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Kiltayre: Session 19 ideas

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The trial should be fun. There’s a bit of a twist in that for the players that will put them off balance and realise that the NPCs are actually thinking & strategising. Also one of the PCs will gain a visit in an uncomfortable way. I’m hoping to arrange a one-on-one time before the main game so this can take place. It’s possible that they party will try to intercept a creature they can’t handle so it will be likely that Fate Points are required.

But this is conjecture. The main thing is that a reveal is coming up which should really make it a bit more confusing about the main plot element, yet brings the realisation that much more is at stake than they realise.

Probably too much information but I have to put it up anyway.

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Kiltayre: Session 18 Review

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Kalista’s player, Chris West at buygameshobbies.com, has written a fantastic entry which I’ll link to instead of writing my own review.

Winter’s End: Session 18

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Kiltayre: Session 17 Review

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Don’ dreamed again, of a misty forest circle with tall thin figures moving about within. They would turn their heads as if hearing or sensing him on the outside of the circle but never founds him in their gaze. The trees were old and thick boled. Don’ awoke. Was it a summons? The imagery was stronger this time and he mentally shared it with Fionnghal. The dog, though fey-touched, was still a dog and did not understand but the memory was now there.

Whatever tension that was had with Felghanis seemed to ease at breakfast that morning. They sat and ate, talking about their plans and things they had seen. It was so good to be with people again. Everyone of them in the party were all so much more relaxed than travelling the snowy wilds.

Don and Herath went into the markets and asked about the surrounding lands. They found out that food prices were 50% above normal, when they could be had, and all the good furs were sold out as soon as they were offered. Each trader was keen for more, having sized at least Herath up as a good woodsman, and they offered good prices.

It was the Lutemakers Woods that had Don’s interest and the traders dismissed it out of hand as haunted. Don’ seemed unfazed by that and determined to have a visit, since it could be done in a day at less than 10 miles away. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to tell the others they planned to go there.

Turned out the rest of the group, except Aenir and Kellor, wanted to go to. Even Fel. Whatever their spat last night seemed to have vanished. A good night’s sleep can solve many things, it appeared.

On the way out of Vrim Don’ led them to scout old buildings. Abandoned after the Livruss and Kulvuss fleet attack.

“We could take one of these over.” Don’ was excited at the idea. “Maybe just pay a notary or something a lease-fee.”

He knocked on the door of the nearest neighbour. They were wrapped in blankets and making crafts. Their small fire barely enough to heat the hut, but they were happy for visitors. After sharing information they asked Don’ and his friends back for drinks, song and cake. It was agreed.

They set off over rocky hills that were wind-lashed. On the other side they descended to the margins of the woods and saw a miles wide stand of various good timber trees. Spruce, maple, birch and cedar. All growing straight and tall. The predominant northwest wind seemingly not reaching them here.

Fionnghal suddenly went on alert, growling towards the trees. As they thought to ready themselves a great four armed beast leapt from under a snowdrift and raked the dog with claws. Herath acted first lunging in with his spear and the thing was quick to respond. Rending the hunter’s face almost from his body. The man fell into a heap blood staining the snow about his head.

They fought hard and the thing tried to run off with Herath’s body, but a black ray from Felghanis weakened it so much it dropped the hunter and fled into the massive trees. They had won out. Herath was healed by Kalista and they gathered themselves.

Don’ described the stones that surrounded the circle in his dream and asked Kalista to try and locate one. She cast her spell and searched out. There was nothing close but her spell would last long enough that they could cover another furlong or so. The forest became older, darker, and more still. Mist gathered between the boles and Kalista sensed a stone like Don’ described. They cautiously approached and then Don’ gestured they stop.

Don’ moved forward and knelt, starting some ceremony, to place three torches and three silver pieces on the ground. He chanted briefly and then removed his touch. It was almost as if he had summoned the three figures that appeared in the mist. Each walking towards him from a different position. One in silver mail, another dark armor, and a third in brown clothes that might have been made from bark and leaves.

Each had skin like leaves, hair like grass and dark eyes like set amber, and seemed completely disinterested in everyone save Don’. They spoke to him.

“Our forest has been desecrated.”

“Too many times have the men come into our place and taken our old beautiful trees.”

“A price must be paid in blood.”

The three seemed to know what must be said. Like they were reciting some old prose.

“The next hunter that enters these woods.”

“You must bring to our circle.”

“And make an offering of to pay the price.”

