Skäne sheathes his own blade as Katie approaches, and meets her with a hard smile;
"Ach. Thought I'd finally got rid of you Rosten."
He nods toward Cara in a greeting, then shakes his helmed head at Katie's hope they'd recovered her treasures;
"We found nothing, except erfiðr (troublesome) hrōkr (crows)."
As the gruff voice drifts from the shadows, the warrior's gloved hand slips instinctively toward his blade.
Skäne shoots Katie a Have I taught you nothing? scowl at her words, then moves cautiously toward the fire.
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You cautiously approach the strange figure's campsite. It is a simple affair, with a few large stones for seats surrounding a low but warm fire that crackles enchantingly in the dead silence of the night. The sparse scattering of pine trees sit about the site, glistening off of the firelight in their shrouds of rimed needles. You also notice small fetishes or trinkets handing from a few of the branches. A large spear stands planted on the snow, its long blade-like tip housing a few impaled fish on the point. A stack of sacks and packs sits nearby, atop which you see a glowing silvery-white light, though another moment of inspection shows that the soft light is actually emanating from a silver-white furred ermine stoat, which the figure says something quietly to in a gravely language none of you understand. The hide, horn, antler, and fur-clad figure then turns to regard you.
"The spirits whispered, and said you would come," it says. "As always, they were right." It reaches up and slowly removes the skull helmet and sets it on a nearby stone. You can now see that the being is a male half-orc, though his orcish features seem to greatly outweigh his human ones. A tangle of black hair streaked with silver tumbles down to his shoulders, and you see small trinkets, feathers, and bits of bone woven amidst his locks. Despite his orcish nature he has a regal look about him, his deep green skin vibrant almost to the point of glowing, in a way. His bright, silvery-cyan eyes catch the firelight as he looks at you with a half grin, tusks just barely poking out past his bottom lip. He has markings on his forehead and under his eyes, lines and designs done in a white paint.
"I am called Krosh Stag-Helm. This little one is Khikezh, one such spirit. I have seen your faces in dream, but no names heard. The spirits say the hour is dire, and you are important. I listen. These packs are yours, I think." He points to the pile of salvage nearby. "Eat of fish if you hunger. These on the spear are cooked. Have more packed in snow here."
Cara looks somewhat relieved when she lays eyes on Geedra and Skane, although she still frowns when someone appears to be missing, "Where are Asgrid and Grugkt? Did they come with you?" She directs her question to her missing companions, before addressing the half-orc, "Have a dwarven woman and her Yeti come through her before us? Were you responsible for that terrible magic snowstorm?"
Geedra not see Grugkt or Asgrid. Cold has taken dwarf and Grugkt, Geedra am think," she explains to the elf as she scoots around the fire to grab her pouch. She quickly rifles though it, making sure her jade was still secreted away.
"What am spirits say about group, orc? Say Geedra am cute and powerful," she inquired as she cackles, at her usual weird sense of humor.
A knowing look seems to settle onto the half-orc's features. He meanders over to a stone and sits down upon it, resting his elbows on his knees as he stokes the campfire with a stick, luminous eyes gazing deeply into the shifting flames.
"I saw this dwarf and yeti through dream veil. They are on their own journey for now. You will not find them here. But your path may take you to them again." Krosh shivers slightly, and you doubt that it is because of the cold. He looks up as you mention the storm and furrows his brow a bit. "I have no part in storm of darkness. The spirits scream when such storms wake. Though dark spirits ride those winds, too. I have no want for dark spirits. I listen to spirits of life. Of life here and life beyond. But they speak little...Geedra...and what they say is...vague. Spirits brought me here to this village, because of dark spirits here that need to be quieted. On the way, they show me you, and elf, and two humans. They showed you on horses, two black and two red, with cloaks of smoke on elf and goblin, cloaks of fire on Ulfen. What does this mean? Cannot say. But I know when the spirits are serious. Spirits whispered my path to your items and I gathered them. Spirits tell me you will come here to this village. Spirits never wrong."
The stoat scrambles off of the pile of your belongings when you start reclaiming them. It runs over to Krosh and scampers up until it sits perched on his shoulder. The little weasel has bright purple eyes that hint at a deeper significance, not unlike Fox's gaze. Krosh holds up a finger beneath the stoat's chin and gives it a little rub. "Spirits also show me dogs running in a pack, and the leader had red fur. Spirits show you will meet this pack soon." He shrugs nonchalantly. You get the feeling that such strange visions are not uncommon for him.
