Tales of the Northern March

Woden's Watch

Present: Domari, Winori, Hilde, Una

7 Seed 91
Sir Aidan tells Una that the best way to get back into Lord Morgan’s good graces is fulfilling his obligation to Graf Lothar von Dahl, who needs someone to enter the ruins of Stonehold. He then departs with Rory and a contingent of soldiers to defend the Blackwall construction site from goblin attacks. Una speaks with the Graf, who sends Hilde with her, and gathers her brother and the elven bard. They begin to make plans and spend the week gathering supplies, copying spell books, and the like.

13 Seed 91
The party heads out for Adders Bluff and then begins the arduous climb up Grandfather to reach the watch tower. They choose an approach which keeps them away from the griffins to the east but spot a wyvern landing with a goblin rider on the tower itself. Through trickery and illusion they are able to convince the hobgoblins that Una is Ghost and Domari is one of her orcs. They wrangle with an actual ghost who wants to set off the alarm mechanism, but manage to get below without doing so. There, they fight the undead guardians of the tower: a powerful wraith of the Baron von First and a half dozen wights of his knights. After the hard won battle, they are attacked from behind by the goblins and their wyverns, who figured out the deception by watching the fight, and are able to overcome them. They make a tomb of the baron’s quarters and settle down for a much needed rest.

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Lair of Eitrdottir

Present: Oidche, Oren, Una, Rory, Domari, Winori, Hilde

6 Seed 91
The party enters the lair of Eitrdottir, which is filled with choking foul-smelling fog, and confronts the dracolich. After a fierce battle, she is slain and the bedraggled party returns to Fallsport where Oren, Oidche, and Rory go their separate ways.

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Valley of the Dragon

Present: Oren, Una, Rory

5 Seed 91
The party heads into the corrupted western end of the Elf Wood to slay Eitrdottir. They encounter many kobold traps, eventually using a fly spell to get past it to within sight of the lair. There they discover the Dragonbane and several members of Una’s family as undead, guarding the entrance. They fly to Oakridge Tower on Rory shapechanged into a Griffin to discover that Eitrdottir came the night before last and laid waste to Otter Creek before laying siege to Oakridge Tower with the resultant zombies. They go to Sheer Hollow to get help from Talulla, gathering new members Hilde and Domari. They return to the lair and destroy the undead, burning down half of the forest in the process.

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Across the Moor

Present: Oren, Una, Oidche, Rory

4 Seed 91
The party crosses the bridge and fights off the hell hounds sent after them by Hel. Una destroys the amulet within sight of their hostess before the bridge disappears. They determine they are deep in the Troll Moor and set off towards home. Oren shapechanges into a stag for them to ride and Una uses her remaining magic to make him fly for as long as she can. They pass the lair of the black dragon of the moor, at which time they are out of magic and exhausted, but are greeted by the edge of the dragon’s desolation and dawn.

They finally drag themselves into Edgemoor and collapse, exhausted, as guests of the reeve. On waking and bathing, they proceed as quickly as possible to Fallsport, where they make their report to Sir Aidan and charter a boat to take them north along the shore so they can get to Eitrdottir’s lair through the shorter route via the pass in the Pierced Headlands. It is nightfall by the time they reach the mouth of the pass and they opt to camp for the night rather than brave the trap-filled woods at night.

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Hel Hath a Fury

Present: Oidche, Oren, Rory, Una

3 Seed 91
The party goes back to Fallsport to open the door to Hel. They try to figure out where they should do this, and argue back and forth on the most appropriate place, finally landing on Pyre Island , as it is near the castle in case they need help, but also the synchronicity of layering a bridge to the land of the dead over a bridge leading to an island of the dead is just too good not to take advantage of. Eventually it occurs to Una to ask the Earl what she would want done. Una goes to see her, and when she attempts to explain the situation, stumbles when the Earl is sarcastic to her about their achievements regarding Eitrdottir, and ends up babbling a bit as she tries to defend herself without being disrespectful to the Earl. Eventually the Earl tells her to take Tam, and Una leaves before she sounds MORE like a madwoman, trying to avoid the dumbfounded looks of her companions. Tam, more than happy to stand on a battlement and gleefully watch the party go to their deaths, agrees without a problem, and the party goes to the bridge, and Una turns the hourglass over.

