When the marine identifies that the map is of Wintercrux, a province of Irrisen, Ordrud offers, "Wintercrux is ruled by Duchess Svetochka Elvanna. Didn't the Ulfen yell something about fighting for an Elvanna? So he's probably a local authority." He pauses to let that piece of knowledge shock his companions coming from the orc barbarian.
"That aligns with the story of the tracks. The owlbears came from over there and appear to be heading toward the Portal. The elf appears to come from the village; although, he circled around to try to prevent his tracks from obviously originating from the village. Anyway, the elf has some stones, because he ambushed the owlbears." He lets that set in for a moment.
Following the pedantic formula of one of his Lastwall instructors, he continues, "So that suggests that at least some people in the village don't like the Duchess and probably would want the return of the elf. It's probably a bad idea to apologize to the Duchess that we killed her owlbears. Who's side are we on here? The government or rebels?" Leaving those questions lingering for the moral compasses and leadership of the group, he goes back to search and bind the Ulfen seeing that that was not done during his circuit.
knowledge (nobility): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19
knowledge (local): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12
CMB to bind Ulfen take 20+7=27
Perception to search Ulfen take 20+6=26
Rasso's ignorant, but Elvanna is the name of the queen. All her descendants also have to take it. Just FYI.
"Uhhh...the rebels? Duh. Didn't that black rider guy tell us that we've got to stop the leaders of Irrisen?"
"I fight to close the winter portals. That is all that is important at this stage." Ar'Zarrcal said as he stalked back through the heavy snow to the gathered group. He knew little of geography away from the lands of Shalast and offered no assistance in deciphering the map. It seemed there were far better people to handle such things.
"There is no shelter for miles, save the village, a crude shelter could be made but it would take us much time and would not serve as well. Investigating the village seems the most logical course of action." The dwarf said with an exhale of steaming breath. He began to comb his gauntleted fingers through his tangled and frost covered beard, but abandoned the effort when it only made things worse.
"What language are the locals known to speak?"Ar'Zarrcal turned to the Orc and then Marcellano as those two seemed to have some sort of idea about this place. Ar'Zarrcal suspected that none of the others spoke Ulfen from his conversations with the Captain and the fact that no one else seemed to join in. The thought of the beginning of the journey touched the dwarf for a moment and he looked away, reaching into his pocket to get a glimpse of a small rune carved stone he kept.
|Robert Brookes RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32|
As Marcellano studies the map and surveys the moonlit surroundings, Ordrud begins binding the unconscious cavalry soldier, searching him as he goes. Aside from his finely wrought breastplate armor, his longbow, some arrows, and a shield — one he never used — Ordrud finds little in the way of personal effects, save for a small ivory totem kept in a brown leather pouch at his waist. It is a figurine resembling a snow owl, though only a few inches tall. In another buttoned pouch, Ordrud finds a silver disk roughly four inches across etched with an intricate series of sigils and lettering across its surface, held on a finely made chain of silver links. Curiously, it isn't worn by the rider.
Having been actively scanning for magic, Rasso sees no magical aura from the talisman Ordrud holds up to inspect. However as it pivots back and forth, chain twisting, he recognizes the inscriptions as the same language carved into the pillars at this end of the winter portal, and in the gloomheart, a language Fenyx and Teladon explained was Azlanti.
Teladon holds aloft a hand, motioning to Ordrud, and catches the talisman when it is thrown in his direction. Turning it over in his hand, the elven warrior furrows his brows. "Emissary of the ever walking," Teladon recites the upper inscription. Then, the bottom word, "Siabrae."
The word elicits an audible gasp from Fenyx.
Marcellano estimates the group's location as: Just outside of the town of sosulka.
Fenyx: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (20) + 8 = 28
Ar'Zarrcal: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11
Siabrae. The name is terror, death, and makes all too much sense. The undead marching through the darkmoon wood, the mention of a druid possessed of a stag's skull mask and antlers with dominion over death. The sightings of Halak were all mistaken, the skull was no mask at all — the skull was his head..
Halak is no mere mortal, no man. Halak is a Siabrae, a maleovolently forged druid born of former followers of the Green Faith who turned in desperation when the Worldwound opened in Sarkoris, to undeath. They took the corruption of the Worldwound into themselves, twisting their bodies and binding themselves with that unholy place.
But while most Siabrae are from the Worldwound, some have learned the details of this once desperate act, turning it willingly on themselves to attain greater power and wisdom thorugh self-sacrifice and suicide within corrupted menhir, channeling the energies of ley lines and negative energy to give life to their corpses.
