Yggdrasil

To Asgard
The Norlandic Chosen are given a quest by their gods...

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The Norlandic Chosen returned home, victorious, in their quest to defeat the God of the Fire Giants, Surtur, and retrieve the fabled Crown of Thor. Hundreds of giants, of all kinds, lay dead by their hands. In addition, the heroes recovered untold riches from the evil giants and their monstrous allies.

They soon returned to Folksung village, to share their fortune with the tiny settlement, except for Kjorne, who chose to stay in Icewall and build a longship with the quarter-shares of treasure given to him by Teggark the Indomitable Half-orc and Fjori (Wurl), after the later unleashed calamity on the party by daring to draw from the notorious artifact known as the Dick Deck of Many Things.

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Many months followed, as the Norlandic Chosen spread their wealth, with the androgynous tiefling, Helson, comissioning a temple be built to their Aesir gods.

During the ceremony, time seemed to stop for the warriors, and each heard booming voices in their heads that bade them to climb the Bifrost Bridge into the realm of Asgard, on a mission of urgent import, the next day. True enough, the Rainbow Bridge did appear, just outside of Folksung, and the heroes made their climb.

Reaching the top of the Bifrost, nestled on a wispy, but substantial cloud, the party met the God of Guardians, Heimdall, outside of his lodge. The god bade them welcome and informed them of an urgent quest for which they’d been chosen.

A dwarf named Brokkir had recently been seen, followed by another, an invisible dwarf, heading toward Jotunheim, Land of the Giants, the Aesir’s eternal foes, for unknown and, Heimdall suspected, nefarious purposes. Suspecting something was amiss, Heimdall dispatched a Valkyrie to search the dwarf’s home caverns on Midgard, where she disovered the signs of urgent work. A weapon of tremendous power had been created! This weapon, judging by the remains of metal and lingering energies of the dweomers placed upon it, was of a strength to threaten the very Aesir of Asguard!

WIth Thor absent from Asguard on one of his usual giant-killing crusades, deep into Jotunheim and Odin, the All-Father also absent, wandering Midgard in disguise, the god Uller suggested that they summon the land’s most powerful warriors, the Norlandic Chosen, to get to the bottom of Brokkir’s deceptions.

All that was known, Heimdall explained to the heroes, was that Brokkir and his invisible companion were headed in the direction of the mountainous border region of Jotunheim. The Norlandic Chosen have taken up the pursuit of Brokkir and have reached deep into the mountain passes of the Smoke-Top region of Jotunheim, named for a massive volcano, rising above other immense peaks in the region.

The heroes have braved demons, slaad, a horde of giants and have yet to uncover the mystery of the dwarf-crafted weapon or the destination of the dwarf and his invisible companion, nor do they have any idea to what purpose the dwarf plans for this super weapon.

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The Ice Palace

Helson attempts to locate some Gauntlets of Ogrepower for Kjorne, but the spell fails and drive Helson insane. Magnus and Kjorne use this opportunity to mess with him as much as possible. After they have their fun, Guthrum uses his prayer beads to return Helson’s sanity.

Helson, sanity restored, places the rune from Stonebones on the next portal. The party steps through and is assailed by the freezing temperature on the other side. They argue loudly and head down the hallway only to find some frost giants waiting for them.

As the first frost giant falls, another appears from a door behind the group, but is dispatched just as easily. In the guards bunkroom, Fjori finds some enchanted marbles of slope detection, and Guthrum finds a ring of Opposed Expectations.

The next room they enter is the entrance hall, and the group stops to look outside. Helson considers levitating out to get a better view of the area but ultimately decides against it, the fear of being picked off by a dragon keeps him inside.

The Norlandic Chosen clear out the kitchens, purging the place of ogres and Grunhilde, the palace cook. Feeling tired, they barricade the hallway forward, and take a short rest in the kitchens. When they remove the barricades, a pack of frostwolves lunges through. Most are slain handily, and the rest chase after an illusionary piece of meat, allowing the party to pass.

Hurrying down the hallway, the party runs straight into an enormous cavern that is home to a 7 headed cryohydra! The hydra proves no match for the group’s steel and fire, and neither is the cavern, which begins collapsing on everyone inside! Backing out of the room till the collapse stops, Guthrum the perfectly skins the hydra and Helson uses Tenser’s Floating Disk to bring it back to the portal.

