Reign of Winter

Banker Gale the Peterman

OOC – The log’s been backed up, and I’m sure Austin will cover this week’s just fine. So I’m obliging Jake as to the tale of how Banker Gale came to be able how to pick a lock or two in his time, lol.


Banker Gale, despite his ever-present business like demeanor, enjoys his leisure time as much as any other man. It had been a stormy night, and Gale hated to walk in the rain, so he decided that he would spend the evening of Starday in his office. A fine bottle of Iron Lands rosé in one hand, and the other finding his place in another one of his many books. For a few moments, he had found himself to be quite content. But as all good moments go, it had not lasted long, as Archbanker Olazl Thrace had other plans for the Banker.

The Archbanker displayed his usual habit of knocking on Gale’s door while at the same time entering the room without waiting for a response, his ever-present pesh stained smile accompanying him. “Hellooooo Brother Gale. A fine night this eve, yesh, most fine! How fair thee?”, the Archbanker slurring a bit in his wording. It appeared the Archbanker had partaken of the clergy’s winestock as well as taking in his usual pesh habit.

Gale, never one to forget formalities, rose from his seat and bowed courteously. “Archbanker, as always you are kind to grace me with your presence. Would you care for some rosé? I just un-corked it not a minute ago. Let me fetch you a glass.”, Gale began heading over to his armoire to fetch another cup when the Archbanker snatched the bottle and began to drink directly from it. The young Archbanker drank from it greedily, letting the wine dribble down his face a little. Putting it down, he began to read Gale for any sign of annoyance, but if there was one, Gale hid it well.

“Brother Gale, it appears my usual Starday convent had other matters to attend to. And now I find myself without a following this evening.”, Gale knew of the Archbanker’s Starday convent, and she was a lovely woman who worked very hard for the coinage she earned. He allowed the Archbanker to continue uninterrupted “Gale. You were an aspiring star here when you started, what was it that drove you so furiously then that you lack now?”, once again the Archbanker searched for any sense of offense in Gale’s expression.

Gale slid himself back in to his exquisitely carved oak chair, and poured himself another glass of rosé. "To be quite honest, Archbanker, I wished to become a Balanced Scale. (OOC – “Balanced Scale of Abadar” is the original name for the “Divine Assessor” prestige class) I had a great yearning to chronicle and tabulate the treasures of forgotten lore.", Gale took a bigger swig than usual of his wine. Staring in to the glass, he began to remember memories long forgotten. How he wished to go back to his younger self, to tell him to pick himself back up after the defeat in the Katapeshi desert and to remain steadfast in pursuit of becoming a Balanced Scale. Gale’s reminiscing then was cut short by the obnoxious laughter of the Archbanker.

“Hah! Hah hah hah! YOU! Brother Gale?! A Balanced Scale of the Master of the First Vault?! Surely you jest! You have no field experience! No knowledge of the wards that protect the vaults you would need to enter! Besides all of that, you are in no physical shape to venture out in to the dangerous lands that hold these treasures! Oh ho ho! You Gale make my sides ache sometimes!”, if the Archbanker was not so preoccupied by his own obnoxious tone, he would have finally noticed that he offended Gale to his core.

“Yes. Well. Archbanker, it was some time ago. My talents are now best suited elsewhere…”, Gale murmured into his glass, sipping it deeply once again.

“Oh Gale! Yes! Yes they are!”, the Archbanker stated as he rose from his seat, the bottle of rosé in his hand. “Gale. A most deep thanks are in order for your tales, and for your delicious…rose-aye…is it? I shall toast tonight in your name! Keep up with the ledgers, it is most certainly what you are best at.”, and with another laugh the Archbanker slams the door shut, leaving Gale in the room alone.

In the silence, Gale began to think again on how badly he wished to become a Balanced Scale in the eyes of the First Master. Perhaps…it was not as long ago as he thought. While his combat training had fallen to the wayside, surely that did not need to dissuade him from trying?

With a final sip of his rosé, he closed the book in front of him and cracked open another one from the stacks around him. One titled “What I Learned from Uncle Trapspringer. A Tale of Tales.” written by some halfling folk by the name of Tasslehoff Burrfoot. In it it chronicled the best way to pick a basic tumbler, if the situation ever arose where you were captured by orcs or ogres. He poured over it’s contents for another couple hours, mimicking the hand motions laid out in the pages before him.

