Critical Missions

Session of the 11th of October

The party and Banning readied themselves to enter Cressa’s room. Banning slowly cracks the door open and pushes it wide. As Loki gets a glimpse into the room he suddenly has what he feels is a mushroom beer flashback. Rather than the boat he feels as if he is on dry land and it seems to be daylight.

Banning and Loki sneak into the cabin, Banning gestures questioningly towards the chest at the foot of Cressa’s bed. The others nod, confirming that is where the magic field originated. Banning tries to open the chest but has no success, Alv sneaks in to help with the lock but has little more luck.

As the Captain and Alv keep trying with the lock the rest of the party, still at the door, use their preternatural senses to scrutinise the room. Teine checks whether the boxes lock is magical, it appears not to be. Lyssia checks the box and Cressa, and sees them both still radiating an aura of evil.

Alv finally manages to unlock the box , inside he finds a black sack. Loki reaches in and pulls out the sack, he gives it a good shake and the contents rattle loudly. Loki opens the mouth of the sack, a blade suddenly thrusts out of the opening slashing across Loki’s cheek. Assuming the worst Lyssia raises her scimitar and moves in beside Loki ready to strike if the thing in the sack emerges again. Loki reaches into the sack and tries to grab the sword but can’t get a grip on it. Moving into the room Ellarane notices a stream of bones tumbling out of a rip in the sack, the bones begin assembling themselves into a set of skeletal limbs and the cabin door slams shut behind the eidolon trapping Teine and Aesha on the other side. Forgetting about the contents of the bag Loki decides to go to the source of the problem an leaps forward beside the bed to decapitate Cressa. The orc’s axe cuts deeply into the bed sending up a spray of feathers, but between the covers and pillows it is hard to tell if he has managed to hit the young necromancer.

Lyssia tries to break apart the growing skeletal form but has no luck getting a solid contact with it only managing to get herself entangled by the sack. The skeletal limbs are dragging out some armour from the sack. Suddenly from behind Lyssia a blade flashes out and scrapes along her armour. The blade is wielded by Cressa’s companion, Lord Stacker, looking even more pale and sickly than before.

Outside the cabin Aesha and Teine are doing their best to break down the door, and not doing too bad a job of it.

In front of Loki the sheets, cover, pillows and curtains are all caught in a whirl of air and Cressa appears to vanish. Lyssia, not wishing to kill Lord Stacker, strikes at her opponent with the flat of her blade catching him a solid blow to his head. Having turned her back on the partially reformed skeleton Lysia fails to evade a stab from its shortsword and takes a deep wound in her side.

Loki and Ellarane both charged at the growing skeleton and lay into it. Teine and Aesha finally manage to batter the door down enough that they can see into the room. Having been plunged into darkness when the door close Banning has been trying to find some source of light and finally manages to get a match to a candle attached to the wall, producing a guttering glimmer that grows in strength. As she continues to belabour Stacker around the head with the flat of her blade Lyssia tries to talk him back to reason, reminding him of how they used to be comrades and of how she was using her healing power on him just the day before.

Aesha manages to wriggle through the opening they have bashed in the door. Now she can see Banning moves to help Lyssia in subduing Lord Stacker. The skeleton finally finishes assembling itself, the jaws gape open and a dry croaking voice gasps out ‘Lord … Protector!’ and pulls another sword from within the sack. Loki looks slightly surprised at this, ’You’ve heard of me?’ The skull’s eyes blaze red for a second and the skeleton plunges one of its blades into the orc’s chest. Loki manages to get in a blow of his own but the wound proves too much and he collapses to the floor. Seeing Loki fall Alv dashes forward and stabs at the decayed remnants of Gann, Quadraturin’s erstwhile Lord Protector. The little goblin’s blade seems to catch some vital vertebra in the skeleton’s structure as the bones fall apart into a heap on the floor when he cuts it out of alignment.

Seeing Loki fall Lyssia rushes over, ignoring the possibility of attack from Lord Stacker. Luckily for the Paladin Stacker is both dazed and confused, Lyssia’s words having reached some remnant of his own will struggling inside his cursed body, the noble makes no move to attack her. Lyssia kneels down and places her hands upon the fallen orc’s chest, with a gasp Loki’s eyes fly open and he begins to sit up. Lyssia calls back to Banning, encouraging the Captain to sudbue Stacker rather than kill him. Having extricated herself from the door Aesha rushes at the nobleman and knocks him out with a swing of her staff.

Just as things seem to be going the parties way Cressa drops from the ceiling and lands on top of Ellarane, the little girl buries her face in the Eidolon’s neck. At the same moment rats come swarming in all the doors and windows, and from any crevice large enough to allow them in. Soon the floor of the room is heaving in a roiling carpet of rats.

Loki jumps on to the box, out of the swarm of rats, and attacks Cressa. Teine has managed to get the door open enough that he can make it into the room and he unleashes a roiling sheet of flame upon the rats. Both Aesha and Lyssia follow Loki’s example, jumping up on to the bed to avoid the rat covered floor. Blood welling around her mouth Cressa bites deeply into Ellarane’s neck again. Loki swings his axe at the girl tearing a ragged wound in her side, but no blood comes out of the gash.

Teine makes his way toward a table to the side of the cabin, laying a trail of flame across the rats as he goes. Banning and Alv seem to have had too much and are both heading out of the door. Aesha dismisses Ellarane so the beast can escape Cressa’s vampiric embrace. The girl manages to land on her feet, gore or ichor still dripping from her mouth.

As if inspired by Teine’s example Cressa hops back of the box and unleashes a wave of flame across those on the bed. Lyssia manages to evade the worst of it but Loki bears most of the brunt of the attack, around them the curatins and coverings of the bed smoulder and burn. The orc staggers forward swing at Cressa once more and, missing, collapses to the floor again succumbing to his wounds. Lyssia steps across Loki’s prone form and levels a hefty slash of her scimitar at the young girl’s throat, as with Loki’s blow there is no blood from the resultant gaping wound.

Cressa tries to leap upon Lyssia but instead misses the paladin and passes by her to land on the flaming bed. Suddenly Lord Stacker, having succumbed to the waves of rats, dies and with an unholy groan, his body imbued with dark energies, stands up once more directly in front of Teine.

Loki is taken back to his vision, now he can make out it is a white sandy beach he is standing on. Around him are other members of the ship’s crew all of them looking rather confused.

Cressa leaps at Lyssia again, this time managing to latch onto the paladin and bury her fang like teeth in her neck. Aesha gets a hold on the girl and partially pulls her away; trying, but failing, to throw her back onto the flaming bed.

Loki can make out some of what the people on the beach are saying, they are wondering where the ship has gone. Over the sea he can see dark storm clouds gathering.

In the cabin the zombified Lord Stacker is trying unsuccessfully to hit the young sorceror. Alv, rethinking his retreat, decides to try and call on some reinforcements, he cries out ‘Everything is awful forever’. Goblins appear, as if by magic, from various shadowy nooks and crannies of the ship’s superstructure. Alv leads the horde of goblins back towards the cabin. The goblins crash through what remained of the door, their appearance causing the rats to vanish away as quickly as they had appeared. The mass of goblins then suddenly parts as their hexer walks to the front.

The leader of the goblin cult and Cressa lock eyes across the room and the hexer lowers the cursing stick. She points it not at Cressa but rather at Loki’s inert form.
On the beach Loki hears a goblin voice thundering out of the darkened skies, ‘The Avatar has come!’ Back in the cabin Loki stands back up and hefts his axe before swinging it at Cressa.
The smoke and flames on the bed seem to have overcome Aesha who has fallen unconscious. Alv tries to bring the halfling round but possibly only fans some of the smouldering flames licking her clothes. Teine finally manages to incapacitate Lord Stacker’s animated corpse with his dagger. Lyssia makes a lunge at Cressa and the girl responds trying to punch the paladin, but neither of them connects. Teine moves over to Aesha and manages to drag her from the burning bed and stabilise her condition.

Cressa lashes out at Lyssia again and this time manages to knock the paladin out with an unnaturally powerful blow. Seeing an opening Loki moves in swinging his axe once again, but he still can’t kill the girl. Teine continues ministering to the injured, this time stabilising Lyssia.

Loki can feel his mind disintegrating and his personality slipping away, his face starts to crumble and seems to fall in on itself leaving only a dark gaping void lit only by distant glimmering stars. As Cressa draws a dagger to deliver a coup de grace to Aesha, one last vestige of Loki’s consciousness reasserts itself and he buries his axe in her back, finally killing the young witch before his mind vanishes completely.

The battle done the goblins depart without a word, followed by their new avatar of misfortune who moves as if out of phase with reality in discontinuous jumps where he seems to disappear and suddenly reappear yards further down the hall.

As the others begin to recuperate Teine organises some crewmen to find a small jolly boat, Cressa’s decapitated body and her head are placed in the boat. The boat, filled with firewood is set alight and left to drift off on the ocean. ‘The White Mare’ sails off to the west with dark lowering, forbidding clouds following in its wake.

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Session of the 4th of October

Teine retires to his cabin to study the doll that Alv obtained from Cressa’s nobleman friend. Studying it he concludes that it is a focus of powerful dark magic. Just as he is about to try and tap into the dolls magical power the door bursts open and the goblin hexer, leader of the dark cult, steps in and puts out her hand in a demanding manner. Not wanting a fight Teine hands over the doll and the goblin vanishes back off into the depths of the ship.

Loki meanwhile is looking for someone with legal knowledge who will help him develop a pretext for killing Cressa.

Fidjit wakes up and after a brief second of blessed forgetfulness the horrible memories of all she saw the day before comes crashing back on top of her. She starts packing some essential stores into one of the ships lifeboats.

Lyssia and Teine visit Banning to find out when the ship is to depart. The Captain they will leave as soon as they have taken on some new crew from Icevarr that Eric has asked them to take onboard.

Retiring back to his cabin once more Teine starts up a conversation with the talking sword Lori. They discuss the ships current trip to the west and the sword tells Teine something of its past history.

Lyssia sets up on the main deck, ready to cast an eye over the new crew members as they embark. They seem to be ahandful of petty criminals and 3 older people with what the perty has come to recognise as the ‘Icevarr look’. As she is watching the new arrivals Lyssia spies Cressa’s companion looking very gaunt and unwell. Following him the Paladin offers to help heal the man, he seems rather unwilling and appears somewhat cautious of Lyssia. With what passes for gentle persuasion from Lyssia, essentially and unnecessarily honest glimpse into her ongoing thought process, the noble accedes and Lyssia uses her laying on of hands to restore some of his vitality and remove the pall of fatigue that is weighing him down. The noble seems substantially improved as Lyssia bids him farewell.

Fidjit has also noticed those with’the look’ who have come on board the ship. Between trying to avoid the Icevarr natives and trying to avoid Cressa Fidjit is having to spent a lot of time hiding out of sight.

