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1,581 posts. Alias of Aiunder.


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"Provided that the records are accurate and we've interpreted the landmarks correctly the cave or cavern should be little more than four or five days ride south and east of here before you reach the mountains. I've marked the rough area on this map as well as a few enemy encampments so you should be able to avoid any needless confrontations. Unfortunately, the first hurdle will be to get you past the crones watch huts without them noticing you. Savol plans to kick the hornets nest literally. Our plan is to strike several of her huts at the same time and then rushing our way across the border aiming to raid nearby encampments and give you a chance to cross the border in the confusion before pulling back and drawing their forces back to the border and away from you. Its risky and hinges on you get through unnoticed and the idea that they don't have a larger force unknown to us nearby." she pauses and hands Rutilux the map.
she waits to answer any questions or listen to your own suggestions/plans and when you all seem satisfied...
"The plan doesn't start until tomorrow evening so if you have any arrangement you wish to make feel free. Oh and there's a traveling merchant just outside the fort if you feel you need anything. You can't miss him, he's dressed all in white and his wagons are truly massive. Savol made sure that the quartermaster downstairs had some coin put aside for any gear or supplies you wished to purchase. Otherwise I'll see you tomorrow."

Sorry no post tonight but tomorrow is holiday so I should be able to post a bunch

I'm really enjoying the back and forth between the characters currently.

And I also like the ideas you've come up with for why your characters shouldn't go on a "wild goose chase"

"You must understand, the Kodiak clan is still in many ways shattered. When we lost against Irrissen we lost our homeland and much of our clans history. Yes since then great warriors and chieftains have forged new stories and won new victories but the loss still weighs on our ancestors and our honour. You and I know that Savol would never accept a fake crown, heck, the only reason he hasn't gone off by himself to reclaim it is his duty to stay and lead his men. Even now members of the clan are still travelling to join us from distant lands. We have an old story regarding the war-crown that describes it as a mighty half helm forged into a crown by Skaaden Iron-Pelt by mounting the teeth and fangs of the Linnorm his chieftain had slain in a wreath about it. So you should look for an ulfen helm with dragon teeth ringing it like a crown."

(Julianda isn't old, she's in her early thirties)

"This War-crown is a symbol of the Kodiaks, for generations their high chief wore it while leading them into battle. Even if the item itself may be no more than a simple crown, to the Kodiak clan it carries heavy symbolic importance."

While you stand chatting amicably with each other Julianda strides into the room looking quite weary and a little dishevelled with several large scrolls and maps in her arms. "Welcome back all of you and I thank you for returning as quickly as possible. Yes, Bron is planning our counter attack already but first we need to recover and wait for several clans to arrive for that. But you weren't summoned for that, we need, Savol needs you all to investigate some troubling information."[/b she pauses! sets down her armload and rests against a nearby table, [b]"During Savol's antics behind enemy lines he found himself spending a night in an old overgrown guard house and while looking for things he could use for a fire he discovered several records dating back to the fall of the Kodiaks. These troubling notes accuse the kings nephew of betraying his family and not only poisoning the kings guards but stealing the Kodiak war crown and trying to deliver it into Irrissen hands." she pauses for a moment to allow everyone to time to consider her words, "the traitor whose name seems to have been stricken from record was hunted Down and eventually followed to a cave. Moments after the traitor fled into the cave his pursuers heard a bloodcurdling scream from inside. The record doesn't detail much more but it seems that not of the soldiers we willing to brave the cavern so the traitors body and the war crown may still be there. It took a while but we believe that we've figured out roughly where this cave or cavern should be and we want you to find it. But there are a few problems, the area is still under Irrissen control and we don't know if anyone since has entered and claimed the crown or if it even exits anymore."

The winters cold slowly eases its grip over the north as yet another winter comes to an end. Through several bitter months of battle across a protracted front and frigid snow storms strong enough to tear down buildings the spring can finally be seen. As the first thaw breathes new life into the north and nature begins to shrug off its hibernation the warriors fighting under the banner of the Kodiak can finally stand back and rest as they watch the armies of Irrissen fade back beyond their borders as the seasons make their change.

With the threat of continued violence abating Savol has secluded himself to examine several ancient records regarding his lineage uncovered in ruins across the border.

In the meantime, Julianda has summoned you all back from the various locales that your duties had sent you.

... Okay I'm gonna start this back up on the run so to speak. For those who haven't had their solo adventure displayed they're still coming I'll just toss them in as we continue rather than forcing everyone to wait even longer to join in.

Well I'm back home, after ungodly renovation. I still have to settle in but updates will start back up this week.

Thanks for putting up with (words that won't pass any filter) this winter.

Sorry for prolonged absence... I'm still waiting to return home... Staying with family until our furnace gets replaced and we get heat back...

Be patient you'll get one soon enough. Possibly real soon...

Thorvald side story...