Across the bridge is a giantess, who is unwilling to let the party pass, despite Oidche laying on the charm. So they start the fight by stepping foot on the bridge, a fight which goes well, but isn’t precisely the easiest to win, Rory being laid low by her giant club almost instantly. Once she is dead, the party cuts her white dragonscale armor off, and takes her magic torq of water walking from her bag, and then, realizing that they only have a minute to get into the door, run across the bridge, and into the gate to Hel.

The landscape in Hel is a cold, featureless wasteland. The sounds of Garmr howling. After a moment to take this in, the party talks about what they can possibly do. The expectation was that Hel would be waiting on the bridge for them, and when she was not, it put a crimp in plans. Finally Oidche remembers a story about where her palace might be, and so the group heads north. There are faces in the mist that is all around, and burial mounds here and there. Dead people occasionally follow the group, but none of them end up attacking. Una, who is carrying the hourglass, gets sadder and sadder as time goes on.

Eventually, some of the faces in the mist look familiar. The Orcs from the attack on Riverbend , who were then turned into undead orcs. Trying for a third time to kill the party, they attack. They do not last long, and after a moment to catch breath, the journey continues.

Soon the sound of huge wings flying breaks the eerie silence, and a White Dragon lands on the ground in front of everyone. Although everyone else tries to talk to the dragon to keep it from attacking, Una, affected by the hourglass, makes all negotiation impossible with sarcastic barbs, boasting, and a bad attitude. The dragon, not impressed, attacks everyone. Oren and Oidche run, the might of the dragon’s presence frightening them out of their wits. Rory and Una are left to face the thing alone, so Una puts up a circle of roaring hot flame to circle them both, catching part of the dragon within it, and causing so much pain that she nearly cuts Una in half with one bite (Una’s usual magical protection not being up). Then the dragon attempts to flee, but Rory stabs her spear through the beast’s neck, and forces her back down to the ground with sheer muscle, and then kills her. After that, everyone insists to a nervous Oidche that they absolutely must stay for at least an hour to regroup, heal, and catch their breath. The icy mists taking their toll, Rory manages to set a fire in a cooking bowl, and everyone huddles around it.

When it is time to continue the journey, Oren changes into a great stag, and everyone rides him. In this way, the party gets to the palace just as it becomes too dark and cold to survive any longer. The walls around the palace are massive, massive enough to repel giants, with a huge, giant sized gate. Someone knocks upon it, and it swings open silently. The palace within the wall is sized for a normal person, and the door is answered by an old man, who looks irritated to actually be standing there holding the door open. Oidche says that the lore names him Ganglot, and his wife as Ganglotte (Lazy man and lazy woman). He seems very irritated that the party is not dead, and leads the way inside, muttering the whole while.

Hel recieves the party in a great hall with a throne on one end, and a huge table in the middle, set for a feast. In the throne is Hel herself, a woman, half a desiccated corpse, and half beautiful and young. She looks at the party with a dispassionate gaze, and asks what they want. Oren takes the hourglass from Una so she can talk without the problems of before. Una and Oidche try for some time to convince the goddess to give them the necklace of Eitrdottir, without success, for there is nothing the party can offer her (Una even offers to straight up kill and sacrifice the kills to her) to get her to betray her neice. She seems to vaguely like Una, and so tells the party that they may be guests there tonight, to eat, and sleep, and in the morning, they will leave. Then she rises and departs. Reeling from their stunning failure, the party regroups, and eats. The food, though, is not at all filling, and doesn’t even taste good.. it seems as unreal as the rest of the place.

Oidche gets the man and woman in a game of cards, plying them with liquor. Oidche and Rory get them gossiping while they play, and eventually they start talking about the enormous vault filled with treasures that Hel possesses. They say that the Raven King is pulling people out of Valhalla by raising them from the dead, and that he has promised those souls will go to Hel. This is how he has access to the vast amount of necromantic powers that allow him to do his work. His soul, the lazy man says, is in his sword. He also lets it slip that the two witches the party killed are in the palace right then, in negotiations with Hel for something. Oren spends this time concentrating very hard on making a piece of wood grow, just to annoy the goddess. Eventually, with huge effort, he gets a dandelion growing,and seems satisfied with that. Una, once she hears about the vault, spends the time looking for it. She finds the door, complete with magic lock.

