Icewind Dale: Session 3

Erling and the winter wolf
As we sat in the Luskan Arms, Erling was determined to try to rescue the sacrifice.

The halfling proposed bribing a guard to declare the sacrifice dead, or trying to steal her out of the city, but I thought these attempts would be too risky. Fortunately Blaze and Bran agreed.

We agreed that Erling should stake out the town square to see how many guards were posted as well as the sacrifice's condition.

Once Erling had departed, I went to the bar to order refills—and continue my conversation with Speaker Naerth, who was still sitting casually at the bar.

I shared with Speaker Naerth Maxildanarr, who maintains a room at the Luskan Arms, that I was from Luskan, and he asked me if I was familiar with the Arcane Brotherhood, which I acknowledged I had heard of, but I mistakenly hinted at scorn for the infamous cabal. He confirmed that the sacrifices would be dead by the morning, at which time the bodies were returned to the family.

Naerth "generously" offered to purchase our drinks, which I graciously accepted, and once Erling returned, I bid Naerth farewell and returned to the table.

Erling explained that, even at this hour, there were too many guards around the sacrifice, who appeared lifeless, and finally admitted that there was nothing we could do for her.

Bran retrieved the sack of chits that we had buried, and flung them over the wall, for us to retrieve in the morning.

Once Bran returned, still early in the night, we retired to our rooms for a forced rest before setting out early the next morning.

As soon as we woke, we went to Keegan's house, where we ate a quick breakfast. 

With Boy leading us, we departed Keegan's, and Targos, to try to locate Keegan's missing husband, Garret Velryn.

After retrieving the sack of chits, we made our way toward Termalaine. On the way, Bran confirmed that he could find no chit for Speaker Naerth, but there was one for Skath, his tiefling militia captain.

We decided we would need tents and blankets for the trip to Kelvin's Cairn, and agreed to stop in Termalaine.  First we stashed the sack of chits in the snow by a lone tree just outside of town.

As we approached, Erling shared that, “In Termalaine, Speaker Masthew has closed one of the town's lucrative gem mines. Apparently, a gang of kobolds crept into the mine and endangered some miners.”
Termalaine was far more picturesque than any of the other towns we had visited in Icewind Dale, spreading out from the shore of Maer Dualdon and bordered on the north and west by tall pines. Its buildings incorporated carvings of wizards, homunculi, tigers, and smiling djinn. However, the town’s enchantment was dispelled by the icy claws and teeth of the cold wind sweeping down from the north, shearing through our many layers of clothing.

A boy wrapped in heavy winter clothes, apparently shouting the news of the day, cried out as we passed by, "The gemstone mine is closed because of monsters! Speaker Masthew is offering fifty gold to anyone who clears it out!"

“I told you,” Erling winked.

When we arrived at the marketplace, we split up, with Erling and Brutus heading to purchase the tents, while Bran and I tried to find Torg’s caravan. Meanwhile, Blaze hung back with Boy to try to keep and eye on all of us.

We quickly located Torg's caravan in the marketplace, and encountered the shield dwarf Torrga Icevein and her infamous bodyguard, Sephek Kaltro, whose stylish dress stood out due to the lack of any armor or cold weather clothing.

While Bran was asking Torgga about tents, Sephek, a well-built man in his thirties with an olive complexion, dark hair pulled back in a ponytail, and no facial or body hair, was staring at me with striking eyes, as blue as a frozen lake. At first I thought this not completely unusual, but when I approached him, he said, "You have cheated the Fostmaiden, and will pay." He did not appear to be armed.

Startled, I asked what he meant, but he just kept repeating himself.

Agitated, we found Erling and Brutus inside the nearby quartermaster’s shop and filled him in. We purchased three tents, as well as some extra blankets, and left the shop separately, in the same groups we arrived in, agreeing to meet by the lone tree outside town.

We left Termalaine, wary of a pursuit by Sephek, and when we met at the lone tree, Erling and Blaze both confirmed that Sephek was waiting for them outside the quartermaster’s shop, and gave them the same look he had given me.