The needs of the many out way your desires for sleep as you quietly climb out of bed before first light and make ready to leave. Climbing up onto your horse you ride out for Greyson's Landing and the garrison waiting for you. You easily manage the fastest and safest route and find yourself riding towards the town's outskirts before nightfall.
From the outside, the town looks much like any other in ulfen territory with a sturdy wall made of stone as tall as a man's chest and the most fire resistant houses near the walls. Several figures huddle away from the wind behind the wall taking turns to peer out into the dusk. It doesn't take long for them to notice you riding up and immediately you see the guards moving to intercept you, several readying arrows while one raises a horn.
As you ride into the light of a brandished lantern, the sudden brightness fouling your vision, a cry of warning goes out. Slowing down and riding closer with empty arms outstretched you calmly identify yourself and the guards lower their weapons. They greet you and signal for the nearest gate to be opened for you.
Inside the town you can see most of the homes are stuttered tightly with only small traces of light seeping through gaps in the shutters. One guard guides you to the mayors house and raps noisily on the door before giving the guard inside a warning of whose on the other side and leaving to return to his post.
The door is opened by a wary looking but older ulfen man with three feet of northern steel clasped naked in his hand but sheaths it once he sees who you are. You're waved into the houses open hearth room while you hear movement from a room farther in. Shortly later a heavyset, almost portly, ulfen emerges wrapped in a fur nightgown and greets you warmly. After a quick bite the mayor leads you to a room you can use for your stay and bids you good night before returning to his own chambers.
You are awoken early in the morning, just after dawn, by a tremendous clamour beyond your door. A large group of servants are moving about cleaning, cooking and tending to chores while the major sits at his table enjoying a bowl of porridge. As soon as you're spotted a seat is readied for you and over breakfast you discuss with the mayor your task.
Greyson's Landing is a central hub for travel and commerce in the region so the town makes sure they always have a solid staff of guards to deter and defend against bandit attacks. The town is too large for the majority of bandit groups or monsters to attack directly but they have no real defence against an army.
Spending the first day reviewing the state of affairs and touring the town you set about planning out the best way to defend it against a marching force. By the end of night, long past midnight you stand satisfied staring at a map of the town scribbled on and marked according to your plan.
The next six weeks are spent working tirelessly alongside your men reinforcing the wall, barricading key streets and turning the town into a maze of streets and dead ends as well as working with the guards in training the inhabitants how to use a few weapons and defend themselves should the need arise.
All of your planning and preparations are tested less than a week later as a small raiding force pushes past the outer wall. The town is in chaos as guards scramble into position and volunteers run around having forgotten where to go and what to do. Time and again the raiders are forced to split up or double back as they're constantly harried by archers and forced from ambush to ambush as the guards slowly whittle away at their numbers. The last few raiders, cornered in a dead end alley way, end their own lives before they can be captured "Death before failure!" hissed from dying lips.
Several more weeks pass with frequent sightings of enemies and groups of refugees seeking protection within the walls. Soon you spend more time fighting laziness and in attentiveness than than bandits or raiding parties in the vicinity.

That all ends somewhere within your third month, on a night with a full and heavy moon that hangs eerily low in the sky.
Well after midnight while you lay sleeping a thunderous crash shatters your dreams quickly followed by frantic screaming. Grabbing your shield and drawing wintersbane from its sheath resting on a bed post you rush out into the night. Everywhere around you can be heard the sounds of frantic battle and the snarls of monstrous beasts. As you try to decide on the best place to help a pair of gigantic white wolves with rime and frost mingled with blood coating their muzzles lumber out of a side street and sniffing the air turn towards you. Their heads lower and their hackles rise as almost human growls escape from their throats. They rush you in unison and while you raise your shield to deflect one set of fangs aimed at your face the other bites and tears ribbons from your thigh before hopping away ahead of winterbane's steel. The two wolves circle just out of reach, stepping in mirrored unison before abruptly shifting direction. The one to your left rushes in low aiming for you legs below your shield and as your arm stretches out to slash it before it can reach you find your aim grabbed and your shoulder aches as it's nearly popped out of the socket as the second wolf tries to tear your arm clean off but you spin backwards and bring the lip of your shield across the side of its face is a wide and heavy back hand. Backing away again the one shakes its head but this time it's a few seconds slower than the other one and just as your shield smashes into the first wolf's muzzle, wintersbane slashes downwards, cutting off the the wolf's ear and bloodying its hackles. You move to finish off the wounded winter wolf but the first one slams its body mightily into your shield with all its weight, throwing off your aim and sending you stumbling. As you right yourself and turn, prepared for the obvious attack that should follow you are shocked as the wounded wolf is trotting away towards the edge of the town and the unharmed wolf stands between you menacingly as it backs away slowly.
You have no time to pursue them and finish the battle because a terrifying crash and a burst of ash and erupts down the street and you run towards it.
One of the larger buildings, the school you think, lies a burning ruin, the walls are beginning collapse under the weight of the roof and down the street you can see a man cackling like a mad man and juggling lit torches. He spots you at nearly the same time and drops a few torches as he bursts into a run down the opposite way. Your long legs strengthened by years of fighting easily allow you to outpace the scrawny man but just as your about thirty feet away he pauses and blows on a torch in your direction. A cascade of flames erupt outwards much like you would guess a dragon's breath would look rushing up the street towards you and singing your bare skin as you bring up your shield to guard your face. The flames only lick you for a moment before shifting and turning aside blanketing the buildings to your right in flames and setting the waddle and daub as well as the thatch alight. The man begins running again but you stop. Screaming and crying is coming from one of the buildings so you break down the door to find a woman holding an infant and trying to coax a young toddler out from under a table as the burning thatch and bits of the rafters rain down. Before your eyes the image changes as a large section gives way and drops on the woman. Rushing to her aid, heedless of the flames burning your palms and skin you strain your muscles and lift. Wedging you shoulder underneath one of the main cross joists of the roof you push up with your legs, the wolf bite screaming in agony, and lift the debris up. You can feel your skin sizzling and popping as the woman still protectively clutching the infant clambers out. The young boy terrified needs a bit more coaxing as you free one of your arms, grab the boy by his collar and yank him desperately out before your wounded leg gives and you collapse, tumbling away from the debris. You collect the boy in your arms and stumble to your feet barely making it out of the house before the rest of the roof joins the floor.
Several soldiers rush to your aid and hurl a soaked blanket over you. The cold a welcome change to the heat from moments before.
The soldiers send for the towns priest and healer as you sit exhausted and in more pain than you've ever felt. Looking up at the town you see many of the fires are already being put out the soldiers are chasing after several wolves fleeing the town. That when you see him, on a slight rise to the east in clear view stands a large man watching the events unfold. Several winter wolves stand or sit nearby him while he leans almost casually on a long halted weapon before he turns and walks away into the night.
The priest and everyone else trained in healing have their hands full tending to the wounded and you lie bed ridden for several days wrapped in healing poultices and herbs. Most of your body is numb and the medicine clouds your head as you slip in and out of consciousness.
You aren't sure how long you've been asleep but when you wake a familiar scent, a perfume, and a familiar voice fill your head. As your head slowly clears the face of Dagmar comes into view as she finished peeling off some old poultices. "Dear me, you get left alone for a few months and the next time I see you you look more like one of those desert mummies I've heard about than a north man. No stop, you need to rest. I've tended to your wounds. I came rushing here from my hospice when I heard how badly you had been hurt but you'll be fine now. You just need to give the medicine a bit of time to wear off. Go back to sleep." as she places a moist cloth over your eyes and forehead and your consciousness fades again.
The next time you wake up you feel much better, your body isn't covered in bandages and you don't smell of herbs and weeds anymore. Looking around you can't find Dagmar but another woman sits nearby knitting.
Seeing you stir and the question obviously on your parched lips the woman stands and grabs a cup, handing it to you, "The mistress had to leave sir, Lady Dagmar was called away to tend to more wounded but she bid me stay and help here. I'm Holly, Dagmar's assistant. Your wounds have put you out of the fight for two weeks milord. You may feel a little week but your body is fine and you can return to your duties. I will remain to help with the wounded as well." with that she bows and leaves you alone to dress.
Returning to duty is hard for the first few days as your body is stiff and weak from lying in bed for so long but soon your muscles remember how to move.
While you slept several raids had occurred at night but the wolves retreated shortly after waking everyone. The wolves seemed to be probing the defences in a far more organized manner than you've ever heard of winter wolves doing.
A few nights later the wolves attack again but you were ready for them. You slept during the evening and had all the soldier ready in full armour each and every night.
This night, when the wolves attacked and flooded into the town in greater number than before they avoided you. Several times your movements put you face to face with wolves but they always retreated before you could engage them. With your frustration rising you finally understand why when the large ulfen looking man with dominantly wolves features marches down the main street towards you and the winter wolves seem to guide him. You know in your gut that the raids these past two weeks were merely a ruse to search for you. This man that commands winter wolves has been waiting for you to recover and let the town survive so that he could meet you in battle fully rested.
(The man in a broken mix of skald and common with a heavy accent you don't recognize)"Ah there you are. I've been waiting soo long for someone like you. It's been such a long time since I've found someone worthy of fighting. Worthy of killing with my own hands." his lips curl back in a snarl as his smile begins to extend towards the back of his jaw. "I haven't had someone kindle my bloodlust like this in years." he lifts his head and groans as if in pleasure and his ears begin to get pointy and his teeth in his long wide mouth turn into fangs. His long greyish brown hair grows longer and turns white, "Come north man, come embrace death and fight me one on one!". By now he is less than ten feet away from you as his body continues to shift and contort into that of the largest werewolf you've ever seen with pure white, long fur and frost clinging to his lips. In his hand is a mighty two handed hammer. Seeing before you the cause of this towns trouble and a monster leaves you unable to hold yourself in check as your primal fury, your own blood lust boils to the surface and you rush him. Bashing his hammer away with your shield and slashing with all your might, wintersbane buries itself deep in the mans shoulder before he brings his hammer back and with inhuman force smashes you through your shield. Your whole body leaves the ground and you find find yourself partially buried inside a nearby building. You clamber out and move towards him again. Your rage and bloodlust warring with you instincts to be cautious as you step in, ducking under a wide swing and securing two more slashes on his body. Again and again you trade blows with the werewolf. Cut after cut closes and seals on him while you stoically ignore your own. Frustration continues to fuel your anger, keeping your body moving despite begin long out of breath and you can see that your many wounds are finally having an affect on your enemy. You stab him and your aim is true as wintersbane buries itself sixteen inches deep into his chest right where his heart should be but when you look up into the wolves face you see sadness. Confused you hesitate and his foot connects with your chest sending you flying back and forcing you to drop your shield. "No, you can hurt me but you are capable of killing me. I grow bored." he raises his hammer high over his head and brings it down as you lift wintersbane two handed to block but his hammer smashes through wintersbane's blade and crushes your shoulder. You can barely lift your arm but within your hand lies only a hilt, only eight or nine inches remain.
As the werewolf walks away the winter wolves follow, "Keep your town, I will find better sport elsewhere."

