Frozen Fingers of Midnight

Wherein two shoanti, a paladin of Iomedae, a half elven ranger, a Varisian sorcerer and an Ulfen exile help save the life of an Ulfen pirate and Pathfinder. The paladin is beaten into a “lawful coma” according to the shoanti Parlay while the rest survive intact.

Erlig an exile, not for what he did but for what he can do, is the leader of the group. It is in Sandpoint where the message reaches Erlig.

By ship a note arrives written in Skald (Ulfen language).

“I have been suffering from a cold that none can cure since the day I brought you to Magnimar from the north. As each day passes it grows worse until now I cannot even rise from my bed. It is clear now from the priests who have tried to cure me that I have been cursed and that it cannot be broken by their spells. I am soon to die and I wish that you take the artifact that I was intending to bring to the Pathfinder Grand Lodge in Absalom in my stead. Come to my townhouse in Magnimar and retrieve it. If I am able to speak to you I shall attempt to answer any questions you have. I have asked that a note be passed to the Pathfinder lodge in Absalom as well.”

The note is signed in a shaky hand “Skeleg the Ripper”

Erlig does not need to be told that there is no greater dishonor for a warrior to die in a sick bed instead of in battle.

Unfortunately it takes Erlig a few days to respond to the request for aid. When he finally does he comes into conflict with unknown Ulfen guards who have taken over Skeleg’s townhouse and are attempting to turn all visitors away. Erlig sends his friend the paladin to negotiate with the men while he and his other companions sneak into the house through a second story window. Once inside they discover Skeleg still alive but on his death bed with a body servant to attend him. They clear out the unwanted guards in short order and ask Skeleg what has happened.

Skeleg tells his tale of an ill-omened Ulfen funeral of a war leader named Haldyr. It is an ancient tradition amongst the Ulfen people for a war leader’s chief wife to accompany him into death. However, this wife was not Ulfen, but Irrisen and a sorceress. She had no wish to die and was able to convince Skeleg to help her in exchange for the Light of the North, a minor artifact in the horde of Haldyr ready to be sent down into the deep along with all else of his possessions, including his wife.

The group learns that Skeleg is cursed and that they will need to procure the lantern that the son of Haldyr took from Skeleg’s home and shine its light upon a certain tapestry which now bears the image of the Ulfen’s funeral ship frozen solid in an iceberg. They also learn that one of Skeleg’s men tried to enter the ship through a portal that appeared when the lantern’s light shone upon the tapestry. And that Skeleg allowed Haldyr‘s wife, the witch, to take her husband’s ship and leave for wherever she wished with his wealth and crew.

Upon hearing that they would be facing an Irrisen witch, the shoanti Parlay sets about canvassing the Magnimaran sewing supply shops to locate knitting needles made of silver. According to him, “the only way to kill a white witch of the north is to shove silver needles in her eyes.” Rain, the half elf, protests this “logic” saying, “shoving knitting needles of any kind into someone’s eyes can kill someone.” But the Shoanti will not hear of any dissent and purchases several for himself and his fellow shoanti, Agrent.

Thus well supplied, the party sets out to rescue the Lantern of the North from Haldyr’s son, Bengeir. Who is holding forth at a warehouse on the docks near a tavern the Rosy Fingers, frequented by Ulfen sailors who stop in Magnimar to resupply or look for other ship crews to join. First they send in Agrent, who is a fine swimmer to scout the scene, which he does admirably. Being wise in the ways of his people, Erlig knows these men will not simply hand over the Lantern. So he seeks to gather some fellows who hadn’t shipped out yet after being abandoned in Magnimar’s dock district by Skeleg. These fellows he finds. With words and ales he persuades them to stage a riot to distract Bengeir’s guards while the party sneaks to the top of the warehouse looking for ways inside.

All but the paladin Samson are able to reach the top of the building before Bengeir’s men exit the building. In panic at being seen before they have gotten themselves into position, those atop the structure fire at Bengeir, who they can see through the skylights on the roof. This leaves Samson alone on the ground floor outside the warehouse when Bengeir’s men exit and see him there. The surround him, and even as Bengeir himself is taken down, Bengeir’s men hew down the paladin. Once the paladin is down the men make for the ropes the party left behind to climb back down. But they are all shot down to a man before they can reach the top of the structure. One Shoanti puts it down to “height superiority” saying that often ensures success. The other shoanti looks down in pity at the paladin, who due to his phenomenal stamina has stopped bleeding to death on his own, and says, “Fair fights are for fools. If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics are poor.”

Back at Skeleg’s townhouse the group positions the retrieved Lantern and opens the portal to the ship. They enter and discover the ship is locked within a frozen iceberg. They find Haldyr’s crew, now turned into zombies and Haldyr himself turned into something worse. After dealing with the undead they move to the other side of the ship that had been blocked off by the ice.

 As they enter the witch’s living space she seeks to disarm them with words. This proves to be not the best course of action for she is interrupted in midsentence by a screaming shoanti warrior with a silver knitting needle in each hand. He is on her and trying to stab her eyes out with them before she can react. She beats him off and steps back to cast color spray dropping the mad shoanti into unconsciousness. Unfortunately this gives the rest of the party time to position themselves wide enough apart that she cannot target more than two. She is only able to drop the Varisian with a spell before the rest can bring her to an unconscious state. The shoanti with the needles picks himself back up and promptly shoves his needles into her eyes, thus snuffing out her life.

In triumph the group decides they had better leave the Lantern aboard the ship as it might end the curse and it might also prevent a curse upon them. With the Lantern returned to the ship and the group retreating back to Magnimar, they call the day a success and head back to their Inn wondering where the other members of their group have gotten themselves.

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