Reign Of Winter

Part III - Land of the White Witches

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June 14 (1 month ago)
Casey C. Mentor
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This thread continues the story after our great adventurers accept the black mantle of Baba Yaga and enter the portal to find themselves in a strange wintry land.

June 14 (1 month ago)
Casey C. Mentor
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Passing through the portal, a swirl of ice and snow devour our adventurers spitting them out in a land of complete winter. Snow and ice cover the ground, the temperature well below freezing. Those without the protection of magic, find it difficult to avoid shivering violently, despite cold weather gear. Although the wintry grab offers some protection, it is merely adequate at best. The sharp cold wind of the north pierces through many layers of clothing. Making haste, the adventurers gather their gear, tighten up their clothes and head down the obvious path leading away from the entrance. They shortly arrive at a clearing, sprinkled with a large number of bodies which lay fresh in the snow, scorched by some powerful magic. Their bodies still radiate with heat, melting the snow around them.

(Those who have winter gear will need to make their first survival check, those with magic may proceed without such a check. Winter gear gives +5 to this check if you do not have survival gear you will take automatic damage and were foolish to enter the portal in the first place. I will be making advances to this story once a day until our next session. You may use each day to respond before the advancement. I will respond to your questions, observations and responses before each new section is posted)

June 14 (1 month ago)
Valdis Supporter
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Once they pass through the portal into the frigid land, Jerr casts endure elements on himself and says, “So much for hoping for a nice warm beach, does anyone else require protection from this weather?” Jerr will cast endure elements on whoever speaks up first.

Seeing the bodies in the clearing Jerr says, “Let’s see who these are, maybe there are survivors,” and he goes to investigate the bodies closer. [Perception 16 to investigate] and [Heal 26 can anyone be helped and what happened to them – are the injuries similar to the ones the black rider did in the battle on the other side of the portal]

June 14 (1 month ago)
John F.
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Vendjavier is still under the protection of endure elements unless more than 24 hours has passed between the battle and now. “I’m with you, Jerr.” Vendjavier casts detect magic and begins to search the bodies for clues (Perception 18, unless we have the time to take 20 then its 23).

June 14 (1 month ago)
Casey C. Mentor
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The bodies seem to be similar to the shield bearing fighters you fought at the portal. They have been charred by what appears to be magical fire, not unlike the fire sent down by the black rider on the frost firs. There is no help for them, every one charred beyond recognition. The radiating heat of their bodies does provide a warmth from the cold but also the smell of charred flesh, which, depending on how hungry you are, is an unsettling one. Some magical auras are detected among the dead. Searching the bodies for these objects takes a little time but you are able to recover a few more cure moderate wounds potions (3 more) and a salve of endure elements (4 applications remaining) a +1 shortsword and a +1 tower shield with a strange engraving. Probably something of the northern kingdoms. It bears the markings of a white snow stag or goat atop a hill or mountain. It is a silhouetted image in white against a blue shield plate. Mundane items have been destroyed in the fire.

June 14 (1 month ago)
John F.
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Knowledge (Nobility) 23 to identify the markings on the shield. Knowledge (History) 15 to help with any possible background.

June 15 (1 month ago)
Erik L.
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I assume this is still the same day?

Brother’s Survival: 6+11=18

June 15 (1 month ago)
Casey C. Mentor
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After searching the bodies, and collecting anything of value, the group continues down the worn path. Hoping to avoid any confrontation from the locals, especially the white witches. After another 20 minutes pass, the pathway winds by a ridge overlooking a valley. It seems that the path will eventually find its way below and into this valley where a small village rests. Despite being the middle of the day, the village has a dark and dreary quality about it. Heavy clouds hang above and beyond the village. The entire sky, darkened by these clouds in the distance. It seems that a massive storm may be approaching quickly. Choices will need to be made here. Scale the high cliffs, continue on the path .. find shelter to ride out the storm. Although the village would be the most adequate choice for shelter, could they make it on time?

(2 more survival checks are needed up to here with winter clothing. 20 more without)

June 15 (1 month ago)
Valdis Supporter
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I’m not sure I’m clear on the options. Are the options:

1) Climb down the ridge to the village

2) Run down the path to the village

3) Find shelter along the path

Or did I misunderstand. And anyway, weren’t we headed for a tower? Is the village just along the way?

June 15 (1 month ago)
Casey C. Mentor
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You don’t actually see a tower .. you could continue down the path which winds eventually into the valley but a storm is coming .. you could attempt to climb down the ridge here to save time and head for the safety of the village but that is a very steep ridge-line. In either case, the storm seems to indicate that shelter will be preferable to no shelter in a situation like this.

