After preparing with rations for a journey that could last us two weeks, we made our way to the mountain over rolling hills. Gilvaldellin had gathered Thomas, Azoth, Caeladyn, and myself to search for a ley line intersection, one that would yield a lucrative reward.
The first sign of potential trouble in our path was found in large footprint. Its directed path only intersected ours, so we continued onward without great concern, though we keep a sharper eye out for anything that could’ve displaced that dirt in such a way. As we traversed rolling hills I was sure
to climb to every crest to gain vantage, the rise and fall was therapeutic in a way. Eventually we spotted- I believe Caeladyn saw it first- a large, two headed humanoid making its way toward us. We set up something of an ambush, taking positions of cover that varied largely in actual cover (my position at the top of a hill didn’t obscure me much. I was busy admiring Gil’s disguise of a bush and didn’t really think to hide). It- they?- had apparently seen us before, and though they wondered why there weren’t five of us, decided they’d come heading towards me anyways.
Our makeshift ambush wasn’t much of an ambush, but we did give it a good fight without much trouble. Thomas was our front line, and enticed the creature towards us. I was a bit too far away to do much at first, but as it charged forward I summoned some nasty vines out of the ground, totally
slowing its roll. He was getting ready to take a swing at Thomas, but ended up just out of reach. Some more fighting ensued, and Azoth’s whispers sent the creature running. We couldn’t quite finish the creature off before it made its way over a small cliffside and out of sight. As we had little motivation to chase it, we continued onwards.
We realized that this mountain was going to be cold, and we’d need some firewood to make it through the nights. As a spider, I scaled a cliffisde to get a better view of the region and found an area with some older, downed trees. We gathered suitable firewood and continued onwards. At the mountainside, we found another cliffside that we’d need to scale. Gil was well prepared with climbing equipment, so, again as a spider, I climbed up the face of the cliff. Back in human form I secured the rope with Gil’s equipment. Gil struggled a bit getting up the rope, took some help at the bottom and the top, but he made it. Caeladyn’s climb created a convincing contrast of ease, and the others made it up without problem.
From there onwards we found the terrain was going to be no joke. The cold and exhaustion made parts of the climb blur together…
I remember that we tied ourselves together as we made our way across a narrow cliffside, and thanks to Gil, with some floating discs to carry our firewood. We navigated carefully: I almost lost my balance once, but I positioned my board against the wind to push me back against the cliffside.
To take shelter one night, we built some form of an igloo. This was a big team effort- I heated the snow into water, Thomas contained it in a cooking pot, Gil shaped it into the walls and Azoth froze it with his icy breath. We left it without a roof, which would prove to cause us some trouble. During the first watch, Caeladyn noticed how bad the snowfall had become, and wisely woke us up to address it. Shaking off the thick snowfall, we continued our previous method to build a roof. I used my board as a base to build across. Thanks to this quick solution, the night was restful.
Deep snowbanks lay before us. To facilitate the traversal I assumed my badger form to dig the path ahead. This was quite exhausting, and after two hours I was pretty much wiped. I think Azoth, at one point, had fallen into a deep bank. We took care, and thankfully the harsh environment didn’t do us significant harm.
Then came the house. One had to wonder why there were icicles pointing outwards from this residence; it didn’t seem natural nor inviting. This ominous finding gave us quite the chill, but rather than retracing our trudge, we attempted to stealthily pass it. Gil had crafty solutions to improve everyone’s stealth (Azoth didn’t need it, naturally blending in), but he intelligently didn’t take a chance on my exhausted figure (that stands out quite well in that setting), and straight up made me invisible. We went forward in two groups. As we snuck I heard an unfamiliar voice- what I would learn to be a Bheur Hag had discovered Azoth and Caeladyn.
This unfriendly figure stood atop the surface of the snow, not falling an inch through, and asserted her supposed ownership of this mountain. Azoth was able to smooth talk his way into providing payment for passage in the form of future information, payment however only for himself. The hag demanded payment for two, and Caeladyn’s payment would be in the hide of the neighboring Frost Giant’s ‘Dog’.
