Reign of Winter

This Little Piggy Went to Market
Whitethrone - Day 27
13 Erastus, 4713 – Whitethrone

The party spends the night recuperating from the assault on the clock tower and early the next morning they set out for Market Square. Even though they did a little reconnaissance during the week prepping for Logrivich, they still were not quite sure what to expect beyond the entrance as a thick heavy underbrush had grown up around the entire area. Even though the Winter Guard continually tried to cut it down, the magical nature of the forest enabled it to self heal, growing back almost instantly.

The PCs discover a set of ice trolls guarding the entrance which are easily dispatched. However, they immediately realize that although the Hut is at the center of the Square, it is not without its own defenses, beyond what Queen Elvanna and her proteges have put in place, the group finds a magical energy portal blocking their path to the Hut (it even prevents Aiwendil from flying up and over the trees to get to the Hut). Alabaster realizes that the PCs have discovered a reality siphon and that the entire area is potentially in danger. He knows that there are at least three elemental fonts serving as anchors which need to be destroyed before they will gain access to the Hut. Hunter is able to discern that Lady Nazhena Vasilliovna is trapped beyond the siphon, waiting for the arrival of those who desecrated her home.

Searching the entrance area, Hunter discovers some strange tracks which leads down a partially hidden path. Following the tracks, the PCs discover the first font which takes the form of a unique fountain where water flows up defying gravity even as the snow falls from the sky. The PCs engage in a small conversation with a creature known as a dawn piper who is guardian of the font. He insists that he is here to claim the Dancing Hut as his property. After the discussion breaks down, the piper calls out to a hidden twigjack ally to attack. The combat is quick and vicious with the piper killed and the ally fleeing. With the piper’s defeat the font is destroyed when it implodes.

Although a path leads out of the clearing, Aiwendil flew ahead to investigate and returns with a simple silver necklace. Misunderstanding the meaning, the group back tracks and follows the path in the opposite direction. Following the path leads to a house which is teetering precariously in the branches of a tree within the forest maze. Coordinated efforts between Aiwendil, Ingvar and Hunter leads to the safe rescue of two small children and their injured father before the house collapses.

The group continues to follow the path around the collapsed house and eventually come to another open area. This time the font takes the form of a large floating rock platform which is surrounded by rotating boulders. At the center stands the form of another dawn piper who introduces himself as Ravathiel. Much like the earlier piper, he states his intention to resist the party as he claims the Hut as his own. This time the combat is a but more intense and several of the party members are knocked off the boulders attempting to climb up to piper. He is able to launch a stone call and fireball attacks which inflict some significant damage to the party, but ultimately, they are able to survive the attacks and in time Svala and Ingvar get close enough to gang up against the piper while Hunter hits him with a critical bow shot.

After a very well-timed channels by Vadoma, the group presses on deeper into the maze. Coming around a bend they see what appears to be a campfire up ahead through the falling snow. As they approach, they are set upon by a mated pair of perytons. The attack is vicious and Ingvar takes a solid hit, but manages to withstand the terrible mauling as the party sets upon the creatures. After much blood is shed on both sides, the two beasts are dispatched and Vadoma heals Ingvar. After the brutal struggle the group decides they need to rest and look for a safe place to shelter for a spell. They discover a small narrow path leading deeper into the maze and are faced with a choice, follow the path or head to the fire ahead.

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Hickory Dickory Dock
Whitethrone - Day 26
12 Erastus, 4713 – Whitethrone

After a week of preparations, the PCs decide the best time to attack is shortly after lunch when the guards will be somewhat prone to lethargy from being fed and from boredom of just sitting around the tower. Right before the party leaves, Solvieg asks them for a personal favor; to rescue her former lover who is being held prisoner in the tower by the dragon. Setting out shortly before lunch through town toward the Iron District where the clock tower is located, they arrive in the early afternoon.

As they approach the main ground entrance to the tower, they activate two carytid column guardians. A swift battle ensues, but is quickly dispatched without drawing any attention to the group as entrance is on the back side of the building away from most pedestrian traffic. Once inside the group encounters a couple groups of ice troll guards, one of which is still in the process of eating lunch. Although troublesome, these guards do not prove too difficult and are easily put down. A quick examination of the meal enables the Vadoma and others to determine that the trolls are eating the remains of small humans or children.