June 15 (1 month ago)
John F.
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“I think we need to make haste to that town. That looks like a powerful storm.” Vendjavier, still protected by endure elements, heads towards the village as fast as he can along the path.

OOC: Did the Knowledge check give anything on the shield/coat of arms?

June 15 (1 month ago)
ken s.
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survival check 1: 12+10=5=27 check 2: 9+10+5=24 for godric

June 15 (1 month ago)
ken s.
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" We should find shelter now, that storm will be on us quickly"

June 16 (1 month ago)
Erik L.
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(How tall are the cliffs?)

Brother’s Survival checks: 3+11=14, 19+11=30

June 16 (1 month ago)
Casey C. Mentor
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The party deliberates over scaling the cliffs (roughly 200 feet down with some ledges along the way. Although it is steep, there are some handholds and rock formations that would make it easier if you took a moment to study it. The path would definitely be the easier way to get down, but the winding trail would take even more time as it winds down the side of a mountain. The storm would almost certainly be on them before they were able to make it to the town below. Give me a perception of the cliff face if you would like to study it further before any attempt.

@Venjavier – Taking a moment to re-study the shield emblem, you recall a book that was among your aunt’s personal collection from her time in the north. This shield bears the markings of an old Hoarwood caste of winter-witches taking the goat as their symbol of sacrifice and power. Hoarwood is a southern region of Irrisen. This caste was found to lack the established purity of bloodline to the Jawdwiga, and so are considered witches with little claim to the throne or power of Whitethrone. Followers of this lineage may have been chosen because they were easily replaced, or perhaps volunteered their service in return for some elevation within the ranks of the winter witches. This is speculation at best.

@Brother – Brother takes 4 subdual damage and becomes fatigued as the wintry weather bites his skin through his coat.

June 16 (1 month ago)
Erik L.
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“I say camp here. Godric, me, build shelter.” Assuming this suggestion is accepted, Scram will start building a shelter from the storm (with Godric’s assistance?) Survival: 14+11+2 (Winter’s Gift)=27

June 16 (1 month ago)
Valdis Supporter
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Jerr says, “I’m going to go into town real quick and see if anyone can lend some boards or blankets to assist us.” And with that he steps over the edge of the cliff and levitates himself down to the bottom, running into town to find anyone that might be of assistance. To whoever he meets first, he asks, “Excuse me, I’m Jerr, a traveling healer. I don’t mean to bother, but there’s a storm coming and I could use some supplies for shelter for a group stuck up on the ridge if you’ve got anything handy that might be of help.”

June 16 (1 month ago)
Casey C. Mentor
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Nice idea. This is what you can do today. Jerr steps over the edge of the cliff and begins to levitate down. He pushes along the side of the cliff to give him some mobility as he falls. About 40 feet down he comes to a ledge. Landing on the ledge he finds himself standing in front of a crack in the wall, a dark cavern behind the crack. Passing through the crack enters into a large cavernous expanse. Jerr must decide to continue or to stop and alert his friends of his discovery

June 16 (1 month ago)
Valdis Supporter
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Jerr will stop and clamber back up to the ridge above assisted by levitation, “There’s a cavern not too far down the cliff, maybe it’d be a bit more pleasant to camp out there while the storm passes?”

June 16 (1 month ago)
Erik L.
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“Someone have rope, yes? I lower, then climb.”

June 17 (1 month ago)
ken s.
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“I have some rope.”

June 17 (1 month ago)
Erik L.
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Scram will tie in and start lowering the others (including Brother) down the cliff.

June 18 (1 month ago)
Casey C. Mentor
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Make us some climb checks if you want to go down into the cave using rope to aid you. (P.S. if you knot the rope it will also give further aid for those who do not climb well) If you are going to be lowered by Scram, Scram will need to make a Strength check for each one lowered that way. This check will be determined by the size of the creature being lowered and also lowered if scram is assisted with the rope.

June 18 (1 month ago)
John F.
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Vendjavier is going to go down the, hopefully knotted, rope secured by Scram. He would have cast reduce person on himself, but he used his Arcane Bond ability (Lets him cast any spell from his spellbook without preparation: 1 x day) in the last battle to burn trees. (Climb check: 10 without any modifiers from knotted rope or help from Scram)

June 18 (1 month ago)
Erik L.
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Strength check: 1+5=6 (Apparently elves are heavier than they look).

