Our heroes, after causing a stir in the Summer Court, flee toward Winter’s Peak to have Galendan speak with their dead gnome. Along the way, Sam wondered aloud if they needed the whole body. It was determined that only the mouth would be needed. Without further ado Sam dropped the body and with a swift blow dislodged the head from the body. The body was then tossed off the road and into a ditch. Sam and Rathal then thought that they would cheer the party up as they walked with a happy little ditty. They pulled out their flutes and played together. The party instantly heard the skill and aptitude that one of the players possessed. Considering his Faunish upbringing there was no competition. Sam played well for a man carrying a gnome head under his arm, no easy feat.
Their musical endeavors were cut short by the sound of hoof beats back the way they had come from. The party quickly hid in the treeline and Jace blinked out of existence. An elven scouting party rode down the path, assumedly looking for the heroes. The adventurers then decided that it would be safer to travel through the forest instead of on the path. Lucian the Ten’i’dor stepped forward to determine the best path. He searched for a moment before the ranger pointed and said, “That way.”
He tried but Lucian could not hide how impressed he was. Rathal stepped up and patted him on the back. “Don’t worry,” he said consolingly. “I’m sure you would’ve found it eventually.” They eventually decided to set up camp. The Tenidor gathered kindling and other fallen pieces of wood. As soon as he cleared the area and pulled out his fire-starting supplies but before he could strike the flint Ularalu sent his carefully constructed wood pile ablaze with A LOT OF FIRE. Rathal came up to him again and patted him on the back. “Today just isn’t your day is it?”
Around the fire Sam told the story of Ra’thal (not to be confused with Rathal). Ra’thal was his long-lost love. They had grown together, trained together, she was the female version of him in all respects. She was skilled, formidable, and brash. She entered an orc encampment where she was killed. Sam avenged her death, but his broken heart never truly healed.
After Sam’s sad tale, Kanyr took Rathal aside and shoved a practice sword in his hands. “It’s time you learn to fight ‘boy’. Strike me.” Rathal looked at the sword in his hand. It was heavy and awkward for his small frame, but he tried to do as instructed. His first swing was ridiculously wide. His second fared little better. Sam tried shouting advice and the others also did the best they could to instruct the lad.
Rathal became frustrated. “This is ridiculous,” he thought to himself. “I could dispatch this warrior with a flick of my wrist. He would be cowering on the ground, clutching his gut or head or roasting alive in his armor. I could turn him into a rat or fill his lungs with poisoned air until he keels over with a fit of painful coughing spasms.” Rathal’s eyes suddenly lit up with an idea. He swung wide purposefully shielding his left hand from view. He quickly drew a knife and with deadly accuracy swung it towards Kanyr’s unsuspecting body. He pulled the blade up short and instead struck him with the pummel.
All eyes widened in surprise. “Tricks won’t save you in battle,” Kanyr barked angrily at Rathal.
“They don’t have to. They just have to work once” Rathal said with a bit more snarkiness than he customarily used.
The party then began a long discussion as to whether tricks should be used in combat or not. They all eventually turned in for the night and got some much-needed rest. The next day the ranger led them toward Winter’s Peak and the rest of the trip passed without incident. When they were about two hours away from their destination, snow began to fall. It intensified quickly and between the Ranger and Rathal determined that the snow was magical. A strong wind began to howl, snow began to kick up around them. The party huddled in their winter gear, or at least those who had it. Rathal manipulated a magical fire in his palms to keep himself warm. Keenen and Kanyr felt the bite of the wind as neither were prepared for the cold.
The party finally reached Winter’s Peak. Usually welcoming, the party was distraught to see that the gates were shut tight. They took turns scaling the wall and were greeted by a Vampire on the other side, the caretaker of Winter’s peak, or so he said. The adventurers learned that Galendan had left to collect the Fey Stone in order to destroy the world and recreate it in his own image. The ranger, ever quick thinking grabbed an arrow out of his quiver and held it over the Moon Well. The vampire yelled at him, cursing his foolishness. The Ranger smiled and dropped the arrow into the well.
With a large puff of snow and a loud trumpeting sound, a large Woolly Mammoth pooped out of the well (hence forth, by unanimous decision as Vinny (and by unanimous I mean by myself with no input from any one else (there is no discussion…His name is Vinny))). It swung its head wildly at the ranger who dodged and quickly calmed the large beast. Satisfied that it was not in danger, it wandered off to another part of the courtyard never to be seen again (Or is it?).
The heroes flew into action and fired off a few shots at the vampire. Rathal, who damaged him the most, was set upon by the vampire who grabbed him by the arm and attempted to bite him time and again. As the party rushed to help him, another smashed through a window of the mansion and attacked Kanyr with a vengeance. The party fought valiantly but the second vampire caught hold of Jace and sunk his teeth into his neck. Jace dislodged him but not before the vampire got a nice taste of his magic elven blood.
The vampires were soon defeated, and the heroes advanced on the mansion to search for clues as to where Galendan was headed and how much of a head start he might have. However, when they advanced they discovered that the mansion had iced over. Sam opened the gate while the rest of them attacked it with sword and fire, but it was persistent and grew back regardless of their actions. Suddenly a suit of armor approached the now open gates. The party turned ready for a fight. A female voice introduced herself as Julienne Volchiare (Jules for short), a hero of the Minotaur Wars, over 400 years ago.
The party discerned that she believed that the war was only two years ago. She recanted the tale of how she was cheated out of her rightful throne as heir to Vitalio. Her father did not see it this way and so she started a rebellion in order to retake the kingdom. The Wizard Gregorr cursed her and trapped her in a tree, from which she had only recently been freed from mysteriously.
Rathal took the lead and convinced her that she was 400 years in the future. She became upset and hurled her helmet clear across the courtyard. Rathal calmed her down and offered her a position with the group, until she found her bearings that is. Kanyr then offered to lead the party to the fey stone, not offering an explanation as to how he knew where it was. Jules joined the group and the party quickly left the courtyard to search for warmer weather.
Rathal was the last to leave the courtyard. He turned back to look at the Moon Well. He took one last look at a small object he had been clutching tight in his fist and then dropped it inside. He then rejoined the group before they noticed his absence. The party traveled down the mountain, their paths finally headed toward the Fey Stone that they’d long heard whispers about. As they traveled, the party seemed talkative and discussed the future and the past with Jules who was quite vocal about how she was deciding if she was going to burn down all Vitalio or not. Only one member was uncharacteristically quiet. Rathal’s usual smile was replaced with a set look of determination, and had the party only turned to look at him they would have noticed that the joy usually found in his eyes was replaced with a dead expression. What lay behind his dark expression? What dark thoughts could possibly drain the cheer from his piercing green eyes?