Session 45
Pachyderm Pugilism

The session begins as the party spends the next few days acclimating to the Nomen tribe as well as dealing with the intricacies of politics – especially given the recent war between the Nomen and Varnhold. Aecora Silverfire and Walays have several exchanges where the grievances of the Nomen are outlaid and deftly countered. After many of these back and forths, it is agreed upon that a year will be given to the Shieldlands to investigate the fate of the Varnhold denizens. The town of Varnhold will be jointly held by the Nomen and the Shieldlands. If the Varnhold citizens are found alive, the Shieldlands will help broker a truce acceptable to all parties.

Elsewhere, Walker and Whisper hunt small game with Danide Thunderhoof while Tess spends time with the local shamans and observes their ways. Tess inquires if the Shaman have ever heard of a soul being stolen and while they cannot give her an answer immediately, they promise to look into it for her and let her know if they can.

After the political deals are sealed, Aercora informs the PCs that Danide will be sent with them as the Nomen’s representative in the cultural exchange. She also invites the party to take place as honored guests in their traditional mastodon hunt – the PC’s will distract the bull mastodon while the rest of the hunting party splits a mastodon from the herd and kills it.

The hunting group travels around half of a day until the reach the site of a ancient dead linnorn. The Nomen ceremonially present the site with a large selection of meat and wine in attempts to keep the linnorm’s spirit happy so that it does not return to wreck havoc. Near the evening they finally reach the mastodon herd.

Walays begins by fascinating the bull mastodon, though the threat from the approach by Walker and Whisper breaks the spell, allowing the mastodon to charge Walays. Andrei springs into action and grabs Walays while on horseback and drags him out of the way. The bull mastodon then charges Walker and Whisper to defend his harem. Babus sends Twig to deliver a spell, but the Mastodon sees through the mirror images and delivers a blow to Twig which sends him flying and nearly dead. Walays scrambles to revive Twig and also sets an illusory grass fire to split the bull from his harem. The bull then turns his attention to Whisper, and beats the wolf into unconsciousness. Tess blinds the beast as well as has it belted with stones while Babus confuses it, summons a dire ape on its back, traps his back legs into a pit, and blankets the area in a stinking cloud.

The session comes to a close as the Nomen sound the horn of a successful kill and the PCs remove themselves from the bull mastodon’s territory.

Session 44
Nomen Negotiation

The session begins as our heroes contemplate what to do with the three bounty hunters who have been searching for Melikova. Dawning a cloak to hide her identity and with the aid of a zone of truth cast by Tess and advice from Walays, the bounty hunters are interrogated. They find that Melikova has a bounty on her head for treason by the King-Reagent of Brevoy. After completing the questioning, Melikova tells the bounty hunters to leave and never return but has Mikmek follow them out.

After preparing for a journey, the party heads out to find the Nomen. While traveling towards a marking found at a map in Varnhold the PCs are swarmed by a howling and whooping group of Nomen out on patrol. A tense standoff begins as Tess, being the only women in view, is required to speak for the group to the Nomen who will not listen to the men. Andrei produces Skybolt, a bow of ancestral significance for the Nomen and hands it over to the patrol leader who agrees to take them back to their encampment to meet the leader of the Nomen.

Upon reaching the encampment of Dunsward the party begins to suspect that this tribe is drastically short on male centaurs, therefore the men are too valuable to participate in normal society. The PCs are introduced to Mother Aecora Silverfire, leader of the Nomen. Walays, who has transformed himself to appear as a women try to settle differences and mistrust that has occurred between the Nomen and Varnhold as well as other human races for centuries. The team asks about “Vordakai” and a knowing look comes over Aecora’s face. As progress is slowly being made, the conversation is interrupted by Danide Thunderhoof and Xamanthe Silverfire who want the PC interlopers removed. As the guards try to remove Danide and Xamanthe, Danide challenges the party to the “Kankerata Run” to settle this dispute. Andrei, being the best horserider within the party accepts and the challenge is set for noon the next morning.

