22 Yule 90
The party is camping after having killed the green dragon Eitrdottir. As the sky purples into dusk, Una is identifying the various magic items. Oren takes the hunting horn, his fate intertwined with that of the white stag.
Sorley and Rory are up, Una is identifying objects, and is so into it that she completely misses some of what happens next.
Rory hears Fritz, Oidche’s horse, whinnying and bucking outside. Sorley goes to calm the horse, and so he is facing away when the dark, ghostly elven forms come out of the locked wooden chest and attack them. Rory, however, sees them, and is prepared for the attack, and avoids Sorley’s fate. Several of them converge on him and drain away part of his soul, causing him to collapse on the ground. One of them comes into the Yurt, and Una screams at the top of her lungs to awaken her companions. She pulls the haste scroll from her bag (later, she is sad that she had to use it, as she was hoping to transcribe it into her spellbook when she was able to cast it without danger) , and casts it on Rory, who begins to fight.. a whirlwind of fire and death. Oidche awakens with the scream, and slips beneath the edge of the yurt. Oren rises and attacks the wraith within the yurt, but the blow isn’t really landing very well. Una’s magic missiles take care of the one in the yurt, and so Oren slices through the wall of the yurt to get out, as Rory’s whirling wall of golden flame is in the opening. There he saves Sorley’s life with some of his minor healing, and then is forced to dodge out of the way as Fritz’s flailing hooves nearly kick him in the head. Oidche skirts the outer edge of the camp, shooting into the melee with an expert marksmanship. Faced with Rory slicing through its companions, one wraith enters the yurt, and brutalizes Una, cutting out part of her soul also. Finally, frustrated by the real lack of harm that physical weapons are doing to the wraiths, Oren uses the divine magic given to him by the white stag to kill the rest of the ones outside, while Una puts extra magical oomph into her spells, barraging the one in the yurt with an overkill of magic missiles.
Oren then insists that the chest gets dealt with. Oidche had tried to open the chest earlier, but had been unable to get a mastery of the lock.. and since no one wants to destroy the beautiful chest, Una uses a spell to open the chest. Even though the side effect of the spell is to let loose a loud, booming, knocking noise that can be heard throughout the forest, no one seems to be too concerned. Within the chest is a pile of gold coins stamped with the face of Freyr, having come directly from Vannaheim. All told, there appears to be about 50 pounds of gold in the chest. As Oidche looks through the gold, Oren checks for secret compartments in the chest. Rory begins to accuse Oidche of stealing from the party, which Oidche hotly denies. Oren finds no secret compartments, and Una surmises that because the attack on the dragon took place in the daylight, that her treasure guardians simply could not attack then. The rest of the night goes without incident.
23 Yule 90
The next morning, more progress is made towards leaving the fae woods. Laden with a groaning cart, and loathe to fall prey to traps or attackers due to lack of diligence, movement is slow and nerve-wracking. Nothing even sticks its head out to annoy the party during the journey, though the snow makes it hard to see. Una rides in the cart because she is so tired from the spectral attack the night before. She spends her time sewing the side of the yurt back together. Sorley is also tired, but he walks. At the end of the day, camp is set tantalizingly close to the edge of the deep woods.
During this watch, Oren is buried inside the cart, peering out from the slats, and Oidche is hiding in the open yurt flap. Oidche and Oren get surprised by quite a lot of Kobolds, hiding in the snow laden trees. Oren blows the horn through the slats of the cart at the dozen or so on just that side of camp. The noise resonates and echoes through the woods. As Una comes out of the tent to see what is going on, she cannot see any of the Kobolds in any trees. She turns to Oidche to ask him what is going on, and he goes down in a hail of poison darts, and she gets quite a few stuck in her as well. The poison does not even annoy her, wearing the emerald necklace. The Kobolds, convinced that the noise inside the cart was the head of the dragon calling to them, start trying to lift it out of the cart. Oren stabs them through the slats, and Sorley jumps on top of the cart, and starts stabbing at them as well.
A huge white stag, even bigger than a warhorse, appears at the edge of camp, looking at Oren and stamping his feet expectantly. Oren asks him to protect his friends from the kobolds. Then it bellows, sounding like the horn itself.. bellows, and the sound resounds through the forest. The kobolds scatter like cockroaches. He then makes gestures indicating that the party should follow him. So the yurt and the cart is packed, and everyone follows him as he leads a winding path through the fae woods, where Ottercreek can be seen as the dawn arrives. The stag then, simply stands there and watches everyone, and Oren instinctively knows that he now owes The Woods a service.. something that worries him immensely.
24 Yule 90
The party heads for Ottercreek at quite a fast pace (after Sorley puts on his plate mail, and the cart is arranged for the best dramatic effect). Hunting horns sound, and the gates are thrown open. Everyone in the town comes out to meet the returning heroes. Una’s family surround her and Sorley, and there is a lot of happy crying and celebrating. After some quick discussion, the bulk of the treasure, those things not being given to the Dragonsbane and Cora as a gift, or the dragon head, is packed up into the cart. Una draws fake magical runes on the outside of the tarp, then makes them glow, which impresses everyone watching. Then they push it into the Laird’s biggest barn, and they lock it up. Oren then uses his new magic to make every dog in the town his friend, and they all leave their owners to join Oren, who tells them to watch the barn. They all sit around it dutifully, with little regard to their owners, scaring the populace, and making them suddenly very wary of the group. Along the way to Oakridge tower, the party eats meat pies, and Una begins an epic poem about the dragon hunt. She finds it remarkably easy to do this, and everyone else joins in, also now finding it second nature to be composing this epic tale together.
