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

Binks

Explorer
SAERIE



It is basically the C3PO and ewoks scene from Return.

The three women slowly rise, jaws agape, from their stooped position, dropping their linens into the hot springs. They listen to your words and when you're finished, they immediately drop to their knees and begin chanting deferentially. They think you're a primal spirit.

The little ones have no such deference nor compunctions about approaching you. They all quietly come near you, wide-eyed, touching your skin where it might be bared and feeling your hair. One by one they take the dreamcatchers you made for them and back away, marveling at them. One of the little girls wondrously asks "...is it magic?..."

The women don't scold them or anything. They're far too awe-stricken and don't appear to have any fears that you'll harm the children.

The floor is yours.

I do nothing directly to dissuade their presumption that I'm a primal spirit. For all intents and purposes, that is exactly what I am. At the very least, I am working on their direct behalf as I am here to deliver them from the unnatural.

"It does have magic to it." I bend down, pat the small girl on her head, and smile at her. "Hang it overhead where you sleep. I promise you that if you do, goodly spirits will keep you safe and ward your dreams from wicked ones."

To the mothers, I ask if any of them speak the tongue of wild beasts, for what I have to talk to them about is neither for the ears of children nor for the unnatural ears that haunt these Coldlands.

Per Manbearcat
Hmmmmm…That is an interesting angle. Let’s find out shall we? Are you willing to up the stakes for your “unsurveilable communications”? If so, go ahead and roll 2d6 and let’s find out what happens. 10+ one of them can speak the beast-tongue like you and you’re good. On a 7-9, one of them can communicate with them using the beast-tongue, but pick one:

You avoid paying nature’s price

Everything here is as it seems

[sblock]3, 3 + 0 = 6.

Mark 1 xp.[/sblock]

Ack!

Per Manbearcat
From their prostrate positions, they each look at the other with bewilderment.

Then the third of the women staggers momentarily like she just got punched in the gut. Her eyes bulge wide and she reaches for her mid-section. The two other women look at her with consternation and begin to go to her when suddenly something from within the woman bursts forth. It is violent, however it is not gory. Nonetheless it is disturbing. It as if the woman has been turned from a three dimensional object to a two dimensional object. Emaciated black arms with long, spindly, claw-tipped fingers reach out into this world from within and begin to pull her…”inward”…revealing a black empty space inside. She tries to scream but she makes no sound. The arms continue to do this at amazing speed until nothing of the woman remains but an empty, swirling darkness lays claim to the space that she once inhabited.

Suddenly, the dark vortex begins to tug at this world…and that tug quickly turns into a powerful force accompanied by the deafening roar of wind as everything nearby, including the linens, small rocks, the nearby water, is being drawn into it. Obviously much worse than that, the women, the children, and yourself struggle to not be sucked in as well!

What…in…the…hell? Or Far Realm I guess…

There is nothing to hang onto here. Maybe some ingenuity and the might of Rawr can get us out of this?

I quickly grab my remaining rope, should be at the top of my pack, and throw it to the children who are nearby me and the two kneeling women, who are hopefully crawling away from the…errr…black hole (?). “HANG ON!” I loop the rope around Rawr’s muzzle and in his mouth. I don’t need to tell him to “pull”. He gets it I’m sure. I’ll help anchor the line and pull everyone.

So acting fast and thinking fast, then? And I’m spending my last Adventuring Gear here.

Per Manbearcat
Just the thinking fast so DD Int. You can take + 1 for your AG.

[sblock]Defy Danger (Int)
5, 2 + 1 (take + 1) = 9

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

Per Manbearcat
Rawr’s might pulls one pace…two paces…three paces. But the vortex is too intense and too sudden. Some of you can escape but not everyone. Either the two remaining mothers or half the children are going in. Alternatively, you can let go of the rope and try to rescue them, putting yourself at imminent risk of death. And I mean imminent risk of death. If you go in that thing, it isn’t HP loss…it’s straight dirtnap.

But it is getting smaller as every moment passes…

There must be good sized rocks nearby? Rocks big enough that they aren’t getting sucked into this? I’m going to make a run to scoop up the few stray children who are prone on the ground, crawling at the rocks as they try to not be drawn into this thing. I’ll fight with all my strength and might to get to that rock with the at-risk children and put it between us and this tear in the fabric of our reality.

Rawr should be able to get the rest to safety.

[sblock]Defy Danger (Str)
2, 6 + 0 = 8

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

Per Manbearcat
You grab the two children, get them to safety and buffer them as all hell breaks loose around you. In a few horrendously violent moments, the entropic hole winks out of existence, but not before you are battered a bit by debris (roll 1d4 environmental - armor will apply).