Don’ was shocked. A blood price for the Fey. “What about a beast instead?” He had no want to be a murderer.

“Aye.”

“A beast for nine years.’”

“Each time the moon is full.”

The question was how.

“You will do this service for us.”

“Make right the wrongs in our realm.”

“Or the price will be paid by you.”

Each took a torch and a silver piece, turned, and after a few strides seemed to melt away into the mist.

The party said little as they left. It seemed too close the edge of the forest and that elicited comments.

“We may have to delay the journey with Lorco,” Don’ said.

When they returned to the Whalers’ Retreat Aenir and Kellor were waiting for them.

“We saw our friends from the Crypt,” Aenir said gravely.

“That means Thiridea has made it back to Vrim.”

This made things even more dangerous if Jonas, Thiridea’s mentor, was still there in the chapel on Manduran’s Hill.

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Kiltayre: Session 16 Review

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The inn was warm and cosy. It was a great change not to breath freezing cold air all night. They slept well, except Don’. He was visited with a vivid dream. Figures in a mist forest circle were milling about, as if edgy with each other, and they kept looking about for him as if sensing Don’s presence. When we awoke he was a little disturbed, but it was just one dream.

After Kalista rejoined them from her long bath they discussed their plans. All the fine weapons they’d looted from battles past had to be sold. The money would be helpful even if the food Felk Bay needed was not to be had. They had asked Arthur, the Innkeeper, about the Rhett attack and he had no news of it. Too far north it seems for the news to have travelled.

Aenir and Kellor would pursue weapon and armour smiths to trade the looted items with. They had been in that business in Dwarf Town and Aenir was described as a silver tongue with other merchants, by Kellor, and the older warrior was skilled in crafts able to easily recognise good work versus pretty work.

It was barely decided when the door opened and a quartet of guard stamped into the common room of the Whalers’ Retreat. They rubbed their hands and glanced about settling their sight on the group. Nerves ran high as the guardsmen approached, rattling in their mail with weapons at their hips.

“Well young ones. Where have you come from?” The sergeant started.

The questioning was short. Hard eyes of the sergeant watched them all and relaxed as they answered.

“From the south of the island?” he laughed incredulously.

It was enough for the guards to think the young troop were no threat and they left. Likely back to their warm watch house somewhere near or in the Tovran tower whose heraldry they wore.

With that stress over the party split up to deal with their various needs. New boots, clothing, backpacks, trade-in weapons and armor, and find supplies for Kalista’s spell working. It was a long list and in a new town it might take some time.

Madam Lim’s was the apothecary everyone pointed them to and when they arrived Kalista was so happy to see the variety of materials that she almost cried. Lim had everything, from canis root, to fulgurites, to quartz, to mummified donkey hoof. It was amazing.

Whilst Kalista rummaged the store and looked at every last thing in case it was what she might need the others, mainly Fel, asked Madam Lim about the history of the area. They were richly rewarded. She told them that Vrim, and most of the coast from outside the Saints Valley all the way to the Greywynd River, was awarded to Kentos by the Great Thane Davinus. Kentos later divided his lands and awarded Vrim to a Sipran lord. Many Sealer Nomads chose to live on the land instead of in the fleets and changed their life. A century or two ago the land was divided again with the Tovran being awarded the south of Vrim in murky details, or secrets.

Madam Lim asked the group if they would be willing to collect clams from the Muddy Cape, over the mountains to the north, and they agreed. She said that any pearls she found in the clams she’d give to them on top of a fee. The clam meat being useful in boosting the power of healing potions – which many needed after the attack by the Livruss and Kulvuss fleets.

They met the Dwarves at lunch and the battle-brothers were excited to share they’d found the two armorers in town. One had less stock than the other but rumor had it Cyne, who had more stock than Alfwin, sold cursed weapons. With bellies full of food that wasn’t seal or bear meat they visited Alfwin. It was true. The smith had little stock and nothing they were interested in so it was off to Cyne. A good salesman Cyne traded most of the group’s won prizes for a few hundred gold coins and some other weapons: a long spear of giant bane, a staff of rapid attack, and more.

Lorco was next on their list and with the dwarves they located him easily enough at the Red Stag. Aenir had already come across him that morning. They entered the Red Stag only to have Kellor and Aenir depart to talk to a Margad woman in a bright yellow cloak. She was broad and massive with purple eyes and bright bronze skin. Herath followed looking on with infatuated eyes.

