April 23rd, Year 101 (since founding of Ulvfrist)
The player characters discuss the matter of the wolves, and Dagmar Ivarsdottir (Tammy) realises that Adalstein Ulfarsson (spross) doesn't know what killed the wolves, let alone if they are actually dead. She also realises that wolves do not fall underThor's purview. Dagmar really wants to pursue the matter, but Ronja Magnisdottir (NPC) and Hulm Runolfsson (NPC) are impatient to get on with the trip to Hedefalder, and Dagmar defers to them as Adalstein doesn't seem to feel strongly about it one way or the other. The player characters clean up, pack their belongings, and set out once more.
Several hours go by, and Ronja and Gerda Herildasdottir (NPC) tell Hulm when he asks that they don't need to rest yet, and the player characters continue on. They cross a small stream, and on turning back, Dagmar sees what appears to be a shade [of a dead person]. They continue on, and finally reach a large, coniferous region dotted with splashes of green meadows.
When Adalstein looks around, he realises that Ronja is missing. Hulm tells him that she has gone back to the brook they have just crossed, about 30 metres distant. He heads over to Ronja, and realises the girl is not answering him and seems to be staring into the water. When he goes to touch her shoulder, a giant claw of water slashes him across the face. He staggers back, surprised. Dagmar hears the loud splash and goes running in that direction while Hulm continues to talk with and teach Gerda about some herb lore. Adalstein looks into the water to see what attacked him, and is entranced by the creature therein. Dagmar arrives on the scene, and when she touches Ronja, she receives a nasty shock. She looks into the water and sees an eel-like creature with the body of a woman, but resists the ensorcelment. She reaches for a rock to strike the creature, but a claw of water strikes her. The creature seems to assume a partially humanoid face, and tells Dagmar that the girl and the man belong to her.
Hulm finally arrives on the scene, shouting to Gerda to stay back. The eel-woman reasserts that they are hers, and when Hulm strongly urges her to let the girl go, the creature reiterates again that they both belong to her. In a fit of anger, Hulm stabs at the creature with his spear, inflicting a serious injury, while Dagmar attempts to knock Ronja away from the brook. While the creature thrashes around somewhat, Dagmar fails and instead of knocking Ronja clear, she knocks her into the brook! Ronja recovers somewhat, and screams before going under the water. The eel-woman screams again from Hulm's blow, stating she's hurt, and says that he can have them! Ronja flies out of the water and some 30 metres, landing hard. The eel-woman submerges, and Adastein recovers his senses. He's confused, but Dagmar shouts at him to get away from the water's edge and he does so. Hulm races over to Ronja, and Dagmar follows him as quickly as she can.
After examining the Jarl's daughter, Hulm tells the others that Ronja has a broken arm, but is otherwise all right for her experience, though she is unconscious. They set her arm, and Dagmar uses her healing Seidr magic on the girl, and partially heals her. Fortunately, Ronja stays unconscious. Dagmar turns her attention to Adalstein's wounds, and using her Fate is able to heal his injury and then some.
Early in the afternoon, Ronja awakens and asks what's going on. She doesn't remember most of the events of the morning, and is told what happened by Dagmar and Adalstein (to a lesser extent). Both Dagmar and Hulm take her to task for wandering off, but Ronja acknowledges that she made a serious mistake. She decides that they need to continue on their mission to Hedefalder, regardless of her desires, and Dagmar is pleased to see that she's learned and matured from the encounter with the eel-woman somewhat and is going to embrace her responsibilities. Ronja fortifies herself with some mead, and the group of characters travel on.
As the party moves into the coniferous forest region, Gerda spots something to to the left of the characters' route and brings it to the others' attention. Telling Adalstein to keep an eye on Gerda and Ronja (who is a bit groggy from the mead), Hulm moves off with Dagmar to see what they have come across. They find what looks like a burnt-out wagon, but oddly enough seemingly burned from above, as the ground below the wagon remains is quite verdant and green, though the forest around the area is somewhat burnt and scorched. They also find two burnt skeletal remains, one in the wagon and the other near the burnt and scorched trees some 10 metres distant. Strangely also, the goods on the wagon were not looted, their charred, melted forms and ash patterns found on the wagon pallet. They also find another Mark of Thor imprinted onto the wagon pallet, somehow protected from the fire and the damage that it did to the wagon. Dagmar is able to sense the presence of magic of some sort here, but not any specifics.
