The sudden closeness of the elf made her feel a bit uncomfortable. Strange... Distant, this one... She doesn't reply at first to him, her thoughts running over his questions. Just as he seems likely to lean away, she speaks. "Morozko... The closest translation, is 'the hungry storm.' They have existed for a long time in the Crown. During the coldest times of the year, they occasionally strike down from the High Ice. They are raging storms that attempt to consume those caught in them in a flurry of wind-blown snow and bone-chilling cold. They have become more common over the past several years, ranging further and further south. With them came the dead, frozen yet moving, hungering for the warmth of the living." She pauses for a moment, a pained look evident on her face.
@Lucent: Is there anything else that I can recall about the morozkos in terms of ancient lore?
"We should move quickly. You mentioned hunters.. which I assume are above and beyond the undead we've met so far. If we get caught out here in the open in this weather.. well, lets just say I'm not fond of the idea of getting ambushed. Again. How far is the Goose and Gander?"
Marcellano tries not to speak too loudly as he says this, although he makes sure to be heard over the weather and voices that come with it. He's also being very wary of the surroundings, keeping as keen of an eye out as he can.
Perception Check: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (12) + 1 = 13
As the group treks across the harbor through the howling wind and biting snow, the building Ordrud mentioned comes into view. The ice-encrusted shingle of the tavern bearing a wood-burned depiction of two geese facing one-another with wings flapping has an inviting script of gold leaf that reads, The Goose 'n' Gander. Even though much of the sign is spotted with frost and clinging snow, the expedition team can make out enough of the name to understand it.
With Ordrud on point, the group approaches the four and a half foot high snowdrift in front of the double doors. Ordrud's snowshoes crunch and pack down the drift as he climbs up it, then crouches down to work the door latch. Like much of the rest of Falcon's Hollow, nothing is locked, nothing is secured, but no one is here. The doors swing inward to the dark recesses of the inn, and as Ordrud hops down from the snowbank he tracks in a heap of snow. For the others, the approach is more arduous, having to climb through waist deep or higher snow, over obscured front steps, and then plow through into the pitch black foyer of the tavern.
Once sunrods and ioun torches are brought inside, the abandoned splendor of the tavern is revealed in glittering fashion. The interior walls and most furnishings are coated in a thin sheet of frost. high overhead, a chandelier made out of deer antlers and bones sparkles with otherworldly light from the way the team's light sources play off of the refractive ice crystals.
Being inside brings reprieve from the driving wind but only insulates partially from the cold. Windows covered with frost conceal the outside, thought he dull glow of lights on the Red Wraith are seen as an amber blotch through some. The expedition team can see their warm breaths on the air still, and feel slippery frost underfoot. It's been a long while since anyone was here.
Dozens of round tables fill the open tavern floor, its full bar remains stocked, stools and chairs empty of anyone. A pair of hearths on either side of the ground floor are cold and dusted with snow that has come down the chimney, yet fresh firewood crusted with frost is stacked ready to burn beside it. A curving staircase near the door leads up to a balcony that overlooks the dining floor and leads to the inn rooms.
On some of the tables there are bowls and plates with utensils, mugs half full of frozen ale, half-finished meals preserved by the cold. But there is no sign of struggle, no sign of panic, no sign of anyone or anything.
It's like they all just got up and left.
Aside from the whispers on the wind, you see and hear no one else here other than your compatriots, though the noise of the wind would help mask someone's approach. You notice that the lanterns on the Red Wraith can be seen from a far distance where it is out on the river, making it somewhat like a beacon in the night.
Fenyx seems more at ease in the cold than one might expect, though he is no less eager to gain reprieve from the whispering howls of the storm. He tries to make use of his Traveler's Any-Tool to shovel enough of an entryway into the inn that he does not cover himself to his waist in snow. When the last of the party has made it into the place, he sets to clearing the doorway enough that it can be closed again.
"I'd hesitate to call this welcoming, though it does afford us shelter. Perhaps there is some stronger drink yet about to help those with trouble shaking the chill?" The rhythmic scooping of the shovel ceases, and the necromancer begins shutting the inn's doors, leaning into them with what scant weight his frame affords him to accomplish this. The thin metal rod that was a shovel moments prior disappears into the folds of his robes.
"I might encourage us to see what amenities the inn still avails the road-weary traveler. Food and drink and warmth seem likely. Perhaps we could set to securing the inn and exploring the rooms beyond whilst I get a fire going? If that is agreeable to everyone, of course." The lanky wizard utters a barely audible incantation and begins making gestures akin to one shaking loose grime or debris from their hands. As he does so, chunks of snow caked onto his robes dislodge into clumps on the floor. "Also, for any that might be interested, I am fully capable of making any food we find a little more palatable."
