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[D&D5e] [PBP] [IC] Aurils' Everlasting Winter

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    ZomroZomro Registered User regular
    The warmth of the inn's fire is a great comfort after the stress and danger of the day. Seeing the empty common area, Thorkel motions for the party to have a seat. At the very least, they would be comfortable by the fire as he shared hls story.

    Thorkel looks over the group, mentally preparing himself for what he's about to share. He told a version of the story at the Wet Trout, but with enough omissions to distance himself from it. Now, though? There'd be no distance between the teller of the story from the subject of the story.

    After an awkward silence, Thorkel finally begins, "I wanted to keep this secret, I worried it might put you all in danger. We're passed that now, the Dale is dangerous no matter where we tread, losing Flint made me realize that. Trust will keep us safe, and I will put my trust in you, friends."

    "My birth name is Thorkel Bjornhildson, I was born into the Tribe of the Tiger. My mo..." Thorkel stops for a moment, "the woman who gave birth to me is Bjornhild Solvigsdottir, the Queen of the Tiger Tribe. I was not abandoned or exiled by the tribe, Bjornhild tried to kill me. She threw me, a mere child, into the Sea of Moving Ice as a sacrifice to Auril." Thorkel's hands curl into tightly tensed fists, the tension causing them to shake slightly. It takes a few moments for him to calm down and his hands relax again.

    "I would have died if it were not for the polar bear who pulled me from that icy darkness. But it was no regular animal, the bear became a Goliath woman. Her name was Oyaminartok, and she brought me to Ten-Towns, and bade me not to speak of where I came from. I do not know why Oyaminartok saved me, I only remember her once speaking of 'the Old Ways'. Whatever the reason, she saved my life and I owe her a great debt."

    "I tell you this for two reasons. The first is that I've heard rumors that a group is seeking Oyaminartok, and they were headed to Targos. I fear they might be after her, believing her to be a lycanthrope. And even if she is, she's a good and kind woman, not some beast to be put down."

    "The second reason is that I believe I can get our quarry, Sephek, to come after us, instead of us chasing him. To lure a hunter, one must offer enticing prey. I can be that prey. If he is killing those who avoid being sacrifices to Auril, then what better offering to Her than the wayward son of a Reghed Queen who survived being sacrificed?"

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    El SkidEl Skid The frozen white northRegistered User regular
    Uma listens to the story, sipping some ale thoughtfully.

    "Luring th' assassin back be an interestin' thought. Is it yer plan to stay here then, an' await Auril's assassin comin' back, rather than tryin' to follow em aroond the ten towns? An' if yer story be a secret, will the knowledge that yer alive cause ye any more danger than ye be already in?"

    She paused thoughtfully, not quite finished "So ye know, I also have me own reasons for wantin' to travel th' towns... I need ta be in Bryn Shander within th' month fer personal reasons."

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    ZomroZomro Registered User regular
    "If I am right, and Sephek would seek to offer me to Auril, then he would follow us wherever we went. Spread the word of who I am and where I'm headed and it'll reach his ears eventually."

    "What I worry about is that the word will reach the Tribes, which means that the Tiger will hear of it, as well. Queen Solvigsdottir might send hunters after me herself. We may be inviting trouble in the future, and I would not do so without you all agreeing to it."

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    BursarBursar Hee Noooo! PDX areaRegistered User regular
    edited June 7
    "We know roughly where Sephek is, since he is with the trade group. Hopefully it wouldn't take too much spreading the word to reach him."

    "And as to any hunters who may cross us, I'd not stand by and let my company be killed for circumstances as far out of their control as the tides. Would this tale bring any undue danger down upon your Goliath friend? Being sought by both the Townspeople and the clans is not a fate for one whose only crime is saving a baby."

    Bursar on
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    ZomroZomro Registered User regular
    edited June 7
    "I have no plans on revealing Oyaminartok's role in my survival. A polar bear saved me from those waters, that is enough. I doubt anyone in the Ten-Towns really remembers when she brought me, and she never spoke to anyone at the time, let alone gave her name."