The next few days are a blur as reinforcements arrive and the townsfolk praise you for saving them. Released from your deputies here you return to the fortress. When you arrive no one else has returned from their own duties but you do hear rumours of daring raids by Isham and praise for Rutilux saving a flank during a heated battle.
Not sure what to do next you turn to Julianda who currently commands in Bron's absence who after listening to your report bids you seek out Toopil who was on his way back to Tweyd.

Several days ride later you find Toopil back at his forge and show him your ruined blade, "I see lad. The steel tells me what happened. This blade was made with borrowed strength, your uncle was a great warrior but his strength alone is not enough for what you face now. Come, I will show you how to remake your blade into a true Wintersbane. I will teach you the secrets of Kodiak steel."
Over the next month Toopil guides you in picking out the proper ores and show your his secret ways of smelting the metal, part reverent prayer, part alchemy and the right temperature. Much hotter than you would normal work and much longer. When the time comes, you take the remainder of the blade and melt it down with ores Gathered from dwarven mines in the north and sprinkle in black obsidian and metal dust. Heating and folding the mixture upon itself again and again before burning the raw blade into the white hot coals. You hammer the blade endlessly in a constant pattern of coals, powder, anvil, coals, powder, anvil. Night and day for a full week before Toopil finally admits its ready for quenching. You reach forward to plunge the blade into the bucket but he grabs you arm forcefully, "No, Kodiak steel can only be quenched with blood. You've toiled to shape the blade now give Gorum his due. Spill your blood upon the blade then plunge it deep into the ice." surprised by the look on Toopil's face and his request to start to falter but steel yourself and open your vein over the blade, watching as your blood sizzles and cools the metal it touches before taking it out onto the frozen pond nearby and with two hands plunging the blade through the ice to the hilt as steam rises and bathes you in a mix of heat and chill.
Pulling your hands out of the now melted water you lift the reformed Wintersbane to you eyes and wonder at its beauty. Even though the blade is cool to the touch it looks as if heat radiates from within it. With this you are ready to face your enemies again.

ppst. Ana. That item you wanna buy costs double unless you're making it yourself

Anastasiya side story conclusion (including slight amendment)

The fireball comes easily and as soon as it makes contact the ice shatters and the water disappears. Anastasiya climbs to her feet and stares accusingly at Anabella who stares back, a mixture of confusion and sadness on her face, amidst the cinders of Ana's last spell.
As Anastasiya vents her anger and frustration Anabella stands there tears forming in her eyes until she raises her hand and a deep sleep overcomes Anastasiya.

