This morning it all began. Our rebellion. We four struck out against the White Witch Nazhena Vasilliovna. She owns a tower in the town of Waldsby. A strange spiky affair made of pure ice and crafted by magic. It is an odd design with triangle rooms that end in elongated corners and frost on every surface. We were told, after we removed a patrol and questioned the survivors, that there was a contingent of troops within and some fey creatures thrown in for flavour topped with an ice troll. The place has no stairs only four magic gates that moved people from floor to floor, each triggered by a magic phrase that sounds like a child’s rhyme (which makes this place only the more eerie because of what they do to children!).
We struck like the East Wind, overpowering but wily. The four guards in the courtyard lasted but moments. The ice troll rose up hungry and anger (like Courageous in the morning! If you are reading this Couri, your morning breath is as bad as an ice troll!) and died to the greatest of Orc Traditions, a falchion to the face followed by the ritual smashing of Alchemist Fire. The courtyard has a lovely ice sculpture of a dragon in the middle of it. Apparently the Witch likes to animate it with magic and have it attack people. The apprentice had a scroll with that exact spell on it. Too bad for him he didn’t live long enough to cast it, or to even realize what had happened to him, really. I’m getting ahead of myself.
The one of the guards got into the foyer and warned the others before we barreled in so we had more of a fight. The room was designed around pillars and a fountain with hot water in it, making it difficult to move around in and giving plenty of cover. Also, there is a water elemental in the fountain. A hot water elemental. Think about that for a second. I became a boiled wet winter-wolf. Unpleasant to say the least! We took another prisoner and threatened information out of him. He told us that the rest of the guards were on the second floor and that one of the guards had already gone up one of the two gates to warn them. So we took Paul (The prisoner. We named him “Paul” because we could. Or that might have been his name. Who knows any more.) and we tossed him through the gate first. While he was screaming for his friends to not shoot him, we jumped through the gates and attacked.
It was a mess of a battle. We landed in this cramped guard room that has a huge long table in the center of it, blocking the gates we were using and giving the guards cover to hide behind. Temerith and Durzak leaped up on the table and danced amongst the cutlery while Athelryn moved into place and fired her bow. The three of them were graceful and brutal. It was glorious! I, however, got jammed between two chairs and had to do this hop/jump/skip thing to get into a place I could fight. We met the Captain of the Guard, a large angry woman with a great sword and a shaky grasp of tactics. She drank this potion which made her ten feet tall. While this is awesome, it did give her the exact same disadvantage I was having. She died, cramped and cursing. I now own a very nice great sword. I think I will name it after her dying words: “Stupid Filthy Bastard”. The cook, a snarled tooth spriggan, entered the fight, along with two tiny pixies. He, too, grew to ten feet tall and died even faster than the Captain. Now that I think of it, maybe she was trying to call out to the cook. He was pretty filthy and rock stupid. Not sure of his parentage. I’m keeping the name. Either that or the first words she spoke when we met her: “No one said they had a Winter-wolf with them!” (Good thing no one told her this. Turns out she had a potion that would of let her breathe fire!)
Paul escaped. The Captain tried to hit him with a hand axe, believing he was with us when we attacked but she missed. So Paul got one hand axe and his life. He uttered the phrase to go back downstairs. I think he’s probably still running.
We searched the second floor, hoping to find a way to the third floor. That is were the Witch’s living quarters are. There was a strange plant creature chained to the wall in the study. Durzak said it was a “Mandrake”. It started screaming when we approached so we killed it. The stupid thing did something to me because my head started to spin. Durzak cut it in half and I took a bite out of it. I then ate the dirt it was planted into get that taste out of my mouth! Yuck! Note to Patience: Do not eat raw Mandrake! A pixie survived our assault and it fled, invisibly, to the fourth floor. This was both a blessing and a curse. It said the phrase to get us to the fourth floor and it also warned the people on the fourth floor we were coming. I was just hoping it wasn’t smart enough to warn the floor about what exactly was coming!
