The Fey, the Far, and the Ugly Space In Between

Tecklenburg

Explorer
1) Saerie, you have a gauntlet of three immature aboleths to run before you can get to Otthor. You've got two of them behind you moving after you (possibly more just running away from the remorhaz than anything else!). And of course a huge, hungry centipede that longs to eat with the power of a thousand burning suns!

2) Otthor, as you finish off the immature aboleths, the Aboleth Overseer on the ridge throws its terrifyingly long and impossibly strong tentacles your way. It invades your mind with "...let us join..." Its alien maw seems to smile. If it had a tongue, it might lick its nonexistent lips. The one nearest you (IA8) moves to engage you while the two on the far end of the long moraine collect themselves from their "dragon flinging" and begin to navigate the rocky slope in a northerly course (toward your position).

3) The mighty white dragon and the powerful aboleths are locked in deadly battle. Their staggering mucus haze seems to be wearing down even on his incredible fortitude.

I speak in my mind to the invasive aboleth. "Worse things than you have tried to make a meal of me." As the creature's tentacles are about to strike me, I use the arcane fabric that overlays all realities and step through worlds, leaving the creature's tentacles to grasp at nothing. Using the Void Note of the Bladesong, I teleport next to the aboleths blocking the way for Saerie, Rawr, and the old dog. I'll help them cut a path.

[sblock]Used 1 Bladesong for Void Note to avoid the imminent danger of the Aboleth Overseer's tentacles. Teleported to close range with IA3, IA4, and IA7.

Flawless Bladework (Int)
2, 2 + 3 = 7

d8 damage + 1 technique and enemies counterattack me. 3 damage.

Burst: Your attack deals an additional 1d4 damage and gains the ‘forceful’ tag. 3 damage. Dead.

Counterattack on me. d6 + 2 (2 extra aboleths) = 4 - 4 (spend 1 Bladesong for + 2 armor from Guarded Flourish) = 0 damage to me.[/sblock]

My blade and body work with tremendous alacrity the moment I emerge in a flash of teleportation. Spinning, slashing, parrying tentacles, and neatly side-stepping, I bring a ward of magic forth at the last moment to deflect the aboleth blows.

Per Manbearcat
The two of them, hungry for a meal to fuel their otherwordly biology, rush you hungrily in concert without success.

However, as you focus on dispatching these two, you can feel the other three, from your flank and behind, closing in (1, 2, and 8).

You can go ahead and make a move, but if you do (rather than getting out of here), you're going to be defying danger in short order.

The battle is a whirl of massive bodies, fire, ice, telepathic invasion, and flailing tentacles. I block everything from my mind save for ending the lives of these two creatures before me so my allies can find egress against the pursuing Remorhaz.

[sblock]Flawless Bladework (Int)
4, 4 + 3 = 11

d8 damage + 2 techniques. 6 damage. Dead.

Burst: Your attack deals an additional 1d4 damage and gains the ‘forceful’ tag. I want to use the forceful tag to fling the body of the aboleth every the heads of my incoming allies so the Remorhaz has something to feed on momentarily.

Flowing: If your attack kills a target, you may immediately attack a new target as if you had gotten a 7-9 on the move you initially used.

d8 damage + 1 technique and the last aboleth counterattacks me. 7 damage. Dead.

Burst: Your attack deals an additional 1d4 damage and gains the ‘forceful’ tag. Again, I want to use the forceful tag to fling the body of the aboleth every the heads of my incoming allies so the Remorhaz has something to feed on momentarily.

Counterattack on me. d6 = 3 - 2 = 1 damage to me.[/sblock]

Per Manbearcat
You slaughter the other two aboleths before you. You reach out and grasp their bodies with magical force and hurl them over the heads of your allies who are now emerging on your position. As you had hoped, the burning Remorhaz stops his implacable, burning pursuit to feed upon the two corpses. The other two aboleths that it was pursuing (5 and 6 that were engaged with Saerie on the moraine) have thought better of pursuing you guys and split off in separate ways; 5 toward the dragon and the Aboleth Overseers and 6 toward the long moraine and the other Aboleth Overseer.

However, 1, 2 and 8 do converge on you, tentacles leading hungry maws.

As the tentacles grasp my arms, legs and waste, I attempt to harness the fury of a thousand battles to break free.

[sblock]Defy Danger (Str)
1, 1 - 1 = 0

Mark 1 xp

1d6 + 2 damage to me. 2 + 2 - 2 = 2 damage to me.[/sblock]

Lol, just like at the crevasse.