When he had finally finished the book, he closed it’s cover with a wicked grin on his face. Banker Weston Gale had never been a thief in his life, but he knew a man’s property was his and his alone. Surely a Balanced Scale of Abadar would make sure that one’s possessions would need to be returned to their rightful owner, no?

With those thoughts swirling through his head, he found himself in front of the Archbanker’s door. The sounds of loud snoring in coming from within. The door, as always, had been locked. The grin on Gale’s face had grown wider as he began to remove his holy symbol, using it as a shoddy lock picking device. Spending many moments on the door, Gale began to mimic the motions he recalled from Tasselhoff’s memoirs. More moments passed, and his actions were rewarding with a slight click from the tumbler within the lock, and the door began to creak open.

It had taken almost 15 moments too long, but there Gale stood above the snoring Archbanker. Any other lesser man would have taken his revenge upon the sleeping thief, but Banker Gale was now a Balanced Scale in training, and now held himself to higher standards. What he did do, however, was take back the now quarter-full bottle of rosé. Toasting the sleeping Archbanker Thrace, he gulped down the remaining contents and slipped out the door, slamming it behind him. The startled noises of Archbanker Thrace echoing in the halls as Balanced Scale-in-Training Banker Weston Gale made his way back to his quarters, bottle in hand and grin on his face.

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Another day, another town filled with the haunted souls of the betrayed
And also Enki!

Ill omens seem to follow us from day to day, none more so than the ravens that assaulted us some days back- or so I thought, until we came to a village whose priests had turned against its flock. Faith in Torag is less a purpose for one such as myself, it is more of a confirmation for what I know to be true in my heart.
These priests had been abandoned by their god, and turned to a darker purpose- I despise all weavers of the black arts, and the sacrifices that these priests made to their foul gods, their lack of conviction and faith, sickens my stomach.

On the brighter side, the same day we dealt with the foul haunted abominations that haunted that village, was the day I met Enki. It was a proud moment, as I spotted the huge Elk amid a supernaturally warm and inviting glade, and charged at him. I wrapped my arms around his neck as tight as my muscles would allow, but he eventually threw me free. As he charged, I tried one last-ditch attempt, but he was too skilled a beast! Eventually we managed to calm him, and thanks to the efforts of my fine comrade Tyg, we befriended the beast!

SOON I SHALL RIDE MY GREAT WAR ELK INTO THE FIELDS OF BATTLE, THROWING DOWN THAT CASTRATING BITCH ELVANA AND ALL HER TERRIBLE ILK!

We came a village, Ellsprin, but all we found was a dead man- his throat slit. Fey were about, quick little devils, which we promptly dispatched. What more can come this day?

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Korvast's Log: The Long March

Korvast had stopped writing in his journal. He had not been fond of it, so he did not miss it, though it was embarrassing when Thorald got hold of the small book, wrapped in tattered leather, and upon attempting to read its contents out loud was forced to inform Korvast that he lacked the necessary grasp of spelling and grammar to communicate anything at all intelligible. Korvast did, however, continue to consider his experiences deeply, as instructed. It was a silent ritual.

The welcoming of the “heroes” by the people of Waldsby upon their return from the Pale Tower was tepid at best. Some were pleased, and a rare few expressed cautious thanks, but all were concerned for their already fragile safety. What little order had been established by the oppressive daughters of Baba Yaga had been disturbed, and they feared the wrath of Nahzena upon her return. Korvast sensed their presence would not be tolerated quietly much longer.

After compensating the local healer to restore Tyg’s sight and resting for a night, they set forth northward, as the magic bestowed upon them by the Black Rider compelled them to. Surprisingly, Nadya offered to accompany them as their guide, explaining that she too would no longer be safe in Waldbsy. She explained that she had an uncle, Ringeirr, with whom she and her sons would be safe, and that his knowledge would be of assistance to the group as well.

The path, or lack there of, was forbidding to say the least. A vast wasteland of ice stretched before them into a grim infinity. Trees, nearly buried but somehow still managing to steal enough sunlight to live amidst the heavy, churning snow, sparsely littered the scape. And odd dangers dwelled there too.

Swarming flocks of ravens – filthy, ravenous, and likely commanded by an unseen will – descended on the party of heroes, scratching at their eyes and overwhelming their senses. After they were put down Thorald and Korvast needed attention given to their damaged eyes. Banker Gale informed Korvast that in order to apply the salve he would need to remove his helmet. Korvast hesitated, but complied sensibly.

