Wishes in Winter

Letters Home to Irrisen, Part 15

To The Hut

(Translated from Sylvan)

The Master Adjunct Office, Karaphas, First World

Dear Madam Heartseeker,

We have been shown the reports of our glorious kin who have braved the cruel Cage which you and your pathetic kind live miserably upon, that you are the mother of six youths. It is with heavy heart that I must inform you that one of your children has the temerity to steal from us! We know this news must send a terrible grief through you and, indeed, it should for he injured many noble and innocent fae in his mad theft.

We feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of ours which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming at the thought of a theft from such wondrous beings such as our noble fae brothers and sisters. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the rage that we feel as we swear we will hunt your wayward child down and murder the self aggrandizing fool. Seriously, he and his awful friends stole The Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga! They killed Sir Ravathiel, Lady Zephimere and Sir Auraenos, three Dawn Pipers of exquisite beauty and wit. Our casualties further include Wortleby the Hopeful Spriggan… What? He wasn’t there? Where is he? A Redcap was there instead? What was his name? Well, find out! What kind of show are you running here? What about Silverthorn? No the Twigjack. Where is he? Two unnamed Nuglub gremlins? Look, she’s right here and I’m trying to… This is really irritating. Who died? All of them? In the same fight? Wow, that’s a CR 9 encounter. The Big Fuck Off Wolf swallowed a Nuglub whole? And they hunted a fleeing Redcap? Is that even possible for a Redcap to run away?

We pray that our Lord, The World Serpent, may assuage the anguish of your imminent bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost fae, and the solemn shame that must be yours, to have birthed such a costly mistake upon the altar of Arrogance. Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

Axis Windyboots, Assistant Overlord of The Western Household Movement, Sixth Captain of Southern Respect Coalition, Fifth Minister of Mystic Plaza Lake.

Dear Hope,

I just found this letter in my journal. I have no idea where it’s from or how it got there. Can you translate it? I think it’s addressed to Mom. Is it weird that I’m not surprised by mysterious messages for Mom in my bag? I’m caught up in the weird and the strange now. I’m trying very hard to ignore the fact that I’m looking at the Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga. It’s a house with chicken legs and a beak. It’s just so surreal. We’re getting ready to enter it so this might be the last time I have to send out something. You said that, because of our parentage, we were all destined for something big and grand. Well, I’m caught in that crazy web and let me tell you, it’s fucked up. A chicken legged hut. I don’t have time to fill you in an everything that has been happening. Heartseeker, Patience and Piety all have my letters which sum up this insane adventure (That’s right, I’m making you talk to family. You’re welcome). I can only keep you abreast of what is happening now and hope you can catch up.

We, in the end, decided to let the celebrating fae live. I’m not sure they even realize, being as drunk as they were, the kind of trouble they were in. We had a huddle up and discussed how to proceed right in front of the five of them and they heard everything we said but they ignored us. Good for them and us. I hate eating fae.

We knew the Hut was somewhere in the center of this forest and it looked like all we were doing was walking around it. So we decided that enough was enough and that it was time to go to middle and to forget about these fairies. We backtracked to the stone altar and walked along the path to the center of the maze. There is an unwritten rule, according to Durzak, that states the first thing one needs to do, when becoming traitors, is to kill their former leaders. We had already murdered Nazhena’s apprentice (and his delicious goat familiar), which meant that Nazhena was next to die. We knew that, according to Lord Oryo’s intelligence, that Nazhena and some other Winterguard were guarding the Hut. Lo and behold, we found them.

We easily crept up on the camp the two remain units of Winterguard had set up in a clearing. The guards were nervously watching their leader, who was talking to someone, but we couldn’t see who. We kicked off before they even realized that we were there. Athelryn fired at Nazhena as I charged the Winterguard, separating Nazhena from them. Temerith and Durzak rushed her, cutting her before she had a chance to speak. The Winterguard tried to strike me with their halberds but my hide is thick and their arms were weak. It hurt, as much as the clockwork men in the clock tower, but it didn’t stop me. Nazhena died screaming and surrounded, my fangs deep into her shoulder, Temerith’s claws and Durzak’s blade buried in her guts and Athelryn’s arrow protruding from her chest. Only then did I realize that the thing she was talking to was some sort of clockwork automaton made solely of ice. Nazhena didn’t even have time to order it to attack before we killed her. It just stood, silent and detached, watching her die. The surviving Winterguard surrendered to us.

There was something, beyond the ice golem, that was blocking us from the Hut. It was like a small cloud of something, like steam off of hot rocks or something like that. It smelt strange, like chemicals. The Reality Distortion, Temerith and Durzak said. A distortion, that’s a good word for it. It seemed to boil and cool but was nothing at all. Temerith and Durzak both are fascinated by it. Both said not to touch it, for it might suck me into The First World (or Whorls? It’s hard to tell). We couldn’t get around it because it logger headed the path and the forest is too thick to cut through. We need to find the rest of the fairies who were making this thing and end them. Too bad for them.

Athelryn said she could hear the fairies music. She thought that they had just realizing that we had killed the one piper. It was only a matter of time before they came to check up on him. We hid by the stone altar and attacked when they came. Athelryn stood on top of the altar, Temerith behind it. Durzak and myself buried beneath a mound of snow. A short man with a redcap and a scythe howled as he burst in on us. A couple of the pipers, a male and a female, jumped out and played shrill notes on their pipes, hurting us with music (I know, weird right?). These two little ugly monsters hopped into the fray, trying to protect the female piper. The red-capped man tried to climb the altar to get to Athelryn. Bad idea because all she did was fire arrows into his face and neck. Temerith tore the male piper apart with her claws and Durzak killed the woman with his blade. Fairies hate cold iron. I bit one of the little ugly guys and kind of swallowed him whole. Not totally, I bit him off at the ankle, but I did get the rest of him. In my defense, he was really small and I was a little hungry. But, yeah, I accidentally ate one. Still feeling that in my poor tummy.

Killing the remaining pipers dissipated the Distortion, allowing us to face the Hut at last. I can’t describe this without sounding totally insane. It really is a small house and a giant chicken mixed into the same thing. It has a big beak and these huge legs, one of which was chained by this massive shackles. Athelryn yelled at the Hut until it stopped jumping and squawking and it settled down so we could cut the off chain. Now it’s free and just lying there, clucking contently.

There is a picket fence made of bones and skulls that surrounds The Hut. It is strewn with the bodies of the dead Riders. A slight female fey clad in white and a large male dressed in red. Both died violently and have been, I guess at Queen Elvanna’s insistence, strung up here as a message to the populace, only to have the forest spring up, hiding them from view. Stupid arrogant fool.

We can’t bury the two riders in this hard ground, so we’re going to leave them and hope the forest takes them. Doubtful. The Queen will send out the Winterguard once she realizes what has happened. Hopefully we can get in The Hut and find Baba Yaga before we get caught. We have two keys that the original Black Rider gave us in the beginning. I think one is a braid of hair? This is just so weird.

I don’t know when I’ll be able to write again. I should of found a way to get this message out before I went into this forest. I guess I rely too much on Patience for that kind of foresight. Give everyone my love and keep safe. Make sure Piety stays out of trouble (a full time job that). Don’t worry about me. I’m going to follow this destiny thing to the end. It can’t get that much weirder than it already is, right?

Right?

Valorous Get of Heartseeker, Black Rider of Irrisen

P.S. I wonder if this Hut eats?

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