They are to druids what liches are to wizards; lethal, powerful, and ancient. Where Halak came upon this power, what it means, and why he is allied with the witches of Irrisen is unknown to Fenyx. Hwever, the necromancer's knowledge of siabrae is quite encyclopedic.
Their bodies are stony bones, almost wholly skeletal and supremely difficult to damage save for with blunt weapons forged of adamantine. They can see in the dark, but that matters little as they have tremorsense and can feel even the slightest vibrations in the land. They are immune to fire and powerfully resistant to acid.
Siabrae can burrow as fast as man can sprint and use their wicked antlers as vicious weapons. A creature damaged by a siabrae's goring horns can be turned to stone forever.
Furthermore, this dread pact allows a siabrae to influence the undead in the way a druid influences animals.
Most notably, a siabrae that is slain does not truly die. If they resist death's lure, their cruel essence can be absorbed into corrupted soil and allow them to be reborn somewhere within ten miles over the course of ten days. Therefore, a siabrae must always be slain away from blighted or corrupted soil, to prevent this "resurrection."
The talisman that Teladon is holding marks this rider as a servant of Halak, a servant of the siabrae. Furthermore, by virtue of the mark on its surface, unintelligent undead created by Halak regard those bearing the talisman as allies (unless attacked.)
|Robert Brookes RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32|
The cavalry rider (and his mount) had the following gear:
masterwork breastplate, cold weather outfit, masterwork light spiked steel shield, masterwork battleaxe, composite (+1 Str mod) longbow with 14 arrows, grooming kit, tent, military saddle.
Notably, he had no provisions or snowshoes. He must have come from a settlement or camp not far from here.
Fenyx wordlessly approaches where Gwynn finds the map, though is forced to settle for studying the page from over Marcellano's shoulder. He is only slightly surprised by the cold emanating from the coat of ice and rime that now clings to the Chelaxian's frame. Adding nothing to Marcellano's correct assumption regarding where on the map they were likely located, he does, however, speak up about where Wintercrux lies.
"We are... far afield from whence we began. Cradled by the Kodar Mountains, if I am not mistaken. Even worse, without Irrisen lies few safehavens. Far enough west lies the Linnorm Kingdoms, who would as soon execute myself and Ar'Zarrcal as share words. To the east, the broken remains of the Kellid peoples. The borders are surely being watched at any rate. Let us away to this village if it is the only option to be had. Though, I must again insist that we restore to the waking life this elf. Without his vouching, I'm not sure the village remains a wise choice."
DC 15 Knowledge (Geography): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (11) + 8 = 19
DC 20 Knowledge (Geography): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (19) + 8 = 27
A glint of light in the suddenly exposed moon catches Fenyx's eye, dangling from Teladon's hand. Then comes an utterance he had not expected to hear, especially in such a place as this. His breath catches.
"That talisman; hand it to me!" Fenyx extends a hand in Teladon's direction, the gravity of the matter worn clearly in a mask of desperation on the necromancer's face.
"Our foes are more substantial than ever I imagined. This Halak is no mere druid—no mere man."
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After the Ulfen is trussed up, Ordrud stuffs the grooming kit into his pack. Then, he returns to the group and addresses Gwynn, "Captain, even if someone could speak the language, you're the only one who looks like a local. That Ulfen has some nice armor and weapons that might help you appear like the ducal troops, which may be useful some time."
After a pause, he addresses everyone, "He also had no provisions or snowshoes, so his camp is not far from here. We should expect a search party looking for him by tomorrow at the latest."
Without anything more urgent to do, Ordrud gets a haunch of frozen meat from his pack and starts gnawing on it while watching the horizon.
Perception take 20+6=26
"No. It's a short range fighter."
|Robert Brookes RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16|
Talavuc lays a hand down on the elf's chest once it is clear the group intends to resuscitate him. She begins chanting in a low and throaty voice, a ritual chant of the erutaki people that builds in crescendo and pitch as a warm light spreads down out of her palm into the elven warrior's chest. As Talavuc's chant reaches its height, the elf's back arches and he exhales a breath that transitions into a wet cough, blood spitting up from his mouth as his arms flail and eyes snap open wide. Talavuc withdraws her hand, fingers curled to the palm, and Naasvit is quick to approach with teeth bared.
The elf rolls onto his side, continuing to cough and wheeze for a moment. Then, remembering himself and his predicament, he rolls onto his back again and slowly, warily, looks at his surroundings through bleary vision. Talavuc and Teladon are the first two people he sees, and that alone seems to calm him. Rolling his tongue over the front of his teeth, the elf holds out a hand slowly, palm out, in supplicating gesture.
