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Chapter Twelve: Loviatar's Icy Laughter! (Pathfinder 2.0 Playtest)

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
#1
Mode: Exploration
Location, Time, and Weather: Unknown, daytime, and in frozen hell

All was white...

"Blizzard Sounds" by Stardust Vibes

As your senses slowly and agonizingly returned to you, you found yourself knee-deep in howling white snow. Under it lay either rock or ice or something equally uncomfortable or so your sore muscles told you. Your teeth chattered as the cold whipped around you. Your hands and feet felt coldest of all. You were quite alone...

... or so it first seemed.

One by one, you could faintly see most of your comrades slowly sitting up from their prone positions. One did not stir. The ache and the chill wrathfully grappled each of you. Snow covered each and every one of you so much you could not even see your armor and clothes.

Vanished was the warmth and security of Ben & Misha's. Equally dissipated was the safety and grandness of Highwind on the mountain. All that remained was part of your team, a horrible drop off of a cliffside behind you, and a mirthless gathering of frost-laden trees before you.

snow-colorado-march-2016-1.jpg
(Image credit: Strange Sounds)

Then realizations began to set in.

Terrible realizations.

The snow pulled at Brendoran, giving him a harder time than he had ever been used to. He felt a bit frail in this evil winter's grasp, but somehow, he also felt brighter than he had ever been! His mind was as clear as a reflection off of still water. And yet, the son of Sarabina felt a great sense of loss. It was as if a thing had come and filched from him something beloved to his very being. Filched while he lay unconscious. And yet, Brendoran could not for the moment place as to what it was. Memories of dear Shalin began to whisper in his brain, but those whispers were, as always, silent. Despite his shivering body and limbs, Brendoran could not shake the feeling that things had changed drastically and his very survival depended on finding out what they were and righting them!

The snows held Nivirea jealously in their grip. Chilled from head to toe, the woman from Summerset felt her teeth chattering. In addition to this, there was a terrific sense of intellectual freedom that she had never known. Her brain was a thinking thing, strong and vital, filled with a great many new things, but.. something was terribly wrong! She felt robbed! She felt dulled somehow, like a blade that had fought a thousand battles without the touch of a whetstone. She could not put her finger on what precisely it was - it was enough to drive a woman mad with anger!

All of you felt strange and curious absences and gainings...

Oreleth had felt the chills of more cold seasons than any in her fellowship, perhaps more than all of her company combined. But the feeling of timeless experience had evaporated - somehow replaced with a physical vitality few elves had ever known. She felt so very healthy. Yet her eyesight seemed darkened a touch, her hearing not quite right. There was a stirring in her very being and that stirring was a stranger. Her natural alacrity seemed a touch slower, but that could have easily been attributed to this wind and snow. Yet there was a part of her that felt all too welcome in it. Still, there was an awful feeling that something was not right at all. This was solidly combined with the wonder if it would ever be right again. Fear crept upon Oreleth's mind as it had not in long years.

Luna, too, was covered in great blankets of oncoming snow. As she fought to get them off, she tried to fathom what had happened, but upon doing so - there came a tremendous shock! Her beloved familiar, Sparkle, was gone! Not just physically removed, but completely absent from her mind! So too did Luna feel a crushing weightless weight upon her brain. It was so hard to think to her proper proportions! It was as if an ogre had clubbed her in the skull. She felt differently, oh so differently, as if free to do as she pleased, beyond the reach of normal women. For Luna also knew of a great and personal energy she had never knew existed before. And yet, a black sensation, the sure presence of this awful disturbance came over her. It hung upon her more dreadfully than all of the snow here combined.

Otiorin woke to senses he did not know. He also felt the absence of senses he had always known. Immediately, he felt as if his very soul had been toyed with by something far greater in power than he. Toyed with and stained. His reflexes were more than he remembered having, but he coughed terribly for a moment. He experienced a vulnerability about him he had not known since he was a mere boy. The cold was a cackling demon on his back. It bit into him and threatened to steal his very life. But yet, there was a hardiness to his spirit that was not there before. Above all, he knew something had come into his life and torn out things precious to him. But... what? Try as he might, Otiorin had no answer.

Bria's form lay face-down in the snow. Bits of her brown hair and one outreached hand stuck out from the pile of whiteness that had threatened to bury her. She had willingly taken the fullest impact of the magical snow globe and now lay in the frost like a dead woman.

Only one thing was of certainty here - wherever here was...

...to stay here was to die.

Far from home. Far from everything good and warm and right.

To die here was to give Loviatar's unnamed priestess and Gerran the Vile the victory they so dearly wished to see.

All you had to do was sit and wait for the end to come...
 
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Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
#2
Using her glamored robe, Luna has the shifting garment wrap around her in an attempt to keep warm in this blizzard. Struggling to her feet, she reaches into her pocket and pulls out a coin. Focusing her arcane energy, she casts the simple cantrip of Light on it and holds it aloft, trying to use the light to see the others in the driving snow.

"Bren! Otiorin! Nivirea! Oreleth! Bria! Can you hear me? If you can, gather around the light! We have got to find some shelter or we'll freeze."
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
#3
Luna realized she was half-frozen. Her limbs were shaking. She had no idea how long she had been laying in the blizzard. She tried to brush her hand down her Glamered Robe three times. Each time took serious effort.

Nothing happened.

In fact, there was so much snow on her, she could hardly tell what she was wearing...
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
#4
Oreleth struggles to get to her feet, her hands instinctively reaching for her bow. With the driving wind and snow, the elf is not entirely sure that she could even grip her weapon well enough to fire an arrow, but still. Casting her gaze around, she tries her best to find some kind of shelter to get everyone out of the cold.
 

Wolf Rawrrr

Wolf-Knight
Supporter
#5
.:| Nivirea - The Sorceress |:.

Sore and freezing, Nivirea only half-heartedly fought her way to awareness.

She had died and gone to hell. The pictures in her mind that explained how that happened were blurry and disjointed, but that was her first thought. As peculiarly liberated as her mind felt for some reason, her body was numb and barely responsive. She had never been so cold in her whole life. She tried to ignore the ominously wrong feeling in her chest and instead focus on something else...

It took several forceful blinks to get her eyes to stay open.

Emboldened by that small victory, she brought her hands to her face and blew warm air into them. The world was still there - or what was left of it. The faint figures half-buried in the snow around her must have been the others. She knew she had to go to them, check if they're alright... If they're alive. At least one wasn't moving at all. Her next thought came unbidden, ironic: If the others are here, then I can't be in hell.