Per Manbearcat
Saerie, you see your ally pulled to the ground and set upon by three ravenous immature aboleths as you arrive (roll damage Otthor). Exel is rushing up from behind as fast as his stumpy goblin legs will carry him.

You have momentary respite from the Remorhaz, but the Aboleth Overseer on the long moraine sends its 60 ft tentacles toward you.

Meanwhile, the dragon is beginning to be overcome by the two powerful aboleths and their fetid auras. The mighty wyrm barely has the strength to fend off their tentacles as they wrap all over the creature, bringing its belly to the ground. If you don't intervene soon, The Frozen Wind of the North will be slain and you will have two more Aboleth Overseers to contend with!
 

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Binks

Explorer
Lol, just like at the crevasse.

Perfect! I can work on my bond to redeem myself for letting you fall into the crevasse!

As I'm sprinting toward Otthor I string an arrow. Rawr explodes with ferocity on the pack of aboleths attempting to pull Otthor apart, limb by limb. Before I can let fly, I see something coming at me at high speed out of my peripheral. I reflixively dive and roll.

[sblock]Defy Danger (Dex)
5, 3 + 2 = 10[/sblock]

Narrowly avoiding the Aboleth Overseer's tentacles, I keep the momentum and roll to my feet. Arrow after arrow after arrow streams from my bow as Rawr tears into the three creatures and rips them off our friend.

[sblock]Volley (Dex)
3, 3 + 2 = 8

Blot Out the Sun. Spending 2 Ammo to hit all three aboleths on Otthor. 1 Ammo left.

d8 + 3 (Rawr) damage. 7. All three are dead.

I'll take danger as my complication.[/sblock]

Per Manbearcat
The burning furnace of the massive centipede-like beast behind you has slowed as it scoops up each carcass along the way. However, the intensity of his heat is setting off bursts of scalding steam as the bottom, pressurized layers of the the thick permafrost are turned to super-heated vapor. The "geysers" are racing in your direction in a chain reaction of thermal conduction. Soon, burning steam will fill the air all around you.

I jump onto Otthor and cover him with my cloak to help protect him. I'll endure this suffering for him.
I cringe when I hear the dog yelp and Rawr protest from the scalding steam...

[sblock]Defend (Con) Otthor
4, 2 + 1 = 7.

Spending my 1 Hold to:

* Redirect an attack from the thing you defend to yourself.[/sblock]

Per Manbearcat
The scalding steam envelops you and dissipates soon thereafter but the searing pain remains. The permafrost is quickly becoming mush below your feet. Otthor is safe but your skin is blistered over in several places.

[sblock]roll d8 environmental damage to you, ignores armor.[/sblock]

[sblock]6 damage to me.[/sblock]

I pull Otthor to his feet and he sees my burned face. With bloody, blistered lips I say "...we have to save the dragon!" as I point at the two Aboleth Overseers entangling his wings with their tentacles and bringing him to his knees with their vile auras. "Get their tentacles off his wings and pull them off of him so he can fly!"

Per Manbearcat
Suddenly, and this if for the both of you, your eyes behold a horror. As you stare back at each other, you each see the same thing. Tentacles burst from your friend’s eyes and mouth as something inside pulls them inside out revealing a gruesome, tentacled, multi-eyed, multi-mouthed (with nasty fangs) floating abomination where a real person once stood. The vision is so horrifying that your mind reels.

[sblock]You guys are going to both have to Defy Danger to do anything at all![/sblock]

[sblock]Defy Danger (Wis)
4, 5 + 2 = 11[/sblock]

I easily shake off the vision and see it for what it is; a phantasmal illusion from the twisted mind of the Aboleth Overseer. Hoping the sound of my voice and my logic helps clear my friend’s head, I beseech him to cast off the illusion in our hour of need. “Otthor, this is nothing more than the Far Realm’s twisted version of our Fey magic.” I then speak an elven mantra that our instructors provided us back home when we would be subjected to Fey enchantments so we might develop a resistance to their lure.

[sblock]Decades of Experience so take + 1 and I mark 1 xp when you act on it.[/sblock]

Per Manbearcat
You're up Otthor. You guys are smack in the middle of the map there where the 3 immature aboleths, now slain, are/were. The Remorhaz is at near range to you guys, chomping on the carcasses that you laid in his path. Everything else is where I advised before. Oh, except Exel. He has run back to his unconscious brother and is standing over him as the remaining two immature aboleths (5 and 6) gather on the ridge of the far moraine and leer hungrily in his direction.
 
