Karameikos

Into the Tombs

Grateful for Ozzy’s Ritual of Endure Elements, the Heroes survey the tomb entrances yawning before them, ten feet wide and twice as high; deciding to explore the furthermost tomb on their left. The exploration is swift, as the rough, unfinished tomb is little more than five feet deep. The next tomb entrance leads to a passageway containing several complete humanoid skeletons, which look as if they have remained where they fell. There are no signs of predation on the bones.

Advancing further, Ozzy detects faint necrotic energy as a musty, rotten smell becomes apparent. Passing a blocked alcove to the right, the adventurers come to a large chamber ahead. The dropped floor of this chamber is a charnel pit of the bodies of 12 foot plus humanoids. Their naked, desiccated bodies show long beards and hair. Kathra surmises that they are remains of the ‘brutish men’ that served the Frosty Women..? Tantalisingly, there is a door on the far side of the chamber. The majority decide it’ll be safer to find another place to rest for the night and a keen Switch has to be practically dragged back down the passage and out of the tomb, so great is his desire to die at the hands of the undead, I mean explore the charnel pit.

Entering the third Tomb, Tol Flemin notes that wildlife is most certainly avoiding this area and the party braces itself for trouble. A finely carved chamber to the right of the main passage contains several large bodies, of the same race filling the charnel pit in the previous tomb. Ozzy detects more necrotic energy. Ahead, the passage dead ends arf in a chamber containing a raised stone bier. Atop this is the body of a female, with long, braided hair wearing a large silver and gold necklace. Memnon chastens Switch to behave, as Ozzy steps forward to examine the other item in the room – a large stone carved with runes.

There’s a sudden shriek of glee as the woman on the bier sits up, his features and form shifting to those of a vile undead creature with massive claws and hideously distended arms. With icy fire blazing in its eyes, the Fiend lashes out at Memnon, but a disruptive strike from Tol causes it to narrowly miss. Fearless, Switch leaps atop the bier, sneaking in an attack and then fading back. Arrows from Tol splinter into the Fiend, which howls in pain as Memnon calls on Halav and blasts it with daunting light (natural ter-went-tehhh!). Blooded, motes of black light swirl from the Fiend, winding around and wounding all the heroes it can reach.

From back in the passage, Kathra calls a warning that the four brutes in the antechamber are rising. The undead seem to be on the counterattack as the Fiend leaps down from the bier, raking Memnon with its claws and being burnt in return by his infernal wrath. Switch darts forward, flanking the Fiend with Memnon and (natural ter-went-tehhh) knocking it flat. As divine power from Memnon offers the Cleric and Ozzy some extra protection, the Wizard’s beguiling strands push the Fiend into a corner, twining around it but not reducing its terrifyingly long reach – Ozzy is raked by its claws as he moves back to assist Kathra.

In the passage, Kathra lashes out at one brute as it lumbers past her. Now facing foes on two fronts, Kathra is pounded by one, which freezes her into place, immobilizing her. The other brute lands a hefty blow (natural twenty?! Boo! Hissss!!). Being frozen to the spot does not stop Kathra from cleaving both brutes in return. Ozzy arrives and teleports all three combatants, freeing Kathra and damaging the undead brutes. Yet one strikes back at Kathra almost immediately – freezing her in place again. The bone-numbing chill exuding from the creatures is also beginning to take its toll.

In the main chamber, the Fiend rises, lashing out at Switch. The Hinn barely dodges out of the way, jinking again to slip past the fearsome claws and narrowly missing stabbing the creature in the back. The Fiend weaves straight into the path of Tol’s arrows as Memnon revelates and a crackling energy radiates on the floor around him. The Fiend lashes out at the troublesome Rogue one last time before exploding into a blast of necrotic energy as the consecrated ground burns fiercely. Reaching for his holy symbol Memnon turns to run to Kathra and Ozzy’s aid.

Kathra’s Dwarven Fine mail heals the majority of her wounds and she barely has time to catch her second wind before trading more blows with the brutes. Memnon’s quickling boots allow him to sprint down the corridor faster than his companions have ever seen him move before. Bellowing a denial that such abominations should exist, his holy symbol blazes, blasting one brute to smithereens. Switch and Tol advance down the corridor, firing at the brutes as they go. The battle rages as Ozzy’s Phantom Chasm floors two of the remaining three brutes, creating a zone that will keep them unsteady on their feet and affecting them with a psychic lock. Memnon’s holy symbol blazes again and Halav’s radiance stuns one of the prone brutes. The Brute that still stands begins to lumber forwards -the battle is far from over yet..!

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All that Ozzie did before and during the Frost Fair

Following Ozzie’s ascension to knighthood and his landed title, he then goes to the mage’s guild to discuss a number of options for Rolent. One of them is to rebuild the wizards school. There was previously a wizard’s school in Rolent in ages past. The area is interesting for wizards in a number of ways, mainly for the areas of non magic and powerful magic fields, and less well known for the gate to the shadowfell and the fey wild.