The first thing Banker Gale saw when Korvast took off his helmet was a lifeless raven, its head apparently bitten off, fall with a soft thud into the snow. And then he saw Korvast’s full unshielded face for the first time.

His hair was dark and fell to his shoulders. It appeared that Korvast’s preferred strategy of hair cutting was to simply lop it off with his sword when their was too much of it. The left half of his face was nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, he was relatively handsome, with a square jaw, narrow black eyes, and a straight nose. Only the claw marks across his left eye, trickling with blood and blocking his vision, were at all disconcerting. But it was the right half of his face that was meant to be hidden. It was comprised almost entirely of tattered scar tissue, as if it had been chewed and torn apart by the jaws of starving beasts. Bone protruded from flesh where his cheek and jaw bones crowned, and his mouth was pulled back into a bare, toothy sneer. Where Korvast’s right eye would be, a thick patch of black leather was seemingly attached to his head with bronze bolts. A yellow sun, the symbol of his goddess Sarenrae, was painted delicately upon it. If Korvast still had a right ear, whatever was left of it was hidden beneath his hair.

Banker Gale could not help but stare a bit, but after an admirably small amount of hesitation, proceeded to heal Korvast. After working in silence for a minute or two, Korvast answered the unasked question with his usual throaty rasp.

“Dogs.”


Aside: Korvast’s Story

Korvast told Gale of how he was the child of a bar wench in Absalom, a beautiful, kind woman beloved by everyone. His father was an Ulfen adventurer that had traveled from the far north in pursuit of a wicked priest who killed his brother and put a curse on his village, and after many years and many sacrifices he’d finally tracked the bastard down in the city. While he was there, the Dawn’s Light Inn where she worked had been where he rested. She managed to get herself caught up in the whole mess, and the two of them sparked a fleeting romance. After he finally exacted his revenge on the evil priest he left her, though not without ceremony, and began his long journey back home. Korvast was born after that, and would never meet his father or learn if he even still lived. But though Korvast always found it odd, his mother never seemed angered nor saddened by his father’s departure. She spoke highly of his bravery, his strength, his resolve and his honor. She said that he was both kind to the good and ruthless to the wicked. She wanted Korvast to grow up just like him.

The Inn was owned by a kindly old man named Jonn. Korvast and his mother lived there and were always treated well while he was alive. Korvast had a simple but normal childhood, and things were good. They were good, that is, until the old man died, and ownership of the Inn passed to his son, Jarn. Jarn was everything his father was not. He was mean, lecherous, dishonest and selfish, and Korvast’s mother suspected Jonn’s death may not have been natural. Worse, Jarn had always been obsessively attracted to her, and despite her constant rebuking, advanced upon her repeatedly. He was jealous of the Ulfen hero, and hated Korvast. Often compelled further by drink, his advances became more insistent, and more dangerous, when the business turned over to him and his father was not around to keep him in line. Korvast’s mother made plans to leave her job at the inn to live with cousins in the farmlands outside the city whom Korvast had never met. When Jarn found out he was enraged. He was already growing desperate, for he was finally seeing his long courtship attempt as a failure, and he knew that at ten years old and already large for his age Korvast would soon be strong enough to repel him. On the night before they were to leave the Inn for good, Korvast awoke to the sounds of violence coming from the tavern downstairs. Frozen in his bed, he listened to the struggle for what seemed like hours before silence fell. Jarn had murdered his mother in a drunken rage, apparently having decided that if he could not have her nobody could, and afterward he threw Korvast out onto the street, laughing madly.

Korvast wandered the city for weeks, alone and unsure of what to do. He did not know the cousins his mother spoke of, and didn’t know where to find them. It was the saddest time of his life. One night while trying to find edible food in the trash, Korvast encountered a roaming pack of dogs that were not inclined to share, and they decided he was the freshest thing on the menu. They swarmed him and began to rend him limb from limb, and he was certain he was doomed. But with a flash of what looked like bright sunlight the dogs were frightened off by an unlikely passerby. She was a paladin of Sarenrae, tall and beautiful and fierce. She mended him as best she could and rushed him to the Temple of Sarenrae nearby at the Ascendant Court.

The healers there were able to save Korvast’s life, but with so much damage done were unable to erase the worst of his scars. The paladin was a well regarded member of the Silver Crusade staying at the temple in between missions. She looked in on him daily for weeks while he recovered, spending time with him, reassuring him, and he grew fond of her. It was she who’d given him his helmet, an old, unused thing gathering dust in the Temple’s small armory. She brought it to him after he’d begun to have night terrors about being eaten by dogs, waking up every night screaming and sweating. “There,” she said, placing the helmet on his head, “nothing natural is going to chew through that!” He wore it to sleep every night, though it was laughably large for him at the time. The nightmares ceased, but he would never be fully rid of his fear of dogs.