But first, she'd have to check herself. Slowly and consciously, she tried moving her head, her legs. Tried to dig herself out, then get herself up on her knees. If that worked, she could find something to cast Light on, or better yet, Spark, she thought. She'd burn the whole world if it meant being warm again.
 

Captain Hesperus

On Vacation
Supporter
#6
Otiorin Taletreader

The dining table was exquisitely laid, cutlery of the purest silver lay in neat lines around flatwear of the finest china and between glasses of best quality crystal, all upon a tablecloth of the richest, whitest linen. The candles in their gleaming silver candelabra were pure white and the table setting was a flourish of lilies and white roses. The chairs similarly were dressed in white linen, with soft duck feather cushions on the seats and tall backs. The walls of the room were dressed in long banners of purest white with a fine silver thread filigree. Otiorin sat at one side of the table, eager for the fine repast that must surely be about to be served at so sumptuous a spread. He glanced around him and saw the other Wayfarers sat alongside and opposite him. He smiled as he saw Bria, dressed in that superlative robe he's seen her in....in.... where had it been? A homely place, an exciting place, a...warm place.

A shudder passed down his spine and he absently glanced over to the fireplace. There were logs in the hearth, but instead of a warm blaze, rigid shards of ice rose from the wood. Cold radiated out from the hearth, along with a flurry of snowflakes. He turned back, intending to remark upon the strangeness to his friends when he noticed their expressions. Bren, Luna, Nivirea, even Oreleth bore expressions of distress and pain on their faces. Their skin was pale, almost bluish in the cold, and their breath escaped in ragged white puffs of warm air. He turned fully and saw Bria and gasped. She was fully encased within a rugged block of ice, her face placid but pallid as the dead. Otiorin tried to rise, but found that he was frozen to the chair, his legs and lower torso encased in a similar icy prison as had claimed Bria. He looked around desperately but saw no solace.

Then the wall before him crumbled, in much the same way as a snowbank collapses under the weight of a heavy object and a roiling cold mist tumbled in. A gigantic form could barely be seen in the mist, but it had wings and glimmering silver eyes.

"You are in danger, child of my child's child, you and your friends. Awaken now, lest your foes defeat you. AWAKEN!"

"Bria!"
Otiorin gasped and sat up. Snow cascaded from his torso and the frozen air was like a physical blow to his body. He swore and cursed and staggered to find his feet in the unstable snow beneath his feet. His current garments were as nothing to the howling winds that buffeted him and wrenched at him. He could see others in the snow around him, familiar figures. Nivirea, a heap on the floor trying to rise to her knees. Luna, on her feet, barely, a glowing light shining in her hand. A bulky form that could only be Bren. A slight form on which he could glimpse forest colors, Oreleth. His eyes cast over them, searching for the one most important to him. A flutter of golden light caught his eye and he saw her. She lay face down, immobile, slowly being buried in the rapidly falling snow.

"BRIA!", he roared and surged forward. Moonlit Edge came to his hand unbidden, her blade flaring into cool steady light even as the wind whistled across her keen edges. Otiorin fought the wind and the knee-deep snow to reach Bria, turning her over and searching for any signs of life.
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter
#7
Bren struggled towards wakefulness. Cold seemed to have seeped into his bones, but more unnerving were the changes he couldn't quite define but could definitely sense. The thought of Shalin brought both hope and fear, for he recalled the sorcerer's history with the very evil goddess who had sent them here, but also how that goddess's curse on his friend was well on its way to being removed -- by mortal hands. Then, too, there was the possibility that Shalin could scry them out and find some way of connecting with them... wherever they were.

That last thought pulled his frozen brain out of his personal situation and outwards to the blinding blizzard around them. He pushed himself upright, looking around for the others. Like Otiorin, once Bren's mind was working again, his first thoughts were of the gentle healer who'd taken the brunt of the explosion to save them. He heard Luna's and Otiorin's calls, and followed the latter as best he could while shouting himself, "Come!" to the others, who seemed to be moving if not speaking. Falling to his knees beside Otiorin and Bria, he reached out to touch the motionless girl, searching in his soul for the lay on hands ability that Mielikki had so newly granted him.
 
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Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
#8

"Blizzard Sounds" by Stardust Vibes

As the world continued to freeze into a cloud-colored icy hell, Luna reached into herself and called upon the simplest of cantrips - Light. She found that her mind ached with the effort! It seemed a struggle to use her brain beyond the most simple of thoughts and that seemed to include calling upon the most simple of magics!

The more she called upon her wizardly talents, the farther they seemed out of reach. Her brain, however muddled, had to be somehow lying to her, for she felt she had blessedly little magic to call upon at all - a handful of magics compared to what she was used to.

Still, she reached inside of her to cast the cantrip. New feelings and emotions rose and twirled like chaotic storms in her breast. They were getting in the way! It was like she was not herself anymore, and without wonderful Sparkle to help sort things out.

After what felt like a dozen tries, something inside of her finally clicked together. She cast the Light spell upon her copper coin. The magic was strange. It seemed to come from a different place in her than usual. A bright flare of warm-looking radiance reached out in every direction. It was too bad that true heat did not come with it.

Her voice croaked at first when she tried to call out. Her mouth was dry despite the moisture all around. As with the Light spell, persistence paid off. With the howling wind, a normal volume was near-useless. She saw her comrades all around her, but in the bleakness of the snowstorm, they seemed different somehow. All but one of them were moving.

"BRIA!" came Otiorin's cry. Why did he sound so different? Normally, Luna could figure out these things in a pinch! What had happened?

Then, as she rose to her feet, Luna looked down to her garment. A patch of rich forest green peeked out from under all the white she was covered in. Still, the awful chill came...

Oreleth had a terrible time seeing anything at all. Never in her entire life had her keen senses failed her so. It was like her sight, her hearing, even her simple elven sensitivities were muddled and mucked up by the endless flurries and stinging winds all around her. Still, she could not toss aside the feeling that the frost was not biting her as hard as it should.

She reached for her bow with an automatic reflex born of practice. She grasped air! Her longbow was not over her shoulder! There was a soft panic inside of her, one that made no sense, for her courage against fear was even something admired by her fellow Wood Elves in the Forest Eternal. But it seemed this, too, had been blown away in the winds! What was happening?

A franticness began to grip Oreleth as surely as the snows. The more she sought her longbow, the greater the fear grew. It was not beside her in the snow, nor was her quiver upon her either. Still, she felt snow-covered gear upon her person. Unfamiliar gear. What was this? The feeling of a fine handle on her hip. It was not her familiar and trusty elven curved blade, but something else she did not recognize at all. Something far greater in quality. So, the logic in her mind begged, what was it and how did it get on her hip?