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Tecklenburg

Explorer
I pull Otthor to his feet and he sees my burned face. With bloody, blistered lips I say "...we have to save the dragon!" as I point at the two Aboleth Overseers entangling his wings with their tentacles and bringing him to his knees with their vile auras. "Get their tentacles off his wings and pull them off of him so he can fly!"

[sblock]Defy Danger (Wis)
4, 5 + 2 = 11[/sblock]

I easily shake off the vision and see it for what it is; a phantasmal illusion from the twisted mind of the Aboleth Overseer. Hoping the sound of my voice and my logic helps clear my friend’s head, I beseech him to cast off the illusion in our hour of need. “Otthor, this is nothing more than the Far Realm’s twisted version of our Fey magic.” I then speak an elven mantra that our instructors provided us back home when we would be subjected to Fey enchantments so we might develop a resistance to their lure.

[sblock]Decades of Experience so take + 1 and I mark 1 xp when you act on it.[/sblock]

Per Manbearcat
You're up Otthor. You guys are smack in the middle of the map there where the 3 immature aboleths, now slain, are/were. The Remorhaz is at near range to you guys, chomping on the carcasses that you laid in his path. Everything else is where I advised before. Oh, except Exel. He has run back to his unconscious brother and is standing over him as the remaining two immature aboleths (5 and 6) gather on the ridge of the far moraine and leer hungrily in his direction.

I rise to meet my friend with a mixture of emotions. Sorrow for the pain she has just endured on my behalf. Anger that she had to in the first place. Grateful for her sacrifice. Awe-struck by her skill. Proud to call her my friend.

When my eyes betray me and tell me my friend has turned to a mutilated horror, my emotions almost send me into shock. Her calm voice and insightful instructions kick-start my powerful deductive mind.

[sblock]Defy Danger (Int)
5, 1 + 3 (+ 1 DoE) = 10[/sblock]

Per Manbearcat
As quickly as the illusion manifested, it fades away as you unravel the magical deception through the potency of your keen mind.

I heed Saerie's words, reach out to the Aboleth Overseer near me (AO2), rending the space before me with blades of cutting air.

[sblock]Wind Slash (Int)
1, 6 + 3 = 10

d8 damage and 1 technique. Rolled 6 - 1 = 5 damage.

Burst: Your attack deals an additional 1d4 damage and gains the ‘forceful’ tag. 4 damage. I want to uncoil the tentacles from the dragon's wings and pull it away from the dragon so it is out of the aura. If I can force it nearer the Remorhaz, that would be great.[/sblock]

Per Manbearcat
The Aboleth Overseer under the assault of your blade magic unleashes a strange keening in protest as you uncoil its tentacles from the dragons wings and pull the huge creature a few feet away from the dragon. You can't get it terribly far, but far enough to get the dragon out of its mucus haze. The Remorhaz is still well far away. The dragon, invigorated, flaps its now free wing and buffets the creature further away from him. His protests against the other Aboleth Overseer become furious almost immediately.

As the battle wages here, the other Aboleth Overseer and the two immature aboleths close in on Exel. He can't possibly stand for very long against them but he isn't leaving his brother, that is for sure.

I clench my teeth and scowl. I look at Saerie. "Finish it off my friend." With that, I hear the final echoes of this battle's song as I step through worlds again.

[sblock]Spending last Bladesong for Void Note to close the distance between Exel and I as much as I can.[/sblock]

When I emerge from my teleport, I'll run whatever remaining distance is required to get to Exel.

Per Manbearcat
You arrive just in time to stand with him against the speedy, skittering aboleths. From further back, the Aboleth Overseers huge tentacles reach for him.

I look down at Exel and nod at him as we stand in front of his unconscious brother. He bangs his weapon on his shield and I smile. I'll intercept the attacks against him and then turn the tide of battle.

[sblock]Defend (Con) Exel
6, 4 + 1 = 11

3 hold.

* Redirect an attack from the thing you defend to yourself
* Halve the attack’s effect or damage
* Deal damage to the attacker equal to your level. 4 damage. I'll spend that on the attacker that was already injured by Saerie earlier. He should be dead.

1d10 + 3 (+2 for the two immature aboleths). 3 + 5 = 8/2 = 4 - 3 (going to spend the last point of Sentry the goblins so + 1 armor) = 1 damage against me. Forceful tag against me.[/sblock]

Per Manbearcat
Your swordplay and Exel's stout shield is a defiant wall. One of the small aboleth's pays with its life. Nonetheless, the huge Overseer's tentacles upend grab you and drag you toward it. If you don't break free, you're going to be up close and personal, in the ancient creatures powerful mucus haze...that is virulent enough to take down dragons.