Travelling on through the forested hills, the rest of the afternoon passes uneventfully as the characters arrive at the Vindfer Pass. It is snowing, and the pass itself is ominous and blustery. With sheer walls cutting through the mountains, the wind, and the snow, the characters decide not to risk the pass this close to nightfall, and decide to look for a camp. Hulm looks for shelter, and spots a rocky outcropping, from which the cawing of ravens can be heard. Dagmar notices there's something weird about the outcropping, but can't put her finger on it; Hulm senses it too. Dagmar sees that the cave is in the shape of a bearded face, with gemstones for eyes high up, though she doubts her senses because of the swirling wind and snow. Being curious, Hulm cautiously goes to investigate, and seeing no threat, bids the characters come to the cave. There is an old firepit, near the back of the cave, and two skeletons resting nearby. Dagmar thinks the remains are of a man and a woman, but can't be sure. Hulm finds a tablet with writing on it (that he can't read), and beckons Dagmar over. She reads it:
"Here lies Hragi, son of Ulfar. The road is long, the dogs are dangerous."
Hulm speculates on who these two remains were, believing they might have been exiles, but the characters are in no position to go out and search for another shelter.
Ronja is hesitant about staying in the cave, and the characters realise they can't give the skeletal remains a decent interment, as they don't know whothe two belong to and if they're exiles, it's definitely taboo to interact with them, even spiritually. But where else to stay? Dagmar decides to leave the cave and see what other shelter she can find. She goes out and is met by roaring snow and the howling of what she thinks are wolves, and thinks the better of it; she goes back into the cave.
The next morning, April 24th, dawns. It is crisp and cool outside, and the ground is coated with snow. Adalstein sees that Hulm is not with them in the cave, but before they can worry about him, the forester returns with a couple of braces of rabbit. He says that the rabbits were a God-given gift, and that he'll have to make an offering to the Gods when they return home, but for the moment he burns one of the rabbits in the fire, offering a prayer as he does so. Once the player characters have eaten, cleaned up, and packed, they head out for the pass. They find that they are refreshed and invigorated.
The player characters make their way to Vindfer Pass. The pass is ominous, with steep-sided walls, howling winds, and the beating down of snow. The characters enter the pass, staggering against the forces of nature. Adalstein struggles mightily at first, being hit with debris in the whirling storm that seemingly afflicts the pass, but manages to make his way through. Dagmar is also struck by flying debris as she navigates with Gerda through the pass, and eventually emerges on the other side. The rest of the characters have no difficulty walking through the pass, and eventually all the characters emerge from the pass, exhausted. The wind and the snowfall immediately dies down.
The player characters look down from the pass into the valley, and can make out the town in the distance, with a shining meandering river, separated from them by a large tract of forest. Adalstein spots a battered and ramshackle shack on the edge of the forest. The characters decide to head for that location, as perhaps they can grab a bit of rest there before heading for Hedefalder. As they travel, they spot a group of three wrecked wagons near the edge of the forest, perhaps half a kilometre from the shack. The characters continue on towards the shack, despite some misgivings all around.
As the characters descend from the hills into the scrub area towards the shack, Hulm's survival instincts and abilities warn him of the imminent attack. He has Adalstein and Dagmar shift Gerda and Ronja to the rear, just as with a bloodcurdling cry, a group of brigands with stout swords and axes rides into view, and launches themselves to the attack from the area of the woods near the shack!
As noted in my previous blog entry, I had a pretty good afternoon with the Sunday gaming group and their session of Yggdrasill. I continue to have a lot of fun running the game system, and the adventures and setting that I've got for the Sunday game continues to provide me with no end of stuff that I can use for the basis of scenarios. If I'm disappointed in anything, it's the way that spross still hasn't got a personality and "character" established for Adalstein, and that he continues to play in a reactive manner for the most part. Tammy continues to take the lead with her Dagmar Ivarsdottir, and while I know she's not happy with this, I think she's enjoying the style and feel of the game. And she really likes her character, of course. :)
In any event, I'm rather looking forward to the continuation of the game next week. :)