Tales of the Northern March

Thieves Guild

Present: Oidche, Oren, Una, Rory

24 Ice 90
Each member of the party is ambushed separately:

  • Una is attacked by a tough, who drags her into an alley and nearly throttles her to death. She thinks to show him her pendant and throw it into the street. He lets her go to retrieve it and she incinerates him.
  • Rory is attacked in the bath house by Mari and Ellis, the heads of the guild, and manages to best them besides being naked (luckily her weapon can be called to hand).
  • Oidche is approached by a tainted one but he manages to charm it and send it away to its death at the bottom of the cliffs.
  • Oren is beset by robbers in the woods to the north of the city but makes short work of two of them. The other two flee.

They go to the Bloody Knife and explain, in no uncertain terms, that they will burn the place to the ground if anyone moves against them again. Ellis is publicly executed in the Market Square the next day.

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Cleaning up
“He had turned into a dragon while he was asleep. Sleeping on a dragon's hoard with greedy, dragonish thoughts in his heart, he had become a dragon himself.”

Present: Oidche, Oren, Rory, Una

23 Ice 90 (night)
Oidche wakes from a bad dream, in an unfamiliar room, with Una sitting beside him. With help from Rory through the little barred window outside the cell, Una tells Oidche what happened to him. Oidche looks less than thrilled as the story goes on, and definitely blames this on everyone else in the party; nothing like this ever happened to him when he was just a supply clerk. Una talks Oiche into seeing Lonan at The Academy with her.

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Where in Fallsport is Oidche Hay
“Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.”

Present: Oren, Rory, Una

23 Ice 90
Early in the morning, Oren goes to get a bath, and discovers that the various lightfoot customers of The Cider House do not like him being there at all, and have shown their displeasure by boycotting the place. The proprietor dismisses this, and refuses to let it bother him. Rory goes to see her father, and spends some time catching up with him, chatting about her friends and their various adventures, and the upcoming marriages in her family. Una, after breakfast, goes to have her dragonskin gown repaired. While she is on Threadneedle Court, Una hears a woman calling desperately for help.

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Under Hill, Over Mountain
“Shall we their fond pagents see? Lord, what fools these mortals be!”

Present: Oidche, Oren, Rory, Una

21 Ice 90
The party is sleeping in a cave chosen by Oren, well away from Old Baldy.
2 AM

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Into the Breach
From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remembered-

Present: Oidche, Oren, Rory,Una

20 Ice 90
Our Army:
From Sister’s Pass on the east side come Lord Morgan,Sir Aidan, their squires and Tam, along with Lord Evan and heavy infantry from Fallsport. Sir Alistair and Laird Barclay MacBryce Come with Infantry and Lancers, led by MacBryce himself, from Hermit Tor. Callum MacAidan leads infantry from Cloverfield (assholes!).Lord Murdoch Dragonbane with infantry and archers from Otter Creek will arrive on the other side of Littler Sister to fire arrows at them from the back.

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Ripples
"By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes"

Present: Oidche, Oren, Rory, Una

19 Ice 90
Our heroes are now looking at the witches’ cave plugged with boulders, trying to figure out what to do. Oren travels around quickly, and finds no more entrances, just some subtle smoke-holes. Una and Rory gather brush, with the thought that perhaps they can start a fire in the entrance. Oidche listens, and hears people grumling in the cave, and some others having a quiet conversation way in the back of the cave. Rory lifts him up to look in the cracks between the boulders while Oren and Una have a discussion on tactics. Oidche senses that there are a bit more than half a dozen very large creatures in the cave. The fire’s been put out, and so it lets him see a lot farther, into the back cave. On a large natural shelf in the back, he can see a strangely colored glow that might be a fire. The shadows show that the Ettin is there, as well as three other large creatures. As Oidche looks, Rory and Una oil the boulders, with the aim of setting them on fire at the right moment. Eventually the Etin comes back, and asks, “What humans want?” Rory replies “Dead Giants”, and Oidche shoots the Ettin, as Una uses Ray of Frost on him, and the Ettin swears loudly, and retreats to talk to the witches. There is a lot of discussion about what to do, but ultimately nothing gets done, as no one has any good ideas, and everyone seems a little wary about fighting more giants in a cave.

