Tales of the Northern March

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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Triumphant Return
"A tramp, a gentleman, a poet, a dreamer, a lonely fellow, always hopeful of romance and adventure."

Present: Oidche,Oren, Rory, Una

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.

1st Watch

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.

2nd watch
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.

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Death and Glory
“Here be dragons to be slain, here be rich rewards to gain; If we perish in the seeking, why, how small a thing is death!”

Present: Oidche, Oren, Rory,Una

20 Yule 90
The party is staying in the cave recently vacated by the slain hag and her servants. The cave is pleasantly clean and dry, the hag having lived there only a short time. After going through her incredible pile of beautiful art objects, They set up for the night. Rory sets up the screens of sharp sticks and leaves that she had created prior to the Owlbear attack. The bodies are moved to the perimeter of camp, in the hope that predators will feast upon them, and ignore the cave. Everyone sleeps.

1st Watch: Una, Rory
Una is in the front of the cave, behind one of these screens. Rory is awake, deeper in the cave, behind the second screen. Una, despite doing her best, completely fails to notice the incredibly fast pack of ghouls running through the woods towards them. Before she can even take a breath to warn Rory, many of them fall upon her, and rend her to pieces. She stands, near death, unable to move. Rory and Oren, Moonthorne flashing silver in the firelight, start dispatching them as they nearly kill and paralyze Sorley. Eventually, Una comes to, and joins Oidche in fleeing out of the cave. Eventually they are all dispatched, and the party finds that the ghouls ate the bodies of the bugbears and the hag at the edge of camp. While moving the bodies, Una recognizes them as a family of a woodsman who lived on the edge of the forest outside Ottercreek, and were thought to have starved to death last winter. She also recalls the lore that Ghouls are said to be made when someone who has resorted to cannibalism while starving. With that cheerful revelation, the second watch takes its place (without incident).

21 Yule 90
The journey continues, with Oren still walking about 70 feet away, scouting. Without any warning, he falls into a pit filled with spikes, and extremely large biting centipedes. Everyone starts running as Oren tries to fight them off, getting quite poisoned in the process. When she finally reaches the edge of the pit, Una leans down, and sees the sick Oren fending the insects off, and advises him to use his antitoxin. After receiving the withering death stare from Oren, she kills each one with Magic Missile. Oren attempts to climb out of the pit, using the holes in the wall created by the bugs, but the earth is too soft, and he falls back into the pit. He throws up a rope, which Sorley ties to a tree. While Rory is pulling him to safety, more centipedes start coming out of the holes and biting him. Oidche takes a stick, and starts whacking them as the climb up the sides of the hole, and they finally leave, discouraged. Finally at the top, examination of Oren discovers that he is extremely poisoned, and that he needs a full day’s rest, and so camp is set up to wait out the day, and the night. Investigation of the pit trap discovers that the trap is indeed a kobold make, intricate and very clever, but that it has no signs attached to it, unlike the other traps that have been found. Rory attempts to remove their scents from the camp, and Una insists that Sorley takes her watch, having been convinced that sitting on a watch is not really in anyone’s best interest.

2nd Watch: Sorley, Rory
Sorley looks outside, and sees a beautiful naked woman standing in the woods, and begins mooning over her. Rory hits him in the face, which seems to wake him up a little. Rory looks outside to see the woman, and instantly decides she’s friendly, and goes out to meet her, and then brings her back into the yurt. Sorley wakes everyone up, and Una immediately tells her to get out, and threatens her. Oren and Una get into a near shouting match about who knows more about the fae wild, Oren having a spiritual and soulful connection with the woods, and Una being brought up by elves since she was about 6 or 7. Eventually, Oren, Rory, and Oidche tell her the entire plan, with Una grumpily and strenuously objecting at every turn.

The dryad says that the name of the dragon is Eitrdottir, and the granddaughter of Loki. She says that she knew the party were coming, because the dragon happened to be outside her cave, when a raven came with a message from the south (she says the raven smelled like the city), telling her that people were coming for her. Under polite and careful questioning (With Una finally shutting her mouth), she says that ravens have been coming for the dragon for a few years now. She also says that the Kobolds build traps for Eitrdottir, and revere her as a Goddess in her own right. Oidche asks what she would like in return for the help she’s given, making Una explode again at such an open ended promise, getting an angry retort in reply. About this time it is discovered that Oren has snuck out of the yurt. The dryad says that she would like to have Rory for her troubles, and Una tells her that Rory is already owned by Lord Morgan, and that the dryad would have to ask him for his chattle. After a short talk between them, the dryad finally relents, and lets the spell on Rory lapse. Rory is very upset, dumping the dryad off her lap, and the dryad leaves, with Una saying that they welcome her company, but perhaps not with the spell next time, and the dryad bats her eyelashes at Una as she goes, draping her fingers along Oren as she gets outside.

