The Weregild

Vas Nabokov - THAT'S IT, EVERYONE DIES!

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Out of a shit heap and into a stinking morass. It was typical. Vas had only been in this rotten country for less than a day and already he’d made more enemies. Damnedest thing was, this time he wasn’t even trying.

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He’d taken their coin, it’s true. He’d have to make good on that promise sooner or later, though after this betrayal he’d rather not. Though they may profess indifference, this country’s nobility were still complicit in the actions of their ecclesiastic fellows. As always, it was their choice to serve. Kneeling down and petitioning an empty sky was always a choice. The foolish demon didn’t understand this, either, and now it was dead. Even if it meant breaking his word, Vas would have no more of these fools.

“If that’s how they’re playing this we should leave” he snorted, “Burn their bodies and head north”

“But we can’t leave now”. It was Tom. “You’ve already taken their money, and we still don’t have what we seek here”.

Vas spit. “To hell with that. I’m leaving. Bugger this place with a broken spear”.

Tom put out a hand to stop him. “You can be that way if you must, Vas, but know we won’t come with you. If you wish to leave then this is where we part ways”.

Vas mulled it over. Abandoning this wretched country would mean not just breaking his word here, but also the deal he’d agreed to with the Ulfen. That was something he wouldn’t do. The Ulfen, at least, were always good for the gold they promised.

Also, as loathe as he was to admit it, he’d grown accustomed to the having the company of the others. He was wary of the new arrival, and he had absolutely no respect for anyone who would willfully suborn themselves to a fiend, but he’d proven useful in the fight, at least. Perhaps he would win Vas over as the others had. If not, there were plenty of ravines to drown him in.

Besides, if he was staying in this country he might as well enjoy himself. He’d kill every last fool these priests sent after him and show their god exactly what he thought of him.

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Zhexian Li - Bloom in the Gloom

Li’s Journal

Nergui,
You wouldn’t believe the crazy bullshit going on in my life right now! We’ve reached some sort of shadowy realm filled with mushrooms and gloom, and probably jerks. Jerks are everywhere though, we know that. Very hospitable, good-mannered folk for the most part around here, jerks aside. Nobody seems to be outwardly hostile towards us in town, so we can’t look too bad.

Met a man named Leo, says his soul belongs to the devil. Probably a hell of a fiddle player, too. Leo gave us some good ideas for places to start asking questions, but I didn’t write ‘em down so they’re gone now. You know, my memory isn’t what it used to be Nergui, I’m starting to get a little old. I’ll have to ask him again later, and then again a couple more times.

The Gubernator of Nisroch (oh yes! We’re in Nisroch, Nidal by the way) has requested that we go sleep with his daughter or something. I’m too old for that, but I can share a cup of tea with her if she’s willing.

These shadow cleric folk are an interesting bunch. I should very much like to steal their garments and infiltrate them. I could probably do it, despite my age. Might get more answers from the church if we had their full co-operation, but that’s often hard to get without trickery of some sort. Plus, trickery is just more fun.

Anyway, we were heading to go sleep with that girl and we got ambushed by a bunch of gigantic moths. My trusty steed Gorbachov obliterated all of them in a few moments. All 370 of them. With his mind.

Then I went to sleep. You know me, I’m not getting any younger and I need my beauty sleep!

I’ll write to you again soon. Feel free to write me back sometime, if you’re alive and are reading my private journal for some reason.

-Zhixian

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Garros Garamonde - Vengeance. Honour. Absolution.
Searching Beyond to Find What's Within

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The Blackraven Hall was indeed quite a busy place of late as Freyr Darkwine had decreed that an attack would be launched on Three-Troll. The first large scale assault against the Irrisen forces of its kind in recent memory and with that the Raven’s were eager to engage in battle. The training hall saw Ravens sparring ferociously, keeping their skills and wits as sharp as their blades but it was not only the Ravens preparing but the ‘Wyrds’ were ensuring their readiness through study and perfecting their incantations of their potent fire magics.

