We had bound all the prisoners and took weapons and gear from them. Like the other group of St Fergus we encountered in the Iron Tower, this group was well equipped.
One of the blinded soldiers begged for mercy “ I know a Cardinal.. he will pay for my safe return… Please don’t kill me…” My heart sank at the last words, a feeling of guilt washing over me, boiling up from within. I am sure I shivered, visibly but no one noticed. Are we now the monsters? Are we the enemy of the Church? Are we?
In speaking with the solider, one by the name of Gorron, he said that their leader, Thiridia – belonged to Ursula Bodur or something. The Bears of War. A sect of the Inquisition arm of the Church. Very powerful and yes, many are werebears if not all.
I shuddered again. When she awakes she will be deadly.
Fel and I entered the tombs again, this time the Wraiths did not stop us, and upon entering the Tomb of Kentos, one spoke that we may take the book but touch nothing more. Ironic, I know he meant the treasures or the spear, but we were touching the ground too. Maybe the dead have a sense of humour? Felghanis. I should ask him again about his arts. His magic. The Codger made it clear he wanted me to stay away from Fel and his Uncle, but still, the desire to learn, to know, to understand eats away inside me.
We claim the book, the 2nd Tome of Fimbel Winter – upon it was the ancient rune for ‘Deer’. Three Deer. Three Books. Very clever.
Don and the tribesman left to do some perimeter scouting as I needed to rest – I had no spells left. None at all and was afraid of encountering anything else out there. Alas we were not so lucky, they returned hastily – Orks and Hobgoblins march across the frozen lake of the Greywynd. Time to move and move now. We unbound the solider and the priest so that they can carry their fallen – I was not going to leave them to the horrors of Goblin-kind.
Travel was quick enough, Herath proved his value by picking perfect routes through the forest and away from the orks. Just moments after we had left the sound of steel and screams of battle caught up with us. “Garren” Dom said solemnly. Another good sign that we left – imagine been caught between Orks and vengeful Garren. I do not wish that and I can’t really be certain which is worse.
We made Camp finally, in the tree line, a bit buffeted by the winds but it was not so bad as it had been. We were all tired though. Fatigued from rushing through the dark a bit. Here we were able to sit and Fel went over the book while the ‘wild-folk’ Don and Herath with the aide of the dwarves gathered wood.
Fel uncovered or recalled a passage from his uncle’s journal about the Demon Ships been used by the Amarinsis Trade Guild of Kiltayre. Damn fools.
Now, the question everyone was asking in their minds: “What to do with the Prisoners?”
We gathered away from them and had a large, but quite discussion.
It was suggested we kill the werebear. I argued first against it – she may not be acting under her own free will? Fel decided we should bring the conscious priest in on our discussions and he advised us not to kill her as her mentor is very close to her and much more powerful.
Much more powerful? Are you jesting? That is madness.
We, Fel, Don and the Aenier agreed not to kill her and we were not going to kill any of them. Fralin, the priest suggested we ‘leave’ them there with only limited supplies – forcing them to return to where they stowed their packs. He also gave us much information ad knowledge.
This was a quest. Another group led by Theridia’s mentor, was heading to Iron Tower. He did not believe us when we said we found bodies of the Church there. Fel decided to tell the priest everything as a token of good faith and I had no issues with this. It was good to speak to a Priest again that did not want us dead.
We told Fralin of the Prelate at Dwarf Town and he was utterly disgusted at it! So much so that I think Fel and I had a change of heart towards the Church. Trucking with Demon Ships was absurd – and the Church would never do such a thing. Yet this Prelate did. He swore, whether to us or his god, that he would let the Inquisition know of this. We believed him. There was no reason not to.
We broke camp and Fel undid the Blindness Spell he cursed upon the soldiers. We left them with basic weapons, daggers, a mace, Fel’s rapier (he had found a better one) and not much more than a day of Snow-Dried bear meat and some wood. We left and travelled a good hour or two, tiring and exhausting as it was, and made another camp. Hopefully, Fralin will convince his leader to go back for their food and leave us be.
Rest. Finally some rest. Felghanis is smarter than he lets on I think. He was able to decipher much of the book, and I was unable to do even a single word. Best news was that a ‘spell’ in the book would allow us to find the other books!
Day 79- Early Morning before Dawn
Fionnghal barking. I awake, dazed and sleepy-eyed. It was cold, but my heart was beating fast as I stood up to see someone entrapped in the dog’s Entangle spell. He was almost hit by a spear from Don when I looked over and saw Fel and Herath on the ground.
I rushed over, pouring some Soul-fire energy into them – Mana. I recall the Codger using both terms before. Spirit Fire, Soul Fire, Mana. It must be something to do with my spirit as when it’s depleted I feel very empty and hollow – like I hadn’t eaten for a day or more – but not just in my stomach, it was all over. My head, my bones, my muscles, my heart. All felt empty, like the Mana was what kept my body together.
I suddenly felt a surge, and healing blood pumps through my body and that sense, that gentle reminder of life is poured through my touch into Felghanis and the tribesman. Both awaken after I expend almost half my Soul Fire on healing them. I smile “Good to have you back”. Fenris uttered the words I did not want to hear… “Fenris….the… book”
Don yelled out, “Blasted fool – he is working for the Giants” I agreed this time. The evidence was mounting. “I cannot find his tracks! It is like he was not even here!” Don shouted again, Herath confirmed it. Some magic stopped him from been tracked. I made a mental note of that.
“Fionnghal can smell him. Track him.”
“I can try communicate” – I called up the remainder of my mana, the aching feeling of emptiness began to creep into the spaces between my bones, and flesh. I cried out this time, and touched the dog’s soul.
Fionnghal barked in pleasure and excitement. Whimpered in responses, “Not too close. He dangerous”. We broke camp quickly and gave chase, letting the dog guide us…
We ran, hustled, walked. Ducked around trees, and under bushes.Eventually we caught sight of him, and by that, I mean Don did with his eagle-like vision. The Dwarves warned us of potential ambush and we approached cautiously now. Poor Kellor, he was quite upset at the loss of his ear. Still, something within me was on fire that battle and when I saw the strike I am sure I poured healing into him at the very moment. But that feeling, that heat was gone – I could not recall it nor feel it, and could hardly remember it.
There it was. A sack on a tree with the book in side it. Carefully we went up to it and Fel got it down. The book had been rummaged through – read very quickly, and a note in charcoal said: “I only wanted to read it, do not follow me.” With the sign of a wolfprint.
We breathed again. Sighed from exhaustion and relief that we had the book again.
We used the book – I poured magical energies into it and felt as if my blood and bones wanted to go too. Was a horrid, almost torturous feeling. Deep deep deep cold filled me and then my mind screamed. I sensed. I saw. I heard. I felt. I smelled. I could even taste the book. Book number three – the one he hoped contained the final formula for reversing or stopping Winter. One felt as if it was close – towards Vrim. The other direction, felt more to the west… Way further too. Maybe even where Stonecrest should be.
I dropped to me knees then. Recalled or was told a passage from Fel’s uncles journal – the Lost Journal – that the Trade Guild kept the place a secret and one had to travel through a Rift to get there – a tear in the structure of the world itself?
I shook, trembled. Pointed in both directions. “Tomorrow we can try book One?” I suggested as the winds started to build up – this day we were in for heavy snow.