Reign of Winter

Session One: The First Snow
Third Person Following Eirwyn Le Snaedis

Eirwyn finds herself in the small village of Heldren, saddened at her most recent misfortunes. Her long time friend and protector Lucian had taken an arrow in the neck for her. He most likely saved her life, but he died in her arms. Eirwyn was still beside herself with grief as she went to the tavern and rented a room, going right to sleep out of exasperated frustration and sorrow.

The next morning Eirwyn was feeling better, though she was still sorrowful and felt slightly fatigued as she rolled out of bed. She went downstairs and ordered a bowl of the porridge filling the room with its hearty aroma. She had to force herself to eat as she sat there she started picking up on local rumors. It seemed that a noblewoman named Ladey Argentia Malassene had called off her engagement and was running away with another, and Arin Lenitha. Also, a hunter named Driden Kemp had seen a white weasel, and he was hunting it at the high ridge.

Eirwyn finished up and went outside. There was quite a bustle around town, and Eirwyn spotted a few other obvious outsiders. One was a tall and powerful looking Tian Xi man with dual katanas, who she later learned was a powerful ronin warrior named Kaito Raitoningu, who had this thing with honor and cleanliness. There was also Kenna Dagrun, a Samasaran archer that had the powers of nature at her vey fingertips, and a bow across her back. The last outsider was Vajra Rava, a blue skinned tiefling. She looked as if she had been living in the village for a short time, though she was still very much an outsider.
As Eirwyn was taking in her surroundings she heard a commotion from the outskirts of town. She ran up there along with the outsiders and she saw a strong Ulfen barbarian that hailed from her homelands in the North, Irrisen. He was badly wounded and only got out a single word, goblin, before collapsing. Then three groups of goblins ran into town. Eirwyn started cursing them while the other outsiders went and fought them. There was something unusual here, the goblins looked fatigued and tired, as if they were attacking because they were starving and weak rather than out of malice. Eirwyn didn’t have time to process it then as they had to save a child and she had to heal up the Ulfen who was bleeding out.

Eirwyn and the outsiders managed to defeat the goblins before a single villager dropped. The four of them spoke with the Ulfen who informed them that he was a guard with the caravan guarding Lady Argentia, and that they were waylaid. He said fey and bandits working together crushed them in a pincer attack and they seemed to be working together. The five of them went to the mayor and explained the situation to her. The Mayor was already aware of the situation and said she’d offer any assistance she could. She opened up the armory to the party and told them to visit the shop keeps and that they could use her name.

After the armory Kaito left group and went to the gate. The others went with Eirwyn to Vivilia’s General Shop. Eirwyn was able to get Vivilia to give them some free gear for rescuing her niece. The girls left Eirwyn alone and went to the south gate while Eirwyn went to the remaining shopkeeps. She visited the Blacksmith, the Alchemist and the Church. She was able to get some party favors from all of the,. When Eirwyn rejoined the group they were sharing tea and telling stories. Eirwyn had a glass of tea and told them a little about her background but didn’t go into too much details. She still hardly knew them after all.

The group left south and found the ambush site of the caravan. There were a few zombies holed up in the caravan and they took them down. They found some gear the robbers left behind and then they noticed an icy statue. Eirwyn started walking towards it and realized it was her friend Aaron, from all those years ago. This was too much to take after the death of her long time friend Lucien. She broke and let a few tears loose. She asked the party to help her bury her friend, which they did, while Kenna decided to burn the rest of the bodies, just in case.

The tracks were easy to find and the group followed them. After a few hours of travelling the party found themselves in a gorge. They decided to be on their guard, but were still ambushed by a wyrm type creature no one could identify? It nearly ate Kaito alive, but they managed to drop it Kaito fell. Still, the party was feeling weakened and tired and decided to make camp for the night. Luckily the made it peacefully through the night, Eirwyn slept like a baby buried under a foot of snow while the rest huddled up in the tent.

They continued the next day and were on set by fey, that also ambushed them. They were trickster, shooting staggering arrows, dropping color sprays and making illusionary duplicates of themselves. The party subdued them through force and threats, while one flew off and another bled out, they managed to subdue one named Pym. Pym was scared to talk, but Eirwyn was quite intimidating and the little sprite eventually spilled its guts. It seems this thing was bigger than they could’ve ever imagined.

