Ivinia Darkness

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Scribe Notes

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Contents

Summary

GM: Jono Bean
Season: Spring 816 wk
Night: Wednesday (starting 14th Sept, 6:30pm)
Location: 39 Tudor Road, Henderson, Auckland
Level: Medium/High
Information: Information from players for Jono.
Play test: Alchemist, Assassin, Beastmaster, Thief, Ranger, and others.

Preference given to those who played on Chelemby Northern Darkness part one, or guild members who's background is from the northern area.

Party
  1. Ragnfríðr Yngvarrsdóttir Gythja of Hel, (new) Party leader - Kelsie
  2. Mungo the humble So Named by Odin Himself - Michael
  3. Mordrin Freya's champion- Clare.
  4. Serra Angelus - Elven, Hard Drinking Earth mage
  5. Lady Cher of Maltheim Cross, Binder, played by Sean
  6. Silverfoam, Military Scientist, Namer(ish), played by Michael P.
Mission
In the warmth of Spring go to Chelemby City, travel to the Kingdom of Ibanvaal and assist the local leaders with a siege.
Help by rescuing some missing people. Kill two important people who poisoned the wife of a son of Thor.
Time allowing follow up on a treasure map.
Pay
A meal of blessed náttmál for each person.
6 X Reinforced Salamander Hearts.
6 X Amulet of Blessed Antlers.

Scribe notes

Chapter-1: And So It Begins ...

The sub-party left guild, via the Destitution Portal, which refuses to transmit anything over 5000 sp worth — surprised that each of us is technically of such low value. (PS Correction: apparently it only cuts out possessions. Even more surprised that none of the party are technically possessed, especially the pacted).

We three (Cher, Serra, Silverfoam) arrived under a pier in Chelemby City, some wetter others; sailed up to the rustic, Royal fortress of Dagenborg in Ibanvaal.

The Mission

We met the rest of the party who had been training. General introductions were made; including the fact that Mungo was once changed into a camel, but only briefly because he can change shape.
Cher: "What? Like Loki?"

We continued with discussions of the mission specifics, such as they are; also philosophical discussions on Pragmatics and relativity of Truth. There was some uncertainty about phrases like "That's what the Son of Thor claims". Indeed Ragna & Mungo disagree on whether the son of Thor could have been tricked or would lie. (Or both.)
Mungo: "He's the son of Thor, and Thor NEVER Lies. Well, only about his battle averages; but that doesn't count."

It was explained to Mungo the humble (etc, etc) that the "noble" or courtly view of facts & other motives depended on one's position and the Good of the State. Truth & the worth of witnesses/accusers customarily depends on various GotS (ours & theirs).

We agreed to track down the villains who poisoned the wife. Unfortunately the accused poisoner is a substantial Jarl over the border, where his grandfather is the local king. Therefore the Evil Jarl might refuse to acknowledge Mungo's status to issue a challenge to a Trial by Combat. And even if someone, er, differently important like Mordrin or Ragna challenged, they might be met by the Kings Champion. Or maybe they'd just poison the party — if the Evil Jarl has done it once and got away with it, why not again. (We learnt more when we visited Ragna's family.)

CONCLUSION: We have informally contracted to "Execute" the King's Summary justice on the instigating poisoners (and perhaps any colluding conspirators) who murdered the wife of Thor's son; rather a complicated Trial of any sort.

DETAILS: Idgar Thorson's wife was poisoned in his own hall ... by something that may have been succubitic or incubus-like. Jarling Strossar (36ish) is a Menglanan leader, the charismatic holder of Froyaheim (a fortress on the coast; just a fortress not a town). Mystical investigation confirmed that the perpetrator was indeed a Name that translates approximately as King of Menglana. Idgar will reward us if we slay the Jarl.
Official Party Position: They (the poisoners) have been judged by the Gods and we are here to carry out the summary justice. No need to make a fuss.

Summary of Political implications & problems for/to party-members.

  • Mordrin, Freya's champion, warrior Dwarf: the king wants her & others claim to "their" lands over the border in Menglana, near Sulubin.
  • Ragna a Priestess of Hel who are the only Healers in this part of the world because, she reminds us, they kill any others who claim to be (The party's elves are not even claiming to be veterinarians). It's not clear if the Priestesses are also the only Necromancers. Ragna also has several marriageable daughters.
  • Mungo, Odinist, warrior: evil half-brother; Acknowledgement/DaddyHeritage issues ("I'm the son of a king" // Ragna: "you're a bastard son, you'll have to fight for it" // M: "It doesn't matter").

Quite so: Mungo is well known to be a bastard acknowledged in Chelemby.

  • Silverfoam, unpacted: not known to have visited these Kingdoms. Suspicious of the already known-to-be-Perfidious Destinians, who were slave-trading here in past years (which was distinctly mentioned at a previous guild meeting).
  • Cher, no involvement.
  • Serra Angelis, no involvement, other that the mission last season.

Party holds a Thing

The party met (had a Thing, as the locals say) to plan strategy:

  • SF proposed that the party go by ship (mostly by sea) to Menglana — much easier than going over the mountains. Infiltrating through the mountain passes would grossly disadvantage us in ambush-rich terrain familiar to the enemy. Other cunning stratagems and devious covers were floated and some sunk.
  • The Shopping trip to Pelby was discounted.
  • But that lead to a counter-proposal to stop at Fuhreling (Ragna's home town) which is on the way, and a vital source of more intelligence, equipment, and Greaters.
  • Mungo suggested that the party could be disguised as elves by putting on dresses and acting like women. Which grossly offended Serra Angelis, but amused the MilSci, who possibly wanted it all to go as far as a swift shaving of unelvish sideburns to teach Mungo the difference between devious & deviance (but the scribe cannot comment further).

Ragna: "Please officially note that Mungo is perfectly willing to become a woman if necessary".

  • Cher offered to itemize useful things — see Itemisation (Binder S-7)

Ragna: "If you have a hot roast pig & itemize it, will it be hot & fresh when unitemised?"
Cher: "Of course!" [Excited muttering & slavering by party.]


The Feast: Merchants & Mungo's loose women.

We attended a feast presided by the Queen Halfreth, the 3rd wife of King Osidar Dagen of Ibanvaal. 40 or 45 turned up, some with horses, wearing finer clothing ... as did many of their riders (sorry, traditional Elvish humour). Two-thirds of the attendees were female (whose men were lost or are at The Front), so Mungo was swarmed by undiscerning females. Although later we discovered Women were not so much undiscerning, as cunning & desperate. Three of them were considering killing off each other and making Mungo King of the South, until "dissuaded" by Mordrin's words and meaningful glares and "hard looks" from Ragna's "frightening" face (the one on the left).

Also attending were Merchants from Chelemby who have been contracted to supply materials for the rebuilding. (Don't tell Mungo, but they were actually the Guests of honour). SF socialised and discussed rebuilding. He later arranged to borrow, on surety, some wood so that the party can have a small ship when needed.
Indeed, we noticed the next day that a third of the town was burnt & demolished; with a temporary, wooden palisade erected. Also thousands of graves with spears on them. The Party Leader borrowed a scorched, broken end from the Ridge-pole of a burnt longhouse to become the prow figurehead of the party's boat — name "The burnt Ram", familiarly "The roast Lamb".

Rumours and Bons mots from the Soirée

  • Orm_the_Dragon has been active in the area.
  • The Dwarves are known to make items for the gods; and are believed to side with the Gods, thus with King Osidar (Idgar's uncle) and his covert summary sentence against the Offending Jarl.
  • "Turns out we didn't HAVE to fight a shipload of undead, that was just entertainment."
  • Mungo effortlessly insulted the wife of the Captain of the guard (the Arms-master that trains all the Household fighters). And somehow "What are you saying about my wife ..." quickly, predictably became an alcohol-fueled a fight, with each combatant standing on shield upheld by their supporters; followed by more mead and high-spirited shenanigans.

Home is the Priestess

Sailing (Mage wind) by day 250 miles, at an innocent pace, from Dagenborg via the Kolfa Gulf then South along the coast, we finally stopped at Ragna's home town Fuhreling. Charting as we went, with two skillful navigators (SF & Mungo) this took 2 days, but in future should take only 10 hours at the standard rate.

There was a large Destinian vessel in the harbour. SF wondered aloud about securing some planks of it, maybe the rudder, to enlarge our ship "... purely in jest!" (added for legal reasons).
Mungo: "Take the wood from the bottom [of the boat], so they won't notice."

We pulled up on the beach. Those in need of Greater enchantments went to the new Temple of Luck to enquire further. SF, Mungo, & Cher stayed at the boat, purchasing some dried fish and gossip (included below) from locals for cash over shared mead and strong cheese:

  • There's a lot of abducting and raiding in the region; many are then sold on to the Destinians (hiss!), especially women and them what speak the language.
  • The trickster-god's temple in Fuhreling is newly built, in stone! They dug a hole overnight, 40' deep, and then paved over it.
  • Mist comes up (at night?) and turns icy and blue. And suddenly people are gone, and you can't hear anything not even their screaming.
  • Betty Crowfoot is working in the west in [the Kingdom of] Rogna, commandeering pirates. She's a foreigner, magic-using, in league with Destinians.

The party reunited and headed for Ragna's family home-come-jewelsmith-workshop, a longhouse. Four guards in chain & furs defend the door. Both sides of the longhouse roof come down low and one must bend low to enter it. (Resisted the natural urge to limbo in — first impressions are always so important with jewellers, and it's somewhat indecorous when first meeting a guild-member's family).

Inside the House of Yngvarr, it was warm, with the inviting smells of food & metalwork; A big household, well furnished, including assorted weapons strategically place about the room. Cher bought a 1700 sp 2-handed sword (the lady has impeccable taste in jewellery).

Ragna asked her family if there's anything they should tell us. Various members of the household said:

  • Fendrid, a Hero has come in to the lands of the living, seeking to kill 2 giants ... Aid him in his quest.
  • Four direwolves, celestial casters, were in the area a month ago, up to something ... we don't know what.
  • Gothrick of the demon-cursed is active (and may have been the poisoner?? Or involved??).
  • Half a dozen women have gone missing in the past month ("Your daughters no longer go out alone").
  • Indeed, Someone/thing hunting two of each type of women: 2 Dwarvish (which is why they were worried about "Princess Mordrin"); 2 human, 2 elvish, 2 hobbit.
  • A skraeling beast, like a lizard, was seen in these parts. It's not Cher; this one came ashore earlier. (Is Cher at risk of abduction??)
  • The trickster's temple was built 2 months ago.

Sarkel, a 60-year-old priestess, badly scarred on 1 side of her face told Ragna: "Words of spring will be uttered by the High priestess in Lokis, and she will make a prediction of something, which will carry weight. People will be going to Galvinaal for the rites of Spring."