Anastasiya wakes some time later but not in Anabella's grove but on the outskirts of an unfamiliar forest wrapped in a heavy knitted blanket. Looking about frantically for Anabella or signs of danger she finds neither. Nearby, her belongings have been neatly stowed beneath the bows of the tree she woke up under.
Sitting atop her bag lies a note:

Dearest Anastasiya,
You will never know how sorry I am to have hurt you. It was never my intent. I can only hope that someday, you may come to understand what I tried but failed to do. I pray that you are strong enough to control the powers that you have embraced and that you will eventually be able to live a peaceful, happy life.


Fear not, you will never have to see me again for as long as that is your desire

After riding for several days you eventually come upon a town and from there are guided back to the fortress where you are greeted by a very worried looking Julianda. She ushers you inside and to a cozy fire.
"Are you all right? The spirits told me something happened to you."

Yeah us being sick so much lately is because of the CO not germs apparently.

I'm back. No thanks to carbon monoxide poisoning. I plan on having something up tonight.

My house is currently plague central. I have not abandoned people I'm just too heavily medicated to write coherent sentences right now.

Yeah, never saw that choice coming at all.

It is my sad duty to report the unfortunately loss of the majority of the plot development department to an entirely unexpected inferno that spontaneously erupted some time earlier today. Our thoughts go out to their families during this difficult time. Extra thoughts go out to the family of our intern Jimmy who was sadly delivering coffee to the department at the time... And my coffee which had yet to be delivered. My poor poor coffee.

Please share with me a moment of silence for my lost coffee... And the staff I'll have to replace.

Anastasiya side story...

The next morning after the groups 'farewell for now' feast and a rather unsuccessful attempt to convince your horse to stop trying to run away you're called up by Bron. Several of the others have already left the camp and despite. Rutilux's promise to help with your training his duties have prevented him from doing it so far.

On the roof of the tower Bron waits, looking out over the edge towards the east, scanning the horizon. Three Ulfen, two men and a woman, stand nearby fidgeting and sharpening arrows. When the door closes Bron turns to you, "Lass, things aren't going nicely here. Despite our best efforts we're losing most major engagements. As you know the ulfen people are distrustful of the arcane which leaves us at a disadvantage since Irrissen has no shortage of spell slingers and they're not afraid to use them in battle. Now that's where you and these people come in. They're a family of hunters that have come forth and volunteered their skills. Oleg, Anya and Robar Forester will ride with you through the lines. I want you to concentrate on finding their spellcasters and pointing them out."
(The Lankier brother, Oleg you think)"And then we just pick em off easy a pie."
(Bron)"I'm glad you're so optimistic but don't let your guard down."

The 'Foresters' accompany you as you ride back and forth along the line. Several times battle breaks out nearby and you struggle to keep hold of your horse while trying scan the enemy lines. Several times throughout the first week you spot signs of spells being cast but aren't able to catch sight of the caster.
Some time in your second week of searching, which a battle rages only a few hundred feet in front of you, you spot a figure behind enemy lines concentrating hard and then beginning to wave their arms in measured motions. The somatic components of a spell! You tell a warning to the trio and point of the figure frantically before he can blend into the throng of bodies or finish his spell. Almost as soon as you point at the man you hear the thrum of bow strings and just as the wizard was about to complete his spell three arrows bloom from his chest. His lifeless body disappears amidst the throng of the enemy.
From then on, over the course of a month, you manage to identify several more wizards for your companions to strike. They don't always manage to slay them but the always connect.
After several days without any sightings you just manage to catch a woman amongst the enemy as she finishes as spell but before your can point her out the whole front line erupts in panic as a huge, skeletal monster erupts from thin air. The creature immediately wades into the Ulfen lines, scattering soldiers with mighty swings of its monstrous claws and impaling others with its barbed tail while ulfen steel rebounds and sparks off it its hideous hide.
(Anya)"What in the nine hells is that?"
(Oleg)"No idea," he turns to you, "Well?"
(Anastasiya)"I, I don't know."
(Robar)"It doesn't matter what it is, just tell us how to kill it."
(Anastasiya)"I don't know!" as she tries frantically to control her panicking horse and hurls a cluster of force at it. Her spell rebounds against some unseen barrier across the creatures skin harmlessly.
(Robar)"Run! We're outmatched."
Forced to flee, most of the line breaks and scatters trying to get away. The creature vanishes a few minutes later but the damage is done. The enemy has pushed forward and forced themselves deep into Savol's line.
Afterwards, Bron doesn't want to risk you near the front anymore and you're forced to remain at the fort. It's right around that time that a peculiar image began manifesting in all of your dreams. Every night, no matter what your dream contains, wether good or nightmare you keep seeing the same set of eyes. Always floating, mostly transparent and surrounded my age lines. Then you start hearing the faint echo of a voice, nothing clear. Then to make matters worse, you dreams always end with an image of a forest, the same forest every time.
Despite your attempts to hide it, Julainda has noticed something is wrong and when you finally confide some of it she looks at you seriously and tells you that you need to leave. As panic rises she grabs your arm kindly and continues, "Ana, sometimes our dreams are a way for our souls or our ancestors to tell us something important. I can't tell you what you saw or even if it was real but I can tell you that if you try to ignore it, it will only get worse. Go, investigate and if it turns out to be nothing then at the least you'll have put your mind at ease. If there is something at the end of this journey then I think its something that you need to see. Don't worry I'll take care of things while your gone." she gives you a hug before watching you leave.

