The Saga of the Bjornings

Bjornings vs the Slammers

We arrive at our destination town of Adirna; we can tell the area has seen recent action with the quickest of scoutinng surveys. The lord meets us with is 40 men, putting them at our disposal. Town has a wooden palisade that could use some repair.
He says at any given time the raiders never show up with more than 200. Never seen anything larger than 400 so their may be more than that. Only ever attacked Adirna once, that was the 400 sighting.
Mostly its the surrounding area they hit, hampering food and supply distribution and such. They come from multiple points north most of the time, but they always return across the river east. They must lair somewhere that way.
Bjorn “So we will have to cross the border to find them. Or wait for them to strike here and ambush them.”
They are predominantly infantry. The goblins are their fodder, lesser equipment like leather and short spears. They have a shaman who occassionally uses battle magic. Adirna used to have a caster in town, but he was ambushed with a troop contingent on the road and killed. The raiders are particularly brutal to casters and the church.
That means nothing to us, anyway.
This has been happening for 3 months now. Started slow, and intensified as it went. Now its a raid every 3 to 5 days. The garrison was once about 400 men. The ogres and hobgoblins are the main reason for the reduced numbers. The high ranking commanders of the garrison are dead.
They have a military camp just outside of the town. The river border forts have been burned.
A 3 story stone tower lies 24 miles upriver, unused for centuries.
We passed that on the way here.

Bjorn tells him to repair his wall and even reinforce it and keep his troop here to defend the town “I’ll take my men out and we’ll take care of the problem”.
We camp in the military camp here tonight. It has its own wood wall about 10’ high. Tower at each corner; front and read entries; ditch around it, spiked; row of pikes around the ditch’s outer edge also.

The town west of Finnrik’s destination is called Burgos. Raids by the gobins occur approx twice weekly. 2 to 4 day spreads.

Tonight, Finnric stays here. The Ritual of the Journey of the Wolf is performed, enhancing the pack and kin overland speed. Leaving in the morning, by tomorrow night they arrive at the south of the hill range.

Over next couple days here:

Bjorn sends some small squads of the cav to scout for the enemy approach, west led by Stelio along the roat but; east led by Kalestos to as far as the ruined tower. No one crosses the borders!

4 PC cross the border to check things out, mounted: Sigrid, Gunnar, Thrand, and Harald.

We unload our supplies into the camp, making our own home base; pull our ships offriver to the camp; make sure the defenses are strong; Make ourselves a home here.
We ID the locations of the secret military caches via the lord to supply ourselves. Nearest is 18 miles down the SW road. The town gives us the labor and wagons to transport it; with 2 units under Hakon and Ulf.

Utzig joins the pack

Previous:
Prior to us being here even 6 months:
Bjorn and men are sent north to quash a force of orcs and goblinoids a couple hundred strong, raiders, coming from a warlord of the goblin kingdoms. It’s a quick and easy duty, including returning with some prisoners.
They are taken through the capitol on a parade of humiliation.
1 goblin not captured during the battle, was caught while hunting wolves using only a great club. For first several days he was tied up under guard. He was always the outcast of the raiders, a hireling, because they were brutal for brutality’s sake. Was never one of them in spirit. Has always worked for whomever would pay the bills. Aimlessly looking for purpose. Upon meeting Finnrik, he takes an immediate liking. He was killling wolves as a ritual sacrificial hunt, drinking their blood to infuse into his own, to give him the speed and strength of the predator. He hits it off with the pack. By the time we arrive at the capitol, he has developed a close bond with the Ulfhednar and he has joined the pack!!
Utzig Bonecrusher is his name.

Current:

Night of our arrival at the southern edge, Ritual of the Fenris Brood is performed.

Morning, the brood, Geri’s Blood Gluttons and Freki’s Ravenous Maw enter the hills in search of the goblin travelling paths.

Both groups find a well trod path from the southern edge straight northward. Modar notices they have no shoes, so likely very primitive goblins. He finds spore as the first sign.
From this central point, Modar decides to use that center point to fan out and see if they are using regular paths out that they are covering better the closer they get to the open. They don’t find much more in the way of patterned goblin sign, but the place is riddled with caves. The goblins have no doubt been heading for them as they move through. Likely there is an HQ not far north and go through caves to come out, then return via the north trail; or vice versa. Likely then, they are living in that cave system.
They also during this realize the wildlife is unusually scarce, even berries are well picked over.
Meanwhile, the main body spreads out to watch for goblins exiting the forest while also stopping to speak to locals about when and where the last raids happened, and for any other useful information.
The locals say raids are more survivable if you hide and stay out of their way, and let them loot. Crops and stock are their goal. They rarely take any money though they have at times. The rare time people are taken, they assume it’s to be eaten. They also take the dead back with them. Direction is mostly random but that they seem to keep a good eye on the roads. They have a hard time getting caravan through to and from Burgos.
Likely, we’ve been spotted then.
Raids of towns and standing locations are at night. Road attacks can be day or night.

After another night of Journey of the Wolf.
The brood is spread on the edge hexes of the area. T hama, Lukos, Modar, Bogi, Harog, and Ylva wrap around the hills east to west respectively to respond to wolf calls , with units.
Finnrik, Koku and Blagra/Rymek head north, with units, to look for their main camp with 1 wolf.

Near dusk, Ylva’s team sees a man walking to the east tween road and wild, build of a hard working farmer but dressed as a traveller and armed. Looking around as he is walking. After quarter mile or so, he has gotten a bit closer to woodline. Here and there, he looks around as if sniffing. Stopping at one point letting out a piglike signal call and keeps walking.
She keeps watching. He continues on along the egde of the hills.
Has he lost stock?
Ylva sends her sgt and 3 men to tail him.

Same night, T hamma’s and Ylva’s wolves howl around 2am. They move to investigate.

Ylva’s gang head off a group coming through the woods, huge bulbous reflecting eyes. Some 40 pairs, stationary as if hiding.
T hamma misses his quarry. Soon enough, his wolf lets out another signal howl. He closes in this time, on about 40 or so short humanoids coming in his direction.
Both groups are on the hunt for us!
Thorhamma moves around to his hunters rear, them makes just enough sporadic noise to lead his hunters for Lukos who should be closing in. Not long into this, they let out a gutteral howl and start charging through the forest heedlessly and armorless. Thorhamma books it for a couple rounds, then they turn taking cover to ambush the foe. They see the ambush, but we loose spear volley worthy of the valkyrie first. Battle joins and It’s an absolute massacre. The 3rd sgt slays 6 himself, the brood tears bodies asunder. Thorhama does not even have to join into the fray himself.
No casualties.
The Shields of the Allfather were out for blood tonight, and spilled it with great haste!

In the meantime Ylva stays put, her own unit hiding, hoping for Harog’s arrival before they battle begins.
The goblins soon are heard climbing trees and moving through them branch to branch, tree to tree. As they are upon Freki’s Ravenous Maw, the spear throws unleash and the combat joins, Ylva leading the way, her blade and Primal Bite cutting and gnawing the enemy apart.
Her 3rd level sgt rallies the Maw around her, stabbing and thrusting the primitives to ribbons. It’s another blood bath, Freki is well fed tonight.
No casualties.

Harog and Lukos each show up to their respective sights with no fight left to be had.

South, faintly, toward the roads Bogi and Modar et al hear screams and yells of pandamonium from a nearby village.

Finnrik and the main body find a large cave at the north end of the forest before the rougher land around Marth. At the bottom line of the hex. Its entry area is strewn with animal bones in all directions. They are like locusts. It smells like carnage meat everywhere. Many bones have decaying meat remaining. Lots of flies.
Faintly, in the distance, we hear the howls of the battles joining far behind us.
From a high point, Finnrik sees in the far distance a strange looking cloud unnaturally low over a valley that should house the city of Marth. It’s birds! Flocks and flocks of them.
Finnrik “A sign from Odin!”

Kolfrosta Mission

We are greeted at the caravan by Tzimiskes, a rough and gruff Sgt type. Several other groups of soldiers are here waiting as well, also joining this very important caravan.
This is a relative of the Tzimiskes who made the last leg of our journey to the capitol with us. He tells us 3 to hang outside the big tent, shortly the Lt. in command of the trip will call us in for a briefing.
Couple other groups on our level arrive while we wait.
The force is about 80 strong.
The Lt. calls “Enter.”
Lt. Ennistros is tall and young, finely dressed. Wearing quality mail. Rare blonde hair for a celestine (may have some northman ancestry), still tan of complextion though.
“We’ll be marching east to resupply a border fort named Antochi. You will address me as Lt at all times or your pay will be docked.” He’s the 4th son of one of the noble houses, so military was one of few options for him.
The only person he doesn’t talk down to is the one other greek Atticus Viranetos, the 6th son of Lox, and commanding 20 medium infantry, 2nd in command of caravan. We are more like somewhat civilized barbarians.
“It’s a dangerous road.” Bandits, raiders, horsemounted interlopers all around he says. This convoy carries beside pay for Antochi is important military gear. He does not expound on that detail. “This assignment will be carried out with military discipline” and he will not allow us to muck that up.
“Since you are all new to duty” and he has never seen our abilities, we are the rear guard. The sgt takes us to our assigned position as the caravan is readying. A cavarly man there is introduced to us by the sgt as Cpl Bekkos, in charge of the rear force.
Hjalprek whispers “He’s a greek, of course he’s in charge of the rear.”
Zing!
The sgt keeps belittling us, explaining he’s made this run 15 times in the last year and never attacked unlike other runs. The enemy never attacks the rear so our biggest problem will be to “not slip and fall in the mud”. HA!
“Any questions?”
He says do our job, he has to be hard on us cause the Lt looks down on all the foreign mercs. He’ll be all over us if we screw up and would prefer we were never needed. When the Lt is not around we can call him by his given name. We’ll call him Zim.
Cpl Bekkos, once we speak with him and the sgt is gone, is even more relaxed than the Sgt. We’ll be friends until the sgt or lt are nearby, then follow procedures strictly. He just wants hard work when eyes are on us. When not, “whatever”. He likes the grunts to do as much of the work as possible. His main goal is to survive his enlistment so he can go back to the family business of raising horses.
“What do you wish to know?”
Kolfrosta “How often is this trip made?” Avg once a month for this particular type of shipments. But a run is made more often overall than that along this route.
Osmo “How many days is it?” 2 week trip out there and same back.
Osmo “How long do we rest at the fort?” Appx 3 days is the expectation.
Hjalprek “How often is a caravan raided on its way out there?” Ours, never. 4 others in last 6 months have been hit. The guards are what change out. The 20 wagons here have not been hit. This one usually has the pay and supplies.
Frosta “What’s the mysterious military gear?” He knows, but its classified.
Osmo “Do these 20 always have the same drivers and such then?” Yes.
He breaks down the caravan:
The main unit is a cav squadron led by the Lt, and includes he and the Sgt. Their former commander was killed in action elsewhere. Took heavy losses out on border about a year ago, building back up since then. Lt has been in command a month or so. He’s concerned with soldiery going soft while numbers were bolstered, so he’s tough on them.
The road is paved, using inns and taverns for overnight stops. 1 stopover in a small town as well called Orlanis. The military road stops at the forest to a wide trail. A work gang is there working on clearing it more for us.
The cav unit is only short 1 squad, 5/6 are fully manned.
50 cav, our 2 units, a group of horse archers, lt inf mercs from an island country, and a Thorangian inf. group.
Rear wagons are the troop equipment cars.
2 covered wagons are the classified ones, directly guarded by 20 Virinetos’ men. We are not go to near them if it can be helped.

The caravan moves out like a military column.
Rest of the cav not with the secret cargo ride the flanks.
We are in the absolute rear. Total bout 150 guards. Aside from the horse archers, we have the only missile unit in the group.

The ride starts out very boring. We are limited to 2 alcoholic beverages a night, not counting local wine. Drunkenness and trouble are strictly prohibited. The limited is monitored.
Osmo “Good thing the twins aren’t here. There would have been a tavern brawl at that first village.”

5 days into the journey, the caravan moves very quickly for such a trip. We pass by other patrols, no bandit activity. The inn stays are welcome. The Lt. has enforced a curfew.
Sun is dropping, almost time to stop and we are about to come to the edge of the forest. We hear the working songs of the trail crew ahead as we close in.
Zim rides back to us and talks with the cpl. We are to stay at the work camp tonight. The Lt. will go ahead to see the man in charge of it.
Cpl asks if we want to be on horse duty or making camp duty?
Frosta calls tent duty.

Large clearing has been opened up entering the forest already, around the road. We finish camp set up. We get a whif of the food for the wood gang, its not good.
The Lt comes back to us with another man, a guard for the work gang. He needs jurors for a deserter trial.
He points to us 3 and 6 other random men.
We are taken to the site and meet the magistrate. The accused will be tried under military law. He wanted jurors outside of their direct peers and locals. Frontier justice can be brutal and swift, so he wanted no prejudiced opinions.
“There are 3 possible outcomes: innocent; guilty with extenuating circumstances = flogging; full guilty = hanging. Majority is all that is required, and each of the 3 accused may get their own sentence.”
Gregorus Homonopolous
Hyrtakenos
Balki Bartokemos
The trial is set up, accused are brought in under guard. 2 witnesses are called.

  • 1 low ranking proniar, knight col. Vargos (knight who came for a crusade vs Gozerians originally, years have taken toll on his physical ability but he is very xp): he says they went into work and did not return. Search dogs, after 2 days, found them. Gregorous has tried to desert 3 other times in his life. 1st time, he convinced all that it was a mistake. 2nd was punished with assignment to work gangs. 3rd was before Vargos took command, and got flogged. His record houses a number of infractions.Hyrtacanos was convicted of aggrivated burglary so was sentenced to work gangs; no infractions though suspect in some thefts but no evidence; 5 years of 10 year sentence served: Balki is young, assigned here cause of unfit for military duty, simpleton, has had some minor fights but no worse
  • Cp; Rombon of Thorangian: led party who found them; they tried to conceal the trail to throw off the dogs; found them in a camp, having cut brush to cover the entrance; 2 knives in their possessions not given to the work crews; none resisted; told story of a goblin warband but no such evidence was found.

Defendents speak:
Gregorus: they say they were cutting wood and goblins came by, they tried to hide, were spotted, so they ran. Balki used his axe to help them get away; they were evading the goblins that’s why it looked like they hid their trail; they were hoping they would be found by the guards. They figure the gobs hid their tracks and took their dead. The knives they got off dead goblins, and are indeed not normal to gang issue equipment.
Balki is visibly uncomfortable through all of this. Osmo and Hjalprek notice Hyrtakenos subtely shoots him nasty look.
Hyrtakenos: has nothing to add “Just like Gregorus said”.
Balki, looking confused and wrapped in fog. The magistrate make the seriousness of the situation clear. Balki looks at the other 2, they shake their head, and he has nothing to add, looking scared and always looking to the other 2.
Hyrtakenos finally caves, yelling it was all Gregorius idea!" who rushes and starts choking him!! They separate them.
Hyr: Balki is all right. We needed his strength, we told him we were on a secret mission. Balki begins to weep heavily. Gregorus said there was gold involved if they got away.

We are asked to deliberate.
One of the Thorangians thinks they should all hang.
We all vote for hanging Gregorus. As do others, though1 says flog cause so many other instances were unofficial. 1 other says he should be sent home, the whole idea of a work gang in inhumane! He says they should all be deemed innocent.
1 guy says let both other than Greg go, they were duped.
In the end, Gregorus is being hung.
Frosta says flog Hyrt, as does Osmo. Hjalprek says innocent for him; Osmo and Hjalprek all go innocent for Balki. Frosta goes flog for him.
Frosta “He’s an idiot, but being an idiot is not an excuse for doing the wrong thing.” He won’t learn not to do it the next time.
Balki’s is majority innocent.
Hyrt is hung jury, no majority. Diplomacy starts, and Frosta with Osmo’s help turns the tide enough to get Hyrt flogged rather than hung or innocent.

Case closed.
Hyrt is flogged immediately, then Greg is hung at the woodline. He is lifted from the ground, not dropped, so he strangles to death.

Next morning the work gang cpl Rombon, second witness, comes to see us. They had a strange request this morning, Hyrta asked if any of us wanted to take on Balki as an axeman. “He’s about as bright as midnight on a cloudy night, but one of the best axemen they have.”
They have the right henchman here. Osmo is a champion axeman, so he volunteers to take Balki on. Other than his axe, he has no equipment.

The journey continues. The work gang has done well clearing the way. Pleasant trip.
Soon enough though, forest closes in and it gets humid and lots of insects at points. Underbrush gets sparse as we go on, so little light makes it through the canopy.
No large game.
Lt. calls a hault and the sgt comes to us. “All right grunts, you’re on latrine duty” so off we go away from camp.
Frosta is a princess, we dig. Balki takes her place though she comes with us. She brings some of Gunnar’s bowmen as watchmen.

One of the archers turns to Frosta “Look”. Shapes move in the forest, from the ground and behind trees. One comes closer, its an elf! Equipped for combat. They are not happy about the southern woods here being “amputated”. Frosta refers him to the Lt. who is in charge. Olowyn Aelantheril is the leader here talking to us. He continues how this “path of rock” is a ludicrous idea.
Frosta says she tends to agree, the destruction is a bit wanton. Though they need a road. Olowyn has none of it. “You tell your leaders Olowyn of the free band” opposes all this though some of their leaders are “too weak” to stand up to the interlopers. “It shall not happen here” they will stop the stone path if the Empire does not. With that they vanish.
Frosta goes to talk to Lt., leaving Hjalprek in charge, and takes Osmo with her.

We see him in his tent, and Frosta explains the encounter.
He says we will have to fill out a report at Antochi when we get there. Thankfully, no violence happened.

By nightfall of the final day we reach the fort. Its in an artificial clearing on a hill. Finally a respite from the bugs. The gates let us in.
Antochi has few luxuries. No tavern nor entertainment! Warden does not permit it.
Osmo “Good thing we brought some of koku’s mead of our own.”
Osmo writes our reports.

The men are happy to talk with us and exchange news and tales. Not too worried about the ‘sylvan elves’ road band. There are elves who openly oppose that group, after all. The real problem is the goblins, massing in another woodland south of the river. This fort protects the local towns from being cut off by them.

The Lt calls us to his office, the warden was quite satidfied with our report. He reiterates that a couple dozen elves aren’t a big problem. Its good we know they are there, though. The pay and supplies have been delivered. There is a second stop to make to a town not far beyond here, about a days ride away.
Frosta isn’t happy about such orders modified. But the increased activity of the goblins changes things.
Osmo “Why are we going to this town?”
Some of the gear is for them; originally was going to be left here but it would be safer if we took it. The guard here is on high alert, they don’t want to use their rescources.
Special guard is put at the secret cargo wagons.
Tomorrow morning we leave for the town, to arrive into the next day.

Next day we head out. Nice cool breeze here now, much nicer than the forest. A few hours out, we hear some odd noises from the woods. Osmo spots a short silouette moves through the deep woods beside us. Here though still, the woodline is right up against the road.
Osmo alerts everyone Goblin!!
As the cpl asks what he saw, a javelin hits him! He falls to the ground “damn it!” with a crit. A healer rushes to him.

Road, woods on both sides right up agains the trail. We have our 2 units, 1 of 20 cataphract, 2 of 20 byzantine medium infantry, 1 unit of 20 lt inf (spear), 1 unit of german med, 20 horse archers.

Runes:

Cpt. First Guard = Andronicus
Pay: 65,000 true gp per year for our entire force, as pay from the Emperor

1 Headcutter rune is 1 use, vorpal after it activates.

1 promotion pt to all who went to the partying, aka one less to go up to next level: twins, Sigrid, Hakon, Frosta

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

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

View
First Mission Briefings and Planning

Several more days of the norm while our mission is being set up until we are finally called into a briefing with the Emp, his brother Alexandros (and his girlfriend; uppity noble, gorgeous, bitchy temper), Skilios, General Stephanos Domonkos, Stelio.

Emperor begins detailing himself:
lays out a map of the region in which we will operate: the province of Scythia to the west of Magyary; adjacent to the orc/goblinoid kingdoms.
This was once part of the empire.
There is a town surrounded by light forest; river runs along the east border where our main force will operate. Most of the old Imperial roads are mostly to completely unkept in the orc and goblin kingdoms.

The Ulfhednar are to go to quell goblin raids in hills W of the town, in the hill forests south of Moth. Bjorn et al will stop at the town itself. They have been disrupting merchants, hitting homesteads. When they attack, few to no survivors. They are to be exterminated, plain and simple.

Here he lets Skilios continue:
The ulhhedninn are facing uncivilized goblins in the wilds, they are not savage barbarians unlike not like the more pseudo civilized neighbors. Murder and robbery on their minds.
As far as Bjorn: in the border troublemakerrs, an ogre runs the show with ogre guardsmen; they have an elite core of hobgoblins numbering 3 to 4 dozen it seems, orc shock troops, and a lot of goblins. They have been raiding settlements all along the border east of the town along the river. They raid over the river/border into the skythians, then fall back again
Estimate is 400 enemy total there.
The Empire can send perhaps 200 men, of Bjorn’s choosing. He wants all 3 other PC’s to go there.
Apart from that, Stelio is to lead 60 cataphract to go with us in support. The town guard garrison there is 40 medium infantry, plus conscripts.
They are unsure if there is a link tween the 2 missions’ foes.

Bjorn “2 questions. Do I have free reign to do whatever it takes to do this job?”
Limited yes, no international incidents.
B “2nd question: as far as housing and supplying my force, do I have the full cooperation of the garrisoned town or do I have to forage?”
They have military caches in the area we are free to use. The forts have been destroyed in the raids.
We are to not just beat the forces there, but figure out if they are independent, or being sanctioned by locals.

Bjorn says we will go up the river in our ships. Finnrik will make haste cross country to his destination, splitting from the rest at the town.
Thrand “Tell me about Udor?” city to NW of our destination town.
It was a large mining community in its day. Now that its run by goblins, its usually their merchants coming to us so few if any have seen it in recent times.

We get a healing, actual caster, priest attched to us, and 10 surgeons who move around the battlefield, who can save more casualties from death.

Finnrik “What about the city in the forest north of my goal, Morth?”
Then: Once called Morthos; Walled town; once very mercantile on a trade route, pop 7000.
Now: again, unsure.

Best guess overall is 4 to 1, orc/goblinoid to human, in these lands around Skythia

The Emp does not want us to take our mantrolls (orcs and such), he is too worried they’ll turn and join their own kind. Even if we insist they will do no such thing.

Any loot we find is 100% ours to keep. Further 1000gp bonus for the mission.

They then turns to Wulfgar and his close men, sending a portion of his men to put down a minor lord uprising who decided to stop paying taxes a short time ago and declare himself an independant citystate.
The Shadow Aug and Orc Guard will stay in the city.
Stiletto is here, to be sent deep into the see to follow up on some kind of mysterious rumors.
Other forces are given similar missions to ours or Wulgar.

As it breaks up, the Emp takes us aside one more time:
After the dinner debacle, a small faction of nobles left unsatisfied with the night’s goings on. When we return we may be needed again, to quell some rebels.
Bjorn “Worry not, we will take care of that.”

Finnrik, going into unknown numbers of enemies, is taking his entire follower and Ulfhednar force.

Bjorn’s Force

Thrand with Brand
Gunnar with Toru.
Hakon
Ulf
Sigrid, the first to volunteer as usual, and much to her great joy
Harald and his only unit “The Vengeance of Trygvar”
Gunnar: Death from Above
Thrand Units: Right Hand of Tyr; Shields of Tyr
Bjorn Units: Bj’s Finest; Shock and Awe; Home Guard; Bergen Guard; Breckholm Guard

Second Mission:

Ragnar
Kyy
Ingvarr
2 units of Bjorn’s: 1st and 2nd Tordekting

Castle Arndulant on the frontier land, ruled by Bishop Hemikon. He is head of local diocese and the fort’s military commander, a rare combo in a man.
Fort having issues with peoples across border. Lands reclaimed after having lost it. We are being sent there to bolster the fort until things calm down or until a better relief force can be sent.

Third Mission

Osmo
Kolfrosta
Hjalprek

2 units: Gunnar’s Blacken the Sky; 1 of Kolfrosta’s unit

Assigned to guard a supply train to a town near a high action zone. It also has a pay wagon for the garrison, important supplies, and such. The route has been plagued by deserters, bandits, rebels, etc.

Fourth Mission

Dulk
Papa and the twins
Brynjalf
Rolf
3 units: Tordekting Guard; Asker Guard; 1st Asker

We will be sent to another frontier area, town called Ratikili near Gozerian side. Bunch of wanderers and travellers are causing problems there. We are to bolster the merc garrison. Another column is coming from another place to reinforce it that will arrive after us.
Keep it safe until full reinforcements can be sent.

All missions are to be leave within a day or so of each other. We get a week warning that missions were coming. We have a day or 2 from the meeting before we head out.

The twins have been experiencing a lot of the city women, and pile it on heavy before they go.

View
Lukos Raven Called; The Rotted Banquet

Ravens lead the Ulfhednar to Lukos

In the coming days we have been getting acquainted with our new surroundings, friends, and seeing the sights. Thrand and Bjorn have much more to do together on the political end, so the Ulfhednar have mostly been left to their own devices.
They are walking in the city and notice a couple large black birds circling overhead, ravens; they move off, then return and circle us, move away and repeat. Always in the same direction.
We follow, obviously. We soon hear a commotion ahead, an excited crowd. Leading us to plaza. Some local city police have locked a man up into the stocks. A large, strong man. A crowd is gathered hurling the normal fair at him and cursing his being. Chatter of the man not being right in the head, has been crazy for some time now. Arrested for attempted murder. Brothers killed off on campaign, he returned to home to find a plague had killed his family. His land was then unkempt, etc. From there on he claimed evil spirits surrounded him, animals spoke to him. He became a begger, people were not too kind to him.
One day, some youths harrassed him while he was talking to some birds. He pummeled 3 of the 4 nearly to death, the 4th called the militia in. The found him in a couple days, and here he is now. The 3 youths seem to be recovering.
Half a dozen ravens circle the plaza.
Finnrik leads the way, pushing past the crowd to the militia cop leader and questions him. They plan on keeping him here a few days. The fine is nominal, 50 imperial gold. Finnrik pays the fine. The crowd is annoyed their days entertainment is now free to go. This man never expected this kind of treatment from a foreign merc, better than his own people treat him.
His name is Lukos. The day he returned to find his family gone was the day the talking birds first came. They all had one or 2 words to say. DIfferent birds it seemed each time. He thought maybe if he strung the words together they’d form a text but he never figured it out. Once we introduce ourselves, he knows some of the names were said to him. He now sees it all as a sign to him to look for you but he didn’t understand in time.
Luckily, here we are now, regardles.
He recalls to us an old man who served a short time with his unit. No one knows where he came from then disappeared after a battle one day.
Koku “One eye?”
“Yes.”
They had spoken some. The more he tells tales of his life, seems he’s had signs his entire life setting him up for this day. He is now in his early 30’s.
“Because I was only ever a conscript, I only really have some skill in spear and axe.”
Finnrik “That’s all one needs.”
He keeps his hair short and cropped, but a nice thick beard.

