The Saga of the Bjornings

Falling Rock and the Frost Giants

Blagra and Rymak need inducted into the Ulfhednarr. While we are on the move, the Ulfhendarr shall be prayint to Odin for an offering, to induct them. We shall be hunting for 2 wargs along the way.

Leaving all but most of the orc command to wait for us at the Steading, we arrive uneventfully at a human settlement called Falling Rock.
They direct us to the dwarf mines, where we meet the King there. It takes them 3 days to reforge the blade; at which point it in Bjorn’s. However, to seal the enchantment we submerge it in a pure elven spring in the glaciers, and for its final quenching dragon’s blood.
They tell us about the stealing of an ancient royal crown they would like back. At the mention of the Frost Giant Jarl’s name, Grugnar, Finnric knows it is the 2nd of the 3 heads he needs.
Also, of 2 flaming blades in that area, up in the glaciers, once wielded by Firsts but long lost. Finnric chimes in, knowing this story and the names of the 2 blades: Hitunnr and Villiedr.
For getting the crown, they offer 8000gp and all the loot we get there is ours.
When the 3 attive, they are ready for trouble, having seen our tracks and smelled dwarf.\
They also warn that the Jarl has a wyrm, and no one wants to fight a dragon.

On the way, the Ulfednarr all dream of a powerful white wolf. In the dream it is dark adn cold and snowey; FInnric leads at the front of the pack. It is only at the end of the dream when the barely get a glimpse of the rear quarters of the wolf as it goes out of sight. Finnric and his men split into 2 directions to attack from 2 sided, then the dream always ends.

We go forth to teh glacier, finding 3 paths once there: rocky, tunnel, open. We take the tunnel and come out into a rift. We heard the echo of voices far behind us for hours. Gudrun throws the bones and says 3 warriors are nearing, who could be enemy or allies in this place, depending on how we play this out.
We get ready for an ambush, then Bjorn has a change of mind.
Bjorn steps out and speaks to them. They hate Grugnar as well, saying Grugnar has made a deal with the Fire Giant King Snurri, and No Frost should make deals with Fire! they bellow. Further, a man was her not too long ago. A truly despicable being, no honor of any sort. His name was Bluto! There is still an embassy of his here, 5 strange ogrelings.
A Thing has been called for the Giant embassies. This Frost Giant leader, Mogthracir, will challenge Grugnar for leadership of the clans and recall all the Frosts from Snurri and tell the Fire’s to go pount magma..
There is a third challenger of sorts, too: Vasti, another Frost. He is not looking to be chief, but to disband the entire union.
They also suspect we are the reaveres they heard of from a gang of Hill Giants who are here, fled the steading and are pals to Grugnar.
He invites us to sit in on the Thing peacably and see how things go. Bjorn agrees.
Bjorn tells him we have a much larger group than he sees. Mog is not concerned, we all may come, even the orcs and dwarfs and one elf. They are under Mog’s protection.
We warn him, Bluto’s man will cheat in any way he can for his side.

We hear horns, the rest of his band approaches: 15 more Frost.

There will be a grand feast tonight. Thrand asks about the Wyrm. Mog says the White Wyrm named Frostpustnir is a loyal friend of Grugnar so it will be a problem if he is usurped.

He says we can have 8 delegates at the main chamber of the feast. The rest will be feasting different areas. All are indoors.
He gives us a rundown of this rift level of the area. The sinkhole leads to the wyrm’s layer. He is the biggest hinderance to Mog gaining the power, it essentially legititamizes Grugnar’s rule. The huge mound of ice and snow in the rift is a giant insect that lives in there, more of a random animal that lives here; not intelligent; relatively new visitor. It has even killed a couple giants. Mostly easily avoided, though. There has been talk among the warriors of slaying it.
Grugnar has a trophy room, frozen bodies of his favorite kills.
He also has an area of personal ogreling mercs.
He also points out the rooms where his loyal guard are; and the hill giant embassy; stone giant embassy; Fire Giant embassy.
In the lower area is Grugnar’s actual layer with his loyalists. ALso the level the wyrm is on. Treasure room, more guards, throne room, prison with at least 1 prisoner; Bluto’s men; the kennel
Finnric “With what inside of it?”
Some polar bears.
All embassies will be feasting; it is in the grand entry cavern below on Grugnar/Wyrm level.

Mog needs certain things to happen: the dragon needs to be killed, but by us as outsiders; by the end, something must be done about Bluto’s men, the hill giants, the ogres, and the fire giants. They are too loyal to Grugnar’s causes.
Bjorn questions the necessary timing of all of this.
Mog: the embassies will not accept Mog’s legitimacy. WHenever the crap hits the fan with Grugnar, they will need taken care of.
The dragon needs eliminated beforehand. Most of the giants don’t care for the dragon themselves. Best to lure it out, usually a bad idea, OR during the Thing when no one is looking.
The feast is followed by the Thing on the next day. Third day will be voting and decision making.
So, we pop out during The Thing and kill the dragon.

He leads us to the area he is staying.

We hear several more horn blows, announcements of other arrivals including:

  • One group led by Olvis the Frost: has an enchanted horn which can summon shield maidens to assist him; he is neutral.
  • Another led by Vasti, mentioned above: always carries on his belt a sack where he keeps trophies from powerful vanquished foes. 2 most dear are 2 he can’t touch. He was at the head of orcs that came through in the lead and slew 2 great heroes in the mountain pass, he has scars on his hands from whre he grabbed the 2 flaming blades
  • Hagling, last of the great frost chiefs; supposedly his armbands give him the strength of a god

There is a hall next door to the great hall where the secondary feast is held.

Next Day

Our 8 at the main feast: 4 PC’s, Gudrun, Ragnar, Hakon, and Steliokontos.

5 Ogre Magi are here as well! With them is a human dressed as one of Bluto’s guard at Langbay. Same armor and crest. He sees us and sneers, we sneer back.
Lots of tension in the air.

5 elders run and judge The Thing.

Each Frost Jarl stands and does an official greeting. Grugnar then stands and calls for his loyal men to pass forth gifts of loyalty and tribute so that I may appease the wyrm.
The Fire goes first, giving over a huge blade; Grugnar in turn gives him a solid silver statue of a bear with topaz eyes and ruby fangs. Big money.
The Stones, to show no ill will to the Frost cousins, bring a jeweled crown of platinum with 9 gems of different types, giant sized
The 5 hill giants sit in shame with nothing to give, but the leader removes his cloak explaining their plight, giving us a mean look. Grugnar graciously accepts it.
This continues throughout the room.
Vasti stands “I bring NO tribute. This sham of a union should be disbanded” and sits back down defiantly.
Mog then stands, declaring he does not bring tribute of failty per se, but also not an ungracious guest. This is not a sign of his loyalty to one who would ally himself to Fire Giants. He draws out the dwarf crown and passes it over.

The servant then runs toward the wyrm layer with the offerings. A huge boulder is pushed out of the way and we hear the breath of a dragon within. The servant leaves the loot and comes back out, then the boulder is replaced. The wind is great outside, so the cave is basically sound tight once the boulder is in place.

Feast continues. Tension rises. Main course is served.

A hill giant stands up, looking real mad “I can’t take it, I can’t take it, eating at the same table as the vile reavers who stole our home” blah blah blah. He goes for his greatclub.
Grugnar asks if he wishes to make a formal challenge over the matter. The Hill Giant sits back down with a growling “No, but you’ll have your day manling” to Bjorn.
The human whispres something to the oger magi., who then whisper something to the hill giant.
Bjron pretends to whisper in kind to us.
Gudrun throws stones, looks at the hill’s, and shakes her head back and forth.

Grugnar mentions how Mog has brought such "popluar’ friends here. They have heard of Langbay and the Steading. He only allows us here since Mog is an honored brother, assuring us we are not surrounded by friends. Our safety is only assured until the Thing has ended. Bjorn raises his glass in salute.

Meanwhile, the dwarves are very wary and paranoid of treachury by the giantrs. Anar is nervous along with them.
Our men figure, if it is fated, it shall happen.

Mog to us:
tomorrow, during the Thing in the morning, there may be some challenges to you. That is allowed. The hill giants are looking for a form of wergeld for the slights we caused them, demanding we give up some of our men to them as well and all their rightful property (including the orcs).
Bjorn will refuse to accept any deal but their death.

Mog explains what an ogre mage is. Sounds like treachery. Their names are archaic nicnames, real names all but unpronouncable: Rox, Sox, Blox, Barry and Dave.
We tell Anar he needs to look out for more magic cheating and try to counter it.
They worked for the lord of the ogre magi, a lesser master Karaptis. Now they follow the new Karaptis and his partner Bluto. Karaptis lives in the White Plume Mountain, far away.
No way we believe this K is a Master.

Greivances are formally charged, including Vasti’s. He wants them to all go their separate ways, this is not how it is meant to be.
Mog says he thinks the union is just fine, though too far reaching, but the union with Snurri must end and the Fire’s expelled.
Hagling is in the middle, offering fealty to Grugnar but not a fan of Fire’s either and feels the alliance is unwieldy, and does not like the shady characters around (looks at Bluto’s human embassy and us). Calls Bjorn out as one who has never caused him and his any issues, though.
Hagling may be one to talk with.

We need to try to get the blades from Vasti.
After the food, drinking and meet adn greet, mingling.
Bjorn and Thrand approach Vasti. We tell him we favor his end result idea, though Mog has been very ammicable. He has been finding that the more they expand the war on mankind, the worse things are getting. The amplification of the Frost raid violence has brought a response in kind.
“Sir Riffolk, Bluto’s man, never explained what his end result is here. Snurri’s layer is far south, he has been doing much the same to the wrong realms of men, even the Empire. To much skilled magic there to mess with.” He says those hill giants were serving an important purpose before hit war, they kept the spider worshippers in check. W/o them there, who knows what’s going to happen in that forest. Not only the orcs who took out the elves, they had help. Underneath that whole realm, in Niflheim, are the dark elf who have strong ties to spiders; and he knows Snurri is quite fond of them. Mog, he says, as far as Vasti is concerened, he’s not sure what to really think. He sees him as little different as Grungnar but that one likes Fires and one does not.
Bjorn asserts that if he is truly interested in ending all of this, there are things we can do if he is ok with possible bloodshed. Meet us somewhere privately after the feast tonight.

All this time, Finnric and Hakon have been as annoying as can be around the table of Bluto and the ogre mage to annoy them, hoping to stop any magical spying on our conversations.

Gudrun comes to speak to Thrand, She has to see Finnric as well but Bjorn says not until after the feast. She says trouble is coming, and soon. Be on guard. Someone who seems like a friend isn’t. One who seems not a friend could be. There is a wild card as well you’d be wise to get on your side.

Bjorn and Thrand speak to Hagling next. He loves the loot from Grugnar’s new way, but there is no honor in it. Killing en masse is not the same for one’s rep either. Bluto’s men did cause him a slight about a year and a half ago when all this started. Bluto petitioned Grugnar for aid, Grugnar requested best warrior from Hagling’s men be sent to defend his city. Bluto seems to have lost, leading to the slaying of Hagling’s only nephew. He knows it’s us. He does not blame us, but holds Bluto and his people responsible. He believes his nephew dies with honor, but it never should have happened anyway.
Bjorn confirms his belief. Telling that Bluto is without any honor and corrupt. If he hasn’t corrupted Grugnar to his blood cult, he is only using him long enough until he needs to eliminate him. Bluto’s ultimate objective is for the blood cult he is in to rule all. We know that from personal xp. This is way worse than you think.
Bjorn says we are here to recover a stolen item and return it to its rightful owners. That is our main objective.
He asks what item?
Bjrorn “Can’t say right now.”

Ingvarr, Papa and Kalestios, from the other room, decide to take a walk around the place while it is mostly empty.
In the trophy room are 8 blocks of ice each encasing dead bodies. dwarf with and axe, elf with a rod or wand, human with a jewled belt, human with Returnist vestments but on his neck there is a stylized K in a circle, dwarf with spilled pouch of gems at his feet, human from south dry lands with ring with red/orange gem in the shape of fire, half elf knight, human with same armor as the half elf.
In a cave nearby, is a pack of large wolves. A female nurses some young, and a male sleeps near the entrance so we bypass. They are real big and white.
The huge mound of snow/ice/dirt with the worm like thing actually has an entrance into it. There are bones and items littering the front.
The sinkhole is large enough for the wyrm to fly out of. They can see the dragon sleeping atop its treasure, an enormous pile.

Back at the main room, Mog talks with us, has an idea of how to do this. All the giants have promised not to do anything overtly against Grugnar. We however are not bound to those rules. So, tomorrow we could request that our challenge to him is to take the dragon on. A good lawyer could make the case that it is totally legitimate.

Bjorn asks Grugnar for the crown he now has in his dragon’s horde, stolen from friends of ours. Even willing to exchange something else to appease the wyrm’s needs. They are unable to come to a deal.
Thrand says, seeing as it is a stolen item he is refusing to not only give but even trade, he could potentially make a legal case.

End Feast.

Vasti shows up to meet with us. Bjorn explains that Bluto is a vile blood cultist bent on world rule and destruction; that their use of the giants is a means to some end, Gugnar is a dupe and pawn only. In any event, we as humans do not want giants working for the blood cult; also that the dragon has an item we must get back for our friends by any means necessary; in allows only Grugnar access to loot as they have combined their treasures.
The dragon and Gugnar have known each other for decades, first appeared in this region at the fall of the masters.
Vasti tells us where we can find a pristine pool of pure water, a room in this complex is a pool which is as crystal clear as can be that is a spring. There is a yeti in there, though.
We tell him the dragon has to go, and asks for use of his flaming blades. Now he says “I need that dragon dead”. Until it is, all others are but a thorn in his side, says same legitimacy thing Mog did. But, that will make him an enemy.
Bjorn says we are doing it tonight, once we are done talking to you. No on will know who or how.
“I need collateral.”
He demands Bjorn’s Ulag Face Shield.
Bjorn accepts and they trade.

Thrand and Sir Rolf get the flaming longswords for the battle. We go to the yeti room first to dunk the blade in the spring.
We select the dragon team: 4 PC’s, Koku, Knight, Anar, Fliggol, Papa, Gurk; Stelio will be there to primarily observe.

Haarkon: the youngest and new king of these Dwerro. His father has been killed. His piece has the gold inlaid axe.
Alfreg: black beard and white horned helm
Ottr: expert archer
Fjalar: wings and hammer; and Galar: no wings and axe
Brokkr: wields a mace, berserker
Sturn: axe in hand, xbow on back, forkbearded
Egin and Raggid: brothers, the old Hornbrin figures
Uhtto (thief) and Otto (warrior, long face): brothers

View
Steading of the Hill Giant Chief

We leave Imbrundia, sailing up the river, stopping at Heston for a rest and re supply.
Bjorn decides to sail all the way to the Master’s Sea. Our crew ports in Rundan. THe PC’s and henchmen continue uip the Meander River to the Steading under Gorn’s guidance.
As we pass the isle of the outcasts. We stop on the coast for the night. The capitol city is huge metropolis. They say several months back, 2 jerks came through. 1 much like the pied piper showed up. W/in the next month, there was a mass exodus of shadow augments. About a month and a half ago, the 2nd guy had a public forum and took a solid 400 augments. Both parties going south.
The 2nd guy they call a high falutent jerk, talked like he still worked for the Masters. Cpt Lance something something blah blah blah.
The 1st an ominous fellow, wore full black steel curass, with a cape black as the night. Red trim to his attire as well. No name. Went by the Black Proniar. Proniar’s are mercs given land holding status in the empire.
We move on to Rundan. Our men set up camp, promising the local constabulary we are not here to raid nor pillage.

We leave for the Steading 2 days later on the Folding Boat. The dwarves join the PC’s, all the henchmen, . Their families lands are in a place called Falling Rock in the Meander area.

We pass by some colonies, small villages. This is the very beginnings of the early stage of people moving in.
WE get to where the fork joins, fold the boat up and go overland. Passing by a hill fort on the way. We start coming by giant droppings and such. From a god vantage, we finally see the Steading off in the distance. Big place. There is a tower at one end. No road leads to it. It sits in a clearing. We see it from the SW. THere are no entrances on the west side. We wait for darkness and approach under the forest canopy, avoiding any clearings to stay out of site of the tower.
Finnric can hear the voice of Odin, via the spear, the Chief is the first of 3 I must put down with the spear.
The tower is 2 floors above the ground. 1 giant watches from the top floor. He is quite alert while day, once it gets later he is lazy at watching.
Plumes of smoke rise from some spots fireplaces and cooking fires along the perimeters but for one deeper in the complex. The NE corner is its own building, an L shaped courtyard separating it. In the center of is the great hall, where the other fire comes from.
The outer walls are 16’ at the edge and 30’ high at the steadings center.
Nightfall, its pooring down rain.We approach from the west wall, no openings of any kind here. We figure the south door, leading right to the hearth, is a bad idea.
We work our way around past the front to see if it is guarded, no one there on the outside at least.
The gate is a sturdy one, double door opening inward.
Bjorn and Thrand walk up to it, finding it not barred! 1’ thick. We hear canine wimpering on the other side.
Gorn says they have dire wolves as guards, tied with with long leashes.
We move around to the east entrance.
No sound of wolves. This gate is not barred either.
The gate tops are 14’ high.
Each door is 7’ wide.
Hakon and Ulf lift Tosten up and he looks over the top. He sees the double doors to the left, wolves off in the main coutyard. No one visible down the path.
We hear very bad singing from the double doors.
We open the doors. The separate building here is a guard and barrack area. However, they are having a party. So, quite possible there are minimal guards and drunk.

Modar steps up, saying he can take care of the wolves. He moves in, an in a minute he makes them indifferent. After another minute after freeing them, he makes them friendly, then leads them out the east door and sets them free. As he does, we enter.
The corner opposite the barracks are slave rooms, Gorn says. But they have trollish slaves too.
We enter. The twins, dwarves, and the 4 PC will be the attack force on the barracks. A force each wathes the slave door and the door into the main complex. Sigrid is put at the entrance to the complex, claiming shenanigans the entire time at not being in on the attack.
Finnric gets Modar and Ylva howling liek the wolves are alerted, while we form a semicircle around the door into the barraks with ranged wpns behind.

An orc exits the slave door instead, with meat for the wolves. He silences up immediately, saying he is a troll thrall of the chief. The barraks are empty he says, all are at the party.

Bjorn and Finnric open the door to check. The room is empty, there is a horn with engravings of wolves all over it. Blowing it is close to a dire wolf howl. Line of 18 giant size spears “Those are mine!!!” yells Finnric. Bjorn allows his choice. There are also giant size shields and clubs. Finnric rushes to closely inspect his new spears.
Finnric grabs the wolf horn as well. Through the 2 doorway are bedrooms and a small nook for an officer type.
A sack holds a bunch of gems under giant boots.
2100gp worth.
Another sack under the cot, obviously a female from the shirts, has human sized helms from many cultures. She’s been around.
It is indeed empty otherwise.
Brand asks the mantroll how many slaves are in there with him.
He says 2 near cripple from beatings. One a klutz the other too slow. The rest are serving at the feast. Brand says “I mean how many of you are there?” He starts going through a few names, and can’t count a lick.
The orc lays out this sector for us. He says ogres are close by, hired on by the giants. He means large mantrolls. The slaves hate them. The hill giants use them as scouts.
Bjorn “Do they eat people?”
“Oh yes. The chum he feeds the wolves was formerly a handful of gnomes. Definitely do not eat the meat at the great feast.”
We plan to kill the large mantrolls and clear this side of the place and the tower.
Hopefully, by the time we do that, they’ll all be drunk as all get out and we can carve them up in their stupor.
Their bosses over in this area is a female giant, the head woman over here who is their overseer. The 6 giantesses in there aren’t aggressive unless attacked. One warrior from the great feast came in drunk, and is now flirting with all the giantesses in this first room he came out of, he warns us.
Stelio says he calls them orcs.
We figure on leaving the women alone, we don’t need to take any unecessary damage.
Bjorn, Finnric and Tosten burst in on them. The 6 females shriek and back away.
This one is surely the wolf master, wearing a dire wolf skin as a cloak, and a helm made of a wolf skull. Whip hangs from his side. A brutal looking spiked club lies nearby.
As he stands and grabs his club, Finnric hurls Haugnyr crit 18. Bjorn and Papa charge but miss. They then both hit him, he retaliates by hitting Bjorn 18 but missing Pappy yelling out an alarm. Finnric charges in with Odin Spear 2 handed ravages him 38. He reels and Pappy crits DEAD. The women rush to his bleeding body and wail.
We ready for reinforcements, and hear commotion from down the niddle hallway.
Finnric “Must be the ogres. Let’s send the twins after them.”
In the courtyard, the men hear the sounds of weeping giantesses and rejoice.
We call in Fliggol and the twins.
There are 2 other doors out, both opening to our left. The central is double doors. Few round later, the couble doors open into the room and 5 large mantrolls, ogres are coming for us.
We are ready for them.
Finnric has the Odin spear set to receive a charge and kills his, FLiggol and Papa team up and kill, Bjorn kills his as well. Only 1 each on the twins.
Bjorn then kills Hala’s with a crit, Finnric hurls the O spear and kills Haki’s.
We call the orc, Bulger wolf feeder, inside. Thrand comes in now as well to see how things are going.
Buger says down the double door are the kitchen and cooks.
Down the other, 2 orcs Craak and Grolk are in bed, having suffered injury from giant beatings. Adjacent to there, only accessible from the kitchen, is a room for the ogres we just killed.

Bjorn “Do they need put out of their misery?”
No, its not that bad.
Women and children are the cooks.
Thrand “So you all are essentially enslaved?”
“Yes. 29 orcs are running around as servers right now, usually the job of our women folk but we now have no women. Every one of us would pick up a spear vs the giants if we would not be immediately crushed.”
Finnric “WHere is the loot?”
There are several loot rooms he says.
SIgrid now has walked over from the other entrance, very impatiently wondering what in Hel is going on.
He says the Queen has a pet bear that will be very dangerous. The king has one as well. Any orcs will leave us alone if we are going to kill the giants. There is also an embassy here from far away. 3 Stone Giants and a Cloud Giant. From what he knows, the HG are trying to convince them to join a coalition.

Bjorn, Finnric, Ylva, the twins, Modar, Thorhamma, Ulf and Hakon will go for the women and ogre kids cooking.
Brand, Ragnar, Toru, Sigrid, THrand, Gunnar, Kolfrosta, harald and Ingvarr will loot the other side of the complex, plus Stelio and Kalestios, Gorn to guide, Gudrun.
Koku, the triplets, and the rest of the dwarves stay in the courtyard as a reserve.
Gorn says, in the below level, were about 30 other prisoners when he left:
a knight
elf
more dwarves and humans
All orcs are up here.

Thrand leads his men into his side of the complex. The double doors to the party are shut. They are really whooping it up. Chief Nosnra is in the midst of giving a toast, loudly.
“We’ve done it again, victory is ours! Raise your cups!” One of their warbands made a successful raid on the town of Furd, the first realy town they have sacked. Once all the warbands return, one mighty sweep will attack the city of Gutenbert. The heads of 1000 prisoners will be given to the grand master in his honor.
A eating hall to our left is empty. Lots of hides and skins. Walls display trophy heads of monsters and elves, dwarves, humans.
Brass jar on fireplace is very nice. Skull on other side of mantle, larger than a man’s. The hides are highly functional. We shall loot all of that.
A set of shields come from different cultures, elven, Tharangian hexagonal long shield, oblong, scutum, kite. These giants have raided widely.
Nosnra’s room is off of this warcouncil hall.
It has an old shield, some of his weapons too. Nosnra’s personal room. No bear here. His Queen’s room is also adjacent to this hall. We go there next.
Thrand, Brand, Gunnar and SIgrid check the Queen’s room. They open the double doors.
RUgs hides, coffer, bed etc. Lying in here also is a cave bear, chained.
It is asleep.
Thrand says leave it be, if we clear the rest of the place, Modar might be able to just set it free.
Now we check the immediate right and the rooms are empty of enemies. One of the 2 is a small meeting room. More hides and rugs, rough map of area showing raids and plans. They have been planning Ferd for a long while.
The other room is an even better trophy/wpn room. 1 quality otter fur cape as well. But, 5 javelins as well, man sized; Gunnar takes these. 3 spears a club and an axe also, all giant sized.
A crack in the wall of the meeting room is the secret door to the lower level that is not fully shut. On top of a pile of logs here are several scrolls. Steps go down. A Manticore hide hangs on the wall as well!
The scrolls are mostly correspondence to be sent, though 1 is written to the chief marked Y. It is instructions for the next raid signed ‘Bluto’!!!!! And with a thumbprint in blood. The return one has a giant print in blood next to the signature.
1 of the others is to a Fire Giant king Snorr to the south, another to a Frost Giant Jarl to the north, some to other hill giants, some to Bluito, etc.

Now the door straight ahead of the doubles we entered. We hear, from a door to our right, a few giantesses, one old from the voice yells at the other 3 and we hear a slap to the face.
Ahead, we hear giant kids playing around roughly.
At the end ahead is another door. Gorn says its a barraks room.
We bypass the olds and kids for the barraks. We hear loud snorring.
We sneak in.
2 giant men sleep in here. 10 beds and chests.
SIgrid climbs onto the bed of the closest without a word, and executes him, sword into and across the throat. Gunnar eliminates the other with one of his new giant javelins through the eyeball.
He now sees the hammer of Thor on one side of the javelin’s blade, on the other the rune of thunder.
Gudrun says the runes mean they have been blessed by the Thunder God. Under his pillow is a bag fo 110 coins minted from Peldanor. The center is platinum, the rim is gold.
Further to the end of the hall is one last room and an exit to a foyer by the tower. A couple drunk giants are conversing out there.
In the room: hides on floor, bearskin on wall. Beaten silver comb set wtih 4 gems, copper mirror, large gold hairpin.
A very pregnant sleeping giantess on the bed. Gorn says this is the subchief’s room, that is his wife.
Sigrid is all for killing her, but we could use her as leverage later. We leave her sleep for now.
This side is now fully checked.

