DM: Calmseeker

Mal / Glanfath / Goliath Barbarian
Tempy / Faenoa / Gnome Wizard Fighter
Drewid / Cober / Yuan-Ti Cleric Wizard
Fearless / Tenfoil’at / Hobgoblin Wizard Warlock
Tootired / Bardy / Half-elf Cleric Bard
Konopa / Eight / Elf Wizard Monk

A cold and dreary morning

The morning started out seemingly like most. It was getting far colder by the day, though, and the many colored leaves that were being raked from the streets had made good on their promise as winter is upon us. It has snowed once or twice, but winter has yet to bear it’s fangs this year. I had been spending the morning at the bitter dwarf, listening to Faenoa recount her stories of gruesome battles and delightful treats. An odd pairing of topics I am aware, but for her, they are as inseparable as the moon and stars.

An individual entered halfway through something about a cinnamon muffin and an Ogre, offering a quest to those interested to head out into the silent forest and investigate some strange goings on. Faenoa jumped at the chance and forgot her story all together. I was more than happy to find that some close acquaintances had also agreed. Tenfoil’at, a skilled wizard who is near surgically precise with a blade as well. There was Glanfath, a beast of a goliath who’s dominating strength well hides his quicksilver agility. Bardy was also along, an older man with tale for every day and a trick for every tale. Cober even decided to come. A mysterious Yuan-ti very skilled in bending the weave. He brought his team of undead warriors as well, which I am ever greatful to have. Lastly, and least of which of course, myself.  A young Elf wanting to experience all he can.

As quick as Jack Frost we were off

As we left the Inn, our little adventure started off involving Faenoa and her crazy desire for sweets. about 12 miles in, she had gotten onto the topic of cookies and her complete willingness to kill Nahil for them. Tenfoil’at, ever the observant one, took note of this and seemed to agree to acquire cookies at some point if only to offer them to Faenoa in exchange for some light wet work. Faenoa, with seeming pure glee, gladly stated that this would be a more than suitable trade. She had only two stipulations; one being the quality and the other the quantity of the cookies involved. Interestingly she made no comments of limitation on how deadly an enemy she would take on for said sweets.

Other than the conversation, we were able to make quite some distance due entirely in thanks to Glanfaths unrivaled ability to lead us down the most advantageous routes toward our destination. His pace was so extraordinary that I even had to break concentration on my writing a couple times to make sure I was keeping up. Nothing eventful happened along the way to my surprise, except for spotting a herd of wild horses playing across the plains on the brisk winter day. We made the forest before dark, opting to set up camp for the night within it so as to be out of the open ground and under the protection of the trees.

Over watches in the night, Faenoa happened to catch sight of 4 halflings, one of which was named Mr. Branderbuck. They seemed lost and were looking for directions. Faenoa happily offered to let them camp by us for the night so as to get their bearings in the morning to which they happily accepted. Thanks to Cober our party had the warm environment of a magical hut for the night and the ever watchful gaze of the Os’s to help keep us safe. On my own watch, I found a headstone some distance from camp. It was incredibly fresh, most likely within the past day or two by how the soil was still fresh and damp. The stone that marked it was decorated with a lion and flanked by two rose bushes. I am not one for grave theft and decided to leave it alone upon finding nothing malicious about it. For record, the inscription was Elvish with only “Here Lies Teren” on it, no house name or details to be seen. Slightly afterward, a stray lion caught the scent of the fresh grave and decided to have a meal of it’s occupant. Glanfath conversed with the Lion in his own bestial way about it’s territory but otherwise the lion was allowed to eat and leave in peace.

The bite of cold steel as life's light fades in a dark ordeal

Before the end of the night, though, we had less than ideal company. A minotaur, a metal bull, a displacer beast, and an Orc shaman showed up. Naturally I was first out of the tiny hut. Not one to use my brawn before my brain, I took a defensive stance and asked for their intentions having encroached deadly close to our new halfling friends. To my dismay, they responded as I had hoped they wouldn’t. Immediately their actions were of an aggressive nature, seemingly intending to fell me and make a snack of my tiny friends. In response, my party decided they should fall.