While Walker goes out to hunt a meal with Whisper, a meal is served the the rest of the group. Tess, unwilling to trust the Nomen quite yet checks for poison, finding the Haggis had been spiked with mushrooms which would sicken them for the race. Aecora visits and personally apologizes, stating the centaur responsible has been punished.

At noon the race is held between Danide and Andrei. The lead is exchanged several times as they tag the stones with bloody hands while dodging from the attacks of the Bulette. While in the homestrech Andrei pulls ahead for good and Danide tumbles while trying to regain the lead. The session ends as the PCs prepare to head home with a member of the Nomen as part of a “cultural exchange” which seeks to bridge the distrust that exists between the two groups and reveal who or what “Vordakai” is.

Session 43
Urbanization Unrest

The session begins as the party requests the presence of the two leaders in what has been a growing feud join them for an airing of grievances as well as arbitration before the conflict spirals further out of control. Representing what is ostensibly the side of business owners within the urban centers is Tanya Novy, owner of Oak & Barley Mill within Fort Voronkov. On the other side of the table is Vid Hospod who finds the ever increasing encroachment into the forests and traditional hunting and trapping lands troubling.

While Tanya seems without too many complaints for the royal council, Vid is full of them, pitting himself as the primary antagonist to the party and while most of his concerns seem reasonable, there is a constant refrain that at some degree this is progress and he cannot fight that. Vid is less sure that the growing kingdom represents progress as his family line has seen more than one kingdom attempt to tame the Stolen Lands and all have failed.

After the discussions have seemed to reach a natural impasse the PCs break to discuss what an appropriate decision would be. Walays finds a brilliant solution wherein the expansion of the Shieldlands is slowed but not stopped and certain hunting territory is reserved. Neither Tanya or VId are completely happy with the solution, but both find it acceptable and are willing to end hostilities – though both are warned that in the future attacks as transpired between them will not be tolerated and be quickly put down.

After the parties leave the meeting, Oleg tells the council of yet another problem: those responsible for some of the missing tax money had been found. It was determined that people were embezzling money to send back to Brevoy in order to help their families escape the war-torn region. While understanding what drove these people to their actions, the PCs still demand the debt be worked off though no further punishment would be applied.

The session ends as the party finishes their duties to the kingdom and prepares to venture out to find the Nomen and discover their part in the Varnhold Vanishing.

Session 42
Major Mysteries

The session begins as the Svartalfar whispers his final words into Tess’ ear. As the rest of our heroes gathers around Casimir’s corpse, Tess reveals the Svartalfar said that he was just returning to his Queen and his death means nothing.

The PCs investigate the rest of the tower, finding a exquisite ebony and darkwood bow seemingly of Nomen craft, the +2 Defending Aldori Dueling Sword of Maegar Varn, as well as a large map with a pin out in the grasslands area. Through deduction, they assume this may be a Nomen camp of some type. The rest of the day is spent scouting the town where Walker happens upon a calico cat hiding in one of the now abandoned houses. He lures it out with his Druish cunning, befriends it, and adopts it. The party also investigates the domicile of Willas Gundarson, a Ulfen ranger wherein they find his journal detailing his discovery of the bracelet which piqued the interest of the scholar. Furthermore, a ring of friend shield and folding boat is discovered.

Casimir’s body is loaded onto a cart to be returned back to Fort Vorokov and Jhod is sent a magical message where the team learns that things have further deteriorated between the rural and urban members of the kingdom.

As the PC’s reach Svetlanagrad they decide to rest for the night. Svetlana secretly passes Melikova a note guised as a receipt. Unfortunately for Svetlana, Melikova felt the need to wake her up by sneaking into Oleg and Svetlana’s room and interrogating her.

Before leaving in the morning from Svetlanagrad, Walker uses speak with animals with the cat, learning her name is “Dragon” and that she had heard a ‘birdsong’ that summoned its “feeders.”

Upon returning to Fort Voronkov there is much to do. Jhod discusses the situation with the party, Casimir’s men are informed of their leader’s passing, Jodhi and Babus are reunited, and Lord Eldrist is informed of his brother’s passing. Johdi has been investigated and no wrongdoing is suspected.

