The Weregild

Harald - Elder of the Windwatchers
Divining the future from the winds...

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“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.”

Harald felt the last breath of the Witch on the wind. Of the many things that the beeze brought to the keep this evening – this was significant. Those who ended her life where headed in this direction, which was fortuitous, for the season of seeing forbade his order from leaving the keep and the Orc warband that hunted their land surrounding the settlement went unchallenged in this auspicious time.

Perhaps if they could be convinced to aid him he would help them in turn for he saw on the wind three monoliths that blocked their path. Gigantic edifices ensorceled to prevent entry or scrying. It would take powerful magic to overcome the obstacles fate had put in their path.

He opens his eyes and looks upon the peaks and valleys of the Mindspin Mountain range accentuated by the moonlight. It was refreshing for once to see so clearly this bit of minutia that his order could work to influence. It would inevitably end in powerful magic being undone one way or another which served only to clear the wind of its influence even more.

Gozreh be praised these men where perhaps sent as an instrument of the divine…

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The Atteran Ranches
Headed east...

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The Cold Sister, Haravna, spurred her stolen steed faster. The Harbingers had made short work of the wolf men that had been sent from Red Tooth. Convincing them to remain hidden and not attack the ranchers herds had been difficult enough in the past few days since their arrival. The effort had been wasted.

Infiltrating the group had been relatively easy. Disguising herself as the woman Rucia was a simple task in the end. After observing events in Karpad in the guise of a peasant woman she had made her plan. It cost surprisingly little to encourage the greedy old tavern keeper to turn a blind eye. Simply exposing her as a cleric of desna and threatening the retribution of the Kuthites had been enough but a few gold pieces sealed the deal.

What puzzled her is why the Harbingers had bothered coming here? Ever since the Blackravens had shown their hand at Arvanoffs Fortress in the Verge this group, and Garros Garamonde especially had had more than one scrying mirror in Irrisen turned upon his locality. The majority of them had spent quite a bit of time in the Manor but what purpose did that serve? They had been speaking with a Shae that had emerged from the manor but who was he?

All she could do now was escape. Escape and report her findings. Having failed to kill them she would survive to report and form a new ambush. There was also a new development. One of their own was among them now. A Jadwiga male. Whom had let his leash so loose that he would be able to aid the Harbingers? Leave Irrisen? His blade and spells had certainly been the undoing of the white wolves ambush.

Her horse protested as she kicked hard into its sides and she hugged its neck, looking over her shoulder for pursuers she felt relief as she saw none. Suddenly she detected magic. The Jadwiga. Of course. A smirk crossed her lips. She was well away and there was little a pathetic male could conjure that would overcome her at this range.

The night was dark and the sliver of moon made it difficult to navigate but the steed knew the road. She considered conjuring a light to guide her but it could wait until she got further. Suddenly her horse turned hard and began to roll. Before she knew it her head hit the sandy road with such force she felt the heat, before the pain of impact, sear across her face from abrasion. She had only just regained her wits and opened her eyes as she took in her surroundings.

Her horse was galloping away.

The man, Garros she had seen in the scry-mirror and Karpad, rose from the embankment drawing his swords. She could see the whites of his teeth and eyes and a smirk crossed his face.

The Jadwiga was dropping the end of a rope and drawing a long scimitar. She could hear the sword’s whisper in her head and it mocked her. Suddenly she could smell the remains of a dimension affecting spell, of course…

She raised her arm to block the first of the attacks she knew would come and rolled, suddenly seeing a bow drawn, point blank, with two arrows impossibly drawn in the string. The cloaked figure armed so whispered “Night, Night Bitch” and loosed the sharpened projectiles into her skull.

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Garros Garamonde - Delving Out of the Material Plane
Chaos That Lurks in the Shadows

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While the Harbringers were intriguing for their own gains, it had become very evident that Tom of the Gatii’s patience was coming to an end with Baron Stepan of Karpad. This did not go unnoticed by the retainer and a fact in which he made a point of keeping in his memory for as of late, Tom’s behaviour had certainly become peculiar. The Baron’s continued seclusion from the rest of the village stood as the blockade between that in which Garros and his companions required – access to the Boroi Manor library – hoping that it might hold clues or information pertaining to mirror magic or the dreadful haemonculi constructs of Irrisen.