Korvast never saw the paladin again after she left, but the priests at the temple offered him a place there, and Korvast was more than happy to stay and commit his life to the glory of Sarenrae. He wanted to be like the paladin, and like his father, who fought to protect goodness from evil and pursued evil wherever it may try to hide. He trained to be one of the Dawnflower’s swords, and even had a large scimitar specially made for himself to accommodate his unusual strength. Though the clergy primarily preached redemption, forgiveness, and healing as Sarenrae’s most significant teachings, Korvast knew there would always be unwavering, unforgivable corruption in the world. He would make it his task to sniff it out and carve it from this world himself. His grisly commitment to this mission would shape the rest of his life, and his unfortunate appearance profoundly changed his relationship with other people.

For fifteen years Korvast remained mostly within the walls of the temple, training hard and praying diligently, discovering his divine powers, especially his ability to detect evil in the hearts of others. Then he began to have dreams of the frozen north where his mother told him his father had come from. He told the priests he felt compelled to travel there, and they believed it was a sign that Sarenrae had finally called him forth to do the good work for which he had been studying.


As the party continued to travel more trials presented themselves. One night Nadya realized one of her boys had disappeared after she’d sent him to follow Korvast, looking for firewood. Korvast had not seen him since leaving the campsite, and the party went in search of him, following his tracks. When they caught up to the boy a pack of wolves had surrounded him. Korvast liked wolves no more than he liked dogs, but shook off his fear to help everyone rescue him. The boys were much more enamored by Korvast after that, following him around and sitting near him while they all ate around the campfire. They asked him many questions, including whether or not he was really a human, since he was so large and they hadn’t seen his face. Strangely, Korvast did not find them as irritating as he normally found children, and humored their curiosity and playfulness. Perhaps he was a Golem, he told them, just a metal man imbued with life. Their awe and confusion entertained him.

Also on their journey the party encountered a small house, home to a woman desperate for someone to save her husband from what she believed was a moss troll. In exchange, she said, her husband had items of interest to repay them with, and she would feed them and give them a place to rest before setting out. All found this an agreeable exchange. After a hot meal and some much needed rest the party followed signs of the supposed troll to a dark, dank cave, in which dwelled an odd creature. It was no troll, but rather the woman’s husband, who’s body and mind had been infested by a diabolical moss creature. It was controlling his body and devouring it slowly. Luckily the party avoided killing him before realizing what they were up against, separated the moss monster from him, and destroyed it. He was brought back to his wife safe and nearly sound.

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The Walk Back to Town

A gust of cold breeze sends a shiver down the spine of Divine Executor Gale’s back. The “Endure Elements” daily effect must be wearing off. He shrugs it off as the walk back to town couldn’t be much further. Luckily, the normally droll walk back is enlivened with the perplexing conversation he’s been having with the Slyphen priestess walking beside him.

“You do not understand, Executor. The people of these lands, myself included, we do not know life without subjugation.”, Priestess Sonn explains. “Your actions here have disrupted the entire system of life that the populace has become accustomed to. Surely you must understand the ramifications of your actions.”, her eyes pleading for him to grasp the concept.

“Certainly, priestess. Taldor brings the glory of the Imperium throughout Golarion. In time, even the most…resistant of dissidents seem to come around and see our ways.”, Gale counters with a smile.

Jairess’s eyes turn from pleading to disappointment. “Tell me then, Executor, what is the difference between the subjugation of Baba Yaga as opposed to your own king? Your government seems to create the same amount of oppression and domestication of it’s subjects that the Witch Queen does. So please, enlighten me on the difference.”, her final sentence ending with a bemused sense of accomplishment.

Gale’s looks to the sky a moment, as if he was archiving their conversation up until it’s current point, and then turn’s back to the cleric. “Opportunity.”, he replies.

Jairess’s grin widens “Opportunity? How does your oppression provide opportunity?”

Gale’s face becomes a bit stern. “Oppression? Do you think the role of our government is to subject it’s people for no reason? Hardly. The Empire exists to provide structure, not submission. Yes, it can be rigid, but it also is unyeilding, unbreakable. It is the foundation to a house, and it is up to it’s people to build off of it. To mold it to what it needs to be.”