Meanwhile…
Oren sneaks out of the yurt to talk to the Great Oak who waits outside for his dryad. He speaks with him for a while, soothing the ruffled leaves that Una’s threat had caused, and making a friend. The oak says that he can help Oren learn the safe way to get through the forest to the cave, and lifts him way up high, above the other trees, to see the cave. When he gets placed upon the ground again, he’s made an ally from the powerful treant.

After the dryad leaves, Rory and Una, blowing off nervous steam, start needling Sorley about Cloverfield, and about his future father in law. Sorley storms out of the yurt, and gets called back and apologized to, Una and Rory coaxing him into fooling around and make him laugh. Una has some time to think, and then suddenly realizes something. The warlock, she explains, is looking for power, and the dragon is Loki’s granddaughter. The spell on the Dragonbane’s family was a tribute, or a favor, done to please Eitrdottir and curry favour with his sponsor. Though it does not bring anyone closer to an answer as to whom the warlock is, there is a certain satisfaction to putting some pieces in place.

22 Yule 90
As the camp is being packed up, the idea that the cart get left at the campsite is bandied about. The Dryad appears, and says she would be happy to watch the cart for us, and Oidche says he would be very grateful, prompting Una to snap at him rudely about not giving open ended promises. Eventually, it is decided that leaving the cart so far from the cave would be more of a pain than a boon, and the cart is brought along. During travel, there is some discussion about the plan. Oidche proposes getting on top of the cave, to throw a net on the dragon as she leaves it, and The Great Oak says he can lift him on top. As they continue forward, Silver Creek begins to narrow drastically, until at the cave mouth it is a mere five feet across. Oren knows that this means that the stream is now 30 feet deep, and extremely dangerous to fall into, with a deadly undertow that will drag the unfortunate down and under the water. Everyone takes the antitoxins that Una prepared for this moment. Oidche takes his invisibility potion, and Oren takes the potion of heroism, making him look extremely impressive and rugged. Una gets distracted. There is some discussion of the safety of the cart and (extremely unhappy) pony, so old oak awakens some trees to guard them, and then lifts Oidche up to the top of the cave. He leans over, to listen inside. Oidche, with his amazing hearing, hears some snoring deep within the cave, but the tone of it is off, so he realizes that it is fake snoring. Rory looks within the cave to see what she can see.

Inside the cave, the floor is thickly carpeted in bones, with some enormous piles of them that look extremely treacherous. As she squints into the gloom, she believes she sees that one pile is covering something large. She also sees glints of many shiny things partially buried within the various piles. As everyone begins to enter the cave, Oidche realizes that he won’t be able to do much hanging over the top edge of the cave, and so Great Oak lowers him down, and he joins the group within. Once inside, everyone has to pick their way carefully through the bones, but Una trips and starts a bone landslide.

“The traitor said you would be coming” , a low voice says from within the shadows. Oren sees her, and lets loose an arrow, which destroys the illusion. The dragon’s laughter fills the cavern. Una asks “Who is the traitor, since we are going to die..” And the dragon replies, “I know him only as ‘The Undying’” As the dragon continues to ask “Who are you to treat with me?” Una casts Detect Magic, at first getting distracted by the many magical auras in the bone piles, and then pointing out a new illusion of the dragon.

Oidche stands and listens to the dragon as she talks, and finally is able to discern a low breathing noise, almost undetectable, high up on a ledge in the cave. He places his hands on Oren’s head, and turns it upwards to face the dragon, and Oren lets loose an arrow which Una sets to glowing. “Treat with me, or defeat me!” the dragon threatens as Oren’s arrow buries itself into her up to the feathers, casting a crazy half glow up into the cave’s ceiling. Una brings out the scroll of ‘Lightning Bolt’ that Tam gave to her, and attempts to cast it, failing utterly to do it (luckily not ending up with a fried brain), and ending the failed spell with several unladylike utterances directed at Tam’s lineage.

