Critical Missions

Session of the 30th of August

As the ship neared Icevarr Banning declared her intentions to stop off for a couple of days to complete some trading and to give the crew a chance to recover from the fight for ‘The White Mare’. As they travel further north the temperature plummets and the party search through the new ship for warm clothing. Fidjit and Aesha find some warm clothes clearly intended for Cressa but which will just about fit an adult Gnome or Halfling. Aesha is unsure if her eidolon is affected by the cold but Ellerine reassures her that it doesn’t mind the temperature.

As soon as the ship docks a party at the harbour side requests permission to board. The gangplank is lowered and Eric, the Thane of Icevarr, and a complement of bannermen board the ship. Eric introduces himself and asks who the Captain of the ship is, Banning steps forward and invites Eric to step into her cabin for a more discrete conversation. As they head for the cabin Lyssia, Fidjit and Aesha manage to slip in before them; Loki is just about to follow when Banning closes the door in his face. Eric asks the Captain what their business in Icevarr is, she replies that they are simply there for trade. Apparently satisfied Eric asks who the others in the cabin are, they introduce themselves very briefly in the case of Aesha and Fidjit, Lyssia is a bit more forthcoming and just stops short of revealing more of their mission than Banning is happy with.

Back out on deck Loki discusses the weather with the Thane’s bannermen, they mention in passing that Eric does not like to be addressed as Thane. The bannermen are very interested, perhaps somewhat apprehensive, to find that Loki comes from the Orc tribes to the North of Norgan. Satisfied with what he has found out about their intentions, and urging the crew to enjoy the delights of Icevarr, Eric and his company depart. As they leave Teine observes Cressa watching Eric and his party head back into the ‘town’ from up in the rigging.

The ship’s company headed off into Icevarr in various groups, Teine and Lyssia headed of to investigate the town and surrounding area, Loki, Aesha and Fidjit headed off to explore and try and find a decent pub. As Teine and Lyssia headed down the gangplank the Itani sorcerer noticed that one of the sailors they passed was the shaven headed women he had seen escape from the prison. Loki decides to invite some of the Maga cult goblins on the trip with them. After trying to find warm clothes for the goblins they ended up with several of the little creatures swaddled to the point of looking like spherical balls of fur.

Skirting round the outside of the town, as much to avoid the party with the goblins as anything else, Teine and Lyssia find it to be mostly a smallish frontier town with stretches of scrubby subsistence level farmland stretching out from it along the coast and rising behind it a huge glacier. They also see several large boats that have been turned upside down and possibly converted into housing; the tops now overgrown with grass.

In the centre of town Loki, Aesha and Fidjit find what constitutes the commercial heart of Icevarr, this is little more than a handful of stalls and two large moot halls. The group peruse the stalls; the only one with anything out of the ordinary is selling an odd combination of runestones and chickens. Fidjit decides to buy one of the chickens from the ragged haired woman running the stall, ‘Mad’ Hettie, and the people in the surrounding crowd pay close attention as she slips a few coppers from her coin purse.

A boy in his mid teens approaches the party asking if they need a guide to show them the sights of Icevarr, after a brief discussion amongst themselves and a spot of haggling with the boy Aesha pays him 2gp to show them around, once again the transaction draws much intent scrutiny from the crowd. As the tour begins Loki suggests that their young guide might like to address him as ‘Lord Protector’. The guide seems very enthusiastic and extols the virtues of Icevarr, in fact he seems a little over enthusiastic and some of his hyperbole has a forced manic edge to it as if he is sticking to some sort of script and playing it for all he’s worth, perhaps it has something to do with the fingers he has missing from one hand. The boy describes the outlying farms and the local grain and mushroom crops, he tells them of the glacier and the many caves that the town’s inhabitants have carved into it. Loki is intrigued by the description of the caves, particularly the deep blue ice which the boy tells them stays frozen for incredible lengths of time. Loki suggests that perhaps they could mine this ice and transport it to warmer climes, the boy seems a bit baffled by the suggestion at first but as Loki outlines the possibilities and lucrative opportunities the boy seems quite caught up for a while especially in the idea of travelling from Icevarr, then something seems to bring him back down to the reality of the situation and he suggests that the party put any such ventures as proposals to Eric. He turns instead to giving them some of the background history of Icevarr and how Eric and his crew settled the island and were the first people ever to live there, he is very clear on the fact the there was ‘No-one There Before Them!’