Jairess’s face is now the one lacking comprehension, “I…do not understand where you are leading this conversation.”

Gale’s face continues to remain authoritative, “Of course you don’t, but I do not fault your backwater education. What I will not tolerate is your unnecessarily pitiful demeanor.” He clears his throat to continue, ignoring the bluish face of the priestess growing quite red with anger. “Taldor’s empire provides the foundation for it’s populace to achieve more. To become…more than what they were born into. You talk of subjugation, but what your really mean is adversity. You should be thanking us for providing you an opportunity for a better life, but instead you’re angry because you’re afraid of that freedom, you ungrateful plebeian.”

Jairess’s tolerance for insult hit it’s peak, so she responds to Gale’s condescension with a back hand from her mailed gauntlet. Drawing blood from one of his nostrils, Gale uses his already ruined nightcap to stop the flow. Without missing a beat, he continues his diatribe.

“Like I said, you are afraid of taking responsibility for yourself. You act as you hate to be told what to do, yet your profession is to serve the divine. So even when we free you from the Witch Queen, you will still have the comfort of SERVING. You’re afraid of the unknown, because you can’t take rely on it. When you become comfortable taking the helm of the ship that is your life, you will find your misplaced anger towards our band will have subsided. Now…I’m certainly going to need a new nightcap, do you know of a tailor in town?”, Gale inquires.

Jairess’s face now reads of a crazy combination of anger, confusion, and a growing sense of self loathing. It begins to dawn on her that the Executor just may be correct. Perhaps she should find some comfort in this newly gained freedom, and rely less on her usual feelings of anger and defiance. She straightens her backpack strap, and looks into Gale’s eyes. “You have given me a bit to think about, and perhaps not all of it bad…that being said, you are still a condescending ass.”

Gale smiles his usual knowing smirk, until it is cut short by a snowball crashing into his face.

“I am sorry Banker, some one had to do it! HO! HO!”, the bellowing laughter coming from Thorald from behind a tree. “Behold! We have made it to the town! We can now celebrate and feast as is our right!”

“Yes, viking, you do have a valid point”, Gale states as he wipes the snow off. Mentally noting to slip the ink from the his inkvial into Thorald’s drink at some point in the evening.

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Leave of Absence
From the Desk of Banker Weston Gale

OOC – Due to the effects of the “Geas/Quest” spell we are under. Banker Gale believes that Abadar himself has appointed him as a “Divine Executor”. A position that he has made up in his head allowing him to usurp the usurper, Elvanna, daughter of Baba Yaga. So his letter to his superior might be a bit more…fervent than his usual phlegmatic self. Think of the movie Predator: except the Predator is this bitch Elvanna, and we are the crack team of military experts. Enjoy!


From the Desk of Banker Weston Gale,

The First Master’s Most Glorious Servant: Archbanker Thrace,

Archbanker, I hope this missive finds you well and your fortunes abundant. It is with a heavy heart that I must take a leave of absence in regards to my most recent position here in Heldren. It appears that the First Master, blessed be his name, has other plans for my skill set. He has divined that I am to undertake a quest to prevent Golarion itself from falling under a permanent sunless winter.

Allow me to elaborate:

Abadar, our most righteous lord, has sought me out for a second chance at preventing a major calamity. He has set a course to allow me to join a group of experts, each with skills both varied and specialized. We have been chosen to defend our world from the traitorous usurper, Elvanna, daughter of Baba Yaga.

You need not fear for my safety, for the First Master has provided me these combat hardened gentlemen. In a skirmish against demonically possessed fey, these men held their own. Even when these wintery agents of chaos took to the skies to escape, the fury of our Golden Lord flew to them in the form of gilded arrows from the Archer, Tyg Orell.

Though fell magicks had attempted to warp not only our divine instruments of war, but our very beings, we stood strong. It mattered not to Thorald that he stood half the size of a normal man, his axe and shield remained harder than the permafrost we stood upon.

Even Korvast, an unyieldingly stubborn knight, changed his tactics with the wisdom of our God when he took up a bow (instead of his razored falchion) and slew the fey as they tried to escape.

Thelal, our divinely chosen Sorcerer Supreme, expended nearly all of his willpower hurling blasts of force to bring down these foul creatures. His powers, upon further review, seem to be divinely inherited, as opposed to stolen as I had initially feared. I regret doubting him for even a moment.