Oren camouflages himself with some mud, and he sees a tiny little man, smaller than a halfling, standing on the hill, peering at everyone. Oren waves, which startles him. He points at the dead giants, and then at the group, and Oren nods. The gnome gives a thumbs up sign, and comes down to talk to him. The gnome, named Keelan, has a discussion with Oren, and divulges that the giants have only one other entrance, which is in Cyclops Vale. They’ve come to an agreement with the creature there, paying it tribute in order to have hassle-free passage back and forth. Just as the gnome is leaving, Rory shoots through the holes between the boulders, and kills the Ettin. Clouds gather, and there is a crack of thunder. Oidche hides behind a rock, and Una hides under the biggest tree she can find, while Rory and Oren are under another. A lightning bolt hits the tree they are under, and they get badly hurt. Una realizes that this could be ‘Call Lightning’, in which case, they are druids, or perhaps they are storm giants (Their name is Cailleachan; the “storm witches”, after all). In any case, she knows that they have to see what they are doing to be so precise with their bolts, and so they are using some kind of divination to do this.

Oidche wiggles part way into the boulders to find out what’s going on, and sees the witches in a circle, chanting as one, casting. Oren runs away from Rory’s location, and Una casts invisiblity. Rory gets hit with another lightning bolt, being very seriously hurt. Una realizes that they have to be scrying on the cave front, and not Rory specifically, so after retrieving Oidche from his hidey-hole, the party travels as fast as they can for a half hour, going north into the elf wood. After a rest for an hour, there is some argument about the situation. The decision is to go back home through the elf wood, and possibly kill the cyclops.. or at least look at the cyclops.

About an hour into the walk, the party comes across a great trampling of tracks in the forest. Oren determines that they are the tracks of about 400 orcs, heading south, towards comfort knoll. In fact, the tracks are a few days old, certainly corresponding to the orc raid on the town. The party decides to head to Sheer Hollow to spread the word, since Talulla can send many messages at once.

The party heads along Whisper Creek (named so for the whisperings of the many dryads and trees speaking to each other along the banks). Eventually Una hears the whispering, and Oren sees a dryad across the bank, and instantly falls for her. Una takes over the dialog, and after a few false starts, soon gets her attention when she tells the dryad that they are looking to stop the hoard of orcs. She tells Una that they are led by a female named “The Ghost”, a half orc, much smarter and stronger of will than the other orcs. She has patience, and is able to plan. She manages to intimidate the other orcs, and swears vengeance against any of them that desert. Una tells her that they are going to Sheer Hollow for help (Oren suddenly thinks that this is the greatest idea ever), and asks if she and the forest can help to speed their progress. The dryad agrees, and they are on their way. Along the trip, Oren keeps talking about the dryad, getting more and more graphic about what he’d like to do with her as time goes on. The trip itself is suddenly much easier, as they find their way unimpeded by plants and roots. When night falls, will o’ the wisps light their path, unnerving everyone, as the usual wisdom says not to follow them. Eventually they get to Rowanbrook. Oidche and Fritz stay there, as Fritz is completely tired at this point. Una, Rory, and Oren get to Sheer Hollow at last, and ask a bleary apprentice if they can see Talulla. They are shown up to the library.

They explain the situation to her, and she already knows of it. The knights from Riverbend Castle, including Lord Niall, tracked the orcs from Comfort Knoll, and were ambushed. Most of the knights were killed, including Lord Niall. Talulla says that The Ghost made sure to target him specifically. They are now encamped between Little Sister and Big Sister, quite nearby. In the discussion, she tells them more information.