It seems the Witch Queen Elvanna had opened a portal into Taldor and she was trying to encase Golarion in a perpetual winter. She sent an advanced party down through the portal led by a powerful winter Troll named Ted Knotten who was her advanced force in Taldan. Eirwyn had heard of Queen Elvana, and knew this was very grim tidings indeed. She vowed to shut the gate to the north and close off this portal for the people of Taldor.

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Session Two: We found a camp!
An excerpt from Vajra's Journal

Vajra’s Journal
Season: Mid-Summer Location: Heldren Weather: Unseasonably Cold

We continued on our journey to find Lady Argentia Malassene. Leaving the gorge we ran into a hunters’ cabin – Kaito’s bad luck continued as he triggered a booby trap in the trees. We slowly approached the cabin unsure of what we would find inside, however we find the only viable entrance was through the back which had old troll tracks leading away from the cabin. Hoping to find more information about Ted Knotten we entered only to be set upon by raiders, some of which appeared diseased, and a half-orc woman. We were able to convince the half-orc not to attack us and easily defeated the rest. Once we finished off with the raiders the half-orc was very willing to explain what was occurring in the area, although she knew nothing of the troll. She informed us that she worked for the raider’s leader, Rohkar, who was supposed to be located on the top floor of the cabin. Before going upstairs we searched around the main floor to ensure that we wouldn’t be ambushed from behind, in doing so we found the Lady Argentia Malassene bound in a locked cellar located beneath the main floor. The woman is insufferable, so I can understand why Rohkar locked her far away from himself. Having secured the lady we sought out Rohkar, however, when we reached the upstairs rooms we found that we had been tricked. Inside were two frost skeletons waiting for us, but no Rohkar. Once we dispatched with the skeletons we went downstairs only to be attacked by Rohkar and two zombie raiders – apparently Rohkar has no issue turning his own men into the undead. Zombies are really just the worst to fight, they are immune to being beaten with fists so I had to rely on my handaxe and sickle. Kaito was briefly controlled by Rohkar and dealt a mighty blow to Kenna, knocking her down. This misfortune seemed to fuel Kaito’s anger though, he was more focused as he and I struck down the zombies. Eirwyn was of great assistance by cursing both the zombies and Rohkar. With the zombies destroyed, Rohkar yielded without much of a fight. We were able to stabilize Kenna, but the half-orc female was already dead – slain by either Rohkar or the zombies. Unfortunately when we started to question him, he withdrew some unholy symbols and was killed on the spot. Now we’re back in Heldren with Lady Argentia safe. However, we are no closer to stopping the plans of the Witch Queen Elvanna and our only clue is a caged evil ice pixie we found in Rohkar’s study.

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Interlude: Abandonement!
Journal Entry of Eirwyn Le Snaedis

My party has fled into the night. I found a note from Kaito saying that the battle with the zombies and the cleric was too much, and that they had decided to flee and leave the village of Heldren to perish. He said him and the others discussed it long into the night, and decided they had not the stomach to lay their lives down for some backwater little town. They had left me out of the decision because he knew Eirwyn was too brave to flee, but he suggested I flee anyway.

I must admit, I thought about it. Without a band of brave warriors to aid me what chance did I have. The zombies were strong, and as always I need protection. While powerful in my own right, I am no match on the frontline. What chance have I alone…..

But alas, that call of winter is too strong, no matter how much sense it makes. If my old mates be cowards, it be time to be brave. I shall have to find new comrades! I am no fool, I will not throw my life away! Surely someone in town who is strong and stout will be willing to fight for what is right! And I shall answer the call of winter, its icy grasp flows strong through my veins right now! I, Eirwyn Le Snaedis shall see this through no matter how many abandon my side!

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Session Three: The complications of party-involvement.
Draknai's personal thoughts

Ever hear the term “wrong place, wrong time?” I experienced that on this day, getting recruited as part of a group, something I’ve spent my entire life avoiding. Although our time has been short, a part of me is really starting to believe that this could have been a grave mistake.

I’m used to being on my own, getting to and from where I need to be with relative ease. That is until I was approached by a very lovely witch who goes by the name, “Eirwyn Le Snaedis” who just so happened to be heading the same direction I was. I shrugged and thought “What’s the worst that could happen?” and headed out with the group she had recruited. Who knew that same day I would start to see why her last group left her. Instigating an assault on a trapped swarm then quickly leaving us to deal with the situation on our own. Where was the loyalty to one’s party members? Why would she so quickly abandon that which she just recruited? The rest of us who had been left to fend for ourselves, did our best to push through but unfortunately were forced to start fleeing into the cabin. It did seem that the swarm had dispersed, which Eirwyn said she was responsible for, but in the end no one saw it. Trusting a coward’s words has never been a worthwhile venture. I’ve seen enough horrific sights to know why that’s a mistake.