Once the servants are asleep, everyone gathers in front of the doors, and discusses a pile of options, none of them as good as anyone would like them to be, and most of them likely to cause an alarm to go up in the palace. Finally, Oidche offers tosimply go steal the key. There’s a lot of deliberation, but finally everyone realizes that this is the best bad plan out of all the bad plans. Una casts invisibility on Oidche, and he steals the keys from the sleeping servants, and grabs a fireplace poker while he is there.

Oidche carefully opens Hel’s door, and sneaks carefully through her room. Carefully, he cuts the cord holding the key, ties the poker to it to approximate the weight of the giant key, and then sneaks off as fast as he dares. There is much (quiet) celebration at the door when he returns victorious, and Una tells him that there is no way she is not writing a poem about this. Then, they open the door.

The vault is filled with treasures, all of it magical. The necklace hangs on a beautifully carved magical harp. Too many objects to name are collected here, and there is a brief, intense period of greed, in which Oren is a steady voice for reason. In the end, the party takes only the necklace, and leaves a pile of very good alcohol in return, with a note from Oidche thanking the goddess for not killing him. Then the party exits the palace with much haste, and opens the bridge immediately upon leaving. As they start to run across the bridge, Hel appears, filled with great vengeance and furious anger. She flings a massive spell at the party, almost killing Oidche. Oren brings him back up with a spell, and Oidche immediately gets up, and runs all the way down the end of the bridge, passing everyone else. At the end of the bridge, Una curtsies to Hel. As she turns to leave, the baying of Hel hounds rings in her ears. She has only time enough to suddenly register that they are not coming out of Hel where they started, meaning that Tam is not waiting to help.. when the Hel Hounds are bounding down upon them.

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Rescue from Spiders

Present: Oren, Rory, Una, Oidche

2 Seed 91
The party tracks their wayward hunters to a massive spider lair. They defeat the trio of aranea and the hordes of spiders while managing not to burn any of their kin or the wood elves cocooned into the web walls. They escort the poison-weakened elves to Rowanbrook and then return with their families to Otter Creek to rejoin the wedding celebration.

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Marriage on New Year Day

Present: Oidche, Oren, Una, Rory

28 Sugar 90
The party leaves with the wedding contingent from Fallsport which includes Lord Morgan, Sir Aidan, and Sir Murdoch in addition to Rory’s entire family. They meet with many other attendees on the road.

1 Seed 91
The morning starts with a ball game between the commoners and MacKincaids. Afternoon sees the New Year ritual and the marriage of Sir Sorley MacKincaid to Cora MacRoy, Padraig Fitzwarren to Elspeth Fitzgerald, and Kirk Fitzwarren to Catrina MacBean. The feast lasts well into the night, sullied only by the arrival of Eitrdottir in human form, demanding her phylactery back or she’ll kill their families. They comply and she leaves without issue, but not without notice.

2 Seed 91
A hunting party of Una and Rory’s fathers and uncles leaves to bring down a boar for the feast but do not return. The party goes after them and is set upon by a pack of displacer beasts.

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The Cailleachan

Present: Oren, Una, Rory, Oidche

24 Sugar 90
The party fights the three hags in their lair using trickery, magic, and brute force to kill two of the trio. The last escapes, invisible and vowing revenge. They find a great deal of treasure, much of it scavenged from dead dwarves of Ambervale, a worg puppy, a massive spellbook bound in human skin, and their artifact cauldron. Unable to utilize or move the latter, they call on Talulla to help them collapse the cave on top of it.

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Cyclops Caves

Present: Oidche, Oren, Rory, Una

23 Sugar 90
The party defeats the cyclops of Cyclops Vale and enters his cave, which leads under the hills where The Cailleachan live. They encounter a number of strange creatures, the oddest being the myconids, but eventually are able to find a small tunnel leading into the hags’ lair.

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Productive Members of Society

Present: Una, Oren, Oidche, Rory

25 Ice to 22 Sugar 90
The party steals Alice from the mercenary guild after buying their other thrall, Alister Fitzhugh. They set up Alice (under the name Astrid) in Mapledell with Gilroy as the proprietors of a new inn, The Pierced Dragon. Una sets up a distillery on Fuller Street to make an expensive gin she calls Venom. She puts her sister in charge of it and teaches her all she needs to know.

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