Knowing that following proper etiquette with Anya and the nobility of the Boroi Manor would get them nowhere closer to Stepan, the Harbringers took it upon themselves to make their way through the Manor and search for the answers they sought. Only, while lurking through the manor they were were met with Aldrych Betyrina’s curiosity as to what was held in the manor’s basement. After a brief exchange of words, it was agreed that the defector of Irrisen’s curiosity would be sated and a chance to see what secrets, if any, the Baron might be hiding from the rest of Karpad before approaching him directly.

Much to the swordsman’s surprise, at the bottom of the staircase was a chamber of worship, no, to Garros this looked much more like a room where people would have been tortured. To those unfamiliar with the Nidalese customs, those were not lines that would be easily blurred but for the populace of Nidal, they were one in the same.

The floor was of inlaid stonework, it did show it’s age however as many were now uneven and large gaps and cracks were evident. Garros’ senses were also affronted after stepping down into the chamber – the metallic smell of blood still lingered in the air and was visibly seen on many of the stones and across the walls. Along the walls were various tools which also appeared to be used for the twisted worship Zon-Khuthon. At the center of the long, and dimly lit chamber was an alter table, which held other bloody instruments which seemed to have been not used recently. Garros felt disgust. Not from a repulsion of a weak stomach but rather from the sheer lunacy the fanatics of Zon-Khuthon displayed in their worship to their twisted deity.

Much to Garros’ shock, an ethereal being began to manifest by the alter in the form of a middle aged woman. This apparition seemed very curious at first and she mentioned no one has been down to worship Zon-Khuthon in some time. She claimed her name was Evgenia and that she held her lords favour and offered that worship was to be made at the alter. Ever the diplomat, Zhixian-Li offered his penance for this apparent lack of worship and began whipping himself repeating, “Praise be onto Zon-Khuthon!”. Clearly, Evgenia was not satisfied with just the one offering but demanded that all present themselves before her lord and submit to his will. Without hesitation, the swordsman drew his blades and knew that he could not offer what she yearned for but rather send her back whence she came. After a short battle ensued, Garros dispatched the apparition with a superb display of swordsmanship and with Evgenia put to rest, they made their way to Stepan.

The retainer did not share an aptitude for subterfuge and skulking around in the shadows as some of his companions did, yet he did understand it’s merit when it was required and as they made their way through the manor and approached the Baron’s study door he knew that would soon be dispensed with. As they stood outside the door Tom began rapping on that which separated them and Stepan, “Who goes there?!” shouted the Baron and Tom began knocking again. “Laurentiu! Laurentiu! Who is at the door, I said I was to not be disturbed!” was what was bellowed from inside the study chamber.

Laurentiu the manor’s majordomo came scurrying to his masters demands and found his jaw agape as he saw the Harbringers standing but just a few steps outside his masters door. “Wha…wa waw wa what are you doing here? The Baron is not to be disturbed!” was what the majordomo mustered with what little courage he had. A show of force would be all to easy the retainer thought to himself but there was no time to sit around and wait for a time that Steapan would allow visitors. Garros then saw the door open and the Baron could be seen if only half covered by the door.

After the Baron’s suspicious were mollified, the retainer and his companions were able to speak to Stepan regarding the disease, Tallowthroat, which now plagued Karpad and their desire to peruse through the library of the manor. A man who does not cast a shadow would surely be unsettling if not sinister but this was not something the swordsman observed at first for he was caught up in the conversation and gauging weather or not what he spoke was true but the fact remained Stepan, did not cast a shadow. The retainer also pressed his findings in the graveyard where Iosif and Henric supposed tombs were laid to rest yet Garros and Corvus discovered that they were left empty and not with the corpses of his brothers but rather filled with rocks. They also stated that a fey creature was found in the Chandlery and it was on the Baron’s authority that it was set loose upon Karpad.

