Saga of the Northlands

Session 7: Danger In The Fjord

In Which The Party Nearly Gets Carried Away

The settlement move continues. The party decides to reinforce their new encampment with a bunch of strawmen around the perimeter to make it look like their force is much larger than it actually is. Skogur spends time scouting and spying on the Anglo-Saxons approaching their landing place. Ulfric also hides with his gang and watches the Anglo-Saxons.

When the invaders arrive, they start examining the Viking ship that Ulfric disguised. Unfortunately, they are not fooled, and they start looking around for others. Skogur and Ulfric’s party continue to watch them all that day and into the night.

That night, Skogur is awoken by the fluttering of ravens sitting on him and otherwise poking around his body. They are bold but turn reticent when he tries to pet one. He attempts to befriend one, but it rejects him and rolls its eyes.

Meanwhile, Ulfric sees a white horse with glowing eyes step out of the fjord. His men start making comments about riding the horse. The Anglo-Saxons seem fixated on it as well but aren’t making any moves toward it. Ulfric orders them all to stand their ground, but two of them can’t resist. The others manage to grapple them to the ground. They start getting noisy. One of the Anglo-Saxons also can’t resist and gets on the horse. The horse trots with its rider into the fjord, and a little later it returns . . . without its rider. Shortly afterward, one of the Anglo-Saxons apparently hears the commotion from Ulfric’s party and starts heading over toward them.

Meanwhile, Skogur decides to head back to camp because of the ravens. They naturally follow him.

Ulfric sends his men to hide in the trees flanking the approaching Anglo-Saxon. The man sees something and levels his spear. They jump on him and manage to pin him to the ground. He is knocked out cold before he’s able to cry out. Meanwhile, the Anglo-Saxon camp is mobilized and are distracted by the horse, not noticing that one of their number is missing.

Fortunately, Kulgan received inspiration earlier that the entire party should head down to check on Ulfric. Along his way back to the encampment, Skogur ends up having to take a few minutes to rest. He notices that the ravens fly around him in a circle while he rests. They continue the circular formation when he gets up to continue his journey. The ravens peel off when he gets in sight of Kulgan’s party. He joins them and tells them that the invaders are apparently a settlement force similar to their own, not an army. He also tells them about the mysterious horse. Eirliff identifies it as a nokkja, a shape-shifting water horse. They pick up the pace to get to Ulfric.

Ulfric sees the Anglo-Saxons light torches and surround the horse. Unfortunately, he and ten of his men give into the horse’s strange power. The five remaining soldiers all jump on Ulfric to hold him back, but they are unable. At this point, the party arrives and starts attacking the nokkja.

Kulgan casts a spell on Ulfric, which enlarges him to twice his normal size. Skogur starts firing arrows at the horse. The nokkja breaks free of its attackers and joins up with Ulfric. Álfraðr imbues himself with incarnum to increase his speed, and then runs up to Ulfric. He also asks the Anglo-Saxons, in their own language, to help keep Ulfric from getting on the horse. Eirliff casts Fengut on the horse, but that doesn’t impede it. The nokkja grabs Ulfric with its mouth to try to toss him onto its back, but Álfraðr smashes its mouth before it can complete the action. Unfortunately, Ulfric climbs onto the horse anyway, but because of his size he can’t quite sit on it very well. One of the Anglo-Saxons hits the nokkja with a torch and, much to everyone’s surprise, the creature turns completely black!

Kulgan runs up and hits the creature with his large axe. Eirliff Fiery Bursts the nokkja, which also ends up burning Ulfric. The horse turns toward the water, with Ulfric somewhat on its back, which gives the defenders opportunity to attack it again. The horse overruns the people around it and heads to the water. Asa gets some rope and attempts to grapple Ulfric, just barely managing to get the rope around him with Kulgan’s assistance. Skogur lets loose an arrow at Ulfric, hoping to get him to break free of the compulsion. It works! He snaps out of it and finds himself entangled in rope on top of a black horse, with an arrow in his back. “Skogur!”

The nokkja attempts to move Ulfric into the water, but he is held back by the rope. Ulfric then impales the creature from behind with his enlarged spear, causing massive bleeding. Eirliff Fiery Bursts it, but it seems to do no damage. Kulgan steps up and hits it with Shocking Grasp on his axe. That kills it dead. The ten other men under the compulsion break free of it.

The Anglo-Saxons thank them for saving their lives, and the party strongly encourages them to be on their way because the land is extremely dangerous and their landing party isn’t strong enough to handle it. The Anglo-Saxons leave them with some of their supplies as thanks.

With the danger averted, the party decides to return to their new encampment (the move is now done). After they arrive, Kulgan and Álfraðr start feeling pretty bad, Kulgan more so than Álfraðr. Kulgan is bedridden that day. They confirm that it’s not poison, but they’re not really sure what it is. They think it has something to do with the goblins. Eirliff examines the goblin claws they collected and determines that they appear to be disease-bearing. He doesn’t know what sickness it is, though. Skogur goes off to look for herbs he thinks might help. Then he and Eirlliff attempt to create some sort of medicine from it to heal Kulgan. They manage to create five doses. They use one on Álfraðr, and it works. So they use it on Kulgan, and his symptoms start to clear.

The day (night) of the equinox has finally arrived.

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