Fenyx cast prestidigitation to unsoil his garments, and is offering to use said spell to flavor any food (or drink) the party manages to get going. After he finishes cleaning himself, he will make his way towards the more accessible hearth of the two and begin thawing out the available firewood with prestidigitation. Then he'll start getting the fire lit with spark unless someone objects.
Once Ordrud makes it inside, he removes his snowshoes and secures them to his backpack. By then the necromancer has started to clear the snow, so he takes his full-size shovel and helps to make short work of the snow inside allowing the front door to close. "I've been imagining the comforts of this place for two days," he says to no one in particular.
While the necromancer cleans himself, Ordrud returns the shovel to his backpack and heads to the bar to search for good liquid insulation. Before the necromancer starts to make a fire, Ordrud suggests, "the smoke from the chimney could be seen for miles. Let's not start a fire yet. Besides, I don't know how much time we have before my hunters descend on us after seeing the lights of the Wraith. We can do a quick search of this place for anything useful, but we should otherwise be ready to go and fight. It may take me a bit to get you up to speed with the demise of my team." He concludes with a shot of the best liquid that he could find and continues, "Ahh. I would really appreciate anything to eat at this point." He pours himself another shot.
Marcellano helps Fenyx shovel some of the snow out of the way with his own shovel, before restrapping it onto his backpack.
"Its more welcoming than outside, at least. And I think we should scope the building before we get comfortable - you never know what might be in here. Perhaps we can find survivors, too, though that much is unlikely. I'll go check upstairs."
Marcellano heads towards the stairs and goes up them, musket at the ready in case of movement. His Ioun Torch still lazily floating around his head brightening the darkness. While walking, he tries to move up quietly, though 'quietly' is a relative term considering he's not got a stealthy bone in his body left with his breastplate on.
Moving at half-speed, musket at the ready, trying to be quiet. Going upstairs and checking the rooms one room at a time.
Stealth: 1d20 - 3 ⇒ (16) - 3 = 13
Perception: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 2 = 14
Considering the other day, when I stepped on a land mine in Black Crusade and went from 23 wounds to -2 in the blink of an eye, I'm being cautious!
The inn is stocked with a full store of provisions that have all largely been frozen due to the cold. This means meats, bread, wine, cheeses, more than the group could conceivably carry. However, all of the coffers look to have been emptied and some of the food looks to have been taken already. A group of people look to have already gone through these buildings and taken anything of measurable value.
Any food taken from here will have a distinctly "freezer-burned" aftertaste to it, but it is edible. Spells or effects that can otherwise freshen up food make it more palatable.
Questions about any other specific amenities or left-behinds can be addressed as they are inquired about.
"The place is clear, as far as I can tell. Didn't see any recent signs of activity, either, although some of the bedrooms upstairs looked like they had been rifled through a while back. "
Marcellano looks considerably more at ease now that he's checked to make sure the building is clear. He sets down his pack and goes through the remaining alcohol to see what kind there is. His musket he leans against the bar, although he keeps close to it.
May I ask what kind of alcohol is available, even if it is likely frozen?
Ar'Zarrcal followed in after three of his companions had shoveled the path. He was easily the shortest of the group and while he offered no words of appreciation, he was pleased that he did not have to trudge through too much of the heavy snow drift.
Once inside, his gaze moved immediately to search out the interior, not needing to rely on the glow of the lights his company brought with him. It was clear that nothing living had been here in some time, but he offered no word to halt Marcellano's exploration. Such directives were the domain of the Andorran captain, at least for now.
Instead Ar'Zarrcal followed the Orc-blooded Ordrud to the bar and fished out some oldlaw or some other whiskey to warm his belly. He grumbled in disgust to find it partially frozen. Breaking open the top of the bottle, he used a knife to chip off pieces of the frozen liquor into a frosted clay mug. Moderation was taken for now, filling only one mug to the lip with a combination of ice whiskey and the liquid product. Moderation for a dwarf at least. He was eager to here Ordrud's tale. Suspicion still clouded the rune-scarred dwarf's frozen gaze.
"Ambassador Dagannauth, on this I agree with Ordrud. It would be best to avoid a fire for now. The warmth and smoke could attract unwanted attention."He fished with his fingers into the cup and pulled out a large chunk of the frozen drink. He licked his lips and placed it in his mouth, letting it melt slowly on his tongue. "So then you are the only survivor of your team?" He said with a partially full mouth, the words intersparced with the crunching of ice between his teeth.
Initial Perception Check: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16
Talavuc follows witht he rest, shaking off the pained look on her face. She aids the others in clearing the door with her Traveler's Any-Tool, trying to make sure that the entry and exit (whenever it might be) is easier than it would otherwise be.