Sergeant Dobri Hanak assumes leadership of Casimir’s patrol and inform the PC’s that they seek to return to Varnhold and seek vengeance upon the Nomen. Andrei and Walays convince Dobri to give them some time as it doesn’t appear as though the Nomen may be responsible for this vanishing. Dobri also wishes to return Casimir’s body back for proper burial, but Tess requests they leave it in a tomb built by Jhod in the interim for the time being. Knowing Casimir’s feelings for Tess, Dobri does not push the issue.

Furthermore, three men have been captured, seeking Melikova for crimes against the Brevic crown. Melikova was given advanced warning through the note provided by Svetlana, but the party is unsure how to deal with this and are currently letting them sit as more important things are taking priority.

Walker goes to see Kimber and let her know what has happened to Varnhold. Her response is a mix of anger and worry, as Barrin’s fate is unknown. Walker gifts Kimber the cat Dragon, as Kimber unfortunately finds out she has a severe allergy to cats.

Finally, Walays seeks out his Kobold allies to report on the rival factions that have been causing havoc in the past weeks. He learns the rural faction is led by Vid Hospod whereas the urban faction is led by the owner of the local Fort Vorokov mill, Tanya Novei. Each are hoping to influence how the kingdom grows, if at all, and come from very different points of view. The session ends as the party prepares a summit with the two factions to work out the differences in an amenable way to both parties.

Session 41
Fallen Friend

The session begins as an ambush has left Walker blind, damaged, and poisoned while Andrei and Whisper arrive next to Walker to defend their ally. Walays is able to glitterdust the lurker in light requiring it to fall back to the main stockade tower. A second lurker in light attacks, but Tess disrupts its invisibility by casting an invisibility purge on herself, creating a sphere where the lurker in light are unable to get close to her without revealing themselves. Andrei and Casimir quickly pounce on the fey, pummeling it. Just as they are about to end the beast, it vanishes in a bright light. Also revealed, is a Will-o-wisp floating ominously above their heads. Walker and Babus each summon a large bat to help seek out the lurkers and the will-o-wisp. Melikova snipes from a distance, marking each creature with an arrow in case they are able to turn invisible again. The will-o-wisp flies away from the fight, disappearing, but is pursued by the two bats.

The party slowly approaches the primary tower, keeping within Tess’ invisibility purge bubble, but as she is leading the march, a spiked pit trap opens up underneath her. In what was probably the most graceful maneuver ever seen by the PC’s, Tess is able to deftly dive across the opened earth and avoid a potentially lethal fall. Realizing the area may be trapped, Melikova moves up and begins ensure the area is safe before progressing forward. The front door of the tower is barred from within, but Melikova is in her element and is able to quickly free the barring, allowing the party access. Twig, seeing a large conspiracy of ravens, flies up to see why they are there. He finds they sense death approaching and warns Babus of his concern. Though, while talking to the ravens, he sees a rather comely female Raven and asks Babus permission to pursue her – which Babus grants, much to Babus’ chagrin as empathic waves of lust begin flooding Babus’ thoughts.

Melikova, Andrei, Casimir, Tess, and Walays head into the cramped tower while Babus, Walker, and Whisper investigate rest of the stockade while avoiding cramping up the area too much. Unfortunately for our heroes, the tight quarters was exactly where the evil fey wanted them and as one of the fey is discovered hiding in the armory, an ambush is sprung. Walays and Andrei are assaulted from the side as Casimir, Tess and Melikova are drawn into the armory, only to be flanked by two other fey. A 3-on-1 fight for the grimstalker was quickly ended, but this left Tess to face a new fey essentially 1-on-1 as the doorway was the center of the fight and no one could get through, while Andrei and Walays were tied up with another grimstalker.

Outside, Babus and Walker are ambushed by the now invisible lurkers in light. Whisper, able to smell the fey, is able to grab one in its mouth while Babus retreats into the storehouses where the light is lowered, hoping to lure it inside and blast it when it becomes visible. Whsiper treats the fey like a oversized chew toy and rips it to shreds, while Babus burned the fey when it came into the storehouse and finished it off by smashing it over the head with a quarterstaff. Babus then flies to the roof of the tower, in order to secure a rope which would allow Walker to climb up the top and breach the tower from above. Hiding up on the roof, however, is the previously glitterdusted lurker in light. Using quick thinking, Babus casts a freezing spell to entangle the lurker, which interrupts his ability to fly, causing it to plummet to the ground.