"BRIA!" Oreleth heard Otiorin call. Otiorin had found the Ko monk. Something in Oreleth felt a sudden sadness. It was as if she felt Corellon Himself must have possessed Otiorin to give such a heartfelt wail. Such wails would touch her heart with empathy before the snow globe touched them all. But now? While the emotion in Otiorin's cry was deep and true, Oreleth's great heart did not ring as it once had upon hearing such sadness.

As she felt this, her vision began to swim. Something suddenly began to rise. From deep within Oreleth as if it had been there all along without her knowing. It was an all-powerful force. It was strong, it was sure, and it was definitely not Oreleth!

Nivirea felt such cold as to make her muscles shake. As she turned and tried to move, she felt heavy and slow under the effects of the wintry weather. After some struggle and effort of will, she rose to her knees. How she felt differently!

Her mind was racing. Almost uncontrollably. The cold seemed to have stolen much of her natural passionate nature. What was happening? Facts, facts, and more facts assailed her brain and she was able to comprehend them with a terrific alacrity never before known to her. Weather like this, her mind told her, was typical of the winter seasons in Frozen North where the Norse Gods had been worshipped for centuries.
This, her suddenly-incredible memory served to tell her, was where Wolf the Ranger, the Wayward Wanderer before her, had ventured with his wild-hearted father, Ranthorn the Ranger, and Wolf's beloved hunting bird, Pecker. Hardy folk like they could survive this torment because they were of the wild, like Mamapaw the Druidess. But none of these were to be seen and Brendoran the Ranger/Warrior was now Brendoran the Paladin of Mielikki. They had no creature of the wild to guide them. The situation was more dire than it seemed, her fascinated mind told her.

With this realization came intellectual circumstances, possibilities, decisions, benefits, ramifications, rushed in like great tidal waves. The Nivirea before the snow globe would have been hopelessly overwhelmed by this much mental activity, but now? Her "new" brain kept going and going on and on like it never had before without trouble.

All was logic. Even the ever-present carefree nature of her Fey blood seemed to have completely disappeared under this avalanche of crazy clarity.

A Light cantrip would certainly do. She saw Luna, or someone in the falling snow that resembled Luna, attempting with great difficulty what was clearly a Light spell. It was only a cantrip. What could be the trouble?

Upon Nivirea's thought of the fire-making cantrip, Nivirea's incredible mind reached to find Spark - it was not there to be found! Upon further introspection, she found her entire spell-arsenal had been nearly... erased?

It was a difficult mystery to ponder. Perhaps she just needed to rest and wait as usual for her sorcerous powers to replenish themselves; no, that was not it; perhaps this was a side-effect of the snow globe's foul magic; well, her mind told her, Nivirea would be wise to check with the rest of the casters to find out where their spells lie; perhaps, perhaps, perhaps...

Her mind raced along like Arubellum's fear-maddened horses down the streets of Highwind, except this time, Bria's Calm Emotions spell was as still in the snow as a stone. It was like Nivirea was someone else.

"BRIA!" she suddenly heard Otiorin yell nearby. He was rushing toward the still figure, Bria obviously, who lay in the snow. But, her mind protested, that could not have been Otiorin yelling!

His accent was all wrong...

Then the wall before him crumbled, in much the same way as a snowbank collapses under the weight of a heavy object and a roiling cold mist tumbled in. A gigantic form could barely be seen in the mist, but it had wings and glimmering silver eyes.

"You are in danger, child of my child's child, you and your friends. Awaken now, lest your foes defeat you. AWAKEN!"
After this powerful warning, Otiorin rose and moved with a mad urgency that defied silence, defied these snows, and perhaps defied Death itself!

As he did, a sudden and troublesome conclusion fell upon him. That feeling of cold and silver and flight. It had vanished from him!

With one last warning, the ever-present presence of that draconic power had now just departed from him with such speed that it might have been a dream! One life-long dream! Otiorin, for the first time since he could remember, did not feel the presence of his birthright here to aid him! Here, in this blasted snow-hell, it was completely absent, perhaps banished, as if it never were!

Then Otiorin saw his lady love. The peaceful healer who had sought to save him and Bren, and instead bore the direct impact of the snow globe, lay face-down in the snow. Rushing to Bria, he reached for the Moonlit Edge... and found a strange quiver of snow-covered arrows on his hip where his sacred blade should have been! As he crashed through the snow, he had to move aside a longbow that had suddenly appeared on his shoulder as if out of nowhere! What this thing was doing on his person was far beyond him, but it was getting in his way!

It was no matter! Despite the thick and hardy metal armor protecting him, Otiorin tore across the snows toward the peaceful healer as if he were wearing mere bedclothes. And with such grace! Though Bria were the foremost goal in his mind and heart, he could not dismiss the feeling of nearly dancing across the snows with the ease of his elven ancestors!

Perhaps Corellon Larethian himself had provided some blessing? What was happening?

Otiorin reached Bria in moments instead of minutes. He had to dig through the snow for some moments to reach Bria. With each handful of the stuff, he began to see her just a little clearer. Yet, he felt his eyes and ears had never worked so well now that he had needed them most. Bria's form seemed changed too, but there was no time to inspect - she could have suffocated in the hellish frost of this place long before they awakened! There was only one way to tell.

Otiorin gripped Bria's shoulder and tried to turn her over, but he felt tremendous resistance! Since when in Corellon's name had the young woman become so blasted heavy? His reason told him she should be easy to move, snows or no snows! Then he saw it. It was not just the frost and ice that clutched her so greedily and made the moving so difficult, but the linked armor that she now wore! It fit her perfectly, as if made for her, but whence had it come?

Then, as when the Monk/Mages of Wee Jas had fallen upon you on the Road of Kings, Brendoran and Otiorin were together again, trying to save Bria. Together, they pulled and pulled with all they had!

The snow was everywhere. On everything. The last time Bren saw devilish weather this bad was when The Light in the Dark had faced the terrible Frost Giants of Ymir in the caverns of the Frozen North. It seemed, perhaps, like an age ago. Yet now, he and his new fellowship faced consequences no less dire than falling to the axes of Ymir's children. Death was death and Bren knew it well!

But the cold had brought more curses with them. Seeing Bria collapsed in the snow like a corpse, Bren's movements through the blizzard should have been much more swift than they were. Instead, he had to shove and force his way through the white like a child instead of a man. Even fully burdened, he had moved faster through ogres than this blasted snow! Something was so very wrong...