As they continue round the outskirts of the town towards the glacier Lyssia and Teine encounter several strange cairns topped with pieces of animal bone and horn. Teine decides to keep a close eye out for a large bone that he could turn into a sword. Some of the cairns have suitable bones but they decide to leave them out of respect for the religious sensibilities of the locals.

Reaching the glacier Teine and Lyssia go in to explore one of the caves, the caves are surprisingly light with the light which passes through the ice acquiring an eerie blue glow. As they travel deeper into the caves the light becomes dimmer and acquires a deeper bluish hue. After a while Lyssia’s vision began to swim and she felt an unnerving pressure behind her eyes, Teine felt nothing and was reluctant to return to the cave mouth but Lyssia was adamant that she wouldn’t go any further into the cave system.

Coming to the end of their tour of Icevarr Loki quizzes heir guide about the possibilities for hunting on the island and whether there are any monsters. The guide says there are none and Loki suggests that a good rumor of some giant footed shaggy beast would do wonders to bring in more tourists. The guide is very rattled by this suggestion and strenuously denies that any such monsters exist. As Aesha reassures the boy that they will tell Eric how informative the tour was he thanks them and reiterates that there are no monsters on the island, “None at all!” As a last piece of advice he tells them not to dance, whistle, sing or clap if they happen to see lights in the sky or they will risk being taken away by them.

Lyssia and Teine make their way back out of the cave system, as the light brightens Lyssia feels the strange sensations recede. After standing a few seconds in the cave mouth they move on to look at some of the other caves they leave never noticing that they have been standing in a giant footprint. Continuing to investigate the caves along the face of the glacier they find several more cairns, what seems to be a graveyard of sorts where the bodies have been frozen straight into the glacier and a half blind old hermit who seems oblivious to their presence and simply casts and recasts a set of runes. As they are leaving one last cave Lysia notices deep grooves in the ice high up on the cave entrance, they resemble the sort of marks rutting deer antlers make in wood.

Back in the centre of town the tour party have headed to the town’s only inn, known imaginatively as ‘The Inn’. The establishment is packed with people, in contrast to the relatively empty streets they have passed through. The party has lost quite a few goblins by now to no-one’s great disappointment. Loki decides to sample the local specialty mushroom beer and is informed that he’ll probably need around 7 pints to get the full effect, he starts work on the project straight away. The innkeeper extols the virtues of Icevarr, as far as Fidjit can tell he seems to be spinning very much the same line of propaganda as their tour guide. Aesha circulates around the inn chatting with many of the customers; they all seem very friendly but most try and sell her little homemade knickknacks the hay created, sometimes for exorbitant prices. Fidjit asks the innkeeper what happens to people who don’t fit in in Icevarr, she is told that Eric usually arranges to have them ship out when traders are in town.

As Lyssia and Teine return to town they pass through a stand of trees, up in the braches is a network of knotted string or twine with here and there a feather or a bone woven into the haphazard pattern. Around the clearing are what appear to be several large stone statues of humanoid figures, all lying down and with their hands covering their mouths. They have both rather lost track of time, the sky looks as if it is twilight but it seems to have been like that ever since they arrived in Icevarr. Lyssia suggests that living in such a place with the strange lights and the prolonged twilight could soon drive a person mad.