The Ghost was left in the wood to die as an infant, which is the standard for such births. Her age, and her blue eyes, put her birth as an almost certain outcome of the orc ambush that killed Lord Niall’s parents. His sister survived the raid, and is almost certainly the mother of The Ghost. Una sends off all but one of Talulla’s birds. Several go to many of the outlying villages, warning them to evacuate, and one goes to Lord Morgan, telling him of the situation, and asking for orders. While they wait for the bird to return, they are shown into a suite of rooms. Una makes a big deal about needing Oidche there, and Talulla snaps her fingers, teleporting a very surprised Oidche into the room. Once she’s left, Una tells Rory and Oidche (Oren does not care at this point, and passes out in the corner) that when Lord Niall was 16 during the Goblin War, which is when he “met” Oidche’s mother, a camp follower. Given what Vala Gisila said, he is the only Lord that fits the description, and Una, tired and filled with hyper energy, insists that they need to keep an eye on Oidche. For his part, Oidche refuses to believe any of it, including that Gisila is at all able to tell the future. No matter how hard Una presses, he flat out refuses it. Eventually the subject is dropped. The bird returns, saying in Lord Morgan’s voice, that we are to go defend the castle, he is coming. Una sends another bird, explaining that The Ghost seems to be targeting Lord Niall’s family. Everyone decides that sleeping through the night simply won’t do in this case, so they prepare to leave. Talulla offers horses. Rory asks in surprise if they really ride horses, as she imagined elves to flit about on the wind. This brings about some hilarity, and Talulla observes pleasantly that they are mocking her, and is pleased over it, saying it is a new experience. They go outside, and she creates horses out of moonlight for them, with the spirit of horses within them. Everyone rides like the wind on these magnificent horses, that never stumble on terrain, and never need to be lead. The party bursts forth from the treeline, headed towards the castle, and there is a sudden terror-filled realization that perhaps under these circumstances, that they probably shouldn’t have done it quite that abruptly.

20th of Ice (Midnight)

Riverbend Castle is lit up and manned with soldiers. The village surrounding it is entirely empty, as the villagers are within. The party is greeted by Blaire, Sir Aidan’s sister (whom Una has not yet met). Una gets nominated by everyone to talk to Lady Gillian, Lord Niall’s wife, to give an update on the situation. After the intense and emotional update, they go to see Sir Alistair, Lord Niall’s brother, who is gravely wounded, and Oren heals him completely with a mighty spell; the image of the white stag lingering in the air above the knight for a moment afterwards. Rory notices that both Gavin and Bryce (Sir Alistair and Lord Niall’s squires), are holding themselves stiffly, and insists on treating them, and ends up saving Bryce’s life. Bryce, in deep sadness over losing his knight, was ignoring the massive wound, and slowly bleeding to death.

Sir Alistair’s appearance on the wall causes a boost in morale, and the party soon gets to speak with him about defenses, and plans, Oidche making very sure that the secret back door to the building is secured and guarded. Everyone gets a little sleep. Just before dawn, Lord Morgan arrives with seven knights on horseback, 100 levied troops, and Tam. Sir Aidan dismounts his horse and hugs his sister. Una comes up and politely asks to speak to him, to much hooting from her comrades. Sir Aidan and Una go into the armory, and Una tells him about “The Ghost”, and her relationship to Lord Niall. Sir Aidan is thrown by the news, but says that Lord Morgan needs to know this, and that he’ll be the one to break it to him, which was Una’s hope, as she certainly did not want to do it. They talk a bit about meeting Blair, and Una suddenly realizes that she is a total mess, with wind snarled hair, mud and blood all over her. The realization that she’s talked to every important person in the castle like this suddenly comes over her, and she tries to clean herself up using the shields around as mirrors.

Later, Lord Morgan briefs the party, saying that they are going at dawn, and Una warns that it is a trap. Lord Morgan does not care, and that they are going, regardless. Oren tells him all the information the party has on orcs, and Tam gets a very big smile on his face when he learns that they are superstitious about magic. At the end of this, Sir Aidan and Tam pull the party aside, and Sir Aidan tells them that he has a very large clay pot filled with an extremely large amount of Alchemists fire. He would like them to climb Little Sister, and then fling this pot in the middle of the assembled orc troops, hopefully dividing them in half, and starting the battle.

Soon, Dawn arrives.