At a small table Lorco pondered a map. His broad hat and long arming sword sat next to it with a tankard of ale. Rough old travelling clothes and fine brigandine armor gave him the look of a well travelled ranger or scout. His long beard and wild hair made him look like a typical travelling wizard.

“What do you know of vampires?” Felghanis opened.

Queen Marcelline was Lorco’s target. He claimed to have killed 6 vampires before and aimed to make her the 7th. Lorco said she was turned away from her fief, banished, by St. Fergus in the early part of the church’s ascension to power. That was some 400 years ago. Felghanis swooned over the knowledge a creature like Marcelline might possess.

“Don’t worry about him,” Don’ said.

Fel huffed and stood up. Leaving without a word. Kalista and Don’ were surprised. Not understanding but Lorco was here now and they kept talking to him. Highgate Monastery and a large fort on the edge of the marches were the two locations Lorco suspected she was holed up in.

“Experimenting on creatures,” he said.

“Like otyughs?”

“Yes. She seems to do this everywhere she goes, experimenting.”

They talked at length and decided when the group was ready Lorco would be accompanied to investigate Highgate Monastery. Lorco had Daldra on retainer for the expedition so he’d have a potentially strong mercenary at his side. It was agreed that they’d leave in 2 days and the group would part ways once Lorco had enough information to determine if Queen Marcelline was in the old monastery – the group heading on to the Muddy Cape to clam for Madam Lim.

Don’ chased after Fel and caught him in the street. Heated words were thrown about and a threat from Fel had Don’s back up. They parted company.

Felghanis walked the streets then decided to find the chapel that Frellan had said the Scours were using as a base in Vrim. As Felghanis got closer to the area known as Manduran’s Hill he could see that the chapel was being rebuilt. A snowball crunched at Fel’s feet and he glanced about for who threw the thing. From around a wall the hard weathered face of Fenris beckoned him with a hand. Too curious to refuse Fel’ approached and Fenris spoke in a rushed whisper.

“I know you’re not following me so you’re safe. Jonas is inside. Consider this an apology.” Fenris looked like he was physically making himself stay, against some compulsion. “There’s more going on here than you can know. I don’t know what it is, yet, but it’s more than the Church and these books.”

Felghanis nodded then said quickly, “Next time you need something send a message.”

Fenris managed a thin smile, “I’ll try.”

Whatever force was compelling the traitor, the Night Wolf, it won and Fenris trotted away nearly silent. But what brought a look of shock to Felghanis’ face was the man’s feet never broke the surface of the snow.

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Kiltayre Session 16 Ideas

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They’ve made it to the first town since Dwarftown, where they were pretty much imprisoned straight away. Vrim is filled with side-plots and has the added complication of Thiridea’s Scours being based there. What the players will do in regards to that I am not sure.

Coming up is a bit of rest & recovery. I’m anticipating that they’ll want to try to locate the other book, not the one in the capital, and recover it. That is fine and planned for. However, I’m hoping that the rich background and potential side-quests are a good lure, too. Unloading loot is coming up and there’s hooks for other quests in that, as well. Basically Vrim is like the major town in a video RPG with hooks on every corner. I may have overdone it.

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Kiltayre Session 15 Review

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The blizzard had set in. Camped in the hollow of a once enormous fir tree’s trunk the party had good warmth.

“Seal meat, again,” Felghanis moaned.

“I can barely eat it any more,” Kalista agreed in sentiment.

“At least we know where the third book is.”

“It could be in two places. What might be Stonecrest and almost certainly Vrim.”

“After you rest maybe you can use the spell-structure in the book to locate the first volume?” Fel asked.

The Felk Bay people speculated about the book, the ritual and the Church’s involvement. Fenris’ name came up again and Felghanis vented his frustration.

“He killed members of the Church, but not us, why? If only he would talk to us.”

It was a moot point but they dwelled on it for some time.

“Perhaps the tear of the Elder’s could break the competed ritual?” Don’ suggested.

Felghanis set aside his notes and referred to the book, “No. Once complete it’s like any other ritual and has to be dispelled or otherwise negated. That might be difficult considering the tier of magic involved.”

Kalista nodded. It was in concordance with the laws of the arcane that she understood.

“Here, read this,” Felghanis said handing out a page of notes to Kalista.