I quickly closed ground on the Orc and Minotaur shaman, stunning them both while dodging out of the way of the Displacer beasts nasty appendages. Cober seeing that advantage is in our grasp, banished the metal bull and the Displacer beast in perfect coordination as if we had planned it. At his command, the three large skeletons loosed bolts the size of branches into the Orc. I was too fast for him and was able to get a crippling blow in before the Orc could do what it wanted. The real sight to see was the little gnomish flurry of cold steel, however. Her size is quite misleading to be sure. She was upon him and near 6 cuts deep into his thigh and shoulder before I could even manage a grin at her battle cry of “for the cookies”. The Orc was far from a coward, however, and fought through the haze of blade and fist to rip out Os’s bolts. It tried as it might to stand it’s ground, roaring in pain at the little gnomish flash of steel. It’s only real attempt at anything more than defense was to release a desparate arcane blast of immense energy.

I’m sure the Orc was thinking it would at least take those nearest down with it. In my astonishment, as my sense of weave began to go wild with the knowledge of the foreboding surge, Tenfoil’at pulled off her helm and pointed it toward the Orc. A point of empty void manifested from the tip as Tenfoil’at muttered something I couldn’t understand. Immediately the arcane surge was redirected, instead of flaring out, it was drawn into the tip of Tenfoil’s hat where it dissipated into nothing. The Orc raged with fury at it’s inability to match it’s enemy, life fading as my gnome companion cried out for murder and sweets. After seeing that Faenoa had become death’s scythe, I had decided to focus my own attention on the Minotaur.

With practiced fluidity I was able to keep it from action throughout the combat. Ensuring my focus was on the Minotaur’s paltry inner strength as his physic showed he undoubtedly would best me physically. Completely unable to react or act in way except to roar in hatred knowing that death was all but inevitable, his light, too, faded that night. Bardy and Cober stood by launching guiding bolts into both shaman, helping direct the wild onslaught of steel from Faenoa as well as the arcane prowess of Tenfoil’at who was the complete opposite of Faenoa’s lightning fast flurry of steel yet equally as effective as every methodical cut was arcanely enhanced to be both razor sharp and more than twice as deadly as a normal blow.

The displacer beast and Gorgon were allowed to come back from their banishment only to fall in similar fashion. I kept the displacer beast from being able to move as Tenfoil’at surgically dismembered it. The Gorgon faced a different horror. Faenoa had both blades out and adrenaline urging her onward as the Gorgon’s eyes and ankles felt her blades. . Glanfath was in a blinding rage himself, bringing his glaive down with less intent to cut than to literally break the Gorgon in half through sheer force. Near the end the Gorgon beast became frightened and tried to flee. The Barbarian must have taken this as a slight as I watched him slam his weight into it with such force that the goliath actually made the steel beast buckle. Cober then decided to end the engagement with a surge of arcane energy that manifested into a brilliant bolt of radiance that burned through it’s head, leaving it seared and smoking on the ground.

Almost immediately Faenoa got a wild look in her eyes and began cutting apart the monstrosities, looking to find what they were made of. I’m sure she was hoping it was something sweet as she came away with immense disappointment in her eyes. We decided to keep some of the more important looking bits as Voromir is researching these types of things.

A wise man thinks much, sees much, and speaks little

After such a heated battle, the halflings were glad to have camped so close, and bid us thanks for keeping them safe. The rest of the night went by swiftly and in the morning the halflings went on their way. Our party headed further into the forest, looking for Voromir and found him trying to put out a fire. Cober, upon coming to the conclusion that this was not on purpose, manipulated the weave and summoned water and ice to nullify the fire before it could become too much to handle. In thanks, Voromir told us of a being called Krumpus, a thing that travels around causing general mischief. He also told us about his misfortunate nephew, Berien, who he thought was apprehended by Krumpus and most likely needed to be rescued. He then said he needed to head out but if we happened upon Krampus, be sure to acquire it’s horn as well as search for his nephew. We traveled with his advice in mind and upon his direction further into the forest. With Glanfath leading the way, we again made surprising time on our search and were only three hours into it when we happened upon a freshly disturbed dais with a puzzle of sorts inscribed upon it.

