East of Winter

You Can Count on Numbers

We awoke at the tower to find the basement door still fully jammed. In the distance we spotted a pillar of smoke which made me wonder if Flamer had gone off on his own at night. To my amazement, he was still with us. Though he seemed to approve of the shadowy column's implication.

Esmerelda, Glimm, and Skulk determined they would go off on their own to seek out foes. The remainder set out to find the source of the knoll pestilence. Creatures though they may be, my affinity for nature only goes so far as nature not trying to kill me.

We came across a town square. Intricate cobbled pathways reminisced of a time before the knoll invasion. While admiring the craftsmanship, we were once again set upon by knolls. Despite our fewer numbers, we acted with swift stealthy intent. Flamer's obsession with fire has intrigued my own. Though fire brings destruction, it also cleanses food and warms the heart. Flamer and I both created balls of fire which scorched our enemies' backsides.

Abby was as fierce as ever, rushing toward the enemies. And I, for the first time, made an attack in Dire Wolf form. It seems I needed more practice, though, as my attacks were frequently without precision. We three charged ahead while Imil stayed behind us with Ted. His infatuation with this thrall became overwhelmingly apparent by the end of the fight. You could say Imil is easily en-thrall-ed.

The knolls were equally attentive to Ted, firing arrows at him first. Before Ted had made any moves, he was on the ground … dead, once again. Imil mourned his passing as if it were his first while we rounded up the knolls into a pile of stinking beast-flesh. Imil's eyes filled with fury and, for a second, I saw a form beneath his eyes that one could only compare with evil-incarnate. It begs the question of what terror Imil may one day be capable of. He directed his fury to a nearby knoll who cried what could only be described as a howling screech and dropped to his knees in terror. What horror he saw befall him, one must not attempt to imagine.

Soon our enemies were cast aside in whole. Imil's wrath subsided, leaving only despair at the loss of his friend. He took Ted's head to remember him by. That was endearing, until Imil began to speak to Ted as if he were alive and, even then, capable of communication.

As we reached the town center, and the city hall that rested there, we happened across two groups of guild members. "More friends!," I thought. Our numbers greatly amplified, we set fearlessly to opening the hall's massive arched double-doors, only to find ourselves unable to touch the doors or the walls that surrounded them. A blue light shimmered at any contact, preventing us from proceeding. A stone was spied nearby inscribed with an unknown language I learned from our companions was dragon-born. After interpretation by our companions, we considered the inscriptions' meaning. After much debate, we spoke the word of our location, "Cradle," and the doors creaked open, the blue light no longer appearing.

As we cautiously entered the doors, we were set upon from behind by 8 knolls of varying armor and four undead creatures. I considered for a moment what could possibly have united these two factions. Again, I made a flaming sphere, then became the Spider and scurried up the hall's exterior walls to get a good look at our opponents.

The tieflings were mightily effective while another one of our companions summoned a panther that looked strangely like a dinosaur. After much scorching and brawling, the enemies knew they were no match. One even ran away. I later regretted finding a perch atop the hall. I should have attacked our opponents head on.

Once inside the hall, Imil searched the place with his Crow to confirm we were alone. Later, his Crow also confirmed that the city was, for the most part, now ours.

In the hall we came across what could only be described as "former" adventurers. They seemed lonely, having only the bones of others to keep them company.  We found and took from amongst them several gifts.

Meanwhile, Imildrak and others found a library wherein they researched the apparent history of our new home. What they found astonished me. Many years ago, a Lich King attacked this area. He was ultimately killed. Perhaps the undead that remain are just that … remainders, but something tells me the evil that once haunted this place is still less than absent.

I found a forge in the city in which I determined to set up residency. My time spent forging in and hunting outside our newfound home would be more than enough for me, especially when coupled with the companionship of my new-found friends.

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