They call him Codger and he likes it! How I’d rail against such impertinence. Such disrespect. My brother was ever the one to smile and bear fools. I shall not. How the visions grow but so does my plan. An army, a horde, a sweeping ocean of the raised dead will be lifted back to the mundus. Why must my brother be so close? It matters little, if at all, he could never discern anything through my scrying-guards and other obfuscations. I long to say he is a fool but the evidence is contrary. He is cunning, if somewhat deluded, animist.

Kalista’s mouth opened, “Your Uncle is Codger’s brother?” She was incredulous.

“He might have been keeping an eye on my Uncle, even scrying him to see what he was doing. Maybe trying to prevent him from finding the Bell of Thullemon.”

Don’ was no so sure, “The Codger was kind and a bit doddering. He didn’t seem on the same level as your Uncle.”

“I don’t know about that,” Kalista said. “Although it was your Uncle, Fel, that realised I had talent for magic. It was Codger who trained me in the ways of the Wizard-Animist. I still remember my mother baking a pie and sending me over to deliver it to him. That was the first day I started studying. It was a few months later that he sent me into the hills to find some quartz with Don. That was when I missed the chance to go with Felghanis to Vensing to study at the college.”

Fel rubbed his chin, deep in thought, “That just supports my idea.” His voice was soft.

The conversation drifted and the eventually slept, or took their watch. The next morning Kalista prepared her casting. The energies were quite great, at the top of her spell tiers, and she delivered them into the spell-structure of the book.

She sensed the book. It was east, and a bit north, in a massive stone building. Like two towers on either side of a domed cylinder. It had to be the Vatican of St. Fergus. Glowing light pulsed and reached for her as her focus began to narrow on the book. A presence pressed her soul and it felt like an archangel.

“You are not welcome here,” the archangel said.

The light’s intensity grew and it became like a solid wall against her reaching sense then threw her back.

Felghanis, Don’, Aenir, Kellor and Herath saw a dim glow about the girl flare then fade away as she gasped. It was barely two heartbeats from when she touched the book to the light being gone.

“What happened?”

“It sensed me… I felt so dirty, so unworthy.” She went quiet, solemn, and stared at her feet.

Don’ touched her on the shoulder. “Almost certainly part of its magic.”

They broke camp and traipsed through heavy snow back on to the beach. It turned from rocky, to smooth, to icy, and then rocky again. Days passed and Felghanis mused that they were lucky for the trees or they’d all be snow-blind by now.

Fionnghal whined and kept sniffing the air behind them. Don’ sensed the dog’s concern they were being tracked. Whatever it was could not keep up with them and he did not worry the others with this news. Another day passed and it was clear that the creature tracking them had fallen too far behind for Fionnghal to scent.

It was late on the 7th day that they saw distant lines of chimney smoke. As the sun set small yellow lights, the windows of buildings, lit up their destination.

“That must be Vrim!”

“Aye, and I bet they have beer!” Kellor added.

The all picked up their pace and pushed their speed to double-time march. It was tiring but worth it as the opened the door into the warm interior of the Whaler’s Retreat. The inn was recently thatched with heather and the well-made furniture was worn to glossy wood.

Arthur the inn-keeper greeted them and they arranged a trade. All the seal meat for rooms, meals and as much as they could drink from below the top shelf.

Other patrons sat about, talking and eating. A tall woman with bright copper hair approached Kalista and they talked for a while. She was Daldra Urrdon, a Corsiff mercenary, and stood an impressive six-feet and eight inches tall. Daldra recommended Kalista talk to Colle, a dwarf, who was searching for something called Bilof’s Stronghold.

Felghanis settled into the nook by the fire and read one of the Canon of St. Fergus books that they had claimed at the Iron Tower. He couldn’t reconcile why he hadn’t started weeks ago. Still, it was comfortable and warm here and easy enough to concentrate. Local hunters bemoaned the sighting of a tentacle beast with a huge maw of fangs. Sounded like an otyugh to Fel. He just listened in for a while and heard that they were finding it hard to feed themselves so many were travelling further into the marches to the south to hunt for meat.

People began retiring and soon the only people left in the common room were Fel and Arthur, who kept yawning.

“Seems there’s a lot going on around here. Lots of weird things. What’s the strangest you’ve heard?” Fel asked Arthur.

“Well, there’s a person who was staying here but moved to another inn who thinks there’s a vampire in the mountains. Can’t say I believe’em though. Why’d a vampire come here? There’s hardly anyone left after the Kulvuss and Livruss fleets attacked before the ice set in.”