After taking a night to rest and recover in the empty cabin, we continued to make way across a bridge and through the snow where we encountered some undead. A battle that was over rather quickly, but maybe not quickly enough in our druid’s eyes.

Making our way forward, we found a dead explorer and his journal along the way, taking a moment to read it in a sheltered hole. After finishing the journal, we kept going, where we ended up fighting tree-like monsters.
Another battle that ended without any difficulty.Shortly after, we ended up running into an area covered in bear traps, where I learned the people I traveled with had an innate fear of traps. Such a fear that they seemed to all freeze and cower where they stood. How did I end up with this group again? How was I supposed to work with these people? After taking care of the traps on my own,I ended up finding the chain of a trap that was buried in the snow, but as we pulled it out, we found it was broken and a trail of blood nearby leading away from it. After a bit of indecisiveness, we decided to follow the trail and see where it lead. We discovered the home of a rather large White Weasel that was licking its wounds. Unfortunately we were unable to calm it down from its emotional state and it got defensive and tried to kill us. We ended up having to put it down.

We made camp inside its cave and although I’m on edge being around these people, by the end of the day I was beginning to see the potential of being with them. I’ll keep one eye open for now, but maybe this could work. Maybe I’ll learn to trust them. Only time will tell.

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Session Four: The fall of the Black Rider and Our New Life Missions
Journal Entry of Eirwyn Le Snaedis

Things seem to be going rather well with my new group of friends, despite all their quirks.

Tomor is a simple and kind barbarian from Irrisen, though subject to fits of destructive rage. He is from my homeland, Irrisen, and was subject to the fighting pits in Taldor for some time. He seems to be an honorable warrior and switches from a giant great sword, to claws he grows when screaming and frothing at the mouth. He truly hates slavery and entrapment, and I believe he has a kind heart under all the pounds of muscle he sports.

Draknai is an elf and somewhat a loner. I mostly know nothing about him. He tends to stay away from the rest of the party and guards his words carefully. He blends magic and bow work into a seamless art though and seems to be competent at both. I do not know much else about him, but he seems to be constantly brooding.

Next is the Half-Orc Utrosk with his faithful mammoth companion Ogromma. Utrosk is from a land near Irrisen, The Realm of the Mammoth Lords. I hear it is ruled by whoever is strongest, riding around on big critters, and that leadership is fleeting at best as there is always someone else in the running. Utrosk can summon fire to his hands and wields a spear with efficiency. And Ogromma is a big sweetie, and I just find him adorable. Utrosk knows his way around the wilderness and has been successfully navigating us through this difficult terrain. His ability to wield powerful magic and stab things to death has proven very reliable.

Lastly is a washed up Dwarven playwright, Borel Son of Halvor. I actually remember seeing Ragnar’s Rise while I was in Oppara last. The man I was escorting and his noble allies made many boasts about how awful it was. Despite that it pulled in the crowds. Anyway, the play house was attacked by zombies and apparently that actually detracted from the play’s success. Borel is here drowning his sorrows while he looks for “inspiration”. My guess is he needed to get out of the accusing city.

Borel Carries around a black axe he calls Shiverspleen. It appears to have some kind of strong magic, but it seems fleeting and escaping and ever shifting. Borel can harness lightning through his axe to great effect. He also like to throw around fire, not seeming to care if it burns Tomor in the process. Borel is kind of a smart ass and derogatory, though I don’t think he means any harm.

Anyway, that is it for tonight. I must be getting to bed as we have a big day tomorrow and will be facing off against a troll soon.

The Next Entry

Wow, what a night and day this was! Last night, while sleeping, we were ambushed by an Ice Mephit and an Air Elemental. They attacked with much gusto. My party sprung into action around while I laid there laughing hysterically and throwing curses on the poor wretches. They had much difficulty actually landing any hits with the curses I placed upon them and my allies made pretty quick work of them, though new wounds appeared, some of them caused by Borel carelessly throwing fire around. Tomor and Borel were both unarmored as they fought, but were brave none the less. As is custom the outsiders perished as my allies finished them off.

