The Wilds Await

Blizzards, crevasses, blizzards and worgmen and blizzards

Winter, again

Present:
Andreth, Human Cleric 1/Warlock 6 (Niko)
Bodi, Halfling Ranger 8 (Adam)
Kogan, Dwarf Ranger 4 (Zil)
Reygar, Goliath Barbarian 6 (Luchie)
Savric, Human Fighter 7 (Simon H)

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Report of the events of the hunt for Worgmen and search of their presumed origination, Hulderheim, from the 15th to the 22nd of Calsar, year 1187, under the banner of Lord Westingford’s Men, by Andreth Norian, deacon in the Church of Kastus in Santaur, Westmarch.

To my beloved temple brothers and sisters as well as the Earl and his honoured council.
When our resident Beastmaster, Bodi, approached me to accompany him and his select party to the lands of Sarek once more, I must say I was not entirely thrilled. Traversing the freezing reaches nearly cost me several fingers last winter. Yet somehow I complied to his request.
On our arrival we were met with horrendous weather, even by Sarekian standards. Deafening wind and a hailstorm to tell the grandchildren about. A retreat was not too far however as we knew from one of our past journeys. The cave housing an evil left there by the masters and where we had previously lost valuable companions. The door was sealed once more and so we could rest easy this time.
On the third day not counting the day of our arrival, the blizzard finally tempered enough for us to leave our shelter. The coming hail still reduced our sight to barely beyond a few dozen feet and considerably slowed our advance. We must have not made it more than a dozen miles of progress southwest. Aside from Reygar making a blundering descent into a snow covered crevasse the day’s journey went well.
A distant thunderstorm awakened us to the coming of the next morning. Kogan reckoned it was not of natural origin. Many of us had faced Vondal’s outbursts before and felt fortunate not to be in the way of one this time. Much more minute trouble was had as were had however. Reygar had lost some rations to thieving stoats and Bodi’s instincts to him we had taken a path too straight south. Even with the assistance of the cold adjusted Reygar he had had and would continue to have trouble taking us through the icy landscape. We ended our fourth travelling day not too much closer to our destination.
Before any of us could begin lay down for our earned rest our camp fell under an attack. Four larger than man, pear white wolves bounded out from the snow right beside us, catching everyone but Bodi off-guard. Biting cold crystalline mist flowed out of their bodies, causing immediate harm and even putting out our newly lit fire, leaving Savric and Reygar blind in the early night. Savric luckily managed to get a torch lit and place it out of the frosty monsters’ reach, allowing him to join the fight. Through Kastus’ might I leap to the sky, out of the wolves’ reach, knowing I could best lend my support from above. Bodi had gravely wounded one of the attackers by this point. We all concentrated our efforts and brought it down swiftly after. Savric took his chances with point blank shots on one of the remaining three and was rewarded by hits which surpassed even Reygar’s mighty greatsword swings. The wolves claws and teeth had expectedly little effect on our now enraged goliath but he was beginning to show signs of exhaustion from the cold mist freezing his old burn wounds. Most alarming though was the situation Kogan found himself in. He was left fending for himself with one of the creatures still in perfect fighting condition, while we dealt with the others. His valiant struggle almost came to an unexpected end when the frost-imbued monster tore through his chain mail, leaving him dazed on the ground. We were able to rush to his aid and get him up before the thing had the chance to land the final blow however. The final wolf was brought down seconds later. After confirming all threats were gone, Bodi hurried to conserve some of the icy animal’s light blue essence into a bottle. Indeed these were not natural inhabitants of the wild. Instead of leaving behind a corpse they melted like snow.
Barely had we recovered from the shock of the fight and closed ourselves into our tents when Bodi called everybody to get on the move. This time it was something we had no choice but to flee from, the embodiment of winter itself, as far as we knew. An enormous creature believed to be a giant, surrounded by miles and miles of air that freezes everything it touches. Our nightly escape took two hours, enough for three of us to get frostbitten.