Fel nodded and kept his tongue.

“I’ll be retiring now, if you don’t mind. Have this mulled wine to keep you warm and stoke the fire as you please. Good night young sir,” Arthur said and excused himself.

Felghanis sipped the warm beverage. Most of the alcohol was gone and that was good. It wasn’t something he enjoyed, but a vampire? That was something he could enjoy taking control of. A wry smile crept over his face.

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Kiltayre: session 15 ideas

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Swathes of information are on the table now, after session 14. It’d be hard for the players to struggle come up with an agenda. I think that they’ll be swamped with choices and struggle to make a choice about what they ought to do next.

It really will be game-altering which direction they choose. Vrim or Stonecrest. The latter is nearly 300miles away. If they choose Stonecrest it’ll refocus the game on travel and survival for a time. Covering that kind of distance in the harshest winter in living memory will be tough. It also raises the question, what if the winter doesn’t end? The prophecy that Herath brought from the shaman Old Mountain seems to think it will not end unless the return is stopped.

It’s clear that the players have some antagonists. Thiridea and possibly her Scours. The potential threat of Jonas who Frellan insists would not have died in the Iron Tower. Fenris as an enemy if they end up on his trail again. The Prelate of Dwarftown and his “secrets”.

I know if I was playing that I’d be heading for a town. At the very least a hot bath and a fresh loaf of bread before going elsewhere. Vrim is close enough that it’s worth doing and heading back through the Greywynd Woods, and the vengeful Garren, might be a suicide-mission. With all this going on it’s still 2 weekends until we play again (May 6th).

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Kiltayre: Session 14 (part 2)

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Felghanis stowed the book and with Herath at the lead they all headed back to the coast. As they travelled, slowly, Kellor got used to swinging his axe again for their firewood needs. The dwarf seemed happy to be useful again. Aenir and his battle-brother were in good spirits. May have been relief that they were still alive together.

With most of the day ahead of them they pushed as far as they dared whilst collecting wood. After setting camp Felghanis began deciphering the book. Kalista tried as well but she couldn’t make heads or tails of the writings. It may as well have been in ancient Lecorrean for her.

It was written in ancient Hrimpursar runes and the phrasing was esoteric since it described the Ritual of Fimbulwinter. The book revealed that the ritual also summoned a kind of dire elk that the Hrimpursar loved to hunt and eat. There were many other secrets in the book:

  • Hrimpursar claimed a right to blanket the land in winter.
  • This was the second of three books.
  • It described the ritual.
  • And how the ritual must be done at least 60feet from any tears of the elders. “There must be no regret or the ritual will fail.”
  • Each book could be used to find the others. It held a kind of empty “spell structure” that could be fuelled with any spell of the first tier. The heading and rough distance to the book being asked about would be given. However, this could only be used once per day.

In the morning they would have their energies returned enough that Kalista could cast the necessary spell into the book and determine where it may be. She gathered herself and charged the spell-structure. The sensation was wrong. It was like two shadows were competing for her attention and neither could be trusted. One sense was the book lay in Vrim. The other sense that it was in Stonecrest, or at least where the place was marked on Felghanis’ map. Confused she shared it with the others.

“We should go to Stonecrest,” Felghanis. “My uncle said they have a grand library.”

“The high plains are dangerous. Moreso than these woods,” Herath cautioned. “And far colder. It may not be possible to travel in the winter. Even the bison leave the high plains at this time.”

“But it’s not that far. We’ve been further. We can go back along the mountains’ foothills and cross to the high plains further west.”

“Vrim is far closer and Vrim will have hot food,” Don’ said.

Aenir and Kellor glanced about the party, “Vrim is so much closer. We should go there first.”

“If the book’s not there we can head to Stonecrest afterwards.”

Felghanis looked dismayed but said no more on the matter.

“Either way,” Kalista added diplomatically, “We still need to rest this night.”

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Kiltayre: Session 14 (part 1)

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The Scours were bound, including the werebear Thiridea, and Fel took Kallista aside.

“We bury them up to their necks and leave them in the snow.”

Kalista was shocked, “Torture them? Leave them to their death? No! I’m not doing such a heinous thing.”

Fel was momentarily silenced.

“Let us see if Kentos’ spirit will allow us to take the book,” Kalista changed the topic.

They walked through the barrow in the harsh white light of Kalista’s Lumos spell. Rough hewn stone all around and not one of the black smokey forms of the wraiths. Until they came to the chamber of the giant-slayer.