Finding no help among the human crew Loki decides to track down the goblins as allies against Cressa. Following a trail of cheese crumbs he manages to trace them to one of the bilges. He finds the goblins have turned it into a dark temple to their gods. He recognise the gods of fear and destruction but also sees another shrine he doesn’t recognise, thought the pictograms around it suggest ill fortune. Loki tries to convince the goblin hexer that Cressa represents a threat to her and her tribe. She says nothing will stop her when she summons her avatar of misfortune. Loki bluffs that Cressa has defeat the other magic users on the ship. The hexer says Loki should come and talk to her again when the moon has gone.

Up on the main deck Teine is spending some time listening to fragments of entries from Drust’s father’s diary.

Loki visits Cressa and tries to encourage her to recruit the goblins from below decks to use as an army to set up a new nation when they reach the western lands. Cressa is somewhat bemused by the suggestion.

In the night Lyssia is somewhat predictably attacked by zombies. For a bit of variety her attackers this time are a goblin and a grotesquely disjointed elf. She is woken by the elf’s hands closing around her throat. Summoning the power of her god she bunches her fist and punches the zombie full in the face. Staggered by the positive energy behind the blow the zombie is knocked backed. Lyssia, having learned something at least from her previous zombie encounter, has been wearing her armour. Fighting through her fatigue from the less than restful sleep she stands up and grabs her scimitar from beside the bed. As the zombie elf shambles forward and begins to throttle her the dead goblin slips in beside it and strikes her with a billy club smashing into her side. Ignoring the dessicated hands around her neck Lyssia heals herself and the renewed energy allows her to keep hacking at the zombies. Despite continued choking Lyssia manages to defeat the undead elf, who vanishes in a flash of light. As she turns to the other zombie other members of the party arrive in her doorway and between an arcane bolt from Teine and a mighty axe blow from Loki the goblin is cut in two.

The rest of the party are sceptical of Lyssia’s claim about the zombie elf. At Lyssia’s insistence Fidjit leads them down to the powder store where she had found the elf barrels. They find one of the barrels with its lid missing, apparently forced open from the inside. Deciding that enough is enough Teine takes the head of an elf from one of the other barrels and heads off to confront Banning.

Loki meanwhile has taken half of the zombie goblin from Lyssia’s cabin and headed back down to the goblins in the hold. The large goblins guarding the entry to the bilges recognise Loki and let him past, even though it is somewhat earlier than they expected to see him. Somewhat lacking in finesse he brandishes the bisected goblin to the hexer. To his surprise she accuses him of murdering the goblin, Despite his most diplomatic efforts the hexer is about to order her troops, including some mysterious hobgoblins, to attack him. A last ditch attempt at reason calms her slightly and instead she suggests that if Loki can convince Alv, as a neutral party, that Cressa is acting against the cult then she will consider taking actions against the small female human.

Teine knocks on Banning’s door and the Captain lets the party into her cabin rapidly when he brandishes the severed head in front of her. With a sight Banning decides she has to tell the party a little bit of the tribulations that the crew of ‘The White Mare’ and ‘The Albatross’ have suffered before many of the current party joined. She tells them of dark and shadowy forces that have sent assassins to stop them and of how they have been storing the elf body parts as evidence to substantiate their story to authorities if they need to.

After Banning’s dark tale Lyssia recounts her most recent encounter with the undead including the fact that both attacks have followed her healing a sick person closely associated with Cressa. Banning is still unconvinced that a young girl is some sort of powerful necromancer, although she did witness the zombie exodus from the sea when they left Quadraturin.

Banning suggests an experiment by which Lyssia heals the next sick person associated with Cressa to see if it provokes another zombie attack. At that point Loki arrives and mentions the dark cult the goblins have set up and their leader. Banning is very disturbed by the news, apparently having failed to appreciate how bad the ship’s goblin situation had become.

Deciding enough is enough Banning declares they will go to Cressa’s cabin to search for any sort of magical paraphernalia. After that, however the search turns out, they will head down to deal with the goblin cult.

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Session of the 20th of September

When the party return to the ship they find that a smaller number of the crew but a larger number of the ship’s goblin stowaways have returned to town for the evening’s revels in Eric’s hall. Teine retires to his cabin to meditate while Loki follows the goblins into town to party. Lyssia looks for cressa and failing to find her on the ship she enquires of Fidjit and Aesha whether they have seen her and tells them some of her concerns over the girl’s behaviour. Overhearing the conversation Alv decides to investigate and proceeds to break into the girl’s cabin. Aesha has a similar idea and comes upon the goblin just as he is letting himself in and they both begin to search the room.

They find little of interest although Alv turns up a locked drawer built into the frame of Cressa’s bed. Trying to detect any magical items Aesha can see a strong magical aura emanating from the drawer and can discern something of its nature. Alv decides to prepare a way to get in to the cabin besides the door, he begins to cut out a small hole through the floor under Cressa’s bed to the cabin below.

Breaking from his meditations Teine asks Fidjit whether in her travels about the ship she has seen a large sword. The gnome recalls having seen just such an item in the Captain’s quarters. Teine heads out onto the main deck and tries to glean more information from Drust’s father’s diary, but gets little that he didn’t already know apart from a few snatches describing the cities in the lands to the west.

Lyssia seeks out Fidjit to try and find out more about the barrels she found on ’ The Albatross’ with the preserved elves in. Fidjit can’t think of any particular features that would mark the barrels out so Lyssia retires to her cabin to contemplate her god/icon.

In the moot hall Loki heads straight for the mushroom beer and has a brief but potent flashback to his psychedelic journey of the previous day. Spying the crowd of goblins over by Eric’s companion Loki heads over to join them. He tries to strike up a conversation with Eric’s companion but although she seems perfectly amenable she remains silent, merely nodding or shaking her head in response to enquiries. Loki gets the feeling that she is studying him closely, in a way that feels strangely familiar. Hoping to liven up the place Loki buys a roast chicken from ‘Mad’ Hettie and starts singing an old Orcish drinking song. As he begins a few of the locals join in for the first few bars before recollecting themselves, Loki continues on for 17 more verses.

Having managed to make a hatch though to the deck below Alv discovers that it opens into the cabin of one of the noble contingent. He and Aesha discuss possible ways to drive the noble away so they will have free rein to stage forays into Cressa’s cabin from below. Aesha suggests that they convince the man that his cabin is haunted. Aesha heads back out to make her way down to the cabin below. Alv relocks the door behind Aesha and heads down the newly made goblinhole.

Inspired by her earlier conversation Fidjit goes looking for the barrels containing the elves. She fails to find them in the hold but continuing through the ship she comes upon a powder store and two cannon. Although the lids appear to have been changed Fidjit can identify the elf barrels, she returns to tell Teine of her discovery.

Teine goes to ask Banning if he can study the magical sword from her cabin. The Captain is reluctant at first but soon agrees if only to get Teine and the talking sword out of her cabin. She makes it clear that she has no desire to hear about anything they discover on the island. Teine stows the sword in his cabin along with his other magical items.

In the hall Loki’s song has very dangerously into the autobiographical but luckily by this point hardly anyone is listening. Realising his lack of an audience Loki returns to the ship, on his way he encounters Lyssia and Teine who are just setting out for a short evening walk around the town.

Back on the ship Alv has managed to crawl through his hatch to the cabin below; unfortunately Alv cannot unlock the noble’s door. Making her way down the stairs Aesha can hear the goblin scrabbling away at the other side of the door. Alv suggests that Aesha could find the noble to let her into the room. Aesha agrees and tells Alv to try and think of a way to convince the noble that his room is haunted. Sadly Alv’s idea of ghostly behaviour involves property damage and putting the contents of the noble’s bedpan into his boots. Using the nobleman’s possessions he makes a distinctly disturbing diorama to greet the noble when he enters.

As Aesha reaches the main deck she finds many of the nobles, including Cressa and her ‘friend’, along with the other crew returning from Eric’s party. Cressa’s noble ‘friend’ looks rather pale and drawn, to Fidjet he seems to be in a state similar to that of Quadraturin’s Thane, though less advanced.

As Alv hears a key scraping in the lock of the cabin’s door he dives under the bed. The noble stumbles through the door and collapses onto the bed. With a flick he kicks off a boot which bounces off a wall and flies under the bed, narrowly missing Alv. The other boot flies off and knocks over the excrement filled boot which Alv placed in the centre of the floor. Smelling, hearing and seeing the foul contents spill over the cabin floor the noble suddenly take in the state of his room and only one possible cause comes to his mind, ‘Goblins!!!!’. Roaring in rage the man searches high and low in case the perpetrator is still in the cabin. Alv somehow manages to evade the search, always staying just out of the man’s reach and making his way unnoticed to the door. Once he is safely out the door Alv uses some of his magic to try and convince the noble that the room is haunted, but only seems to make him sure he is looking for a goblin that uses magic.

Fidjet and Aesha follow Cressa and her companion back to the noble’s cabin. Listening at the door Fidjit can make out the low sounds of conversation, but not what is being said.

In town Loki, Teine and Lyssia have reached the moot hall. The other have been showing Loki the primitive cairn/ statues and telling him about the other things they encountered while he was on his trip. Behind the meeting hall they come upon another cairn, representing a humanoid figure, in front of a cave. Assuming that humanoid is safer than wolf they head into the cave to explore, despite Lyssia expressing some misgivings.

The cave mouth lead into a rock cavern with the walls lined with somewhat roughly produced household items and cooking implements, further back they find bookshelves filled with a collection of different manuscripts in a wide variety of different languages. All the items in the cave appear dusty, as if they haven’t been used in a long time. Farther still they find some weapons of goblinoid manufacture including a large spear and several fragments of dark glassy rock which Teine believes may have been used for tattooing. As they go further in the cave begins to climb steeply and after only a little while they reached the plateau atop the glacier. Across the snowy stretch in front of them were several massive yurts. Given the prevailing linguistic trends of the island’s natives Teine suggests that Loki speak to them in goblinoid.

On the ship Alv runs into Aesha and Fidjit listening at Cressa’s companion’s cabin door. They decide to lower the goblin down on a rope to look in the cabin’s porthole. Reaching the porthole the goblin can see little but the noble’s back. Pressing his ear beside the porthole he can make out the conversation, it seems to be little more than idle inane chit-chit, more bizarrely it seems that the girl isn’t actually saying anything at all. Moving round he manages to spy Cressa, the girl is simply sitting staring at the noble, saying nothing as he chatters to himself. When Alv relays this to Fidjet and Aesha they decide that maybe Lyssia was right about there being something odd with the girl. They discuss how to break the spell on the noble. Aesha decides to try and redirect the noble whose cabin Alv defiled to break into Cressa’s companions cabin. The halfling goes to the cabin and informs the nobel that the goblin he was looking for is even now in one of his comrades’ cabins. Stopping only to pick up a battleaxe the noble follows Aesha to the cabin.

Up on the plateau Loki hails the camp, after a short while a well covered figure comes out of one of the tents, he is quite reasonably sized considering the hugeness of the tents. Loki and the covered figure have a short but polite discussion in goblinoid with Loki agreeing to leave when he is informed that the plateau is a holy site. He informs his companions that they need to leave and that the figure threatened to put Lyssia’s head on a spear.