Ozzie spends a lot of time convincing the Guild of the need for a new school in Rolent. In the end his argument and business case carries the day assisted by his mentor’s opinion. Following this victory Ozzie departs for a couple of days to think through the next steps and also to plan his next request, which he thinks will be much more difficult. To get a permanent portal into Rolent.

His thinking is to wait a couple of years until he is powerful enough to cast the spell and then hire a suitable Mage to maintain the portal for a year and a day to make it permanent. His aim here is to build a big enough one to be able to drive a cart through it. This is driven by many evenings sat around the campfire discussing with Switch how he is going to set up a trading run from his home land to Karimekos .

Now that Ozzie is The Lord of the gate, he needs a gate! He also believes that by improving the trade route to Karimekos through the use of a gate will improve the wealth and security of the area. So as he starts to recruit his teachers and his students, he also starts to drip feed the idea of developing a portal in Rolent among the great and the powerful in the wizards guild.

On his return to Rolent Ozzie meets up with his people and reintroduces himself to them and finds out more.

He commences building the school with the support of the community and accommodation suitable for 20 students. He oversees the building of the school and also of additional boarding accommodation in partnership with the inn. He returns to the family home and looks for his mothers staff, dagger and gloves. However they are not there. They have either been removed by his mother or by someone else, which is vexing as they were all powerful magic items. At this time he doesn’t have time to investigate further, but he plans to do an object reading of the hiding place to see who took them and then track them down.

Ozzie receives his invitation to the frost fair and thinks this might be a good opportunity to takes his students north and introduce them to his friends as well as starting to get to know his students better and run some master classes with them.

The frost fair proves to be a revelation, during his time there Tol hires his staff to provide eyes at the fair due to a lack of planning and provision of security. During this time Ozzie is surprised to find that the wizard’s guild have approved his request to set up a portal in Rolent. In fact they have agreed to provide a Mage to make it permanent . All Ozzie has to do is pay for it….. The size he is looking for is beyond his meagre funds.

After a sleepless but exciting night trying to work out whe he is going to source the funds to pay for the size of the portal he thinks will benefit Rolent most, he begins his search for a loan or possibly a backer. His first thoughts again turn to his halfling friend, Switch.

A conversation with switch introduces him to one of the Radu family.
Whilst at the frost fair Ozzie also makes a number of connections and develops his school.
Despite being publicly humiliated by the ambassador to Galantri, Ozzie persists in developing a relationship with her, with the longer term aim of building pupil sabbaticals/scholarships with the top schools in Galantri. This will help enhance the reputation of the Arcane Academy at Rolent and also provide Ozzie himself with new allies and access to powers that even Riadorn doesn’t know!

Initially Ozzie’s approaches are rebuffed in a similar way to the initial meeting, although under all the magically projected glamour, Ozzie senses that there is a sense of respect for his persistence in the face of adversity. This is eventually rewarded the evening after the departure of the emperor, and the fact that Galantri is now potentially facing war with Alphatia.

The ambassador requests his company for a private dinner, to which Ozzie arrives purposely, but fashionably late, having sensed that the boot might now be on the other foot. During a lavish meal the ambassador discloses that since the Frost Fair has been going on she has been making some calls to magic schools in Galantri and calling in some favours on Ozzie’s behalf. She also turns out to be remarkably well informed about Ozzie’s projects in Rolent – indicating that Galantri’s spy network in the wizard’s guild in Karimekos is well established. For the ambassador proposes a remarkable offer…. Glantri will finance the development of the portal and the substance of the Mage for a year and a day. The Galantri school of magic will also offer a 1 year scholarship for the arcane academy’s top student every year for the next three years-subject to the continued high quality of students coming out of the academy, to be determined by an examination set by and adjudicated by Glantrian mages. In year three, pending their satisfaction that the arcane academy’s standards have been proved they would like to have a reciprocal arrangement and send their top student to the academy for a year every year.

Ozzie is stunned. And immediately suspicious. What is the cost of this fabulous deal? The ambassador smiles and says the are no hooks, but there are conditions. Ozzie will be asked to do a “little task” to be decided at some stage, Galantri will have input into the curriculum and also who is to be employed there. Ozzie counters that they can have input but his decision is final, as to who is employed there that is Ozzie’s final decision, he is prepared to be presented with potential staff, which he will look upon favourably, but will not accept staff willy nilly. Ozzie also insists that the Mage doing the portal maintance is from Karimekos, despite the ambassadors protestations about this Ozzie is adamant that the Mage must be a member of the Karimekos wizards guild, as otherwise he will lose the respect and trust that he has recently gained at the guild. And that also wouldn’t be to Galantri’s advantage. The ambassador doesn’t immediately agree to this, but says she must think on this….Ozzie translates this as ‘I must find out which wizard in karimekos is aligned with Galantri and able to do this task for us.’

