(3:08:00 PM) Sparda: All young children of Golarion grow up on certain stories and learn certain histories in school. One such story, which is also a history, is the tale of the arrival of Baba Yaga, Witch of the Iron Forest.
(3:08:00 PM) Sparda: Once upon a time in the north, the Land of the Linnorm Kings was much larger than it is today. Back then there was a council of the 10 greatest kings, all men who had slain the terrible Linnorm dragon-kin and mounted a head within their lodge. They and their Thanes met every month to discuss the matters of the land. One day an old woman came to the gates of the meeting hall, but the
(3:08:00 PM) Sparda: kings, while wise and strong, were set in their ways and believed that politics was not women's work just as magic was not the work of men. They turned her away from the doors with laughter and ridicule.
(3:08:15 PM) Sparda: A moment later the door burst forth and the heads of the ten thanes were thrown upon the kings' round table. The kings recoiled in horror, and the old woman clucked her tongue.
(3:08:15 PM) Sparda: "I am so SORRY about that! These nice young men were just so rude to me that I lost my temper, tsktsktsktsktsk… You know how emotional we women can get…"
(3:08:15 PM) Sparda: She circled the table, cackling.
(3:08:15 PM) Sparda: "I have come to tell you that I like your land. In fact, I love it. I would like to take it for my own. I give you a year and a day to move your people nad effects from the land between the river to the west and the river to the east, if you do not… then they shall belong to me as sure as winter follows autumn!"
(3:08:17 PM) Sparda: "Who are you to demand such things of us, old crone!?" Cried one of the kings, though all were too terrified to rise against the woman who murdered their guards without allowing them to make a sound.
(3:08:20 PM) Sparda: "WHO AM I!? AAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!!! I am the Witch of the Iron Forest… I am the Queen of Crones… I am the Wicked Grandmother… I, my dear kings, am BABA YAGA KOSTYANAYA NOGA!"
(3:08:23 PM) Sparda: She left, then, and the kings were given their year to prepare. And they did, but it was for war. 6 of the 10 kings refused to move from their land, the other 4 deferred to their wisdom and humility and left. A year and a day passed and the kings had gathered a great army of barbarians and beasts, of shamans and druids and witches. They thought they were ready.
(3:08:27 PM) Sparda: They were wrong.
(3:08:28 PM) Sparda: Down from the north marched Baba Yaga's army of faeries and monsters, of humanoids she could bully or buy into her service. Leading the charge was the Witch of the Iron Forest herself flying in her magic mortar and pestle, flanked by a flight of her unearthly beautiful white-haired daughters. The battle was a short one and in the end Baba Yaga stood victorious and the people of the
(3:08:33 PM) Sparda: Linnorm Kings watched as she personally sheared their heads from their shoulders with her iron teeth.
(3:08:35 PM) Sparda: That is the tale of the birth of Irrisen, Land of Eternal Winter. A place captive in cold, ruled by the daughters of Baba Yaga. Every 100 years the heralds of the Queen of Crones ride through Golarion to announce her arrival as she places one of her daughters on the throne and takes the previous ruler with her on her treks through the multiverse. This year it has been strangely quiet,
(3:08:40 PM) Sparda: no calls of the heralds on their yearlong trek across the world.
(3:08:40 PM) Sparda: More troubling still are the accounts of unseasonable weather throughout the world, of a summer of snow. Could the two events be connected? Forecast: most certainly…
(3:10:15 PM) Sparda: You have all answered a call from Chancellor Meryl Sondaq of the royal house of Taldor, a general offer of employ for those of the adventuring profession. Her adjutant has since sat you in a plush waiting room with red velvet chairs and polished marble floors, the typical crumbling beauty of a Taldorian office. She is apparently in a Sending with someone and until she is finished you
(3:10:16 PM) Sparda: have a chance to meet and greet with your fellow adventurers.
(3:14:16 PM) Aramis: A young ratman sits in one of the chairs. His tail thrashes a bit, as he is unable to really contain his annoyance at being put off for so long. He adjusts the assortment of stitches and threads that might have been a fine tunic at one point and tries to put a bored look on his face, not that it really works
(3:14:39 PM) *Aric_North sits on one of the chairs, eyes closed in meditation.. Dressed heavily wearing a large Armored coat over the bulk of his body, a mixture of three colors, Gold, Red, and Black detailing it, and a bronze metal plate covering the lower portion of his face though leaves his Brow exposed, as well as a Tattoo of Sarenrae, the goddess of the sun exposed..
(3:14:48 PM) Aramis: "Wonder how long they'll have us waiting" he quips, looking around at the odd assortment here.
(3:16:53 PM) Aric_North: (( Mask) His features lend some other strange nature to them venturing to point out he isnt human, his hair refusing to reflect light, simply a long black shadow by looks, and his skin a dark tan, save around his eyes that are almost purple in color, "As long as she needs, or Pleases. But no longer then that i would ima
(3:18:06 PM) Aramis: "Huh." He smoothes out the brown fur on one arm and tries to settle in at that statement. "… hate having to wait" he mutters.
(3:18:45 PM) Brent: It took a few tries. A mug or two of beer helped. Battle worn but dependable scale mail was barely hidden by a surcoat stained with old blood from one or two battles too many for this youngish man who clearly had traded the tail end of his childhood for war. He seems mildly sad and pained at any given time, though also confused. A real horse-slayer is strapped to his back and he takes his helmet off
(3:19:06 PM) Brent: as he enters, ruffling his short military-cropped blonde hair and looking around.
(3:19:54 PM) *Aric_North chuckles, "I've always found it nice.. You can learn alot from someone by how they make you wait"
(3:21:52 PM) Brent: "Hi." people in fancy clothes were usually the least trustworthy and he didn't look like he possessed too many social graces as tended to be common for the "military type". Then again it's hard to trust anyone after a near death experience. He refuses to sit.
(3:22:00 PM) Reffan: A brown-furred scruffy-looking catfolk, nevertheless dressed in a very worn outfit and cloak-with similarly worn scale mail under it-yawns, curled up on the floor, tail idly swishing from left to right. "Yeah, but it's so booooooring. And you can't go and do anything else while you wait. I wanna eat"
(3:22:41 PM) Aramis: Aramis just frowns at that bit of information, instead trying to find something to keep his mind occupied while he waits to find out what this job is about.
(3:23:34 PM) Reffan: Were anyone looking close, they'd notice he was laying on top of a -huge- axe. And he looks like he'd be about 5'3" were it not for the laying down curled up
(3:23:48 PM) Keviak: Not long after, the door creaks open again, and a silvery reptilian muzzle pokes in. This place is… big. And expensive-looking. Not in the same way, say, the great hall at home was, cavernous and ringed with jewels. Not like that huge sparkly waterfall ringed with faerie-fire he had to pass by leaving. Not like, well, a lot of things? But that's what he's here for, right? Keviak heads into…
(3:23:50 PM) Keviak: …the room, claws tik-tikking lightly on the floor, trying not to act like he's nervous and worried he's going to break something.
(3:24:48 PM) *Aric_North quirks an eyebrow and opens one of his eyes to look at the new enterants, the whites of his eye a bright golden color, and the iris a glowing red as he nods to them
(3:25:13 PM) Brent: "Man." he says to no one in particular, imagining the people of this area must be desperate if they're fielding monster soldiers in their ranks. As a matter of fact… wow, he the only human here?
(3:25:53 PM) Reffan: Reffan's head snaps toward the newcomer, ears perking as he sizes the kobold up. And a very important question comes to his mind. One that he dare not ask right now, however
(3:25:55 PM) Aramis: Okay, now a lizardlike… thing comes in too. Okay, maybe the various people that Aramis was waiting alongside was enough to battle his boredom.
(3:27:28 PM) Sparda: KA-KLICK goes the big important looking set of double doors at one end of the room and a lovely middle-aged blonde woman steps through, her face set and businesslike. She has a doff of scroll-cases under one arm and her clothes are rich but simple in design. "Hello gentlemen, I apologize for the wait. I will make this brief so as not to waste too much more of your time." She walks up
(3:27:28 PM) Sparda: and hands each of you a scroll case.
(3:27:54 PM) Aramis: "You sure you're in the right place there?" he says to the nervous-looking Kobold. The way the odd creature seems hesitant to come in, they seem to be acting more like a clueless page than some sort of adventurer
(3:28:14 PM) Keviak: He looks like- well, a few inches shy of three feet tall, dressed in plain travelling clothes and a nice fur cape. Lizard tail, horns, something under the cape that isn't the pack… his eyes widen at the group, and he just about jumps when the woman comes in.
(3:28:38 PM) Sparda: She pauses at the kobold as well… Ratlings and Tieflings and catfolk she had seen, but a KOBOLD? "…ARE you in the right place, ahem, little sir?"
(3:29:18 PM) Keviak: "Err, yes! I hope so? Adventurers for hire, yes?" He does his best imitation of a charming smile. Which. Is surprisingly effective.
(3:29:49 PM) Keviak: If you don't look at how he's wringing his hands…
(3:29:53 PM) Sparda: …D'awww~ Well adventurers were coming in all shapes and sizes today, weren't they? "Well… Alright, then." She hands him a scroll case as well.
(3:30:45 PM) *Brent takes the scroll case and pops it open without ceremony or much reverence, skimming through it. Flowery words, flowery words, good sir this good sir that, don't waste my time lady, I'm too commoner for all these ti-there we go. Reading briefings made one tend to skip the fancy stuff.
(3:31:05 PM) Keviak: "Thank you, ma'am." Little bow as he takes the case.
(3:31:18 PM) *Reffan takes the scroll case as he shakes it, trying to figure out what was in it
(3:32:26 PM) Sparda: Once everyone has one she steps away. "The cases contain your letters of marque and paperwork describing that you are working under me, should anyone attempt to obstruct your investigation simply show them my seal. They also contain directions and tickets onto a caravan that will take you directly to the village of Heldren." She turns on her heel and regards you all with an even eye.
(3:32:27 PM) Sparda: "The people of Heldren have been reporting unnaturally unseasonably cold weather, drifts of snow and icy winds blowing from the Borderwood to the south, they had to take their summer festival indoors this year. I shouldn't have to tell you how strange that is."
(3:33:39 PM) *Aric_North opens his scroll and begins reading through it slowly while listening to the woman talk..
(3:33:50 PM) Sparda: "The exact circumstances of your pay will be discussed based on the difficulty of dealing with the problem, we do not yet know the extent of the problem or even if it is anything more than a routine magical anomaly or perhaps a young wizard too scared to let people know he has fouled a spell. You will, however, be paid no less than 400 gold pieces each for the trip."
(3:34:03 PM) Reffan: "But my friends always had their summer festivals indoors. Many times, in fact. Sometimes several times a week! And they always stared at the dancing girls while drinking."
(3:34:28 PM) Sparda: "Be that as it may, the people of the village were driven inside out of the sleet."
(3:34:35 PM) Sparda: "The sleet. In July."
(3:34:46 PM) *Aric_North nods.. "Might i ask what is known..?
(3:35:11 PM) Brent: Blahblahhonorarytitleblahbl-the exact circumstances of your pay will be discu-hahaha haggling already? "There's this line here about pay." he interrupts abruptly.
(3:35:16 PM) Keviak: Keviak listens attentively, nodding a bit.
(3:35:45 PM) Sparda: "Very little. We received the request for assistance not 4 days ago and… Yes I just remarked upon that line. I'll ask you to pay attention, good sir. I think we are all a bit busy to have me repeating myself."
