Night of Frozen Shadows|
From the Journal of Morticia Dancingblades
We continue to journey with the caravan towards Kalsgard, the capital of the Linnorm Kings. In Kalsgard we hope to be able to reclaim the family sword of Ameko and also to locate a guide to take us over the top of the world. Personally I hope to find a clue to the murderer of my parents.
We travel during the day and camp at night. One evening Lini hears the sound of a raven and sees a distinctive looking bird with blood red in its wings. That evening the camp is attacked by vikings dressed in grey furs. One cries out 'Remember lads, 20 gold to whoever kills the Tian bitch!'.
A Storm of hand axes flies into the camp as the vikings charge. The fighting is brutal. Drendor falls to the ground, badly wounded. Lini throws one of the fireballs from her necklace of fireballs. Piffl! This is looking bad! Bragg screams at them, hurting four. Lini casts Colour Spray and four of the attackers fall to the ground. Amrol is badly wounded. One of the Vikings tries to administer a coup-de-gras but his battleaxe lodges in Amrols shield. I tumble away to buy time to drink a potion. Two of the vikings pick up Amrol and start carrying him towards their Longboat. Somewhat healed I re-enter the battle, charging one and striking him down. Drendor attacks another one killing him. A horn sounds and the Vikings retreat, taking Amrol with them. Bragg fires an arrow at one of the Vikings who is carrying Amrol, which distracts him long enough for me to drop the other one. The longship departs.
We examine the prisoners, wounded Vikings left behind by their fleeing companions. They're wearing metal torcs with a stylised leering face that matches the image left behind following the murder of my parents. I question them with the help of a sharp blade. The name of the longship was The Arls Hammer. Under questioning one of the prisoners screaks 'Aksvig' before all the prisoners die as something explodes within them. Neraby I see the raven again. They could be referring to Aksvig Longthews, a raider chieftain in Kalsgard.
Kalsgard is a large, bustling, walled city, split into a number of quarters:
- Stone quarter, rising on a rocky incline. The grand temple of Torag sits in this quarter
- Horn quarter, mainly populated by the farmers and laborers who work the nearby fields
- Ice quarters, the focus of commerce in the city. Shops, stalls and markets
- Fire quarter, focus of entertainment. A rowdy area
- Bone quarter has more open space, but is one of the poorer sections of Kalsgard
- Amber quarter is the centre of manufacturing in the city
- Ivory quarter is the main business centre and location of the various trade guilds
We split up to ecplore the city, looking for leads to our various objectives. I go to the Fire quarter.
We discover that Gotti Runecaster has a familiar, a red feathered raven.. Gotti is a half troll.
I eventually tack down a drunken woman who tells me that Aksvig Longthews has a farm outside kalsgard. One of her companions, Ulf, recently took work with Aksvig and hasn't been seen since. Ulf is a guide!
The next day I go with Drendor to the Amber quarter to visit the merchant who bought Amekos sword. He still had the sword until 2 weeks ago when it was stolen. One of the thieves was extremely tall. They wore lion torcs, the same as the ones worn by the vikings who attacked us. Aksvig is a protogee of Snori Stoneeye, a great raider. Snori died recently and it's his send off tonight Aksvigs farm.
We head to the farm. As we approach the farm we see posts in the ground, carved with the leering face - a manticore. The posts detect as magic - conjuration. I jump over one and asurpise, surprise a manticore appears. It fires its spikes and takes to the air. After a short combat we kill it. We can hear the sound of a party from the nearby farmhouse.
We sneak in the back entrance. There is a viking in one chamber, armored but with his pants down over one of their thralls. I sneak in and slay him. We poison the ale and Bragg dresses as a thrall and enters the room carrying it, serving it to several of the vikings. Then she kills as many of the drunken ones as p;ossible before the alarm is ultimately raised.
From the Journal of Morticia Dancingblades
In the confusion Bragg leaves the farmhouse. We ready ourselves to
attack. Aksvig appears from his bed chamber. I recognise him as the
murderer of my parents. I tumble past some of his henchman and move to
a position from which I can attack him. Drendor follows. His
wife appears to be some kind of witch. I attack, calling out to Callistria
as I do so. Blood flows from Aksvig. Drendor leaps up onto the
ceiling beams and quaffs a potion. Lini casts grease, causing some of the
vikings to fall to the ground. Aksvig stabs me with his spear. I strike
again with my swords and cut the murdering B*stard down!