You ride out of the fort that night, though a gate that Julainda made sure would let you pass, and out into the dark. Alone because you know that if Bron or the others heard about this they'd either convince you to stay or they'd all try and ride out with you. Although you miss Thorvald and wish he was beside you, you know in your heart that this is something you must do alone.
Despite getting yourself hopeless lost and turned around constantly, you feel certain that you are getting close. Each and every night the dreams are becoming more vivid and leave you with a sense of where to go until you finally reach the edge of the forest of your dreams.
Despite the deep cold and ever present danger that comes with the winters in the north the forest feels calm and serene. You instinctively know that nothing will harm you here as you ride deeper.
Eventually, despite a complete lack of trails or roads, you find yourself In a clearing with a cute little cottage that looks more grown than built. Standing in front of the cottage is a woman no more than a few years older than you who looks rather familiar. You recognize her eyes from your dreams but despite seeing her for the first time you can't shake the feeling of seeing her somewhere before.
(The woman)"Welcome Anastasiya, I've been waiting a long time for you."
(Anastasiya)"Who are you and how do you know my name?"
(The woman)"Theres time for that later dear, for now come in a rest. You've had a long ride." Ana clenches her fists as colour rises to her cheeks.
(Anastasiya)"You will tell me who you are and how you know my name now. Or else!"
(The woman)"Or else? Wo do you think you are girl? Get inside right now and clean yourself up!"
Instinctively Ana backs down and rushes inside to heed the woman.
While you freshen up the woman comes in and helps brush your hair,
(The woman)"you know, you remind me of your grandmother, she wasn't very good at making first impressions either. Maybe it was from living in the palace or maybe she really did expect everything to go her way..." she pauses when she feels you start to tense, "Now, now, it's all right dear. We outcasts need to stick together. I doubt they ever told you about your great-aunt Anabella..."
She then proceeds to tell you the story of how she grew up within the forests of Irrissen and her connection to nature and life made her a pariah and how her own family forced her into seclusion and eventually forgot about her.
Over the next few weeks Anabella explained how the family connection works, describing it again and again like a hag's coven. "Blood speaks to blood but I can show you how to stop it." constantly explaining in different ways or comparing the Jagwidja to a bee hive. Then after lunch she starts putting it into practice. Sitting across from one another with a bucket of hot coals she pushes and prods at your mind, varying from subtle influences to mystic assaults and every time you fail she forces your body to grab a hot coal and take it out of the bucket.
Slowly as the days turn into weeks fewer and fewer coals leave the bucket. In the beginning you ended each day sore and exhausted, now Anabella is the one that needs help rising at the end of the exercise.
Finally when a while day passes where not a single coal leaves the bucket Anabella hugs you and with a weary grin explains that now that you need to deal with the the other "curse" of the blood while you both walk about the clearing. "Inside you wars several different sources of power. The blood of Baba Yaga, the blood of the northern tribes that she subjugated and the blood of the winter witches that she corrupted. The only way to control that power is to embrace one aspect and allow it to consume and feed on the rest. I can feel the energy welling up inside you ready to burst. I cannot help you with this, all I can do is act as the catalyst. "
With that she stamps her walking stick down upon the frozen waters you hadn't realized you were walking on causing the area below you to crack and open up dropping you into the icy water beneath. Before you can react and try to rear the opening, the ice closes leaving you trapped.

The cold waters leech out your strength and energy as you find yourself slowly floating down to the bottom, panic gives way to regret as you think about never seeing Thorvald or your friends again as the world goes black...

Sorry, double days of long shifts. I promise at least one up tomorrow but must sleep...

Nah, if I was gonna do that I make sure everyone was present and bring popcorn

Okay first is up. Technical difficulties are preventing me from loading some so these may be spread over the course of the week (in case I have to rewrite them)

Feel free Skall to start up a conversation IC if you wanna try and deal with those two and their curses.

Jediah side story...

Less than an hour later you are back in the saddle and heading for Coryss tower, farther south along the border. Behind you ride thirty of Savol's veteran clansmen, the men and women Bron assigned to you to help retake the tower, all stern, vigilant and bloodied in countless skirmishes and battles already.