Finally, cracking under the pressure of constant paranoia and with the evidence presented, Stepan revealed his intentions and what he sought to achieve. He further went on about the Mirror locked away in his basement and a deal that was made with a Shae who went by the name of Nicasor. With all his cards laid on the table, the Baron pleaded that they somehow placate Nicasor to preserve his life for fear of retaliation if he were to ever escape from his now prison or find a way to bring his brothers back if they might still yet live and end Nicasor’s life. If they were to do this, he stated he would grand them full access to whatever they needed in the library.

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Garros did his best to not let his emotions get the better of him nor did he want to become to deeply routed in the politics and intrigue of another nation but listening to what the Baron had done to his brothers was enough for the retainer to strike down this man where he stood.

A coward the swordsman thought to himself.

Yet, Garros knew that Stepan was the stepping stone to what might be the key to unlocking the secrets of the witchcraft of Irrisen. Keeping that at the center of his thoughts, it was decided that they would make their way into the basement and attempt to communicate with Nicasor through the mirror. After hearing the Baron’s portrayal of how events unfolded, perhaps judging what Nicasor would have to say might yield a solution to the problems in Karpad. Laurentiu and Stepan lead the party down back into the basement, little did they know the Harbringers had already step foot here, they walked to a door that was under lock and key. Just as Laurentiu was motioning to hand Stepan the key, he had already begun to speak, “I will go no further. This is where the mirror has been sealed away and I do not intend on provoking Nicasor further. There is a command word you must speak to invoke the mirror, do not forget to do so.” Stepan leaned in and whispered the word under his breath into Li’s ear and this was lost on Garros but surmised that Li held the most wisdom and knowledge and as such would be best suited to him.

The retainer took the key and unlocked the door and felt a cold sensation pass through his body. He disregarded the feeling and passed through as he swung the heavy wooden door open and revealed a room with many possessions covered in cloth and dust but towards the far end was the mirror standing by itself. Garros could see the mirror’s surface swirled and billowed – it almost looked murky and as they approached closer, Li placed himself directly in front of it. Using touch and sight as the medium for studying the large mirror, the venerable Tian bent down and noticed a long crack in the mirror which lead to a missing fragment. He searched around and on the ground was a shard, the missing fragment to the mirror. Attempts to communicate and call for Nicasor had proven useless as the mirror continued in the same fashion as they found it, ever swirling and rolling ever so slowly.

Though the rest of the group did not see it, Li’s eyes held a glimmer of mischief as if wondering what would happen next. Before anyone could come to an agreement on what to do , they would not get that chance to see that look in the Tian’s eyes as he spoke the command word.

“Clatu”

Garros experienced a sudden tug at his being as if a boulder was being dropped off of a cliff of a mountaintop, the sheer weight being exerted on his body was almost unbearable. Being drawn in to the mirror and into the extraplanar prison was completely unsettling for the swordsman and the feeling was nothing he had ever experienced before. When the feeling passed, the swordsman found himself standing beside his companions and turned around and saw the mirror, only instead of the murky visage they now saw the room in which they had just stood.

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This place was entirely unnerving to Garros – it oddly resembled the manor yet it was shrouded in darkness and shadow. There was also no colour that could be observed and as the swordsman looked around he observed the windows, they were reflective, not transparent as if there was no ‘outside’. The temperature had dropped significantly as opposed to where the retainer had just stood on the other side of the mirror and he noticed those who were breathing heavily enough could see their breath on the air. Garros shrugged this off as if not phased, the Ulfen people were of a hearty stock and they have been ravaged by the cold before – this, this was nothing compared to the like of the frozen lands of Irrisen or the deep cold winters in the Land of the Linnorm Kings.

Perhaps due to the nature of the magic imparted from the mirror or perhaps of finding himself in such a cold and dark place, the retainer could not help but to find his thoughts wondering back to what happened in the Chandlery in Karpad.

Some days earlier…

The battle that had ensued with the monster made entirely out of wax and the creature who was humanoid to say the least but it’s head wreathed in flames had tested the swordsman’s ability with the blade for it was a formidable foe. But it was during this battle that struck Garros with a most grievous wound indeed. As they were matching blows the retainer kept his footwork to match the furious creature but before Garros could pivot and shift the heal of his foot to the right, he witness in horror as he saw his opponents spear slash across Li’s chest and watched as his dear friend engulfed in flames.