Sorley fires the magical arrow, and hits dead on, causing the dragon to scream and bellow in pain and anger, the noise echoing in the cavern. She leaves her perch, and begins a dive heading straight for Sorley. Oren attacks her as she swoops by him, looking heroic and dashing while he swings Moonthorn. The dragon attempts to eat Sorley as she flies by, missing him, but hitting Oren with her tail, sending him into the dangerously deep river running through the cavern. As the dragon banks and gears up for another run at him, Sorley runs to the river’s edge to try to grab Oren, and Oren desperately begins to swim, trying to resist the massive currents. Rory’s gaze is drawn to a golden pike sticking straight out from the bones, and she draws it forth, feeling the sheer power of it first, and the fact that it is warm to the touch next.

As the dragon wheels around, Oidche ties off his net to a stalagmite, and as the dragon swoops down again, Oidche casts a net over her, her wings becoming entangled, and she falls like a stone to the floor.

Oren gets himself out of the river, and as he lies panting on the floor beside Sorley, Eitrdottir breaths her poison breath on them both. Sorley falls, poisoned quite badly. Rory walks fearlessly up to the dragon’s face, and stabs her with her new spear, which bursts into flame. Una uses magic missle on the beast, which proves to be too far gone to withstand them.

Rory, having held the spear for a while, knows now that this is the Spear of Lugh, a legendary high elf treasure from Vannaheim. She quenches it in the water, instinctively knowing that if she does not, that the fire will begin to hurt her in its thirst and fury.

While Rory stands guard, Sorley and Oren strip off their armor and most of their under armor clothing, and begin to butcher the dragon. Una assists Oidche with disarming the plethora of traps left by kobolds, and pinpointing the magic treasure within the pile of bones. Eventually everything that can be removed from the dragon is, so Oren and Rory make sure that Sorley’s plate armor is more dented and covered in dragon blood. Una identifies the cask of mead immediately as the ‘The Mead of Poetry’, a drink which will give the drinker the gift of poetry. It is decided to drink a toast to their accomplishments right there, and consume the delicious gift of Vannaheim together. Once everything is finally packed up and into the cart, Oren has an artistic inspiration, and crucifies what is left of the dragon. Moving quite slowly with the creaking cart, the party travels a short distance away, and camps. After making sure everything is secure in the cart, the yurt is erected, and Una settles down to use her identify ritual on each of the magical items within the the hoard. The sun slowly goes down as the first watch sets themselves up.

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Looking for Trouble
Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.

Present: Oidche, Oren, Rory, Una

18 Yule 90
While Una is doing her research and copying her spells, Rory, Oren, and Oidche get summoned to attend Lord Morgan. A squire brings a chest in, and Lord Morgan carries a smaller one with him. He says that he has some gifts for everyone. Opening the smaller chest, he removes two potions, and gives one to Oidche and one to Oren. Oren’s potion bubbles as if it is boiling, and trapped smoke swirls around beneath the cork. Oren and Rory joke nervously about it being poison in case the mission fails.

With a tolerant smile, Lord Morgan explains that Oidche’s potion is one of invisibility, and that Oren’s is a potion of heroism. He offers to trade with Oidche who gives him an incredulous look. When it is explained what the potion does, Oren looks at the bottle with new respect. Both potions last an hour. As he opens the bigger chest, he says that his mother will be furious. Lord Morgan says that if she succeeds, Rory may keep what is inside (at this there is much dark merriment), and then removes a suit of mithril scale mail. He explains that this was a gift from Stonehold. He asks her not to die, so that he doesn’t have to retrieve it. Rory answers that she would hate to inconvenience him like that, and he misses the sarcasm completely. Oren asks how far they are going, so Rory and Lord Morgan point out where it is on the map. Oidche mumbles, “I hate you people”. Lord Morgan tells Oiche that he had intended that Oidche could use the invisibility potion to hide until the battle was over, with which Oidche has a whole-hearted agreement. Lord Morgan tells them, perhaps to settle some of the constantly jangling nerves, that if there is success, that he will make Rory the captain of his personal guard, and Oren his master huntsman, and Oidche his personal steward. Una gets no promotion, but already possesses a position within Lord Morgan’s staff.