After finishing that task, she enters the inn, taking a look around to acquaint herself, while Naasvit sniffs at the air. She gives a low whistle and the mink starts searching about the place. "I wouldn't drink alcohol at a time like this. It may make you feel warmer, but it doesn't last long and will actually help to make you colder in the long run."
She heads into the room, scanning for a place to sit that isn't covered in frost. "More than that, Ar'Zarrcal. How did your team die, Ordrud?"
Talavuc gave the Seek command to Naasvit.
Naasvit's Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25 Low-Light Vision, Scent
Making some notes for later, don't mind me.
FFZS Base 10 + 15 = 25
Ar'Zarrcal: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6
Styvanius: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4
Talavuc: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (13) + 9 = 22
Naasvit: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24
Fenyx: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 3 = 10
Marcellano: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (15) + 1 = 16
Ordrud: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17
Rasso: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
Teladon: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16
The bar is well stocked. Whiskey, honey mead, and a dark ale are in casks out back. There's a wine rack that is full (20 bottles) as well of varying vintages all locally made. Not all of the alcohol will freeze solid at this temperature, some of it turns to slush, some just gets really cold, it varies depending on the alcohol content, really. There's a barrel of water, too, which is definitely frozen solid.
According to the internet:
24 proof liquor freezes at -6.7°C (20°F)
64 proof liquor freezes at -23.33°C (-10°F)
84 proof liquor freezes at -34.44°C (-30°F)
So the ale likely froze, but the higher proof stuff is probably just cold or slush. It's anywhere from 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit inside the inn right now.
In a frozen inn, surrounded by sailors, dwarves, and orcs, prestidigitation might be the best spell ever.
Fenyx abandons his spot by the hearth for the time being. Seeing his Shalasti companion struggling to enjoy his whiskey, he begins rubbing his hands together quickly as he approaches. He grips the bottle with both hands, covering as much surface area on the bottle as his hands can grasp. He repeats the process with any drinks that are being actively consumed, melting all of the frozen libations in short order. As he finishes with Marcellano's drink, he moves behind the bar to peruse the selection. He ultimately settles on the best wine and the strongest liquor he comes across—a Sarain Pinot Noir and a plain looking bottle of Vjarik. Fenyx seems uninterested in consuming any alcohol at the moment, however, and merely stores them in his backpack.
"Since fire's out of the question, I suppose that rules out any meat for the main course. I will see about getting some of the bread and cheese prepared, though I fear the former will be undoubtedly stale."
"Never said I was looking to drink any right now, Druid. However, I did not bring any alcohol with me. I regret this decision. Therefore, since it seems the locals have abandoned such a generous selection - even if unwillingly - I see no reason to let it go to waste, especially when I have enough room to carry some of it."
After speaking to Talavuc, Marcellano goes back to rummaging through the alcohol choices. He decides to take six bottles of the best vintage he can find and puts them in his backpack, before finding some of the stronger, unfrozen and unslushy alcohol and pouring himself some, and offering the bottle to anyone else who's interested.
Grinning, he says, "That being said, I'm not going to say no to free alcohol when it is given! I can always warm myself up with coffee later, if need be. Anyone care for a drink?"
I'm going to assume that the frozen bottles weigh 1.5 lbs as per the Ultimate Equipment guide? And are they fine wine, or just common wine?
"I wouldn't drink alcohol at a time like this. It may make you feel warmer, but it doesn't last long and will actually help to make you colder in the long run."
Ordrud replies, "Thanks, mum." He salutes her with his shot and downs it. He secures the bottle top and puts both it and cup into his backpack before the alcohol scavengers arrive. Ordrud was first and did specify "best liquid that he could find" for his refined taste at least.
"Stale bread and cheese? Is that all you're offering? I should have gone to the damn ship for a better meal. Fine, I'll go scavenge it myself." He mumbles to himself and goes to scavenge a huge pile of three days worth of freezer-burned food. He spreads it on a table like a banquet and starts to gnaw on it. You get the impression that he is very hungry and eaten far worse.
I'll start telling Ordrud's tale after everyone settles into the inn with a post or three. Ordrud has priorities. Cheers!
Well hopefully there are other 'best liquids' out there Ordrud :P Besides I figured you were primarily going for the unfrozen stuff, so I decided on grabbing some frozen wine bottles for later, -then- finding the unfrozen stuff. And I was offering it to everyone, since you already had some :P
Though his head is fixed intently on the tasks that currently occupy him, the necromancer spares a brief glance to the half-orc's malcontent. "It is not so much an issue of what we're offering as it is what's available. If you'd prefer to gnaw on a frozen shank of venison, then by all means..." Fenyx fetches one of the larger platters and begins loading the more appetizing selections of bread and cheese found throughout the common room. "I will do what little I can for the taste, but I fear the consistency is a lost cause. Those with an aversion to garlic, best speak up now."