"The spirits know your path. Expected. Many spirits in this land. Old spirits. They have been restless. Something is changing."
Skäne nods in stoic greeting to the half orc, then fetches some of the grilled fish offered.
The big warrior listens to the talk of spirits and of pathways, before commenting;
"This skari (pack) your spirits speak of. Do they mean weal or woe to us Andirœðar (Spirit-talker)?"
"I cannot say, warrior," Krosh muses. "Only that your paths cross. Spirits speak in riddles at times. I have seen many wolves and hounds in these lands, but none with bright red hide. Might be spirits speak in riddles now. Red dog may be something else in this world, friend or foe. Could be fey creature. Some fey are kind spirits, though in this land many more are dark. You appeared to me on horse with mantle of flame, but appear here without steed, without fire. A mere man, but spirits tell me there is more. There is more to red dog too, I think."
"And what of the human woman and her children? Are they on their own journey as well?" Cara then asks, sounding more like an afterthought than she intended.
"What am orc doing out here alone? Weird coincidence, if ask a Geedra. Orc not am cold?". She appreciated having her gear back, but wasn't quite sure what to expect from him.
Katie was unsure right up until she saw her pack. She immediately digs through it and makes sure everything is there, before hugging it against herself and peering up at the half-orc from behind the backpack.
"...Thanks. I appreciate it a lot."
The others can deal with interrogating him or whatever, Katie's just thankful that he and his spirits helped.
Skäne listens to the spirit-talker intently, shooting Katie a hard look as he rummages through the equipment to retrieve her gear.
"We four are tied to riders, one blakkr und one rauðr. Both now dauðr. If the skeins of fate have brought us all together then so be it."
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Krosh closes his eyes and holds his hands out to the crackling flames before him. "No other human woman did I see. No children. Cannot say. Spirits not reveal all things most times. Orc out here, Goblin, because Orc is of these lands, and Orc is told by spirits to go. No coincidence. Spirits said you and I would meet here. Spirits right. Spirits of life keep Orc warm. And magic boots," he adds with a soft grin.
When Skäne speaks, the half-orc's eyes snap open and he looks long and deep into the ulfen's face. For a few long moments there is only the crackle of flames throwing shadows all around. Finally he speaks again. "I saw three candles, one flame black, one red, one white. They were live and flickering as this fire. Then they rose up into the sky, into the heavens, and burned bright as stars. Then one by one they were snuffed. That is when I saw you. And you. And you. And you." He stands up and walks to the edge of the campsite, and turns his back to you, gazing northward. "These were the riders of the High Witch Queen. Baba Yaga. The riders are dead, but risen again in you. This I see now. The spirits writhe under heel of new queen. You are to stop new queen. Spirits send me to help you in journey, I think." He looks to the sky and holds his hand out in front of him. A moment later the stoat scrambles to his arm and sits in his outstretched palm and stares right at him, then hops off again. Krosh turns to face you once more. "Krosh Stag-Helm will aid you on your quest. The spirits know you must succeed. I heed the spirits. What must be done, I will do."
"Orc's spirits am pretty good," Geedra says with her wicked grin. "Geedra am rider now. So am Cara. And other two as well," she says as she points to the others. "Geedra let orc follow!"
Skäne nods grimly as he listens between mouthfuls of fish.
"To fell a dróttning (queen)! Und a dóttir (daughter) of Baba Yaga no less..."
The warrior flashes a hard smile and looks toward Katie;
"This will be a saga to tell Rosten!"
"I've already got the start of it in mind. Three and two, brought together by chance, three of them clad in the black cloak of night itself... the cool, calming void of subtle tugs driving them ever onward. The other two, clad in the fiery passion of the red cloak, letting it blaze onward with the driving forces of honor and love in varying degrees to the ultimate goal of the salvation of the universe from a hellish, eternal winter!"
Before she realizes it her eyes are shut and her hand is extended in front of her making vague gestures like she's sketching out a scene. Not a moment later, she's diving through her backpack for her journals so that she can do some actual artwork.
"And what sort of help can you provide Krosh Stag-Helm?" Cara asks with a slight tinge of suspicion in her voice, "Are you only helping us because the spirits told you to do so or is there more to it?"
