GM Axolotl's The Shackled Hut

Game Master Axolotl

"Izbushka! Izbushka! Turn your back to the forest and face me!

Loot Tracker

Initiative:

[dice=Dez]1d20 + 5[/dice]
[dice=Chiquq]1d20 + 3[/dice]
[dice=Yrja]1d20 + 4[/dice]
[dice=Ogon]1d20 + 1[/dice]
[dice=Orik]1d20 + 2[/dice]

Perception:

[dice=Chiquq]1d20 + 7[/dice]
[dice=Yrja]1d20 + 2[/dice]
[dice=Pufos]1d20 + 10[/dice]
[dice=Braegan]1d20 - 1[/dice]
[dice=Imendri]1d20 +8[/dice]
[dice=Caelum]1d20 + 7[/dice]


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LG | M Half-Orc Ranger 1/ Cleric 4 | HP 40/40 | AC 20-13-18 | F+11, R+8, W+11| Per +8, Sense M +8, Init +2

Hah

Orik snorts, "what's to stop you from rustling up some more of these big idiots and hurting more folks here in the fishcamps?" Orik aims his bow towards the surrendering guy, taking a bead should the crossbow go off.

aid someone else's intimidate: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (11) - 1 = 10

readied action composite longbow!, pbs: 1d20 + 6 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 6 + 1 = 12
composite longbow damge, pbs: 1d8 + 3 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 3 + 1 = 10

Whew!


Current Map: Fishcamps Guardhouse

"Tell us where Ringgeir is and we might not kill you," says Nadya. "But we will mark you, where anyone can see, and then where no one but your bed partners will see, should you ever have one again in your miserable life."

She pulls out a very serviceable looking dagger.

Intimidate: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 2 = 22

och, aye, that'll do it.

She walks up to him, not bothering to dodge his crossbow bolt, then knocks it out of his hand. He raises his hands up in surrender, and she kicks him under one knee, getting him down to the floor in a supplicative kneeling stance.

"Ringgeir. Now."

Marcian sweats and shivers, despite the chill of the fish-dank air. "I-in the back! There's my room, and a smaller room past that. He's in there."

He looks up plaintively. "We didn't...mark him! Please!" He's not the worst looking male under his grimy, unwashed coating.

Combat rounds are over! Marcian has surrendered. Please post at your liberty.


HP: (4NL) 51/51 | AC: 21/24 (13 Tch, 20 Fl) | CMB: +6, CMD: 15 | F: +9, R: +5, W: +3 | Init: +1 | Intim +6, Perc: +9, SM +9, UMD +5 | Speed 20ft | Kinetic Blade +8 (vs. touch), 2d6+2+3, x2 | Burn 1/8, Resolve 1/1 | Active conditions:

Ogon rams his flaming blade into each of the giant-sized corpses, holding it in each body long enough for the flesh to sizzle and ensure that both are properly dead. Then he marches over and claims the crossbow, before glowering at the cowering Marcian.

He doesn't say anything, the palpable aura of heat coming from his armor is enough.

Stomp, stomp, glower, frown, glower. Ogon-Jin is easy to play :D


LG | M Half-Orc Ranger 1/ Cleric 4 | HP 40/40 | AC 20-13-18 | F+11, R+8, W+11| Per +8, Sense M +8, Init +2

Orik heads towards the back room. "D, c'mere and help look for traps. He may have surrendered but he also may have 'forgotten' all about a crossbow bolt headed to our brains when we open the door." He keeps his bow out, trained on Marcian and the door both, and waits for the others to advance in and open the rear door.


Current Map: Fishcamps Guardhouse

Marcian's crossbow slips easily from his nerveless fingers. He dares not move in front of the smoldering hobgoblin. "He's safe, I swear! And so are you, now that you've taken out these villainous trolls and ogres..." He trails off, realizing that his lie is weak as watered down barley tea.


NG Tiefling Witch 5 | HP 33/33 | AC 14-14-12 | F+4, R+4, W+6 | Resist cold/electricity/fire +5 | Per +6, Init +4, darkvision 60 ft. | Hex DC 17

Yrja snorts at the two-faced human, then turns to their ally.

"What is this marking, Nadya? A local custom?"


NG M Tiefling investigator (empiricist) 4/swashbuckler (inspired blade) 1 | HP 41/41 | CURRENT AC 22 | AC 22-16-17 (+2 with shield extract) | F+4, R+13, W+6 (W+5 if using mutagen) | Per +11, Init +5 | Inspiration 6/6 | panache 5/5

Dez searches Marcian and removes any valuables or other items of note.

He nods in response to Orik. As he moves to the back, he asks, "Any traps we should know about, anywhere in the guardhouse? Our hobgoblin friend doesn't like traps."

He searches the door and then inside the room if the door looks clear.

Perception: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (19) + 11 = 30


NG M Tiefling investigator (empiricist) 4/swashbuckler (inspired blade) 1 | HP 41/41 | CURRENT AC 22 | AC 22-16-17 (+2 with shield extract) | F+4, R+13, W+6 (W+5 if using mutagen) | Per +11, Init +5 | Inspiration 6/6 | panache 5/5

By the way, Dez will take a particularly close look at Marcian's rapier.


