After our harrowing experience in the Citadel, we decided to pack up and head down the mountain. We didn't tell Martin anything - he wouldn't understand, being a Priest of Questionable Allegiance.
We did ask him about the Rituul, though. He had heard a fairytale as a child about little helpers with wings that come and help people. Very odd.
There was still some deep snow as we trekked down the slopes, re-tracing our path from the previous day. When Martin asked what was inside the Citadel, we just responded with “Nothing, only ghosts of a civilization long dead.”
The foothills were difficult to navigate - few pathways and sharp rocks underfoot. We were encouraged, however, with the large forest that stretched out below us. Lots of red pine and possibly an ocean or lake on the far horizon.
As we descended, the chill left the air, and we caught whiffs of… Sea salt? Strange. As we were puzzling over this, the background buzz of insects and birds disappeared - eerie silence that always means danger!
A flutter of wings, and a crazy horde of shadow creatures came into view. I decided to try to sing Dispel - I was sure that these were magical creatures, or being mind-controlled by a malevolent force! Unfortunately, they seemed to be completely immune to the song - I guess they are just “natural” (or at least not held together by magic).
As they got closer, the others spurred their horses (Scáthfile just needed a quick word from me - he's a bit more intelligent!); a descending fog made the escape more difficult, and somehow we became separated. El, Aeowynn and I managed to stick together, but the others must have taken a sharp turn at rocky intersection.
After a few moments of hard riding, we came across an ancient ruin - perhaps connected to the Citadel? Hard to say. The creatures suddenly paused, as if the ruin was surrounded by a magical barrier that allowed us through and not these beasts. It looked to be at least somewhat defensible, so we pulled up short and dove for cover.
The creatures swarmed around the edges of the structures, but stayed out. It appeared as though some of them were “braver” than others, and they edged closer.
I was tired of being chased, so I took out my lucky crossbow, and shot the biggest one. It fell, and I felt quite proud. Maybe I'll name my bow - Básbogha seems suitable - the Old Tongue just fits.
As the mist continued to roll in, most of the shadow creatures disappeared, except for one the Elisandre tried talking to. It didn't really respond, or maybe it upset her, and El pointed her staff at it and cried, “Begone!”, and we were all blasted with fire. Talk about overkill. I was thankfully shielded somewhat by a chunk of ruined wall, or I might have been fried gnome.
We started looking for supplies to set up for the night, since the mist was thick and this was as good a place as any to stay the night. Aoewynn screamed and we thought we were under attack again, but it turned out to be a perfectly preserved orc.
Frozen in death.
Suddenly I realized my leg was turning numb, and I saw a curling tendril of mist wrapped around it as if it was a hand. My turn to scream! We went inside the closest building and grabbed brands from the fire. The mist seemed to draw back from the flame, but it swirled and crept along the ground, searching for living flesh. Very creepy.
I started singing to calm everyone down for the night, otherwise our terror may have kept us up all night. I missed Sharn's protective presence - the big bad beasties don't seem so scary when you have a hulking she-orc on your side!
Elesandre came up with a smart plan, and summoned a cute little flame creature, which she tasked with trying to keep the mist at bay. We all settled in for night, with El taking the first watch.
I woke up suddenly to a scream - Aeowynn couldn't feel her legs! The fire creature had dissipated, and the mist must have crept in and gotten real close to our fire!
El tried to heal her, but it fizzled - I think her energy must have been nearly spent guarding us. My songs of healing seemed to work better; maybe the nature of Spellsong was a better counter to this kind of magical harm. I decided to keep up the singing and let the others rest - my song seemed to keep the mist out as well as the fire.
I DIDN'T fall asleep, but I had some interesting dreams…
The morning dawned bright and clear, and the mist had lifted. Time to find the others - I hope they found a safe place to hide away!
Maebh the Mostly Vigilant