June 18 (1 month ago)
Zackary S.
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Caelum secures and knotts his own rope and climbs down. 15+1 on climb check

June 19 (1 month ago)
ken s.
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climb check 11+0=11 use knotted rope

June 20 (1 month ago)
Casey C. Mentor
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After nearly killing Venjavier, the group manages to find shelter from the coming storm within the confines of a small cave in the side of the cliff face. By working their way towards the back of the cave, they huddle together for warmth and protection as the strong winds, hail, ice and snow pass over the face of the cliff, quickly engulfing everything in a blanket of white. Luckily, the cave provides adequate protection from the brunt of the storm and when it passes, the team re-directs their efforts on getting to the town below. As they arrive in Waldsby, as indicated on a small town sign at the road, they can’t help but get a strange feeling of deja vu as the town is laid out almost in identical fashion to Heldren.

Upon entering town, it is nearly nightfall. The sun is already setting beyond the icy horizon. A light goes on in the small cottage right by the main road. A face appears at the window, followed by another. Two small boys stare out into the street. The door opens. A young to middle aged woman appears in the doorway and motions quickly for the strangers to come inside. Her kind smile with a hint of desperation sets the groups mind at ease as they decide to see what she wants.

June 20 (1 month ago)
ken s.
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" My name is Godric, thank you for your offer of hospitality." Godric offers his hand for a friendly shake.

June 20 (1 month ago)
John F.
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“Thank you, for your help, I am Vendjavier Vairohta,” Zhav says as he offers a small bow.

June 20 (1 month ago)
Casey C. Mentor
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“Time for introductions later .. you guys better get in here .. the mirrormen are coming and they don’t like strangers.”

June 20 (1 month ago)
Erik L.
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Scram enters. “What mirrormen?”

June 21 (1 month ago)
Valdis Supporter
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Jerr accepts the invitation and enters, always nice to get out of the cold. “I am Jerr, and we are travelers from far away. Perhaps you can assist us in finding a place to stay for the night? And, as my friend says, who are the mirrormen?”

June 22 (1 month ago)
Casey C. Mentor
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“Good, good. Everyone inside. I am Nadya Petska and you are welcome in my home. I can tell from your clothing that you are not from Irrisen. You will need protection. The white witches have eyes everywhere. "

Nadya closes the door behind them and ushers them to a small table, quickly grabbing a pitcher from the counter, she offers a glass of fresh milk to her guests, handing glasses to her two small sons who begin setting them out on the table. Her son’s then come for their own glass. Grinning and gulping down the milk. She looks at the wild cat who has entered her home and with a loving smile, takes a bowl from the cabinet and sets it down for the cat, pouring milk to the brim.

“I expect the mirrormen to patrol this night. It is their usual schedule, although their patrols have definately increased lately, with all of the Hoarwood looking for that black rider. They have no faces, but only mirrors where a face should be. It is said that everything they see is also seen by the Jadwiga, possibly the queen herself.”

June 22 (1 month ago)
Valdis Supporter
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Jerr finds himself a seat at the table, “That sounds unpleasant, how did their faces end up as mirrors? And why are you helping us, isn’t it dangerous?” Jerr takes a glance at her sons, looking all too similar to the orphans he knew.

June 23 (1 month ago)
Erik L.
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Scram picks up the milk and puts it on the table, replacing it with a deer haunch. “Milk no good for cats.”

June 24 (1 month ago)
Casey C. Mentor
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Brother looks suspiciously at Scram, having lapped up some milk already. He seems to disagree. Reluctantly he returns to the deer haunch, biting down and tearing away at it. Nadya doesn’t seem bothered by the ordeal but continues to discuss the Mirrormen. "A mirror man is a tall and lean, gaunt hooded figure. At least is resembles a man, but beneath the cowl of his hooded robe, nothing but a mirror can be seen. They cary golden swords and wear elaborate clothing that hides their disfigured bodies. I’m not even sure they are human at all. Maybe they once were. The queen uses them as her spies, being able to see what they see, no doubt, from atop her throne. They patrol most of Irrisen and, although they are limited in number, they seem to come with more frequency now through Waldsby. I have seen 2 patrols already this week. "

June 27 (1 month ago)
Valdis Supporter
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Jerr’s still a bit puzzled about the woman’s motives, it seems like she’s taking a great risk, he tries to get a feel for her motives. Is she kind, hopeful of help, an agent of evil, or insane. [sense motive 11]

July 01 (1 month ago)
Casey C. Mentor
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Jerr probes Nadya with a couple questions to see her reaction. She is able to sense that he might be skeptical about why she let them in the house in the first place.