"No. I just made it up," says Nadya with a guffaw.

Dez' brisk inspection of Marcian reveals:

The aforementioned rapier. It is very nice, certainly at least masterwork.
Rather nice studded leather armor
his crossbow, also masterwork, with 10 bolts
a ring on his finger
a key
cold weather clothes, of course
a set of masterwork thieves' tools
a gold necklace
a coin purse of 17gp

Yrja, the ring, armor, rapier all radiate magic.

Dez doesn't find any trap on the door. It opens to a spare bedroom, with some trunks of clothing and personal effects near the bed, and a metal box under the bed.

Marcian keeps his mouth shut when asked about traps.


NG Tiefling Witch 5 | HP 33/33 | AC 14-14-12 | F+4, R+4, W+6 | Resist cold/electricity/fire +5 | Per +6, Init +4, darkvision 60 ft. | Hex DC 17

"Oh, alright." Yrja seems rather relieved that this was not, in fact, a local custom, as it sounded rather painful and gruesome.

She ambles over to where Dez is relieving Marcian of his possessions.

"Oh, those look nice, let me look at them."

Spellcraft rapier: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (19) + 12 = 31
Spellcraft armor: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (7) + 12 = 19
Spellcraft ring: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (16) + 12 = 28


Current Map: Fishcamps Guardhouse

Yrja:

The rapier is a +1 rapier. The armor is +1 studded leather. The ring is a +1 ring of protection. They sound so plain that way! :D


NG Tiefling Witch 5 | HP 33/33 | AC 14-14-12 | F+4, R+4, W+6 | Resist cold/electricity/fire +5 | Per +6, Init +4, darkvision 60 ft. | Hex DC 17

"Ah, Dez, I think you will like this blade. I'm no expert, but it feels exquisitely balanced." She whips the rapier through the air several times to demonstrate, narrowly managing not to stab herself in the eye. "Well, you get what I mean, haha."

Next, she points at the leather armor. "This is really well made, should provide some extra protection. A bit smelly, though." She picks up the ring, turning it so that the gem catches the light. "A ring of protection, this one. I could use it myself, but if someone else can make better use if it, especially those of you who tend to be in harm's way a lot..." She looks at the others expectantly.


NG M Tiefling investigator (empiricist) 4/swashbuckler (inspired blade) 1 | HP 41/41 | CURRENT AC 22 | AC 22-16-17 (+2 with shield extract) | F+4, R+13, W+6 (W+5 if using mutagen) | Per +11, Init +5 | Inspiration 6/6 | panache 5/5

Dez pulls out the metal box. "Orik and Nadya, do you want to check on Ringgeir? This key Marcian had may help."

He addresses Marcian: "Answer me clear. Is there a trap on this box? If you lie, I WILL mark you."

He will then inspect it for traps and see if it is locked:

Perception: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (12) + 11 = 23


Current Map: Fishcamps Guardhouse

"The key is for the trap! I mean, the key is for the chest to disarm the trap!" blurts out Marcian.

Dez, you can't detect a trap, but Marcian appears to be telling the truth--the key is to open the box.


LG | M Half-Orc Ranger 1/ Cleric 4 | HP 40/40 | AC 20-13-18 | F+11, R+8, W+11| Per +8, Sense M +8, Init +2

”I have to say, Marcian. I have no idea what you’re taking about.” Orik then looks for Ringgeir.

Is he anywhere in the guardhouse?


NG M Tiefling investigator (empiricist) 4/swashbuckler (inspired blade) 1 | HP 41/41 | CURRENT AC 22 | AC 22-16-17 (+2 with shield extract) | F+4, R+13, W+6 (W+5 if using mutagen) | Per +11, Init +5 | Inspiration 6/6 | panache 5/5

I think Ringgeir is in the room off the room where the metal box was.

Dez scowls at Marcian. "You almost made a big mistake there. Don't think I'll hesitate to respond violently to any more trickery." He then retrieves the key from Orik and puts the box in a corner of the big room away from everybody else and opens the lock with the key, ready to leap out of the way of any trap.


Current Map: Fishcamps Guardhouse

Dez places the key in the box's keyhole, turns, and--the box opens easily.

Upon opening the lid, the tiefling can see that Marcian (eventually) spoke truly: there is a cleverly hidden dart trap that is activated if the box is forced or jimmied open. Unlocking it has released the mechanism, leaving the dart throwing lever at rest and the opener free from peril.

Inside the box, Dez finds:

A wand
a pouch with 4 rubies worth 50 gp each
179 gp
A silver mirror with the image of two lovers embracing, worth 100 gp.

Only the wand radiates magic. However, underneath these items is a sheet of metal separating them from other items:

3 sling pellets
3 potion phials
2 oil phials
(all magical),
2 alchemists' fires
padded armor
a club, dagger,
mwk sling with 10 bullets
an amulet that radiates magic
coldweather gear
thieves’ tools, 6 gp, 9 sp

None of the items under the sheet of metal seem to be Marcian's--different quality, not stinking of fish.