The worst part of the blizzard's attack upon Brendoran seemed to fall upon his brawny chest and his muscled thighs. He was absolutely freezing and his armor was... gone! He looked down at his body and found himself draped in what felt like the flimsiest of white and gold garments! Oh, in warmer climes they would make him look manly enough, for the cut was perfect for him, revealing his muscled chest, wide shoulders, and healthy limbs. But why, his reason demanded, was he wearing this? What was happening?

As Bren traveled, he felt his mind was not what it was before the snow globe had struck Bria. His mind had never been more open, more free, more able! He remembered when his brain had serious issues with battle maneuvers like Expertise. Now such things seemed like the easiest of riddles! His mind, he suddenly realized, was more on par with Shalin's than his own and that sorcerous elf was brilliant like an elven wizard!

Bren had to try several times to yell the single word, "Come!" For his mouth and throat felt as dry as the Rhumian desert. Yet, Sarabina men and women were not ones to give up, and soon he shouted the word and knew all had heard him. All save perhaps Bria.

If Bren struggled and fought for each step through the heavy snow, then Otiorin flew through it as surely as Star across the skies! How he moved, easily outpacing all of the others and reaching Bria. Manically, Otiorin grasped and heaved as if Bria's face-down figure was made of stone. It was the cold and the ice that held her, Bren knew, but no man Otiorin's size should be having this much trouble turning the peaceful healer over.

As Bren knelt beside Bria, he knew - somehow he knew - she was alive. Her beautiful spark of life had dimmed, but was not yet gone! This he knew for certain as he knelt beside her. Yes, she had been hurt, though how he knew he could not say. Praying to Mielikki, Brendoran reached into his deep faith and performed Lay on Hands to heal the healer...

...and nothing at all came of it!

Meanwhile, Otiorin raged in an effort to pull Bria. She seemed larger somehow. Bren did what Brens do and helped with what strength he had. It was all he could do!

Still, the attempt to Lay on Hands had completely failed! There was no result whatsoever! Had Mielikki forsaken him? Could She not reach him wherever Loviatar had cursed them to?

In answer, a new feeling welled up within Bren. It was hope. It was love. It felt like goodness incarnate. Where this positive universe had come from and how it had evaded him all his life was a mystery beyond even his newly-empowered mind. It was not of Mielikki...

...but Bren knew all he had to do was call on it and it would come and aid them.

"Come!" Brendoran called and the howling winds could not drown him out.

Limping, pushing, and staggering through the snows, the Wayward Wanderers closed in around Bria. The white frost covered all things. Its falling seemed ceaseless.

There, on their knees, Otiorin and Brendoran worked to pull the young Ko healer onto her back. It was not clear if she was breathing.

Each of you felt without a doubt that something was terribly wrong beyond what you already knew. A new and dire mystery had worked its way into your lives. It lurked like a waiting nightmare and knowing it chilled like the touch of ice upon one's very soul. The wind and the snow were hiding something dreadfully important...

It took Otiorin both hands to turn Bria, but he did it. Her beautiful face was covered in frost. Ringed metal armor fully covered her body. Her blue lips were parted. Then Otiorin saw her chest rise ever so gently. The breath of life was still in her! She had not departed her brief, mortal frame, but still resided in it for the short life all humans had to call their own.

Much of Bria was still covered in snow, save for her face, her upper chest, and one gauntlet-covered hand. She looked so very different somehow. Even in the grip of unconsciousness, her hand held tight around something bound around her caped neck. What it was, none could tell without further inspection.


snow-colorado-march-2016-1.jpg
(Image credit: Strange Sounds)
SHARSEYA Location: Unknown
Mode: Exploration
Click Blue Box for Mood Music =)
"See Me" by Roxette =)

 
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Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
#9
Luna can feel her hands struggle to wrap the cloak around her tighter in a futile attempt to keep the terrible cold at bay. Through chattering teeth, she says, "We have got to find shelter or we won't last much longer out here!" She looks around desperately for any sign of something, anything, that can protect them from the elements. The snow is just too heavy to be able to see anything.
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
#10
Oreleth forces her way through the snow to the fallen figure of Bria. Her mind is all confused, not knowing what is wrong with her but knowing that there is something that is not right in her own head. Through chattering teeth, she says, "My bow is gone, probably lost in the snow for good, and this sword on my hip is not my normal blade. Something is very wrong beyond this snowstorm, but we have got to get to shelter now or we will freeze to death. Grab Bria and let's move; I don't care what direction we go so long as we are moving."
 

Wolf Rawrrr

Wolf-Knight
Supporter
#11
.:| Nivirea - The Sorceress |:.

Nivirea had dragged herself over to the others just in time to witness Bren and Otiorin roll the still motionless Bria onto her back. She let out a small gasp, forgetting for a brief moment the freezing cold. But only for a moment.

"S-Something is v-v-very wrong indeed," she said through chattering teeth, trying to ignore the foreboding feeling that she, too, might end up like Bria. She was so still, encased in all that snow and metal. So very... unlike Bria. That was when she spotted it, looking over her body in Otiorin's arms.

"Wait! W-What's that in her hand?" she pointed out, quickly retracting her finger back into a closed fist for warmth.
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
#12

Luna's attempt to see farther into the white woods was absolutely fruitless. There was simply too much falling snow. Strangely enough, a part of her did not feel ill at ease, but quite at peace as if something about the situation did not bother her in the slightest. A deep feeling in her, one she had never felt before, seemed unbothered by it all.

Their only company seemed to be the snow and the trees.

Making her way to Bria, Otiorin, and Bren was difficult, but not impossible. It was more frustrating than anything. The snow seemed to have stolen her gracefulness, but thankfully not her wits. Still, something ugly pulled at her. Oreleth knew she was missing more than her grace...

Upon reaching Bria, Oreleth saw that the peaceful woman was still as ice, but yet, she was breathing and therefore alive! Much of her was covered by the snow, but it was clear to Oreleth that she had not been the only one to go through changes - what was this chain mail armor Bria was wearing? It was no wonder Otiorin and Bren had struggled so to turn her over.

Bria's face was quite pale, her lips were blue like the sky when the snow wasn't in the way. The chill was taking its toll on all of you, but it did not take a wood elf of the Forest Eternal to see that Bria would likely be the first victim to permanently fall if she remained as she was...

One thing that had not changed about Nivirea was her inability to perform athletic tasks. Just moving through the ankle-to-knee-deep snow was just that! Her trembling muscles begged for warmth. Still, she saw the path Oreleth had just made with her movement and something inside her mind just naturally followed along the path of least resistance. It was simply the smart thing to do.