On the other side with Bjorn and Finnric:
In the ogre’s room, heaps of skins for bedding and a great iron chest. Written on it say ‘ogr pa’. Their pay chest. Within the skins, are a gallon jug of an unknown liquid, and another vial of a different liquid.
We can peer into the kitchen easily from the turn here. Orcs run back and forth into the great hall. The doors are likely open.
The wolf feeder says the doors are closed but not locked. Couple orcs open and shut the doors when needed.
A door at this turn goes around and into the kitchen also, opposite the main doors. We could trap them from 2 sides and give them the opportinity to surrender or we’ll slaughter them. We do so.
Finnric and the 4 ulfhednarr with him circle around to the small rear hall into the kitchen, going through a storage/servant room and the other steps goind down to the sublevel.
Fresh warm bread and giant strength mead and ale in here as well.
Bjorn leads the other in through this hall. The wolf feeder bards the doors to the kitchen.
5 giantesses cook, 11 young ogres helping, and 29 orcs running to and fro the hall.
The twins rush to the door to block it.
Finnric et all show themselves as Bjorn walks into the room with Papa, Ulf, Hakon, and Fliggol.
Fliggol, speaks giant, translates for Bjorn. Saying you are now all prisoners, quiet or die. An orc gives us a wink as 6 more orcs are let in with empty trays and they shut the door behind them. Bolder signaled them the shits hitting the fan.
The ogres look horrified. One is about to let out a scream of terror once she catches her breath. Bjorn gives her a slug to the jaw, that shuts her up and knocks her out.
The elder female cook shows her hands “What do you want from us?”
To shut up. We crowd them into the ogres sleeping room.
A raucous cheer from teh grand hall, lots of chanting ‘Nosnra, Nosnry, ra ra ra!"
Bjorn imagines he’s chugging a keg right now.
The women and kids cooperate.
We tell them we are leaving guards outside in the hall, so don’t try anything.

Off the kitchen are other rooms. Some sleeping rooms.
Small chest:
dwarven and elven ears. One elf ear has an earing of gold with a jewel. In the jewel is the rune for Master Imbrun.
Brokkr finds that an unlit torch on one of the walls comes out as a sword. He says it was forged by dwarves long ago named Jotunnbani.
Finnric “Giant Slayer!”
Its a longsword.
Lastly, 2 rooms full of weapons!. Lots of spears! which Finnric claims immediately, clubs, swords of various kinds, shields, armor, etc. All types and sizes.
1 warhammer hangs from the ceiling. Upon it is written the name Dverger Kyssa, in our north tongue.
Finnric inspects it. It is a dwarfbane weapon. We remove it so no giant can grab it later.
We arm and armor all the orcs up here.
8 orcs are locked in the main hall still.

Both of our sides now meet up. Bjorn is ready for the slaugher right now.
We can attack from 3 sides. The 2 side double doors, and the main passage to the tower area.
One of the weapon rooms leads into the tower as well.
There are actually 3 stone giants and 1 cloud giant at the party. Nosnra and his wife are both at the lead table. A super hot cloud giant is along the back wall as well. On the chiefs opposite side are the 3 stone giants. The subchief sits next to Nosnra. There is one table of 8 ogres in the front left corner. Nosnra’s bear is loose, sitting in a back corner.
There are just over 22 hill giants present. Sitting tween the bear and the Cloud is a human sized man in black robes. Large gold Talisman hangs from his neck with the red blood drop upon it! Some kind of blood cult priest.
A door from one of the weapons rooms leads right to the ogre table as well.
Behind the chief is a big black banner with the blood drop. 5 other banners of warbands too. Lots of kegs, a roasting spit, a ballist against the back wall.
Each table has a different banner as their tablecloth.

Bjorn thinks twice now. This is a lot of giants.
Thrand idea: have Gudrun throw stones about the cloud giants intentions. If she is favorable, pass her a note to go out with the stone giants, if they are of a like mind, to take a break or something. Then we will send and orc in with a bag of the suped up alch fire we have and toss it into the hearth. Once it blows, we charge in.
Bjorn is still concerned. He says what if we slaughter the women and children, then simply go downstairs. They’ll never know who was here nor where they are.
Thrand says the only problem there is if there is no other or few ways out from down below, if they do find out we are there even by 1 giant going down and finding dead behind us. they could close us off.

The bones tell her the cloud giant is no fan of humanity, but currently not impressed with the hill giants.
Slaughtering noncombatants will likely bring her into the fight against us, unfortunately.
Concerning the Stone Giants, she says the reward was right to work for the hill giants. Key word, work. They are minors, smiths, etc. They are not here to fight unless made to do so.
She throws the bones again herself. "There is one tree, and 8 branches. The primary is fed by blood. 2 branches are fed by money, 2 by fear, 1 off the same root equal in size to the primary also fed by blood, 2 are bound by words alone. 2 more trees are unsure of where they stand.

Thrand asks Gort and Bulgr about the men downstairs. They say many are down there. The humans, the rest of his tribe of orcs in various stages of being broken, an offshoot of escapee rebels holding up in one section all but beaten. Plus the black robe man’s temple.
Bugbears guard down there. They lived in the caves when the giants arrived. It could take most of the night. They are loyal to the giants.
Perhaps if we can rescue them all tonight, we can flood the party with unfortunate canon fodder so that we can get to the main enemy leaders and slay them.

Its quite the discussion, back and forth. Bjorn feels he may want to challenge the chief, but that could prove fruitless. However, Gufdun reminds us of the Lifesavers. If he wins, and they still attack, we can hope that the groups here for pay or fear or contracts stay out of it.

Bjorn steps out into the main passage alone and approaches.
We still have the other ways out guarded.
Bjorn blows a large horn he takes off the wall. The party stops, all heads look his way.
Nosnra slams mug down on the table. He stands up, well above avg hill giant height.
“Who the F are you.”
“I am the man who is here to stop your raiding and plundering days.”
“And, how are you going to do that? Please, enlighten me.” He is obviously more intelligent than the avg HG.
Bjorn challenges him to individual combat. If he loses, his men leave the area never to return.
One Giant stands and yells at Nosnra “You told us this steading was impenetrable. WHat a horror! How is this man in here!”
Nosnra “Honor has nothing to do with it. You come into my hall alone? I should just have you killed. I have clan after clan of warriors here.”
Bjorn “YOu could do so, I could never stop them But, before oen weapon has touched my flesh, every woman and chld in your compound will be dead.”
Many in the hall call for Nosnra to explain this all, is this true?
Nosnra “Again, only 1 of you”.
Bjorn informs him of his band of ‘heartless reavers’ all throughout this compound waiting to strike.
The cloud giant is eyeing up Nosnra, not happy. The stone giants look much the same.
He calls Bjorn a bluffer.
He shows the silver comb, as evidence we have been throughout the hall already.
Bjorn says he has men in the room with the pregnant giantess.
The subchief immediately looks concerned “Human, if I find that her or my child are dead, woe be it on the lands of men.”
Bjorn assures the scum she is fine and reasserts his challenge.
Only one table has the blood drop banner as its cloth.
He asks the terms.
BJorn says leave east, far away from these western lands, if Bjorn should win.
He says for Bjorn to choose 1 other champion to battle his wife, 2 on 2. The subchief demands we show him proof his wife is alive.
Nosnra grabs a greatsword in one hand and a shield, she grabs a huge club. Both put on thick hide armor.
Finnric is to fight the wife.
Finnric pops a lifesaver and wields the Odin spear.
They open up the room afront of the firepit.

The fight begins with Finnric taunting the wife into a charge, he hits and forces her into the fire. She steps out and fumbles.
Bjorn and Nosnra battle, Bjorn unable to hit with his second attack each round.
Someone casts something on Finnric on the first round, and he spits his lifesaver into the fire!!
Couple rounds later, Thrand then has to make the will save, but makes it. The blood priest tried to suggest to him killing the subchief’s wife.
Finnric after about 3 rounds kills the giantess with the Odin Spear, then moves to assist Bjorn.
Kyy then fails a save, and goes for the giantess with his axe.
The other 2 triplets react fast adn tackle him, while Koku keeps her at bay.
Bjorn then hits and crits Nosnra 18/30!
Finnric misses twice, Bjorn is hit again.
Bjorn strikes him for 20. He has been using Jotunnbani.
Finnric misses then crits as some of Nosnra’s wounds begin to close up. He strikes out at Bjorn and Finnric once each in his desparation.
Bjorn hits 18, smiting him down!!! Finnric gives him one last stab just to make sure.
Thrand comes around the corner “Hold cleric!”
The priest tries to claim to the subchief “Lord, your wife is dead!”
THrand “She is not!”
Koku walks her around, Brand and Harald coming from teh other hall to meet.
The priest has his hands in his robes, but we can see them moving. He is casting, up to no good.
Gunnar throws one of his new javelins at the priest from behind Thrand.
The baby in the belly starts to squirm obviously through the skin of her stomach. Thrand moves toward the priest “The blood priest is trying to kill the unborn!”
As it hits him, it turns into a lightning bolt and goes right through him.
The javelin hits 43.
Thrand stabs him 19 DEAD!! “His blood magic was killing the baby!”
The Cloud Giant is right next to Thrand “This the most ridiculous sequence of events I’ve ever seen.”
Chaos erupts.
The subchief begins to try to take control, talkign of packing up and leaving as per the deal The ogres begin to back out to the door to the kitchen where the twins stand guard.
They ask to just take their loot and go. We let them flee.
The blood cult tribe, teh subchief’s own tribe, now more loyal to Nosnra scream to avenge Nosnra. 2 other groups back down from that, and say they are out of here.
Another group, under contract of words, follow the subchief. They fight the blood cult. We attack the blood cult with them.
We swarm in with all our forces so they can not escape.
Thrand asks subchief who the men in the tower and foyer are. He says they were here for pay so we’ll leave them be.
We purge the blood cult easily.
HE says we can pillage the chief and chieftess’ rooms and some others. The cloud giantess says the Jotunnbani was hers, not really to use, only so no one would kill her with it. She says so long as you do not come to her home, she will not force it off him now.
We have no quams vs cloud giants, we say.

They take most of the money with them. He says, if we plan on going below, they are all Nosnra followers and cultists. Expect no mercy from any enemy there.

A truce is called for all to do what they need to do, looting and organizing et al.

They leave much mead here, and it is delicious and very strong.
The stone giants say a couple of their brothers are there, and to tell them what happened and to go home. They are workers.

We rest up all next day, getting loot into the folding boat’s hold. The morning after we descend into the cave via the secret door stairs.

The tunnels are somewhat finished, covered with wood walling.
We come to a portcullis first, Brand and Hakon notice the wall looks strange. A panel of the wood slides revealing a pit going down to another room.
We tie a rope around Thorhamma and lower him down 30’ to spikes and skeletons at the bottom. But, there is also a room there, to a treasure room!! We pull him back up. We’ll get that stuff later, and reclose the wall.
We so no one on the large room beyond the portcullis. A lever is about 15’ into the room, slightly around a bend.
Papa, Haki, Finnric and Koku start to lift it, and bring it up. SIgrid rushes in and pulls the lever to properly lift the gate.
The room is indeed empty.
Another portcullis, this one double wide, leads south to another large room. There is another exit visible in the room beyond, as well as treasure in the adjacent room. Plus 4 manticores in the first room just ahead.
1 is closer to us, tail raised at the ready.

As we mingle, another part of panel moves quietly on a nearby wall and 3 orcs begin to skulk out, until they startle at our presence. Seeing the armed orcs among us, they loosen up. They are Blagra (blood orc), Ulgruf (black orc), Mulok (greenskin orc). They were breaking out. The passage they just came out of leads to the marshalling area. Its access goes upstairs just off the kitchen. There is a temple and prison area there as well.
Bjorn says they must lead us through the dungeons.
Blagra “You willing to kill the bugbears?”
Bjorn “We’ll kill everything.”
He leads us to the marshalling room and points out the layout of the place from here.
Just off of this room is a prison area, where we free:

  • human knight, Thorangian noble; youngest son so technically landless; Rolf von Mannelig
  • human engineer captured from Jarlsleifia, master of siege engines!! He is not a Thorangian though, but an Argonian; Giovanni di Celisi; physically none too impressive but brilliant in every way.
  • elf male, chained to the wall, branded multiple times; they clipped points off his ears; named Anar, skilled blade and magic
  • 5 rebel orcs (there wre 2 others but they were already eaten); they are way into helping us kill bugbears so we arm them
  • bunch of skeletons lying about

The orcs say the dwarves are being worked to the bone by 2 sent here by King Snurre, 2 fire giants! The slave driver is a wicked hill giant, with 2 carnivorous ape pets. There is a bugbear outpost down here also, who fight the war vs the orc rebels. East of here takes us to the slave quarters as well as the dwarf forge. The 2 fire giants guard them. The west door from here leads to quarters for the stone giant miners.
North to the cistern and current work area.
Our 3 new dwarf friends are rebels, they were sneaking about to forage for goods. Their current leader is a massive Orog named Ulak; his cousin ogrelon Ulgar is the subchief.
The bugbears are about 50.
There are troglodytes as well, who trade with the orcs. They live near the current mined area, great at getting fish from underground water.

We go north first, to cistern area. The room itself with the pool fed by the groundwater is worked, pool is 14’ deep, built long ago.
Storage is adjacent, including lots of excellent wine!! We’ll be taking and drinking all fo this.
Anar says one is elven feywine. Highly intoxicating to non elfs, but also has other properties. 4oz will knock a human out. 1oz gives you a plus 2 str and dex. A second does same to con, but minus 2 to other 3 stats. A third gives another plus 3 to all 3 physical, but a minus 4 more. 4th you’re ko’d.
He id’s the small cask, which houses 4 and a half gallons.
1 quart will knock a giant out. He’s unsure of the effect on dwarves, they typically wouldn’t be caught dead with it.
Otherwise its empty up here.

Next we go and meet the stone giants.
As we move through this complex, btw, there are many places on the wall that still show evidence of frescoes. This place was once full of splendor.
We tell them what went down upstairs. They say contract is over, they grab their one chest of pay, and take off. They do say that the hill giants here were part of a league, allied with the frost giants who have a larger region of control. Their lair is often almost uninhabited.

The 3 orcs say they can get a small group of us into the rebel area sneakily if we wish. In case we want to lead them vs the bugbears. The orc rebels number 78. THe bugbear cpt and his 4 lt’s are super killers.
We send Brand, Rags, Stelio, and Papa with the 3 orcs to go meet their leadership.

Our main party will go to the prison area, leaving a reserve force of Gudrun, those rescued from the cells, and the ulfhednarr, Kolfrosts, STelio’s lt., Gorn.

Doors are shut ahead, one bugbear is at the rubble blockade to the 3 orcs’ surprise. Mulok looses the draw tween the 3 of them, and sneaks up on the bugbear killing him.
He waves us forward.
He climbs over the barricade, and other orc hands from beyond help him over. We hear him speak in orcish including the word Vikingr. They help our 4 over. 2 hulking black orcs greet us on the other side, speaking little common. They are Barak and Graji.
They lead us ahead to the rebel camp. They are decently armed as a group, and they eyeball us with great interest. Sitting on 2 large chairs in the main building are the leaders. The subchief is obviously stupider just looking at him. ANother orc, standard, stand with them wearing a fitten mail, long sword and shield.
The leader greets us “Welcome to paradise.” He and Ragnar parlay over their assistance in assaulting the dog trolls.
He wants it to be known that when the tales are sung, he wants to be included.
We plan, so far, to draw them into the large central room where we will hit them from all sides.
He agrees and sends Moluk back out to inform Bjorn.

The rest of the group comes to an intersection. From one, we hear the fire giants berating the dwarfs, and the cracking of a whip. To south, there is a torture chamber.
Lots of noise from a prison area.
First, torture chamber: door is wide open; there are several orcs in here in differing stages of torture. The pc’s and triplets enter the octagonal room led by Finnric and Thrans. There is a hill giant to each side, as well as the slave keeper and his 2 apes to the far left. They are not expecting anything.
The slave keeper is horrid, hunchback, and drools uncontrollably.
Battle is engaged, and we throttle them. Only Osmo comes out the worse for wear.

We free the living from their current uncomfortable positions and tell them to stay here, keep quiet.

Now, onto the next slave area. We pour in on 4 measly bugbears. At the sight of our numbers, they surrender, we take them prisoner. They give up the keys presently.
We open the 3 doors and dozens of orcs are freed! They say in the forge, where the dwarves are, there are a lot of weapons to arm many of them.
The cpt of the bugbears has a close relationship with Bluto and his priest. Their leadership is cult, but the rank and file bugbears are only mercs.

Now, to the dwarves!!
7 dwarves work in the forge; 2 firegiants looming throughout them. 2 dwarfs in particular they seem to enjoy beating: one has anger in his eyes; the other is skinny for a dwarf.
Bjorn and Thrand agree Haarkon and his men should lead the charge.
Its very loud so they hear nothing of us.

Finnric and Thrand, with their giant hating weapons, lead the dwarven charge in with Prince Haarkon.
The dwarf leader “Sons of Ilmarinen! Stand up!”
They raise their hammers and charge “Hi Hooooo!” One begins to sing a song of Thor crushing giants!
We wallop them heavily to start. Teh smaller giant goes for the raging prisoner dwarf, its obvious he hates him in particular.
The other goes for the singer “I told you not to sing!” and 2 others.
Thrand brings down the smaller of the 2 who hated the rager; the larger is taken down by the killer who climbed atop him and spikes his brain!!
The orcs try to start rushing in and pillaging. Finnric screams for all to stop “The spears are mine, every one of them!”
There are a total of 40 spears, plus a special double spear.

We make our way back to the large main room to prep for the big fight, meeting up with Mulok. The barricade is being taken down so that once the bugbears are out here, they can hit from their hallway.

The 7 Dwarf names: Legen, Minstin, Prosit, Glad, Gretten, Blyg, Sovnig.
Dopey is and executioner: small old piece
Doc is a Hunter;
Grumpy is a berserker: Mohawk
Happy is a performer/bard man at arms; Horn
Bashful is armiger;
Sleepy Weapon Master: He and Haki become fast friends
Sneezy Myrmidon;
Haarkon and his men are distant relations to these guys.

We draw the bugbears out easily with a short attack into their layer by Sigrid and some of the dwarves.
They rush out and are hit by mulitple sides by the orcs and dwarves and ourselves. They are ridiculously outnumbered, and we quickly cut there retreat off.
However, during the fight, the orc chief Ulag sees Bjorn’s shield, and recalls the tales of his relative Uleg being slaughtered and his face used as a shield!! He rushes at Bjorn, turning against us.
His Lt. Ulgar is nearby, but Finnrik intercepts him.

Meanwhile, the bugbear chief, with his greatsword and quality chain and blood teardrop amulet, and Thrand meet; his henchmen are engaged throughout the battlefield by Koku, Pappy, Ragnar, and Brand, respectively. The lt’s also all wear the amulets.
Ulgar the Ogrelon is a berserker.

Brand begins his fight with a crit, is hit with a glancing blow, then sneak attacks it. It hits him twice. Brand hits 16; it misses him twice; Brand hits again; It crits Brand, but his armor mastery stop the crit; Brand crits DEAD.

Finnric inspires doom and courage on the battlefield, affecting the Bugbear chief vs Thrand and several other rank and file. Ragnar goes for an intimidate on his bugbear lt. foe and succeeds as well.

Bjorn is accosted by the Orog chief Ulag, who goes for a intimidation on Bjorn doesn’t flinch. Bjorn replies in kind and Ulag is shaken. WIth a black longsword, the orog hits Bjorn twice slicing right through his armor. Magic! Four mean looking black orcs are now coming toward Bjorn and Finnik, Ulgruf yells those are the chief’s loyal guard! The orc lt., who stood next to the throne before, appears covering our rear. Ulag hits Bjorn and it does a point of level damage!! Which infuses it with healing. Bjorn hits once. Bjorn is hit with a crit/miss; Bjorn hits and crits. A spear, Fliggosfordr, flies in, from the new allie orc who covered our rear after 2 of the black orcs were dropped and kills the Orog!! He grabbed it off of Brokkr.
BJorn cuts the head from both the Orog and Ogrelon.

Finnric does not close in, but furious throws Hadan and Hadir at the berserker and hits twice. He moves in on Finnric and goes for a grapple. The AoO crits him ruining the grapple. Finnric then crits again DEAD then cleaves down 2 random bugbear troops! Four mean looking black orcs are now coming toward Bjorn and Finnik. Ulgruf yells that those are the chief’s loyal guard! The orc lt. who stood next to the throne before appears covering our rear. Finnrik moves forward with Brokkr and hurls his axe, hitting one. Brokkr hands him Hririr. Brokkr draws his weapon.
The 4 blood orcs move for us, and the way clears for them. The allied orc steps up and engages one. 2 arrows come out of the crowd, hitting the one Finnric hit DEAD. It was Mulok the green orc!! One attacks each of Finnrik and Brokkr. As they do, Blagra and another Blood orc hit them from the rear!! They all make short work of the black orcs.

Koku attacks a bug lt and hits, he is then hit in turn. Koku hits twice; he is then hit twice; Koku misses as it hits twice. Koku attacks miss/hit DEAD.

The bug chief moves in but misses Thrand, who misses in kind. It hits Thrand a massive 25, Thrand then hits twice. It misses and fumbles, then Thrand hits twice again. IT recovers the fumble and misses, Thrand hits big twice. IT misses twice; Thrand hits DEAD!!!

Ragnar hits, the bugbear fumbles. Ragnar misses. It recoves the fumble then misses. Ragnar hits. It misses twice; Ragnar misses; He is missed; Ragnar hits. At this point, Koku is free and joins to assist, then 2 other orcs on our side as well, one letting out a warcry that obvious comes from a half braindead. They kill Ragnar’s foe.

Pappy wears his old empirial guard armor; he hits and is hit. Then he hits 16. Pappy is almost crit’d with both, takes 2 regular hits; Pappy hits; Pappy is hit twice, then hits with a power attack in retaliation; Pappa is missed but misses himself; at this point, Thrand now free helps Pappy. Round after, Brand as well. Then Pappy hits DEAD.

When the black orcs begin approaching Bjorn, other black orcs turn as well, though not all. They begin to get mobbed by the other orcs on our side.

The battle ends. A dozen or so black orcs lie dead who tried to turn on us, the bugbears are wiped out completely but for the prisoners we have from earlier.
Blagra introduces us to his blood orc best friend Rymak.
Finnric “You fight mightily, you should join my pack of killers. Just don’t touch my spears again, ever.”

The man who covered our rear is subchief Gurk.

Bjorn says we leave the troglodytes alone, they did nothing to us. We still have to loot the treasure room and the rest of the place, including killing the manticores.
The orcs say some ‘evil spirit’ lives in an offshoot area. Sleeping close to the hall gives one terrible nightmares. They have a makeshift wall blocking it off.
Bjorn calls for Gudrun. She goes to the area, and comes back. It is NOT a spirit. There is something, however, of pure evil in that area.
Up that direction, it gets to being worked stone. Same old frescos as before, but of pale yellow and grays, purples, greens, sickly colors all around. Unfamiliar shapes because of the damage of time.
By Gudrun’s senses and the circumstances, Finnric feels it is something we faced last year. It was something we had never seen before, up in Ragnar’s region. With the tentacle faces.
What could such a creature be doing stuck in here?
Thrand “We can’t let that thing go roaming around.”

We begin the systematic looting of the place, into the cargo hold of holding in the folding boat.

Those of lower than 4th level, anytime they get around the area of evil, want to stay away.

We rest the night.

Next Day

Looting in earnest: Brand and Ragnar supervise. Toru is forbidden to assist in an wine or food. Anar warns that feywine is poison to orcs and goblinoids.
The equipment of the knight and Anar have been recovered.

In afternoon, we go down to investigate the evil presence. Its Bjorn, Finnric, Thrand, Anar, Stelio and Kalestios, Koku, Hakon and Gunnar.
A reserve force will wait outside: the triplets, Toru, and Pappy.

The old artwork was truly disgusting, judging by the remains left in this place.
A large 30×70 long room, with 5 pillars down the center and an altar at the far end. The room itslef causes a chill in several of us. Altar is pale gray stone, looks greasy but isn’t. A haze of unknown origin, purplish green and feint, is all around. Ilumination seems to originate from random locations with no visible source, dimly lighting the room.
A humanoid shape stands by the altar, doing something to a being upon it. Several other crouching figures are visible throughout the room, maybe a dozen, in fetal positions.
Also, a creature resembling a giant scorpion next to the thing at the altar. Chitinous, 12 legs each as long as a man is tall; stinger tail curving up and forward just like a scorpion. 4 tentacles, however, hang from its face atop a body coming from the front of the carapace. Its like one of those tentacled beings in a suit of scorpion armor.
None of the figures have acknowledged us until we start filing in quietly, when the one in the carapace obviously senses us.
None of the fetal bodies are withing about 30’ of us.
The thing in the scorpion suite wields a wild looking double spear as well.
Bjorn orders Finnric, Thrand, Gunnar to follow him, charging the scorpion.
Stelio, Kalestios, Anar, and Gurk are given the objective of killing the thing at the altar.
Hakon and Koku are reserve/crowd control if the fetals become active or any of us are taken down in any way.
We move in, Finnric singing with the PC’s in the lead, and feel the scorp sensing us in our minds and it does not feel good. There is a terrible mental effect in the room.
The scorp is too fast, moving effortlessly upthe wals and to the ceiling above us. It’s tail pierces Finnric to no effect.
Apparently, the armor acts independently because it still mindblasts a group of us but we all make it. Nothing happens.
Anar and Kalestios move forward down both sides of the altar. Anar unleashes an eldritch blast at the altar enemy.
Gunnar throws at the scorp 29. Thrand throws a handaxe upward 7.
The altar one stands almost motionless, but concentrating. Some of the fetals are humans with translucent skin, some are orcs with warped mouths, others are orcs but patchy and slimey/wet skin with drooping jaws.
It speaks, the translucent skin ones begin to pulse and gyrate.
Koku moves to Kalestios’ side, but not as far, lying in wait. Hakon follows.
Gurk follows Kalestios, STelio to Anar.
Finnric throws Faetlaf 15. Bjorn throws his light warhammer at it in frustration and hits 7.
Bjorn taunts the coward to come at us.
It releases from the ceiling, attacking Bjorn with the spear and 5 legs for 8/10/11/8/9; but the stinger on Thrand hits 9 but he makes the save.
Gunnar and Bjorn start seeing terrible visions, suffering a minus 2 to all checks.
He mindblasts Thrand, Bjorn and Gunnar; Gunnar is stunned!!
Thrand crits it DEAD!
Kalestion moves next to the priest and attacks 16, Anar joins him and hits.
Tentacles’ lids close and he vanishes!
The translucents begin to rip from the old skin, revealing newborn ilithid. We wack them easily. The slimey patch skins stand up, being not yet formerly formed morphed ilithid. The enlarged orifice’s heads crack open, inside are partially grown tadpoles like we saw in the cistern, 3 or 4 from each. We squash them to death.
They have 3 disgusting ways to procreate.
We destroy them all utterly with weapon and then fire.

The mist begins to clear after he is gone, and the temperature changes from his perfect ilithid nursery temp. This is a temple to their kind.

Bjorn sends Mulok and Gurk to talk to the trogs, telling them to clear up and eath those tadplole things out of the cistern.

The orc on the altar is still alive, we interrupted the process of inputing babies into his head. Koku puts him out of his misery.

View
The Thing 2; Voyage to Jarlsleifia

New and more followers are recruited over winter by the PC’s.
We discuss our route south. The spots marked on Bluto’s captured map must be investigated, foremost that with the knife stuck in it marked WPM for White Plume Mountain. It is there we assume to find him.