Mungo & Ragna went to the newly-paved temple, to make offerings for their Greaters. As suggested, they paid with gems (including certified valuations provided by Ragna's kin, to get full value).



Chapter 2: From Fuhreling to Lepesaar

In Fuhreling

After several party-members have been "lucked up", we decided to investigate the missing women.
Thora, a human woman recently disappeared from a poorer part of town near the West bay. It happened in the dark of the night before yesterday (3am-ish), the darkest time of the night. Mungo asked that information be left for "Laugh-throne the elf"(?) with Ragna's family; but, by planting coin in plenty of dirty hands, possibly some useful rumours might grow. The impoverished locals cooperated ... mostly. There were suggestions of strange people hanging around (eg, someone who had frog/duck feet, but looked like a man otherwise).

Thora went down a very seedy alley with a dog-leg kink that hides shady acts from the main street. Her client was not froggy-foot, but a big bearded guy, a foreigner about 7 & half feet tall — We later guessed he was probably a half-giant. Ingmar the Doxie turned him down, but had a good look first ... [short pause for Mungo to insert a few silvers and prompt questions] eg,
Mungo: “Did he have greasy hair maybe?”
Doxie: “Take off yer helmet ... yeah, greasier than yours”.

Apparently the Big guy had crossed axes [tattoo] on his forehead; nice-smelling breath, a scent of apples; Southern accent.

Through a crystal darkly

Cher can see the past of her current position, briefly, if she knows when to look. At the Alley Kink, Cher whipped out her crystal ball and we gathered round. Taking a punt at the right time (15 minutes between 3 & 4am), some of us saw the indulging pair as the ground-mist swelled and a bear-like shadow fell over them. Mungo got a different view (looking at the crystal from a different angle). There was a Dark silhouetted figure stepping across the roof, clearly different from the bear shadow.

Mist coalesced, thickening and rising in height, ... but Thora & her customer were oblivious. Big guy was dark-haired, back to the alley; Thora was mostly unseen except for legs clenching her "investor". Fortunately SF (as a master courtier) is a connoisseur of courtesans & their techniques, and saw enough of Thora's foot, ankle, & akimbo lower limb to get a Locate.

A whitish polar bear (browning with age) was creeping up with intent and transformed into an Axe-wielding GIANT (10-12' tall) wearing a bear cloak and, just as the mist peaked, stepped up to the hanky-panky couple. The person or entity on the roof threw a coin and the swirling mist dissipated with no-one left. And the roof-creeper was gone from view too. Possibly looked like one of Fenrid's minions ... (one of the people from the ghost ship, previous adventure).

SF Located the courtesan's leg — to the South; a quick Windwalk indicated 50/60-ish miles south; then Located the bearskin cloak's distinctive clasp — very close! SF (grumbling about low mana) guided party to a nearby supply/pawn establishment, where Cher engaged the canny proprietress, feigning interest in scale-pigments, etc, and then turned innocently to the bearcloak ...
Cher: "What a quaint cloak and clasp. How long have you had it?"
Pawnbroker: "That were passed down from me aunt years ago, who served the queen of mumble-mumble, a hancient heirloom what she won for great ..."
Cher (dryly): "So a couple of days then".
Pawnbroker: "Quite!"

After a ludicrous amount of silver exchanged hands, we confirmed that a woman found the cloak in the alley.

Some townsfolk gave offerings to Ragna, to get her to ignore them, and one of the tearaways touched up Mungo (for luck apparently). The party returned to the Burnt Ram and we set off at a modest pace, before cutting across land (Rivers of the Mage), bearing mostly Southwards (with detours to avoid 2 towns). An hour later we confirmed that Thora's leg is in or near Lepesaar. So we returned to the water ...

Lepesaar: Giants & a strange water cult

... and soon sailed around the Hagelborg promontory NE of Lepesaar's Island approaching Lepesaar itself from the East at a modest 13-15 knots, very like an innocent longboat rounding the Southeast of Langia (the mainland, such as it is) intending to sail the standard route to the Western parts of Ivinia.

Outside the town, we saw BIG tents (military in style) near Lepesaar. Humans and giants have ber=en rebuilding/replacing the walls. We engaged a local fishing boat buying fish & gossip in exchange for silver and a small cask of mead. Olvir the fisherman gives us useful information:

  • A family of stone masons have come to work the area, all the ways from Jellmar. The King of Suteling owns the place & is paying them for it.
  • Problems with raiders last spring, ... lots of raiding etc, a spiritship a few years ago.

When we asked about strange people in the vicinity, he replied:

  • "No nothing, no priestesses or frog-foots" [vigorously, anxiously?] "I wouldn’t be saying anything about any smelly frog-feeted ..."

But he did mention, coincidence-like, there ARE priestesses of water who work with the giants. They have created a sacred place, a large pool or lake ("We don't go there, bad luck for fishing").

LATER THAT NIGHT, Olvir did tell us he had seen dead fish (put in the lake?)

  • "Two large sharks and two large tuna. I thought they were dead, but I have seen them move strangely"

Maybe necromancy? Or just something big playing with its food? Neither option is reassuring.

Lepesaar: home truths

We got on well with Olvir and he invited us back to dinner at his place in Lepesaar town because twilight was almost falling. The party transferred to Olvir's fishing boat and SF beached & anchored our (Located!) vessel on the exposed shoal suggested by Olvir and quickly swam back to the party. As we approached the town, there was a warm breeze through the Argos pass. Spring's almost here. Fish on the shoreline were drying. The Locate-arrow on Thora's limb pointed to the main hall. (Confirmed as we proceed). The partially built walls were impressive ... about half completed.

Orm his wife was indeed a fine cook (excellent chowder!) and, despite the astounding number of human children (mostly trying to creep up on our priestess, and running away in pretend fear when she turns around) there was a homely feel to the house. After dark, we went for a walk near the Bonfire. The new walls with freshly exposed faces glistened beautifully in the bonfire light. Big bones were in the pits, but nothing alarming. Much Singing & Incitement of people to carouse. Ambling innocuously through town (spy much), it was clear the defences were a significant enhancement.

As evening progressed, Orm & Olvir relaxed more. They confided intelligence of interest to us, but only after first attempting to resolve some family matters:

  • Trying to get Ragna to take away young Fluhr (son) to a safer place.
  • Trying to marry an older son to Serra Angelis.

Olvir: "You're a fine figure of a woman. Are you married yet?"
S.A. [diplomatically playing along]: "Away fighting ... towards Alfhhiem."
Olvir: "Where ...?
S.A.: "About 3000 miles that way."
Olvir: "Ah! So you Don't have a husband then."

Facts that emerged:

  • The giants need entertainments: Bards, singers, jugglers and "entertainers" of all sorts.
  • Quite a few of the Giants working on the wall wear bearskin cloaks.
  • The giants needed entertaining, or else there would be a sacrifice every night.
  • From the couple's descriptions, the priests on the island were identified by Mordrin & Ragna as being from the Cult of Njord.
  • Olvir thinks the priestesses and priest are going to do some magic on the wall that requires sacrifice [Bound earth? it's clear all the party-members were thinking it]
  • There had been all sorts of talk about one of the kings not paying.
  • Olvir denied knowing anything about the particular giant we described as being involved in the abduction of Thora, but was not surprised that it happened: "There's one giant that's trouble; the rest are alright".
  • All sorts of people have come and gone over the last 4 months.
  • There was some mention of Ooger (?)



Chapter 3: Unpleasant things near Lepesaar

The Njordic lake

The party skirted around Lepesaar town, approaching the cult's stronghold though a dried out ravine leading to a newly-created mysterious lake a couple of hundred feet wide. The Cult of Njord are based a short distance north of the town on the lone, small Island (perhaps 50 foot across) in the middle of the Lake. The trees locally were fir & needle pines; but the dimly perceived, black, weepy, willowy "things" on the island were wrong and dark in too many ways. Scary Werewolf-Mungo threw his spear into the air & it became a very large raven (called Yak?) that flew around the island. It seemed to be travelling a long distance and took a long time. When he returned, he described a central place with 4 archways (dressed stone arches) leading to places he couldn't perceive.

Examining the air over the water, there were 3 rings of protection all of a very similar aura. The magic is "Distance blight". We spent some time trying to understand the sinister air, the strange lake (silted with suspended sediment), and getting our ducks in a row — they got very argumentative over dried fish, but said there was a quiet stalking school of eels in the southern end of the lake (to our left) between the village and the island. We headed back to the town.

Two giants, somewhat undead, wanted to attack Mungo in single combat (possibly something about Zora the Ice-drake) while the party DA-ed the opponents: enchanted armour; oath (quest fulfilment). The Axe was "Bane of Living" (destruction based around joints). Taunts were made.
The Undead Giant asked: "How does the Mungo creature say it; Ah yes, ... Pwauhk pook-pook Pook"?
And eventually Scary Werewolf Mungo agreed to fight both giants, but sequentially (the wimp), in a battle circle, with 6 more giants watching; some even, in a half-tuned sing-song, allegedly cheering on Mungo,"Come on the Mongrel!"

Mungo evaded, waiting for the younger undead giant. So the giant threw an ax, ... then another, then has 3 axes were whizzing in the year (are these magic axes or a spell?). And suddenly Mungo was subjected to unnatural axe in the back ... but only a FT blow. Mungo hit 2 axes outside the circle; and then hit the giant for 26 EN ... Fortunately Mungo made both resistances against Necromantic magic (our assisting with counterspells didn't count as cheating).
The giant cried out: "You wound me ... Ah ... oh" [stagger to the left, slump to the right ... pauses for applause].
Then Mungo & the smaller undead giant traded insults ... mostly to do with giving birth to 8-legged goats (it's a Northerner thing).

The party pretended not to be impressed with Mungo's prowess: "It's a pity when a live werewolf loses a battle of Wit against an undead giant."
Ragna: "The giant's funnier than you are."
The giant was struck by Mungo's [borrowed] spear & fell to and into the ground ...
Undead giant: "Bastard! That's the same blow you did me last time".
Mungo [confused] "... It was the other one I was fighting".
Un.Gt: "When we were fighting back on the ship, you Fool".
Mungo received a grievous but took it on his shield. Giants applauded.

When we ask about who/what lives on the island ...
Giant#1: "They have drunk from the bowl" [meaning the nautilus shell] "after which you cannot return".
Mungo: "You mean the toilet".
Giant #2: "There speaks the werewolf".

The Fisherman's Tale

Olvir updated us on what else is known. There's a chest of coins for people that bring in one of the creatures (i.e., a reward for the abducted women). The coins vary ... perhaps 5000 worth.
The lake had been there for about 9 months. They did a Ritual and water flowed up from the land; then land flowed up from the water. There were three giant to start with then, with agreement from the headman, they sent a message to the king and more arrived. Every night the witches pour water into the nautilus shell, and every night the coven & giants drink it — getting somewhat drunk (& probably controlled ??).

