27 Satna – 4 Kabenla of the year 72
Upon returning to camp after killing the wendigo, the party found their foodstuffs missing and had to deal with three unconscious Hoscans. Emmerick and Bieito searched for their rations and tried to find something to hunt, but failed, while Akora sought out chopped additional firewood and Calissa managed to bring the Hoscans back to consciousness. The only things resembling food that Emmerick was able to find in the wendigo’s cave were human bones, which he tossed in a sack and brought back to Akora. Akora was excited to see what Emmerick had found, then confused when he opened the sack, and ended up tossing a femur to Cane. Lacking supplies and being only a day from Brekkur while three days from Stavanger and six from Skara, the party planned to return to Brekkur in the morning.
During the night Calissa found herself back in the chamber where they had fought Rannveig and the cult of Kurat; it was murky and indistinct, but she could see two cloaked figures. It was difficult to make out what they were saying; in a few seconds of clarity she could make out the first one asking about releasing Kurat, and the other replied that Kurat would need to wait for the others. The second picked up the dagger Rannveig had used to kill the child, while the first said the book had been burned. It became hazy again, and the only other words she was able to make out were Skara, Ringsted, and Turev, all seeming to be referring to locations. Calissa then woke with a start, unsure whether it was a dream, vision, premonition, or something else.
The party chatted with the Hoscans they had rescued on their way back to Brekkur; they were extremely thankful for being saved, but had little to offer but gratitude, and although they were hunters and trappers they were in no shape to assist in a hunt. They were able to tell the party that there was word of raiders on the road to Skara, something that excited Akora and Emmerick.
Reaching Brekkur late in the afternoon, they returned to the Dessicated Draugr tavern. Emmerick purchased rations for the entire party, which planned to stay the night in the tavern. The night was uneventful with the exception of the party being given crap about having returned to Brekkur after vowing to never visit again. The following morning Akora paid a visit to the woman Stuf had been taking advantage of; he tried to get her to understand that she needed to take care of herself and be more cautious, and while she listened, it was unclear whether she would take his advice. He also gave her a gold coin to help her with her troubles.
The party reached their old campsite with no issues, but by the time night fell it was clear that a snowstorm was coming. The party returned to the wendigo’s cave and cleared it out as best as possible, creating a large fire to keep warm and staying near the entrance, but the stench lingered. As the blizzard began Akora and Emmerick made one final search of the area outside the cave, where Emmerick lucked upon a stash of chopped firewood.
The snow stopped around midday the following day, having blanketed the area with nearly a foot and a half of snow. The party set out again, making it halfway back to the main road before they had to stop for the night. The night was quiet again, with the main entertainment being Emmerick drawing a smiley face in the snow on Akora’s shield.
They reached the main road late in the morning and set off north towards Skara. A couple hours later Akora noticed a dead horse and a body sticking out of the snow on the side of the road; both were frozen solid and rigor mortis had set in. The horse had four arrows and a spear piercing it, while the man was on his back. His ribcage had been split open and his lungs pulled out and spread flat; Emmerick identified it as a ritual known as the ‘blood eagle’ that the Hoscans would perform, usually on worthy adversaries. The man’s throat had been slashed deep enough to nearly decapitate him, and the blood eagle ritual was done post mortem. Akora removed the sigil from the man’s tabard before Emmerick buried the body as best he could, then Emmerick cut several large steaks off the horse before the party continued north.
A couple hours later Emmerick saw a deer crossing the road; despite the distance, Bieito landed a lucky shot that pierced its neck. The deer stumbled off about 20 meters before falling, and Bieito slit its throat before skinning and butchering it. The party did take note of an old trail through the snow; it appeared to be at least a day old and was single file, so the party couldn’t tell how many people had passed that way.
Late in the afternoon Akora spotted a ruined tower a couple miles ahead; there was flickering light in the windows, making it appear occupied. The party approached cautiously, stopping about a mile south of the tower, and set up camp. Emmerick built a larger decoy fire several hundred meters from the party’s actual campsite next to a natural cut in the landscape, and they waited. A couple hours after dark they heard someone hailing the decoy fire, offering food and shelter. Akora thought the offer was legitimate and called the man over.
