The thoughts of the invasion weigh heavily on my mind, but I try and not think about it. I try not think of what may have happened to my mumma and pappa. They were aging, and any form of violence in the village – any violence against them could easily kill their aged hearts.
Codger too. He may be a strong and learned wizard but even he would have trouble against an invading force. Perhaps, with luck, he was able to protect the others – or hide them? Maybe he used his spells and they could escape. All of them. All of them? No. Face reason Kalista – no amount of magic could save or protect the whole village. None.
And yet, even with the thought that they could all be dead or enslaved, I cannot cry. I want to but cannot. Tears would freeze to my face in an instant. Sigh.
Weather should be ok for the next few days. Cold and a bit windy, but it could easily change after that.
The dwarves, Kellar and Aenir, are friendly. They are armed too, Kellar appears to be more the warrior than Aenir who wears lighter armour and weapons. Having them with us is a great blessing. A blessing from whom I do not know – I don’t know who or what to believe in. With the Church ‘issues’ I just don’t know any more. Perhaps I should just have faith in my self and my friends.
We came down from the cliff face onto the coastal scrub plains. Travel was fairly fast and we had make some good time on our way towards the Iron Tower. I recall some writings about it been tied to the Bell of Thuluman – that once it had been housed in the very tower itself.
We came across an unexpected sight. An ogre! A dead one, thank goodness, dead and frozen to a tree. It had been killed by some large animal – bear perhaps, or a big cat of some type. It must have escaped and bled out here by the tree.What ever got him took his leg – or perhaps that happened after. On its corpse we found some large bandages and a few snares – snares good for bears. That would be useful if we encountered more of them. Bears, unlike Ogres, are good to eat and their hides are good too, for numerous reasons.
Well, with Ogres about we have to be on guard – be more alert.
The weather would soon start shifting, two maybe three days we would be facing storms from the sea.
The weather got colder, as to be expected, and we could all sense it would get worse. I called up the power within my soul – from the deepest part of me, I felt the energy like a lightning bolt waiting to strike – I let it pour as the group held hands. Tolera Elmantorum, Tolera Elmantorum, TOLERA ELMANTORUM!
The dwarves seemed impressed as I let out a long held in breath. I could feel the warmth reach my skin and beads of sweat dropped from my brow, freezing to icelits before shattering on the ground.
At least, for the next two days, the group will be protected from the worst of the weather.
We came to a large river, and decided to head further inland in hopes of finding a safer way to cross. We knew that we had no choice but to cross it, but finding the safest and easiest way was our goal now.
That night we heard the distance cries of an ape-like creature. Loud, and noisy but at least a mile or more away. Couldn’t identify it but figured it was something large – would have to be in this world, this frozen place.
We crossed the river further up, and soon after lunch came across an old camp. It seemed to be for one person only – Fenris perhaps? Could he be this far ahead of us? Don thought a day or two, three at max. I guess, on his own, he may have made good time and with his powers, perhaps he could find food easier too.
That night, preparing for camp, we faced battle – two of the brutiest Ogres stormed us and Don and myself were barely able to sound the alert.
The battle was swift and violent, Don took two really big hits and backed off as Felghanis found new power and new connections with the dark-magics, pulling a virtual shadow over one of Ogre’s eyes. It screamed in panic as it was blinded.
Aenir proved his favour of light weapons, ducking under a clumsy blow, blood spilling out of the ogres thighs and groin while he got peppered by sling stones from Don who had backed off, allowing me to project waves of healing energies through the very ground and into him.
Soon the first Ogre fell with an echoing crush as the other cried, wiping at its eyes – another victim of Felghani’s blindness spells. This one was tougher though, taking many more blows and a sickly-green-black ray that weakened him.
He finally fell, with the aid of Don and the two dwarves.
I breathed again. The whole battle was a blur. Green-Grey skinned hulks, and blood. Lots of it. At the least, we survived and Don’s injuries were easily healed. I doubt he even feels it through the ground like I do. Almost any spell I cast, I can feel the land, the earth – nature itself opening up and lending me a tiny fraction of its power.