The amabassador also spends some time teaching Ozzie some new rituals, including eagles flight. Ozzie is painfully aware that her mastery of magic is superior to his, and that she likely will require some personal favour in exchange… however, on a personal note she seems to be warming to him considerably, and is a very passionate lady.

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Blood and Ice!

The Harpy shrieks, blasting Tol Flemin and Ozzy and immobilizing them in ice. Above, the Frozen Guardian swats Memnon from his Eagle and the cleric endures a frightening drop to the valley floor, vanishing into a snowdrift. As Tol takes a moment to heal both himself and Ozzy, Memnon erupts from the snow with a roar, transformed into his diabolic form and evoking a Shield of Faith around his companions. This attracts the attention of the Harpy, who blasts both the Tiefling and Kathra, only to be burnt by Memnon’s infernal wrath in return.

Tol misses with two arrows, and Switch fails at the last to land a hit, but he distracts the Harpy enough for Kathra to crack the shell, marking the foul beast. Ozzy uses Phantom Chasm to floor both the Harpy and the Frozen Guardian, allowing Memnon time to heal his grevious wounds. The cleric must still be shaken, as he misses with a blast of Solar Wrath as Switch once again fumbles his attack, hands perhaps numb from the biting cold. The Guardian has no such difficulty, striking (flicking?;) Switch hard into the snow.

The Harpy howls as Tol’s arrows strike true at the same time as Ozzy’s orb roils with radiant energy and the dazed creature takes to the air, flapping a retreat into the snowy sky. However, the Frozen Guardian is still in the fight, rising to blast Memnon and Switch flat, encasing them in ice. Kathra seizes the opportunity to land a telling blow in return and Tol fires another arrow into the chill beast.

Ozzy teleports Memnon and Switch free of their icy shackles and the enraged Cleric lands a massive blow with his flaming mace, fuelled by the black wrath of his diabolic form. As the Guardian recoils, Memnon weakens it with a Beacon of Hope that heals his colleagues. Even in its weakened state, the Guardian is still capable of firing another tremendous blast of chill energy, which injures Kathra but passes harmlessly through Ozzy due to his warp and weave.

Kathra shakes off the effect of the blast, striking the Frozen Guardian so hard (41 damage!) that she reduces it to a drifting cloud of ice crystals. Both these icy remnants and the roiling snowstorm that fills the valley slowly fade away, giving the heroes time to tend their wounds but leaving them wondering if something perhaps just wants to take a better look at them…

Returning to their Eagles, the Heroes of Dymrak reconnoiter the valley, flying clockwise around it. The glacier filling the North end of the valley appears to be artificially maintained, looks climbable and has a definite opening in its glittering face. There appears to be no way down into the valley on foot from the land above its steep sides, so the decision’s reached to make camp somewhere in the valley floor, perhaps close to the tombs or the wooded areas.

By the end of the flight, the supernatural chill in the valley has begun to affect several heroes, despite the extra protection offered by cold weather clothing. The convocation of Eagles lands close to the tombs in the North West of the valley and the valley floor reassuringly shows signs of natural wildlife. The tombs themselves are a trifle more disconcerting. Rubble that used to seal them now lies scattered in front of dark, gaping entrances. Memnon voices the question which all are surely thinking – did something force its way into the tombs, or did something force its way out..?

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Battle in the Mist

Nytdain 5th Thaumont
The Heroes of Dymrak begin their quest to locate the ‘Vale of Frost’ on the backs of great Eagle Sprits, which thunder down at sunrise at Ozzy’s bidding. (Having paid for a week’s stabling for their horses).

The Eagle spirits will stay for 12 hours, so a 6 hour flight out, 6 hour back, in a figure of 8, is planned, with Kathra, Ozzy and Memnon in one convocation of Eagles and Tol and Switch in the other.

In the second hour of the flight, Ozzy detects strong arcane evocation energies, which seem to emanate from a cleft in the mountains spied by Memnon. Drawing closer, a snowy mist appears in a hanging valley. Ozzy’s convocation circles until Switch and Tol see the signal and join them and they all enter the hanging valley.

The adventurers land on the black rock about half a mile along the valley. Tol communes with nature, resulting in a Snow Hare answering three questions:

Q: Are there tombs in this valley?
A: Yes
Q: Is there a crystal structure at the end of the valley?
A: Yes
Q: Do pale skinned women live in this valley?
A: Yes (with some worry…)

The party one again takes flight, arriving at the end of the valley, finding it choked with a glacier. Ozzy and Tol begin to descend into the mist, leaving their comrades uncertain as to their plan.

Ozzy and Tol are soon aware of shapes flying towards the in the mist, before they are confronted by a female humanoid with claws and wings. This icy harpy warns them to leave the valley or face the consequences. Tol begins to protest their innocent intent, but is blasted by eye beams from the harpy, as icy shards erupt from the glacier wall to attack Ozzy and several Frost Hawks join the attack.

At the head of the valley; Memnon, Switch and Kathra hear the skirmish and begin to descend.