The PCs next encounter what appears to be a jail cell where they fight off a wiikiwak and a larger female ice troll who is captain of the guard. Again the fight is intense, but the PCs well coordinated attacks makes short work of the tower’s defenders. The rescue a small group of children being held in the cells who provide information on the occupants of the tower’s upper floors, to include one of their friends who was taken upstairs “by Granny Nan just this morning.” The kids also give incomplete information on “the two dragons”, “the weeping lady who sings”, and “Granny’s ghost”.

The PCs decide that they will send Ten-Penny will escort the kids back to the Shrine as she has the best chance of blending in with the crowd and can keep a low profile while keeping the kids safe. Once that is decided, the PCs proceed up into the top floors of the tower.

On the next floor, the group finds a small room where a child is being held in isolation. Although unharmed, the group is well aware of the child’s fate if they do not act quickly. They discover Granny Nan, a Jadwiga crone witch who immediately attacks to preserve the sanctum of the tower. In a calamity of errors, Aiwendil is hit by a curse by the witch which cause him to fumble his attack and effectively blocks the entrance while stumbling around to retrieve the spears he dropped. This temporarily isolates Svala with Granny Nan and her “ghost”, an attic whisperer. However, she is able to hold off their spells and attacks long enough to attack back and for the others to come to her assistance to finish off the crone.

In the next room over, the PCs are attacks by the tower’s second “dragon”, a large animated iron stove which rumbles and bellows as it attacks Svala, Acting quickly she grabs its two front legs and flips it backwards rendering it more vulnerable to the group’s total attacks and thus are able to beat off this menace as well.

On the next floor up, the party discovers the prisoner; a Chelish opera singer by the name of Bella Belvorica. she explains her blight and thanks the party profusely for her rescue. She indicates the dragon Logrivich is upstairs in the upper clockworks. The party sends her down stairs to protect the child on the floor below and wait for their return.

The final assault is a perfectly timed accident which plays to the party’s benefit. Aiwendil and Hunter approach flying from the outside, invisible. The rest of the party sneak up to a trapdoor entrance from the main clockworks. The dragon had set up a small bag of loose coins on top of the trapdoor as a signal for any intruders to her level. When Svala and the others open the door, the coins jingle which causes the dragon to turn to see who approaches, with plans to use her breath weapon and freeze them.

However, as the dragon turns, Aiwendil unleashes his stone call spell while Hunter lets loose with a burst of arrows, one of which is a massively critical hit (pretty much maxxed out every roll). Enraged, the arrogant dragon turns back and takes flight to see who dares to assault it, allowing the rest of the party to come up the ladder unimpeded. Logrivich let’s loose with its breath weapon wildly in hopes of catching any nearby attackers, but Aiwendil and Hunter are out of range. Even though in flight, the dragon is caught between all attackers and is dispatched quickly, sending its dead body plummeting to the ground.

With the Iron Guard from the tower defeated, the party activates one of the signal falres given to them by the Solveig, and very slowly, they can hear the sounds of local skermishes rising over the sounds of the city; the former Winter Guard is attacking the Queen’s Iron Guard. The party makes haste in collecting any spoils they can gather and then vacating the tower to head back to the Shrine of the Everbloom to make their final push toward Market Square and the Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga.

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Help Me to Help You
Whitethrone - Days 19-25
5-11 Erastus, 4713 – Whitethrone

The PCs set out early in the morning to head into Whitethrone in order to meet up with Ringeir’s resistance contacts and to exchange gear and replenish their supplies. With their newly forged papers, the PCs have little problems getting through the gates and into town. Even though society as a whole is repressed, the city itself is beautiful, if not a bit creepy at times, as compared to other cities in the realms. Ringierr leads the group to The Floes district to a small bathhouse across the street from the Water Palace, a greenhouse and spa for the city’s ruling elite. In the basement he guides them through a concealed door into the sewers and ultimately into a secret church to the goddess Milani, The Shrine of the Everbloom. At the shrine they are introduced to Solveig Ayrdahl, the head cleric of the church and leader of the Winterthrone contingent of the Heralds of Summer’s Return.

She explains the current situation in town with the overthrow of the Iron Guard and being replaced by Elvanna’s Winter Guard. She explains the situation with the Dancing Hut being shackled in the Merchant’s Square and the sudden appearance of a mysterious brambles and thickets which have grown up in town around the hut. She says that currently the Winter Guard are under the direction of Nazhena Vasilliovna and are desperately dealing with the situation with the square with little effect as any brambles cut down during the day are replaced overnight as it seems to be constantly growing. She does however offer a plan to the group which could allow them to gain access to the Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga with little interference from the authorities.

