Daveak Swordhand (Played by Paul)
Elden Spirefield (Played by Matt)
Frank Wyvern’s Tooth (Played by Steve)
Loraella Ironcore (Played by Leanne)
Marellian Ironcore (Played by Dave)
Rayne (Played by Amanda)
After receiving a note from Solien Terrie, Frank assembles the party at the Townsend Soup Kitchen.
He and the two girls tell the others that their spying on the Orcs went reasonably well, and they managed to find out that the Orc King has sent a diplomatic envoy to Flint-Harrow to discuss some kind of treaty. Marellian is met by one of the priests, who wonders why they haven’t seen him around the temple in the last week. Marellian replies that he was on a spiritual retreat (he had really been locked away in his uncle’s magic laboratory dissecting a clockwork creature). The Priest tells Marellian that he must try harder to embrace compassion, and then he wouldn’t need to keep being on retreat. Then finally he might manage to gain communion with their god, and be able to cast miracles (priest spells).
Daveak introduces his new Wolf animal companion to the party, who he has decided to call Dark Fang. The wolf promptly ‘marks his territory’ over Marellian’s robe. Marellian is suddenly glad that his new familliar is an owl, and not a cat…
As the Party is bickering, Solien Terrie enters the soup kitchen. She heads over to them, but seems distressed. Frank asks if she is all right, and she starts sobbing. When she has composed herself, she explains that the reason she asked the party to meet with her is because her brother, Tolen, is dead. She believes that he was murdered, as the ‘authorities’ in the village where he lived have refused to give her any information, other than he supposedly froze to death, and refused to let her see his corpse. She wishes to find out what has happened, and the party are the only people she knows who have any skill in investigating these things. They seem to justify this claim by bombarding her with questions regarding the facts of the case, but she is unable to give many answers, other than he had no enemies that she knew of. She tells them that she is due to take a shipment of goods to this village, called Harrow’s Edge, and would like them to come along. The general consensus is that the party would help solien, and Rayne even suggests that Tolen may in fact be alive and missing rather than dead, especially as Solien has not been allowed to see the body. This seems to cheer Solien slightly, and she tells them she will see them in three hours at her warehouse.
The party turn up at Solien’s to see a couple of carts pulled by Yaks. solien is the driver of the first cart, the second is driven by a bald man she calls Haggle. There is a seat next to each driver, and two seats facing backwards at the rear of each cart, so everybody can have a seat. Dark Fang runs alongside the cart. As they leave the Township, nobody checks to make sure they are not being followed, but then why should they?
The carts are driven north west, along the route used in years gone by to bring the coal back from the now abandoned mine. Solien seems lost in her own thoughts, and nobody attempts to make conversation. Eventually they come to a stone bridge that crosses the Meltwater river. Solien tells the party to keep an eye out for trouble, as this area is supposedly haunted by the ghosts of the dead miners. She then explains that due to this superstition, when she takes this route she is pretty sure nobody from the Township would follow her.
For some reason, the party decide that there must be a troll under the bridge, and Frank is sent out to look. Daveak explains that if there were a troll, Dark Fang would have smelled it’s foul scent and be growling, but Frank goes to look anyway. Solien drives on, possibly regretting warning a party of adventurers to look out for possible trouble, and Frank follows on foot.
Over the other side of the bridge, the trail forks, and Solien explains that the northern fork heads to the mine. Several members of the party get a feeling of being watched, and Daveak gets off the wagon to scout around. He finds tracks that he is sure were made by zombies, although they are quite old. Solien asks why the party are suddenly geared up for a fight, and they tell her they feel watched. She nods, and tells them that this area has that effect on some people, which is why it is considered to be haunted. Once again she drives off, and Daveak and Frank have to follow on foot. She takes the western fork, and the carts head out into the tundra.
Marellian is sitting up front, next to Solien, and sees her take out a small globe. She tells him that it is a ‘Homefinder compass’, and was a gift from someone called Zoastrian. She explains that all she has to do is place her hand atop the orb and think of her destination, and it will put forth a small ray of light in the direction you need to go. She demonstates, and a thin beam of light does indeed show a path. she hands it to Marellian and asks him to think of Harrow’s Edge. He does, but nothing happens. She explains that he is unable to get a trail because he has never been to Harrow’s Edge. The orb may only be used to find your way to places you have already been before.
Solien seems in a chatty mood, and tells Marellian that Zoastrian is a mage who was supposedly once a member of the Archivists guild, but was expelled some time ago (or so he told her when she asked). He often turns up in one or another of the free villages, but does not live in any of them. He seems to have some fixation about ancient races that disappeared long before Humanity arose, and it is probably this fixation that got him expelled from the guild, as he has no interest in the Lands of Summer like the others in the guild.
Daveak and Frank are alerted (maybe by Dark Fang, or possibly because they are in their element outdoors) to the fact that a hunting Frostdrake has spotted the carts, and is homing in on the Yaks. They warn the others, and the party prepare for battle. The Frostdrake is prevented from reaching the Yaks by Frank and Dark Fang, but Frank takes a couple of wounds from it’s claws. Elden charges it from the second cart, before Rayne uses her mask to drain the life from the Frostdrake, and the drake’s corpse is butchered for various parts by Daveak and Elden.
Skirting the northern outskirst of the Tundra, the carts come to a steaming river. Solien explains that this river is fed from a hot spring nearby, and freezes over downstream. The party are worried that the bridge is out, seeing only a small pile of wood and a fallen tree, but Solien explains that the tree is the marker for a hidden ford, and drives the cart across to show them. The cart appears to be held up on the water by some clear solid surface. On the other side of the river is a rocky outcrop from which a frozen waterfall is suspended. Solien drives the cart behind the icy tendrils, and through a cave into a natural canyon, in which sits Harrow’s Edge.
