The Iron Kingdoms - Witchfire

April 10th and 11th

April 10, 2010

The group enters the city of Corvis, or City of Ghosts. Gunner is pleased with their work protecting his caravan and gives each member 30 gold each instead of 25. He then introduces the group to Father Dumas at the cathedral where they unload some crates from the caravan. Gunner tells Dumas about the group’s work, and Father Dumas offers to put them up in the cathedral. He brings them into the cathedral ordering some dinner to be brought. As they eat, Dumas tells them that there is a great deal of preparation for the Ascension, three days hence, and says that he would appreciate any help they may be willing to give.

The group offers up their services; Wren helps with decorations and a little cooking, Inara helps with lots of cooking, and Mishka helps with odds and ends, lifting things, setting up, punching dough in the kitchen (at Inara’s request), etc. Jurg heads to the Steam and Iron Workers Union (Chapter 18) and seeks out volunteer work to satisfy his yearly quota. They send him to Engines East, an impeccably organized mechanic shop where he helps, Skat, to build a worker jack. Kale does a lot of shopping. In particular, he negotiates the prices of two specially-made daggers in “his” size.

The Day of the Ascension comes. The morning and lunch go smoothly. Wren sings with the choir and performs beautifully. Kale and Jurg attend the party for the food and enjoy it immensely. Mishka meets an Umbrean woman, Kiera , whom he feels he’s seen before but cannot place her. Inara sees them, approaches, and enters the conversation. They learn that Kiera is a seamstress and a teacher. They talk for awhile and decide that they’ll meet later in the evening for dinner. After the chat, it is break time, so Inara and Wren decide to go to their rooms for a nap. When Inara gets to her room, she finds two vials and a note that says: “Faith in Morrow only brings suffering and death – no power. You and your Umbrean companion may find this useful.”

The note alarms Inara, and she goes down, gets Mishka, and brings him to her room. Mishka thinks Inara is bringing him to her room for a DIFFERENT reason, but she quickly tells him that the situation is serious and shows him the vials and the note. They decide to go directly to Father Dumas and tell him what is going on. Inara also decides to fill Father Dumas in about her sister Mara.

After hearing Inara’s story, Father Dumas brings in Sister Arten who is usually in the area near Inara’s room. As Sister Arten enters the room, she looks at Inara and says, “You’ve already slept and changed clothes!” Father Dumas questions Sister Arten who says she saw Inara and helped her find her room. Of course, Inara was nowhere near her room at that time, so the three immediately realize that it was Mara, Inara’s twin sister, the Thamarite. Father Dumas sends the vials down to be evaluated. Thoughts are that the vials hold something meant to protect Inara and her “Umbrean companion.” He then sends Mishka to alert the city guard, and Inara goes quickly to inform the rest of the group about the threat.

Meanwhile, downstairs, Jurg catches sight of Inara hastily crossing the bridge and sees Mishka follow shortly thereafter. Jurg casts “Message” to speak to Mishka from afar in his head. Mishka is a bit surprised when he hears Jurg’s voice in his head, but quickly fills Jurg in on the situation. Jurg and Kale stay near the bridge guarding it, while Wren and Inara stay inside, waiting on the evaluation of the vials.

Mishka meets Captain Julian Helstrom and alerts the guards. Then he runs back to the cathedral, proudly beating the guards there. He reports to Father Dumas, then goes up to his room to change clothes as he’d gotten sweaty on his run. There, he finds a note in his room which says: “Ruins and destruction – Morrow cannot protect from these. Suffering from his bowels. He is barren and in his emptiness is destruction.” He takes this to Father Dumas since it is written in Cygnaren (which he cannot read) and has it translated for him.

The meaning is ominous, so Mishka gathers the group together to decipher its possible meanings. They eventually decide to check the ruins/empty buildings around the cathedral. Eventually, they enter an old dorm with ten rooms, furnished with empty beds and closets. The group searches, and finds that inside the mattresses are massive chambered bombs of black and red powder!

