The Contest

Session Report (September 5)

The adventurers meets up with Arne on the morning of their departure. (All but Drex, who told them to go without him suddenly, the night before. “I have some business to take care of,” he said. “If I am done in the next few days, I’ll catch up…”)

Arne drops to one knee and holds out his hards. “Come, let us kneel together and pray to Tyr for a safe journey,” he says. “Hold hands.”

The party looks at each other and shrug. “Okay…” They kneel with Arne as he prays loudly looking towards the heavens.

They set off towards Logiheimli, again taking the faster path of the plains between the hill country and the Greniheim forest. At first they are in civilization — farmsteads cluster together along a road worn into the earth by centuries of foot and hoof. As the day wears on, the farms and other structures become more sparse, the trail less distinct. Eventually, the trail disappears into the undergrowth.

It is late afternoon. The last sign of human habitation was a single cottage, a thin smudge of smoke visible from its chimney and animal pelts and hides stretched over frames outside, visible on a ridge a mile away, over two hours ago.

Shae’s cat ears swivel towards the righthand side of the trail. “Do you hear that?”

“Yeah. Thounds like cryin’,” Grend says around his tusks. They decide to check it out.

The party tracks the sounds to its source: a small human girl, clothes dirty and torn, sits on a fallen log, her face smudged with tears. She looks up as the party approaches and jumps behind the log. They can see the top of her head as she peers over the log towards their approach.

“It’s okay,” Shae tries to sooth the child. “We can help you. What’s wrong?”

“I’m lost,” the little girl says. “And it’s getting dark.”

“Don’t worry, we’ll get you back to your home,” Shae says.

“Do you know which way is home?” asks Arne.

“That way, I think,” the girl says. She points vaguely West.

“Mebbe you can find her twacks and follow ’em back to her home,” Grend suggests to Shae. She agrees and they quickly find her footprints leading West. The party takes off along the tracks, Shae in the front, tracking with Grend’s help, Findley and the girl in the middle, and Enok and Arne bringing up the rear.

They follow the tracks for a while. At one point, Grend puts one foot down on the path when a swarm of hornets flies up from the forest floor and attack — to no avail. Grend’s skin is too hard for the hornets to pierce. They quickly move away from the angry insects.

A while later, they are passing through an old forest section of the trail, when a rotted log that was leaning against another tree, and overhanging the trail, collapses just as Enok is beneath it. He takes minor damage from the collision. After he picks himself up and clears the fallen tree, Shae says, “Don’t you think it’s weird that these things started happening after we found this girl?”

The party is silent for a moment as they digest this information, but continue following the girl’s trail. The trail takes a turn into to low-lying land ahead. As they pass into it, they suddenly stop. Their feet seem stuck to the ground. The girl, apparently unaffected, skips merrily off to the side, then turns back to them. As she does, two things happen: she morphs from a small human child to a tall beautiful humanoid with elfin ears. At the same time, the ground at their feet vanish to be replaced with thick, viscous mud rising over their calves. She laughs delightedly at the immobile adventurers.

“Oh but you amused me, until that one –” she points at Shae “– spoiled it! What am I going to do with you?”

Shae holds up a hand.”We don’t intend to do you harm. How could we? You are so great and powerful — we are but cowering and lowly mortals before your might and beauty.” The faerie stops at these words. Shae continues, “Perhaps we can offer you something of value in exchange for our pitiful lives?” Shae removes a bronze long knife from her pack with the other hand. “Please accept this gift.”

The faerie laughs. “You’ll need to offer me more than this,” she says. She looks at them speculatively, until her eyes rest on Findlay. “You’re a handsome one,” she says to him. “Perhaps I will take you home with me, and there you will serve my pleasure until your too short mortal life is ended.” She begins to dance seductively, eyes locked with Findlay’s. Findlay looks dazed for a moment, but seems to shake it off.

The faerie creature screams in frustration. “How dare you resist me!” she says. She looks menacingly at them and begins to move forward.

Findlay speaks. “You are beautiful beyond words, my lady. And I am sure your singing voice is transcendent!”

“Indeed, mortal. There are few who can surpass my skill in singing.”

“As much as I would like to serve you, I cannot, for I am sworn to aid my companions,” Findlay says. “But I have also sworn to serve any who can sing better than I. I propose that we have a contest. If my voice somehow surpasses your own, you let me and my friends go.”

“And if not,” says the faerie, “you will come willingly with me to serve me until you die. So be it!”

“Who will judge?” Enok asks.

“I shall,” says the faerie.

“But–”

“Silence!” the faerie says. “It is decided!” With that, the faerie begins to sing. The fae’s voice is indeed good, but she also tends to rely on seductive looks and body language as much as vocal skills. As she sings, unnoticed, both Grend and Arne begin using brute strength to free themselves from the muck. They slowly make their way through the mud, reaching the edge of the mire just as the song ends.

Findlay clears his throat.

“No ‘Wonderwall'”, Shae hisses at him quietly.

