Wishes in Winter

Letters Home to Irrisen, Part 7

Piety:

We are on the road to Whitethrone and have stopped for the night. It’ll be one more night before we get there so I thought I’d update you now, while everyone else is off meditating or praying. It’s official, by the way, Athelryn can cast magic too. She is proud of a magical focus she owns and can use it to do some minor magic things. Her focus is a stick, however, and it looks like something she picked up off the side of the road. She likes it so who am I to judge. I think I, too, might of gotten some sort of magical effect from the Black Rider. I bit someone in half. I’m a little nervous about it but I seriously snapped my fangs into one of the Winter Guard’s spine and, well, tore him in half. I got blood everywhere. I mean everywhere. Walls, floors, myself and other people. The poor little old lady the guard was threatening was drenched in it. Still sorry about the mess I left in Waldsby. Maybe not that sorry.

As we run towards Whitethrone, the witch Nazhena Vasilliovna has sent some more crows to report on what had happened at her tower. At least that is what we are assuming. We figure that once her Apprentice didn’t report back and she found all of her scrying mirrors stacked facing each other, she’d start looking into things. Especially after we closed those portals. The crows tried to attack us as a flock and we killed them. Crows aren’t the greatest snack for the road but they’ll do. Athelryn shot into the cloud of crows and skewered four of them on the same arrow. She’s keeping it as a trophy!

We found a small cabin on the side of the road. The woman inside, Sylgja, was frantic because her husband, Fingarth, was just taken by an ice troll. We were surprised to hear that there was even an ice troll in the area, after The Draft had claimed so many others, so we volunteered to go and look for poor, probably dead, Fingarth. We found him pretty quickly. Turns out Sylgja doesn’t know what an ice troll looks like because we found Fingarth sitting by a cave with some weird mind controlling plant on his head. After a quick discussion we decided that the plant (Mold. Sorry, Temerith just told me it was some sort of mind controlling mold) might be able to effect Durzak but not the rest of us. Our plan was simple, I jump in and pull it off Fingarth’s head, Temerith and Athelryn kill it. Wouldn’t you know it, that damn mold was on his scalp pretty good and I couldn’t just pull it off without breaking Fingarth’s neck or tearing his head clean off. With Temerith’s help, we pried it off and Athelryn was able to put arrows into it before it hit the ground. The cave was full of the same kind of mold so we threw a torch in and burned it out. I hate fire but sometimes it’s useful. We got a grateful Fingarth back to his pretty, but dim, wife and they gave us a magical bear trap. Just in case we need to hunt bears. You never know.

We ran some more and found a patch of unnatural summer in the middle of the road. I have no idea what it was doing there. Maybe someone learned of the Winter Witch’s plan and was countering it with pockets of magical summer? It was random and stupid. Not as stupid as the two worgs we met inside of the pocket. They were chasing an huge elk and didn’t want to share with us. We kicked them and killed the elk. I feel so bad for worgs. They’re trying so hard to be like us but they fail so much. It’s just tragic. When Temerith injured one, it just up and abandoned it’s pack mate that Durzak had almost killed. It actually cried out “You’re on your own” when it turned tail. Durzak healed the poor fool and let him go. Worgs need to stop hanging around goblins. The elk was delicious, though. Had the worgs been nicer, we might of shared. Stupid worgs.

Durzak spent last night explaining to Temerith his religion. It was very hard to follow and, as I pretended not to listen, I tried my best to understand. He follows something called The Lurker at the Threshold or Yog-Sothoth. It is some sort of thing that exists in all places in all times. He claims it’s beyond understanding and that it’s secrets are vast. I don’t understand half of what he said but the half I do understand is keeping me awake at night.

Speaking of nightmares, we are spending the night in an abandoned temple to some goddess named Desna. We found a ghost town from the days of the Linnorm Kings and decided to explore before camping. The only building we found mostly intact was this old temple. As we approached through the front gate and into the courtyard, we were met by two undead priests who admonished us to be quiet, like we were children, then attacked. As I leapt to confront them, I was hit by this force that sounded like terrified and crying children. It was staggering. I was the only one affected, luckily, and we killed the monsters. I am really starting to hate all of the child murder we’re finding. Athelryn called them “Hecuva” and said they are normally created when a follower dies blaspheming their God. Ghost children and undead blasphemers. Lovely. We found something valuable behind a loose stone in the altar so it wasn’t a total lose. Now we just have to sleep in this awful spot. I hope the snow falls so hard here that it buries this place so deep that only the dead and Baba Yaga can find it!