Rawr has gotten the women and the children to a small ditch at the base of the ridge you crested. Everyone is huddled together and holding each other, sobbing audibly.

[sblock]1d4 damage. 2 – 1 armor = 1 damage to me.[/sblock]

I bring the two children over to the ditch and say. “We must leave and we must do it now. The unnatural forces of the Far Realm know we’re here. Come with me if you want to live.”

Per Manbearcat
The two women, shell-shocked by what just happened, are consoling the sobbing children. They agree to come with you without compunction or hesitation. A line is formed to follow your lead out of here.

Along the way I sympathize with the loss of their friend and ask the women who she was. I don’t think she was an actual agent of the Far Realm, but she either possessed something that allowed for that or she had some kind of enchantment placed upon her. Afterwards, I’ll help console the children. When we get back, everyone can rest and I can interview the two women to see what I can find out about defenses, entrance and egress, where Ranyon Argoth resides. We’ll handle that later.

Per Manbearcat
The two remaining women reveal to you that the one that perished was one of Ranyon Argoth’s many wives…and no, none of the children here are his.
 
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Tecklenburg

Explorer
OTTHOR

You take the elevator to the frozen surface at the base of the bluff. Around the bend from you comes the sounds of the incomprehensible, watery language of the pirhanna-faced Sahuagin. Whatever conversation they are having sounds heated. However, it is just as likely that that the tone is a product of the coarseness of the language or the volatility of their typical demeanor as it is the immediate circumstances. The loudness of their raised voices and the recessed nature of the elevator into the bluff's stone mitigates the relative noise of the elevator's machinery.

When you round the bend, you see them hefting their tridents in their bottom set of arms while gesticulating wildly with their top set of arms. The largest one, a full head taller than you, is speaking menacingly and clacking his razor sharp teeth with every word. They are at the shore-line of the expansive lake at Far range from you.

As the larger one and one of the smaller two are having their intense exchange, I announce my presence with blades of cutting air and the life-drawing power of nethermancy.

[sblock]Wind Slash (Int) on small Sahuagin
3, 4 + 3 = 10

d8 damage and 1 technique. 8 - 2 armor = 6 damage. Dead.

Soul-Siphoning: Your attack heals you for 1d4. Heal 1d8 instead if this attack kills your target. 3 HP returned. Back to full HP.

Bladesong (Int)
5, 5 + 3 = 13

3 Bladesong for:

* Void Note - Teleport somewhere nearby within your line of sight.
* Guarded Flourish - When you have no weapon or shield in your offhand and you take damage, take + 2 armor.
* Blade Crescendo - When you deal damage to an enemy within your melee weapon's range, gain 2 piercing.[/sblock]

As the creature is eviscerated by the long reach of my blade, I draw upon his life energy to revitalize me for what is ot come next as I feel the song well up inside me and reverberate from my core to my legs, to my arms, and out through the tip of my sword. He slumps to the ground as the large one is having an animated berating of him. Possibly?

When the large fish-faced humanoid turns to regard me, I narrow my eyes, point directly at him with my sword, and then draw a line in frozen tundra before me with my blade. The moonlight bathes the scene in full glow so there is no mistaking what I mean here. I'm challenging him.

[sblock]Throw Down the Gauntlet (Cha)
4, 2 + 1 = 7

On a 7-9, they choose 1 if they do not accept your duel.

* You take +1 ongoing against them until they defeat you
* They lose the respect of their peers and underlings
* They retreat[/sblock]

Per Manbearcat
If Sahuagin don't fear ancient white dragons, they surely aren't going to go all weak-kneed before a soft...tasty...elf.

While the invitation for challenge is considered by the large one, the small fish-man shouts a gargled battle cry and begins to charge you. The large one trips him [Forceful] so he eats a face full of snow and packed, frozen earth. He looms over his subordinate and castrates him verbally with words you couldn't possibly understand.

With that, he begins a sprint toward you, dragging the forked trident on the ground cutting a gaping gash in the frozen tundra [Messy]. As he draws near, he wades into melee with you with soulless eyes and frenzied body.

I let him reach all the way to me before engaging him. As he tries to run me down, I circle and let him test his trident. As our steel rings out against each other, he pays for it in blood as my people's ancient song of battle slows the creature's movements in my mind's eye to almost a standstill. He is strong, erratic, and unpredictable but a novice in terms of art.

[sblock]Flawless Bladework (Int)
3, 1 + 3 = 7

d8 damage, 1 technique and counterattack against me. 6 - 2 armor (2 piercing cancels it out) = 6 damage.

Torrential: Your attack ends with a flurry of strikes that your opponent must dedicate effort to blocking or avoiding. If they instead attack you in response to your attack, deal your damage again (this does not apply techniques).

