Reign of Winter

Grey's Journal (Session 11)
Weird Elementals and more Fey

On our quest to free Baba Yaga’s hut it appears as though we may have encountered a snag. It appears as if the elements binding the hut in the forest are very strange and must be some sort of arcane puzzle.
As our wizard, Ergo, has been on a drinking binge ever since coming into a civilized place we have been unable to find him, and had to rely on the rest of our senses for solving these puzzles.
The first part seemed easy enough, it was guarded by some trolls who to my knowledge had never fought anything before at least that’s how it seemed by their combat prowess, they got a few lucky shots in but went down pretty hard, pretty fast. But then things got complicated and we discovered a place where the rain rained upwards. We left that alone for the most part, and continued on to find some kind of gremlins so I’m told. again no combat prowess, just little tricksters.
Finally we came to some floating stones, these floating stones had a dryad and something with flaming hair guarding them and they opened up by creating a pit under Drifa and Scarlett. Though it opened under me as well I was nimbly able to leap to the side before falling in. Drifa and Scarlett are not so practiced in such arts. However their minds may be able to resist spells significantly better than mine. The dryad told me to go to the clocktower, just as I was about to hit her. It seemed like a good Idea at the time…. I hear tale that Aap and Karfel were able to handle the situation, luckily, but I wasn’t there so I don’t know..
So now were stuck in the forest, and we are still trying to free the hut.
Working for your empire always,
Grey of the Witches tresses

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Grey's Journal (Session 10)
-OUCH AGAIN!

Master,
The task set before us of ensuring the return of Baba Yaga has grown far more daunting of late. As you know we have journeyed to Whitethrone in order that we may “Liberate” her hut and use it to track her down. Currently we are working with a resistance group to attempt this.

The resistance group asked us to form a strike at a clock tower in order to take down one of Queen Elvanna’s lieutenants, A White dragon and typically a first responder to disturbances within the City. Due in part to clever planning on the part of Ap and myself we used spiderclimb to bypass the dragon’s minions and bring the fight to him directly. Scarlett’s Firey rays and the bombs of Karfel served us well and we made short work of him. Finding his horde we made use of some of the treasure in order that we might liberate the children and prisoners of the clocktower. The Ice Trolls and the witch that we dispatched inside were of far more consequence than that dragon however and proved difficult.

To matters of your concern, It appears that these resistance fighters need suppliers and benefactors. Since they are opposing the queen, whom I deem an enemy of our nation’s sovereignty, I think our interests align. They need supplies badly and I know our trade networks have no rival. If we make arrange for supplies to their effort I believe the rewards could be lucrative if my mission is successful.

Further, as a way of insuring my missions success I wonder if you can help me with a problem I’ve been having. It seems as if every enemy whom I face has a substantial knowledge of my old training accident, and they always seem to find that injured vertebrae just beneath my skull. I would like research done into something to protect that part of my body, I’m thinking of some sort of helmet but it must be designed to fit under my cloak when the hood is pulled. I was hoping your Magi had heard of such a thing and if not I would gladly donate some resources to researching it and happily test any prototype that you develop. (Translation: KRISTEN! I wanna Buy a Jingasa of the fortunate soldier but I don’t want it to look like one, more like smoothed helmet with protection on the neck)

As always I seek to pursue the ends of the empire,
Grey of The Queen’s Hair

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Grey's Journal (Session 9)
Into Whitethrone

Master,

After our brief encounter with the quicklings the lady of the house asked us if we could please rescue her son, a faun. I thought this could be done, and she had offered us shelter from the cold so the Ape man tracked the boy to a shed outside of town. I sneaked up on the shed and peered in throught the windows. I instructed the ape man to lay down one of his spells that can grab hold of the quicklings, thinking of tying the fey down and using arrows to end them without their retaliation, but alas, planning only gets you so far. The quicklings attempted to flee through a window, but I was there and I used an old technique I learned in your courts, by hitting him in the throat I was able to delay his actions, and follow up with a nasty kick. They didn’t last long.

I have successfully infiltrated Whitethrone, though doing so was not entirely easy. I lied to the two trolls guarding the bridge into town, but they are trolls and thus subject to fear, I simply identified their fear and caused them to allow us to pass. In the fishing district we searched for the Uncle of Nadya hoping he could gain us access to other parts of the City without attracting too much attention. However with the deaths of now I count 8 City Guard, and 3 Trolls that they employ also I doubt that we will be able to move much farther through the city without causing some kind of scene.

