Having taken the Aven River north to Melinir, I decided to make my way to the town of Torlynn, in order to make the acquaintance of my cousin Tristram, a knight of Torlynn. While asking about the best road to travel between the two, I learned that a magical winter had taken over Torlynn and the lands surrounding it, and that a group of the Elven Guard from Melinir had gone missing in the area.
When I reached the blizzard encased town of Torlynn, I learned that my cousin was also missing. He disappeared around the same time as the Elven Guard. Knowing what I do about him, it made sense to me that he might have gone to assist the Elven Guard in their quest to end the magical winter, and so I headed out to the area where they were last seen.
While pondering the best entrance to the Wizard’s Hunting Lodge, I came across a small group of adventurers. They had come outside to rest in relative safety (if in the cold) before going back into the lodge. They also appeared to be searching for the cause of this winter. It seemed they could use help from one such as I, and it was certainly the smarter decision on my part to explore these caverns in company.
We went inside and almost instantly ran into the undead. I was able to send some of them away, so that they could not all stack up on us at once. The Halfling of the group is a bit of a loose cannon, but she knows how to fight.
The Wizard seems addicted to finding magic items (at any cost), and the Rogue willing to take the chances needed to aid said Wizard. (The Halfling smartly stands some ways away from those two when they are searching.) There were more undead. And there were magic items, including a shield of Halav, which I suspect may be THE shield of Halav.
While searching a destroyed ballroom for yet another magic item, the Wizard “discovered” a gelatinous cube. In fighting it, the Druid (who, along with the Cleric, was mostly a quiet companion) turned into a bear. And the Wizard, in his craziness, decided to make the bear even larger. For the record, gelatinous cubes are incapable of fear, and therefore, an extra-large bear does not scare them. But, it was still defeated, and the Wizard found the scroll he was looking for.
As we fought out way through the lodge (after making numerous detours for even more magic items the Wizard sensed), we eventually came to the room from which the cold seemed to be emanating. The floor was covered in ice, making movement difficult. Inside were some Rat-Weres, including one who very much seemed a leader. He made a standard evil despot speech about a magic sword (encased in a throne of ice) coming into his keeping, so that he could make this area of the world more habitable for his people.
While I respect conquest, it was easy to tell from the demeanor of the few other of his people in the room that this man was not a leader, but a tyrant. In addition, I must always stand on the side of the humans against the creatures who would yoke them. I entered the room, heading straight for this “leader”.
My first hit against him did nearly nothing, and I realized that I needed the help of Vanya. I took the risk of standing vulnerable in front of him while I prayed for her blessing on my weapon. With her blessing, it took only a few hits to take the creature down. And once he was down, the other Rat-Weres quickly surrendered.
The sword remained frozen in the thrown of ice, but it’s hilt was sticking out. After making sure my new companions were far enough away to not be hit by exploding bits of ice, I grabbed the hilt with the intent of pulling the sword free.
Unfortunately, this was not actually a throne of ice, but an ice golem, which became quite agitated by my attempt. I had been more damaged in our previous fights than I cared to admit, and fell unconscious shortly after.
I awoke to the Rogue reviving me, for which I was thankful. I took a moment to assess the situation and ask the Goddess to restore me enough to return to battle. Simply being near the golem was painful, but it was necessary. The Druid (still in bear form) had entered the room, preventing the golem from leaving. But the Halfling, brave, if reckless, thing that she is, had also gone down. I knew that I needed to reach her and move her away from the golem.
Because of my focus on the Halfling, I missed what actually brought down the golem. It could have been the Rogue. It could have been the Wizard. It could have been the Cleric. It was likely the Druid/Bear (now back at regular bear size). But I do not remember for certain. (Which is a failing on my part. I should be more aware of the battlefield at all times.)
I was able to bring the Halfling back to consciousness.
The ice golem was down, but the sword was now even less accessible than it had been before. It was encased in ice, frozen to the floor. We could not recover it.
While we were all in very rough shape, there was one more door off the frozen room, and no sense of danger. We opened the door and found the Melinir Elven Guard, frozen in solid blocks of ice. My cousin was not among them. We thought them dead, but could not leave them like this. Between the Wizard and Cleric (and maybe some actual fire), we were able to thaw them.
It turned out they were not actually dead, and unfreezing them brought them back to consciousness. Their leader asked if we had seen his sword, and described the one frozen to the ground in the other room. It turns out the sword is the artifact of winter, and his ancestral weapon. He was able to reclaim it.
As I write this, we are once again outside. It would appear the winter may be ending. It is not suddenly summer, but the blizzard seems to have died down, and the temperature is rising.
The Druid is leaving the group, now that natural balance will be restored, and they are busy negotiating for his share of the items that have been found.
I know that I should be involved in this negotiation, too. But none of the magic items that we found on this day speak to me. Even if I could (or would want) to use the Shield of Halav, I do not fight with a shield. However, I did notice that they are carting around a full set of plate. Maybe I will negotiate for that.
But, truly, the thing I will ask for is their help in finding my cousin. Having spent these many months traveling alone, fighting with companions again made me realize how much I miss it. They are not organized troops by any means, nor would I expect to turn them into such, but having companions is good for one’s soul. Having no one but oneself to care about is the surest path to tyranny.
Fighting note: I recently made a slight change to my fighting stance for better stability. This change has apparently made it so that I put more power into the back swing of my glaive than the primary swing. I must make a change to my grip in order to put the momentum back in the primary swing where it will be most effective.