By dusk on your third day in the saddle you can finally the tower before you. Standing tall and dark atop jagged outcropping lying over one of the few unfrozen rivers a stark sentinel dominating the lands all around it.
Now the tower seems cold and dark, no lights filter out from its windows or open doorways.
Nearly blending with the stone and rocks can be seen subtle and small movements proving that the tower is not as uninhabited as it seems.
You leave your mounts a distance away and make your way around on foot until you reach the base of the rocky outcropping. Storing weapons in cloth packed sheaths and wrapping chain and plate the same way you and thirty grizzled ulfens begins climbing up the back of the tower in the dead of night.
Hans and Hilda are the first up and over the parapet slipping further into the shadows before returning with the limp body of a hobgoblin sentry each, similar wounds open both of their necks and as soon more are up they lower the bodies by rope to hide them amongst the rocks below.
Everything is moving smoothly until one of the older warriors wants to rush the stairs and force their way downwards, bloodlust and eagerness clear upon his face even in the darkness, and it's all Jediah can do to rein him and several others in but soon Jediah's calm and stolid demeanour win over and the men stand down.
Everyone moves carefully and as quietly as they can manage, with the more adept warriors ranging ahead leading and signalling for the rest. By the time you reach the main level you and the rest of Savol's warriors have ended roughly fifty hobgoblins and a final, bloody push in the central courtyard clears the remaining hobgoblins but costs the lives of seven men and puts one out the fight for a while.
After one bloody and tiring night the bear flies again over Coryss tower. Everyone settles in and rests preparing for the hard part, holding the tower against counter attacks.
Over the next month or so you see only scattered attempts to retake the tower and twice you're forced to send out soldiers to stop troops from attempting to make their way around.
On day seventy things begin to turn bad.
A large contingent of troops can be seen on the horizon marching straight for the tower, so many that a few of the men with you want to abandon the tower and flee back to the main army. (The older warrior from before)"There's too many for us to hold! Staying here will just get us killed and they'll still take this tower. I say we leave now while we can and return with enough force to really hold this region." murmurs of agreement can be heard amongst many of the soldiers. (Jediah)"Bron commanded us to hold this tower, not to flee at the first sign of trouble. Where's your pride and the bravery of the ulfen people I keep being told about?"
(The older warrior from before)"Staying here isn't bravery it's madness but maybe your kind doesn't know the difference." he begins to turn away as Jediah grabs his shoulder and turns him back around.
(Jediah)"You will stay and we will hold this tower even if we drown in the blood of our enemy or until they break."
(The older warrior from before)"Then you stay, I'll not throw my life away at a needless battle."
He and almost half the remaining warriors take their horses and ride out leaving Jediah and only a dozen warriors to hold the tower.
When the army arrives they immediately begin hurling forces against the walls and the gate hammering and splintering at it heedless of their losses.
Day and night begin to mix and blend into a constant stream of hobgoblin bodies being hurled at the gate and trying to climb the walls. After a while the towers abundant stores of arrows are depleted and left with only the arrows that they fire at you. An endless cycle of fighting and catching a few minutes or an hour of sleep before they resume and your weary bodies must move to the walls again to repel the next attack.
Suddenly a thunderous crash shatters your fugue and the present floods your senses. You and five soldiers remain atop the tower walls and below you the gates bar has finally been broken.
Reacting more on instinct than anything else Jediah all but leapt down the stairs, twisting his knee, and hurling himself at the gates before they can open. Every muscle in his body strains as he tries to hold the doors shut. Muscles tear and joins scream out in agony as the the mighty doors slowly creak and groan inwards, pushed by a slew of hobgoblins. Thankfully he manages to hold out long enough for Hilda and Hans to drag braces into place before his body finally gives and drops him to his knees.
The makeshift barricade lasted for three more days before the enemy finally managed to break through again. This time at the forefront of the army strides a hobgoblin half again as large who moves straight for Jediah, ignoring the other survivors and leaving them for the rest of the army.
The two leaders clash in the middle of the courtyard, stone pole arm versus a black iron maul. Slash is met with parry and thrusts are bashed away viciously. So intent on his opponent Jediah misses the hobgoblin that moves up behind him and buries a sword in his side causing his defence to falter and the champions swing to shatter his guard. Jediah staggers slightly before being shoved aside as the champion moves on the hobgoblin, roaring in fury the iron hammer crashes down on his own soldier. Caving its head and shoulders into its torso before the hobgoblin champion turns back to Jediah whose side is red with blood. A desperate thrust from Jediah, in a bid to buy time to recover, is sidestepped and a mighty swing connects with Jediah's other side. The head crunches into his armour and crushes his ribs as he is sent flying only to crash against the stable nearby. The wooden building collapses upon Jediah and the hobgoblins roar and laugh, sure of their victory.
...up... up!..
..Get up mortal!...

(Jediah)"Huh? Who is there?"
Mortal, you must get up. For one of my bearers to fall such as this is humiliating. I can sense your body lies broken but does your spirit as well?[/i]
(Jediah)"No! I am not broken. But who are you?"
I am the the embodiment of the mountains and the rocks upon which the world resides. I am a being that you mortal might call an... Elemental. Still clutched within your dying hand is a weapon forged in ancient times willingly out of mine own flesh and imbued with a fragment of my essence.
(Jediah)"Earth's Vigil? What do you want from me?"
I want you to get up. I want you to stand and show these foolish things both the strength and the fury of the earth.
(Jediah)"How? My body is broken, I am dying."
I will make you whole again, stronger than before...
(Jediah)"And what is your price?"
...Price?... There is nothing you have that I want, All I require is that you do not falter. Become a pillar of resolve and foremost... Do not lose!

The last four remaining ulfen warriors stand surrounded, bleeding from scores of wounds. Their resolve and their stamina exhausted they ready themselves for their final moments, ready to die in battle when a strange sound erupts from the other side of the courtyard. The sound of stone and rubble moving and wood cracking and groaning shakes the area as the collapses stable erupts out wards, a dark fist piercing the wood and tearing it away. A figure climbs out of the debris and stands defiantly, a stone glaive held up point straight at the hobgoblins heart encased in a green hand with dark green stone shards jutting out from it. Raising his head Jediah looks out at the now quivering mass of hobgoblins. Before them stands not quite a half Orc but something more akin to an elemental. Jediah's exposed skin has taken on an almost rock like appearance and in several places sharp outcroppings or protuberances have formed like his forearms and hands and his cheeks. All signs of his previous wounds have vanished as he calmly walks towards his foe. All the other hobgoblins backing away visibly nervous.
The hobgoblin champion, up fazed by Jediah's new appearance moves up and they begin their battle again. Glaive slashes and sparks against armour while hammer crashes into stone. Neither side letting up as they step and swing in a furious storm of strikes and counters. Jediah's glaive comes slicing downwards and the champion crosses the haft of his weapon across him to block but the iron haft cracks then splinters as the stone blade shears it in half before continuing its decent through the champion and touching the ground. Awestruck the hobgoblin champion tries to step back and look at his broken weapon but stumbles and collapses. The rest of the hobgoblins look for their champion to Jediah several times before panic ensues and they flee, leaving Jediah and four dumbfounded ulfen warriors alone with mounds of corpses and an empty tower.

There have been no further signs of Irrissen forces nearby since that day and eventually reinforcements arrive to relieve Jediah and his remaining men allowing them to return to camp after a gruelling six months of constant warfare.

Just finalizing the last bits of "side story" before I drop them all down.

(Bron)"Nay lads, Coryss tower is leagues to the south, well beyond the current battle lines. I'd rather send a full centas there but we'll have to hope that quality makes up for quantity." his finger follows the line of the river before stopping at a region with several dots and names, "The river it's guarding leads right into the heart of the south lands. Isham you'll be taking control of this area," pointing to an area close to your current location, "Savol was trying to save the captain of second company when this all happened so he's probably in the vicinity. I expect you to take advantage of any trouble he causes and if you see him tell him to get his blasted arse back here."

