Shadows of the Rift

Session Forty
Exploration and Discovery

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26 Longday 508

The night passed without incident and the party awakens refreshed in the chamber of Karak Tuvar in which they camped.

Rilka and Mõrvar work on unsticking the doors while Savaric watches the open door. Surm watches the porters. Eventually, the doors are unstuck and they elect to go through the southern door, which opens into a corridor. In the corridor is another chasm to cross, indicating some sort of seismic shift.

Mõrvar theorizes that the earthquakes may have been caused by some unleashing of great power within the structures. Looking at the multiple chasms that they have encountered, he thinks that either there were multiple earthquakes or the cause of the earthquake was within the settlement. Savaric mentions that the Daggerspine is known to have earthquakes.

They all go to jump over the chasm. Mõrvar, Sum, and Savaric make it across. Next come the porters. Kortash jumps and makes it, but his brother, Burask, nearly misses, and catches the edge with his hands. The others help him scramble up. Rilka jumps and makes it.

The party then comes up to a pile of debris they must climb to move on. Everyone eventually makes their way over the pile, some scratching their armor on the debris in the process. They continue down the corridor.

This corridor is very long and ends at a turn to the north. There is another chasm near the corner. The party secures a rope around them to help in case of falling. Mõrvar makes it across, then Savaric tries. He misses the other side of the chasm, but manages to catch the rope and scramble across. The others then make it across as well.

They head up the corridor, finding no doors or traps, but do find more scratched in demonic faces on the wall. They move on.

This corridor leads up to a door and has another corridor that moves off of it which also ends in a door. Both are askew from their foundations and are not trapped. They work on unsticking them; Savaric in the side corridor and Mõrvar at the end of the long corridor.

After Savaric forces open the door, a Morlock screams and throws himself at the doorway, narrowly missing the ranger. Two are in the doorway, ready to attack Savaric.

Meanwhile, at the end of the long corridor, Mõrvar opens into a large room with murals depicting dwarves mourning their dead. Mõrvar hears the cry of the Morlock attacking Savaric and turns to head that way to help. Surm casts dancing lights into the room to light it up.

One of the Morlocks hits Savaric with a club, while the other tries to bite and misses. Savaric overruns through the doorway, knocking both the Morlocks prone in his wake. This opens up the possibility of Rilka attacking. She swings her falchion at the prone Morlocks. She hits the Morlock mightily with her blade.

The Morlocks rise to attack. Rilka takes the opportunity to attack one of the Morlocks again, felling him with her falchion. Savaric swings at the other and hits. The Morlock then tries to bite Rilka, but fails. Rilka then attacks the Morlock, decapitating him. Mõrvar turns around and heads back to the door at the end of the corridor. He reports the slaughter to his brother.

Savaric then goes and gets Mõrvar and Surm to help search the room that he and Rilka have discovered. The room has murals depicting dwarves in various scenes of family life. Savaric and Surm search the room, finding nothing but the obvious pile of treasure distributed in the various piles of Morlock filth in the room. In amongst the filth, they find thirty gold pieces, 120 silver, a malachite, a piece of pyrite, a sard, a silver comb with an ornate handle, a masterwork heavy wooden shield, two scrolls, and a wand with a suit of armor etched upon it.

Surm casts detect magic on the pile and finds that the scrolls and the wand emanate magic. Surm deciphers one of the scrolls to determine that it is a scroll of Erase. He tries to decipher the other scroll, but fails. He identifies the wand as having conjuration properties, and then ascertains that this is a wand of Mage Armor.

Surm checks the one other door out of this room and determines that it is untrapped, not askew, and unlocked. They decide to go back up to the room where they left Mõrvar. Savaric searches that room and finds nothing of interest. Surm searches as well, but more thoroughly. Nothing of interest is found, but from the archway in the north of the room, movement is heard—bone scraping the stone ceiling. Surm ascertains that it must be the bone tail of a cloaker.

Mõrvar moves in, accompanied by Rilka. Surm hovers at the archway with his crossbow. When Mõrvar gets to the archway, the party hears a moan come from the room. Burask, Surm, and Savaric run in panic from cloaker. Mõrvar and the cloaker face off. The cloaker attempts to bite Mõrvar, but misses. Mõrvar critically hits the cloaker and does a substantial amount of damage. Mõrvar then attacks again and hits, doing a fair amount of damage. The cloaker attacks and misses again. Rilka drops her falchion and picks up Surm’s crossbow. She fires over Mõrvar’s shoulder and hits the cloaker for a modicum of damage. The cloaker bites Mõrvar hard. Savaric runs back into the room, as does Surm. Rilka drops the crossbow and picks up her falchion. Mõrvar critically hits the cloaker for massive damage. The creature falls and then Mõrvar runs it through.

“It bit me!” Mõrvar calls out indignantly.

Savaric looks into the arched doorway. In the next room is a group of desiccated corpses and some other unidentified objects. He also sees movement on the ceiling—it looks like two more cloakers are up there. Savaric goes to shoot, but before he can fire, the cloakers moan. However, Mõrvar and Savaric manage to keep their composure and not vomit in the face of the infrasonic moan. Savaric fires two arrows into a cloaker and moves into the room. Mõrvar moves in and attacks, but misses. Rilka moves into the room and attacks a cloaker, but misses. Mõrvar attacks again and misses. A cloaker then bites Savaric. The other cloaker misses Mõrvar. Savaric fires at his cloaker, felling it with several arrows in its hide. Surm casts Magic Missile at the remaining cloaker, doing a respectable amount of damage. The cloaker bites at Mõrvar but misses. Surm casts another Magic Missile at the cloaker, felling the creature. Mõrvar walks over and runs it through.

Surm and Savaric search through the room, finding nothing but what is obvious in the center of the room, which is filth, desiccated bodies, and loot. There is also a door at the north end of the room. Surm searches it and determines that it is not trapped and it is not askew.

The loot in the center of the room is comprised of 39 gold pieces, 150 silver pieces, an agate, an azurite, a citrine, a fresh-water pearl, a hematite, a lapis lazulie, a malachite, a peridot, a zircon, a masterwork greatsword, two vials, and a scroll.

Surm casts Read Magic on the scroll. It is a scroll of Elemental Aura. One of the vials contains oil of arcane mark. The other contains a potion of reduce person. Surm then casts Detect Magic on the greatsword, but does not detect magic on it.

Rilka goes down into the previous room and checks out the arched doorway to the south and sees that it leads to a short corridor blocked by a chasm. There is a door on the other side of the chasm.

They decide to go back around to the door in which they fought the Morlocks and take the northern door. There they find a room that connects to the corridor with the chasm that Rilka found. In it is a statue of Skondir and murals depicting that god bestowing blessings upon various dwarves. Savaric searches the room and finds nothing unusual. In addition to the door leading to the chasm, there is a door to the north and a door to the south. Savaric checks the door to the north and finds no traps or locks. It opens into a corridor that leads into the room before the cloaker room and also jags toward another door. Savaric checks the southern door and finds that it opens into a long corridor.

They decide to take the northern door from the cloaker room. It leads to a corridor that ends in a door and has another corridor branch off of it. Savaric checks the door while Rilka watches the corridor. The corridor is secured while the door is cleared. Savaric opens the door onto a small room. There is a small circle of upright stones in the center of the room. There are cracks/chasms in the floor, walls, and ceiling of the room. There are also five man-sized crab-like creatures that have taken notice of Savaric in the room. They start crab-walking toward the ranger in the doorway.

Rilka casts Bless. Mõrvar waits for Savaric to move. Surm casts Mage Armor on Mõrvar. A crab-creature attacks Savaric and misses with two claws. Savaric moves back down the hall. Rilka follows. Mõrvar moves back as well, executing a plan to catch the crabs in a bottleneck. Surm moves back down the hall out of the way. The crabs start moving down the hall and one attacks Rilka—which misses mightily with two pinchers.

Mõrvar attacks and hits the crab hard. It falls. Surm casts Magic Missile at the next crab. Rilka waits for the next crab to approach, as does Savaric. It does so and Rilka attacks—it falls.

Savaric fires on the next crab with multiple arrows, missing with some, hitting with others. Rilka attacks and kills it. Mõrvar moves up and attacks the next one, blocking the path. Rilka starts cleaning her falchions. Mõrvar kills the crab and steps up to the final creature coming his way. It attacks and misses. It attacks again and misses. Mõrvar then attacks and hits it critically. It wobbles on its legs, staggered. It then tries one last attack, misses, and falls. Then Mõrvar finishes it off.

Everyone climbs over crab bodies to check out the room. The room has a series a stones covered in dwarven runes in the center of room. Savaric recovers his arrows while Surm deciphers the High Dwarven runes as calling upon the protection of Skondir. Surm and Savaric search the room and find nothing of interest other than the cracks in the floors and the ceiling. Mõrvar asks Rilka if this could be the source of the seismic activity in the ruins. She thinks that this was the source of some seismic activity, but whether it was the source of the all the seismic activity, she couldn’t say.

Mõrvar casts light on a pebble and throws it down into one of the cracks. About a 100 feet down, a filament shoots out from the wall and catches it and sucks it in. It got sucked into a hole in the chasm wall. They decide to leave the room and close the door after speculating on the fate of the dwarves of Karak Tuvar.

The party then take the corridor that Rilka was watching and discover that it leads up into the initial room of Karak Tuvar—the entry room with the mosaic seal of the settlement. They decide to exit the dungeon and recuperate a bit in their camp before going back in to explore some more.

Once in camp, Surm checks in Mahgnus to see how camp has been. Camp has been largely uneventful. Alasir has been keeping guards on rotation. It’s been quiet and they have been just awaiting the party’s return. Surm lets him know that they will be camping this evening, but then they will be going back in in the morning because they have yet to find the journal that they are looking for.

Surm also checks in with Alasir to make sure everything is ship shape and to see if there is anything he has to report that Mahgnus didn’t. There is nothing more to report. The porters unload the party’s loot and the party prepares to relax for the evening.

27 Longday 508

Everyone awakens refreshed and ready for the new day. Surm attempts to decipher the scroll of Cat’s Grace, but cannot. Surm decides to take in the bag of Foaming Powder, just in case.

Concerning the standing stones calling upon the protection of Skondir, Mõrvar speculates that they were most likely erected by priests of Skondir to enact a major communion with that deity.

After discussing their game plan, the party returns to Karak Tuvar and begins exploring once again. They return to one of the rooms that they hadn’t yet explored.

Savaric searches the room and finds nothing of interest. Rilka guards the arched doorway. Looking through the arched doorway, they see another room with a large slate hanging on the north wall. Stone benches line the floor facing the slate. There are three more doors exiting that room. They go into the classroom.

Savaric searches the room, but finds nothing of interest. The doors are not trapped. One is askew but none of them are locked. Savaric sneakily opens one of the doors. He sees a large room with an alcove on the east wall with a balcony. Up on the balcony are two Morlocks. On the floor, near a pile of loot and crap are three more Morlocks. They don’t appear to have noticed Savaric at this time.

Ilona whispers to Savaric that she can help him. Savaric tells the others what he sees. They discuss what they want to do. Savaric sends Victor in. Then Savaric moves in and fires into the balcony. Then Mõrvar charges in. Rilka follows soon after.

Savaric slays a Morlock with two arrows from his bow. Mõrvar attacks one of the Morlocks on the ground while Rilka attacks one of his companions. Surm casts Ray of Frost on the remaining Morlock in the balcony, but misses it. Mõrvar fells his Morlock and carries through his attack to another Morlock, but swings wildly past him. Rilka attacks her Morlock, destroying him, and then attacks the remaining Morlock on the ground, doing a respectable amount of damage to him. The Morlock on the balcony leaps down and rushes Savaric, but misses. The other Morlock attacks Rilka and misses. Savaric draws Edgefrost and attacks the Morlock, hitting him with cold damage. Rilka finishes off her Morlock with a critical hit. Surm casts Ray of Frost again at the Morlock Savaric is fighting and hits it for a modicum of damage. The Morlock misses Savaric with a bite. Mõrvar then attacks the remaining Morlock and finishes it off.

Surm and Savaric search the room, finding only a stash of stuff in amongst the filth in the center of the room. In amongst the filth they find 225 gold pieces, 800 silver pieces, 70 copper pieces, an agate, a hematite, some ivory, a jasper, a rose quartz, a saltwater pearl, a topaz, a carved ivory scroll case containing 3 scrolls, a gold cup with the seal of Karak Tuvar, a silver comb with a gold handle, a silver cup with the seal of Karak Tuvar, a silver hand mirror, a silver holy symbol of Skondir, and a leather-bound book with the seal of Karak Tuvar on the front—the journal that the party has been looking for.

Mõrvar casts Read Magic on the scrolls. They are a scroll of Command, a scroll of Detect Magic, and a scroll of Enlarge Person. Surm attempts to decipher them and can decipher them all but the third one.

The party then decide to start checking out places that they have not already been, so they begin back-tracking and checking out errant hallways and doors. Along they way they have to unstick askew doors and search empty rooms. They find no traps along the way.

Along the way, Mõrvar busts open a door and the party hears the low moan of a cloaker. Surm and the porters flee the scene. Rilka calls out to let her by, but holds her action. Mõrvar tries to bull rush the cloaker, but fails. Savaric fires on the cloaker. with whistling arrows, through Rilka and Mõrvar. He misses with one, but hits with the other. Then the cloaker envelopes Mõrvar and then attempts, but fails, to bite him. Rilka then moves forward and attacks the cloaker and misses twice.

The cloaker attempts to bite Mõrvar again, but can’t penetrate his Mage Armor. Savaric fires on the cloaker and does damage to both the cloaker and to Mõrvar. Mõrvar touches the cloaker, casting Chill Touch on it. Rilka holds off on her attack.

Mõrvar drains another point of strength from the cloaker while Savaric holds off on his attack. Rilka holds off. Surm runs back, no longer under the affect of the cloaker’s moan. The cloaker misses Mõrvar again.

The cloaker bites Mõrvar, finally. Mõrvar drains another point of strength from the cloaker. Savaric and Rilka continue to hold off. Surm tells Savaric to touch the cloaker with Edgefrost to do the cold damage while Surm cast Ray of Frost—Mõrvar is unaffected by the cold damage due to his undead heritage. Savaric touches the cold sword to the cloaker as directed.

Surm casts Color Spray from a scroll at the cloaker. A vivid cone of clashing colors emerges and stuns the cloaker, causing it to drop Mõrvar. Mõrvar attacks the cloaker and fells it. He then runs the creature through. He then kicks it and spits on it. “I told you I’d kill you if you bit me,” he says.

There are corpses of past adventurers in the center of the floor, as well as loot, including two masterwork longswords, a suit a chainmail, a vial, and a scroll.

Surm casts Detect Magic on the items and determines that one of the swords, the suit of chainmail, the vial, and the scroll are magic. The scroll is a scroll of Draconic Reservoir. The vial is a potion of Shield of Faith.

There are also 217 gold pieces, 113 silver pieces, 57 copper pieces.

Mõrvar searches the room and finds nothing else but filth. Savaric searches the room and finds nothing else of interest.

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Session Thirty-Nine
Doors and Cloakers

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25 Longday 508

The party is still within the abandoned dwarven outpost of Karak Tuvar. They are in a chamber with murals depicting dwarves going to battle against goblins and orcs. Mõrvar is guarding a door in the eastern part of the chamber. Rilka is guarding an arched doorway in the southern part of the chamber. Surm and Savaric search the room and find nothing of interest. There is a door in the western part of the chamber and they have entered through a door in the northwestern portion of the chamber.

Savaric checks the western door for traps and finds none, and discovers that it is unlocked. Savaric cautiously opens the door and peers inside. It appears to open into a short corridor connecting to a door they have encountered before, confirming their suspicions. Savaric searches the corridor for secret doors or corridors and finds none.

Savaric then scouts down the corridor that Rilka is guarding. It, too, connects to a chamber where the party has already been. Rilka asks Mõrvar if he has heard anything from beyond the door he’s guarding and he responds that he’s heard nothing. Savaric checks the door for traps and finds nothing, but does find that the door is a bit off-kilter.

Mõrvar takes the crowbar and heroically forces open the stuck door. The party then passes through the door with the two porters, Burask and Kortash, in tow.

Savaric enters an oddly-shaped room. There are more doors in the room, as well as an archway. There is filth covering the floor and a stench in the room. There are murals on the walls depicting dwarves in solemn contemplation. Savaric and Surm notice something glinting off the light of Mõrvar’s Light spell in the filth. Rilka goes to guard the archway. The rest of the party moves toward the filth, Surm hanging back, ready to shoot with his crossbow.

Leaping from the filth, are a group of Morlocks. One leaps at Mõrvar and misses. Another leaps at Savaric and misses. There are four in total. Rilka moves in and attacks one of the Morlocks, felling it in one stroke. She attacks another, doing massing damage. Surm fires on one of Morlocks on Mõrvar, hitting it critically, nicking an artery and making it bleed. Savaric shoots the Morlock on him with two arrows and fells him. Then he fires on one of the Morlocks on Mõrvar. That Morlock falls. That leaves one Morlock left for Mõrvar. He hits the Morlock, and causes it to stagger.

The Morlock makes a break for it. Mõrvar swings at it, but misses. Rilka strikes it on its way out and kills it, and Surm finishes it off with a Ray of Frost. Mõrvar finishes the others off.

Savaric searches the room and the filth to see what he can find. Rilka guards the archway. Mõrvar and Surm guard he area. Amongst the filth, Savaric finds rotted humanoid corpses and gear. He also finds 96 gold pieces, 320 silver pieces, and 1100 copper pieces. He also finds an aquamarine, a freshwater pearl, a hematite, a piece of ivory, a piece of pyrite, two rose quartzes, a saltwater pearl, two sards, a sardonyx, a tigereye, three pieces of turquoise, a decorated silver plate, a gold and silver hand mirror, a gold holy symbol of Skondir, a gold mask, an ivory drinking horn with copper ends, a silver candelabra with the holy symbol of Skondir etched upon it, a silver hand mirror, and a scroll.

Surm casts Detect Magic on the items and only detects magic on the scroll. He deciphers the scroll and determines that it is a Scroll of Burning Gaze.

Once the loot is gathered, Savaric scouts through the arched doorway. The next room is dominated by a large statue of Skondir. There is another door exiting the room. Savaric searches the room and the statue and finds nothing of interest and the door is trap-free and unlocked. He stealthily opens the door. It opens up into a hallway. The party follows it, with Savaric checking for traps. Savaric finds none and the hall ends at a door. He checks the door for traps, and finds none, but does note that the door is askew. Mõrvar is brought forward to force the door open, but fails to budge it. Everyone tries to move it, but eventually it is finally moved by Mõrvar on a subsequent attempt.

The door opens up into a large room with a geometric pattern painted upon the ceiling. Savaric searches the room, and finds nothing of interest. There are several doors leading out of the room. Savaric checks one of the doors for traps—he finds no traps, but does determine that it is stuck. He also determines the same for another door.

Rilka opens one of the doors on the third try. Savaric goes through the door to scout ahead. It opens into a corridor. There is a collapsed stairwell resulting in a deep hole off to the side. There is a also a door off of the corridor. Savaric stares down the hole—he can see sixty feet down and can tell that the hole keeps going. He checks out the door, finding no traps and that it is unlocked. He stealthily opens the door into a largish room. In the center of the room is a dry fountain. Around the fountain, at its base, are four statues of dwarves in various states of battle-readiness. Around the fountain, are desiccated corpses.

Descending from the ceiling, as they enter the room, is a large stingray-like creature with a toothy maw and glaring red eyes. It has a long tail of segmented bone. Rilka moves forward quickly and attacks, doing a great deal of damage. Surm casts Mage Armor on Mõrvar. The creature then emits an infrasonic moan. Savaric is panicked, dropping his items and fleeing from the creature. Mõrvar attacks the creature for massive damage, felling the aberration. Savaric is retrieved.

Rilka guards the open doorway while Mõrvar guards one of the doors. Savaric identifies the creature as being a Cloaker. Savaric searches the room and finds nothing secret. However, inside the fountain, he finds a pile of treasure. The porters begin collecting it. They find 99 gold pieces, 243 silver pieces, 423 copper pieces, a piece of amber, a freshwater pearl, a piece of ivory, a milky quartz, a rhodochrosite, a topaz, a masterwork long spear, and a masterwork warhammer. Surm detects no magic on any of the items.

Rilka checks the open doorway and finds that it leads into a room full of more doors, but that one of the new arched doorways is actually one of the doorways they’ve encountered before, so the dungeon is starting to circle back on itself in some fashion. Savaric checks one of the doors for traps and finds that it is trap free and unlocked, but that it is off-kilter. He searches the room and finds nothing of interest. He searches another door and finds no traps and that it is unlocked. He opens it stealthily and finds that it opens into a corridor that turns. He also sees a chasm that opened up near the turn that is probably nearly 3 to 4 feet wide. He goes and peers 60 feet down and sees no bottom. Savaric searches the corridor for secret doors and finds none.

They return to the large chamber and check the door that Mõrvar has been guarding. Savaric finds no traps on it, and finds that it is unlocked. Savaric opens the door into a corridor that turns. He can see where another chasm has opened up at the turn.

The party then goes to another of the stuck doors and try to unstick it. They each take turns at it and eventually Savaric forces it open. The door opens into a corridor. It travels along until they encounter a pile of debris that must be climbed. Savaric scouts ahead, climbs the debris, and finds a door at the end of the corridor connecting to a part of the outpost that has already been explored. The ranger returns to the rest of the party.

The party continues to explore, opening stuck doors, traversing down long corridors, and finding empty rooms. None of the doors appear to be locked, but some are off of their foundations and stuck, evidence of a seismic event of some sort. Savaric continues to find no secret doors or stashes.

As they make their way down one of the long corridors into another room, Savaric and Rilka hear a moan. Savaric is nauseated by the infrasonic attack, falling prone and sick. Descending from the ceiling is another Cloaker. Rilka attacks the creature with her falchion. She misses with her first hit, but hits critically with her second hit. The Cloaker then attempts to engulf Rilka in its ray-like wings, but misses her. Surm moves into the room and casts Admonishing Ray at the creature, but it misses and hits the wall. Mõrvar charges in with his greatsword and attacks, hitting the creature mightily. Rilka attacks again, felling the creature.

Surm starts to search the room and notes that there is an antechamber to the room. He calls for someone to accompany him to the antechamber. Rilka and he scan the antechamber and see nothing of interest, but do hear a pair of moans and see a set of Cloakers descend from the ceiling of the chamber. Surm is panicked and drops his weapon and flees from the scene.

Mõrvar charges into the antechamber and attacks—but misses. Rilka attacks and hits twice with her falchion. A Cloaker engulfs Mõrvar and tries to bite him, but misses him. The other Cloaker also engulfs Rilka but fails to bite her. Savaric sends Victor in to attack one of the Cloakers. Then he casts Summon Nature’s Ally to bring forth a Small Fire Elemental to combat the Cloakers. Victor bites the Cloaker, injecting poison into the creature.

The Cloaker on Rilka bites her, while Mõrvar is missed. Victor bites his Cloaker and the Elemental misses his. Mõrvar breaks free of his Cloaker and attacks mightily. Rilka fails to break away from the Cloaker. Savaric fires at Rilka’s Cloaker. First he misses, then he hits. It sags against Rilka, slain. He then redirects his remaining shot against the other Cloaker and misses.

The Elemental misses the Cloaker again. The Cloaker moans again, Everyone manages to fight off the effects of the infrasonic attack—except for the Elemental, which doubles over in nausea. Rilka moves out from beneath the dead Cloaker and strikes out at the live one. She hits it strongly and it falls.

Now that the Cloakers have fallen, Surm returns. The party can see the remains of desiccated corpses and various treasures on the floor. Savaric re-searches the room that Surm searched before and then searches the antechamber with the treasures. The antechamber has murals depicting dwarves going to battle against duregar—evil dwarves from deep beneath the earth.

On the floor, there is 96 gold pieces 558 silver pieces, 148 copper, a malachite, a pyrite, a tigereye, a masterwork chain shirt, a masterwork heavy crossbow, a masterwork long spear, a masterwork longsword, a vial with a liquid inside, and a scroll. Surm casts Detect Magic on the items. He detects magic on the vial and on the scroll. The scroll is of Prestidigitation. He samples the vial and determines that it is a potion of Goodberry.

Rilka looks down a corridor and sees another collapsed stairway. Savaric is brought to the lead and the party takes the corridor. Surm collects his dropped weapon before they leave the room.

The corridor leads to more doors which are not trapped, but are askew. Mõrvar manages to unstick the doors. These lead to more empty rooms and corridors with more non-trapped doors that are often off-kilter in their frames that have to be forced open. Savaric searches the rooms and corridors for secret doors and stashes and finds none.

Down one long corridor is another narrow chasm, beyond which are more doors. Another turn off of the corridor leads to a corridor that has already been explored. Rilka and Savaric discuss the dungeon design and decide that the corridor beyond the chasm will probably lead to someplace they have not been so far. So they decide to leap over the chasm and continue on.

Each party member, including the porters, take their turn to leap over the chasm. Surm stands ready with a Feather Fall spell in case something goes awry. Everyone makes across without incident.

More rooms and corridors await the party on the other side of the chasm. None of the doors are trapped, but some are off-kilter and have to be forced open. Savaric once again searches the rooms and corridors for secret doors and stashes and finds none.

One long corridor has yet another narrow chasm crossing it. Burask points toward the chasm and says, “What’s that?” Now that he points it out, Rilka sees a green gemstone wedged in the side of the chasm about five feet down. Mõrvar and Rilka grab Savaric’s ankles as he dangles down the chasm and grabs the gemstone. Now that he’s down there pulling it out, he discovers that it is less of a gemstone than a foot-long green obelisk with glyphs etched along the sides. He manages to pull it out of the earth and haul it up. They pull Savaric up with his prize.

Examining the glyphs, it doesn’t appear to be written in any language they know. Surm believes that it is probably an ancient text and that it may be one of the scripts of The Aedonii. Surm detects magic on the obelisk and detects no magic upon it.

They all leap over the chasm and continue down the corridor. Mõrvar and Savaric continue down an extremely long corridor to a door that is a off-kilter. Mõrvar opens the door and sees a Cloaker descending from the ceiling. He shuts the door and covers his ears. Savaric runs back down the extremely long corridor to get the others.

Meanwhile, Mõrvar prepares to cast True Strike in case the door starts to open. Indeed, the door starts to open and the warrior casts his spell. He sees the creature’s segmented tail is wrapped around the door’s knob and it’s leering maw is coming toward him, but it misses. Mõrvar attacks and hits, doing a respectable amount of damage. Then Mõrvar attacks again, but misses. The creature attacks Mõrvar, but misses. Mõrvar attacks again, but misses, but the creature misses as well. The creature attacks again, but takes a bite out of Mõrvar. Mõrvar attacks, but misses. The creature attacks and bites Mõrvar again.

Meanwhile, Savaric makes it to the rest of the group and reports what’s happening. They all jump over the chasm and start running down the long corridor toward Mõrvar.

Mõrvar attacks and strikes the creature again, but the creature is still standing. The creature bites Mõrvar again. The Cloaker bites at Mõrvar again and misses. Mõrvar attacks the creature again and misses. Then Mõrvar attacks again and hits for mighty damage, felling the creature. He issues a victory yell that echoes down the hall.

When the others catch up, they gut the Cloaker to make sure that Channeling Positive Energy doesn’t have any effect on it and then Rilka does so to heal Mõrvar’s injuries.

In the room, they see more murals of dwarves going to battle against duregar. There are desiccated corpses. There are also several more doors into and out of the room. They decide to set up camp in the room and to continue exploring the next day…

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Session Thirty-Eight
Trolls, Chokers, and Morlocks

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22 Longday 508

The party arrives in Rosemeedt and begins to sell off various mundane goods and conduct business in the settlement. It is a particularly hot morning and there is a lot of hustle and bustle in the marketplace that day.

Before leaving Yrda, Surm said personal goodbyes to Girda, Mirka, the three volunteers, and to King Sigurd. Rilka said goodbye to Sigurd and Mirka as well. Before leaving, she takes a wooden ring that belonged to her father. Savaric said his farewells as well, paying special attention to Mirka.