Ice swirls and coalesces into a creature that knocks Tol clean off his translucent mount. Ozzy quickly casts feather fall on Tol (who lands in spectacular fashion, sheathing Aecris and nocking an arrow before touching down) before healing himself, the glow of his Cure Eye tattoo affecting the ice beast as it turns to him.

As Memnon, Kathra and Switch descend, the unmistakable crump of Ozzy’s Orbmaster’s incendiary detonation helps them pinpoint the melee. Switch and Memnon engage the ice beast as Ozzy and Kathra land on the valley floor, joining Tol as he attempts once more to reason with the Harpy, whist the combat rages above them…

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Journey to Three Axe Ford

Ozzy can add a similar tale to Memnon and Kathra’s; that of a missing innkeeper’s daughter. A game is definitely afoot!

In the wake of the Emperor’s visit, the Glaantrian Ambassador has a private meeting with Stefan to put her view across. Shortly after the heroes have word from Stefan himself that he is happy for them to act, unofficially, on his behalf.

The Heroes of Dymrak make preparations for departure. Tol pays Ozzy’s acolytes 20gp each for their assistance. Juliette requests a keepsake from Tol so that she can always find him. Tol gives her Konstantin’s Mirror before sharing a farewell romantic meal with her.

Tserdain 3rd Thaumont
A combined party of the Heroes of Dymrak and the Galeb Dhur sets out for Three Axe Ford. The Galeb Dhur know nothing about a Valley of Frost, suggesting that, if it does exist, it is not close to their territory.

The party arrives at Three Axe Pass, finding evidence of deforestation, which is soon revealed to be a result of the building of a new palisade for ‘Eagle’s Gate’, the Black Eagle Barony’s new foothold at the border with Darokin, run by Morgash, Memnon’s Uncle. The heroes spend the night at Highdell, with old ally and Lord of Highdell; Sergei Reynald. Tol presents him with his carved Elven flower as a gift.

When asked about the Vale of Frost, Sergei dismisses it as a fairytale and seems quick to distance himself from the topic. On the subject of Eagle’s Gate, no particular relations have yet been established.

At The Pick and Shovel Inn, the Adventurers hear of how Sergei’s nine year old daughter Karina went missing. Shortly after, a large vein of silver was discovered close by, ensuring Highdell’s prosperity. Sergei’s dismissal of the Vale of Frost becomes more understandable.

In a moment of searing insight (natural 20!) Tol links instances of missing children with the weather becoming colder in recent years. A child has gone missing just after each warm winter…

Moldain 4th Thaumont
The following day the Heroes ride out past Eagle’s Gate (noting that in its early stages of construction it is not yet defensible) and cross over the border from Karameikos into Darokin.

Following a good Dwarven road, the party arrives at Three Axe Ford, finding a settlement of low, black stone buildings, with no defensive wall and a river running through it. A white marble building stands out – a shrine to Moira the Pure, a crusading human cleric and vampire slayer who died defending the village from giants.

Settling in a local tavern, questions about Hargan lead to a meeting with Hargan’s sister and brother in law. The tale is told of Hargan turned up at Three Axe Ford, bedraggled and full of stories of a valley of frost, 70 years ago. Twenty years later, he vanished again. Some of Hargan’s possessions were left behind. A box containing a leather pouch, rolled parchment map (apparently of the Vale of frost itself, not how to find it) and a dagger which looks to be made of ice, were left behind. Ozzy detects that the dagger is magical, possessing several cold related attributes and worth several thousand gold pieces. Switch notes that box is water-damaged. Would this be from Hargan’s journey in the river, or did it contain something that melted..?

Ozzy conducts an object reading on the pouch and tries to gain three images from it.

Firstly he seeks the point where the pouch leaves the river after escaping with the box, but no image appears. Maybe the question was to general, or perhaps this never happened!
Then he tries for the first time the pouch sees three axe ford after coming out of the river (this will give us the direction that Hagan came in from). This produces better results, and Ozzie glimpses an unfamiliar view of Three Axe. Asking around later will suggest that Hagen came from the east. Finally he looks for tThe view just before Hagan throws himself into the river (we might see pursuing monsters, a waterfall, or [perhaps just snow!!) He sees what appears to be a snow storm. He can just make out a humanoid figure within it, indeed seeming to be the heart of the storm, but can make out no detail. Then everything goes dark (wet).

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Frosty Woman, Crazy Dwarf, Concerned Citizen

Nytdain 25th Vatermont (…continued)

Memnon calms his companions’ nerves, assuring them that a Vampire needs to have killed its victim in order to turn them. This man should be okay after some rest, as the Vampire has only fed from him. The man is accompanied to a local Threshold church, where he can recover and will be watched until morning. Memnon asks both the Church and the duelist to confirm his health (and lack of pointy teeth) come morning.

