Session Two (April 4, 2019)
Grend Gnashtooth’s attunement to nature can tell that the lake, and the area around Isfjall, has an elevated level of Nature’s Strength.
The party walks around the town of Isfjall. They notice that the people tend to wear their wealth; gold and silver rings, torcs, armbands, etc, abound, along with ornate swords and knives with gem and precious metal inlays. Yes, there are a lot of weapons. Almost no one walks around unarmed.
The party spends some time buying good clothing for the wedding. Eventually they head back to the docks to meet up with Kaarlo and the wedding party. Along the way, they run into Grend. When they ask about the scout, Bjorn, he slobbers “She ha’ ta do sumting outside.”
They meet at the docks. Kaarlo and his party (mostly men but a few women) are dressed as for raiding/battle. The first stop is a nearby bath house, where Kaarlo strips and bathes while the grooms’ party gives him advice about being a good husband and father. The bathhouse featured wooden tubs of water, soap for cleansing, and a steam room. Heated stones were sprinkled with water to produce steam in which the bathers luxuriated, switching themselves with bundles of fine birch twigs to stimulate perspiration.
One of the wedding party — a female human Thegne named Halla Magnusdottir, takes an interest in the party and explains the significance of the rituals and events around the wedding.
After the bath, Kaarlo dresses in finer clothing. He replaces his axe with a bejeweled, ancient sword.
Kaarlo loads them into his longboat and they row across the lake to the Viggosson’s property. The longboat contains several large chests and sacks. Kaarlo tells the PCs that he will need them to help unload the boat and to follow him with the cargo and follow his lead.
Upon landing, Kaarlo blows on a hunting horn, then steps off the boat and climbs the hill, not towards the longhouse, but down the shoreline towards where a large gathering of people are. As the groom’s party approaches, the FOB and some of his men step forward to meet them. There is an exchange of dowry and gifts.
An elven priestess of Valfreya (Eliasin Isengrae) officiates the wedding ceremony. The bride dons a red robe over her wedding dress. The pair are treated to traditional throat singing.
Isengrae sacrifices a sow to Valfreya and asks her to bless the union with fertility. She smears the pig’s blood over her face for the ‘blot’ ceremony, traditionally acting as a blessing to the Gods. The animal’s blood is collected in a bowl and placed on an altar. A bundle of mistletoe is dipped in the blood, which was used to sprinkle the couple, conferring the blessings of the gods.
The groom presents his ancestoral sword to his bride. The bride then gifts the groom a sword of her ancestors, symbolizing a transfer of a father’s protection of a bride to the husband. The bride and groom then exchange rings to further consecrate their wedding vows, offering rings to one another on the hilt of their new swords.
At the conclusion of the wedding, there is a foot-race between the groom’s party and the bride’s to the long house, where the wedding feast will be held. The losers of this race have to serve mead to the winners at the feast. Shae wins the race!
Once in the feast hall, the groom buries his sword in the ceiling. The depth to which the sword sunk symbolizes the enduring nature of the union.
At this point, the feast begins. The party strikes up an instant friendship with a hobbit named Drex Darko, who sits with them.
Shortly after the feast begins, a provocatively dressed female hobbit with curly brown hair pops up at their table. She’s trying to get some space from her obsessive date. The group strikes up a conversation with her. Her name is Clover Brightfoot.
Clover takes an interest in Findlay, and they go off to a quiet corner where Findlay plays for her. He starts to play “The Law Giver”, but she stops him. “Its bad luck to play that song,” she says. “Ylve Hreintrödd, a local skald (bard) of some fame, was recently killed after performing The Law Giver.” Findlay recalls that The Law Giver is about a legendary magical sword lost centuries ago.
Instead, Findlay plays “Wonderwall” over and over.
While Findlay and Clover talk, Clover’s original date, Ei∂r Hildurbru∂ur, human huskarl and oaf, comes over and talks to Shae briefly, mooning over Clover. Shae discovers in the course of the conversation that Clover is, in fact, a prostitute, although she was not paid to accompany Ei∂r to this wedding. Shae tells Drex to relay this news to Findlay. Drex goes over to Findlay and privately says to him, “Shae told me to tell you that Clover is really into you, brother.”
Grend and Shae wander over to where a group of men are holding some kind of sporting contest. When they get there, they see that it is a friendly wrestling match. The champion is an intimidatnig muscular man — a human? — with oddly colored patches of skin that resemble scales here and there. His name is Val∂ur Zalavaris.
He challenges Grend to the best of three falls, and Grand agrees. He turns out to be an expert wrestler, and easily gains control of Grend and takes him down three times.
Shae challenges him. Val∂ur, somewhat cockily, decides to take it easy with the catfolk barbarian. She surprises him by slipping out of his hold. They circle each other warily, attacking and dodging, neither able to get a lasting hold on the other. Finally, Val∂ur laughs, stands up from his crouch, and extends an arm to Shae, and proclaims, “She is the best match I’ve had all day!”
Other personages met at the party include:
* Yngve Viggosson, father of the bride, jarl and merchant. He is ecstatic about the wedding, but more about the dowry from Kaarlo.
* Anja Yngvesdottir – the bride.
* Margareta Hallasdottir – MOB, ex-adventurer (thegne) scout.
