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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    ElfRangerGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2013

    Default Reign of Winter: The Snows of Summer IC


    Like in most peasant communities in southern Taldor, the people of Heldren mostly keep to themselves. Far from the politics of Oppara and ever-watchful for Qadiran aggression, Heldren goes on as it always has, as a relatively small and unimportant hamlet of farmers, herders, and woodcutters. But Heldren is home to a secret unsuspected by its normally complacent citizens… Could the recent appearance of unseasonable winter weather in the nearby Border Wood be a harbinger of worse things to come?

    Heldren

    Heldren is a small village of 171 people, mostly farmers, herders, and woodcutters. A small armory sits atop a low hill northwest of the town square, ready to provide a safe refuge in case the village is attacked. Heldren’s town hall and its single inn, called the Silver Stoat, are the two largest buildings in the village, followed by the sawmill that brings income to the quiet settlement. Like many small villages, Heldren contains a general store, a blacksmith, a stable, a butcher shop, a barber, an apothecary, and a wise woman who sees to the village’s needs. To provide spiritual guidance to the village, a small temple stands near the center of town. Though the place is dedicated to Erastil, its resident cleric tends to the community regardless of an individual’s particular faith.

    Heldren is located in southern Taldor near the edge of the Border Wood. Taldor’s capital of Oppara is almost 200 miles northwest of Heldren, and the closest sizable city is Zimar—Taldor’s third largest city. This fortified city on the Jalrune River houses a large number of Taldan troops ready to defend their borders from the Qadirans to the south. A small town named Demgazi sits on the other side of the Border Wood from Heldren. This area contains populations of humans, half lings, half-elves, elves, and gnomes. While half-orcs are rare, they are not unheard of in this region and they are not treated much differently from those of other races. Also, as Taldor is a somewhat tolerant country, it wouldn’t be unheard of to see aasimars, tieflings, or other strange and almost otherworldly races.

    Spoiler: Map & Locations of Interest
    Show

    Those PCs who are from Heldren will know most if not all of this information, and for any newcomers in town, it doesn't take long to find out.

    Spoiler: 1. Armory
    Show
    A dirt path winds its way up a low hill west of town to the single door of this square stone tower. The tower is 30 feet high, with battlements on its roof and arrow slits along its walls. It is completely open on the inside, with no interior floors—just a wooden staircase running along the walls to the roof. The tower serves as Heldren’s armory and a place of refuge for the villagers in case the village is ever attacked. In times of peace, the tower is usually unoccupied, but a selection of simple arms and armor—crossbows, bolts, spears, javelins, as well as a few suits of leather armor, padded armor, and light wooden shields—is stored inside for the militia.

    Spoiler: 2. Isker's Smithy
    Show
    Although he spends most of his time shoeing horses and repairing farm tools, Heldren’s blacksmith, Isker Euphram (middle-aged male human), is quite skilled in battle. A veteran of Taldor’s army, Isker served in Zimar and on the Qadiran border for years before retiring to Heldren. His chain shirt, pike, and short sword are still in good condition, oiled and wrapped in a chest kept in his house behind his shop, and Isker has taken it upon himself to oversee the training of the village’s militia. He keeps a few weapons for sale in his shop, including 10 +1 cold iron sling bullets. He also has a suit of masterwork banded mail for sale (a relic of his army days), and could craft other suits of armor if needed. His daughter, Xanthippe (female human), works as his apprentice. When not at her father’s forge, Xanthippe’s likely to be found at the Silver Stoat, holding court with her numerous suitors. Although widely considered the village beauty, Xanthippe is as proficient with her fists as with her hammer, and those few of Heldren’s young men who have tried to woo her too aggressively walked away with black eyes for their troubles.

    Spoiler: 3. General Store
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    Heldren’s general store carries everything a villager needs, as well as most gear an adventurer requires. Heldren sits on the road to Zimar, so plenty of trade passes through the village. The store’s proprietor, Vivialla Steranus (female human), takes advantage of this brisk trade to stock her shelves. In general, most of the mundane adventuring gear listed in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook can be found here, including five cold-weather outfits, leftovers from a particularly harsh winter a couple of years back. In general, Vivialla does not carry much in the way of armor or weapons, though she does currently have two magic items in stock: an arrow magnet and a ring of force shield.

    Spoiler: 4. Town Hall
    Show
    Rather grand for a village of this size, Heldren’s town hall boasts a clock tower overlooking the town square. Its clockworks were imported from Qadira some time ago, and are kept in working order by Orillus Davigen (old male human), who can usually be found up in the tower tinkering with the machinery. The clock tower’s bells ring every hour from 6 am to 6 pm (the villagers prefer to keep things quiet at night), and can be used to sound the alarm if there’s a fire or to muster the militia in case of attack. The town council meets in the hall every week on Starday, though there’s usually little to discuss beyond minor disagreements between neighbors. The hall is big enough to host almost the entire populace for monthly village assemblies and large social gatherings, such as the annual Longnight dance. On the wall outside the front door hangs a notice board, where flyers are posted with local news, job openings, and goods for sale.

    Spoiler: 5. Willowbark Apothecary
    Show
    A well-tended garden sits in front of this equally neat house, the home of Tessaraea Willowbark (female elf), Heldren’s resident apothecary. Tessaraea is a relatively new transplant to Heldren, having arrived in the village only 10 years ago after a failed adventuring career up north in the River Kingdoms. She is quiet and somber, and most of the villagers believe she suffered some great tragedy in her past, such as the loss of her one true love. In fact, it was Tessaraea’s brother who died on an ill-fated adventure, slain by a group of trolls. Devastated by his death, she gave up adventuring and moved south, settling in Heldren and taking a human-sounding surname when she opened her apothecary shop. Tessaraea sells a variety of herbs and all of the special substances and items listed in the Core Rulebook, as well as a potion of resist energy (cold) and a surprisingly large stockpile of alchemist’s fire—since her brother’s death, Tessaraea has had an unreasoning fear of trolls, and almost obsessively crafts the stuff for the (in her mind) inevitable moment when she must face them again.

    Spoiler: 6. Barber
    Show
    An artist with razors and scissors, Argus Goldtooth (male dwarf) offers shaves, haircuts, and dentistry, as well as “leechery and other surgical proceedings.” Argus is a fair healer, though he’s prone to prescribing leeches (which fill several jars on high shelves in his shop) for most maladies, from stomachaches to broken bones. Argus also offers gold teeth to replace extracted ones, and is his own best customer—his easy smile reveals more gold teeth in his mouth than original ones. Though he would never admit it to anyone, Argus has something of a crush on his neighbor, the apothecary Tessaraea Willowbark. Argus has never acted on these feelings, but the two have struck up an unlikely friendship, and it’s not uncommon to find Argus helping tend Tessaraea’s garden on Sundays or sharing a pint with her at the Silver Stoat in the evenings.