After doing battle and slaying these creatures, a portal from another wintery dimension had opened, and emerged a dark rider. The rider, an imposing obsidian force at first glance, collapsed upon the ground. From under the weight of his midnight horse now lay an old man, weathered and grey by centuries of service and battle. It was he who opened my eyes to Abadar’s vision of our new quest. He pleaded that we go through the portal and save his master, the Witch Queen Baba Yaga, from her treacherous daughter Elvanna. He placed his dying hand on my shoulder and passed Abadar’s will upon me. Which leads me now to this moment.

It has been a very fortuitous service that I have had under you these past several years, Archbanker. And it is with a heavy heart that I resign from my current clerical position from Our Most Holy Taldor. I shall miss its golden arches and towers so. Please take care, and know I shall defend our world in the name of the One True Master. Farewell!

Regards,

Executor Weston Gale.

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Thelal's Missive
Journal, the first

I write in spite of the wound to the back of my head, and perhaps the greater injury to my pride that I have recently suffered. I found myself lost, stranded, and certainly ensorcelled away from my new companions into a damnable snowstorm. Clearly, witchcraft – I am coldborn and have always known my way about the drifts of white. Regardless, I felt a terrible clap to my head, and awoke in the fae…but not the courts I am used to. Instead, a foul creature calling itself Izoze dictated to me the conditions of my release. Sad to say, I had to comply with some of the foul mephits’ wishes, but do not lose hope in Thelal Whisperways – he had a silver bone left yet to play.
I emerged on a bridge, from whence I am not certain, but I had been released from the clutches of the Unseelie! A bridge, a crossing! And with my companions I was soon reunited. Yes, there was a great tussle, and in the aftermath of the battle, we rested. But lo, friend, this is where you see that the greatest weapon of all is Pride – for Izoze returned to finish her botched job, and was hence slain by magics and steel! We were as heroes of old, rescuing a damsel, they said. And with this victory we were propelled onwards. Onwards, to face a curious creature of porcelain and child’s worry – a doll, though seemingly harmless, was actually a cruel creature sent from the feline breast of Greymalkin herself!
After dispatching the terrible molly dolly, we progressed further into a maze of ice that seemingly was haunted with spirits, one of a little girl! Perhaps it was she who once had that terrifying toy. After crossing through this frozen labyrinth, we found ourselves faced with all sorts of creatures bizarre and cruel – foundlings in icicles and a troll…a troll, a hated foe of the winter court, until we were eventually victorious. Doing so, we were able to approach a swirling vortex of ice and frost, seemingly a portal. Out of this portal, an old man emerged! But this was no mere old man, but instead the Black Rider of the White Witch, Baba Yaga! I have heard of her knights, those who do her bidding in the mortal realm while she and her huts dance across the realms and planes, counting the knucklebones of sinners. But hark, we hear from this rider, wounded it would seem, that Baba Yaga is missing, and her hut needs to be liberated…in Irrisen?! The land of witches, mortals who leech power from the First World. It would seem that more than just the Geas that has been placed on our merry band motivates us. I for one have no love of the frozen temptresses in the north and their foul sorceries. We leap forth, transported!

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Korvast's Log
Evil Afoot

When I embarked on this quest the priests told me I would learn more by keeping a record of my thoughts and reflections. So far I do not find maintaining this journal to be beneficial, but perhaps its value will become apparent later.

The silence was deafening after Rohkar fell, broken only by the sound of our heavy breathing. Looking up at the landing from which I leaped at him in rage, I am thankful that I did not land on my head. I am not known for my feats of acrobatics. It is remarkable what anger can help us accomplish.

The illusory sound and image of the dogs had me shaken with a fright I had not been subject to for many years. I stood clutching my sword, staring at the corpse of Rohkar for what seemed like years, until Thorald came over and snapped me out of it with a strong pat on the back. Ten Penny Tacy peered out from behind the fireplace. Banker Gale and Tyg had not yet shuffled down the stairs to confirm that the fight was over before Thorald began to examine the necromancer’s coat. A strange but fine garment to be sure. He can keep the damn thing.

A pounding and yelling from beneath the trap door we had discovered earlier caught us all by surprise. After finding keys on the body we quickly opened it and found the lost Lady Argentea Mallasene. She appeared to be unharmed, though exhausted from her ordeal. We rounded on Ten Penny Tacy, asking how she failed to mention the woman being held in the cellar when we questioned her about its contents earlier. Tacy played it off as something she didn’t see as significant at the time. I continued to read no evil in her. It is my belief that self preservation motivated Tacy to withhold this information. Not a noble decision, but she may still be redeemed.