Just as the axe wielding noble arrived at the cabin Fidjit jimmied the lock, allowing him to burst in unimpeded. As soon as he saw the wild eyed axe wielder Cressa’s companion threw himself across the cabin and tried to wrest the axe from the other man. Cressa seems entirely unperturbed and surveys the ongoing struggle dispassionately. Fidjet throws a stone at the girl to try and break her concentration, but instead the girl snatches the stone out of the air and turns a cold baleful stare on the gnome. Ellarane tried to drag the men apart by grabbing hold of the axe wielder. Aesha casts grease sending both men tumbling to the floor. Apologising profusely for the disturbance Aesha and Ellarane drag the noble from the cabin leaving Cressa and her companion to it. As the cabin door closes the eye contact between Fidjit and Cressa is broken and the gnome seems to come round from some horrible fugue state. Whenever she closes her eyes the gnome seems to see horrible suggestive glimpses of scuttling things.

Alv meanwhile has been trying to get back up into Cressa’s room through the whole, though with a stunning lack of success due to the height of the ceiling. As he goes to find the others to get some help the enraged noble catches sight of him and gives chase, axe raised once more. After an invigorating chase round the ship Alv manages to give the noble the slip.

Coming back out of the cave system at ground level Loki insists they they go straight to Eric’s moot hall. Entering the hall the Orc goes straight to Erik’s companion and addresses her in goblinoid, she says that she acts as the ambassador for the original people of the island although they use the title Algorosh. She tells Loki more about the ‘First People’ who inhabit the island. Since the darkness was closing in when they left the cave Lyssia suggests they stay the night in the hall. Lyssia and Loki discuss comparative approaches to tourism and the need for clear and well defined signage denoting areas not to be entered on religious grounds or because of the presence of giant wolves.

On board the ship Fidjit and Aesha decide that they need to get the others to help them with the situation with Cressa. They set off on Ellarane’s back to the moot hall, followed at a discreet distance by Alv. As they head into town the light is suddenly blocked out by a looming shape the size of a house. Sent into a panic Ellarane dashes through the town towards the hall. With the ‘benefit’ of her low-light vision Fidjit can see dreadful things looming in the dark. Reaching the hall they burst through the doors and Fidjit starts babbling about the things she saw in the dark, a deathly hush falls over the hall and Loki tries to distract the gnome and calm her nerves with beer.

Alv following behind on foot bumps into what seems to be a huge pillar, but a little investigation reveals it to be a furry leg with an enormous hoof on the end. Looking up the little goblin sees a gigantic arm reaching for him and pelts off at top speed to the hall. As with the others he bursts in through the doors, but unlike Fidjit he leaps onto a low stage and begins to perform an execrable rendition of a goblinoid song, perhaps simply to take his mind off what he saw. The dreadful performance serves to break the chilly atmosphere that had been developing and the party starts up again, albeit a little subdued.

As the evening wears on Loki is hard pressed to prevent Fidjit and Alv from discussing whatever it is they saw in the streets of Icevarr. He takes Alv to see the Algorash who manages to calm him down. When Aesha tells the prty members who had been exploring the island of what they witnessed between Cressa and her companion Loki asks for a whetstone to sharpen his axe, he reassures the Algorash that he only plans to execute someone from their own ship. The party turn in for the night.

The next morning the Algorash thanks Loki for his understanding of the situation of the people on Icevarr. Eric offers to accompany the party back to their ship and as they go they discuss how much they have enjoyed seeing Icevarr. Fidjit is very uneasy on the short trip and seems hard pressed to decide if she is more scared of the town or the ship. Eric asks that they tell people good things of Icevarr, Lyssia assure him she will and says how sorry she was not to get a proper view from the top of the glacier. Eric offers to set up a tour immediately but Lyssia demurs. Lyssia then says how impressed she was by the island’s giant two headed wolves, after this Eric returns briskly into town.

Alv and Fidjit discuss the horrible things that they saw in the streets of Icevarr.

The party visit Banning to try and convince her that Cressa is a danger to the ship and its crew. Banning points out that Cressa represents what little legitimate claim they have to ‘The White Mare’ and states that without clear evidence against her she won’t cause trouble for the girl.

Loki goes to see Fidjt and discuss exactly what she saw in the streets.

Alv tries to sneak into Cressa’s room but fails to anticipate that Cressa is already there in bed. The girl wakes up ad demands to know what he is doing there and that he leave at once. Having little choice Alv leaves. Having failed to search Cressa’s room the little goblin instead heads to her companion’s cabin. The man himself is absent but in the cabin Alv finds a rather disturbing looking doll which he makes off with.

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Mushroom beer coma

Loki downed his forth mushroom beer, this was truly excellent stuff, the world adopted that incorporeal fuzziness that he only felt just before charging into battle, after two hours in the smoke tents only barbarians are allowed to enter. Now was that allowed to enter, or wanted to enter, right now it didn’t seem to matter too much…

As his mind wandered, he looked up, the roof of the bar had become painted with mountains, nice work, very realistic, snow and flowing rivers, beasts running over the foothills. The animation drew him further in, but although the bar had not felt large, the mountains seemed so far away. Sighing Loki looks down and the floor has become a sea, lapping round his ankles. Concerns over who was going to clean this up briefly crossed his mind, but quickly vanished as the water surface hardened! His reflection could now be seen, no, not his, but so close, a face he had not seen for a long time, eyes long since eaten by the crows.

The figure climbed out from the other side of the mirror and stared at Loki with accusing eyes. Loki reached forward to push the figure away, but his hands were now blade and unwittingly severed the head of the other Orc… It did not fall and the head sat askew still staring at Loki. The face changed, becoming like Loki’s, only then did the head fall from the shoulders and the murdered figure collapse, the mirror melted, sucking both orcs, live and dead beneath its surface.

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Session of the 6th of September

Disturbed by the huge figures in town Teine alerts a couple of the sailors to keep watch on them and goes to rouse Banning and tell her about them. While agreeing that they are unusual Banning states that giants roaming the town are none of their concern as long as they don’t try to get aboard the ship.

When Teine wakes Aesha up to start her watch he lets her know about the large figures. Aesha send her eidolon Ellerine into town to see what it can find. There aren’t any giants in evidence as Aesha watches the shore, although she does see a few of the towns older folk moving down to the harbour, perhaps to check fishing lines. Ellerine returns very quickly to the ship, clearly disturbed by the atmosphere of the town but unable to actually come up with a concrete reason why.

Alv searches the ship for good hiding places, but finds most of them already filled with other goblins.

When morning comes round Teine and Aesha head into the town to see if they can find any tracks from the mysterious figures he observed during the night. While there is nothing as clear as a trail of footprints the sorcerer does notice several regions high up on the towns buildings, well above head height, which appear damaged, many of them seem corroded or rotted.

Aesha and Teine come across one of the shrines and Aesha shows Teine how to see the hidden figure the shrine represents. They make their way to Eric’s moot hall and look around outside for tracks, Aesha manages to find some huge footprints leading away from the hall.

Lyssia also arrives at the hall, having come down to check on the members of the noble’s contingent who had stayed the night in town. She finds Aesha and Teine examining the giant footprints and she and Teine discuss the possible connection to the marks they found in the caves the day before.

A couple of the towns guards open the doors, rather bleary eyed, and invite the party in. Going inside Lyssia finds a two of the noble contingent just woken up and suggests that they should check in with the ship at some point, although Banning has said they are unlikely to leave today. Everyone is distracted when Alv, who has finally left ‘The White Mare’, is caught trying to pick the pockets of one of the townspeople and flung across the room.

As Lyssia looks around the hall she sees Cressa lying next to the noble she has attached herself to, the girl is hugging her doll. Lyssia focuses her preternatural senses on the doll and receives a sense of a dark wave of evil radiating from the small figure, perhaps it is her senses being warped but the doll’s head seems to twist round and stare at her with its lifeless eyes. Somewhat taken aback Lyssia stays focused on the doll for long enough for the other members of the party to be aware of something odd. As they leave the hall Aesha notices that Cressa is awake and staring at Lyssia’s departing back.

Intrigued by the various hints of something mysterious going on in the town Teine and Aesha decide to go and explore further in to the cave system. Lyssia suggests they take up the offer of a guided tour to the top of the glacier through the caves, the others suggest that this will somewhat cramp their ability to investigate and stray from the beaten track. As they retrace Teine and Lyssia’s journey from the previous day they reach the clearing in the forest. Ellerine is very wary of the stone statues and gives them a wide berth. The party discuss a variety of explanations for where the figures came from and why they are there, they certainly seem to be much older than Eric’s settlers could be responsible for.

Alv finds shallow depressions scraped out in from of each statue, now overgrown with grass. Excavating a bit he reveals the underlying bedrock which seems to have deep grooves scraped in it, made of four parallel grooves complementing the four digits on the statues’ hands. Teine determines that the bedrock exposed by Alv’s digging is of the same form as that the statues are composed of. Lyssia mentions that they remind her of a child’s toy where a coin is placed in front of a carved head and a mechanical arm pushes it into the mouth. They discuss why there are so many things which the wind causes to whistle, rattle and clang in the clearing when the town has such a taboo on doing those things when there are lights in the sky, Lyssia suggests they are to draw the lights away from the town while Alv suggests that perhaps they are to draw the lights once they have taken people and they are brought to the statues to be eaten.

After some examination, sure there is something strange about them; Teine tries to form an arcane connection to the statues as he would to a magical device. He is stunned and hit by a vertiginous feeling of an enormous weight and depth of time stretching back from the ages from the statues, it reminds him of the way the Itani themselves persist through time. Alv boast of his magical prowess, a boast met with some scepticism from the part, he demonstrates with an amusing jape making noises of flatulence from behind Lyssia.

Leaving the forest clearing they head to the cave where Lyssia felt disoriented the previous day. Before they get a chance to examine the large cairn in the cave mouth Alv begins digging into it from the bottom trying to find any interesting items he can appropriate. Lyssia drags the goblin off the cairn and scolds him for desecrating other people’s religious monuments. The half-elf then contemplates the cairn for a few minutes before meticulously reconstructing it, substantially from her own memory but also with a few promptings from her god. Alv reluctantly hands over the few pieces he tried to keep to himself so she can finish her reconstruction.

While Lyssia is indulging in arts and crafts Teine has gone off to the next cave alone, the one where they found the human bodies. Examining the cairn outside this cave he can just make out a humanoid figure if he stands on the tips of his toes and squints at it.

Back at the rebuilt cairn the figure hidden within can be seen to be some sort of quadrupedal beast. Lyssia and Alv get sidetracked into a discussion of comparative religion with Alv suggesting that since it is predominantly figurative with no written component the religion may be a goblinoid one (though not in those words). Lyssia says that her religion doesn’t rely on writing either and shows Alv her God, hanging from a stout braid of chain and leather around her neck. The ‘God’ is a primitive solid cube at first glance but it seems to have very fine lines inlaid or carved into it.