    Spoiler: 7. The Silver Stoat
    Show
    Heldren’s only tavern, the Silver Stoat, stands right on the town square across from the town hall. A fixture of village life, the tavern fills up with patrons in the evening as they gather to share gossip, hear news, and reward themselves for a hard day’s work. Anything that’s worth knowing in Heldren gets talked about here, and if asked where he got a particularly juicy bit of gossip or information, a villager will likely say, “I heard it from the Stoat.” Husband and wife Menander (male human) and Kale Garimos (female human) run the Silver Stoat as if it were their family kitchen— there’s always a seat at the table or a space by the hearth for a guest, or a warm bowl of Menander’s hearty stew for an empty belly. Menander works in the kitchen, cooking up his famous venison flank steak and numble pie. Kale tends bar, serving up the tavern’s signature brew, Three Devil Ale, which she brews in-house using imported Chelish hops. Heldren doesn’t get many visitors, so there is no true inn in the village, but travelers are welcome to a spot on the floor of the Stoat next to the fireplace for a night, as long as they’re up early and on their way. Those who linger risk a rude awakening from Menander’s wet mop in their faces.

    Spoiler: 8. Livery Stable
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    At the stable next door to the Silver Stoat, Sophia Imirras (female human) offers horses (and a single pony) for hire or sale, as well as stabling and grooming. Royal couriers on their way to or from Demgazi or Zimar often change horses here. None of Sophia’s horses are combat trained. Sophia also has two carts, a wagon, and a carriage for hire. A traveling noble gave her the carriage as a reward when she managed to calm the newly broken stallion he was riding before it could trample him. Both luxurious and ostentatious, the carriage sees most of its use at village weddings.

    Spoiler: 9. Town Square
    Show
    The most notable feature of Heldren’s town square is the large statue of a beautiful woman right in the center of the town. Usually just called “the Lady,” the statue has been here for as long as anyone can remember, and no one knows who it actually represents. Some believe the Lady was the founder of Heldren or some ancient, forgotten Taldan noblewoman or even a mysterious fey forest goddess. Others have more sinister theories—an evil witch turned to stone for her wickedness or a magical statue through which the satrap of Qadira can spy on Taldor. On any given day, a few entrepreneurs selling goods or produce can be found on the square, and a market is held on the last Fireday of every month. Elder Natharen Safander (middle-aged male human) also hosts the annual Harvest Feast in the town square, during which the people of Heldren erect a giant bonfire in the square and bedeck the Lady in garlands of flowers.

    Spoiler: 10. Ionnia Teppen's House
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    The leader of Heldren’s village council, Ionnia Teppen (middle-aged female human), lives in this simple two-story house just off the town square. Ionnia’s family has had a place in Heldren’s politics for generations, and her membership on the town council was all but assured. She is by far the most influential member of the council, and most villagers consider her the de facto mayor of Heldren.

    Spoiler: 11. Temple of Erastil
    Show
    Although Elder Natharen Safander is a cleric of Erastil, he tends to all of the village’s flock regardless of their faith. Though most of the villagers follow the teachings of Old Deadeye, the temple also contains shrines to Abadar, Gozreh, Pharasma, and even Sarenrae. Natharen doesn’t much care for the Taldan government’s intolerant stance on the faith of the Dawnflower, and believes that in a village like Heldren the sun goddess is as important as the god of agriculture. Natharen’s wife, Zaarida (female human), is a Qadiran transplant and faithful worshiper of Sarenrae, and assists him during services and with the temple’s upkeep. The temple also has some minor divine magic items for sale, including a scroll of aid and a wand of magic weapon (24 charges).

    Spoiler: 12. Carpenter
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    Heldren’s foremost woodworker is Tengezil Frimbocket (male gnome), a gnome with a wild shock of electric blue hair. He decorates his creations with delicate and elaborate trim he calls “gingerbread,” a style that has proven quite popular among the well-to-do of Taldor’s southern cities. Tengezil claims to be from Wispil, but he is in fact an exile from the land of Irrisen, far to the north. Tengezil has a twin brother named Arbagazor, but the two were separated when they were young, and Tengezil assumes his brother is dead.

    Spoiler: 13. Heldren Sawmill
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    Heldren’s sawmill stays busy day and night cutting timber harvested by the village’s woodcutters into planks for shipment to Zimar and other cities, and stacks of lumber are always heaped outside. Partners Alexius Demetri (male human) and Lycio Vallant (male human) oversee the sawmill’s operation, which makes them two of Heldren’s wealthiest residents. Their large house on the north side of town is easily Heldren’s largest private home, nicknamed “Sawmill Manor” by the town.

    Spoiler: 14. The Butcher of Jalrune
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    The name of this butcher shop refers to the supposed nickname of its proprietor, Perkin Tarimm (male halfling), who claims to be a retired Zimar corsair. In fact, Perkin was nothing more than a common river bandit who took up the safer trade of butchery when the real Zimar corsairs almost caught him, and he has never butchered anything beyond the chickens and pigs that inhabit the yard behind his shop. Customers are welcome to enjoy one of the pickled sows’ ears in the large jar on the counter while they wait for Perkin to prepare their cuts of meat.

    Spoiler: 15. Old Mother Theodora's
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    Every village has its resident wise woman, and Heldren is no exception. No one in the village is sure just how ancient Old Mother Theodora (as everyone calls her) is, but she’s been around as long as anyone in town can remember. Old Mother Theodora is Heldren’s most skilled midwife, and she helped deliver just about everyone currently living in the village. She’s also a soothsayer and hedge witch, and villagers come to her to have their fortunes told or buy love potions or herbal remedies. Among the jars of dried herbs and strange ingredients in her hut, Old Mother Theodora also has a scroll of sleep and a wand of scorching ray (42 charges) that she might be willing to part with for the right price.

    Last edited by MuffinMan; 2015-12-12 at 08:34 AM.
    Spoiler: Active characters
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    Waylan, Kestros and Auspice (Wrath of the Righteous)


    Lydia (Age of Worms - loot tracking)

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    ElfRangerGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2013

    Default Re: Reign of Winter: The Snows of Summer IC

    The Party

    Erik Armstrong: Rough & Tumble Engineer/Alchemist

    Quote Originally Posted by Untarr View Post
    Erik was born and raised in the town of Heldren. His father was a craftsmen, and he bestowed on his son a love of building and designing things. Dipping into alchemy at a young age, Erik seemed to hold a keen insight into the inner workings of chemicals. One which he leveraged to eventually open his own Apothecary and Repair shop.

    Melissa was a farmer's daughter whom regularly came into town to exchange their crops for goods and services. It was on one of these trips that she entered Erik's apothecary and the two hit it off immediately. Married within the year, Erik and Melissa could not be happier.

    To help with the apothecary, she would go out on long walks to gather ingredients whilst Erik would remain in the shop. However, on one of these trips, a freak blizzard hit the area, blinding everyone with its snow. Fearful for her safety, and heedless of his own, Erik ventured forth into the blizzard to search for his wife. No one knows exactly what happened after that. The next day the villagers found him next to her body on the outskirts of town. Tears streaming down his face the only words that would come out of his mouth were "Witch...Burn Them..." Few in the village believed what they heard. Instead saying that the blizzard and his wife's death had addled his brain.

    After that he shuttered his doors and did not reappear for many weeks. By then, Tessaraea had already moved into town and set up a small cart in the village center to sell her herbs and plants. Coming to a quick agreement, Erik sold her his shop, though he retained the basement for his own use. He still helps her run it, though is seldomly seen outside of his workshop.
    Melissa's death, and the unseasonable snowstorm that caused it, were ten years ago, although not a day goes by that Erik doesn't remember it. The townsfolk of Heldren may all chalk it up to a senseless tragedy, but he knows what he saw: creatures in the snow, winds that moved in ways unlike any other storm he'd ever seen, and a humanoid shape, dressed all in white, that seemed to be commanding the storm - although it vanished at the sound of his call.