(3:35:58 PM) Keviak: …Wow. Four hundred gold. That's a lot. He'd saved up everything he could and that still wasn't four hundred gold pieces.
(3:36:42 PM) Brent: "400 gold is a lot of money. We're very likely to die aren't we." he seems unphased at being hurried.
(3:36:48 PM) Aramis: "Sounds like either way, with winter coming in July, whatever it is needs to be taken care of FAST."
(3:37:11 PM) Sparda: "Again, your minumum pay is 400 gold, the exact details of your pay will be decided upon once you report the quest in completion. We do not know to what extents you will be asked to go to in order to resolve the weather issue."
(3:37:15 PM) Brent: 400 gold is enough to put an entire village into early retirement.
(3:37:35 PM) Brent: And the village next door too. "Uh-huh."
(3:37:38 PM) *Aric_North nods.. "Agreed. I accept." Not that he had much choice really.. Last he remembered was his mentor talking to him over wine.. Then waking up on his way here, all his equipment loaded up with him…
(3:37:51 PM) Sparda: Brent: That DOES sound like a lot of money, but you know that Taldor has a reputation for high minimum service pay to adventurers.
(3:38:11 PM) Aramis: "Sounds like it'd at least be a good way to spend a couple weeks." And profitable, don't forget profitable! "I'm in too."
(3:38:26 PM) Keviak: He imagines buying furnishings for a three-story cavern. Or a series of magical statues made entirely out of pudding. Or- "Uhmm. If someone doesn't stop it… the crops will die, won't they?"
(3:38:43 PM) Keviak: "Yeah. Gotta stop that."
(3:39:38 PM) *Brent bears a skeptical expression but decides not to comment further. Man that brow is furrowed.
(3:40:22 PM) Aric_North: "If there is a specific person behind this, are we to capture, or dispose of them..?
(3:40:23 PM) Aric_North: "
(3:40:26 PM) Sparda: The chancellor nods. "Heldren is a very small village but it is an important location as it is on the border with Qadira, it also has very rich farmland around it. The farmers rely on Heldren for amenities and for shipping their crops."
(3:40:50 PM) Reffan: "I'll take it!" moneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoney. So much food that can be bought!
(3:41:14 PM) Sparda: "If there is a specific person behind it then of course capturing them for trial is preferred. If you are forced to defend yourself and the culprit is eliminated in the process, however, it is frankly no skin off my nose."
(3:41:39 PM) Brent: "Yeah, I'll bet." You're not the one taking a painfully blatant suicide mission.
(3:42:15 PM) Sparda: "I defer to your judgement on the matter. However if you encounter Qadiran agents at any time, then be advised that you are to report immediately to me. Do not engage them or you may begin an international incident. If this weather is a Quadiran attack of some sort then it is a declaration of war we'll need."
(3:42:28 PM) *Aric_North nods,
(3:42:48 PM) Sparda: "Now then that is all the information I have for you. Any questions?"
(3:43:10 PM) Reffan: "Oh, me! me! me!" Reffan raises his hand excitedly
(3:43:59 PM) Sparda: She raises an eyebrow and gestures to him.
(3:45:05 PM) Reffan: "if we end up starving in the cold, who's volunteering to be Emergency Food?" Reffan seems to ask this absolutely innocently
(3:45:25 PM) Sparda: …
(3:45:34 PM) Sparda: "I will allow you to discuss that amongst yourselves. Any OTHER questions?"
(3:45:59 PM) Keviak: …
(3:46:11 PM) Aric_North: "I… … *he blinks the shakes his head* I beleive I am good. Thank you"
(3:46:51 PM) *Aramis now has to question the competence of some of his newfound associates for the moment. And perhaps which god or goddess hates him so much.
(3:46:54 PM) Keviak: Keviak opens his mouth. Closes it. Raises his hand.
(3:47:06 PM) Sparda: She gestures to the kobold.
(3:48:30 PM) Keviak: "How long has it been really cold?
(3:48:52 PM) Keviak: "Or did I miss that bit? You said four days ago they said something… is it all of a sudden like?"
(3:49:13 PM) Sparda: "Only a matter of weeks apparently, less than 2. It took them a while to decide to report it and send a runner."
(3:50:37 PM) Keviak: "Hrm." He's not a very scholarly kobold, but that does seem to edge out some of the really weird and really normal explanations. "Okay."
(3:51:21 PM) *Aric_North nods considering, starting to speak, but smirks under his mask and raises his hand instead,
(3:52:30 PM) Sparda: She raises an eyebrow at Aric and gestures towards him.
(3:53:40 PM) Aric_North: "What if this is some sort of natural event..? As hard as it might sound possible"
(3:53:56 PM) Brent: "Oh yeah. Blizzards in summer. Natural." Brent clicks his teeth.
(3:54:35 PM) *Aric_North rolls his eyes, but makes no response,
(3:54:40 PM) Aramis: "Yeah, I'm sure everyone has had ice storms in the middle of their warm season" he says as he rolls his eyes
(3:55:09 PM) Keviak: "It happens sometimes… but not for two weeks I don't think?"
(3:55:58 PM) Sparda: "I'll have to echo the incredulity of your peers. This is most certainly an anomaly, Taldor keeps very clear almanacs."
(3:57:00 PM) *Aric_North simply nods..
(3:57:04 PM) Keviak: "And maybe not south… I'm not a weather mage." His voice gets quieter as he trails off, as if he's really just talking to himself.
(3:57:16 PM) *Brent suddenly looks uncomfortable, taking a sharp intake of breath that suddenly sounds like the lungs of an old man or a very sick person. He seems suddenly curious about his right hand, flexing his finger into a fist and back out of one a few times as if trying to keep circulation going. He also distances himself from others slightly.
(3:57:41 PM) *Reffan sits up, yawning again.
(3:57:53 PM) Sparda: She checks the gnomish ticking clock on the wall. It is currently late morning. "Now then, I suggest you all get going as soon as possible. It's 3 days ride to Heldren from here." She notices Brent's sudden discomfort. "…Are you alright, sir?"
(3:57:53 PM) Brent: There is an audible knuckle-crack that is a bit more dramatic than the sound one expects.
(3:58:27 PM) Brent: fingers*
(3:58:33 PM) *Aric_North nods and stands, bowing to the Lady before making his way towards the exit,
(3:59:47 PM) Brent: "Yeah just give me a minute." A slight vapor comes out of his nose and mouth as if he were standing outside in the cold rather than in the current warm interior. He seems to get a hang of it after a while.
(4:00:48 PM) Sparda: Meryl furrows her brow and nods shortly, backing away a bit. "…Very well. I'll take my leave. Good morning." She nods her head and leaves, though she still looks worried for Brent.
(4:02:05 PM) Keviak: "Have a nice day!"
(4:02:14 PM) *Reffan stands up and stretches a good bit-as much as you can in scale, anyway-before heading to the door
(4:04:31 PM) Sparda: Taldor may have a reputation as a crumbling empire of vast past glory, but it is still as wealthy as it is small enough that her wealth is well spread amongst the populace. The caravan you lot have been loaded into his quite comfortable with covered wagons and plenty of food and drink, especially water. Tales of unseasonably cold weather seem far from your minds under the sweltering sun.
(4:04:31 PM) Sparda: Your caravan leader is a small sweaty dwarf in a wide-brimmed hat who grumbles incessantly but is quite good conversation.
(4:04:37 PM) Brent: "Fucking hell." he pounds his own chest once then seems to shake whatever it was off. "Well. Looks like we're an assembled team. I'm Brent. Crusader of… a religion." Error. Memory not found.
(4:05:01 PM) Brent: He offers to shake hands with whoever wants to. He keeps his gauntlets on though, just in case.
(4:06:01 PM) Aramis: "Name's Aramis." he offers bluntly, though he does shake Brent's hand with his paw, in part with a sort of curiosity at how he reacts.
(4:06:13 PM) Aric_North: I am Aric.. Servant of Sarenrae.
(4:07:33 PM) *Brent seems unaccustomed to catpeople but he's used to marching with, shall we say, "combined arms units" even if it is generally seen as dangerous and desperate in the circles he's traveled in to field monsters in war. However, it is thankfully just a slightly weirdness rather than an active or malevolent racism on his behalf.
(4:07:36 PM) Reffan: Reffan is munching on a paper-wrapped piece of…wait is that chocolate? how did he get chocolate? And shakes chocolate-smudged hands with Brent, smiling. "I'm Reffan. I used to have a bunch of friends who'd go to bars a lot and take stuff from caravans like these because they say they didn't need them but then they got arrested for tax evasion but I got away and I'm wandering around
(4:07:37 PM) Reffan: doing stuff because I'm pretty sure that's what they'd want me to do and now I'm here."
(4:08:12 PM) Reffan: Brent might now have chocolate smeared on his gauntlet
(4:09:07 PM) Brent: Which probably freezes quickly and flecks off. This makes Brent uncomfortable again but he seems relieved that Reffan's paw is not frostbitten.
(4:09:13 PM) Aramis: Yep, the rat has to wonder now at how this gigantic cat managed to apparently survive in the world this long. >.>
(4:09:21 PM) Sparda: You rest at several little waystops throughout your three-day journey, giving you opportunities to get out of a moving vehicle, stretch and talk. As far as journeys go it's fairly smooth.
(4:10:38 PM) Reffan: "also this cool old guy who was with them and left shortly before the rest of them got arrested taught me how to hit things with an axe really well" Wrapping up his chocolate, he puts it back in the pack and—well, there is that huge axe behind him.
(4:11:43 PM) Keviak: The kobold eventually strips down to shirtsleeves in this weather. Yeah. Those are wings. He also seems to be carrying scale mail himself in his pack… how he got /that/ in his size and with wings is an interesting question. "Uhm… I'm Keviak! I'm on a quest." He looks somewhat proud of himself.
(4:11:49 PM) Sparda: The landscape is for the most part fairly boring, stretches of tan plains and green and brown hills, but on the last day of the trip as you crest a hill you look down into a beautiful valley, resplendant with farms and hills of rolling golden wheat, a gorgeous little village on the border of a deep green pine wood all of it glistening in the radiance of the late afternoon sun.
(4:12:00 PM) *Aric_North rides along side the wagon on his horse, a good bit of supplies being carried by it, not to mention his own weapons, a large bronze great Mace, Scimitar, and Crossbow..
(4:12:19 PM) *Aramis just ends up coming on the journey with a light pack and a single ornate-looking sword. It looks more than a little out of place given his rather poor appearance, but apparently he takes good care of it.
(4:12:21 PM) Aric_North: (or at times just ties it to the wagon and rides on it..))
(4:12:29 PM) Brent: Being both human and a commoner, abrupt questions are the rule of the day and the first is flung at Reffan. "How do you heft that beast with those little, err… paw-thumbs?
(4:12:50 PM) Brent: Special gloves or something?"
(4:13:58 PM) Sparda: Your conversation is given the background of the soft whiffing of windmills as you ride past a few, the warm summer wind driving them.
(4:14:24 PM) *Reffan tilts his head while looking at his hands. "Eh? It's not that hard. You just grab it. And then hit the other guy in the face with the sharp end."
(4:14:53 PM) *Aric_North chuckles, "seems the most reasonable way to me"
(4:15:06 PM) Aramis: Aramis, on the other hand, looks to their unusual kobold addition. "Been out in the wilds before now?" he asks. He's never really seen any adventurers that looked this unprepared for seeing it.
(4:15:27 PM) Brent: "Heh. That's an enthusiastic response. What happens if your axe gets hit back or you have to do some kinda tricky move?"
