The Reign Of Winter
Hermann's Tales 9
After a brief discussion, it was decided that the two dwarves and I should try to activate a portal, and learn how to use them. At a nod, Kjell, Idrin and I stepped onto the glowing portal, and were instantly frozen in place. I was later told it seemed that we were encased in a solid block of ice, which then melted away to nothing over the next few seconds.
To us inside the block, it was quite unsettling.
We appeared on a glowing portal in an alcove at one end of a corridor. The dwarves immediately took up a defensive position, and persuaded me to return for the rest of my friends. Upon stepping again on the glowing block, instead of being sent back to the rest of the party, like a magical staircase, I instead appeared in a different room.
This was a luxurious room, with large table, hanging chandeliers, etc, etc. It also held two more of those nasty ice fairies. Not willing to take on such fearsome foes on my own, I stepped back onto the platform to see where it would take me next. It turned out it took me to a different part of the same room. Realising I could not just flee the encounter, I readied my spear and leapt to the attack.
I ran forward, channeled my magic into my spear, and caught the nearest fairy a solid blow to the neck. Whipping the blade to the side, I saw my first opponent fall just as I caught the other one a glancing blow to the shoulder. It pressed me too closely for me to use my spear, so dropping it I willed my claws to appear, fortifying them with my magic. A brutal sequence of blows were exchanged, causing me minor wounds, but in the end my claws once again gave me victory.
Unwilling to leave behind any evidence of our fight that I could avoid leaving, I bundled up the ice fairies, picked up my spear, and once again attempted to find my friends. This time I stood on the platform I had most recently arrived on, and was immensely relieved to appear back in the barracks where my friends were waiting.
Dropping my dead foes, I updated the party on what had happened before we all squeezed onto the glowing portal and teleported back to the dwarves. We decided to clear this level before investigating the ice fairy level, so started going systematically from room to room, emptying each of any valuables as we went.
One room Giorgio opened showed us Lady Argenta, partially clothed. We hurriedly shut the door and gave her time to compose herself before entering to speak with her.
Lady Argenta claimed to have been kidnapped (again), brought here (though she did not know where here is), and been left here. Although I could not put my finger on it, something seemed ‘off’ about finding the Lady here, but before I could work out what, Kjell moved to attack her. Giorgio blocked his way and challenged him to a duel, of all things. Even worse than that, Kjell accepted the challenge!
I could tell he was casting off some spells to power himself up, but was momentarily unprepared for the ball of flame that appeared in his hand. He attacked Giorgio with it, burning him a bit.
After a short while with us doing nothing to stop our friends fighting I decided to try to calm everything down. I went in and tried to grapple a hold of Kjell, but rather than this stopping the fight, Giorgio continued to attack. At the same time, the Lady was dodging a big ball of fire that Kjell had set on her. Realising the futility of trying to stop just one side of the fight, I gave up and retreated back to the corridor. All through this, Benedictus was entreating them both to stop the fighting, whilst Idrin looked on at the fight, eagerly, and Lazarus just stood there, covering everyone with his crossbow.
I came up with another idea – my newly acquired scrolls! Praising the now-dead innkeeper’s wife we had taken them from, I read out loud the first of the sleeping enchantments, but it had no effect. Undeterred I cast a second one, but with again no success. Frustratedly, I summoned up all my spellcasting power and cast my own, more powerful, version of the spell, but again to no effect. I stood there, confused and unsure what to do, but at that point Kjell managed to drop Giorgio. He went on to try to strike the lady, but Benedictus stood between them and got hit instead.
Realising I could not delay any further, I went in to help my boss, and luckily managed to clip Kjell on the head with the butt of my spear, knocking him out. Thankfully I did not appear to have caused him any permanent harm, but the fact that I had been reduced to attacking a friend made me angry. Very angry. Flipping up my cloak’s hood, I called upon the aspect of the Yeti it was fashioned from, and verbally lashed out at the Lady, telling her it was all her fault, and wanting to know who she really was. In the brief exchange that followed, she accidently told us she had seen us yesterday. Knowing this to be a lie, Lazarus confronted her with this fact and threatened her with his crossbow. She attacked him, causing him a grevious wound.
Everybody knew now that she could not possibly actually be Lady Argenta, so we retaliated and cut her down. As she lay there, she changed from being the Lady into a grey monstrosity that Benedictus told me was a Doppleganger. A creature that could impersonate others, with the intent to subvert and defeat them. Well it certainly came close to doing that with us!