Word throughout the hall was that the attack and march for Three-Troll would commence in a weeks time. Garros knew this was a critical moment, he knew that they had been making waves in Irrisen and the time for subterfuge would now be dispensed with. Tom was right; the initiative was theirs and it was time to strike at the heart of the Verge Redtooth. Duke Arvanoff, the Son of Elvanna would be next.

The retainer had been resourceful throughout their attacks in Irrisen and this time was no different. He knew he could rely on Rakim and the Warrant of Trade he now possessed – this would grant them passage into the inner city of Redtooth unmolested. But, it was Vassily who was the most important chip to be played. Garros knew that they were walking into a pack of wolves and that would prove dangerous if not deadly. Surely then, why not walk straight into the den and dispatch the alpha of the pack? It would be suicide walking through the city prying for information and attempting to find ways into the Keep of the Hound. Vassily had been hired by Yuri and the retainer would use that connection as the stepping stone to the Duke.

As the fated hour approached, it did not take cajoling on Garros’ part as everyone had their reason to join this cause, though it was Li’s that made the swordsman ponder the most. Garros had ultimately concluded that he was simply content traveling with the group wherever that road would take them. This was more than enough to give cause for being allies but deeper than that – friendship.

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The marching leaving the Blackraven Hall was truly a sight to behold and any Ulfen would have swelled with pride had they witnessed such a moment. This was no different for the Ravens and the Wyrd’s – Freyr at the head of the forces and with Witch hunting hero’s among their ranks, it was almost ceremonious for the troops. Garros was clasping wrists with many of the Ravens, encouraging them to fight harder and stronger and as the swordsman looked into each of their eyes he could see they felt invincible next to the hero’s of Kalsgard.

It never had crossed Garros’ mind – a hero? No, this was not for glory or for fame. Redtooth would be the staging point for every injustice, every life taken – the loss of Aelion and Owain. Though the retainer could not deny that he was not the only one to have been made to suffer at the hands of the Jadwiga and felt a uniting sense of purpose with the Ravens as they marched onwards. The White Witch’s of Irrisen would be stopped.

The march came to a stop as eventually it would have to – the hero’s of Kalsgard would make their way east as the Raven’s headed further south. Garros approached Freyr and keenly observed him, then left out a chuckle, “Many of the Raven’s claim to be the next hero’s to be sung about in the Blackraven Hall! You can’t die yet Freyr, for I want to hear what the skalds will sing of you when we return!” as he clasped his forearm. Freyr beings to speak, “Someone has to show these men how it’s done Garros! I don’t know what you have planned for Redtooh but I don’t think I need Wyrdmake to divine that answer – strike true my friend!”

The merchant cart veered away and Garros watched as the attack force marched on – these men were ready to lay down their lives against the forces of Irrisen. Delving deeper back into the Verge revealed just how severe the never ending winter really was. A constant of cold, snow and ice. What a hell the swordsman thought. As the group made their approach to Redtooth, Rakim had voiced his intent to part ways with them – citing an interest to preserve his business. Travelers come and they go, Garros would not begrudge Rakim for his desire. There had been a mutual benefit betwen the two parties and now their paths would take them in different directions.

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It was up to Vassily now, he had been here before and it was time he settled his debt. Everyone paid their debts even with the blood price – or so Vassily said. The group made its way for the Keep of the Hound and Vas expressed who he was and an audience would be arranged with Yuri via one of the guards. They were escorted into a courtyard where intricate stonework was observed on the walkway. Guards were garbed with the eight-point snow flake of Irrisen and Garros saw snow glistening over top of the walk way. At the further end of the courtyard two men stood talking to each other, one who towered over the other. One wore a dead hand around his neck.

Garros was beginning to feel the all to familiar rush just before he would let loose his blades and begin to engage in the dance of death. However, he kept himself in check. Surely, this was the Duke and engaging out in the open like this would be a fools death. As he was scanning the area, he noticed two archers above but further to that he caught something from the corner of his eye. Li and Vas were casting spells. Garros wanted to say something but before he had a chance the Duke had already caught the spells being cast.

