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Tiny Hut!

Valindra is grateful for the warmth of the tiny hut. Erected by Solera through the snow elf’s arcane spellcraft, the so-called “hut” is really a dome of magical energy that keeps out the weather, wind, and cold. From within, its walls are near transparent, almost invisible but for faint torsional vortices of magic swirling in the air at the boundary. From without, however, it appears as a hump of whitish-grey, perfectly blending in with the terrain. Valindra tries to touch her finger to its surface, but it passes right through; it does not block physical objects. Outside the temperature drops as the sun sinks and the wind scours the pack ice. But within, all is cozy if a little cramped. Valindra, her feet still a bit gwenders from the cold, is appreciative of Solera’s spell-working skills.

They have been traversing the sea ice for weeks now, trekking through an unchanging landscape. Before them lies an endless terrain of ice broken and piled into irregular hummocks, jagged pressure ridges, and crevasses. The footing has been treacherous and the going slow as they have had to carefully pick their way through the frozen expanse. The wind blows constantly, making the temperature feel colder than it is. Valindra keeps her delicate face buried under her heavy bear skin cowl and only occasionally peers upward into the grey snow-scoured sky. To the south one can barely make out the faint grey line of the shore, the cliffs at the northern edge of the Forest of Ardred. To the north, sea and sky fuse in a grey white haze that may as well mark the edge of the world. And yet they keep marching

About her, her compatriots prepare for the evening, unfurling bedrolls atop a sealskin tarpaulins. Mostly, they go about their business in silence, exhausted from the day’s long trek, in tune with the nightly routine. All are quiet, that is, but Blair who intones a spell of protection around them. Valindra watches with fascination as the war-priestess chants her poem-like orison and traces her fingers in intricate patterns in the air, as she weaves a hedge of spells about their bivouac against strangers come to call in the night.

The elf fishes a copper kettle from the capacious depths of her pack, fills it with snow, and places it upon a low tripod. A minor bit of dweomercraefting is in order. She thus whispers a few minor druidic words of power, makes a few subtle gestures with her finger tips, and blows gently across the kettle’s rim to set a cantrip in motion. Small flames instantly ignite beneath the vessel, curling about its base, melting the snow and then heating the water within. Valindra smiles at her own craft. Just as the pot verges upon a boil, she whispers softly to the flames, speaking calming words to them, asking them to lessen their intensity. When the heat is reduced, she adds a generous amount of pine needles to the pot and lets them simmer. Before long, the resinous and delicious scent of pine needle tea suffuses the air. Hopefully, it will offer a simple but welcome balm to their spirits after a long day spent in the bitter cold.

Later still, having sorted and re-stowed the items in her kit, she thoughtfully sips the last of the tea while her eyelids grow heavy. She looks upward through the roof of the hut, watching snow fall from the winter night above. Praise to the Leaf Lord for the beauty and majesty of this sky. She and Rara have the third watch as always, so she needs to get her rest. And so, stripped down to her smallclothes, she settles into her bedroll. Her weapons are carefully arranged beside her within easy reach should enemies attack in the night. Solera and Ainorei are on watch. As sleep settles over her, she listens to the wind gust and faffle around their camp, and she feels at peace. It is a cold night and she is glad for Solera’s tiny hut.

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Posted by the GM
The Arrival: Legacy
Session 35: Galas and Gaslighting
The session opened with the F.I.A ensnared in a perilous position. Thane Illamin, Raha al-Kharii, Phanalan, Teoshi al-Surai, and two dozen Janavian nobles had inadvertently triggered a trap in Teoshi’s basement during the Crystal Ball on the eve of the new year, trapping them inside as the room filled with poisonous gas! The rest of the F.I.A would need to quickly find a way to save their allies before they succumbed to the toxic fumes!

Surviving this trap would require both guile and cunning. Almost immediately after the trap sprung, the Janavian nobles began to clutch their throats and gasp for whatever breathable air was left in the chamber. They pressed their bodies against the door, pounding on the stone as they began to lose consciousness. Thane’s use of a misty step spell to get closer to the exit alerted Phanalan that the blacksmith that he had been speaking to before things went sideways had inherent magical potential. Unbeknownst that it was actually Thane in disguise, Phanalan began to launch spells at Thane instead of trying to find a way to escape! Teoshi announced to the choking crowd that the trap had sprung because the manor’s security systems had been triggered, and that she was going to the back of the chamber to activate something that would help them. She ran out of the range of Phanalan’s dancing lights and into the darkness.

Meanwhile, the rest of the F.I.A attempted to enter the basement. Two magically-sealed doors stood in their way: one directly behind the false bookcase on the main level of the estate, and another on the basement level. Wykeera, sharp as ever, cast stone shape twice on the walls adjacent to the magic doors to bypass them entirely! She entered the deadly chamber with Zari and Hagar following close behind. Soon after entering, the Zeharian stonework began to magically knit itself shut, trapping most of the F.I.A in the basement once again. Midzaynov, who had missed her opportunity to enter the chamber before the stonework had shut itself, teleported inside with the assistance of Ghara’s dimension door spell. Reunited, the F.I.A was ready to tackle the situation head-on.

Wykeera cast a daylight spell to completely illuminate the darkened chamber. Zari discovered Teoshi’s unmoving form near the back of the chamber and ran to her. Teoshi’s arm was inside of a hole in the wall; Zari removed Teoshi’s arm, reached her own arm into the hole, and discovered a hidden lever! Pulling it, hidden vents in the basement’s walls suddenly opened, providing an exit for the gas that had accumulated in the chamber. Meanwhile, Midzaynov used her time to inspect the statue in the center of the chamber. She determined that while it probably was not directly related to the trap, there was evidence that another statue once stood in its place.

