Fireday, Erastus (July) 5, 4713 AR
The weather grew noticeably cooler, evidence that the unnatural weather was spreading. Ajla and the sick bandits recovered from their illness thanks to the healing skills of Natharen Safander. Jesserett met a mysterious stranger named V and invited him to join the party’s quest to find the source of the mysterious winter weather. Meanwhile, Arkath and Atsur consulted with Village Elder Teppen about the prisoners. It was decided that the town would dispatch couriers and guards with the bandits to hand them over to justice in Zimar, while Vrixx would go with the party as a guide further into the Border Wood. The party the visited Isker at the local smithy and commissioned a masterwork great sword for Atsur. They then visited the Willowbark apothecary where they stocked up on Alchemists’ Fire. The party then retired to the Silver Stoat for the evening.
Starday, Erastus (July) 6, 4713 AR
The party set out for the Border Wood. They reached the High Sentinel Lodge without incident, nut they did notice that the winter weather was spreading beyond the borders of the forest and that the weather inside the forest was worse than before. That night, Vrixx managed to escape. The party then spent the day preparing for an ambush, but one never came. Jesserett also made the recommendation that the party create snowshoes for easier travel in the forest, which would allow them to leave their mounts safely stabled at the lodge. Ajla’s skill with leather work and Arkath’s skill at bowcraft allowed the two of them to make snowshoes for the party while they waited.
Upon crossing Timber Creek, the party was assaulted by five skeletons imbued with the unnatural cold. These creatures nearly slew V before they were taken out. The party discovered a dead body that had been savaged by the skeletons, but they could not positively identify it as either the missing farmer Dansby or the missing hunter Kepp. When V was healed enough, and after salvaging some useful items from the dead body, the party moved on. A mile or so further on, the party came upon the evidence of a skirmish between someone and a giant weasel. They found the body of the hunter Dryden Kepp and claimed 2 magical arrows from his body. At this point Ajla and V began to suffer the effects of exposure to the cold weather. Ajla had Zenskar pick up the scent of weasel, which the party followed deeper into the forest. Another mile in, the party was assaulted by sentient, evil trees that had come through the winter portal from the land of Irrisen. They were able to destroy the trees with fire before the Frost Firs did any real damage to them. The party also soon found two of Kepp’s bear traps. V was able to recover one, which he kept for future use against the weasel should the party encounter it.
The path they were following eventually led to a clearing that was blocked off by an ice maze. In the middle clearing was wooden hut that was set upon wooden stilts that looked disturbingly like chicken legs. The party was able to navigate the maze thanks to the fact that V and Varg were able to actually climb up on the ice blocks. Inside the maze, the party encountered the apparition of an Ulfen girl who was being tormented by one the White Witches. This turned out to be a clue that the maze was haunted by the spirits of many children that had been killed by the White Witches. Once the party cleared the maze, they found that the only thing in the hut was a creepy doll that strongly resembled the little girl from the maze. This doll turned out to be an evil construct animated by the spirit of the slain little girl. The spirit attempted to bewitch Atsur and taunted the party about the invincibility of the White Witches and the futility of attempting to destroy the winter portal. Once the doll was defeated, Arkath and Atsur burned down the unholy hut, freeing the souls of the haunted children in the maze. Jessereth kept the sapphire that held the soul that had animated the doll. The party then rested the night to allow Ajla and V to recover from their exposure to the cold.
Sunday, Erastus (July) 7, 4713 AR
Ajla used Druidic magic to protect herself and V from any further cold exposure going forward. The weather was definitely getting worse. About a mile further from the hut, Zenskar alerted the party that they had finally found the weasel, allowing V to lay out his bear trap. The fierce creature was easily dispatched thanks to the ambush. As the party approached the entrance to Somir Valley, they were assaulted by an Ice Mephit and a small air elemental. This mephit was the same creature that Arkath’s eagles had followed when it fled the lodge during the party’s first foray into the forest. These two creatures were a challenge for the party, actually slaying Varg, but Arkath’s eagles and V’s clever use of his cloak brought the mephit to the ground, where Atsur slew the creature. The party was forced to turn back here, as Ajla and Arkath sensed a coming blizzard. The party was barely able to make it back to town before the blizzard hit.
Moonday, Erastus (July) 8 through Sunday Erastus (July) 14, 4713 AR
When the party arrived back in Heldren they found a detachment of 50 of the Taldan Phalanx (an arm of Taldor’s military) had arrived from Zimar in response to the rumors of the strange weather. They were commanded by a knight-sergeant named Elvarol Sandin. He was pleased that member of the Church of Abadar was in charge of the investigation and offered the party 500 Gp each to find and close the winter portal once this blizzard passed. He also used Taldan funds to buy the following items from the villagers and put them at the party’s disposal:
An Arrow Magnet
A Ring of Force Shield
A Wand or Magic Weapon
A Wand of Scorching Ray
A Scroll with a Sleep spell on it
The blizzard lasted a week, allowing the party time to recover and plan their assault upon Somir Valley, where presumably the winter portal was.