Then we heard a horrific noise from outside, and the flapping of humongous wings. We rushed to the door to see Thelal lying limply in the snow as a large creature flew out of sight. He was near frozen and barely alive. We carried him to one of the bedrooms where Gale worked his healing magic. When he awoke we made him comfortable, and he told us that one of the Fey snatched him during the heavy snow we’d been marching through a day or two ago. They tormented him for a while until they lost interest, and tossed him back to us as a warning to press no further into the woods. This warning will go unheeded.

While Thelal rested we searched the rest of the house. Back upstairs in the small room I retreated to in my induced panic we discovered a sprite held within a small cage. Apparently Rohkar had been using it as a light source for his writing desk. It pleaded for release, alternating pathetic whimperings with threats of violence from the powerful Fey creature it served. We attempt to extract information from it, but fear of its master overwhelmed its fear of us, despite promises of imminent harm. This time I checked with the rest of the group before dispatching the wicked little thing, since the last time I ended a helpless (though EVIL) creature I was met with some backlash, including admonishment from the Banker, who has NO PLACE TELLING ME WHO WILL AND WHO WILL NOT BE REDEEMED IN THE EYES OF SARENRAE.

I said that part out loud. Everyone is staring.

Anyway. I did slay the freakish little thing, and with delight. We decided to spend the night recovering before heading back to the village. I slept fitfully. Rohkar’s assault on my mind has caused old nightmares to return to me. I lied awake thinking of that day long ago, of the knight that saved me and brought me to the priests of Sarenrae who would henceforth raise me. I took off my helmet in the dark and held it in my hands, remembering how before she left she gave it to me and told me it would keep me safe. It did not fit me then, but I wore it none the less when I was afraid, even while I slept. It kept the dogs at bay. When I was grown I stopped wearing it by night and took it to fencing training instead. I feel like a child again.

The townsfolk were very pleased to see us return in one piece with Lady Mallasene, and it appears that this bit of success has brought some hope to them in these dark days. Ten Penny Tacy promised to stay away from bandits in the future as she went her own way, and we explored the town looking for supplies to aid us on the next leg of our quest to rid this land of wintery evil. Thorald was interested in investigating the large weasel we heard about the other day, among other problems facing this place. I was uncertain that pursuing that particular lead would prove beneficial, and I think he is mostly interested in acquiring a giant weasel pelt as an addition to his many… accessories. Still, we were on our way the following morning, foregoing the stew cook-off inspired by the arrival of Tacy.

We found a corpse in the snow that Banker Gale believed fit the description of the fool who ran off to find the weasel in question. I do not remember his name. I mostly remember that he sounded like a fool. I feel like a fool too for hunting a weasel. It had better turn out to be QUITE large.

Then some trees came to life and we killed them. I tire of writing.

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The First Account of Tyg Orell, 351st year of the 3rd Age, Southern Taldor.
The Lodge

The First Account of Tyg Orell, 351st year of the 3rd Age, Southern Taldor.

Winter has certainly stretched out its cold fingers this year, but… too fast, and too far south. The town of Heldren boasted summer days just a week ago, and now we are up to our knees in white drifts. Long miles of tracking the kidnapped mistress, Lady Argentea Mallasene, have mixed both hardship and wonderment. These lands could easily be mistaken for the northern tundra to an untrained eye. These summer trees and vermin will not last a fort night!

We came across a band of ill-fated bandits, soon struck down by our arrows, blade, and axe. Green mercenaries at best, although one fled the scene. We have been tracking for hours now, unseen and unheard I hope. We have encountered a fair amount of fell fey magics as well, bastardized by some unknown foe.

It is with great fortune that I was borne of elven kin and unto the snow, for it does not affect me as the others. All manners of protection are being donned by Korvast, Thorald, Thelal, and our calculating Banker. My skin simply turns few shades of deeper blue. I rather like this.
Finally, a fledging wooden log house has appeared. Our running man has fled through one of the doors and now all appears quiet. Too quiet… there are undoubtedly traps, and I have told my comrades, but my initial scouring of the area has revealed nothing but a terribly unattended outhouse. Good heavens the stink is bad! Could humans really stoop as low as to shit here?

I’ll have to warn the others to stay clear of this….

“TWANG”.