She left them to the task, and we now knew we were between a rock and a hard place. Acquiring the pelt of a Giant’s dog, which we assumed was a little more than a dog, wasn’t the safest endeavour. But neither was disobeying this hag. We still had to carry forward, and in another place where we couldn’t find a great location to continue, Caeladyn and I split up to find a new route. Caeladyn came through and we found another manageable route. We camped in the split of a rock-face, tight quarters, but it kept the place warmer.
The next day we found the nearby peak. Gil found us a nice magical way for us to ascend it, and once atop he tuned in to whatever magical channel he uses to detect this ley-line energy.
Whatever he saw up there, it seemed like a lot, and it looked like he had to snap himself out of it before it got worse. Something about a tunnel descending into a temple… you’d have to ask him about it. I didn’t want to press with any questions.
The view from the peak was spectacular. The wonderful landscapes of Drochtredia… some of the others made notes for their maps, but all I could do was absorb the view.
Ultimately, it wasn’t what we were looking for, no intersection. But he did get a better idea of how this line split.. or merged.. again you’d have to ask him about it.
Continuing forward, it wasn’t long before we found the residence of the Frost Giant. Lemme tell ya, it took every bit of Azoth’s charismatic conversation, most of which went through the hound, to get this big guy to give us a chance.
Oh! You might be wondering why this isn’t a sneak attack or plan to capture the quadruped. I had pitched the idea to the group: This giant hasn’t done anything wrong to us, he’s probably a good guy just minding his own business. How about we get him to join us and take out this vile hag?
The idea was met with hesitation, understandably, but eventually I found agreement and we decided to stick to the side of the living. Gil still seemed to have his reservations, though.
The giant was injured, so as a token of good will, and to get him back in fighting shape, we mustered every ounce of healing skill we had to put this guy back in shape. We gave him a bunch of potions, but the breaks in his arm and leg needed to be re-set. Our first attempts didn’t really work, we weren’t strong enough. Caeladyn used her medicine skills to instruct the giant on how to re-set his limb (yes, you can imagine just how smoothly
these talks went). Once they were re-set, I used my surfboard as a splint, bound with rope, and gave him a double shot of healing for each broken limb. He was up before you could say ‘Mauna Kea’.
As a token of appreciation he broke of the horn of his most recent meal, a white dragon. Oh yeah, forgot to mention the part when he said he’d use us as sauce if we messed up our attempt to patch him up. Aaand that Azoth is a white dragonborn (don’t worry, he was disguised when he talked to the dragon). Overall, pretty nice guy!
Before we could plan anything further, he was off to fight the hag, and we were behind him. We had told him about her plans, and he wasn’t too fond of them.
The battle ensued. I thought with the seven of us against her, we’d be pretty secure. We were doing alright, and Thomas landed a wicked double Kukri throw. I came up with sweet plan for what to do next, but I was too late. The hag flew above and unleashed blast of cold beyond what I’ve ever felt…
I awoke with a start- Gil had revived me with one of the potions I brought along. We won the fight, the hag was dead, but Caeladyn was also out. It looked really bad, I didn’t think there was much of a chance. Azoth rushed back into the picture with a book, found from the house. He told me but he didn’t need to say it, this spell was going to have a backlash, and I gave him the remainder of my potions to prepare him for the hit. He read the dark book and miraculously brought Caeladyn back- but darkness sublimated from the book into Azoth himself as he read the words. As Caeladyn arose, he fell, but I was ready. I healed him with the last of my energy and he was safe.
Thomas and Gil, right hand now stuck to a fey staff, emerged from the house with some intriguing finds. Other than the book and staff: a roaring raven, jar with an eye floating in transparent liquid, and a painting of a cabin in the snow. Just afterwards, the giant dismissed the abode to lower elevations. He left us, vowing to put in a good word for us up North.
We survived, but not without scars. Caeladyn made it. Though she strongly continued forth, I can tell she’s not quite the same.
It’s something I’ve seen before. No one surfs that close to the rocks without carving the board. I wonder, if I had executed my plans better, could this have been prevented? …For now, all we can do is continue to ride.
The painting resides with me now, and is a surprisingly nice contrast to my usual scenery. And it reminds me of those snowy slopes that sparked my imagination. There’s potential there…