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The sleepy village of Heldren has rarely seen so much excitement or concern. Hunters from the nearby Border Wood speak of unnaturally cold weather at the height of summer that descended on the forest just days ago. Heavy snow followed, and those who returned spoke of an uneasy presence in the woods, as well as new, dangerous predators. No one knows what this event means, but the town's soothsayer, Old Mother Theodora, claims dark times lie ahead.

As if in proof of that dire prophecy, a female dwarf was recently seen carrying a badly wounded man to the Apothecary. Rumors have begun that he was ravaged in the Wood and barely managed to escape. Now, the townsfolk cast fearful eyes toward the snowy forest, worried what might emerge to threaten their peaceful village.

Anhik:
You have spent the few days since your arrival in Heldren performing odd jobs for the locals in exchange for a few coins. From assisting Elder Natheran Safander with various rites and teachings, to Kale and Menander Garimos at the Silver Stout with their meals. During your days here, you have seen a diminutive gnome with purple hair popping out of a fitted cap, goes by the name of Bugsby and spends his days that the Stoat as well. On the fateful day our tale begins, you are helping the Elder’s wife, Zaarida, a Qadiran of your faith with secret prayers to Sarenrae to warm the cold Wood, when a young acolyte of Erastil runs in and explains to Zaarida that Elder Natharen will not be coming home for dinner. A female Dwarf carried a badly wounded man to the Apothecary and the Elder will be assisting Tessaraea in his recovery.

Avora:
As you prepare for your adventure, you have made your way into town for supplies, and noticed both a tall Qadiran looking man who has not seemed to notice you, and Bugsby, and Gnome known to be friendly with the circle and fellow lover of natures beauty. You planned to leave today while the circle dealt with the cold of the Border Wood, when news of a wounded man carried by a female Dwarf makes it’s way to the circle. You have been asked to go into town and learn more of this wounded man and what brings him to Heldren.

Bugsby:
You have been feeling the wanderlust recently, especially with the growing tales from the forest. This has been made stronger by more comings and goings than usual for the sleepy backwoods town. A tall Qadiran looking fellow has started doing odd jobs around town trying to earn money for the next step in his travels. Avora, a young druid has been slowly gathering a surprising number of supplies, with no word as to why. Lastly a merchant caravan selling the last of it’s wares has been holed up in the Stoat waiting for it’s wagon to be fixed by Tengezil, a fellow Gnome. Well, it would have been lastly if your ears hadn’t just heard about a female dwarf carrying a wounded man to the Apothecary.

Kalt and Sven:
You both have been hired by Eisele Guillet, a wealthy merchant to help protect one of his caravan’s on it’s route. The job has been going well, though the area you have recently been traveling seems a bit colder than usual for this time of year. As luck would have it, one of the wagons hit a rut the wrong way and snapped its axel. Now you both have been holed up in the town of Heldren waiting for a rather eccentric gnome to repair the wagon. While you are drinking at the Silver Stoat, you both over hear some locals talking about a female dwarf carrying a wounded man to the Apothecary.

Lachna:
You have been traveling the warmer climates of Taldor in recent years, spreading the word of Torag. You are not sure why, but you have felt a need to travel away from the more populated areas recently, and have been meandering the Taldan countryside, going from town to town. However, as you head toward the town of Heldren, you see a man staggering forward, blood pouring from gapping wounds. You feel if it were not for Torag’s gifting you with healing magics, the man would surely have perished long before reaching the town, but you have helped him, carrying him into town and to the Apothecary where he is being cared for by both the Mistress of the Apothecary and a local Cleric of Erastil. In the focus of his care, you have been forgotten about, and have free reign to explore the village.


Female Dwarf Inquisitor 2; HP: 17/17; AC: 18; Touch: 13; Flat-foot: 17; Fort: +7 (+11 v. Cold Weather) Ref: +2 Will: +6; Init: +3; Percep: 6 (8); 2 cold resist, +2 save v. poison/spells/abilities, +4 dodge v. giants

Lachna left the Apothecary when it was clear there was no more use for her there. She wished she could have gotten more details from the poor man she had left there, but clearly he was in no state for inquiries. She was walking down the main thoroughfare now, eyes open for the local tavern. It had been a disturbing morning to be sure, but nothing that some good food and drink could not handle.

As she walked, she was largely oblivious to those around her, unconsciously moving out of the way of others walking down the way without really seeing them. She was lost in thought, feverishly thinking what could have done that to the man in the wood. Certainly things were out of order and she was contemplating now the best way to go about investigating. Perhaps after a nice brunch she would just strike out in the approximately right direction and see what could be seen. The guy was bleeding bad enough it shouldn't be heard to find some sort of trail, she thought.

On reaching the tavern, she ordered an ale and an order of whatever's serving this time of day and sat down to eat while she pondered.


Male Ulfen Brawlerdin 17 (hp 219/238) | F +29* R +19 W +24 | AC 37 T 18 FF 34 CMD 44*
Resources:
Hero Points 2/3 | Smite 3/3 | Stunning Fist 10/10 | LoH 15/15 | Stance 12/12

A great bear of a man with long limbs thick with muscle and a barrel-chest that would put a bull auroch to shame, Sven is gifted with size and strength rare even among the powerfully built northern folk. His hair is a pale flaxen and worn in long braids that drape across his hulking shoulders. His beard, the same color, is similarly dressed. His features are strong and square and though he bears some scars from his time in battle, they largely serve to enhance his muscular good looks.

"Dark news indeed", Sven mutters aloud before taking another draw of his mead.

The big ulfen gives his partner a nod, standing from the seat that'd become his favorite spot since he and the Kalt had become stranded in Heldren. The sturdy wooden chair groans in relief as Sven's massive frame is lifted from it. He clears his throat to get the attention of the nearby locals that seem to be in the know.

"Any word on what attacked him? An animal perhaps?" he asks in a bass tone.