Flavoring the bread with something similar to a hint of garlic after thawing it out (minus the bad breath!) and then getting to work on thawing a nearby water barrel (subsequently filling cups from it and flavoring with a light kiss of honey-like sweetness).
"I'm none too eager to attempt any of the frozen meat on prepared plates, but if their meat stores have yet to be emptied, perhaps some of the burlier among us would like to stock up for our foray into the woods. Given the state of things, it seems unlikely that we shall encounter any game; an occasional departure from trail rations might be a welcome distraction."
- HP 25/25
- AC 20( T: 12/ FF:16)
- Fort + 4|Ref + 2|Will + 2
- Init + 2
- Perception +1
Styvanus makes his way into the inn and makes a quick patrol around the first floor while the others raid the bar. He keeps an eye out for danger more so than for salvage.
"We'll be going soon then. Ordrud, when you're ready." He states flatly, standing at attention across from the setting orc.
For the 'quick patrol'Perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (20) + 1 = 21
Humans.. reckless as always. Teladon thinks to himself, his back to the gathering in the common room. Silently he stares out of the frost rimed windows while keeping to the shadows himself. The Orc-kin has warned us of hunters and yet they each stand about jabbering like birds on the wind. Shaking his head in disgust the solemn elf purses his lips. Frown hidden from behind the mask he listens as they slowly prepare drinks and food while never acknowledging they could be in danger. The human soldiers should know better. Scouts should have been posted and lookouts maintained, but instead are drinking on duty. It was reckless and Teladon would not stand for it. Let them waste their lives from inattention if they so wished, but Teladon had no wish to die a fool.
If the Orc-spawn says it is too dangerous to light a fire then it is too dangerous to drink. Teladon harshly whispers from behind his mask the scorn evident in his voice. You are the hopes of your people, perhaps the best they can send and your drinking before sunrise? The disgust clearly apparent in his voice now, the elf crosses his arms while maintaining his statuesque vigil. Dealing with whatever is out there could be bad enough; don’t make it harder by dulling your wits. Now tell us what lurks in the snows beyond and be quick about it, I tire of this wasteful banter. Gritting his teeth once more, the elf never once turns back to look at his “companions”. Wasteful and foolish, even a elf-child would know better than to let ones guard down. No wonder the other group never succeeded if this is the best they can offer.. Shaking his head and giving a quiet sigh the elf peers out of the window, what little hope he had slowly dwindling away.
Perception (keep watch outside of the inn): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24
Rasso stayed near the back of the group as the others were clearing the way into the Goose and Gander. Once inside he took up a post near the door, staring through the window out into the town. Talkin' wind. Aint no time fer drinkin'. Besides I already done that this morning. He thinks, grinning. The mild buzz of the rum he had brushed his teeth with, and drank with breakfast has yet to wear off. His red eyes remain unblinkingly trained outside, while one ear is turned to listen to Ordrud, should he actually get to spilling to beans.
Perception out the window: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10
Ordrud shrugs at the masked humanoid and thinks to himself, He must not be able to hold his liquor, the self-righteous featherweight.
Nodding to the captain, Ordrud starts his story, which is occasionally interrupted by him sating his voracious appetite. ”We departed from Almas twelve days ago. Three Humans: Captain Talisa Gwynn, Braden Tavel, and Cerasan Falentini; Girardin Shalewind, a Dwarf; Tycora Sandein, a Half-Elf cleric of Iomedae; and me. The first three days were uneventful traveling up river on the Red Wraith.
Upon reaching Falcon's Hollow, we found the residents had disappeared without a trace. We spent a day searching the town for survivors. None were found, but evidence of a raid and looting were. We could see a tornado of snow and ice spinning stationary inside the nearby Darkmoon Wood.
The next day, we set out north toward Darkmoon Wood and the Lumber Consortium camp, our first planned waypoint. It took nearly all day to hike the 8 miles north to the woods. We found the lumber camp burned to the ground several months previously. We camped in the ruins. From here we could see a cyclone of snow spinning somewhere in the middle of the forest over the treetops.
In the morning, we continued north into the Darkmoon Wood. At dusk, we were ambushed crossing a frozen section of the river by a ruined bridge. Five winged faeries about a foot tall, humanlike with sky blue skin and white hair that gave off a natural icy glow around their bodies jumped us from invisibility. I caught one of those buggers with my cold iron Feyswatter,” He grins patting his greatsword. ”They ran away from me, but then came this troll/giant thing swinging a tree as a club. Nine feet tall, hunched posture, knottled and gnarled skin covered with a variety of moss and shingle mushrooms. He too had a "wintry" appearance with his coloration of blues and whites. After I sliced him with a good solid, he flattened me with one shot. Everything went black.