Spending all 3 Bladesong for + 2 armor - Guarded Flourish - on his counterattack and 2 piercing - Blade Crescendo - on my primary attack and on my Torrential counterattack.

Counterattack on me: d6 + 4 (1 piercing). 4 + 4 - 4 armor (less 1 piercing) = 5 damage to me.

Torrential counterattack: d8 damage. 3 - 2 (2 piercing cancels it out) = 3 damage. 9 total. Dead.[/sblock]

Per Manbearcat
The ferocity of his counterattack drives you back against the wall of the stone bluff, your head narrowly avoiding slamming into the rock. You parry his trident out wide and deliver a finishing strike. But not before his heavy weight falls against you [Forceful], needle-like fangs of his mouth clamping down on your neck. The lower teeth crunch against your fine elven coif, but the uppers tear at soft flesh, leaving a brutal, profusely bleeding wound behind [Messy]. You can feel your blood pressure dropping. You've heard that wounds from Sahuagin teeth just don't want to heal; Debility Con.

As you work to extract the heavy body of the large, dead Sahuagin, the other one rushes you and throws his trident with screaming fury.

I unconsciously reach inside my coif and feel the streaming blood. Thinking quickly on my feet, I use the huge dead body before me as a human shield before I shed it to the ground.

[sblock]Defy Danger (Int)
6 , 2 + 3 = 11[/sblock]

The trident makes a nasty sound when it goes thukdeep into his back, penetrating his heavy chain. As the final Sahuagin engages me, I rely on my exchange with his leader and the prior combat with the others to forecast his movements.

[sblock]The Riddle of Steel take + 1 to
Discern Realities (Wis)
3, 3 + 0 (+1 TRoS) = 7

* What is this person about to do?

+ 1 forward when acting on it.[/sblock]

Per Manbearcat
You go ahead and tell me.

Alright. He comes at me unarmed, looking to slam into me and bring me to the ground so he can get his dangerous teeth into me. He telegraphs everything and makes easy prey of himself.

[sblock]Flawless Bladework (Int)
4, 2 + 3 (+ 1 DR) = 10

d8 damage and 2 technique. 4 - 2 armor = 2 damage.

Burst: Your attack deals an additional 1d4 damage and gains the �forceful� tag. 4 damage. 6 total. Dead.

Soul-Siphoning: Your attack heals you for 1d4. Heal 1d8 instead if this attack kills your target. 5 HP returned. Back to full HP.[/sblock]

I sigh and take a deep, steadying breath, looking straight up to the top of the bluff as the last of the psychotic fish-faced humanoids slides dead off my blade. I see Averandox leering down at my approvingly. He turns, his head disappears wholly from my sight and after I see his tail whip back around, I can hear the sounds of the titanic creature walking more deeply into the settlement. I head to the elevator and back up top.

Per Manbearcat
Averandox tersely approves at your death-dealing (especially as his bidding!) but quickly, and moodily, informs you that he is weary and will seek rest immediately, dead in the center of this frozen ruin of a village. The elementals of the harsh northern winters will alert him of any invading presence. You leave at first light.

You can cozy up in one of the few, intact cabins of World's End. You can take the Make Camp, End of Session, Level Up (if you have enough xp), and Bolster actions. And anything else you'd like to do, of course, before we transition.

Alright. I'll update a post later with all that stuff.
 

Tecklenburg

Explorer
End of Session

* Bonds - No bonds resolved yet but I'm working on Averandox for "I will make a powerful ally in this world for the Feywild elves." I'm hopeful that I can cement this before we part ways.

* Alignment - "Endanger yourself to combat an unnatural threat." More than once with several aboleth's and flying kraken's slain! 1 xp.

I forgot to change it on my character sheet but I'm going to change it to: "Use magic to directly aid another."

* Did we learn something new and important about the world?

...Through my studying of the aboleth wall etchings, I confirmed that there is probability matrix which guarantees a 100 % chance of The Aboleth Creator coming to this world in 3 days. Well, 2 now and 1 by the time we return.. There is a willing human vessel that is enabling this. Obviously that person must be found and destroyed.

1 xp

* Did we overcome a notable monster or enemy?

Three Aboleth Overseers, two Unfettered Krakens, one Remorhaz, one Aboleth Mind Mage. Concinced an Ancient White Dragon to ally with us.

1 xp

* Did we loot a memorable treasure?

No memorable treasure.

14 xp total.


Level Up

14 xp

Current level 7 + 4 + = 11

14 - 11 = 3 xp and I level up.

Subtracted 11 xp to level and marked off a ration. I put + 1 in Dex so I'm at 16 which is now + 2. I took the Multiclass Dabbler as my new move. With that I took the Wizard spellcasting package as our rules - Caster progression at every even level not every level but you start the moment you take the move. So I have 2nd level Wizard spellcasting abilities with the three Cantrips and 1st level spells Alarm, Charm Person, Contact Spirits, Invisibility, Magic Missle.

