April 7, 2018
We are in view of White Throne, and we head down towards the lake. The pervasive smell of fish is everywhere. It’s almost as if you can smell the built-up decay of the past 100 years. We see a few people wandering around, and they quickly move off another direction after seeing us.
Nadya does not know where her uncle actually lives in this shitty town. So now it’s up to us to try to find him. We are able to flag down a villager after several avoided us. He claims the uncle (Ringeirr Malenkov) is in jail. Drat. This couldn’t be easy, could it?
Before he runs off, he points at a cluster of people down the street, and says “there are the ones you want to talk to” and then he disappears. There is someone one the ground, and we approach the group. When we get closer, we can hear them talking about collecting a tax from the person on the ground.
The guards tell us to mind our own business and piss off. Clanky tries to talk to the guards, and after a few of her less than friendly comments, they decide to attack us instead. Big mistake. Goaty pants kills one guard in a single attack, and I kill another in in a single attack. I shout “You don’t have to all die! You can yield now.” But all I see is the fear in their eyes, and the smell the fear in their pants. It doesn’t take very long for us to kill all but one of them. He can’t wait to tell us everything we want to know. He says the uncle is in the guardhouse, and that the leader is Marcian. We let him go after we believe he’s told us anything useful that he knows.
The “guardhouse” is no more impressive than any of the other run-down buildings in this sad old village. There are a shield and hook painted on the door, with the words “guard house” in crude lettering. I’m sure Snuggledoodles could have done a better job.
I go to the door, and as sweetly as I can, I say “Hello! We’re here to pay Malenkov’s taxes so he can go home!” I knock, and we wait for a moment. The sound of movement comes from the other side of the door, and the door opens. We see a very large head appear in the doorway. I try to sweet talk my way in, and he slams the door in my face. Clanky shoves by me, and says “Let me try.” She pounds on the door, and says that a crime has been committed and 6 of their men have been killed. The door opens again, and she barges through the doorway.
I move through the doorway, run up over Brienne’s shield and over the ogre’s back and land behind him. I swiftly stab him in the side and do massive damage, and pin his arm to his side. Should have just taken my gold and released the uncle. Now you will die. The fishy bastard slapped me in the face, and Brienne and I both stabbed him and killed him. I tried to push him through the wall behind him as he fell, but well it didn’t work.
There is another ogre in the room, a few more guards, and then another figure steps out of the door that appears human. Battle swings back and forth for a few moments, before we finally get the upper hand and defeat all of them. We look behind the door in the back of the structure, and find Nadya’s uncle bound and gagged. We cut him loose, and begin to loot the bodies. There is also a lockbox and a key.
After we finish up at the guard house, Uncle Ringy takes us back to his home. He cooks us a delicious seafood dinner, and has a warm fire going in the hearth. It’s been so long since I’ve had properly cooked seafood, fresh caught. It is even better than I thought it would be. After eating my fill, I curl up on a rug in front of the fire and go to sleep. The others are peppering Uncle with questions, but it doesn’t stop me from drifting right off to sleep.
The next morning when I awake, the rest are all staring at me. What? I’m tired! I needed my rest. They inform me of the plan, while I bathe and get dressed. And I’m going to need some hot breakfast before I go anywhere.
So it seems that we are going to use forged documents to pretend to be part of the Stilyagi, which are a group of nobles that are known for hiring other races as their companions or bodyguards. This would give us free reign in the city, and even be able to be fully armed without raising any questions. Then, when we get in the city, we’re going to meet a resistance group called The Heralds of Summer’s Return. Sounds like a great plan. What could go wrong?
We load up the cart and head down the road. It’s not very long, and we’re approaching the gate. I hear a minor commotion, and look over. Snicker has changed into a human. I mean, there’s been some weird shit with that dog. And I know the girl kept mumbling about the dog becoming human, but I was skeptical. And there he fucking is, in all of his glory. Then I hear Brienne yell, “see, I told you we needed to bring pants. Where are those pants?”
Someone reaches into the cart and pulls out a pair of tacky woolen pants and they try to get him to put them on. At first, he looks like he wants to say “No! I’m not wearing pants!” I don’t blame him. His whole life, he’s had nothing but his own skin and fur. Why would you feel the need now to wear clothes? Modesty and custom are over-rated. IF it wasn’t so fucking cold here, I wouldn’t want to be wearing any clothes either. And I have to say, he has quite a striking figure as a human. Lean and muscular. That one is going to catch some eyes in human form.
The walls of the city appear to be bones and skulls. It’s a bit creepy. As we approach the gate, it’s the horror of horrors! It’s a named NPC! With its own mini! Holy Shit! We’re in deep, deep trouble now. To make it worse, there was a fully printed map laid out for us, which also implies serious doom.
We approach the mini of the named NPC. I tell her “We’re traveling with Frozen Fury (Snugs), and this is his first time to White Throne and wants to go check out the Howlings”. Her name turns out to be “Greta”, which doesn’t sound nearly as menacing a “named NPC” would have implied. She asks to talk privately to Snug. Of course she does. The two of them go off a ways, and have a quick chat. They come back over to us, and she says we’re good to go through. When we get far enough away from her, we ask Snug what she wanted. He says “She wants to have tea with me later.” To which Kuori responds, “You mean she wants penis later.” Snug gets a big ole grin on his face, and we walk in awkward silence for a while down the street.
At a corner of the road, we see a group of blue winter goblins. A goblin is standing a catwalk above the street, and shouts at us “leave the fishcart, and get out of here!” He throws something down at us. It hits Snugs and also splashes to hit Katya and Uncle Ringy. Cranky no-Tanky yells something at them about “No, you kill us you’re going to be in trouble!” They shoot a bunch of arrows at us anyway. Several arrows hit Uncle. We charge the goblins, and then Snug goes back to his wolf form. The goblins realize they’re in deep doodoo and begin to run.
