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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hellfrost - The Bad Seed

The adventures of an unlikely band of comrades, as observed by Urto Valja
Check out other related posts: Characters

The Bad Seed
We find ourselves in Hellfrost Keep and wood, needed for both warmth and cooking, seems to be getting scarce.  All reports indicate there is an issue with the supply of the wood from the nearby Drakewood forest.  Hellfrost Keep has sent out several detachments to investigate the lack of wood, but none of the Knights have returned. We gather our things to go investigate what might be causing the problem with availability.

We get to a village near Drakewood and see villagers burying bodies, about a dozen or so.  We help out and get some information from them at the same time.  It seems the bodies were found this morning in a cart on the edge of the village, already dead.  The cart was pushed there during the night, and by the tracks, it seemed to have been done so by a bear.  Around the village we see odd bipedal tracks that appear to turn into quadruped tracks, both types from some unknown being.

After the bodies are buried, the villagers are gathering in the local inn, and we join in the discussions about the deaths and possible circumstances.  We learn that the local baron's symbol is a bear, which might lead to a connection.

Suddenly, a loud grunt of pain from a villager captures everyone's attention, and all eyes fall on him. Before our eyes, he turns into something else and starts attacking anyone around him.  We snap into action as the room clears of villagers.  After the thing is dispatched, the doors open, and the corpses that we buried earlier are walking in and attacking.  I lose my cool, and will forever remember this moment, often mumbling under my breath about rising and fighting dead.  We're fighting people that should be dead; a green substance is coming out instead of blood. Suddenly vines break the windows, pick up a villager and bash them against the wall and floor.  The corpses keep attacking us and the other villagers.  We manage to take out the walking corpses and the vines, with few losses to us or the villagers.  We burn the dead and the attacking vines to make sure they stay dead.  Snowfoot checks the body of the turned villager and notes his blood is the same green as the undead; we add him to the pyre.  The rest of the night is quiet and uneventful.

The following morning, we follow the tracks left by the cart and bipedal bear. We feel like we're being watched by the trees themselves.  The tracks lead us to a logging camp with locked gates.  A full search of the perimeter shows a large hole in the back of the camp's barricade.  We can tell that the camp was the scene of a large battle, but there aren't any bodies.  As we're searching the camp, a group of loggers approach.  We tell them what we think has happened and ask them if they know anything.  The leader steps up and introduces himself as Arlfric.  He is the leader of a different logging camp, and invites us to his camp which is only an hour away.  We ask the loggers about what they have seen and heard, and we are told many stories.  Stories of the bear make it sound like it is scouting.  Other stories talk of an elf in the forest causing all these problems.

We stay and set up watches with the camp loggers.  It's a short wait until the forest sends its minions at us again, hey attack by busting through the back wall to the camp  More plant/humanoid monsters are coming at us, probably loggers from the other camp, and converted like the man in the Inn.  Joining them are some plants that shoot dangerous spores.  Our efforts focus on these creatures, keeping them at bay when in through the front gate crashes the bear, charging in.  Runolf, Polaris and Snowfoot all turn focus on the bear, with Snowfoot's sling bullet taking the bear in the eye, killing it one shot!  The bear bleeds green, just like everything else that has been attacking us recently.

After the battle, Alfric bestows Snowfoot with a warrior's gift of a glove that is a bear paw with claws, that is useable as a weapon.  We return to our beds, but before long, scratching at the windows awakens me, and I wake the others in my cabin.  A small creature that looks like it's made from woven sticks is at the window, scratching, knocking and peering in.  Snowfoot is the only one of us who can understand what it is saying, and he tells us that we need to follow it into the woods.  It stops a few times to snack on bugs and offers its treats to us as well, which most of us decline.  We reach an ancient part of the forest, where it is obvious that we need to leave an offering of food, so we do.  We then meet with a creature of the Fey; what it is exactly, we're not sure.  She says she can't help us directly, but can answer our questions.

We ask what the green ichor blood is in the creatures that are coming back to life, and what it means.  She merely answers that an ancient war is resurging; the plants are starting a revolt and an Elf Druid is behind it.  His name is Melasion.  He wants the plants to rule the world, not the animals.  His plant minions are starting here in the Drakewood, but will soon venture further abroad, spreading the disease out into the rest of the world.  She tells us the wood wight that led us here, is now commanded to lead us to Melasion.

We travel through the forest, twisting and turning for three days and nights.  On the second night, the crew on watch are pelted with pine cones, but whatever threw them ran off when investigated.   Except for that interaction, the forest is silent, completely devoid of all sounds of life.

On the morning of the 4th day, we prepare for the confrontation with the Elven Druid.  Boosting spells are cast, and weapons are sharpened.  We approach a clearing, and inside a circle of stones stands an altar. The Elf Melasion welcomes us and bids us a good death.  His minions start closing in on us, including a converted Troll.  Meliasion casts a spell of protection; stout sticks swirl around him threatening damage to any who approach.  He focuses his magical attacks on me, while the rest of my group fan out, taking out the minions and the Troll.  Melasion and I trade magic assaults.  Finally, Melasion is surrounded and he falls quickly to the barrage of attacks.  We search his body and the area for anything that was giving him extra power.  He has a minor artifact on him; the area is a strong Earth elemental core, something I need to report to the Convocation for Earth Elementalists.  The artifact is put in Polaris' hands to take to the Reliquary.  After a short rest, we start our way back to Hellfrost Keep to report our findings. We spread our tale through the logging camps and villages along the way.