“What’s this, an attempt on my life!? Guards!” roared the Duke. A bloody battled had ensued and reinforcements had come to the aid of the Duke of Redtooth but Garros disregarded them and focused his blades on Arvanoff himself. That mummified hand dangled and bounced off his chest as he swung his massive great sword, he truly was ferocious – no regard for his own well being, only in attempt to flay his would be death dealers. Some men have been said to fight on even after the most grievous of wounds, yet Arvanoff soaked up everything that was delt to him. Eventually everyone will drop to their knees and Garros saw the Duke make a run from the battle. Dropping to one knee, blood pooling around him, the Duke grasped the hand around his neck and roared, “Mother!!”

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Suddenly a massive concussive force blew out – shattering all the mirrors surrounding the courtyard save one. An immediate deep cold overtook everyone and a silhouette of a finely shaped woman began to appear in the mirror. Not only did this figure appear but she was walking right through the mirror itself. Stark white flowing locks of hair fell off of her shoulders bearing an ice crown on top of her head. There could be no mistaking the Queen of Irrisen – Elvanna, daughter of Baba Yaga. There was a maternal look to her beauty, crows feet at the sides of her eyes and she gracefully made her way to her wounded son. Garros attempted to stand but his legs would allow no such thing. Elvanna was moving her right hand in a motion Garros had seen the White Witches utilize before, a hex was upon them. He struggled both in mind and in body but it was utterly futile and everything turned black.

A little over a month later

In Garros’ mind, one success had set them forward for Freyr’s campaign had been achieved, however, their failure at an attempt on the Duke’s life had set them backwards far further back then where they had started. If it hadn’t been for the Wyrdmake and the Heralds of Summers Return, they would have been executed publicly in the capital of Irrisen.

Being so close to Elvanna and failing to achieve anything was infuriating to Garros. He could not deny that her power was incredible however. He could not fathom how such witchery works but somehow, he and the rest of his companions shared a dream or a vision. The group witness a woman and a young boy – apparitions speaking with Garros. The retainer took a moment to reflect on their escape when this dream occurred.

Wyrdmake and two agents of the Heralds of Summers Return managed to get the group to a small camp outside the border of Redtooth where they took rest for the evening. Perhaps it was left over magics left remnant in the party or perhaps strongest in Garros still but what was certain is that the apparitions were benevolent in nature.

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The next morning Tom was the only one who approached Garros about what he saw in his dreams, “Garros, I saw you and what appears to be a woman and a child. But I was asleep, how could this be possible? Garros stared off as he answered Tom, “I heard my wife and child calling out to me… Their voices finally gave me the strength and courage to come to grips with my own suffering.” There was a silence between the two, “Very well Garros, I know when to keep to myself.”

The retainer went back to that moment with Aelion and Owain. It was a release of guilt, of his hatred but it signified a vindication in his actions to this point. He closed his eyes and faded to that moment, “Thank you my love…” Aelion outstretched her translucent hand onto her husbands forearm, little Owain stood roughtly up to Garros’ waist and with a smile he had never forgotten, heard his son say, “Papa’s strong!” The retainer looked into Aelion’s eyes, “No… I didn’t do anything… then… and I can’t now… I’m a man with no honour…” Aelion gave her husband a warm smile, much like she always did when she did not agree with Garros, “No… you have entirely too much!” Just before his eyes, Garros saw his wife and son beginning to fade, “My beloved… we’ll always be together… we’ll always be by your side…”

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Their essence began to swirl around the retainer with incredible bright light, so bright that it was hard to keep his eyes open and just as the light began to fade Garros could see they had converged at a point just in front of him. Before the retainer stood a blade – it gleamed with a radiant light becoming more and more dull as he continued to look onward. He paced forward and grabbed the hilt of the blade and a feeling washed over his body and soul, he felt absolution. With the burden of grief and hatred now removed from the retainer he felt free to live his life as he once did. He would continue to hone his skills as a Blade of Doma, he would rebuild that which was taken from him. With Aelion and Owain now always at his side there was an even tempering between the man he used to be and what kind of man he would be now. This would strengthen Garros to means he had never known, he would not fight with a heavy heart but with an open one.