Selling some slightly soiled party-members

Woken with the kids, we snuck out of town to the cliff beneath which our boat was anchored. Used mungo's magical rope to climb down safely. We planned to sell all 3 exotic creatures — the Dwarf, the elf, and Cher (with their consent/connivance, naturally) — so we "sailed" into the small harbour. The 5 giant huts are very prominent from here. Ragna would be a very important person, even if she weren't bringing in some rare creatures. She was introduced to the other important people by the head witch. In the background, the priestesses were all tying knots in ropes & recording stuff in the knots (like the "Elvish" quipu in the Empire of the Sun).

Jora welcomed the party (well, just Ragna really) "Great Mother, this is our Headman; his name is Eagle. My name is Jora" [PoO Alusia; pacted to Njord; counter required for her greatest attack spell: Water special]. "I have a boil on my back & I do not trust my sisters to lance it ... the bitches will stab me in the back". Ragna healed the 4-inch boil.
"Have you got something to put it in". It being a spiderlike thing [Magical; no GTN; caused by Rk 7 magic; death to ingest; PoO Alusia]. Jora offered Ragna a charm ... Water in a Nautilis shell (Gtr enchanment; lower duration).

Two more priestesses turn up; the younger is missing an eye. "Worshippers of Odin tried to stop us a few months ago. One of them [meaning Thorfin] tried to do unspeakable things to my sister. We returned them to Fuhreling ... with Haggulda the haggler to advise. Odin sent a curse." (Serra Angalis DA's: Nature of the curse is sterility).

Inside their Creature Room were 2 hobbits, 2 elves; 2 Dwarves (now) & 1 whatever-cher-is [suarime]. There is a man called Glum, who is sword-brother & Axman to Oddy, and who was due to arrive in Lepesaar in 4 days. Jora said she would PAY Ragna a chest if we defeat Glum.

The Handmaiden's Tale

When Mordrin, Cher, & SerrAngelis revealed that they were here to rescue everyone, one of the human abductees related her story to :
"I was at the last place the Ritualled & came here with them. I was the only one to make it here ... The other humans were buried beneath the foundations. Just being used as spell components to protect them against our species. The hearts of women are used because men cannot cross them."
[A human & the other Dwarf went over and punched a woman unconscious; apparently she was working for them]
"There are 6 priestesses & 1 man. Sometimes all are in the building, not often ... but don't known for certain. We're only let out once a day for food at the spit when plenty of giants are around."

Cher spoke to Thora. She was brought by Glum (some ghostly or magical creature; he can summon the mist up & everything goes still & quiet. "I think he is a shape-shifter and can turn into a bear".
SA DAed Thora, last magic to impact [Sleep]; on the coin & nature of its magic [Uniqueness])
Thora: "I don't really trust you, I am part of a new temple".
Cher: "So the cloaked man on the roof was your associate?"
Thora suggested Mordrin/SA/Cher pass the coin to their outsider support (ie, the rest of the party)."Lt Kolla is the person coming for me".
The cult have a terrible monster in the lake & another monster made out of water from their shell. Someone drowned in it.

The party plotted ...


Chapter 4: A violent Dinner Party

The Nautilis

We discretely lashed objects of interest with Detect aura & Detected enchantment. The Giant nautilus shell can be infused with pearls or other valuables, get it to do endow the water with magical potential. There are several "snail" shells (from the Isle of adventure region), used as cups, that determine which particular effect is conferred on the drinker: Luck; Charm; (Waters of) Healing; etc. The rank varies from 8 to 12. Confirmed, since the duration of Charm on the giants is about 24 hours.

Very Useful Sooths

Several of us sought and saw a strange, nigh Seer/Soothsayer. Some strange sooths she said were thus:

  • [to Ragna]: You have walked many lands, are long in the tooth, but young of face.
  • What can you tell me of the sheep they have brought me?
  • [of Cher] She has already sacrificed herself.

She gave useful tips on feeding Elk and dealing with other family members. However she did have many useful things to say about defeating the Sinister Cult:

  • The Thing-in-the-lake is their teacher. Your friend is susceptible to its charms, but your gill-laden friend will be immune in his wolf form.
  • If you cut these priestesses off from the water, it will diminish their power.
  • Have Warriors to pay them a visit with steel; only axes will defeat them.
  • If you entreat, Aid will from an Enemy; with the assistance of elements.
  • Have you spoken to the locals? I think they have forgotten their heritage.
  • But I have seen a flood wash over their land. Not a literal flood; I think you are the flood.
  • If you free the giants, they will fly into a rage.
  • There is a spy.

Her personal advice to Mungo & Ragna

Mungo offered to cross her palm with silver.
Seer [to Mungo]: I want not your silver; I think you should give it to those who you have fornicated with.
...[to Ragna] The elk will eat silver from your hand and pass it in 4 days. They change the silver. Feed a coin, one from each hand.
Mungo: But I don't have anything to say to an elk.
Seer: Shh you've been under the thrall of the evil priestesses.
She also told him:

  • Your brother will come for you before next winter. He will tell you a message of some importance.
  • If you defeat him 3 times in this lifetime he will go on to great things.
  • Your gut feelings will be repugnant to him.

The headman's tale

Following the hint to talk to the locals, we spoke to the headman away from the priestesses, after SF confirmed he was Charmed and Dispelled it.

  • They (the Njord cult) were originally staying only a night, but time has passed.
  • Somebody has paid them to come & do this.
  • I know the king is coming now to bless the walls.
  • The king will come & they will magick him.
  • My son is gone for help ... he knew something was wrong. He's gone to the king to get help.

Dinner & the Combat Triumphs of Mungo

The Giants, priestesses, Ragnar, their guards/mercenaries, mungo & SF wre at the Feast. The abductees wre acting as servants.

The giants, in Dwarvish, asked Mordrin to tell a tale — and she told a good, distracting, action story. They were totally engrossed in this; SF translated the Dwarvish story for those that didn't understand it, to draw attention & then pass it back to Mordrin and eventually slipped back into the hut to spell-up (Mana sense, Armour spell, Dispel Magic & recover fatigue).

All this theatre was pre-planned distraction so that Cher could perform the vital task of NOT giving the Charm drink to the giants. In fact she had a water-skin up her sleeve and was just giving them the water.

As Mordrin reaches the dramatic high-point, with distracting animated gestures and sound effects ...

  1. ...she leapt in the air and struck the priest, with a steel axe that "accidentally" was nearby, stiking a well-aimed [by130] and powerful [33pts] blow/ Magical water rippled over his wounds, but evidently it didn't heal him as expected ... As Prophesised (Have Warriors to pay them a visit with steel; only axes will defeat them). Ragna snuck behind a priestess & struck perfectly (01!). Cher possibly made a booboo with the charm-water because, as she was preparing, she began to think unnaturally well of the priestesses — until they quickly revealed how viciously inimical they truly were; SF targeted a R20 Water-special counterspell under the priest & most of the priestesses to great effect [maximum area of effect 01!] ... As Prophesised (If you cut these priestesses off from the water, it will diminish their power). With a crashing sound, the magical Nautilus shell shattered (because it was in the unexpectedly enhanced AoE), water spilling everywhere. There were mutterings about destroying LOOT; but the action was right (even if unintended). In revenge (possibly a Curse?), the priest sloshed both SF & mungo with a wash of evil water (SF was aged, but M wasn't); so mungo stepped forward to attack priest who coincidentally, now that he was detached from his watery connection, was collapsing even as mungo stuck. A Priestess turned into a 2-hex hydra.
  2. Next SF, in Dwarvish, incited all (especially the giants) to attack those vile cultist who had been magically controlling them; raising party WP (by only 5). Mungo charged & hit the priestess-cum-hydra and it too fell over ... because Cher, a split-second earlier, had changed it to stone. Ragna hit the next Priestess and a little (4pts) got through; Mordrin stepped over, dealt another mighty axe-blow (36pts) that was washed away. Both Ragna's & Mordrin's opponents failed their intended water magics (because of the treble-sized counter). Serra spotted a mercenary & his offsider throwing a cloak over one of the chests, attempting to steal our treasure, and moved forward.
  3. Mordrin's attack failed (even though SF, an instant before, had dispelled the Healing bubble on her target), because the heavens opened with a crack of thunder and heavy rain fell. The thieves dropped "our" chest. Two giants tried to stomp Cher since, obviously, she was one of the flunkies that had been feeding them charm potions, perhaps misunderstanding/following the Mil-sci's exhortations, ... As Prophesised (If you free the giants they will fly into a rage). Fourth-time lucky, mungo reached a target that hadn't actually been killed moments beforehand by someone else ... it was last free-standing priestess and he killed it in a single blow.

So, in under half a minute all the cult priesthood were dispatched except for the 2 missing ones (who were probably on the island or in the lake).
"Don't worry, we will HELP them when we find them"


Chapter 5: The cult, defeated, waved goodbye; Glum too arrived & withdrew.

Conclusion of the Fight

  1. Cher ran off because her kin needed help (i.e., was charmed by a priestess). Despair washed over her, but she kept the shadowy out of close; and then the charm was dispelled. The storm summoned upon was affecting our vision, turning the ground muddy, hampering our combat, but the water-proofing minimised the discomfort
  2. Serra tried to summon an elemental. However, she was a little too successful: three turned up and ... and she controlled just the one. So Mordrin, as an earth-aligned Dwarf, stepped forward, killing an uncontrolled one in a mighty blow. It was obvious to both SF (through Manasight) and Ragna (who's sensitive to things like that) the former earth elemental had become some sort of undead. SF countered the 3rd one and Ragna prepared, while mungo changed into his tails (since he was Seen to be seen in that form); Mordrin evaded.
  3. Serra ordered her controlled elemental to protect her from the other elemental. There were portentous lightning displays. SF raised the WP by 5 (only), and Ragna Bound the lesser undead. The earth about has pot-holes of vivid green gloop: possibly related to the undeadness of the elemental, or the blinding rain, the shattered Nautilis, a Death curse, or just the innate toxicity of the enslaving Njord cult — just saying, they're not very nice people, in case some member of the party was *still* unconvinced (I'd name him, but that might upset his humbleness).

The lake drained

Then battle was over. The remaining Evil Cultists had fled to their Lone Island of Power. Since there was no way we could safely breach the lake we ate and discussed strategy with the Giants. Ragna asked if any amongst them were any earth-mages (what with their wall-building gig) ... but they were indeed all ice giants, confirming that it was the Vile Cult [getting tired of using "Evil" all the time, even though it suits them so well] that were organising the presumed bound-earth ritual. It would take perhaps 48 hours to freeze the lake. So we feasted on lamb (with a little special Jerky); some trying the "black-water cider". And surveyed the enemy's terrain from a safe distance ... not especially reassured by the benefit of the "distance-distortion" curse.