After a few hours of travel in the tundra, a mist descended on us, and I was sure this was Sephek's attack. I immediately passed a rope to my companions, so we would not be lost in the mist, which obscured our sight beyond an arm's reach.

We quickly discovered that our attackers were not Sephek at all, but three ice mephits, which we quickly dispatched, taking minor wounds as they shattered from our mortal strikes.

After a few more hours of travel, I had a sense that someone was stalking us, and again I was sure this must be Sephek. While the rest of us continued on, Erling hid in the snow, in order to get the jump on our stalker.

We soon heard Erling's scream, as a large white wolf was bearing down on him.
The other's ran back to engage the winter wolf, as I hung back and hit it with firebolts. It was soon slain, but not before Erling had been seriously hurt.

We rested, and Bran helped Erling's recovery with a song of rest, before continuing on.

After a long, arduous march through the tundra, we finally reached Kelvin's Cairn.

We soon found two tents pitched in the snow, shielded from the wind by an icy outcropping. Between the tents was an overturned sled. Still harnessed to the sled were five howling dogs.

Boy ran toward the dogs and they all sniffed and licked at each other. We fed the friendly dogs, who were obviously cold, hungry, and miserable.

Under the sled we found two small crates. One was empty, and it appeared that the dogs had broken into it and ate the provisions within. The other, not in the dogs' reach, contained twelve days worth of rations.

Once we were ready to begin our ascent, we tied two ropes together and to each other as a precaution. Boy led us up the steep slopes of what appeared to be the likeliest route, with me in the lead and Brutus in the rear.

The howling wind, blowing snow, and slippery ice made the climb treacherous.

Hundreds of feet up the mountain, I again felt as if eyes were upon us, and we soon saw four mountain goats perched on a large rock formation blocking the route.

They bleated at us, and eventually even bleated at us to turn back. As we continued on, navigating around large rock formation, they began to bleat excessively.

Suddenly, we crossed a glistening white expanse of packed snow, we heard a loud crack from higher up the mountain, followed by a rumbling noise and the ground started to shake. Fearing the avalanche that was quickly descending upon us, I quickly let go of Boy, cut the rope, and ran forward.
As it reached me, I tried to repel the falling mass of snow and debris crashing toward me with thunderwave, but despite my tempestuous magic buffeting me into the air, I was still buried in the snow. I used a firebolt to signal my position, and was soon dug out by Bran, who was the first to dig himself out, along with Blaze and Boy.

Together, we quickly found and rescued Brutus. It took us a little longer to find Erling, who was practically frozen stiff by the time we dug him out.

After a brief rest, while Erling recovered from the cold, we continued our march up the slopes.

Soon after, as we reached a steep, snow-covered incline dotted with jagged rocks, we saw a barely conscious humanoid in bloodstained cold weather clothing lying face down in the snow.

Boy broke free of my grasp and began lapping the man’s bearded and bloody face.

After Blaze tended to his wounds, the man regained consciousness, and confirmed that he was Garret Velryn. He told us that a yeti had surprised him and his companions higher up the mountain.

As he had lured the yeti down the mountain and away from the others, Perilou Fishfinger, a female lightfoot halfling follower of Yondalla, and Astrix, a female tiefling, quickly disappeared up the mountain.

He said it lunged at him, raking him with its claws and biting into his shoulder. The last of his companions, a goliath named Mokingo `Growing Bear’ Akannathi, came to Garret's defense but didn't last long, as the yeti tore him to pieces. The yeti pursued Garret some distance down the mountain before abandoning the chase.

Despite the challenges, Garret assumed the other members of the expedition were still up the mountain and wanted to find them.

As we were preparing to march, we were assaulted by a large white cat. 

As Brutus and Blaze engaged the cat, I backed up and attacked it with firebolts, as did Erling and Bran to attack with their bows.

We were doing well, when I was pounced on from behind, and the last thing I felt as I hit the ground was claws raking into my back and fangs dug into my neck.

The next thing I knew, I was revived by Blaze's magic. Another of the crag cats had attacked me—knocking me out—but now both of the giant feline's had been defeated.

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