Rushing out the other side of the cavern, the Chosen find themselves in the throne room of Thrym, King of the Frost Giants!

But it is not Thrym they face at first. Harashk, Thrym’s general waits with some frost giants to wear the group down. Once the group is fully engaged with him, an army of orcs flanks the party from the side hallway. Just as he is about to fall, Harashk calls out to Thrym, who arrives shortly with some more frost giants. Thrym casts Ice storm, which does little to the party, and Helson begins monologueing. Thrym gets tired of the Tiefling’s lisping, and casts silence on the party.

After a long hard battle, the Chosen emerge victorious, but another enemy appears, chasing them from the palace – An aberrant cross between a dragon and a frost giant that is enraged by it’s imprisonment in the palace!

The Norlandic chosen flee back through the portal, which closes just in time, trapping the monstrosity in Niflheim… for now.

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Broken by Stone

Helson, Magnus, and Kjorne spend the night in the werewolf den. The fog outside is too dense to travel safely at night. In the morning they attempt to follow their trail back to the mountain.
-———-
Fjori and Guthrum finally shake Tegark from his hysteria, and make camp in the cave. In the morning they head into the forest to find their friends.
While tracking, they hear combat in the distance. They rush over and find their friends fighting a wolf that is larger than even the tallest giant they’ve seen. The wolf’s hide is scaled, and it’s tongue is a pair of snakes! Helson later identifies it as a Son of Fenrir.

The Chosen clashed with the great beast, and during the battle it managed to swallow Magnus. The group finally felled the foe and cut their giantslaying friend free from it’s acidic belly. Guthrum skinned the beast and claimed its hide, while Fjori claimed it’s teeth.
-———-
Upon returning to the mountain, the group decided to acsend the summit again. And again partway up they hear the words “Who Approaches?”. And this time it is Helson who replies, “We are the Norlandic Chosen and we are here to kill you!” And this time it is Helson that gets bludgeoned with boulders as a very similar fight breaks out on the mountain trail.

And again one Stone Giant blows a horn, but this time no more giants burst forth. The party enters the mountain at the summit to investigate, discovering the entire history of the stone giants beautifully carved in the walls, floor and ceiling of this giants’ sanctuary.
They do not, however, find any stone giants.

Exploring within, they find a dining hall, carving rooms and supply rooms, empty bunks and storage rooms. Then, at the end of a giant sized hallway, they find a human sized door. Kjorne uses Helson as a battering ram and shoves him through the door horns first. Helson sprawls through onto the floor of an enormous throneroom. Lifting his gaze, he sees 8 stone giants standing in a circle around him, staring at him. An enormous stone giant sits upon the purplish-black stone throne at the far end of the room.

“Why have you come to my sanctum, creatures of Midgard?” Booms the stone giant king.
“We’re here to kill you,” responds Kjorne, and everyone draws their weapons. Confident in his advantage, Stonebones casts Wall of Stone behind the party – forcing them to fight with no chance to flee.
After slaying 5 Stone giants, Kjorne, Guthrum, and Tegark are beaten senseless by the giants. Fjori bravely attacks the king, causing the Wall of Stone to dissipate; Helson immediately flees. Stonebones decides that this band of mortals may actually stand a chance against Surtur, and offers them their lives in exchange for leaving the stone giants alone to practice their artisanry.
Magnus, seeing no other option for survival accepts the offer. Fjori exchanges gifts with the giant king as an offering of good faith, and the party acquires a Hammer of Thunderbolts.

A short jaunt back down the mountain and through the portal, and the group finds themselves back in the Castle of the Winds. This time, the portal closes, but is not destroyed. Helson makes a tiny hut, and the group prepares for bed.
Helson waits up and once he notices that Kjorne has fallen asleep, he begins casting a spell…

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Chicken

Redacted

Kjorne wakes up with a start. “AUGH WHAT THE FUCK!?”

Redacted

“Helson are you fucking up my dreams with sorcery?”
“Why, What happened?”
NOTHING. SHUT UP.”
-———
The Norlandic Chosen activate the next portal in the castle. Stepping through, they find themselves in a carved cave. Outside of the cave is a familiar looking foggy pine forest.