    "As for her being hunted, she's either a lycanthrope or a powerful shaman if she can change into such a fearsome beast. I'm more worried about these people looking for her, to be truthful. Whether I save her life, or keep her from taking the lives of her would be slayers, I'd still be repaying her."

    "I propose that we head to Bryn Shander after we get paid by the Speaker, since Uma has business there. Targos is not far from there, and we can look into Oyaminartok or her pursuers then. In these days while we wait, we tell a few people my story and where we're headed and it will reach Sephek eventually. There's a particularly... loud Tiefling who patrons the Wet Trout who will certainly be one to talk about it."

    Zomro on
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    jdarksunjdarksun Struggler VARegistered User regular
    Mortilocian

    "It is your secret to reveal, if you wish," the druid begins. "But I do not know that drawing Sephek to us is necessary. Better to be the hunter than the prey, yes?" Mortilocian thinks on this for a moment. "Unless you wish to lay a trap, I suppose. I would be concerned that Sephek would chose the time and place of our encounter, which feels less than ideal."

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    El SkidEl Skid The frozen white northRegistered User regular
    Uma

    Uma nods in agreement. “We ha’ the initiative now. This plan gives tha’ up an’ puts ye in danger from yer birth family ta boot. If e’er we lose Sephek or find they’re no’ the assassin, the plan’ll be good to draw ‘em oot. My vote is ta keep it in oor pockets fer now, an’ look to find an’ confront Sephek when we are ready.”

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    ZomroZomro Registered User regular
    Thorkel nods his head thoughtfully, "If you think it wise to keep it secret, then I will honor it."

    The half orc breathes a sigh of relief, "At the very least, I feel unburdened by revealing this to you all."

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    El SkidEl Skid The frozen white northRegistered User regular
    Uma pats Thorkel on the arm reassuringly. “We do appreciate knowin’, an’ t’is a bonnie plan ta keep in oor pockets.” She pauses a moment.

    “So tha’ leaves us wi’ stayin’ aroond and makin’ sure the cauldron’s okay, an’ then headin’ on on the 20th then?” She asks the group.

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    BursarBursar Hee Noooo! PDX areaRegistered User regular
    Eskatan nods along with Uma's suggestion. "Shoring up the security of the artifact would set my mind at ease. It will do a lot of good here, but only as long as it stays in the right hands."

    The half-elf drums his fingers on the table nervously for a bit, then appears to come to a decision. "And... while we are on the subject of attracting attention, it is possible that I may draw some of my own. I doubt it will happen during the course of our efforts here, though," he continues, not tempting fate at all, "since this region has been locked away from the rest of the continent for some time now."

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    Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    edited June 9
    Meanwhile

    Archie leans on the bolted down cauldron, his new pal Brook stood straight on the other side.

    “…and that’s the best way to polish your boots.”

    Brook flicks his eyes over Archie.

    “Were you really at Fireshear, sir? It’s just some of the guards we’re talking and uh…”

    Archie thinks it over, he replies, “It was 1486, mid-winter…”

    Leaving out certain details, Archie tells of a raiding party of ice giants from Svardborg who decimated the city of Fireshear, to which he had been stationed to aid in mediating between the three families that ran the settlement and the much needed supply merchants, while also acting in the place of the recently killed commanding officer. A bear attack, it was assumed. A ward of the city was burned to the ground, but somehow Archie survived and rallied survivors to push the ice giants out. Some were killed, but the majority left for the wastes. He assumes they’ve joined up with a larger tribe somewhere to the north of Ten Towns…

    Endless_Serpents on
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    The BraysterThe Brayster UKRegistered User regular
    Geth, roll 1d20

    Geth, roll 1d20

    1d20 16 [1d20=16]
    1d20 15 [1d20=15]

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    The BraysterThe Brayster UKRegistered User regular
    You all enjoy the benefit of a Long Rest

    All exisitng Temporary HP has expired

    You all gain 5 Temporary HP from resting in a Civilised Area



    You all turn in for the night, relieved to see such an eventful day end at long last.

