The trip across the rest of the Lands of the Linnorm Kings began. The caravan crossed the great river over to Iceferry. Over there, they took on a few more guards, one of which was Leo, the man who had helped Elsa keep track of Acimon while waiting for the horse’s revival.
On the way across the Thanelands towards the Crown of the World, the caravan animals started getting agitated and worried, having picked up on a scent of something nearby. Rehoofa and Marcel broke off to go see what it was, and found Skygni waiting for them just over a hill. Skygni waited for Elsa to catch up so he could address them all. He said that he didn’t like being in debt to someone, and he offered his services as a companion for the duration of the trip across the Crown of the World, even though he was pretty sure they were all going to die. The party accepted his offer, and Skygni followed along with the caravan, staying at a distance to avoid agitating the animals too much.
Mere days later, Leo awoke one night to feel something calling to him. He found his way into a wagon, where he uncovered an ornate box and opened it, revealing the Amatatsu Seal. He was afflicted with the same visions the rest of the party had felt back in Brinewall, and was then left unconscious.
The rest of the party woke up to the blast of brilliant energy coming from the wagon, and found Leo, dragging him out. They accosted him, asking what his intentions were with the Seal, but Suishen set them straight, saying that he now sensed that the Seal had marked Leo as a scion, finding him worthy of such a position. Maia confirmed that she felt the Seal’s touch on Leo, much as she’d felt it on the others.
With wary acceptance of the new scion, the party continued on. As the caravan crossed into the Stormspear Hills leading into the frozen north, the caravan started to suffer from stomach cramps: some of the food they had bought had been rotten. Elsa and Meckrin set about purifying the food and tending to the sick, keeping the caravan mostly on its way. The troubles did not end there, however, as an invisible stalker attacked the caravan mere days later. With help from Suishen, Elsa was able to see the beast, an amorphous being of air. She and the rest of the party struck it down.
Caravan morale was low at that point: mere days into the journey across the Crown of the World, they had already hit two major problems. Marcel entertained the caravan that night with his jokes, helping to perk up the workers.
Marcel’s morale remained low however, as he had another nightmare that very night. He woke up stiff, and Elsa woke up to find some of her clothes had been shredded as though by claws. Suishen, who had been with her, mentioned that someone humanoid had come into her wagon that night, but it had not been able to recognize the person.
Marcel was worried, but kept his concerns to himself. The rest of the caravan took precautions, doubling up on sleeping arrangments so that no one was alone. Elsa originally shared a wagon with Maia, but would eventually move out to share with Marcel, while Kelda shared with Maia. Elsa also handed of Suishen to Leo, feeling more confident in her claws and teeth than with a sword. Leo accepted the gift, and Suishen approved as well, sensing that Leo was both a scion and a warrior.
The caravan moved across the Stormspear Hills, where Ulf explained they were passing through the Giant-Downs, formerly a land of giants, now a sort-of holy ground where old giants might come to spend their last days. As they passed through the Giant-Downs, Skygni warned them that they were being followed. The party branched off to look around, where they heard a voice demanding that they leave this holy ground. The party ignored this warning and challenged the speaker to come out. They soon found themselves facing a frost giant and his pet winter wolf.
The party fought the pair, striking them down with some effort. They then searched around, finding the winter wolf’s lair, where a picked-over corpse and a ruined wagon waited. They found a few scraps of treasure, the best of which was a magical map showing the Crown of the World, as well as the weather forming across it.
Ulf was impressed by the map, but also worried. He pointed to clouds forming on the far side of the Crown, explaining those were the early signs of a Morokozo, a hungry storm. He explained that the Crown of the World was infused with a bizarre magic, where some storms took on a strange semi-intelligence, seeming to seek out warm things and pull the heat from their bodies. These things were called Morokozos, and it was strange to find them this time of year. Usually Morokozos only appear in the summer, when there is more heat for them to feed on.
As worrying as this news was, the storm was hundreds of miles away on the far side of the Crown, and so was not really a concern for the caravan. The caravan kept going, to where they found an encampment of Erutaki, the nomadic natives of the Crown of the World.
The party made friends with the Erutaki and was accepted by them as guests. They resupplied their food and shared stories of their travels so far, leaving out details such as Tien nobility, oni, Suishen, and so on.
During their stay, the party found Ulf and Kaellara arguing over the map. Specifically, Ulf wanted to set a course around the forest of the Gaarjuk Hills, following the normal caravan path. Kaellara, on the other hand, wanted to chart a course straight through the forest, which would be more dangerous, but also quicker and also further away from questioning eyes who might be alerted to a caravan’s presence, especially after Leo had opened the Amatatsu Seal.
The party agreed to Kaellara’s course, hoping for the best.