On the bright side, Exel is only faced by one of the small creatures while the Overseer is preoccupied with you!

Defy Danger Strength hasn't worked out for me in the past so well! It would be nice to have some Bladesong left right about now. Here goes nothing...

[sblock]Defy Danger (Str)
5, 6 - 1 = 10[/sblock]

Boom!

Per Manbearcat
Yeah yeah, you're awesome.

Halfway between Exel/the small aboleth and the Overseer (Reach range to both), you burst free from the creature's crushing grip with a rush of heroic reserves!

Sit tight as I have to move Saerie forward.
 

Binks

Explorer
[sblock]Marked 1 xp for Otthor using my Decades of Experience[/sblock]

Alright, I guess its up to me to slay this aboleth and rescue the dragon. I turn and sprint to put some distance between myself and the Aboleth Overseer (AO2) on this creature (out to Far). I figure it is probably pretty close (maybe just out of Reach range?) when Otthor used his force magic and the dragon wing-buffeted it. I'll run toward the southern end of the long moraine...so if it wants to get to me it will have to cross the remorhaz's northerly track after it finishes its meal...

[sblock]Defy Danger (Dex)
1, 3 + 2 = 6.

Mark 1 xp.[/sblock]

Oh that is not good.

The Aboleth Overseer's attention s on getting back to the dragon but your crunching of the ice turns its attention to you. You get several steps away (out to Near range) but you hear a terrible sound. Ice cracking.

The permafrost directly below you right here is apparently just thick ice...probably over a nothing more than a pool...but a super-heated boiling pool thanks to the Remorhaz. Rawr and the dog do not get swept in, but the ice breaks directly below you and you fall into chest deep boiling water. The ice on the edges floats away from you to the edge of the pool and melts rapidly.

[sblock]take 1d6 environmental, ignores armor[/sblock]

The enveloping water scalds you. Rawr...well, he rawrs and the dog barks on the edge of the pool.

[sblock]d6 ignores armor. Rolled 6.[/sblock]

This is really bad. 5 HP left. I reach out to my animal friends. Rawr grasps me with his long arms and the dog takes a mouthful of my winter cloak at the wrist and they pull me to the actual permafrost while I endure the roasting...hopefully.

[sblock]Using the sheepdog's Intervene so I can only get a 7-9 result at best. I can't have another hard move.

Defy Danger (Con)
4, 1 + 1 (+1) = 7.

Success but with a worse outcome, a hard bargain, or an ugly choice[/sblock]

Per Manbearcat,
In the effort, the bottom latch for your quiver is torn from your thigh so it upends, spilling out your few remaining arrows (1 Ammo).

You can try to reach in and grab them before they fall to the boiling bottom, but you'll have to Defy Danger Con. You don't have much time. AO2 has deemed pursuit of you not particularly useful and is re-entering the fray with the dragon. The huge aboleth's tentacles grasp the thrashing dragon again. He can easily slay the other aboleth (the creature is already terribly wounded)...but even he can do little against the suffocating compounding of both of their auras and tentacle might.

Ah screw it. If I fail and roll a 5 or 6, so be it. We're going to get to find out Saerie's mettle right now.

Searing pain in every nerve of her body, she growls as she reaches into the boiling water to quickly grab her small bundle of arrows before they sink to the bottom.

[sblock]Defy Danger (Con)
4, 5 + 1 = 10[/sblock]

She lets out a feral roar as her hand and arm are again burned terribly...but she grabs the arrows despite it. In one smooth motion from her knee, she turns and fires a barrage of arrows at the nearest attacking the dragon (AO2 - the one that Otthor injured).

[sblock]Volley (Dex)
4, 2 + 2 = 8

I'll choose danger as my consequence.

d8 damage. Rolled 5 - 1 = 4.[/sblock]

Per Manbearcat
The arrows tear into the aboleth but it continues its onslaught, determined to bring the dragon down. Both of the Aboleth Overseers attacking the dragon are nearing being mortally wounded.

You feel stirring back to your south...the Remorhaz has finished feeding and you look like a tasty snack. His hundred burning lets skitter his huge centipede form toward you.