Not wanting to hear any more religion from Lyssia; Teine and Aesha head off deeper into the cave. After a short time they begin to experience the disorientation Lyssia warned them of. Teine tries to counterbalance the sensation by casting dancing lights to provide his own illumination, this seems to have some success and they continue on into the glacier. After a short time the dancing lights Teine conjured seem to distort and form a distended sheet rather than their usual small globular form.

Realising that Teine and Aesha have headed into the caves, and been gone some time, Alv decides to follow them. Lyssia persuades the goblin to take one end of a rope she has in her backpack before he ventures in deeper. Alv ties the rope around himself and heads deeper into the cave looking for the others, lyssia holds on to the other end of the rope. Before long Alv reaches the end of the rope; he takes out some of his own homemade rope, made from a variety of unsavoury organics, and secures it to the end of Lyssia’s rope retying the new one around his waist. Through the walls of the ice cave he sees vague dark shadows shifting around and moves towards them. Lyssia moves gradually forward giving him more slack but making sure she doesn’t lose sight of the cave entrance.

Coming round the corner Alv meets Teine and Aesha who have managed to get their bearings but have slowed down their progress a lot. They seem to be considering turning back when Alv bursts in on them before being abruptly jerked back on his tether rope. Flying into the air by the force of his own momentum the goblin hangs for a second before nimbly landing back on his feet. Aesha and Teine convince Alv to go further into the caves, suggesting that precious gems might be the source of the sparkling light. Eyes shining at the thought of such treasure; the goblin quickly unties the rope from his waist and heads further off into the caves.

Worried that the rope has gone entirely slack Lyssia calls down into the cave, but only hears vague muffled noises coming back up.

As Alv heads down into the cave he comes to a larger cavern, in the centre is a dirty feral looking child crudely sewing together animal furs. Worried that the dancing lights will give away his approach Alv heads back to Teine and gets him to dispel the enchantment. Sneaking back to the larger cavern the goblin cautiously approached the child from behind. “Hello” said Alv in common, the child immediately drops the furs it was working on, spins round and leaps at the goblin bearing him to the ground. With lithe grace the goblin slips out from under the wild boy and runs back up the corridor as fast as he can.

Teine and Aesha are waiting for Alv to return when he runs straight past them at full pelt. They are somewhat surprised when round the corner behind him comes a filthy, ragged, long haired and wild eyed young boy. Catching sight of the two spell casters and the peculiar beast beside them the ragged child turns tail and runs back the way he came. At a gesture from Aesha Ellerine bounds off down the corridor after the boy, Teine and Aesha follow closely on their heels.

Back at the cave mouth Lyssia watches aghast as Alv charges past her gibbering incoherently about something attacking him in the cave. With a sigh the paladin makes a loop in the rope she still has in her hand and gently lowers it over the cairn. Lyssia follows the rope deeper into the caves and when it peters out she pulls a khukri from her belt and uses it to chip out a directional mark when she reaches a junction. She tries her best to follow the sounds from the others ahead of her despite the disorienting effect of the cave system.

Up ahead Teine and Aesha have reconsidered the wisdom of charging at full speed after the child and slowed down to a more cautious pace; they too have started marking their passage so they can find the way back. The corridors the child has taken have been leading them inexorably up through the glacier. From up ahead Aesha and Teine can hear sounds that resemble the howling of wolves. They reach another cave mouth, this one leads out to the plateau atop the glacier, there is a stretch of snow and a freezing fog prevents them seeing very far. What they can make out is the child standing a couple of hundred feet from the cave mouth, naked and apparently oblivious of the chill gusts of wind whipping the snow up around him.

Somewhat out of breath from having jogged uphill through the glacier in her armour Lyssia reached the cave mouth. Lyssia joins the stand off between the feral child and the spell casters, she gasps for air and stares across at the boy. Slightly confused as to why they have all been chasing this naked child Lyssia calls out to the boy to come in from the cold. The boy doesn’t say anything in response but takes a couple of steps toward the cave. Alv arrives at the back of the party having finally overcome his initial urge to flee. Aesha steps out onto the glacier and slowly approaches the boy, reaching into her pack she takes out a handful of trail rations. As Aesha moves forward Teine follows several yards behind, Ellerine stays back in the cave mouth so as not to spook the child. Behind her Lyssia notices that Alv has loaded his crossbow and is drawing a bead on the boy, she steps in front of the goblin to block his aim but he doesn’t lower the weapon.

As Aesha got to within a few dozen feet the boy started to back off, the halfling leaves the food on the snow and retreats back several yards. The boy scurries forward and tries some of the food, but he lets the rest fall from his hand clearly unimpressed.

As this is going on Lyssia notices something from the corners of her vision, from either side of the cave mouth two dark blurs have appeared in the fog and are converging on Teine and Aesha from behind. They appear to be two enormous wolves, easily the size of a man. Drawing her scimitar Lyssia suggest to Alv that he can shoot at the wolves and runs towards the animals, calling out to warn the others. Hearing the cry the wolves wheel and run at the armed paladin instead. Lyssia meets the approaching wolves head on, charging at the closest one and dealing it a vicious backhanded slash across its muzzle. The other wolf moves round to behind the paladin and bites her. Ellerine charges out of the cave and pounces on the wolf behind Lyssia. Teine and Aesha circle the fight, heading back towards the cave, the sorcerer hits one of the bolts with a bolt of arcane energy. Back in the cave mouth Alv has lined up his crossbow and takes a shot at the wolf in front of Lyssia.

After a further short exchange of blows one of the wolves runs off, the other backs away from Lyssia and the eidolon and towards the boy. Lyssia lowers her scimitar and begins to back slowly towards the cave. As she backs away the boy begins to advance and suddenly the second wolf has appeared beside him, when the reach the first wolf he takes the boys other side and the three advance. As they come forward an even larger dark shape begins to resolve behind them. As the wind blows the fog away for a second the form of a gigantic wolf, easily 3 times the size of the first two, appears and as well as its enormous size it appears to have two heads.

Lyssia continues to back towards the cave with the child and his beastly escorts following. From the multiple head comes an eerie two toned growl, to Alv there seems to be something unnervingly familiar about something in the growling casting a spell to help him comprehend all languages he finds that it almost has goblinoid accents. As the others reach the cave Alv steps out and addresses the approaching wolves and boy in goblin, asking how he can help them and refraining from referring to the others as his servants. The boy replies in a growling form of goblin that the must leave the glacier and return to the village, that the land is not theirs and they do not belong here. The party very readily agrees to this and quickly returns back through the caves.

Back at the ground level entrance to the cave the party gather themselves, they consider that perhaps the cairns are demarcating certain territories on the island since the one in the cavemouth is of a fourlegged creature. Still gifted with his magical comprehension Alv asks Lyssia if he can see her god again, to see if he can make out and sort of writing upon it. Lyssia obligingly takes the little statue out from her surcoat and kneels down so the goblin can get a better look. As Alv peers at the object he begins to get an inkling of meaning from the fine grooves all over its surface, suddenly the comprehension of the vast amount of information and order in what he is seeing hits him like a bolt and the little goblin is stunned into unconsciousness. Lyssia notes that not everyone can handle the purity and perfection of absolute order. Sighing, Aesha sling the comatose goblin over Ellerine’s back and the party head off to explore the other caves.

They reach the seers cave and go inside, the seer is absent but his runes are still sitting on the floor. Examining the rune stones Teine senses some inherent magic. Alv is roused from his coma and the party ask him to use his ability to magically comprehend languages on the stones. Alv studies the rune stones and even without his magic he recognises them as being derived from a classical goblinoid pictographic tarot set.

Aesha tries casting the rune into the pit they are sitting by, as she does so she feels some sort of network of mystical force centred on the pit seems to grab and direct the fall of the stones. Only three of the runes land face up, Alv studies the stones and identifies them as ‘The Wall’ (symbolising division), ‘The Plough’ (symbolising humankind) and ‘The Crescent Moon’ (symbolising goblins). The way the stones have fallen seems to put the human and goblin runes together on one side of ‘The Wall’. Teine tries casting the runes outside of the pit but gets no feeling of magical power, he suggests that the pit itself might be important for getting a true reading. Aesha wonders if given all the goblinoid things they have been encountering today the odd ethnic cast she had noted in so many of the townsfolk was from a goblinoid race.

The party make their way to the cave with the upright dead bodies frozen into the walls. Teine thinks that one of the bodies that was there the previous day has gone missing. He suggests to Lyssia that she may be attracting zombies again. The party examine the room and bodies more closely, they find drag marks leading away from the cracked niche and Lyssia determines that all of the bodies seem to have died of natural causes.

Following the drag marks further into the caves they find several more larger chambers with even more bodies in them. In each one they find a few of the frozen niches which seem to have been broken into and bodies removed. They discuss possible reason behind these cave, from some sort of hierarchy of the dead to a rather goulish emergency food supply.

Heading further in they encounter the old seer that Teine and Lyssia met the day before. Unfortunately they can’t find any common tongue to converse in and their communicative bard seems to have gone missing. Aesha once again tries to substitute food for diplomacy, a common Halfling ploy, and offers the old man some of her rations. The old man is much more receptive than the feral child and after only a few seconds scrutiny wolfs down the food, revealing in the process a mouth containing a jagged mass of broken, jumbled and razor sharp teeth which make quick work of the biscuits. Suspecting that the old man is a magic user, from his abilities with the rune stones, Teine shows of his dancing lights spell. After a short time the old man replies in kind, starting off a ray of frost directed at the ceiling, but not letting it progress beyond an icy crystallisation hanging in the air above his palm. After these minor displays of magic the seer and the group find themselves once again unable to communicate effectively. As some of the party try to move past him the old man steps into their way and signs that they should go no further. Acceding to the old man’s wishes the party accompany him back down to the town.

In town the old man wandered off about his own esoteric business. The party make their way to what passed for a market in Icevarr, recalling ‘Mad’ Hettie’s rune/chicken emporium the more magically inclined members decide to invest in their own set of rune stones.

View
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.

View
Session of the 23rd of August:

The party plan their boarding of ‘The White Mare’, they decide to climb the mooring lines holding the boat to the dock. They prime the ship to go up in flames and loose the sails. Loki and Fidjit both try and make some rope ladders which can be let down subsequently for the rest of the crew to board the ship. Gann, Loki and Fidjit ‘volunteer’ as the bridgehead boarding party. As everyone gathers on deck to prepare Gann suggests that Cressa stay with Lyssia while he is boarding the boat. Cressa is very unhappy with the suggestion and say she would prefer to be in the early boarding party with Gann. While they are discussing Lyssia the Paladin focuses her supranatural attention on the Thane’s daughter to try and judge her soul. Lyssia is very disturbed when she sees Cressa’s soul as a dark seething blot surrounding the young woman.

There are a few guards on the dock but Lyssia and Teine run up to them and convince them that the town prison is under attack and they need reinforcements to keep the prisoners under control. This argument is leant some veracity by the plume of smoke which is now visible over the town centre. The guards rush off to give aid to their beleaguered comrades.