After this meeting, Rory goes to pick up her personally tailored person carrier. Oidche says rude things when she asks him to sit in it, so Oren sits in it, grumbling the whole time. Rory practices walking, wiggles around, jumps, and finally stops when Oren begins threatening her. She is pleased with how adjustable it is, and how sturdily it is made. Una spends several hours copying spells, and then comes to the shared lab she has with Tam to begin making potions. She finds him there, waiting. He hands her a scroll tube that contains a scroll of Lightning Bolt, and tells her ‘good luck". She is boggled by it, wondering just how badly she will fry her brain should she try to cast it. After she makes the potions, the party argues about when to leave; Rory insisting that they leave now, and stay the night in Ottercreek, with Oren and Una flat out refusing to do it. It is finally agreed to leave the next morning, and stay in the woods that evening. That night, there is a goodbye party in the barracks, which turns into an impromptu bachelor party when Rory reveals to her brothers that there is now a marriage contract with Una’s family for them. Oidche pays a significant amount of gold for a whole bunch of whores from Groper’s Alley. Una contemplates attempting to get Sir Aidan into bed, but realizes that is a very bad idea.

19 Yule 90
Everyone but Una and Oren awaken with a mean hangover. Breakfast is an extravagant affair, perhaps because the servants feel bad that everyone is going off to their doom. Then the expedition is off! Sorley is not wearing his plate, but is wearing studded leather, having packed the plate into the cart (the cart is for the dragon’s head on the way back). Along the way, everyone discusses the proper way to wear pants for meeting the dragon, assuming that Sorley will soil himself during the fight. He takes the joking in good humour, having accepted a certain kind of inevitability about the whole thing. We go through Cloverfield, explaining to a bemused Sorley that it is filled with assholes. In Ottercreek, we stop at the Laird’s house again, and Rory drops off the papers for her brothers to the Laird, who notices that there’s no bride price. Una objects, and he pulls her aside to yell at her about how much that will eventually cost the family, so she settles down. Oren gets antsy, and pushes the group out of Ottercreek, saying he is tired of being there. Eventually it gets time to camp, and it gets set up right at the split, where Otter Creek and Silver Creek become two different creeks. Rory and Oren disguise the yurt as best they can, and notice signs that an Owlbear is living here. They set up some traps around the campsite, and everyone separates into watches.

First Watch….

Rory hears something coming, and thinks it is probably the owlbear. Una goes to wake up Oren and Oidche. Oren tells her to wake him up when she is sure it is an owlbear. When the owlbear appears in the light, Una uses magic missiles on it, which enrages it, and it charges. Una screams for Oren, and then keeps pointing out that there is in fact, an owlbear there, to his extreme irritation. After the battle, Oren makes Sorley skin the owlbear, and goes back to sleep. Una accompanies him to the creek afterwards to clean up in the freezing water.

Second Watch
Oren shows Sorley how to make a necklace out of the sinew and feathers of the owlbear. Just as they are beginning to cook breakfast, Oidche, with an almost supernatural show of alertness, hears a hooved animal approaching with a rider. It isn’t until it is almost upon them that Oren hears it. An elven man, riding a stag comes out of the woods. He is wearing a helmet with horns, and has the kind of distant regal bearing that very old elves have. Oren, with a sickly kind of smile, invites Herne the Hunter to enter their camp and enjoy their hospitality. He demands to know what we are doing in his forest, and Oren tells him that Sorley (to whom he refers to as ‘boy’) has sworn a quest, and we are his servants. Sorley runs into the tent to wake up Rory and Una. Herne seems to accept that he is honor bound to be in the forest, and so does not move to obstruct the group. Instead, he offers his assistance. Oren stammers a moment, and then asks if there is a way that he can help the squad not to disturb the forest as they head through it. Herne tells him, that since they are following the Silver Creek, that his people do not live on that side of the forest, only enemies do. He then takes his leave, and there is a collective sigh. Una tries to come out to breakfast, but Oren yells at her to go back to sleep, so she does, even though Sorley tells her to stay awake. He then threatens to dump a bucket of water on her head… and after pondering a spell or two to cast on him, she gets up.

