Well, I find myself in a somewhat interesting place. Kind of like an air bubble embedded in faintly glowing grayish clay. Of course, it isn’t clay, nor an air bubble. Touching the surface is perfectly smooth, but not slippery in the slightest. It forms a perfect sphere around the Green Dawn, some fifteen feet in diameter or so. Plenty of space for us all to sprawl out and rest up. This is all the result of reading a rather interesting ritual scroll provided by our friends in Nephilus. We gathered round after the fight and as I read off the last word, the scroll burst into ash from the release of its stored magic and this sphere was suddenly all around us. There was not the least transition.
According to the document, the sphere will last for what seems to us to be eight hours, whilst in the real world only one hour shall pass. In the real world, there will be no indication whatsoever that this sphere is there, because in reality it is not. We have been pulled into a space between dimensions. When the energies finish, we will be placed exactly back where we were. At the foot of the bridge. But let me not get ahead.
When last I wrote, we were about to implement our plan to lead off the giants and wolves. But as the group rather pathetically tried to sneak over to the hole through which they would drop, they attracted the attention of four beasts who had been lurking and unaware of my several stealthy passages through the chamber. The chamber was perhaps sixty feet long with a marked slope downward to the main exit. To the right was a five foot wide crevasse that led to the breach in the ceiling of the other chamber with the giants, wolves, and the ice bridge. The main feature of the room was a crevasse that dropped some twenty feet or so that split most of the center of the floor.
Out of this central crevasse burst two creatures that looked somewhat like a cross between a really big, but hairless bear, and a beetle. Two more literally burst forth from the walls to attack as well. The creatures were apparently perfectly happy with burrowing as a normal mode of movement. Seeing how things were starting out, I immediately took up position in a difficult to assault location behind a stalagmite and the wall, the shot my crossbow into the closest beasts flank. Then all hell broke loose. The creatures had an ability to mess with our minds, forcing us to move to their will for short spurts. Their two claws allowed them to grasp and hold an opponent, continuing to slowly but steadily crush the life from them.
Throughout the fight, Yamis was pinned. The creatures threw us into the crevasse, though I did not mind in the least and did not even resist. Trusting my skill to land safely below. Though the creatures were very difficult to slay, they did not themselves deliver great punishment. I doubt their normal prey were capable of fighting back as we were, and thus they were ill suited to the kind of fight they found themselves in. Though drawn out, all were slain in the end with all of us being rather tired at the end of things.
The we revisited my plan with the idea that the giants and wolves could not have failed to hear the battle. Though they’d moved somewhat, they were all still near where they were last time. Watching them, I noted that they appeared to be guarding access to the bridge. While they were alert, they showed no intention of abandoning their post to investigate. But let me describe here as well.
The chamber beyond the lower exit entered into another larger air pocket withing the iceberg. The lower level closest to us had a ceiling near 30 feet high, sloping upward gradually, then leaping to well over a hundred feet after about 20 feet from the wall. That lower level was split in twain by a magically mist-covered stream which ran to a pool under the ice bridge that rose to an exit near the top of the chamber. It was connected at the near end to a plateau 30’ tall, surrounded by nearly sheer ice cliffs. This chamber was perhaps one hundred twenty feet by eighty feet and roughly almond shaped. The entrance from the prior chamber opened in the 30’ ceiling twenty feet back from the cliff face, and even with the plateau.
Upon the plateau, there were three Frost giants with bows, hiding behind two large piles of ice. A female giant and a brute were further back to the rear, and there were two of the hugest wolves I’ve ever seen. All were cast in shades of blue and white.
We came back and discussed it further. Amyria urged resting several times before taking on the challenge beyond. I disclosed my opinion that if they were at all inclined to go chasing off into the iceberg after me, the enemy would already have come to investigate the sounds of battle. So my plan of leading them off and avoiding the fight was unlikely to work. The others all urged to have “one last dance before going off to bed” as I put it after hearing them out. So we prepared. Co’bok and I prepared to descend the ice shaft in the ceiling. The others went the more expected route.
When the fight broke out, Damakos, Co’bok, and Gil quickly gained the top of the plateau and engaged the bowmen. Below, Amyria waited at the foot of the unscalable cliff (for her anyway). Yamis hung back for a moment and tried using his belly bow to knock the enemy off the bridge, but they seemed able to resist the great force of the bolts impact.