Shooting Shae a scathing glance, Findlay begins to sing. He sings an ancient, sad, romantic ballad. His voice is incredible. As he finishes, there isn’t a dry eye amongst those listening, including the faerie. She lowers her head.

“You are free,” she says. She slowly vanishes (perhaps stepping through the Veil?).

(This was a Quick Contest of Sing

Return to Isfjall

Session Report (August 29)

The party of adventurers take their leave from the barrow at Logiheimll and begin the long hike back to Isfjall. Several days later they reach the town after a couple of minor encounters — one with a bear, the other with a wild boar.

In Isfjall, they find Geirolf Tyrthegne and tell them of their progress. They show him the meistaratakn (master token) and how it can be used to locate the final missing tiwstakn, way up in the Frostharrow. At this Geirolf grows excited. “That relic must have been carried by one of the final pilgrimages to the lost Hall,” he says. “It’s probably near the entrance!” 

Grend agrees. “An’ we wanna go check it out,” he slobbers. “But dair’s more… In da Ward’n’s tomb we saw a sword.” He and the others describe the blade to Geirolf. “We tink it’s da Law Gibber,” Grend finishes.

“Yes!” Geirolf says. “It must be Lögfræðingur, the Law Giver. As a relic it is very important. Someone,” he eyes the party, “needs to go get it.”

“We can’t,” says Enok. “The Warden says that only a holy warrior of Tyr may wield it. He refused to give it to us.”

They discuss the situation a bit. “We must take this to the Braeðralag of Tyr,” Geirolf says. “But they won’t take my word for it. You all will need to tell them your story. Then maybe the Braeðralag will be able to spare someone to help you recover Lögfræðingur. I will set up a meeting with the Braeðralag.”

Geirolf takes his leave with a promise to send word once the meeting is set up. The adventurers begin the business of selling their loot, purchasing new gear, procuring room and board, and the like.

A few days later they receive word that the meeting with the Brothers of Tyr has been set up. They go to Tyr’s temple and are ushered into a large room outfitted as a study or library. A long table fills the center of the room. At one end sit three stern priests of Tyr. Geirolf is standing in the back of the room behind them.

At the closer end of the table is a single chair; in front of it, on the table, is a weird brass contraption consisting of several tubes curved in cunning ways. The largest brass tube sticks out of the device vertically. This tube has a narrow diagonal cut in it that reminds Findlay of a flute’s or a recorder’s reed.

The elderly, grizzled priest at the opposite end of the table speaks. “I am Harald Prestursson. I, along with Toke Tyrthegne, to my left, and Skarde Ulfson, on my right,  are here to listen to your story.” He pauses for a moment. “Choose one of your number to speak, and that person shall sit in the chair before you.” The group confers briefly and decides that Findlay is best equipped to speak for the group. The Halfling climbs into the chair at their end of the table and peers around the brass device back at the priests. “Tell us of your recent discoveries.” Harald says.

Findlay begins to tell the story in his inimical style, his voice rising and falling dramatically. When he gets to the first attack of the skeletons, he exaggerates a bit: “And there we were surrounded on all sides by hundreds of humanoid skeletons, each armed to the teeth…” The brass device emits a tremendously loud whistle, drowning out Findlay’s voice. He stops, frowns, and tries again. “At least fifty of the horrendous monsters…” The whistle blows again. “It was easily a dozen with some old swords,” he says tentatively. When the whistle doesn’t go off again he continues.

Chastised a bit by the lie-detection apparatus, Findlay continues without too much hyperbole to relate the events around their discovery of Logiheimli. (As Findlay starts to get carried away by the dramatic narrative, a few faint whistles from the device helps push him back towards the literal truth.) Once he finishes, Harald speaks again. “Most interesting. You certainly believe that the ruins you found were Logiheimli. And many of the details would seem to fit.” He stands. “Please, step back into the common hall while we discuss.” An acolyte leads the party out of the library.

Thirty minutes go by, and finally they are led back into the chamber. Standing near their side of the table is a human, wearing the colors of Tyr over light chain armor, a sword on his belt. He is tall and rangy with red hair. Although he looks to be in his twenties, his dour expression would be more appropriate on someone twice that age. “It is decided,” Harald says. “A chance to recover Lögfræðingur cannot be ignored. We task Arne Arneson, holy warrior of Tyr,” he nods at the warrior, “with accompanying you to the ruins of Logiheimli. There he will recover the holy sword in the name of the Braeðralag.” His gaze shifts to Arne. “Sir Arneson, I leave it to your judgment: after you have secured Lögfræðingur, you must decide if returning the sword here should be your priority, or if joining this brave party of questors on their investigations into the Frostharrow is warranted.” He then addresses the party again. “I’m sorry that we cannot spare but the one warrior to accompany you on this mission. We are stretched thin on multiple fronts.” Harald dismisses the adventurers. (In the background, Geirolf flashes them a thumbs-up.)

As they leave, Arne grabs Shae by the arm. “I will need a few days to prepare. Shall we meet the morning of Thor’s Day, 3 days hence?” They agree and the party departs.