*Moriah Elsinai, female elven bard, plays the pan pipes and apparently levitates when in a particular dramatic or passionate musical phrase.
A number of rumors and news items were also overheard:
* A small hamlet 20 miles northeast of Isfjall was completely wiped out. Shocked survivors described the dead arriving in the middle of the night and slaughtering the villagers in their beds.
* A couple of archivists of the hajarl of Isfjall (Vi∂ir Stefánsson) are overheard talking about a theft of some centuries-old maps and manuscripts.
* A group of thegns, including a holy warrior and the champion of last years Valor Festival sword competition (Gyrid), ventured into the wilds a few months ago. All were slain, but one made it nearly to Isfjall, and was brought into town carrying powerful artifacts. The body is being prepared for funeral rites, which will be tomorrow, at Vi∂ir Stefánsson’s longhouse (and seat of government in Isfjall).
* The Veiddarlönd (The Hunted Lands) are so overrun with dangerous faerie that the hajarls of Isfjall, Mosfell, and even the Castellan of Nor∂vorn have denuded their cities of huskarls to pacify the area. Additionally, holy warriors and clerics of Heimdallr are spread thin chasing down demon-worshipping cults in the area.
* A priest of Tyr (The Law God), Geirolf Tyrthegn, has been censured by his own brotherhood for driving thegns and even some huskarls to venture north on some foolish quest, instead of helping quell the demon, fae, and undead incursions.
The group is concerned about these ill tidings, especially Shae, whose village is in the affected lands. They decide to skip the rest of the feast — which could go on for days — and decide to go back to Isfjall to see if they can question the survivor of Gyrid’s party.
I Smell a Rat
The group walks back to Isfjall. It is mid-evening, the town is still alive with the Summer Solstice festival.
They go to the hajarl’s longhouse, but are stopped by karls (guards) outside the walls, and are turned away with the advice to come back tomorrow when Stefánsson will be hearing town’s business.
The group now is wandering Isfjall without rooms to stay in, although Grend doesn’t mind — he will sleep outdoors in any case.
They’ve heard a rumor about an inn called The Skald’s End, that is currently closed until the owner can find someone to help her clear out some sort of infestation. They ask directions to the inn, and when they find it, it is truly closed. Just down the street is crowded, noisy tavern. Taking a chance, the party enters the tavern and asks the bartender for the owner of the Skald’s End.
They are directed to an elven lady sitting in the corner of the tavern, quieting drinking wine. She introduces herself as Leander Adalania (‘Lee’ for short).
Shae explains that they are looking for a place to stay while in town, but that they can see that Skald’s End is closed.
Lee says she recently inherited the inn from an uncle, Meryle, but when she opened the inn’s basement, she heard the skittering and odor of a potential giant rat infestation. She offers the group 8 cp per giant rat to get rid of them — to a maximum of 400 cp in case there are more than 50 rats — and 1 week of free rooms at the inn, if it can be reopened.
Findlay bargains with her and they decide on 10cp, max of 500cp, and 1 weeks room AND board for the party.
Lee takes them to the inn, unlocks the door, and leads them to the cellar door. Drex notices that the door is far stronger than you’d expect, and that it is barred from the outside.
Lee suggests that she will stay inside the inn and watch over their belongings, but that she is going to close and lock the door behind them — “To prevent any rats from getting out.” The party agrees and descend into the cellar.
As they enter, Findlay begins to play the Song of Echoes, which gives him something like echolocation abiliity to sense the dark cellar. Enok casts a Continual Light spell onto the end of his staff. Findlay warns the rest that there are six large shapes moving in the darkness, heading towards them.
Grend, in the lead as they descend the steps, sees that the cellar is full of spider webs. He reaches out with his spear to probe them and has difficulty in pulling the spear back.
At this point, the party is attacked by 6 giant spiders.
Grend’s spear and Shae’s axe make quick work of two of the spiders. Findlay struggles with another, the spider leaning in to bite him with its fangs. it looks briefly like the spider bites deeply into his torso, vile green poison coursing down its fangs into the wound, but Findlay struggles, and decisively pulls away from the spider, suffering only a single point of damage. The poison did not penetrate his leather armor at all.
Drex throws two daggers at one of the giant spiders; the first bounces off the spider’s exoskeleton. The second dagger is more carefully aimed, and hits the spider in one of its main compound eyes. Ichor flows and the spider emits a high pitched squeal in response to the pain.
Enok scrawls a rune on his slate, and then points at a spot beyond the spiders. At his command, a bolt of electric blue lighting shoots from his finger in a straight line, catching three of the spiders in the blast. The affected arachnids squeal, their legs drawing up underneath them as the bolt sears their bodies.
Findlay drops the lute, and draws his rapier and main-gauche.
Drex somewhat improbably produces an alchemist’s match from somewhere, lights it and throws it into the webs, which burns quickly and does some damage to one of the remaining spiders. The flames die down quickly, however.
The spiders don’t react well to having been hit; their attacks are clumsy. Shae and Grend, helped by another lightning bolt from Enok, take care of another two.
Findlay dispatches the last spider with a few well-placed rapier attacks.
After the combat, Grend takes out a knife and cuts into the maw of several spiders. He manages to get several doses of spider venom from them.