She offers that the Winter Guard commander known as Logrivich is stationed out of a clock tower near the Bone Gate. If the PCs were to kill him or otherwise decommision him, then she could get the former Iron Guard to revolt and provide the PCs with a distraction long enough to get to the Market Square and get to the Hut. The PCs agree with the overall plan but insist on some time to make preparations and trade in some gear and accumulated treasures to lessen the load they are carrying.

All in all, the group scouts out the town for about a week.

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Your Papers Please
Whitethrone - Day 18
4 Erastus, 4713 – Whitethrone – The Howlings

Ringeirr tells the party he will help them acquire papers to explain their presence in Whitethrone, but they will have to help him deliver some food supplies to some one of the resistance houses in town. With not many options, they agree. Ringeiir has the party members disguise themselves as some of his workers as they are delivering three carts of fish to the city. Nadya and Ten-Penny are elected to stay behind in case something goes wrong in order to mount a rescue, if needed. The party agrees to get them a set of papers for them even though they are not entering the city and they set out.

Skirting around the outside of the city walls, they eventually approach the gate to the Howlings district which is little more than a hole in the wall which the White Wolves have opened to come and go as they please. There is a female guard on duty and after a brief exchange and examination of the carts, she allows them to enter without much fanfare. However, before they clear the gate, she guard mistakes Aiwendil for a White Wolf in human form and invites him out for drinks later. Although courteous, he decides to ignore the invite.

Getting through the gate, the party makes their way to a secret safe house where Ringeirr is delivering the fish. At one point the party is challenged by a group of snow goblins out to extort some money from travellers, but Ingvar is able to Intimidate the goblins in leaving as his rimepelt makes the goblins believe that he is a Winter Wolf. Afterwards the group hides among some alleys to avoid the attentions of some mirror men, but ultimately they make it to the house relatively unobserved and make the delivery.

After delivering the fish to the safe house, the PCs begin to make their way back through The Howlings to meet up with Ringeirr’s contact for getting their papers. On the way Ingvar is accosted by two inebriated Winter Wolves who mistake him for one of their companions. Ingvar is able to Bluff his way past them and send them on a wild goose chase.

Afterwards the PCs encounter a man as he is obviously fleeing from someone. The someone turns out to be Winter Wolf in human form who states the man is an escaped slave and should be returned immediately. The PCs recognize that returning the man will result in his death or significant torture so rather bargain for his release. Believing that Ingvar and Aiwendil are both Winter Wolves (due to their rimepelts) the man agrees and leaves the group alone.

Even though the encounter is rather peaceful, it has drawn the attention of two large ice troll guards who begin to move down the street to investigate the commotion. The PCs are able to escape into the cul de sac where their contact is located and get inside before the guards can find and identify them. Once inside they are introduced to Mortiin, scribe and bookkeeper by day, resistance forger by night. After a brief discussion, the group all agrees that the best course is for the papers to pass off the PCs as Jadwiga Tashanna. He also gives them papers for authorization for conducting a gang and gang activities, specifically a stilyagi social gang known as the Winterblight of Taldor. In the case of Tacey, she is identified as the half-orc bodyguard/servant of Nadya (since neither one is present at the time).

With papers in hand, the group departs Mortiin’s home and returns to the relative safety of Ringeirr’s home in The Fishcamps. He tells the PCs that he will bring them to the Hideout of the local resistance leaders who can hopefully given them any further assistance they need and provide them with information regarding the Dancing Hut and the situation in Whitethrone.

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Rescuing Ringeirr
Thronehold - Day 17
3 Erastus, 4713 – The Fishcamps

With the immediate danger to Tacey eliminated, the party gets about to infiltrating the warehouse and dealing with the antagonists in town. The doors to the warehouse are unlocked and easily ripped open by Ingvar. The group proceeds to pick their way though a maze of aisles formed by stack of crates and boxes, coming under near constant attack from bandits, while a single bowman on a balcony peppers them with arrows.

Slowly the party makes their way through the horde of ruffians and thugs and kills the major muscle for the bandit lord, a pair of ogres who answer to the leader of the bandits, Marcian Enixion. Whether he over estimated the ability of his thug band or underestimating the PCs, the leader is cornered and killed in a last ditch effort to escape from the PCs.

A thorough search of the warehouse finds Nadya’s uncle being held in an upstairs office. Just as two guards are about to kill him the PCs burst in and save him before they are able to carry out their plan. With the local thugs defeated, Ringeirr offers the party sanctuary in his home while in the Fishcamps, which they gladly accept.