Krosh gives you a quizzical look and shrugs. "Does it matter why? Need all the help you can get. But all things with hot blood and will of freedom are enemy to witches and Irrisen. I fight my enemies, and I will fight with you to stop witches. But, might be you help Krosh, too." He points to the village beyond the campsite. "Bad things happened here, long ago. And now evil spirits reside in ruins. Life spirits send me to cast out the evil ones. Help me quell this ruin and I will help you fight jadwiga."
He takes a few steps forward and holds one hand up, palm facing the sky, and slowly curls his fingers. As he does so, a silvery glow appears there. "As for how..." He closes his fist and a pulse of light sends a shower of silver motes across the campsite that seem to swirl around you. You feel a nourishing warmth in them, and feel less worn and beleaguered by your tribulations of the day, healing 2d6 ⇒ (3, 1) = 4 hit points. "One blessing of spirits," he notes. "Have others."
"That's a good start. Do you happen to know how to get to Whitethrone from here?" Cara gets straight down to busness as she feels refreshed by the healing power of the Krosh.
Skäne rises as the conversation continues, and checks over his own recovered equipment, before nodding to the orc-blooded newcomer;
"Enough talk. Let us send these fell náttúra (spirits) back to their barrows!"
The warrior grips his shield with satisfied look, hefting the bulwark along with his blade. He eyes the sword's edge and queries Krosh on their foes:
"Andirœðar... (Spirit-talker) Will minn blade be able to cleave these haugbúi (undead/ghosts?"
Krosh nods to Cara. "I have seen the White City, both in dream and with eyes. I can lead you there."
To Skäne, he says "I do not know if these spirits are unbound or inhabiting corpses. Might be both. You hew the corpses. I will deal with unbound spirits. But in the morning we will go. You all are tired. Weary. Hurt. Rest. Evil spirits are stronger in night. We strike in day."
Krosh expends the remaining divine energy he has stored to heal your wounds, four more times washing you in the silvery light of his powers. You are all healed for a total of 8d6 ⇒ (5, 5, 2, 4, 1, 4, 3, 2) = 26.
Katie's HP are already full, but she still has to pause to bask in the feeling of the healing glow in a manner not dissimilar to a cat in a sunny spot.
"I'll sleep after this page... I'm in a really good groove right here, don't wanna let it slip away... Does that count as first watch?"
"Worry not of watch," Krosh says. "I have warded this area."
After a bit more talk and perhaps fish, you bed down for the night, thankful for some respite after the day's trying hardships. You cannot help but think of the storm and the fates of your friends Nadya and Asgrid. Did they survive? And what did Krosh mean when he said Asgrid and Grugkt were on their own journey..?
You rise together at the morning light, such that is it, and your rousing comes strangely in unison. You awaken and rub the sleep from your eyes to see that Krosh is already awake, his stoat perched on his shoulder, as he gazes into the campfire, seemingly mesmerized by the sway of the flame and the cackle of the kindling. There is more fish to eat, you see that Krosh also has some nuts piled on a square of burlap nearby. As you begin to equip yourselves and otherwise prepare for the day, he pulls his stare from the fire and looks over to you.
"Quell the spirits, then to Whitethrone," he reiterates. He nods after his words and gets to his feet, readying his own things as well. Once you are all prepared, he leads the way from the campsite towards the ruined village.
The morning is still grey and hazy, and the village looks no less eerie than it did by night. The old iron gates stand ominously ajar, and the orc pulls them open more and they creak in protest. He steps through, and you follow.
Most of the buildings behind the gates are little more now than piles of snow-covered stones, crumbled sections of their walls rising from their ruins in a last sign of antiquity. Not too far ahead, you see another gate, mostly standing, ringing the only building that remains mostly intact - an old temple that sits in a courtyard beyond the second wall. An arch at the entrance of the gates leads towards the building, the door of which you can see is gone.
"This was Ulsgaard. Stood before Winter War. Many died in these parts, but spirits suggest something darker happened here..." he points towards the temple. "There. Be ready." Krosh leads on, gripping his boar spear as he walks towards the gate before the church.
Skäne nods grimly as he approaches the gate with the others.
Sword and shield readied, the burly warrior scans the ruins ahead for their foes...
Perception: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
... but sees little due to the blodd-haze of promised combat.
Cara stifles a yawn as she draws her bow and follows the others into the church area, peering around warily for danger.
Perception: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (15) + 13 = 28
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You move steadily towards the temple, passing through the exterior gate and into the courtyard, doing your best to be prepared for whatever evil spirits await.
