As the menacing figure of Alfo’s double, the Pursuer, advanced on the Night Guard, their attempts to drive him off seemed futile. Fire did not harm the Pursuer, nor did arrows. Looking closely, Val realized that the Pursuer was actually on the Ethereal Plane, hence his invincibility. But the ice shard lodged in place of the Pursuer’s heart was not ethereal – and Val shot it, proving the menace could be hit and damaged.
Shadow convinced the party that they could not fight something as powerful as the Pursuer, and the group turned to flee. The Pursuer created an ice wall to hinder their progress, but the party ducked around it and kept running. Then the Pursuer – seeming to exercise no ordinary magic, rather a deep control over the realm itself – appeared atop the ice wall, gaining high ground on the party. Alfo (Alfalfa?) fired a staggering shot at his double’s icy heart, and Manny vaporized the ice wall with a fireball before the Pursuer could take action. When the steam cleared, the Pursuer was gone, leaving only the shard of ice behind.
After shaking off the Pursuer, the party took a moment to rest and discuss important news from their home plane and histories. A note from Rhoskan informed the party that if they could gather the supplies for legendary weapons and articles, Rhoskan might be able to craft these items in the future. Val read a letter from his informant Adder Goldcrest, who warned Val that an assassin, sent by the warmongering Emperor Galleon himself, was on the Night Guard’s trail, for reasons unknown. Alfo relayed some historical knowledge about the emperor – most importantly, that Galleon is cursed by both dwarves and elves, and his bloodline cursed to end with him.
Manny confided some of the story of his (distant) past to the party, told them he’d recently discovered his sister’s position of power as a dangerous empress, and requested the Night Guard’s help in dealing with the issue. Manny also took the time to ask a few questions to Oghma, gaining useful information:
Is the starry being depicted in the mural in the Tila Crypt from the inner planes? No.
Regarding the Maiden who tended Rillifane, is there only one? No.
Perhaps the most pressing news was from Tam, who realized almost too late that Kiran Poole’s symptoms – disturbing nightmares and scars from a boar attack – indicated Kiran suffered from the curse of lycanthropy. While unconscious due to knockout drugs, Kiran posed no risk to the party – but in the vast, moonlit bosk, Kiran’s supply of sleeping potions was rapidly dwindling. While Tam searched for solutions, Val, Alfo and Manny took bets on whether a transformed Kiran would be small or large.
As they continued through the snowy woodland, the Night Guard noticed a campfire ahead. Val and Shadow scouted the scene and discovered two ice trolls and their winter wolf companion discussing a shrine further down the path. The party snuck ahead to the shrine, and after deciphering the primitive runes engraved on its surface, they sacrificed some weapons and rations to it. In return the ancient magic there bestowed Aid upon the party and reassured them that their current search for the Maiden was a good course of action.
The Night Guard pressed onward, deeper into the forest, but almost immediately they were attacked by other denizens of the Bosk. Much like the Pursuer, these enemies resembled ordinary people with chips of ice lodged in place of their hearts. The battle was swift but fierce, and the icy warriors of the Shadow realm were vanquished, weak to fire and Windsinger’s blade. Tam examined the bodies and discerned that their hearts had been surgically removed, cut out and replaced with ice. This was no necromancy, but the cold, cruel work of the Feral Bosk itself.
Seeking direction, Alfo climbed a tree to try and see where the center of the Bosk lay. Instead, he saw a massive blizzard roaring towards the party. Just in time, Val created a magical shelter and the party resolved to wait out the storm, using their time for crafting, alchemy work, and rest.
Yet peace was not to be theirs. After several hours had passed, the Night Guard prepared to embark again into the forest, but the Pursuer had caught up to them again. This time, the Pursuer used his control over the realm to hurl massive blocks of ice at the party members. Scrambling to defend themselves against their powerful enemy, the party rushed into the woods, narrowly escaping with their lives.
The Night Guard quickly realized the Pursuer had run them into a trap. As they fled the deeper woods, the full force of the blizzard struck them, and the party became separated. Hours passed before the party members could find each other. After hours of struggling to survive in the freezing wilderness, they were exhausted (except Alfo, whose ranger training kept him and Shadow safe through the storm).
Weary, lost, and chilled to the bone, the party had no option but to rest, and try to recuperate before continuing their search for the Maiden. But the sleeping potions had run out, and Kiran was mere hours from waking. Huddled together under the shelter of Val’s magic, the party struggled to decide what to do next.
The endless night wore on…
Best Line goes to Val, who watched Manny firebolt an ally in the back and exclaimed, “Well, Magnolia, after what Manny just did, you’re the best snerson** I know!”
Honorable mention to Manny, who after barely surviving the blizzard used the excuse “We sneople** are not meant for this weather!”
Best RP goes to both Val, for risking himself to save Kiran’s life, and Manny, for confiding in the party some of the secrets of his mysterious history.
? – The party escapes the Pursuer.
? – The party discusses non-Shadowfell news while walking.*
? – After eavesdropping on some locals, the party visits an ancient shrine.
? – The party is attacked by more icy servants of the realm.
? – A blizzard envelops the party and they lose direction.
? – The Pursuer catches up to the party and attacks.
? – The party escapes, only to run straight into the blizzard, suffering cold and fatigue.
? – The endless night wears on…
*Conversations have been condensed and moved to preserve continuity.
**Snerson (snake person), sneople (snake people) – in reference to Yuan-Ti.