30 Sarenith, 4713 – The Plains of Thronehold
Breaking camp the next day, the party soon crosses over into the province of Thronehold. There is no border or distinctive markings so the transition is not clearly defined. However, a few hours into the morning the group comes upon a clearing in a patch of trees which has no snow and is clearly much much warmer. in fact, all the snow in this particular clearing has melted off. Aiwendil, Hunter, The Half-Elves and Vadoma walk in further to investigate while Tacey, Alabaster and Nadya remain with the dog sleds as the sleds can not traverse cleared region, primarily because the melted snow has left the ground too soft to bear the weight of the laden sleds.
As the group ventures further in they discover a small stone with a druidic magical rune cast upon it which seems to be at the center of the clearing. Aiwendil and Hunter speculate that this is the work of the Heralds of Summer’s Return. They spread out hoping to make contact with the person (or persons) responsible, but are unable to finds any more signs or traces of the druid responsible.
They return after a couple of hours and find Alabaster is missing. Tacey and Nadya explain that while the party was gone, they witnessed a snow goblin hunting party track down and kill a large elk. While the party claimed the beast, one of the goblins approached their group with an odd request, Nadya surmised that this was the shamen. He asked that their tribe was facing a possible conflict with two other tribes which were all “Guardians of the Queen” and they needed help in settling the stalemate. Alabaster bravely (or stupidly) volunteered to go. “I did this to keep you lovely ladies from harm’s way.” he would later say (which draws smirks from both Tacey and Nadya, and they begin to tease him by referring to him as “our hero.”) Hunter asks in which direction they went and begins to follow the trail.
As Hunter is making progress he hears and sees Alabaster running frantically toward him. Winded the wizard relates very quickly about the incidents at Pjallerane’s Stone and the attack upon the goblins by the Cold Sister. Both quickly return to where the group and makes immediate preparations to leave. They give the already shrinking clearing a wide birth on the far side away from the Stone and head off closer to Glacier Lake. Alabaster will later mention some form of strange magic radiating from the stone itself, but due to circumstances, he was unable to get close to study it. The rest of the afternoon is uneventful although late in the day, a ominous plume of smoke can be seen rising in the general direction of the Stone.
Late afternoon noon as the party comes upon the ruins of a small village. There are no signs of life as every building appears to have been destroyed and abandoned. The only exception is a walled off chapel near the towns western edge. As they approach, the party sees the building has been damaged like the others, but there appears to be a priest roaming the courtyard grounds. When the party enters, He tells the party to “Hurry along children with the others. You all need to stay together.”
Ingvar and Svala lead the group forward and as they reach the center of the courtyard, a haunt is triggered in which ghostly visions of children scream and cry, pleading to “Save us!” and “Don’t let them take us!” and it appears the chapel is coming under some attack from horrible creatures. With the haunt activated, the priest transforms into its true form of a huecuva and is joined by 2 others which attack the party. Svala and Ingvar are affected by the haunt and initially freeze in their tracks but are able to defend themselves from attack while the rest of the party fights off the and kills the offending undead creatures.
With the immediate threat eliminated, the group explores the remains of the chapel and discover an immaculately stained glass window in front of an overturned alter. Alabaster finds a journal which tells the story of what happened in the village of Ulsgaard. This was a temple to Desna whose priests were charged to protect the town’s children during the Winter War Invasion over 1400 years ago. When the priests tried to barter away the children for their own protection, they were all killed as well as the children. As punishment for their betrayal of faith and vows, Desna cursed the priests by turning them into the undead huecuva and the unbroken window of her holy symbol is a constant reminder of their failings and of the life they rejected.
High Summer, 4713 – The Village of Ulsgaard
The party spends the night and in the course of evening sleep, Vadoma receives a dream vision of butterfly which tells her to cleanse the yard. The next morning she informs the group and they determine that they are being summoned to cleanse the yard of the evil betrayal and doing so will allow the restless spirits of the betrayed children to find peace and rest. Aiwendil communes with his Earth spirits and based on the timing of High Summer, he is granted the spells needed to clear a small spot of ground and plant a new tree in the courtyard. Although it is not a perfect solution, the entire party receives a calm blessing as if the goddess accepts the gesture and the spirits are allowed to calmly pass into the afterlife. The rest of the day is spent very carefully and meticulously dismantling the elaborate stained glass window to deliver this treasure to a proper temple where it can once more serve the Church of Desna as originally intended. The group spends one more night in the village, a very quiet and peaceful night.
1 Erastus, 4713 – The Village of Ulsgaard
The PCs break camp and continue their trek toward Whitethrone. The day is uneventful until they come to the outskirts of another small town called Ellsprin where her cousin lives.
On the extreme outskirts, they come upon a house where there appears to be a dead body laying in the snow of the courtyard. Investigating, they are attacked by a group of winter fey quicklings and a twigjack. The PCs defeat the wicked fey and find out that they were tormenting the a family. The woman of the house gave birth to a faun child after being seduced by a satyr years ago and the fey had used this story as the premise to attack the family and killed the stepfather in their assault and would have done the same to the mother and siblings if not for the timely arrival of the party. Through their efforts, the family is reunited and is able to make peace over what occurred years ago. The faun son decides to stay and protect the family and learn to cope with the “rumors of the village”.
The woman of the house makes friends with Nadya and is able to convince her to leave the boys with her, that way if the White Witch decides to take action against Nadya for the destruction of the Pale Tower, then her cousin’s family can not be used to track down the whereabouts of the children. Although this is not what Nadya originally wanted, the PCs are able to convince her that it is safer for her children and thus the family at large. She agrees to leave the boys with Marget and her family and has a talk with her boys and explains this will be their home for the next few days. Nadya does tell Marget of the names of her cousins which live in town and in case she does not return, then to let them know of what has occurred.