The five group members leave Naerumar’s house in Fallcrest toward Nenlast. Several hours into the trip, a commotion at a farm is heard. The commotion is caused by four Half-orcs from Telia’s Iabatha clan, about to storm and raid the place. Through a strange combo of intimidation and diplomacy, the farmhands agree to let the group buy goods for the Half-orcs. The Half-orcs oblige our request to not kill the humans, take our provisions, and join the team temporarily. They are traveling to meet with the Bloodspears, so will part ways when necessary. We agree to pay 60 gp to the farmers as well as fight an ogre for them (this seems ridiculously expensive to me!)
That night, as the snow starts to fall, the group manages to pull an ogre out of the darkness using Lefty as bait. Three more ogres join the party. The strength of the ogres is ridiculous, but all four are eventually taken down with the help of Rangsi, Baidu-ta, and her two hunters.
After looting the ogres’ hovel, we pick up 41 gp, 3 gems worth ~100 gp each, and “plus 2 magic throwing ax”. The next day we split at a fork in the road as they go NW and we go NE.
As it gets dark out and the snow goes from flurries to still, the group hears howling and Telia notices there are humanoid forms appearing in the falling snowflakes. Suddenly a wolf appears and looks at each person. Mist rising from the melting snow takes shape. Then the wolf does a soul-curdling howl, and bloodies almost all of the party in one hit. Two spectres come out of the dark to attack. The “waver” knocks out Barakas. In his unconscious state, one on one with the waver, Barakas manages to misdirect him with a bluff that his Uncle Naerumar has the box and is hiding in the Harkenwold. The three enemies disappear.
For fear of instant death by Raven Queen lackies, the group must travel straight through the night and all through the next day to Nenlast. A dark tower in the small city leads to Balthias, the mage. He inspects the box, undead pour out of the box into the holding bubble, and then discovers a black arrow with a stone head, maybe obsidian. He then informs the group of the “limited lifetimes”. The call of the Raven Queen must be answered, so the group must go to the Shadowfell to visit her to get the curse removed. The box seems to have some tie to the Raven Queen, obviously. Apparently Baltias doesn’t want payment for his help, he seems to only want information from how to stave off baddies from the Shadowfell. Alston gets a +2 wand of wonder. Then, via a portal mirror method, all make it into the Shadowfell. For Thorn it is the same as in the dream. (Apparently while in the dream, it was also somehow in the Shadowfell.) Now in the Shadowfell everyone follows the “falling stars” which are just souls going to the Raven Queen.
Where were we?
- Returning to the game after long hiatus.
- The party has just bought horses and equipped itself for a journey to the ruins of Fastormel to retrieve a scrying stone for Nimozoan, as payment for the damping case he constructed for the Box.
- Party sets out from the Wizard’s Gate, in Fallcrest’s east wall, into the wilds.
- After a half-day’s journey through overgrown farmlands, they hear a commotion.
- Telia recognizes the sounds as orcish military commands, and recognizes the dialect of her home clan, the Ayubatha.
- The party approaches and parlays with the orcs, who turn out to be refugees from a massacre in Telia’s homelands by hobgoblins from Daggerburg.
- The orcs are about to raid a farmhouse.
- The party negotiates to buy the supplies the orcs need for them if they’ll spare the farmers.
- After a protracted negotiation with the leader of the Orc band, a half-orc female named Rangsi, and with the farmer and his wife, an agreement is reached.
- Among the terms of the agreement, the party agrees to clear out an ogre that has taken up residence in an abandoned farmhouse nearby.
- They decide to try to lure the ogre out into the open by using Ciro’s pony as bait, and by cooking meat over an open fire.
- The lure works, and shortly after dusk has fallen, the hulking form of an ogre appears at the edge of a harvested field.
- It turns out that, instead of a single ogre, this is a band of four. After a brutal fight during which Telia is knocked unconscious, the ogres are defeated, with some help near the end by Rangsi’s band.
- Scouting the ogre’s lair, the party finds 41gp worth of assorted coins, 3 gems worth 100gp, and a particularly nice Seeker Throwing Axe +2.
- The following day, the party sets out freshly rested and with fresh provisions for the town of Nenlast, at the eastern edge of Lake Nen. (Fastormel can wait until they’re ready to return to Fallcrest.)
- Rangsi’s band travels with the party until they reach a fork in the road. The orcs are headed northwest toward the holdfast of the Bloodspear Clan, while the party must head eastward to Nenlast.
- Not long after they’ve parted ways, Telia becomes aware that she’s seeing humanoid forms outlined in the drifting snow out of the corner of her eye, but they’re not there when she looks directly.
- They continue on warily, set on edge by the distant sound of a hound’s howl.
- Thorn suddenly becomes aware of the form of a hound on a rock outcropping in front of them, watching them.
- A moment later, it’s directly in front of them, seemingly looking directly into the eyes of each party member at once.
- Then it howls, bloodying half the party in a single blow.
- From the trees, a wraith appears, then another. As the first approaches, its thoughts invade the minds of the party members, dealing further psychic damage.
- The second wraith approaches Barakas and whispers to him, “where is it?”
- Barakas refuses to answer, and the wraith cuts him down with a single blow.
- Barakas falls unconscious, and suddenly everyone else is gone. Only he and the wraith remain. Again, the wraith asks him where it is. He tries to lie, and the wraith twists the blade. He lies again, telling the wraith that the box is in the Harkenwold, and the wraith disappears with the others.
- The party manages to revive Barakas and they decide to travel without resting toward Nenlast.
- They journey through three brutal days without rest or sleep, and with only what food they could consume on horseback, but they manage to make it to the tiny village of Nenlast.
- There they find the tower of the wizard they’d been sent to find and gain entrance.
- They tell him about their travels and show him the box. He realizes quickly that this is an item of great power, and agrees with Alston’s suggestion that it has something to do with the Raven Queen.
- The hound’s howl, the wizard explains, is a summons from the Raven Queen, which ordinarily causes the death of one so cursed. They may answer the summons in another way, however, by using the portal Grundelmar had told them about to cross into the Shadowfell.
- The wizard loans a +2 wand of wonder to Alston for the journey, and after a feast and a good night’s sleep, the party passes through the portal into the Shadowfell.