"Eu non son o seu inimigo," the elf notes with a hesitant timbre to his voice. Then, gesturing to himself he says, "Ou mei numé Vuriel." He isn't sure whether either of them understand him, but he's hoping so right up until he finally notices Fenyx and Ar'Zarrcal. Eyes slowly widening as he spies the sihedron, Vuriel visibly tenses and looks somewhat aghast at his current predicament.
Talavuc: Cast cure light wounds on Vuriel
> Cure Light Wounds: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11
Stepping forward, Teladon kneeled in the snow. His wounds pained him, but he found that many of the cuts and tears from the bestial owlbear pained him farless then he had previously expected. In a way this was both comforting and deeply troubling. The changes thus far had been capricious and unsettling. Even now the elf worried that he only grasped at the faintest sense of what had been done to him. The fact that he did not feel the icy touch of snow upon his skin, and felt an anger and rage in him that he had locked away for so long, be so close to the surface scared the stoic elf. Is what I am feeling part of myself, or something from the mantle. The elf wondered. Will it change me more then it has already done, or were the changes already there and only brought to the surface.
Shaking his head, Teladon sighed. I do not know.
Putting for the moment the troubling questions behind him, Teladon fixated his gaze upon the supine elf. Bí ar son na síochána, deartháir. Tá an chuideachta aisteach, ach tá mé fuair iad a bheith allies fiú. Inis dom, cé tú féin agus cad a thugann tú go dtí an talamh frigid?
Carefully, and cautiously for Teladon knew that darkness could lurk in the hearts of any man or beast, The masked elf nodded to the gathered group. These ones know me by my first name. It is Teladon. They have earned a measure of my respect. But I warn you, Vuriel.. we are hard men and women far from home and trust does not come easily. Perhaps however, if you told us your story, we might offer one in trade.
|Robert Brookes RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16|
Vuriel spits to his side, blotching the snow pink, at something Teladon says. It's a visceral, disgusted gesture that is not oft used by the elves of Kyonin. "Disangua pabras!" Vuriel nearly spits the words out as well, but whatever invective he speaks in elven, the next words come in Taldan to reinforce them. "They," he firmly points in Ar'Zarrcal and Fenyx's direction, "are slave-masters of men! Dogs at Karzoug'd heel! They would sooner see us dead than help us!"
Blonde brows furrowed, the fierce-looking elf has not yet pulled himself up from the snow, instead he wipes blood away from his mouth and looks to Talavuc, then Styvanus, Marcellano, and the monstrous Rasso. When his eyes settle back on Teladon, there is confusion. "What manner of press-gang is this?"
Vuriel is currently unfriendly to the party due to the presence of Ar'Zarrcal and Fenyx. A Diplomacy check could adjust his attitude. If you can get him to Indifferent (DC 22) he may at least explain who he is. Friendly (DC 27) and Helpful (DC 32) will net you further benefit.
(A Kyonin-based pejorative, implying weak will or standards due to diluted elven lineage.)
"We're men of Andoran, and this aint no press gang. We're here ter stop the bloody winter from getting worse," Rasso says to the elf, doing his best to look honest and friendly.
Diplomacy aid another: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 12
Fenyx checks himself before very audibly scoffing at the recently rescued elf's condemnation. He intends to ignore the ignorant remarks and allow Teladon to assuage the man's concerns, but Vuriel's tone deteriorates quickly. His eyes speak more accusation than his mouth as they circuit the expedition from Almas. As Rasso speaks, Fenyx ponders for a moment. He allows a brief pause before shaking his head at the merman's declaration.
"No, we are not men of Andoran. We are all men and women of Golarion. We are all of common purpose. Nationality, race, and creed are not important. The solidarity we represent is what matters." The necromancer gestures slowly in a wide sweep to indicate all present. "Ambassadors and champions are we. Xin-Shalast, Andoran, Cheliax, Belkzen, The Crown of the World, and the Mordant Spire; we are their answer to this eternal winter; servants and citizens of bitter enemies and feuds perpetual. Together we have joined in this, and together we have arrived here in the domain of witches."
Fenyx's eyes are cold and hard, but lacking any hint of malice. "Your life was forfeit, but for our intervention. If you wish to repay this act of unwarranted mercy with accusations and defiance—to brand your saviors as villains based on their nationality alone—such is your prerogative. Perhaps you might consider your situation a moment further, however. Perhaps you might look past your own shortsighted preconceptions long enough to recognize a potential ally in your midst. Whatever our past or current loyalties, all of us, we are unified in thwarting the devastation that seeks to swallow up this world we share. We will end the errant Jadwiga-Queen's machinations. Whether or not you are to play a part in our success is a question you should be asking yourself."
