Birthright: Rise of the Kingmakers

Session 21, In the Halls of the Mountain Dwarves

July 28-August 2, 561 H.C.

Present: Brian, Dave, Jess, Ron; Absent: Ken

Current Goal: capture and hold a fort in the Esmersdan province of Kiergard until the Prince’s men can arrive to reinforce it
Last Session Recap: met with two potential joiners for the group, decided on the slightly-surly wizard specialist named Johan, met with Prince and got assignment to take and hold fort (see above), set off on Almira’s boat and sailed up river and into lake, met dwarves in Baruk-Azik mountains who would guide group to Keirgard.

Game date: July 28, 561 (Brecht)

Marched with dwarves (allied with the Prince) through the Baruk-Azik mountains of Land’s Victory.

Johan looked at Nick’s “shadowblade” axe and nonchalantly commented that it had a tracking spell on it. He also noted that it was linked to Nick’s special “blur” ability, and also had strong ties to the Shadow World. Nick wasn’t worried about either spell on the axe, but Vendar thought that the wizard (or wizards) they saw back in the tunnels below Calrie put the spell there to keep track of Nick.

The dwarven trail led through may twisty passages underground, and occasionally passed above ground. At one point, the group saw a few perytons (winged elk). The dwarves noted that the hippogriffs were likely hunting them, forcing them from their mountaintop homes. Vendar could corroborate the dwarfs’ story that peryton shadows look like human shadows.
As the sun set, the group camped in a cave and huddled around the fire to stave off the mountain chill.

Game date: July 29, 561 (Brecht)

The underground trails early the next day were narrow and dust-covered, as if rarely used.
At one point, one of the dwarves motioned for the group to stop and then continued ahead alone. Nick crept up behind him, but couldn’t see in the dark and stumbled into the huge thick webs that crisscrossed the passage.

Nimble Nick easily slipped out from the sticky strands, but the dwarf merely got himself more stuck as he struggled. As a huge spider skittered from the darkness Nick quickly pulled the stuck dwarf out of the webs. Jenneken hit the monstrosity with her glitter spell, making it much easier to see in the near-darkness.

As the spider moved to grab Nick, the lad chopped at it with his new axe. The dark blade bit into the creature deeply, but it did not fall. The spider’s counter-attack missed only due to Nick’s nimbleness and his special blur ability.

With some help from Johan, the second dwarf charged in, its axe blazing with flame. It chopped at the spider’s webs, setting them afire. As the webs quickly burned, Nick hacked at the spider’s head, splitting it in a gory mess.

As the others huddled back from the flames, Nick barely managed to jump away. He had inhaled a lot of the smoke, however, and found he was unable to talk for a while.
Once the fires and smoke had dissipated, Nick searched the passageway for any treasure the creature had hoarded, but only found several cocooned cave bats. Johan took some time to collect some venom from the dead spider.

The rest of the day was comparably dull.

Around the campfire that night, the dwarves commented how the peryton’s behavior and the giant spider seemed to indicate some disturbance in the natural order of the mountains. Vendar asked some questions, and wondered if the hippogriffs and spider had been driven out of Kiergard by the Gorgon’s massing armies.

In another conversation, Johan noted that a man named “Brand Mournsinger” was leading a resistance effort in Kiergard against the Gorgon’s forces. Vendar remembered meeting a man by that name when the group was on their original mission to Coyote Point.

During the overnight watches, the group noticed the sound of tumbling rocks, as if in a nearby cave. The dwarves mentioned there was a cavern nearby where some stone giants lived. Unfortunately, their route passed through this cavern, and they would have to sneak past the next day.

Game date: July 29, 561 (Brecht)

In the morning the group discussed how to get safely past the stone giants. Vendar could sneak past in his small cat form, Nick was naturally very sneaky, and Almira could use her ghost-form spell. That left Jenneken, Johan and their dwarven guides. Johan had a spell to make him run quickly for a short while, but if it failed he would actually be slowed.

Checking the passage they needed to cross, it seemed about 100 feet from one end to the other. The path was along a narrow ledge, with a steep wall to one side and a sharp cliff on the other. Watching the passage for a few minutes, it seemed that the stone giants were a far distance away, and largely unconcerned with the exposed dwarven trail.

Almira, Vendar and Nick made it across without a problem. But when the first dwarf tried to sprint across, the giants heard him and lobbed a large rock. Though the boulder struck the dwarf squarely, the sturdy guide was able to get to the other side. Johan used his quick-run spell on himself, Jenneken and the other dwarf, all of whom managed to make it across without being struck by the giant’s boulders.

Johan made an awkward request for aid from Avani and healed the dwarf’s wounds. Almira noted that when he was casting the spell, he used some rather coarse Basarji language.
Near the end of that day, the path emerged outside into the cold, rainy peaks of Rivenrock in Baruk-Azik. The dwarves said that they would reach the border of Keirgard late the next day.