Inside, Tess and the Svartalfar have been trading blows, but after he hits her with an exhaustion spell, she backs off to regain her composure. Casimir takes her place in the front of the battle, protecting Melikova and Tess, to battle the Svartalfar. After killing one of the grimstalker, Andrei and Walays begin attacking the last grimstalker which blocks their path to the Svartalfar. In one quick move, the Svartalfar runs Casimir through, and as a thin layer of ice overs his skin, he falls back dead. A dilemma now faces Tess, who posses a scroll which allows her to potentially bring Casimir back if she uses it immediately, but as it is a single use item, they would no longer bring one of the Shieldland’s leaders back from the brink if they were to fall in combat. She says a quick prayer to Gorum, and unleashes her fury upon the Svartalfar, finishing him off.

The session ends as the Svartalfar whispers something in Tess’ ear as they stand above Casimir’s fallen corpse.

Session 40
Varnhold Vanishing

The session begins as the PCs regroup from the fight with the Chuul. While they figure out what to do, Walker shape shifts into a gar and searches the river – only to find a secret tunnel which leads sound into the town before returning to the group. As the sun is setting, Tess suggests that they take shelter for the night and finish exploring the town in the morning. Walays suggests the brewery, which Andrei rejects despite wide approval, so Casimir tells them of the inn just ahead. Melikova, the only one in the party capable of darkvision, finds the inn has “NOMEN” hastily carved into the door, and inside finds a humanoid figure glowing of amber in the corner next to a stack of books. Unwilling to risk approaching alone, Walker decides to head in and investigate. He finds a grimstalker frozen in place, book in hand. Curious as to what the books are about, Walker takes it from the grimstalker and begins reading the book.

After several minutes of silence, Tess decides to check on Walker, who is now frozen as well. Tess gets Babus who identifies that Walker is under the Sephia Snake Sigil spell and while he is frozen in time, if they want to release him from the spell they will need to cast dispel magic. Tess says she will ask Gorum for that ability in the morning, so the party explores the rest of the inn to ensure it is safe to stay in. Only one room appears to of been occupied and Babus determines it is the somewhat famous wizard and maestro Ernst Gavinport. A note beside some more books details that he has been invited down to investigate a bracelet found during an expedition. Further investigation reveals a note written next to charcoal sketching of the bracelet to suggest it may be a religious artifact to a nomen god named “Vordakai”.

During the early morning watch, Andrei sees a small globe of light about 6 to 8 feet above the ground, slowly going down the main road of the town. He calls over Babus who determines it is not a will ‘o whisp, but instead something with daylight cast upon it. Everyone is woken up and a debate is had over what to do about this mysterious light as it heads back past the inn. Walays decides to cast glitterdust at the object, only to reveal a small winged creature which Babus identifies as a ’Lurker in Light’. The Lurker in Light, realizing it has been exposed quickly flies off, only to be spied by Twig headed for the Varnhold Stockade. They decide to wait until morning to deal with this new threat.

In the morning Walker turns into a hawk and flies over to the stockade and looks to see if he can find anything. The rest of the PC’s head up the road to the stockade on horseback. Seeing the gate to the stockade is closed, Walker prepared to open it once the party closes in. As he shifts back into his human form and opens the gates from the inside he is hit with a spell which leaves him blind. Walker calls for Whisper as the group begins closing the distance between them and Walker. Walker is then stabbed from behind and poison begins to course into his body. The session ends as Walker, flanked now by Andrei on horseback and Whisper, spins around and blasts the area behind him with a frozen barrage.

Session 39
Bountiful Banquet

The session begins as Tess demands answers from the captives regarding their entire story before they’re handed over to the Church of Erastil in Varnhold. They admit that they stole the scroll from the church, leading to the PCs losing what little sympathy they did have towards them.