Fate, it seemed now pushed Garros and his companions away from the Land of the Linnorms – the creation and means to undo that creation of the dolls that the White Witches have unleashed upon the lands. Perhaps some sort of means to undo the witchery behind them or an artifact with the power to destroy these abominations that serve Queen Elvanna. Whatever it was they were looking was clearly not in Ulfen territory nor did the party have any means of re-entering Irrisen. Even Wyrdmake has scoured through the libraries of the Blackraven Hall and Kalsgard and no such information could be found.

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The party would make their way back to Kalsgard and find a ship to take them south. Much discussion among the group had different points of interest though in all honesty Garros knew little of the south – he had spent his whole life in the Land of the Linnorms and this would be very much a new journey for him. Though he knew he could not stay the retainer felt compelled to aid in one more manner before they departed. He knew it was not yet time to rebuild Doma but he could help the Ulfen people holding against the Jadwiga.

Garros took his leave of his companions and made for an audience with Sveinn Blood-Eagle. Being regarded as a hero, did seem to have its benefits after all and as such being received by the King was easily permissible enough. As Garros entered the King’s chambers he approached Sveinn and kneeled down on one knee, “Jarl I come before you with an offer. I am about to leave these lands in search of a means to bring to an end the manifestations of the cursed dolls roaming the lands sent forth by the Witches of Irrisen. I only ask you take this and use it to further the means to protect Kalsgard. I can only imagine that Elvanna will be retaliating after what has transpired over the last few months.” The retainer handed a pouch with two hundred platinum bars to a huscarl, “Please take this as my way of supporting the Ulfen people while I make for southern lands.”

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Garros was leaving his homeland a changed man, he never imagined having to leave for any reason. The search abroad was about to begin but where would it take the travelers?

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Vas Nabokov - Going Home

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The rocking of the boat shook Vas from his slumber. His rest had been fitful, as it had been nearly every night since the encounter with Elvanna. The slumber itself had been oddly peaceful, but since awakening he only felt mad. Yuri had been so close, and yet now he was so far away. Arvanoff and his hag had seen to that. Now Vas had two more debts to pay. There would be 3 heads for his axe now. His axe…

He looked at his new axe, the unimaginatively named Cassie II. It was of fine quality and very sharp. It could shave the hairs off a gnat, so the shopkeep said. He’d actually contemplated killing the two men who failed to bring his old axe back to him, but it wasn’t the time.This would have to suffice. He would have to get used to it. He supposed it wasn’t much different than the Splices back in Canterwall trying out new arms. With any luck it would sing its song of steel for him soon.

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This made him think of home. It had been so long ago but his memories of it were clear. The Moors, the Fog, the scent of blood on the air. The stories of people who just went… missing. If you stayed quiet you could hear the faint sound of despair whistling through the trees. Funnily, it also drowned out the screams of the still living more often than not. A fact of which Vas was acutely aware. It had been the perfect place to grow up.

He knew the trip would be long but it would be worth it when his group got the information needed. He hoped Yuri was resting well. He’d need to enjoy it while he could. The bleak harbor of Nidal beckoned.

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The Blackravens march...
A pre-emptive strike against Three-Troll

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Freyr surveyed the Palisade wall of Three-troll from the furthest range of his two hastily assembled ballista. It was just before the dawn and he could almost see the mist and fog rising off the Grungir to the west. After discussing the particulars with Tom Gati they had come up with a plan of attack.

The siege equipment was of terrible quality and not designed to last. A short hour of sustained attack would inevitably provoke even these trolls, more intelligent than others of their species, into sallying out of the town and attacking his forces. In fact, the engineers where already preparing traps around the equipment for when they withdrew.

