Reign of Winter

Session 5 - Through the Portal and Into Waldsby

As Recounted By Tomor's Hired Scribe

It was early evening when the scribe heard a set of heavy footfalls approaching his small shop before the door burst open to reveal a savage-looking man. An adventurer no doubt, he thought to himself as he took stock of this potential new customer, he certainly looks stupid enough to want to crawl through dungeons. The newcomer was huge and obviously foreign, with a slight limp and a heavily deformed face, his jaw stretching forward several inches and lending him an almost canine visage.
“Hail, scribe. Tomor wishes to purchase the services of the scribe to tell glorious story of Tomor, son of Tomor!” the stranger boomed. “If scribe make Tomor look extra good, Tomor even pay little more!” The large barbarian winked at the scribe, and then chuckled at his own clever slyness. The scribe resisted the urge to put his hand to his face and sigh; this could be a valuable customer after all. For his part, the barbarian maintained the grin on his terror of a face.
-
As brave Tomor lead his compatriots through the portal they instantly found themselves transported thousands of miles across the world into the Hoarwood Forest of southeast Irrisen. Luck was with them, however, as Draknai was able to recognize the locale and point the way to nearby town of Waldsby.
“It is well that I invited you on my noble quest, friend Draknai, for you have proven time and again to be a stout and valorous companion!” Tomor said, his benevolence in command obvious.
“O-oh, I’m just happy to be able to help such a great warrior on such a noble quest, Mr. Tomor.” Draknai stuttered and blushed.
As the mighty barbarian lead his troupe towards the distant town a fearsome storm rolled in, no doubt conjured by one of the winter witches who’d grown fearful of the great warrior’s coming. Though no such pitiful magics could harm Tomor, not all of his traveling companions were as hardy, and he was forced to seek temporary shelter when Draknai grew frostbitten.
The storm, while fierce, was not long lived and the adventurers were able to move on within only a few hours. This turned out to be fortunate indeed, as it was only a few minutes later that Tomor spotted a caravan being attacked by an eldritch beast in the form of a giant mantis. A wise leader, Tomor instructed his companions to rush to the caravan’s aid. They could use the combat experience and it was best that they get it under safe conditions where he could keep a watchful eye and jump in to save any that stumbled. His compatriots did him proud this day, slaying the beast with nary a scratch, and rescuing the entire group of traders. One coach-hand had been nearly ripped apart by the monster before their intervention, yet Utrosk successfully staunched the bleeding and with the use of powerful healing magics managed to restore the unfortunate man.
“Oh thank goodness you arrived when you did, or we were certainly done for!” Nadya Peska, leader of the merchant caravan, exclaimed when Tomor introduced himself following the fight. “Since we’re heading for Waldsby as well, won’t you please travel with us? We can provide you and yours with food and my bed is so cold at night…” Her eyes raised to Tomor in supplication.
“Good woman, it would be my pleasure to safeguard your passage, yet I could not in good conscience lay with you under such circumstances despite your splendid beauty.” Tomor laid a comforting hand on Nadya’s shoulder to take away from the sting of the rejection. He was also careful to give a warning glance to his companion Borel, a known scoundrel and plagiarist who’d written several universally panned plays and been kicked out of more than one major city for his misdeeds. It was important to let the dwarf know that there would be no advantage taken of the frightened woman with him around. Tomor, for all his savagery in combat, was possessed of a noble soul.
The next day passed quickly on the road, and it was still before noon when the caravan reached Waldsby. True to her word, Nadya invited Tomor and his followers to stay at her home while she prepared to bring her cargo to the Pale Tower. Tomor was worried about having Borel near Nadya’s two young boys as he was known to have unsavory proclivities towards male children, but he felt secure in the knowledge that the rest of the party would be there to keep an eye on the stunted dwarf. He felt it best not to bring such things up with Nadya before she departed, no reason to cause the woman unnecessary fear.
The sun was approaching the western horizon before Tomor began to grow concerned; it should not have taken Nadya more than an hour or two to reach the tower and release to them the goods she’d been contracted to bring. As a true leader, he was quick to come up with a plan. He and Eirwyn would disguise themselves with clothes borrowed from Nadya’s home and go looking for her. They couldn’t risk approaching the Pale Tower too closely, but they should be able to spot Nadya’s carts even from a distance. Draknai and Utrosk would remain and supervise the lecherous Borel.
It didn’t take long to notice something was amiss. The town had grown almost deserted of citizens, and there were far too many soldiers on the streets. Tomor grew increasingly alarmed when they spotted Nadya’s cart outside of a large tavern ringed guards and it became clear what had transpired.
“Oh no, what are we going to do?” Eirwyn was wringing her hands, her distress palpable. Tomor thought for a moment, there were too many guards even for him to simply hack his way through.
“We’ll have to go back and get the others, mayhaps we can find a way in. I’ve no doubt they’re holding Nadya inside.”
They managed to return to Nadya’s house, explain the situation, have the others hastily don local clothing over their arms and armor, and return to the vicinity of the tavern in less than a quarter of an hour. The only hitch had been when Borel protested that they should leave their host to her fate and save themselves, while relieving her of what valuables were in her meager home. What use would a dead woman have for them anyway? He’d pressed. To their credit, the others had had none of it and Borel had fallen in line without Tomor having to force the issue. For all his lack of character, Borel was the most proficient liar of the group, and his skills would be needed if they were to get in without a fight.
-
The blades sang. It was obvious that Volane Sertane was a masterful swordsman, yet Tomor felt no fear. In times such as these he’d always found an inner peace, secure in the knowledge that he’d made the best choices he could in life, and calm in the tranquil eye of combat’s storm. Borel’s cowardly flight had come near to breaking his concentration, but his other companions would be able to handle the remaining soldiers even without the low cunning and dirty tricks of the dwarf. They’d grown strong under his tutelage.
He caught a slash with the flat of his blade, and sparks flew. Behind him he could hear the trumpeting of Utrosk’s young mammoth, not yet the bone shattering volume it would achieve when fully grown.
His blade leapt from its downward guard to strike at Sertane’s face, and Sertane’s own sword surged to meet it. Arcane words in a female voice – Eirwyn was unleashing her magic on some unfortunate soul. Another woman’s voice – Nadya screaming a warning even as she struggled to escape her bonds.
Sertane’s blade twisted under his guard and traced a line across his thigh, it wept red as his enemy taunted him. As they circled Tomor was able to see Draknai holding the doorway, desperately preventing them from being overrun. He would have to end this duel soon.
A feint, and an opening. As Sertane’s blade repositioned and began its true strike, Tomor’s sword slammed into it near the hilt and knocking it from the other man’s grasp. The face of the vile commander of guards had only a split second to register his shock before Tomor’s backhanded sweep seperated his head from his shoulders. It took only a moment longer for the assaulting guards’ courage to desert them, and the battle became a rout.
-
“Ehhh… Is good, but story seems different than how Tomor remembered it.” The barbarian looked more than mildly confused, though it was impossible to tell whether that was from the story the scribe had just finished reading back to him, or if he’d simply tried counting to ten.
“Artistic license, Tomor, It’s how all the great writers do it. Besides, didn’t you say you wanted me to make you look extra good?”
“Truth, Tomor liked the part where Tomor slew mighty Villain Shartane.”
“I believe you mean Volan Sertane. And since you like it so much, I believe there was talk of extra remuneration…” The scribe allowed himself a small smile, he only wished he could be there when this Tomor showed his story to that bastard Borel.

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