“You can take the book but touch nothing else,” said the spirit gravely. Its hand touching the long sword of bone at its hip.

They both nodded then edged into the room. Fel carefully picked his way around the spear that lay across the sarcophagus. It was a massive weapon. Fel could scarcely get his hand around the haft if he had tried and the blade was like a full bastard sword mounted on the end. It shed power and dim light but Fel was not tempted. He had no love of weaponry.

Touching the book the leather was soft and smooth. He eased it from the carved stone satchel of the ancient hero. In his hands it felt heavy but when he scanned it with Detect Magic there was no enchantments. The book was mundane, per se, even if it did contain a ritual of never-ending winter.

When Fel turned back to Kalista the wraith was gone and he felt an emotion being sent. Kalista seemed to be feeling something too. Thanks.

They left the barrow and met with Herath, Don and Aenir. Kellor was still unconscious and his face bloody.

“We have it so let’s set camp and so we can rest and read it,” Fel said.

“At least let us scout the are before we start that.” The shepherd boy said.

Herath nodded and they went together through the deep snow. They had gone perhaps 300 yards when to the south Don’ heard the rattle of armor. They stalked towards the sound and dropped behind a snow drift. Figures were probing the ice of a small lake. Six of them, four lean dark hobgoblins out front in light armor, and two hefty stout orks, Tharkhor, behind in sooty-grey half-plate.

“That’s not good,” Herath said.

They slinked back and ran to the others.

“Orks. Pack your things, we are leaving!” Herath said loudly.

Felghanis and Kalista bit back their fear. Both were spent of their magical energy and desperately needed to recoup before they could face orks. There was chaos as everyone ran about gathering their gear.

“Leave them for the orks,” Aenir said bitterly.

“No. We take them,” Kalista was emphatic. “I’ll not have their deaths at the hands of orks or Garren on my conscience.”

She knelt by Kellor. There was a scrap of mana left and she fuelled a healing spell with that last piece of soul-fire. He stirred but did not wake. The doughty dwarf’s skull was covered again on the left side but the ear was gone and it left a mass of scar-tissue.

Felghanis sighed but he had a plan. He touched the two prisoners, Goran the rapier wielder, and Frellan the ordained scour, dispelling the blindness curse he had laid on them.

“I can see. Please don’t leave us to die,” Goran pleaded.

“Why were you sent to the Barrow?” Fel demanded.

“To retrieve a book.” Goran’s answer was clearly sincere and on further questioning by Fel it was obvious he knew nothing of the nature of the book.

Fel’s heart softened at Goran’s naiveté. “Carry your wounded,” Felghanis ordered and he removed the bonds from their legs.

It was hard going in the snow, carrying unconscious bodies. Aenir had Kellor across his shoulders like a lumberjack had a log. Frellan and Felghanis carried the Thiridea. Whilst Goran lugged Willem, their hardy guisarme guard, in the same fashion as Aenir. Herath scouted ahead and picked a direction. His keen senses used to the wintery scape. Don’ covered their tracks away from the barrow. It was not worth the time to cover the battle but at least it would be harder for the orks to track them past the barrow.

They had gone quite a distance, perhaps a mile, when bellows and the clash of steel reached their ears. Everyone stopped and took heaving breaths. They felt safer knowing the orks had encountered something.

“It must be Garren on the warpath for revenge.” Donallhan’s voice had a creeping fear in its tone.

“Then let us put more distance between,” Herath called back.

So they did. Pushing their march, Herath led them back towards the coast. One less direction the Garren could approach from. However, the wind was bitter and icy so they kept within the tree line.

The camp was set and the fire kept as small as they dared. Herath and Don’ built up snow walls about their campsite. It would reflect a bit of heat and hopefully reduce the distance the fire could be seen from. Kellor, Thiridea and Willem were all still unconscious. Felghanis called everyone out of the camp.

“We bury them up their necks…” he began.

“No. I’m not doing that,” Kalista cut him off.

“At least we slay the werebear. I don’t want to fight her again,” Aenir was stern. “She can blink or teleport or whatever it’s called. As soon as she awakes she’ll be free whenever she chooses.”

“I had forgotten this,” Kalista murmured looking at her feet.

“We give them weapons and leave them to their fate, then. Right now,” Aenir went on. “By the time they’re all free we’ll be long gone.”