In Rosemeedt, while at the longhouse of Yülthn, they meet a woman by the name Yanna Sorensdottir who is a cleric of Bruni in search of a temple in which to serve. She had been asking about Yrda because she had heard there was a temple there, but rumor had it that the temple had been routed by raiders. She would be happy to restore the temple and serve the village—she sees this as a great opportunity.

Surm also speaks with Ivarin at the longhouse of Yülthn. He says the he, personally, is content with staying in Rosemeedt, but that he knows of one of the younger priests of the All-Father, a man by the name of Valkan Lucansson, that would probably be interested in taking up the post at Yrda. He introduces Surm to the young man, who is extremely earnest and charming, and yes, would be interested in maintaining the post at Yrda.

As far as the dwarven outpost they are seeking out, Surm also speaks with an old woman by the name of Helma there in the longhouse. She says, “Oh, you must be talking about Karak Tuvar.”

When pressed for more she says, “Oh that old outpost has been the death of many a man seeking dwarven gold and treasure. They say it sank into the mountain and got infested with things. Creeping things from the underdark. Chokers and dark creepers and more besides. And that it’s haunted to boot.”

Mõrvar and Surm also notice that Furfur has not been seen since they arrived in Rosemeedt. Mõrvar has also not felt him on his shoulder. Surm speculates that he might be in trouble since they killed a worshiper of Morria that he had sent to mess them up. Mõrvar thinks that it was his pronouncement that he would kill him slowly if the bird was counter-productive.

Surm also meets with horsetraders and gets the soldiery mounted.

Alasir approaches the Ulrich brothers and says that the Steward of the settlement would like to speak with whoever is in charge of this force. “Show me to him,” Mõrvar says and the rest of the party follows Alasir to a heavy-set, well-dressed Northron fellow with his long hair tied in a braid waiting outside their camp.

“Hail and well-met,” the Steward says.

“Well-met and hail,” Surm says.

“I am Tolkar Waltansson,” the Steward says. “I wanted to get a sense if you were intending to bivouac your force her within the walls.”

“We intended to stay within the walls, within our own encampment,” Rilka says.

“I see,” Tolkar says. “And you’ll be responsible for your troops then, should any troubles…”

“There’ll be no troubles from our troops,” Mõrvar says.

“Good! That’s what I want to hear,” Tolkar says. “Well then, have a good day in the settlement.” And the Steward makes his way off into the settlement.

Surm figures that they will travel twenty-five miles north along the Daggerspine and then through a pass another twenty-five miles.

After the day of commerce, Alasir sets watches in the encampment. The night passes without incident.

23 Longday 508

The day is windy and cooler than usual, though still the height of summer. The troupe breaks camp and leaves Rosemeedt and travels north along the foothills of the Daggerspine. The mountains loom to the west, spiky against the sky.

Savaric continues to train his snake, Victor. He also advises Rilka on the training of her new, combat-trained horse.

Everyone but Mõrvar notices that Furfur is still not there. “Has anyone seen that bird?” Rilka asks.

“Last time I saw him, I told him to let me know when that halfling came back around,” Mõrvar says.

“We haven’t seen him since before Rosemeedt,” Surm says.

“An unseen Furfur is more unsettling than a seen Furfur,” Rilka says. “How much do we think that he was an evil critter? Do we think that he gave off an evil aura? I could cast a Detect Evil tomorrow.”

“He didn’t much care for the good-hearted priests,” Mõrvar says.

“I’m pretty sure he was evil,” Surm says. “I don’t have a problem with you doing that. In fact, I prefer it.”

“Thank you,” Rilka says.

In the evening, camp is made and watches are set.

The cool, windy night passes quietly without incident.

24 Longday 508

That morning, no one sees Furfur. Rilka casts Detect Evil on the area and detects no evil in the vicinity.

“I think Furfur’s buggered off,” Rilka says.

“You all had a problem with him, I didn’t have a problem him except when he’d try to tell me what was best for me,” Mõrvar says.

“So we’ve released him on to the world,” Savaric says.

“I found some of his antics kind of funny,” Mõrvar says. “I didn’t dislike him. He gave us some information about Yrda. Some people think he set Yrda up, but that bitch had her vision before we arrived. According to the interrogation.”

“If Furfur was the reason Yrda got attacked, then I’ve got a bird on my list to kill,” Rilka says.

The party packs up camp and carries on toward the pass, where they arrive at midmorning. They decide to press on through the pass.

The pass winds and narrows and widens throughout the day and eventually they come to place with two wide alcoves in which they can pitch their large tents to make camp.

During the first watch with Mõrvar, Alfhild, and Tarben, a fog rolls in from the mountains. “Did you hear that?” Alfhild says.

“What?” Mõrvar asks.

“Scraping of rock,” Alfhild says.

“What direction?” Mõrvar asks.

“Not sure. In the fog,” Alfhild says.

“Prepare to wake the others,” Mõrvar says.

Suddenly out of the fog come two claws that rip into Mõrvar and then rend him, causing him much damage. He looks over as he sees Alfhild getting the same treatment from a second Troll. Alfhild screams out in pain and Mõrvar roars in anger.

Surm Rilka, and Savaric are awoken by the screams. Mõrvar attacks his troll, hitting him with his sword for a some serious damage. Tarben attacks the one Alfhild with minimal effects. Rilka moves double-time to get into position to attack a troll. Alfhild attacks her troll and misses. The troll on Mõrvar misses him with both claws, as does the troll on Alfhild. Savaric grabs his bow and arrows as he heads out of the tent. He runs by the campfire, picks up a flaming log from the campfire, and swings on the troll twice with it, missing it. Surm runs out into the camp and assumes a position to take on a troll and casts Burning Gaze on a troll—but nothing happens.

Rilka faces off against a troll and sees some of its wounds close up. She swings with her magical falchion and misses and then misses again. The troll on Mõrvar hits him with one claw. The troll on Alfhild misses her. Mõrvar hits the troll for a serious amount of damage, but the beast does not fall. Surm moves up closer to Mõrvar and hits him with the final charge in their wand of Cure Light Wounds. Tarben attacks Alfhild’s troll again for a modicum of damage. Savaric swings and hits with his fiery log on the troll. The troll shrieks in pain from the flames. Alfhild attacks her troll for damage as well.

The party then hears the twang of light crossbows and a long composite bow come from the large tents as Einar, Halvor, Leif, and Jerrik fire on the trolls.

Savaric swings on the troll with his fiery log, first missing, but then hitting. Mõrvar then critically hits the troll, causing it to bleed profusely. The creature falls in a puddle of greenish-black ichor, pumping blood continuously. Surm stares at the other troll with his Burning Gaze, but nothing happens. Rilka attacks the trolls and hits it with her falchion, striking mightily with her first hit and then missing with her second strike. Tarben misses with his attack and Alfhild strikes hit and it falls.

They drag the bodies of the fallen trolls away from the camp and catch them on fire to burn them. Then Rilka takes Mõrvar and Alfhild aside to channel positive energy to heal them. Savaric offers to put them under his care as a healer to help them heal faster naturally.

The rest of the night passes without incident, though the lingering stench of burnt troll bodies hovers over the camp.

25 Longday 508

The troupe continues traveling down the pass as Savaric continues to look after the wounded Alfhild and Mõrvar.

Victor has completed his training.

Rilka channels energy again to continue healing the wounded as well.

About midafternoon, the troupe is following the pass and the map and they come to a fissure in the side of the pass going into the rock where the map says is the entrance to the outpost. Part of the fissure is worked stone, part of it is debris. Savaric is elected to check it out and see if it is safe.

He moves forward and checks it out and, as far as he can tell, the tunnel looks stable. He can see some phosphorescent fungus on the sides of the tunnel. He can see deeper into the tunnel and see that it ends in a pile of debris that will have to be climbed over to get deeper into the complex.

Savaric relays that information to the others and then starts looks for traps in the immediate entryway. He finds nothing out of sorts in the entry. He tells the others that as far as he can tell, it looks safe so far.

Alasir asks if the soldiers are making camp outside and is told yes. So he goes about getting the soldiers set up.

Burask volunteers to go in with them and is handed a sack to carry with equipment.

They head into the tunnel single file; Savaric, Rilka, Burask, Surm, and Mõrvar.

About fifteen in, they have to climb over a pile a debris to continue down the corridor. Mõrvar casts light on his sword to light the human’s way. They come to a place where they can either continue ahead or turn to the right and Savaric elects to turn to the right. The corridor continues this direction a while and turns again to the left. As they go, they notice a series of demonic faces scratched into the walls.

After a while, they come to a door. After a discussion of the possibility of demons being on the other side, Savaric checks it for traps, with the Guidance of Bruni. Savaric tries to open to door, but discovers that it is stuck—the doorway has apparently shifted a bit and the door is jammed. He uses a crowbar and attempts to unstick it and it does not budge. Rilka tries—but without success. Mõrvar tries—but fails. He tries again—and fails. He tries again—and fails. Mõrvar tries again—and this time pulls a muscle and injures himself. Burask tries—and fails. Rilka tries again—and fails. Rilka heroically tries again—and finally opens the door.

The line readjusts itself back into its previous configuration, though with Rilka holding the door.

Rilka looks inside a rather large room, unusually shaped. She sees in the center of the room. it is small, hunched over, sort of humanoid. It’s long, pliable, tentacle-like arms end in five claws. She recognizes it as a choker. It’s a small aberration. It looks like it’s been caught by surprise. She also sees the outline of another one further in the room in shadowy glow of the fungus.

“There’s some choker’s in there,” Rilka announces.

It sees Rilka and charges at her, screaming.

Rilka moves to meet it and swings at the choker and hits—it falls in a spray of blood.

She feels two tentacle-like arms try to grip at her from the darkness behind her. She turns around and attacks the choker behind her. She critically hits the creature, spinning it around and felling it. Savaric enters the room with his bow and sees two of these wretched creatures. He fires his bow into one them at point blank range. He then attacks the other as well. Burask moves in. Then Surm moves in. He sees two of these wretched creatures behind Savaric and another at the far end of the room, keeping to the shadows, but not out of Surm’s sight. He casts Magic Missile at one of the ones behind Savaric, hitting it hard and felling it. Mõrvar then moves in. He sees one between Savaric and Surm. It falls.

Mõrvar doesn’t see anymore in his light and announces as such. Rilka doesn’t see anymore either. She does see the entire oddly-shaped room. She sees an alcove with a statue of a strong dwarf with flaming hair and beard carrying a mighty warhammer. The floor is a mosaic with a seal of twin warhammers with crescent moons. Written in High Dwarven is an announcement proclaiming this place to be Karak Tuvar. On the floor are some rags, bones, coins, gems, and other treasures.

Surm announces that there is another one and to fan out and find him. Mõrvar douses the light and everyone starts looking around. Savaric spots him and shouts out, “There he is!” and shoots at him. He hits and staggers him. Savaric fires again and fells him.

The party turns its attention once again to the treasures in the center of the room. Mõrvar takes up a position guarding the open archway leading out of the room. Rilka takes up a position guarding the door out of the room. Savaric searches the room for secret doors and traps and finds none. In the center of the room, he finds rags, bones, rusted, rotted equipment. He finds a masterwork breastplate on one of the corpses. There is a masterwork greataxe and rapier on the floor as well. Savaric gathers it all up and takes it to Rilka, who casts Detect Magic upon them. She finds auras of magic on the greataxe and the rapier. There are 31 platinum, 273 gold, 30 silver, an amethys, 2 bloodstones, a freshwater pearl, an opal, and a smoky quartz. She determines that the rapier is a +1 rapier, but is unsure about the greataxe. Surm determines that it is a +1 greataxe.

Through the archway, Mõrvar sees that the corridor almost immediately turns. Savaric travels around to the turn and takes a look. It’s a long hallway that takes another turn. Rilka, for her part, listens beyond the door and hears nothing. Savaric checks the door for traps and finds none.

Rilka relates that the statue is a depiction of the dwarven god Skondir, the Maker. Skondir created the dwarven people to be lawful and good. He teaches the value of making goods that last, of loyalty to clan and people, of meeting adversity with stoicism and tenacity. It is the influence and example of The Maker that drives dwarves toward excellence in craftwork and staunch defense of what is theirs. Savaric checks the statue for secrets—and finds none.

They enter the next room through the door. It is another oddly shaped room. There are two arched doorways that Rilka and Savaric immediately go to check. There are also a closed door as well.

The upper arched doorway leads into a corridor. The lower arched doorway leads into a room.

Rilka suggests checking the next room leading from the arched doorway. It leads to another oddly shaped room. This room has murals on the wall depicting dwarves carrying gold and gems up from the mines. There is another arched doorway leading to another room, and two more closed doors.

A debate ensues as to whether or not to bring in the soldiers, or perhaps the other porter. Savaric is thinking perhaps the some of the corridors will start connecting, but Surm is not as convinced. Surm thinks if we go get the other porter, that perhaps they should start over with the original turn.

They decide to turn back, get the other porter (Kortash), take what treasures they’ve found back, and instead of turning, go straight down the corridor coming back. They will also tell Alasir that this is a big complex and to give them plenty of time before giving up on them.

Following the corridor straight this time, they come to another wall of fallen debris. Savaric has a hard time climbing over it, but eventually gets over the top. Finally, the entire entourage makes their way over the debris and continues down the corridor. The hallway turns twice and then ends in a door.

Savaric checks the door for traps and finds none. He then opens the door and gazes inside. It is a large, oddly-shaped room with murals on the walls depicting dwarfs celebrating victory in battle and crafting. There is a an arched doorway at the north end of the room. Savaric goes in with his bow ready searching for hidden enemies. Surm follows behind searching the room. Mõrvar follows next and goes to guard the arched doorway.

Nothing of interest is found in the room.

Mõrvar sees shadowy movement within the next room. Savaric heads to the arched doorway. Mõrvar casts Light onto Savaric’s arrow. Savaric looks in and sees movement on the ceiling. He fires on it. The area is lit and he sees a creature with skin as pale as a slug’s belly. Eyes huge and bulging. It’s clinging to the ceiling. Savaric fires again and hits. It hisses at Savaric and Savaric can see two others in the room.

Savaric fires again knocks the creatures off the ceiling. He fires again at the next creature, hitting it as well. The creatures hiss and go to leap toward Savaric. One gets caught up in his own legs falls to the floor. The other one makes it to Savaric and attempts to bite him but misses.

The creature attempts to bite Savaric again from the ceiling, but misses. The one on the floor picks itself up and attempts to bite Savaric but fails. Savaric steps back and to the left while Mõrvar and Rilka form a choke point for the creature. The creature takes the opportunity with Savaric’s step to attack, but misses. Surm starts a game of jacks with the porters.

Coming around the corner is the wretched-looking humanoid, blinking in the light. Another waits in the doorway. Rilka attacks and kills the creature. Mõrvar moves into the doorway, attacking the creature, but missing.

Rilka dances impatiently as the creature attempts to bite Mõrvar, successfully taking a bite out of him. Mõrvar swings on the creature and fells him. Mõrvar chops off their heads. Savaric identifies the creatures as Morlocks, degenerate, subterranean, cannibalistic creatures.

The room in which the Morlocks were found has the remains of old adventurers on the floor as well as 109 gold, 130 silver, and a 1000 copper pieces, a rose quartz, a vial, two scrolls, a wand, and a masterwork rapier. There is an open hallway as well as two doors.

Mõrvar casts Read Magic on the scrolls, identifying them as a scroll of Cure Light Wounds and a scroll of Ant Haul. Surm cast Detect Magic on the vial and determines that it is magical and is a potion of Magic Fang. He also determines that the wand is a Wand of Mount.

Savaric checks the doors for traps and finds, but does find that the foundation has shifted and that they may be hard to move. Mõrvar pulls another muscle attempting to move one of the doors. Savaric manages to shift the northmost door with the crowbar.

It opens up into another large, oddly-shaped room. Murals on the walls depict dwarves going to battle against goblins and orcs. There is a doorway to the south, a door to west, and a door to the east. Rilka goes to guard the doorway to the south. Savaric searches the room and finds nothing of interest. Mõrvar guards the door to east.

TO BE CONTINUED
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Session Thirty-Seven
A Well-Executed Plan

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18 Longday 508 (Nightfall)

While the sounds of battle carry on from the south of the village of Yrda, Surm, Mõrvar, and Savaric stealthily make their way along the west side of the longhouse of Yülthn toward the main longhouse of the village.

Savaric and Surm, as they make their way between two of the houses, notice a guard patrolling, coming from the opposite direction. He does not appear to have noticed them. They continue on their way, quietly, letting the guard continue on his.

The three come at the longhouse at a right angle and as they approach the rear of the longhouse, they see two guards that were posted there come together and consult and then start heading around toward the front of the longhouse. They continue to hear the sounds of battle coming from the south of the longhouse.

Mõrvar moves in to attack while Surm casts Admonishing Ray. Savaric raises his bow and fires. One of the guards is hit hard with Surm’s ray. Savaric fires at the guard with two arrows and hits and then fires again hits and then fires again and misses. Mõrvar approaches the other guard strikes him mightily.

Savaric fires again two arrows again and fells the guard. He fires into the second guard and misses. Surm moves to the back window and listens at the shuttered window. He hears movement on the other side, but not much else. He then tries to open the shuttered the window. It opens inward in a flap-like action and he peers inside. Mõrvar attacks the second guard again mightily again. The guard then returns the favor and attacks Mõrvar, hitting him with a longsword.

Surm sees that the longhouse is lit by oil lamps and such. It is mostly empty except that seated on a large seat, sideways, toward the rear of the longhouse near the window, is a female half-elf in a spiked breastplate with a raven motif painted upon it. Sitting on her knee is Loran, the son of Girda. Two elves flank the seat. One is in a breastplate and is holding a composite longbow, arrow nocked and ready, and is watching the door of the longhouse. The other is dressed in robes and a cloak, also watching the door, with an expression of watchfulness. He does not see a halfling.

The guard swings twice on Mõrvar and misses. Savaric fires on the guard with two arrows and hits. The guard falls.

Savaric collects his missed arrows. Mõrvar chops off the head of the second guard and collects it. Surm closes the window and signals for the others to be quiet. He then looks around the corner of the longhouse to survey the battle. They all see their troupe, being led by Rilka, heading around the opposite corner of the longhouse toward the front. Amongst the troupe, Mõrvar and Savaric notice Nodwick, Kalthin, and Sadwina prodding a prisoner.

Surm sends a Message to Rilka. She hears a Surm’s voice in her ear tell her “Don’t go in! Look behind you!” Rilka turns the troupe around and heads toward the rear of the building and meets Surm. Mõrvar, not sure of what is going on at this point, decides to discard his severed head and loot the dead bodies of the guards.

Once Surm and Rilka reunite with the troupe, Rilka says, “You’re safe. I’m glad.”

“Yes, well, there was an issue with sticking to the plan,” Surm says, his eyes shooting daggers toward Savaric.

Mõrvar makes his way back to Surm.

“What we’ve learned is that they’re holding the boy. He’s in the longhouse,” Surm says. “I’ve looked through the window. The main baddies are in there. He’s sitting in her lap, so she has him, right now.”

“That’s going to take a bit of finesse,” Rilka says.

“Yeah. What we found out from Girda is that there’s this lady that’s in charge. She’s got two elves and a halfling with her, and she hired all these guys in Josemeedt. One of the elves is a wizard or sorcerer. One of the elves is wearing a breastplate and has a long composite bow, she’s sitting in the throne and wearing a breastplate that’s all spiky and has a raven painted on it. She’s got the boy in her lap,” Surm says.

“Where’s the halfling?” Rilka asks.

“I didn’t see him, but I think that’s his purpose,” Surm says. “They’re sitting there in the longhouse, watching the door, waiting for us to come in.”

“Well, how are going to do this, then?” Rilka asks.

“That I don’t know. That’s why I brought everybody together to discuss what to do,” Surm says. “And according to Girda, they came to this town, partook of their hospitality, then they went to Josemeedt, got these men, came back and declared herself Queen and demanded tribute. They flogged, they killed…people.” Surm seems to realize who’s he’s talking about and gets quiet.

Rilka gets suspicious and demands to know what people. “That flogged and killed who?”

Mõrvar pipes in and says. “The important thing is that we get in there and get the kid.”

“No it’s not,” Rilka says, undeterred. “Who?”

“Well I know they took the priest of the All-Father,” Surm looks to Mirka for his name, “Jonthin? They held him in the public square and flogged him until he died. According to Girda. I assume as an example to scare the people.”

“And my father?” Rilka asks.

“He died in battle,” Surm says quietly. “I know that there are other guards patrolling the town.”

Mõrvar says, “We saw two at the longhouse that we killed.”

“We saw one along the way, patrolling,” Surm says. “Alasir, keep your eyes open, because there are still some people roaming.”

“They will pay for this affront to the gods,” Mirka says.

“I need a plan and I need a plan right now about how we’re going to get into this longhouse,” Rilka says.

“Okay, well it’s a longhouse and its one big long room,” Surm says. “They have one door and they’re watching it and they have the boy in her lap.”

“So do what they won’t expect you to do,” Mõrvar says. “Get ready to sneak in through the window, set the damn thing on fire, and get ready to get the kid when they try to escape. They’re not going to want to be in a burning building. They’re not going to expect us to do that.”

“No, I don’t imagine they’re going to expect us to burn down the building with the kid inside,” Surm says.

“Just be ready to save the kid,” Mõrvar says.

“Well that just adds a burning building on top of the four people we have to deal with to get the kid. It just makes our job harder,” Surm says.

“Can you make anyone invisible?” Rilka asks Surm.

“I can’t,” Surm says.

“I can, but for a very short period of time,” Mõrvar says. “In fact, my plan was to go invisible, charge in and gain the element of surprise.”

“How many charges do you have left on your ring?” Rilka asks Savaric.

“Just know, that if they even hear us coming, she’s holding that child and they’ve already shown that they have no qualms about slaughtering people in the streets,” Surm says.

“She’s got the kid. As long as she has him, she’ll keep him alive because that’s her only chance to live,” Mõrvar says.

“We don’t know that,” Surm says.

“Does she have him restrained in any sort of way?” Rilka asks.

“She just has him in her lap. I wouldn’t say he was restrained, but he’s right there with her. I would say he’s in a coup de grace position,” Surm says.

“What about spells of confusion? Color spray, anything we can throw in there. That way if someone can be invisible and get close, then something can be done during the confusion, the kid can be grabbed and then run. They don’t need to kill any more of us,” Rilka says. “Do you have anything that can cause confusion?” she asks Mõrvar.

“I can spray a lot of blood everywhere,” he says.

Mõrvar calls his brother and he and Surm walk away from the troupe and speak privately.

Savaric says that he could go invisible but that they’ll realize he’s opening the door. Perhaps if Surm were to be talking to her and he can slip in behind him, then they wouldn’t realize he’s there.

Sigurd points out that she’s not the only one in there. There are others that may notice.

Mõrvar and Surm return and Mõrvar says to Rilka, “We should let Surm negotiate for the life of the child.”

Rilka asks, “What kind of negotiating is there?”

“Well, she’s got him as a bargaining chip for her life,” Mõrvar says. “At some point, you’ve got to ask yourself what’s the important thing here. I do not see anyway of taking her down and saving the child. Now, you can convince her that she has a chance of walking out of this place alive by releasing the child. That might be her only bet.”

“And what’s to stop her from just coming back?” Rilka asks.

“I didn’t say what condition she’d be released in. And I can promise you that sorcerer won’t come back….”Mõrvar says.

“You’re saying two different things,” Rilka says, “If we release her, then she is walking out of here…”

“Then I will chase her ass down,” Mõrvar says.

“I don’t imagine we’re going to say ‘You know we’re going to let you go if you let go of the kid’ and she’s going to say ‘Okay’. I imagine she’s going to keep a hold on him until they’re all well on their way out of here,” Surm says.

“Unless somebody’s got a better idea…” Mõrvar says. “The only thing I can think of is we go in and see what happens. But I’ll tell you right now, my primary objective is to get rid of that sorcerer. I think that is the most threatening person in there.”

Neither Sigurd nor Mirka seem to like the negotiation idea, but have no idea how to get the boy out and get the four adventurers.

Surm pulls the party and Sigurd and Mirka away from the main troupe for a private conversation. He opens with “So how bad do we want to do this? Are we prepared to sacrifice the boy?” He looks at Sigurd and Mirka. “Is he an acceptable loss in order to accomplish this? Because that may be a negotiating tool as well.”

Rilka asks for a diagram of the longhouse and one is drawn in the dirt. There is a single entrance and four windows along the long sides of the building. There is a hearth along one of the sides of the room. There are two long tables in the center of the room.

“I need to know as we’re making our plans. Is losing the boy unacceptable? I understand that we wouldn’t want to, I’m not saying let’s kill him ourselves, but it affects our plans. How bad do we want these people? If it will save a life, do they all walk free?” Surm asks.

Sigurd seems to be considering all that Surm says very deeply. Mirka says, “We need to get these people, but we should save the boy as well.”

“We can’t! We’ve either got to focus on saving the child or focus on killing them. With the situation, there is no way to accomplish both,” Mõrvar says. “One may be the byproduct of the other, but we’ve got to focus on one or the other. Do we go in to negotiate to save the boy’s life or do we go in to apprehend them and hopefully save his life? Personally I think these people need to be apprehended so that you can make an example of them so that you can so the rest of the warlords that might want to come to Yrda that you’re not weak.”

“I don’t trust them to negotiate with them,” Rilka says. “They’ve proven themselves to be beyond ruthless people. So let’s say I’m trying to say we’re going to bargain with them to let go of the boy. They’re not going to let go of the boy until they’re safe and I don’t trust them to let him go.”

“What I’m hearing is let’s just go in and take them out and hopefully save the boy, that’s what I’m hearing,” Mõrvar says.

“What I’d like to do is go in, yes,” Rilka says, “have someone or somebodies, be their job to specifically target getting the boy.”

“Like I said, my goal is two things, get to the spellcaster and take them out and get to her and take her out,” Mõrvar says.

Mirka says, “If we go in, let me concentrate on the boy, and the rest of you concentrate on them.”

“Which brings me to my question, do you want me to concentrate on her or on the spellcaster? Because she may be a badass, but we all know that spellcasters can be nasty, nasty, nasty,” Mõrvar says.

“I want to hear what Sigurd says,” Surm says.

Sigurd says, “For the good of Yrda, these invaders need to die.”

They then discuss the possibility of Savaric taking arrow shots from the now-barred window in the back of the longhouse. He could dip his arrows in poison as well to do his victims even more harm.

Mõrvar says, “I think if we can get him [Savaric] in position to take poison arrow shots, place guards at all the other windows so they can’t escape out the windows, and we go in through the front doors, to negotiate and try to catch them by surprise…”

“If we’re running in and shooting, I don’t think…” Surm says.

“No, you’re going in to negotiate, I try to come in invisibly behind you. I attack her. He takes shots. The rest charges in…” Mõrvar says.

“We’re not going to know when you’re in position,” Surm points out.

“You will when I strike her ass,” Mõrvar says. “I’ve got twenty-four seconds. My attack will be the signal to go.”

Rilka channels energy to heal people.

Sigurd brings up the guard that they saw head inside the longhouse. No one is as concerned about the hired guards.

Savaric, Surm, Sigurd, and Mirka turn toward the longhouse where they hear a voice call out: “The Emissary promised me a fight! What is the delay!”

Mõrvar orders all the guards to cover the windows. Surm has Alasir deploy the guards.

Surm says that they now need to take her alive so that they can find out who this Emissary is. Savaric will go to the back window with poison arrows ready. Mõrvar will be coming in after Surm, invisible. His attack will be the signal to begin. Sigurd will open the window and hold for Savaric to allow him to shoot. Then he will come in after the shooting is done. The others will be at the front door and charge in after the attack begins. Mirka will concentrate on rescuing the boy.

Surm asks Mirka if she has a spell to help him avoid arrows. She offers to give him a Shield of Faith to give him a general protection. He says he’ll take it.

Furfur is flying in circles over the troupe.

Mirka gives Savaric 4 vials of Greenblood OIl to use. Savaric applies the poison to his arrows.

Alasir is stationed at the door.

Surm casts Mage Armor on Sigurd, Mirka, Rilka, and Mõrvar.

Mirka casts a Shield of Faith on Surm, encasing him in a shimmering glow.

Once he gets into position, Savaric casts Gravity Bow.

