Climbing the ridge of despair

Winter 1372

Once she is somewhat safe in the house of Lady Finestone, Sheila talks a bit more freely. She talks about how long her husband has been working for the Aurilites. She still insists that it was only because they were threatened and felt scared that nobody could protect them. After she is locked up in the basement everyone meets in the common room to discuss how to stop the sacrifice. Lady Finestone wishes the safe recovery of Olaf, but there are only two approaches and neither of them are an easy task.

Lady Finestone summon Bruin, a huntsman from Nal Mirar that knows of Duggar’s Ridge. He tells us that its name is a misnomer as it is actually a valley where two ridges meet near a large sheet of ice and snow. The east ridge is the easiest to approach to Aurilite summoning stone. The western ridge is far more difficult and there are places only passable to an experienced climber with the proper gear.

Nine men from the local militia join us under orders from Lady Finestone. Before we leave Lady Finestone hands Kethra a wand of invisibility with only a few charges remaining. Faerlie turns into a eagle and flies ahead to scout out the alter. She sees that they have Olaf held by ice bounds on the stone alter and several barbarians have taken up defensive positions around the area.

For the group moving up the mountain we notice that a raven has been following us. Mathis falls back and using Caden for a distraction he unlimbers his bow and puts a shaft close enough to it to drive it off. We then tell all of the militia to be on the lookout for ravens that are behaving unnaturally. They look at us a bit strange, but nod their heads as we continue on.

Faerlie, heading back to the group, spies the raven in the trees near us. She dives on it and attacks mercilessly, but the raven manages to dive into the trees and tries to escape. Faerlie keeps up the chase, manages to grapple the raven and claws it to death. She then takes to the air and drops the body of the raven in front of Mathis while slowly circling above us.

We near a spot in the trail where Faerlie spotted an ambush. She lands in front of Mathis and Bruin and blocks our path. Feldspar comes forward and tries to interpret her squawks and dance. We split into two groups, while one group is climbing up the side of the ridge the others will cover then with bows – when the first group reaches an upper trail the covering group will ascend.

Mathis and Caden lead a group of five militiamen up the slope, but only get halfway up the slope before we are spotted by the ambushers. The barbarians come forward firing arrows at the climbing group. Both groups rain arrow fire at the barbarians, dropping one of them. The remaining barbarian goes berserk and closes with Feldspar. The rest of the group closes in around him and kills him; however three barbarians from the south answer his call and joins the battle.

The three raging barbarians crash against the wall formed by the militia. Mathis and Caden move around the barbarians, pinning them against the militia. The militia is injured, with Wulden severely wounded, before the barbarians are killed. We take time to heal the injured before pressing on up the ridge. After less than an hour walk we reach the edge of the ridge and look down into the valley. Tu-loc and Rowgatha look up the valley sides right at us.

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