13 Erastus, 4713 – Whitethrone
After a brief discussion, the group decides to get off the main path to hopefully find a quiet, isolated place to properly rest and eat. What they find is dilapidated store front with a Winter Guard barricaded inside. She claims the perytons decimated her patrol and she is seeking protection from all threats in the area. After several minutes of persuading, Ingvar, Vadoma, Svala and Tacey are let in and they discover this is the Winter Wolf Greta, the same guard which on post at the gate when the party snuck into town.
At first she attempts to “put the party under arrest” for violation of the orders to remain out of the market, but sensing hat this may be her only real chance to escape, she eventually asks the party to escort her to safety. While the other three discuss this request, she pulls Ingvar aside for a private conversation. Still thinking that he is a Winter Wolf, she privately asks Ingvar why he was unable to keep their date tells being the cause for the confusion. After some small talk that he is not a wolf but is instead a human, his special cape the other night. He apologizes for any confusion he may have caused and agrees to escort her back to the main gate to the Market Square. Ingvar and Svala split off from the main group to lead Greta back while the remainder of the group presses on to search for the final elemental font.
As Ingavr and Svala are gone, the rest of the party heads to the fire light they saw up ahead back on the main path and do come across and large gathering of drunk merchants sitting around a camp fire attempting to seduce three lovely maidens. Sensing something is not quite right, Aiwnedil begins to question the maidens. Nothing seems out of the ordinary with their responses at first, but he then says something insulting in Sylvan and one of the maidens drops the charade and transforms into a hideous creature; they are in fact baccae.
Almost by shear accident, or is it luck, Alabaster successfully puts the merchants to sleep, denying the baccae then chance to turn them against the party and almost certainly causing innocent deaths. The group struggles with the fight as their primary muscle characters are gone. Tacey takes a pretty severe beating and Aiwendil throws himself into the middle of the conflict as best he can as these creatures’ anti-magic abilities means they almost certainly have to be beaten physically. Hunter tries to stay on the fringes as a bow-type fighter, but eventually is drug into close quarters hand-to-hand fighting as well. This is by far one of the hardest fights the group has had so far, but in time, they do succeed in killing these foul creatures and decide to wait here to rest. recuperate and wait for Svala and Ingvar to return.
Once the married couple returns, the party presses on in search of the final font. Shortly after leaving the abandoned store front, the group stumbles upon a dawn piper sitting up in a tree playing a flute. Before anything happens, Hunter fires off a series of arrows and critically wounds the piper, This fight turns out to be rather uneventful as Hunter’s sneak attack pretty much ends it. With the death of the piper this final font is destroyed and Alabaster tells the group that he can sense that the portal blocking access to the Hut is now down.
The group rushes back to the center of the Square where they originally encountered the portal and find that it is indeed deactivated. They can also see a very irate Nazhena waiting for them. As the party enters the main square, they can see that the the hut is shackled to the ground and surrounded by a host of guards both human and monstrous. Nazhena launches into a ranting monologue about how she will get her revenge on the PCs for all they have done to upset her plans and those of her mother and launches a sleet storm and tries to fly up to get above the coming fray. However Aiwendil brings her down with a stone call spell of his own.
The battle launches into a complete frenzy as winter trolls, guards and Ice golems all attack the party in an effort to keep them away from the Hut. During the fighting the Hut itself actually crushes a couple of defenders as they get too close to its confinement pen. The battle is quite intense but is ultimately brought to a shattering conclusion when Nadya, who has been shadowing the party without their knowledge bursts into the midst of the conflict and personally kills Nazhena for the death of her daughter. With their leader dead, the rest of the defenders in the square are soon dispatched, leaving the PCs in control of Baba Yaga’s Dancing Hut
Mystically, the hut recognizes the aura of the Black Rider’s mantle on the party and allows them to approach and they destroy the shackle holding it in place. The PCs ascend the steps and enter the Hut, however, Nadya is denied entrance as she does not carry the mantle. As she hears the approach of more guards, she slips back into the shadows and seeks to escape back to her uncle’s home.
Once inside the Hut, the party is confronted by Zorka. This strange creature initially hides from party, but eventually recognizes the aura of the Black Rider’s mantle and approaches them cautiously. As a test she tricks them into going into the map room where they are attacked by a huge bone golem. The fight is intense but brief as Svala and Ingvar are able to score key critical hits.
Exploring the Hut, the group quickly realizes that the Hut is much larger inside than outside. Eventually, the group finds the cauldron room and is able to place the two keys they were given into the cauldron which activates the Huts teleportation ability. There is a bright flash and a sense of disorientation and the PCs are no longer in Irrisen.