Female Human (Taldan) Druid (Arctic Druid) 16/ranger 1 || HP 98/149|| AC 22/Tch 15/FF 22|| F+21 R +12 W +19 (+2 vs. ice or fire from an elemental creature effects) || CMB +15 CMD 26 || Init +0 || Perc +24 (+32 in cold terrain) || Resist 2 cold

A young human woman, attractive despite the old scars that mar her face and neck, approaches the female dwarf as she sits down to eat.

The woman is taller than many human women, but still not excessively so. Her pale skin and blue eyes betray her Northern heritage. Her blond hair is carefully braided into a fairly intricate design.

Greetings, friend. I am Avora Teremocles and if you could spare me a few moments of your time, I have questions that I would ask. If you have answers to offer, I would be willing to pay for your drinks."


Female Dwarf Inquisitor 2; HP: 17/17; AC: 18; Touch: 13; Flat-foot: 17; Fort: +7 (+11 v. Cold Weather) Ref: +2 Will: +6; Init: +3; Percep: 6 (8); 2 cold resist, +2 save v. poison/spells/abilities, +4 dodge v. giants

Lachna was startled out of her reverie by the scarred human. She nodded her head to show ascent while she finished swallowing her most recent mouthful of ale. She shifted a bit as she sat, adjusting her warhammer to a more comfortable position in the process.

"What's yer name? What kinda questions ye be wantin' t'ask?"

The silver-haired dwarf waved a fork, indicating the girl should sit.

"Ye be wantin' anything t'eat yerself? Looks like y'could use some."

Lachna took a big bite of her meal while awaiting the questions. No sense in wasting time that could be spent eating, after all.


M Human Ranger (Guide) 11/ Horizon Walker 6 | HP 157 | AC 28 | T 16 | FF 24 | CMD 40 (42 vs trip) | Fort +14 | Ref +13 | Will +10 | Init +3 (+lots of favored terrain bonuses) | Perc +24 (+lots of favored terrain bonuses)
Cold resistances:
Cold Resistance (20); treat cold climates as one step less severe

Kalt is a contrast in nearly every way to Sven - lean where Sven is broad, hair white-blond where Sven's is golden, his armor silvery white where Sven's is dark iron, his arms corded with muscles like taut cables rather than mighty hawsers and, unlike most Ulfen men, Kalt's chin is bare where Sven is bearded. But Kalt too takes a pull on his ale before addressing the locals, taking a moment to consider what he and Sven have heard.

As he does so, he can't help but notice a lone dwarf woman entering the tavern, looking as if she's got a great deal on her mind. Odds on that's the one as carried the wounded man to get care. Looks as if it cost her somethin' in the doing, too. Noting the pretty blonde approaching the dwarf, his thoughts continue, And I'm not the only one who's noticed her, that's sure.

Kalt stands and catches his partner's eye for a moment, signalling with a quick lift of his chin and shift of his eyes that he's going to check something out. He makes his way innocuously over towards the dwarf's table, content to observe and listen for a moment as the two women talk. If there were a patron in the tavern not distracted by the morning's news, they'd note that the Northman's features have a slightly odd, fey cast to them as he moves into a dim corner of the common room to listen.


Female Human (Taldan) Druid (Arctic Druid) 16/ranger 1 || HP 98/149|| AC 22/Tch 15/FF 22|| F+21 R +12 W +19 (+2 vs. ice or fire from an elemental creature effects) || CMB +15 CMD 26 || Init +0 || Perc +24 (+32 in cold terrain) || Resist 2 cold

Avora takes a seat across from the dwarf, but waves off the suggestion of food. "No, thank you. As I said, my name is Avora Teremocles. I am among the many people who noticed the wounded man that you brought to the apothecary. Might I ask how you came upon him, and how he came to be in such a frightful state? Do you know what his business is in Heldren?"


Male Ulfen Brawlerdin 17 (hp 219/238) | F +29* R +19 W +24 | AC 37 T 18 FF 34 CMD 44*
Resources:
Hero Points 2/3 | Smite 3/3 | Stunning Fist 10/10 | LoH 15/15 | Stance 12/12

After a moment of distraction with the locals, Sven catches Kalt's glance and follows his line of sight. A dwarf woman, haggard and hungry. No doubt she and the woman in the tale he'd heard were one and the same.

Approaching the table with his brand of powerful grace, the hulking ulfen grasps a chair.

"Do you mind company? I'd be happy to get you a round in trade for a tale."

Not the most observant of his kind, it takes Sven a moment to notice the dwarf's previous company, a beautiful northern woman with silver hair.

By Shelyn's grace, has a man ever seen laid eyes on such a woman?

"Apologies. You'd do me an honor if you let me get both of you a round.".


M Human Ranger (Guide) 11/ Horizon Walker 6 | HP 157 | AC 28 | T 16 | FF 24 | CMD 40 (42 vs trip) | Fort +14 | Ref +13 | Will +10 | Init +3 (+lots of favored terrain bonuses) | Perc +24 (+lots of favored terrain bonuses)
Cold resistances:
Cold Resistance (20); treat cold climates as one step less severe

Kalt gives a quiet chuckle and shakes his head as Sven charmingly barges his way into the conversation, only to be momentarily stunned by the beauty of their tall, slender countrywoman already seated at the table. I can see where this is going, Kalt thinks to himself. Won't be long before Sven forgets he sat down to ask about the wounded man, he'll be that focused on how the Ulfen maid got her scars. Once he notices them below those blue eyes, that is.

He takes a couple of quiet steps closer to the dwarf woman's table, ready to gently nudge Sven back on topic should the need arise, and casts a quick eye around the taproom, to see who else is curious about today's events.


Sorcerogue 3 | HP:22, AC: 13/13/11, F2 R5 W3, INIT: +8, Range: +5, Melee: +1, lXbow: 1d6, Perc +8 Stealth +11

Bugsby creeps, slinks, and scurries towards the Apothecary, dodging behind barrels and ducking under wagons whenever official-looking folks happened by. It wasn't that he was snooping, he told himself, just it'd been a long time since he'd studied anything around... or inside... the apothecary and it was high time he'd taken another look! The fact there's a wounded man inside has nothing to do with it! he thought, even as he closed the last few steps to the back of the shop, panting slightly with his exciting adventure.