-Thorald has unceremoniously triggered a trap with his monstrous footfalls, and all the outpost’s window shutters fly open as arrows are loosed!-

Korvast and Thorald fly forth to close the distance between them and the shutters, desperate avoid death by arrow and spear to engage in melee. Tyg deftly supports their combat with death defying bow shots through the windows. Even with the log house’s advantage, it is clear these bandits are not at full strength, and they soon fall. In fact, their decrepit forms suggest starvation and hardship.

A tense search of the log house ensues, and soon they are approached and laid upon by Rohkar Cindren, leader of bandits and known conspirator of winter Fey of this Border Wood. A final battle ensues, and Rohkar is dispatched by righteous might.

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Second Log

It had been a short time since we left the road and the abandoned carts with their accursed undead… The noble woman we were tracking down was dragged into the woods, by whom we could only begin to suspect.

We came upon a frozen glade- the winter that had come to this land is one so familiar to me; it makes me wish for home, but I can not go back… not yet. A legend or a corpse, that is what I must be to return. I was thinking such thoughts when the wicked pixies descended upon our heads.

Truly, the lands of the north are coming south, for with their chill comes their fey. Wicked creatures with darts and more sorcery, it took us some time to slay them as they flew about, the snows hampering our archer’s shots. I took to a tree’s heights in an attempt to take one down myself. These fey are wicked creatures, not the strange yet kindly ones Vali spoke of years ago.

With the pixies slain we continued onward, meeting an ensorcelled white stag- Fawfain, he introduced himself as, but it was more fey trickery. The creature mentioned Izoze? None of us recognized the name, and it was put out of its misery by our towering warrior before we could question it further. That great man’s lust for blood is bestial at times- it is reminiscent of great-grandmother Myelfi’s!

Next we came upon a river, frozen in place. A snow spirit warned us to not proceed further… such a warning was welcome, but we could not heed it, our quarry had passed the river, and so we were bound to follow. Who placed such a warning though, that it should attempt to save us? It mattered not, for the frozen spirits that battled us fell beneath our blades- their attempts to force us into the chill waters were futile.

We came upon a group of brigands afterward- Rokar, they said? Again, the great knight of ours cleaved these men in twain, they stood no chance before his might and he has no mercy. Our arrows pierced the leg of the last one, which we attempted to question- before a two-handed blade lopped his head off.

We’ll travel onward come next light.

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First Log
From the Desk of Banker Weston Gale

From the Desk of Banker Weston Gale:

Location: Heldren, southern hamlet in Holy Taldor

Archbanker,

I hope this missive finds you in good health and fortune. I have established myself in one of the Silver Stoat, the town’s tavern. This is not dereliction of my duties, this is only due to the fact that there is no true inn in this town.

Physical progress is slow, but I have recently met some “adventuring types” who will be able to fit our plans well. Please see the summaries of each below:

Korvast – A standoffish and brutal man. He seems to eat, breath, and sleep in his heavy armor. He speaks little. A living weapon. I believe he shall fit well.

Tyg Orell – An arctic Elf, based on his bluish complexion. It appears he has recently left the company of a mercenary band. Appears to do anything for the right price. Excellent fit.

Thelal – Pensive man of arcane roots. It appears he is one of these “sorcerers” that have been popping up as of late. A bit apprehensive to speak his mind, perhaps due to the gregarious nature some of the other associates. Possible fit.

Thorald Jorunnsson – Boastful warrior from the Land of the Linnorm Kings. The large man seems to fear nothing but keeping silent. Still, his sword and shield have seen battle. Possible fit.

Unforeseen Adversaries/Environmental Hazards: Two undead (subcategory: Zombie), trapped chest, and Tatzelwurm. All enemies vanquished, hazards subsided.

Items discovered: Gems, jewelry, coinage, and a magical wand kept by an “Old Mother Theodora”. The woman was willing to sell this wand for well under market value. I explained to her the nature of said item, and advised her to stick to the market price of our Empire. I also provided a tax voucher to Councilwoman Ionnia Teppin, who provided some of the associates with cold weather garments.

Side Notes: In order to continue with my mission of magical discovery, we have taken on Councilwoman Teppin’s request to deal with the source of the unnatural cold that has come across the land. This has disrupted trade in the area, and I made a judgement call in the field to deal with this disturbance first. I believe that fixing the town’s problem will allow the residents to be more forthcoming with any further information.

Nothing further to report. End of missive.

Good Fortune in Your Endeavors ,
Banker Weston Gale

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