Urg. I'd like to lure him to the Overseer on the ridge of the moraine, but I have to keep the dragon and aboleths in my Far range. Wait. I have an entire satchel filled with rations. If I empty my satchel of all but 10 of the rations, will that be enough to hold him off for a few while I fire off more arrows?

Per Manbearcat
10 should buy you a moment or two.

Alright, I empty the rest of the rations on the ground except for the 10 (marked off 10 rations down to 27), fold the satchel real quick and throw it toward him so it slides nearby. When he investigates it and begins to eat, I'm firing off more arrows.

[sblock]Volley (Dex)
2, 5 + 2 = 9

I'll take danger again.

d8 damage. Rolled 8 (!) - 1 = 7 damage.[/sblock]

Per Manbearcat
The last series of shots eviscerates several tentacles that were grappling the dragon. The final one slams into the creatures head. It rocks wildly for a moment and then falls to the ground. The tentacles slam down on top of it, smashing its body further.

The dragon again roars in defiance. It tears its body away from the other one and unleashes a destructive blast of shards of ice. The creature freezes in place until the dragons tail comes about, shattering it into a million pieces...

The Remorhaz is not remotely sated by your offering...you, Rawr and the dog look much, much more filling...

Hold here for now.
 

Tecklenburg

Explorer
Per Manbearcat
Yeah yeah, you're awesome.

Halfway between Exel/the small aboleth and the Overseer (Reach range to both), you burst free from the creature's crushing grip with a rush of heroic reserves!

The moment I hit the frozen earth of the glacial moraine, I'm back at it, unleashing blades of cutting air on the Aboleth Overseer. It's time to finish this!

[sblock]Wind Slash (Int)
4, 2 + 3 = 9

I'll choose danger as my complication.

d8 damage. 4 - 1 = 3 damage.

Burst: 1d4 damage and forceful tag. 2 damage and I want to knock the creature prone. 5 damage total. I think that is 10 on the creature now.[/sblock]

Per Manbearcat
You upend the creature with your force magic. However, in the process the massive, weighty flailing tentacles smash into the earth right at your feet. Instantaneously, the earth opens up before you, threatening to swallow and bury you as all of the frozen rocks shift violently!

With quick thinking, I see the flailing tentacles that got me into this jam as the key of getting me out of it. I leap forward and attempt to grab one with my free hand.

[sblock]Defy Danger (Int)
3, 5 + 3 = 11[/sblock]

Pulling an Indiana Jones with his bull whip, I swing to the safety of the still-intact moraine. Blade and magic flashing, it's time for some more bad medicine!

[sblock]Wind Slash (Int)
5, 6 + 3 = 14

d8 damage. 7 - 1 = 6 damage.

Burst: 1d4 damage and forceful tag. 4 damage and I want to knock the creature prone. 10 damage total. I think that is 20 on the creature now.[/sblock]

Per Manbearcat
Exel cuts down the last immature aboleth at the same time as you deliver the decisive blows on the Aboleth Overseer.

The battlefield falls still save for the sounds of the cracking permafrost as sprays of superheated vapor erupt everywhere near and around the Remorhaz. The trouble that Saerie is in diminishes quickly as the newly freed dragon commands the elements of the north to form a wall of freezing wind between Saerie and the huge burning centipede. When the Remorhaz looks to its left flank and sees the waiting carcasses of the two Aboleth Overseers, it thinks better of pursuing the nothing morsel that is Saerie through the biting, freezing winter winds.

It burrows into the earth, emerges beneath one of the huge carcasses, grasps it with its mandibles, and disappears with its hearty meal into the bowels of the frozen north.

I'll move the fiction forward later.
 
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Meanwhile...many miles away...

"...won't be long now" says the pock-faced man holding a torch out before him in the gathering twilight. "You see those words? Know what they say? No, of course you don't. Might as well be smeared sheep dung to the likes of you." He looks down at the terrified little boy who is trying to avert his gaze. Holding the rough man's hand, the little boy has no control over what he does and doesn't do. He shivers involuntarily, equal parts terrible cold, equal parts primordial fear.

"LOOK AT IT!" He jerks the boy forward so that his face is inches from the glistening black obelisk with the shifting runes. The little boy does as he's told and immediately the voices start in. A chorus of madness whispering to him from some insane realm. The boy knows what the words mean.

"Your pa voted me out of my home. Took everything from me." He sighs and looks down at the ground and quietly says "...well now I get to take everything from him...from everyone." He looks up at the tower, the empty eye-socket understanding. "It says Piscaethces, The Blood Queen, travels the currents of all realities to spread her seed." He snickers and looks down at the boy, forcing him to remove his sight from the obelisk and rejoin the realm of the sane. "Well kiddo...guess who's up next?"