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Off to See the Witches
Fair is foul and foul is fair

Present: Oidche, Oren, Rory, Una

18 Ice 90
In the morning, Oren wakes up under a pile of the town’s dogs, which makes him happy, and he considers just going back to sleep. Oidche wakes up with the halfling woman he saved sleeping with her head on his chest. He is not at all comfortable with this, but is quite gracious to her.

Rory gets woken up by halfling kids who are taken with her, both by her size and the flaming spear. Una wakes on her own, and soon finds that she’s getting the cold shoulder by the halflings in general; they seem wary of her, and seem to want to give her space. As she is eating and pondering this, a child comes up to her, and asks her if she can do magic. When Una confirms this to be true, the little girl brings her into the room with the only three men who died during the fight, and asks Una to help her bring her daddy back. Una says she cannot do this, but takes off one of her rings and gives it along with a note in Dwarven, which asks Vala Gisila to help them, and says that if she does, she will owe the dwarven woman a favor. Gisila owes the party one free rescue from death, but Una stresses that she is not calling that in, as it would affect the rest of the party. Later, Oren asks if she’s going to do that for everyone, but Una has no answer.

Caron, the halfling woman Oidche saved, brings a pile of cloth to him, a black and green plaid. She says she was making it to sell to humans, but that she would really like him to have it. Oidche discovers the fine cloth, and amazing workmanship, and thanks her gently, plainly worried that she is more attached that he would like, but she takes her leave of him, and goes to mourn over her husband.

One by one, halflings come and give gifts to each of the others; a very old woman expresses approval over Oren and his accomplishments, and gives him a pair of rabbit and deer skin gloves. Rory is given a pair of very fine sheepskin boots from a woman named Alis, and Una is given an old, carved harp from an old man who cannot play it any more.

After breakfast and gift giving, the party begins to pack up to leave. The halflings have piled the cart high with amazing food, pear wine, and wonderful cheeses, as a last way to thank them. The halflings assure everyone that they have already sent someone to Riverbend Castle about the orc raid. Then the party leaves in a hurry, trying to miss Lord Niall, and the niceties that will take up their whole day.

As they are travelling, Oren notices a Griffin flying over Griffin Mount. Oidche, fooling around with his new plaid, misses it, as does Una, who can’t see it, no matter how many times everyone tries to point it out, even when Oidche grabs her head and turns it. As the time comes to start heading towards Snipe Island, Oidche becomes suspicious again when Oren starts to turn the group to the north. He starts arguing about getting lost in the bog, and finally the truth of the reasons for the trip come out, and Oidche starts to dig in his heels, knowing about the witches from the halflings on Snipe Island. Oren and Una start trading blame back and forth about the genesis of the plan, and Oidche finally just gives in with a weary sigh. The group gives Trollwatch Castle a very wide berth as they travel, knowing that meeting anyone there would be a very big mistake.

At lunch, the group stops along the edge of the moor. Rory and Oren spot a rider on the moor, who stops and seems to be watching them. Oren waves, and the figure begins to ride towards the resting crew. After about 20 minutes of riding, the Trollwatch colors are seen, making Una’s stomach sink; the colors mean that it’s not just someone from Trollwatch, but that it is the Lord of Trollwatch himself, an extremely powerful, unpleasant and bitter individual. As he rides along, a discussion begins about what to say to him, which seems to be Oidche’s last straw.
Macedancoa

When he arrives, he is nervously, but deferentially greeted. The party offers to share their bountiful and lovely lunch. He, in return, is haughty, nasty, and aggressive. Once he learns who each person is (regarding Una as one might an extremely disgusting and strange bug, and accusing her of bewitching Sir Aidan), he asks why they are there. Oidche, not at all happy with the plan, tells Lord Duncan about their plans without leaving anything out, and in a sarcastic tone. Lord Duncan gets even more abrasive, and says that since the Earl did not send the party out here, that they need to leave right now, lest we rile up anything that comes out of the moor. Then Rory speaks up, and says that we still need to get to Snipe Island, and he counters with telling her to buy some wine from the wine-seller in Fallsport. Una reminds him that no matter how good that wine is, it isn’t the quantity that would be needed for a wedding. Lord Duncan, in a furious snit, says that if the party goes across the moor and gets stuck or lost, that he will not come to the rescue. During the conversation, all sense of decorum and respect break down as snide comments in the background turn into outright mockery, both of Lord Duncan and Una, which Lord Duncan seizes on, and seems about an inch from outright calling her a whore. Eventually Lord Duncan returns to hunt in the moor, and even attempts to wish him luck in this endeavor are met with hostility.