Once everyone gets into position, Mõrvar casts Bull’s Strength on himself, then Vanish and proceeds to follow his brother.

Surm cracks open the door to the longhouse and calls out, “Hello in the longhouse!”

He immediately hears movement just inside. He then hears a female voice call out in Tradespeak, “Welcome!”

“May I enter to speak?” Surm asks.

“You may,” the voice says.

Surm opens the door wide and enters. In the glow of the lantern light, he sees to guards who step to the side to allow him entry. He sees the same elven tableau that he saw before from the other side.

Mõrvar has cast Vanish and is stealthily making his way along the other side of the longhouse while his brother is talking.

“May I know who I am addressing,” Surm asks in a loud voice.

“I am Queen Doralia of Yrda,” the half-elf says.

“I am Surm Ulrich and you spoke of an Emissary promising you a fight? Is that why you came to Yrda?” Surm asks.

“I received word from Morria that a fight was to be had here,” Doralia says.

“I am unfamiliar with Morria. Who is Morria?” Surm asks.

The most Rilka and Mõrvar know is that it sounds like a Midron god.

“Lady Battle,” Doralia says.

“And she told you there was a fight here in Yrda? Don’t you feel like you were misled?” Surm asks. “Was there much of a fight for you?”

She laughs, “Not much so far.”

“If you came for battle, why do you hide behind a little boy?” Surm asks.

Then Mõrvar strikes with a furious yell, doing a great deal of damage. Surm rolls under the table.

Sigurd throws open the window, and Savaric fires at the sorcerer with poisoned arrows. The sorcerer falls. He fires at the bowman as well, and hits.

Rilka runs in toward the back of the longhouse, blowing past the guards, who attack her as she runs past, but miss.

Mirka runs in toward the back of the longhouse on the other side of the tables, and is also missed by the guards.

“You wanted a fight, bitch. I’m here,” Mõrvar says.

The half-elf rises from the chair, spilling Loran to the floor. Mõrvar takes the opportunity to strike her again and does so, mightily. She then attempts to impale Mõrvar on her spikes, but fails. Mõrvar attacks her mightily again and she falls into the chair, bloody. He screams victoriously.

Savaric fires into the archer another three times, and he falls. The guards drop their weapons. Savaric looks for the halfling to fire his final shot, but doesn’t see him. Rilka runs forward and collects the crying Loran. She also does not see halfling.

Surm climbs on top of the table. “Surrender, halfling; it’s your only chance to survive.” He, too, does not see the halfling. But a voice calls out from the shadows, “I want your priestess’ to swear on their gods you won’t kill me.”

“Come out or we’ll find you and we will kill you,” Mõrvar says. “There is no way out. Every exit is covered.”

“He’s asking if you’ll swear an oath to your gods that he’ll surrender,” Surm addresses Mirka and Rilka.

“What option does he have?” Savaric says.

“He doesn’t,” Mõrvar says. “That’s why I said what I said. It’s only a matter of time before we find you. And if we have to find you, you’re going to die,” he calls out for the halfling’s benefit.

Rilka takes Loran out of the longhouse in case the halfling decides to take a pot-shot at him. Mõrvar casts Light on his sword and starts walking into the shadowy nooks of the longhouse. “You better surrender before I find you. Or I’ll do to you what I did to her…” Mõrvar starts describing all the unpleasant things he’s going to do to the halfling if he finds him and if he doesn’t surrender. “I will paint this room red,” he finally says.

A form emerges from the shadows with a small hand crossbow. “Maybe you’re a little bit smarter than I thought you were,” Mõrvar says.

“I didn’t even like those assholes,” the halfling says.

“Good, now drop your weapon,” Mõrvar says.

“I just want to back out of here,” the halfling says.

“Not going to happen,” Mõrvar says. “You can get out of this alive or you can be drug out dead. Now drop your weapon.”

Surm comes down off the table and walks toward him in a non-threatening manner, explaining that that’s not how surrender works. When he surrenders, he drops his weapons and becomes their prisoner. That’s his only option. The halfling sets down the hand crossbow. Mõrvar puts his sword away. Surm takes the halfling by the shoulder and directs him to Alasir.

“Alasir, this is our prisoner. Search him and secure him,” Surm says. Alasir takes the halfling and begins that process.

Mõrvar turns to the priests, “You might want to check and see if they’re still alive,” motioning toward the fallen invaders near the throne.

Savaric and Sigurd head toward the front of the longhouse to join the others. Surm dispatches Nodwick to get Girda. He sends two of the guards with him in case there are any other mercenaries out and about.

All of the prisoners are escorted to the temple of Bruni to be placed in the cells beneath the fortress there. Rilka calls out into the village: “Village of Yrda, we have taken out the elves, the half-elf, and the halfling. Hired men, the people that hired you are now dead or incapacitated. Now’s your chance to surrender or join your dead brethren.”

Nodwick returns with Girda and she reunites, tearfully, with Loran. Mõrvar checks the half-elf to see if she is still alive, but is unsure. Surm has Alasir post guards on the prisoners, create a small patrol to go through the village looking for the missing mercenaries, send two guards with Surm to go to the battlefield to see if any of those fallen are still alive. Two will be sent to fetch Mahgnus and the two porters. Savaric will strip the bodies in the longhouse and place their belongings on the table. Savaric also checks to see if the bodies in the longhouse are dead.

The half-elf was wearing a masterwork spiked breastplate with a raven motif painted upon it. She was also wearing a nice cloak pinned to the breastplate. She also had, set to the side, a masterwork heavy wooden shield. She also had a leather belt pouch with 310 gold pieces. Mõrvar says, “Huh. This stupid bitch doesn’t have a weapon.” Girda says that when she came into town she had a lance with her horse. “I just overthrew a queen,” Mõrvar says.

Rilka asks Mirka if she has heard of Morria; it is apparently a Midron god. Mirka says she has heard of Morria. She’s also known as “Lady Battle.” She’s a goddess of war, death, and conflict.

The sorcerer has three scrolls tucked into his belt. He’s also wearing a nice cloak. He’s wearing a nice ring. He’s also got a leather belt pouch with 375 gold pieces. He’s also got a spear.

The archer has a small vial. He’s wearing a masterwork breastplate. He’s armed with a masterwork composite longbow. He has a masterwork elven curved blade. He’s wearing a nice cloak. He also has a quiver with 35 arrows. He also has 5 alchemical silver arrows, 5 cold iron arrows, 5 well-made arrows. He has a leather belt pouch with 67 gold pieces.

The halfling is stripped down. He had 3 vials. He was wearing masterwork studded leather. He had a masterwork shortsword at his side. He had a masterwork hand crossbow with 20 bolts, a set of masterwork thieves’ tools, and a leather pouch with 60 gold pieces.

Savaric checks the half-elf to see if she’s alive and determines that she is and stable. She will probably be awake in two day’s time. He checks the sorcerer, but is unsure of his status. He checks the archer and determines that he is alive and stable.

Mõrvar casts Read Magic on the scrolls to decipher them. He determines that they are a scroll of Fly, a scroll of Gaseous Form, and a scroll of Levitate.

Mõrvar picks up the half-elf and the archer and carries them to the cells at the temple of Bruni. When he gets there, he sees the priest of Jörn they had left behind. He cowers in the corner upon sight of Mõrvar carrying the two bodies into the cells. “How does it feel to know that you betrayed Jörn and caused the deaths of your fellow brothers?” He returns to the longhouse.

Mirka determines that the sorcerer is alive and stable. Rilka asks if there is a free guard to take him to the cells. All the guards except for Alasir are occupied. She and Mirka take the prisoner to the cells.

Rilka asks Girda what happened to the initiates in the temple. Most fell in the defense, but a few are still in the temples. She asks Girda what happened to her father’s body. Girda says that he lies entombed in the temple awaiting a pyre. Jonthin’s body is still out in the public square—the half-elf wouldn’t let them collect it. Rilka and Mirka head to the center of town to cut down Jonthin’s body and place it in the longhouse of Yülthn.

Meanwhile, Surm and Alfhild and Sorcha are checking the battlefield fallen. There are seven fallen forms that are alive and stable, but definitely out for the duration. He and the soldiers return to the longhouse.

They then decide to send Mõrvar to interrogate the halfling. He walks into the of the temple with the two large cells where they are keeping the prisoners and walks up to the area with the halfling. “Alright halfling, it’s time for us to have a little chat. This can go one of two ways. Either you answer me, or I do to you what I did to him,” and he points to the priest of Jörn in the other cell. “…and you’ll tell me anyway. Do we have an understanding? Now, personally, I take pleasure in doing things my way. But you have an opportunity for me not to.”

“Well, what do you want to know?” the halfling asks.

“Let’s start with your name,” Mõrvar says.

“Tobos,” the halfling says.

“And the skank?” Mõrvar asks, pointing to the prone body of the half-elf.

“Doralia,” Tobos says.

“The pathetic excuse of a spellcaster?” Mõrvar asks.

“Dardaniel,” Tobos says.

“And this other worthless one,” Mõrvar says.

“Barthiel,” Tobos says.

“How many guards did you have? How many did you hire from Josemeedt?” Mõrvar asks.

“Fifteen,” Tobos says. He doesn’t seem surprised that Mõrvar knew from where they hired them.

“Are those the only guards you got? Is it only you four and those fifteen?” Mõrvar asks.

“That’s all,” Tobos says.

“Where are you from?” Mõrvar asks.

“Me? I’m from the Vale,” Tobos says, rather surprised.

“Let’s try this again. Be specific,” Mõrvar says.

“Melnys Vale is where I’m from,” Tobos says.

“Where are they from?” Mõrvar and begins the interrogation of the halfling. He sends a guard to tell Rilka that there are fifteen guards.

Rilka performs a count of the fallen and the prisoners and comes up with fourteen. Savaric goes out to try and find signs of the missing guard. Rilka tells Surm that they’re missing a mercenary. Surm theorizes that he probably ran. Rilka wants to search houses for the missing man. Surm’s not sure the people of the village are going to go for that and is pretty sure the man just ran off.

After a while of the halfling’s telling of the elves and his life stories, Mõrvar gets the impression that Tobos is holding back what he really wants to know. “I gave you a chance,” he says. “I guess I’m going to have to do things my way.” Mõrvar goes into the cell to intimidate him. His very presence makes the halfling frightened enough to flee from him. Mõrvar talks about all the nasty things he’s going to do him if he doesn’t answer his questions.

The four of them were in Jenna. Doralia is a follower of Morria. She received a vision from somebody she called an “Emissary”. Nobody else saw this vision. The vision said that if she went to this vision in the north she would receive a fight worthy of her. She convinced the rest of them to come north with her. This was around the first of Longday. This corresponds to roughly the same time that the party first arrived in Yrda. Why does he follow her? Mostly because she made them money and he’s loyal. Barthiel is an archer, a warrior. Dardaniel is a sorcerer. None of them are related—none of them talked about family, especially Doralia. They traveled primarily in the Midron countries. Tobos says he likes to borrow things. He was hoping to join a guild some day.

Mõrvar turns to the priest of Jörn and says, “All dead. All dead,” and makes his way out of the fortress and returns to the longhouse.

Surm lets Girda know that he’s glad that she and Loran are reunited and that they were successful against the temple of Jörn. Girda embraces him in thanks.

Mõrvar finds Rilka right outside the longhouse and relates what he found out from the halfling.

Savaric goes to where they saw the guard patrolling earlier and starts to track him. He follows the tracks to the rear of one of the houses at the back of the longhouse where they stop momentarily. Then they pick back up and head west out of town toward the tents. They head into a tent. Then they come out of a tent. Then they start heading out of the village heading north, on foot. Savaric heads back to the longhouse and reports to Rilka what he found.

Rilka reports to Alasir that it looks like the final mercenary has left town.

Surm asks Sigurd that since Jonthin’s dead, who is organizing the town? He says that he is not sure, that they have not been without a priest before. There is Mirka and, he looks outside, there may be Rilka, if she decides to stay. Surm says he doesn’t think that she’s going to decide to stay. Sigurd says that there’s Mirka, then. And Surm says “And you.”

Sigurd says, “Usually I’m out on the trails.”

“I don’t know if you have that luxury anymore,” Surm says.

Everyone convenes inside the longhouse and makes their various reports to Surm. Surm asks if Girda wants to take Loran home these conversations and she says she would like to go home. So Surm summons Nodwick, Kalthin, and Sadwina to take Girda home and to guard, just in case there is any more trouble.

“Are we going to ride this guy down or not?” Mõrvar asks, referring to the mercenary who Savaric tracked down.

“A hired merc? It wasn’t personal for him,” Surm says.

After Mõrvar reports what he learned from Tobos, Rilka asks Mirka if Morria’s symbol is a raven, based on the fact that she had it painted on her breastplate. Mirka and Mõrvar confirm that Morria’s symbol is a raven clutching a black spear.

Surm asks Sigurd and Mirka what their intentions are toward the prisoners. Sigurd looks at Mirka and Mirka heaves a sigh and says, “The mercenaries we can release stripped of their gold and their weapons as the spoils of war. The elves, they showed no mercy to Yrda, we show no mercy to them.”

“The halfling?” Mõrvar asks.

“The halfling?” Mirka says. “Strip him of his weapons and his gold an send him on his way with the mercenaries.”

“Do we want to find out his role in it first?” Surm asks.

“He hasn’t been tried yet,” Mõrvar says. “We know the mercenaries were hired after the hospitality breach. It’s my recommendation that we get information from the town on the involved and we put him on trial.”

“As far as the halfling goes, I want to know was he out there gleefully killing people like everybody else or was he here for the money,” Rilka says.

“Really, when it comes down to it, do we know if the elves were responsible for the killing?” Mõrvar asks.

“Not really. That’s why I say question the town before we execute them,” Surm says.

“I think we need to bind and gag the sorcerer and her,” Mõrvar says. “If she’s receiving visions, we need to bind and gag her.”

“It’s a simple thing. I will talk to Girda,” Surm says, and leaves.

He goes to Girda’s home and speaks with her and asks her who did the whipping and killing of Jonthin in the public square. Girda says that it was the half-elf. Does she remember the halfling? Was there any great offense that he committed? There was no great offense he committed. He fought in the battle, but there was no great offense. Surm returns to the longhouse with that information.

Surm asks Sigurd if he’s going to make some sort of announcement in the village about what’s been decided. Mõrvar asks about the fate of the Jörnite priest. “Oh, I think that’s clear,” Surm says. Mõrvar just figures if there are to be executions that they might as well do them all. Sigurd says that he and Mirka will make an announcement in the morning. Mirka gives Sigurd a sideways glance and an approving smile.

The unconscious mercenaries are gathered together and all of the gear is stripped and gathered together in the temple of Bruni. Manacles are placed on the three unconscious adventurers. In the livery stable, four horses are found. One is a heavy horse with a military saddle and a masterwork lance and a set of masterwork studded leather barding.

When Surm and Mõrvar are alone together, Mõrvar asks how they are going to split up all this stuff when they cash in. Surm says they are going to wait and see how it is doled out to them. Mõrvar is incredulous. “If it wasn’t for us, they’d all be dead!”

“I expect we will get a big portion. They’ve had a lot of losses. It’s good relations,” Surm says.

“They wouldn’t have had near the losses if they had done what we said,” Mõrvar says.

“And the people we would have rubbed that in their faces are dead,” Surm says.

Surm and Mõrvar stay at the temple of Bruni that night while Rilka holds vigil with her father’s body in the crypt. Savaric goes to the longhouse of Ulfethinn and attempts to spend the night with Mirka. She politely declines, but he does spend the night in that long house.

While staying in the longhouse of Ulfethinn, Savaric notices a conversation between Sigurd and Mirka. He uses Ilona to go invisible and sneaks his way closer to listen in. Mirka says, “You should consider it, at least for a time. Until he becomes of age.”

Sigurd says, “I’m not sure that’s not more of the purview of old men and priests.”

“Old men started off as young men doing what needed to be done,” Mirka says. “Right now, the village needs young men doing what needs to be done. I don’t think Rilka is going to stay. We don’t have a council of priests.”

Savaric tries to sneak back to where he was before.

“I’ll take what you say under advisement and I’ll talk to Girda about it,” Sigurd says.

“You should do that,” Mirka says.

“Did you hear that?” Sigurd says.

“No,” Mirka says.

“I thought I heard something,” Sigurd says.

Savaric stealthily makes his way into his room without further mishap.

19 Longday 508

At dawn, Mirka goes the area around the center of town and starts calling for the village to rise and come forward. Surm rouses Rilka from the crypt—she looks haggard. Mõrvar comes out to meet the day. Savaric comes out.

People start to gather and Sigurd and Mirka come forward. Girda and Loran are there as well. Mirka says, “People of Yrda. Our village has fallen on dark times. But the hand of the Thunderer has come and has parted the clouds and justice will soon be done. We have in the stocks, perpetrators of a grave injustice to our village. They spat upon our hospitality. They brought invaders to our homes. These elves will pay for what they have done with their lives.”

There are some cheers and scattered muttering in the crowd.

“Their mercenaries will pay in gold and in weapons for their crimes and be sent on their way packing,” Mirka says.

There is scattered muttering in the crowd—in anger at the mercenaries.

“The priest of Jörn that we have been holding shall pay with his life to complete the journey that we have brought against those that have started this madness against our village. For we have returned victorious against the temple. Those priests are gone!” Mirka says, smiling.

A cheer goes up from the crowd.

“That priest will also pay with his life,” Mirka says again, with satisfaction. “For crimes against our king, against Girda, and her family.”

Surm has the porters bring the chest with the weregild and the holy symbols of Jörn for Girda . Surm presents it and opens it with a flourish. “Your weregild. Paid in full.”

A cheer goes up from the crowd again. And Girda embraces Surm.

Sigurd comes forward. “I’m not much for words People who know me know that, I’m not a talker. These—fuckers—came into the village. They’re going to get theirs. But the village has good spiritual leadership in Mirka here. Though the village has lost its priests, we still have the Thunderer to thank for justice and I’m thankful that we have Mirka. And I’m thankful that we had a new priest of Bruni, Rilka, in our fight, so the gods have not abandoned us. But the village needs a king to decide things. And I have been…Loran is a good boy. But he’s a boy. I’ve been talking with Girda. And if the village will have me, I would be that king until Loran comes of age. And if anybody else feels that they can do a better job, then come forward now. I went on the expedition to take care of the priests of Jörn. Nobody else did.”

A hushed muttering falls over the crowd. Mõrvar comes foward and extends his hand. “You’re the right man,” he says. Sigurd takes his hand.

Surm attempts to sway the crowd in his favor with talk of his excellent leadership on his quest to the temple, his role in the demand for weregild, his pivotal role in the reconquest of Yrda, etc. He also calls out Nodwick, Kalthin, and Sadwina and how they were helpful in the quest as well and to confirm how helpful Sigurd was. Nodwick and Sadwina go along with the plan without a hitch, though Kalthin goes a long a bit grudgingly.

Rilka goes up and stands next to Sigurd as a show of support.

Mirka says, “If no one steps forward, then I say let it be the will of the people.”

Girda says, “Hail King Sigurd!”

“KIng Sigurd!” The crowd responds.

“We’ll need a feast!” Girda says. And this starts to warm the crowd up. People start to hustle about making preparations.

Surm takes King Sigurd by the arm and they all head to the longhouse.

Once they get inside, Rilka begins. “We have two priests we need to set pyres for. We have prisoners to release in some sort of order. We have people to execute.”

“I say as the mercenaries wake up, you send them walking,” Surm says. “That keeps them from clustering again.”

“I say drag them out unconscious to wherever and dump them,” Mõrvar says. Everyone disagrees with this as the mercenaries need to know what happened so that they don’t come back. Rilka thinks that Mõrvar should be there when they wake up to make that point.

“The other thing is, with this money the village has, it may be time to look to hiring people of your own to protect the village, for a little while anyway. Is word going to be sent to get new priests for this town?” Rilka asks.

“We can send word to Josemeedt,” King Sigurd says.

“I think you need to shore up your defenses as much as possible,” Rilka says.

“When we liberated Aeth, the mercenaries there have been held for a year under servitude for a year. Why not do the same with these men?” Mõrvar asks.

No one seems to think that will work in Yrda due to the fact that Yrda doesn’t have the force to back it up.

Mõrvar is concerned that the village is sending the mercenaries out with no repercussions as a sign of weakness and that they will be reconquered once again by another warlord. He says that he has a vested interest in Yrda because it is “the home of his sister.”

Surm reminds him that there are some repercussions because the mercenaries will be losing their gold and their weapons. Mõrvar thinks there needs to be a stronger message.

Surm suggests offering the three that surrendered a years servitude as guards or warriors in return for a full pardon or we let you go without weapons or gear or money and if we see you in Yrda again, we kill you. That way they get three more warriors and its a stronger sentence. It gives them a choice. They obviously had no vested interest in conquering Yrda.

Surm and Rilka do not want to draw a lot of attention to Yrda right now—either as being weak or as “don’t mess with us”.

Surm offers to make the offer to the prisoners, but Sigurd says that he will make the offer. He goes to speak with the prisoners and all three take the offer. It’s not the most elegant of offers. but it is made and accepted.

Rilka suggests having Alasir posts patrols through the village while they release prisoners.

Surm goes to speak to Tobos. “Tobos. We’re letting you go. All your gear is forfeit. It’s the cost of doing bad business.” The halfling hangs his head. “You need to go south. You are banned from Jossia.”

“You better pray I never find you in Jossia,” Mõrvar says. “The only reason why I let you walk is because you cooperated. If you got something to say, say it.”

“Nothing to say,” he says, forlornly.

Mõrvar escorts him through town and points him south. While they’re walking, he tells the halfling, “You’ve seen what we’re capable of. Don’t cross us again. We have an understanding?”

He nods.

“Then be on your way.”

The halfling keeps walking.

As some of the mercenaries wake from unconsciousness and are escorted out of town, Mõrvar lets it be known that if he sees them again, he’ll kill them.

The elves and half-elf are brought out into the public square and beheaded by Rilka “For crimes against Yrda, and for my father,” she says as she brings down the blade on their unconscious bodies.

The priest of Jörn is brought out, kicking and biting the whole way. Mõrvar tells him, just so he can hear, “I beheaded all the other ones. You’re the last.” Then Mõrvar beheads him.

The bodies are disposed of out of the village.

Pyres are built in the center of town for the priests Jonthin and Lazar.

Surm goes to the longhouse and casts Detect Magic on the belongings they got off of the adventurers. He detects magic on the spiky breastplate, on the cloak the half-elf was wearing, on the 5 well-made arrows, on one of the vials that the archer had, on the archer’s cloak, on the halfling’s three vials, on the halfling’s short sword, on the sorcerer’s cloak, and on the sorcerer’s ring.

Surm further determines that the breastplate is a 1 breastplate, the sorcerer’s cloak is a cloak of resistance (1 to all saving throws), one vial is a potion of cure moderate wounds, the archer’s cloak is another cloak of resistance, the archer’s arrows are +1 arrows, two of the halfling’s vials are cure light wounds potions and the other is a potion of invisibility.

Surm asks Sigurd what his plans were as far as divvying out this gear. Sigurd says that as far as he’s concerned, the party slew the invading adventurers so they can divvy up their gear.

Rilka spends the day talking to the initiates of Bruni as the pyres are being built.

By nightfall, the pyres are built and the priests’ bodies are carried out and placed upon them. Mirka says some words over Jonthin’s pyre, about his being accepted into Nifenjeim and how he will appease the goddess Eydis in the underworld.

Rilka steps up to her pyre and speaks: “You know Lazar Gonlafsson as a priest of Bruni. As a holy man. As a trusted voice in Yrda. As a man who would lay down his life to protect this village from harm. And, indeed, he did. All that is true. However, I knew him as something else. A father. A man who took in a half-breed child and raised her as his own, and who saw the heart of that young girl and knew her potential for great things. I stand before you as a priest of Bruni. I would not be here if not for Lazar, for his love of me and my love of him. I commend his soul to Bruni. May he forever lie in the Brave One’s favor.” Then she lights the pyre.

The fires are lit and the people gather for somber contemplation before them. After a while, people start making their way to the longhouse where feasting awaits both in mourning for the priests and in celebration of the new King. Rilka stays at the pyre. Mõrvar stays with her.

The feast is a mixture of celebration and somber reflection. Surm mingles with the people. Savaric approaches Mirka and apologizes for last night. He didn’t mean to make things awkward between them. Mirka says that it is alright, it’s an awkward time.

Eventually the feast dies down and the pyres burn down and people start heading home. Rilka pats Mõrvar on the shoulder, but he gives her a hug. She tells him thank you. She heads for the temple of Bruni and Mõrvar follows. Surm heads to the temple of Bruni as well. Savaric heads to the temple of Ulfethinn with Mirka. He makes another attempt to go with Mirka, but she’s much more receptive. She smiles and let’s him into her bedroom.

20 Longday 508

Surm tries to Detect Magic again on the magic items collected from the adventurers in order to identify their properties. he fails to identify the properties of the half-elf’s cloak, but does identify the sorcerer’s ring as a ring of protection +1. He does determine that all the cloaks give off a faint abjuration aura.

Rilka tries to do the same thing with her magic as well. She identifies the halfling’s short sword as a +1 short sword. That leaves the half-elf’s cloak as the only unidentified item.

The party spends the morning deciding what items to split up and what items to sell. They split up the goods and the treasure and the magic items.

Mõrvar asks Furfur if the halfling kept traveling south. Furfur responds that he hasn’t been watching the halfling. Mõrvar tells him to let him know if the raven happens to see him.

Surm pulls Alasir in and offers to let him distribute the masterwork heavy shield, the spear, the masterwork breastplate, the masterwork agile breastplate, masterwork studded leather, and masterwork composite longbow to the guards. Alasir declines the heavy shield and the spear, but takes the rest. He also receives 20 arrows to go with the bow. They exchange their armor with the new armor and give their old armor back to the party.

Surm also summons Mahgnus and pays the soldiers and porters.

The party then makes preparations to leave the village for Rosemeedt. Once there, they plan on selling off their mundane gear, sending word to the priests to send priests to Yrda, and to look for rumors of the dwarven outpost they seek.

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Rage and Raven: Poachers (Part One)
Part One

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14 Growth 508

The The Green Lady , captained by Landon Masrath, pulls into the harbor at Crownport. Rhain, Lenoria, Alun, and Kerra have spent their time on the ship negotiating their shares of the treasures left from their adventures in Tarsas. Once they get into the city, they plan on selling some goods, and getting some magic items appraised.

The port authorities ask if they have anything to declare. They do not. There is a gate tax of four copper pieces per person. The party takes their leave of the crew and they step off onto the docks at Crownport.

It is a pleasant morning in the city. The party splits up, as Alun and Kerra actually live in Crownport with their family. Lenoria asks if there is the possibility of staying the night with them instead of paying for a room. Kerra furrows her brow, but Alun speaks up and says that “We would, but our parent’s house is quite small. You wouldn’t be comfortable.”

Lenoria and Rhain head to Silvercask’s Nimble Cartwright to stay the night. It is the modest inn in the market district at which they had stayed the last time they were in town. They put away their things and then head out into the market place to do business with Kerra and Alun. Once there, they find that they are in a seller’s market—Crownport is going through an inflationary period economically. Unfortunately, it also makes local goods and services more expensive to purchase.

After the general marketplace, they head to the University district to see a scriptorium about their magical scrolls. “The Dragon’s Scriptorium” is nestled between two crowded buildings there. It is furnished well with dwarven-wrought furniture and cases. It is run by a chubby half-elf. Lenoria presents three scrolls, one for Fog Cloud, which she wishes to sell, and two for Bull’s Strength, which she wishes to get a price for. She offers 16 gold for the Fog Cloud and prices the Bull’s Strength at 125 gold. Lenoria decides to go ahead and sell the Bull’s Strength scrolls to the shopkeeper. They also get directions to a potion shop called “Saerondor & Gyle’s Apothecary”.

Before heading to the apothecary, there is a discussion about whether or not to determine what their vials of potions do before selling them off. Rhain is for finding out if they are useful first. Kerra is in agreement, as are the others. The party then attempts to identify the nature of the potions they are carrying. They fail to identify one of the potions, though Kerra is pretty sure it’s water. They then draw straws and pick the potions amongst each other. Lenoria’s worship of a goddess of chance serves her well and she draws first pick. In the end, they decide not to go to the apothecary.