Diplomacy Check: 1d20 + 9 + 1d6 ⇒ (8) + 9 + (1) = 18 (Spending a Mythic Surge to add 1d6 to the result)
Ordrud continues to munch on the haunch of frozen meat picking bits from his toothy maw with his spiked gauntlet. He would have taken the ignorant elf's comments personally if he had been mentioned in his description of the "press-gang." They really are a motley bunch.
The half-orc wonders what to add to the conversation trying to remember his diplomatic lessons from Lastwall. Unfortunately, nothing really comes to mind. He shakes his head and finds this dance slow. The bloody elf would have been more supplicant if I had tied him up, too... We know he's hiding his connection to the village; I'm sure he has someone he loves there... We're servants of Baba Yaga herself, you bloody elf, help us or I'll tie you together with that ugly Ulfen. Since none of his thoughts would improve the situation with the elf, he keeps them to himself and continues to survey the perimeter.
Perception take 20+7=27
Ar'Zarrcal looked at the elf with his tired eyes. It was late and he had had little in the way of a proper rest for some time. Yet another battle they had fought in this wretched cold and now the very person they rescued hurled insults and accusations at them. Ar'Zarrcal held the angry words that threatened to spill off his tongue and offered additional words in hopes of reassuring the close-minded elf.
"How many centuries have you seen elf? Have you still not learned that there is more to a book then the design of its cover? Look around you. It is this winter wasteland that our enemies wish to spread to the whole of the world. What does it matter who we serve? We work toward the same goal, do we not? That makes as allies this day. We do not need to like one another, but we do need to respect each other and work toward a common end." It was all the ambassador could muster forth at this hour. He had no great insight into the mind of elves, nor did he know the pathways to influencing their fickle hearts.
Diplomacy Aid other: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 2 = 17
Frowning softly, Teladon exhales into the cold air. His body seemed unnaturally hot, and the bite of the arctic wind did not trouble him as it had in the days leading up to the winter portal. Shaking off the troubling thoughts, the elf kneels in the snow next to the foreign elf. We are both insular people Vuriel. But remember that it was the Spire that took in the people of Kyonin when the second star fell. I carry a blade of my people, given to me by the Eldest Counsel. The last remaining nations of this world with the strength to fight on have called upon their strongest, most determined of warriors. Chelax, Andoran, The Mordant Spire, the Runelord and even the people of the Crown of the World. Look around you. Such a group could only be brought together by the greatest need. The Eldest Counsel saw fit to trust in this accord... Tell us what you know and be dealt with honorably.
Rising, Teladon extends his hand downward towards the elf. The other remained near his blade. It was both a warning and an offer. These were dark times. And Teladon was not the young elf from five years before. Either way, he would do what was necessary.
Rob if I rolled a diplomacy is there any chance of a bonus since we are both elves. If not, thats cool.
|Robert Brookes RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4|
Vuriel's silence in the face of the team's explanations of their alliance is as cold as the winter winds blowing down off of the nearby mountain. The blonde elf's blue eyes narrow for a moment as he listens, then shut entirely as a gout of steam issues from his mouth along with a weary sigh. Worn down by their words, Vuriel's eyes open with a less vitriolic quality to them. He rises to stand fully, daubing one hand at a crystallizing patch of blood on the abdomen of his thick, hide jacket. "I am no servant of these lands," he explains in a tired voice, turning his attention to Teladon. "I am a son of Greengold, orphaned by fire and stone." The name Greengold resonates with Teladon, and he recalls it as what was once the second-largest city in Kyonin. Like many of his kind now, Vuriel is a homeless stray from the destroyed nation. With that said, Vuriel looks to the approaching silhouette of Styvanus.
"That's all well and fine," Styvanus notes, sliding his shield onto his back, "but who do you work for? Why're you out here?" The Captain's approach makes Vuriel bristle some, but it seems more reflexive than conscious.
"The Everbloom, Milani." Vuriel seems reluctant to admit even that around the servants of Karzoug, but Styvanus' presence tempers that loathing. "I think you and I are here for similar reasons, Captain of Andoran." With a quick gesture, Vuriel indicates the town nearby.
"The Heralds of Summer's Return are a group of people dedicated to the fall of the Queens of Irrisen and the liberation of its people." Then, looking at Fenyx he states flatly, "we oppose all tyranny." Though the jab is a barbed one it is fleeting, and Vuriel's focus shiftd back to Styvanus. "I was scouting movements of soldiers from the Pale Tower and discovered this place. Unfortunately one of their cavalry sentries caught up with me." Brows furrowing, Vuriel muses aloud, "You must have come from..."