You move through the courtyard, heading for the door the the church, when suddenly you spot humans around you to the left and right, and one emerges from the doorway. They look to be dressed in ecumenical garb, though they look a bit haggard and tired. All three regard your group with a look of confusion, until one speaks in a low, exhausted voice.
"More children to look after, is it? Very well..don't worry, young ones, everything will be all right. Run along and play."
Krosh shakes his head, the antlers of hi stag helm accentuating the disapproval. "No. Tricks of spirits. On." he says, ushering you forward.
After a few more steps, ghostly images suddenly appear around you, and you can feel some strange, otherwordly sensation creep down your spines. Human children, spectral and translucent, run amok in the courtyard, screaming in terror and pain. You see huge ghostly hands reach down from the air above and snatch the children, slowly pulling them upwards while they scream, and their fear and horror washes over you, as if you could feel their anguish deep inside. Trolls and giants appear as the owners of these hands, crushing the children in their oversized palms or eating them. As you behold this gruesome scene and your skin prickles in terror, the humans around you suddenly shift and change until they become gaunt, withered, horrifying reflections of their formal selves, their skin greying and hair becoming brittle, their fingers sharpening into points, their purple and blue robes tattering and fraying. A corpse clambers up from the ground before each of them as the ghostly display of fear and death finishes, ending in a wave of bone-shaking despair.
The dead around you close in.
The manifested haunt strikes all of you with a crushing despair effect. Everyone Make a Will Save DC 16 or take a -2 penalty on attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, saves, ability checks, and skill checks. 6 undead total surround you, 3 of the ones who just looked human each paired with a risen shambling corpse. One pair is 30 feet to your left, one 30 feet to your right, and one 30 feet ahead up the short staircase to the temple entrance.
Cara Init: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22
Krosh Init: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
Geedra Init: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7
Skäne Init: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (20) + 3 = 23
Katie Init: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 1 = 9
Undead: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10
DC16 Will Save: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
Round 1 Conditions/Buffs: Despair; 2 penalty on attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, saves, ability checks, and skill checks.
The visions seem to deeply affect the hard-bitten warrior and Skäne grits his teeth with a shake of his head.
"Gorum's Iron! What are they Andirœðar (Spirit-talker)? Haugbúi (ghosts) of children? Nei children surely..."
Skäne hesitates, gripping shield and sword tight... awaiting sage words from his companions or the dead to advance;
Readied Melee: MW Longsword (-Despair penalty): 1d20 + 9 - 2 ⇒ (14) + 9 - 2 = 21
Damage: Longsword: 1d8 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6
Will Save: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 12
Shaken by the visions of this haunted place, Cara finds her hands are trembling as she fires two arrows at the former priest to the left.
+1 Longbow 1 + PBS - RS - Shaken: 1d20 + 9 + 1 - 2 - 2 ⇒ (16) + 9 + 1 - 2 - 2 = 22
Damage: 1d8 + 1 + 1 - 2 ⇒ (4) + 1 + 1 - 2 = 4
+1 Longbow 2 + PBS - RS - Shaken: 1d20 + 9 + 1 - 2 - 2 ⇒ (8) + 9 + 1 - 2 - 2 = 14
Damage: 1d8 + 1 + 1 - 2 ⇒ (7) + 1 + 1 - 2 = 7
Skäne reacts swiftly to the dead, readying a blow should they advance, but waiting for any advice from the others.
Krosh looks left and right at the sudden enemies and narrows his eyes. "Huecuva...dead priests who anger their gods. Strike them with silver, or magic. The specters...spirits retelling what happened here. They should not attack us."
Cara wastes not an instant more to strike, sending a pair of arrows off to the leftmost fallen clergyman. One arrow bites into the huecuva's emaciated form, the other just misses. The risen priest hisses, baring sharp fangs as it takes the wound.
The six undead charge forward at the group, rapacious in their advance. As the huecuvas pass through the courtyard, the ghostly images of children rise up again, replaying their scene of torment. The animated corpses pass right through them without mind. Skäne lashes out as the first zombie to the right gets in reach, hacking into cold flesh with his blade. The zombie groans but keeps its feet for now, and returns the sword blow with a sluggish slam that clangs harmlessly off of the ulfen's armor.
The other two zombies collide into Krosh from the front and Geedra from the left. Both zombies connect with the swings of their heavy arms. 6 damage to Krosh, 5 damage to Geedra.