With the dock relatively clear the boarding commences. Loki manages to climb the rope without any problem and is soon up on the deck of ‘The White Mare’, Fidjit and Gann both have some issues getting up although Fidjit has constructed an ingenious safety harness to prevent her actually falling in the water. When Gann and Fidjit make it up to the deck Cressa seems to have vanished from sight. Loki is sent off to find the goblins and try to stop them from rowing. As Fidjit attaches the makeshift rope ladders to some moorings on deck and heads back down the rope to fix them at the dockside. As the gnome heads back down 3 guards/shipwrights burst out from one of the hatches leading below decks. They seem oblivious to Gann but 2 of them end up running in his direction, apparently desperate to escape something behind them.

On the dock Fidjit manages to secure the rope ladders and the crew start making their way up to the ship. As the guards run towards him Gann draws his weapons and catching sight of him the guards ready their own. With clash of steel Gann deflects one man’s blow but the other lands a solid blow drawing copious blood from the former Lord Protector. On the dock Teine and Lyssia use the rope ladders to climb up on deck, unfortunately Teine’s strength betrays him and he is unceremoniously dunked into the water beneath the ship. Just as Lyssia and some more of the crew clear the gunwales Gann cuts one man down and the other runs off, leaving Gann with another nasty knife wound to remember him by. The guard heads back down below calling for help.

Having waited for Teine to extricate himself from the water Fidjit joins him and both climb onto ‘The White Mare’. Things seem to have reached a hiatus with the decks clear of anyone not from ‘The Abatross’. In the temporary quiet Teine makes out that the hatch to one of the lower holds is open. Creeping forward Fidjit can see that a substantial body of ‘The White Mare’s crew seem to be rallying in the hold in preparation for a counter attack, whether against the goblins or the new boarding party is unclear. The gnome estimates there is something like a dozen men down in the hold. The party largely fail to notice that Gann is slowly bleeding to death despite still being on his feet.

Hoping to forestall further bloodshed the party, apart from the slowly dying Gann, head downstairs to try and seal up the doors of the hold to contain the ship’s original crew. As soon as they reach below decks they find themselves helplessly lost, with the corridors of the ship seeming to bend in unnatural topologies that lead them round in circles or deposit them at dead ends with no discernable reason.

Having found the goblins Loki has convinced them to stop rowing and take a break. The goblins with the hexing stick are performing some sort of peculiar ritual centred round Drust Morrigan’s severed hand which is glowing darkly.

Chain leads the Hethering-Hythe contingent below decks to contain the crew in the hold, but find themselves lost in the same maze of tunnels as the party. Above decks the group of Nobles who were in Lyssia’s charge and the pirates who just joined the crew have decided on a more direct attack and are sliding down whatever lines they can find to assault the hold. Aesha summons a giant spider directly into the middle of the hold to aid in the struggle.

The strange effect on the ships corridors seems to diminish and the party can hear the sounds of the struggle in the central hold. Fidjit and Lyssia head towards the sound while Teine returns above decks to see what is going on. Reaching the hold door Lyssia steps in only to be surprised when the gnome slams the door shut behind her. The gnome wastes no time in finding a board and starting to seal up the door. In the hold Lyssia tries to call some order between the struggling sides, she starts to get through to some people when Aesha replaces the summoned spider with a large brown bear which lashes out with its paws decapitating one of the ship’s guards. The large mound of furry violence distracts the fighters from Lyssia’s call for calm.

Above deck there is still a fight going on in the rigging and the body of a pirate pitches down from the crow’s nest. The whole of the crew have managed to make their way on deck and the dock’s are now clear, a few bystanders have gathered by the dockside to watch the peculiar boarding.

With a brief lull in the fighting in the hold Lyssia tries to talk the remaining guards into surrendering. Taking in their situation and the giant bear the guards decide that they don’t get paid enough to fight to the death. Lyssia gives the surrendering men her word that they will be put in boats and allowed to return to Quadraturin. As the fight stops Lyssia calls up out of that hold that Aesha should set fire to ‘The Albatross’. Dismissing her bear Aesha summons a Fire beetle which lifts off of her hand and drifts off towards ‘The Albatross’.

The resistance on board seemed to have come to an end and the goblins disappeared into the dark corners of the new ship’s super structure. Teine casts dancing lights up into the rigging to try and find out who is up there, but no one on deck can see anyone. With everyone on board the ship’s sailors cut loose the remaining mooring lines and raise the anchor.

Gann is still managing to totter about, despite the heavy blood loss he has sustained, he finds Fidjit and asks if she has seen Cressa. Fidjit tells him that she last saw Cressa when they were boarding the ship but that Loki was with her on deck when she disappeared. Gann makes his way down to the lower deck and was never seen again.

In the hold Lyssia and the nobles have secured the remaining guards and are now trying to find some way past the doors that Fidjit secured.

Up on deck only Fidjit notices, as the boat drifts from the dockside, a number of rotting corpses drag themselves up onto the harbour from the sea below. The animated bodies are covered in seaweed and barnacles and look to be a cross-section of Quadraturin’s populace all lost at sea. The gnome shouts out a warning to the crowds on the dockside who, on noticing the undead rising from the deeps, turn and flee back into the town.

At this point the little fire beetle that has been drifting between the two ships alights on the deck of ‘The Albatross’. Flames run across the deck and leap up the rigging to engulf the sails, with an almighty ‘whumpf’ a blossoming cloud of flame burst out from the deck and the ship turned into a blazing pyre.

As the crew got the ship under sail they soon started to pick up the lifeboats with the cargo that were now strung out in a ragged line from the harbour. By morning Quadraturin was a faint, yet disturbing, memory.

The following day the party met up with Banning in her crew quarters. The captain told them that the next stop on the list that Teine had given her was the island of Icevarr. Leaving the captain Teine, Lyssia and Fidjit found a quite spot to discuss things. Lyssia told the others about the evil aura she had discerned around Cressa and warned them that the girl might not be the innocent victim that Gann had made her out to be. Getting into the revelatory nature of the discussion Fidjit informs the others of her discovery, aboard ‘The Albatross’, of the dismembered elves and shows them one of the desiccated rats she found nearby. On seeing the mummified rat Teine is reminded of the state of one of the corpses which was jettisoned from the ship in the aftermath of the battle.

Disturbed by all these revelations the party decide to revisit Banning and sound her out. In her cabin they found Kevraga in conversation with the captain while Cressa occupied a nearby chair and seemed to be playing with a small doll. The party asked if they could speak to Banning confidentially and the Captain instructed the others to leave, Cressa left with noticeably bad grace. Once they are alone Fidjit shows Banning the rat and tells her that she found many similar rats on the abandoned ‘Albatross’. Banning finds the dried rat quite disturbing but claims to know nothing about it, she herself mentions seeing some similarly desiccated bodies after the fight for the ship. While this conversation is going on Lyssia tries to determine if there is evil in the Captain, she senses none.

In the middle of the discussion a goblin enters the Captain’s cabin and introduces himself. The goblin is Alv, a bard, who claims he is there as an intermediary between the ship’s crew and the goblin stowaways. Despite his efforts to convince them he is trustworthy and can keep the other goblins in line, the party and Banning are very sceptical of his claims.

Banning tells the party some more details about their next destination. Icevarr is a harsh place ruled over by a ruthless Thane, a Norgan who is rumoured to be a murderer and is known as Eric the Bloody Handed. When the party ask Banning about how Cressa is doing she suggests that she, Banning, is something of a maternal figure to the girl and mentions how much time Cressa spends playing with her doll. Something about this talk of dolls sounds worrying to Lyssia but she can’t quite put her finger on it.

Hoping to ingratiate himself with the party Alv decides to spend some time spying on young Cressa since they seem so interested in her. Unfortunately the girl seems very keenly aware that she is being watched and half the time she seems to be the one watching him. Disheartened he goes back to try and rally support amongst the other goblins who have factionalised into several groups since boarding ‘The Albatross’, there are those who associate with the big orc Loki, those who have joined the tribes hexer in their disturbing reverence for the severed hand of Drust Morrigan and those who worship in the tribes traditional Maga cult.

Finally having the time Tiene and Lyssia make a concerted effort to glean some information from the elven statue that Drust had carried with him. Once Teine manages to operate the device reliably Lyssia ia able to translate the elvish recordings, fragmented though they are. The recordings do not seem to be ordered in any clear way but they do seem to respond to the environment, with many of the entries they hear being concerned with ships and sea travel.

From the diary they manage to get entries covering a discovery amongst the elves of a danger arising in Midgard. It appears that this is a resurgence of an old danger the elves defeated before. The elves have gone to the west both to escape the rising danger and to search for a weapon that was used in times past. A group of elven immortals apparently know how to access the weapon which the diary describes as a form of fiery vengeance. Much of this echoed the answers that the Itani paragon Ygraine had provided in the House of the Beloved.

View
Session of the 16th of August

As Gann and Teine took Lyssia to her cabin Gann looked around to check they were alone. Seeing that they had some privacy he told Teine the truth about Cressa and her suspicions about Prizan being behind the Thane’s ill health and plans for taking Cressa out of the equation. Teine decided that it was still worth collaborating with Gann to bust the crew out of the town jail and capture ‘The White Mare’ despite the Lord Protector’s excess baggage. They briefly discuss the possibility that Lyssia may turn into a zombie as the result of her bite and possible ways of detecting her zombification, but decide that that is an issue they can deal with later. Returning to the main deck they rejoined Banning to discuss the plan both for freeing the crew and taking over the Thane’s ship.

In the town jail Aesha took stock of her situation, having entered the bar with Ellerine by her side she had clearly been marked down as something uncanny. Unfortunately when the bar fight subsided the guards had scooped her up along with Loki and the rest of the crew when the other patrons had drunkenly denounced her as a witch. Now she found herself without her weapons or spell components locked up in a solitary cell with the only window securely barred and well more than a foot above her head.

Heading down to the hold Loki managed to find a couple of the goblin stowaways. Bribing and cajoling them with the thought of more cheese and a bright new ship to have the run of Loki convinced them to gather their fellows and board ‘The White Mare’ and attack the guards/shipwrights on the ship. They are urged not to do any damage to the new ship.

Teine, Loki and Gann head for the jail and try to sneak up surreptitiously. Unfortunately they run into a guard who recognises Gann and as he reaches for his horn Gann dazes the guard with a swift uppercut to the chin. Gann is prevented from finishing the job of knocking the guard out when Loki steps forward and chops the guard in two. The trio quickly search for somewhere discrete they can hide the body parts before continuing on to the jail.

Aesha summons Ellerine to free her. Although she can sense that the summoning has worked Ellerine does not appear in the cell with her. Calling out to her eidolon she hears a muffled reply from somewhere nearby, she commands Ellerine to try and find her.

The goblins swim across to ‘the White Mare’ and scale the sides of the ship. Crawling over the gunwales they make a stealthy approach to the handful of guards on the main deck.

Hearing that they were to move ship, Fidjit considered her almost completed workmanship on the carved astrogation and navigation charts. Thinking of a way to transfer the carving to the new ship she decides on taking off the planks and hinging them together to make them into a folding transportable form. Fidjit searches the ship for hinges and Cressa, she finds many hinges leaving the ship effectively doorless, but no princess. As she searched the lower decks she came across several dead rats so dried out as to almost be mummified.

