The Reign Of Winter
Hermann's Tales 8
Gathering up some of the guard’s uniforms, we hurried to leave Waldron. The trip to the Pale Tower was to take a few hours, but part-way along the route we were attacked by a magical crow.
Like all other weird creatures we have met recently, it was really large for a crow. Standing almost as tall as a dwarf, able to turn invisible, and could talk to boot! Benedictus said it was a witch crow. He went on to explain that it was a crow that could cast spells like a witch. I expected us to attack it immediately, and started to bring to mind my armouring enchantment, but then Kjell started to bargain for the creatures’ aid. Bemused by what was happening, we let him make a deal for it’s assistance. It’s choice of magic item in exchange for it’s assistance in taking the tower. I felt that this could only turn out bad – crows were always a problem to farmers, and no good ever came from them. And add on that this one was an evil witch. And add on that it was far more clever than a normal crow, and my bad feeling only got worse. Still, it did seem to help us to scout out the tower, and didn’t seem to alert the guards.
After a great deal of discussion, we decided to try to approach the tower gate disguised as peasants making the food delivery. We approached the gate without incident, and Benedictus started speaking in scald to them. I do not know what was said, but suddenly Idrin started peeing on the food. The guards shot at him, and I knew it was time to act. I cast my slumbering enchantment, taking down one of them, whilst Lazarus took down another. For some reason the gate opened, then the third guard was attacked by a weird creature that was a cross between an insect and a bird. It distracted him long just enough for Lazarus to land a fatal shot. It turned out later that Benedictus cast a spell on him and commanded him to open the gate, but at the time I just regarded it as a bit of good luck for us.
Inside the courtyard we came under attack from a troll, but this one was far easier to kill than the first one we met – either we are getting better at fighting them, or this one was a weakling amongst his kind. We applied fire to it’s body, to stop it coming back, and then Lazarus took the sleeping guard aside to question him.
Not having the stomache for what was to follow, I busied myself with searching the courtyard, greatful that I could not understand what was being said.
Eventually we entered the tower proper. Almost immediately we came under attack from a squadron of tower guards, but after easily besting them we also took out the off-duty squad that was in another room. I really felt sorry for the guards – like everyone else in this accursed land they were just making the best of a horrible situation. Still, they had decided that being one of the evil oppressors was preferable to living a good, if oppressed, life. Which meant they had to be stopped. Permanently. On the other hand, some of these guards were little more than kids. I held a moment’s silence over the body of the one I killed, and hoped that wherever he went in the afterlife, it was a better place than this.
The rest of the ground floor was empty, which given that there were at least three levels to the tower, and no staircases to the other floors, presented us with a problem. Benedictus thought that two glowing areas of flooring that we had found may well teleport us to the other floors. That, or kill us as we tried to use them. We sat down and discussed our options.