After their business is completed at the marketplace, they convene to split out their proceeds of coin. The remainder funds are used to purchase “rats on a stick”, street food, for everyone for the day. They see some of the sites of the city, but not King’s Lake, as it is a bit out of the way and probably costs money. Finally, Kerra and Alun say their goodbyes and the party splits up, the Lanyons going one way, and Rhain and Lenoria going another.

Rhain and Lenoria return to Silvercask’s to discuss their future plans. Do they stay in Crownport or move south to Kalimsport and look for work? In the end, they decide to look for work here in Crownport. Lenoria goes out to find information on any kind of adventuring jobs they can find.

Lenoria learns of a job in need of “discrete” workers. Inquiries can be made of a man named Stavros at a tavern called The Sly Toad. Intrigued, she and Rhain decide to check it out.

The Sly Toad is a bit of a dive bar on the Lake Road. It is marked by a sign depicting a fat toad with a lecherous wink on its face. The bar is busy, with a lot of hustle and bustle going on. Lenoria can spot several tables where “business” is clearly being conducted. Lenoria goes to the barkeep and asks, “Where is Stavros?”

The barkeep, a jowly fellow with thick mutton-chops, looks at her and asks, “Who wants to know?”

“Rumor is that he is looking for work. We may be able to help with that,” Lenoria says agreeably.

“Well, lots of people are looking for Stavros,” the barkeep says.

Lenoria makes a silver appear on the counter. It disappears and the barkeep says, “He’s at the back of the room. Big mustache.”

Rhain and Lenoria head to the back of the common room. At one of the tables they see a heavy-set Kuskar with a thick black mustache. Stavros looks up to see Lenoria smiling at him. Rhain does not. “Are you Stavros?” Lenoria asks.

“I might be.”

“I heard you might be looking for some work. People who can be discrete,” Lenoria says.

“In a manner of speaking, I’m vetting applicants,” Stavros says.

“My friend and I here are interested. What exactly does this vetting process entail?” Lenoria asks.

“Have a seat,” Stavros says, indicating the chairs, and Lenoria and Rhain take chairs at the table.

“Have either of you done any bounty work?” Stavros asks.

“Of course,” Rhain says, very convincingly.

“Not specifically,” Lenoria says. “I’m good at retrieving what I go after, though.”

“Have you performed work in which you’ve had to avoid…entanglements…with the City Watch?” Stavros asks.

“Yeah,” Rhain says. “My day to day. They charge you money to go anywhere and do anything.”

Lenoria just laughs at the question. Stavros smiles appreciatively at Rhain’s response.

“You,” Stavros points at Rhain, “I can guess at your skill-set. Tell if I’m wrong. You seem to be a bit of scrapper. A bruiser. Am I right?”

“Oh yeah,” Rhain says.

“You,” Stavros points at Lenoria," what do you bring to the table?"

“I’m a priestess of Imtiau if that helps,” Lenoria says. “So I bring the luck of my goddess.”

“I don’t know that goddess,” Stavros says.

“I’m originally from Sianae,” Lenoria says, by way of explanation.

“So you have spells?” Stavros asks.

“She’s a goddess of luck and trickery, so I have a particular set of spells and skills,” Lenoria says.

“Hmmm,” Stavros says, rubbing his chin.

“My employer has a job that requires some discretion, some working around the authorities, and involves a bounty. Are you interested so far?” Stavros asks.

“Sure,” Rhain says.

“Discretion as far as just keeping our mouths shut or as far as being unmemorable, my friend and I?” Lenoria asks.

“Keeping your mouths shut and keeping yourselves out of entanglements,” Stavros says.

“Ah, alright,” Lenoria says, satisfied.

“Alright. If you wish to hear more details and are still interested, I’ll set up a meet with my employer as you’ve been the best applicants I’ve had. I tell you what, why don’t you go to this address,” and he pulls out a small card with an address written on it, “at nine bells. My employer will meet you there.”

“Who are we looking for?” Rhain asks.

“My employer would prefer to remain nameless,” Stavros says. “Part of the discretion.”

“Anything we can know that we’re meeting the right person? That this isn’t some kind of set up?” Lenoria asks. “We’re not from here; I can’t tell if this address is the docks, somebody’s house, or what.”

“It’s an abandoned shop in the market district,” Stavros says. “I’ll be with him.”

“That works then. Nine bells it is,” Lenoria says.

Lenoria and Rhain leave. At this point it is close to seven bells. They head back to Silvercasks’s and wash the sea brine and road dust off their face with a hot bath. They then get ready to make their appointment.

Down in the common room, they notice that Eva, a former traveling companion from their days as caravan guards, is in the common room. Rhain comes up to her and says “Hey.”

“Hey!” she says and leans back in her chair.

“Can I sit?” Rhain asks.

“Have a seat,” Eva says.

“What are you up to?” Rhain asks.

“A little time between gigs,” Eva says.

“Just got back from Tarsas, myself.” Rhain says. “Imth.”

“Oh. Never been to Tarsas. Heard it was a bad deal,” Eva says.

“No, it wasn’t all that awesome,” Rhain says. “We went and raided an abandoned temple. Got out some loot.”

“Nice,” Eva says.

“Yeah, it was nice. But the locals got kinda crappy about it,” Rhain says. “They didn’t want to buy it back. It was abandoned. Nobody had gone for it. Nobody was using it. But they didn’t want to buy it. Buncha trouble. But that whole town was crappy to foreigners.”

“That’s what they say about Tarsas is that they’re not too friendly to foreigners,” Eva says.

“Nah,” Rhain says in agreement.

“So how long are you in Crownport?” Eva asks.

“I don’t know. About to go check on a gig tonight. I got a feeling it’s local,” Rhain says.

“Yeah, we’re just holding over. Got another caravan gig,” Eva says.

“Caravan’s huh?” Rhain says.

“Yeah, we’re heading up into Leilior,” Eva says.

“That’s cool,” Rhain says. “Yeah, that’s where I got this sweet armor.”

“That’s pretty sweet,” Eva says.

“Yeah, took this off a half-orc jerk in the middle of the woods. Him and his party didn’t think we should be able to walk by as we pleased. I guess he thought he owned that path,” Rhain says.

“I still got the same shit, different day,” Eva says, ruefully.

“Well, if you ever want to expand your horizons, just let me know. There’s room in what we’re doing for an experienced hand. If you’re up for a little adventure. What you’re doing is steady work, but its hum-drum boring work, too.” Rhain tells her all about the elf sorcerer with claws that they encountered with the half-orc, and the archer as well.

When it’s time to go, Lenoria comes by and collects Rhain and says hello to Eva. “It’s nice to meet you again,” Lenoria says.

“You as well,” Eva says.

The two head for the abandoned shop. Lenoria looks for anyone following them. Rhain thinks Eva might follow them to take them up on the job—he thinks she’s getting tired of guard work “because it’s boring and stupid.” Lenoria isn’t sure they should include anyone else on this job, as it requires discretion and she doesn’t have a good enough sense of Eva to know if she could handle it. Rhain says he was thinking of asking Alun. Lenoria doesn’t think his sister would approve. Rhain responds that he wasn’t going to ask her. “She doesn’t bring anything that I don’t bring,” Rhain says.

They finally arrive at the address written on the card. It looks like an abandoned shop. The windows are boarded up and the door is shut. Lenoria and Rhain move quietly along a side alley—or as quietly as they can with Rhain being in armor. They make their way to the rear of the building and find a back door.

The door is not barred or locked. Lenoria opens the door and goes inside. She sees candlelight from a room at the front of the shop. Once Rhain gets inside, she shuts the door behind him and they make their way to the front of the shop.

It looks like the candlelight is coming in from the main shop area. Stavros is there holding a candleholder with a candle in it. Just outside the candlelight is another figure. Lenoria and Rhain pause.

“Stavros,” Lenoria says.

“Lady,” Stavros says. “Gentleman. This is my employer. And possibly yours.” He steps to the side and lets the shadowed figure speak.

“What I wish you to do is find a person by the of Diata the Poacher,” the employer’s voice is deep and measured. “Bring her here to me. When you have her, you can send word to Stavros. This will be your delivery point.”

“This shop?” Rhain asks.

“Yes,” the employer says.

“Is she in Crownport?” Rhain asks.

“I believe so. That is part of your job is to make sure,” the employer says.

“Do we get any sort of idea or description about this poacher person so if we get someone we actually know that’s who it is?” Lenoria asks.

“She is a half-elf. Young, dirty-blonde hair. Not as pretty as a lot of her race. She frequents, when she’s in Crownport, the Scarlet Griffon,” the employer says.

Lenoria has heard of the Scarlet Griffon. It’s a modest inn for adventurers.

“Any particular skill-sets that she has that we need to be aware of?” Lenoria asks.

“She’s a bounty hunter,” the employer says. “She’s a sniper.”

“Huh. You’re a putting a bounty on a bounty hunter?” Rhain says.

“The irony is not lost,” the employer says. “She is not…unskilled…at her job.” He says this grudgingly, with some bitterness.

“We’re being asked to be discrete and kind of out of the eyes of the watch, is she normally as well? Trying to stay out of the eye of the law? Or is she buddy-buddy with the watch?” Lenoria asks.

“Sometimes yes, sometimes no. She turns in many of her bounties to the watch,” the employer says, “to get her pay.”

“What’s the pay?” Rhain asks.

“How’s 200 apiece—100 for the job, 100 for your silence?” the employer says.

“So 400?” Rhain says.

“Yes,” the employer says.

“What sort of timeframe are we working with?” Lenoria asks.

“As soon as possible,” the employer says.

“So there’s not an end-date to this bounty,” Rhain says.

“I don’t wish it to drag on,” the employer says, warily.

“I understand that,” Rhain says, “but what I’m saying is ‘if we don’t have her by the third, it’s over.’ I want to know if I show up on the fifteenth, I’m going to get paid.”

“Or not bother coming,” Lenoria says.

“No—just as soon as possible,” the employer says.

“Okay. Because for all we know, she’s not in Crownport and we have to track her down across the country,” Rhain says. “Anything else?”

“No,” the employer says.

“And Stavros, you’re stationed at the Sly Toad?,” Rhain asks.

“That’s where you can find me,” Stavros says.

“That seems like the minimum we need to operate in our jobs,” Lenoria says.

Lenoria and Rhain exit out the front door.

“Well, that seems pretty straight-forward,” Rhain says.

At this point, it’s pretty close to ten bells, so people are still going out to taverns and inns for drinks. Lenoria asks about to find out where the Scarlet Griffon is. She finds out that it is on the north end of town. Lenoria then hails a passing carriage and they head to the north side of the city and the Scarlet Griffon. It costs her a silver piece.

The Scarlet Griffon is a lively place with a lot of adventuring types. There a couple of bards performing in a corner of common room. Lenoria tells Rhain to go buy them a drink. The bartender, a comely woman with red hair, asks Rhain, “What are you having, handsome?”

“I don’t know. What do you recommend?” Rhain asks, leaning on the bar.

“For you, I’d recommend some Ornish brandy,” the barkeep says.

“Ornish brandy. That sounds interesting. I’ll take two,” Rhain says.

“Two Ornish brandies,” the barkeep says and pours the drinks into glasses. She presents the drinks and says “Alright, that’ll be 2 silver, 5 copper.”

The brandy comes in a glass. It’s a thickish liquid with a slightly floral scent. “You sure this is fit for drinking?” Rhain asks.

“Absolutely,” the barkeep says.

“Looks like it’s for oiling engines,” Rhain mutters. He sips on it. It burns going down. It has a bit of a floral/fruity flavor, but mostly burns. For those into liquor, it tastes good. Unfortunately, Rhain is not into liquor. Nevertheless, Rhain takes some time small talk with the barkeep.

Lenoria takes some time to look around the common room and try to see if anyone matching Diata’s description is in the room. She doesn’t spot Diata, but she does spy the barkeep throwing a glass of brandy into Rhain’s face with an angry expression. Lenoria moves in to intervene.

“Were you trying to charm the ladies again?” Lenoria tells the barkeep. “I’m so sorry if he said something rude.”

“You better take your friend out here!” the barkeep says.

Lenoria tries to calm the barkeep down, but she’s having none of it. “You better take your friend out of here, now!”

Lenoria escorts Rhain out of the common room. Rhain takes his glass with him and then smashes it against the wall on his way out.

“What did you say?” Lenoria asks once they get outside.

“I don’t know. She totally overreacted,” Rhain complains. “This stuff is sticky.”

“I know. You smell fruity,” Lenoria says.

“It burns my skin like it does my throat,” Rhain says.

As they walk down the street away from the inn, Lenoria says. “Well, I did not see her.”

“I didn’t see her, either,” Rhain says.

“I think the question of whether or not we can rooms here has just gotten more interesting,” Lenoria says. “I don’t know if I can smooth that one over.”

“I don’t know what her big problem is. She flirted with me. She sent all the signals,” Rhain says.

“Do we go back to our inn to figure out a game plan or what?” Lenoria asks.

“What game plan is there to figure out? We just stalk this place, right?” Rhain says.

“Yeah,” Lenoria says. “I can continue to be here during the closing hours shift. But tonight you’re not getting back in that bar.”

“That bar wasn’t all that anyway,” Rhain says.

They look around for another tavern or inn within watching distance of the Scarlet Griffon that has outdoor seating. They spot the Ten Wolves Tavern that fits the bill.

“Is there anything else we can do besides just sit and watch this place?” Rhain asks.

“Well, I can go back in and see if I can find her. But, again, I didn’t see her, so I’d still just be keeping an eye out for her. I didn’t really want to start asking around because I don’t want her to get wind of the fact that someone’s looking for where she is. We don’t want that kind of trouble. If she’s a bounty hunter and wily…” Lenoria says.

“Well this job’s already annoyed me,” Rhain says. “Crappy bar. Rude service. And she wasn’t even there.”

“Not as of yet,” Lenoria says.

“The only thing I can think of to do right now is watch,” Lenoria says.

“Fine,” Rhain says, annoyed.

“We can either both watch across the street, or I can go back in and just try to keep an eye out until the bar closes and come back if we want to do this as a split-up sort of thing,” Lenoria says.

“Fine, I’ll stay here,” Rhain says, despondent.

“Okay. And when the bar closes, I’ll come back out,” Lenroria says.

The midnight bells start ringing. Lenoria goes back into the Scarlet Griffon while Rhain waits outside the Ten Wolves Tavern.

Inside the Scarlet Griffon, Lenoria checks upstairs to see how many rooms the inn has. It looks like it has about a dozen rooms. Otherwise, she takes a seat and watches and listens.

Outside, Rhain spots a small group of adventurers head inside the Scarlet Griffon. The group is made up of a half-elf woman, a half-orc male, and an elven female. The half-elf fits the description of Diata the Poacher. Rhain elects to maintain his post, waiting to see if they come out.

Lenoria notices the group come into the inn’s common room. They take a table and start speaking together in low voices. Lenoria makes her way closer to them so that she can eavesdrop. She also summons a Bit of Luck from her goddess to help her attempt.

She hears Diata saying, “We’ve got to get him to come out. He’s holed up in there.”

The half-orc says, “I don’t know how we’re going to do that.”

Diata says, “He’s worth a thousand gold pieces. For a thousand, we’ve got to get him out.”

The elf says, “But he’s got those seven others.”

“They’re worth fifty a piece,” Diata says. “Three-fifty more. For three-fifty more, we can take them out as well. It’s worth it.”

Then the half-orc says, “So how do we smoke him out?”

Diata says, “I don’t know. I’m working on it. Let’s get some drinks.”

Lenoria continues to listen in and observe them. Diata has a rapier at her side and a masterwork composite longbow at her shoulder. She wears masterwork studded leather. The half-orc is carrying a masterwork greataxe and is wearing a masterwork breastplate. The elf is wearing a rapier at her side and is carrying a masterwork longbow. Listening to their conversation, Lenoria confirms that the half-elf is Diata, the half-orc is named Uther, and the elf is named Serenia. They are staying here at the Scarlet Griffon. They also talk about going back to “the site” tomorrow night.

Lenoria heads out to check in with Rhain. She sits next to Rhain at the table.

“I saw them go in,” Rhain says.

“I saw them in there,” Lenoria says. “I overhead a bit of their conversation. They’re staying there. They’re still in there hanging out. It sounds like they’re on a job right now. A very lucrative job.”

“Oh yeah?” Rhain asks. “How lucrative?”

“Whoever their going after, they’re going to get a thousand for,” Lenoria says.

“No way,” Rhain says, impressed. “Who are they going after?”

“They didn’t say. Apparently they’re going to have a hard time getting him to come out. He’s holed up somewhere. Diata is the half-elf. Uther is the half-orc. The elf is Serenia,” Lenoria says. She then relates the particulars of the conversation she overheard. “She’s working on a plan. And they’re fairly well-armored,” she says, finally.

“Let’s grab them after that job,” Rhain says.

Lenoria laughs. “We could ask who she’s going after. A thousand’s nice. Apparently they’re going back to the site tomorrow.”

“We’ve got to find out. We’ve got to follow them,” Rhain says. Lenoria agrees. Then Rhain says, “We’ve got to team up with them.”

Lenoria looks a bit dubious at that proposition.

“What?” Rhain asks.

“Why would they want to team up with us?” Lenoria asks.

“Well, if they’re going after some guy and seven others, they need more people. It’s just the three of them, right?” Rhain says.

“As far as I know,” Lenoria says. “How’s that going to fit into our plans?”

“Well, once all that is taken care of, we knock her in the head and take her in,” Rhain says. “See? Double pay day.”

“There’s a lot of variables there,” Lenoria says.

“Just two. An elf and a half-orc,” Rhain says.

“There’s also the ‘why should they trust us?’ and sometimes our relationships with people sometimes go ‘drink in the face’,” Lenoria says.

“Only with crazy psychos,” Rhain says. “Didn’t she strike you as a psycho? I have trouble reading psychos. Psychos send mixed signals.” Rhain continues. “I’m not much at following people.”

"I"m okay at stealth," Lenoria says. “I can go invisible for a time, which will help.”

“Maybe we should go by the bounty office and see which one is worth a thousand,” Rhain says.

“Maybe get an idea of who they’re going for,” Lenoria says. “Yeah, because if they’re going off a posted on the City Watch board kind of thing, that might give us an idea where they may be going.”

“He did say she sometimes worked for the City Watch,” Rhain says.

The two head back to Silvercask’s Nimble Cartwright to spend the rest of the night.

15 Growth 508

Lenoria and Rhain head to the headquarters of the Commander of the Watch. There are quite a few posters up around the entry chamber. Lenoria and Rhain pore through them looking to find one that fits the bill. Lenoria manages to find one that seems to fit—a bounty of one thousand gold for Kraven the Crow and bounties of fifty gold each for his seven cohorts. Kraven is wanted on a whole slough of crimes against the crown of Ornis. He was last seen in the vicinity of Crownport.

Lenoria goes out and tries to gather some information from the seedy underbelly of the city about where Kraven the Crow may be hiding out.

Recently, there was a civil war in Ornis. As a result, there are some abandoned manors on the outskirts of the city. According to the information Lenoria received, Kraven is most likely holing up in one of these abandoned manors. Now, which one, she doesn’t know. The east gate is their best bet, and the manor houses sit on abandoned farmland surrounding the city.

Lenoria and Rhain move from Silvercask’s Nimble Cartwright to The Ebon Hound at the north end of town. They then look into paying to borrow horses for the day. They discover that if they go to a livery stable, they can pay 10 gold for a day, but they also have to pay a 25 gold deposit to borrow a horse for a day. So the two of them borrow a horse and go riding into the estates surrounding the city.

As Diata and her compatriots were not on horseback, Lenoria and Rhain figure that the “site” must be one of the closer manors. They ride out and look for abandoned manors that may be used as hideouts for a wanted brigand. They find a couple of sites that have potential, so they approach the outskirts of those properties cautiously and Rhain attempts to track those areas to see if there are any signs of movement. He finds none.

Rhain then checks to see if any of the abandoned sites have smoke coming out of the chimney. Sure enough, one of them does have smoke coming from the chimney. He tries tracking again at that site and finds some booted footprints—enough for eight people.

“There’s a crowd at this one,” he tells Lenoria. “So, what we can do is go introduce ourselves to these people, let them know who’s hunting them, and get their help at nabbing her. Or number two, we can hide and watch and hope our stealth keeps us from getting caught when Diata and her goons show up. Or three, we can ‘stake out’ Kraven, and when Diata shows up we can tell her that we are competing bounty hunters and that it is in her best interests to team up rather than work against each other. Then we team up, let them take the brunt of the fight, betray them, and collect it all. Or team up, take our share, party in town together, then nab her in the night and disappear. Turn her over and get our reward for her and when the half-orc comes and says ‘Hey, have you seen Diata?’, we’re like ‘No, man, I haven’t seen her since she was wasted on the table.’”

“I’m trying to figure out which of those plans has the best chance of survival,” Lenoria says.

“Well I can tell you what I think,” Rhain says.

“Okay,” Lenoria says.

“I think that trying to stealth our way through this is our least chance of survival. Because I am not much in the way of stealthing around so we are pretty sure to get caught spying on them,” Rhain says. “But if they catch us spying on them” he points toward the manor, “then they’re less likely to get suspicious. The bounty was up on the wall for everyone.”

“That’s true,” Lenoria says. The plan does appeal to her trickster nature. “To be perfectly honest, they’re a tight-knit group. We’re probably going to have to look out for them as well, even if we pretend to work together. They would much rather split 1300 gold three ways rather than five.”

“You think they’re that kind of bastards? They’d turn on us?” Rhain says, appalled.

“Well, that’s pretty much what we’re saying we’re going to do,” Lenoria says.

“I know what kind of bastards we are. I am asking if they’re that kind of bastard,” Rhain says.

“I don’t know,” Lenoria says. “But a lot of gold makes people do funny things. I can see less reason for whoever’s holed up in there to work with us. Your whole thing about seeing if we can get whoever is in there to work with us, I don’t know.”

“Well, if he doesn’t know that she’s out here, then we’d be bringing him information,” Rhain says. “Maybe he thinks he’s well-hidden and doesn’t think he has anything to worry about. I don’t know. I’m just throwing out scenarios. Something other than us hiding in the woods and getting spotted and everybody’s trying to kill us.”

“They are looking for a way to get these guys. They hadn’t figured out a way as of last night. So they may be more willing,” Lenoria says.

“If we were super-stealthy, I’d say hide in the woods, and when they take their positions, nab her and leave the other two to figure it out later,” Rhain says.

“Chances are if she’s a sniper, than she’s not going to be running up front,” Lenoria says.

“That’s right. She’s going to take position and use her bow,” Rhain says.

“We just need to have a plan if we need to run,” Lenoria says. “But I think what has the best chance of working is trying to see if we can get close by saying that we’re bounty hunters and trying to work together.”

“The other piece is getting her back into the city,” Lenoria continues. “It will be very difficult with us and these two horses here.”

“To get in at night, yeah,” Rhain says.

“Yeah, at night,” Lenoria says. “Also even during the day. It’s not like we can tie her to the back of the horse and take her in. I think the description for part of this discretion was required. And to avoid City Watch.”

“We can stake out the gate and wait for her to come in. Grab her in the city,” Rhain says. “We can help them do their job here. Collect all these bodies. Betray them. Stuff her body under all them bodies. Say we’re hauling them in for the bounty. Are the guards going to go through a cartful of bodies?”

“I don’t know,” Lenoria says.

“If they get down to the bottom and see her, we say ‘Oh that’s our friend, she didn’t make it,’” Rhain says. “But if we’re going to nab her in the city, let’s wait until they get paid. And before they spend it. Or store it.”

Finally they decide to find a place to ‘stake out’ the manor and meet up with the bounty hunters and see if they can join up with them. Rhain tracks around the area and finds the location where the half-elf and the others most likely were watching the manor the day before. There are three sets of footprints—two small, probably female and one large, probably a half-orc. They decide to plant themselves there to meet up with the bounty hunters. They hobble the horses about twenty yards back and take up position.

As the sun is going down, Lenoria hears approaching footsteps. She touches Rhain’s leg to get his attention. “There’s someone out there,” she whispers.

“Well, try to act surprised,” Rhain says. Then he strikes up a conversation with Lenoria. “So how long do you think before they go to sleep?”

“I don’t know. I don’t think they go to sleep just at sundown,” Lenoria says.

“Maybe we ought to get up there and scout it out, get the layout,” Rhain says.

“I guess that’ll be me,” Lenoria says.

Then they hear a female voice behind them say, “Well what in the hells do we have here? And they call me the poacher.”

Lenoria and Rhain jump around to face the voice and see Diata, Uther, and Serenia.

Lenoria says, “Who do you think you are, the game warden? We’re not poaching anything.”

“This one’s mine,” Diata says, pointing to the house.

“I don’t think there’s a such thing as dibs in this business, do you?” Lenoria says.

“Look here, sweetie, you’re about to make me mad,” Diata says.

“I’m not trying to make you mad,” Lenoria says, “No need to get all hostile. There’s just someone over there we’re interested in. And I take it you and your friends are interested in the same person?”

Serenia says, “You look familiar…”

“I don’t know, I have that kind of face? Do I have that kind of face?” Lenoria asks Rhain.

“No,” Rhain says.

“Like I’m going to buy that it’s a coincidence you’re at the exact spot we were in yesterday. You’ve been following us,” Diata says with heat.

“You seem to think very highly of yourself,” Lenoria says. “I’m interested, we’re interested, in who’s in there. That’s a lot of cash sitting in there. My friend and I are interested in having some of it. Seems a waste that all that cash is just sitting in there, doing nothing, when it could be in our pockets.”

“Well, we were here first, so beat it,” Diata says.

“There wasn’t anybody here when we got here,” Rhain says.

“I didn’t see anybody here, did you? No,” Lenoria says.

The half-orc pops his neck muscles and says in a deep voice. “This is going to get ugly, isn’t it?”

“I don’t think it needs to get ugly,” Lenoria says. “But obviously you’re claiming some sort of ’we’ve been here for ages watching this house’ sort of thing so if you’ve been here all this time, how come you haven’t made a move on it.”

Serenia says, “The same reason you haven’t, I’m sure.”

“I hear there’s a few of them,” Lenoria says. “Sounds like eight in total. Me and my friend were planning on going for it anyway. Unless you thought you needed some help in this matter.”

The half-orc says, “Yeah right, you’re were going to take it on your own.”

“You got more people with you?” Rhain asks. “So you were going to do it with three? But it’s so unbelievable we’re going to do it with two.”

“Obviously I’d much rather have all the money for my friend and I. But for better odds, I might take half,” Lenoria says.

“If you all are able to calm down and be reasonable,” Rhain says.

“Half for two my ass,” Diata says.

“Could be even, that’d do. There’s still a lot to go around divided by five,” Lenoria says.

Diata says, “Alright. Five equal shares. So what was your two’s bright ideas on the approach?”

“Well, we haven’t scouted it out yet. But you’ve been staking it out longer. What’s your bright idea?” Rhain says.

“He’s got four men patrolling the grounds, so we try to take them out first. There’s a balcony on the manor house. I was going to try and get into the house through the second story,” Diata says.

“These are four men out of the seven he has with him?” Lenoria asks.

“Right,” Diata says. “That’s as far as I got.”

“Have we been able to scout around the entire building? Do we know how many entries and exits there are? What is on the ground floor?” Lenoria asks.

“There are windows. The main entry way. There’s a door in the back. And an entry on the balcony,” Diata says.

“Do you have any idea where in the house he is?” Lenoria asks.

“I haven’t been able to get close enough to the house to figure that out,” Diata says.

“The guys patrolling just guards? Are they huge? Are they massive brusier kind of people?” Lenoria asks.

“Are they the same four guys or are they changing from time to time?” Lenoria asks.

“They change from time to time. They’re not on a set schedule,” Diata says.

“Torches? Or do they have light? I imagine they have to be rather subtle about squatting here at night,” Lenoria says.

“Yes, but they’re human so they have to see at night,” Diata says. “That’s why we were going to strike at night.”

Rhain points out that even the half-elf and elf need light to see, but Diata says that they don’t need as much light.

Lenoria points at the half-orc, “You’re more of a get up-close and hit them something sharp sort-of thing. And the two of you just want to sit back and try to take pot-shots at them?”

“Or sneak up a bit closer and take pot-shots at them,” Diata says.