Steliokantos knows that Keraptis was a Peldan who sided with Peldan. Knows no more details about the artifacts but that they are destructive and powerful.

Kalestios Apokavkos is Stelio’s right hand man. When first inducted into empire’s cavalry as a young man he was sent on a fantastic expedition to the east. Has a brutal scar along his neck he took during his trip froma bad arrow wound that looked worse than he was. He is the commander of Stelio’s guard.
In the months of hanging with us all winter, they have earned their way into our respect, and vice versa. We even sparred together often.

All of our henchmen and the dwarves gather to go with us to the empire. Haarkon reminds us we promised to take him far east to his cousin’s home. Harald returns to go with us, Ingvarr joins us as well.
Thorhamma went home after the siege, but is awaiting our picking him up. We hope Kolfrosta will join us as well. Brand and Sigrid both insist on going too, there is no holding Sigrid back.
Sven and Ollie visit over the winter. Sven and the Ulfhednarr go out and have a blood rite with him, he cuts his hand deeply and all get a drink of the Fenris kin blood.
Ollie tells Bjorn “if things go bad, like the worst, this is the token of the full moon. Just made of clay. But, Sven and I both always know where it is. Focus on this and we’ll be there. Worry not of how.” One use item.

The spring Thing, in the fields outside Finnborg’s capitol unfortunately, is called. We’re sure we’ll run into Wulfgar and Iring. Apart from typical law stuff, this is the draft picks for the trip south. Anyone going swears their allegiance to their captain and signs the rosters.
At the full moon, all of the lawgivers meet up to prepare.
The sun rises and the Thing is in full swing.
We also have a happy reunion with Finnbogi!

Lots of challenges of str and skill this first day.

Then, at the court, Bjorn and Thrand gather with Ragnar, Wulfar, their puppet who runs Ragnar’s rightful home for a hearing concerning the town. They immediately mention what Thrand has been concerned about, Ragnar wants to travel with us, which is a fact understandably used against him getting his home back. But, we are prepared for that argument.
They say that the town is being run well anyway, very well and fairly from what they hear.
Thrand and Bjorn argue that is immaterial. He would be able to appoint his own successor while he was gone, if he were in charge now and chose to go. What is the difference, really? Thrand has gathered tales, with Finnric and Finn’s help, of many heroes of past who left for adventure while in charge, to none’s chagrin.
Afterall, Tosten is going. Are you going to steal his lands as well?
If we came into Wulfgar’s house, Thrand asks, killed him and threw his son out, but took care of his family and ran his farm, that wouldn’t make it ours by right.
They ask for a vote by 25 men from the city. Thrand objects, who are these men? How do we know they are not paid off? None of us nor the lawgivers are there to make sure the men are fairly and randomly chosen.
Thrand objects to the entire proceedings on principle. Just because we did not have the force of arms to immediately take the town back when is was usurped, while Ragnar was off solving serious issues in his land and his father was murdered, does not make it right.
This could have happened to any of us, any of our fathers or grandfathers, while they were away battling enemies. That is what the sagas and epics are all about!

It was a split council to start. By the end of deliberation, only one is still on the fence. The chief judge, go figure.
In the end, he ridiculously sticks with Wulfgar. Insisting it was a legitimate annexation.
Thrand throws his table over, chair onto the floor and storms out. Obvious, gold was involved here.
Thrand and Finnric go to work on the constituency of the other judges head council judges and the other judges of the wider court, to get them to demand of their own area judges that this needs looked in to and a vote of no confidence should be drawn against the chief judge.

Another Celestine has been recruiting in Wulfgar’s land, as we know, and he and Stelio are on opposing political sides. That guys got their power from teh previous emperor that the current one overthrew. Stelio is all for the current emperor.
Bjorn goes about the Thing with INgvarr and Harald recruiting men.

Our followers have swollen as well the closer it got to spring, finishing up her at the Thing.
Toru has become a true cohort to Gunnar, Koku to Finnric, Hakon to Bjorn, and Brand to Thrand, always looking up to his brother’s wisdom and greater xp, and his big balls.

Our callers are out looking for hirelings to go with us. Tosten tells tales of all that he did while he was already there, a boon for us it is, having a man already xp’d with the empire sojourn. Ingvarr was much more recently in the south.
Lots of stirring speeches by both of them and Stelio and Bjorn.
A locally well known smith named Thorulf joins us; Vidulf the tanner; and many more.
Stelio says they like to go back with 500 each at least. Our final count is just under 485, including us.
Wulfgar is at about the same number.
We still have Thorhamma and hopefully Kolfrosta and perhaps even Hjalprek.

All business ends on Frigg’s day. The weekend is a 2 day finale party. Many more people show up for that, some from lands over the sea.
Some guys in particular from the island of the siege we met arrive. When they find out that we are going south, they talk to Stelio. He says he hires anyone who is able and willing. Once the party is over, they are going to go back home and will meet us in the Empire!!
Lots of heavy drinking, esp Sunday. Monday morning, all depart for home. FInal ship donations are in by now as well.
Enough for all of our men plus a couple or so xtra.
Gustav tells us to give the Celesting ruler his greetings, they were friends back in the day.

We sail for Jarlsleifia and ride to the capitol. Jarlsleif’s son is still there in charge. Couple warlords in Tharangia were causing some issues, delaying his dad’s arrival back home. Some giants have been creating turmoil, and Jarlsleif called for local heroes to assist. But, a nasty affair with a troll has taken their best already. Dad was hoping if no one local was available, men from the north would come Fortuitous we showed up, he says! Can we do it!
The Jotuns have been raiding and taking prisoners at will. If we go, Jarlsleif will fill us in more when we meet.
Hjalprek and Kolfrosta both join us!! Wulfgar has not come the way we went. We took what is called the high road, via the Fallen lands. Wulfar takes the low road, the easy way Finnric calls it. Bluto’s son also joins us!!!
We go back to our ships, sail to the port of Imbrundia to meet Jarlsleif. He actually lives in a stone castle! Stone!
He declares today a celebration with drinking and carousing! All provided by him!
Later, he details the hill giants. Some warlord on the other side of the mts occupies the time of most of his good warriors, plus the troll we heard of. He is left w/o real heroes until our arrival. It is a steading of Hill Giants we face. He says these giants here originate from a steading in the Fallen Lands to the east. He is hoping that since we are going that direction, we can sack it. They take an abnormal amount of prisoners, probably for eating.
A man named Gorn the Nimble did escape. He knows where it is in the great Meander Forest. A great wooden steading. He can detail the layout of the place! He will travel with us as our guide to the steatding. He wants payback anyway, even if it means his death. HE has an overdeveloped sense of retribution. He and Thrand get along mightily.
Nosnra is the chief of the steading.
“Are you willing to take on teh giants for old uncle Jarl?”
Bjorn “Of course!”
We cheer heartily.
“GIve uncle leif a hug, get over here!”
What a tale that will be.
Jarlsleif makes the general announcement to his entire hall. He declares any who wish to travel with us is free to do so.
He permits us to recruit. Bjorn leads, with Tosten telling them of the glory, Finnric putting on multiple performances telling of our past deed to excite the men. Thrand, Ragnar and Gunnar assist Bjorn.
We walk out with 181, added onto our already 485.
Jarlsleif tells us to tell the Celestine Great King that Jarlsleif sends his greetings! He was with Gustav back in the day.

View
Home and wedding, finally!

We land at Tordekting. Obviously, the Jarlsleifia contingent sailed to their own home.
Gustav is distraught over his youngest son’s death.
Harald leaves after a few days and returns home.

We feast our followers and henchmen at a special gathering, showing our appreciation for them all. Much loot is now distributed to them.

Soon enough, the PC’s and henchmen travel up the river and to the valley, as Ollie wished to see us upon our return. Village Hero is thriving in charge.
Our friendly augment town is good to go.
Ragnar’s home is still run by Finnborg men who usurped it when we were last here.
News: couple days ago, dark clad stranger came by, spoke little. When he did it was in dark and shadow. Last 6 shadow good augments are now gone.
Black J, we assume.

Then north to Ollie, but he is not at his hut. Message says he has gone north, for us to go north 3 days towards Sven’s land. He will meet us on the road. He had pressing business.
Day and a half north, in Kalmakand, the people cheer us like we are great heroes. Noble looking woman meets us with half dozen men. She throws herself into Bjorn’s arms “Oh Sven, you’re back! It’s been months since you left!”
The troops “My Jarl.”
Bjorn “You have the wrong person, woman. I am not Sven.”
Thrand “This is Bjorn Gustavson.”
They are shocked, as Bjorn looks just like her husband who left 7 days after their wedding 3 months ago. We convince them.
We feast at the meadhall. She says Ollie was here a few days ago, in a hurry north. They see him rarely and he said Sven would return soon.

Next day, Sven leading a couple dozen Ulfhednar, and Ollie alone, show up.
We meet and feast again, telling them our tale of Langbay.

Late, Sven, Ollie, Finnric and Bjorn speak alone. Ollie says he had to see the seers. He learned that there are great things in motion; much turmoil in the world; nothing will be the same. Populace lands will lessen, dead will rise, oceans will drain, etc.
He was instructed to aid us in our further endeavors. To what extent he is not sure, but they told him he would know when it is time to stop.
Sven was campaigning. King Swen in the north needed help against rebels vs Hrolf. Says he and Ollie, while we were gone, met in the north. Decided it is time to reveal that which has been hidden. “However, you can not reveal it yourself lest the doom of both of Bjorn and Finnric.”
Gustav is not Bjorn’s father, he was adopted, actually the youngest of Vulmond, Gustav’s older brother (Sven and Ollie’s father). These 2 were born lycanthropes like their dad. Vulmond’s own brothers killed him for that (he was afflicted). Borg attacked Vulmond’s lands, slew his wife, tried to kill us but we fled, and sacked his lands. Sven and Ollie were young then. Gustav had the mind to slaughter a farm family, put their child in with Volmund’s wife. That is the child Borg killed thinking it was Vollmund’s real son. That actual child was taken and raised by Gustav = Bjorn. No one but Gustav and his wife know this. HIs wife had a failed birth, so they simply replaced the child.
Keep it secret, for people even outside of our lands may hate you, as such a child is prophesied to be a great hero, great as a great unknown ancester ( we now know of Half grim). Destined to great things, along with those around him. Real legend and saga material.
Though Bjorn does not have the shapechange curse, the spirit of Volmund resides within Bjorn.
This is why he was seen by some as a great bear at Langbay.
To Bjorn’s friends it will inspire, to enemies it will intimidate.
Sven looks over at Finnric and draws out a big carving knife. He runs the blade across his arm and poors his blood into Finnric’s drinking horn and exorbitant amoung. It heals quickly. He passes it to Finnric “What’s an Ulfhedinn w/o a little wolf blood in him.”
Finnric drinks up “Thank you, Sven.”

Back to home.

Thrand petitions the courts to end the occupation of Ragnar’s town. It is denied; we are told by friends that Finnborg may have the right people in his pocket, so to speak. The fix was in.
Wulfgar retaliates and tries to get a vote of no confidence on Village Hero, but it is denied thankfully.
We will take this to The Thing in the spring!!

Thrand and Gudrun are married in a great celebration before winter!!!!!!

As fall and winter come and go, we refresh our knowledge of Celestine culture and language if we are to go south. Other liaisons of the empire have arrived to recruit. One will assist us in much we should know and work out logistics of all who will go south: Steliokantos. He has his own group of heralds and bards who tag along with him.
He says there are recruiters in all the major areas: Gustav’s, Swein’s, Finnborg’s; Jarlsleifia, etc.
All will gather at a meeting hub in Jarlsleifia before heading south.

New and more followers are recruited. Thrand gains only a handful, Gunnar 3.
Finnric and Bjorn receive the biggest boon. Both now swell to 75×1st; 7x 2nd; 4x 3rd; 2x 5th; 1x 6th. Many are ready to journey south to the empire.

We discuss our route south. The spots marked on Bluto’s captured map must be investigated, foremost that with the knife stuck in it marked WPM for White Plume Mountain. It is there we assume to find him.

Steliokantos knows that Keraptis was a Peldan side Master. Knows no more details about the artifacts but that they are destructive and powerful.

View
Siege of Lanbay

It’s an 10 day voyage to the landing sight.

Langbay itself is a population of about 7000. There are some 8 major settlements in its immediate vicinity, and outside of those more hamlets, villages and such that it controls. Outside of those, technically it claims the land but patrols are few and far between. We know they lost a lot of quality men during the invasion of our lands.
It lies on the coast in a valley, surrounded by mountainous lands. A ring of rough hills lies lies tween the mts and Langbay, w/in which are the towns.
The city has an outer AND inner wall.
The kingdom is called Camden, the capital is on the peninsula south of Langbay, at its tip.

Bjorn wants to send about half of our force east and half west of the city, hitting major settlement to each side of Langbay nearest the coast and if necessary work our way up to the northern most 2, in order to pin the city in; leaving a couple or so to the pin down the harbor from any escapes.
Once we secure the towns, by attack or them fleeing for Langbay, the dwarves will get to work from the secured zone of the town to Langbay’s immediate north.

We sail by our initial raid that started off the campaign, it is basically abandoned. Hugging the coast.

Finnric “Do we want to stay so near the coast now, do you care if we get spotted.”
Bjorn an uncaring “No” shaking his head.

After, we hear a distant horn blowing; mercantile vessels flee at our approach, making a wide berth and making for open sea behind us. 1 of Sven’s, 1 of Kolfrosta’s and 1 allied Jarl ship are to blockade the city. W/ our 3 ships are Sven’s other, the last of Kolfrosta’s, and the 2 remaining of the allied Jarl.
Wulfgar will take his 6 west plus we send 1 of Kolfrosta’s w/ him.
We land south of the village, east of the hills, to attack from the opposite side of the city. Lance and Black J say thanks for the ride and are leaving for home. More than likely, augments here are 2nd class citizens and will not fight you if you do not fight them. There are a couple of hamlets that are nothing but augments, actually. They say to the NE of the city, at edge of the hills, is one of them that will likely be cool with us. He gives us his mark to give them as a show of friendship with Lance. They will also stop there on the way out to tell them we may be coming.
The acoustics of the area are amazing, we can hear sounds from the village as we start over land. They are already screaming for their lives. By the time we get there, its all but empty. We make our way to the 2nd village up and stop.

The town was hastily left. Much is to be had, especially from the church. The heaviest, and so best, of the gold was often left behind. We load as much onto the many mules, wagons and carts and such still remaining, and take it with us from town to town as it grows.

Very fine Tower Shield (30)
Water Clock!
High Quality Great Axe
10 exceptional alch. fire (burn twice as long)
Potion prot. arrows
mst silver spiked chain (505)
lvl 3 mst longsword
"" dagger
lvl 1 mst battle axe
platinum Return holy symbol w/ jewels (300)
Gems and Jewels totalling 3158
31 pp
315 gp
2110 sp

Copper is up the the taking from who finds it and what they can carry.

The next town has had more time, only maybe 800 pop., still flying Bluto’s flag. There is still a presence in town.
The gate is shut, tips of spears carried by men can be seen on the crenelations. 10 or 12’ high wall; we estimate 50 to 100 men remain from high ground vantage points.
There is a smaller gate at the far side of the town.
Bjorn sends an offer first: throw down all weapons, surrender, give up the town, we will not kill all of you. If we have to attack this town, no one will be allowed to live.
“If we open the gates and let you in, what do you mean when you say "not all of us won’t be killed’? "
Bjorn “Whoever was foolish enough to order this resistance, the rest will live.”
They discuss, we think there is an argument going on inside about what to do.
A short time later, guards come to the wall and say they will hand over the commander if we let the soldiery walk.
Bjorn accepts so long as they leave unarmed.
They are apprehensive about leaving unarmed.
We say if they throw the commander out the door bound, we will step back a distance and let them flee either to Langbay, where you may die anyway, or away from the area.
They will go to Lanbgay. We understand duty.
Bjorn warns them of Bluto, that they risk death by showing up w/o their commander. We try to tell them not to make for Langbay.
They discuss, deciding to go NE away from the conflict. But, they are worried about their many women and kids who are at Langbay or will be.
Bjorn insists this is a very personal mission, we are not here to rape and murder commoners and general mayhem. This is not our typical wanton destruction.
They accept fully. We get not only the knight commander, but also 6 of his household guard, and they soldiery leave.
Finnric rips his armor and clothes apart to check for cult evidence, and he does have the teardrop amulet. His men do not. They seem to know nothing.
Bjorn has Koku quickly and mercifully behead the house guard in front of the knight.
Bjorn “Bring forth the shield maidens to question.”
Sigrid and Kolfrosta, skilled in intimidate, come forward to start the torture/interrogation. He has been beaten up by the soldiers already.
What he tells us:
115 man garrison at next town. It’s the jewel in Bluto’s crown. The lord in charge likely won’t leave, he’ll fight us. If anyone evacuated it would be the women and children. Otherwise he’ll draft the citizenry.
In Langbay, Bluto has remaing after invation, 25 hvy (w/ breastplate), 75 lt cavalry. Also another 100 quality infantry (chain and kite sh). About 100 archers, all shortbows. 300 grunt infantry. A lot of conscripts in the city also for certain. But, these are all his 2nd string men, basically. His best were taken and mostly lost at the invastion.
By this time has has many cuts via Sigrid and a broken ankle via Kolfrosta’s hammer.
Bjorn “Can we expect the king to send troops anytime soon?”
“Bluto is a peer of the realm, so the king is oathbound” Even if Bluto can get no men out of town, Bluto’s mage has a direct way to communicate w/ the king’s arcanist."
Hopefully the king will figure Bluto can hold out for a while, and wait to gather a larger force, longer than Bluto will really have thanks to our dwarves.
Last question is all he knows about Bjorn’s brother: far as he knows, nothing has happened to him. He’s in Bluto’s tower in Langbay.
Finnric “Can I blood eagle him now?”
Bjorn says since he talked, a lot, he’ll get his head crushed in quickly by Kolfrosta. Finnric’s disappointed. Blood Eagle is not to be done lightly, but this blood cult is a horse of a very different color. They are savagely evil.
Bjorn “She might miss the first time, a bit.”
She does, it takes 2 swings to do the trick.

We find a Return monk robe, but inside out it is a blood cult robe. The knight ID’s him by name and description (older gentleman about 60 yrs).

Again, we leave a looting crew back while the army marches to the next town.
fine hvy steel shield (150)
lvl 1 mst chain shirt
monk’s outfit Return (inside its the blood cult robe mentioned above)
Nobles outfit (75)
bag of 3 thunderstones
spiked gauntlet
arcane scroll: flare
spear (boar spear, big leaf head blade): Finnric claims this with authority
1000 in gems/jewels
40pp
530gp
2110sp

The day is starting to wind down. We keep on.

Village 3, biggest thus far. Pop maybe 1200.
Another walled town. Hanging from the stone walls are augment women and children, and the old!! Torches are lit along the walls. There are many more than 50 goons actively yelling curses at us.
Walls are bigger and better than the last, about 15’ high.
Sigrid “All the more loot that may remain.”
We surround the town deliberately. There is a main entrance on each side of the town. 2 masses at the side of each gate.
Bjorn sets the dwarves constructing 2 battering rams. They say they can make siege engines faster than mortal man.
We attack both doors at once, archers providing covering fire at the walls above the gates.
Bjorn leads the front door w/ Kolfrosta, Harald, Ingvarr, SIgrid, Ragnar, Toru.
Finnric the rear w/ his 5 Ulfhednar.
Finnric “Every spear along these walls is mine!”
We get only a few injuries from bowfire on both sides. About 10 minutes of battering for the door and portcullis to go down. Sigrid is primed, barely able to contain herself, pacing with anticipation at her first action, and first kill.
In the rear, Finnric leads the Ulfhednar in a wedge (Koku to his left; Modar/Brokkr next; Ylva/Thorhamma next), archers firing behind them; the rest flood in behind and flank outwards after the entrance is cleared enough.
At the front a more mass wave attack let by Bjorn.
Bjorn has ordered no quarter. Everyone w/in the walls dies.

First, attacks through murder holes do little to us. Waiting for Finnric is a line of soldiers with a leader; 4 cavalry and a line of infantry meet Bjorn.
Sigrid starts her career off with a critical 17, unhorsing the rider but the horse goes with him in a startle and pins the rider! As he clears himself and stand, she beheads him with a crit!
Finnric collects 2 spears from the first line, both d6 shortspears.
Troops have been filing past the Ulfhednar in force, the line falls in a bloodily in a couple rounds, Thorhamma finishing off the last man. They flood in with the men, killing, ravishing, and looting. Finnric orders Koku to guard the exit “None leave alive”; The front is held better by the front guard with 2 commanders and the few cavalry but it falls eventually, Ragnar dropping the final commander.
Ragnar starts hitting on Sigrid “Sexy Legs”.
Sigrid gets the head of her first kill. Bjorn says he should fire Ingvar, Ragnar and Harald for their poor showing.
Turns out about 400 people are still here, crowded into the area of the central walled tower. Including the Lord hiding amongst them. He does not seem to be a blood cultist.
Toru “Are we still killing everyone?”
Bjorn “I’ve got a better use for them.” We pack them into buildings that are easily closed up and barred/secured. They will be for later “to show Langbay what happens to those who resist.”
Finnric “Just like Bluto did to Rymskyld.”

We loot in full:
10 sunrods
2 tindertwigs
spyglass
2 waterclocks
Hvy Crossbow of quality materials (400)
Alchemical solutions: keen edge; neutralize poison
scroll: blood gate
1200 in gems/jewels
45pp
680sp
1010gp
Also, 3 mobile siege engines; trebuchet and 2 catapults.

Next town up is burned out. Wooden palisade battered, piles of burned bodies in the square. No corpses that have not been burned.
To the NE is the augment town, couple hundred. There is trouble there, cavalry riding through the town attacking as we look on via spyglass.
Last town, just north of Langbay, has been completely abandoned. Wulfgar meets us on the way there.
It’s late by now. We start getting ready for the siege tomorrow, the dwarves begin scouting for their dig sight. A unit of 20 Allied Jarl men will guard and assist them.
We have kept them out of sight from the locals so as not to warn Bluto of the presence of trixey dwarves.

Finnric hears of his sisters action, and congratulates her.

We settle our camps on the ourskirts of the city, defensive positions, etc.

Morning

Get look into town w/ spyglass. No gates from our direction.

Lance, Black J, and a group of augments show up early. Say Bluto has cavalry that has been riding around hitting the augment places. The burned out town we entered yesterday had openly said they were going to deal w/ us because they had a good relationship with the augments. So, Bluto turned on the town. These augments, Lance et al saved from the small village we saw being attacked. He is here w/ his 20 men as well. They are looking for blood and join.

About 40 lightly armed men approach under flag of truce. Head man demands to speak to the leaders. He meets w/ Bjorn and Wulfgar. Says he leads an irregular militia in the area, they wander the region. As of now, Bluto is actually on the outs with them. He has moved to true evil actions. He and his band are looking to overthrow him. With the same enemy, perhaps we can work together for now. He introduces himself as the Sgt.Major Thomas Darkhelm.
He has 50 men.
The 2 rams the dwarves built have also been brought up.

We dig in, piked trenches around the town; forage for supplies and siege ammunition. The augments and rangers know how to work the siege engines, so they are stationed there.
The Ulfhednar sleep most of the days, and are up all night doing Odinic rituals and being on night watch.
The 3 shadow and the greenborn and the infravision augments are used as outer scouts as well.

Next Day

We bring up the captives from the previous town, older men, about 50 of them. Sarge asks us not to do whatever we are planning, but Bjorn rejects him.

The Lord is beheaded, after another rebuff of Bjorn’s request to surender. His body is piked across from the main gate on the west side, his head launched over the gate.
The older men are lined up, each with a soldier with them. The Ulfhednar are among them.
Bjorn says this is what happens then, and tells them to cry for help of their friends and family. About half do so. He then orders all killed. None die quickly. They are also piked, lining them up to either side of the lord.
A few token catapult shots at us fall short.
Still nothing from the roving cavalry.

Next Day

A ram is placed at a gate on east and west; tower at other gate to east, plus north gate. Last tower with other siege equipment.
Bjorn leads a force on west side w/ ram; another force just north of him covers the other gate on that side with the ram. To east is Sven’s men, Ingvarr leading a group of Bjorn’s men, and Wulgar’s Jarlsleifia force.
Wulfgar is to north gate; Finnborg’s neighbor with the siege engines.
Ragnar is with a force of Bjorn’s at the siege engines as well.

Our old women captives are brought forth. Bjorn lines them up, and tells them to beg for rescue to their overlord like he told the old men. This is the first they have seen of what happened to the old men. They are uncontrollably distraught.
Bjorn makes sure to point out that this is the town that did NOT surrender, that the town that did peacefully all got to run away.
Some useless arrow shots are fired at us to no effect. The women are killed and added to the line.

Night:
The cavalry is spotted by Koku and a shadow augment, coming up from the east behind our men. All 100 of them! They tell Ingvarr it will be here in about 10 minutes.
We start waking up more than just the 20 night guards, who get ready to be attacked. 40 men we keep watching the city side in reserve, just in case. 100 men ready to engage the cavalry along with the shadow augment and Koku.
The cavalry keep their distance, riding around, up and back. They are just trying to harass us, not attack.
The shadow augment leaves, reporting to Lance who reports to Bjorn. Bjorn sends word to Sarge to send rangers out to look for the cavalry’s camp first light, assuming that since they were up all night, they must be resting much of the day.

Next Day

Before daybreak the cavalry vanish into the dark in the direction they came. Sarge sends rangers out to look for them. Likely, they shouldn’t be difficult to track. The winged augment is sent along to speedily report back the position.
Finnric volunteers to lead his Ulfhednar and followers on the raid, wanting Finnbogi and his berserks to join him.
He goes to personally ask Finnbogi who says he certainly will so long as Wulfgar ok’s it. Finnnbogi rushes to ask Wulfgar who agrees.
We prepare to go at a moment’s notice.