    The following day, you all arise to a quiet town, muted following the day before. There is no crisis to greet you as you set about your day, whatever your plans may be.


    7pm, 18th Nightal: 1489DR

    The White Lady Inn

    You all return from your days activites for an evening meal, far more relaxed and rested after an uneventful day. You gather by the fire in the White Lady Inn for small talk and some trading of information from the day, congratulating yourselves on managing to get through a day without any immediate mortal concern.

    As you do so, the door to the Inn slams open, allowing a freezing gust of wind to push through the entire common area. In the doorway stands the silhouette of Captain Arlaggath, flanked by two of her militia.

    She scans the room, and upon recognising your group she strolls over to you, her face cold and stern. You immediately sense that the Captain is wearing her 'Business' face.

    "Your Caravan, the one you said you had concerns with, it is here. It passed by the town's Western Entry not one hour ago. I already have men stationed to keep an eye on them, but if you want to act I'd advise you to be swift".

    She slows down and takes a deep breath.

    "I do not have the autorisation or evidence to keep them here permanently. I would remind you, however, that the peace in this town is to be preserved. Do not be the ones to start an all out brawl in the streets".



    Meanwhile, at the Town Hall

    Following the events of the previous day, the Cauldron had been moved to the Jailers Room in the dungeon under the Town Hall, where it has been bolted to the stone floor by the party and remained under guard by at least four individuals at all times, each rotation of guards spending most of their time at an adjacent table playing Three-Dragon Ante.

    It is there where Archie had remained, and was currently in what was promised to be the final game with these guards before the shift was due to change. This would also have been a naturally good point for Archie to join his new companions, knowing that it would be around this time that they would typically consider their evening meal.

    As if on cue, the door to the Jailer's Room swings open, and Prudence appears from the corridor. The other guards begin to stand up from the table, pre-empting their shift change, before Prudence gestures for them to sit down.

    "Not just yet boys, Jonas and his cohort are due down any minute to cover you"

    She then turns her attention to Archie.

    "The Captain stopped by, seemed to be in a rush. Said she was on the way to see your friends, something about a trading caravan they had been looking into. She said you might want to join them, and so to come get you".

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    jdarksunjdarksun Struggler VARegistered User regular
    Mortilocian

    "Whose hand moves these pieces," the druid murmurs. "Auril? Malar? Chauntea? Are we to take life, or preserve it?" Regardless of whatever answer awaits them, Morti prepares themselves as best as they can for whatever sort of confrontation awaits. Shield and staff are in hand. "Let's see what Sephek has to say for themselves."

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    Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    edited June 10
    Archie

    “Keep your coin lads.”, Archie says as he spreads four aces before them.

    Back to it, he thinks with a smile.

    Endless_Serpents on
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    ZomroZomro Registered User regular
    Thorkel nods at Mortilocian's suggestion, "Let us see for ourselves if Sephek is our killer."

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    Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    Archie arrives to hear Thorkel’s last line.

    “Might I suggest we take a shopping trip? We could try an old trick of mine; the Offended Aasimar.”

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    BursarBursar Hee Noooo! PDX areaRegistered User regular
    "I don't know what that means," says Esk. "We're trying to get a confession out of one man, not swindle a shopkeep. But I'll follow your lead if you have a plan."

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    El SkidEl Skid The frozen white northRegistered User regular
    edited June 11
    Uma thinks for a moment. “The merchsnt may be oor best first move. We ha’ her partner here in oor midst, perhaps we can get her alone away from Sephak an’ check ta see if said merchant be overcome wi’ religious fervor for Auril. If no’, we could ge’ evidence oot of her as to Sephak’s comins and goins.”

    El Skid on
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    Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    Archie lays out that the party should arrive before the caravan simply seeking goods, and then Archie will provoke the villain into a duel. During this process the party can push him into a confession, or at least remove from his person any items that show allegiance to Auril and thereby prove at least he is against the towns in spirit.