(4:16:40 PM) *Aric_North nods "I've accompanied my Mentor on several of his own trips to learn and observe, he perfered to camp in the Wild and enjoy Her Rising when he could"
(4:16:48 PM) Reffan: "Eh? That just means I have to hit them in the face until they don't get back up."
(4:16:50 PM) Keviak: "Wilds… yeah. Uhm. It's more the people…"
(4:17:58 PM) Sparda: Clipclip clopclop rollroll the sound of your caravan changes as you roll from dirt road to cobblestone.
(4:18:40 PM) *Brent is now under the distinct impression that this catguy might be some kind of weretiger that goes full on 'I'M GOING TO EAT YOUR CHILDREN, DEARIE" and hulks out when angered or something. Not being skilled in cryptozoology tends to make this a guessing game.
(4:18:45 PM) Aramis: "Yeah, so for most folks I'm a giant talking rat." A bit of a smirk on his face as he says that. "I'm used t' that, really. Just means they don't see me comin' when I roll 'em."
(4:19:14 PM) Keviak: "It's not that I'm /unprepared/," he stresses quickly. "I've been, you know, places, read a couple of books, got a sword, got everything. You know. Just…" He tilts his head. "Do people not like rats?"
(4:20:26 PM) Aramis: "Some don't." He takes a moment to think about what to say to that. "It ain't like the stories I was told either, if that helps ya some."
(4:20:35 PM) Reffan: "I eat rats sometimes. Usually when there isn't much food."
(4:20:44 PM) Brent: "Yeah, I know what that's like."
(4:20:47 PM) Sparda: The dwarven caravan master belts out. "Heldren! All coming off for Heldren!"
(4:21:46 PM) Aramis: … okay, THAT was clearly aimed at him. He just gives Raffan a look and flatly states "I ain't on no one's menu."
(4:22:20 PM) Keviak: Keviak is about to respond, but they're at their destination! He scrambles quickly to gather all his things.
(4:23:17 PM) *Aric_North shakes his head, gathering up his own gear as well..
(4:23:27 PM) Sparda: Heldren is strange for a small village like this, the buildings are tall and very well built out of a fine lumber and the roads are skillfully paved in cobblestone. People in simple commoner dress mill about on the road. They're definitely not strange for a village like this as you can see men smoking pipes grumbling in your general direction and young maids leaning over their shopping
(4:23:28 PM) Sparda: baskets to giggle and whisper.
(4:24:07 PM) Sparda: You've come to a stop in the town square in front of a fountain, there's some sort of farmer's market going on the south side of the square. You can see down all four roads that meet here and you quickly realize those are the ONLY four roads in town.
(4:24:42 PM) *Reffan walks over to the fountain, looking inside curiously
(4:24:55 PM) Sparda: Aramis, Reffan, Keviak: You feel eyes on you.
(4:25:49 PM) *Reffan 's ears perk up and tail starts lashing to and fro
(4:26:00 PM) Aramis: Aramis imagines that, as small as this town is, half of its eyes will be on him pretty soon. If only he had remembered to buy that robe before leaving town. But then that whole "robed mysterious stranger" thing just got him into more fights than usual last time he tried it.
(4:26:01 PM) Sparda: You are sudden attacked!
(4:26:03 PM) Keviak: The kobold does his best to stand tall. After all, he's supposed to be here, and more importantly, he's here to /help/.
(4:26:04 PM) Sparda: By a swarm of children!
(4:26:13 PM) Keviak: …Actually, that makes him feel a lot GAH!
(4:26:24 PM) Reffan: AAAAAAAA CHILDREN
(4:26:33 PM) Aramis: … e.e
(4:26:41 PM) Sparda: Giggling village kids crowd around the three. "Wow your ears and tail are fuzzy!" "Do those wings work!" "Do you like cheese? I have cheese if you want some chees!"
(4:27:03 PM) *Brent decides to refrain from girlwatching for now and puts on a stoic expression. One of the very few perks of being a crusader is that you tend to court respect when you walk on through peasant villages. Especially if you flash that badge on your arm. Brent looks to it and finds only an unremarkable black X. Hrm.
(4:27:38 PM) *Aric_North cant help but smile again under his mask, watching as he dusts off his horses coat and walks along with the group, watching the children,
(4:27:44 PM) Keviak: He stumbles backwards and, since he's unbalanced, promptly falls on his tail. "AH! Wha?" The kobold is tongue-tied for a moment.
(4:28:08 PM) Keviak: …Ohh. "Yeah! Kinda!"
(4:28:14 PM) Aramis: "Oh yeah, sure, give the rat man a piece of cheese. I'm SURE he'll like it." he answers back. Man, what is it with these humans always assuming he wants some sort of curdled milk product? >:|
(4:28:15 PM) Sparda: A little girl dusts her hands off on her apron and offers Keviak a hand up. "Cool!"
(4:28:37 PM) Aramis: … Even though it is occasionally kinda tasty. You know, just as a one-off thing. >.>
(4:28:40 PM) Sparda: "Okay!" A little boy reaches into his belt puch and gives him a cracker and a piece of cheddar.
(4:28:42 PM) Reffan: "They are! And the rest of me!
(4:29:01 PM) Keviak: He accepts the hand. "Hi! I'm Keviak!" If he were human, he'd be blushing, but thankfully reptiles don't work like that.
(4:29:05 PM) Sparda: Reffan gets tailpets.
(4:29:31 PM) *Reffan 's ears stop being so perked up as the tail brushes into the petting
(4:29:51 PM) Aramis: "Could ya kids get outta the way now? 'm trying t' get some stuff done." Aramis does not like these large not-angry crowds.
(4:30:36 PM) Sparda: In a little bit a small, very thin human woman comes by, fluttering her apron in the direction of the children. "Go on, go on you little mischiefmakers, our visitors don't need barnacles hanging off their legs! Go now, go go!" The kids AWWWWWW collectively and scamper off.
(4:31:21 PM) Reffan: Aww…and he liked the petting.
(4:31:29 PM) *Aric_North chuckles and bows his head to the woman,
(4:31:35 PM) Sparda: The little girl introduces herself as Annamarie to Keviak before she goes though.
(4:33:00 PM) Keviak: …That was an interesting introduction.
(4:33:12 PM) Sparda: The small woman has brown hair streaked with gray in a somewhat messy bun and is wearing a lace-edged commoner's gown like everyone else. "Sorry about that, kids, you know. Now you must be the agents that Meryl said she'd be sending, yes? I'm Councilor Ionnia Teppen, head of the village council and proprietor of the local inn."
(4:34:14 PM) Reffan: "Oh, hi! Meryl said to show this letter to people!" Reffan pulls out the letter. It's slightly smudged.
(4:34:40 PM) Sparda: "Well, though I haven't run the inn at all lately, luckily I have a fine couple doing that for me, haha." She takes the… smudgy letter from the catboy and mumbles to herself as she reads over it. "Yes, this seems all in order, you all have one, yes?"
(4:34:47 PM) Aric_North: "Well Met, and yes, we are" he pulls out his own letter, "I am Aric,"
(4:35:13 PM) Keviak: Keviak dusts himself off and grabs the letter of marque from a pocket in his backpack to show her. "Yes ma'am."
(4:35:18 PM) Brent: "Yup." he shows his.
(4:36:05 PM) Aramis: Aramis nods in greeting. "Got mine right here." he says as he pulls his off the top of his backpack.
(4:38:16 PM) Sparda: She checks all of your paperwork and nods, smiling widely. "Good, good! Now how about a short tour before we talk business, hmm?" She gestures to a modest two-story house that nonetheless is quite well appointed. "That is my home, the Teppen House. Been in my family for generations just as we've always been in politics. The building right next to it is the Silver Stoat tavern, also owned
(4:38:17 PM) Sparda: by my family but currently being run by a very fine couple who have been friends of mind since forever. We have a temple to the god Erastil over there, though really the church has shrines to all the good gods, especially Sarenrae and Pharasma. Now let me tell you I know the government looks down on Sarenrae's followers because Qadira venerates Her Light so but we don't truck with that
(4:38:18 PM) Sparda: sort of religious intolerance in Heldren, no we don't!"
(4:38:23 PM) Sparda: She can really talk, can't she?
(4:39:07 PM) Keviak: He picks up his pack, tosses his cape over it, and follows.
(4:39:27 PM) *Aric_North cant help but smile at the talk of following Sarenrae, but other wise follows along listening..
(4:39:37 PM) *Reffan follows along, tailswishing curiously
(4:41:18 PM) Aramis: This at least means they are on the right track for here. Though most likely he won't be seeing much aside from the tavern while he's here. Always can unwind and wonder how much trouble that you've gotten yourself into while in a tavern.
(4:42:17 PM) Sparda: "I know an eclectic group like yours has probably had trouble fitting in but we're very broad-minded people, we judge people on what they do, not whether they have tails and fur, ohoho~ Over there is our good Barber, very funny man he is. And of course our blacksmith, he mostly makes horseshoes and nails now but I've heard he was quite the warrior in his day. Ah, the statue in the fountain
(4:42:18 PM) Sparda: we call Her Ladyship, no one knows who she was or why the tstatue is there! Some say she was a villainess that a good witch turned into stone and put on display as a warning to the others, ohoh! And speaking of good witches, that house there belongs to Old Mother Theodora, she's our local soothsayer. There are some other businesses in town of course but I think those would be the sorts
(4:42:18 PM) Sparda: you're interested in, yes?"
(4:43:30 PM) *Reffan is smiling, ears perked, tail swishing
(4:44:02 PM) *Aric_North nods, "Of course"
(4:45:00 PM) Sparda: "Oh, we also have the Willowbark Apothecary over there. The owner is a lovely Elven lady, very quiet she is, very somber. Very skilled though, I can't dream of what she's doing out here in the boonies but we're glad to have her." She leads you all into the Silver Stoat tavern next and bids you to sit down with her. A young couple, man and wife, bustle about to get you drinks and food at
(4:45:00 PM) Sparda: her behest. The tavern isn't like a lot of the boisterous dirty places in cities you've seen, this place is more like a family kitchen.
(4:46:25 PM) *Brent feigns interest, mostly. Lots of nodding and "Uh-huh".
(4:46:26 PM) Reffan: Reffan would be 'awww'ing as the fact that his friends wouldn't have liked this place but he's distracted by the delicious smell of what can only be food
(4:46:35 PM) Aramis: Huh. This place is all clean and kinda tiny, but full of smells that certainly are home-cooked to someone. At a certain level, Aramis is a bit disappointed, but he imagines there will be fewer bugs and cleaner bowls too…
(4:48:56 PM) *Aric_North finds himself liking this town.. But puts that aside, they are showing their best face at the moment.. He will find out more when he is able to ask around some..
(4:49:32 PM) Sparda: Much cleaner bowls. "Hello folks! I'm Menander and this be me wife Kale." "How are you all?" They introduce themselves. "Menander has the finest stew and veinson flank steaks you'll eat this side of the country I'll tell you what." "OH go on you flatterer." Bowls of steamy yummyiness are set out for you. You're also offered mugs of a very dark, very stout looking ale. Kale and Menander
(4:49:32 PM) Sparda: are both large people, loud too, Menander is bald and his wife is near the opposite with lots and lots of black hair braided down her back. Kale leans in as she offers the beer. "This is my special Three Devil Ale. It's brewed from imported hops grown in the fields of Cheliax. So good it's a SIN to drink it, haha!"
(4:52:12 PM) Reffan: "Ooooh! Venisoooon. I haven't had deer in a while."