Turning from his wounded ally as the Jyoti’s spear blade fell violently, Garros wrenched his blades and turned to face the creature. He snarled as he did it, savage, brutal but economical with his vindication. An onslaught of blows took strength, but ended the creature who took Zhixian Li’s life with certain lethality.

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The flames that had consumed Li’s corpse were now extinguishing and to everyone else, they all observed Garros’ demeanor as silent rage. The retainer knelt down and picked up the corpse of his former companion and told the rest very curtly that he was returning to the Sleeping Willow. There was but one thought in his mind and that was bringing Li back. He knew that he could not appeal to the church of Zon-Kuthon for he did not want them performing sick and twisted rituals bringing him back. Mulling over his thoughts and what little options that laid before him, the swordsman hastily brought the corpse back to his room and placed it on the bed, with as much respect would allow in a situation such as this.

What Garros had not yet recognized was that when the remaining party returned Tom had been blinded from the fight and began drilling the retainer with questions regarding Li’s corpse. A disagreement ensued between the two over whether or not Zhixian Li would be brought back. A new height of anger washed over Garros as he listened to Tom – do not bring him back he stated. It was preposterous and unthinkable to speak such words. To die so far from one’s homeland and to be what? Burried in some backwater, twisted village under the grips of belief in Zon-Kuthon. No, the retainer would not have it and it was an affront to have even suggested otherwise.

Tom was also escalating, becoming ill-tempered and almost aggressive. As Garros dismissed what Tom was saying he simply said, “No, we are bringing Li back. I will not speak further to this!” The son of Molthune attempted to swing and grab hold of the retainer and Garros effortlessly brushed the failed attempt to the side. His anger now turned to pity, “Tom I will not fight you, you’re blind both in sight and in mind.” and simply shook his head at his misguided companion. Suddenly, a gentle knock came at their door and a soft voice was heard, “Mm, ‘scuse me. Is everything alright? I’ll have to ask you to keep it down please.” The swordsman’s patience was spread thin and walked over and opened the door before even answering. Before his eyes stood Rucia and she stood across from him wearing nothing but an evening gown and holding with her a candle which illuminated the silhouette of her figure.

Garros hurried her into the room and closed the door behind her and to her complete shock when she glimpsed at the corpse laying on the bed, she let out a subtle gasp. “I, uh, uhh, I didn’t mean to be interuptin’ anything.” Even though Tom could not see, he immediately recognized Rucia’s voice and demanded that she talk sense to the swordsman and allow Li to pass on to the afterlife. After an exchange of words, Rucia revealed that she was not exactly who she said she was and that she was working under the guidance of Desna. She confessed that she was a cleric of her deity and that she would preform the revival yet it was up to the soul to decide if they wished to be among the living once more. Yet, this would come at a price and ever since Garros left a small fortune to Sveinn Blood-Eagle his coin purse was exceptionally low. A look of frustration flashed over his face and as he was mulling over how they might come to pay Rucia, Aldrych Betyrina very plainly and without provocation or even being asked, offered the payment in full.

No matter the cost – that is what Garros had told himself but he never saw this. He kept his thoughts to himself for bringing back Li was paramount but why did this jadwiga deserter offer up payment? Was this another plot to ambush the Harbringers? Whatever the reason Aldrych had, the retainer would see this through whatever the consequences were.

The journey through the mirrored plane of the Boroi Manor had been filled with terror and the encounter with the little fetchling boy Soren who appeared quite bright given his surroundings proved to be remarkable indeed. He did have a curiosity about him though and thought perhaps all who were not of his ilk were of the Boroi lineage. Little Soren eventually led the group to his uncle, not before explaining that he was playing hide and seek and divulged his understanding of the Heart.

Plumes of swirling darkness rolled off and around the white porcelain mask that covered his face, a form that was entirely mesmerizing and difficult to concentrate all in the same instance was what Garros first observed when he walked into the library draped in shadows. Nicasor stood and Soren ran to his side and the Shae began to press the Harbringers and immediately turned suspicion to Stepan having sent them to end his life. It took considerable diplomacy and tact but Li with all his great wisdom had reconciled, if only slightly, Nicasor’s twisted rage for having been betrayed by Stepan. The Shae explained that despite his nearly a millennia of imprisonment in this extraplanar prison he had not yet found a way to escape. Nicasor added that if they find a way to free Soren and himself, he would do anything in his power to repay that debt.