Aksvig was using is magical. We also find a potion of divine favour,
magical boots and lots of jewellery and a platinum lions head armband (Aksvigs
Hoard). Drendor kills the survivors. There is a magic on Aksvig that
prevents him talking (and would kill him if pushed). I gag him. I let him
know why he is to die. He says he was paid by an old Tain man to kill a
number of families in the area - a foretelling had indicated that someone in
the area posed a threat to the royalty of Minkai. He describes a monk- type
character. I then disembowl him. As he dies he cries out 'Thorb..' or
We leave the farm burning behind us.
Aksvig had dealings with the Rimerunners guild. Aksvig did kidnap the
guide Ulf. One of the Thralls overheard a comment that Ulf would be joining
Snorri Stoneeye (maybe on the ship that will form Snorris funeral pyre).
Gotti lives in the wilds, somewhere around Kalsgard.
We hear the thieves guild are asking questions about us, the Frozen
Shadows. This was the group that also tried to persuade the
red-skinned demon in Brinewall to rejoin them.
Thorborg Silverscore is the head of the Rimerunners guild.
Ulfs female friend provides us with Kayaks and some basic tuition in how
to use them. That evening we head out towards the ship that will form
Snorris. The funeral barge contains a wooden mannekin, rather than a
body. We descend into the bowels of the ship. We see a winged
helm, that detects as magic (divination). We are attacked by a
rotting. chained figure - a rotting and decomposing Snorri. Snorri swings
his axe, hitting Amrol (level drain). We flee. Snorri strikes at Amrol with
his axe, but at the last moment Drendor drops to the ground and the attack
Four ninjas leap onto the boat. Two run towards Bragg, one slicing the
ropes that secure our Kayaks. Another slams the hatch shut and spikes it
with a blade, trapping the rest of us below with Snorri. Bragg is poisened
and as his last action before passing out leaps off the ship and lands in a
one of the Kayaks. Amrol tries to bash through the burning planks above, I
force the hatch open and climb onto the deck, facing off against two of the
ninjas. Snorri hits Amrol again. Amrol succeeds in hacking through the
burning deck, causing the fire to fall around him. I kill one of the ninjas.
Another ninja kills himself (I could have done that nfor him!). Drendor
leaps from the burning ship into the boat used by the Ninjas. Unfortunately
he capsizes it. I pick up Lini and leap onto the upturned bottom of
We are all safe apart from Amrol. I try to leap back to the burning
ship to find him, but splash into the water nearby. The boat itself
proves too wet for me to climb so I have to give up. I rejoin the
others on the upturned rowing boat. After a short while the burning ship
sinks beneath the waves.
The next day we find Amrols body, washed up on the beach, wearing the
magnificent helm he must have grabbed from the ship.
Ameku believes she may be able to bring Amrol back, but doing so would
declare our presence to the enemy. We decide to do it.
Requiem for a Dwarf, composed for Bragg A'docio by Amral Tandar
Sang to the tune of Still Alive
This was a cluster.
I'm making a note here: EPIC FAIL
It's hard to overstate my disappointment.
We went in because we could
All of us escaped the flames
except the one who is dead
But there's no sense crying over every dead dwarf
You just keep on trying 'till you run out of boat
And you meet a ninja and the Draugr on fire
Who then chases you over the rail
I'm not even living
My body is blue and pale and dead
Because you ran away so fast and left it
Draugr hacked me to death
And threw the body over-board
As I sank it hurt becuase I was leaving you!
But this bright light makes a beautiful path
And I follow it out, from the mortal realm
So I'm okay about being dead
'Cause my death had greater purpose
To save the people that are still alive
Go ahead and leave me
I think I prefer to stay with Desna
Maybe you'll find someone else to help you
Maybe not Spivey
She's alive here, happy, my guide
Something is calling me, my job is not quite done
Look at me still talking, when there's worship to do
If I come back down there I can help you get through
I've a purpose to fulfill, there are lessons to be learnt
By the enemies who are still alive
And believe me I am still alive
Omayuni the foolish shadow
I'm doing prayer and I'm still alive
I feel REBORN and I'm still alive
While they are dying I'll be still alive
And when they're dead I'll be still alive
Omayuni, ninja, fate-filled, quick.
Tracked her prey through the cities throng, thick.
In an alley, her prey, she did find
hidden in shadows? no sighted! spied.
“Bard I know you, your motives found”
“Of course”said she “Braggadocio” and bowed.
“A bard of renown” Bragg did declare.
Your death am I” said the ninja. “Beware!”
The shadow departed, prancing, pouncing.
Bragg unphased commenced announcing.
“Shadows are feared by children only,
Amral’s Journal, Entry 135 - A talking hat!
insubstantial and weak, controlled by Oni.
Bards, undying don’t you know
even in death, immortality grows.