Still my skills increase master, and though I find wisdom in the instructors of your course not spending much time on techniques for staying up on one’s feet, I find that training in that area is precisely what would make battle easier. I find it difficult fighting on my back, but fortunately the Kata book that your instructors left with me contained some techniques for countering opponents who would trip you, but it was in the middle of the book, I tend to read only the beginning and ends of books, a bad habit I picked up as a child I’m afraid, when one would need to see the end of a story before continuing to read it. It’s less effective apparently with martial training guides. I have however corrected the errors in my form and will be better prepared for this in the future.

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Grey's Journal (Session 8)

Master,

While we continue our quest towards Whitethrone, we have encountered more dangers than I had originally anticipated. While I last wrote to you of some terrible events that discouraged our progress I regret to inform you that once more our progress has been impeded by circumstance.

It seems that as we journeyed through these wooded areas towards Whitethrone we came across the cottage of a Huldra. This woman asked us to seek out what happened to her husband and to return him to her. His mind had been taken over by a plant of some kind, I have included a sample of the leaves, do not handle them directly. Also of note this Huldra granted me a boon that allowed me some luck for the following day.

As we ventured onward we discovered a village that had a standing structure of a burned out cathedral. I did my part to restore the shrine to Desna, but never the less we were besieged by undead. It was here that I discovered a new element to the form of hand to hand fighting that I was taught in your courts. It appears that by providing an enemy with false openings one can quickly invoke takedowns, and holds in order to secure advantage over one’s adversary. I employed these tactics liberally once I discovered that my punches could barely harm these unnatural creatures. It seemed odd to me that Scarlett had no trouble with getting her magic-imbued sword to cut through the creatures, nor did the shieldmaiden Drifa. Curious.

We met along the road a woman named Morgana, who by a similar road to ours met a red rider and is on a similar quest. It would seem that all hope for restoring proper balance to this land and by extension our world relies on the success of our mission and the survival of the white rider.

We were able to document and tame a new form of fauna in this area known as a megalosaurus. This creature the ape man, Aap, tells me is a rare form of stag that he believes will be useful, shortly after taming it however it attracted the attention of some worgs. Worgs are highly intelligent wolves with a vulnerable spot I discovered located squarely between the hind legs on the lower portion of the torso. If hit with sufficient force in this area it causes the animals great pain and irritation. After we subdued the worgs we continued on with the new pet, who refused us after some point but appears to have left us with it’s offspring to care for.

Lastly we came to the home of an middle aged woman, who has asked us to seek out her son, a faun who has gone missing, I fear that the trail may have gone cold, but her house is besieged by quicklings and timberjacks, If I do not write further you shall know it was these blasted fey that did me in. If I ever get back home I shall never again leave without the company of a pair of silver and cold Iron Kukri’s.

Wishing you well and hoping that one day your eyes shall befall this journal

Grey Winter Fog.

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Grey's Journal (Session 7)

Master,

It appears once more as if our misadventures have led us to encounter something you may find interesting. The company that I am currently traveling with has discovered various ways of killing multiple small animals that appear to attack at once. One of the chiefest problems with traveling across this frozen tundra has been the inexplicably high amount of Crow attacks. As such we have developed a tactic for handling them. It appears as if Ergo and Scarlett have some affinity for magic. As such they target these incoming swarms of crows with a double layer of conical fire upon their approach. The Monkey, well honestly the monkeys, wait for them to come into reach and do what they can to bash them. Most of the rest of us throw alchemical fire at these swarms in order to scatter them.

In other news I am enclosing some sketches and skin/blood/fur samples from two breeds of wolf that can be found in this part of the world. I believe that sending a team up here to retrieve a small populace of these species could be of great value, IF they can be properly domesticated and trained. One bears white fur which could provide it with camoflage in this area, and can breath a conical burst of icy crystals. The other just seems to be generally larger than standard wolves, and possibly more intelligent. I really do not know.

Lastly we have encountered a group of falconers who used birds as weapons to engage their enemies, and while I think that this tactic was poorly executed, it seemed to be a viable strategy for keeping one’s enemies at a distance while pelting them with arrows.