Casimir interrupts the interrogation to point out that the haven’t seen any guards along the road in which is unusual. Babus sends Twig out to fly over the town, only to have him report back that there is no one around. Melikova and Walays go ahead into the town to scout out.

They find every building they look in abandoned and covered in dust, food left half eaten. As Walays explores a farmhouse, he sees two large dire boars eating what is left of the other pigs innards. The boars attack and Melikova and Walays retreat up to the roofs of buildings to protect themselves as the rest of the party charges into the town. After the party kills the two boars, they continue to scout the town.

A river runs through the center of town, which used to have a bridge to cross, though it has broken off and been swept downstream. As Melikova crosses in the shallowest part of the river, a giant Chuul rises our of the deep section of the river and attacks. A brutal fight ensues with the party – though they slew the beast after taking quite a beating themselves.

The evening is fast approaching with a large section of the seemingly deserted town left to investigate to find what has happened to the denizens of Varnhold as the session ends.

Session 38
Cold Calculus

The session begins as Kesten approaches Babus, handing him a small note, putting a hand on his shoulder and saying “I can only give you one week.” Babus reads the note, sighing, and visits his chamber to talk with Jodi. As he opens the door he is greeted by Twig and Jodi joking around and her face panted black along one half, to make herself look more like Babus. He sits her down and asks her to tell him the truth about the fire. She makes him promise that if she tells the truth, he’ll keep her safe – which he reluctantly agrees to. Jodi tells him the fire was not natural, that she was going to check on her parents and she suddenly burst into flames, setting the house alight. Babus, unable to determine if his heart has been taken by her, or if she is telling the truth, believes her.

Walays, getting used to his new position as Royal Spymaster, determines the appropriate course of action to resolve the growing feud between the hunters and trapper versus the township citizenry, begins greasing some palms and buying some drinks in an effort to root out the leaders of each faction. After a couple days of this investigation he finds the names he’s looking for and tells two of his kobold underlings to trail them while the PC’s leave to take care of Eldrist’s brothers kidnapping.

As the PCs prepare to venture out to confront Eldrist’s brothers kidnappers, Kimber visits Walker, excitedly showing him the note she received from Barrin. Barrin reads the note, smiles, and tells her that he’ll be back in about a week and a half.

Our heroes set off to the spot marked by the ransom note where the money is to be deposited. Five days travel and the PCs finally arrive about a mile away from the camp where the extortionists are located. Walker transforms into a wolf and he and Whisper set out to scout out the campsite under the cover of darkness. Waiting for four of the six people to go to bed, Whisper begins to lure the two guards away from Tomin. As Walker gets close to Tomin, he realizes that Tomin is no longer alive. Needing to interogate one of the captors, Walker transforms into a large vulture and picked up a guard in his talons, flying him back to the PC’s encampment.

Andrei begins to interrogate the captive – who claims that they did not kill Tomin and were only trying get a quick score. Melikova looks her over, noticing she looks underfed and sickly. Tess decides to stay with the captive as the rest of the PCs head to the camp in order to get the rest of the gang to surrender. The PCs come over the hill on horseback, sans Melikova who is off her horse in order to sneak into camp. Andrei shouts for them to drop their weapons as Walays begins playing a rousing fighting tune on the bagpipes. Four of the enemies line up in front of the camp, unwilling to drop their clubs as a fifth runs back to Tomin’s body, hoping that bluffing the threat of killing Tomin will keep the invaders from attacking. Seizing the opportunity, Babus conjures a frozen explosion right in the middle of their line – killing all four in a flash freeze. The remaining opponent throws down his weapon and surrenders, as Andrei approaches him. Entering the camp, Walays and Melikova hear hushed crying from two of the tents. Upon investigation, they find five children huddled in the back of their tents, having witnessed their family members slain in front of them. Walays uses fascinate to quiet two of them while Melikova is unable to convince the other three to trust them. The man who surrendered goes into a rage and charges Andrei with his bare fists, only to have Andrei knock him unconscious with the flat of his blade. Andrei returns to Tess, letting her know of the situation, and Tess is left befuddled and speachless.