The Coming Days

Giovanni has made Bjorn a sort of clamp hand so that he can still skillfully use a shield sans hand. He’s willing to do many other possible gadgets and tinkerings for Thrand’s stump if we wish.

We begin organizing our followers for the assault on the goblinoids et al north soon.

There is no sort of local women willing to please.

Thrand spends a lot of free time in the libraries and with the right people, leaning the language better and studying their law books.

We find out that our religious differences, and differing views on the nature of the Masters on earth, is a bit of a skism tween our kind and the church.
We are impressed that the Emperor quickly puts our names to our faces individually, including our henchmen, often greeting men like Ulf by their first names as a trusted friend.

Anytime we are to join in seabattles on Imperial naval vessles, Gorton is allowed to be in charge of our ships. Finnrik among others doesn’t like the general idea of travelling overseas in anything but longships.

We do lots of palace grounds guard duty. Bjorn’s brothers are rarely more than 100 feet from the Emp. When on duty, we are usually w/in quick call of them.

We get a lot of freedom, we spend a lot of time in the city slumming it; for though the huge palace complex has all we need, it has only the feel of byzantine nobility.

Lukos fast becomes the most blindly loyal to a fault to Finnrik, for saving him from his life’s tragedy.

We hear the empire has a high quality medical core for the battlefield. More wounded survive the battlefield than any other army in the known world.

One day, we come across Dorak Mayarulscu and one of the eastern nomad emissaries talking about war, and we get drawn in. He questions him about his kind, horse warriors, being far superior to footmen. But “there are 2 breeds of men who find foot soldiers to be more useful”. First, the Argonians. He goes on into a couple points about their fighing style then to us “What makes your people at the top of the game?”
Bjorn “Well, I’ll tell you” the multiple reasons. First, we enjoy fighting in terrain where cav is at its weakest. 2nd is strategy; we have our own shield formations vs missiles as the Argonians, while also being larger men. 3rd, the stock of our men is superior. We are almost as tall as the nomad is on his step pony.
The nomad, wearing a wolf cloak, gives us a bit of a dirty look, Bjorn says its meant to be no slight.
Finnrick “You’re half the man we are, but Dorak is half the man you are.”
He shrugs off the footmen as “fodder”. None could stand up to the power and distance of a good steppe bow. “You may swing a great axe but” starts displaying his speed and agility swinging his curved blade. On foot is the “farmer’s way to fight”.
Thrand “You speak like that’s some sort of slight.”
He looks to Finnrik as a kindred wolf spirit, but “you don’t fight with the grace or the mentality of the wolf” you fight in hordes like angry sheep or a stampede of cattle.
Finnrik “You fight in just as large of numbers, but I don’t recall the last time a wolf fired a bow at prey.”
Ragnar “He likes to see the eyes of his foe, like the predator.”
He claims to have killed a thousand footmen in his life; beyond him why the emperor would keep so many around. All the rest of his guard are horsemen.
Bjorn “We realize horsemen do have uses” in open terrain.
The argument continues back and forth; he says how 10000 of his men defeated the Gozerians.
Thrand “It may be fine to raid villages and towns with nothing but horsemen, but for real war you need a combination of forces.”
Bjorn “10000, so that would take 1000 of us to defeat?”
Thrand “Or 1000 of Finnrik’s kind.”
The nomad walks off.

Dorak loves this whole back and forth. He says even his nomads had infantry, they just don’t like to admit it “But you might want to watch your back, you might have just made an enemy of Tamuuk.”
Bjorn “I’ll just have Thorhamma watch my back, they’re about the same height.” Ouch.
END

Some few days later:
The 4 PC’s come across Black J, talking to Rolf. Seems like they are having a slightly heated debate.
Bjorn is worried so leads us that way. The other 3 of us notice now Tamuuk a distance away, speaking so someone who is behind the corner we can’t see.
Every so often Tamuuk takes a quick look around, like he does not want anyone hearing them. After less than a minute he half bows and departs.
Finnrik rushes down to the corner, turns it, with Gunnar to try and see who it was he was speaking to.
Thrand stays with Bjorn going to Black J.
Tamuuk moves quick, he has already entered his culture’s embassy. His animal totem, popular among his people, is a dire wolf skull.
Finnrik spots a few guys in the area who may have seen who this guy was. One didn’t notice who it was, but he saw them meet and it didn’t seem like a planned meeting. Tamuuk was walking by, suddenly stopped when he came across the person. They did speak in Tamuuk’s nomad tongue, he briefly heard. So likely somebody from east. The guy gave Tamuuk a paper as they started talking.
The man was very dark, as if Tamuuk were talking to a shadow. He stood in a dark spot the halls, and was very hidden. He feels it could have been a shadow augment. This annoys one such under Black J who denies it could have been, if so “we would have known”. Their kind can sense one another nearby. This other man’s anti shadow augment feelings becomes evident, which the shad aug does not take kindly to, which we have to defuse.

Meanwhile,
Bjorn greets them heartily. Black J greets in return in his usual dour manner.
J “Just a little personal differences of opinion.”
Rolf “You know, I’m not afraid to tell them” I’d watch out for these guys if I were you, he’s never been able to fully trust “there kind” aka the shadow aug’s. “They’re irredeamable”.
As a general rule, Bjorn feels that’s accurate.
Thrand “But we trust Black J.”
Rolf says one things us northmen types have is blissful ignorance. The Masters didn’t toy with us for whatever reason like they did the southern world, but nor were we educated to those doings on the mainland. Black J’s name is not unkown, all for good. “But the shadow aug’s are like rabid dogs, can’t trust them. It’s in their blood, and we were debating the necessity of their duties among the guard. I only wanted to let him know I’m keeping my eye on them.”
He tells us there are a number of volumes about their history in the Imperial library.
Only reason this came up is so far as Rolf knows, he’s the last of his particular breed of First, the last known descendant of the original 7 Celestials to whom the Empire is named after. The shad aug’s are the descendents of the Malakhaz, Rolf’s peoples’ arch rivals. He says to read the books “before you go trusting his kind.”
Bjorn “I trust each person on their own merits” sighting Hakon the Bastard as an example.
Thrand “And Koku and Ulf were with him.”
Now 2 of them are cohorts.
Rolf takes his leave, he has a meeting with the Explorer Duncan.

Black J, in all good taste, assures us that despite his peoples’ heritage, they were called here. The voices gathered them up and told him to come here. After he went through the blood gate at Langbay, he found himself in the wild. Then he felt a deep spiritual calling to go south. So, he travelled for many days to the coast, finding others of his kind making the same migration, as if they were all feeling that same call. Eventually he had a group of several dozen. As they continued to and south over the continent, they found more and more.
The group fractured into 2. One toward gozeria, the other here.
Once they got here, they knew this was the place.
The entirety of the shad aug’s people were on this migration. They are not here to be the backstabbers.
Bjorn asures him he has a friend in him.
The other 2 join us now and inform.
Black J says something of the neg plane was here in the area minutes ago, he explains what that means.
Thrand “And this didn’t raise an alert for you?”
J “Yes and no.” As an augmented First such as he, he feels a lot of this kind of thing. The feeling slightly concerned him, but he has felt such a presence since he got here, though the strength ebbs and flows.
Bjorn and Thrand feel its that jackass from Gozeria, Ka’el. He may want to pay particular attention to Ka’el, see if you can determine if he’s the source. He says he will try to do so, certainly.
J “Tonight, the Emp is having one of his big functions.” Mainly local nobles and such. He and some of his types were planning on skulking around the palace, crashing some side parties, score up with some of the courtesans and straggling female attendees. More his men than him, actually. The First guard will be on duty, not the Varangians nor aug’s.
Any of us who want to join them tonight are welcome.
The twins, the triplets are all in. So is Toru. Rags, Ingvarr, Harald, Brand, Bjorn, Gorn the Nimble.

Ulfhednar are planning a massive revel tonight, this time the Ulfhedkin included. We plan on havine 2 separate revels to keep more of the city awake tonight than the first time, which was a rousing success by the way.
Thrand and Gudrun will be reading on law and the augments late into the night.

Sigrid is bored, having a bad feeling about tonight with so much going on. She is going to patrol close to the main party in any areas being unuses. Kolfrosta decides to join her.

Parties:

Bjorn and Osmo drink everyone under the table.
Gorn is out of commission for 1d4 days, literal alcohol poisoning. Halfway through the night he’s throwing up all over the place.
Hjalprek (gets his beer goggles on he thinks he’s an ulfhednar), Rags (a domineering bully drunk), and Ingvarr (who particularly tried to keep up with Bjorn and Osmo) get completely sauced. They make idiots of themselves, Rags getting into a couple small scuffles.
The rest of us drink heartily, good and drunk but not overboard.
Bjorn has Dulk the Loyal to get Gorn back to his bed alive.

Women:
Kolfrosta, late, thinks she saw something moving out of the corner of her eye.
We put our light on it fast, heading that direction.
They find nothing, but our suspicions are raised.
Sigrid soon finds some blood on the ground in an inner courtyard. They find no trail away. Perhaps a spill? The grass is newly flattened leading away, so they follow.

Meanwhile, as Dulk is taking Gorn ouside, he passes 2 guards leaning leasurely on a nap.
Dulk nudges both, Gorn projectile vomits. They wake up.
Dulk questions them sleepling.
About this time, Frosta and Sigrid come around the corner following footsteps leading right up to the guards.
Sigrid “They must have gone through this archway.”
Dulk gives the guards a stern look.
Sigrid explains.
They give us attitude as if better than us. They want us to go back to our rooms. Sigrid refuses, she’s on the trail of an interloper!
Frosta gives Dulk a look and nod, and they start scuffling with the guards so Sigrid can pass through unmolested.
Frosta “Don’t get too far ahead!”

She runs through. She thinks, where would such a person go choosing to come through this entrance in particular? This goes to the main hall, right to the party, a couple side parties, and the kitchens/pantries for all the parties. She goes to the latter.

Dulk breaks off soon after, he and Frosta having thumped the guards, leaving Gorn with Frosta, rushing back to Bjorn and informs.
Bjorn “You’re killing my buzz.” He gathers Osmo along with Dulk and head for Frosta. There, Dulk continues taking Gorn back, then he can return and try to find us. J sees us going off, and catches up wondering what’s going on. He joins us as well.
The guards complain to Bjorn about his men jumping them! “When the cpt. hears about this one, it’ll be your ass.”

Sigrid arrives at the kitchen/pantry areas. She comes in through the back way into the kitchen itself first. The door handle is quite cold, though its warm outside.
She enters, knowing she’s on the right path. Oddly, the room is empty. No cook or servant. She hears the main party 2 rooms beyond and waitstaff in the next room working. Passing through she looks for any signs of a scuffle, finding it odd there are no cabinets open at all. No sign of work being done for at least a short time. She hears the least noise from the pantry so that’s her play; and the door is cracked open. Now sword drawn, she peers inside. One of the shelves with the breads has one loaf maggoty. Only way out is a ventilation shaft out. She steps inside. The shaft is shut, but very loose. She shines her lantern in, screws missing. She shines her bullseye lanters straight down it. The edge is slick and wet. She listens quietly, hears nothing. Fast to the prep kitchen. She grabs a steward dragging him protesting to the shaft, asking where it goes. One goes to the party, the other to another hallway.
Sigrid “Take me to the hallway now. Nothing is to be eaten out of this room.”
“We’ve been serving out of this room all night.”
He starts to protest, but he intimidates his pants wet “Stop all food going out.”
He leads her to the hallway. Nothing, grate is secure.
Back into the kitchen fast.

Bjorn browbeas the First guard, who are not happy some heathen barbarians are treating them in such a way. They want to get the cpt and settle this properly.
Bjorn yells at them to find him if they want as he starts following Sigrid’s way. The others of us follow. The talker tells the other to stand guard and leaves for their cpt.
At this point, they hear Sigrid’s intimidating voice to the steward heading down the hallway. They catch up to her as they are walking from the hall grate. Sigrid quickly explains the situation.
Bjorn “Good job, Sigris.” First time ever.
He tells the others to stay here in the hallway, to make sure nothing comes out of the grate or anyone else down the hallway. Then has the steward lead himself and J to the main party and the Emperor.
Bjorn feels his swordhandle getting a bit warm, a glow of magic nearby. Its runes are emanating light. Its getting strong.
He begs Bjorn not to attract any attention than necessary, he’s worried about getting in big trouble for this. In the room “Stride with confidence and noble manners.”
Bjorn “That’s the only way I walk.”
The steward whispers into the Emp’s ear, who glances to Bjorn.

The cpt of the First guard and 6 of his troop come to the 3 left in the hallway. They want us to get against the wall and drop weapons.
Sigrid inisists on explaining.
The cpt sends a couple men to the ball to recover Bjorn.

Bjorn’s brothers are in the room. Toronaga is about 2’ from the Emperor.
The Emp walks casually to Bjorn and in low tones, asks what is going on “This is quite the breech of etiquette, the fops are nervous.”
Bjorn apologizes for the intrusion, but “there have been some strange goings on in your kitchen area” and quickly explains, telling him he put the women on guard personally so they’re being inside looks official. “I feel something untoward is going on here.”
He then notices Halfgar dipping a piece of meat into a cup of jelly, as he does a small wiggle of a grub is seen in the meet briefly. He begins to lift it to his mouth, this is about 10’ away.
Bjorn yells “don’t eat that?”
“What, this is my favorite?”
“Don’t eat the meat, put it down.” A bit of a spectacle on the matter starts happening.
Bjorn “There is something in the food. People need to stop eating now.”
The Emperor calls everyones attention with apologies, making an announcement the food may be tampered with.
The main door opens, the 2 First guard sent by the Cpt enter “There he is!” The make for the Emp. “You northman, come with us please. Emp, our apologies” with a deep bow “this man and his squad of ruffians ahve been causing a ruckus, have assaulted guards and trespassed on the graound, harrased the staff.”
Emp “Are you serious? This is an embarrasement and breach of etiquette in from of manyh nobles and ambassadors. Did you beat up my guards?”
Bjorn “There is a story to this. The short, is yes. But there’s a good reason.”
Emp sends the steward to get as much wine as possible, get everyone drunk enough to forget all this happened.
This is done, the Emp excuses himself with Bjorn, his bros, the 2 First Guard, J, and Toro to the hallway.
J makes a wider circuit through the room, by the consumable table, grabbing something from it.
They run into Sigrid and the others where there is a standoff. As far as Sigrid is concerned, this could be a conspiracy.
The cpt is warning them for the last time to get against the wall.
The Emp is befuddled. J shows him the food plate he grabbed, grubs crawling through the meat and bread.
Osmo “We should show this to the royal scientist.”
Bjorn takes a close look “I hope nobody ate these. Somebody has tainted the food with rot grubs.”
Dulk has arrived now, explaining how he found the guards sleeping on duty.
Sigrid “Sounds like dereliction of duty to me. That’s where I followed the trail to.”
The cpt is astonished at his men being accused of such things and lying. Bjorn back us up with his glib tongue.
The Emp does not see this as a slight to the First G, but he thinks “you’re being sold a bad story by these 2” to the cpt.
He orders the cpt to take the 2 guard and place them under quarters until a decision on them should be made.
“Worst crime isn’t even being derelict and lying, but blaming these Varangians who on their off time were performing their duty.”
He then turns to Bjorn, what should we do:
We need to inspect and burn all tainted food. Possibly send someone into the vent to check inside, and try to figure any exits the perpetrator went to; also who is missing from the cooking staff?
We also need to sample up that residue and get it to those who could know what it is.
He orders the steward to bring Calimachus and an arcanist from the church to check the residue.
Details of guards will comb the palace exits.
The food will be taken care of. He then has to get back to the function for diplomatic repairs before he is seen as weak and a revolt starts somewhere.

We stay to assist. Including Sigrid crawls into the shaft. Callimachus and the arcanist show up and study the residue.
Bjorn’s blade shines brightest at the bloodpool and residue.

The residue is heavily congealed blood of some kind. Callimachus is certain this was a blood portal, both the grass and the shaft. He appeared at the grass spot, and left via the shaft in order to hide the blood’s presence. So he likely was never actually in the shaft.
The shafts are used to both allow air to pass, and go to heating furnaces. Sigrid finds the missing cook’s remains in the heat pits below. No visible wound other than some charring.

Its very late by the time this all finishes. We get back to our barracks to get some rest.

As dawn approaches, the Ulfhednar revelry ends.

About 2 hrs into sleep, something wakes Bjorn just before dawn in the middle of a good dream with Kolfrosta and Sigrid. He scans the room, alert to danger. He sees nothing. He’s not even sure what woke him. He checks himself, he’s fine. Looking around, nothing seems missing or out of place. He puts on a fur robe, rabs his sword, and walks around the room checking things closer. As he reaches for the closet door, he feels a tickle on his back. He pulls his robe off, handful of grubs dropping to the ground. He still feels a few on his back.
He rushes outside his door, grabs a torch from a sconce, and reaches around to burn/brush them off. He bends over to burn them all the way, and hears a loud thunk as a saber catches into the door frame where he just stood.
It’s Tamuuk!! He has grubs crawling out of his skin, and his eyes are a bit sunken. He looks a good couple days dead. Drawing his sword, its glowing like its on fire and counterattacks.
He attacks Bjorn, sword in one hand and unarmed offhand attacks.
It hits Bjorn hard 3 times.
Next door, Thrand and Gudrun are woken by the clashing of blades. Thrand grabs his broadsword and shield, Gudrun opening the door to see what’s going on.
Gudrun throws her room door open, yelling to Thrand to grab his cold iron blade once she sees what Bjorn’s is fighting. Everytime Bjorn hits it, which is ever time, his runes spark. Thrand grabs the blade and shield.
The thing suddenly hastes itself. Its cuttin him up badly. He feels the thing trying to suck life energy, while also releasing the grubs onto Bjorn.
Harald and Rags doors open as well now, wondering what in Hel is going on.
Thrand nails it hard, Gudrun made the right call!
It looks like its barely hanging on at this point. After it counters vs both of us, Bjorn lays it low. It begins to boil and bubble. Pops emit grubs.
Gudrun is at the ready with a few fire sources, burning all she sees. It dissolves into a puddle of rot and grub. It screams horribly as it does so. Gudrun gets a terrible feeling that he will spend all eternity suffering as such.
Then we scorch the leftovers and floor around it.
We do get a necklace and pouch from atop his furs.

Gold necklace, set in middle with teardrop shaped ruby. Blood Cult!!
Pouch: gold coins, 4 heads on one side, gozerian minted = 150gp

Everything in Bjorn’s room will need be burned.

We go to Bjorn’s bros. J and some of his men are there. Finnrik and the Ulfhednar arrive on the aftermath.
On the way to his bros, we come to Black J and a handful of his men, who asks if we’ve seen the shad aug Finnrik and Gunnar spoke to before, he’s missing.
Missing for seeing something.
Bjorn gives the short of what just happened.
They hang with us while we meet Bjorn’s bros. in another Varangian barracks. They gather a handful of men. We suspect it was Ka’el. He’s not surprised.
He makes clear, what we’re about to do could have serious consequences. An armed party into the empassy district to seize and potentially harm an emissary.
Gunnar says we could wait until tonight and assassinate him, “apparently that’s what people do down here.”
But Bjorn is ready to go for him right now. As well as destroy the nomads lands and people. Then the gozerians.

Off we go for Ka’el. We see a few ambassadors, getting started for the day. We draw looks. Dorak sits outside, puffing on a pipe “Hey Bjorn, morning!” then realizing his entourage with surprise.

The main door to the Gozerian embassy is open, no one in sight, very quiet. Halfgar enters first, in official capacity, calling out for Andzus. Silence. No staff even, no guard.
“For the size of the embassy, Andzus kept minimal staffing.”
Thrand “They have left.”
Halfgar orders groups to split up and search. We meet at the stairs to the top floor after finding no one nor nothing of importance.
Door to their is secured. First hit by Bjorn and Finnrik, we hear a chant faintly. We burst the door open, the bar splintering behind our might. One more brings it open. A flood of crimson light greets us, Bjorn’s blade burns gold on its runes. It dims, final movements of foot and came disappearing into a wall via a blood portal.
Up the stairs we go. Just beyond the portal is a landscape, like the local sea area not Gozeria. On the far wall in this room, 3 headless fellows in a bowing position, bowls under their necks. They sacrificed themselves.
Half in and half out is a nude, bound shadow aug half in and half out of the portal, hearth ripped out. Its the missing augment.
We see the dog Ka’el mount onto a horse in the distance.

Tamuuk was a pawn himself.

We report to emperor all that happened. That is the proof he needed. Next years campaign is now completely justifiable.
Riders are sent out to spread word, try to catch Ka’el from leaving Empire wherever he is.
Reports come in here and there, closer and closer to border but he is never captured.

The incident at the party did create some internal issues. Some nobles took that as the sign of his ineffectual rulership. Bjorn would love to personally get the message across of how wrong they are.

The 2 guards are exiled from the capitol lands permanently, taken about 150 miles away and sent packing.

A congratulatory and ceremony of thankfulness is held for us at the merc barracks for our men’s valor. Good notoriety for those of our henchmen directly involved. All involved are given a commendation medal to be worn on our armor, a necklace worth 100gp as a monetary reward.

Sigrid and Gudrun are by us to doing a lot of our textile repairs and making of our clothes while we are here, so lots of shopping for Sigrid. This is to help keep Sigrid busy.
Sigrid also decides to spend time probing the First Guard, starting within a couple days after the rotted banquet, to get a good feel for how they look at us now. Are they properly blaming themselves with honor, like men, or blaming us, like cowards?

View
Sworn into Service
Our introduction to the Celestine Empire

We travel to Coraopolis, on the Imperial Road, and on to Andropolis. From there, we carry on to an intersection where we meet a large camp of skyldings. Its our men!! Not at the capitol. They landed near the port of Coronica. Nordbricht, from there, decided we would not go into the capitol without us. He bet on us coming from this direction and was correct!
Its a joyous reunion. Finnrik tells our tale.
We continue on. Bjorn orders to sail to the Platinum Horn from there and into the capitol, horns blaring announcing our entrance.

At the harbor, we are greeted by Imperial Guard, both Celestine and Skylding. Bjorn’s older brothers, Halfbar and Granwulf, greet us. A happy reunion for us all!!
They say everything is planned well in advance. Our positions/spots are already planned.

First, a parade for our arrival.

Thrand “So, have you seen that scum Wulfgar?”
They say they’ll get to that in a minute.
Behind us is a contingent from the island Langbay is on, then horse archers. We then run into Somerled with a band of his Finnians! He lost a battle back home with a northman colony, so he felt it necessary to beat it for a while. They plan on going back to take what’s there’s.

More mercs behind them, and on we go through the main roads. The people must love this stuff, cause they’re out in droves. Coin bearers lob coins into the crowd.
Bjorn calls forth for our own imperial coin and we start throwing handfulls out.

We arrive at the palace, in itself a small city.
Cpt. of the Saxe mercs is Aelfred of Saxhillshire, of Fenwick.

We are to formally meet the Emporer the next day at a lavish dinner. We are set up where we are to live. Wulfgar and his men have already been here for a couple weeks.
We are to be kept fed and paid well!!!
The previous emporer, Ianos Dalessenos debased the gold and economy, the mercs got tired of getting paid in that coin so overthrew him about a decade back and put his guy in charge.

Current Emporer: Alexios Gabras

We meet a host of others, including Lance.

Night: Halfgar sits down with us the night before, giving us an intro course on all that is Celestine. Everything is well orchestrated and choreographed here. Lots of pomp and regimented activities. Lots of etiquette and protocols in day to day life.
The ulfhednar will get more leeway because of their nature. Don’t take advantage of that! They will be an item of great interest to everyone as they wander about. Quite the exotic novelty. They’ll have to show lots of restraint to locals.
Apparently, our contracts from Gustav were signed for 15 years!!! So was Wulfgar though, by Finnborg.
There was a civil war in the north, Gustav is dead!!! He knew it was hitting the fan and wanted us out, apparently. Needed his bloodline alive and well.
Halvgar says Finnborg purged the lawmakers. 5 of the main lawspeakers were put down, including Thorir!! Major coup de tate. We are essentiall in exile and outlaws back home.
Village Hero is still ok, as are Ollie and Sven, Swen of the north.
Thrand is happy Gudrun came with us, now.
The berserks with the emporer are Wulfgar’s gang. They were exotic, only berserks here, so Alexios took them close for show.
Ragnar is downtrodden, he is even further from taking his home back.
There are 2 Argonians who hang with us: Julius, the Legate, and Pollus the prima pila. Their situation is special. The kingdom of Argonia was long ago where this empire actually started. It then fell to barbarians. This legion here went east and have been living in exile since. Argonian women here, and brought out from old lands, keep the bloodlines somewhat pure. There is some blood from north though. This happened only a few decades ago or so. The original legion are all dead and gone. None here have ever seen their homeland. Stoic, organized, discipline reign supreme. Very Roman Republic, but all soldier, very practical. Their barracks is in same complex as ours.
They say cavalry is the most prized units here. Infantry is secondary, so they feel its nice to see other footman of importance here. The cav often look down on the foot troops.
Sigrid “I’ve never seen men so short as here.”
We set up our barracks. The dwarves are all separate from us under the palace with the other crafters.

The centaurs return to their own units.

The elf cleric sends word to her home of her rescue. Our reward will be here soon! Anar joins the elf guard, where the dedicate and cleric were from.

Kalestios and Stelio rejoin their units, and are made liaisons to our force.

Next Day

Finnrik at waking up a bit before dawn “This music sucks!”
The Argonians are already out there drilling. Lots of bells, droning music, and other city noises. The harbor is opened for shipping. Lots going on already.
About an hour later all of us are up, dressed, and ready to go.
The city is blinding as the sun rises, striking off of the gold of the towers. Selling and trading begins to open, many merchant calls ring out. We go to a great mess hall of hundreds of men for breakfast.