“Sounds like the base of a plan, doesn’t it,” Lenoria says.

“So the idea is for all of us to get close and attack at the same time?” Lenoria says.

“I think so,” Diata says.

“So was everyone going to come in through the balcony?” Lenoria asks.

“No, I was going to go in through there. Uther was going to go in through the front door, with Serenia behind him. After we took out the patrolling guards,” Diata says.

“Well, two of us could go in through the front door, two of us could go in through the back, and one of us could go in through the balcony,” Lenoria says. “Does that work for you?” she asks Rhain. Rhain nods. “Alright. When were you wanting to move?” she asks Diata.

“I planned on moving when we got here and into position,” Diata says.

“Are you ready then?” Lenoria asks Rhain. Rhain nods.

“First we’ve got to take out the four patrollers,” Diata says.

“That we do,” Lenoria says.

“As soon as we take out one, they’re going to start yelling, so we may need to this quickly,” Diata says.

“Quicker is going to be better,” Lenoria says.

“Alright, I guess we’ll go to try and take out the first one. If they start yelling, everybody else come forward and help with the others,” Diata says.

“So who are the stealthy ones in your group?” Lenoria asks.

“That would be me and Serenia,” Diata says.

So Diata, Serenia, and Lenoria attempt to sneak up closer to the outmost patroller. Uther and Rhain hang back and listen.

Diata, Serenia, and Lenoria cautiously make their way through the untended farm growth toward the patroller. The three fan out a little bit. Lenoria can see the two other women nock arrows to their bows. The guard is carrying a torch and a longsword. The moon is a high in the sky and almost full. All is quiet—until Serenia steps on a twig. SNAP!

Diata fires her bow. The man screams.

Uther and Rhain hear the scream. Rhain looks to the half-orc, who starts jogging out into the field. Rhain follows him out there.

Lenoria casts Stunning Barrier around herself and then charges into the field.

Lenoria hits the guard with her morning star. The guard swings at Lenoria and misses. Diata takes the man out with an arrow. He drops his torch as he drops to the ground.

Two more guards with torches and longswords come running toward that position…

TO BE CONTINUED
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Session Thirty-Six
The Scouring of Yrda

Raven.jpg

13 Longday 508

Much of this day is spent in negotiations with each other in how the treasure is to be distributed. It is decided that masterwork items with the marks of Jörn are to be valued at a quarter of their market worth due to their “taint”. The villagers and Mirka will “fall under” Sigurd’s share as volunteers from Yrda. It is also decided that Sigurd will get first pick of the evenly distributed shares as he is the leader of the expedition. The rest of the principles will draw lots to decide their order. Further, the more mundane items and the poisons are taken out of the share lots, for now, until it can be determined what their worth is. Everyone agrees to the terms, though Mõrvar and Surm conduct a lot of private conversations on the matter, each hoping to get the poisons and the masterwork gear as they hope to sell it for a higher profit in the South. Mõrvar believes that Ivarin has caught on to their plan, but has chosen not to say anything. Surm is unconcerned.

During the process, Mõrvar hears a voice in his ear:

Why go to all this trouble? You have soldiers. You are four powerful adventurers—well, there’s three and then your brother. Slaughter the simpering priests, take their shares. Kill the villagers and take their shares. Keep the 500 gold. Forget Yrda. Forget being a hero. You have grander plans than sucking up to a bunch of backwoods priests who don’t like you anyway.

Mõrvar turns to the invisible Furfur and whispers, “Furfur, you’re missing the bigger picture. The priest will see me as an ally…someone who can do what they cannot, and one day, I’ll rule over them all.”

Bah, I hear grand ambition, yet see you kowtowing to their delicate sensibilities. You let your brother lead you by the nose into taking less than you deserve. I have served gods and lesser beings in my time—I know a fellow servant when I see one.

Mõrvar’s voice turns ice cold. “You obviously have not served them well my friend, because it is here with me you find yourself. Perhaps it’s your bad advice that has separated you from your Gods and lesser beings and brought you to me. Understand this Furfur, I serve no one. My brother does not lead me, he is a part of me…an extension of me as I am of him. I have had visions of truth my talkative friend, of my brother and I ruling all and we will. Your so called Gods and lesser beings you have served in the past are nothing to what we will become. As far as being a servant as you claim to be, I have found you worthless save a few moments of you shitting on some heads, and the occasional enjoyment of conversation that this is not one of. Our time will come when I decide it’s time and no one else. My patience and kowtowing to their sensibilities is what will dominate this land and the heavens, so enjoy the ride, or face my wrath, I care neither way. I grow tired of your suggestions as if you know what’s better for me than I do. It would also serve you well to know the ONLY reason you’re alive is because of me, and my protection. As long as I find value in you, which right now is very little, you are protected. The moment I decide you are worthless is the moment you become nothing more than someone’s dinner, and furthermore, the moment I find you counter productive to my desires is the moment I ensure you feel the pain of becoming that dish. So, you need to ask yourself, do you want to serve the the most powerful beings and only true Gods on their journey, or do you want to be served on a platter. If you answer is the prior, shut your beak or start making yourself useful to me without pissing me off.It’s time to make yourself valued, and not just with me, but Surm too.”

Mõrvar feels a stiffening of feathers on his shoulder, but is met with silence.

Later the party decides on the distribution of the “lesser goods”: the poisons, the smoke pellets, the remainder gold, and the invisible ink.

That afternoon, after their discussions, they decide to put some distance between them and the mountain pass. So they load up start trucking their footlockers down the pass. By sundown, the party makes to the bottom of the trail. Along the way, Savaric makes charming small talk with Mirka, and she seems receptive to it.

As they are making camp, Mõrvar feels the weight of Furfur on his shoulder, but not the talons of the bird on his shoulder. He is, once again, invisible. And he hears, whispering in his ear, “May I have a word in private.”

Mõrvar gets Surm’s attention. “I’ll be back,” he says and walks out of camp.

Once Mõrvar gets away from camp a distance, he still feels the weight on his shoulder, but he hears Furfur’s voice say. “You made a good point earlier in that I have not been useful to you. I wish to rectify this.”

“Alright,” Mõrvar says warily.

“Do you wish to know what you will find when you return to Yrda?” Furfur asks.

“If you know what we’ll find, I wish to know it,” Mõrvar says.

“Yrda has been invaded,” Furfur says, with some satisfaction.

Mõrvar grins. “Do you know how strong this force is?”

“They do not have superior numbers to you,” Furfur says.

“So again we will come to the rescue of Yrda,” Mõrvar says, thoughtfully. “This is how I’ll begin to get control of them all. It’s not always through power. Sometimes it’s through them looking at you as their champion. Eventually they will worship me.”

“And sometimes use is through information,” Furfur says.

“And I agree to this,” Mõrvar says.

“The boy still lives,” Furfur says.

“Is he captured?” Mõrvar asks.

“Yes,” Furfur says. “But be careful. The invaders have a spellcaster.”

“Do you know who he is?” Mõrvar asks.

“No,” Furfur says.

Mõrvar realizes that Furfur has not been gone long enough to fly to Yrda and fly back again. “So how is it that you know this?”

“I have allies,” Furfur says with unmistakable pride.

“It’s always good to have allies,” Mõrvar looks back toward the camp at Mirka, “even if they don’t feel the same way. We will come up with a plan, without the others knowing. Surm and I will come up with an idea. This is good information. Thank you.”

Mõrvar gets a bit closer to camp and cast Message toward Surm to get his attention to have a private conversation with him. Surm makes his way out of camp; Rilka and Savaric notice Surm leaving. Savaric decides to stealthily follow him out. Surm does not notice the ranger following him.

Surm catches up to Mõrvar, who still has Furfur, invisible, on his shoulder. “I have received some information,” Mõrvar says. “Yrda has been invaded while we were gone. The boy is captive, but still alive.”

“Received information from where?” Surm asks.

Mõrvar looks to his shoulder.

“From where?” Surm asks again.

“Our feathered friend has allies,” Mõrvar says.

“First of all, we don’t have a feathered friend. He ain’t my friend. What do you mean he has allies?” Surm asks.

“He has received word that Yrda has been invaded. There is a spellcaster among them. The boy has been captured, but he’s still alive. Their forces are smaller than ours,” Mõrvar says.

“Well, who is his source of information?” Surm asks.

“I don’t know, but this is an opportunity for us,” Mõrvar says.

“Well, I’m glad we don’t walk into a trap, but how is this an opportunity?” Surm asks.

“Because we come and save Yrda again,” Mõrvar says.

“Well, it helps our reputation, but, Furfur, who’s your source of information?” Surm asks the empty space on Mõrvar’s shoulder.

The question is met with silence.

“So we don’t know if that’s reliable information,” Surm says.

“And f it is?” Mõrvar says. “Shouldn’t we be prepared?”

“Oh, we should be prepared,” Surm says. “We have to, now. You can’t throw information like that out there and us walk into it. We’re going to have to make sure. But i want to know who his source is.”

“Do we want to keep this amongst the four of us and be prepared for it so that it is even greater?” Mõrvar asks.

“So we have Holga and Ivarin,” Surm says. “And where are we going to explain how we got this information?”

“That’s what I’m saying. Don’t tell them,” Mõrvar says.

“We can’t! We can’t even ask them for help. Because I don’t even know where the information came from,” Surm says. “So, no, we’re pretty much on our own. But it’s going to look funny to the people in the group who were trying to impress and trying to have a good rep with when we’re like ‘oh let’s make sure it’s not overthrown before we go in there’ and they’re going to wonder why and when we find out its true they’re going to wonder ‘how did they know?’ It’s actually going to put a black mark on our reputation as far as these people are concerned.”

“I think that if the four of us are prepared and our men are prepared and we travel in as if we would travel in instead of being caught off-guard…” Mõrvar begins.

“No, I don’t like that. I don’t like that at all. We need a plan,” Surm says.

“How long until we get to Yrda?” Mõrvar asks.

“We got lots of time until we get to Yrda,” Surm says. “But I’m saying we need to look, we need to stake it out, we need to see what their forces are. Just because the bird that’s not speaking now, who won’t answer my questions claims this is happening, claims their forces are smaller, I’m sorry I don’t trust your bird. He won’t even talk to me. How do we know their forces are smaller? How do we know he’s not sending us into a trap? ‘Oh they have a sorcerer, but you all can take him, his forces are smaller than yours’—then we walk in and there’s 700 people? And then he flies around in a circle and laughs and then shits on my head. And don’t act like he doesn’t do that because he does.”

“So what do you want to do?” Mõrvar asks.

“I want to prepare for it, but when we get there I want to send scouts around and look and see what we can see,” Surm says.

“But how can we do that with…” Mõrvar says.

“We have to clue them in,” Surm says. “That’s what I’m saying. This is crap.”

“Maybe we stay behind,” Mõrvar says.

“And send Sigurd and his people in unprepared? No,” Surm says. “Who’s idea was that? Was that your idea or his idea?”

“I just thought it would be easier for us,” Mõrvar says. “I don’t care as much about them.”

“No, we’re not doing that,” Surm says. “We’ll see Ivarin and Holga on their way and then we’ll tell everyone. At least our group. And then we’ll figure out how to smooth it over. Maybe send scouts ahead and say ‘Oh my gosh! It’s been invaded!’”

“Savaric and I can scout ahead,” Mõrvar says.

“And what are you going to tell them about how you came to this information, Savaric and Rilka?” Surm asks.

“The same thing I told you,” Mõrvar says.

“No,” Surm says. “You got it from a bird that has friends? Do you know who these friends are?”

“I do not,” Mõrvar says.

“And this isn’t making you nervous?” Surm asks. “That he’s not coughing up who his friends are?”

“No,” Mõrvar says calmly.

“Uh-huh,” Surm says, skeptically. “Well I don’t like it.”

“I believe we have an understanding,” Mõrvar says.

“You do?” Surm says skeptically. “Well are there any other tidbits of information this bird gave you?”

“No,” Mõrvar says. “So we’re going to figure out a plan on the way there?”

“Yeah, we’ll have to figure out a plan on the way there, if this is actually true,” Surm says.

Surm comes back to camp, obviously in deep thought. Mõrvar follows close behind him.

Savaric sneaks his way back into the camp, having listened in on the entire conversation. Surm notices Savaric coming back into camp. Rilka gives Surm a sideways glance as he comes back into camp. Surm now sees Furfur flying high above the camp. Surm does not hide his contempt for the bird.

Savaric goes up to Rilka and whispers, “So apparently Furfur has come up with some information that is interesting to our group and, don’t look alarmed, but he’s telling us that Yrda has been attacked while we’ve been gone. And it sounds like Surm is concerned that this may be a trap. Whether it’s set up by Furfur or not is up for debate, but that’s something that might be going on as we get closer to home.”

Rilka does her best not to look upset with this information. Savaric continues, “Also it sounds like Loran (they didn’t say specifically, they kept saying ‘the boy’) has been kidnapped. So that’s also going on.” Rilka and Savaric continue to discuss what Savaric overheard of their conversation. Neither Surm nor Mõrvar approach them with any of their information at this time.

14 Longday 508

The following day, Rilka is wearing a silver holy symbol of Bruni. Surm asks what this means and she says that she has been accepted as a cleric, as one of his faithful.

“You’re now a cleric of Bruni?” he asks, incredulous. “Congratulations?” he says/asks, unsure of how to react.

“Thank you!” Rilka says, excited. “My quest was successful, so thank you.”

The other priests in the troupe congratulate Rilka on her ascension. Mirka gives her the following advice: “Make sure they pay attention to you. Don’t let them ignore you.”

Mirka continues to be receptive to Savaric’s charming repartee.

Rilka approaches a brooding Surm and asks him what’s wrong. He says, “Nothing. I’ll tell you later.”

“Alright,” she says, and leaves him alone.

16 Longday 508

Finally, after several days of journeying down out of the Daggerspine, the troupe manages to make it back down to Valtan. It is around noontime.

They are welcomed into the village with open arms as the eliminators of their former Yeti problem. The village has also been the caretakers of their horses and extra gear, all of which is still here and intact. Holga and Ivarin are pushing on to Rosemeedt. The party thank them for their services and comradeship and wish them well on their journey. “May the gods be with you,” Ivarin says and the priests ride on to the west.

Surm mingles with the people to gather information about Yrda. He hears from a traveler in the longhouse. “Ah, yes, that’s a shame,” the traveler says.

“What’s a shame?” Surm says, loudly. “Gather around friends! This man’s going to tell a story!”

“They broke the laws of hospitality, those,” the man says.

“Who broke the laws of hospitality?” Rilka demands.

“A band of adventurers,” the man says. “They invited them to stay at the longhouse, and then when they left they smelled weakness. And then they returned with hirelings from Josemeedt and took the town.”

“How long ago was this?” Rilka asks.

“The 11th of Longday,” the man says.

“Are they still there? Do they still have control of the town?” Rilka asks.

“Oh, I don’t know,” the man says.

“Well, we’re going to have to go find out,” Rilka says.

“Oh no! A tragedy!” Surm proclaims.

Rilka leans in close to him, “I still don’t like the bird,” she says.

“Well, I don’t like the bird, either,” Surm says, mystified.

Surm asks if the man knows anything about the make-up of the group. “Elves, mostly,” the man says.

“Elves?” Surm says, surprised. Elves mostly come from the far east, east of Borael. Mõrvar confirms, with his knowledge of the race, that this behavior seems out of character for Elves.

“Why are there Elves in the north? What do they want with Yrda?” Rilka asks. “This is not good. We need to get back.”

“Yes, we must get back,” Mirka says.

“Careful, we need to make a plan,” Surm says.

The party estimates that it will take them two days to get to Yrda.

Rilka makes a diagram of Yrda in the dirt and they begin to discuss plans of approach, but then all agree that it would be fruitless without scouting out the situation. They need to get closer to do that, but not so close as to alert the invaders.

Sigurd is in agreement that they need a plan and that they need to scout it out and they need to take care of this problem.

They decide that they will leave in the morning.

The villagers offer to let them stay in the longhouse or to let them set up a camp on the outskirts of the village, as there are a great number of them. They opt to set up a camp on the outskirts.

Rilka says prayers to Bruni for the safety of her father, for the safety of the village, and the safety of Loran.

Before guard shifts begin, the porters and Mahgnus are ushered out of the main tent so that the four main party members can have some privacy. And then Surm says, “So, we’ve heard the news from the gentleman in the longhouse. However, there was a reason I was asking about Yrda. Mõrvar came across some information that Yrda had been taken while we were out in the mountains.”

Rilka does not even try to look surprised at the revelation, nor does Savaric.

“He came across that information already. So I already knew that Yrda had been taken. This information comes to us through Furfur. I don’t know how Furfur came by this information,” Surm says. “He would not answer me when I asked how he got this information.”

Furfur is perched on top of the tent on the outside.

“He’s not particularly talkative unless he wants to be,” Rilka says.

“But according to Furfur, at least one of these invaders is a sorcerer and their holding the boy captive. I don’t know what kind of damage they’ve done to the town, who’s dead, who’s alive, other than according to Furfur, the boy’s alive and being held,” Surm says.

“Their forces are smaller than ours,” Mõrvar says.

“According to Furfur,” Surm interjects. “Who won’t tell me how he got his information.”

“I don’t think I’ve been particularly shy about the fact that I don’t trust Furfur,” Rilka says.

“Asking around confirms his story,” Surm says, “So we need to prepare for it.”

“There’s preparing for it, and there’s believing it. I think he has a different agenda than the rest of us,” Rilka says.

“Oh I have no doubt he has a different agenda,” Surm says.

“What I don’t want is to make assumptions based on what he has said, act on those assumptions, and then find out that what he has said is not the truth,” Rilka says.

“Which is another thing I want to bring up,” Surm says. “I don’t want to go in and start slaughtering people. I don’t know how this attack happened, or why. I would like to find out before anybody gets killed, if possible. Clearly I don’t want to put ourselves at risk to just capture people, but if we can, we can take them alive until we can find out what’s it’s all about.”

“Well, I think we can first send in scouts to assess the situation before we go in,” Rilka says and Surm agrees.

“Are we in agreement with not just slaughtering people outright?” Rilka asks, addressing the group at large.

“Well, I was hoping you were,” Surm says. “I thought you wanted to.”

“I am mad. I’m not happy about this situation,” Rilka says. “Surm, you agree. Mõrvar?”

“I don’t see how we’re going to infiltrate them, take them out, take them prisoner. I foresee this being a slaughter-fest and the element of surprise being king. If they have a sorcerer, he needs to go down—immediately. If they have any kind of spellcaster, they need to go down immediately,” Mõrvar says.

“There’s a difference between that and a slaughter-fest,” Rilka says. “Especially if we’re not entirely certain about the nature of the enemy.”

“We have it from two accounts now that the village has been taken over by people who have seen it as weak,” Mõrvar says.

“Maybe,” Surm says, and Rilka agrees.

“Unless you just want to ride in…” Mõrvar says.

“The plan we have is to send in scouts…” Rilka says.

“We can capture people non-lethally and question them,” Surm says, “which is what I thought you loved to do.”

“I am a fan of questioning,” Mõrvar says, thoughtfully.

“We need more information. We need to know why,” Surm says. “We need to know if they’re alone. We need to know if they’re an advance group. Yrda is a weird target for adventurers. It’s one thing for Northron warlords to take it for slaves and yearly tribute. It’s another for a group of adventurers to walk in and take a podunk one horse town. Because we can. It seems weird.”

Surm invites Mirka and Sigurd into the tent and tells them that this story is strange, that he feels this story is strange, that he doesn’t understand why a group of adventurers would hire a group of men out of Josemeedt to take over their village. Is there anything special about their village that they could be pursuing? Is there a treasure hoard? Something that would make it a target for adventurers? Mirka says that there are no religious relics or anything of that sort and Sigurd says that it is just a simple farming village. Surm relates what their plans are so far—send in scouts, find out what’s going on, and take prisoners. Sigurd immediately agrees that it is good plan. Rilka notes that MIrka agrees to the plan, while the others note that she grudgingly agrees to the plan. Savaric notes that what she really wants to do is go in kick someone’s ass, but she agrees to the plan as is.

The meeting disperses and everyone goes about the business of camping and setting up guard shifts for the night.

The night passes without incident.

17 Longday 508

That morning, the troupe thanks the village of Valtan for their hospitality and leaves the village. Surm spreads the news about Yrda amongst the troupe to keep all of the guards and porters and such informed.

Furfur alternates between being on Mõrvar’s shoulder and flying around the troupe. Surm sends a Message to Rilka and Savaric to meet him at the back of the line. The two half-orcs fall back to the rear of the line to meet with Surm away from Mõrvar and away from Furfur.

“Here’s my concern,” Surm says. "I don’t like this situation. I think this bird is manipulating every-fucking-body. I don’t know where he got his information. All Mõrvar told me was ’He’s got friends’. Bird wouldn’t tell me anything. He was invisible the whole time Mõrvar and I were talking. This bird is not only manipulating us, but maybe whoever came and did this. His friends said ‘Oh, Yrda’s an evil place. You need to conquer them and destroy them.’ They’re a bunch of people that think they’re doing the right thing and we go in and slaughter them and the bird has a good time. I don’t want to do it if that’s the case.

“I do not like that bird,” Rilka says.

“I don’t like it, either,” Surm says. “These may be a bunch of assholes that happened to show up, but it’s all very coinky-dinky after he makes his big speech to make yourself useful that he’s come up with this information?”

“I was going to suggest the same thing, that maybe Furfur set it all up,” Savaric says.

“He’s got friends in high places? Maybe,” Surm says.

“The problem with all this is,” Rilka says, “even if it turns out to be legit, I still don’t trust Furfur. I don’t trust that this is not a ’I’m your friend, I’m your pal,’ it can turn like that.”

“Anyway, that’s why I don’t want to go in and slaughter people,” Surm says. “If they’ve been manipulated the same way we’ve been manipulated, then screw it.”

“Do you think this bird is a demon?” Rilka asks.

“Yes, I think this bird is a demon. I think it’s an imp,” Surm says.

“Does that mean we need special weapons to kill it,” Savaric says.

“The information I got, I didn’t get a whole lot of information about imps,” Surm says.

“We need to do some research on the side, I don’t think his talons are coming out of him, no pun intended. This is the green gem all over again,” Rilka says.

The group spreads back out into the ranks.

Mõrvar, at one point when Furfur is on one of his flights, turns to Surm and suggests that they have Furfur do some scouting. Surm responds that he wouldn’t trust anything that the raven reported. Not until he’s willing to cough up who his ‘friends’ are.

The rest of the day goes by and the troupe makes camp. The night passes peacefully.

18 Longday 508

The troupe is a day away from Yrda. Sigurd suggests a lowland valley about 2 miles from the village in which to hide the troupe from prying eyes in the village. He leads the way.

As the sun sinks low in the sky, Sigurd takes the group to lowland. So far, there is no sign that there is anything wrong. A scouting party is selected: Sigurd, Savaric, Surm, and Mõrvar. it is decided that if the party is not back by sunrise, the rest of the troupe should go ahead and head in. Their mission is to go in and find all the information they can and come back. They are not to do anything at this time.

The scouting party head stealthily head toward the village, approaching from the west. As they approach, they see that two large tents have been erected on the outskirts of the village. Surm, Sigurd, and Mõrvar approach up to 50 feet of the tents while Savaric approaches the tents to listen and investigate.

Savaric asks Ilona to make him invisible to allow him sneak up to the tents. She says that she’s happy to help as this is very exciting. As he makes his approach to the tents, he sees a head poke out of the tent’s flap and look around, and pop back inside. Savaric approaches again and hides next to one of the buildings, which is next to one of the tents—the one that the head had popped out of. He listens in at the tent, hearing a fair amount of movement and conversation in Joslac. “Hurry up, we got to get ready and change out or she’s going to be pissed.” “Don’t know why we got to be in this podunk town, anyway…” He hears about eight voices in all.

Surm Messages Savaric: “Are you in position?”

“Yes, I’m in position. It sounds like there’s approximately 8 people in this tent alone,” Savaric whispers.

“This tent?” Surm says.

“This tent,” Savaric confirms. “They don’t sound like they want to be here.”

“Like they’re slaves?” Surm asks.

“No, these are probably the people they hired. But they don’t understand why they came to this podunk town,” Savaric says.

“What’s in the other tent?” Surm asks.

Savaric moves around the south end of the longhouse to Ulfethinn and sees a man, a warrior, walking in his direction. Savaric hunkers down and hides. His invisibility due to Ilona wears off. He watches as the warrior round the corner of the longhouse and start heading toward the tents.

Meanwhile, Surm turns to Mõrvar and says, “I’ve lost contact with Savaric.”

“Should we go in?” Mõrvar asks.

“I don’t know. Because he didn’t tell me what he was doing or follow the plan,” Surm says, annoyed.

“I guess we better go check the tents. I didn’t hear any commotion,” Surm continues.

Surm and Mõrvar discuss their plans while Savaric continues to sneak deeper into the village to get a better view of the village center.

At the village center, Savaric sees a group of six men heading toward the west end of the village. He also sees two more men posted at the entrance door to the main longhouse at the south end of the village.

Surm and Mõrvar still haven’t heard from Savaric, but have also heard no commotion from the village. Mõrvar casts Vanish on Surm, who runs to the closest tent and hides and listens. He hears conversations in Joslac, “We better get out there,” “Oh, hi Sven. We’re almost ready” “Well, you better get ready. She’s in a bad mood.” There’s a lot of movement. Surm heads from the back of this tent to the back of the other tent. He then Messages to Mõrvar that this tent is not talking about a half-orc.

He listens at the other tent. He hears nothing at first, but then hears a single set of footsteps heading into the tent. Surm then lifts up the bottom slightly to try to get a view inside. He sees the flickering of lantern light. He sees multiple bedrolls on the floor—seven. He sees a pair of boots and someone taking them off. Smells like someone that’s been in boots all day.

Surm Messages Mõrvar again. “Nobody seems to care about Savaric. But there’s a chick in charge. They keep talking about a ‘she’.”

Meanwhile, Savaric attempts to hide near the longhouse. One of the guards yells out “Who goes there?!?”

Surm hears the guard yell this out. He tells Mõrvar, “I found Savaric. Somebody yelling at the longhouse. He is way out of position.”

Savaric goes invisible. The men that were in the village center start running in his direction.

“Sigurd. Go get the army,” Mõrvar says. And Sigurd starts hustling the two miles back to the main troupe.

Savaric hears the voice that yelled before issue the order “Fan out!” Surm and Mõrvar hear the order as well. The invisible ranger heads south out of the village, hopefully far enough to be out of earshot of the searching guards.

Mõrvar and Surm decide to head around the outskirts of the village and head toward Girda’s house at the north end of the village.

A female voice calls out in Tradespeak, “There will be no changing of the guard. You will all be on duty until we find out what is going on! Patrol the village!”

Savaric then fires a whistling arrow up toward the village. He then takes off running toward the west.

Surm and Mõrvar hear a high-pitched whistle go off over the town. They recognize it as whistling arrow. They’re unsure if the invaders are signaling someone or what is going on. Lights start to come on in some of the homes. People start to stir. They see guards with torches gathering at the poles near the center of the villages.

No guards have come out of Girda’s house, nor have any lights come on. The back door to the cottage is facing Surm and Mõrvar. They decide to make their approach by Mõrvar casting Vanish on them and quickly making their way to the back door. Surm will approach first with Mõrvar following closely behind.

As Surm makes it to the door, and Mõrvar is slightly behind, two guards turn around the corner, looking around. Surm uses his remaining time to sneak attack one of the guards while Mõrvar moves behind the other.

Surm’s victim is hit with a sneak attack. Mõrvar cleaves through his opponent and hits both guards with his great sword. Then Surm casts Admonishing Ray defensively. Mõrvar then cleaves his opponents once again, hitting the first guard and then critically injuring the second, opening him up for a second attack. The first guard falls unconscious and then the second guard falls. Surm stabs the first guard until he his dead and then Mõrvar decapitates them both.

Surm goes up to the back door of Girda’s house and attempts to open the door, but finds that it is barred. He tries, unsuccessfully, to jimmy the bar. He keeps trying until he finally opens the door to find Girda in her housedress holding an axe.

“Shh!” Surm says and he and Mõrvar drag the bodies inside the house. Surm then kicks dirt over the blood outside the door.

