Falling Star

Adventure Summary - Week 3

The increasingly large group headed back down the mountain.  After the first day, they decided that they would have to let three kegs of dvergr stout go, they just couldn't manage the extra encumbrance.  They buried them near Dvergshol for later retrieval.

Torin, who was out every day collecting fresh berries for his Goodberry spell (which was feeding everybody except the hogs), noticed wolf tracks.  On the sixth day, the wolves laid an ambush, baited by one of their number – a worg capable of human speech – pretending to be an injured traveler.  When Thrag went to investigate, he was quickly brought down!  But, before the pack could drag him away the rest of the group arrived in a hail of arrows and drove them off.

Shortly after that the weather started to deteriorate.  Before it started dumping snow, the group agreed to stop and let the dvergr build a snow house.  This worked quite well; the only hitch being the return of the wolves, who now pretended to be a cold traveler wanting to share the Skeggvasons' fire.  This time Skodi poked his head out of the door, but nimbly jumped back inside before the lurking wolves could grab him and pull him away.  The wolves were again driven off with arrow fire.

On the final leg of the journey, the travelers spotted a nithing pole, newly erected in the trail.  This turned out to be a message from Skodi's new-found nemesis, Ullveig Helgasdottir, calling him out and affirming her oath to neither take a husband nor regrow her hair til he was dead.

Shortly afterwards, the Skeggvasons skied into a Hallgrimson ambush!  What started out as a fight mano a mano between Skodi and Ullveig quickly ballooned into a slaughter – five thralls quickly regretted attempting to entangle the mighty Thrag in fishing nets, Ullveig's sister Leif was quickly dispatched, and once again Skapti the Lame managed to escape uninjured.  This time Skodi carried the wounded and unconscious Ullveig off over his (thrall's) shoulder.

Skodi did an admirable job of handling the hogs, with only one minor mishap – a sow broke loose and slid down a hill just as they were finally approaching Skeggvarshold.  He magically healed the sow, though, and everything was fine.

After some negotiations and magically reattaching her hair and rings, Ullveig and Skodi buried the hatchet.  She "escaped" from Skeggvarshold in the night, thus letting them both avoid an unwanted wedding.

Returning to Feyjasfjord, the adventurers saw that the Cormorant, a local trader, was anchored in the fjord.  The ship had brought visitors: a city-slicker noble from Kalsgard going by the (likely) alias Ulfbjorn, and his guide, a lysalfar rangeress named Vashti.  They were scouting linnorms for an unnamed patron who wanted one handy in case the current Linnorm King in Kalsgard, Sveinn Blood-Eagle, were to suddenly expire.  They were particularly interested in cairn linnorms, which are known to lurk in barrowlands.  The Skeggvasons helpfully informed the guests that there was just such a barrowland not far to the west; but Ulfbjorn seemed uninterested in any sort of joint venture to investigate.

That night a huge feast was laid out to welcome back the lost children and new visitors; the new skald Torbjorn recounted their adventures, to much acclaim.

Ulfbjorn and Vashti departed in the morning, as did Gudrun, the Skeggvasons mother – she was off with the Cormorant to visit relatives in Kalsgard (and very likely to report on viking activity in Feyjasfjord, or the lack thereof.)  Immediately after the ship sailed, the increasingly antsy dvergr started crash construction of a good wall around the hold.  Kelvin Ironbeard, a respected dvergr architect, insisted that while he didn't know anything about surface-world politics, he knew walls, and this place was going to need a wall – three times before Midsummer, in fact.  The wall project quickly engulfed all of the dvergr and thralls, and in a week it was up.

The wall's completion coincided with the return of a slightly worse-for-wear Ulfbjorn and Vashti, which was good enough occasion for another feast that couldn't be beat.  They didn't get up again until the next morning, when Thrag and Astrid, another thrall, were sitting on the new wall and Astrid noticed that there were glowing figures floating around in the darkness over Bjarkur Bolg's bridge!

This turned out to be the vanguard of an undead army, come from the barrowlands to reclaim stolen treasure – treasure which they seemed to believe was now inside Skeggvarshold!  A quick search for Ulfbjorn and Vashti showed that they had vanished silently in the night, bringing this horror down on the heads of their hosts in violation of guest law and all that was decent! 

A puissant and very angry wight – judging from his decaying raiment, some ancient thane – beat on the newly constructed and newly enchanted front gate, making a good dent but eventually giving up.  A rain of arrows and channels from the battlements had little effect.  Before leaving, the dead lord invited the Skeggvasons to join him in his ghostly longhouse, which now occupied the nearby hilltop that was formerly home to the New Sheepfold. 

Screwing up their courage, the heroes got ready to proceed into the longhall of the dead!   But first, they thought it wise to try to figure out why the deathly army was at their gate; suspecting the fiendish Ulfbjorn and Vashti might have secreted some stolen goblet inside the walls, they turned out every living soul and quizzed them.  Astrid, the thrall, remembered that that morning the cover had been left off the well; and sure enough, when Torin descended into the watery depths, he found an ancient greatsword that surely belonged to the besieging army!

Once inside, they were surprised to find not rotting corpses but apparently intact, if blue and glowing, revelers – vikings from ancient times!  Torbjorn recognized the livery of Thane Karbjorg the Red, a famously crafty and vicious ruler from many centuries past, also renowned for his excellent feasts.  The Thane and his retinue had been robbed and wanted satisfaction, but since the Skeggvasons were here he offered them the hospitality of his deathly home.  He was much mollified by the return of Goblet-Maker, his missing sword.

Thrag wrestled the Thane's prize thrall, Wolfcrusher, and after an initial setback (which served only to lengthen the odds the Thane was willing to give) managed to pin him.  Torbjorn attempted a recitation, which was less successful than his attempts among the living, but some nervousness was understandable given the circumstances.  Finally, to the brothers' horror, the Thane had his thralls roll out a wooden wheel to which was attached another of the Helgasdottirs, her three flaxen ponytails held out from her head by staples!  The thane offered that, if they could cut the girl loose with axes thrown from 5 paces, they could keep her; if they refused, or if an unfortunate throw resulted in her death, then she would return to serve the thane forever in his hall beneath the Barrowlands!  Torin and Skorvir handily cut the girl loose in three throws of three, however, and the team was unmolested in their return to Skeggvarshold.  That night the Thane and his retainers packed up and left; the next day, they returned the lost daughter to Hallgrimshold.

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