He pressed his ear to the rear wall, feeling the rough contours on his cheek. After a moment of hearing nothing, he leaned his head back to regard the wall curiously. Leaning forward again, listening temporarily forgotten, he pressed his face once more to the wall, then scooted forward to place both his hand as wide as he can on the walls surface, looking like he was trying to hug as much of it as he could. Then he starts moving hands and face against the wall slightly, testing the texture. "Howinteresting, Iwonderwhatthiswallismadeof, themannerofitsconstruction, who'shandstookpartinshapingit, veryinteresting..." he mutters to himself distractedly while continuing his study, his original goal forgotten for the time being.


Female Dwarf Inquisitor 2; HP: 17/17; AC: 18; Touch: 13; Flat-foot: 17; Fort: +7 (+11 v. Cold Weather) Ref: +2 Will: +6; Init: +3; Percep: 6 (8); 2 cold resist, +2 save v. poison/spells/abilities, +4 dodge v. giants

"Yes, yes, you did mention yer name. Sorry. Bit distracted this morning'." She took a swig of her ale as a pause as the big Ulfen approached. If she'd been the kind, she'd have raised an eyebrow.

"I dunno if I've ev'r been this popular, but I'll not turn down an off'r of ale as long's ye don mind if I mind m'food. Name's Lachna."

She waved her fork again to indicate the big man should sit and took another bite while he got settled one way or the other.

"I been doin' a might o'travellin' lately and foun' that poor man on m'way inter town. 'E was on death's door; and thank Torag I was there when I was er 'e'd'a been beyond help. Dunno what got 'im. Ne'er seen 'n animal do that ter a grown man. Might be somthins changin' beasts I s'pose. Wouldna be the firs' time I heard o' that."

She pauses there for another swig and another large bite, then another large swig again. She's watching her companions for reaction while she talks, in case they show any sign of having known the man themselves or some such.

"As fer 'is busness here, I dunno. 'E wasn't in a state ter do much talkin' an' it wasn't the firs' thing on m'mind."

She waited then, to see if the others had any insight, or what they thought of her idea of something out there changing things. She tucked into the food a bit more heartily now that she had finished talking.


At the Stoat
The tavern patron’s had been focused on their personal conversations, presumably focused on either the unusual cold, or the gossip regarding the towns newest arrivals. However, with Sven’s bellowing to the room, all conversation has stopped and the eyes of the half dozen or so patrons are fixed on the conversation swirling around the dwarven woman. The few that notice Kalt scanning the room quickly resume picking at their food after meeting his gaze.

At the Apothecary
1d20 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 = 21

While Bigsby examines the fine make of the Apothecaries wall, the strong voice of Elder Natheran pierces his distraction. ”Well, he’ll never be called pretty, but it looks like he’ll make it. The herbs you gave him to rest should be wearing off in a bit, maybe he can tell us then how he came to have such wounds, and frostbite in the middle of summer.”


Sorcerogue 3 | HP:22, AC: 13/13/11, F2 R5 W3, INIT: +8, Range: +5, Melee: +1, lXbow: 1d6, Perc +8 Stealth +11

The annoying voices cut through Busby's examination, but it also serves to remind him of his purpose in coming here and he looks up excitedly, trying to find a window, Frostbite... in Summer!? How exciting! I MUST study his wounds! the gnome thinks to himself, hopping from foot to foot in excitement. He also looks for nearby trees, or a way to scale to the room, anything for a possible view or unexpected point of entry. The thought to just knock on the door and ask politely never even crosses his mind.


Bugsby sees a small maple tree near the back of the Apothecary, and as luck would have it, a branch extends out near the building. He feels if he were to climb up the tree and wiggle out onto the branch, he might be able to jump onto the roof of the Apothecary. Then he could just look over the edge of the roof, right into the window near the patient’s bed.

If you want to try that, it’ll be a Climb check to scale the tree, and then an Acrobatics check to get out on the limb and make the jump.


Male Ulfen Brawlerdin 17 (hp 219/238) | F +29* R +19 W +24 | AC 37 T 18 FF 34 CMD 44*
Resources:
Hero Points 2/3 | Smite 3/3 | Stunning Fist 10/10 | LoH 15/15 | Stance 12/12

Sven is snapped from his silent worship of the northern woman's beauty by the dwarven woman's harsh voice. Reminded of his task, the hulking ulfen makes himself more comfortable causing his chosen seat to groan in protest under the weight of his powerful frame. The flaxen-haired warrior gestures to the barmaid requesting she bring over four fresh pints and another slab of whatever beast the dwarf was enjoying.

"Well met Lancha. I am Sven Bjornson and that is Kalt Isson", Sven explains in his rich bass with a nod toward the silently observing ulfen. "You did a good thing in saving that man's life. Some would have left a stranger to die in the snow."


Sorcerogue 3 | HP:22, AC: 13/13/11, F2 R5 W3, INIT: +8, Range: +5, Melee: +1, lXbow: 1d6, Perc +8 Stealth +11

Bugsby spots the tree, quickly rushing up to it and rubbing his hands together gleefully, and throws himself towards the trunk with gusto.

Climb: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (4) - 1 = 3

The gnome just bounces right off the trunk, his face meeting the rough bark and rebounding off, landing on his back with a soft "Ooooppphh!" He stands and brushes off some dirt and leaves, and picks a short branch out of his hair. Just before he tosses the branch to the ground he considers it a moment, then places it carefully back in his hair where it was. He rubs his hands together again, grits his teeth, and attacks the tree once again.

Can I take 10 on the climb?


M Human Ranger (Guide) 11/ Horizon Walker 6 | HP 157 | AC 28 | T 16 | FF 24 | CMD 40 (42 vs trip) | Fort +14 | Ref +13 | Will +10 | Init +3 (+lots of favored terrain bonuses) | Perc +24 (+lots of favored terrain bonuses)
Cold resistances:
Cold Resistance (20); treat cold climates as one step less severe

As Sven introduces him to the women at the table, Kalt nods and takes one of the remaining seats. In quiet tones, his voice sounding somehow as if it never gets very loud, he agrees with Sven, ”A good thing you did indeed.” With a slightly grim smile, he continues, ”Having been left to die in the snow once myself, I thank you for it.”

