The Frozen Seas

Journey to Demon's Fall

Our story began in the town of Harnemen. While many of the great ports of Arnor have been taken by the control of the queen, Harnemen remains as one of the few independent cities in The Frozen Seas. Everything there, from the trade ships that sail in from interplanar colonies through the North Gate to the shipbuilding and fishing industries that have kept the town alive is run by the discrete mercenary group known as The Golden Claw. Their political movements and methods of control over the town are so long and complex that it does not suffice to reveal them in this story, but it is safe to say, anyone that passes through Harnemen does not leave untouched by the Claw.

This story begins, like many stories of travel and adventure during this day and age, with a ship arriving at port after a long journey on the open seas. Two men aboard that ship, a human known as Pyter Darkwater and an elf by the name Adder, went through more than any other sailor arriving that day. These two individuals were members of a ship, The Carronna Mariner, an Arnorian Caravel, who had just returned to Arnor after a month long journey exploring and cataloging the Barrier Islands to the southwest. While this ship was among many when it left port, officially, none of them truly made it back from the trip. Month long journeys aboard ships such as the Mariner wear away at the minds and bodies of crewmen, and if a captain cannot temper this rising anger, then many crews take action. On the way back from the journey a mutiny led by the cook, a gruff human of the name Olivar Droverston, took the ship out of the hands of the captain and his first mate, Pyter and left them as well as several other crew members, including Adder, stranded in the Barrier Islands. A passing Arnorian merchant ship eventually spotted them and offered to bring them back to port after two days.

With one of the last snows of the winter lightly coating Harnemen in a layer of frost, the determined first mate without a ship and the lookout without a crow’s nest set off into the streets of Harnemen determined to set things right. Several days later, salvation was found, nailed to a post in the dockyard. “By Royal Decree,” it read “Her magesty, Queen Araella the Navigator calls upon all able bodied men and woman to hunt down and bring her the body of the dread pirate Olivar Droverston dead or alive.” It also included a significant reward and the official seal of the press of Harnemen.

Armed with the necessary knowledge to find and kill the man who ruined his career, Pyter set forth to gather a crew and secure a ship from the many people of Harnemen. There seemed to be no shortage of people waiting for a way out of the town or a way to earn a wage. Siladen Nalasita, a Gith Psion who had recently arrived through the North Gate, was quite willing to put his psionic prowess to use on the high seas. In the local tavern Kuno, a strong willed and skilled minotaur warden who escaped bondage from the Stygian slave trade some time in the last few months, and a pyromaniac half elf by the name of Blaze Firesteel with a penchant for hard liquor, were found and willing to aid the party in this venture. Many other willing crewmembers were also found and recruited for this journey.

The local dockmaster, or rather the apprentice to the dockmaster, saw potential in this band and agreed to fund their journey as an investment claim. 500g would buy them a ship and supplies, and they would return with a treasure of 13,000 gp to pay off their debt. Now armed with a ship and a crew, The party christened their new Arnorian Sloop “The Winter’s Maiden” and set off for Droverston’s last known location, the port of Demon’s Fall.

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The Pirates of Demon's Fall

The journey north to Demon’s Fall went remarkably smoothly. The party’s fast sloop combined with aid from the trade winds brought them to Demon’s Fall in just over a week. It was a short enough journey that the crew suffered little morale loss or penalties, and the ship looked like it would be arriving at port with ample supplies on board.

Demon’s Fall is a fortress. It is stationed on a tiny sliver of coast between a mountain range, the Gulf of Storms, and is barricaded by three volcanic islands that makes traveling by sea to the city quite difficult. It is safe to say that not much trade occurs in Demon’s Fall’s docks, but that is remedied by the city’s reputation. Years of neglect by the Silverblade family who govern the city have turned it into a hive of organized crime, prostitution, and poor living conditions. In other words, into a pirate haven.

So by little surprise, the party, sailing as pirate hunters under the Arnorian flag, were assaulted by a small band of pirates just outside of the barrier islands. They sailed on an understocked sloop and relied on their speed as an advantage for taking down merchant vessels arriving from the North Gate. The last thing they expected was an elite group such as the party, who, while disorganized, managed to subdue the pirates with little damage to the Maiden or to the pirate’s Imperial Sloop, the Sea Hawk. They plundered the Imperial and Arnorian gold stored on the ship, captured it, slew its captain (a mysterious man called only as “captain” even by his closest crewmates), took prisoners of those who would not join the party’s crew, and recruited the only one who did, a mercenary by the name Jack “The Tongue” Williams. The party also uncovered a journal from the captain’s quarters, which explained that this particular pirate crew was hired by Droverston to capture incoming ships, likely hoping to capture the party themselves.