Rolf is still devastated at the loss of his holy avenger. He was offered a place among the kights but turned it down for now.

Afterward, Imperial messenger arrives for us. We will be gathered in the palace this afternoon. They want the entire ulfheddin band, people are excited to see the ‘werewolf barbarians’; PC’s, any women folk we have; we may choose reps of any factions we wish w/in our group like Harold, we may do so. Papa is also invited, he has been here with this emperor when he was just a general. So Ragnar, Gudrun, Kolfrosta and Harold, Gurk join us as well.
Here, the music from nearby stops. Finnrik “Thank Bragi.” It starts almost immediately again. Finnrik “Grrrrr! They just keep repeating the same song!”
Argonian “It’s different.” Finnrik insists its not.

Lunch is small in the Empire. All going to the function are then gathered and make our way toward the palace grounds. This district is surrounded by a wall. Around that the mercs and guard compounds are set up. Outside of that, is the upper class section of the city, then builds out by class from there. Across the straight is another district; then farmland outside. Each section is walled from the others, including the farmlands!

Average pop = half a million.

We are led through the main gated into the palace itself. The First Guard guard the citadel, they are all Firsts! Numbering 1000. The leaders were alive during the Masters time. Highly disciplined, badass as they come, but used with care. They look down on everyone else. More ceremonial now than a wartime force. For one, the emperor has no wish to send such a high percentage of the world’s First to death.
Inside, we pass by some of the 300 Elven Guard. All warriors, but many dabble in arcane arts. This is what our 2 friends and Anar are members of. They line the hall to the throne room. At end of the line are Celebrex and Pradexa (husband and wife cpt’s of the elf guard). They step from the ranks and usher us to follow them in. Servants open the double doors into what must be the most opulent throne room in the world. Lines of pillars run the room’s length. Hundreds of people present in the enormous chamber. At far end are the Emperor and Empress’s thrones. However, there is no empress. Alexios is not married, she died some years back to whom he is still loyal.

Flanking the Emp is another Greek, Alexios’ brother Alexandros. Flanking the Empress’s seat is a jovial large man, Balsamon the Grand Patriarchy of the Covenant of the Return.

Alexios has the berserks here, who stand guard around him often.

We meet Toronaga, a warrior of the far east. His cousin is emperor there. He stands before all at ceremony, none get to the Emperor w/o going through him. Lining the wall to the sides of all this are Bjorn’s bros, royan explorer named Duncan with his hobgoblin hoplite commander Archileus; The Black Proniar, leader of the Black Avengers: Iaios. It’s Black J!!!; and others.

Lots of ambassadors/emissaries.

A herald introduces us. After each of us are named, courteous golf clap from all.

Kalestios and Stelio and are made liaisons to our force.

Alexios stands. Greet us, happy we accepted the contract to come so far from home. He “learned to respect the Varangians decades ago when your fathers were here”. He acknowledges his friends Tosten and Finnbogi. His berserks are here near the throne area. They and Finnbogi give each other the stink eye.
Emp walks down and greets us all, Bjorn first with a hand shake. We all give him a bow at the waste. We are not required to give proscenesis. There’s a gasp from others at first.
Greets Gurk, stating he has never had an orkos in his ranks before.
He has heard much of our defeat of a dragon, saving the oracle at one of the most holy locations.
The pomp and circumstance goes on, then the initiation ceremony, and our ceremonial garb is given to us: each PC and each henchman gets a ceremonial double bladed greataxe; all but the Ulfhednar get ceremonial Guard Armor. Only the Ulfhednar are allowed to go without it at functions. The pack gets new wolfskin cloaks for ceremonial purposes instead.
Ranks are made official.
Bjorn is set up in command of our unit, Thrand his second.
The mantrolls have been made a special Green Skin Guard under Gurk, who is directly under Bjorn’s command.
The dwarves are given special service in armor, crafting, etc, but attached to Bjorn.
Giovanni is given his own workshop and contracts.
This all takes couple hours or so. Balsomon offers us the blessings of his religion. Each of us receive a ceremonial, though battle ready, double sided battle axe. They are always to be worn in ceremonies and such.
Couple people in the crowd shoot us a crooked eye.

Feast set up is finished as all this breaks up then the feast begins!! The meal is very orchestrated. Wulfgar et al are present. Hundreds are present.
We get many thanks for returning our prisoners.
Thrand “It’s a very good thing Toru isn’t here to eat so rudely in all of this pomp.”
The ulfheddin and berserks stare viciously at one another, having been seated at opposite sides of one huge table. We both have the sense, our of loyalty to our respective leaders, to not start any trouble. We win the intimidation contest by far, it’s obvious.
First man to greet our group is a barrel chested man, thick skin, tanned from years on the sea: Nikophoros Andropolos, the head admiral of the navy. Booming voiced. Mentions he heard about a legendary ship we came into ownership of, some say a huge galleon, others a skiff. Bjorn confirms we own such an artifact. Many of the varangians who came with Bjorn’s bros only occasionally serve with the navy, and are rarely sent to sail themselves. He has heard though we are masters of sea travel. He talks maritime stuff with us, inquires about the Ulfhednar’s nature. Bjorn tells him how strong they are, and they are often the first into the worst fights. Nik wants to meet the master seaman Gorton he has heard of as well. Bjorn will set up a meeting with them.
Somerled comes over to Finnrik. He says he and his Finnians are here, he’s glad we are here and can’t wait to get into action with the Ulfhednar.
2 relatives of Bjorn; Jorn Von Holst, and Georg Helmand, come to Bjorn’s table. Both leaders of Tharangian mercs. Hefty clasps at the wrist twixt the 3. Though they approach at the same time, they stay apart from one another. We learn they were once allies in Tharangia. In their wars vs Jarlsleif they were about to take a city back from his forces, Jorn in full command, but right at the seige’s height the city’s commander sent an emissary to Georg’s camp. He made a deal with him, and Georg took the city. The 2 sided together vs Jorn. So, the 2 don’t like each other much now. Both like us, however. Invite us to the drill field for friendly contests, and want to drink together some time as well.
Next, an arrogant looking knight in his dress plate strides through the room, looks over to Bjorn’s table and comes over. It’s Brace and a squad of knights! After Langbay he was in quite the existential crisis; came down to clear his mind in a couple wars for a while. His force is small: himself, his household guard, and volunteer cavalry.
We meet Llewellyn Twydor with a force of longbowmen. They came with Brace but aren’t under his command.
Alfred of Saxhill, from Fenwick. Think Saxon warriors.
Sarge, Lance and Black J introduce us to Wakash, captain of Tsurgus horse archers (old allies of Duncan), and another merc they pal around with named Raynard, captain of the dire dogs. Raynard himself has a gozerian warhound of his own. They take us to main table to meet the rest of the court.
Baras Dalessenos: porcine, balding, greasy, fat ‘gentleman’; has led the elite life to fullest; advisor to emporer; younger bro of deposed former emp, families have made their peace.
Porphyrogenetos Kadornas: Baras’s nephew via his sister; skinny nerd; about 18; carries huge book “manual of war” written by a famous Greek general centuries ago, immediately talks war tactics and strategy; he wants to know how the men who don’t wear armor and howl at the moon. He chews our ears off, yet we are almost positive he’s a moron. Only book smart. Tries to tell us how we could be better at war! Ha!
Old, ancient man (at least 70’s) though still in ceremonial armor; Esperanian perhaps; he creeks as he stands to greet us. Stops our attempt at proper greetings, but he stops us immediately. His name is Lox Viranetos. He is a proniar, for almost 50 of his 70 years. Has 7 sons, all commanders in military. He is the most honored with gifts of all proniars. Hold property throughout the empire; finds our kind to be some of the finest warriors, bravest and toughest at least.
Next to him is Skilios Panargenetos, Lox introduces him. He is the megadux/grand strategacon. He is reason Alexios is in charge; “former was a complete turd” (we see Duncan nodding his agreement off to the side), though he is not proud of having to depose an emperor. Only the 2nd time the city has been taken, other time was from w/in as well.
Thrand thinks we should make friends with Lox, likely has many contacts and friends and influence.
They take us next to the table of the visiting ambassadors.
Dorak Mayarulscu: from Ungarn, province lost to empire almost 3 centuries ago.
Edwin Trollum: younger bro to ‘king’ of the isles, who Bluto was supposed to be a loyal vassal under.
Quintus Archaeos Longinus: ambassador from Argonia; total bullshit artist
Alag and Karak: from orc and goblin nations to north, respectively
Dakang: short, squat, slanted eyes, furry cap; Scythian nomads; related to Tsurgus
Ka’ el Andzus: tall, sinister dark looking man, almost 7’ tall!; black and red robes over mail; face covered in mesh veil; black steel longsword at his hip always; as Sgt is about to introduce him “Silence worm”; From the empire of Gozer; he wishes no interaction unless it has to do with official politics tween Gozer and this ‘vassal state’ or not in so many words he’ll kill us; he does not wish to be in this post at all; he does see Bjorn’s sword, however “You are not by chance descended from the northman who originally owned that blade?” Bjorn responds he is. “Truly a worm among worms. Though he saw his doom coming and accepted it like a real man.” Bjorn makes sure he shows him his shield and boots “I always have more room for new attire”. The man’s eyes grow red and we part ways. Bjorn “Magic is good for women and elves”.
Here, the double doors open, a herald presents her majesty, the emperor’s daughter Cyra Gabra. She’s stunningly pretty. Bjorn immediately wants to score.
The Emp is dumbfounded and a bit exasperated at how late she is, not happy. She shrugs it off. They have a private tiff which all others keep eyes off of. The emp’s brother finally stops it. He brings the princess over to meet Bjorn et al, headstrong; dabbles in books, fancies herself a historian and scholar, also likes magic. We find Duncan’s journey east historian Callimachus is her mentor.
Elven woman beckons princess back to the main table, the other nobles are going to feel insulted if they don’t. This is the handmaiden to the princess and a courtier, Ari for simplicity sake. She says she’ll be sure to see us around.
Sarge tells us to go mingle as we choose from here on out.
Black J is hammered on wine, he’ll be blitzed by night’s end.
We hobnob around with various people. Duncan is full of great stories! After his eastward trip, went over the seas as well. Thrand talks to him a lot.
Rags is sent to talk to Lox: has big soft spot for the empire’s mercs; talk of Ragnar’s lost home town, though not averse to gaining land here; Lox says that opportunity always exists, “entire reason empire’s successful after all”; the foreign mercs are given much if earned; one of his son’s went east with Duncan, one of the cataphract; his wife is dead now, was a First. So all of his sons will see more years than he, though he wants grandsons badly, he does have a few granddaughters from his eldest. His sons love the field life too much, “probably have some bastards around”. He talks of when the Crimson Path ran things in his home, in charge of whole church then, then some “fine little number” shows up with an eclectic group of friends, even an Ettin. They sniffed out the bishops of the Path, the culmination of years of work. Almost single handedly ended the Path’s stranglehold on the Church. “The world was closer to ending than most will ever know. Everyone owes that woman for that.” He obviously has great reverence for this woman. Kaelen!!
He doesn’t think much for Wulfgar and his men, though his brother seems all right. He has talked to Tosten already about what happened to Gustav. The entire Viranetos family was distraught at such news. He knows Wulfgar is here purely for the glory. Lox also knew immediately Wulfgar hates us, our names come up often. Ragnar tells Lox that’s because he’s jealous. We have trumped him at every turn and he seems to be taking credit for things we have done. Lox says Iring is a propaganda master. He wants to organize a meeting session with our principles.
Thrand to Skilios: while Lox is more about the mercs, he’s more about the native army; Skilios grew up with Alexios was actually in charge of failed invasion that got the bro overthrown! They had made their way up to generals; Skilios was the city guard; due to “bureaucratic oversight or insufficient funding” the invasion was dangerously low on arrows, shields and food”! The army fought the bulk of the Gozerian army; Alexios split his force into 3, trying to lure the Gozerians into the center then try to envelope them; being low on arrows and shields, too many men died, too many were malnourished; when the main charge came it was only via Alexios’ quick thinking to send the Varangians he had with him to barrel into the enemy ranks. 500 northmen met their end, but their sacrifice let the army escape; once returned, they discovered the pay wagon to keep them funded had also not been sent. Many mercs started looting the country; Alexios pushed east with what remained (1500 ish out of 8 to 9000); at the capitol he found the emp had affiliated with undesirable philosophical types, leading Alexios to decide to usurp. He camped outside the city, laid siege. They couldn’t stop the shipping to the city though. So, subterfuge was the only choice. Skilios hates what had to be done, as it made him an oathbreaker; an advisor to emp and friend of Skilios convinced him to end it from the inside peaceably; so, his men opened the gates for Alexios; loyalists to Skilios were stationed strategically, w/o a sword even drawn the First Guard were convinced to stand down and Alexios took the throne; captured Ianos. Ianos has many allies, and he found his way to grand cathedral where he begged Balsamon to spare him. Being the kind man he is, he gave Ianos sanctuary; he took the vow of poverty and became a monk; sent off to countryside and abdicated officially to Alexios; now in a monastery of sorts outside the city; 5 years later he was killed in a giants’ raid at the oracle we saved. The giants we defeated!! All those like Duncan, Lox, etc who were there with Ianos all see this as a good thing after the fact. Baras excluded, obviously. Toro was willing to fight and die for Ianos, but Ianos stood him down before abdicating. That was the first year Bjorn’s bros were here, house guard.
Thrand “What of Ianos family?” His brother is Baras, his sister is the mom of the bookworm; had a wife and son, he tells us the story which Mike can’t divulge yet because of Duncan’s campaign.
He knows the emp needs the mercs, but wishes they didn’t; no ill will toward the mercs though.
Bjorn to the Princess and nobles: most are courteous but disinterested, obviously look down at our kind; put up with us cause we are needed; the princess is thrilled however, plus our culture is more acceptable to the practice of magic; here most magic users of any note are ordained clergy; she likes the language and runes, has lots of knowledge of our home region. She presents her hand to be kissed.
Baras suddenly walks up to Bjorn, porky pudgy hand shakes Bjorn’s; thinks its nice Bjorn wants to get to know the upper crust “Don’t trust any of them, nothing but backstabbers”, you got bloodthirsty warriors and bureaucrats; butters Bjorn and the foreigners up, then guides Bjorn away to talk. He offers a cup of wine of his own, not “the swill” they serve here, Bjorn accepts. It is indeed fantastic. As they move away Bjorn barely misses bumping into the Gozerian ambassador, spills a spot of wine on the floor in front of him. He spills his in the avoiding of that. He looks down at it, then back at Bjorn.
“You spilled my drink.”
B “I apologize. Have mine”. He refuses, calling Bjorn a clumsy barbarian and an oaf.
B “You’re right”.
Finnrik sees this, slams his cup on the table, stands and moves for Bjorn. He sees this as Bjorn offers to call a serving girl, he says “here she comes now” referring to Finnrik. He and the ulfhedinn only continue to approach, building fury tokens.
B “No need for insults, I understand you’re a great man where you come from. You feel you have certain rights amongst the courtiers here. But, you do not need to insult my companions. One thing to insult me, but he had nothing to do with this.”
“Never expected to see such manners. I’m very touched. Your weakness and your cowardice show why this empire is about to fall” Then walks away.
Finnrik comes to Bjorn “You want us to kill him?”
Bjorn declines, turns to Baras “Is he always so rude?”
Baras “There are times I think the Gozerians only sent him here to start a war.”
Finnrik and the pack make a full circuit about the entire room now, drawing the attention everyone wants to give to them. Modar, Koku and even Thorhamma pick up a couple women each!
Baras asks if we are here for blood and money, like Wulfgar, or for glory and civilization. He assures Baras it’s the latter, for the tradition of skykdings supporting the emperors. Main reason Alexios took over was that his brother had sent a campaign east; army not wiped out but lost the main battle and land vs Gozerians. The brunt of that force are steppe nomads after the migration into Gozer. Our army was undersupplied and routed. When they returned, Alexios decided his brother was no longer fit for command and overthrew him. Fought defensive war for a couple years before decided to go on the offensive. Due to black magic of the heathens, the army was defeated. He was not able to make war last year, only build forces and train. The heathens have gained land since. This is the year he wants to go for the grand victory again. Lox thinks it’s a fool’s errand. Shouldn’t he be seen as unfit after his defeat, if his brother was after a similar defeat? Hmm. Lox prefers the mercs to defend the borders, not send them to slaughter. That’s good money wasted.
Bjorn thinks there is no chance the emperor will lose another war “Not this year at least”.
There are 7 royal families, over 100 noble houses; plus the civil bureaucracy. Then there’s the elected senate, most of that is name only.
Bjorn finds all this unnecessarily complicated.
He hopes Bjorn is right that the Emp will win this time, and Bjorn’s confidence is warranted.
Bjorn returns to the Princess, Baras eyeballing him the entire time.
The emperor takes us into the back room. He and his brother carry battle swords, not jeweled ceremonial swords. He declared this the year we will teach those “Gozerian reds” what for. Won’t be ready for the spring campaign, too much work to be done. He just put down an uprising before got here, some small lordling unrelated to Ianos, of an upper minor house. Carved himself out a nice little duchy. He and his supporters hung in the cages we saw leading into the city. Some renegade loyalists to Ianos were also suppressed. There is also banditry and small pockets of potential problems if a full force left en masse. Things need stabilized first. We may also play police force in the city at times.
Midsummer is the goal.
North, there are goblins that may be enough of a problem for a real force to eliminate. He feels the berserks are unpredictable. Finnrik “good idea” tells him the tragic tale of Bjarki. He thinks the Ulfhednar can show their worth in such a matter. That force is part of a larger group though. Bjorn and other men may be sent to take care of this while Finnrik deals directly with the goblins. This is an ogre the goblins are under, gigantic. Wears furs, carries a huge hammer. Has a lt. who is a half breed ogre also carrying a large hammer. They go by the name of Hammer and Sledge.
He hands out missions to many captains. He sends Brace and the Hell Riders vs a peasant uprising in one of the provinces led by a rogue proniar that needs put down, for instance.
After this,
Very discourteously the door opens, and a band of 5 total fops enter the room brazenly with flare, armed with lighter blades than we know of. The leader sits, pours himself wine, and finishes it in one drink. The emperor puts hand to forehead “So glad you decided to join us finally, you’d think you were my daughter with the way you so blatantly ignore schedules.”
He replies “Al, listen, I was busy. There was a kraken! A huge squid, you’d have hated it!”
“Please, I’ve repeatedly asked you not to use that term when speaking to me” even Alexios is fine, anything but Al.
Sgt sits next to the man “Jamie, you have no respect for authority.”
The fop suddenly seriously “I told you, it’s James.”

Tonight, Finnrik and the Ulfhednar hold a night long revel, upset at the vile excuse for song we woke up to this morning. The entire area of the city will hear the wolf calls!! A ritual will be cast, summoning a Fenris Brood to howl all night long with our music.

Over the coming days and weeks, Ragnar developes a fine repoir with the augments under Lance, since the valley near him had many of their kind and he was involved solving the troubles there.

Anar spends most of his time with the 7 dwarves, and the elven guard of course.

View
The Hall of the Fire Giant Snurri

We are at Rundan, where we awoke from our Valhalla interlude. Southern area of the Fallen Lands in the principality of Rundanor, west of Albon and the crystal wood (home of elves), on the north shore of the Master’s Sea, east of the isle of the outcast augments.
Kaelen, as said, is staying with us. She has a mole in the Fire Giants and has business in the Empire anyway.

We sail across the sea into a river east of Marak. We take that to Lake Corfu, then south on the river to the Celestial Sea. Then around the penninsula to our destination, the capitol Kelestianoupolis.
To our left we see many goblins, trailing around a mile off shore but keep an eye on us.
On our right, a primitive human kingdom. If we were to land and move, they would likely attack. Otherwise they leave us alone.
Then, on our left, the scythian norselords. Where the fork of the river we are on becomes 1, we pass a city.
To our right now, Magyary. To the left now is the Empire lands itself. Not far up the source of the fork is a large damn blocking the river. Not a good one either. More like massive amount of debris and boulders.

Bjorn says stop here, and gets Giovanni, the dwarves and orcs on top of clearing this damn. Stelio says this was not here before. Should not be here.
Finnrick puts his giant heads on spears on the nearest hill to scare off any of their kin.
After a few hours, Giovanni says it’ll be cleared by tomorrow evening.
We hear the sound of minstrels and wagons and animals.
Stelio’s minstrels start performing.
Once it comes into view, its a fairly large carnival!
Couple of their people come close and hail us in truce.
Stelio, Bonnae, and Rolf all know of them. It’s a famous wandering adventurer and his band led by a man named Burns. The main core is 8, all look like hardened adventurers.
The carnival has about 60 performers.
Bonnae knows Burns having met him a few decades ago, and a man named Arisaan, quite well.
They ask to camp adjacent for protection. Bjorn is amicable.

They are going south to the empire as well!
We eat and talk together, and he has a proposition for us. South, along our way, is Corfu. South of that is a mountain called Polydeus, Mt of the multiple gods. On top of that is the Oracle of the West, twin to that of the East. It is all but forgotten. The East is however still in avid use. The oracle is still there though, but something has been occupying the mountain. A clan of Fire Giants…
Bjorn “Count us in.”
Burns “Ok then.” He explains: They occupy the caverns there. The ruler is King Snurr, or Snurri. His wife Frupy. They are rapacious raiders for hundreds of miles around. The oracle also sits on top of a chamber in Snurri’s layer that leads down into Nifleheim. He’s not asking us to go there, but Snurr is allied with some of the svartalf. One of Burns’ earlier dealings in his career produced a certain treasure that Burns would like. The svartalf are a very chaotic race, in constant flux. This treasure is a person, a young girl by svartalf standards. Most importantly, her treacherous bitch of a mother is currently keeping her from her rightful custody “which is us”. You can kill the mother but bring the daughter back. We will be rewarded, plus we keep all else we find in the form of loot.
This daughter probably won’t come willingly, after being so indoctrinated by her mother this long.
Finnrik says “Snurr is the last head I need” and tells the tale of our great victories vs Giants thus far.
Bonnae says she was already going there, as we know. Now, she’ll tell us why. Brasimol is the name of the wyrm, a fire wyrm. He is one of her arch nemesis from decades ago, being responsible for the death of a friend.
Gunnar is very nervous about this fire wyrm business and is hesitant to go, though he’ll follow Bjorn of course.
The journey to the lair, Burns says, is not exactly a quick thing. He suggests we part ways from our army. There is a town at the mouth of our next river. We will have to go by foot to the giants. From there, we can take our folding boat wouth from their to the sea, or take the dark road, nearing Nifleheim, to where our fleet is sailing.
Bjorn things we’ll just meet our army at the capitol.

Nordbricht will lead our fleet.
Stelio says he can not go, he has to be with our army to get them through the empire.
We arrive at the city on Corfu’s coast uneventfully.
Gudrun throws the bones and runes to see our way ahead.
Bjorn to Rolf ‘Rolf, do you want to join us in slaying giants and drag…."
“F’ing right I do!!"
Bjorn would like to have magic, so Anar is in.
Finnrik is taking his pack.
Thrand and Gunnar, of course.

Gudrun says: the entire Pack must go, all must be present for the Gungnir ritual to Odin.
Brynnhalf must stay. If Ingvarr goes to the giants, he dies. Take on dwarf group or the other entirely. One must stay, for Giovanni will need them. There are many obstacles in the path of the fleet. Fliggol, however, shall take Welm to the mountains. Father Tosten and sons must continue with empire. The cpt of the orcs stays with the orcs. Both princes, Harald and Ragnar, must join Bjorn.
She adds that the magic number is 31.

Bjorn adds Ulf and Hakon as well as the 7 Dwarves.

One left. Sigrid is jumping in her shoes to be chosen, but Bjorn demands both her and Kolfrosta stay with the fleet. Bjorn chooses Hjalprek.
We flesh out the rowing crew with PC followers.

She gives us 12 runes as well: 6 are frost runes, wearing them makes your weapon ‘of frost’ for 5 rounds. 1 is to keen your weapon lasting until you succeed at a crit thanks to the extra. 2 giant bane runes lasting for d6 rounds once used. 2 dragon bane runes or 1d6 rounds, Headcutter rune is 1 use, vorpal after it activates.
Off we go.
Burns stays with the fleet to meet us with the dark elf, along with a druid named Gretchen.
He gives Kaelen a jug off to the side “Make sure she gets a couple ounces of this every day.”

The fleet:
they end up taking down about half a dozen more damns along the way and find out that its been the fire giants doing so.
When we talk to them next they report there were only a few minor skirmishes with horse raiders, but no casualties. Our men whipped them soundly.

Our adventuring force:
At the city, we find a guide who can get us through the forest and the best pass through the mts. A light cavalryman who lived out in a farm, part of the militia with combat xp. Scale shirt, studs skirt, pro with a short bow, couple short spears, saber. Last name Paulos Tziimiskes.
The militia has already been mustered, the next season of war for the empire is coming. Right now, he says, the empire has enemies on all sides. We should have plenty of work once we arrive. He says the giants named their lair Muspelheim. King Snurr Iron Belly is the scourge of this region. The emperor has not the men to face off against giants.
Thrand “Now he does.”
He says there has been calls to heroes. A few have tried, all have failed.

As we make our way south, we come across Fire Giant work, what was once forest communities south of the city.
The closer we get to the mts, the more we notice the amount of smoke pouring from the fire giant lair. There is a volcano there that was dormant until the fire giants arrived. ALways a gray and sooty sky, lots of cinders on the ground. At night, we see the light from the glowing mt’s output here and there.
Once we get to the mt’s area we see the oracle in the distance.
The primary entrance is a large cave opening with a heavy tapestry hanging across it. Paulos is not sure if there is another way in though.

Bonnae searches the area. So do the dwarves. Bonnae says the front door is guarded by a Fire Giant at a balista covering the door, and 2 Ettins behind him. She met up with her mole.
Modar “That was fast.”
There is another entrance. Not guarded itself. It’s where the non giants go in and out, man sized, but leads near the barricks area.
Beyond the guards at the front door is the grand hall, throne room and audience chamber with more giants.
The other hero groups have tried the front door and failed, so they are on alert all the time.