“Maybe,” Don’ said. “The priest, Frellan, he seemed more amiable than the others.”

“Yes, why don’t we bring him here and talk to him?” Kalista beamed.

Frellan stood in his bonds glancing about. He was a handsome man with a powerful natural presence. Everyone’s eyes kept falling on him and they didn’t even realise.

“Perhaps I can suggest something?” Frellan tested the waters after the party back-and-forth came to no resolution.

They looked on, listening.

“You leave us with one day of food each and leave right now. Thiridea will almost certainly want to pursue but with little food we’ll have to go back and retrieve our packs or starve. That should give you at least a two day head-start.”

“Still say we should cut her throat before she wakes up,” Aenir grumbled but he couldn’t meet Frellan’s eyes.

“Don’t kill her, please. You’ll have her superior, Jonas, come looking for you. He’s far more powerful. I can see you’re good folk. You don’t deserve the fate that Jonas would put on you if you killed Thiridea.

“Jonas, is he a werebear too?” Fel asked, a sneer creeping on to his face.

“They are from the chapter of Inquisition Exarcanum, called Ursa Bellor, the bears of war.”

Felghanis nodded. He had suspected as much but he didn’t know for sure until now.

“What are the duties of the Ursa Bellor?”

“They wage war on the foes of the Inquisition Exarcanum. Demons, necromancers, witches. Those who  use magic to corrupt or counter the Saint’s works, or threaten the faithful.”

It made sense to Fel that werebears were used in this chapter. Unwaveringly good and very powerful they would be great soldiers for the cause of the Inquisition. It seemed to him that they were afflicted with their type of lycanthropy as part of joining the chapter. He said as much.

Frellan countered, “It is a great honor to be asked into the Ursa Bellor. Few ever are approached.”

“What about you? What section are you from?”

“I am from the Inquisition Exarcanum. My dedication to the destruction of the wakeful dead gained my invitation. I loathe the undead and will destroy them wherever they may be.”

They talked more at length about the structure of the church. How the Inquisition Exarcanum answers only to the Inquisitor and the Living Saint directly. Frellan was sincere and listened well. Felghanis and Kalista shared the party’s story. When they brought up the Prelate of Dwarf Town and his apparent trucking with demon stone ships Frellan was suddenly stern.

“How could you make up something like that? It’s too absurd to think that is a lie you expect me to believe. I have to believe it is the truth and I will lead the Inquisition there to investigate. The Prelate will not get away with such acts.”

“We’ll leave you with two days food each,” Kalista said. “And you’ll recommend that Thiridea return you all to your packs.”

“One day. Two days is enough that she might think she can force-march us to catch up with you. Willem will still be too wounded for that. I want to make sure we can live and get back to Vrim.”

They shared looks, Fel, Kalista, Don’ and Aenir. Vrim was where they planned to head.

“One day, then, and you’ll have some weapons so you’re not helpless.”

“I suggest you do this now,” Frellan urged. “Thiridea recovers quickly and she may be regain consciousness in the next few hours.”

“Well, I for one don’t want to fight her again and face the possibility of being hunted down by a bigger and badder were-bear,” Aenir said in a hiss.

It was decided and the party left the Scours to the fate that Frellan had suggested. Don’ led the party into the Greywynd Woods. Heading south-east to throw off the idea of pursuit. But they circled around after a mile or so and headed northwards of where the Scours were left. Setting camp was done again and they settled into their watches – tired but resolute.

Soft snow had been falling all night. Occasional gusts swirled it like mist and Felghanis had kept the book in his pack – which he insisted on wearing, or keeping beside him, all night. Now he was on watch with Herath. It was the coldest part of the dark night, just before the sun would rise and he felt bolstered with the recovery of magical energy he had.

As they kept watch, Herath and Fel would walk about the camp, close in on the fire while the other was on the edge. Herath was watching Fel head to the fire. The fire that wasn’t crackling or hissing with the recently added wood. A sudden sinking fear hit his guts as Herath realised he could not hear a thing.

That was when an arm, clad in chain, seized him around the neck from behind. Herath struggled but whomever it was had him tight and the pressure suddenly surged on his neck. The hunter lost consciousness.