Mishka runs to alert Father Dumas while the other group members work on disabling the bombs. One of Father Dumas’ clerics comes to “Dispel Magic” while the others work on the bombs. All the bombs are disabled one way or another, and three of the mattresses are taken down to the river’s edge while still under the “Dispel Magic” spell. The group discusses what to do with the mattresses. Shara looks to Father Aaron and gets a silent “ok” to speak with the group. She then tells the group about the Inquisition room, in the “bowels” of the cathedral, where magic doesn’t work. When she said “bowels,” this alerts the group. They follow her down to the room while the cleric stays to babysit the mattresses. Before going, Kale secures the doors to the house where the other two mattresses are so no one can get in.

April 11, 2010

The group follows Shara into the second level of the basement and into a secret room hidden behind the wall of a wine cellar room. The room has a field around it that does not allow magic to be cast. This would make the gunpowder inert. However, the group has reservations about placing so much explosive material in the cathedral’s basement. They leave the basement and head back to the riverbank. Much to Jurg’s dismay, the group sinks the three mattresses into the river, destroying all the gunpowder.

After disposing of the mattresses, they leave a small page boy near the building that contains the remaining two mattresses of gunpowder to come find them should someone try to enter the building. They then head back into the “bowels” of the church. They search room after room, to no avail. Once or twice they sense that something is wrong with a room. Kale and Jurg try some of the ale but nothing seems wrong. They continue searching the second floor, but find nothing. As they go up to the first floor, they inspect three more rooms. Kale and Jurg try a few more samples of ale. As Mishka and Inara realize that there is something wrong with the crests on the barrels of ale, Kale begins to vomit. Shara immediately runs to the alchemy lab to get something to help Kale who is incapacitated with sickness.

Meanwhile, Wren, Inara, and Mishka continue looking at the barrels and find more with crests that appear to be fake. They conclude that the wine and ale are poisoned. As they come to this conclusion, Shara returns with some vials. After four attempts, Kale keeps the elixir down and ceases to vomit, but still feels ill. Inara gives Shara the second vial of antidote and leaves with Mishka and Wren to remove all the poisoned ale/wine from the feast. Jurg remains with Kale who is still feeling ill.

The Ascension Mass is finished and people are heading for the meal. Wren and Inara begin to perform in order to keep the people from leaving the room. Meanwhile, Mishka has run to the cook and ordered her to have all the kitchen help remove the drinks which are poisoned. He then runs out to the eating area to help remove liquor. As the job is finished, Mishka signals Inara and Wren who close up the performance. As the three walk outside, Mishka hears the sounds of retching and heads to the noise. There he finds Father Dumas violently ill. Mishka, Inara, and Wren take him down to Shara who panics at seeing the ill priest and sends Mishka running for more vials of anti-nausea. She administers this to Father Dumas who tells Mishka, Inara, and Wren that there are four others that are ill.

They run in search of the other members of the clergy. They find Father Aaron, and two women. Only after a second search do they find Sister Arten hiding in the back of the cathedral. Shara treats all of them and Father Dumas prays over Sister Arten, restoring some of her health. Father Dumas and Aaron return to the party, but the women head to their rooms. Soon afterward, Father Aaron retreats to his room as well.

The group now heads up to the party. Kale is feeling much better after drinking the antidote that Inara left with Shara. They mingle with people, keeping an eye out for suspicious behavior. Kale encounters one man headed alone towards the back of the cathedral. He follows him, but the man is just visiting his grandmother’s grave. The man becomes alarmed at the ogrun’s presence and then misunderstands Kale and believes the giant to be a Wurm-worshipper. Only after Father Dumas comforts the man and walks with Kale for a time does the man calm down.

Meanwhile, Inara and Mishka sit with Kiera who was in the chapel for Father Dumas’ sermon. They question her about her most recent work as a seamstress. After a time she seems somewhat uncertain of their questions. Eventually they leave off with this line of questioning and continue with the evening’s celebration.

Kale and Jurg sleep outside the building that was rigged with the mattresses. The next day, the group assembles with Father Aaron to discuss how to preserve the gunpowder contained in the mattresses. With some very clever magic work and planning, they are able to separate the powders into individual barrels – though it still contains some hay.

Mishka carries some messages from Father Dumas to Captain Helstrom and does other general work. The group does some odds and ends for the day and rests after their long Ascension Day.

