The Reign Of Winter
Hermann's Tales 2
As Idrin approached the snowman it started talking to us, insulting us and telling us to leave. It seems the whole forest must be enchanted. First a talking deer, now a talking snowman.
We decided to give it a wide berth. Not wide enough, though, as the snowman suddenly exploded, catching a few of us in the blast. Wary of other trickery and of ambush, we all got our crossbows out before we continued.
We almost immediately came to a frozen river. Kjell used his northern druid know-how to scout out the river, and he pointed out some weak spots in the ice to us. We followed him over the frozen river one at a time, and it was only the last of us to cross that got ambushed. Giorgio‘s horse took quite a mauling when two small ice creatures smashed through the weak ice and attacked it. Giorgio managed to get his horse to safety, and the party lined up to fight the ’ice elementals’ (as Benedictus later called them).
One got killed quickly – a couple of heavy blows from Idrin’s Great Axe will tend to do that. The other one was far harder, but eventually went down to a well-placed shot by me.
After the last creature had crumbled away we discovered the body of a local farmer, which we rescued from a snowdrift and prepared so we could carry it back to Heldren.
A few miles further along the path we heared quarreling up ahead. Two of the party snuck up to flank whatever it was, then the rest of us just wandered up the main path. Two men appeared at the brow of the hill and shot at us. Benedictus wanted us to be able to question one of them, and remembering a trick I had tried a few months ago, I enchanted one of them to sleep.
You see, back when I was a caravan guard we had a member of the guards turn on us. He was on watch when the caravan got raided, and the bad guys got right into the camp before we knew it. I woke up to find our weapons had been hidden and a stranger was in the tent with us. As others tried to attack him with their fists, I had a really strange feeling come over me, cursed fluently at our foe, and saw him drop his sword and keel over. After we took his weapon I managed to repeat the feat several times that night, helping the caravan to stop the raiders with relatively few losses.
Anyway, by the time I had slept one of them, Idrin had killed the rest, leaving poor Giorgio with no-one to fight. We tied up the lone guard and I left them to interrogate him. Now, I knew that sometimes the church has to do some pretty nasty things to keep the world safe, but no matter how much Benedictus reassures me, it just doesn’t sit right to do that to people. To make things worse, after he had told them everything he knew, and repented for what sins he had done, instead of absolving him they killed him. Unarmed and defenceless. Now, I know that Benedictus promised me I could return home after my penance is done, but I have to wonder if that is going to be my fate as well when my usefulness ends. I just have to hope for the best, and try to prove that I am of better use to the church alive doing their work than dead as an example to others.
We stayed here the night, with Benedictus and Kjell between them managing to heal everyone up. In the morning both Giorgio and his horse seemed to have caught a chill, so I extended my magical cold protection to both of them as well. I know that I am using too much magic, and risk turning more into a dragon, but needs must, as it were. I couldn’t let either of them die just to give myself a few extra years.