“Do you know how many there are?” Surm asks Girda. “Why are they here?”

“There’s fifteen,” then she looks down, “thirteen,” she says.

“Fifteen total?” Surm asks.

“Yes, I think,” Girda says. “Of men.”

“Of men? There’s a woman,” Surm says.

“Then there’s the Elves and the Halfling,” Girda says.

“How many of those?” Surm asks.

“There’s two Elf males, a Half-Elf woman who leads them, and a Halfling,” Girda says.

“Man or woman? I don’t know if it’ll matter, but…” Surm asks.

“Man,” Girda says.

“Are there any spellcasters?” Mõrvar asks. “Which one? Or ones?”

“Oh yes,” Girda says. “One of the Elves.”

“Not the Half-Elf?” Mõrvar asks.

“Not the Half-Elf,” Girda says. “Not the leader.”

“Where’s your son?” Surm asks.

“He’s in the longhouse,” Girda says.

“Do you know why they’re here?” Surm asks.

“She has proclaimed herself Queen of Yrda and wants to take taxes and tribute,” Girda says.

“They just showed up?” Surm asks.

“They came first and partook of our hospitality. Then they came again with soldiers,” Girda says.

“Demanding tribute,” Surm says.

“They’re fixing to meet their betters,” Mõrvar says.

“Hopefully our people are coming soon,” Surm says.

“Where are the priests?” Mõrvar asks.

Girda just shakes her head.

Surm and Mõrvar exchange glances and argue about who’s going to tell Rilka.

“The priest of Bruni led the defense. He died gloriously in battle. The priest of Yülthn was taken prisoner and was then horsewhipped in the center of town. His throat was then slit,” Girda says.

“Holy crap. So much for trying to keep these people alive,” Surm says.

“So now can we just kill them all?” Mõrvar asks.

“Yeah,” Surm says.

“Thank you,” Mõrvar says, happily.

“Do you know where in the longhouse he is?” Surm asks.

“The Half-Elf keeps him with her,” she says.

“So you know that one of them is a magic-wielder. Do you know anything about the others? The Half-Elf, the other Elf, the Halfling? Are they walking around with plate armor? Or stealthing around everywhere?” Surm asks. “Are any of them priests?”

“I don’t think so. The Halfling, he keeps to the shadows. The other Elf, he’s an archer,” Girda says.

“This spellcaster. Where does he tend to stay?” Mõrvar asks.

“They all stay in the longhouse,” Girda says.

“So we’ve got to go to the longhouse,” Mõrvar says. “Our first target’s got to be the spellcaster.”

Surm and Mõrvar start dousing lights and taking up watchful positions in Girda’s house. Mõrvar loots the bodies of the guards.

Mõrvar asks Girda what kind of spells this spellcaster used. She tells him that he called lighting against the doors of the temple of Bruni. With that information, Mõrvar figures out that the spellcaster is of a formidable level.

Meanwhile, Savaric has made his way back to his scouting party’s initial position. Surm, Mõrvar, and Sigurd are not there. Savaric finds Sigurd’s tracks heading back toward the main troupe as well as Mõrvar’s tracks heading around the outskirts of the village and Surms tracks heading toward the tents. He begins to follow the tracks toward the tents.

As Savaric sneaks toward the tents, he sees a figure emerge from between the buildings. It’s a guard, carrying a torch in his shield arm. Savaric sneaks away from the figure and continues to follow the tracks around the outskirts of the village, toward the north end of the settlement.

Rilka, back at the main force, sees Sigurd hustling his way toward the troupe. “Sigurd, what’s going on?”

“Lost contact with Savaric. Told me to come get the army,” Sigurd says.

“Alasir, load up. The army’s moving in,” Rilka tells Alasir. “I want all of our guards to double up as best as we can. The porters and villagers and Mahgnus can stay back.”

Kalthin says, “You want us to stay back?”

“Is there room for them on a horse? Can they double up?” Rilka asks Alasir. "They can come but they need to double up. I want the porters and Mahgnus to stay behind. "

Sigurd says, “They volunteered for Yrda.”

“Well, it’s the porters and Mahgnus then. Everyone get packed. They’ll wait here. Some of us will be riding double,” Rilka says.

The force gets mounted as fast as possible and gets riding the two miles to Yrda.

Meanwhile, Savaric has followed the trail that has led to one of the houses in the north end of the village—he recognizes it as Girda’s house. He recognized that the trail he was following met up with another and two men made it to the house. He listens at the back door and hears the faint sounds of movement within. He looks for a place for Victor to enter the house, but finds none.

Savaric taps lightly at the door. Surm and Mõrvar and Girda are on their guard at the sound. Girda grips her axe while Mõrvar takes up a position on one side of the door with his sword. Savaric tries to open to door, but finds that it is barred. Surm watches the front door. Savaric taps at the door again. Mõrvar Messages Surm to be ready because he’s going to open the door. Surm gets ready to Admonishing Ray anyone at the door. Mõrvar unbars the door and holds the door shut. Savaric whispers “Girda!” at the door, but no one can hear him beyond the thick wood of the door. Mõrvar looks at Girda, who just adjusts her grip on her axe. Mõrvar throws the door open to see Savaric crouched behind the door. Mõrvar grabs him and pulls him inside.

“You guys are so loud,” Savaric admonishes as Mõrvar and Surm give him the evil eye.

The three argue for a few moments about the broken plan until Surm goes back to the window to watch for guards. He does see some wandering warriors in the streets.

Rilka and the rest of the force are galloping toward Yrda, approaching from the west. They swing around to the south, approaching the main longhouse, and then stop, dismounting in formation. Rilka, Sigurd, and Mirka lead the way. Rilka places the Blessing of Bruni upon them.

Savaric, Surm, and Mõrvar are discussing their future battle plans against the Elves and Surm is getting increasingly frustrated with Savaric’s inability to grasp the plan. As a result, he cannot hear the approaching hooves of their main force. Fortunately, Savaric can, and warns them of their approach. They warn Girda to bar the door behind them and they all go to sneak between houses and the longhouse of Yülthn toward the village’s main longhouse, hoping that the approach of the main troupe will distract the guards enough to draw attention away from them. They start to hear shouts of alarm coming from the guards in the village.

Four men coming charging out of the village toward Mirka, Sigurd, and Rilka. Rilka swings and misses against her opponent. Mirka hits her opponent with her warhammer, while Sigurd swings with his twin axes, striking a critical blow with the second one. The invaders hit Sigurd, but also manage to fumble one of their many attacks.

Rilka finally hits her opponent. Mirka misses hers. Sigurd hits his opponent as well. Rilka is hit, Mirka is missed, but Sigurd is hit, and then fumbled against again.

Another group of four invaders approach as the more of Rilka’s main force approach as well. Alasir comes up to deal with one of the two on Sigurd. Alfhild orders Halvor, Jerrik, and Leif to ready the crossbows. The rest of the guards are deployed against the other four approaching invaders.

Rilka’s opponent sticks his sword in the ground and has a hard time pulling it out. Mirka was hit by her opponent. Sigurd goes down under a mighty blow. Alasir attacks twice, doing damage with each blow. Mirka

Mirka takes a critical wound, meaning a massive amount of damage and her strength is affected. She is hit again for a great deal of damage. Alasir is hit twice by his opponent as well.

Rilka does some damage to her opponent. Mirka casts a healing spell on herself, defensively, gaining back much of her energy. Alasir deals some damage to his opponent as well. Sigurd manages to stabilize himself.

Mirka calls down the lightning of the Thunderer on her foe. Rilka is hit by her opponent for a small amount of damage. Mirka is hit hard by her opponent once again, as is Alasir. Rilka fells her opponent and then steps around to flank Mirka’ s opponent. Alasir attacks his foe and does a great deal of damage.

Rilka does critical damage to Mirka’s foe. Alasir attacks his foe once and then does critical damage to his foe, bringing him down. Mirka’s foe is hit by more of Ulfethinn’s lightning. She is then hit with minimal damage by one of her foes.

Rilka continues to flank Mirka’s foe and attacks. Mirka is attacked again. Alasir fells one of Mirka’s foes. Then Mirka once again calls down the lightning on her final foe, and he falls.

This leaves the battle with the guards versus the remaining four invaders of this wave.

Mirka and Alasir haul Sigurd’s inert form back to get a healing burst away from the fallen bodies of the invaders while Rilka presses forward to the next line of the fight. The guards, along with the Yrdan volunteers, have set up a flanking attack of the enemy line. Three of the guards are firing crossbow bolts into the line as well.

After only two more rounds of combat, the enemy line falls, one man after another. The lone enemy left throws down his weapon in surrender. Rilka calls out, “Subdue him!” Alfhild holds a sword on him and commands the mercenary to get on his knees. Mirka, Alasir, and the newly rejuvenated Sigurd return to the troupe. Rilka spies a guard at the longhouse running inside it. She has the mercenary’s weapon collected and has the three village volunteers guard the mercenary at the rear of the troupe and leads the group toward the front of the longhouse.

View
Session Thirty-Five
Extinguishing the Flame

538_Flames0019_2_S.png

11 Longday 508

The party is still ensconced outside of what they assume to be the main sanctuary of the temple of Jörn. Savaric has just been healed of his wounds, after being shot by Surm, who thought the invisible ranger was an invisible priest.

Suddenly everyone in the room is wracked with the pain of negative energy. One of the priests of Jörn is standing in the threshold of sanctuary. Mõrvar moves quickly and attacks with his sword. The figure runs back into sanctuary, skirting the large ring of fire in the room. Mõrvar casts acid spray at the running priest while Surm passes his crossbow to Rilka. The priest falls at the side of the ring of fire.

Savaric stands in the doorway and fires his bow across the ring of fire into one of the shadowy figures he sees on the other side. Suddenly the doorway is filled with a column of fire and the ranger falls. His snake, Victor, is nearly turned to char.

“Feel the fires of Jörn, infidels!” announces a booming voice from across the flames.

Rilka charges inside and starts rounding the left side of the ring of fire. She is met by two priests of Jörn. Mõrvar charges in to the other side of the ring of fire and bull rushes a priest into the flames. Furfur is flying about the room, crowing loudly.

Suddenly, a huge ape-like creature with long, muscular arms that stretch to the ground, ending in wickedly curved claws appears next to Rilka’s priests and begins attacking her! Fortunately, the Dire Ape misses. Savaric fires at the ape from the head of the room and misses. The good priests begin to pour into the room to assist. Surm enters the room and begins to skirt the wall, making his way to the far side.

Then a multicolored explosion of leaping, ricocheting energy appears in the room around Surm, Rilka, Mõrvar, and Mirka. All but Mirka are wracked with pain and Rilka is slowed by the chaos hammer. Mõrvar is met by two more priests and he begins fighting them. One of them stabs him in the appendix with a poisoned dagger. Mõrvar moves away from him and heads for the High Priest, positioned in the back of the room, standing before a large obsidian throne. Sigurd moves in and starts attacking the priests that Mõrvar left behind. He hits one with one of his hand axes. Surm surges forward and casts mage armor on his brother.

Rilka hits one of her priests with a mighty blow. The Dire Ape hits Rilka with one its long claws. One of the priests hits Sigurd. The High Priest channels negative energy, wracking Surm and Mõrvar with pain. Mõrvar hits the High Priest with his mighty sword. Sigurd swings at his priest with his twin axes, but misses. Mirka swings chants a prayer to Ulfethinn to holy smite the evil in the room—and gets more than she bargained for: Mõrvar goes down as the priests shriek in pain. Even Surm, Rilka, and Savaric feel some pain from the divine magic. Furfur caws in pain. Surm uses a divine healing scroll on Mõrvar to revive him while Savaric fires his bow at the evil priests.

The Jörnites continue to attack and the Dire Ape hits Rilka again with its claw. Rilka finally fells another priest. Mirka heals Rilka with a spell while Ivarin does the same. Surm approaches the High Priest from the rear and goes for a sneak attack—but misses. Sigurd hits his opponent with both of his axes.

Ivarin casts a spell of guidance on Rilka while Mirka hits the Dire Ape with her warhammer. Surm misses the High Priest again while Mõrvar hits the High Priest—and fells him. He then delivers a coup de grace and decapitates him.

Meanwhile, the Dire Ape claws Rilka again. Surm moves and attacks Sigurd’s other opponent but misses. Mõrvar casts ray of enfeeblement on the Dire Ape. The ape then attacks and misses Rilka. Mõrvar then moves forward and fells the Dire Ape.

All of the priests are then finished off. The sanctuary is searched and Savaric finds a secret door. The High Priest’s body is looted, as are the other priests. On the High Priest, another thunderstone is found, a suit of masterwork studded leather, a masterwork morning star, 5 daggers, a masterwork dagger with a ring of flame motif, a silver holy symbol of Jörn, a pouch with gold in it, and two vials with an unknown substance. There is also a tuning fork (which Surm determines is probably used for a plane shift spell), and a bag of diamond dust (which he also determines is probably used for a non-detection spell). The other priests have all the same belongings as the other priests encountered in the temple.

Surm determines that it is very late—probably close to midnight.

The room next to the sanctuary is a vestment room of some sort. Sitting in the center of the room is a small wooden box. Savaric checks it for traps and finds none. He opens the box to find an ornate gold collar with obsidian snakes worked into it. Rilka mentions that in the religion of Jörn, he has been known to appear to his followers as a serpent. The collar rests on a velvet lined platform within the box. Mõrvar appraises the collar at being worth 400 gold pieces. Savaric checks the room for “secrets”—he finds none.

Savaric then goes to the door in the south of the sanctuary. He checks it for traps. He finds none. He opens it. It opens into a corridor.

The party starts to follow the corridor, with Savaric looking for traps. They come to another door, which they open after checking it for traps. It opens into a full-fledged alchemy lab. There are shelves with a variety of alchemical potions and vials labeled upon it. There are several items of interest labeled on the shelf:

  • 1 lb. bag of Foaming Powder
  • 5 vials of Invisible ink
  • Pouch with 10 smoke pellets
  • 2 vials of Black Adder Venom
  • 2 vials of Greenblood oil
  • 2 vials of Small Centipede poison

After gathering up all they could in this room, and comparing the vials they gathered from the priests to the vials in this room to identify them (or not, as the case was for the vials on the High Priest), they passed through an arched doorway into a corridor into what appeared to be a dormitory. There are 10 small beds with chests at the foot of each. Each chest contains simple black robes, candles, bedding, pots of sword black, and 2 vials of Greenblood oil.

They return to the alchemy lab and find a locked door heading south. Surm disables the lock and they head inside. Inside the room is a long chest. Surm manages to disable the trap on the chest. They open to find a bevy of treasures.

  • 521 gp
  • Engraved jade scarab
  • Gold candelabra with holy symbol of Ulfethinn [Storm Cloud]
  • Gold mask
  • Ivory drinking horn with copper ends
  • Silver comb with gold handle
  • Silver holy symbol of Jörn
  • Scroll
  • Wand

The group takes their treasures back to the sanctuary and and then enters the secret door that Savaric had found earlier. They follow a long, stonework corridor that descends into the mountain. Savaric misses a trap and magical dart of ice shoots out of nowhere, striking him. Eventually, the stonework gives way to natural tunnel and they find themselves in a the broad cavern with a pond that they had encountered before. They turn around and head back to the sanctuary.

Once back in the sanctuary, they explore the one turn that they had not made upon entering the lower temple and find a storeroom full of firewood and cleaning implements. They return again to the sanctuary and then gather up the guards from the upper temple. They take up all the bodies of the fallen and gather in the sanctuary.

As the group gathers, Rilka notices Mirka eyeing Mõrvar thoughtfully. Meanwhile, Mõrvar is decapitating all of the fallen and places the head of the High Priest in his own lap. Rilka approaches Mirka, but the priestess insists that nothing is wrong. Rilka then tells Surm what she’s observed.

The group takes their rest in the lower temple, with Alasir and the party taking guard shifts.

12 Longday 508

As the group gets ready to depart the temple, Mirka casts detect magic over their treasure horde. She determines that the wand and the scroll are magical in nature. Neither Surm nor Mõrvar can make out the scroll. None of the priests have the necessary skill to make out the scroll either. The wand provides no clue to its nature.

The group, along with the party’s porters, work to haul all of their loot out of the temple. They drag some of it on tapestries. They also use the large chest to haul some of it as well. They eventually make it to the boulder blocking the trial and the priests heal Tarben of his wounds.

After a long day of hauling loot and making it over the boulder, the troupe decides to pitch their camp on the other side of the large stone.

The party is awakened that night by screams of “Dragon in the camp! Ware the Dragon!”

Mõrvar and Surm look out to see Alasir being clawed by a young white dragon on a flyby attack. Surm attempts to wake up those that have not responded. Savaric fires at the beast with his bow. It breathes icy cold into the camp. Savaric fires again. Mõrvar attempts to hit it with a ray of enfeeblement. He stirs up the magical energies so well, that doubles the amount strength sapped from the creature—but he also switches places with it. Savaric fires again at the creature. Sigurd emerges and hits it twice with his axes, now that it is on the ground. Surm, now that it has appeared right beside him, attempts to attack it, but misses it. Savaric fires once again and hits it. Alasir recovers and hits, finally slaying the beast.

Savaric goes about the task of butchering the beast as best he can as the camp attempts to go back to some semblance of order. Everyone goes back to bed and the rest of the night passes without further incident.

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Session Thirty-Four
The Temple of Jörn

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11 Longday 508

The party has just finished a battle with six priests of Jörn and “The Abbot” and are looking over the bodies for anything of use. In addition to gear and gold, the man who claimed to be an “Abbot” has a key. The party also examines the pellets found on each of the bodies. Surm takes one apart to find out what its purpose is and determines that it is probably a smoke pellet.

Now that the fight is done, the party gets a better look at the room. The room is spare and furnished only with pallets and a bell-pull hanging in the corner. There is also a door at the far end of the room. Surm redeploys the volunteers and the guards to various points in order to guard their back. Alasir is stationed between the positions in order to direct them.

The priests come forward and Holga says a healing spell over Savaric. Ivarin says a healing spell over Rilka. Mirka says a prayer over Mõrvar, as well. Furfur stops flying about the room and settles down onto one of the corpses.

Rilka readies a potion of true strike in her belt pouch for future use. The priests make another round healing spells for the party.

Then Surm and Mõrvar discuss what to do with the last, unconscious priest of Jörn. Savaric determines that the priest will probably regain consciousness (without healing) in a day. Surm wants to leave him and move on. Savaric brings up the thought of running him through. Surm reiterates his desire to move on.

Savaric checks out the door leading out of the room, determining that it is free of traps and unlocked. He quietly opens the door and peers into a corridor going left and right. The right side leads to a staircase heading down. The left continues on and ends in a portcullis. Surm redeploys the guards and volunteers to guard the approaches from this room. The party then decides to explore the archway corridor in the previous room. Savaric leads the way, looking secret doors and traps. Surm tucks a color spray scroll into his belt for easy use. Mõrvar takes the rear.

Before leaving the room, Mõrvar lingers and then slays the unconscious priest, stabbing him with his poisoned dagger in a wound he already has.

The party follows the corridor, with Savaric taking the lead. It circles back around on itself and ends in a dead end. Savaric can see two eye-holes cut into the wall that allow viewing into the first room the party encountered, the room with the secret door. The party turns itself around and then decides to head to the initial corridor that ended in a locked door. Perhaps this key they found on “The Abbot” will work on the door.

The party arrives at the locked door. Savaric checks the door for traps and finds none. He places the key in the lock, turns the tumblers, and unlocks the door. Savaric keeps the key and opens the door. It opens into a rectangular room with another door across the way. On the east wall are two holy water sconces/basins built into the wall. That wall also has some sort of mosaic—Savaric can’t make out details with his darkvision. He steps into the room and lets the rest of the party inside. With light inside, the mosaic can be seen as a depiction of the entire Northron pantheon.

Savaric checks the door for traps. The key works in this lock as well. The door opens up into a room similar to the one they just came from. There are pegs on the walls and portcullis on the eastern wall. Savaric moves forward, with the rest of the party following. The portcullis has a control on both sides. It leads into a corridor that turns to the north. Savaric listens down the corridor, but hears nothing. Savaric checks the portcullis lever for traps, but finds none. Savaric raises the portcullis and locks the lever into place with a peg left for that purpose. He then heads into the corridor, looking for traps along the way.

The corridor turns back to the east and then continues past an intersection with a door and an arched doorway to either side. Savaric opts to keep going straight.

The corridor ends in an arched doorway that opens up into what appears to be a dining room. There are two long tables in the room with benches situated on either side for seating. There are tapestries hung on the walls that depict the Northron creation myth. At the north end of the room is an arched doorway and at the other end of the room is a door. Savaric checks the door for traps, but finds none. He then checks the arched way, noting that it opens up into a large kitchen. He steps into the kitchen and finds a portcullis on the same wall as the archway.

Looking beyond the portcullis, Savaric can see a corridor going forward and an open room on the immediate left. He also gets a whiff of mold coming from the room. The party decides to backtrack and go through the arched doorway in the corridor.

The doorway opens into a room. There is a desk with a candle on it, a small bed, and a chest at the foot of the bed. Another portcullis leads to another corridor. Mõrvar, Savaric and Surm begin to search the room. Rilka stays behind to watch the approach. Savaric investigates the candle—the wax is not soft, nor is the wick warm. The candle has been used. The portcullis lever is locked with a chain and padlock. There is a lever on the other side.

Savaric checks the chest for traps, but finds none. Inside the chest is bedding, a suit of common clothes, ten candles, a set of flint and steel, a stack of blank parchment, and two vials of ink. Savaric tries his key in the padlock and it actually works. He gives the padlock to Mõrvar and opens the portcullis. He checks the area for secret doors or traps, finds none, and passes through to the corridor.

The party lines up once again and continues down the corridor. It jukes once and then continues on in the same direction. Then it turns north, goes on for quite a while, and then ends in a door. Savaric checks the door for traps. He finds none, but does discover that it is locked. The key works in the lock and he opens the door.

The door opens into a long room with a door heading south. The room is filled with barrels, crates, and bags of grain. Savaric and Mõrvar find nothing of interest. Savaric checks the door for traps, but finds none. It is unlocked. He opens it and goes through, the rest of the party following.

The door opens up into a corridor that turns and leads to the portcullis in the kitchen. They also see an open room from which they smelled mold earlier. That room is small and contains racks on the wall with cheese and breads and other larder items. The mold smell comes from the cheese.

Mõrvar is convinced that there is something in the long north-south corridor protected by the locked portcullis. So they all head to the long corridor. Savaric, and Surm all search the corridor for secret doors, each with the help of Rilka and Mõrvar’s engineering knowledge. A secret panel is found in the corridor. Savaric check it traps and finds none. The panel opens into a narrow corridor that slopes downward. The party descends down into the corridor.

As the party travels down the winding, descending corridor, the party is brought up short as arrows come shooting out of the wall, striking Rilka and Savaric. The party continues down the corridor.

They finally reach a point where the worked stone of the corridor ends and then becomes more of a cavern tunnel. It continues to slope and wind downward. The cavern walls are damp and the party can hear dripping up ahead. Savaric continues to look for traps as they continue down the tunnel. Finally, it looks like the tunnel is going to open up into a small cavern. Water drips off of stalactites into a pond in the center of the chamber. Another tunnel leads out of the chamber.

Savaric searches the area for tracks. Mõrvar tries to help him. They find one track, near the pond, of a booted foot. The track was made within the past day. The party then decides to hustle back up the corridor into the temple.

They return to where they stationed the guards and Alasir reports that there has been no activity. They then head to east-most corridor where the stairs lead down and the portcullis lay to the north. They head for the portcullis.

There is a chain and a padlock on the portcullis lever. Looking through the portcullis, they can see racks of weapons lining the walls and mannequins in the center of the room wearing suits of armor. Savaric checks the portcullis for traps, but finds none. He then unlocks the padlock with the key and opens the portcullis. Surm and Savaric begin searching the room for secret panels while Mõrvar begins appraising the weapons. No panels or traps are found. Mõrvar determines that none of the weapons or armor are masterwork; they seem to be pretty run of the mill.

They find 10 daggers, 10 short swords, 10 longswords, 3 suits of studded leather, 5 suits of padded, a chainmail shirt, a suit of scalemail, 3 light steel shields, 3 light crossbows, and a barrel full of bolts.

They move all of the gear they found on the dead priests into this room and shut it up and lock it up. They then line up and start heading down the stairs.

At the bottom of the stairs, Savaric hears a slight scuff sound in front of him. Suddenly a figure appears in front of him, stabbing him the face, through his cheek and into his tongue. He then feels weakened by poison coursing through his veins from the wound. Savaric then runs through the figure, deeper into the corridor. The figure slashes at Savaric with his dagger, but misses. Savaric then attacks the figure with Edgefrost, striking him with the cold weapon.

The figure slashes at Savaric again, but misses. Rilka steps forward and strikes at the figure with her falchion and connects. The poison continues to course through Savaric’s veins. Savaric lashes out with Edgefrost once again, dealing more damage with the freezing weapon. The figure slashes with his dagger again, but fails to connect. Rilka swings her mighty falchion, slashing the figure with her blade, and he falls.

Rilka stabs the man to finish him off and moves deeper into the hallway. The rest of the party shuffles about to move the priests to the head of the line. Mõrvar drags the dead body up the stairs and then loots the body, placing the found gear with their stash in the armory. Ivarin moves to Savaric and says a healing prayer over him, healing him of the damage done by the poison. Ivarin then says another prayer over Savaric and heals his wounds.

The line reconfigures to its previous order and Savaric continues down the corridor, leaving Mõrvar in the armory to catch up.

Savaric continues to look out for traps, secret panels, and invisible priests down the corridor. Suddenly the area fills with a cacophonous sound that damages Rilka and Savaric, and stuns Savaric, who drops his weapons and holds his ears. Up ahead of Savaric, he sees another priest appear in the corridor. Rilka pushes through Savaric, knocking him over, and attacks the priest with her falchion; Rilka essentially carves her initials into the priest. The priest then swings at her with a light mace and misses.

Rilka attacks the priest again, scoring a hit. Savaric gets up and gathers his weapons and readies himself to step up if Rilka falls. The priest swings again and misses, swinging too hard and dazing himself.

Rilka overruns the priest, knocking him over, gets on the other side of him, and attacks with her falchion, scoring a hit. The priest stays down. Rilka runs him through. Savaric and Rilka switch places in line, getting Savaric at the head of the line again. Mõrvar catches up to the line and steps over the fallen priest after debating whether or not to go ahead and loot the body or not.

The corridor turns to the right and the party continues to follow it, Savaric continuing to search for priests and secret panels. A priest appears in front of Savaric, stabbing at him with a dagger, but misses. The priest stabs at Savaric again and misses. Savaric attempts to overrun the priest, but fails to move through, opening himself up to another attack. The priest misses this attack as well. Savaric attacks with Edgefrost and deals a great deal of damage.

Savaric is narrowly missed by a dagger from the priest. Savaric attempts to overrun the priest again, knocking him down in the process. The priest slashes at him with his dagger, scoring a hit. The ranger feels poison running through his veins once again. Savaric then turns and attacks, damaging the priest again. Rilka moves in and attacks with her falchion, hitting the priest while he’s down.

Rilka attacks, but misses the priest. The priest rises, allowing Rilka and Savaric an opportunity to attack him again. They make quick work of the priest and then Rilka finishes him off.

Savaric calls for a priest to heal him. After a brief debate on whether or not they need to change the order of the line, the opt to keep going with the same order.

The hallway takes another turn. Suddenly, a disembodied dagger appears in the air before Savaric and swipes at him, missing. Then another priest appears further down the corridor. The dagger attacks, missing Savaric. The ranger determines that it is probably being wielded by a spiritual weapon spell. The corridor is once again filled with a cacophonous sound and Rilka and Savaric are damaged by the sonic attack. Savaric moves forward through the dagger, and attempts to overrun the priest to get on the other side of him. He fails. Rilka attempts to “disarm” the floating dagger and fails.

The floating dagger, following Savaric, swipes and misses. The priest fumbles his dagger and accidentally stabs himself. Savaric then attempts to overrun the priest. He fails to overrun the priest again, opening himself up to attack. Fortunately, the priest misses again and then Savaric attacks the priest with his frozen longsword, scoring a hit. Rilka holds back.