Bjorn gathers the rest of the adult males from the captured town. Sarge asks for quarter again for these men.
He tells them we really want to hear it from them.
“Being men, you might want to act like men for the first time in your lives. But, I have a way to fix that. If you scream like the little girls you are though…”
They are dragged out to see the line of staked bodies.
“If you’re willing to surrender the city now…” another chance to surrender. The men at the SW corner tower are obviously shaken, trying to leave their post. The men on the walls are forcing them not to.
Bjorn tells the men to scream for you lives. Most of them refuse. The men standing behind each all have a knife at the ready. All are immediately hamstringed while standing. They fall.
Bjorn “You can still save your lives, open the gates!”
The conscripts along the west wall are all beginning to call for the gates to be open.
The soldiers are keeping them in line though.
Starting with the first in line, he is knifed in the privates.
Toru “When you begin to beg and wail like women, this will stop.”
All the conscripts on that wall are freaking out. Their morale is finished. Men inside the city are switched in for mostof them. Those routing are rounded up by professional troops and whisked away.
The line of men soon starts to wail and beg for the city to give.
No response from Bluto.
BJorn “Apparently your lord does not care about you. SInce Lord Bluto has no regard for the life of his men, neither shall I.”
They are each killed by the man behind them, as each man wishes. They are added to the like of staked bodies.

in the afternoon the flyer reports the camp has been found, about 5 miles NE. About a third are awake right now. He leads Finnric and Finnbogi, they move out fast.
Bjorn gives a directive, he wants all of their heads. On their way out, Black and Lance’s 3 shadow augments and the greenborn meet Finnric and insist to join him as well.

From the enemy’s Beacon Hill over the last few days, we have seen much of what we will face inside the city. The soldiery we see at the keep are well armed and armored. Likely more than we were told. Perhaps 1000 conscripts throughout the defenses; 200 conscript archers on the walls; 80 or so light cavalry in the 2 plazas; 300 infantry.; 80 to 100 heavy infantra. Probably a couple hundred in the castle including 40 hvy cavalry and a group of knights. They have a catapult there.
We assume Bluto and his Malenko are in the castle. A strange winged man is seen once on the grounds, as well as the winged demon looking thing that saved Bluto from our clutches. What appears to be a wyvern penned up on the castle grounds. Also, a handful of giants!!! A fire, a hill, a frost, and a mountain. This gets Finnric interestes. A troll and an Ogre are also seen.

vs The Cavalry

The campsite is triangle shaped, a group of cavalry at each point. Each has 2/3 sleeping and 1/3 awake! Only about 33 awake!! No patrol in the daytime apparently, few men on watch out away from each point.
Finnric and Ulfhednar and followers take one tip, the berserks another, the rangers the third. At their point, the outlying 3 guards are engaged by the augments here but the augments fail miserably so an alarm goes up via horn. All sides immediately attack.
The berserks and Finnric’s men flood into the camp.
Finnbogi hits the outlying 3 guards.
Finnric’s followers make for the tents of the just waking, while the Ulfhednar take out the men who were already up; Ylva and Modar jumping the outlying 3 guards.
The rangers form 2 lines at the edge of the camp on their side, opposite each other. They are to pepper their tip with bowfire during the assault, hit everything awake or running out of a tent.
The augments have to finish off the guards they didn’t ambush.
Once the men are in the tents, the men awake being eliminated fairly quickly, the rangers and augments find that in the tents are women and kids dressed as cavalry! The berserks barely take notice and do not stop.
The rangers/augments take all captive at this point. Finnric does the same on his side and actively has to stop Finnbogi from continuing past his part of the camp; for the rangers/augments say they are willing to forcibly stop the berserks otherwise.
The 11 awake on each tip were actually soldiers. Only those in the tents were women and children. The berserks did lay waste to most on their attack point.
Black J is beside himself, not what he was expecting.
He gets a wounded enemy and begins roughly asking where the other cavalry are. The man will not comply.
Ylva arrives and begins biting fingers off of the man while Finnric holds him down demanding the information. 3 fingers in he says these are peasants from a nearby village told they were being brought here for security. Lies. A ruse to lure the best of the Vikings here so as not to be there for an attack at the main force. He knows not where the attack will be, on what force. They will attack on foot since all their horses are here to pull off the ruse.
The winged augment is sent back to report the ruse.
The captive says the leader of the cav is one of Bluto’s inner circle (so likely a cultist!). His spear is an artifact from the time of the Masters, he calls it Blood Drinker, a foul weapon indeed.
We mount up on their horses and ride fast as we can, hoping to make it back to at least help if the attack has already started. The rangers are left to watch over the captives. Finnric figures they will attack either Wulfgar’s position, Ingvarr’s, or both. SInce the former has lost his berserks and the latter were up much of the night being harassed. Luckily, we’re on that side.

Dwarves Interlude
Dwarves, about halfway to the finish, break into an ancient catacomb and face some skeletons and weak such undead. They clear it out with no problem. They find a tunnel leading up and out of the catacombs, likely toward the temple are but they have been caved in.
They do run into a tougher creature down there as well; and some loot including ancient armor and weapons.
A dwarf Ethelbert was interred here as a guardian for the Elf buried in a sarcophagus in the middle of the room. In the wall all around are grave niches.He wears a great helm, massive shield on his back, maul, and plate armor covering his whole body.
It’s an inauspicious start, as Fliggol and Raggid almost fumble, Ottr and Egin miss, and the thief hides. Raggid insists to the Prince to stay back for now, for he is the sole remaining royalty of the clan.
The thing smacks Raggid with its 2 handed maul then the dwarves surround it completely, only the thief, archer, and prince hanging back. It emanates negetivity, slightly weakening a couple. The battle is not easy, many of their blows glance off the thick armor of the monster. Finally, between 3 massive shots from Fliggol, Eggin and Ragged bring it down.
From it, they gather engraved full plate armor; Beorn’s Maul (vs Giants = negate armor as magic and 1d6 bonus damage); great helm (vs any head based damage = 25% to resist); hvy steel shield (of only half the weight).
Also, 1000gp of gems and jewelry. They keep all of this treasure.
Back to digging.
End Interlude

Winged Augment gets back before any attack has happened. He warns Ingvarr’s side, then Wulfgar, then Bjorn himself. He passed near the cav on the way, who seem to be headed more toward Ingvarr. With only about 60 men even against tired men, he is outnumbered 3:1 so Ragnar says he suspects a sorte from w/in the city to hit them from the other side as well.
Wings says tells them that Finnric’s force is on the way, mounted so travelling faster than the attacking cav (now on foot) did.
Bjorn says Ingvarr is warned, and has “full confidence in him.”

120 conscripts sortie our from the city, plus 20 cavalry and 40 trained but not heavy infantry. They then form up: Cav unit in the center, 2 units of inf to their left and conscripts forming wings 3 to a side.
The 60 cav on foot move in from the east and line up.
A Sven and a Jarlsleifia unit separates to block the unmounted cav attack. The rest form a line vs the city sortie w/ Ingvarr in the center, the ditch in front of them.
The city cav prepares lances for a charge. The inf mostly wield axes, conscripts mostly wield spears.
All our men with bows face the city side and fire and massacre a conscript unit on each flank, taking 2 units out of the battle. Volleys fire from their walls, but fall basically useless. A catapult fires as well, damaging a unit of Sven’s men.
They move up to the trench and begin to cross, breaking their charge as a 2nd catapult shot misses short.
The footed cav in the rear charges. The battle joins.
It’s a blood fight terribly bloody, many down or dead when Finnric’s force arrives, raging warcries screaming! At this point, only 2 conscript units remain.
As the ragers hit, 2 units with Wulfgar move in on our right flank, 40 men.
The conscripts on our right route and flee for the city. Their front line is pushed back!! Our Sven left wing men however break under the onslaught and flees!!
Sven’s men in the rear pull back toward our front line, folowed by Jarlsleifia.
Unfortunately for their footed cavalry, as they push our line back is when they hear the fury of the Ulfhednar howls and Berserk roars at their backs.
Each Ulfhednar plus Finnric follower unit immediately destroys a footed cavalry to the man. The last of them is teamed up on by the 2 Berserk units.

Next Day

Bjorn reallocates some of the force after the losses. The ‘Harald’ contingent is disbanded, mostly folded into the Olaf and Sven to get them back up to 20. The remaining 6 men are spread into the Wulfgar Jarlsleifia that took losses. Their own 3rd contingent is taken down to 13 men to keep 2 units full at 20. However, that 13 man unit hs a 5th, a 4th, and two 3rd lvl men, w/ 8x 2nd and a single first. So a small but strong reserve force.

All heads of the cavalry and the previous days battles, all beheaded. A wall of staked bodies is put up on the Ingvarr’s side now with half their bodies, the other half is lined at Wulfgar’s side. Bjorn has the catapults and trebuchet loaded with heads, launching them over the wall in bunches from the corner they are stationed.
Bjorn yells at the gate to speak to Bluto the Fat and Pathetic as the launching begins. It rains heads in the city.
Bluto does not come to the walls.
A few of the bodies are hung from the tops of the siege towers so that is the first thing they will see once we assault, plus one at the front top of each battering ram.
Sarge implores Bjorn to not progress to the women and children from the towns. Bjorn says they are fine today. Tomorrow is the really big show.
Throughout the night, we hear some sort of fracas from within the city, flare ups of lights. The wizard’s tower is definitely active.
The castle is also well lit all night, buzz of activity.

Overnight:
about 1am a small paddle boat comes up to the shoreline south of Bjorn’s position. They desire parlay with Bjorn; seem to be commoners.
Bjorn and Finnric go out to meet them.
The 6 of them are sick over the loss of the peasants in the conscript units yesterday.
Though they do not doubt our siege will ultimately fail, their losses will be huge. They do not want that to happen, nor the fear tactics to continue. Many conscripts are either refusing to fight, or if it comes to it will simply run away and hide from us. Bluto has made sure none can get out of the gates. They are trapped tween him and us.
So, we need not worry about a vast majority of the commoners inside the city.
The flashes of light and activity was a small rebellion of peasants inside. The soldiers did not take the losses they had hoped to inflict, and it was put down relatively quickly.
Bjorn says what he really needs is to kill Bluto and rescue his brother. He tells them to let the militia know to leave us alone once we are in the city. Let us get to Bluto in particular. Any of them who leaves us alone, we will leave alone. If they can spread such a word to the militia units to do so it would go a long way to their city not being pillaged and destroyed. We aren’t really hear for that, in particular.
They talk among themselves for a few moments. Bjorn offers to create a diversion if it would assist them in getting back in.
They say 2 of them have volunteered to reenter the city. They sneaked out via the docks. If we distract them at Bjorn’s side it may help them get back inside.
They do warn us, many more murders especially the women and children we have, may turn the attitude against us.
Bjorn says his next step was not to kill them, but a scene of debauchery. They say probably not a good idea.
They say one of Bluto’s allies, Duke of Normanchester named, is dead. Bluto was challenging the throne and a contingent of Bluto’s men were there with this ally marshaling vs the king of Camden, Luthor Tralham. Normanchester was killed recently in this action. The wizard had recently tried to communicate to get them to help here and found this out. News was passed around that the Duke and the last of his Bluto forces were recently beaten vs the King.
This is good news for us: the king is not coming up here any time soon, at least not to aid Bluto; and no reinforcements otherwise.

Next Day

The rangers say they sent the surviving commoners from the cavalry camp attack to a safer village in the vicinity.

We make a distraction, the 2 commoners get back in.

Thrand’s force arrives!!
Tomorrow, the dwarves will be finished with the tunnel!

Thand, Brand and Thrand’s followers are stationed on Ingvarr’s side, as are the 2 units of Sven men that arrived with him.
Bjorn puts Vortigurn’s 3 units with the siege equipment.
The triplets are put with the siege equipment. The Tosten family with Bjorn; Ulf and Hakon with Kolfrosta

We begin wondering where Toru, he is found in the closest routed village eating his own banquet. We can barely move him to the battlefield.

Night:

An arrow is shot out of the city from the wall, nonchalantly, landing near the camp. It has a note written on it. Sarge translates: well over half the conscripts will ignore us; maybe 20% are still loyal to Bluto; another group are looking still to rebel. They may be willing to take a soldier down here and there themselves, we can know them by the red sashes they will wear.

Next Day

One of the rangers had been telling Ragnar and Toru of the Crimson Banner the previous night around the campfire. An Troll in a cave not too far from here killed the hero that previously owned it. Probably the troll we saw inside the town days ago. So either his cave in unguarded, or the Ogre has a way inside the town as well. Lots of local folktale here. It’s enough to get them interested. They have enlisted Harald, as well as a ranger of Sarge’s and 2 augments (natural wpn: clawed hands, and multi limbed; 3rd arm so uses 2 wpns and a shield).
The rangers have seen it outside the walls once since we have been here, only at a distance.
The ranger telling the story leads the way into the wilderness.
Bjorn wishes him luck, says to have fun on their own and wishes them good luck. Finnric offers to follow them, but Thrand say “they have to be their own men too. We all die when our time comes and not before”.
Robert the Red, the ranger who told the tale, leads the way through the wilderness. We get to a long cave, the deeper in, the more it stinks; bones strewn about here and there.
Then, we hear the foul monster call out he smells us coming!
His eyes glimmer ahead at the edge of our torchlight. A javelin he throws. Rob, in the front, is struck and falls to the ground hurt, but still draws his bow. The battle joins. The troll has straggly hair, bushy beard, and 2 horns protruding from his forehead; wears tattered chain hauberk, javelins on his back, greatsword, 2 small useless batlike wings at his shoulderblades.
The group reacts faster than the ogre realized, all going before it in the first round, Toru and Robert firing bows and the others engage in melee. Unfortunately their damage is not up to par with their reaction time. It counterattacks, slashing one of the augments and headbutting with its horns!! Ragnar succeeds in browbeating the Troll! Harald runs for the banner. The troll then realizes what is happening and snaps out of it. Our readied actions hit him bad, so he goes for “Ragnar the liar, the false!” but misses.
Ragnar yells for Harald to beat it with the banner, so he races toward the entrance.
He refuses to surrender. Toru finishes him off. Ragnar beheads it to bring it back as proof to Bjorn.
Toru “I wonder if the troll was eating when we got here.” Sigh
Searching the lair: in a dark niche of the cave, littered with his excrement, is an archway of bone nailed into the wall. No tunnel though. The 3 limb augment investigates, it shimmers and his hands go into it “feels like water”. He puts his head in to see, and a couple of arms come through, grabbing him and pulling him through.
Ragnar steps through to save him, finding himself inside of a worked stone building overlooking a port. It’s the wizard’s tower. Bjorn’s position is outside to the right. 2 guards stand at a bone arch on his side now. They are manhandling the augment.\
Ragnar “Back off scum! I am Ragnar Trollslayer!” going for a quick browbeat just to get out of here with the augment alive.
Harald is still on the rush back to the camp. They back off in a surprise at the sight of a hero.
Ragnar “Get out of here!”
Ragnar follows him out.
Toru recommends destroying the bone archway on this side.
He saw no blood teardrops on the guards, as a note.

Back to camp, leaving the gate as is, and reports to Bjorn with the troll head.
Bjorn discusses sending a hit squad in when we enter the city.
The dwarves finish the tunnel into the park, only a bit left just to break through.

The plan:
The attack will begin at first light, with the siege equipment and such, to draw more defenses to the walls. At the right time, through the tunnel to the park, will come the Ulfhednar, berserks, rangers, Finnric’s followers. They will get to and help open gate or gates from the inside. Finnbogi will make for Wulfgar’s gate; Ulfhednar to Ingvarr and the rangers to Kolfrosta.
Into the wizard’s tunnel through the portal, if it is open, will be Gunnar and his men plus Kyy. They will have mounts so that they can race back to the siege if it has been closed by the wizard.

Night:

The troops move from their position to the dwarves and into the tunnel, the Ulfhednar setting up their usual night time revelry camp on the way to make everything seem normal.
The dwarves are willing to enter as well. The group that was guarding them, from Vortigurn, will also enter with Finnric.
The rubble strewn tunnel is cleared, it comes out onto Prefect St., the law office quarter, very likely to be abandoned right now. The Ulfhednar will come out of this one.

Sigrid goes into battle wearing the rotting head of her first kill on her belt.

Kyy is fed the full blood of a wild boar so he is fully ready.

A man will be ready on Thrand/Ingvarr’s side, on high ground behind the line. When he sees our inside men crossing the field to that gate he can signal Thrand to begin to move at the walls to draw the full attention outside, if he has not begun already.

Next Day

Winged augments will act as eyes in the sky, careful not to get in easy bow range, and carry orders quickly from one place to another.

Just before the sun breeches the horizon, the siege engines begin to bombard. Archers move in and begin to fire from long distance at the walls. We are trying to draw attention to the walls and keep heads down. All of our troops are at the ready to charge in, ladders prepared, men at the rams and towers to push them in at a moment’s notice.
Men begin to bolster the walls for our coming attack, just as we had hoped.

Signal goes for the inner assault to enter the caves, but Bjorn’s message gives a change of plans at the dwarf tunnels. Finnric and Finnbogi will come from the woods, spotters have seen that the response force there has not moved. It will be their decision whether to attack them or make straight for the gate.
Vortigurn’s men, with rangers and dwarves, will enter Prefect St..

The wizard gate is open, they rush through.
Only the 2 guards in the room, as before. Kyy crits, slaying one of them; Gunnar hits 11.
The other guard limps his way up the stair, issuing orders to men there to kill us. An argument begins, they are obviously militia who are not willing to fight.
Kyyf follows him up, and the 20 militia archers give way as he is still yelling at them. Kyy walks up behind and kills him.
The men there just wave to Kyy and he leaves. Downward we go through the tower to the bottom, no wizard. There is an empty cage, some sort of pet may be gone.

Up through the 2 tunnels we go.
The rangers et al move directly for Kolfrostr/Bjorn side.
The crazies are now adjacent to a response group of 2 cavalry and 3 conscript units, shielded by the foliage. Finnbogi and Finnric decide to ambush them. Big surprise.
As they approach, a soldier says “no sense in us sitting on our horses all day long, when not one is even in the city yet.”
3 units of conscripts there: 2 flee the scene immediately, the last sees our attacks, and attacks their own cav. unit.
None of the cavalry are mounted yet.
The unit of cav caught tween Finnric and the turncoat conscripts break, as they take more casualties down to 4 men. They flee at top speed.
Finnbogi’s withdraw, but can only go tween Finnric and the turncoats, taken down to half dead.
vs Koku routes completely, fleeing past Finnbogi and down any nearest getaway.
We’re pretty sure those that ran away will be hiding for the remainder of the war.
The last half unit of cavalry then run away down the street toward the other response force.
We rush back into the woodland. The rebels quickly gather some better equipment and join us.
Finnbogi heads for Wulfgar; the rest for Thrand.
Finnric “Odin be with you, Finnbogi!”

A winged man leaves the palace in the air, flying about the city. The Blood Demon that saved Bluto does the same. A knight mounts the wyvern, unchains it, and flies into the air circling as well. He has a lance; also 2 men behind him strapped down, with bows.

Finnric force reaches the edge of the field, still unseen by the eastern wall force and the fortress. Finnric stops to take a dump on the side of the road, Koku finds an unfinished flagon of ale and swigs it down. Our watchman signals Thrand and Ingvarr.
The rangers continue the hustle to the west wall; all 3 units of conscripts with the other response force, hunkered down and expecting an attack from Finnric, take off and abandon the field into hiding, leaving only the 3 cav and 1 infantry.
Finnbogi north to Wulfgar.
The wyvern is heading for Bjorn. The demon seems to have seen no one, but is flying toward Ragnar. Finnbogi, it seems, has been spotted by the other flyer.
Finnric swears he hears crows cawing in the distance “Victory will be ours today.”
Our engines begin firing for true effect, rather than distraction and terror.

Thrand charges in with the ram, archers covering, as does Bjorn. Thrand’s ram breaches on the single powerful smash!!! Splinters away from breaking it in with one shot.
The trebuchet hits a defending catapult at the wall, exploding in a fireball thanks to a rune applied by Gudrun the day before, killing a couple of the crew. The conscript unit with it breaks, no longer manning the catapult.
The 2 catapults hit a unit on the wall to their left.
Wulfgar’s siege tower moves for the wall, archers covering, as does Kolfrosta.
Finnric rushes across the field like lightning, reaching the rear of the enemy.
Finnbogi hits a unit of Teardrop Cult Warriors.
The conscripts at their engine vs Bjorn abandon. The archers and 2 other units there rebel! More conscripts at Bjorn abandon, but not all.
vs Ragnar, they all abandon but for 1 unit.
vs Wulfgar: an archer unit on the wall rebels; the others abandon but for 2 loyalists and another rebel unit.
vs Thrand: only 2 conscript units stay, the other few abandon.
Several units around the walls not under direct attack also abandon.

When the rebels turn and the others abandon, no conscript archers are even firing at us effectively, only to keep the ruse up until they feel safe enough to rebel. We fire back at the real units left in sight at each front.
Sarge reaches the gate. Vortigurn’s men begin to open the gate. The rangers fire at the soldiers on the wall, dropping many and the unit routes down the wall for the nearest escape into the city.
The dwarves are a block and a half from the gate, lagging behind. They hear cavalry, from the response unit, coming up behind them fast.

2 units at our engine corner move to ready to defend vs the siege tower.
The unit on the burning catapult on the wall begins to put it out.
A unit of enemy archers to Thrand’s left rebels, charges across the field and fires at a unit on the harborside wall. 1 of the rebel units on the ground hits their rear, w/ Koku and the rebels from in the city that followed us over. The other rebel unit hits in the rear the unit Finnric charges.
A unit of Sven’s leads the way through the splintered gate and begins to cut through the defense, who drops back a space. The enemy unit triple teamed is wiped out to a man, as does that flanked by Finnric’s men and the other rebels. The last enemy unit attacks the rebel peasants who charged in with us.
Our archers hit their unit on the wall to Thrand’s right again.
A rebel unit runs for the harbor wall to try to convince them to surrender.

Wulfgar’s gate is opened by the rebels at the lever. He begins entering the city led by his other unit of berserks who immediately wipe out a conscript unit. Finnbogi flanks the Blood Drop unit in the street with a rebel conscript unit.
About half the Blood unit is taken down, with damage to Finnbogi. Then the flying augment swoops in upon them. His unit is a bit less then half down now as well. The rebel unit helping him is attacked by the loyal conscript unit, they are almost massacred and the remaining few flee.

First out of the tower at the Engine Corner is Ragnar w/Bjorn followers (inc. all his mantrolls), Dulk and Osmo. They destroy the badly damaged (from bowfire) unit there immediately. The demon, who flew Bluto away from Rymslyld, swoops down on Ragnar’s unit breathing fire, oozing blood from everywhere sickeningly. 7 men drop, and all 3 heroes are wounded!
Ragnar’s sword suddenly glows. Gudrun has activated a rune upon it. Toru draws an arrow that has been made Bane vs blood cult worshipers and creatures.

Kolfrosta’s men begin flooding into the city. A unit of Jarlsleifia men rush along the wall to meet an enemy unit there. The Vortigurns who opened the gate head back down the street, turning left to meet the other part of the reserve cavalry. Kolfrosta’s personal unit wrap around a large building, hitting that group in the rear.
The rangers run back and meet the dwarves, who now halt and turn to face the other half of the reserve cavalry bearing down upon them. The rangers volley over the top and Sarge joins the line. The cavalry are wiped out to a man. There is an infantry unit behind them however.

Now at Bjorn.
His gate is burst. Bjorn leads his men through, including Harald and the 3 Tostens. There are 4 conscript units here, one on the wall. An infantry blocks his entry. Another is behind an adjacent conscript unit forward. Behind them, a Blood Unit.

The group at the harbor wall comes down to meet the rebel unit. They do not know they are rebels.
Kyy urges Gunnar to follow him down the wall and attack a unit halfway tween them and BJorn’s entry. Gunnar agrees somewhat begrudgingly, as long as Kyy leads. They rush out.
2 conscripts rebel on the ground as Bjorn comes in, attacking infantry blocking Bjorn’s way in.
The first infantry, surprised by 2 rebels, are finished off by Bjorn’s followers and Harald. BJorn and the 3 Tostens then turn on the adjacent loyal conscripts. BJorn has nothing to do but dictate orders as Haki and Papa slaughter the conscripts. Hala stands next to him Bjorn.
Gunnar’s and his men hurl, 15 remain as Kyy hits them. 5 of them rush around him toward Gunnar.
The last infantry unit, in front of the Bloods, hits a rebel unit from behind, crushing them to bits, the last 1 or 2 racing for his life.
The Wyvern riding knight swoops down on Bjorn. The 2 archers fire at Hala all the way in. 10 arrows fly at him, his armor saves the day, 15 total after dr. The knight lances at Bjorn but misses; wyvern lands. It accosts BJorn with all it’s attacks 12/7/17. Bjorn 20/20 ,and Hala 16 strike at the wyvern.

Hovering over the field, Finnric sees a circle of crows!! An omen from the Allfather!!! All in his vicinity gain a +2 bonus to his warsong morale bonuses! It is now raining as the clouds have darkened. Bowfire is much less useful now, especially at range. A storm is rolling in from the coast.
Finnric “Thor has arrived, to personally view the battle!! Odin has sent raves as well! Victory is ours! The enemy shall fall!”

A unit of conscripts have followed the inf. from the wall, they all now head back for Thrand’s entry fight, coming to Koku. Finnric’s unit engages it with Koku and the remaining loyalist adjacent. 1 man makes it out, retreating badly wounded.
Another inf unit is doubled by 2 Sven units who push them back, the last met by another Sven unit who routes them..
The rebels here original rebels with us withdraw back for the city, as more units flood in with Thrand, not wanting to get caught in the bloodletting.
1 Sven unit goes onto the ramparts to assault the unit hiding from our archers. A bolt of electric energy leaps from the castle to their ranks, frying 10 of them! They engage the archer wounded unit anyway, both units severely down in men by the end.
Rebels vs loyalist next to Koku. Both route the other, 1 loyalist and 4 rebels left.
Finnric’s Odin Spear glows bright and vibrates as it senses the Frost Giant who just left the castle heading for the fight. Finnric screams mightily!! Brokkr brings him the Odin Spear. He, Brokkr, Sigrid, and Koku head for the Frost Giant.

Loyalist unit at Wulfgar’s entry simply breaks and disappears into the city. Infantry on the walls make their way to the fight. The berserks flank the Bloods with Finnbogi.
An inf unit down a street to the right is met by a Finnborg unit.
Another inf makes it almost to the gate, met by Wulfgar and another Finborg unit.
Fight to the left at the wall continues.
A Mountain Giant turns the corner behind Finnbogi as his unit finishes off the Bloods.
Finnbogi and the flying man battle it out, slaying him. Finnbogi is wounded however.

More inf. heading for the Engine corner, plus a conscript and Blood unit. A Jarlsleifia under Kolfrosta unit moves up the street and engages them.
Ragnar’s unit opens the gate while the heroes engage the demon. The other unit that just came out of the tower continue vs the infantry on the wall.
Toru hits the demon with the bane arrow 17. Dulk and Osmo hit 5/10. Ragnar with the runed blade 20. It retaliates upon Osmo with 2 touch attacks, hitting once and sucking blood from his orifices taking 5 con. Osmo is now in poor shape. Osmo bows out vs demon.
Dulk hits 10, Ragnar crits 16. Toru hits 12. It now attacks Dulk, taking 3 con.
Toru hits 5, Dulk misses, Rags hits 11; It goes for Dulk again hitting twice, down to a 6 con. He bows out.
Toru misses; Rags hits 7 DEAD, but not before it hits Rags once for 4 con. Dulk and Osmo insist on staying vs infantry.
Our archers, with the rain, pull out of range.