The fourth floor is the rookery. The vicious crows of the Witch live here, tended by a Druid worshiper of Gozreh. I think she was something called a Slyph. Anyway, she could fly. Or hover at least. When we poured in, she was just getting her crows together to attack us while she hovered ten or fifteen feet off the ground. I got her with a breath while Athelryn nailed her with arrows. She is an excellent shot because, not only did she knock the bitch out of the sky, did it in a way that she fell on the arrows Athelryn pumped into her! Gravity may be a harsh mistress but Athelryn is harsher still! The crows dispersed when the Druid died. We searched and found a lot more loot, including the workshop the Witch used to make those horrible dolls. We also found the phrase the the third floor. One last place to go!
The pixie got away as well. I think it flew through and outside, giving the only warning the Druid got: “Enemies coming. Going to get ‘help’. Bye!” I like to imagine the pixie caught up to Paul and the two of them formed a team. The stories of “Paul and the Pixie” should be all the rage soon!
The third floor is beautiful. Mirrors and ice everywhere with ice sculptures guarding a cauldron. Yes, a Witch’s Cauldron. We came in and found the Apprentice. He was a foreigner, from Taldor, I think. Anyway, we came in and he came out to greet us. He, unfortunately for him, was not told of our arrival so he came out in a huff think we were servants intruding on his work. Temerith tore into him with her claws and Durzak cut him down. I didn’t even get to twitch before he was dead. I did get headbutted by his goat familiar. I was too stunned to even attack it. I let Durzak break it’s neck. Stupid thing. We found a servant girl who tried to flee when we attacked the Apprentice. She even got out of the building before Temerith caught up with her. She is the daughter of our host but something had been done to her. It is like she is drained of her emotions. She couldn’t even feel fear. She treats us like we are just as normal as everything else. Very strange. Through this touched girl we found out the truth of our situation and of the Witch’s plans.
There is a illusionary globe in the Witch’s room that shows The Plan. The Witches have opened hundred of gates. Thousands of them. Each one placed somewhere in the world, creating a false winter there and guarded by monster/ citizens. They are placed upon the Bars of Rovagug’s Prison, set to stretch a magical winter over the whole world! Durzak spoke of it in terrible awe, something I have not heard from him before. The magnificent insanity of this is staggering. And they have trapped Baba Yaga in her own Hut! I don’t know if the Hag Queen would try and stop this but they must fear her enough to take such a drastic step.
The others were able to trace The Plan and found a way to disrupt a few of the portals. It’s a step that must be taken but it breaks my heart. I know Mother, Patience and Courageous are in Irrisen still, but you, Hope and Mercy, I don’t know. I think Father might have the pull to keep Hope near him. There is no paperwork in the Tower that explains troop movements. I don’t know who is where. I marked down which ones we closed and hope for the best. Forgive me if we abandoned you somewhere unpleasant.
As a side note, I learned a bit more about my new pack. Turns out Durzak’s parents are both in Belkzen’s Hold. His mother is a powerful Orc Witch as well. Temerith is just as closed mouth about her family as ever and Athelryn seemed confused by our pain. She said she’s a refugee from some place very far away. Someplace full of shadows. I don’t know if she even ever knew a family other than darkness. It sounds lonely so it’s lucky she found us.
We have sold what we can in Waldsby and are ready to make the run to Whitethrone (I now own a magic belt as well as a cloak. Pretty soon I’ll be like a human. All I need to do is feel pity for the less fortunate and envy for the people with more than me! So human!). They said it was nine days hard ride to Whitethrone. We figure, with me pulling a sled, it’ll take three days. I hate this plan but we must move quickly so I must wear a harness and act like the tamed dog for three days. If anyone sees me, my plan is to tell them I’m you. People will believe you’d pull a sled, right? I’ll try and find a new place to hide these letters when we get to Whitethrone. Please be safe and good hunting!
You Brother in the Snow,
Valour Get of Heartseeker and Black Rider
P.S. The White Witch put a cursed ring in a trapped chest. What kind of a person does that? And they left evil cursed cookies that kill you by starvation on a plate in the kitchen! This place is full of stupidity and I’m happy we killed everyone. I ate the livers of stupid people!