The Reign Of Winter
Hermann's Tales 4
A day of selling our goods and a good night’s rest found us ready to head back to the Great Lodge. After Benedictus gave his usual prayer at dawn’s first light, we set out back to the cold, which had again spread. As luck would have it, no monsters attacked us during the day, and we reached the lodge as night fell.
The next morning we continued on our way north to search for the source of this unnatural weather. Our first problem was a rope bridge just past the great lodge. Whilst this bridge would no doubt be a really good way of crossing the 50ft ravine in normal weather, it was a different matter when it was covered in ice and being snowed on.
Our brave northern druid Kjell was the first to cross, tied by a rope to his fellow dwarf. Just as he got to the far side he was attacked by yet another ice fairy. A much bigger and hairier one this time.
I loosed a crossbow bolt at the creature, but the bad weather spoiled my aim. Idrin, forgetting he was tied to Kjell, charged across the bridge, causing Kjell to fall into the freezing water below. By pure momentum Idrin got to the far side without falling off the bridge, but as no-one else was mad enough to repeat his actions this left Idrin alone to fight the creature.
I decided to see if my sleep spell could knock out the creature, but even before I could finish casting the enchantment Idrin got a lucky blow and felled his foe.
After we all very carefully crossed the bridge we continued along the path, following a set of three footprints. These eventually led to a mound of snow, which Idrin and Kjell went to investigate. Three more of those cold-radiating skeletons burst out of the mound of snow and attacked us. Two went down at the blades of our investigators and the third due to a flurry of crossbow bolts and bolts of fire, but their exploding when they died almost killed the dwarves fighting them. Benedictus gathered everyone around and healed most of the damage taken, and we carried on along the path.
We came across the body of a hunter. Benedictus recognised him as the man that tried to tell everyone about seeing a giant weasel. It seems he had come out into the wilderness to find proof he wasn’t lying, and the proof found him first.
We now started to follow bloody tracks, presumably of the giant weasel. We came across some freshly-dug holes, but as Kjell investigated them he was attacked by a tree. It turns out there were two of them, and according to what Kjell later said they wern’t actually trees, just creatures that looked like trees. Again Idrin put paid to one of them whilst the other went down to a combination of crossbow bolts and bolts of fire.
We followed the weasel tracks until they seemed to peter out in a large ice-filled clearing. On the far side of this clearing was a rather unusual-looking hut built on tree trunks. Benedictus recognised it as probably the work of Baba Yaga, or one of her followers. We decided to burn the hut and I handed out lots of flasks of alchemist’s fire that we had found in the Great Lodge. As we approached the hut we started seeing spectres. It turned out to be the ghost of a little girl who had poked fun at someone (probably Baba Yaga) and had been killed and bound to a doll in the hut. As we approached the hut the doll came to life, so we tried to kill it with fire.
After a few flasks hit the doll, and the hut was on fire, it flew down to attack Giorgio. This was it’s fatal mistake, as it allowed us to surround it in the open. It proved to be at too close quarters for me to use my spear, so I dropped it and clawed at it. The claws, which up to now had been the cause of my troubles, actually worked to my benefit for once.
After the doll fell lifeless, we snapped off it’s head, prised a gem out of it’s eye, and threw the remains into the burning hut. The ghost of the girl thanked us for freeing her, warned us about the dangers of going up against the witches, and passed over.