We will be in Whitethrone soon. I feel that we will met some more of the Winter Guard on the road. It’ll be nice to encounter something with real blood. Like the elk. That was nice. I need more of that.

I hope to see you soon and keep safe,

Valour Get of Heartseeker and Black Rider

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Letters Home to Irrisen, Part 6

Piety:

This morning it all began. Our rebellion. We four struck out against the White Witch Nazhena Vasilliovna. She owns a tower in the town of Waldsby. A strange spiky affair made of pure ice and crafted by magic. It is an odd design with triangle rooms that end in elongated corners and frost on every surface. We were told, after we removed a patrol and questioned the survivors, that there was a contingent of troops within and some fey creatures thrown in for flavour topped with an ice troll. The place has no stairs only four magic gates that moved people from floor to floor, each triggered by a magic phrase that sounds like a child’s rhyme (which makes this place only the more eerie because of what they do to children!).

We struck like the East Wind, overpowering but wily. The four guards in the courtyard lasted but moments. The ice troll rose up hungry and anger (like Courageous in the morning! If you are reading this Couri, your morning breath is as bad as an ice troll!) and died to the greatest of Orc Traditions, a falchion to the face followed by the ritual smashing of Alchemist Fire. The courtyard has a lovely ice sculpture of a dragon in the middle of it. Apparently the Witch likes to animate it with magic and have it attack people. The apprentice had a scroll with that exact spell on it. Too bad for him he didn’t live long enough to cast it, or to even realize what had happened to him, really. I’m getting ahead of myself.

The one of the guards got into the foyer and warned the others before we barreled in so we had more of a fight. The room was designed around pillars and a fountain with hot water in it, making it difficult to move around in and giving plenty of cover. Also, there is a water elemental in the fountain. A hot water elemental. Think about that for a second. I became a boiled wet winter-wolf. Unpleasant to say the least! We took another prisoner and threatened information out of him. He told us that the rest of the guards were on the second floor and that one of the guards had already gone up one of the two gates to warn them. So we took Paul (The prisoner. We named him “Paul” because we could. Or that might have been his name. Who knows any more.) and we tossed him through the gate first. While he was screaming for his friends to not shoot him, we jumped through the gates and attacked.

It was a mess of a battle. We landed in this cramped guard room that has a huge long table in the center of it, blocking the gates we were using and giving the guards cover to hide behind. Temerith and Durzak leaped up on the table and danced amongst the cutlery while Athelryn moved into place and fired her bow. The three of them were graceful and brutal. It was glorious! I, however, got jammed between two chairs and had to do this hop/jump/skip thing to get into a place I could fight. We met the Captain of the Guard, a large angry woman with a great sword and a shaky grasp of tactics. She drank this potion which made her ten feet tall. While this is awesome, it did give her the exact same disadvantage I was having. She died, cramped and cursing. I now own a very nice great sword. I think I will name it after her dying words: “Stupid Filthy Bastard”. The cook, a snarled tooth spriggan, entered the fight, along with two tiny pixies. He, too, grew to ten feet tall and died even faster than the Captain. Now that I think of it, maybe she was trying to call out to the cook. He was pretty filthy and rock stupid. Not sure of his parentage. I’m keeping the name. Either that or the first words she spoke when we met her: “No one said they had a Winter-wolf with them!” (Good thing no one told her this. Turns out she had a potion that would of let her breathe fire!)

Paul escaped. The Captain tried to hit him with a hand axe, believing he was with us when we attacked but she missed. So Paul got one hand axe and his life. He uttered the phrase to go back downstairs. I think he’s probably still running.

We searched the second floor, hoping to find a way to the third floor. That is were the Witch’s living quarters are. There was a strange plant creature chained to the wall in the study. Durzak said it was a “Mandrake”. It started screaming when we approached so we killed it. The stupid thing did something to me because my head started to spin. Durzak cut it in half and I took a bite out of it. I then ate the dirt it was planted into get that taste out of my mouth! Yuck! Note to Patience: Do not eat raw Mandrake! A pixie survived our assault and it fled, invisibly, to the fourth floor. This was both a blessing and a curse. It said the phrase to get us to the fourth floor and it also warned the people on the fourth floor we were coming. I was just hoping it wasn’t smart enough to warn the floor about what exactly was coming!

