Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy
Killer of Giants
The Fall of Magni, as told by Naeris
As Freeport fled [editor’s note: This detail does not appear to be based in fact], brave Naeris rounded up a group of intrepid adventurers to chase Magni and his retinue. Valik the Half-Orc and Akasta the Gnome (plus panther companion) from The Salty Circumnavigators, Rhak M'haad and Zellekkar from Clerical Error, and Brave Naeris and Bodi'ka from Kraken Knuckles. Clerical Error transported all but Naeris on their airship, The SS Hail Volcanis. On her noble Griffon Naeris leads the airship through the blizzard, attempting to find Magni and his troops.
Suddenly, the air exploded with a loud crack, and the airship began to drop. Sensing death if they stayed on board, everyone jumps. Several attempt to slow themselves by magical means, only to find nothing to happen. Valik slams into a mountain, attempting to slow his fall by digging a dagger into the rock, before grabbing and activating a a floating board. Above him Akasta falls, screaming his gnome scream with his panther animal companion pondering life without his beastmaster. Rhak M'haad and Zellekkar also slam into the mountain. They lock arms as Zellekkar reaches into his bag of holding and pulls out an Immovable Rod. Activating the rod, Zellekkar lurches to a stop while holding on to Rhak M'haad, nearly dislocating his shoulder. Naeris sends the trusty griffon down and grabs Bodi'ka by the hand.
Behind them, the SS Hail Volcanis crashes into the mountains. Gathering themselves, the tri-party group trudges forward through the snow and wind, relying on a gnome who can hardly see above the snow drift.
After a time, the group reaches a clearing centered around a frozen lake. Across the lake stands Magni, flanked by two Frost Giants and two Winter Wolves. Behind Magni stands a female Formorian, looking very witchy. Both sides rush to engage.
Valik casts Invisibility on himself and Akasta before rushing forward across the frozen lake. Akasta moves his panther companion forward while invisibly slinking behind it. Rhak M'haad and Zellekkar move to the right of the lake. Naeris drinks her potion of growth (growing to a size that finally matches her ferocity) and dismounts from her griffon, only to see it rudely fly away. She then calls forth her magical, trusty, lion and hops on it’s back, sprinting to the left of the frozen lake. Bodi'ka hesitates while everyone rushes forward before finally letting loose arrows into the lake, right in front of Magni. The cracks in the ice spiderweb out, but the ice holds.
Magni rushes across the ice and attacks the poor panther, the only visible threat within his reach, with a Winter Wolf right behind. One of the lackey Frost Giants moves left, trailed by the Fomo witch. The remaining Frost Giant and Winter Wolf give chase to the true threat, Naeris and the Lion.
Magni makes short work of the poor panther, but not before Valik lets loose a flurry of dagger attacks on Magni. Valik, however, feels the cold bite of Magni and the Winter Wolf in return, as he becomes encased in a block of ice. Akasta also grunts as ice spears thrown across the lake hit.
Rhak M'haad and Zellekkar make their across the ice towards Magni, as Rhak M'haad unleashes four attacks imbued by a magical item. Magni staggers, but stands. Zellekkar, perplexed with no magic, attempts to join in but misses.
The remaining frost giant and winter wolf train their attacks on Naeris’s lion, who succumbs to the cold and becomes encased in ice. Naeris attacks the frost giant with Calefdwlch, hitting at will with the sword as she is its one true wielder, but her attacks fail to find much purchase.
Soon after, Valik falls to Magni and the winter wolf’s blows. Magni moves forward and slams down at the ice in front of Akasta, creating a hole that the tiny gnome falls into. Soon after, the hole ices over. Magni fearfully moves away from Naeris and towards Rhak M'haad and Zellekkar. Rhak M'haad and Zellekkar find themselves surrounded by two frost giants, a winter wolf, and a fast closing Fomo witch.
Bodi'ka moves towards Valik, hoping to heal him, but finds herself unable to as the half-orc is encased in ice. Akasta teleports himself out of the ice, over 10 feet in the air, and fires at Magni. Only to drop through the ice once again on the fall back down.
Naeris stays engaged with the frost giant and the winter wolf, disarming the frost giant and screaming in his face before running towards Magni.
Surrounded, both Rhak M'haad and Zellekkar fall. As the giants and winter wolf continue to beat on their lifeless corpses Zellekkar strangely turns into ash. Valik’s last breath escapes his body too. Bodi'ka and Naeris see him change from a half-orc to a strange albino elf.
Naeris, seeing three of her tri-party companions fallen and having zero idea where the strange gnome has run off to changes Calefdwlch’s form to a bow. And fires two bolts of force to Magni. One hits, but again seems to hit the wrong place. Magni reels but stays up. Immediately after, Bodi'ka fires at Magni and fells him.
The remaining frost giants flee, with the winter wolves in tow. The Fomo witch walks up to Magni and proceeds to bash the frost giant’s head in. Akasta emerges from the water, having hidden from Magni successfully.
