Earlier this week, a couple of days after Enryn Willosby’s failed wedding and subsequent arrest, I was in the Gusty Gatherer, showing off my new hunting outfit to Esmerelda (all white, perfect for dramatic poses in blizzards). A few others were there as well, lurking over their drink of choice, as expected of a bunch of adventurers stuck in a one-horse town in the snow. And lurking was exactly the right word for it, too- our only other companions were Fenriss- the quietest of those tiefling women-, Runt, and Imildrak, accompanied by one of his ever-present Teds.
So, then, not exactly the best group to comfort a small tiefling child stumbling in after riding through the night. Except Esme and I, of course, but we weren’t quite quick enough to prevent him from being slightly traumatized. He’ll be alright. Children are resilient.
The child, Oskari, had come from a nearby village, Frostpointe, to report that a monster of some sort had taken his sister, and to request we come and destroy it, and rescue his sister (this last point may have been a portion of the trauma I mentioned earlier, as certain pessimists immediately told the kid she was probably dead. I mean, I thought so too, but sometimes you just have to tell a few white lies).
I was immediately on board with the idea- what better way to show off my new hunting outfit? Also, I don’t really do well when I don’t have goals, and I was at a bit of a loose end after finishing up the Willosby business. It’s best I remain occupied. The others agreed to come as well, for their own reasons, and we left Oskari at the inn with a hot meal and a blanket, to allow him a brief recovery before we left town.
I ensured we would eat well along the way (Runt insisted we would be fine with whatever he can forage, but I’m not inclined to eat frozen roots when I don’t have to), and then we set out in the darkness to ride to Frostpointe while there might still be a chance for the girl.
Night rides are rarely enjoyable experiences. The blizzard didn’t help.
We came upon a pack of wolves, devouring some beast, lead by- and I am being completely serious here- the single largest wolf I have ever seen. And, you know, because that wasn’t enough, it had frost breath too. I dodged it, but that’s just not necessary. We didn’t have a problem with it (diary, wizards are the best) but I suppose that’s a thing in my life now. Giant frost wolves. Great.
Runt got into a bit of a tussle with the thing (as a wolf himself, very appropriate) before we were able to destroy it, but I got into its head and then it happened to run into my scimitar as it turned to flee its own inner demons. Did you know wolves show their gratitude by brushing their (bloodstained) noses against you? I do, now.
Diary, I was positive my new outfit was ruined- you know how hard it is to get bloodstains out of white wool, especially after it’s set- but then Imildrak said some odd little phrase in a language I don’t speak, and it completely disappeared, like the magic I assume it was. I’ve been misjudging him, I think. He’s clearly nicer than his brother, and actually, he’s right that his skull talks back. It spoke to me, too- sounded rather like Imildrak, but I suppose that’s only to be expected. Very polite, Ted.
Frostpointe is even smaller than Cradle, more a collection of houses than a town. Oskari was able to lead us to his family, and the oldest sister, Helena, gave us more information. The town had caught and killed a small bear-like creature that had been attacking their livestock, and, shortly afterward, a much larger version of the same creature had dragged away their sister, Hilka.
Once Runt and Imildrak were able to identify the creature as a potential yeti, we set off to follow the trail it had left behind dragging the girl, which was still clear through the snow.
We fought it first in the woods, before we reached the end of the trail. The thing was enormous, and I’m going to have nightmares about its claws. A true horror. Luckily for me, I surround myself with excellent companions, and we were a match for the thing. They were all brilliant, and the creature was driven before us in a rain of magic and arrowfire, retreating back to its lair in a blur of snow.
It thought it was very clever, but Fenriss is the clever one- she’d marked it, and was able to follow the creature like it left signposts. We rested briefly, but had no time to waste to truly recover, assuming the girl- or what was left of her- would be in the lair.
My memory of that battle is hazy- we attacked from afar at first, but they were so fast we had to engage directly. I stepped forward in front of the wizards, Runt with me (we’d lost the Teds in the battle in the woods), drew my sword. I tried to force my will through my music to take control of the yeti’s mind, saw it fail. The yeti looked at me, and I couldn’t move. Then, nothing. A wash of red. I know now that I took a near mortal wound in an instant. Those claws…
I’d prefer not to dwell on it.
By the time I was able to think and move again, Fenriss was down as well, but the big yeti was near death. Imildrak had trapped another smaller one in a trap only it could see, shrinking away from nothing (I really need to learn how to do that). Esmerelda was about to finish it when a young tiefling emerged from the back of the lair to throw herself over the yeti.
She begged us not to kill the creature, insisting it had meant her no harm. Obviously not thinking clearly, the shock of the thing. I’ve seen this happen to people before.
I saw Runt wavering, but Fenriss (who I’d healed to bring back to consciousness) and Esmerelda were having no more of it than I was. The girl was lucky to be alive, and if we left this thing here, the next girl might not be so lucky.
Exhibit A: self, with extra giant slash in side.
We removed Hilka from the yeti’s back and did what had to be done.
After which, Imildrak, who may be my new best friend, gave me a healing potion (why I didn’t bring one of my own is a mystery for the ages, lesson learned). And, most unexpectedly, a rose.
A dried, long dead black rose, of course- I might take that the wrong way from anyone else, but Imildrak’s got his own odd ways. I can't really say anything, I’m pretty odd myself, let’s be honest.
I think I might keep it. It’s lovely, even so- fragile, the scent barely there, but a rose, still. And where, in a land covered in snow, did he find a rose in the first place, much less a black one..?
The villagers, unlike Hilka, were delighted to hear the yetis had been killed, and gave us a much-needed warm meal and sleep before we returned to Cradle. Lady Fol had medals made for us when we returned. I think I’d still rather not have been ripped open, but the medal’s a bit of a consolation prize, I suppose. It’s nothing a few days lounging idly in the inn won’t heal, in any case.
If I can stay out of trouble that long.