The next day we came across a truly atrocious site, that of a soul bound post. It was there, on 4 tree trunks, in the middle of the wilderness. Nearly immediately the poor child’s soul started assaulting us with warnings of doom and gloom. It terrified poor Tomor so much that he ran off. Draknai was able to use some magic to see inside the hut, and confirm there was a doll sitting on a chair in there. I had heard of these dolls, but never actually seen one and the tales are terrifying. I told them I think we should avoid it but that the dolls were worth money. We decided to confront it. I suggested Borel bring it down to me, but the doll assaulted us with magic from above. Draknai seemed overcome by emotions and sat down in the snow, telling us not to attack his friend. The party climbed up the tree and quickly cut the doll down. Realizing the soul was trapped in the sapphire gem I had Tomor crush it. We heard the voice of the little orphan girl which said “Thank you for freeing me,” and then was gone. I believe we all felt better after freeing the poor little soul, and we’ve decided to rest in the soul dolls post for the evening.

The Next Entry

Wow, today was the day. We finally came face to face with the troll, Teb Knobben. We were assaulted by an awful snowstorm, the snow was up to my bosom and nearly impossible to push through. We couldn’t see anything, and suddenly I was being assaulted by a terrible loud ringing noise. I shook it off, but couldn’t see anything. The entire party started getting assaulted from an unseen enemy. I suggested we hide in one of the igloos nearby, though this may have been a mistake in retrospect.

We made our way in and barricaded the door and top window. Little knives started cutting through the window up top so I pulled it away where we could hit them with fire and blade. Colors came through over washing us, and Borel and Ogromma seemed overcome by the assault. We seemed to be trapped, and I could hear the giant coming towards us out front. I commanded my allies to cut down the fairy who still had colors left to throw, and Utrosk and Tomor dropped the fairy before it too could unleash the blast of colors. Utrosk made a whole through the side wall and pushed out into the cold.

Teb Knobben broke through the front door barricade as Ogromma came too and he made his way into the trolls face. I through on curse after curse, weakening his defenses and his ability to hold on. Eventually my allies fell him, but I warned them not to relent as he was still alive. Utrosk took care of the situation deftly burning the corpse. Then we fell back on the fairies.

After much work the remaining fairy flew off into the cold. Only minutes later a black rider came through the gate to the north. On it was a wounded black rider, with an ice shard that was surely his doom. I could tell no magic could cure this man. He fell injured in front of us, as if by fate. He called us to him and told us his story.

He was the Black Rider of Baba Yaga. Baba Yaga was supposed to make her 100 year return to proclaim a new queen of Irrisen. The evil Queen Elvanna is somehow holding her back, and killing off everyone who can possibly herald in her return. He told us that Baba Yaga’s hut was trapped in the capitol of Irrisen, Whitethrone, and that we would need to release it to find Baba Yaga. He asked us if we would follow this mantle. We all agreed and the Black Rider pulled out a few artifacts, and granted them, and us, his power. With it done, we each realized we were bound to fulfill this task, but his energy left us stronger and more wise. We gathered up our belongings, and with a new and strengthened resolve we stepped through the winter portal…..

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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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A Nice Day To Wander Around
Utrosk Takes Ogromma For A Walk

We needed rest, I know that, but I always feel anxious just sitting around. That’s why when Eirwyn suggested exploring the town while the others relaxed I jumped at the chance. Tomor also decided to join us. As we left I whistled for Ogromma, and we headed west toward the town.

Eirwyn took the lead, seems she wanted to talk to the townsfolk and get some information from them. I walked behind her, enjoying the fresh air and pointing out interesting things to Ogromma. My baby mammoth seemed to enjoy the chance to get out and play; he was running and jumping all around the path. We passed by the statue in the center of town and Eirwyn stopped at a general store. She looked at the magic shield on the door for a long time before shaking her head and entering the shoppe. I shrugged and told Ogromma to wait by the door.

I stuck my head inside the store and overheard Eirwyn asking for Alchemist’s Fire, I told her that I’d already tried to buy some in this store yesterday and that there wasn’t any to be had in town as far as I knew, then I went back outside. I decided to teach Ogromma to fetch. For the next fifteen minutes I threw sticks for Ogromma to collect. Eirwyn finally came out of the store and started heading to another building. I followed along with Ogromma and Tomor.

The rest of the day passed similarly; Eirwyn would enter a building, talk to whomever was inside, then exit and continue on. Ogromma quickly lost interest and we spent most of the time enjoying the brisk weather. I did hear something of note, though, apparently the statue in the center of town is much older than the townsfolk believe while the clock is younger than they think. I am not sure what that means, but I’m sure it is important.