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    jdarksunjdarksun Struggler VARegistered User regular
    Mortilocian

    The druid scratches their head and looks uncomfortable. "Will that... work? And what if Sephek kills you in this duel?" Morti mutters the next part to themselves: "If we were wolves, we could just declare this our territory and make Sephek fight us for it."

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    ZomroZomro Registered User regular
    "If he confesses in the open, great. If not, we can bait a trap for him or look for evidence later."

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    BursarBursar Hee Noooo! PDX areaRegistered User regular
    Esk thinks about whether he'd noticed any particular worship of Auril in the Towns aside from the sacrifices. Though she had come into overwhelming power fairly recently, her star is clearly on the rise, and other gods in the region seem ambivalent at best towards the suffering of the people here.

    "Just being a follower of Auril may not be enough. We need proof that Sephek is the killer. A public confession would be best."
    Geth roll 1d20+2 for Religion

    Religion:
    1d20+2 22 [1d20=20]

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    The BraysterThe Brayster UKRegistered User regular
    7pm, 18th Nightal: 1489DR

    Eskatan
    The worship of Auril the FrostMaiden is Very Real across the entireity of Icewind Dale. Even before Auril decided to grace the Material Realm with her presence, her worship was still common in the area, being the coldest region in Faerún. Her physical presence in the world, along with the clear daily manifestation of her power, has been exceptionally divisive among those who concern themselves with the gods, but anyone with any kind of opinion has had their belief emboldened.

    To not 'believe' in Auril is now impossible, the only options that truly exist to people now are to Oppose Auril, Fear Auril, or Worship Auril, or some combination thereof. The first category exists only in the hearts of the few - to openly oppose Auril is considered to be suicidal. Most inhabitants of Ten-Towns occupy the second - fear is the true master of the region, and the common folk have been given plenty of reason to behave as such. Then, there are those who openly worship Auril - some who may have already worshipped her, emboldened by their vindication, as well as a wave of fresh converts, awed by her irrefutable power and influence.

    Worshippers of Auril tend to be few in Ten-Towns, though they are not hidden, for no one can truly tell them they are wrong with all the evidence around them. They may not make up the majority, but they are still eaily found, and you will have chanced on more than a couple in your short time in Icewind Dale. More concentrated woshippers, however, can be found in the more wild regions of the Dale - the Reghed Tribes in particular will be among the first to openly support or appease the god who so easily dictates the daily survival of their tribe.

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    BursarBursar Hee Noooo! PDX areaRegistered User regular
    Esk clicks his tongue distractedly before reaching a conclusion. "The Frostmaiden has more and more followers of late, so Sephek being one wouldn't be a sign of involvement with the killings. Perhaps you can make this a duel to unconsciousness instead of killing him if he doesn't blurt out his guilt? Surely keeping him in a guard cell for a few days on an assault charge would give us time to go through his things."

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    Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    “To the first blood? Or to yield? Serves me as well.”, Archie concedes.

    His briefly unsure why he’d want anything else. He looks over his shoulder gently, then smiles back at Esk.

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    ZomroZomro Registered User regular
    "Are we ready to go see Sephek? I'm ready to see this supposed killer."

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    The BraysterThe Brayster UKRegistered User regular
    8pm, 18th Nightal: 1489DR

    Captain Arlaggath motions for you to follow her, as she and her escort make their way out into the street. As you follow, you almost feel robbed of the cozy fireplace of the Inn - you had been so close to an incident free day. Instead, you find yourself trudging towards the town graveyard.

    The Captain silently gestures toward a gathering at the far end of the graveyard, outside of the furthest gate. There, under a whale oil lantern, you can see a crude wooden memorial, hastily put together, adorned with small offerings for the recently deceased. At the foot of this memorial is the silhouette of a woman, the size of a Dwarf, surrounded by a half-dozen or so burly figures, who would appear to be guarding the dwarf woman as she stands head-bowed in contemplation.

    The Captain turns to you.

    "This is the farthest I can interfere without official sanction or immediate cause for safety. I have taken some of my militia away from dead-posts around the Town Square to secure the immediate area, in case things escalate. I'd really prefer it if you didn't escalate, if possible. Easthaven has tension to spare as it is."

