Our heroes meaning Bers (the female fighter played by Jen), Dead-Eye (a ranger played by Cris) and Olf (an Arborean healer played by Mike) return from slaying the Winter Dragon in its lair hefting along sacks of riches only to stumble into the Crusader camp now a smoking bloody body-strewn battlefield. The Hill-landers that had accompanied them on shared in a portion of the treasure ran off to find the Paladin Sir Chinsalis whom they were following and owed their fealty to for some reason or another (hey the players never asked). The lean-to and the stables where smoldering piles of ashes which exuded the columns of black smoke they had seen from afar along with all of the wagons around camp which were arrayed in semi-circle in front for the manor house which was largely intact. They surveyed the corpses which comprised of all of the Crusader’s servants, most of the Templars save for two and when Bers and Dead-Eye found out which had gotten away (Han-Moro and his second Zavan the Red) they were disappointed. Jen said, “Awww, I was hoping to see him dead!”
Along with the crusaders and predictable score of Westlander bodies there were also Otkid bodies all over the battlefield and the stink of chlorine was still strong enough to burn the eyes and nose. “The GREEN Dragon!” exclaimed Dead-Eye. They figured the green dragon had set the Otkid on both the Westlanders and the Crusaders after setting those against each other before showering all with a caustic cloud of chlorine gas. Dead-Eye scanned the tree-line in time to sight a Westlander who was looting the corpses flee into the forest. Of course he and Bers pursued leaving Olf behind chasing the man for several minutes into a tight clearing surrounded by tall evergreen bushes. That is when the pursued man turned tomahawks in each hand.
Bers: “Crap it’s a trap!”
Dead-Eye: “Yeah, no s*%t! But I’m still gonna kill ‘em all!”
A javelin flew from above the bushes directly in front of them revealing an 8 ft bluff atop a javelineer sat and Bers dodged it. The tomahawk brandishing warrior engaged Dead-Eye who pulled his long-sword and bowie knife. A Barbarian in war paint and a fighter bearing a battle-axe and shield leapt from the bushes. The battle lasted for 3 rounds, the first to drop was the warrior with the axe & shield dropped as attacked Bers and she walloped him after only two actions cutting him in two getting herself covered in steaming gore. The barbarian went into a berserk rage and charged to attack Bers, the tomahawk fighter kept at it with Dead-Eye and the javelineer continued to lob javelins at both of them missing once. When the javelineer ran out of javelins after the first round he pulled a pair of tomahawks and leapt into battle with Bers. By the third and last round the javelineer was the first to drop and the tomahawk fighter followed after expending all of his attacks as parry/simul combos before being dropped by Dead-Eye. The barbarian was finally killed by Bers. The pair stumbled back to the carnage of the camp as snow began to fall. The Hillmen met with them and told them that Han had found Sliepnir tracks and recognized the shoes of Chinsalis, his squire and Han-Moro and his second appearing to drag along a prisoner and presented them with a scrap of clothing which the pair recognized as a piece torn from Siamnecca’s robe. They had departed hastily to the West and the Hill-landers were going to follow. Bers and Dead-Eye refused they were going to to shelter in the Manor for the rest of winter. Dead-Eye was convinced the Hill-Landers were going to die in the snow as he watched them jog off into the haze of the ever-increasing snowfall.
They walked into the manor and found it intact with all of the furnishings left by the crusaders finding Zancor quite drunk and guzzling the Templars’ ale. They went to the cellar to check the stores and found two bodies of Templar butlers with their throats cut, they didn’t bother to ask questions they just dragged the bodies outside and locked the place down figuring they had enough to survive for the remainder of winter. Olf sat by the fire seemingly traumatized into silence.
A few days later during the night a frantic beating sounded on the door and when opened they found a young Westlander woman in the blizzard which had roared unceasingly since they had shut the place up. She immediately warmed up to Dead-Eye, Bers was suspicious and after rolling a Natural 20 she recognized the features of the female warrior with sharpened teeth that had frozen to death awhile back after escaping the Templars. Bers grappled with the creature which immediately revealed itself to be a shriveled corpse with skin like rawhide and tossed out the door Olf bolting it shut after. The creature had already cast its spell over Dead-Eye and they had to tie him up to keep him from opening the door and running outside. Zancor who just sat there the whole unimpressed eating and drinking told them that she was a Snow Maiden (see MMI) an undead creature out for vengeance against the living but not to worry she and her magic will disappear come the snow-melt. It took a couple of days to dig through their potions and finding a Potion of Purification gave it to Dead-Eye (which Cris hated since the potion is a fairly valuable one) freeing him from the curse. Of course they had to listen to the creature come back every night for the next two weeks scratching and pleading at the door.
The melt came and with it the end of winter. The dragon-slayers decided to high tail it as fast as possible back to Fertum Dreyhawk where Dead-Eye wanted to take a month or so off to relax and then go after the Green Dragon. They would leave Zancor there on his own recognizance. They left Veringer’s Field with a wagon-load of treasure and hill-dragon hide and bone as the winter dragon’s corpse had fallen through the ice where they had slain it sinking into the icy waters of its lair. Bers and Dead-Eye took turns pulling the wagon not particularly bothered by smell of rotting flesh mellowed by winter as the sun glinted off of the bones and rusted armor that littered the grounds behind them.
To Be Continued…