Seeking answers Naeris approaches the Fomo witch holding Calefdwlch out in sword form. Before Naeris can react, the witch pries the Meadhbh ring off her hand and begins to run away. Bodi'ka and Naeris give chase, firing arrows at the witch before she explodes into a pile of snow and water.
Naeris and Bodi'ka, heretofore known as the Amazon Brigade, begin cutting Magni’s head off and figuring out how to transport a weird albino elf, a 260 lb Dragonborn in armor, and the ashes of Zellekkar. After beheading Magni, Naeris ties the head to Calefdwlch and shunts the sword to its extra dimensional space. Bodi'ka begins constructing a makeshift sled to tow Rhak M'haad’s and Valik’s body. Naeris finds her lion figurine, sweeps Zellekkar’s ashes into a vial before and places it, along with Rhak M'haad’s armor and equipment, into Zellekkar’s bag of holding.
The survivors then follow Akasta through the mountains again in search of a place to stay the night. Akasta successfully finds a cavern for the night and the three bed down, looking for a much deserved rest…
Only to awake as children, dressed in winter finery, being told to dance and twirl and listen to the beat of an orchestra. Fighting off rats with wooden weapons given to them onstage, placing their safety in a wooden nutcracker, eating sugar plum dresses. As the play ends, the participants heard clapping from the crowd as three people were revealed — The Piper, a horned woman with fangs, and a nondescript man in disheveled clothing. Akasta, Bodi'ka, and Naeris all awake in the cave.
Waltz of the Flowers
Nutkraken, as told by Pthalo
Pthalo, Il'an, and Nariel found themselves whisked back behind the Fomorian lines as they retreat into the trees having learned of the capture of the Dovrgrubin and Magni’s abandonment of their cause on the field of battle. With the help of the dryads the group tree strides underground deep beneath the surface where they emerge into a subterranean metropolis populated by creatures of various shapes and sizes. A large bustling city where the Fomorians have made their home since retreating from the surface world known as Tiarmann Faoi Tor. The denizens of the underground city seemed to be rattled by the news from the battle above on the surface. A giant imposing figure by the name of Dame Molly bids the Salty Circumnavigators to follow her so that they can discuss recents events and plans moving forward. She tasks a large ogre who Pthalo recognizes as Finvarra of the Diane Sidhe, who previously assisted Winterguard in it’s defense against the Alizarin Imperium, with gathering and reserving the remaining forces of the Fomorian armies.
Upon arrival in the Dovrgrubin’s throne room an exasperated Dame Molly turns to the group and asks how they would council in this dire time after first expressing some urgency in recovering the Dovrgrubin from Iskanderyn capture. Most of the back and forth between the Salty Circumnavigators and Dame Molly sounded incomprehensible to Pthalo, some sort of Fomorian refuge known as Hydrasil, plans to travel to Galt with werewolves sent to accompany the Salty Circumnavigators by human-looking figures dressed in Victorian garb called Robert and Rosalyn Latrice who disappeared into a portal and talked about playing Parcheesi...?
Brightlaugh and Riven Fen start to inform Dame Molly of recent developments on a secluded island 7 days journey from mainland Iskander where 7 tombs were discovered by the party. Something about the conversation reminded Pthalo and Nariel of the 7 major Gods that were primarily worshipped on Iskander. But before they could ask about the 2 broken tombs discovered the entire joint party was pulled into a dream wherein they were child versions of themselves made to perform a Nutcracker Dance recital. Every being in vision aside from the party appeared to be marionettes including the audience. The Toymaker resembled Olrinn the castellan of Iskander. The party generally wreaked havoc in dance form. Nariel and Pthalo worked together and succeeded in breaking out of the stage, the performance hall, and even reached the “outside world’ but all the inhabitants of what appeared to be a turn of the century city were again marionettes. At the end of the performance the whole party was transported back together and the audience had been replaced with three figures applauding for us; an unremarkable man, a woman with stringy hair, and a man in a multicolored jacket who Pthalo recognized as The Piper.
Leave (Get Out)
Shortly after the Dovrgruvin was captured, dusk fell, and the armies began to separate. The Dovrgruvin capitulated quietly under Jarl Osrik’s sword, and he and his elite guard led Freeport and most of Clerical Error back to camp.
Bolin and Zorin Enoch noticed several of Jarl Habiek’s men roaming the battlefield and executing wounded Fomorians. The dwarf and halfling confronted Habiek about the behavior, to which Habiek said that his men were “ensuring their enemies do not rise up again to fight us”. Zorin Enoch expressed concern over the unnecessary ruthlessness of the behavior, and Bolin managed to persuade Habiek not to invite the wrath of the Fomorians when the war has just been won.