After disabling the magical locks that held the door of the basement shut with the help of Nurata’s bardic inspiration from the other side of the door, most of the room’s inhabitants had fallen unconscious from the onslaught of poison gas. The gas shifted in type during the encounter, challenging the party’s physical and mental attributes alike. Eventually, only Hagar and Ghara were left standing after a dramatic showdown with Phanalan ended with the sorcerer unconscious. After a few unsuccessful attempts, Hagar finally pulled the door to the chamber open with his brute strength alone! Yalban guards rushed into the room and began to rescue the survivors.

In the trap’s aftermath, Teoshi’s body was discovered. Wykeera determined that Teoshi had succumbed to her own poison gas. Upon discovering this, Sisava became inconsolable; she began lashing out at the guards, Phanalan, and the F.I.A. Zari cast a calm emotions spell to try to mollify her - strangely, it had no effect. Midzaynov used the last charge of her headband of thoughts to read Sisava’s mind, and learned that her inner monologue in that moment was not based in emotion in the slightest. Through crocodile tears, she asked the crowd if her mother’s fate would befall all who attempted to free their slaves in the city.

Phanalan was promptly arrested and brought to Qadira Prison for temporary holding. He was followed by Bernadette, Voriombor, and the F.I.A. Midzaynov turned invisible to eavesdrop on Bernadette and Vorimbor, who were whispering to each other in the prison’s atrium. Midi learned from the pair that Phanalan’s symptoms of madness were not new, and had apparently been getting worse as of late. Thane and Midi (invisibly) followed Phanalan to his holding cell. The pair learned that the cell was warded by an antimagic field, and that Phanalan himself was not sure if he had perpetuated the crimes that he had been accused of.

The F.I.A was torn about what to do next. Wykeera wanted to leave for the feywild immediately, while Thane and the others wanted to tackle the trial of the sphinx. Hagar was strongly considering staying in Yalba for the time being to watch over the city while it recovered. Wykeera spoke with Lyndra, who told her that it would be a difficult task to reach the Queen of Air and Darkness, and that journey itself was part of the trial that the queen had in mind for her. Atka demonstrated to Thane that she had apparently learned the scorching ray spell by almost ruining a perfectly good breakfast that she was in the process of cooking.

The session closed as the party walked northward through the city to seek the counsel of the royal family, unsure of their next course of action...
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Island Exploration
Just as I was beginning to think the island was solely inhabited by savages, we encounter some benign folk - Locathah. They agree to engage in trade with us if we help them with their Sahuagin problem. Consider it done!

We befriend a Waspwoman. She is interested in helping the “colony.” I’m afraid that does not mean what she thinks it means.

Defeating the Sahuagin has yielded us another ally - a water naga. They had overtaken her lair for their own. She rewards us handsomely.

On the resource front, we have found a rich source of basalt for building and a source of pumice for cement. We scored a double victory at the cave behind the waterfall - iron ore and a serviceable Clockwork Digger. I believe I could get it up and running with enough supplies. When is that damn ship returning?

The Pathfinder fellow will be happy to know we have also located the abandoned Ulfen village and rid it of undead, thank you very much.
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Time on our Hands
Well, the supply ship has set sail for Avistan and shant return for months. How to pass the time? We spend a few days in physical training to toughen ourselves up. Why the insects alone here are quite formidable opponents! The extra stamina will come in handy.

Crafting supplies are low, the facilities are lacking and the turnaround time to and from Avistan is far too long. We must find a swifter way to trade so I can ramp up production.

To quell our idleness, Ramona has petitioned us to survey the island for useable resources - stone, ore, lumber - and for peaceful inhabitants. Good. Something useful to do.

Before we set out, Carver - the Pathfinder fellow - asks us to seek out archaeological sites. We are happy to oblige, as long as the price is right.

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Tip toe through the Tulips with Meeee
Out of body experiences aren't all they are cracked up to be, especially if you are on a deadline that could result in your death. A true deadline. When I woke in the hospital in an incorporeal form, I was beyond scared. I thought I had died and there was no way for me to return, no chance of ever finding my family, and no way to protect my new family from what lurked out there. I had little to no control of my body; I had no link to my powers initially and my last known feeling I had before waking was pain.

Thank goodness Bastet was there. She acknowledged me and tried to calm me, that was the first hint of hope. If I couldn't return, at least I could warn her of what happened. But what did happen? My memory is all disjointed from the attack, I could barely remember. Also how could I warn her? I could barely communicate at all. It took all of my focus to form a single sentence. I was able to get the hang of that in time and spoke with her and a few clerics in the Seraphim and they pointed us in a direction that may help, but of course it was in the forest.

We gathered the troups looking for the only one around that could help. My memory of my time as a specter is foggy though. I remember having to face a tree and finding his place on a cliff. He advised us that the only way to join my spirit with my body again was for me to digest a rare herb that was only found in the most dangerous part of the forest... of course it was. We dressed up to please the fairies for passage and to sneak into that portion. My bee costume was probably one of the best disguises I've gotten to wear thus far and they loved it!

When in the gardens of the beast, we had one of the strangest battles. The beast preyed on our greatest fears and unfortunately every time that is the case, I see my sister in trouble. Whenever I see her face all rationality and thought leaves me and I abandon everything for her. This led to the Devourer, as I came to call it, to gain the upper hand on all of us. Oddly enough, Ash was able to push it back with the power of song. I am not even sure Ash has bardic training, but she was channeling something that let the others join in and defeat the beast. I was able to get the herb eventually, and was instantaneously transported back to my body. And here I have been waiting on them to return before the fogs set in, hoping that by writing this down I may be able to jog other memories that I may be suppressing. I hope that these memories will help bring my attacker to justice. Fingers crossed.
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