After Ana, Thorvald and Zethyris return

(Bron)"There you are, we're just finishing up. Thorvald, see this town? It's called Greyson landing. I want you to head over there and take charge of its defences. There's plenty of people there and no way to evacuate them mid winter so instead we install a garrison, kinda like defending against raiders but on a wee bit bigger scale. And Ana, I've got a tough task for you... If you are able." he pauses and looks right at her instead of the map, "The biggest trouble we've had so far are the enemy spell slingers. I want you to move through the battle locating them and pointing them out. A trio of hunters, two brothers and a sister, recently joined us so I want you to accompany them. I'm hoping that those witches will be too worried about being shot up that we'll buy us some breathing room for our men."

"Go on, most of you can get some sleep, the real work starts tomorrow."

Bron looks between the old man and Zethyris,
(Bron)"There's more than just this war?" he pauses and scans the map again, "Alright, you two do what you need to do but be careful and don't take too long.Ill have Thorvald take care of Greyson, wait..." he looks around, "Where is Thorvald and Anastasiya?" he sighs and moves his attention back to the map, "The Second company lost their captain this morning so I want you to take over Isham. They're currently defending our southern flank here and harassing the enemy with night raids." he circles an area of the map then looks at the big cleric, "I hadn't planned on your presence but this does provide us with an opportunity. I'd like you to head north to Trollheim and seeing if you can get any help from them or the ravens."

(Bron)"Aye, your healing arts would be a deal of help. Thank you. Rutilux, I doubt you need worry for your cousin, ha, young Eustace all but guaranteed that any man interested had to go through you." he moves to collect some of the scattered notes and maps before he sighs, "There's far too much to do and not enough to do it. Thankfully, now yur back." he turns back and smooths a large map out on the table. "For the time being we need your strength distributed throughout the army. To start, Julian, Binar has need of someone crafty like you so I want you to meet up with him. Rutilux there's a wide plain to the north that's perfect for horseplay, I want you to make up a squad from the soldiers that are decent in the saddle and patrol this area," running his thick finger across a wide open section of the map, "We should be able to manage twenty heavy mounts so plan around that. Jediah. South, here, is a tower we recently lost that I want you to take back. I have thirty veterans already making preparations to leave and I want you to lead them." his finger stabs down on a dark blot marked Coryss right beside a large river, "This tower guards one of the few rivers in this area that don't freeze in the winter. Without it our supply line spreads thin and Irrissen can use the river to bypass our army and strike the interior." he then points to a nearby town marked Greyson landing, "Zethyris, I want you to take charge of reinforcing the town and defending it. Your experience in cities in the south should help you there..."

Its a good day. I have internet again and my LGS finally managed to get me a copy of the Irrissen book.

Edit:I don't have a problem with leadership.... But you would be responsible for dealing with your cohort and numpties.
Crane wing I would use the errata since I don't have a hard copy of UC.

So many posts... If I missed a question please re-ask

Sorry. I'm posting from a friends network because my internet/cable is out at home. As soon as provider fixes I'll be able to update.

Edit: meanwhile feel free to level up twice (lvl 6) in the meantime.

(Julianda)"That is troubling indeed. I'll have to discuss some of that with Ana when she returns. Thankfully though, scrying is something that can be dealt with. Mages have long had the ability to not only prevent people from scrying upon themselves but they even have spells able to detect when someone is attempting to Scry on them. The details are beyond my purview but I will see what I can dig up on the matter."


(Bron)"Aye, it happened two days ago. He was fighting near the border and then the battle shifted. One of our units collapsed while a portion of theirs broke and fled. In the confusion he got cut off and we lost sight of him. I doubt the enemy has anyone committed nearby that would prove to be any danger to Savol but I wish he wasn't quite so eager to take the fight to them. Yur kin are fine, Eustace is running messages for me right now and Noeva, well..., she's fine too aside from becoming a tad too popular."

Studying for trade school midterm. Update tomorrow.

(Julianda)"What do you mean controlled? When exactly did this happen? Explain to me everything that was going on and what you saw, what you heard. Leave no detail out. If Ana is in danger of something possessing her then we have to figure out who or what is doing it and how."

(Bron)"Blast it all, what else can go wrong. Savol is running amok behind enemy lines with his honour guard, Nayl's playing cat and mouse with a pack of winter wolves and you lot come back fighting each other. You humans are crazy no wonder my ancestors locked themselves away inside the mountains." turning away to calm himself, "Julianda, please deal wit this quickly and quiet as yo can."

(Bron)"Just what in the blazes is going on with you all?"

It all happens so fast that Bron, Julianda and the soldier are caught completely off guard by Julian suddenly tackling Anastasiya away from one of the desks before she has a chance to get more than a cursory glance at it. The force of Julian and Ana's bodies causes the table to shift and scatters the the various chips and markings strewn about its surface.
Reacting quickly Skallgbiorn casts a spell but Julian's sense of urgency resolve prevent it from taking hold.

Depending on Julian, Thorvald and Ana's reactions initiative may be inevitable


Julian Will save: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (15) + 3 = 18

Lol who needs plot when we have Julian

Things went well yesterday so here's phase one of the transition to the next chapter.

Resting in your own tents in exactly what you all needed to recover from several long days in the saddle and out in the elements. As the fatigue wears away you find yourselves fresh for the next leg of your trip, the journey to the border.
Leaving the two orphans in the care of the watch captain you start your journey shortly after dawn and make haste toward eastwards.
Herald has long since left ahead of you to relay your situation to Savol.

Three days into your trip you start seeing signs of the fighting, broken ground from skirmishes, fresh burial mounds and both weary and worn out soldiers working on patrols.

A few hours later you can see a small, dark form flying towards you that slowly resolves itself into the form of Herald. Landing clumsily on Rutilux's outstretched arm it's breast is matted with bloody feathers. It's not seriously hurt but appears to be quite tired and hungry. Examining the blood reveals an already healing gash, most likely a close call with an arrow. Clutched in its claw is a small piece of parchment.

Head north east. We've had to relocate our camp to Easton, a small fort close to the border, to deal with their own movements. I hope you're ready for trouble.
Ps. Don't try sending Herald after Savol again, the poor thing got roughed up pretty bad trying to pierce the enemy line to get to him.

It takes another day and a half to get to Easton. On the way you were waylaid by some Irrissen scouts that underestimated all of you and paid the ultimate price for their arrogance.