After he leaves, the travelling continues, and the party devolves into loud bickering at each other, with Una finally just flipping out completely. As they do this, a heavy fog rolls in. Bitching turns into joking, with some talk of running past Trollwatch screaming about Giants coming. Because of the fog, the group stops. Una continues with her breakdown, saying she can’t stand the whole ‘high society’ thing anymore. Even over all that racket, Oidche hears something coming through the fog; likely trolls. When he points them out, everyone can vaguely see some shapes that appear to be trolls. Una uses her new Firebally spell, which burns off the fog (as well as seriously setting trolls on fire), and they can see that there are five, come to devour them. Oidche desperately hides during the fight, being defended by his horse, and Rory produces the fire on her spear, which the trolls hate. Eventually they are gone, and everyone agrees that it is time to stop and rest, but not there. The smells of burnt Troll just cannot be ignored. During the night, the subject of turning back is brought up, but everyone agrees to keep going.

19th Ice 90
As early as possible, the party continues to hunt giant witches. They pass “Appletop”, heading along one of the “Ettin Head” hills, and into the eastern outskirts of the elfwood, a few hours into the day. Oren scouts about, and finds the cave that they are looking for. An ettin stands guard in the front. He also notices a lot of strange rocks on the top of the hill that turn out to be hill giant guards. The ettin starts a conversation, but Oren stops it with an arrow, and a hard battle begins. The hill giants, as they fight, talk about the “witches” in Giant. Rory understands through the syntax, that the word really means “Hag”. Likely, this means an “Annis” hag, a giant with claws, spells, and skin that can’t be pierced with steel. Oren kills a lot of the hill giants, hatred fueling skill. Eventually the very wounded ettin retreats into the cave, and several boulders are stuck in the opening.

The party takes a moment to asses this, and talk about their next move.

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The First Stone
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

Present: Oidche, Oren, Rory, Una

17 Ice 90
Rory and Una get their family members together, to see who gets along with who. Finally, everyone is settled except Roarke and Beatrice. Roarke is really against getting married, and doesn’t really like any of Una’s sisters and cousins. Beatrice is really smitten with Kirk (who actively dislikes her), and quite adamantly dislikes Padraig, who likes her very much. Hoping to strike up a match, Rory introduces her to her brother Bran, who seems to like her a lot, but Beatrice, hoping that Kirk will like her some day, refuses to accept him either. With an assertion that they will like each other at the end of winter, the two ladies head off with Oren and Oidche on their ‘cranberry wine’ errand.

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The Frost Giants
“I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”

Present:Oren, Rory, Una

15 Ice 90 (Imbolc)
A giant hand comes over the side, grabs Oidche, and flings him over the side. Una uses fast magic, and makes him float like a feather. Below him, though, is the icy Loch, and his chances of surviving that are quite low. That worry has to take a backseat, however, as several Frost Giants climb over and onto the watch tower and adjoining wall. Una uses Thunderwave, pushing one off the tower, and nearly pushing another, who manages to hold on.

Onto the wall from the tower come Sir Aidain and Rory’s brothers, Padraig and Kirk. Almost immediately, Padraig is nearly cut in half but for the interference of Sir Aidan’s shield. Rory, hearing her brothers over there, leaps down off the tower, screaming and attacking the giant with her flaming spear. The leader of the Frost Giant tells them to find and kill the Earl. She then conveniently shows up atop one of the keep’s towers with Rory’s uncle, firing arrows into the massive wind, and hitting unerringly. Rory and Sir Aidan fight a grueling battle on one side, with her brothers attempting to help, but their weapons are not up to the task. Oren fights alone atop the tower, with minimal help from Una, who is mostly out of spells. He is bolstered by the arrows of the Earl, however.

