Jun 302011

Out of all the norn I’ve met so far, Sif Shadowhunter is my favorite. I love meeting her challenges and then spending a good afternoon having a heated conversation about our accomplishments. She certainly hasn’t killed any gods, but that doesn’t stop a norn from finding something to boast about. Today’s exploration of Jaga Moraine will get me one step closer to gaining her respect, as I continue to slay the legendary foes of the Far North. So with my friend Elwin, we left the outpost and began our journey.

After a steep walk up the side of Jaga Moraine facing Sifhalla, we came across a wolf cave filled with the bones of less fortunate adventurers. With Elwin at my side using the spell “blinding surge”, the wolves didn’t stand a chance.

The rocky, varying levels of Jaga Moraine make it hard to spot foes in the distance. It makes the landscape more interesting to look at, but much harder to prepare for encounters.

At a torch-lit path ahead of us I spotted two bone fiends. It didn’t seem like much of a challenge so I rushed up attacked them with my shortbow.

No more than a few steps after that did I meet Avarr the Fallen and his undead army. He’s another one of the foes with a bounty listed in Sifhalla. With his death I’m just one more away from defeating all of them.

There is a nice view on the cliff Avarr was waiting on. I hadn’t really thought about it until now but Jaga Moraine is at a very high elevation. Just a few mountain peaks can be seen above these clouds.

Moving on to face the next foe, our party had to quickly retreat when we heard the loud noise of this huge snowball running down the slope.

I had very little time to sneak up on Whiteout before he caught sight of us. This powerful ice creature delights in snaring it’s victims with water magic hexes and interrupting spell casters with maelstrom. The key was to spread the party out so we couldn’t all be snared and to focus our attacks and try to interrupt Whiteout whenever we could. This is the last foe Sif Shadowhunter challenged me to kill but I’m sure there are still more out there to meet.

These fallen pillars are a strange sight. I wonder what sort of structure they were supporting before being knocked down.

Elwin and I found a “bottomless pit” and a signpost in memoriam of the norn who braved to explore it. The inscription mentions that it leads to the other side of the world. Somehow I doubt that, but it is a fun thing to imagine. Perhaps those norn had an epic adventure there… or just fell into a steep pit and died as fools.

Nearing the passage to Bjora Marches some snowmen and grentches were fighting. Obviously we had to give Dwayna’s kind snowmen a hand in the battle.

Before I could get a better look at this abandoned norn settlement, we were attacked by spectral vaettirs. Unlike the other vaettirs I have encountered, sometimes you can recover glacial stones from their remains. There is a norn craftsman named Hildir who can make you a pair of icy gauntlets from 100 of these stones. I’m not going to bother with that but I found it interesting to find such a use for otherwise unremarkable stones.

The main feature of this abandoned settlement is a sacred altar. In order to gain strength to defeat the charr living in Jora’s homestead, we summoned the bear spirit to help us. Before it would even speak with us, we had to fight off arctic nightmares before the sacred flame ignited. Then the bear spirit was there before us and, pleased with our accomplishment, led us into the Bjora Marches. Of course, I’ll talk a bit more about that later on when I get to that area.

Elwin and I ended our exploration at Egil’s Perch. I only briefly met Egil Fireteller when seeking out the bear spirit with Jora. Now that we have time on our hands, I’d like to speak with him and warm myself at his campfire.

Egil was pleased to see me again and even had a story to share.

The Norn do not know gods, at least not in the way humans do. But we do revere the spirits of the animals upon whom we depend for food and shelter. There are many such spirits, Bear is the mightiest, of course but Raven, Owl, Wolf, Wurm and Ox all have their place in the world and in our hearts. While we hunt and slay these creatures, we also praise their spirit, and thank them for their sacrifice. The animals are our brethren; their spirits guide us as we live and hunt.

There are more hostile, even malicious, spirits in the world…spirits of the mountains, seasons, fire, and darkness. The animal spirits are our allies against these foes, and we thank them for their aid, singing the praises of all beasts as we hunt. This is the Norn way.”

I love gaining insight into their culture (and without a fight, too!) and could have spent several hours listening to his stories. But it’s best that I head back down with Elwin to prepare for another day of exploration.

Prized Spoils: 3 golden items, bottom left map piece
Outposts: Sifhalla
Exits: Bjora Marches, Frostmaw’s Burrows
Friends: Elwin L.