We weave the tales of the ages
Your death I wield, a death by stages.
First your fame I do control
A fool, a fraud, a wandering troll?
Next your name can be dismantled
Omayuni, the puny can you be mantled.
Fated am I to be prized and rise
Presented to kings and adoring eyes.
Third your order can be undone
all of them dishonoured, become a pun.
My whims are legends told by fire
You have no will, save the Oni’s desire.
Lastly your life will be ripped, a shard.
Taken by Bragg a mere wandering bard.”
Entering the city again we cross the streets in the direction of the shrine of Shelyn to meet with Uk-Saka. We arrive to find the shrine is being demolished by an large earth elemental. Drendor spots a raven with blood red feathers right as the elemental turns and attacks us!
We manage to hold off the elemental for long enough that it eventually disappears.
We give the priest the seal Uk-Saka left with us and he shows us to her hiding place - its been destroyed and she is missing. There is a feather, that looks like it came from a dire korbie, and a blow dart... ninja's from the Frozen Shadows perhaps?
Being at a loss, we question the priest about the Rime Runners guild and, deciding that our next move should be to question someone in the guild, head to the nearest guild quarters.
Around thirty minutes into our trek across the busy city some of us hear a voice speaking in our heads: "Beware the time runners guld is a front for the frozen shadows..". It is the helmet from the boat! Its really a minor angel that has been trapped on this plane and has been investigating the frozen shadows.
It agrees to journey with me and tells us some more information - the time runners guild is a front for the frozen shadows and the half-troll Gotti is in league with Thorberg Silverscore. The current Thorberg is probably an imposter that Gotti and the Frozen Shadows have put in place.
Despite the warning we decide to infiltrate the guild to get information anyway. Lini talks a minor functionary into telling us that Thorberg has purchased a mansion called Ravenscraig from Snorri, my undead murderer, to the south of the city and is refurbishing it as we speak.
We try to find more information on the location of Ravencraig, eventually getting a map of the area, as well as a map of Minkai. We return to the temple of Shelyn and purchase curative potions and while there Drendor asks the priest about Ravenscraig, learning that there may be a guardian Wyverrn on the path to the mansion.
Drendor thinks we're being followed by someone, but ignoring that we prepare for a trip to Ravenscraig while Bragg tries to join the bard guild. After impressing a local lord, so well she is offered a patronage, she's returning to us and she spots a ninja watching from the shadows along the way. Omoyani is her name and she threatens that Bragg will die by her hand. Bragg scoffs and begins composing a scathing poem on the journey back to the Gnome settlement for the night.
We set out for Ravenscraig, the journey taking a two full days. The mansion stands atop a crag in the cliff face, surrounded on either side by woods. The only obvious access route, that wouldnâ€™t take us days to negotiate through a dense forest, is via an old wooden staircase leading up to the mansion doors, halfway up which is a cave entrance. Lini makes Cricket invisible as she climbs up to web the cave entrance, but as she closes in a flying spider wasp creature comes out and attacks her, ignoring crickets web spell as it does so.
We run to help her but she summons a fog cloud, into which Tenku ninja's drop from above. We drive off the wasp creature and knock all the ninjas off the ramps, Lini making especially good use of the ring that summons an invisible battering force . Moving up the stairs we come to large, ominous, double doors.
Amral’s Journal, Entry 137 - Trolls, ninja's, demon wasps and a werebear... Oh My!
We open the mansions tall arcing double doors. There's a large feasting room high and long, with two fire pits in the center. Balconies line either wall, arranged with feasting tables and chairs, and smoke holes provide roosting for a conspiracy of ravens. There are three doors on either side, obviously opening into rooms below the balconies. One of the doors at the far end of the room is is open, from which revelry and skald speech issue.
Cricket and Lini sneak up onto a balcony so Cricket can summon a cloud of noxious gas in the room. We charge in as it clears and dispatch most of the thugs inside, sparing just a young boy called Jennison. Cricket recruits him to our caravan, largely with the promise of wealth and respect, in exchange for drudge work, foot rubs and telling us what he knows of the mansion and its occupants. We send him down the stairs to the forest to wait for us.
Four of the other rooms are store or guard rooms, while the fifth is where the Ninja assassins bunk. We break in and find another room below it containing a shrine to a Tian diety that we cannot identify. There is a hall off the guard room along the south wall of the building with two doors, the first of which is a kitchen with four men inside, one obviously a cook. We bust in and threaten them, after which they give up their secrets.