The Heroes share a hot drink and discuss how to go about finding Isha. Kathra recollects a tale from Three Axe Ford; the story of ‘Crazy’ Hargan Stonefist. This bedraggled Dwarf prospector stumbled into Three Axe Ford with nothing but the tattered clothes on his back and a tale of a rockslide that killed the rest of his party. Injured and dazed, Hargan wandered aimlessly, stumbling across a remote valley where he encountered white-skinned women who possessed magical powers. Hargan was taken to a palace of diamond and gems, groined from the rock of the valley. As he recovered, Hargan succumbed to his greed and pocketed two gemstones. The women, who had been civil to him up to this point, discovered his misdemeanor and turned on him. Hargan desperately made his escape by hurling himself into a river, feigning death and following the river to Three Axe Ford.

Tol suggests this would make a good tale for children at the Storytellers’ Tent tomorrow evening and may even serve to draw out the Frosty Woman.

The evening feast begins at Charasoth’s ice palace. The venue, host and rumours of missing children, a vampire and ineffective heroes lends a luke-warm atmosphere at best. There is much fingering of various holy symbols and more garlic than usual in some of the dishes. Memnon manages to raise spirits (31 diplomacy) with some rousing declarations and the evening ends up passing happily enough.

Loshdain 26th Vatermont

The heroes hear that the Vampire’s victim is safe and well. Seeking out the Glaantri Ambassador they ask her advice regarding the Frosty Woman, but the ambassador cannot think of anything else they can try to do and says she knows nothing of these white-skinned witch-women.

Visiting Isha’s parents, the Heroes are told that they have come to terms with the loss of their child and that the matter doesn’t really need pursuing any further. New trinkets and possessions would seem to suggest the parents have just come into some money, but no ensorcelment or charm can be detected. Something seems very off though and the situation makes Memnon think of a young Tiefling he knows….

Salina is an 11 year old daughter of friends of Memnon’s parents in Eltan’s Spring.
Memnon helped to heal her a couple of years ago after she broke her leg when playing with other children. Rushing to attend her where she lay amongst rocks, Memnon noticed that some of the rocks seemed to be moving in response to Salina’s upset. He kept this to himself, not questioning her parents about it and meaning to ask Salina when he visited the ‘Spring last year. However he didn’t see her and it’s only since becoming Lord of Eltan’s Spring and taking up residence there over the last few months that she has left. This didn’t seem odd, as her parents frequently spoke of one day looking for their fortunes elsewhere, but Memnon recalls seeing several brand new items in and around their hoe when he was last in the ‘Spring.

A potential pattern of missing children (perhaps with ‘abilities’) and paid off/ coerced parents, perhaps..?

At the storytelling that night, the story of Crazy Hargan goes down well, with some of those present acknowledging that they too have heard tales of these women. There is no sign however, of the Frosty Woman in question.

27th & 28th Vatermont

The atmosphere at the Frost Fair settles over the next two days with no more strange events.

Lunadain 1st Felmont

The sun rises on the final day of the Fair and the much anticipated ice sculpture competition. There are three categories: ‘Visitors & Children’, ‘Threshold Residents’ and ‘Allcomers’, the latter of which contains Charasoth and (bravely) Kathra and Switch. In the end, the number of entrants for ‘Visitors’ is low, so the first two categories are combined into one.

The competition begins, Kathra producing a sculpture of the dragon Volvagia and the Eye of Ice. Switch works on Green Jack and Charasoth produces a tableau of a Frost Giant battling a White Dragon. The competition goes well and as all assemble for Tol to announce the winners, there’s a sudden commotion.

Winged creatures are approaching the site of the frost fair. Members of the Order of the Griffon mount up and head to intercept, Switch blagging a ride with one of them.

The newcomers are 11 Hippogriff riders, 10 wearing bronze armour and the eleventh a toga (brrr!). They request an audience with Duke Stephen and are escorted to the Frost fair. Switch notes some surprise and unease amongst the Griffon Riders. Te riders all land and as switch rejoins his fellow adventurers Duke Stefan appears, offering something of a frosty reception to the Toga wearing individual, who despite his claims to just be a ‘travelling citizen of the empire’, is quickly identified as the Thinkol, the Thyatian Emperor!

Absent many guards, Stefan requests the heroes attend him for the forthcoming discussion, so Ozzy, Switch and Memnon join the Armoured Flower, Lady Elina in the Duke’s quarters, as the Emperor is accompanied by his bronze-armoured guard.

Inside, the thrust of the discussion centres where Duke Stefan’s loyalties lie with regard to the current tensions between the Alphatia and Glaantri. Tensions between these two heavily magical nations and Thyatis are rising over the apparent murder of an Alphatian general by visitng Glatrian dignitaries in Sundsval, the Alphatian capital. The General is said to have been disintegrated (thus preventing any attempt to ‘Raise’ him) and the Glantrians were caught drunkenly celebrating the fact. Empress Ariadne of Alphatia has demanded an explanation and both sides are covertly preparing for a possible war. As a former Alphatian province, Thyatis would no doubt become involved.

