Frozen Midnight

Back into the cold (Ben)
Feels good to me...

We make our way across to a mausoleum to the east, but it’s locked and we can’t get in.

We make our way to the south and find the same. In heading north we examine the statue a little more closely and we pull the rod out of the statue’s hands. We use that as a key to open the mausoleum.

By examining the tomb, it’s pretty clear that the floor moves up and crushes all within. It’s possible that we aren’t going to trigger that since we didn’t break in.

But that doesn’t keep Brother Jerome from rushing outside and nervously watches the ceiling.

Grom has to go pawing through the gems and such and that awakens the skeleton of the dwarf who was buried here. Oh skeletons. I never seem to have a bludgeoning weapon at hand. I try to fascinate the creature but it has no mind. I settle for inspiring courage among the troops with a stirring bit of speech I picked up from old Willy S. It seems to work better for them than me as I also nearly put out Grom’s eye with an errant arrow.

Oh good, the suspicious looking gargoyles fly on in to attack. Yay. One immediately bites me and then the room goes dark. Yippee.

Grom and Meklor fail to contain the skeleton. He disappears into the dark. One gargoyle grabs Brother Jerome and flies off with him.

Welsteril runs after and scorches him. But doesn’t quite make the gargoyle drop. So up up it flies and drops Brother Jerome on the steps in front of the mausoleum.

The skeleton re-appears and I take another bite from the gargoyle. So I move around the corner and swig a cure potion before hopping back in on the action. Such as it is. Since I don’t have much that will do damage on these guys at all.

But the skelly kills Grom and in my rage (despite the fact that I hardly knew the half-orc) I charge and attempt to bludgeon him with fists. I did no damage however…

But I did draw the ire of the gargoyle along with another good bite. Ouch.

Brother Jerome lays a firebolt on the skelly which puts him down. Which also caused the gargoyles to drop to the ground.

At last. Too late for Grom. We heal up and plan to rest in the western mausoleum.

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Synopsis of the Mausoleum (West)

Shelter was found. Inside was a branded criminal with the mark of luck, who had found a way to invoke the brand as if it contained magic. He traded his life for the life of his dead partner, whose female body lay at his feet. Just as he was about to raise the dead by laying his hand upon her, Welsteril threw Meklor’s body in the path and the magic was expended on the monk. The cleric was then consumed in flames.

The party stayed the night, but nothing attempted to gain entry to eat them.

Meklor had a strong thirst, then discovered water would not slack it. He felt like he wanted the blood coursing through the veins of his living companions.

The party searched for secret passages in the crypts built into the stone pews. They did not find any, but one of the entombed dead was wearing +1 leather with endure elements (cold). Ben took it and gave Grom his +1 leather armor. Grom switched armor.

The party has decided to investigate the cross and stone carvings, then make for either the southern or eastern mausoleum.

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Take two
Perhaps we won't lose 1/3 of the party this time

So it’s cold. Very cold and I’m not really dressed for this. I’m used to being in much more warm environments. Making my presentations. Wooing the prospective buyers. I warm my brain indulging in such memories.

Welstiril’s reedy voice snaps me out of my reverie. He urges us to seek shelter in a nearby mausoleum. Normally, I would balk at such a thing. My icy feet protest mightily and I’d rather not lose a toe. I like the natural symmetry of my feet the way they are.

We make our way against the wind and snow. Welstiril drags the sad frozen body of his ward behind him. Clinging to a stubborn belief that he will be able to somehow undo his massive failure. His faith is somewhat charming.

We fight our way to the mausoleum. There’s light and noise inside and I peek inside to see a person working feverishly over what looks to be a corpse. Welstiril wastes no time dragging his frozen charge in and dumps the body in front of the person just as they reach out to the corpse and frozen Meklor receives the boon instead.

Yeah, you heard that right.

There is also a half-orc present. Sitting stoically. He claims he just stumbled up here and got slapped with the luck tattoo and transported to the pit. He won’t cop to whatever crime sent him northward. In fact he insists there was none. That he left his village of his own volition. I don’t believe it.

We hunker in the mausoleum. Eating some trail rations. This is a far cry from the type of hall I normally hunker down in. There’s no crackling hearth or buxom serving wenches bringing overflowing flagons of beverages. Preferably hot beverages. And toasty warm pies. And warm baths. And blankets. Especially blankets.

Sigh.

The night passes slowly. I am unable to summon even a decent story.

I examine the bite on my arm. It looks ok. But I better keep an eye on it for a while. Sometimes it takes a while for sickness to fester. If it’s going to fester. Real festery.

We ransack the place respectfully (of course). And I get a nice fur lined magical armor out of it. So that’s nice.

Now we’re going to head back into the cold to see if there’s any escape from this wretched place. I am not optimistic.

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No, I do not want to build a snowman
And don't even start with that other song

We are marched by our captors up through the frozen wasteland to Helkgen. Many others with us did not survive the march. Only my righteous indignation keeps me warm enough.

I always said I could sell ice to a Helkgenian. But there was never any desire to prove it. But here we are, sell one cursed magical item to the wrong noble and this is my fate. I didn’t know it was cursed. Exactly.

I’m stuck in cells with a monk and his keeper, a murderous murder demon and a goody-two-shoes cleric.

Swell.

They plan to send us down into the Hel Hold to fight against advancing evil. What kind of punishment is this? Sure they simply mean to send us to our death.

They summon us into the courtyard and forceably brand our forearms with something that is supposedly a luck brand. It is terribly unsightly. Ugh.

A brief incantation and we are transported to a graveyard with instructions to seek shelter quickly and to get in the pit.

The pit? Where is that? And perhaps we should just take our leave.

Naturally, a ghoul pops up wile noshing on a bit of bone.

While we’re aimlessly firing shots at the ghoul, a rodent of unusual size blindsides me from the north east. Dammit. Why did it have to be rats?

I stab one in the tail and I get bit a couple of times. The rest of the party responds admirably and kills the rats before I can really respond. Which is lovely but then the ghast pops up again and brings a friend this time. There are too many of the ghasts. And I can’t see a thing in this blasted snow.

But I hear that a ghast takes the murdery demon out into the snow and eats his heart. And the monkish one gets devoured as well.

I can’t seem to hit a thing in this mess and waste any number of arrows. The rest of the ghasts get away. And we’re left with a slightly smaller party. And not really sure what to do.

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Above The Kodar Mountains
Frozen Midnight

Justice is swift and cruel. Only days ago the warmth of the Varisian plains washed over you. Now, nothing but bitter frost seeps into your bones. Every surface is devoid of life, giving purchase only to the ice.

It’s been weeks of walking along ravines and over passes. The caravan master kept pointing out the next ridge, claiming it to be the last. It never was. Steeper, higher, more deadly they came. Almost half of the convicts lost their lives in the crossing. Those who lived may well wish the cold had taken them.

Down there is Helkger, where Jarl Asgar will bind the thieves and murderers to task. This cannot be good.

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