While this was found Six took to breaking up the ice around the guards’ body and claiming the breast plate for himself. Toby also freed the masterwork longsword, but as it was too big for him, he gave it to Six as well. Qari collected the bodies to the south of the site and gave them a fiery funeral.
It was plain to the meanest pair of eyes that the attackers left here via the trail into the woods.
At the edge of the massacre site, an obvious trail leads between a copse of trees and over a snowy plain toward the Border Wood. The heavy snow that covers the trail is littered with numerous overlapping footprints and horse tracks. Thus it is quite plain which direction the raiders went after the attack on Lady Argentea’s carriage.
After collecting up the spoils left behind, our adventurers set off down the snow laden trail.
As it enters the full expanse of the Border Wood, the trail passes through a small clearing among the taller trees before continuing uphill and out of sight. A large chest lies half-buried in the snow, apparently dropped or discarded by those who hastily passed this way.
Toby called for a halt and slowly closed in on the chest. Nidhwen moved up near it to get a better look. Toby pulled out a shovel and attempted to dig it out of the snow. However, as soon as the snow around the chest was disturbed a trap was sprung. Toby, Nidhwen, and Six were all knocked off their feet as a spiked log went sweeping down the trail. Six sustained significant damage from the log and needed to be healed. Toby picked his shovel back up and knocked the chest over. Underneath it, he found a cache of armor and weapons, probably stripped from the guards. In all, they found five sets of leather armor, three sets of studded leather armor, a masterwork chain shirt, two light wooden shields, seven longswords, two spears, a masterwork dagger, and three light crossbows.
Move onward, the snow becomes increasingly deep in this part of the forest, where a windswept gully carves a path through a tree-covered ridge. A soft cascade of snow falls from an overhead branch hissing softly as it strikes the ground.
The snow in the gully before them seemed to be almost as deep as Toby was tall. Six motioned the others to wait so he could scout ahead. As he got about 25 feet further ahead, a blue-white serpentine creature erupted from the snow and attacked him. This creature has the head of a ferocious dragon and two relatively small forearms that end in tiny claws. It managed to bit into the silent warrior and wrapped around him. Colt, Nidhwen, Toby, and Qari all knew they couldn’t reach him in time to assist, so they resorted to ranged attacks. With their combined attacks, the group managed to kill it, though Six was nearly felled by the dragon’s vicious and poisonous bite.
With the arctic serpent dealt with, Six managed to overcome the poison and the allies pushed on through the snowdrift. A little further down the trail they came across another clearing.
Feathered bundles and strange fetishes hang from the lowest branches of the trees in this part of the forest, swaying and shifting in the wind. All are stuck through with small pins holding pieces of leather bound around them.
Toby and Six moved in to more closely examine the bundles. They soon discovered that they were actually frozen corpses of dead crows pinned to the trees. Toby then noticed a tiny glowing light bobbing in a nearby tree. Six noticed another one soon after. As the heroes attention was directed toward these glowing orbs, a trio of winter-touched sprites began casting spells and shooting tiny chilling arrows at the unaware adventurers. While not very big these little fiends manage to deal several good hits on the allies. Nidhwen used her bardic abilities to fascinate one of the tiny fey. Colt used his blunderbuss and Qari used her magic to drop one while Six and Toby handled one each.
Following this battle, our heroes were feeling the effects of the several battles they had encountered in the snow covered forest. They made a camp in the little clearing and set up a watch. As luck would have it, they didn’t have any nocturnal interruptions.
The next day they quickly got ready and continued onward.
A narrow game trail winds its way through the trees and undergrowth here. Hoofprints mark the underlying snow leading in both directions.
Toby noticed a snowy white stag watching quietly a short distance away. As the others came into view, the stag moved forward and began to speak to the adventurers. It wanted to know what they had come into the forest for. Needless to say, the group was taken aback by the talking animal, but it seemed friendly so they attempted to ask it a few questions. As Qari moved in and began to look for magic, the stag charged forward and gored into her.
Surprised by the animal’s sudden attack, the allies rushed to counter. As Six moved in to assist, he suddenly shrunk down to the size of Toby. A few seconds later Toby shrunk as well, ending up at barely half of his normal height. The next spell shrunk Six’s cold iron longsword down to the size of a toothpick. Baffled by the strange magical assault, the others focused on attacking the stag. As the stag fell, a tiny blue-green humanoid appeared and began scream curses at them and attacked in rage. However, the twisted little fey’s spells had no effect on Nidhwen. With the final blow to the creature, it turned into a brittle pile of dirty ice and snow.
Six was extremely perturbed by the creatures spells and bid the other to turn around, so he could pee on the creatures remains. Once both he and Toby returned to normal size they continued onward, however, the cold iron longsword would remain shrunk for a several days.
A human-sized snowman stands in the middle of the trail before a frozen stream. A crude wooden sign leans against it and bears the words “Trespassers Turn Back.”
As they moved further forward the snowman stirred to life and screamed at the party. “Can’t you read? The sign says turn back! Now get lost!” The last few words erupted from the snowman with a sonic burst that damaged all those near it.
A solid sheet of ice extends across this frozen stream, while snow-covered rocks line its banks.
Toby pulled out one of the spears and began to tap the ice as he crossed it, attempting to ensure that it was sturdy enough to support their weight. When he was about halfway across a pair of ice elemental erupted from the ice on either side of him and dealt a terrible pair of blows to him. Toby dropped to the ice, bleeding out from the massive damage he sustained. Six, Colt, Nidhwen, and Qari rushed to his aid with gun, hammer, crossbow, and magic. Colt loaded in his only dragon’s fire cartridge and blasted both of them with its fiery power.
Luckily, the pair of elementals were destroyed before the brave halfling was beyond help. However, it was apparent that they would need to return to town and procure healing items if they wished to continue further.
The trip out was thankfully uneventful, but wounded as they were, they only barely managed to make it out of the forest before night set in. The next day, they drug themselves up and made slow progress back toward the town of Heldren. At about three hours before dark they came within sight of the small town.