As Walker, Babus, and Tess dig four graves for the dead, Andrei tried to get to the bottom of what happened. A zone of truth is cast to ensure they cannot lie, and they find out that the adults were out begging for money along the side of the road as Tomin approached. He spit on their requests and even tried to make his horse kick at them, causing the horse to go wild and throwing Tomin off, snapping his neck in the process. Seeing the amount of money he carried, they saw a potential quick score, and sent a ransom letter.

The next morning Walker and Casimir decide to take the body back to Fort Voronkov after Tess casts “Gentle Repose” on it as the rest head towards Varnhold to give the survivors to the church for sanctuary. As Walker and Casimir travel, however, they notice the body is rapidly decaying and decide to quickly return to catch up with the group and determine what to do. One of the captives admits they had tried to cast a gentle repose spell on Tomin’s body and it must have caused this weird effect. The PCs decide to cut their losses and bury the deteriorating body and just return the possessions to Eldrist.

The session ends with the PC’s, their captives in tow, approach the town of Varnhold as the sun begins to set.

Session 37
Leadership Lows

The session begins as the PC’s settle down from adventuring to spend some more time in their burgeoning kingdom ruling the masses. Walker heads out to visit Bokken in order to get a potion of suggestion that will be used to convince his older brother Barrin to peacefully leave the Shieldlands in order to prevent arrest and execution. When Walker arrived at Barrin’s hiding place, he found Barrin more willing to leave that he thought he would be. Barrin showed some remorse for his actions, and, after Walker spiked a drink with the potion to “seal the deal”, agreed that he would leave peacefully. Barrin got together his meager possessions told Kimber he would miss her and, before leaving showed some emotion thanking Walker for what he’s done for him.

While Walker is out dealing a Fort Drelev envoy arrive with a cart containing the “dowry” for the marriage of Liliya and Andrei, with a letter congratulating the young couple and hoping the marriage happens soon.

On a walk in the outskirts of Fort Voronkov, Melikova come upon a scene with 5 men beating a lizardfolk on the side of the street. She decides to intervene, taking quite the beating for her troubles, but smashing the leader’s fibula as well as her loyal dog Butch quickly bearing down on them decide to withdraw. The lizardfolk, bleeding out from a dagger to the gut, is stabilized by Melikova who runs down to the area on Tuskwater Bay and fetch some other lizardfolk to help. Melikova discovered that the lizardfolk tend to keep to themselves as there is some a lot of suspicion and hatred directed towards them from the other denizens due to the attack on Fort Voronkov by their kin. Luckily, Melikova spoke their only language, Draconic, and was able to convince them she was there to help. After getting him into a hut, they tell her that while their medicine will heal him, a cleric would be much better – so Melikova runs to grab Tess. Melikova interrupts Tess, who is in a ritual ceremony where she gives herself ceremonial cuts on her arms, and let’s her know that help is needed. Tess and Melikova return to the lizardfolk housing, where Tess heals the injured lizardfolk. After some discussion, Melikova discovers the injured lizardfolk felt he should be able to venture throughout the town without fear, like any citizen and that the guards should protect him.

In another part of town, Babus sees a hovel smoking as a hue and cry is raised and a bucket brigade is forming. Babus snaps into action, quickly opening the door as cries are heard on the other side, to see a young human girl surrounded by smoke. Babus grabs her and takes her out, returning to find the girl’s parents. A grisly sight of both parents already burned on the bed greets him, with no evidence as to why the fire started. Not sure how to interact with children, Babus tries his best to calm her, eventually taking her to the inn for food as well as housing her in the guest quarters within the fort.

During the council meeting, Oleg let’s everyone know that there have been some inconsistencies in the kingdom tax collection records and he is trying to figure out what has caused them – as there is 10 BP worth of missing money. Regardless, a festival is planned for the first year anniversary of the founding of the Shieldlands.

Over the past few weeks Walays and Melikova have separately decided to keep an eye on Liliya, who until now has been quite guarded. Walays accidentally interrupts Liliya late at night while she is reading some documents detailing the goings-on within the Kingdom, and Liliya scrambles to go back to her room with a less conspicuous book. Melikova is also watching this scene, though has noticed the sound of quick small footfalls within odd areas of the castle. She spends several days trying to ferret where the noise is coming from, unsuccessfully.