Be in tune with the world, Codger used to say, Be in tune, and the world itself can be your most valuable ally. Still though, he insisted I used my Foci – enabling me to channel and control the energy I call forth from the land and directing it into the spell I desire.
I cheered on Aenir, clapping my hands with his at our victory. He didnt react much – like it was a choir – something that was needed to be done, so he did it.
Felghanis started teaching me about a unique ability to ‘force out’ spells without the need of reagents. My mind actually struggled to comprehend this, but I guess in some way it like extending the reach or range of a spell by channelling more power into it.
Travel getting difficult over the rocky lands, but at least we can see some spiky rocks ahead – possibly caves.
We were lucky, the expected storm had moved away, and with a seal colony on the rocky outcroppings near by, we took the advantage and with my connection the world itself I called up a shark to herd the seals as they tried to flee from the bombardment of stones pelted by Don.
My subtle cues and words reached the sharks ears and he threw the seal, minus the tail, to the beach where the dwarves and I were able to retrieve it. 35 pounds of meat and its hide. A good catch.
Found another campsite like the last one. One person most likely, and figure could be the same one.
The next day we found a large camp, five or six people, heading in the same direction. Thoughts of the group that Fenris may have had help or this was another group, maybe even part of Captain Morgaine’s party?
Finally reached the Tower and climbed the long flights of natural stone stairs up to the top of the ‘hill’ that it settled upon. A barn here, iron-slate rooves, was also used as a camp for the larger group – and some of their pack was still here, supplies, food, oils and a cannon – the cannon of the Church of St Fergus.
We almost all about faced and left that place, no one wanting to deal with the church and its problems, but then we stopped. The marvel of the tower was too great to ignore and we sent Allusiel’s crystal in.
Allusiel suddenly lurched forward, with fingers on her temple, I could see her concentrating. Something there, may two flights up, sensed or saw the fine-crystal on spindly legs.
The decision was made – let us investigate and explore the Tower. If the church-folk went in, perhaps they are wounded or dead, and at the very least we can either rescue them or bring their bodies out for proper burial – even for what the Church did to us, no one deserves a monstrous death.
We approached the massive iron door of the Tower, itself more than 100 feet high, and the door itself was about ten feet high, maybe fifteen or twenty even. Strangest thing was the lack of hinges and the usual bindings and workings of a door.
Kellor pushed the door, and it swung open effortlessly and almost silently, soon as it opened it drifted back into the closed position. The dwarves marvelled at it, as did I – the working, the engineering and perhaps the magic involved was incredible. No one alive today could make something like this.
We entered the tower, into a sort of welcoming or gathering hall of some kind. Here, a spiral staircase ran up and down and a large double trap door was in the centre of the room, nearer to the arch that led to the stair well. We as a group agreed to head up to find out exactly what ‘saw’ the crystal.
The tip of my staff glowed with my persistent light spell as I whispered ‘Lug’… Don led, with his mystical dark-sight.
As we entered another arc, two flights up passed a reception room of some kind, Don let out a scream as sharp, guillotine like bone claws tore through his armour, almost gutting him where he stood.
The battle was on and fierce, within moments the claws and bone arms stretching out from steal-stone coffins had dropped Felghanis as he tried to force them to his will. A brief thought crossed my mind that Felghanis with these two monsters could be a force on his own, and that kind of power could easily overwhelm him…
The dwarves sounded the retreat as my healing spell reached through the stone and iron reaching Don to heal his grievous wounds as he braved the bone claws of the terrible beasts to rescue Fel, dragging him to safety as he regained consciousness.
I called forth into the winds, Numtius Lepos, Numtius Lepos… the visage of a dire-badger appeared just in the room and immediately, even thought it was futile, attacked the unholy monsters.
We fled the tower, seeking refuge in the stable as we all sort to catch our breaths. We almost lost Don.