After a brief discussion, our heroes decided to make the trip to the Pale Tower in the morning. Nadya informed them that the trip would take about two hours if they used the guards dog sleds to aid their travels.
A little over halfway to the tower, they hear the greeting call of a female voice. Looking off to the side, they spot a crow. Unlike the normal crows this one is about three feet tall with bright green eyes. She talks with them briefly, but end up stealing Qari’s pouch and flying away. Incidentally, this pouch contained the two keys to the Dancing Hut that the Black Rider entrusted them with. Toby and Colt tracked the sneaky creature back to a tunnel and found her nest. Nidhwen identified the bird as a witchcrow, a strange bird that needs magical items to procreate its species. The crow was a formidable foe, but in the end it was no match for our adventurers combined might. Qari reclaimed her pouch while Toby and Six searched the other small tunnels off of the main chamber. Finally they returned to the surface and continued the rest of the way to the tower.
Sharp winds whistle across this stark white plain, stinging the eyes along with the near-blinding rays of the reflected sun. A great eruption of frozen ice rises in the distance—an imposing pale tower crowned with icicles spearing into the sky. Seemingly born of the land itself, an unbroken circular wall of ice guards the tower’s base, with no means of entrance visible. High above, a large gash opens in the tower’s bowl-like crown, ringed in icy spikes and split by a massive plane of ice resembling an inverted crescent moon.
A trampled path of snow, heavily tracked by footprints and sled trails, ends abruptly at an opaque wall of ice. Carvings and ancient glyphs depict only the semblance of a gateway on its surface.
Several guards at the top of the wall demand to know their business. The adventurers pretend to be returning the errant dog sleds to the tower and are let inside.
A massive ice scupture of a dragon dominates this open courtyard, standing with raised wings upon a dais of solid ice. Seven squat shacks sit along the inner wall, with several dogsleds stored outside. Between them, four ice chutes descend from the battlements of the outer wall. To the west a large double door studded with icicles lead inside the Pale Tower itself, just beneath an overhang of sharp icicles dangling from above.
As soon as they enter the courtyard, the dogs are let loose, however, one dog is thrown across the yard as a large ice troll charges at the newcomers. Like all trolls, it is very resilient to damage, but with the proper application of fire magic it is killed for good.
The heroes then begin to search the area. They look in the different kennels for anything of value, and find a large stash of gold pieces. As their attention is diverted, the four guards from the wall uses a series of slides to quickly flank several of the party. They manage to deal several hits before the allies turn the tide and put them down.
Having handled the welcoming committee, our heroes turn their attention to the door. For all the apparent danger that the icicles present, they are harmless and Nidhwen pick the lock on the tower door. As she does this Toby and Six break a pair of large mirror nearby.
Steamy air fills this inner gallery, emanating in lazy wisps from a bubbling pool recessed into the floor of a raised dais surrounded by six pillars of ice. Four foggy mirrors hang from the walls near ice sculptures of helmeted pike-wielding warriors.
Glassy patterns of striated, crystalline ice covers the tile floor in the open alcoves to the north and south, illuminated by a soft, blue light.
Hatch points out the teleport pads and explains that the only way to navigate the levels is by way of pass phrases and special keys. He gives them the ones that he knows and withdraws into the northern stairwell to wait for them. They start to look in other rooms finding another set of stairs and a pair of privies before Six moves on to the doors on the western wall.
As he opens the top door, he is struck by crossbow bolts and five guards rush in to attack them. Six does an excellent job of blocking them from his weaker allies, but several of them move through the other door and attack Toby and Colt. One of them also wakes the water elemental sleeping in the hot springs so it can join the fight. After several of them have been put down, the other doors open up and five more soldier rush to attack. One near the back seems to retreat threw the ice crystal teleporter, however, she reappears seconds later beside Qari and attacks. Little by little the foes are dropped and the room is made safe once again.
Six, Toby, and Colt search the two barracks, but they find little more than empty beds and weapons lockers. Regrouping in the entrance hall, they use wand and spells to heal up the wounds dealt by the guards before turning to look at the icy teleport pads…