Shaking his head, the elf nods back in the direction of the town nearby. "I can give you a place to stay for the night if you so need it. But we should get away from here as quickly as possible, there will be others coming for this one. I can explain more once we are indoors. But..."
Vuriel looks at Rasso's hulking, monstrous form. "There is no way I can easily hide that thing from the villagers. They will notice something that stands out as such and the Jadwiga have eyes everywhere. Can you conceal it somehow?"
Vuriel is indifferent now (I didn't need Teladons' roll. You guys just barely hit the baseline 22 DC, and getting you to 27 was highly unlikely.)
Vuriel is offering to escort the group to the village nearby and give them shelter for the night and some information on the condition that they find a way to conceal Rasso's monstrous form from the townspeople so as to not draw attention to the group.
Determine how/if you're going to do that along with any other plans you have, and then we can move on.
Edit: Fixed names
|Robert Brookes RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4|
"I'll wait for yehs outside the village. It's no worry, I'll just bury myself in the snow and hide," Rasso says by way of suggestion. "If ye need me, just holler!"
"Well, maybe Talavuc and I can help cover Rasso in the snow. I've an extra potion of Endure Elements for him this evening. Then, she and I can join you in the village covering our tracks on the way. We can meet up with you where the elf is taking you. Besides, smaller groups would be better than larger in small towns. Sound like a plan? Ordrud offers looking for appreciation, which looks odd on his bestial visage.
"No need fer that, I've got a wand o' the same spell, Druddie," Rasso says to his orcish friend. "I would appreciate the help in buryin' meself though."
Fenyx affords himself a small moment for consideration. His own garb currently marks him undeniably as a servant of Karzoug—as a citizen of Xin-Shalast. Fortunately, his very garments were tailored to suit many purposes.
Using the fallen bear cavalryman as a basis, the necromancer's garments change to something a little more Irriseni. While the dead ulfen's colors and heraldry no doubt marked him as a specific sort of soldier, they are trappings Fenyx elects to leave separate from his own change. He is now covered in thick and heavy looking furs and wools. Patchworks of brown and grey dominate his cloak, while beneath his cowl a sort of bandanna serves to conceal the sihedron that dominates his brow. Granted, such a change would do little to disguise his language, but he doubts he will be required to engage the locals. He hopes he will not be required to engage the locals.
The thought of abandoning Rasso while the rest enjoy some measure of comforts within the village seems... poor. He doesn't relish the thought of leaving any of their number truly alone in this place.
"Perhaps Talavuc should remain with Rasso for so long he is forced into such an isolation. She is familiar with such environs, being Erutaki. I do not think any of us remaining entirely alone is wise."
"If most of the town're humans, they won't be able ter see very far in the night. If yehs bury me within shouting distance of the edge of the village, I can come runnin' quick iffin there's trouble. I doubt anyone would notice," Rasso puts forth. He's not exactly excited to be entombed in snow, but at least he'll get to rest for a while without any noise. That and we can get this over with. The longer this takes, the more everything's going to be cold forever.
"Bury the merman and let us head into town." He cast a long glance in the direction of Marcellano and Teladon, both of whom have undergone quite excessive physical changes. "Well covered and cloaked in furs. We waste time prattling on when our options are limited." Ar'Zarrcal finished his words by pulling more of his furs over himself and grabbing some extra from the fallen Owlbear Cavalrymen, covering much of his squat form within a concealing embrace.
Taking off his hat and stowing it in his backpack before covering his face more fully with his furs and cold weather outfit, Marcellano then pulls out his shovel and, without further aideu, starts shovelling snow onto the merman, uncaring whether or not he gets any in Rasso's face as he does so.
"You heard the dwarf. Lets get a move on."
Rasso first activates his wand of endure elements and then finds a suitable spot near the village. After that he allows Kain and the others to bury him.
Silently the stoic elven warrior Teladon listened to Vuriel's words. Teladon knew his strengths; the accuracy of his bow, the speed of his sword and the power of his magic. He also knew his weaknesses; a cold demeanor, a silent judgement and a deep rooted standoffishness. Though Vuriel was also an elf, the Mordant Spire and Kyonin were worlds apart. Before the coming of the Second Darkness, Queen Telandia had urged her people to expand their boarders and seek out new alliances with the people of the Inner Sea. Teladon shook his head. The Mordant Spire would never embrace such beliefs. It was in so many ways a miracle that the Elder Counsel had even felt the urge to send even one of its warriors to the summit in Andor. Some had whispered it was a slap in the face. With other nations banding together and sharing resources in this dark time when the world teetered in the balance, the Spire had offered the aid of just one warrior. Was it hubris? Perhaps. But when Humans were born, grew to age and died in the blink of an eye for an elf, one had to also ask, how much was the life of a single elf worth? One warrior.. perhaps that may have been too much.