    For the most part, the others residents of Heldren look on Erik with a mixture of fear, pity, and compassion, and if they don't exactly believe his "conspiracy theories" about witches and malicious forces, they're at least polite enough not to press the issue. Tessaraea Willowbark, in particular, goes out of her way to be kind to the cantankerous engineer who now lives in her basement and helps her around the shop. Whenever she and Argus Goldtooth prepare a meal from the produce of her garden, she always takes an extra plate downstairs to leave outside Erik's door.

    Not all the townsfolk are so compassionate, however. Erik's chief antagonist in Heldren is a man name Jasper Abernathy, one of the foremen at the local sawmill. In the evenings after a few pints at the Silver Stoat, Erik is usually the preferred target of his mean-spirited jokes, although he's careful not to utter them when he thinks Erik could overhear directly. A coward and a bully, he goes out of his way to make Erik's life miserable (probably out of nothing more than his own boredom).





    Mick "Me" Ornsson: Larger-than-life Uncivilized Outdoorsman


    Quote Originally Posted by Farmerbink View Post
    "Mick" was born to a hardy Ulfen woman who's name he never knew. She died in childbirth, as her progeny was the son of a full-blown giant. Her human-sized body simply couldn't handle the giant-sized baby boy. For good or ill, the hulking brute of a man knows very little of his childhood.

    In truth, he was largely ignored. Without a mother, not knowing his father, the young boy was literally left to fend for himself or starve well before he came of age. Fortunately, he was always a keenly observant boy, and had grown up quickly, both physically and mentally. Hunting and fishing came easily to him, and he ate well in the verdant summers of the Linnorm Kings' lands. Winters, however, can be harsh, and before long Mick found himself following migratory animals southward, in search of warmer streams and heartier hunting.

    Unfortunately, a hulking brutish man with little guidance often succeeds at attracting the wrong kind of attention. In Varisia, it wasn't long at all before the young man was captured by a gang of thugs and raiders. His stature immediately gave him away as nonhuman, and his dull-witted speech (or mostly lack thereof) immediately gave him away as pliable. They were wrong about the last part.

    After a few years of regular beatings to "knock the fight" out of him, Mick's opportunity finally appeared. The raiders bit off more than they could chew, and a nearby militia brought the fight to them. Cowed and beaten, when the survivors surrendered, Mick and a handful of other captives were released by the militia. Not understanding his newfound freedom. Mick immediately bolted into the shadows.

    In the days that followed, Mick stumbled across another released captive: a mammoth calf, no doubt to be sold as an exotic mount or pet in the south. The beast looked hurt, and Mick knew from experience that mammoth meat was too tough to make good hunting. He approached, with the intention of silencing the calf's pitiful cries. As fate would have it, there was but a sharp sliver of some broken wooden haft buried in it's paw, and a quick tug relieved the animal's pain. Ever after, the two were inseparable.

    With little else on his mind, Mick was driven to make sure that the experience of capture never happened again. He hunted, and wandered, little by little further southward, always distant from any establishments and roads he came across. With no aim but survival and the beauty of the earth, the decades passed.
    Spoiler: Erik connection
    Show
    One fateful evening, far from his homelands, the storms of winter happened upon him. Familiar with the nearby wilderness, Mick was loping towards a cave he had slept in before when he came across a human- several miles from the nearest settlement, which was itself a small town. Curious, he followed the man, unseen.

    Several times, the man called into the raging storm, as if anyone would hear him over the howl of the winds. As the storm worsened, the man began to struggle. When he finally collapsed, Mick felt it would be wrong to leave him there to die, exposed to the elements. He tossed the man over a shoulder, and made for the cave.

    When he woke, the two didn't know how to react to each other. Mick didn't understand the man's speech, and the man didn't understand how he came to be in the cave. Still, he knew that he was alive, and that the grunting hulk of a man was to thank. Over the ensuing weeks, the small man taught the large man very many things- chief amongst them the local language, and the arts of reading and writing. One evening, when picking up some of the most basic of words, he pointed to himself, and grunted in the common tongue: "Me." Misheard or misinterpreted, after some 30 years, Mick had a name.
    Although Mick prefers to live on his own in the forests and caves surrounding Heldren, with Erik's assistance he has become, if not typical, at least a familiar sight around town - the militia no longer gets called out on his approach, and the bolder children love to tag along and toss a sheepskin ball back and forth with "Big Mick". Less savory members of the community may mutter darkly into their cups about the "dim-witted half-breed", but they all have the sense not to provoke the anger of a man that towers head and shoulders above them all.

    Heldren provides Mick with a ready supply of new reading materials and manufactured tools, and in return the half-giant has been known to do various odd jobs where his exceptional size and strength are prime assets. Just last month, Menander and Kale Garimos hired Mick to stand around as a "bouncer" of sorts while the Silver Stoat hosted the members of a particularly large and rambunctious merchant caravan. His intimidating presence seemed to keep the peace better than even Menander's cooking, and for nothing more than standing about for a few hours Mick earned a gold coin's worth of wages. His favorites jobs to do, though, are next door at the stable, where Sophia Imirras will occasionally let him help feed and brush the horses.





    Sharvati Fairweather, Self-imposed Pariah w/ Affinity for the Cold


    Quote Originally Posted by JWallyR View Post
    Sharvati Fairweather was found, so she was told, by the woman that she would come to call 'mother' as she walked down a back-country road toward the small farm she shared with her husband. Past child-bearing age, and having found this half-orc youngling abandoned in the countryside (likely due, Sharvati was told, to her strikingly silver hair and electric blue eyes, both extremely unusual in the region), she felt as though the gods were smiling upon her and her husband, and she took this outcast in, raising her with every bit of the love and care she would have lavished upon her own children.

    Sharvati seemed to take after her human heritage, remaining slender and lithe despite the healthy dose of physical exertion that came along with the ongoing operation of a farm, but her pronounced canines and green-gray skin provoked guarded stares and hushed tones among the folk of the nearest township when she accompanied her father or mother to market. The steadfast optimism of her adoptive parents encouraged Sharvati to look past these slights, and to speak up proudly for herself and her parents. She began to earn some grudging acceptance from the townsfolk. It soon became clear that the opinions of these farmers and woodworkers was the least of her problems...

    During one particularly savage winter, Sharvati found herself caught up in a sudden blizzard, and was barely able to stumble her way home. As the chill sapped her strength, it seemed as though Sharvati spiked a sudden fever. Waking suddenly from a hazy nightmare to hear her mother sobbing in one corner of the small farmhouse, Sharvati asked for what reason she cried, and where was papa? Through her mother's sobbing tears, she could barely make out that he had ventured out into the storm, planning to make for town in search of medicine for their daughter, and had not returned... Sharvati had slept fitfully for the better part of 3 days, and it was sure that he was lost to the wind and cold. The shocking pain of loss jolted through Sharvati, and the icy chill that gripped her body twisted at her innards. Suddenly she felt the warmth of her mother's hand on her exposed arm, and something within her seemed to break loose. The words of comfort died on her mother's lips, and with a sharp intake of breath the wizened woman flinched away from her adopted daughter. With a pained need, Sharvati instinctively reached around for her mother's hand, seeking the warmth of her touch. As she grasped her mother's hand, she felt it grow cold in her grasp, and looked up to meet her mother's expression of confusion and pain. As the woman collapsed beside her onto the bed, Sharvati looked with horror at her own hand before flinging her head back to add her own pain and loss to the howling of the storm outside. Having lost the only family she ever knew, and fearful of the suspicious gaze of the townsfolk, she gathered what supplies she could from the farm and fled the hollow shell of a good life senselessly torn away from her...
    Just over thirteen months into her self-imposed exile, Sharvati finds herself in the quiet town of Heldren needing to rest and resupply. Newcomers to Heldren are always a cause for gossip and staring, but Sharvati's inhuman features, weaponry, and striking beauty seem to be drawing more attention to her than most! To her surprise, on her arrival the townsfolk almost seem to be ignoring the largest man she'd ever seen, except for his blonde companion, normal-sized, who watches her with a guarded expression.