I believe that we have thoroughly ingratiated ourselves with Nadya, our guide and sometime caravan leader through this part of the world. Her smaller boy ran off to play hide and seek and was ambushed by wolves. His rescue is but one more reason that this woman will owe us. Perhaps your lordship would like me to negotiate a trade contract with her?

Tracking witches can be difficult, I come to wonder if we are the hunters or the prey in this scenario, but you may rest assure that the Grey of the Lion’s Mane will scalp the white head of the witch.

Until we meet again,
Grey of the Lion’s Mane.

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Grey's Journal (Session 6)

Master,

I greet you with thanks for the messenger whom you had in Irrisen who brought me back from the other realm. I am very grateful that you value the intelligence that I have been gathering for you through Taldor and now in Irrisen.


Speaking of Intelligence from Irrisen I fear I must report to you now that I have been given a boon from a Black Rider of Irrisen. This rider has made me noticeably faster, but it comes with a price, for I am now compelled to do the bidding of the rider. After I returned to this world and the Pale tower we ascended into the Aviary and met a strange being, it appeared to rely upon the nature of this cold realm to supply it with power, but I am providing samples of the skin and blood of this creature to you because it is such an interesting creature, I feel your sages could learn much about it from it’s anatomy, sadly the creature had to be destroyed.

Ascending to the top of the tower we were able to shut the winter gate in the border wood, though we had to go through a conjurer and his pet goat(weird) to do it. We have kept the goat and it has eaten some of Ergo’s possessions simply because he forgets where he put them, and allows the goat to find them. It appears to be a normal goat. It appears as if both Quadira and Taldor will be saved the headache of a poor crop season. This process has left my companions and me with no way home. We travel to Whitethrone in order to rescue the daughter of a caravan leader who offered us shelter from the cold when we first arrived in Irrisen.

On the matter of Taldor, and our hatred for the place, I think we ought to let that part of our culture go. I have seen the reward awaiting your servants who fervently seek the destruction of others, and though my stay was brief, I would not wish it upon another. We need to make peace with all reasonable peoples, and act honorably in our dealings. If not one does not wish to know what awaits us on the other side of Pharasma’s seat.

Master, I fear I will be unable to continue to spy on Taldor for you. I do not know how long this task will take and I fear that it may require my very life. I know though that Quadira would fall should my task fail. As such I shall be changing my code name in the future that I be more appropriately identified by you and your subordinates.

Serving you loyally,
Grey In the Witch Queen’s hair.
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Grey's second Journal Entry (Session 5)

Master,

It appears as if infiltrating this pale tower and bringing it down will require more effort than I anticipated. Though the front door guards caused little trouble to me, there was an Ice troll inside whose determination to put down the allies of Taldor who accompanied me was admirable, however I still needed them. Inside the tower was a large contingent of guards, and I’m told by my informant, a housekeeper named hatch that there was a water elemental nearby.

Of greater interest to me however was the deceptive creature I met on the second floor, of the tower. She had was identical to the Taldan Noblewoman whom we rescued from the bandits in the borderwood. This creature transformed into what I assume is it’s true form once killed, a grey skinned humanoid. I have collected some of the creature’s skin, and body fluids that they may be analyzed by our sages to discover how this transformation occurs. It seems as though the kidnapping may have been part of a larger plot, the replacement of key figures in aristocracies world wide. If my theory on this is correct, then our country may also be at risk,and while seeing the Taldan dogs fall from their arrogant places would be satisfying it would give me far more pleasure to be the instrument of their demise.

Of further interest was a creature that the witch of the tower must have been keeping as some sort of pet or experiment. This creature would spray spores into the air that had a hallucinogenic property. This plant was mostly destroyed, but I have salvaged a spore pod to be investigated by our sages, perhaps this gas could be made into a weapon. The spore gas is invisible when spread, so it could be used to make our enemies believe one of their leaders was insane, if used frequently enough by a well inserted agent.

I continue to explore this tower, and seek to bring an end to the witch controlling it and thereby restore the order that was in the border wood.

Hoping this journal survives to meet your eyes,
Grey in the Lion’s Mane.

