Ep 55: "Dealing in Blood"

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Mari and Saxi spent the morning attempting to research more about the Snow Queen, leader of the Winter Court of the Fey. They focussed on fey weaknesses and weapons that could be used against them. They were mostly unsuccessful. Mari then crafted a boat to send down the river in honor of her father and Saxi made a boat for the fallen members of the Resistance.

A hole had opened in the middle of the town. Pumpkins were everywhere. Saxi and Lark had been hanging with Mari to keep her from being alone. Oisin consulted Pinból regarding the Autumn and Winter Courts, but didn’t discover anything of use.

Oisin did learn that the Autumn and Winter Courts were the more malevolent of the Fey courts. The Winter Court was especially against humankind, while the Autumn Court was more middle-of-the-road, tending to do the dirty work. The Autumn Court was also more prone to being tricksters and the Winter Court could be more malicious.

At Mo’s, Lark asked Mo about possible security in the tower. There wasn’t much. Lark mentioned that some way to magically hide Mari would be useful, and Saxi went to ask Pinból to borrow his ring of Spell Turning. Pinból agreed as long as it was returned later. Saxi obtained it from Mo’s room, and Mari attuned to it. Lark commented that Cyl was absent, rode the slide, and departed for her workshop.

Lark met up with Cyl at her workshop in the Guildsman District and discussed the evening’s events. Lark was planning to spend time in the forest while the city’s children wandered for the Bravesoul Trials, jumping out, and scaring them as a monster. He ultimately decided, with Cyl’s advice, that he should guide the children instead. They then headed back to Mo’s.
Saxi opened the door of the tower for Lark and Cyl. She saw several pumpkins and gourds rolling quickly behind them and had to react quickly. Saxi managed to slam the door shut in time before the gourds could enter the tower. Lark went upstairs and asked Mo if he had anything to prevent someone from climbing the slide. Mo slid out a dresser and Lark took it upstairs to the top of the slide. The dresser was rather heavy, and seemed full of weapons, mostly daggers. Lark emptied the dresser and pushed it out the window down the slide.

The group continued to hear pumpkins and gourds collide with the side of the building. As they listened, they also became more nervous about the pumpkins and gourds possibly getting into the tower, so they went up to get a better view. Pip looked out the second floor window and saw  the pumpkins and gourds piling themselves up on the front door and at the bottom of the slide. The group, having realized that the tower might become overrun, headed down to the basement and used the teleportation circle to go up to Pinból’s fortress.

In Pinból’s Flying Fortress, Oisin asked for the wizard’s assistance, but he was at a loss as to how to aid the group. He recommended trying to find out exactly what the Courts wanted with Mari. Pinból recommended talking with the fey and trying to negotiate.

In the lobby, pumpkins could be heard knocking against the side of the flying fortress. Pinból stated that it should be impossible for anyone to detect them inside the building. Oisin realized that they might be tracking an item and posited that it had something to do with the dagger Cyl took from the Snow Queen. Mari cast Augury, using her Nikosta abilities, to find out whether or not it would be beneficial to go speak with the fey. The results showed weal, which meant the results would be positive. They decided as a group to go speak with Hazamoo.

They found Hazamoo in the living room, seated on a throne of pumpkins. Mari began negotiations and the group, as a whole, asked a lot of questions. They were told that all of the Fey Courts had been in a contest to find the Baba Yaga. They had tried every way they could find to look for her and had finally found one last method to attempt.  

The issue was that this last method they had found would require ALL of Mari’s blood, taken all at once and ending her life. Also, this was only in order to possibly find the Baba Yaga. The Fey Courts did not even know if using a Nikosta’s blood for their ritual would actually locate the Baba Yaga at all. The party wasn’t convinced of the necessity of trying this ritual, but Hazamoo wasn’t willing to take no for an answer. Several of the pumpkins, along with two Jack-o-Lanterns, piled onto one another and created two Pumpkin Golems.

The wall was suddenly ripped away from behind Hazamoo, revealing the Snow Queen. Hazamoo was pulled out of the room violently by her magic and they began to fight each other.. The golems turned and attacked the group. They spewed pumpkin guts in a wide spray, causing people to fall prone, then threw flaming pumpkin fists, and summoned carving knives to their hands.

The party was victorious just before the Snow Queen chucked Hazamoo away from the tower and over some buildings She began to approach the group and demanded Mari go with her. She then began to encase Mo’s Tower in ice. The party tried to argue that they had no need of Mari, or her blood, when the contest had already been going for one thousand years.

Pip was able to catch her attention with a meandering point, and a pumpkin hit the Queen on the head. Hazamoo had returned with an army of pumpkin men. The Queen put up a wall of ice to prevent the party from escaping the tower and went back to fighting Hazamoo. The party sprang into action, grabbed Mo and Tre, and descended to the basement.