We take the back door, Bonnae taking the point with Volcifar and Minstin. It leads to the main giant sized halls, straight and right. The mole said the barracks is the room to the right. Down there is a large hall and guard post and the arsenal.
She investigates the baracks in bat form. 1 fire giant and 6 ogres. She returns and reports.
Loriel offers to center a magical silence on our attack group going into the barracks. Kaelen will fly i as bat in case there is an alarm there, to disable it.
Bjorn in the silence takes Finnrik, Thrand, Gunnar, Blagra, Thorhamma, Koku, Rolf, Fliggol, and Hjalprek. Bjorn, Finnrik and Thrand will hit the Giant, the other melee’s will each take an ogre, Gunnar and Hjalprek are charged with the last ogre.
In we go.
They are laughing and quite drunk. Making lots of noise already. Good cover for us.
No possible alarm of any kind.
We flood into the room.
Koku brings an ogre down fast.
Hjalprek and Gunnar do the same together.
The fight fully joins.
All the ogres are down next round. As Koku moves in the FG hits him with a slam AoO. Then it draws its blade, after having hurled a spear at Finnrik, and hits Bjorn heavily. The FG goes down, hitting the wall and slouching dead.

Loot:
3 x gem studden jewelry (neclace,bracelet,ring) 300, 400, 800, respectively
THousands of imperial gp, but they are too hard, debased with iron and such. They are just a unit of currency not a true ‘gp’. More like a sp 784 gp worth of empirial coins.

Bjorn “THey better not be paying u sin thi sworthles coinage.”
Kalestios says they don’t, they pay mercs in pure ingots. That makes us happy.
Bjorn “We’ll give it to the orcs.”
Bonnae "In this place she has her mole, working for the giants, a couple of people she’s been keeping an eye on via contacts that she wants to get out; some of the prisoners she knows are here are potential of hers. Also, a couple people of high prestige. ALso, someone that we know is here, not sure how, but apparently uncle Finnbogi. She knows him too, actually.
She says her mole is kinda 2 friends of hers. Snitch and Narc, one of the Ettins.

Bonnae goes further down the hall, spotting 2 FG in and alcove at a gong alarm on the right; to the right is a very long gallery centered by a row of pillars.
In the meantime, Bjorn opens the double doors behind her. Bonnae returns and picks the lock on the doors. Another set of double doors ahead and passages to left and right out of the room. This room is an arsenal.

hundreds of boulders for throwing, clubs, helm, etc. All giant sized.
Plus 8 barrels of oil.
One shield is a small shield for giants, we could use it as a heavy shield. It has crossed arrows on its front. Bjorn’s blade feels its magic.
The other wing has huge swords, 2 ballista with 44 ammo; throwing hammers, maces, etc. Also a human size comp short bow with quiver of 20, the arrows are magic.

We hear sounds like an animal behind the other double doors. We close the double doors behind us before the potential fight. Opening the door reveals a chimera! It springs upon Bjorn and Finnrik in the doorway before we can react and battle is joined. The dragon head breathes fire on Finnrik and Bjorn then they charge. The 3 of them kill it in the 2nd round. Nothing else in the room, its just its pen.

The gong is hanging from a rope on a tripod. We use Loriel’s silence again to stop the gong alarm. Bonnae is in position to cut the gong in case they try to move it.
We send 8 against them, 4 on each. Brokkr, Fliggol, Bjorn, Finnrik, Thrand, Rolf, Koku, and Rags; with the 3 archers and Anar behind. The Ulfhednarr are ready with a volley of spears if necessary. Both go down in the same round.

Bonnae says the Throne Room is down the pillared gallery south, if we wish to go straight for Snurr. Bjorn has us continue straight on instead. Bonnae says south/right is a closed section of this level. Right goes north and meets with the southern section to Snurr and a passage downstairs.
Bjorn turns us right to finish this north sector first. Up here are communal quarters of females, kids and a kennel of fire hounds.
Rolf “Hounds of the Hells!”
Since Bjorn does not mercilessly kill noncombatants we don’t slay them all.
Also can’t trust them not to warn Snurr at first opportunity.
We go to the kennel straight away. It is not locked, leading to an antechamber. To the left we hear puppy like yelping. To the right some adult growling. We smell sulfer and brimstone.
Bjorn splits us into 2 groups, leaving the dwarves here in the first room to guard.
The left group slaughters the hellish puppies. The few yelps alert the males to the south where our other group enters. They start howling. Then a curtain in the rear opens and the FG Keeper enters wielding a massive club and wearing a large wolf skin cloak.
Modar and Ylva drop a male, and Blagra and Thorhamma as well, on the initial intercept.
Then the Keeper engages Bjorn, Thrnad and Finnrik, waiting for him.
Gungnir gets another crit in this fight for the kill. The Ulfhednarr and Harald make short work of the hounds from hell. We are taking their pelts as trophies! And the Keepers giant wolf pelt.

Loot:
3 barrels of beer, ale and mead
Crates of dried meat for the hounds
4 javelins with a lightning bolt shaped tip, man sized
A runted hell hound puppy, very hungry. This is the one to try to raise to the good side

Modar says first thing to do is feed it so it sees you as a friend. Modar gets it out and amiable, soon it is not scared of us. He will train it to be acclimated to Bjorn to be its master.

We reverse out of this area then take the next north. Up here Bonnae says is the path downward, but first is a room for other ambassadors (‘a handful’ the Ettin told her), then furthest is another barracks. Only a heavy curtain blocks the barracks.

Bonnae scouts out the barracks, couple dozen Ogres, but no Giants!
Volcifar checks out the envoys’ room: three foppish humans just hanging out smoking a huge hooka. They are of a nationality that is commonly at odds with the Empire in one form or another. Bjorn sends Dopey, Volcifar and Gninthgil with Loriel.
Bjorn sends Koku, Modar, Fliggol and Brokkr in first, they trip 2 and Brokkr moves into a 3rd’s space and we flood in amongst the shocked ogres.
It’s a bloody mess we make of the ogres. The leader tries to make a dash for it through Bjorn, past Finnrik and Modar, through Brokkr and Grumpy but Sneezy goes for the block and halts the march of ruin! He even crits with the AoO! He was not going to let this happen. We then gang up on him and cut him down, along with the last 2 ogres left at that point.

We rest up, eat some grub and drink some giant mead, its quite good. The ambassadors were easily taken out. He has a rakshasha head. Just one was such, the other 2 were just humans.

They have its scepter though, jeweled:
5000gp on the market. Most importantly, the carved ruby tiger at its head.
Down the cave to below, actually just as slope, to a 4 way intersection. Directly across room has 20 giant sarcophagi upright along the walls and 4 even larger on the floor. Some have the likeness of FG carved as the lids.

Back at the rest room:
The room starts to shake, getting heavier and heavier. Bonnae looks down the hall, seeing 6 FG and 8 gnolls, plus 3 Ettins. All armed and ready. KIng Snurr is not one of them. One of the Ettin’s is Snitch/Narc.
We plan for the Ulfhednar minus FInnrik and Koku to go in vs the gnolls with Clyde, Harald and Kolestios
The magic users and archers will fire in support; the rogue types will be hidden waiting to spring at the right moment. The darf bard will support Finnrik’s inspire doom. Loriel will begin inspire courage after initiating with a Shout spell. She puts Gr. Invis. on Kaelen as well.
They stop short of the entry, yelling that we will be spared if we surrender. Bjorn doesn’t buy it, obviously.
The gnolls come in first, greeted by a spear volley and meet our first line. All but 3 of them are taken down quickly. Maybe too, as Bjorn wanted them to hold the line so that the FG definitely pass them up.
The first 2 FG hurl flaming boulders at Ulf and Rags, then the next 4 move in and the combat starts. The 2 hurlers in the doorway stay put so they get charged. One by Modar, Harald and Clyde. The other is gang tackled by Blagra, Rymak, Ylva and Thorhamma to the ground!
What we though was our weak point actually brings one down first as Hakon scores 2 crits in one round!!
Thrand is hit with a major crit, as is Finnrik.
The FG on the floor is unable to get up!
The doorway hurler standing flees once their is only 1 giant left in the room. The one down in the hall starts attacking those swarming him.
Thrand goes down!!
Everyone in the hall takes down the tackled FG then.
Bonnae sends a hand bolt to the fleeing FG and hits but he still keeps going.
A few rounds later we are victorious. The other 2 Ettins flee after the retreating FG.

Snitch and Narc enter the room and meet us “Well that’s odd. Normally when the gnolls are here, their boss is nearby.”
In the rear, Hjalprek is backstabbed!! 45!! He drops to the ground.
A dwarf comes visible with a warhammer he just clubbed Hjalprek with “Snurr sends his regards” and vanishes.
He was the dwarf who skipped out of the Frost Giant lair who was in disguise/illusion at the big feast battle.
Our dwarves are taken aback, what kind of dwarf works with giants!!
Snitch and Narc say his name is Obmi. Anar has a feeling of deja vu.

Bjorn declares we can rest only tonight. They will sortie us to death if we wait longer.
We all stand in a large meadhall. At its end are the 3 Norns, weaving their tapestry from multiple wheels. Lining the hallway are hourglasses of varying motifs. Some may signify ourselves, for in each dream we each walk up to one, then a great rumbling and all the hourglasses fall and shatter. The Norns then cast us from the meadhall.

Next Day

Straight ahead is the tomb room. The southern hall at a left turn. The northern hall goes down a long flight of steps. Bjorn leads the main force into the tomb. Volcifar finds a tunnel in one corner, twisting and turning, big enough to crawl through but not walk. Thorhamma goes into the tunnel with Brokkr, Grumpy, Dopey and Brokkr. it goes downward, confusingly twisting all the way. W/o dwarves, most anyone else would be lost. At the bottom, they come out into a glowing cave, offshoot of a larger cavern of glowing plants and fire beetles about. The main cavern is massive, large lizards living in there, mouths trailing smoke here or there. They turn back and return and report.
Bjorn takes a walk around the tomb in the meantime, but his blade senses not magic.
The other dwarves search for traps and secret doors in the walls and floor but find nothing. Out we go into the hal.

The Ettins say south around the turn are more Ettin guards, visitors area, quarters and storage. Down steps is a torture room, prison, and smithy.
We go for the Ettin area.
First chamber is the Ettin guard room, then community room and visitors chamber and storage room.
In vs Ettins go the 4 PC’s, Rags, Rolf, Fliggol, Hjalprek, Koku, Doc, Blyg and Sovnig. Its quick work for the Bjornings.
5 FG are now walking down the hallway ahead in a defensive posture, one with a white flag waving.
Hakon the Bastard tells Ulf to inform Bjorn. Hakon approaches the FG’s.
The one with the flag is Wiglaf “I am a follower of Baldo, Chief Lt. and loyal opposition to Snurr. Unfortunately he is also Baldo the Imprisoned as we speak, locked away by Snurr.” They and a few others in the compound are under no obligation to fight us, so long as we don’t slaughter the women and kids. They are not pleased with the crap imperial gold, rather be looting in the north of the continent. Between that and the failed alliance of the giant races and his current partnership with the svartalfs, they are sick and tired of this all.
“Free our imprisoned leader, leave us and women and kids free, and they promise not to fight us. You can also rest here if you would so desire.”
Hakon says that sounds an excellant idea, he’s sure Bjorn will agree. When he arrives, he does. They will not fight the other giants. He says we have Snurr, 5 bodyguard, 6 other regular FG, 4 more Ettins, the fire wyrm, Obmi, couple random monsters, svartalfs, fire lizards and beetles, and um……80 trolls. The trolls mostyly all live together. Snurr loves to toss his enemies into the troll complex.
Bjorn “Do you have any idea where Obmi is?”
“He wanders the halls.”
Thrand “If it would come to us, would you be willing to help fight the trolls, not all at once of course?”
Not much chance, to get to them you have to kill the dragon "There’s a high chance that while you fight the dragon, the trolls show up.
He says Snurr was very angry that some elements of his alliance have turned against him. In the prison with Baldo, a tribe of gnolls are enslaved here looking for payback at the chance to turn on their overlords, handful of Frost Giants that were captured as well (its torture for them just being in this warm enviroment).
Thrand “Prisons next then, Bjorn?”
“I think so.”
He says lastly, the torturer is the royal headsman, his axe is known for shearing head from shoulder. Watch out for him. Snurr is on this level right now, likely in the Temple of the Eye. Go down the steps all the way north to an enormous hall/worship area. Immediately to the right after descending the steps is the prison. The dragon is below on the 3rd floor.
Bonnae “What does he want with the svartalf?”
“Something to do with some grand conquest. But its very very big, in the vain of the Master War. Global. Some of teh prisoners are very influential, their sacrifice is to appease our gods.”
Kaelen “Good thing we stumbled upon this.”

On we go to the prison area.
Bonnae scouts out the prison area first. We can hear the smith pounding away just opposote it. She scouts this as well. Then returns and reports. Finnbogi is being tortured as we speak in the torture room.

Bjorn goes to take out the FG and human guard room with Koku, Rymek, Blagra, Thorhamma and Hjalprek.
Finnrik, Gunnar, Brokkr, the Ettin, Fliggol, Ylva and Modar go to save Finnbogi.
Thrand leads the dwarf armiger, Doc, dwarf Wpn Mst, and Ragnar vs the smith and his trolls.
The others watch the hall and ready to backup as Bonnae and her crew start opening cell doors and freeing prisoners.

The 2 dwarves other then Doc bullrush one of the trolls into the lava stream! Thrand destroys the smith with 2 massive hits and a critical, then the wpn mast finishes him off as he joins in. The final troll is the last remaining which we gang up on and kill, then push into the lava.

The Ettin and Fliggol goes after the torturer, the others go after the executioner with the suspected vorpal axe in a big gang up. They are intently going at Finnbogi and we catch then completely off guard. Finnrik and Modar give great furious strikes, Ylva the same on a crit! Finnrik then finishes him off. Gunnar then turns on the torturer 30!! The Ettin then bashes away with Fliggol DEAD.
We free Finnrik’s uncle Finnbogi Butterbeard!!
He says that Finnbogi and Iring Fork Tongue were having issues, and Wulfgar was taking they snake tongue’s side. They were battling Fire Giants as well and Wulfgar sent the berserks vs a band of giants, saying that if they were truly loyal and worthy of Wulfgar’s service they would be victorious. Finnbogi and his bear clan lost. He is the last alive. Wulfgar just kept moving on as they were defeated.
So, he basically sent them to die on purpose. Iring was certainly as much or more to blame for being behind it. Wulfgar’s youngest brother is young and timidand fair of mind, and Finnbogi worries for him. For he stuck up for Finnbogi.
Wulfgar has done great deeds and earned honors.
“Would you believe that he is a troll lord?” They now serve him loyally.
Sounds familiar.
Finnbogi has also become enamored with one of the woman imprisoned here. A barbarian he shared a cell with.

Lots of elven arms and armor, human equipment, centaur armor. Seems all the prisoners’ equipment is in here!

The rescued, all whom we re equip:

  • Elven female: priest (equivalent 10th level cleric), noble, her late husband was tortured to death (his equip is in the torture chamber), we can have his gear and will send a reward once home; she’s from an elf principality south of the capitol across the isthmus; master of healing arts;
    His Gear =
    20 elven arrows: minus 2 DR and extra 10’ increment, d8, usable in long or short bow; arrow of greater slaying (giant); composite longbow; cloak and boots elvenkind.
    Reward upon her arrival home 10000 gp
  • 8 male elves: her body guard; 7 x warr 8th; last the cpt 8th dedicate
  • human male merchant: once we return to capitol his guild will reward us! Knows not with what or how much.
  • 2 noble centaurs: Bellisarios and Avgoustos; native Celestines; work with cataphracts a lot
  • A gnoll and a Flind: these giants love gnoll slaves and as troll food; Borfromph the gladiator and Rolfgar his manager. Rolfgar dress and wpns are rather foppish. They go by Chuck and Errol.
  • 7 gnolls: too rowdy so locked up to be fed to trolls;’ effectively the berserks of the original clan; wield axes with speartip at center/pickaxe double weapon
  • female: Finnbogi’s girl "Gara; princess of the Nugenacers; kidnapped couple weeks ago, here to be sacrficed which makes her very angry; her father Ozgar and his brother Edgar and her brother Vyngar are looking for her right now. They are far west though; she wields a greatsword;
  • Baldo: willing to help kill Snurr! Concerning trolls and dragons he says “We’ll see what happens after Snurr’s death”. The rest of his people aren’t getting directly involved, just him; he wants the vorpal axe of the executioner.
  • handsome man, muscular w/o being huge: intelligent of speech; “Daro”; aside from being physically perfect, beautifal, smart and wise, he says he’s just a regular dude

Guard room with Bjorn et al:
Bjorn, Koku and Hjalprek attack the 1 FG, while the others hit the humans.
The humans are not local, they have a darker complexion. Wearing scale shirts and brown breeches. Wpns are curved swords. They fight in a flashier style. We deal with the entire group in a few rounds, Bjorn and Koku taking down the giant themselves!

Loot:
Broach set with 6 gems: 5 × 50, 1x 500
Imperial coin = 608 pcs or; 321 ep; 212pp

Behind a pile of boulders reveals a hidden chamber of 7 human female prisoners, local imperial stock. Blagra and Rymak start removing their loin cloths until Bjorn stops them.

Loot:
10000 imperial gold
Ring: gem is a blue star sapphire with diamond lines making like a falling star, magic
Panpipes, magic

At the end of all this, as things are being gathered and we are meeting everyone, from the north to interrupt everything we hear Snurr yelling for his allies to gather. From beyond the prison hall Kaelen spots svartalf approaching.
We position ourselves:
Vs Drow:
Brokkr, the Elf dedicate, Gara and Harald take the front line; Ulf, Hakon, Blagra and Rymak atackign with reach from behind them. Next is Thorhamma, Modar, Ylva, Finnbogi and Clyde. Glad is inspiring, the elves firing from behind him.

Vs Giant et al:
Bjorn, Finnrik, Thrand, Koku; the other 6 dwarves and Fliggol; Hjalprek and Gunnar; and Rolf.

The new females are noncombatants back from the intersection; Anar and Loriel and Centars are with them. Loriel aids the singing of Glad and Finnrik to begin. She has see invis on herself. The Elf priestess has put True Seeing on Kaelen. They watch for Obmi.
Kalestios guards the non fighters as well with Minstin. Doc is in the rear as well to fire where needed.

Ettins lead the way for Snurr, gnolls amongst them; Snurr’s bodyguard behind them.
In front of the drow are howling gnolls. Anar casts an explosion of fire killing them all. The drow approach, the elves volley into them.

We put a bunch of the runes into effect.
Koku/Rolf/Finnrik/Thrand = frost
Giant Bane = Bjorn/Ragnar
Keen = Bjorn
Headhunter = Thrand

The dwarves switch with our lead men to take on the Ettins and gnolls.

The drow attack, leading with darkness and faerie fire but Loriel was prepared for this. Clyde draws his dagger, with Daylight cast upon it! Their archers fire as well. The fighting there begisn in earnest.
The 2 doors open, between their melee rear and the archer drow, and out come the gnoll barbarians and Borfrompf and Rolfgar into their rear, and their archers. 3 dark elf priestesses stand behind the archers, in shock. Theie archers are mincemeat instantly.
A magic web is cast from the ceiing above, by a drider! Blagra, the elf dedicate are entangled.
The drow priests cast, withering away 1 gnoll, another killed via inflict wounds.

Gnolls drop like flies at Bjorn’s side vs the dwarves. The Ettins don’t last much longer.

Gninthgil Lufetaf fires from the dark room, heavily damaging one of the priests as Chuck, Errol and the last living gnoll there fight on. 2 of the priests fight back in melee. The head priest, behind the fight, casts down the hall a pillar of flame onto all 6 elfs, Happy, Finnbogi, Clyde, Ylva and Modar. Ylva, Modar, 5 elves, and Finnbogi are hid full on. All 5 elves are killed!
The drider climbs down and goes for the Elf dedicate, stabbing him with its stinger. He passes out.

On the other side, the gnolls are cleaned out. Only 1 Ettin remains, who is brought down by our ranged attacks. A second FG guard now stands next to the 1st and begin hurling boulders down the hall.

Where the fireball just happened, a stone giant burrows a hole through and one of the FG guards steps through.
Errol and Chuck hear the sound of combat from ahead including “Eat club flaming bastard!” and “Here’s one for you, ice turd!”
The human females we just rescued turn into wererats!! The merchant is standing right with them. As is Mr. Perfect, looking on quite unconcerned.
The howling of more gnolls comes from Snurr’s direction. The new FG tries to grab Loriel and the elf priestess. Loriel stabs him with her longsword, but the elf cleric is hurled over his shoulder landing between Ulfar and Modar, but deftly.
Loriel steps back from the Giant and hits the rats with a soundburst. The elf left and Kalestios engage them with Anar. Perfect steps against the wall, looks over the rats, throws some powder into the air. All 3 of our guys’ weapons are silvered!!

The Centars engage the Giant, flanking with Ylva, Modar and Finnbogi. Dopey gathers execution tokens on it. Doc, Gunnar and Hjalprek turn on him as well.

Ulf and Hakon engage the drider as the fight continues vs the last 2 tough drow. Clyde joins the fight vs the last 2 drow as well.
One of the gnolls, Clyde and Harald kill one of the 2 drow still in the melee!
Chuck and Errol kill their priestess.
Volcifar and Gninthgil spring out of the room onto the head priestess. They see 6 FG beating down on 2 Frost Giants down the hall where the drow came from!
The last gnoll there is brought down by a priestess. The head Priestess steps back and hits each with Hold.
The last drow fighter keeps fighting, killing 1 of our last 2 gnolls.
The drider engages Hakon and Ulf and stings Blagra, who makes the save.
The FG takes down B centaur then nails Modar.

Bjorn orders an immediate charge at the throwing giants. Snurr and Snitch/Narc reach the hurlers first. They stand at the entrance to the temple. The 2 hurlers step apart and the Queen steps into the line between them with her flaming mace.
Snurr stands right behind them, his flaming greatsword already on fire.

Perfect turns to fight, and he is suddenly wearing chain, fur shoulders, wielding a broadsword and steel round shield.
The rats kill the elf, only the dedicate remains of their ranks.

Dopey leaps in, dealing 75 to the FG in the hall DEAD!!! It falls upon the centaur, pinning him.

Rymak brings down the last drow fighter.

Finnbogi steps to the drider for a crit DEAD. Its guts spill onto Blagra. Thorhamma and Harald cut Blagra free.

Chuck backs out of the fight. Errol goes for the secondary priestess.
The head priestess flees.
Ylva and Modar climb over the dead FG and see up the hall at the main fight.
Gunnar, Hjalprek and Doc head that way.

Bjorn, Finnrik and Thrand join the fray. Snitch/Narc are taken down!!

Kaelen spots Obmi skulking into things now, coming out of the stone giant hole invisible, prepping his attack right under her, about 10’ behind Ylva and Modar. She drops down and nails him for 60. Perfect is walking that way as well.
The last priest is killed by Gara and Erroll.
They see the Fire G’s finish off the 2 Frosts. 2 are left.

Erroll yells the Giant warning.
Volcifar and Gnintghil come free and they all rush away from the Giants.
Hakon is up for this challenge. He forms everyone up to hold them off: Blagra, Ulf, Rymak, Brokkr, Harald, Finnbogi, Errol, Happy and Gara. He gets the 3 assassin types into a side room, as before, to hit them in the rear.
Clyde sees Bonnae engages and rushes that way!

The merchant has fled the entire scene but the rats are now finished off.

Doc moves to patch up Snitch and Narc.
Koku moves in with Bjorn; Fliggol and Rolf with Thrand.
Baldo turns on us, the lust for Gungnir too much, and throttles Finnrik for 100!!
Our men behind the line attack him in return.
Modar and Ylva see the turn of Baldo and rush down the hallway.\\\

Finnrik slays the Fire guard, cleaves Baldo DEAD!!!!
Koku crits the wife DEAD!!!!
Thrand crits and along with Rolf’s 2 hits he’s DEAD!!!

40 gnolls are far behind Snurr, cowering together in fear and whining.

Obmi turns in a circle, lobbing his hammer up the hallway, draws his axe and attacks Kaelen in one motion. Her AoO hits, Clyde flanking. Clyde’s AoO brings him down!! Just before the throw that would have killed Hjalprek!! Obmi is at neg. 4 when Kaelen stabalizes him.

Mr. Perfect arives at the rear of the Snurr fight. Snurr gives him a snearing look.
Perfect to Ragnar “Give me your sword, I offer you a swap.”
Ragner “Here.”
Perfect draws out Frostbrand “You are now a loyal follower of Freyr.” He’s here to make sure Gungnir gets out of here.
He then instantly heals Finnrik to full health, gives Snurr a vial hand gesture.

Hjalprek rushes back to back up Hakon’s line.

Snurr backs off into the throne room, around a corner. Bjorn and Finnrik surge ahead with Koku, Thrand and Rolf. Ragnar is just behind them with Koku and Ylva.
Gunnar follows in behind us.
Finnrikr “SNURRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!”
We him 20’ up at the top of a staircase, holding 2 burning boulders in hand.
Mr. Perfect, Freyr, has vanished in a flash of light.
Holding a flaming glaive, he hurls a flaming boulder hitting Thrand.

Finnrik, Bjorn, Rolf and Koku run up the steps, Thrand trailing after getting nailed, with Ragnar. Gunnar starts throwing from the bottom, Ylva and Modar flanking him.
Snurr’s AoO hits Rolf, then he unleashes an attack on all 4 of us and the battle begins. In a couple rounds, Rolf goes down. He then cuts Thrand’s shield hand off!!! Bjorn yells for Modar to pull Rolf out, he does. Ylva moves closer to the gnolls huddling together and unleashes a primal howl to keep them honest.
Bjorn then uses Starvaggi to speed his attacks, and crits with 2 other hits!!
Snurr continues his assault, but fumbles his attack on Bjorn, so hitting only Finnrik and Koku.
Modar unleashes his own primal howl into the gnolls.
Finnrik crits 136 DEAD!!!!! Snurr goes down with a crash!!!
Ylva “Gungnir has drank well today.”

With Hakon in the hallway, Hjalprek’s first shot, with the slaying arrow, kills one of the 2 FG charging us and the other hits Rymak and the battle wages. Rymak is KO’d as we surround him. Thorhamma crits, taking off fingers!! It drops its greatsword because of it. Harald then gives it the death blow!!
Bonnae yells to them if they go forward they can wrap around and potentially get to Snurr’s rear. Thorhamma leads Blagra and Brokkr that way, and after a turn or 2 comes up into the room behind Snurr. He is already on the ground, however.