Felghanis rubbed his hands together and caught movement out at the snow walls. A heavily built man in chain was dropping the limp form of Herath to the snow. For all Fel knew Herath might be dead. Then he recognised the hard face of Fenris. The traitor, tomb-robber, stalked towards the slim necromancer. He tried to speak, held out his hands to placate the advancing soldier, but he was within the effect of a Silence spell. That was when Fenris jumped on him. Gods he was fast and strong. Fel couldn’t resist. Try as he might Fenris just seemed to wrap him up like a snake might coil about a rat. In desperation Fleghanis seized Fenris’ arm and hit him with negative energy; his Charnel Touch. The soldier’s body jumped at the sensation and then his arms squeezed on Fel’s neck. To the young necromancer it felt like the world rushed away.

Barking awoke the others. Fionnghal was causing a ruckus. Don’s adrenaline surged and he leapt to his feet with a spear ready. A figure was trapped in the flailing roots of Fionnghal’s Entangle. Don’ hurled the spear but his depth perception hadn’t adjusted and it went wide. Aenir was up and moving towards Fel & Herath. The hunter was choking on his own tongue and the dwarf quickly pulled it free with his dagger’s scabbard. Kalista rolled out of her bedroll and also leapt to the aid of those on guard. She healed Felghanis and his eyes fluttered open.

“Fenris,” he rasped, his voice raw from the crushing choke that had knocked him out.

It was too late, though, Fenris had broken out of the dog’s spell and had fled into the cold darkness. They quickly assembled and used potions on Herath. Kellor was awake, too, and Aenir barely had time to grasp forearms with his battle-brother before Don’ and Herath declared Fenris untrackable.

“The snow was not even disturbed,” Don’ said a little awe-struck.

“The man is a ghost in the ice,” Herath said. “He must have magic.”

Kalista brewed on this thought. She had been ruminating on the formula for Traceless Passing, but that covered scent, too. “The dog,” she cried triumphantly. She quickly held up the piece of bear fur and cast the spell Speak with Animals.

“Can you track the man, Fionnghal?”

The dog was excited, “The hunt is on. We track and chase. But not close. Dangerous man. Bit the hunter, and he fell. Then bit the dark man, and he fell, too. Scent fresh. We chase!”

They broke camp as fast as they could. The pursuit of Fenris hot on their hearts. In less than an hour it was a grey winter’s day.

Light was about them, as much as it could be, and Don’ exclaimed, “I see him!”

They doubled their pace and it became apparent that so had Fenris. Soon Fionnghal was arcing to the east and west, as if Fenris knew they were tracking him and then they came upon their own tracks.

“Careful,” Aneir warned. “He might be leading us into an ambush.”

“He’s only one man,” Don’ said. “We have nothing to fear with all of us together.”

“I hope you’re right.” Fel countered. “You saw what he summoned out of the depths. What if he summoned that?”

There was no way to argue against the necromancer’s point, so they pushed on. Fatigue grew in their limbs and they were all tired.

“There,” Don’ suddenly pointed.

After crossing a hundred yards of snowy forest they saw it. A sack tied to a branch about seven feet from the ground. It held a rectangular shape. To Fel’s eyes it looked about right to be their hard-won book of Fimbulwinter.

“No,” Felghanis said in disbelief and amusement.

He led them to the sack and gingerly untied it. Opening the hessian away from his body he was relieved nothing issued forth. Inside he found the book and carefully he began to check its condition. There was little wrong with the volume. It was obviously read and the pages a little worn at the edges as if someone had rapidly thumbed through the thing. In the fly page a hastily scrawled note read in charcoal:

“I needed to read it. I have no qualms with you but if you pursue me I will kill you.”

It was signed with a glyph of a wolf’s paw.

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Kiltayre: Session 14 Ideas

Comments Off on Kiltayre: Session 14 Ideas

I’m hoping the players certainly have some questions:

  • Why were scours attacking the barrow?
  • What the hell is a werebear doing as a Scour at all?
  • Are these Scours, Thiredea’s band, connected to those that died at the Iron Tower?
  • Will Kentos’ spirit let them take the book now?
  • What about the Hob’s & Blakh?
  • Is there a Garren revenge warband on the way?
  • And where is Fenris (if they even care any more)?

Session 14 will be back to plot and information with a very good chance that the party will make it back to civilization for the first time in nearly three months! I know I’d be lusting after a hot bath, a real bed inside of four walls and a roof, and a fresh baked loaf of bread after that amount of time in the dirty wilds.

However, the party do have the entire Scour group as prisoners: two soldiers, a priest and Thiredea the werebear.

Interesting choices and possibly dilemmas ahead.

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