A large brute of a giant came to the edge of the cliff, looking down at Amyria. I clung upside down to the ice shaft in the ceiling, bracing my legs on either side and loaded my crossbow. As soon as that S.O.B. comitted himself to the climb, I shot him in the head. A perfect shot, and though it rung his bell, the bolt grazed off his incredibly thick skull. But that wasn’t the point. With an ice-shuddering crash, he landed flat on his face thirty feet below where he groaned and rolled over with a flop. Out of the fight for at least a little while. The others continued their fight as a wolf bounded down from the ledge to bite Amyria. I whispered a poem of ill-luck to the bolt as I loaded it and I took another shot at my stunned foe who had just sat back up, minus a few teeth. With a thunk, it sank into his thigh.
He leapt to his feet, apparently prepared to charge Amyria and Yamis who had closed distance to assist her with the wolf. He rushed forward and with an overhand chop that Amyria side-stepped, smashed into the ice where his weapon briefly stuck. The handle pushed back into his gut, lifting him off the floor with his own momentum and once again, slammed his face into the ice. I laughed and taunted him from the safety of my perch in the ceiling and watched as the other wolf considered the distance between myself hanging from the ceiling and the edge of the plateau. It decided it would rather drop to flank Amyria.
Across the way, the spell casting female was doing things, including somehow throwing the Gil off the bridge and into the stream below. Bad news there. The icy mist is magical, and coats one in ice and slows your movement to a crawl. The water of the stream of course, was cold enough to cause pain and damage all on its own in mere moments of exposure. But the Gil is a tough character and was soon climbing out and making his way around to climb back onto the plateau and flank the female. Meanwhile, a huge wall of swirling fog and ice had appeared to freeze Co’Bok and Damakos. Their foes seemed immune to its swirly cold, but that is hardly surprising.
Damakos and Co’Bok were looking in pretty bad shape, so I decided it was time to get a little closer. I know an inspiring dwarven chant that carries with it magic of revitalization, but they need to be within twenty five feet or so for it to reach them. One more shot of the crossbow, combined with the hacking swordplay of Amyria and the brute was down for the count, bleeding out where he’d tripped. Stowing my crossbow, I shifted my grip to small irregularities on the ceiling nearby. Who says ice is slippery? The fact is, that it is not. Water is slippery. Ice that is cold enough is just like rather brittle rock and just as easy to climb. I trusted my hand and foot holds a little less than with rock, but made my way across the ceiling without incident to a spot just above an open area behind the two wolves.
I chanted our the Hymn of DeNat and saw Co’Bok respond to the magical components of the ancient chant. Then I dropped the thirty feet to the floor behind the wolves, drawing forth Razor as I twisted my feet beneath me. My move took the wounded wolf completely by surprise, and my rapier plunged deeply in as I landed.
I no longer knew what happened up top, but I later learned that Damakos kind of went on a rampage, slaying three archer giants within seconds, opening the way for Co’Bok to charge the female. In short order, she was surrounded by the Gil, Damakos, and Co’Bok… …need I say more?
The wolves hung on a little longer than the fight above, but the conclusion was certain and they seemed to unfortunately be smart enough to understand that. More is the pity. I always feel a little bad about killing animals as they’re not typically inherently evil. They’re just doing their thing, trying to defend their territory, their masters, or just get food (me). It is particularly heart breaking to see a look of intelligence behind the eyes of the beast. Not smart enough to be independent and leave, not dumb enough to be blissfully ignorant of the realities of mortality.
We gathered on the plateau and had a short discussion. It was agreed that now would be a good time to restore our spent energies and recoup our reserves. Amyria looks fairly beat up and all of us have put forth enough effort to have it tell upon us.
According to Damakos, there is some new information. In addition to an ice goddess, there is also a male figure who is in charge of the secular forces and who had ordered the pulling in of the giants to guard the ice bridge. Apparently, they suspect Nephilus will be trying to come here to stop them. I wonder if we can roust our prisoner while we’re in here and free his mind of its possession. I’d rather we not have to drag him about and it is just possible he might remember something of his enslavement that could be useful to us. I’ll bring it up with Yamis who has the ritual – that is, if it doesn’t kill the scholar outright. I understand these things can be traumatic.