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After Nicasor reviewed the shard that Li had unintentionally brought into the demiplane, he concluded that there might yet be a way to leave this prison. In a manner that suggested this was of great importance, the Shae told Soren to follow behind him closely and waved to the Harbringers to follow. After making their way back to the room which held the bizarre paintings, Nicasor indicated this was the source of the disruption and took the shard of the mirror and began slicing away, cutting open the wall. Without looking back he jumped through and fashioned the shard to a spear that the group was not using – trusting his instincts, the swordsman followed suit and awaited what was on the other side.

Madness. Sheer madness what was on the other side for any lesser man would have succumb to the insanity that lay before the Harbringers. It took all of his concentration to steady his thoughts and not become lost in how such a horrifying creature could possibly exist. In that very same moment, Nicasor ran towards whatever it the creature might be but was knocked off his feet and the spear fell to ground. Garros, following suit picked up the spear and charged the monstrosity and plunged the shard deep as he possibly could.

Eyelids, all peeling back and eyes circling and focusing all on Garros suggested he had caused it tremendous pain. It’s many mouths gaping and shrieking as the shard of the mirror lay deep inside its being. The swordsman rolling back avoiding the hard swoop of the many arms and mouths let loose his blades, Absolution and Wrath. A grueling battle ensued and once the abomination could take no more it simply collapsed in on itself and everything around them was beginning to be sucked in. Nicasor roared for everyone to run back to the slit that had been cut open and to flee immediately.

Garros was entirely unsure of what was happening but he knew that their lives were in danger – returning to the mirror was critical. As the plane grew more and more unstable, closing in on itself, Soren was having a hard time keeping up with the group and Nicasor grabbed his arm as if to drag him as they ran. The mirror laid but meters ahead and once in front Nicasor jumped through and vanished. Garros was panting but knew that every second counted and when he saw the mirror he did not hesitate and made his way through.

Now having returned to where they came, all sense of colours and temperature had returned. As they were composing themselves and trying to comprehend exactly what had just happened, Nicasor strode of without saying a word…

Without knowing it, Garros had experienced his first shift through the planes. With Nicasor having been set free might yet prove to be disastrous. The Shae would need to be followed and ensure that he would hold his end of the bargain…

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Zhixian Li - Last Moments
What goes up...

The battle ensued around the old man, as he attempted to step behind his bulkier, battle-hardened companions – using them as shields as he furiously wove magicks through the earth beneath him in an attempt to aid them as best he could. The light was near-blinding all around him, as the fearsome warrior of light stepped around his companion Garros and turned to him.

Li heard the whispers of the earth crying to him, letting him know exactly where and when to move as they always did. The spirits of nature wanted to keep him alive forever. The whispers lifted to screams and wails as the creature moved forward and locked gazes with Li.

For the first time in many, many years, Li remained paralyzed. Despite the earth’s warnings to him, he stood his ground. Weakened already from a prior blow, he stared down the creature of light – he made his choice. This time he would not heed nature’s whispers. He would stand and face his fate after all these years of hiding.

“This is what you came for, isn’t it?” he told himself, “You can finally be at peace. Return to the earth and be re-born anew! Imagine all of the new life a great spirit like yours could help to create. Perhaps there is an afterlife, and you will see your wife Tsetseg again, and your family. They will hardly recognize you, you’ve aged so much!”

Li looked at the creature as it poised to attack, and everything around him slowed to a crawl. He let out a tiny chuckle, “You’re right,” he said aloud, “they probably won’t recognize me!”

And with that, he was struck down brutally and burned, the enemy continuing to strike even as the old man fell to the ground, helpless and withered.

A pause occurred on the battlefield when he fell, as everyone took in the severity of his wounds. An island of peace and serenity erupted in the midst of battle, as an old man who never wished any harm fell and slowly closed his eyes.

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Investigation
The Harbingers become sleuths...

