Hellfrost

Into the Mines

Spider corpses all around and Hrapp’s lifeless body cradled in the arms of Catriona, it was soon declared that Hrapp had succumbed to the spider’s poison. However, due to the hostile environment and time constraints the companions agreed they would leave Hrapp’s body for now and retrieve it as soon as they could.

Keldrin then told Rip he should be the first to descend into the mineshaft as he was the hardiest of them all. During his descent, however, he encountered thick spider webs which forced him to climb back up so Keldrin could burn them away. Once that was done, Rip climbed back down. The Mage Lady Orphelia was next but she ended up requiring assistance from Catriona. Cat then assisted Keldrin down and with all the companions at the bottom they began an assessment of their surroundings.

It was a modestly-sized room with dust, webs, and bones of various origins lieing about; the air also smelled of mold and must. Beyond that, though, nothing of note was discovered. A long hallway stretched out before them which ended in a “T” intersection with a signpost that seemed to warn of spiders. The companions decided to go left as it carried the faint smell of something cooking wafting through the air. The companions carefully walked down the hall following the not-so aromatic smell until they reached a pair of doors, one on each side of the hallway across from each other. The smell came from the door to the right.

Catriona was able to stealthily open the door and on the other side was a lone goblin stirring something in a large, black cauldron with his back away from the companions. Cat made a dash for the goblin in an attempt to throw him into the boiling cauldron, but the goblin inadvertently managed to evade Cat; this caused Cat to run straight into the cauldron which sloshed some of the foul liquid onto the ground. Wanting to quickly snuff out any crys for help the goblin was sure to make, Keldrin whispered an incantation that conjured a small but powerful fire projectile that effectively incinerated the goblin.

A door was off to the left which was opened to reveal a throne of ice with an orc sitting on it. To the right, two orcs stood. All three fixed their gaze upon the newcomers and with scowls, attacked.

Skullsplitter in hand, Catriona attempted some maneuever of stealth which ended up her being behind the assumedly orc chieftain. Unfortunately for Cat and the rest of the companions, the orc “chieftain” had quaffed a vial of liquid which caused him to instantly vanish. It was around this time that the chieftain dealt a most grievous gash across Cat’s midsection which nearly incapacitated her. In spite of her near-deadly wound, Cat still found the courage to shout out an intimidating remark but it seemed to have no effect. Cat’s wound then caused her to slump down onto the ice throne.

During all this, Keldrin, Rip, and the Mage Lady Orphelia made quick work of the other two orcs as well as five more orcs who came bursting through another door on the other side of the room. They then turned their attention to the still-invisible chieftain. Rip ran over to the fireplace and gathered ashes in an effort to ascertain the location of the orc. As fate would have it, Rip noticed a slight disturbance in the air so with that he flung the ashes towards it. Mage Lady Orphelia also cast a spell of detecting and shortly afterwards the companions were able to kill the chieftain.

Two vials of liquid were found on the chieftain which the Mage Lady Orphelia gave to Cat. Cat downed both foul-tasting vials of liquid and quickly became visibly less wounded. Looting the 120 scields found amongst the orcs, the companions then approached the door the five orcs came through and was greeted with a long hallway lined with sconces ablaze with coldfire.

Goblins and orcs were then spotted running past each other in opposite directions up ahead, so the companions tried not to be seen. The sound of metal smashing against metal could be heard from the room to the left, so Cat stealthily checked things out. She first opened the door to the right which revealed a storehouse full of food and general goods. The other door held revealed an orc clad in leather who was wielding a whip as he supervised two human slaves repairing spearheads. As for the orcs and goblins it was discovered that the orcs were fighting amongst themselves and the goblins stood far back cheering them on. Cat relayed this to the companions and they all advanced forward to the room with the forge.

Cat opened the door and Rip let loose an arrow which instantly and quietly ripped through the back of the orc’s head. The companions ducked inside and discovered the two humans’ names were Osburn and Perrin. Osburn relayed that they had been slaves for the orcs & goblins for an undetermined amount of time now and were obviously very desensitized. After some coaxing and reassuring, the two slaves reluctantly agreed to come with the companions. However, before setting off the companions and the two slaves ate their fill of the food in the storehouse and provisioned themselves.

It was soon discovered, minutes later during further dialogue with Osburn, that there were other slaves down here. He pointed the companions in the right direction which happened to be along a mine cart track. They soon came to a set of four cells with about five slaves in each one. Cat picked the locks on each cell and the companions and the slaves began discussing a safe way out. After some measure of time debating, Mage Lady Orphelia recalled a passageway Valbrandr had taken the last time some of the companions were here, so they set off for the passageway.
Along the way, Keldrin and the Mage Lady Orphelia had to dispatch seven goblins which proved little contest for their prowess. It’s also noteworthy that Rip, not so bravely, plunged an arrow into a sleeping goblin.