    Arriving early in the evening, Sharvati finds the doors to the general store already shuttered and its proprietor, Vivialla Steranus, nowhere to be found. Resigning herself to spending the night in this quaint village, she makes her way across the street to the Silver Stoat, where Menander Garimos' venison stew and a pint of Three Devil Ale help to shake the ever-present chill from her bones. Heeding Menander's warning to be up early, she prepares her bedroll in a corner of the common room, next to the fireplace, and falls asleep wondering what her next destination will be...





    Lady Argentea Malassene: Fiery Taldan noblewoman carrying arcane secrets


    Quote Originally Posted by AlbinoBrow
    Argentea is the middle child of House Malassene, a minor noble family of Taldor. Her older brother, Josiah, is being groomed to inherit the family estates, and her younger sister, Emilia, has already been wed for a year. Her childhood was filled with typical noble schooling: tutoring in etiquette, history, etc.

    She was sent to the frozen country of Irrisen at the age of 14 as part of a diplomatic exchange, to study under the white witches. She showed some magical aptitude, but ultimately left because although talented her pride got her in trouble with her new teachers on many occasion. Unbeknownst to the rest of her family, she has continued to study and practice magic on her own in the years since returning from Irrisen, resulting in some very unorthodox techniques.

    Several months ago the Malassenes reached an arrangement that Argentea should be wed to Edmond Trevistan, the scion of another minor house. Two and a half weeks ago, Argentea traveled from Oppara to Zimar (passing through Heldren) to meet her betrothed.
    The two did not hit it off, and she caused a scandal by calling off the engagement. She was returning home to Oppara when her caravan was ambushed and she was carried off by bandits! She has been trapped in the basement of the High Sentinel Lodge for a few days waiting for what was to become of her...
    Rescued from an unpleasant fate at the hands of Rhokar's Raiders, Argentea struggles to adapt to new friends, and new enemies. She wonders both about her role in the fey's plans and her place among her new companions, as the weather grows ever colder...
    Last edited by MuffinMan; 2016-04-23 at 06:34 PM.
    Spoiler: Active characters
    Show
    Waylan, Kestros and Auspice (Wrath of the Righteous)


    Lydia (Age of Worms - loot tracking)

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    ElfRangerGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2013

    Default Re: Reign of Winter: The Snows of Summer IC

    Part One: An Early Frost

    The sleepy village of Heldren has rarely seen so much excitement or concern. Hunters from the nearby Border Wood speak of unnaturally cold weather at the height of summer that descended on the forest just days ago. Heavy snow followed, and those who returned spoke of an uneasy presence in the woods, as well as new, dangerous predators. No one knows what this event means, but the town’s soothsayer, Old Mother Theodora, claims dark times lie ahead.

    As if in proof of that dire prophecy, a badly wounded mercenary arrived in town yesterday, claiming to be a bodyguard of Lady Argentea Malassene. He told the village council that the noblewoman’s escort came under attack by bandits and strange, wintry creatures near the edge of the Border Wood. He alone escaped, and Lady Argentea was dragged away into the forest. Now the townsfolk cast fearful eyes toward the snowy forest, worried what else might emerge to threaten their peaceful village.




    Erik had risen before first light to go find Mick and bring him into town, concerned for his friend’s well-being after hearing the troubling rumors of new dangers in the forest. The pair of them now sit at a table in the Silver Stoat, enjoying an island of relative calm in the quiet period just after the morning meal. Erik has never seen the town so agitated, and the normally quiet streets of Heldren are buzzing with townsfolk going this way and that, exchanging news and gossip with their neighbors and wondering what it all could mean. Aside from Kale Garimos busily washing the morning’s dishes behind the bar, the common room of the Stoat is currently empty of any other patrons, except for the strange half-orc woman who appeared yesterday, just when events in the forest seemed to be coming to a head…

    Sharvati has just returned from picking up basic provisions across the street at Vivialla's general store, and she doesn’t know what to make of the sudden excitement that has swept the town, seemingly coincident with her own arrival. Last night and this morning, she hasn’t been able to help but overhear some of the rumors that are swirling around town - mysterious threats, bandit ambushes, and especially… snow! In the middle of summer! Sharvati feels her pulse quicken as she ponders the implications, and any possible connections to her own dark secret… Suddenly she realizes she is not alone in the common room, and that the huge man from yesterday is there as well, studying her with open curiosity. His blonde friend is there, too, although his expression is significantly less welcoming.



    Now would be an appropriate time to RP introductions! I also need Diplomacy or Knowledge: Local checks from everyone to determine how much you’ve been able to learn through the local rumor mill (see below). Erik gets a +2 Circumstance bonus on the Knowledge: Local check.

    Spoiler: Diplomacy or Knowledge: Local DC 5
    Show
    Everyone says the weather is unseasonably cold for midsummer - it even snowed in the Border Wood! Most suspect magic is involved, and some fear Qadiran agents played a role in it.

    Spoiler: DC 10
    Show
    Old Man Dansby claims that someone keeps stealing from his fields. His farm lies closest to the Border Wood, where half of his crops have died from an icy frost and the rest have been carried off.

    Spoiler: DC 12
    Show
    A farmer’s son took ill a few days ago after falling through the ice over Wishbone Creek. The boy said he spotted a white stag in the forest - and heard it talking - then tried to follow it.

    Spoiler: DC 15
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    Two weeks ago, Lady Argentea Malassene traveled past Heldren on her way from Oppara to Zimar to meet her betrothed. Rumor has it the two didn’t get along and Lady Argentea caused a scandal by calling off the engagement and returning home.





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    Default Re: Reign of Winter: The Snows of Summer IC

    As a tremor of the ever-pervading chill courses through her body, Sharvati scoots closer to the fireplace, finding little relief from her point dangerously close to the tongues of flame themselves. Clutching closely about her a nondescript but serviceable hooded cloak (purchased from the general store to replace the tattered and ill-sized remnants of her mother's winter cloak), the tall-ish half-orc woman looks somehow very small. Noticing the stares of the only other occupants of the common room, she swallows deeply before standing to walk (somewhat stiffly) toward the smaller of the two men, inclining her head slightly at the man. "Well met, stranger. I can tell your friend here hasn't seen many half-orcs before, but you've got the look of a man who's heard things about us that lead him to caution. I promise you, I mean no harm to you or your town." A wan smile breaks out below pained eyes as she greets him. "I must admit though, if half of the rumors I've heard this morning alone are true, I'd be suspicious of strangers. 'Specially this weather..." she trails off, shivering once more despite the comfortable warmth of the room.
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    As the tusked woman approaches, Mick eyes her with naked distrust. His expression softens slightly as she starts to speak, settling into a confused frown as she stops talking. In the heavy silence that follows, Mick turns to face Erik. In halting common, he slowly asks, "Mick... try with... she?"