The controlled Elemental came back from scouting, and believed the lake was maybe 20 times its own 4' height deep (Serra is only Rank-1). After 2 hours, SF's & Mordin's back-tunnel to drain the lake is ready (both Master Mechanician/MilSci's), dug by the elementals under Serra's & Ragna's instruction. Towards the end, it was seen though the spyglass darkly that a giant "creature" had been called up (?) by 2 figures on the island & climbed onto it's back (perhaps intending to fly away)

Once we'd breached the earth-wall in front of our drain/tunnel, the water began rushing through and we heard a bellowing challenge from the lake. There is lightning everywhere, but especially back-lighting the creature: a Huge Multi-necked Herd of creature heads rearing over the edge of the lake. That is definitely a dangerous Hydra maybe 300 to 400 foot long (I wrote that, but still can't believe it!) with a dozenish heads (well, at least 8). A wall of water had crested the lake 20' high & 400ish wide. Earth-mage Serra is given a Water-breathing as the most un-swimmingist party-member (how is that possible for an elf?). Cher & Serra are in a tall Wall of Iron cast as a ring 3-feet across the rest of us partially protected from the first blow by a Wall of sand. Except for Mordrin who leaped onto the iron tower.

The Hydra "surfed" towards us — Waveriding across the back of the Flash-flood wave that's hundreds of feet/yards thick, lightning raining down on the surface. There were, of course, 2 humanoids on its back. Modrin leaped the Shark Hydra-infested water, the rest of us taking <10-Swimming rank> d10 damage from the rocks, less armour. Within the flood/wave, 8-10' Tuna-sized fish were being seared by lightning ... No, correction ... they were spitting the lightning.

We estimate 2 million gallons of water in 4 minutes emptied the lake (although I'm sure our draining tunnel helped). mungo felt compelled to chase the LOOT (until the "Challenging hero" spell was dispelled ... Bad dog! It's not as if I wasn't already busy). 2 barrels were secured; but there was a trail of destruction across the mostly open ground down to the bay. The Villains are long-gone and far from our reach.

In the aftermath, there were no serious injuries and Serra almost magically cured Cher's green goopy foot, but it is not just poisoned, but had changed into an poison-secreting organ of Elemental Something.

To the Island (the hard way)

We slowly trudged across the muddy lake bottom. Saw rings of large mackerel turned to stone & made into concentric circles with aura v. similar to the distance curse. 40 min later going thru the deepest part of lake and 40 later reach the island that is actually some 200-300 ft across, not the the 20-30 it appeared to be.

We are still in Alusia. Clouds still cover the the sky. Dark & Sinister Ducks (GTN ??) are perched in the trees. Disturbing! Auras confirmed that this is definitely a Water place of power.

Neither healer has the skill to regenerate Cher's foot; but, as Mechanicians, both were keen to experiment. Wheels? Clockwork? Would a short ski or runner be better?
Sera: "If we had a beast-master or alchemist they could milk her."

Mordrin managed to identify the gland & extract it.

Where we stood (or sat Divinating), just inside the edge of the island itself, was in Alusia, but within 8' it became another place, one intrinsically linked to Water plane ... just the other side of a suspiciously black, small, circular barrier like a narrow garden border made of coal surrounding the most of the interior of the island. The elemental stood on the outside, tried to step in, but it crumbled. There was [or seemed to be] Lightning & rain on the inner part, which would take days to dry.

The Temple

We non-elementals entered safely. Beyond the coal-like barrier ring, the shore from this angle went back to a lagoon. Lightning, rain, swaying of the tress ... a lot of noise. The temple was in up the hill on the clearing. On reaching it, we saw to one side outside the temple an old camping site (not used for days) and through the archway was a pool of apparently steaming warm water. (Couldn't DA the water). The camp had racks of drying fish; also ropes with semi-precious stones (45) which Ragna snaffled up.

The temple had 30-wide, 40' high Arches, rough-hewn on the outside but (looking in) it had Symbols on the inside (earth magic-type runes). Serra DA-ed the arch: linked to the elemental plane of water. Looking through the arches we can see sky; but Mordin leaped up to the top of the arch which, from the top, looked like being on the roof of a building. She realised she's the highest metal-clad Dwarf for miles around, and so was immediately struck by lightning.

After several hours slogging back to the village. We were fêted and then to bed.

Glum

Ragna woke up & bans the pox banged the pots. Four ships had arrived. Glum & 70-odd warriors lined up; a female soothsayer creature (2 legs 2 hand but maybe 3 arms or something weird). Glum moves very calmly casually, with no wasted movement or effort, not overdressed. Glum wanted to be paid; then wanted to have his captives returned; then claimed he had promised to return them when the priestesses no longer.

We talked amongst ourselves for a minute in the once-again Scry-Shielded longhouse before answering his points, respectively No; No; No thank you (with rumblings of sod off in Giant). Mordrin & Ragna told him & his fellow pirates we had ejected the evil cult that had lied and then attacked the village; that the Headman's son had already informed the Over-King in Suteling; and that, as a confessed associate of the Njord scum, he was ordered to leave immediately, for their own safety, and we returned inside.

They scuttled back onto their ships, trashing the piers a bit, leaving a box on the pier. A quick Locate on one of the boats & a random junior "officer" duly confirmed that they were leaving (and parallax checking confirmed they did sail away, not just around the headland). The box contained a temporarily stoned basilisk. Cher cast/cued a permanent Petrification on it and it was tossed into the water some distance away.

We debated leaving ... probably for Lokis for Lokem to, respectively, EITHER visit another Oracle (in all fairness, the previous one was very helpful) OR to advise/warn/be rewarded by Lepesaar's overking at Suteling.


Chapter 6: From Lepesaar to Lokis

Timber, Silver, and Corrupted Halflings

The party prepared for the trip to Lokis. Some the cult's flood detritus was cleaned up (Ship strength), but we needed more timber from the woods for multiple Ship strength parts for a larger vessel. Since the party was temporarily secure from scrying or obvious spell attack, people were powered up (or queued) longer duration/higher effect spells (+20 Ranks). SF shared with Mordrin the quantities of timber desired, and she took Cher & mungo to assist/herd the giants to fell trees.

Meanwhile Ragna, SF, & especially Serra (as the liaison/communication specialist) went on a silver recycling mission. Serra bellowed out to the elk, and one big bull responded; apparently he was *very* interested in her ('tis the season for such shenanigans). After crossing several ridges we eventually met her correspondent.
"Ah one of the fey. You sing to me on my own tongue"
... and he persuaded Serra to scratch his itch [see the tasteful depiction on p.xx]
"I will consume your silver and give it back if you consume our cheese and give it back."

We were taken to a different area over more ridges, through woodland and lakeside reed bank, and met the herd's cheesemaker: a short, strange native with antlers on his head [GTN: hobbit; infravision; not pacted; no college] When he learnt that Serra is from Elfheim he is eager to be taken there ("I am in favour with your queen"). SF advised that, although we were on pressing missions at the moment, it might be possible in the future. The cheesemaker show his heritage by dwelling on his food woes — despite the elk don't understand the bark, shoots, and grasses the elk provide, he misses the hedgehogs: "I can't catch them, they swing from the branches". SF Wind-walked to the other party-members to advise them of the delay to our departure and collect a few supplies and returned like the wind.

A couple of days passed (likewise the cheese and silver). The silver can be used in amulet to protect from, summon, and talk to elves. Priestess Ragna was particularly zealous to get her hand on the silver — her jewellery heritage obviously.

Serra tried Summoning arboreal mammals ... 20 rushed into shortly: the "Hedgehogs" camouflage their heads in a leafy manner, have quills sticking out of their backs and opposable thumbs (on their hands). GTN corrupted short brethren; Native GTN "hobbit". A cask of mead was de-itemised, and the short-folk partied with Serra (possibly under the influence of the Elk), though less cavorting, more feasting & singing ... indeed "Serra & the hedgehogs" would be a good minstrel-band name.

SF took an hour to meditate (Divinated self & then True-form ritual): had undergone a set of transforming magicks by swapping some of me for Elk. Becoming hoofed and horny, Serra & Ragna kept their changes (although not enough to hide from a Locate).

Through fog to Lokis, in time for the Oracle's Festival

Having Ship-strengthed the Giants' ... well, giant wooden statue of an eminent party-member, and counterspelled it to show it was still their statue really, and reformed it and the other boat into a large local-style vessel (the Hull & each mast separately constructed; with a smaller un-stepped boat in the hull). We set off, raising the colours of "Geld" von Schoenhausen (a "dwarf" who briefly visited the region 2 years ago) over those of Admiral of Borovia ... to aid the party when going by land — it's Elvish magick, so the ranks of personages aboard increase the speed at which one flees (or, in theory, advances).

A couple of days later, we dropped speed significantly in the Gulf of Gelemaar because of the fog which as locally natural, but probably somehow caused or manipulated by the wreckers on the deceiving shore. [SF queued some more Rank-40 ship strengths, and a few 33-hour Water breathings. We eventually make it past Cape Hayet and headed into Lokis. There are lights on the hills above. Lots of flags on various other vessels; camps; etc. A few hundred extra people here; all local ships. We spied the Arms of Lokis (mermaid?); The sea-wolf of Rogna; A crow with a gold ring; A green tree on a yellow background. [TO BE CORRRECTED/ANNOTATED LATER]

The Festival of Lokis and its nearby islands

Everybody was under a flag of truce invoked by the oracle of Lokis — the Elkyrie, predominantly priestesses. The Seers there are very strong on local events; vaguer on things further afield. The festival involves Rituals at nearest significant island Kyriheim. There is a also an abandoned elvish settlement [Maruchom] haunted by the fey ... they saw their own doom: many left, some stayed. The Elkyrie is, quote, "A socially acceptable way to offload one's magically incline daughters" — almost a cult of female almost-assassins ... in combat they see enough of the immediate future to defeat even great warriors.

In about 2 week there's a large ceremony conferring benefits to those who take part — knowledge & luck for the upcoming year. Made it ashore. Discretely discovered what Menglanians are about. Apparently there was lots of honour to be earned in the fortnight to come.
[Note: in total 2 weeks training time (if wanted), or 3 weeks if it's magic; the voyage took some 7 or 8 days]

Ragna & Serra made their silver into amulets that should protect them from fey creatures or a lesser amulet that protects one from natural creatures (like moose & otters). If one recognises that one's opponent is fey it will give you 3% def, 3% MR, & 1 pt protection that stacks with all other bonuses/protections. Reworking it would improve it, especially with Ragna 's family's resources; and another passage thru the elk would also help.

To hour our party, the locals insisted on dusting off a temple to Hel (8' in the centre; 4' at the sides), and insisted that we stayed there. Mordrin stopped mungo from leaving, otherwise he was likely to be assassinated in town (about a third of those in town would be keen on earning "honour" that way; and most of the rest would just kidnap him to get the ransom. I'd forgotten that Swenway had no qualms about assassinating nobles or even royalty (no matter how minor they are).

