Last week on the Thursday game...
Despite Crow's worsening condition, the party decided to ride back to Northreach with their ill-gotten gains, to ensure that their men get paid and that work on the keep's restoration continues. However, a half-day's ride from the keep, they began running into villagers from the fishing village up north. One refugee noticed the party, and they began badgering the Baron to allow them entry into the Keep because the fishing village had been raided by "northern raiders".
After a bit of careful diplomacy, the party managed to convince the villagers to set up camp a short distance away from Northreach Keep instead of inside the keep proper. They continued on back home, where they eventually discovered a few things: one, that the Wilder bard Ankers had managed to outwit his handler and ran away; two, that Nicodemus was at his wits' end dealing with the refugees; and three, that the fishing village had indeed been raided, and that half the entire village went up in flames during the raid.
After temporarily resettling the villagers in a clearing that Crow's birds found, the party decided to head off rumours that the elven Crow was in some way related to the raiders by consecrating a shrine to Lethae, Lady of the Walls and the goddess of law. Aided by a dramatic performance from Mordai and Crow, the villagers were finally placated, and the party rode north.
Arriving in the village, they came across the few remaining villagers who had just finished putting out the few fires that smouldered. The Baron tried to convince them to join the other villagers in the camp, but they refused, saying that this was their home and they would not abandon it. However, they entreated the party to bring back the kinsmen that the "northern raiders" had kidnapped, and Mordai - after sharing a drink with some villagers - swore an oath to do exactly that upon his Thief's Mark.
Paying three fishermen a handful of gold for their services, they sailed north into the wide open sea. It did not take long for trouble to find them: three days in, they came across the cerulean blue sails of the raiders. A protracted ranged battle soon ensued, with one of the raiders encasing the party's boats in ice before calling down lightning upon them. It cost the party one boat and the life of one of the fishermen, but when the last of the raiders eventually fell, a small planar rift - forced open by the consecutive destruction of the talismans that the raiders all wore upon their chests - tore itself open in the middle of the sea. Faced with no other leads, the party decided to live for once and leap through the rift.
They found themselves in a soft lush field, under strange stars and alien skies. There were no directions in this place: there was only a path, and the choice to either step off the path or to follow the path. Crow chose the former when she heard plaintive crying coming from beyond, and although Mordai tried his best to guide the lost Crow back to the path, she eventually found herself in a clearing with a satyr who was softly weeping to himself. The two of them struck up a conversation, and after Crow promised the satyr to "be his friend forever", the two of them skipped off into the planar wilds hand in hand with one another.
In the mean time, the rest of the party continued following the path until they eventually came to a crossroads. Exploring their surroundings, they realised that the left path felt warmer, the right path cooler, and the path straight ahead looked ever slightly darker. After a short discussion, Mordai and Robert both decided that - given how Titania's court was now in winter - they should head for the cooler right path over the other three.
The path eventually lead them to the demesne of the Lady Fisher, an enigmatic figure who sat fishing by a jetty all day long while a wound in her side bled constantly and profusely into the water. Robert asked the lady for aid, and aid was granted on one condition: that Robert take up a dagger made of ice and stab one of the Lady Fisher's rivals in the heart. Seeing no other choice in the matter, he agreed, and the party made their way towards the manse of the supposed rival.
After a little trouble with the non-Euclidean geometry of the manse's courtyard, they abruptly found themselves in an antechamber with a stag-headed man. Noticing Borock, the man offered Robert untold riches and immortality in exchange for "his slave", but Robert turned him down. The man then introduced himself as the Huntsman and gave Robert his calling card - an oddly-shaped leaf found only in the elven forests on the mainland - in case he ever changed his mind about selling Borock. It did not take long for Borock to draw the necessary connections: this was the same Huntsman that has been kidnapping dragonborn up and down Druss, and most likely the same person who had kidnapped his family. However, this was neither the time nor the place for him to seek his vengeance, and Borock managed to restrain his rage long enough for the Huntsman to take his leave.
The lady of the manse then came down to receive her new guests, and as Robert moved closer to introduce himself, his right hand moved of its own volition and, in a single swift motion, drew the ice dagger and stabbed her right in the heart. As the sidhe collapsed to the floor gasping her last, the party - in a state of shock and panic - started looking around for exits. It was at this moment that a heavily-armoured dragonborn warrior (Cammie) burst into the room to gawk at the freshly-dead corpse.
Hunting horns began to sound, and the party realised that they had to make a move right now. Borock grabbed the new dragonborn with him, and the four of them headed out the door that felt ever-so-slightly cooler. Hot on their heels were a pack of hounds and, behind them, the Huntsman himself, now astride a magnificent stag and fully girded for war.
The fey knight drew his black greatbow and, notching a gold-tipped black arrow to it, fired a single shot that struck Robert right above his ear. As the Huntsman stopped to retrieve the bloodstained arrow from the wall where it struck, Robert turned around and, with an exceptionally well-placed Eldritch Blast, blasted the arrow into smithereens before fleeing back into the relative safety of Winter.
True to her word, the Lady Fisher delivered the party to the Winter Court where Titania - as beautiful as she was cold and regal - ruled from a throne of ice. Waving Robert alone forward, she questioned why the puzzle box was still not open. Thinking fast on his feet, the warlock managed to delay his inevitable death by yet a few more days and, at the same time, begged Titania to send him and the rest of the party back to the prime material plane, that he might continue to do the will of the Queen of the Sidhe.
Titania consented, and with a wave of her hand sent the party back to the fishing village, where a young child gawped at them. "But you've only just set out a few hours ago! How have you guys returned? And where's the boats?" Borock only shrugged, and the party stared into the lingering sunset while they tried to decide what they should do next.
It is currently the 3rd day of Mid Autumn.
The treasury currently has 797gp, while the party currently has 85gp. With the fishing village in ruins, you may choose to either continue taxing them (for a deficit of -400gp), allow them to keep their taxes to rebuild their village (for a deficit of -1900gp), or anything else in between. Regardless, the Duke will not be denied his full tithe.
|Taxes - Fishing Village||1500gp|
|Taxes - Farmsteads||1500gp|
|Unskilled hirelings x20||200gp|
|Skilled hirelings x10||1000gp|
|Keep restoration (2 months)||500gp|
|Stipiend - Wizard Egoveus||200gp|