“Let me share a bit about myself. I am Nadya Petska, I am a hunter by trade and a lover of all creatures by heart. I was born in a small town south of Whitethrone and grew up there. At the age of 15 I met a man who soon became my husband. We moved to Waldsby many years ago when Rodasek was given charge of the pale tower. I was widowed two years ago. My husband had been conscripted to join the military of Whitethrone under the leadership of Rodasek Pavril, an irissen winter witch following the way of the winter goat. He is a servant of the great white witch Nazhena, but that is not important for this story. My husband, as I was saying, was conscripted and fell to a greedy ice troll in the Hoarwood Forest on a routine mission for the Jawdwiga. Since his death, I struggled to take care of my three children, Thora, orm and Mjoli. I took up trade as a food merchant and importer for the eastern reaches of the hoarwood. My husband, Hjalnek had taught me many things about survival and travel in the woods, allowing me to carry on and provide for my family. " Nadya took a deep gulp of milk, finishing her glass before continuing.

“About a year ago I established peacful contact with a tribe of Kellids near Irrisen’s border with the realm of the mammoth lords. I traded them for grain and raw meeat, livestock and leather goods and furts. I would take my dogsleds making runs through the forest and tundra. This supply route became well known and I started providing for the pale tower. Many of my husbands former colleagues began requesting my business, but after a while, the Jadwiga became greedy and the other warriors of the pale tower felt they shouldn’t have to pay for such shipments. Despite the objection from my late-husband’s friends, the pale tower guards began seizing parts of my shipments calling them taxation, rather than paying a fair price. " She sighed loudly at this.

“What was truly disheartening was that now, the peasants and citizens of Waldsby, who relied on my successful trade, were unable to recieve much of my shipments. Nazhena’s sense of entitlement has cost them all dearly. I have, continued, for a time to look the other way at the tax believing some food for the town would be better than none. Then, tragedy struck home. I had been on a routine trade run when witches came to town and my daughter thora, only seven, insulted one of them. When I returned, I learned that they had taken my daughter to the pale tower to deal with her as they saw fit. I pleaded for her return and they agreed, but only if I increased my tax and made even larger shipments than before. We were barely getting by at this point but I struck an arrangement with the Mammoth Lords. I the witches that it would take time but they are stubborn and arrogant. They told me now that I must uphold this new agreement with the Mammoth Lords for a year before they will release my daughter to me. I have continued to provide their tax for the time but I am impatient to see her. My fruitless efforts to negotiate her release have driven me to madness”

She looks at the group of adventurers, “I do not wish to involve you in such things. It is just that, well something about you tells me I can trust you. What business do you have here anyway?”

July 03 (1 month ago)
ken s.
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I fear that our being here will place your family im greater danger.

July 12 (3 weeks ago)
Casey C. Mentor
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“My family is already in great danger. I mean ..” Nadya becoming calmer after a moment of anger. “I appreciate the concern friend. But our battle is already begun with the witches of Irrisen. In fact, I believe that you have been sent here to protect us. Something about you seems to radiate a greatness. My inner eye can sometimes sense such things.” She wipes a small tear from her eye and continues. A tear of perhaps both joy and sorrow. “I hold out hope for rescue of my fair daughter Thora”

July 14 (3 weeks ago)
John F.
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Vendjavier whispers quietly to Jerr and Godric. "I think the “spirit” within the Jadwiga doll we found and this woman’s daughter might be one and the same. Do you think we should share this information?"

July 15 (3 weeks ago)
Valdis Supporter
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Jerr nods to Vendjavier, but says to Nadya, “A portal was opened nearby leading to Taldor, far to the south. It has caused much damage and destruction there, many were killed. We have come through the portal to close it on this side, and were told we must seek out a tower in this land which is the source of the portal. I don’t know if we can help you, but we must close the portal to end the danger to Heldren as soon as we can.”

July 15 (3 weeks ago)
John F.
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@ Valdis OOC: Did Jerr nod yes or no. Vendjavier is leaning on Jerr’s ability to deal with people. Vendjavier knows his own abilitiy to deal with people is a bit lacking.

July 15 (2 weeks ago)
Valdis Supporter
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It was a nod yes, but Jerr’s answering Nadya’s question first.

July 15 (2 weeks ago)
Casey C. Mentor
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Nadya nods in agreement. “Yes, the tower is the key. I know not what the witches are doing with these portals but I’m sure you will find your answers within the pale tower. I will go with you, and I may know of a few more that might aid you in your cause”

ClemCon

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