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    ZomroZomro Registered User regular
    Thorkel nods to the Captiain. "We do not intend to start a fight, but we will defend ourselves if Sephek proves violent."

    Thorkel approaches the dwarf woman, but keeps a healthy distance as to show a lack of hostility. "Torrga Icevein, we've been hoping to speak with you."

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    BursarBursar Hee Noooo! PDX areaRegistered User regular
    Esk quietly asks Captain Arlaggath, "Do you happen to know which of these is Sephek?" He tilts his head slightly towards the group, but does not approach just yet; the better to allow Thorkel to engage with Torrga alone.

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    jdarksunjdarksun Struggler VARegistered User regular
    Mortilocian

    The druid positions themselves between Thorkel and the rest of the group, ready to come to any of their aid should it become necessary. The names of the First Circle are already on her tongue, in preparation of the violence Morti believes is only moments away from beginning.

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    jdarksunjdarksun Struggler VARegistered User regular
    I'd like to cast Wild Shape / Symbiotic Entity preemptively if violence seems likely; but I also want to give these folk a chance to come peacefully, so I don't want to cast it yet. Does that make sense? idk, it sounds kind of like gaming the system. If they just straight up attack Thorkel I think I'd still be surprised and have to cast it during combat.

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    Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    edited June 26
    Archie starts walking in the general direction of the group, but walks by further more, silently bowing his head in prayer to the god of hastily made plans executed without talking to the party first. He imagines he’ll provoke at least one guard, even though he hasn’t done anything. From there he can be the one that’s wronged, thus allowing the party to intervene on his behalf and smooth things over.

    Endless_Serpents on
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    El SkidEl Skid The frozen white northRegistered User regular
    Uma walks to the side where she can get a less obstructed view of what is going on, and while she hasn’t drawn her crossbow her hand is settled idly beside it, ready to draw at a moment’a notice

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    The BraysterThe Brayster UKRegistered User regular
    8pm, 18th Nightal: 1489DR

    Eskatan

    The Captain frowns.

    "I'm afraid not. Torrga's hired help all seem akin to one another in my eyes. You're probably best askin' the boss lady herself, unless you're planning to stake them out?"


    Mortilocian
    I'm happy for you to cast spells like that in anticipation of a fight if you think you see one coming, so long as you are explicit in its casting prior to kick-off.


    Archie

    You walk by and bow your head in prayer. In the motion you make the briefest of eye-contact with one of Torrga's thugs, who glares at you but makes no attempt to approach, staying close by his fellows. You do get the distinct impression that you hold his attention, however.


    Thorkel

    As you approach, Torrga's men swiftly close ranks to prevent your direct approach. One holds his hand out and looks as if he is about to issue a stern warning, but before he gets the chance, a raspy voice responds from behind him.

    "It's a little late in the day for business, whoever ye are. Ye can find us set up in the Town Square in the morn. In the meantime, I'm trying to pay me respects here"

    At no point does the Dwarf turn to so much as look at you.

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    ZomroZomro Registered User regular
    Thorkel is unmoved by the approach of the merchant's guards and he speaks once again. "We pay our respects as well. We had the honor of traveling with Flint Herdsman before his time was unjustly cut short. I was proud to have counted him amongst my few true friends. And that is why we are here. We have heard rumors that one amongst your bodyguard has been killing innocent people in the towns your caravan has visited. Flint was concerned that you might be in danger with such a person traveling with you, and we intend to get to the truth of it."

    "Our business lies with Sephek Kaltro. We ask that you and your men not interfere in his questioning."

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    jdarksunjdarksun Struggler VARegistered User regular
    Mortilocian

    The druid invokes the names of the First Circle under their breath, quietly awakening the spores that infuse them. "Just in case," they murmur.
    ...yeah I feel like a fight is coming up. Mortilocian will go ahead and use Symbiotic Entity. I don't think it's visible, so it shouldn't be... like, provoking or whatever.

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