Best is expected for those that approach the Seer near the height of the festival. Many think the only way, or the best way, is to enter the maze and find the Seer (Is she a priestess or a spider?) There may be a giant minotaur. About half a dozen evil types entered a few yeast ago (or possibly a Thugee cult?), now living in the maze and killing of others who enter. Last year was different ... in that they weren't ALL killed.



Chapter 7: Lokis & the islands

Rumours and disguises

In town, there are some 500 families, estimated at 800-1200 people, & same again from Menglana; and almost as much from Rogna, etc. It is (too) well-known that a Priestess of Hel & a Dwarf accompanying the son of the king; Plus 2 elves. We brush up on our disguises, which are not particularly impressive (although SF studies mungo in his camel form, just in case). So we establish a variety of code names:

  • Don Basilio Isla de la Ballena (alias Geld von Shőnhausen or SF), a human-looking southerner, almost certainly Destinian (a gaunt, somewhat slimy funcionario well past his prime) armed only with a mace and boring advice. When obviously an elf, responds to Basil
  • Raven (Mungo with hair & mutton-chops dyed flaxen-blond; the facial hair extended and woven together, tied into a knotted beard)
  • Ulfa, a Dwarf (alias Mordrin)
  • Scarlett (alias Cher) -- please insert your cover name; theoretical disguise optional etc

Fortunately Mordrin has a scarf with a Disguise Glamour of high enough effect to allow the wearer to masquerade as a different species (e.g., passing off our priestess as a male Dwarf). Thus a part of the party could go out without looking like any suspicious grouping. Indeed we could shuttle the entire party from one place to another, like the classic wolf/goat/cabbage problem; Diplomacy forbids naming who would play the part of the cabbage.

The Menglanans are all planning on pushing through the passes and are interested in skilled folk to add to the Force ... and paying well (the recruiters, if not the talent). We learnt this from another Jora (it's a common female name) who was noticed snooping around: she was reporting to Torfi who is a talent-spotter for the upcoming Menglana Push.

Also a gangster, Sidni, planning on poisoning several people (including one Hegg) here at the festival — so we snitched to Hegg and a protracted fight ensued over the apparent betrayal.

Helping the Seer's people

We went to see the Seer in two lots – Ragna disguised as a Dwarf went with Mordrin. They were approached by a woman, asked to return at suppertime to meet her mistress at the main temple. "Bring your friends if you've got any with swords."

Later, with Cher guarding our gear at the Hel-fane, the Dwarven couple returned. Some humans were at the Seer's establishment, throwing knucklebones & laughing at the improbable configuration that the bones fell at every time. They left as we entered. Asfa & Sifa, who'd approached the "dwarves", offered lamb and quickly got down to business:
"Some pottery jars" (one with the ashes of a significant lady of their cult; also some spices from the south). They wished to hire us because they don't want to use up their own luck and they don't want to expend themselves prematurely. The jars "were in a Dwarvish strongbox of great craftmanship, made by your brethren. Indeed someone may have already approached you to open it for them. They'd probably approach you or the other Dwarves."

Whereupon Raven St Honor(?) talked at too much length about how good and upright he personally know the Dwarves at the Hel-temple to be fine upstanding ... ignoring the coughing fit [MilSci signal, dammit!] by the grey-haired Destinian.

Ulfa agreed, and began to succeed at gaming. Since Mordrin Ulfa was unaffected by alcohol, she spotted 4 humans suspiciously NOT as drunk as they appear to be. They approach her, one asking that she might assist him opening a lock-box that he can't open because his cousin left town and forgot to return the key. Raven's ESP picked up ravens/crows/seagulls, plus a couple of shady characters sneaking up on Ulfa. Ra thought there was someone spying from far away (perhaps through the birds' eyes).

We apprehended all 3 miscreants (they were working for Flossi) and identified the chest as definitely Dwarven, worth (in Ulfa's experienced estimation) about 75-100 thousand silvers and one that would have taken many years to make. The ladies are please to get their mistress's chest back and sailed out before dawn, towards Eryhiem.

Safely threading the Maze

We navigated out of harbour and stopped off at a small island, so that Serra could buff us [65 defence Earth Armour lasting 21 hrs; +34 PS/EN]; etc. We then reached the Seer's island. 30-odd shield maidens waded out to help us beach the boat. We reached the cave/antechamber of the Fatal Maze:
Acolyte: "You need to choose one of six holes to enter the maze by".
Raven: "So we should each take a passage?"
Basilio: "It show incredible over-confidence by the party to plan that only ONE of us will survive, yet still expect the mission to be a success".

Ulfa (Mordrin) the Dwarf explained to the party the difference between Stalactites & stalagmites: "When the tights go down, the might goes up".

Relying on Mordrin astounding luck, we entered where she chose and eventually smelled the sea and fresh water; we had reached the goal. Speaking to the Seer, we were give several vital clues:

The Seer's sooth

There is an Incubus & a succubus who are in unholy alliance with a Summoner — Drola is her most common name. She is currently dead beneath the Sound you are to head to. They used to be aligned to someone but he is long forgotten. I think you will defeat them when the blood of elves sprays on their faces. The young man cannot be slain by other men & the young women cannot be defeated by other women. Both of them use poison of nasty origin

The Seer (to Mungo): "You have picked up a dog follower; that will set you in good stead."
Basilio (aside): "Ah Mungo! Beloved of mongrels!"
The Seer: "An enemy of Mungo will be of great stead."
Mungo: "Who will it be?"
The Seer: "A friend of your priestess, a giant [i.e., the undead giant, again]. It will defeat the spectre that will be sent against you to defeat you & eat your heart in the sight of your friends. Although you are foolish you are known to be brave. The spectre was summoned by the Incubus & Succubus."
"The giant is already there waiting for mungo. We think he will attack with a spectre, and mad with fear, he [mungo?] will not be able to change form. There are some prisoners, if you are concerned with such things. But they will be released if you kill the two men or get rid of the other two."

Mungo asked if the opponent is his brother:
The Seer: "Your father does get about, although I don't believe he slept with that King's mother."

Mungo: where do think we should look first to accomplish
The Seer: "The town of Fryoberg, but on that Brogar Island. If you go to Brogar island, you will find half your problem.

Mordrin: Do you know anything of 4 celestial direwolves that appear to Ragna
The Seer: They are direwolves that work for one of the Necromancers, the one in the Sound.

To the Island

We sailed to ... [check map] Island, near PELYN. It is rumoured that The "Tusks of Edrolyin" have done bad things to people who attack the Island through magic.

We passed to the West of the fortress island heading to the Southwest ford. We landed and moved the boat inland out of sight from the water, then rested/slept in shifts in the scry-shielded area, waiting for late night. We duly approached the island in a small dinghy, then slipped overboard to walk along the seabed underwater. (everyone is still Waterbreathing and Wind&Water-proofed) Quite an effort was required (by those who couldn't swim) to walk/climb the steep ascent to the beach, since it was a fjord.

On the beach

SF cast a plus-20-Ranks-Halo so that Serra could cue or recast her spells; SF could cast counterspells on everyone. The best choices were Counter Mind (rank 36G/36S) or Illusion (rank 32G/34S) for the Inc/Suc; or Celestial (rank 35G/35S) for the direwolves, since the "spectre" the Seer mentioned is not expected to be standard version; or Necromancy (rank 40G/40S) for the "Necromancer of the Sound".

  • Counterspells are +126 MR for D+37min (for Rank 32) through to +150 MR for D+45min (for Rank 40)
  • Anyone not casting was watching or sensing.
  • SF offered a spare Dull Brown Robes of Freetown(itemised) robe & spare Choker of the Elements. i.e., both from Arcane_Items. if anyone can wear them — presumably not.
  • Weapon spells were cast.
  • 150 min [Treble durn] Manasight 300' range
  • Both SF & Serra had SF's "bite me" Elf Jerky to recover (up to 33 points)

When Mungo changed, he collapses under the wt of his body, changes back & painful but better. [Petrification of the Tusks] Serra (with a Rk 26 Detect traps) was alert and spotted a figure in the battlements had obviously see us then fled to the black tower.



Chapter 8: Sneaky-sneak, Talky-talk, Stabby-stab

Succubus hunt on Brogar Island

It was 2am. To guard our retreat and act as potential rescuers reinforcements, Mordrin & Cher remained on the beach while we four were the tactical strike-force: Swift, stealthy, coordinated. Well that was the plan and it was somewhat successful.

We used Mungo's rope to shimmy up the short cliff; then scoot up the gully while MilSci SF flew (Oops: magic impacted; "ctrE&E needed to dispel") to its top to check attack/defence aspects and other critical features not seen through the crystal ball. The local who had seen us had fled towards the Black tower. There were guards on the flat roof the 60'-high tower, which adjoins two other lower, defensive, large, stone buildings. Short Windwalks were cast so that Mungo & Serra arrived at the same time (the 03 did NOT go on duration), with Ragna arriving a pulse later. Magic impacted on the fliers; most(?) resisted. Mungo & Serra quickly, quietly subdued both guards, whose wounds Ragna & SF bound to avoid suspicious death buzzes. Mungo & Serra moved to the top of the spiral stone stairway to hear if our presence had been detected below.

In the room below, three guards were playing bones, about to ascend and relieve the guard, eventually ... just a few more throws. SF followed Ragna down, who was on the heels of Mungo & Serra who swiftly engaged the relief guards (Death buzz). About 15 Faces on the stone wall shift their gaze away from Ragna. The remaining king's guards surrendered and cooperated when judiciously intimidated/encouraged by Mungo & Ragna (Ragna Rocks!).
Mungo [heroically, of course]: "Step aside! I Swear by Odin that I am Not Here to Harm your King." Ragna: "We are Here to Slay the Demon."
Serra [whispered aside]: "There's a King? Which King?" Ragna [whisper]: King of Menglana ... where we are.
Guard 1: "You mean the priestess"
Ragna: "Is she very beautiful?"
Guard 1: "Yes and very VERY evil; she is downstairs in her chamber with someone very important, but not the King"
Guard 2 [catching on]: "Her brother is also very good looking and very evil. The fiends cannot be seen."

Bearing in mind the Oracle's advice, Mungo asked that SF to cut his off-hand on Mungo's spear. Done (and pressure is kept on the wound so that, if necessary, the elf blood can be literally sprayed on the succubus.) Then, as the only flier who failed the magic resistance, the Namer cast a Rk 20 Dispel Magic (duration doubled by tattoo) and was rid of the unknown E&E SK spell.

We heard preparations downstairs, so everyone rushed down another level. There were three fighters, one REALLY BIG. They had Shadow form (or similar). There was a Necro effect that only gave a slight tingle to Mungo, but Sera lost 12 point each from EN, FT, PS; and Ragna was on +25 cast chances.