On top of this news, the Emperor has in his possession a strange looking fruit. The adventurers present recognize it as something that Bargle was feeding to the Hag he held captive in a cage. The fruit is a Zonga fruit. Illegal in the empire due to its highly addictive qualities. Several high level Thyatian military officers have become addicted to the fruit and its use is becoming more widespread, a grave concern if war is looming. The Emperor appears to have laid all his cards in the table. He asks for assurance that Karameikos is not facilitating trade in the Zonga fruit and that its loyalties will lie ‘correctly’ if tensions between Alphatia and Glaantri escalate.

Duke Stefan manages to provide an answer that appears to satisfy the Emperor, although it does not give any full commitment to fighting alongside the Thyatian legions. However, it’s noticeable that he Emperor fails to give any recognition to Karameikos’ status of autonomy, either.

The Emperor, or rather, “just a citizen of the Empire”, departs with a united front from himself and Duke Stefan. Memnon requests a moment of the Duke’s time and mentions seeing Zonga fruit in the possession of Bargle the infamous, phrasing this information so it comes across as concern for any possible bad reflection on the Duke’s Cousin.

Attentions are turned back to the frost fair and the ice sculpture competition, where Tol crowns Charasoth the winner of the Allcomers category (much to Switch’s apparent disdain!). Charasoth applauds Tol’s judgement and wit an enigmatic statement that he will return when the heroes need him, he slowly vanishes downwards into the ice, leaving his ice sculpture and palace behind.

The Frost Fair comes to a close without any further incident. Duke Stefan is happy with how the fair has gone and awards the heroes with jewellery (which helps Tol to break even and to pay Switch). But now; what of the Frosty Woman and the Vampire..?

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Death on the Ice

Moldain 24th Vatermont (…continued)

The Heroes discuss their icy acquaintance, hypothesising that he comes from a place where the elemental chaos of air, water, earth and fire cross (water & air, water & earth?) creating an ice plane.

Kathra’s suggestion to incorporate the tracks in the ice into the evening’s story-telling is warmly received by the others as a means to lessen the anxiety they may otherwise cause and it’s decided to split the Ice Sculpture competition into classes (but who will compete against Charasoth..?).

Conversations with local fishermen about the tracks result in various folk tales, many featuring onions, but nothing of any relevance. The Fair continues, Tol working hard to keep the mood buoyant. Switch introduces Ozzy to the Radu to discuss funding for his school of magic.

During the evening feast, Ozzy and Switch are keeping watch on the ice when they hear the clash of metal on metal – combat! Investigating, they find two men duelling, lit by a lantern held by a woman who is egging them both on. Judging by their wounds, the duel is obviously going beyond first blood. Ozzy casts a light spell, disrupting the fight. The woman, oddly alluring, explains that the duel is to see who will get to take her to the feast. Incredulous, Ozzy suspects ensorcelment, but can detect no evidence of it. As Switch tries to talk the two men out of their duel, the woman turns her attentions to him, asking if he would like to take her to the Feast…? Resisting her suggestion, Switch politely refuses and he and Ozzy encourage the trio to leave. They do so, although the woman suggests that they may meet again.

Kathra is enjoying the storytelling until the din of concerned voices from outside disturbs her. Leaving the tent, she sees the sky over the centre of the fair is lit by flames. Soon all the Heroes have gathered to investigate (Tol muttering about “Bloody Gnomes…”), finding three of Ozzy’s apprentices, in a rapidly sobering state, trying without success to control a flaming sphere that is melting a path through the ice as it heads for the Feasting Hall!

Ozzy dispels the sphere, but not before a corner of the Hall has been melted away. As Kathra organises some Dwarves to secure the structure and Ozzy chastises his wards, Tol announces the relocation of the feast to the three bars and fumarium, ensuring that the party atmosphere doesn’t fully evaporate. Upon hearing from Switch about the duel in the ice, Memnon looks concerned and mutters about the undead…

After the excitement of the evening, the night passes peacefully.

Nytdain 25th Vatermont

The fourth full day of the fair begins well, with Ghaleb Dhur demonstrations attracting particular interest. However Juliette brings bad news- “I cannot feex zis ‘ole in ze ice. The ‘all, she is frakked!” Ozzy gathers the trio of wayward apprentices and the four go to visit Charasoth, to see if he will assist with the repair of the Hall. He initially gives them the cold shoulder pause, laugh, resume as he wants people to see his work at the competition, although he does suggest that the feast could relocate to his ice tower! Tol likes the idea and as an agreement is made to do this, spirits around the fair rise in anticipation of the evening’s feast.

Not all in a positive manner, either. Several Dwarves cause trouble at the stalls of some Elven traders. Fortunately, Memnon and Kathra are close by and manage to calm the situation before the Elves resort to drawing weapons in reply to Dwarven insults. Kathra suspects that someone is purposefully stirring up trouble and makes a suggestion to Tol of some organised bouts between Elves and Dwarves to ease tensions? Memnon suspects this could enflame the situation rather than dampen it.