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The hillside offered excellent terrain for keeping his forces hidden and scattered into medium sized units. Skilled now at both skirmish warfare and holding a shield-wall the Blackravens would engage the enemy forces piecemeal as they charged up to Freyrs’ position.

His banner high, and the ballistas spitting bolts of fire, the commander of the Blackravens made himself a valuable target atop a hill overlooking the town. If everything went according to their plan this fight would be over by late midday and he could withdraw back across the border.

He worried that all the events the witch hunters had set into motion had not yet provoked and serious retaliation. He hoped he would have enough time to lay waste to this large force of troll auxiliaries and regroup in the event his suspicions where accurate…

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Garros Garamonde - Ice Shatters: The Next Staging Point
So Close Yet So Far...

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The Ulfen people know Irrisen is a harsh cold northern land covered in the snow and ice of a winter that has lasted centuries. The snow never melts, and almost as omnipresent as the snow and ice, is the feeling of dread that pervades the whole of Irrisen, for as harsh and unforgiving as the land is, it is nothing compared to those who rule it. Garros also knew this to be true for this was not his first time in the borders of the White Witch – Queen Elvanna.

The band of unofficial witch hunters had found themselves delving deeper into Irrisen with each incursion and the retainer knew this was not about to change. They were making strides and gaining momentum – Garros wondered if Tom was right, they quite possibly might have the initiative. With the word of Freyr stating that an attack by the Blackraven forces lead by himself personally on Three-Troll – the next staging point would be Redtooth, Garros was sure of it.

A subtle thought crossed the swordsman mind – as cold and as frozen Irrisen was, he knew ice either shattered or would melt away. What he didn’t know is that it also mirrored his heart. Would it be shattered in ice; consumed by his hatred and rage for the Jadwiga or would he find a way for it to melt and find peace?

Though, he knew he was set upon a path and he would continue down this road. He now had valuable allies and more importantly, friends for which he shared a growing bond, one that was becoming stronger and stronger. The raid on the Skrata manor was proof enough in of itself. Garros had charged Tom of the Gatii with infiltrating the town and gain as much information as he could and Tom had proved incredibly resourceful. Further to that, he was a demon possessed when time came to draw blades. Their incursion into the manor had been one of stealth until they were spotted by what appeared to be a bodyguard of the Baroness where in the blink of an eye Tom’s combat instincts saw three arrows fly before anyone moved a muscle. The man came crashing down in front of the group as Tom put his bow away. Also begrudgingly by the retainer, Tom took the honours of essentially single handily ending the life of Baroness Slavena. While Garros would have enjoyed the pleasure of the felling strike he took solace that one less Jadwiga took breath.

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A very important resource that not in abundance to the swordsman was time for Baba Yaga would be returning to take her daughter and grandchildren and supplant her with a new daughter queen. This, Garros thought, could be an opportunity in disguise for imagine the displeasure Baba Yaga would feel when she returned and Irrisen turned upside down and all if not many of the White Witches dead. Then one final stike at the terrible Crone herself.

A calculated strike at Redtooth would be the best course of action, Garros decided. The Warrant of Trade would see them taken there without incident, for how could Rakim deny them; there were profits to be had for the ever expanding merchant. Vassily had a debt to settle and Garros would use this as a resource to the cause. He would need Li for his diplomatic tongue was invaluable; though the swordsman had a different approach he knew there was much need in the venerable Tian. Finally, it would be foolish to have anyone other than Tom accompany the group. Garros would count on him again. The retainer made his way to the artificer at Blackraven Hall to prepare himself for what was ahead.

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Did the Blackraven forces and the party truly have the Initiative? Redtooth is to be the biggest staging point yet for Garros but Duke Arvanoff was renowned for his military acumen…
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The River Fate
An attack on Slavenas Manor

Tom Gatii had a plan and he would need every thing to fall into place at the perfect moment for it to work. Garros mission to Skrata would surely succeed with his careful planning.