Mungo was hit for 47, then a black wispy weapon followed like a shadow or afterimage ... and another and another. As requested SF, cast a counter Celestial-special which, even with the death-penalty was a double effect (01-->11).

Through the door, too many party-members heard the lamentations of a dear, long-lost lover (a different one for each, we assume); the door opening after the first round of combat. A painfully beautiful, disguised succubus stepped through and cried out "Mungo serve me in our cause", before anyone could act. Serra swung & missed. Ragna stepped & cast on the shrouded assassin behind the oblivious Mungo. The big guy stepped up and said (to Mungo?) "Lets go". SF cast on Mungo to dispel the Control/Charm (unfortunately guessing the wrong counterspell).
Serra teleported to, quote, "the disgustingly beautiful bitch" (the succubus).
GM: "But you know that will cause you great anguish and grief".
Serra: "That's why I drink."

A Face-off and easy truce

There was a brief moment of confusion and somehow, suddenly, Mungo, Serra, and Ragna were racing to the adjoining King's Hall to kill the King with the Succubminions ... Leaving bloody(handed) SF resisting the Evil One. With her charm failed or ineffectual, the so-called priestess tried negotiation.
Succubus: "Do not oppose me, Elf, and I will release your comrades after they have killed the King."
Silverfoam [calmly, after a second's pause]: "Agreed."
Succ [uncertainly]: "And you will not attempt to follow me or my minions for three days?"
SF [cheerfully]: "O.K."
Succ [sharply]: "Why do I not trust you, Elf?"
SF: "Meh, ... what do I care for some local King? But, I am contractually obliged to protect my companions "
Succ: "Perhaps you mean to agree to the literal words of the truce but seek to deceive me in other ways?"
SF: "No. It's not like you're killing a relative or king of a party-member. Now we would have a problem if you wanted to kill the Dwarven King."
Succ [In genuine shock, or Rank-10 simulation thereof]: "I would NEVER ..."
SF [Rank-9 whimsicality]: "Oh! A death-buzz ... Hopefully it's the King, the local one." [Gets out 2 strips of Jerky, tosses one to the Succ.] "Here, bite me." [and starts chewing on the other.]
etc.
It appears that the Succubus was unaware that we believe the King of Menglana to be one of the people we must execute summary justice on.

Meanwhile, regicidally, a few rooms away ...

In the King's bed-chamber, the foul murder Thoroughly Righteous, if somewhat hurried and informal, Execution of Justice:
Serra: [with Elven Gravitas] "Mungo, Remember your OATH to the guard not to attack the king" ... [Cheerfully] "Stand aside and let ME do it. You take the queen."
The wife stabbed Serra in the back, which failed abysmally due to magic.
Mungo [to the Queen]: "You can surrender if you want."   [Stab, Stab, Stab, ...]

All the while ,Ragna was weaving about nearby trying her new but unknown effect — Flashing her "Salamander Eyes" ... just to see what it does; but the King & Queen kept resisting. Suddenly, Serra couldn't see a thing.
Anonymous: "Huh. That's what it does."




Chapter 9: The King is disappeared; Long live the King

A wild & stormy night ... Find a better title, maybe from the Scottish play

The party reunited on the beach, and we took the small boat back to where we'd hidden the main boat. After quickly DA-ing & laying hand on Serra, it appears that she's NOT blind because of Salamander eyes nor death-curse which, frankly, was contrary to our expectations, given what *usually* happens whenever a party-member kills pretenders or actual royalty (which is alarmingly frequent).

As we fled to the next inlet, intending to rest briefly, there were serrated spears of a lightning storm with multiple strikes. However, that fjord gave someone (and Serra) ominous feelings. Possibly snake or mini-kraken related, so we sailed further east to find a safe haven. Passing 3 moored ships, we head up another fjord. To pass the time, healers examined the physically blind Serra and, contrary to all known maritime customs, speculated wildly as to the cause and what accursed supernatural affliction had smitten her. Cher, one our two non-healers, wondered whether someone had stolen or intercepted Serra's sight and Blindfolded her, just in case.

We hid the vessel behind a rock spur; with another 2200 ft of rock face rising behind us too. Serra "feels" a warmth on her skin. There was a Blue & Purplish roiling on the surface of the water further up the fjord. And a Gathering of mana. We calmly left at speed and did not pause until we had passed a headland (near Vulenheim QQQ) lit by the large glow of a mine/smelter, which Mordin's nose assured us was a copper pithead. Sensing the cries of eerie wolves, Mungo turned into a werewolf (all the better to hear it), but experienced strange twinges. We noticed that Mungo's dark fur had become streaked.
Mungo [nervously]: "What colour are the streaks?"
Blind Serra [quickly]: "Yellow".

Ragna & Mordren turned to pay attention to a murder of crows (hopefully merely an unkindess of ravens?). The wind dropped as they flew past. Mungo the Streaked flung O's Spear-slash-Raven into the air; the Raven noticed that the flock was decreasing oddly, literally, as 7 became 5 became 3 became One.

Serra is deboned

Watches are set, and some rested, while SF Divinated Blind Serra. All the expected magic; in fine health, no sign of a curse; the drop of 12 pts [each on PS, MD, AG]; — but also necromantic magic (some sort of Raise Dead in the living). Serra suggested "Maybe there was something in the King that jumped into me." So Ragna did a Necromantic Extraction and began wrenching foreign, childlike bones out of Serra. Mungo seizes the first and it started to burrow into him; but he managed to stuff it into Ragna's ball, losing only 3pt PS. The last bone Ragna withdrew was the jaw-bone of a wolven-type. It seems Serra was being possessed from the inside. She just needed to be healed or new eyeballs added if they don't return (un)naturally with time. After all, her PS was returning slowly.

We discussed how to fix Serra, especially the remaining "internal possession" near her hip.
Cher: "Hip. Cut. Open."
Serra: "Suarime. Skin. Handbag."
Cher [mildly offended]: "Luggage actually; I'm quite large enough to make luggage."

Mungo failed to heal himself

After we've all rested Mungo, with wolfen sense, suspected a snake was sneaking up on him. And, as he stood still, straining his senses, Mungo was stabbed in the shoulder by a spear. It's companion (the undead Giant, again!) appeared and smote it and flung in into the fjord, saying "I will return later, without my cowardly companion".

Mungo had been savagely poisoned with a three-in-one toxin.
Mungo:"It's OK I've got something for that".
Mordrin, SF, Ragna [together]: "Yes, we're called healers".
His Waters of Healing failed (as expected).
Ragna:"Synthetic, obviously".
Mungo:"No wait, wait. I've got something else".
The healers patiently waited as he pfaffed around for 10 more seconds before collapsing unconscious; then two of them started curing his poison while the other applied restraints to the unwilling patient.
Cher: "We should call this adventure Six meaningless arguments before breakfast."

Sheep on Ship; Dwarven blockade

Jarling Strasser, the grandson of the King, was currently in Froyaheim, effectively the General of the Megalana Army, with 40 elite warrior followers and the general troops. He would be able to force a claim to the Kingdom should his royal kinsman be "theoretically" killed. They were rumoured to have tried to kill each other — which is a local form of mutual respect.

We head into town of Vulenheim (about 6,000 people), an inlet in Voldfjord. Cliff fortified/reinforced; bolt throwers under tarps. Mungo was given much-needed words of wisdom by a local merchant.
"I see the path you walk along the beach and a child ([aside]I did not say your child) will walk in your footsteps."
Ragna, playing the role of the captain's client, agreed take the sheep to Trond.
Mungo: "What are the rules... ?"
Serra [interrupts]: "Don’t turn into a wolf while there are sheep on board."
Ragna was approached by a woman who want passage to the Holy mountain (to avoid an unwanted marriage); Ragna refuses, because it's not where we're going.
"I'm sorry I thought you were honest. Good luck in your sheep-smuggling; the Dwarves are laying siege to that city."

So we were paid to transport 75 sheep, 6 shepherds, 2 dogs, and a rabbit; which is to say Ragna took the money for it.
Ragna: "Serra can't count". (Or she may have said "doesn't count", I wasn't really listening)

Metal ship blockading the town ...[QQQ expand this section] a large Metal machine/craft on the bottom of the bay.

When we signalled & hailed them, the Dwarves approached in an Ice-covered dinghy. We were hosted by the Dwarves and, as well as the obligatory, fascinating technical mechanician-speak, we leaned that the Dwarves were under contract for a Man from the Far North, called "Kyril"; also Froyaheim tried to employ the Dwarves to improve Froyaheim.

In the morning we arrived at said Froyaheim.
"Be careful! The creature from the sea is coming after you. Beware! Beware!"


Chapter 10: The Charms of Froyaheim

QQQ Insert brief Description of Froyaheim (Walls, etc; check map?) especially physical approach & entry.

More on Jarling Strasser

Strassar is generally considered 2nd in line for the throne, supposedly, should anything happen (or, theoretically, have recently happened) to the King of Menglana — and there are maybe half-a-dozen potential candidates for 3rd in line should, for instance, someone (or 6 someones who would find it easier to "justice" a Jarling rather than a Kingling) want to hypothetically give one or two of the claimants a heads-up so that they could, for argument's sake, steal a march on Strasser.

Attributes of a successful claimant to the throne:

  • Personal Reknown;
  • being related to this or a former King
  • but especially the ability to raising an army.

For example, Strasser defeated 6 opponents in single combat; is said to carry Odin's Sorrow [a named weapon]; he attempted to kill the King; and survived 3 assassination attempts by the King. Some of the King's guard are here in Froyaheim.
Based on what the Dwarves told us and local information, we checked for people that might be of interest. The nearest of the several Thirds-in-line was down river, besieged by the Dwarves. (A happy coincidence?) He is Uther from the ruling family of Hagan, Pendragon of Salvenvale, and a King's cousin — being holed up there because he had been offered the over-kingship by the Dagen King.

The popular plan is for Mungo, or whatever he'll call himself, to establish his renown; then challenge Strasser and defeat him. Not brilliant, but it should be entertaining.

Everything went according to plan, sort-of ...

The scene: There was chanting in one of the big white buildings, worshipping Odin. Froyaheim also has Temples to Freya, etc. The Merchants/businesses include Embalmer, Potter, metal & weapon-smiths, shipwright, ostler, ... In the Largest public longhouse, many people eat, drink, sleep (mostly drink) ... so we're never alone; there at least 40 witnesses.

Outside that public house, there were people brawling and betting, which was promising. There was some big talk and suddenly, somehow, one "Harald Haraldson" (Mungo) was pushed forward by a local who had an eye for a sure bet.
Harald/Mungo (talking himself up): "I killed a mouse and a rabbit once".
But, after the bards babbled excitedly about demons, illusionist giants, blah, blah, blah, people were laying bets on "Harald Giantsbane". Which was appropriate since his first opponent was "The giant". He vaguely looked partially human but stood over 9 feet high and was broad with ogre-like arms. Fortunately Mungo wore his Rank 34 Strength of stone on PS.