When Sir Aidan falls, Rory, who has noticed that the giants seem afraid of magic, strikes fear into their hearts by calling out to Una that Sir Aidan has fallen. Una leaps from her perch on the horn, onto the top of the parapet, using her very last spell to barrage one with fire, nearly frightening him off the wall. Oren joins the fight and saves Aidan, who is hovering near death, with a spell. Sir Aidan regains his feet, and bull rushes the last one, knocking it off the wall and into the loch. He is given healing potions, and uses his own, drinking one after another as he leads everyone down to the bridge (after first checking on Tam, whose pyrotechnic attacks were visible all throughout the fight).

To get to the bridge (which is across town), everyone gets on horses, and rides as fast as they can, as this bridge is extremely long. Everyone rides hell bent for the bridge, except for Una, who can’t seem to control her horse. It wanders wherever it wants to, ignoring all her attempts to get it to go fast, or even in the right direction. Sir Aidan, rolling his eyes, tells Oren to sort it out. Oren puts Una on his own horse, and then casts a spell to make it run fast.. faster than any horse could ever run. The spell seems to give the horse eight legs, like Sleipnir, Thor’s own horse. Oren and Una pass Rory and Sir Aidan. The guards at the bridge’s gatehouse inform them that Sir Morgan and his men have gone down to the Rafts to defend the halflings caught there by the sneak attack. When they get to the base of the cliff, they see that there are three giants left, trying to get to their boat, loaded down with booty. Oren creates that same fog, and Una uses the emerald pendant to regain one spell; Thunderwave, which she uses to create the booming thunder, and push all the water before them in a huge wave. The giants lose their nerve, thinking Thor himself has come to slay them, and run hysterically, dropping everything. The cavalry chase him, riding their horses over the side by side boats all jammed together. Lord Morgan leaps onto the boat with his own horse, and cuts off a giant’s head with one blow. One giant disappears into the loch, likely swimming away, and the other is killed by the cavalry.

16 Ice 90
Everyone is still on alert, waiting for another attack that never comes. Rory, Oren, and Una go looking for Oidche, and find a female halfling on a bright yellow barge, smoking a pipe. She seems to be the only one not rushing around to leave, so Una asks if she can help them find something. She invites everyone in for a drink. Inside the extremely sleazy tiny bar, the halfling introduces herself as Gwen, and everyone else introduces themselves. She seems to know everyone, and questions Una about the elven love magic she used to ‘Tame The Black’. Una tries to gloss over that, and explains what they need; Oidche is likely floating around in the loch, and they need him, whether he’s frozen to death or not. Gwen calls in some extremely disreputable halflings, and offers one of Una’s rings as payment (who suddenly feels very self conscious in her finery, with all her treasure on her person). The pirates leave, and everyone decides that they really don’t want to spend a lot of time inside the cramped, kind of creepy barge, so everyone waits outside. Eventually one of the barges returns, with Oidche, who is miraculously not dead, but has severe hypothermia, and is unconscious. Rory carries him to the castle, and the Earl herself comes to tend to Oidche, bringing him back from near death with a spell. He is wrapped up, and moved to a chamber on the second floor (the floor reserved for family) to be taken care of.

Rory, Oren, Una, and Sir Aidan sit down, eat leftovers from the feast, get warm, and drink quite heavily. Sir Aidan tells the group that there is going to be a castle built three miles from Mapledell, facing Goblin Pass, in anticipation of a war breaking out. He says it will be called “Blackwall”, after himself, although Una insists on calling it “Flat Castle”, since it will be a castle built in the shape of a wall. He says that he would like people he knows he can trust in a variety of positions.. that he is starting his own legacy, and would like everyone to be a part of it. He offers Rory the position of Constable there, and says that he would like Oidche to come as well, but will offer the position of Marshal to him when he is able to respond again. There is a long discussion about Oren’s position in all this, and Sir Aidan says if it will help him decide, that he will elevate Kester to “Laird”. Oren talks about wanting to breed and train Wargs to help defend the people, and Sir Aidan seems intrigued, saying he would give him kennels to attempt this. In the end, it seems that Oren will accept the ‘Warden’ position, and everyone can see plans brewing in his eyes. The discussion devolves into joking and laughing, which seems to annoy Lord Morgan when he returns. Sir Aidan gets up to see to him, leaving the three to discuss what to do now.

