Kingmaker

A Winter Walk, Centaurs, and an Island in a Mountain Lake

Stalking Shadows

The adventurers crossed to the North of the river, and set to examining the last unexplored buildings of Varnhold. The tanner had numerous skins laid about, including some stretched out horse hides still on their frames. The cut of the skins was such that the group concluded that they had come across another aspect of the conflict between Varnhold and the Nomen centaurs. They found the village brewery, where they discovered several barrels of stout laid by, undiscovered by the water-shy spriggans. Some of the unfinished product had fermented beyond recovery, but the cold of the season had preserved most in a palatable state. There was a pigsty furthest to the North of the village, where the group came upon a large starved boar. They fought and defeated the creature with little effort, reminiscing fondly about Tuskgutter, so long ago now. The mirth was not embraced as diligently by Korhak as the rest of the group, oddly enough.
As the winter snow started falling heavily, the party decided it was time to depart Varnhold. They left Zaltek behind with rations and stout in the fort, to look for survivors and stragglers. Wisely deciding that a beeline across the mountains would be faster than taking the road around them, the king led his retinue into the Tors of Levenies and the snowstorm. Following the frozen river into the mountains, the prudent adventurers walked into an avalanche. The more perceptive of their number prepared for the oncoming wall of snow as best they could, and the snow hit the group like a hammer. Those still above the snow started digging for their companions, freeing Iathiels mount and their friends from the drifts. It would be much later when they discovered they’d forgotten Igor.
Making it across the mountains with almost sufficient supplies, the group stopped for warmth at the steaming mud flats, where they picked a fight with the mudmen dwelling there. Making it back to the Greenbelt, the group rested. They were later joined by Zaltek, who abandoned the fortress when food ran low.
Passing the winter in Tuskwater, they witnessed an attack by angry Redscale kobolds, leaving houses and the city’s magic shop in ruins, followed yet again by lamentation over the lack of city walls.
Come break of spring, the group set upon the task of visiting the Nomen centaurs, to ask them what they knew of the fate of Varnhold. First, though, they took down the eggs of the black roc of Talon Peak, and returned them to town for a grand feast amidst the smoldering ruins, making of the roc another trophy. Finishing up their vast omelet, they went through the Tors, and crossed the plains until they met with a hostile group of centaur scouts. Keeping their cool in the face of the charge, they witnessed the centaurs breaking off the charge. Convincing the centaurs to lead them to whatever chiefs might be found, they met with priestess of the Nomen in the main camp. Initially wroth with the intruders, [Aecora Silverfire] was quick to temper her ire when the centaur bow held by the spriggan chief was presented to them. The Skybolt turned out to be holy to the centaurs, and the Culcheck spriggans had been enemies of the centaurs long before the founding of Varnhold. As the talk turned to Varnhold, Aecora was less than sympathetic, though quite unnerved at the thorough disappearance of the villagers. Looking again to the bow, she asked that the royal entourage try to find her daughter, who had ridden past the warning totems and into the Valley of the Dead not too long ago.
Roaming in the direction of the Valley, the group happened upon a herd of mastodons in the shadow of a gargantuan linnorm skeleton. The bull attacked, but was quickly dispatched. The mouth of the Valley was marked with centaur totems, warning off any who might dare to intrude. The adventurers intruded, and made their way South, across a vast field of huge, weathered gravestones. The sense of evil was palpable in the air. Along the sheer cliffs in the Western side of the Valley, they spotted a narrow gap, guarded by what appeared to be a giant. Upon approaching, they found tracks of unshod hooves aimed at the stair behind the guardian, a vast cyclopean zombie. Dispatching the creature, they went to sleep upon the stair rather than daring the unknown path with all spells spent and no light to see by. Whilst Iathiel stood guard, a silent creature of clawed flying darkness set upon the sleeping king, leaving him less sensible than usual before it was finally dispatched. The morning saw yet another encounter, as a small pack of cockatrice made to attack the party further up the path. The aberrations were done away with, and after yet more travelling, the group found themselves looking upon a smoking rock in the middle of a mountain lake, the island crypt they had read about in the lost sage’s notes. As they approached the water, they were set upon by wyverns, which saw Iathiel grabbed and carried off by yet another reptilian flyer. The group set about defeating these creatures as well. The island lay before them now.

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