The floating dagger misses again and the priest strikes with his own dagger, cutting himself with the blade. Savaric once again tries to overrun the priest, but fails. The priest then attempts to cut Savaric again, but misses. Savaric attacks with Edgefrost, but misses.

Savaric again tries to overrun the priest, this time moving past the priest while knocking him down. The priest takes an opportunity to slash at Savaric, but misses. Savaric then attacks with Edgefrost, scoring another hit. Rilka moves forward and attacks the priest with her falchion, and he falls.

Rilka moves back through the line, looking for healing from the priests. The priests want to hold back in order to use their spells more effectively. So Mõrvar takes the lead and Savaric takes the rear. Holga channels positive energy to heal the party. Rilka also takes one of their potions to heal herself. Surm casts mage armor on Mõrvar.

Mõrvar casts light on his sword and leads the way. Savaric looks for secret doors as they go through, causing him to lose ground. Mõrvar comes to a point in the corridor where he can either go through an arched doorway or turn down another hall or continue down the corridor. There is flickering light coming from the arched doorway. Mõrvar makes his way stealthily to the arched doorway and peers inside.

In the center of the room is a stone basin, looking similar to a bird bath. Etched on the basin is a ring of flame. There are torches on sconces around the room. Mõrvar feels that more than likely this is a holy water or oil font. It would probably be used to anoint oneself before going into a sanctuary. There is a also another door at the far end of the room. Mõrvar moves inside, immediately stepping to the side of the doorway. He tells Rilka that he suspects that there is a sanctuary on the other side of that door. Surm calls forward, “What’s down the hall?”

Rilka goes to the hall and sees that it double-backs on the corridor a bit and then ends in a door. She reports this to the rest of the party.

Rilka steps into the anointing room and steps to the other side of the doorway than Mõrvar. They both start moving along the walls, avoiding the basin. Two priests appear in the corners of the room, throwing daggers into Mõrvar and Rilka. Rilka moves forward to attack and Mõrvar bull rushes forward to attack. Mõrvar rushes forward, but does not push the priest back. Rilka attacks with her falchion and misses. The priests attack with light maces, but both miss their opponents.

Rilka attacks with her falchion. and deals a good deal of damage. Mõrvar is struck by a priest with a light mace. Mõrvar roars in anger and attacks, dealing a mighty blow to his opponent.

Rilka attacks again with her falchion and scores a critical hit, opening up an opportunity to attack him again, but misses with the second hit. Mõrvar attacks with his mastercraft sword and scores another solid hit. Mõrvar begins to laugh. The priest hits Mõrvar again, but Rilka is missed. Ivarin moves in and says a prayer, makes some gestures, and points at the priest fighting Rilka. The priest gets a look of intense fear on his face, and starts looking like he wants to get out of this combat.

Another priest materializes next to the priest on Mõrvar. Mõrvar takes the opportunity to attack and hits the priest mightily with his sword. The second priest fades away as the priest falls in a bloody mess. The other priest attempts to flee and Rilka takes the opportunity to attack, scoring a hit. The priest attempts to pass by Ivarin, who stabs out with his short spear and stabs the priest, felling him.

Mõrvar loots the bodies and then listens at the closed door. He hears nothing on the other side of the door. The door is unlocked. So Mõrvar flings the door open, revealing a small five foot by five foot corridor ending in another door. Mõrvar approaches this door and flings it open. He narrowly dodges the bulk a spray of acid that springs into being in the doorway. He still manages to get caught in some of the acid, allowing it to burn him. The door opens into a room with a mosaic depicting a sly-looking young man conversing with some grotesque giants as he bestows a flame to a gathering of lowly men. There is an arched doorway across the way and a second arched doorway at the corner of the room. There is also door in the other corner of the room.

Mõrvar goes to the arched doorway across the way. It opens into a corridor. They follow the corridor down to another arched doorway. This doorway opens up into a large room. There are mosaics on the wall depicting a sly man performing various duties. There is a trough dug into the floor in the shape of the ring, about 15’ in diameter. Savaric searches the room and finds nothing of interest. The corridor also leads back into one of the arched doorways they hadn’t checked before. They return to that room and Surm searches it out, finding nothing of interest. This leaves a wooden door that hasn’t been investigated.

Surm listens behind the door and hears nothing. The door is locked, so Surm goes to pick the lock with Mõrvar’s multitool. He hears a click and then a series of magical missiles appear in the air and strike Surm with a vengeance.

The door opens into a corridor that turns up. The party lines back up and follows it. It jukes once and then ends in an arched doorway. Mõrvar approaches the doorway. The doorway reveals a large room with mosaics depicting a sly young man stealing lightning from clouds, seducing a woman, and stealing an old man’s pouch. There is a door across the way. The party makes their way into the room and allows Savaric to search the room. Nothing else is found of interest in the room. Mõrvar goes up to the door and finds that it is locked.

Surm searches the door for traps, but finds none. He once again takes up Mõrvar’s multitool and attempts to pick the lock. He hears a click as the lock turns and then narrowly dodges as another spray of acid materializes in the doorway.

Mõrvar opens the door and peers inside. The door opens into a large room. There is a trough in the center of the room that is currently lit, creating a ring of fire in the floor. Beyond the flames, on the other side of the ring, Mõrvar can see figures, how many figures he can’t tell in the flickering of the light. Then a voice calls out, speaking in Tradespeak: “Surrender, interlopers!”

Mõrvar steps back into the previous room. He then calls out into the room, “We are here to collect weregild and are still waiting for it to be paid! How many more of you are going to die before we get it!”

Surm moves back and loads his crossbow. Rilka moves back away from the door as well.

“I have drenched myself in the blood of your templies,” Mõrvar continues, “and I will cover myself in your blood if you do not pay! So step forward and pay your fine or face justice!”

The voice from the room calls out. “Be gone from this place or face the wrath of the Sly God. If you strike us down, more will come in our place.”

Mõrvar says, “That’s just more to strike down, I guess.” He then asks the priests to channel positive energy to heal the party, which Mirka does. He then calls into the room, “This is your last warning. We’ve brought representation from the rest of your pantheon. You will pay retribution.”

Rilka runs back to the last bodies they left and fills her pocket with ten smoke pellets.

Mõrvar’s proclamation is met with silence. He continues, “We have you cut off from your food and water supply. We will outlast you. Surrender! We can stay out here for months. How long can you stay in there? I can assure you, you have no back up coming. We have all entrances guarded.”

Savaric asks Ilona to make him invisible, which she does, and he begins to sneak into the next room.

Everyone in the room hears someone moving out of the room. Surm fires at the sound, thinking it to be an invisible priest. He ventilates Savaric with a critical hit. They hear a thud as Savaric’s unconscious body hits the floor. Then they see Savaric lying on the floor with a crossbow bolt sticking out of him.

Mirka comes forward and prays over Savaric, administering healing magic. The half-orc ranger stirs.

“Sorry, but next time tell us if you’re going to do something like that,” Surm says, “Especially if we have invisible priests attacking us left and right.”

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Session Thirty-Three
The Approach

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10 Longday 508

Morning comes after the night’s battle and the party loads up to head further into the mountains. Savaric, as usual, leads the way, keeping his eyes out for dragon-sign. Through the day, Savaric manages to make up some time lost from being off-track the day before. The rest of the troupe follows en masse.

Late that afternoon, as they continue to trek through the Et’tir Mountains, the troupe comes upon what looks to be a pass. Surm and Savaric notice, buried in the remains of a past landslide, a post and a board—perhaps some sort of sign. The two manage to dig it out of the debris and see that it is a sign that reads, in Tradespeak, “Trespassers Beware.” Rilka and Savaric determine that the pass does not look particularly treacherous as far as landslides are concerned. Savaric determines through tracking that there has been activity on the pass in the past week. The troupe turns and takes the pass. Rilka looks for paths and boltholes in the rock walls surrounding the pass.

Savaric takes a significant lead from the troupe, going out a mile ahead of the group. Mõrvar ventures a within sight of Savaric ahead of the troupe with Tarben acting as a runner. Before leaving, Mõrvar turns to Alasir and tells him to “take care of my brother.”

Savaric sticks to the side of the pass and ventures forth, looking for evidence of a temple. As he ventures, a few miles up ahead, he finds a tripwire crossing the width of the pass. Savaric takes two arrows and places them near the tripwire cross-wise and then writes in the earth, in Tradespeak, “Tripwire.” He then steps over the wire and continues on.

Mõrvar, coming along behind Savaric, encounters the crossed arrows and the message written in the earth regarding the tripwire. Neither he nor Tarben can see the wire itself. The two decide to stay there and try to find the wire. Mõrvar attempts to send a magical message to Savaric telling him that they are looking for the wire and to respond if he hears the message; however, Savaric is too far away to hear the message.

The sun begins to set. Savaric estimates that they’ve probably traveled about five miles down the pass. Savaric holds his position to let the rest of the group catch up. Meanwhile, Mõrvar and Tarben finally spot the wire and step over it and start hustling toward Savaric.

The rest of troupe comes upon Savaric’s note about the tripwire. Surm investigates and finds the tripwire. The trap is mechanical in nature. Surm investigates further to try and determine what the trap does. It appears to be connected to a fulcrum of some sort that will swing across the pass. Surm announces that he’s going to try and disable the trap. The troupe moves back, but Rilka stays close to Surm, hoping to ensure that Surm doesn’t get hit. Surm tries to keep low to the ground to avoid any swinging death. Surm manages to avoid setting off the trap, but doesn’t disable it either. He tries again. A snap is heard and a large log swings down across the path and narrowly misses both of them.

Mõrvar has caught up to Savaric and asks why he stopped. Savaric explains that the sun is going down and they’ll need to make camp. Mõrvar has Tarben move back to the troupe and let them know about the tripwire and the stop ahead.

Surm announces that he has disabled the trap and that the troupe can move forward. The troupe begins to move when Tarben approaches from the pass ahead. “Master Savaric and Master Mõrvar are half a mile ahead.” Surm asks if we’re stopping and Tarben says yes. The troupe catches up to the others and reunites.

Surm warns everyone to keep a watchful eye on their guard shifts, as the temple of Jörn is not far. Mõrvar wants to split all of the half-orcs amongst the guard shifts so that they can see in the dark. Since the porters are not paid to guard, they decide to put Rilka and Savaric and Mirka on two of the middle shifts. Mõrvar approaches the half-orc priestess of Ulfethinn about helping with the guard shifts. She acquiesces. He then approaches Alasir to make the changes to the guard shifts. Mõrvar also adds himself to the first shift. Alasir makes the arrangements.

Mõrvar goes back to Surm and says, “I think it would be a good idea if Sigurd, being the leader of this group, took the last shift to give an extra body with Alasir and Sorcha. It would be good to have an extra set of eyes. So if you could talk to him, I’d appreciate it.”

“You want me to talk to him?” Surm asks.

“He trusts everything you say,” Mõrvar responds.

“I don’t think your request is unreasonable, but I can ask him.”

Surm makes the suggestion to Sigurd, who complies. Alasir is told and he makes a note of the change.

Camp is made in the narrow pass. It is decided that they will use campfires. They decide to try and shield the light from being seen by making tents, lean-to style, in the direction of the temple.

The night passes without incident.

11 Longday 508

The group breaks camp and continues down the pass. They continue in the same fashion as the previous day, with Savaric venturing a mile from the troupe and Mõrvar following just within sight with Tarben acting as a runner.

Savaric is traveling down the pass, looking for signs of the temple or guards when he hears a twang, followed by the grinding sound of stone upon stone, followed by a rolling sound. A boulder comes rolling down the pass, narrowly missing the ranger. It continues down the pass, missing Mõrvar, but striking Tarben in its path. He cries in pain as his leg is crushed by the boulder. It comes to a bend in the pass and stops. Mõrvar sees that Tarben is unconscious. Mõrvar sends Savaric a magical message to come back. The ranger does, sees the fallen guard, and attempts to stabilize him. Mõrvar tries as well, managing to stabilize Tarben.

The boulder effectively blocks the pass. People could climb over it, but the mule will have a much harder time.

Meanwhile, Rilka hears a faint rumbling up ahead of the troupe. She speculates that it could be another landslide. The troupe moves forward cautiously, no knowing what to expect up ahead.

Savaric moves a hundred yards further up the pass and hides, in case anyone comes from the temple to investigate. Mõrvar sticks with the unconscious Tarben.

The main group finally comes up to the bend in the pass blocked by the boulder. Surm speculates that they could leave their gear behind here and climb over the boulder. Meanwhile, Mõrvar hears the troupe approach and climbs the rock from his side.

“Tarben’s been severely hurt,” Mõrvar announces. “I’ve got him stabilize.”

“What happened?” Surm asks.

“I guess Savaric tripped another tripwire. Sent this boulder rolling down our path. Savaric got out of the way. I got out of the way. Tarben didn’t. I thought he wasn’t going to make it, but I got him stabilized. He’s in pretty bad shape.”

“Getting over this boulder is a pretty hard climb,” Surm speculates.

“It’s not easy,” Mõrvar says. “If we had a way to move it or break it up… So far I don’t think anyone else has heard, at least nobody has shown up. Savaric is keeping watch down the pass,”

They all then try to formulate a plan to get the troupe either over or around the boulder. They decide to throw up a couple of ropes to use and climb over. Mõrvar helps to secure the ropes on top of the rock. They decide to leave the mule, the porters, Mahgnus, and four of the guards (including Tarben) on the far side. The priests may be able to heal Tarben enough for him to climb over to the join the porters.

Everyone climbs the rope and scrambles over the boulder. The priests assess Tarben and Holga performs some healing prayers to get him conscious. As far as his leg, both she and Ivarin believe that they could help him with his leg in the morning. Mõrvar actually expresses fear on behalf of Tarben and concern for his condition. Alasir switches him out with Leif and Tarben scrambles over the boulder.

The troupe continues on, with Surm announcing that the main group will stop in four miles. Alasir assigns Sigrid to run for Mõrvar and he and the guard continue down the pass. Savaric emerges from his hiding place and Mõrvar catches him up on what’s going on. Savaric takes the lead again with Mõrvar and Sigrid staying behind within “messaging” distance.

As he makes his way down the pass, Savaric finds another tripwire. He marks it in the same fashion as the first one and then waves Mõrvar and Sigrid over to him and points it out. They step over the wire and continue down the pass.

Eventually, Savaric rounds a bend in the pass and comes to a steep-sloped approach leading up to an arched doorway built into the side of the mountain. Two rain-barrels sit outside the door. Savaric backs up and waits for Mõrvar and Sigrid to catch up. He tells them what he sees. Mõrvar sends Sigrid back to tell the main troupe what Savaric found.

Meanwhile, the main group comes upon Savaric’s note and arrows indicating the tripwire. Once again, the troupe backs off as Rilka and Surm stay and Surm attempts to disable the trap. He fails, springs the trap, and arrows spring out, criss-crossing the pass. Mirka heals Surm and Rilka is healed by Ivarin. The main troupe regroups and continues down the pass, stopping at the four-mile mark.

Sigrid catches up to the main group and reports to Surm that Mõrvar and Savaric are up ahead and that they have found an arched doorway in the side of the mountain. Surm calls for a scouting party. Ivarin volunteers. Rilka does as well. So Surm, Rilka, Sigrid, and Ivarin venture ahead to meet up with Mõrvar and Savaric.

At the bend in the pass, Surm and Rilka assess the situation, deciding that there isn’t any other way in. They also speculate that the priests must have some other water source deeper inside. They all discuss their various possible approaches to the arched doorway. They finally decide to send Savaric ahead, with Ilona making him invisible, to investigate the doorway. Surm casts mage armor on Savaric to help protect him. This doesn’t appear to phase Ivarin, who only gives Surm an assessing look. Savaric casts aspect of the falcon on himself, making him sprout feathers on his neck and head, but giving him more perceptive powers. He then asks Ilona to make him invisible and begins his approach to the doorway.

When Savaric gets to the rain barrels, he begins searching in earnest for traps and such. He finds no traps and determines that the rain-barrels are as they appear. He also sees within the doorway with his darkvision a figure. He wears a simple robe. He appears to be looking out of the doorway. He returns to the others and makes his report. Consulting with the others, the robes were not marked in any way to indicate rank or religious significance.

Mõrvar wants to capture the man and force information from him. Perhaps they can lure him out and Savaric sneak up behind him. Surm disagrees—he wants to get the others and have Sigurd make his demands, as Holga understood their plan to be. Perhaps Savaric could then take that opportunity to sneak inside. Surm tries to explain to Mõrvar that there is a right and wrong way to do things, but Mõrvar doesn’t take it to heart. Ivarin offers to accompany Savaric, as he can remain invisible for a short time as well.

Surm and Mõrvar go back to talk to Sigurd and approach the main group. He goes to Sigurd and says “We need to have a meeting.” The other priests and Alasir are brought in and Surm explains the situation and the plan. Holga frowns at the idea of the clandestine infiltration by Ivarin and Savaric. Surm explains that they are in a death-trap situation with their escape blocked with a boulder. Holga seems to accept this.

Sigurd confirms that the idea is for him to make his formal demand in order to lure the man out of the passageway. He will do some from a distance for safety and to force the man out. Mirka asks, “What about the rest of us?” Surm answers that everyone else will stay around the bend in the pass to shield their numbers and for safety. Mirka confirms that the range on the channeling of energy would be thirty feet, so they will stay at least that far away. Holga volunteers to go forward with Sigurd to protect him.

The main group moves forward toward the bend. They begin to plan their approach in earnest. In the course of the planning, they reconsider Ivarin’s offer to approach invisibly with Savaric as Ivarin can only go invisible the one time for a few minutes while Savaric can be invisible longer. Savaric prepares himself and leaves his snake companion behind. Mõrvar establishes a message spell with Surm.

Savaric makes himself invisible and heads up the approach first. He then sneaks his way to the entrance and hides behind a rain-barrel. Then Holga, Sigurd, and Surm make the approach. They make their way to fifty feet from the entrance. As they come forward, Surm asks Sigurd if he could do the talking to make them seem more impressive. Sigurd agrees.

When they come up and stop, the figure emerges from the archway. Savaric stealthily makes his way around the figure and into the archway. He finds himself in a narrow passageway. He continues through the hallway, looking for traps and another place to go.

The figure that emerges is an older man in simple robes. He calls out in Tradespeak, “Hail travelers. What brings you to this hermitage?”

Surm announces that this is Sigurd Danulfsson bringing grievances to the high priest of Jörn.

“We are a simple hermitage to all of the pantheon. You must take your grievance elsewhere,” the man says.

Sigurd and Holga look at each other as if to say, “This is unexpected.”

Surm says, “I would have expected a better cover from The Sly One. Enough of this stalling and send out your high priest to hear our grievances.”

The figure says, “We have no high priest here, but I am the abbot of this hermitage.”

Surm asks Holga, “Are you satisfied? I mean, they’re even rejecting who they are. They are certainly not going to pay weregeld.” Surm continues to explain the situation sotto voce to Mõrvar. Then he continues with Holga. “Clearly, unless you think the head of the temple was just standing in the door, he’s clearly not going to send out the man in charge. So we can make a demand of weregild from this guy who’s just going to deny their the temple at all. So in order to get any kind of satisfaction, we’re going to have to get rough.”

Surm turns to Sigurd, “Do you want me to make a formal demand from this ‘abbot’?”

Sigurd says, “Yes.”

Surm then turns back to the figure at the head of the rise. “Very well, underling. If you refuse to get your master, then let them know that Sigurd Danulfsson is here to collect weregild for the assassination of King Dunig and as the corruptors of Leglaf, you will pay.”

“I am afraid you have come in error. Be gone from this place,” the man says.

Everyone looks at each other with consternation.

“Then you refuse to pay?” Surm asks.

“I will not pay that which is not owed,” the figure says.

Surm asks Holga again if she is satisfied. She nods. “Is there anything you can do, because we kind of need to nab this guy for some formal interrogation.”

Surm messages to Mõrvar, “You got a bow?”

“Yes.”

“Get it loaded.”

Mõrvar casts true strike on himself and readies his bow. Rilka gets ready to charge around the corner.

Holga indicates that she can cast a beam of light at the figure that will hurt him. Surm counts off to three.

Mõrvar whips around the bend and fires his bow, hitting the abbot. Holga fires a beam of light from hand toward the figure and hits him dead center. He shrieks in pain. Rilka charges out from around the corner and hustles up the approach past Mõrvar. Then the abbot turns and goes back inside the passageway. Surm gets behind Sigurd and they move forward toward the doorway.

Meanwhile, Savaric is making his way down the corridor looking for traps. He can hear the conversation going on outside through the passageway. He comes upon a door to this right or he can continue down the passage. The door is not locked. He opens the door a crack and peers inside. He sees a series of wooden seats placed around the large room. A simple table sits in the center of the room. Tapestries hang on the wall depicting Northron men and women in poses of contemplation. He sees no people, so he moves back into the corridor and follows it around a bend and to where it ends in a locked door. He hears nothing beyond the door. He draws his longsword and takes position at the bend in the corridor, prepared to deal with anything that may come out of the locked door. He hears a shriek of pain from down the corridor. He peers around the corner and sees the abbot, his hand glowing in a light spell, go to the unlocked door and go inside. Savaric follows.

Rilka runs up the approach and arrives near the entry point.

Savaric stealthily opens the door to the room and heads inside after the abbot. The abbot goes behind one of the tapestries, manipulates a panel, and opens a secret door. Savaric follows.

Sigurd arrives inside the entryway and Surm casts dancing lights to light up the area. They are in a five-foot-wide corridor. Mõrvar runs up to the entry point to join the others. Holga approaches the entry way as well. The rest of the troupe begins charging up the approach.

Savaric arrives at the panel and attempts to maneuver the panel in the same fashion as the abbot. Suddenly a small conflagration envelops the area. Thanks to his quick reflexes, Savaric manages to mitigate some of the damage he would have taken otherwise. The panel is open, however. It opens into a lit room containing four men, one of them being the abbot. Savaric whips back around to the side of the panel and prepares to attack anyone coming through that panel.

As Savaric waits for the coming attack, he hears a step in the panel’s threshold. He activates Edgefrost. Suddenly, a man with studded leather appears beside him, stabbing at him with a dagger, missing. The man stabs again and misses. Savaric attacks two-handedly with Edgefrost and hits the man. He then attacks again, hitting the man again with the cold weapon. The man stabs at Savaric again, but fails to connect. Savaric attacks again and scores an ugly wound on the man. The man falls. Savaric finishes him off.

Meanwhile, at the entry point, Mõrvar tells everyone to stand aside and let him take the lead. He casts light upon his sword and continues down the corridor. Rilka makes her way behind Mõrvar. Word is passed from the rear from Alasir asking if Surm wishes the guards to hold position at the entry point or to enter. Surm has the guards hold position at the entry point.

Mõrvar continues down the corridor and comes to the door on the right. It is open. Peering in he sees the table and series of chairs as well as the tapestries. He also sees Savaric finishing off someone in studded armor. Mõrvar moves in and asks “Where did he go?”

Savaric says, “There’s a secret door behind this tapestry. This guy just came back through it, invisibly, and attacked me. There’s at least three more guys still in there. And they know we’re here.”

Rilka checks the downed man for a symbol of Jörn. He is holding a masterwork dagger with a ring of flame motif etched upon it—the symbol of Jörn. He has a light mace on his belt. Rilka searches him, but finds little. Savaric is recruited to try while Rilka and Mõrvar take up positions on either side of the tapestry. Savaric finds a pouch on him with two vials of some oily substance. He also has five pellets of some sort. Savaric finds five other daggers secreted upon his person as well as a bronze holy symbol of Jörn. This they give to Holga. All the priests and volunteers have arrived and filled the room.

Surm casts mage armor on Rilka and Mõrvar. He then asks is Sigurd wants to charge in there. Sigurd says “Yes”, so Surm also casts the spell upon him, advising him to third. He also tells the volunteers to watch the door. He tells Nodwick specifically to watch and see if anyone comes down that corridor behind them. He can also get word to Alasir about the ambush. Kalthin and Sadwina are to take up positions on either side of the door.

Mõrvar will go in first and break left, Rilka will follow and break right. Sigurd will follow through the door. Savaric will go in after Sigurd, followed by the priests.

Mõrvar rushes in, with his sword lit. He finds himself in a sparse room with a few chairs. The walls are bare. A door is at the opposite end of the room and an open arched doorway in the corner of the room. No one else is in the room.

Savaric is brought forward to track the injured abbot on his blood trail. Savaric finds a trail leading to the closed door. He checks the door for traps and doesn’t find any. He opens the door into a five-foot wide corridor. Savaric goes down the hall, looking for traps, finds none, and comes to a closed door. Mõrvar comes forward and opens the door. A dagger flies into Mõrvar, thrown from a crouched man. Mõrvar charges. Savaric moves out of Rilka’s way and then follows her in.

Surm takes Kalthin and sets him up to guard the open archway.

Mõrvar is wracked in pain as several courses of negative energy flow through him. He notes that there are six figures in the room. The abbot is one of them.

Suddenly, all of the attackers feel bursts of positive energy, healing them, coming from the troupe’s priests.

Mõrvar charges toward the abbot and attacks, scoring a hit on the man. Rilka enters, veers right, and attacks one of the other men in the room, and hits with a heroic effort. Savaric also goes right and attacks another priest. Sigurd enters and attacks one of the men, swinging a pair of hand-axes. He hits.

Sigurd attacks again with his axes, scoring hits against his foe. Savaric continues to swing against his adversary, striking him with Edgefrost. Mõrvar swings at the abbot, and his swing cleaves through and hits the next man. The abbot falls. Rilka attacks her foe and hits mightily, but fails to take him down. Ivarin casts a spell, but nothing happens. Furfur flies about the room. The party then feels the blessing of Saemundil descend upon them. Mirka enters the room and smacks a priest with her warhammer. Rilka’s foe attacks her, but misses. Savaric’s foe attacks as well, but fails. Mõrvar is missed as well as Sigurd and Mirka.

Sigurd attacks his foe, hitting him with his axes. Mõrvar attacks his foe with a powerful blow and fells him. Rilka attacks and hits her foe again, causing him to start staggering. Mirka attacks and knocks the breath out of her foe. Negative energy begins bursting through the room as the evil priests channel. Savaric then attacks his foe, and chops off a finger. The man falls.

Sigurd attacks his opponent, striking him hard with his axes. Mõrvar runs the two that he fell through, to make sure they don’t get back up. Then he takes a step toward his next foe. Rilka attacks again and kills her foe. She then positions herself to help Sigurd. More negative energy bursts within the room and Mõrvar goes down. Savaric moves to help Mirka and attacks her foe. He his, but the man does not go down. Holga runs into the room and prays over Mõrvar, healing him. He rises. Holga is attacked by the priest, but is missed. Ivarin fires a shortbow into the room and misses.

Meanwhile, Surm pulls the guards in and has two of the guards sit with Nodwick and Sadwina and then assigns the others to guard the archway. Looking through the arched doorway, Surm can see that the corridor turns. He looks further and finds that it turns again, doubling back toward the room.

Sigurd misses against his foe. Mõrvar then attacks from the ground against the priest on Mirka and Savaric, dealing a mighty blow and felling the man. The last priest, who is fighting Sigurd, suddenly has a second priest appear beside him that also attacks at Sigurd. This opens up an opportunity for Rilka to attack. He falls an the second priest fades away. Mõrvar runs all but the last priest to fall through.

Savaric starts searching the bodies and Mõrvar announces that he wants to question the last man. Savaric finds, on each of the priests that are not the abbot, a pouch with two vials of an oily substance and five pellets of some sort. Each of them has a masterwork dagger with a ring-of-flame motif and five other, regular daggers hidden on their person. They each wear studded leather and have a light mace. The also each have a bronze holy symbol of Jörn. Each of the masterwork daggers have an oily substance upon it. Each pouch has a sum of gold, the total being two hundred and seventy six pieces. The abbot has a masterwork light mace with the flame motif on it. He also has a masterwork dagger with an some substance on the blade. Under his robes is a suit of masterwork studded leather. He has five other daggers on his person. He is wearing a silver holy symbol of Jörn. He also has a pouch with two vials with some substance inside them, different than the oily substance in the other vials. The abbot also had a thunderstone and two hundred gold pieces.

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Session Thirty-Two
The Face of Fear

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5 Longday 508

The party spends the night in RosemeedtMõrvar in the longhouse of Yülthn with a woman named Fenla and the rest of the party back at base camp.

