The Reign Of Winter
Hermann's Tales 17
The next room we came across proved to be a larder, of sorts, for the evil trolls that inhabited the tower. It was a holding cell for children, all pitifully thin and scared. The party left me to escort them to the relative safety of the exit whilst they investigated the tower further.
A short time later Andrei brought out a young woman for me to guard. I asked if he was here to replace me, but he told me that they wanted me ready for the fight against the white dragon that inhabited the upper floors of the tower.
I was fairly unhappy at this, but didn’t feel it my place to usurp Andrei’s post within the party. Still, it was with relief that a half hour later a very battered and burnt Kjell came out to relieve me.
And it turned out to be not a moment too soon, too – they had finished clearing the lower two floors and were just preparing to storm the top of the tower. I cast several spells in preparation for the fight, one to resist the cold blast that the dragon was sure to hit me with, another to protect me from it’s evil mind affecting spells, and then I cast my strength spell on Idrin, to put a little extra zing into his attacks. Thusly prepared we went up through the final trap door, ready to face the dragon.
The evil creature duly appeared and blew a freezing cone of breath at us. We immediately sprung into action: I cast a wide fan of fire at it, and with a grim smile watched it writhe in pain; Idrin smote it a mighty blow, actually pushing it back a few feet, whereupon Andrei started peppering it with arrows.
Surprised at our actions it retreated to a short distance away outside the tower, but then a large bat magically appeared – courtesy of Sven – and kept it busy while I changed over to using my crossbow. As the bat died to the monster’s claws Andrei and I continued to shoot at it, so it darted back in, catching us in another freezing breath. Blessing my protective spells I dropped the crossbow and again rushed forward, blasting it with another fan of fire. As Andrei fell back, near dead from the freezing breath, Idrin rushed in and once again proved himself victorious. Idrin cut off it’s head, we looted its hoard, and stole back into the town, escorting the woman and children to the summer cult’s temple.
The head of the temple greeted her acolyte with great enthusiasm, and being so grateful for her safe return she gifted us with her magical mace, called ’Everbloom’s Rose’. We all celebrated that evening, and the following morning found us ready to take advantage of the diversion that had been planned to lure most of the queen’s guards from around the hut.
When we went to the main square, I started to use some magics that I had been creating for just such an occasion. First I made myself invisible, then cast my spell to see invisible creatures, then cast my strength spell, then cast my enlarging spell. Thus I invisibly stomped along after my companions, and when we were just about to attack the few remaining troll guards, I cast my most powerful new spell, and hasted all of us.
We shot across the intervening space and laid into our foes. I caught one troll a nasty blow with my spear, and with Andrei’s help, dropped it just as Idrin did the same to one of its fellows. Positioning myself to smack down either of the dropped trolls if they got back up, we all gathered around to put down the last one, and all of them seemed to drop as fast as Sven could pump acid into them.
The centre of the square was completely covered with a forest, one unnaturally thick with vegetation, so much so that the hedges and trees made fairly effective walls. We proceeded along a path into the forest, but soon came across a strange fey that was standing in the middle of a large pool where the water appeared to be dripping upwards. Sven chatted with it for a few minutes before Benedictus bade us to continue onwards.
We carried on into the forest, and soon after I shrank down to a normal size we were ambushed by a trap – a large log swung down and knocked several of us over. Almost instantly we were attacked by a trio of fey creatures. One look at them was enough for me, and I cast my haste spell again. One of the creatures latched onto me, and despite me clawing at him with a fury, I could not dislodge him. My haste spell allowed the party to deal with the other two fey in a prompt manner, and it was all I could do to turn myself so as to present the creature to the tender mercies of Idrin’s axe.
A little further on we came across the creatures’ lair at a dead end, which contained several bodies in various states of completeness, and some loot. We rounded up what we could, said a short prayer for the deceased, and went back down into the forest.
After passing the strange creature in its pool we wandered along and came across the target of our search – we could see Baba Yaga’s hut! Unfortunately it was the far side of a whirling vortex, one that hurt the eyes just to look at, that Sven informed us was draining the life out of the area, and within the week it would be large enough to destroy the hut, and any hope of us finding Baba Yaga.
Benedictus immediately made a connection between the strange creature in the pool and the magical vortex, and we resolved that if we could not find a way around the vortex, we would go back and kill it.
A short way further into the forest we came across another strange creature, this one standing on a large boulder, with several more boulders floating in the air around it. Sven once again talked to it for a while, and then when we left the clearing he confirmed Benedictus’ suspicions, further asserting that there were probably four of them, and we should find them all before considering attacking any of them.