Reign of Winter

Summary 05: Fall of the Pale Tower

Chapter One: The Snows of Summer


SESSION THEME

Three days pass before the Horde’s wounds fully close.  MIYUKI put her healing powers to work but wreathed in pain on two separate occasions, a sacrifice she’s learned to deal with.  Food was scarce, but enough went around.  The cold was fierce, but their fire endured.  The Pale Tower was still an eye shot away and it remained dormant.  With six inches of new powder on the ground, the Horde marched towards the great spire to engage in round two.  As it did before, the tower sent forth a Raven Swarm to confirm the threat on the horizon.  As the Swarm returned, a figure could be seen within the Aerie high above, gazing upon the tower’s adversaries.  Upon arrival, the Horde noticed that the breach within the Wall of Ice was still present, as were the fallen, buried under the fresh snow.  With ropes, hooks and chiseled handholds, the Horde made it to the northern battlement with relative ease.  The door at the end of the walkway would be the point of entry and the Horde wasted little time.

Suddenly, a woman fell from the sky and landed safely on the raised dais where the Dragon once stood.  Light as a feather, the Cleric engulfed the entire courtyard in Obscuring Mist causing confusion and delay.  The Horde battled their way through the fog and down the chute onto difficult terrain.  By the time OTAK intercepted the woman, JAIRESS had already summoned her Ravens.  Thousands of birds ravaged the battlefield, using their scent to pinpoint their pray.  Clearly at a disadvantage, the Horde retreated to the door as they endured the flock.  By the time they reached the portal, both OTAK and SHANG-TSUNG had lost the use of their eyes.  All took swipes at the door when given the opportunity and it shattered after several attempts.  Beyond the door was…, a wall of ice, an Ice Spear placed by RADOSEK.  The hex allowed the Ravens to partake in second breakfast.  Once within a stairwell leading down, free of smog, UPANIXSwarmbane Clasp made short work of the Swarm that perused.

While KRUSH stood guard, MIYUKI began administering first aid and closed most wounds with no ill effect.  And with the aid of a healer’s kit, the Hunter also managed to open eyes clawed shut.  Now in fair condition and all senses restored, the Horde pressed forward without their snowshoes.  The ice door down below exploded with one swift greatsword strike revealing yet another Ice Spear.   People within the next room shouted out in Skald and the Samurai translated.  The Pale Tower was preparing to make their final stand.

UPANIX was the first to burst though the ice.  When the sleet cloud settled, four of six crossbow bolts thudded into the Half-Giant, one piercing a kidney fired by The Pale Tower cook.  Using the room’s central pool and supporting pillars to their advantage, the enemy had one final chance to break the Horde.  A second volley was launched and UPANIX was pin cushioned yet again, but the specimen did not fall.  Unable to capitalize quickly, the Horde’s foes fell within seconds.  The Forlarren MIERUL, an old acquaintance, was present in the room and played inspiring music whilst unleashing her Fey magiks.  VODY, the pool’s guardian, was also summoned to defend, but he and the Bard failed to turn the tide.  After gathering anything of use, the Horde began a thorough search.

Two doors led to the barrack chamber whilst the main and southern entrances were blocked by Ice Spears.  Four grand mirrors hanged on the walls and all were shattered out of spite.  In sergeant YANA’s possession was a cube of pure ice, one similar to the one captain HESTRIG had on her person.  Both emitted magic but the Ochki Identified nothing but a pair of pass codes within each.

HESTRIG’s cube had already unlocked the following:
Down a level, to the halls, leave this cage without walls.
Take wing, soar and fly, let me view the winter sky.


YANA’s cube, meanwhile, revealed the following:
A gathering within the hall, take one, take us all.
Spiral downward to the ground, every ounce and every pound.