The rest of the day and night is filled with everyone getting to know the local area as Ringeirr brings them up to speed on events in Whitethrone and the party shares there stories with him. Ringeirr says the first thing the party needs before taking any actions in Whitethrone are papers and he has a contact in The Howlings District which can provide them. He agrees to take you to him tomorrow.

During the course of the evening, Nadya informs her uncle on what all has transpired in Waldsby and the death of her daughter at the hands of the White Witch Nazhena Vasilliovna.
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There's Something Fishy in The Fishcamps
Thronehold - Days 16-17
2 Erastus, 4713 – The Village of Ellsprin

The PCs pack up their sleds and depart Ellsprin and begin their path along the north shore of Glacier Lake toward Whitethrone. The day is largely uneventful but their are a few sightings of fishermen out on the lake in the distance. As the group progresses west they snowfall becomes more constant and the party eventually makes camp to weather the storm overnight.

3 Erastus, 4713 – The Plains to Thronehold

The snows from the nigh before have declined to a light but constant flurries. Shortly after lunch, the group comes upon a double bridge which crosses a double stream. The bridge is being “guarded” by some freshwater merrows who demand a “toll to cross.” Have the group is able to intimidate their way past the creatures but Aiwendil and Tacey are trapped on the near side away from the rest of the group. As Hunter crosses, he notices a dead body under the bridge and demands to have a look at it. The creatures refuse and a fight breaks out. After an intense but brief struggle, the party defeats the foul water-based fiends and discover the corpse of the traveling merchant. They collect his remains and give him a proper burial and then continue on their journey.

By early evening the group reaches the small collection of shacks and make-shift shelters which form The Fishcamps. As they explore the village they get a sense that things are very tense. In fact, the person they are wanting to meet, Nadya’s cousin Ringeirr Malenkov has been arrested for disturbing the peace. Thorugh some diplomatic negotiations and careful searching, the party finds out that he is being held captive in a warehouse down near the docks. by a local group of thugs known simply as the Fishcamps Guards.

When the PCs arrive at the warehouse, they find a small group of these toughs beating a defenseless man outside the warehouse. When the PCs try to intervene to rescue the mugging victim, the thugs try to take out their frustrations on the party and attack in a crowded alleyway. During the course of the attack Tacey tries to come around the bandits backside and come up behind them, but she instead runs headlong into a guard who in turn grapples her and the pair wind up rolling into the lake and fall through the ice. As the struggle on land comes to an end as two “guards” escape into the warehouse, Aiwendil transforms into an octopus and jumps into the water to save Tacey from drowning beneath the frozen surface. Eventually, the group is able to defeat all the ruffians in the alleyway and retrieve Tacey from the waters and get her some warm clothing before she begins to suffer from hyperthrmia.

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No Moss Grows on Pjallerane's Stone
Thronehold - Days 13-15
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.

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We're on the Road to Whitethrone
Hoarwood - Days 9-12
26 Sarenith, 4713 – The Pale Tower

The party rests up overnight and early the next morning decide to leave for Whitethrone rather than rest further and use the Tower as a base of operations. Nadya states she will escort the party to Whitethrone, but she must return to Waldsby to gather her two sons. She knows that if they remain in Waldsby, they will be targeted by the forces of the White Witches and it is best to relocate them. Nadya proclaims, “I will not lose another child to one of those White bitches.” She knows a family cousin in a small village of Ellsprin, in the region of Thronehold who will help with the children and it is one the path to Whitethrone. The party agrees to escort Nadya back to town to secure her family and to make final preparations for a long cross country journey.

Many in Waldsby silently celebrate the parties efforts once they realize the Pale Tower has been defeated. The group is given much assistance by the Blacksmith, Priest and Merchant in making their preparations for the journey and helping to cover their tracks. Shortly after lunch, the party departs from Waldsby, initially heading south, but eventually turning back west once away from town so that any guards trying to track them down will be misled and search in the wrong area. Nadya also leaves notes that the group is headed for the border near Nadzieja Lato when in fact they are going toward Ludovny before they cut north to go around the eastern end of Glacier Lake.

Once again, the party encounters a large raven swarm but are able to defeat the efforts of these creatures and destroys and scatters much of the tiny spies for the witches. As the party approaches the area near the Pale Tower, they can determine that some group, assumed to be guards or trolls, has returned and reclaimed it so they give it a wide berth.