On the afternoon of the first day of Gozran, 4713, Tom and Garros sat across from each other in ‘The Willow’. Zhixian Li was resting upstairs and two suspicious characters dined together in the corner. The two Harbingers gathered what little information they could about the town from a wonderful girl named Rucia, a strangely healthy looking middle aged woman with a kind manner, and made their plans while awaiting Li to get himself down the stairs and ready for the afternoon.

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Li, ‘refreshed’ from his nap, hobbled down the steps to witness a commotion. It seemed that the two strange looking men in the corner had approached his comrades and a heated exchange was occuring. One, most certainly of Fiendish heritage, was doing his best to explain to an irate Garros that they where allies. The other, definitely, of Jadwigan descent looked to be about two seconds from receiving a half hitch across his throat by the Ulfen man.

Alas, at the Fiends’ (Corvus, it had a name…) mention of Eldgrim Wyrdmake it seemed Garros outrage was quelled, simmering to a more slow rolling boil of suspicion and hatred. Tom however seemed to observe the two with curiosity. Being a well-travelled man he didn’t seem to harbor the same bigotry and was more inclined to give the two a chance to prove themselves.

The group hesitantly made their plans for the day, coming so far for nothing was not an option for the men standing in the Inn in this uncomfortable situation so they decided to get about their business.

Karpad was a town rife with problems. With their ruler, Baron Boroi, absent and unwilling to deal with the problems facing the town it seemed the town watch had done a terrible job keeping order.

Their watch-captain, Lucian Groy, had in fact contracted tallow-throat. This served to exacerbate the problems he attempted to deal with. The loss of his daughter Olya was too much. Insanity gripped him and he turned his inconsolable rage towards the Fetchlings. His open racism and blame was a flame to the powder keg that was the citizens fears.

Three ropes where hastily being tossed around a strong branch of a large, leafless willow tree in the centre of town while the men approached from the Inn. Lucian, inconsolable, was intent on seeing three Fetchling farmers hang. This proved to be an insignificant problem for Zhixian as he had seen much discrimination in his life. Easily identifying the source of the problem as Lucians diseased state he wove an ancient spell from some berries and dirt to cast the Tallowthroat clean from the mans body. After non-violently subduing the other guards who panicked the Harbingers managed to talk some sense into the old guardsmen and made promises to help them.

The rest of the afternoon was spent asking questions around town. A visit to Shade Row, The Temple of Zon Kuthon, and Boroi Manor left more frustrating questions than answers!

  • Boroi Brothers – After creeping into the Mausoleums at the Temple, reneging on a bargain to pay off the groundskeeper for access, Garros and Corvus discover the brothers tombs are empty.
  • Lurker in Light – A small, malicious creature was hiding in the basement of the Chandlery kidnapping people from the town for strange summoning rituals. The lurker had summoned a Jyoti from the energy planes to aid it just as the Harbingers sprung its trap on the back door to the cellar. It was obvious that the owner, Catalina, was allowing this. Unfortunately the powerful Jyoti was quick and powerful and overcame Zhixian Li easily getting around Garros defences. Li lay dead by the end of the fight…
  • Tallowthroat – It was now obvious that the Boroi Manor was the source/ground zero of the disease. Gavril, the only Fetchling at the manor has not been spoken to. Anya seems only concerned that her letters cannot be sent. The Baron Boroi himself is shut away in his study and the Kuthite priesthood seems unwilling to work against the Tallow-Throat for religious reasons.
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Garros Garamonde - Strangers in Unfamiliar Lands
The Pursuit of Knowledge but at What Cost...

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Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

As the Harbringers drifted down Geron’s Way, Garros, in an unusual manner was restlessly turning and shifting the signet ring he wore.

The path that Garros and his companions strode was covered in dust or was it ash-like? The landscape was unlike any the retainer had ever set his eyes on, a somber overcast at every turn shrouded in a mist like haze was all Garros could see in the distance. The path was obscured by the shadowed presence of the forest that surrounded them and was enough to inspire doubt and surely idle thoughts would be another adversary to grapple with on the journey to find the means to combat the White Witches of Irrisen.