We give them one more hit each as they run away, and I chase down the leader. He looks surprised that I could outrun him, and I demand all of his gold. In goblin, of course, threatening to kill him and all of his friends if he doesn’t pay up. He hands me a few gold pieces, and if he was wearing pants, they would be brown right now. I give him one more swipe on the face to remember me by as he turns and runs as fast as he can away from us. That’s going to leave a nice scar on his already ugly face.
We travel for a little while longer, and we see a peculiar figure in the road ahead. It seems to be wearing some sort of mask hiding its face. Katya says “it’s a mirrorman”. Uncle tells us that they are spies for the queen, and that it can alert whoever it is connected to. We need to get it to ignore us, get it to not see us, or to kill it before it can send a message. Well, the thing is between us and the house we are going to. So it’s unlikely to not see us. And it’s right in our way, so there’s really no way to get around it. So we decide to kill it.
Archy flies down and touches the thing, and it collapses to the ground. Katya tells us that its connection has been broken, at least for a few moments. We need to kill it NOW! We rush in and begin hacking at it. No-Tanky strikes directly at the mirror on its face, and then Steve and I both hit it with very solid hits. The thing looks to be regenerating some of the damage, and also seems to ignore some of the damage. Katya finishes it with a fire bomb, and we are safe for the moment.
We finally make it to the house. A human comes outside and talks to Uncle. Then children come rushing out of the house and begin to grab armloads of the fish and carry them back inside. They look malnourished and sad. Why do they stay here if they’re not able to survive here? Surely there are better places for them to go than this winter-cursed city.
We head towards the forger. We come to a spot in the road where we see 2 humans in the road that look a little rough, as if they just got out of a bar fight. They start asking about slaves, and one of them asks if he can buy one of us. What the fuck is wrong with this city? Katya puts one of them asleep. His friend kicks him, and wakes him up right away. Then Katya puts the other one to sleep. Now we look at each other, trying to figure out what to do.
We try to talk to the guy, but he gets super confused about why slaves are talking to him. Snug tells him his name is “Doug” and then tackles him. This really upsets the guy, and he gets very agitated. The conversation turns awkward and we’re not getting anywhere. No-Tanky asks what way they live. He points randomly somewhere behind us. I say “hey, wasn’t that the house that the goblins were going to rob? They said something about ‘robbing the house of the drunk wolves’ as we passed them in the street.”
At that, the wolf picks up his stupid friend, and they stumble down the street away from us. Almost immediately we hear running coming from the direction we are headed. A human figure is running towards us, and slips and falls right in front of us. He is muttering something about his “master is upset” or some other bullshit that we don’t have time for. A wolf comes running towards us, and then turns into human form. He speaks to Snug, and explains this person is part of his household. They have some back and forth, and Snug offers to buy the slave for 1 gem. They agree on a price of 2 gems, so we use the drunk wolf’s gems to buy this slave.
I expected this stupid city to be better managed than this. I assumed with the witches running this place with an iron fist, and the Winter Guard running things, there wouldn’t be any of this bullshit while you’re just traveling the streets in broad daylight. Sure enough, as we get close to the forger’s house, we have yet another problem. Two ice trolls are in a heated conversation with two wolves half a block away. We don’t want to talk to any of them, so we hurry to the door.
The door is locked, and the guy doesn’t answer. The trolls are paying more attention to us than we need, so Steve goes up and picks the lock and we rush inside. A bald man comes into the main room, screaming about us breaking into his house. Uncle talks to him briefly, and calms him down and explains why we are here. He seems to relax, and explains it will be a couple of hours for him to do what we’re asking.
A fire is burning in the hearth, which means this is a perfect time for a nap. I curl up right in front of the fireplace, telling them not to wake me up unless we’re done or the house is on fire. Sometime later, someone shakes me and wakes me up from a delightful dream of cocktails on the beach, being served to me by toned men in small loin cloths. But at least I was able to get a nice nap. The bald dude has our papers, but says that we still need to keep a low profile.
Uncle Ringly tells us that we can now leave this area and go to the Floes, more of a residential area of town. As we move towards the main part of the city, the construction looks nicer and nicer. We approach a major intersection, and see 3 mirrormen in the street. They move to the middle of the street to block our passage. Great. Just fucking great.
We all hear a voice in our head. “Identification.” It puts a hand out. We hand them our papers. They look over the papers, look at us, then hand them back. “As a reminder, public dancing remains prohibited.” Well, got by the first test.
Snug turns back into a wolf. We move deeper into the city. We head to a small, communal bathhouse just east of the water palace. We meet a member of the resistance, Solvieg Ayrdahl. She is a cleric. Uncle tells us to tell her our stories. We’re not sure if we should trust her, so we reluctantly tell her the basics of our stories, without giving away too many details.
She does tell us that Baba Yaga’s hut is in the market square, and has taken over most of the area. There is a small army surrounding the forest around the hut. The forest is full of odd creatures, and guards that have gone into the forest have been lost. She has been in contact with the remaining Iron Guard who have stayed in hiding.
She also tells us that the only likely way to get into the forest would be to defeat a captain of the Winter Guard. Who happens to be a fucking white dragon. Great, now we get to go fight a dragon. That has set up a lair in a clock tower on the east side of the city. If we can defeat this captain, the Iron Guard who remain will help defeat the Winter Guard to pull forces away from the entrance to the forest.
We ask her about merchants and shops, and she tells us where we can buy and sell gear. She even offers to help remove Cranky’s special ring. I suggest we go back and sell it to those stupid drunk wolves.