Aesha asks the Innkeeper about where one can go to see the sights of Icevarr, suggestions are the farms, the forest, the ice caves and the top of the glacier. The innkeeper warns that the caves are dangerous without a guide and that several visitors have been lost in them over the years. By this time virtually all of the goblins have vanished.

Reaching town again Teine heads for the centre to try and find the others while Lyssia heads back to the ship to see if she can find Cressa. Coming up the gangplank she encounters Alv, the goblin bard presents her with a candlestick and assures her that he hasn’t lost track of Cressa, although he can’t actually tell Lyssia where she is. Lyssia goes to see Banning in her cabin and Alv insists on announcing her at the door. Banning tells her that Cressa and most of the rest of the crew have taken up an invitation from Eric to join him for feasting in his hall.

Before he reaches the Inn Teine encounters a strange old man with a large bird with which he seems to be conversing. The bird seems to be a very odd crossbreed hard to tie down as any one particular species. As he is leaving the old man Teine meets up with Aesha and Fidjit who are on their way to Eric’s hall, when he tells them about the strange bird Fidjit goes off to see it for herself but the old man assures her that the bird doesn’t actually talk although he and it share a close bond of companionship.

Back in the Inn Loki is several pints into his mushroom beer and is definitely beginning to feel the effects. Not wanting to miss out on the party he persuades the innkeeper to give him an outsized mug holding a couple more pints of the beer and assures him he will return the mug. As he staggers after the others he finds them outside Eric’s hall, where they have also been joined by Lyssia.

The hall is another upturned boat, this one a substantial and imposing ship that must have been an impressive longboat at one time. Either side of the doors carved into the ship’s hull are the remnants of two large painted emblems, they appear to have been red hands. The party discuss investigating surreptitiously but Lyssia decides to tackle things head on and strides into the hall to find Eric. Aesha decides instead to have a look around the outside of the ship and see if she can find any of the goblins. Aesha does manage to find a goblin but the language barrier proves a distinct problem in terms of any meaningful communication. Towards the aft of the upturned ship Aesha finds a large shrine, similar to the ones that Teine and Lyssia discovered, and from a certain angle she sees that it represents a humanoid figure. Continuing round she finds another shrine and this one she can see is a quadrapedal form.

Within the hall are several smallish fire pits around which many locals and members of the ship’s crew are crowded. In the centre is a large chair, perhaps even a throne, by his side is an imposing figure of a woman in another sturdy chair. Around the lady’s chair are the majority of the goblins that the party brought into town with them. Cressa is also within the hall, sticking close by the side of one of the nobles, perhaps another ersatz parental figure. Passing through the hall to the throne the party notice many old weathered looking faces in the crowd, even some of the younger people seem to have a creased look to their faces. Many of the servants seem to be missing small extremities.

Reaching the throne Lyssia compliments Eric on Icevarr and mentions the many wonderful and interesting things she and Teine discovered on their walk around. She also mentions how much Loki, who is now hunched over on the ground with a trickle of green foam coming from his mouth, seems to have enjoyed the mushroom beer. Asking whether the lady next to him is his wife Eric tells them instead that she is his ‘companion’.

While the others talk to Eric Aesha continues to look around she deides that many of the more weather beaten looking individuals actually share some obscure ethnic background, one she is unable to place, even the Thane’s companion seems to have a slight touch of the look about her.

Fidjit tries to convince some of the more disreputable prisoners who joined the ships company, who are also in the hall, that settling in Icevarr which be a better option than undertaking the perilous trip to the west and who knows what dangers. When she encounters the more respectable crew member she instead encourages them to return to the ship rather than spending the night passed out in Eric’s hall.

Having thanked Eric for his hospitality the party carry Loki’s comatose form back to the ship and settle in for the night. They set up several watches through the night to make sure nothing untoward happens. During one of the darker watches of the night Teine notices several lights in the town that seem to be blinking on and off in an unusual fashion, he finally decides that what seems to be causing it is huge figures moving through the streets of the town blocking off the lights for only a second or two.



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