Attacking and capturing any vessel that sails under the Arnorian flag is an act of piracy unless you are a privateer, but luckily the party was at Demon’s Fall. It was not difficult to sell the ill gotten ship and the goods aboard it to the dock master, who happily accepted the exchange with a side few gold pieces for keeping his mouth shut. With the sun quickly setting, the party set off into the city. Blaze and Adder, hoping to gain a reward for capturing the pirate “captain”, intruded upon the Governor’s property. He and his guards were adamantly angered, but the Diplomacy of Blaze was enough to negotiate a reward, the rights to the Sea Hawk (which the party had already sold illegally by then anyway). While the town’s crowded streets were abrupt with pickpockets, the money that the party lost to them was about equal to what Pyter managed to steal himself.

At the local inn, as the party was purchasing rooms to stay the night, the bartender was willing to release a bit of information regarding Droverston for a small bribe. It turned out that he sailed out from Demon’s fall two days ago, and was on his way to Black Island to hole up. It was almost like he actually expected the party to arrive and ask him this.

Regardless of what goes on behind the scenes in the city, the following morning, with quickly encroaching blizzards beginning to freeze the narrow passageways into the city, the party made a few quick purchases, including some potions of water walking, and sailed out before the storm froze the entire town over. While they had no one particularly trained in vodun magic onboard the ship, as they sailed out, Kuno could almost feel the storm following them.

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Beyond the Storm

About three days into their journey, the party faced one of the storms which gave the Gulf of Storms its name. While this storm was fairly mild compared to some, the party’s sloop was hardly equipped to handle torrential conditions. The vessel rocked and swayed in the sleet and hail, several men fell overboard, and the party did everything they could to brace the ship and steer the vessel out of the dangerous waters. In the end their ship remained afloat, but the hail and ice damaged the ship’s masts and rigging to the point that there was no choice but to make port at the nearest landmass.

On the horizon the party spotted a convenient volcanic island. Due to overcast conditions and to what the party could only deduce was magical tampering, the party had no idea where they were. The island turned out to hold many more secrets than they were expecting.

A beached Imperial Galleon was found on the island shortly after making camp on its sandy shoreline. A light snowfall added a slight cold to the air as the party and their crew attempted to strip down the galleon, or rather the waterlogged skeleton of the galleon, and row the parts back to the Maiden to repair it. The ship’s gunsmith, Randolph Gunner, was placed in charge of monitoring this operation, as the bosun, Kuno, was busy exploring the island.

Kuno, as well as the others, soon discovered that the island was inhabited by several creatures. First, they encountered a wandering pack of vicious riding dogs. These creatures were hostile to the party, but not afraid of them. Later that evening, the party found themselves being stalked by an orc child, who quickly ran off when he was discovered.

When the party hiked up the dormant volcano the next day, they soon discovered that across from a large ravine, likely carved by a river, there was an active campsite, inhabited by tribal orcs. Since the fall, very few of these primitive tribal groups remain in the world, but for some reason, these orcs were alive and well, hunting humanoids and displaying their shrunken heads as trophies of the kill.

The party attacked the campsite and slaughtered the guard, the noise from which caused a loud and relentless drumming to emanate from a stone circle in the center of the site. The party was forced to retreat, but returned in eight hours to continue the push, slaughtering a group of trained warrior orcs, a horde of zombified orcs and their master, and a group of demons guarding the Malarium pools the orcs drew from, all the while the drums echoed across the mountainside.

With most of the site cleared, the party confronted the chieftan of the camp. He was an old scrawny orc, but just as the party arrived, a blood ritual he was performing transformed him into an aspect of the Ghede themselves. He was quite dangerous, particularly close up as he sapped life from those who received healing near him as well as when he bloodied enemies, but the party was able to defeat him without casualties.

When they defeated the chief, the party found themselves in a strange trance. For a brief instant, they relived a memory of their past, and within that memory they were encountered by the incarnation of Baron Samedi, the Loa of death. He explained to each player how the orc chieftan was a champion of his, and that they had proved themselves to be rewarded the gift of a prophecy.

The eight fingered man harkens to the raven’s call. A frozen journey awaits those who follow it. In a house of shadow rests the raven’s treasure, but the housekeepers are closer than you think.

Soon it would appear that the prophecy was unfolding.

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