At this point Ragna realised we should perhaps have checked the rules — first blood? (definitely not), death? (didn't look like it, not entirely). Apparently incapacitation was sufficient: for example being knocked bloodily unconscious, or a seriously broken or detached limb, ... that sort of thing.

To be victorious, Mungo had to take on 10 opponents (sequentially) — had to or volunteered to? Not certain. Someone tried to nobble Mungo with subtle magic (Sleep) — resolved by an area counterspell and eventually a quiet word/fist to the offending E&E. Also Mungo's wolfy-sense was a-tingle and he believed he was being spied upon from somewhere up there on the wall. So our "Ulfa the Dwarf" (Mordrin) leapt up onto the 40-foot high wall, as is her way, and witnessed 4 humans indulging in lewd acts (who were quite surprised apparently)
"No-one expects the Dwarvish inquisition!"
But Cher and Serra saw the actual Wizard's eye a little lower down on the wall ("All the better to Sleep you with?"). A sound thump later and the E&E was compliantly unconscious.

"Harry" succeeded in pinning/holding the giant for 3 rounds. Meanwhile Ragna engaged a suspicious person in conversation (whom she recognised as one of Hel's undefeatable champions).
Hel's Champ [to Ragna]: "You are keeping bad company, but loyal to the last; so I shall slay you last. Our mistress has sent us ... I study his weakness. I'm even more modest than he is, which is ironic."
Ragna: "When shall we expect you?"
Hel's C: "I suspect I'll study him for a week."
Ragna: "Could you come back in a month? We're quite busy now."
Hel's C: "You speak with forked tongues and speak like an elf. Do not introduce me to your friends, I do not want to pity them."

Scribe [stage whisper]: '"Speak up! I know it's a private conversation, but I can't hear you."

Given the big picture, the Champion agrees to help (presumably before he kills us all) by marking the Incubus.
Hel's Champ: "After I crush the incubus he will be limping"

We entered the drinking house. They offer free blood ale (made with last year's champion's blood). Hari/Mungo made his contribution for next year's batch.

Ulfa confronted the E&E: "You were rigging the fight."
Nefarious E&E: "I wouldn't do that ... for free."
Ulfa: "So who didn't pay you?"
Nefarious E&E "The innkeeper."
Ulfa: "How does Sleep help?"
Nefarious (but incompetent) E&E: "He wanted ill-luck, but I didn’t know it. I though a bit of drowsiness might help."

Innkeeper (when confronted by Ulfa): "No I haven't paid him. Not a penny has changed hands."

Mungo/Hari recognised a companion of his brother. We're offered camping space or a guest room. Hari changed into someone superficially more discrete and Serra give him a massage (healing hands).


... until things went to adorably wrong

On returning to the Drinking Hall things *seemed* OK ...
Inkeeper [to Cher]: "Why have you been cursed?"
Cher: "I'm in my true form"
Inkeeper: "I have a saga that might help with that".

Serra lets slip (when apparently quite drunk, since everyone knows that lady elves, no matter how strapping, can't hold their beer) that Strasser conspired with a priestess, whom he seduced, to "disappear" the king.
Local: "He is very virile, made a barren ewe pregnant".
Serra: "He made the Dwarves attack down river because he seduced and impregnated them too".

... until it became apparent that most of the people are speaking of the Pretender with reverence. A wash of mana splashed into the room and the demeanour of Serra, Cher, Mordren & Ragna changes instantly [DA: long-lived aura (GTN Incubus); some sort of "burning-brain" college).

Unctuous Incubus [To Mordrin]: "My Lady, would you care to introduce your friends?"
Mordrin [with Dwarven selfishness]: NO!
Cher: "I am actually a Lady, with my own lands".
Mordrin: "Ignore it; it's not a lady, it’s a LIZARD."
Cher stepped back, slapped on her helmet and hit Mordrin for 13 pts. QQQ {Someone said this was the wrong way round??}
Mungo: "You're wearing your helmet in the pub?"
Cher: "Of course I put on my helmet on before punching a dwarf from behind. I'm not stupid".

Universal violence broke out. Silverfoam & Mungo were the only sane people in the hall. No, really! They fled outside, but a few blows hit home. Super-strong Mungo ran at full speed, carrying SF (wounded, just an Endurance blow) who was preparing Create fog to hide their retreat. Then, to escape Froyaheim, they Windwalked north to the camp of The Giant, Hel's Champion. He agreed to help us, although he will have to kill Mungo at some stage: "Go down there and attack those people. I will aid you."

Mungo had a vision of Odin & Freya talking. They mentioned the stone that the previous party got out of Hel's realm, which was somehow given to Viola.
Mungo : "I was deceived, Viola played me like a violin".
The gods advised Mungo: "Your friends will be left with broken hearts. Mend their souls with a cup of fresh water with sunflower seeds floating in it, preferably in the morning sun."
"Those creatures work for somebody in the bottom of the fjord."

Mungo & SF use the giant's stones to enter the Jarl's longhouse undetected. While SF prepared, Mungo charged the incubus pretender and struck him with his extended spear. The female members of the party were strewn unconscious on the floor, snoring, thoroughly shagged out, but were jolted awake as the damage from Mungo's might thrusts laid on the Incubus was transferred to most of them (clearly destroying charges in his necklace). SF cast his full Geas: "DO NOT charm or compel anyone in this room". Whereupon the Incubus, unable to control himself, died.

While the ladies of the party dressed, They are update including what Mungo was told ... : "MUNGO WOULD BE LOOKED UPON FAVOURABLY BY HEL IF YOU yadda Yadda" *** QUESTION TO PARTY WHAT was said ... don't have it recorded.



Chapter 11: The real Jarl. Also the Succubus & Incubus attack undisguised

The black smear was investigated: Some form of shadow walking. DA: How far away is the Incubus? "24 hours".

LOOT (to be detailed) was collected ... speaking of which, the statue on which the Fake Jarl's armour hung was remarkably detailed — Very like the fake-Jarl/Incubus, but not as attractive [Serra DAs: duration infinite]. There is a knock on the door and Cher said, with obviously insincere casualness, "We're quite busy, could you come back later" in exactly the tone the Jarl followers must have heard quite often recently.

Mordrin felt something sticky on the inside of her glove. The Jarl's harem du jour recalled the succubus visiting earlier, when they were (frequently) entertained by the pretender. She probably poisoned the handle of the ladies' weapons, etc, possibly with a subtle or two-part poison. Presumably out of jealousy, habit, or as a defence tactic. And when Ragna did a Cure poison a Black shadowy thing was noticed to slough off her and crawl up the wall. All 3 healers detecteced that the "ladies" have been drained of 3 EN each, from of their nocturnal consorting. Cher's Unpetrification of the Jarl-statue worked, but the Real Jarl Strasser is currently on his "natural" Endurance [minus six!]. Ragna gave him some Golden Curative that restores almost all EN & FT.

The Real Jarl spoke to Mordrin. "Greeting warrior of Freya". A brief conversation starting "We've rescued you from a demon ..." put him in the picture (i.e., obviously in our debt). He thought it was still last year.
He said to Mordin {CHECK??}: "I think your name is Carrier-of-the-Word. The lady at the lake has been giving me dreams" [pause to cough out some pebbles]. "I've had many talks with my mistress, and she has told me that Mungo kingslayer I need to kill him."
Mungo is shushed before he can say something (perhaps "Not true, I just killed the Queen, It was Serra that killed the King"). We started explaining "The demon who took your form ..." and updated him that he'd been Charmed, then Petrified, and that vile crimes were done in his name by the incubus imposter, a demonic agent of the evil creature that he (the Jarl) had been deceived into believing was his mistress; and how his followers were also mislead by the Imposter.

The door swung open. We invited in the giant Hel's Champion, quickly saying "This is not your enemy. He was stoned for a year or two. It was the incubus that is your enemy.
Giant [to Jarl]: "You've been under the influence of creatures under the sea".
[then, to Mungo]: "You have done well, I will give you two free blows".
Mungo replied "I cannot do that, it would not be honourable." The Giant picked up a drinking horn and drilled a small hole near its base, saying to Mordrin, "When your friend is dead & the fluid has drained from it, it will be time to bring him back".

The Jarl asked of Hel's Champion, "I have been warned in my dreams that the King is dead. What can be done about it?"
Hel's Champion [to us, mostly] : "There are 2 people that should be killed His ant is an evil sea hag who lives on the seaside. If you manage to kill the aunt I will discuss it further with you."

The Jarl wanted the Incubus stain removed. What if we destroyed the room by fire? There were half a dozen chimney stacks around that Longhouse (clearly another building influenced by Southern Architectural style) so easily accomplished — but, on reflection, the Jarl rathered we didn't, so Cher the Binder cut out the part of the floor that includeds the Incubus-smear.

There was a brief Mortal combat between Hel's Champion and Mungo ... which the latter loses, naturally. (QQQ more details?) However it gave him a chance to apologise to Hel and say the magic words that the Champion told him to say, and which would aid the party, possibly something like "Please forgive my friends they don't know what they did". But Mungo forgot what to say. He may also have riled Hel by calling Ragna "your princess" rather than "your priestess".

Meanwhile, the party resurrected Mungo after the right amount of time.
Mordrin the Dwarf: "That drinking horn is now just a water-clock; I'm NOT wasting BEER on a water clock."

The last battle with Incky & Sucky

SF started a quick Divination (half-hour, Hurrah for the half-time cushion!) and discovered Serra was Charmed and removed it (3 hours of Remove Curse required dammit since it was through innate demonic skill not merely a spell that could be Dissipated). And, as for the other ladies, just like children with nits, where one has it they rest probably do — so more Remove curses were required. Unfortunately the victims/patients even when they knew they were Charmed, didn't want it removed so some deception was required (at the party-leader's insistence) ... e.g., casting Sleep on the Dwarf when she was expecting the usual morning buffs.

Clearly it was going to be a busy day. Plus the will-power checks required because of the general background noise, including Mungo whining about his Rotting Curse. Honestly! Pull yourself together man! (Or at least pick up the pieces that fall off.) He was firmly told that his curse would have to wait; not because it was his own fault (which it was); not even because the Charming was a more fatal threat to the party than his rotting, which was merely a Divine chastising; but we didn't have the 9 hours to spare for a Remove GREATER curse. A navigator of his rank should demn well be able to add a few numbers correctly: 12 hours to de-charm the party (BTW Ragna hadn't been charmed by the Incubus, because his "sister" had got to her first) or 15 if we include the real Jarl Strasser.
Aside: Serra DA-ed 3 questions on him including "What curse is in effect" & "its nature": "divine moment in time" and "Yes he is under magical control".