(4:52:27 PM) *Brent gets to eating without much conversation. He politely refuses the booze for now. Strong drink made courage easier to come by, it was true, but it also made you stupid and arrogant.
(4:53:22 PM) Reffan: Reffan…goes to town on the bowls
(4:53:54 PM) Sparda: After you start to dig in (and Ionnia has some of that ale) she leans in and starts to talk business. "Alright, sorry about that, just had to give you a warm welcome before things got too serious. We're a lighthearted folk here. Now… We're a small village full of rumormongering busibodies, so let me just tell you what everyone's been saying…"
(4:54:46 PM) *Aric_North nods, "I'd imagine it must be hard to get Hops from there" He is happy to shake hands warmly with them, but for the moment makes no motion to remove his mask and eat, and just as he gets ready to ask, Inonnia already begins to answer as he sits down and listens intently,
(4:55:13 PM) Aramis: Huh, this is definitely higher quality food than his usual. The thin rat does his best to not LOOK like a totally starved beast as he tucks into the venison steaks.
(4:55:34 PM) Reffan: "Hmmm?" Reffan lifts his head up, stew dripping from his face. And venison steak juice.
(4:56:11 PM) Sparda: The sleepy village of Heldren has seldom seen so much excitement or concern. Hunters from the nearby Borderwood speak of unnatural cold that descended on the forest just this last week. Heavy snow followed and those who returned spoke of an uneasy presence in the woods as well as signs of beasts they were not familiar with at all. The local soothsayer, Old Mother Theodora, claims that
(4:56:11 PM) Sparda: she senses dark times ahead.
(4:57:29 PM) Reffan: "Oooh. Unfamiliar beasts? I wonder what they taste like." Reffan perks up
(4:58:02 PM) *Aric_North nods, "Had they any Ken on what sort of beasts..?"
(4:58:24 PM) Sparda: As if in proof of her prophecy, just yesterday a wounded mercenary arrived in town, placed under the care of the alchemist. Her healing magics saved his life and he's now just resting and waiting for his bones to finish knitting. He reported to Ionnia and the other village elders that he was the bodyguard of Lady Argendia Malassene, one of the noble house of Taldor. They came under attack
(4:58:24 PM) Sparda: as they tried to travel north past the borderwood. He alone escaped and the lady herself was dragged into the forest… by Winter Fae.
(4:59:32 PM) Sparda: "As you can imagine it's got the townsfolk locking their doors at night and keeping torches lit and ready at all times of the day, it looks alright on the outside but you should hear the talk in this place when evening falls! Hoh!" She shakes her head.
(5:00:20 PM) Sparda: She raises an eyebrow at Aric. "No, if they had any ken on the beasts they wouldn't have been unfamilar with their sign now would they? Hoh!"
(5:01:53 PM) *Aric_North simply nods again..
(5:02:22 PM) *Reffan is now eating the venison steaks. With his bare clawed hands.
(5:04:05 PM) Aric_North: "I dont suppose any of the hunters are still around, or the mercenary able to answer some questions?"
(5:04:13 PM) Sparda: Ionnia laughs at the catman's antics and shakes her head. "Alright, now… I know I don't have any say in how you conduct your business but my advice to you would be to talk to this mercenary, this Yuln Oerstag, and find out what he knows. I can't think the weather and sudden bandits from the woods to the south that we have known to be safe for ages aren't connected somehow, ken?"
(5:05:02 PM) Brent: Damn faeries. "Bet that sellsword might be a little less unfamiliar. One thing to overhear rumors from old bitties, another thing entirely to speak to a fellow who can show you where the things took chunks out of him."
(5:05:12 PM) Sparda: She turns to Aric. "He's laid up with our apothecary, Tessarea Willowbark, in her shop. She insisted he stay and rest even though the stubborn fool wanted to charge right back into the woods."
(5:05:42 PM) *Aric_North nods and smiles, "Thank you"
(5:05:42 PM) Brent: Doubtless getting high as fuck off of whatever that crazy brewpotion makes. Not that Brent could blame him if that rumor is accurate.
(5:07:12 PM) Aramis: Brewpotion you say? That's an excellent idea. Aramis will take two.
(5:08:32 PM) Brent: "We should go look into that now then."
(5:09:02 PM) Aramis: The rat definitely could get used to days like this, actually. Being able to sit back and enjoy good food and drink, and working on enough money to see him through several years.
(5:09:06 PM) Sparda: "You might want to try to pry anything else out of the townsfolk you can as well, if one person's heard it someone else has I'll tell you that much. We're a gossipy bunch we are. Just a matter of digging it up sometimes."
(5:09:06 PM) Aric_North: "One last thing for now.. Is your smith able to make heads for arrows or bolts..?"
(5:09:31 PM) Brent: "Smiths don't do that, fletchers do." he stands up again.
(5:09:51 PM) Sparda: "Yes, I believe so. He makes arrowheads for the hunters in their lodge in the wood, anyway."
(5:09:57 PM) Aric_North: A fletcher makes Arrows.. A smith could make iron Arrowheads.
(5:10:00 PM) Aric_North: ""
(5:11:43 PM) Brent: "Oh-ho. Afraid you'll run out?"
(5:12:33 PM) *Aric_North blinks looking at Brent.. "She made mention of Winter Fae.. A weapon or Head of cold iron bites more effectively then a normal one."
(5:13:55 PM) Brent: "Doubt the smith even more now, then."
(5:13:58 PM) Reffan: "You just have to talk to them the right way. Or if that fails, hit them in the face until they stop getting up. …how do you use arrows anyway?"
(5:14:06 PM) Aramis: "Huh. Not a bad idea, that. Might be worth visiting any alchemists in town as well, since some of them might have useful stuff."
(5:14:38 PM) Brent: "My money's on the alchemist being more likely to have cold iron. Don't magic types deal in that sort of material more commonly?"
(5:14:46 PM) Sparda: "We only have the one, Tessarea, already mentioned her."
(5:15:55 PM) *Reffan idly takes a venison steak from an adjacent plate
(5:15:56 PM) *Aric_North smiles to Ionnia, "And besides, im sure the Village would enjoy the extra coin." he pulls out a few from under his coat, "If i may Rent a room for a few days while we investigate?"
(5:16:48 PM) Sparda: "We're not used to many travelers at once here so I hope the lot of you don't mind splitting two room, hoho!" She gestures Aric to the young couple who charge him a silver for the night.
(5:18:00 PM) *Aric_North nods and smiles paying the couple plus a little extra for if they could save him some food for later, Reffan seems to be intent on finishing whats there off,
(5:19:34 PM) Aric_North: "I think i will visit the Apocathary and mercenary and see if i can find out anything"
(5:20:27 PM) Reffan: "Mf tfhh" Reffan tries to add with a full mouth
(5:21:31 PM) Sparda: The councilwoman smiles and stands. "Well we're happy to have you all working with us. If you need anything, you come right to my house and I'll see what I can do."
(5:21:39 PM) Brent: "Thanks."
(5:21:52 PM) *Aric_North smiles, "Thank you Kindly"
(5:22:11 PM) Sparda: You lot have the run of it, what will you do first?
(5:22:28 PM) Reffan: FINISH THE VENISON
(5:22:32 PM) Aric_North: Aric will first head to the apocathary,
(5:23:47 PM) *Brent wants to speak with the legbreaker-for-hire.
(5:23:50 PM) *Aramis will head out along with Aric, to see what he can get for In Case of Fae at the very least.
(5:24:48 PM) Sparda: You're all headed for the same place then save Reffan and Keviak, who are apparently enjoying digging in far too much.
(5:28:11 PM) *Aric_North makes his way towards the Apocathary, looking about town to see if he can spot anything that might be out of the norm before knocking at the door and entering,
(5:29:26 PM) Sparda: Other than the cool air despite the blazing afternoon sun nothing is too strange.
(5:31:15 PM) Sparda: Aric: You announce your presence and walk in, the door being open since the shop was currently open for business. A sorrowful woman with delicate leaf-shaped pointed ears and forest green hair is behind the counter. You're not sure how you know she's sorrowful, she just seems to have a weight about her that one tends to see collect on the shoulders of the Elven folk over time. "Welcome
(5:31:16 PM) Sparda: to Willowbark's. How may I help you?"
(5:33:05 PM) *Aric_North bows his head respectfully producing the letter of Marque, "I am Aric, and these are my associates Brent and Aramis" he motions to both, "We are investigating the sudden winter, and are hoping to ask the Man you have here some questions that could possibly help"
(5:33:21 PM) *Brent waves a little bit.
(5:36:33 PM) Aramis: "We're kinda hopin' that he can give us some idea of what we're workin' with. And maybe what we can do 'bout it."
(5:36:45 PM) Sparda: She raises a hand to her chest and nods. "Ah… The agents that Ionnia sent for… Yes, of course. Please be advised, he's a stubborn and prideful sort of man. It's difficult to get him to stay in bed." She leads the way up the stairs and opens the door to a room in the hall, where there's a VERY large, very hairy human man with wild red hair laid up. He's wrapped in bandages with the
(5:36:45 PM) Sparda: stinging scent of linament hanging in the air. He looks alright, just bruised up still, with obvious signs of magical healing.
(5:37:58 PM) Sparda: He's in obvious pain as he sputters and tries to sit up. "Damnable woman, you didn't even tell me I got guests, could have squeezed my shirt on over these mummywrappings at least!" "No." She says simply and leaves you lot to him.
(5:38:04 PM) Brent: Let's do this eloquently and with the utmost of decorum and dignity. "You the legbreaker that got his shit kicked in by monsters?"
(5:38:14 PM) Brent: Nailed it. The ear of the KING!
(5:38:30 PM) *Aric_North starts to speak as they come in.. then just sighs as Brent speaks up..
(5:38:56 PM) Sparda: "In so many fucking words, yes." The man growls out, laying back again uneasily. "Ahhh my Ancestors are surely ashamed at that one. And that I even survived, feh."
(5:39:20 PM) Brent: "Nice. We're here to help you get some revenge and an extra trophy on your mantle."
(5:39:28 PM) Aramis: "Better'n' being an actual mummy, though." Aramis quips. "So, ya got a good look at what hammered ya?"
(5:40:35 PM) Sparda: He jumps a bit at the talking rat. "Gah! Could've taken ya for a fae beast of some sort little fuzz!" He shakes his head.
(5:41:12 PM) Sparda: "Alright yah it's better than being dead or undead I'm willing to bet. Still not the best mark on my record. You with the authority in these parts, then?"
(5:41:33 PM) Aric_North: yep. a/me nods and offers him the Letter,
(5:41:33 PM) *Brent gets out the letter again. "Basically."
(5:42:00 PM) Sparda: "Well don't that look fuckin' official. Alright, what do you want to know."
(5:42:02 PM) Aramis: "What? Never seen a talking rat before?" Yeah, he enjoys that unnerved reaction a little TOO much sometimes. "And I'm all clean and everything just for this, huh?"
(5:43:29 PM) Aric_North: "About where did you see these winter Fae, and anything else because might be of importance."
(5:44:08 PM) insertname: The little kobold goes to put his things up in the room and claim a spot in the corner for his bedroll. One of the tall ones can have the bed…
(5:44:25 PM) Sparda: "Oy watch the sharp tone little fuzz, I'll wear you for a winter loincloth I will." The man is clearly Ulfen, from the land of the Linnorm Kings in the north, so that's not actually threatening but a sign of good nature
(5:45:24 PM) Aramis: "Bigger mummies 'n you've tried, make no mistake. Prob'ly getting better sleep now than you have too."