With no exits leading up or down, SHANG-TSUNG, with the cubes in hand, began reciting the paraphrases.  Nothing happened.  Raised two inches off the ground, in two alcoves, one to the north and one to the south, were platform made of solid ice and the Samurai stepped on one.  Before getting a chance to speak, the elder suddenly froze and became unresponsive.  Ice began building up on his body, two inches thick all around.  Three seconds passed and the frozen SHANG-TSUNG shattered into a thousand pieces, the others, shocked.  OTAK refused to follow suit and doubled up his search  but found nothing.  The Horde opted to bully one of the survivors for answers.  When a potion failed to awaken one of the Guards, MIYUKI attempted to lay a healing hand, but her power had been exhausted.  Frustrated, the Hunter prayed to ERASTIL asking for the gift of life.  Suddenly, the room erupted in a burst of positive energy, closing wounds to all those still alive.  Baffled, the Horde watched the guard’s eyes open.  Not wanting to feel pain and misery, the man answered the Horde’s questions without hesitation and hoped to return to his wife and three children in return.  MIYUKI pleaded for the man’s life but the others denied his request.  After putting the man down, one by one, the Horde stepped on the supposed Teleportation Pad and spoke the correct password.

Meanwhile, SHANG-TSUNG thawed and found himself in an empty dining hall of sorts and something smelled good.  The Spriggan cook was hard at work preparing a rack of Lamb in the nearby kitchen.  Not wanting a fine meal to go to waste, the Samurai helped himself to a snack.  OTAK was the second to arrive and was pleased to see his ally safe and sound.  Meats, bread and wine had been set upon the table for the Horde to devour.  After a final treat, saving the Spiteful Cookie for a special someone, the four immense mirrors within the room were brought down and the Horde resumed their exploration.

Floor to ceiling bookshelves lined the walls within the next room.  The only thing of interest within the library though, was an opened book on the table.  The manuscript held knowledge on the continent of Taldor.  Two more mirrors were found within the study hall and both were made ineffective.  Two bedrooms were visited next, the first belonging to the Forlarren MIERUL, the other, to Lady ARGENTEA.  The latter was quite startled when the Horde barged in unannounced but saw promise at the possibility of escaping her prison.  Her kidnapping story was accurate but the fact her door had been left unlocked and that she hadn’t recognized the Horde left them suspicious.  SHANG-TSUNG met that suspicion with force and the noblewoman responded in kind.  OTAK drew his falchion and sliced the wench in two.  The illusion faded soon after revealing a Doppelganger spy, putting an end to The Pale Tower’s plans to infiltrate the South.  Both bedrooms were stripped of all valuables and their mirrors vandalized.

Down the hall were two more Teleportation pads and both were ignored.  The Horde then found themselves within the tower’s conservatory, a garden of sorts.  In the corner, chained to the wall, was a filthy creature that resembled a small, wide-mouthed fat child made from leaves, vines, tree bark and dirt.  The Mandragora shrieked and began harassing UPANIX, but the Horde was quick to silence the aberration.  Captain HESTRIG’s chamber was found next and her treasures were placed within the Ryukzak.  With nowhere else to go, the floor was thoroughly searched and all mirrors destroyed.  Two Nymph sculptures animated and attacked when MIYUKI stepped on a red velvet carpet, but the Horde overpowered the frozen play things.  Meanwhile, the lack of blood was beginning to upset MAINSHANG-TSUNG approached the Transporter Pad near the carpet and shouted out all pass codes, but the thing wouldn’t function.  The other only needed to be stepped on and the Samurai’s frozen molecules reshaped elsewhere.

SHANG-TSUNG found himself within a crescent-shaped room reeking of bird droppings, with a great opening to the south admitting a brisk, cold wind.  A woman was cradling two dozen Ravens near the precipice, the very one that dropped in on Horde in the courtyard.  The Sylph JAIRESS immediately dropped her spear and surrendered to the Samurai.  Enraged at the loss of her Swarm, the blame was not directed to the Horde, but to those who have conscripted her into the service of the White Witches.  She wanted to move on, away from this place.  In good faith, JAIRESS surrendered the key leading to RADOSEK’s ritual chamber but had little knowledge on the Winter Portal’s mechanics.  When OTAK appeared in the Aerie, JAIRESS ordered her flock to withdraw and wished SHANG-TSUNG and his Horde safe travels.  Though her intensions were quite genuine, her exodus went against the Horde’s new philosophy.  SHANG-TSUNG looked to OTAK, and the Half-Orc charged.  JAIRESS was dealt a critical wound but managed to let herself fall out of harm’s way.  The Cleric flew off with her flock as the Samurai held off a rapid aerial strike, an act of mercy the Horde may come to regret in the days to come.  The Aerie and nearby storerooms were stripped of its resources and all mirrors put down.  Two porcelain dolls similar to the one haunting THORA’s soul were recovered, but there was still no sign of NADYA’s child.