Another child is reported missing, a young girl named Isha. The Heroes organise a search, finding prints going out not the ice, as if a child had walked beside, or been led by, a barefooted woman. However, the tracks mysteriously stop, as if the couple who made them had vanished into thin air. Further ahead, Switch spies a small shape lying on the ice…

Concerned, the Hinn dons his cap of water breathing and heads out onto the thinning ice, secured with ropes held by his comrades. As he closes on the shape, he sees it’s too small to be the girl. As he nears, the groaning and knocking noises from under his feet turn to a crack as the ice gives way! The freezing water stuns him, but his comrades pull him to safety. As Memnon utters a Healing Word, Switch sets out again, getting closer to the shape, now clearly Isha’s doll, and managing to snatch it, just before the ice breaks again and he is plunged into the agonizing cold. More than a little red-faced in spite of the searing cold, Switch is pulled to safety once more and the Heroes return to the fair to warm him through.

Ozzy conducts an object reading on Isha’s doll, seeing, in a slightly nauseating, swinging vision:
• When Isha was joined by another… a woman with white hair and skin, wearing a short skirt and tunic of homespun material, with a pouched belt and a staff.
• The point where the doll fell to the ice…Isha flying away with the woman!
• Isha setting out… taking the doll with her to go and play
• The first time the doll encountered the mysterious woman… at the Frost Fair, during the heights of the festivities.

Ozzy has a vague recollection of ice/frost witches that live in the mountains. Are the Heroes of Dymrak destined to battle Hags again?

Asking around the Fair, the heroes are told by other children about ‘The Frosty Woman’, who seems vewy nice and fwiendwy and bwings snacks of fwozen milk and cweam. Mercifully, no other children appear to be missing.

As the Heroes are investigating, switch spies a man, one of the two duelists from last night, slumped at the side of the tent. He looks ill, but the heroes rouse him enough to tell his story. The duel resumed further out on the ice, with him winning, killing his adversary whose body was disposed of by the mysterious woman. Feasting of a different kind took place at the back of this tent, as the woman showed him “one helluva” night. He fell asleep, and has only just woken. The woman’s nowhere to be seen and the man doesn’t remember anything else. Memnon steps forward and, seizing the man by the scruff of his neck, pulls down his collar; revealing bite marks on his neck. The unmistakable mark of a Vampire..! duhn, duhn, duhhnnn

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Frost Fair, Ice Master

Gromdain 22nd

On this crisp, clear morning, Ozzy and Tol become aware of grumbles amongst the traders over the perceived lack or trade. Tol gathers some of Ozzy’s apprentices and arranges for a tour of the stalls for the nobility, escorting the Duke, his wife and Baron Halloran himself in his position as Lord of the Frost Fair. Memnon engages in some ‘town crying’ to try and rustle up business, although his success is rater limited by his infernal appearance.

Kathra and Switch spend time helping a distressed man find his missing son, Mikael, who is found safe and well in the storyteller’s tent.

It becomes apparent that both Baron Ludwig and Bargle the (mwu-hah-ha) Infamous have gone.

Sale of pipeweed in the Fumarium are going well and Memnon and Switch engage in some cross marketing of ale and pipeweed, helping both of their sales. Switch continues dialogue with the representatives from Radu trading family.

Both the storytelling (tales of the brave Heroes of Dymrak nee Winterhaven) and the naval re-enactment go well, although Switch is berated by Emilio the Great whilst ‘helping’ to collect the coins thrown in appreciation for the actors involved. Some of Ozzy’s apprentices travel into Threshold to drum up business by spreading word of how great the Frost Fair is.

During the evening, the heroes divide and between them, attend the feast and storytelling. Further discussions take place between Switch and the Radu and Ozzy spends some time instructing his apprentices on the use of Mage Hand to create flyers for the event. The evening passes peacefully.

Tserdain 23rd

Early in the morning, as the Lord of the Frost Fair tours the stalls, the ice shudders. As consternation spreads across the fair, Ozzy detects arcane energy shortly before, behind the ship, the ice bulges upwards and breaks as a tower of ice rises up from the lake! Ozzy rushes to find Juliette and the two of them stabilize the ice, as Switch, Tol and Memnon approach he thirty foot high ice tower.

Atop the tower stands an ominous icy figure. As the heroes close on the tower, they can feel the icy chill radiating from it. In a low voice, every word seeming to crackle and freeze itself onto the very air, the figure speaks, introducing itself as Ice Master Charasoth, who wishes to enter the ice sculpture competition.

Ozzy arrives on the scene, expressing his belief that the Ice Master was once a person, but now appears to be an elemental being. Tol accepts Charasoth’s entry into the competition and during a brief dialogue, during which it becomes obvious Charasoth is not interested in any conversation with the heroes that does not centre on ice, or the sculpture of it; it’s agreed that Charasoth will stay in his tower until the competition on the 1st of Felmont. Brief glimpses into Charasoth’s tower reveal a beautiful palatial banqueting hall, created in exquisite detail.