The infantry behind the crushed cavalry run away from the dwarves/rangrs around the first corner. Sarge leads the rangers down the street to his right, seeing an inf. unit going Bjorn’s way.
The cavalry pinned in by Kolfrosta beg for mercy. She accepts their surrender. They disarm themselves and dismount. A Blood Unit arrives to engage Kolfrost from behind her. She is aided by a Vortigurn unit.
Battle on the wall continues.
The dwarves stay to watch the intersection.
A Jarlsleifia unit enters and starts to make its way to the Engine corner a block behind the other.

Rebels come down the wall toward Kyy, insisting the soldier give up and save their own lives. They give in and surrender, backing out of the conflict. The 3 on Gunnar continue to fight. Gunnar and his men finish them off.
Kyy “Let’s make for Bjorn!”
Down at Bjorn:
Last unit is coming through the gate.
The rangers fire at the inf approaching Bjorn’s position, taking almost half of them out of the action.
Bjorn’s unit vs infantry.
The archers miss Haki completely. Bjorn is hit with the lance 8. The other 2 Tostens join Bjorn now. Haki misses the wyvern, Hala hits it, as does Papa Tosten 16. The wyvern misses Bjorn with the bite; but stings Tosten 11 (makes the poison save). Bjorn finishes it off and it topples lifeless at their feet. He then strikes the knight now on low enough for crit 26.
The knight dismounts.
The archers fire, hitting Haki once. Hala attacks one of the archere DEAD. Haki hits the other DEAD.
The knight pulls out a bastard sword vs Bjorn 10/10; Bjorn hits once 12; Tosten aids Bjorn but misses.
The knight is surrounded now. Haki and Hala miss; Papa hits 18; Bjorn 12/miss.
Knight reaches out to touch Bjorn but misses with his hand glowing an eerie purple. He wings his blade and hits Bjorn 14; Haki and Hala both hit, 18 and 12. Papa hits 13; Bjorn misses twice; the knight tries to feint Bjorn out, but fails. He still hit w/ the touch 16 pts of unholy power.
He laughs maniacally, feeling his end coming. Bjorn hits 7 which staggers him, his second ends his miserable life. He hits Bjorn 13/12 before going down though. Bjorn staggers away a few steps and falls over KO’d.
Papa administers first aid and the sons stand guard.

The last infantry vs Finnric who backed away now flee.
Our last 7 on the wall, victims of the lighting, are in trouble, missing. They break and run for camp. Another unit, however, reinforces. It’s a Wulfgar Jarlsleifia.
A flash of light from the tower, the wizard is gone.
Finnric pops a green life saver, telling the others to hold back for now, and engages the Frost alone. HIs initial overwhelming charge trips him as he yells “No, not Gungnir! Noo!” Finnric lashes into him for over 40. The Giant then crits and hits Finnric from prone, who then hits back twice again 33/23.
Finnric sees a bronze amulet on him just like the Peldan ones we saw back home, big red teardrop in the middle.
The Frost Giant hits 15/miss. Finnric hits 31 DEAD.
Finnric “Koku, lop his head of.”
Thorhamma “If the other giants see this, it’s going to make them very angry.”
Koku “They’ll see for themselves soon enough” as he hacks the head free from the shoulders.
The rest of the force heads for the city, Ulfhednar turning north for the citadel.
The circling crows swoop in, begin pecking at the giants flesh.

The Mt. Giant reaches Finnbogi’s berserks.
Wulfgar moves to behind Finnbogi “Uncle Finnbogi! No!!” He leaves his unit and joins Finnbogi’s side. The now half strength berserks and Giant engage. They get 7 hits on the giant. He kills 4.
On the right street continues.
On the wall continues, and the inf. breaks, rushing away down the wall.
Jarlsleifia unit engages Bloods.

Wall fight to right of Ragnar continues and the infantry breaks!
Another unit at Ragnar exits the tower and also the gate now. Battle in the street there begins.
Kolfrosta and Vortigurn hurting their Bloods badly.

The unit behind those hit by the rangers stops before entering the intersection, debating. The unit hit moves forward but slowly.
The rangers hold position, and a unit of Vortigurn arrives from behind them.
Kyy and Gunnar are now off the wall, joining Bjorn’s unit, which steps back allowing the Vortigurn unit to engage. Other Vortigurn units move around the block to our right. 1 hits the inf. to the Bloods left.
Bjorn sucks on a Life Saver to restore his health completely.
The 2 conscripts on the wall to Bjorn’s right takes off for safety.

A flash of light from Ragnar’s position. Ares Malenko appears! Our rebels there flee.
Flame bursts in the middle of a Vortigurn unit there. All the 2nd level men die in flames, the 3rd and 4th’s are badly damaged and flee for the camp.
From behind him on the wall is Black J!! As if out of no where!! Fears hows in Malenko’s eyes.
Black J “I shall now pay you back for what happened to the augments, and my family.”

Hjalrek’s unit destroys what’s left of the unit on the wall to Thrand’s right; the Sven unit that was fighting them had to withdraw, and they merge with the Jarlsleifia unit that is at about 2/3 str. making a good 19 man unit.
Finnric et al rejoin his followers near the castle. A few other units begin dispersing into the temple district mostly to begin looting. Thrand will keep heading for Bjorn/Kolfrosta side to see how things are doing.

Now at Wulfgar,
On the right side street, Wulfgar’s unit continues fighting an inf., the last 2 enemy men then route The unit who was fighting at the wall begins to loot, as does a unit just through the gate. As does another unit of Finnborg men.
The remaining handfull of berserks battle the Mt. Giant and make a good show but it kills 2 more.

At Ragnar,
Unit fighting continues all around. We get the better of them mostly.
Black J accosts the Malenko, who conjures a disgusting worm blade, with razor edges, and fights back. He then touch attacks J. J grabs him by the throat and throttles him twice. Malenko breaks free, opens a blood portal and vanishes through. J then follows him through before it closes!!! Malenko was obviously not feeling good after the exchange.

At Kolfrosta,
Unit that was fighting at the wall starts to loot.
2 of her Jarlsleifia units are at Ragnar fighting a Blood unit.
The Hill Giant is coming down the main street toward the dwarves and the 2 Jarlsleifia units with them. Our men in front are shaken at the sight of it, but the dwarves hold firm, and the unit between the 2 do as well. That unit steps forward to the front. The shaken unit fires a volley from behind them.
As the Hill reaches them, a Fire Giant rounds the corner to their left!! Great Odin’s Raven!!
Our first attacks do nothing. They kill a number of our men, who then break and flee. The archers follow, leaving the dwarves.
Last 3 Blood Unit men fight to the death vs Kolfrosta and her unit and die. Our other Vortigurn unit stays with her.

At Bjorn,
Rangers move up to attack the if. at the forward intersection who were staying out of their line of fire. 20 to one side where they leave 1 man alive who flees, 10 to the other whose enemy also route and flee. The rangers let them go. Behind Sarge’s men waiting for room to help is still the unit of Vortigurn with them.\
Only the Blood Cult unit remains her, surrounded.

2 Vortigurn and a damaged Jarlsleifia units on this side of the city begin to loot.

Back to Thrand/Finnric:
Units start to full on loot the temple district. Returnist pavilion and many vestments/instruments and non special items get set alight/destroyed by order of Thrand.
Finnric and his 2 units, followed by the equipped rebels, make for Finnbogi and see the Giant there.
Thrand and a couple more units making for Bjorn/Kolfrosta.
Unit on the wall starts to try to catch up.

Wulfgar and his unit jumps in with Finnbogi aside the dying berserks vs the Mt. Giant, who finishes off the berserks. He then turns to Wulfgar’s men.
Looting by other 4 units continues.
Other unit of berserks waiting to have room to get to Finnbogi.

Kolfrosta and unit with her head deeper into city.
Dwarves withdraw from giants toward Kolfrosta’s entry point.

At Bjorn,
Blood Unit attacked by multiple Vortigurn units. They kill 12 of the 20 cultists.
The unit behind the rangers saw the units fleeing (from Giants) and move back to investigate with the Sarge’s rangers. As they run up, they see Giants pass the intersection ahead chasing the dwarves. The rangers get to the Giants’ rear, flanking with the dwarves.
A Vortigurn unit from Bjorn moves deeper into city, and turning see ahead the inf. that withdrew hid a few round earlier from the rangers/dwarves. That inf. unit flees into the city, dispersing in random directions. They are gone.
Bjorn’s remaining followers hang back with Gunnar’s; Bjorn and the heroes with him turn right, meet the dwarves and are surprised to see 2 giants. Every dwarf is damaged by the end. Ottr and Uhto are down, the Prince is staggered.

At Ragnar’s corner:
Unit battle continues. Two enemy inf. units is wiped out. The Blood Unit is down to 6 men after this round. Finally, there is a path for units still outside to flow into the city.

Back at Ragnar to start the next round:
Rangers enter and fight a fresh inf. unit. Our units begin moving in behind them. Other inf. unit that has been fighting are damaged badly this turn and route into the city.
The Blood cult here is still fighting the 2 Jarlsleifia units. They are wiped out to a man!!
The unit that confronted the rangers now breaks and runs, as the last unit left in the area.

At Bjorn’s entry, the last Blood Cult: they take it down to 1 Blood Cultist remaining.

The Mt. Giant at Wulgar hits Finnric bad. Finnric’s men shine and Finnric with 2 massive blows with the Odin Spear bring the huge behemoth down DEAD. It falls into a building, smashing the wall in.
“Koku, behead him.”
Brokkr has dragged the Frost Giant’s head all the way.

More looting continues.

At Bjorn’s Giant fight with the dwarves:
The dwarves back off.
Bjorn, the Tosten family, Kyy, and Gunnar confront the Giants. On the Hill, goes Kyy and the Tostensons; Gunnar, Bjorn and Papa take the Fire Giant along with Sarge.
On the second round, Hala’s mighty critical brings the Hill Giant down, hacking his leg off at the shin. It bleeds out fast. Haki has been hit twice, Hala once.
The fight with the Fire continues, Bjorn taking the brunt of the damage from it, Papa now gets grazed for 20.
Then, Bjorn is hit for min. damage 18, Sarge is struck; Bjorn replies with 2 hits DEAD!!
The Fire Giant is also wearing the Peldan Amulet with the Blood Drop.

That essentially clears the city proper of enemies, it is under our control but for the citadel.
Finnric meets with Bjorn, Brokkr dragging the Frost Giant head; Koku the Mt. Giant head.
“Bjorn, my gifts to you.”

Looting starts in earnest now. The 2 major temples are both Returnist.
Thrand takes his followers and a couple unit, goes to secure the area the citizens are hiding in; just to be safe.
When Bjorn arrives near the citadel, Wulfgar and his men are already calling Bluto out, to fight or negotiate. He demands the return of the Gustav Son, wrongly kidnapped.
Wulfgar “You have half an hour to send the boy out before we begin to siege your citadel.”
It is here we walk up to him.
Iring is backing Wulfgar’s demands with tales of his exaggerated exploits today, which weren’t really many.
We have 2 dead giants and a dead Wyvern, so…..
Bjorn demands his brother, and Bluto’s surrender. He even says all others will live if they send the 2 out.

The men, however, are stauch. Probably ready at the portcullis with bearning oil and such.

Tales begin to circulate of Bjorn appearing as a humanoid bear like man during his fight vs the wyvern. Finnric hears this first from men, and relates it to Bjorn.
We begin to bring siege equipment in toward the citadel. Citadel is watched at all times by guards on all sides. Always Heroes in charge.
Take stock of the day and Bjorn and Thrand organize treasure looting and packing onto boats at the docks.
We lost about 1/3 of our follower casualties in all, dead and permanently wounded and out of action for life.
Later in night, Thrand and some rangers search the Malenko’s tower in detail.
Rangers and appropriate augments continue scouting outside of town. By sundown, they report the army of Luther Trolham is approaching and has encamped. They will arrive tomorrow morning for certain. Estimates are 500 horse and 3500 infantry (maybe half conscripts).
Men remove the psychological warfare bodies outside the city and burn them overnight.

Overnight, sporadic sounds of metal on metal from the citadel, like a small fight or a handful trying to get out, something like that. Lasted only minutes.

Next Day

Bjorn takes Thrand, some troops, and Kolfrosta riding out to meet Luther for parley. Leaving Wulfgar the prestigious (and easy; keeping him away from us) duty of watching the enemy.
A party of them meets us, also riding to us for talks; with him is a mage type, several knights, and a yeoman ranger of sorts. They recognize the banner of Jarlsleifia. Luther himself is here and greets us respectfully. He implores Bjorn to speak first.
He tells him the city, but for the citadel, has fallen; we have no desire to occupy, nor burn it to the ground. But, Bluto has Bjorn’s brother and we can not leave until he is rescued, for vengeance for his death has been served; we do not want to fight Luther or have any dispute with them though; we wish for him to stand off and wait until this situation is over, unless you wish to assist in taking the citadel.
Luther, king of Camden, says he has arrived from a battle outside of Normanchester, the Duke was a close ally of Bluto in Grand Fenwik. Luther succeeded in much diplomacy with its king to enter and attack Normanchester who they defeated.
On their return, they were coming here to do what we just did, so we saved them the time and effort really. Since we are not here as occupiers they have no issue as long as no more civilians are killed and looting must stop now. He acknowledges our blood feud vs Bluto, so the keep of Bluto is ours to loot if we take it.
Bjorn agrees to those terms, even saying he can post some of his men in the city, since they are more known to the citizens, to spread more of a feeling of safety, and help them re establish themselves in their homes other than near the citadel.
Luther agrees that’s a good idea.

During the morning, troops of his enter and cut off the sector we are in from the rest of the town. He says Bluto will not surrender.

Afternoon:
The walls are super quality. It would take too long to break in via catapult and such. Our attack must be through the deathtrap of the main gate or over the walls with ladders and ropes.
We first bash through the portcullis then the door behind it into the gatehouse area.
Oddly, no boiling oil greets our men. Instead the area is empty. Hmm.
We hear chaos of combat deeper within.
Suddenly we hear the door opening for us. A group of 20 knights had formed a semicircle defending the door; in the courtyard they are fighting against Blood Drop soldiers, who are coming toward the door. We poor in to join the fight. Archers firing into the Bloods from the wall, cavalry hit the blood drops from the rear. In short order the battle is over
The loyalists conscrips riddle the field, downed by these revolting knights before we entered the fight.
An ogre is also dead on the field.
The Bloods had outnumbered the knights, who outclassed them for sure. Our entry turns the tide completely in favor of the knights.
The leader knight asks for our leader, Thrand calls to Bjorn.
The man is imposing, very tall, in full plate armor; surrounded by 5 other men in dark mail and orange tunics. Their standard is a horse with flaming hooves.
A 5th man with him is shorter, though impressive nonetheless, a crescent symbol on his tunic.
He introduces himself as Brace II, though his father is no more, constable of Camden, Duke of Dunham, Chancellor of the Knights of the Realm and Captain of the Hell Riders. As of this morning, he has had enough of Bluto’s cowardly acts and treachery, sans Piti un Merci. A truce between us now.
His squire is Sir Jurgen, the shorter man. Seems a bit old to be a squire.
Bjorn introduces himself appropriately, going back 3 generations, conqueror of Langbay, the Hammer of the Skyldings. Here to rescue his brother from Blutos dungeons.
Brace is impressed by the variety of Bjorn’s immediate men (the 3 PC’s) and having dwarves working with him, and taking the city in a single day of attacking. Though he says it would have been different if he’d been out there.
He looks down on our execution of peasants, but he did hear of Rymslyld, so….
Also of our killing the Piper.
He sees Bjorn’s broken blade on his belt "you carry the sword of Half grim, also called Starvaggi. He knows the blade, and the man it was made for. He was the progenitor of BJorn’s bloodline!
Brace I knew Halfgrim once. The blade’s story is legendary.
Bjorn, Wulfgar, and Finnric are all ultimately descended from this same ancestor. He respects us for that.
Brace is a First.
Brace has an oath of fealty toward Bluto. He and Bluto had words over Brace not being sent into battle to fight us; Bluto kept his heroes hidden here. Yet, he did what he did.
But then, the noise began from the dungeon. They were mishandling the noble boy and he could not deal with theat. He slapped Bluto around first chance he got, demanded the hostage be released. Bluto ordered his arrest, which led to an attempt at arrest.
That failed, and he cought them sacrificing the boy, summoning an abomination I will not describe. It is too much for me alone.
That led to the battle during which we arrived. He had not idea Bluto was in league with such evil.
Bluto has locked himself in his room with this thing.
“It is no longer my business to solve this issue.”
He never saw Black J. Ares appeared through a gate and fell over dead from a grievous wound already received.
Strange he never say Black J.
He says the creature is a demon or devil, but has no idea of any specifics of it. He thinks the blood cult may have infiltrated many religions here and in the continent to the south. Probably more organized there.
He leaves to join Luther, but gives us the key to the room: golden with blood shaped ruby. Offers condolences and leaves.

Bjorn insists only the PC’s will battle the demon.
If we should fall, orders are given to Ragnar and Lance to attack until it is dead, no matter how many fall.
Finnric has Gungnir, Bjorn the broken blade, Thrand a cold iron broadsword.
Gudrun has a rune neklace for Gunnar: it has 12 runes upon it. Any weapon you use, for 12 attacks, bypasses DR/magic as if it were magic, then it is a dead item.
Bjorn only insists that Bluto is his to take. But, he will suffer greatly on the trip home. Then, Finnric can blood eagle him. This makes Finnric very happy.

Brace warns that Bluto carries a vicious blade called Black Razor that is said to swallow souls.
Gudrun throws the bones to see what we may be up against: “what you seek is not here, and what you’ll find is a lesser part of a greater whole. Blood, lots and lots of blood. A feast of it. Victory is from steel with the taste of life, it will ring true, and weapons with the power of the Masters (aka magic).”
We coat our weapons in blood.

Sigrid has finally ceased wearing the head of her first kill on her belt (she’s been given a wide berth from the men because of the smell and all the flies). She has Gudrun boil it down and make it into a drinking mug.
Finnric tells Gudrun to make sure Odin gets Gungnir if he should fall.

We open the door. A table is about 12’ ahead. 10’ beyond the altar lies Bjorn’s brother, split open longways, entrails played with, blood completely gone and settled all around the alter. Behind that, a torture rack. The body sits up and speaks in the voice of Bjorn’s brother.
“You’ve come to rescue me. Take me home to father.:”
We don’t believe it.
Finnric enters and leaps upon the table, peering around.
“My brother, please, take me home to father.”
Bjorn goes left of the table.
Thrand and Gunnar enter.
We look around.
We hear the Ulfhednar chanting in an adjacent room, aiding Finnric’s warsong.
The body looks at Bjorn, and pleads as if crying.
Bjorn is not enchanted. It stands, mouth falling agape and a blood tendril fires out of it hitting Bjorn 14.
The blood around the altar dances and crawls, flows of it ooze back up the altar like every drop is its own entity. It wails horrifically in tongues.
Bjorn attacks with a blood covered huge bastard sword 14.
Finnric leaps from table to altar, bringing Gungnir down upon it crit 55. The body falls lifeless on the altar.
Bjorn “This certainly is not finished.”
Thrand “No” as he moves past Bjorn, ready to engage.
The blood still moves to the top of the altar.
The blood truly screeches, though we can’t tell if it is aloud or in our head.
Tendrils shoot out, 2 each to Bjorn, Finnric and Thrand. Thrand and Bjorn are grasped, pulled to the pool of blood around the altar. Bjorn’s legs suddenly sink up to his knees like it is a shallow portal in the floor.
Bjorn hits 14, cutting the tendrils off in a single swing.
Gunnar hits it twice, and is screeches again; we think its only in our own heads.
Finnric hits 20/18.
Thrand hacks his tendril off 17.
It raises up in a mass of blood, almost engulfing Finnric who hops off the altar.. The body of Bjorn’s brother disappears in the swirling morass. It swings massive bloody arms at Bjorn but misses twice.
Finnric hits 20; Gunnar misses; Thrand strikes him 14.
It hits Bjorn twice again, losing a 2nd str. and a 2nd con. ; and Finnric is hit twice as well but he resists the blood suck.
Bjorn swings 23,and it splashes into a pool of blood. It pulls into the circle, churning and bubbling.
All that remains of the brother are the bones and clothes.
Bjorn pulls out the magic blade and cleaves through it, hoping it will do something.
A tear shaped ruby is set into the altar top. Finnric gathers the bones and takes them to the table by the door.
Bjorn pries the gem from the stone and picks it up. The blood starts to ooze closer, wherever he moves the ruby it is drawn there. He puts it down on the altar and cleaves the ruby with it. It does not break, but it distresses the ooze. He strikes it again and it shatters into bits. The pool jolts as if in pain, and stops. It quickly crusts over and soaks into the stone, drying into a crusty old circle of dried blood.
Victory!!

Information from wizards tower:
Reference Ares makes of the 13 forms of Malenko, who he gathers was a lesser master. To preserve himself he separated his power into 13 personas. 12 zodiac signs, one a double/twins. They don’t seem to be alive at one time, necessarily, but go through birth and rebirth. He knows he is one (Ares), and at least 5 more alive now: Gemini twins, Libra, Scorpio, Cancer. Apparently, when he did this splitting, if a Malenko kills another the dead one will never be reborn. The killer absorbs the others aspect of Malenko. Eventually, they could form into 1, rebirthing the Master.
Thrand “If the church of the return got ahold of that info….”
It also relates that Malenko had a rival Master known as Karaptis, who also devised his own means of escaping the downfall unknown to Ares. Though it may have involved some form of spliting his self as well.
The blood cult seeks a number of artifacts that belonged to Karaptis to try to stop him from ever coming back.

In Bluto’s area:
A map on a wall showing a large area of the southern continent. It’s western most edge starts south of Jarlsleifia, where Jarlsleif is campaigning, going east past the Meander River and the mts to its east; and south to the reaches of The Masters’ Sea.
He has several marks: a stiletto stuck unto a spot dubbed “WPM” at the southern edge of the Dragon Spine Mts SE of Bessel; 3 others "The Steading (same regionof WPM); The Rift (Far NE of that in the Mts.); The Hall (South of the Western side of the Masters’ Sea in the mts. there).
Many towns marked. “Spiders Are Here” marked on Meanderwood, as well as “Last Known Spot of Imbrun and Peldan north up the river from there.”
Bluto’s journal: Refrences to Blood Cult and Spider Cult not getting along; a Ravnios, aka Rudnios in an ancient tongue, imperial governor of this area under the Celestine Empire centuries ago who was deposed and lives a begger, round new power and prominence later, he was a first but Bluto says he is still alive and powerful, a shadow augment as well and prominent among blood cult; Bluto and him are quasi adversaries only cause Bluto wants to be big in the cult; no one has knowingly seen Ravnios, travels under other names, made pact with a demon to give him greater power. He mentions he sent letters out to allies to keep and eye out for Ravnios. Gives a very detailed description of the man.
Gunnar “That sounds like Black J!”
Thrand “Lance, know anything about this?”
He does not. Has known J for 60 plus years.
The blood cult have no racial issues against any people. Bluto, of course, hated augments. He mentions he has blackrazor and seeks Wave and Whelm to gain favor with his cult by destroying Karaptis a Master. Also seeks the 3 crowns of the Saxon Kings, the Iron Crown of the Dwarf King; Gauntlet, girdle, and hammer that are the earthly forms of Thor’s; and others. Once they are collected, he wanted to kill all outcasts at The Isle of the Outcasts in the Masters’ Sea. Nothing but augments there!
Lance has been there decades ago.
Bluto also wanted to kill a town of dwarves past the Meanderwood. Where Haarkon and his dwarves want to go: Falling Rock!!!! Then he wants to get to the Crystal Wood of the elves south of there, for they have one of the artifacts they want.
He was told to keep and eye on Skyldings, as there is dangerous blood circulating there that could threaten the cult. Hence, why he attacked et al.

Thrand suggests, once home, we throw a feast specifically to honor the dwarves for their important role in our taking the city, sitting them alone at the head table with Bjorn.

Next several days

Finish packing loot and all, getting shipment of loot/troops/wounded organized and sail away for home with the remains of Bjorn’s brother.
Luther sees us off.
We say goodbye to Lance, Sgt. and Brace.
Thrand and Gudrun look forwars to marriage.

At sea our forces split to our different home ports.

Haarkon: the youngest and new king of these Dwerro. His father has been killed. His piece has the gold inlaid axe.
Alfreg: black beard and white horned helm
Ottr: expert archer
Fjalar: wings and hammer; and Galar: no wings and axe
Brokkr: wields a mace, berserker
Sturn: axe in hand, xbow on back, forkbearded
Egin and Raggid: brothers, the old Hornbrin figures
Uhtto (thief) and Otto (warrior, long face): brothers

View
Thrand at the Druid Henge

It’s a 2 day walk to our destination.

Nearing the ridge, come across recent battle site. Lots of dead archers having been run down. We hear orders being yelled over the hill. Looking over, see hamlet with a small lake adjacent. In the town are beat up 120 or so soldiers, and about 100 huddling villagers, crudely fortifying the place. Off in the distance, another force of about 100 on the opposite side as us led by a man in plate armor.
In a niche to our right are about 20 other men in a small nook in within a hill. They are backing into it like they had just been fighting the force on the opposite side. To the far left and right wings are 2 other groups as well.
It seems MacDougal and his cavalry we were following met up w/ infantry and are surrounding this hamlet, after having engaged the force and beaten it. The small group in the hill nook looks trapped. They may be berserks.
The split attacking forces are all about 1/4 mile from the hamlet.
Everyone buy us seems wounded, on both sides.
There are dead visible in multiple directions, including where we approach from. We do come across some wounded but alive.
One explains that the eldest son of MacDougal’s rival to his north was kidnapped so he mounted an attack on MacDougal’s lands. Pushing further in they followed the trail and hit a stalemate here. Last action happened a couple hours ago, retreating to the hamlet.
The surrounding force of Dougal all fly the red teardrop symbol.

We line up on the ridge, which gives us some tree cover: Thrand and 18 of his men; Gunnar plus his archers and 5 of Thrand’s men; Hakon and 10; Ulf and 10; Brand in reserve w/ 10.

Thrand and Hakon go to the town to tell them we are hear to oppose their enemy, have our own kidnap victim to rescue as well. We are not entering the trap of a town they are in, but our position just behind the hamlet opposite the lake covers that entire side of town. They need only defend the other 2 essentially.
North leader is here in person. He is large, looks much like us. He has a tone of defiant despair at first, thinking we are here to crush him as well. We tell him we are here to kill all with the blood drop sign.
This particular hamlet is closer to neutral, though in Dougal’s lands. Likely, Dougal the Bloodthirst will slaughter the entire town if he has the chance.
We tell him our plan is to remain on the hill and attack from there when time may come.
He says the leader in the plate is Donall, Dougal’s brother. Dougal was present for the battle but has since left. He has 3 other Lt’s here as well.
Back to the hill we go.