Something about this whole world seemed so very plain, and yet so very vast. It was as if for the first time in Nivirea's entire life, she was seeing the world through eyes unclouded by emotion and armed securely with facts. Her emotions were still very much a part of her, but somehow it seemed that a part of her was missing. Taken away. Stolen perhaps.

Whatever the case was, one glance at Bria told Nivirea that the young woman would likely die when the sun eventually went down and took its light and warmth with it. Who would be next after that was anyone's guess.

Still, pointing out Bria's clasped hand was a start of sorts. For talk was not going to bring solution - only action could do that.


snow-colorado-march-2016-1.jpg
(Image credit: Strange Sounds)
GAME DETAILS Location: Unknown
Mode: Exploration
Click Blue Box for Ambiance =)
"Relaxing Sounds" by Stardust Vibes =)

 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter
#13
Bren shook his head. Whatever it was, it could wait, along with any other mysteries not directly related to getting out of the blizzard. "We can look when we've found some shelter." He scooped up Bria and held her close for warmth,* then led the group away from...wherever. When you can't see, any direction is better than none, and so he headed forth in the direction he was facing when he stood up.


* @Captain Hesperus : If Otiorin would do this instead, feel free to say so and I'll remove that part from this post.
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
#14
Luna doesn't say anything; instead she just focuses on just keeping on her feet as she fights her way through the wind and snow. Something was very wrong with her magic, and she was not the only one to have some issue that they noticed, but finding the answer is less important than getting to shelter. Once that happens, then they can figure out what the hell is going on.
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
#15


"Mummer's Dance" by Destiny Cross (ShadowCa7). This has long been my favorite cover of Loreena McKennitt's hit.

He scooped up Bria and held her close for warmth,* then led the group away from...wherever.
Brendoran reached into the white cold and pulled Bria to his nearly-naked chest. Or rather, he tried. She hardly moved! It was like trying to pull a sleeping pony into a barn!

Brendoran tried again and felt weaker from the exertion. Had the cold filched away his strength? Was he cursed? Was this strange snow-covered armor she was adorned in too much for his muscles to bear?

The son of Killane pulled a third time... and just could not budge the young woman from the greedy grip of the snow! But to hold her close for warmth? Yes. This he could do. His skin felt the painful bite of the clinging frost instantly as he held Bria close to him. She was breathing. This was true. For Brendoran could still see the soft clouds rise from her barely-parted lips, soon no longer blue. But what to do? The Wayward Wanderers could not remain in this weather!

Still, for every moment she was held, her breathing seemed to deepen. Color began to turn white cheeks to light pink. The sensation of great hope that Bren had felt inside grew stronger along with its promise.

Bria shuddered. She let out groan so pained it seemed to come from the very depths of her soul. Consciousness seemed to slowly return to the young woman, but with it came delirium. She slowly, exhaustedly, rolled onto her front until she was kneeling in the snow. Some of the snow fell away. Then Bren looked down on her hip and saw what looked like the handle of a battle axe! The blade was hidden in a leather sheath. A long cloak covered Bria's back. Parts of it were a strong vibrant green against the pale whiteness of the snow. Her brown hair was neatly cross-braided and not free or in a ponytail as she usually wore it.

Bria's left hand found its way to Brendoran's shoulder, but she did not move or act like a person who knew anyone else was with her. She acted as if alone. Her gauntleted hands slowly raised skyward. Her fingers let slip the leathery cord about her neck and the simple evergreen wooden leaf that hung upon it. In a beckoning as silent as a windless snow, she faced the ivory sky. A voiceless cry seemed to escape her open lips. A great fog expelled from her breast into the air. The expression on her face was pleading, reaching, and altogether surrendering.

She closed her eyes. Her voice, cracked from the dry cold, mouthed words. Each of you heard her heartfelt, heavenward call. She spoke each word as if they were the most special words ever spoken in all of Sharseya.

"Mielikki, Lady of the Forest,
wife of the vast woods,
walk through all the wilderness,
search the far backwoods
Lead the squirrel,
make it run, make it fly
to the path of the seeking man
to the steps of this hunting hero
Lead the squirrel,
lay it on the branch of fortune
"

Bria finished her prayer with her face turned toward the sky. Calmly, yet freezing, she waited. She waited as if held in a delirium. Her brain seemed to register none of your presences.

Then a miracle came into the white world...

"A Place Among the Stones" by Maire Brennan
Lyrics:
Is fada mo shúile ort
Thug mé isteach duit
Tusa mo mhian
Tusa mo mhian
(My eyes long for you,
I gave in,
You are my desire)

No heart hangs on distant water
What enchantment in this world
I wander westward my heart desires
With seas alive
Shadow me under the mountains of time
Guide me to the endless paths

No tears fall on stoney highways
That skyline splendour lights my way
We wander westward our heart's desire
With seas of light
Shadow me under the mountains of time
Guide us to endless paths

Sun on snow.jpg
(Image credit: yandex.ua)

A color besides the endless white came in from the sky! Sunlight!

Great warm beams of soft yellow and lively orange fell upon the Wayward Wanderers, embracing all of you with a touch of wonderful, life-giving heat! Bria, her eyes still closed, gave a wide smile as she basked in the heavenly radiance. Sunlight had never felt so good!

Little by little, the snowflakes began to softly melt away from you and your party members. Each of the Wayward Wanderers realized then that they were not clad at all in gear they had ever worn! They had weapons and items, some familiar, some not, but none of them were owned by those who wore them!

As the snowstorm's heavy burden began to lift and the sunlight reached its apex, details became clearer. Faces, a little easier to see. Faces you knew... and yet did not know!

Long had Loviatar been the hated Goddess of Ice. The Maiden of Pain. Bestowing agony was her specialty. Bringing her foes to their knees while their hearts and bodies broke into pieces was her delight! Many were the creative pains brought upon by the foul magic of the Ice Queen. And none knew how to deliver pain felt the soul as she did!

So was it truly a great surprise to see her curses put upon the Wayward Wanderers? This was their first true taste of her black magic... it was a taste that would linger long in mind and heart...

The sunlight began to fade. You were warmed and illuminated but just for a few precious moments. The sunrays showed clearly what each of you wore - what you had become. And with that came a sense of identity. Of purpose. But not one of your calling! The Wayward Wanderers had been changed! Changed inside and out!

Changed perhaps forevermore by the awful and diabolical power of Loviatar!