***

Orik opens the small room behind Marcian's room to find a sorely beaten man in his tunic and pants, bound and gagged. He is older, but looks strong and spry for his age. Nadya runs into the room with a cry.

"Ringgeir!"

His eyes roll with delight and desperation at the sight of his niece. She quickly uses the "marking" dagger she had out to cut his gag and bindings off. "We're here, we're here," she says, soothingly. "But how...?" says the older man, his voice gravelly, and coughs a bit for lack of water, which she gives him from her waterskin. He stands up, a tallish man, but with a look of agility and strength about him. His eyes meet yours, with gratitude, but many questions.


Current Map: Fishcamps Guardhouse

SO many questions.


LG | M Half-Orc Ranger 1/ Cleric 4 | HP 40/40 | AC 20-13-18 | F+11, R+8, W+11| Per +8, Sense M +8, Init +2

Orik at some point helps Yrja with identifying.

wand?: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
potion phial 1: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
potion phial 2: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12
potion phial 3: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
oil phial 1: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
oil phial 2: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11
amulet: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9

That was horrible!

Orik bow, "we are glad to have helped you, and to have dispatched these thugs from your home." He scratches his beard. "We would've done it for free, but as it happens, we need your help. Any chance you could do something for us?"

He grins. "No obligation, but we'd appreciate it, if you can. See, we need to get into Whitethrone, and undetected, if we can. We don't exactly blend in around here - or we do? But not for the right reasons? " He gestures at their group of mostly monsters, and then Chiquq "Except for our friend here." He looks over Ringgeir, "are you hurt at all? I can heal you if you need it."


NG Tiefling Witch 5 | HP 33/33 | AC 14-14-12 | F+4, R+4, W+6 | Resist cold/electricity/fire +5 | Per +6, Init +4, darkvision 60 ft. | Hex DC 17

Yrja hangs back as Ringgeir is reunited with his kin, not wanting to alarm the man with her appearance. Instead, she busies herself investigating the items that Dez has found.

Spellcraft wand: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (14) + 12 = 26
Spellcraft potion 1: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (15) + 12 = 27
Spellcraft potion 2: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (11) + 12 = 23
Spellcraft potion 3: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (4) + 12 = 16
Spellcraft oil 1: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (4) + 12 = 16
Spellcraft oil 2: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (16) + 12 = 28
Spellcraft amulet: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (19) + 12 = 31


NG M Tiefling investigator (empiricist) 4/swashbuckler (inspired blade) 1 | HP 41/41 | CURRENT AC 22 | AC 22-16-17 (+2 with shield extract) | F+4, R+13, W+6 (W+5 if using mutagen) | Per +11, Init +5 | Inspiration 6/6 | panache 5/5

Dez heads over to join Orik, making sure the conversation stays in the bedroom and away from Marcian's earshot.

"Yes, Nadya brought us here. In addition to what my friend asked, what happened here in Fishcamps? It seems as if the guards lost it. And what should we do with Marcian at this point? Can we leave him in the custody of you and your allies?"

Dez then notices (visually if not emotionally) that Ringgeir is probably overwhelmed and exhausted. "But we can go over all that once you have had a chance to rest and eat. In the meantime, what should we do with Marcian?"


Current Map: Fishcamps Guardhouse

Ringgeir nods and meets each of you in turn. His bruises, thankfully, look superficial, although he is tired and stiff from his ordeal.

A small number of Fishcamps villagers have followed you in as you bring him out to the main area of the guard camp. Ringgeir nods to them, and they wordlessly walk behind Marcian, and summarily knock him out with a large knotted club. His eyes roll up and they begin wrapping him in some tough sailcloth.

"To the question of Marcian and the Guards," he says to Dezső, his voice already sounding stronger, "Whitethrone considers it beneath them to check on us--neither do they offer aid, nor send further troops. These people--" he says the word reluctantly, "Will not trouble us further. They were outcasts from Whitethrone, and wandered here to exert their will upon us. No more."

Various fisher folk come to Ringgeir and embrace him, including the tough looking teenager--perhaps he is like a foster father to her. He lets them support him, and smiles for the first time. Although older and bruised, he is not an unhandsome man.

He nods at Orik, not once reacting in any negative way to the fact that he is speaking to goblinoid and infernal type folk. "Nadya knows what I can do. Of course, I will help you. I will tell you more, at my home." Nadya nods, bringing him his gear from Marcian's lockbox, which he puts back upon his person. Behind him, the villagers begin to wrap up the dead troll and ogre in more sailcloth, heaving them with grunts.

Yrja:

The wand is a Wand of Spider Climb, with 17 charges.

The potions are Ringgeirs, but perhaps he will give you some: they are 2 CLW potions, a potion of undetectable alignment, 2 oils of grease. His amulet is a +1 Amulet of Natural Armor, and the sling bullets are dustburst pellets.

The villagers and Nadya help him to the door and he waves them off at that point, laughing. "I'm fine, I'm fine," he says, embracing many of them in turn. "Come, my new friends. You can warm up in my hut. Vasel, Marimna," he says to two of the villagers, who lead the heroes on to his place.