20 Yule 90
Oren wraps the hooves of the pony up with leather taken from the Owlbear, and the group is on its way, with Oren scouting about 70 feet ahead. Silver Creek shines in the sun, as if it was actually made of silver. Midday, Oren begins to find traps. After examination, he discovers that they are extremely clever, intricate, and well made. He sees maker’s signs down very low on trees, and everyone figures that these must have been made by Kobolds. After a discussion about whether or not the cart can be navigated through the traps, Oren and Rory remember a spot where the creek could be forded, and so it is decided to do this instead. Sure enough, on the other side of the creek, there is no sign of kobolds, and the trek continues.

Then Oren hears the screaming; the screaming of a child, screaming in what must be elvish. He whistles loudly for us to catch up, and then goes tearing off to save her from an Ogre who is chasing a little elven girl around in the woods. When the rest of the group catches up, Una gets a skeptical look on her face, and announces her intention to cast detect magic, but everyone is ambushed by whole lot of bugbears at that point. Una, mostly in a tree, gets to use one of her new spells, creating a small localized tornado that knocks many of the bugbears swarming Rory down to the ground. Sorley shows off his new bow skills by bouncing arrows from one bugbear to another. Oren takes on the ogre, and finally kills it with a vicious shot to the crotch. The little girl runs towards Rory, yelling for her mommy, and hugs her legs. Rory takes damage from a very powerful curse, and the girl turns into a hag. Rory yells at Una, telling her that she should have expected this, and Una gets very angry, seriously wounding the hag with a trio of missiles. Then the hag disappears. Even though there is still some fighting around him, Oidche shows off his incredible sense of hearing, and plugs her with an arrow dead in her chest. It becomes apparent that she has fled, and so the group sits and rests for a few minutes, Oidche loading the cart up with the bugbear’s weapons, and Una gets back one of her spells. Then Oren starts tracking the hag.

She is tracked up Elf’s Cap hill, finally ending the trail at a cave, with some bugbear and warg guards. The hag finally appears again, casting a burning hands at Oidche and Una who are in two trees, missing Una, and nearly killing Oidche, who falls out of the tree, on fire. Una kills her then with the same deadly missiles she hurt her with previously. She then revives Oidche, who throws a net over bugbears giving Oren some trouble. When the rest are dispatched, the group examines the cave, and finds a large hoard of treasures, most of which are beautiful elven made pieces of jewelry. Oren picks up a silvered short sword, named Moonthorn . It is decided to camp here in the cave, which has not been inhabited by the bugbears long.

Next time…

Marvel… as the party finds ways to delay attacking the dragon!
See.. amazing feats of Arboreal Locomotion !
Gasp… at billowing clouds of poisonous gas!
Covet… the piles of treasure that will be the party’s final resting place!

xp: 269

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Castle Fire Trap
“So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their endings.”

Present: Oidche,Oren, Rory, Una

16 Yule 90
Sir Aidan tells Rory, Oiche, and Una that they will be going in the morning to Oakridge Tower, but that he is not going. He asks for subtlety, saying that everyone needs to tread carefully. this causes a bit of worry, because subtlety is not really everyone’s strong suit. He says that everyone is being given roles to play in the charade. Rory will be the head of the personal guard, Oidche will be in charge of all supplies. When Una asks what her job will be, he says “You are Lord Morgan’s pet”, to which Una objects most strongly. Sir Aidan seems worried that the Dragonbane will attempt to start some kind of fight, and urges everyone to simply stay silent in that case, or try to get Lord Morgan out of the room somehow.

Meanwhile
Oren is in Oakridge, having arrived with Sir Murdoch. They went out and tracked the Warg together, and then returned with it to the castle. He attempts to help Sir Murdoch by telling the story of the hunt to the Dragonbane, but the effort is brushed aside. Eventually, Oren settles in to eat the well stocked larder, everyone either ignoring him, or forgetting about him, which seems to suit him fine.

17 Yule 90
Before light even hits the dawn, Una knocks on the door of the Academy, looking for a book with knowledge about dragons and werewolves, so that she can bring it with her, and perhaps show off a bit, should Lord Morgan ask her questions in front of the Dragonbane during the visit. Ciar answers the door, and at first refuses to sell her a book, because he does not want Una to bring it anyplace and get it hurt or lost. Eventually after some conversation and sarcastic insults on the nature of human development, she is given an elven child’s primer on magical beasts… though it is amazingly comprehensive and helpful. She runs, with her book, managing to catch the caravan as it is on its way out of the city.