Leaving the cave. and looking behind them, the party discovers a huge mountain. Nearby is an enormous stone henge with the words “Stonebones’ Summit” carved across the top in Giantish. A path begins at the henge and winds it’s way up the mountain.

Partway up the mountain, the party pulls to a halt as a rumbling voice from above booms out “Who Approaches?”

Kjorne responds “We are the Norlandic Chosen, and we’re here to kill you!”

2 boulders strike him as soon as the words leave his mouth.

After a short skirmish, the giants are defeated, but not before one lets out a warning on his war horn.

The party decides to rest out in the open on the mountain, and is interrupted by 8 more giants. Instead of retreating, they summon the valkyrie from Valhalla to aid them. Barely overcoming the giants, the Chosen decide to head back to the cave to rest.

While Helson works on summoning a shelter, a pack of werewolves dashes out of the forest, drawn by the scent of blood. With them is a horribly misshapen bipedal wolf that looks pregnant. It’s jaw hangs distended like a snake about to swallow prey.

It gazes at Tegark, and he feels the terror of mortality take over him. He flees into the cave and cowers in the corner. Kjorne and Magnus valiantly try to fend off the werewolves, but Kjorne slips in the mud; his maul braining him in the head, he falls unconcious. The Nightgarm – seeing it’s prey fall unconscious – sweeps in, swallowing Kjorne in a single gulp, and runs off into the woods!

Magnus and Helson refuse to abandon hope, and follow the werewolves to their cave. They slay the beasts in brutal fashion, and rescue their companion.

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Dining Hall Brawl

The sound of metal on metal rings as hammer strikes white-hot steel.

“Grom, why do we always have to work with these shitty tools for the hobgoblins? Can’t we just give them some of our surplus garbage from the fort?”

“Shut up and keep working, we’re almost done here anyways, then we can get back home where its nice and warm.”

Suddenly the door breaks open, and a demon stumbles through. “Ega naka awuna, ena eketa engicha!” It says. Then there’s a popping noise and Grom is laying on the floor of the throne room in Muspelheim.

“Why are you back Grom, are the preparations complete?”

“Milord, we were almost finished, but a demon came in and cast some spell on me. I can’t seem to move!”
-———-
Meanwhile Hojbruk dumps the hot coals on the intruders as they pour into the forge room. In less than 6 seconds, he breathes his last breath as he bleeds out; cursing his lord for giving him forge duty.
-———-
One minute later, Helson says “You will stay in Muspelheim forever! You’ll never return to this plane. We are protected by the gods, and they will not allow you to return here!”

In Muspelheim, Grom can move again. He stands up, and says “Milord, what is your command?”

“You will have forge duty for the next 30 years. I will send word to Surtur that there is someone meddling in his plans.”
-———-
Back in the castle, the Norlandic Chosen loot the freshly forged weapons in the armory. The barbarians convince the half-orc to open the chest, and he narrowly dodges a poison dart trap.

Continuing their investigation of the castle, they find a prayer hall with an alter similar to the one the prisoner was chained to. Around the room are groupings of glyphs, and as Helson makes a rubbing of one, a portal appears! Helson does some tests and determines the portal goes to Utgard.
“We need to dithroy thith portal, maybe we thould thmath it!” He exclaims.
“I don’t know if we should destroy it, I’ve got a bad feeling about this” Counters Kjorne.
“Why not? it’s where the gianth come from!”
“We should go there and kill them then!”

While the two are arguing, Tegark walks up and uses shatter to smash the runes, sending shrapnel flying across the room with a thunderclap. The portal remains unaffected. Kjorne prays at the shrine for direction and determines they must pass through the portal and defeat the giants.

But first the Chosen decide they need a bathroom break and piss down a hole in the floor into the caves below the castle.
-———-
On the other side of the portal, 2 hill giants lie sleeping. Snoring echoes throughout the room in this wooden structure.

The party makes short work of the sleeping giants, then moves up the spiral staircase in the southwest corner to kill the sleeping sentry there, and disable the alarm system of the fortress. Looking out the watchtower, they see that the grasslands the giants live in only extends a small ways in each direction, quickly merging into a dense pine forest with thick fog obscuring the ground.