This was to be expected of course, with so much weighing on the group and Garros put a significant amount of added pressure on himself with this task charged by Eldrim Wyrdmake to find a means to undo the Mirror Men and the doll abominations that serve the White Witches desires. The swordsman wondered if what weighed on his mind also reflected in his demeanour. Their short time in Nidal had already seen blood spilt and the retainer wondered if perhaps this was ill advised. This was not a thought from a benefactor of good but rather self-preservation – what sort of repercussions would this dead body on the road reap for the Harbringers?

No, this was not self-doubt Garros thought to himself but rather it was the feeling of the unfamiliar. The retainer had never stepped out of the Land of the Linnorms save for Irrisen and treading carefully would be most prudent indeed.

As he shifted and spun his signet ring around his finger he couldn’t help but think of home and what was lost at the hands of the Jadwiga cunts. Just as the thought began to overtake the swordsman, Geron’s Way lead to the small village of Karpad just ahead in the distance.

Shifting from these thoughts Garros motioned over at Tom and began to speak, “It seems we have found our way. Best we don’t make mention of what happened on the road – wouldn’t you agree?” As he was speaking, the swordsman was scanning the village and discerned what would most likely be the inn. “I know I don’t have to tell you this Tom but we best tread carefully and not attract unwanted attention”, as the retainer pointed to the would be Inn.

As always, the venerable Tian Li seemed lost in a world of whimsical bewilderment. Not to say the man was touched but enough so that it made Garros wonder if it would be a luxury to have a simpler mind, or rather, a less distracted mind. There was a natural comfort however, knowing that the Tian accompanied the group and the swordsman wondered what part he still had to play when all the pieces were laid on the table. Whatever that may be, Garros took solace in the fact that he also wanted to see the end of the reign of the White Witches.

There was of course this traveling scholar that accompanied the Harbringers.

Garros had developed a dubious disposition for new comers ever since his dealings with an elf the group had met during their time in the Grungir Forest but the swordsman knew that this was not a time to make more enemies. To be in foreign lands would naturally lead to suspicion, yet the swordsman had complete trust in Tom and Zhixian Li but outside of these men, a reserved judgement was kept. Further to that, this traveling scholar might be of use to unravel the mysteries of the White Witches magics.

“Hmmmm”, Garros pondered as he looked at this scholar. Perhaps he would be a chip yet to be played, perhaps event yet to best serve the groups interest after all. The retainer had placed his hand with his signet ring, now properly placed on his finger, on the hilt of Absolution and spoke to his companions, “Let us make way to the village Inn. There we can find a bed to rest our head and fill our stomachs. From there we might find some clues necessary in finding what we seek”.

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Nidal was so much more than what Garros and his companions could imagine and they hadn’t even begun to scratch the surface. Would their actions thus far prove to be a hindrance? Or worse yet, fatal? Everything had a price the swordsman knew that much. Even knowledge…

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Karpad, Nidal. First day of Gozran, 4713

Your walking along Gerons way. A road you travelled a long ways down in order to reach this Village. The dirt on the road reminds you more of ash than sand or clay. Fine, grey and seems to have been swept well off the edges of the lane you stroll down by the wind and passers-by. It occurs to you that it resembles dust, perhaps settled on the path, undisturbed, for Karpad is certainly a backwater. Rarely visited and definitely forgotten.

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Your time in Nidal and the journey from the port city of Nisroch has been unsettling. It is unlike any land you’ve visited before. Millenia under the yoke of Zon Kuthon and his loyal priesthood the Kuthites has made a populace loyal through fear, not love. A sort of group hysteria in a stockholm syndrome that has gripped their ancestors for generations long after the Earthfall. A trade for survival in exchange for eternal obedience seems to you a steep price from your perspective as a free man.

Curious of their culture you are eager to find answers to your questions but know instinctively to tread lightly here. The memory of the dark figures cloaked in shadow that keep their lords vigil over the crooked, dark forest and its creatures chills you. Any further run ins with them is sure to bring greater suspicion upon you. Time will tell if your actions thus far have invited some sadistic retribution dreamed up by the Umbral court.

You move ahead to join your comrades. Suddenly feeling more comfortable among friendly numbers.

It looks as if the small village is just ahead. Your destination.