The rest of the way was uneventful. Upon exiting the mouth of the mines—it was now nighttime— it was decided the slaves would be brought back to the cave where Austri and his remaining men were camped out; the journey there was also uneventful.

The companions relayed all of their discoveries to Austri and Austri said he would get some men to recover Hrapp’s body. As for the food stores, Austri said he would be willing to make a recovery attempt but only if the companions presented a sound plan in doing so. In regard to the death of the chieftain, Austri believed the companions had killed one of the two “sub chieftains” and with only one left the orcs of Thrym’s Teeth Clan would surely unite once again.

The companions then took respite in the cave for the night with the promise of returning to the mines on the morrow.

View
The Death of Sigrid Lahrsdohttir

In the morning after the battle with the orcs and wolves the night before, the adventurers searched the orcish bodies for any valuables or other items of interest; mostly gold was found as well as some crude magical items and reagents on the orc shaman which were ignored completely. Ripalso managed to obtain seven portions of jerky from the wolf carcasses.

During all of this there was discussion of what should be done with the now-free human villagers. The Mage-Lady Orphelia, declared by the freed villagers as the hero of Mountain Glen, their home, was stalwart in her task to get to Crase (all of her reasons still yet unknown) as was Catriona, who very much wanted to see her Sigrid. Elmeretillinthen offered to escort the villagers back to their home and would catch up to the others as soon as he could. Her Arcane Highness warned Elmeretillin against the dangers of doing such a task alone, but Elmeretillin reassured her. To re-enforce his assurance of safety, the guard Bruni volunteered to assist Elmeretillin in escorting the villagers; the remaining four guards stayed with the rest of the companions.

With the decision made, Elmeretillin, Bruni, and the freed villagers set off. The rest of the companions, not wanting to delay any further, set off for Crase. The day was warmer than normal for winter, so the journey to Crase was quick and uneventful.

Upon reaching the outskirts of Crase, another decision had to be made: What were the companions to do now? It was established knowledge that Crase had been overrun by ice goblins and orcs as well as ogres and the gods only knew what else. With such a precarious situation before them, the companions set about to discuss how to assess the situation as safely as possible.

After deliberating at some length, it was decided that Catriona would go ahead alone and attempt to make contact with Sigrid. According to Catriona, Sigrid sometimes left special symbols behind to relay messages for Cat. It was this method that Cat would utilize to re-establish contact with Sigrid, so Cat set off at once while the remainder of the party stayed behind awaiting her return.

Cat was unsuccessful in finding any symbolic messages left by Sigrid, but she did happen across a battle between a frost dwarf and two soldiers fighting off ogres, orcs, and wolves. The frost dwarf, who was later identified as Hauld Austri Giantsbane, a noble dwarf and one of the Thirteen Warriors, seemed to be holding his own with impressive skill. The two men, also identified later as Ike and Pike, held their own but not nearly as impressively as the dwarf.

Cat lended what aid she could to the beleagured dwarf and men in the outnumbered fight, but it left her very wounded. At that point it was all she could do to defend herself. However, in the end the few remaining orcs and two wolves fled. One of them shouted something to the effect of “we will be back” or “you just wait.” (The translation from the Orcish is unclear)

With the fight over, Cat and Austri got re-acquainted as both shared their stories. The dwarf explained to Cat that he and his men had been fighting off raiding parties from the orcs and other ilk for quite some time now and that they had had to change their base of operations three times so far. As of now the base of operations was in a cave just outside of Crase to the west. Cat recanted the journey with her companions, so she led Ike and Pike back to where her companions were waiting. After a quick exchange of events they all set off back to the cave where Austri was waiting.

After arriving at the cave, introductions were made and Austri filled the companions in on what all had been going on. Crase was very much so overrun with ice goblins, orcs, and the like while Sir Sedlang ap-Triath was the acting leader of Crase. Even more, it was discovered Sir Sedlang himself had perpetrated the takeover of Crase by allowing the goblins and orcs in. The discussion went on for a little while longer and just when it seemed to be winding down, Austri requested he speak with Her Arcane Highness privately, so they both walked deeper into the cave.