Feeling a bit lost, they head back down the stairs, and decide to explore. Kjorne decides to kick in the huge doubledoors into the fortress, and stumbles into a dark hallway. Charging down the hall, the group emerges in the Giants’ dining hall during the middle of a feast! Magnus and Kjorne begin attacking anything that moves, while Helson launches fireballs at the chieftain. Tegark holds off the onslaught as long as he can. After a fierce battle, the Chief, Utgardhalok falls to Tegark’s blade, and the Chosen – being severely battered – decide to retreat back through the portal before reinforcements come.

As they step back through the portal, it shimmers and warps, then disappears with a pop, leaving a slab of stone with a rune on it behind.

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The New Old Enemy

Baba Yaga Intervened in the Norlandic Chosen’s rampant slaughtering of cultists, spiriting them away to her chicken legged hut. Clearly the imbalance of the elements was too trivial a matter for these brutes. Their destiny threads called them to a far greater fate.

Hel had come to her, asking for her to force the young tiefling into submission and remove the Fossegrim’s protection. Baba Yaga was no stranger to the pleas of mortals; but a god would have far more to offer her. She would do this ritual, and in return she would alter the very fabric of reality, setting things up to be more… amusing. Perhaps she would even be able to keep it secret for a time.
-————
“What the fuck? Again? Where the fuck are we now?”
“Theeth woodth look familiar. I think we’re near Folkthung!”
Brush and scraggly vegetation crunched underfoot as everyone explored the area.
“Guys, I think I found the road. And judging by the mountains… I’d say we’re near Icewall”
“Didn’t we have a boat?”
“I think we thould go home”
“Why the fuck would we want to do that?”
“Don’t you live in a cave Helson?”
“No, I live with Thyvoth!”
-————
Weeks later, in the town of Icewall, the Norlandic Chosen are approached by a man of regal bearing who introduces himself as Prince Arvi, son of King Lifthransir, of the Castle of the Winds. He is looking for a party to clean out his family’s castle and return a magic helm so he can end his family’s curse. The vikings are looking for plunder and adventure, and possibly a castle. A short negotiation and a long walk later, the party arrives at the Castle of the Winds.

The gate is rotted off the hinges, dust everywhere and a disturbing lack of tracks.
“Are we even sure we’re at the right castle?”
“Ya, he said this is the one.”
Upon exploring a bit more, and almost dying horribly to a combination of bad aim and an emaciated carrion crawler, the group found an enchanted throne… that tells them they need to defeat a god of fire, steal a stolen treasure, and prevent Ragnarok!

After trying to kill the throne unsuccessfully, everyone decided to go downstairs and drink booze with the were-rats. They aren’t too happy about that since they did all the brewing, but they weren’t given a choice in the matter.

Slowed only momentarily in their murderspree by the orc guards, the Chosen rush to the next party they can hear. Only 1 of the 5 partygoers is excited to see the guestlist double. After dispatching all the ogres and releasing the prisoner, Helson decides to offer a massage and happy ending to the prisoner. Horribly disturbed by this, he decides instead to risk bleeding to death as he heads back to town as quickly as possible.

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Entering the Temple of Eternal Flame

Our heroes have delved beneath the crumbling facade of the Scarlet Moon Hall to discover yet another branch of the foul elementalists temple, spreading corruption through the ancient halls of the dwarves of Besilmer.

After mercilessly cutting down a barricaded squadron of hobgoblins, and avoiding a bugbear ambush, they came to a domed chamber supported by obsidian columns. Spidery cracks, pulsing with fire, were visible the length of the columns. From behind these columns stepped two spear-wielding warriors. What could be seen of their faces were pockmarked with scars. Brass-rimmed goggles hid their eyes. In the center of their armor pulsed a living heart of flame.

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The warriors attacked, calling upon Imix to protect them. All at once, the columns flared to life, becoming flowing columns of lava and emitting a scorching heat that hindered the barbarians’ assault. The razerblasts attacked with a fury worthy of their chosen element, striking out even in death with an explosion of shrapnel. Though a few of the barbarians fell, none were killed, and they were able to regain enough of their strength to continue their quest.

Backtracking, they discovered a secret door at the end of a narrow passage. This led to the room of a suspicious genasi named Bastion Thermandar, who was quickly charmed by Kodrir. Bastion revealed the location of Vanifer, the leader of the Eternal Flame, as well as directions to the elemental node where she has retreated. In addition, he offered a considerable reward if the barbarians were to dispose of Vanifer and return her dagger, Tinderstrike, to him.