In hindsight you hope that this journey has not been a waste of time…

The first session will begin as if you have spent a short time in the village of Karpad after travelling from Nisroch. Consider it downtime to rest and purchase goods. The ‘experience’ and investigation in the town will be re-set to accommodate new blood! The older players have however, experienced and witnessed the effects of tallowthroat.

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The Saga Continues...

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Every man in the procession along Geron’s way walked with a weight on his shoulders on their way back into the town of Karpad. The group had seen man things in their time in the north. The deeds they had accomplished there was quickly becoming the subject of song and saga in the towns and taverns of the Linnorm Kingdoms.

It was some consolation to the few men who walked the dark road along the forests edge that the people had been given hope. If they knew the truth of what was to come if they did not succeed in their search the Ulfen folk would not be celebrating…

Harbingers of SpringEldgrim had called them when the company had been founded deep in Blackraven Hall.

…among them let no ally be discounted. Man and Dwarf, Elf and Halfling, Nor any other creature with cause to oppose the rule of the White witches of Irrisen!

His noble voice rang in their ears still, he had laid down their mandate without pause, they where to do what the Blackravens and Kings armies could not; Discover a means to disrupt the Witches most powerful assets and then strike at the heart of Irrisen, Whitethrone.

This objective seemed so damned far away here on this backwater and desolate road in Nidal. The corrupt and sinister ways of the Nidalese people and authorities had already caused conflict with the Harbingers. A Cleric of Zon Kuthon already lay slain along the road for questioning their motives. Had it been prudent to attack them? Time would tell.

They had to find answers no matter the cost.

Bonfires burn in the night along the edge of the forest, lit by the villagers in their fear of the shadowy creatures that prey upon them recently. Looking back on the keep of the Baron Boroi (Whom they had yet to have audience with) the group sees the parapets and towers aglow with torch light. Why?

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The group had seen the affects of the Tallowthroat disease first hand. It seemed the villagers thought perhaps the Shadow Plane was responsible and where superstitiously attempting to ward themselves from its affects.

Before traveling here the Harbingers did gather some information about the town. For centuries the taint of the Shadow Plane had seemed to leak into the countryside around Boroi Manor. Karpad had developed a well-known proclivity for shadow-tainted creatures over the years. A strong propensity even by Nidalese standards…

Why now then would such an affliction manifest among the populace?

It seemed some investigation would be required here…

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A quest for knowledge.
Looking for answers in a land of mist and shadow.

This story began in the Thanelands. A Province ruled by Sveinn Blood-Eagle, a Linnorm King. The White Witches of Irrisen plot and scheme to invade the proud kingdoms of the Ulfen people. Queen Elvanna of the Jadwiga knows her time is running out before Baba Yaga returns to Golarion and seeks to immortalize herself by expanding her dread mothers kingdom.

An unlikely band of adventurers is caught up in this dreadful conflict. Inspired to act, each pursues their own personal vendetta against the White Witches, using all the resources at their disposal to undermine the strengths of the Irrisen military presence across the border and likewise defend the Linnorm Kings lands from invasion.

The competition of arms and subterfuge, the group believes, will ultimately end in chaos and the loss of much of the Thanelands to Queen Elvanna. Her greatest strengths are her scouts, spies and ability to communicate via “Mirror magics”. All of which the Ulfen people have fallen short in defending against.

Thwarted, but not defeated, the band has travelled south at the request of both Eldgrim Wyrdmake and Freyr Darkwine and in search of ways to defend against the constructs and mirror magics the Witches employ or even ways to turn these foul weapons against them!

They’re search takes them to…Nidal

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They have arrived in the small, rural barony of Karpad in northern Nidal, located on the thinning edges of the Uskwood. Its citizens know little of the shadowy secret aristocracy in Pangolais or the core of Zon-Kuthon’s worshipers in southern Ridwan. Nevertheless, the fear and darkness that permeate Nidal are prominent here as they are throughout the nation.

Rumors of the disappearance of the daughter the influential Tiberos family and the suggestion that great volumes of knowledge exist in the Barons library have lead the adventurers to believe that the town is worth investigating. They are now at the behest of a worried noble family as well as pursuing their own ends in Nidal.

Will their adventure and investigation be fruitful or futile?

Time will tell.

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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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