Oh, yeah. The commander of this ambush barking out orders to the troll was a full winter witch in all her hoary glory. She was dressed in a regal robe of pure white fashioned from layers of different textured fabrics but no visible protection from the cold. She wore a black wooden mask on her face with gnarled branch horns, sculpted to resemble a woman's face. She stayed at a distance and opened with a storm of snow and ice to whip through the forest that cut visibility to near nothing. Then, she conjured spears of ice that flew through the air and struck the captain in the arm. After she summoned this enormous patch of writhing, inky black tentacles under most of the team, the captain sounded the retreat. I had just downed a cure potion, gotten up, and watched Girardin stoned from a single blow by the troll. Bradin was poisoned and had difficulty defending himself. Basically, we were screwed.
After ten minutes of rabbiting, a group of nine Human hunters caught my tracks. They seemed intimately familiar with the woods and appeared to be working together with winter witch. They did not wear any sort of identifying uniforms or insignas and were all lightly armored or unarmored and were armed with muskets and bows. Those bastards chased me for nearly two full days never getting closer than 100 feet. They were heavily dressed for the cold and pursued me faster through the snow than any untrained individuals could have due to the snow depth; two to four feet in most places. They fired on me without attempting to make contact of any kind when they spotted me. I heard them shouting directions to one another in a Taldan accent. I retreated west and then southwest along the edge of the Darkmoon Wood and then cut back southeast to return to Falcon's Hollow. I never saw any other survivors.
After another night, I got back to Falcon’s Hallow and climbed into a second story window of the Rouge Lady across the street. I figured no one would go there without the entertainment. I didn’t have any food, but I was out of the wind and wasn’t making anymore tracks for the hunters. That was two days ago. I sure was happy to the Wraith again.” He continues to eat like he hasn’t seen food for days pausing only to drink from his waterskin. His injuries are more apparent limiting his movements.
"A grim tale. So fairies, witches and men of ill temper await us in yon hoary forest? Greaaaatttt." Rasso says sardonically. Maybe I shoulda had some of those funny shoes fitted fer me frame. Getting caught up in deep snow aint gonna help me fight none. "What happened to the tornado of snow?"
"Others are consuming it, Chel." She shakes her head. "I give it as advice and a warning. Alcohol is not a good survival tool if it is drunk. However, it's flammable and that is quite useful. I'd take the stronger liquors."
Talavuc listens to the tale Ordrud tells with a dark look on her face. "Our enemies are better supplied and know the terrain well. This does not bode well." She looks down in thought, tracing the lines of the floorboards with her eyes. "It may serve us best to lure them here. Have the hunters searched this town for you after you escaped them?"
"No, the hunters haven't been to town in the past couple of days. The alcohol was to celebrate the life that I still have, and the second one was to honor my fallen teammates who I hope to recover." Ordrud replies to the female. He starts to pick through the remnants of his personal banquet, obviously on his last lap of eating.
"Which one of you is a healer? I'm running at half strength, right now. I've also exhausted both cure potions the Andorans gave me. Do you have a spare or two. I'll trade them for potions of endure elements that I haven't really needed."
"Am I really the only one with magical healing here?" Rasso says, looking around at the others. "If so that's a gods damned shame, because I'm sh*t at it. I also have need of me energies for fighting."
Putting out some Knowledge Checks based on Ordrud's account of events. If you wish to make others, feel free to.
Ar'Zarrcal: Knowledge (arcana): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15
Ar'Zarrcal: Knowledge (Arcana): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24
The "tornado" of snow sounds like the same thing that Knight-Commander Reinn spoke of in your briefing having been seen in Rahadoum that destroyed an entire city before being disjoined by Rahadoumi mages.
Fenyx: Knowledge (Arcana): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (16) + 10 = 26
Fenyx: Knowledge (Nature): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 20
The fae creatures that Ordrud described are sprites, though their coloration leads you to believe that they are "winter touched" faeries, a regional acclimation to fae from the nation of Irrisen. Based on your expertise with fae creatures, you know that these sprites can fly and have very sharp senses, are resistant to blows from weapons that are not cold iron, can fly, and has detect evil, detect good, dancing lights, daze and typically color spray as spell-like abilities. These ones, however, seem to be of a variant that have vanish as a spell-like ability (not wholly uncommon at all). You also understand that what Ordrud was mistaking for poison is actually their ability to transfer a bone-chilling cold through their weapons that stagger foes hit.
Fenyx: Knowledge (Nature): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (4) + 8 = 12
You know less about the tree-wielding creature than the sprites. It's a moss troll, that much you're sure of. They, like the winter-touched fey, have a vulnerability to fire.