Reaching the Jail Loki suggests that Gann go in and give himself up to cause a distraction, Gann is not impressed with the plan. Gann recalls an underground entrance to the jail but it was one he himself ordered sealed off a few months ago. Teine suggests setting a small fire to smoke the guards and prisoners out of the jail. Gann tries to remember the protocols for in the event of a fire and tells the others that they will move the prisoners out as long as is safe starting with the lowest risk prisoners. Loki then suggests another gambit with Teine and Gann escorting him in as a prisoner so they can get inside and surprise the guards. Deciding to follow Teine’s plan they scout round the outside to find a suitable window or two to put a small incendiary through.

On ‘The White Mare’ the goblins leapt into action a small group scuttled across the deck and tipped a surprised guard over the gunwales before he even knew they were there. A goblin archer loosed an arrow that caught one of the guards in the shoulder but only grazed him. The remaining body of goblins rushed the remaining guards who had been sitting around a table, playing cards.

Back below decks on ‘The Albatross’ Fidjit uncovered a concealed door. After a few minutes of examination she tried to pry her way in with a chisel. Not finding any suitable purchase to lever the door open she tries instead to chisel out a panel to make a ‘gnome flap’ in the door.

Having found a couple of suitable windows Gann and Loki threw in small pots of flammable oil, Teine then proceeded to cast spark to ignite the oil. As the spell went off a horrible shrieking started up, it appeared that some poor unfortunate had been in one of the cells they had firebombed.

Inside the jail Aesha and Ellerine were still struggling to find each other. After several rounds of encouragement Ellerine managed to break itself free of its confinement and quickly found the cell that Aesha was in.

As smoke and flames spread out of the cells one of the guards sounds the alarm on his horn. Gann leads Loki and Teine around to try and sneak in in the confusion, but the guards are still keeping an eye on the comings and goings into the jail. Deciding to bluff their way in as part of the town’s firewatch they brazenly head in the door, Loki manages to pass through the door with only a few askance glances from the guards while Gann is subjected to much harder scrutiny and can barely contain his instinct to demand whether the guards know who he is. Loki moves through the corridors of the jail calling out for the ‘spooky halfling’. Teine wisely decided to stay in the square keeping an eye on what was going on around the jail as the prisoners were led out and organised.

Fidjit manages to get through the secret door and finds a small hold containing 6 barrels. After some more handy chisel work she manages to pry the lids off some of the barrels, they seem to be full of salt. A brief root around in one of the barrels turns up a surprising treat, the severed head of an elf.

Onboard ‘The White Mare’ the goblins have almost cleaned the guards of the main deck. As the last guard is overrun an arrow falls down from the darkness above skewering one of the goblins. At a gesture indicating the rigging leading to the crow’s nest, from one of the leading goblins, three of the little marauders start climbing up into the tangle of ropes above the deck. The others decide to move out of the area of fire, after a brief attempt to breakdown one of the doors into the castle they decided on the easier route of ploughing through a large paned window.

While Teine is keeping an eye on the activities of the prison guards they are also keeping a wary eye on him due to his exotic features. The prisoners are being grouped together on some rather unclear basis. Teine notices one prisoner off by herself, a woman whose hair appears to have been brutally shorn from her head but who is wearing a high quality set of clothes. The lady seems to have been singled out for particular close attention and the guards seem most anxious around her.

As Loki continued searching for Aesha and the other crew members Gann set out to find a set of keys for actually opening up the cells. Hearing Aesha calling out, either in response to him or to Ellerine, Loki manages to find her cell, at the same moment Ellerine finally breaks free of its confinement bursting out of a small storage cupboard in the corridor next to Loki.

Wanting to add further to the confusion in the square Teine summons a series of illusory lights to fly around the prisoners and guards. This elicited a wide spectrum of reactions, many of the guards and prisoners were deeply unnerved by the arcane nature of the mysterious lights, some of the prisoners took the opportunity to run, either in fear or thinking that the confusion would provide some cover, the guards quickly rallied and rounded up all the fugitives. Teine notices that the well-dressed lady has used the distraction to edge closer to the guard who was keeping an eye on her.

Having gone through all of the barrels Fidjit has come up with a varied selection of elven body parts, she estimates that there are roughly enough to make at least three whole elves. She searches what pockets she can find on the elves remaining clothing but finds nothing significant. Wanting to have some solid evidence of her discovery the gnome decides to cut off the distinctive elven ears from the heads she has found. After replacing the rest of the body parts back into the barrels she let herself back out through the ‘gnome flap’ and tried her best to make it look as it had before her chisel work.

Having found Aesha Loki is at something of a loss having no way to open the lock on her cell, Ellerine pads up with its mouth full of a bag of some sort making it hard for him to speak. Loki heads back the way he came to look for a key. Aesha dismisses Ellerine and summons a celestial hawk with a similar mission to Loki’s.

In the square Teine has moved on from dancing lights to actually igniting the clothing of the guards. He sets fire to several people’s cloaks most of which the guards quickly put out. Unfortunately one prisoner appears to have been rather thoroughly drenched in spirits and when bending over to inspect his smoldering boots catches light of his beard and goes up like a firework. Taking advantage of the distraction the shaven lady manages to steal her guard’s shortsword and run him through before he can say a word.

Inside the jail Gann has been shadowing a small group he recognises as containing the head jailer, who should have a key for any cell in the prison. He approaches them and suggests they should leave as the fire is spreading. Unfortunately one of the guards recognises the disgraced Lord Protector, just as he begins to tell his fellows Loki runs onto the corridor bellowing that someone has released the minotaur from its cell. As the guards momentarily stand in confusion at this news Loki embeds his axe in the chest of the nearest guard. Taking advantage of the guards shock Gann shouts out ‘escaped prisoner!’ and points at Loki, unable to stop himself one of the guards turns in the direction Gann points and the former Lord Protector grabs him in a choke hold.

As the goblins spread out through the castle they encounter much stronger resistance and are soon driven back out onto the decks. The guards manage to corral the goblins onto the main deck, just as they are about to dispatch the verminous attackers the hatch upon which the goblins stand opens beneath them and they fall into the hold.

In the jail the fight continues, Loki swings his axe at the jailer but misses. The jailer swings his billy club at Loki and bashes him in the face. Aesha’s eagle swooped down and scratched at the jailer’s face. As Gann continued to struggle with the man he had in a stranglehold Loki lopped off the jailer’s head with a blow of his axe. Aesha’s hawk dived to the ground trying to pick up the keys that lay next to the jailer’s headless corpse.

Outside the prison Teine continued to bedevil the guards with his dancing lights, but now they seemed to be eying him suspiciously and he decide that perhaps a quick withdrawal back to the ship was in order. As he looked for the nearest way out he noticed the shaven Lady slipping out of the square unnoticed by the prison guards and followed her.

Having finally collected all of the hinges she could find on ‘The Albatross’ Fidjit returns to the main deck. On deck she finds Banning directing the crew in loading up a couple of the ship’s jolly boats with cargo and some others in the makeshift construction of two more raft like boats. Banning explained that they were going to load the cargo on the little boats and send them out to sea early so that once they had scuttled ‘The Albatross’ and taken command of ‘The White Mare’ their ship would be the only one in a position to pick up the smaller boats and their cargo. As she tallies up her hinge collection Fidjit catches site of what she suspects is Cressa, but loses her and goes back to her hinges. She decides that she will have to get the remaining hinge quotient from the town itself since there are none left on the ship.

Tiring of trying to strangle the guard into compliance Gann puts a boot to the man’s rump and kicks him towards Loki. The guard tipped over, falling flat on his face and Loki simply slammed his axe into the prone man’s back.

Below decks on ‘The White Mare’ the goblins have found a bit of calm, deciding that the ship is so nicely appointed and well stocked that it seems a shame to share it they decide to take it all for themselves and begin to unstow the oars so they can row out of the harbour while their associates finish off the rest of the crew. Unfortunately due to something of a lack of communication between the groups of goblins on either side of the ship they can’t settle on a single direction to row in and ‘The White Mare’ begins to turn in a very slow circle where it sits at anchor.

Seeing the guard on the ground is still alive Gann delivers the coup de grace and scooping up the keys from the jailer finds himself beset by Aesha’s hawk. Gann throws the keys to Loki who runs back to Aesha’s cell and finally frees the Halfling. Released, Aesha dismisses the hawk and resummons Ellerine who brings her the bag with her various spell components within. As Aesha searches for her weapons Gann and Loki look for the rest of the crew who are still locked up. They free just short of a score of men, most of whom Loki thinks he recognises, all of who claim to be members of the crew. Gann is sure he recognises one of them as a convicted murderer who was shortly due to hang and as he is about to accost him the man takes off, passing the former Lord Protector before he can lay steel upon him. Gann runs off in pursuit of the murderer while Loki directs the rest of the ‘crew’ to follow him back to ‘The Albatross’.

As Aesha exits the jail a cry goes up from the guards, “The witch! The witch!” Tired after a long night Aesha exerts her mental influence and speaks into the mind of everyone in the square, “Everything is awful, forever!” At this pronouncement of doom many of the guards break and run, but some stand firm and draw their weapons. Aesha rides off before the guards have a chance to attack.

Gann continued to chase the murderer through the streets of Quadraturin, though the man seemed to be gaining ground on him, even mocking him by slowing down sometimes to let Gann catch up a little. After a few more streets they reached an inn and Gann’s quarry slipped in through the door. Slowing down as he passed the door Gann looked in one of the inn’s windows and saw his target ordering a drink at the bar surrounded by a crowd of other villainous looking individuals. Deciding that his duty to Cressa was more important than dispatching one criminal Gann conceded defeat and returned to ‘The Albatross’.

Fidjit was just finishing up her short trip through the town; she had taken her final complement of hinges from only the bottom hinge of the doors she had come across, so as not to leave the town door-less. She had also managed to pick up a largish saw which could be used to extract the planks from the upper deck. As she climbed up the gangplank she was surprised to see ‘The White Mare’ further down the dock swinging around in a stately circle.

Lyssia wakes up in her cabin finding it strangely denuded of doors and hinges, she has the oddest feeling that someone has been watching her while she was asleep. Making her way to the castle she finds Fidjit considering the carved charts on the floor. Fidjit explains to Lyssia the plan to commandeer ‘The White Mare’, that the Thane’s daughter is not dead, that Gann is not a murderer and that Fidjit is trying to transfer the carved charts from one ship to the other. As Lyssia tries to digest all of the chaotic information and the contradictions, trying to find some way to make her companions actions intelligible and rational, she fixates on one certain thing and asks Fidjit why she can’t just take the original paper charts onto ‘The White Mare’ and recarve them. Fidjit considers this for a while somewhat put out at not being able to make her giant folding map, Lyssia suggests she could still put it together and leave it on the dockside as a work of art for the people of Quadraturin to admire. The pair consider the gently rotating ship further down the harbour and decide that it isn’t their concern at the present time.