Finnrik beheads Snurr. After we are done here, he will perform a double ceremony outside: giving Gungnir back to Odin, and initiating Harog the last rageborn Gnoll into the Ulfhednar.

Finnrik and some others sacrifice to Freyr as thanks for his assistance, and to Odin who likely sent him.

The pipes from the prison area turn out to be Pipes of the Sewers, may have been useful vs the wererats.
The Ring is a Ring of Shooting Stars with extra oomph.
The smaller bunch of imperial coin not given to the orcs goes to the 2 dwarf groups. The 10000 wil be split among those rescued from here who need it to get restarted. Especially the women from the empire.
The large small shield is an arrow attracting shield. Attracts all arrows w/in 30’ diameter around wielder. If kneel down behind and hold up as cover = 50% miss chance

We rest up and sleep for the night.

Next Day

Uneventful night, we sleep in a bit late.

Snitch/Narc are awake. They tell us the layout of the bottom, where the trolls/dragon/drow are in relation to one another. They say the drow won’t come out of their area into the main room unless accompanied by giants, its too close to the dragon lair. There are no giants left.

We discuss a sortie vs trolls but framing the drow, but Thrand remembers we are supposed to get that drow kid for Burns at the carnival. Sending rampaging trolls into the dark elf rooms would probably get it killed.
The trolls number about 90, including young. The drow, 60.

We go downstairs to get a look at things. There are lots of drawings and writing on the walls. Brazamol is everpresent for a long long time here, it seems. He’s very very old. Many different factions have come and gone from here. Tales here even show Braz fighting in the dragon wars vs the Masters. Bonnae and the elves say this was centuries prior to the Masters leaving. Like the Masters controlled and were tied into magic of the world, as is Braz. Magic may work differently than usual against him, including items. He’s some sort of magic sponge. But, things like runic magic that have nothing to do with the Masters’ magic will work fine. So, Gudrun’s runes, Starvaggi, Gungnir. Stuff like the flametongue, on the other hand, should not be used. Direct casting on him is probably a general bad idea. He set his lair up here because he dislikes the drow. There is for sure a passage to nifleheim from here to block them. He has only tolerated them now because Snurr was allied with them.
The trolls were thralls to Snurr.

She takes a cave path behind the dragon lair. Anar, Bonnae and Rolf, while looking at all the pics and such, they notice Braz was critically wounded in the Master Wars and it took him over 100 years to heal. Soon before he moved here. This is where he rested that century. Some hero, probably a First, struck him a terrible blow before being smited himself by Braz. The blade that almost killed him was imbedded into his flesh. The blae was not pulled out for a while, and he needed the help of a servant. Braz has kept it ever since. Looks quite plain, but for its jeweled scabbard.

Bonnae bats up and scouts the drow caves. They have a fairly fortified setup, with makeshift barricades and such. She finds Eclavdra. Speaking elfish herself, she listens in.
Most of the drow seem common soldiers. Maybe 10 are real Champion type. Even some multi spellcasters amongst them. There are 2 separate camps of drow, oddly. Eclavdra and her group, then another group led by Nedylene.
Eclavdra is teling them about us having killed the ‘holy one’ (drider). Nedylene calls here a failure for such a travesty going down to mere humans. They talk that we were supposed to take out the blood cult but not hinder their spider cult. So, there has been some manipulation by them agains the blood cult, or at least hopes on their part about what we were concerned about and what we were not.
Grandiose statements are said about this dark elf child, Nedylene comments how dangerous she could be if she found about her true parentage. Prophecies that she could even spell the doom of all they hold near because of her father’s side. She is potentially quite powerful.
She zooms off while they are occupied to find the girl Burns wants. Hanging out with a bunch of drow. She seems to have an honor guard of 3 drow warriors near her all the time. The treat her special, doding on here even.
She flies back out and reports, with a plan. She’ll take a squad in her portable hole, unleash them in the room and kidnap the girl. Inside will be Volcifar, Clyde to grab her, Harald, Thorhamma and Gara.
She flies them back inside fast. The mission is a rousing success, 2 of the guard killed the 3rd staggered.

The drow are fast all abuzz.
We set up so when the drow come out looking for her, they see Gara carrying the child over her shoulder into the troll caves with Harald behind her. Bonnae is already inside. Gara and Harald go into the portable hole and Lady Bonnae flies away and hides.
Our force hides in the tunnels south of the troll entrance cave.
After a few minutes of the sighters reporting and the drow organizing, their rescue force of about 20 comes out and into the troll area. They are expertly stealthy.
Bonnae hears them while they move in, and they are nervous about this. They mention not wanting to wake up Brasimol Magicbane. She returns and reports, leaving the portable hole open on the floor with the prisoner in it guarded by our wounded Snitch/Narc; Rymak/the elf dedicate/Borfromf/the merchant/the 2 surviving centaurs.
We wait a short time then follow them inside in column, 3 abreast. We are moving down when we hear the first shout by a drow “No, they’re awake!!” to our left.
To our right, another drow swears out loud in efish “Ah, %#^$”.
Then thunderous troll roars from all directions ahead.
Bjorn ordrs double time ahead to the center room where no drow were heard. We know there is a rear passage in there to the southern section thanks to Snitch/Narc. We hear combat to both sides. Bonnae cuts north to look in on the fighting. Loriel sends her pseudodragon to the south.
We find 16 trolls, 2 large nest areas on opposite sides of the cave in clan groups. 4 adults and a dozen children.
Bjorn “Kill them all!”
One of the trolls to the left is 2 headed mutant!

Bonnae sees 8 drow warriors in a circle battling trolls around them. 3 or 4 others apart are eating a drow warrior. 27 trolls total.
The pseudodragon sees 10 drow holding off vs 13 cave trolls!
Each group has at least one arcane caster among them. The caster in the south room make a mass rush and overrun the drow line. The chief leaps atop the mage and rends him to death. The drow have crumbled.
In Bonnae’s, another group of trolls pour out of another tunnel and the drow are crunched in. The drow mage unleashes a massive ball of fire centered on himself!!

FInnrik, Koku and Fliggol go left supported by the Doc and Gunnar; Bjorn, Thrand and Rolf to the right nest supported by Anar and Hjalprek. The elf cleric enters for emergencies, Dopey guarding her.
The next group are to keep downed trolls down and burn them to death: Harog, Rolfgar, Kalestios, Dopey.
Koku and Hjalprek score crits on their first attacks. Thrand, Bjorn and Rolf can hardly believe it, assuming at first it was Anar’s shot. Koku’s drops. The 2 headed groll moves in on Fliggol.
Rolfgar moves in to cut and burn when he has an opening. Harog charges the 2 headed troll. Volcifar, Kalestios moves in to help Rolf. Loriel and Happy enter behind them to also cut and burn. Bjorn eviscerates his full size troll, which drops to the ground crippled. He then kills it and cleaves Thrand’s for another crit DEAD. He then targest the last of the 2 full size trolls on his side.
THe large troll fumbles, falling to the ground!!
Finnrik is getting hammered as the other adult attacks Koku.
Bjorn turns as 3 youngs swarm him. Thrand puts the adult down. Kalestios starts burning it.
Koku drops the other adult on his side!!
Harog drops the 2 headed after Gunnar had axed it to shreds.
IT stands up almost immediately and hits Koku.
Finnrik then drops his last 2, as Fliggol drops the last of the small ones on that side. Koku redrops the last big guy. All start getting cut up and burned.
Bjorn finishes off the last 2 on his side on the same round!
Burning all around.

The pseudodragon returns and reports. Bonnae is soon to follow. The fireball hit the trolls hard, the caster was gone altogether. The troops are still there somehow, and backing up down the hall toward us.

We collect ourselves but for the burners.
We hear the cave trolls coming up the main hall from the south. Bjorn chooses to hold the hall vs the cave trolls and let the drow hold the northern troll force. Thrand says we should send a force south to hit the cave trolls from behind. Bjorn send Gunnar, Finnrik and whoever wlese Finnrik wants: MOdar, Ylva, Thorhamma, Grumpy, Brokkr.
Anar backs up Bjorn’s line of himself, Thrand and Finnbogi, with Blagra, Ulf and Hakon with reach weapons behind them.
Bjorn sends Bonnae to tell the drow to hold the trolls or we’ll let the cave trolls by into their rear, too.
The leader says to her no way “they’ve got a mountain troll in there.” She says you can fight them, or them and the vikings and the cave trolls. 5 of the 8 decide they are fleeing anyway, 3 want to hold the line. Bonnae shows them Bjorn’s line, blocking their escape. They have no choice.
Bonnae yells for Loriel to come out, and has her Daylight the area in case the drow try to screw us with Darkness.

Clyde sees the rest of the drow stirring on their side of the cavern. He runs, finding Bonnae, and reports, then returns to his position.

Bonnae carefully peaks into the dragon area; she sees the huge treasure chamber, which he is coiled atop of. Braz himself has visible old scars. He rolls over once, and under his wing are is a large red gemstone embedded into a hole shaped scar.

Loriel, knowing Mountan Trolls are vulnerable to sonic, her specialty, and unleashes a massive sound burst upon it for 82!! Anar at teh same time hits the south trolls with a fireball.
The cave trolls can spider climb, and use that to their advangate, a few youngs on each side coming at us from the walls. The battle joins. They were obviously damaged already, we bring down several of the climbers.
Clyde arrives, saying the drow are on their way!
BJorn orders the rear pole rank to turn and meet them! Hakon, Ulf and Blagra turn.
Finnbogi takes down the first adult cave troll.
Bjorn and Thrand step forward. They bring it down! Then cleaves down 3 adjacent young and engages the last adult.
Finnrik is in sight, but that force is all but gone. They’re in time for the Mountain Troll thankfully.
The Mountain Troll lays waste to the drow, only 2 remain already.
It’s about to get serious.
Bjorn is rended, but Koku hits from behind and brings it down.
Bjorn yells for the Ulfhedinn up the hall "I have business with the drow.
As they pass, Finnbogi joins them.
The Mt. Troll steps aside and melds into the rock! The horde of normal trolls behind charge in.
Bjorn lines himself, Thrand and Ragnar up to meet the drow at the mouth here; Ulf and Hakon are on the flanks to pincer their front rank, Blagra reaching from behind with his Glaive.
Modar uneashes a Primal Howel, sending 8 of them running in abject fear!
The drow come around the corner and are surprised to see Vikings come into view. They stop and try darknes, but our Daylight is still there.
They move up to engage. 40 of them, Eclavdra and Nedylene in the rear. The trolls fill in the gap.
We drop the first 3 drow,and bowfire takes out another one. Their fodder stops in their tracks, and they send up 3 champions.
Bjorn “Just walk away. No one else has to die here. Just walk away.”
Eclavdra and Nedylene are now in sight in the rear.
Their champs keep coming. 3 of them, one on each of Thrand/Bjorn/Ragnar. Ulf and Hakkon are positioned around the corners of the opening to surprise them.
The Mountain Troll comes out of the wall at the Ulfhednar ranks!!! Brokkr, Grumpy, Finnbogi engage it.
Ylva looses a howl, 7 trolls flee!!
A barrel of oil, open top, drops from above those trolls down the hall and a flask of alchemist fire ignites it! Kaelen has opened the portablet hole high up on the wall!
The fight there commences by Finnrik and Koku, as does the duels vs drow champions.
Thrand and Ulf kill one immediately, as do Hakon and Ragnar!! Thrand unleashed a max dedicated blow, the myrmidons both sneak attacked, and Ragnar crit’d!!
The other drow stop and fire hand quarrels at Thrand and Ragnar (who is hit 3 times, 2 are crits).
The drow command flee!! Leaving their troops to delay us.
Grumpy is rended and bit terribly by the mountain troll, landing behind the ranks at the creature, in front of Gunner.
Anar hits the already burning trolls with a fireball as Bonnae dumps another barrel of oil on the fire, many troll are killed outright!
Gunnar hits the mountain troll right in the throat as Finnrik and Koku and Thorhamma drop more trolls.
Ylva joins in vs the mountain troll with Brokkr and Finnbogi.
Bjorn and Blagra drop the last champion, Thrand and Ragnar charge into their mooks with Clyde.
Loriel tells the elf priest to cast a rock to mud or the ilk on it, perhaps it will damage it, then steps forward and hits it with a greater shout.
The almost dead Mountain Troll pleads for mercy and leniency!! “I’ll call off the rest of my trolls if you let me live.”
Blagra joins in vs the drow.
Bjorn agrees to its plea.
He backs into the far cavern with the other trolls.
Once a handful of drow have been slaughtered, the others flee for their lives.

We take a long break; Rolf and the elf priestess use some of their magic healing on us we are so beat up, since we have Brasimol left.
We hear him stirring, the wyrm is definitely awake.
Snitch/Narc, the 2 centaurs, Borfromf are now available thanks to the healing as well as Rymak and the elf dedicate.
Many of us have much reserve gone, though.

We start to discuss plans for Brasimol. He is between Old and Ancient based on Loriel, the elf priestsess, and Loriel’s discussions.

Bonnae, enemies with the wyrm, will make her presence known and draw it out into our fighting zone. Bjorn, Finnrik, Thrnad and Gunnar will take the head. The rest are split left and right of the cave opening into its lair to hit the flanks and rear.
Anar will make quickly into the lair for the magic blade.
After some spell prep, Bonnae easily lures it out. It must hate her as much as she hates him.
It walks right out looking around, seeing the 4 PC’s first.
Brasimol “So Kaelen, I see you have assembled quite a host.”
Hjalprek flees in terror, obviously. Modar yells an insult to him as he does.
Finnrik has the warsong going, aided by Loriel and Happy.
Ragnar and Koku get the dragon bane runes. The 2 frost go to Finnrik and Finnbogi.

First to charge in is Thorhamma!! The AoO miraculously misses, fumbling the bite for next round!!
Bonnae has vanished again, heading under the wyrm for the gemstone weak spot. Hakon, Koku, Snitch/Narc, Ragnar follow him in on th elft; On the right Ylva, Kalestios, Fliggol, and Harold hit the flank.
It then attacks, including a 56 hit to Ulf. It’s hasted!! The attack shreds his mail coat!!
Thrand, Finnrik, and Bjorn charge from the front.
All 6 other dwarves charge, and roll under the dragon hacking at its belly!! Brokkr joins them.
Gara, elf dedicate and Bogi join Ragnar at the rear; Ulf joins the front 3 PC’s
Rolf sinks his holy avengetr in to the hilt, the wyrm screeches in pain. Terrible black steam spews from the wound and Rolf pulls back only a piece of his blade!! He is appalled beyond belief.
We get a few crits this round, by Ragnar, Koku and Thorhamma.
Anar is coming down the hallway from the lair. He asks who is getting it, and Bjorn yells to run it to Rolf.
It lifts and flies, then turns. We scatter out best before the breathweapon is unleashed. It hits Thand, Bjorn, Kalestios and several of the dwarves. Grumpy, Kalestios and Bashful are quite the worse for wear afterward. Bashful drops!!!
Bonnae plunges 2 daggers into the scar tissue around the gem and injects acid, and starts prying it out.
The dragon drops downward, belly flopping onto the elf dedicate, Finngobi, Gara and Fliggol.
Kalestios bows out. Loriel runs for Bashful.
Rymak pulls Fliggol out the front of the dragon. Anar runs for Fliggol and gives first aid, barely saving his life. We rush back in, Bjorn plunges his blade into the scarred spot now just after Bonnae drops from it crit 88, knocking the lose gem completely out!!!
Rolf full attacks with the dragon bane blade.
Ragnar crits the rear!! Then hits 2 more times.

The dragon’s heat almost ruins the frostbrand of Ragnar.
It drops DEAD!!!!

Ragnar “I am Ragnar, Dragonslayer!!!”

We start pulling out the others underneath it.

The fibers of skin that were under the gem begin to close up! The gem must be destroyed!! Rolf runs over with the dragonslaying blade and strikes the gem.
It blows in a small fireball around Rolf as it is destroyed, Brasimol permanently dead. The blade a heam of ruined metal itself.
Brasimol lets out a sudden final wail of death before falling completely limp.
The dwarves immediately set to work on its hide.

The Ulfhednar take the heart of the wyrm.

First aid to Bashful, Elf dedicate, Finnbogi.

The mountain begins to shake soon after. We finish and gather out stuff.
The dwarves hack off the head first, claws and teeth. Then all the hide they can get.
We loot all we can until we know it is too long.

Loot:

3000gp
800pp
jeweled wpn = 1500
12 ivory statues = 3500 total
bloodstone idol, shape of person with outstretched wings: 1900
jeweled scabbard (from now destroyed dragonslayer): 6000
Load of imperial coin for troops and followers

We get upstairs. The upper level has caved in!! We take an underground route, going deep underground. After a day and a half we exit into daylight.

Only the headcutter rune is still not used up (Thrand used it vs dragon but never rolled the 20).

We come out near Delios, and go to Archaea where we run into Burns, surprisingly. He takes the dark elf kid off our hands.
He says he owes us for this one. “Favors from me are a valuable thing.”

Kaelen and her gang take their leave from us in Archaea. Rolfgar and Borfromf go with her.

The Ulfhednar perform the ritual to Odin. Spiking the 3 heads of the giant lords around it.
Harog is initiated with the dragon heart.
Late in the middle of the night the Wanderers arrives!!
The pack bows in reference. The Wanderer takes the spear, leaving his walking stick in its place. Gungnir turns into such in his hand. He thanks us for our impressive work and service. As his reward, he has many gifts and blessing to bestow upon Finnrik and his pack. He says Finnrik is officially Alpha Male of a true pack now. "You will all be as one, and the rest of the pack will now flock to you until the full potential is reached. This is the third part of the ritual for the Wolfshapes. When Finnrik calls for the change, Odin will unleash it.

The marriage to Ylva is done this night to end the revel. The Wanderer gives his full blessing.

His left staff has a place of honor at all rituals. It acts as a pack totem to the Allfather.

View
Into White Plume Mountain

Next Day

(second day of heriosm)

The mountain is small, 800’ above surrounding land, constant plume of white smoke from its cauldera, and sprays hot water as well.
Fortunately, the entrance is not up that high. The Lady leads us several hundred feat up to a hole in the side of the Mt., steps leading down. Lady says every time she got w/in a couple hundred feat or so, that dragon stopped her.
We descend a spiral stairscase down. Air is humid, torches and such give off lots of smoke. Its very damp, floor here covered in 1’ water. Lots of algae and fungus. Very slippery layer of scum all about the place.
Difficult to run, charge, sneak, but tracking vary easy.

We follow the hall to a split 3 other ways NE, N, NW.
Approaching the intersection, a Gynoshpinx stops us at the intersection.
It demands we answer its riddle.
Answer is the moon, we get it easy.
“All right then, off you go.” A previously unsees wall of force is dispelled ahead.
“Beware this is the first of several tests to face while here, and I am the least powerful of all.”
Sigrid “We are warned.”

Bjorn leads us NW. The hall turns west. Lady stops us at the turn, there’s is a pit right in front of us under the water.
We turn around, go outside and cut a tree down long enough to span the 10’ length.
Across we go.
Going down a long hall, there are copper looking metal discs on the walls.
Walking into the room, we start feeling warm and uncomfortable.
Finnrik, w/o armor, walks further than the rest now. He makes it to a room. Stairs go up, and it stinks in here, very bad. Like death but no bodies.
Lady and Uhto join him, and Clyde. Then Gunnar.
Bjorn “Look for a way to shut it off!”
The thieves search. Finnrik watches the steps with Clyde. Liz goes behind a decorative curtain on the wall. There is a hideous growl and ghouls poor into the room as she backs off fast. We can see a room beyond now where they came from. They block our escape to the rest of the group. The stench now sickens all of us but Gunnar.
Anar says he will send a wave of cold down the hall, giving us a chance vs the heat if we want to charge down.
Clyde draws his blade which gleams stunningly, sparkling more like. It cuts the arm off of one of the ghouls as Lady attacks another.
The ghouls attack. Uhto is paralyzed.
Finnrik attacks the ghast on him.
SIgrid comes screaming into the room, plowing into the first ghoul shield first. It is sent flying into the next ghoul, who is plowed into the ghast. All 3 hit the floor.
Bjorn comes next down the hall full speed and into the room. Then hurls all over the ghoul to his right.
Bonnie kills that one; Clyde kills one of the prone.
They stand and attack, but Bjorn and Gunnar finish the last off.

Bonnei finds the lever now, and it turns off the heat plates.

We go up to a platform to a single door into a room. Dry floors up here.
A long hall like room goes west/our right some 90’ to door at the end. Bjorn steps in first and slips, sliding into the wall on the other side but still standing, bracing himself against the wall. There is absolutely no friction in here.
There are 2 pits in the room, each 5’ wide and bisecting the long room wall to wall.

Anar and Finnrik slide over to Bjorn, using a rope to hold with each other. Anar teleports us to the door.
Bonnei grabs the sides of her cloak and transforms into a bat, flying to the door as well.
Anar now sees that the far end wall is illusory, and its rocky pumice! Kaelen disarms a trap and unlocks the door. She then flies over, sets this side of the rope in the pumice securely and glides it back to our men. She then flies back over.
Uhto almost falls into the first pit but makes it across.
Meanwhile Kaelen searches the pumice area but finds nothing, but that the pumice has tiny sparkles in it, a rare metallic mineral deposit, she thinks mythril content!! Uhto will be telling the dwarves about this.

Bjorn and Finnrik with Anar go through the door into a corridor to a T section. There is a door both directions. We wait for the others then. Bjorn takes left ending at the door. Kaelen hears water from the other side of the door and a roaring of lions.
Unlocked.
The room is a large inverted pyramid, levels descending into a central bottom area, the levels alternate water tank and dry. Just below us are giant lobsters, then giant scorpions, then monsterous lion seals, then 3 manticores with their wings clipped at the central bottom. We recall the manticores from previously were clipped just the same.
Each level is blocked by glass on the inner side. There is one door on the bottom with the manticores.

We draw the lobsters away from the entrance, once they are away, Kolfrosta comes in and goes to the other side. She drops into the water slowly. She gets at the top and easily shatters the glass. She is pushed through so strongly that it launches her over the scorpion level and into the lion seal water. The side she broke breaks into a 20’ gap in moments. The lobsters are pulled with the current. 3 are rushed out the break. The other 3 are pulled away from us but come to rest. They start walking back toward us.
We jump down and Finnrik bashes the glass open with his waraxe. The scorpions are drowning.
Finnrik leaps into the water, spear ready, to battle sea lions. Stelio follows with a spear as well.
Uhto, Gunnar, Rolf go after lobsters on the now dry level. Bjorn leaps into the water as well with the sea lions. Sigrid stays with the dry lobsters.
Thrand leaps into the water.

The other lobsters are going after the drowning scorpions!

We all go right over into the sea lion chamber.
The water has spilled about calf deep into the central bottom. 4 sea lions to go around. 2 are on Kolfrosta already. Kaelan has flown over to Kolfrasta and drops into the water, 2 short swords drawn. The other 2 come for the rest of us. We make shorter work of them than the others made of the scorpions.
After she Frosta kill one, Kolfrosta is torn up and KO’d underwater.
Clyde leaps in and pulls out Frosta. Kaelen than kills it.
Kaelen gets out and makes the first aid check.

Thrand, Bjorn, Finnrik, Sigrid, Rolf and Stelio drop over the edge in a lie to the bottom, forming an overlapping shield line to protect themselves from the manticore darts as they start firing.
One dart gets through then we unleash hell.
They attempt to pounce on Bjorn, Finnrik and Rolf. Bjorn and Finnrik expertly evade, but Rolf is pinned underneath his and bites down on him, his armor saving him.
That is the last one left, the other 2 taken down easily now. It lays into Rolf badly, biting, clawing, shooting, and again his armor saves his life!
Sigrid then slays it.

The door here has a lock on it, the hole in the shape of a K. Kaelen picks it and opens the door to a hall which ends in a door. No lock visible so Bjorn opens it. The room is 50’ x30’ and luxurious. Lots of rugs, cushions, tapestries, a 6’ hooka! Sumptuous bed or couch, which Rolf calls a devaun. Whatever.
Organized in piles are lots of coins, 4 jewelry; on a desk is a potion, piece of paper unrolled and tacked down; hanging on a wall is a suit of chain. Sitting at the desk is a rough looking halfling scribing, copying the scroll.
“Rescue! Good god its been so long!”
His name is Himmel, captured a long time ago via losing a bet. Master Keraptis and his hideous gnomes came through his area. He stood against them though knew he could not defeat so many. So he made a bet insteat that he could perform certain feats better than the champion gnome “Oddly enough, I failed”. He has been here for however long ago K disappeared. He should be dead, but there is a permanence of unaging on this room.
Kaelen tells him exactly how many years its been. He has been scribing and scribing and feels like he has finally mastered the art of scribing a magic scroll, though he is not a magic user.
He was a very agile fighter, though no slouch in str either.
He really wants to leave. We are worried he’s going to age immediately, but he’d rather that than be stuck in here any longer.
We take all the loot:
200pp
1000gp
11000sp
all minted in old days of the Masters, kingdoms that do not exits but not ancient.
Potion of healing
Scroll of prot vs evil x2 (one that he just finished, he’s pretty sure it will work)
Chain Mail of Fortification +3 heavy fortification
Hooka: 6’ tall, 10 lbs, crystal not glass, gem studded

He has 2 rings of his own he keeps.
Last time he saw a gnome was, he guesses only, at least 20 years. About 10 ago, some guy shows up. Describing him its Bluto!! He originally promised to help him get out, but DIDN"T. Gave Bluto his most prized possession, but he just took it and locked him in anyway. It was a powerful blade, a longsword called blackrazor. He would love to help us if he lives leaving the room.
He offers us to smoke, but we hold off until after our victory.
Bjorn dons the magic chain. Himmel says it is a legendary suit, made for a First in the south named Arius Flusilla Bacato; it was called Arius’s Castle. It is something that some will know of when they see it.