    After a pregnant pause, the shorter man nods. Mick turns his attention back to the woman. Rising, slowly, from his chair, he straightens up, and slowly raises his chest. Eyes closed in focus, chest raised like a peacock, he extends a huge fitted hand openly towards the woman. "Nice meet you," he says. His eyes open and suddenly widen in realization; he smiles in a feral imitation of pleasantness.

    "Me Mick," he says, open hand waiting to shake.

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    Looking up from the table, the man squints at the half-orc woman with only one eye open. After eyeing her from head to toe, he leans over and noisily spits into a cup. Leaning back without a word, his boots slam onto the table while his hands reach for his goggle strap. Producing a small white cylinder, he places it in his mouth and holds it with his lips while continuing to pat himself down. After a few moments, he smiles briefly before leaning forward. Cupping his hands around his face, you notice a flash and the smell of sulfur permeates the air. Pulling his head back, the cigarette is lit and glows bright as the man takes a deep breath through it. His gaze returns to the half orc.

    "Toots. If you are so fearful of strangers...why'd you introduce yourself to two of 'em?" Holding his hand up "Don't answer that. I don't really wanna know. I's just screwing with you. Heeeehhhh--heheheh." His laugh comes out as more of a wheeze. The voice is grating, like his throat has been rubbed raw by years of that cough.

    "Names Erik. Erik Armstrong. I've seen you've met my friend Mick." Leaning forward with a fingerless gloved hand, he grasps her hand firmly before leaning back in his chair. "I wouldn't pay any attention to any rumors. These backwards folk won't listen to me, someone whose lived here his whole life, but one guard shows up with the EXACT SAME FRIGGIN STORY and the whole world comes unglued." Pulling the cigarette out, he gasps it between his fingers whilst pointing at the half-orc. "Now, ain't that some ****?"
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    At the bar, Kale Garimos doesn't look up from her washing, but the slowing motions of her towel and the slight incline of her upper body towards the common area betray her curiosity at the unfolding conversation. A light gust of wind makes its way through the tavern's open door to set the flames in the fireplace to dancing, but the room remains otherwise undisturbed for the moment.

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    Default Re: Reign of Winter: The Snows of Summer IC

    Quote Originally Posted by Farmerbink View Post
    "Me Mick," he says, open hand waiting to shake.
    A hint of a smile tugs at the corners of Sharvati's mouth as the big man postures himself for a greeting with which he is clearly still developing proficiency. She releases the folds of her cloak to reach out, gently gripping the extended hand in her own before shaking it slowly and deliberately. "Greetings, Mick. My name is Sharvati." She smiles warmly before releasing his hand and turning to the big man's companion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Untarr View Post
    "Toots. If you are so fearful of strangers...why'd you introduce yourself to two of 'em?" Holding his hand up "Don't answer that. I don't really wanna know. I's just screwing with you. Heeeehhhh--heheheh." His laugh comes out as more of a wheeze. The voice is grating, like his throat has been rubbed raw by years of that cough.

    "Names Erik. Erik Armstrong. I've seen you've met my friend Mick." Leaning forward with a fingerless gloved hand, he grasps her hand firmly before leaning back in his chair. "I wouldn't pay any attention to any rumors. These backwards folk won't listen to me, someone whose lived here his whole life, but one guard shows up with the EXACT SAME FRIGGIN STORY and the whole world comes unglued." Pulling the cigarette out, he gasps it between his fingers whilst pointing at the half-orc. "Now, ain't that some ****?"
    Smiling diplomatically at the gruff man, Sharvati responds with a tone whose warmth is almost imperceptibly more deliberate and studied than that with which she greeted his companion: "I think you mistake my meaning, since I'm the stranger in your town. In any event, " she continues, "even if there's no truth to the rumors, such cold in the summer must be worrying. I've... " the woman's brows furrow in thought for a moment, "...developed a bit of a sensitivity to the chill in the last few months, and if the seasons don't put themselves back in order I may have to seek warmer climes." Her gaze falls to settle on the surface of the table, and she pulls her cloak tightly around her once more.
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    "...developed a bit of a sensitivity to the chill in the last few months, and if the seasons don't put themselves back in order I may have to seek warmer climes." Her gaze falls to settle on the surface of the table, and she pulls her cloak tightly around her once more.
    "Not me, Toots. I say bring on the winter. Mostly cause what comes with it has an appointment with Melissa and friends." Placing the cigarette back in his mouth, the man smiles darkly. He opens up his jacket to reveal a pair of bandoleers packed with vials and jars of various sizes. "There won't be enough of those witches left for you to burn at the stake after I'm done with them."
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    Default Re: Reign of Winter: The Snows of Summer IC

    Sharvati blinks confusedly at Erik. "Melissa? Who's that? And what does she have to do with witches?"
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    Before Erik can respond, the twin doors to the Silver Stoat swing open and admit two new persons to the common room. Erik immediately recognizes both Ionnia Teppen and Natharen Safander, both members of Heldren’s town council and both wearing identically anxious expressions that soften only slightly as they recognize him. “Erik! We’ve been looking for you.

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    Ionnia is a woman in her late forties, with a stern expression and no-nonsense manner earned from years of wrangling policy as the council leader and de-facto Mayor of Heldren. With a nod to Kale behind the counter, she sweeps forward and wastes no time addressing the subject of her now-completed search. "Good, your friend is here as well. Mick, was it?" she smiles genuinely if a trifle uncertainly at the seated half-giant, who nevertheless is tall enough to meet her gaze eye-to-eye. "And I don’t think I’ve yet had the pleasure, Miss…?" Ionnia waits only the bare minimum required for Sharvati to respond before pressing on, the strain of nerves lending an unusual edge to her tone and quickness to her words.

    "I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors by now of unusual winter weather in the Border Wood." Ionnia turns her gaze as she speaks to all assembled, but she focuses her attention on Erik. "Well, we have confirmation now from multiple sources that it’s true. Feet of snow, in the middle of summer! And it gets worse!" Her brow furrows in a frown, and faint spiderwebs wrinkle at the corners of her eyes as she continues. "A rider made it into town last night, badly wounded. He claims to have been a mercenary guarding the caravan of one Lady Argentea Malassene. Yesterday morning, on their way around the outskirts of the Border Wood, they were beset upon by bandits and the Lady carried off. This man was the only survivor of the attack." She sighs and puts a hand up to massage her temple. "Natharen and I have just come from hearing his story ourselves, and we believe he speaks the truth. Something dangerous is in those woods, and it’s already killed honest men and carried off an innocent woman!"

    She swallows and pauses a moment to catch her breath, and a cloud comes over her face as though she were steeling herself to do something unpleasant. "Erik. The council wants you to go look for the Lady Argentea, to rescue her if you can, and to find out what’s going on in those Woods. Your friend Mick, too, if he’s willing." She turns quickly to Sharvati before the alchemist can reply. "And how about you, Miss? You have the look of adventurer - at least you look like you know how to handle yourself. Heldren has no resources to mount a rescue expedition… Would you go and assist Erik? Don’t do it for us, do it for that poor woman being held all alone by those brutes! You all may be the only chance she has..." She trails off and looks away with a pained expression; something in the tragic tale has evidently struck a nerve in the normally unflappable Councilor.
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    "heh hehe....heh heh hehhh...haa haa hahaa...HAAAHAAAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH" Erik's laugh crescendo's violently until it is stopped short by a wicked cough. Hocking up something in his throat, he spits it into the nearby jar.