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Grey's journal entry

Master,
This servant of the Satrap wishes you well and hopes that his lack of communication will not go unnoticed. I am well underway in my efforts to destroy this white tower and make the winter weather in the unseasonably cold summer months fade by closing the portal, however I find that my ways of communicating with you have gone beyond my reach. It is to that end that I am beginning this journal in order that I may present you with a full report of the happenings on this side of the gate when I return, if I return at all.
The simpletons and I have made an ally of a merchant woman, who has some skill with weaponry. One of the challenges to traveling through Irrisen is the ever present eyes of the ravens, who seem to report to the witches who lead this country and thus the incursions into our lands. While traveling to town we tried to hide ourselves from their eyes, yet they spotted the flaming hair of Scarlett, as she moved about under a tarp. They blinded several of the simpletons, but we were able to destroy the patrol before they could make their report. The residents of Waldsby have been less than friendly to outsiders. This made it difficult on all of us, but especially on the Ape-Man Aap. While he seems accustomed to clamboring over almost any obstacle, he simply had to stay out of sight in town. A contingent of soldiers were dispatched to find us within the town, but apparently they were unprepared for battle with a coiled master. They were ended quickly. Among their possessions was a mirror that could be used for expedient commication.
We move to strike at the heart of the tower on the morrow, If we are successful then the spring should be upon you shortly.
Health and Riches to the Satrap,
Grey of The Lion’s Mane

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Grey's Third Missive

Master,

I have discovered something which I feel may be able to aide our quest in expanding trade. As of this moment, within the Taldan borderwood is a gate that the Taldans themselves are nearly completely unaware of. This gate leads straight into Irrisen, which is where I am writing you from. I write this as I wait out a storm with a traveling caravan, and the same individuals who have aided me up to this point. How did I get here, you must be asking, it is not a short tale, but here is the crux of it.

After my last missive, we followed the trail further into the border wood towards what the source of this unseasonable winter must be. Nearing we met with an arctic weasle who was as large if not larger than a horse, it attacked us and my confederates were able to subdue it. We then met with Blizzard Elementals, or so Ergo told me, and a creature identified as a Mephit. We also found ourselves tangling with tiny creatures who led the ever-absent Besk into a trap where he plummeted into a bed of spikes before the rest of us could attempt his rescue. Also there was a frosty troll whom we dispatched with little effort before meeting with a Black Rider of Irrisen, This is where the tale gets to be a bit unbelievable. The black riders must be some sort of Irrisen Generals loyal to Baba Yaga. The curfrent queen of Irrisen does not want her reign to end as the 100 years of it near their close. She somehow has prevented Baba Yaga’s return and has now set her sights upon conquering Golarion. These icy portals presumably are to allow her armies access to different areas of the world. I feel that this supersedes my assignment to monitor Taldan activities near the border wood, and I have set off to see Baba Yaga returned. Expect regular missives but there should be a travel delay on them.

We were instructed that in order to close it we must go to a pale tower on the other side of it. Once through we happened upon a caravan being attacked by Mantises the size of horses. We slew the beasts and were able to save the caravan, who warned us of the approaching storm. While it storms I sit, rather uncomfortably writing this letter to you.

May the Satrap reign all of his days,

The Grey of the Lion’s Mane.

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Grey's Second Missive

Master,
As I write this I wonder if it will ever see your hands, I know the eyes of the Satrap see far and wide, but I wonder if you have yet seen the threat which I now face. It seems after our last outing, the simpletons noted their lack in some areas and have been recruiting, we’ve been joined by a halfling who commands some control over magic. This “Ergo” appears to possess significant power, but I doubt he will uncover our true purposes. I shall see if he can be of value to us.

I should of course communicate the dangers I have faced, with the simpleton’s and Ergo, the halfling. In our second incursion into the border wood we have discovered more of these skeletons that burst forth in an Icy manner upon their defeat. Further we found the remains of a Heldren hunter who was apparently killed by a giant white weasle, which no one presumed existed. This white weasle is roughly the size of an Elephant if it’s tracks are to be believed.

Of further interest to you may be my present position, I sit within one of the border huts of Irrisen, though I do not know why it is within the Taldan Border wood. Further the doll within this hut who guarded it was quite the formidable opponent in my package to you I have included the remains of the doll with the notable exception that her eye socket contained a sapphire which I have sketched for you. I do not know but the satraps sages may learn something from the doll’s examination.

I hope this information reaches you, however I shall continue to work towards the weakening of our enemy.

Your Servant,
The Grey in the Lion’s Mane

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