It's a quiet but joyful procession through town. The people of Fishcamps know not to celebrate too loudly or openly--the eyes of Whitethrone are keen--but things will be different now that the power of the Guards has been broken. Soon enough, you are in Ringgeir's hut, which is more like a sturdy building of peat moss and earth, with several small rooms off to the sides. Vasel and Marimna bring warm food and barley tea for everyone. The food has plenty of fish in it, naturally, but it is not unpleasant, spiced with lakeside wild onions and filled with crunchy seaweed and reindeer lichen.

After Vasel and Marimna leave, Ringgeir closes the door and locks it. "Just a precaution. Nadya has told you how I searched Whitethrone and never found my family. However--someone found me. They are the Heralds of Summer's Return. Now I work for them. I smuggle supplies in, and people out."

His eyes twinkle as he shares this secret. From Nadya's face, you can tell even she didn't know this.

DC 17 Religion:

The Heralds, you realize, are worshippers of a goddess forbidden in Irrisen--Milani.


LG | M Half-Orc Ranger 1/ Cleric 4 | HP 40/40 | AC 20-13-18 | F+11, R+8, W+11| Per +8, Sense M +8, Init +2

Knowledge (religion): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 19

Orik follows, clearly more than comfortable in the cold, though it doesn't appear obvious why a half-orc would be fine. He drinks the barley tea and gobbles the food sloppily, eating for the first time in a while some delicious savory vegetables (including the seaweed) and not even turning his nose up at the fish.

When Ringgeir mentions Milani, Orik nods, and pulls out his holy symbol of Erastil. He whispers "She is a courageous and noble goddess. Erastil respects her, deeply. You will find that we are not what we appear to be, at first blush." Orik bows deeply, in a practiced manner, showing etiquette and poise.

He pauses, at the mention of smuggling supplies "a noble goal. Would it... be possible to show Marcian mercy? By chance? Grace is the noblest of virtues. Perhaps he may be reformed?" Orik has a hopeful look about him.

He folds his hands, and says "but please continue. We seek passage, and advice. We need to find allies within Whitethrone for our ultimate goal." He gestures towards himself and the others, "our manner allows us to, in some regards, pass unmolested, perhaps due to prejudice, but there are limits to this, and we would like to know where we can count on allies."


NG M Tiefling investigator (empiricist) 4/swashbuckler (inspired blade) 1 | HP 41/41 | CURRENT AC 22 | AC 22-16-17 (+2 with shield extract) | F+4, R+13, W+6 (W+5 if using mutagen) | Per +11, Init +5 | Inspiration 6/6 | panache 5/5

Dez enjoys the procession back to Ringgeir's hut and the rare feeling of adoration from the crowd. He sidles up to Yrja and says quietly: "See. If we show who we are through our deeds we need not live in the shadows or, in your case, deep in the woods."

In Ringgeir's hut, Dezső is intrigued to hear about Ringgeir's activities.

Knowledge religion with free inspiration: 1d20 + 8 + 1d6 ⇒ (15) + 8 + (6) = 29

"I can now well understand Marcian targeted you. We appreciate your assistance and any guidance you can offer. It is encouraging to hear of the resistance within Whitethrone; I hope we will have an opportunity to meet some of them. I have read much about the one they follow and am eager to learn more about how to see her goals accomplished in this world. With your permission, I would like to take up Marcian's fine rapier and armor and employ them towards our common goal."

It is evident that Dezső is inspired hearing about the Heralds. Dez is interested in learning more about Melani and may become a follower. Up until now he has been a casual Desnan.

Dez's eyebrows involuntarily raise in skepticism at the suggestion Marcian can be reformed, but he remains silent. But appears relieved to let the townsfolk take responsibility for Marcian. It seems would present a moral dilemma for him.


Current Map: Fishcamps Guardhouse

Ringgeir nods back respectfully as Orik displays the token of Old Deadeye. He listens patiently as the half-orc pleads for mercy for Marcian.

"Marcian Enarxion is a Taldan--I suspect some of you are from the South as well," he replies levelly. "He must be sent south, away from Whitethrone's seat. We'll send him that way and put a spear in him if he should return. He dare not go north towards Chillblight, lest the fey enslave him." He nods at his niece. "We will send word to Waldsby and Hoarwood. He won't enjoy it there either. You, noble tiefling, yes, you should absolutely take his blade and armor."

He winks at Dez. "That will encourage him further to flee South."

Ringgeir strokes his chin at the mention of allies. "To begin with, I am your ally. But please know, the Heralds are not strong. If you have been tasked with this...geas...by Dark Midnight..." He turns to Nadya, who confirms all this magic madness with lifted eyebrows and a nod, "...then indeed, your best ally is our Dear Grandmother and her Hut." He makes a hurried sign, then apologizes, laughing. "I may welcome Milani and her blessings--but Baba Yaga still rules in Irrisen, even if she isn't here."

He continues.