Teladon could not deny that the warriors and scouts that had made up the rescue party had proven themselves worthy. At least to a greater or lesser extent.
And so silently, Teladon watched and waited as the others buried Rasso deep into the snowdrifts outside of the waiting town. From somewhere a cloak of fur was produced and the Elf donned it. The wind did not bother him, nor the snow. He felt an urge to declare himself. To ride into the town on a horse of red and strike fear into the townsfolk that had turned their backs on their rightful queen. Teladon knew that was a foreign urge. It was not of him, but of the mantle. It did not put him at ease however. No, it troubled him all the more.
As the snow fell about the group Teladon wrapped himself in the cloak, pulling it over his leaf inscribed mask. He knew that eventually he would have to speak to Vuriel, but not here and not now. It was something he did not look forward to.
|Robert Brookes RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4|
The sojurn down from the winter portal's Irriseni side to the distant town was not a short one. The arduous progress through the heavy and driving wind was — while warmer than the forest — none the less strenuous. From a distance, the village Vuriel leads the group to seems to be a sleepy little burg of hardly any renown, nestled on the banks of a mostly frozen river. As the group works to bury Rasso in the snow, it becomes clear they aren't able to get him as close as he'd prefer. A 200-foot distance is the distance between where Vuriel thinks the summoner can safely lay hidden in the snow without being seen.
To that end, Talavuc holds the advice of the others and opts to stay with Rasso so as to not leave him completely alone. Crouched down in a deep furrow of snow, Talavuc needn't totally bury herself, staying hunched by the merman's side in the moonlit night.
With two of their allies left behind, Vuriel allows the group to approach the village with him off of any of the main roads. As they pass through a snow-covered back yard, it becomes clear that the snow depth isn't quite as bad as it is in Andoran, as the picketed tops of fenceposts are still visible amid the drifts. Better yet is the shoveled quality of the streets, shining pale and white under the moon's glow.
As they round the back side of a large wood and stone building, Ordrud feels a pang of deja-vu wash over him. Momentary disorientation follows, as he looks down the street at what appears to be a mirror of the town of Falcon's Hollow, down to the last window and door. Signage is different, some of the buildings seem to serve different purposes, and the statue in the town square is new... but it looks like Falcon's Hollow, viewed through a frosted mirror.
The others soon seem to notice the similarities as well, with Gwynn momentarily gaping at the sight before Vuriel directs attention to the log cabin approaching on their right. The elven guide leads the group to the cabin's front door, swiftly unlocking it before pushing the door open into the darkness within.
<< Vuriel's Cabin, Sosulka, Irrisen | Night | Snowing, Cold | Toilday, Erastus 10th, 4715 AR >>
Inside, the cabin has a radiant warmth to it, and embers still burn orange in the hearth. Vuriel is quick to escort the others inside, in spite of their discovery about the town's design, and swiftly shuts the door and locks it. He then lights an oil lantern hanging by the door and carries it with him over to the hearth, putting a few logs on as he settles down on the floor to remove his snowshoes.
The cabin is a single room, with a straw-mattresses bed draped with furs pushed into one corner, a square table by a curtained window with unfinished arrows in the process of being fletched. A stewpot rests atop a pot-bellied iron stove, and fresh herbs hang from the exposed beams. There is little here, and it would appear Vuriel lives a meager existence. Only the bouquet of dried roses hanging over the mantle gives any indication of his true purpose.
"What are you doing in Wintercrux?" Vuriel's question is to the point, blue eyes flitting up to the strangers in his home as he sets his lantern down and goes about removing his snowshoes. "More importantly, where are you going and how soon are you leaving?"
Welcome to Sosulka, a small riverside town on the banks of the marbleflow river in eastern Wintercrux. The town closely resembles Falcon's Hollow though with a mirrored layout.
Carefully decide what you are going to do from here on out. Vuriel is inquisitive about your purpose, and as a servant of Milani (a goddess of revolutions and rebellions) he could potentially be a useful ally. On the flip-side, you are now deep within enemy territory and have little bearing on how to proceed in infiltrating the pale tower and closing the winter portal.
Talk among each other in the discussion thread and determine how long you will be staying in Sosulka and what (if anything) you need from the town. In the interim, feel free to converse with Vuriel, and if you wish to go about and explore the town, let me know.