(5:45:50 PM) Sparda: "Alright here goes… We thought they were just bandits at first, yah? Outlaws that hide in the woods but then out come these little cold fey… Like the kind they have up NORTH. I wasn't expecting that little slice of home, let me tell you. We speak of the wintertouched all the time up there, but never seen one this far south. Hell is one of the reasons I moved away!" He shivers bodily
(5:45:50 PM) Sparda: despite his wrappings.
(5:46:31 PM) Brent: His new comrades seem to have the Q&A covered so he crosses his arms and listens intently for now, pondering over anything to add.
(5:47:26 PM) Aramis: "Ya think those things might have something t' do with this weird weather?"
(5:47:44 PM) Sparda: "I been on staff for Lady Argentea the past couple of months, couldn't ask for a kinder, prettier bosslady I tell you. We were going to visit her betrothed and got into a bit of a tussle there because, well, all dramatic like the nobility tend to get she turned him down and spurned him to his face, then we turned right back around to go home! Then wouldn't you know, place on the road we
(5:47:45 PM) Sparda: passed going down there we came up past and it's all cold and there're bandits and fairies what weren't there before."
(5:48:16 PM) Sparda: "Hell I don't know, probably. Where evil lies in the cold the wintertouched can be found."
(5:48:30 PM) Brent: "What do these things look like?"
(5:49:33 PM) Sparda: "Oh they're no bigger than my arm!" He holds out a heavily muscled limb, then nods to Aric. "Well, maybe masky's arm. But don't you let that fool you, they've got fell magicks to throw at you and their little weapons from their little warriors hurt as much as a grown-up longsword does when it digs into your thigh."
(5:50:56 PM) *Aric_North nods considering.. "Any chance they might be.. "related" to the tiff between your employer and her betrothed?"
(5:52:03 PM) Sparda: He leans over a bit. "That's what I thought at the time, but I don't think so… They didn't take Lady Argentea back out to the road to take her back to her betrothed, they dragged her further into the wood! I saw them pull her in there through this ghastly white pall of SNOW! In the SUMMER!"
(5:52:34 PM) *Aric_North nods.. "Did you notice if they took anything else?"
(5:53:37 PM) Hau: A loud thump to the side of the room the kobold was setting up a bed in might draw his attention, the tropical girl shifting up and out of the seeming heap of blankets left strewn on the bed. She'd arrived a day prior, sent off to await others sent by the Chancellor. Stretching some as the bed creaked, she paused and glanced over to the kobold, head tilted.
(5:53:38 PM) Hau: "Ah… A-adventurers?…" She pauses a moment, uncertain, yellow eyes regarding him cautiously. Garb was unseasonable wraps of skirt and top, armor and a long wooden shield resting in the other corner.
(5:53:54 PM) Sparda: "The attack happened last night not an hour south of town on the road, I would have bled out if some hunters hadn't picked me up and dragged me half-dead carcass back here to be healed by the damnable knife-eared lady downstairs. And ya know? NO! They didn't STEAL anything, just took the lady!"
(5:54:11 PM) Aramis: "Huh. So they might not care who they grab, as long as they grab somebody. Or worse, they need her for somethin." An unpleasant thought to voice, much less to think about.
(5:55:19 PM) Sparda: "That's what I fear little fuzz… Look, the wintertouched fey don't do anything in Golarion without the word of the ones what put the ice in their hearts to begin with… The White Witches of Irrisen. If they're involved, ohhh, I'm not bright on the fate of my lady at all!"
(5:55:35 PM) *Aric_North nods.. "We should head there to investigate.."
(5:55:37 PM) insertname: Keviak's eyes widen. "Whoa… uh, hi! Yeah. Sorry ma'am, didn't mean to disturb you-
(5:56:35 PM) insertname: "
(5:56:46 PM) Aramis: Suddenly Aramis' daydream of spending the reward money in a quick couple of months seems a lot more difficult than he hoped. Well, nothing ever said life was easy.
(5:57:12 PM) Sparda: He grunts and reaches under the bed, pulling out one of the two longswords tucked under there. "If you promise to get in there and try and save my lady, I'll give you THIS. It's a souvenir from my homeland, a blade of alchemically forged cold iron, made by good witches of the northlands to fight off the evil fae."
(5:57:36 PM) Sparda: "Fire and iron, those are what you'll be needing. Both burn the winter fey to madness and doom."
(5:57:53 PM) *Aric_North nods,
(5:58:09 PM) Hau: Slowly uncoiling tail half out of the bed. "No, no, I overslept… This cool weather is so unusual." She glances out the window to gauge the time, before leaning over to rummage through her backpack for her own papers.
(5:58:33 PM) *Aric_North reaches out to take the sword, "We will do our best to rescue her, or, failing that, bring you back your blade sated with her assaliants blood."
(5:58:40 PM) Reffan: Reffan, finally having consumed every single venison steak on the table, reclines.
(5:59:48 PM) Sparda: Kau: It's certainly been a pleasant wait! The young maids of the village were rather nosy but very kind, asking for lots of beauty tips and asking if they could help you anytime they noticed you trying to carry or manipulate anything with your hands the way they are.
(6:00:47 PM) Reffan: Because that was likely a lot of deer that died for his consumption
(6:01:20 PM) Aramis: "Fire and iron, huh? Now that we can use, mummy man." he says. "Definitely would make the job easier, at least."
(6:01:46 PM) Sparda: Apothecary Group. "Uhn, good. Good brother, that's what I want to hear. There's still a chance she's alive but I don't think you can risk a wait, you should get started this very day! If they wanted someone of noble blood there's some dark doings going on and it doesn't bode well for anyone, much less Lady Argentea!"
(6:02:12 PM) *Aric_North nods,
(6:02:53 PM) Sparda: "I'd charge in there with ya but the damnable elf told me, well, the truth. The magic cold slowed down the healing of my wounds, her magic could only do so much. I'd be better by tomorrow she says but waiting until tomorrow… Doesn't sound too smart!"
(6:03:35 PM) Brent: "We'll save you a scalp or two, then."
(6:04:14 PM) Sparda: "HAH! I'll expect it!"
(6:04:16 PM) *Aric_North slips the longsword alongside his Scimitar for the moment, he might not know how to use it, but the others might and would seem disrespectful to just hand it off at the moment, He looks to the others, "Shall we collect the others?"
(6:04:41 PM) Hau: Unusual for her, to say the least, but she'd been helpful and grateful. She climbed out of the bed completely, bed creaking a little as she pushed against it to fetch her adventuring gear from the corner and gather it up. "Are you alone, ser kobold?"
(6:09:58 PM) insertname: "Nope. Four others came with me." He looks awkwardly between his stuff amd the snakewoman. "Are you here about the weather too?"
(6:10:27 PM) insertname: "…Should I put my stuff in the other room?"
(6:12:33 PM) Sparda: The mercenary lapses into a brewpotion induced sleep once more after a bit of grumbling and he drifts off.
(6:14:21 PM) Hau: "Mmhm. No, no… I'm not so selfish as to demand a room alone." She pulls on the leather jerkin and tightens the straps, strapping the long, smooth-edged wooden plank - was that a shield or a floatation device? - across her back. "I'm used to mixed living… though they usually had longer tails."
(6:15:00 PM) Sparda: Downstairs, Alchemist Willowbark has something on the counter, a small box with 3 vials of some sort inside of it. "I could not help but overhear… These vials are Cold Iron weapon oil, they will give your weapons temporarily the quality of a cold iron weapon. Be warned, once the weapon in question has been put to… use the oil will quickly be rendered inert. No more than a few minutes
(6:15:00 PM) Sparda: afterwards I would say.
(6:15:54 PM) Sparda: "I can mix more for you, though you will have to pay for any more."
(6:16:26 PM) Aric_North: "How much more would 9 vials cost..?"
(6:17:22 PM) Sparda: "360 gold pieces and 2 hours' work."
(6:17:23 PM) Hau: Finished getting suited up in case of trouble, she smiled and offered one gloved hand, the strange discoloration like scorched skin reaching up past her elbows, where the gloves cut off. "I am Hau Kea'Pua. Where are your companions, little dragon-blood?"
(6:19:14 PM) Aramis: "I'm sure we can make just a couple of these work." Yeah, in this case the rat would rather stick with just what she's willing to give for the cause.
(6:19:29 PM) *Aric_North nods considering a moment.. "Simply Two more if you could then.." He counts out coins setting them on counter"
(6:20:14 PM) insertname: "One's downstairs. The rest are talking to people." He grins at the complimentary term. "I'm Keviak. Nice to meet you!"
(6:20:55 PM) Sparda: She takes 80 gold. "They will be ready within the hour. Check back with me before you leave."
(6:21:07 PM) Brent: "'preciate it."
(6:21:23 PM) Sparda: She nods and goes into the back to get to work.
(6:21:23 PM) *Aric_North nods, "Thank you" he gives Brent and Aramis a potion each,
(6:21:58 PM) *Brent puts the oil away after looking at it curiously. "Let's hope you get your money's worth."
(6:22:15 PM) Aric_North: "We will find out soon enough"
(6:22:31 PM) Sparda: She also has a generous assortment of other potions, oils and elixirs, of course.
(6:22:42 PM) Aric_North: ((what sorts?))
(6:24:00 PM) Sparda: Her shelves include potions of healing, alchemist's fires and acids, several types of oils including sacred oils and regular kerosene.
(6:24:42 PM) Sparda: As well as the more common remedies, glues and solvents and household cleaners and the like that any village alchemist would mix.
(6:24:50 PM) *Hau smiles. "And you as well. I should meet the others as well, and apologize for not being awake to greet them…"
(6:25:51 PM) Aric_North: ((how much does alchem fire cost?))
(6:26:09 PM) insertname: Keviak begins sitting his bedroll and such out.
(6:26:29 PM) Aramis: "Ah, uh… thanks." Aramis stores away the potion for later, in case he needs it.
(6:28:04 PM) *Aric_North will buy 2 alchems fires as well and be on the way.
(6:29:53 PM) insertname: "Did you come with anybody?"
(6:30:56 PM) insertname: "It's okay. We just got here."
(6:32:49 PM) Sparda: Alchemical aids in hand and head full of new knowledge Aramis, Aric and Brent are once more on the street outside.
(6:33:05 PM) Aric_North: "I think we should rest and ready while wa wait for the remaining potions, then set out immediately" He looks to Brent and Aramis to see if they object
(6:33:21 PM) Hau: "No, I left the big city early rather than wait. So many people." She smiles. "Exciting, but exhausting."
(6:35:15 PM) Aramis: "Might wanna see if the others have any new information, just in case. Other than that, I'm all for it."
(6:35:18 PM) Sparda: If anyone would like, they may roll a Diplomacy of Knowledge (Local) check to gether information while they wait.
(6:35:26 PM) Sparda: *or
(6:35:37 PM) Brent: "Probably best." he heads back to the inn and gets a room then finds a chair by the fireplace and takes out his whetstone, taking his greatsword out and maintaining it a little bit before retiring to his room. "Gonna kill me some fae creatures, gonna obliterate their little wings…~"
(6:36:18 PM) insertname: "Ah!" He nods. Everything is set out, and Keviak is about done.
(6:36:35 PM) Brent: "Gonna hack and slash until they stop cursing, sharpen the blade until it sings~" he hums to himself.
(6:37:04 PM) *Hau made her way out of the room, nearly bumping into the strange singing man. "Oh, ah, e-excuse me."