The huecuvas are right behind, and each sidles up next to a zombie to lash out with their hardened, sharpened claws. One leaps at Katie, but its claws drag across the bard's armor to no effect. The front most one assists the zombie in attacking Krosh, but the orc is able to push the beast away with his spear. The final one, sporting an arrow shaft, rakes angrily at Cara, but the elf fluidly dodges the blow.
1d20 + 5 ⇒ (16) + 5 = 21
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (14) + 4 = 18
1d6 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6
1d6 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
Katie takes in a deep, shaky breath.
Intimidate: 1d20 + 9 - 2 ⇒ (11) + 9 - 2 = 18
"There is a time and a place for fear, and this is neither! They're naught but undead! What hope do undead have against the power of love, and the might of the blades with which we protect it?! Nothing! That's what! To arms, my comrades! To arms and forward, or you answer not just to me, but to love itself!"
Feeling better, she arcane strikes up her blade just in case one of them should happen to provoke, and stays in formation with the others.
Rallying Cry: Anyone within 30 feet of her can use this intimidate check instead of their will save, getting to count it as a new save this round for free!
Not sure how long Cara is shaken, but if there is another Will save I'll take Katie's 18.
Determined to defeat these fiends despite her fear, Cara backs up 5 feet as necessary and fires two more arrows at the same huecuva.
+1 Longbow 1 + PBS - RS - Shaken: 1d20 + 9 + 1 - 2 - 2 ⇒ (10) + 9 + 1 - 2 - 2 = 16
Damage: 1d8 + 1 + 1 - 2 ⇒ (7) + 1 + 1 - 2 = 7
+1 Longbow 2 + PBS - RS - Shaken: 1d20 + 9 + 1 - 2 - 2 ⇒ (9) + 9 + 1 - 2 - 2 = 15
Damage: 1d8 + 1 + 1 - 2 ⇒ (4) + 1 + 1 - 2 = 4
If not shaken any longer, all those rolls get a +2
@Katie: Cheers - great ability :) Everyone bear in mind anyone standing adjecent to Skäne can benefit from his Saving Shield feat (+2 AC as an immediate action)
Round 2 Conditions/Buffs: -
Katie's bright words strike a cord with the grim hearted warrior and Skäne feels the cold mantle of dread lifted from his shoulders...
Bellowing in anger, the warrior allows his rage to consume him and lashes out at the zombie before him;
(Enter Rage - Free Action & Attack - Standard Action)
Melee: MW Longsword (+Rage):1d20 + 9 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 9 + 2 = 20
Damage - Longsword (+Rage): 1d8 + 4 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 4 + 2 = 14
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@Cara: Rallying Cry itself grants a second saving throw with her intimidate check result even if the original fear effect wouldn't allow a second save (so long as it allowed a first save). It's really good vs fear.
Katie makes a bolstering and triumphant display against the malicious undead as she rallies everyone around her to steel themselves and focus their efforts on putting down these foes, resisting the profane persuasion this area seems infused with. It seems to succeed, and the chilling reverberations of the agony and anguish of the phantasmal imprint of the children seems to melt away.
Geedra hops away from the marauding claws of the enemies and calls down an abjuration on herself, and a shimmer of bending light ripples across her body.
Krosh looks left and right, and his little stoat dances on his shoulder. He holds out his hands and you can hear him murmuring in Orc under his breath. A sudden eruption of the familiar silver motes he healed you with the night before pour out of his palms and swirl about the battlefield, clashing with the purple and greenish light given off by the spirit theater. Instead of surging across your forms and wounds, the shower of silver seeks out the dead, coursing over them like angry bees. The undead moan as the positive energy ravages them,. and the huecuva hiss and scream, holding up their claws before their faces. Channeling positive energy against the undead for 2d6 ⇒ (2, 2) = 4 damage (half against those who save).
Reinvigorated by Katie's oratory, Skäne embraces his viking rage and lashed out ferociously with his longsword, decapitating the zombie that had lunged at him. It crumples soundlessly into the snow.
Cara steps out of the melee fray and lines up another pair of shots onto the fallen priest she ahd hit before. No longer plagued by the chilling despair of the haunt, both arrows burrow deep into the huecuva and stop it in its tracks and it keels over with a thud.