Alasir has the guards set up watches for the night. Rilka takes a watch during the middle of the night with Garth and Leif.

Other than Mõrvar’s amorous activities, the night passes without incident.

6 Longday 508

The porters, Kortash and Burask, begin to break down camp. Alasir comes to Surm and says that there is a woman at the camp by the name of Holga, sent from the temple of Saemundil. Surm confirms with Rilka that they were getting help from that temple. Surm tells Alasir to show her into the tent.

Meanwhile, Mõrvar says his goodbyes to Fenla and makes his way back to base camp.

A young woman comes in, dressed for travel, and wearing a fine set of splintmail. She also wears a silver-tipped horn at her belt.

Rilka introduces herself. And Surm says, “Welcome! I am Surm Ulrich.” He then sends Mahgnus to retrieve Sigurd and Mirka. When Sigurd and Mirka arrive they are introduced as Girda’s representative and an elder priest of Yrda, respectively. Mõrvar arrives and is introduced as well.

“That reminds me,” Rilka says, “We need to go to the temple of Yülthn to see if they are going to send someone.” She, Mirka, and Savaric excuse themselves to go.

Surm confirms with Holga that she is aware of what they are going to do and the nature of the quest. Holga assures him that she has been briefed by Lavandarr on the journey.

“What can you tell me of Saemundil? I know nothing of your religion,” Surm asks.

“Saemundil is the guardian. We protect the weak. He is the guardian of the gates between worlds.”

Mõrvar knows that the biggest part of the dogma of Saemundil is the protection of the weak and defenseless and that they teach self-discipline and obedience to authority.

Holga asks Surm, “Who is in charge of the expedition?”

Surm pauses and says, “That’s a good question. Well, this mission was set up in an effort to collect weregild for Girda for the loss of her husband. And Sigurd is her cousin, who speaks for Girda. So, I suppose, technically Sigurd is in charge of this mission.”

“Very well,” Holga says.

Sigurd, for his part, at first looks surprised and then looks pleased.

“I will prepare my mount and make ready for the journey,” Holga says.

“Excellent,” Surm says. “I assume we will be ready to leave as soon as they return from the temple of Yülthn.”

Meanwhile, Rilka, Mirka, and Savaric are making their way to the longhouse when they are met by a man in traveling clothes leading a horse. It is Ivarin, the priest of Yülthn they spoke to the previous day.

“Good morning,” Rilka says. “I take it this means that you are joining us?”

“With reservations,” Ivarin says.

“With reservations?” Rilka asks. “May I ask what those reservations are?”

“Well, you said that at this time you don’t have a plan because you don’t know all of your resources. I expect that to change.”

“Now we have your help, and we have someone sent from the temple of Saemundil. We are gathering more resources all the time. We’ll have a little bit of time to plan. We’ll be stopping by Valtan to take care of a Yeti problem and then we’ll be moving on. But welcome. Let me introduce you to the rest of our group,” Rilka says.

The priest is lead back to camp by the three half-orcs to be introduced to the rest of the party. Ivarin and Holga are acquainted. Introductions are made all around.

The camp is struck, everyone makes ready to go, and the troupe finally leaves Rosemeedt for Valtan.

Mõrvar sidles up to Holga and Furfur takes off, choosing to fly overhead. Savaric rides with Mirka. Alasir organizes the guards in a formation around the main group.

Mõrvar discusses religion with Holga along the way. In discussing Saemundil during the day, he gets the impression that he is a god of protection, of good, of righteousness, and that he has a role to play in the end-times—when the Grundr come, and the final battle rages, Saemundil will play a role in the battle. Until then, he guards the gates between worlds. Savaric makes small-talk with Mirka along the way, trying to be charming, as well. Surm also tries to solidify his position with Sigurd as well. Sigurd makes a point of expressing how helpful Surm has been to the family and to Girda. “It’s been my pleasure,” Surm replies.

That afternoon, the large troop arrives at the outskirts of the village of Valtan. As they come up, there is a large hill and atop it is a large wooden watchtower. A man calls out with a cry of “Hail! Well met! Welcome to Valtan!”

Olaf, the leader of the farmers, calls back “Hello Sven! We’re back with help!”

Sven cries, “Hello Olaf! We had another attack last night. You best get home! That’s quite a group you have there!”

“Yes,” Olaf says, and nothing more, seemingly at a loss for words at the large entourage he has found himself with.

The entourage marches its way into the village, passing farmers who are staring at the passing guards and adventurers and priests, As they make it into the center of the village, they meet a trio of people who appear to be the village elders. Rilka steps forward to meet them.

There are two men and one woman. One of the men steps forward and says, “Olaf. You were sent for help. We weren’t expecting a small army! This is unexpected. Welcome, but unexpected.”

Olaf motions to Rilka and says, “Borlaf. This is Rilka Lazarsdottir. She is a follower of Bruni. She has come and has said that she will help us with the yeti. The others have come to go on another journey.”

“Oh. Oh, I see,” Borlaf says, clearly disappointed.

" Bruni has given me a sign. A dream. That I am the one to take care of your yeti problem, " Rilka says.

Rilka reaches out her hand, and Borlaf warily takes it and says “Well, if Bruni wills, then it shall be done.”

“I hear there was an attack last night?” Rilka asks.

Another of the elders, the woman, steps forward, and says, “Yes, it was at the farm of Penwulf the Elder.”

“Is he alright?”

“It gave him quite a fright. He’s recovering; he is quite old. Apparently the beast came down and caused a ruckus. The old man ventured out to see what the ruckus was. He saw the beast making off with one of his sheep. The gaze of the beast caused quite a fright and overwhelmed the old man. The beast went back up into the mountain.”

“I guess we’ll have to go check out this farm,” Rilka says.

The third elder comes forward and says, “Your companions are free to make camp outside of the village, if they wish.”

“Thank you,” Rilka says.

Surm directs Mahgnus to set up camp. The entourage sets up their camps outside the village. Rilka asks Savaric to help her track. Surm and Mõrvar also decide to go. They all head to Penwulf the Elder’s homestead, lead by Penwulf the Younger.

At the homestead, they see a small house with a thatched roof, pens for livestock, a mangled fence with a hastily-repaired gate. Penwulf the Younger knocks on the door and yells, “Da! Get up you deaf old bat!”

A significantly older man answers the door and “Ach, son, you’re back! I was recuperating!” His voice is very loud. Everyone but Mõrvar can smell the odor of spirits coming off strong from the old man. Surm can tell that they are corn-based and probably of the home-distilled variety.

The younger man says, “We’ve brought help from the temple of Bruni, for the yeti. They want to search your property to see if they can find it.”

The old man says, “They can snoop all around as they like.”

“Alright,” Penwulf the Younger says. “Very well. Do what you need to do.”

Savaric goes to the pen where the sheep are kept and starts looking for tracks. He does see a trail leading back up toward the mountains. He starts to follow it with the others following close behind. Surm gets his crossbow out and loads it. Savaric has his bow out and read as he follows the trail. Mõrvar has his bow out as well. Rilka is looking for anyplace that looks familiar to her from her vision.

The tracks lead up to a tall rock wall. It is not sheer—it would be climbable, but it is an obstacle. Savaric checks the wall signs of yeti and does see little bits of white fur heading up the wall. They debate several ways to traverse the wall, including having Rilka use her magic armor to fly up to the top of the wall carrying them. They finally settle on using Mõrvar’s knotted rope and grapple, which he finds in his belongings. Rilka flies up and applies the grapple on the top of the wall.

Flying up to the top of the wall, Rilka sees a plateau and more trail. The area looks somewhat familiar to her. The rest of the party climbs the rope to the top of the wall. Rilka attempts to find tracks, but does not find any. When everyone gets up to the top, Mõrvar collects his rope and grapple and puts them in his backpack. Savaric fails to find any tracks. Surm attempts to find signs as well, but fails to find them. Mõrvar also looks, but fails to find any yeti sign. They all assume that the creature followed the trail. Rilka insists on taking the lead down the trail. The rest of the party follows.

Following the trail, they come to another rock wall. Savaric checks for yeti-sign and once again finds evidence that the creature climb up the wall. Rilka throws Mõrvar’s grapple up to the top of the wall and secures it. Everyone climbs up, except for Savaric, who falls, injuring himself. He tries again and finally makes it to the top of the wall.

At the top of the plateau, Rilka sees, across the way from the rock wall, a cleft in the face of the mountain. The plateau looks familiar to her from her vision.

“This looks like the plateau in my vision. I think this is where I’m supposed to meet it,” Rilka tells the others.

“Let’s get this over with so we can move on,” Mõrvar says.

“Like I said, I’m going to meet it,” Rilka says.

Across the way, from the cleft, a large white, furry hand comes out and a head emerges from the cleft.

Rilka kisses her holy symbol and starts moving forward.

Savaric readies an arrow to shoot into the yeti if Rilka goes down. Mõrvar switches from his bow to his sword and moves forward with Rilka.

The creatures emerges from the cleft. It is a large, humanoid creature, covered in white fur. Its hands end in wicked-looking claws. Its mouth is filled with sharp teeth. it bounds towards the party and stops, roaring at them, its gaze a frightful vision of ferocity. Surm is paralyzed with fear. Only through a heroic effort does Mõrvar fight off the effect. Mõrvar then returns with an intimidating roar of his own, which seems to shake the creature. Rilka then moves forward to strike at the yeti. She hits it hard with her falchion, causing it to roar in pain and anger. Rilka yells, “Leave him alone! He’s mine!”

Then Furfur caws in Mõrvar’s ear, “Fuck her god! Interfere! She’s your sister!” Mõrvar, unfazed, says, “Eh, I’m thinking about it.”

Surm, Mõrvar, and Savaric hold off their attacks to see if Rilka falls. Rilka attacks again with her falchion and scores another hit on the creature. It roars and attacks with both of its claws. Both miss, but she can feel cold radiating off of them. The creature attacks again, scoring with one claw. Rilka can feel cold shoot through her body with the hit. Rilka then hits it with her falchion again with a mighty blow. It roars in defiance and attacks again, missing with both of its claws. Rilka attacks again, her falchion glowing bright, and cuts deeply into the beast. The yeti roars and falls.

Rilka cuts off the creature’s head and then kneels down to pray.

After she finishes praying, Savaric runs up and gives her hug. “Congratulations,” he says. Rilka offers hugs all the way around.

Surm says, “I thought you had to go through a door?”

Rilka leads the way to the cleft in the cliff wall. It is about four feet wide and ten feet tall. Mõrvar lights his sword with sorcery while Rilka’s sword glows with its own eldritch light. The cave smells terrible—it reeks of sweat, feces, and blood. The cave is roundish and some twenty-five feet high and fifteen feet wide—essentially, a rocky cylinder. On one side of the cave is a pile of discarded fur and bones from livestock. The floor is covered in blood and fecal matter. Savaric, Mõrvar, and Rilka search out the room. Rilka finds a silver medallion with the runic symbol of Bruni etched upon it. She cleans it off and puts her in her pouch.

Savaric wants to loot the yeti’s corpse, but is eventually talked out of it by the party. The creature is not an animal, but a monstrous humanoid.

Everyone climbs down the rope and starts heading back to the village of Valtan. As they climb down the rock walls, Mõrvar uses his mage hand spell to retrieve the grapple. When they get to the village, Surm and Mõrvar are dismayed to discover that Rilka did not bring the yeti’s head with her. “How else are you going to prove you killed it?” Surm asks. He also points out that if they announce that they killed the yeti and another one shows up, then they really “look like assholes.”

Surm stays back at the camp, but the others hike back for the head. Four hours later, they return with the creature’s severed head. By this time, night has fully fallen. Surm has informed the others in camp of Rilka’s success.

Rilka and the others come back to the base camp when they return. Surm wants to come to longhouse with them when Rilka presents the head. The party heads to the main structure of the town.

They go inside the longhouse and see a large group of farmers gathered together, having drinks. The conversation stops as the party enters. Rilka heads toward Borlaf, carrying the yeti’s head. As she passes through, eyes go wide. When she gets to the town elder she says, “By the grace of Bruni, I was successful.”

Olaf, who is there amongst the assembled farmers, cries out, “Thanks be to the gods. Huzzah!” Some of the men take up the cheer. Borlaf says “Drinks all around!” Ale is brought out and it is insured that everyone has a mug in their hand. The party is sat down at the long table and Borlaf says, “You must tell us the tale!”

Rilka demurs and allows Surm to tell the tale. He does so, getting the point across of how Rilka protected the village by disposing of this beast. More cheers go up and everyone’s mugs are refilled. Surm notices, as he’s telling the tale, that the three elders have a whispered conversation amongst each other and when he’s finished with the tale, the old woman leaves the table. She returns with a small wooden box and places it in front of Rilka. “We are a small village and our treasures are scarce. But we wish to offer you this as a token for your bravery, as a token of our esteem.”

Rilka opens it and reveals a silver bracer with an oak branch etched upon it. “This has been in my family for a long time,” the old woman says.

“Thank you very much. This is a very honored gift,” Rilka says.

More cheers go up and another round of drinks are offered. Borlaf says, “So your band leaves in the morning, then?”

“That it does,” Rilka says. “We have other deeds to fulfill.”

Surm and Mõrvar excuse themselves and head out. Rilka and Savaric do the same soon thereafter. The farmers wish them the blessing of the gods on their journey and Rilka asks them to pray for them on their endeavors.

Once they are back at the camp, Surm says “That’s a pretty fancy bracer you have there.”

They speculate on whether or not it is magical or not. Surm asks to inspect the bracer for activation words and such. Rilka allows it, but he finds nothing but the etching and the velvety lining. Rilka puts on the bracer and waits to see if she has any magical reaction—there is none.

Rilka then leaves the camp to go pray to Bruni. She returns to camp after her prayers are done.

7 Longday 508

As preparations are being made to leave, Surm approaches the first elder he finds, the old woman, Tressa. “Is there any place we can leave our horses as we travel through the mountains? I’d rather leave them someplace safe than drag them with us.”

“How many horses do you have?” she asks.

“Thirteen horses,” Surm says.

“For how long?”

“I don’t know. Fifteen days? Assuming everything goes well,” Surm says.

“Very well,” Tressa says.

The camp is struck and the troupe make their way from the village of Valtan and into the Daggerspine. Surm encourages Sigurd to have Savaric lead the way with the directions given by the assassin back in Yrda. Savaric scouts ahead and leads the way. Mõrvar spends the day talking with Holga, making friendly conversation.

As the sun goes down, the party finds a place to pitch camp. The porters get to the work under Mahgnus’ supervision and the guards begin their shifts under Alasir’s supervision. Mõrvar requests to be placed on the last guard shift, while Savaric and Rilka take a shift in the middle of the night. Once again, Rilka guards with Garth and Leif while Savaric guards with Halvor and Jerrik. Mõrvar is with Alasir and Sorcha.

During his shift, Mõrvar spends the time trying to get to know Alasir and Sorcha better, engaging them in conversation. They are polite, but professional, trying to maintain their vigilance during the conversation.

The night passes without incident.

8 Longday 508

Once again, Savaric leads the way through the mountains as the party makes their way. The day passes as the entourage makes their way through the region, occasionally spotting creatures flying high overhead. Rilka asks if it is possible that they are griffons. Savaric thinks that it is more likely that they are dragonkind. Word is spread throughout the line to keep an eye on them. Surm grabs Sigurd and the priests and call them up to Savaric to discuss the possibility of them attacking. That depends on what type of dragon they are and if they are young or ancient—a more ancient dragon would be aggressive enough to attack a group this large. However, with it being multiple creatures, chances are better that what they’ve spotted is not an ancient dragon, but two younger ones.

At the end of the day, the troupe makes camp. Guard shifts are set up the same as before.

The night passes without incident.

9 Longday 508

As per usual, Savaric leads the way through the mountains. Rilka sidles up to Surm and asks if they have a plan yet. “If you have a plan, I’d love to hear it,” he says.

“I’d like to get an idea of what we’re going to face, I suppose,” Rilka says. “I’d also like to know how we’re going to make the formal request for weregild.”

“Honor would demand that we make a formal request,” Surm says. “Prudence would suggest not to.”

“There’s a lot of good priests in this party that were recruited specifically with the story that we were going to demand weregild,” Rilka says.

“That’s what they were recruited with? I thought it was to go crush a temple of Jörn,” Surm says.

“Nope,” Rilka says.

“Well, who recruited them with that plan?” Surm asks.

“The three of us,” Rilka says.

“Well, you’ve really thrown Sigurd under the wagon,” Surm says.

“How so?”

“Because he’s the one requesting the weregild.”

“Well, we’re not going to let him do it by himself,” Rilka says. “Well, here’s where your diplomacy may come into play. Maybe Mirka will be willing to smash in the door, but…”

“What do you want to do?” Surm asks.

“I don’t know,” Rilka says. “I would like to go in. I don’t think they’re going to give us the money. I think they’re going to cause us trouble. I’d like to neutralize them before we get in there.”

“Well, okay. Sounds great,” Surm says.

“But, it’s not just us,” Rilka says.

Surm sighs and sends Mahgnus back for Mõrvar. “Master Surm would like to speak to you,” Mahgnus says to Mõrvar.

“Very well,” Mõrvar says. He bows his head to Holga and makes his way to his brother.

“Rilka’s all concerned about a plan. That we need to have a plan about what we ought to do,” Surm says.

“I think what we ought to do is have Savaric scout the place out. He’s the one that can go invisible. Maybe even use her armor to fly,” Mõrvar says.

“She’s concerned that we need to make a formal declaration of our intent to collect weregild,” Surm says.

“That’s foolish,” Mõrvar says.

“Umm-hmm,” Surm agrees.

“And how does she expect to do that?” Mõrvar asks.

“I don’t know,” Rilka says, entering the conversation.

“You know me, I’m all about the element of surprise. If we need to make a formal declaration…” Mõrvar begins.

“She’s concerned that the good priests are going to want us to make a formal declaration because she sold them the story of the weregild,” Surm says.

“Well, that’s why everyone is coming,” Rilka says.

“Whoever is going to collect it, you can be assured is not coming back,” Mõrvar says. “You’re sending them to their death.”

“And we lose the element of surprise,” Surm says.

“That might be what people think, that might be what Mirka thinks, it might be what everyone assumes. What I don’t want is for us to get up to gates right before we go in and we don’t have unity of purpose because that’s where it’s all going to go to shit because we are relying on everyone to get us out of here alive,” Rilka says.

“We need to find who the head of the temple is, get our hands on them, and bring them back to the group, restrained or not, and then you can ask for weregild, since technically the head of this temple would be the one responsible,” Mõrvar says.

“I guess I assumed everyone was on the same page that I was on. From the get-go, I assumed we were going to slaughter this temple,” Surm says. “Because even if they say ‘okay, we’ll pay’ they’ll come back and kill people in the village. There’s no way we can let these guys live. That’s what they do. Apparently they’re assassins. So we really can’t really give them the option. I assumed we were going to come up here, scout it out, sneak in, annihilate them. I didn’t know we were going to have to convince anybody of that.”

“I’m going off of assumptions here. It’s not really been discussed. That’s how we got Mirka, that’s how she got all of these people,” Rilka says.

“I guess we need to have a powwow,” Surm says, reluctantly.

“We need to hash this out. I just think that right before we go in not the time to find out that one of these priests is…” Rilka says.

Mõrvar says, “Then we should hear everybody’s opinion, hear everybody out, and then decide what is best for us. I sure as hell am not going to go up and ask for weregild. I’m not going to become a pincushion of arrows or daggers. If any come with a sword-length of my blade, I will cut them down. These assholes tried to pin us. And that’s personal to me. I’ll be honest with you. I’m here for revenge. Nobody does that us. I’m here to make a statement. But whatever you decide, I’ll go with.”

“I think tonight when we camp, we need to have a meeting,” Rilka says.

Surm jogs over to Sigurd and asks. “Did you have a plan as to what you wanted to do when we get to the temple?”

Sigurd says, “Other than making my demands on behalf of Girda, though I do not think that they will accept them. No.”

“We’ve lost the element of surprise,” Surm says. “My gut says that they won’t pay either. Or, if they did, they would just come back in force. I really don’t see how we can leave without wiping this temple out. For the safety of the village. They don’t seem like the types to accept their responsibility, pay their debt, and move on.”

“No, they do not,” Sigurd says.

“So, then, maybe you should call for a meeting with us and the priests and then we can hash out a plan, get some more opinions in there.”

“That would probably be wise.”

“I’ll arrange it,” Surm says.

Surm has Mahgnus formally invite the three priests to the meeting that is being arranged that night with the main party and Sigurd.

That night, as camp is made, a separate campfire is set up about twenty yards away from the main camp. Here is where the meeting is to be held. Ivarin, Mirka, and Holga arrive, as does Sigurd and the main party. Alasir dispatches a few guards to set up a perimeter about the meeting.

Sigurd rises and begins the meeting with the following pronouncement: “We’re going to have to wipe these priests out.”

Ivarin, learning on his crooked staff, raises an eyebrow. Mõrvar leans forward. Rilka crosses her arms. Holga’s jaw drops. Mirka stands there blinking.

Surm says, “What I think Sigurd is trying to say is that the chances of the temple of Jörn accepting weregild are slim, and based on the reputation of the temple, even if they did, they would most likely either attack us on this path or come back to the village. It’s unlikely that they will pay and let it go, just based on what we know of Jörn.” He looks at Mirka. “I’d hate for this to come back on the village. That’s not what Sigurd wants.”

Mirka and Ivarin both nod. Ivarin says “I suspected as much before I volunteered to take on this journey.”

“When this was presented to Lavandarr, this was not presented as slaughter,” Holga says. “However noble the reasons.”

Mirka says, “But that does not make the reasons any less noble. That does not make it any less the right thing. We have to protect Yrda.”

Surm asks Holga, “Have you dealt with the cultists of Jörn before?”

“Not personally,” she says.

“Well, my limited experience with them has been assassins in the night, moving in shadows, slaying kings, attempting to frame others for the murder, sowing chaos in the village. They don’t strike me as honorable men that can be dealt with in an honorable way. And trying to do so will bring more risk instead of dealing with them like the people they are.”

She looks at Rilka and says, “Why wasn’t this presented as such in the first place?”

Rilka says, “It was trying to present it as trying to protect our village. The assassin has basically thrown our entire village into chaos…”

Surm interrupts and says, “This wasn’t our plan from the beginning. This was something that, discussing with Sigurd, he has decided is a better course of action in protecting the village. This was not a plan that was discussed with Rilka prior. But as a representative of the wronged family and of the village, he’s making the call. What would you rather see happen, Holga? This is a meeting, we’re discussing. How would you rather see it go down? Nothing is set in stone.”

“I was charged with the protection of those on this mission. And I will do so. The abrupt change in focus simply took me by surprise,” Holga says.

“We will not ask you to do something against your conscience,” Rilka says.

“That’s why were discussing,” Surm says.

“We want the blessing of the priests and priestesses on this journey,” Rilka says.

“But we also want people to live here,” Surm says, “And it seems like going up to the front door and knocking is not the best way to deal with people that shoot from the shadows.”

Mõrvar describes the negative energy powers that he and the others experienced from the priest they apprehended in Yrda. Ivarin says “They channel negative energies through their connection to their deity.”

“Well, I can tell you first hand, it is extremely painful,” Mõrvar says. “And that was just from one.”

Rilka says, “I am just a follower of Bruni, not a priest. He encourages us to be courageous and brave, but not to do things that are foolhardy.”

“Saemundil charges us to protect those who are weak and helpless. I am charged to help protect Yrda,” Holga says.

“Again, we would not ask you to do anything against you conscience,” Rilka says.

“The cult of Jörn is evil. They would not hold to the bargain,” Holga says, slowly.

“Then we all agree with Sigurd’s plan. The temple must die,” Surm says. He calls for a vote. “All for it say ‘aye’.”

Mirka and Ivarin raise their hands. Rilka raises her hand. Surm raises his hand. Sigurd raises his hand. Savaric raises his hand. Everyone stares at Holga. Holga sighs and says, “I cannot. If we were going to claim weregild, then we should have claimed weregild.”

“We are not going to be able to do that successfully,” Mõrvar says. “We are travelling with a woodsman, a thatcher, two farmers. These are types of people that the town had to send. My understanding is that this is the kind of fighting force being picked on by this place. They prey upon the weak. Aye.”

“So, Holga, you would like a formal request for weregild?” Surm asks.

“Yes,” Holga says.

“I don’t see how we can successfully do that,” Mõrvar says. “And then be prepared when they reject that.”

“If Saemundil is about protection, do you have the power to protect the messenger?” Surm asks.

Then a discussion ensues about the various priestly abilities involved to protect the messenger from various forms of attack, including arrows, poison, and the like. Mirka will be able to neutralize poison with the proper prayers.

Surm asks if Holga is opposed to them scouting the temple out before making the offer of weregild. She is not opposed to such an action.

The meeting is then adjourned. Surm talks to Sigurd, hoping to convince him that they will need to keep the good priests on board if they want to defeat the evil priests, so they will need to move forward with the plan to present the weregild. He projects confidence to Sigurd that the priests will cast protective magics upon him and that it will be an impressive showing, him demanding weregild before the evil priests, with his countrymen here to see him do that. Sigurd just looks thoughtful.

Savaric asks Ilona what she thinks about the plan. “The plan? I think perhaps you’re doing it the hard way,” the ring says in Savaric’s mind.

“I agree. This definitely makes it harder. And I’m going to need your help,” Savaric says.

“Well, we are friends,” Ilona says.

“How much do you think I can rely on you? As in, how long do I have to be invisible? And how often are you able to do that?” Savaric asks.

“I may turn you invisible seven times per day,” Ilona says.

“Is there a cool down in between,” Savaric asks. “How much time should I give you to rest in between?”

“You could burn out the seven times continuously, but then you wouldn’t have them for later,” she says.

“Thank you, Ilona. I imagine we’ll have a big couple of days ahead of us,” Savaric says.

“Excellent!” Ilona says.

“How have you been, otherwise?” Savaric asks.

“It’s been very quiet,” Ilona says.

“Usually, when something interesting happens, you have something to say about it,” Savaric says. “I suppose both of our minds have been elsewhere.”

“I suppose so,” Ilona says.

“Anything in particular you’ve missed lately,” Savaric says.

“I was just thinking of how these mountains remind me of Kuskar,” she says.

“Kuskar? Is that where you’re from?” Savaric asks.

“That’s where Matyas was from,” Ilona says.

“Where is Kuskar?”

“It’s to the south.”

“Is that someplace you’d like to go sometime? Or do you prefer the north?” Savaric asks.

“Oh, I just like to travel,” Ilona says.

The two converse with each other awhile longer, reacquainting with each other.

Everyone returns to camp and guards are posted, as per usual.

During the first watch, Alfhild and Tarben manage to rouse the majority of the camp with yells of “’Ware the camp! Troll in the camp!” People are stirring and grabbing weapons. The large, long-limbed creature is over by Sigurd, who is laying prone. Alfhild and Tarben are flanking it. Yelling a prayer to Bruni, Rilka runs toward the creature and attacks it with her falchion. Savaric gets his bow and shoots the troll twice. The first shot tears through the beast’s shoulder and the second gouges the beast. It howls in rage and then turns to attack Rilka. It hits her with one of its claws and misses her with the other. Alasir makes his way to the other side of the creature from Rilka, flanking it with her. He attacks with his short spear and misses twice. Sorcha then approaches from the diagonal attacks with her short sword, hitting it twice. Surm then fires his crossbow at it, but misses. Mõrvar then comes in from another diagonal and attacks with his greatsword, and hits, felling the beast.

Savaric reveals that trolls can solitary and also run in gangs, but that they also regenerate. Mõrvar starts running his sword through the creature’s head in an attempt to make sure it’s dead, but it starts to twitch. It needs to be disposed of by fire or acid. Rilka catches its hair on fire and its loincloth on fire, but not the beast itself. Finally, they pour oil on it and catch it on fire. It starts to rise and shrieks in the flames, and collapses.

Sigurd is holding a large bite wound. Mirka goes to him and casts a healing spell on him. The priests also cast healing on Rilka as well. Mõrvar and Savaric speculate on the possibility of tracking the troll back to its lair in the morning.

The rest of the night goes by without incident.

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