He shucks his heavy furs from his body and stands their naked in the sub-zero temperatures. "You know the way back." He turns and walks backward toward the tower. "Remember what you saw here. Let it haunt your dreams for the rest of your days...what few you have left." Liquid black arms grab the man and stretch him impossibly in every direction as his form joins with the tower. Then the obsidian outer walls revert to their original form, runes of an alien language swarming in all directions.

The boy turns and runs on terror-fueled legs.




Back at the melt-water reservoir at the edge of Averandox's glacial lair...

The white dragon prowls back and fourth between the two remaining Aboleth Overseer carcasses, shredding them to pieces (Messy) with his terrible claws and jaws. In between rending huge chunks of meat and swallowing them down his gullet, he curses in an ancient draconic tongue and roars in angry defiance.

By the time his tantrum and hunger have run their course, the king and his large entourage of guards have arrived via sled. By the look on his face, he is taken aback by the carnage. The guards are surely terrified, their polearms visibly shaking in their hands. Addressing the king, the impatient, enraged wyrm speaks brusquely. "Your men will stay and watch my hoard. I know every coin and every bauble. If one is missing, I will raze your kingdom of petty merchants."

The king and all of the guards bend the knee the moment they're addressed. Head still bowed, the king meekly promises "...every treasure will be precisely where you left it, my lord."

The dragon turns to you guys and grits his huge teeth, making a terrible noise. He speaks in a tone that will brook no dissent. "We go to World's End Bluff. Now. I will flay the flesh of the remaining pretenders to my crown before tomorrow's sun."

You guys have a few minutes of transition scene to resolve yourselves to whatever you wish. Then you've got a rather pumped up dragon on your hands!
 
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Binks

Explorer
You guys have a few minutes of transition scene to resolve yourselves to whatever you wish. Then you've got a rather pumped up dragon on your hands!

I check on everyone to make sure they're ok. I'll let Exel and Xanob know how much respect I have for their battle prowess. Kord is proud of them to have fought, and won, such a battle. The dog will surely be following me around. I'll pet his flank and his ears as I move around and talk to my allies. My skin aches terribly and I attempt to apply healing salves and bandages to my arms, legs, chest, face through the pain. I'm sure I look hideous and this will likely leave terrible scars, but so be it.

I address Otthor during this. "Otthor, I have a terrible feeling. We need to leave immediately for the Coldlands. The refugees there have been in that inhospitable clime with ruthless inhabitants for far too long as is. We promised to help the dragon destroy the alien creatures threatening his realm. And so we have. In part. World's End Bluff can wait until after we have rescued the Coldland refugees."

If there is any protestation at all, I will let him know that "I swore and oath to the people of Giliad's Rest. Though they do not occupy the same living space at the base of the mountain, these people are their kin by blood and by ties that bind deeper than blood. I must save them. I fear they haven't long to live...if they are indeed still alive."

Per Manbearcat
The goblin brothers let Otthor know and the dog lets Saerie know that they refuse to ride the dragon again. On the short flight over here their terror was clear. Further, the goblins suffered brutal motion-sickness with both of them losing their breakfast the moment you landed.

If you guys want them to ride the dragon anywhere with you (even just the short jaunt up into the Coldlands), you'll have to make a loyalty check.

I calm their concerns and let them know that we would never force them to ride the dragon against their will. I'll arrange with the king for them to stay at Earthmaw. Even if the guard, or part of it, stays here to watch the dragon's treasure while it flies off to World's End, the king won't be staying. Our cowardly little sled-driver Abnor can take them back to Earthmaw.

Per Manbearcat
Major separation anxiety and protests will abound at that point from goblin brothers and dog alike. The goblins derive their worth at this point to battling at your side. The dog will perceive any short term separation as potential abandonment. You'll have to roll loyalty for this as well.

I'll wait for Otthor before I roll anything. Regardless, Saerie is going to the Coldlands and the dragon will stand by its promise. The trek up the mountain trail would be a full day lost. I can't abide that.

By the way, post-battle:

Saerie

HP 5/21
AG 5
AM 1
DR 26 (I'll keep track of them for everyone but Otthor)
XP 9
 

Tecklenburg

Explorer
My skin aches terribly and I attempt to apply healing salves and bandages to my arms, legs, chest, face through the pain. I'm sure I look hideous and this will likely leave terrible scars, but so be it.