Fenyx: Knowledge (Arcana): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (10) + 10 = 20
The "tornado" of snow sounds like the same thing that Knight-Commander Reinn spoke of in your briefing having been seen in Rahadoum that destroyed an entire city before being disjoined by Rahadoumi mages.
Teladon: Knowledge (Arcana): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11
Teladon: Knowledge (Arcana): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (1) + 8 = 9
Talavuc: Knowledge (Nature): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17
The fae creatures that Ordrud described are sprites, though their coloration leads you to believe that they are "winter touched" faeries, a regional acclimation to fae from the nation of Irrisen. Based on your expertise with fae creatures, you know that these sprites can fly and have very sharp senses, are resistant to blows from weapons that are not cold iron, can fly, and has detect evil, detect good, dancing lights, daze and typically color spray as spell-like abilities.
Talavuc: Knowledge (Nature): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22
Moss trolls. You've heard of these creatures before, they tend to inhabit the more temperate areas of the Crown of the World, and they're by and large brutal savages, they are remarkably cunning ones. They are physically powerful and can rapidly heal from any wound unless fire is applied. They are also terrified of fire and will be shaken by the presence of a flame as hot as a torch of greater. Also, they are tricky, as they can shapechange into a moss/fungus covered tree at will to disguise themselves in their environment. It could have been observing Ordrud's group for hours without them noticing.
"I have a healer's kit and surgeon's tools, but the only magical healing I have is from the two potions given to me by our superiors, and, if the zombies on the ship were any indication, I think I might be needing those later."
He pauses a moment, taking another drink of alcohol, then continues, "As for the alcohol, who ever said I'm at ease? I was foolish back on the ship - this time, I'm keeping my musket close at hand, and my cutlass closer. A sailor knows that any day may be he last - might as well go out with a buzz. It won't affect my performance, I assure you, elf. This stuff is weak compared to the Shackles Rum you'd loot off a pirate ship. That stuff would knock even the dwarf flat on his ass.
He takes one last swig before putting down the cup and picking his musket back up. "Alright, so the lumber camp's a bust, as you said. Didn't the Knight-Commander mention some kind of lodge? Perhaps that should be our destination? Those hunters have to have some kind of base of operations.. if you said they were as well-dressed for the cold as you said, then they probably ain't immune to it - so they need a warm place to rest. Or do we know of any other place they could be hiding? If we can hit them when they're not expecting an attack - especially from not so many of us - would be a good tactical advantage."
Where was the lodge on the map again? I don't think you got around to adding it..
Ah! You're right I didn't. I forgot all about that, I'm sorry guys. I'll give you a good example on a map copy I gave to Ordrud. If you look at this map, the red X up by the river indicates where Gwynn's team was ambushed by the winter witch. Just across that river into the woods and set atop a knoll is the lodge. That area where Gwynn's team was ambushed is also presumably the only safe place to cross the frozen river, which is why it became a choke-point, since it stays on the logging trails.
Never looking back at the others, Teladon continued his vigil. If they would not stand at the ready then he would have to. Listening as the others continued to eat and drunk, the elf just shook his head. Personally, Teladon had no issues with alcohol himself. He would imbibe along with the rest of his people during diurnal celebration of the zenith and in the winter months following the Ritual of Stardust, but here and now? This was not a time to celebrate. People did not whisper that the end was near; no people yelled it from the mountaintops. There was nothing to here celebrate and mourning through alcohol was foolish.
Back ridged and peering out from his mask, the magnus’s eyes continued to scan the snow covered street, never waiver in its movement. Thoughtfully, Teladon’s gloved hand ran along his mask in the same direction as the horrific scar that covered his face. When Arylon had fallen in the battle for Celwynvian, Teladon had grieved. He had made his offerings to the gods and anointed his brothers brow in holly sprig and juniper oil. He had said the hallowed words of remembrance and clutched tight to the knowledge that Arylon had taken the next step in his quest towards the brightness. The elven warrior would be lying if he said that he had been at peace with his brother’s loss. There had been anger.. there still was. Sighing, Teladon reached into his bag and withdrew a small bit of wayfar bread. Let them eat them frozen meat and cheese made from unclean beasts. Teladon had brought his own stores.. they would suffice. Lifting his mask just enough to reach his mouth the elf took a single bite of the elven bread, slowly chewing on it while gazing out of the window. Lowering his mask, the elf closed his bag and set it beside him.
There is nothing to celebrate here, only things to mourn. But even in morning there is no cause to abandon your duties. Teladon contemplated his other hand never leaving his sword. Duty is heavier them a mountain.. but I will not shirk it, even here and now amongst outsiders. Let them see me and know the determination of my people.
