What was meant to be a full evening of gaming was cut short by a sudden but inevitable plumbing disaster. The water was mopped up but the game came to a crashing halt. We still managed to get quite a bit accomplished.
Grimnar, Toril, and Ulu travel overland toward the ancient city of Tikerak. They are riding ice sleds, pulled swiftly over the frozen ground by a pack of sturdy tundra goats. The trip is long and supplies run low, so Grimnar attempts to forage for some food. Ulu helps, but they are unable to find enough food to sustain them and so must divert to a nearby village. Grimnar had wished to travel quickly and unseen, but the rumble in their bellies spoiled that plan.
As they approach the village, the goats begin to act nervous and have to be forced to continue. Grimnar finally brings them to a halt when he spots a body in the snow, torn apart and partially eaten. The tracks around the body confirm his deepest fears. The animal-things must have found the village. It turned out to be far worse.
Bodies, human and animal, lie strewn about the village. The bodies, like the one they had already seen, were torn apart and devoured. The animals were worse. They had transformed into twisted mockeries of themselves: a goat with two heads and claws like an eagle, a dog with spider eyes and legs. Luckily, the creatures were barely able to function, unlike the four man-beasts that still lurked about the village, tearing at the flesh of the bodies all around them. Grimnar draws the Father, but realizes the futility of a fight with four of the foul things, so he and Toril flee the village. They had come in on foot, having told Ulu to stay clear and meet them at a certain copse of woods on the horizon should anything happen, which turned out to be an excellent plan. Grimnar and Toril race across the plain toward the woods, slipping and sliding on the frozen turf. The creatures move with speed and an almost supernatural sure-footedness and they easily win a speed test against the slower duo, catching them well short of their goal. Grimnar and Toril turn to fight, intent on striking quickly to slow the creatures and then escaping to the woods. A bloody versus test ensues, with Grimnar winning, but suffering a superficial wound. Toril suffers a light wound as one of the creatures gores her, but they manage to escape to the woods and lose their pursuers. When they are reasonably safe, Grimnar takes the time to apply a bit of field dressing to Toril's wound. The creatures look and smell nasty, so he doesn't want to see her wound fester.
Some time later, Grimnar and Toril meet back up with Ulu. They think to continue on to Tikerak and somehow find food on the way, but change their plans when they came across the tracks of a large group moving away from the village. They follow the tracks and find half a dozen refuges from the village, having escaped both the transformation and the creature's attacks. They agree to follow Grimnar to Tikerak and, hopefully, safety, but the plan to forage along the way now seems impossible with such a large group.
Grimnar and Ulu scout the area and find a deep ice crevasse. With a little help from the villagers they rig a trap.
With the trap in place, Grimnar and Toril sneak back toward the village. Three of the animal-creatures are there, once again devouring the frozen flesh of the fallen. Toril puts an arrow through the leg of the fastest among them and the chase is on! This time, father and daughter have enough of a head start and are able to stay ahead of the creatures, though it's close. They lead them toward the crevasse and leap over. The villagers, hidden nearby, cheer as the three monsters crash through the rigged cover and plunge into the crevasse. The fall doesn't kill them but they are trapped in the crevasse, screaming in rage and pain. Grimnar leaves no loose ends, so he and the villagers hurl stones and boulders down atop the creatures until they are dead. The group is able to safely return to the village and secure enough supplies to see them to Tikerak. In their gratitude, the villagers give Grimnar a handful of precious stones, a bronze dagger, and a new bow. While in the village, Grimnar notices the tents are all pushed over outward from a central point, like an explosion went off in the village center. The villagers confirm that was the source of a wave of black energy that triggered the transformations. They know nothing else about it.
The trip to the ancient city is long but uneventful. The city itself, when they arrive, is breathtaking. The area around the city is warm, 30 or so degrees warmer than the surrounding land. The scent of sulfur from the hot springs around the city fills the air. Fruit trees even grow in small groves around the ancient buildings.
A small village, partially constructed by loose stones pried from the buildings of the ancient city, has sprung up at the city's edge. Well over a hundred of Ulu's people live here year round and huge fields are being made ready for the arrival of all the other tribes for the Great Meet in a few months.
Grimnar's band is met by armed sentinels guarding the pathways to the city, but when they identify themselves, they are allowed to enter the village and are given accommodations and food. Grimnar asks to speak to the Great Seer but is told that she will see him in the morning. No amount of arguing will allow him to speak with her sooner. With no other recourse, Grimnar, Toril, and Ulu settle in to eat and rest in the hut provided. Grimnar had noticed Toril's longing gazes upon the Father during their travels, so he spins a yarn about the burden of the sword and the great hardships he's had to endure to keep it safe. He succeeds in a persuasion roll and manages to buy himself some time before she makes her move for the blade. At least he hopes he has.
The next morning, Grimnar and his party are ushered before a council of the People, led by the Great Seer. Grimnar shares his tale and the council whispers urgently amongst themselves. They ask to see the Father and ask Grimnar if he knows what he bears. Grimnar answers that the Father is his responsibility and his burden, which seems to satisfy the council. They tell him that the Father was constructed by the "People Before" to destroy the spirit Tarshish. The "People Before", they tell him, are the same people who built the ancient city by which their village stands. A young, brash hunter argues that Grimnar should enter the city and slay a spirit that lives within. The elders argue against such brash action, claiming that by killing the spirit they may destroy the city. Grimnar agrees to kill the spirit if it means helping to eventually destroy Tarshish and, in turn, destroy the Father. The elders gasp in shock that Grimnar would agree to such a dangerous and rash action, but the younger council members clap their hands and shout encouragement. Grimnar is not sure what he has agreed to do, but he has a bad feeling about it....
Thus ends Session Two
The Father of Swords is dangerous. It is a beacon for evil and greed and I must remain vigilant against those who would use it for their own ends.
I will seek out the spirit of Tikerak and destroy it, even if it means the destruction of the city.
I will track down and destroy the Great Spirit, Tarshish, so that I can be rid of the burden of the Father of Swords.