As he follows the shaven headed lady through the streets Teine waits till they have reached a secluded spot and hails her. Teine suggests that someone with her ruthless attitude and who clearly is going to be wanted in Quadraturin might benefit from passage out on a fast ship. The lady says she will consider the offer and keep an eye on the dockside to see how the capture of ‘The White Mare’ goes before she decides.

Loki returns with the crew members at much the same time as Gann turns up. While Banning inspects the crew she is somewhat surprised to find that they have more than they started with, when she tells them where the ship is bound for some of the new crew members reconsider joining up and depart hastily.

As Gann and Loki relate their adventures Lyssia gets more and more disturbed, relieved as she had been that the Lord Protector had not apparently murdered his charge it seems that her companions have just slain many of the towns guardsmen, Loki helps her accept the events by suggesting that these were also zombified guardsmen like the ones they faced earlier in the night. Lyssia can just about accept this as a possibility although it still seems strange.

Aesha and Ellerine arrive back on board just as the party are about to continue the search for Cressa. Almost as soon as they start looking they find the Thane’s daughter.

View
Summary of Session of the 26th of July

The fresh air seemed to do the Thane a world of good, ‘Monsieur Camembert’ suggested that perhaps the Thane should have a bench upon which he could sit to take the air every day. Lyssia warned Prizam and the Thane that she had not cured any systemic disease or curse afflicting the Thane, merely restored his body to a more normally functioning state. She confided to Prizam that Loki was not really a healer and ‘Fidget’ not his apprentice.

On the ship; Teine and Dargo cannot find Drust’s arm from which Teine wanted Dargo to copy the list of destinations. Tiring of the search Teine decides to head back into town to the market to pick up some supplies, pausing briefly to oversee the removal of his bench to the quayside.

Cressa and Gann make plans to leave as soon as possible. Gann heads off to the market to get some suitable materials for disguises. On his way to the market he encounters Teine, the Itani youth manages to restrain his contempt enough to get some advice from Quadraturin’s Lord Protector, as to the best place to get some furs and rugs. Gann picked up various items of women’s clothing and some cloth dyes.

Returning to the harbour Loki set about working out a way to get Teine’s bench up to the castle. Lyssia returned to the ship and retired to her cabin to meditate.

Returning from the Market Gann finds Cressa’s guard dead outside her room and her in a foetal position within. Gann quickly surveyed the scene, trying but failing to build a more detailed picture of what had occurred. This gruesome discovery prompted Gann to move things forward and take Cressa down to ‘The Albatross’ immediately. A few cosmetic changes and a large hooded cloak sufficed to hide Cressa’s identity as they made their way through the town.

Banning grudgingly lets Gann and his sister take up residence on the ship with Cressa in Drust’s recently vacated cabin and agrees to put a guard on the door. Gann seeks out Lyssia to help bring Cressa out of her fugue state. He is less than impressed by her suggested approach to bringing Cressa round, a brisk slap possibly followed by a cup of strong sweet tea, and asks Banning if there isn’t some other member of the crew with healing abilities. Banning takes Gann to see Fidget who is entirely absorbed in her task of carving Drust’s navigational charts and the accompanying celestial data into the wood of the ship’s castle.

Deciding that perhaps Lyssia is the lesser of two evils Gann returns to her and brings her with him to Cressa’s cabin. Unfotunately despite the door having been guarded Cressa has vanished, apparently through the cabin window. Lyssia and Gann proceed to search the ship to try and find Cressa. Gann finds her quite quickly down near the galley, she asks him to let her remain in hiding until the ship has left harbour.

Dargo has meanwhile been continuing his fruitless search for Drust Morrigan’s arm, but has reached the point where he decide to give up on it and instead visit one of the nearby harbour taverns.

Loki returns to the castle to arrange payment and transportation of the bench, deciding it is too much effort to haul it up to the castle by himself. He asks to speak to the ‘Thane’s man’ and is told that that would be the Lord Protector. A servant is sent off to find the Lord Protector but instead comes across the dead guard outside of Cressa’s room. A hue and cry is raised and the castle searched, both the Lord Protector and the Thane’s daughter have disappeared. The Rapidly reached conclusion is that for some reason the Lord Protector had slain Cressa’s guard and kidnapped the princess. Seeing a job vacancy becoming open Loki suggests that he himself would be suitable for the position of Lord Protector, the members of the Thane’s household he is talking to are somewhat confused at this as he was only that morning representing himself as a skilled healer. The castle’s staff are very dubious of this proposition. The quartermaster agrees to accompany Loki down to the Albatross to arrange for the transportation of the Thane’s new bench and they head dwon to the harbour with a small body of men.

Having tired of his drinking rather quickly given the weak state of Quadraturin’s ale Dargo starts a riot in the nearby tavern.

Gann does not tell Lyssia he has found Cressa but leaves her to continue searching. Talking to Captain Branning Gann reveals somewhat more of what is really going on, Branning is far from keen to have fugitives on her ship and they reach an agreement that Gann and Cressa will leave the ship, only to return when it is due to depart the following day. Gann decides that leaving Cressa in hiding will be good enough and makes to leave the ship. He is met on deck by Lyssia and Teine, who Lyssia had asked to help her search for the missing girl. Teine reveals to Lyssia that their new shipmate is the Lord Protector of Quadraturin, which she is very impressed by. Lyssia is somewhat taken aback however when Gann rather callously declares that he believes Cressa threw herself overboard and has almost certainly drowned. Gann then leaves the ship as Lyssia rushes to the gunwales to start searching the water close by the ship.

Having concluded his business with the Thane’s quartermaster Loki decides to make his way towards a tavern which seems to be hosting a particularly boisterous bar brawl. As he approaches the tavern he meets Dargo who is just on his way out. The two confer briefly and Loki once again volunteers to pretend to be a magic user. As the imposing orc strides into the tavern waving his arms and making guttural goblinoid utterances Dargo surreptitiously casts a bless spell on Loki and all the brawlers who came from ‘The Albatross’. After a short but violent bar brawl with much of the attention focussed on Loki who is called an ‘Orcish witch’, the town guard arrive and break up the fight. While many of the crew of ‘The Albatross’ are taken away to be locked up in the local constabulary cells to sleep off their drink Loki is arrested, charged with witchcraft and thrown into a cell in the castle.

Gann has found himself somewhere to hang out and keep a low profile, a brothel with which he has some previous passing acquaintance.

Having witnessed Loki and a fair portion of the crew being escorted from the harbour under guard Tiene and Lyssia search the ship for goblins to let them know of Loki’s predicament, hoping perhaps that they will be motivated to leave the ship to rescue him. They rather fortuitously find both the goblins and Drust’s missing arm. The goblins are performing some sort of dark ritual to transform the arm into a totem through which they can curse their enemies. As the goblins finish their ceremony Lyssia and Tiene explain Loki’s arrest and potential execution for witchcraft. Galvanised the goblins pick up the arm, now lashed to a long pole, and rush from the ship. Suddenly questioning the wisdom of her actions Lyssia and Teine give chase. As they pursue the goblins they encounter Dargo coming up the gangplank and with a cry of ‘Follow that arm!’ they all set off in hot pursuit.

Stuck in his cell in the castle Loki discusses Quadraturin’s attitude to witchcraft with his jailer and comes to realise that his jape may have some rather unfortunate consequences, both for his campaign to become the next Lord Protector and for his continued existence. He begins to think about a means of escape.

The Goblins rampaged through the town towards the castle. As the party members followed they saw the occasional guard approaching but the lead goblin would merely point the cursing arm at them and they would flee, frequently before the goblin had even had time to utter a curse. Lyssia was somewhat alarmed at the effectiveness of the goblins progress, she had though that they would soon be subdued by the town guards and no longer be a problem for the ship, but the town’s guards seemed completely unprepared to face the mystical threat they brought with them.

As they reached the castle Lyssia called out as the small goblin band approached, hoping to alert the castles occupants so they could ready themselves for defence. If anything her warning of goblin witches seemed to unnerve the few defenders they encountered even more as they scattered before the goblins. Very quickly they reached the jail in which Loki was ensconced, the jailer stood up to confront the goblins only to be cursed, the poor fellow fell reeling apparently blinded as soon as the bolt from the decaying arm hit him.

Lyssia looked on in mounting horror, and Teine with detached amusement, as her plan to get rid of the goblins unravelled with their successfully completing the jailbreak that [b]she[/b] had suggested to them. Within seconds the goblins had snatched the keys from the blinded guard and had Loki out of Jail cell. As the goblins rejoiced at their triumph Dargo managed to snatch up Drust’s arm and copy the list of destinations from it onto a convenient piece of parchment. Released from his cell Loki moved to give his previous captor a brief physical demonstration of his displeasure, Lyssia interposed himself between the orc and his erstwhile guard and tried appealing to Loki’s better nature suggesting that he should return to his cell to stand trial and defend himself since he is not in fact a witch. Loki was far from convinced by Lyssia’s argument and instead chose to high tail it out of the castle along with the goblins.

Lyssias and Teine decided that they should return to the ship lest anyone suspect them, with some merit, of orchestrating the breakout. Loki and the goblins parted ways, with the goblins returning to hide once more in the dark places of ‘The Albatross’. Loki meanwhile chose to seek sanctuary in a local church where the priest was in fact saintly, or mad, enough to grant it to him.

As the party return to the ship Loki tells them of the uproar at the castle and the story of how the Lord Protector killed kidnapped the Thane’s daughter and killed her guard. Upon reaching ‘The Albatross’ the party retire to their cabins, although Lyssia goes to apprise Branning of the fact that their new passenger seems to be a wanted murderer and may in fact have murdered the Thane’s daughter right on board the ship.

During the night Lyssia is woken by a peculiar noise, in her doorway she sees a dark looming figure. Grabbing up her scimitar from where it lies under her bolster she cast the coverlet from her bed into the figures path. While the figure was distracted freeing itself from the blanket Lyssia unleashed a vicious strike at its head. The blade cuts deep and the creature only manages a rather feeble attack before it is finally struck down by another blow. Other members of the crew enter the cabin to see what the ruckus is about. Banning is most upset at having what a cursory examination reveals to be a zombified member of the Thane’s guard on board ‘The Albatross’.

The party heads to the castle to alert the Thane and his troops that there are zombies wandering the town with the attacker’s severed head as evidence. Another zombie appears from a side alley and attacks Lyssia. This time the zombie manages to bite her and hang on, the bite temporarily paralyzes Lyssia and in the process of getting the undead creature off her the other party members do almost as much harm to Lyssia as to the zombie. Propping up the still partially paralysed paladin the party retreat back towards the ship rather than risking further attacks.

While all this has been going on the guards searching for the murderous Lord Protector have been going from building to building in the city to find him. They finally arrive at the brothel where he is hiding and demand to be let in to search the place. One of the girls warns Gann and he makes a speedy exit out of a window and heads off to ‘The Albatross’.