After Rest and Level Up:

Otthor level 5


HP 21/21
AG 2
AM 0
DR 4
XP 3

Con Debility: -1 ongoing to Con until 3 days rest and recover.




As part of our training as Arcane Duelists, we learn many arcane secrets and receive first-hand tutelage from spellcasters. This helps us perfect our own unique art. I personally studied under a powerful summoner and diviner. His magic let him speak to entities across planes and bear witness to portents of events that have yet to pass. I was fascinated by the mysticism and the possible utility. I'm mostly self taught and was on the verge of a breakthrough in my studies when I learned that I was to be commissioned to the prime world to accompany one of the Summer Courts elite rangers. Being a world away from my command and my home, with no means to send direct missives, I was advised to take all of my studies with me and finish what I had started. Then I would be able to report back, directly or indirectly, with the Summer Court.

I salvage the furs, lamp, and oil from the, now ruined, cabin that we stayed in on our first pass through this place. I then pry the boards off the door of the cabin next door. I get settled in for an evening of final study and then rest. I was on the verge of a breakthrough and finally it is here. The mysteries of Wizards at long last unraveled to me. I memorize Contact Spirits, Invisibility, and Magic Missle. I then immediately set about contacting one of the fey spirits that guard the crossings from this world to the Feywild.

[sblock]Contact Spirits Summoning

Name the spirit you wish to contact (or leave it to the GM). You pull that creature through the planes, just close enough to speak to you. It is bound to answer any one question you ask to the best of its ability.

Cast a Spell (Int)
2, 3 + 3 = 8

I'll take the complication:

You draw unwelcome attention or put yourself in a spot. The GM will tell you how.[/sblock]

When the spirit arrives, I simply ask it "where is the Fey Crossing nearest my current location?"

After I have the answer, I'll settle in for the night and rest.
 

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I salvage the furs, lamp, and oil from the, now ruined, cabin that we stayed in on our first pass through this place. I then pry the boards off the door of the cabin next door. I get settled in for an evening of final study and then rest. I was on the verge of a breakthrough and finally it is here. The mysteries of Wizards at long last unraveled to me. I memorize Contact Spirits, Invisibility, and Magic Missle. I then immediately set about contacting one of the fey spirits that guard the crossings from this world to the Feywild.

[sblock]Contact Spirits Summoning

Name the spirit you wish to contact (or leave it to the GM). You pull that creature through the planes, just close enough to speak to you. It is bound to answer any one question you ask to the best of its ability.

Cast a Spell (Int)
2, 3 + 3 = 8

I'll take the complication:

You draw unwelcome attention or put yourself in a spot. The GM will tell you how.[/sblock]

When the spirit arrives, I simply ask it "where is the Fey Crossing nearest my current location?"

After I have the answer, I'll settle in for the night and rest.

The cold wintery evening howls outside, shaking the timbers of your cabin. World's End Bluff seems to never tire of breezy evenings it seems.

Your lantern's flame is a lonely flicker, barely illuminating your immediate area and doing little to reveal the darkened recesses of the small abode. You say the words of summoning and the spirit comes. A pale glow accompanies a murky figure. The ghostly vestige of a Fey Knight, one of the many sworn in service to guard the Fey Crossings for all eternity.

You ask him your question; "where is the Fey Crossing nearest my current location?"

He answers. "The place the denizens of that world call 'The Coldands'. Wind-swept canyons with snow looming deep just above. They empty at a tall, sheer face. The crossing is there." He leaves with a warning...

"Beware the land where the sun never rises and the moon never sets, where the trees are forever dusted with frost. The Vale of the Long Night. The Prince of Frost hears your plea..."

He fades to nothingness.

Come morning, the place is as you left it save for a fresh layer of snow brought on by a night's storm. Averandox is ready to set out immediately. If you have something you wish to do beforehand or during the trek, let me know. Otherwise, I'll transition directly to the end of the day's travel in my next post.

I bring the two children over to the ditch and say. “We must leave and we must do it now. The unnatural forces of the Far Realm know we’re here. Come with me if you want to live.”

Along the way I sympathize with the loss of their friend and ask the women who she was. I don’t think she was an actual agent of the Far Realm, but she either possessed something that allowed for that or she had some kind of enchantment placed upon her. Afterwards, I’ll help console the children. When we get back, everyone can rest and I can interview the two women to see what I can find out about defenses, entrance and egress, where Ranyon Argoth resides. We’ll handle that later.

Per Manbearcat
The two remaining women reveal to you that the one that perished was one of Ranyon Argoth’s many wives…and no, none of the children here are his.