(6:38:22 PM) Brent: "Hullo." he looks up for a moment then idly tests the blade with a thumb and, looking dissatisfied, sharpens it some more. Been a while since this thing saw action.
(6:38:40 PM) *Reffan perks up, seeing the newcomer return from the stairs and…that -can't- be what it is, is it…?
(6:39:15 PM) Brent: … he puts the sword down for a second. "You ain't got no legs!"
(6:39:29 PM) Brent: He's the only non-monster in this outfit. Oh gods.
(6:39:56 PM) Sparda: Hau: While chatting up the local maids you hear a story from the other day… A farmer's son took ill after falling through the ice that has spread over Wishbone Creek in the borderwood. He says he had been following a white stag, and that he'd heard it TALKING.
(6:40:44 PM) Hau: "…yes, that's correct. I am Hau Kea'Pua of the Po'e-kai. You are one of the adventurers, yes?"
(6:41:24 PM) Sparda: Reffan: You overhear Old Man Dansby complaining that his crops have been dying of frost and the other half are being stolen by SOMETHING, dagnabbit!
(6:42:29 PM) Brent: "… yeah I'm Brent. Of.. around. Brent Vickers."
(6:42:38 PM) Sparda: Keviak: You don't learn much except that Annamarie is quite good at makign tea and has quite the assortment of dolls as she ropes you into a short tea party.
(6:42:43 PM) Sparda: Tasty biscuits though!
(6:43:15 PM) insertname: Human children are very kind.
(6:44:35 PM) Reffan: that is…he does not know what it looks like yet. But he keeps watching it.
(6:44:58 PM) Sparda: Aramis: Your ratty ears hear some interesting chatter from a group of the local rangers that are by the fireplace in the Silver Stoat. They talk about seeing a GIANT white weasel in the woods and how one of their number went to trap it to prove it to the doubtful townsfolk. He hasn't returned. You also hear about how their group, the High Sentinels, haven't gotten back to them in days
(6:44:58 PM) Sparda: and they haven't gone back into the borderwood to investigate yet. If Lady Malassene could be abducted, though, that doesn't bode well for their brothers.
(6:45:00 PM) Hau: She bows her head. "I hope to be of help resolving this mystery of coming winter…. Ah, excuse me." She shifts to the side to glide past him down the stairs.
(6:46:56 PM) Sparda: That seems to be all the information you can glean off of the rumormill.
(6:47:18 PM) *Reffan watches-oh gods! Despite being on a full stomach of venison flank steaks, Reffan ducks behind the table as Hau comes down the stairway…right before pouncing at her tail!
(6:47:52 PM) Brent: … Brent suddenly gives a sideways glance as if realizing some dark joke.
(6:48:33 PM) Brent: … he's in a party with a ratman, a catman, and a snakewoman. Gods it's like some kind of fucked up Paper-Rock-Scissors assortment. Ah-ha. Hahaha. HAHAHA-no don't laugh too much just keep sharpening.
(6:49:41 PM) Hau: Crash. Well, she wasn't expecting that. Hau blinks and glances back at the strange cat man pounced on her tail. "Ah…" … what do you even say to that? "…I hope this isn't some courtship ritual?…"
(6:49:47 PM) Reffan: "Quick! Get out of its mouth while I've got a hold of it!"
(6:50:27 PM) *Aric_North takes his time finally getting something to eat and takes some time praying… Which is promptly interrupted at the crashing noise as he sighs and gets up to see what the commotion is..
(6:50:32 PM) Brent: "I think she's on our team, actually."
(6:51:56 PM) Aramis: "… do I even want to know what's going on here?"
(6:52:08 PM) Hau: "'It'?…" Realization comes and she covers her face. "'It' is part of me."
(6:52:42 PM) Reffan: "Clearly she's being eaten by a large snake! I have to help!" He pounces forward and tries to grab for something to pry open to release the clearly trapped woman
(6:53:17 PM) Brent: "I think her lower body is the snake."
(6:53:20 PM) Aramis: "No, you hairbrain, she IS a large snake-woman. And you're trying to grab her tail."
(6:54:01 PM) Sparda: The tavern has been filling up all night and the catman's antics are getting a good collection of laughs from the assembled.
(6:54:33 PM) *Aric_North massages his forehead, moving over to the two, "She is not being eatten Reffan.. Please stop.."
(6:54:38 PM) *Brent seems satisfied that he's restored the old horse-wrecker to full fighting capability and puts it and his whetstone away, getting up again. Time to get to work. He tosses a few coins to whoever tends bar and begins finessing for rumors.
(6:55:44 PM) Hau: !! Pushing at his head to keep him from stripping her of her armor "Off!!" She coils up defensively, arms crossed. "Stop trying to undress me, you lech!"
(6:56:07 PM) Reffan: "…What? …I was trying to save you…" Headhang
(6:56:27 PM) Brent: "You must get a lot of interesting types in here, I bet." he speaks somewhat loudly to pierce the distraction posed by snake and cat.
(6:56:38 PM) Sparda: "Oi oi! Young man you get off of her right now, this is a family establishment!" One of the young maids of the village is trying to help Haul away from the catman and a large barrell-chested farmhand is pushing back on his shoulder.
(6:57:19 PM) Hau: Catching her breath as they're separated, she sighs. "It's alright, I get… odd responses. That was one of the stranger ones. Thank you for your concern."
(6:57:19 PM) Sparda: Brent: Kale takes your coin, the big plain woman nodding and smiling. "Oh it's always the same crowd and all but damn if they're not a lively bunch, eh?"
(6:57:53 PM) *Reffan is pretty easily pushed off after that
(6:58:00 PM) Brent: "Bet they talk about current events a lot. Weird things beyond the village proper."
(6:58:45 PM) *Aric_North offers his hand to Hau to help her up, "My apologies for my companion.. He is.. Odd, and excitable asyou have found.."
(6:58:51 PM) Sparda: Hau gets fussed over by Emili, the maid, but the farmhand calms down after seeing the catman go all complacent. "Well alright then… Don't you do it again there catboy, got it?"
(6:59:05 PM) *Reffan sits down. "I wasn't being a lech…"
(6:59:30 PM) *Hau shifts up to her feet. "It's okay. I'm sorry for calling you a lech." She smiles to Aric. "I take it you're also adventurers?"
(6:59:48 PM) Sparda: Brent: Kale puts out a mug of Three-Devil Ale for you. "Son this is a town full of busibodies and rumor-mongers, no one stops talking about ANYTHING. What do you wanna know?"
(7:00:15 PM) *Brent plunks down, let's see… he gets a headcount of all the townsfolk in here plus one for the bartendress… and enough money to buy a round for all of them comes down. "I want to make some friends. Take in the local color, you know. Maybe start some lively conversation."
(7:02:09 PM) Sparda: "HO! A round for the bar from the fine young knight here!" "EY!" "HUZZAH!" The room goes up in cheers.
(7:02:44 PM) *Brent considers reminding her that he isn't a knight, strictly speaking, but, ehhhhh… let's work the crowd a little bit first.
(7:03:09 PM) *Aric_North nods, "We have been hired to investigate the strange occurances happening.. *He offers the leter of Marque* We are soon to head out and check on a woman who was abducted by Winter Fae.. I am Aric, you have.. "met" Reffan, Brent, Aramis,and Keviak" he motions to each of them as he introduces them,
(7:03:16 PM) Hau: Hau coils about a chair at the table before resting across it, taking the mug sent her way and glancing down into it. "Are human cities always this, um, rambunctious?"
(7:04:02 PM) *Aric_North smiles, "Sometimes." he leaves out its a rather small village at the moment..
(7:04:43 PM) Reffan: "Sometimes they are! Especially the bars!"
(7:05:07 PM) *Brent gets to story-gathering, chatting up whoever draws near to him to thank him for the beer and listening for the right things.
(7:05:49 PM) Aramis: Aramis has to wonder what unfortunate person made the mistake of introducing Reffan to the bars.
(7:05:49 PM) Sparda: Brent: Your charm and apparently unparalleled ability to get people drunk glean you a few morsels of info. Besides the stuff your allies learned, which gets repeated in the ramblings, you also pick up a few more things. It seems like Qadiran agents haven't been sighted at all in the wood by the rangers for long enough that it seems highly unlikely that they had a part to play in the
(7:05:49 PM) Sparda: strange weather. You also get some confirmation about Yuln's information, that Lady Argentea was scheduled to come back through much later in the year but turned down her engagement in some sort of big tiff.
(7:06:42 PM) *Brent memorizes whatever's new among that haul and shares it with his allies later.
(7:07:26 PM) Reffan: "They're fun, though!"
(7:08:00 PM) Sparda: Hau, Aramis, Reffan and Aric's information is supplemented by the fact that another young boy saw the white stag as well after his friend fell in the river, and it indeed spoke to him, warning him away from the wood in a soft male voice.
(7:18:00 PM) *Hau shares what she found should the group regroup to discuss.
(7:18:26 PM) Sparda: Eventually Brent rings out what he can from the drunks around and you lot can regroup.
(7:18:42 PM) Aramis: "You all might wanna know, I heard something interesting on the way back here. Sounds like there are more than their fair share of interesting creatures in the forest now. Some kind of weird weasel out there that someone might've gotten lost trying to catch."
(7:20:10 PM) Brent: "That bodyguard was on the level. I think we can rule out the Qadirans though, local huntsmen say they were just passing through and didn't do anything to mess with people, at least nothing involving weather magic. That Lady Argentea's mad as hell at that princeling too, apparently denied him the gold ring."
(7:20:19 PM) Brent: "Just like the merc said."
(7:20:33 PM) Hau: "White stags in the forest, too. I think they're ominous around here." Sip.
(7:20:36 PM) *Aric_North nods.. "I heard tale of a local group called the High Sentinels, they havent returned in some time.. They havent been able to investigate for fear of abduction like Lady Malassene.."
(7:20:59 PM) Sparda: Hau: From what you picked up it's more like they're utterly unheard of around here.
(7:21:22 PM) Hau: "…ugh. Is this brewed from grass?…" She eyes the ale.
(7:21:34 PM) Brent: "Wheat, innit? Hops and whatnot?"
(7:21:47 PM) Brent: "Liquid bread!"
(7:21:58 PM) Sparda: "Chelian hops, grown with soil tilled fresh from Hell from what I hear."
(7:22:11 PM) Sparda: Kale may or may not have been listening in as she waited to refresh your drinks.
(7:22:12 PM) *Aric_North chuckles, "And thats why i perfer mead or absinthe when im able."
(7:22:44 PM) Reffan: "Some old Dansby around here has problems. Guy's getting his crops killed and stolen.. And hey, it's beer!"
(7:23:49 PM) *Brent makes "So spooky!" wiggle fingers at the mention of Hell soil.
(7:24:23 PM) Hau: She slides the ale over to Reffan. "Poking at the stag by doing what it said not to do sounds foolish. The crop theft sounds like something we might be able to help with immediately, though…"
(7:26:16 PM) Aric_North: "Oh.. *he pulls out the Cold iron longsword* The mercenary offered his blade if we can help rescue his Employer.. She was taken by Winter Fae so it will be effective against them.. And the Apocathary gave us several vials of oil that will aid our weapons, enough for each to have one, though the final two are still being made.." He sets the sword on the table "I think we should set out to find her immediately"
(7:26:22 PM) Aric_North: "I think we should set out to find her immediately"
(7:26:24 PM) *Reffan starts chugging the ale.
(7:27:25 PM) *Reffan blinks at Aric's statement. "…Why would we need cold Iron? We'd just need to hit them enough, right?"