After several hours of exploring the town we returned to Nadya’s house to sleep until our assault on the Pale Tower.

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Session 8: Closing A Winter Portal, The Fall Of A Witch
First Person Following Eirwyn Le Snaedis

“It’s ok Tomor, he’s dead.” I spoke softly as the barbarian still mad from battle lust tore apart the guard captain that lay at his feet with claw and fang. Tomor turned on me with his crazed look in his eyes, and they softened, and he looked around quickly to assess the situation. He seemed to determine that we were safe for the moment, and he calmed down, his face becoming its kind self. I looked at him in awe as the sweat dripped down his body as he heaves heavily, exhausted from his raging. While I have some power, the pure raw power that Tomor has is quite impressive, and I am more thankful for him and his prowess every day.

I looked around to asses the situation, and started healing the others wounds. Glancing out the door I found that a spare crossbow bolt had pierced Borels throat. He had tried to hide in the hallway and avoid the battle, but it looks like his plan back fired, and he has been a casualty. Despite his annoying persona and cocky air, I did not wish death upon him. I walked over and said a little prayer to the lady Desna and Borels God Torag for a speedy departure of his soul.

I start healing the others with Utrosk. After we finish healing the wounded we search the room, and go back through the areas we didn’t have time to go through as battle had pulled us through the tower so quickly. We find a myriad of odds and ends, and then we get to the kitchen. The cook was baking a bunch of cookies, and Tomor instantly walked to one shaped like a dragon.

“Put that down,” I smacked it out of his hand as he went to take a bite of the cookie.

“It is a cursed cookie. It will starve you if you eat it no matter how much food you consume you will be hungry. You mustn’t eat anything from a witches house without examining it first, you never know what may happen.” I expressed to Tomor protectively.

“What kind of sicko bakes cursed COOKIES!!! Who would do such a thing! That is SO FUCKED UP!!” Tomor got angry and started smashing things in the kitchen. I stepped away and let him unleash his rage as he spurt out hostile anger at the cursed cookie. I caught myself smirking, sweet simple Tomor sure was an interesting one. When he calmed down the three (four with Ogromma) decided to continue going on.

We walked into the next room and there was some kind of plant creature. I cursed it and my allies did their standard bash the poor creature. It struck Ogromma and he went crazy. Utrosk had no control over the Ogromma any more and he started swinging his tusks and and trunk everywhere, even hitting his master. The plant creature fell yet Ogromma was still raging. I feared for my life so stepped away until Utrosk got Ogromma back under control.

We went through the rest of this floor and came upon a man tied up with holy symbols to Shelyn on him. It looked like he had been badly bloodied and been beaten. We discussed whether we should untie his mouth and speak to him, and ultimately decided to go ahead. I felt that he was some how kin to us. As we questioned him he told us he had been geased by the red rider to free Baba Yaga. It seems that he was destined to meet with us. We released him and made out introductions, his name was Sinzara, and he was a Cleric of Shelyn, unsurprisingly.

We came to another portal we couldn’t open, but there was one we passed that we could. Tomor and the others went up before me. By the time I got up there the others had their eyes torn out and were in a battle with a foul sorcerer and a flock of ravens. Looking around I could tell that my allies were in a bad place, most of them bleeding from their eyes. Finally we had the bitch under control and I demanded her surrender. Surprisingly, she submitted and surrendered. she sent her birds back in the cage and even healed my allies and fixed their gnashed eyesight. We thoroughly robbed her and found the last remaining key to the main rooms, but we decided to allow her to live.

We went back to the other portal, with Tomor going up first. I went up afterwards and saw a goat, 3 ice elementals, and saw Radosek Pavril, the cruel oppressive winter witch that had been oppressing Waldsby and maintaining the winter portal to Heldren.

“The Winter Queen Ilvana is going to destroy you for what we did the tower, surrender now and we may let you live!” I shout to terrorize the mad man. He laughs in my face and isn’t scared in the slightest. Tomor starts bashing the ice elementals and the others come up and start engaging. I keep focusing on terrorizing the witch while the others killed the goats and elementals. Utrosk pulls fire from around him and starts hitting the witch with balls of fire! Quite impressive. Tomor starts throwing the giant cauldron at Radosek and he gets shaken in fear as I tell him how we are going to obliterate him and shove his goat up his ass. I set him up by giving him an evil eye and making him be misfortuned. Our new asset Sinzara sees the weakness and take advantage by hitting him with Hold Person. At this point Utrosk and the others pull the witch from the sky and they tie him up. We ransack the place and wake the witch. He doesn’t give us any information and I just can’t take his evil babbling. After determining it is not relevant info I pull out my dagger and stab him in the neck, killing him. We found a way to close the winter portal and save Taldor, which we did.