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March 27th 2010

Having no luck returning the crate to its proper owner, Kale decides to sell some of the crate contents (most of the fabric) reserving 4 yards of plain red silk, 4 yards of plain black silk, and two spellbooks. (Please remember that only Kale is privy to this information in game. To everyone else, he has shared gold and materials – quite generous of him actually.)

Meanwhile, Mishka delivers his messages and make plans to stay at one of the churches in Fellig. The church he chooses for its proximity to the inn reserved by Gunner is also the church that Lupar Degrata frequents when in Fellig. Mishka will discover that Degrata is a very devout man who has given a great deal of his wealth to the church over the years. (Others may have noted his devout meal prayers – but the extent of his faith is known to Mishka only.)

Jurg decides to find other quarters for the night, also. He goes to the local chapter of the Union Steamo and holes up there to do some work and rest.

Meanwhile, Wren and Inara head into the bar area of the inn at which they are staying. It is apparent that a local citizen is hired on as a minstrel for the inn, but the keeper doesn’t mind when the two women begin to “bard off” with the other performer, Dirk Hierel. After about two hours of riotous dancing, singing, and story telling, Dirk finally yields the floor to the women and orders some food to sit and listen to Wren’s tale about their travels from Five Fingers to Fellig. Dirk takes a few notes and slips away later in the evening.

During the performance, Kale enters the inn, puts away what remains of the crate contents, and grabs the head of the unknown animal the party killed just the night before. Keeping it tucked under his coat, he heads to the bar area. He listens for a time, throws the ladies a few coins in the hopes of inspiring others to do the same and leaves.

Putting on his most formidable face and flashing the dead demon dog’s head, Kale wonders the streets and tries to find a bar that might buy the head. He comes across one bar in a seedier part of town. The image on the bar’s sign is of a man pierced through the heart by a blood covered sword blade. Not being literate in the local language, Kale figures this bar might just be tough enough to buy the head and mount it on their wall. When he enters, he encounters a room full of Khadorans.

Fortunately for Kale, he’s Rhulic and that won’t earn him a boot out the door or worse from the men of the “Dead Cygnaran.” The patrons talk to him and tease him a bit about the puny size of the head when compared to the trophies mounted on the barroom walls. Then he mentions his father is a dwarf and the barkeep says that explains it and buys the head from Kale for 5g. They share drinks with him and Kale remains in the bar gathering Khadoran stories. Late into the night, he walks back to the inn warding off any would-be assaulter with his tough guy face and loud, destructive crowbar.

A little after Kale leaves the inn where Inara and Wren are performing, Jurg enters to see what is going on and to get a few drinks. He watches Wren and Inara for a while and also throws a few coins their way to inspire others.

As the night winds down, Inara and Wren head for their room and Jurg heads back to the Union. Mishka remains at the church with plans to get up early and help in the garden as per the Father’s request. Kale will be coming back to the inn shortly after the others retire.

The next day, Mishka does odd jobs for the church and is introduced to Shara Brocker who is to accompany the caravan to Corvis in case they should need assistance. Jurg continues working on some of his projects. Wren and Inara do some street performing.

As evening approaches, the group gathers together in the bar to meet with Gunner Wadock, who is the owner of the caravan bound for Corvis. After ordering food and drink, Gunner details the caravan for the group:

- Five wagons piled high - Five people - 19 Horses – Eleven pulling (three on front wagon), four pack at the back, and four relief horses - Multiple chests strapped with rope to the side of the wagons

Gunner also explains that the road will initially be more solid and forested. After about the first week, it will change to a more swampy, marsh area.

He will talk a bit about himself, about Corvis, trading, and caravans. As the night wears on and he drinks more, he becomes more relaxed and asks about members of the group. He will head out later evening to rest up for the next day. He tells the group to be ready to leave by dawn.

At dawn, the group meets with the drivers and is introduced to Viggo, a long standing employee of Gunner’s. Gunner is more taciturn this morning, probably nursing a hangover from the night before. As the sun gets just to the horizon, the group sets out. The wagons being as loaded down as they are cannot go too fast. Gunner pushes for a long day, traveling passed sundown so that the caravan will arrive at Deepwood Tower that night. Ten crates are unloaded from the caravan (two per wagon) and left with the local store/supply area of Deepwood.