" And here is the scuttlebutt that has come out from Whitethrone: Queen Elvanna has seized power from her mother, Baba Yaga, and intends to remain on the throne on Irrisen. You might know that the Grandmother comes every century to take her children away--no one knows where--and puts a new one on the throne. Elvanna doesn't want that. She has removed the Iron Guard from power and instituted a new military force in its place, the Winter Guard, loyal to her alone."

He pauses to drink more barley tea.

"Good Queen Elvanna has also declared martial law in Whitethrone, so we cannot go through the main gates, not that I usually do. Traffic still passes through the city gates, but slow as a glacier, and the Winter Guard searches everyone coming and going. So--we go a different way."

He rubs his hands together and grins, getting to the good part.

"The Guard and other creatures of Elvanna search within the city, but there is one group they search less frequently--the stilyagi. These are outlandishly wealthy young Jadwiga, and...their foreign guests are frequent." His waggling eyebrows suggests all kinds of exotic perversity. He points to Chiquq, who blanches a little. "You. You're a Northlander; with a little doing we can pass you off as a stilyagi with your--" he waves vaguely to the motley group of near-monsters "...mm, retinue."

He coughs and continues.

"And you need a forger for papers. I have that. A man named Mortin, who lives in the Howlings. He can forge the papers, and getting into the Howlings is easier. But, if I do this for you, you have to help me deliver food to some hungry people. Yes, of course it is fish," he says with a laugh, then pauses to inspect Ogon's nice fur coat. "Is that what I think it is?"


HP: (4NL) 51/51 | AC: 21/24 (13 Tch, 20 Fl) | CMB: +6, CMD: 15 | F: +9, R: +5, W: +3 | Init: +1 | Intim +6, Perc: +9, SM +9, UMD +5 | Speed 20ft | Kinetic Blade +8 (vs. touch), 2d6+2+3, x2 | Burn 1/8, Resolve 1/1 | Active conditions:

"Yes." Ogon grunts. He reeks of troll even more than fish, after his contribution to chopping up the ogre and troll corpses and helping drag them away. His fur coat has remained unnaturally clean throughout, which doesn't seem to make him any happier.

"I can be wolf." The very prospect seems to make his blood boil...


Current Map: Fishcamps Guardhouse

"It's starting," observes Ringgeir with a small smile.

You all notice that Ogon's eyes are looking less fiery red, and more mismatched...one blue, and one brown...and the fur coat seems to blend in with his outfit, almost disappearing in places.

"When we reach the Howlings Gate--it's more of a hole in the wall--you will look like a Winter Wolf-turned-human. Very useful. No one will question you if you carry weapons, no one will ask for your papers or reason to be in the Howlings. Of course that's not the case in the rest of Whitethrone."

Ringgeir pauses. "The Winter Wolves treat humans like slaves in the Howlings. Chiquq, you must be the haughty stilyagi and do not around suspicion. Dezső, Yrja, Orik, you are foreign guests. If you see humans treated poorly, do not always rush to their aid. I will be a fishmonger, as I am, and you should not be kind nor openly confide to me while in there. Do you understand? Weapons and heavy armor under the fish in the cart. Your animals can pull it."

Chiquq nods. "My elk. They won't--"

Ringgeir holds up a hand. "They will not attack what is clearly the noble pet of a stilyagi."


NG M Tiefling investigator (empiricist) 4/swashbuckler (inspired blade) 1 | HP 41/41 | CURRENT AC 22 | AC 22-16-17 (+2 with shield extract) | F+4, R+13, W+6 (W+5 if using mutagen) | Per +11, Init +5 | Inspiration 6/6 | panache 5/5

"Whatever we need to do is fine with me. I defer to your knowledge. Do not worry about whether I will be able to control my behavior -- I understand that tolerating some mistreatment on the streets pales in importance to the larger task before us."


Ringgeir prepares his fishwagon, packing boxes of fish in snow, and bringing out oilcloth in which to wrap your larger weapons and armor.

Anything beyond daggers or other small items (shuriken, darts, slings, eg) and light armor must be stowed, and this time that does include bows and arrows.

At the same time, Nadya gives you all warm hugs, as she prepares to return to her children, her cousin, and the Truskins. "I will miss you all," she says, giving each of you a peck on the cheek. "And just when Ogon is finally getting handsome," she says, pinching the cheek of the 'winter wolf'.

Her hug with Chiquq is long and wordless as the two women of the bow and arrow share an understanding. Their shared nod could mean so many things--Orm and Mjoli's scrimshaw gifts, arrows they loosed side by side...

She places a hand on each of Yrja's somewhat stooped shoulders and grins. "For being a good witch," and gives the tiefling an enormous hug.

She hugs Orik deeply. "For all you have done for my family. You have always been a caring one. ...I'm glad we saved you from those plants."

She gives Dez a slightly mysterious smile. "See you again?"

"You know," she says conversationally, turning to go, "I think I might walk Marcian Enarxion back to Ellsprin, and then give him a good kick in the behind."