We go back to Waldsby and make plans to continue on to Whitethrone. My friend Nadya insists on taking us there herself and we make our arrangements to continue on.

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Session 9: Sinzara's Journal

Praise be to Shelyn, The Eternal Rose, daughter of The Prince That Howls.

Praise be to Shelyn, the Lady of Chrysanthemums.

Praise be to Shelyn, The Eternal Maiden.

Praise be to Shelyn, The Incorruptible, purifier of Whisperer of Souls.

The past several days have been eventful, indeed. The road my new companions and I travel is fraught with peril, but I suppose I cannot feign surprise. I knew when I was marked by the Red Rider that the road before me would not be an easy one; and still earlier, when I first stepped away from the temple grounds on my journey into the north, there was no mistaking the dangers that I would surely face. However, I have carried Shelyn with me since that time, and I know that so long as my faith is strong, I can trust in her guidance and protection.

It is by that very grace that I am alive to pen these words today. In my quest, I had come across a tower belonging to the foul winter witches, but unwisely ventured too close. Though I was overcome and captured, they did not slay me – perhaps fearing divine retribution, or perhaps hoping to extract information. Whatever the reason, this hesitation proved to be their undoing, as I was soon thereafter discovered by the group which I now regard as companions. I was surprised to learn that they underwent the same path that I did, having been granted their quest by the Black Rider. As they were hurt, I allayed their suspicions by closing their wounds with a touch of Shelyn’s mercy.

Tomor was the first of the odd trio which I encountered. A savage warrior with more scars than words, I’ve seen him launch into a jarringly violent fury in the midst of combat; though at Eirwyn’s insistence, I have begun to see that he has a more gentle side.

Eirwyn is herself a winter witch, who seems to be divinely touched as well. Though I at first regarded her with suspicion, it was she who initially elected to free me from my bonds. I have since seen that she has a kindly heart within her frozen exterior. Further, her disdain for the witches who face us seems to exceed my own and that of my companions.

Utrosk and Ogramma are my final companions. The half-orc and his baby mammoth are, in many ways, inseparable. Orgramma is not merely a pet, however; I have seen the duo act with deadly efficiency in the heat of combat, almost as though they can understand one another. Utrosk has a command of magic, as well, though his stems from the frozen land itself rather than a singular patron.

On our journey since then, though Tomor was curiously absent (Eirwyn suggests he was likely indisposed after consuming a cursed cookie, by accident), we’ve been accosted by a raven swarm, surely acting as spies for the foul witches. Further down our path we encountered a moss creature which had taken a woodsman captive, enslaving both mind and body. We freed him and destroyed the creature, but only at great peril, as even after it had been dislodged from the woodsman, it managed to wrest control of Utrosk’s mind for a time. This encounter serves as reminder that we must always be vigilant of danger, even when faced with seemingly insignificant creatures.

Of great note is a large span of land that had been completely cured of the winter. Long enough even for warmer weather plants to begin their growth! The work of druids, to be sure, though even my companions seemed to be puzzled by it. Whatever the circumstance of it’s creation, it’s beauty was undeniable. Beauty can mask danger, however, and we were forced to fend off some of the more aggressive wildlife before we found ourselves clear. We even had a scare when one of the sons of our guide, Nadya, was nearly attacked by wolves. Resolving to be more cautious in preventing the children from straying, we pressed on – choosing to take the road through a village that was rumored to be haunted.

Near the ruined temple here, we encountered two priests of Desna, though their speech and mannerisms told me that not all was right with this clergy. Sure enough, when they were pressed, their true nature emerged – twisted undead forms of their former mortal shape. My companions and I showed no hesitation in engaging these abominations; but even as we did, we hear the ghastly cries of children – surely the lost souls of the unfortunates who suffered a great tragedy in this unholy place. I resolved to stay in this temple for the night; and upon waking, I shall in my prayers entreat Shelyn to grant me the power to consecrate this place upon first light, banishing the darkness and ending this lingering evil.

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