There is a path leading into the forest, and away from the mansion, out a back door to the kitchen, but we ignore this and head back into the hall. At the end of it is the second door, which looks to be an Alchemy lab, the cook told us Gotti had one where they leave food to be taken down to the excavation. There are, what we can only assume to be, the normal accoutrements of an an Alchemists craft, as well as a large glass case with a dead man in it, whose body is full of writhing evil insects.
Lini uses an unseen servant to explore the alchemists lab. We ignore the glass case, obviously, but as we pass he calls out to
"RELEASE ME!" in what we think is Infernal. Erm, no. Through a barred cell we can see the merchant we left to make his own way here. We talk to him and he tells us that Gotti has been experimenting on him with potions and poisons, but has gone down the stairs to the excavation they're digging below the mansion. He also reveals that Thorberg is a red skinned ogre, we assume an Oni, and the master of the guard is upstairs in a tower that the Tengu Ninjas live in. We release him and send him on his way to meet up with Crickets man servant out in the forest..
We decide to go upstairs and confront the master of the guard, which may or may not be a good idea as he immediately morphs into a werebear and attacks. We advance and catch him in a corner of the room but he's ignoring our hits! Drendor goes down and Cricket drags the body out to heal him, Lini and Bragg fling spells at the werebear, while I cast on myself to increase the fury of my blows. The monk stands up and runs off to find some silver, which he does so in the kitchen. As Bragg and Lini continue to pound it with spells I manage to get a final hit on the bear tearing his neck open.
We explore the room above and loot some of the Ninjas gear, narrowly avoiding the swarm of ravens that Drendor stirs up above a trapdoor in the rooms ceiling.
We decide to rest and so take the cooks with us into the forest out the back door of the mansion. There's a bridge over the stream outside and trolls being directed by more Tenku Ninjas. We talk to the cooks and persuade them to help us, recruiting them to our cause with better pay and conditions, though the chances of them ever seeing a payout from the pension plan are marginal at best.
We destroy the stairs up the cliff face with fire, to stop the assassins that we now know are returning, and set up ropes to let us escape if needed then rest in a store room. Unfortunately this doesn't bode well for the young gaurd and our merchant friend, who are now likely in the direct path of the assassins as they hunt for another route up the cliff face with a prisoner in tow.
We head down the stairs from Gottis chamber, noting that the food that was left by the cooks has gone, and head into a dank 20 foot room with one door in it. We detect a good presence in a tunnel ahead of us and down a right hand branch is a stream with a bell. That appears to be to call someone to move the large plank that sits on the far side into place as a bridge.
We proceed striaght on, toward the good presence and through a door. On the other side of the door is a 20 foot wide natural cavern with a churning pool of icy water in the middle. Drendor leaps the gap to the ledge on the other side, to investigate the door there. He opens it to see a well in the room on the far side, with fungus and buckets around and a pitch black ceiling. I ask Helgeval to investigate for us, and he does so, falling foul of what we assume is a one of a large group of Cloakers in the rooms rafters.
Drendor spills some sake into the room and sets it alight but that fails to kill the cloakers, it does however cause a beam of fiery light to shine from a small well on the far side of the room. I call out across the room and a voice answers
"I am Suishen, katana of the Amatatsu line". We ask Suishen to shut off the fiery light as it burns the ropes, and it acquiesces. Bragg and I jump across using magical speed enhancements, carrying Cricket and Lini over. The witch summons a web in the ceiling to snare the cloakers and our sorcerer uses the unseen servant again to lower the rope down and tie a knot around Suishen.
We pull Suishen from the well and he greets us, asking who will carry him in service of the family. Bragg is deemed to be perfectly suited and takes the katana up, wielding it as a scion in the service of the Amatasu line.
We return to the stream with the plank and Drendor jumps over to push it into place above the stream. He begins pushing the plank which makes a screeching noise, causing two trolls to look round the far corner and charge at Drendor. He turns and attacks the troll as I charge over the gap and hit it too.
The troll rips me into shreds and forces me back a step. Drendor faces off against it as Bragg and Lini throw spells and Cricket heroically leaps the gap to come to my aid. I cast a spell on myself and then step back into combat, Cricket and Bragg following us to assist. I cut the neck out of the first troll and step into where his body was. Bragg draws Suishen and charges in to attack the remaining troll, the katana' flaming blade slicing into the green flesh.
The troll roars and slashes at Bragg with claws and its maw, the influence of the sword helping him dodge at the last moment what should have been a killing blow. Thankfully it is not long before we triumph however, as our spell casters continually use fire to inhibit the trolls regeneration, and we stop to take a moment and regroup.
Amral’s Journal, Entry 139
Proceeding away from the dead trolls we find their 'lair' and a far more ornate door a little further down the tunnel.
