (which means the Boots of the Winterlands, too). The shelter for the horses is a windbreak with a kind of curving dome for the horses to huddle under. Getting them out of the wind like this protects them… enough.

Jinora After Ezra’s story, Jinora says goodnight to the party then retires to her own shelter for the night, despite the storm outside.

Wolf Like Me
8-Grunni through 11-Grunni

My fingers claw your skin, try to tear my way in
You are the moon that breaks the night for which I have to howl

-Florence and the Machine “Howl”

While refreshing themselves at the Frozen Goblin Saloon outside of Kalach, our heroes found themselves in the company of a boisterous group of trail guides, apparently toasting the death of someone they’d abandoned to the tundra. Griangi joined their revels briefly, gathering enough information to rescue their victim. In retribution for their cruelty, the witch, Marigold, placed a curse on their food, putrefying it, and put an Arcane Mark on the back of the worst of them’s clothing, branding the poor bastard as ‘veedma’. A bar fight broke out, which may have led to a riot — the Champions of Yerth did not stay long enough to find out.

They fled Kalach, taking a detour through the wastes in hopes of finding this lost traveler they’d heard of. They found a man named Fletcher, nearly dead from exposure. The party tends to his ailments and takes him with them to find shelter from the oncoming blizzard, wolves howling in the distance. Our heroes settle in a snow cave, following Evgeni’s instructions on how to prepare themselves for the winter’s elemental onslaught; all save Griangi, who considered the death’s icy hand to be a minor inconvenience, and decided to go wolf hunting.

Mounting his trusty steed, the gnomish warrior road out into the snow in search of the source of all this howling, only to determine that they came, not from wolves, but from worgs — giant, cunning canines known to savor the flesh of humanoids. Realizing that he was outnumbered, Griangi used his gnomish magic to confuse the creatures with lights and then high-tailed it back to the cave. The worgs, however, were not so easily shaken off.

The party set watches. The blizzard grew in intensity as the evening progressed. An hour or so before dawn, the watch spotted a pair of worgs in the distance, and roused their allies from sleep. They attempted to set up an ambush for the creatures using Griangi as bait, but to no avail. Our heroes, realizing that the worgs may have bypassed them entirely and gone after Elvira, Evgeni, and the horses back at camp, rushed back, only to stumble across two worgs who had crept past the party. Two of the monsters breathed blasts of cold at the gnome and his wolf, barely hurting Griangi but incapacitating Ragnar. The party pounded the worgs with spells, but, despite seriously injuring one, they both escaped.

The storm’s fury grew, trapping our heroes in their cave for the next three days.


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