Reaching the ship Gann requests a meeting with Banning. Standing on deck they discuss the situation and Banning makes clear her displeasure with the position she has been placed in. In the midst of this discussion the rest of the party make it back on board. Still suffering temporary paralysis and blood loss Lyssia sees Gann, staggers forward to point at him and accuse him of murdering the Thane’s daughter. Just as Gann turns round to angrily deny the charge and defend his honour Lyssia collapses in a heap on the deck under the weight of her wounds and is taken off to her cabin.

Unable to leave on ‘The Albatross’ with repairs still needed, Banning suggests that they commandeer ‘The White Mare’ and depart immediately that they have moved crew and cargo across. She suggests that Loki try and talk the ships remaining goblin stowaways into harrying the crew of ‘The White Mare’. Banning, Gann and the others plan how they can break the remaining crew out of the town jail.

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Summary of Session of the 12th of July

Drust and his fellow victims set off, the crewmen pulled with all their might while Drust leaned over the prow of the little boat trying to regain sight of the beautiful siren. As she watched the lifeboat make quick time across the water Ayesha summoned a dolphin which immediately chased off after the lifeboat.

Below decks Lyssia and Teine tried to prevent the ensorcelled crew and nobles from breaking out onto the deck, sadly they made little if any progress.

The siren reached the little boat and as it did so the singing suddenly ceased. Reaching up, the lovely creature caught hold of Drust’s arm and dragged him into the water. Breaking from his trance Drust struggled with the siren, managing to keep his head above water but not to free himself from her embrace.

In the crew quarters the gnomish druid ‘Fidget’ woke from sleep to find her wolf companion Solar in the midst of scratching at the cabin’s door. As the siren song ended the wolf suddenly seemed to come to his senses and stepped back from the door, which now had deep grooves carved into it all across its lower half. Unlocking the door the gnome found a scene of chaos out on the main deck, a handful of sailors were dashing madly about trying to keep the ship sailing on course while the halfling summoner Ayesha stood staring out over the water.

As the echoes of the siren’s song faded new sounds could be heard across the water, terrible blood curdling screams as the seamen that had made it out to the reef were devoured by sirens that had remained on the rocks. Freed of the siren’s call a few sharp orders from Lyssia were enough to return the nobles and crew, who had been scrabbling to escape, back to the main hold. At the sounds of the hideous pain outside Teine tried to the coax the Bard into another song, but the fellow seemed to have fallen into a deep catatonia, rocking back and forth hugging his knees.

In the water Drust managed to free his dagger and tried to stab the siren, sadly his point just couldn’t find an opening. Ayesha’s dolphin arrived joining the fray but could do little to help the half-elf. Rolling on top of him the siren beat her powerful tail and drove them both deeper under the water. Struggling again, Drust tried to cut free but his dagger did nothing to the creature. His other hand reached down into his pocket and clasped around the statuette with his father’s notes on it. As his vision faded and the water filed his lungs the last thing Drust saw was a vast array of razor sharp teeth as the siren’s maw gaped open.

Back on the ship Fidget had worked loose the hinges on the door down to the lower deck and removed it from its frame. At the bottom of the companionway she found Lyssia looking somewhat dazed, the paladin rallied somewhat when Fidget asked where the crew were and directed her into the hold.

In another part of the ship Loki roused himself from the fog of his hellacious hangover. Somehow the orc had managed to pass obliviously through the sirens onslaught, perhaps it was a lingering effect of the hallucinogens from Eslen. Stumbling through the ship’s corridors Loki finally found himself in the Galley, he searched through the cupboards looking for something to fill his stomach. Opening one he found a goblin seemingly covered in soft cheese. Without a pause Loki hauled the goblin out, a brief discussion in the crude goblinoid tongue apprised Loki of what had happened with the ship and the few goblins who were still stowed away on board. Unfortunately the discussion was cut short by Lyssia entering and mistaking the conversation for a fight in the making.

Above decks Ayesha’s dolphin had towed the lifeboat with the surviving crewmen back. With them they brought the last grisly remains of Drust Morrigan, his severed arm and his father’s statuette.

Ayesha and Teine studied the statuette, they could tell it was a magical device of some kind and even that it was probably some sort of recording device. With some effort they manage to trigger it but as neither of the spoke elven the recorded words meant nothing to them. Lyssia arrived on deck looking both confused and disgusted, a feeling that was little changed when she saw the severed arm covered with writing that had been brought back to the ship. Deciding that perhaps rotting flesh is not the best medium for information the party arrange to transcribe the names written on Drust’s arm onto Teine’s stone bench, as well as to make some normal paper copies.

The ship’s captain insisted that after the strife passing through the Tvedestrand and the goblin attack that they needed to make port at the nearest convenient place, Quadraturin. Having almost no funds with which to effect repairs the party proceeded to search Drust’s room in case the half-elf had had a hidden stash of gold. Loki managed to find what gold Drust kept in his room, principally by the method of breaking things until he found one from which gold coins spilled forth.

Making port in Quadraturin the party was met by the harbour master who assured them there were plenty of able seamen who would be keen to find a berth on the ship and that they would readily find shipwrights capable of repairing the damage ‘The Albatross’ had sustained. There were a few other ships in port including one, ‘The White Mare’, which also seemed to be under repair, and also under rather close guard, which they learned was the ship of a local princess, Cressa.

Most of the party headed out to find some accommodation for the night, so as to avoid another night at sea. Fidget meanwhile headed to the town’s marketplace. In the market Fidget noticed a pronounced lack of magic users. In conversation with a local gossip Fidget discovered that the area has been plagued by bandits and wolves in the northern forests and that the town’s ruler, the Thane, has been ill for several years.

The other members of the party had had a mixed reception at the bar, Loki had quickly made a new acquaintance and possible trading partner for some of his beers, Ayesha and Ellerine had been met with some very suspicious looks, Teine and Lyssia meanwhile had been hearing much the same as Fidget, that the Thane had fallen ill and also that he was due to remarry in the next few days with a gypsy fortune-teller who hailed from the northern woods

Meanwhile in the palace the ‘Lord Protector’ of Quadraturin, Gann, is discussing the Thane’s upcoming nuptials with the Thane’s daughter Cressa. Cressa is fearful for her life, suspecting that once her father is married her step-mother will try and have her removed from the picture. Cressa urges Gann to make preparations for a hasty exit in case they need to depart Quadraturin on short notice so they can take advantage of the spring tide that will accompany the full moon that heralds her father’s wedding. She tells him that her own ship has been held in dock for weeks for unspecified repairs.

Gann finds the captain of ‘The White Mare’ drowning his sorrows, in a seaside tavern, one with a most unusual beast pacing outside it. The captain, T’kane, is depressed that his ship is still languishing in dock and says that the men aboard won’t even let him on to inspect their ‘repairs’. As Gann left the tavern his imposing mein caught Ayesha’s attention but she paid him no further heed.

Gann visited ‘The White Mare’, but no combination of bluff or physical threats seemed able to sway the guard/shipwright Brab, who would not let him board.

As Fidget continues to listen to gossip and hears many conflicting and far-fetched diagnoses of what ails the Thane, including a worrying case of the trembles. She also hears that every healer who has tried has failed to cure the Thane of his disease and that most have left in shame or fear after their failure, in fact there is only one healer left in the town, an apothecary.
Fidget sought out the apothecary but found her in an unfit state, heavily on the nod under a draught of the milk of the poppy. Fortunately the apothecary had a familiar, a crow who was able to tell Fidget the sorry tale of the apothecary’s fall into addiction after her own failed attempts to heal the Thane. The bird also sold Fidget a small healing poultice, probably very good for the trembles.

Rebuffed from ‘The White Mare’, Gann noticed an unfamiliar ship tied up in the harbour. A polite hail and he was onboard the ship, named ‘The Albatross’, discussing with its captain the possibility of furnishing crew and provisions in exchange for safe passage for himself and his ‘sister’. Buoyed with his success Gann set off back to the castle, on the way he encountered an arrogant Itani youth and a halfling accompanied by the same unnatural beast he had seen outside the tavern. Gann tried to introduce himself but the young Itani merely sneered at the grand title of ‘Lord Protector’ applying to a small town such as Quadraturin.

While Ayesha and Teine had gone to see to repairs to the ship Loki and Fidget made their own plans to investigate the Thane’s illness. Positing that some malign force was targeting those who tried to heal the Thane’s disease they decide that Loki, who had no fear of malign forces, should pose as a healer while Fidget could surreptitiously apply her healing abilities. Lyssia was baffled at this needless subterfuge, not quite understanding her companions reasoning, nevertheless she volunteered to accompany them as a further ready hand should force be needed to extricate them from a sticky situation.

Teine and Ayesha met up with shipwrights on ‘The Albatross’ and showed them round the ship for some time, that time being measured in gold coin.

When Loki, Fidget and Lyssia arrive in the Thane’s castle’s courtyard and Loki announces he is there to heal the Thane all the wedding preparations are dropped instantly and they are ushered inside for an audience with the Thane’s fiancée.

Hearing the uproar at the castle Gann takes advantage of everyone’s preoccupation to arrange with the steward’s assistant for crew and supplies for ‘The Albatross’.

The trio met with Prizan, the Thane’s fiancée, and she seemed favourably impressed with Loki’s, or ‘Monsieur Camembert’s, confidence. After being divested of their arms and armour the trio are shown to the Thane’s quarters. The man has been sorely afflicted and looks like a wizened dried out husk, aged far beyond his years. Loki performs a cursory inspection and then allows Fidget to examine the Thane in her role as his apprentice. Fidget can discern little about the poor man’s illness, although she does find some very unusual scarification on his feet and ankles.

On board the ship the shipwright finally end their examination and reveal that the main problem causing the ship to list to one side is the heavy stone bench in one of the port side cabins. The simple remedy they suggest is to move it to the midline of the ship or to remove it entirely. Teine is less than impressed with this advice after the time and money the shipwrights have taken and demands they return half the gold he has given them. In preference to returning the cash the lead shipwright elects instead to leap overboard and swim back to shore.

As the charade in the sickroom has progressed Prizan seems to have become somewhat suspicious of Monsieur Camembert who seems so willing to leave her fiancé’s treatment ot his apprentice. Loathe to use her magic and open herself up to some sort of arcane attack fidget tries some mundane healing arts but finds whatever the Thane’s condition is it is beyond her. Loki then declares that he considers the Thane’s illness to be the result of a curse, this suggestion draws a somewhat startled reaction from Prizam but little else. Fidget notices a dark figure watching the proceeding from behind an ajar door, but the figure quickly vanishes when spotted. Fidget says they have done all they can and suggests they return to the ship. Tiring of all the pretences and unable to leave the Thane struggling under the weight of his disease Lyssia steps up beside the bed. Allowing her god’s will to guide her she allows its power to restore order to the old man’s body. The laying on of hand s appears to have met with a measure of success and the Thane rallies somewhat. Lyssia tries to heal him further but only manages a small increase over her previous efforts. Feeling better than he has in weeks, or possibly months, the Thane is well enough to leave his sick bed and the party accompany him down to the courtyard to get some fresh air.

Gann meets up again with Cressa, who has been watching the new healers attempts to aid her father, and informs her that he has secured passage on a ship and that soon everything will be ready for their departure.

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