Since we knew the Incubus would return at 4am to the exact spot (wherever we decided to place it), we decided to stage the confrontation in a place more to our advantage ... out of this town (or any other) for a start. We did not want to provide him (& the Succubus?) with an instant army of charmees. Besides the local urchins are so sweet, the way they hurl stones at Cher and then scamper away tittering.

Where possible, party members slept. And, after dark we sailed downriver seeking a more rural spot. There weren't any really, since this region was heavily populated, but we did find the best we could: open farmland about 3 furlongs inland out of sight of the river.

DONE TO HERE Mungo sees 9' direwolves.

To hit +27 to hit +8

Succ stb cher in the back

Ele & Mordrin [bhd] attacked the inc & the damage is tfrd to cher

Pruple light goes into her gem as Ch's soul is sucked in.


Serra [to che]: Terrible I wouldn't like to have a child that looked like a human

Nature of the magic: shadow-walking.




Chapter-12: Troop movements & a trip to Hel

A new dawn dayed: Return to Froyaheim

Quick Divination of the human minion: Charm magic all of that time; had scrying magic; Shadow wings.

Serra's "double vision" enabled us to realise that the "people" scrying us were only 300 yds away. So we leapt on the boat and strategically fled. Under Hypnosis, Mungo remembered that he and Ragna should go to Hel & apologise. Wasn't certain what for, but he's Mungo — so somewhere between something big and everything.

Approaching Froyaheim, we saw that the village outside the town was smouldering. The military from the north had now reached the town and were bringin up wood to create palisades. Some people on the South side of town have small boats & that’s how they fled. Ragna pointed out that we had to create a viable peace in this region, otherwise the families (& flocks) with Campions would be dispersed and we couldn't perform the vision-inspired ritual to purify the villagers and townsfolk.

With standards flying, we approached the nominally-friendly invaders, since their associate (Hel's giant) only wanted to kill one of the party and only temporarily. Fortunately, as conjectured, the Invaders were from Dagen lands. Mordrin is greeted by an Officer she has "wrestled" with in the past and we were lead up to the village of Ragunda. The Command was in a southern-style building. Mordrin, Mungo, & Ragna recognised almost everyone; and Mordrin had given a good gift to the Commander last time they had met.

Naturally the Commander turned to Mordin for advice ... which was, as the priestess advised, that the Dagens let the Real Jarl escape with concessions. Inside there were 3 priestesses of the sea (Nyordites unknown to us) making Waters of healing and tending to some injured warriors. Serra is now wearing an eyepatch again, so the intelligence leak through the elf's eye was dammed (since that Agency with the celestial direwolves can see through her eye). Should have thought of it sooner, but fortunately that oversight (sorry!) wasn't as dangerous as we supposed at the time.

We slept solidly and received 3pts PS from the breakfast and those with hair had it braided to ward off demonic charm. We needed to advise Dagenborg ASAP of the situation to solve the military situation as the King & our employer though best (which would, no doubt, be heavily influenced by whatever Hel & her priestesses advised). It would take five or six hours and preposterous amounts of fatigue to get there by ship; but fortunately Mordrin as a master Ranger could get us mystically Lost very quickly. With only 1 hour's worth of hard slog through windswept mountainous passes, Mordrin leads the party, plus the human minion, & the scarred maiden that served us, to the vicinity of large garrison outside the castle of Dagenborg.

Approaching higher powers in/near Dagenborg

Ragna spoke to her people & Mungo consulted Odin (without publically name-dropping once; moderate modesty if not actual humility ... there's hope for the lad yet). Spending 2500sp for sacrifices (advanced from his treasure share), Mungo prayed about his Rotting curse; whether he should go to Hel; also what to do with the demon children (the campions). The sooths were thus:

  • The First is the second; and the Second is the first;
  • Great warriors of Great Renown do not make war on children, but those that are humble must serve the greater good
  • The answer is to look & follow the lead of the Crafters of the Gods.

Mordrin saw an old priestess (of Freya) and had Vision of killing a Giant Elk in town & the sleeping mothers becoming rid of their unborn shadows. She was given a Keg made from Yew. Inside it was a [formerly living] poison that, if mixed with water, would put a large amount of women to sleep. It will have Consequences.

The Priestesses of Hel provided Ragna with a 4' ft gourd fashioned into a lidded container [GTN Guella gourd (which comes from Hasan) effected by the Gaze of the Gourd Ritual]. Inside was a Flaming sword in water. Ragna was to give this to Mungo, so that he could give it Hell as an apologetic offering.
Mungo: "I grabbed my first sword hilt when I was only 5 days old".
Serra: "So that's what you call it."

Once Mungo had been drilled to apologise, no excuses or justifications, just apologies, we prepared to visit the Realm of the Goddess. In the basement of HEL's temple, we went through the crack in the obelisk and entered. Ragna led us down into the valley towards a massive Hall. There were large direwolves outside the Hall waiting. Serra has a double vision of whiteness & then of approaching herself ... the Groat finally dropped. The Hall is made of scales. Perhaps Reptilian scales? Dragon scales? Giants' fingernails?

The Guardian Direwolf was addressed
Ragna: "Mungo has come to provide an apology for what was done."
Mungo: "I am very sorry, ... but" [Chorus of anxious "Uhh" from the rest of the party] "... I am very sorry."

From Hel's mouth

The party (well, Mordrin really) was told: "You have almost defeated mage 6 times although you don't know it."
Mordrin: "Yes I wish to banish her whither she belongs."
Response: "You have Mungo for that".

Mungo's apology/present was accepted; don't know what that sword did, but HEL surely appreciated it".
Mungo sat (when told to by HEL) and was advised: "Unfortunately your Master has intervened on your behalf; I've even received a petition from the dwarf's Mistress".

We were also told: "One of the gods is hunting you" ... meaning Nyord(?) we assumed, but dared not ask further, especially since SHE clearly dislike directly naming other Gods in HER Realm.

Concerning the Mistress of the Succubus & Incubus, HEL offered a double-edged, double blade (i.e., a dagger that starts and finishes as a sharp blade, with the small handle in the middle) to Mungo and said: "You must kill her" [And to us] "... get mungo to sleep with her and kill her at the same time he dies."

Serra & SF were given a drink by HEL and told to remember to protect her priestess.

Concerning the problem of the campions: "The campions are a legacy of Both of the Children, so they would die were you to give the sleeping draft to everyone & dragged out into the sunlight.

The Ritual of the Elk was explained to us: we're to mix together the blood of Serra & SF under the cover of darkness and the Fey Elk will come. Then follow the rest of the vision.

We left the Hall and Mordrin (assisted by Ragna & SF): plucked out Serra's eye and the direwolf's and put them back in the right bodies. On the way back, we ate the portions of chicken (we'd been give on a plate) and it kept us warm. Template:'''QQQ''' does this mean we've also got a plate each and made our way back

The Dying Valkyrie

Re-entering the basement, we saw signs of blood and battle. The priestesses had just killed a woman that had killed people including about 20 Gythian priestesses and 4 guards. She appeared to be about 75 years old to all except Mungo & Mordrin, who saw a shield-maiden 28ish dressed in armour.

Serra DAed; long-lived sentient, pacted to Odin. Sarkel said, "I have Stayed death on this person because she claimed to have a message for Mungo". He recognised she was the one who had given him Odin's weapon. She said she had been Charmed to kill everyone by the "beautiful woman" (The succubitch or possibly her Mistress) who who had done it to Valkyrie to demonstrate to Mungo her own power. When Mungo asked the Valkyrie what to do with her remains, the dying Valkyrie explains that spirit will return to Valhalla and her body will fade into the ground.
Ragna: "Can we loot her before she goes?"

All Change

We negotiated between the would-be besiegers and the Jarl, and successfully transporting the Jarl's FULL force, including sufficient provisions, horses, and arms at speed downriver to Ygrasdram where he could uphold his True Claim as King of Manglana.

In return, we transported Dagen forces to the towns of XX... so that the Dagens could reasonably hold the territory the former Jarl ceded to them.

QQQ Needs the detailed map to complete the important details.

Ding Dong the succubitch is Dead. Really Dead.

(Actually I don't know that her name was Ding Dong)
One evening, Mungo started sleepwalking wearing his blanket. Ragna slipped him the knife and the party is roused. Only SF could hear the charming pipes (until Mordrin plugs his ears with magic ragweed). We roused Mungo and he did his duty ... As their interaction was culminating, and Sucky (multi-purposing) was reaching for her bedside dagger and was almost plunging it in his back, he put the elven-blood-smeared double dagger between them both and fell on it heavily. Mungo died, naturally; but the Succubus was destroyed.

Other loose ends

We returned in due time to Froyahiem. As hoped planned, when peace returned, the locals did too. We released the Elk spirit and all (let's pretend "all") of the evil dark campion spirits were expelled from their hosts.

We did NOT identify the Mistress of Inky & Sucky, nor did we neutralise the King of Menglana's Evil Auntie (or even confirm the conjecture that they are the same being ... although, from experience we know that there are still too many unpleasant, elderly would-be dominators dwelling beside or under the sea).

LOOT

(draft list)

Giant Nautilis shell pieces — from Lepesaar.

Several snail shells (from the Isle of adventure region) used as cups — from Lepesaar

Chest(s) of money from the witches's camp in Lepesaar town. Maybe lesser loot from the bodies that remained ... although the Fomerly charmed giants may have taken some too.

Silver amulets through/from the Elk, as improved by Ragna's kin (these are not those which are below) 3x

"Ragnas bone amulets" made from your hand and foot bones: AG or MD checks are made at 1 rank better (eg, if need a 2x, a 3x is a succeeds)

Poison-secreting organ of Elemental Something — extracted from Cher

Loot from the King's bedroom collected by Ragna

Dead king

LOOT (undetailed at the time, but definitely collected before we unstoned the Armour-mannequin) from the incubus/jarl's Longhouse that the Incubus wasn't wearing from the first time he died.

Ropes with semi-precious stones (45) — from the camp by the Temple on the island in the ex-lake.

Necklace in which Cher's soul was captured in the Last Battle with Incky & Sucky — possible reuse/intrinsic value?

Minor loot from the human minion captured & other human bodies in the last battle.

Possible Good will or considerations from the Jarl for putting his troops exactly where he wanted them to defend against the Dagenborg invasion and where he could assert his pre-eminant claim to the Menglanan Throne.

Possible Good will or considerations from the Dagenborg King for the Swift & Complete Annexation of the lands beyond the mountain passes.

Buffs

Note: When it is safe to do so, 20 Ranks can be added to Buff Spells.

Wind & Waterproofing (Rk40)

Strength of Stone unmodified +14 EN or PS for 15 hours

Armour of Earth unmodified adds 30 def absorbs 1 point of damage per strike for 7 hours 30 minutes

Lesser Enchantment -1 on dice rolls *PERMANENT* (well, until next death)