With all seeming well, the rest of the morning is spent quelling any fears over the arrival of Charasoth and his effect on the stability of the ice. Tol throws himself into his role as Lord of the Frost Fair as Ozzy’s apprentices help to put a positive spin on the Ice Master’s arrival. All of this fails to quell general mutterings about it now being pointless for anybody else to bother entering the competition.

It appears that Charasoth’s presence is actually helping with the stabilization of the ice, as Juliette is finding it less stressful to maintain the magics. The evening’s naval reenactment and feast are slightly subdued although Elves and Dwarfs are still spirited enough to squabble, before Memnon diplomatically eases the tensions. Tol tries, without much success to raise the level of enthusiasm for the ice sculpture competition and the evening otherwise passes peacefully.

Moldain 24th

The heroes awake to worried murmurings across the fair. There are markings in the snow – hundreds of different kinds of foot/paw prints form a 10 metre wide arc around the fair a couple of hundred metres out from the tents. Despite searing insight (natural 20!), Tol cannot identify the prints. Ozzy voices a suspicion of extra planar activity, and Kathra notes that all of the prints are on the lake, none cover ice which is formed over land. Nor do the prints seem to have come from, or go to; anywhere.

Ozzy visits Charasoth, who agrees to investigate, eerily shuffling off to do so. He returns shortly afterwards, with a one word report – “Incorrect.”

(To be continued…)

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Another chat with the historian.

In a swirl of leaves and sticks we return to the presence of the Older Historian on the Isle of Dreams.

The little historian is absorbed back into the Historian and he gasps as he learns what has happened.

We present what little water we were able to collect in the goblet. The Historian peers in and sighs. " I am afraid that there won’t be enough there to bring back these two beings."

Among the many things we learn is that the hag body was that of Griselda, the leader of the Wytches of Dymrak, and, presumably, ‘mother’. The creature that attacked Griselda and the Seer was Esmerelda. The Historian implies that she wanted to become the head of the witches of Dymrak and she has probably taken the red opal eye and the eye of death to her lair in Dymrak.

After a fair bit of prompting from the Historian, we realise that Esmerelda must have breached the pact that kept the Historian from intervening directly. We demand vengeance. There is an almighty flash and a clap of thunder and standing before us is the most magnificent Centaur. Tol gasps “Its him!” This centaur is really quite magnificent, it just oozes charisma and power. Tol is reduced to a gibbering excited wreck and Memnnon isn’t much better. I finally realise this is Zirchev. I am at last in the presence of one of the Immortals. Now watch closely Ozzie I say to myself, there is much to be learnt here.

Zirchev clicks his fingers and screaming very old woman appears. She is caught in some trap of Zirchev’s. Zirchev tells her she has broken the pact and must now pay the price. He strips her of her powers which manifest themselves in a swirling cloud of arcane mist before dispersing. He also removes the three eyes that she was carrying and then disperses them across Karimekos, whilst he tells her, her life is now forfeit. He then turns to the heroes and says what shall we do with them? He is bemused about Memnnon being a son of Halav, caressing the tiefling’s horns, before turning to Tol. “What shall we do son of mine?”

A lesser member of the wytches will lead them from now on, since the new Seer (Fyodor) is inexperienced, this will keep the balance. The blinding of the Eye of Flame and the Eye of Ice has weakened the land and must not be allowed to happen again. Interestingly this blinding of the eyes appears to be a long term effect, perhaps it has happened before?

Zirchev will scatter the eyes back to where they will do their best. Though we can hope for some reward for finding and bringing together some of them.

As Zirchev tightens the enchanted cage around Esmerelda, he looks us all in the eyes. “Is there anything else you would know before I pass sentence?”

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A rude awakening

I wake to find a demonic presence leering down at me -aaaargh!
However it is only Memnnon shouting at me as he quickly heals me before rushing away. I shake my head and slowly sit up. Peering around I see a large body covered in cuts and worms and gooey liquid dripping from various wounds lying not far from me. OOOHHH Its Lord Oculus – and he appears to be dead. Yaaaay. I turn to see Wolf-Kathra and switch are immobilised, and Fydor is running over to Tol who is lying on the floor, unconscious . Switch appears to be stone.

The Historian is prancing around looking concerned and repeating that the portal is ready and that we all need to go really quite soon. ouch my head hurts.

We quickly search the palace for any other places to explore, before collecting what muddy water we can from the remains of the well. Memnnon and Fydor have patched up the party. We took quite a beating this time and I think we were fortunate – but more by luck than superior tactics possibly. I berate myself for not knowing our enemies better. the knights in particular – it is now obvious that their armour and emblems were in homage and service to Orcus.

We stagger over to the portal and are whisked back to the Isle of Dreams and into the presence of the Historian.

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