I address Otthor during this. "Otthor, I have a terrible feeling. We need to leave immediately for the Coldlands. The refugees there have been in that inhospitable clime with ruthless inhabitants for far too long as is. We promised to help the dragon destroy the alien creatures threatening his realm. And so we have. In part. World's End Bluff can wait until after we have rescued the Coldland refugees."

If there is any protestation at all, I will let him know that "I swore and oath to the people of Giliad's Rest. Though they do not occupy the same living space at the base of the mountain, these people are their kin by blood and by ties that bind deeper than blood. I must save them. I fear they haven't long to live...if they are indeed still alive."

When she says the last bit about swearing an oath to the people of Giliad's Rest, I'm thinking "...you also swore an oath to the Summer Queen that you would ensure no Far Realm threat to the Feywild is realized..." But I don't dare say it when I see the fire and emotion in her eyes. She has to do this and now. But there must be a middle way because the dragon won't have it.

I help her in applying the salves and bandages and smile while I do so. "You will go to the Coldlands and find these refugees. I will go with the dragon and route our enemies at World's End." If she looks like she is going to speak up and protest, I will hush her gently. "It must be this way. It must." With the last I nod at the dragon and its frenzy so that she understands what I mean. "I will implore Exel and Xanob to go with you. It is just a few moment's worth of flight. They'll come around."

When the dragon makes his demands of us, I'll stand up from where Saerie and I are seated. I turn to the dragon and say. "I will go with you. Together, we can easily dispatch our mutual foes. I promised that we would end the threat to your reign together. It will be fulfilled." I'll look at Saerie. "But they go to the Coldlands, which was our half of the deal. The cause there is as immediate as this cause and cannot wait. You promised you would fly them there. It will be a matter of minutes on your back but a day by foot and by hand."

I hold Saerie's hand and lift her to her feet. "This 'she-elf', as you called her, slew one of the aboleths you were fighting, freeing you from its clutches. For her efforts, she was burned terribly by the Remorhaz. In your vast hoard, there is no doubt a potion that would heal her wounds. That is a pittance for her role in defeating your enemies."

Per Manbearcat
The dragon flies off and is back in a matter of minutes. He drops a leather satchel at your feet. Inside are a pair of small stoppered beakers (2 healing potions), tin canisters with fast-healing poultices (2 uses)

[sblock]Poultices and Herbs; 2 uses, slow, 10 coins, 1 weight

When you carefully treat someone’s wounds with poultices and herbs, heal them of 7 damage and expend a use.

Healing Potion; 50 coins, 0 weight

When you drink an entire healing potion, heal yourself of 10 damage or remove one debility, your choice.[/sblock]

He agrees to your terms with little to no fuss but demands that Saerie and her group leave with him to fly to the higher altitude Coldlands immediately.

I calm their concerns and let them know that we would never force them to ride the dragon against their will. I'll arrange with the king for them to stay at Earthmaw. Even if the guard, or part of it, stays here to watch the dragon's treasure while it flies off to World's End, the king won't be staying. Our cowardly little sled-driver Abnor can take them back to Earthmaw.

I won't calm their concerns. In their tongue I say, "...you asked for 'glorious battle' and you received it. You pledged yourselves to us. Saerie needs you now and the only thing preventing further glorious battle is a short ride on the back of a dragon. You both faced death several times over since you've been with us. You are not cowardly. Kord would want to see you on the back of that dragon's back and venturing boldy into the Coldlands to vanquish more enemies in his name."

[sblock]Hireling (Loyalty)
6, 2 + 1= 9

They do it for now, but come back with serious demands later. Meet them or the hireling quits on the worst terms.[/sblock]

Per Manbearcat
Exel grumbles quietly under his breath "...Kord would want us to slay that dragon..." Xanob does the same "...in war there are meant to be spoils..."

But they relent and join Saerie on the dragon

I'll let Binks sort the dog out, agree or disagree, and finalize this thing. If we part ways here, I'll promise to see her in a few days time. I'll ask her to leave me trail signs and I'll track them as swiftly as I'm able.

When the dragon returns from dropping them off, I'll ask him what he saw beneath the deep waters of this runoff reservoir. Was there a structure? A gate? Why are they here? And why now? I'd like to know more and possibly get my hands on aboleth records, writings, prophecies...if they keep such things?

EDIT - I empty my quiver in there somewhere and place my arrows in Saerie's quiver. + 3 Ammo [MENTION=6775039]Binks[/MENTION].

