Return of Hadrach

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.

The Assassination of Rothgar Bearon by the coward Shakaari Voco

“They give you this but you pay for that,
And once you’re gone you can’t ever come back,
when you’re out of the blue and into the black.”
-Neil Young “My My, Hey Hey”

Our heroes rested at the Squinting Coin, a reasonably priced inn staffed by slaves. Jinora, still recovering from the loss of her hand, sought to discuss the actions of Rothgar’s imp with Shakaari, who continually avoids her. Both Marigold and Shakaari discover strange glyphs painted on the doors of their rooms; it turns out the people of Kalach have serious issues with arcane spell-users.

Out of the blue, the druid Elvira returned to the fold, with no explanation for her absence.

Taking on the role of a foreign elvish noblewoman, Akiara, the pseudodragon Robspierre on her shoulder, took up the task of negotiating with local merchants to acquire the gear and mounts the party would need for their long trek across the tundra. Marigold met up with and hired Evgeni Stanav, a half-orcish ranger, who reluctantly agreed to take them to their destination.

Rothgar and Shakaari conspired to rob the Slaver’s Guild, over the objections of Jinora, who spent the day trying to get the wizard into a private discussion. Shakaari told Jinora to trust her and go find Marigold but the cavalier would not be abated. Finally, cornering the two of them in a clothing store, Jinora frustrated the conjurer to the point that she tells Rothgar that, rather than robbing the guild, the two of them should just teleport directing into the throne room and assassinate the King. Rothgar, confident in both his skills with a bow and Shakaari’s arcane abilities, agrees. Shakaari angrily sends Jinora away and leads Rothgar to a spot adjacent to the palace.

Rothgar placed his trust in Shakaari to deliver him to the throne room, and was betrayed. The wizard cast her Dimension Door spell, but instead of taking them both to the presence of the King, she shifted them both 740ft straight up. Protected by a Fly spell, the Draiman woman watched as her former ally fell to his gruesome death. As his last act, the ranger fired an arrow into the wizard, but refrained from firing the second and third shafts that would surely have taken the woman from the mortal world with him.

The people of Kalach witnessed this murder, and a horrible chanting rang through the streets. Shakaari flew out into the icy plain to wait for her allies and explain what she had done.

Seeing the place where Rothgar fell, a rage-filled Elvira stopped and collected some of the shards of his rent bones.

The Champions of Yerth fled the city, meeting up with the wizard miles away. Shakaari explained that Rothgar had effectively become a servant of the Enemy, and that he could no longer be trusted. She explained that she could not risk Mexis, the imp, discovering what she had planned. She explained that she had no other alternative but to kill him — too many lives were at risk to let him go.

Her explanations just weren’t good enough.

Of Imps and Men
  • Party is greeted by guards, invited to dinner and escorted to Palace.
  • With several hours to kill, party takes baths and talks with personal palace slaves.
  • Rothgar sends out Mexis (invisible) to “find magic items”
  • Shakaari sends out Robspierre to scout out shuttered Draiman tower.
  • Jinora goes to see Dorian, but discovers they are restricted to the hall – asks for escort and gets it.
  • Mexis returns with a pouch full of Very Nice Gemstones. After questioning, it appears he took it from the royal vault – possibly the crown jewels themselves.
  • Rothgar concocts a plan to frame the palace slaves by planting three of the gems on various slaves, sends Mexis out to do it.
  • Jinora runs into a young man practicing swordwork against a group of guards. In watching, the man is distracted, hit rather hard and he unleashes himself, putting down his sparring partners quickly.
  • Savilley (check spelling later) invites her to spar – He starts out strong, but Jinora does well at the end in a desperate move, not quite beating him, but makes a good account of herself. Jinora has apparently made a friend.
  • Shakaari and Marigold teleport out of the rooms onto the palace grounds (to… prove a point?) They are captured by palace guards and escorted back to their rooms, after much threat-slinging.
  • Rothgar reveals to the returned ladies what Mexis has done, and they tell Mexis to return all the gems to the vault. Mexis is able to return all but one of the ones that was planted – it’s no longer where he planted it. Party crosses their fingers that no one will notice.
  • At dinner, The king, his Majesty Gennady Kozlov is congenial and friendly, until he reveals that he doesn’t like thieves, even if they attempt to return the items.
  • Since the gems were returned, he doesn’t insist on having the party’s heads; instead, he simply wants the hand of the person responsible. (He suspects Shakaari since she demonstrated teleport ability)
  • Much fingerpointing ensues, Rothgar denies, and his Highness Kozlov puts out an ultimatum: If no one is marked as responsible, he will then be forced to take everyone’s heads.
  • Rothgar still claims innocence. Jinora finally stands and claims responsibility. His Highness Kozlov thanks her and has her taken to another room. She returns with a bloody stump where her right hand was.
  • Kozlov, pleased that justice has been served, makes a decree: The party is to leave the palace grounds immediately and may take their things with them. The party may spend whatever time they wish in the city, obtaining provisions, guides, maps, etc, but once they leave Kalach, they are to never re-enter the city on pain of death.
  • Party goes to the middle-range inn on the southern end of the city, the Squinting Coin, and beds down for the night (slaves are pimped out to the party at 5 sp for the evening).
In the Cold Cold Night
27-Novui through 7-Grunni