Waving for another pint to be brought, Kalt looks at the others at the table and says, ”Grim tidings they are, though, snow in the summer and odd beasts in the wood. I’d normally welcome a bit of cold weather, the colder the better. But something smells wrong about it. I’ve a mind to go take a look at where this happened. Do you think you could take me to where you found the man, Lachna? I might be able to follow his tracks to where he was attacked. ‘Specially if it’s a trail of blood on snow, makes the job fair easy. What do you think, Sven? Beats waiting for our axle to be repaired by that nutty little gnome.”


Female Human (Taldan) Druid (Arctic Druid) 16/ranger 1 || HP 98/149|| AC 22/Tch 15/FF 22|| F+21 R +12 W +19 (+2 vs. ice or fire from an elemental creature effects) || CMB +15 CMD 26 || Init +0 || Perc +24 (+32 in cold terrain) || Resist 2 cold

"If no on objects, I should like to go with you. If something is indeed changing the beasts, I would like very much to know." Avora says.


@Bugsby Yes, but not the Acrobatics check


M Human Ranger (Guide) 11/ Horizon Walker 6 | HP 157 | AC 28 | T 16 | FF 24 | CMD 40 (42 vs trip) | Fort +14 | Ref +13 | Will +10 | Init +3 (+lots of favored terrain bonuses) | Perc +24 (+lots of favored terrain bonuses)
Cold resistances:
Cold Resistance (20); treat cold climates as one step less severe

"That's fine by me - Avora, was it? And I've no doubt Sven would welcome your company anywhere," he says with a friendly smile, making his demeanor a bit less chilly.


Male Ulfen Brawlerdin 17 (hp 219/238) | F +29* R +19 W +24 | AC 37 T 18 FF 34 CMD 44*
Resources:
Hero Points 2/3 | Smite 3/3 | Stunning Fist 10/10 | LoH 15/15 | Stance 12/12

”Avora? The pleasure’s all mine, I swear it”, Sven answers with a bearded smirk.

Giving the barmaid a playful wink, he slips her a few coppers as the drinks are delivered. The big man slides a flagon across the table to each person seated at it and the platter of steaming meat to the resident hero dwarf. The ulfen grins before tilting back the first draw of his new pint.

”After the kindness Heldren has shown us…” Sven says with a knowing glance at the barmaid. ”…dealing with a dangerous beast is the least we can do for our hosts.”

Taking another long draw of his mead, the hulking northman looks to the ladies at the table.

”Kalt is the finest tracker I’ve seen. If this beast has legs and s$@~s in the woods, he’ll be able to find where it’s lairing. How far from town did you find the wounded man?”


male Human Cleric of Sarenrae 3/Universalist 3/Mystic Thuerge 2 |
stats:
Hp:26/43|0non-lethal| melee+6/ranged+6 | F+5(+10vs cold weather effects due to gear)/R+5/W+9 | Init+2 | perception+9 | AC:18/T:12/Ff:16, Spell fail:10%

Raising his eyebrows at the word of an injured man, Ankih quietly finishes his prayers with Zaarida.
" Zaarida, do think Elder Natheren will need my assistance with the wounded man? I should probably go to the Apothecary and find out." Looking around he continues," I'm not that sure that our prayers were helping at any rate. It seems that there might be something more than just nature behind these cold snaps. Do you need any my help any more here before I head over there?"
At the Apothecary
Walking to the Apothecary, Ankih is amused to note the hurrying little gnomes antics. His curiosity gets the better of him and he follows the fellow around to the back wall and wonders about his meditation technique as the gnome sits very still leaning on the wall.
Different, and somewhat strange, but then I presume my habits seem odd to the people around here as well.
Laughing silently to himself he approaches as Bugsby literally attack the tree......


Female Dwarf Inquisitor 2; HP: 17/17; AC: 18; Touch: 13; Flat-foot: 17; Fort: +7 (+11 v. Cold Weather) Ref: +2 Will: +6; Init: +3; Percep: 6 (8); 2 cold resist, +2 save v. poison/spells/abilities, +4 dodge v. giants

Lachna nodded thanks as Sven slid a new ale her way and waved a fork in greeting to Kalt.

Wasn't too far out o' town. Sure I could take ye there. I'd been thinkin' on takin' a closer look m'self."


Sorcerogue 3 | HP:22, AC: 13/13/11, F2 R5 W3, INIT: +8, Range: +5, Melee: +1, lXbow: 1d6, Perc +8 Stealth +11

With a wild leap Bugsby this time manages to hug the tree with arms and legs, and remains there for a few seconds, considering his next move. Then, noting a passing bug, he has an idea. Scooting his hands up a little, then he inches his legs upwards as well, imitating an inchworm as he makes his way up to the branch. Finally reaching it he looks down, and has to catch himself at the sight of the ground so far below. Carefully he stands, bracing his back against the trunk and standing with expert balance with one foot in front of the other. Looking ahead to the rooftop which is his goal, he takes a deep breath, adjusts the branch in his hair to the side a little, and pushes off the trunk to make a running leap.

Acrobatics: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5 Oh boy, what's the DC? And if he falls, as I'm expecting, do I get to try a reflex to catch himself?


Save: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6

Bugsby leaps out toward the distant ledge, his arms and legs churning for every possible inch. For a moment, it looks as if the small gnome might make the leap, but then the cruel mistress of gravity begins taking her toll. Bugsby stretches for the ledge, trying desperately to find some form of hand hold, but his tiny fingers grasp nothing but air as he careens through the open window and crashes headlong into a table with various herbs and potions carefully arranged.

For a moment, there is silence, as the world comes to grips with what the Gnome has just done. Bugsby stands, surprisingly very little worse for wear, and takes a moment to gather his bearings. Unfortunately, the first thing he notices is a potion slowly dripping onto a bundle of herbs and powders. He barely has time to mutter "Ohdear!" before the concoction detonates in a building rattling explosion of greenish smoke.