Once everyone arrived back at camp and Osrik’s troops secured the Dovrgruvin in a tent, an argument broke out at the center of camp among the nobles, with the loudest voices belonging to Jarl Habiek and Jarl Aethelwulf, who both suggest that the Dovrgruvin should have been killed on the field of battle, and Habiek demands that he be allowed to slay the Dovrgruvin now. Freeport points out that the war was to last from sun-up to sun-down, and since the war is now over, the decision of what to do with a prisoner such as the Dovrgruvin should fall to the High Jarl, and thus wait until the Jarlsmoot has ended. Jarl Osrik, who had remained silent during the argument, advised he would be taking the Dovrgruvin to Farhaven, to be watched over by the castellan, Olrinn, and will remain his Osrik’s custody until that time.
As the night grew deeper, ribbons of light shine across the sky, and Freeport and Peren take the natural phenomenon as an invitation to party. Peren took the lead, with Freeport playing back-up, as the mood of the camp changed and most joined in and began singing along and dancing. Bolin, however, took the opportunity to profess his awe for Astrid by reading out a letter he had written her: “Astrid, I fought today inspired by the memory of your battle against the dragon. You are a true and beautiful guardian of the people. I look forward to future battles and glory fighting by your side.” Bolin did so on the outside of Astrid’s tent because her shieldmaidens would not deliver the letter for him. However, late in the night, one of the shieldmaidens hand-delivered a message to Bolin that simply read “Good fight.”
By dawn, when Freeport and the last of the revelers had just fallen asleep, Clerical Error, Bolin, and Freeport found themselves being attended to by fey creatures dressing them in costume and doing their make-up. They looked around and saw each of them appeared to be younger versions of themselves--practically children. A haggard woman with red hair and wearing a whip at her hip called five minutes to curtain.
The group tried to resist and argue, but the woman cracked her whip and ushered them out onto the stage. Marionette figures rose up from the floor as their strings were pulled taut from above, and the stage lights brightened--too bright to see the audience beyond the stage. The marionettes appeared to be wooden figures in the shapes of Ingvald, Habiek, Aethelwulf, Osrik, and Olrinn. They were soon joined by a clockwork Toymaker who presented each of the children with a wrapped box. The group unwrapped them in dramatic fashion as they danced around the stage, apparently unable to walk and talk as they normally would. Each box revealed small toy-like versions of their equipment--aside from Bolin, who received a rag doll, and Gem, who received a nutcracker.
As the toymaker and the adult figures leave, a maid-like marionette with a face like Frigga shoos the children onto beds that have rolled out onto the stage. The toys began to move on their own, and several rats of unusual size arrive on stage to attempt to steal the toys. The rats crawl all over each other, forming one massive rodent. Bolin heroically stood between the rodent and toys and began defiantly priouetting to defend the toys, then aggressively jetes until the Rat King relents and exits the stage. A giant sleigh arrives on stage, and the children and toys jump aboard.
The backdrop changes and the group finds themselves at the palace of the queen of fairyland. However, as the children and the toys meet the queen, giant bees arrive, causing the toys to flee. The bees are soon joined by the sugar plum fairy, bearing the face of the dread mistress Keira Knightley. Gem responded immediately, dancing a brise that could only be interpreted as “that skinny bitch”. The group begins to defend the fairy queen while Maya and Freeport go on the offensive to jete the sugar plum fairy off stage. As the play runs to an end and the group finds themselves back in their beds, the curtain descends. As the group lines up down stage to the applause of the audience, the stage lights dim and the audience becomes visible as three lone individuals--a plain man, a filthy woman in furs, and a man with a long flute wearing a patchwork cloak.
The group wakes, and Clerical Error finds this group dream to be extremely suspicious and suspect the Dovrgruvin of foul play. Freeport shrugged off the notion, advising that ballet dreams are totally normal. The group approaches the Dovrgruvin’s tent and find Osrik, telling him that the Dovrgruvin was controlling their minds and must be killed. Osrik tells the clerics that the Dovrgruvin’s fate is not their decision to make, but offers permission to speak to the Dovrgruvin. The Dovrgruvin doesn’t understand the questions about the dream, and the clerics and Osrik learn that the Dovrgruvin doesn’t command the giants, and was not responsible for the attack on Osrik’s land, as the Fomorians did not take up arms until the war. Bolin asks the Dovrgruvin about the witch at Magni’s side, and the Dovrgruvin advises that there are some who can change their appearance, and even the Dovrgruvin would appear differently under kinder stars. The Dovrgruvin admits that Magni consorted with ancient forces that seemed to favor him. The Dovrgruvin says he has seen enough bloodshed to last a lifetime, but still seeks redress for the wrongs committed against his people. Bolin and Freeport suggest to Osrik that a more secure location for the Dovrgruvin is needed. As the war was started by agents from among the jarls, it would seem that assassins are intending to stir up this conflict and may strike against the Dovrgruvin again. Bolin and Freeport convince Osrik to send the Dovrgruvin to the meadery of Kraken Knuckles, and Clerical Error decides to plot a decoy to draw out the assassins.