I peer through the door using Desna's blessing. My lady reveals a large chamber, the ceiling of this grand room rising 30 feet high, twice as long and almost as wide. It's covering in teak paneling and polished wood floors,accented by colourful banners of Tian. There is a center column with four reed mats in-front of a porcelain bowl. Bragg picks the lock on the door and we move inside and sneak around the south wall, to peer into an open door on the east wall. The room is a cell for a monk, as are the others, only one of which stands out due to the more lavish contents. The larger room is likely some form of practice area.
A secret wall is open inside the cell with the open door, and it appears to lead off to the south at least fifty feet - a closed door halfway down the freshly carved passage stands on one side, a small light creeping out from under the door. We open it,obviously. A brazier in the corner of the room stands opposite an evil looking bed, adjacent to which is mounted a stuffed Stirge. The headboard is an evil stylised face but there is magic inside it. I check for evil and there is a presence under the bed making skittering noises. As I’m peering under the bed an undead hand speeds out and tries to grab me.
We manage to kill the hand despite gouts of poisonous puss and a propencity to strangle people. I manage to lever the secret compartment on the bed head open, inside are three scrolls that protect from evil in a circle and a partially complete scroll of planar binding. We proceed down the stairs at the end of the corridor and disarm a tripwire at the bottom leading to a bell - a simple alarm that guards a door along the corridor (that inside is full of treasure).
There are more stairs at the end of the corridor and at the bottom are two statues guarding a door. They are tian in style but have demonic faces. As we reach the bottom of the stairs the statues animate and attack. Suishen figures out that the small jade statues we found might make us look like we belong. It works and we walk past the second time.
The chamber behind is a tiered one arranged so that there are ledges twenty feet in the air. There’s a pool with a fountain and many black lacquered screens, though we can hear speech inside. We move inside as quietly as possible, but at surprised by the Oni and a single guard ninja. Drendor and I use our superior agilty to leap up to tue higher levels and confront her. It is a long struggle as magic spells eventually run out and the Oni again and again shrugs off the magic we throw.
I manage some crippling blows and we force her into a gaseous form, in which she slowly retreats towards a door that opens. I move through ahead of her an found a door with frost lapping like waves from the gap at the bottom. "Let me out you bitch!". With Desna's help I deduce that the evil creature behind the door is a Winter Wolf and that she will help us with our fight if we help her back to the icy north.
I let the Wolf out, warn everyone not to harm it, then between the wolf, Suishen and Bragg, we finally take her down. At the end of the corridor Ulf is strung up in a room. We free him and bring him up to speed, then head back up out of the excavaton area.
we reach the door back to the mansion the Cooks have barred the door to two trolls, probably the ones from outside, and many ninja’s. They have Uk-shaka and Koya captive!
From the Journal of Morticia Dancingblades
We open the door to the treasure room - coins, trade bars of copper and
silver, gilded drinking horns, 850 gold... The rest of the group enter the room
- I remain outside to act as guard. A flame strike explodes in the room.
A troll is hammering at the door to this place - it isn't going to last
much longer! Amrol suggests that Brag negotiates. I draw my swords in
case the silver-tongued bard fails. Brag hesitates so Cricket starts to
speak. The ninja calls the troll away from the door. Bragg finally finds her
tongue and the negotiations begin.
We will be allowed to leave but justice must be seen to be done- someone
must die! Cricket volunteers but then loses it and starts to cast a
The ninjas react and bend to slay their prisoners. I charge across
the 80' that separates me from the ninjas, taking a blow from a troll as I
pass it. I barrel into the ninja that's about to kill Koya, knocking
him to the ground. Cricket casts Stinking Cloud. Two trolls bite Amrol
- dwarves must be tasty! I emerge from the cloud and charge a troll -
all the ninjas are coughing and spluttering. Cricket casts Glitterdust on
one of the trolls, blinding it. The ninja, Omayuni, fells Bragg with a
poisoned sword. Two trolls attack me. Lini casts color spray at one of the
trolls to no avail. I run away! Drendor kills Omayuni with a flurry of blows
and then shivers momentarily. The trolls run away.
We rest. Lini dreams of a many-armed form. She sees a caravan
with lots of men at arms heading towards a city. She senses that the
caravan carries something of importance to us and a nearby presence that
could stop it. The presence is an immense Linnorm. Lini leads the
Linnor to the caravan which it decimates.
The next day as we return to Kalsgaard we find the ruins of a decimated
caravan. Lini finds the body of a mage clutching a vial with a shard of the
star stone. It whispers to Lini....
To be continued....