Campaign of the Month: September 2018

Shadows of the Rift

Session Thirty-Two

The Face of Fear


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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