We leave to find Bluto. He knows where he was staying 10 years ago so takes us there.
Himmel does not age to death instantly. We go to the T section and take the right, leading to a circular creek that he says goes to his room. There is also a secret passage in the hall that Anar missed that leads to it.
Bjorn decides on the secret hallway. Himmel opens it with a K symbol of some sort.
The hall goes 60’ then turns north for 80’ to a door. The room that should hold Bluto and men is on the other side of this door. He puts the K to the door and the door vanishes as the secret door did. At the door is Bjorn and Finnrik, followed by Thrand and Gunnar, Stelio/Rolf, Uhto/Anar, Bonnae/Clyde, Kolfrosta/SIgrid guarding the rear. Sigrid is not happy at all with this situation.
We see the stream running through it, floating in the air magically!
The room is set up with beds, tables, etc. Crimson Path stuff all over the walls, huge pic of the Blood Angel in true form. Like a mini temlpe for them. There is a blood stained altar here also. Kaelen was expecting this.
In here is Bluto lounging in a large chair in the NW corner, blackrazor nearby. Plus 8 (2 in full plate tween us and Bluto; one who look like Gunnar in equip by the central altar; one next to the high priest on the other side of the fireplace from Bluto; one with great axe by the altar; another savage looking with a few spear; MaA holding the chain of Brynnhalf; 1 others at at able eating to the right of our entry) a blood cult high priest, and the ambassador to the Frost Giants near Bluto!!! Bluto is berating somebody when we interrupe, it’s his captured son, hands bound behind his back, collar with chain in a guards hand. “What are they giving you that I could not? I think they brainwashed you boy!” as we enter. They go quick for their weapons.
Also, a couple bodies completely drained of blood but not just recently.

Meanwhile, this morning, our backup group arrives and is greeted by the witch. Takes them to her hut. No big party for them, she wants them to make right for the Mt. She does give them the blessings of the marsh which equals a bless spell. Lasts a week as well.
They make their way to the Mt. She tells them how to get in from what Kaelen told her. They hear the sounds of little feet, and are attacked by a force of gnomes coming from the Mt. entrance.
This is happening as the fight vs Bluto is waging.

Bluto fight:
The priest perks his ears up “Lord, intruders!”
Gunnar moves straight in, jumping atop the first table; Thrand follows the near wall straight, moving for the 2 closest to Bluto. Bjorn does the same but on the other side of Gunnar’s table; Rolf and Stelio move just into the room, Rolf moving to the 2 eating; Uhto gets to the door; Anar moves in with Rolf; Finnrik moves just past the eaters for the spearcarrier; Sigrid runs up to the doorway as well, ready to move in once Bjorn isn’t looking. Bonnae and Clyde stay just behind her, Kolfrost watching the rear.
The axeman at the altar moves to block Bjorn and attacks. Bluto then gives Brynnjalf a kick to the side of the head “We’ll talk about this later boy, once I destroy your friends” while grabbing Blackrazor and a shield, and moves up with his pair of guards who are armigers.
STelio moves to the eater.
Bjorn battles the axemaster.
The man standing with the priest is an executionar.
Gunnar throws at one of the armigers, hitting twice. Their axe hurler at the altar throws as Gunnar.
Sigrid moves in behind Bjorn.
The ogre mage head in Finnrik’s sack is yelling help me suddenly.
Himmel turns into Quesnef, an Ogre Mage!! Right next to Kolfrosta. Apparently, the patriarch of the ones we killed at the Rift. Kolfrosta is not happy with SIgrid right now.
Uhto steps into the room and moves around the corner.,
Kaelen yells to everyone else about the Ogre Mage as Kolfrost attacks it. Kaelen hits it with a handxbow bolt, the poison sapping it of 5 str!
Anar fails to cast, and the altar shimmers with a red hue momentarily.
Thrand “No magic, this will take steel!”
The spearman moves in on Finnrik, Finnrik yelling “These spears are mine!” as the enemy deftly rolling behind him but fails to trip him.
The eater taker stands, grabbing his blade, and defends himself vs Stelio.
The chain holder pulls Brynnhalf over by the chain and holds him tight in a headlock.
The priest begins to chant.
The exectutioner wraps himself in his cloak,and he becomes as if cloaked in shadow, dimming in our vision.
Gunnar is able to spot him moving forward at the head of the eaters table and points him out.
Bjorn yells for Finnik to go the the priest.
Thrand charges straight forward to the armigers and runs him through crit 37!
Rolf attacks the spearman’s rear crit!
Both armigers attack Thrand, both heavy maces.
Finnrik spots the exectioner! He leaps upon the spearman’s table, runs across it an leaps upon the fiend 21!
The ambassador joins in on the attack on Thrand.
The axe master disarms Bjorn’s blade! Then misses.

Bluto hails “Blackrazor, Speed me!” Then moves forward, leaping onto the eaters table next to Bjorn.
Gunnar targest their axe thrower now, and hops off the table out of the axe master’s reach, than throws at his new target but hits only once.
Bjorn picks up his magic blade and hits the axemaster. SIgrid hops up on the table Gunnar just vacated and attacks the axe master from high ground but misses.

Quesnef steps back and sends a cone of cold over Frosta, Bonnae and Clyde. They all make the save for half.
Their axehurler hits Gunnar once.
Clyde, Kaelen and Kolfrosta go after Quesnef, Kaelen getting in flanking position and sneak attacking.
Uhto move back out into the hallway and fires his xbow at Quesnef.
Anar joins Rolf vs the spearman, taking Anar down in one stab! Then turns to Rolf.
Finnrik feels something odd, his blood wanting to ooze out of his pours but holds it back. Its the priest’s spell.
The MaA with Brynnhalf knocks the boy out.
Bluto leaps unnaturally back after hitting Bjorn, landing beside the alter.
Bjorn and Sigrid cut down the axe master. Bjorn then steps forward and misses the executioner.
Gunnar now takes aim at Bluto, who stands between he and the axe hurler, slamming him badly once/miss/hit.
Their axe hurler “You throw at my king, I throw at yours” and hits Bjorn once.
Quesnef is in his death throws already. He speaks an arcane word as he hits Frosta. Bjorn’s armor begins to constrict upon him. However, his blades SR stops it!
Kaelen realizes what Bjorn is wearin is not the Castel, it’s his Folley, an identical but cursed version of the real armor!!
Frosta then hits Quesnef DEAD!
Kaelen begins to set him afire.
Uhto misses the executioner.
Spearmen cuts Rolf down!! Then flips his spear and stabs Stelio in the back, flanking with the eating MaA.
The eater hits Stelio twice and he goes down!!
All the blood has been running through lines in the floor toward the altar, now illuminated.
Priest "You’ve met your end, Ulfhedinn! Whatever he tried to do with the altar’s power fails miserably. He is visibly upset.
The MaA at Brynnhalf charges Bjorn and hits.
The executioner tumbles behind Finnrik, but Finnrik AoO is quicker and Crits DEAD!!
Thrand hits one of the armiger again then misses.
They miss Thrand completely.
Finnrik steps up vs the MaA who just dropped Stelio DEAD as he was about to coup de gras stelio.
The ambassador withdraws from Thrand to Bjorn.
Bluto springs back upon the same table again, and attacks Bjorn hitting once.
Bjorn crits 43/miss. He grabs the poor MaA next to him (who ko’d Brynnhalf), and Bjorn’s attack hits him instead!
Gunnar uses his great throwing axe on the same MaA 26 DEAD, then hits the ambassador twice as well. He’s out of axes now.
Sigrid leaps over the ambassador to flank with Bjorn and hits once.
The axehurler is also out of axes too, he’s picking up a few of Gunnar’s.
Uhto misses the spearman.
The myrmidon spearman moves to Finnrik and attacks but misses!
The priest offers a chant to some god, raising his hands upward. The blood spilled in the battle begins to flow toward and into the myrmidon.
Thrand kills the first armiger, then cleaves and crits the other!
He misses Thrand twice.
FInnrik hits the myrmidan twice and bites him as well.
The ambassador hits Sigrid.

Bluto hits Bjorn 17/miss. Then strides back away, next to Sigrid.
Sigrid misses the ambassador.
Gunnar is grabbing axes.
Bjorn hits the ambassador, but he pulls the armiger in front of him instead who is hit, then hits him again.
Their axe hurler ducks behind the altar, out of sight.
Uhto hits the ambassador with xbow.
The spearman misses Finnrik twice.
The priest casts on Thrand. The dead begin to turn pale, their blood being sucked out and to the altar.
He reaches into a groove on the floor nextr to him, pulls up a handful of blood, and begins drawing a square on the wall.
Thrand hits the ambassador DEAD, them moves toward the priest.
The last armiger hits Bjorn 18/miss.
Finnrik hits myrmidon spearman twice DEAD.

Rolf, not fully ko’d, lays hands on Anar and just in time saves his life.
Brynnhalf stands up and grabs his sword lying next to Bluto’s chair.

Bluto misses Sigrid. Then leaps over to the priest.
Bjorn runs moves around the altar ending up next to Bluto, the armigers AoO missing.
SIgrid crits the armiger.
Gunnar moves toward the priest, standing at the altar’s corner.
Thrand spots the axe hurler having snuck around the altar flat on the floor, through the carnage of bodies just before he stands up and runs to the door where Uhto stands and hits him 10. He sees the ogre mage on fire and Bonnae reaching the door with Clyde.
Uhto draws his axe and hits him.
The priest finishes, and the wall in the square becomes a sheet of blood.
Thrand misses Bluto.
The armiger hits SIgrid twice.

Finnrik rushes forward, locking the priest in a grapple. Bluto springs through the portal telling the priest “I hope they’re forgiving, I’ll be with the wizard” with a smile on his face, right past Finnrik and the priest, who screams in surprise as the portal closes.
Sigrid hits the armiger DEAD!
Bjorn strikes at the priest in the grapple 31 DEAD!! “That’s for making a blood portral!”
Gunnar moves and throws 1 axe at their axe hurler 16.
Being a fanatical blood cultist, he refuses to give up. He steps back and throws his 2 axes at Gunnar 9/miss.
Uhto axes him in the back 10.
He hails the greatness of the blood angel, how it will rule the world and all.
Kaelen “I’ve been hearing that from your kind for 60 years.”
Gunnar hurls one mighty throw at him 36 DOWN.

We watch and make sure he bleeds to death.

Considering Bluto’s remark, he must be in there somewhere if he’s with the wizard. We figure that’s Keraptis. He must still be here.

Loot:
10 blood amulets
mst breastplate
mst hvy steel sh
mst longsword
2 suits full plate
2 hvy steel sh
2 maces
6 suits chain
mst greataxe (plus 1 crit range)
6 light weight throwing axes (plus 10’ range increment)
1d10 spear, aka corseque
3 spears

The scrolls the halfling gave us are actually just the opposite,now that Kaelen looks at them closer. We throw them on the Quesnef pyre. The ring he kept is a ring of mirror images (5 chg).

Outside with B Team:

Walking up the path at a stretch about 60’ wide, but strewn with rocks of varying size. From ahead, the gnomes come into view. Arrows greet us first, falling far short. We hear gnomes whooping while a second volley comes in. They are riding boars.
Koku yells :Yeaaaaa!! Featst of roast boar tonight!!"
Some 20 riders in all.
Brand “There’s even enough for Toru.”
Gnomes “By the symbol, by the staff, by the 3 holy artifacts! Blood for Keraptis!”
Behind them now, we see a phalanx of 40 infantry with spear. All wearing the big K blazoned on their leather breastplates within a circle.
Koku thinks to himself ‘what I wouldn’t give for the whole pack’.
Brand and Papa, on our left, position ahead to use cleave and combat reflexes to best effect. The rest of us ready.
Toru is licking his chops to our rear, behind cover, and assesses boar.
They are going so fast on their hooved feat, they swing while flying past our line, AoO are plentiful.
Toru then sees, to his left and behind him coming out of the woodline an organized square of gnomes wielding only axes reciting an arcane sounding warchant. Koku is drooling at the possibilities when he looks behind him quickly.
The phanlanx ahead is 40 men!
Fliggol turns and charges the rear axemen, killing one and knocking him into the one behind it, knocking him prone. Then cleaves another down. Toru turns and fires 2 shots.
Once any riders are dead, the boars like any mount retreat into the woodline.
We make mince meat of their riders. Fliggol and Toru drop the whole first line of axemen.
A gnome in robes steps out head, conjuring a ball of flame, which he sends straight to the middle of our line exploding in a great conflagration. The boars go down, leaving more for us to eat later!!! The cpt’s dire boar even goes down. Other than Toru and Fliggol, only Brand escapes who just moved forward to meet their phalanx.
The axemen use a group tactic attack, in unison, on Fliggol and Toru doing good damage to each.
The phalanx moves forward slowly in formation, anti missile shiled barrier in use, but not quite reaching Brand.
Then, from behind opposite the axemen entry, a horde of 20 swordsmen charge out of the treeline reaching Ulf.
Koku charges the new swordsmen, joining Ulf and Hakon fighting them. Rags goes back to assist Toru. Gurk moves behind a boulder to Brand’s left to face the phalanx. Fliggol is really laying into the axemen.
Tosten charges straight ahead, going tween Brand and Gurk, hitting the phalanx full on. He overruns the middle of their front rank.
The caster hits Dopey with a magic missile.
Brand and Gurk then follow him in; Koku, Ulf and Hakon cut through the swordsmen like lard. Ulf passes out while cutting down the swordsmen leader as Koku cleaves down about half a dozen before no more are in reach.
Tosten is like a wrecking ball in the phalanx’s midst, slaughtering 8 of them.
Dopey makes a charging tumble to the casters rear and hits him. The caster turns, steps back, and fires another arcane missile on Dopey.
One of the swordsmen puts his blade into the ko’d ulf! The rest of the swordsmen and all the exemen flee the battle. Fliggol takes down one more as they do, Hakon two.
The phalanx follow suit, but several are cut down by Brand and Tosten.
Dopey then masterfully bluffs and slays the caster. Koku and Hakon cut down the one stabbing Ulf. The archers all fled a couple rounds ago.
Toru rushes over and gives Ulf first aid.
We rest, and gather the boars for the feast later. The wizard had a handfull of scrolls with a K symbol at the top. No special equipment nor treasure. Lots of chain shirts and blades of avg quality to melt down later, though.
Into the mountain we go soon as Ulf is awake. We hear noise down a tunnel to the left. We prepare for a fight when Bjorn and company come walking into our light.
Tosten greets Lady Bonnae and Sir Clyde happily! They have adventured together before, and have a brief catch up talk.
.
We are all happy about the boar dinner later tonight.

We now have N or NE as an option. Bjorn says straight north, so N it is. Bonnae takes the point with Clyde, ahead to disarm and unlock.
The 4 pc’s plus Anar and Stelio follow behind. Everyone else stays back at the first gynosphinx intersection to wait for word from us. Tosten goes outside soon after Bjorn et al leave, taking Fliggol, Ulf, Toru and Hakon with thim. They start gutting and preparing the boars for spits.

First is a niche to a pool. At the bottom is a wheel to a valve that Bonnae says probably flushes the water out. She volunteers to but Bjorn sends Finnrik instead, Bjorn joining him. They turn it no problem and indeed the water drains out. A secret door is there, ladder going down.
It goes down 60’. Darkness at the bottom.
Bjorn calls the rest of the group up to here. Bonnae is sent down with Clyde, Dopey, Uhto; Koku and Rags ready to back them up with force if necessary, while Bjorn continues forward.
The ladder leads to a darkness spelled area, past that, into a vast chamber. Big torture chamber! A number of gnomes are tied to desks in the process of reading scrolls. One seated at the far end looks a bit mutilated and acts erratic, perhaps insane. Also has a bunch of scrolls laid out in front of him.
Upon seeing us they say “Greetings, yes, read the scolls, read some” in unison but for the mutilated one.
Bonnae thinks they are all mentally whammied by Keraptis. Via scrolls it looks like. They all have the K symbol.
The lone one yells “Hey, hey you! Help me out! Free me, get me out of here!” Says they are torturing them all “I’m not like the others!”
Bonnae “Probably a spy trying to get in our midst.”
“If you kill me, I’ll help you kill this false Keraptis.”
Bonnae “Who are you?”
Struggling in his ropes “I am called Gnintghil.” A wizard, he says.
Bonnae “Is your last name Lufetaf?” It is. She’s heard the name, and he’s a bit off his rocker from what she’s heard. He says the gnomes here were all part of his tribe, here that were loyal to Keraptis. The new K has been capturing and converting the gnomes arcane skilled from outside he could find, using them to get control of their tribe. He confirms its the scrolls that turn one into a mindless drone. This is the indoctrination center. Each other one here is one already, each from a different tribe. 12 here now total.
Only 1 tribe lives here, the one who lived here already. Most of their warr’s recently left to try to stop interlopers from coming up the mountain.
Koku “What do you think Ragnar?”
He then says he knows K’s weakness. For one, he’s hideous. Like a mutant. Can’t speak for a damn either, chirps and whistles every damn word.
Bonnae “Sounds like a mongrelman to me.” She’ll explains that to the northmen.
K’s weakness is to take away his strength which is a staff, very powerful. It’s usually close to him. The only way to get to him w/o his knowledge: the 3 artifacts make you invisible to K’s scrying. Anyone bearing one is blocked in this way. All 3 together create a zone of non detection about 100’ around.
Last he heard prior to being brought down here, a room to the north is a giant crab lair. It guards the trident Wave. The second is accessible by 2 paths: one dangerous the other secret. Only K knows the secret path. Welm is wielded by K’s chief warlord from decades ago is now a vampire named Katenmir. The way K wants you to go is via a room of lava and gysers, across platform discs suspended by chains.
Lady Bonnae volunteers to search for the secret way to Welm and the vampire.
Ragnar frees Gnintghil. Koku and Dopey slays all the drones in the making, lost causes. The whole while they do nothing but tell us how great reading the scrolls is.
Gninthgil can help guide Kaelen around Kaelen free. Bjorn sends Uhto with them.
Dopey stays with us.

Bjorn has moved forward, but Bonnae gets word to him via Sigrid running forward to deliver the details. She then returns to the rest of the group.
They walk into another room with lots of water, a deep pool within. No giant crab.
We cross it and go up steps to 2 doors. One straight, the other to the right.
A voice emites from a small hole in the wall, female, “stop where you are. Who are you and what do you want?”
Bjorn states we are here to conquer. The voice replies for us to stay where we are. A minute or so later the door in the hall here opens. A man and a women walk into the hall. Snarla and her friend Burkett. They are servants of the real true Keraptis, not this imposter. They have been imbued by their master with certain gifts and talents. They are both Firsts as well. They work here though the K is false, but this scum Bluto has usurped their position to the false K, what they and Katenmire were to the first K. Their offer is for us to defeat false K to make sure the 3 holy artifacts do not remain in his hands. Even the gnomes, descended from true K’s chosen ones, can’t be near these artifacts. Some of the leaders have already had ideas to lay claim to them. Snarla says K is in his lair. Go into the Giant Crab chamber straight ahead. The pool there is heated by hot rock deep below and is fed by an underground stream. Through the doors is a ledge but it is all submerged. A tunnel goes from the door to a bubble room further out onto the ledge. The crab lives there, Welm is there too.
Snarla and Burkett say they will help vs Bluto and the false K, but the crab is all on us.
They say the vampire is loyal to the now K. The imprint powers from teh K scrolls have sway over him, as they are part of the true K’s power.
We move forward and into the tunnel, the crab does indeed await us at the end.
There is treasure here, within which Wave lies. A large band is wrapped around one of the giant crab’s claw arms.
Anar Haste spells Thrand and Bjorn. Thrand charges in, provoking the AoO with his higher defense hoping for a miss.
Bjorn and Finnrik then follow suit.
The AoO hits Thrand anyway and it grabs him in a claw, squeezing. Gunnar hits with a throw and Finnrik with a spear before he moves in.
It lobs Thrand to its side 15’ but he lands fairly well. It then hits Bjorn and Finnrik, grappling Bjorn only and squeezing.
Finnrik now with his waraxe attacks.
We bring it down with a huge dedicated blow crit from Thrand and a hit from Stelio.
Whatever the ring was to it, its worthles copper to us.

Loot:
Wave the Trident
1000gp
20 gems: 2x 1000, 5000, 17 others totalling 3935
gold ring 500gp
stone, with lines of color through it, with gold band around it connected to a chain. Anar says its a Luck Stone. 1 time only, you can use a luck stone in a catastrophic time to change their luck for another roll, but it is destroyed. Anyone in the encounter, not just the owner of the stone.

We meet back with the party. We are resting for the night at this point. Toru already has the boar cut up and cooking.
Bonnae has already found the alternate route. A tube off a secret chamber in teh indoctrination chamber goes right to his lair. Long, narrow and dark. Can’t really be done in armor, unfortunately.
Bonnae and Tosten to a lot of catching up, Tosten much older than last time they met. She is also a First.

Snarla says that all we have left in this complex is K with Bluto and the vamp. K has a group with him as well: couple of Efreeti, gnome champion or 2 are his bodyguard. She knows exactly where Bluto and K are staying as well.

Next Day

Bjorn says we go for the vampire first via the secret passage route.
Toru is having a hard time getting going this morning, ate too much boar too late into the night.

The idea is raised of Anar making 2 trips, blipping 4 people total over the lava, so as to come from 2 directions. With him go Pappy, Bjorn himself, Koku, and Rolf. Lady Bonnae transforms into a bat and hangs on Anar’s belt.

Up tunnel, sans armorm climbs Finnrikr and Thrand (borrowing his brother’s flame tongue). Stelio must come also, to witness. Uhto goes as well, in case the trapdoor at the top needs picked.

Brand “Good luck, brother.”

We don’t really know the distances accurately. So, Sigrid, so she feels involved, follows the lava group to the lava room. When they blip across, she runs back to tell the others to start climbing. The lava group waits about the time it takes Sigrid to get back then continues on.

Kaelen has to pick the lock on the door off the patform. The hall of black stone goes 50’ to a big stone slab of a door, like that into a tomb. This is also locked. She finds a trap first, no ordinary trap, its a magical ward. Bjorn dispels it with his blade!
Bonnae “Impressive blade.”

Uhto gets to the top of the tunnel, which is locked.
“I’m not as good as that human girl, mind you.” He starts to pick, and succeeds. Oil drops down onto us as the hatch opens, slicking the tunnel behind him. “My work here is done” and he slides past us.
It now takes climb checks to get up. All 3 succeed. No light visible ahead.
We proceed slowly, its getting quite cold. Colder than a volcano should be. Full of the negativity Bonnae and Rolf spoke of.
Soon, Finnrik reaches the opening. For an instant, is an instant flash of light. For that instant a man is visible, but the spark hits the oil and it lights. for some damage.
As the flame ignites Finnrik lunges upward as quick as he can, striking with the Odin Spear before the vamp can react again and hits!
Finnrick then begins singing. Thrand does the same and hits also. He is then hit once by the vamp’s hammer.
Stelio lights a torch to give us light and climbs up. Unfortunately, its magical darkness.

Thrand feels multiple hands grasping at him trying to pull him to the ground. He is pulled to the ground, he estimates 4 of them. Definitely female.
Thrand hits one of the creatures, it releases a terrible scream DEAD. 2 less hands upon him now!
The vamp hits Finnrick twice more with a warhammer.
Thrand yells to Stelio to dive right over top of me! In the dark, he slams into one of the things on Thrand, now grappling with it himself.
Thrand successfully resists one, but then fangs bite into his neck! He loses 2 constitution damage!
Stelio cries in alarm at being thrown to the ground. Finnrik improves his song and gains tokens.
Thrand throws the biter off of him, misses the other in the dark.
Finnrik is hit twice again and hard.

Stelio hits his vamp spawn.
A flash of light at the door as we hear the door open.
Thrand “Its magical darkness, Bjorn! Dispel it!!”
Finnrik “Its the main vampire and some spawn!”
Bjorn’s blade fails to dispel it, but Bonnae with a scroll dispels it. She moves by the opposite side of the coffin in the middle of the room from Finnrik and Vamp. The torch has been extinguished. Anar’s light now brightens the room. Now we can see!!
Koku “Finnrik!” rushes into the room, across the coffin , and hits the Vampire master from atop it.
Rolf enters the room now, his blade begins to glow with a blue light. It bursts into flame as he crosses the threshold. He goes for the same one and hits as well DEAD! Bursting with flame. He cleaves Thrand’s grappler who was biting him DEAD!
Tosten attacks the vamp spawn vs Stelio and hits
Finnrik hits Ketenmir twice. Thrand hits the last of the spawn twice.

Ketenmyr raises the hammer, and striked the ground with it. The room quakes as if an earthquake had struck. Tosten and Stelio and Bonnae are stunned.

The last spawn hits Thrand, he takes a neg level.

Thrand cuts her down DEAD! Bjorn moves around the coffin to attack position with Finnrik. Koku hits Ketenmyr twice! Finnrik hits once. Bjorn hits as well. Rolf moves in and hits as well.
The vamp hits Finnrik, grabs Rolf and bites him!
Rolf hits once, Frinnrik once, Bjorn hits once. Thrand misses twice.
Rolf hits him and he poofs into smoke, the hammer hits the ground with a deep thundering thud.
His mist floats through tiny cracks in the floor, not the coffin here.

After about a minute, the stunned come to.

Finnrik and Koku open the sarcophagus lid. An acid trap explodes.
Rolf and Kaelen permanently destroy the wives.
Ketenmyr’s personal loot is in here!

Loot:
Gems and jewels and coins = 9000 gp
Welm

Back down with the rest of the group, the hammer gravitates strongly to Fliggol, so he gets to wield it. Legend says its the spawn of the hammer Ilmarinen/Thor wielded.

Thrand now wants to destroy all vampires in existence.

We rest up for a bit, even using some healing flagons and Anar’s healing capabilities.

To the final confrontation: the 4 PC’s, Fliggol now wielding Welm, Burkett, Bonnae, Rolf, Sigrid, Ragnar, Brand, and Papa.
Stelio is in reserve witnessing, with Gurk, Toru, Ilf, Hakon, Koku, and Anar.
Sir Clyde, Uhto, Dopey and Kolfrosta are staying out of this one.

Snarla leads the way via the indoctrination center to a secret hall which leads to False Keraptis’ private chambers.
Burkett “He’s a very dangerous being.”
Lady Bonnae thinks her lost friend may be the False K, somehow brain screwed if so.

Bonnae goes through the notes of this false K while we are resting. The K imprints on the scrolls are pieces of the real K’s essence. As you read them it adds layers of him into you. At first you don’t realize, then you desire so, then you cease to be yourself.
Once the final completion happens, you are unable to be saved. Prior to that, you can be saved by projecting it onto another. Must do so voluntarily.