Next door at the Silver Stoat, the groups conversation is momentarily disrupted by the sounds of an explosion nearby. All of the local patrons drop their mugs and meals, dashing out of the tavern trying to learn what just occurred at the Apothecary.


Male Ulfen Brawlerdin 17 (hp 219/238) | F +29* R +19 W +24 | AC 37 T 18 FF 34 CMD 44*
Resources:
Hero Points 2/3 | Smite 3/3 | Stunning Fist 10/10 | LoH 15/15 | Stance 12/12

As the explosion rocks the Stout, Sven’s instincts quickly kick in. The big ulfen undoes the clasp holding his axe to his hip and lets out a perfunctory growl as he scans for attackers. After determining that there’s no danger within the tavern (and that nobody is hurt), he rushes outside with the rest of the crowd to find the source of the ruckus.

Dark tidings…


Female Dwarf Inquisitor 2; HP: 17/17; AC: 18; Touch: 13; Flat-foot: 17; Fort: +7 (+11 v. Cold Weather) Ref: +2 Will: +6; Init: +3; Percep: 6 (8); 2 cold resist, +2 save v. poison/spells/abilities, +4 dodge v. giants

Lachna jumps at the sound of the explosion. Without any pretense of interest in anything else at that second, she gets up and rushes out the door. Hammer and shield stay securely in their resting places on her person, but she's clear in a hurry to see what's going on.

What the devil was that? she wonders as she runs.

As she exits the building, she sees the smoke pouring from the building. She pulls a scarf up over her mouth and nose and then heads toward the disaster, intent on seeing that everyone gets out safe.


Much to Bugsby's dismay, before he has much time to react, two things occur. The man who had been resting comfortably in the bed awakes with a start, his bruised face, blackened nose and blood covered bandages giving him a frightening presence. "Winter-touched!" he bellows, eyes scanning the room. The other, is the mistress of the Apothecary arriving on the scene. A tall, willowy elf with very hawklike features, she first looks at the overturned table and then at the Gnome picking himself up from where the blast landed him. "BUGSBY FEATHERFOOT, what ARE you doing in this room! The council will have your hide for this. I barely finish stitching him up when you go an try to blow him to Pharasma!" she shrieks in a voice that carries to those outside.

Grasping the Gnome by one ear before he can settle his hat once more, she drags him to his feet and presents him to Elder Natharen as he dashes into the room with a confused look. "Deal with this." she says, shoving Bugsby forcibly at the man.

The Elder escorts Bugsby to the front of the Apothecary before releasing him. "Stay here." he asks in a slightly begging tone, "And please don't touch anything!" Hoping he'll listen, the Elder hurries back to the injured man's room, leaving the Gnome completely alone.


Male Ulfen Brawlerdin 17 (hp 219/238) | F +29* R +19 W +24 | AC 37 T 18 FF 34 CMD 44*
Resources:
Hero Points 2/3 | Smite 3/3 | Stunning Fist 10/10 | LoH 15/15 | Stance 12/12

How much of that does the crowd outside see?


Female Human (Taldan) Druid (Arctic Druid) 16/ranger 1 || HP 98/149|| AC 22/Tch 15/FF 22|| F+21 R +12 W +19 (+2 vs. ice or fire from an elemental creature effects) || CMB +15 CMD 26 || Init +0 || Perc +24 (+32 in cold terrain) || Resist 2 cold

Avora follows the others outside hurriedly.


male Human Cleric of Sarenrae 3/Universalist 3/Mystic Thuerge 2 |
stats:
Hp:26/43|0non-lethal| melee+6/ranged+6 | F+5(+10vs cold weather effects due to gear)/R+5/W+9 | Init+2 | perception+9 | AC:18/T:12/Ff:16, Spell fail:10%

Ankih tries , unsuccessfully, to hold his laughter in. Staggering around the corner to the front of the Apothecary, he almost falls he is laughing so hard. As everyone comes running to see, he erupts in a coughing fit of laughter. So he sits outside holding his side waiting for the imagery to go away.
When he sees the Elder pull Bugsby to the front it sets him off again.
finally calming down he approaches Bugsby...
" Hehe... erm. Well met friend gnome, it seems you've had an exciting time of it. Did you hear anything significant? heh."
He seems to be having a hard time keeping a straight face as he talks to the gnome.


M Human Ranger (Guide) 11/ Horizon Walker 6 | HP 157 | AC 28 | T 16 | FF 24 | CMD 40 (42 vs trip) | Fort +14 | Ref +13 | Will +10 | Init +3 (+lots of favored terrain bonuses) | Perc +24 (+lots of favored terrain bonuses)
Cold resistances:
Cold Resistance (20); treat cold climates as one step less severe

Kalt is on his feet and halfway to the door, sword drawn, as the echoes of the explosion die down. That dwarf lass moves like she knows what she's doing. One to watch, I'd say, he thinks to himself as he steps quickly through the door directly behind Lachna.

Approaching the apothecary's shop with the crowd, he hears the sounds of shouts from within. Kalt looks quickly around for Sven, knowing he'll want the bearish man at his side if there's call for entering the building and getting people out, never doubting that their calm competence will be useful in such a situation.

His concern over anyone inside turns briefly to confusion as he sees a robed man with nut-brown skin, clearly from somewhere across the Inner Sea, laughing hard to himself by the front of the building. And finally, all is made clear when Bugsby, the nutty gnome himself, is hauled out the front door by one of the village elders and deposited on the stoop like a mischievous child awaiting the beating that's due him.

Ah, I should have known. I doubt he's caused the summer snows or attacked the fellow in the wood, but I'd wager he causes a few mishaps here in town, whether he means to or no.

Sheathing his sword as he approaches the gnome and the robed, hysterical sort, he says in a joking tone, "Master Featherfoot! Given how busy you appear to be, is it safe to guess you haven't quite finished repairing that axle I left with you?"


Those from the Stoat here the yelling, and then see a Gnome dropped on the stoop. There is no longer any smoke pouring out of the room, it dissipated fairly quickly after the detonation. Everyone can consider themselves together.