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Offering a silent prayer to Desna he jogged the last kilometer to the gates of Blackraven Hall. Confident in the training he had imparted on the Ulfen scouts he left outside Skrata, he was returning to the hall for provisions and his mount. It was risky but they would need all the help they could get at the moment. Searing arrows, Sunrods, and potions. Some new tools he had never used before.

When he drew close to the gate he slowed. A giant of a man, pale like a corpse, was lumbering down the east road with his eyes glazed over. Was this the Vassily character his friends had taken to the assault on Gojko? Was that man not reported to be dead?

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Desna surely watched over Tom as his return to Skrata was unhindered. Noting by the sun he had some hours before Garros would arrive. He turned his mount back to the trail the man Vassily was taking and convinced him they where allies. Vassily seemed more aware now and eager to join in the attack on the Manor in Skrata.

Garros stepped off the boat well upriver of the docks of the town. He made his way through the pines on the outskirts to meet his comrades. United they waited for the signal. Toms plan had involved members of the Heralds of Summers Return, a group that worked in secret against the rule of the Witches of Irrisen.

First they would use oils destined for Redtooth to set the docks alight causing a great distraction.

Second Cherni Oslonovich had forged false ledgers indicating a large shipment missing. Baron Ivan Betyrina had gone up river with a guard escort to investigate.

Third Sanzina Rodoc, Skratas apothecary and alchemist, had been sympathetic to the cause and concocted a vial of corrosive liquid to help overcome the masterwork locks on the Manor.

When they saw the first flicker of flames on the docks that evening, the hunters moved in on the Manor.

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Breaching a service entrance the small group made their way inside turning each room over meticulously. Finding the stairs to the second floor they where spotted from above by one of the Jadwigas elite rangers. Wasting no time or words Tom grouped three arrows perfectly into the mans throat, heart and left lung.

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With the element of surprise gone they rushed up the stairs finding the door to the Witches quarters hastily barricaded. Their combined, magically enhanced strength, easily overcame the door and they made their desperate attack on Baroness Slavenas remaining guard.

After summoning the willpower to resist what he was sure was a powerful spell of death, again, during the last few moments of the battle Tom made his hail-mary attack. Dropping to one knee and exhaling slowly he loosed his shot. Striking the White Witch perfectly beside the right breast. A heart shot.

She was dead.

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After returning to Zelen via boat Vassily required divine aid to remove the curse upon him though he loathed religious ceremony. Garros made for Pribuskas manor while Tom waited with Li and Rakim on the dock. Both foreign men had remained in Zelen to keep up appearances.

Lady Pribuska was extremely pleased to have Slavenas head.

So pleased in fact that she offered the group a Warrant of Trade with which Rakim could produce in almost any city to conduct business on behalf of the Baroness. Though how well this document would stand up to the authority of Jadwiga with greater power was yet to be seen it was a great boon to have the patronage of Baroness Pribuska.

Where it would take them was yet to be decided…

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Up the Rimeflow
The Witch Hunters head up river...

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After discussing his findings from the interrogation of Baron Mikula with Freyr Darkwine and Eldgrim, Garros had a plan. He met with his companions Tom and Li and described to them the political intrigue he had discovered and how he wished to capitalize on the vanity and jealousy of the witches. He hoped he could turn one upon the other for a short enough time to extract some valuable information about Duke Arvanoff, Master of the verge.

A man with whom both women where ‘familiar’

He would need Rakim as a cover for this all to work.

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Tom, competent as he was at stealth, headed off into the wilderness to the outskirts of Skrata. Skrata was the home of Baroness Slavena and Tom took it upon himself to infiltrate the busy port town to gather information. He would be as prepared as he could be when his fellows came back down the river.

  • He discovered that Slavenas’ husband, Baron Ivan Betyrina, knew about her affair but cared little. It was possible he could be convinced to take some of the garrison up river to Algidheart if the ledger was tampered and a shipment found ‘missing’.
  • Tom recruited the help of Cherni Oslonovich, ‘Left-arm’ Karastov, and Sanzina Rodoc. All where members of the Heralds of Summers return and hatched their own schemes to interfere when the time came.