The fourth floor is the rookery. The vicious crows of the Witch live here, tended by a Druid worshiper of Gozreh. I think she was something called a Slyph. Anyway, she could fly. Or hover at least. When we poured in, she was just getting her crows together to attack us while she hovered ten or fifteen feet off the ground. I got her with a breath while Athelryn nailed her with arrows. She is an excellent shot because, not only did she knock the bitch out of the sky, did it in a way that she fell on the arrows Athelryn pumped into her! Gravity may be a harsh mistress but Athelryn is harsher still! The crows dispersed when the Druid died. We searched and found a lot more loot, including the workshop the Witch used to make those horrible dolls. We also found the phrase the the third floor. One last place to go!

The pixie got away as well. I think it flew through and outside, giving the only warning the Druid got: “Enemies coming. Going to get ‘help’. Bye!” I like to imagine the pixie caught up to Paul and the two of them formed a team. The stories of “Paul and the Pixie” should be all the rage soon!

The third floor is beautiful. Mirrors and ice everywhere with ice sculptures guarding a cauldron. Yes, a Witch’s Cauldron. We came in and found the Apprentice. He was a foreigner, from Taldor, I think. Anyway, we came in and he came out to greet us. He, unfortunately for him, was not told of our arrival so he came out in a huff think we were servants intruding on his work. Temerith tore into him with her claws and Durzak cut him down. I didn’t even get to twitch before he was dead. I did get headbutted by his goat familiar. I was too stunned to even attack it. I let Durzak break it’s neck. Stupid thing. We found a servant girl who tried to flee when we attacked the Apprentice. She even got out of the building before Temerith caught up with her. She is the daughter of our host but something had been done to her. It is like she is drained of her emotions. She couldn’t even feel fear. She treats us like we are just as normal as everything else. Very strange. Through this touched girl we found out the truth of our situation and of the Witch’s plans.

There is a illusionary globe in the Witch’s room that shows The Plan. The Witches have opened hundred of gates. Thousands of them. Each one placed somewhere in the world, creating a false winter there and guarded by monster/ citizens. They are placed upon the Bars of Rovagug’s Prison, set to stretch a magical winter over the whole world! Durzak spoke of it in terrible awe, something I have not heard from him before. The magnificent insanity of this is staggering. And they have trapped Baba Yaga in her own Hut! I don’t know if the Hag Queen would try and stop this but they must fear her enough to take such a drastic step.

The others were able to trace The Plan and found a way to disrupt a few of the portals. It’s a step that must be taken but it breaks my heart. I know Mother, Patience and Courageous are in Irrisen still, but you, Hope and Mercy, I don’t know. I think Father might have the pull to keep Hope near him. There is no paperwork in the Tower that explains troop movements. I don’t know who is where. I marked down which ones we closed and hope for the best. Forgive me if we abandoned you somewhere unpleasant.

As a side note, I learned a bit more about my new pack. Turns out Durzak’s parents are both in Belkzen’s Hold. His mother is a powerful Orc Witch as well. Temerith is just as closed mouth about her family as ever and Athelryn seemed confused by our pain. She said she’s a refugee from some place very far away. Someplace full of shadows. I don’t know if she even ever knew a family other than darkness. It sounds lonely so it’s lucky she found us.

We have sold what we can in Waldsby and are ready to make the run to Whitethrone (I now own a magic belt as well as a cloak. Pretty soon I’ll be like a human. All I need to do is feel pity for the less fortunate and envy for the people with more than me! So human!). They said it was nine days hard ride to Whitethrone. We figure, with me pulling a sled, it’ll take three days. I hate this plan but we must move quickly so I must wear a harness and act like the tamed dog for three days. If anyone sees me, my plan is to tell them I’m you. People will believe you’d pull a sled, right? I’ll try and find a new place to hide these letters when we get to Whitethrone. Please be safe and good hunting!

You Brother in the Snow,

Valour Get of Heartseeker and Black Rider

P.S. The White Witch put a cursed ring in a trapped chest. What kind of a person does that? And they left evil cursed cookies that kill you by starvation on a plate in the kitchen! This place is full of stupidity and I’m happy we killed everyone. I ate the livers of stupid people!

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Letters Home to Irrisen, Part 5
Note tied to a magic bird's leg.

(Side 1)Piety: Cross back home. Abandon portal and find family. Civil war. White Witches and Guards vs. Baba Yaga. They want to freeze the world and stretch an empire across the prison bars. GO HOME NOW!
(Side 2) I wrote it out and gave letters to Nadya Petska in Waldsby. She is in outpost near the town. DO NOT HARM HER OR HER CUBS! Left a mess in town, sorry. Be safe. Valor.