The tracking to the women and children was a few hours worth of effort from whence you originally set out. The effort on the way back is actually more labored due to how hard it is on the children and due to the terror of the company you lead. It takes a good hour just to get back to the sheer cliff face that you scaled to get to the barbarian.

When you return, the elevator is in the top-side position as you left it. An hour and a half is a long time in this frozen, white north, so the corpse of the slain barbarian is iced over and rigid like the stone it lies on. The children are in such a condition that their horror at the sight might be too much for them to take at this point. But before you have time to ponder much, a dusky-blue hued figure floats from below to regard you almost face to face. Her long white hair and her silvery flowing gown encrusted with dull sapphires rides a wind that you cannot feel. Her eyes are pools of green flecked amber. Her ears apex in points same as your own. In her hand is a crystalline staff of which she points at you.

In an ancient elven familiar to you, she breathes like the sound of a sorrowful autumn breeze, "...lesser one...it is treachery to bring human filth within a stone's throw of our realm...punishable by death. You will come with us so we might hear your plea and the Prince of Frost might pass judgement..."

Accompanied by the word "us" is a a glistening, chain-clad eladrin warrior, sword and shield of ice. He appears from a moment's glow of a portal.

You can feel Rawr's fur stand up on the back of his neck...a ferocious roar always follows. The flash of light elicits a shriek from the women behind you which spurs the children to the same tune. The floating Bralani looks beyond you and raises her icy staff. A vortex of frost gathers around it...
 
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Tecklenburg

Explorer
The cold wintery evening howls outside, shaking the timbers of your cabin. World's End Bluff seems to never tire of breezy evenings it seems.

Your lantern's flame is a lonely flicker, barely illuminating your immediate area and doing little to reveal the darkened recesses of the small abode. You say the words of summoning and the spirit comes. A pale glow accompanies a murky figure. The ghostly vestige of a Fey Knight, one of the many sworn in service to guard the Fey Crossings for all eternity.

You ask him your question; "where is the Fey Crossing nearest my current location?"

He answers. "The place the denizens of that world call 'The Coldands'. Wind-swept canyons with snow looming deep just above. They empty at a tall, sheer face. The crossing is there." He leaves with a warning...

"Beware the land where the sun never rises and the moon never sets, where the trees are forever dusted with frost. The Vale of the Long Night. The Prince of Frost hears your plea..."

He fades to nothingness.

Come morning, the place is as you left it save for a fresh layer of snow brought on by a night's storm. Averandox is ready to set out immediately. If you have something you wish to do beforehand or during the trek, let me know. Otherwise, I'll transition directly to the end of the day's travel in my next post.

On our trip back, I start a conversation with Averandox as we're nearing our destination. Probably an hour out.

"I trust you're aware that there is crossing to the Feywild not far from your lair."

Per Manbearcat
"I am aware of all things in my domain. Your winter fey attempted to court me a decade ago. I refused them."

"That is a powerful potential ally..."

Per Manbearcat
"Averandox calls no one master. No god and certainly no man or elf...archfey or not."

"And the Prince of Frost would certainly demand your fealty."

I let some time pass.

"What if you had an ally in the Feywild that didn't demand your fealty. What if you had someone that you could rely on if somethiing like this happens again? More Far Realm scourge or some other unforseeable threat to the tranquility of this place, which your reign ensures."

Per Manbearcat
"I hate riddles elf. Speak plainly."

"That arrow of alliance that I gave you. I'm proposing making that permanent. I serve the Summer Court. The Summer Court makes no demands of its allies. We only request that the natural state of alliance persist...that allies fulfill their promise of support the same as we would fulfill our own. Saerie and I represent that promise. I believe we have proven to you its strength."

[sblock]Parlay (Cha)
5, 4 + 1 = 10

Leverage being that we have already followed through on our promise of alliance and shown that we are indeed powerful, reliable allies.[/sblock]

Per Manbearcat
He doesn't answer for a very long time. Not until his glacial lair is in sight in fact.

He snarls as he swoops in to land. "I don't have the paitience for grovelling beaurocrats and their petty formalities. You know where to find me. But I don't know where to find your 'Summer Court.' Tell your leadership that if they want Averandox for an ally, they will show the courage to face me directly and swear this alliance. I will accept no lackeys."

When he lights down, he abruptly says "Stay here."

He returns a few moments later, he returns a moment later with a small wooden box. Inside is an insert that holds a monocle.

"This must be important. It is more trouble to me than it is worth. But it has provided me with a a constant stream of adventurers to make a meal of. It was made by an untrusting human archmage. It is said that through that lens he could sometimes see the histories of those he would survey.

It's your problem now."