Snarla gets us to the door. SInce wave and welm help to hide the area from his scrying, he should not be able to see us coming.
We get to ornate double doors. They are sturdy, but old, there is a gap at the crease that Kaelen peaks through. They are talking amongst themselves, and do not know we are here. In a chair far across the room, straight ahead at a huge book, Bonnae sees a short hunched figure holding a glowing staff shod in iron inscribed with all types of sigils..
We see who we expected in the room. Bluto is about 20’ straight in, a table on his far side. The table K sits at is just past that. Another table is to either side of Bluto and just behind him. A gnome stands at either side of the table ahead of him, an Efreet 10’ from each.
2 other Efreeti are in here as well, left and right of the door
Bonnae recognizes the False K as indeed her mongrelman friend Wolk.
Brynjalf is with us as well. He wants Bluto badly.
K is telling Bluto how Bluto’s blood god has failed him, that he could never have defeated the Master’s since one still remains (speaking of himself). K is asking Bluto to convert his worship to him for the greatest power he could ever dream. K says “I have reached my full potential, the world will tremble in fear!”
Bluto retorts “This is not the way of the deal we made” that they were to mutually help each others goals. The K sent the Malenko to help and “Fat good that did, he turned into a puddle of blood soup”.
“Malenko may have been my brother, but his shattered personalities are all utterly unsane. They are a lost cause and shall never achieve their potential.” Reiterates that Bluto should join him to achieve their goals but together and as one. That they must achieve their 2 lost weapons to regain their full power “We didn’t expect those upsarts to gain them.”
Bluto “My lord, I feel in my blood, my spawn is near.”
At that, we bust the balls into the room.

Bjorn “Bluto, I am here to finish what I began.”
They all gasp in shock!
Thrand and Fliggol cut left and right to Efreet. Sigrin leaps from one tale to the other vs the left gnome, Ragnar and Brand go past Bluto to the other gnome. Tosten rolls over the right tablet to the far Efreet on that side, Finnrik to the one on the left side. Gunnar moves in and starts taking aim at Sigrid’s gnome foe. Burkett stands next to Gunnar at the door. Bjorn and Brynnjalf charge Bluto. Bjorn hits 14, Brynnhalf for max. He has no other door out, no blood sorcerer to make a portal for him this time. It finally ends here.
Rolf moves into the room with Burkett. Stelio now stands behind them to witness.

Kaelen lands transforming onto the book in front of Wolk and grabs him, trying to snap him out of it. The book sends a chill through her entire body.
She yells reminders of escaping Langbay together decades ago, saving children, how Wold led them through the sewers saving them all.
Sigrid crits and hits her gnome. Bluto turns with is blade hastening him. He swings thrice at his son miss/hit/hit but almost minimum damage.
Sucking up damage for our leader, the young one has learned fast.
Nox hits Papa then fumbles!
Bjorn hits Bluto twice!
The other efreet attack, one almost taking FLiggol out with 2 hits including a crit. Rolf moves in to help and misses. Fliggol misses him too.
Ragnar misses the gnome; Poppa T misses Nox, the lead Efreet, twice.
K hits Bonnae with a 17 pt magic missile w/o any action; He then casts something using his staff. Kaelen is kocked away 10’. She lands on her feet.
Brand hits the gnome once.
Kaelen knows the staff as a a staff of the magi.
Burkett moves in and helps Brand with a long polearm.
Finnrik with Skrudtingr hits/misses/bites his efreet.

Kaelen leaps off the kocked over chair and clubs Wolk in the forehead with the sap.
Sigrid hits twice on the gnome.
Bluto kicks Brynnhalf back 5’ then hits Bjorn then misses. Brynnjalf moves back in and resumes his attack.
Thrand hits his efreet twice.
Nox recovers his fumble then hits Papa.
Gunnar throws at the gnome again twice DEAD.
Stelio can’t handle just watching any longer, rolls over the table to assist Papa next round vs Nox.
Bjorn misses Bluto twice, power attacking.
The other 3 efreets counterattack their opponents. Box misses Thrand twice; Cox hits Fliggol DOWN!! Then turns on Rolf and misses.
Finnrik is hit twice. Rolf lays hands on Fliggol using full power bringing him back up.
Brand is hit twice by the gnome. Ragnar and Brand both hit it. Pops misses Nox twice.
Keraptis is a bit woozy for a moment, hits Bonnae with another Mag Mis, then holds his hands up and a shimmer goes around him.
She is still yelling to him to come to his senses. He looks up “Their is no Wolk here, I am only Keraptis. I did well to shed that beastly intellect.”
She sees right into his eyes, and sees the slightest hint of Wolk behind them.
Finnrik hits twice and bites again.
Burkett still helping Thrand.
Kaelen grabs a scoop next to the fire, and dumps hot wood coals right in Keraptis’ face. It bounces off of the field.
Sigrid leaps down behind the other gnome and hits.
Bluto hits Bjorn 16 and hits Brynnhalf too. He crits Bluto! Then fumbles his second attack as it catches on Bluto’s armor on the way out.
Thrand his his efreet twice DEAD. Gunnar now targets Rolf and Fliggol’s Efreet miss.
Bjorn crits Bluto and cuts a small gap in the armor as well (sword’s magic) then hits again. His arm there falls to the floor separated from his body DEAD!!
Thus fell Bluto!!!!
Rolf hits and misses the efreet.
The Efreet remaining have waited to all go together. They 3 raise hands forward, beams come from each going right to Bjorn! Going through Rags/Brand/Finnrik/Rolf to get to him.
Bjorn is hit and effected by only 2.
Fliggol stands and hits the efreet 7.
The gnome misses Sigrid. Ragnar hits it; Stelio hits the efreet then Tosten crits!
Kaelen sees that there seems to be a slight internal struggle in Keraptis/Wolk’s mind. His eyes flare up a few seconds. He looks up at her “Miserable woman, have at you” the shimmer goes away and a stream of flame from his eyes misses her badly as he struggles within. Tapestries burn, a bookshelf lights up. By the fire place, a swirling black hole opens up.
Brand hits the gnome DEAD! Burket moves to help Rolf and Fliggol.
Finnrik hits the efreet twice and bites it.

Kaelen grabs the book and tosses it in the fire.
Thrand now charges to FInnrik, Brynnhalf to help Rolf et al. Gunnar hits the Rolf et al Efreet again DEAD.
Stelio misses then crits Nox.
Bjorn goes to help Tosten et al now but misses.
NIx “Nox, I’m out of here.” They begin turning into small balls of fire.
Poppa attack the ball on their side but misses, Rags runs to Thrand and Finnrik but misses.
Kaelen sees a huge sinister demon coming for the gate, fiery wielding a flaming whip.
SHe sees the mental battle more clearly for a second. One voice is K “MY book, my book!” Then Wolk “Kaelen, my friend!” The K voice “I will not be defeated so easily” and the book iteslf is screaming and howling in the fire!! As the Balor begins to step out of the gateway, Wolk cracks the staff into 2 pieces. It explodes terribly.
All the gateway mess in here, that’s what the efreet were doing as well, trying to gate out, messes everything up.
A ghost of some kind flies out of the body of wolk and into Nox’s fireball and it blips out with a wail. The Balor gate ruptures as he is halfway through, destroyed on the Prime Material.
Burkett leaps through the door toward Snarla who was casting, and both are surrounded by an entropic sphere, protecting them.
We have visions of feasting and fighting in a meadhall with heroes who have been dead for a long time, including Erik.
In the midst of wrestling and brawling, an older man breaks things up “If you’re just visiting, you gotta go.”
Valkyrie guide us out the door and we wake up surrounded by our entire army. Luckily, those of us who stayed back were in range of the effect.

We are far south with the rest of the expedition where they were awaiting us. They say we’ve been gone almost a month. When we were overdue, a group went looking for us. They found the Steading and talked to the orcs there. Found the trail to the Frost GIants, then backtracked to here. Some old woman living in a hut outside of the Mt.gave us all of your bodies which she had been caring for but not waking. They took us all back south, its been 2 days here when we began to stir last night. Sitting outise of the Mt they alse met up with an elf woman named Loriel and a dark shady guy going by name of Volcifar.
Kaelen has no visions of the festivities. Instead, they were interacting with Wolk who tells his tale: coupel years back they had found the Magi Staff. He had been studying it, the first of the imprints were in teh staff and it caught him off guard. Then we found the spellbook, which was also K’s. Every page was a constant barrage of Keraptis minor imprinting. He then felt the desire to study them, unknowingly becoming addicted. By the time we showed up, he was fully imprinted but only just before. Like 98% K. When teh book was burned, it shattered a primary hold on his psyche. Once the Balor came in and slaughtered all, K was going to disintigrate Kaelen. Wolk stopped that, and instead he still blew the place up. But, with the other gates open it warped everything.
Hence, here we all are.
Wolk is legitimately destroyed though. So when Kaelen and Clyde wake up, that’s the end of Wolk. He rests in the afterlife now. But they got one last goodbye at least.

Now, we voyage on after only a few more days rest.
The orcs have already built longships under the guidance of our men and go with us.
We land on the far end of the Sea of the Masters.
Bonnae will stay. She has business with Brazzamal, a monster we might want to destroy as well. SHe has a mole in the Fire Giant layer, that’s where Brazzamal lives.

View
Arrival to Environs of White Plume Mountain

We go to the hut first, about a mile away. A small waterway passes through this area, making it a bit wet and marshy.
The hut is modest. A young and beautiful woman is in the yard doing chores. She greets us friendly with a soft, alluring voice “I am Therja.” She is a hermit seer/witch sort. She knows each of our names already, and will “be a great benefit to us while we visit this area”. She says we have specific things to do, that we must complete before achieving our goal for she knows the evil man in the mt and the reborn Keraptis. She will explain all about that later, for the day stay here. Tonight we drink heavily of mead, wine and ale. It will flow all night long.

We have some of the most savory meats and fantastic mead and wine and ale ever.

At a high point, she passes out drinking horns to the lot of us to keep, filling it up with a brew we are not sure what it even is but its grand.
Bjorn makes several attempts to seduce her and succeeds.
We think we start hallucinating after this magical brew. There come to be many partiers: ferries, satyrs, trolls of varying sorts, etc.

We get only a few hrs sleep, but wake up w/o hangover and feel like a 1000gp.
She is already awake and ready to brief us fully.
We effectively drank a 7 day potion of heroism.

First, Dragotha, once a dragon but now an undead wyrm. A terrible foe. He must be slain because he is a major power source and allie to those living w/in the mountain.
He is basically a skeleton, so blunt force is especially useful. He is a spellcaster. Large DR vs magic. Small vs all but bludgeoning. His presence itself has been known to make ever great heroes flee for their lives. Also, and acid breath weapon, which does have the limitation of being a straight line.
Bjorn “I’m thinking we probably should have brought Gudrun.”
She replies, not too far off, lives her sister. An archrival of Dragotha. She knows of your coming as well. From unseen, she will aid you vs the dead wyrm.
Once he is slain, make for the Mt. itself.

Second, there is another person on the mountain on their own quest. You can’t accomplish your goal unless she is with you, its a certainty. It matters not if you complete your own personal goal of Bluto, the real threat, the real path the nornts have for you, is something else. A greater evil in their than Bluto that even he does not know he is beholden to. Whether this is the Keraptis rumor, she does not know.
Dragotha is half the reason why this other woman has not entered the mountain yet.

Thrand asks about cold iron, and she says that will work just fine.
She says Brynjalf was too headstrong, and did not stay to be enterained. She believes him dead by now.

Stelio, not liking to advertise, let’s it be known he has a magic blade but keep it secret in the Empire.
Rolf says he has capabilities for at least a few holy blows to hit well.
Anar can enhance 2 blades to magic with a pre fight ritual, for a limited time. He will release the effect at the fight. These go to Kolfrost (8 rounds) and Sigrid (5 rounds).

She details the directions to the wyrm’s huge cave at the swamp, it will reek of death in the area. She sends us off. We skip the woman on the mountain and make straight form Dragotha, only a couple miles away at most. A cave jutting from the brakish water, dead bodies bloated for days float around it. Even the insects are devoid from the area.
Cave entrance is huge, we walk in spread out.

The water is knee deep and the soil underneath is a bit mushy. We have to walk carefully. We enter as spread as we can. The cavern narrows slightly after about 40’, but then opens again to an even larger area.
Bjorn, Thrand and Stelio are in the lead as we get to the opening. Finnrik and Kolfrost behing them, Anar and Rolf just behind them. Sigrid brings up the rear.
Lagging farther back are Uhto and Gunnar.
We assume the dragon knows we are here by now, and Finnrik begins a war chant.

There are 4 stone pillars going floor to ceiling, which actually look worked. The bodies lying around here are more decrepid. He must be pickling the ones outside.
Under the water, spanning semmingly much of the room, is piles of treasure. The water gets deeper in here though. The treasure high spots should be capable of being used as land, if loose.
Right at the entrance, a wide stairway the width of the entrance goes deeper into the water.
Bjorn says to back off for a minute. Get your heavy armor off or change to lighter armor. Drowning may be worse than the dragon’s attacks.
Thrand starts taking off his mail, leaving his under leather only. Rolf follows suit, though begrudgingly.
Kolfrosta and Stelio follow suit as well down to leathers. Same with Bjorn.

Thand after a failed run attempt, makes the running jump succesfully to a pile of treasure to our left. Finnrik swims to one on our right. He feels a small dropoff right on his left. Bjorn walks right down the middle, passing the same small pit but to his left.
The ceiling is vaulted in her, outside our torchlight at its center.
Rolf slowly walks to the bottom step and mutters a prayer. Finnrik sets his torch securely in the pile. Stelio begins walking to Finnrik who makes a short hop to another pile right next to it after he helps Stelio up.
Finnric sets another torch on this pile securely. Then he hears a light swooshing behind him. All in the room feel an immediate sense of dread as Dragotha rises to the far right, adjacent to Finnrik.
Sigrid “Brother!!”
Finnrik, Sigrid and Thrand are not shaken in the slightest, Sigrid even begins salivating at the chance of being part of the killing such a foe!!
All others are shaken.
It makes surprise attack upon Finnrik with its bite 19.
Sigrid jumps over to another pile to the right, climbs to it then jumps to and grabs onto one of the pillars, readying to leap upon the wyrm next round.
Bjorn begins slowly wading around the pillar to Dragotha’s right/Finnrik’s left.
Gunnar moves into position at the steps edge and readies to throw a javelin of lightning.
Anar hits it with an eldritch dart. Thrand jumps into the water, though not very far, and almost hits a pit and goes down. Bjorn walked right past this pit as well. What herioc luck to have missed both! Then moves right next to Finrik’s pile, and over another hole skillfully.
It breaths its breath weapon right through FInnrik and Stelio. The damage to Finnrik is absorbed by a protection spell by Therja’s sister!! Then the same to Stelio as well!!
Kolfrost move next to STelio on his pile; Stelio jump next to Finnrik
Rolf goes around the small pit and onto the pile Finnrik and Stelio were on together briefly.
Finnrik misses it twice.
We hear the sounds of a groaning, like from effort, from above Sigrid on the pillar.
Sigrid sees a person atop the pillar, trying to push a statue which crowns it off and onto Dragotha, then leaps atop it but her blow is futile as Anar releases the blade enhancing spell.
Bjorn gets to the fiend and makes one attack.
Gunnar hits it with a lightning bolt and it fails its SR.
Thrand goes underwater and swims to within its boneness.
It grabs Finnrik in one claw, but Finnrik is able to keep his arms free. It then bites him.
Bjorn is enchanted with Greater Heroism by Therja’s sister. This negates the fear as well!
Finnrik fumbles his attack on the wrist.
Rolf calls upon the power of Imbrun, and a flow of positive energy releases in a pulsing wave into Dragotha.
Stelio actually hits it once. Kolfrosta moves now. getting tween the pile STelio and Finnrik are upon and Sigrid’s pillar but misses.
From atop “A little help here, perhaps!”
Sigrid hears a globbering sound and a small furry humanoid comes down from the darkness above onto the statue the woman is pushing. It teeters half a moment, and falls upon Dragotha’s head and neck, crashing into the water below. The splash puts one of the torches out in the piles.
It sinks into the deep hole it is in, which Thrand is near. The water disturbance sends Kolfrosta under and into the deep hole.
Finnrik takes the surpise hit to get out falling out and into the water next to Kolfrosta.
Sigrid is still unable to do any damage.
Anar sends a small ball of fire at it, which fizzles on its SR.
Bjorn misses it twice.
A ray of power appears out of nothing above and in front of it, hammering it for 81!! Therja’s sister!
Thrand comes up underneath, grabs onto its ribcage, and starts hacking. He misses twice.

Our dice are utterly failing us!!

Dragotha attacks. It bites Stelio; it then claws at Thrand inside its ribcage, bringing it to an awkward position.
Stelio misses; Rolf moves in next to Stelio now and hits it with a smite!
Finnrik and Kolfrosta rise from the water, Finnric hits 29!
Sigrid moves up to its neck joint and starts sawing its head off 12 “Bjorn, we’re going to take it!”
Bjorn thinks she’s crazy as a box of badgers.
The woman atop the platform throws a glass vial onto Dragotha’s head and it
Bjorn hits once 18.
From above “Half grim’s blade, I know it anywhere even reforged!”
Anar sends another bolt at it and misses.
Thrand hits 31/miss.
Stelio is not feeling well, and Therja’s sister must know it. He is hit with a displacement spell.
It tries to grab Thrand, but his AoO hit ruins it. It then leaps upward, Finnrik’s, Kolfrosta’s AoO hitting.
It flies upward and hovers above us.
Finnrik starts climbing up SIgrid’s pillar where the mysterious woman is, who climbs down with the furry humanoid thing, its a gibberling!!!
Finnrik “The lemmings of the north!” Yet it wears gear: leather belt and shoulder strap with a longword.
Finnrik “Where are you going, woman?”
“To safety.”
It makes a wide ark to come back around. Rolf lays hands on Stelio.
Sigrid saws for 11, using ride to stay atop it.
It flies forward, looping around and toward us overtop Bjorn and breaths acid upon him.
Sigrid’s magic on her blade ends.
Bjorn is hit with the acid resistance as well now just before it washes completely over him.
Finnrik gets to the top.
Sigrid leaps off into the pit it was standing in, so as not to hit any floor, coming up next to Thrand.
It bites at Finnrik as it goes by, going by us and glancing off the wall in the corner, landing.
A mass Enlarge Person is cast by Therja’s sister, missing only Finnrik of the main combatants.
Its up to about its ribcage in water.
Sigrid “I’m huge!”
Finnrik leaps from his height, landing from his height about 10’ short of it. We all start swimming for it. Sigrid goes under the water with Thrand.
It turns around.
It bites Bjorn, claws Kolfrosta and Finnrik.
Kolfrosta hits it 18!!
Finnrik hits 19 DEAD!!!!

It falls into pieces, random bones splash. A flash of light within it flashes white, turns to red, and shoots off into the treasure horde.

Thrand and Sigrid rise from the water. We praise our victory as the mysterious woman comes over.
Sigrid “Yeah, we cut it down, I rode an undeady wyrm, by Odin!”
We start looting, as does she. She grabs a few things and starts putting them in her bag, claiming they were stolen from her “so they are mine.”

There are thousands of ancient coins about.

What we can get out of here:
Incandescant blue sphere ioun stone
vibrant purple prism ioun
scarlet and blue sphere ioun
pink and green sphere ioun
huge diamond: 2000gp
3’ statue of rampant dragon carved from ruby: 5000gp
800 of the ancient coins worth about 2400gp in total

The woman finally officially approaches us “We are no one of consequence. My name so far as many know me Lady Bonnie, Contessa of Salt Marsh.” Her loyal sidekick is named Clyde “He loves Sir Clyde.” She is here to find a friend of here who came here not long back, fearing the worse for him, may have come across something that brought him trouble. The rest of her company are several weeks travel away, she came by herself on such a personal mission. The dragon has caused her problems getting in, saw us and figured it was her chance. Has a hunch who we are.
To Bjorn “If you aren’t the heir to Halvgrim, you better kiss your rear goodbye.”
Thrand “I believe he officially is.”
Thrand details who we are, and the short of our coming here.
Bluto is part the reason why she is here too. She is a First, has been alive for some time and knew Halvgrim and can relate many tales. She was alive and around him when Halvgrim killed the dragon and got his blade. Served as a merc in Langbay when she was young there.

We return to the witches hut with us.
Bonnie tells many tales of Halvgrim and the siege of Langbay in her time, Bluto’s grandfather, the Masters’ vanishing. She tells us of Sarge and Lance. They sacked Langbay with us!! Ironic!!!
She wants to get into the mountain, her mage was studying abroad and began acting weird last year or 2, obsessive. Sometime last year he took off, she followed his notes and discovered a reference to the mountain. So, here she is.
She will enter with us.
Sigrid "What’s your skill set?
“Yes.”
Sigrid nods “Ok then, good to know.”
We nod around at each other.
She says she is best at being sneaky, in all its incarnations.

Thrand to Therja “Tell your sister thank you.”
She says she’s actually here, now that you’ve proven yourself to not be repacious murderers or crusaders (she looks at Rolf).
The sister entrers from another room, very beautiful as well. Dark raven black hair. She is the middle sister, Thrigga, not the one that helped us.
The eldest gorgeous redhead enters, Thingizzard, who assisted us in the battle.

They say he is still alive, recharging in his phylactery.
Thand shows them the statue and they say, oh yes, that’s it.
Destroy it and destroy him.
They know not how. It is pure ruby and enchanted with arcane and dragon magic, and another layer of quasi necromancy which was used by a fanatical blood cult that once terrorized the land. Most weapons would break, there should be a special way to destroy it.
We must keep it for now.
Perhaps in Plume somehow, we know Bluto was linked to a blood cult.

We celebrate the defeat of Dragotha heartily tonight.
They put some healing on us so that we are perfect by the moring.

Keraptis had an army of fanatical gnomes, kicked out the his homelands; travelled to far reaches, learned many new powers but became even more twisted than he was. Settled in Plume than one day simply vanished. One of the signs that the Masters’ were leaving, in Celestia’s prophecy.
Not sure if they were related or friends, but the Master Malenko had a similar story, disappearing at about the same time. But, at the time they disappeared hated each other with a passion.
K ended up as a lower echelon Masters to Peldan, Malenko to Imbrun; hence opposing loyalties. We know Bluto had a Malenko as his wizard.

They ID the ioun stones for us. Mined by the Masters and they shaped them, naturally magic stones. They go to Thrand (wis), Anar (spell storing), and we leave 1 here for Rags (cha). Gudrun will get the intel one when we get back.
Same big party as before, but no magic drink. Lots of friendly drinking, strength, wrestling contests, etc.
Tomorrow, to the Mt.

View
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.
Yeti team: Ulf, Hakon, Sigrid, Kolfrosta, Toru, Brand
We select the dragon team: 4 PC’s, Koku, Knight, Anar, Fliggol, Papa, Gurk; Stelio will be there to primarily observe.

Yeti:
Its cave is near the entrance to the rift, quite windy. Snow is above ankles here.Sigrid remains sans long pants with no ill effect. A northern and southerly passage both seem to go to our destination. We take the south, Sigrid and Kolfrosta in the lead, Ulf and Hakon behind, then Toru, with Brand last watching our rear.
It leads quickly to a very large, elongated room. Snowy and cold and rocky, much evidence of food including humanoids; some hanging from the ceiling with blood drippings below. To our right, the other tunnel enters. Further that way at the end of the cave is a tunnel into another chamber. We enter cautiously. We pass the other entrance.
2 yeti we see ahead, attempting to sneak through drifts but we spot them. Toru sees another coming at us from behind from the 2nd tunnel.
Toru assesses and they attack.
The front 2 go down at teh same moment, Kolfrosta and Ulf one (frost 2 max damage in a row) and Hakon and Sigrid (sneak attack and tumble to flank crit, respectively).
Hakon, Toru and Brand see a massive 12’ tall Yeti coming at us from our front, it was silent and almost perfectly blended into the snow.
The hilt of a sword is sticking from its rib cage.
Toru is able to warn Sigrid just in time. It lashes out at Sigrid who blindly moves her shield behind her head and barely blocks the attack.
Brand slays the yeti in the rear.
SIgrid tumbles to the rear flanking with Hakon allowing him to sneak attack, and she grabs for the hilt and with a mighty pull draws out what was once a greatsword. The blade must be broken off inside him but it is made of great skill. It roars in pain and blood and puss flows from the would freely. Kolfrosta and Ulf join the attack.
Turu now turns and fires, hitting max damage like all of his attack this fight. When he eats he eats, when he hits he hits, and when he gets sick, he does so like no other.
The huge Yeti goes for Hakon, but Hakon deftly avoids the grab; it slashes a claw upon Kolfrosta; it then turns and stomps upon Sigrid. She, Ulf and Hakon are all in flank with one another.
We retaliate, Brand moving up to join. Ulf crits DEAD!
SIgrid slashes it open and finds that it is in the process of dissolving into a pool of fur and goo. All that remains is the remainder of the greatsword. It has a kris blade; just above the break if flares out into 2 small spike blades.
crits 18; plus 1 defense for the sword grabbing.
Loot:
11 ivory tusks, weighing 100lbs total: 800gp each
The Elfin Spring is here, so we call in Bjorn who dunks his new forged blade within. The runes glow, the inside of the blade still hot. There is a blast of steam; the runes no longer burn red but are a solid gold color.

While we are fighting, the dwarves will immediately begin to string and spike in lines to delay any attempted flight to escape.

Dragon:
We know the sinkhole is about 70’ above the floor of the cave above the front of where he sits. Its only 40’ above his platform.
From above earlier, we could see armor and weapons withing it. Finnric claims all spears.

Gudrun has prepared some runes for us (after first use, 25% chance it goes away each round unless noted otherwise):
Rune of Dragon Slaying (Koku): plus 4 to hit; triple damage
Rune of Mighty Striking (Finnric’s Waraxe): one time use, next blow does plus 10 damage
Rune of Reinforcement on armor (Bjorn): plus 10DR beyond your normal
Rune of Warmth(Gunnar): plus 1 vs cold eff; 24 hour effect
Rune of the Shield (Thrand): string of 3 runes upon a shield; magical barrier through which nothing can pass; first 3 damaging attacks are nullified
She says the key to killing it is to find a weak spot in its hide and hit it hard.

The dwarves give us many pointers on fighting dragons as well, including some sensitive spots.

Anar casts a blessing of the Master’s upon 7 of us and himself. Finnric and Koku will operate under Finnric’s singing.

The boulder is moved away by Finnric, Koku, Papa and Gurk. The room is enormous. There are a handful of terrain features scattered about we could use as cover, and a raised area to our left. The dragon sits 30’ atop a rocky flattop littered with treasure.