The remaining enemies continue their assault, savage in their attacks. A zombie heaves forward to pummel at Geedra again, and connects despite her mage armor spell. Ouch, 9 damage to Geedra as this zombie rolls high on both counts. Your 5 ft. step put you just out of range of Skäne's shield
The huecuva to the right seems quite perturbed by Katie's loud proclamations and lashes out at her twice with its claws. THe first goes wide but the second is about to land right on her exposed throat when Skäne's shield suddenly appears to send the claw askew, resulting in a narrow miss!
The remaining zombie shifts to strike at Skäne while the nearby huecuva seems intent on ripping Krosh apart after his barrage of positive energy. THe Zombie succeeds in striking Skäne, landing a blow while the warrior's shield is blocking for Katie, and the frenzied huecuva lands both strikes on Krosh. 5 damage to Skäne, 5 to Krosh.
Krosh HP: 20/31
H1 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14
H2 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (15) + 6 = 21
H3 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10
Z1 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11
Z2 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13
Z3 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (19) + 5 = 24
Z1vsG 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 = 21
1d6 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
H3vsK 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13
H3vsK 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19
Z3vsS 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 22
1d6 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5
H2vsKr 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19
1d4 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
H2vsKr 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (14) + 4 = 18
1d4 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2
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Katie ends her performance. With two other fighters near her to benefit from its effects, plus herself, now seems like a good time to keep the performance rolling.
End Rallying Cry, Standard action: Inspire Courage.
"Så håll om mig!
Släpp inte taget om mig!
Är som förhäxad av dig!
Och jag vill ha dig!
Kom och håll om mig nu!"
Cara steps away from the mass of undead and fires two more arrows at the closest Huecuva. "It is good to have all of you at my side again." She adds, appearing slightly embarrassed at the sentiment.
+1 Longbow 1 + PBS + IC - RS: 1d20 + 9 + 1 + 1 - 2 ⇒ (10) + 9 + 1 + 1 - 2 = 19
Damage: 1d8 + 1 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 + 1 + 1 = 8
+1 Longbow 2 + PBS + IC - RS: 1d20 + 9 + 1 + 1 - 2 ⇒ (4) + 9 + 1 + 1 - 2 = 13
Damage: 1d8 + 1 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 1 + 1 + 1 = 10
Round 3 Conditions/Buffs: Inspire Courage (+1 morale bonus on saving throws against charm & fear effects; +1 competence bonus on attack and weapon damage) Rage (1/7: +4 Str & +4 Con; +2 Will Saves; -2 AC)
Katie's new words allows the battle-rage in Skäne to burn brightly and he hacks at the risen corpse that damaged him with renewed vigour.
Melee: MW Longsword (+Inspire Courage & Rage):1d20 + 9 + 2 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 9 + 2 + 1 = 19
Damage - Longsword (+Inspire Courage & Rage): 1d8 + 4 + 2 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 4 + 2 + 1 = 15
Katie and Geedra work in tandem to propel their allies to new heights of combat prowess. Just as Katie starts with another bolstering performance, bestowing a vocal boon upon the group, Geedra invokes her ancestral patron to call down a blessing on everyone as well.
The rest is just a massacre. As Krosh unleashes another barrage of positive energy, swirling silver motes flashing throughout the melee, Cara snaps one arrow off, and then another, as Skäne delivers a devastating overhand chop with his longsword. The volley of offenses is enough to take down the remaining zombies and one of the huecuvas, leaving one more fallen priest wounded and alone. It hisses and moves its dark, cold gaze around to the lot of you before letting out a terrible howl and turning to run back into the church, some strange sensation overcoming it. As it goes to run, Krosh and Skäne finish it off with spear and sword and it collapses into the snow.
Despite the destruction of the undead, the spectral drama continues to unfold around you, a loop of the poor children being killed and eaten. Though you've shaken off the dread, fear, and anguish, it still is a somber scene, and standing amidst it still manages to unsettle you.
Krosh turns to face you. "Riders indeed." He nods in respect. "Strong and powerful, you. These dark spirits were no match. We burn them, and with hope I can banish the spirit taint here and rid us of...this," he says, gesturing to the show around you.
You help the half-orc pile the corpses up and set them alight on a pyre, which the shaman seems to use as a sort of divine focus as he sits in the center of the courtyard, the ghostly children running and screaming all around him. He takes out a few strange trinkets from his pack - a few bones, feathers, a small skull, some bark - and sets them around himself. "This may take some time. You could check church for salvage, or more undead."