Along the way, Lord Morgan asks Una about Saraid, and she replies that she thinks the woman became a lich to create art, and does not think she intends to take over, or begin killing people. The procession stops in Otter Creek, and Lord Morgan goes inside the Laird’s home for a short bit. While they are waiting outside, Una’s Aunt Fyfe comes outside, and Rory introduces her brothers, adding that they are unmarried, and looking for brides (they look very worried at this). Lord Morgan comes out just as Fyfe is bringing the unmarried ladies of Una’s family to meet the brothers. He leaves his horse with the Laird, and the group continues onward, this time with Lord Morgan on foot.

When the tower comes into view, Oidche and Rory see Oren standing on the roof of the tower, but Una only sees a raven, which she kills with a magic missile. There is some consternation when it is thought that she’d shot Oren with it, but it turns out not to be true. Everyone is met by the Dragonbane, his son, and grandson, and a crowd of others; the ladies staying inside. Oren comes down and stands in the background, lurking. The Dragonbane asks Lord Morgan what he wants, and he replies that he has come to celebrate the killing of the beast. Dragonbane finds this acceptable, and everyone is allowed inside. A crowd of servants helps Oidche bring the supplies below, and everyone else goes inside, up a collapsible wooden staircase into the great hall, where the rest of the family is waiting. Oren and Una are a little discomfited by the fact that they are in a giant wooden tower (with one exit) just asking to be set on fire. Even though it is covered with tanned hides, they are really very uncertain about being inside it.

Rory and Una bring Oren up to speed with the goings on, and Oidche talks to the various servants down below, finding out that there was some serious friction between the Dragonbane and his son over how to kill the werewolf, with the Dragonbane wanting to let Sir Murdoch, and Sir Roy wanting to get together a lot of men and hunt it down. The issue is over now, but the tenseness still remains.

Over some time in the great hall, the three notice that Cora is being moved around like a game piece, with her mother trying to get her to talk to Lord Morgan, and her grandmother actively trying to position her so that she is not anyplace near him. The squire (and nephew of the Earl) Duncan Rose keeps looking at her with interest, as if he is trying to figure something out. Una retreats into the many shadows around the outside of the great hall, and casts a Detect Magic spell. She sees that the Dragonbane’s ax is magical, and that Lord Morgan’s sword is magical, and when she turns around, she sees Cameron the squire (the suspected collaborator with the warlock) has a very long running, powerful enchantment spell on him. She spends some time with one of her tomes, and comes to the conclusion that this is a charm effect, most likely Dominate Person (or a modified version of it). She knows that it is a spell that is castable only by someone of Tam’s ability or stronger. After a quiet hysterical fit in the shadows, she relates this to the group (Oidche having been ‘encouraged’ to join them by Rory), and the fact that Cameron can be operated like a puppet, should the caster choose to. The caster does not even need to be in the same city, or the same plane to do it. It looks to be something that has been on the boy for most of his life, in fact.

Just before the feast, Una brings this up to Lord Morgan, who seems only marginally worried about it, and tells Una to be subtle and keep an eye on Cameron. Then the feast begins, with seemingly every creature in the forest being served as dinner at once. Oren concentrates very hard on his food, making a sandwich out of meat, with more meat as the bread. Una expresses disbelief at the amount of food, and Oren says that Sir Murdoch is just unstoppable as a hunter. Eventually over the evening, the Dragonbane begins to fume, and he finally explodes, standing up and announcing that his great granddaughter is a prize to be won, not cattle to be sold to the highest bidder. He announces that any man who wants her should bring him the head of the green dragon that lives in the elf wood. After a moment of silence, Sorley speaks up, saying “I’ll do it”. Cora turns bright red, but does not look surprised. Duncan Rose looks amused, as if he knew this all along. Sorley looks kind of sick. The Dragonbane tells him that he does not take such promises lightly, and he says again that he will do it… which seems to satisfy the lord. Oidche quite urgently insists that Una do a Detect Magic spell again, which brings up nothing new. The Dragonbane insults Lord Morgan by telling him that this boy has more balls than he does.