As they both gaze out the window, neither Teladon nor Rasso can see much of anything outside. The snow whips about in blinding flurries against the dark of morning and even the distant lantern lights of the Red Wraith seem hazy and indistinct. At their feet, the shuffling, slender frame of Talavuc's mink Naasvit snuffles and sniffs along the floor, nosing around Rasso's right foot before continuing his search of the inn, occasionally pausing to scratch at a piece of refuse or dropped food on the floor.
The wind howls loudly outside, wailing against the walls of the inn and at times rattling the windows. Rasso and Teladon can hear the whispering neigh-voices on that storm wind, always to faint to be anything other than a susurrus against wood and glass.
A dark shape passes by the window Rasso and Teladon peer out of, but only Teladon seems to notice it. It was so quick, so brief, that maybe it was a trick of the light from the ship. To Rasso there's just the blizzard beyond the frosted glass. A moment later, Teladon sees it again, something move between the window of the inn and the lights of the Wraith in the distance, a silhouette or perhaps silhouettes.
Talavuc at the same moment notices Naasvit perk up, rise slightly up off of his front legs and twist his head towards the front door of the inn, nose twitching rapidly.
Ar'Zarrcal listened to the story intently. The whiskey in his mug was hardly enough to even produce a buzz for a dwarf of his fortitude and age, but he said nothing to the Mordent Spire Ambassador's sharp words. They seemed more directed at the humans anyway. When Ordrud had finished his tale, Ar'Zarrcal nodded alongside the Cheliaxian's suggestion of searching at the lodge.
"The witch you and your team encountered was wielding some potent magics, though nothing comparable with the ability of Karzoug the Claimer. The tornado of snow, however seems to be something else entirely and I suspect beyond the power of that witch. It sounds very similar to the magical storm of ice and snow which hit Rahadoum. The same one that destroyed an entire city before being disjoined by Rahadoumi wizards." Ar'Zarrcal sipped at his now unfrozen beverage and then nibbled on some of the cheese set out. He glanced over to the elf. The masked one seemed to still be keeping watch, but also listening. Perhaps he would have something to add in regards to the faeries. Elves and faeries were allied weren't they? Or was that Gnomes and Faeries?
Ar'Zarrcal then turned his gaze to Ordrud. He stared hard at the Orc-blooded warrior for some time and then finally spoke. "I can knit your wounds, should you accept the blessing and power of Lissala into your body and soul. She does not usually grant her gifts to nonbelievers."
He had prayed for a spell of healing that he had intended to save should he or his fellow ambassador of Shalast become wounded, but thought it prudent to aid the Orc. If he could bend that one toward the purposes of Karzoug, all the better.
"Woah!" Rasso interjects, "Before you go giving yerself over to the runelord there, I'll fix ye up. Me only price being that you answer me previous inquiry about what befell the snow tornado. Is it still there?"
Ordrud shrugs at the dwarf, "I'll believe whatever you want if ya heal me," indicating quite clearly that the Half-orc would never be terribly devout.
Damn evangelists. Just as bad as those Lastwall pasties.
"Huh?" Ordrud didn't understand that he was giving himself over to anyone. "Yes, the damn tornado was still there last I glimpsed it a couple days ago. It didn't look like it was going anywhere. If it wasn't for this damn storm, you could see it in the North over the treetops."
"C'mere." Rasso says, fishing out his bottle of fiend blood. "Where ya hurt?" he asks, before thickly slathering the blood on the indicated areas. A few seconds chanting in his burbling mother tongue, and the half-orc's wounds begin to knit themselves back up.
After finishing his spell on Odrud, Rasso nods to him and then turns back to the front window with Teladon. "So, as I was sayin'. What ye snackin' on there?"
Cast infernal healing on Ordrud, heal 10 hp over the next 10 rounds.
Peering out from the frost rimmed window Teladon blinks slowly behind the mask. It is lem-bas.. In your tongue it is “way-bread. Still savoring the taste of his homeland, the reserved elf leans in towards the window. It last forever and single wafer can sustain an elf for a day. It is a secret of my people; I will speak no more of it. Scowling beneath his mask Teladon shrugs his shoulders in frustration. It was only a matter of time before the others began prying. It was inevitable.. Remaining inert, Teladon quietly whispers from behind his mask to the Merfolk. Tell me Mer-kin have you ever fought an aboleth, they.. Trailing off in midsentence Teladon blinks, feeling the giant mink sense something as well. Ssshhhh… Teladon trails off holding one finger up. We are not alone. There is something moving out there. It is between us and the lights from the ship. I can make out at least one shape but I believe there are several. Unspoken was the second part of the statement. You were all foolish for not being prepares for this eventuality. When will you learn that Golarion is not the safe memory that it once was.
Rasso, I don’t believe I have ever told any of you my name. That was intentional.