[sblock]Paranoid Archmagia Monoclia
When you scrutinize someone with the monocle and wonder at their past, roll +Wis. On a 10+, you get a vision of something interesting, clear as day. On a 7-9, you get something but it may not be so interesting or so clear.[/sblock]

If you're good to go, I'm going to just transition you guys to the top of the cliff face where Averandox dropped off your companions.

I thank him for the gift, I promise him that I'll get a powerful representative of the Summery Fey to make the pact with him, not some underling, and I tell him sincerely "I will see you again Frozen Wind of the North. Fare the well."

With that, I'll put the box with the magical monocle into my pack and look around for the trail signs that Saerie created for me. When I find them, I'll gaze at the starlight to get my bearings. I take a deep, steadying breath as I touch my terrific wound near my carotid. I feel weakened and sickly though I know there is neither disease nor poison. I then head off in the direction that Saerie's trail-signs dictate, scree crunching under my feet.
 

Binks

Explorer
The tracking to the women and children was a few hours worth of effort from whence you originally set out. The effort on the way back is actually more labored due to how hard it is on the children and due to the terror of the company you lead. It takes a good hour just to get back to the sheer cliff face that you scaled to get to the barbarian.

When you return, the elevator is in the top-side position as you left it. An hour and a half is a long time in this frozen, white north, so the corpse of the slain barbarian is iced over and rigid like the stone it lies on. The children are in such a condition that their horror at the sight might be too much for them to take at this point. But before you have time to ponder much, a dusky-blue hued figure floats from below to regard you almost face to face. Her long white hair and her silvery flowing gown encrusted with dull sapphires rides a wind that you cannot feel. Her eyes are pools of green flecked amber. Her ears apex in points same as your own. In her hand is a crystalline staff of which she points at you.

In an ancient elven familiar to you, she breathes like the sound of a sorrowful autumn breeze, "...lesser one...it is treachery to bring human filth within a stone's throw of our realm...punishable by death. You will come with us so we might hear your plea and the Prince of Frost might pass judgement..."

Accompanied by the word "us" is a a glistening, chain-clad eladrin warrior, sword and shield of ice. He appears from a moment's glow of a portal.

You can feel Rawr's fur stand up on the back of his neck...a ferocious roar always follows. The flash of light elicits a shriek from the women behind you which spurs the children to the same tune. The floating Bralani looks beyond you and raises her icy staff. A vortex of frost gathers around it...

I try hard not to let my face betray how caught off guard and unnerved I am by this.

I put my hand on the tuft of Rawr’s fur on the back of his neck to attempt to calm him. So I might telegraph my peaceful intentions to the eladrin, I speak to my bear companion in elven rather than in the bestial tongue, “…easy my friend.” I’ll ignore the “lesser one” comment for the moment.

I’ll casually shift my position to cut off line of sight from the Bralani to the women and children behind me. I’ll then speak in elven to them. “Greetings. Something here is clearly amiss. This is a material realm separate from the Feywild and in this world these are human lands. Neither of us are in our Feywild homeland so we cannot be a mere ‘stone’s throw’ from the Vale of the Long Night.” I’ll watch her closely when I reveal that I’m intimately familiar with who she represents, from where she hails, and that I also call the Feywild home. Hopefully this will give her pause as agents of the Winter Court would be on dangerous ground if they try to arrest an agent of the Summer Court in this world. Especially for an imagined offense. Does this set her back or does she seem bent on continuing this course?

[sblock]Discern Realities]
5, 1 + 2 = 8

One question and + 1 forward when acting on it.

- What is about to happen?[/sblock]
 

I try hard not to let my face betray how caught off guard and unnerved I am by this.

I put my hand on the tuft of Rawr’s fur on the back of his neck to attempt to calm him. So I might telegraph my peaceful intentions to the eladrin, I speak to my bear companion in elven rather than in the bestial tongue, “…easy my friend.” I’ll ignore the “lesser one” comment for the moment.

I’ll casually shift my position to cut off line of sight from the Bralani to the women and children behind me. I’ll then speak in elven to them. “Greetings. Something here is clearly amiss. This is a material realm separate from the Feywild and in this world these are human lands. Neither of us are in our Feywild homeland so we cannot be a mere ‘stone’s throw’ from the Vale of the Long Night.” I’ll watch her closely when I reveal that I’m intimately familiar with who she represents, from where she hails, and that I also call the Feywild home. Hopefully this will give her pause as agents of the Winter Court would be on dangerous ground if they try to arrest an agent of the Summer Court in this world. Especially for an imagined offense. Does this set her back or does she seem bent on continuing this course?

[sblock]Discern Realities]
5, 1 + 2 = 8

One question and + 1 forward when acting on it.