Glanfath’s eyes glazed over and he went quiet after reading the riddle as expected. The rest of the party went into a varied discussion on what was what with it and how best to solve it as well as what the potential repercussions were if we failed. Cober tested it for magic and found it did in fact have a strong defensive magic about it to ward off any too weak to handle what it guarded. Luckily for us, Cober has a formidable knowledge of the weave and was easily able to defend himself from the magic. After some long discussion and a few disputes, Glanfath suddenly became alive again and casually mentioned the intricacies of every part and answered each in kind, unlocking the dais and allowing us passage. Completely speechless, I simply took notes and allowed him to lead the way as he finished the puzzle in a manner befitting a scholar of the deepest mysteries solving a child’s cube puzzle.

Above the below and below the upper

Under the dais we found a well hewn cave with many chambers. Bardy had decided to cast a spell that rendered me invisible. I decided to make the most of this and scout about while others trekked and discussed the intellect of Glanfath and the deadly skill of Faenoa. Light may have been an issue for some but one of Faenoa’s blades is magically enchanted with the light of the moon so there was no need anything more during our search. We happened upon a large cavern with a massive stalagmite in it’s center. I decided to scout around to the north of it as the rest of the party waited at it’s entrance, and that is when the being known as Krumpus decided to make it’s appearance. Speaking out to all of us in a voice that echoed through the cavern it asked if we were naughty or nice. To this, Faenoa screamed out in an equally loud voice a simple “naughty, bitch”. I thought this a little too simple of an answer but it most surely got the point across. In a language I could not comprehend, Krumpus replied to Faenoa’s outburst.

Krumpus then reached into some sort of sack and pulled out burning coal, throwing it straight at me. In a word, rude. I deflected most of it, only getting slightly singed and realizing that my advantage of invisibility was not going to work here. Bardy took the opportunity to sing a little song and bless the party as Krumpus teleported into the face of Tenfoil’at. A grouping of other things came out from hiding to join the party and we had ourselves a very festive time. Faenoa immediately went at some sort of shambling thing and attempted to burn it with a blast of fire. The mound didn’t seem to be all that affected at all, but some odd creature carrying a drum behind the mound was instantly incinerated, seemingly by pure chance. Tenfoil’at had decided to square off against the being Krumpus and was matching it blow for blow and dodge for dodge until the thing opened it’s sack and abducted her. It is at this time that you should know, Tenfoil’at, more than any of us, was prepared for this scenario.

Glanfath went into a rage, seemingly a blind one at times, slaming his glaive into Krampus, the Stalagmites, the walls, and anything else that was in front of him. Krumpus, after abducting Tenfoil, tried to engage him, but was not prepared for his attacks to have pitiable effect against the angry goliath. Cober was ever the strategist, banishing a shaman and positioning his skeletal minions in a manner to block access to key areas while simultaneously launching a myriad of magical attacks. Soon after abduction, Tenfoil enacted her counter abduction plan and made her escape.

Once free, she turned on Krumpus seemingly more focused than ever. With Glanfaths relentless blows distracting Krumpus from being able to do much else, Tenfoil began cutting him to pieces. I was sure that she would be the end of the thing but out of nowhere Bardy finished what I thought was a song or tale and a ball of light as strong as a fireball erupted into Krumpus, completely obliterating him and sending his dismembered self to all corners of the cave.

Faenoa was having a hard time with the shambling thing so I decided to aid her as best I could. I believe she even got sucked into at one point but it was hard to tell as the mound was easily four times her size and 1/8th as fearsome. Completely bloodied and seemingly at deaths door, Faenoa managed to bring the thing down and we all joined in taking down the shaman as Cober released it from it’s magical prison.

Faenoa didn’t skip a beat ripping into the various things looking for some sort of treasure to bring back. Throwing caution to the wind and barely hearing Bardy and Cober asking her to sit down for a moment so they could see to the worst of her injuries. I managed to find Berien and thankfully we made it back out alive all said and done. We learned from him that Krumpus is a being that isn’t quite demon and isn’t quite celestial but some sort of in between thing born of both worlds.

All good things
We were able to make it back to Ruined Oak thanks to Glanfaths incredible abilities and reunited Voromir with his nephew. He gave his thanks and we offered him an additional gift of the parts we gathered from the displacer beast and other things in an attempt to convince him to stick around and maybe act as our healer for a time. After some solid persuasive work, he obliged and I offered for him to come up to Port Mirandia to work there. All things done, I believe we were able to do slightly more than we set out to, and Faenoa is happily at the inn with cookies in hand.