Garros insisted on overnighting the rest of the party on the south shore of the Rimelow when night came. They had had a long day of rowing upstream but the men they had hired where in good spirits. None of them thought it a good idea to sleep in the Verge territory.

Just before sunrise Li spots something…

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A dark blue dragon, its wings immense and its tail tipped with a hooked stinger, crawled from the icy river on two taloned feet and roared a challenge.

Li, unable to duck its attacks swiftly, is stung by the creature. One of the sailors is eaten whole and Garros takes wounds of his own. All the men realize it needs to be dispatched quickly before it harms another and double their efforts. After a frantic fight Garros opens its throat with his relic Furyborn sword.

They leave the carcass on the shore…

Passing Algidheart the next day their Merchant guide, Rakim, manages to divert the interest of a Mirror Man on the citys busy shore after Li attempted a staring contest with its mirrored face.

“One of the other traders warned me about these creatures. They are the witches eyes. A mirror is easily enchanted and it is said these men can witness a thing, and show a witch that thing from a great distance.”

The rest of their trip goes without incident.

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Upon arriving in Zelen the group seeks audience with Baroness Pribuska.

She is convinced that Rakim is a powerful merchant and his aides, Garros and Li, are both council and protection. ‘Garrem’ reveals he is an experienced bounty hunter and Li supports the claim. She seems excited by this.

She decides to test them further. The group is led to a courtyard where a circle of palisade stakes is erected. The ground there was a mixture of frost, mud, snow and blood. ‘Fargut’ the frost giant drop his axe and enters the ring, excited to have some sport.

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After a struggle and more than one humiliation the giant is brought to heel. Li, having suffered the worst, delivers a coup de grace to the creature with a spell. Almost having been beaten to death nobody blames him. Pribuska shrugs and they return inside.

She promises to reward them handsomely if they manage to quietly kill her nemesis…

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The aftermath of Gojko, The consequences.
The witch hunters return from a small raid.

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The peasants and workers of Gojko begrudginly prepare to leave their homes for the border. Apparently free after 100 years of servitude in the fiefdom of Gojko.

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Baron Mikula Kseniya is unceremoniously paraded back to Blackraven hall by the party.

“Look at these filthy animals” Thought Ksenia looking at the adventurers who has massacred his men as he trudged along with as much dignity as he could muster. He was hungry and tired but tried to maintain some semblance of nobility as he had his whole life. He could tell his subjects where as well. He had ordered his cousin, a capable Jadwigan ranger, to hunt down some large game the day before. He thought of the animal now spoiled upon the pit in the village. He thought of his cousins body now a bloody pulp in the foyer of the hill fort he had once begrudgingly called home. His people had been living on Winter-Yew gruel for some time. It was a good staple and the peasants had not complained but production tended to increase when they received some proper red meat. Despite the isolation, nay, because of the isolation he treated his subjects better than most lords in the militaristic province of The Verge. Everyone had their position in the politics of Irrisen but Mikula Kseniya was disenfranchised enough to understand that his peoples fate was his own…

He eyed the pompous fuck whose skin almost glistened despite the setting of the sun. Tyrod, he had learned the man was called, seemed to have masterminded this pointless attack on Gojko. Why the Baron had no clue. He had no standing army to threaten the border with. Gojko was a glorified watchtower. Strategically insignificant. The Blackravens almost never came within range. The chance ambush his ancestor had executed over 100 years ago was no longer in the living memory of any man alive that took part.