    "You've got some nerve Ionnia. After what you pulled when Melissa died, I aughta tell you to take this request and stick it where the sun don't shine." He takes another long drag of his cigarette before smashing it out against his boot. "But at the end of the day, I'm just a better person than that. 'Sides, I've been preparing for the coming of the winter witches since her funeral. Wouldn't sit out the big show now that its finally arrived." Erik grins widely, pearly white teeth glean in the morning sun.

    Erik stands up. Using his hands he cracks his lower back either direction before reaching under the table. He stands up and slings a small bag around his shoulder. Made of green canvas, you can't quite make out what is in it.

    "Let's go talk to this fella. I wanna know just what exactly we're up against."

    As he passes the bar. "Kale...better give me a shot. Don't think I'll be coming back tonight."
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    Default Re: Reign of Winter: The Snows of Summer IC

    After listening to the councilwoman's description with a look of mingled fear and concern, Sharvati gives her a look of surprise and confusion at her own inclusion in the conversation. Her obvious inner dialogue is interrupted only briefly by a flash of insight as Melissa's name is mentioned, but after several seconds an expression of determination seems to win out on her face, and she looks up into the face of the councilwoman. "I'll go. I may not be much help, but someone should."
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    Mick's expression is vague and unreadable as the councilwoman walks in. He nods slowly at her talk of unseasonable weather, and scowls suddenly at her confirmation. "I see it already," he mutters.

    Slowly, realization of the situation dawns on the big man. With trepidation, he looks to Erik. The small man's brusque but somehow eager response seems to have a significant impact. He nods as Erik rises, and waits for the man to lead the way into the square. "Need Cam?" he asks Erik, prompting a quick shake of the smaller man's head. Mick plods along behind the Alchemist, content to trust the smaller man's guidance within the town.

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    From her position slightly behind the Erick and Mick, Sharvati walks stiffly to keep up with their brisk pace and broad strides. "So, how's this going to work?" she says to Erick. "Your friend here looks like he can handle himself in a fight, and I have... talents that may come in handy. Got some tricks in that bag?" She looks with mingled suspicion and curiosity at the green canvas bag slung over the man's shoulder.
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    Mick snorts. "Erik make boom," he says. Otherwise, the big man doesn't seem to be very talkative, and he falls back into a tense silence as they cross the small town square.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Untarr View Post
    "Let's go talk to this fella. I wanna know just what exactly we're up against."

    As he passes the bar. "Kale...better give me a shot. Don't think I'll be coming back tonight."
    Quote Originally Posted by JWallyR View Post
    "I'll go. I may not be much help, but someone should."
    Some of the tension visibly leaves Ionnia’s face at hearing the group’s acceptance of her charge. "Good, I- yes, thank you." She takes a breath to steady herself. "You should speak with the wounded mercenary before you go, but don’t tarry too long. He’s been moved to the Apothecary this morning - didn’t Tessaraea tell you? He can better explain what you’re up against. Kale, you'd better make that two." At the bar, Kale Garimos’ eyebrows raise slightly at the unusual request, but obligingly sets out two shot glasses and proceeds to fill them from the bottle of Oldlaw Whiskey she keeps hidden under the bar, behind the sacks of flour. Erik remembers this bottle only makes appearances on very special occasions indeed - the last he can remember seeing it was at the annual Longnight dance last winter.

    As the group begins to leave the Stoat, they are stopped at the door by Elder Safander. Significantly older than Councilor Teppen, his green eyes are yet sharp and alert, and nothing in his dress aside from the bow-and-arrow sigil burned into his leather cloak distinguishes him as a cleric of Erastil and the town’s foremost religious leader. "If you’re running off into those woods, take this.” He produces a slender wooden wand from inside his cloak - yew, from the look of the grain, and well-worn with use. "It has the power to mend wounds. I fear you may need it more than us in the days to come. Go, rescue the Lady Argentea, and may Old Deadeye bless you with his favor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by JWallyR View Post
    From her position slightly behind the Erick and Mick, Sharvati walks stiffly to keep up with their brisk pace and broad strides. "So, how's this going to work?" she says to Erick. "Your friend here looks like he can handle himself in a fight, and I have... talents that may come in handy. Got some tricks in that bag?" She looks with mingled suspicion and curiosity at the green canvas bag slung over the man's shoulder.
    Quote Originally Posted by Farmerbink View Post
    Mick snorts. "Erik make boom," he says. Otherwise, the big man doesn't seem to be very talkative, and he falls back into a tense silence as they cross the small town square.
    It doesn’t take long at all to reach the Apothecary, being located only two doors down from the Stoat. Outside the door, Tessaraea’s garden is nearing full bloom; tomatoes, carrots, and gourds continue to ripen in the warm summer air, heedless of the commotion about town or the threat of oncoming winter. Used to the sight, Erik wastes no time in striding to the door and entering without knocking, the small bell on the handle chiming his arrival.

    "Yes, who-? Oh, Erik, it’s you." Tessarea Willowbark looks up from her workbench, where an impressive array of ingredients, vials, and alchemical tools almost obscure the slight elven woman behind. "And Mick - welcome. And who’s your new friend?" Leaving her work, she comes around the counter to study the new arrivals.

    "I take it you’ve spoken with the Council? They came by this morning but you had already gone - to fetch Mick, I assume? Anyway, the guard, Yuln, is sleeping back there- " she indicates the back supply room of the Apothecary, before leaning closer and lowering her voice. "He’ll survive, but it’s ugly. So many wounds, and the frostbite-! It’ll be a miracle if he keeps all his fingers... "

    "Who’s out there? These bandages itch like a molting harpy!! Got any more of that venison stew?!"

    "I guess he’s awake." With a small shake of her head, Tessaraea starts gathering a fresh collection of bandages and poultices from various cubbyholes and drawers all about the store. "You’d better go in and see him yourself."



    As warned, the Ulfen mercenary is not a pretty sight to behold. A table has been cleared to serve as a makeshift cot, and on it the man now rests, wrapped in so many bandages that hardly any exposed skin is showing, and what little there is is blackened with serious frostbite. As he sees the party enter, the man heaves himself to a half-sitting position with a grunt of pain, and waves them closer.

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    Mick steps into the apothecary with an annoyed expression. He bows his head to pass beneath the sturdy wooden lintel- more than a few bruises taught that lesson thoroughly in the past few months. His feet pad with an impressive lack of sound into the back room, where Yuln awaits. At the mention of frostbite, the big man scowls angrily, but says nothing.

    ********

    A sudden hiss marks Mick's intake of breath at the sight of Yuln's injuries. Mick's scowl deepens. He keeps his hands firmly to himself, and grunts, "Not natural. Bad witches make cold for hurting. Fingers and nose fall off when black... like that." He gestures vaguely to the man's visage as he relates the memories of similar violence from his childhood.

    He meets the injured man's expression for the first time, sparking a hint of recognition in the burly Skald's eyes. He may or may not place it, but this man has seen features like Mick's before.