Teladon's correct there, though I can understand where people might've assumed some introductions were made off-camera at the meeting. I also checked and Knight-Commander Reinn never mentioned his name either, and I think she's the only one who would know. However I'm going to say that Styvanus knows something to address him by as he's in charge of the mission and shouting hey knife-ears all the time could get grating ;)
Ordrud nods to the dwarf and says, "Next time." He takes a big bite and heads next to Rasso while chewing. What is this thing? he asks himself instead of asking Rasso, because the fishhead turns away from him. So he thanks the fishhead with return nod.
Dismissed he returns to his table enjoying the warmth that the fast healing supplies. He gets to the table when Teladon warns them that they are not alone. "Party's over," he says to himself and starts packing his haversack with what he can't stuff into his mouth.
Ar'Zarrcal bowed his head in an almost solemn manner and it looked like he was about to perform a divine blessing, his fingers going to 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, but Rasso's sudden interuption broke the gathering enchantment.
The icy blue eyes of the servant of Karzoug focused on Rasso, not with any great antipathy, but rather a mixture of confusion and curiosity. A cool and patronizing smile forced its way across the lips of the herald of Shalast when he heard the words and saw the material source of the Merman's healing. So Rasso feared the blessing and influence of Lissala over the Orc-blooded warrior, but not the very palaple taint of the infernal? Was he ignorant of the fact that he channeled the power of devils each time he used that encantation? Surely Ordrud would feel the influence on his body and soul, at least briefly. Far more corrupting than the gift of his goddess. Perhaps he merely wished to maintain a wedge between the Shalasti and the rest of the unit. That seemed plausible.
"Next time then." The dwarf said simply to Ordrud, soon quieting when the Ambassador of the Mordent Spire spoke. He was glad that the elf was watching, for he did not speak mink.
He did not draw a weapon yet, but moved carefully to one of the other windows. He knew that the elf had good vision, but it likely paled next to his own. What was a little night compared to the endless dark beneath the mountains? Searching for a window that was not so frozen over to prevent a glimpse of what lay beyond, Ar'Zarrcal tried to pinpoint these dark moving shapes that the masked elf warned them of.
It isn't the dark, so much as the snow, that hinders Ar'Zarrcal's vision. The blizzard cuts visibility down to hardly anything. Maybe the Mordant elf was jumping at shadows, maybe Naasvit smelled a piece of misplaced meat somewhere. Whatever it was, from inside the inn Ar'Zarrcal couldn't see anything other than snow and the darkness beyond.
Upon hearing that the group isn't alone, Marcellano instantly quiets down and grabs his musket. He takes a semi-kneeling position behind the bar, takes his Ioun Torch and stows it in a pocket, then keeps silently keeps an eye out, mainly towards the stairs, in case someone decides to sneak in through an upstairs window.
Well, that was quick, if these are Ordrud's hunters. Guess they've been waiting for him to make a move. That, or the elf's seeing things. Wouldn't put it past him.. make a sick joke like that to try and get us on alert. Though, the druid's animal seems to have noticed something too.. best to be careful either way.
"I can heal as well, but typically do not pray for such magics. I carry a wand with such energies in it, should anyone need it. Considering how cut-off we are at the moment, I'd rather not expend much more from it than needed."
"The fairies are sprites, but strangely ones that should be native to Irrisen. They've got a number of magics at their disposal, most of it useful for trickery. The troll creature is a variety of troll known as a moss troll. They fear fire, as they won't regenerate from wounds caused by it. It may have stalked you for sometime Ordrud, as they can tur-" She halts in mid-sentence, noticing Naasvit's change in behavior. She hears the elf's report, grinning to herself a bit. Ahh... Elven senses. Quite legendary."
"Naasvit senses something as well," she whispers, tightening the grip on her spear.
Rasso nods to the masked ambassador, "I assume whatever the somethings are they're headed fer the Wraith all lit up like a great floating brothel as she is. We aught to go save them, lest we be left stranded in this frozen asscrack for all eternity." Rasso heading to the front door, Rasso puts his hand on the knob. "Captain?" he asks, seeking confirmation from Styvanus before heading back outside.
Rising on the balls of his feet Teladon gave a short nod at Rasso's question. Unlike the others, Teladon had been ready to act at a moment’s notice. Had the hunters that the orc-spawn spoke of burst through the door mid-conversation the elf would have been prepared for combat. While he couldn’t made out what direction the creatures were heading, it was logical that they were being drawn the Wrath like insects to a flame. Calming reaching for the pack that was sitting next to him, the elven magi carefully tightened each strap, knowing that any unexpected movement from his gear could throw off his blade forms. Unsheathing his blade with a quiet hiss, Teladon pointed with the blade towards the door. Eyes never leaving the window the emissary whispered, No lights. Before moving up to the doorway.