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Letters Home to Irrisen, Part 4

Dear Patience:

We’ve made it back to Irrisen now and we’re waiting in ambush for a Winter Guard patrol. We need to thin out their ranks before we go and kill the White Witch. You asked me let you know if I found anything weird during my tour and I have found something so weird it’ll make you laugh. I figured that, since I have some time while we are sitting behind some poor human’s porch, I’d fill you in.

As you hopefully know the team I’ve been assigned to has been tasked to fulfill Black Midnight’s final quest. When he died, he passed something of his power onto the four of us. I think that’s what’s happened. Anyways, that’s not the weird thing. What has been happening to the group afterward is.

After we left our post, we collapsed the rift and started to head to a town. The idea was, and still is, to get our bearings before striking out for Whitethrone. We found what was left of our fellow guards, mostly. We think the poor troll got finished by fire and the creepy doll was smashed (we have a gem from inside the doll. Duzak thinks it holds the soul of a dead girl who was killed for being disrespectful. Sometimes, at night, you can hear her begging for forgiveness or weeping about the cold. It’s awful). We traveled for the rest of the day, hiding from suspicious crows as we walked, then made a quiet camp at nightfall. Something strange happened during the night because all three of my companions have been acting weird ever since.

Tamerith was the first one I noticed. We were just doing the morning routines when she walked off a little ways and began talking to an owl. She never talked to animals before and, suddenly, she could. What stranger is the owl just up and joined us. I can look up right now and I can see an owl in a tree, the same one from that morning. It’s creepy. And now Tamerith can cast more spells. She could cast some (something about a gift from her mother) but now she can cast even more. I asked her what had happened. She just look to the side and said nothing. She’s starting to remind me of Mother.

While Tamerith was communing with birds Duzak walked in a different direction and just started meditating. He took off his mask, hung it on a branch and stared at it for a while. Now he has magic too. “’Orc Tradition’”, he said. What is going on?

I don’t even know what happened to Athelryn. She walked in yet another direction and I completely lost sight of her. Wouldn’t surprise me if she can now fling magic around too.

I’m so frustrated right now I could bite someone in half!

After that bit of confusion, we came across a caravan being attacked by a big green bug. It was huge and ugly and, I think, totally lost. It had demolished the caravan and was looking at us so we killed it very quickly. Now that I think about it, when was the last time there was a bug that big in Irrisen? Especially at this time of year? It wasn’t even blue. I mean, how the heck did it survive out in the weather like that? Did it come through another rift? And I though we were bad at keeping an eye on our post. That group let a ten foot tall bug through.

Sorry. We saved the caravan and tended to the survivors. One of them, the caravan leader, was very thankful and offered to show us the way back to the town, Waldsby, if we helped with her sleds (all of her dogs had either been killed by the bug or had run off). As we walked she filled us in on what was happening in Irrisen while we were gone.

The White Witches have a plan. They’ve opened multiple rifts to several places around the world and have put all of the monsters from Irrisen through them. Apparently, the human had seen numerous creatures around but all heading in the same directions. We were the first to return. Normally I’d comment on the insanity of the plan but I remember what Mother had told us during that goblin/ demon summoning fiasco: “They have a plan and they can do it. The sanity of the plan is of no consequence. They can do it.”

We have a plan too. After questioning the caravan leader and her mother (The old human gave us hot stew. What is with humans and hot food? It nearly burned the top of my mouth. Athelryn was very kind and cooled it for me so I didn’t have to breath on it) we learned the White Witch Nazhena Vasilliovna has a tower in town. The first rule of Desertion is “Kill Your Former Leader”. So we’re going to take the tower and murder her and her idiot apprentice. He has a goat as a familiar. A goat! Duzak says there is an Orc Tradition about goats. It includes

(Human Blood Stains)

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Letters home to Irrisen, part 3

Heartseeker:

I send this letter with the dearest hope that you are well and that you are able to find the rest of the pack. I wish I could run and gather everyone myself but I find that I have become caught in an unpleasant web. So I turn to you with these man hands and write with the hopes that you can do what I can not.

For the last month, I and my new companions (Athelryn the Fetchling archer, Duzak, the Orc Blood Shaman and Tamerith the Insane Teifling) have been guarding a magical portal to Taldor. One of many, it seems. The White Witches have a mad plan to extend a magical winter all the way south into Taldan and beyond. We suspect they are putting political dissidents and malcontents on the other end of these gates as cannon fodder for the inevitable attack. But this plan isn’t the real madness; it is but a symptom. Queen Elvanna has killed the Riders and has imprisoned Baba Yaga within her own Hut. She now controls all of Irrisen with the White Witches and Winter Guard firmly behind her.