Oreleth the Half-Elf Rogue!
Oreleth the Rogue.jpg
(Image credit: Pinterest)

Nivirea the Human Wizard!
Nivirea the Wizard.jpg
(Image credit: Pinterest )

Brendoran the Human Peaceful Healer!
Brendoran the Peaceful Healer.jpg
(Image credit: warosu.org )

Otiorin the Wood Elf Archer!
Otiorin the Wood Elf Archer.jpg
(Image credit: niceimgro.pw )

Luna the Fey-blooded Sorceress!
Luna the Sorceress.jpg
(Image credit: Pinterest )

Bria the Human Paladin of Mielikki!
Bria the Paladin.jpg
(Image credit: DeviantArt)

Finally, the sunlight died away, leaving the world in an endless field of white that was hard on the eyes. The snow continued to fall.

Bria sat in the snow, not moving, not stirring, as if in a trance.

But the rest of you, now warmed for the moment, could act as you would!


snow-colorado-march-2016-1.jpg
(Image credit: Strange Sounds)
GAME DETAILS Location: Unknown
Mode: Exploration
Click Blue Box for Ambiance =)
"Relaxing Sounds" by Stardust Vibes =)

 
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Psychie

Princess Psychie
#16
Oreleth looks about the snowy wasteland, stunned by the changes in herself and the others. This can't be happening! My very nature is changed! She closes her eyes, willing everything to be back to normal when she opens them once more. With her eyes open again, she seems to take the changes in stride. "Ok, this is a bit . . . unexpected."

She begins to take an inventory of her gear, to know just what she has to bring to a fight if one happens.
 

Captain Hesperus

On Vacation
Supporter
#17
Otiorin Taletreader

The Elf(!) bounded lightly across the drifts and pulled the nigh-catatonic Paladin's head around so they were face-to-face.
"Bria, snap out of it! Now's not the time to commune with the Gods. If we remain sat here too much longer, you'll be able to chat to them in person."
He glanced around at the rest of the party, noting the rounded tips and bulkier form of Oreleth, the robes Bren was clad in, Luna's decidedly more Fae appearance and Nivirea's far more mundane looks.
"We have to move, all of us, and find shelter.", he said to Bren and the others, "And we need to figure out what is going on and why we aren't who we were."
With a heave, he tossed Bria's arm over his shoulder and fought to lift her to her feet.
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
#18


"A Place Among the Stones" by Màire Brennan

Oreleth realized quickly that she was dressed in fine leather armor, so fine and well-made that it seemed not to impede her movements in any way. It was, in a manner of speaking, as if she were wearing less than leather armor, but with the full benefits its protection.

She found a hand crossbow upon her person with miniature bolts used by that canny device. And daggers. More daggers than she had ever carried before. About ten in total, each in places convenient to swiftly unsheathe and let fly at a moment's notice. A sturdy shortsword hung easily on her hip, a shortbow upon her shoulder, and a blackjack set snugly, all within practical reach.

But what was this? Easiest of all to grasp was a second shortsword, this one lean and fascinating, clearly of elven make, but certainly not from the Forest Eternal! But if not from there, then where? This was a special elf-sword, very likely enchanted with elf-magic and perhaps sharper than any arrow she had ever nocked when she was a Fighter. There was, of course, the curiosity to reach down and draw it forth.

Then Oreleth felt her breath catch in her lungs. Her eyes fluttered. She looked again at the sword - and saw white and blue icy trails lifting from the sheath where the steel met the opening. The handle was cold, but like the cold about her, it did not bother her too much. In fact, now that she was seeing the world through these eyes, the cold seemed to daunt her a little less. The white of the snow seemed a little less deadly and a lot more beautiful, even if the Wayward Wanderers circumstances were so.

Her eyesight returned to "normal" as the Wayward Wanderers began to move on.

As the sunlight died away, Brendoran got a good look at what he was wearing. It was a very masculine version of this outfit. To say it seemed familiar would have been an understatement.

220px-Sophitia.png
(Image credit: Game Art HQ )

No wonder his burly chest and legs were colder than the rest of him!

Brendoran and Otiorin helped, each in their own ways, to get Bria to her feet. "Mmm?" she murmured once but to what was unclear. She did not respond to Otiorin's words - it was as if she had not heard them at all. She simply gazed past him, her brown eyes distant and glassy. Looking into her beautiful face, she too seemed different somehow. It was more than just her appearance; she seemed to be confused and groggy. She moved like a woman in a daze, unsure and unsteady.

Bria groaned again in pain and with her free hand, she touched her stomach where Loviatar's Snow Globe had struck her. There was something stoic to the sound of her groan. It was then that Brendoran was certain - Bria had been injured there, but not so seriously that she could not move. Moving definitely seemed to be the right thing to do.

What had become of the globe itself, none could say for it was not to be seen.

The snow returned and the light and warmth faded. The Wayward Wanderers, one by one, rose to their feet and stepped through the frosty forest in the direction Brendoran had indicated. They marched together. Sometimes they stumbled in the snow, but being good-hearted people, the others helped that person to stand again. Bria seemed to need someone's help to walk. Between Otiorin and Brendoran, she could walk, but like a woman in a dream, she did not speak but gazed ahead at things perhaps only she could see.

Which way to go? It did not matter. But there was strong logic in the moving. To stay was to surrender and how it seared the soul to give up without a fight. So the Wayward Wanderers fought the snow and terrain together. They marched and marched for at least a thousand paces, perhaps more. Then they came upon a new color in the forest.

Crimson.

What appeared to be stains of blood marked the snow. Splotches the size of a human's hand appeared periodically leading in a trail. The trail was not long, perhaps 70 feet. It aimed toward what appeared to be the side of a mountain, or at the very least, a great hillside. The leafless trees rattled in the wind and reached over your heads, their branches entwining.

The blood trail continued on toward a dark cave. At the mouth of the cave, an eerie red light swayed back and forth in the chilly breeze as if hanging by a chain or string. The opening of the cave was about 10 feet by 10 feet with no other unnatural markings. You were 40 feet from the cave. The snow showed no signs of lessening.

The blood trail seemed to enter the cave...

Creepy Red Light.gif
(Image credit: Gifer)

What do the Wayward Wanderers do?


snow-colorado-march-2016-1.jpg
(Image credit: Strange Sounds)
GAME DETAILS Location: Unknown
Mode: Exploration
Click Blue Box for Ambiance =)
"Relaxing Sounds" by Stardust Vibes =)

 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
#19
Luna is doing her best to resist the urge to let out a scream of rage/terror at the sudden change. All those years of intense training to master her arcane arts - gone. She was intellectually aware of the differences in how a wizard works compared to a sorcerer, but Luna doesn't know the how of using magic like that. What the hell do I do now? I don't even know how many spells I have access to, let alone what ones I can cast! Am I still a Pyromancer? She shakes her head. Time enough to figure this out once we are in a safe place, out of this snow.