Otthor

HP 16/21
AG 4
AM 0
DR 7
XP 9
 
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Binks

Explorer
I'll defer to Otthor here. This is probably as good as we're going to get without incurring the wrath of the dragon.

As the dragon flies off to its hoard to get the satchel with the poultices and healing potions, I'll comfort the dog. It is high time that we give him a name. In talking with him, he has very little ability to communicate what the humans called him. It was good fortune that we found him when we did. Good fortune for him and for us. Therefore, I'm going to name him "Lucky". I'll promise Lucky that the trip will be short and I'll hold him the whole way up there. I'd rather have him with us and I think he'd rather be with us.

[sblock]Hireling (Loyalty)
2, 6 + 2 = 10[/sblock]

Once finished with Lucky, I'll let Otthor know that I'm going to mark our trail with charcoal every 100 meters. I'll mark it with a cardinal direction, such as NE. There should be plenty of rocks or hard earth to mark up there. I don't know what direction we'll be heading first so just look around where the dragon sits us down at. It will be obvious. Marking off 1 Adventuring Gear.

When the dragon returns, I'll insist on Otthor taking one of the two Healing Potions. When he relents, I'll take the satchel, say an elven blessing for both of us, bid him good luck and farewell for the moment.

When we get up top, I'm going to apply both of the Poultice and Herbs to my terrible burns. At Slow, that will take several minutes. Once done I'll get my bearings and see if there are any tracks or man-made trail signs or signs of habitation in the immediate area.

[sblock]Discern Realities (Wis)
2, 3 + 2 = 7

1 question and + 1 forward when acting on it.

* What happened here recently?[/sblock]

I'll decide where we're going based on your next post. Once done, I'll mark a rock with our travel direction for Otthor and the five of us will set out through parts unknown.

Updated Saerie

HP 19/21
AG 4
AM 4
DR 26 (I'll keep track of them for everyone but Otthor)
XP 9

1 Healing Potion!
 

Saerie

The dragon drops you off at what appears to be a way station for travelers once they make their way up the steep ascent that is the precarious trail to the Coldlands above. It would be a brutal trek that would take all of a day without rest. As such, it's a sure thing that all weary travelers rest here.

There is a hewn hollow into the stone face that gets folks out of the biting winds. In the hollow is a firepit and some cast iron pots/pans/ladel/spoons and a broken down spit. There is a bin in the back for food stores but there is nothing in there currently. The scree in the hollow is undisturbed by the wind so it will keep its history for some time. Three travelers came through here last, one of which was a small child. How long ago is unknown but there are no embers and no remnant food to evaluate. It had to have been more than a week.

The three traveler's trail out of here into the interior couldn't be more conspicuous.

The ground drops away at a steady decline from the way station where the entire interior is something of a massive bowl. Apparently, once upon a time the interior of these Coldlands was entirely underwater. Perhaps the climate turned dramatically and changed once wetlands into a mostly arid bog. This place probably doesn't see much precipitation as the only snow on the ground is on the upper reaches of the far peak. The bowl below you is covered by a thick bed of peat moss for as far as the eye can see, the only resilient greenery at these harsh elevations. It is almost frozen, keeping the tracks of travelers in perpetuity. There is a weathered trail right through the middle.

As you look far out on the open, half-frozen mire, you see a small group of musk deer chased down by a large snow leopard. The creature drags its kill away. From this vantage, you can see several miles into the distances. There are a pair of non-natural structures dotting the far, far end of the bowl where the ground ascends steeply to the upper reaches of this place. The walk across the half-frozen peat bog must be a grueling one and surely a breezy one as there are no obstructions to stop the wind.

Beyond that, you can see the tall peaks rising in the distance. On the tallest one, there is a tall, dark rectangle jutting up near the peak...utterly out of place with the rest of the rugged, white mountains. That must be the strange tower that the Winter Wolf told you about at the beginning of your journey.




Otthor

The dragon tells you that there was a structure down there that housed the Aboleths. From his description, it was almost like a red crystal-roofed dome pavilion on stone framing. The strange crystal roof bore the engraving of a vast creature, almost aboleth-like but different. Inside was a single wall with a vast array of inscriptions on it. There was no sign of an active portal nor any archway or door-looking construct. But he wasn't exploring much. He was on a search and destroy mission and the creatures scattered into chaos when he suddenly emerged in their midst.

His tone implies that he is growing impatient and is ready to go. If you keep testing him, you're going to have to roll some dice!
 
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