27 Sarenith, 4713 – Hoarwood Forest

During the second day of the journey the group is encounters and are attacked by a pair of giants known as veds. These creatures form a small hunting party but the group is able to defeat them without too much effort and claim the treasure in their trophy sack. After claiming what little treasure the veds carried, the group presses on uneventfully the rest of the day.

Toward the late afternoon the party spots the town of Luvodny in the distance and Nadya directs them to break from the path and head north across the frozen plains. This starts the group heading north and directly for the shores of Glacier Lake and the province of Thronehold.

28 Sarenith, 4713 – Plains of Hoarwood
Early on the third day they come across a cabin along the edge of the woods and are met by a beautiful red-haired woman who introduces herself as Sylja. She enlists the party’s aid in defeated a moss troll who is terrorizing the nearby area. She suspects the creature has killed her husband as he has not been home in several days which is not like him. She offers a great treasure and the use of her cabin as a overnight shelter in return for their assistance. The party agrees and after a quick bite to eat go in search of the troll.

Hunter soon finds tracks that look human in the area where they are directed to look and thinking it might be the woman’s husband, they follow them to a cave. Inside they encounter a large man covered from head to toe by a green mossy growth and realize that the troll is not a troll, but in fact this man. As they approach he attacks just as Aiwendil is mentally assaulted by some unseen entity. Vadoma determines there is an extra lifeform in the area while the rest of the party defends themselves from the green warrior and they soon realize it is Sylja’s husband Finngarth who has been taken over by a mindslaver mold.

This is a desperate struggle as the half-elves and the rest of the realize that any attack they try and deliver to the mold causes the creature to retract only for Finngarth to suffer the damage. After a while the group is able to subdue Finngarth (without killing him — although he does lose a finger) which forces the mold to abandon the body and seek a new host. Even though the fight is long and tedious, the party is finally able to destroy the mold and sets it remains on fire to insure there is no regrowth.

With Finngarth restored to normal the group escorts him home where he is happily reunited with his wife, which the party now discovers is a huldra. She thanks the party and upholds her agreement allowing the party to rest in the warmth of their home overnight. As an additional reward she gives the party a magical bear trap which provides some special magical detections and protections to its owner as a defensive item.

29 Sarenith, 4713 – Plains of Hoarwood

The next morning the group says their goodbyes and departs, but before they depart, Sylja bequeaths a special “gift” to Aiwendil which blesses him with good luck for the next day. The day itself is relatively uneventful (as a result of the blessing?) and the party makes good time. As the party prepares camp at the end of the day, Nadya sends her sons out to collect fire wood. After 30 minutes, Mjoli returns but Orm is missing and the group stops to investigate the disappearance. Aiwendil assumes the form of a falcon and flies off to search for the boy as the party splits into small groups fanning out in the area he was sent to collect wood.

Aiwendil quickly finds the boy with what appears to be a twisted ankle surrounded by a pack of wolves which seem to be stalking him as prey. (Was it skill or a lucky coincidence that he was found so easily?) Aiwendil calls out so that the other party members can find them and moves down to protect the child as the wolves move in for the kill. Rushing to where they are called, the party is able to very quickly defeat what turns out to be boreal wolvfes and rescue Orm. Then party returns to camp with the boy and wood and settle down to rest for the night. As precautions, Hunter places his newly acquired magical bear trap and Aiwendil prepares a special precautionary spell on his pouch which is carrying the key components for the Dancing Hut.

Shortly after midnight, a minor “explosive” poof wakes the group soon followed by the cries and shrieks of surprised Jinkins who who attempting to pilfer Aiwendil’s pouch. As the small creatures flee the camp, a couple of them wander into the bear trap and activate it killing them. With the immediate threat scattered and gone, the party settles back down for the rest of the night to weather the snow fall and cold.

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Shutting Down the Portal
The Pale Tower - Day 8
25 Sarenith, 4713 – The Pale Tower

After the battle in the aerie, the party realizes that they still have yet to encounter any witch or a portal so they take the teleport back to the previous level. They determine that the other teleporter must go to some level they have yet to discover and make plans to take it. However, they only have a single teleport key and so they devise a manner in which they can all be in contact with the key when it is activated. Using this group method, the entire party is able to teleport to the top level of the Pale Tower.