Everyone within the tower, women and men alike, greet the party with cheers as they arrive. Lord Murdoch is there in his full regalia, looking extremely happy, and his daughter-in-law (Young Cora’s grandmother) is just as un-happy. Sir Murdoch, who now has a great Warg helmet, and is now being called ‘The Wolf" (which deeply annoys Oren, who has always considered himself “The Wolf”), is standing with a grim look of satisfaction on his face. Sorley goes up and addresses The Dragonbane, presenting him with the dragon’s head. he makes Sorley kneel, and knights him on the spot, and makes a pronouncement that he and young Cora are now betrothed, and that they will be married in the Spring, as it is a portentous time for such things. He commands the ladies to coordinate it all, and Lady Cora looks as if she wants to destroy the entire party with her mind. As everyone goes in, Oren notices that the Dragonbane’s son looks a bit jealous, and tries to needle him by discussing Sorley’s amazing one of a kind shot in the dark with Una in context of the poem. He only looks proud, though, and doesn’t seem upset by it. Oidche coordinates efforts to get the giant head inside the tower.
Just before the feast, Oren gives everyone in the party goodberries, and gives them to Oidche to make sure that they get into the food. Oidche, hanging out in the kitchen, hears a lot of whispering that Lady Cora will be quite angry that her plans have been derailed. They also ask a lot about the group, and seem to form the opinion that they did the bulk of the heavy fighting instead of Sorley.
The feast itself is amazing, far better than the one laid out for Lord Morgan. The dragon’s head is mounted so that it overlooks the eating and drinking. Una begins to tell the epic poem-tale of the dragon fight. Rory starts a drumbeat with her pike haft, and Oren makes fog come out of the dragons mouth, which frightens everyone at first. Una’s oration is brilliant and hypnotic, everyone taking up Rory’s beat with their feet or hands or mugs on the table. Many things get attributed to Sorley that someone else had done, but Una makes sure everyone gets to shine in the tale, even Oidche, who has been trying unsuccessfully to keep himself out of it. Afterwards, it is hard to keep from getting massively drunk, and so everyone in the party needs to do a little creative footwork to avoid offending anyone by not drinking with them, and not ending up comatose on the floor. No one wants this, especially knowing that “The Undying”’s pawn is awake in the house. Eventually everyone sneaks off to sleep, the hard journey catching up with them, as the party continues to rage through the day.
25 Yule 90
Everyone eventually wakes up around midnight. The party has finally stopped, and everyone is passed out in a drunken stupor. Eventually everyone in the party figures out that Sorley and Cora are gone. Una goes upstairs invisibly, to find them, naked, in the Dragonbane’s bed. She wakes them up, scares them, and gets Cora to get rid of the bloody sheet, which she throws out the window, where it lands on top of some trees. Sorley and Una sneak back downstairs, where the rest of the party begins to berate him, and discuss what’s going to happen to the bloody sheets. Rory also talks about him being as careful as he can in this house. Oidche goes out the secret door to find out what happened to the sheets and sees that wolves are fighting over it. Sir Morgan lets his awake presence be known, and makes a ‘come here’ gesture. Una jogs over, and he stares at her, finally saying that he actually wanted to talk to Sorley. He then tells Sorley to go back to bed, and hope for sons. Boggled and pleased, he jogs upstairs. Sir Morgan then asks if the group can please take this conversation downstairs, as his family is both the topic of discussion, and sleeping right there. He begins to get dressed, saying that he is going to go out and kill some wolves.. he is not looking forward to dealing with his wife or his mother when they awaken. Family politics can go right on without him. On his way out, he sees Oidche tromping through the snow going back to the tower, and gives him an odd look. Just as Oidche comes inside, covered in snow, the party arrives to inform him that they are now leaving. Sighing, he gets his things.
The party breeze through Ottercreek. Oidche picks the lock, the cart is removed, and Una writes a note for her Uncle, the Laird. Oidche then re-locks the barn, leaving the note in the empty barn where the cart used to be. Then they make the trip back to Fallsport during the night. Because they are not carting a giant dragon head, the cart, and their entrance into the city, goes unnoticed. They call on Sir Aidan, and tell him a truncated story. Una gives him the poem they’ve written, which surprises him. He tells everyone to bring the treasures up to Una’s room in the tower, and says that arrangements to make presentations and gifts will be made later. Una and Rory move most of the enchanted things up to her room, leaving the treasures and reagents below. When she returns, Una finds Tam rooting through her things, and stands up to him, which almost doesn’t work. Finally relenting, he mutters something about seeing how smart she is on the ‘frontier’. Ignoring him, Una brings the rest of the things up to her room.
Oren and Oidche go from place to place, making deals for dragon-skin armor (and various things made of dragonskin, like bags), and dragon sausage. They also go to a master leather worker/tailor named Aulay, and get him to make a dress for the Earl and one for Una out of the wings of the dragon. Una’s dress is meant as a surprise. Oren feels that she should get to wear the dragon’s skin too, even though she doesn’t wear armor. Oidche also finds out a good person to sell the runes to; a Valla named Grisila, a priestess of Freya.
Una goes to the carpenters, and finds a master halfling toymaker named Esyllt. She agrees to make a puzzle for the hourglass that will keep it upright no matter how the box is twisted. She proposes a smooth wooden sphere on a stand, which sounds perfect. Una gets a pretty box from her store as well, and puts half of the reagents into them for Tam.
The party has two weeks until Imbolc, when everyone’s special purchases will be done, and they can present their gifts to Lord Morgan.