Bright and early the next morning, the caravan heads out. Over the next few days the group keeps a close watch on the caravan. The first thing they notice is the drop in temperature and a strong, cold wind begins to pick up. For two nights, one or two party members feel there is something following the caravan. On the second night, Inara and Wren are on duty when they sense creatures nearby. Inara wakes up Mishka who thinks he might see some small creatures moving about. He can barely hear them moving and believes there to be several. He recommends not moving in after them. A minute later, an ear piercing scream is heard, waking all of the caravan and stunning several members.

After a short, but fierce battle, the group is able to dispatch of the creatures. Inara and Wren realize the animals are screechers. Small and bipedal they emit ear piercing screams that can stun their victims. The group is able to salvage three of the screecher air sacs which Wren remembers as being useful to make bagpipes and ship horns.

The next day, the group enters marshland and then swamp. The going is difficult and slow. Several times the group has to dislodge wagons bogged down in the soggy soil. The wind continues to blow cold and miserable. Late one afternoon, Inara senses that snow is in the wind and mentions this to the caravan. Gunner takes her at her word and stops early so that people can set up camp in a more solid area of ground. It does in fact snow, and for the next few days the caravan can travel a little faster because the ground is frozen solid. However, when the snow begins to melt some, the ground turns to a cold, slippery surface and the wagons break through the thin ice layers and get stuck again. It’s miserable weather.

Finally the caravan is within a day’s journey of Corvis. It’s taken longer than anticipated due to the terrible weather and heavy wagons that become stuck so easily. Just four or five hours outside of Corvis, Mishka spots an anomaly in the road. He lunges forward in time to stop two of the three lead horses from falling into a pit of spikes.

Gunner is furious and jumps off his wagon to walk to the pit. The group is tensed as the marsh fog begins to thicken. Mishka wrinkles his nose as the fog closes in and realizes, something isn’t right about it.

A minute or so after the horse falling into the pit, the fog becomes thick and obscures sight beyond 10 feet. Shortly thereafter, the caravan is beset by a dozen small creatures. Battle ensues with the party pursuing the small thieves all across the trail and wooded edges. Though it takes a few minutes, the group is able to kill most to all of the ambushers and retrieve all of the chests and horses. Gunner, though furious at losing a horse and being attacked, is very pleased with the group and their performance.

As the group heads for Corvis, Wren notices a few odd shapes off the side of the road and upon inspection finds the eggs of a bog constrictor. The group collects the eggs with the intention to sell them.

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March 13 & 14

March 13th

We begin with the group resting after conferring with others.

Kale Meriadecsen wakes up and heads for the store of Victor Frazier. There he meets with Victor for the first time and speaks with Ellen Frazier again. He offers her an upgrade to the store lock. During the conversation it becomes evident that Victor had no idea what was going on in his house while unconscious. He is very disgruntled in all that Ellen didn’t tell him (such as Father Thomas Prandel being taken). He is rather rude to the ogrun. Ellen gets upset, scolds Victor, tells Kale a few things she probably shouldn’t and invites the ogrun and his friends to dinner. Victor only brightens up at this idea when Kale mentions that one of his friends is a dwarf.

Kale returns to the cathedral to find everyone but Mishka awake. The girls go to the kitchen to make cake from a recipe found on the cathedrals cork board and the men continue eating. Mishka saunters down to the cafeteria shortly thereafter.

The group is asked to see Prelate Daltry in his quarters about an hour or so before they are to meet with the Fraziers. Prelate Daltry gives the group writs of recommendation and asks if they would be willing to help escort a steamboat owned by, Captain Serin, to Tarna. From there they are to make a couple of stops on their way to Fellig. The group agrees and after the meeting heads out to the Fraziers. He also asks if any of the group is familiar with engines and is quite pleased to hear that Jurg is. Apparently Serin has a gobber interested in learning more about engine maintenance.

The rest of the group meets Aaron Frazier. Armed with caramels given to them by Kale, they proceed to silence him with sweets while Ellen finishes up dinner. Victor comes down and immediately takes Jurg to his library room (the same place Father Prandel was taken from).