For the past month, it has been almost idyllic in our little camp. Very mild weather, some easy game to hunt and a reasonably safe place to sleep. Although we were given no supplies, we made due by becoming like the bandits we have met. We had a truce with one of the local bandit groups and had killed off a rival group. We were even able to head into a Taldanian town to do some shopping. But things were also worrisome. We had no orders, no supplies or reinforcements. We had heard nothing from the Winter Guard. We did hear some rumors about the White Witches preparing for a massive war, but it seemed so foolish. Little did we realize.

It all came to an end when a band of mercenaries came and killed the bandit’s we had a truce with, Rohkar’s Raiders. We killed the mercenaries easily enough and were even able to recruit some of the surviving bandit’s into our little band and used those bandits to help ransom a prisoner Rohkar was holding. It seemed all so fun. Then “My Black Midnight” knocked on our door.

He was horseless when he stumbled into our palisade, smelling of old age, dust and blood. Nothing like the murderous ravager, the Black Judgment, we had heard so much about. Just a tired old man in ceremonial black armour looking for a place to sleep. We, in our desire to please him, foolishly made a bargain with him. We promised to fulfill his mission: To help Baba Yaga. Now we are bound to that oath and we must go to her Hut, which is chained at Whitethrone, to free her. In exchange we have gained some minor power but it isn’t enough to stop what is happening. Then he just died in front of us, leaving us with nothing but questions and an oath that we must obey.

The Black Rider told us what is happening and we are bound to help Baba Yaga. We have gathered our meager supplies and what few allies and prisoners we have. We are following our oath and abandoning our post. I pray this letter finds you well and you are able to do what I cannot. Find the others and prepare. The Black Riders are coming to Irrisen.

Your Son,
Valorous, Get of Heartseeker, Black Rider.

P.S. I have no way of sending this letter and the ones I have written to Piety until we are in Irrisen. By then we will be traitors. Good Hunting. I love and miss everyone of you!

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Letters home to Irrisen, part 2

Piety:

Well, that was exciting. After defeating our neighbours, we walked down to their hunting lodge and soundly beat them. I should say, The Psychopath and The Suicidal Demon Woman beat them, with The Other Psychopath shooting arrows from behind. I couldn’t get through the front door. And before you say “You should lose some weight”, I couldn’t get in because they died in the doorway and blocked it. I had to run around back and smash my way in. I even leapt up on their dining table and howled ice onto their ceiling. Probably would scared them to death if they hadn’t all fled to fight the others a few seconds earlier. Now I know what Hope felt like when she hopped up on that ledge and rallied us to fight after we were already fighting! Anyways, we took the place, looted it and left. We now have food, armour, gear and even horses! I love horses! They’re delicious! I almost forgot, we took a hostage. I’m pretty sure he’ll be valuable once we figure out how speak a mutual language…

I got a magic cloak! It’s brown and it’s some sort of ‘Protection Cloak". I turned Human just long enough to put it on and then turned normal. It worked! I’m wearing a magic cloak and no one can tell!

Our palisade is finished and we even have a place for our prisoner and horses. The Other Psychopath has taken a shine to the poor pushover and is trying to teach him to talk normal speech. It’s slow going. We have to go patrol. We saw a second column of smoke and we think it might be another group or something.

Well, now this is odd. We found another patrol. They walked right up to our palisade and tried to talk to The Psychopath. No one could communicate, so they left and walked back to yet another encampment. For a “desolate forest” this place sure is crowded. We followed them home and reconnoitered them. A dozen men and women including a half orc. After some discussion, we decided to deliver a message inviting them to the palisade for a conversation. I got to sneak into the camp and tie it to half orc’s tent. We forgot to cast the spell that would cover my tracks. Judging by their reaction after I had left, I don’t think our Worg cousins are very big out here…

The second group are bandits. Some fools calling themselves “Rohkar’s Raiders”. And they are fools. The half orc, called Ten-Penny for some unexplained reason, is some flunky and their leader looks like someone punched him in his smug face and only damaged his face but not his smugness! I’d eat him but I’m worried that his smugness might cause me indigestion! Like swallowing a nugget of the purest Smug! He is so smug! At least he was until The Psychopath told him I was five feet behind his smug self and getting ready to ice murder the whole lot of them!