Soon, the enemy begins to move in. Donall’s men have a few captives from the battle crucified that they wheel in front of them. Insults in the native tongue are yelled back and forth. Donall finishes off the captives with a dagger. One in particular angers North leader. March continues.

((((Pic))))

Allie puts a unit on either side of the lake, next to the hills.
The enemy moves in and the attack begins.

((pic))

Ending the first round, Thrand hits the unit next to him just after Gunnar’s archer unit unleashes upon it. This enemy unit is wiped out!
Our ally breaks 2 units next, 1 on either side!
The ally unit to the right of the lake breaks soon enough, and the bad guy starts coming to the hamlet. As they do, their forces start to make for us as well when the numbers get to be too much. The citizens of the town scatter. The north leader ends up beaten back to our hill and the enemy gets to us.
Donell and 3 Lt’s close in, our leaders go to meet them. As they approach, Gunnar hurls at them first, straight at Donell miss and hit.
Hakon and Ulf team up on one Lt.
Thrand and North king on Donell, the king’s champ on the 1st Lt; on the last is Brand backed up by Gunnar.
Ulf and Hakon have a difficult time at first, Brand and Gunnar hit hard to start.
The Champ and Lt. crit each other on the 2nd round.
Hakon and Ulf take their man down first.
The ally champ gets taken down by the 1st Lt.
Then Gunnar takes down Brand’s opponent.
The Champ moves to Hakon and Ulf and engages.
Donell crits Thrand as Finn McCool, ldr of the berserks who had been trapped, arrives from no where and assists Ulf and Hakon.
Brand joins Thrand and takes Donell down. Gunnar throws at the 1st Lt. 10 DOWN.
Only Gunnar’s last hit killed. The other 3 are alive and taken captive.
The blood drop army routes once the leaders are out of the fight. The northern thane thanks us for the assist. His men are badly beaten down and tired. Few if any can come to shrine to help. Dougal, however, must only be there w/ a small cadre of men and villains. They have a ritual going on involving multiple blood sacrifices. The ground is cursed to all but blood cult members! He and Finn McCool will join us. His Champ is unfortunately dead.
No dead among our men, though a bunch wounded. We can get there in a couple hours. All those to be bled are either noble or otherwise special quality.

North leader and Finn will go with us. It should be MacDougal, a few of his personal guard, 4 other men of his, his wizard, plus the actual priests of the cult itself. They warn us not to let any inexperienced of our men into the stones themselves. They will become frightened.

Donell, even under torture, does not know where the priests and sacrifices will be kept before the ritual. But MacDougal and his men are camped in the circle.

We begin to march. We should arrive at least a few hours prior to ritual time.
Gunnar scouts ahead while the rest of us stay about half an hour away. The woods end about 30’ from the outer circle of stones, forming an open field.
The stones are 3 circles. The inner circle is about 15 to 20’ wide, with a higher ground within topped by a stone altar with hand and foot braces. The entire yard w/in the circles is a redish green thick bladed grass up to a foot and a half long. Each stone on the outer ring has the engraving of the red drop added recently. On the middle circle each is carved w/ a picture of a winged being, but primitive and crude. The innermost 6 stones have a strange symbol fo an eye inside a circle w/ 4 wavy lines coming from the bottom.
MacDougal’s men are camped adjacent to it, opposite our direction of arrival. Tyey are not on guard very attentively, only a couple take a walk around the stones every several minutes at best and lazily at that.
The grass in the clearing about halfway out from the outer circle is different, more trampled. From 5’ to 10’ wide, up to 15’ from the outer circle. Gunnar immediately is highly concerned about a giant serpent. He then searches for a path where the procession may come from. He finds nothing.
He returns and reports, then goes back to watch for major changes until we move up just after full dark sets in.
We come in from 3 directions in 3 groups, spaces out so as to let any procession bypass us easily in the dark Thrand where we came in, to his left Hakon/Ulf, to his right Gunnar, the North King/Finn.
Only our 2nd level and above may enter the circle. The others will, once combat begins, surround the perimeter to help halt any escape.
The druid from Cairn Dor is here as well. He says the symbols are likely warding glyphs of some sort, as we pass successive circles there is another curse to thwart us.

Tonight is the night of the blood moon, a harvest moon. The moon, once the sky is fully dark and bifrost illuminates, the moon takes on a crimson color. Will be that way, the druid says, until midnight or so. 2 and a half hours maybe.
Dougal et al start to move around, guarding the inner mound. Chanting begins some minutes later in an unknown language from seemingly all directions.
A Blood Gate open next to Dougal, red grass swaying as if to its own rhythm. Out of it stgeps 2 robed priests and Dougal’s wizard dressed in the robes of a high priest, different and more elaborate than the other 2. At the mounds base the dirt caves in under Dougal and his henchman. Small stone slabs underneath are opening, from which walks a procession of priests. They walk to spaces tween the stones of the middle circle. The prisoners are brought forth with them, spirits crushed by the enchantment of the stones. The elf is put on the altar immediately. The 2 dwarves are taken atop the mound next to the altar.
The wizard starts chanting horrible syllables. First 10 minutes go by, decorating and painting the elf maiden with ritual pigments; cut off the head of a hen and douse her in the blood. The druid w/ us says he has seen this on a much smaller scale before, laymembers. This is some sort of summoning ritual he thinks; if the same pattern is followed, the cultists should begin to lose some of their perception and touch with reality soon. It will be horrifying but worth the surprise factor.
Thrand says “you tell us when to go”.
Chant gets louder and louder to a tantric frenzy; the priests on the boy, Gudrun, the other maiden, and the priest, respectively, begin painting up their respective prisoners the same way. The 3 priests on the mound mount the alter and begin having their way with the elf maiden, daggers in hand, letting blood here and there. Those w/ the other captives begin to disrobe. Another blood door opens on the altar to Thrand’s side. It wavers and slathers. All in the circle sway to the sounds.
Our druid says GO!! We move in, grouping up as to leap the 5’ wide parts of the paths. We make it to the edge, undetected. 1 man w/ Gunnar and 1 w/ Thrand fall short of jumping the outer path. As they hit the grass they fall right in, and we hear splashing. We don’t hear any screaming. They are probably lost.

Fort svs for all in 1st tier. Minus 2 con. penalty. Several men fail. In middle circle is reflex to be slowed by the high grass by 10’ base and minus 2 dex. Several are hit by that as well.
We strike from ambush all around the ceremony, Thrand’s men dropping 1 outer cultist. Gunnar hits the head priest on the altar square in the back after having eyed him up this entire time 20.
Some of them come out of their haze, including all who were attacked. Most still don’t however. The head wizard priests howls in a mix of pain and ecstasy. MacDougal comes around and begins calling loudly to get his group focused. Reality fades in and out, visually. It seems as if we are surrounded by a dome of blood, the moonlight shimmers above us as if through water.
Loud sloshing from behind us, and out of the pit rises an 8’ tall humanoid, blood weeping from its body under the tattered rags of clothes it wears. It approaches at the right end of Thrand’s original position. It goes after one of Thrand’s followers.
Other skeletal humanoids, tendrils writhing from its mid sections and flowing blood, also climb out of the muck. This comes from behind Gunnar’s entry spot attacking one of the men.
Behind Hakon’s, a swirling mass of blood and goo crawls, using blood tendrils which grab and pull for locomotion.
All come at us from behind.
One of the priests hit by Thrand’s men turns, and he has suckered tentacles where his mouth should be but otherwise human. Each ends in a lamprey like mouth and a straw like tube within them..
The battle wages. A couple more cultist go down and Thrand reaches his sister, hitting the inner most circle of guards at the base of the mound.
Finn attacks the blood skeleton behind him. Somerled goes for his son, next to Gudrun. One priest on the outside, between Gunnar and Thrand’s entry, is a caster battling 2 of our men.
Hakon kills an inner guard! 2 of Thrand’s followers engage the blood wight.
2 of Hakon’s, incl. a 4th level man, kill a outer cultist and the lvl 4 gets to the captive maiden. The other turns to the blood skeleton thing behind us, teaming up on him w/ another man, just to Gunnar’s right. Hakon’s men drop 2 others on the outer as well in front of the blood ooze and they move in closer, one to the captive priest. Another steps into the inner stones. Minus 2 wis/frightened, so he retreats finishing a double move toward past the left end of Thrand’s men. Once he ends outside the stones, the effect ends.
Another steps in and fails as well, retreats. One of his lvl3 engages an inner circle guard. 2 others turn to see the blood ooze, incl. the other lvl 3.
Gunnar throws at the wizard again
Thrand’s man fights back. The 2 priests are cutting the elf maiden, her blood shoots as globules into the open portal. One points toward Thrand’s side, firing a cone of force. Several of the men there feel the desire to run for the blood portal!! Nooo!!
One of Thrand’s men runs an inner circle guard, same as attacked by lvl3 Hakon man.
2 of Thrand’s 3 men running for the blood portal stop themselves short, one rushes right into it and disappears.
The blood ooze reaches Hakon’s rear 2 men who face it and hits lvl3 man then begins to engulf him.
Brand misses lamprey mouth.

Dougal now moves and fights Somerled; his champion moves away from the mound to engage Ulf. AoO from 2 men hit once 4; Ulf’s misses. The champ misses him.
Grand Wizard casts, but fails in its creation!
Outer adept fails to cast again. Thrands lead follower kills the adept. His other 2 continue to fight the Blood Wight, as does Hakon’s man vs the ooze.
Hakon’s man who was hit by the cone stops himself from entering the portal. His lvl4 gets the captive maiden to safety just outside the stones.
Hakon enters the inner circle and the altar, defeating the fear symbols, stabbing the still fornicating priest 19.
Gunnar hits the wizard again 17 DEAD!!
Everyone of the cult is awake and aware now. One of the inner guard goes to double team Thrand but misses, as does the other.
One of Thrand’s men is taken down by the inner guard he was teaming up on; one of Hakon’s men is taken down by an inner guard DEAD.
The casting priest on the altar tries something on Thrand but he makes the WIll Save.
The other goes for a touch spell but misses.
One of Thrand’s men who who avoided diving into the portal gets upon the mound and helps Ulf. The one who did appears out of the portal, taking 2 steps as his body is but mass of bloodiness and collapses dead.
The 2 men w/ Brand take the Lamprey Mouth down DEAD!
Hakon’s man in the blood ooze is disolved DEAD. Our men are valiantly battling the bloody bones and staying alive!
Brand engages the inner guard with Hakon’s lvl3 and one of Thrand’s.

Something is trying to make its way out of the portal, for we see bloody tendrils sticking out.
Bowfire from the woods at the bloody bones, hitting 2 of them.
The druid fails to dispel the blood wight.

MacDougal’s champ misses Ulf; MacDougal continues on Somerled.
Thrand takes down his inner guard and turns to the other on him, aided by 2 of Gunnar’s men. Finn takes down his blood bones. Thrand’s lvl 3 helps vs blood wraith, now 4 men total on him; Hakon drops his priest!!
Hakon now has 2 scared men outside the circle, the fear over. But they are leery of re entering.
Gunner now turns his attention to his right at the champ vs Ulf.
The casting priest on the mound moves to one of the dwarves to cast something on him, but it fails. One of Thrand’s men joins vs blood wraith, another joins vs ooze. His man on the mound begins to use himself and the dead pries in his robes as a barrier/damn/towel to begin sopping up and blocking the blood moving into the blood gate. The wraith takes one of Thrand’ s followers down.
The ooze attacks the other of the original 2. Brand kills the inner guard he’s teaming up on.
Arrows from the woods kill one of the blood bones. Our guys at the woods edge can not see where these arrows are coming from.
Our druid does a counter on the blood portal. All the blood flying toward the gate through the air falls to the ground. One tentacle grabs the priest’s body that Thrand’s man is using, a couple others grab him!!

PIC

The 2 Gunnar men helping Thrand bring that inner guard down!
The men bring down one of the blood bones, leaving 1 remaining. 2 others of Gunnar bring down an inner guard as well!! 2 others withdraw from the circles.
Finn moves and helps Somerled vs MacDougal.
It’s still a struggle vs Blood Wraith.
Hakon pulls Thrand’s man free of the grapple.
Gunnar misses the Champion.
The priest at the dwarf draws a dagger and stabs the dwarf. The blood spills fast and begins to lift into the air to go for the gate.
The blood wraith attacks our druid!!
Thrand’s 2 men who were w/ Brand: 1 rushes the last inner guard to help Hakon’s man, the other rushes the Blood Wraith.
The ooze hits Hakon’s man on him. Blood Bones takes a man down.
Brand rushes to the mound, hitting the casting priest.

A few elves come running out of the forest from 2 directions. 2 gang up with our several on the blood wight. The other comes behind Hakon’s entry side.
The druid backs away from the blood wight and tries to delay the blood again.
Arrows drop the last blood bones.
Somerled is wavering.
Thrand steps over, kills the casting priest and his cleave drops Dougal!!!
2 other men join vs the last inner guard.
A couple of our men step out of the circle. Somerled gets his son out of the circle.
Hakon moves and hits the last inner guard in the rear DEAD!
The blob is destroyed!!!
Blood Wight drops the newest of Thrnad’s men.
Thrand and Brand pull 2 of the priests’ bodies out of the mound circle.
Elven arrows maul the Champ.
The druid, with the bodies out, shuts down the portal!! The elves cut deep into the blood wight.
One of Thrand’s men finishes it off.
FIGHT OVER!!

So, we lost the 2 in the ditch, cut down, 1 to the ooze, 1 through the portal.

Thrand promises reward for the man who kept his sister safe.

The elves say they came to rescue their princess. They take and tend to her immediately. They thank us profusely for our valiant efforts.

The druid helps us get into the secret trapdoors to the loot vault.
Mst. Great Axe lvl 3
High Quality Climber’s Kit (80)
6pp
99gp
420 sp
1100 cp
lots of cheap gems totalling 213

Somerled says we are welcome in the north, so long as we do not come to take over and occuly, etc. Especially to help him in military endeavors.
Finn McCool explains the McCool clan is descended from a great warrior who came here some decades back named Finn. His son was Cool.
This Finn was here only a short while, planted his oats, and went on his way. Finn was a half brother to Knut. This is 3 generations back, Finnric’s father’s great uncle. So this guy is distantly related to Finnric!
The elves share some of their fine elven whiskey. The leader says the cult ambushed one of their foraging parties, in which the princess was part of. They escaped via blood portal so could not be tracked. The Cairn Dor told them that a band of vikings were hunting down the cult so they trailed us to find this place.
There are about a dozen archers and half dozen warriors.
After pleasantries, they leave late into the night.
They do tell of an ancient elven realm far to the east now gone. Some elves still live there in small pockets. If we ever find ourselves that way, “be sure to tell them, if you get the chance instead of them just killing you outright, I King ??? Lornhood sent you.” Then he turns “Elric, boys, lets go!!”

The return priest is a local Bishop! The maiden is from a destroyed village. Dougal wiped it out.
The 2 dwarves: some dwarves live in these southern mts, and they like the elves were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The druid says he will be purging the shrine and cleansing the entire area.

We drop the maiden off at Cairn Dor to be sent home. We send her with a message for her father to come w/ Somerled for a visit as soon as they can, to talk trade and friendship.
We ransom the Bishop to the main church there for 1500 gp and 20 potions of cure serious wounds.
Bjorn’s sister is a runecaster.
Somerled leads his men and son off for home.

Bjorn will later say “I’m glad my lawyer is betrothed to my sister, and went to rescue her. It’s not likely Finnric would have set up such meetings.”

One dwarf has a magic horn (hes has Use Magic Device and is a professional hornman). His name is Grimhorn; the other with a peg leg and wielding an axe is Ungrun One Eye. They are heading back to their clan, but will remember us and tell of our heroism.

Thrand gives a fine speech to the men, a speech of thanks for aiding in the rescue of Gudrun, and praising their prowess; ending with “You are all invited to the wedding!”

We head straight south in case Bjorn sends a message ship to inform us things are over there and to meet elsewhere. It will be a 5 day voyage.

On the way, Gudrun has a vision from her Second Sight:
Looking at the weaving of our lives, all of your threads converge in a giant knot in the near future. We will connect to the men in the south at Lanbay.
She also explains: the 3 crones (past, present, future) weave all lives. If you see your thread you know when you will die. There is another deity, similar to them, that keeps the hourglass. Each person has one which starts the day you are born. The sand is the portion of your life that you are guaranteed to live. From the point that your sand expires, your protection is over. If you ever see that, you know how long you have to be reckless.

View
Papa Tosten at

It takes the day and into the evening to travel to the stronghold. The attack is a night attack. A few homesteads nearby are empty. No sign of struggle or attack though.
Base of a hill is a heavy forest; good to cover our approach especially at night. Wooden defensive walls. Some torches are set up around the perimeter.
We scout the perimeter looking for a second entrance of any sort, and a spot in the defenses easily sneaked past. Clouds have rolled in as dark came. Lightning and Thunder on the horizon. No star or moonlight!!
There is a sally port in the wall of the double tower atop the hill.
Tosten notices a waste tunnel into the towers.
Dulk recommends sending a couple troops to see if the opening inside is large enough to enter through. Vorn and HIglaf are choses, given a bonus in pay for such dirty work.
20 minutes pass, they do not return.
Tosten insists no one goes in after them. Could be rot grubs or carrion crawlers.

Tosten sends Dulk, 3 of Sven’s men, and his sons to climb over a good spot of the lower wall around the grounds to clear a spot for more men coming over. They sneak in to the rear of one side, close to the hill. Dulk lashes a rope easily to the top of the wall after a guard walks by on his routine and we start to climb.
Hala, Haki and Dulk at the top. Haki grapples the guard as he comes by in a silencing hold, and Dulk cuts his throat. We drop more ropes, for a total of 6 now for men to climb up.
Others follow. Once the third group is up, and the first 2 groups made for other guard positions, a bright flash of lightning goes off. 60’ to our right are 3 long houses. 5 others across the yard at the far wall. About 15 guards in total manning the wall. About 1 per 60’. Another half dozen walk the walls at the forts.
Couple at the gate and the mott bridge tower. From the tower, a fire arrow is shot into the air. We’ve been spotted.
Our second force outside charges for the gate. Dulk rushes down the wall toward the main gate with 3 men. 4 soldiers are in the way. The twins descend a ladder nearby into the courtyard with the other 6 men.
Dulk flattens the first with an overrun, his 3 men cut him down. Dulk continues, cutting the other 3 down in line as they catch up. They rush for the gatehouse.
The wind has kicked up some. Rain is coming, we can smell it. Archers fire from the tower onto the twins et al. Thor is with us!!!! Their many shots hit only twice on 2 of the men. The tower leading to the drawbridge going into the mott, the drawbridge drops and a squad of men rush out for them. From the warrior households, men are dressing for battle.
The twins stop halfway to the gatehouse with 2 of their men and turn on the 6 warriors on their heels. The 2 wounded and the other 2 continue to the gate, getting there before anyone else and open the inner door. They meet 4 men, 2 w/ spears and 2 w/ maces.
In 2 rounds, only one remains.
Tosten and the main force are at the gate now about the same time as Dulk.
We let the main force inside!!
Meanwhile, the twins and their 2 are finishing off the squad of obvious veterans.
The drawbridge to the mott is about 2/3 up. We hear pounding from the other side. They must be spiking the doors.
The conscripts are starting to form up on the side with 5 buildings, a few of men in mail whacking them with rods to get them in line. Morale is not exceptionally high here. On the side we came over, the 3 houses, come wretches. Prisoner warriors, essentially. No armor, sharpened crude instruments, all tied together with ropes from body to body connected to a leader.
About 60 wretches, 40 conscripts.
On the right tower stands a man in robes, waving his hands which are glowing. On the other, a group of archers on that tower as well.
We get the front open and our men poor inside. Tosten orders a small force to hold off the wretches, as they are slow moving anyway. The rest hit the conscripts w/ Tosten, Kyy and Osmo. The twins, Dulk and their 9 men race for the tower and bridge to the hill towers.
After the initial hit on the conscripts, 2 leaders are killed by Tosten and Osmo, their men begin to break, part only kept in line by fear, some running to hide in the longhouses. One group are hardened and want to kill.
Tosten charges the leader who is trying to force his men to stay, knocking him prone. They begin to break and run back to the barracks. Osmo helps Kyy on his leader (the one leading those whose morale is steady), both hitting. We let the runners get away to concentrate on the others. Our men turn fully on those staying. Tosten sends about half to turn toward the wretches approaching and is hit by a bolt of energy from the tower 9!
The conscripts are wiped out instantly. Tosten slays his leader; the last is finished off the next round by Kyy/Osmo.
On the wretch side, 12 go down quickly making it very difficult for them to move tied to dead men. Their leaders, 6, each hold a leash handle as they war chant. Our second group of men arrives from the other side. 2 of the bands of wretches begin trying to pull their leaders away. They let them run and join the fight. Another group is shaky, their leader now trying to keep them in check. The other 3 continue chanting, their blades emitting an odd glow. Our men gang up on the stranded 2, cutting one down. A wretch on each line of the 3 chanting leaders drops to the ground suddenly. One of them hits one of our men 10, blade obviously magic as it cuts through his armor.
All the men vs the conscripts now rush to follow the twins.
More wretches try to pull free, knocking over one of the ldrs. Tosten, Kyy, Osmo arrive at the fight; another loses hold of his leash. Tosten overruns the leader still holding his line and his wretches flee; Osmo attacks the knocked over, Kyy he who just lost his leash. The other first ldr engaged is killed.
There are effectively no more wretches engaging us. Only the ldrs. Tosten orders all but 3 of our men to make for the gate to the towers. Osmo is struck now by a bolt of lightning 8. A few rounds later we finish them off.
We make for the inner tower.

The Tostensons arrive first, followed by Dulk et al.
They twins start climbing up the chains to drop the bridge that covers the double doors, all which are raised about 5’ above the ground where we are (hence the draw bridge). They reach the top easily. Arrows from both towers pepper them getting 3 hits total. They make their way inside the tower and find it empty. They release the bridge. 2 wooden doors in the ceiling open and poor boiling oil which they mostly deftly avoid, each dropped by an enemy who shut the portals. Our men go up the drawbridge, Dulk starts chopping at the door.
The twins can hear them readying more oil. They head up to them and see them filling the dumping vats. They kill both men.
The first group who peeled off from the conscript fight arrives. Dulk has chopped clean through the door and we are entering. A straight path leads to the 2 towers. The twins drop through the murder holes and join the rest.
One of our men “Should we wait for the rest of our force?”
Hala “F that, straight ahead men!”
It’s a charge. We realize we are rushing through oil laden ground!! We turn to retreat. Flaming arrows are shot downward. 7 of our men burn to death.
A drizzle of rain begins to fall. We hold off, and the rest of the force arrives as we wait for the fire to burn itself out.

With our 42 fully able men we charge again, its full on raining. Thor!! The wizard is on the right tower. Tosten w/ Kyy and Osmo goes there. His sons and Dulk to the left. 21 men w/ each side. Haki breaks down the door at the end of his charge!! Tosten does the same!!!! Both natural 20’s!!!!

In Tosten’s tower:
A carrion crawler comes out of the crap hole attacking randomly. One of our men is paralyzed by its attack and grabs him. Hits by Osmo and Tosten and a crit by Kyy kill it before it can make off w/ our warrior. 2 men are left w/ the paralyzed.
Upward.
On top floor, the wizard’s chamber is very disturbing. Recent dead chained to the wall still, young virgins likely. Country folk by their tattered garb. 1 person still alive! Young girl, 14 or 15.
On roof, the archers are drenched and are no match for us. They surrender, the wizard has disappeared. They say he killed a prisoner’s throat (body lies there) which opened up a doorway of blood which he fled through.

In the twin’s tower:
A nasty swarm of grubs crawl out of the crap hole. A few guys grab nearby brooms and clean them back down out of our way as the rest continue.
Upward.
Lots of blood cult stuff in Dougal’s room on the top floor. Gruesome rooms, terrible implements of torture and sadism. A skeleton w/ some flesh on it lies in the room as well. Archers on top surrender.

The 2 top chambers are attached via a bridge.

We gather everyone in the courtyard. The slaves and commoners are free to go. Some are from nordic stock. Dougal raises their villages and generally kills all but those he wants to sacrifice or use otherwise. Younger boys made slave wretches. The chants suck the lives out of a wretch to increase the leaders power. They say Dougal took his men north to meet other allied warleaders who just won a major victory up north. They have the ruler surrounded in a local village, going for the killing blow.

The young girl’s people came here from an island north of Jarlsleifia about 40 years ago. The wizard and Dougal were fond of sacrificing young girls and torturing them. There was another girl here not long ago who they did not touch, but they were prepping her for something.
Sounds like Gudrun.
She was sent out the day before he rode north. Where, no one knows.

Tosten rests his force into late morning then fully loots the place, getting underway at night. He will be back in Cairn Dor by the next day awaiting us.

View
Thrand at Cairn Dor

It’s expert sailing all the way, cutting the journey down by a day from the average so 5 day trip.

Arriving early morning, very foggy, moderate breeze. We see the fires of town illuminating through the fog. Probably, local fisherman are already out here somewhere or waiting for the fog to go.

A couple ships we do pass near to divert their course widely around us.

We dock expertly. The other men there look a bit nervous. The harbormaster Glybb meets us. He knows much of our tongue so we can communicate. We give him our cover story, he says to strap our weapons so they are not easily drawn and walk about in groups no larger than 5. Otherwise, suspicions will be raised.
Brand stays with the ship.

Tosten, with his sons, Hakon and Ulf are one group.
Thrand, Gunnar, Kyy, Osmo, Dulk in another group.

Glybb explains some about the town:
It’s a good seaside town. about 1500 people. Several drinking establishments, markets, stores.
2 primary religions: druish (faith is to prop up human kind, but despise everything Masters, stole the world from the powers that were; love humans but hate everything else); Church of the Return (despise the druids for everything they are, and vice versa; believe the Masters will return some day; look somewhat neutral to favorably to the northmen, for non believers at least).
Ruler of the town lives on a hill just outside of town, Moat and Bailey style. Minimal presence of force in the town, but a small patrol of citizen militia. Most own a bow.

So, we will look as if we are doing our business for a few hours first talking with the merchants both from here and abroad; then from meal time on into evening we visit the establishments and ask about the rumors in the south and east of a blood cult, kidnapped son of a norse Jarl, druids in the area etc.