Austri led Mage-Lady Orphelia to a room with a stone slab. On that slab lay the body of Sigrid Lahrsdohttir, also known as “The Butcher” for those that knew what she had done. Austri explained that Sigrid had led an attack on the orcs and goblins who apparently were tunneling through the nearby mountain in an effort to circumvent the heavily fortified Hellfrost Keep and spill into the Hearthlands. In the attack Sigrid had slain the orc chieftain but she gave her life in doing so. The tunnel was collapsed, however, due to Sigrid’s efforts which halted any further advances by the minions of Thrym.

The Mage-Lady Orphelia, overcome to see Sigrid’s body and her final heroic actions, tried to process it all. To add to all of this, Austri proffered two items: a necklace of Sigel and an axe befittingly named Skullsplitter. Austri explained it was Sigrid’s wishes that these items be passed on. With the items in hand, the Mage-Lady Orphelia gathered her strength as she knew she would have to break the news to Catriona.

Catriona did not take the news or sight of Sigrid’s body well at all. So overcome with grief and denial, Catriona fainted once she tried to approach Sigrid. After some time she awoke and walked over to Sigrid where she fell asleep beside her on the slab. The Mage-Lady Orphelia prepared a makeshift fur bed in the room and soon fell asleep, too. As for Keldrin and Ripxian, word got to them of Sigrid’s death and feeling helpless they kept their distance.

In total, three days the companions spent in the mouth of the cave mourning and preparing for what to do next. Austri informed the companions that he believed the orcs were disorganized and distracted as they squabbled over who was to be the next chieftain. In the meantime, Austri believed he and his remaining Hearth Knights need only wait until spring when a much larger force of Hearth Knights would arrive and assault the orcs and goblins anew.

The companions considered the words of Austri, but the inactivity over three days made them restless and eager to take action in some way. Feeling stymied with the lack of any clear-cut plan, a certain man, named Hrapp, was mentioned. Hrapp had fought with some of the companions in their prior visit to Crase and he was close to Sigrid. Hrapp was also still among the resistance, as fate would have it(and nearby to boot), so Rip beckoned him.

Hrapp mentioned some old tunnels in severe disrepair but he warned against using them as cave ins were prone to happen. If that weren’t enough an entire ice goblin settlement teemed somewhere deeper into those tunnels. However, the companions still decided to venture into the tunnels—once again for some of the companions—and see what good could be done.

The day before the companions set out for the tunnels, it was decided that the necklace of Sigel and Skullsplitter be passed on to Catriona as it was deemed most appropriate. She also got an oath from Austri that Sigrid would get a proper burial. Keldrin also peformed a ritual of some kind that would aid in escaping the tunnels should the situation become dire.

At dawn on the following morning the adventurers set out, with Austri declaring what a terrible idea it was to go into the old mine tunnels and that certain doom was almost inevitable.

The trek to the tunnels was uneventful. Once the companions had arrived at the mouth of one of the tunnels, it was discussed and decided that Keldrin would lead. Lantern in hand—courtesy of Catriona—Keldrin stepped into the tunnel. Not even a minute later Keldrin nearly fell into a gaping hole, but he managed to somehow keep his balance. The companions then had to slowly and carefully skirt around the hole to the other side.

Once on the other side two tunnels were set before the companions, so they decided to take the tunnel which had been taken on the prior trip to Crase. At the end of the tunnel was a mine shaft whose platform was completely rotted away. As the companions were about to make plans to descend into the shaft a large spider appeared. Keldrin luckily managed to notice the spider in time and shouted warning to his companions.

Soon after the first spider appeared, five more came into view. Keldrin erected a fire barrier to halt the rest of the spiders from advancing and the Mage-Lady Orphelia unleashed spells of horror and shadow which tore into some of the spiders. Keldrin soon had to lower the barrier as it was preventing any of his companions from taking action.

The battle was swift and decisive as torrents of fire ripped into them and exploding two of the spiders. Unfortunately, one of the arachnids managed to deal a seemingly fatal bite to Hrapp’s head, but the spider was eradicated in short order. Whether or not Hrapp survives has yet to be determined.

View
Departing Aslov

With the relic of Vali again “safely” in the hands of Mage Lady Orphelia—of the now Second Sphere—it was unanimously agreed that Her Arcane Highness, Keldrin, and Catriona would return to the surface and get some much needed rest. Elmeretillin and Ripxian, in the meantime, explored the opposite section of the tunnel which had led to the room with the relic.

On the way back out of the catacombs, Her Arcane Highness, Keldrin, and Catriona encountered the Berenger Cooke, steward of Aslov. The three explained to the steward that it was not safe to go further into the catacombs, but the steward insisted he check on the well-being of Rip and Elmeretillin. When Keldrin insisted the steward come with them the steward took flight deeper into the catacombs. Catriona, however, managed to grapple him while Keldrin tied the steward’s hands with rope.