The fort of Easton is little more than an old fortified stone tower with a palisade half collapsed but reinforced with wood. All around it can be seen dozens of units of soldiers milling about looking ready to march. Inside there are many more soldiers, all wounded, lying in rows moaning and crying out as the armies healers and alchemists move down the rows changing bandages and dispensing medicine. The worst are being tended by two priests who look ready to collapse themselves.
One of Bron's clan move to guide you and you horses to the pickets and lead you to the tower.

Inside the tower you can see men and women sleeping or eating, all worn but not one shows signs of defeat. Even though the war seems to be taking its toll there seems to be no effect on their northern pride. At the topmost level Bron has set up his command tent. Maps and local charts cover several tables and the old dwarf leans on one as a young ulfen many of you recognize from Nayl's outriders stands at his side pointing to several areas and talking quietly. Julianda sits In a rocking chair asleep with a thick bandage around her head and a cast over her left arm.

When the man finishes his report he turns to leave and sees all of you entering. He barks out a whoop and raises his sword arm high in salute to you. "Welcome Thanes, it is good to see you."
With a start Julianda jumps from where she slept and takes a moment to see you before stumbling forward to greet you and Bron stands there with a wide toothy grin.
"Glad yur all back. We've got lotsa things to handle and we dun have a lot of time."

Sorry. I've been so busy lately I haven't had any time to check in. Provided my wife's follow up/checkup goes good tomorrow I should finally have some free time again and can get back into this.

Thanks for everyone's understanding.

If things don't appear to be clearing up Ill let everyone know.

Sorry everything was going good then complications. Nothing to worry about though, aside from multiple trips back and forth to the hospital. I hope things will stay settled now and I can get back to my normal routine... And sleeping.

The lock opens with a satisfying click and you slip inside. The rooms paint and flooring are peeling but you can see signs of recent habitation. No one is home right now but they could be coming back soon.
Moving across to the windows you can see into most of the windows across the street. It takes some time to scan through the different windows but you manage to locate the window you're pretty certain is to his room. No one is home and you can't see details very well but the apartment is a mess. Possibly ransacked.

Your quick scan of the data reveals little but at least you know that its real info. Heading back to get everyone else to help out May be your best bet. If you can track down that warehouse you'll have a good lead on them even if they're not there.

I recommend everyone start planning their next progressions. You'll be levelling by the end of the week.

"He gave no orders regarding you to me but if I may chance an opinion, I think he'd rather you join him at the front so that he can better plan his actions." he pauses, "But battle is no place for the young. Why not leave your charges here under our guard and make better speed to meet Savol?"

Jennis and Stenly don't know a lot about her mothers cousin. All they know is that she's a warrior that travels with a chieftains son who claims to have slain a dragon. The last she heard she was living in Varrissia but that was a few years back.

The wolf tracks and markings in the morning appear normal. You can tell that the pack was probably between seven and ten large and their tracks are normal sized rather than dire.

"I am sorry lord but aside from the towns elders there are only warriors, what little divine support that Lord Savol has marched with him. If you look to your kin they went with Bron. He felt they would be safer nearby rather than left back here." turning to answer Thorvald, "Scouts and villagers near the border reported large amounts of troop movements from Irrissen so lord Savol dispatched everyone that wasn't already assigned to defending the nearby towns to march for the border and prepare for their attack." he pauses not quite sure what you mean before realization dawns on his face, "Yes lord Savol defeated a two headed Linnorm some time back, I believe you missed most of the celebrations. I thought you already knew."

Although you may never know what truly causes it, the girls pulse slows and the cold sweat stops. A few minutes later she wakes up groggily but looks around terrified before breaking down crying again. Burying herself in Ana's lap murmuring things like, "Don't make me remember. Don't make me go through that again." again and again as Ana, Rose and Stenly try to comfort her.

It takes most of the morning before she calms down enough to be able to respond to your questions but she unconsciously, or purposefully, avoids contact with Thorvald as everyone makes plans and arrangements to leave the farm. It's finally decided that they will travel with you to Tweyd and then from there head on south or to Trollheim.

The trip back to camp is rather peaceful, only broken by a few instances at night. Several times you are kept up by the sounds of wolf packs nearby coming as far as the edges of the firelight and following you during the day. Despite that everyone makes it back to Tweyd in good health.

Your return is quite lacklustre as the majority of the town appears to be abandoned. With most of the army gone all of the towns expansions lay empty, their windows shuttered and bolted.

The ranking soldier present, Rendal, stands ready to greet you in the empty clearing that held Savol, Julianda and his other commanders tents.

"Greetings and well met my Thanes. I am sure you can tell but the army is already on the move. Lord Savol has already deployed his forces to the border and is making final preparations to attack. Please rest and take some time to recuperate. Though me and my men will not see the front at this time you surely will and for that you'll need all the energy that you can muster."

The villagers and a small detachment of soldiers remain in Tweyd and your tents are still set up and waiting for you.

Rabbit and Sheep
"Ai Ya. No mustard, okays. You be real happy with this one."
The vendor expertly crafts your soy dog with a little bit too much exaggerated movement and about three minutes later he's handing you the finished food. Despite watching intently you find yourself surprised when there's a data chip tucked between the wrapper and the serviette.

slotting the chip...:

There are various files present including hundreds of still images from surveillance cameras in several parts of the city. The most recent time stamp shows Domino and Gar entering an old building. There are also many data files and logs present as well.
a quick data search check will let you skim through all of the info much faster

You magic act avoids prying eyes as you enact it and quickly and easily you walk right past the gang bangers. Up a flight of stairs and you're staring at two doors, locked with heavy deadbolts. As soon as you get through either one you'll be inside the apartments with direct views of your targets room in the other building.

Just got home. Things are well so I'll have updates later today or tonight.

Everything's going good. Recovery took longer than expected but were home and rested so I'll be updating tonight or later today.

My wife has a surgery on Friday so I won't be updating until afterwards

Okay. I'm taking the week off since my wife is going in for surgery on Friday. Once thats over ill start up again

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