Auril’s frigid greeting

Winter 1372

Brand and Feldspar return to the Finestone manor near dusk. Feldspar tries to convince Brand that the bear that frozen to death is important, but Brand thinks that a warm fire and mead is far more important. Feldspar finds Kethra and together they go to Lady Finestone’s room to ask for an audience. They talk over everything and Lady Finestone decides that she wishes to get the ideas from all of her advisers. A short time later we are gathered in the library to decide on our course of action.

From the meeting it is decided that Carmack will take a man down to the town of Nal Mirar and organize its defense. If either the town or manor house comes under attack signal bonfires will be used.  In the manor house we will gather in the Great Hall as it is the only place large enough that can hold all of us in a single room. With the little time left everyone works to prepare the manor house for defense.

As we settle down for the first watch Kethra changes into a small dress and retrieves her Auril holy symbol. She goes outside and prays to Auril to pass by and not harm her friends. Faerlie is outside the wall getting greyfoot when she notices some tracks that walked around the outside of the palisade. She gets Kethra and they deduce that it was a single humanoid and three bipeds with clawed feet. Faerlie continues her watch outside, while Kethra goes inside the manor to inform the rest of us. One of the guards says the clawed prints could belong to an owlbear – a fierce wizard crafted creature is not unknown in these parts.

While she was walking around upstairs Kethra goes around opening the windows to let in the breath of Auril. The help close and bar the windows after her, but at least Kethra tries to let in winter’s chill. She even goes to Lady Finestone’s room and opens those windows while informing her of the situation. Her job done she leaves the manor and meets up with Faerlie and greyfoot so that they can follow the tracks to the south.

They enter the woods and follow the tracks as best as they can. The storm has picked up and they begin to lose their way as the tracks are being covered by the snow. Just when they are thinking of turning back they hear a bell ringing. Following the sound they find themselves face to face with a man covered in ice and snow ringing a corroded brass bell. Upon closer inspection they notice that large chunks of his skin is missing, but that he is not bleeding. Shaken by this sight they turn around and move as quickly as they can through the deepening snow back to the manor. They hear something following them and turn around just long enough to see a skeletal human with a rusted ax and a shield emblazoned with the Bear Claw clan. The undead warrior eventually turns back before they reach the safety of the manor.

Faerlie stays in the manor yard while Kethra goes inside and and tells us what she saw in the southern woods. We go up to Lady Finestone to make her aware of the change in circumstances. We send for Calden and Feldspar so that we can get some deeper knowledge about undead. After Kethra leaves Lady Finestone confides in Brand that Kethra was leaving the windows open in her room in honor or fear of Auril. We decide to watch Kethra, but not yet accuse her of anything. Feldspar and Caden fill us in on how to fight undead, but it is still pretty unnerving.

Faerlie finishes her watch, so Kethra and Calden take over the watch outside. Caden is walking the courtyard, while Kethra and greyfoot are walking outside of the wall. Kethra is still in that small dress; however, it is getting so bitterly cold that she is beginning to feel uneasy and comes inside the courtyard to complete her watch. Caden finishes his walk and heads back to the Great Room to sleep for the rest of the night. The religious among us go outside briefly to pray to their gods before the upcoming fight. We know that there must be more undead in the woods and it is only a matter of time before they attack the manor. Only Kethra remains outside as the temperature drops suddenly.

Kethra hears singing as the snow fall begins to turn into sleet. She climbs up the palisade and peeks over the top. She sees a large barbarian warrior glowing with a cold aura surrounded by several warriors. In front of this army a large mound of earth and rock rises up and slams into the front gate. She drops down and runs to the front door. Brand opens the door long enough to let her inside. The situation known everyone begins to don armor and ready weapons for the upcoming battle. Brand runs upstairs to wake up Faerlie and help her don her armor. As Faerlie heads for the Great Room to assist the others, Brand goes to Lady Finestone’s room.

As the front door begins to groan and crack under the earth’s assault Faerlie summons a large flaming sphere and uses it to attack the earth creature battering on the front gate. Feldspar summons a celestial bear that starts to tear large chunks of earth from the creature. While Faerlie is looking out an arrow loop directing her flaming sphere she notices several people behind the creature chanting. Knowing that it is only a matter of time before the creature breaks down the door, Kethra and Feldspar go to the kitchen to exit the back door and flank the attackers. Under assault from the bear and flaming sphere the earth creature collapses into a pile of rock and dirt. Caden lifts up his weapon and calls down the blessing Tyr in this hour of need.

Feldspar and Kethra trudge into the deep snow into the face of the sleet and stagger along the edge of the manor. However, before they can reach the front of the building a large icy serpent burst from out of the snow and entangles Feldspar. Caden protects himself with the power of Tyr and then begins unbarring the front door so that he can engage the enemy in battle. Faerlie guides her sphere to attack the snake constricting Feldspar, but loses sight of the creature around the corner of the house.

The celestial bear attacks the snow serpent, but only manages to get a mouthful of snow. Feldspar slips and slides on the ice before he decides to cast a Fly spell and float above the icy ground. Caden, Faerlie, and greyfoot charge out the front door; although Faerlie slips on some ice and falls into the snow. The serpent slams into Feldspar who staggers to his feet before falling into the unconscious into the snow. With Feldspar down, Kethra moves up and burns the serpent, driving it back from Feldspar’s body.

Kethra grabs Feldspar and tries to drag him to safety, but the serpent attacks her and coils around her. Faerlie uses greyfoot to stabilize her and together they move towards the serpent. Caden draws his sword and strikes the serpent, but his blade simply bounces off its icy scales.

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