The discussion gets punchier and punchier, with Oren pushing Rory off her chair at one point, while she laughs like a loon. Finally, Oren remembers a tale he’s heard of three giant witches that live near Snipe island, an independent place not under the Earl’s rule, filled with Halflings making cranberry wine. The people there tell the tale that these witches will cast spells for you if you bring them treasures, and are surrounded by Ogres, Hill Giants, and other creatures that they’ve forced to serve them. Rory, Oren, and Una ponder this as a fine diversion during winter, and then worry about how they’re going to get Oidche involved. They decide that in any case, cranberry wine would be lovely at the various weddings happening in the spring, and think that they can make a trip to Snipe Island with Oidche as soon as he is well enough for the trip. Everyone drifts off to their well deserved rest.

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All along the watch tower.
and the wind began to howl....

Present: Oidche, Oren, Rory, Una

25 Yule 90
The evening of the 25th, the party gathers together to divvy up the treasure, which proves to be remarkably easy. Oren only desires those things that remind him of the woods, and the rest does not matter. Rory picks out a few choice objects for her brothers, and Una really only cares about the wooden box. Everything else is divided up, and the group goes to sell those few things which can be actually sold. The first stop is to the potion seller, Cillian. There, Oidche discovers that the potion is likely worth 750 gold to Laird Macaidan. There is some shopping about for potions, and several ‘climbing’ potions and an oil of etherealness are purchased, after concluding that the potion of heroism is prohibitively expensive.

Once outside, the group spots Vala Gisila outside behind a wooden table. She is a young dwarven woman in a blood red gown throwing runes. The group approaches and then gets distracted by food vendors, acquiring meat pies, hot cider, meat on sticks, and roasted chestnuts. As they approach Gisila, Oidche and Rory argue about food. The seeress smiles as they approach, Oidche as usual in front to do the talking. She calls him ‘Highborn’ as she asks how she can help, which is ignored at first. The runestones are of a great interest to her, and she begins haggling with Oidche, whom she keeps calling ‘Highborn’. Finally she says that she will trade one raise from the dead for these runestones, and we all agree. After this is decided upon, the subject of why she keeps calling Oidche “highborn” is brought up, and she keeps dropping hints, saying that no one knows who his father is, not even his mother, and Oidche seems quite happy with this, but it annoys both Rory and Una. Oren asks for a reading, because he wants to be the first to get one with the new runes, which seems to amuse Gisila. She says that she sees him returning home in the next year, in a position of high import, that he will be reluctant to accept because of the respect of the one who has it now. Una asks next, and Gisila gets a lewd smile on her face, and says that she doesn’t see any children in her future, but sees a lot of sex. Everyone starts making fun of her immediately. Una, trying to deflect, tries to get Rory to get a reading, which she absolutely refuses to do. She and Una both try very hard to get Oidche to get a reading about his father, and he finally asks if he is more likely to survive knowing or not knowing. Gisila playfully says that he is the oldest of his father’s children, and that if anyone knows who his father is, it would put him into danger. Then Una asks about The Undying. Gisila casts the runes, frowns at them, and looks extremely disturbed. She says that this person is likely literally Undying, someone who is actually dead in some way. Una asks if that means that the sunlight would be trouble to them, she answers that it depends on the sponsor. She says if The Undying had made a pact with Loki (though it appears that she’d taken that as an example out of the air, but Una doesn’t believe that for a moment), that the sunlight might in fact hurt them. Suddenly in a grave mood, she packs up her table, and leaves. Oren complains that it’s put him off his meat on a stick. Rory and Una give Oidche a hard time about figuring out who his father is, and Una begins to say that it can’t be that hard to figure it out without magic rune reading, and suddenly trails off, and looks unhappy, and stops talking. Rory pesters her the rest of the day to tell what she’s figured out, and Oidche looks extremely uncomfortable.