"We have to risk the cave, but I don't know how much help I can be if there is a threat to deal with. It's either that or we freeze to death."
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
#20
Oreleth nods in agreement. "I will take point to the cave. It would seem that I am supposed to be a bit of a rogue, so this body should be somewhat stealthy." She draws both blades and moves out, doing her best to be silent and keep her eyes and ears open, searching desperately for any signs of danger.
 

Wolf Rawrrr

Wolf-Knight
Supporter
#21
.:| Nivirea - The Sorceress |:.

Ever since she thrust her arms out into the sunlight only to feel that warmth recede as swiftly as it had come, like in some failed attempt to preserve it, Nivirea's looked more than a little depressed. She spoke in nods and shakes, clutching her clothes tight as she trudged along after the others.

The foreboding sight of the cave entrance made her frown. She remained silent in the background, taking the time to survey herself and what she had to work with.
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter
#22
Brendoran Sarabina

Shocked as he was by his own powerlessness to do so much as lift a friend to her feet, Bren was still further surprised by the wondrous, miraculous sunlight that warmed them all after Bria (Bria??) had petitioned Mielikki's help. That sunlight did more than warm -- it enlightened, in more ways than one. It was now clear, to Bren at least, that the evil goddess Loviatar had somehow paired each of the party with another and exchanged their race, gear, and, seemingly, profession.

Oreleth, now a half-elf, wore Otiorin's sword and seemingly the rest of his gear, while Otiorin (now an elf, and a wood elf at that!) had her bow and other equipment.

Luna had Nivirea's fey features, while Nivirea had Luna's human ones, and given that they seemed as confused as the rest, Bren guessed the one was now a sorceress and one a wizardess -- a change that would seem small only to those who didn't know spellcasters.

Bria had Bren's gear, and obviously his power to call for Mielikki's aid. That... hurt. If he hadn't known it was Mielikki's greatest enemy who had done this to him, it would have cut deeper than any wound. As it was, it only drove him deeper into opposition against the Mistress of Pain. As for himself, deep within he sensed something good, something strong and loving and hopeful, the likes of which he'd never felt before, and wondered if this was what he'd gained from Bria, the healer's sense and source of power. He also seemed to be wearing what he'd last seen her in at Ben and Misha's -- and very embarrassing it would have been, had he not had much greater problems to deal with. This, at least, small though it was, he might be able to fix. As he'd seen the gentle healer do so often, he brushed his hands down the flimsy garments, willing them to take more substantial shape* for comfort on several levels. It didn't occur to him to check any other gear; just being warmer was enough for him for now.

The sunlight could not last forever, however, and Otiorin was right -- they still had to find proper shelter. He did what he could, little though it was, to help Otiorin get the unaware Bria to her feet and moving. Had they more time, he would have tried asking that feeling within himself to heal Bria of whatever damage that blasted snowglobe had done to her, but she seemed capable of movement for the time being, so they really shouldn't tarry any longer.

Eventually the party came to the cave described so ominously above. Under other circumstances, with the party so rattled and confused, Bren wouldn't have gone near the place. Unfortunately, these were not those other circumstances, and getting into shelter took precedence over just about everything else right now. He nodded as Oreleth volunteered to scout ahead. "Agreed, but be careful, and don't stray out of our sight. I don't want us separated in this." He gestured at the still-falling snow around them. "Nor in the cave. Call or run back if you need us, we won't be far behind." He intended to keep them no more than 50 feet apart, in the cave or out of it, or within sight if that was a shorter distance; thus, they'd all be moving towards the cave, with Oreleth out in front as scout.


*The robes in the picture Dannigan posted earlier:
 
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Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
#23
"Hallucination" by Trevor Jones for the Labyrinth Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

There was a stirring feeling (as opposed to a leap of logic or intellectual unraveling) inside Luna, one she had never felt before now. It is as if the very magic itself was part of her. Study? Not so important. Trusting the magic? That was it.

Everyone seemed thrown off, but at least there were no corpses in the snow of your friends to awaken to. Sparkle, Luna knew, would have suffered greatly here. The old girl was a reptile and that meant cold-blooded. Blizzards like these were death to her kind. Luna, on the other hand, was a Callen. She could easily imagine her father in a similar storm of anger and fear had this happened to him.

And yet, was not Lord Callen a true Wizard himself? A master of illusions as well as his house and estate? He had every confidence in Luna to go out into the wide world of Sharseya - and return to tell the tale.

Oreleth was a born elven warrior. To be a warrior of the Forest Eternal meant endurance of both body and spirit, courage in the face of all evils, and the grace to go through life like an ever-sharpened arrow - ready at a moment's notice to take on the unknown. To now seek solace in the realm of shadow seemed the realm of soft-footed rangers and long-wise druids.

Still, an odd thought passed through her as she said the words 'this body.' During her many, many decades in the Forest Eternal, every wood elf learned to live above the grass and flowers and sleep in the magnificent tree-homes far above the lowest branches. But, as fate would have it, even elves could stumble. But at that height, one fall meant certain doom or lifelong disability.

Groggy from a long sleepless night in her youth, Oreleth had fallen from the bridge just outside her holt. One moment, she had been standing; the next, she was falling into the darkness. She hardly had time to gasp. Then a rushing wind from above swooped down on her and caught her in its talons. Immediately, she knew it to be one of the Giant Owls that allied with with wood elves. The wide-eyed brown-feathered bird deposited her on a lower bridge and flew on without a look back. But he had left a scrape of a talon along Oreleth's shooting forearm that had formed into an attractive scar.

If indeed Oreleth was in another body, then the scar would not be on this one. She paused a moment and pulled up her sleeve.

The scar was there.

Meanwhile, something inside Oreleth's very being seemed to chuckle deeply at her discovery. Oreleth heard that deep, powerful sound and knew for certain it was not her imagination! It quieted, leaving her be, for the moment...

Nivirea looked at the items carried upon her person; it was one way to remind herself that she, despite the look of every Wayward Wanderer, had not been Polymorphed into a living snow-woman complete with carrot nose.

It seemed she had to brush off the snow from literally everything she was carrying, such was the nuisance of this cursed blizzard! The crossbow, the dagger, the strange bracers on her wrists that seemed achingly familiar somehow - yet these were things she knew she did not own. There was a ring almost frozen upon each of her fingers and a strange little stone orbiting her head that...

...then it dawned on her where she had seen that stone. It belonged to Luna!