- What is about to happen?[/sblock]

[sblock]DR is paragraph directly below.[/sblock]

She could unleash that vortex of frost at a moment’s notice…but she hasn’t yet and her eyes don’t betray aggression. For now she is inclined to learn more.

“We intercepted contact with the spirit that guards this Fey Crossing. The initiator was an elf of this world and these lands, not you as it was a male. As you said, these are human lands. So it must be that he is your companion as that would be too unlikely a coincidence. You’re escorting humans toward our crossing. Putting it all together, you mean to bring these humans to our realm.”

A second Eladrin Fey Knight “bamfs” near you up top. The Bralani continues with a dispassionate warning. “Whatever your reason, it is forbidden. If the Summer Court sanctions your actions, then they have run afoul of agreements rendered long before either of us drew breath. Will you come peaceably so we might learn the truth of this?”

The two sword/shield-wielding Fey Knights are expressionless but poised for physical conflict at Reach range, adjacent to the field-stone wall. They are between you and the Bralani who is floating outside of Reach range ready to unleash a blast of frost if the situation calls for it.
 

Binks

Explorer
“Whatever your reason, it is forbidden.

“There is no reason because there is no aim to bring these humans to the Feywild. I was sent to this world to protect any and all Feywild Crossings, those near my lands and those near yours, from Far Realm invasion because the Summer Court believed that such invasion was imminent. Well they were right. And imminent means already here. I have spent the last week of my life battling them. And in doing so, keeping your homeland free of the threat.

Pausing for a moment to stem the tide of my exasperation.

“The women and children behind me just witnessed one of their numbers being torn from this world by some breach in the fabric of reality. Far Realm denizens literally grabbed her right out of this world, pulled her to their plane of madness, and closed the breach. Your people have access to high magicks. Cast your divinations. Test my words for truth if you must. But do it here and do it quickly because those behind me are my charges and I’m taking them away from this dangerous place. Whatever is happening is going to happen right here with the leader of their people as the orchestrator. He is your enemy, not me.”

[sblock]Defy Danger (Cha)
4, 5 – 1 (+ 1 from DR) = 9

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

Per Manbearcat
Posture and demeanor unchanged, she says; “That is an interesting tale. One I will surely look into. But you haven’t explained why the spirit that guards our Fey Crossing was contacted.”

“My companion is far away from us right now so he cannot speak for himself. However, if it was he who contacted your ‘gate guardian’, I suspect it would be to warn you of the Far Realm danger residing on your doorstep and possibly beseech you to help us defend it.”

Per Manbearcat
Her icy staff drops from the raised position to her side and the vortex dissipates. She waves a hand to her allies and they stand down. “I will speak to your companion. If I do not like what he has to say then there will be grave consequences…”

This is as good of a deal as I can hope for. I’ll take it!

“Very well. Otthor should be back with us by this evening. It will be well worth it for you as you will also get much more of this tale than I can tell you alone. Follow me.”

I lead the Winter Court eladrin and the women and children back to the shelter.

Per Manbearcat
She tells one of the Fey Knights to go back through the crossing and redouble the watch there, indicating she might at least be intrigued by your tale. He dutifully minds her. Afterward, she and the remaining Fey Knight follow you back.

Go ahead and roll a Discern Realities for your interview of the women. I’ll use that to tell you what you find out with them and I’ll transition us. That is all you’re doing in the interim, yes?

Alright.

[sblock]Discern Realities (Wis)
4, 1 + 2 = 7

1 question and + 1 forward when acting on it.

* What should I be on the lookout for?[/sblock]

Looks like we aren’t going to get a whole lot of good information from them regarding secret entrances, guard rotations, etc. What I really want to know is where can we find the leader of this cult? He is the key to all of this.
 

“Very well. Otthor should be back with us by this evening. It will be well worth it for you as you will also get much more of this tale than I can tell you alone. Follow me.”

I lead the Winter Court eladrin and the women and children back to the shelter.

<snip>

[sblock]Discern Realities (Wis)
4, 1 + 2 = 7

1 question and + 1 forward when acting on it.

* What should I be on the lookout for?[/sblock]

Looks like we aren’t going to get a whole lot of good information from them regarding secret entrances, guard rotations, etc. What I really want to know is where can we find the leader of this cult? He is the key to all of this.

On the return back, your conversation with the two women yield the following:

- Ranyon Argoth had been frequenting a tower, as pitch black as the darkest night, that emerged suddenly at the apex of this mountain not too long ago. On his last trek there, of which he brought the son of the refugee family from World's End, he didn't return. This was less than two days ago. The terrified boy said that "the tower swallowed him...and that he seemed happy about it." The clan members who are not in his inner circle didn't know what to make of this. But those who worshiped the visions that Argoth claimed to see seemed to be very happy.