Arngrim told him that his group was spending the night in the ruined tower, and that they were welcome to join his party for the night. The only requirement was that the Laughing Brawlers, as his group called themselves, demanded an entertaining story for admittance. Akora was ecstatic at the opportunity to showcase his skills and readily agreed. As the others gathered their gear Akora questioned Arngrim about the raiders on the road and the sigil he had taken from the body of the man they had found; Arngrim informed him that the sigil appeared to be that of the Grim Sea clan based in Skara, and that the raiders were a group associated with Torsten. Torsten had been a captain in King Gudrik‘s fleet before going rogue about five years earlier, and had turned into a thorn in Gudrik’s side. Torsten had at least 3-4 longships and 200 men, and Gudrik had placed a 50 gold bounty on Torsten’s head. The bounty had yet to be claimed.
When the party arrived at the tower Akora serenated the Laughing Brawlers with an epic in the form of song about the fall of Mannik; he concluded it with Deuspugno leaving the party because he would never be able to top that adventure, before launching into his Ballad of the Beeslayer. His performance left the audience weeping, with Arngrim giving a slow clap in appreciation. Both parties stood watch, though the night was quiet, and they all set out north the next morning. Akora told the Laughing Brawlers more tales of the party’s exploits, from the giant spiders to the explodey rats, and including killing Baba Yaga. Eventually the parties split ways, with the Laughing Brawlers taking a path northeast towards other adventures. Akora gave Arngrim one of Mannik’s rings before they parted as a token of goodwill.
The night was quiet and uneventful, with nothing out of the ordinary happening, and the party continued on in the morning. Around midmorning they spotted a group of seven in the road heading towards them; two were on horseback and armed with long axes, while the others were on foot, three with broadswords and two with war bows. They had the high ground and used it to their advantage, with Emmerick taking two arrows before the party pulled back out of bow range. The other group advanced, largely keeping together, while Bieito created two large ice wall barriers to block part of the road and slow down the raiders. Akora and Emmerick taunted the raiders, with Akora flinging insults, including how easily the Hoscans fell to the Kandari, and Emmerick shouting that they had a Kandari to beat up on.
The fight was long and difficult; Emmerick fell after being hit by several more arrows while engaged in melee, while the raider’s leader fell unconscious after multiple hits from Calissa and Akora. Bieito enslaved one of the three Hoscans that were armed with broadswords, forcing her to attack the other mounted Hoscan before turning on the other raiders. Calissa brained the last of the raiders armed with a broadsword as Akora turned on the two archers, who had switched to sideswords and were attacking Bieito. Akora slew one of the archers before intimidating the other into surrendering, then knocked him unconscious with his shield after the archer indicated where their camp was. As Akora and Bieito bound and gagged the two unconscious raiders Calissa managed to revive Emmerick, who was near death, and they searched the bodies brought their captives to the campsite. They were able to recover three broadswords, two sideswords, two war bows, two long axes, five mail hauberks, two sets of full chain mail, seven half helms, three round shields, and 70 silver from the raiders, as well as two tents, more rations, cooking gear, a flute, and a war horn in the campsite. Akora hid the bodies of the raiders before collecting more firewood and drawing water from a nearby stream, then prepared to interrogate the captives.
Akora splashed water on the leader’s face to wake him, and the man immediately began spouting curses and insults. Uncooperative, the interrogation of the leader provided little useful information beyond a promise that Torsten would find and kill them. Bieito, attempting to use a spell to temporarily paralyze the captives, had it backfire and paralyzed himself for several minutes. Tired of the leader’s obstinate attitude, Akora stabbed him through the throat, then woke the archer that had surrendered. He was more compliant, though he was shocked at the death of Zinda Red-Eye, his now-deceased leader. The party learned that Torsten had at least four ships manned by a crew of around 200, and that the pirates had several bases with another 50 or so people. The main harbor they used was about 150-200 miles northwest, past Holbaek, but they also utilized an island off the Isle of Merkigil and a bay along the coast between Skara and Holbaek. Satisfied with what they had learned, Akora freed him, giving him a waterskin and tossing his confiscated dagger about 50 feet towards the south, advising him that there were smuggling openings in Recco. The party then relocated a couple miles further north, setting up camp well off the main road and planned to rest for the remainder of the day.
Body Count: 6 humans, 1 deer
Baller Moment of the Week: Bieito enslaving and turning one of the raiders against the others, turning the tide of the fight.
Fuckup of the Week: Bieito paralyzing himself. See a doctor if your erection lasts more than 4 hours.
Running Body Count: 112 humans, 50 creatures, 49 undead