In this room he has a priceless, 250-year-old clock made by the clan of Serric (world famous Dwarven family known for their Serric Steel). Jurg looks at the clock and identifies what needs to be fixed. He chastises Victor for his neglectful ways and tells him it will cost quite a bit to fix it. The only word Victor hears is “fix” and he immediately grabs the dwarf and hauls him to a friends “nuts and bolts” store to acquire four new springs for the clock.

Upon returning, the group sits down to dinner and directly afterwards Victor, Kale, Jurg, and Mishka head for the library were Jurg begins the painstaking process of fixing this incredible clock.

In the wee hours of the morning, Mishka and Kale leave Jurg alone to investigate sounds that resemble that of a fight. After following a trail of blood to the sewers, they jump in and begin to search for the victim and his assailants. They see the body of a man lying face down in the sewers and only by the grace of Morrow does Mishka see the assailant who seems almost part of the sewer. The strange being moves and skitters like a half-man type of being. Kale and Mishka fend off the creature and drag the injured man to the cathedral for healing.

They then return to the Fraziers. The next morning, they eat breakfast with the family and then head out for the cathedral. Kale and Mishka report to Captain Carris about the strange creature that attacked the man. Upon further investigation later, it is determined that it was simply a random attack on the recently homeless man.

When Wren tells Arthur about her planned journey, he will take her to get carrier pidgins and give her money to write to him and his students about her adventures. He is excited for her, but will miss her a great deal.

The group prepares to leave the next morning before daybreak.

March 14th

The group heads for the boat at 5am so they can arrive before day break according to Serin’s request. They are trailed by unknown people but reach the boat safely. Captain Serin asks them to help finish loading the boat with the few small crates remaining. He looks directly at Kale when making the request as he is after all and ogrun. When he learns that Jurg is the mechanic of the group, he leads him down below to meet Gar. Jurg and Gar will develop quite the mutual respect and Gar writes down everything Jurg does – particularly when he fixes a portion of the engine that was constructed poorly.

For the first two hours of voyage, Serin insists that all aboard remain lively and alert. The group sees moving figures in the woods along the river as they go, but no one attacks. They pass the day in shifts and nothing of note happens. At around 3am the boat pulls to a stop because it is too dark to venture through the shallows. Jurg, concerned about a strange noise, will spend the next four hours trying to ascertain what is wrong.

Around an hour into the halt, Kale and Wren hear something. The boat is then boarded by fish like men. The group puts up quite the fight and is able to throw them back into what appears to be rather dangerous, fish infested waters. They acquire a bog-trog parka which is made to camouflage a medium sized creature in the swamp.

As daylight breaks, the boat eases forward again and arrives in Tarna mid-day. The boat is unloaded and the group meets Lupar Degrata. This is the man whom the group will be escorting from Tarna to Fellig. Degrata has five crew, six including himself, and three wagons filled to the top with cargo. Degrata will travel to the outskirts of town and have the group settle at a very nice inn for the night. He asks that the group keep watch over his things throughout the night.

The next day, the group starts out into the chilly fall day. Winter is in the air and several in the group recognize that the plains are far quieter than normal, probably due to weather. They sight several large raptors but other than this, the first part of their journey is uneventful. The crew is pleased and slightly surprised by how peaceful the journey to Armendor has been.

From Armendor to Fellig, the group spots a small trail of smoke. As they approach, they begin to smell a terrible stench. The caravan comes across the remains of another caravan that has been burnt. When Kale and Mishka go to investigate, they are attacked by rather large bugs and retrieve a wooden crate that is 6 cubic feet in volume. Kale keeps this to himself and later looks at the contents (two books and some fabric). That night, some of the watches begin to hear noises.

Throughout the next two to three nights, the unknown growls and movements remain fairly distant, but seem to grow in number and volume. Degrata begins to contemplate making a straight shot for Fellig. After counseling with the group, he decides to camp on the road and sets up extra fires.

During Inara and Mishka’s watch, they noise of the unknown creatures begins to crescendo and close in from all sides. The two on watch wake the others in time to receive a rush from several demon-dogs. The group is able to fend off the beasts, but are badly wounded. Degrata’s resident medic cleans them up as much as possible with salves and creams. The group removes the bodies and at day break they head into Fellig.