Female Dwarf Inquisitor 2; HP: 17/17; AC: 18; Touch: 13; Flat-foot: 17; Fort: +7 (+11 v. Cold Weather) Ref: +2 Will: +6; Init: +3; Percep: 6 (8); 2 cold resist, +2 save v. poison/spells/abilities, +4 dodge v. giants

As the smoke clears and the gnome is deposited on the stoop, Lachna slows to a stop and lowers the scarf from her face. She looks back and forth a few times between the gnome and the laughing man, confused in her own mind as to whether she should be outraged and curious, or just curious. After a few seconds she settles on exasperation and approaches the two mostly-clam.

"This yer idear of a joke?" she asks, her voice a little less stern than you'd expect with that type of question. "What 'xacly just happened?"

She is standing in front of the gnome with feet spread and arms crossed, but her gaze is still moving back and forth between the gnome and the laughing man. Her silver hair hair barely looks in disarray from her quick actions a few moments before.

Could be the laughing one played some sort of trick on the gnome. Best to keep an eye on him for now, she thought.


Female Human (Taldan) Druid (Arctic Druid) 16/ranger 1 || HP 98/149|| AC 22/Tch 15/FF 22|| F+21 R +12 W +19 (+2 vs. ice or fire from an elemental creature effects) || CMB +15 CMD 26 || Init +0 || Perc +24 (+32 in cold terrain) || Resist 2 cold

Avora raises a curious eyebrow, but says nothing.


Male Ulfen Brawlerdin 17 (hp 219/238) | F +29* R +19 W +24 | AC 37 T 18 FF 34 CMD 44*
Resources:
Hero Points 2/3 | Smite 3/3 | Stunning Fist 10/10 | LoH 15/15 | Stance 12/12

Having muscled his way to the front of the crowd, Sven arrives in time to see Kalt chatting with an eccentric-looking gnome (weren't they all?), a dark-skinned keleshite, and one of the town elders. The big ulfen wasn't quite certain what had happened - the half-man was apparently responsible and it was worth a laugh to the keleshite - but he was confident that whatever was going on, Kalt could sort it out. Matching his partner's gaze for a moment, he gestures toward the smoking building sharply with a look that says, I'm going in.

Waving away the residual smoke with a meaty hand, Sven lets himself into the apothecary.


male Human Cleric of Sarenrae 3/Universalist 3/Mystic Thuerge 2 |
stats:
Hp:26/43|0non-lethal| melee+6/ranged+6 | F+5(+10vs cold weather effects due to gear)/R+5/W+9 | Init+2 | perception+9 | AC:18/T:12/Ff:16, Spell fail:10%

" Hmmm. Umm. No joke really, just a bit of entertainment from watching the gnome. Sorry, really not funny I suppose, but after everything else lately it just struck me."
He will gather himself and stand up. Fairly tall, around 6 feet, but long sinewy muscles, without the bulk of the Ulfen warrior.
" Well met then. I am Ankih ( pronounced on key) Tohep. Traveller from Katapesh. I was just coming to see if Elder Natheren needed my help when I observed the Gnome's antics and , well, lost it for a moment. As to what exactly happened ...I couldn't even begin to describe it. Funny tho. Are you the one who found the wounded man?"


Sorcerogue 3 | HP:22, AC: 13/13/11, F2 R5 W3, INIT: +8, Range: +5, Melee: +1, lXbow: 1d6, Perc +8 Stealth +11
GM Mezegis wrote:

Much to Bugsby's dismay, before he has much time to react, two things occur. The man who had been resting comfortably in the bed awakes with a start, his bruised face, blackened nose and blood covered bandages giving him a frightening presence. "Winter-touched!" he bellows, eyes scanning the room. The other, is the mistress of the Apothecary arriving on the scene. A tall, willowy elf with very hawklike features, she first looks at the overturned table and then at the Gnome picking himself up from where the blast landed him. "BUGSBY FEATHERFOOT, what ARE you doing in this room! The council will have your hide for this. I barely finish stitching him up when you go an try to blow him to Pharasma!" she shrieks in a voice that carries to those outside.

Grasping the Gnome by one ear before he can settle his hat once more, she drags him to his feet and presents him to Elder Natharen as he dashes into the room with a confused look. "Deal with this." she says, shoving Bugsby forcibly at the man.

The Elder escorts Bugsby to the front of the Apothecary before releasing him. "Stay here." he asks in a slightly begging tone, "And please don't touch anything!" Hoping he'll listen, the Elder hurries back to the injured man's room, leaving the Gnome completely alone.

Bugsby's emotions were a whirlwind, first joyously sailing free through the air, concernedly picking himself up from his crash landing, to elatedly discover himself without injury and inside the apothecary! The explosion was an unexpected, but not unwelcome surprise, and he'd only time to smile white teeth stark against his blackened face before the tall elfwoman shrieked his name and his smile turned to an 'O' of alarm. The only explanation he could muster in the face of her anger was opening and closing his lips while constantly point his arms in various directions.

But then he was painfully deposited outside, and the crowd came rushing up, he nodded his head vigorously in the affirmative to Ankih, shake his head forlornly to Kalt. His high spirits and normally unstoppable tongued seemed amazingly shamed to silence for the moment.

Sorry not more dialogue, I'll try again tonight.


As Sven barges into the Apothecary, he comes chest to face with who he presumes to be Elder Natharen. Looking up at the mighty ulfen, the smaller half-elf seems startled for a moment before steeling himself and saying, "Apothecary is closed right now, please come back later." Sven is about to say something when the thought occurs to him that upsetting one of the elders of the town may not be the best plan, and allows himself to be lead out. "Go about your business people, nothing to see here!" he says in a fairly commanding tone. Seeing the silver haired dwarf, he adds, "And you milady, please stay at the Stoat for a bit so it'll be easier to find you." With that said, he heads east toward the Town Hall and Old Mother Theodora's residence.

Begrudgingly, the group returns to the Stoat to resume their meals and drinks. Not ten minutes go by when the Elder appears in the doorframe, his eyes coming to rest on your little group. "You five, please come with me." he says, motioning to Sven, Kalt, Ankih, Lachna, and Avora. Pausing when he reaches Bugsby, he sighs and his shoulders slump a bit, "You might as well come too, it my save us from having you dive in the window again."