The carts are stopped by a local constable, who explains to the party that any weapon bigger than a dagger is to be surrendered tot he armoury, where they will be issued with a token for redemption on their departure. Swords may be worn ceremonally, provided that they are tied into their scabbards with wire to prevent their being drawn (which will be done in the armoury). Frank is not happy at giving up his great axe, but hands it over while glaring at the minion. He uses his intimidating prowess to bully the constable into getting his superior, Sergeant Bickler.
Bickler seems made of sterner stuff, and attempts to stonewall the party when they begin asking questions about Tolen’s death. Unhappy with his answers, they decide to head off to where the village’s dead are interred. Before they go, Solien tells them that she will not be going with them, as she has some tasks to do, and shows them where her house is. She asks that if they find anything, they come and tell her. She also reveals that she has arranged accomadation for them at ‘The Grizzled Veteran’, which is considered one of the better Inns in the village.
At the caves of the dead, Marellian and Rayne begin questioning a priestly official, who refuses to let them in to look at the dead in his care. He does admit that Tolen’s body is within (which puts paid to Rayne’s theory) and tells them that the body was frozen solid when found. Further questioning reveals that there have been several bodies found like this, and when the party try persuading him that this looks suspicious, he finally lets them see the body (although he doesn’t allow the wolf in with all the bones…)and leads them to it. The body has thawed, leaving Tolen unmarked by any wound.
Leaving the (mostly unhelpful) priest behind, the party decide to look around the section of the village which is described as ‘the bad section’. There they talk to a street sweeper who tells them he found a body in a similar state to that of Tolen. He desribes seeing a woman leaning over the corpse, but who ran off when he yelled, and vanished in a dead-end alley. They have been given the name of a woman called Agli, who was a witness to the most recent killing, and the street sweeper gives them directions to her abode.
Agli is a fortune teller, and tells them that Tolen was one of her clients before he died. She told him he would meet a mysterious woman, and it seems he did. Agli also tells her story of meeting the killer. She and her man friend Mocko were out walking, when a woman appeared from out of nowhere. Agli swears that she wasn’t human, as you could sort of see through her: She was terrible to behold, with wild hair, and thin as a corpse. Agli also remembers that she was wearing a gold locket. Agli admits she ran from the woman, and thought Mocko was behind her, but he had been caught.
Leaving Agli behind, the party move on to a shopkeeper called Fabindar, who found Tolen’s body. Fabindar seems proud of the celebrity he has become, and his story becomes more elaborate, informing the party of supposed places where other bodies were found, until they realise he is telling tall tales. They do get a truthful description of the woman though; Raggedy looking, with long hair and a torn dress.
Realising that they have ended up close to Solien’s house, they decide that they should inform her of the bad news. Daveak volunteers to tell her what they have found out, while the others head to the Grizzled Veteran to discuss their plans. As expected, Solien is devastated once more by the confirmation of her brother’s death after Rayne had built her hopes up he might still be alive. Daveak beats a hasty retreat to rejoin his fellows at the Grizzled Veteran.
At the Grizzled Veteran, the party talk to Marto and Filena. While discussing what they had found about the killer, several pieces jog the innkeepers’ memories. They remember serving a young woman with a golden necklace, and tell the party what they remember about her. It is a sad tale about a newly married girl who loses everything over the space of a year, and slowly slides into depression and drink. The Girl’s name was Azrea, and the necklace was a gift from her mother, who died shortly after the wedding. It was the only thing she had left and would not part with. Marto tells the party that the girl has not been seen in over a week.
As they are digesting this news, a street urchin delivers them a message: Written on a scrap of paper are the words; ‘I know who the killer is. Afraid for my life. Meet me at midnight in the old warehouse’. They sense that this message is a trap, but decide to go anyway.
Rayne and Loraella try to scout out the village armoury to find a way to get to the party’s confiscated weaponry, but find it hard to get in. Marellian solves this problem by casting charm person on a guard, and sending him in to get all the weapons for the party. So armed, they make their way to the old warehouse.
Inside the warehouse, a scruffy looking man is waiting, but he seems uneasy. As he spots the party, he backs away stuttering. Eventually his will breaks, and he blurts out; “I’m sorry, they made me do it!” and runs out of a side entrance.
From out of the shadows step a gang of ruffians. The leader tells the party that they are fed up with strangers poking their noses into other people’s business, especially as the bad area is ‘their turf’. The party attempt to find a non violent means to placate these thugs, but one of them, a sorcerer, fires an electrical ray from his fingers, and the fight begins.
This is the first time the party have faced magic during combat, and they are frustrated in their efforts to get to the two enemy spellcasters by the rest of the thugs. Eventually, their superior fighting skills win through, and one of the enemy spellcasters, a female wizard, flees. The sorcerer is killed, and the remaining thugs surrender. They tell the thugs that they will let them live if they give over all the treasure they have stolen from their victims, but the leader tells them that all the treasure goes to ‘Bickler’. Frank curses that he knew the slimy sergeant was a crook, and the party kill the thugs.
However, as the fight with the thugs was going on, a ghostly presence appeared behind Marellian. Turning, he is confronted with a wild looking woman in a torn dress. She tells him; “I’m so cold!” His first thought is to cast burning hands, thinking that would warm her up, but he thinks better of it, and his compassionate training allows him to instead offer her his robe to wear, telling her this would keep her warm. This simple act of kindness puts the restless haunt to her rest, and she fades away, leaving Marellian’s robe to fall to the floor, inside of which is a golden locket.
The party make their way back to their rooms at the Grizzled Veteran, where they make plans for dealing with the corrupt sergeant.
To be continued…..