Una looks at Lord Morgan and says that Sorley is her cousin. Rory and Oren start giving Una looks, but she keeps talking. Oidche sneaks away with his food, unseen, and goes to a private place in the tower, hoping to hide and not be included in the inevitable. He looks for a secret way out of the tower, and finds it, noting that it has not been used in a very long time. Lord Morgan, at Una’s prompting, muses that there will be all kinds of trouble, should the dragon be disturbed, but not actually killed. He continues, saying that he will not be allowed to accept help from Morgan, but that as gentry, he is allowed retainers on his quest. Oren asks some questions about the dragon. Lord Morgan thinks that the one in the wood might well be the mate or child of the one that the Dragonbane killed. Oren sighs, and says, “Whatever, let’s just leave in the morning”. He and Una muse about the person who put the enchantment on Cameron. As Una gets up to talk to Lord Morgan about splitting the dragon’s treasure, Oren sees Cora slip into the room from upstairs, carrying a box. No one else sees her. She slips up to Sorley and whispers, " When great-grandfather killed the dragon, he had this made from the bones", and slips off. Una’s second detect magic still being active, she sees that the box has a very strong enchantment within it. She makes Sorley come over, and looks within it to find a very enchanted arrow designed to slay a dragon. She takes the box, feeling that if he is found with it, he will be executed. Then she drags him to see Lord Morgan, making him ask to borrow some retainers. Lord Morgan questions him for a while, saying he’ll make Sorley a knight himself if he pulls this off, and then orders Una to tell Oidche to outfit him with weapons and armor and so forth. Lord Morgan says that we should ask Sir Aidan for more information, but Dragon’s Bluff will have kobold traps, bugbears, and that he’s heard of an owlbear there someplace. He says that there is something strange about the cave itself, that it is rumoured to lead to ‘someplace else’. The talk turns to the enchantment on Cameron, and Lord Morgan says that this kind of thing must be done carefully, and that this is likely a long term issue to be dealt with. He tells everyone to sleep, as Sorley will be ejected by the Dragonbane tomorrow morning.

18 Yule 90
In the morning, Sorley is indeed, ejected from the tower. Lord Morgan and his retinue go with him. Along the way, Oren begins tutoring Sorley in the ways of firing his bow while under pressure. Giving him targets to hit, Oren takes his own bow and shoots Sorley while he is concentrating, and then heals him using spells. The sudden emergence of spell casting has everyone extremely curious, and he explains that he had a vision of a white hart that spoke to him, and when he woke, he had these nature spells. Lord Morgan finds that fascinating, and there is some discussion with Oren about this. When Ottercreek is reached, Lord Morgan goes inside the Laird’s house, and there is momentary quiet. Then Fyfe comes out of the house, and begins hitting Sorley with a dishtowel, screaming at him. Then she begins to hit Una too, screaming that she was supposed to look out for her cousin. The Laird comes out with a bundle, and tells him that it belonged to his grandfather, and that he should be careful with it. Within the bundle is a set of plate mail armor, which fits very well. Everyone makes him put the armor on, and then walk the rest of the way to Fallsport with it on, with Oren continuing his drills.

In Fallsport, everyone meets with Sir Aidan, who gives the group an incredulous look when he fins out the news. He says that the dragon’s cave is rumored to be the entrance to Vanaheim, and all kinds of things found in the elf wood come from that cave. He believes that the stream within the cave leads there. Oidche says that nothing good comes of following streams in caves. Sir Aidan says that green dragons breathe out poisonous gas, and so, when everyone splits up, Rory goes to the apothecary, and gets some ingredients for Una to make some antitoxins and healing potions in addition to buying the potions from Anwen. She also tells her father about Aunt Fyfe, and the many marriageable family members in Ottercreek. Oidche goes to see about supplies for the trip, and Oren hangs about in the feast hall. Eventually, Una goes to see Lonan, to ask him for any more possible information. Lonan explains that the tunnel is indeed an entrance to Vanaheim, and that he himself saw Herne the Hunter come from the cave when he was a youth. He says that the other dragon did not have a mate, and so this one cannot be a child of it either, and that it must have come from Vanaheim itself. After a moment of musing, he brings Una to a cabinet, and brings out a huge spellbook, offering for her to copy from it. With the party’s help, Una can afford the components to pick two spells, and she gets to it immediately.

Next Time..
SEE… Oidche be carried grumbling through the wilderness!
HEAR… Una give away their position with a thunderclap!
WATCH… Epic eyerolls from Oren as he teaches Sorley how to fight!
FEAR …Rory’s attempts at matchmaking!!
110XP

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