“So now you’d better stop and rebuild all your ruins,
For peace and trust can win the day despite of all your losing.”
— Led Zeppelin “Immigrant Song”

The Champions of Yerth remained in Chytri for a month after its liberation, recuperating and, in some cases, acclimating to new their new forms. It should also be noted that, during this period of rest, Rothgar, the party’s legendary bowman, decided it would make his life less complicated if he just went ahead and sold his soul to the forces of Hell in exchange for the “loyal service” of Mexis, an imp who had, until that moment, been harassing him. We’ll get to how that is working out for him later.

With Thrandir and Keets packed off to the Grand Duke of Tesra’s palace, our heroes prepare to journey north, in search of Etult’s Earth, a substance that will allow them to reunite the shards of Hadrach’s shattered Lodestone. The preparations for this arduous journey into the frozen reaches of Yerth’s upper latitudes are made much simpler by the arrival of Kalithrax, the watcher beneath Draima, who, responding to Shakaari’s request for assistance, offers to teleport the group to the region himself.

Kalithrax reveals himself to be in possession of the Journal of Doral, a Draiman wizard who once traveled the world in order to compile detailed descriptions of various signification locales for the purposes of creating a network of teleportation circles. Using this information, the “wizard” transports the heroes to the far north, depositing them in the famous Adamant Temple at the city of Kalach. Upon their arrival, they are greeted by the Speaker for the Brothers of Silence, who maintain the site. They speak briefly and are escorted out. Our heroes then encountered the Kalachian Royal Guard, who inform them they are to be dinner guests of the king. Our heroes discover that the meager cold weather clothing they brought with them is not adequate, and the guards order slaves to bring them blankets and cloaks.

The party is provided rooms to rest and freshen up in. A slave is provided to each of the guests, with varying reactions. Rothgar dispatches his infernal servant to loot the palace for magic items while Marigold and Jinora take baths; Shakaari refuses a bath on ethical grounds, but later relents. Griangi, stricken with “teleportation sickness”, passes out his bed for the evening. Kia and her friend Ezra are escorted out to play in the snow. Shakaari dispatches her new familiar, the pseudodragon called Robespierre, to investigate a shuttered Draiman tower. Jinora tries to go check on her steed, Dorian, but is informed that she cannot move about the palace without an escort. While she is out there, she encounters Prince Savilley, the site of her distracting him from his sparring. He invites her to spar with him, the results of which were inconclusive.

Finding that her room is equipped with a massive silver mirror, Shakaari decides, with Marigold backing her, to scry on Hadrach using the Horn, but all she is able to see is images of the damned being tortured in Hell. Frustrated by both this and the results of Robespierre’s reconnaissance, the young wizard decides to investigate the tower personally, teleporting Marigold and herself out into the cold courtyard before realizing that she was still clad in only a bathrobe. The two are immediately confronted by Jinora, Prince Savilley, and a cadre of Palace Guards, who order the women to return to their rooms; after a bit of protest, the ladies agree.

Mexis returns to Rothgar, bearing, not magic items, but a sack of very valuable jewels which it appears he pried off of the crown jewels. Rothgar immediately decides to frame the slaves, sending Mexis out to plant evidence. Upon the ladies’ return, Rothgar revealed his servant’s folly; his allies demand all the jewels be returned to the vault and Rothgar acquiesces — the imp, however, is unable to recover one of the jewels.

The party attends dinner with the King, His Majesty Gennady Kozlov. While the monarch is, at first, congenial and friendly, he quickly reveals that he is aware of the thefts, and demands the hand of the thief, his chief suspect being Shakaari due to her teleportation abilities. Rothgar maintains his innocence, and, finally, Jinora takes responsibility for the crime, and is immediately taken away to have her hand cut-off. When the cavalier and their host returns, the king declares that the party may stay in the city long enough to gather supplies for their journey, but once they have left, they may never return, upon penalty of death. Shakaari declares that should she ever set foot in this city again, it will be to burn the place to the ground. The King is unmoved by this display of wizardly bravado.

The party rents rooms at the Squinting Coin and prepares for their next move.

Celebrations and Celerity
  • Party recovers from reincarnation
  • City is liberated over a month, half the city burns.
  • Elf Edire is elevated to Merchant Prince of Chytri
  • Winter begins
  • Dinner with Admiral Farinost discussing artifacts, logistics.
  • Celebration of Heroes of Chytri
  • Kalithrax arrives to take party north (using the Journal of Doral).
  • Arrive in Adamant Temple
  • Meet Speaker for the Brothers of Silence
  • Kal leaves party and Speaker escorts party to exit.
  • Encounter Kalachian Guards, slaves bring cloaks.

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