Agreeing to at least part of the deal, the party then navigated through the ancient caverns along the path outlined by Bastion.

The air became thick with smoke and steam, and oppressively hot as they approached the pulsing heart of the temple. Channels of lava flowed from holes in the wall into bronze troughs. Through the shimmering air, they could see a charcoal-skinned creature clad in silk and adorned with brass and gold jewelry. Gold rings pierced through the flesh around its eyes glitter and wave as it barks orders to a Salamander and three Azers toiling at the forges.

Assisting the Efreeti is a warrior whose armor has been fused to his flesh, and a pulsing heart of fire can be seen housed in his chestplate. Along with him are a handful of footsoldiers, whose flame-scarred features can be seen even at this distance.
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In the Hall of the Moon
Norns Prophesy

Thence come the maidens | mighty in wisdom,
Three from the dwelling | down ’neath the tree;
Urth is one named, | Verthandi the next,—
On the wood they scored,— | and Skuld the third.
Laws they made there, and life allotted
To the sons of men, and set their fates

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Looking up at the Scarlet Moon Hall, Helson recited a famous verse from the portents of the Norns:

Mighty they were:
They laid life’s threads,
While the towers
Broke in Bralund;
Forth they stretched
The golden cords,
Fixed them midmost
In the hall of the moon.

He had little doubt this verse was meant for them. Ah the Skalds would sing songs about the Norlandic Chosen – who stopped the fiery cultists “in the Hall of the Moon.” He heard the faint popping noise as the fire elemental was sent back to Muspellsheim. He added with dramatic effect the rainbow bridge glowing as the forces of the Aesir consumed the fire. He noted with delight how the druid were impressed – until they were unfortunately dispatched by the appearance of the band of werewolves.

Helson never seemed to get any respect, even when he stopped the ritual and sent the primordial back to his home plane. What a fight! He thought it would never end. It was exhausting keeping the fire at bay. He looked out on the courtyard of the hall and saw all of the druids had left. They had even stolen his cart again… I guess this was his fate in the world to be incessantly heckled, given no respect or credit for anything. He felt himself falling into a mood.

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Dáinn, Dvalinn, Duneyrr and Duraþrór

Helson watched the strange druid Kodrir intently, noting his unkempt garb which clashed with a priceless gold crown embedded with rubies and other precious gems that he never seemed to take off. He would typically transform into a giant stag and the crown would meld into his golden antlers. Helson imagined him to be one of the four harts that ate from the branches of Yggdrasil – Dáinn, Dvalinn, Duneyrr or Duraþrór, or perhaps them all…
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Helson’s eyes went white as they rolled back into his head – Another vision – as Helson saw Kodrir change into each of the stags – representing the different seasons, the four elements and phases of the moon. Yggdrasil was there in the background changing with the seasons and being besieged by the four elements. Yet the Stags were there to protect her. Their golden antlers smashed apart the giants from Muspellsheim, Niflheim, Gunnungagap and Jotunheim. As Yggdrasil shivered and groaned the giants slipped free from their respective realms. Yet the stags continued to drive them back.

As Helson gained consciousness again he saw the unsavory druid picking at his filthy beard and biting at his blackened fingernails. Helson smiled to himself – yes looks can be deceiving – this one is destined to save us all.
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Scarlet Moon Hall

The Nordlandic Chosen travelled down the Dessarin River. Exhausted, worn, hungry, wet and miserable, the party lost their way. They pulled their barge up upon the river bank to find a dry spot to wait out the storm. Wandering around in the blinding rain, they became hopelessly turned around. Giving up on finding a dry place to rest they attempted to go back to the boat – but tried as they might they couldn’t find where they had left it. The mud and rain grabbed at their feet and blinded their eyes and without any respite they spent the night mucking about uselessly. When the dim light of the sun broke through the glare the next morning they found their missing boat and continued their way. Coming to Womford they found the town more beautiful than ever. Perhaps it was due to their exhausted state.