The fifth day was when things turned around for the better. Bodi was able to get us back to the right path and we avoided conflict with any native “wildlife”. On our east by southeast trek we did come across a deep crevasse with a perilous ice bridge leading to a  den of a sizable cat creature. Inside were signs of human-like behaviour, for example a pelt rug and tied string. Luckily for us the owner wasn’t home at the time.
The weather had shown signs of clearing up the day before but it was on the sixth day that it truly turned favourable. Instead of a blizzard we had the pleasure of making it across the frozen landscape with only slight wind against us. After making it no more than 5 miles southeast, we spotted a sizable ravine with a sturdy path over it. On the opposite side however, are a half-dozen four legged animated skeleton and one alive worgman. Thanks to our more nature attuned companions we managed to creep close enough to clear them all out of our way in just two volleys of bow and magic fire. The worgman was only carrying a small amount of food which led us to believe their lair must be located nearby. We decided to head deeper into their presumed territory with care.
A crumbled building came to our view an hour or so after us passing the bridge. With our ranger’s magic keeping our steps light we managed to get right beside ruin which was revealed to likely be an old church or chapel by the next door graveyard. Inside the building were armed worgmen and their apparent chief. We laid waste on the abhorrent creatures and slaughtered them with ease. Despite the likely futility of the effort Bodi advised us to keep the chief alive, we obliged. He took a while trying to interrogate the feral man-thing with only progress to speak of was a faint direction for more of its kind, directly south. I made use of the time by performing a simple ritual of magic detection. By the time I was ready to scan the immediate area, Bodi had lost his patience and soon after pummelled the worgman to a pulp, with Brian eagerly feasting on the remains. It was then that I made a most interesting, and also worrying observation. Bodi’s companion was taking in the magic contained in the worgmen’s flesh by eating it. When Bodi learned this he immediately made Brian regurgitate what it had eaten though it had no effect on the dweomer. I believe the magic that transformed the worgmen into what they are now was then imbued to Brian instead. Bodily changes were not observable at the time but Bodi tells me Brian has recently began licking his face as well as panting, like a dog would. Before we left I glanced around the graveyard and its recently exhumed graves, finding no magical traces. I didn’t learn anything from the writings and symbols on the tombstones either, though Santaur’s library and the church’s own archives might reveal more.
It had been a long few days and if the journey there was anything to take from, we thought it to be wise to turn back before the weather turned against us again. My request to climb one of the nearby mountainsides to get a good look what was south, in the direction that the worgman chief pointed to, was denied; we didn’t have the time. Likely right as my companions were, I was left dissatisfied. It was then that Kastus came to my aid. A vision showed me rising hundreds of feet in the air, so I could see over the now puny mountains and beyond. By his glory was it sight! Between two crescent shaped mountain chains spanned numerous ruins with an intact construction in the middle. It stood taller and more intricate than what I could think the worgmen themselves to ever build. It was clearly also of newer make. After giving it some thought later on I have come to believe it is related to a seraph or other entity important to these worgmen.
e decided to cover more unexplored ground by going the eastern way on our way back to the skull platform, around 12 or so miles northeast from the graveyard. There we camped by a large gold engraved gate by a mountain. I hear a similar, ten times larger one exists somewhere in Sarek. Apparently one needs to have sufficient favour with the dwarven deities of the realms or be of affluent and pure of nature to wish it open.
Later that night we got to meet one of Sarek’s other freaks of nature, the sweltering, wintry heat wave. Air all around us became excruciatingly heated in a matter of minutes and lasted for much too long. It subsided in time but didn’t let us have a restful night of rest.
On the seventh and final day, the only event of significance was us coming across a huge and majestic stag. Bodi attempted to make contact with it by using his natural beast speech but didn’t manage to convince it to stay put. Knowing what he gets himself into on a weekly basis, might have been wiser indeed for the deer to stay away.
 

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