    "Where you fight bad witches?" he asks, with a sneer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Farmerbink View Post
    "Not natural. Bad witches make cold for hurting. Fingers and nose fall off when black... like that."
    Sharvati hesitates, stunned at the big man's brusque presentation of the man's situation. Taking a moment to recover her composure, she addresses the man briefly. "I'm sure he means to say that we're sorry to see you suffering in this way, and we hope that you recover fully, and soon."

    "Where you fight bad witches?" he asks, with a sneer.
    "Yes," the half-orc interjects, "any knowledge you can give us would help... we've been asked to look for your mistress, and any other survivors we can find." She smiles apologetically at the man between apprehensive glances at her happenstance companions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Farmerbink View Post
    He meets the injured man's expression for the first time, sparking a hint of recognition in the burly Skald's eyes. He may or may not place it, but this man has seen features like Mick's before.

    "Where you fight bad witches?" he asks, with a sneer.
    Quote Originally Posted by JWallyR View Post
    "Yes," the half-orc interjects, "any knowledge you can give us would help... we've been asked to look for your mistress, and any other survivors we can find." She smiles apologetically at the man between apprehensive glances at her happenstance companions.
    "You ought to know, you-!" the wounded guard bites off whatever he was about to say with a glower at Mick, evidently not liking whatever recollection the sight of the hulking albino has stirred in his memories.

    "Ughn... What I mean is, it's as I've said since I arrived." He shifts his weight so that he is addressing primarily Sharvati, studiously avoiding further glances in the half-giant's direction. "We were passing the outskirts of the Border Wood, some six miles south of here. There were over a dozen of us - ten other fighting men like myself. None of the rest made it..." He closes his eyes a moment as a rictus of pain and/or rage ripples through him. "We thought they were just bandits at first, outlaws who hide like stinking wolves in the forest. They were no match for us! But then came the cold fey of the North..." The man's voice drops to a near-whisper, and his eyes take on a vacant, faraway character as he continues, "They appeared among us, of a sudden, and the battle turned quickly - there was naught we could do to stop them! My people speak of the winter-touched all the time, but I never expected to see them this far south... That blasted snowstorm must have been their work, I'm sure of it!"

    Grinding his teeth, the mercenary continues."The Lady Argentea was alive, last I saw, but she was being carried off deeper into the Wood and I couldn't follow - it was all I could do to make it out alive..." His eyes regain their focus on their present surroundings, and Yuln studies the three before him with renewed scrutiny. "Unlike the last pair that were asking, you all look young and capable enough to actually do something about it. Do you mean to go and rescue the Lady yourselves?"
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    At the bar, Kale Garimos’ eyebrows raise slightly at the unusual request, but obligingly sets out two shot glasses and proceeds to fill them from the bottle of Oldlaw Whiskey she keeps hidden under the bar, behind the sacks of flour. Erik remembers this bottle only makes appearances on very special occasions indeed - the last he can remember seeing it was at the annual Longnight dance last winter.
    Erik's eyes widen at the bottle, but shrugs quickly before taking the shot and slamming the glass on the bar. Giving Ionia a meaningful look, the man sets out into the town.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWallyR View Post
    "Your friend here looks like he can handle himself in a fight, and I have... talents that may come in handy. Got some tricks in that bag?"
    Don't you worry your pretty little head Toots. Erik make boom indeed. I like that Mick. Think I'll introduce myself like that from now on. 'Hi, name is Erik. I make Boom.' The man cackles at his own joke.

    "You ought to know, you-!" the wounded guard bites off whatever he was about to say with a glower at Mick, evidently not liking whatever recollection the sight of the hulking albino has stirred in his memories.

    "Ughn... What I mean is, it's as I've said since I arrived." He shifts his weight so that he is addressing primarily Sharvati, studiously avoiding further glances in the half-giant's direction. "We were passing the outskirts of the Border Wood, some six miles south of here. There were over a dozen of us - ten other fighting men like myself. None of the rest made it..." He closes his eyes a moment as a rictus of pain and/or rage ripples through him. "We thought they were just bandits at first, outlaws who hide like stinking wolves in the forest. They were no match for us! But then came the cold fey of the North..." The man's voice drops to a near-whisper, and his eyes take on a vacant, faraway character as he continues, "They appeared among us, of a sudden, and the battle turned quickly - there was naught we could do to stop them! My people speak of the winter-touched all the time, but I never expected to see them this far south... That blasted snowstorm must have been their work, I'm sure of it!"

    Grinding his teeth, the mercenary continues."The Lady Argentea was alive, last I saw, but she was being carried off deeper into the Wood and I couldn't follow - it was all I could do to make it out alive..." His eyes regain their focus on their present surroundings, and Yuln studies the three before him with renewed scrutiny. "Unlike the last pair that were asking, you all look young and capable enough to actually do something about it. Do you mean to go and rescue the Lady yourselves?"
    Erik considers the man whilst grabbing for another cigarette. Seeing a look from Tessaraea though stops him short. He places it back in his headband before continuing to listen.

    "Young and capable. Oh, if only you were a pretty lady. I'd take you out for a drink."

    "eleven fighting men and only one makes it out alive. You seem to recognize my friend's unique ancestry. You get attacked by anything as big as him? Or bigger? Was it fey magic or just numbers. Cause right now...going after that lady sounds like crossing the line into suicidal territory."
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    Default Re: Reign of Winter: The Snows of Summer IC

    Mick frowns deeply at the man's description of the scene. Slowly, his lips peel back to bare his teeth in a feral snarl. His hands ball and tighten into fists- forcing away what little pigment usually darkens his knuckles. The snow-white hands clench and unclench as Yuln relates his experience.

    "How many you kill, Man Yuln? Why they fight you? Witches never fight for no reason." He scowls at the man for a moment, before turning his glare to the floor. "Erik says 'no look at people when ups-... when... ups... -when mad' Mick sorry. Witches bad- need hurting"

    If looks could kill, there would be two more holes burning through the foundation boards beneath the big man.

  23. - Top - End - #23
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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Reign of Winter: The Snows of Summer IC

    Yuln shakes his head in the negative at Erik's question, an instinctive motion that causes him to flinch in pain from his injuries. "No, none so big as your friend here - the opposite! These winter fey... vile creatures who have sworn themselves to the White Witches of Irrisen, those who stole our lands from us during the Winter War. Tiny sprites, they are, no taller than the length of a man's forearm. But don’t be fooled by their small stature! Legends say they have taken a sliver of ice into their hearts, and their touch bears the harsh bite of winter." He grimaces and point to his frostbitten extremities in demonstration. "The fey, and the bandits, that was all. Perhaps a score in total, perhaps less... counting was not my first priority in the chaos." Tessarea hums in something like sympathy or commiseration as she enters the room bearing a fresh load of bandages and sets to changing the man's dressings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Farmerbink View Post
    "How many you kill, Man Yuln? Why they fight you? Witches never fight for no reason." He scowls at the man for a moment, before turning his glare to the floor. "Erik says 'no look at people when ups-... when... ups... -when mad' Mick sorry. Witches bad- need hurting"
    The Ulfen man turns his attention squarely to Mick for the first time and his jaw sets stubbornly. "I personally sent the first bandit that came against us to the afterlife, and I'm sure our company at least wounded several of his friends, too. Those hell-spawned sprites, though, they're tougher than they look! To hurt them properly requires burning flame, that or blade forged fully of cold iron, like mine-" He gestures towards a worn longsword standing propped in the corner of the room, prompting a hiss and a stern "Hold still!" from Tessarea. Yuln glowers at her, but continues, "Both burn them, and both are weapons they fear."