Game date: July 30, 561 (Brecht)

In the morning, Jenneken and Johan mentioned they had heard screaming during their watch, but the dwarves noted that it was likely just a peryton meeting an untimely demise.
The route became rough as it wound through the mountains. Vendar changed to his owl form, and Almira used a spell to make her able to cling to the ground (and even walls!). The others had to scramble along the wet rocks as best they could.

While aloft, Vendar noted that the trail they were on led past a cave that had a large bloody streak leading into it. Checking closer, he saw a mangled peryton was being eaten by a mountain troll. Back with the group, the dwarves were surprised that the creature would be so bold as to hunt in their territory. Nick suggested that they just go tell the troll to leave, and the dwarves seemed to think that might be worth a try.

The dwarves and the trolls grumbled at each other in dwarven language for a while, and seemed to reach an agreement. They explained that the troll would leave them peacefully, but wanted help butchering the peryton and carrying it down the mountain. Nick and Vendar helped the dwarves carve up the foul-smelling creature.

Loaded with heavy packs of meat, the group continued down the mountain trail, managing the journey without any major incidents. To the north stretched a broad farmland – the Kierholme province of Kiergard.

That evening, the troll’s meat was packed into a cave before it headed off to its home in the nearby forest. With the rotting meat permeating the air, Vendar had to brew an herbal remedy to help him, Jenneken and Almira from getting sick from the strong odor.

On a suggestion Nick, Owl-Vendar scouted the nearby area. There were a few farm homes, but more concerning were the howls of a wolf pack. By the time Vendar returned, the howls were getting closer – likely drawn by the smell of the peryton meat.

The group used their wolf-urine elixir to ward their camp against the encroaching wolves. Early in the evening, their glowing eyes could be seen balking at the strong scent of the urine, and their alpha leader turned and led them away.

Game date: July 31, 561 (Brecht)

In the morning, Johan and Jenneken informed the group that during their watch they heard the wolves in the distance attacking something.

The dwarves gave a gruff farewell, promising to send word to the Kiergard rebels that would come to take over the fort after it had been taken from the orogs.

Almira estimated it would be about 80 miles through Kiergard from their present location over to Esmersdan. They remembered that the Prince warned them that the area was regularly patrolled by mounted soliders of The Gorgon.

Vendar took to the air to keep an eye out for approaching danger, while sharp-eyed Nick lead the group through the fields along the border with Sielwode.

After traveling for a couple hours, Vendar spotted a group of six horsemen approaching. Moving to a nearby hollow, the group hunkered down behind an illusion conjured by Jenneken. As the soldiers approached, it was clear they were well armed and armored, wearing coats with the Gorgon/Keirgardian crest. For a few tense moments one of the guards looked suspiciously at the area where the group was hiding, but eventually they rode off.

The rest of the day passed uneventfully, but they had seen no good places to camp. Vendar tried to find a relatively hidden location, and with help from Nick they managed to set up some very convincing camouflage around their camp.

Game date: August 1, 561 (Brecht)

Another day of cautious travel passed without any incidents. A few mounted patrols passed by the hidden group without notice.

Nick asked about using a road instead of trudging through the fields. When he was next aloft, Vendar saw a road a few miles away. Watching it for a while, he noted that there were much larger patrols riding there – upwards of 20 mounted soldiers in a group. Occasionally a small cluster of riders would break off to patrol along the border.

That evening, Vendar found a small cluster of bushes where they could make a hidden camp. A passing group of soldiers once again paused to take a closer look, but eventually moved along without causing trouble.

During the first watch, Nick noticed a group of small flying creatures cruising low to the ground in the distance. Almira guessed they were some kind of fey creature, likely making limited excursions out from the Sielwode forest. Having watched them for a while, Nick could tell they were gathering river stones to a single location. Almira could tell there was some sort of magical activity where the stones were being placed.

Almira woke Johan to take a look. He agreed that the pixies were doing something magic related. Nick woke Vendar and asked him to fly overhead to check them out. Owl-Vendar could see they were making a large ring of stones, almost 10 feet across.

While discussing how to proceed, Nick noticed a group of the pixies had surrounded the group and were closing with arrows nocked in their tiny bows. In short order, everyone was pricked by the poisoned arrows. Only Nick was able to resist the sleep effect, everyone else dropped to the ground snoring.

Between his nimble dodges and natural resistance to poison, Nick was able to avoid the creatures long enough to grab one. Though he was unable to communicate with them, they seemed to understand he meant no harm. Yet as soon as he set down the one they had grabbed, it immediately stabbed him. Nick finally succumbed to the pixie sleep poison.

Game date: August 2, 561 (Brecht)

In the morning the group awoke unharmed, but found themselves the victims of several pranks: inkwells had been dumped and tiny footprints all over their faces, Johan’s “cigar” paper had all been folded into tiny animals, Vendar had one of his eyebrows shaved off, etc.
After camp was struck, the group went to investigate the stone circle the pixies were building. Almira and Johan determined that the purpose of the circle was to anchor a ley line, likely to prevent it from being accessed from some other location.

Session CP award: 6 points

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ronald_t_m

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