After being shown in, Fenyx assumes a position next to the table and window. He does not open nor part the curtains, though steals an occasional glance outside. Given the deepening night and further obscuring produced by snowfall, his sight avails him little. Vuriel's question hangs in the air and lingers there a moment. The elf did not trust them; not entirely. That much was made clear. Someone needed to bridge the gap. As well equipped as Fenyx might be as an installed ambassador from Xin-Shalast, prejudices could run infuriatingly deep for some people. The necromancer is loath to continue engaging the elf directly at present, concerned with the very real prospect of losing the only contact and ally they have yet to encounter in these ice damned lands. But there was hesitance among their number. Wariness and weariness both at play, Fenyx suspects.
"Fate and purpose drives us here. Each commands the crack of the whip at our backs... the nipping at our heels." Fenyx allows himself a bit of respite. Pressing his back against the wall, he slowly lowers himself to the floor, folding his legs beneath him and enjoying an opportunity to give the ache of his muscles a break.
"Though we have dispatched the troll on the other side, there remains much work and many more deserving of similar solutions on this side. Whoever holds the key to maintaining the portal that delivered us here must be dealt with, and the rift closed. The siabrae called Halak will need to be dealt with. There is... much that must be dealt with." The Shalasti man's pale, blue eyes remain firmly attached to those of Vuriel's. "You are no friend of those we oppose. Perhaps you will prove no friend of ours, either. Regardless, there stands before you an opportunity to pit your foes against one another, even where has abandoned you."
Fenyx removes his cowl and drywashes his face with several passes of both hands. "We seek the tower. That is what matters now. What comes after is not important without toppling The Pale."
Ar'Zarrcal thought it best to keep his silence. If both representatives of the Rune Lord were the only ones speaking the foolish elf they rescued might presume that the rest of the companions were somehow magically coerced to obey them. That was far from the truth, but he had already witnessed the pointlessness of engaging the Kyonin elf in conversation that did not directly have to do with the mission at hand.
Brushing snow from his fur covered armor, the dwarf ran his hand down his scarred face and pulled at his beard, causing snow, ice and water to drip free from its ratty mass. He let his gaze wander about the interior of the establishment for a little while, but eventually he sought out a place to sit. Dropping down he sought a few brief moments of much needed rest.
Ordrud finds the Vuriel's cabin luxurious but cramped. He threatens to knock over something at every move. Finally he makes a place large enough for him to settle and unpack a bit. He pulls out a haunch of frozen meat and his waterskin for a meal not offering to share with anyone. As the youngest and most inexperienced member of the team, he too keeps his own counsel. He watches and observes eyes casually flickering between Vuriel and his teammates.
|Robert Brookes RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4|
Up until Fenyx spoke, the silence in Vuriel's cabin was deafening. Even the normally talkative Gwynn seemed hard-pressed to even know what to say. While night in Sosulka is quiet, this is the closest thing to civilization she's seen in what feels like forever. It helps put some distance between herself and the things that occurred at Thuldrin's lodge.
Vuriel remains quiet for a few long moments after Fenyx speaks, and while the elf seems amicable, it is clear he harbors no good will towards the servant of Xin-Shalast and his runescarred consort. "The Pale is six miles from here to the northwest. On my hunting trips I have been scouting the tower and its environs out..." Removing his gloves, Vuriel sits by the fire, trying to get the cold out of his joints. "I haven't in a week, though. There's been more patrols — not scouts — larger teams ranging days away from the tower at a time. They're looking for something." Brows furrowing, Vuriel casts an askance glance to an unlit lantern. silence hanging heavy for a moment. "I'm not sure what."
Running a hand through her hair, Gwynn comes to kneel beside the fire, likewise removing her gloves and warming her hands. "Is it safe—here, I mean. In this village?"
Vuriel closes his eyes and exhales a brief sigh, then looks down to the wooden floorboards where snow turns to water under his boots. "For a time. The people here are suspicious of outsiders, they will not speak the Taldan tongue, either—Skald... some Hallit. If you need provisions, I recommend pretending to be a native from another town. Keep your head down, do not ask too many questions."
Sighing herself, Gwynn nods shallowly a few times in response, then looks up to Stvanus. The two pass a wordless exchange before she turns to Fenyx. "Do you think we can do this? You seemed to recognize what Halak is. It—that didn't sound too positive."
"We don't have any choice," Styvanus finally admits, rubbing one hand at his brow. "We have to close that portal."
Listening to their discussion, Vuriel finishes warming his hands and looks around at the group in his cabin. Looking as though he were about to say something, the elf instead offers a curious look at Teladon, then moves over to the door to shed his heavy jacket and hang it up to dry.
"You can stay here for a night or two," is Vuriel's ultimate decision and the most he seems able, or perhaps willing, to say. It's evident that he's hedging his bets, playing whatever information he has close to the chest given the group's diverse and otherwise unusual makeup. What more remains to be said, isn't clear.