    "As for why they attacked us, it seems clear they were after the Lady Argentea. For what purpose, I don't know. But if one of the White Witches took her, no good shall come of it. The winter-touched do nothing without the leave of those who placed the ice in their hearts. If they’re here, it’s because a White Witch sent them. And much worse will follow." He lets the unspoken threat hang ominously in the room, and for a moment the only sound is the quite rustle of Tessarea's movements unwrapping another bandage.
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    Default Re: Reign of Winter: The Snows of Summer IC

    "gggggggggwaaak Tooh" Erik growls up a wad of snot before spitting it into a rag.

    "Sounds like we need to get a move on. And that we'll need some of those winter coats Vivialla has hanging up in her general store."

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    (1d20+9)[14] to Identify any fey that he may be describing
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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Spoiler: Knowledge: Nature DC 11
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    The fey Yuln describe sound unmistakably like sprites, diminutive winged creatures that, while physically weak, are also agile and dextrous. Sprites' bodies are luminious, giving off light like a torch, although they control the amount and color of the illumination at will. Sprites tend to be uninterested in the affairs of larger beings, forming primitive tribes deep in the woodlands and protecting their turf with determination and savagery. Like most fey, their skin is resistant to ordinary blades, although weapons specially forged of cold iron can penetrate their defenses easily.

    The aggression, cold-alignment, and sensitivity to fire that Yuln describes are unfamiliar, though - something is different about these sprites...

    Feel free to read the Bestiary entry if you want - just don't metagame too much on info the PCs wouldn't know!

    "Would that I could go with you!" Yuln sighs, grimacing in frustration. "My ancestors would ridicule my lack of valor for fleeing, but I faced foes such as few in the Linnorm Kingdoms have ever seen. Go in my stead, and save the Lady. Take my blade, if it would aid your cause." He nods towards the cold iron longsword still propped in the corner.

    "Oh, do be careful, Erik! It sounds dangerous, and there's noone to rescue you if you're captured!" Tessarea sighs worriedly as she softly closes the door on Yuln's wounded form, now nodding off thanks to the sleeping draught secreted in his last bowl of stew. "Mick, you'll keep him out of trouble, won't you?" She smiles gently up at the half-giant. "And you, Miss... Sharvati, gods bless you for your assistance! Erik's a good man, though he doesn't let on sometimes - I know that together you will succeed!"



    It takes no time at all to reach the general store, being located just across the street and two doors down from the apothecary. Vivialla Steranus looks up from a massive leather-bound ledger as the group arrives, and sets aside the quill pen she's just been using to tally the previous day's transactions. She blows gently on the ink to dry it before rising to greet the party, and as she adjust the spectacles on her face she inadvertently leaves a faint ink smudge along the side of her nose. "Erik. Mick! Been a while - good heavens, I think you've gotten taller! And... whoever you are," she nods at Sharvati, "how can I help you today?"
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    Default Re: Reign of Winter: The Snows of Summer IC

    Nodding briefly, Sharvati addresses the mistress of the general store: "Good morning, ma'am. My name is Sharvati, and... my new friends and myself are in need of supplies. We've been asked to investigate the disappearance of the Lady Argentea, and given the unseasonable weather and some of what we've heard from the survivor... we just want to make sure we are well prepared. Of particular interest would be any weapons forged of cold iron that you may have..." The half-orc woman looks at the shopkeeper expectantly.
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    Default Re: Reign of Winter: The Snows of Summer IC

    Mick nods curtly at Yuln's description. He retrieves the man's blade from the corner, and tests its heft briefly. Unable to properly make himself comfortable with the sword, he looks to his companions. Shrugging, he holds on to the blade. "Could help. We tell you what we find."


    Mick lowers his head down as he enters Vivialla's shop, and nods to the woman. He stands by while Sharvati and Erik make their needs known.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Ogre in the Playground
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    "And some jackets. The Gods know these ol' bones don't do well in cold weather."
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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Reign of Winter: The Snows of Summer IC

    Quote Originally Posted by JWallyR View Post
    "... we just want to make sure we are well prepared. Of particular interest would be any weapons forged of cold iron that you may have..." The half-orc woman looks at the shopkeeper expectantly.
    "Weapons??" Vivialla blinks owlishly from behind her spectacles. "Good heavens, I'm afraid we don't have anything like that here. Mmmm-" She wrings her hands in a nervous gesture before continuing, "You might try Isker's smithy, next door - he can sort you out with all of that... violent business!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Untarr View Post
    "And some jackets. The Gods know these ol' bones don't do well in cold weather."
    "Cold wea-! Oh! Why didn't you say so! Yes, jackets! As a matter of fact, I have a few left over from last season in here somewhere..." Viviallia's voice becomes muffled as she disappears into a back storage room of the store, emerging with arms full of various fur coats, hats, gloves, and leg coverings. "I thought these were going to be food for the moths - not much demand for winter garb in the middle of sum- Oh!"

    Quote Originally Posted by JWallyR View Post
    "We've been asked to investigate the disappearance of the Lady Argentea-
    "Did you say you were going out to rescue the Lady??? Oh, the poor thing! Here, here! Try these on - no charge for you brave heroes! Only, promise me you'll come back and tell me all about it when you return with her safe and sound - I want to hear about every step, every twist, every battle! Oh, my... Now, here, Mick - try this on for size..." It takes some mixing and matching, and a hasty alteration of the largest jacket to fit Mick (which now wears like a snug vest), but within half an hour the group is outfitted with well-enough fitting winter gear, which begins proving its worth immediately by making them uncomfortably warm in the bright morning sun of Heldren.

    Now's the time to make any last-minute inventory adjustments - once we leave Heldren we'll go by what's on your character sheets. Also, if you want to visit any other locations in Heldren before leaving just post to that effect and we'll do it, but I'm also going to continue with the first description of the journey to the Border Wood.



    The location of the attack Yuln described is some six miles south of Heldren, along the road to Demgazi and Zimar at its nearest point to the Border Wood. The party makes good time on the road - Eric and Mick have each traveled on or near to it many times. A curious thing happens as they near the Woods, though - instead of the temperature rising along with the sun in the sky, the air gets noticeably colder with each passing mile! What started as a warm summer morning becomes cool and brisk by mile two, and the would-be rescuers can see their breaths before them by the fifth mile, the strong overhead sun being obscured by conspicuously dark clouds that lay heavy with the threat of rain - or snow. The road, lightly traveled at the busiest of times, lies empty and silent except for the footsteps of the trio as they draw nearer their goal...
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    Default Re: Reign of Winter: The Snows of Summer IC

    Mick stands uncomfortably still as Vivialla deftly adjusts the strips and buckles around his torso. As he quickly starts to sweat, a scowl mars his bushy blonde eyebrows. "too hot.." he mutters, only to be chagrined by the reminder that the promise of cold weather awaits then.

    "Too hot to stand around," he grumbles. "Let's go." Without stopping to thank the proprietor for her generosity, he retrieves the cold-iron longsword from the table where it lay, and plods out into the sunlight.




    As the temperature drops, Mick's scowl deepens. Despite the obvious comfort that the cooler temperature brings, he cannot ignore the obvious implication. "Keep watching," he growls, distrustful of the very woods around them.

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