Skäne nods at the shaman's suggestion. Its clear the big warrior wants no part of the child spectres and moves purposely toward the church;
"Let us search the kirkja... (church) Leave Andirœðar (Spirit-talker) to the settle the restless... Koma let us go."
The vikingr gestures to the church with a nod before advancing sword and shield readied...
Perception (as he gets closer): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (13) + 3 = 16
Geedra casts CLW on herself, healing the claw from the zombie.
CLW 1d8 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
The goblin follows the large human and heads toward the church. "Geedra be back soon. Have fun with spirits," she tells the shaman as she walks away.
Cara breathes a sigh of relief, then joins Skäne in looking around for salvage or more enemies in the church.
Perception: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (12) + 13 = 25
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As Krosh sets to work with his ritual to attempt to cleanse this unhallowed domain, the rest of you move cautiously up the worn staircase leading to the temple proper. The front door is mostly gone, the only monument to its existence being the old, rust-covered iron hinges that still grasp the last pieces of rotten wood. Above the door is a smooth stone circle still affixed to the wall, and though it has set into patina you can see the image of a butterfly engraved upon it, denoting this as a once-temple of Desna.
Inside, the air is dead and cold, almost eerie in the way it saps the warmth from the flesh and nestles down into the marrow. Similarly strange is how...clean it all feels. Empty, pure, the slightest note of turned earth on the air. It feels different than the rest of Irrisen, where the arcane and eldritch is almost a stench on everything. This place is old. Before jadwiga, before witchcraft.
You spread about the chapel, looking for any more undead or possibly salvage. The chamber has four square pillars that still stand, tarnished silver sconces in the shapes of butterflies having not known fire in eons mounted on each. The mortar on the pillars is aged and crumbling, leaving gaps between the stones and chalky dust upon the floor. The benches lining the hall have mostly deteriorated, the stone blocks that they were mounted atop serving almost as gravestones to the people who once worshiped here. Bits and scraps of wood lie strewn about, but most of it looks much too rotten to be of any use.
Cara investigates the altar atop the dais at the far end of the hall. It has been toppled, the silver figure representing Desna - a pale elven woman clothed in starlight with butterfly wings - broken amidst the stone. An old offering bowl sits upturned near by, but it uncovers nothing but dust. A stone on the floor beneath the altar, however, looks strangely out of place - cut too square to fit the rest of the decor. A seam is evident around its outer edge, and Cara lifts it to reveal a hidden cache beneath.
A coffer sits below, containing a small trove. A bag of 220 gold pieces sits next to another bag filled with 27 platinum pieces. A delicate silver scroll case engraved with prayers of Desna with a mithral fastener unveils a pair of divine scrolls - Resist Energy (Cold), and Hold Person. A ring of two twisted silver bands stamped with minuscule butterflies sits in a small jewelry box along with two brilliant fire opals. Finally, at the bottom of the coffer, is a segmented belt of fine tanned leather, each rectangle of hide lashed together by steel links.
The ring and the belt both read magical; Cara and Katie can ascertain that the ring is a Ring of Feather Falling, and that the belt is a Bladed Belt. Appraisals reveal that though mundane, the fire opals are worth 250 gp each and that the scroll case itself is worth 100 gp.
After collecting this cache, you determine that there is nothing more of note in the chapel, and return to the courtyard. Krosh is in meditation, small objects burning in a circle around him, his trinkets set about. He is murmuring methodically and his silver stoat walks a circle around him. Ambiguous, misty vapors of silver and white drift through the courtyard, coalescing around the phantom images of anguished children and marauding giants. The vaporous masses vibrate and swirl each time they connect until they disperse and the horrible replaying of fate is slowly whittled away. When the final screaming child is taken away by the silver mists and the last yell fades from hearing, Krosh finally opens his eyes and breathes deep. He nods to you and stands, brushing the snow off of his vestments.
"This part of the past is quiet now. Children can rest. Spirits quelled. I will take you to Whitethrone. I will fight witches with you. I will ride your path, too, Riders. The spirits call, and they say I am yours."
Krosh Stag-Helm Joins the Party!
Skäne waits patiently whilst the others with a more skill identify the nature of the items recovered.
As they work he retrieves on of the fire opals, measuring it against the pommel of his blade as a potential ornament.
When Krosh announces the dead are at rest, then warrior grimly nods and claps the shaman's shoulder;
"Góðr. (Good) Lead on Andirœðar (Spirit-talker)..."