In Fellig Degrata pays them for their excellent work, gives them writs of recommendation, and introduces the group to Gunner Waddock who will be the caravan they escort to Corvis. Gunner intends to leave in two days and sets the group up at a small inn while they wait for him to finish his business.

Kale attempts to return the crate he found to the shipping office in hopes of receiving a reward, but no one can clearly and definitely identify the crate.

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January 16th

Inara Ionescu was traveling to Five Fingers as a guard in a caravan. The caravan was attacked by “L something or others,” but Inara wiped them out with help from the other guards and another traveler who showed up, a handsome, Umbrean man named Mishka Krasnovovich. Inara searched the dead creatures and found gold in their face pouches, but didn’t venture into their bodies since she “didn’t need gold THAT bad.” She found 41 gold and gave Mishka 15 for his help.

As Inara’s caravan traveled on, Mishka joined them as he was traveling to Five Fingers, too. As they walked, Mishka showed interest in Inara, a stunning Umbrean beauty. They talked and got along well, but Mishka kept hitting on her. Inara flirted back a bit but wouldn’t succumb to his wiles. They bantered a lot. They also talked about their backgrounds and Inara was very forthcoming while Mishka was more tight-lipped. Inara learned later that he was on his way to deliver a message to Father Daltry.

As the journey continued towards late afternoon, hilarious banter between Mishka and Inara ensued about “sleeping arrangements.” When they reached Five Fingers, they left the caravan together and started back to a inn about a half-hour outside the city. They hadn’t gone far when they heard screaming and swords clashing from a shot distance ahead. They raced forward:

Inara: “You run fast. Are you fast at EVERYTHING you do?
Mishka: “No. I’m slow when it is good to be slow…”

In moments they saw a man shielding a woman standing behind him from a circle of attackers. A dwarf was also engaging the attackers in an attempt to defend what appeared to be his companions.

As Inara and Mishka rushed forward to give aid, Inara gave a blood curdling yell, frightening some of the attackers at her approach. The battle continued now with four against six. During the battle, the woman healed her male escort twice. She also healed the dwarf but unlike with her companion, she gave him elixirs to drink. The woman was obviously a powerful healer.

When the battle was over, Mishka ran after an attacker attempting to flee but to no avail. (Inara teased him about that later: “So you ARE slow sometimes.”) While Mishka pursued the fleeing criminal, Inara looted the bodies and found (4) leather armor, (3)short bows, (21) arrows, (1) short sword, (1) dagger, and (1) light shield.

Afterward, introductions were made and Mishka came back from his pursuit. The man and woman were Nik Lutrin and Clara Riddenburg. The dwarf was Jurg Reiser and like Inara and Mishka, he had stumbled across the ambush and offered aid. Clara had a Morrowan symbol on her clothing, and she worked out of the “Cathedral on Doloth” under a Father Daltry. She was on her way to the same inn Mishka and Inara were headed toward. The wife of the barkeep is often sick and right now she needed healing desperately (hence Clara going there).

Mishka, Inara and Jurg accompanied Clara and the unconscious Nik to the inn. Mishka hit on Clara both during travel and after arrival. Inara wasn’t surprised and rolled her eyes a lot. Nik had regained consciousness and was not pleased, especially since Mishka’s attention seemed to be affecting Clara.

As the group entered the inn, Clara immediately rushed back to aid the inn keeper’s very ill wife. She remained there for several hours tending to the woman. The inn keeper was very agitated and spoke about recent events at the Cathedral of Morrow in Five Fingers. The cathedral had been vandalized and Father Thomas Prandel had gone missing. The man was so grateful that Clara could be spared to help his wife. Eventually, Clara came out of the back area and announced that the worst was over and she would visit with the woman again in the morning.

Clara began conversing with the party and said that Father Daltry would probably like to meet the people who risked their lives to save both Nik and her. “Not many people around here would do something like that.” So the group agreed to meet up in the morning to go see him.

Inara sneaks off to talk to the barkeep. She then comes back to the group to say she is going to bed, but of course she doesn’t. The others don’t know this. They stay up talking some more and Inara makes sure her room is nowhere near Mishka’s.

This is where play ended for Inara, Mishka and Jurg. Through Rebecca, we know that Sarah’s character had been traveling by boat to Five Fingers and that Boyd’s character was already in the city.

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