She sets off, not looking back, her traveling snowshoes at the ready once she leaves the salted paths of Fishcamps, singing a song of Skaldic free of any of the Iobarian sounding words that were brought by Baba Yaga and her kind; something more of the type sung to the West, where the Linnorms crouch in the cold caves and forests:

Þat mælti mín móðir,
at mér skyldi kaupa
fley ok fagrar árar,
fara á brott með víkingum,
standa upp í stafni,
stýra dýrum knerri,
halda svá til hafnar
hǫggva mann ok annan,
hǫggva mann ok annan.

Feel free to roleplay your farewell to Nadya and list any other prep you need to do before entering The Howlings.


NG Tiefling Witch 5 | HP 33/33 | AC 14-14-12 | F+4, R+4, W+6 | Resist cold/electricity/fire +5 | Per +6, Init +4, darkvision 60 ft. | Hex DC 17

Yrja hugs Nadya back, a few tears running down her cheeks. She pulls something out of her cloak pocket and hands it to the huntress. "For your boys." They are simple dolls, sewn out of scraps of fabric and fur, rough likenesses of Orm and Mjoli in adventurer attire.

She watches as their erstwhile companion disappears from view, then turns to Chiquq. "If you want to look rich, you need to dress like it. You can borrow my cloak if you like, or I can try to put a garment together for you, if we have some nice fabric somewhere here. And we still have some jewels that you could wear."


LG | M Half-Orc Ranger 1/ Cleric 4 | HP 40/40 | AC 20-13-18 | F+11, R+8, W+11| Per +8, Sense M +8, Init +2

Orik nods, trying to stay stoic. "As I promised, I will come back if it is in my power. I have unfinished business with your family, and promises to keep. I am glad you saved me as well. Say goodbye to Orm and Mjoli for me."

Orik closes his eyes, and whispers, doing a sign of blessing on Nadya. He opens them. "May your quiver be ever full, may your traps be ever laden, and may you always find comfort in the good and simple things." He smiles, "our patron will not begrudge us this one blessing."

He shakes his head, and sighs "I will miss you too, Nadya."

-----------
Later with Ringgeir

"I will be uncomfortable looking like a tough, but I'll do my best not to speak..." He smiles wanly.


HP: (4NL) 51/51 | AC: 21/24 (13 Tch, 20 Fl) | CMB: +6, CMD: 15 | F: +9, R: +5, W: +3 | Init: +1 | Intim +6, Perc: +9, SM +9, UMD +5 | Speed 20ft | Kinetic Blade +8 (vs. touch), 2d6+2+3, x2 | Burn 1/8, Resolve 1/1 | Active conditions:

Ogon glowers - although probably less than he would have done so a week or two earlier.

"You are good fighter Nadya of Petska Clan. Walk well and raise strong sons."

It immediately becomes apparent however that Ogon does not want to give up his armor. Does he have to or not? Being a 'winter wolf' and all.


Current Map: Fishcamps Guardhouse

Nope, you do not have to remove your armor while in The Howlings. In the rest of Whitethrone, you probably will have to, but one thing at a time.


NG M Tiefling investigator (empiricist) 4/swashbuckler (inspired blade) 1 | HP 41/41 | CURRENT AC 22 | AC 22-16-17 (+2 with shield extract) | F+4, R+13, W+6 (W+5 if using mutagen) | Per +11, Init +5 | Inspiration 6/6 | panache 5/5

To a close observer, Dezső's red skin seems to redden even further at Nadya's comment and smile, and he takes a deep breath before conjuring up a genuinely charming smile in return -- an almost astonishing sight to his friends.

He bows to her and responds, "I very much would like to see you again, Nadya." In Skald with a humorous tone:"Perhaps Baba Yaga herself will drop me off in Ellsprin in her dancing hut when all is said and done." continuing in common:"Be safe, and trust that our will to see this fight through to the end will not falter. We will carry the inspiration of your determination with us always. Tell Orm and Mjoli I'll have good stories to share when I see them next." With that, he bows again, looking Nadya in the eyes, and... did he wink at her?

He watches and listens quietly as she takes her leave, alone with his thoughts. His eyes linger for some time after she has disappeared in the distance.


Current Map: Fishcamps Guardhouse

Nadya departs, after accepting Yrja's gifts with a smile, and Dez' bow and...whatever he did...with a pleased blush. She is quite different than the embittered mother of a slain and soulbound child that you met just a few weeks ago. Perhaps there is some whisper-hint of hope brought upon the wind by Milani and Erastil.

****

She is soon out of sight, and Momo and Sascha, oddly paired, pull at the fishcart willingly, while Aitut appears to take some sort of guard stance along the cart--he's not yet a beast of burden, still a wild creature, after all.

The walk to the Howlings is a quiet one along the shore and up rolling hills of snow, the way well-traveled. The shore becomes steep cliffs, and the road becomes less snowy and more muddy. A gleaming road stretches to the North--the main entrance to Whitethrone, grand and pristine. That is not the way you will enter, though.

****

Whitethrone slowly unfurls as you draw near.