In the end, we let them live. For now. They mentioned a village not too far away that they were going to raid. They also warned us about the “High Sentinel”, a kind of militia in the area. It seems they have a hunting lodge not too far away from our palisade. I think we might want to head back to that lodge and move the bodies before the bandits get there…

Valorous, Get of Heartseeker

P.S. Did you see what happened to the others? I got pick first and I didn’t see where everyone got sent to. If you see Patience before I do, tell her I’m looking for anything weird and magical for her. I know she and mother like weird magics.

P.P.S. The Psychopath is named Durzak, The Other Psychopath is Athelryn and The Suicidal Demon Woman is Tamerith. I have now gotten to know people!

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Letters home to Irrisen

Piety:

Well, here I am, a thousand miles from home and without my pack, guarding a magic gate that is creating an unnatural winter over some silly forest. Seriously. It’s autumn here, yet this portal is turning it into winter over a 10 mile spread, centered on itself. Might as well draw an arrow to it.

The bunch I’m stationed with are pretty memorable, can’t argue that. A Shadow Dwelling archer, a Orcish warrior with an awesome war mask and a colourful flying demon woman. We are a pretty odd bunch but that’s what happens when we are randomly picked. I think you’d like them.

We are trying to put up a snow palisade around the portal right now. It’s hard going and we aren’t really kitted out for this kind duty. In fact, I can’t help but notice that lack of any sort of gear. Typical. But they said we’ll get reinforcements in a few weeks so maybe they’ll bring something. Something like a damn shovel.

The Teifling and myself went out scouting and found some sort of hunting lodge not too far away from the gate. It was occupied by some humans so we decided to head back to the group and make a plan. On the way back, we found out that the humans had sent some people to scout us and we all missed each other by a few minutes. Imagine their surprise if we had found them before they made it to their friends! We figured they were harmless enough and decided to wait and watch. A giant snow weasel came out of the gate and wandered into the forest. Why did that happen? I hope that wasn’t our “reinforcements”!

The Teifling, the Orc and myself got to do some serious hunting. They have these really small deer here. Fast little guys but very tasty. We cornered a dozen and got ourselves some rations. The Orc has the same appetite as Courageous so, between the two of us, we have about 5 days of food. We had to drag them all back, tied with this weird rope the Orc has. We’ve dug out a larder so the meat will keep. The Archer and the Teifling like their food fresh. No accounting for taste, I guess. This place is starting to look like a home. Not mine, but someone’s idea of a home!

Well, the humans from the lodge came for a short visit. Seems their idea of a “Welcome to the Neighbourhood” gift was a bottle of alchemist fire. The fight was predictably short. The Orc is fire proof, the Archer is accurate and the Teifling is insane. Got my coat a little singed but I was able to sneak up on one of the humans and surprise him while he was busy with the Teifling. Some of these humans taste funny.

We have some planning to do now. Seem our “harmless” neighbours weren’t as helpless as we first thought so we will need to decide what to do next. I hope you are safe and give my love to everyone.

Your Brother,

Valorous, Get of Heartseeker.

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Introductions
This is Irrisen

Baba Yaga is more than a figure of myth in Golarian. Fourteen hundred years ago, she decended upon the Eastern Land of the Linnorm Kings with an army of Winter Wolves, Ice Trolls, and other cold creatures from the Crown of the World. Over the course of twenty-three days, she and her army brought down an unseasonable winter, and the land of Irrisen has seen no other season since.

After carving out her country, she crowned her daughter Jadwiga the first Queen of Irrisen, and then departed. One hundred years later, she returned and crowned another daughter Queen, taking Jadwiga with her as she left once again on her travels. Every one hundred years three Riders herald her return, and Baba Yaga comes back to crown a new Queen and escort the old one onto other worlds.

It has been fourteen hundred years since Jadwiga first took Irrisen’s throne, and her great-granddaughter Elvanna now sits as Queen of Irrisen. Queen Elvanna is ruthlessness incarnate, and under her reign the White Guard and Winter Guard have seen their largest increase of numbers. The White Witches have concerned themselves more for the common folk of Irrisen, and the people tremble at the very thought of the Jadwiga turning their eyes on them. Dolls and Mirror Men walk the streets alongside the Winter Guard, and even the guard treads lightly around the constructs of the ruling class.

But everyone also knows that Queen Elvanna’s reign is due to end within the year, and more and more of the citizens of Irrisen glance hopefully towards the horizon, waiting for one of the Riders Three to appear.

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