(7:28:04 PM) *Aric_North shakes his head, "Some Fae have a resistance against weapons of normal Make, for some reason Cold Iron is able to ignore that damaging them directly"
(7:28:24 PM) Brent: "Faeries and shit. They're special. Like to fuck with people. We need as much of an edge as we can get."
(7:28:30 PM) Reffan: "That just means you hit them harder."
(7:29:23 PM) Brent: "I like you, kid." he grins at that response.
(7:29:44 PM) Hau: "Ah. That sounds more important, yes."
(7:30:05 PM) Aric_North: "… Right." He looks to the others, "A perferance on the sword, or oil?"
(7:30:27 PM) Hau: "I'm not very good with weapons. I'll leave the hurting to you…"
(7:30:36 PM) Brent: "You already gave me the oil so I'll stick with it. Kinda prefer my own tools otherwise."
(7:30:50 PM) Aramis: "Oil's fine for me." the ratman flippantly mentions. "I'll probably end up setting one of them on fire in any case."
(7:31:43 PM) Reffan: "…can't I just hit them with my axe?"
(7:31:59 PM) Aric_North: "Yes. If you put the oil on before hand"
(7:33:15 PM) Reffan: "But that'd take longer to hit them."
(7:33:21 PM) *Aric_North takes the sword slipping it into his belt, "We should see if the oils are done soon and set off"
(7:36:28 PM) *Hau nods and shifts off the chair she sat across, checking to be sure she didn't damage it. "Lead the way."
(7:42:59 PM) Sparda: With heads full of information and packs full of whatever purchases you needed to make before setting out (including Aric's 2 additional vials of weapon oil) you lot head south down the road towards where Yuln told you the attack occured. The air gets noticeably colder once you arrive at the edge of the wood, walking with it on your right… At one point the road veers even closer to
(7:42:59 PM) Sparda: the borderwood and you can see what Yuln was talking about…
(7:44:13 PM) Sparda: The road ahead is littered with debris and the corpses of slain humans and horses. A carriage stands in the roadway while another lies shattered and overturned next to the treeline. A snowy trail leads deeper into the forest near the carriages…
(7:44:38 PM) Sparda: In the middle of the mess of fallen bodies you see what seems to be a statue made of ice.
(7:46:21 PM) *Brent pauses for a moment, expression getting more serious when he sees that and pulls his sword out warily.
(7:46:29 PM) *Aric_North looks around drawing his greatmace examining the scene
(7:47:08 PM) *Reffan blinks, one hand on the greataxe no less. "Were those people that intent on stealing the statue?"
(7:47:19 PM) Keviak: Keviak gets dressed up in his armor and weaponry and takes his cloak again before they leave. He stops when he sees the carnage, an expression of horror on his face.
(7:48:51 PM) *Aric_North makes his way over ot the statue to examine i more closely, keeping the GreatMace at ready in case of an attack.. "I think that was the remains of the Lady's caravan…"
(7:48:55 PM) *Aramis takes a closer look at the statue, just in case. "Well, if this isn't what we were looking for, I don't know what is?"
(7:48:57 PM) *Hau blinks, gasping in surprise. The large shield pulled from her back, she cautiously shifts forward to get a look, investigating the bodies.
(7:49:23 PM) Aric_North: ((Right, also, Keviak is taking the C.I Long sword as weapon;3))
(7:51:37 PM) Sparda: The statue of ice is, in fact, a human dressed in chainmail and the crest of Taldor across his chest. He is frozen solid and one of his arms lies at his feet, still clutching a fine masterword longsword.
(7:52:00 PM) Sparda: Pieces seem to have been… chipped out of him, casually in slices.
(7:52:43 PM) Aric_North: "… This isnt a statue.. It was a man.."
(7:52:52 PM) Reffan: "Oh, wow. I don't think frozen people are good things to make art out of. They kind of have nasty bloody bits in them and all that."
(7:53:34 PM) Sparda: Most of the bodies lie with their weapons and armor still at the ready, either pierced through with needles of ice, partially frozen, or cut down with what seem to be normal steel blades.
(7:54:01 PM) Aramis: … well, that definitely gets a shudder from the rat. "Yeah, definitely need to do something about whatever did THIS."
(7:55:21 PM) Sparda: One of the carriages lies overturned, the other stands firm still.
(7:55:27 PM) *Hau frowns at the death and lack of much to be done, saying a quiet prayer before going to investigate the carriages.
(7:56:59 PM) Keviak: The kobold crouches lower to the ground, stalking up to the statue tentatively. When Aric confirms what he was afraid of, his tail twitches a little, and he remains quiet.
(7:57:29 PM) Sparda: Hau: As you approach the carriages you can hear soft sounds coming from the one that stands upright, quiet moaning. The door of the carriage is stuck shut with a shortpear.
(7:57:51 PM) *Brent gives his sober assessment of the situation with due eloquence. "This is fucked."
(7:57:58 PM) *Reffan turns to look in the carriages, on a lookout for things that are nasty, icy, and allegedly resistant to normal weapons that may attack (he doesn't believe they are, though. They're just not hitting hard enough.)
(7:58:23 PM) *Aric_North frowns looking around the scene, quietly muttering prayers to Sarenea, picking up the sword slipping it into the mans sheathe.
(7:58:25 PM) Hau: Pulling the shortspear free, she carefully looks inside…
(7:59:15 PM) Sparda: ReffReff: You notice that there aren't enough dead horses for the hitchings of both carriages! You also hear HOLY SHIT GET HAU OUT OF THE WAY
(8:00:04 PM) Sparda: Hau as you open the door you see faint movement from inside, before a gurgling cry resounds and a bloodied hand reaches out for you!
(8:00:24 PM) *Reffan tackles Hau AGAIN
(8:01:28 PM) Sparda: Reffan this time your tackle is a GOOD thing! You get Hau out of the way as a hand reaches for her. A trio of zombie handmaidens stumbles out of the carriage, moaning in mindless hunger.
(8:05:25 PM) Sparda: The maidens are in torn dresses, moaning and swaying, the wounds that killed them still disturbingly fresh and open. These ones were not done by any sort of ice magic, but by a blade.
(8:07:08 PM) Brent: Yeah they're dead they're… all messed up. Suddenly Brent has a very serious and cold expression. His allies aren't likely to be impressed by it but somehow it bugs even the undead. It just seems like it'd be a bad idea to attack anyone but him.
(8:10:35 PM) Sparda: Keviak you mightily strike into one of the zombies with your scimitar! But you slide into only dead flesh and it doesn't seem to care!!!
(8:12:11 PM) Keviak: The kobold springs at the dead maiden- too tentatively, it seems. Is he afraid, or something else? Even he's not sure.
(8:13:50 PM) Reffan: Revvan easily gets to his feet from his second tackling of Hau, hefting his greataxe in…what looks to be a rather risky stance as he slices diagonally downwards towards one…and diagonally upwards toward another…
(8:15:39 PM) Sparda: Reffan bites deeply right through one zombie but only nips into the dead flesh of the other!
(8:16:19 PM) Sparda: However the zombie handmaiden he struck is severed right in twain, her moaning and movement coming to an end as she meets her rest.
(8:16:46 PM) Reffan: "See? Just have to hit them hard enough." He grins. Though…those don't look appetizing. :(
(8:17:06 PM) Sparda: Or smell appetizing unless he likes the sickly smell of rotten things.
(8:17:21 PM) Reffan: He does not. D:
(8:17:21 PM) Hau: Hau readies her shield defensively as she circles around, seeing about getting in position to flank for Brent or Aric. These weren't worth wasting a divine blessing on.
(8:19:08 PM) Sparda: Hau's shield makes a good surface to flank against!
(8:19:31 PM) Aramis: You know, Reffan might have a good idea as well, and he finally draws his ornate blade and swings in an attempt to hack another of these zombies in half.
(8:21:06 PM) Brent: Curiously, anyone who sticks near to Brent seems a little better at defending themselves and so does he, as if by some bizarre unseen effect.
(8:21:54 PM) Sparda: SWING *CHHK*. Well. She didn't need that arm anymore, not really.
(8:22:25 PM) Brent: "Nice hit!"
(8:23:07 PM) Aramis: At a quick glance he notices that the cat is rather handy with his axe. Which probably explains a few things…
(8:23:51 PM) *Aric_North grips his great mace in both hands and Charges the untouched zombie, hefting the Sunburst head over hand before clubbing down at speed!
(8:25:26 PM) Sparda: The zombie flinches instinctively and Aric's mace CRUSHES into the carriage above her but the wood stops his swing before he can take her head off with the mighty weapon.
(8:29:00 PM) *Brent closes in to support Hau, gripping his greatsword hilt tight as he strikes into a rotting handmaiden with a look of cold hatred!
(8:31:07 PM) Sparda: Brent's slash takes off one of the OTHER zombie's arms, now they match!
(8:31:45 PM) Sparda: Bereft of a matching set of limbs, the zombies don't seem to care overmuch. The one that Aric tried to crush lunges at him while the other swings for Brent!
(8:34:12 PM) Sparda: Aric's zombie flails helplessly, but Brent's lands a solid hit!
(8:34:19 PM) Brent: Actually being struck doesn't seem to phase Brent at first, but then he gets downright furious, some sort of supernatural zeal overcoming him and making him a little better at killing…
(8:35:16 PM) Sparda: A chill emanates from Brent as his zeal surges forth…
(8:36:06 PM) *Aric_North grunts in surprise and frustration as his mace gets stuck in the wood of the frame, the zombie's fists slap against the metal plates in his coat..
(8:36:09 PM) Brent: Brent seems to be ignoring it for now, experiencing a sort of bizarre lukewarmness due to the bizarre frigidness he feels being counterbalanced by the zealot's furnace within.
(8:38:20 PM) Keviak: Keviak recovers from his last whiff, takes a step back, and leaps at the one-armed zombie Brent attacked, aiming to slice off her head!
(8:41:22 PM) Sparda: Whoosh up goes the Kobold and with a WHACK at the zombie's throat her head comes tumbling off her shoulders!
(8:45:55 PM) *Reffan takes a step to the side, flanking the last remaining zombie with one of the many other assailants as he takes a more measured swing with his axe, whirling it afterwards…
(8:47:39 PM) Sparda: Reffan's axe slices through flesh and sinew and spine, the poor undead woman falling senseless to the ground.
(8:47:52 PM) Sparda: It's quiet in the area again, the cariage open and empty now.
(8:49:10 PM) Reffan: "I don't think anyone should eat those. They don't look or smell appetizing." Reffan is now wiping the blade of his axe off on the side of the carriage. Ew, zombie ichor.
(8:49:12 PM) Hau: Hau shifts over the splattered corpses and frowns, looking to Brent's arm, giving a brief prayer before laying a hand on the bruise the zombie left, light engulfing her hand. "Better, I hope?"
(8:50:15 PM) *Brent seems to calm down after combat ends, putting his sword away. "Eh, little scuffed but feeling a bit better after that, thanks."
(8:50:29 PM) *Aric_North sighs scolding himself as he wrestles his mace from the smashed frame, checking the head before reattaching it to his pack and drawing his Scimitar instead,
(8:52:13 PM) *Reffan blinks, reslinging his axe and turning to the others. "Why would anyone leave those there anyway? And before anyone says anything I wasn't trying to be a pervert there just in case you were thinking that. I saw those hands reaching out so I thought the fastest way to get you away from there was to do, well, that."
(8:52:42 PM) Hau: "I appreciate the help." She smiles.