The walls of Whitethrone tower 30 feet high, and have the appearance of giant, sharpened femurs fused together, though as you draw near, they reveal only smooth stonework the color of bleached bone. Massive skulls of the same bone-white stone top the walls, staring with blank gazes outward from the city in all directions. A rough road of frozen mud, churned and trampled from the traffic of countless feet, leads through an opening in the wall, which appears to have been deliberately left unfinished rather than sundered.

Ogon rapidly and smoothly transforms with each step into a doughty, severe looking human, still with the traces of fire-scars on his body. The fur of the rimepelt melts into his now-pale skin, disappearing entirely. His hair is a snowy white, with one pale, piercing blue eye, and one dark brown one. An ice boar's tooth hangs from his neck. He looks the part of a transformed winter wolf perfectly.

Chiquq, still a bit nervous, does her best to look the part of a haughty stilyagi, helped by a bit of finery from Yrja, although a tiefling raised by a reclusive witch is hardly a fashion maven. However, Ogon's resplendence as a wolf-man appears to be sufficient, as the guard at the break in the wall comes forward with a raised hand and then pauses.

"State your...?...state your business," she says, trying to piece together the scene of a scowling Winter Wolf, an odd looking stilyagi, two tieflings, a half-orc, a fishmonger, and the most mismatched animals she has seen in some time. She's a rather attractive woman, or wolf in woman form, with silver hair, fair skin, and bright blue eyes. She does not appear friendly; quite business-like--but there is a question in her dazzling eyes as she glances at Ogon. It's clear she prefers him to explain things rather than you silly humans and...humanoid...creatures.

The Guard at the Howlings Gate


HP: (4NL) 51/51 | AC: 21/24 (13 Tch, 20 Fl) | CMB: +6, CMD: 15 | F: +9, R: +5, W: +3 | Init: +1 | Intim +6, Perc: +9, SM +9, UMD +5 | Speed 20ft | Kinetic Blade +8 (vs. touch), 2d6+2+3, x2 | Burn 1/8, Resolve 1/1 | Active conditions:

Even Ogon doesn't miss clues that obvious.

"Headed into city." He growls. "Business. Favor to pay off. Humans..." He's deliberately brusque, working on the principle that the less he says, the more assumptions the wolf guard can make without him - her assumptions are likely better than his explanations.


Current Map: Fishcamps Guardhouse

The guard nods, then breaches protocol slightly. "I am Greta," she says rather coolly. "And you are...? I will still need papers from these--others, and I'll need to perform a search of their items and persons."

Ringgeir doesn't tense up, as he's done this many times, but you are all thinking about the weapons wrapped up beneath the snow and fish.

Ogon, please make a Diplomacy check; you get a +5 bonus as you are currently Winter Wolf-y.


HP: (4NL) 51/51 | AC: 21/24 (13 Tch, 20 Fl) | CMB: +6, CMD: 15 | F: +9, R: +5, W: +3 | Init: +1 | Intim +6, Perc: +9, SM +9, UMD +5 | Speed 20ft | Kinetic Blade +8 (vs. touch), 2d6+2+3, x2 | Burn 1/8, Resolve 1/1 | Active conditions:

"Ogon." The hobgoblin replies, inclining his head briefly. "This is one of the human stilyagi, Chiqua. She has odd servants." He adds, dropping his voice a little for 'subtlety'.

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22


Current Map: Fishcamps Guardhouse

"Rrrr," says Greta, which sounds like Ah yes, those silly humans even though they technically rule us to Ogon's wolf-tuned ears. She nods officiously to Chiquq, although slides an eyerolling glance to Ogon, and perfunctorily and swiftly does a visual inspection of the cart, Ringgeir, the animals--which she observes the with the calm respect of a fellow wild creature, not the nasty voracity of more civilized folk--and with a few careful glances, the rest of the group.

"You're free to go," she says after a few moments. She takes a step in front of Ogon, though, and gestures him over to the side as Ringgeir and the animals trundle in, followed by Chiquq and her 'retinue'.

"Ogon. A word?" She shifts a little, looks at the ground, then back up through silvery lashes. "I was...would you like to join me for a cup of tea, or spiced wine, after my shift? Ask for me at the Red Paw; I should be there in two hours."" she says, somewhat more shy and sincere. She looks a little uncertain as to whether you'll reply.


HP: (4NL) 51/51 | AC: 21/24 (13 Tch, 20 Fl) | CMB: +6, CMD: 15 | F: +9, R: +5, W: +3 | Init: +1 | Intim +6, Perc: +9, SM +9, UMD +5 | Speed 20ft | Kinetic Blade +8 (vs. touch), 2d6+2+3, x2 | Burn 1/8, Resolve 1/1 | Active conditions:

Let the awkwardness... begin!

Ogon doesn't shuffle. That would suggest nerves and be unbecoming of a warrior. But there is a slight chinking sound from his armor...

"Yes... Spiced wine. I would like that." He says, not growling as much as normal and then walks off after the others, his mind in a surprising state of confusion.


Current Map: Fishcamps Guardhouse

Greta does her best not to gulp and nods as diplomatically as she can. "Enjoy your stay," she says, as Ogon walks past.