Liliya and Andrei have spent the past few weeks getting to know one another and, in a clever play, Liliya tricks Andrei into revealing spring is his favorite month which she “graciously” decides to have the wedding during that season – delaying it for three-quarters of a year.

For the Anniversary celebration, all was going incredibly well until a drunken fight broke out between several hunters and millers – leading to an intense brawl between what ostensibly has become the original hunters and trappers from the stolen lands and the refugees and settlers with the town of Fort Voronkov. To make matters worse, several days after the celebration, the nobleman Edrist Hanvaki approaches the council to show that his brother has been kidnapped and he is being extorted for money. Edrist stresses his desire that the council takes care of this personally, for which Andrei agrees to before excusing Edrist.

What has previously been a kingdom growing strongly through the leadership of our heroes has quickly turned into feeling as though the region is balancing on the edge of a blade.

Session 36
Meeting Melikova

The session begins as the PC’s have just ended the threat from the giant Owlbear that had wrecked havoc on Fort Voronkov. Tess, unwilling to risk the single living offspring growing up to be a threat, quickly ends its life with a single slice from her sword. Andrei spends time cutting the head off of the beast to bring back home while Walker and Walays build a final resting place for the Kellid beastmaster up in the trees.

Upon returning to Fort Voronkov, our heroes find people exhausted, but hard at work still recovering from the damage dealt during the lizardfolk raid and Owlbear assault. A crowd gathers around while Walays (and a little help from Andrei) proudly tell the tale of the Owlbear’s demise. Spirits lifted, four men in chain shirts approach, beating the symbol of Varnhold – Tess slowly recognizes one of these men as Casimir Petrov, someone she has some history with. Andrei offers them guest quarters, though takes keen awareness that Casimir refers to Tess as “Tessandrial” much to her dismay. All of the PC’s except Babus begin helping around town, but Babus needs time to contemplate his death and subsequent rebirth.

A dinner is had in honor of the Varnhold guests, which is full of hardy, though more simple food on account of the fallout from the attack. Midway through the meal, Hana arrives with Melikova (with her faithful companion Butch) in tow. Melikova was picked up by request of the King of Mivon to be placed under the watchful eye of the Shieldlands as a favor by an ally. After a brief introduction, they join the meal. Afterwards, Hana discusses the war, which is going rather well as they’ve taken the majority of what was Rostland, though any further progress has been hard fought. Mivon and Rostland want the King of Brevoy to allow Rostland to gain independence, but are afraid if they cannot force his hand, they are afraid a war of attrition could end badly.

The next day, Walays searches out his sister, Kimber, to figure out where Barrin is. Kimber tells him that when Barrin returned to help rebuild the town, some of his militia comrades wanted to hang him for abandoning his post during the fight. Barrin escaped and is hiding out, with the help of Kimber. Walker talks to the other PC’s to find that the normal punishment for this crime is death, but exile could be considered as well.

While hosting now two guests from different kingdoms, Hana makes an announcement that, once the war is over King Raston of MIvon has told her that she will inherit the crown if the war is won and he will lead Rostland. Given this, her mind has turned to needing to find a marriage partner of royalty which would help grow Mivon and as she begins to hint that she would like to start a courtship with Andrei, her speech is interrupted by Andrei’s mother who states that Liliya – Andrei’s bride to be – is arriving. Liliya is introduced to the party by and everyone gets to know this stranger. Andrei had been writing Fort Drelev in order to secure allies and a marriage of the Baronesses sister was arranged. At this announcement, Hana slinks out, only to be followed by Walays. As she is about to leave Fort Voronkov, Walays confronts her – only to have her finally break her typically stonefaced resolve. She tells Walays she had loved him since they first met and to keep her informed about what is going on as well as keep her name alive in the castle in hoping to prevent the marriage. Walays relays this to Tess who confronts Andrei about the situation.

The PC’s spend the next week helping repair the damage from the attacks, slowly piecing the kingdom together – though bodies are exhausted and nerves are frayed as the year anniversary of the Shieldlands approaches.


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