He escorts your band back to the Apothecary and up to the second story room that has been used to treat the wounded man. As they enter, they notice the ruined alchemy kit has been swept into a corner and covered with a layer of sawdust. The room is small enough that once the final person enters, there is very little room to move about. Laying in the bed that takes up most of the room, you see an ulfen man, his flaxen hair matted and disheveled, cuts and bruises cover the exposed flesh that is not bandaged, and the skin on his fingers and nose has turned black from frostbite. Beyond the bed stands what you assume to be the council; The Elder Natharen, and older woman with her blonde hair wrapped up in a bun who is introduced as Mayor Ionnia Teppen, and an wiry old bat of a woman who seems to have one foot in the grave.

"We have heard grave news from Master Oerstag here." begins the Mayor, "The Border Woods has grown restless in this unnatural weather. We have sent a rider to confirm this mans story, but I believe his words. He is the last surviving member of a guard contingent protecting Lady Argentea Malassene from Zimar to Oppara. As the caravan skirted the Woods, it was attacked by both men and strange wintry creatures. He.." The bedridden man begins coughing and waving a now misshapen hand, interrupting the Mayor's speech.

"They dragged her away! They have my lady! My ancestors would ridicule my lack of valor for fleeing rather than fighting to the end. But I faced enemies that even the greatest warriors in the Linnorm Kingdoms have faltered against, though I know I slew at least one of them before they dragged Lady Argentea away." calls out the ulfen as Elder Natharen tries to calm him down least he reopen his wounds.

Picking back up where she left off, the Mayor adds, "He is insistent that the winter-touched were involved, but that's impossible. Irrisen is far to the north." This comment clearly upsets the ulfen and he pushes the Elder hard enough to make him stumble back against the wall. "Blasted woman, I know what I saw! We thought they were just bandits at first- outlaws who hide like wolves in the forest. They were no match for us, but then came the cold fey of the north. They appeared among us and the battle turned quickly. Tiny sprites, no taller then the length of a mans forearm, but don't be fooled by their small stature. Legends say they've taken a sliver of ice into their hearts, and their touch bears the harsh bite of winter." coughing over the exertion of telling the tale, the man seems physically drained, but he perseveres, looking directly at Sven and Kalt. "Please lads, take up my sword, it is made of cold iron, and save my Lady Argentea!"


M Human Ranger (Guide) 11/ Horizon Walker 6 | HP 157 | AC 28 | T 16 | FF 24 | CMD 40 (42 vs trip) | Fort +14 | Ref +13 | Will +10 | Init +3 (+lots of favored terrain bonuses) | Perc +24 (+lots of favored terrain bonuses)
Cold resistances:
Cold Resistance (20); treat cold climates as one step less severe

Kalt listens to the Mayor, but keeps his eyes on the wounded man lying in the bed. When the Ulfen himself speaks up, and entreats Sven and Kalt to take action in his stead, Kalt responds in his quiet voice, "We will look for your lady, and save her if she can be saved. I've a touch of ice in my heart as well, and do not fear the creatures you describe."

He reaches down to where the man's sword lies on the floor by the bed and hefts it, a quick grimace of discomfort crossing his face as he does so. Turning to his hulking partner, Kalt presents him with the blade and says, somewhat hastily, "Sven, you lack a sword at the moment, perhaps you'd carry this one?"

Better hand off this blade for the time being, until I can get used to the bloody burning I feel when I hold it. Last thing I need is this fellow thinking I'm one of the winter-touched myself. Not that I'm sure what I am, but I certainly bear him no ill will.

Hope it's okay I decided where his sword was. Didn't know if you planned to present it or something later.


Male Ulfen Brawlerdin 17 (hp 219/238) | F +29* R +19 W +24 | AC 37 T 18 FF 34 CMD 44*
Resources:
Hero Points 2/3 | Smite 3/3 | Stunning Fist 10/10 | LoH 15/15 | Stance 12/12

Sven frowns a bit when he's shooed out the door but as everyone inside the apothecary was more or less whole, and at the elder's insistence, he leaves peacefully.

***

Seeing the severity of the man's wounds, Sven's rugged features take on a somber cast. He takes the blade, passed from Oerstag, to Kalt, and then to himself in hand and tests its weight and balance in his massive hand. Cold-Forged iron. His father had spoke of such weapons in his tales as being bane to the fair-folk.

"She's a fine blade. I'll see her well cared for", the big ulfen says in a bass reply. "And your Lady returned."

Normal or Masterwork?

There were some names dropped here. Are any of them common knowledge? Who is Lady Argentea? If it's not common knowledge, Sven will ask.


Roll: 1d20 ⇒ 3
Normal cold iron longsword

Sven cannot place the name of Lady Argentea, and asks about how they would recognize the lady. The ulfen guardsman coughs a moment before responding, "Milady's the beauty of Zimar, on her way to Oppara to meet her betrothed. Her auburn locks flow round her emerald eyes and it's said the flowers bloom in Zimar just to see her smile."


Male Ulfen Brawlerdin 17 (hp 219/238) | F +29* R +19 W +24 | AC 37 T 18 FF 34 CMD 44*
Resources:
Hero Points 2/3 | Smite 3/3 | Stunning Fist 10/10 | LoH 15/15 | Stance 12/12

Bummer.

At the description, Sven stands up a bit straighter.

"On my honor, I'll do whatever it takes to bring her back."


Female Dwarf Inquisitor 2; HP: 17/17; AC: 18; Touch: 13; Flat-foot: 17; Fort: +7 (+11 v. Cold Weather) Ref: +2 Will: +6; Init: +3; Percep: 6 (8); 2 cold resist, +2 save v. poison/spells/abilities, +4 dodge v. giants

Lachna looks solemn, but interested.

"Kidnapped, ye say? Well, we'll see what kin be done 'bout that. I was 'bout to go investergate anyway. If'n ye don' mind, Mayor, I'll be on m'way then."

Lachna waits for the others to decide their course, and for the mayor to give her the okay to leave, since she'd previously been asked to stay.


