Inside one of the emptied wagons they found some of Lady Argentea’s jewelry. Inside another, the corpses of three courtiers. They would have to be seen to proper burials, but Njaldur was more concerned with the jewelry and moving on.
They approached the ice statue in the center of the site. On closer inspection, it appeared to be an Ulfen Mercenary captain frozen in the ice. In his hand was a quality sword, which they plucked and gave to Urtusk.
“This is no axe,” Urtusk replied, but begrudgingly carried it, after being convinced it’s fine make would help it strike true.
They went from the massacre site into the woods, following a clear trail of snow. The winter came in around them, blowing snow and wind piercing through their clothing better suited for the Taldan summer. Each hour they traveled their stamina was sapped, and they felt the cold slowing the blood in their veins.
After long they came to a clearing, at the center of which they saw a chest, strangely alone as if dropped in flight. Njaldur and Urtusk went to investigate, Njaldur’s mind racing with the treasure perhaps therein.
A snap sounded, followed by the whooshing of a giant log adorned with spikes swung across the clearing, hung high from a tree. Urtusk took the brunt of the trap, allowing Njaldur to stumble safely away. Then they were free to loot the chest. Inside they found many mundane weapons and gear, which would be worth at least a day’s work.
They continued on a bit further, but decided to turn back for fear that the cold would prematurely end their quest. They returned to the clearing, and finally to the massacre site. There they collected the cold bodies of the three courtier girls and went back to Heldren.
With the money they earned from selling the loot, those that did not already have them bought cold weather gear- thick tunics, coats, cloaks and boots to protect them from the unnatural winter in the wood.
From there they went to the Silver Stoat again to unwind. They spoke of Irrisen- what Njaldur had heard and what Kasimir had saw in his travels. Kasimir elaborated on ginger breading. Njaldur asked about the tea set and how it might all be connected to Lady Argentea’s capture. No conclusions could be made and they would have to save judgment for when the Lady was found, dead or alive.
Njaldur talked them into visiting Ionnia Teppin, the leader of Heldren’s town council, to request a reward for looking into the disappearance and attack. Although she was annoyed by the request, and Njaldur’s conscripted diplomatic team fell fast from their negotiations, Ionnia agreed to gather two hundred gold pieces from the townsfolk.
Early the next morning they set out again into the patch of winter past the massacre site. This time the Kellids did not seem so naturally resistant, and the others struggled as well with the biting winds and snow. Visibility was low and any ranged combat would be difficult, they knew.
Midway to noon, they stopped to make a fire and regain lost warmth. They spoke then of mammoths and giant sloths that are native to the far north.
They continued on and after a while Holt spotted feathered bundles hanging from the lowest tree branches around them on the path. The black feathers swing and shifted in the wind. On closer inspection, pieces of leather were stuck to them with pins, and the bundles were whole dead crows.
Tiny pin sized arrows leapt from the surrounding wood, and blue, winged fey flew out to waylay them. The fey threw sprays of color form their tiny hands, disabling Shanka and then Kasimir. Urtusk threw spears and swung wildly at them, roaring with anger, his attacks bolstered by his rage. Missing twice with the new sword, he threw it to the ground and drew his axe, trusting it's blade more, however less finely honed.
Kasimir’s owl swooped in to protect it’s master, pecking and scratching at the fey.
Holt killed one with splashes of acid and used his blessing of Abadar to move swiftly across the snow.
Njaldur stalked through the trees after a third. Out on his own between the trees visibility was low, and the fey was tiny and hid easily behind bough and trunk. His cloak blowing dramitcally in the wind, but his sword catching more air and bark than fey, Njaldur managed to do some damage to the fey. Then Holt arrived, moving much more swiftly, and swinging his morning star true, killing the creature.
The last fey retreated out into the cold and snow, cursing them as it went. Urtusk fell out of rage into a state of fatigue and Shank and Kasimir regained consciousness. They were alone again in the cold and snow, surrounded only by trees and the grim crow fetishes.