They all tried to wait, and go last, to protect each other and pumpkins began descending the stairs. Everyone, and a single pumpkin, made it through the portal except for Saxi and Lark. They used Misty Step to exit via the sewer grate and headed towards the river.

The wizard was gone as they appeared in the floating fortress, and the people upstairs did not know where Lark and Saxi might be. They could not locate a scroll of Sending and grew frustrated. They tried to look down at the tower, but could not make out anything resembling Lark or Saxi.

Pinból showed up with an armload of pressed costumes, ready for the evening’s festivities. He sent a message to Saxi asking for their status and where they were. She replied that they were okay and heading to the river.

As they discussed what to do, and how to keep Mari out of the focus of the Fey, it occurred to a couple of party members that there was a reservoir of Mari’s blood buried within the forest. Her old human body from before she died had been buried in the woods. Pinból thought that the body would work, and was willing to go speak with the leaders of the Courts. Pip told the wizard where to find them, when negotiations had been started, within the forest. In turn, the wizard showed them the “back door” and the party left. They picked up Lark and Saxi and wen
t into the forest.

At the sunflower covered grave, the party debated the merits of making deals with the two Courts. They waited for Pinbòl and the Court leaders, who arrived shortly. Pinból told the group that the Fey Courts had agreed to retreat from the city and they would repair the damage done to Cinderhaven. Pinól also warned the group that the Winter Court would be far more dangerous as an enemy.

They talked about potential deals to make and settled on fix the city, the Fey couldn’t come after Mari again, a favor of the court, fix the boat lift, and look for a cure for Blightshale. Pinból spoke with the two Fey and they agreed to those terms. He came back to the group and they discussed who to pick. They were worried about angering either Court.

Pinból had an idea relating to the fact that the Autumn Court only sent a lesser member of the court, while the Winter Court sent their queen. He went to speak with the Fey again and came back after a brief discussion. The two Courtiers had agreed to a deal between themselves.

Hazamoo would get the glory of finding the body and be given more power as he joined the Winter Court. The Queen would get a new lackey in Hazamoo, as well as Mari’s human body to conduct their ritual. Mari would be protected from the Winter Court for the duration of her life in any form. Also, if the ritual failed, they would not seek Mari out to try to use her lifeblood for the ritual.

All parties agreed and the deal was struck. The Snow Queen touched Hazamoo on the forehead and he shifted to her Court. His skin turned blue tinged, his clothing changed, and he was able to summon icicles to cover the ground. After touching Hazamoo, and making him part of her court, the two Fey realized that he would not be able to remove the pumpkins as he had promised.

The Snow Queen said she could take care of it with snowfall and to coat the pumpkins and give her the ability to remove them. The group agreed that this was an acceptable solution and earned slight respect by not demanding another favor of them. It was obvious the two Fey appreciated not being forced to make another deal for the broken agreement.

The Queen rubbed Mari’s hand and a ring made of glass appeared on her right ring finger. This was the manifestation of the Favor that Mari had gotten from the deal. The group left then, not wanting Mari to see her old body dug up.

Back in town the people were thrilled, and energized, by the display the pumpkin gourd golems had created. Many felt it was the best festival ever, because of the pumpkin golems. The group split up to enjoy the Tribute Festival in their own way.

Mari spent it with Nathan, enjoying the holiday. Cyl dressed as a hero who fought a sea monster, and then became a monster himself, and performed with two groups of mummers. Lark dressed as the hero GB had told him about, the dwarf named Hobbes, and went to the Banyan Forest with GB. They lead kids around the woods for their Bravesoul Trials. Pip learned about the eggtube origins, as well as a hero named Draska who had loved them, and set up a pumpkin egg tart booth at the festival. Saxi enjoyed not standing out and and revelled in the festival activities.

That evening, to close out the festival, people all over the city went to the water to float lanterns. Saxi, having gotten a list from Aldion,  lit a lantern with the names of all the fallen Dawn members. She also floated one for Heliya and one for the king. She felt that Seldanna would have done so, an she did it in Seldanna’s place. Oisin spent the day with Pinbol and said they were happy to have him and know him. At the river other people from the town came to honor their friends and family. Kurt Brambleknut and his wife had a small boat they put on the water, Ivy had a boat with a few names, and even Vasafra came down to the water with a boat bearing a single name.

As the night started to wind down, a white mist seemed to descend from the sky and split the clouds as it drifted toward the river. It grew until it began to take on the shape of a ghostly white ship. Then, it grew until it settled into the lantern light and the people on it were visible. The people made of white stone like the ship. Seeing the lanterns, the Goa realized a remembrance was happening, and one of them held a torch. They let their ship join those meant to honor the fallen.

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