Bjorn, Koku and Finnric will leap upon it from above; Anar will teleport Thrand and Sir Rolf to one of its flanks; The rest will charge in the open door which will start things off, taking the first cover on the way.
All of us but Fliggol, Anar, Stelio and Gurk drink an ounce of the feywine.

Our initial team gets to cover, Tosten going around the other rise to get to his other flank.
The dragon is male.
Finnric hurls Gungnir upopn leaping, drawing his waraxe on the way down.

The teleporters appear and use the 1/day flame blasts to great effect. Koku’s blow is immense 90, blood spurting from teh gash. Stelio exclaims at the sight of the bloodletting. Koku and Finnric (using the rune too) both max furious striking! Bjorn’s also hits.
All but Thrand are shaken with fear; Anar and Gurk are paralyzed by it!

The dragon turns at an angle right, wraps its wings under its body, and rolls down upon Gunnar.
Koku and Bjorn leap off in time. It rolls down, smashing a pillar of stone at the base. Finnric climbs across the scales, hitting the gap of the drop in height, and remains on his back as it hits the bottom. Thrand and Anar and Rolf are swiped by its tail roll as it passes.
Gunnar is pinned into snow, rock and coin underneath him. Anar is knocked to the ground.
Bjorn does a leaping attack off the platform but misses. Finnric’s blow glances off scale. Thrand moves down 1 level of the platform and hits the tail, Rolf follows but must double move. Tosten moves forward to cover adjacent to the dragon.
Koku goes for a rush off the platform but falls in the loose treasure and is delayed the round.
Gunnar escapes from under the wyrm, out underneath his wing next to Bjorn and aims at the underwing.
The wyrm full attacks:
Bite to Bjorn hits 21, then claws 14
Wing buffet to Koku and Gunnar but misses both
Tail vs Thrand and Rolf miss and hit, respectively.

Papa now charges out to its face and attacks the chest and fumbles.
Fliggol moves in under its left wing; the AoO crits him then he misses.
Thrand delays his action.
Bjorn attacks the right shoulder and hits.
Finnric climbs up the neck and swings over the forehead for the eye but just misses.
Rolf attacks the tail and crits with the flame tongue.

Thrand spots a weak spot at the root of the tail and leaps with his blade to plunge it in 40!! Its AoO misses!
Koku slides down a level next to Thrand and attacks the right leg miss.
Gunnar, Thrand having taken the AoO for him, hurls at the softer underwing right in front of him hitting 30 and missing.

The dragon is wobbling now.

It bites Tosten and misses!
Claw to Bjorn crits .
Fliggol, Koku and Gunnar all hit by wings.
Thrand’s run negates a tail, Rolf is hit by it as well.

Papa recovers his fumble.
Gurk charges in now and joins Fliggol at the wing hitting.
Finnric, Thrand and Bjorn crit simultaneously!!

It topples DEAD at the ruination wrecked by Bjorn, Thrand and Finnric!!

Finnric "What do you think Stelio? Hahahaha!

Bjorn lops the head off, Finnric cuts its heart out.
Bjorn quenches his blade into the blood. The runes go from a dull gold to true gold and takes on its full abilities.

We open the folding boat and pack it with the major stuff.
Loot we take now:
8 silver boxes 1500 ea.(filled with ivory, 4500 total)
Statuette of the winged woman, the dwarven crown we are here for
7 white marble statues life sized 4000gp total
24 weapons: 2 are mst
9 shields all normal
8 armor: 1 mst
several potions: 3 magic the rest alchemical.
Bjorn’s sword detects magic! The winged woman statue is magical, as is a suit of black chain mail.
Rolf says the winged woman is of an ancient true Celestine, descended from angelics! Semi holy beings to the Return Covenant.

Fliggol makes sure to tell the dwarves of Anar’s paralyzation later, hahaha!
Finnric recalls: Thorulf and Vidulf had a debate when we were younger concerning the concept of dragon scale armor, for future reference, about their desire to make a suit.

We hear the boulder being moved. Seems several giants may have heard a commotion.
We shrink the ship and take cover behind raised platform to the dragon’s right front which Tosten ran around.
5 FG enter, they are all karls to Grugnar. One carries a huge bag over his shoulder. They walk in talking "Oh great Frostbreath, we bring more tribute to add to your glorious….GASP!!!! and drops the sack. All 5 rush to the body and begin looking all around.
Bjorn whispers “Go, out now.”
Anar blips into the hallway with Fliggol and Rolf. The rest of us start sneaking out.
They turn as our last couple, Tosten and Stelio, exit the room.
We rush to get upstairs when one of the says "These are the footprints of men, ha ha ha.’
We get back upstairs in the rift.

We go straight to Vasti to return his swords and get Bjorn’s belt. They are still up, waiting for us. They whisper us inside, we trade back, and leave to our rooms.
He says “You’ve helped out in more ways than you know, manlings.”

We start going back to Mog’s area where we stay. Finnric notices a handful of wolves as we are crossing the rift, hunting game in the distance. White wolves.
The vision showed only 2, Finnric thinks this is not the correct moment.
Once we return, Finnric gets his group and his Ulfhednarr goes out to investigate.

Next Day

Mog wakes us up after the sun has risen “The Thing is beginning”. Something big they are going to be addressing at the Thing, he says. The herald from Grungar specifically said all leaders and their human guests should be present in a couple hours from now.
In the meantime, we go out and enjoy the fair.
Finnric’s Ulfhednarr antagonize the hill giants every time we see them, some of the others join in. Bluto’s man and the Ogre Magi are always nearby the HG.
Whenever we get the HG flustered, they stop them from loosing their cool. Finnric tries to get one of them to arm wrestle, Sigrid to see which one of them could stand in a snow drift up to their waist for the longest.
No takers.
Lots of games going on, many of us take part.
Food is brought out, giant mutton included.

Noon, the horn blows and all prepare for the legal. No one has mentioned the dragon. Each camp sits with itself.
The elders and law speakrs gather and lay out the plan for the proceedings. Challengers to Grugnar’s alliance ldrshp will be heard, some other legal matters.
“But first, Lord Grugnar has a few things to say “Last night, a great and terrible tragedy has begallen the alliane. Frostbreath the dragon met his end.”
Gasps and horror all around. Murmurings abound.
A big gang of giants arrive bearing the remains on a huge litter “You can see burn marks at certain cuts, more all over the body. Small footprints were found in the snow at the cave entrance. Only one person brought humans here.”
Bjorn “That’s not true. WHat’s that over there.” pointing at Bluto’s man.
“Why would they kill a dragon.”
We press Bluto’s dishonorability and evil, and that of his men.
The man stands :“Lord, there’s only one of me.”
Bjorn “Yes, and 5 of those magic Ogres who wield magic. Where else do you thing those burns could have come from, but from magic!”
Bluto’s man is taken aback, not at all ready for this.
Bjorn “I’ll tell you how we settle this. By swords. My champion vs his champion.”
Grugnar agrees. As does Bluto’s man, Sir Hammond.
Hammond chooses Gary.

He goes for an intimidate on Finnric, who fails to shaken, but his inspire courage cancells it. Finnric’s inspire doom then effects him.
Finnric hurls a hunting spear into him, his block missing. The spear has a line attached, tied around Finnric’s shoulders.
Gary casts a cone of cold. Finnric takes only 7 having readied a leap to one side.
Finnric charges and grapples him for furious strike 19. He fails to escape. Finnric unleases a furious strike bite, his cloak fully activated 25! Gnawing his face off. Gary puffs into a cloud of gas, the spear stuck in him left on the ground.
Finnric “Does this mean I win, is this a retreat?” stoking and drawing his waraxe.
He comes back into form holding his sword 10’ to Finnric’s left and charges Finnric for 28. Finnric retaliates with a max w/ furious strike 27/miss.
Gary hits 19/miss. Finnric hits 21/17. Gary hits and misses; Finnric hits twice DEAD!!! Finnric takes his head off.
Finnric claims his weapons in the name of Bjorn and hands them to Bjorn when he gets to his corner of the square.
Thrand “That means Bluto’s man is guilty, right?”
Grugnar decrees Sir Hammond was obviously the slayer.
The lawbringers tell Sir Hammond he must return to White Plume and inform Bluto of the preceeding events and demands an wurgild for his crimes and apologetic emissary.
Grugnar “You have 5 minutes to be gone from my presence.”
Hammond "You are a bigger fool than I first expected. Good luck ‘fair Jarl’. I fear your doom is coming. Hammond lays a chain out in a figure 8 pattern, steps into it and vanishes in a flash. The other 3 ogre magi will remain until the new emissary arrives.
Grugnar gives his apologies for is false claims.
He stands up to continue the proceedings but Mog stands “Hold up!” He points out Grugnar’s loss of prestige after the slaying of the wyrm; “I no longer accept your rule as Jarl!”
Grugnar “IT’s been so noted, Mogthracir (somewhat exasperated). What makes this claim any different than before?” insisting he can slay Mog with blade or wit and reigns by power and right.
Vasti then echoes much the same Mog just said, adding his poor choice of allies judging by the treason and the emissary himself “nor do I accept your rule”.
Grugnar “That being the case, Hagling, as the 4th clan lord, what say you? Do I continue rule or do you also vote against me?”
Hagling stands as wanting no part of this. ’Might I have the night to think it over?" Delay the vote for leadership to tomorrow. After the sudden happenings, none should decide too quickly.
This answer annoys Grugnar, hoping Hagling would stand by him. He still asks the elders for extension and after short conferring the High Elder grants so. But, it will be first thing in the morning without delay.
The FG embassador goes to Grugnar, saying not too quietly he had better find a way to fix the situation before King Snorri loses patience and remedies the situation himself. This shakes Grugnar as well as Vasti and Mog.
The Thing continues with talk, games, song, drinking, foot et al.

A few of us talk to Hagling alone. He knows Grugnar is not the ideal king; that Vasti is too Chaotic to lead, but he only wants to end the mass alliance; Hagling likes that they all act and live as brothers but not all the other neg’s that come with this; he does not trust Mog, too much like Grognar just a different direction to his agenda. Right now, Hagling is at a loss. He’s curious what we think. HIs people feel much the same indecision as he.
Thrand says its difficult for us, as our leader is as worthy as they come; but humans obviously are better off with Vasti’s option, with no allied Frost Giang race, concentrated attacks vs humanity or not.
Bjorn says he could think on specific instances of leadership in situations important to Haglings ethics and think on how each acted. Or, give a perfect hypothetical situation to each and study what their answer to the situation is.
Thrand also feels something off about Mog, as does Modar.
He decides to present a situation to each this evening and use that to assist his judgement, then sleep on it.

Night:
We all turn in.
Thrand asks Gudrun to throw the bones for tomorrow, assuming we do nothing else.
She says Treachery, Chaos, Violence in sequence. Fire is betrayed by blood, the chaos will be quelled by violence, which will subside by the sound of a horn. In the end, the dwarf will laugh all the way back to the south.
We post guards overnight.
Nothing happens.

We briefly discuss putting out guads in case of assassination
The Ulfhednarr go out into the snows and conduct their ritual if initiation of Rymak and Blagra.

Next Day

Mog comes to greet us again in the morn “Come friends, they’re gathering for the Thing right now.” He is excited to see who Hagling votes for.
All gather at the meeting.
No Vasti.
We check his crew, none are missing from his fold but him.
Grugnar orders 2 men to go to Vasti’s chamber to fetch him. They return “Oh, travesty of travesties” they yell, he’s dead, bringing with them the 2 flame blades. We don’t by it nor Grugnar’s concern.
A hammer killed Vasti.
Grugnar “Though a political rival, Vasti was a good dear friend. Before a vote can be cast, the clan of Vasti must elect a new head.”
By mid morning they have elected Jormunrek, another high born from the clan. Distant relation to Vasti.
They blades are to be buried with Vasti.
We should have known, we did not head Gudrun’s warning enough!!! The blood cult slew Vasti then.
Grugnar is quite smug at the voting calling him a fine warrior and leader.
The vote tween Grugnar and Mog commences.
Jormunrek leaves Vasti’s ideals aside, and goes with Grugnar. They point out only one group has men with hammers, btw.
Bjorn “Dwarves are not the only hammer wielders in the world. I guarentee half of you blue SOB’s in the room have used a hammer in a fight and own one. Keep this up, I’ll challenge every one of you to a duel.”
Hagling stands now and after a few words, throws in with Mog, which he says was his decision as of last night. If anyone had any desire to get rid of Vasti because I was choosing him, you thought wrong.
Mog is KING!!!
Grugnar is stunned, shocked and appalled. His throne on the verge of nonexistence.
Mog steps up, strutting his way toward the head of the tablet to claim his crown and place. Grugnar draws steel. The giants are all reaching for weapons.
Bjorn spreads the word through our men that if war breaks out we have 2 directives:
I will not look down upon you if you leave the room when combat starts, considering the foe.
But anyone who stays, kill any giant you can but for Hagling and if you can tell them apart, his men. He is to be left alone.
Finnric has begun stoking, Thrand concentrating, and Brand scanning.
Bjorn “Whoa, whoa, whoa. This a Thing, a lawgiving occasion. Not the time nor place for fighting”; to Grugnar “I understand you are angry about losing, but if you didn’t throw your hat in with untrustworthy allies, your people wouldn’t have voted against you. If you have a problem with the Giant to take you place as ruler, the time and place to handle personal issues is on your own time away from The Thing.”
Grugnar “Um. My People! To a certain extent the human has it right. We don’t want utter abgsolute chaos and anarchy here.”
At this point we notice there have been no Ogre Mages here since the beginning today.
He continues spouting off.
Most stand and walk partially to the main tables’ area closer to the going son.
The uflhednarr follow Finnric’s lead. Thrand and Brand scans for Ogre Mage,
The triplets stand together as a unit, ready for violence. The twins wait to see what Papa does.
Bjorn, Gunnr, Hakon and Brand, all fairly close to one another, make out vague heat distortion from 4 separate angles moving on Mog.
Bjorn tells Gunnar to get Finnric’s attention, and Brand and Hakon, to start moving for the distortions quickly.
Hakon gets Ulf to go. They’ll team up on one. Brand and Thrand another; Finnric an Gunnar.
Stelio, Sir Rolf and Gurk also spot it and see the others moving. Bjorn signals Rolf and Gurk to take the 4th.
They all start maneuvering through the crowd.
Our men further out from the main tables gather around.
Bjorn continues playing peace keeper.
Grugnar yells “Mog, they’re coming to assassinate you!” pointing at our 4 pairs. Mog looks around suddenly “Bjorn, what treachery!”
Grugnar’s body guard have stood with weapons drawn, as has Hagling knowing bad stuff is about to happen. The hill giants are ready to fight. The Fire Giant is reaching into his sack, presumably for a boulder.
Bjorn yells falshood! We are not the assassins! But one is coming at you nonetheless!
Gunnar throws, and Finnric readied to target that spot.
One of them, Gurk and Rolf’s, has stopped and is looking around realizing we are closing in.
Finnri’s thrown spear and Gunnar both hit home.
Brand wiffs, but Thrand hits.
All 4 Magi continue moving to Mog and attack, becoming visible.
A melee begins among the crows as we go for the magi but for Finnric who hurls spears at Finnric. Graugnar encourages the melee and hurls an axe at him.
Ulf/Hakon and Brand/Thrand each drop an Ogre Magi.
The 2 flame blades sit on the table in front of him.
His wife hurls a rock at Gunnar but misses.
Hagling joins in vs Grugnar’s loyals at the head tables! The Fire Giant hurls a throwing boulder down the tables at Bjorn.
The Stone Giant attacks the Frost next to him, same one Hagling is fighting. The other Frosts and Hills join in the fray.
Ragnar, the Ulfhednarr and Toru enter the combat; Papa, the twins and Harald right behind. The Ulfhednarr take down a Hill who attacked Ulf and Hakon immediately, THorhamma with the killing blow after Ylva’s crit.

Mog is slain by the 2 Magi left.
Hagling eliminates his Frost. He and the Tosten family all realize they all 4 wield greatswords.
The fire giant turns into a dwarf and hurls a hammer at Hagling!! A loud clap of thunder explodes from it stunning the twins (Hala 1; Haki 2 rounds) and Hagling(3) and Harald(6).

2 more of our men enter: Sigrid and Eggin.

Sigrid takes to under the tables, going for the flame blades at the head. Eggin joins Bjorn and Ragnar.

Papa rushes to the table and with a mighty swipe of his blade trips the FG on the table, who topples off the other side onto the ground prone.
Thorhamma and Rymak stagger the FG, but Ylva and Modar rush the Ogre Mage at Rolf and Gurk and kill it!
The last Ogre mage moves to Brand and Thrand, making a sweeping swing trying to hit both in one swipe with a naginata 24 and 15 respectively. Thrand “My Brand!”
Gurk runs over and grabs one of the flame blades from the table as Thrand kills the Hill G with him and Brand. Koku attacks the Hill at Gunnar, who steps back out of its way and throws DEAD.
Finnric kills his Hill.
Sir Rolf moves toward the King Frost almost to him.
The Stone G hurls a rock at the dwarf and hits.
Grugnar’s wife, the one staggered, goes for a final swing at Blagra and drops KO, hitting him 21.
Grugnar attacks Rolf and Gurk twice each with a Great Axe, who is knocked away and KO’d. He catches Rolf next, who takes the first shot, then hits him a second time and Rolf still is up. The final attack takes Rolf down.
Ulf and Hakon move on the next Frost, flanking her but Hakon takes an AoO doing so, and attack.
Teh Frost Papa knocked down is right next to Bjorn’s fight, stands and misses Eggin!
Bjorn is struck by the Hill.
Ulf and Hakon are each struck by their Frost 23 and 21 respectively.
The dwarf aims at the stone giant and throws the hammer again, hitting again then it returns to him, then throws it again and hits again doing massive damage.

Blagra, Ylva and Rymak move to the regenerating Ogre Magi and start each hacking one apart.
Mulok arrives now, with Otto and Dopey, Fliggol and the new dwarf archer.
Modar charge Thrand’s Ogre Mage and engages DEAD and will begin to cut it up; Thorhamma charges to Ulf and Hakon’s fight.
Papa and Hala move toward the dwarf, almost reaching him.
Eggin hits Bjorn’s HIll DEAD.
Sigrid gets atop the table at the flamb blades.
Brand moves to atop the table with SIgrid and is given a flame blade.
Koku holds his action and as Gunnar starts gathering his axes, he and Brokkr and Finnrik charge the Jarl. The AoO miraculously misses Koku. All hit him!
Bjorn recovers his fumble from last round.
Stone Giant lobs a boulder again, this time at Grugnar who catches it and throws it back, calling out that the Hagling’s horn is the key to beating Grugnar.
Brokkr and Finnrik’s AoO hit. The boulder hits the STone Giant who wobbles.
Gugnar hits all 3 once but for Finnrik twice.
Thrand charges in and hits Grugnar with Jotunbani.
Ulf and Hakon continue attacking their Frost G.
The formerly toppled Frost continues vs Eggin hittting once. He’s not feeling good.
The last goes for Ulf and Hakon for a hit/miss respectively.
The dwarf says his goodbyes to Grugnar “the alliance is over” and turns invisible and flees.

The battle around us is starting to wind down, nearing its end.

New arrivals: Anar, Kyy, Uhtto, Galar.

Mulok leaps up, grabbing the horn on Hagling’s belt, and blows.
Papa charges the Jarl now, flanking with FInnrik. AoO hits him 25 as he hits Jarl. Followed by Hala as well flanking with Koku but misses.
Haki now unstunned, moves up to the fight too.
Thorhamma misses the Frost.
Some of the new dwarves move in to help vs the Hill at Bjorn with Fliggol. It goes down witha crash backward through the tables.
Toru climbs atop the table and moves forward.
Anar fires and eldritch dart at Grugnar and hits.
Ragnar arrives at teh fight asking SIgrid for her sword, she says “Brand, give him your sword”. He does.
Gunnar hurls after a pathetic prayer that is to be made fun of for months by the Ulfhednarr to Odin for a mighty critical, and hits but no crit 30.
Finnric sees up in the snow clouds they are parting above, with clapsof thunder and lightning between them!
Finnrik “Odin has sent his aid!!!” A cawing of bird, as a flock of crows flies across the gap in the clouds, then a clapping of hooves.
The morale of Finnric’s song is enhanced as Finnrik calls out to all the Odin has granted us asured favor from he and Thor!!
Finnrik’s 2 next stabs are mighty 31/29.
Koku cuts for 23.
Brokkr misses badly.
Afterward from Koku "That’s waht you get for being a berserk and not Ulfnedinn.’
Bjorn has moved up after the fall of his foes and joins Hakon et al.
Ulf and Hakon kill the final Frost! The Stone Giant sits down, leaving the fray.
Grugnar nails Finnrik twice, Koku once, and Brokkr. Sigrid not dives at him, but he is too deft and the stun fails.
Hagling now comes out of it and joins the circle around the Jarl.

A dozen Valkyr swoop from Valhalla in the the remainder of Grugnar’s followers, wrecking havoc.
2 of them ride through the air at Grugnar and attack him from above. Divine surety flows through our minds at the sight of the Valkyr!!
The particularly is inspired and leaps atop the Jarl, cutting with the flame blade and hanging from his royal acoutrements, fiery blade in his flesh!
Modar “The Valky favor the Shield Maiden!”
Tosten and his twins attack now, Papa hitting, Haki fumbles, Hala hits.
Ragnar joins now with the other flame blade.
Finnrik has an instant flash of the future, if he misses he’s dead.
Toru takes a shot and fumbles.
The dwarves are gathering in case we falter, to fill our gaps.
Finnrik waylays him now, and his bite brings him down DEAD!!!

One more head to go for Odin.

The Ogre Magi are burned to a crisp in a huge pyre with the Jarl Grugnar.

Osmo, Dulk and Ingarr finish close to death. A few of the orcs are not in good shape either.

Rolf and Gurk are alive but critically injured.

Hagling says the tribute taken from the other clans is the only thing they want from the dragon horde. The rest is for us!

Grugnar’s trophy chamber:
Cave Bear pelt enormous
Su Monster hide
Wyvern skin
Rack of a giant stag
Teeth (effectively short swords) and Claws of an Umber Hulk
Giant Scorpion claws
Horn of a Wooly Rhino
Pair of mammoth tusks
Pair of mastodon tusks
Giant boar head
Griffon skin
2 crossed spears
Wings of a giant eagle
Human sized plate (Rolf and Stelio say it looks like its from long ago, long gone style, from a First who may have uses one of the flame blades)
2 walrus tusks
suit of dwarven banded mail (lvl 3)
Shedu head
Giant lynx pelt
Elven plate

Grugnar’s private stash:
cloak of saber tooth tiger hide
15570gp
800pp
jewelry totalling 7000gp
gems totalling 5000gp
In a small box: a small diamond and a pearl. Gudrun and Anar say gem of true seeing (only be used 3 times) and Pearl of wisdom.

Dragon:
50000sp
750pp
12000gp
Note: The winged woman statue if you know the prayer can summon a celestial Its a holy relic to the Celestine

A flash of light in lower area while looting. A chain is in the shape of a figure 8 at the sight, with dwarf footprints leading to it.
So, the dwarf is a blood cultist!!

Our new dwarves call him a traitor!! He goes by the name of Obmi son of Obmi, once part of their clan but his lust for power and greed made him sign with the giants. The stuff he used against us is all gear that belongs to the clans. Like the Staff of Thunderbolts, given to them by Ilmarinen/Thor.
Brand “We must get it back.”

Hagling will cobble his peole together into one clan now with so few left relative to before. As far as these Frosts are concerned,. they shall leave the dwarves alone for a while.
Hagling hopes for a cordial rivalry for at least his generation.

We melt the dead bodies from Grugnar’s ice blocks.
One of the dwarfs has a mst dwarven waraxe (1 ability)
Elf has same mark on clothes has same marks as the plate, he has the long case, Inside is a spent wand of fire.
Human: bejeweled belt worth 1000gp
Human: nothing
Dwarf: gems at his feet worth 370gp
Human: ring on finger of fire augmentation: tolerate natural hot environs with no negative effects; unnatural hot with discombore, Fire resist 10.
Half elf: nothing
Human: nothing, but a shield from Grugnar’s horde matches his tunic; once a knight

We bury them all properly.

Hagling says the figure 8 chain is a teleporter to near White Plume.
SIgrid “Is it usable by us?”
“Yes.” Only a certain number can go through over a period of time. After Obmi and the emissary, 8 others can make it if you want to go now. In a couple days, another group of 10 can go.
We plan on resting a couple days, they are ok with that.

So we can go it will reset to 10. Couple days later, 10 more.
We will choose our men, the rest will head back to the Hill Giant steading then move south to our fleet.

A couple days into the resting, a few runners from our group arrive. Knowing where White Plume was, he took a mount and left for the Mt. by himself.

Hagling gives us the back hide of the white wyrm, choice piece to make armor from. He says give it to our smith and tanner to work into armor!

We know Bluto is with his wife, other son, and inner circle.
We start picking.
Obviously, the 4 PC’s.
Sir Rolf
Anar
Stelio
SIgrid is beside herself, hand raised high as can be to get picked.
We need a thief, so Uhtto is chosen.
SIgrid and Kolfrosta, Bjorn chooses as the last 2. Sigrid flips out. Toru thanks Bjorn for not leaving her behind, she’d never cease moaning and complaining.

Ingvarr, being of Imperial rank, volunteers to leed the others back.
Harald, for his failure, gets sent off with the others south as well.

Backup Group:
the 4 cohorts
Dopey
Fliggol
Gurk
Ulf
Papa
Ragnar

The return crew takes the folding boat so as to sail down the river.
Bjorn declared Ingvarr in command of the return group, but to trust the triplets as his aids. “And whatever you do, for Odin’s sake, don’t listen to what the twins say, ever.”

Finnrik puts the rest of the Ulfhednarr in personal charge of Gudrun’s safety. Modar is in charge.
Stepping into the chain gate, it glows. We see a dimensional tunnel which we walk out the end of into a woodded clearing. We stand in a figure 8 burned into the ground. Just woodland around us.
Getting our bearings, we see a plume of smoke rising in the distance from a volcano, and a hut much closer. We assume that’s it.

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.

We get everything out of the treasure room Thorhamma had been lowered into.

Loot:
quiver of 11 sheaf arrows, all mst.
Spear w/ hooked tip like a bill: if hit, in place of damage, sunder armor for double damage if plate, banded etc that can be cut off in sections
27840gp worth of coins, gems and jewelry
2 broadswords: both immune to heat and fire damage

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.

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