As morning arrives, I join my Seeing to find the actors being ported up the river by 4 trolls and Deggar.
Hard, powerful rowing takes them out of the danger zone, by late afternoon, Birger calls upon his magic to ride the senses of a hawk on the wing, he is able to locate a great number of fishing villages, but only one with two large longboats. He also appears to have spotted himself for a moment as vertigo overcame him. He is a puzzle, that one. At one moment powerful and wise, at another, incredibly novice-like.
By the end of the day they have finally beached their boat at the mouth of the river leading onto the lake. As they gather materials for a campsite, Jedda transformed the boat into a half-rotted log. She’s very good. I have had to mark the landforms around it to find it again.
An uneventful night of taking turns on watch led the actors into a long morning of events.
Something was watching the group from the northeast – I should have been more careful and searched the area better before starting my Seeing, something has magnified the Power in the area.
After waking her companions, Valkari went around the long way, climbing through the forest detritus with relative ease. Jedda woke up invisible and went immediately ran off to find me. Pulling back my Seeing to a more narrow view, I watch and laugh as Jedda finds an ancient mirrored shield used as a grave marker. Having never seen herself, she thinks the person watching everyone is in the mirror. She’s also nude. As with most Aelfin, she has quite the toned form.
Returning the shield to the grave after examining it, the group heads back to camp and prepares to scout the village.
The decide that discretion is the better part of valor for today…Birger magically drains the blackness from his robe and transfers the color to Valkari’s fiery hair, while she switches to a more feminine look, with her armor over a traveling dress.
Unsurprisingly, the Blur is sent to fly high, circling the village and watching for trouble.
Emptying his backpack, Birger dons his now-white robe and redoes his hair, hunching for an elder effect, while the halfling Kaltorei packs herself into Birger’s pack.
Entering town, the seemingly pair of travellers encounter a fairly friendly elder who informs them there is no inn, no tavern, not much in the way of trade at all, but that they might find some food at the baker’s stand. They are also told about the tunnels between the longhouses, used for harsh winters and storms.
Splitting themselves to better canvas the town, they work under the cover of merchant scouts. Valkari engages a trio of chatty ladies two streets over from the Baker’s stand. Most of the adult men in the village have already left for the day’s fishing, leaving the women, children, and elders. Denfrigg’s warriors protect the village in their absence, and he is held in very high regard for his trades and protection.
Birger stops a young child and in the course of a few moments, alludes to eating him. This sends the child screaming about monsters. As the mother of the child approaches with a drawn sword, Birger is unsuccessful in convincing the gathering mob of his true intentions – then the brat fingers him as a child-eating monster.
The ruckus draws Valkari away from her information gathering and towards her friend, while the Blurry One, still circling the village on high, dives down to help his companions.
His sudden appearance startles and enrages the villagers, already looking to kill one of them, and now he’s protected by a demon! From their cries, I can surmise the wings that bear him aloft are leathery and bat-like.
Valkari’s quick thinking salvages the scenario, the lie coming easily to her, the Blurry one is her brother, cursed by an evil witch with the form of a demon. This assuages the villagers a bit, not wanting to interfere with a cursed person.
That’s when the guards show up and take them to see Denfrigg the Bastard.
Straight through town, up the hill and to the headman’s Hall, they are brought forth to a large gathering of Denfrigg’s raiders and the headman himself, seated at the end of a long table with a wench upon his lap.
A short conversation later and all hell breaks loose. Denfrigg knew they were coming, but would not restrain his pleasures for even a single day. That is most unfortunate.
Birger dropped his backpack off in a relatively dark corner of the hall, allowing Kaltorei to exit the pack and begin setting fire to disgusting rags the raiders sleep on, to provide for distraction.
As Denfrigg tosses the wench from his lap and stands to give the order to kill them, it is revealed that he has been nude from the waist down! He grabs his sword and it appears he is going to do battle ungirded, as it were.
The Blurry One and Valkari immediately weigh in with their swords, fending off attack after attack while Kaltorei gleefully, silently, sets slow-starting fires. Birger sets forth a rune of the jotunn, scribing it through the air and directing it towards the ungirded Denfrigg.
Whether Denfrigg is protected or the jotunnn were offended by Birger’s placement of the rune of fire, I don’t know. I do know that the rune burns but is easily extinguished, only to flare again a few moments later. Denfrigg is effectively out of the battle.
Blocked from exiting by 4 guards, with another 20 fully armed and armored coming towards them, Valkari whittles the blockers down while the Blurry One, with his massive upper body strength, gives a bum’s rush through the doors. Birger makes mindslaves of the weakest pair, ordering them to hold off their former comrades.
Through this all, Kaltorei remains hidden, watchful of a way out of the hall, waiting for her fires to be noticed.
Outside, Birger calls out dramatically to the fires of Hel and the Underworld, the earth cracks open and he summons a fiery dragon the size of a longhouse crawls up, roaring orange and blue flames. A masterful illusion, to say the least! I’m sure the scent of offal and fear was terrible enough, but the look on the faces of their opponents, that is most enjoyable, even as bad as things look for Denfrigg. The men retreat into the hall, slamming the doors behind them.
The illusion carried on even as the Blurry One took flight, carrying off Valkari, and was made even more complete as smoke and flame began to fill the hall. Kaltorei’s arson catching hold.
The little one has hidden herself amazingly well, boots and men passing scant inches from her without so much as a second look. She is afforded opportunity to watch as the table is thrust aside, steel rings in the floor are lifted and the slab is raised and buttressed with an iron rod. The raiders, the wench, and Denfrigg file down into the tunnels below. Panicked, they do not notice as the last one down receives the razor’s edge of Kaltorei’s dagger across their throat, opening a bloody smile from ear to ear.
She isn’t strong enough to remove the iron bar! She’ll certainly be caught no…oh…she kicked it with enough force to knock the rod free, but falls down the stairs herself, with the body of the guard she killed. Secreting herself behind the stairs, she’s hidden well enough to rest for a bit.
I had great trouble finding the others, I suspect the Quickling, Jedda, is responsible for that. They have returned to their campsite in the woods, though I did not see how.
While I am not yet too old for this excrement, I am certainly feeling my years. How people can still manage to screw things up after being told who, what, where, and when things will happen is beyond my ken…