Notice a trend among the native merchants, a particular section of markets tend toward natural wares and such (druish friendly), and another section with a lot of holy icons of silver and worked materials. Gunnar noticed that 1 or 2 of the latter tuck in and hide their best charms. Kyy thinks that 1 of them had a ruby on a charm being tucked away. Thrand asks him if he thinks it may be a blood amulet but he can’t be sure of that.
Thrand “That one might be worth following.”

Later, Gunnar follows the ruby guy to one of the churches. Only the priests and the people who actually work there should be present this time of the evening.
He looks around first, before entering through a side man door, taking a final obvious look as he closes it behind him.
Gunnar closes in and listens at the door. They are definitely speaking Celestine: he hears the merchant comment to possibly a priest “think the savages may have noticed….” something about this guy; “good that you let me know” from the other after incomprehensible few sentences.
He goes quickly to find Thrand and tell him.
Thrand immediately gathers Tosten and his sons to go with him and Gunnar to the church.

Our information gathering:
What happened in the northman land has caused a good number of lords to lose standing, just don’t have the retainers anymore, so many died.
They have heard nothing of hostages brought over,but a merchant who came from north of here told that MacDougal did have a visitor of a mystic kind. A flying beast of some sort they say flew into his fort. Not odd, cause he dallies with arcanists it is known.
A Returnist says we don’t want to talk to the druids. They themselves are a very disliked people, a number of kidnappings in town recently, especially foreigners and some of the most devout of the Return followers. 8 this month. Word on the street is it’s the druids.
Could be the church has been usurped, unbenownst to the common worshipper.

There are 3 different Return churches here. 1 for the wealthy, 1 for the foreign, the other for the lower class locals. Gunnar was at the lower class local one.

Lots of folks keep an eye on us, like we’ll just up and raid the place or something.
We find out exactly where MacDougal’s home base is: a fort at the top of the highland just SW of Gleneddin.

Church:
We try to take an inconspicuous route and seem to get there w/o much attention. A soup line has gathered at the rear of the church. A young lady serves out of a large ceramic pot and sends each on their way.
1 beggar w/ an empty bowl hobbles over to us “Hope you don’t mean no harm to the good church fold pagans” and invites us into see the generous splendor of the masters. His name is Lewellyn and shakes all of our hands. He’s all hallelujah, hail the masters.
He knocks “the masters were, are , and one day will return” the woman returns “blessings of the masters be on you” and slops out a bowlfull for him.
“My lady, I bring pagans who wish to convert!” She seems very interested, feeling all should be saved through the grace of the masters. She says everything is closed up for the night, but we can stay in the beggar sleeping room or return tomorrow. She explains a lot of dogma. She’s trying to convert us.
She says the upper class and this one are the same sect, the foreigner church is slightly different. “We believe it is necessary for all the Masters to return, that one believes only certain of them will return. We tolerate each other.” They all hate the druids. From there she tirades on them. There is a hidden grove somewhere nearby where they perform their ‘unholy rituals’. There is a reward for locating their grove and the coven. She says the priest is not here tonight. The other door (which Gunnar listened at) leads to his quarters.

We depart, but leave Gunnar to stay and watch w/ Dulk and Osmo.
We move our drinking and info operation nearby, and get rooms there.

Overnight:

On second shift, Dulk sees a young man (maybe mid 20’s) enters the main doors. See him through windows cleaning and such. About an hour later, he exits the front door. When he does he disappears from view quickly as if pulled or ran. Dulk kicks Gunnar awake “somethings going on” and starts making his way around the building. He sees, at the front, 2 men who have ko’d the man. One stands with a club and dagger, the other has the man slung over his shoulder. They rush into the alleyways. Dulk follows.
Gunnar follows Dulk after telling Osmo to keep an eye here.
Gunnar catches up to Dulk quickly.
They take a convoluted route through back ways to the edge of town, and head outside into the woods. The weapon wielder starts keeping a watch. Gunnar keeps following, and Dulk runs to get Thrand. Gunnar says he’ll leave markings.

Gunnar tails them some length into the woods to a grove and dump the body. The trees are very thick, grown in a circle. The branches intertwine as if holding hands. The moon is high and bright. 6 others enter the circle, speaking the local tongue and form a ring around the kid and occasionally softly singing. They hold hands and sway. The man carrying him binds him to the pile of tangle that is the altar.
One man steps to the center, and the circle closes. The armed man stands guard.
Something is poured upon the unconscious man by the one who carried him. The head puts his hands up, calls out something, pulls out flint and tinder and strikes it over the tangle and the man. The ko’d man wakes up here and starts to protest as he lights up. He’s engulfed, screaming. The 5 making the circle are still chanting.

Gunnar calls out something in his language “Hello over there” just to see if they understand.
They respond with shock. One responds in broken nordic “who goes there?”
Gunnar asks them why they are burning a man alive. He says the man is evil.
Gunnar steps out, and one of the men slits the throat of the smoldering man and drains his blood into a bowl.
The man speaking to Gunnar steps toward him “what concern is it of yours what they do to these people? I have a feeling you would do not much nicer as you are the most notorious pillagers in the world.”
Gunnar tries to stall. Mentions the people going missing, happened to see the kidnapping here and followed.
“Northman, it’s none of your business. Forget you saw anything and turn around, go.”
Once the bowl is full, the man holds still with it.
Gunnar comes out with it “We’re looking for blood cultists. You’re either part of them, or fighting them. And depending on your answer will determine if you make it out of here alive or not.”
Then, from the woods “He’s got friends, run!!!” They scatter in all directions.

The others hear the warning yell. Thrand heads for the warning watchman, he sends the Tostensons after the nearest rusting of a runner going by us. Thrand takes Kyy, and sends everyone else for Gunnar.
Gunnar hits the leader with a thrown axe, hitting him in the hip. He is limped badly. Gunnar runs after the man who was nearest to him, chasing him into the woods, yelling that the head priest is limping away.

Thrand and Kyy come across the watchman immediately, climbing a tree to hide. It didn’t work. Thrand has Kyy begin to cut the tree down, as he is a master tree cutter. Within a minute the tree comes down and Thrand clobbers the guy.
The Tostensons lose the runner.

Dulk, Osmo and Tosten catch the high priest.
The speaker is skilled at slipping away, but Gunnar is keen enough to follow. Gunnar gives one warning to surrender and he won’t hurt him, otherwise he will be axed.
He continues “Brothers of the wood, help!!”
Then a growl, like a bear.
Gunnar goes for his leg, too but misses. One of the smaller trees is shoved aside by a big bear!!
Gunnar gets his axe and runs for the circle, warning all of the bear. The high priest is there. Thrand arrives with the man from the tree.
The bear is coming.
Thrand “Let’s get these guys out of here.”
Runes on the bowl look normal. We take it. We go back to our ship with them and bind them there.

Next Day

We find a Tharangian trader named Boers who speaks both our language and the local tongue. And his kind are generally kind to us.
He seems friendly to us, and is NOT a Returnist but a Norrisite. We bring him over to the ship. He agrees to translate for us.
The tree climber says he’s been there for all 8 sacrifices. The runes are in druidic. Head Priest says they are mystic runes, does not spell anything.
Seems to be a red herring, and these druids really are murderous.
We let the watchman, a lay person, go free with a warning threat. The head we turn over to Boers telling him to do what you will, but leave us out of any story you tell.
We flip him a few coins, tell him where in the woods we found him so he can create a story around that.
He turns the druid into the authorities.

Soon after, Thrand and Gunnar go to the church to meet the head priest. Doors are wide open, we walk right in. The Master meets us, realizing who we are, having been told of us by the girl. He has heard of the druid caught. He’s to be burned in the town square tonight!! He says the Grand Master is to be respected for his position, but the true believers take the stance ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all’. There’s a reason he is the preacher to the upper crust. Local ruler = same thing. Arrogant, haughty.
He talks to us about the conversion, offering initiation.
We take our leave.
Thrand shows him the blood teardrop, asks him if he knows anything about it.
He says they have popped up before. He takes one of his own out of a box that was “dropped outside the church”. A lay follower found it this morning; probably dropped by kidnappers.
We ask to speak in private.
He says other than him, Bretha (the soup girl, been here 6 years; just turned 19) the Grand Master, cleaning boy now dead all have access to his quarters. And his assistant in training Brynn Apowen as well. He has a cot in the same room. He’s been here 6 months, his dad Owen, a smith from a hamlet nearby, offered his services to us. The family has always been here.
He says no one should have been here last night. He was with the grand master at a meeting last night.
We leave.
Hakon catches up, says a bard is in one of the taverns with news. MacDougal is not in his castle right now. Something is going on that he is called away for, took a bunch of retainers and headed north; more than a traveling guard but not a large army like force. Raid? Counter a raid?
Now could be the time to strike at the fortress!!

Thrand’s plan is to go to the suspect merchant close to end of business day, and show him one of our blood drop amulets to ‘sell’. HE asks where it came from, Thrand says ‘from the south’. He is very shocked that we have it, and interested in now we came across it. Thrand says it shouldn’t matter. Disappointed that we won’t sell, guarantees to at least match any offer we get.
The town is setting up for the burning of the druid.
Gunnar follows him after he closes, directly back to the church and into the same side door. Dulk with him, who goes into the church to see if the Master is there or not. Only a couple followers are cleaning up. Bretha is handing out soup.
Dulk “Where’s master Clive?” They haven’t seen him, he left to do errands not too long ago.
The voices are hushed through the door at Gunnar. Gunnar knocks and runs into a hiding position. No one answers.
Dulk “Who’s talking in his room then, if he left?”
“That’s very strange. Let’s check.” Dulk says he’s friends of Thrand. Bretha knows nothing either. Dulk sits down and puts his feet up. Bretha gives him a bowl of soup.
He may stay the night in the beggar’s room. Couple other common folk present in the main room as well. Bretha is about to start serving soup out the side entrance.
Gunnar keeps watch on the priest’s side entrance, inconspicuous, nearby.

The others are at the burning, Brand still in charge of the ship. After midnight, a group of us will meet Gunnar and Dulk.
Clive is not at the burning. Neither is Boers. Druid says he was framed.
Random merchant insults the druid about to burn, calling him a liar. He’s obviously a Returnist.
They light the tinder.
Osmo, Ulf and Hakon notice about a dozen people slip away in quick succession, though in different directions.
Thrand “whoever you saw, follow them.” They each saw a few go, so they take different directions, choosing 1 each. Kyy backs up Osmo, Hala w/ Ulf, Haki w/ Hakon.

Ulf and Hala: Once to the edge of the crowd, he speeds up and gets more careful, surely intentionally trying to be secretive. Ulf keeps him in sight though, as he ducks in and out of dark passways. Ulf actually out maneuvers him. He had spotted our guys but is now trapped.
Ulf “Hey, hou there.” He seems to not understand, and raises his walking stick w/ a steel cap on the top. He braces for a fight, saying something indistinguishable.
They approach him non threateningly, no weapons drawn “Take it easy, calm down” slow and loud. He calms the man, who lowers the cudgel. Ulf tries to draw him near, to follow.
He leads the man to the church at which Gunnar and Dulk are, figuring Bretha can translate. They get to the church w/o incident. They come to 15-20 folks waiting in a crowd for soup. They go to the front and enter, meeting Dulk who introduces them to the man whom spoke to him earlier, asking him to translate for a coin:
The man’s name is Gwylv; a local; not a Returnist; follows old druid ways but still one of us; not an actual druid priest; they were told to keep an eye on us, see if we did anything suspicious, by a druid; they think we belong to some kind of blood cult; says the ritual in the woods was a cleansing ritual to make his blood unusable for the blood cults ritual. Dulk’s man is getting angry at this druid lover, seeing as one of his own was burned to death in the woods. He insists we get him out of here. We get Gwylv out of here, making for Thrand.

Kyy and Osmo: almost catch up to him before he is even out of the crowd, he gets a little bogged down so we hang back until he’s free then we follow. He finally gets out and enters a building soon after, a tiny 1 door residence, no windows. We are right behind him, he’s cornered. Seems he has no idea he is being followed. We go right up to the door, listening in. Osmo hears 4 distinct voices inside, the local language. They keep repeating the name of the burning druid, as well as the ‘northmen’ (us). We hang back, preparing to follow them. No one comes out, talking stops. They listen to the door, hearing nothing at all. Door is open, they enter. The room is empty of people. The building is one room. We start searching. They quickly find an opening under the grate in the fireplace!! Removing, there are rings attached to a wall leading down. Kyy climbs down w/ a covered candle in hand. Not far down, the passage goes 2 ways. One toward the center of town, another to the edge of town. He sees slight flicker of light, long off, toward center. Tells Osmo to get back to Thrand while he follows the light.
Comes to a gathering of 7 people in a central chamber. The base of the stake on which the druid was being burned sticks down into the room partway. They look to be the rest of the coven from the woods, talking. All are lightly armed; 1 has a bow.

Hakon and Haki: they are on him like white on rice, tailing him into a dark alley way. Seems to have no idea he is being followed, so they follow. He then enters a local shop via a cellar door, down a short step way. Hakon tells Haki to check out the front to see what kind of establishment it is. He returns: it’s an Inn. Hakon go to the front and open the door; only a few patrons inside and 1 bartender. Hakon goes for a bluff to get his attention away so they can get into the back, but the bartender does not fall for it. Hakon plays it like a joke. He understands our language quite well. Hakon asks if he has a private room in the back, for a private meeting, trying to get him to give something up.
Him “I might” putting out his hand for coin.
Hakon gives him a sp. He tells of an extra room upstairs, more of an overflow room. Hakon asks him for one for the road, “since I just gave you a silver”. The bartender complies.
He returns to the back and Haki. They listen at the door. They hear nothing and enter into a storage room so they close the door behind them. There is a torch lit on the far side, luckily, a door near it. They search through the basement. They find a hidden trap door in the floor!! No sound comes from it. It opens! A tunnel extends away into the darkness. They go back outside. Hakon sends Haki back to the square to tell Thrand what we’ve found. Hakon hands outside, drinking his ale casually, where he can see as much of the scene as possible.

All meet at the square, Thrand finds that Boers went off to meet the gem merchant and Clive. The man assumes at the church. This was just before the burning.
They wait as druid burns. The others show back up and inform.
Hala and Kyy are sent back to the church to wath. Haki returns to Hakon and they begin to follow the tunnel, we figure they are behind us. The rest enter via Kyy’s entrance to catch up to Kyy. The Inn seems more on the outskirts.
Hakon and Hala get to the central meeting, seeing 9 men not 7. They are looking from another direction. They wait.
Thrand et al catch up to Kyy, with Gwylv. Kyy says they are preparing for something, sharpening weapons, getting riled up et al.
We step in, showing “Gwylv” “Habla Norse?”
One steps forward, the one Gunnar spoke to in the woods. They think we are blood cultists, saw us flashing the blood drop gem around. We explain that it was a trick to lead us to the cult.
The man they killed in the woods wore one of the gems; one of the staffers at the church is secretly a druid and saw the man enter a secret cult chamber; a blood cult in the church. Says Clive and the Grand Master Druz began decrying the druids for the kidnappings, meanwhile it was the cult; they found out the blood drop crystals so started looking out for them. If you kill a cultist, their blood can still be used by the Bloodmancer to do terrible things; so the druids capture them, drain the body of blood which they purify, and burn the body.
Of the church staff, they know one for sure is and one for sure is not a blood cultist: the jewel merchant is; Bretha is the mole. They have suspicions about the ass. priest;
Introduces us to the new head of the druid order (was not present in the woods).
They have 10 vials of purified cultist blood, which is toxic to summoned blood creatures of the cult, including undead. They had been planning on assassinating us tonight!!
“Sorry.”
He thinks the head master does not associate much w/ common folk, he’s just a jerk but does not seem to be involved. They think it’ s Clive.
Thrand tells them why we are here in their lands.
Druids do not like MacDougal. He’s not a Returnist either, pretty sure he was a blood cultist. He’s no friend of the druids regardless, he purged a large coven to the north and desecrated their shrine; also known to associate w/ fowl remnants of the Masters, arcanist scum who go go by the collective name ‘Malenko’, who all pretend to have some aspect of an old master of that name in their being.
They feel Gudrun was brought as a sacrifice, so probably off in some hidden compound. They may be reusing the old druid site for their own, as it is a place of great power.
They agree to show us the sight once the issue in town is taken care of.
He feels, if they went through that kind of effort to kidnap Gudrun, and using such a place of power as the old druid shrine, means this is more than a normal sacrifice. Something is going on here about that sacrifice and kidnapping.
Thrand “Let’s get to the church. Enough talk.”

We get Brand from the ship.
Kyy and 3 druids cover the rear of the building, in case of secret exit.
3 druids and Osmo enter through Bretha’s door, but she is missing though the soup is prepared. They give the soup to the hobos and tell them to beat it.
Papa Tosten covers the priest door w/ Gunnar. The rest enter the main doors. They search everyone for blood drop amulets, but find none.
No one in the main room has blood amulets, they are told to hide in the pews. Head Druid, translater druid, and another guard the front door.
In the back, where Bretha should be, Osmo finds the cook who says Bretha never came in today. He turns out to be a cultist. Osmo breaks all his fingers and his ankles.
In another rear room, Hakon and Ulf find hanging bodies of missing, hunks of meat taken off. They have been feeding the kidnaped to the homeless outside.
Side and front doors are closed and barred shut.
Thrand orders the Tostensons to take the door to the priest quarters down.
They burst it open into the office. Lots written in Celestine, some of us can understand it. Thrand starts to read it while the others search his personal rooms. Brian’s room has only a humble cot and a small bookshelf.
From what Thrand reads, they blood cult was using rites that have similarities in Returnist rites to fool the populace, basically everyone was really performing blood cult rites.
The pillow in Brian’s room was flipped upside down, a blood spot on the underside. All in his room is Returnist.
Thrand finds Bretha on a list of those Clive was planning to eliminate, and high on it.
In the large supply room in Clive’s area is a hidden opening into a cult supply room, and stairway going down. We hear faint chantin.
Brand get Gunnar and Tosten.
Tosten tells Osmo to hang the cook from one of the hooks, but not so he dies quickly, or at all. Osmo does.
Head druid and translater come downstairs w/ us. We call the druids from the rear up. Kyy joins us. 2 druids are stationed at each of the 3 entrances, but for front which has 3.

Clive stands high up on a dais, behind an altar upon which lies a nude Bretha bleeding from her head. He wear crimson cassock and robes. His staff is a long, topped by a red gem, tear drop, fist sized. It glows and pulsates as if something is inside of it. 3 others stand with him. 1 in a red hooded robe, a hefty warrior w/ warhammer, and another priest in front assisting the sermon ritual also w/ hammer. To our right is another warrior in the corner. To left an right of center are pews. 6 other blood cultists stand to the sides of the pews, 3 each.
Cultists are spread among the pews.

PICTURE

To right and below blond hammer man is the jewel merchant. To right and below Red Robe is Boers!! (missing from Pic).
2 others are walking up the middle, pulling Brian forcibly with them toward the alter, who is in protest. Many druid items are lying about, as if they were planning a massive frame job.
Thrand and Tosten lead, followed by the Tosentons; Gunnar/Brand; the 2 druids; Kyy/Osmo; Dulk; Ulf/Hakon.
They are loud enough, they do not know we are coming. We get a surprise round, making our moves into the room. Tosten and Thrand go straight forward; Tostensons step around corners to the sides; Gunner moves behind Thrand; Brand just into room, druids just in front of him. The others are lined in hallway.
Red Robe incants, a swirling morass of blood forms around his arm like a shield, on the other a whip of blood.
Thrand beheads both men dragging Brian, freeing him. He runs straight forward past the bald priest, still flat footed, and leaps atop the dais, climbing atop Bretha!!
Gunnar steps up past Thrand and hurls at up at Clive 23.
Brand “Boers!! You’re a dead man” moves behind Thrand and wounds a common cultist.
Ankh warrior moves to Haki “for the glory of the Angel!” and hits 12.
Clive buries the dagger into Brian’s back wounding him. The blood is sucked up the blood groove into the dagger. Hala kills 2 cultists; Haki vs Ankh misses.
Triplets move in and Kyy kills one next to Brand. Dulk moves beside Hala, Osmo just past him.
The flank guards on each side move into the fray:
Osmo is hit 8
Kyy is missed
Gunnar Is attacked twice but missed
Thrand is missed
The last stands with Bald Hammer.
The common cultists draw daggers, joining the general fray surrounding all they can.
There is a mass around us as we hack away. The Translator druid pulls a shillelagh and attacks. Head druid pulls a vial of the blood, throwing it at Tosten!! It shatters on the ground and the blood becomes blood worms going after Tosten. Translator is shocked!!
Ulf charges to the door, followed by Hakon, Ulf killing a commoner at the entrance.
Blonde Hammer moves down next to the other, who bumbles the sermon what with all the action.
Hakon charges in and hits the Head Druid from behind.
Red Robes chants, and 5 dad stand, the flesh ripping off of them, lifted up by only blood and muscle. Blood Zombies.
Thrand slays 3 commoners; Brian begins cutting Bretha free with a letter opener.
Gunnar tumbles to his right, jumps atop the table directly in front of Red Robes and hits 19. Clive hammers the dagger into Brian again.
Boers moves to Gunnar miss.
Osmo misses the traitor head priest; Haki hits Ankh 15; Dulk kills a common cultist; Kyy kills common cultist; Hala kills commoner but misses zombie.
Attacks continue, Translator Druid attacks his Head Priest, who takes out a vial and hurls at Osmo (getting hit with a couple AoO) but it misses, shattering next to Brand.
Bald hammer attacks Gunnar , Bald Hammer still waiting for space to attack the surrounded Thrand.
Ulf has a zombie in the hall w/ him which he battles. Papa Tosten kills his Guard, cleaves commoner miss.
Hakon flanking hits the Traitor Druid 12 DEAD.
Red Robe points a finger at Gunnar, firing a bolt of blood which misses Gunnar.
The zombies attack Ulf, Druid, Hala, Thrand.
Bretha rolls off the altar, falling to the floor below with a thud. Brian stabs at Clive.
Thrand kills 2 commoners and crits a warrior.
Gunnar throws (1 of 6 AoO hitting 12 from Bald hammer) at

PICTYURE

Red Robe 25 DEAD. 2nd axe throw at Bald Hammer 28 crit. The zombies in front of Dulk falls dead, and the by Kyy and Brand do the same.
Ankh misses Hala, Boers misses, Clive kicks Brian to knock him off, and he falls down to the floor. Haki hits Ankh 12; Dulk hits Z at Hala 7 DEAD. Hala moves and attacks.
Osmo wounds a commoner.
Kyy is missed twice, as is Haki. Thrand is missed by 2 warriors; Gunnar is missed several times but hit once by a commoner 4.
Translator druid helps Ulf in hallway vs Z. Ulf hits it as well; Tosten finishes warrior Thrand
wounded. Bald hammer misses Gunnar, Blonde Hammer moves to and misses Thrand.
Hakon finishes the commoner Osmo wounded.
Brand move up and kills a commoner at Gunnar’s table.
The jeweler runs to Brian, drawing a jeweled dagger to finish off Brian but misses!! Thrand misses Blonde Hammer. Gunnar throws at Jeweler (5 AoO hit once 6) 33 DEAD/at Bald Hammer 7.
Haki is hit 10 by Ankh KO’d!!!
Clive draws another dagger, cuts his hand open, and squeezes it onto the altar while chanting. The blood rises up as a tentacle.
Boers misses Gunnarl; Hala charges Ankh to avenge his brother screaming loudly DEAD; Kyy drops a commoner and cleaves down the commoner.
Osmo and Dulk move to help Kyy vs Guard and take him down.
Warrior on Thrand hits 4. Gunnar is missed 3 times; Ulf and Druid attack zombie DEAD; Papa Tosten moves to Thrand and hits the Guard 10, cleaves Bald Hammer miss.
Bald Hammer misses Gunnar; Blonde Hammer hits Thrand 14.
Hakon mives up to Thrand and attacks Blonde Hammer miss.
Thrand hits Blonde Hammer 23. Brand kills a commoner at the table of Gunnar; Gunnar leaps off the table, over Bald Hammer and Boers, coming down next to the dead Red Robes. He throes at Clive but misses.
A look of horror comes over Clive as the tentacle was poorly summoned and attacks him but misses. He tries to get control over it. Boers turns, charges but misses Gunnar.
Druid gives first aid to Haki.
Dulk, runs to table, jumps atop it but misses Bald Hammer.
Kyy charges and hits Blonde Hammer 3. Osmo and Hala run around the tables making for Gunnar and Boers.
Last commoner misses Brand, Guard misses Dulk; Tosten steps to flank Blonde Hammer and kills Guard and commoner.
Dulk is hit by Bald Hammer 7, Thrand by Blonde Hammer 9. Ulf moves forward, Hakon steps to flank Blonde Hammer w/ Kyy but misses.
Thand hits 20/8 Blonde Hammer DEAD.
Brand misses Bald Hammer; Gunnar throws at Clive 26.
Brian is KO’d from fall. Both are motionless.
Boers misses Gunnar; Tentacle now slithers out after Gunnar, still connected to alter. It misses.
Kyy hits Bald Hammer 6 DOWN. Hala charges up the dais, past Boers, for Clive. Boers’ AoO hits.
Osmo hits Boers 5.
Dulk leaps across and crits tentacle 22 into a splash of blood. The stump pulls into the hole on the alter which closes.
Tosten climbs the dais. Ulf looks around for wounded enemies who are not dead and slays them all.
Gunnar pulls his new big axe(Boers’ AoO hits Gunnar 5), his throw hits Clive 21.
Brand charges and hits Boers 8 DEAD!!
Thrand starts checking on Brian and Bretha. He first aids Bretha.
Clive fails a casting check at the blood on the altar. A doorway of blood opens behind him, he leaps off the chair and runs into it. He comes out the other side as nothing but blood which splashes to a puddle, followed immediately by his bloodless body which collapses to the ground.
Thrand first aids Brian next. Both are alive.

When Bretha and Brian come to, they wish to burn down the church. That was Thrand’s plan anyway. He also wants nothing to do with any of the treasury down here, which we will gladly take.

Blood Cult loot:
We burn their robes and such.
half plate
breast plate
mst chain
mst darkwood lt shield
high quality noble’s outfit 135
very fine quality gautlets 10
3 sunrods
potion cat’s grace
potion healing 1d8+5
Arcanist scrolls: control undead; blood drain
Feather Token: whip
plus gems, jewelry, coinage.

A crowd has formed outside the church. Brian explains everything to them, pacifying them.

Next Day

Translator druid visits, says he will indeed show us the way to the old shrine.
The church is burned to the ground. He says their dagger of blood drain, used on him, will be destroyed.
The lord MacGregor comes down late in the business, wondering what is going on. He has no idea what’s going on.
Brian explains, as well as MacDougal being a cultist.
In his own arrogant way, Mac hails us as heroes as does the Head Return Priest, thanks us and all that. To show his appreciation, he will send a contingent of 20 of his long bowmen to help us.