***

Greta resumes her post, stone-faced, behind you, and you pass a small guard-house in the middle of the path. Snoring can be heard from within--the next shift, no doubt. The path rapidly contracts after that, and the Howlings surround you. The streets of the Howlings wind back and forth crookedly,and are lined with wooden houses covered in intricate and detailed woodwork. Unlike in the Fishcamps, even the poorest homes are in good repair, pleasantly decorated, and painted a clean white or light pastel colors. It seems that winter wolves, given the gift of hands, are rather tidy folk--or perhaps its their human slaves.

The rooftops are steeply pitched to allow heavy snow to slide off. Covered alleyways run between some closely adjacent buildings, sheltering groundfloor entrances from the elements. In other places, open-air bridges or crosswalks join buildings together at their upper levels. Snowdrifts lie heaped between houses, but the streets are shoveled and brushed clean. There is little sign of domestic animals, but handcarts are parked outside some residences.

Ringgeir points forward, deferentially. "This way, good Masters," he says in a tremulous voice unlike his usual confident basso, and shirks his shoulders as if preparing for a slap of the hand or paw.


NG Tiefling Witch 5 | HP 33/33 | AC 14-14-12 | F+4, R+4, W+6 | Resist cold/electricity/fire +5 | Per +6, Init +4, darkvision 60 ft. | Hex DC 17

If their business wasn't so dangerous and dire, Yrja might have liked to spend some time in the Howlings; it looked rater picturesque, and she imagines a bustling winter market with mulled wine and candied fruits on a stick. Now that they are past the guard post, she turns to Ogon.

"What did that guard want with you? Any trouble?"


HP: (4NL) 51/51 | AC: 21/24 (13 Tch, 20 Fl) | CMB: +6, CMD: 15 | F: +9, R: +5, W: +3 | Init: +1 | Intim +6, Perc: +9, SM +9, UMD +5 | Speed 20ft | Kinetic Blade +8 (vs. touch), 2d6+2+3, x2 | Burn 1/8, Resolve 1/1 | Active conditions:

"No." Ogon replies. "Meet for drink later. Where is the Red Paw?" He asks Ringgeir.


Current Map: Fishcamps Guardhouse

"The Howlings aren't large. It's a quiet little alehouse, has good bread and of course, reindeer and wisent steaks. Very pleasant with booths, not like the Mangy Weg, which we will have the misfortune to pass on our food run," says Ringgeir.

Ooh! Ooh! It's time to level up to Level 5, everyone!


LG | M Half-Orc Ranger 1/ Cleric 4 | HP 40/40 | AC 20-13-18 | F+11, R+8, W+11| Per +8, Sense M +8, Init +2

As they travel, Orik plays the part of the surly manservant. He is otherwise silent in the interactions with Greta, though he never lowers himself to looking disrespectful towards the stilyagi, answering any questions quickly and succinctly.

Once they are past the checkpoint, he pats Ogon on his shoulder, ”meeting at the Red Paw? Good for you.” He takes the street with lumbering steps, watching his footing carefully and leading Sasha, his bow on his shoulder. The city was already a bit too big for his liking, though he respected what the people had put together in this unforgiving place.

Will do!


Current Map: Fishcamps Guardhouse

Ogon grunts at Orik. "We'll see," he says, and leads the party (at Ringgeir's suggestion) further through the streets of the Howlings.

You pass through an area full of carts and barrels--clearly a mercantile dropoff area. As you come near a particularly dense pile of carts, something like a dozen pale-blue skinned goblin looking creatures hop out, short bows and choppy-looking knives at the ready. Their leader brandishes a little dark ball with what looks like a flint lighter on it.

"Longshanks! Our Lady demands your fish!" snarls the leader of the group in accented Skald. The others behind him not and salivate, with a bunch of "yes, yes"'s and slurps and other disgusting noises.


LG | M Half-Orc Ranger 1/ Cleric 4 | HP 40/40 | AC 20-13-18 | F+11, R+8, W+11| Per +8, Sense M +8, Init +2

Can we just give them some fish? We have some, right?


NG M Tiefling investigator (empiricist) 4/swashbuckler (inspired blade) 1 | HP 41/41 | CURRENT AC 22 | AC 22-16-17 (+2 with shield extract) | F+4, R+13, W+6 (W+5 if using mutagen) | Per +11, Init +5 | Inspiration 6/6 | panache 5/5

Dez scowls at the creature, but, playing his part, he lets Chiquq and Ogon decide how to respond.


LG | M Half-Orc Ranger 1/ Cleric 4 | HP 40/40 | AC 20-13-18 | F+11, R+8, W+11| Per +8, Sense M +8, Init +2

Orik flexes his hand on the hilt of his sword and looks expectantly at Chiquq and Ogon.


NG M Tiefling investigator (empiricist) 4/swashbuckler (inspired blade) 1 | HP 41/41 | CURRENT AC 22 | AC 22-16-17 (+2 with shield extract) | F+4, R+13, W+6 (W+5 if using mutagen) | Per +11, Init +5 | Inspiration 6/6 | panache 5/5

Our weapons are under all the fish and I don't know what would happen if we flashed them in town anyways!

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