The next stop is the Merchant’s Exhange. Oren refuses to go inside, and so the rest go in. Oidche does most of the talking with the Laird. In small talk prior to revealing the potion, the Laird asks after Sorley, and is pleased that he has lived, saying that he bet on Sorley, and that he is now owed a lot of money. The negotiations with him go quite smoothly, though Una wants to take the offer of a building rather than money. In the end, he gives the group a pile of gems, and they are divided. The party returns to their various lives for some time, until the festival, when all their crafts and projects will be completed. During the weeks in between, the giant sized helmet is donated to the temple of the Aesir, as it is decorated with arms and armor taken from an enemy.

15 Ice 90 (Imbolc)
During the ensuing weeks, Una manages to get Sir Aidan into bed, and suddenly finds herself engaged, insisted upon by theEarl, after having an interview in which she massively impresses her. Though this makes Una incredibly nervous, she sees that it might be an actual boon. Their marriage is set for Beltaine, by the Earl herself. Oren, with Oidche by his side, pursues his ‘dragon sausage’ experiment. The proprietor of The Cider House makes a lot of things out of the dragon’s meat, but the best becomes the sausage.. by Imbolc, Drystan has perfected the recipe. He has chairs made in human size for the party, and they are allowed to get free food and drink.. soon it becomes the place for them to go.. especially with their new storytelling prowess. Rory spends her time arranging for the marriage between her brothers, and Una’s various family members (including her twin sister), and arranges for the mass of them to come up for Imbolc and discuss everything, taking over the whole of an inn for the occasion.

The gown for the Earl turns out to be a masterpiece, and the lesser gown for Una to be just as beautiful. Everyone dresses up for the occasion, the others in the party wearing their dragon skin armor. The day of the celebration, it begins snowing, and then it begins to blizzard. Una starts getting vocally nervous about the white dragon that feeds during blizzards coming, but eventually gets distracted by the festival itself. During dinner, Una once again tells the story of the dragon’s fight, with the others joining in as they did during the last telling of the tale. It takes on a hypnotic, almost supernatural feel, with the fog and the shadows seeming to take on their own life. During the tale telling, everyone gets their gifts. Sir Aidan seems a little puzzled as to why he is receiving one, but seems to like it. The Earl leaves in order to put the gown on. During the time after this, Una gets more and more antsy about the blizzard, when the horn on the watch tower blows, signifying that the frost giants are attacking again.

Everyone in the hall instantly scatters, with Tam heading towards the Fire Tower. Una, Oren, Rory and Oidche go to find out why the horn was blown . Getting out onto the top, the blizzard suddenly becomes a reality, as they realize that they have to be careful due to the winds, and their sight is restricted severely. Everyone but Rory can hear loud cracking noises down by the watch tower. Oren and Oidche can hear the sounds of Frost Giants climbing up that tower, and Oidche alone can hear the screams of panic drifting on the wind from the halflings at the bottom of the cliff caught unawares by invaders that did not get seen until too late. He also hears the beating of wings. Everyone rushes towards that tower to blow the horn again, so that those waiting on other towers will know the castle is under attack.

By the time they get to the tower, they can see the white dragon on it, eating a guard, and they can see the other guard go flying off the tower because of a tail swipe. The siege engines on this tower are completely decimated. Rory, knowing one of her brothers is on this tower, goes running at it, attacking with her flaming spear. Oren moves up to the horn, and just before he blows it, saves Roark’s (Rory’s brother, near death on the floor) life with a minor spell. Una casts darkness on a long piece of rope still attached to the wreckage of her beloved war machines, and sends it over the side, hoping to slow down the ascent of the giants. The dragon breathes freezing cold on everyone, and then everyone attacks it full force, driving it off. As it takes off into the storm, Oidche focuses his marvelous hearing and sees if he can hear it, and takes a blind shot based only on what he hears, killing the beast and sending into the Loch below with a road and a magnificent splash.

There is half a heartbeat while they tend to the groggy Roark, and send him back into the castle to find Lord Morgan and report. Just as he leaves, a huge, frosty hand comes over the side as the Frost Giants arrive on the top of the watch tower.

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