Keldrin interrogated him and it was discovered that the steward was in league with those who were trying to impose Vali’s will upon Aslov by means of the relic. It was also revealed that the steward’s role was to make the baroness ill via an elixir given to the steward by Plaguebearer Bain. The interrogation soon dwindled when it was realized the steward had no further useful things to say, so the three led the steward to Einarwhereupon Einar ordered his immediate incarceration and impending questioning.

Her Arcane Highness, Keldrin, and Catriona then went to the west wing of the palace(now vacated of all nobles) where they slumbered for close to 12 hours. Upon awakening—the hour was now 6:00 in the evening, baths were drawn and everyone ate. Rip and Elmeretillin had arrived during the night some time and Elmeretillin discussed Rip’s and Elmeretillin’s findings. Apparently there were human tracks but some of them disappeared at one point down the tunnel. The tunnel also led back to the surface and to a cemetary beyond. However, the amount of time lapsed and near impossibility to track Sir Perregrine made the effort not worth it, so they had returned to the palace.

As the adventurers sat in the feast hall discussing the next plan of action, it was agreed that nothing remained to detain them any longer save for ensuring Aslov had a reliable and capable leader to restore order and mend the city’s siege wounds. Unfortunately with the baroness ill, the baroness’s daughter unaccounted for, the Lord Regent Dross’s recent demise, and the steward’s recent treason and capacity to lead greatly compromised the only capable candidate for the time being was Captain Einar. Her Arcane Highness agreed she would speak with Einar alone that night and see what could be done and at dawn on the morrow the journey to Crase would commence.

Try as Her Arcane Highness might, Captain Einar was steadfast in his disinterest in any administrative role; he was strictly a military leader. Additionally, Captain Einar made it known he did not know which nobles to trust. This gave Mage-Lady Orphelia an idea so she proposed to Einar that she weave a spell of ascertaining loyalty upon all the nobles…in return for five soldiers to assist in her and her companions’ upcoming journey to Crase. Captain Einar agreed with this plan and agreed the spell could be laid upon all the nobles at dawn the next day.

Upon awakening the next morning, the adventurers prepared themselves for the coming journey and Her Arcane Highness fulfilled her part of the agreement by casting the spell upon all the nobles to determine loyalty. Sadly, less than one-third of the nobles were found to be loyal to the Baroness; the remaining nobles were placed under arrest and incarcerated. Now with all loose ends tied up, the adventurers were then able to begin their journey to Crase.

Over the course of the next three days—on foot with Catriona riding Mage-Lady Orphelia’s steed—the adventurers had no small difficulty in obtaining food. Even more, Catriona’s prolonged exposure to the chilling elements degraded her already-existing sickness and a fever set upon her. A column of smoke was also noted on the evening of the second day, but the adventurers decided not to investigate.

On the morning of the third day the adventurers encountered a lone rider who was quickly identified as a Hearth Knight. The Hearth Knight revealed that he was on his way to Hellfrost Keep to deliver a message. He could not speak long, but he was able to give Catriona a warming draught that would last the rest of the day along with rations. The Hearth Knight also warned against traveling on the road a day’s journey from Crase and strongly suggested taking to the wilderness due to orcs and other ilk being seen in the vacinity. After that, the Hearth Knight wished the adventurers well and he continued on his way.

On the evening of the third day, Rip noticed the column of smoke had moved. The adventurers then discussed what should be done, with Keldrin giving warnings of caution but Ripxian speaking boldly. Keldrin finally conceded that the matter should be investigated so Rip said he would shoot one signal arrow for enemies and two signal arrows for allies. Rip then scouted ahead with Elmeretillin not far behind; the rest of the party stayed farther back.

A short time later a single whistle was sounded; Rip had discovered the column of smoke belonged to a band of 10 orcs and 2 wolves who had groups of humans hostage in pens. There was also an orc shaman of Thrym among them. The arrow landed purposefully near the two wolves; one took the distraction bait but the other one didn’t. That wolf and the rest of the orcs were alerted and began to attack Rip.

The battle that ensued left all the orcs dead—mostly due to the torrents of fire unleashed by the Fyr elementalist, Keldrin, but also with the aid of Her Arcane Highness and the rest of the companions—and the humans free from their captors. With the prisoners free, the adventurers then began to assess the situation and decide what to do next.