As the group thaws out from the teleport, they find themselves in a large chamber with a massive energy sphere. The group can see that it is a representation of Golarion and there are strange energy lines which radiate from bright dots. They figure out that these are locations with other winter portals and they are all feeding into a strange web-like pattern across the globe. An attentive Alabaster literally is able to connect the dots and figures out that there is a ley line of magical energy which connects the dot which represents their location in Irrisen with a site in Taldor, assumed to be the portal in the woods that they used to arrive in Irrisen. However, the parties discovery and study is short-lived as they are attacked by Radosek Pavril.

He attacks with his spells and summoned elementals but the party is able to fend off the brunt of the attack. He attempts to flee to the courtyard and animate the large ice dragon statue, but before he is able to succeed with his plan, Vadoma and Aiwendil fly down from the top and interrupt his plans. They are joined by Nadya who has managed to gain entrance to the Tower while the party was exploring the lower levels. Seeing the witch and knowing his ties to the tower, she runs over and kills the Witch in revenge for the death of her child, Thora. With the threat of the witches and guards over for the moment, the group is able to focus on shutting down the Winter Portal.

An investigation of the Lab areas of the tower’s crown level, Alabaster finds some journals left behind by the White Witch Nazhena Vasilliovna which describes the rituals and spells used to activate the Winter Portal. After studying these journals, Alabaster is able to reverse the magics and the Winter Portal is deactivated … trapping the party in Irrisen.

With the threat to Heldren and Taldor eliminated the party is finally able to catch their breath and do a thorough search of the Tower. They also have time to contemplate the next steps before them as they begin to realize that they must carry on with their promise to the Black Rider and reach the Capital of Whitethrone to secure the Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga.

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How do you climb an Icicle?
The Pale Tower - Day 8
25 Sarenith, 4713 – The Pale Tower

After some deliberation and a minor rest, the party decides to begin the long assault up the tower. Remembering the passwords which Hatch had provided, the party goes up one at a time in the following order: Aiwendil, Hunter, Ingvar, Svala, Tacey, Vadoma and Alabaster.

Arriving on the second floor, Aiwendil finds himself faced with the forlarren bard the party previously met on their first night in Irrisen, As he arrives, she is entertaining several winter-touched atomie. As they realize that the person arriving is not a guard, they attack Aiwendil attacks and calls forth a flaming sphere to attack the fey creatures. He focuses the sphere on the bard but she is more resilient than anticipated. Hunter arrives and two atomies are killed, but the third uses its invisibility ability and tries to flee. One by one, the PCs materialize and join the fray while Aiwendil transforms into an eagle to try and go after the fleeing fey. Hunter pumps an arrow into the bard and she too turns to flees. As he moves to after her, an angry spriggan from the kitchen blocks his path and the bard flees into a side room.

As Hunter deals with the spriggan, Ingvar goes after the bard and is followed by Svala and they discover the side room is a library. They discover a healed bard and a large Ulfen woman in guard’s attire. Before the sphere dissipates, the Aiwendil causes it to set the book cases on fire and then goes after the last atomie. As he follows the path of the creature, he enters (flies) into a room where he discovers Lady Argentea from Heldren. He stays here and watches over her to make sure she is not injured in the attacks by the fey.

Hunter finally deals with the spriggan and turns in time to see Ten-Penny caught by a reduce person spell by the last atomie which has rematerialized near the second teleporter. He and Ten-Penny kill off the last creature as Ingvar and Svala deal with the other attackers in the library, but not before the Captain is able to drink a potion and unleash a blast of fire breath at Ingvar.

With the attackers dealt with, Aiwendil, Hunter and Svala question Lady Argentea about her presence. Confusion soon gives way to suspicion and the party is able to reveal that it is not the noble lady but is rather a doppleganger which they easily dispatch while Alabaster puts out the fire in the library and discovers three valuable books. The party conducts a thorough search of this level and finds a conservatory across from the library, As they move through the room, a loud shriek goes up and they are attacked by a hungry plant-creature known as a mandragora. Even though the shriek has an initial effect on a few party members, it is not enough to defeat the group and it does not last long against the total might of the party.

The party finds another teleporter in the hall outside the conservatory but they are tired and depleted for spells so they set up a guard and rest for 8 hours to allow their spellcasters to recharge their spells. Once fully healed and rested, they take the teleporter up to the next level which turns out the be an aerie, There are two large swarms of ravens and a humanoid creature on this level which attack as Aiwendil materializes. He counters with a __gust of wind_ which basically eliminates the two swarms as the birds are blown away. With only the controller left, the party slowly arrives and overpowers her and kills her. As it turns out, this creature is a sylph who is a cleric of Gozreh.

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