Using the Ochki’s last daily charge, JAIRESS’ key revealed the following:
Onward, upward, in a tick. Don't be late, just be quick.
Entrance Hall; Dining Hall; Mirrored Hall; Conservatory; Aerie.


The Samurai stepped upon the final pad and disappeared to the unknown.  SHANG-TSUNG was face to face with yet another Ice Spear, stopping him from advancing and preventing his allies from using the TeleporterRADOSEK began chanting as SHANG-TSUNG disabled the wall with two adamantine arrows.  A quick scan revealed a translucent image of a globe suspended in midair, rotating slowly.  Lines of arcane energy glowed across the globe’s surface, faintly humming with power as they connected to multiple endpoints.  A Goat stood next to an active cauldron in a nearby alcove.  Suddenly, RADOSEK emerged from the shadows and his cauldron erupted, spewing forth arcane contaminants.  Three mounds of ice rose from the floor and two others after that, all given orders to disable the Hygashiyama clan member.

SHANG-TSUNG and RADOSEK focused solely on each other.  When RADOSEK failed to Blind the elder, the Witch relied on his Elementals, his familiar and his Icicle Wand.  The Samurai used his Kaijitsu rival as target practice, but the Witch's Ice Spears proved to be equally potent.  Seeing her ally suffering shortly after entering the room, MIYUKI fought through the Elementals and successfully replicated the positive energy burst from earlier.  Wounds closed left right and center, but twas a tad out of control as both SHANG-TSUNG and RADOSEK were given new life.  OTAK and UPANIX were forced to deal with the Elementals but all vanished when an arrow traveled though RADOSEK’s rotten heart.  The familiar VALSTOI was The Pale Tower’s lone survivor and the animal was sent to the kitchen down below.

The surrounding chambers were searched and pillaged.  The Pale Tower vault was Cursed by the White Witch NAHZENA, but her warning fell on deaf ears.  The Horde entered, walked by her life-sized ice sculpture and fought off the room’s wards.  Amongst the treasures was NAHZENA’s prized possession, her Ring of Regeneration.  Within two minutes of donning the artifact, the Samurai’s wounds had fully closed.  The Teleportation Pad with in the room did not respond to any of the pass codes, but the nearby mirror suffered the same fate as the others.

The tower had been cleared of all foes and THORA was nowhere to be found, may she rest in peace.  All that remained was shutting down the portal to Taldor.  The Horde found themselves out of their element consulting scrolls and books within the library.  OTAK appeared to be speed reading but paused at all illustrations.  After several hours in study, the Horde learned that the globe depicted the image on their map.  They found it strange to view Golarion in such a manner as the world was clearly flat.  Thirty-three distinct lines were drawn upon the illusion, all originating from Irrisen’s vast north, and descending to various areas near the globe’s center.  The line from The Pale Tower to Heldren was found an hour later.  With MIYUKI’s new found faith in ERASTIL and SHANG-TSUNG’s dabbling in magical devices, the two believed a focused conjuration effect directed to the thread uniting Waldsby and Heldren should do the trick.  MIYUKI made preparations to conjure a potent wave of positive energy but awaited the Horde’s command beforehand as a successful incantation would strand them in Irrisen.

 
CHALLENGE
XP
2 Raven Swarms
400
Mig Epsel; Spriggan
200
4 Pale Tower Guards
150-Lv4
Mierul Ardelain; Forlarren Bard
200
Vody; Medium Water Elemental
200
Sergeant Yana Dultsev; Human Ranger
150
Gardhek; Doppleganger
200
Mandragora
300
2 Animated Ice Nymphs
400
Jairess Sonn; Sylph Cleric of Gozreth
150
Radosek Kaijitsu; Human Witch
400
Trap: Glyph of Warding; triggered
300
Session total
3050
Campaign total
11300

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