(8:54:14 PM) Aric_North: "Because theres no reason to take them along.. Lets do a quick check for supplies, healing items, anything that might be of use and see if we can pick up the trail.."
(8:54:37 PM) Keviak: The kobold makes a worried sound. He wipes his blade and sheathes it. "Whatever's behind this wants a lot of people dead… we should probably take these people back to get proper funeral rites."
(8:55:06 PM) Aramis: "Well that was certainly a decent workout." After getting the terrible-smelling zombie guts off of his nice clean blade, Aramis sheathes his. "I say we should see what's actually IN this forest before we head back to town"
(8:55:13 PM) Hau: "There may be living people - the lady - still in need of help…" She frowns. "…We can help the dead later."
(8:55:21 PM) Sparda: Inside the Carriage: You find a small jewelry box under the seat, inside is a signet ring as well ass 240 GP worth of assorted jewelry.
(8:56:06 PM) Reffan: "I want to see who's doing all the murdering and freezing and making nasty putrid angry people to try and kill us."
(8:56:43 PM) *Aric_North nods in agreement with Hau, "We can see to their Rest when we have made sure theres no more threat to the living. Im sure they will understand"
(8:57:17 PM) Reffan: "and tell them they have bad artistic sense."
(8:57:56 PM) *Hau glances inside the carriage to be sure there weren't any clues left, pulling out the box. "If the carriage was attacked here, they probably wouldn't have gone too far.; otherwise they'd wait for the carriage to come closer before ambushing it." She circles around, looking for any trails or tracks…
(8:58:02 PM) Brent: "They're kinda loaded, though. We taking the loot?"
(8:58:18 PM) Keviak: Keviak looks at the corpses, then at his companions. "…Okay. I just hope they don't become more not-dead things." He cringes a little. "…Is that how it works?"
(8:58:42 PM) Sparda: Hau: You don't have to look far, there's a trail leading deeper into the wood, it's not hidden at all.
(8:58:42 PM) Reffan: "Sure." Reffan happily takes the box of money. "That's how my friends always went about it!"
(8:59:10 PM) Aramis: "Your friends sound real interesting, cat." Probably Aramis' kind of friends there.
(8:59:13 PM) Hau: "Typically the dead would rise cotemporally…"
(8:59:16 PM) *Aric_North keeps the ring, "Dont weigh yourselves down, focus only on things that will be helpful."
(8:59:26 PM) Reffan: "Money's always helpful!"
(8:59:33 PM) Keviak: …And now they're looting the corpses.
(8:59:45 PM) Hau: "This way." She glances back to the others, the box swiped from her hands as she pulled it out to look.
(8:59:54 PM) Keviak: "…I want a share," he says firmly.
(9:00:39 PM) Keviak: If they're going to steal from dead people he's going to at least make sure they get properly buried or whatever custom these people do. And that costs money. :|
(9:00:44 PM) *Aramis will grab his fair share of gold, if only to pad out his finances.
(9:01:07 PM) Hau: Hau will pitch in; she was mostly seeing if there was a clue, and then boxyoink. But now, tracking.
(9:01:08 PM) *Brent takes an even cut of the money though he also keeps an eye out for more shamblers.
(9:02:18 PM) *Aric_North refrains, taking only the ring for the moment tucking it away in his coat and begins looking for some trail as to what took her,
(9:02:24 PM) Sparda: Hau: The path looks like it was carved by horses! you can see hoofprints. Makes sense why they couldn't hide their trail.
(9:02:43 PM) Keviak: He'll follow Hau once he's stashed some things in his belt pouch… giving the dead people an apologetic look.
(9:03:12 PM) *Reffan happily follows Hau again
(9:03:52 PM) Hau: Slither, slither. On the downside, her trail is easy to follow, on the upside, most people don't follow a giant snake trail.
(9:04:05 PM) *Brent heads after Hau too.
(9:04:20 PM) *Reffan , conversely, doesn't seem to leave as much of a trail
(9:04:35 PM) Sparda: The difference in temperature becomes… stark. It's like hitting some kind of wall, the air goes from cool but pleasant to wintery cold as you follow the trail into the borderwood.
(9:04:48 PM) *Aric_North follows along as well keeping his eyes and ears open the best he can..
(9:05:06 PM) Hau: Despite scaly look and not being dressed for the occasion, she doesn't seem to notice.
(9:05:07 PM) Aramis: "No doubt we've found the right general area."
(9:05:27 PM) *Aric_North quite enjoys his cold resistance at the moment:3
(9:06:18 PM) *Brent puts on his cold weather gear just in case despite being blessed with Northern heritage.
(9:06:36 PM) *Reffan shivers a bit, "Things shouldn't get cold this early." And hastily puts on what he can of his cold-weather gear, juggling his pack and greataxe as he does so
(9:07:00 PM) Aramis: You know what's nice? Fur. Fur is definitely nice to have.
(9:07:04 PM) Hau: "It is unnatural…" she murmurs, frowning.
(9:07:29 PM) Reffan: Fur is nice to have. A nice warm coat is even nicer
(9:07:31 PM) Aramis: "That's clearly putting it mildly."
(9:07:36 PM) *Aric_North nods and frowns, "This is Sareneas time.. The winters should have no grasp here.."
(9:08:06 PM) Keviak: Keviak doesn't seem to notice very much either…
(9:08:28 PM) Brent: "Keep alert. What murdered that carriage might still be skulking about."
(9:08:45 PM) Aramis: "Lets just get this done as fast as possible. 's kinda freezing out here."
(9:08:59 PM) *Aric_North nods, getting out the vial of Cold iron oil ready,
(9:09:42 PM) *Reffan just has his axe. It is a big axe. A trusty axe. An axelike axe. A choppy axe. And it cuts zombies in half with little effort.
(9:13:44 PM) Sparda: As you walk through the trail you notice something strange about the trees around you, they appear to be festooned here and there with black feather icons of some kind…
(9:17:02 PM) Sparda: Aric and Reffan: Wait… Those aren't icons… those are crows. Crows pinned and frozen by needles of ice…
(9:17:58 PM) Aric_North: "Get ready.. Something is wrong here.."
(9:18:00 PM) Sparda: Hau: This… You've heard of this. Certain types of evil fae attract ravens and crows who hunt them. The crows pinned around like this is a warning, which means you're in the territory of winter-touched faeries…
(9:18:12 PM) Sparda: From the size of the projectiles, you'd say they're snow sprites.
(9:18:21 PM) Reffan: "Hey now, who'd leave perfectly good birds dead here?" Reffan has his axe ready nevertheless.
(9:19:08 PM) Hau: "Something that didn't want to be hunted by the birds. Be on guard, this is a mark of the fae…"
(9:19:34 PM) Brent: "Oh to the Hells with that." he busts out the cold iron oil.
(9:19:58 PM) Reffan: Reffan: still not bothering with the oil. Because axe.
(9:21:02 PM) Keviak: Great.
(9:21:34 PM) Hau: "The snow sprites who'd do this should fall to a blow or two.. but if they hit with their ice it'll hurt." She slowly continues to advance, shield ready.
(9:22:28 PM) Keviak: Keviak trudges through the snow, keeping himself ready to draw that iron sword…
(9:22:52 PM) Aramis: Now seems like a good time to get the oil ready, because who knows what they might find around here.
(9:23:17 PM) *Aric_North follows as well, keeping his scimitar at ready,
(9:24:39 PM) *Brent takes a moment to proof his sword against sinister fae, then puts the container away and continues.
(9:26:13 PM) Sparda: The woods around you suddenly come to life with phantom giggles and bright flashing spheres of light, the buzzing of tiny wings in the air!
(9:26:20 PM) Keviak: Great.
(9:26:31 PM) Keviak: …Getting repetitive, but still.
(9:27:29 PM) Sparda: A sudden pelting of icy needles speeds in from all sides!
(9:29:51 PM) Sparda: Aramis's smaller profile saves him a hit but sudden numbing cold spread into Brent and Reffan where the icy needles slam into their armor.
(9:30:23 PM) *Brent looks surprised for a moment, reaching down and pulling a bunch of blood-covered icicles out of himself. Then he starts to look angry again..
(9:30:30 PM) *Reffan hisses out towards the attacker that decided to shoot ice needles at him
(9:32:55 PM) Sparda: Their numbing cold is quickly shaken off by both warriors, however.
(9:37:19 PM) Sparda: The attacks from the enemy have revealed them! They're in the trees, some 10 feet up. One is to the west of the group, two are in trees adjacent in the north of the group. The rest of the lights and sounds appear to be illusions, but they will make it easier for the small glowy sprites to lose you!
(9:38:38 PM) Hau: She coils and lunges forward to the front trees, one blackened hand alighting with flame before she extends it. "Blood of the earth beneath deepest oceans, ignite." The fire erupts from her fingers, scorching the tree and the sprites within.
(9:40:39 PM) Sparda: The sudden plume of deadly flame scorches into the trees and the terrified screeching of the two fae is lost amidst the crackling of swiftly burning wood.
(9:40:53 PM) Sparda: The remaining fae SCREECHES and looks ready to bolt on its turn.
(9:49:57 PM) Aramis: The remaining fae might have some problems with that, as Aramis concentrates and causes his drawn blade to glow with a soft green light for a moment… and then a small glob of fluid shoots out of its point in the fae's direction!
(9:55:19 PM) *Reffan drops the greataxe…drawing a hand axe as he climbs the tree to take an impromptu swing at the fae!
(9:56:14 PM) *Brent gets some momentum going and tries to take a running jump attack at the flying fae with his divinely-charged sword.
(9:58:54 PM) Sparda: Brent makes the sprite frantically jump up from its perch to dodge a swing that takes the branch off the tree entirely, only to be bisected at the waist by the handaxe that comes out of nowhere as Reffan vaults up the tree at it.
(9:59:27 PM) Sparda: All the lights and illusions and sounds drop… Seems like it was just the 3 faeries after all.
(10:01:07 PM) Reffan: "…too small to eat, and I'm not that hungry." Reffan comments as he climbs back down to retrieve his greataxe.
(10:01:10 PM) *Brent looks to be in bad shape now that combat has ended. "I might need a minute."
(10:02:13 PM) Sparda: The sprites are only about a foot tall with blue and white swirled skin and wings like chips of ice… or at least the one that isn't charred to nothing looks like that.
(10:02:20 PM) Sparda: You're not sure you could find the other ones…
(10:03:20 PM) *Hau makes her way over to the fallen sprite, checking for breath and then tending to Brent and Reffan's injuries.
(10:03:33 PM) *Aric_North sighs, sheathing his scimitar and drawing his crossbow now.. "Im almost envious of Relatives that have extra arms now…"
(10:03:51 PM) Sparda: The fallen sprite is bisected, no breath at all, staring blankly into the gray canopy above.
(10:05:10 PM) Hau: Pity. Stabilizing and interrogating might have been helpful. She tends to the injured.
(10:05:23 PM) Aramis: "Little fucking annoying things shooting ice at ME…"
(10:06:41 PM) Brent: "Thanks again. You are the first snake-bodied person I've met and you're a fine ambassador for your race."
(10:07:53 PM) Reffan: "Thank you, -" right, name not found. "I'm Reffan!" If all else fails, introduction proper
(10:08:20 PM) Hau: "Thank you. I felt it would be best to be polite…" She smiles to Reffan. "Hau Kea'pua, of the Po'e-kai. You may call me Hau, if you like."
(10:08:50 PM) Brent: "Preventing me from dying is pretty damn polite."

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