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Tying up their boat on the dock they avoided the other grain merchants who used the river to ship the local supply of grain from the grist mill. Noting a high level of activity, there were people sleeping in the streets and when they went into the Whimsy Inn, they found it was inundated with refugees from the surrounding villages and town. They heard of the incredible weather – sinkholes appearing, whirlwinds, fires, etc. The innskeeper – who was quite odd… told them there weren’t any rooms available until they undid their satchels and almost instantly rooms were made open to them. Although cries from the Cuckold Inn, next door, threatened to keep them awake, their exhaustion got the best of them and they slept heartily. The next morning brought destruction and despair upon the little village. A group of fiery cultists brought a large iron bound chest with the symbol of the water cult on it into the town square and began their unholy ritual. The lackeys called out to INXS Ian’s note: Really? The 80s band? It was actually Imix, but this is too good not to leave and their leader became engulfed in reeving Ian’s note: The fuck? What is a reeving flame? Like, was it paralyzed or something? flames. An orb of demonic fire from Muspelheim emerged from the box and rose into the sky. The intensity of the heat ignited dry grain bags and any flammable objects and the people fled the scene in droves. The heroes emerged from their cozy Inn blinking at the brightness and sought to put an end to this flaming ensemble.

When the last of the cultist gasped their last breath, it still did not stop the flaming orb in the sky. Try as they might nothing they did could extinguish this portal to the realm of fire. They left the druid to help keep the roofs wet with rain, but even this evaporated instantly and the heroes thought if they could find this fire cultist’s lair – perhaps then they could stop the fires spreading across the Dessairin Valley. Crossing the bridge they came to the Bargewright Inn. Gora their favorite whore was gone and the slapdash wall repairs showed openings where Hell Hounds had attacked the Inn. Still tired from their journey on the river and the ensuing battles, they got another room while Helson attempted to procure a cart for their supplies. They asked about the Fire cult and where they might be hiding and the long eared Fjori overheard a barback Ian’s note: What the hell is a barback? taking notes on the group. Using an invisible hand, he plucked the note the man made from his pocket unnoticed. Reading it Fjori found he had uncovered a cult spy. When the others heard of this, they took him in the back room and found out the cult’s whereabouts – in a haunted keep in the Sumber Hills – called the Scarlet Moon Hall. – it’s a place where the “worst monsters are” therefore no one ever goes near it… how convenient. Then they cut the man’s innards out and left the Inn on the Cairn Road. Unfortunately Helson’s cart was stolen, the strange thing was the thief had left all of their supplies in neat little faggots Ian’s note: another Keeper on the road…

Bitching and complaining the entire way made it difficult to endure the trip to Red Lark (sp). Attempting to find whores, the group eventually settled for handjobs from the fat old innkeeper of the Swinging Sword. Helson passed and instead got a wonderful massage from his invisible servant (who’s a girl) in the luxurious honeymoon suite. Helson and Fjori changed their appearances to look like young boys romped about town, frollicing gayly with hoops they got at the wheel wright next door. They went to see Loren – who’s a guy and got crumble cakes and other assorted sweets for the group’s breakfast. Washing down the remains of the dry but filling cake the aloof serving wench left the room (apparently not a fan of the barbarians charms) and the room filled with fire and brimstone – smoke demons from Helheim and living elemental fire attempted to put an end to the chosen. However, in dousing the fire, Fjori read from a powerful magic scroll and summoned a tidal wave that tore through the elements and laid waste to the rest of the wooden building. Deciding that this town must be full of cultist sympathizers, they decided to check out the temple that was uncovered in town…. Dah da da, da da – they found some shit the town elders were being made fools of – they thought that ancient dwarven stones where communicating to them the will of the gods- but it was only being controlled by the cultists who figured out their secret and used them to manipulate the elders and in turn the town. Thinking that this town was a bunch of fuckheads they left.
Heading deep into the Sumber hills they finally came to the Scarlet Moon Hall.

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Visible through the haze that covers the hill is a square tower ringed by ruined walls. In front of the tower burns a bonfire shaped like a fiery giant. Scattered on the slope below the tower are seven bonfires with tents clustered around them. Humanoid figures huddle near these closer fires. A trail leads up to these hillside encampments.

Beyond the ruins of the walls ringing the keep’s central tower is a courtyard cluttered with tents. A humanoid-shaped wicker giant, two stories tall, burns brightly here.

The tower is under repair, with wooden scaffolding some 30 feet high stretching across the east and west sides. Lanterns hang from struts and poles attached to the wood workers. Rubble chokes a wide doorway, likely once the main entrance, on the tower’s south side.
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