Female Human (Taldan) Druid (Arctic Druid) 16/ranger 1 || HP 98/149|| AC 22/Tch 15/FF 22|| F+21 R +12 W +19 (+2 vs. ice or fire from an elemental creature effects) || CMB +15 CMD 26 || Init +0 || Perc +24 (+32 in cold terrain) || Resist 2 cold

"Oh, my." Avora says, obviously taken aback. She stares, speechless for a moment.

Long have I wished to visit the lands of my grandfather; to seek the great bear spirit. This may be my chance. But my attentions are needed here, with the village... No! The Circle will understand. This is something I must do!

"I should like to go along, if you would have me. I'm knowledgeable in woodlore and could be of some help. But I have few things I must attend to, first. They will not take me long. Will you wait?" She looks questioningly at the others.


Male Ulfen Brawlerdin 17 (hp 219/238) | F +29* R +19 W +24 | AC 37 T 18 FF 34 CMD 44*
Resources:
Hero Points 2/3 | Smite 3/3 | Stunning Fist 10/10 | LoH 15/15 | Stance 12/12

Sven frowns at the request until he realizes who made the request.

The big ulfen gives Avora a nod of agreement.

"Like I said earlier, Kalt is the best tracker I've seen but I don't think he'll mind the help and I certainly wouldn't mind the company. But be quick about it. Every moment that passes leaves the Lady in danger."

"I don't think we've met", Sven says glancing at the keleshite and gnome. "Sven Bjornson", he offers along with a meaty paw.


M Human Ranger (Guide) 11/ Horizon Walker 6 | HP 157 | AC 28 | T 16 | FF 24 | CMD 40 (42 vs trip) | Fort +14 | Ref +13 | Will +10 | Init +3 (+lots of favored terrain bonuses) | Perc +24 (+lots of favored terrain bonuses)
Cold resistances:
Cold Resistance (20); treat cold climates as one step less severe

Kalt can't help but chuckle again at his friend, saying quietly "Caught between the auburn and the blond again, eh, Sven? And ye'd have it no other way, to be sure."

Raising his voice slightly, he says to the group, "We can wait, but not long, as Sven says. I can follow the tracks, like as not, but the same snow that makes tracks easy to follow can bury them in an hour. And there's no telling what the weather's doing there in the Wood, times being what they are."

All the same, it'll be good to be in the woods again, rather than waiting around for a repair job to finish up. And even if there are winter-touched about, it'd be a joy to feel snow on my skin again.

As Kalt's ice-blue eyes study the group packed into the small room, he realizes he should follow Sven's more sociable example. He extends a pale, long-fingered hand to the Katapeshi man and says, "Kalt Ìsson."


Sorcerogue 3 | HP:22, AC: 13/13/11, F2 R5 W3, INIT: +8, Range: +5, Melee: +1, lXbow: 1d6, Perc +8 Stealth +11
GM Mez wrote:
Begrudgingly, the group returns to the Stoat to resume their meals and drinks. Not ten minutes go by when the Elder appears in the doorframe, his eyes coming to rest on your little group. "You five, please come with me." he says, motioning to Sven, Kalt, Ankih, Lachna, and Avora. Pausing when he reaches Bugsby, he sighs and his shoulders slump a bit, "You might as well come too, it my save us from having you dive in the window again."

Bugsby leaps happily to his feet with hands clasped together excitedly, at the invitation, seemingly ignorant (or possibly just uncaring) of the reasoning behind it. He skips after the others as they head back to the injured man's side, where he listens to the tale being told. He does find himself distracted many times, bored at least twice, and caught himself staring out the window once too, but finally the gnome finds a moment to get a word in, "Don'tworry! Youcan..." and takes a deep breath, "Do not worry Mr Sir! We will save this LadyArgenteaMalassenefromZimar before you can count to 604800! Or my names not BugsbyFeatherfoot!"

After that matter is settled and the big's are discussing things, some strangers, some familiar, Bugsby finds himself getting incredibly excited for the trip. Think of all the interesting things to study! A Woman who makes flowers blossom! Tiny folks smaller than me with pieces of ice in their heart! AMAZING! and starts hopping in circles around the crowded room, like a demented rabbit, arms wrapped tightly around his sides and a huge smile on his face.

Sven sticks out his huge hand in greeting, and the gnome ceases his antics, inspecting the hand large enough to encompass his head carefully. Finally he wiggles his fingers, casting Prestidigitation on Sven's hand, and finally reaches out his own tiny hand to shake, forgetting the condition of his own hand of course, dirty from falling in the dirt, climbing a tree, smashing into a full Apothecary's workbench, and the blackening explosion. So when he's done shaking, Sven's recently cleaned hand is now partially black and gross from shaking with the gnome. "PleasedtomeetsomenewBigs! I'mBugsby --I'm Bugsby Featherfoot. Isn'tthisexciting!?"


Female Human (Taldan) Druid (Arctic Druid) 16/ranger 1 || HP 98/149|| AC 22/Tch 15/FF 22|| F+21 R +12 W +19 (+2 vs. ice or fire from an elemental creature effects) || CMB +15 CMD 26 || Init +0 || Perc +24 (+32 in cold terrain) || Resist 2 cold

Avora nods her affirmation. "I shan't be long."

GM:
Avora will run to make her report to the Circle. The words spill from her mouth almost as fast as the gnome speaks. The excitement in her eyes is clear as she breathlessly asks Grevor for permission to accompany the group. It is largely a formality, of course. Members of the Circle are expected to go where they are called, but Avora still feels better knowing that her mentor gives his blessing.

As soon as she receives an answer (presumably in the affirmative, else it is going to be a short adventure for her), she races home to prepare her gear. She will don her armor and take up her spear, as well as her pack (which normally stays packed).


Avora:
Grevor's eyes sparkle seeing the excitement in his pupil. He grants his blessing, advising you to trust in Nature's desire to be repaired from this atrocity.

I will update the game tonight with the "into the woods" post. Please take this time to prepare, and perhaps purchase anything you now think you need. Also, please update you little stat lines with any bonuses or resistances to cold and cold based effects.

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