Apparently you will find him in that tower.

- Regarding the clan itself, she is able to give you some mundane information. The clan has two dozen able-bodied warriors. Argoth has a dozen elite warriors, each with a trained dire wolf, at his disposal and perhaps half that number of inner circle acolytes. His inner circle all possess some form of terrible, twisted magic, unsanctioned by the natural spirits of the world.

- They don't know of any alternate ways into the complex beyond the caves that pock the face of the mountain's mid-section.

You arrive at the shelter as twilight begins to cast its gloom upon the wintry landscape. Smoke billows from the chimney as the goblins have a warmth-giving fire going. When you enter the stone cabin, the man naming himself as one of the cult-leader's sons is again tied, feet and torso, to the chair and he is gagged. The goblins are near the fire and are roasting some meat on sticks that they are handling.

They let you know that the bog has been disenchanted and they've tested it themselves for confirmation. When the large group, especially the otherworldly eladrin, accompany you in, their eyes bulge and jaws go slack.

The women and children welcome the warmth of the structure as the walk here has been freezing cold and exposed to the biting wind. The eladrin were obviously unaffected by it. Upon entering the structure, the Bralani immediately inquires as to the whereabouts of Otthor (without calling him by name). She demands to be taken to him. She and her Fey Knight companion both scowl, albeit lightly, at the goblins.

The goblins are very unnerved by the eladrin's presence. And Rawr has been on edge the entire trip here.
 

Binks

Explorer
On the return back, your conversation with the two women yield the following:

- Ranyon Argoth had been frequenting a tower, as pitch black as the darkest night, that emerged suddenly at the apex of this mountain not too long ago. On his last trek there, of which he brought the son of the refugee family from World's End, he didn't return. This was less than two days ago. The terrified boy said that "the tower swallowed him...and that he seemed happy about it." The clan members who are not in his inner circle didn't know what to make of this. But those who worshiped the visions that Argoth claimed to see seemed to be very happy.

Apparently you will find him in that tower.

- Regarding the clan itself, she is able to give you some mundane information. The clan has two dozen able-bodied warriors. Argoth has a dozen elite warriors, each with a trained dire wolf, at his disposal and perhaps half that number of inner circle acolytes. His inner circle all possess some form of terrible, twisted magic, unsanctioned by the natural spirits of the world.

- They don't know of any alternate ways into the complex beyond the caves that pock the face of the mountain's mid-section.

You arrive at the shelter as twilight begins to cast its gloom upon the wintry landscape. Smoke billows from the chimney as the goblins have a warmth-giving fire going. When you enter the stone cabin, the man naming himself as one of the cult-leader's sons is again tied, feet and torso, to the chair and he is gagged. The goblins are near the fire and are roasting some meat on sticks that they are handling.

They let you know that the bog has been disenchanted and they've tested it themselves for confirmation. When the large group, especially the otherworldly eladrin, accompany you in, their eyes bulge and jaws go slack.

The women and children welcome the warmth of the structure as the walk here has been freezing cold and exposed to the biting wind. The eladrin were obviously unaffected by it. Upon entering the structure, the Bralani immediately inquires as to the whereabouts of Otthor (without calling him by name). She demands to be taken to him. She and her Fey Knight companion both scowl, albeit lightly, at the goblins.

The goblins are very unnerved by the eladrin's presence. And Rawr has been on edge the entire trip here.

I tell Exel and Xanob that these women and their children will be staying the evening here so we need to make available whatever accomodations are available for sleeping. I suspect that there are probably fur rogs. Insulative peat moss can be harvested and smoked, to remove any creepy crawlies, for further bedding. If the women don't know how to do this then I instruct them. There must be harvesting tool or a knife somewhere in the cottage.

After the brief introductions and those necessaries, I tend to the eladrin's request for audience with Otthor. "He should be arriving this evening. We can set out on foot and intercept him on his way here. That actually would be a good idea."

I tell the women and children that I've seen musk deer up here. I'll do my best to bring one back so they can all eat comfortably tonight. I'll then go over to Ranyon Argoth's son and pull his gag from his mouth. "Tell them what you told me". "Them" is referring to the eladrin.

After he tells them, we'll see what they have to say and then set out in the night across the frozen bog, straightaway toward the spot that Averandox dropped us off.

I'll be mindful of any bog-related hazards, thawed spots where we could fall through and the like, any lurking predators, and try to note any musk deer tracks or scat that we cross for hunting on the way back.

[sblock]Discern Realities (Wis)
4, 5 + 2 = 11

3 questions and + 1 forward when acting on them

* What here is useful to me?
* What should I be on the lookout for?
* What here is not what it appears to be?[/sblock]
 

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