We decide to send a force to sack his citadel while he is gone, and a group group to head him off at the druid’s shrine.
Sven’s 40 men, plus half (30) of the allied Jarl’s men will attack citadel led by Tosten, his sons, and the triplets.
The other 30 of allied Jarl and Thrand’s 23 men follow Thrand, Brand, Gunnar and his archers, Hakon and Ulf to the druid grove.
The force to his citadel sails up the coast so as to march due west. They will destroy and slaughter anyone they come across so that Tosten’s attack is a complete surprise to those remaining at his stronghold. With him having taken a good 100 men, the force left should not be that much really.

The shrine of the druids is just north west of Gleneddin at the tip of the highland range. We march.

View
Away, to Jarlsleifia

Calm weather east as we pass Laakoping, then SW into open sea.
Reach shores of Jarlsleifia without incident and pull into the harbor at Vinkarl. Knowing our banner and us already the great us happily.
Nimnilhaven, the seat of the kingdom, is inland atop a hill. A days walk from here. Wulfgar is going with his own little group. We get horses.
All 4 PC’s, Harold, Ragnar, Haarkon, the Bastard, Tosten, and Brand will go for us
Wulfgar’s group is also 10, including Iring and a few other guys we recognize. Wulfgar has his own horses.

We pass 2 villages as we close in on the capital. As we pass the 3rd, some locals are talking. An old man ponders if ‘these heroes from the north are here to slay the beast’.
Another “No one can slay the beast, it’s a horrible thing!”
The first “I think I recognize those 2, that’s got to be Bjorn and Wulfgar.”
Finnric “What beast do you speak old man?”
A great flying beast, takes stock and sometimes people.
Finnric “A dragon?”
“Some sort. It’s been here only a couple weeks. We hear the tormented shrieks of the animals. The people are taken into the sky. What with Jarlsleif leaving for parts unknown and taking all the heroes with him it’s free reign for the beast.”
Sounds like just our line of work. Only the berserks left behind were brave enough to face it, but they got distracted and sacked a village instead.
We continue on.

We arrived at Vinkarl early morning, so by midday we are at Nimnilhaven.
On the outskirts of Nimnilhaven, we can see the huge meadhall on the hill in the middle surrounded by mott-n-bailey. A walled trail leads to the town also surrouned by a quality palisade with wooden towers.
We pass a homestead in some disrepair as if it had been damaged or even sacked. For a 2 story house it is 10’ tall. Tending what’s left of the fields is what at first we think is a boy but is actually a very short old man. He salutes with his hoe.
“Some of you look like them what came and tore up my farm! Don’t make me hoe you (looking mainly at Finnric).”
Bjorn “You look like a child, but old.”
“I was born this way, my pappy and mammy was born this way.”
Bjorn “Your farm was ransacked?”
“:It was. Bunch of fur cloaked barbarians kicked me in the gut, took my crops, burned what they couldn’t take. Even knocked out a wall.” His name is Gymm. Calls out and introduces us to his wife Helga.
It was Jarlsleif’s berserks. They bully the locals often.
Thrand “Do you receive any recompense for this?”
They do every so often, but not enough to cover the full value.
He doesn’t have much but he offers a meal. They have plenty of honey, the berserks leave them alone. He has wonderful jam and mead.
We accept.He has not bread for the jam, but we do.
Bjorn “Wulfgar, break out some bread.”
He is forced to in order to save face.
We eat with the couple.
There are 20 berserks, led by a relatively vile man named Bjarki. A giant of a man almost 7’ tall and all muscle. Wields a huge hammer. Last he heard they were not at the meadhall, but gallivanting around. They return every couple days.
He asks us our business.
Bjorn asks him about the monster. Gymm says its a small dragon. In the far south they call it a Wyvern. Regardless of the name, its a giant reptile with wings that causes damage. That’s all that matters. A lot of surrounding villages are hit nightly. It eats a lot; typically comes from and goes to the west.
We explain we are going to ask Hymling for aid in our voyage, he says he’s sure that many of the prince’s valiant men will want to help you. Though most of the heroes are with Jarlsleif. He wishes us good luck.
Helga says when we get to the court, we will find their only son, Thordhama, has gone to the meadhall to learn to be a warrior. He’s not very tall or strong. One or 2 of the men have shown him how to swing a sword but not many look at him as much of anything. He hangs around there a lot and helps the wenches take care of the other warriors.
The berserks are vicious to him, beat him with rock/bone/fist etc.
“Be so kind as to not beat him with big things.”
Thrand “We will not beat him with anything.”
We take our leave.
Riding through the town, it looks untouched by the dragon. All the town watch us with great interest.

At the base of the hill, the guard question us. Bjorn hails them and introduces himself, informs they we are here to see Hymling.
We look on the up and up to him, no riff raff among us, so we are allowed to pass.
Bjorn wants to pay him to hold Wulfgar up, who has lagged behind a bit, but does not think it wise for he or Thrand to peform the act. Finnric volunteers gladly and gives him the guard coin.
He says they are feasting tonight, the berserks are to return, hopefully with news of the dragon; introduce yourself to the Herald.

Behind us “Who goes there?”
“I am Wulfgar.”
“WHo are the other one?”
He hassles Wulfgar a lot.

The herald lets us inside, Hymling is not here yet. Jarlsleif is, of course, away campaigning far SE. He has been there for some
Wulfgar arrives some 20 minutes after us, minus 4 men whom the guard refused passage to.
Bjorn “Having troubles Wulfgar? Didn’t like the look of your lot?”
Finnric “That’s the kine of low lifes who follow him.”
The feasting will begin when Hymling arrives.
We take our seats to Hymling’s right. Finnric requests to be across from Iring.
Form his side around are Bjorn, Thrand, Finnric, Haarkon, Ragnar, Harald, Brand, Gunnar, Tosten, Hakon.
Across from Bjorn is Wulfgar, Thrand is Iring, Finnric is Finnbogi.

5 other local nobles sit on Wulfgars side.

Hymling arrives.
At the head is Hymling, to his left his sister Kolfrosta FIne Hair; to his right his cousin Hjalprek Arrow Odd.
Thrand “How is Baylik?”
He’s out on patrol. They did away with his name, he has chosen a real man’s name: Brynjalf.
He says its good to have old family and friends here. We feast. Many beautiful ladies bring out the food. The wine bearer is Thordhama.
Thrand tells Thordhama we met his family, we were very impressed. He acknowledges thanks.
Hymling has already heard why we are here. We go over what we heard of the truce meeting, and how Bluto drew steel at it. Terribly shameful act.
Hymling has some men he is willing to part with. However, with the lack of good captains and heroes there is no one to appropriately lead them. He wants a rep. from each group to convince him to put his troops under their command.
Wulfgar declares Iring.
Bjorn declares Finnric.

Iring speaks first and tells nothing but crap of Wulfgar’s intuitiveness, bravery, truth blah blah blah. Huge yarn about the Piper adventure.
Hymling is stroking his bears, looking impressed.
Finnric gives the real story, stressing the taking of the towns behind our back by Wulfgar’s men; Bjorn and Finnric’s defeat of Ulag while Wulfgar was stuck fighting the same man almost the entire fight, the race back to town in the valley we won; battle of Rymskyld; finally we defeated the Piper’s entire force and rescued the dwarves with Wulfgar utterly absent.
Hymling is especially impressedy by our dwarf, and Haarkon backs up our story so far as he was present.
Finnric wins hands down.

Of the 200 men he can send, 150 will go under Bjorn. 50 will go under Wulfgar so as not to totally insult him. We also get a choice of 1 of his 2 captains. Either the cousin with the bow or sister with the hammer.
Bjorn w/o missing a beat “Your sister.”
The bowman cousin will lead those going with Wulfgar.
After introductions more personally with each to their leaders, he says he hopes the berserks are back soon.
They know it comes from the west, but nothing more. If the dragon has been slain these men are promised to you. If not, I can not afford to lose them. The dragon tends not to attack well protected places.
He wishes he could put a leash on the berserks, after Bjorn brings up the subject. He says each is as good as 5 of his regular men. 20 hang out here, they have kin in the region.
We hear a pained yelp from outside. The door bursts open and in walk the 20 berserks looking like they were just in a scrap. They are a raucous bunch from the get go.
Bjarki leads the way, stopping and looking around at all us visitors.
Hymling “Bjarki, tell me you bring good news….”
Bjarki claims total victory.
Thrand whispers to Bjorn “The beast isn’t the victory they are talking about.”
Hymling “Show me the beasts head.”
Each pulls up a human head. They could not find the dragon, so sacked a village instead.
Hymlac is exasperated.
They are about to mess with the halfling.
Finnric “Stop now! (to the halfling) Come sit with me.”
Bjarki “Look at that, he’s wearing a dog.”
They whisper and chuckle.
Bjarki walks up to Finnric “Bark, bark haha.”:
Finnric is about to tear his neck out with his teeth but Thrand restrains him.
Bjorn plays diplomatic, telling there is trouble if Hymlac does not stop these insults to his guests.
These moments, Finnric spends building Fury tokens. The berserks make more jokes to themsleves, taking seats at the end of the table.
Thrand to Bjarki “Why do you insult guests in your lord’s house.”
Bjorn begins to walk down the table. Tells Thrand stay back and observe unless weapons are drawn or you are attacked.
Bjorn says he’s sure Wulfgar would agree, who looks toward Finnbogi.
Finnbogi stands and in the nicest way a berserk can he asks them not to speak ill of the Ulfhedinn kin, cause you wouldn’t want to make me mad. You wouldn’t like me mad."
Bjarki looks at Bjorn and says to Hymling “Why is there a whelp in my seat? Last I knew, my seat was at your right. Now you invite a boy?”
Another to Thornhamma “Hey, hamma, mead?”
Finnric grabs what he was taking and chugs it. A bone full of mutton already devoured is hurled toward Thornhamma. It misses and hits Finnric
Another “You hit the pupply!!! Hahaha!!”
Hymlac “Oh bloody hell.”
Finnric leaps atop the table, running on all 4’s for the culprit. Finnbogi, on the man’s side, begins to charge him.
Finnric rushes a headbutt into the man 17 knocking him to the floor. Finnbogi reaches him and drops a mighty elbow on him.
Servant girls rush away.
Bjorn gets to Hakon being the voice of reason “Stay until you are needed” and readying an attack if he is attacked. He wild cards Improved Unarmed Strike base 1.
The man is thrashed badly. The berserk next in line, Bjarki’s second, moves on Finnbogi. Bjarki reaches to his hip, pulls the head off of his belt and thows it at Finnric 6.
The berserk next to Hakon gets up and goes to hit him, BJorn slugs him 8, the punk misses. Next 2 in line there go after Bjorn. Bjorn AoO hits 8. Both miss Bjorn.
One on Finnric’s side jumps onto the table at him and hits 9.
Hakon jump stunts off the table and behind his attacker punching 6.
Bjorn "Everybody stay calm, we’ve got this under control. Bjorn punches his 6/7. Finnric leaps off table behing Bjarki 9.
Finnbogi slugs the other standing at him with 2 good hits.
The berserk at the end of the table begins to chant. All the other begin to follow suit.
2 new ones come to aid Bjarki. The one on the table attacks one of the locals with a meat prong and kills him through the eye!
The others on both sides begin to move in en masse but for the 2 at the end of the table.
Several around Finnric draw daggers suddenly and hit him 3 times!!!
The 3 around Bjorn draw their real weapons. Tosten is attacked as now, Hakon by multiple.
They begin attacking another local. 2 more jump on the table.
Hymling is horrified.
The locals join in, and we do as well now. Haarkon tells Thorhamma to grab Finnric’s axe and take it to him under the table.
Brand jumps on the table after Tosten hurls the berserk there out of the way and brings Hakon’s spear to him, drawing his sword on the way.
Gunner gets atop the table as well, runs halfway to the other end and hurls at the chanter 26!
The fighting becomes general.
Iring begins a song himself, giving all of Wulfgar’s men a bonus, and we have to make will saves or take a minus one. Only gunnar fails “You bastard! It never happened like that!!”
Wulfgar’s men join but for Wulfgar, who acts like he’s being super protective of Wulfgar.
When Gunnar kills the chanter who missed him with a stone, a red glow comes from that side of the table. Finnric is overcome by the pelt by the first dagger to strike him.
Once Finnric gets his axe, he drops Bjarki and another berserk in one round. He leans over him “Bjark! Bjark!” mimicking his soprano dog bark at Finnric ealier.
Soon after, the berserks start to bleed through various orifices and poors in their body.
Harold performs a great feat of strength, tilting the third table from the head toppling 2 of the berserks and a Wulfgar man.
Finnric sends Thorhamma rushing for his spear.
He sees from, the runecaster at the end of the table, that the red glow is from an amulet he is wearing in the shape of a red teardrop.
The last berserk, vs Tosten and Brand, foams at the mouth while bleedind and collapses.
By now, several of Hymlac/Wulfgar men are down, as is Hakon KO’d.
Thorhamma says the amulet is causing something. Bjarki’s body disolves into a puddle of goo. Rising out of it is an amorphous humanoid almost 8’ tall blood creature!! All the blood of the other berserks are running toward it!!
It forms next to Gunnar and Finnric.
Hymling is horrified.
Bjorn leaps upon the table and flanks with Finnric, who drops his axe in favor of Odin Spear. Finnbogi joins us as well, fighting next to Finnric.
Gunnar tumbles away from the creature and it’s AoO misses. Gunnar’s throw hits 12. Brand gets Hakon away from the fight as Thrand moves onto the table 20 w/ cold iron sword. Tosten first aids Hakon. Thrand’s cut is not refilling with blood.
Kolfrost moves forward and hurls her warhammer but she misses, almost hitting the cover provided by Gunnar and Bjorn. Finnbogi hits as well.
An arm goes after Thrand miss, and Bjorn miss. 2 others appear out of hits back attacking Finnric 2 con. dam. and Finnbogi as well as their skin starts bleeding. A mock mouth opens and closes mechanically, the whole creature emits an unearthly incantation but not understandable to us.
Bjorn sheaths his sword and quickdraws the broken blade 5, and one of the runes flares as it runs through it taking a trail of blood with it which evaporated instantly in the air. Thrand hits 18 as well.
Gunnar suddenly throws at Bjorn but misses twice; Finnric leaps upon the table making for Thrand 17/miss ; and Finnbogi does the same vs Bjorn miss.
Kolfrosta hurls a throwing hammer at Finnbogi but fails to trip him up. Wulfgar jumps on the table and begins to charge to the fight. Iring changes his tale to help everyone (he’s very frightened, wanting only to get out of here alive).
It hits Bjorn and Thrand again 10 and 6 slam damage respectively. The blood tendrils attack each not, missing Thrand and fumbling vs Bjorn.
Wulfgar become charmed now that he is in range!! All of Hymlac and Wulfgar’s men flee toward the rear of the meadhall.
Tosten rushes atop the table to make a tackling attack but fails to touch him.
Thrand maneuvers Finnric off the table with a thud, but atop Thorhamma who was about to try to trip Finnric. Thrand then hits the bloodwraith 11. Bjorn does the same to Finnbogi but misses the bloodwraith.
Kolfrosta draws a warhammer and slugs Wulfgar from behind, knocking him off the table. As Bjorn and Finnbogi try to climb off they get shield bashed back down, landing on Thorhammer again as he is getting up.
Combat vs bloodwraith continues, and Tosten grapples Gunnar.
Finnric and Finnbogi get back on the table, and Thorhammer fails to trip Finnric above. Wulfgar gets back on the table and engages Kolfrosta.
It releases a blood curdling wale like a death knell. Dread courses through Thrand and Tosten’s veins for a minus 4 to all d20 checks, and Bjorn a minus 2.
Bjorn and Thrand bring it down at this point!! The charms end. It bursts apart with a splash of blood covering Finnbogi, Finnric, Thrand, Bjorn and Thorhamma.
Hymlac and all his men stare at us in utter amazement. The Princes is greatly impressed at our prowess.
Finnric profusely apologizes to Thrand over and over again for days after. Thrand assures him its all part of the job.
We take Bjarki’s amulet to put with the others we have. It feels like it has a warm pulsing hearbeat inside. Finnric runs each berserk with a spear to help ensure their travel to Valhalla. Even as enemies, berserks are still chosen of Odin and so worthy opponents in the eyes of Spear Mad.
The feast is ruined by the blood.
Hymlac “You are truly heroes! Magificent!”
He says he regrets that he still needs the wyvern taken care of. He will send his promised men to meet with our fleet if we vow to kill the dragon. We do.

We tell Himlac to have men gather a large flock of livestock for us to use as bait.
Also, whoever knows the terrain where we can set up the flock and hide close enough by for a surprise assault. He tells us of a glade with a patch of woods about 200 or so feet away. A guide will show us.

Next Day

As we are preparing, Halvgrimr actually physically transforms into a walking stick and a wide brimmed conical hat forms utop Finnric’s head! Just like Odin!
We get the flock to the designated spot. We cripple one and cut it open to get blood in the air. Finnric and Bjorn will be disguised as herders, Finnric using the Odin Spear like a walking stick. Fitlaf,
Thrand, Hakon, Brand, Haarkon, Ragnar, Gunnar, Thorhamma, Harold and Tosten will rush from the woods when the time is right.

Night comes, and Bifrost iluminates the night. The moon is low in the sky over the hills nearby shining bright, about 10% larger looking than average.
Another hour goes by. In the distance we see a gigantic sillouette in the sky. We soon realize it is coming fast. The eyes glow in the moonlight as it closes in. It is all but silent. Large, scales a lustrous purple. It swoops for the sheep like lightning but upon realizing humans are here, it wants us. Finnric flips the Halvgrimr and readies vs the dive bomb. IT comes at Bjorn like a rush of death for a flyby attack. Finnric hits 11, Bjorn 15.
It bites Bjorn but fails an attempt to grab him.
Our men start to rush out. He turns and dives again, Finnric hits 14, Bjorn misses, it bites Bjorn again and grabs him. After rising 30’ he drops Bjorn to the ground.
It makes it’s turn above us. The rest us arrive and stagger themselves out, not sure who it will come down upon. Gunnar is w/in range of its attack on anyone.
It swooms to Finnric who has it set and hits 20. It crits Finnric and lands in front of him. The rest of us charge, surrounding it. It’s AoO is a tail at Thrand 11, who fumbles in return as the rest attack. Thorhamma hurls his throwing axe.
We almost kill it. As if flies straight up to get away, surrounded, our AoO don’t finish it off. It is bleeding profusely. We follow it easily as it limps about 10 miles west, losing altitude near the end disappearing at a large hill.
A hole, perhaps an old tomb whose boulder that once blocked it was pulled away, has a trail of thick blood leading inside.
We enter, go about 30’ and find it lying dead 2 to 3 feet from a natural water spring filling a pool. A mound of treasure as well and carcasses of its food it has been taking.
Finnric “Finish it off Bjorn.”
“I’m taking its head.” He beheads it.
Finnric cuts it’s heart out.

The body that was buried here is ancient.

Treasure:
Royal outfit 377gp of exceptional quality
Curved blade in a nice sheath. Writing on it is in an unknown script (elven curveblade, fine quality 97gp)
Saddle, military, superior quality 99gp
shovel, collapsable (2gp)
Whip
Shattered crystal vial, but the gathered crystal is worth 30gp
Parchment, decaying, worth nothing. But, Bjorn’s sword glows when he gets next to it (must be detecting magic)
set of earrings 117gp
clear quartz crystal 45gp
earrings 23gp
bracelet 31gp
agate 9gp
zircon 49gp
tiger eye 5gp
azurite 4gp
blue quartz 2gp
5pp
80gp
350sp
900cp

Looks like the beast was dragging itself to the water. Bjorn walks up and takes a big drink. He is immediately healed. All wounded take a drink. Bjorn warns to not take a second. It may not be good. We empty our waterskins and fill them up, just in case it works away from the fountain.
On the way out, Thrand notices one last thing. A small roll of paper lies in some rocks, he picks it up. It is something wrapped in thin paper of 5 different colors. The broken blade glows like daylight! An artifact of the masters. The wrap is open, missing one of 14 small round candies. Hmmm. We will need to seek a wiseman.
The town with our men is only a couple miles NW at this point, says Thorhamma. We trek overnight to get there to surprise our men.
The runes are the same script as that on the curved blade. We have hears of an item all live savers. They gave great endurance, healed, made the user super heroic, etc….

Next Day

Hymling and Wulfgar arrive early with Hymling’s men.
We are met up with our guys and rest up/celebrate.
The Ulfhedinn perform a group ritual for Thorhamma. He is Berserker 3. His name must now be changed, Thorhamma is the wimp he once was. He wants a new name for his new personae.
They poor Koku’s mead into a brazzier and perform a ritual song and dance around it. Then Koku, Finnric, Ylva, and Modar cut their arms with the Odin Spear and spill their blood into the mead. It is mixed and fed in gulps to Thordhama. We continue to drink until drunk, the wyvern heart roasting all the time. A raw piece is saved for Thordhama to eat as a second part of his initiation with the blood mead.
Blood of the entirety of Finnric’s pack is then spilled into the mead in the same fashion, including Thordhama, and we all drink as the first official group initiation ceremony of all becoming Bjorn’s Ulfhednar pack now that our number is a strong 6.

Next Day.

Early morning
Info:
MacDougal is one of 2 most popular rulers of his area. He is known for clearing out the northmen in his lands. He is trying to become king of the realm. He has alliances with some bowmen lands nearby. Allied w/ Bluto.
The other is known for kicking out northman occupiers as well, but not as merciless. Centered around Dunling, Aelfinn, Corrach and Aeri, he is named Gaelfrost. He is half norse himself (father) himself.

Come up with a plan for the dwarves to tunnel from outside of Langbay inside, secretly, using a ‘siege’ as cover for their operation. All the dwarves now go to Langbay.

Thrand will take a ship to Cairn Dor under cover of an exploratory ship for traders, to try to get information. The rest of the fleet w/ him will land a safe distance north of it and await orders. Gortin joins this part of the fleet.

Wulfgar has a pow wow with Bjorn. “When it comes to the actual sack of Langbay, we need agreements” division of plunder, who gets what. All loot will be consolidated after the attack and divided according to manpower. It will based more according to # of ships than manpower. With Bjorn’s personal force of less ships counting the same because its his show, he and Thrand’s siege plans, etc. Our show that he arrived to cut in on.

We set sail.

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Tordekting return, triumph and loss

So, Lance knows some specifics about this thane of Bluto’s in the north. He is called Connaught MacDougal. His land is on the borders of Cymria and Gallia. Particularly area is around the towns of Cairndor, Kinkellar, Gleneddin.
We feel, being taken to Lanbay, Hjarldan is likely safe from wretched sacrifice. It’s Gudrid we are most concerned with in terms of that, for this blood cult certainly means death. Still, we know now what torture or such may befall Hjarldan otherwise.

In Tordekting, our former ship has been refitted to a better warship. Harder hull, ram at the fore. Not a river ship though.
Bjorn opens the folding boat. The hold is empty unfortunately.

Augments are getting supplies then heading for the valley where they feel they will be most at home, but Lance and Black J want to catch a ride with us over the sea to home.
All the dwarves made it out alive and will be our men, we say we shall get them east one day.

Up north, Swen had put down Hrolf’s rebellion, a hard fought victory. The day was saved when Prince Wulfgar surprised Hrolf from the rear. All in the ‘good name’ of Finnborg. This maddens us. Hrolf and loyal men did escape. Wulfgar seems to be pulling the same thing on Swen he pulled on us: making himself look like a good honorable ally now, before a backstab we’re sure will come.

Thrand recommends a change in treatment for some of the professional soldiers: that only Bluto’s men and those of his allies are put to the sword, after their treatment of Rymskyld. Any paid mercs, however, should be ransomed back home or to their merc orders. “We don’t want people otherwise neutral toward us to act based on our treatment of their own, and our family and friends fighting oversees to suffer repercussions for our actions.”

In 3 more days, virtually all of our mantrolls will be men again. They were highly intimidating to the Normans in the fight. They also confused the battle, as the Normans had them on their side so were killed many times thinking it was an alley.
Some younger men of the right mind may join us as warriors in our travels. The rest head home to the valley.

Ingvarr says by spring of next year, a recruiter will show up from the guard looking for men. He will have to go back with the recruiter and he hopes we go with him.
We begin to use our new fame to gather men to our side.
Bjorn brings in 50 x1st; 5 x2nd, 3 x3rd level warriors.
Gunnar 5 x1st level bowmen.
Thrand brings in 20 x1st, 2 x2nd, and 1 x3rd
Finnric attracts a different sort. They are stronger, wear no armor, but much tougher. 35 x1st, 3 x2nd, 1 x3rd.
We must get to work immediately outfitting an attack on Bluto and allies. Thrand is beside himself for vengeance over the capturing of his bride to be.
In the coming days and weeks, we hear of Iring’s tales of Wulfgar’s triumph, fully sanctioned and approved by Finngorg. Finnric dreams of the day he will split that snake Iring’s tongue in 2.

Wulfgar and his elite entourage came hauling ass here wanting to join us on the raid, a land that Bluto’s men passed through is a supporter of Finnbogi so he uses that ‘invasion’ as an excuse to go. He has two ships of 140 men including the last of his berserkers (w/ Finnbogi), Iring
Several ships of allied Jarls and from Sven as well!
Gortin the Rowmaster joins us, and begins assigning men to their oar placement.

We plan to stop to ask Jarlsleif in Jarlsleifia for assistance as well.
Sven 120 men on 3 ships
2 neighboring Jarls of Gustav 210 men on 4 ships.
Neighbor who is Finnborg’s ally sends 70 on 2 ships.

To Langbay:
Bjorn and Finnric and the Ulfhedinn
Toru, Ingvarr and Ragnar
Dwarves: Alfreg, Fjalar and Galar, Egin and Raggid, Sturn
Lance and Black J are riding with this group until they want let off.

To MacDougal:
Thrand and Gunnar
Tostensons and Tosten
Ulf and Hakon
Kyy, Osmo and Dulk
Dwarves: Haakon, Uhtto and Otto, Ottr, Fliggol

Thrand’s brother, Brand Thorirsson (lvl 2 Myrimdon), will join us as well.
Finnric’s sister SIgrid, new to be a shield maiden, will accompany Finnric and Bjorn (dedicate 1). This will be her first action.

The day we are to leave, one more man arrives. The son of a Jarl some distance away, he traveled much to arrive, from the next fjord over in the land of Geattenborg. His name is Harold Tryggvarsson; eldest son of the Jarl there. Geats are generally neutral friendly toward our lands.
“I asked permission from my father to join your expedition to gather fame and glory for my family. We heard news of what happened here.”
Bjorn accepts. He shall join Bjorn’s group to Langbay.

Wulfgar and the Finnborg ally to Langbay.
To the north is 1 of Sven’s boats and 1 boat from the local Jarl.
The rest to Lanbay.

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