Soon, she found a wand and several scroll cases, and a well-used and well-cared-for book that just about reeked of unfamiliar magic! Well, except that Nivirea seemed to be lacking those strange Fey sensations that seemed to guide her from time to time. Yes, Nivirea quickly and confidently concluded - she was wearing Luna's gear. The backpack, the Bag of Holding, the Boots of Striding and Springing she had yet to activate and the rest. All of this belonged to Luna. But if this were so, where was her pseudo-dragon Sparkle?

* * *​

Like a flower covered by a shadow and kept from the sun's embrace, Nivirea did indeed shudder and shiver in the wintery grasp of the snowstorm. Nivirea had heard tales of the Frozen North, the Norse god-ruled realms beyond the Road of Kings and Highwind. She had heard of blizzards so terrible as to freeze the blood of every living thing under their power. And now she seemed to be in one.

But one other seemed to notice her suffering as if it were her own. From between Otiorin and Brendoran's grasp, Bria stared glassy-eyed like a woman stunned at Nivirea. Bria was not looking at Nivirea's face, but her torso. It was as if the Ko-born adventurer did not recognize anyone or see anything; like she was trapped in her own world, unable to see out of it. Perhaps this was the effect of the Snow Globe.

Close now, for it was more terrible to be alone at a time like this, Nivirea found herself within Bria's reach. Nivirea saw Bria's arm slowly rise. Gently, ungracefully, wearily, Bria's armored fingers reached toward Nivirea's wizardly robes and touched them in a brushing motion. This she did three times...

Only Nivirea saw the brief and sunny smile of satisfaction and relief upon Bria's face as she completely faded and returned to her dreamlike stupor.

Nivirea's form shimmered briefly. When the Wayward Wanderers turned to look, they saw Nivirea, instead of wearing adventuring robes fit for a wizardly noble, she was now wearing this:

This, in deep forest green...
wool-grey-fantasy-coat-heritrix-of-the-winter.jpg
(Image credit: ArmStreet)

Covered in thick, soft fabric from cowl to boots, and feeling much farther out of the grasp of the snow's reach, Nivirea's body immediately warmed. The outfit, complete with matching mask to cover her nose and mouth if she desired, sheathed her entire body in complete comfort.

As he'd seen the gentle healer do so often, he brushed his hands down the flimsy garments, willing them to take more substantial shape* for comfort on several levels. It didn't occur to him to check any other gear; just being warmer was enough for him for now.
In that same moment, Brendoran and his thin clothing also seemed to shimmer. He, too, had a mystical change of outfit into warmer, thicker, and safer garments. It was the very outfit he had imagined, but slightly warmer and easier to move in. While still snow-covered, the son of Summerset seemed to move comfortably.

The number of your fellowship caught in the clutches of the blizzard had lessened by two.

* * *​

Bria had Bren's gear, and obviously his power to call for Mielikki's aid. That... hurt. If he hadn't known it was Mielikki's greatest enemy who had done this to him, it would have cut deeper than any wound. As it was, it only drove him deeper into opposition against the Mistress of Pain.
As Bren felt this, there was a thing deep inside of him that seemed to echo his pain. It seemed to share it, be wounded by it, and feel sorry right along with him. And it appeared to hold nothing against Bren's feelings toward the evil Queen of Ice.

Oreleth nods in agreement. "I will take point to the cave. It would seem that I am supposed to be a bit of a rogue, so this body should be somewhat stealthy." She draws both blades and moves out, doing her best to be silent and keep her eyes and ears open, searching desperately for any signs of danger.
He nodded as Oreleth volunteered to scout ahead. "Agreed, but be careful, and don't stray out of our sight. I don't want us separated in this." He gestured at the still-falling snow around them. "Nor in the cave. Call or run back if you need us, we won't be far behind." He intended to keep them no more than 50 feet apart, in the cave or out of it, or within sight if that was a shorter distance; thus, they'd all be moving towards the cave, with Oreleth out in front as scout.
With her leader's blessing, Oreleth stalked toward the cave and its single red eye like a sunny-haired mountain lion. The rest of the Wayward Wanderers watched her go.

Immediately, Otiorin of Waterwind saw the soft-toed steps that should have been his and recognized the roguish technique for what it was. Then he saw Oreleth draw both of his shortswords. The Moonlit Edge gleamed like a cold, bright star in the snow. The blizzard made a mess of everything. What everyone needed was a quiet, safe place out of the elements to get their bearings.

Always keeping in range of the party's sight, Oreleth the Rogue made her way to the cave's edge. The eerie red light swaying back and forth in the breeze was some kind of magical lamp. It was deep and dark with a hint of illumination inside.

Oreleth shuddered, but not from the cold. Something lived in here. What it was, she could not guess. But she felt she could bet her life on it. Still, to remain outside was slow death, first for Bria, then the rest of you.

The party entered the cavern and found it brown and dry and noticeably warmer. The wind did not enter here. WIth these discoveries came the smell of blood, for the blood splotches you had seen outside were here also. The trail proceeded farther down the tunnel. Oreleth did too. When she turned around to face the entrance of the cave, she saw her fellow Wayward Wanderers huddling there. The cave tunnel was about 10 feet high and 15 feet wide.

Turning around to face the entrance, it looked just like this:

p06dddss.jpg
(Image credit: Hunaner)

With the Wayward Wanderers at the cavern's entrance, and Oreleth the Rogue about 100 feet inside, it seemed like just the place to take a rest, get your bearings, and perhaps some much-needed answers to go along with them.

What do you do?
 
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Captain Hesperus

On Vacation
Supporter
#24
Otiorin Taletreader, Wood Elf (just to rub it in)

Once out of the bite of the howling wind, Otiorin gently lowered Bria to the ground and set about clearing a space and gathering what stones he could to build a rudimentary campfire. He risked the cold once more to leave the relative comfort of the cave and sought to rip branches and twigs from the scrubby trees outside. He shook the clinging snow from the wood he gathered and returned, arranging his paltry gleanings into a worthwhile stack within the ring of stones. Only once this was done, did he search his borrowed possessions to find something, anything, that resembled a tinderbox.
"Does anyone carry a lantern? Or lamp oil, maybe?", he asked of his fellow Wanderers.
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter
#25
Bren tried to stand where he could keep an eye on both Oreleth and Otiorin as each did her or his own scouting, one for knowledge and one for firewood. (If he can't keep them both in sight, he'll focus on Otiorin since at the moment the snow and the decreased visibility it causes are the greater threat in Bren's mind.) In reply to Otiorin's question, he reached for pouches he didn't have anymore, then frowned thoughtfully. "I used to have both, and tindertwigs. Check Bria's pack for them while I see if Oreleth's found anything?" As quietly as he could manage, he approached their scout's position and asked, "Anything wrong, or do you think we'll be safe here for a while?"
 

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