Rasso curls comfortably up in a ball under the snow, insulated by the spell against the cold. It's actually quite comfortable, and soon he finds himself drifting off to sleep. His eidolon shell fades away as his consciousness does, and the snow collapses to fill up the now empty space around the merman. Curled as he is a fetal position, Rasso's slight form barely constitutes a mound above the rest of the surrounding white. He dreams of the tundra, and a cackling old woman riding a mortar and pestle through the snowy trees.
Ar'Zarrcal listened to the conversation intently. If the elf was to give up any information he did not wish to miss it, while at the same time he tried to understand his companions feelings. They had been changed and he feared that their original motivations had been perverted by the ancient sorceries of Baba Yaga and her servants. Seated now, he unslung his heavy pack from his shoulders and undid the clasps. It was not long before he fished out a mug and some of the earlier pack whiskey. It was not enough to even produce a buzz, but it felt good to have a moment, however brief to pretend at relaxation.
His gaze turned to Ordrud. The Orc seemed equally quiet and squirreled himself away in a corner, eating a meal by himself. Though the companions had been united by a common purpose and the trials of combat, there still remained between most of them a good deal of seperation and distance.
"I remain of the same opinion. We must close the portal. Yet there may be more that can be done than an obvious attack on the Pale Tower. Vuriel has made it clear that large patrols have been ranging from the tower. Ambushing one of those patrols and discovering what it is they search for may provide valuable information." He let his pale eyes shift to the rescued elf and he studied Vuriel's face. "Knowing what they search for is likely of importance to our host as well. He never explained why he battled with the Owlbear riders or how the conflict began..." He let the question hang in the air for some time before he looked to the Andorans.
Ar'Zarrcal bowed his head in an almost solemn manner. He fell into silence, save for his heavy breathing and a few whispered words in the thassilonian language. The fingers of his left hand curled about the heavy iron Sihedron he wore about his neck. Several of the varied runes that marred and tattoo'd his form also began to shed a faint luminesce.
"I need to offer proper prayer to the Goddess. It has been too long. In the morning we will have the opportunity to deal with the people of this village if we wish. I speak the language of the North and can make inquiries if needed. Do we wish this or do we wish to remain unnoticed among the populace?"
The icy blue eyes of the servant of Karzoug focused on Ordrud. He stared hard at the Orc-blooded warrior considering their options. He then looked to Gwynn, not attempting to hide his disfavor.
"The witch you and your team encountered on the other side of the portal. Do you believe that this was Elvanna herself or one of her servants? It may be we will have more than Halek alone to deal with if we go directly after the portal. We may need additional allies. This village could provide some..." Again he looked to Kyonin elf, before turning his gaze to the recently transformed emissary of the Mordent Spire.
"Ambassador Dagannauth how do you think we should proceed?"
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (9) + 8 = 17
Ordrud listened to the new elf then to the dwarf. After clearing his mouthful of meat with a swallow of water, he replies, "If it wasn't Elvanna herself, it was another winter witch of significant power. Hopefully, there are not too many of them against us."
Then when there is a pause in the conversation, he asks Vuriel, "You tracked these new larger patrols of the Pale Tower. What do they consist of? More owlbear riders?"
Fenyx turns to Ar'Zarrcal and says, "Nothing loud. We should regroup and restock here, as much as we are able. Those of us fluent in the local tongue might best effect acquiring additional supplies, or exotic sundries if such a thing even exists here. In this matter, I defer to our host, Vuriel. His familiarity with the village should fare better than wandering the streets aimlessly ourselves. Let us also not forget that Rasso and Talavuc are nearby."
Allowing the house's warmth and his relaxed poise to ease much of his fatigue, the necromancer sighs somewhere between exhaustion and relief. "Ultimately, we'll need a plan to get ourselves into The Pale Tower. We could try the direct approach, certainly, though I'd like to explore more subtle options if we can muster it."
A small hole dug into the snow afforded Talavuc a bit of protection from the wind and prying eyes. Naasvit stirred slightly next to her and she gave the mink an affectionate stroke, smiling softly to herself. The snow shoes sat in the snow nearby, mostly covered already. She grinned and wondered for a minute, knowing that she no longer needed them, but still curious about all the changes that had occurred recently.
Her hand instinctively stroked her husband's wayfinder, much changed from the mantle. She pulled it up to her face and wondered, Just what was taken... I feel both... foggier and clearer... She smiled again and shifted a bit, drawing a lazy gaze from Naasvit and a slightly annoyed snorted. She stroked his head again as her closed her eyes and finally rested, her mind drifting off to thoughts of her husband.
Survival Check: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (16) + 14 = 30