View
The Siege of Aslov - Part Two

The majority of the city had now been taken by Captain Einar’s men with the aid of Her Arcane Highness, Mage-Lady Orphelia of the First Sphere, Scion of House Grimsbourne, Keldrin Bjornsson, and Elmeretilin Skysworn. At the palace doors preparations are made to seize the Lord Regent Dross and procure the safety of both the baroness as well as the baroness’s daughter.


Meanwhile….

In the feasthall, Ripxian continues to hold Lord Regent Dross at blade point as Dross’s guards stand by unable to come to their lord’s aid. Catriona also waits with Ripxian in the hopes that their fellow adventurers along with Captain Einar will arrive shortly. Before that could happen, however, Sir Perregrine returns with his own retinue of personal guards and commands Ripxian and Catriona to surrender their weapons. Rip & Cat comply as their hostage now no longer had a purpose; Rip & Cat also learn from Peregrin about a ritual that is taking place involving someone named Bain. It is then Rip & Cat are taken away to the prison cells.

Rip & Cat escape from their cell along with a merchant whom they are well-acquainted with. They encounter Captain Einar and some of his men. Rip explained to the captain that he and Cat are on Einar’s side, but the captain remained unconvinced. He commands that they all together go to the feasthall to assess the validity of Rip’s story.
-——————————————————————————————————————————————-

Upon entering through the palace doors Mage-Lady Orphelia, Keldrin, Elmeretilin, Captain Einar and his men are all greeted with several guards and war dogs obviously intent on ending any further advance. Mage-Lady Orphelia attempted to persuade the guards to stand down and become her allies, but unfortunately the Lord Regent Dross’s men were too loyal. The battle that ensued was bloody and fatiguing, but victory was attained. The Mage-Lady Orphelia, in particular, suffered grievous wounds.

After the battle it was agreed upon that Captain Einar and some of his men would seek out the baroness in the tower while Mage-Lady Orphelia, Keldrin, and Elmeretilin would advance to the feast hall.

The door to the feasthall was guarded and the adventurers were told to surrender all weapons. Elmeretilin was able to successfully dissuade the guards from confiscating the weapons—no doubt due to overconfidence that their forces were greater & more numerous than the small party—and so the procession into the feast hall commenced.

Sir Perregrine and ten to twelve men were waiting in the feasthall. Mage-Lady Orphelia did her best to impose her will upon Sir Perregrine and reminded him that the city had practically been taken and to surrender. However, Sir Perregrine met Mage-Lady Orphelia’s speeches with sneers and arrogance; he also spoke of us already being “too late” and that we could have the Lord Regent Dross back if he would be allowed to leave. Mage-Lady Orphelia continued to negotiate, but Sir Peregrin soon tired of talking. It was then that Sir Perregrine drove a blade into the Lord Regent Dross’s kidney and pushed him forward, whereupon he bled to death from the wound.

Upon stabbing Dross, another battle ensued, this one much more bloody. The fight was going ill for the adventurers—especially Keldrin who suffered too many wounds and fell unconscious—until Catriona appeared and shortly later Captain Einar, a few of his men, and Rip [Note: The baroness had been procured but was suffering from an unnatural illness]. The tide of battle was then turned in favor of the adventurers. It was also in the feasthall battle that Catriona inadvertently killed a man for the first time; this left Cat extremely distraught and physically ill. Rip, in the meantime, ran to the kitchen where Sir Perregrine had fled.

Once the battle was over, most of the adventurers’ wounds were healed and the party set off to the kitchen. It was there in the kitchen a cellar door was discovered and down in the cellar a secret door. Elmeretilin found the lever to open the door and on the other side the party discovered a series of catacombs.

Down one particular corridor and beyond a crumbled wall a putrid, terrifying scene was revealed. A demon of gluttony was chewing the appendage of some unfortunate person and body parts of all kinds were suspending by chains & hooks about the room. There was also an unholy plague of rats swarming about the place. In addition, there was a man in robes, facing away from the adventurers, chanting. The robed man was facing the relic.

Keldrin reveals the nature of the demon to the party and strongly insists falling back to gather reinforcements (Elmeretilin had already run away in horror). However, Rip took matters into his own hands and shot an arrow into the back of the robed man’s head, who then crumples to the ground as rats begin to spill out from underneath the robe. The glutton demon advances and the party attempts to kill or otherwise quell the demon until Elmeretilin returns and deals a most deadly blow to the vile, abyssal creature. The demon then falls, vanquished.

The Mage-Lady Orphelia then approaches the relic and the party begins to discuss what will be the next course of action.

View