“Ignorant fools. Whatever they’ve hoped to accomplish is beyond me. We’ll see how long the Blackravens tolerate this many more mouths to feed.” He mumbled. He did a headcount as they walked in procession. There was almost 40 of his subjects accounted for. Few children. Not many pairings resulted in children. What parent would want to raise their young ones in such a miserable little hamlet on such a miserable cold hill. He had watched as every so often one of the peasants would look over their shoulder as the town faded in the distance. It was their home after all. The small hovels and yurts many of them where born in became lost forever as they entered the sparse forest and then north across the plains of the Hagreach. Baron Kseniya suddenly realized he was further west than he had ever been in his life. His whole life. His whole miserable fucking life. He didn’t look back even once. In fact, he felt a burden lift from his shoulders.

“Maybe they’ve done me a favor” mused the Baron.

He decided then and there he would end this miserable life at the first opportunity he got now. Sustenance had been his only motivation for so long… This self righteous bastard that goaded them along north to the Hall would be responsible for his flock now.

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A brief history!
Summary prior to Obsidian Portal

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Here’s a general order of events in chronological order to recap the entire campaign as well. If I’ve forgotten anything (I have) add it in via comments and I will update it. These events transpired over the course of almost 2 months.

  • A man known in Kalsgard as the Wyrdmake recruits a group consisting of locals and foreigners to investigate strange happenings in the city. A hag named Madame Kawoah being puppeted by some strange power or coven is dug out of the Jade district and killed along with her monster scorpion and cultists. They’re attacked by a strange monk named Photep who evades them.
  • The group is attacked in the tavern ‘The Jade Panther’ by doppelgangers. A clue is in one of the jackets they where wearing.
  • The group is lead to believe that a trade guild called the ‘Icecrowns’ have also been behaving strangely. They investigate the docks then stow away on one of their ships. They capture the ship and are led to believe (by torturing the young captain) that they are indeed corrupted somehow.
  • The group sets out to sea themselves and attacks another icecrown vessel. They destroy it and all hands are lost save those given the blood choice by the pirate Torharr. The captains maps show a route to an island.
  • The group infiltrates a small island and kills the Icecrown mercenaries there. A large stash of goods is recovered.
  • Further investigation in the Ironbound isles reveals that the goods where to be used to pay an Orc army ruling in their island stronghold to attack the Southmoor province. Photep is tracked down and killed and a new Orc ruler is put on the throne. The Thunderhold is now friendly.
  • Upon return the group is unsure how to confront Gudrun the leader of the guild. Everything points to him being responsible. That night Gudrun comes for them and kills Woo the tavern owner then attempts to assassinate the group responsible for foiling his plans. He is revealed to be a doppelganger as well in service to a White Witch. Gudrun is dispatched after a hard fight.
  • After some time the group is asked once again by the Wyrdmake to investigate happenings in the Grundgir forest. After setting out with some fresh recruits to the band they enter the forest.
  • Evil Fey creatures (Redcaps from Feyfrost!?) and Unnatural Magical beasts attack the party. These kinds of creatures do not belong here so the party ventures to Delmons Glen to consult the druidic gnomes.
  • Bavakanka the mayor sets them on the right track after MUCH convincing.
  • The White Witch responsible for all the corruption in the Thanelands and the forest is found, defeated, and beheaded. The group returns to the city of Kalsgard as heroes. They are one member short.
  • The group then decides to make for Blackraven Hall after consulting the Wyrdmake again. Garros is intent on taking the fight to the border and the others are convinced to aid this endeavor. They are beset by a warband of Giants and White Wolves en route.
    – An excursion north to release a dangerous criminal named Vassily goes horribly wrong. The party retreats for the first time.
  • The party encounters a ‘Guardian Doll’ for the first time while attempting to cross the border. The creation is incredibly powerful and inhumanly quick. It makes a mockery of their group before finally suffering damage and retreating. It seemed to follow them at a great distance, observing.
  • This incursion planned into Gojko, a small hillfort just over the border into the Verge, goes well. A group of peasants are emigrated to Hagreach province and the Baron of the fort is captured and interrogated.
  • A small contingent of warriors is trained at the Hall and the party spends a few days recuperating. Interrogation of the prisoner and peasants is done at leisure. Some rumors are gathered as well about some random happenings.
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